“Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14
The book of James was one of the earliest written parts of the New Testament. Although references to healing with oil are sparse (yet abound in the Gnostic Gospels), the anointing oil plays an enormous role in Old and New Testaments, as there are 90 references. A complete list can be found here:
Yet, anointing with oil for the purpose of healing is only mentioned one other time in the New Testament.
“And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:13)
Paul prayed for the removal of a thorn (2Corinthians 12:7), gave a prescription to Timothy (1Timothy 5:23), kept the physician Luke close by (2Timothy 4:11). If the anointing oil had healing properties, why did Paul never use the oil nor refer to it even once?
Imagine yourself living at the time these events took place. A wonderful healing oil has been rediscovered by John the Baptist, and after John is killed, the Christian movement emerges. Suddenly, a Harry-J.-Anslinger-type appears and starts throwing all the leaders in prison and torturing them for more names.
The torturer’s name is Saul and he soon discovers he is dealing with a non-violent movement, something Rome is unfamiliar with. These people are easily rounded up and confess everything and have no weapons nor any desire to fight back except through words, and meekly accept whatever judgments are handed down.
But after most of the leaders are dead, Saul changes his name to Paul and becomes a Christian. Imagine Anslinger joining a jazz band and smoking reefer in public, and you might understand why I have difficulty accepting this conversion. He was, after all, the chief Inquisitioner for many years.
James the Just is how we called him, no finer son of Israel, cousin to John the Baptist, the most over-looked prophet and true founder of the Christian Church.
James was the first person I knew who renounced meat and shunned wine and all spirits.
James spent most of his time in the VIP tent inside the First Christian Church of Jerusalem. I never saw him anoint with oil, perhaps because that tent was filled with incense lamps burning the chrism and you felt the Power of the Lord the instant you went inside the flaps, although few were invited. I was one of the lucky few.
He never used bad words nor raised his voice in anger.
The high priests of the big temple were appointed by Rome. We didn’t recognize their authority, but since they could toss you in jail and chop off your head after a speedy and carefully-rigged tribunal, we avoided speaking badly of them in public.
One day the high priest and his chief-of-secret-police priest came to visit James in his tent, and showered him with flattery, and insisted he speak at the next high holy ceremony at the big temple for the benefit of the multitudes, as he was the most respected rabbi in Jerusalem.
But when James showed up at the next high holiday and was led up the parapet to address the multitudes from a great height, the chief-of-secret-police priest informs James he must renounce Jesus and declare himself the true messiah.
“I can’t do that,” said James. And he starts to denounce the chief-of-secret-police priest, and explain what is going on, when he is pushed off the parapet. He survived the fall, despite the great distance, so the priests began stoning him.
“Forgive them Sophia, they know not what they do.”
(Sophia is the first thought of the One and encompasses the Father and the Son, and is also known by the name “love.”)
Afterwards, the priests told the story James had declared himself the one true Christ and denounced Jesus, which they considered such a great sin, they had to kill him instantly.
Eusebius of Caesarea was the Bill O’Reilly of his day, an excellent writer and as accessible today as when he penned the first history of the Christian Church in 340, one full of misdirections and outright fabrications (for example, he claimed Moses used the words “Jesus Christ.”)
Eusebuius was a favorite of Emperor Constantine, and was given an important seat at the first council of Nicaea, which sought to standardize Christianity, possibly so it could withstand the onslaught of a hybrid religion known as Manichaeism, which was sweeping the world, and integrated Christian concepts with Buddhism and the teachings of Zoroaster as well as Moses.
The council of Nicaea sought to disparage the Christian Gnostics, who believed enlightenment came through knowledge, not through faith alone. Manichaeism was by far the largest gnostic religion. Following is a brief excerpt, focusing on the death of James the Just, who had allegedly been appointed by Jesus to lead a new movement after he was gone. Keep in mind the author is an apologist for the Roman empire, and playing a crucial role in moving Christianity from a religion for the poor preaching sobriety, non-violence and vegetarianism, to a fully sanctioned religion for the imperial state. As Christianity evolved, James was quietly disappeared to make room for Peter and Paul.
It is my purpose to write an account of the successions of the holy apostles, as well as the times which have elapsed from the days of our Savior to own own, and to relate the many important events which are said to have occurred in the history of the Church. It is beyond my power to produce a perfect and complete history, and since I am the first to enter upon the subject, I am attempting to traverse as it were, a lonely and untrodden path.
The life of the ancients was not of such a kind as to permit them to receive the all-wise and all-virtuous teaching of Christ. The first man despised the command of God, and exchanged his former divinely inspired luxury for this curse-laden earth.
With thought neither of city nor state, nor arts nor sciences, they were ignorant even of the name of law and of justice, of virtue and philosophy. As nomads, they passed their lives in the wilderness, like wild and fierce beasts, destroying, by an excess of voluntary wickedness, the natural reason of man, and the seeds of thought and culture implanted in the human soul. They gave themselves wholly over to all variety of profanity, now seducing one another, now slaying one another, now eating human flesh, and now daring to wage war with the Gods, and undertake those battles of the giants celebrated by all; now planning to fortify earth against heaven, and in the madness of ungoverned pride to prepare an attack upon the very God of all.
On account of these things, the all-seeing God sent down upon them floods and conflagrations as upon a wild forest spread over the whole earth. He cut them down with continuous famines and plagues, with wars, and with thunderbolts from heaven, as if to check some terrible and obstinate disease of the souls with increasingly severe punishments.
He imparted to them through the prophet Moses, as to the multitudes still corrupted by their ancient practices, images and symbols of a certain mystic Sabbath, and of circumcision, and elements of other spiritual practices, but he did not grant them a complete knowledge of the mysteries.
Moses was first to make known the name of Christ as something especially august and glorious. The name Jesus had never been uttered among men before the time of Moses, he applied it first. Thus Moses bestowed the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, as a mark of the highest honor, upon the two men who in his time surpassed all the rest of the people in virtue and glory; namely, upon the high priest and upon his own successor in the government.
And not only those who were honored with the high priesthood, and who for the sake of the symbol were anointed with especially prepared oil, were adorned with the name of Christ among the Hebrews, but also the kings whom the prophets anointed under the influence of the divine Spirit, and thus constituted, as it were, typical Christs.
And we have been told also that certain of the prophets themselves became, by the act of anointing, Christs themselves, so that all they have a direct connection to the true Christ, the divinely inspired and heavenly Word, who is the only high priest of all, and the only King of every creature, and the Father’s only supreme prophet of prophets. It was in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus and the twenty-eighth year after the subjugation of Egypt and the death of Antony and Cleopatra, which whom the dynasty of the Ptolemies in Egypt came to an end, that our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, according to the prophesies which had been uttered concerning him. His birth took place during the first census, while Cyrenius was governor of Syria. Falvious Josephus, the most celebrated of Hebrew historians, mentions this census.
