The Discourse On The Eighth And Ninth

The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth is the sixth tractate of Codex VI which gives specific instructions on how to reach ‘spiritual perfection’.         

It is in the form of a dialogue between a “father”, sometimes called Hermes Trismegistus (a legendary figure combining the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth) and a student referred to as his “son” or “my child.” 

The Discourse opens with the student reminding his master of a promise,

“My father, yesterday you promised you would take my mind to the eighth stage and after that you would take me to the ninth. You said this is the sequence of the tradition.” 

The student has already progressed through the first seven levels of understanding but admits he has had no experience of the divine, which cannot be reached through studying books. 

“Father, I understand nothing else than the beauty I have experienced in the books.”

This involves an initiation into the divine mysteries of the Eighth and the Ninth heavenly spheres, so that he may be born again and be directly inspired by God’s mind.

The two join in prayer to “the invisible God to whom one speaks in silence”.

The prayer moves into a chant of sacred words and vowels:-

These letters are from the ancient Greek alphabet: an accent above a vowel makes it a ‘long’ sound eg O as in Om

The teacher prays, “Lord.. acknowledge the spirit that is in us” and enters an ecstatic state,

“I see, I see ineffable depths. How shall I tell you, my child! How shall I tell you about the universe? I am mind (nous) and I see another mind, one that moves the soul. I see the one that moves me from pure forgetfulness. You give me power. I see myself. I wish to speak. Fear seizes me. I have found the beginning of power above all powers, without beginning.. I am mind. I have seen. Language cannot reveal this. For all on the eighth, my child, and the souls in it, and the angels, sing a hymn in silence. I mind, understand.”

Watching, the student himself is filled with ecstasy:

“I am happy, father, to see you smiling. The universe is happy.”

Seeing his teacher embodying the divine, the student pleads with him,

“Trismegistus, do not let my soul be deprived of the vision. O divine being, everything is possible for you as master of the universe.”

The master tells him to sing in silence, and to “ask what you want in silence.”

“When he had finished praising, he called out, ‘Father Trismegistus! What shall I say? We have received this light. And I myself see the same vision in you. I see the eighth, and the souls in it, and the angels singing a hymn to the ninth and its powers… I pray to the end of the universe and the beginning of the beginning, to the goal of the human quest, the immortal discovery…I am the instrument of your spirit, mind is your plectrum, and your guidance makes music with me. I see myself. I have received power from you, for your love has reached us.”

After giving thanks to God for his favour, the Discourse closes as the master instructs the student to write his experiences in a book:

“My child, copy this book for the temple at Diospolis (Diospolis Magna, now Luxor), in hieroglyphic characters, and call it the ‘Eighth reveals the Ninth.’”

In order to “progress by stages and advance in the way of immortality” under the guidance of Hermes Trismegistus, the student must pass through an initiatory mystery, a rite of regeneration. 

The key experience of this mystery is vision of oneself – “I see myself”.

Not only does this vision bring about the regeneration of the initiate, but it enables him to recognize the one initiating him – the figure of Hermes Trismegistus himself.

How can we achieve this? 

With spiritual exercise and grace. 

The main exercise is prayer. Prayer implores God’s assistance, and complements the meditative contemplation of the beauty of the soul that preceded the prayer. Those who pray become “a reflection of the Fullness (pleroma)”.

By praising the divinity, the student must first honour and unite with his siblings who live in this world, the congregation of Hermes’ spiritual offspring.

Eventually he also meets the souls and the angels of the eighth sphere as well as the power of the ninth one.

True prayer is a spiritual sacrifice to God uniting all of the souls and spirits in this world as well as in the highest heavens. 

By silently praising God we become able to conceive ourselves as pure minds, released from our bodies and able to receive “the power that is light” or the Divine Mind itself.

The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth concludes with a warning from Trismegistus:

“Copy an oath in the book, so that those who read the book may not use the wording for evil purposes or to subvert fate. Rather, they should submit to the law of God, and in purity ask God for wisdom and knowledge (gnosis). Whoever is not begotten by God will not be able to read what is written in the book, even though the person’s conscience is pure. Such a person progresses by stages and advances in the way of immortality..”

The following penultimate tractate from Codex VI, The Prayer of Thanksgiving, sums up in lyrical form the successive steps of the Hermetic ascent to immortality, and would follow the last stage of initiation described in the Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth.

After the prayer, the newly born again child of Hermes Trismegistus would take part in the community ritual of a banquet,

“When they prayed and said these things, they embraced, and went to eat their sacred bloodless (vegetarian) food.

Scholars agree this text was originally written in Greek in Egypt.

As I said in an earlier post, as part of codex VI, the Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth and The Prayer of Thanksgiving were written by Anne, daughter of Sarah and granddaughter of Mary Magdalene, at the end of the 1st century at Lake Mareotis, Alexandria.

The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth and the Prayer of Thanksgiving give us a rare insight into the initiation ceremonies that took place in these communities.    These would not have been possible without communities such as Lake Mareotis – the mystery school teachings would have been passed down orally through the female line.

#gnostic #hermes #mysteryschool #naghammadi

The Concept Of Our Great Power

The Concept of our Great Power is the fourth tractate of Codex VI

It opens with a discourse uttered by the great Power himself. The great Power refers to the highest God.

The great Power promises invisibility and safety to those who know him and offers salvation to everyone,

“For all those in whom my form appears, from seven days old to one hundred twenty years old, will be saved.” 

These people will be able to see the great Power and prepare their future there.    The supreme deity offers the hearers a profound teaching about past and present:

“Come to know how what has gone has come to be, that you may know what is alive will come to be.”

The deity also encourages his hearers to ask the most essential questions about their present condition in the world and their aim for the future life,

“what that aeon looks like, what its nature is, and how it came into being. Why don’t you ask what its nature will be, or how you have come into being?”

These questions are typical of gnostic self-enquiry and recall the words from Excerpts from Theodutus:

“Who are we? What have we become? Where are we? Where have we been cast? Where shall we go?”

