Tag Archives: jesus christ

Jesus Christ – Pagan Messiah

Updated version of a post from 2011


The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated by Christians on January 6th. It is thought to be the date upon which Jesus was visited by the Wise men, and in many non-English speaking countries (e.g. most of Africa) is regarded as the actual date that Santa Claus comes to visit (Europeans – though not those in the UK –  believe he comes a month earlier on December 6th – the feast of St Nicholas). However all this is by the by as in this blog post I intend to analyse the symbolism of the feast of the Epiphany from a Qabalistic perspective.

It is widely thought that there were three Wise Men i.e. Magi, however this is a misconception – the number three only arises because of the number of gifts specified. There could in actual fact have been any number of Magi – they might for example have decided to ignore a literal reading of the constitution and quietly re-elect one on the sly! The actual wording of Matthew’s Gospel in fact seems to indicate that there were many so-called Magi living in Jerusalem – perhaps making up an actual cult or secret society.

Nevertheless, let’s examine the symbolism of the three gifts: Gold, Frankincence and Myrrh. It has been said many times in the past that they are symbols of Jesus’ ministry: Gold – because it symbolises his Kingly role; Frankincense – His Priestly role; and Myrrh – the mastery over Death. Now let’s compare this with the Tarot. Although there is a rather obvious card associated with “Death,” there is at least one less obvious one as well – “The Empress” – because in Rosicrucian terms, Daleth / Venus is “the Door” to the Tomb.  The Kingly role is most obviously associated with “The Emperor” and the Priestly role with “The Hierophant.”

Gold Heh The Emperor
Frankincense Vav The Hierophant
Myrrh Daleth The Empress

Now you see the pattern emerging? The three gifts represent paths leading to the sephirah Chokmah. And, in the Rosicrucian tradition, an initiate of the grade of Chokmah is called a Magus. What actually makes this most remarkable is that the name of the Rosicrucian grade of Magus pre-dates the assignment of Tarot trumps to the Tree of Life by over a hundred years or so, coming as it does from the Gold + Rosy Cross.

What we have in effect in Matthew’s Gospel is Jesus, whilst still a small child, effectively being advanced to the grade of 9=2 Magus. I say with no intended irony that it is the very model of a modern Magus ritual. Seriously though, the fact is that thereafter, “being warned in a dream they returned to their own country by another route.” In other words, these Magi were not Jews at all but foreigners – i.e. Pagans! Moreover there is at least one Gnostic gospel that claims that Jesus’ coming was foretold by “Zeredusht” (i.e. Zoroaster). What this means is that Matthew – and indeed perhaps the early Church itself – intended Jesus not just to be the Messiah of the Jews, but of the Pagans as well.

If this is true, then it represents a notion which would have proved far too radical for later and more modern Christians, if indeed they even dared to conceive it all. For example – how many times have you heard preachers trying to explain Jesus’ life by reference to the Old Testament? A lot. How many times, however, have you heard preachers trying to explain Jesus’ life by reference to Pagan scriptures in the same manner? I am keen to wager it is somewhat less. Yet the implication of Jesus being initiated as a Magus by Pagans would seem to imply, to my mind at least, that it would be appropriate to do so.

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Jesus Christ: Lord of Misrule

This is a re-posting of a blog from 2010. I was prompted to do so after reading another blog, by a Catholic Priest, who was adamant that Saturnalia had nothing to do with Christmas. Apparently, all though he admitted that Saturn was associated with human sacrifice, the fact that Jesus Christ Himself was a Sacrificed God eluded him! Nevertheless, the same blog was interesting as it pointed out that the available evidence as to dates suggests that the feast of the birth of Sol Invictus is based upon Christmas, not the other way round. See here for more details.


He's revelling now, but tomorrow he'll feel slaughtered!

He’s revelling now, but tomorrow he’ll feel slaughtered!

Happy Saturnalia to you all. This is of course the ancient Roman festival that was celebrated from the 17th to the 23rd December, and involved a lot of feasting, revelry and debauchery. And guess what? It was being condemned as sordid and commercial as early as 400 AD! O Tempora – O mores!

The pagan customs obviously survived into the Christian era. In mediaeval times there was elected a “Lord of Misrule” who was the master of revels of the Saturnalia *cough* I mean Christmas period. However, James Frazer (he of The Golden Bough fame) reported that there was at least one incident of Roman soldiers choosing a “Lord of Misrule,” and at the end of the Saturnalia period - sacrificing him on the altar of Saturn.

