"Gnosis: Sacred Teaching of All Ages" ~ Charles William Heckethorn (few selected fragments)


The Magi


Magus is derived from Maja*, the mirror wherein Brahm, according to Indian (hindu) mythology, from all eternity beholds himself and all his power and wonders. Hence also our terms magia, magic, image, imaginations, all implying the fixing in a form, figure, or creature - these words being synonymous - of the potencies of the primeval, structureless, living matter. The Magnus, therefore, is one that makes the operations of the Eternal Life his study. 

* Word magus from mahat (,great'), but according to hindu mythology, mahatit and pirkirti are brought forth by jotna (,power'), the offspring of Maja, so that the latter truly is the etymon of "Magnus".
The Magi, as the ancient priests of Persia were called, did not constitute a doctrine or religion only; they constituted a monarchy - their power truly was that of kings. And this fact is still commemorated by the circumstance that the Magi recorded to have been led by the star to the cradle Sun God (Adonis, Jesus, etc) are just as frequently called kings as Magi. As sages, they were kings in the sense of Horace:  

"Ad summam, sapiens uno minor est Jove, dives,
Liber, honoratus, pulcher, rex denique regum."
~ Epist. i. 106, 107.

Their pontifical reign preceded the ascendency of Assyria, Media and Persia. Aristotle asserts it to have been more ancient than the foundation of the kingdom of Egypt; Plato, unable to reckon it by years, computes it by myriads. At the present day most writers agree in dating the rise of the reign of the Magi five thousand years before the Trojan war.


The Light


Zoroaster taught light to be the first emanation of the Eternal Life; hence in the Parsee writings, light, the perennial flame is the symbol of the Deity or uncreated Life. Hence the Magi and Parsees have been called "fire-worshippers". But the former saw and the latter see in the fire not a divinity, but simply the cause of heat and motion, thus anticipating the most recent discoveries of physical science, or rather, remembering some of the lost knowledge. The Parsees did not form any God, to call him the one true God' they did not invoke any authority extrinsic to life; they did not rely on any uncertain tradition; but amidst all the recondite forces of Nature, they chose the one that governs them all, that reveals itself by the most tremendous effects. The modern Guebres are the descendants of the ancient Magi. 


The Phoenix


The Egyptians began the year with the rising of the dog-star or Sirius. But making no allowance for the quarter of a day which finishes the year, the civil year every four years began one day too soon, and so the beginning of the year went successively trough every one of the days of the natural in the space of four times 365, which makes 1460 years. They fancied they blessed and made all the seasons to prosper by making them thus to enjoy one after another the feast of Isis, which was celebrated along with that of Sirius, though it was frequently very remote from that constellation; wherefore they introduced the image of dogs, or even the real and living animals, preceding the chariots of Isis.

When in the 1461st year the feast again coincided with the rising of the star Sirius, they looked upon it as a season of plenty, and symbolised it by a bird of singular beauty, which they called Phoenix (deliciis abundans), saying that it came to die upon the altar of the Sun, and that out of its ashes there arose a little worm, that gave birth to a bird perfectly like the preceding.


by Marta Emilia

Priestesses


The priestesses, clothed in white, and wearing a metal girdle, foretold the future from the observation of natural phenomena, but more especially from human sacrifices. For them was reserved the frightful task of putting to death the prisoners taken in war, and individuals condemned by the Druids; and their auguries were drawn from the manner in which the blood issued from the many wounds inflicted, and also from the smoking entrails.

Many of these priestesses maintained a perpetual virginity, others gave themselves up to the most luxurious excesses. They dwelt on lonely rocks, beaten by the waves of the ocean, which the mariners looked upon as temples surrounded with unspeakable prodigies. Thus the island of Sena or Liambis, The Saints, near Ushant, where Merlin was said to have been born, was the residence of nine of these priestesses, who delivered oracles to sailors; and there was no power that was not attributed to them. Others, living near the mouth of the Loire, once a year destroyed their temple, scattered its materials, and, having collected others, built a new one - of course a symbolical ceremony; and if one of the priestesses dropped any of the sacred materials, the others fell upon her with fierce yells, tore her to pieces, and scattered her bleeding limbs. 




