H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Volume 13 Pag 1

INTRODUCTORY NOTES TO H.P.B.’s COMMENTARY ON THE PISTIS SOPHIA.*

[The Codex Askewianus in the British Museum is known as the Pistis Sophia. This Coptic manuscript is complete, except as noted below, in excellent state of preservation, and contains material of the Valentinian or Ophite schools of Gnosticism. Pistis Sophia is written in the dialect of Upper Egypt, called Thebaidic or Sahidic. It is a translation from the Greek, as Greek words—mostly technical terms and names—abound throughout the manuscript. This is thought to be the result of the translator being unable to find suitable terms in the Coptic (Thebaidic or Sahidic) to express the ideas found in a Greek manuscript. Such terms and names are simply transliterated from the Greek. The date of the Pistis Sophia manuscript is not agreed upon by the various competent scholars who have studied it, but it is generally placed in the 2nd and 3rd century A.D. The many quotations from the Old and New Testament provide no clue to the exact dating.
The manuscript consists of 346 pages, written on both sides of vellum in two columns, and is bound much like a modern book. The pages are numbered in Coptic characters, establishing the fact that only four leaves—eight pages—are missing since the manuscript was bound. It contains parts of five “books,” none of which are complete. The manuscript is the work of more than one scribe which may account for the lacunae and repetitions found in several places. It was called “Pistis Sophia” because at the head of one page, apparently without reason, was written in Coptic, “The Second Tome of the Pistis Sophia.” This manuscript
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* [In his introduction the compiler follows the modern style of dropping the hyphen in Pistis Sophia, but in H.P.B.’s Commentary he has kept it as in Lucifer.]
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was acquired in 1785 by the British Museum with the purchase of the library of Dr. Askew. Where Dr. Askew himself obtained the manuscript remains a mystery.*
The earliest reference to the Pistis Sophia manuscript is a statement—unverified—that in 1770, C. G. Woide published an article in a British Theological Magazine on the Pistis Sophia. G. R. S. Mead tried in vain to trace such a magazine or any article on the subject near that date. C. G. Woide was the editor of the New Testament according to the famous Codex Alexandrinus. He placed the date of the Pistis Sophia manuscript in the third century. In 1773 and 1778 articles by Woide on the Pistis Sophia appeared in journals published in France and Germany. In 1779 Woide copied by hand the whole of the Askew and Bruce manuscripts but no translation was published. In 1838-40 the manuscripts were copied by the French savant Dulaurier, but no translation ever came to light.
In 1848 M. G. Schwartze copied the Pistis Sophia

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* The following notes were made by the present writer on examining the Pistis Sophia manuscript in the British Museum.
The book is bound in brown leather with gold stamping on the covers; the spine is ornamented with gold stamping, with the following title in seven lines — PISTE SOPHIA COPTICE. MUS. BRIT. JURE EMPTIONIS. 5114. The end leaves and fly-leaves are of hand-made laid paper, indicating that the volume may have been bound by Dr. Askew. The paper page before the vellum of the manuscript contains Latin notes by Woide. The vellum varies greatly in thickness, some leaves being very thin, almost like onion-skin paper, while others are quite heavy and stiff. Some of the pages are clean, the writing being as sharp and black as when written; in places the ink has faded into brown and in a few pages the writing is no longer legible. The scoring lines are plainly visible on all leaves. Small holes and imperfections in the vellum were skillfully repaired before written on; in at least one place a small hole was not repaired, and the writing rises above the scored line to avoid the hole. Pages 99 v. and 100 r. are badly smeared from top to bottom. It appears as if this was deliberately done with a small wad of dirty rag or inked finger. The sentence “Second tome of Pistis Sophia,” which is mentioned above, is barely visible, having faded to a light tan.
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manuscript and made a Latin translation, which was edited after his death by J. H. Petermann, and published in 1851 All the early English translations of the Pistis Sophia are translations of Schwartze’s Latin version.
The first partial English translation published was that of C. W. King in the second edition (1887) of his Gnostics and their Remains.* This fragment consisted of a few pages translated from Schwartze’s Latin text. An anonymous translation in French appeared in Migne’s Dictionnaire des Apocryphes, which G. R. S. Mead calls “. . . . a sorry piece of work, more frequently a mere paraphrase from Schwartze’s version than a translation.”† Many learned articles appeared between the publication of the Latin text and the end of the century. In 1895 É. Amélineau published a French translation from the Coptic. In 1905 C. Schmidt published what is considered to be a very fine German translation of the Coptic text, and in 1924 an excellent English translation from the Coptic was published by George Horner. This was the first translation directly from the Coptic into English. It is designated as a “literal translation,” and while this does not always make for as easy and smooth a reading as some of the freer translations, it does preserve, as nearly as possible in English, the exact wording, and in some cases definite clues to the meaning of the original writers. Horner’s English translation contains a very fine and thorough Introduction by Francis Legge.
In 1890-91 G. R. S. Mead published in H. P. Blavatsky’s magazine Lucifer a translation into English of the first two “books,” about half of the Pistis Sophia. This was again a translation of Schwartze’s Latin text. It was the first English translation, except for the several pages published in the second edition of King’s Gnostics and their Remains. In Lucifer, voluminous footnotes and commentaries are appended to the text of the translation In 1896 Mead published a complete translation of this work with an
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* Wizards Bookshelf, Minneapolis, 1973 with Bibliographic Additions, p. 457.
† Pistis Sophia, ed. 1921, p. lv.
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excellent Introduction, but without notes or commentaries on the text. In the Introduction (p. xxxv) he says: “I went over the whole again and checked it by Amélineau’s version,” and on p. xxxvi: “In 1890 I had already translated Schwartze’s Latin version into English and published pages l to 252, with a commentary, notes, etc., in magazine form from April, 1890, to April, 1891.” The magazine referred to is, of course, Lucifer, edited by H. P. Blavatsky, and the above is the only mention made by Mead anywhere of the commentaries and footnotes in Lucifer. In Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, p. 456, Mead writes:
“When, in 1896, I published a translation of the Pistis Sophia, I had intended to follow it up with a commentary, but I speedily found that in spite of the years of work I had already given to Gnosticism, there were still many years of labour before me, ere I could satisfy myself that I was competent to essay the task in any really satisfactory fashion; I have accordingly reserved that task for the future.”
After Mead’s death in 1933, a careful search through his unpublished manuscripts by John M. Watkins, his literary executor, failed to uncover anything dealing with the Pistis Sophia.
A “New and Completely Revised” edition of the Pistis Sophia was published by Mead in 1921, also without notes or commentary. This version was thoroughly compared and checked with Schmidt’s German translation* from the Coptic (1905). In the Preface, p. xx, Mead says: “The second edition is practically a new book.”
There exists also a manuscript by P. A. Malpas, (1875-1958) a life-long student of Theosophy, containing a translation of the Pistis Sophia, together with the notes and commentaries from Lucifer and extracts from the writings of the Church Fathers. Mr. Malpas’ translation of the Pistis Sophia is apparently a recension of Latin, German and French translations.
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* [Ed. Petermann-Schwartze; newly translated by C. Schmidt, Koptischgnostische Schriften, (1905) in the series Die griechischen Christlichen schriftsteller der eresten drie Jahrhunderte.]
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As already pointed out, the translation of the Pistis Sophia published in Lucifer has been superceded by better translations, including Mead’s own later edition of 1921. The text which appeared in Lucifer (Vols. 6, 7 & 8) is not complete; contains many abridgements and summaries of repetitive passages.
Students wishing to make a study of the complete text of the Pistis Sophia are referred to the 1921 edition of Mead’s Pistis Sophia, or to George Horner’s Pistis Sophia, with Introduction by F. Legge. The introductions to both of these volumes are very valuable as showing the viewpoints of two quite different scholarly approaches to the Pistis Sophia itself, and Gnosticism in general.
Only sufficient material will be quoted from Mead’s recension in Lucifer to make H.P.B.’s footnotes and commentaries clearly intelligible.
The quotations from the Bible in the present Introduction are according to the Authorized (King James) Version, Oxford University Press. The quotations from the Church Fathers are from The Ante-Nicene Fathers, The Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, LL.D., editors, (American reprint of the Edinburgh Edition). The extracts from the writings of the Church Fathers included in H.P.B.’s Commentaries are from some other English edition, or possibly translated from a French edition. The references given by H.P.B. with regard to Book, Chapter, and Section do not always correspond to the place where the quotations are found in the American Edition. As far as is known, no English translation of the Panarion of Epiphanius is available, and it is very likely those passages from it have been translated from Migne’s original texts.
Quotations from The Secret Doctrine are based on the original edition of 1888.
A helpful definition of the title’s meaning has been supplied by P. A. Malpas.

“Title: Pistis-Sophia is a combination of two Greek substantives, usually translated Faith and Wisdom. But H. P. Blavatsky plainly shows that Faith in the modern sense is quite an inadequate rendering of the

 

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term Pistis. It is better described as Intuitional Knowledge, or knowledge not yet manifest to the mere intellect, though felt by the Soul to be true. This definition leaves the way open for dogmatists to say that it means precisely what they call faith, and the genuine enquirer needs to be careful in accepting dogmatic definitions of the soul and intellect and to beware of thinking that Pistis has anything to do with “believing” things that are not otherwise known. “Faith” is too often merely another name for “self-persuasion,” which may not be, but usually is, delusion, in one of its fascinating forms. The whole book is highly instructive as to what Pistis really is. The importance of the correct understanding of the word cannot be overestimated for students of the New Testament, when it is realised that Paul was a Gnostic using the Gnostic term in its technical sense, and that however pleasing it may be to attach quite another sense to it, it did not and does not mean what it is usually taken to mean by Europeans of our own day. In the drama of Pistis-Sophia and her sufferings it is clear that her unshakeable intuition that she will be saved by her divine part is the link that enables that divine part to save her. It is the actual testimony that she is not yet finally lost, and in the end it is fully vindicated. Job, another drama of initiation, teaches the same lesson in an ancient Egyptian setting. . .”

Gnosticism was a syncretistic philosophico-religious movement which included all the manifold systems of belief prevalent in the first two centuries of the Christian era. Originating somewhat prior to Christian times, it combined various elements of Babylonian, Judaic, Persian, Egyptian and Greek metaphysics with certain teachings of dawning Christianity.

As a name, Gnosticism is derived from the Greek gnosis (, “knowledge,” more specifically spiritual knowledge or esoteric wisdom, a knowledge not attainable by ordinary intellectual processes, and only to be gained by mystical enlightenment or the awakening of the Buddhic elements in man. The emphasis on knowledge as the means of attaining a higher evolutionary stage, and the claim to the possession of this knowledge in ones own doctrine, are common features of the numerous groups in which the Gnostic movement historically expressed itself, even though there were only a few of these groups whose members expressly called

 

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themselves Gnostics (Gr. gnostikos—( Lat. gnosticus), the “Knowing Ones”*—Compiler.]

PISTIS-SOPHIA

Notes and Comments by H. P. Blavatsky

[PS 1] It came to pass when Jesus had risen from the dead and passed eleven years (1) speaking with his Disciples, and teaching them only up to the Regions (2) of the First Precepts (3) and of the First Mystery, the Mystery within the Veil, within the First Precept, to wit, the Four-and-Twentieth Mystery, and below these (Precepts) which are in the Second Space of the First Mystery, which is before all Mysteries, the Father in the likeness of a Dove (4), that Jesus said to his Disciples: “I am come from that First Mystery, which also is the Last (5), the Four-and-Twentieth Mystery.” Now the Disciples knew not this Mystery, nor did they understand it, because (as they supposed) there was not anything within that Mystery . . . . .

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(1) The number eleven gives the key to the situation. The eleventh trial or degree of initiation has been safely passed through and the twelfth and last which, if the candidate was successful would crown the whole work, was now being entered upon. Hercules was to enter upon his twelfth labour, and the sun of the twelfth sign of the Zodiac. Even the popular adage “at the eleventh hour,” is an echo of this mystery. In the second volume of the Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie† (pp. 386 et seq.), Éliphas Lévi gives the Nychthemeron of

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* The English word “to know” corresponds to Middle English knowen, knawen; Anglo-Saxon cnâwan; Old High German knâan; Old Norse knâ; Old Slavonic znati (to know); Latin gnoscere, noscere; Greek gignôskein; Sanskrit jânâti (knows); Lithuanian žinoti (to know); Gothic kunnan.
† [English Tr. by A. E. Waite as: Transcendental Magic, N.Y.C., Samuel Weiser, 1972.]
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Appollonius of Tyana. Nychthemeron means the space of a day and a night or twenty-four hours. Each grade of initiation had two degrees, in all twenty-four. This explains “the First Mystery, which is the Four-and-Twentieth” of the text. Readers of the Abbé Constant’s work, who are ignorant of Greek, should be warned that the French below the Greek is not even the vaguest possible paraphrase, but simply Lévi’s idea about the text. He is, however, right in saying that “these twelve symbolical hours, which may be compared with the signs of the Zodiac and the labours of Hercules, represent the cycle of degrees of Initiation.” (See The Secret Doctrine, I, 450.)

(2) The Greek word translated by “Region” is topos; it corresponds to the Sanskrit loka. In the second volume of The Secret Doctrine, p. 174, we are told that “Samjñâ. the daughter of Visvakarman, married to the Sun, ‘unable to endure the fervours of her lord,’ gave him her Chhâyâ (shadow, image, or astral body), while she herself repaired to the jungle to perform religious devotions, or Tapas.” Verb. Sap.

(3) In Masonic Lodges the Tyler demands the sacramental words (or precepts) from the apprentice or candidate, thus repeating the ancient formulae. As Ragon, following the occult tradition, has well proved, Masonry was a forced product of the Gnostic mysteries, born of a compromise between Political Christianity and Gnosticism.

(4) [Dove.] Compare: “Thou art the First Mystery looking within, thou hast come from the spaces of the Height and the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Light and thou hast descended on the Vesture of Light, which thou didst receive from Barbelô, which vesture is Jesus, our Saviour, on which thou didst descend as a Dove.” (Page 128 of Schwartze’s Coptic.) Now, the Second Space of the First Mystery corresponds in Esoteric parlance to the second plane of consciousness from within or above, on which plane is Buddhi (the Spiritual Soul), the vehicle of Atman (Universal Spirit), the “First Mystery,” which is also “the last Mystery” in the endless cycle of emanation and reabsorption. In Egyptian Esotericism the “dove symbol” of the Gnostics was represented by the glyph of the winged globe. The dove, that descends on “Jesus” at his baptism is typical of the conscious “descent” of the “Higher Self” or Soul (Atma-Buddhi) on Manas, the Higher Ego; or in other words, the union during initiation of the Christos, with Chrestos, or the imperishable “Individuality” in the All, with the transcendent Personality—the Adept.

(5) [Last Mystery.] In the same way that Atman is the first or seventh principle, as previously explained.

 

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[PS 2] Moreover, Jesus had not told his Disciples the whole emanation of all the Regions of the Great Invisible and of the Three Triple-Powers, and of the Four-and-Twenty Invisibles (1), and of all their Regions, Aeôns and Orders (that is to say) the manner in which the latter which are also the Projections of the Great Invisible, are distributed.
Nor (had he spoken of) their Ungenerated, Self-generated, and Generated (2), their Light-givers and Unpaired (3), their Rulers and Powers, their Lords and Archangles, their Angels and Decans, their Ministers and all the Houses of their Spheres, and all the Orders of each one of them.
Nor had Jesus told his Disciples the whole emanation of the Projections of the Treasure, and their Orders; nor of their (4) Saviours and their Orders . . . . .

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(l) The triple powers are an aspect of the triple Logos, and the 24 invisibles are the 21 (7 x 3) emanating Rays, with their three Logoi.
(2) Or the Eternal, unborn powers—Aja in Sanskrit: the Self-generated, the Anupapâdaka (parentless), the Self-existent—in Sanskrit, Swayambhu; and the generated, including both the emanations from higher Emanations (4th plane), and those Dhyâni-Chohans and Devas who have been men, i.e., already gone through the Mânasic cycle.
(3) [Unpaired ones.] The “eternal celibates”, the Kumâras; literally those without a Syzygy, double, pair, mate, or counterpart. It is the Hierarchy of the Kumâras which incarnates in man as his Higher Ego or Manas.
(4) [Their saviours.] Sc. of the Emanations or Projections. On pages 190 and 191 the scale of the twelve Saviours is given. The first seven preside over the projections or emanations of the seven Voices, Vowels, or Amens, and the last five over the five Trees; they are all of the Treasure of Light.

[PS 3] . . . . . nor the Region of the Saviour of the Twins, who is the Child of the Child (1); nor in what Regions

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the three Amens emanate; nor yet the Region of the Five Trees and Seven Amens, which are also the Seven Voices (2), according to the manner of their emanation.
Nor had Jesus told his Disciples of what type are the Five Supporters and the Region of their emanation; nor of the Five Impressions and the First Precept, in what type they are evolved (3) . . .
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(1) The “Child of the Child” is Manas, the child of Buddhi on a higher plane, and the lower Manas, the child of the higher, on an inferior semi-human plane. The “twins” are the dual Manas, in Esotericism.
(2) The “Three Amens” are: the upper triad in septenary man; the region of the “Five Trees” is the earth and localities wherein the actual and past Five Root-Races have developed; the “Seven Amens” and the “Seven Voices” are identical with the “Seven Aums and the Seven Mystic Voices,” “the voice of the inner God” (vide The Voice of the Silence, pp. 9 and 10.* The “seven thunders” spoken of in Revelation are typical of the same mystery of spiritual Initiation. Again, from a Macrocosmic aspect the Seven Amens are the seven rays of each of the “Three Amens,” making up the “Twenty-four Invisibles,” and so on ad infinitum.
(3) [The First precept, etc.] As many of these terms are to a certain extent explained in the sequel, it will be unnecessary to go into an elaborate disquisition of the hierarchies. For the broad outline students should compare the The Secret Doctrine, I, 213, 435, and also Pt. 1 of the Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge.†

[PS 4]. . . . . Therefore they thought that it was the End of all Ends and the sum of the Universe and the whole Plerôma (1).
. . . . . we have received all fullness [pleroma] and perfection. . . . .
It was on the fifteenth day of the moon of the month Tobe (2), the day of the full moon, when the sun had risen in its going, that there came forth after it a great flood of most brilliant light (3) of immeasurable brightness . . . . .
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* [See Jnaneshwari by Sri Jnânadeva, pp. 144-5; Transl. by R. K. Bhagwat, Madras, Samata Books, 1979.]
† [Consult them in Volume X of H.P.B.’s Collected Writings.]
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(1) [Plerôma.] See The Secret Doctrine, I, 406, 416, 448; II, 79, 506, and Isis Unveiled I, 302. From the esoteric point of view, the Plerôma in the Gnostic scheme corresponds to absolute space with its seven planes or degrees of Consciousness and the rest. See the passage on the “SEVEN-SKINNED ETERNAL MOTHER-FATHER” in The Secret Doctrine, I, 9, and also Part I of the Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge.
(2) Tobe or Tebeth. From Dec. 20 to Jan. 18.
(3) The distinction between lux and lumen, both meaning light, has been preserved in the English by printing the word “light” with a capital when it stands for lumen.

