Simon Magus
Mead George Robert Stow

Part 2 out of 2

Jerome, Pseudo-Dionysius and the Arabic Preface to the Nicaean Council,
and for some time I was in hopes of being able to collect at least some
scattered fragments of these works, but they have all unfortunately
shared the fate of much else of value that the ignorance and fear of
orthodoxy has committed to the flames. We know at any rate that there
was a book called _The Four Quarters of the World_, just as the four
orthodox gospels are dedicated to the signs of the four quarters in the
old MSS., and that a collection of sentences or controversial replies of
Simon were also held in repute by Simonians and were highly distasteful
to their opponents. Matter[88] and Amelineau[89] speak of a book by the
disciples of Simon called _De la Predication de S. Paul_, but neither
from their references nor elsewhere can I find out any further
information. In Migne's _Encyclopedie Theologique_,[90] also, a
reference is given to M. Miller (_Catalogue des Manuscripts Grecs de
l'Escurial_, p. 112), who is said to mention a Greek MS. on the subject
of Simon ("un ecrit en grec relatif a Simon"). But I cannot find this
catalogue in the British Museum, nor can I discover any other mention of
this MS. in any other author.

At last I thought that I had discovered something of real value in
Grabe's _Spicilegium_, purporting to be gleanings of fragments from the
heretics of the first three centuries A.D.,[91] but the date of the
authority is too late to be of much value. Grabe refers to the
unsatisfactory references I have already given and, to show the nature
of these books, according to the opinion of the unknown author or
authors of the _Apostolic Constitutions_ (Grabe calls him the
"collector," and for some reason best known to himself places him in the
fourth century[92]), quotes the following passage from their legendary

"Such were the doings of these people with names of ill-omen slandering
the creation and marriage, providence, child-bearing, the Law and the
Prophets; setting down foreign names of Angels, as indeed they
themselves say, but in reality, of Daemons, who answer back to them from

It is only when Grabe refers to the Simonian _Antirrhetikoi Logoi_,
mentioned by the Pseudo-Dionysius, which he calls "vesani Simonis
Refutatorii Sermones," that we get any new information.

A certain Syrian bishop, Moses Barcephas, writing in the tenth
century,[93] professes to preserve some of these controversial retorts
of Simon, which the pious Grabe--to keep this venom, as he calls it,
apart from the orthodox refutation--has printed in italics. The
following is the translation of these italicized passages:

"God willed that Adam should not eat of that tree; but he did eat; he,
therefore, did not remain as God willed him to remain: it results,
therefore, that the maker of Adam was impotent."

"God willed that Adam should remain in Paradise; but he of his own
disgraceful act fell from thence: therefore the God that made Adam was
impotent, inasmuch as he was unable of his own will to keep him in

"(For) he interdicted (he said) Adam from the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil, by tasting which he would have had power to judge between
good and evil, and to avoid this, and follow after that."

"But (said he) had not that maker of Adam forbidden him to eat of that
tree, he would in no way have undergone this judgment and this
punishment; for hence is evil here, in that he (Adam) had done contrary
to the bidding of God, for God had ordered him not to eat, and he had

"Through envy (said he) he forbade Adam to taste of the tree of life, so
that, of course, he should not be immortal."

"For what reason on earth (said he) did God curse the serpent? For if
(he cursed him) as the one who caused the harm, why did he not restrain
him from so doing, that is, from seducing Adam? But if (he cursed him)
as one who had brought some advantage, in that he was the cause of
Adam's eating of that good tree, it needs must follow that he was
distinctly unrighteous and envious; lastly, if, although from neither of
these reasons, he still cursed him, he (the maker of Adam) should most
certainly be accused of ignorance and folly."

Now although there seems no reason why the above contentions should not
be considered as in substance the arguments employed by Simon against
his antagonists of the dead-letter, yet the tenth century is too late to
warrant verbal accuracy, unless there may have been some Syrian
translation which escaped the hands of the destroyers. The above quoted
specimen of traditionary Simonian logic, however, is interesting, and
will, we believe, be found not altogether out of date in our own

Finally, there is one further point that I have reserved for the end of
this Part in order that my readers may constantly keep it in mind during
the perusal of the Part which follows.

We must always remember that every single syllable we possess about
Simon comes from the hands of bitter opponents, from men who had no
mercy or toleration for the heretic. The heretic was accursed, condemned
eternally by the very fact of his heresy; an emissary of Satan and the
natural enemy of God. There was no hope for him, no mercy for him; he
was irretrievably damned.[95] The Simon of our authorities has no
friend; no one to say a word in his favour; he is hounded down the
byways of "history" and the highways of tradition, and to crush him is
to do God service. One solitary ray of light beams forth in the fragment
of his work called _The Great Revelation_, one solitary ray, that will
illumine the garbled accounts of his doctrine, and speak to the
Theosophists of to-day in no uncertain tones that each may say:

Methinks there is much reason in his sayings. If thou consider
rightly of the matter, [Simon] has had great wrong.[96]


[Footnote 78: M.E. Amelineau, "Essai sur le Gnosticisme Egyptien,"
_Annales du Musee Guimet_, Tom. xvi. p. 28.]

[Footnote 79: Mosheim's _Institutes of Ecclesiastical History_ (Trans.
etc., Murdock and Soames; ed. Stubbs 1863), Vol. I., p. 87, note, gives
the following list of those who have maintained the theory of two
Simons: Vitringa, _Observ. Sacrar._, v. 12, Sec. 9, p. 159, C.A. Heumann,
_Acta Erudit. Lips._ for April, A.D. 1727, p. 179, and Is. de Beausobre,
_Diss. sur l'Adamites_, pt. ii. subjoined to L'Enfants' _Histoire de la
Guerre des Hussites_, i. 350, etc. Dr. Salmon also holds this theory.]

[Footnote 80: _Dict. Christ. Biog._, art. "Helena," Vol. II, p. 880.]

[Footnote 81: _Hist. Eccles._, ii. 13.]

[Footnote 82: _Quellenkritik des Epiphanios_.]

[Footnote 83: _Cf._ Dr. Salmon's art. "Hippolytus Romanus," _Dict.
Christ. Biog._, iii. 93, 94.]

[Footnote 84: _Histoire Critique du Gnosticisme_, Tom. i. p. 197 (1st
ed. 1828).]

[Footnote 85: _Les Bibles, et les Initiateurs Religieux de l'Humanite_,
Louis Leblois, i. 144; from Uhlhorn, _Die Homilien und Recognitionen_,
p. 224.]

[Footnote 86: _Hist. Eccles._, ii. 13.]

[Footnote 87: _Op. cit._, i. 213.]

[Footnote 88: _Op. cit._, ii. 217.]

[Footnote 89: _Op. cit._, 32.]

[Footnote 90: Tom. xxiii, "Dictionnaire des Apocryphes," Vol. II.,
Index, pp. lxviii, lxix.]

[Footnote 91: _Spicilegium SS. Patrum ut et Haereticorum Saeculorum post
Christum natum, I, II et III_; Johannes Ernestus Grabius; Oxoniae, 1714,
ed. alt., Vol. I., pp. 305-312.]

[Footnote 92: P. 306.]

[Footnote 93: _Comment. de Paradiso_, c. i., pp. 200, _et seqq._,
editionis Antverpiensis, anno 1567, in 8vo.]

[Footnote 94: Grabe is also interesting for a somewhat wild speculation
which he quotes from a British Divine (apud Usserium in _Antiquitatibus
Eccles. Britannicae_), that the tonsure of the monks was taken from the
Simonians. (Grabe, _op. cit._, p, 697.)]

[Footnote 95: In the epistle of St. Ignatius _Ad Trallianos_ (Sec. 11),
Simon is called "the first-born Son of the Devil" ([Greek: prototokon
Diabolou huion]); and St. Polycarp seems to refer to Simon in the
following passage in his Epistle _Ad Philipp._ (Sec. 7):

"Everyone who shall not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh,
is antichrist, and who shall not confess the martyrdom of the cross, is
of the Devil; and he who translates the words of the Lord according to
his own desires, and says there is neither resurrection nor judgment, he
is _the first-born of Satan_."]



In treating of eschatology and the beginning of things the human mind is
ever beset with the same difficulties, and no matter how grand may be
the effort of the intellect to transcend itself, the finite must ever
fail to comprehend the infinite. How much less then can words define
that which even the whole phenomenal universe fails to express! The
change from the One to the Many is not to be described. How the
All-Deity becomes the primal Trinity, is the eternal problem set for
man's solution. No system of religion or philosophy has ever explained
this inexplicable mystery, for it cannot be understood by the embodied
Soul, whose vision and comprehension are dulled by the grossness of its
physical envelope. Even the illuminated Soul that quits its prison
house, to bathe in the light of infinitude, can only recollect flashes
of the Vision Glorious once it returns again to earth.

And this is also the teaching of Simon when he says:

I say there are many gods, but one God of all these gods,
incomprehensible and unknown to all, ... a Power of immeasurable
and ineffable Light, whose greatness is held to be
incomprehensible, a Tower which the maker of the world does not

This is a fundamental dogma of the Gnosis in all climes and in all ages.
The demiurgic deity is not the All-Deity, for there is an infinite
succession of universes, each having its particular deity, its Brahma,
to use the Hindu term, but this Brahma is not THAT which is
Para-Brahman, that which is beyond Brahma.

This view of the Simonian Gnosis has been magnificently anticipated in
the _Rig Veda_ (x. 129) which reads in the fine translation of
Colebrooke as follows:

That, whence all this great creation came,
Whether Its will created or was mute,
The Most High Seer that is in highest Heaven,
He knows it--or perchance even He knows not.

In treating of emanation, evolution, creation or whatever other term may
be given to the process of manifestation, therefore, the teachers deal
only with one particular universe; the Unmanifested Root, and Universal
Cause of all Universes lying behind, in potentiality ([Greek: dynamis]),
in Incomprehensible Silence ([Greek: sigae akatalaeptos]). For on the
"Tongue of the Ineffable" are many "Words" ([Greek: logoi]), each
Universe having its own Logos.

Thus then Simon speaks of the Logos of this Universe and calls it Fire
([Greek: pyr]). This is the Universal Principle or Beginning ([Greek:
ton holon archae]), or Universal Rootage ([Greek: rizoma ton holon]).
But this Fire is not the fire of earth; it is Divine Light and Life and
Mind, the Perfect Intellectual ([Greek: to teleion noeron]). It is the
One Power, "generating itself, increasing itself, seeking itself,
finding itself, its own mother, its own father, its sister, its spouse:
the daughter, son, mother, and father of itself; One, the Universal
Root." It is That, "which has neither beginning nor end, existing in
oneness." "Producing itself by itself, it manifested to itself its own
Thought ([Greek: epinoia])."

