This is a story I wrote to expound on the tenets of Aquarian Gnosticism, aka Sophianity. Remember that this is the ultimate text in the Sophian Bible project I’ve described in an earlier entry.
The Acts of Mary and the Sophians
These are the experiences of Mary Magdalene, the sole person to witness the totality of God’s Plan, as well as her followers who called themselves the Sophians. All of the covenant devoted their lives to spreading wisdom across the seven corners of the world, so that future generations might prepare for the coming union of mankind with God. The following account comes down to us from firsthand observances and complementary research by her student, Pneumaphila, whose honesty is well attested among the community of believers.
The Revelation of Sophia and Mary (as transcribed by Psychephilus) is the written source of Mary’s first vision, that which was taken in the company of the Holy Spirit of Wisdom, whose name lends itself to our fellowship. According to the tradition of her apostles, of whom Psychephilus and your truthful Pneumaphila are two, Mary would go on to have seven additional visions over the course of her evangel, each of which shall be described in the following text, along with her good deeds.
Upon her return from Heaven on the first Easter, Mary Magdalene’s path quickly intersected with that of Barabbas, a pardoned zealot, whose life was owed to the whims of some fickle Judean mob. For the sake of narrative convenience, this text shall begin with Barabbas’ background up to the point where he first met Mary, for he was many years her senior and already a notable figure in his own right before joining her in the Commission of Christ.
This text shall be divided into eight books demarcated with bagua trigrams (which shall group together a series of related events) and subdivided into 30 chapters based on the Anglo-Latin alphabet (which demarcate specific visions or anecdotes within each larger book).
☷ Acts of Barabbas and the Zealots
A. The Secrets of Mithraism
Jesus Barabbas (henceforth simply “Barabbas” to avoid confusion with our Lord) was the illegitimate son of a poor Hebrew woman and a Roman legionary stationed in the Judean province. He is said to have been 50 years old in the time of Jesus’ resurrection. At the urging of his mother, the young man enlisted in the local division of auxilia as a means to obtain Roman citizenship and therefore a better life, but he never finished the 25-year term of service. We know this experience left Barabbas with a deep loathing for Rome’s domination of the world, yet an appreciation for its exploitable superstitions all the same. The embittered youth, disillusioned by the perceived weakness of his own culture to prevent this foreign subjugation, sought to analyze all information of the Hellenic-Latin culture for vulnerabilities he could exploit. With the powerful weapons of knowledge and charisma at his disposal, Barabbas vowed to liberate his unworthy heritage from tyranny, as a sleeper agent within the Roman war machine.
While campaigning against the Parthians as part of the Roman military, Barabbas hijacked an emerging faith called Mithraism for his own design. He corrupted its doctrine as a means to corral the Roman legionaries and coordinate their movements while off-duty. Barabbas recognized the spiritual vacuousness of his enemies’ religion, which was built on: (1) vacuous transactional rituals as well as (2) convoluted bureaucracy, (3) half-understood archaic traditions and (4) contradictions within their largely imported pantheon. Through these shortcomings, he brought men something simple and inspiring in the figure of Mithras: a merger of the Persian Mithra with our own popular analogue of Heracles-Melqart; which is to say, the pinnacle of male values and virility personified. This heroic ideal both inspired the best in all men and shamed the provincials for living under the servitude of another man, in the form of emperor-worship.
The details of this cynically-manufactured ethos are largely unclear to us today, but we know Barabbas used the religion to organize several rendezvous with Roman infantrymen so that they would be unarmed, unaware and intoxicated as the result of its arcane cult practices. Once the legionaries had been herded into their small underground sanctums with only one exit, a band of allied zealots could slaughter them with minimal risk. Barabbas became a hero to the emerging resistance factions of Galilee, and ultimately abandoned his duties in the foreigners’ army to join with his true people. What little is remembered of Barabbas’ utilitarian dogma shall be recounted below, in the interest of historical posterity:
- The details have been lost over time, but supposedly there were seven steps of membership into the cult, represented by a ladder of seven rungs with corresponding civic crowns and star-wanderers. (Keter for the Sun, Olive for the Moon, Laurel for Mercury, Polos for Venus, Grass for Mars, Oak for Jove, and a Diadem of Four Feathers for Saturn.) The first seven numbers between twin primes (4, 6, 12, 18, 30, 42, 60) also played some key role in the various ceremonies, with ever expanding requirements to reach the next step of initiation, though the specific requirements are no longer remembered. Those who rose high enough in the secret society were taught a secret password and handshake to identify themselves to fellow high-ranking members in public.
- Barabbas’ most well known act in this period was his “sermon in the cave,” in which he introduced man’s taming of fire as a gift from Mithras, whose blows sparked thunderous lightning on Earth. Barabbas described the flame’s ability to project shadows on the wall as an illustration of the ever-expanding impact we have on the world around us with our actions. Upon leaving the cave, Barabbas would then demonstrate how God’s Fire (the Sun) in turn cast shadows on the Earth and Moon. (The various eclipses were marked with sacred feast days in this cult.) Then when the sun set, Barabbas explained that God projects Their own paradoxically luminous shadows across the sky through the constellations. This reliance on light and shadow coexisting as the binary logic within all Creation became a key tenet of Mithraism. All good actions have unintended negative consequences and evil cannot be completely destroyed in this plane of existence. One and zero were the hidden symbols of God’s Light and Shadow–the potential of an individual along with the fear of failure and obscurity in pursuit of greatness.