The same writer shows that Herod was the first that locked up the sacred garment of the high priest under his own seal and refused to permit the high priests to keep it for themselves. The same course was followed by Archelaus after him, and after Archelaus by the Romans. It was in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, according to the evangelist, and in the fourth year of the governorship of Pontius Pilate, while Herod and Lysanias and Philip were ruling the rest of Judea, that our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ of God, being about thirty years of age, came to John for baptism and began the promulgation of the Gospel. Since he began his work during the high priesthood of Annas and taught until Caiasphas held office, the entire time does not comprise quite four years.
Our Savior and Lord, not long after the beginning of his ministry, called the twelve apostles, and these alone of all his disciples he named apostles, as an especial honor. And again he appointed seventy others whom he sent out two by two into every place and city whither he himself was about to come.
Herod feared John the Baptist’s great influence might lead to some sedition, for they appeared ready to do whatever he might advise. He therefore considered it much better, before any new thing should be done under John’s influence, to anticipate it by slaying him, than to repent after revolution had come, after he was in the midst of difficulties. On account of Herod’s suspicions, John was sent in bonds to the citadel of Mach’ra, and there slain.
James, whom the ancients surnamed the Just on account of the excellence of his virtue, is recorded to have been the first to be made bishop of the church of Jerusalem. This James was called the brother of the Lord because he was known as a son of Joseph, and Joseph was supposed to be the father of Christ, because the Virgin, being betrothed to him, “was found with child by the Holy Ghost before they came together,” as the account of the holy Gospels shows.
But Clement is the sixth book of his Hypotyposes writes thus: “For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Savior, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just bishop of Jerusalem.”
But the same writer, in the seventh book of the same work, relates also the following: “The Lord after his resurrection imparted knowledge to James the Just and to John and Peter, and they imparted it to the rest of the apostles, and the rest of the apostles to the seventy, of whom Barnabas was one. But there were two Jameses: one called the Just, who was thrown from a pinnacle of the temple and beaten to death with a club by a fuller, and another who was beheaded.” Paul also makes mention of the same James the Just, where he writes, “Other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.”
During this time Paul was still persecuting the church, and entering the houses of believers was dragging men and women away and committing them to prison.
Herod the King stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. Clement, in the seventh book of his Hypotyposes, relates a story which is worthy of mention; telling, as he received it from those who had lived before him. He says the one who informed against James, when while witnessing his speech in self-defense, was moved, and confessed he was himself also a Christian.
They were both therefore, he says, led away together; and on the way he begged James to forgive him. And he, after considering a little, said, “Peace be with thee,” and kissed him. And thus they were both beheaded at the same time.
And then, as the divine Scripture says, Herod, upon the death of James, seeing that the deed pleased the Jews, attacked Peter also and committed him to prison, and would have slain him if he had not, by the divine appearance of an angel who came to him by night, been wonderfully released from his bonds, and thus liberated for the service of the Gospel. Such was the providence of God in respect to Peter. Peter fled and made a great journey across the sea from the East to the West, thinking that only thus could he live according to his mind. And coming to the city of Rome, by the mighty cooperation of that power which was lying in wait there, he was in short time so successful in his undertaking that those who dwelt there honored him as a god by the erection of a statue.
But after Paul, in consequence of his appeal to C’sar, had been sent to Rome by Festus, the Jews, being frustrated in their hopes of entrapping him by the snares which they had laid for him, turned against James, the brother of the Lord, to whom the episcopal seat at Jerusalem had been entrusted by the apostles. The following daring measures were taken by them against him. Leading him into their midst they demanded of him that he should renounce faith in Christ in the presence of the people. But, contrary to the opinion of all, with a clear voice, and with greater boldness than they had anticipated, he spoke out before the whole multitude and confessed that our Savior and Lord Jesus is the Son of God. But they were unable to bear longer the testimony of the man who, on account of the excellence of ascetic virtue and of piety which he exhibited in his life, was esteemed by all as the most just of men, and consequently they slew him.
Opportunity for this deed was caused by the fact the Festus had died just at this time in Judea, and that province was thus without a governor and head. The manner of James’ death has been already indicated by the above-quoted words of Clement, who records that he was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple, and was beaten to death with a club. But Hegesippus, who lived immediately after the apostles, gives the most accurate account in the fifth book of his Memoirs. He writes as follows: “James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles. He has been called the Just by all from the time of our Savior to the present day; for there were many that bore the name of James. He was holy from his mother’s womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, and he did not use the bath. He alone was permitted to enter into the holy place; for he wore not woolen but linen garments. And he was in the habit of entering alone into the temple, and was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the people, so that his knees became hard like those of a camel, in consequence of his constantly bending them in worship of God, and asking forgiveness for the people.”
There was a commotion among the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees, who said there was a danger that the whole people would be looking for Jesus as the Christ. Do thou therefore persuade the multitude not to be led astray concerning Jesus. “Stand therefore upon the pinnacle of the temple, that from that high position thou mayest be clearly seen, and that thy words may be readily heard by all the people.” And James said with a loud voice, “Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He himself sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds in heaven.” These same Scribes and Pharisees said, “We have done badly in supplying such testimony to Jesus. But let us go throw him down, in order that they may be afraid to believe him.” So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to each other, “Let us stone James the Just, for he was not killed by the fall.” But he turned and knelt down and said, “I entreat thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And while they were thus stoning him one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, the son of the Rechabites, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying “Cease, what do ye? The just one prayeth for you.”
And one of them, who was a fuller, took a club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom. These things are related at length by Hegesippus, who is in agreement with Clement. James was so admirable a man and so celebrated among all for his justice, that the more sensible even of the Jews were of the opinion that this was the cause of the siege of Jerusalem, which happened immediately after his martyrdom for no other reason than their daring acts against him. Josephus, at least, has not hesitated to testify this in his writings, where he says, “These things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus, that is called Christ. For the Jews slew him, although he was a most just man.”
Saint Augustine became the Roman-appointed Bishop of Algeria around the year 387. He remains one of the most influential figures in the development of the Roman Catholic Church, and left over five million words in print. Since Augustine was raised on the classics and converted to Manichaeism after his education, I was interested in translating some his autobiography into modern English. I found his writings tainted by propaganda, and his philosophy a regression from some Gnostics that preceded, but highly readable once you remove the clouds of dogma and boil the narrative down to its essence.
In my youth, I hated school, and I hated the fact school was forced on me. I would not study unless forced, otherwise I would never have become educated. No one does well when forced, even if the intentions are good. My teachers didn’t care what I did with this knowledge they were imparting, except to fulfill our earthly desires. Every addiction is its own punishment.