[PS 6] . . . . . These things, then, were done on the fifteenth of the month Tobe, the day of the full moon (1).

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(1) This date proves that the above is a description of the Mysteries all the greater initiations being performed during full moon.

[PS 7] And all the Angels and their Archangels and all the Powers of the Height sang hymns (1) . . . . .

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(1) See the Voice of the Silence, p. 65, when the hymn of nature proclaims: “A Master has arisen, a MASTER OF THE DAY; and also p. 72.

[PS 8] . . . . . And the three degrees of the Light were of various light and aspect, excelling one another in infinite manner (1) . . . . .

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(1) On page 71 [Voice] the three Robes or Vestures are described. In Buddhism the three Buddhic bodies or forms are styled: — Nirmanakâya, Sambhogakâya, and Dharmakâya, as the Voice of the Silence informs us in the Glossary (p. 96), which see for a full description.

[PS 9] “. . . . . to speak with you from the Beginning [Arch‘] to the Completion [Pleroma] . . . .”

 

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[PS 11] “. . . . . . after I came forth into the World I brought with me twelve Powers, as I told you from the beginning. I took them from the Twelve Saviours of the Treasure of Light according to the command of the First Mystery. These, therefore, when I came into the world, I cast into the womb of your mothers, which are in your body (1) today . . . .

For all men who are in the World, have taken their Soul from the Rulers of the Aeôns (2). But the Power which is in you, is from me. Of a truth your soul pertains to the Height (3).”

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(1) Note that “womb” and “body” are in the singular.

(2) The four lower human Principles, we are taught in the Esoteric Philosophy, i.e., Body, Double, Life and Instinct (animal soul, or Kâma, the passionate Principle), are derived by men from the Planetary Hierarchies and the Rulers of the lower terrestrial spheres—the rupa planes.

Compare the slokas of “Dzyan” in The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 17.
“How are the Mânushyas born? The Manus with minds, how are they made? The Fathers called to their help their own fire; which is the fire that burns in Earth. The Spirit of the Earth called to his help the Solar Fire. These three produced in their joint effects a good Rupa. It could stand, walk, run, recline, or fly. Yet it was still but a Chhâyâ, a shadow with no sense.” . . . . . “The Breath needed a form; the Fathers gave it. The Breath needed a gross body; the Earth moulded it. The Breath needed the Spirit of Life; the Solar Lhas breathed it into its form. The Breath needed a Mirror of its Body; ‘We gave it our own,’ said the Dhyânis. The Breath needed a Vehicle of Desires; ‘It has it,’ said the Drainer of Waters. But Breath needs a mind to embrace the Universe; ‘We cannot give that,’ said the Fathers. ‘I never had it,’ said the Spirit of the Earth. ‘The form would be consumed were I to give it mine,’ said the Great Fire . . . . .”

(3) [The Height.] The arupa or formless planes, which shows that “Jesus” is the type of the Mahâtmic prototype, the Higher Manas.

 

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[PS 12] “. . . . . nor did the Rulers of the Aeons know me, but thought that I was the angel Gabriel (1).”
“It came to pass, when I had come into the midst of the Rulers of the Aeons, having looked from above into the World of men, I found Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, before she had conceived him. I planted the Power in her, which I had received from the Little IAÔ, the Good, who is in the Midst (2), that he should preach before me, and prepare my way, and baptize with water the remission of sins. This Power then is (3) in the body of John. Moreover, in the place of the Soul of the Rulers, appointed to receive it, I found the Soul of the prophet Elias in the Aeons of the Sphere (4) . . . . .So the Power of the Little IAÔ (5), the Good, who is in the Midst, and the Soul of the prophet Elias, are bound together in the body of John the Baptist.”

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(1) [Gabriel.] See Isis Unveiled, II, p. 247.
(2) [Midst.] That is to say, that the Power planted (or sowed) is the reflection of the Higher Ego, or the lower Kâma-Manas.
(3) [Is in the body of John.] Notice the tense, the orthodox John being dead years before.
(4) [Aeons of the sphere.] It is curious to remark the interchangeability of terms; at the end of page 12 we have the Rulers of the Sphere and the Rulers of the Aeôns, and now we have the Aeôns of the Sphere and a little below the Sphere of the Rulers. They are all intentional blinds.
(5)[The little IAÔ] On page 194 we read of “the great Leader of the Midst whom the Rulers of the Aeôns call the Great IAÔ, according to the name of the great Ruler which is in their Region, . . . . . and the twelve Servants (Deacons), whereby ye received Form and Strength.” “As above so below”; this apparent dualism is quite in keeping with all esoteric systems. —“Daemon est Deus inversus.”
[Commenting upon what Hippolytus, Bishop of Ostia (Portus), says* about Valentinian teachings comparing them with the system of Pythagoras and Plato, H.P.B. writes:]
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* Refutation of All Heresies, more generally known as the Philosophumena, Book VI, chapters xxv-xxxi [Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V, pp. 85, 89, rpr. of Wm. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1975.]
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Our author was right in comparing the Valentinian system with those of Pythagoras and Plato, and in declaring that it had a mathematical basis. The Gnôsis at all times and in all countries has been based on natural laws, and the different branches of mathematical science are simply the methods of expressing these laws. To vindicate these sublime systems of antiquity, and to prove that they were based on something more than “superstitious imagination,” some figures will now be given, and some hints as to their explanation attempted. It must, however, be remembered that as such figures are infinite, and that the permutations and combination of their properties, correspondences and qualities are equally infinite, no more than the roughest possible outline can be given in a short paper. As however, in the sequel, reference will often be made to these figures, it is necessary for the reader to be put into possession of their general scheme at the beginning of our undertaking. It is hoped that by these figures students will be given the clearest possible proof that, as Plato said, “the Deity geometrizes.”

 

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CHART OF THE PLERÔMA ACCORDING TO VALENTINUS

 

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[GEOMETRICAL SYMBOLISM]

First the • (Point), the Monad, Bythus (the Deep), the unknown and unknowable Father. Then the (Triangle), Bythus and the first emanated pair or Duad, Nous (Mind) and its syzygy Aletheia (Truth). Then the (Square), the dual Duad Tetraktys or Quaternary, two males ||, the Logos (Word) and Anthrôpos (Man), two females, their syzygies, == Zôe (Life) and Ekklesia (the Church or Assembly), Seven in all. The Triangle, the Potentiality of Spirit; the Square, the Potentiality of matter; the Vertical Straight Line, the Potency of Spirit, and the Horizontal, the Potency of matter. Next comes the Pentagram , the Pentad, the mysterious symbol of the Mânasaputras or Sons of Wisdom, which together with their syzygies make 10, or the Decad; and last of all, the Hexalpha or interlaced Triangles Y the Hexad , which with their syzygies make 12, or the Dodecad. Such are the contents of the Plerôma or Completion, the Ideas in the Divine Mind, 28 in all for Bythus or the Father is not reckoned, as it is the Root of all. The two small circles within the Plerôma are the syzygy Christos-Pneuma (Christ and the Holy Spirit); these are after-emanations, and as such, from one aspect, typify the descent of Spirit to inform and evolve Matter, which essentially proceeds from the same source; and from another, the descent or incarnation of the Kumâras or the Higher Egos of Humanity.
The Circle of the Plerôma is bounded by a circumference emanated from Bythus (the Point), this is called the Horus (Boundary), Staurus (Stock, Stake, or Cross) and Metaecheus [] (Participator); it shuts off the Plerôma (or Completion) from the Hysterema (the Inferiority or Incompletion), the larger from the smaller Circle, the Unmanifested from the Manifested. Within the Circle of the Hysterema is the Square of primordial Matter, or Chaos, emanated by Sophia, called the Ektrôma (or Abortion). Above this is a Triangle, primordial Spirit, called the Common Fruit of the Plerôma, or Jesus, for to all below the Plerôma it appears as a unity. Notice how the Triangle and Square of the Hysterema are the reflection of the Triangle and Square of the Plerôma. Finally the plane of the paper, inclosing and penetrating all, is Sige (Silence).

 

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SOME GENERAL HINTS TOWARDS AN EXPLANATION OF THE FIGURES [pp. 19-20].

In all the figures except Fig. 8 the great Hermetic Axiom “As above, so below,” is triumphantly shown forth, as also the idea of the syzygy, pair or opposite. Let us begin with Fig. 8, remembering that the Point produces the Line; the Line the Superficies; and the Superficies the Solid.
In this figure we have a symbol of Fire or Spirit. The vertical line, in the centre of the figure, is the subtlest Fire; this gradually falls into the shape of triangles, their vertical angles growing less and less acute, as their bases expand and at the same time rise to higher planes. Six planes or bases in all, and six triangles, with the point the seventh. The seventh figure generated from the point is the right-angled triangle, the most perfect. The more acute the angle, the subtler the Fire, until it finally reaches the right angle, the balance or turning point of all angles.
Now let us take the central point of the whole figure and join it with the extremities of the bases of the triangles; we shall then find that with the point again we have a second series of Seven, viz., the point, two acute-angled, one right-angled, two obtuse-angled triangles, and the horizontal diameter of the Figure. These are the Rupa Planes, the first septenary being the seven fiery Logoi, the second septenary the seven Globes on the four lower planes of the great septenate, etc., etc. Notice again the series of quadrilaterals formed by the intersection of the bases and sides of the triangles, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, the perfect number. Therefore starting from our perpendicular, or Spirit, we arrive by a series of angles through every variety of acuteness to the right-angled triangle, and pass from it through every variety of obtuseness to the horizontal diameter, Matter.
This great fact may be more plainly seen in Figs. 11-18, where the same series is traced in rectangular quadrilaterals, of which the balance or turning-point is the Square. Of course it must be remembered that only the perfect types are given, the intermediate types being infinite. For instance, to get from Fig. 11 to Fig. 12, an infinity of points are required; from Fig. 12 to Fig. 13 an infinity of lines; from Fig. 13 to Fig. 14 an infinity of intermediate figures, etc., seven infinities and seven eternities in all.
In these figures also it should be noticed that the Vertical has expanded and again decreased into the Horizontal, but in so doing has changed its direction, in other words the wheel has turned. In one of

 

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the following papers it is hoped to show the generation of the Svastika and its connection with these figures.
Having now obtained our most perfect triangle figure, viz., the right-angled Triangle, let us proceed to trace the operations of a pair of these. In the series of figures 1-8, we notice the triangle of Spirit with its apex upward and the triangle of Matter with its apex downward. Let those who wish to understand the two Circles surrounding these triangles and gradually involving into one another until finally they become one (Fig. 7), remember the Caduces, and think over what is said in The Secret Doctrine (Vol. I, pp. 550 et seq.), about the “lemniscate,” and also about the development of the germ-cell (Vol. II., pp. 117 et seq.).
These Triangles produce Squares by their intersection, and we get the following series of points generated, 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, and 49, which is 12, 22, 32, 42, 52, 62 and 72.
Thus are the Forty-nine Fires generated.
At the fourth stage the primal type of the spindle is repeated, but as a duality; in the two succeeding figures this duality is repeated but on a smaller and smaller scale until in Fig. 8, it disappears entirely.
Let us now combine our previous figures and we obtain Fig. 9. All is generated from the Point (the First Logos). Thus from it we have six descending triangles and six spheres of matter, which together with the point make seven. So also with the fainter triangles and circles of spirit which ascend. And yet the two points of departure are essentially one in nature. The horizontal diameter is neither dark nor light, neither spirit nor matter, as is also the greatest circumscribing circle
Fig. 10 is the amplification of Fig. 7. It is the Pyramid unfolded, and the “Four-faced Brahm,” the “four Maharajas,” etc., and all the quaternaries; it is also the expansion of the Tetraktys. Notice the two series of three Squares each and the Point in the centre, seven in all. Notice also that the Square of Twelve Fires is bounded by triangles of Ten. The representation of the Pythagorean Tetraktys was a triangle containing ten Yods.
Our figure being a perfect type, if the corners are folded to the central point, the Fires, or syzygies, coincide, and this process can be repeated until the whole figure disappears in the Point. But in nature the type is imperfect, and the Fires are at unequal distances, so that in folding over the four corners, the Solid Pyramid is formed, its spiritual axis and its material basal diameters varying with the proportion of spirit and matter in any manifestation.

 

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Fig. 7 will give us all our pairs, and initiate us into the mystery of Reflection. Thus we have 2 ones, 2 twos, 2 threes, 2 fours, 2 fives, 2 sixes, but only one seven. Here then we have all the mysterious gnostic numbers; from 1 to 7, then 8, or the Ogdoad, 10 or the Decad, and 12 or the Dodecad.
Much more, indeed, might be written; but perhaps, enough has already been said to direct the attention of students to the mystery of the Forty-nine Fires, and give them a key to the comprehension of the hitherto hopeless obscurity of the Gnostic writers in the eyes of the moderns.
[A later note says:] With regard to the figures published in the last paper, it should be clearly understood that there is no up nor down, no top nor bottom, in reality. It has, however, been suggested that Fig. 8 would be preferable if reversed, so that the Point should be at the top.
[Following H.P.B.’s suggestion Fig. 8 has been reversed in this edition.—Compiler.]

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[PS 13] “After these things, moreover, I looked down into the World of Men, and found Mary who is called my Mother after the body of Matter (Hyl‘); I spoke to her, moreover, in the form of Gabriel (1), and when she had turned herself into the Height (sc. Plerôma) towards me, I implanted in her the first Power which I received from Barbelô (2), the Body which I wore in the Height. And instead of a Soul, I implanted in her the Power,
[PS 14] which I received from the Great Tsebâôth, the Good, (3) who is in the Region of the Right (4). And the twelve Powers of the Twelve Saviours (5) of the Treasure of Light, which I received from the twelve Deacons (Ministers), who are in the Midst (6), I brought into the Sphere of the Rulers, and the Decans (7) of the Rulers, and their Ministers thought them the souls of the Rulers: and the Ministers conducted them. I bound them in the body of your mothers. And when your time was full, they brought you forth into the World, no Soul of the Rulers being in you. And ye have received your portion of the Power which the last Supporter breathed into the Mixture of (Kerasmos, see Table I), which was blended with all the Invisibles, and Rulers, and Aeôns; once only was it blended with the World of Destruction, which is the Mixture: this (Power) I brought out from Myself, (sc. the Four-and-Twentieth Mystery) from the beginning, and infused it into the First Precept; and the First Precept infused a portion thereof into the Great Light; and the Great Light infused a portion of that which it received, into the Five Supporters; and the last Supporter received that portion and infused it into the Mixture (8).
[PS 15] Such is the manner of all things which are in this Mixture, as I have told you.
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(1) [Gabriel.] In the system of Justinus (Philosophumena, V, 26), the first triad is described as consisting of two male principles and one feminine. The first male is called the Good and is attributed with universal foreknowledge: the second, the Elôhîm, is the father (collective) of all the creation or generation, without fore-

