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“Echoes From A Yawning Chasm”

Posted by lahar9jhadav on November 26, 2011

In November of 1913 Carl Jung commenced an extraordinary exploration of the psyche, or “soul”. He called it his “confrontation with the unconscious.” During this period Jung wilfully entered imaginative or “visionary” states of consciousness. The visions continued intensely from the end of 1913 until about 1917 and then abated by around 1923. Jung carefully recorded this imaginative journey in six black-covered personal journals (referred to as the “Black Books”); these notebooks provide a dated chronological ledger of his visions and dialogues with his Soul.

Beginning in late 1914, Jung began transcribing from the Black Book journals the draft manuscript of his legendary Red Book, the folio-sized leather bound illuminated volume he created to contain the formal record of his journey. Jung repeatedly stated that the ‘visions and imaginative’ experiences recorded in the Red Book contained the nucleus of all his later works.

carl jung red book mandala 33a Mandala from C.J. Jung’s RED BOOK

What follows is from Carl G. Jung’s biography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

Soon after  this fantasy  another  figure rose out  of the  unconscious. He  developed  out of the  Elijah  figure. I called  him  Philemon. Philemon was a pagan  and brought  with him an Egypto-Hellenistic  atmosphere  with a Gnostic  coloration.  His figure first appeared   to  me in the  following  dream.

There  was a blue sky, like the  sea, covered  not by clouds  but by flat brown clods of earth. It looked as if the clods were breaking  apart  and  the blue  water  of the  sea were  becoming  visible between  them.  But the water  was the  blue  sky. Suddenly  there appeared  from the right  a winged  being  sailing  across  the  sky.

I saw that  it was an old man with  the horns  of a bull. He held a bunch  of four  keys, one  of which  he  clutched  as if  he  were about to open a lock. He had the wings of the kingfisher with its characteristic  colours.

Since I did  not  understand   this dream-image, I painted  it in order to impress  it upon my memory.  During  the  days when  I was occupied  with  the  painting,  I found  in my garden,  by  the lake  shore,  a  dead  kingfisher!  I  was  thunderstruck,  for  kingfishers are  quite  rare  in the vicinity  of Zurich and  I have never since found  a dead  one. The  body  was  recently  dead—at     the most, two  or  three  days—and     showed  no  external  injuries.

Philemon  and  other  figures of my fantasies  brought  home  to me the  crucial  insight  that  there  are things in the psyche which I do not produce,  but which produce  themselves  and have their own life.  Philemon  represented   a force  which  was not myself. In  my  fantasies   I  held  conversations with  him,  and  he  said things  which   I  had  not  consciously  thought.   For  I  observed clearly  that   it  was  he  who  spoke,  not  I.  He  said  I  treated thoughts as if I generated  them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals  in the  forest, or people  in a room, or birds in the  air,  and  added,  “If  you  should  see people  in  a room, you would not  think  that  you had  made  those  people,  or that  you were responsible  for them.”  It  was he  who  taught  me psychic objectivity, the  reality  of the  psyche.  Through  him the  distinction was clarified between  myself and the object  of my thought. He  confronted   me  in  an  objective  manner,   and  I  understood that there  is something  in me which can say things that I do not know and  do  not  intend,  things  which  may  even  be  directed against me.

Psychologically,  Philemon  represented   superior  insight.  He was a mysterious  figure to me. At times he seemed to me quite real, as if he were  a living personality.  I went  walking up  and down the  garden  with him, and to me he was what  the Indians call a  guru.

Whenever   the  outlines  of a new  personification appeared,   I felt it almost  as a personal  defeat.  It meant:  “Here is something else you  didn’t  know  until  now!” Fear  crept  over me  that  the succession of such  figures might  be  endless,  that  I  might  lose myself in bottomless abysses of ignorance.  My ego felt devalued—although the successes I had  been  having  in worldly   affairs might  have  reassured  me. In  my  darknesses   (horridas  nostrae mentis  purga tenebras—“cleanse the  horrible  darknesses  of our mind”—the    Aurora Consurgens[1]  says)  I could have  wished  for nothing better  than  a real, live guru,  someone possessing  superior knowledge  and  ability,  who  would  have  disentangled   for me the  involuntary  creations  of my  imagination. This  task  was undertaken  by the  figure of Philemon,  whom  in  this  respect   I had  willy-nilly  to recognize  as my  psychagogue.   And  the  fact was that  he  conveyed  to me  many  an  illuminating   idea.