Why did I hate Greek and love Latin? The Greek lessons were boring, yet, I confess I still read and write in Greek thanks to those lessons. I was forced to learn about the wanderings of Aeneas, and I wept over Dido’s love-stricken suicide. I wept when I read, “seeking by the sword a stroke and wound extreme.” I was seeking a worse extreme, as I was seeking one night stands at the time. It is madness to believe satiating earthly desires leads to a higher form of enlightenment, but some believe that.
Why did I hate Greek, and why was Homer so bitter to my boyish taste? Latin was easy, but Greek was a bitch.
I told many lies to my tutor, my masters, my parents, just for the fun of lying. I stole from my parent’s cellar and table, just to win favor with other boys. I cheated for advancement. I picked fights and sought arguments. Sins such as this are transferred from tutors and masters, from nuts and balls and sparrows, to magistrates and kings, to gold and manors and slaves, just as the whip displaces the cane.
But even then, I lived and felt in my heart some small trace of that mysterious Unity from whence I came. I learned to delight in truth and hated deception. I had an excellent memory, was gifted with speech, soothed by friendship, and avoided ignorance.
But I will now call to mind my past foulness, and the carnal corruption of my soul. What was it I desired but to love and be loved? But love overtook me and this was not the love of mind and friendship because I had lost the clear brightness of love in a fog of lustfulness.
Thanks to my parent’s wealth, when I turned 16, I took a year off from school, and was living at home. One day my father caught me at the baths and saw me in action at my wildest. He told my mother and she grew worried. Yes, I walked on the wild side and wallowed in the mire therein, as if it were a bed of spices and precious ointments.
I stole for the love of stealing, not caring what I stole. There was a pear tree near our vineyard laden with unripe fruit. Late one night we took huge loads, not even for eating but just to fling to the pigs.
I went to Carthage, which is where I got involved with theater, especially tragedies. What is this miserable madness, desiring to be made sad while beholding tragical things one would likely never suffer? For nine years, from my 19th year until my 28th, I was seduced and seducing, deceived and deceiving, by the sciences that they call liberal, here proud, there superstitious, but everywhere arrogant. Hunting the emptiness of fame, the follies of applause, the intemperance of desires.
I carried food to the priests, that they might forge us Angels and Gods, by whom we might be cleansed.
In those years, I taught rhetoric. When I was entering to win a theatrical prize, some wizard asked me what I would pay to win. “Though the garland be of imperishable gold, I will not suffer a fly be killed for me to gain it,” was my retort. This wizard wanted to make a sacrifice of something living, that he might invite devils to favor me.
Those impostors they call Mathematicians, I consulted them without scruple. They did not employ sacrifices nor pray to divinations, as they had no use for either. Any and all wholesome advice they always labored to destroy, blaming every issue on Mars did this, or Saturn did that, or Venus is in retrograde.
In my 29th year, there came to Carthage a certain Bishop of the Manichees, Faustus by name, a great snare of the devil, and many were entangled by him, through the lure of his smooth tongue, and widespread recognition of his wisdom. He was skilled in the liberal sciences and could tell you when an eclipse was going to happen, and his calculations were always correct, but Faustus didn’t know anything about Thy Word, by Whom Thou madest these things which are numbered, or that of Thy wisdom there is no number.
Anyone with two ears, better listen!
It has been said Jesus was born of a virgin and three Wise Men attended his birth in Bethlehem. These are representations and not to be taken literally. The Wise Men are the three prophets: Moses, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, but also the three brightest stars in the winter sky, known as the String of Pearls in the East and Orion’s Belt in the West. But even those stars are representations for the Kings of the Healing Plants: Cannabis, Frankincense and Myrrh. Did you know there are 7 stars of Orion, and the other four represent Rose, Jasmine, Lavender and Poppies? These are the real secrets nobody is talking about. Our movement learned to distill the essences of these plants, and we used different combinations mixed in olive oil to achieve all our medical miracles, including healing the blind and the lame.
After Jesus passed from the visible realms, James wanted to share the wisdom of the healing flowers, but there was a schism in our movement, and James and his followers did not survive, but died savagely one-by-one. The ones that survived flipped the script, and have disappeared the chrism, while transferring the ancient myths of Apollo and Dionysus onto the life of Jesus. They are constructing a personality cult around him. Jesus was a great prophet, the Moses of his time, but he did not create our movement, which was manifested by Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, who taught John the wisdom of the sacred flowers.
After John took up residence on the far side of the Jordan River and manifested a gathering that never stopped, he began his Baptisms. But there were five stages in his ritual, and Baptism just the first, and intended to wash off dogma and preconceptions so you could accept the vision all great religions are the same, and none have a monopoly on the truth, but if you unite them all through love, which was our representation for Sophia, the first Thought of the One, you will bring peace upon the earth. This revelation was the foundation of our movement and probably came into many minds at the same time. We do not worship idols, but ridicule idolatry. When we pray, it is to Sun or Moon or Stars or one of the five planets, although we use these as representations for all manifestations of the One. Jesus prayed to the moon as Sophia, the first thought of the One, mother of the Father and the Sun, and prayed to the Sun as the Father, as well as the path of souls departing the visible realm. Jesus on the cross has become an idol, something he would have detested, and worse, they sell these idols for profit and place them upon every altar in every temple by the use of force.
Anyone with two ears, better listen!
When you pray to Jesus, you should pray to the sun or the moon, because Sophia is the mother of all. Why are they so busy removing all traces of the First Thought of the One from their gospels? And why is our peace movement suddenly being used to foment wars of conquest?
For centuries cannabis’ complex relationship with the early days of Hinduism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judism, Christianity, and Islam has been shrouded in mystery. This story starts on the banks of the Dnieper River, near the world’s shallowest sea, (the Sea of Azov) in the Ukraine, around 4,000 BC. Recent evidence suggests that it was here that the horse was first domesticated, and it is here that cannabis spirituality emerges from pre-history, for there is a possible connection between the first riders and the early use of hemp to make rope. Today, this culture is known as “Sredny Stog,” after the Ukrainian village near where some of the best artifacts have been uncovered.
In fact, early use of the horse may be the primary reason why cannabis spread out of Russia and through Europe, the Middle East, China and India, writes Chris Bennett in Cannabis and the Soma Solutions. “With the spread of cannabis, came a religious cosmology often based around the plant itself. The late Archaeologist Andrew Sherratt referred to the discovery of a 5,500 year old smoking-cup which may be the oldest existing evidence of the use of cannabis for its psychoactive properties.”
Over a few thousand years, the Sredny Stog culture evolved into the “Sakas” or “Scythians,” named after an agricultural tool likely invented for hemp harvesting. Thanks to a Greek historian writing in 430 BC, they have gone down in history as the world’s first documented stoners.