This got the Sumner family brain cell working. Where had I heard of Roman soldiers doing something like that before? Oh yes! Here:

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band [of soldiers]. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put [it] upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify [him].

Matthew 27:27-31

The “coincidences” stack up even further when you consider that Jesus was “sacrificed” on a Cross, which in Hebrew is Tau – the letter associated (in the modern Hermetic Qabalah) with Saturn. Thus, what we have here is Jesus being put through a version of the Saturnalia ritual!

The idea that Jesus Christ is in fact the Lord of Misrule might seem strange at first, although I suspect that it occurred to William Blake in the past, when he made the point in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell that Jesus was all virtue yet he acted from impulse. Thus the “Misrule” of which Jesus was Lord was defiance of the stifling restrictions of old religion which often ran counter to justice.

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How to Be an Ascended Master

Then he took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. They worshipped him and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy; and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Luke 24: 50 – 51.

Looking at the Sophistry the MBW crowd come up with about “Ascension” (nb: MBW = Mind Body Wallet). Apparently this Ascension-lark involves bowing down and worshipping a list of so-called “Ascended Masters.” Yes, such a patriarchal term is still used even though some of them are female: the term “Ascended Mistress” has yet to gain currency I suppose because of the double-entendre.

Anyway: there was me thinking – “What a jolly wheeze it would be if, instead of worshipping an Ascended Master, it was possible to become one instead! Can such a thing be done?” At least according to some schools of Occult thought, the answer is Yes. So, for the benefit of poor benighted humankind, and to the consternation of New Age money-makers everywhere, I present Alex’ Guide to Becoming an Ascended Master.

Qabalah

The Bible itself says very little about Ascension, save for the fact that it is alleged to have happened on three occasions: Enoch, Elijah, and Jesus. Enoch’s ascension is dealt with in one verse of Genesis:

Enoch walked with God. Then he vanished because God took him.

Genesis 5:24.

Jesus’ own experience is recorded in three places: the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles.

The most revealing account though is what happened to the prophet Elijah.

Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind.

2 Kings 2:11 (emphasis added).

Now the word “Chariot” (Hebrew: Merkavah) is the clue to what is really going on here: this word was later adopted by proto-Qabalists to denote a species of Mystical ritual. What we now know as Merkavah Mysticism was formulated in the first centuries of the Common Era, although the Hebrew Mystics who did so were aspiring to rediscover the ancient mysteries primarily which enabled the prophet Ezekiel to obtain his visions. I contend that the association with “works of the Chariot” may be extended to Elijah as well.

Hence: Elijah ended his days on Earth whilst engaged in mystical ritual. It should be noted that in the Yoga Tradition it is claimed that great Yogis do much the same thing, where it is called Mahasamadhi, that is – to consciously leave the body whilst in a state of perfected meditation. However, if this is what happened to Elijah though then clearly his heavenly-translation is actually only a metaphor: although his soul would have left his body in a state of perfect meditation, his body itself would be left behind – his Ascension would be akin to an actual death, though no less remarkable in its own way.

Gnosticism

The Gnostics also perceived that Ascension is a matter of undertaking certain mystical rituals, and therefore contrived to speculate what form these rituals might take. One of the finest pieces of Gnostic literature deals directly with this: the Pistis Sophia. In essence this is an account of secret teachings that Jesus gave to the Apostles after the resurrection. The post-resurrection period is stated as lasting some eleven years, not the forty days as is commonly believed in the exoteric Church.

At the end of Jesus’ post resurrection ministry, he Ascended into Heaven … then returned a short-while later to teach the Apostles how He did it.

In order to understand the basic method, one should first be aware of the Gnostic conception of the cosmos. The world of matter is supposedly removed from the Supreme ultimate Divinity: in between are the realms of lesser spiritual beings (“Archons”) who act as barriers or obstacles to Man becoming truly spiritually free, keeping him imprisoned in the physical world. These Archons range from being deliberately evil to morally-neutral, depending on which school of Gnosticism one subscribes to, although one gets the feeling that Gnostic writers tended to gild the lily somewhat when describing how terrible the Archons are in order to emphasise their importance.

According to the Pistis Sophia, Ascension is the method whereby Jesus was able to transcend the world of matter, rise up past and through the barriers administered by the Archons, and commune with the supreme ultimate divinity (referred to in the text as “the First Mystery”) in “Heaven.” NB: in communing with the First Mystery, Jesus becomes One therewith, so that at times he talks of the works of First Mystery in the First Person. The whole implication of the Pistis Sophia being that Gnostic initiates following in Jesus’ footsteps would be able to accomplish the same.