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knowledge and blind. The third, the feminine principle, is also without foreknowledge, two-minded or undecided, bi-corporate or of two bodies, being figured as a virgin above and a viper below (astronomically the Virgo-Scorpio of the ancient Zodiacs), and her name is Eden or Isrâ‘l. And mutual desire arose in the Elôhîm and Eden, and from this union were born twenty-four Angels, twelve called Paternal and twelve Maternal. Among the twelve Paternal is Gabriel. The twelve are, of course the twelve signs of the Zodiac, etc., according to the key used. In the Talmud and the Kabala, Eden is called “The Garden of Delight,” and held by the Church Fathers to figure Yoni after the commission of the first sin. The Gnostics, on the contrary, always explain the term in its most spiritual and metaphysical sense, treating of its cosmogonical and theogonical signification and ignoring its material and physiological explanation.
In Adversum Celsum (vi. 30) * Origen with much verbiage and contempt treats of the “accursed diagram” of the Ophites, which his Gnostic opponent Celsus had referred to. In it, Gabriel is the fourth of the “seven ruling Daimôns”, for we read: “Moreover, Celsus asserted that the ‘fourth had the form of an eagle’; the diagram representing him as Gabriel the Eagle-like.” In ancient Astrology, Gabriel was said to rule over the sign Taurus and the Moon.
Now, the Egyptians, according to Plutarch† assigned to the moon a male and a female nature (phusin arsenoth‘lun). During the Lunus-Luna festival, at the Vernal Equinox, when the sun was in the sign Taurus, the men sacrificed to Lunus and the women to Luna, each sex assuming the dress of the other. The Bull (Taurus), moreover, among all the ancients was the symbol of generation, and in the symbolism of the Mithraic Mysteries, the Initiate plunges a sword or scimitar into the throat of a prostrate Bull. Compare this with The Voice of the Silence (pp. 11 and 12): “Before that path is entered, thou must destroy thy lunar body, cleanse thy mind-body and make clean thy heart . . . . .”
“Before the ‘Mystic Power’ can make of thee a god, Lanoo, thou must have gained the faculty to slay thy lunar form at will.”
When we collate all this with what is told us in The Secret Doctrine of the Pitris and their work in the formation of the lower man, and of the bi-sexual or androgynous nature of the early races, we shall
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* [In Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, p. 586.]
† De Iside et Osiride, ch. 43, [In Plutarch’s Morals, tr. by C. W. King, London, Geo. Bell & Sons, 1898.]
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understand why the Angel Gabriel the Daimôn of the Moon, and the ruler of the sign Taurus, appeared to Mary at her conception; the Annunciation will resolve itself into far simpler terms than the accepted solution, and we shall have learnt something of the mysteries of the astral body.
(2) [Barbelô.] In explaining this term, it will be interesting to see first of all what the other Gnostic systems say of Barbelô and then to examine the statements in Pistis-Sophia.
We learn from Irenaeus,* that the Innominable Father was manifested to this “never-aging Aeôn in a virginal form” by the emanation of four beings, whose name expressed thought and life; and that she, at the sight thereof, conceived and gave birth to three like beings.
Compare with this:—
“Then the three (triangles) fall into the four (quaternary). The radiant essence becomes Seven inside, Seven outside. The Luminous Egg (Hiranyagarbha), which itself is Three (the triple hypostases of Brahmâ, or Vishnu, the three ‘Avasthâs’), curdles and spreads in milk-white curds throughout the depths of Mother, the Root that grows in the depths of the Ocean of Life.” (S.D. I, 66.)
According to Epiphanius, one of the Ophite schools taught that Barbelô was an emanation of the Father, and the Mother of Ialdabaôth (or according to some, of Tsebâôth), which is to say that Barbelô was identical with Sophia-Achamôth or Pistis-Sophia. She dwelt in the Eighth Heaven above: while her son insolently possessed himself of the Seventh and caused his mother much lamentation. This idea is the common property of all the Gnostic systems, the terms varying, the idea remaining constant. She is further said to constantly appear to the Archôns or Rulers, in a beautiful form, so that she may collect again her scattered power, stolen from her by the Demiurge, his Gods, Angels. and Daimôns.
According to Irenaeus again, the ascent of souls terminated in the upper Region “where is Barbelô the Mother of the Living (or Lives).”†
Pistis-Sophia informs us that Barbelô is one of the Triad of the Invisibles Agrammachamareg, Barbelô and Bdelle, in the Region of the Left (see Table I), where is the Thirteenth Aeôn (page 359). She is
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* Adversus Haereses, Book I, ch. xxix. [In Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p. 353.]
† [Wrongly ascribed to Irenaeus. Actually, Epiphanius, De Gemmis, ii, 20.]
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twice called the Power (dynamis) of the Invisible God; she is also the Mother of Pistis-Sophia and twenty-three other Emanations (pages 49, 361). The Region of the Left is apparently called the Hyle (Matter) of Barbelô (page 128).
Again, from Epiphanius,* we learn that one of the names of the Valentinians was Barbelitae, and we are inclined to think with É. C. Amélineau in his Essai sur le Gnosticisme Égyptien (Paris, 1887), that it was the name of the highest degree of their Initiation, in which the Adept became a perfect Pneumatic, or Illuminatus, a son of Immortality. The Hebrew derivation would give the meaning, Son or Daughter of God. We know, on the other hand, that with the Gnostics and especially the Docetae (Illusionists), who held that Jesus, the man, was entirely distinct from Christos, the Principle, and denied the facts of the miraculous conception, incarnation, death, and resurrection—the mother of Jesus, the man, was considered as low, as the mother of Christos, the Principle, was held in veneration by them. The latter was the “Holy Ghost” and regarded as female by their schools. When we consider, however, that esoterically there are seven aspects of the Sophia (the seven planes of wisdom), it will be easy to see that both the Church Fathers, unintentionally, and the Gnostics, intentionally, only give one out of the seven aspects.
(3) [The great Tsebâôth, the good.] In Pistis-Sophia there are three Tsebâôths, that is to say three aspects of the power or principle hidden in this name. (a) The Great Tsebâôth, the Good, the “father” of the “soul” of Jesus (pages 14, 193): (b) The Little Tsebâôth, the Good, called in the Kosmos Zeus (Jupiter) (page 371),† one of the Planetary Rulers: and (c) Tsebâôth-Adamas, Ruler over six of the twelve Archôns (page 360), and also in the Lower World, one of the Archôns which have the punishment of Souls, whose “Receiver,” or subordinate, presents the Cup of Oblivion to reincarnating souls.
In some of the schools it was taught that he who wished to be “Perfect” must ascend through the realms of the Rulers, and finally place his foot on the head of Tsebâôth; and thus attain the Eighth Heaven where dwelt Barbelô. Tsebâôth was said to have a woman’s hair, and
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* Panarion or Adversus Haereses, Book I, t. II, Haer. xxvi, § iii, footnote by Petavius.
† [Pages 359, 360, 361, 371, etc. refer to the pages of the Third Document in Pistis-Sophia MS., namely the one entitled: “Part of the Books of the Saviour.”]
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was figured by some as an ass. by others as a swine. Here we should call to mind the red ass of Typhon in the Egyptian Mysteries; the descent of Bacchus to Hades on an ass in the Frogs of Aristophanes (a burlesque on the Eleusinian Mysteries); the Golden Ass of Apuleius, and last but not least the entrance of “Jesus” into “Jerusalem” (the mundane Jerusalem in other words, physical existence) on an “ass.” In every case these terms are from the Mysteries and none but the “Perfect” knew their secret meaning. To the multitude they have ever remained “abracadabra” and will remain for all but the most determined students.
Origen (Adv. Cels., vi, 31) gives the formulae of prayers recited by the Defunct, or Pneumatic, to the Planetary Rulers. These were probably part of the secrets of their outer initiation and used by the Bishop of Auch to show that he knew their secrets even better than Celsus himself. The passage referring to Tsebâôth, runs as follows: “They next come to Tsebâôth, to whom they think the following should be addressed: ‘O Governor of the fifth realm, powerful Tsebâôth, defender of the law of thy creation, which is liberated by grace, through the help of a more powerful Pentad, admit me, seeing the faultless symbol of thy art, preserved by a stamp of an image a body liberated by a Pentad. Let grace be with me. O Father let grace be with me’.”
(4) [Region of the right.] Perhaps it will not be without interest if, in explanation of this term, we translate a few lines from the Adversus Haereses of Irenaeus, who was, perhaps, the bitterest of all the opponents of the Gnôsis. The “holy” Father shall teach us the Knowledge he strove so vigorously to crush out of existence.
In speaking of the Italian school of the Valentinians, Irenaeus writes:—“They declare that the Demiurge, having fashioned the Cosmos, made the Choïc (Material) Man also; but not from this dry Earth, but from the invisible Essence, from the fluid and unsettled portion of the Hyle, and that he breathed into him the Psychic (or astral Man). And this is the Man which is born according to the image and likeness (sc. the Chhâyâ), the Hylic being according to the image, resembling but not of the same Essence with the God (the Pitris), while the Psychic Man was in the likeness: whence also his Essence, being from a spiritual emanation is called a spirit of Life. It was afterwards they say that the Coat of Skin clothed him, which they declare is the body of flesh perceived by the senses . . . . so that they derive the Soul from the Demiurge, the Body from the Earth (Choos), and the Fleshly Covering from the Hyle; But the Spiritual Man (Anthrôpos) from the Mother of Achamôth (i.e. from Sophia-Above or Within, the Mother of Sophia-Without, or Pistis-Sophia) . . . . Of these three, they say that the Hylic, which

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they also call the Left, must of necessity perish, in as much as it has in it no breath of incorruptibility; but the Psychic, which they designate the Right, being in the middle of the Spiritual and Hylic, goes in whatsoever direction it may incline itself; whereas the Spiritual (Manas) has been sent forth, in order that, by being united with the Psychic here (i.e., emanating Kâma-Manas), it might take Form and be instructed together with it (the Psychic or Kâma-Rûpa) by sharing in its existence or by conversion with it (anastroph‘).”*
In the Pistis-Sophia the plane immediately below or inferior to the Treasure of Light is divided into three main Lokas or Sub-planes, the Right, the Left and the Middle.
The duty of the Rulers of the Right is the forming, fashioning or building of all the lower Spheres or Planes of existence, by bringing down the Light out of its Treasury, and causing it to return thither again, thus in another sense, accomplishing the salvation of such souls as are fit to ascend to a higher plane. The Rulers of the Midst have the Guardianship of Human Souls. The Left, called also the Region of Righteousness, is the Loka or condition towards which all penitent souls tend, for it is here that the conflict between the principles of Light and Hyl‘ (i.e., differentiation) first commences. From the words in italics in the preceding paragraph, we can see the type of Brahmâ, Vishnu. and Siva, the Hindu Trimurti or Trinity, revealing itself; the ideas of Creation, Preservation, and Destruction or Regeneration being very clearly shown forth.
In the System of Valentinus, we read of “the power of the psychic or soulish essence which is called the ‘Right’.” Tsebâôth also who dwells in the Right is an aspect of the Demiurge and the Creator of Souls.
Before proceeding further, it is necessary to give a provisionary table to the Planes and Lokas according to the Pistis-Sophia.
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* Adversus Haereses, Book V, ch. v, sect. 5 & 6.
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Table I

Vide S.D., I, 200.

(5) [Twelve Saviours.] The Twelve Saviours are part of the contents of the Treasure of Light and are identical with the Dodecad of the Valentinian Plerôma. The twelve Deacons are of course a manifestation of the primordial type of the Dodecad of the Plerôma on a Loka of another plane.
(6) [The Midst.] In the Valentinian System the Mesot‘s, or Middle Region, is above the highest Heaven but below the Plerôma. It is especially the place of the Psychics, as the Plerôma is of the Pneumatics. This is the proper place of Sophia-Achamôth, the Sophia-Without or Pistis-Sophia, who desiring the Light, falls from the Ogdoad into the Heptad, the highest Loka or Subplane of which is ruled by the Demiurge, the Self-Willed One of the Pistis-Sophia. When she gains the Plerôma, the Demiurge will be exalted to the Middle Region. In other words when the Lower-Manas shall have become one with the Higher, those Kâmic elements which follow the higher and impress themselves permanently in it, will be purified
(7) [Decans.] Over the Sphere (see Table I) IEU, [the Overseer, (episkopos or bishop) of the Light, also called the First Man (primus homo) who is one of the 6 great Rulers of the Right], sets 5 great Rulers, or Archôns, formed of the Light-powers of the Right; these are the Planetary Rulers, Saturn, Mars, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter.

GEORGE R.S. MEAD
1863-1933
At one time private secretary of H.P.B. and outstanding scholar of
Gnosticism and the origins of Christianity. Edited for some years
Lucifer and the TheTheosophical Review. Reproduced from his own
Journal: The Quest, Vol. XVII, April, 1926.

 

H.P. BLAVATSKY
Reproduced from a photograph in the Adyar Archives.

 

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Below it are placed 360 other powers, or Decans; below them again in the Region of the Air and corresponding in number, are 360 other Archôns with 5 Rulers again over them. The lower refuse to believe in the mysteries of Light and entice souls to sin. This apparent duality is a common characteristic of the Gnôsis. Everything in nature is bad or good according to the nature and motive of man; at each moment of life, man can choose the Left or Right.
These numbers 360 and 365 occur in the systems of Bardesanes and Basilides and in the Aeônology of other schools; sometimes they form part of the contents of the Plerôma.
Matter, in treating of the Gnostic schools of Egypt, tells us that the Tutelar Genii of each day were invoked against the nefast power of Typhon, the Egyptian Ahriman. These composed the third series of the gods of the Egyptian Pantheon.
“These gods,” he says, “are as little known by name, as the 360 intelligences which made up the Abraxas of Basilides. The ancients classed them under the generic term of Daemons. These Daemons were grouped in classes round the gods called Cosmic Deities, as they were called; that is to say, the gods which governed the visible world; they were its agents (Kosmokratores), just as their chiefs were those of the Super-celestial gods. Commissioned as they were to maintain the communication between the two worlds, they presided at the descent of souls from the higher regions to the inferior zone, and communicated to them during the present existence of trial and expiation, the gifts of divine life. They divided among themselves the 36 parts of the human body, and after their earthly career was finished, guided the souls in their return to the Supreme Being.”*
(8) [Mixture.] Although it is impossible at present to give a complete and detailed table of the almost interminable synonyms of the terms, used in the scheme of the Pistis-Sophia, we are compelled at the risk of being thought tedious, to give some explanation of the strange nomenclature which meets us at every step.
Below the Last Mystery in the Upper World which we are inclined to make correspond with the Treasure or Plerôma, come the Great Light of the Impression (or Mark) of Light, divided into five Impressions of Light; the First Precept (or Statute), divided into 7
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* [A. Jacques Matter, Historie critique du Gnostisme, et de son influence sur les sectes religieuses et philosophiques des six premiers siècles de l’Ètre Chrétienne (Paris, 1828), Vol. II, p. 34.]
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Mysteries; the Great Light of Lights; the 5 Great Supporters (or Helpers), which conduct the Powers of Light into the lower regions, or planes; and last of all the Region of the Inheritance of Light, where redeemed souls will dwell.
Here we have 7 elements or principles and it is curious to remark how the 5 Impressions (Charagmai; in some systems Charactéres), or ideas, are repeated as the 5 Supporters, and the Great Light of the Impression of Light as the Great Light of Lights.
Other Supporters (parastatai) are mentioned as belonging to the Middle Region, 15 in number, whose names are quoted from a Coptic papyrus in the Bodleian, in the work of É. C. Amélineau already mentioned (p. 252). This papyrus contains three treatises apparently of the same school as the Pistis-Sophia, entitled The Mystery of the Letters of the Alphabet, The Book of the Gnosis of the Divine Invisible, and The Book of the Great Logos according to the Mystery.
These repeated Fives and combinations of Five are according to the type of the Pentad, as shown in the Chart of the Valentinian Plerôma. Five is the number of man; for of the perfect Septenary, the Triad, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, is the average humanity a unity.

[PS 15 continued] “Rejoice, therefore, in that the time is come that I should put on my Vesture (1) .
“Lo! I have put on my vesture and all the power has been given me by the First Mystery . . . . .”

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(1) [My vesture.] It is curious and interesting to learn what occult ideas the Gnostics had of these Bodies or Vestures; for instance, in speaking of the Docetae, a generic name including those schools which maintained that the Body of the adept was only an appearance, or, in other words, a Mayâvi-rupa, the author of the Philosophumena (VIII, ch. 3) informs us that they explained the mystery-drama of the Jesus as follows: “He went and washed in the Jordan [the mystic ‘River’ which stopped the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt ‘which is the body’ (V, 7)], and in doing so received the Type and Impression, in the water, of the body born from the Virgin, in order that when the Ruler (Archôn) condemned his own (sc. the Ruler’s) image (plasma, i.e.,

 

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the body) to death, viz., to the Cross (stauros) ,* this Soul of his (Jesus’) being nourished in the body, might not after putting off the body, and nailing it to the tree and by its means triumphing over the Principalities and Authorities, be found naked, but might put on the body, which had been impressed in the water when he was baptized, instead of the fleshly body.”
The deep occult significance of this passage scarcely needs any pointing out to the student, the whole mystery of “Birth” and “Baptism” is contained therein. Those alone who have bathed in the Cosmic stream will fully comprehend.

[PS 16] “It came to pass, when the sun had risen in the places of the East, a great flood of light descended, in which was my Vesture, which I placed in the Four-and-Twentieth Mystery. And I found the Mystery on my Vesture, written in Five Words, which pertain to the Height. ZAMA ZAMA OZZA RACHAMA OZAI (2). And this is the interpretation thereof: The Mystery which is without in the World, because of which the Universe was made, is all Evolution and all Progress; it projected all emanations and all things therein. Because of it every Mystery exists and the Regions thereof. Come to us (3), for we are thy fellow members. We are all one with thee. We are one and the same, and thou art one and the same. That is the First Mystery
[PS 17], which was from the beginning in the Ineffable before it came forth therefrom; and its Name is all of us. Now, therefore, we all live together for thee at the last Limit (4), which also is the last Mystery from the interiors . . . . .”
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*The Staurus or Cross ( + ) is the potentiality of the Positive and Negative, or Male and Female, forces in nature. They are also called the Participator, because they share in the Creation Above, in an abstract sense, and in the Creation Below, in a concrete. In the abstract the + ceases and becomes the ±, and therefore is called the Boundary, for the Below is the Natural Creation of Sex, whereas the Above is the Creation of the Gods or of Mind; in other words, of the Plerôma or MAHAT. We see also this Fall into generation, or the Substitution of the Natural for the Divine Creation, typified in the Myths of Saturn emasculating Uranus, Zeus, Saturn, and Typhon, Osiris.
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(2) Compare The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 580: “The five words (Pañchadasa) of Brahmâ have become with the Gnostics the ‘Five Words’ written upon the âkâsic (shining) garment of Jesus at his glorification: the words ZAMA ZAMA ÔZZA RACHAMA ÔZAI translated by the Orientalists, ‘the robe, the glorious robe of my strength.’ These words were, in their turn, the anagrammatic blind of the five mystic powers represented on the robe of the ‘resurrected’ Initiate after his last trial of three days’ trance; the five becoming seven only after his death, when the Adept became the full CHRISTOS, the full KRISHNA-VISHNU, i.e., merged in Nirvâna.”
(3) [Come to us.] Compare The Secret Doctrine (Vol. I, Stanzas v and vi, and pages 130, 131), where the Great Day “Be with us” is described as: “that day when man, freeing himself from the trammels of ignorance, and recognizing fully the non-separateness of the Ego within his personality—erroneously regarded as his own—from the UNIVERSAL EGO (Anima Supra-Mundi) merges thereby into the One Essence to become not only one ‘with us’(the manifested universal lives which are ‘ONE’ LIFE), but that very life itself.”
In the Egyptian mysteries we also find the “Day Come to us” mentioned, and explained as “the day, when Osiris said to the Sun ‘Come’” (Book of the Dead, xvii, 61). For a full explanation, read also The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, pp. 134, 135.
(4) [Ultimate Limit.] This corresponds to the Horos or Stauros of the Valentinian System. The Pistis-Sophia, however, is far richer in its esotericism, and there are many Limits or Laya centers (see The Secret Doctrine, passim), corresponding to each plane and sub-plane, even as there are several Plerômas. Compare also (ibid.) what is said about the Ring “Pass Not,” and the Dhyâni-pâsa or “Rope of the Gods.”

[PS 17 continued] “Come to us!! For we (5) all stand by thee to clothe thee with the First Mystery . . . . .”

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(5) Notice the change of number.

[PS 19] “. . . the Mystery of the three Triple Powers (6), and also the Mystery of the whole Region of them, and also the Mystery of all their Invisibles and of all that turn (7) in the Thirteenth of the Aeôns . . . . . and of all their Regions (8).”


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(6) Two mystery names of the three Triple Powers are mentioned (page 361), viz., IPSANTACHOUNCHAINCHOUCHEOCH and CHAINCHOOOCH; a Power emanates from the former upon Mars and from the latter upon Mercury. In the same context, we are told that a Power from the Great Invisible resides in Saturn and from Pistis-Sophia daughter of Barbelo, in Venus.
(7) Or dwell: sc. the “Wheels” (cf. S.D.).
(8) For the Regions, etc., see Table I.

