Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beyond 2012: Gnostic Soulcraft


In Graham Hancock's book Heaven's Mirror: Quest for the Lost Civilization, he concluded that the Ice Age civilization that ended around 10,500 B.C. passed on not only a knowledge of astronomy and precession, related to the cyclic catastrophe that ended the Ice Age, but also a "science of immortality". This was a technology of the soul, in which techniques acquired over a millennia of study and experimentation could be used in ways to preserve consciousness beyond the veil of death. Hancock says the knowledge was passed down through secret societies, and traces can be found in the Gnostic writings at Nag Hammadi.

In Gnostic versions of the Genesis myth, the forbidden fruit gives knowledge of light and darkness. the Tree of Knowledge can easily be seen as some sort of hallucinogenic plant that made those who had eaten it aware of other planes of existence and, via out-of-body experiences, they would have seen that consciousness can exist without the physical body. The "Tree of Life" thus became perceptible; the Kabbalistic tree of life is a map of the paths of the netherworld, and the middle pillar relates directly to the chakras in our subtle body, situated along the middle pillar -- the spine. By certain exercises involving the chakras or power zones, and the snake-like Kundalini energy, it seems that the astral body can be perfected or transformed into a vehicle with a much longer lifespan.

So, Hancock's study traced this science of Soulcraft from a pre-diluvian race, through ancient civilizations in Mexico, Egypt and other places, suggesting that it is linked to the precession cycle.

Some of the information can still be found in the Bible. In Matthew 22, the "kingdom of heaven" is compared to a marriage, at which those who are not wearing the "wedding garment" will not get to witness the wedding. In Like and Matthew, we are informed about the pineal eye:

     "Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of
     light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest
     the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark,
     it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light."  ~ Matt. 6:22-23

This theme is expanded in Matthew 25:1-13, in which we are told to have our lamps fully fueled up and burning, ready for the arrival of the bridegroom at his marriage feast. As to exactly what this means, John Major Jenkins, in Galactic Alignment, has provided us with as clue from a book called The Celestial Ship of the North, by Valentia Straiton, in which someone called Edgar Conrow is quoted:

     "The pineal gland is the 'North Gate'. This, in man, is the central spiritual creative
     centre. Above in the heavens, it is found in the beginning of the sign of Sagittarius,
     and is the point from which spiritual gifts are given. It is called 'Vision of God', and 
     is the Light within, a gift to the pure in heart, who verily may 'see God', but to the impure,
     or those who abuse this great gift, the consequences are terrible.
          This North Gate, the creative centre in man, the most interior centre in the body, has
     become atrophied, and redemption or regeneration means restoration to creative ability,
     by having the electrical, or positive, and the magnetic, or negative, forces restored in
     equal balance in man and woman."

The alignment of the solstice Sun with the Galactic Equator, close to Galactic Centre at the start of Sagittarius, is thus a time when the Galactic Pineal Eye will radiate its light and restore our individual pineal eyes to their full potential of transmundane vision. However, not everyone will qualify. Luke's gospel implies that only the unmarried will qualify, but it seems that he means male sexual energy should not be 'wasted' in ejaculation, but used instead for the higher purpose of modifying our subtle body into its fully flowered form.

Egyptian Shamanism 

You can find an expanded essay on this subject, called Soulcraft, at  in which all the traces of knowledge are exhumed and compared, but, briefly, we can trace it back to Egyptian sources to get quite an early version. The Egyptians had a shamanic religion, in which the Pharaoh would induce an astral flight by means of techniques including hallucinogens, light and sound, meditations timed by lunar phases, and possibly a darkroom retreat to become Osiris (who was cut into pieces and then re-assembled) in a death-rebirth experience. Isis reassembled the fourteen pieces of Osiris, having collected them in the Land of the Phoenix (Phoenicia -- now Lebanon), during the fourteen days of the waning moon (except for the phallus, which was lost), then bound him up like the pupa of a butterfly. She then used a wooden phallus to concieve Horus, and Osiris ascended to Heaven (possibly encoding the use of higher sexual energy). The phoenix was retained as the symbol of an immortal bird, but is also connected with the recurrence of a long cycle of time.

