The popular idea that a worrier is a thoughtful and conscientious citizen is false. The Egyptians realized this when they included worry among the cardinal sins. Do not confuse thoughtfulness and worry. The thoughtful person plans solutions, but the worrier merely dissolves in his own doubt. If you think straight, you will have less cause for worrying. The worrier not only suffers the same disaster many times, but undermines his health and annoys all others with whom he comes into contact. There are many things in this world that require thoughtful consideration, but there is really nothing to fear but fear.
2. Stop trying to dominate and posses your friends and relatives
Each of us likes to feel that he is running his own life. The moment we recognize the rights of others to seek life, liberty, and happiness according to their own dreams, hopes, and aspirations, we begin to conserve our own resources. It is very debilitating to give advice which is ignored or rejected, and equally disappointing to attempt to posses and dominate persons who immediately resent and combat our dictatorial tendencies. We are hurt when they do not see things our way. If we save advice for ourselves and those who seek it from us, and who are therefore grateful, all concerned will be the better.
3. Moderate ambition
There is a tendency to overlook natural and simple blessings while we plunge on toward distant goals. Each individual has certain capacities. If he can recognize his own abilities and work with them, he can attain personal security. If, however, he is constantly seeking that which is not reasonably attainable, he can never know happiness or contentment. The wise man observes the disastrous results of uncontrollable ambitions, and chooses moderation. It is not necessary to be famous in order to be happy, nor must one be the leading citizen in the community in order to gratify ones social instinct. The ambitious usually pay too much for what they get, and are the more miserable after they get it.
4. Do not accumulate more than you need
There is no real distinction in being the richest man in the graveyard. Many earnest citizens act as though there were pockets in shrouds. We are supposed to have outgrown the primitive belief that we should bury a mans goods with him so that his spirit might enjoy them in the afterworld. Here, again, the middle course is the wisest. Let us reserve some of our energy for enjoyment, and not give all of ourselves to the task of accumulation. Many a man who has made a million has not lived to spend it. A rich life can be more practical than a monumental bank account.
5. Learn to relax
Great tension is an abomination. The more tense we become, the more stupidly we are likely to act, and, according to the old Buddhists, stupidity is a cardinal sin. Today, many so-called efficient people are perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This is not so likely to be due to overwork as to unreasonable driving impulses from within themselves. Some say that they are overtaxing their resources to keep their jobs or to maintain extravagant families. Whether you believe it or not, you are a better producer and a better provider if you do not collapse from psychic exhaustion at some critical moment when you are most in need of good health. If your associates do not realize this, they may be in need of practical counsel.
6. Cultivate a sense of humor
As never before, we must brighten and lighten the corners where we are. The more seriously we take ourselves and our responsibilities, the duller we become. It is a saving grace to realize that, although living is a serious matter, we can take it too seriously. Also bear in mind that genuine humor is not bitter, cynical, or critical. It is the ability to laugh with the world and not at the world. If we must laugh at someone, let it be ourselves. Humor is a spice to living. It adds flavor to work, zest to play, charm to self-improvement, and proves to others that we have a security within ourselves. A sincere, happy laugh, like the joyous rippling of childrens laughter, relieves tension and restores good nature. Incidentally, it makes friends and inspires confidence.
7. Find a reason for your own existence
Unless you believe in something bigger than yourself, have some purpose more vital than accumulation or advancement in business or society, you are only existing, not living. A simple pattern is to realize that the laws of Nature that put you here seem to be primarily concerned with growth. You are a success to the degree that you grow, and you grow to the degree that you become a wiser, more useful, and more secure person. In other words, we live to learn, and by this very process, we learn to live. Broaden your horizon, develop an interest in all that is fine, beautiful, and purposeful. Great internal good comes from the love for music, art, great literature, broad philosophy, and simple faith. Strengthen the inside of your nature, and the outside will be better.
8. Never intentionally harm another person
Never by word or deed return evil for good, or evil for evil. Weed negative and destructive thoughts and emotions out of your personality, or they will ultimately contribute to your misery. As we look around us, we see the tragic results of individuals and nations that harbor grudges or nurse the instincts for revenge. The harmless life saves those who live it from many of the mortal shocks that flesh is heir to. Our critical attitudes and our long memories of evils that others have caused only reduce our present efficiency and endanger health and vitality. Even the selfish man realizes that he cannot afford to keep a grudge, and the unselfish simply will not permit grudges to accumulate because they know better and they believe better.