“Hemp grows in Scythia,” wrote Herodotus. “It is very like flax; only that it is a much coarser and taller plant… The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed, and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy…”
Although hemp intoxication may have started with flowering tops being thrown on open fires and eventually burned indoors in pottery braziers and metal censers, at some point it evolved into a beverage. “Sherratt was the first to suggest the cannabis-burning braziers eventually went to the way side,” says Bennett, “replaced by a beverage, although he believes that cannabis use continued through this cultural shift. The disappearance of ceramic braziers was followed by the appearance of pottery drinking vessels ornamented with impressions of twisted cord.” Some researchers believe the hemp-like decoration suggests these drinking vessels contained a cannabis-infused drink.
It now appears likely that a cannabis and milk beverage first used in Russia and Europe, spread all the way to China and then returned via India and Afghanistan as a worshipped deity. This beverage set off waves of religious fervor in China, India and the Middle East, where it was known respectively as soma, huma and hoama, before being prohibited by both Catholics and Buddhists. And eventually the identity of the original sacrament of some of the world’s major religions would become so muddied that, until recently, its very identity remained in doubt.
According to Ethnobotanist Christian Ratsch, the ancient pagan culture of Germany honored the Goddess Freya through cannabis: “It was believed that Freya lived as a fertile force in the plant’s feminine flowers and by ingesting them one became influenced by this divine force.” These traditions would have been handed down directly from the Sakas, whose extensive trade routes once stretched from Germany in the West, to China in the East, to Egypt in the South. Had they ever unified, they would have been a dominating empire; instead they remained clustered in nomadic tribes. And little is known for sure because they never developed a written language beyond runes.
Since it’s now indisputable that some of our most respected spiritual traditions once considered cannabis a central part of their culture, continued research will be required to understand how and why all knowledge of the plant’s contributions to the evolution of religion seem to have been systematically hidden or ignored through history.
THE HORSE PEOPLE
Considering they laid down a cultural foundation still evident in myths and rituals today, it’s amazing how obscure the Sakas are to most of their descendants on the planet. In their day, Sakas were immediately recognizable by their distinctive pointed caps, the sort of gear later associated with witches. In Europe, their immediate descendants became known as Goths, Saxons and Juts. Sakas wore a lot of gold, most of which was fashioned into ornate jewelry and armor embellished with fantastic animal motifs, including griffins and other mythical creatures. These images were also tattooed on their arms and shoulders, and some of it bears an eerie resemblance to psychedelic imagery of the Sixties counterculture.
The Sakas were formidable warriors and one of the few cultures that allowed women to fight alongside men. But when not at war, they were famous for being law-abiding and civil. They wore trousers and drank an early version of bhang in ceremonial cups, some of which were fashioned from the skulls of their enemies. Their highly regarded shamans were called “enarees,” which translates as “men-women” or “halfmen.” The enarees spoke with high-pitched voices, wore women’s clothes, and employed cannabis as part of their magical rituals.
The first recorded encounter with the Sakas occured when the Persian King Darius invaded their lands in 514 BC. Since they built no cities or temples, and lived in covered wagons pulled by oxen, the Sakas simply withdrew as a Persian army of 700,000 advanced into their territory. Darius repeatedly tried to force battle but the Sakas just kept withdrawing. Finally, Darius sent an envoy to the Saka chief and received the following message: “There is nothing new or strange in what we do. We follow our mode of life in peaceful times. We have neither towns nor cultivated lands in these parts which might induce us, through fear of their being ravaged, to be in any hurry to fight you. But if you must needs come to blows with us speedily, look about you, and behold our fathers’ tombs. Attempt to meddle with them and you shall see whether or not we will fight with you.” Eventually, Darius was forced to retreat back to Persia, at which point the Sakas turned around and dogged his every step back home. Darius would never dare invade the Russian steppes again.
There are amazing parallels between the Sakas and the American West. When threatened, they would arrange their four and six-wheeled mobile homes into large circles. They took scalps in battle and hung these grisly souvenirs from their bridles to display their prowess. They had no stirrups but were famous for being able to shoot arrows in rapid fire while riding horseback, a technique that involves holding several arrows with one hand and shooting off the outside of your thumb. They built teepees and used these primarily as cannabis inhalation tents. Unlike the Greeks and Romans, who established vast pantheons of Gods and Goddesses, the Sakas recognized only the sacred energies of earth, sky, sun, moon, fire, water, peace and war. One can only imagine the impact one of their wagon-trains might have had upon arriving at communities unfamiliar with horses, wagons or psychedelic tattoos.
CELTS IN CHINA
Cannabis had a major impact on the development of religion and medicine in China. The ancient Chinese glyph for cannabis is the primordial “Ma,” symbolized in writing by two plants hanging upside down (as if being dried for intoxicating purposes).
Shen Nong was Emperor of China nearly 5,000 years ago. Today, he is venerated as the founder of Chinese agriculture and traditional Chinese medicine. His name translates as the Emperor of the Five Grains. He is believed to have introduced the technique of acupuncture and was the first person in recorded history to scientifically study herbs for medicinal qualities. He also was reportedly the first person to brew tea. Shen Nong classified cannabis as one of the “Superior Elixirs of Immortality” and recommended “chu-ma” (female cannabis) for absentmindedness, constipation, malaria, beri-beri, rheumatism and menstrual cramps.
Two thousand years after the reign of Shen Nong, Taoists in China created the first modern pharmacopoeia. Tao Hongjing re-organized the “Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing,” adding 365 herbs, which brought the total number of known medicines to 730. Interest in medicine was closely guarded by the Taoists, who at time were associated with the highest levels of government and royalty. According to historian Joseph Needham, Yang Hsi attributed the founding of the first major Taoist center to a cannabis-based vision. And in the sixth century, Taoist Wu Shang Pi Yao, recomended two types of cannabis be burned in the ceremonial incense braziers called boshanlus. One branch of Taoism, the Mao Shan, or “Supreme Clarity,” elevated cannabis into a Goddess known as “Ma Ku” or “Miss Hemp.” Miss Hemp was depicted as a beautiful young woman with bird’s claws in place of feet.
However, theories about the origins of hemp intoxication in China are currently being revised because hundreds of caucasian mummies from the Bronze Age have been discovered along the ancient silk road in the Taklamakan Desert in Western China. Some mummies were dressed in Celtic-style Tartan cloth nearly identical to clothing in use in Austria over 3,000 years ago. One of the women was wearing a conical hat, the distinctive emblem of the Sakas. “Archaeologists found a sack of marijuana leaves buried alongside one mummy,” writes Bennett, in reference to a find of two pounds of 2,700 year old female cannabis flowers, “as well as a mortar and pestle that was used for grinding the plant matter.” The mortar and pestle would indicate a soma-like beverage may have been consumed by Sakas in Western China who are believed to have lived there since 1800 BC.