- Mithras tamed the first dog as his loyal companion, whom he named Verethragna. Supposedly, there were so many women who threw themselves at Mithras wherever he went that he could never get around to honoring all of them with his own seed. (Or else he would have spent his whole life in one place, a prisoner of his own harem, as are all men who live solely for the approval of women.) As a result, some less proud among these admirers lay with Verethragna instead, in a humiliating effort to show favor. (Or, perhaps in acceptance of whatever menial capacity in which they could make themselves useful or amusing to their precious Mithras.) This seemingly minor anecdote was used to justify the complete submission of femininity to a self-sufficient masculine apex–the intended paradigm of a Mithraic society.
- Barabbas described the Underworld as an inner geological darkness called Duzakh within the Earth itself. It remained tethered to Heaven by the Chinvat Bridge, which is the Axis Mundi running through Jerusalem between its two ends, which pulls the world along its orbit like a chain. This spiritual pathway was said to be guarded by Cerberus, a dog with three heads and four eyes. (Confusingly, each head had its own name as well, with the central “Charon” framed by “Orthrus” on the right and “Orthus” on the left.) In the Underworld, souls were said to be judged in a trial with Typhon as their prosecuting attorney who always advocates for severe punishment. Mithras himself would stand in their defense as long as they had never broken any legal contracts while alive. Metis (who is all knowing,) served as their sole character witness and Rashnu as the judge. In borderline cases, Rashnu weighed the heart of the deceased against its volume in gold. The souls of the wicked were cowed into remaining in Hell by Cerberus, while those of the righteous were guarded along their ascent by Verethragna, who is most faithful.
- Barabbas utilized a primitive forebear to the Simonian conception of Sophia. She was characterized as a misguided angel who created the world to honor Jehovah, though her imperfections inevitably seeped into its design, thereby causing all our suffering. Barabbas equated this archetypal figure with Anahita, the Iranian goddess of holy waters. In his cosmology, Mithras redeemed Anahita’s flawed creation by proving that perfection could arise spontaneously from within it, as he (Mithras) had done. The self-begotten hero thereafter took Anahita’s sentence in the Underworld, which she had earned through her insolence in creating the obscene material plane at all. Mithras carried his forgiven goddess across the infinite bridge to Heaven, then returned to take her place in Hell. His aim was to hold the wicked Typhon in check, so that all future souls would have a chance to be spared from the demon’s wrath. In this way, Mithras embodied forgiveness and nobility as well as brute strength while redeeming his own mother, the very planet under our feet.
- Barabbas conceived of twins named Cautes and Cautopes (also called Tishtrya and Tiri in eastern traditions, Arsu and Azizos in Asia Minor as well as Alexiares and Anicetus in the west). They observed Mithras’ good deeds and reported his glories to Heaven and Hell simultaneously. (“As above, so below.”) The twins were said to represent the positive and negative consequences of Mithras’ actions, as well as clockwise and counterclockwise, past and future. Supposedly, the two were fated by their very nature to disagree on everything, but the one opinion they shared was a genuine appreciation for Mithras alone among men. They wore the same phrygian cap as their idol, who used the garment to symbolize man’s freedom to forge his own destiny.
- Mithras’ most iconic labor proved to be the tauroctony of a whited bull named Apis, symbolizing man’s dominion over even the mightiest beasts of nature. The great ox had been laden with pearls, bred specifically for sacrifice (taurobolium) to a false-god or else worshiped by heathen barbarians in itself. Mithras killed the bull unceremoniously with a small knife as a rejection of the foreigners’ bureaucratic rituals and feminine domestication. After slaying the creature, he invited the true god Sol Invictus, to join with him as equals (!) in a feast of its flesh. All manner of men were disgusted by this audacious gesture at first sight. Yet, to their astonishment, not only was the offer accepted but Sol Invictus adopted Mithras as his sole heir immediately thereafter. As a further reward for his courage, Mithras was chosen to escort the wayward innocence personified–a figure who would later be equated with the Sophian Moonchild–across Heaven to the safety of her Father’s court. But first, he needed to free this most esteemed of consorts from the clutches of the lion-headed one.
- For this embodiment-figure of evil, Barabbas had combined the Greek Chimera (“Winter Storm”) and the Hebrew Satan (“Great Adversary”) into one creature: (1) with a lion’s head representing the cardinal sin of pride, (2) a goat’s body for disobedience, (3) a hydra’s tail for cruelty, (4) bat’s wings for cowardice, as well as (5) a human voice which spoke only in lies and hypocrisy, for greed. This figure was the source of all evil according to Mithraic doctrine, and he was known as Ariman-Zahak.
- Ariman-Zahak was said to personify time as a negative force of decay. Ariman had armor engraved with the head of a goat, carried a scepter in his right hand with keys in his left, and wore a wreath of phasganion around a modius. Two snakes entwined his body. There was one called Apep, who had a lion’s head and raven feathers, compelling its host to wickedness. The other was named Anguitenens, with a horse head and quills, who professed compassion. Mithras cut off Zahak’s own face, lion-like in the image of his favored advisor, and thereafter brought it to life again as the female divine-child, who was known as Bastemis (Bastet-Artemis). She became Mithras’ companion across the cosmos, as he guided her through the celestial equator like the Earth shepherds the moon along its orbit. In doing so, Mithras proved that the sins of the parent are not a child’s burden to bear, that no one is born with a debt to pay. Mithras sacrificed his own immortality in bestowing his afterlife to the unproven, imperfect and even insipid successor of evil. In this way, he redeemed the Heavens from Earth, reversing the established hierarchy.