[PS 21] “And having left that Region, I ascended into the First Sphere, shining with the greatest possible Light, forty and nine* times exceeding the splendour, with which I shone in the Firmament.”

[PS 24] “And their great confusion and fear reached to the Region of the Great, Invisible Forefather (1) also, and of the three great Triple Powers.”

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(1) [The Great Invisible Forefather.] The Great Invisible Forefather stands at the head of the Hierarchies of the Left, the Region of Righteousness, and of the Thirteenth Aeôn. The great Power (or Dynamis) of this Invisible Deity is Barbelô, and next to it come the three Triple-Powers (cf. pages 19, 23, 41 and 183). As we proceed, it will be seen how the Type of the Plerôma is impressed upon all the Planes and Lokas. In other words, as the States of Consciousness change, the Appearances of things change with them, while the Things in themselves, or Types, remain the same. See the Chart of the Valentinian Plerôma.

[PS 24 continued] “But, in the Twelve Aeôns, my Light was greater than in the World among you, eight thousand and seven hundred times (2).”

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(2) [Eight thousand and seven hundred times: octies millies et septies centies (Schwartze’s transl.)]. Setting aside the poor latinity of

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* Typical of the “forty-nine fires” in the Occult doctrines. See the figures.
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septies centies, it is difficult to relate this number with the previous “forty and nine times.” The translation is evidently at fault, for we find in the notes “centies (. . . . . decies millies, Petermann).” This emendation, however, only seems to make matters worse. The translation in Migne is “huit fois mille fois et sept fois cent foix,” and, as usual, no comment or elucidation is offered. The probable solution of the difficulty is that, whatever the correct translation may be, it is either a vague expression meaning “many thousand times,” just as in Latin the number of the Sacred Cycle, 600, became a loose term for any large number, or that it is a deliberate “blind.”

[PS 24 continued] “. . . and all the Aeôns, and Heavens, and their whole Ordering, were shaken, because of the great fear, which was in them [PS 25] because they knew not the mystery, which was done (3).”

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(3) Truly Avidyâ, or Ignorance (Nescience rather) is the root of all Nidânas, or the Concatenation of Cause and Effect (see S.D., sub. Voce).

[PS 25 continued] “And Adamas, the Great Tyrant (4), and all the Tyrants, which are in all the Aeôns, began to fight vainly against the Light.”

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(4) [Adamas.] On page 360, we read that six of the Twelve Aeôns are ruled by Tsebâôth-Adamas, and six by Iabraôth. These Twelve Aeôns, in order to extend their power, persist in the Mystery of Intercourse. In this, however, they are opposed by IEU, the Father of the Father of Jesus, and thus Iabrâôth and his Rulers are converted to the Mysteries of Light. IEU, therefore, exalts them to a higher Region and brings them into a pure Air, into the Light of the Sun, amid the Region of the Midst, and of the Invisible Deity. Tsebâôth-Adamas and his Rulers, however, will not abstain from the Mystery of Intercourse; IEU, accordingly, confines them in the Sphere (of Fate?) in number 1800 (360 x 5) and above them 360 other Rulers, and above these again 5 great Rulers. Using the Astronomical key, IEU is the Spiritual Sun, the father of the Physical Sun, which again is the father of the “intra-mercurial planet.” See The Secret Doctrine, II, 28, and Part I, Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, p. 48. (C.W. X, 340).

 

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The above description is taken from the fourth book or division of the Pistis-Sophia, which R. A. Lipsius thinks, “has probably got by accident into the place where we now read it in the manuscript. It presents a simpler and older form of the Gnostic doctrine, and was the work perhaps of a different author.” However that may be, and as our effort is to understand the ideas of the Pistis-Sophia, it will be sufficient to remark that the above description is given by Jesus to his disciples when he had brought them, in their Initiation, “into the Middle Region of the Air, in the Paths of the Way of the Midst, which is below the Sphere,” and that, by analogy, it helps greatly the understanding of the “Conversion of the Rulers,” which follows.
A hint to the explanation of the word “Tyrant” is given on page 76, where it speaks of “All the Tyrant Deities, which had not yet given up the purity of their Light.” Compare also pages 25, 137, and 154, and also PS 14 (3).
In the Gnôsis of the Ophites, the term “Adamas” is of frequent occurrence, and in Philosophumena, X, 9, we read that: “The Naaseni (a school of the Ophites) call Anthrôpos (the Man), the First Principle of the Universe (Archen Universorum), and also the Son of Man, and divide it into three. For in it, they say, is an Intelligent, a Psychic and a Choïc (Physical) Principle. And they call it Adamas, and think that the knowledge, which has it (Adamas) for its object, is the beginning of our being able to know Deity.” From the above it is evident that there are three Adamantes, of which our Adamas is the lowest.
In connection with these “Tyrant Deities, which had not yet given up the purity of their Light,” and from which Jesus took a “third part of their Power,” and in explanation of what follows in the text, students should compare Stanza vi, sloka 5, of The Secret Doctrine (Vol. I, 191 et seq.), “At the fourth (Round, or revolution of life and being around ‘the seven smaller wheels’), the sons are told to create their images. One third refuses. Two (thirds) obey.”

[PS 25 continued] “And I changed both the Fate and Sphere, which are their Lords, and made them turned for six months toward the left, and for six months aspecting the right, accomplishing their influences [PS 26] for by the command of the First Precept and of the First Mystery (5), IEU (6), the Watcher (or Overseer) of the Light, had placed them, facing the left, for all time, accomplishing their Influences and Actions.” And when he had said these

 

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things to his disciples, he added: “He that has ears to hear let him hear.”
Now when Mary (7) had heard these words, which the Saviour said, having gazed into the sky with amazement,* for the space of one hour . . . . . [PS 28] no Ruler shall know the things, which thou wilt do henceforth, from this hour; which Rulers indeed are Egypt (8), since they are the ineffectual Hyle . . . . .
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(5) [The First Mystery.] Jesus, who proceeds from the First Mystery (his Father), bears also himself the name of the First Mystery. The Hierarchy of the Emanations in the Treasure of Light, according to the first three books, consists of the Ineffable, called also the Deity of Truth, and the Inward of the Inward, and also of the Limbs (or Words) on the one hand, and on the other of the Mysteries of the Ineffable. At the head of all Mysteries stands the Mystery of the Ineffable or the First Mystery, called also the Only (Unicum) Word (or Logos) of the Ineffable. From this emanates the Only Mystery of the First Mystery, and thence Three, Five and Twelve other Mysteries.
(6) IEU is called the Father of the Father of Jesus, the Father of Jesus being the Great Tsebâôth, the Good.† The Region of IEU is the Right, and the titles of this Principle are the Overseer of the Light, the First Man, the Legate of the First Statute‡ and the Guardian of the Veil. Seeing also that, in the fourth book, the Ineffable, to which Jesus addresses all invocations, is called the Father of all Fatherhood, we have three Fathers of Jesus, viz., the Ineffable, IEU, and the Great Tsebâôth. For a further comprehension of these three “Fathers,” and three “Lives,” read Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 227 et seq.
(7) Mary, called also Mariham and Maria Magdalena (p. 182), must not be confounded with Mary, the corporeal Mother of Jesus. This Mary is by far the most intuitive (pneumatic), and the most prominent interlocutor of all the disciples.
From the Philosophumena, V, 7, we learn that the School of the Naaseni claimed to have received their teachings from Mariamne, to
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* Or into the Air (Aëra) with inspiration. See Commentary (4) on Adamas, “The Middle Region of the Air”.
† See PS 14 (3).
‡ See PS 14 (8) .
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whom “James, the brother of the Lord” had originally imparted them. Origen also (Adv. Celsum, V, 62) speaks of a Gnostic school, which derived its teachings from Mariamne.
Those who are curious to analyse the controversies on the three Marys, viz., Mary Magdalene, Mary the sister of Martha, and “la femme pecheresse,” as to whether they were three different personages or one and the same individual, should refer to the list of authorities in “Migne”, vol. xxiv, col. 541 and 542.* Esoterically, however, Mary the Mother, Mary the sister of Martha and Mary Magdalene correspond to Buddhi, Manas, and the lower Manas.
(8) [Egypt] This passage is somewhat obscure, especially the last sentence, “Quae eadem sunt Aegyptus” (Schwartze’s transl.), which grammatically must refer to its antecedent, “the things which thou wilt do.” If, however, it is so construed, despair will seize upon our readers. We have, therefore restored the idea of the Gnostic writer by a study of passages in the Philosophumena, of which the following is an example:—“This, said he, is what was written: ‘I have said, ye are all Gods, and children of the Highest, if ye shall hasten to flee out of Egypt, and crossing the Red Sea come into the Wilderness,’ that is, from the Intercourse (mixis) below, to that of Jerusalem Above; ‘but if ye again return to Egypt,’ that is, to the Intercourse below, ‘ye die like men’ (Ps. 82,6-7). For he said, all the inferior generation is mortal, whereas all that is generated above is immortal. For of Water [Sc. the Water of Space] alone and Spirit, the Spiritual (Man) is generated, and not the Carnal. The Lower (Man) on the contrary, is Carnal: this is, said he, what was written: ‘What is born of the Flesh is Flesh, and what is born of Spirit is Spirit.’ This is, according to them, the Spiritual generation. This, he said, is the Great Jordan, which flowing down, and hindering the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt (that is from the lower Intercourse; for Egypt is the body, according to them), was turned back, and made to flow upward by Jesus” (V. § Naaseni).

[PS 29] And she [Mary] said: “Master, will all those, who know the Mystery of the Magic of the Rulers of all the Aeôns, and those of the Fate and of the Sphere, as the Transgressing Angels taught them (if they invoke them in
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* [Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (ed. by Jacques Paul Migne). Series Latina (221 vols., Paris, 1844-64). See S.D., General Index and Bibliography volume, p. 464, T.P.H., Adyar, 1979.—Compiler]
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their Mysteries, which are evil Magic Rites for the hindering of good deeds), will they accomplish their ends now at the present time, or not?” And Jesus answered, and said to Mary: “They will not accomplish them, like as they accomplished them from the beginning, because I have taken the third part of their Power. But they will be in error (1) in the eyes of those, who know the Mysteries of the Magic of the Thirteenth Aeôn . . . . .”
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(1) The passage before us is of the greatest possible interest, as showing the attitude of the Schools of Initiation to the Astrology of the Profane, and as containing the hint that the “Influence of the Stars” had to do with the Physical or Hylic Man alone; whereas, those who knew the mysteries of the Thirteenth Aeôns, i.e., the Psychics (See Table I), were superior to such Influences.

[PS 30] [the Ordainers of the Hour—Horary Astrologers] “. . . . . I have changed their Influences, their Four and Three Angles, and their Eight Configurations (1).”
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(1) [Their four and three angles.] These are the terms of the occult system of Astrology, founded on the type of the Triad and the Quaternary, and correspond to the three higher and four lower principles, making seven in all. In exoteric astrology they stand for the usual Trine and Square, the Eight Configurations being:

[PS 34] “And when the time of the Number of Melchizedek, the great Receiver of the Light (1), had arrived . . . . .”

[PS 42] “. . . . . I have shortened their Times, because of my Elect . . . . for had I not done so, no hylic Soul could have been saved, but they would have perished in the Fire, which is in the Flesh of the Rulers.” (2).

 

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(1) [Melchizedec.] In Philosophumena, VII, 36, we find mention of the “Melchisedeciani,” who,
the author says, owed the foundation of their School to Theodotus, a banker. The main feature of their teaching was that the Christos descended on the man, Jesus, at his Baptism, but that Melchizedec was a heavenly power, higher than the Christos. That which the Christos was to do for men, Melchizedec did for Angels. This Melchizedec was without Father, or Mother, or descent, whose beginning and end were incomprehensible. See also Philaster (Haer., 52), Pseudo-Tertullian (24), Epiphanius (55), and Eusebius (Hist. Ecc., v, 28), as quoted by Salmon (Smith and Wace, Dict. of Christian Biography, III, 889-90).
From the Pistis-Sophia (pages 292, 327-9, 337, 365), we learn that the three chief Deities of the Right are Ieu, Zorokothora Melchizedec, and the Great Tsebâôth, the Good. The office of Melchizedec, and of his Receivers, is to deprive the Rulers of their Light- Powers, and carry the Light back into the Treasure. For the occult significance of “Melchizedec” compare The Secret Doctrine, I, 208 and 265, on the “Great Sacrifice” and “Silent Watcher.”
(2) Flesh of the Rulers. That is to say, that the kâma-mânasic Entity would perish in the lower kosmic forces.

[PS 42 continued] “After this, I came into the Height, to the Veils of the Thirteenth Aeôn. And its Veils were drawn together of their own accord, and opened for me. And having entered the Thirteenth of the Aeôns, I found PISTIS-SOPHIA (1) below the Thirteenth Aeôn, alone, none of them turning near her. But she was sitting in that Region grieving and mourning, because they had not brought her to the Thirteenth Aeôn, her proper Region in the Height. She was grieving also because of the vexations, which the Self-willed One caused her, which is one of those Three Triple-Powers, [PS 43] whose Mystery I will tell you, if I shall come to speak of their Emanation.
“And when PISTIS-SOPHIA saw me, changed into the most brilliant Light, she was in perturbation; and gazing into the Light of my Vesture, she saw the Mystery of her own Name (2) therein, and the whole Splendour of her Mystery, in as much as she had been in the Beginning in the Region of the Height, in the Thirteenth Aeôn . . . . .”

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(1) [PISTIS-SOPHIA.] The reader should carefully study the recital of the “Fall” of Sophia, as told in the Philosophumena (p. 107) and compare it with the allegorical drama of the text which follows. It will be noticed that the first and last of the female Aeôns of the Dodecad, are respectively PISTIS and SOPHIA. The Soul was the one subject, and the knowledge of the Soul the one object of all the ancient Mysteries. In the “Fall” of PISTIS-SOPHIA, and her rescue by her Syzygy, JESUS, we see the ever-enacted drama of the suffering and ignorant Personality, which can only be saved by the immortal Individuality, or rather by its own yearning towards IT. In reading this portion of the Pistis-Sophia, the mysterious Duality of the Manas should always be remembered, and this key applied to every line.
As Wisdom was the end of the Gnôsis, so the pivot of the whole Gnostic teaching was the so-called “Sophia-Mythus.” For whether we interpret the allegory from the macro- or from the micro-cosmic stand. point, it is always the evolution of MIND, that the Initiates of old have sought to teach us. The emanation and evolution of Mahat in cosmogenesis, and of Manas in anthropogenesis, was ever the study of the One Science. The dwelling of Sophia was in the Midst, between the Upper and Lower Worlds, in the Ogdoad. Below was the Hebdomad or Seven Spheres, governed by seven Hierarchies of Rulers. Truly hath “Wisdom built for herself a House, and rested it on Seven Pillars” (Proverbs ix, 1 and again: “She is on the lofty Heights; she stands in the midst of the Paths, for she taketh her seat by the Gates of the Powerful Ones (the Rulers), she tarrieth at the Entrances” (Ibid., viii, 2). Moreover, Sophia was the Mediatrix between the Upper and Lower Region, and at the same time projected the Types or Ideas of the Plerôma into the Universe. Now, why should Sophia, who was originally of a Pneumatic or Spiritual Essence, be in the Middle Space, an exile from her true Dwelling? Such was the great mystery which the Gnôsis endeavoured to solve. Seeing again that this “Fall of the Soul” from its original purity involved it in suffering and misery, the object that the Gnostic teachers had ever before them, was identical with the problem of “Sorrow,” which Gautama Sâkyamuni set himself to resolve. Moreover, the solution of the two systems was identical in that they traced the Cause of Sorrow to Ignorance, and to remove this, pointed out the Path to Self-knowledge. The Mind was to instruct the Mind: “self-analyzing reflection” was to be the Way. The Material Mind (Kâma-Manas) was to be purified and so become one with the Spiritual Mind (Buddhi-Manas). In the nomenclature of the Gnosis, this was expressed by the Redemption of Sophia by the Christos, who delivered her from her ignorance (agnoia) and sufferings. It is not then

 

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surprising that we should find Sophia, whether regarded as a unity, or as a duality, or again as
cosmic mind, possessed of many names. Among these may be mentioned the Mother, or All-Mother, Mother of the Living or Shining Mother; the Power Above; the Holy Spirit (all from the macrocosmic standpoint); and again She of the Left-hand, as opposed to Christos, He of the Right-hand; the Man-woman; Prounikos or the Lustful-one; Matrix; Paradise; Eden; Achamôth; the Virgin; Barbelo; Daughter of Light; Merciful Mother; Consort of the Masculine One; Revelant of the Perfect Mysteries; Perfect Mercy; Revelant of the Mysteries of the whole Magnitude; Hidden Mother; She who knows the Mysteries of the Elect; the Holy Dove, which has given birth to the two Twins; Ennoia; Ruler; and The Lost or Wandering Sheep, Helena. In the Valentinian System, Sophia gives birth to the Christos “with a Shadow.” The above terms are taken from Smith and Wace’s Dictionary of Christian Biography, art. “Sophia,” where we read: “In the Syriac text of the Acts published by Dr. Wright (Apocryphal Acts of Apostles, pp. 238-245) we find the beautiful Hymn of the Soul, which has been sent down from her heavenly home to fetch the pearl guarded by the serpent, but has forgotten here below her heavenly mission till she is reminded of it by a letter from ‘the father, the mother, and the brother,’ performs her task, receives back again her glorious dress, and returns to her old home.”
(2) [Name.] The Name, which is no name, but a Sound or rather Motion. The mystery of the Logos, Verbum and Vâch has ever been concealed in the mystery of Names. These Names, in whatever tongue, or among whatever people, all represent permutations of the “Ineffable Name.”
In this connection, the following passage from the Pistis-Sophia (page 378, 379) is of great interest. Jesus, in explaining the Mystery of the Light of his Father, the Baptisms of Smoke and of the Spirit of the Holy Light, and the Spiritual Anointing, to his Disciples, continues: “Nothing, then, is more excellent than these Mysteries, into which ye inquire, unless it be the Mystery of the Seven Voices, and their Nine-and-forty Powers and Numberings (ps‘phôn), nor is any name more excellent than all of them, the Name, in which are all Names, and all Lights and all Powers. He therefore, who shall depart out of the Body of Hyl‘ (Note: not necessarily at death only, but during Samâdhi, or mystic trance) knowing that Name, no Smoke (Note: i.e. no theological delusion) nor Authority, nor Ruler of the Sphere of Fate, nor Angel, nor Archangel, nor Power, shall be able to prevent that Soul; nay, if on quitting the World, a man shall speak that Name to the Fire, it shall be extinguished, and the Mist shall withdraw. And if

 

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he shall speak it to the Daemons and the Receivers of the Outer Mist (Darkness), and to its Rulers, Authorities, and Powers, all shall perish, so that their Flame is consumed, and they cry out, ‘Thou art hallowed, the sanctified one, thou blessed one, of all them who are holy.’ And if they shall speak that Name to the Receivers of Evil Condemnation, and their Authorities and all their powers, and also to Barbelo and the Invisible Deity, and the Three Triple-Powers, forthwith all will collapse in those regions, so that they shall be compelled to dissolve and perish, and cry out: ‘O Light of every Light, which is in the infinite Light, remember us also, and cleanse us’.”
With regard to this passage, it is remarked in The Secret Doctrine, II, 570: “It is easy to see who this Light and Name are: the light of Initiation and the name of the ‘Fire Self,’ which is no name, no action, but a Spiritual, ever-living Power, higher even than the ‘Invisible God, as this Power is ITSELF.
Compare also The Secret Doctrine, sub. voce.; Oeaohoo, I, 68, 71, 72, 93 (Oi-Ha-Hou); Mântrika-Sakti, I, 293; Kuan-Yin, I, 136; Kuan-Yin-T’ien, I, 137, 138; Logos, II, 25; Hermes, II, 541, 542; Mystic names and attributes, I, 352; Aditi-Vâch, I, 431; Vâch, Savitri, the mother of the gods and of all living, II, 128; Vâch, Devasena, II, 199; and the Melodious cow, II, 418.