THE RIG VEDA
The Rig Veda is one of the oldest religious documents in the world, the old testament of both Hinduism and Buddhism. And there is a central sacrament in the Rig Veda: soma, which is referred to as “the king of the healing plants.” Many researchers throughout history have suggested the obvious: soma is bhang, an intoxicating beverage still widely used in India today, especially at ceremonies honoring Shiva. However, in the 1960s, an amateur historian named R. Gordon Wasson became the first to theorize soma was actually the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Before he retired in 1963, Wasson had been a Vice President at J.P. Morgan, one of the world’s most powerful international banks. His contacts in the publishing world were extensive, and despite having a poor understanding of Sanskrit, Wasson was able to convince many Western historians to accept his mushroom theory. However, Bennett shows without a doubt that Wasson’s theory was seriously flawed. In fact, the Rig Veda clearly describes soma as a greenish-gold plant, not a mushroom. Today, in India, one finds the world’s largest spiritual event, the Kumbeh Mela, which happens every three years. While smoking cannabis and drinking of bhang is widespread in India and at Kumbeh Mela, mushroom use is rare. It is difficult to understand why Wasson and other Western researchers on Vedic culture seem to have had such an intense aversion to recognizing the central role of cannabis in the Rig Veda.
After the Dead Sea Scolls were discovered, they were kept hidden for years and one of the few allowed to see the scrolls would release a book claiming Jesus as a mushroom. Were these attempts to lead people astray from the Christian connection to cannabis?
THE BMAC TEMPLES
Located in the Kara Kum desert in Turkmenistan, near where cannabis is believed to have originated, lies the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, a recently-discovered, football-field-sized temple devoted to the drinking of soma. Dated at 2000 BC, it is the oldest and most elaborate temple devoted to the most influential pre-Biblical sacrament in world history. After remains of cannabis, ephedra, and poppies were discovered in vessels used to prepare the ceremonial drink, Wasson’s forty-year-old mushroom theory should have been forever laid to rest. Unfortunately, the ramifications of these recent findings at Kara Kum have not yet fully penetrated the mainstream, but these discoveries continue to support the hypothesis that a cannabis cult exploded out of the Hindu Kush and spread east to India and west to Iran, sparking cannabis-based religious cultures to blossom in both areas.
Zoroastrianism was the world’s most powerful religion between 500 BC to 650 AC. It had a major influence on the development of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other religious faiths. According to historian Mary Boyce, “It has had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith.” Think of Zoroastrianism as the Old Testament of the Old Testament. The Magi who attend the birth of Christ are Zoroastrian Priests. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a central sacrament in Zoroastrian culture, a milk-based intoxicant called haoma. And, according to the Avesta (the Zoroastrian bible), haoma is a tall, fragrant, greenish-gold plant with leaves, stems and fiber, that grows like a weed, heals, and stimulates awareness and sensuality without negative side effects. Later Zoroastrian literature also makes mention of mang, an intoxicating drink long assumed to be the Iranian versions of bhang. Bennett theorizes that the prophet Zarathustra made changes in the official haoma recipe after its use became too widespread. This theory is based on the fact that although haoma appears as a central part of the Avesta, it does not appear in later official text. In fact, over the years many attempts seem to have been made to muddy the waters on haoma’s original identity, which is undoubtedly cannabis-based and related to the Indian soma. Such a change in the haoma recipe is supported by the findings at Kara Kum, where cannabis seems to have been eventually replaced by ephedra and, in some cases, possibly the addition of poppies. Today, most mainstream Zoroastrians recognize only ephedra as being part of the haoma ceremony, just as some renegade sects have always recognized only cannabis.
CHRISTIANS AND JEWS
In February, 2003, Bennett published an article in HIGH TIMES, “Was Jesus a Stoner?” This article looked at evidence of cannabis use as revealed in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Jesus portrayed in these scrolls is a much different figure than the one that described in the Bible of the Catholic Church. Bennett concluded Jesus had been anointed with a sacred oil by John the Baptist and the recipe for this oil could still be found in Exodus 30:23. In Exodus, Moses is instructed by the voice of God—emanating from a burning bush—to mix an oil of myrrh, cinnamon and six pounds of cannabis (“250 shekels of keneh bosem”) mixed into about a gallon and a half of olive oil. “The Greek title ‘Christ’ is the translation of the Jewish term ‘Messiah,'” says Bennett, “which in English becomes ‘the anointed one’ and makes specific reference to the cannabis-based oil described in Exodus. In fact, there is evidence that many of the so-called miracles performed by Jesus and his followers were accounts of actual medical applications of this topical oil.”
According to Bennett, the sacred anointing oil had fallen into disrepute with the Jewish priesthood during the time of Jeremiah, and was not revived until the emergence of John the Baptist. In the hundred years following Jesus’ execution, dozens of Christian sects appeared, many of which were Gnostic, which means they placed an emphasis on knowledge rather than faith. Many Gnostics were also involved with sacramental drug use involving cannabis and mushrooms. This trend peaked with the rapid spread of Manichaeism, a synthesis of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Christianity that eventually became intensely persecuted by all three religions.
Bennett’s theories on the use of cannabis in the Bible received a major boost when one of the foremost scholars in the field, Carl P. Ruck, professor of classical mythology at Boston University, was interviewed by the London Sunday Times agreeing with Bennett. Ruck is most famous for being part of the team that coined the term “entheogen.” “There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion,” said Ruck. “There is no way that so important a plant as a fiber source for textiles and nutritive oils and one so easy to grow would have gone unnoticed…the mere harvesting of it would have induced an entheogenic reaction.”
The Shabuhragan (which means book of Shapur) was the bible of the Manichaean religion and written by Mani (left) sometime between the years 210 and 276. The book was dedicated to King Shapur I, who ruled the Sassanid Persian Empire. This religion was a synthesis of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism, and it became a dominant religion of the world for a brief time, and lasted in pockets into the 12th century. All copies were destroyed, although a few fragments have been uncovered in modern times.
“If by the mercy of the Gods I can heal this sick girl, then I ask you to turn away from the Christian religion and follow the lord Mani,” said Garbyab. But then he spoke to the Christians: “Christ was a miracle-working lord, who healed the blind and the lame, and also brought the dead back to life, and it is a rule that the son has the genes of his father, and the student modeled after his Rabbi. Jesus Christ said, ‘Where you place your own hand, there shall I improve with my divine hand.’ So if you truly are disciples of Christ, you can heal my daughter of her illness.”
But the Christians were not able to heal her. So on the 14th, Garbryab prayed to Jesus during the full moon: “You are a great lord and waker of the dead. Help me heal this girl so your divinity will be known to all.”
And he immediately asked for oil and water. Blessing it with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, he rubbed the oil and applied the water. And suddenly, on the spot where he had rubbed, the girl was pure from that impure disease. And the whole night Garbryab and his friends sang hymns until the sun rose. And Garbyab stood before the glorious sun and said, “You are the bright eye of the world, as well as the path for all souls. Unworthy and unhappy are those who do not believe in you, and have turned their eyes away from your glory. Help me, oh great God of Light, and by our hands grant this girl life so she may know goodness, and also the souls for whom deliverance is prepared, might reach a new avenue to the land of escape!”