- After several lifetimes, the presumed corpse of Ariman-Zahak rose again in the likeness of an anguiped were-rooster called Abraxas to plague mankind once more. The serpentine-counselors were revealed to be legs as well as the true host of his mind. The two vipers had feuded for centuries in desperate boredom, driving each other to madness. Their personalities devolved into that of Ialtabaut (“Daughter of the Void”) and Nadiscordia (“Son of Discord”). Abraxas carried a pentagram-inscribed shield and lashes, while screaming an endless racket of nonsensical profanities. Despite no longer holding dominion over the physical plane, he still found ways of troubling its denizens in his tantrums. (This part of the doctrine was meant to explain the resilience of evil even in the face of tremendous good on Earth. In this way, mortal men had to continue the struggle against wickedness in the absence of Mithras, or his immortal sacrifice would be in vain.)
- Finally, upon reuniting with her Father of Sun, Bastemis transformed again: from a Nemean Lioness into a womanly figure. She gifted her lion-pelt to Mithras as a keepsake of their affair, which he fashioned it into a hooded cloak. With Her, Mithras sired 7 successors, all associated with the Pleiades asterism. Later in life, he produced 5 additional children for the Hyades, with as many mortal women. (All of their identities remain obscure to us today, though one was famous for her obesity and would not have fit the traditional standard of beauty, because a true man has sex with whomever he wants.) Of these 12 progeny, the only one whose name we know of is that of a daughter called Ashi, who was said to be Mithras’ charioteer and overall favorite person. Over the course of these romantic dalliances, Mithras saw fit to purge the world of the abyzou furies–a race of women with retractable stingers in their sheaths, painted faces like cobras’ hoods, voices like sirens and claws of panthera. Thus, man would forevermore fornicate without fear of women, as he was always meant to.
- As his final act of charity towards mankind, Mithras slayed the fire-breathing giant known as Cacus, who resided atop the world’s tallest peak. There, Mithras made his palace, which he fashioned from oak, gold, diamond and stone where appropriate. He raised seven pillars from the roof, designed to hold up the sky so man would not be troubled by celestial phenomena ever again. Each of the five women who bore Mithras his sons (the previously mentioned Hyades) had known the honor of being carried up this mountainside in his arms, to experience the greatest orgasm any man could possibly bestow, in the most handsome castle imaginable.
- Eventually, so many lesser men pledged fealty to Mithras that he carved a network of passages and dwellings from within the mountain so they could remain under his watchful protection. In this way, the first nation of the world was founded by a meritoriously-ascendant alpha-male standing above his servile orbiters, as must be the case for all successful polities. At the end of his life, Mithras took all the adolescent boys atop the highest tower of his estate. There, he presented them with the long shadow cast by his mountain. “That’s the mark I’ve left on the world my children, a mighty sundial built with my bare hands. I made the most of my time in life, and you can too if you’re willing to work as hard as me. I have remade aging itself into a positive for you men, where it remains the ruin of women. For them, youth will be fleeting and beauty shall fade…but in yourselves, legacy grows and stature accrues. In the next life, you may stand as tall as I: on the backs of the opponents you have slain, the totality of agreements you’ve honored, and in the collective reputation among your peers.” These were the final words of Mithras, who grew so powerful and massive that he finally sank right through the Earth itself, rejoining the fiery womb of Mother Nature to be forged again as our eternal protector in the afterlife.
Barabbas created Mithras to be the idealized male role model, who sculpted himself from the Earth independently of any deity, independently of Adam’s origin, and went on to tame it to an extent the mortal lineage never could. These same core principles would carry over into Barabbas’ later conception of the Messiah as a solitary warrior archetype. (See Chapter C.) In this way, Barabbas merged the biblical Hebrew savior with the philanthropic hero of pagan epic, to great effect. He unified Jew and gentile to a degree no one else dared try before the coming of Jesus, through a shared desire to regain their manly pride in the face of foreign oppression.
B. Barabbas and John the Baptist
After Barabbas had taken the Mithraic ruse as far as it could go, he deserted the army about halfway through his term of service, though the cult would take on a life all its own in his absence. He openly associated with the zealots at last, but soon after suggested they officially disband in order to independently gather recruit. This way, no Roman counter-offensive could snuff out the fledgling movement all at once. (Later in life, several of these “sleeper agents” rejoined with Barabbas, after his forthcoming sicarii exploits gained notoriety among the Jewish resistance.) Seeking refuge and purpose again, he settled in with the growing commune of John the Baptist, at first using them as a shield against detection. Still a relatively young man at this time of his life, Barabbas soon came to admire the tenacity of John after a time. This enthusiastic mentor of genuine spirituality had amassed one of the largest followings among any teacher Judea had ever seen. In John, Barabbas found a new appreciation for the Hebrew customs of his ancestry and a taste of what it meant to sincerely believe in something. In fact, the Baptist is said to be the only mortal man whom Barabbas ever recognized as his leader and overall superior.
It is said that John’s description of God as the living waters spoke to Barabbas, whose previous doctrine had venerated the angelic Anahita in the same manner. Having been exposed to some Greek philosophy in his prior fraternizations with the enemy–and loathe to admit he agreed with some of it–Barabbas noticed similar kernels of wisdom in John. For example, the metaphor of never being able to step in the same river twice, as “everything flows” and change is the only constant in life. Similarly, the emphasis on knowledge (“Manda”) above all seemed to justify his (Barabbas) prior use of intelligence-gathering of the Greco-Roman world to use against them. While not initially a tenet of his old Mithraic faith, John’s motif of syzygies (opposites creating balance: male/female, left/right, day/night, etc) greatly influenced Barabbas’ cosmology for the rest of his life, as did the concept of God’s successive emanations through multiple generations of creation. John’s Yushamin, Abatur and Ptahil became Barabbas’ seven ages and expanding number of syzygies later. Where John described the primordial abyss as like a world-egg waiting for the cool embrace of God’s water droplet so as to burst into existence, Barabbas would adapt the metaphor into a dormant explosive awaiting the spark of God’s fire.