The great Power recounts the history of salvation, based on biblical sources and divided into two main periods before and after the flood: the age of the flesh and the age of the soul.

Creation consists not only of water, earth and air, but also fire, which is present in darkness and the underworld. Even if the great Power is not the creator of the universe, he is involved by providing the Spirit to people,

“The Spirit was given to people so that they may receive life from it day by day”.

During the period of the age of the flesh, ‘giant bodies’ (Nephilim) came into existence resulting in lust and corruption. This incurs the wrath in the ‘father of the flesh’ – the Old Testament god (Demiurge) – who sent the flood to humanity. But Noah was saved because he was pious and worthy.

“Noah proclaimed a message of piety for one hundred twenty years, but no one listened to him. So he made a wooden ark, and whoever he found went in. Then the flood came, and Noah and his sons were saved. If there had been no ark, the flood water would not have come.” 

The age of the soul follows and is trivial and small. Souls are polluted by their association with bodies:

“It produced all sorts of things – many works of wrath, anger, envy, jealousy, hatred, slander, contempt, and warfare.. and unjust judgements given arbitrarily.” 

It is during this period of the soul that,

“there will come the human who knows the great Power.”

This human, who will speak in parables and proclaim the aeon that is to come, is referring to Christ, although he is not explicitly named. The saviour abolishes the law of the aeon by his word.

“The rulers (archons) rose up in wrath against him, and they wanted to give him over to the ruler of the underworld (Demiurge).”

And so Christ was crucified, but the ruler of the underworld discovered 

“that his flesh could not be seized and shown to the archons. His word (logos) has abolished the law of the aeon.”

“Then the ruler of the west (Demiurge) arose. He will act from the east and will teach people his wickedness.”

This ruler is referred to as an ‘imitator’ who reigns over earth and leads people astray.

As apocalyptic signs of the end appear in nature, the great Power withdraws with those who know him, and all enter into the light. Protected by holy garments, they are unharmed by darkness or fire. 

The domination of the archons comes to an end:

“Then mercy will come.. through Sophia.. The firmaments (heavens) will collapse down to the abyss. The children of matter will perish.. They will be in the aeon of beauty.. and they will be adorned through Sophia.” 

The followers of the great Power will taste knowledge, light and rest. 

“They all have come to be as reflections in his light. They all have shone and they have found rest in his rest. The one who is in oneness will free the souls being chastised, and they come to live in purity.”

The final state of those who follow the great Power will be rest in the eternal realm.

The Concept of our Great Power was originally penned in Greek by Anne, daughter of Sarah, and granddaughter of Mary Magdalene at Lake Mareotis, Alexandria, Egypt, in the late 1st century. 

#gnostic #naghammadi #sophia 

The Acts Of Peter And The Twelve Apostles

The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles is the first tractate of Codex VI.

This is an allegorical story where Peter relates, some time after the crucifixion, of how he and his companions set sail on a ship in order to preach the ministry Christ entrusted to them.

After having sailed for a day and a night, the wind brings them to a small city in the middle of the sea. Once on the dock, Peter is told the name of the town is “Abide-in-endurance.” As he enquires about lodgings, he meets a merchant man holding a book and a box made of precious wood crying out “Pearls! Pearls!”

Peter assumes he is an inhabitant of the city and asks about lodgings, since he and his friends are strangers to the city, but the merchant replies that he is a stranger himself.

The announcement about pearls briefly catches the attention of wealthy people, but the poor surround the man, eager to just see the pearl, as they would never be able to afford to buy one.

The foreign merchant says to them,

“If you can, come to my city, so that I may not only show it to you but may give it to you free of charge.”

The poor people are understandably incredulous and reply,

“We are beggars, and we know that nobody gives a pearl to a beggar. Beggars usually get bread and money. So we ask you this favour, that you show us the pearl, and then we can brag to our friends that we saw a pearl with our own eyes.”

The merchant repeats his invitation and the poor rejoice.

Peter asks the merchant his name and what hardships would be involved in visiting his city, as he and his companions had been entrusted with spreading the word of Christ everywhere. The merchant replied,

“My name is Lithargoel, which means ‘light bright stone’. And concerning the way to this city, none can travel that road unless they renounce all their possessions and fast daily from one night’s stay to the next. There are many robbers and wild beasts on that road. If people take bread, black dogs kill them because of the bread. If they carry expensive garments of this world, robbers kill them because of the garments. If they carry water, wolves kill them for the wolves are thirsty..”

Lithargoel sees Peter’s downcast face and said to him,

“Why are you groaning if you know the name of Jesus and believe in him? He is a power great enough to give you strength. For I also believe in the Father who has sent him.”

“This is the name of my city. In nine gates let us praise God, and consider that the tenth gate is the main gate.”

Peter and his companions follow the merchant’s instructions and arrive safely at the gates of the city.

Lithargoel appears, but looks more like a physician than a merchant. He is holding an ointment box, accompanied by a young disciple carrying a pouch full of medicine. At first the apostles do not recognize Lithargoel, and Peter asks the physician to show him Lithargoel’s house, but then the mysterious physician reveals himself as Christ.

He offers his pouch of medicine to Peter and urges them to return to the city Abide-in-endurance and heal the sick people of the city who believe in his name. Peter is sceptical, saying if they do not even have enough food for a single day how can they help the poor? Christ replies,

“Peter it was necessary for you to understand the parable I told you. Don’t you know that my name is worth more than all the riches, and the wisdom of God is worth more than silver and gold and precious stones.”

Peter is afraid to question a second time and urges John to speak. John points out that they have not been taught how to heal:

“How then, shall we know how to heal bodies, as you have told us?”

Christ answers him by stating that,

“The doctors of this world heal what is of the world, but the doctors of soul heal the heart.”

Christ advises them to heal bodies first, without wordly medicine, so that people will believe in their power to heal illnesses of the heart.

Christ issues a final warning about not having fellowship with the rich people, as many people in the churches show favour to the rich – an aside directed towards the orthodox church.

The apostles fall down to worship him. Christ makes them stand up and departs.

Jesus often used parables in the New Testament to convey his teachings. 