And he asked for oil and water, blessed it, and told her to rub it in and to also ingest some. And instantly, on the spot, she became healed of the sickness, whole and without defect, and her body stood as if it had never known illness.
Written sometime between the years 150 and 200, The Testimony of Truth is part of the Nag Hammadi library, discovered in Egypt in 1945. The text is famous for questioning whether martyrs are guaranteed salvation, while supporting the Gnostic view the Tree of Knowledge involved enlightenment, not spiritual bondage. The writer is keen to point out contradictory issues in early Christian thought, and also supports the view of some Gnostics that enlightenment comes through conquering desire and attachments. Julius Cassianus is the suspected author.
Listen with the ears of your mind, not the ears of your body. Many have sought the truth and not found it because their minds were infected by kernels of yeast planted by the Pharisees and scribes of the Law, and they represent false desires of angels, demons and stars. The scribes belong to the first spirits. They have no authority over angels.
No one who follows their Law will know truth, for no one can serve two masters.
Their Law commands husband and wife to beget and multiply like the sand of the sea. But passion, which is a delight to them, binds the spirit and many defile or are defiled in order that their Law might be fulfilled. And they turn away from the light and are unable to pass by the angel of darkness until paying the last penny.
But the Son of Man rose out from Imperishability, and so was completely alien to defilement. He came to the world by the Jordan River, and immediately the Jordan turned back. And John bore witness to the descent of Jesus. For it is he who saw the power of the Jordan River. For he knew that the time of carnal desire had come to an end. The Jordan River is the power of the body, that is, the senses of pleasure. The water of the Jordan represents carnal desire. John is the first angel of the womb.
And this is what the Son of Man revealed to us. It is fitting to receive the word of truth, if one will receive it perfectly. But as for one who is in ignorance, it is difficult for him to diminish works of darkness. Those who have known Imperishability, however, have been able to win the struggle against passion. I have said to you, “Don’t hang with gangsters, but bring forth fruit to the Father.”
The foolish believe if they confess, “We are Christians” in word only, not with power, while giving themselves over to ignorance, not knowing where they are going or who Christ really is, thinking that they will live, when they are marching to the beat of the authorities. They fall into evil clutches because of their ignorance. They do not know they will destroy themselves.
For the Son of Man clothed himself with their first fruits. He went down to the underworld and performed many miracles. He also raised the dead. And the sorcerers got jealous, for they found no sin in him. And he thwarted their bad energy when the lame, the blind, the paralyzed, the dumb, and the possessed were all healed.
The disciples boarded a ship and witnessed Jesus walking on the sea. These are empty martyrs, since they bear witness only to themselves. They are sick, and not able to raise themselves. But through their executions they have become “perfected” as martyrs. They believe if they are killed in the name of Christ, they will be saved. But these matters are not settled in this way. They are wandering stars following a futile course if they do not possess the secret.
And some say, “On the last day we will certainly rise in the resurrection.” But they do not know what they are saying, for the last day is when those belonging to Christ destroy the angels of darkness. Those who know the secret will know the Son of Man. This is real enlightenment, that man know himself by means of the All.
Do not expect, therefore, a carnal celebration resurrection. That’s an empty, mistaken interpretation of the resurrection, which is actually more about destruction. Those who don’t know the secrets will die. They do not understand the Son of Man is coming. Those who receive him with honesty and power and wisdom are the ones he will grant eternal life.
It is ignorant to say; “God created a penis and vagina so we could enjoy ourselves.” And some even compel God to participate in their sexual activities. These people will not reach enlightenment.
Like Isaiah, who was sawed with a saw, and became two, so also the Son of Man divides us by the word of the cross, which divides day from night, light from dark, corruptible from incorruptibile, male from female. But Isaiah is the body and the saw is the word of the Son of Man, which separates angels and demons.
No one knows the God of truth except solely the man who forsakes all attachments, having renounced all and grasped the fringe of his garment. He gains power by conquering desire. How many powers does he have? And who is the one who has bound him? And who is the one who will unleash him? And what is the light? And what is the dark? And who is the one who created the earth? And who is God? And who are the angels? And what is soul? And what is spirit? And where is the voice? And who speaks? And who hears? Who dispenses pain? And who receives pain? And who hath begotten corruptible flesh? And who rules by right? And why are some lame, some blind, some rich, some poor? And why are some powerless, while gangsters abound?
He gave command to himself, began to know himself and speak with his mind, the father of truth, concerning the unknown realms, and concerning the virgin who brought forth the light. And he thinks about the power which flowed over the realm, and which takes hold of him. And he is a disciple of his mind, which is male. He began to keep silent within himself until the day when he should become worthy to be received in heaven. He rejects mindless babbling and disputations, and endures everything, including the evil. And he is patient with every one, makes himself equal to every one, and separates himself from them. And that which someone wants, he brings to them, in order that he might become holy. He was filled with wisdom and bore witness to the truth, the power, and went into Imperishability, the place whence he came forth, having left the world, which has the appearance of the night, and those that whirl the stars in it. This, therefore, is the true testimony: When man comes to know himself and God, who is over all truth, he will be saved, and will crown himself with a crown that cannot fade.
John was begotten by the World through a woman, Elizabeth, and Christ was begotten by the world through a virgin, Mary. What is the meaning of this mystery? John was begotten by means of a womb worn with age, but Christ passed through a virgin’s womb. When she had conceived, she gave birth to the Savior. Furthermore, she was found to be a virgin again. Why, then don’t you investigate the meaning of these mysteries?
It is written in the Law when God gave a command to Adam, “From every tree you may eat, but from the tree which is in the midst of Paradise. Do not eat, for on the day that you eat from it, you will surely die.” But the serpent was wiser than all the animals in Paradise, and persuaded Eve, saying, “On the day when you eat from the tree in the midst of Paradise, the eyes of your mind will be opened.” And Eve obeyed, and she stretched forth her hand; she took from the tree and ate, and she also gave some to her husband. And immediately they felt naked, and took fig leaves to cover their privates.
But God came at the time of evening, walking in the midst of Paradise. When Adam saw him, he hid. And he said, “Adam, where are you?” Adam answered, “I’m under this fig tree.” And at that moment, God knew Adam had eaten from the tree which he hath commanded him not to, and he said to Adam, “Who hath instructed you?” And Adam answered, “That woman you gave me.” And Eve said, “The serpent instructed me.” And God cursed the serpent, and called him devil. And he said, “Behold, Adam has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” Then he said, “Let us cast Adam out of Paradise, lest he take from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
But what sort of God is this? First he maliciously refuses Adam from eating the tree of knowledge, and then says, “Adam, where are you?” Does not God know everything? Would he not know where Adam was hiding, and what had already happened? And afterwards, God said, “Let us cast him out of this place, lest he eat of the tree of life and live forever.” Surely, this is an act of an evil God! For great is the blindness of those who read, and they did not know him. And he said, “I am the jealous God. I will bring the sins of the fathers upon the children until three or four generations.” And he said, “I will make their hearts sore, and cause their minds to close down, that they might not comprehend the things that are said.” These things he has said to those who believe in him and serve him!
