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Re: First thought:: Gnosticism, Masonry

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  • Mark
    Cari, I was curious to see what Pike wrote related to this forum, and found the following: To Philo the Jew, as to the Gnostics, the Supreme Being was the
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 5, 2009
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      Cari,

      I was curious to see what Pike wrote related to this forum, and found the following:

      "To Philo the Jew, as to the Gnostics, the Supreme Being was the Primitive Light, or Archetype of Light, --Source whence the rays emanate that illuminate souls. He is the Soul of the World, and as such acts everywhere. He himself fills and bounds his whole existence, and his forces fill and penetrate everything." Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, p. 249

      Latter he speaks of " the Genius of Evil, The Satan of Gnosticism, brute matter, deemed to be always at feud with the spirit that flowed from the Deity." Ibid, p. 250

      And then here is a long discussion, which certainly indicates some knowledge on his part with Gnosticism (NB: the Greek did not come through).

      In one respect all the Gnostics agreed: they all held, that there was a world purely emanating out of the vital development of God, a creation evolved directly out of the Divine Essence, far exalted above any outward creation produced by God's plastic power, and conditioned by a pre-existing matter. They agreed in holding that the Cramer of this lower world was not the Father of that higher world of emanation; but the Demiurge [/JfjuzoupyoS], a being of a kindred nature with the universe framed and governed by him, and far inferior to that higher system and the Father of it.

      But some, setting out from ideas which had long prevailed among certain Jews of Alexandria, supposed that the Supreme God created and governed the world by His ministering spirits, by the angels. At the head of these angels stood one who had the direction and control of all; therefore called the Artificer and Governor of the World. This Demiurge they compared with the plastic, animating, mundane spirit of Plato and the Platonists [the devrepoS Seof.. Deuteros Theos; the J&fo? ysvrjroS.... Th;c5 Genetos], who, moreover, according to the Timaeus of Plato, strives to represent the IDEA of the Divine Reason, in that which is becoming (as contradistinguished from that which is) and temporal. This angel is a representative of the Supreme God, on the lower stage of existence: he does not act independently, but merely according to the ideas inspired in him by the Supreme God; just as the plastic, mundane soul of the Platonists creates all things after the pattern of the ideas communicated by the Supreme Reason [NovS... .Nous—the o sffn S,<aov ho esti zoon—the a. .paradeigma, of the Divine Reason hypoatatized].

      But these ideas transcend his limited essence; ho cannot under stand them; he is merely their unconscious organ; and therefore is unable himself to comprehend the whole scope and meaning of the work which he performs. As an organ under the guidance of a higher inspiration, he reveals higher truths than he himself can comprehend. The mass of the Jews, they held, recognized not the angel, by whom, in all the Theophanies of the Old Testament, God revealed himself; they knew not the Demiurge in his truo relation to the hidden Supreme God, who never reveals himself in the sensible world. They confounded the type and the archetype, the symbol and the idea. They rose no higher than the Demiurge ; they took him to be the Supreme God himself. But the spiritual men among them, on the contrary, clearly perceived, or at least divined, the ideas veiled under Judaism; they rose beyond the Demiurge, to a knowledge of the Supreme God; and are therefore properly his worshippers [SepaTcevrai. .Therapeutai].

      Other Gnostics, who had not been followers of the Mosaic religion, but who had, at an earlier period, framed to themselves an oriental Gnosis, regarded the Demiurge as a being absolutely hostile to the Supreme God. He and his angels, notwithstanding their finite nature, wish to establish their independence: they will tolerate no foreign rule within their realm. Whatever of a higher nature descends into their kingdom, they seek to hold imprisoned there, lest it should raise itself above their narrow precincts. Probably, in this system, the kingdom of the Demiurgic Angels corresponded, for the most part, with that of the deceitful Star-Spirits, who seek to rob man of his freedom, to beguile him by various arts of deception, and who exercise a tyrannical sway over the things of this world. Accordingly, in the system of these Sabseans, the seven Planet-Spirits, and the twelve Star-Spirits of the zodiac, who sprang from an irregular connection between the cheated Fetahil and the Spirit of Darkness, play an important part in everything that is bad. The Demiurge is a limited and limiting being, proud, jealous, and revengeful; and this his character betrays itself in the Old Testament, which, the Gnostics held, came from him. They transferred to the Demiurge himself, whatever in the idea of God, as presented by the Old Testament, appeared to them defective. Against his will and rule the V\T) was continually rebelling, revolting without control againsl the dominion which he, the fashioner, would exercise over it.