It is quite true that this symbology of Fire is not original with
Simon, but there is also no reason to suppose that the Samaritan
teacher plagiarized from Heracleitus when we know that the major part of
antiquity regarded fire and the sun as the most fitting symbols of
Deity. Of the manifested elements, fire was the most potent, and
therefore the most fitting symbol that could be selected in manifested

But what was the Fire of Heracleitus, the Obscure ([Greek: ho
skoteinos]), as Cicero, with the rest of the ancients, called him,
because of his difficult style? What was the Universal Principle of the
"weeping philosopher," the pessimist who valued so little the estimation
of the vulgar ([Greek: ochloloidoros])? It certainly was no common
"fire," certainly no puerile concept to be brushed away by the mere
hurling of an epithet.

Heracleitus of Ephesus (_flor. c._ 503 B.C.) was a sincerely religious
man in the highest sense of the word, a reformer who strongly opposed
the degenerate polytheism and idolatry of his age; he insisted on the
impermanence of the phenomenal universe, of human affairs, beliefs and
opinions, and declared the One Eternal Reality; teaching that the Self
of man was a portion of the Divine Intelligence. The object of his
enquiry was Wisdom, and he reproached his vain-glorious countrymen of
the city of Diana with the words: "Your _knowledge_ of many things does
not give you _wisdom_."

In his philosophy of nature he declared the One Thing to be Fire, but
Fire of a mystical nature, "self-kindled and self-extinguished," the
vital quickening power of the universe. It was that Universal Life, by
participation in which all things have their being, and apart from which
they are unsubstantial and unreal. This is the "Tree of Life" spoken of
by Simon.

In this Ocean of Fire or Life--in every point or atom of it--is inherent
a longing to manifest itself in various forms, thus giving rise to the
perpetual flux and change of the phenomenal world. This Divine Desire,
this "love for everything that lives and breathes," is found in many
systems, and especially in the Vedic and Phoenician Cosmogony. In the
_Rig Veda_ (x. 129), it is that Kama or Desire "which first arose in It
(the Unknown Deity)," elsewhere identified with Agni or Fire. In the
fragments of Phoenician Cosmogony, recovered from Sanchuniathon, it is
called Pothos ([Greek: pothos]) and Eros ([Greek: eros]).

In its pure state, the Living and Rational Fire of Heracleitus resides
in the highest conceivable Heaven, whence it descends stage by stage,
gradually losing the velocity of its motion and vitality, until it
finally reaches the Earth-stage, having previously passed through that
of "Water." Thence it returns to its parent source.

In this eternal flux, the only repose was to be found in the harmony
that occasionally resulted from one portion of the Fire in its descent
meeting another in its ascent. All this took place under Law and Order,
and the Soul of man being a portion of the Fire in its pure state, and
therefore an exile here on Earth, could only be at rest by cultivating
as the highest good, contentment ([Greek: euarestaesis]), or
acquiescence to the Law.

The author of the _Philosophumena_ professes to give us some additional
information on this philosopher who "bewailed all things, condemning the
ignorance of all that lives, and of all men, in pity for the life of
mortals," but the obscure philosopher does not lend himself very easily
to the controversial purposes of the patristic writer. Heracleitus
called the Universal Principle ([Greek: ton hapanton archae])
Intellectual Fire ([Greek: pur noeron]), and said that the sphere
surrounding us and reaching to the Moon was filled with evil, but beyond
the Moon-sphere it was purer.[97]

The sentences that the author quotes from Heracleitus in Book IX, are
not only obscure enough in themselves, but are also rendered all the
more obscure by the polemical treatment they are subjected to by the
patristic writer. Heracleitus makes the ALL inclusive of all Being and
Non-Being, all pairs of opposites, "differentiation and
non-differentiation, the generable and ingenerable, mortal and immortal,
the Logos and Aeon, and the Father and Son," which he calls the "Just
God." This ALL is the "Sadasat-Tatparam yat" of the _Bhagavad Gita_,
inclusive of Being (Sat), Non-Being (Asat), and That Which transcends
them (Tatparam yat).[98]

This Logos plays an important part in the system of the Ephesian sage,
who says that they who give ear to the Logos (the Word or Supreme
Reason) know that "All is One" ([Greek: hen panta eidenai]). Such an
admission he calls, "Reflex Harmony" ([Greek: palintropos harmoniae]),
like unto the Supernal Harmony, which he calls Hidden or Occult, and
declares its superiority to the Manifested Harmony. The ignorance and
misery of men arise from their not acting according to this Harmony,
that is to say, according to (Divine) Nature ([Greek: kata phusin]).

He also declares that the Aeon, the Emanative Deity, is as a child
playing at creation, an idea found in both the Hindu and Hermetic
Scriptures. In the former the Universe is said to be the sport (Lila) of
Vishnu, who is spoken of in one of his incarnations as Lilavatara,
descending on earth for his own pleasure, when as Krishna he assumed the
shape of man as a pretence (a purely Docetic doctrine), hence called
Lila-manusha-vigraha; while in the latter we learn from a magic papyrus
that Thoth (the God of Wisdom) created the world by bursting into "seven
peals of laughter." This, of course, typifies the Bliss of the Deity in
Emanation or Creation, caused by that Divine Love and Compassion for all
that lives and breathes, which is the well-spring of the Supreme Cause
of the Universe.

Diving into the Mystery of Being, Heracleitus showed how a thing could
be good or evil, and evil or good, at one and the same time, as for
instance sea water which preserved and nourished fishes but destroyed
men. So also, speaking in his usual paradoxical manner, which can only
be understood by a full comprehension of the dual nature of man,--the
real divine entity, and the passing and ever-changing manifestation,
which so many take for the whole man--he says:

The immortals are mortal, and the mortals immortal, the former
living the death of the latter, and the latter dying the life of
the former.[99]

Thus all externals are transitory, for "no one has ever been twice on
the same stream, for different waters are constantly flowing down," and
therefore in following externals we shall err, for nothing is efficient
and forcible except through Harmony, and its subjection to the Divine
Fire, the central principle of Life.

Such was the Fire of the distinguished Ephesian, and of like nature was
the Fire of Simon with its three primordial hypostases, Incorruptible
Form ([Greek: aphthartos morphae]), Universal Mind ([Greek: nous ton
holon]), and Great Thought ([Greek: epinoia megalae]), synthesized as
the Universal Logos, He who has stood, stands and will stand ([Greek: ho
estos, stas, staesomenos]).

But before passing on to the aeonology of Simon, a short delay, to
enquire more fully into the notions of the Initiated among the ancients
as to the nature of Mystic Fire, will not be without advantage.

If Simon was a Samaritan and learned in the esoteric interpretation of
scripture, he could not have failed to be acquainted with the Kabalah,
perhaps even with the now lost Chaldaean _Book of Numbers_. Among the
books of the Kabalah, the _Zohar_, or "Book of Splendour," speaks of the
mysterious "Hidden Light," that which Simon calls the Hidden Fire
([Greek: to krupton]), and tells us of the "Mystery of the Three Parts
of the Fire, which are One" as follows:

Began Rabbi Sim-on and said: Two verses are written, "That YHVH thy
Elohim is a devouring fire, a zealous Ail (El)" (_Deut._, iv. 24);
again it is written, "But you that cleave unto YHVH your Elohim,
are alive, every one of you, this day" (_Deut._, iv. 4). On this
verse "That YHVH thy Elohim is a consuming fire," this we said to
the companions; That it is a fire which devours fire, and it is a
fire which devours itself and consumes itself, because it is a fire
which is more mighty than fire, and it has been so confirmed. But,
Come, See! Whoever desires to know the wisdom of the Holy Unity
should look in that flame arising from a burning coal or a lighted
lamp. This flame comes out only when united with another thing.
Come, See! In the flame which goes up are two lights: one light is
a bright white and one light is united with a dark or blue; the
white light is that which is above and ascends in a straight path,
and that below is that dark or blue light, and this light below is
the throne to the white light and that white light rests upon it,
and they unite one to the other so that they are one. And this dark
light, or blue colour, which is below, is the precious throne to
the white. And this is the mystery of the blue. And this blue dark
throne unites itself with another thing to light that from below,
and this awakes it to unite with the upper white light, and this
blue or dark, sometimes changes its colour, but that white above
never changes its colour, it is always white; but that blue changes
to these different colours, sometimes to blue or black and
sometimes to a red colour, and this unites itself to two sides. It
unites to the above, to that white upper light, and unites itself
below to the thing which is under it, which is the burning matter,
and this burns and consumes always from the matter below. And this
devours that matter below, which connects with it and upon which
the blue light rests, therefore this eats up all which connects
with it from below, because it is the nature of it, that it devour
and consume everything which depends on it and is dead matter, and
therefore it eats up everything which connects with it below, and
this white light which rests upon it never consumes itself and
never changes its light, and therefore said Moses; "That YHVH thy
Elohim is a consuming fire." Surely He consumes. It devours and
consumes every thing which rests under it; and on this he said:
"YHVH is thy Elohim" not "our Elohim," because Moses has been in
that white light, Above, which neither devours nor consumes. Come,
See! It is not His Will to light that blue light that should unite
with that white light, only for Israel; because they cleave or
connect under Him. And, Come, See! Although the nature of that dark
or blue light is, that it shall consume every thing which joins
with it below, still Israel cleaves on Him, Below, ... and although
you cleave in Him nevertheless you exist, because it is written:
"You are all alive this day." And on this white light rests above a
Hidden Light which is stronger. Here is the above mystery of that
flame which comes out from it, and in it is the Wisdom of the

And if Chaldaea gave the impulse which enshrined the workings of the
Cosmos in such graphic symbology as the above, we are not surprised to
read in the Chaldaean Oracles ([Greek: logia]),[101] ascribed to
Zoroaster, that "all things are generated from One Fire."[102] And this
Fire in its first energizing was intellectual; the first "Creation" was
of Mind and not of Works:

For the Fire Beyond, the first, did not shut up its power ([Greek:
dunamis]) into Matter ([Greek: hulae]) by Works, but by Mind, for
the fashioner of the Fiery Cosmos is the Mind of Mind.[103]

A striking similarity with the Simonian system, indeed, rendered all the
closer by the Oracle which speaks of that:

Which first leaped forth from Mind, enveloping Fire with Fire,
binding them together that it might interblend the
mother-vortices,[104] while retaining the flower of its own

This "flower" of Fire and the vorticle idea is further explained by the
Oracle which says:

Thence a trailing whirlwind, the flower of shadowy Fire, leaping
into the wombs (or hollows) of worlds. For thence it is that all
things begin to stretch below their wondrous rays.[106]

Compare this with the teaching of Simon that the "fruit" of the Tree is
placed in the Store-house and not cast into the Fire.

