Category Archives: Egyptology, mythology, cosmology, theology etc

Gerald Massey – Wikipedia

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In regard to Ancient Egypt, Massey first published The Book of the Beginnings, followed by The Natural Genesis. His most prolific work is Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World, published shortly before his death. Like Godfrey Higgins a half-century earlier, Massey believed that Western religions had Egyptian roots.

Massey wrote:

The human mind has long suffered an eclipse and been darkened and dwarfed in the shadow of ideas the real meaning of which has been lost to moderns. Myths and allegories whose significance was once unfolded in the Mysteries have been adopted in ignorance and reissued as real truths directly and divinely vouchsafed to humanity for the first and only time! The early religions had their myths interpreted. We have ours misinterpreted. And a great deal of what has been imposed on us as God’s own true and sole revelation to us is a mass of inverted myths.

One of the more important aspects of Massey’s writings were his assertions that there were parallels between Jesus and the Egyptian god Horus, primarily contained in the book The Natural Genesis first published in 1883. Massey, for example, argued in the book his belief that: both Horus and Jesus were born of virgins on 25 December, raised men from the dead (Massey speculates that the biblical Lazarus, raised from the dead by Jesus, has a parallel in El-Asar-Us, a title of Osiris), died by crucifixion and were resurrected three days later.

Christian ignorance notwithstanding, the Gnostic Jesus is the Egyptian Horus who was continued by the various sects of gnostics under both the names of Horus and of Jesus. In the gnostic iconography of the Roman Catacombs child-Horus reappears as the mummy-babe who wears the solar disc. The royal Horus is represented in the cloak of royalty, and the phallic emblem found there witnesses to Jesus being Horus of the resurrection.

Herbert Cutner notes that per the pamphlet Paul the Gnostic Opponent of Peter written by Gerald Massey, he proves quite clearly to any unbiased reader that “Paul was not a supporter of the system known as Historical Christianity, which was founded on a belief in the Christ carnalized; an assumption that the Christ had been made flesh, but that he was its unceasing and deadly opponent during his lifetime; and that after his death his writings were tampered with, interpolated, and re-indoctrinated by his old enemies, the forgers and falsifiers, who first began to weave the web of the Papacy in Rome.”

Source: Gerald Massey – Wikipedia

image: Gerald Massey 1856

Eos – The Light of All-Seeing Dawn

T19.12Helios

 

Eosphoros, god of the morning star, Venus, leads the procession of the day: the chariots of Eos, the dawn, and Helios the sun. Eosphoros is depicted as a handsome young winged god with a shining aureole upon his head. Helios and Eos likewise appear as aureole crowned youths, each driving a four horse chariot (quadriga). Beneath the chariot wheels are dancing fish and dolphins, to indicate their dawn rising from the sea.

“The light of all-seeing Dawn (Eos).” -Theogony 404f“

When the young Eos (Dawn) showed again with her rosy fingers.” –Iliad 1.477

“The goddess Eos drew close to tall Olympos with her message of light to Zeus and the other immortals.” –Iliad 2.48-49

“Dawn (Eos) the yellow-robed scattered over all the earth.” –Iliad 8.1 & 24.695

“Eos rose from her bed, where she lay by haughty Tithonos, to carry her light to men and to immortals.” –Iliad 11.1

“Eos the yellow-robed arose from the river of Okeanos to carry her light to men and to immortals.” –Iliad 19.1-2

“Eos (Dawn) comes early, with rosy fingers.” –Odyssey 2.1, etc. (repeated many times)

“The goddess Eos, who had slept beside Lord Tithonos, was rising now to bring light to immortals and to mortals.” –Odyssey 5.1

“When Eos of the braided tresses had ushered in the third day.” –Odyssey 5.390, 10.144

“Forthwith came Eos in her flowery garment.” –Odyssey 6.48

“Eos appeared in her flowery cloth of gold.” –Odyssey 10.540, etc

“The ship [of Odysseus] in due course left the waters of the river Okeanos and reached the waves of the spacious sea and the island of Aiaia; it is there that Eos the early-comer (Erigeneia) has her dwelling place and her dancing grounds, and the sun himself has his risings [so therefore must be located in the far East]. We came came in; we beached our vessel upon the sands and disembarked upon the sea-shore; there we fell fast asleep, awaiting ethereal Dawn.” –Odyssey 12.1-6

“That brightest of stars appeared [Eosphoros] that most often heralds the light of early-rising Dawn (Eos Erigineia).” –Odyssey 13.93

“Eos in her broidered robe as she rises from the streams of Okeanos.” –Odyssey 22.195