[PS 45] . . . and she [Pistis-Sophia] thought within herself: “I will come into that Region without my Syzygy,* to take the Light, which the Aeôns of Light† have procreated for me, that I may come to the Light of Lights, which is the Height of Heights.”
[PS 46] “Thus pondering, she [Pistis-Sophia] went forth from her own Region of the Thirteenth Aeôn, and entered into the Twelve Aeôns. And the Rulers of the Aeôns kept pursuing her, and were enraged against her, for that she thought to enter into the Greatness. And issuing from the Twelve Aeôns, she came into the Region of Chaos, and
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* Compare this with the Valentinian System, where Sophia generates “without a Syzygy,” and also with the Commentary on Ialdabaôth [PS 47 (1)], where Ialdabaôth generates without a female, just as Sophia generated without a male; Daemon est Deus inversus.
† Called also the “High Aeôns” which are opposed to the “Aeôns of the Rulers.”
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drew near the Power of Light with the appearance of a Lion, in order that it might devour
her. [PS 47] And all the Hylic Projections of the Self-willed One surrounded her. And the Great Power of Light with the appearance of a Lion devoured the Powers of Light in Sophia; and (also) purified (or expelled) her Light and Hyle and devoured them. (Thus then) they cast her forth into Chaos. And in Chaos was the Ruler with the appearance of a Lion, of which the one-half is Flame, and the other half Mist, which is Ialdabaôth (1), of which I have spoken to you many times.”
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(1) Ialdabaôth is identical with the Pthahil of the Codex Nazaraeus the Demiurge of the Valentinian system, the Proarchos of the Barbelitae,* the Great Archôn of Basilides and the Elôhim of Justinus, etc. Ialdabaôth (the Child of Chaos) was the son of Sophia (Achamôth) in the Gnostic Cosmogenesis, in other words, the Chief of the Creative Forces and the representative of one of the classes of Pitris. If we regard the Sophia-Above [see “Valentinus” passim] as the Akâsha, and the Sophia-Below (Achamôth) as its lower or material planes, we shall be able to understand why Ialdabaôth, the material creator, was identified with Jehovah and Saturn, and so follow out the following allegory from Irenaeus.† Ialdabaôth the child of the Mother, Sophia, generates a son of himself, without the assistance of any mother, and his son a son in his turn, and he another, and so on until there are six sons generated, one from another. Now these immediately commenced to strive with their father for the mastery; and he in despair and rage gazed into the “purgations of matter” below; and through them begot another son, Ophiomorphos, the serpent-formed, the spirit of all that is basest in matter. Then being puffed up with pride, he stretched himself over his highest sphere, and proclaimed aloud. “I am Father and God, and there is none above me.” On this, his mother cried out: “Lie not, Ialdabaôth, for the Father of All, the First Anthrôpos (man), is above thee, and so is Anthrôpos, the Son of Anthrôpos.”‡ And Ialdabaôth to prevent his sons attending to the voice,
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* Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Book I, ch. xxix, 4.
† Op. cit., Book I, ch. xxiii-xxviii.
‡ Op. cit., Book I, ch. xxx, 6.
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proposed that they should fashion a man. So the six of them made a gigantic man, who lay on the earth and writhed like a worm (the man of the first rounds and races). And they brought him to his father Ialdabaôth, who breathed into him the “Breath of Life,” and thus emptied himself of his creative power. And Sophia aided the design, so that she might regain the Light-powers of Ialdabaôth. Forthwith the man, having the divine spark, aspired to the Heavenly Man, from whom it came. At this Ialdabaôth grew jealous, and generated Eve (Lilith) to deprive Adam of his Light-powers. And the six “Stellars,” empassioned of her beauty, begot sons through her. Thereupon Sophia sent the serpent (intelligence) to make Adam and Eve transgress the precepts of Ialdabaôth, who in rage, cast them down out of Paradise into the World, together with the serpent (fourth round and fourth race). At the same time, she deprived them of their Light-power, that it might not come under the “curse” as well. And the serpent reduced the world-powers under its sway, and generated six sons, who continually oppose the human race, through which their father (the serpent) was cast down. Now Adam and Eve in the beginning had pure spiritual bodies, which gradually became grosser and grosser. Their spirit too became languid, for they had nought but the breath of the lower world, which Ialdabaôth had breathed into them. In the end, however, Sophia gave them back their Light-power and they awoke to the knowledge that they were naked.
This suggestive allegory, wherein the creature became higher than the creator, can only be understood by remembering the identity of essence of that which is evolved, with that from which it is evolved. Compare: “I have clothed myself in thee, and thou art my Vâhana to the Day ‘Be with us’, when thou shalt rebecome myself and others, thyself and me” (The Secret Doctrine, I, Stanza vii, Sloka 7) . In this cycle of emanation that which is above becomes that which is below, so that we find in Pistis-Sophia that Ialdabaôth is finally spoken of as residing in the “Great Chaos which is the Outer Mist,” where, with his Forty-nine Daemons, he tortures wicked souls (page 382). Moreover the resemblance between Ialdabaôth and Tsebâôth-Adamas is so close, that they are evidently to be regarded as aspects of the same power; the peculiar richness of the terminology of the Pistis-Sophia renders such correspondences a necessity.
In the Chart of the Ophites of which Origen speaks in his Contra Celsum, there are two septenates of Planetary Rulers, a superior and inferior Hebdomad. Ialdabaôth is the first of the Superior Group, and Michael-Ophiomorphos at the head of the inferior. Now this Michael is called the “Lion-like,” and is the son of Ialdabaôth who is also

 

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represented as lion-headed. In the formulae of prayers for the “Defunct,” the Soul, after having crossed the Rampart of Wickedness (phragmon kakias), the dominion of Ophiomorphos, or our terrestrial plane, arrives at the Gates of Ialdabaôth and utters the following adulatory address, which in truth seems little applicable to the nature of Ialdabaôth. “O thou, who art born to rule with boldness, Ialdabaôth, first and seventh, O ruler, subsistent Logos of a pure mind, perfect work for Son and Father, bringing to thee the token of Life (marked) with the stamp of the type, I open the gate, which thou hast closed to thy Aeôn, the world, and pass by thy authority again in freedom. May grace be with me; Yea, may it be, Father.”

[PS 63] “. . . . . Because of the uproar of the fear and power of the Self-willed One, my Power has failed me. I [Pistis-Sophia] am become like a separated Daimôn (idios daimôn) dwelling in Hyle, in which there is no Light, and I am become like the Counterfeit of the Spirit (1), which is in the Hylic Body, in which there is no Power of Light; and I am become like as a Decan alone in the Air (2). The Projections of the Self-willed One compressed me mightily. And my Syzygy said to itself: ‘Instead of the Light, which was in her, they have filled her with Chaos.’ I have devoured the Sweat of my own Hyle, and the Anguish of the Tears of the Hyle of my Eyes (3), that they, who afflict me, might not take what remains. . . . .”
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(1) The Counterfeit of the Spirit (Antimimon pneumatos), is one of the principles in the formation of the Soul, in which fabrication, each of the five Planetary Rulers has his share. This work is completed by administering to the Soul the Draught of Forgetfulness, or Lethe-potion, which is brewed from the Sperm of Evil, and incites men to all material lusts; this is the evil genius of man, a sort of spiritual substance surrounding the Soul.

(2) [Decan alone in the Air.] Compare page 107, “I am like as Hyle, which is sunken; they have driven me hither and thither, like as a Daemon in the Air.” The Middle Region of the Air is spoken of as in the Paths of the Way of the Midst, which is below the Sphere. For the term Decan, see PS 14 (7).

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(3) [The Tears . . . of my Eyes.] É. C. Amélineau in his Essai sur le Gnosticisme Egyptien, p. 303, in tracing this idea through Egyptian imagery, writes as follows:
“Among the invocations addressed to the Sun, or rather in the enumeration of his various transformations, we read the following: ‘He who creates the water, which issues from his interior, the image of the body of Remi, the weeper.’ ‘Tears play an important part in the Egyptian religion,’ says É. Naville, in explaining this text, ‘and especially in that which concerns creation.’ He then quotes several examples taken from unpublished texts from the tomb of Rameses IV, which we borrow from him. In one of these the God is prayed to as, the ‘weeper,’ and asked to give life to the ‘king’; ‘O weeper, thou powerful one, high in the realms of Aukert, give life to the King’ . . . . He also receives this invocation: ‘O thou, he who forms himself by his tears, who hears himself his own words, who reanimates his soul, reanimate the soul of the King.’ Finally in a famous text known as the text of the four races, men are thus addressed: ‘Ye are a tear of my eye in your name of Retu, that is to say, in your name of men’ . . . . This doctrine is still more clearly affirmed in a magic papyrus translated by Dr. Birch, where the tears of different Gods are represented as the matter from which issue flowers, incense, bees, water, salt, etc. ‘When Horus weeps’, says the papyrus, ‘the water which falls from his eyes, grows into plants, which produce a sweet perfume. When Su and Tefnut weep greatly, and water falls from their eyes, it changes into plants which produce incense . . . . When the sun weeps a second time, and lets water fall from his eyes, it changes into bees, which work . . . When the sun Râ becomes feeble, the perspiration falls from his limbs, and changes into a liquid . . . his blood changes to salt. When the sun becomes feeble, he sweats, water falls from his mouth and changes into plants’.”
Compare also the “Sweat-born” of The Secret Doctrine.

[PS 67] Whereupon she [PISTIS-SOPHIA] cried aloud, repeating her fifth Repentance . . .*

[PS 70] “Hearken, Philip, that I [Jesus] may speak to thee, in that to thee, and Thomas, and Matthew (1) has
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* The Soul, in passing through the different stages and planes of evolution, reaches a middle point of balance in each, where the choice between the below and the above is given; doubt thus arises, and it is said to “repent.”
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been given by the First Mystery the duty of writing all things, which I shall say and do, and which ye shall see. . . . .”

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(1) The Greek, Latin and Syriac fragments which remain of writings called the Gospel of Thomas give but little idea of what the original Gospel or Gospels according to Thomas must have been to have been held in such respect by the followers of various schools of Gnosticism and even by some Church Fathers. The fragments are also called Acts of the Lord’s Boyhood, and are replete with the foolish and childish incidents which are so frequent in the Gospel of the Infancy. These fables, however, were in such favour among Catholic readers, that the gospel was dressed up to suit orthodox taste by cutting out all heretical passages. Still, the Gnostic tendency of the fragments is shown by their strong Docetism, that is to say the theory that the appearance of the Christos as man was an illusion. That there was a philosophical gospel of Thomas is very evident by the nature of the citations from it, and by the many references to it, but that this gospel was the book that the Thomas of our text was commissioned to write, must forever remain a mystery, unless some fresh evidence is forthcoming.
There is a Gospel of Matthew called the Book of the Infancy of Mary and of the Saviour Christ, which purports to be a translation from the Hebrew by St. Jerome, and is probably the original on which the later Gospel of the Nativity of Mary was based. But such edited and re-edited fragments are certainly no more the authentic Gospel according to Matthew than is the text of the Synoptic of that name, and as certainly can never be placed in that philosophical category to which genuine Gnostic writings must always be ascribed.

[PS 74] “. . . . . Let them also have confidence in him, when they come into the Region of the Height, for he shall see and redeem us, and he has the great Mystery of Salvation. . . . .” (1) .

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(1) [Great Mystery of Salvation.] This Great Mystery is the Mystery of the Ineffable (Atma), or First Mystery, the Supreme Wisdom (Buddhi) from which all emanations proceed. It emanates from the Ineffable and is like unto it, being at the same time the Supreme Principle of Forgiveness of Sins. See Table I.

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[PS 76] [And Mary explained what Jesus had said by reciting a verse from the eighty-second Psalm, “God shall sit in the congregation of the gods to judge the gods.”*]

[PS 85]. . . hylic Projections of the Self-willed One . . .†
. . . The Number of my Time is in Chaos. . . .‡
. . . the Four-and-Twenty Projections . . . . . §

[PS 89] . . . And Mary came forward and said: “Master, thou didst speak to us formerly about this very thing in a Parable; ‘Ye endured trials with me: I will found a Kingdom (1) with you, like as the Father founded one with me, for ye shall eat and drink at my Table in my Kingdom, and ye shall sit on twelve Thrones (2) to judge the Twelve Tribes of Isrâel.” (3) [PS 90] “. . . . . Now, therefore, O Light, take its Purity from the Power with the appearance of a Lion, without its knowing it (4).”

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(l) [A kingdom (of Heaven).] Out of the many quotations which might be given to show what occult ideas the Gnostics held concerning this “Kingdom,” and how different was their view from the poverty-stricken orthodox conception of our own degenerate times, perhaps the following from the Gospel of the Egyptians will not be the least interesting. In answer to the question, when will this kingdom come, it was answered: “When the Two has been made One, and the Outward has become as the Inward, and the Male with the Female neither Male nor Female.” Whence two interpretations of the many which could be given, start immediately forward: (a) the union of the Lower with the Higher Manas, of the personality with the Individuality; and (b) the return to the androgynous state, as will be the case in
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* “God,” the higher Triad, shall judge the “gods,” the lower Quaternary.
† The Powers of the Lower Quaternary.
‡ The time of my evolution in matter.
§ There are four-and-twenty Projections above and four-and-twenty below, which together with Sophia, who is now above, now below, or with their synthesis, make up the Forty-nine Fires.
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future Races. Thus this Kingdom may be attained by individuals now, and by mankind in Races to come.
(2) [Thrones.] “They who are called in Theology the ‘Thrones’, and are the ‘Seat of God’, must be the first incarnated men on Earth; and it becomes comprehensible, if we think of the endless series of past Manvantaras, to find that the last had to come first, and the first last. We find, in short, that the higher Angels had broken, countless aeôns before, through the ‘Seven Circles,’ and thus robbed them of their Sacred fire; which means in plain words, that they had assimilated during their past incarnations, in lower as well as in higher worlds, all the wisdom therefrom—the reflection of MAHAT in its various degrees of intensity.” The Secret Doctrine, II, 80.
(3) [Israel.] The meaning of this term will be made clear from the following, taken from the systems of the Naaseni (Ophites) and of Justinus as found in the Philosophumena.*
The Exodus of the Children of Isrâ‘l from Egypt (i.e., the body) was hindered by the waters of the Great Jordan (the type of spiritual birth or generation), which were turned backward and made to flow upward by Jesus (V, 7).
Again the Sons of Isrâ‘l crossed the Red Sea and came into the Desert (i.e., by parturition were born into the world), where are the gods of destruction and the god of salvation. The former are they which inflict the necessity of changeable birth on those who are born into the world. These are the Serpents of the Desert, and it was in order that the Sons of Isrâ‘l might escape the bites of these Powers that Moses showed them the True and Perfect Serpent. (V, 16).
In the system of Justinus the first triad consists of The Good Principle, the Elôhîm and Eden or Isrâ‘l, the latter being considered as feminine and figured as a Virgin above and a Viper below; she is the Spouse of the Elôhîm. The passage of Isaiah (i, 2-3): “Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken . . . But Isrâ‘l does not know me . . .” is explained by saying that Heaven is the Spirit of the Elôhîm in man, earth the Soul which is in man with the Spirit, Isrâ‘l is Egypt (i.e., matter).† It is abundantly evident from the above that the Tribes of Isrâel are the men of this world of matter.
(4) [Without its knowing it.] In the passage of Jesus to the Height, the Powers of the different Regions exclaim one after the other, as he
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* [Philosophumena is found in ed. of M. Emmanuel Miller, Oxford 1851, Ante-Nicene Library V. 5; see also F. Legge trs. London, 1921 ed.]
† Cf. PS 13 (1).
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passes from plane to plane: “How has the Lord of the Universe changed us without our knowing” (page 21) . They are further (page 25) described as being in fear “because they knew not the Mystery which was done.” Sophia again (page 78) tells us that she has sinned “through ignorance.” From the comparison of such passages we are led to conclude that the triumphant ascension of Jesus, as the perfected Initiate, and the dramatic narrative of the repentant Sophia, are but two aspects of one and the same thing regarded, firstly from the point of view of the Individuality, and secondly from that of the Personality.

[PS 91] . . . “Free me from the Power with the appearance of a Lion, for I alone of the Invisibles am in this Region .*

[PS 92] Now, therefore, O Light, let not the Projections of the Self-willed One rejoice over me. For they were addressing me flatteringly with soft words . . . . .Ӡ

[PS 107] “ . . . . . Let it be wrapped with Mist like as with a garment, and let it gird itself with Mist as with a girdle of skin for all time.‡ I am as Hyl‘ which is fallen (l), they have driven me hither and thither like as a Daimôn in the Air. . . . .”