In his aeonology, Simon, like other Gnostic teachers, begins with the
Word, the Logos, which springs up from the Depths of the
Unknown--Invisible, Incomprehensible Silence. It is true that he does
not so name the Great Power, He who has stood, stands and will stand;
but that which comes forth from Silence is Speech, and the idea is the
same whatever the terminology employed may be. Setting aside the
Hermetic teachings and those of the later Gnosis, we find this idea of
the Great Silence referred to several times in the fragments of the
Chaldaean Oracles. It is called "God-nourished Silence" ([Greek: sigae
theothremmon]), according to whose divine decrees the Mind that
energizes before all energies, abides in the Paternal Depth.[107] Again:

This unswerving Deity is called the Silent One by the gods, and is
said to consent (lit. sing together) with the Mind, and to be known
by the Souls through Mind alone.[108]

Elsewhere the Oracles demonstrate this Power which is prior to the
highest Heaven as "Mystic Silence."[109]

The Word, then, issuing from Silence is first a Monad, then a Duad, a
Triad and a Hebdomad. For no sooner has differentiation commenced in it,
and it passes from the state of Oneness ([Greek: monotaes]), than the
Duadic and Triadic state immediately supervene, arising, so to say,
simultaneously in the mind, for the mind cannot rest on Duality, but is
forced by a law of its nature to rest only on the joint emanation of the
Two. Thus the first natural resting point is the Trinity. The next is
the Hebdomad or Septenary, according to the mathematical formula
2^{n}-1, the sum of _n_ things taken 1, 2, 3 ... _n_, at a time. The
Trinity being manifested, _n_ here =3; and 2^{3}-1 = 7.

Thus Simon has six Roots and the Seventh Power, seven in all, as the
type of the Aeons in the Pleroma. These all proceed from the Fire. In
like manner also the Cabeiric deities of Samothrace and Phoenicia were
Fire-gods, born of the Fire. Nonnus tells us they were sons of the
mysterious Hephaestus (Vulcan),[110] and Eusebius, in his quotations
from Sanchuniathon, that they were _seven_ in number.[111] The Vedic
Agni (Ignis) also, the God of Fire, is called "Seven-tongued"
(Sapta-jihva) and "Seven-flamed" (Sapta-jvala).[112]

In the _Hibbert Lectures_ of 1887, Prof. A.H. Sayce gives the following
Hymn of Ancient Babylonia to the Fire-god, from _The Cuneiform
Inscriptions of Western Asia_ (iv. 15):

1. The (bed) of the earth they took for their border, but the god
appeared not,

2. from the foundations of the earth he appeared not to make

3. (to) the heaven below they extended (their path), and to the
heaven that is unseen they climbed afar.

4. In the Star(s) of Heaven was not their ministry; in Mazzaroth
(the Zodiacal signs) was their office.

5. The Fire-god, the first-born supreme, into heaven they pursued
and no father did he know.

6. O Fire-god, supreme on high, the first-born, the mighty, supreme
enjoiner of the commands of Anu!

7. The Fire-god enthrones with himself the friend that he loves.

8. He reveals the enmity of those seven.

9. On the work he ponders in his dwelling-place.

10. O Fire-god, how were those seven begotten, how were they

11. Those seven in the mountain of the sunset were born;

12. those seven in the mountain of the sunrise grew up.

13. In the hollows of the earth they have their dwelling;

14. on the high places of the earth their names are proclaimed.

15. As for them, in heaven and earth they have no dwelling, hidden
is their name.

16. Among the sentient gods they are not known.

17. Their name in heaven and earth exists not.

18. Those seven from the mountain of the sunset gallop forth;

19. those seven in the mountain of the sunrise are bound to rest.

20. In the hollows of the earth they set the foot.

21. On the high places of the earth they lift the neck.

22. They by nought are known; in heaven and in earth is no
knowledge of them.[113]

Though I have no intention of contending that Simon obtained his ideas
specifically from Vedic, Chaldaean, Babylonian, Zoroastrian, or
Phoenician sources, still the identity of ideas and the probability,
almost amounting to conviction for the student, that the Initiated of
antiquity all drew from the same sources, shows that there was nothing
original in the main features of the Simonian system.

This is also confirmed by the statements in Epiphanius and the
_Apostolic Constitutions_ that the Simonians gave "barbarous" or
"foreign names" to their Aeons. That is to say, names that were neither
Greek nor Hebrew. None of these names are mentioned by the Fathers, and
probably the Greek terms given by the author of the _Philosophumena_ and
Theodoret are exoteric equivalents of the mystery names. There is
abundant evidence, from gems, monuments and fragments, to show that
there was a mystery language employed by the Gnostic and other schools.
What this language was no scholar has yet been able to tell us, and it
is sufficiently evident that the efforts at decipherment are so far
abortive. The fullest and most precious examples of these names and of
this language are to be found in the papyri brought back by Bruce from
Abyssinia at the latter end of the last century.[114]

Jamblichus tells us that the language of the Mysteries was that of
ancient Egypt and Assyria, which he calls "sacred nations," as follows:

But, you ask, why among our symbolical terms ([Greek: saemantika])
we prefer barbarous (words) to our respective native (tongues)?
There is also for this a mystic reason. For it was the gods who
taught the sacred nations, such as the Egyptians and Assyrians, the
whole of their sacred dialect, wherefore we think that we ought to
make our own dialects resemble the speech cognate with the gods.
Since also the first mode of speech in antiquity was of such a
nature, and especially since they who learnt the first names
concerning the gods, mingled them with their own tongue--as being
suited to such (names) and conformable to them--and handed them
down to us, we therefore keep unchanged the rule of this immemorial
tradition to our own times. For of all things that are suited to
the gods the most akin is manifestly that which is eternal and

The existence of this sacred tongue perhaps accounts for the constant
distinction made by Homer between the language of the gods and that of
men.[116] Diodorus Siculus also asserts that the Samothracians used a
very ancient and peculiar dialect in their sacred rites.[117]

These "barbarous names" were regarded as of the greatest efficacy and
sanctity, and it was unlawful to change them. As the Chaldaean Logia say:

Change not the barbarous names, for in all the nations are there
names given by the gods, possessing unspeakable power in the

And the scholiast[119] adds that they should not be translated into

It is, therefore, most probable that Simon used the one, three, five,
and seven syllabled or vowelled names, and that the Greek terms were
substitutes that completely veiled the esoteric meaning from the

The names of the seven Aeons, as given by the author of the
_Philosophumena_, are as follows: The Image from the Incorruptible Form,
alone ordering all things ([Greek: eikon ex aphthartou morphaes kosmousa
monae panta]), also called The Spirit moving on the Waters ([Greek: to
pneuma to epipheroumenon epano tou hudatos]) and The Seventh Power
([Greek: hae ebdomae dunamis]); Mind ([Greek: nous]) and Thought
([Greek: epinoia]), also called Heaven ([Greek: ouranos]) and Earth
([Greek: gae]); Voice ([Greek: phonae]) and Name ([Greek: onoma]),[120]
also called Sun ([Greek: haelios]) and Moon ([Greek: selaenae]); Reason
([Greek: logismos]) and Reflection ([Greek: enthumaesis]), also called
Air ([Greek: aaer]) and Water ([Greek: hudor]).

The first three of these are sufficiently explained in the fragment of
Simon's _Great Revelation_, preserved in the _Philosophumena_, and
become entirely comprehensible to the student of the Kabalah who is
learned in the emanations of the Sephirothal Tree. Mind and Thought are
evidently Chokmah and Binah, and the three and seven Sephiroth are to be
clearly recognized in the scheme of the Simonian System which is to

Of the two lower Syzygies, or Lower Quaternary of the Aeons, we have no
details from the Fathers. We may, however, see some reason for the
exoteric names--Voice and Name, Reason and Reflection--from the
following considerations:

(1) We should bear in mind what has already been said about the Logos,
Speech and Divine Names. (2) In the Septenary the Quaternary represents
the Manifested and the Triad the Concealed Side of the Fire. (3) The
fundamental characteristics of the manifested universe with the Hindus
and Buddhists are Name (Nama) and Form (Rupa). (4) Simon says that the
Great Power was not called Father until Thought (in manifestation
becoming Voice) _named_ ([Greek: onomasai]) him Father. (5) Reason and
Reflection are evidently the two lowest aspects, principles, or
characteristics, of the _divine_ Mind of man. These are included in the
lower mind, or Internal Organ (Antah-karana), by the Vedantin
philosophers of India and called Buddhi and Manas, being respectively
the mental faculties used in the certainty of judgment and the doubt of

This Quaternary, among a host of other things, typifies the four lower
planes, elements, principles, aspects, etc., of the Universe, with their
Hierarchies of Angels, Archangels, Rulers, etc., each synthesized by a
Lord who is supreme in his own domain. Seeing, however, that the
outermost physical plane is so vast that it transcends the power of
conception of even the greatest intellect, it is useless for us to
speculate on the interplay of cosmic forces and the mysterious
interaction of Spheres of Being that transcend all normal human
consciousness. It is only on the lowest and outermost plane that the
lower Quaternary symbolizes the four Cardinal Points. The Michael (Sun),
Gabriel (Moon), Uriel (Venus), and Raphael (Mercury) of the Kabalah, the
four Beasts, the Wheels of Ezekiel, were living, divine, and intelligent
Entities pertaining to the inner nature of man and the universe for the

It is to be presumed that the Simonians had distinct teachings on this
point, as is evidenced by the title of their lost work, _The Book of the
Four Angles and Points of the World_. The Four Angles were probably
connected with the four ducts or Streams of the "River going forth from
Eden to water the Garden." These Streams have their analogy on all
planes, and cosmically are of the same nature as the Akasha-Ganga--the
Ganges in the Akashic Ocean of Space--and the rest of the Rivers in the
Pauranic writings of the Hindus.