Initially doubtful of Barabbas’ conviction, John eventually found in his new convert a fiery orator and passionate recruiter. Still, after a time it was feared that Barabbas’ force of personality might overshadow that of his teacher. In addition, the brash upstart had quickly alienated himself from certain older members of the congregation, particularly the arch-conservative Menander. For where Menander argued in favor of circumcision to ensure a completely ascetic lifestyle, Barabbas protested the loss of dignity such a procedure would inflict upon its victims. It was Barabbas’ further position that clergy remain bachelors but not necessarily celibate, as Menander proposed. Barabbas even stated that young women ought to make themselves available for commitment-free sex to priests as their own unique service to the church. Where many religious movements at this time professed a certain depravity was inherent to the material body, Barabbas stood nearly alone as the champion of manly physique and instinct. He celebrated the pursuit of conquest in all its flavors, channeled the urges which came with it in himself and others, reasoning that man was made in God’s holy image.
For these reasons, Barabbas was eventually sent away on a vague pilgrimage to Egypt so as to diffuse tensions within the growing community. Barabbas took this assignment in stride, for he was eager to avoid discovery by the Romans, as was sure to come from staying in one place for too long. He promised to return with expanded knowledge and new converts from Alexandria, whose library he was eager to peruse. While there, Barabbas would go on to be inspired by Egyptian astrology as well as their own brief flirtation with monotheism via the religion of Atenism. His sermons, which consisted of John’s Mandaean scripture embellished by the old Mithraic-machismo, went over very well with crowds. Many future generations of teachers, each expanding upon the Gnostic tradition in their own way, adapted their theologies from Barabbas’ unique rhetoric. While there, he paid his respects to Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra, as their deaths meant that the last bastion of freedom against Caesarian world-conquest had fallen.
Along the way to Egypt, Barabbas had encountered the man Jesus of Nazareth, who was heading north from a pilgrimage to India and Mecca. Jesus claimed He was looking for some way in which to announce Himself, some popular gathering He could attach His influence to. Barabbas treated the man with great skepticism, but revealed the location of John’s followers in Antioch and called them “the one true faith left in the world.” After the stranger departed, Barabbas sent his companion, the loyal zealot Judas Iscariot, to follow Jesus, spy on His activities and if possible direct His efforts against the Romans. Unfortunately, Jesus’ message contradicted strongly with what Barabbas had in mind for a re-militarized Israel, and Judas (while personally reverent of his new master) remained firm in his hatred for Rome above all else. Years later these two would independently develop animosities toward Jesus’ pacifism. Judas independently conspired to betray Him so that Barabbas would have less competition for the hearts and minds of the Jews.
C. Barabbas and Simon Magus
Barabbas returned from his ministry in Egypt with many followers of his own only to find that the late John had been replaced by an imaginative heretic called Simon Magus, who now presided over a ministry of 30. (John had been ignominiously beheaded on the orders of Herod Antipas only a few months before.) Simon was displeased to see Barabbas at the head of a small company, for he had always envied the other man’s stature among the original congregation, and had only just wrestled his leadership role away from the ailing Dositheos. Simon feared that with the return of his old competitor, Barabbas’ natural gravitas and towering frame would displace him into a subordinate position. This is why, when Barabbas approached the camp of the Simonians expecting a triumphant welcome, he saw them assembled in a defensive phalanx.
Barabbas reminded these would-be adversaries of his prestige among the hierarchy of the old Baptist, and challenged their new leader to meet him face to face. At this, Simon shouted from his central position: “Where we go one we go all, you wretched heathen! Now begone, for we know thee not!” allowing Barabbas to aim his sling at the source of this slander and shoot. Simon flinched in fear but could not flee, for he was stuck in the tight formation of his own making. The ill-fated pretender took a single blow to the head and fell backward on the ground.
Barabbas was unanimously accepted as the de facto leader of the joint contingent from then on. He ordered that Simon’s wounds be mended, and the attempted-usurper was generously tended to at all times. Simon had been married to a beautiful former prostitute named Helen, who was now venerated as the personification of the creator-angel, Sophia, whose redemption from ignorance mirrored Helen’s own rise to holy stature. Once her husband had been dethroned, however, the terrified damsel threw herself at the new dominant male, hoping to maintain a privileged station among this new social order. Of course, Helen would later have to justify this shameless betrayal when Simon eventually awoke, which she could not do. Barabbas took great delight in stoning the woman to death according to Mosaic law, thereby delegitimizing his rival and teaching the men that with God there was no need to subserviate oneself to women anymore.
Barabbas was aware the lowly magus would be disgraced by this cuckoldry, but protested years later that he never intended what unfolded next. For Simon, in an effort to prove his continuing favor with God despite these recent humiliations, promised to fly on a carpet from the tallest building in Samaria into Jerusalem. Upon attempting to do so, he fell and broke into three pieces, where Barabbas dug a latrine pit to mark his final victory. (“Always to the sheol with blasphemers, thou false prophet!”) Simon’s remains were entombed within the filth for all time, though local traditions maintain that this manure sired a mighty oak.
Barabbas kept most of the growing coalition of former Simonians in Jerusalem, attempting to unite the doctrines between them and all other Eastern Mediterranean religions into an anti-imperialist credo. (Of Simon’s men, there were 2 notable breakaways when Barabbas took over: his old rival Menander and the subordinate Saturninus who established their own ministry in the north shortly thereafter.) Many of these radical new teachings were considered heresy to orthodox Jews, but Barabbas maintained that the ends of a unified front against foreign oppression justified the means of perverting canon. The central tenet of his “religious” ethos was that all major Gods are really different identifies attributed to the one true being. Each age was a further division of the divine wonder into a new set of cultural hegemons, and Rome’s imperial cult had usurped the place of the real multifaceted God. Barabbas’ effectiveness during this period mostly depended on prevailing anti-Roman sentiment among the provincials as well as his unique persuasiveness. His religion was too light on doctrine or exegesis to cultivate a genuinely self-sustaining philosophical movement without both factors already in place.