      Casting off the yoke imposed on it, and destroying the work he had begun. The same jealous being, limited in his power, ruling with despotic sway, they imagined they saw in nature. He strives to check the germination of the divine seeds of life which the Supreme God of Holiness and Love, who has no connection whatever with the sensible world, has scattered among men. That perfect God was at most known and worshipped in mysteries by a few spiritual men. Ibid. p. 557-559

      I hope this might help the discussion,
      Mark

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "esapress@" <esapress@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Typically, I think it's safe to say that I tend to keep my faith/beliefs pertaining to is/is not a supreme being/creator/god, so on, to myself. Feels private, is private I think.
      >
      >
      > Terrie, that is fine, of course.
      >
      > I've been reading everyone's contributions, and I'd be interested to know if anyone has read Pike's take on this "Supreme Being" that has been mentioned, and how it might compare to the Gnostic concept of ultimate reality.
      >
      > For those of you not familiar with ancient Gnostic writings, below is a link to an example of one scripture, The Secret Book of John, that tries to explain the unexplainable. Perhaps you have other examples, too, you'd like to use for comparison:
      >
      > http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn.html
      >
      > Thanks,
      > Cari
      >
    • lady_caritas
      Mark, thank you very much for the references. Yes, it does appear that even without the benefit of the later Nag Hammadi findings, Albert Pike did have some
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 7, 2009
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        Mark, thank you very much for the references. Yes, it does appear that even without the benefit of the later Nag Hammadi findings, Albert Pike did have some knowledge of Gnosticism.

        Morals and Dogma can be found online, and I'd like to gradually peruse it, too.

        In your reading, Mark, or if anyone else would like to gladly chime in, does Pike give us a clear perception of his view of "Supreme Being" or "Supreme God"? Does he consider ultimate reality to be an existent "being"?