“Rosy-fingered Dawn (Eos) when she appeared might have found them still in melting mood, but Athene of the gleaming-eyes turned her thought to another stratagem. She held back the night to linger long at the horizon, checking Eos of the broidered robe at the edge of Okeanos and bidding her not to yoke as yet the rapid horses that bring men light, Lampos and Phaithon, the young steeds of Eos … When it seemed to her [Athene] that Odysseus had has heart’s content of both love and sleep, forthwith she roused up Eos (Dawn) of the broidered robe from Okeanos to bring light to mankind again.” –Odyssey 23.244f

“There was an assembly on snowy Olympos, and the immortals who perish not were gathering after the hour of gold-throned (khrysothronon) Eos.” -Homeric Hymn IV to Hermes 326-328

“As when descends Eos (Dawn) from Olympus’ crest of adamant, Eos, heart-exultant in her radiant steeds amidst the bright-haired Horai (Hours).” -Quintus Smyrnaeus 1.48

“[Eos] Phaesphoros Erigeneia (she who brings Light to the world, the Child of Mists of Night) … began to climb Heaven’s broad highway.” -Quintus Smyrnaeus 2.185

“From Okeanos then uprose Eos (Dawn) golden-reined: like a soft wind upfloated Hypnos (Sleep) to heaven.” -Quintus Smyrnaeus 5.395

“Rose Eos (Dawn) from Okeanos and Tithonos’ bed, and climbed the steeps of heaven, scattering round flushed flakes of splendour.” -Quintus Smyrnaeus 6.1

“For Helios the Sun’s lot is toil … from the moment rose-fingered Eos (the Dawn) leaves Okeanos and goes up into the sky.” –Mimnermus Frag 12

“Lady (Pontia) Eos .. golden-armed (khrysopakhos).” -Greek Lyric I Sappho Frag 6

“Golden-sandaled (khrysopedillos) Auos [Eos].” -Greek Lyric I Sappho Frag 103

“Hesperos, bringing everything that shining Auos [Eos] scattered, you bring the sheep, you bring the goat, you bring back the child to its mother.” -Greek Lyric I Sappho Frag 104

“Lady Auos [Eos].” -Greek Lyric I Sappho Frag 157

“Rosy-fingered Eos.” -Greek Lyric II The Anacreontea Frag 35

“For the Pleiades, as we carry a plough to Orthria (Goddess of the Morning Twilight), rise through the ambrosial night like the star Sirius.” “I long to please Aotis (Dawn-goddess) most of all, for she proved the healer of our sufferings.” -Greek Lyric II Alcman Frag 1

“When white-cheeked Aos [Eos] climbs the heavens, early-born (Erigeneia).” -Greek Lyric III Ibycus Frag 284

“Aas [Eos], leaving the waters of Okeanos, drew from the sky the moon’s holy light.” -Greek Lyric IV Corinna Frag 690

“Gold-armed (khrysopakhos) Aos.” -Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides Frag 5

“On a dark-blossoming sea Boreas rends men’s hearts with the billows, coming face to face with them as night rises up, but ceases on the arrival of Aos (Dawn) who gives light to mortals and a gentle breeze levels the sea, and they belly out their sail before Notos’ breath.” -Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides Frag 13

“The lovely light of immortal Aous.” -Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides Frag 17

“White-horsed Aos as she brings light to men looks down.” -Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides Frag 20C

“Eos’ horses went racing up the sky today, bearing her all rosy from Okeanos’ bed.” -Theocritus Idyll 2.145f

“When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their [the Gigantes] destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it. ” -Apollodorus 1.34-38

“Radiant Eos with her bright eyes beheld the towering crags of Pelion [ie the mountain was touched by the light of Dawn].” –Argonautica 1.519

“At the hour when bright-eyed Eos comes up to light the eastern sky, and all the paths stand out and the fields glisten with dew.” –Argonautica 1.1280

“Eos (Dawn) arrived, showing herself betimes above the snows of Kaukasos.” –Argonautica 3.1224

“Eos’ (Dawn’s) celestial beams chased black Nyx (night) from the sky.” –Argonautica 4.1170

“And while the daring boy [Phaithon] in wonder gazed, Aurora [Eos], watchful in the reddening dawn, threw wide her crimson doors and rose-filled halls; the stars took flight, in marshalled order set by Lucifer [Eosphoros] who left his station last. Then, when Sol [Helios] perceived the morning star setting and aw the world in crimson sheen and the last lingering crescent of the moon fade in the dawn, he bade the nimble Hours go yoke his steeds.” –Metamorphoses 2.113f

“Aurora [Eos] rising with dewy hair.” -Metamorphoses 5.446

“When on his milk-white steed Luciferus [Eosphoros the Morning-Star] rides forth, or when, bright harbinger of day, Aurora [Eos] gilds the globe to greet the sun.” –Metamorphoses 15.88

“Tithonus’ wife [Eos] drops dew from her saffron cheeks and drives the time of the fifth morning.” –Ovid Fasti 3.403