9. Beware of anger
When ill-temper controls us, we are no longer able to control ourselves. In a moment of anger, we may create a situation which will require years to remedy. Why should we spend our time trying to recover from our own mistakes? If we disapprove, let us state our case simply and quietly, and remember that we should never try to correct another when we have already committed a fault as great as his. A quick temper is a serious handicap in business or in the home. It is useless to say that we cannot control anger. This is as much as to admit that we have lost the power to control ourselves. If we resent the unkindness of others and the collective irritability of this generation, let us make sure that we are not one of the irritating factors.
10. Never blame others for our own mistakes
It is hardly necessary. Each of us seems to have an incredible capacity to do things badly and select unwisely. Actually, we are in trouble because we have not made constructive use of the power and abilities which we received as a birthright. Others can hurt us only while our inner life is too weak to sustain in the presence of trial or test. Instead of resenting misfortunes, and seeking to excuse our own limitations, we must face the facts. Either we are stronger than the problem and can solve it intelligently, or the problem is stronger than we are, and the only solution is to increase our own strength. Others are not to blame for our unhappiness. Each man must seek his own peace of mind, and, as the Arabian Nights so well expressed it, happiness must be earned.
“Why are numbers beautiful? It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.” -Paul Erdos, Hungarian mathematician
“1×8＋1＝9, isn’t it?” Yes, it is. Continue. “12×8＋2＝98, isn’t it?” Yes. Then, “123×8＋3＝987” Wait. Where is your calculator? Yes, it’s correct. “1234×8＋4＝9876” Lots of numbers start forming a line. “12345×8＋5＝98765” “123456×8＋6＝987654” “1234567×8＋7＝9876543” Wondering what these numbers are? Then I’ll disclose the secret of the trick.
I’m going to show you other pyramids. Are you ready for your calculator? One is this.
And one more.
111,111,111*111,111,111=12345678987654321, which is a basic counting series, read from either end.
Every number no matter how large that is equally divided by 9, will equal 9, if you add all the numbers it is made from until there is 1 digit. A quick example of what I mean: 9∗99=891
Natures secret about 3,6, and 9…?
“We have to cast out all 9’s.”
What does that mean? It means that any number that is above the value 9 or one place value is going to be added together to get a single digit. So this means if we have a number 26, we add 2+6 to get 8, which is its “archetype”. If we do this for all numbers while doubling and halving, we get a pattern. This. The secret to the Universe is DOUBLING and HALVING. 3 and 6’s are constantly oscillating back and forth between each other in the doubling and halving scheme.
The number 9 is the unchanging, unwavering number that never really loses its true identity, even though it is undergoing a constant state changing. (pay close attention)
9 X 1 = 09 9 X 2 = 18 9 X 3 = 27 9 X 4 = 36 9 X 5 = 45 9 X 6 = 54 9 X 7 = 63 9 X 8 = 72 9 X 9 = 81 9 X 10 = 90
If you didn’t realize it yet, the secret to the above multiplication of 9’s, is hidden in this…
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Now besides the right side of the numbers, reverse the order of numbers to be going (counting) backwards…
0 9 1 8 2 7 3 6 4 5 5 4 6 3 7 2 8 1 9 0
Put them together…
09 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
You just created the answers to the 1-10 multiplication of 9…
9 X 1 = 09 9 X 2 = 18 9 X 3 = 27 9 X 4 = 36 9 X 5 = 45 9 X 6 = 54 9 X 7 = 63 9 X 8 = 72 9 X 9 = 81 9 X 10 = 90
Now once again, see how the answers we just did, end up actually returning back into the number 9… Now watch… as you are about to see just how powerful #9 really is..
(Answers) 09 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
Now… add them together… lets do the first three together… 0+9= 9 1+8= 9 2+7= 9 Have you caught on yet? Lets see all of them now..
So all the multiplications of 9, end up returning back to 9. even large numbers…
Take any number like, 143.. now times it by 9.. you’ll get 1287 So 143 X 9 = 1287 Now add the digits together, not counting above 10 (after 9 start over at 1) 1287 Add the 1+2+8 first, which will get you 2, then add 2 with the remaining digit, 7, giving you… #9.
Try some numbers yourself.