More  than  fifteen years  later  a highly  cultivated   elderly  Indian visited  me, a friend  of Gandhi’s,  and  we talked  about  Indian education—in     particular,   about  the  relationship   between guru and chela. I hesitantly  asked him whether  he could tell me anything  about  the  person   and   character   of  his  own   guru, whereupon he replied in a matter-of-fact tone, “Oh yes, he  was Shankaraeharya.”

“You don’t  mean  the  commentator   on  the  Vedas  who  died centuries ago?” I  asked.

“Yes, I mean him,”  he  said,  to  my  amazement. “Then you  are referring  to  a  spirit?”  I  asked. “Of course  it was his  spirit,”  he  agreed.

At that  moment  I  thought   of Philemon.

“There  are ghostly gurus  too,” he added.  “Most  people  have living gurus.  But there  are  always  some who  have  a  spirit  for teacher.”

This information was both illuminating  and reassuring  to me. Evidently, then, I had  not plummeted   right  out  of the  human world, but  had  only  experienced   the  sort  of thing  that   could happen  to  others  who  made  similar  efforts.

I wrote  these  fantasies  down  first  in  the  Black  Book;  later,   I transferred them to the Red Book, which I also embellished  with drawings.[2]  It  contains  most  of  my  mandala   drawings.   In  the Red Book I  tried  an  esthetic  elaboration   of my  fantasies,   but never finished it.  I became  aware  that  I had  not yet  found  the right language,  that  I  still had  to  translate   it  into  something else. Therefore  I  gave  up  this  estheticizing tendency   in  good time, in favor of a rigorous process  of understanding.  I saw that so much fantasy needed  firm ground  underfoot,  and that  I must first return  wholly  to  reality.  For  me,  reality  meant   scientific comprehension. I had to draw concrete conclusions from the  insights the  unconscious  had  given  me–and    that   task  was  to become a life work.

It is of course ironical that  I, a psychiatrist,  should  at  almost every step  of my  experiment  have  run  into  the  same  psychic material which  is the  stuff of psychosis  and  is found  in  the  insane. This is the fund of unconscious  images which  fatally  confuse the mental patient.  But it is also the matrix of a mythopoeic imagination which has vanished  from  our rational  age. Though such imagination  is present  everywhere,  it is both  tabooed  and dreaded,  so that  it even appears  to be  a risky experiment   or  a questionable adventure  to entrust  oneself to the  uncertain  path that  leads  into  the  depths  of the  unconscious. It  is considered the path  of error, of equivocation and  misunderstanding.  I  am reminded of Goethe’s words:  “Now let me dare to open wide  the gate; Past    which  men’s  steps  have  ever  flinching  trod.” [3]   The second part  of Eaust, too, was more than  a literary exercise. It is a link in the  Aurea  Catena[4]     which has existed from the  beginnings of philosophical  alchemy  and  Gnosticism down to  Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.  Unpopular,  ambiguous,  and  dangerous, it is a voyage  of discovery  to the  other  pole  of the  world.

Particularly   at this time, when I was working on the fantasies, I needed a point  of support  in “this world,” and I may say that my family and  my professional  work were  that  to me. It was most essential  for  me  to have  a normal  life  in  the  real  world  as a counterpoise  to  that  strange  inner  world.  My  family  and  my profession  remained   the  base  to which  I  could  always return, assuring  me  that  I  was  an  actually  existing,  ordinary  person. The unconscious  contents  could have driven me out of my wits. But my family,  and  the  knowledge:  I have  a medical  diploma from a Swiss university,  I must help my patients,  I have  a wife and  five children,   I  live at  228   Seestrasse  in  Kiisnacht—these were actualities   which  made  demands  upon  me and proved  to me again  and  again that  I really existed, that  I was not a blank page whirling   about  in the  winds  of the  spirit,  like Nietzsche. Nietzsche  had  lost the  ground  under  his  feet  because  he  possessed  nothing   more  than   the  inner  world  of his  thoughts which  incidentally   possessed him more  than  he it. He was uprooted   and  hovered   above  the  earth,   and  therefore   he  succumbed to exaggeration  and irreality.  For me, such irreality was the  quintessence   of horror,  for I aimed,  after  all, at this world and  this  life.  No  matter  how  deeply  absorbed  or how  blown about I was, I always knew that  everything  I was experiencing was ultimately  directed  at this real life of mine. I meant  to meet its obligations  and fulfill its meanings.  My watchword  was:  Hie Bhodus,   hie  salta!