But before going further it will be as well to have a Diagram or Scheme
of the Simonian Aeonology, for presumably the School of Simon had such a
Scheme, as we know the Ophites had from the work of Origen, _Contra


Of course no Diagram is anything more than a symbolical mnemonic, so to
say; in itself it is entirely insufficient and only permits a glance at
one aspect, or face, of the world-process. It is a step in a ladder
merely, useful only for mounting and to be left aside when once a higher
rung is reached. Thus it is that the whole of the elements of Euclid
were merely an introduction to the comprehension of the "Platonic
Solids," which must also, in their turn, be discarded when the within or
essence of things has to be dealt with and not the without or
appearance, no matter how "typical" that appearance may be.

Sufficient has already been said of the Universal Principle, of the
Universal Root and of the Boundless Power--the Parabrahman (That Which
transcends Brahma), Mula-Prakriti (Root-Nature), and Supreme Ishvara,
or the Unmanifested Eternal Logos, of the Vedantic Philosophers. The
next stage is the potential unmanifested type of the Trinity, the Three
in One and One in Three, the Potentialities of Vishnu, Brahma, and
Shiva, the Preservative, Emanative, and Regenerative Powers--the Supreme
Logos, Universal Ideation and Potential Wisdom, called by Simon the
Incorruptible Form, Universal Mind and Great Thought. This Incorruptible
Form is the Paradigm of all Forms, called Vishva Rupam or All-Form and
the Param Rupam or Supreme Form, in the _Bhagavad Gita_[122] spoken also
of as the Param Nidhanam or Supreme Treasure-house,[123] which Simon
also calls the Treasure-house [Greek: thaesauros] and Store-house
[Greek: apothaekae], an idea found in many systems, and most elaborately
in that of the _Pistis-Sophia_.

Between this Divine World, the Unmanifested Triple Aeon, and the World
of Men is the Middle Distance--the Waters of Space differentiated by the
Image or Reflection of the Triple Logos (D) brooding upon them. As there
are three Worlds, the Divine, Middle, and Lower, which have been well
named by the Valentinians the Pneumatic (or Spiritual), Psychic (or
Soul-World), and Hylic (or Material), so in the Middle Distance we have
three planes or degrees, or even seven. This Middle Distance contains
the Invisible Spheres between the Physical World and the Divine. To it
the Initiated and Illuminati, the Spiritual Teachers of all ages, have
devoted much exposition and explanation. It is divine and infernal at
one and the same time, for as the higher parts--to use a phrase that is
clumsy and misleading, but which cannot be avoided--are pure and
spiritual, so the lower parts are corrupted and tainted. The law of
analogy, imaging and reflection, hold good in every department of
emanative nature, and though pure and spiritual ideas come to men from
this realm of the Middle Distance, it also receives back from man the
impressions of his impure thoughts and desires, so that its lower parts
are fouler even than the physical world, for man's secret thoughts and
passions are fouler than the deeds he performs. Thus there is a Heaven
and Hell in the Middle Distance, a Pneumatic and Hylic state.

The Lord of this Middle World is One in his own Aeon, but in reality a
reflection of the triple radiance from the Unmanifested Logos. This Lord
is the Manifested Logos, the Spirit moving on the Waters. Therefore all
its emanations or creations are triple. The triple Light above and the
triple Darkness below, force and matter, or spirit and matter, both
owing their being and apparent opposition to the Mind, "alone ordering
all things."

The Diagram to be more comprehensible should be so arranged, mentally,
that each of the higher spheres is found within or interpenetrating the
lower. Thus, from this point of view, the centre is a more important
position than above or below. External to all is the Physical Universe,
made by the Hylic Angels, that is to say those emanated by Thought,
Epinoia, as representing Primeval Mother Earth, or Matter; not the Earth
we know, but the Adamic Earth of the Philosophers, the Potencies of
Matter, which Eugenius Philalethes assures us, on his honour, no man has
ever seen. This Earth is, in one sense, the Protyle for which the most
advanced of our modern Chemists are searching as the One Mother Element.

The idea of the Spirit of God moving on the Waters is a very beautiful
one, and we find it worked out in much detail in the Hindu scriptures.
For instance, in the _Vishnu Purana_,[124] we find a description of the
emanation of the present Universe by the Supreme Spirit, at the
beginning of the present Kalpa or Aeon, an infinity of Kalpas and
Universes stretching behind. This he creates endowed with the Quality of
Goodness, or the Pneumatic Potency. For the three Qualities (or Gunas)
of Nature (Prakriti) are the Pneumatic, Psychic and Hylic Potencies of
the Waters of Simon.

At the close of the past (or Padma) Kalpa, the divine Brahma,
endowed with the quality of goodness, awoke from his night of
sleep, and beheld the universe void. He, the supreme Narayana, the
incomprehensible, the sovereign of all creatures, invested with the
form of Brahma, the god without beginning, the creator of all
things; of whom, with respect to his name Narayana, the god who has
the form of Brahma, the imperishable origin[125] of the world, this
verse is repeated: "The waters are called Nara, because they were
the offspring of Nara (the supreme spirit); and, as, in them, his
first (Ayana)[126] progress (in the character of Brahma) took
place, he is thence named Narayana (he whose place of moving was
the waters)."

Sir Wm. Jones translates this well-known verse of Manu[127] as follows:

The waters are called Narah, because they were the production of
Nara, or the spirit of God; and, since they were his first Ayana,
or place of motion, he thence is named Narayana or moving on the

Substantially the same statement is made in the _Linga, Vayu_, and
_Markandeya Puranas_, and the _Bhagavata_ explains it more fully as

Purusha (the Spirit) having divided the egg (the ideal universe in
germ), on his issuing forth in the beginning, desiring a place of
motion (Ayanam) for himself, pure he created the waters pure.

In the _Vishnu Purana_, again, Brahma, speaking to the Celestials, says:

I, Mahadeva (Shiva), and you all are but Narayana.[128]

The beautiful symbol of the Divine Spirit moving and brooding over the
Primordial Waters of Space--Waters which as differentiation proceeds
become more and more turbid--is too graphic to require further
explanation. It is too hallowed by age and sanctified by the consent of
humanity to meet with less than our highest admiration.

Dissertation on our Diagram could be pursued to almost any length, but
sufficient has already been said to show the points of correspondence
between the ideas ascribed to Simon and universal Theosophy.

Let us now enquire into the part played by Epinoia, the Divine Thought,
in the cosmic process, reserving the part played by her in the human
drama to when we come to treat of the soteriology of Simon. We have
evidently here a version of the great Sophia-mythus, which plays so
important a part in all Gnostic systems. On the one hand the energizings
of the mother-side of Divine Nature, on the other the history of the
evolution of the Divine Monad, shut into all forms throughout the
elemental spheres, throughout the lower kingdoms, up to the man stage.

The mystery of Sophia-Epinoia is great indeed, insoluble in its origins;
for how does that which is Divine descend below and create Powers which
imprison their parent? It is the mystery of the universe and of man,
insoluble for all but the Logos itself, by whose self-sacrifice Sophia,
the Soul, is finally freed from her bonds.

Epinoia is a Power of many names. She is called the Mother, or
All-Mother, Mother of the Living or Shining Mother, the Celestial Eve;
the Power Above; the Holy Spirit, for the Spiritus in some systems is a
feminine power (in a symbolical sense, of course), pre-eminently in the
_Codex Nazaraeus_, the scripture of the Mandaites. Again she is called
She of the Left-hand, as opposed to the Christos, He of the Right-hand;
the Man-woman; Prouneikos; Matrix; Paradise; Eden; Achamoth; 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, who has given birth to the two
Twins; Ennoia; and by many another name varying according to the
terminology of the different systems, but ever preserving the root idea
of the World-Soul in the Macrocosm and the Soul in Man.

Within every form, aye, even apparently the meanest, is Epinoia
confined; for everything within is innate with Life; every form contains
a spark of the Divine Fire, essentially of the same nature as the All;
for in the Roots, and also in all things--since all is built on their
type--is "the whole of the Boundless Power together _in potentiality_,
but not _in actuality_."

The reason given for this imprisonment of Sophia in most of the systems
is that she endeavoured to create without her Syzygy, the Father or
Nous, wishing to imitate alone the self-generating power of the Supreme.
Thus through ignorance she involved herself in suffering, from which she
was freed by repentance and experience. What explanation of this supreme
mystery was publicly ventured on by Simon we cannot know, for the
patristic accounts are confused and contradictory.

Irenaeus tells us that:

She was the first Conception (Epinoia) of his Mind, the Mother of
All, by whom in the beginning he conceived in his Mind, the making
of the Angels and Archangels.

This Epinoia, leaping forth from _him_ (the Boundless Power), and
knowing what was the will of her Father, descended to the Lower
Regions and generated the Angels and Powers, by whom also he said
the world was made. And after she had generated them, she was
detained by them through envy, for they did not wish to be thought
the progeny of another. As for himself he was entirely unknown by
them; and it was his Thought (Epinoia) that was made prisoner by
the Powers and Angels that had been emanated by her. And she
suffered every kind of indignity at their hands to prevent her
reaescending to her Father, even to being imprisoned in the human
body and transmigrating into other female bodies, as from one
vessel into another.

Tertullian's account differs by the important addition that the "design
of the Father was prevented"; how or why he does not say.

She was his first Suggestion whereby he suggested the making of the
Angels and Archangels; that she sharing in this design had sprung
forth from the Father, and leaped down into the Lower Regions; and
that there, the design of the Father being prevented, she had
brought forth Angelic Powers ignorant of the Father, the artificer
of this world (?); by these she was detained, not according to his
intention, lest when she had gone they should be thought to be the
progeny of another, etc.

The _Philosophumena_ say nothing on this point, except that Epinoia
"throws all the Powers in the World into confusion through her
unsurpassable Beauty."

Philaster renders confusion worse confounded, by writing:

And he also dared to say that the World had been made by Angels,
and the Angels again had been made by certain endowed with
perception from Heaven, and that they (the Angels) had deceived the
human race.

He asserted, moreover, that there was a certain other Thought
(Intellectus) who descended into the world for the salvation of

Epiphanius further complicates the problem as follows:

This Power (Prunicus and Holy Spirit) descending from Above changed
its form.... And through the Power from Above ... displaying her
beauty, she drove them to frenzy, and on this account was she sent
for the despoiling of the Rulers who brought the World into being;
and the Angels themselves went to war on her account; and while she
experienced nothing, they set to work to mutually slaughter each
other on account of the desire which she infused into them for

Theodoret briefly follows Irenaeus.