The actual method of the Pistis Sophia is centred on acquiring an ascension-vehicle known as the “Vesture of Light” which, when the initiate is wrapped therein, causes all who see it to perceive only Light itself, not the initiate. The Vesture of Light is imagined as a cloak on which are written the Words of Power which are the key to compelling the Archons to let the initiate pass upwards: ZAMA ZAMA OZZA RACHAMA OZAI.

How is the “Vesture of Light” acquired? The Pistis Sophia is open to interpretation on this point. Jesus acquired His “Vesture of Light” from the First Mystery Itself, although this is a rather circular conception when one considers that in Ascending, Jesus identifies as the First Mystery. In the opinion of G R S Mead, the Pistis Sophia was not meant to be a publicly circulated document, but reserved for initiates. If so, we can infer that there may have been further oral teaching given to Gnostic initiates which was never written down. As to what this oral teaching might be, several modern commentators have reached their own conclusions, as will be noted below.

“Mithraism”

Mead, a keen scholar of Gnosticism and related subjects, was also the first English writer to translate a key ritual of Mithraism which again deals with Ascension – which he describes as the “innermost rite of the carefully guarded secrets of the Mithriaca.”

NB: it is called a Mithraic Liturgy, but this may be misleading. There is no internal evidence in the text to suggest it has to do with Mithras at all! All that is known for certain is that the papyrus in which it is contained dates from the fourth century AD, was written in Greek and derives from Egypt (the timing makes it contemporaneous with the decline of the cult of Mithras).

The ritual itself consists of a certain number of invocations and utterations to be made whilst astrally-projecting into the Higher Realms. The basic idea of memorising a long and complex ritual to be performed in the astral is not too dissimilar to the practice of Merkavah, although the rituals differ in the details. Of modern magicians Julius Evola published a version of this ritual, implying that it may have been practised by his “Ur Group.”

Alchemy

Being the world’s greatest Ipsissimus, it has come to my attention that there is a group doing the rounds claiming to have made contact with the secret chiefs of the so-called third-order. On investigating, it quickly became obvious (i.e. obvious to someone who has the total consciousness of the universe, in other words, not obvious at all) to what they are referring.

The said Group appear to be practising a form of Gnostic ascension à la Pistis Sophia (see above). However they have come up with a radical method of attaining the “Vesture of Light,” by a means of a certain method of what may quaintly be termed “internal alchemy” – or less quaintly – Sex Magick.

I have reason to believe that the group of so-called “secret chiefs” is in fact a genuine organisation (i.e. in the sense that it exists), however: certain public details about it have been deliberately obscured. It is not, for instance, as one rumour goes around the interwebby-thing, the third-order of the Golden Dawn at all, but a highly elite and exclusive group that draw their members from high-degree Memphis-Misraim initiates.

The time, date and place of their meetings, as well as who attends them, are obviously strictly confidential, though the “secrets” are not particularly so: there is nothing there that cannot be gained from cribbing from the works of Kenneth Grant, for example.

I shall say no more on this matter, as I do not wish criticisms against me to “snowball.” ;)

Conclusion

So as you can appreciate, for the practising Occultist, “Ascension” is a goal which may be attained (allegedly) through advanced mystical and theurgic practices. Needless to say, the Qabalistic, Gnostic and (pseudo)-Mithraic methods stop short of the full deal, as in each case the initiate returns to Earth afterwards – at least in the examples that we know about. It is thus a form of shamanic journeying, albeit to the higher as opposed to lower worlds.

It is important to bear in mind at this stage a distinction between the Right and Left Hand Paths when it comes to the matter of Ascension. The aspiration of the Right-hand path practitioner is to undergo an Ascension experience in order to attain the Beatific Vision whilst living, not necessarily to permanently translate to the higher realms. After all, there is a far simpler way to do that, and that is by simply dying.

The practitioner of the Left-Hand Path is in a different position. Whereas one on the RHP automatically assumes that his or her soul is immortal and will survive death anyway, the LHP practitioner has no such guarantee. Thus, the LHP practitioner can be recognised by an obsession with Ascension not to gain the mystical benefits to derive therefrom, but as a means to cheat Death itself.

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XX Priests

So the Catholic Church refuses to ordain women, eh? The reason they give being that Jesus only chose men disciples? Well Mr Benedict XVI, let me drop some science for you! The Apostles were consecrated by the Holy Spirit – which came down at Pentecost. On that fateful day in the Upper Room, the occupants did not just number the Apostles, but the women-folk as well. Hence – the women received the Holy Spirit along with the Apostles! This makes them just as much entitled to be priests – nay, bishops even – as men.