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(1) [Matter that hath fallen.] Compare pages 102 and 107; “I have chosen to descend into Chaos.” “They have chosen to descend into Chaos.” If these different terms are referred to their correct “principles” in man, no confusion will arise. The Self-willed One is the root of the Kâma principle, or principle of desire, and its projections are of the same nature as the mysterious Tanhâ of the Buddhist philosophy. The reflection of Manas, “alone of the Invisibles,” gravitates to Kâma and so becomes the Lower Manas. Truly our “transgressions” are this “Power with the appearance of a Lion.”
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* The Lower Manas which is a ray from the Higher.
† The “words” of the Powers of the lower principles are the allurements and seductions of matter.
‡ Compare the “Pitris evolving their Shadows” in The Secret Doctrine.
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[PS 114] “. . . . . Thy Power prophesied of old through Solomon (1) . . .”

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(1) [Odes of Solomon.] In Pistis-Sophia there are five fragments known to the orthodox as the Pseudo-Solomonic Odes. They were the first portions of our text translated from the Coptic, a version being attempted by Woide, and published by Münter in 1812: Champollion wrote an article in Millin’s Magasin Encyclopédique (1815, ii, 251) on the opuscule of Woide: and Matter notices them in his Histoire (II, 348). As, however, no valid argument is brought forward to justify the contemptuous prefix “pseudo,” we are content to believe that they were just as canonical in their time as many another scripture which has been put on the “index expurgatorius,” to suit the whims and prejudices of beneficed ignorance.

[PS 125] These are the Names which I will give from the Infinite downwards. Write them with a Sign that the Sons of God may show them forth from this Region. This is the Name of the Immortal and this is the Name of the Voice, which is the Cause of the Motion of the Perfect Man, And these are the interpretations of the Names of the Mysteries. The first is A A A, and its interpretation is . The second is M M M, or , and its interpretation is AAA. The Third is , and its interpretation is OOO The fourth is , and its interpretation is N N N. The fifth is , and its interpretation is AAA. The interpretation of the second* is AAAA, AAAA, AAAA. The interpretation of the whole Name . . . . (1).

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(1) A few notes from the system of Marcus,† on the letters and numbers of the Greek alphabet will, perhaps, throw some light on the

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* i.e., the sixth, for Buddhi is either the sixth or the second principle, or mystery.
† Hippolytus, Philosophumena, VI, 39 et seq., and Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Book I, ch. xiv.
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obscurity of the text. The school of this famous teacher is said to have distributed the letters among the members of Anthrôpos, the celestial man (called in the Kabbala Adam-Kadmon, the type of the Macrocosm) as follows:

The product or synthesis of the Twelve members is the Son, Christos or Jesus, the Thirteenth. Six are above and six are below, and the thirteenth, or balance, in the centre. Pistis-Sophia is in the Thirteenth Aeon, and Jesus in his passage to the Height turned six of the Aeons to the Right and six to the Left.
The seven vowels are the seven Heavens; A is the firstis the last, and I is the fourth or Mid-Heaven. See the diagram in The Secret Doctrine, I, 200.
The 24 letters are divided into Nine Mutes which pertain to the Father and Truth, so-called because they are ineffable and incapable of being sounded or spoken: Eight semi-vowels or half-sounds, pertaining to the Logos and Life, because they are midway between the Mutes and Vowels and receive the Emanation from above and the Reversion from below; and Seven Vowels or Sounds pertaining to Man

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* The signs for the numbers 6, 90, 900 are not found in the known Greek alphabet.
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and the Assembly, for the Sound of the Voice gave all things Form.* In which classification the trichotomy into the arãpa or formless planes, rãpa or planes of form and the intermediate division, which is neither rãpa nor arãpa, is plainly discernible.
In order that the reader may not confuse the above nomenclature of the Aeonology of the Marcians with that of the Valentinians, as given in our Section on Valentinus, we insert the scheme of the primordial dual Tetractydes of Marcus, which is as follows:

First Tetrcyts {
Arrbetos or Ineffable containing 7 elements } = 24
Sige or Silence containing 5 elements
Pater or Father containing 5 elements
Aletheia or Truth containing 7 elements
Second Tetractys {
Logos or Word containing 7 elements } = 24
Zoe or Life containing 5 elements
Anthrepos or Man containing 5 elements
Ekklesia or Assembly containing 7 elements
  Which together with the Christos = 49

To return to the letters, the nine mutes are:––

and the eight Semi-vowels , so that the three classes of mutes, Semi-vowels and Vowels fall naturally into the type of 3, 4, and 7.
We shall now be able to throw some light on the text, keeping in mind the diagram of The Secret Doctrine already referred to. A A A , , III, are the unmanifested arãpa planes, aeons or emanations, and also the nine mutes of Marcus. This triple triplicity, in another aspect,

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* [See Col. Henry S. Olcott’s article in The Theosophist, Vol. XI, September, 1890, entitled: “Mrs. Watts Hughes’ Sound-Pictures”, which deals with geometrical and other forms produced by sound. Fine powder is scattered on the drum of an instrument, and the vibration of the voice causes a miniature storm among the particles, which on subsiding leaves the atoms grouped in regular geometrical figures, the same note always producing the same configuration. In this manner, sound is shown to be at the root of manifestation, or, in other words, that the “Word” or Logos, the first-born, is that by which all things are made.]
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becomes the famous I A Ω of such frequency on the Gnostic gems, and in its permutation A I Ω represents Spirit (A) linked to Matter (Ω) by Mind (I). These three are probably the Mysteries of the Ineffable and the seven which follow are the Mysteries of the First Mystery, though later on we read of Seven Mysteries of the Ineffable. “The first is A A A and the interpretation is ”; turning the letters into figures and neglecting the noughts and reduplication, we resolve it into “the interpretation of 1 is 5,” or in other words the revealer, or manifester, of the first and greatest mystery, corresponding to atman, is the fifth principle, or immortal Ego of man. “The second which is M M M or Ω Ω Ω and its interpretation is A A A.” Now Ω or is often found on the gems in straight lines, thus W which is the reverse of M or the usual sign of Water or “Matter” in symbology. By referring to the table of the members of the Celestial Man of Marcus, it will be seen that M is the opposite pole to A, as also Ù when the letters are “unfolded.” If this folding of the letters is taken to represent one spiral of evolution, in the next spiral M and N would be on the same plane as A and Ù and we should have four letters abreast or on one plane. M and Ù would then be interchangeable and their interpretation would be A. “The third is , and its interpretation 000. The fourth is and its interpretation is NNN.” Now = 700 and 0 = 70, = 500 and N = 50; therefore, as 10 is the “radix” of numbers, 70 interprets 700 and 50, 500, as every higher plane interprets the lower. “The fifth is and its interpretation is A A A.” In other words the interpretation of 4 is 1, just as that of Ω or 8 is also 1, for whether we count by threes or sevens, the fourth and the eighth will always be the first or the next class, plane, degree, emanation, or whatever we choose to call it. The next mystery, approaching the end of the cycle of evolution, differentiates the original triple triad into a triple quaternary, and having thus added to its experience returns into the silence of the Great Name. When the key of the seven planes and principles has been understood, it will be easy to place the seven on the lower four planes of a higher septenary, as in the diagram in the S.D., and then we shall see how the type of the three highest arãpa planes is reflected in the seven planes of the lower four.

[PS 127] “. . . . . Thou art the First Mystery, Looking-without . . . thou hast come upon the Vesture of Light, which thou didst receive from Barbelo, which (Vesture) is Jesus, our Saviour, on which thou didst descend as a Dove” (1).


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(1) [Dove.] See PS 1 (4). In the system of Marcus (Philos. VI, § 47), the Dove is said to correspond to A and Ω, for the explanation of which see PS 125 (1). In the system of Cerinthus (Philos., VII, § 33), we read: “Cerinthus, who was practiced in the training of the Egyptians, said that the world was not made by the first God, but by a certain power which was separated from the authority which was over the universe, and it knew not the deity which was over all. He laid down, moreover, that Jesus was not born of a Virgin, but that a son was born to Joseph and Mary like all other men, but that he was more righteous and wise (than the rest). And after his baptism, the Christos descended upon him from the principle which is absolute over all, in the form of a dove, and then he preached the unknowable father, and perfected his powers; but towards the end, the Christos flew away from Jesus; and Jesus suffered and rose again, whereas the Christos remained untouched by suffering, for it was essentially of a spiritual nature.” The Christos is the glorified individuality, i.e., Manas-Taijas, or the Higher Manas with the glory of Buddhi upon it, whereas Jesus is the perishable personality of the Lower Manas.
It will be useful in this connection to compare what The Secret Doctrine says of “the mythical white swan, the swan of Eternity or Time, the Kalahansa” (I, 78). Hansa or “Hamsa is equal to ‘aham-sa’, three words meaning ‘I am he’ (in English), while divided in still another way it will read ‘so-ham’, ‘he (is) I’—soham being equal to sah, ‘he,’ and aham, ‘I’, or ‘I am he’. In this alone is contained the universal mystery, the doctrine of the identity of man’s essence with god-essence, for him who understands the language of wisdom. Hence the glyph of, and the allegory about, Kalahansa (or hamsa), and the name given to Brahma, neuter (later on, to the male Brahma) of ‘Hamsa-Vahana’, he who uses the Hamsa as his vehicle. The same word may he read ‘Kal-aham-sa’ or ‘I am I’ in the eternity of Time, answering to the Biblical, or rather Zoroastrian ‘I am that I am.’” (S.D., I, 78. )
Again in The Voice of the Silence (Fragment 1, p. 5), we read: “Saith the Great Law:—‘In order to become the KNOWER of ALL SELF* thou has first of SELF to be the knower.’ To reach the knowledge of that SELF, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being, and then thou canst repose between the wings of the GREAT

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* The Tattvajñãnin is the “knower” or discriminator of the principles in nature and in man; Atmajñinin is the knower of ATMAN or the Universal, ONE SELF.
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BIRD. Aye, sweet is rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the AUM* throughout eternal ages.Ӡ
It is evident from the above that the Dove is a symbol of the “Higher Self” of man.

[PS 134-135] “. . . the Stream of Light drew them all, and drew them over the temple”; that is, when the Stream of Light had received all the Lights of PISTIS-SOPHIA, and when it had torn them from the Projections of the Self-willed One, it infused them into PISTIS-SOPHIA, and turning quitted Chaos and ascended into the Perfection, for thou art the temple.‡

[PS 136] “. . . . . the Projections of the Self-willed One, which are in Chaos, compressed PISTIS-SOPHIA and gained confidence exceedingly, and pursued her again with great terror and disturbance: so some of them compressed her one of them changed itself into the shape of a Great Serpent, another into that of a Basilisk with seven heads . . . .(1)

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(1) Basilisk with seven heads. The Logoi or “Saviours” of all nations are represented as treading on the head or heads of a serpent or dragon, or as transfixing the monster with their several weapons of power. This represents the conquest of Spirit over Matter (the “Old Serpent” or the “Great Deep”), which by spiritual transmutation finally becomes subservient to the divine will of the glorified

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* Kala-Hamsa, the “Bird” or Swan Says the Nada-Bindu Upanishad (Rig-Veda) translated by the Kumbakonam Theos. Society: [“A Yogi who bestrides the Hamsa (i.e., thus contemplates Aum) is not affected by Karmic influence or crores of sins.]—The syllable A is considered to be its (the bird Hamsa’s) right wing, U, its left, M, its tail, and the Ardha-Matra (half metre ) is said to be its head.”
† Eternity with the Orientals has quite another signification that it has with us. It stands generally for the 100 years or “age” of Brahma, the duration of a Maha-Kalpa or a period of 311,040,000,000,000 years.
‡ And, therefore, Jesus and every man, in one of his principles, is PISTIS-SOPHIA. PISTIS-SOPHIA is the repentant “personality.”
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Initiate, and the “Gods” or powers of nature are conquered by the divine “Rebel,” the Asura, the “Dragon of Wisdom”, who fights against the Devas; i.e., the activity of Manas triumphs over the passivity of pure spirit. Krishna crushes the seven-headed serpent Kalinaga. Hercules lops off the heads of the Hydra, the water serpent: the Egyptian Orante treads upon the serpent, while his arms are extended on a crucifix, and Horus pierces the head of the Dragon Typhon or Apophis; the Scandinavian Thor smashes the skull of the snake with his cruciform hammer, and Apollo transfixes the Python, etc., etc. All this signifies from one aspect the extension of the planes of consciousness and the corresponding domination of the planes of matter (symbolically, water) of which there are fundamentally seven.
“Like the Logoi and the Hierarchies of Powers, however, the ‘Serpent’s’ have to be distinguished one from the other. Sesha or Ananta, the ‘couch of Vishnu’ is the allegorical abstraction, symbolizing infinite Time in Space, which contains the germ and throws off periodically the efflorescence of this germ, the manifested Universe; whereas the Gnostic Ophis contained the same triple symbolism in its seven vowels as the One, Three, and Seven-syllabled Oeaohoo of the Archaic doctrine; i.e., the One Unmanifested Logos, the Second manifested, the triangle concreting into the Quaternary or Tetragrammaton, and the days of the latter on the material plane.” (S.D., I, 73 footnote).
Thus while Kwan-Shih-Yin or Avalokiteśvara in Chinese symbology is crowned with seven dragons and hears the inscription, “the universal Savior of all living beings” (S.D., I, 471), the seven-headed Basilisk of the text of course typifies a lower and material aspect of this type of emanation of the universe, and not the primordial spiritual serpent with its glory of seven rays, or seven vowels. As there was a higher Hebdomad of seven supreme planetary spirits or Aeons, so there was a lower Hebdomad. The Ophites allegorised this by saying that the Serpent, in punishment for teaching Adam and Eve (the 3rd race) to rebel against Ialdabaoth (the spirit of the Earth or gross matter), was cast down into the lower world and produced six sons, i.e., had to incarnate in the bodies of the early races. In almost all the systems, the common postulate of ancient astronomy that there were seven planetary spheres and an eighth (that of the fixed stars) above them, was taught in various allegorical garbs, all shadows of the esoteric truth of the seven states of matter, the seven Globes of a Planetary Chain, the seven Principles in man, etc., etc.
The doctrine of the seven heavens is plainly set forth in an interesting apocryphal book called the Ascension of Isaiah which undoubtedly dates back earlier than the second century A.D., and was frequently

 

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quoted with approbation up to the time of St. Jerome. It is marked by strong docetic tendencies, and belongs to the Judaeo-coptic school. After long silence it was brought into notice by Bishop Richard Laurence in 1819, who published the Ethiopic MS., the only codex extant, with a Latin and English version. Further light was thrown on this interesting relic by the work of A. Dillman (Leipzig, 1877), who compared the Bodleian MS. with two others which were brought from Magdala after its capture in 1868. In this treatise a curious vision of the prophet is described. An angel of the seventh heaven conducts the spirit of Isaiah through the seven heavens. In the firmament (sc. the earth) he sees Sammael (Satan) and his hosts engaged in internecine conflict. In the first is one sitting on a throne (Vahana or vehicle*) and angels on the right and left glorifying. Isaiah is told that this adoration is in reality offered to the Father in the seventh heaven and to his Beloved. In the second the same is seen, but on a scale of greater magnificence, and the prophet is again prevented from worshipping by the words: “Adore not, neither the angel nor the throne which are in the six heavens, till I have shown thee the seventh heaven.” Thus were the third, fourth, and fifth heavens shown each surpassing the other in magnificence. In the sixth was no throne, neither was there any division of left and right, but all in equal glory were praising the Father, his Beloved (Christ) and the Holy Ghost. Finally in the seventh, he sees the Father and “the Lord God, Christ who is called in the world Jesus,” and the angel of the Holy Spirit. There are all the Just† worshipping the three, while Jesus and the Holy Ghost worshipped the Father. Later on we read of the descent of Christ through the seven heavens and firmament prior to his incarnation. (see Dict. of Christ. Biog., sub voce ISAIAH.) For a full comprehension of this vision compare the diagrams in The Secret Doctrine, I, 153 and 200.
Now although the seven-headed serpent is found sometimes above and sometimes below the figure of the God or Initiate in symbology, and again has 1, 3, 5, 12, or l,000 heads, yet in reality there is no confusion. For as the 1, 3, 5, and 7 primordial planes have their own sub-stages of emanation, so are the groupings and Hierarchies reflected each in the other. Therefore each plane is septenary and every pair of planes represents an upper and lower Hebdomad.

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* Every principle and plane is the vehicle of the next superior one: thus the Throne of Satan (the earth) is said to be the Footstool of God.
† That is the “Perfect” or initiated: those Jñanis who have either attained final freedom, or can pass into the Turiya State of Samadhi.
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It is also interesting to notice with regard to the Thirteenth Aeon and PISTIS-SOPHIA standing on the seven-headed Basilisk, that in the Mexican tradition there are thirteen serpent Gods.

[PS 148] . . . . . PISTIS-SOPHIA . . . cried out again, saying: “. . . they oppressed me and took away my Power from me, and cast me into Orcus (1), deprived of my Light. . . .”

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(1) Orcus. The Underworld (See Table I) has three divisions, Orcus, Chaos and the Outer Darkness. In the allegorical descriptions of the fate of sinning souls, in other words, the fate of the lower principles after death, we are informed that in Orcus (lit. a prison or enclosure), souls are tormented with Fire, in Chaos with Fire, Darkness and smoke; and in the Caligo Externa with added Hail, Snow, Ice, and cruel Cold. This would make these three lokas represent the states of matter corresponding to Kama-Rupa (Body of Desire), Linga-Sarira (Astral Body) and Sthula Sarira (Physical Body). Therefore, when we read “they cast me into Orcus deprived of my Light,” we naturally can understand that the Kama principle would of necessity dull the Light of the spiritual principles and deprive them of their power.

[PS 150] Thereupon Thomas came forward and said: “Thy Power of Light prophesied of old through Solomon . . . . . Thou didst shelter me under the shadow of thy mercy, and I was placed above the coats of skin (1).

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(1) Coats of Skin. This term was universally understood by the Gnostics to mean the Physical Body. As said in Isis Unveiled, I, 149, “The Chaldean Kabalists tell us that primeval man, who, contrary to the Darwinian theory, was purer, wiser, and far more spiritual, as shown by the myths of the Scandinavian Buri, the Hindu Devatas, and Mosaic ‘Sons of God’—in short, of a far higher nature than the man of the present Adamic race, became despiritualized or tainted with matter, and then, for the first time, was given the fleshly body, which is typified in Genesis in that profoundly-significant verse: ‘Unto

 

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Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin, and clothed them’.”*

[PS 179-181] [And Philip came forward and explained the Hymn of PISTIS-SOPHIA by reciting the one hundred and seventh Psalm (verses 1-21).] (1)

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(1) With page 181 of the Codex [Schwartze’s transcription], we come to the conclusion of the incident of the repentant Sophia. The 139 pages which deal with the subject demand the closest attention of the student of Esotericism, for not only have we here a history of the “pilgrimage” of the Soul, but also a description of the degrees of Initiation which correspond both to the natural degrees or states of consciousness, and to the cycles of human evolution. We will now endeavour to review this Pilgrimage of PISTIS-SOPHIA, following the path of her “transgression” or desire for Light, through her 13 Repentances, or Changes of Mind (Metanoiae, changes of the Nous or Manas), until her restoration to the Thirteenth Aeon, her proper region or plane.