In these contradictory accounts we have a great confusion between the
roles played by Nous and Epinoia, the Father and Thought, the Spirit and
Spiritual Soul. Then again how did the Lower Regions come into
existence, for Epinoia to descend to them? This lacuna is filled by the
fuller information of the _Philosophumena_ which shows us the scheme of
self-emanation out or down into matter by similitude, thus confining the
problem of "evil" to space and time, and not raising it into an eternal
principle. Naturally it is not to be supposed that the origin of "evil"
is solvable for man in his present state, therefore whether it was
according to the design or contrary to the design of the Father, will
ever depend upon the point of view from which we severally regard the

Law, Justice, and Compassion are not incompatible terms to one whose
heart is set firm on spiritual things; and the view that evil is not a
thing in itself, but exists only because of human ignorance, is one that
must commend itself to the truly religious and philosophical mind. Thus
evil is not a fixed quantity in itself, it depends on the internal
attitude each man holds with regard to externals as to whether they are
evil or no.

For instance, it is not evil for an animal or savage to kill, for the
light of the higher law is not yet flaming brightly in their hearts.
That only is evil if we do what is displeasing to the Self. This may
perhaps throw some light on the Simonian dogma of action by accident
(_ex accidenti_), or institution ([Greek: thesei]), as opposed to action
according to nature (_naturaliter_ or [Greek: phusei])--evidently the
same idea as the teaching of Heracleitus to act according to nature
([Greek: kata phusin]) which he explains as according to the
Unmanifested Harmony which we can hear by straining our ears to catch
that still small voice within, the Voice of the Silence, the Logos or
Self. Simon presumably refers to this in the phrase "the things which
sound within" ([Greek: ta enaecha]), an idea remarkably confirmed by
Psellus,[129] who quotes the following Logion:

When thou seest a most holy, formless Fire shining and bounding
throughout the depths of the whole Cosmos, give ear to the Voice of
the Fire.

This brings us to a consideration of the teachings of Simon with regard
to the Lesser World, the Microcosm, Man, and to the scheme of his
soteriology. Evidently Simon taught the ancient, immemorial doctrine
that the Microcosm Man was the Mirror and Potentiality of the Cosmos,
the Macrocosm, as we have already seen above. Whatever was true of the
emanation of the Universe, was also true of Man, whatever was true of
the Macrocosmic Aeons was true of the Microcosmic Aeons in Man, which
are potentially the same as those of the Cosmos, and will develop into
the power and grandeur of the latter, if they can find suitable
expression, or a fit vehicle. This view will explain the reason of the
ancients for saying that we could only perceive that of which we have a
germ already within us. Thus it is that Empedocles taught:

By earth earth we perceive; by water, water; by aether, aether;
fire, by destructive fire; by friendship, friendship; and strife by
bitter strife.

And if the potentiality of all resided in every man, the teaching on
this point most forcibly has been, _Qui se cognoscit, in se omnia
cognoscit_--He who knows himself, knows all in himself--as Q. Fabius
Pictor tells us. And, therefore, the essential of moral and spiritual
training in ancient times was the attainment of Self-Knowledge--that is
to say, the attainment of the certitude that there is a divine nature
within every man, which is of infinite capacity to absorb universal
Wisdom; that, in brief, Man was _essentially_ one with Deity.

With Simon, as with the Hermetic philosophers of ancient Egypt, all
things were interrelated by correspondence, analogy, and similitude.
"As above, so below," is the teaching on the Smaragdine Table of
Hermes. Therefore, whatever happened to the divine Epinoia, the Supreme
Mother, among the Aeons, happened also to the human Spiritual Soul or
Monadic Essence, in its evolution through all stages of manifestation.
This Soul is shut into all forms and bodies, successively up to the
stage of man.

From one point of view this teaching has been conclusively proved by
Modern Science. The evolution of the external form has been traced
throughout all the kingdoms and is no longer in question. The ancient
teachers of evolution, though less exact in detail, were more accurate
in fact, in postulating a "something within" which alone could make the
external evolution of form of any intelligible purpose. The Spiritual
Soul--the Life, Consciousness, Spirit, Intelligence, whatever we may
choose to call it--was formless in itself, but ever assuming new forms
by a process called metempsychosis, metasomatosis, metangismos, etc.,
which in the human stage becomes reincarnation, the rebirth or
Punarjanman of the Hindus.

So much has been written on metempsychosis and reincarnation of late
that it is hardly necessary to dwell on a now so familiar idea. In its
widest sense the whole process of nature is subject to this mode of
existence, and in its more restricted sense it is the path of pilgrimage
of the Soul in the desert of Matter. In treating of a philosophical
conception, which has already been completely established as far as its
"visible side" is concerned by the researches of Modern Science in the
field of evolution, it is a waste of time to obscure the main issue by a
rehashing of the superstitious belief that the human Soul might pass
back to the brute. It may be that this superstition arose from the
consideration that the body and lower vestures of the Soul were shed off
and gradually absorbed by the lower creation in the alchemical processes
of nature. This was the fate of the "Purgations" of the Soul, but the
Soul itself when once it had passed from bodies of the lower kingdoms,
to bodies in the man-stage, could not retrogress beyond the limits of
that human kingdom.

By a glance at the Diagram, and regarding it from the microcosmic point
of view, it is easy to see that the inner nature of man is more complex
than the elementary trichotomy of Body, Soul, and Spirit, might lead us
to suppose. Each plane of Being, for which the Soul has its own
appropriate Vesture, is generated from an "indivisible point," as Simon
called it, a zero-point, to use a term of modern Chemistry; six of which
are shown in the Diagram, and each plane of Being is bounded by such
zero-points, for they are points like that of the Circle whose centre is
everywhere and circumference nowhere.

To pass on to the soteriology of Simon. The general concept of this
presents no difficulty to the student of Eastern Religions. The idea
that the great teachers are Avataras, incarnations, or descents, of the
Supreme Being, appearing on earth to aid mankind, is simple enough to
comprehend in itself, and would be open to little objection, were it not
for the theological dogmas and mythological legends that are wont to be
so busily woven round the lives of such teachers. In the present age it
is hardly necessary for us, with the experience of the past before our
eyes, to raise dissension as to whether such a manifestation is entirely
divine, or entirely human, or perfectly human and divine at one and the
same time, or neither or all of these.

Eastern philosophy, regarding not only the external phenomenal world as
ever-changing and impermanent, but also all appearance or
manifestation--no matter how subjective it may be to us now--as not the
one Truth in itself, which it claims alone to be without change, it is
easy to see the reason why the Gnostic Philosophers for the most part
held to Doceticism--that is to say that the body of a Saviour was not
the Saviour himself, but an appearance. The heat of polemical
controversy may have led to exaggerated views on both sides, but the
philosophical mind will not be distressed at the thought that the body
is an appearance or mask of the real man, and that it forms no part of
his eternal possession. None the less the body is real to us here, for
we all have bodies of a like nature, and appearances are real to
appearances. Yet this does not invalidate the further consideration that
there are other bodies, vestures, or vehicles of consciousness, besides
the gross physical "coat of skin," for the use of the spiritual man,
each being an "appearance" in comparison to the higher vehicle, which is
in its turn an "appearance" to that which is more subtle and less
material or substantial than itself.

Thus, in the descent from the Divine World, the Soul transforms itself,
or clothes itself in forms, or bodies, or vestures, which it weaves out
of its own substance, like to the Powers of the Worlds it passes
through, for every Soul has a different vehicle of consciousness for
every World or Plane.

But the doctrine of the Soter, or Saviour, does not apply until the
Christ-stage or consummation is reached. Following the idea of rebirth,
there is a spiritual life cycle, or life-thread, on which the various
earth-lives are strung, as beads on a necklace, each successive life
being purer and nobler, as the Soul gains control of matter, or the
driver control of the chariot and steeds that speed him through the
experiences of life. As the end of this great cycle approaches, an
earthly vehicle is evolved that can show forth the divine spirit in all
the fulness possible to this world or phase of evolution.

Now as the problem can be viewed from either the internal or external
point of view, we have the mystery of the Soul depicted both from the
side of the involution of spirit into matter and of the evolution of
matter into spirit. If, on the one hand, we insist too strongly on one
view, we shall only have a one-sided conception of the process; if, on
the other, we neglect one factor, we shall never solve the at present
unknown quantity of the equation. Thus the Soul is represented as the
"lost sheep" struggling in the meshes of the net of matter, passing from
body to body, and the Spirit is represented as descending, transforming
itself through the spheres, in order to finally rescue its Syzygy from
the bonds that are about her.

The Soul aspires to the Spirit and the Spirit takes thought for the
Soul; as the Simonians expressed it:

The male (Heaven, i.e., the Nous or Christ, or Spiritual Soul)
looks down from above and takes thought for its co-partner (or
Syzygy); while the Earth (i.e., the Epinoia or Jesus, or Human
Soul) from below receives from the Heaven the intellectual (in the
spiritual and philosophical sense, of course) fruits that come down
to it and are cognate with the Earth (i.e., of the same nature
essentially as Epinoia, who is essentially one with Nous).

When this mystery is represented dramatically, so to say, and
personified, these two aspects of the Soul are depicted as two persons.
Thus we have Simon and Helen, his favourite disciple, Krishna and
Arjuna, etc. In the Canonical Gospels the favourite disciple is said to
be John, and the women-disciples are placed well in the background.
In the Gnostic Gospels, however, the women-disciples are not so
ostracized, and the view taken by these early communities of
philosophical and mystical Christians throws much light on that
wonderful history of the Magdalene that has so touched the heart of
Christendom. For instance, in the _Pistis-Sophia_, the chief of all the
disciples, the most spiritual and intuitive, is Mary Magdalene. This is
not without significance when we remember the love of the Christ for
Mary "out of whom he had cast _seven_ devils."

The allegory is a striking one, and perfectly comprehensible to the
student of comparative religion. As there are seven Aeons in the
Spiritual World, seven principles or aspects of the Spiritual Soul, so
here on Earth, by analogy, there are seven lower aspects, or impure
reflections. As there are seven Cardinal Virtues, the Prajna-Paramitas,
or Perfections of Wisdom, of the Buddhists, so there are seven Cardinal
Vices, and these must be cast out by the spiritual will, before the
repentant Mary, or Human Soul, can be purified.

This is the mystery of the Helen, the "lost sheep." Then follows the
mystical marriage of the Lamb, the union of the Human and Spiritual Soul
in man, referred to so often in the Gospels and other mystical

Naturally the language used is symbolical, and has naught to do with
sex, in any sense. Woe unto him or her who takes these allegories of the
Soul as literal histories, for nothing but sorrow will follow such
materialization of divine mysteries. If Simon or his followers fell into
this error, they worked their own downfall, under the Great Law, as
surely do all who forge such bonds of matter for their own enslavement.