Gnosticism


The leading idea of Platonism are also found in the tenets of the Gnostics (i.e. "Those who know", coloro che sanno, - Inf. iv. 131), and they continued, during the second and third centuries, the schools that raised a barrier between recondite philosophy and vulgar superstition. Under this aspect Gnosticism is the most universal heresy ~ according to mainstream religions ~ the mother of many posterior heresies, even the Arianism, and reappears among the alchymists, mystics, and modern transcendentalists.

The Gnostics assumed an infinite, invisible Being (Absolut), an abyss of darkness, who, unable to remain inactive, diffused himself in emanations, decreasing in perfection the further they were removed from the centre that produced them. They had their grand triad whose personifications - Matter, the Demiurgus, and the Saviour - comprised and represented the history of mankind and of the world.

The superior emanations, partakers of the attributes of the Divine essence, are the "eons" distributed in classes according to symbolical numbers. Their union forms the "pleroma", or the fulness of intelligence. The last and most imperfect emanation of the pleroma, according to one of the two grand divisions of Gnosticism, is the Demiurgus, a balance of light and darkness, of strength and weakness, who, without the concurrence of the unknown Absolut, produces the world, there imprisoning the souls, for he is the primary evil, opposed to the primary good. He encumbers the souls with matter. For humanity is destined to raise itself again from the material to the spiritual life; to free itself from Nature, and to govern it, and to live again in immortal beauty.

Simon Magus; Menander, his successor; Cerinthus, the apostle of the Millennium, and some others who lived in the first century, are looked upon as the founders of Gnosticism, which soon divided into as many sects as there arose apostles. This may be called the obscure period of Gnosticism. But at the beginning of the second century the sect of Basilides of Alexandria arose, and with it various centres of Gnosticism in Egypt, Syria, Rome, Spain, etc. Basilides, who mixed Gnosticism with Indian and Egyptian fancies, assumed 365 eons or cycles of creation, which were expressed by the word abraxas, whose letters, according to their numerical value in Greek, produce the number 365. By abraxas, was meant, in its deeper sense, the Supreme God; but the reader will at once detect the astronomical bearing, and remember the words Mithras and Belenus, which also severally represent that number, at the Supreme God, viz. the Sun.




Valentinus also is a famous Gnostic, whose fundamental doctrine is that all men shall be restored to their primeval state of perfection; that matter, the refuge of evil, shall be consumed by fire - which is also the doctrine the Zoroaster; and that the spirits in perfect maturity shall ascend into the pleroma, there to enjoy all the delights of a perfect union with their companions.

From the Valentinians sprang the Ophites, calling themselves so after the serpent that by tempting Eve brought into the world the blessings of knowledge. The Pepuzians, varied their initiations with the apparition of phantasms, among whom was a woman crowned with the sun and twelve stars, and having the moon under her feet - the Isis of Egypt and the Ceres of Greece. They found in the Apocalypse all their initiatory terminology. A gnostic stone, represented in the work of Chifflet, shows seven stars of equal size, with a larger one above; these probably mean the seven planets and the Sun. There are, moreover figured on it a pair of compasses, a square, and other geometrical emblems. Thus all religious initiations are ever reducible to astronomy and natural phenomena.

The widely opposite idea of polytheism, pantheism, monotheism, the philosophical systems of Platon, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, together with the mysticism and demonology (= Jewish Cabbala/Kabbalah) - all these went towards forming Gnosticism. And the aristocracy of mind (not confused with the state of society!), powerful and numerous as none had ever been before, that arose in the first centuries of our(?) era, even when adopting the new faith, could not but loathe the thought of sharing it completely with the crowd of freed and unfreed slaves around them - with the low and poor in spirit. 

The exclusiveness of Gnosticism, which was one of the causes why it was violently persecuted by the Fathers of the Church as damnable heresy, was undoubtedly, next to the attractiveness of its dogmas, one of the chief reasons of its rapid propagation and its lasting influence on modern religious systems.  It is said that the Gnostics recognised one another by slightly tickling the palm of the person with whom they shook hands.







