The architecture of GOD. The universe is created by a consciousness which manifests in physical reality through a blueprint that we call Sacred Geometry which repeats over and over giving the illusion of linear time.
—  Thoth
But this knowing, in so far as it is not a matter of arcana, consists of facts—though often of a purely spiritual nature —and not theories. Thus, for example, reincarnation is in no way a theory which one has to believe or not believe. In Hermeticism no one would dream of putting forward a case in order to persuade, or even to dissuade, people of the truth of the “reincarnationist theory.” For the Hermeticist it is a fact which is either known through experience or ignored. Just as one does not make propaganda for or against the fact that we sleep at night and wake up anew each morning —for this is a matter of experience —so is the fact that we die and are born anew a matter of experience, i.e. either one has certainty about it or else one does not. But those who are certain should know that ignorance of reincarnation often has very profound and even sublime reasons associated with the vocation of the person in question. When, for example, a person has a vocation which demands a maximum of concentration in the present, he may renounce all spiritual memories of the past. Because the awakened memory is not always beneficial; it is often a burden. It is so, above all, when it is a matter of a vocation which demands an attitude entirely free of all prejudice, as is the case with the vocations of priest, doctor and judge. The priest, doctor and judge have to concentrate themselves in such a way on the tasks of the present that they must not be distracted by memories of former existences.
One can perform miracles without the memory of former lives, as was the case with the holy vicar of Ars —and one can also perform miracles, wholly in possession of this memory, as was the case with Monsieur Philip of Lyons. For reincarnation is neither a dogma, i.e. a truth necessary for salvation, nor a heresy, i.e. contrary to a truth necessary for salvation. It is simply a fact of experience, just as sleep and heredity are. As such, it is neutral. Everything depends on its interpretation. One can interpret it in such a manner as to make it a hymn to the glory of God —and one can interpret it in such a way as to make it a blasphemy. When one says: to forgive is to grant the opportunity to begin again; God forgives more than seventy-times-seven times, always granting us opportunities anew—what infinite goodness of God! Here is an interpretation to the glory of God.
But when one says: there is a mechanism of infinite evolution and one is morally determined by previous lives; there is no grace, there is only the law of cause and effect —then this is a blasphemous interpretation. It reduces God to the function of the engineer of a moral machine.
—  Meditations on the Tarot
Not of this world.

Kamio was born approximately in the twentieth centuries of the Late Hellenic period in Troy. At that time, the earth was engulfed by war because of the invasion of angels, who brought new laws to earthmen. Then Lucifer’s rebellion was already committed. How the archangel and the Trojan princess has met - history is silent. Kamio was born and raised in the temple of Apollo, where his mother, Cassandra of Troy, was exiled by his father because of visions. Cassandra was a prophet, chosen by the god Apollo, but preferred Lucifer to him. The child born of union with the archangel is a nephilim. Initially, it was believed that Camio demon-half-blood, but in the the eightieth chapters, it became clear that he, like Lucifer, from the genus of seraphim. He has six snow-white wings, successfully concealed centuries before the Battle of Etna.

Kamio spent his childhood away from other children. He quickly grew and developed, therefore that he was despised. Cassandra herself raised and educated him as far as possible. Even in his childhood, Camio asked questions about his father, like every child, but he understood much more. Anger arose in him for Lucifer. He blamed him for his mother and his own solitude. It can be said that selfishness developed in Kamio, because he could not understand the causes of his father, failing to put himself in his place.

Because of the mixed blood, Kamio spent thousands of years following his mother’s death, wandering between the worlds. His guardian was King Beelzebub, who later nominated him as candidate to the regents of the Emperor. In his situation, Camio continued to blame Lucifer. Prior to the meeting with John Dee, he was estranged and did not create any connections with anyone. Solomon, who lived long before John, had a different meaning for him.

Kamio was one of the last demons tamed by Solomon. The hardships and deprivation of the life of the nephilim left in his human heart a breach, which the tsar diligently patched for many years. As for Citri, Solomon became a father for Camio, or someone close to him. Having first learned the value of his father’s love, friendship, with the death of Solomon, Camio grabbed in them as the last spark of warmth. After his death, he became what he was before: an orphan, devoid of love and attention of his father, concealing his anger and thirsting for an answer. The very death of Solomon only inflamed his anger, because Camio accused Lucifer in it.