But with condemnation we have nothing to do; they alone who are without
sin have the _right_ to cast stones at the Magdalenes of this world; and
they who are truly without sin use their purity to cleanse their
fellows, and do not sully it with the stains of self-righteous
condemnation. We, ordinary men and women of the age, are all "lost
sheep," human souls struggling in ignorance; shall we then stone our
fellows because their theology has a different nomenclature to our own?
For man was the same in the past as he is to-day. The Human Soul has
ever the same hopes and fears, loves and hates, passions and
aspirations, no matter how the mere form of their expression differs.
That which is important is the attitude we hold to the forms with which
we are surrounded. To-day the form of our belief is changed; the fashion
of our dress is scientific and not allegorical, but are we any nearer
the realization that it is a dress and no more, and not the real
expression of the true man within?

Let us now take a brief glance at the Symbolical Tree of Life, which
plays so important a part in the Simonian Gnosis. Not, however, that it
was peculiar to this system, for several of the schools use the same
symbology. For instance, in the _Pistis-Sophia_[130] the idea is
immensely expanded, and there is much said of an Aeonian Hierarchy
called the Five Trees. As this, however, may have been a later
development, let us turn to the ancient Hindu Shastras, and select one
out of the many passages that could be adduced, descriptive of the
Ashvattha Tree, the Tree of Life, "the Ashvattha of golden wings," where
the bird-souls get their wings and fly away happily, as the
_Sanatsujatiya_ tells us. The passage we choose is from the _Bhagavad
Gita_, that marvellous philosophical episode from the _Mahabharata_,
which from internal evidence, and at the very lowest estimate, must be
placed at a date anterior to Simon. At the beginning of the fifteenth
Adyaya we read:

They say the imperishable Ashvattha is with root above and branches
below, of which the sacred hymns are the leaves. Who knows this, he
is a knower of knowledge. Upwards and downwards stretch its
branches, expanded by the potencies (Gunas); the sense-objects are
its sprouts. Downwards, too, its roots are stretched, constraining
to action in the world of men. Here neither its form is
comprehended, nor its end, nor beginning, nor its support. Having
cut with the firm sword of detachment (_sc._ non-attachment to the
fruit of action) this Ashvattha, with its overgrown roots, then
should he (the disciple) search out that Supreme whither they who
come never return again, (with the thought) that now he is come to
that primal Being, whence the evolution of old was emanated.

For what is this "sword of detachment" but another aspect of the "fiery
sword" of Simon, which is turned about to guard the way to the Tree of
Life? This "sword" is our passions and desires, which now keep us from
the golden-leaved Tree of Life, whence we may find wings to carry us to
the "Father in Heaven." For once we have conquered Desire and turned it
into spiritual Will, it then becomes the "Sword of Knowledge"; and the
way to the Tree of Spiritual Life being gained, the purified Life
becomes the "Wings of the Great Bird" on which we mount, to be carried
to its Nest, where peace at last is found.

The simile of the Tree is used in many senses, not the least important
of which is that of the heavenly "vine" of the reincarnating Soul, every
"life" of which is a branch. This explains Simon's citation of the
Logion so familiar to us in the _Gospel according to Luke_:

Every tree not bearing good fruit is cut down and cast into the

This also explains one of the inner meanings of the wonderful passage in
the _Gospel according to John_:

I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in
me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that
beareth fruit he purgeth it that it may bear more fruit.[131]

For only the spiritual fruit of every life is harvested in the
"Store-house" of the Divine Soul; the rest is shed off to be purified in
the "Fire" of earthly existence.

Into the correspondence between the world-process of Nature, and that
which takes place in the womb of mortal woman, it will not be necessary
to enter at length. No doubt Simon taught many other correspondences
between the processes of Cosmic Nature and Microcosmic Man, but what
were the details of this teaching we can in no way be certain. Simon
may have made mistakes in physiology, according to our present
knowledge, but with the evidence before us all we can do is to suspend
our judgment. For in the first place, we do not know that he has been
correctly reported by his patristic antagonists, and, in the second, we
are even yet too ignorant of the process of the nourishment of the
foetus to pronounce any _ex cathedra_ statement. In any case Simon's
explanation is more in agreement with Modern Science than the generality
of the phantasies on scientific subjects to which the uninstructed piety
of the early Fathers so readily lent itself. As to whether the
Initiated of the ancients did or did not know of the circulation of the
blood and the functions of the arterial system, we must remain in doubt,
for both their well known method of concealing their knowledge and also
the absence of texts which may yet be discovered by the industry of
modern exploration teach us to hold our judgment in suspense.

Again, seeing the importance which the symbolical Tree played in the
Simonian System, it may be that there was an esoteric teaching in the
school, which pointed out correspondences in the human body for mystical
purposes, as has been the custom for long ages in India in the Science
of Yoga. In the human body are _at least_ two "Trees," the nervous, and
vascular systems. The former has its "root" above in the cerebrum, the
latter has its roots in the heart. Along the trunks and branches run
currents of "nervous ether" and "life" respectively, and the Science of
Yoga teaches its disciples to use both of these forces for mystical
purposes. It is highly probable also that the Gnostics taught the same
processes to their pupils, as we know for a fact that the Neo-Platonists
inculcated like practices. From these considerations, then, it may be
supposed that Simon was not so ignorant of the real laws of the
circulation of the blood as might otherwise be imagined; and as to the
nourishment of the embryo, modern authorities are at loggerheads, the
majority, however, inclining to the opinion of Simon, that the foetus
is nourished through the umbilical cord.[132]

The last point of importance to detain us, before passing on to a notice
on the magical practices ascribed to Simon, is the allegorical use made
by the Simonians of Scripture. Here again we have little to do with the
details reported, but only with the idea. It was a common belief of the
sages of antiquity that the mythological part of the sacred writings of
the nations were to be understood in an allegorical fashion. Not to
speak of India, we have the Neo-Platonic School with its analogetical
methods of interpretation, and the mention of a work of Porphyry in
which an allegorical interpretation of the _Iliad_ was attempted.
Allegorical shows of a similar nature also were enacted in the Lesser
Mysteries and explained in the Greater, as Julian tells us in the
_Mother of the Gods_,[133] and Plutarch on the _Cessation of

Much evidence could be adduced that this was a widespread idea held by
the learned of antiquity, but space does not here allow a full
treatment of the subject. What is important to note is that Simon
claimed this as a method of his School, and therefore, in dealing with
his system, we cannot leave out so important a factor, and persist in
taking allegorical and symbolical expressions as literal teachings. We
may say that the method is misleading and has led to much superstition
among the ignorant, but we have no right to criticize the literal and
historical meaning of an allegory, and then fancy that we have
criticized the doctrine it enshrines. This has been the error of all
rationalistic critics of the world bibles. They have wilfully set on one
side the whole method of ancient religious teaching, and taken as
literal history and narrative what was essentially allegorical and
symbolical. Perhaps the reason for this may be in the fact that wherever
religion decays and ignorance spreads herself, there the symbolical and
allegorical is materialized into the historical and literal. The spirit
is forgotten, the letter is deified. Hence the reaection of the
rationalistic critic against the materialism and literalism of sacred
verities. Nevertheless, such criticism does not go deep enough to affect
the real truths of religion and the convictions of the human soul, any
more than an aesthetic criticism on the shape of the Roman letters and
Arabic figures can affect the truth of an algebraical formula.
Rationalistic criticism may stir people from literalism and dogmatic
crystallization, in fact it has done much in this way, but it does not
reach the hidden doctrines.

Now Simon contended that many of the narrations of Scripture were
allegorical, and opposed those who held to the dead-letter
interpretation. To the student of comparative religion, it is difficult
to see what is so highly blameworthy in this. On the contrary, this view
is so worthy of praise, that it deserves to be widely adopted to-day, at
the latter end of the nineteenth century. To understand antiquity, we
must follow the methods of the wise among the ancients, and the method
of allegory and parable was the manner of teaching of the great Masters
of the past.

But supposing we grant this, and admit that all Scriptures possess an
inner meaning and lend themselves to interpretation on every plane of
being and thought, who is to decide whether any particular
interpretation is just or no? Already we have writers arising, giving
diametrically opposite interpretations of the same mystical narrative,
and though this may be an advance on bald physical literalism, it is by
no means encouraging to the instructed and philosophical mind.

If the Deity is no respecter of persons, times, or nations, and if no
age is left without witness of the Divine, it would seem to be in
accordance with the fitness of things that all religions in their purity
are one in essence, no matter how overgrown with error they may have
become through the ignorance of man. If, again, the root of true
Religion is one, and the nature of the Soul and of the inner
constitution of things is identical in all climes and times, as far as
its _main features_ are concerned, no matter what terminology, allegory,
and symbology may be employed to describe it; and not only this, but if
it be true that such subjective things are as potent facts in human
consciousness as any that exist, as indeed is evidenced by the
unrivalled influence such things have had on human hearts and actions
throughout the history of the world--then we must consider that an
interpretation that fits only one system and is found entirely
unsuitable to the rest, is no part of universal religion, and is due
rather to the ingenuity of the interpreter than to a discovery of any
law of subjective nature. The method of comparative religion alone can
give us any certainty of correct interpretation, and a refusal to
institute such a comparison should invalidate the reliability of all
such enquiries.

Now Simon is reported to have endeavoured to find an inner meaning in
scriptural narratives and mythologies, and against this method we can
have nothing to say; it is only when a man twists the interpretation to
suit his own prejudices that danger arises. Simon, however, is shown to
have appealed to the various sacred literatures known in his time, an
eclectic and theosophical method, and one that cannot very well be
longer set on one side even in our own days.

The primitive church was not so forgetful of symbology as are the
majority of the Christian faith to-day. One of the commonest
representations of primitive Christian art was that of the "Four
Rivers." As the Rev. Professor Cheetham tells us:

We find it repeated over and over again in the catacombs, either in
frescoes or in the sculptured ornaments of sarcophagi, and
sometimes on the bottoms of glass cups which have been discovered

The interpretations given by the early divines were many and various; in
nearly every case, however, it was an interpretation which applied to
the Christian system alone, and accentuated external differences. Little
attempt was made to find an interpretation in nature, either objective
or subjective, or in man. Simon, at any rate, made the attempt--an
effort to broaden out into a universal system applying to all men at all
times. This is also the real spirit of pure Christianity which is so
often over-clouded by theological partisanship. A true interpretation
must stand the test of not only religious aspiration, but also
philosophical thought and scientific observation.