“When Pallantis [Eos the dawn] next gleams in heaven and stars flee and Luna’s [Selene the Moon’s] snow-white horses are unhitched.” –Ovid Fasti 4.373

“Memnon’s saffron mother [Eos] arrives to view the widening earth on rosy horses.” –Ovid Fasti 4.713

“Hyperion’s daughter [Eos the dawn] expels the stars and lifts her rose lamp on the morning’s horses, cold Argestes (the North-West wind) will caress the topmost ears of corn.” –Ovid Fasti 5.159

“Aurora [Eos] had chased from heaven the dewy darkness, was carrying the sun’s torch far and wide over the earth.” –Aeneid 4.12

“And now was Aurora [Eos], leaving the saffron bed of Tithonus, beginning to shower upon earth the light of another day.” –Aeneid 4.585

“Tithonus’ bounteous wife [Eos], ruffling the sea with the new-born sunlight.” –Valerius Flaccus 1.310

“The fires of the maid Pallantidos [Eos daughter of the Titan Pallas] grow faint in the east, the land lightens.” –Valerius Flaccus 2.72

“Tithonus’ bride [Eos] dissolved the chill shadows and uncurtained the heavens.” –Valerius Flaccus 3.1

“And now Aurora [Eos the Dawn] rising from her Mygdonian [her husband Tithonos’] resting-place had scattered the cold shadows from the high heaven, and shaking the dew-drops from her hair blushed deep in the sun’s pursuing beams; toward her through the clouds rosy Lucifer [Eosphoros, the morning-star] turns his late fires, and with slow steed leaves an alien world, until the fiery father’s [Helios the Sun’s] orb be full replenished and he forbid his sister to usurp his rays.” –Thebaid 2.134

“The bright consort of Tithonus [Eos the Dawn] had shown in heaven her toil-bringing car, and Nox [Nyx, night] and Somnus [Hypnos, sleep] with empty [sleep-inducing] horn were fleeing from the pale goddess’ wakeful reins.” –Thebaid 6.25

“It was the time when Phoebus’ [Helios the Sun’s] fiery sister [Eos the Dawn], hearing the sound of his yoked steeds and the roar of Oceanus’ cavernous abode beneath the gathering dawn, collects her straying beams and with light flick of whip chases the stars away.” –Thebaid 8.271

“Not ye had the wakeful dawn put all the stars to flight from heaven, and Luna [Selene the Moon] was beholding the approach of day with fading horn, what time Tithonia [Eos the Dawn] scatters the clouds in hurrying rout, and prepares the wide firmament for the return of Phoebus [Helios the Sun].” –Thebaid 12.1

“Eos (Dawn) in her car was just speeding back from Okeanos in the East and marking great space of sky with slowly brightening light, dispelling night.” –Tryphiodorus 670

“So oft hath Tithonia [Eos goddess of the dawn] passed by my groans [from lack of sleep], and pitying sprinkled me with her cool whip [the dewy whip with which she chases away the stars].” –Silvae 5.4.1

“Aurora [Eos the Dawn] with her crimson trapping brandished her rosy arm and began to driver her chariot across the sky.” –Apuleius 3.1

“[Zeus to Helios:] ‘I will hide you and the daughter of the mists [Eos] together in my clouds, and when you are covered Nyx (Night) will appear in the daytime..” –Dionysiaca 7.280

“Eos had just shaken off the wing of carefree sleep and opened the gates of sunrise, leaving the lightbringing couch of Kephalos.” –Dionysiaca 27.1

“Farshooting Eos (Dawn) with crimson face leapt up sending forth her light.” –Dionysiaca 34.124

“The Wind [Euros the East Wind] left the rosy chamber of Eos (Dawn) his mother.” –Dionysiaca 37.70

“But when morning, the harbinger of Eos’ (Dawn’s) dewy car, scored the night with his ruddy gleams, then all awoke.” –Dionysiaca 37.86

 

Labyrinths and Ritual in Scandinavia

Labyrinth-Danmark-747x1024“In Västergötland, Sweden, a similar type of labyrinth game was reported in 1933: Here, people used to draw labyrinths in the snow on the ice during winter. The paths would be wide enough to skate on. In the center was a girl placed, who was called the “Bride of Grimborg”. Grimborg is a medieval legendary hero well known from many parts of Sweden. According to the song of Grimborg, the hero forced his way through fences of iron and steel in order to reach the beautiful daughter of a king. He had to fight the king´s men three times before the king allowed him to marry his daughter. In the skating labyrinth, a guard, like in the legend, would stand to protect the “castle” – that is, the labyrinth. The guard would try to mislead and stop the young man playing Grimborg, who was trying to find his way to the bride.” http://freya.theladyofthelabyrinth.com/?page_id=356

with thanks to David Metcalfe https://twitter.com/davidbmetcalfe

 

 

 

The Sabians and their role in the development of astrological, alchemical and magical traditions

“In what is now southern Turkey stand the remnants of a city called Harran. Part of long ago Babylon, Harran was once the site of the Temple of the Moon god-Sin, one of seven temples in seven cities sacred to the seven classical planets.  Unlike the other great celestial temples, though, the Temple of the Moon in Harran continued to host astral rites long after the coming of Muhammed. From the 6th until the 11th centuries C.E., a wild Hermetic syncretism bloomed, tended carefully by a people who called Hermes their prophet, and themselves Sabians.”