For Kamio, Lucifer was and remained a selfish, incapable of love angel, which is scattered by people as feathers. Lucifer in his eyes used loving and devoted people to satisfy his ego and left their. Of course, so thought the offended boy in Camio, who was not ready to accept any other truth.

But did Kamio himself love then? Could he say something about love? Before the meeting with Maria, he was a closed, gloomy youth from Chelmsford named Nathan Kekston. He was merciless to the inquisitors and to those who encroached on his personality. In the medieval era, he met the first man after Solomon and Cassandra, who became the first detail of the puzzle of his new world.

John Dee is an English mathematician, Occultist, creator of the Enochian language and one of the Hermeticists. Before the meeting with Camio, he was a simple child, gravitating toward the occult. The first time he met Kamio face to face was when he caught it in practice of black magic. Not seeing anything wrong with the stranger, he immediately suggested that he become a friend. Even then, John guessed that Nathan Kexston was not so simple.

Hence began their long friendship, to understand the meaning of which Camio still had to. John revealed to him various human aspects, Camio learned a lot from him. But during his studies at Cambridge University, Kamio suddenly left John, and returned after seventy years, when he was on his deathbed. Because of the threat of his friend’s ascension to Heaven, Kamio signed a contract with him. John became the first member of his family.

I’ve noticed that none of the major DLC’s actually focus on the Assassin vs. Templar conflict. Bonfire of the Vanities is about Savanarola. Da Vinci Disappearance is about the Hermeticists. Tyranny is about Washington. Freedom Cry is about Slaver. Dead Kings is about the Raiders. Jack the Ripper is about… well, Jack the Ripper.

The only DLC that comes close to being about the conflict is The Lost Archive, but that’s more focused on just Clay’s story.

Odin and the Greek "Logos"

It’s been a while since I’ve made any updates to this project, but I want to start again because it’s an interesting exercise.

ODIN is the next god I’ll be contemplating from the Norse pantheon, and because he’s such an important and complicated figure I’ll have to do it over a series of posts that will take some time.

I thought I would start by relating him to the ancient Greek concept of logos. Odin, as a god that has a lot to do with words and symbols (poetry, runes, etc), has an immediate logic connotation. The question I’ll be contemplating in this post is: is Odin a personification of the logos?

The word means “word.” It also means “reason, account, opinion,” and “speech.” Unfortunately there’s no one set definition: the meaning of the word depends almost entirely on the context in which it’s used. For this post I’m going to ignore its Aristotelian use in rhetoric. Instead, I want to focus on a couple other definitions:

1. Logos as man’s capacity to reason. This definition sees use in some theory and in the works of Carl Jung. It is often contrasted to Eros. Both forces represent some animating principle in mankind. One, logos, is a higher principle, and involves man’s conscious ability to reason and contemplate. On the other hand, eros is a lower principle, and is closer to man’s base instincts, driving him to consummate.

This definition is the least mystical interpretation of logos. Think of it this way: logos = word. What is a word but a symbol that means something, that points to something substantial? Logos, as man’s capacity to reason, is the faculty man has to contemplate symbols. And what is logic but the contemplation of such symbols? Creating symbols, contrasting symbols, figuring out what they mean. The sign and the signified. I’m using my logical faculties - my ability to reason - right now in writing this post, and you, the reader, are using them in reading it.

2. Logos as the word of the divine. This definition has far less consensus and can be viewed in a variety of different lights, all esoteric. This view of logos is partially bound up in the history and theology of Christianity, but the truly Christian definition, that Christ himself is the logos, will be discarded here. The word can be made flesh only in allegory.

The logos I’m interested in here is more like the logos of Plato, Heraclitus, the Stoics, Philo, and Plotinus. It, also, isn’t well-defined, and the aforementioned thinkers all had their own versions of it.

For Heraclitus, “all things come to be in accordance with this logos.”

For the Stoics, “the logos was the active reason pervading and animating the universe.”