The Dervishes



Dervishes ~ also called Fakirs, and a monastic order of islamism. Mahomet prohibited the introduction of monks into his religious system; but thirty years after his death, monks made their appearance, and it is supposed that there are now seventy-two orders of them. But twelve of them are undoubtedly older than islam itself.

The four chief orders are:

The Rifajeh, who carry black flags and wear black or dark-brown turbans. They practise jugglers' tricks, such as swallowing daggers, eating fire, charming serpents, etc.

The Kaderijeh, with white flags, and turbans; they are chiefly fishermen.

The Said Bidani, whose founder is the greatest saint of the Egyptian moslems, Said Achmed El Bidani. Their colours are red and white, and they are divided into several sects. They wear an absurd costume and act as buffoons.

The Said Ibrahim, with green flags, and turbans. All that is known of them is that they have a monastery at Alexandria.


The Dervishes are, moreover, divided into two grand bodies, named as above, the former being Egyptian, the latter the Turkish Dervishes. This latter are their great enemies in India. The pilgrims from that country propagate at Constantinople antagonism to their rule, and return to India strengthened with the sympathies of the Mussulman world. It is remarkable circumstance, that though the Ulema are opposed to the Dervishes, they being looked upon as heterodox, men of great intellect, ortodox in their principles, and occupying high positions in the state, should enrol themselves in the order. The only explanation may be found in their study of the Persian Soofee poets, whose doctrine, which is that of the Dervishes, is that form of spiritualism which ends in Pantheism, teaching that Absolut is, or may enter into, all things spiritual, and which approximates to that materialism of which Buddhism is the exponent.

The Dervishes have their "Paths", which are generally governed by twelve officers, the oldest "Court" superintending the others by right of seniority. The master of the Court is called Sheik, and he has his deputies, caliphs, or successors, of which there may be many. The order is divided into four "columns" or degrees. The first is that of "Humanity", which supposes "annihilation in the Sheik"; the second is that of the "Path" in which the "murid" or disciple, attains spiritual powers and self-annihilation into the "Peer", or founder of the Path. The third stage is called "Knowledge" and the murid is supposed to become inspired, which is called the "annihilation into the prophet". The fourth degree leads him even to Absolut, when he becomes part of the Deity, and sees him in all things. After this, the Sheik confers on him the grade of "Caliph" or "Honorary Master", for, in their mythical language "the man must die before the saint can be born, and when born, he is but a useless and despicable animal."

It is not quite certain in what order the Dervishes we deal with in Africa belong, but it is clear that, unlike their brethren in Asia, they pursue political ends, and are instigated by fierce fanaticism. 


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My personal comment to Dervishes order and islamic mysticism:

Can be? Yes you can... Practice without hurting anybody!
Except that... the greater part of the arabic world doesn't worship the Absolut, they also despise the Earth/Terra and its inhabitants (any race, culture, etc except themselves); also Life itself, that's why they kill others and themselves so easly. Islam widely known on this planet is a LIE and denies any kind of spirituality. But just as in every other semitic religions = Gnosis is constantly threatened by priests of mainstream religions (you should think about that!); their agents for centuries created a false theories and sewn evil patches to it. But if in the world has prevail peace and understanding, religion - as an institution must cease to exist. The priests of the mainstream religions are also deadly to anyone who chose in his/her life agnosticism or atheism. Religions are the negation of tolerance, equality and freedom of choice. How long they will exist, will reign on Earth racism instead of peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding. Look at the Middle East, East Africa or Europe now... Chaos that we see is the work of religion and the people in power who represent the political will of the priests and the aristocracy. Ask yourself the question: Why any Hidu doesn't do any terrorist attacks? Nor Buddhist? Nor any Native? Why no Dervish not blow up in the air, huh? Maybe because e.g. in the world of islamic gnosis such as this one... both man and woman are equal in terms of their god. So why then the hatred and aggression, social divisions and racism are the ,business card' of only three major semitic religions? Ask yourself cuz I can only show you the path... 


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