And in one place, Moses writes, “He made the devil a serpent for those whom he has in his generation.” Also, in Exodus, it is written: “He contended against the sorcerers, when the place was full of serpents according to their wickedness; and Moses’ rod became a serpent, and it swallowed the serpents of the sorcerers.”
There are some, who upon entering the faith, receive a baptism believing they are receiving hope of salvation, which they call the “seal,” not knowing if the fathers of the world are manifest in that place. But he himself knows what is sealed. For the Son of Man did not baptize any of his disciples. But the baptism of truth is something else. It is found by renunciation of the world. But if you renounce in word only and not in deed, you are deceiving, and will enter a place of fear. Moreover, you will be humbled within that place. Just as those to whom it was given to have been condemned, they shall get something!
They are wicked in their behavior! Those who worship idols. Others have demons dwelling with them, as did David the king. He is the one who laid the foundation of Jerusalem; and his son Solomon, whom he begat in adultery, is the one who built Jerusalem by means of the demons, because he received their power. When he had finished building, he imprisoned the demons in the temple. He placed them into seven jugs. They remained a long time in the jugs, abandoned there. When the Romans came to Jerusalem, they discovered the jugs, and immediately the demons escaped from their prison. And the jugs remained pure thereafter. And since those days, they dwell with men who are in ignorance, and they have remained upon the earth.
Who, then, is David? And who is Solomon? And what is the foundation? And what is the wall that surrounds Jerusalem? And who are the demons? And what are the jugs? And who are the Romans? But these are the mysteries.
The Sophia of Jesus Christ is a Gnostic text from the Nag Hammadi codices, found in Egypt in 1945. It has been dated to the 4th century, although parts originated much earlier in the 3rd century. The text is composed of 13 questions in the Greek style. The questions concern the nature of reality and man’s place in it. I present my own loose translation of the first seven. This gospel demonstrates the importance of the female element in Christian theology. Sophia was the name of the primordial female energy that manifested through the mind of the One. In fact, Sophia was the first thought of the One, and she contains the Father and Son within her. But after Christianity fell under Roman control, Sophia disappeared from Christianity. According to some texts, love is another name for Sophia.
After he rose from the dead, his twelve disciples and seven women went to Galilee to the mountain called “Divination and Joy.” When they gathered, they discussed the underlying nature of the universe, as well as the power of the authorities, and everything the Savior was doing against the authorities in his secret holy plan. The Savior appeared, not in his previous form, but in invisible spirit. And his likeness resembled a great angel of light. But I must not describe his appearance, because no mortal could endure it, but only pure, perfect flesh, like that which he taught us about on the Mount of Olives.
And he said: “Peace be unto you; my peace I give you!” And they marveled and were suddenly afraid. The Savior laughed and said: “What interests you?”
Philip said: “To comprehend the underlying nature of the universe.”
The Savior said: “All men have inquired after God: who is he and what he is like? But few have found him. They say the wise men study astrology, but astrology does not provide truth. The philosophers, do not agree. Some say about the world is ruled by fate or providence, but neither is true. Again, of those three voices, none is close to the truth, yet all are from man. But I, who came from Infinite Light, I am here that I might speak to you about the nature of truth. For whatever is from itself is polluted; it is self-made. Providence has no wisdom. Fate does not discern. But to you is given knowledge; and whoever is worthy of knowledge can receive it. Whoever has not been begotten by the sowing of unclean rubbing but by First Who Was Sent, he is an immortal in the midst of mortal men.”
Matthew said to him: “Lord, no one can find the truth except through you. Therefore teach us the truth.”
The Savior said: “Who knows the Unknowable? No principle knows him, no authority, no subjection, no creature from the foundation of the world until now, except he alone, and anyone to whom he wants to make revelation through him who is from First Light. From now on, I am the Great Savior. For he is immortal and eternal. Now he is eternal, having no birth, for everyone who has birth will perish. He is unbegotten, having no beginning, for everyone who has a beginning has an end. Since no one rules over him, he has no name, for whoever has a name is the creation of another. And he has a semblance of his own, not like what you have seen and received, but a strange semblance that surpasses all things and is more splendid than the universe. It sees everything from every side, and sees itself from itself. It is infinite, incomprehensible. It is imperishable and has no likeness to anything. Unchanging good, faultless, eternal, blessed, immeasurable, untraceable, perfect, having no defect. Imperishability and blessed. This is the ‘Father of the Universe.'”
Philip said: “Lord, how, then, did he appear to the perfect ones?”
The Savior said: “He is invisible, and the majesty and authority are in him, since he embraces the whole of the totalities, while nothing embraces him. For he is all mind. And he is thought and considering and always reflecting with rationality and power. They are the sources of the totalities. And their whole race from first to last was in his foreknowledge, that of the infinite, unbegotten Father.”
Thomas said to him: “Lord, Savior, why did these come to be, and why were these revealed?”
The Savior said: “I came from the Infinite that I might tell you things. Spirit-Who-Is was the begetter, who had the power of a begetter and a form-giver`s nature, that the great wealth that was hidden in him might be revealed. Because of his mercy and his love, he wished to bring forth fruit by himself, that he might not enjoy his goodness alone, but other spirits of the Unwavering Generation might bring forth body and fruit, glory and honor, in imperishableness and his infinite grace, that his treasure might be revealed by Self-begotten God, the father of every imperishableness and those that came to be afterward. But they had not yet come to visibility. Now a great difference exists among the imperishables.”
He called out, saying: “Whoever has two ears to hear, better listen!” and “I have addressed those who are awake.” Still he continued and said: “Everything that came from the perishable will perish, since it came from the perishable. But whatever came from imperishableness will not perish but become imperishable. So, many men went astray because they had not known this difference and they got sick and died.”
Mary said to him: “Lord, then how will we know?”
The Savior said: “Come you from invisible things to the end of those that are visible, and the very emanation of Thought will reveal to you how faith in those things that are not visible was found in those that are visible, those that belong to Unbegotten Father. Whoever has two ears to hear, better listen!
“The Lord of the Universe is not called ‘Father’, but ‘Forefather’, the beginning of those that will appear, but he is the beginningless Forefather. Seeing himself within himself in a mirror, he appeared resembling himself, but his likeness appeared as Divine Self-Father, and Confronter over the Confronted ones, First Existent Unbegotten Father. He is indeed of equal age with the Light that is before him, but he is not equal in power.