Thus  my family  and my profession  always remained  a joyful reality  and  a guarantee  that  I also had  a normal  existence.

Very  gradually the  outlines  of an inner  change  began  making their appearance within me. In 1916 I felt an urge to give shape to something. I was compelled  from within,  as it were, to formulate and  express what  might  have been  said by Philemon.  This was  how  the  Septem  Sermones  ad  Mortuos [5] with  its  peculiar language  came  into  being.

It began with a restlessness, but  I did not know what  it meant or what “they” wanted  of me. There was an ominous atmosphere all around  me. I had  the strange  feeling  that  the  air was  filled with  ghostly  entities.  Then  it was  as if my house  began  to  be haunted.  My eldest daughter  saw a white figure passing  through the  room.  My  second  daughter,   independently    of  her   elder sister,  related   that  twice  in  the  night  her  blanket   had   been snatched  away; and that  same night  my nine-year-old  son had an anxiety dream. In the morning  he asked his mother  for crayons, and he, who ordinarily never  drew, now made  a picture   of his dream. He called it “The Picture  of the Fisherman.”  Through the  middle  of the  picture  ran  a river,  and  a fisherman  with  a rod was standing  on the  shore.  He  had  caught  a fish. On  the fisherman’s head was a chimney from which flames were leaping and smoke rising. From the other side of the river the devil came Hying through the air. He was cursing because  his fish had  been stolen.  But  above  the  fisherman  hovered   an  angel  who  said, “You cannot  do anything  to him; he only catches  the  bad  fish!” My son drew  this picture  on  a Saturday.

Around five o’clock in the afternoon  on Sunday the front door-bell began ringing frantically.  It was a bright  Summer day;  the two maids were in the kitchen, from which the open square  outside the front door could be seen. Everyone  immediately  looked to see who was there, but there was no one in sight. I was sitting near the doorbell, and not only heard  it but  saw it moving.  We all Simply stared at one another,  The  atmosphere  was thick,  believe  mel  Then  I  knew  that  something   had  to  happen.   The whole   house  was  filled  as  if  there   were   a  crowd   present, crammed  full of spirits. They were packed  deep  right  up to the door, and the air was so thick it was scarcely possible to breathe. As for myself, I was all a-quiver  with  the  question:  “For  God’s sake, what  in the world is this?” Then  they  cried out in chorus,

‘We  have  come back from Jerusalem  where  we found not what we sought.”  That  is the  beginning  of the  Septem  Sermones.

Then  it began  to flow out  of me, and  in the  course  of three evenings  the  thing  was written.  As soon as I took up  the  pen, the  whole   ghostly  assemblage  evaporated.   The  room  quieted and the atmosphere  cleared. The haunting  was over.

The Seven Sermons to the Dead

written by Basilides in Alexandria, the City where the East toucheth the West.

C.G. Jung, 1916

(Translation by Stephan A. Hoeller, © 1982)

The First Sermon

The dead came back from Jerusalem, where they did not find what they were seeking. They asked admittance to me and demanded to be taught by me, and thus I taught them:

Hear Ye: I begin with nothing. Nothing is the same as fullness. In the endless state fullness is the same as emptiness. The Nothing is both empty and full. One may just as well state some other thing about the Nothing, namely that it is white or that it is black or that it exists or that it exists not. That which is endless and eternal has no qualities, because it has all qualities.

The Nothing, or fullness, is called by us the PLEROMA. In it thinking and being cease, because the eternal is without qualities. In it there is no one, for if anyone were, he would be differentiated from the Pleroma and would possess qualities which would distinguish him from the Pleroma.

In the Pleroma there is nothing and everything: it is not profitable to think about the Pleroma, for to do that would mean one’s dissolution.