        Cari


        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <larockpitts@...> wrote:
        >
        > Cari,
        >
        > I was curious to see what Pike wrote related to this forum, and found the following:
        >
        > "To Philo the Jew, as to the Gnostics, the Supreme Being was the Primitive Light, or Archetype of Light, --Source whence the rays emanate that illuminate souls. He is the Soul of the World, and as such acts everywhere. He himself fills and bounds his whole existence, and his forces fill and penetrate everything." Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, p. 249
        >
        > Latter he speaks of " the Genius of Evil, The Satan of Gnosticism, brute matter, deemed to be always at feud with the spirit that flowed from the Deity." Ibid, p. 250
        >
        > And then here is a long discussion, which certainly indicates some knowledge on his part with Gnosticism (NB: the Greek did not come through).
        >
        > In one respect all the Gnostics agreed: they all held, that there was a world purely emanating out of the vital development of God, a creation evolved directly out of the Divine Essence, far exalted above any outward creation produced by God's plastic power, and conditioned by a pre-existing matter. They agreed in holding that the Cramer of this lower world was not the Father of that higher world of emanation; but the Demiurge [/JfjuzoupyoS], a being of a kindred nature with the universe framed and governed by him, and far inferior to that higher system and the Father of it.
        >
        > But some, setting out from ideas which had long prevailed among certain Jews of Alexandria, supposed that the Supreme God created and governed the world by His ministering spirits, by the angels. At the head of these angels stood one who had the direction and control of all; therefore called the Artificer and Governor of the World. This Demiurge they compared with the plastic, animating, mundane spirit of Plato and the Platonists [the devrepoS Seof.. Deuteros Theos; the J&fo? ysvrjroS.... Th;c5 Genetos], who, moreover, according to the Timaeus of Plato, strives to represent the IDEA of the Divine Reason, in that which is becoming (as contradistinguished from that which is) and temporal. This angel is a representative of the Supreme God, on the lower stage of existence: he does not act independently, but merely according to the ideas inspired in him by the Supreme God; just as the plastic, mundane soul of the Platonists creates all things after the pattern of the ideas communicated by the Supreme Reason [NovS... .Nous—the o sffn S,<aov ho esti zoon—the a. .paradeigma, of the Divine Reason hypoatatized].
        >
        > But these ideas transcend his limited essence; ho cannot under stand them; he is merely their unconscious organ; and therefore is unable himself to comprehend the whole scope and meaning of the work which he performs. As an organ under the guidance of a higher inspiration, he reveals higher truths than he himself can comprehend. The mass of the Jews, they held, recognized not the angel, by whom, in all the Theophanies of the Old Testament, God revealed himself; they knew not the Demiurge in his truo relation to the hidden Supreme God, who never reveals himself in the sensible world. They confounded the type and the archetype, the symbol and the idea. They rose no higher than the Demiurge ; they took him to be the Supreme God himself. But the spiritual men among them, on the contrary, clearly perceived, or at least divined, the ideas veiled under Judaism; they rose beyond the Demiurge, to a knowledge of the Supreme God; and are therefore properly his worshippers [SepaTcevrai. .Therapeutai].
        >
        > Other Gnostics, who had not been followers of the Mosaic religion, but who had, at an earlier period, framed to themselves an oriental Gnosis, regarded the Demiurge as a being absolutely hostile to the Supreme God. He and his angels, notwithstanding their finite nature, wish to establish their independence: they will tolerate no foreign rule within their realm. Whatever of a higher nature descends into their kingdom, they seek to hold imprisoned there, lest it should raise itself above their narrow precincts. Probably, in this system, the kingdom of the Demiurgic Angels corresponded, for the most part, with that of the deceitful Star-Spirits, who seek to rob man of his freedom, to beguile him by various arts of deception, and who exercise a tyrannical sway over the things of this world. Accordingly, in the system of these Sabseans, the seven Planet-Spirits, and the twelve Star-Spirits of the zodiac, who sprang from an irregular connection between the cheated Fetahil and the Spirit of Darkness, play an important part in everything that is bad. The Demiurge is a limited and limiting being, proud, jealous, and revengeful; and this his character betrays itself in the Old Testament, which, the Gnostics held, came from him. They transferred to the Demiurge himself, whatever in the idea of God, as presented by the Old Testament, appeared to them defective. Against his will and rule the V\T) was continually rebelling, revolting without control againsl the dominion which he, the fashioner, would exercise over it.
        >
        > Casting off the yoke imposed on it, and destroying the work he had begun. The same jealous being, limited in his power, ruling with despotic sway, they imagined they saw in nature. He strives to check the germination of the divine seeds of life which the Supreme God of Holiness and Love, who has no connection whatever with the sensible world, has scattered among men. That perfect God was at most known and worshipped in mysteries by a few spiritual men. Ibid. p. 557-559
        >
        > I hope this might help the discussion,
        > Mark
        >
        > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@> wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "esapress@" <esapress@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Typically, I think it's safe to say that I tend to keep my faith/beliefs pertaining to is/is not a supreme being/creator/god, so on, to myself. Feels private, is private I think.
        > >
        > >
        > > Terrie, that is fine, of course.
        > >
        > > I've been reading everyone's contributions, and I'd be interested to know if anyone has read Pike's take on this "Supreme Being" that has been mentioned, and how it might compare to the Gnostic concept of ultimate reality.
        > >
        > > For those of you not familiar with ancient Gnostic writings, below is a link to an example of one scripture, The Secret Book of John, that tries to explain the unexplainable. Perhaps you have other examples, too, you'd like to use for comparison:
        > >
        > > http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn.html
        > >
        > > Thanks,
        > > Cari
        > >
        >
      • Mark
        Cari, I wish I had something more to add to this conversation. There was something about the rhetoric in this thread that seemed to dangle. Kind of like a
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 13, 2009
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          Cari,

          I wish I had something more to add to this conversation. There was something about the rhetoric in this thread that seemed to "dangle." Kind of like "a pie in the sky" approach. I hoped that by adding something more concrete to the discussion, it would provide something that would actually feed us. Assertions alone barely whet the appetite.

          Masonry is gnosis--but that is a long, long, long way from Masonry is Gnosticism.