Nor again should we find cause to grieve at an attempted interpretation
of the Trojan Horse, that was fabricated by the advice of Athena
(Minerva-Epinoia), for did not George Stanley Faber, in the early years
of this century, labour with much learning to prove its identity with
the Ark. True he only turned similar myths into the terms of one myth
and got no further, but that was an advance on his immediate
predecessors. Simon, however, had centuries before gone further than
Faber, as far as theory is concerned, by seeking an interpretation in
nature. But, in his turn, as far as our records go, he only attempted
the interpretation of one aspect of this graphic symbol, saying that it
typified "ignorance." An interpretation, however, to be complete should
cover all planes of consciousness and being from the physical human
plane to the divine cosmic. The Ark floating on the Waters of the Deluge
and containing the Germs of Life, the Mundane Egg in the Waters of
Space, and the Mare with her freight of armed warriors, all typify a
great fact in nature, which may be studied scientifically in the
development of the germ-cell, and ethically by analogy, as the egg of
ignorance, the germs in which are, from the lower aspect, our own evil

In speaking of such allegories and tracing the correspondences between
certain symbologies and the natural facts of embryology, Simon speaks of
the "cave" which plays so important a part in so many religious
allegories. As the child is born in a "cave," so the "new man" is also
born in a "cave," and all the Saviours are so recorded to have been born
in their birth legends. The Mysteries of antiquity were for the most
part solemnized in caves, or rock-cut temples. The Epoptae deemed such
caverns as symbols both of the physical world and Hades or the Unseen
World, which surrounds every child of man. Into such a cave, in the
middle of the Ocean, Cronus shut his children, as Porphyry[136] tells
us. It was called by the name Petra, or Rock, and from such a Rock
Mithras is said to have been born.[137]

Faber endeavours to identify this symbolical cave with the Ark,[138]
which may be permissible from one aspect, as the womb of mother nature
and of the human mother correspond analogically.

In the "new birth" of the mysteries, the Souls were typified as bees
born from the body of an ox, for they were to gather the honey of
wisdom, and were born from the now dead body of their lower natures. In
the cave were two doors, one for immortals, the other for mortals. In
this connection the cave is the psychic womb that surrounds every man,
of which Nicodemus displays such ignorance in the Gospels. It is the
microcosmic Middle Distance; by one door the Lower Soul enters, and
uniting with its immortal consort, who descends through the door of the
immortals, becomes immortal.

The cavern is overshadowed by an olive tree--again the Tree of Life to
which we have referred above--on the branches of which the doves rest,
and bring back the leaves to the ark of the body and the prisoner within

But space does not permit us to pursue further this interesting subject,
which requires an entire treatise by itself, or even a series of
volumes. Enough, however, has been said to show that the method of
interpretation employed by Simon is not without interest and profit, and
that the tolerant spirit of to-day which animates the best minds and
hearts in Christendom will find no reason to mete out to Simon wholesale
condemnation on this score.

There are also many other points of interest that could be elaborated
upon, in the fragments of the system we are reviewing, but as my task is
in the form of an essay, and not an exhaustive work, I must be content
to pass them by for the present, and to hurry on to a few words on that
strange and misunderstood subject, commonly known as Magic.

What Magic, the "Great Art" of the ancients, was in reality is now as
difficult to discover as is the true Religion that underlies all the
great religions of the world. It was an art, a practice, the Great and
Supreme Art of the most Sacred Science of God, the Universe and Man. It
was and it is all this in its highest sense, and its method was what is
now called "creation." As the Aeons imitated the Boundless Power and
emanated or created in their turn, so could man imitate the Aeons and
emanate or create in his turn. But "creation" is not generation, it is a
work of the "mind," in the highest sense of the word. By purification
and aspiration, by prayer and fasting, man had to make his mind
harmonious with the Great Mind of the Universe, and so by imitation
create pure vehicles whereby his consciousness could be carried in
every direction of the Universe. Such spiritual operations required the
greatest purity and piety, real purity and true piety, without disguise
or subterfuge, for man had to face himself and his God, before whom no
disguise was possible. The most secret motives, the most hidden desires,
were revealed by the stern self-discipline to which the Adepts of the
Science subjected themselves.

But as in all things here below, so with the Art of Magic, it was
two-fold. Above I have only spoken of the bright side of it, the path
along which the World-Saviours have trodden, for no one can gain
entrance to the path of self-sacrifice and compassion unless his heart
burns with love for all that lives, and unless he treads the way of
wisdom only in order that he may become that Path itself for the
salvation of the race. But there is the other side; knowledge is
knowledge irrespective of the use to which it may be put. The sword of
knowledge is two-edged, as remarked above, and may be put to good or
evil use, according to the selfishness or unselfishness of the

But _corruptio optimi pessima_, and as the employment of wisdom for the
benefit of mankind--as, for instance, curing the sick, physically and
morally--is the highest, so the use of any abnormal power for the
advantage of self is the vilest sin that man can commit.

There are strange analogies in Nature, and the higher the spiritual, the
lower the corresponding material process; so that we find in the history
of magic--perhaps the longest history in the world--extremes ever
meeting. Abuse of spiritual powers, and the vilest physical processes,
noxious, fantastic, and pestilential, are recorded in the pages of
so-called magical literature, but such foul deeds are no more real Magic
than are the horrors of religious fanaticism the outcome of true
Mohammedanism or Christianity. This is the abuse, the superstition, the
degeneration of all that is good and true, rendered all the more vile
because it pertains to denser planes of matter than even the physical.
It is a strange thing that the highest should pair with the lowest where
man is concerned, but it ever remains true that the higher we climb the
lower we may fall.

Man is much the same in nature at all times, and though the Art was
practised in its purity by the great World-Teachers and their immediate
followers, whether we call it by the name Magic or no, it ever fell
into abuse and degeneracy owing to the ingrained ignorance and
selfishness of man. Thus the Deity and Gods or Daemons of one nation
became the Devil and Demons of another; the names were changed, the
facts remained the same. For if we are to reject all such things as
superstition, hallucination, and what not, the good must go with the
bad. But facts, whether good or bad, are still facts, and man is still
man, no matter how he changes the fashion of his belief. The followers
of the World-Teachers cannot hold to the so-called "miracles" of their
respective Masters and reject all others as false in fact, no matter
from what source they may believe they emanate. In nature there can be
nothing supernatural, and as man stands mid-way between the divine and
infernal, if we accept the energizing of the one side of his nature, we
must also accept that of the other. Both are founded on nature and
science, both are under law and order.

The great Master of Christendom is reported to have told his disciples
that if they had but faith they should do greater works than even he had
done. Either this was false or else the followers have been false to
their Teacher. There is no escape from the dilemma. And such "works" are
to be wrought by divine Magic alone, or if the term be disliked, by
whatever name the great Science of the Soul and Divine things may be

For the last two hundred years or so it has been the fashion to deride
all such matters, perhaps owing to a reaection against over-credulity on
the part of those who held to the letter of the law and forgot its
spirit; but to-day it is no longer possible to entirely set aside this
all-important part of man's nature, and it now calls for as strict a
scientific treatment as the facts of the physical universe have been
subjected to.

Hypnotism, Mesmerism, Spiritualism and Psychical Research, are the
cloud no bigger than a man's hand that is forcing the facts of Magic
again on the attention of both the theological and scientific world.
Hypnotism and Psychical Research are already becoming respectable and
attracting the attention of the generality of men of science and of our
clergy. Spiritualism and Mesmerism are still tabooed, but wait their
turn for popular recognition, having already been recognized by pioneers
distinguished in science and other professions.

Of course I speak only of the facts of these arts, I do not speak of the
theories put forward.

All these processes are in the very outermost court of the Temple of
True Magic, even if they are not outside the precinct. But they are
sufficient for our purpose, and should make the serious thinker and
unprejudiced enquirer pause before pronouncing the words, superstition
and hallucination, in too confident a tone, for he now must see the
necessity of having a clear idea of what he means by the terms.

It is not uncommon of late to hear the superficially instructed setting
down everything to "suggestion," a word they have picked up from modern
hypnotic research, or "telepathy," a name invented by psychical
research--the ideas being as old as the world--forgetting that their
mind remains in precisely the same attitude with regard to such matters
as it was in previously when they utterly denied the possibility of
suggestion and telepathy. But to the earnest and patient student
hypnotism and the rest are but the public reaeppearance of what has
always existed in spite of the denial of two hundred years or so, and
instead of covering the whole ground is but the forward spray from the
returning wave of psychism which will sweep the nations off their feet
and moral balance, if they will not turn to the experience of the past
and gain strength to withstand the inrush.

The higher forms of all these things, in the Western World, should have
now been in the hands of the ministers of the Church, in which case we
should not have had the reaeppearance of such powers in the hands of
vulgar stage exhibitions and mercenary public mediumship.

But so it is; and in vain is it any longer to raise the cry of fraud and
hallucination on the one hand and of the devil on the other. This is a
mere shirking of responsibility, and nothing but a reasonable
investigation and an insistence on the highest ideals of life will help

I do not intend to enter into any review of the "wonders" attributed to
Simon, neither to deny them as hallucinations, nor attribute them to the
devil, nor explain them away by "suggestion." As a matter of fact we do
not even know whether Simon did or pretended to do any of the precise
things mentioned. All we are competent to decide is the general
question, viz., that any use of abnormal power is pernicious if done for
a personal motive, and will assuredly, sooner or later, react on the

Here and there in the patristic accounts we light on a fact worthy of
consideration, as, for example, when Simon is reported to have denied
that the real soul of a boy could be exorcised, and said that it was
only a daemon, in this case a sub-human intelligence or elemental, as
the Mediaeval Kabalists called them. Again the Simonians are said to have
expelled any from their Mysteries who worshipped the statues of Zeus or
Athena as being representatives of Simon and Helen; thus showing that
they were symbolical figures for some purpose other than ordinary
worship; and probably the sect in its purity possessed a body of
teaching which threw light on many of the religious practices of the
times, and gave them a rational interpretation, quite at variance with
the fantastic diabolism which the Fathers have so loudly charged against

The legends of magic are the same in all countries, fantastic enough to
us in the nineteenth century, in all conscience, and most probably
exaggerated out of all correct resemblance to facts by the excited
imagination of the legend-tellers, but still it is not all imagination,
and after sifting out even ninety-nine per cent of rubbish, the residue
that remains is such vast evidence to the main facts that it is fairly
overwhelming, and deserves the investigation of every honest student.