The CREATED WORLD is not in the Pleroma, but in itself. The Pleroma is the beginning and end of the created world. The Pleroma penetrates the created world as the sunlight penetrates the air everywhere. Although the Pleroma penetrates it completely, the created world has no part of it, just as an utterly transparent body does not become either dark or light in color as the result of the passage of light through it. We ourselves, however, are the Pleroma, so it is that the Pleroma is present within us. Even in the smallest point the Pleroma is present without any bounds, eternally and completely, for small and great are the qualities which are alien to the Pleroma. The Pleroma is the nothingness which is everywhere complete and without end. It is because of this that I speak of the created world as a portion of the Pleroma, but only in an allegorical sense; for the Pleroma is not divided into portions, for it is nothingness. We, also, are the total Pleroma; for figuratively the Pleroma is an exceedingly small, hypothetical, even non-existent point within us, and also it is the limitless firmament of the cosmos about us. Why, however, do we discourse about the Pleroma, if it is the all, and also nothing?

I speak of it in order to begin somewhere, and also to remove from you the delusion that somewhere within or without there is something absolutely firm and definite. All things which are called definite and solid are but relative, for only that which is subject to change appears definite and solid.

The created world is subject to change. It is the only thing that is solid and definite, since it has qualities. In fact, the created world is itself but a quality.

We ask the question: how did creation originate? Creatures indeed originated but not the created world itself, for the created world is a quality of the Pleroma, in the same way as the uncreated; eternal death is also a quality of the Pleroma. Creation is always and everywhere, and death is always and everywhere. The Pleroma possesses all: differentiation and non-differentiation.

Differentiation is creation. The created world is indeed differentiated. Differentiation is the essence of the created world and for this reason the created also causes further differentiation. That is why man himself is a divider, inasmuch as his essence is also differentiation. That is why he distinguishes the qualities of the Pleroma, yea, those qualities which do not exist.

You say to me: What good is it then to talk about this, since it has been said that it is useless to think about the Pleroma?

I say these things to you in order to free you from the illusion that it is possible to think about the Pleroma. When you speak about the divisions of the Pleroma, we are speaking from the position of our own divisions, and we speak about our own differentiated state; but while we do this, we have in reality said nothing about the Pleroma. However, it is necessary to talk about our own differentiation, for this enables us to discriminate sufficiently. Our essence is differentiation. For this reason we must distinguish individual qualities.

You say: What harm does it not do to discriminate, for then we reach beyond the limits of our own being; we extend ourselves beyond the created world, and we fall into the undifferentiated state which is another quality of the Pleroma. We submerge into the Pleroma itself, and we cease to be created beings. This we become subject to dissolution and nothingness.

Such is the very death of the created being. We die to the extent that we fail to discriminate. For this reason the natural impulse of the created being is directed toward differentiation and toward the struggle against the ancient, pernicious state of sameness. The natural tendency is called Principium Individuationis (Principle of Individuation). This principle is indeed the essence of every created being. From these things you may readily recognize why the undifferentiated principle and lack of discrimination are all a great danger to created beings. For this reason we must be able to distinguish the qualities of the Pleroma. Its qualities are the PAIRS OF OPPOSITES, such as:

            the effective and the ineffective

            fullness and emptiness

            the living and the dead

            light and dark

            hot and cold

            energy and matter

            time and space

            good and evil

            the beautiful and the ugly

            the one and the many

            and so forth.

The pairs of opposites are the qualities of the Pleroma: they are also in reality non-existent because they cancel each other out.

Since we ourselves are the Pleroma, we also have these qualities present within us; inasmuch as the foundation of our being is differentiation, we possess these qualities in the name and under the sign of differentiation, which means:

First—that the qualities are in us differentiated from each other, and they are separated from each other, and thus they do not cancel each other out, rather they are in action. It is thus that we are the victims of the pairs of opposites. For in us the Pleroma is rent in two.

Second—the qualities belong to the Pleroma, and we can and should partake of them only in the name and under the sign of differentiation. We must separate ourselves from these qualities. In the Pleroma they cancel each other out; in us they do not. But if we know how to know ourselves as being apart from the pairs of opposites, then we have attained to salvation.

