Barbelo - The feminine Power who emanates from the supreme divinity (Father) and who is the Word. Barbelo who? She got dropped completely in literature later on as having any influence at all on anything at all, but here she is the Mother of the Living, no less.
Barbelo is called the Mother of the Living and dwells in the 8th heaven with the Cosmic Christ force (distinct from Jesus). This definition of location may derive from her identification with Sophia, who was espoused by Jesus, elevated by him to a higher heaven, and dwelt there with him. Barbelo may derive from the Egyptian "BLBILE," which looks incredibly like Bible and means "seed," or from a Semitic expression "B'arb'e Eloha, meaning "God in four Powers," the supreme entities, the Tetrad. She may be considered to be the feminine aspect of God and is the celestial Mother in those sects classified historically as "the adepts of the Mother.'' The Gnostic sect, Barbelognostics, venerated Barbelo.
Ok, I have solved the mystery of what happened to Barbelo. There was just no place for her at all in patriarchal religions since the one and only slot for Divine Woman was alloted to Mary for the simple reason, of course, that she gave birth to the man who is the central figure in the patriarchal Christian religions. And I say this, not as a feminist, but as an objective observer pointing out the obvious regarding the path the historical religions took from as far back as the Sacred Oak at Dodona. The other two "women" slots available came with them significant negative public relation issues, one position being that of blatantly disobedient Eve, who ate of the tree after being told not to by two men, God the Father and Adam and, the other position, held by the hooker Magdalene to whom Jesus was so devoted that it could have been for no other reason than vicariously lusting after her, or maybe not so vicariously, depending on which Gnostic sect you hailed from. Christians knew, of course, he had no interest in her at all except to help her stop hooking. Well, that's just lovely, isn't it?
Barbelo, an emanation of the Father, emanated an Aeon of her own in imitation of Him. This power was Ialdabaoth, the ignorant (of his parentage) demiurge and creator of the lower, visible world. Her repentance of this birth is said to bring about the first stage of the salvation of this world. As part of her repentance, she seduced the Archons (planets) to rob them of their seed of power (Light) over this world. When a bolt of lightning flashes across the night sky, it signifies the moment that Barbelo divests the Archons of their light.
Bardeson of Edessa - (154-222 CE) He was the founder of Syrian poetry and was, at one time, an important Gnostic. Bardesan, who later abandoned Gnosticism, taught that the body of Jesus was spiritual because the Holy Spirit, Sophia, had descended upon Mary. Here is another Gnostic teaching involving the positioning of a divine woman between the powers of Heaven and Earth. She also got edited out of the final sacred version of the Holy Truth. Bardeson taught the Chaldaean astrology theory that the heavenly bodies (planets), called chronocrators, or markers of time, were distributed among seven aeons or cycles, so that each reigned, in its turn, for a thousand years. He also taught the Three Principles.
Baruch - The angel who is the Tree of Life in Paradise. Also a Gnostic prophet identified with Zoroaster. The angel Baruch is said to have been sent by Elohim to give instructions to the Jews so they would turn towards God, who also sent Hercules to give instructions to the Gentiles. I guess they sent Hercules as a kind of enforcer in case the Gentiles didn't want to accept the Gnostic version of God. At least Elohim got it right who to send where.
In the days of King Herod, God sent the angel Baruch to Nazareth to find the 12 year-old Jesus and impart to him the gnosis. The angel Naas (the Tree of Good and Evil and the Serpent) later tried to have Jesus crucified on the cross. He was foiled in his efforts because Jesus abandoned his body on the cross and ascended into the highest heavens. In some accounts, the trickery of Naas backfires on him and, in his efforts to have Jesus crucified, he winds up on the cross himself. In this unusual crucifixion story, Jesus hovers invisible above the cross jeering down at the Romans, who have been fooled by this illusion and who are jeering up at Naas whom they mistake for Jesus.
In Nicodemus, written sometime before 400 CE by an orthodox Christian writer (not Nicodemus), Satan says, "I tempted him (Jesus) and stirred up my old people the Jews with zeal and anger against him." Satan, who is preparing for the descent of Jesus into hell, goes on to say he is responsible for every aspect of the crucifixion.