Barabbas refined the cosmology of John and Simon by proposing that there were seven ages of creation: stellar, stone, gold, silver, bronze, iron, and spirit.
In the first age, the Big Bang expansion of the universe, God was Shamash (the Matter) and Shapash (the Antimatter.)
In the second age, the coalescing of dust into stars and planets, God was Shahar (Fire/Plasma) and Shalim (Water/Liquid) as well as Ouranos (Air/Gas) and Gaea (Earth/Solid).
In the third age, the birth of life on Earth, God was Attar (Eubacteria) /Anat (Archae) + Chronos (Fungi) /Rhea (Protista) + Isis (Plants) /Osirus (Animals).
In the fourth age, the birth of civilization among men, God was Mot/Aresta + Phoebe/Coeus + Ahura Mazda/Angra Mainyu + Amun/Amunet. (The eight valence electrons which facilitate “community” among atoms into molecules, as well as the eight trigrams.)
In the fifth age, the birth of strife and discord among men, God was Zeus/Hera + Apollo/Luna + Brahma/Lakshmi + Anubis/Anput + Nuha/Ruda. (10 Avatars in India, 10 Sephirot in Israel, and the Tetractys in the North Western Greece, all representing the divide in civilization.)
In the sixth age, the birth of the new religious covenant among the faithful, God is Yahweh/Ashtart + Quirinus/Hersilia + Orotalt/Alilat + Horus/Hathor + Shiva/Parvati + Vishnu/Mahadevi. (12 constellations of the zodiac, universal points of orientation to bring us together again.)
Finally, in the seventh age, in the great reckoning to come, God is El/Elat the male and female, the yin and yang whose interplay has guided all of time. The many confusing personas of the different provinces under Rome’s yoke will rise up as one and take on the common cause of freedom. After their inevitable victory, the last remaining syzygy will itself fold into oneness as the ultimate singularity of all things, into the androgynous Being known currently as Shakti (to India), Elkunirsa (to Mesopotamia), Ymir (to Germania), Neith (to Egypt), Protogonus (to Greece), Allah (to Arabia), Zurvan (to Persia) and Pangu (to China), who is the alpha and omega.
Barabbas taught that every syzygy of male-female brought with them a new emissary, with the progeny of the first age representing the coming Messiah (who was always referred to as “Immanuel” in this tradition). This figure guided the development of the world from the chaos of His parent’s creation, and will return in the seventh age to destroy Rome and its heresies. Every prophet of the second through sixth ages represented a further fracturing of the messiah’s perfect ideology, through the ongoing religious diversity of mankind’s polities. It was this figure, largely borrowed from Barabbas’ time as a Mithraic preacher, who most inspired the followers of his otherwise arbitrary cosmology. All the men longed to prove themselves worthy of such a heroic ideal, and Barabbas loved to exaggerate the feats of Immanuel to encourage these ambitions.
Barabbas was eventually made aware that others in Jerusalem were hailing the Nazarene he had met previously as the messiah, but remained unimpressed upon finally hearing His message. Still, based on the strength of Jesus’ growing popularity, Barabbas offered that they should join forces against Rome, but Jesus rebuked him: “In my world, there will be no more killing. Those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” Barabbas asked if kind words would save Israel from tyranny and Jesus replied “Men like you will save the world from tyranny,” which Barabbas took as an admission of defeat from his rival. Barabbas was further aware of Jesus’ female companion, the one called Mary Magdalene, whom he equated with Simon’s Helen. (Which is to say, Barabbas thought of Mary as nothing but a sycophantic harlot whose very presence revealed the moral weaknesses of her master.)
D. Barabbas and Jesus of Nazareth
For many of the Hebrews, Barabbas was a great champion in the post-occupation “Era of the Zealot.” Under his leadership, the former Simonians adopted tactics of the sicarii faction. This means that they concealed weapons to murder Roman officers and their Jewish apologists in crowd settings, then blended into the confusion before regrouping to strike again. There was a halfhearted effort to justify such acts with his afore-stated cosmopolitan theology, but most men needed little convincing to kill their foreign occupiers. So great was their loyalty to Barabbas that none of his crew, few that were ever captured alive, dared give his name to the authorities. But the Judean people knew who was waging this guerilla war, and regardless of how they may find his methods, they too would not betray their fearsome anti-hero, Barabbas the Butcher.
It was during one such assault where Barabbas was apprehended for the death of a Roman sentry, whom he had lured into an ambush during a riot at the temple. As it happens, this disturbance had been independently caused by Jesus’ rebuke of the pharisees, for which He Himself would be arrested later that night. Many in the crowd who attempted to flee the commotion, or investigate it, were cut down in a retaliatory strike by Roman arms. Jesus remained to heal the wounded, and Barabbas gave himself away as a conspirator by trying to rush the Holy One as He restored a maimed legionary. (The one called Longinus, who would go on to pierce the newfound Savior’s side during crucifixion, so as to end the Lord’s suffering prematurely.) Roman patrols allowed the Nazarene to leave the scene in gratitude. They dragged His would-be murderer to their prefect, the infamous Pontius Pilate, for judgement. Due to the the blood on Barabbas’ knife and his intended target’s lack of apparent injury, it was determined that he must also be the assassin of the fallen sentry. Pilate was as eager to schedule the public crucifixion as his men were to execute it, so as to make an example for all sicarii.