The pearl is known from the famous Hymn of the Pearl in the Acts of Thomas –the  pearl in the Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles symbolizes spiritual salvation.  Renouncing one’s worldly possessions in order to save one’s soul is a familiar theme.   

The city of nine gates bring to mind the city of Jerusalem and its nine gates, with the tenth gate being the entrance to the heavenly realms.

Lithargoel is an angel of healing known from Book of the Installation of the Angel Gabriel in which the angel states,

“I am Litharkuel, in whose hand is the medicine chest, filled with the medicine of life. I heal every soul.”

A parable is a story which has a moral (or message), is universal, appeals to all age groups and cultures, is timeless and has an element of magic!

Some things never change – every billion dollar franchise (e.g. Star Wars, Harry Potter) still uses this same formula today!

As I said in my previous post, the Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles was originally written in Greek in the late 1st century by Anne, daughter of Sarah and granddaughter of Mary Magdalene, at Lake Mareotis, Alexandria, Egypt. #gnostic #naghammadi  

Pistis Sophia

Pistis Sophia (‘faith-wisdom’) was the most significant text to have surfaced prior to the Nag Hammadi discovery in 1945, discovered in Upper Egypt in the late 18th century. A simpler, shorter version of Pistis Sophia was later found at Nag Hammadi.

Like the Gospel of Mary, Pistis Sophia takes place after the resurrection and features Mary Magdalene in a prominent role, revealing a deep spiritual relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus.

The text relates that the Saviour remained on earth for 11 years after the crucifixion to instruct the disciples (including his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome and Martha), teaching them only the lower mysteries. After 11 years, the Saviour receives his true garment and is able to reveal the higher mysteries. These mysteries relate to complex cosmologies and knowledge necessary for the soul to reach the highest divine realms.

To the Gnostics, Sophia was a divine syzygy of Christ; in a papyrus codex found at Nag Hammadi the Saviour explains Pistis as follows;-

“Again, his disciples said: ‘Tell us clearly how they came down from the invisibilities, from the immortal to the world that dies?’                                                                 

The perfect Saviour said: ‘son of Man consented with Sophia, his consort, and revealed a great androgynous light. Its male name is designated ‘Saviour, begetter of all things’. Its female name is designated ‘All-begrettress Sophia’. Some call her ‘Pistis’.

The translation I have by G.R.S Mead divides the text into six books (these did not exist in the original manuscript). Over half the text is dedicated to the myth of the fall and restoration of the figure known as Pistis Sophia, giving detailed parallels between her prayers of repentance and Psalms and Odes of Solomon.

The first book (Chapters 1-62) sets the scene with the Saviour remaining with the disciples for 11 years teaching them the ‘lower mysteries’. The disciples believe they have progressed far along the path of gnosis, announcing:

“Blessed are we before all men who are on the earth, because the Saviour hath revealed this unto us, and we have received the Fullness and the total completion.”

However, the disciples are mistaken. Light descends over the Saviour, which “Stretched from under the earth right up to heaven. – And when the disciples saw that light, they fell into fear and great agitation.”

Upon his return, the Saviour, seeing their fear and agitation reassures them. He informs them,

“I have gone to the regions out of which I had come forth. From this day on I will discourse with you in openness, from the beginning of the Truth unto its completion.”

A lengthy narrative the Saviour relates concerning his journey ‘upwards and inwards’ and of his receiving a garment of light. He travels through the heavenly spheres, revealing the existence of the First Mystery – the true God – to the rulers of the spheres and their attendant angels. When he reaches the twelfth sphere, he encounters ‘Adamas, the Great Tyrant’, who tries to resist the light and, along with the archons, fights against it. The Saviour relates, “And I took a third of their power, in order that they should not be able to accomplish their evil deeds.. Who hath ears to hear, let them hear.” This can be interpreted as the Saviour reducing the effectiveness of astrological magic.

Mary Magdalene meditates for an hour and then asks to speak. The Saviour’s reply shows the esteem in which he holds her:

“Mary, thou blessed one, whom I will perfect in all mysteries of those of the height, discourse in openness, thou, whose heart is raised to the kingdom of heaven more than all thy brethren.”

Mary interprets the Saviour’s narrative, describing how Isaiah prophesied what he has told them, then she begins to ask various questions; the only male disciple to quiz the Saviour is Philip, who has been transcribing the Saviour’s words. Mary is taking the lead in asking the Saviour to explain himself further, showing she is actively assimilating the Saviour’s teachings, more so than the other disciples .

The Saviour continues his discourse, revealing that he encountered Pistis Sophia “grieving and mourning, because she had not been admitted into the thirteenth aeon, her higher region.”

Unlike the version of the Sophia myth in the Secret Book of John, here Pistis Sophia is a being of the lower, material aeons. She is not a high, divine being, and her restoration is not to the realms of light, but only back to her pace in the thirteenth aeon. Her longing for the first Mystery – the true God – led to her being tricked out of the thirteenth aeon by the great triple-powered ‘Self-Willed’, who together with other aeons, project their own light downwards. Pistis Sophia mistakes this light for the light of the First Mystery, heads towards it and becomes entrapped in the world of chaos and matter. She meets Yaldabaoth (the Demiurge), who strips her of her remaining power. Pistis Sophia begins to sing hymns of repentance (there are 13 in all):

“Now, therefore, O Light of Truth, thou knowest that I have done this in my innocence, thinking that the lion-faced light power (Yaldabaoth) belonged to thee; and the sin which I have done is open before thee.  Suffer me no more to lack, O Lord, for I have had faith in thy light from the beginning; O Lord, O Light of the powers, suffer me no more to lack my light. And because of the illusion of thy light, I am become a stranger to my brethren, the invisibles, and to the great emanations of Barbelo.”

Mary once again interprets the story of Pistis Sophia, telling the disciples that what they have just heard was prophesied in Psalm 68. The Saviour commends her interpretation and continues with a description of Pistis Sophia’s second repentance. Once the Saviour has finished speaking, Peter clearly agitated by Mary’s understanding of the teaching, complains that, “My Lord, we will not endure this woman, for she taketh the opportunity from us and hath let none of us speak, but she discourseth many times.”