Then there is the addition with #9… In this method, adding 9 to any number will have an answer that equals the amount of the original number added to 9. Lets start, Add any number to 9. Lets do 13 since its a double digit. 9+13= 22 But first since this is a double digit we used to add to number 9, lets now get the value of its digits together. 13 1+3= 4 So going back, we just got 4 from the 1+3, which came from the value of the two digits of the number 13, which we are adding with 9. Continuing.. So back to 9+13 = 22 The 22 we got, if added together gives us, 4… the same number we got from the value of 13 (1+3), which we just added to 9.
Now lets do this with a single digit… Lets do 7 9+7 = 16 16(or 1+6) = 7
Another one.. 9+4=13 13=4
So on and so forth…. -
-EXPANDED INFO BULLETPOINTS- -The number 9 is the node and represents Spirit. -The numbers 3 and 6 represent the Yin and Yang in the form of magnetism and the number 9 is the S curve. -The base ten numerical counting system is triangulated. -Infinity has an epicenter. -The powers of ten occur by halving. -A number cannot be created or destroyed and zero does not exist on a number line or in any multiplication series. -Multiplication series are unbroken rings from cross sections of the torus. -The zero is always in the center in the form of the vortex hole. -The preferred frame of reference to the universe is based upon the fixed constant number 9.
Isn’t it beautiful? Yes, it’s fantastic!… This is enough info for now, as any more will/might get confusing, and this amount is more than enough for you to reflect and think over. Thoughts, opinions, comments? Lets hear them!
Problems, And Solutions For People Who Can't Meditate
Meditation is a skill that has a wide range of uses for beginners, and the well-established practitioner. This is a fundamental skill that is meant to be built upon, and used along the practitioners path, but for some reason, or another some people struggle profusely with trying to meditate. This can be for a plethora of different reasons, and with this post I hope I can help you to get your own handle on your meditation practice, even if you have been struggling up until this point. We are going to do this by laying out reasons why you would not be able to meditate, or why you would have a hard time meditating. Then I will place solutions for that problem to help you overcome part by part what may be affecting you, and preventing you from meditating to your full potential. If you need to know how to meditate click here.
Meditation problems, and their solutions:
Problem: Whenever you try to meditate your mind becomes busy, and plagued by thoughts that distract you.
Solution: When you enter a meditative state your mind’s natural instinct is to process information. Though this can get in the way of meditating it can be quite easily counteracted. The way to counteract this problem is to let the thoughts come into your head instead of trying to ignore them acknowledge that they are there, and let it pass. This will allow you to work through all your thoughts on your own terms, and to slowly defragment your mind. Making space for a place where you can meditate. This process can take different amounts of time for different people, but once it is complete your mind should no longer be busy for at least that session of meditation.
Problem: If you fall too quickly into a state of relaxation, and end up falling asleep, or spacing out.
Solution: Meditation can be a very relaxing process, but it is important not to overindulge in that relaxation. Ways to counteract this problem is to not lay down, while meditating, but much rather sitting up straight, or you might even want to try standing up meditation. Also try not to do meditation at night. The best time to meditate is always the early morning right after you wake up.
Problem: If you don’t see colors, light, visions, or anything when you meditate.
Solution: Not seeing things, while meditating can be caused by a couple different situations. One is that your third eye is not open. The third eye is your chakra, or Energy Center that is responsible for your Sixth Sense, and ESP, or Extrasensory perception. This chakra being closed does not allow you to see using your mind’s eye which could be the problem for why you don’t see things. The internet is chock-full of methods, and ways in order to open, and decalcify your third eye. One of the first ways I learned how to open my third eye is to take your finger, and move it in a clockwise motion upon your forehead. Another reason you might not see anything it’s because you’re expecting it to appear in a place where it does not. It does not look like you seeing in the physical world it looks a lot more like recalling a memory. The last, and final reason I can recall for not being able to see anything during meditation is you might not be getting enough cosmic energy to produce an increase in vibration to move to the etheric plane of existence. For you to gain better cosmic energy flow one must have their spine straight, the top of their head, or their third eye pointed towards the heavens.
Problem: If you can’t seem to find the state in which you can be relaxed.
Solution: To feel more relaxed during meditation you could choose a posture that best suits your relaxing needs from standing up to laying down. You should also try to wear comfortable clothing, and no jewelry, or accessories of any kind. You could even try putting on some nice relaxing meditation music, binary Beats, shamanic drumming, or even ASMR, before, or during your meditation to completely relax you even those this is not for everyone. Also controlling, and focusing your breathing will also relax you during, and after the meditation, and it is important to use a deep breathing method, a pranayama technique, or the ki breathing technique to induce feelings of comfort, and relaxation.