“In alchemy, Jābir ibn Hayyān was known to have spent time among the Sabians, and his work displays the unique fusion of astrology, Neo-Platonism, Hermeticism, Aristotelianism and Galenic medicine developed in Harran.  Jabir’s work hugely influential work spawned a plague of pseudonymous books, and more than 3000 texts have come to be attributed to him.”

Jabir_ibn_HayyanJabir ibn Hayyan was a prominent polymath: a chemist and alchemist, astronomer and astrologer, engineer, geographer, philosopher, physicist, and pharmacist and physician. Born and educated in Tus, he later traveled to Kufa. Jābir is held to have been the first practical alchemist.

As early as the 10th century, the identity and exact corpus of works of Jābir was in dispute in Islamic circles. His name was Latinized as “Geber” in the Christian West and in 13th-century Europe an anonymous writer, usually referred to as Pseudo-Geber, produced alchemical and metallurgical writings under the pen-name Geber.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C4%81bir_ibn_Hayy%C4%81n

 “The Sabians of Harran played a crucial but often under-recognized role in the transmission and development of astrological, alchemical and magical traditions. Harran acted as a crucial bridge for the Hermetic arts and sciences, ferrying them from the decay of Byzantine Rome all the way to the shores of Medieval Europe half a millennia later.  Many all of the greatest Arabic astrologers, alchemists and magicians can be shown to have spent time in Harran.  Without them, astrology would not have survived the West’s dark ages, nor would the complexities of alchemy or the high cunning of astral sorceries have been passed on.

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Harran hosted what were perhaps the sole inheritors and practitioners of Babylonian astral magic at a time when both the Christian and Islamic worlds were being steadily purged of them.  Yet the Sabians were not pagan fundamentalists.  Hellenistic influences abound in what record we have of the Sabians’ practice.  They embraced the metaphysics of Neo-Platonism, the experimental philosophy of Hermeticism and the science of Hellenistic astrology, forging a sophisticated framework for the Babylonian astral magick they inherited.  The Gayat Al Hakim, also called the Picatrix, a legendary planetary grimoire, emerged from this elegant syncretism, and may testify to its intricacies best.”

For full article at Clavis Journal, see here: http://clavisjournal.com/the-shadow-of-harran/

Emperor Julian – To Apollo and The Sun

JulianBust

The Sun’s resplendent deity I sing,
The beauteous offspring of almighty Jove,
Who, thro’ the vivifying solar fount
Within his fabricative mind conceal’d,
A triad form’d of splendid solar gods;
From whence the world’s all-various forms emerg’d
From mystic darkness into beauteous light,
Perfect, and full of intellectual goods.
Hail! Supermundane king of light divine,
And fairest image of the unknown good:
For, as the light proceeding from the one,
The god of gods, and beauty’s matchless flower,
Intelligibles, with deific rays
Occult, illumes; so from Apollo’s beams
Exulting glorious through harmonic power,
The mental world with elevating light
Is fill’d exub’rant: and th’ apparent Sun
Largely diffuses thro’ the world of sense,
Light, all-prolific, beautiful, divine.
To thee, as bright Apollo, it belongs
All multitude in union to collect,
And many natures generate from one;
With vigour in thy essence to convolve
The diff’rent ranks of secondary forms;
And thro’ one fair hyparxis tocombine

All-various essences and fertile powers.
‘Tis thine, from multitude exempt, t’ inspire
In forms subordinate, prophetic truth;
For truth and pure simplicity are one:
And of preserving unpolluted power,
Thy liberated essence is the source.
Fam’d mystic bards of old, in sacred song,
By thee inspir’d, as th’ arrow-darting god,
Constant invok’d thee, with resistless sway,
Because thy vig’rous beams like arrows pierce,
And totally, whate’er of measure void the world
Inordinate or dark contains, destroy.
And last, thy revolution is the sign
Of motion, harmonizing into one
The various natures of this mighty whole.
Thy first bright Monad hence, illustrious god,
Enunciates truth and intellectual light;
That light, which in the essence of the gods,
Subsists with rays uniting and unknown.
Thy second, ev’ry thing confus’d destroys:
And from thy third, the universe is bound
In beauteous symmetry and just consent,
Thro’ splendid reasons and harmonic power.
Add, that thy essence, ‘midst the mundane gods,
A super-mundane order is assign’d;
An unbegotten and supreme command
O’er all the ranks of generated forms;
And In the ever-flowing realms of sense,
An intellectual dignity of sway.
Progression two-fold, hence, to thee belongs,–
One in conjunction with the mundane gods,
The other supernat’ral and unknown:
For when the Demiurgus form’d the world,
He kindled in the solar sphere a light,
Unlike the splendour of the other orbs,
Drawn from his nature’s most occult retreats,
A symbol fair of intellectual forms;
And openly announcing as it shines
To ev’ry part of this amazing whole,
The essence solitary and arcane