The Saviour invites Peter to give his interpretation of the second repentance (there are thirteen in all).  The Saviour continues to answer questions from his disciples; with Mary Magdalene asking the majority of them. The rift between Mary and Peter is clear:-

“My Lord, my mind is ever understanding, at every time to come forwards and set forth the solution of the words that she (Pistis Sophia) hath uttered; but I am afraid of Peter, because he threatened me and hateth our sex.”

The Saviour defends her,

“Everyone who shall be filled with the spirit of light to come forwards and set forth the solution of what I say, no one shall be able to prevent him.”

Peter backs down, and Mary Magdalene continues to be the main questioner and interpreter of the Saviour’s words. Pistis Sophia is finally allowed to return to the thirteenth aeon, where she sings a song of praise to the First Mystery.

The second book makes up Chapters 63-101. After the conclusion of the story of Pistis Sophia, the text turns to long explanations of cosmology and knowledge of the prized mysteries.

Books three and four (Chapters 102-135) is taken up with further revelations, together with ethical instructions which the disciples are to preach once the Saviour has returned to the light. It outlines what is needed for right thought and right action, as well as actions that are not acceptable and their punishments.

“Renounce love of the world, that ye may be worthy of the mysteries of the light and be saved from the pitch and fire-coats of the dog-faced one.”

“Renounce wickedness, that ye may be worthy of the mysteries of the light and be saved from the fire-sea of Ariel.”

Further exhortations follow, bringing together the Gnostic and the orthodox:

“Say unto them: Be ye loving unto men.. Be ye gentle.. Minister unto the poor.. and the sick and the distressed.. Be ye loving unto God, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

The fourth book provides an outline of what to expect for the first baptism. Two more baptisms follow; a fire-baptism and a baptism of the Holy Spirit of the Light, but these are not described; the initiate must persist on the path and be deemed ready.

Mary asks questions about the afterlife states of the sinner and the re-incarnational cycle that souls must endure in order to be cleansed, referring to a ‘cup of forgetfulness’ administered prior to incarnation, which explains why we do not remember our past lives:- “..And then Adamas, bringeth a cup filled with the water of forgetfulness and handeth it to the soul, and it drinketh it and forgetteth all regions and all the regions to which it hath gone. And they cast it down into a body, which will spend its time continually troubled in its heart. And that cup of forgetfulness becometh body outside the soul, and resembleth the soul in all – which is what is called the counterfeiting spirit.”  

* In 2003 scientists discovered a molecule in the brain called PP1 which affects the memory. My cellular memory tells me the ‘cup of forgetfulness’ refers to PP1 – we are programmed to forget.

Baptism purifies our soul – the counterfeit spirit is separated from our soul and we can become a ‘perfect soul’.

The Saviour urges people not to defer spiritual development for another lifetime, as the critical number of perfect souls could be reached at any moment. This is the completion of the First Mystery and the gnosis of the universe. At this point, no more souls will be able to return to the Light-kingdom.      

“And from this hour onwards no one will be able to enter into the Light. For at the completion of the time of the number of the perfect souls, before I have set fire to the world*, in order that it may purify the aeons and the veils and the firmaments and the whole earth, mankind will be still existing.”

* Apparently this will be a sequence of natural events forest fires, volcanoes, which with global warming at its present rate it is a real possibility.

“Strive thereafter, to renounce the whole world and the whole matter therein, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light before the number of the perfect souls is completed*, in order that they may not stop you before the gates of Light and lead you away into the outer darkness.”

* My cellular memory tells me the number of perfect souls required is 360. If you define a perfect soul as someone with a Level of Consciousness +700, there are currently 20 alive today.

Mary Magdalene asks questions about the ‘outer darkness’ and ‘regions of chastisement’. The Saviour answers:-  “The outer darkness is a great dragon, whose tail is in its mouth, outside the whole world and surrounding the whole world. And there are many regions of chastisement within it. There are twelve mighty chastisement-dungeons and a ruler is in every dungeon and the face of the rulers is different one from another.”

The Saviour says “.at the dissolution of the world, that is at the ascension of the universe, those souls will perish through the violent cold and the exceedingly violent fire and be non-existent for ever.”

Pistis Sophia says the only way to access the Treasury of Light is via Jesus. Jesus is a frequency, a high vibration – and we all have the capacity to experience the Inner Christ within us.

I believe the first four books of Pistis Sophia and the eight tractates of Codex VI were written by Anne, daughter of Sarah and granddaughter of Mary Magdalene, at Lake Mareotis, Alexandria, Egypt in the late 1st century.

This ancient text is relevant today as I believe we are at this point in history now..

#gnostic #marymagdalene #naghammadi #sophia

Thunder, Perfect Mind

Thunder, Perfect Mind, is the second tractate of Codex VI discovered in the Nag Hammadi Library in 1945. There are parallels with the Secret Book of John (Codex II, III & IV) and Three forms of First Thought (Codex XIII).

The Gospel of Mary is not the only Gnostic text to champion the position and wisdom of women within the Gnostic community; in Thunder, Perfect Mind, the speaker is feminine –more than likely the divine being Sophia, whose opening statement is:-

“I was sent from the power                                                                                                                                   and have come to those who contemplate me                                                                                         and am found among those who seek me.”

The discourse is in the form of a poem full of paradoxical statements:-

“For I am the first and the last.                                                                                                                                    I am the honoured and the scorned.                                                                                                                        I am the whore and the holy.                                                                                                                                      I am the wife and the virgin                                                                                                                                       I am the mother and the daughter..                                                                                                                           I am silence that is incomprehensible                                                                                                             and insight* whose memory is  great.                                                                                                                                                                                        I am the voice whose sounds are many                                                                                                          and the word whose appearances are many.                                                                                                   I am the utterance of my own name.

* ‘Insight’, Epinoia, is an emanation of the divine and a heavenly aeon in the Secret Book of John.

The emphasis on the ‘I am’ is on the person, not the cosmos; on the self, and not the environment.