“And afterward it was revealed a whole multitude of self-begotten ones, equal in age and power, being in glory and without number, whose race is called ‘The Generation over Whom There Is No Kingdom’ from the one in whom you yourselves have appeared from these men. And that whole multitude over which there is no kingdom is called ‘Sons of Unbegotten Father, God, Savior, Son of God,’ whose likeness is with you. Now he is the unknowable, who is full of ever-imperishable glory and ineffable joy. They all are at rest within him, ever rejoicing in ineffable joy in his unchanging glory and measureless jubilation. This was never heard or known among all the realms until now.”
Matthew said to him: “Lord, Savior, how was man revealed?”
The Savior said: “I want you to know that he who appeared before the universe in infinity, self-grown, self-constructed Father, being full of shining light and ineffable, in the beginning, when he decided to have his likeness become a great power, immediately the principle or beginning of that Light appeared as Immortal Androgynous Man, that through that Immortal Androgynous Man they might attain their salvation and awake from forgetfulness through the interpreter who was sent, who is with you until the end of the poverty of the robbers.
“And his consort is the Great Sophia, who from the first was destined in him for union by Self-begotten Father, from Immortal Man, who appeared as First and divinity and kingdom, for the Father, who is called ‘Man, Self-Father’, revealed this. And he created a great realm, whose name is ‘Ogdoad’, for his own majesty.
“He was given great authority, and he ruled over the creation. He created gods and angels, and archangels, myriads without number for retinue, from that Light and the tri-male Spirit, which is that of Sophia, his consort. For from this, God originated divinity and kingdom. Therefore he was called ‘God of gods’ and ‘King of kings.’
“First Man has his unique mind, within, and thought, just as he is it thought and considering, reflecting, rationality, power. All the attributes that exist are perfect and immortal. In respect to imperishableness, they are indeed equal. But in respect to power, they are different, like the difference between father and son and thought, and the thought and the remainder. As I said earlier, among the things that were created, the Great Spirit was first.
“And after everything, all that was revealed appeared from his power. And from what was created, all that was fashioned appeared; from what was fashioned appeared what was formed; from what was formed, what was named. Thus came the difference among the unbegotten ones from beginning to end.”
Then Bartholomew said to him: “How is it he was designated in the Gospel ‘Man’ and ‘Son of Man’? To which of them, then, is this Son related?”
The Holy One said: “I want you to know that First Man is called ‘Begetter, Self-perfected Mind.’ He reflected with Great Sophia, his consort, and revealed his first-begotten, androgynous son. His male name is designated ‘First Begetter, Son of God’, his female name, ‘First Begettress Sophia, Mother of the Universe’. Some call her ‘Love.’
Written around the year 180, the Secret Book of John is the largest and most important of the Gnostic texts and four separate versions survived, indicating it was an important early Christian document, even though it was rejected by the Council of Nicaea. This brief excerpt is taken from the beginning of the manuscript and reveals how the female element held a dominant role in early Christianity, and was written out-of-history when the Roman oligarchy seized control of the religion.
One day John, brother of James and son of Zebedee, went to the Temple, and a Pharisee named Arimanius challenged him, “Where’s your Rabbi?” And John said to him, “Gone back to the place whence he came.”
The Pharisee said, “You realize that truther deceived you, filled your ears with lies, and closed your heart to the traditions of your ancestors?”
When I, John, heard such things, I wanted to be alone and was greatly saddened. “Who is the Father who designated the Savior? What did he mean when he said, ‘My kingdom is not of this earth.’ He left many mysteries and spoke in riddles.”
Straightway, while I was contemplating these controversies, behold, the clouds parted and the earth shook. I was afraid and behold a child appeared. But when I looked again, the child had morphed into an old man. And when I looked again, the old man morphed into a woman.
She said, “John, why doubt, why be afraid? You know these images well. I’m with you always. I’m the Father, Mother, Son. I’m the One. I’ve come to teach you what is, what was, and what will be, so you may understand the invisible world and its immovable race towards the perfection of humanity.
The One rules all. Nothing rules the One. The One is invisible, over everything and uncontaminated, a pure light no eye can bear to gaze upon. The One is the Great Spirit. It is not right to think of the One as God or like God. It is more than God. Nothing is above the One. Nothing rules it. Everything exists within it, yet it does not exist within anything. It is not dependent on anything. It is eternal. It needs nothing. It is utterly perfect Light.
The One knows no boundaries. Nothing exists outside it. The One cannot be investigated because nothing exists apart from it. The One cannot be measured. Nothing external exists to measure it with.
The One cannot be seen for no one can see it. The One is eternal for it exists forever. The One is inconceivable, for no one can imagine it. The One is indescribable, no one can describe it. The One is infinite light, purity, holiness, and without blemish.
The One is incomprehensible and free from corruption. Not “perfect” nor “blessed” nor “divine,” but superior to those words. Neither physical nor unphysical. Neither immense nor infinitesimal. It is impossible to specify in quantity or quality for the One is beyond knowledge.
The One is not a being like others. It is vastly superior but not “superior.” The One is outside the realms of space and time. For whatever is within the realm of space was created in space and whatever is within the realm of time has time allotted to it, but the One receives nothing from anything. It apprehends itself in its own perfect light. The One is majestic. The One is measureless, chief of all realms, creating all realms. The One is Light, producing light. Life, producing life. Blessedness, producing blessedness. Knowledge, producing knowledge. Good, producing goodness. Mercy, producing mercy. Generous, producing generosity. The One’s realm is eternal, peaceful, silent, resting, before everything. The One proceeds all realms, and sustains them through goodness.
The Origin of Reality
We know nothing of the unknowable, and nothing of the immeasurable.
The One is bathed in light from the spring of life that sustains all realms, self-aware, and enamored of his image in the springs of the pure light-water that envelops him.
Self-awareness came into being, appearing in the radiance of light. She stood before him. This, then, is the power of thought, prior to everything. Arising out of the mind of the One came female energy. Her light reflected His light. She is from His image in His light, perfect in power, the invisible perfect Virgin Spirit. She is the initial power, the glory of Female energy, glorious among the realms, glory of revelation. She gave glory to the Virgin Spirit. She praised Him. For she arose from Him. This was the first thought of the One, creating female energy.
She is the universal womb, before everything. She is both Mother-Father, First Man and Holy Spirit. Thrice Male, Thrice Powerful, Thrice Named. Androgynous eternal realm. First to arise among the invisible realms.
She asked the virgin Spirit for the power of prophesy. The Spirit agreed. Foreknowledge came forth and stood by Providence. The Invisible Virgin Spirit’s foreknowledge gave glory to the Spirit and to female energy, the Spirit’s perfect power. Her creation was the first thought.