 

Of all the ruling, supermundane gods.
Hence too, when first thy beams the world adorn’d
The mundane gods were ravish’d at the sight;
And round thy orb, with emulative zeal
And symphony divine, desir’d to dance,
And draw abundant from thy fontal light.
‘Tie thine by heat apparent to exalt
Corporeal natures from the sluggish earth,
Inspiring vivid, vegetative power;
And by a nature secretly divine,
And from the base alloy of matter free,
Inherent in thy all-productive rays,
Thou draw’st to union with thy wond’rous form,
Exalted souls, that In dark Hyle’s realms
Indignant struggle for the courts of. light:
All beauteous, seven-rayed, supermundane god!
Whose mystic essence secretly emits
The splendid fountains of celestial light.
For ‘midst the ruling, super-mundane gods
A solar world, and total light subsists;
A light, which as a fertile monad shines
Superior to the three corporeal worlds.
By sacred Oracles of old, ‘tie said,
Thy glorious orb beyond the starry sphere
And in the last etherial world revolves.
But in thy course, harmoniously divine,
Thy orb, quadruply intersects these worlds;
And then twelve powers of radiant gods displays,
Thro’ twelve divisions of the zone oblique.
And still abundant in productive might,
Each into three of diff’rent ranks divides.
Hence, from the fourfold elegance and grace
Of times and seasons, by thy course produc’d,
Mankind a triple benefit receive,
The circling Graces’ never-failing gift.
All-bounteous god, by whom the soul is freed
Prom Generation’s dark corporeal bands,
Assist THY OFFSPRING, borne on mental wings,
Beyond the reach of guileful Nature’s hands
Swift to ascend, and gain thy beauteous world.
The subtle vestment of my soul refine,
Etherial, firm, and full of sacred light,
Her ancient vehicle by thee assign’d;
In which invelop’d, thro’ the starry orbs,
Urg’d’ by the Impulse of insane desire,

 

She fail’d precipitate, till Lethe’s shore,
Involv’d in night, unhappily she touch’d,
And lost all knowledge of her pristine state:
O best of gods, blest dæmon crown’d with fire,
My soul’s sure refuge in the hour of woe,
My port paternal in the courts of light,
Hear, and from punishment my soul absolve,
The punishment incurr’d by pristine guilt,
Thro’ Lethe’s darkness and terrene desire:
And if for long-extended years I’m doom’d
In these drear realms Heav’n’s exile to remain,
Oh! grant me soon the necessary means
To gain that good which solitude confers
On souls emerging from the bitter waves
Of fraudful Hyle’s black, impetuous flood.
That thus retiring from the vulgar herd,
And impious converse of the present age,
My soul may triumph o’er her natal ills;
And oft with thee In blissful union join’d
Thro’ energy Ineffable, may soar
Beyond the highest super-mundane forms;
And in the vestibule supreme survey,
Emerging from th’ intelligible deep,
Beauty’s transcendent, solitary Sun.

Translated by Thomas Taylor (1793)

The Roman Emperor Julian (331-363 CE) suceeded Constantius in 361 CE. He shocked the empire by renouncing Christianity, which earned him the title ‘the Apostate’ by Church historians. He issued an edict of religious freedom, rebuilt the Pagan temples, ended banishment of religious exiles, and eliminated special privileges for Christian officials. He founded the Neo-platonic school of philosophy. Julian spurned the decadant Byzantine palace; he dressed simply, studied philosophy, promulgated tax reform, and fostered study of the humanities and arts. However, his reign lasted only twenty months; he died in June of 363 in battle with the Persians, possibly at the hand of a Christian.


The Cosmic Cycle and the Black Madonna – by Jaq White

Here’s the content of the article I wrote that was published in Astraea magazine a few years ago. Copyright Jaq White.

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In this article Jaq White examines the alchemical
symbolism in the ancient phenomena of the Black Madonna.