See, you don’t have to appeal to modern revisionist feminist thinking to show that the refusal to ordain women priests is wrong: Scripture itself says so!

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Have Yourselves an Esoteric Christmas

Christ’s birthday is celebrated by Christians on December 25th, but is widely believed by theologians that this is a purely nominal date – Jesus was probably born at some other time in the year (assuming He existed in the first place). Why then has December 25th been picked for the date of Christmas?

One rather superficial answer which has been bandied about so much it has become a cliché is that it is apparently the same day as when the Persian god Mithras was born. This a lot of neo-pagans trot out, smugly thinking that Christianity is just an agglomeration of other religions’ feast days.

Guys! There is just as much proof that Mithras was born on December 25th as Jesus was! I.e. none whatsoever. The priests of the Mithraic religion chose December 25th for much the same reasons as Christians later did for Jesus – not because it was his actual birthday, but because the date itself has symbolic significance.

We are getting closer to the truth when we note that Yule – the Winter Solstice – occurs two to three days before Christmas. So why is not Christmas celebrated actually on the Solstice itself? In ancient times people did not have calculators, or telescopes, or accurate time-pieces. They were not able to work out the precise moment the Sun turns north again, and they had to rely on the evidence of their five senses. The reason December 25th was chosen arbitrarily is that it is the first day after the Winter Solstice when the increase in the amount of daylight can be noticed. Thus it was quite natural for ancient people of all religions to hold Solstitial celebrations on the 25th rather than the technical Solstice a few days beforehand.

The question then arises: why did Christians choose the feast of the Winter Solstice as Christ’s birthday, as opposed to, say, one of the other Pagan feast-days? The answer is that it can be explained astrologically. When the date for Christmas was set, it was well known that human gestation lasted 9 months. Therefore, the question asked was not “When would Christ have been born?” but “When would He have been conceived?”

Counting back from Christmas Day, we get to March 25th or thereabouts – which is known in the Christian Church as “Lady Day” or the Feast of the Annunciation. Obviously it is the approximate date of the Vernal Equinox (March 23rd), and, dare I say it, would actually have been the date that ancient peoples would have celebrated the Equinox, for much the same reasons that the Winter Solstice would have been celebrated on December 25th – i.e. “Lady Day” would be the first day on which the length of the day was noticeably longer than the night-time.

“Lady Day” (or the Vernal Equinox) being the day when Christ was conceived is significant because it is when the Sun enters Aries – a very appropriate zodiacal sign, as it brings to mind Jesus’ associations with “the Lamb of God”.

But more than this, Aries is the sign of Cardinal Fire. Now as Qabalists know, Fire is represented in the Hebrew alphabet by Shin, which shares the same gematria as “Ruach Elohim”, the “spirit of God” – or Holy Spirit. It is for this reason that the letter Shin is commonly used to represent the idea of Spirit in certain qabalistic words and phrases: e.g. YHVH (God) + Sh (Holy Spirit) = YHShVH (Yeheshuah i.e.
Jesus).

Now again, some commentators mistakenly confuse the Vernal Equinox with Easter, thinking that because they occur so close to one another they must be the same. However, this is not the case. Easter is specifically not the feast of the Equinox – it marks the first Full Moon after the Equinox. There is a bloody good reason why the Luna influence is important. Easter would have been the symbolic date that Mary first realised she really was pregnant. So once again, we have people celebrating events not on the technical day on which they are calculated to have occurred, but on the first occasion thereafter when it was possible to ascertain by non-technical means.

Therefore, the date of Christ’s conception was determined fit in with the Equinox (or Easter) because:
• Easter is the Christian celebration of the Dying God being reborn (like the Sun), and is thus a celebration of new life being brought to the Earth;
• The Sun entering Aries signifies the rousing to action of the Holy Spirit / Ruach Elohim, through its associations with Fire. Moreover, because this happens contemporaneously with Easter, the implication is that it is the Holy Spirit which is responsible for the new life in spring time;
• Hence it is appropriate that Mary the Mother of God, via the Holy Spirit, should conceive at the time of the Vernal Equinox, which itself is associated therewith: the idea of the ecclesiast being that the Holy Spirit creates new life in the Earth, and in Mary herself.

Or to put it another way, Jesus’ conception was figured as taking place around the same time of year as, many years later, He would die and be reborn. So not only is it inevitable that Jesus should be thought of as being born on December 25th, but also that the time of His death and resurrection is thought of occurring roundabout Easter time.

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