Problem: If you experience pain from periods of sitting.
Solution: You do not have to sit to meditate. You can use any posture as long as it is comfortable to you, but I would suggest having your back straight, and the either the top of your head, or your third eye pointing towards the sky above. This will allow the cosmic energy to flow through your body smoother.
Problem: If you lose concentration quickly, and easily during meditation.
Solution: Focus is a very important skill to learn for many different types of magickal practices. Meditation is a good skill to help you learn how to use your focus, but if you don’t have any focus to begin with then you can try to do focusing exercises.
Problem: If you believe that you can not meditate, and have been discouraging yourself.
Solution: You can actually manage to discourage yourself out of being able to meditate. The only way to truly solve this problem is to switch it around, and encourage yourself to meditate. You can meditate as long as you believe in yourself with every fiber of your being.
Problem: While trying to meditate you naturally become impatient.
Solution: If you become impatient during meditation you must use your willpower to reconnect to your relaxation to continue your meditation regardless. You cannot rush meditation it is by nature controlled, and slow. You must learn to have patience for all the good things will come in time. This is all about perseverance, and determination to stick with your intent of meditating until you gain your expectations.
Problem: The stress from your waking life bogs you down, and keeps you from meditating.
Solution: Meditation is a good way to release stress, but having too much stress can distract you from your meditation practice. Sometimes this can be solved by sticking through the meditation regardless, but sometimes meditation is not always the answer, and you’ll have to find a different way to de-stress yourself before meditation will be optimal to practice again. This can be as easy as doing things that you enjoy. Just don’t let life get you down, and come back to meditation when you are ready.
Problem: If you don’t have the enthusiasm in order to meditate.
Solution: This is another thing I suggest you work through, because enthusiasm is based upon a cycle it comes, and goes like the wind. Your enthusiasm will eventually come back stronger than ever, and you’ll be able to meditate with your newly found enthusiasm. so you need to be patient, and determined to get meditation done.
Problem: If you cannot find the time to meditate.
Solution: Everybody has time to meditate even if they don’t know it. Meditation is a very diverse technique because it can be used anywhere by anyone at anytime. Your meditation does not have to be long at all. They can even be 5 minutes, and can still be quite helpful to you. You can also meditate in places you might not thought were possible like the shower, or during a commute if you are not driving. Everyone has time to meditate you just have to find the perfect spot to place that time.
Problem: If you are afraid to meditate.
Solution: Remember before meditation it is always recommended to use some form of protection technique. This technique can be casting a circle, or creating a psychic shield around you. Once you use protection there is nothing to fear from meditation in the slightest. It is perfectly safe, and can be ended at any time by simply opening your eyes, and reconnecting with the physical world.
Problem: If you are trying too hard.
Solution: Sometimes it’s better to pull back, and not try to force it to happen, but allowed to flow into being. It is important to stay in perfect balance, and harmony when trying to accomplish certain practices. You must try as hard as you can, but over trying, and trying to force it will make it so that you will not be able to do it anyway. It’s a balancing act, and you must find the center of it in order to persevere through to reach your goal.
Problem: If you have no idea if you are truly meditating, or not.
Solution: As long as you get in a slower gnostic state of consciousness no matter what you are doing at the time is technically considered meditation. All meditation is a way to quiet the flow of your mind, connect with energies that are around you, and to transcend your original awareness. As long as you do that you are meditating, and you will know the difference when you experience it.
The Gnostic individual feels sympathy with the Unknown Godhead - there is that which awakens and says: “I am a stranger here, when all others feel at home.” They are pulled from automatism by an alien intrusion, a sense of difference - a hijacking which leads them to not only to see the divinity in all things, but to groan under the weight of that which oppresses the world and prevents its manifestation as a unified part of the All.
So after much deliberation, I have finally put together a small starting point for those of you interested in researching Gnosticism. While the list may be small, I hope you will find it a valuable starting point in your endeavors.
What I found most difficult about Gnosticism when I first began my research was the seeming lack of accessible reading material. Gnosticism is a broad term, covering many different sects with wildly different beliefs. What bound them under the term “Gnostic” was the Catholic Church’s decision to label them heretics.