For Philo, “intermediary beings were necessary to bridge the enormous gap between God and the material world. The logos was the highest of these intermediary beings, and was called by Philo "the first-born of God.”

What do we have here, then? An organizing principle? An animating principle? The “logic” of God, of creation? That which moves things, but moves them into specific configurations?

The most basic idea of divine logos seems to be a medium between god (ultimate divinity) and the mundane. That opens up a whole world of interpretation. For example, what is logos in relation to:

  • Pneuma
  • Consciousness
  • Tao (which is the Chinese and Japanese translation for logos)
  • Subject and Object (in light of ‘Tao’ definition, it’s tempting to cast these as yin and yang)

And of course, the Hermeticists and Gnostics have their own esoteric, metaphysical ideas of what logos is, which I won’t go into because I’m not read up on that stuff.

ANYWAY, to get back to Odin. The myths surrounding Odin (of which there are many) seem to link him to the concept of logos.

First, there’s myth of the creation of humanity. Odin and two of his friends - either Vili and Ve or Hœnir and Lóðurr - are walking along the beach and they find a couple logs. They decide to turn them into humans, so the three gods each give the couple gifts. Odin gives them Ǫnd, which means 'breath,’ or 'spirit.“ Ǫnd seems to have the same definition of pneuma, which the Stoics saw as inseparable from the logos. Next, Hœnir or Villi give the first humans (named Ask and Embla) óð, meaning sense. "Sense” has also been translated as “reason” or “intelligence” - logos. However, this “sense” seems to be of our first definition of logos, the psychological logos. Finally, Lóðurr or Ve give the humans physicality, including their blood, their hue, and their senses. For the most part, Vili, Ve, Hœnir, and Lóðurr disappear from the myths from that point on. Odin, however, remains incredibly important.

That doesn’t link Odin directly to logos, but it puts them both in the same field. The next myth worth looking into in this area is the myth of the Mead of Poetry. Without getting too into the convoluted story, the Mead of Poetry is a symbol of poetic inspiration and is a gift from Odin. Can poetry from Odin be seen as the literal “word of God?” Possibly. Or perhaps the act of writing poetry itself is inseparable from the logos, the medium between the divine and the mundane. In that case, that Odin gave it to us is deeply significant - yet, I’m not sure it proves that he is the personification of the logos himself.

The next important Odinic myth in this contemplation is that of his sacrifice of himself to himself, in which he hung from the world-tree (axis mundi) Yggdrasil for nine days. After nine days hanging, the runes revealed themselves to Odin. The runes are a few things. First, they’re an alphabet, similar to the one we use today. Next, each is representative of an occult meaning. Now, the contemplation of meanings and readings of signs is firmly in the camp of logos definition #1. However, I’m having trouble attempting to bridge the occult/magick side of runes with the nature of divine logos. Perhaps, stretching the basic esoteric definition of logos as “medium between divine and mundane,” Odin himself acts as logos by hanging between life and death at Yggdrasil (the divine), and discovering actual runes that can be carved and used (the mundane).

All of this is merely food for thought. Thinking of Odin in terms of logos lets one appreciate certain aspects of the god - those of wisdom, knowledge, language, poetry, and inspiration. As in all myth, Odin is a complex figure that embodies a variety of forces and cosmological principles. There obviously isn’t a 1:1 correlation between Odin and Logos, nor are there rigid definitions for either. And of course there are inherent difficulties in reconciling Scandinavian myth with Greek philosophy, it’s not even syncretization really. But I think we can see that both Odin and logos occupy similar territory.


Creation — “In the Beginning …”

Creation is seen to have taken place, in Western kabbalistic and alchemical terms, in the following process.

The Divine mind of God, the Absolute, or in Hebrew the Ain Soph Aur (Limitless Light), through a series of expansions and contractions establishes the boundaries of Creation. The first world is the most subtle, and closest to the original state of non-existence, and is Atzilooth. This is called the world of Fire, because of the lively, undefined, and almost uncontrollable nature of fire. Next is Briah, or the World of Archetypes and forms as our human mind can grasp them. It is symbolized as the World of Air, and is the result of a barrier world that is formed by the creation of the next World, Yetzirah, or Water. This is the highly psychic and emotionally charged world immediately behind the veil of material existence, or Assiah. Also known as the World of Earth, because of the solid, concrete nature of material life.