But the study is beset with great difficulty, and if left in the hands
of untrained thinkers, as are the majority of those who are interested
in such matters in the present day, will only result in a new phase of
credulity and superstition. And such a disastrous state of affairs will
be the distinct fault of the leaders of thought in the religious,
philosophical, and scientific world, if they refuse the task which is
naturally theirs, and if they are untrue to the responsibility of their
position as the directors, guardians, and adjusters of the popular mind.
Denial is useless, mere condemnation is of small value, explanation
alone will meet the difficulty.

Thus when we are brought face to face with the recital of magical
wonders as attributed to Simon in the patristic legends, it is not
sufficient to sweep them on one side and ticket them with the
contemptuous label of "superstition." We must recognize that whether or
not these things were actually done by Simon, the ancient world both
Pagan and Christian firmly believed in their reality, and that if our
only attitude towards them is one of blank denial, we include in that
denial the possibility of the so-called "miracles" of Christianity and
other great religions, and therewith invalidate one of the most
important factors of religious thought and history. That the present
attitude of denial is owing to the absurd explanation of the phenomena
given by the majority of the ancient worthies, is easily admissible, but
this is no reason why the denial of the possibilities of the existence
of such things should be logical or scientific.

As to the wonders ascribed to Simon, though extraordinary, they are
puerile compared to the ideals of the truly religious mind, and if
Simon used such marvels as proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he
unduly took advantage of the ignorance of the populace and was untrue to
his better nature.

Again, setting aside all historical criticism, if Simon, as the _Acts_
report, thought to purchase spiritual powers with money, or that those
who were really in possession of such powers would ever sell them, we
can understand the righteous indignation of the apostles, though we
cannot understand their cursing a brother-man. The view of the Christian
writer on this point is a true one, but the dogma that every operation
which is not done in the name of the particular Master of Christendom is
of the Devil--or, to avoid personifications, is evil--can hardly find
favour with those who believe in the brotherhood of the whole race and
that Deity is one, no matter under what form worshipped.

Finally, to sum up the matter, we have cited our authorities, and
reviewed them, and then endeavoured to sift out what is good from the
heap, leaving the rubbish to its fate. Removed as we are by so many
centuries from the fierce strife of religious controversy which so
deeply marked the rise of Christianity, we can view the matter with
impartiality and seek to redress the errors that are patent both on the
side of orthodoxy and of heterodoxy. It is true we cannot be free of the
past, but it is also true that to identify ourselves with the hates and
strifes of the ancients, is merely to retrogress from the path of
progress. On the contrary, our duty should be to identify ourselves with
all that is good and beautiful and true in the past, and so gleaning it
together, bind it into a sheaf of corn that, when ground in the mills of
common-sense and practical experience, may feed the millions of every
denomination who for the most part are starving on the unsatisfying
husks of crude dogmatism. There is no need for a new revelation, in
whatever sense the word is understood, but there is every need for an
explanation of the old revelations and the undeniable facts of human
experience. If the Augean stables of the materialism that is so
prevalent in the religion, philosophy and science of to-day, are to be
cleansed, the spiritual sources of the world-religions can alone be
effectual for their cleansing, but these are at present hidden by the
rocks and overgrowth of dogma and ignorance. And this overgrowth can
only be removed by explanation and investigation, and each who works at
the task is, consciously or unconsciously, in the train of the Hercules
who is pioneering the future of humanity.


[Footnote 96: _Julius Caesar_, III. ii. 106-8.]

[Footnote 97: _Op. cit._ i. 4. Compare the Diagram and explanation of
the Middle Distance _infra_. The Moon is the "Lord" of the lower plane
of the Middle Distance, the Astral Light of the medieval Kabalists. This
is a doctrine common to the Hermetic, Vedantic, and many other schools
of Antiquity.]

[Footnote 98: xi. 37.]

[Footnote 99: _Philos._, ix. 10.]

[Footnote 100: _Zohar_, i. 50_b_, Amsterdam and Brody Editions: quoted
in Isaac Myer's _Qabbalah_, pp. 376, 377.]

[Footnote 101: See Cory's _Ancient Fragments_, 2nd ed.; not the reedited
third edition, which is no longer Cory's work.]

[Footnote 102: [Greek: eisi panta puros henos ekgegaota]--_Psell.
24--Plet. 30._]

[Footnote 103: _Proc. in Theol._ 333--_in Tim._ 157.]

[Footnote 104: [Greek: paegaious krataeras]--I have ventured the above
translation for this difficult combination from the meaning of the term
[Greek: paegae], found elsewhere in the Oracles, in the metaphorical
sense of "source" (compare also Plato, _Phaed._ 245 C., 856 D., [Greek:
paegae kai archae chinaeseos]--"the source and beginning of motion"),
and also from the meaning of [Greek: krataer] (_crater_), as "a
cup-shaped hollow."

The idea of this Crater is interestingly exemplified in the Twelfth Book
of Hermes Trismegistus, called "His Crater, or Monas," as follows:

"10. _Tat._ But wherefore, Father, did not God distribute the Mind to
all men?

"11. _Herm._ Because it pleased him, O Son, to set that in the middle
among all souls, as a reward to strive for.

"12. _Tat._ And where hath he set it?

"13. _Herm._ Filling a large Cup or Bowl (Crater) therewith, he sent it
down, giving also a Cryer or Proclaimer.

"14. And he commanded him to proclaim these things to the souls of men.

"15. Dip and wash thyself, thou that art able, in this Cup or Bowl: Thou
that believeth that thou shalt return to him that sent this cup; thou
that acknowledgest whereunto thou wert made.

"16. As many, therefore, as understood the Proclamation, and were
_baptized_, or dowsed into the _Mind_, these were made partakers of
knowledge, and became perfect men, receiving the Mind."

This striking passage explains the mystic "Baptism of Fire," or Mind,
whereby man became one with his Divine Monas, which is indeed his
"Mother Vortex" or Source.]

[Footnote 105: _Proc. in Parm._]

[Footnote 106: _Proc. in Theol. Plat._, 171, 172.]

[Footnote 107: _Proc. in Tim._, 167.]

[Footnote 108: _Proc. in Theol._, 321.]

[Footnote 109: _Proc. in Crat._]

[Footnote 110: _Dionys._, xiv.]

[Footnote 111: _Praep. Evan._, i. 10.]

[Footnote 112: The names of these seven flames of the Fire, with their
surface translations, are as follows: Kali, Dark-blue; Karali, Terrible;
Mano-java, Swift as Thought; Su-lohita, Deep-red colour;
Su-dhumra-varna, Deep-purple colour; Ugra or Sphulingini, Hot,
Passionate, or Sparkling; Pradipta, Shining, Clear. These are the
literal meanings; the mystic meanings are very different, and among
other things denote the septenary prismatic colours and other
septenaries in nature.]

[Footnote 113: _Hibbert lectures_, 1887: "Lecture on the Origin and
Growth of Religion as illustrated by the Religion of the Ancient
Babylonians," pp. 179, 180.]

[Footnote 114: See Schwartze's _Pistis-Sophia_ and Amelineau's _Notice
sur le Papyrus Gnostique Bruce_.]

[Footnote 115: _De Mysteriis Liber_, vii. 4.]

[Footnote 116: Compare also _Herodot._ ii, 54--[Greek: phonae

[Footnote 117: _Lib._ v.]

[Footnote 118: _Psel._ 7.]

[Footnote 119: _Psel. Schol. in Orac. Magic_, p. 70.]

[Footnote 120: Theodoret gives [Greek: ennoia].]

[Footnote 121: A. Aphthartos Morphe. B. Nous ton Holon. c. Epinoia
Megale. D. Eikon. a. Nous. b. Phone. c. Logismos. d. Enthumesis. e.
Onoma. f. Epinoia.]

[Footnote 122: xi. 47.]

[Footnote 123: _Ibid._, xi. 18, 38.]

[Footnote 124: Wilson's Trans. i. pp. 55 _et seqq._]

[Footnote 125: Prabhavapyaya: Pra-bhava=the forth-being or origin, and
Apy-aya=the return or reabsorption. It is the same idea as the Simonian

[Footnote 126: Ayana simply means "moving."]

[Footnote 127: _Manava-Dharma Shastra_, i. 10.]

[Footnote 128: _Op. cit._, iv. 251.]

[Footnote 129: 14.]

[Footnote 130: This Gnostic gospel, together with the treatises
entitled, _The Book of the Gnoses of the Invisible_ and _The Book of the
Great Logos in each Mystery_ (the Bruce MSS.), is especially referred
to, as, with the exception of the _Codex Nazaraeus_, being the only
Gnostic works remaining to us. All else comes from the writings of the

[Footnote 131: xv, 1, 2]

[Footnote 132: The most advanced theory, however, is that the foetus
derives nourishment from the amniotic fluid, and Dr. Jerome A. Anderson
sums up his highly interesting paper on the "Nutrition of the Foetus" in
the _American Journal of Obstetrics_, Vol. XXI, July, 1888, as follows:

"To briefly sum up the facts supporting amniotic nutrition:

"1st. The constant presence of nutritive substances in the amniotic
fluid during the whole period of gestation.

"2nd. The certainty of the absorption by a growing, almost skinless,
foetus of any nutritive material in which it is constantly bathed.

"3rd. The permeability of the digestive tract at an early period, and
the necessary entrance therein, according to the laws of hydrostatics,
of the albuminous amniotic fluid.

"4th. The presence of, as it seems to me, _bona fide_ debris of
digestion, or meconium, in the lower intestine.

"5th. The presence of urine in the bladder, and bile in the upper
intestine; their normal locations.

"6th. The mechanical difficulties opposing direct nutrition through the
placenta, and the impossibility of nourishment by this method during the
early stages of embryonic life previous to the formation of the placenta
or umbilical vesicle.

"7th. The evident material source of the fluid, as shown by the
hydrorrheas of pregnancy, as well as in the exhaustion the mother
experiences, in some cases, at least, under its loss and rapid

"8th. The entire absence during gestation of any trace of the placenta
in certain animals, notably the salamander."]

[Footnote 133: Oratio V, _In Matrem Deorum_.]

[Footnote 134: _De Defectu Oraculorum_, xxi.]

[Footnote 135: _Dictionary of Christian Antiquities_, art. "Four Rivers,

[Footnote 136: _The Homeric Cave of Nymphs_, [Greek: peri tou en
Odusseia Numphon antrou].]

[Footnote 137: [Greek: legousin ek petras gegennaesthai auton]--Just.
Mart. _Dial. cum. Tryph._]

[Footnote 138: _Cabiri_, ii, 363.]


Back to Full Books