          I tried.

          Mark

          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@...> wrote:
          >
          > Mark, thank you very much for the references. Yes, it does appear that even without the benefit of the later Nag Hammadi findings, Albert Pike did have some knowledge of Gnosticism.
          >
          > Morals and Dogma can be found online, and I'd like to gradually peruse it, too.
          >
          > In your reading, Mark, or if anyone else would like to gladly chime in, does Pike give us a clear perception of his view of "Supreme Being" or "Supreme God"? Does he consider ultimate reality to be an existent "being"?
          >
          > Cari
          >
          >
          > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <larockpitts@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Cari,
          > >
          > > I was curious to see what Pike wrote related to this forum, and found the following:
          > >
          > > "To Philo the Jew, as to the Gnostics, the Supreme Being was the Primitive Light, or Archetype of Light, --Source whence the rays emanate that illuminate souls. He is the Soul of the World, and as such acts everywhere. He himself fills and bounds his whole existence, and his forces fill and penetrate everything." Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, p. 249
          > >
          > > Latter he speaks of " the Genius of Evil, The Satan of Gnosticism, brute matter, deemed to be always at feud with the spirit that flowed from the Deity." Ibid, p. 250
          > >
          > > And then here is a long discussion, which certainly indicates some knowledge on his part with Gnosticism (NB: the Greek did not come through).
          > >
          > > In one respect all the Gnostics agreed: they all held, that there was a world purely emanating out of the vital development of God, a creation evolved directly out of the Divine Essence, far exalted above any outward creation produced by God's plastic power, and conditioned by a pre-existing matter. They agreed in holding that the Cramer of this lower world was not the Father of that higher world of emanation; but the Demiurge [/JfjuzoupyoS], a being of a kindred nature with the universe framed and governed by him, and far inferior to that higher system and the Father of it.
          > >
          > > But some, setting out from ideas which had long prevailed among certain Jews of Alexandria, supposed that the Supreme God created and governed the world by His ministering spirits, by the angels. At the head of these angels stood one who had the direction and control of all; therefore called the Artificer and Governor of the World. This Demiurge they compared with the plastic, animating, mundane spirit of Plato and the Platonists [the devrepoS Seof.. Deuteros Theos; the J&fo? ysvrjroS.... Th;c5 Genetos], who, moreover, according to the Timaeus of Plato, strives to represent the IDEA of the Divine Reason, in that which is becoming (as contradistinguished from that which is) and temporal. This angel is a representative of the Supreme God, on the lower stage of existence: he does not act independently, but merely according to the ideas inspired in him by the Supreme God; just as the plastic, mundane soul of the Platonists creates all things after the pattern of the ideas communicated by the Supreme Reason [NovS... .Nous—the o sffn S,<aov ho esti zoon—the a. .paradeigma, of the Divine Reason hypoatatized].
          > >
          > > But these ideas transcend his limited essence; ho cannot under stand them; he is merely their unconscious organ; and therefore is unable himself to comprehend the whole scope and meaning of the work which he performs. As an organ under the guidance of a higher inspiration, he reveals higher truths than he himself can comprehend. The mass of the Jews, they held, recognized not the angel, by whom, in all the Theophanies of the Old Testament, God revealed himself; they knew not the Demiurge in his truo relation to the hidden Supreme God, who never reveals himself in the sensible world. They confounded the type and the archetype, the symbol and the idea. They rose no higher than the Demiurge ; they took him to be the Supreme God himself. But the spiritual men among them, on the contrary, clearly perceived, or at least divined, the ideas veiled under Judaism; they rose beyond the Demiurge, to a knowledge of the Supreme God; and are therefore properly his worshippers [SepaTcevrai. .Therapeutai].
          > >
          > > Other Gnostics, who had not been followers of the Mosaic religion, but who had, at an earlier period, framed to themselves an oriental Gnosis, regarded the Demiurge as a being absolutely hostile to the Supreme God. He and his angels, notwithstanding their finite nature, wish to establish their independence: they will tolerate no foreign rule within their realm. Whatever of a higher nature descends into their kingdom, they seek to hold imprisoned there, lest it should raise itself above their narrow precincts. Probably, in this system, the kingdom of the Demiurgic Angels corresponded, for the most part, with that of the deceitful Star-Spirits, who seek to rob man of his freedom, to beguile him by various arts of deception, and who exercise a tyrannical sway over the things of this world. Accordingly, in the system of these Sabseans, the seven Planet-Spirits, and the twelve Star-Spirits of the zodiac, who sprang from an irregular connection between the cheated Fetahil and the Spirit of Darkness, play an important part in everything that is bad. The Demiurge is a limited and limiting being, proud, jealous, and revengeful; and this his character betrays itself in the Old Testament, which, the Gnostics held, came from him. They transferred to the Demiurge himself, whatever in the idea of God, as presented by the Old Testament, appeared to them defective. Against his will and rule the V\T) was continually rebelling, revolting without control againsl the dominion which he, the fashioner, would exercise over it.
          > >
          > > Casting off the yoke imposed on it, and destroying the work he had begun. The same jealous being, limited in his power, ruling with despotic sway, they imagined they saw in nature. He strives to check the germination of the divine seeds of life which the Supreme God of Holiness and Love, who has no connection whatever with the sensible world, has scattered among men. That perfect God was at most known and worshipped in mysteries by a few spiritual men. Ibid. p. 557-559
          > >
          > > I hope this might help the discussion,
          > > Mark
          > >
          > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@> wrote:
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "esapress@" <esapress@> wrote:
          > > > >
          > > > > Typically, I think it's safe to say that I tend to keep my faith/beliefs pertaining to is/is not a supreme being/creator/god, so on, to myself. Feels private, is private I think.
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > Terrie, that is fine, of course.
          > > >
          > > > I've been reading everyone's contributions, and I'd be interested to know if anyone has read Pike's take on this "Supreme Being" that has been mentioned, and how it might compare to the Gnostic concept of ultimate reality.
          > > >
          > > > For those of you not familiar with ancient Gnostic writings, below is a link to an example of one scripture, The Secret Book of John, that tries to explain the unexplainable. Perhaps you have other examples, too, you'd like to use for comparison:
          > > >
          > > > http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn.html
          > > >
          > > > Thanks,
          > > > Cari
          > > >
          > >
          >
        • lady_caritas
          ... Mark, your contributions are always welcome. Thank you for your effort. I ll have to do a bit more reading in this area myself. Perhaps someone will pick
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 14, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <larockpitts@...> wrote:
            >
            > Cari,
            >
            > I wish I had something more to add to this conversation. There was something about the rhetoric in this thread that seemed to "dangle." Kind of like "a pie in the sky" approach. I hoped that by adding something more concrete to the discussion, it would provide something that would actually feed us. Assertions alone barely whet the appetite.
            >
            > Masonry is gnosis--but that is a long, long, long way from Masonry is Gnosticism.
            >
            > I tried.
            >
            > Mark
            >