The purpose of this scheme, is to show that creation occurs in increasingly dense levels of energy-matter, from the most subtle, or Fire, to the most dense, or Earth. Within this context of increasing density, there also arises a series of ten planes or levels of consciousness which combines with energy-matter, known as Sepheroth, or spheres of being. They occur in a pattern of: unity, reflection, polarity, reflection, polarity, unity, reflection, polarity, unity, and finally materialization. This basic idea of unity-polarity-and re-harmonizing, is the basis of kabbalistic and alchemical practices, and is derived from the observation of Nature.

Each World is a reflection to a denser or more subtle degree than the one before or after it. Each Sepheroth is a reflection, in part, of what proceeds or follows it. However, since each reflection is only partial, or slightly distorted, each Sphere takes on its own unique characteristics. Only the so-called “Middle Four Sphereoth” have the ability to harmonize or reflect in total all of the energies of creation, on some level.

This ‘zigzag’ of Creation is called the “Lightning Flash”. The return of energy from dense matter, back through the various stages, Sepheroth, and Worlds of Creation is known as the “Path of the Serpent” because of its reverse, or complimentary ‘zigzag’ nature back up this diagram called the Tree of Life.

For the alchemist, somewhere between the third and fourth level, or sphere of creation, energy takes on the characteristic that will allow for the formation of matter at some future state, or level ten. This energy is called Prima Materia, Chaos in the Bible, Spiritus Mundi (Spirit of the Earth), and others. Here, duality is made complete, and genuine polarity exists, as opposed to simply the potential, or idea, of polarity that had existed previously. Energy is divided into active and passive modes, with the active energy constituting the energies of life, and the passive one the energy of matter. In “The Golden Chain of Homer”, the active energy is called Niter and the passive energy is called Salt.

The energy of Life manifests in two forms, Fire and Air. While both are predominately active in nature, fire is the more active of the two, with Air being slightly passive because of the partial Water Element in its makeup. Potential Matter manifests its energy as Water and Earth. These Elements have nothing to do with the material bodies of the same name, and as such are capitalized and called “Elemental” to distinguish them from the earth we walk on, water we drink, air we breath, and fire we cook with. They are in fact, energetic states, each with their own unique characteristics, as well as each of the previously mentioned ten levels of consciousness within them. The Elements also have preferred ways of interacting with each other, to form the Three Principles of alchemy. There are in fact, forty different ways energy-matter-consciousness can manifest in our world.

The Three Essentials are the alchemical principles of Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt. Like the “Elements” these principle concepts are to be thought of a “Philosophical” and not literally as chemical elements or compounds. The Alchemical Sulphur, or Soul, of a thing predominates in the animating principles of energy (Fire) and intelligence (Air); Alchemical Salt, or the physical body of a thing, predominates in unconscious forces, psychic, and instinctual intelligence (Water) and solid matter (Earth); Alchemical Mercury, or general life force, predominates in intelligence (Air) and instinctual forces, and psychic energy (Water), as such it is the link, or bridge, between the higher forces of Sulphur and the lower body of matter.

In the mineral realm the dominant energy is that of Earth, a little Water, and very little Air or Fire. In the vegetable realm, the dominant energy is Water and Air, but little Fire and Earth. In the animal realm, the dominant force element is Fire, then Air, but little Earth. These qualities need to be understood as they have been defined for the following information to be of any use to the practicing, or aspiring, Hermeticist. For example, using the above definitions, we can say that the plant realm has an abundance of instinctual energy (Water) and intelligence, i.e. a specific function (Air), but little direct energy (Fire), as this is received passively from the sun; and little hard, physical, matter (Earth).

In the East as in the West, the idea of principle Elements and Philosophic Principles are expressed in more or less the same manner. This original undifferentiated energy from creation is often called in Indian philosophy, and modern occult, and New Age circles, as akasha, or Spirit. However, akasha, consists of two (2) aspects, one active as we have noted, Niter, and the other passive, Salt. The energies of Niter are also referred to as the force of Kundalini, or spiritual forces. In alchemy, this is the Secret Fire. To the Salt, belongs the force of Prana, or Vital Energy.