Thus, the Church sought and destroyed many of their texts, leaving behind only fragments of their texts and beliefs for us to decifer. On a similar topic, much of what information you will find regarding the Gnostic beliefs is the condemnations of the Church. Take what commentary you find with a grain of salt, as your enemy will often say as more lies about you than they will truths.
G.R.S Mead was a noted member of the Theosophical Society in the early 1900s and worked on a number of texts regarding Gnosticism and Hermeticism. A wonderful starting place for learning the known history of multiple Gnostic sects.
Pistis Sophia is a rather complete Gnostic text that was discovered in 1773. While it is only an example of one Gnostic thought regarding the teachings of Christ and the Gnostic cosmogeny, it is too important to not read when learning about Gnosticism.
A modern historian focusing on Gnostic and Biblical history, Pagels is an indespensible resource for those wishing to learn about Gnosticism. All of her books are worth the time to explore, though I would suggest pursuing a foundational knowledge of Gnosticism before starting her books, if only to ensure you get the most out of them.
Another wonderful resource for free Gnostic texts and commentary, courtesy of The Gnostic Society Library.
I do hope that this helps those curious begin their academic journey into Gnosticism. As always, I delight in asks regarding Gnostic topics and suggestions for further resources. Happy reading, my loves!
The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of your life; your memories, your attachments. They burn ‘em all away. But they’re not punishing you, he said. They’re freeing your soul. If you’re frightened of dying and holding on, you’ll see Devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace then the Devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth
Below is more background on the Judaic and Kemetic forms of Wisdom (openly revered as a goddess in Egypt, more symbolically female in Judaea) that contributed so much to the syncretic Gnostic cosmologies
Khokhmah, Isis, and Sophia
The ancient Hebrew name for Wisdom is Khokhmah, a feminine noun. In Jewish scripture, it was Khokhmah who personified the female Divine. She is understood as an emanation of God, yet she resonates with the Hebrew Goddess who is otherwise assailed in the Bible, especially Asherah, she of the sacred Tree. Proverbs 3:18 calls up an image of Khokhmah that originates in the oldest core of Jewish culture: “She is a Tree of Life to all who lay hold of her.”
In the same book, Khokhmah sings, “The one who finds me, finds life.” Like the goddess Asherah, regarded as the partner of Yahweh by the ancient Hebrews, Khokhmah is linked to the pillar. “My throne was in the pillar of cloud,” she declares in Ben Sirach (24:4). In Proverbs 9:1 she builds a house of seven pillars.
Asphodel Long’s book A Chariot Drawn by Lions offers profound insights into the survival of the Hebrew Goddess. She points out that Wisdom is another form of the Shekhinah, the divine Presence. Both are “expressed in light and glory,” both involved in creation, enthroned in heaven, intermediaries between god and the world, ascending and descending, and winged.
The Book of Wisdom of Solomon, written by Alexandrian Jews in the Hellenistic era, renames Khokhmah as Sophia, the Greek word for Wisdom. In this text, as Long points out, Sophia “takes over the powers and function of God” and the creation story is told using the word “she.” The ancient author is careful to qualify this audacity by describing Wisdom as God’s breath and emanation, but still praises her at length in her own right as “holy” and “all-powerful”:
For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle; mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, Beneficent, human, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle. For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. [Long, 46-7]
Another beautiful passage likens Wisdom to “a flame of stars through the night.” [Allegro, 171] The praise-names in the Book of Wisdom of Solomon resonate deeply with those in the goddess litanies of India. The most celebrated of these is the Sri Lalitaa Sahasranama, an invocation of Goddess under a thousand names, including Intelligence, Holy, Unique, Multiformed, Subtle, Pure, Beyond All Danger, Loving the Good, Beneficence, Steady, Without Anxiety, Great Power, and All-Pervasive.
Long’s illuminating exegesis of the Alexandrian Wisdom litany brings forward the little-known fact that the Greek name monogenes (“unique, singly born”) began as a title of female divinities. It originates in a Kemetic title of Neit, Hathor and Isis: “self-born, self-produced,” and later appears in Orphic hymns to Demeter, Persephone and Athena. Christians subsequently applied it to Yeshua of Nazareth who was cast as the “only-begotten son” of god. [Long, 49]
In late antiquity other titles arose in the Judaic tradition: Shekhinah (Divine Presence) and Matronit (the Mother). Kabbalists redefined Khokhmah as a masculine power, and assigned Binah (Understanding) to the feminine sphere. Torah became to some extent a personification of Wisdom, and Jews in many countries invited Shabbat to enter their homes as the bride of god and the essence of peace and joy.