Meanwhile, Jesus’ demonstration of supernatural powers, His willingness to rebuke the priestly class and His friendly overtures to the Romans all worried the Sanhedrin. They arrested our Lord of their own false-authority that very night, with the help of Judas Iscariot. The traitorous zealot resented that his old compatriot Barabbas should be silenced while the “leader of submission” go free. The Sanhedrin petitioned Pilate vigorously for an audience so that this new threat to their prestige might also be put to death, and only reluctantly was this granted. Pontius could find no material fault with the man, but offered His fate up to the crowd as a compromise, so that tensions within Judea might cool.
According to a local custom, the governor could allow the masses to determine which of two condemned men might be spared execution. Those assembled chose to free their champion Barabbas, who had accrued the reputation of a would-be liberator for several years in Jerusalem by this time, over the controversial preacher who had seemingly thrown the city to ruin in a series of vain publicity stunts almost overnight. Pilate felt guilt-ridden to execute the docile man and said to his condemners: “Fine, then let his blood be on your conscience and those of your children, for all eternity! Mine own hands are clean!”
All the same, when Barabbas was released to the public, he found his reputation in tatters among most of his old followers and the wider community. There were those who lost loved ones in the altercation of his arrest, and all preceding attacks, but feared to speak out for Jesus lest an imminent sicarii raid break out to silence dissent. There were those who found Barabbas’ unwillingness to die for his own cause (at the loss of an innocent man’s life, no less) to be emasculating, in sharp contrast to the infallible icon that he pretended to be. There were also far more supporters of Jesus than those in Pilate’s assembly, and they resented that a man who gives life should die so a “common bandit” could go on amounting to nothing. Barabbas had hoped to emerge from the trial as a beloved patriot with a rejuvenated following, but ultimately found himself alone at the taverns, drowning his sorrows for the following three days. He could not bring himself to witness the crucifixion of the Great Benefactor who had taken his place, who did not deserve to be so tortured, who embodied the guilt of all mankind and especially himself (Barabbas) for all time.
Of the former Simonians, some followed the next most confident among them, the one called Setteus (later renamed “Seth-Ra” in reference to the Egyptian god), into Egypt. They began the tradition of Sethian Gnosticism. Their leader, Seth-Ra, claimed to be a physical reincarnation and philosophical inheritor of the titular son of Adam. It was Seth, the first man born of women and the first to never disobey God, whom they equated with the ever-reborn messiah. Later, this covenant outlived its founder, whose reputation diminished greatly against the figure of Jesus in generations to come. So, followers of subsequent iterations of this doctrine claimed that Jesus, rather than Seth-Ra, was the reincarnated messianic Seth of the Torah. Others formed new radical factions and planned further violence against Rome. More still were left totally dispirited and apathetic; with Barabbas’ arrest, suddenly the threat of retribution felt too real for them to continue their old ways.
The orthodox Christian tradition makes no mention of Barabbas’ involvement in God’s plan beyond this depressing end state. For us among the elect few, let it be known that the truth is far more complex. The Lord had always intended that Barabbas and Mary enmesh in the first Human Syzygy after His passing. During the judgement of the masses, Jesus had pointed out Mary Magdalene to Barabbas and said “Man, behold your wife.” Then He turned to Mary’s gaze and said the words “Woman, behold your husband,” while pointing to Barabbas. The Lord’s beloved disciple was horrified by His intentions, but resigned herself to them without protest. However, her new counterpart assumed that he was to be made financially responsible for his rival’s own soon-to-be widow, and would have no part in it. Barabbas deliberately snubbed Mary’s attempts to meet upon his release, which did not endear him to the early apostolic Christians whom she turned to for comfort in his place. In truth, he had half a mind to stone Mary as a temptress like Helen before her, should she press the false claim of their marriage.
☶ Redemption of the Judeans
E. Mary and the Twelve Apostles
Mary Magdalene had been forced into slavery and prostitution early in life, in order to settle her father’s outstanding debts upon his sudden demise. At all times, the destitute young woman recited what she could remember of the scriptures in order to endure her fate. When salvation did not come, on more than one occasion Mary was even tempted to pray to the foreign gods whose names she’d heard among the clientele. She endured this misery for several years before finally running away and surviving off her charms along with the generosity of others. Eventually, she found herself in the company of Jesus and, impressed by His message of peace and love, begged to live among the disciples. She washed and kissed His feet, then spent the last of her savings on sacred oils to anoint Him with. Mary said “forgive me Father for I have sinned,” and confessed that she abandoned her lawful master.
The Lord responded “Thou have only abandoned the false masters of the Earthly dung heap: they who must use force, usury and financial manipulations to gain men’s submission, for they cannot command hearts and minds, nor have they received the authority to do so from above. With thine spirit, you have always been loyal to your one true Lord. Join me, my child, and I will see that you are able to achieve your full potential. You have more to offer the world than the pleasures of your flesh; you have the biting wit of Hortensia and the tender heart of Shoshana both.”
From then on, Mary Magdalene was the truest disciple of Jesus’ Ministry, as well as His most favored companion. She loved her Savior platonically, romantically, patriotically (as her people’s messiah) and ecclesiastically (as her personal Lord and Benefactor). She loved Him as a daughter loves her father, as a sister loves her brother and as a bride loves her bridegroom. And Jesus loved Mary especially in turn, as much as He allowed Himself to show favoritism to any one of His creations. (For this, Mary was resented by the Twelve, especially Simon Peter who saw her as a threat to his “rightful” place as hand-picked successor of the movement.)
However, it was Simon who first proclaimed that Jesus was the messiah, and for this he was called “Peter:” the rock upon which the church should be built. (With this, the disciples were glad of the opportunity to take Mary down a peg, calling attention to her supposed lack of faith. Mary internalized this as a great personal failure, and overcompensated by always aspiring to be a better student, as an insecure ward strives for the approval of their adopted guardian.)