When we strive for the good and the beautiful, we thereby forget about our essential being, which is differentiation, and we are victimized by the qualities of the Pleroma which are the pairs of opposites. We strive to attain to the good and beautiful, but at the same time we also to the evil and the ugly, because in the Pleroma these are identical with the good and the beautiful. However, if we remain faithful to our nature, which is differentiation, we then differentiate ourselves from the good and the beautiful, and thus we have immediately differentiated ourselves from the evil and the ugly. It is only thus that we do not merge into the Pleroma, that is, into nothingness and dissolution.

You will object and say to me: Thou hast said that differentiation and sameness are also qualities of the Pleroma. How is it then that we strive for differentiation? Are we not then true to our natures and must we then also eventually be in the state of sameness, while we strive for differentiation?

What you should never forget is that the Pleroma has no qualities. We are the ones who create these qualities through our thinking. When you strive after differentiation or sameness or after other qualities, you strive after thoughts which flow to you from the Pleroma, namely thoughts about the non-existent qualities of the Pleroma. While you run after these thoughts, you fall again into the Pleroma and arrive at differentiation and sameness at the same time. Not your thinking but your being is differentiation. That is why you should not strive after differentiation and discrimination as you know these, but strive after your true nature. If you would thus truly strive, you would not need to know anything about the Pleroma and its qualities, and still you would arrive at the true goal because of your nature. However, because thinking alienates us from our true nature, therefore I must teach knowledge to you, with which you can keep your thinking under control.

The Second Sermon

During the night the dead stood along the walls and shouted: “We want to know about God! Where is God? Is God dead?”

—God is not dead; he is as much alive as ever. God is the created world, inasmuch as he is something definite and therefore he is differentiated from the Pleroma. God is a quality of the Pleroma and everything that I have stated in reference to the created world is equally true of him.

God is distinguished from the created world, however, inasmuch as he is less definite and less definable than the created world in general. He is less differentiated than the created world, because the ground of his being is effective fullness; and only to the extent that he is definite and differentiated is he identical with the created world; and thus he is the manifestation of the effective fullness of the Pleroma.

Everything we do not differentiate falls into the Pleroma and is cancelled out along with its opposite. Therefore if we do not discern God, then the effective fullness is cancelled out for us. God also is himself the Pleroma, even as the smallest point within the created world, as well as within the uncreated realm, is itself the Pleroma.

The effective emptiness is the being of the Devil. God and Devil are the first manifestations of the nothingness, which we call the Pleroma. It does not matter whether the Pleroma is or is not, for it cancels itself out in all things. The created world, however, is different. Inasmuch as God and Devil are created beings, they do not cancel each other out, rather they stand against each other as active opposites. We need no proof of their being; it is sufficient that we must always speak about them. Even if they did not exist, the created being would forever (because of its own differentiated nature) bring them forth out of the Pleroma.

All things which are brought forth from the Pleroma by differentiation are pairs of opposites; therefore God always has with him the Devil.

This interrelationship is so close, as you have learned, it is so indissoluble in your own lives, that it is even as the Pleroma itself. The reason for this is that these two stand very close to the Pleroma, in which all opposites are cancelled out and unified.

God and Devil are distinguished by fullness and emptiness, generation and destruction. Activity is common to both. Activity unites them. It is for this reason that activity stands above both, being God above God, for it unites fullness and emptiness in its working.

There is a God about whom you know nothing, because men have forgotten him. We call him by his name: ABRAXAS. He is less definite than God or Devil. In order to distinguish God from him we call God HELIOS, or the Sun.

Abraxas is activity; nothing can resist him but the unreal, and thus his active being freely unfolds. The unreal is not, and therefore cannot truly resist. Abraxas stands above the sun and above the devil. He is the unlikely likely one, who is powerful in the realm of unreality. If the Pleroma were capable of having a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation.

Although he is activity itself, he is not a particular result, but result in general.

He is still a created being, inasmuch as he is differentiated from the Pleroma.

The sun has a definite effect and so does the devil; therefore they appear to us more effective that the undefinable Abraxas.

For he is power, endurance, change.

—At this point the dead caused a great riot, because they were Christians.

The Third Sermon

The dead approached like mist out of the swamps and they shouted: “Speak to us further about the highest god!”