There is not room here to enter the Egyptian Stream of Wisdom, but what follows can only be understood in the light of the veneration of Auset, known in Hellenistic culture as Isis. This goddess had come to be worshipped beyond the borders of Egypt, first in west Asia and north Africa, then in Europe. Isis aretalogies (praise-songs based on the affirmation “I am”) emphasize creative Wisdom as one of her divine qualities:
I am Isis, mistress of every land I laid down laws for humanity and ordained things that no one may change… I divided the earth from the heavens I made manifest the paths of the stars I prescribed the course of the sun and moon I found out the labors of the sea I made justice mighty… —Aretalogy of Isis from Cyme, circa 200 CE [Drinker, 114]
A syncretic ferment of Egyptian, Greek and Hebrew traditions occurred in Alexandria and the eastern Mediterranean during the Roman empire. Jewish writers appear to have initiated a Greek series of Oracula Sibillina which begin to appear around 150 BCE. Philo Judaeus of Alexandria identified Sophia as Mother of the divine Logos and as Isis, mother of Horus. But Philo followed Biblical tradition in according primacy to the father-god as creator, treating the divine mother—Sophia — as his attribute or emanation. Nevertheless, he described this god as the husband of Wisdom. [Long, 46, 162; Patai, 98]
The pagan priest Plutarch agreed that Isis was the same as Sophia, creator of all. [Allegro, 157] Pagan mystery religions equated Isis with Demeter, Kybele, Juno Caelestis, Bona Dea, Tyche and other Mediterranean goddesses, mixing their attributes and titles. Isis was sculptured wearing the mural crown of the Asian goddess Tyche and holding the cornucopia of the Italian Fortuna and Terra Mater. (These statuettes have been found in distant Kazakhstan and Pakistan.) Multitudes of molded figurines of Isis seated on the basket of the Eleusinian Mysteries were mass-produced for home altars within Egypt itself.
Most of these Hellenized terracotta statuettes shrink the horned solar crown of the ancient Kemetic goddess and flank it with ears of wheat, assimilating her to Demeter in a historical double rebound. The Knot of Isis that was for millennia tied around her belly moves up to her breast in a tied Grecian shawl. Other terracottas show Isis Baubo with skirts pulled up around her hips and legs opened wide. Still others look to the headwaters of the Nile, as the goddess Besit, linked to the BaTwa peoples, socalled “pygmies,” or perhaps to other little people (“dwarves”).
In the midst of this syncretism, many Isis terracottas retain the Egyptian convention showing her suckling her son (now represented as a sketchy afterthought). She also appears as Isis Bubastis – Ermouthis to the Greeks – with the lower part of her body in the form of a snake. This form of Isis has turned up as far east as Iraq.
Some Egyptian Jews engaged in ecstatic forms of worship. Philo wrote that the Therapeutae (“healers”) became “transported by divine enthusiasm.” They danced and sang hymns in harmonies and antiphonies, women with women and men with men. Then, says Philo, they feasted and drank wine, and at last all joined together in one assembly:
Perfectly beautiful are their motions, perfectly beautiful their discourse; grave and solemn are these carollers; and the final aim of their motions, their discourse, and their choral dances is piety. [Drinker, 159-160]
The Therapeutae were among the Jewish sects in which women “conducted the Sabbath services and provided influential commentaries on the scriptures.” [Long, 38] Philo described their practice as a form of spiritual healing, which in fact gave this community its name:
Inasmuch as they profess to the art of healing better than that current in towns, which cures only the bodies, they treat also souls oppressed by grievous and well-nigh intolerable diseases. [Contemplative Life, in Allegro, 109]
The biggest community of Therapeutae lived near the Mareotic lake in northern Egypt. Their huts had little prayer alcoves, and they gathered in a central building for communal meals. Like Philo, they seem to have syncretized Isis with Wisdom and called upon her for healing: “She was reckoned to cure the sick and to bring the dead to life, and she bore the title ‘Mother of God.'“ This was an ancient name of Neit, Isis, and other Kemetic goddesses.