The use of polar opposites is an attempt to transcend the intellect through paradox. By identifying polar opposites the mind is driven in circles, until it surrenders. Manifestation of matter implies duality, and to perceive in the world implies discrimination. The nature of the speaker comprehends all things, but to appear in the world she must choose one of the two halves of all those things through which to appear. As a complete being she would be both invisible and insensible in any way, since to contain both poles of being, such as 1 and -1, would be equal to 0. This has a parallel in the way of the Tao, in which one of the main aims is to do everything by doing nothing. This idea is to achieve a balance between action and non-action, yin and yang, and by so doing one gets beyond having to struggle with the world.

The world is not actively evil; it is our incomplete perception of the world that causes the apparent evil of the world.  It is this separation or discrimination that allows us to operate in a 3D world, but also enslaves us to it. 

Only by seeing the larger picture of unions of all opposites can we escape this servitude to the world. What is seen outside is inside also, and vice versa.

What liberates us is knowledge or gnosis . When one realizes this is the path, one becomes a ‘hearer’ and then a ‘knower’; to despise nothing along the way, for everything is part of the whole.

The text ends optimistically:-

“For there are many sorts of seductive sins..                                                                                              and fleeting pleasures that people embrace,                                                                                             until they become sober                                                                                                                                         and rise up to their place of rest.                                                                                                                   They will find me there,                                                                                                                                          and they will live and not die again.”

Thunder, Perfect Mind presents an educated, powerful woman to the reader, an early instance of complete female empowerment, without apology or compromise.

Religious scholar Elaine Pagels says works like Thunder, Perfect Mind reflect the fact that in gnostic communities women were considered equal to men; some were revered as prophets; others acted as teachers, travelling evangelists, healers, priests, even bishops.

Academics believe it was written in Egypt, possibly Alexandria, at the end of the 2nd century.

My cellular memory tells me Codex VI was written by Anne, granddaughter of Mary Magdalene and daughter of Sarah at Lake Mareotis, Alexandria near the end of the 1st century.   

Next blog: Pistis Sophia – the most significant text discovered before the Nag Hammadi Library in the 18th century, with Mary Magdalene playing a prominent role.

#divinefeminine #gnostic #marymagdalene #naghammadi #sophia

The Gospel Of Judas

For almost 2000 years Judas Iscariot has been portrayed as the betrayer of Jesus. We are told that for 30 pieces of silver he sold out the man he thought was the Messiah. 

The Gospel of Judas was discovered in the 1970s in Egypt but was not translated into English until 2006. Before its discovery the title was known from Irenaeus of Lyon, who denounced the Gospel of Judas in around 180 as a text read by people he called Gnostics.

Sadly the original Greek text which was part of codex V in the Nag Hammadi Library was lost – the version recovered was a Coptic (ancient Egypt) translation written several hundred years later.

Today the manuscript is in over a thousand pieces. Numerous sections are missing as a result of poor handling and storage. Only 13 of the original 31 leaves have survived.

The Gospel of Judas presents Judas as the disciple who understood Jesus better than all others, was his devoted friend and confidante, and did what he did at Jesus’ own request – part of a predetermined divine plan. 

The text opens with:-

“The secret revelatory discourse that Jesus spoke with Judas Iscariot in the course of a week, three days before his passion.” 

Jesus comes across his disciples as they are celebrating a holy meal together, and he laughs. He laughs a great deal in this text, as he does in the Secret Book of John. Jesus maintains he is not laughing at the disciples, but at their overly scrupulous desire to do the will of their god. The disciples are baffled, professing Jesus as the son of their god, but Jesus insists their god is the demiurge, the creator of this world (Yaldabaoth in the Secret Book of John), not the “great invisible Spirit”. The disciples are angry but only Judas accepts Jesus’ invitation to stand before him. Judas averts his gaze as he says to Jesus,

“I know who you are and from what place you come. You have come from the immortal realm of Barbelo (divine mother) and I am not worthy to pronounce the name of the one who sent you.”   

Jesus answers,

“Move away from the others, and I shall explain to you the mysteries of the kingdom, not so you can attain it, but you will go through a great deal of grief. For somebody else will take your place, so that the twelve disciples may be complete once again with their god.”

In the scenes that follow, Jesus appears several times to speak with the disciples and at times privately with Judas. 

The disciples report a vision of the Jerusalem temple, where there is a great altar and twelve priests who are committing unlawful, immoral heinous acts in the name of Jesus.

The disciples are confused and upset by this. Jesus interprets their vision allegorically:-

“Why are you upset? You are the ones presenting the offerings at the altar.. That is the god you serve, and you are the twelve men you have seen. And the cattle brought in are offerings- they are the multitude you lead astray before that altar. The ruler of this world will stand and use my name in this manner, and generations of pious people will cling to him.. But it is the Lord who commands who is the Lord of the All. On the last day they will be put to shame.”

What the disciples have seen is a premonition of the emerging orthodox church; with its proclamation of the sacrificial death of Christ, commitment to the celebration of the eucharist and practice of martyrdom, with its leaders depicted in a most  unflattering light.  

Judas has his own vision and tells Jesus,

“I have seen myself in the vision as the twelve disciples were stoning me and treating me harshly. I saw a house.. my eyes could not grasp its dimensions. Within the house there was a crowd.. ‘Master , let me come in with these people.’”

Jesus answers,

“Your star has deceived you, Judas. No person of mortal birth is worthy to go into the house you have seen: that place is kept for the saints, where sun and moon will not rule, nor the day, but they will stand there always in the eternal realm with the holy angels.” Jesus goes onto say,

You will be the thirteenth, and you will be cursed by the other generations, but eventually you will rule over them.”

Jesus takes Judas aside to teach him about the Divine and the Universe. 

Mankind can be divided into two races or groups. Those who have the immortal soul, like Judas, can come to know the God within themselves and enter the imperishable realm when they die physically. Those who belong to the generation of the other eleven disciples cannot enter the realm of god and will die both spiritually and physically at the end of their lives. The New Testament gospels say that Jesus had to die in order to atone for the sins of humanity. The Gospel of Judas says the true God is gracious and does not demand any sacrifice.