The Egyptian winged disk, according to Charles Muses, represents the "non-molecular body" that is developed for these flights. The timing of the whole 70-day mummification process was synchronised with the 70-day disappearance of Sirius into the Duat (the period when Sirius is not visible). Muses points out the parallels between mummification and the process of metamorphosis from caterpillar, via cocoon and pupa (chrysalis) into butterfly. The wrapping of the body in bandages represents the silk-enswathed larva (caterpillar), and the folded wings embossed on the sarcophagus lids represented the visible wing shapes that are visible on the pupa or chrysalis case. The Meskhent, or "birth tent of skin", that was placed around the mummy represented the outer cocoon, while the ancient Egyptian word for the funeral chamber is literally "the birth chamber". Humanity is seen as the larval stage in preparation for the final metamorphosis. The 70-day embalming period was a later metaphor for a metamorphic transformation -- one that was commenced while the physical body was still alive, leading to the birth of the "winged form", or immortal body.

Non-Molecular Body 

The Egyptian soul-science ("psyche-ology") is quite complex, with several non-physical bodies being involved, but Jeremy Naydler has reconstructed the scheme in a quite convincing way in The Temple of the Cosmos. The khat is the physical body (symbolized by a fish hieroglyph), and the ka (symbolized by upturned arms), or double, can be seen as "vital force" -- an energy body that seems to be equivalent to an etheric body. The ba (symbolized by a bird with a human head), although often translated as "soul", is better understood as a seed-soul consciousness, since it is "but a preliminary to a yet more exalted state of consciousness". It is consciousness externalized, and seems to be the equivalent of the astral body. "As a ba, a person had the experience of looking at his or her body as if from an outsiders standpoint. This experience was central to the Osirian initiation". The khabit, or shadow (symbolized by a dark silhouette), represents "all the transformed earthly appetites and obsessions that fetter the ba to the physical realm and prevent it from moving on" (the astral body is also known as the emotional body). The akh, also called akhu or khu (represented by a bird -- the Crested Ibis), means "shining one" or "illuminated one". It is also called "the imperishable one" that returns to its source beyond the Duat.

Naydler says "The akh may be understood as the ba divinised" but in order for the akh to be released from the body, a new spiritual body had to be germinated from the physical body as a vehicle for the akh. This spiritual body is the sahu. This sounds like the immortal man in Taoist Yoga, who is gestated in the abdomen and expelled through a psychic opening in the top of the head to appear as a person sitting on a lotus within a golden sphere, as we shall see shortly. The lotus was also a symbol of rebirth in Egypt. Naydler says the re-membering following the dismemberment was an essential part of the Osirian initiation, which is a germination process in which the sahu is formed and the akh is attained, allowing access to the stellar realms beyond the Duat.

Naydler's interpretation implies that the conscious mind resides in the khabit (shadow) and the unconscious mind in the ba (astral body). If the shadow can be conquered, then it can unite with the ba to form the akh (khu). At the same time, the sahu can be germinated from the ka, which now has access to more vital energy -- the sexual energy, that is no longer being diverted into emotional blockages since the cleaning up of the shadow. this interpretation provides a scheme of the unification of male and female (conscious and unconscious), while retaining the evolution of the higher bodies.

This all seems to support the contention of Charles Muses that there were three post-mortem paths that could be followed by the newly deceased Egyptian: The Hippo Path, in which the the soul's vehicle disintegrated and the soul reincarnated; The Cow Path, in which the soul experience a dream-like existence in the Duat, or Underworld, from where it could either reincarnate or ascend; and The Lion Path, where a higher body allowed access to a higher dimension...

Taoist Yoga 

There is an important point to consider, if we are to find ourselves navigating the "invisible landscape" of the astral realms, and this knowledge has arisen from a study of neolithic sacred sites, combined with certain clues from Taoist yoga, so we shall follow the clues in the next few paragraphs.

In Taoist yoga, breathing and visualization exercises are practiced in which the generative force is diverted from its normal route (ejaculation) and is circulated around a system of power zones that closely resemble the Hindu chakras.

In a leaflet from the occult bookshop The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the system is claimed to be similar to Kundalini yoga, but safer. During a long process of internal alchemy, the original spirit cavity is located and transformed into the "precious cauldron" (which is equivalent to the activation of the pineal gland), and an "immortal foetus" starts to develop. Eventually, the spirit body separates from the physical body (up from the precious cauldron, through the top of the head, or "heavenly gate") and combines with the spirit body.

The developing immortal foetus (left), from which the immortal man emerges in a mass of golden light (right). After Luk [1970, 1996]

In the version given by Lu K'uan Yu, the immortal man or spirit body sits upright within "a mass of golden light, the size of a large wheel":

     "When spirit manifests for the first time, it should only be allowed to leave the 
      physical body in fine weather and it should be well looked after, like a baby
      just born. Its egress should on no account take place when there is thick fog,
     heavy rain, gale, thunder and lightning."