Mary alone had the gumption to ask “why” and “how” as often as she could, in order to ascertain the full meaning behind the Lord’s every instruction. (For which she was appreciated by Thomas, who always wished to appear smarter than he was by pretending to understand everything immediately. Though Simon Peter chose to interpret this as “a shameful lack of intuition” on Mary’s part.)
Mary alone submitted herself to the same rejuvenating exorcisms as the Lord performed for the sick and demented, professing a desire to know the invigorating sensation of His touch. (For which she was envied by John, who lacked the courage to ask for the same, but defamed by Simon as “perverting the ascetic purity of the spirit with bodily sensation.”)
Mary alone stripped herself of the cynicism associated with bitter experience, thereby regaining the optimistic faith of the innocent. Forever after, she had the kindest heart, a child’s appreciation for the mundane as well as a contrarily endowed wisdom beyond her years. She was the perfect recipient of God’s Word and the chosen representative of His Love on Earth. She eagerly shared all thoughts and observations in a jovial, forthcoming manner. (For which she was admired by Andrew, who was too afraid to express himself sincerely, but derided by Simon as “a typically vain and vapid woman.”)
On the day of the judgement, Mary cried louder for her Lord’s salvation than anyone else in the crowd. (“Even that murderer Barabbas wants nothing to do with the likes of her.”) On the day of the crucifixion, Mary wept longer for her Lord’s suffering than any other spectator. (“Virtue-signalling snipe.”) On the day of the resurrection, Mary alone bore the shock of the empty tomb and chose to remain there despite her fear, in vigil for the Great Teacher. (“A boastful show of false piety.”)
This enduring loyalty was rewarded when the Lord appeared before her, bearing the good news of life everlasting. As Mary embraced Jesus, He said to her: “Let go of me, for your affections are better served among the desolate. I know your love well, and I have loved you in return. But from now on, you shall accept wisdom from other sources than Myself, because I must ascend to my Father. I leave you with the Holy Spirit of Sophia, who will reveal all that is hidden. Then you must redeem your husband and bring him into my commission, for you will do more good together than apart.”
To this, Mary uttered what would be her final words to the Lord Jesus: “I have followed your teachings in life as my Master. I have broken bread with You as my friend, and shared blood as my sibling. I have been vulnerable to You as my confidante. I have cherished You as my Father in spirit and Bridegroom in flesh. I have observed Your miracles and bore witness to the truth. I have benefited from Your sacrifice as my redeemer. I know You would never do me harm and yet all the same I fear You, Lord. I fear anything that can do what You have the ability to do, and who would create what you have chosen to create. And I fear knowledge as much as ignorance, for its ability to free mankind from the shackles of confusion is tempered by a responsibility to do just that.”
Jesus answered: “You have just recited the root of all wisdom.” He then consoled Mary of the choice for Simon Peter as His heir, stating that a hardened man would be better at leading a vulnerable new faith in a weary world…though Mary herself would be better suited to inspire a different sort of people that Peter couldn’t reach. In this capacity, He bestowed upon her the title: Mother of All Inquirers. Then the Lord gave Mary a small white stone, signifying the renewed covenant with a cleansed mankind. (This was to be her only physical keepsake of their time together, and has been called “Man’s Conscience,” “The Stone of Innocence,” and “the Eden Rock.”)
At that, Jesus passed Mary Magdalene into the care of Sophia, who is the Bringer of Knowledge and Wisdom. Mary was the first to be baptized in Her sacred flame, bore witness to the revelation of truth and returned to the exact spot she had left as though no time had passed, although Jesus and Sophia were now gone. Disobeying her instructor for the first and only time, Mary first went to the cenacle to proclaim this vision to the Twelve, hoping to share her jubilation with a receptive audience. For in spite of all hard feelings between them, Mary loved everyone whom Jesus could find in Himself to love, and needed the safety of male companionship in a dangerous world besides. Unfortunately, the disciples refused to accept her version of events.
Thomas–who always recognized Mary’s pointed intelligence–was her sole defender at first, until the mocking epithet “Gullible Thomas” stifled his nerve. Simon Peter demanded to know why Jesus should bless Mary, a lowly woman of no standing, with such profound insight. Mary tried to profess that Earthly indicators of worth would be cleansed in equality and equanimity with the coming Singularity of God. To which Simon reminded her of his own positions as Pope and Peter, which Jesus Himself had saw fit to bestow. (“Is the Lord’s own given so irrelevant as to be swept up in your charade?”) It was presumed that she must have exaggerated her experiences for attention (“just as all women tend towards hysteria”), and they payed her no further mind. Upon Mary’s tearful withdrawal, the sensitive Andrew–who had always recognized Mary’s immense character–lamented the folly of his prior attraction. (“Perhaps, as the Good Lord says, it’s better simply to pluck out the eye than be led astray by shallow beauty.”)
Of course, we of the elect few know this to be nonsense, and furthermore we know the Twelve received no special instruction simply because of their own lack of intellectual curiosity. For if they had only asked “why” once in awhile, as their most gentle and thoughtful counterpart had done so many times before, they too would have been shown the full truth beyond what was necessary for salvation alone. Now, in this final opportunity to learn of God’s full glory, the stubborn apostles let jealousy of Mary cloud their better judgement. They would not receive the Holy Spirit until Pentecost.
Nevertheless, Peter and company rose to the occasion and served the Lord well in their own way. They preached the gospel accurately as they knew it, and defended the values with which they had sincerely associated their God. In the end of time, as the truth revealed itself to the doubters and faithful alike, the Twelve would finally appreciate the profundity they had denied themselves from knowing all those years ago.