Many Gnostics could not bear the thought that Jesus died at the hands of the Romans and the Archons. Others simply refused to accept it, believing Jesus had the power to avoid this ignoble death and did so. This is major heresy, the idea that Jesus was not a volunteer in his efforts to save our souls but instead saved himself from crucifixion.
I want to stop right here and remind myself and the reader as well that these writers were actually living in the middle of the Roman Empire which had to be one of the worst times in history to be alive and thinking and trying to comprehend what was going on in the world and where they fit in. To them I apologize for my comical critique of their religions and I promise to try harder to be more respectful but I doubt it's going to work out. But at least I know where they were when they were writing these things. In a bad place at a bad time. They were rationalizing like crazy because they had to in order to make sense of it, and no wonder they believed the world to be a dark, dangerous and punishing place with a close proximity to hell. The Romans made sure of that. That anything good ever came out of Italy after the Romans got done with it is a self-evident miracle that does not require any religious beliefs but simply speaks for itself.
Basilides - An important Gnostic teacher of Alexandria, Egypt, who claimed that he and his son, Isadore, had been bequeathed secret discourses by the Apostle Matthias, who had received them from Jesus in personal conversations with him. Basilides composed a commentary on the canonical Gospels in 24 books. The psychologist C.G. Jung sometimes wrote pseudonymously under "Basilides," who often wrote under the names of Barcabbas and Barcoph. Basilides taught Dualism and reincarnation. He said that Christ was not man but the appearance of man, a manifested illusion who made Simon of Cyrene appear to look like Jesus and who changed the perceptions of all who saw the crucifixion. Jesus stayed close by and mocked the Romans for their mistake, while the Romans mocked Simon, who they thought was Jesus.
That must have brought many people comfort who could not stand the idea that the Romans actually and sucessfully murdered Jesus. It just could not be.
Basilides taught the doctrine of the primordial principles and that Ialdabaoth and his much wiser son, Sabaoth, created the visible world. Basilides and Isadore introduced into Gnostic
thought the concept of the counterfeiting spirit and taught that the human soul is composed of three parts; spirit, matter, and counterfeiting spirit.
Of Dualism, Basilides wrote this incredibly beautiful paragraph, and it makes me understand why Jung admired Basilides so much:
"Some among them have said that the principles of all things are two in number; and it is to these that they ascribe good and evil, saying that these principles are without beginning and unbegotten. More precisely, in the beginning there were the light and the darkness which had arisen out of themselves...While each in itself, each of them led the life that was proper and suitable to it... But after each principle had arrived at the knowledge of the other, the darkness, having beheld the light, was seized with desire for it as for something better, pursued it and wanted to mingle with, and to take part in it. Such was the behavior of the darkness, whilst the light would not admit into itself anything of the darkness whatsoever, or even of desire for it. For all that, the light was seized with a desire to look at the darkness and, as it were in a mirror, did look at it: and thus, upon the darkness was projected only a reflection - something like a single color of the light - although the light had done no more than to look and then withdraw, without having taken up the smallest portion of the darkness. But the darkness, itself, seized upon this look from the light..."
Basilides taught that the unbegotten father engendered five Aeons, or eternal realms. These were: Nous (Mind); Word; Reflection; Wisdom and Force; and Virtue, a succession of emanations, each a heaven. The final heaven is filled with angels who create the visible world, among them Ialdabaoth and Sabaoth. Basilides said that the Jews recognize the lord of the angels as Yahweh, but that those have all become corrupt. So the Unbegotten Father sent his only Son, Nous or Christ, to liberate from the Corrupt all who believe in him. By means of passwords and secret names, the believers may re-ascend through the lower heavens, eluding the Archons.
Basilides gave to the creator of the lower world the name Abraxas, numerologically 365. He said Abraxas, once created to rule over the lower world, mistakenly believed himself to be the supreme divinity. He built up layers of heavens unto the 8th heaven (Ogdoad), whereupon he enthroned himself and his son, and proceeded to rule with goodness. Abraxas later discovered his error in thinking himself supreme, and became enraged and perverse, ruling as an unrighteous god and causing the lower world to become corrupt.