The spirit body is "very sensitive to fear and awe, which should be avoided at all costs". This immortal man within a golden wheel is reminiscent of the original "merkabah" (Hebrew for chariot) that was seen by Ezekiel, enlarged on by Hurtak, developed further by Drunvalo Melchizedek and connected by Gregg Braden with the zero-point in 2012. Braden said that when the component tetrahedrons were counter-rotating, the whole Mer-Ka-Ba (he spells it like this to emphasize that the concept includes the Egyptian Ka, or etheric body, and the Ba, or astral body) would look like a flying disk. Lu K'uan Yu also describes the spirit body as a "golden ball of light".

From ~ Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy - A Complete Guide 
            to End-of-Time Predictions, pgs.240-244 & 255-256
By ~ Geoff Stray; Introduced by John Major Jenkins

Related Posts:

Example of Sufi Ideas
Insan-i-Kamil: The Completed Human 
The Earnest Expectation of the Creature
Stepping through the Shadow


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Art of Alchemy


'Aurum nostrom non est aurum vulgare', claimed the Alchemists -- 'Our gold is not common gold'. So if the Alchemists of the Middle Ages were not, as is usually assumed, concerned with the production of ordinary gold from base metals like lead or iron, what kind of gold did they seek to make?

The answer is bright and shining inner gold, the gold from which souls are made, no less -- 'sophic' gold, as they called it. From heavy, leaden, ordinary man they sought to fashion light, golden, spiritual man -- beginning with themselves. For the first work of the true Alchemist was to refine and transmute his own very self from coarse to fine, from lower to higher, and then to help others to effect the same change.

Without the guidance of an already golden man, a 'changed one', without his mastery, the transmutation could not be achieved. As a member of the alchemical fraternity told Helvetius of the Hague in 1666, "Nay, without communication of a true adept philosopher not one student can find the way to prepare this great magistry". The student, too, had to be of a certain quality, "Scarce three in one million canst be candidates for the Work of Holy Alkimy", says Thomas Norton in his 'Ordinall of Alkimy' (1477).

The great Persian philosopher and Sufi adept, Al-Ghazali (1058-1111), known in the West as Algazel, states in his masterwork 'The Alchemy of Happiness', "Alchemical gold is better than gold, but real alchemists are rare, and so are true Sufis". He further tells us, "'s happiness undergoes successive refinements according to his state of being." In his 'Minhaj el-Abidin' he describes the process of the alchemising of the human consciousness in 'seven valleys' of experience: the valleys of Knowledge, Turning Back, Obstacles, Tribulations, Lighting, Abysses and Praise. "Fulfilment", he avers, "is a property only of Paradise, entry into which depends on alchemical transmutation."

That Ghazali uses the alchemy metaphor is not surprising, for there is a clear connection between Sufis and Alchemists throughout the Middle Ages. In fact, both he and the great twelfth century Sufi teacher, Jalaluddin Rumi, actually refer to Sufism as Alchemy from time to time in their works. It is also significant that the Golden Head, 'sar-i-tali' in Arabic, is a Sufi term referring to a person whose inner consciousness has been "transmuted into gold" by means of Sufic study.

The connection is established beyond doubt by the fact that while the mysterious Hermes Trismegistus of ancient Egypt is traditionally regarded as the originator of Alchemy -- the Hermetic Art, the founding father of Arab-European Alchemy since the eighth century of the present era is always held to be Jabir Ibn el-Hayyan (721-7760, called Jabir the Sufi, and known in the West as Geber. Behind him, however, stands his own teacher, the Sufi master Jafaq Sadiq (700-765) who wrote 'The Perception', an esoteric text casting much light on the inner nature of the alchemical quest.

Jabir himself was the author of over three hundred treatises on alchemy, but it was not until 1144 that Robert of Chester, who studied in Saracenic Spain, produced for the West a translation of Jabir's major text, 'The Book of the Composition of Alchemia', which first gave us the word 'alchemy' -- from the Arabic 'al-kimia'. This, in turn, was derived from the old Semetic name for Egypt -- 'Kem' -- meaning black, the distinctive colour of its alluvial soil after the flooding of the Nile, in contrast to the white sand of the surrounding desert. Alchemy was thus the Egyptian Art, or the Art of Egypt. The Arab alchemists believed themselves to be the recipients of the ancient teaching of Hermes through Dhu'l-Nun, theEgyptian, known as 'Lord of the Fish' and a Sufi exponent of the highest order.