The function of the Vital energy is to maintain physical life forms and existence. It is completely instinctual and unconscious and is heavily influenced by cosmic cycles, astrological pulses, and other natural phenomena. The function of the Secret Fire is to increase in humanity, the only place where it is present, its sense of self, or “I”. At the lowest level or functioning, this is the ego, at its highest, it is Divinity incarnate, as both are two sides of the same coin. One is ‘self’ in relation to the physical world and others; the other is ‘self’ in relationship to all of Creation and as a co-creator.

In the vast majority of humanity, this Secret Fire, or liberating energy of self-consciousness, lies dormant, asleep at the base of the spine, coiled like a serpent. Only a small amount manages to escape, reaching a sepherothic level, or so-called chakra, thus creating a loci of consciousness for each person. If it reaches the top of the skull, and beyond, a spiritual awakening can occur, allowing for a descent and re-ascent of the energy, during which the psychic centers can be awakened allowing for the manifestation of psychic powers and related phenomena.

- M.A. Mark Stavish; The Relationship Between Kundalini, Kabbalah, and Alchemy

What is Hermeticism? (Part 4)

The Magical World

The divine—the outer pentagram—is the most abstract layer, but it is also the most real. This is the dimension of reality neoplatonists referred to as the World Mind (the repository of forms from which all physical things derive their intelligibility), grounded in God or The One.

This God or One is represented here at the top of the pentagram. This is God as the ground of possibility and actuality, just like in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But this is not a deity that is completely self-enclosed and self-sufficient; nor is it simple.

You might think to yourself, “Well how can it really be God then if it’s not self-enclosed and self-sufficient? Surely we’re thinking here of a demiurge or a demon but not God.”

But it is God—not a demiurge or demon—and this is the unique hermetic contribution to theology. It is in the very nature of God to create. Therefore, the universe we see around us exists necessarily.

The reason it is within God’s nature to create is that it is within God’s nature to know his/herself. Self-knowledge necessarily belongs to God. And yet without something for God to reflect his/her essence in—without some degree of internal division and alienation—that self-knowledge is impossible. Toward this end, the divine extends itself in space and becomes the physical universe we see around us.

That divine mirror—the spatiotemporal universe, the inverted pentagram—both is and isn’t God, the way a mirror image of yourself both is and is not you. It is caused by you, it depends upon you, and it has many of your traits, but it is not you.

Another way to think about this is that nature is the body of God. This is a point where hermeticism agrees with pantheism. But unlike the pantheists, hermeticists do not reduce the God to his/her body. God is no more identical with his/her body than you or I are identical with ours.

But nature by itself is not going to be sufficient to fulfill God’s concept. Remember, in order to be what s/he really is, God must be self-aware. An inverse image is not enough. A dog can see itself in a mirror, but we don’t assume a dog is self-conscious. A crab’s eyes may be so positioned on stalks that it can see its own body, but we don’t think crabs are self-aware. God has to see his/herself and know that it’s God. The seer and the seen must be one, and in being one, they must know they are one. That’s all anyone means by self-consciousness.

This is where humans enter the equation, as represented by the middle yellow pentagram. Humans hold a special place in the hermetic cosmology. That’s why they’re placed at the center here. This is very different from pantheism, which holds that there is no “realm within a realm”, and everything is both divine and natural in the same way. Nothing could be further from the truth in hermeticism. In the hermetic cosmology, both humans and the natural world are divine in the sense of having been created by the deity for the purpose of knowing his/herself; however, humans are unique amongst all beings because they alone are capable of reflection. But in order to be of any use to God, this reflection must take a particular form, and this is where hermeticism gets to be pretty badass.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5

I really really hope that Ubisoft does something interesting with Erudito, the Initiates, the Instruments of the First Will, or the Hermeticists, etc. I know a lot of people want characters to just be Assassins or just be Templars, but I really enjoy a well thought out chaotic neutral faction that has ideals of its own, particularly in the upcoming games. It’d be a nice, newer plot point without the old Templar crutch and it’d make the games feel more realistic. Let’s face it, history is not so simple as A vs. B.