Anglo-Catholic involvement in the occult is much broader and deeper than most would suspect, writes Richard Yoder
Category Archives: Religion
Neither. In this case, “Chariot” (Hebrew: “Merkavah”) refers to a type of mysticism, kind of like proto-Kabbalah. In other words, he astrally ascended to heaven in a state of perfected consciousness, whilst his physical body probably just died normally. This is not dissimilar to the Yogic concept of “Mahasamadhi,” which is how great sages end their physical incarnation whilst in a state of perfected meditation.
Happy Epiphany! Or, if you are a member of one of the Orthodox Churches, or are reading this in Africa, Merry Christmas! This post is a follow-up to my previous Epiphany-themed post, Jesus Christ: Pagan Messiah.
Astrologers are mentioned with high-praise in the Bible! All you Christian Fundamentalists who say that Astrology is evil, are ignoring the literal word of the good book, for the Gospel of St Matthew clearly says that the first foreigners to recognise Jesus as Christ were Astrologers. In fact, the Churches have instituted a day to honour the fact – today, the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th.
Yes indeed. The Magi who came to offer gold, frankincense and myrrh were astrologers, who used their powers of casting horoscopes to predict the birth of the Messiah. The key to understanding this is the passage:
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
The phrase at its rising has been also been translated as “in the East.” This has given rise to an erroneous belief that there was an actual Star of Bethlehem, moving comet like through the sky to guide the Magi to the place of Jesus’ birth. Some have also speculated, also erroneously, that the passage refers to a planetary conjunction which occurred in 6BC. (NB: all stars rise in the East, simply because of the Earth’s rotation).
However, to an Astrologer, the passage takes on a completely different meaning. It refers to Jesus’ “rising sign” or Ascendant. Hence the Magi computed Jesus’ Horoscope. Incidentally, the Rising Sign is the literal “Horoscope” – the word means “house marker,” hence the Ascendant is the point from which the Houses of the chart are measured. Likewise they used the power of Astrology to identify the specific house in Bethlehem (it so happens that there is a method in Horary Astrology where the geographical location of a thing may be determined by the position of the ruler of the house under which it falls in the Horary chart – see, e.g. here).
This has given me a brilliant idea – the Christian Church should celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany as Astrology Day, precisely because it is the day when a group of Astrologers came to visit Baby Jesus. Given that every other Christian holiday inevitably becomes secularized soon enough, we may rely on the power of big business to soon open it up to people of all religions and none! Heck, if this idea takes off and finds widespread popular appeal, we shall soon have internet memes going round saying it was a pagan feast day all along!
A traditional Christian viewpoint is
Angels are neither male nor female in a human sense, because they belong to a different order of beings. Still, when biblical writers try to describe angelic appearances, they consistently use masculine pronouns and male attributes:
1 Chronicles 21:16: David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem.
Luke 24:4 (at Jesus’ tomb): While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
Revelation 10:1: Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.
The idea of female angels, then, must have come from outside Judaism and Christianity. … Many pagan religions featured winged servants of the gods … and some of these were distinctly female.
The foregoing editorial betrays its patriarchality, because some of these winged beings weren’t servants of the gods, but gods and goddesses in their own right, e.g.:
However, a separate website points out that “[w]hile angels generally appear as men in Scripture, Zechariah 5:9 may suggest this is not always the case.” I.e.:
Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.
In Islam, the position is more neutral, i.e. that it is impossible and indeed inappropriate to say one way or the other:
The angels are not regarded as either male or female. As for being female, Allah has stated that they are not female … As for describing them as male, no such thing has been narrated.
In the magical system of the Golden Dawn, there is supposedly a way of ascribing gender to an Angelic being, to wit: analyse the Hebrew letters making up its name in terms of whether they are masculine or feminine – the majority will determine the overall gender (or “epicene” if there is no majority). However – this applies only to the Telesmatic Images of these Angels – in other words, the images that we create in order to visualise them, not what they necessarily are in themselves. In terms of actual gender, the GD accepts that Angels do not have gender in the sense that we humans understand the notion. However, unlike the chauvinistic examples of exoteric religion quoted at the beginning of this article, the GD accepts that Angelic beings do appear as both Male and Female (or other).
This is rather good news for members of the GD, as it has been pointed out that the Secret Chief of the Golden Dawn is an Angelic being. Therefore Fratres and Sorores are free to believe that the Secret Chief is either male or female, and can regenerate between the two as the occasion arises! 😉
In my previous blog on the Syrian Refugee crisis, I proposed resorting to Sorcery to find out what the best solution ought to be. This naturally leads to the question: can Magic be used to put such a solution into effect?
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.”
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.
Tarot Cards are bad for your health and can give you violent stomach-ache! So you’d better stop eating them! Joking aside for one moment, that would actually have been far more sensible advice than that given by US Televangelist Pat Robertson to a woman who emailed into his show.
Apparently, a woman’s son experienced violent stomach pains when she prayed to him in the name of Jesus. She then emailed Robertson for advice. Now I am no Doctor, but I am a qualified First-Aider, and can tell you for nothing that if someone came to me with stomach pains I would firstly carry out a full Secondary Survey, and then – unless a specific medical condition indicated otherwise – call 111 (NHS Direct) or 999 (for an Ambulance) (i.e. in the UK) depending on how serious the patient’s condition apppeared.
Ah! But does Robertson do any of this? Does he even suggest getting checked out by a doctor at all? Erm no. He automatically assumes that it is caused by one of the woman’s ancestors having practiced witchcraft, or used tarot cards, and then recommends getting in an exorcist who really believes in spiritual warfare to sort this whole thing out.
Let’s just rewind for one second: it was when the woman prayed to Jesus that the boy felt sick. I suppose it would have been beyond Robertson to suggest, “Well stop praying to Jesus, then?”
Robertson is well-known in the USA as a particularly rabid right-wing televangelist. I have had to cause to mention his antics before on this blog in regard to his remarks on the 2010 Haitian Earthquake. Indeed, I noted at the time:
“Pat” apparently is not actually his real-name, but a childhood nickname derived from the fact that as a baby people liked to pat him a lot.
May I suggest that in the future he might consider changing it to Punch Robertson.
As Greenberg describes it: “Torah doesn’t say that God waved a magic wand and everything appeared; according to Kabbalah, He created a complex evolutionary system through which infinite Divine energy evolves into finite forms.”
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.
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].
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.