The Cosmic Cycle and the Black Madonna
Jaq White

“Nature comprehends the visible and invisible Creatures of the Whole universe. What we call Nature especially, is the universal fire or Anima Mundi, filling the whole system of the Universe, and therefore is a Universal Agent, omnipresent, and endowed with an unerring instinct, and manifests itself in fire and Light. It is the First creature of Divine Omnipotence.” (The Golden Chain of Homer Of the Generation of things, Part I Chapter 1 – What Nature is.)

The alchemists and medieval philosophers sought to imitate Nature and the Divine, and expressed the various stages of inner transmutation that leads to enlightenment and the “Philosopher’s Stone”, known as Spiritual Alchemy, through art and symbols. In paintings and illustrations there are depictions of a snake biting its own tail in a circular symbol known as the Ouroboros. In alchemic symbolism this represents, among other things, the final unifying stage of our dual nature, and becoming one with the Divine. It is the symbol of the All, the One. Another way of demonstrating the work needed to attain this inner unity is the image of two serpents apparently devouring one another. In some, the upper serpent is winged, which signifies the Universal World Spirit – the lower serpent signifies matter, the Virgin Earth, the earthly state. The upper winged snake is the Cosmic spirit that brings everything to life, that kills everything and takes all the forms of nature. It is at the same time everything and nothing. When the two serpents are united, they are said to have “devoured one another” and the result is the Ouroboros; one single serpent, devouring its own tail, to express the continuous cycle through the aspect of time.

The word alchemy is thought to originate from the Ancient name for Egypt (Khem), the Black Land. The Ancient Egyptians were skilful workers in metals – there are scenes of metal-working found at Thebes and other locations, and the best known metals have identifiable hieroglyphic symbols that are defined by the determinative “of the earth/ground”. The Egyptians knew to employ quicksilver (Mercury) in the process of separating gold and silver from the native matrix, and the resulting (black) oxide was thought, allegedly, to possess powers. This black powder was identified with the underworld form of Osiris – those in the underworld are often depicted with black face and hands – and credited with similar magical properties. Alchemy is related to the black of Osiris through the connection of the black (fertile) earth, the belief that all light comes out of the dark, and all life comes out of the black; the colour black is associated with the source of creation. The alchemists were obsessed with the prima materia. They called it the black virgin, because its colour was black and it was virginal in the sense that no alchemical transmutation had been performed on the material.
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The alchemist Nicolas Flamel wrote that the lower snake is the fixed and constant masculine element, and that the upper snake is the volatile and the black or dark woman. In alchemic terms, the first is linked with sulphur, warm and dry. The other is linked with quicksilver or the cold and moist. This employment of the quicksilver in practical metal-working has been referred to above, with regard to the Egyptians, and the same ideas are at work on the spiritual level, with the two snakes.

In what is believed to be the earliest known alchemical text – attributed to one Kleopatra of 4th Century Alexandria, there is an image of an Ouroboros with its head and upper half portrayed as black, and its tail and lower half shown as a speckled white. This correlates with the upper half or upper, winged snake as the Cosmic Spirit that takes all forms of nature, and is the volatile, black feminine aspect, while the lower half, or lower snake, can be identified with the fixed and constant masculine, the earthly state and matter.

Many well-known medieval alchemists were Christians, and some of the most beautiful illustrations involved symbolism representing well known Christian icons, such as Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Mother Mary, and Adam. They also included Gnostic figures such as Sofia, the female aspect of the divinity, also known as Wisdom. It is pertinent at this point, to mention that in Gnostic beliefs, the Holy Spirit is female.

Many of the grand medieval cathedrals and churches in Europe keep unusual statues of the Virgin and Child – a black-skinned Mary nursing a black-skinned infant Jesus. These are known as the “Black Madonnas”, or “Black Virgins” and tend to be kept in the crypt or some other underground vault.
There are many known examples of statues and paintings of the Black Madonna, perhaps as many as 300 in France alone, and a surprising amount of the paintings and statues have an association with St. Luke, the patron Saint of painters – he is attributed with painting them whilst in the presence of the Virgin Mary, who revealed her mysteries to him during the sitting. He has also been credited with carving at least one of the statues – the wooden statue of Montserrat which, legend has it, was hidden in the Holy Grotto to hide it from the Moors. However, carbon dating suggests the statue originated in the 12th or 13th Century. Hiding the statue to keep it safe is the main reason given for these Madonnas being found in crypts and grottos. The unusual colouring of the Madonna is often explained as due to decay. There are claims that some of the statues were made from a black stone, probably obsidian, that was then given a pale skin-coloured covering to depict the recognised image of the Madonna and Child. As the pale skin colour wore off and the black base was exposed, this Madonna was then relegated to the crypt. In some churches (for example in Poland and Russia) there are iconic paintings of Mary and the Infant Jesus, also claimed to be by the hand of St. Luke, where the blackened skin has been attributed to smoke from candles, or ageing.