—Abraxas is the god whom it is difficult to know. His power is the very greatest, because man does not perceive it at all. Man sees the summum bonum (supreme good) of the sun, and also the infinum malum of the devil, but Abraxas he does not see, for he is undefinable life itself, which is the mother of good and evil alike.

Life appears smaller and weaker then the summum bonum (supreme good), wherefore it is hard to think that Abraxas should superseded in his power the sun, which is the radiant foundation of all life force.

Abraxas is the sun and also the eternally gaping abyss of emptiness, of the diminisher and dissembler, the devil.

The power of Abraxas is twofold. You cannot see it, because in your eyes the opposition of this power seems to cancel it out.

That which is spoken by God-the-Sun is life;

That which is spoken by the devil is death.

Abraxas, however, speaks the venerable and also accursed word, which is life and death at once.

Abraxas generates truth and falsehood, good and evil, light and darkness with the same word in the same deed. Therefore Abraxas is truly the terrible one.

He is magnificent even as the lion at the very moment when he strikes his prey down. His beauty is like the beauty of a spring morn.

Indeed, he is himself the greater Pan, and also the lesser. He is Priapos.

He is the monster of the underworld, the octopus with a thousand tentacles, he is the twistings of winged serpents and of madness.

He is the hermaphrodite of the lowest beginning.

He is the lord of toads and frogs, who live in water and come out unto the land, and who sing together at high noon and at midnight.

He is fullness, uniting itself with emptiness.

He is the sacred wedding;

He is love and the murder of love;

He is the holy one and his betrayer.

He is the brightest light of day and the deepest night of madness.

To see him means blindness;

To know him is sickness;

To worship him is death;

To fear him is wisdom;

Not to resist him means liberation.

God lives behind the sun; the devil lives behind the night. What god brings into birth from the light, that devil pulls into the night. Abraxas, however, is the cosmos; its genesis and its dissolution. To every gift of God-the-Sun, the devil adds his curse.

All things which you beg from God-the-Sun generate an act of the devil. All things which you accomplish through God-the-Sun add to the effective might of the devil.

Such is the terrible Abraxas.

He is the mightiest manifest being, and in him creation becomes frightened of itself.

He is the revealed protest of creation against the Pleroma and its nothingness.

He is the terror of the son, which he feels against his mother.

He is the love of the mother for her son.

He is the delight of earth and the cruelty of heaven.

Man becomes paralyzed before his face.

Before him exist neither question nor answer.

He is the life of creation.

He is the activity of differentiation.

He is the love of man.

He is the speech of man.

He is both the radiance and the dark shadow of man.

He is deceitful reality.

—Here the dead howled and raved greatly, for they were still incomplete ones.

The Fourth Sermon

Grumbling, the dead filled the room and said: “Speak to us about gods and devils, thou accursed one!”

—God-the-Sun is the highest good, the devil is the opposite; thus you have two gods. But there are many great goods and many vast evils, and among them there are two god-devils, one of which is the BURNING ONE, and the other the GROWING ONE.

The burning one is EROS in his form as a flame. It shines and it devours. The growing one is the TREE OF LIFE; it grows green, and it accumulates living matter as it grows. Eros flames up and then dies away; the tree of life, however, grows slowly and reaches stately stature throughout countless ages.

Good and evil are united in the flame.

Good and evil are united in the growth of the tree.

Life and love oppose each other in their divinity.

Immeasurable, like the host of the stars, is the number of gads and devils. Every star is a god, and every space occupied by a star is a devil. And the emptiness of the whole is the Pleroma. The activity of the whole is Abraxas; only the unreal opposes him. Four is the number of the chief deities, because four is the number of the measurements of the world. One is the beginning: God-the-Sun. Two is Eros, because he expands with a bright light and combines two. Three is the Tree of Life, because it fills space with bodies. Four is the devil, because he opens everything which is closed; he dissolves everything that is formed and embodied; he is the destroyer, in whom all things come to nothing:

Blessed am I, for it is granted to me to know the multiplicity and diversity of the gods. Woe unto you, for you have substituted the oneness of god for the diversity which cannot be resolved into the one. Through this you have created the torment of incomprehension, and the mutilation of the created world, the essence and law of which is diversity. How can you be true to your nature when you attempt to make one out of the many? What you do to the gods, that also befalls you. All of you are made thus the same and in this way your nature also becomes mutilated.