To attain to the knowledge of Light, or the Logos, the soul has to descend into Matter or Hyl‘. Hence PISTIS-SOPHIA, desiring the Light, descends towards its Reflection from the Thirteenth Aeon, through the Twelve Aeons, into the depths of Chaos, where she is in danger of entirely losing her own innate Light or Spirit, of which she is continually deprived by the Powers of Matter. Having descended to the lowest depths of Chaos, she at length reaches the limit, and the path of her pilgrimage begins to lead upward to Spirit again. Thus she reaches the Balance; and still yearning for the Light, rounds the turning-point of the cycle, and changing the tendency of her thought or mind, recites her penitential hymns or Repentances. Her chief enemy who, with his false Light, has drawn her down into Chaos, is Ialdabaoth, the Power with the appearance of a Lion, the Kama “principle”, the false “Light`’ in Chaos, which is assisted by the 24 Hylic or Material Projections, or Emanations, the reflections of the 24 Supernal Projections, the co-partners of PISTIS-SOPHIA, 48 in all, which together with that power or aspect from which the whole may at any time be viewed,

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* [Genesis iii, 21.] See PS 107, footnote.
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PHILIP A. MALPAS
1875-1958

H.P.B. in her Bath-chair; Pryse and Mead standing. From the
Archives of The Theosophical Society, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.
Reproduced by permission.

 

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make 49.* Thus then she first utters 7 Repentances. At the 4th of these, the turning-point of a sub-cycle, she prays that the Image of Light may not be turned from her, for the time was come when the Repentance of “those who turn in the Lowest Regions” should be regarded, “the mystery which is made the Type of the Race.” (4th Round.) At the 6th the Light (Upper Manas) remits her transgression, in that she quitted her own Region and fell into Chaos; but the command had not yet come from the First Mystery (Buddhi) to free her entirely from Chaos. Therefore at the conclusion of her 7th Repentance, where she pleads that she has done it in ignorance through her love for the Light, Jesus, the Initiate on the objective plane and the Light on the subjective plane, without the command of the First Mystery (i.e., the power of Manas alone without Buddhi), raises her up to a slightly less confined region in Chaos, but SOPHIA still knew not by whom it was done. At the 9th Repentance the First Mystery partly accepted her prayer and sent Jesus, the Light, to help her secretly, that is, without the powers of the Aeons knowing it; then did PISTIS-SOPHIA recognize the Light. Her next 4 Hymns are sung knowingly to the Light, and are of the nature of thanksgiving, and of declaration that Karmic Justice shall shortly overtake her oppressors, while she prays to be delivered from her “transgression,” viz., the Kamic Power with the appearance of a Lion. After the 13th Repentance, Jesus again, of himself, without the First Mystery, emanated a brilliant Power of Light from himself, and sent it to aid SOPHIA, to raise her higher still in Chaos, until the command should come to free her entirely.† Next follows a description of the Light-powers which should be closely compared with the description of the 3 Vestures in the opening pages of the Codex. Then while SOPHIA pours forth hymns of joy, the Power becomes a Crown to her head, and her Hyl‘ or material propensities begin to be purified, while the spiritual or Light-powers which she has still retained, join themselves with the “Vesture of Light” which has descended upon her. Then was the Statute fulfilled, and the First Mystery, in its turn, sent forth a great Power of Light, which joined with the first Power emanated by the “Light,” and became a great Stream of Light, this Power was the First Mystery itself Looking-without (Buddhi-Manas) on its own plane and the “glorified” Initiate

———————
* Compare the list of 25 Tattvas (24 + 1 or from another aspect 5 x 5) in the article entitled “The Hindu Theory of Vibration as the Producer of Sounds, Forms and Colors,” The Theosophist, Vol. XII, October and November, 1880, written by C. Kotyya, F.T.S.
† There are, therefore, 3 degrees of Chaos.
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in this terrestrial sphere. It came forth from the First Mystery Looking-within (}tma-Buddhi) or “the Father.” When this is accomplished, PISTIS-SOPHIA, the Lower Manas, is purified again, and her Light-powers are strengthened and filled with Light, by their own co-partner of Light that Syzygy, without whom PISTIS-SOPHIA in the beginning thought she could reach the Light of Lights, and so fell into error. Still she is not even yet entirely freed from the bonds of Matter, for the higher she rises, the stronger are the Powers of Projections sent against her, who proceed to change their shapes, so that she now has to struggle against still greater foes which are emanated and directed by the strongest and subtlest Powers of Matter. Thereupon, PISTIS-SOPHIA is surrounded entirely with the Stream of Light and further supported on either hand by Michael and Gabriel, the “Sun” and “Moon.” The “Wings” of the “Great Bird” flutter, the “Winged Globe” unfolds its pinions, preparatory to its flight. For is not the Infinitude of Space “the Nest of the Eternal Bird, the flutter of whose wings produces life”? (S.D., II, 293). Thus the last great battle commences. The First Mystery Looking-without, directs its attack against the “cruel crafty powers, passions incarnate” and causes PISTIS-SOPHIA to tread underfoot the Basilisk with the seven heads, destroying its Hyl‘, “So that no seed could arise from it henceforth,” and casting down the rest of the opposing host.* Thereupon PISTIS-SOPHIA sings Hymns of Praise on her being loosed from the bonds of Chaos. Thus was she set free and remembered. Yet the Great Self-willed One and Adamas, the Tyrant, were not yet entirely subdued, for the command had not yet come from the First Mystery, Looking-within, the Father. Therefore does the First Mystery, Looking-without, seal their regions and those of their Rulers until 3 times are completed. That is until the completion of the 7th Round (for we are now in the 4th) when humanity will pass into the interplanetary Nirvana. This Nirvana however, is a state outside of space and time, as we know them, and therefore can be reached now and within, by very holy men; Naljors and Arhats, who can attain to the highest degree of the mystical contemplation, called in the East Samadhi. For then shall the “Gates of the Treasure of the Great Light” be opened, as described in our text, and the Nirvanic heights be crossed by the “Pilgrim.” (cf. pp. 169-181)

[PS 183] And when Mary had heard the words which the Saviour said, she rejoiced with great joy, and . . . said to

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* See Light on the Path, pp. 15-17. 1st Ed.
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Jesus: “Master and Saviour, how are the Four-and-twenty Invisibles (1), and of what Type are they. . . . .”

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(1) Four-and-twenty-Invisibles of the Thirteenth Aeon. Compare Table I.

TABLE II

LEFT OR THIRTEENTH AEON.

The Great Invisible FOREFATHER, whose Syzygy is BARBELO
The Two Great TRIPLE POWERS, which emanate 24 INVISIBLES (including PISTIS-SOPHIA and her Syzygy, she being the lowest Projection of all).
THE SELF-WILLED ONE, the third great Triple Power.

[PS 191] [The 9th, 10th, 11th and] “those who receive the twelfth mystery of the First Mystery in the Inheritances of Light (1).”

_________________________________________________________________________

(1)


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* Each Saviour has 12 Projections or orders just as Jesus has 12 Disciples.
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[PS 192] “. . . . and the three Amens shall be more excellent than the Twin Saviours in the Kingdom, and the Five Trees shall be more excellent than the Three Amens in the Inheritances of Light (1).”

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(1) Though the careful student of this stupendous system may sense the unity of the scheme which underlies such manifold multiplicity, yet it is exceedingly difficult, without being excessively prolix, to point out all the correspondences. To all below it the Treasure of Light is a unity; and its Orders, Projections, etc., in other words its Hierarchies have but one influence. Therefore, when the contents of the Treasure are mentioned at an earlier period of instruction, as on page 18, they are simply stated without order. But now, a further veil is withdrawn, and the Treasure becomes the Inheritance of Light; this will be when the Evolution of Cosmos is completed, and by analogy at the end of a Round, or of seven Rounds, or again in Initiation when the plane of consciousness called the Treasure is reached by the neophyte. Then, just as Jesus in his passage to the Height, (pages 25 to 37) turned six of the Aeons to the Right and six to the Left, so will the Initiated enter into the Treasure and with their higher consciousness perceive its differences; thus will there be a Right and Left even in that which was previously supposed to be beyond such division. The Ordering of the Inheritance then presented will be as follows:—

TABLE IV

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This table is arranged in parallel columns to show the correspondences, and arrows placed to mark the superiority and inferiority of the Orders. The Twin Saviour finds its prototype among the Mysteries, which are mentioned further on in innumerable classes and divisions, for the Twin Mystery is one of the Mysteries of the First Mystery which is said to be either Looking-within or Looking-without. This is the Mystery of the Dual Manas. As every Region or Plane has its Gates and Veils, so has the Treasure its 3 Gates; in other words its 3 Sub-planes. These correspond to the three Yoga States of Jagrat, Svapna and Sushupti, the so-called waking, dreaming and dreamless-sleep states of consciousness. We thus see that the classification of the lower planes as shown in Table I, is pushed further back or within on to higher planes of consciousness, as the Disciples are taught further mysteries.

[PS 194] . . . . . the Region of the Souls of those who receive the first mystery of the First Mystery (1) . . . .

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These all shall be Kings in the Region of the First Saviour, i.e., of the First Mystery of the First Voice of the Treasure of Light.

[PS 194 continued] . . . the Fifteen Supporters of the Seven Virgins of Light, which are in the Midst (2) shall emanate forth from the Regions† of the Twelve Saviours . . . .

———————
* Viz., that which is the Light of the Treasure for all the lower planes.
† In which the Saviours now are, viz., in the Treasure of Light.
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TABLE VI

MIDST
The Little IAO, the Good, called in the Aeons the Great IAO.
The Virgin of Light {
7 Virgins of the Light
15 Supporters*
12 Ministers

[PS 194 continued] . . . the Dissolution of the Universe and the total Completion of the Numbering† of the Perfect Souls of the Inheritance of Light.

[PS 195] . . . until they have completed the Numbering of the Assembly‡ of Perfect Souls.

[PS 198] “. . . . . when I shall have led you to the Region of the last Supporter (1) which surrounds the Treasure of Light . . .”

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(1) [The Last Supporter.] To understand the position of the Five Supporters in this marvellous system of aeonology, the student should refer to pages 17 and 18. It is there stated that the three Vestures, that is to say the three Buddhic Robes, or the three grand degrees of Initiation, are endowed with the following characteristics respectively.

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* Not to be confused with the Five Great Supporters, but an aspect of them on a lower plane.
† See The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 171, first para. As said in the article on “Roman Catholicism and Theosophy” [by E. Kislingbury, Lucifer, Vol. VII, January, 1881, pp. 402-04] the tradition of the Church is that the number of the elect is identical with that of the “Fallen Angels,” whom they replace. Again The Secret Doctrine, especially Vol. II gives exhaustive evidence of the identity of the “Fallen Angels” with the incarnating Egos of Humanity. Verb. sap.
‡ Congregatio: sc. Ekkl‘sia (the Church), the seventh and last of the primordial Aeons of Valentinus. See the explanation of the Chart of the Pleroma according to this master of the Gnosis.
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I. The Glory of all the Names of the Mysteries and of all the Projections of the Orders of the Spaces of the Ineffable.
II. The Glory of all the Names of the Mysteries and of all the Projections of the Orders of the two Spaces of First Mystery.
III. The Glory of all the Names of the Mystery, the Revealer, which is called the First Precept downwards to them of the Firmament.

We are also told on page 1 and elsewhere more elaborately, that the First Mystery surrounds or comprehends

The First Precept.
The 5 Impressions (Types or Rudiments).
The Great Light of Lights.
The 5 Supporters.

Rays of this Light of the Treasure of Light reach down to the World of Men, for they are the intelligences, or Light Powers, of all the planes below the Treasure, down to the terrestrial. These Orders may be figured by a series of concentric circles, the centre one representing the Treasure, the next the Last or Little Supporter surrounding it, and so on with spheres of ever greater diameter, typifying ever expanding states of consciousness.

The above category from the First Precept down to the 5 Supporters, gives a key to the numbers 5, 7, and 12 (5 + 7) which will prove of great assistance in the comprehension of the classification of the Mysteries and corresponding states of consciousness which follow. The Great Light is the reflection and Upadhi of the First Precept or First Mystery; and the 5 Supporters, reflections of the 5 Impressions, 12 in all. These correspond to the 5 Subtle and 5 Gross Elements which, together with the 2 unmanifested elements, make up 12. Perhaps the following quotation from Professor Manilal Nabhubhai Dvivedi’s Monism or Advaitism? will make it clearer:—

“The Advaita begins with examining the divisions of Prakriti and clearly demonstrates, perhaps for the first time in the field of ancient Indian Rationalism, the truth that the five elements—}Akasa, Vayu, Tejas, Jala, Prithivi—are but five states of prakriti derivable from one another. From }Akasa, whose specific mark is Sadba which, by the way, we render not by sound but differentiation, proceeds Vayu (gaseous matter) with its specific mark Sparsa (touch) super-added to the original śabda; differentiation in Vayu leads to Tejas (heated matter) with its specific mark rãpa (form, heat, light) super-added to śabda and sparśa; from Tejas, Jala (liquid matter) with its specific mark rasa (taste); and from Jala, Prithivi with its specific mark Gandha

 

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(smell). Thus the five Tanmatras [Rudiments] and the five Bhutas [Elementals] of the Sankhya are reduced to Akasha, the all-pervading potential form (ether) of original matter (Mula-prakriiti).” [pp. 34-35.] *
Now we are taught that a new element evolves with every Root-Race and as we are two-thirds through the 5th Root Race, the fifth element of the seven is now in the course of its evolution. We have thus a key to the understanding of the 7 Amens and the 3 Amens; to the 5 Trees, 12 Saviours, etc., and the corresponding Mysteries. It must also be remembered that the explanation of the elements above quoted, is only their last reflection on the visible, material plane of matter. Their psychic, spiritual and divine prototypes are of a nature that cannot be described in words, as we can see by the terminology of Table VIII.

[PS 205] “And he who shall receive the Mystery of the Third Trispiritual, which pertains to the Three Trispirituals and Three Spaces, in their series, of the First Mystery, but has no power to go into the height into the Orders which are above him which are the Orders of the Space of the Ineffable (1) . . . .”

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(1)

———————
* Monism . . . Bombay, Subodha-Prakaśa Press, 1889.
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[PS 224] “. . . And that Mystery knows itself, why it flays itself so that it emanates from the Ineffable, which indeed itself rules over them all, and itself pours them forth all according to their Orders (1).”

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(1)

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* [See Note 1., pp. 51-52.]
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SPACE OF THE INEFFABLE

The following is quoted from Pt. II, sec. X, of Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, and will perhaps throw some light on this apparently chaotic system:—
“Q. What is the distinction between these various Hierarchies?
“A. In reality these Fires are not separate, any more than are the souls and monads to him who sees beyond the veil of matter or illusion.
He who would be an occultist must not separate either himself or anything else from the rest of creation or non-creation. For, the moment he distinguishes himself from even a vessel of dishonour, he will not be able to join himself to any vessel of honour. He must think of himself as an infinitesimal something, not even as an individual atom, but as a part of the world-atoms as a whole, or become

 

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an illusion, a nobody, and vanish like a breath leaving no trace behind. As illusions, we are separate distinct bodies living in masks furnished by Maya. Can we claim one single atom in our body as distinctly our own? Everything, from spirit to the tiniest particle, is part of the whole, at best a link. Break a single link and all passes into annihilation; but this is impossible. There is a series of vehicles becoming more and more gross, from spirit to the densest matter, so that with each step downward and outward we get more and more the sense of separateness developed in us. Yet this is illusory, for if there were a real and complete separation between any two human beings, they could not communicate with, or understand each other in any way.
“Thus with these hierarchies. Why should we separate their classes in our mind, except for purposes of distinction in practical Occultism, which is but the lowest form of applied Metaphysics? But if you seek to separate them on this plane of illusion, then all I can say is, that there exists between these Hierarchies the same abysses of distinction as between the ‘principles’ of the Universe or those of man, if you like, and the same ‘principles’ in a bacillus.”*
The careful student on comparing the different tables already given, will perceive a certain unity in the multiplicity of the Hierarchies; in other words that they are built up on an ever recurring type, which has been given in its simplest form in the Chart of the Valentinian Pleroma. Each new category transcends the one preceding it, until the mind totters in the sublimity of this stupendous scheme.
The recurrence of the number 12 is remarkable and will receive further explanation in that part of our text which deals with the astrological portion of the system. For the present it will be sufficient to add two more facts in nature to what has been said in PS 198 (1), and invite the attention of the reader to the consideration of:—
(a) The Dodecahedron, that marvellous “Platonic Solid”, for the solution of the Mysteries of which the whole of the Elements of Geometry were designed. It may be defined as “a regular solid contained under 12 equal and regular Pentagons,† or having twelve equal bases”; and of:—
(b) The following quotation (Monism or Advaitism?, p. 28):—“The Prana, or breath of the human organism, is a part of this universal vital principle. The moon also is shown to have its share in

———————
* [Consult Volume X of H.P.B.’s Collected Writings, pp. 395-96.]
† Representing mystically that man is the measure and limit of the Universe.
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nourishing all organic matter, and in regulating the ebb and flow of the Prana of nature. With every phase of the moon the Prana of man changes its course. These changes, minutely observed, established the fact that the breath of the human organism changes from right to left, and vice versa every two hours.* In these two hours each of the five Tattwas† . . . obtain their course.”

[PS 230-231] “. . . And in the Dissolution of the world, which is when the Universe shall have completed its Evolution . . . each and every one who shall have received the Mystery of the Ineffable shall be Allied Kings with me, and shall sit at my right hand and at my left . . . . For this reason, therefore, I have not hesitated nor feared to call you my Brethren and my Comrades, for ye shall be Allied Kings with me in my Kingdom (1) . . .”