The Torah uses the word “hovering,” as with beating wings, to describe the divine Presence that Talmudic writers had begun to call the Shekhinah. Her image resonates with the ancient veneration of doves as sacred to Canaanite, Syrian, and Cypriot goddesses. Christians adopted this imagery, picturing the Holy Spirit as a winged radiance and a hovering dove. She flutters above Mary in innumerable scenes of the Annunciation, and above the consecrated chalice and bread.
As for Khokhmah, she remained a presence within the Hebrew Scriptures. Thousands of years after her praises were embedded in the Book of Proverbs, medieval christian mystics were attracted to this female image of Wisdom. Hildegarde of Bingen knew her as Sophia, Scientia Dei, and Sapientia of the seven pillars. One of her manuscripts even shows her wearing the mural crown of the ancient goddess of Asia Minor. Hildegarde’s profoundly animistic poetry sings the praises of Life endowed with Wisdom, as a goddess in all but name:
I am that supreme and fiery force that sends forth all living sparks. Death hath no part in me, yet I bestow death, wherefore I am girt about with Wisdom as with wings. I am that living and fiery essence of the divine substance that glows in the beauty of the fields, and in the shining water, and in the burning sun and the moon and the stars, and in the force of the invisible wind, the breath of all living things, I breathe in the green grass and the flowers, and in the living waters...
[Book of Divine Works, circa 1167, in Partnow, The Quotable Woman, 48]
Beware, the following post talks about religion. (Apparently I’m just really asking for it, today.) This is a touchy subject for many, and I’m not trying to offend.
Not all of you may know this, but I was raised Catholic. I’m currently agnostic, but I went the whole gambit through Confirmation, and I even have attended Jesuit institutions of higher learning. So I’ve had a lot of religious education, and I thought I’d share an interesting bit of trivia I was thinking about recently.
It partially relates to the Adam and Eve story. You know, the apple is supposed to be a symbol of knowledge, of dividing good and evil which is only supposed to be something God can do, and that’s apparently a bad thing and everyone’s doomed to be a sinner, whatever. But isn’t that a strange moral to that story? Elsewhere in the bible they emphasize that one should come to God “child-like” in faith; essentially unquestioning. The congregation is referred to as a flock–and really, sheep are not terribly bright creatures, and they do follow extremely faithfully. This goes fairly strongly against the Jesuit tradition I was taught for having reason in faith as a unified whole, and there are very different ways you can approach these subjects intelligently while still being a faithful Christian (I’m not saying you can’t), but it still can get some people’s hackles up.
Anyway, that brings me to the trivia I was thinking about.
You know, in some Christian Gnostic (HIGHLY heretical) traditions, the thing we think of as God–that is, the God of the Old Testament–was actually only the Demiurge (a term borrowed from the Platonics).
It was a corrupt being very different from the divine true God, Sophia (which you may recognize as the Greek word for “wisdom”). Sophia (created in the unification of the “nothing”–which is the Pleroma or the Source of all potential energy–and the “something” it imagined, or in some stories Sophia fell from a higher plane of existence) created the Demiurge specifically to be separate and isolated from Sophia. The monstrous result was the Demiurge, who has no divine spark. But the Demiurge, in turn, made the material world possible as separate from the divine, where Sophia cannot intercede.
Essentially, some of these Gnostics held (and there are many different sects and stories) that the Old Testament God was a jealous, ignorant, and imperfect being who didn’t even realize Sophia had created him to be a separate entity from the divine whole. In ignorance he then created the heavens and the earth, using the power of Sophia that had created him. That meant a small spark of the divine true God, Sophia, was enclosed in the material world and could be awakened within oneself to bypass this somewhat evil Demiurge (mistaken for God), who attempts to limit humans’ knowledge as he’s jealous of our spark. Under the Christian Gnostic belief, Jesus actually came from Sophia to help awaken us (a process called “gnosis”). If you fail to find that divine spark within yourself and you don’t nurture your own knowledge and growth, but are instead seduced to worship the false Demiurge in blind ignorance, your soul is trapped for all eternity away from the true God.
In other words, awakening wisdom (Sophia) within the self is the path to salvation. And that ultimately doesn’t seem like such a terrible belief to hold.
blessed are my sins. Through sin I have learned virtue. It is my sins as much as my virtues , that have made me what I am today. And now I am the preacher of virtue. Why do you dwell on the weak side of man’s nature? Don’t you know that the greatest blackguard often has some virtue that is wanting in the saint? There is only one power, and that power manifests itself both as good and as evil. God and the devil are the same river with the water flowing in opposite directions.