For the sake of man there may reign unity, but never for the sake of god, because there are many gods but only few men. The gods are mighty and they bear their diversity, because like the stars the stand in solitude and are separated by vast distances one from the other. Humans are weak and cannot bear their own diversity, because they live close to each other and are desirous of company, so that they cannot bear their own distinct separateness. For the sake of salvation do I teach you that which is to be cast out, for the sake of which I myself have been cast out.

The multiplicity of the gods equals the multiplicity of men. Countless gods are waiting to become men. Countless gods have already been men. Man is a partaker of the essence of the gods; he comes from the gods and he goes to God.

Even as it useless the think about the Pleroma, so is it useless to worship the number of the gods. Least of all is it of any use to worship the first God, the effective fullness and the highest good. Through our prayer we cannot add to it and we cannot take away from it, because the effective emptiness swallows everything. The gods of light compose the heavenly world, which is multiple and stretches into infinity and which expands without end. Their highest lord is God-the-Sun.

The dark gods constitute the underworld. They are uncomplicated and they are capable of diminishing and shrinking into infinity. Their deepest lord is the devil, the spirit of the moon, the serf of the earth, who is smaller, colder and deader than the earth.

There is no difference in the power of the heavenly and the earthly gods. The heavenly ones expand, the earthly ones diminish. Both directions stretch into infinity.

The Fifth Sermon

The dead were full of mocking and cried: “Teach us, thou fool, about church and holy community!”

—The world of the gods is manifest in spirituality and sexuality. The heavenly gods appear in spirituality, the earth gods appear in sexuality. Spirituality receives and comprehends. It is feminine and therefore we call it MATER COELESTIS, the heavenly mother. Sexuality generates and creates. It is masculine and therefore we call it PHALLOS, the earthly father. The sexuality of man is more earthly, while the sexuality of woman is more heavenly. The spirituality of man is more heavenly, for it moves in the direction of the greater. On the other hand, the spirituality of woman is more earthly, for it moves in the direction of the smaller.

Deceitful and devilish is the spirituality of the man who goes toward the smaller. Deceitful and devilish is the spirituality of the woman who goes toward the greater. Each is to go to its own place.

Man and woman become a devil to each other when they do not separate their spiritual paths, for the nature of created beings is always of the nature of differentiation.

The sexuality of man goes to that which is earthly; the sexuality on woman goes to that which is spiritual. Man and woman become a devil to each other if they do not discriminate between their two forms of sexuality.

Man shall know that which is smaller, woman that which is greater. Man shall separate himself from spirituality and from sexuality alike. He shall call spirituality mother, and he shall enthrone her between heaven and earth. He shall name sexuality phallos, and shall place it between himself and the earth, for the mother and the phallos are super-human demons and manifestations of the world of the gods. They are more effective for us than the gods, because they are nearer to our own being. When you cannot distinguish between yourselves on the one hand, and sexuality and spirituality on the other, and when you cannot regard these two as being above and beside yourself, then you become victimized by them, i.e., by the qualities of the Pleroma, Spirituality and sexuality are not your qualities, they are not things which you can posses and comprehend; on the contrary, they are mighty demons, manifestations of the gods, and therefore they tower above you and they exist in themselves. One does not possess spirituality for oneself or sexuality for oneself; rather is one subject to the laws of spirituality and sexuality. Therefore no one escapes these two demons. You shall regards them as demons, as common causes and grave dangers, quite like the gods, and above all, like the terrible Abraxas.

Man is weak, therefore community is indispensable; if it is not the community in the sign of the mother, then it is in the sign of the phallus. Not to have community consists of suffering and sickness. Community brings with itself fragmentation and dissolution. Differentiation leads to solitude. Solitude is contrary to community. Because of the weakness of man’s will, as opposed to the gods and demons and their inescapable law, there is need for community.

For this reason, there shall be as much community as necessary, not for the sake of men, but for the sake of the gods. The gods force you into a community. As much community as they force upon you is necessary, but more than that is evil.