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(1) Perhaps the following passages from The Secret Doctrine, I, (pp. 572-574), may make this somewhat clearer.
“The star under which a human Entity is born, says the Occult teaching, will remain forever its star, throughout the whole cycle of its incarnations in one Manvantara. But this is not his astrological star. The latter is concerned and connected with the personality, the former with the INDIVIDUALITY. The ‘Angel’ of the Star, or the Dhyani-Buddha, will be either the guiding or simply the presiding ‘Angel’, so to say, in every new rebirth of the monad, which is part of his own essence, though his vehicle, man, may remain forever ignorant of this fact. The Adepts have each their Dhyani-Buddha, their elder ‘twin-Soul’,‡ and they know it, calling it ‘Father-Soul’ and ‘Father-Fire’. It is only at the last and supreme initiation, however, that they learn it when placed face to face with the bright ‘Image’. How much has Bulwer-Lytton known of this mystic fact when describing, in one of his highest inspirational moods, Zanoni face to face with his Augoeides?
“. . . ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father’ [John xx, 17] . . .

———————
* 12 times a day!
† Viz., Akasa, Vayu, etc., as in the note already referred to.
‡ This has nothing to do with the absurdities of the “Sympneumata-doctrine” as is fully explained in the text, but is a key to the mystery of the Syzygies.
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meant . . . that the group of his disciples and followers attracted to Him belonged to the same Dhyani-Buddha, ‘Star’ or ‘Father,’ again of the same planetary realm and division as He did. It is the knowledge of this occult doctrine that found expression in the review of The Idyll of the White Lotus, when T. Subba Row wrote: ‘Every Buddha meets at his last initiation all the great adepts who reached Buddhahood during the preceding ages . . . every class of adepts has its own bond of spiritual communion which knits them together . . . The only possible and effectual way of entering into any such brotherhood . . . is by bringing oneself within the influence of the spiritual light which radiates from one’s own Logos. I may further point out here . . . that such communion is only possible between persons whose souls derive their life and sustenance from the same divine RAY and that, as seven distinct rays radiate from the ‘Central Spiritual Sun,’ all adepts and Dhyani-Chohans are divisible into seven classes, each of which is guided, controlled and overshadowed, by one of the seven forms or manifestations of the divine wisdom’ (The Theosophist, Vol. VII, Aug., 1886, p. 706).” [See also appendix to The Idyll of the White Lotus, Adyar edition.]

[PS 231 continued] “ . . . my Twelve Servants (Diakonoi) shall also be with me, but Mary Magdalene and John the Virgin* shall be the most exalted . . .”

[PS 237] In like manner also the Three Mysteries are not equal in the Kingdom which is in the Light, but each of them has a different Mode, and they too are not equal in the Kingdom to the One and Only Mystery of the First Mystery in the Kingdom of Light, and each of these Three has a different Mode, and the Mode of the Configuration of each of them is different, each from each, in their Series (1).

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(1) Here we have a series or scale of 12, 7 (see Tables VII and VIII), 5 and 3 Mysteries, and the synthetic One and Only Mystery. The key to their interpretation will be found in the Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (Part I, p. 55)† where it says:—

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* Two aspects of the Manasic Ray.
† [See Appendix, Pt. I, “Dreams”, or C.W. Vol. X, p. 253.]
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“When an adept succeeds in [uniting all his ‘principles’ into one] he is Jivanmukta [i.e., one emanciated from rebirth]: he is no more of this earth virtually, and becomes a Nirvani, who can go into Samadhi [i.e., attain to spiritual states of consciousness] at will. Adepts are generally classed by the number of ‘principles’ they have under their perfect control, for that which we call will has its seat in the higher EGO, and the latter, when it is rid of its sin-laden personality, is divine and pure.”

[PS 238] “. . . AMEN, I say unto you, when that man shall have departed out of the Body of Hyl‘, his Soul shall become a great Stream of Light, so that it may traverse all the Regions, until it shall come into the Kingdom of that Mystery. But when that man shall not have received the Mystery, and shall not have been a partaker in the Words of Truth, when accomplishing that Mystery, he shall have spoken it into the Head of a man departing from the Body, he who has not received the Mystery of Light (1) nor shared in the Words of Truth . . .”

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(1) We have here the original of the rite of Extreme Unction as practised in the Roman Catholic and Greek Churches. The commendatory prayer, recited at the moment of death to protect the soul of the deceased as it traverses the “middle passage,” also transmits the same hereditary germ. As usual, the older churches have preserved the occult tradition with greater fidelity than their inconoclastic and more ignorant younger sister. Occult science teaches that the frame of mind in which a man dies, is of the utmost importance owing to the abnormal and psychic state in which he then is. The last thought of a dying person does much to influence his immediate future. The arrow is ready to fly from the bow; the bow-string is abreast of the ear, and the aim will decide the immediate fate of the arrow. Happy is he for whom “Om is the bow, the Self is the arrow, the Brahman—its aim!” (Mundaka-Upanishad II, ii, 4). At such a sacred moment, strong spiritual aspirations, whether natural or induced by the earnest exhortation of either one who has a true conviction, or better still, of one possessed of the divine Gnosis, will protect the Soul of him who is leaving life. This is not meant, however, to endorse the superstition of a “death-bed repentance,” for the immutable justice

 

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and harmony of the Karmic Law can only return a fleeting effect for a fleeting cause; and the rest of the Karmic debt must be paid in future earth-lives. “Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. AMEN I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matt., v, 25, 26). That is to say, according to the Gnostic and esoteric interpretation, work while it is yet day, so that good Karmic action may balance the evil causes previously set in motion by the personality. Otherwise, at death we shall be judged by our own Higher Self, and under the conduct of the agents of the Karmic Law (the Demiourgos collectively), will have to reincarnate again into the prison of the body, until the past evil Karma has been exhausted. For until the last farthing of the Karmic debt is exhausted, we can never be untied from the wheel of “Samsara.”

[PS 239] “. . . And when they shall have brought him to the Virgin of Light (1), the Virgin of Light shall see the Sign of the Mystery of the Kingdom of the Ineffable, which is with him . . . . .”

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(1) The Virgin of Light. In the Chaldean cosmogony, Ana signifies the “invisible heaven”, the Heavenly Mother of the terrestrial sea: or esoterically }Akasa the mother of the Astral Light. Now Anaitis is one of the names of Kali, the female aspect. Sakti or Syzygy of Siva. She is also called the Annapãrna and Kanya, the Virgin. Her mystery name is Uma-Kanya, the “Virgin of Light.” (The Secret Doctrine I,91, 92.)
In the Egyptian and other cosmogonies, the first septenary group of emanating potencies is called the “Virgins of Light” and is represented collectively by the six-pointed star; this star “refers to the six Forces or Powers of Nature. the six planes, principles, etc., etc., all synthesized by the seventh, or the central point in the Star.” (The Secret Doctrine, I, 125).
On reference to Table VI in the Commentary, it will be seen that there are seven Virgins of Light, all aspects of the one Virgin. Now there are, as of everything else, seven aspects, planes or principles of virgin matter, corresponding to the seven principles of man, from the pure, divine }Akasa, to the terrestrial Astral Light, the sin-laden

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atmosphere of our earth. These are the septenary leaves of the Book of the Recording Angel, Le Livre de la Conscience, whither are instantly transferred the deeds, words and THOUGHTS of every minute of our lives, the Karmic record of each imprisoned soul. In the early portion of our text, we learned how the Initiate donned the spotless Vesture of Light containing the Five Words of Glory, and how they were potent to open all the portals and traverse all the Regions of the Rulers. So also with every man. Each has his own vesture, reflecting his Karmic record, and “uttering the words” that will acquit or condemn him before the jealous guardians of nature’s inmost realms. Yes; each of us has a vesture woven by his own hands, but few are they who are clad in a “wedding garment” and fit to join in the Marriage Feast, when the King’s Son is united to his Heavenly Bride; in other words, to join that holy Brotherhood where each, to gain admittance, must be at one with the Christos within him. He who seeks admission in sin-soiled robes must, like the man in the parable (Matt., xxii) be cast forth into the “outer darkness” of earth-life, until he has learnt by the experience of suffering to weave for himself a garment worthy of the “Church (Assembly) of the Mystic Christ.”
Thus, then, the Souls of the Dead have to present, each severally, their Defences., Denials, and Tokens, as the text has it, and the nature of their after-death experiences and their subsequent return to earth-life will depend upon which of the seven Virgins they have to face in the “Hall of Judgment.” Thrice blessed is he who, clad in the Vesture of Glory, can pass by the Guardians of every threshold.
The above will throw much light on the Mysteries of the Osirified and the fate of the “defunct” that play so conspicuous a part in the “Wisdom of the Egyptians.” To give one instance out of a multitude:
“In the book called by Champollion La Manifestation à la Lumière, there is a chapter on the Ritual which is full of mysterious dialogues, with addresses to various ‘Powers’ by the soul. Among these dialogues there is one which is more than expressive of the potentiality of the Word. The scene is laid in the ‘Hall of the Two Truths.’ The ‘Door,’ the ‘Hall of Truth,’ and even the various parts of the gate, address the soul which presents itself for admission. They all forbid it entrance unless it tells them their mystery, or mystic names.” (Isis Unveiled, II, 369.)

[PS 241-242] “. . . . . And every one that shall receive the Mystery which is in the Space of the Universal Ineffable, and all the other sweet Mysteries in the Limbs of the Ineffable . . . which pertain to the Regulation of the One

 

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and the Same, the Deity of Truth, from the feet (upwards) (1) . . . . each shall inherit up to his proper Region . . . . .”

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(1) The Limbs of the Ineffable, the Deity of Truth. An exposition of this Gnostic tenet will be found in PS 125 (1). The information there given may be expanded with advantage by the following passage from Irenaeus,* where speaking of the system of Marcus, he writes:
“And the Quaternion [sc. the higher personal consciousness at one with the divine triad }tma-Buddhi-Manas, forming the Supernal Tetraktys], he (Marcus) said, having explained this to him, added, ‘Now then I am minded to manifest unto thee the very Truth herself. For I have brought her down from the mansions on high, that thou mayest look on her unclothed, and discover her beauty, yea, and hear her speak, and marvel at her wisdom (for Truth is the Bride of the Heavenly or Perfect Man, the Initiate). Behold then her head above, the A and Ù; her neck B and Ø; her shoulders with her hands, Ã and X; her bosom Ä and Ö ; her chest E and Õ; her belly Z and T; her lower parts H and Ó; her thighs È and P, her knees I and II; her legs K and O; her ankles Ë and X; her feet M and N.’ This is the body of Truth ascending to the Magus: this is the figure of the element, this is the character of the letter: and he calls this element Man: and he says, it is the source of every Word (Verbum), and the beginning of the universal Sound (Vox) and the utterance of every unspeakable, and the mouth of speechless Silence. And this indeed is her body; but do thou, lifting on high the understanding of thy intelligence, hear from the mouth of Truth, the self-producing Word, which also conveys the Father.
“And when she had said this, the Truth (he says) looked upon him, and opened her mouth and spake a Word: and the Word became a Name, and the Name was what we know and speak, Christ Jesus; and immediately she had uttered the Name, she became silent. And when Marcus thought that she would speak further, the Quaternion came forward again and said: ‘Thou didst hold as contemptible the Word which thou hast heard from the mouth of Truth, but this is not the Name which thou knowest and thinkest thou has possessed for long; for thou has only its sound, as to its virtue, thou art ignorant

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* Adversus Haereses, Book I, ch. xiv, § 3 and 4; also found in Epiphanius, Panarion, xxiv, § 4.
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thereof. For the Name Jesus is that of the Sign [the Stigma, the sign of the Greek numeral 6], for it contains six letters, known by all who are called (lit., of the calling). But that which is with the Aeons of the Pleroma, since it is in many places, is of another form and another type, and known by those of its kinship whose greatnesses are with him [them, the Aeons, (Epiph.)], eternally: [that is to say, those who are chosen, the Initiated or Perfect].

[PS 243] “. . . A day of Light is a thousand years of the World, so that thirty-six myriads of years and half a myriad of years of the World are one year of Light (1) . . .”

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(1) Year of Light. Theosophists acquainted with the doctrine of cycles of manvantaras and pralayas, and of the days and nights of Brahma, will have no difficulty in finding the key of the mystery which has puzzled the so-called Christian Church from the time that its lower principles separated themselves entirely from their higher light, the Divine Gnosis. The absurdities of the Chiliasts, Millenniumists and Millenarians are a striking proof of the materialism of Patristic theology, which has been re-edited and kept up to date down to this very day. This thousand physical years absurdity in various aspects, mostly with the physical return and reign of Christ on earth, was supported by the greatest lights of the Church. We find among its supporters such names as Papias, the co-disciple of Polycarp and a hearer of John, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr (who imagined that the thousand years would be spent in Jerusalem “rebuilt, adorned, and enlarged”), Tertullian, Victorinus, Apollinarius, Lactantius, Severus and Augustine. How different the nearer tradition of the Gnostics was from the later misunderstandings, may be seen from our text, and any further explanation is almost superfluous.

[PS 248] “. . . And they have been cleansing them (sc., those of the Mixture) not of themselves, but of compulsion, according to the Regulation of One and the Same Ineffable. Neither have they at all undergone Sufferings, nor Changes in the Regions, nor have they flayed themselves at all, nor poured themselves into different Bodies (1), nor have they been in any Affliction.”

 

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(1) Metangizein (̺ôáíãéæºéí): to pour from one vessel into another. Metangismos was the technical term for metempsychosis or reincarnation among the Pythagoreans. C. W. King, however, translates this passage: “nor transformed themselves into various figures”; but somata are animal bodies and nothing else, and metangizein and metangismos are technical terms, used only in connection with the idea of reincarnation, and frequently employed in Pistis-Sophia by Schwartze to denote rebirth. It is, therefore, difficult to understand how the author of The Gnostics and their Remains missed the correct translation.
Augustine [Aurelius, St. (354 A.D.-429 A.D.)] copying from Philaster, gives the name of Metangismonitae to a certain sect of the Heretics who, he avers, asserted that the Son was in the Father, as one vessel (angeion) in another. There is, however, no evidence to support this statement.
The many striking and instructive passages referring to reincarnation from the writings and teachings of the Gnostic Heresiarchs have yet to be collected.
As an example, we take one from Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom., lib. iv, chap. xii), who quoted from Basilides in order to refute him as he imagined. Basilides, he says averred that the soul was punished in this life for sins that it had previously committed in another. The elect soul was honourably punished through martyrdom, but the other was purified by its proper chastisement. The key of Theosophy at once unlocks the mystery by its teachings as to the Higher and Lower Manas, the divine Individuality and the perishable Personality. For the Higher Ego is indeed the Sacrificial Victim, that suffers an honourable “martyrdom”; and “the other” is the Lower Manas that must be punished by its “proper chastisement”.
The late E. D. Walker, in the eighth chapter of his book on Reincarnation,* has given a brief sketch to show that it was the prevailing creed in the first centuries of Christianity, and those who are interested in the subject should certainly read this chapter, if they have not done so already. An authoritative volume, however, has yet to be written on the subject, supported by the citation of the innumerable passages that are to be found in the writings of the Gnostics, Neo-platonists and early Church Fathers.†
The doctrines of the Pistis-Sophia are in many essentials identical

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* [Reincarnation; A study of Forgotten Truth, N.Y., University Books, 1965 reprint.]
† [Today’s students may consult S. L. Cranston and J. Head’s Reincarnation, The Phoenix Fire Mystery, N.Y., Crown, 1977.]
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with Egyptian teachings, especially with regard to the mysteries of life and death and of reincarnation. What the learned of the Egyptians taught on these heads we do not as yet know, for such teaching formed part of the instruction of the Mysteries. And even exoterically we are dependent to a large extent on what Greek and Roman writers have to tell us of the Egyptians rather than on the Egyptians themselves. Moreover, such writers, if they were initiated, had their tongues tied by the oath of secrecy; and if uninitiated, could only re-echo the popular beliefs at best, and in general wove in their own glosses and misconceptions even of this distorted shadow of the truth. Consequently no subject remains in greater obscurity for our scholars.
Wilkinson (Ancient Egyptians, Vol. V., p. 440, 3rd ed.) throws no light on the subject, although he is useful for the finding of a few references. Let us turn to the first of them, Herodotus, Euterpe, ch. 123.
“The Egyptians are the first who said that the psyche of man is immortal, and that when the body (soma) is destroyed, it always enters into some other living one (zóon), and after having completed the cycle of all earthy, watery, and airy (bodies), it enters again into the body of a man, and this cycle takes it 3,000 years to accomplish.”

Again, in Plato’s Phaedrus, translated by Thomas Taylor, p. 325, we read:—
“But no soul will return to its pristine condition till the expiration of 10,000 years, since it will not recover the use of its wings until that period, except it be the soul of one who has philosophised sincerely, or, together with philosophy, has loved beautiful forms. These, indeed, in the third period of 1,000 years, if they have thrice chosen this mode of life in succession . . . shall in the 3,000th year fly away to their pristine abode; but other souls being arrived at the end of their first life shall be judged. And of those who are judged, some, proceeding to a subterraneous place of judgment [Kamaloka], shall there sustain the punishments they have deserved; but others, in consequence of a favourable judgment, being elevated into a certain celestial place [Devachan], shall pass their time in a manner becoming the life they have lived in a human shape. And in the 1,000th year, both the kinds of those who have been judged, returning to the lot and election of a second life, shall each of them receive a life agreeable to his desire. Here also the human soul shall pass into the life of a beast; and from that of a beast again into that of a man. For the soul that has never perceived the truth cannot pass into the human form.”
These two passages throw considerable light on one another, and, with the help of Theosophical teachings, become understandable, in

 

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spite of the innumerable blinds which they contain. The figures refer to certain cycles, based on the root numbers, 3, 7, 10, and have to do with Rounds, Races, individual births, monadic evolution, etc., etc.
But the soul is of two kinds, the Manasic and Kamic, and herein is the greatest blind. The former goes to “a certain celestial place”, and the latter to “a subterranean place”. It is the latter only that goes through the “cycle” which Herodotus speaks of.
Wilkinson, therefore, is only useful for the two references, the first of which has been retranslated and the second retained verbatim, as it is Taylor’s translation. He, however, adds one further item of interest, viz:
“The doctrine of transmigration was also admitted by the Pharisees; their belief according to Josephus,* being ‘that all souls were incorruptible; but that those of good men were only removed into other bodies, and that those of the bad were subject to eternal punishment’.”

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* Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii, 8, 14.
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