Near the end of the Gospel of Judas, Jesus turns to Judas and says,

But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man who bears me.”

Here Jesus is saying that his spiritual being will be liberated from the fleshy body after Judas turns Jesus into the authorities to be crucified. Jesus reminds Judas that

he has now been fully informed of spiritual matters, and encourages Judas to look up to the heavenly cloud and the divine light and stars. Jesus tells Judas,

“The star that leads the way is your star*.”

(*This is from the Platonic tradition that everyone originates from their own star.)

Judas lifts up his eyes, gazes at a cloud of light and enters it; from within the light a voice speaks out and Judas is enlightened. (Unfortunately, what the voice actually says is largely lost due to the deterioration of the papyrus). 

The last words of the gospel read,

“And Judas received some money and handed him over to them.”

This is the primary message of the gospel. Judas, the disciple closest to Jesus, does what Jesus declares he will do to the end. 

In ‘Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas’ by religious scholars Elaine Pagels and Karen King, Pagels says Bible translators have mistranslated the Greek word for “handing over” to “betrayal”.

In The Gospel of Judas, Judas actually becomes the first martyr; he did not commit suicide but was stoned to death by “the twelve” (Judas 9:7-8).

The Gospel of Judas, Revelation of Paul, First Revelation of James, Second Revelation of James and The Revelation of Adam (Codex V) were all written by    Sarah, daughter of Mary Magdalene at Lake Mareotis, Alexandria, Egypt in the 1st century.
#gnostic #naghammadi #judas 

The Gospel Of Truth

The Gospel of Truth is the third tractate of Codex I from the Nag Hammadi Library and is considered one of the most poetic and well written texts from the Nag Hammadi Library. It is not a “gospel” as such, but a discourse on the good news about the appearance of the Saviour on earth and the message he brought to humanity.  The text alludes to the New Testament but cites John’s gospel the most often.                  The story of salvation is told on both a historical and a mythical level: on one level we hear about the Saviour being sent down by God to teach humanity the truth, but he was persecuted and crucified. However, his death brought life to mortal humans, waking them up from their forgetfulness and enabling to return to the Father.           In parallel, a myth tells how the world came into existence as a result of ignorance. Initially, the All, the Entirety of aeons or eternal realms, existed inside the Father, who was so vast and unfathomable they were unable to perceive him. This resulted in ignorance, anguish and terror which took hold of the aeons; Error was produced instead of truth, and the world created was based on ignorance and fear, a “fog”.  The work of the Saviour was not only to bring the knowledge to humanity, but also to rectify the “cosmic error”. He revealed the unknown Father to the aeons and gave them a harmonious relationship to their originator.           The Gospel of Truth uses beautiful imagery. For example, a long section is devoted to the concept of “the book of the living”. The Saviour is presented as a teacher, instructing “the little children”, where he reveals the book, whose contents were the Father’s thoughts, hidden from before creation. The contents of the book represent knowledge. However, the book is also compared to a will only made public after the testator’s death. In being crucified, Jesus posted the book on the cross, making it a public proclamation. 

Jesus appeared,  put on that book, was nailed to a tree, and published the Father’s edict on the cross. Oh, what a great teaching! He humbled himself even unto death, though clothed in eternal life. He stripped off the perishable rags and clothed himself in incorruptibility, which no one can take from him.

Furthermore, the book of the living is a roll of names where those who have been appointed for salvation are written down. Finally, opening the book means the names are called out, and whoever is called listens, turns around and hastens towards the one calling. 

The Gospel of Truth moves from one theme to the next, using striking imagery with subtle allusions to New Testament texts, touching the soul in a masterful way.

Unity and fullness are the next theme using the image of a house and jars. One moves to a new house, but only the good jars are taken along – the ones that are unbroken and full. The others are discarded. The sorting of the jars refers to the separation of the non-spiritual from the spiritual people who came to know the Saviour.

The author compares those who received the revelation with those who do not as a distinction between ‘being’ and ‘not being’.  This inspires another impressive image of cosmic existence as a nightmarish dream, whose unreal nature is understood only when the dreamer wakes up. Aroused, the dreamer then receives the spirit, which enables him to stand up. The spirit enables some people to perceive the nature of the Saviour.

The Saviour now becomes ‘the way’ and the text moves seamlessly into the parable of the lost sheep and the good shepherd. The good shepherd laboured on the Sabbath, representing the world, and brought the sheep into the higher day, or pure light. To those who experience life in this world as a nightmare, this message offers hope :-        

You are the perfect day, and in you dwells the light that does not fail.”

Those who do the Father’s will are described as his “fragrance”,          

For the Father is sweet, and goodness is his will.. For the Father’s children are his fragrance; they are from the beauty of his face. The Father loves his fragrance and disperses it everywhere, and when it mixes with matter, it gives his fragrance to the light.”

The text then reverts to the theme of the deficiency that has been transformed into fullness and to the image of the jars; the full jars are those that have been sealed with ointment.        

“The ointment is the mercy of the Father.. and those anointed are the perfect.”      This is the clearest reference to ritual practices in the Gospel of Truth.

The discourse now turns to a description of the Word, which has revealed the hidden Thought of the Father, followed by a section where the Son is portrayed as the Father’s Name – an image that expresses the indissoluble relationship between Father and Son as well as the Son’s role as the revealer of the unnameable Father of the All.

Finally, by stating that the Son revealed the origins and the destiny of the Father’s children, the text arrives at its conclusion – the place of rest in the Fullness.      

They rest in one who rests, and they are not weary or confused about truth. They are truth. The Father is in them and they are in the Father, perfect, inseparable from him who is truly good. They lack nothing at all but are at rest, fresh in spirit..  For he is good, and his children are perfect and worthy of his name. Children like this the Father loves.”

Along with the other tractates in codex I, The Gospel of Truth was written by Sarah, the daughter of Mary Magdalene, at Lake Mareotis, Alexandria, Egypt.