Comparisons have been made of the image of the Christian Madonna and Child with almost identical depictions of Isis, Goddess of Ancient Egypt, nursing her infant son, Horus. The Mother Goddess was also widely venerated by Europeans, albeit under many different guises. Nowadays, many of these goddesses are linked with Isis and, in some cases, temples in France have been attributed to Isis; for example, the town of Issoudun is so named because it is believed there was a Temple of Isis under the main hill. If so, the goddess might easily have been assimilated by Europeans into their pantheon of deities due to the similarity with Earth and Mother Goddesses such as Nertha. Pagan temples to Isis and other Mother/Earth Goddesses would in time be replaced by Christian churches, and images of the various Goddesses of the Earth were replaced by images of the Virgin Mary, Mother Mary, or Mary in other guises (Queen of Heaven etc.) Symbolically, caves, grottos and crypts have been associated with the womb – a cave representing the womb of Mother Earth in mythology. There are goddesses connected with the Cave-Mother symbolism, and among these Cave-Mothers we might include Mary, who gave birth in a rock-cut shelter.

Some believe that these statues of the Black Madonna are not Christian in origin; rather, they are representations of Isis and Horus that when discovered, were wrongly identified as the Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus – if so, this would certainly create the need for explanations as to why the statues were originally hidden. However, there is another possibility; the Black Madonna might never have depicted Isis but might well be an esoteric – possibly medieval – Christian symbol.

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The link with medieval alchemy and esoteric or Gnostic Christianity has been demonstrated, and the use of the symbol of the Ouroboros shows an understanding of the Cosmic Cycle, as in the coupling of the above and the below, of matter and spirit in earthly man. The circular motion of the snake eating its own tail illustrates the continuity of time, and endless development.

This Cosmic Cycle is incorporated in the Christian Holy Trinity; albeit in completely masculine terms, with God as heavenly father, heavenly Holy Spirit and the divine son made of earthly matter. This was enabled through the coupling of the male Holy Spirit and the “living” Virgin Mary. In Egyptian mythology, the living Isis only conceives her son Horus after the death of Osiris. He procreates from the spiritual world, when he becomes God of the Underworld. This can be explained in alchemical terms, with the masculine Osiris, the black virginal prima materia and fixed male, uniting with the black, volatile, female, spirit of Isis his wife, conceiving and producing the Divine child Horus,
the Earthly representative of his father Osiris. The serpents have devoured one another, the Ouroboros is realised and so the Cycle continues.

The serpent has long been perceived as an enemy of Christians, and the use of serpent symbolism in Christian iconography is generally to portray sinfulness, temptation, and the fall of mankind. The serpent as a symbol of the Divine state of man would not have been acceptable, and is still not acceptable to many Christians. However, in the “Black Madonna” we have the same trinity expressed. The Black Virgin is, like Osiris, the father and the divine, male essence. The Black Mother is, like Isis, the mother and the divine, female essence, and the product of their union is the Ouroboros, Horus – the Christ.

The Black Madonna could be another representation of the All, the trinity – and an esoteric Christian symbol of the Cosmic Cycle.

The Virga Aurea – Seventy-two magical and other related alphabets.

virga_aurea4

“In order to bring all this mass of material together, Hepburn must have had a wide range of source material to study, and it seems most likely that this material was available in the Vatican Library itself. As to what Hepburn’s motives were for publishing such a collection of alphabets, we can only speculate. He certainly produced these in a form which gave it scholarly respectability and also by heading it with the figure of the Virgin Mary, using the pun ‘Virga’ Rod-Virgin, gave it credibility in terms of the Church. The timing of the publication, 1616, right at the centre of the Rosicrucian/hermetic publishing period, suggests that Hepburn in his own way may have been responding to that impulse. Under the guise of the Virgin Mary heading the plate, Hepburn was able to publicly reveal the symbolism of many alphabets, and in particular, magical alphabets. If we further take into account Hepburn’s interest in the Kabbalah, and his translation and publication of a Solomonic occult text, I think we are justified in assuming that Hepburn may have, in some small way, contributed to the public revelation at that time of the esoteric wisdom of the past. At the very least one can suggest that he was inspired by this movement into producing the Virga Aurea. As librarian at the Vatican, he certainly would have received early copies of the Rosicrucian publications. The Virga Aurea, although a single large engraving contains such a mass of detail that an exhaustive analysis will be left till later.” By Adam McLean. First published in the Hermetic Journal 1980.