Swami Vivekananda when asked why he doesn’t speak on the topic of sin
[Commissioned by @tar-baphon. The last of the demon lords I have in queue, thank god. Don’t get me wrong, I like Abraxas specifically quite a bit. But these quasi deities are a lot of work, and I’ve gotten somewhat burned out on them. I have no plans to return to this vein for a while.
Now, Abraxas himself… this is an entity with a lot of history, although it is somewhat mysterious. Its role may have been as a Gnostic angel, an apotropaic symbol, or even the true name of God. Or maybe all of these to different people. It has since been demonized, as seen in the Dictionnaire Infernal, which PFRPG borrows heavily from. It may even be linked to that most magical of words, abracadabra.]
Demon Lord, Abraxas CR 30 CE Outsider This green-skinned horror has a
head like a fanged bird skull, with a membranous crest growing from the back of
its head like a crown. From the waist up it is roughly humanoid, but in place
of legs it has two thick serpents, each with draconic crests of their own. It
clutches a metal shield in one hand and in the other, a whip that appears to be
made from a living snake.
Abraxas Master of the Final Incantation CE male
demon lord of forbidden lore, magic and snakes Domains Chaos, Evil, Knowledge, Magic Subdomains Arcane, Demon, Memory, Thought Favored Weapon whip Unholy Symbol demonic face encircled by a
serpent, two snake tails emerging from its mouth Worshipers drow, arcane spellcasters, spirit
nagas Minions mariliths, fiendish and monstrous
snakes, xacabras For
information of Abraxas’ obedience and boons, see Book of the Damned
is among the most powerful of the demon lords, and he is the keeper of untold
magical secrets. He favors magic that results in destruction and pain, and
claims to be the author of a wide number of spells. Despite his focus on
devastating magic, he is often calm and self-possessed in demeanor, and has a
reputation (carefully cultivated) of being easy to deal with. He takes an
interest in the mortal world, and often answers contact other plane spells—although he always has ulterior motives
behind how he answers questions. His cult is relatively widespread among amoral
researchers and magic-users, and most major cities have at least a small shrine
to the Master tucked away in the corner of a library or archive.
is never caught unprepared in combat, and he typically does ample research on
creatures he feels could threaten him in order to tailor his tactics. He has
access to every arcane spell in existence, although he must prepare them ahead
of time. He typically looses his shield to fight on his behalf while using
barrages of spells. If magic is insufficient to power through a combat, he uses
his intelligent whip, Sophia, and his
bites to inflict grievous damage to enemy ability scores, leaving them broken
and drained. Abraxas possesses knowledge of the Final Incantation, which
utterly unmakes magic, but using it suppresses his own magical abilities. The
Final Incantation, unsurprisingly, is a weapon of last resort for Abraxas.
Abyssal realm is Pleroma, a land of mists and veils. At first glance, it
appears a paradise of knowledge and peace, but its custodians extract grueling
labor and unfathomable prices from those who come to seek enlightenment.
Abraxas often maintains the guise of a distant but kind overseer here, who
cultivates worship in himself even as he directs his underlings to torment. One
of his favorite lies is to claim to be an avatar of the Monad—aeons are
commonly kept as prisoner in Pleroma and forced to serve Abraxas through
Shield of Abraxas—Minor Artifact The Shield of Abraxas is a +3 bashing heavy steel shield. Its
enhancement bonus applies to both its shield bonus and to its attack and damage
bonus when used as a weapon. It may be released to fight as a dancing weapon, during which time it
still provides its shield bonus to the wielder’s AC, as if it were an animated shield.
Sophia—Minor Artifact Sophia is Abraxas’ whip, which serves the
Master as much as a majordomo and advisor as she does a weapon. She is a +3 deadly unholy whip with an
Intelligence 10, Wisdom 20 and Charisma 20. Sophia
speaks Abyssal and can communicate telepathically at a range of 100 ft.,
has 60 ft. darkvision, and can move under her own power. She has 10 ranks each
in Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive. Her special purpose is to defend Abraxas
and his cult—in pursuit of this purpose, she may cast divine power at will. Abraxas may use his mind siphon ability
through Sophia, but this is not an inherent property of the weapon.