Next Blog: The Gospel of Judas (Codex V) a shocking account of what really happened to Judas..

#Saviour #gnostic  #marymagdalene #naghammadi

The Secret Book Of James

The Secret Book of James occupies the first 16 pages of Nag Hammadi Codex I.     It is a letter sent from ‘James’ to an unknown addressee, containing an account of a secret revelation the Saviour gave to the disciples James and Peter. The letter is written in Hebrew, and asks his addressee not to share this writing with many; even the Saviour did not want to deliver this message to the twelve disciples, but only to two of them. 

James holds the addressee in high regards as he refers to him as ‘a minister of the salvation of the saints’ – to convey the contents to elect believers with faith received through this discourse (logos) conferring salvation upon them.

The events depicted happen 550 days after the Saviour’s resurrection, at a time when the twelve disciples, all sitting together, are writing down in books what they remember of the words Christ told to each of them during his earthly life. 

The Saviour draws James and Peter apart from the other disciples and says,      “You have been favoured through the Father to receive my sayings. The other disciples have also written my sayings in their books as if they have understood, but be careful. They have done their work without really understanding. They have listened like foolish people, and… they have not understood.” 

 The aim is for them to be ‘filled’, a gnostic term associated with reaching the pleroma/fullness, through his revelation. 

The Saviour’s teachings are expressed through a series of opposing gnostic metaphors: drunkenness and sobriety, waking and sleeping, being healed and being sick, emptiness and fullness. The Saviour uses sayings, parables, and prophecies, some of which are cryptic or veiled:

“First I spoke with you in parables, and you did not understand. Now I am speaking with you openly, and you do not grasp it. Nevertheless, you were a parable among parables and a disclosure among things revealed.”

James is receptive to the revelation, asking questions, but Peter is confused:- 

“Sometimes you urge us on toward heaven’s kingdom, but at other times you turn us away, master. Sometimes you encourage us, draw us toward faith, and promise us life, but at other times you drive us away from heaven’s kingdom.”    

The two figures represent opposing symbols of the Gnostic community and the emerging orthodox church; members of the gnostic community have no need of an intermediary (bishop/priest etc) to obtain salvation, while members of the orthodox church are obliged to follow the church dogma and doctrine in order to be saved.  

Before the Saviour leaves he says,

“Be attentive to the glory that awaits me, and when you have opened your hearts, listen to the hymns that await me up in heaven. Today I must take my place at the right hand of the Father…I shall depart from you, for a chariot of spirit* has carried me up, and from now on I shall strip myself that I may clothe myself.”

(*The ‘chariot of spirit’ is also known as the Merkaba, a counter-rotating field of light surrounding our bodies for approximately 55-60’. It affects spirit and body simultaneously and can be used as an interdimensional vehicle. The Merkaba contains all your knowledge and wisdom and can transport your spirit anywhere. It requires activation, but this only needs to be done once. For more information see Drunvalo Melchizedek’s work – he explains the process clearly and concisely.)

James and Peter kneel down to give thanks and open their hearts to heaven. After seeing and hearing angelic trumpets and a great deal of turmoil, the two disciples reach a higher place, where they can hear angels praising, rejoicing and singing hymns. Going further, James and Peter approach the Majesty – the highest God – but they are allowed to hear and see no more. 

The other disciples are keen to hear what the revelation was and James answers:- “He ascended. He gave us his right hand, and promised all of us life. He showed us children coming after us and commanded us to love them, since we are to be saved for their sakes.”

The disciples believe the revelation but are angry about those to be born. James diffuses the situation by sending them out to different places to preach the word whilst James returns to Jerusalem to “share with loved ones who are to appear.” These are future believers, like readers of the Secret Book of James.  

The letter concludes with James saying,

“I pray that the beginning may come from you. This is how I can be saved. They will be enlightened through me, by my faith, and through another’s that is better than mine. I wish mine to be the lesser.”

Scholars believe the Secret Book of James was written in a small Egyptian community, probably Alexandria, in the second century.

My cellular memory tells me the Secret Book of James was written by the daughter of Mary Magdalene, Sarah, at the Lake Mareotis community just outside Alexandria in the 1st century.

Furthermore, the ‘another’s that is better’ written in bold above, refers to her son Jude, who features in Mary Magdalene’s Final Legacy.

But I am jumping ahead of myself. For now I want to stay with Sarah’s writings. They are quite exquisite..

Next blog: The Gospel of Truth (Codex I) – one of the most poetic and well written texts from the Nag Hammadi Library.

#gnostic  #naghammadi #divinefeminine #Saviour

Dialogue of the Saviour

The Dialogue of the Saviour is the fifth and last tractate of codex III. Originally composed in Greek, the only existing copy is in Coptic (Ancient Egyptian) and is badly damaged. In its present form it is a compilation of four or five different sources, but the main content of the Dialogue of the Saviour is a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples, in a similar style to the Gospel of Thomas.

The text starts with a monologue the Saviour delivers to his disciples about the theme of rest and the time of salvation. The Saviour tells them,

“Now the time has come, brothers and sisters, for us to leave our labour behind and stand at rest.” He adds,

“For whoever stands at rest will rest forever.”

These words imply salvation has already come – a common theme in Gnostic texts. The Saviour also notes that he too has already come and opened the path for those who are ‘chosen and alone’. (cf Gospel of Thomas 49).

Conversely, the second part of the monologue refers to salvation yet to come at a future time, and the soul must still go through the archons’ dreadful places after ‘death’ so as to attain the realm of truth. Gnostics believe the archons, guardians of the spheres, try to detain the soul in its ascent. The Saviour implores the souls to neither fear the cosmic powers nor linger as they pass by.

The actual dialogue of the Dialogue of the Saviour begins with the Saviour addressing his disciples, although only three of them are named; Judas, Mary (Magdalene) and Matthew, with Judas and Mary being the most praised in Gnostic literature. Judas asks the most questions (16), Mary 13, Matthew 11 and at other times the disciples as a whole (5 times). 