In the community each shall be subject to another, so that the community will be maintained, inasmuch as you have need of it. In the solitary state each one shall be placed above all others, so that he may know himself and avoid servitude. In community there shall be abstinence.

In solitude let there be squandering of abundance.

For community is the depth, while solitude is the height.

The true order in community purifies and preserves.

The true order in solitude purifies and increases.

Community gives us warmth, while solitude gives us the light.

The Sixth Sermon

The demon of sexuality comes to our soul like a serpent. It is half a human soul and is called thought-desire.

The demon of spirituality descends into our soul like a white bird. It is half a human soul and is called desire-thought.

The serpent is an earthly soul, half demonic, a spirit, and related to the spirits of the dead. Like the spirits of the dead, the serpent also enters various terrestrial objects. The serpent also induces fear of itself in the hearts of men, and enkindles desire in the same. The serpent is of a generally feminine character and seeks forever the company of the dead. It is associated with the dead who are earthbound, who have not found the way by which to cross over to the state of solitude. The serpent is a whore and she consorts with the devil and with evil spirits; she is a tyrant and a tormenting spirit, always tempting people to keep the worst kind of company.

The white bird is the semi-heavenly soul of man. It lives with the mother and occasionally descends from the mother’s abode. The bird is masculine and is called effective thought. The bird is chaste and solitary, a messenger of the mother. It flies high above the earth. It commands solitude. It brings messages from the distance, from those who have gone before, those who are perfected. It carries our words up to the mother. The mother intercedes and warns, but she has no power against the gods. She is a vehicle of the sun.

The serpent descends into the deep and with her cunning she either paralyzes or stimulates the phallic demon. The serpent brings up from the deep the very cunning thoughts of the earthly one, thoughts that crawl through all openings and become saturated with desire. Although the serpent does not want to be, she is nevertheless useful to us. The serpent eludes our grasp, we pursue her and she shows us the way, which, with our limited human wit, we could not find.

—The dead looked up with contempt and said: “Cease to speak to us about gods, demons and souls. We have known all of this in essence for a long time.”

The Seventh Sermon

At night the dead came back again and amidst complaining said: “One more thing we must know, because we had forgotten to discuss it: teach us concerning man!”

—Man is a portal through which one enters from the outer world of the gods, demons and souls, into the inner world, from the greater world into the smaller world. Small and insignificant is man; one leaves him soon behind, and thus one enters once more into infinite space, into the microcosm, into the inner eternity.

In immeasurable distance there glimmers a solitary star on the highest point of heaven. This is the only god of this lonely one. This is his world, his Pleroma, his divinity.

In this world, man is Abraxas, who gives birth to and devours his own world.

The star is man’s God and goal.

It is his guiding divinity; in it man finds repose.

To it goes the long journey of the soul after death; in it shine all things which otherwise might keep man from the greater world with the brilliance of a great light.

To this One, man ought to pray.

Such a prayer increases the light of the star.

Such a prayer builds a bridge over death.

It increases the light of the microcosm; when the outer world grows cold, this star still shines.

There is nothing that can separate man from his own God, if man can only turn his gaze away from the fiery spectacle of Abraxas.

Man here, God there.

Weakness and insignificance here, eternal creative power there.

Here is but darkness and damp cold.

There all is sunshine.

Upon hearing this the dead fell silent, and they rose up like smoke rises over the fire of the shepherd, who guards his flock by night.






calr jung red book 44Illustration from C.J. Jung’s Red Book


[1]An alchemical   treatise   ascribed   to  Thomas   Aquinas.

[2]The  Black Book consists of six black-bound,  smallish leather  notebooks.  The Red Book, a folio volume bound  in red  leather,   contains the  same fantasies  couched in elaborately  literary  form  and  language,  and  set  down  in calligraphic  Gothic script, in the manner of medieval manuscripts.– A.J.

[3]Faust,    Part  One.

[4]The  Golden  (or Homeric)  Chain in alchemy is the series of great  wise men, beginning with Hennes  Trismegistos, which links earth with heaven,-A.   J.

[5]Privately  printed   (n.d.)   and  pseudonymously  subtitled   “The   Seven  Sermons to the Dead written by Basilides in Alexandria,  the  City ‘where the East  toucheth the West’  (see Appendix V).








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