However, it is now recognized that Alchemy was practiced in all the great civilizations; and no matter whether in India, China or Greece, it was invariably called 'The Work' or 'The Great Work'. Furthermore, in whatever culture it manifested itself, there were always the same three elements: 'mercury', 'sulphur' and 'salt', which had to be combined for the production of the Philosopher's Stone. The consistency is significant. It indicates not haphazard experimentation, but a constant body of knowledge.

Alchemical terminology thus appears to be the symbolic mode of expression adopted by an esoteric developmental school for the projection of its allegorised message. It contained concealed instructions for, and descriptions of, processes leading to the perfection of the human being. This was technical material for the transformation of consciousness, a disguised spiritual path. "Our gold is not your gold, and our sulphur is not your sulphur." states the 'Rosarium Philosophorum' -- the Rosary of the Philosopher -- and adds, "Only he who knows how to make the Philosopher's Stone understands the words that relate to it." The Adept, we are reminded, is essential.

What then is the Philosopher's Stone, which the alchemists deemed so necessary for the making of golden men and women, and which was, it seems, the very heart of their quest? It would appear to be none other than the heart of man himself. Like the Kingdom of Heaven -- it is within. Idries Shah gives us the Sufi view:

      "The stone, the hidden thing, so powerful, is also called the Azoth in the West. 
       Azoth is traced by Orientalists to the Arabic 'el-dhat' (or ez-zat), meaning
       essence or inner reality. The stone, according to Sufis, is the 'dhat', the essence,
       which is so powerful that it can transform whatever comes into contact with it.
       It is the essence of man, which partakes of what people call the divine. it is
      'sunshine' capable of uplifting humanity to the next stage.
           The Sophic stone is the Sufic stone."

"The stone is of exalted purity, and he who makes it makes himself perfect." says the fifteenth century alchemist Thomas Norton, informing us also that it is, "the result of concentration, distillation and refinement." These terms refer to work on oneself and inner refinement -- the refinement of essence. It is noteworthy that the Sufis have described their activity as 'the refinement of the consciousness.'

The medieval occult philosopher, Cornelius Agrippa (born 1486), is explicit, "The stone is not a stone. It is an internal spirit within us." Of alchemy he says, "This is the true and occult philosophy which men seek. The key thereof is the understanding. For the higher we carry our knowledge, the more sublime are our attainments in virtue, and we perform the greatest things with more ease." Three hundred years later, the English lady alchemist, Mary Anne Atwood, was to write in her book, 'A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery': "Alchemy is divine Art, the very transformation of life itself. The spirit teaches its own Art, and according as it is obeyed the artist goes on developing the way to advance to perfection." Agrippa and Mary Atwood may be separated by time, but not in activity.

She continues, "Thus being awakened and at the same time drawn centrally, the consciousness comes to know and feel itself in its own source, which is the Universal Centre and Source of all things."

In ancient China, the Art was called 'nei-tan', inner alchemy, and was usually found interwoven with Taoism, with which it was held to esoterically correspond. Thus a later practitioner of nei tan, Chang Po-tuan, who lived in the eleventh century, states in his 'Treatise on the Golden Elixir':

      "Volatility transmutes into true essence;
       The human mind changes into the mind of Tao.
       Without refinement by the spiritual fire,
       How can gold be separated from the ore?"

Enlightenment was often referred to as discovering or uncovering the inner or golden elixir; while it will be remembered that the alchemists of the West sought the mysterious Elixir of Life -- doubtless another name for the Philosopher's Stone.

Both Taoists and practitioners of nei-tan describe the process of spiritual development as the fashioning of 'the sacred embryo', the 'shang-tsi', a new being that must grow and develop within; or as the growth and unfolding of 'the golden flower', whose petals only fully open upon enlightenment. Thus the alchemist Lu Tsu declares, "I must diligently plant my own field. There is within it a spiritual seed. Its flower is like yellow gold. Its bud is not large. Its growth depends upon the soil of the central palace, but its irrigation must come from a higher fountain."

...As one great Alchemist has said:

              "The Kingdom of Heaven
               is like a grain of mustard seed,
               which a man took, and soweth in his field:
               which indeed is the least of all seeds.
               But when it is grown, it is greatest among herbs,
               and becometh a tree
               so that the birds of the air come
               and lodge in the branches thereof.

                                                           (Matthew 14:31-32)

So wisdom is something that grows. It is a living thing. It is not 'acquired', like information, but absorbed. We grow in wisdom as we grow into wisdom. We must receive it, embrace it, become part of its very texture and allow it to become part of our very texture. For verily it is 'the Dayspring from on High that visits us.'

From ~ Stairway to the Stars: Sufism, Gurdjieff and the Inner Tradition of Mankind pgs 53-57
By  ~  Max Gorman