But Mary Magdalene receives the highest accolade of all from Jesus:- 

“Mary said, ‘So, the wickedness of each day is sufficient. Workers deserve their food.     Disciples resemble their teachers.’                                                                                                                 She spoke this utterance as a woman who understood everything.” 

Some traditional sayings of Jesus are included in the Dialogue of the Saviour, together with frequent reminders of the Gospel of Thomas. For instance,   “And I say to you, let one who has power renounce it and repent, and let one who knows seek and find and rejoice.” (128,23-129,19).

In fact, there are 14 sayings which are similar to those in the Gospel of Thomas, which is unsurprising if they are penned by the same person.

The following question from Judas refers to ‘the way’ reminiscent of the Gospel of John:-

“Judas asked, ‘Tell me, master, what is the beginning of the way?’                                                  He said, ‘Love and goodness. If one of these had existed among the rulers (archons), wickedness would never have come to be.’”  

The gospel concludes with this message from Jesus:-

“Work hard to rid yourselves of anger and jealousy, and strip yourselves of your works, and do not… (around twelve lines missing) reproach,… for I say to you,…one who has sought having found true life. This person will attain rest and live forever. I say to you, watch yourselves, so that you may lead our spirits and your souls into error.” 

The Dialogue of the Saviour makes no reference as to either the time the dialogue took place (before or after the Saviour’s resurrection) or where, but scholars are agreed that it must have been written in the 1st century as there are references to the Gospel of John.    My cellular memory tells me Mary Magdalene wrote the main dialogue.

This concludes my extracts from codices II, III and IV from the Nag Hammadi Library. If you would like to read them in full, they are available online at www.gnosis.org

Of the 11 tractates, I have written blogs on the ones that appear in Mary Magdalene’s Final Legacy; The Secret Book of John, The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Philip  and The Dialogue of the Saviour from codices II, III and IV of The Nag Hammadi Library. 

They were all penned by Mary Magdalene whilst she was at Lake Mareotis in Alexandria, Egypt.

Of course she wrote much more, which I will come to later, but for now I want to turn to the writings of her daughter Sarah..  

 #gnostic  #naghammadi #divinefeminine #Saviour 

The Gospel Of Philip

The Gospel of Philip is the third tractate of Codex II from the Nag Hammadi Library. It is a collection of sayings, parables and meditations. Many of the sayings in the Gospel of Philip have something of the poetic enigma of Eastern philosophy about them:

‘The Master went into the dye works of Levi, took seventy-two* coloured cloths, and threw them into a vat. He drew them out and they were all white. He said,                                               “So the son of humanity has come as a dyer.”                                                                                             (*72 is a traditional number of nations in the world according to Jewish culture.)

The Gospel of Philip portrays this world as an illusion, where we ‘stray from the real to the unreal’.

The contrast between the material plane or illusion,  and that of the Pleroma (‘fullness’ or totality of divine powers) is described in a number of sayings, quite beautifully in this one:

Those who sow in winter reap in summer.                                                                                                        Let us sow in the world to reap in summer.                                                                                               Winter is the world, summer the other realm.

And also most eloquently in poetry:

A donkey turning a millstone walked a hundred miles.                                                                      When it was set loose, it found itself in the same place.                                                                  Some people travel long but go nowhere.                                                                                                        At twilight they have seen no cities or villages.

One of the major themes of the Gospel of Philip is the reunification of soul and spirit in a heavenly union (or syzygy), reminiscent of the myth of Sophia and her eagerness to rejoin her spiritual companion, the Logos.                                                                                                                   The author focuses on the symbolism of marriage in a mythical way. Marriage is a symbol of the Pleroma (Fullness), of the divine; representing knowledge and truth, as opposed to ignorance and falseness of the world – a symbol of freedom. Marriage is meant for free men, not for slaves:                                                                                                                                         “Animals do not have a wedding chamber, nor do slaves or defiled women. The wedding chamber is for free men and virgins.”                                                                                                           Free from the archons or rulers’ domination and the burden of sexual desires. Heavenly marriage is also a symbol of chastity, since it is spiritual and not carnal.                                      This marriage is a mystery, and belongs to another dimension:-                                                         “It is not fleshly but pure. It belongs not to desire but to will. It belongs not to darkness or night but to the day and the light.”                                                                                                          Through spiritual union male and female will become one, so there will no longer be male and female but a unique being.  This union repairs the damage of the separation of male and female, which occurred when the female element fell into matter, according to the myth of Sophia. This separation led to death. The Gospel of Philip amplifies this with the story of Adam and Eve – when they were joined to each other in paradise, they were in a condition of unity and knowledge. Once they separated into two beings, they fell into ignorance and death. It is Christ who eliminates the separation:-                                                  “Christ came to heal the separation that was from the beginning and reunite the two, in order to give life to those who died through separation and unite them. 

The Gnostic view of the resurrection differs markedly from the orthodox position. The Nicene Creed states that Jesus ‘suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again.’ This resurrection is bodily, which will one day be experienced by all.

The Gnostic view regards the Resurrection as something that is not physical at all, something which is ‘better than the flesh’. It is a necessary experience for the Gnostic believer to undergo, but it is a raising from the death of ordinary consciousness to the life of gnosis. 

The Gospel of Philip advises the spiritual seeker while we are in this world it is best to acquire resurrection for ourselves.                                                                                                                  The gospel makes it clear that the resurrection happens before death, not after it:        Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.

These ideas would have been shocking to the early orthodox Church, but the recurring theme of women, or one woman in particular, was a real problem. Mary of Magdala…  

“Three Marys walked with the Lord:                                                                                                                  His mother, her sister, and Mary of Magdala,                                                                                              His companion…

The companion is Mary of Magdala. Jesus loved her                                                                           More than his students. He kissed her often                                                                                                 on her face, more than all his students,                                                                                                        And they said, ‘Why do you love her more than us?’                                                                              The saviour answered them, saying to them,                                                                                          ‘Why do I not love you like her?’”

No wonder the gnostic gospels were condemned as heresy..

#divinefeminine #gnostic #marymagdalene #naghammadi #sophia