            Mark, your contributions are always welcome. Thank you for your effort. I'll have to do a bit more reading in this area myself.

            Perhaps someone will pick up this thread later or start a new subject.

            Cari
          • esapress@ymail.com
            Cari, Mark, I ve also been enjoying this discussion, and I m very much looking forward to reading Pike more thoroughly; at the moment though I m in the process
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 14, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              Cari, Mark,

              I've also been enjoying this discussion, and I'm very much looking forward to reading Pike more thoroughly; at the moment though I'm in the process of moving and so I can't really comment as yet.

              I think in due course there will be a lot to talk about - really fascinating.

              Terrie

              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <larockpitts@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Cari,
              > >
              > > I wish I had something more to add to this conversation. There was something about the rhetoric in this thread that seemed to "dangle." Kind of like "a pie in the sky" approach. I hoped that by adding something more concrete to the discussion, it would provide something that would actually feed us. Assertions alone barely whet the appetite.
              > >
              > > Masonry is gnosis--but that is a long, long, long way from Masonry is Gnosticism.
              > >
              > > I tried.
              > >
              > > Mark
              > >
              >
              >
              > Mark, your contributions are always welcome. Thank you for your effort. I'll have to do a bit more reading in this area myself.
              >
              > Perhaps someone will pick up this thread later or start a new subject.
              >
              > Cari
              >
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