For more images and to read more about the Virga Aurea, follow the link to the article on Adam McLean’s website, below

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/virga_aurea.html

Synesius – A letter to Hypatia: On Dreams

In a letter to Hypatia of Alexandria, of whom he was a student, Synesius of Cyrene wrote that his essay, or as he called it “book” was:

“[…] set up as a thank-offering to the imaginative faculties. It contains an inquiry into the whole imaginative soul, and into some other points which have not yet been handled by any Greek philosopher. But why should one dilate on this? This work was completed, the whole of it, in a single night, or rather, at the end of a night, one which also brought the vision enjoining me to write it. There are two or three passages in the book in which it seemed to me that I was some other person, and that I was one listening to myself amongst others who were present.

Even now this work, as often as I go over it, produces a marvelous effect upon me, and a certain divine voice envelops me as in poetry. Whether this my experience is not unique, or may happen to another, on all this you will enlighten me, for after myself you will be the first of the Greeks to have access to the work.”

An extract from On Dreams:

“[…] divinations are amongst the best vocations of man; and if all things are signs appearing through all things, inasmuch as they are brothers in a single living creature, the cosmos, so also they are written in characters of every kind, just as those in a book some are Phoenician, some Egyptian, and others Assyrian.[1]

The scholar reads these, and he is a scholar who learns by his natural bent. One reads some of them and another reads others, one reads more and another less. In the same way one reads them by syllables, another reads the complete phrase, another the whole story. In like manner do the learned see the future, some understanding stars, and of these, one the fixed stars, another those flames which shoot across the sky. Again, there are those who read it from the entrails, and from the cries of birds, and from their perches and flights. To others also what are termed omens are manifest, written indications these of things to be, and again voices and encounters otherwise intended, for all things have their significance for every one. [1285] In the same way, if birds had had wisdom, they would have compiled an art of divining the future from men, just as we have from them; for we are to them, just as they are to us, alike young and old, very old and very fortunate. It must needs be, I think, the parts of this great whole, since it all shares one feeling and one breath, belong to each other. They are, in fact, limbs of one entire body, and may not the spells of the magicians be even such as these? Obviously, for charms are cast from one part of it to another, as signals are given, and he is a sage who understands the relationship of the parts of the universe. One thing he attracts to himself through the agency of another thing, for he has present with him pledges of things which are for the most part far away, to wit, voices, substances, figures. And as when the bowel is in pain, another part suffers also with it, so a pain in the finger settles in the groin,[2] although there be many organs between these parts which feel nothing.

This is because they are both portions of one living organism, and there is that which binds them one to the other more than to other things. Even to some god, of those who dwell within the universe, a stone from hence and a herb is a befitting offering; for in sympathizing with these he is yielding to nature and is bewitched. Thus the harp-player who has sounded the highest note does not sound the sesquioctavus next, but rather strikes the epitrite and the nete, a heritage today from a more ancient state of harmony.

But there is in the cosmos, even as in human relationship, a certain discord also; for the universe is not one homogeneous thing but a unity formed of many. There are parts of it which agree and yet battle with other parts, and the struggle of these only contributes to a harmonious unity of the whole, just as the lyre is a system of responsive and harmonious notes.[3] The unity resulting from the opposites is the harmony of both the lyre and the cosmos. Archimedes the Sicilian asked for a point of support outside of the earth wherefrom he might prop himself against the whole earth, for he said that as long as he was himself upon the earth he had no power over it. But the man, howso great his knowledge of the nature of the universe may be, once placed outside of it, could no longer make any use of his wisdom. He uses the universe against itself; accordingly his touch with it once lost, he will watch it in vain, and the lifeless symbols only would then be recorded. And small wonder, for whatever of the divine elements is outside the cosmos can in no wise be moved by sorcery.

He sits apart and careth not. nor taketh any thought thereof.[4]

It is the nature of pure reason not to be deflected; it is only the emotional element which may be cajoled. Wherefore the multitude of things in the universe and their relationship furnish the bulk of the subject-matter in the initiations and prophecies. There is a multitude of the discordant elements, but a relationship is the unity of things existing. Now, as to initiations, let not our law-abiding discourse noise them abroad; there is no offense, however, in explaining divination.”

Letters of Synesius of Cyrene to Hypatia of Alexandria http://www.livius.org/su-sz/synesius/synesius_letter_154.html

 

 

Full text of Synesius On Dreams http://www.livius.org/su-sz/synesius/synesius_dreams_02.html

 

 

Hand Symbolism & Beliefs

Lots of information on Hand Symbolism on this page, from various cultures and belief systems.

“The ancients attached special occult significance to every part of the human body. The symbolism of the human hand alone may fill several volumes. Symbols may signify abstract or concrete concepts, imaginative or real events, natural or “supernatural” phenomena, spiritual or material principles. In what we have found, the ancient sages and philosophers made used of the hands to portray and symbolize many things of worth to the evolving soul. They taught many things using the hands as similitude, allegories, analogies, and examples.

The left and right hands were often represented for the many polarities that we find and experience in life. For instance, hot/cold, high/low, darkness/light, etc. ”