Theories such as these by Basilides have caused scholars to suggest that Gnosticism, with its catalogue of unrighteous creators of corrupt Earth, was mostly a reaction against the reigning Hellenism which viewed the created world as a beautiful, orderly, and symmetrically perfect creation, the best of all possible worlds. The Gnostics rejected this philosophy, but they included into their religious philosophy the ideas of the Greeks, especially Homer, Plato, Philo, Pythagoras, and others. According to modern scholars, it was this eclecticism which weakened their theology and caused the Christian doctors of that time to condemn then as fanciful thinkers and heretics. Obviously, there is a great deal more to Gnosticism than just a bad, delayed reaction to Hellenism.
In one of his most enduring doctrines, Basilides wrote that God, once omnipresent, retreated from the universe, freeing it for the process of creation, but leaving behind a residue of Himself. This concept found a permanent home in Judaism. This essence of God, called the Holy Spirit, is discovered and personally experienced through gnosis. But in Gnosticism, which takes it much further than just the withdrawal of the creator, the Holy Spirit manifests itself in one's life as a comforter (Paraclete) and as a creative force, the Process of Creation personified. Often called an angel or spirit guide, the Holy Spirit forms a partnership, a spiritual marriage, with a physically manifest person for the purpose of elevating that person through Gnosis to higher spiritual evolution. This is a ancient concept that I dearly love and I wrote a book about it entitled, Heavenly Partners.
"Therefore the mystery of intercourse is performed in secret, in order that the two sexes might not disgrace themselves in front of many who do not experience that reality. For each of them (the sexes) contributes its begetting. For if it happens in the presence of those who do not understand the reality, (it is) laughable and unbelievable. And, moreover, they are holy mysteries, of both words and deeds because not only are they not heard but also they are not seen." (Asclepius, Gnostic papyri)
That is correct. They do not speak words (except the rare "living voice") and they are invisible.
Behemoth - The rebellious angel Azezel whom the angel Raphael, on God's orders, placed in chains and cast into the desert of Dudael, which lies East of Eden. (Zazel rules Saturn, the malefic planet. Perhaps Dudael is on Saturn and Saturn is East of Eden?)
Interestingly, to me at least, these angel names and place names ending in "el" refer to divine beings and their realms. So, even if they are negative in concept and desperately to be avoided, they are still somewhere high up in the chain of command in this hierarchical vision or the world and represent only a short sojourn for the woeful and soon to be repentant spiritual traveler.
"If you do not fast as regards the world, you will not find the kingdom." (Words of Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas, Gnostic papyri)
Book of Archangels by Moses the Prophet (Arkhangelike) - In astrological literature, this book, said to have been given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, details a multitude of powers useful for protection against base powers. It tells of the "hydria that are in Egypt," serpent-demons banished by King Solomon and stored in seven bronze vases. In the Arkhangelike, a magician may gain power over these demons by reminding them of their imprisonment by Solomon in hydria of bronze.
Goes something like this:
Magician, "Do as I tell you right his minute!"
Serpent-Demons, "No way."
Magician, "Remember how Solomon stored you in those bronze vases way back when? Well, get ready."
Serpent-Demons, "Oh God, no! We'll do as you say!"
King Solomon magically trapped seven demons in seven bronze vases. He sent the vases from Jerusalem to Egypt, entrusting their care to the Egyptian priests, who used a book against them called "The Seven Heavens," supposedly written by Solomon. The vases, called Khalkhydras, were made of electrum (an alloy of silver and gold) and engraved with magical formulae.
"For when you appear in the world, dark Nature will shake against you, together with winds and a demon, that they may destroy the insight." (The Paraphrase of Shem, Gnostic papyri)
Book of Buried Pearls and of the Precious Mystery - An Arab writing instructing seekers of marvels to dig for treasure in the area of Hamra-Dum near the cliff tombs. These instructions were never followed, but a great marvel was discovered there in 1945 when the Gnostic manuscripts were found buried in an earthenware jar.
Book of the Cave of Treasures - Also Cave of the Magi. In this Gnostic text, Adam, the first of a long line of prophets, predicts that he will be buried by Seth in this cave, and that near this cave the Magi will await the announcement of the birth of the Savior. Inside the cave are the treasures which the Magi will take to Bethlehem upon the birth of Jesus. One manuscript sites this cave in the Mountain of Victories to the east of Shyr, a grotto called The Cave of Treasures of the Life of the Silence. This cave legend is probably of Persian origin.
"What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either." (The Sentences of Sextus, Gnostic papyri)
In the Beginning |