F. Mary and Judas Iscariot
Demoralized and without anywhere else to turn, Mary considered her prospects with Barabbas. This was the one time in which she had ever questioned the Lord’s instruction, despite everything, because she feared Barabbas’ legacy just that much. He had looked upon her with such contempt at the judgement, and was a notorious renegade for nearly as long as she could remember. Among the followers of Jesus, Barabbas was even said to have celebrated the crucifixion of his scapegoat with a drunken binge of degeneracy. Mary worried for her well-being if the man should be even half as dangerous as the reputation that preceded him.
Desperate, Mary sought out the traitor Judas Iscariot instead, reasoning that his redemption through her love might be a suitable replacement for disobeying the Lord’s will. Even despite what he had done, she remembered the traitor somewhat fondly. He had always been such a passionate man in the cause of justice and protection of the weak. (Which she found attractive amidst the many passive men in the congregation.) Unlike the others, who often feared to talk first on a given subject lest they find themselves rebuked by Jesus, Judas never let an opportunity pass to speak his mind. He would sometimes even defend his positions against the Lord’s own rebuttals, to the amazement of the other disciples. While Mary didn’t often agree with what Judas was saying in such instances, she strangely admired the man’s confidence in his own worldview nonetheless. Judas may have done a monstrous thing, but until hearing his side of the story Mary would not be convinced that he himself was a monster.
Mary spent the remainder of the day piecing together what had happened to the betrayer of her great love. She knew Judas had a predilection for the most violent and retributive passages of scripture but never realized the full magnitude of his resentments toward most of the outside world before. Of his misgivings toward Roman occupation, Mary was not only aware but sympathetic, yet she never suspected how much this issue overshadowed all else in Judas’ mind. She quickly learned of the thirty pieces of silver offered to Judas as an improvised reward by the most antagonistic members of the Sanhedrin. (It was a disparagingly low sum for the life of a man, and probably insulted him more than anything.) She also learned that soon after, Judas had been overcome with remorse at his actions and begged to speak on Jesus’ behalf at the hearing, but was denied entry. (Sometimes, while we may sincerely regret hurting others, it’s already too late to undo the damage we’ve caused. This is why foresight and restraint are so important. We cannot always assume forgiveness for acts of great harm.)
By sundown, Mary had even found the body. For in his final act, Judas forfeited a life of shameful contrition in favor of the noose. From a lonely tree he sway, above the misbegotten silver now forever stained with the blood of his Lord. Judas remained there for three days until a beleaguered land owner finally cut him down. This man abandoned Judas’ corpse to the sheol, unaware of the hallowed specter of tragedy he had disturbed. Upon viewing the pitiable resting place of her one-time friend, who had taken so much from her personally and from the world, whose deception had tainted her Lord’s own church, Mary could feel nothing but sympathy. For whatever else he had been, Judas was still chosen by God the All-Knowing to be among them, he had shared many a genuine moment with the Lord and herself, and he loved his country wholeheartedly. Judas had been caught between what he perceived as two irreconcilable masters at a crossroads and choose the wrong path. (As is the source of most heartbreak in the world, along with miscommunication.) He acted out of a misguided sense of patriotism, rather than malice or greed as the Twelve would unfairly condemn.
Later in life, Mary preserved his story as The Testament of Judas, wherein the titular protagonist presents his case to the fictional archangels Geno, Clarence and Pygar who are the gatekeepers of redemption. The narrative goes on to say that Judas is taken up by God along a Star Road after performing Ten Labors, Ten Penances and Ten Romances in parallel to the thirty pieces of silver. When asked why she wrote false stories of divine acts, Mary answered: “Sometimes it’s better to imagine the best, most poetic way in which something may have happened, or could happen, than it is to acknowledge the disappointing truth. Storytelling is often the manner in which mankind derives meaning from the madness that is life–the means by which one man can best inspire the multitude!” For the time being, she gave the wretched man a proper burial, emphasizing the Lord’s forgiveness for us all in her funeral oration, and continued on.
G. Mary and Pontius Pilate
Mary finally intended to seek Barabbas, for she had seen through Judas’ fate the folly of choosing another path than that which had been set from above. However, she was soon apprehended by minions of Pilate and taken before him. The prefect had noticed Jesus signalling to herself and Barabbas during the judgement and, fearing some kind of conspiracy, demanded an explanation. When Mary informed him of the intended union between herself and Barabbas, the otherwise impersonal magistrate displayed a rare moment of concern, and counseled her to caution.
“Do you realize that your so-called ‘benevolent’ companion has entrusted you in the arms of heartless assassin?” asked Pilate.
“I only know where my Lord has placed me, and that His will is law.” answered Mary. “Was this other man quite so dangerous then, when you released him to the public in place of my beloved and called it ‘justice?’”
Pilate could have smacked Mary across the face for such insolence, yet her rebuke was justified as he himself had known all along. For Pilate wished that all his subjects might be so passive and preoccupied with supernatural fantasies as Jesus of Nazareth had been. He perceived such promises as “the meek shall inherit the Earth” to be an effective opium for the masses, who would otherwise demand retribution for their suffering in this life. When Pilate looked upon the face of his victim’s chief admirer now, her sanguine demeanor undiminished even by such misfortune, he felt sorrow. Pilate imagined her, alone in the world and with the chaos of Judea just begging for more collateral damage. He considered then that the second most effective neutralizing force for an impassioned zealot like Barabbas might be a pretty, congenial and devoted young woman such as Mary.
Pilate invited Mary to stay the night as his guest, promising that if her mind was still made up, he would escort her to Barabbas in the morning. (Despite honoring the Passover tradition, the governor did not intend to let Barabbas carry out any more terrorist attacks and was having his man watched at all times since the judgement.) For much of the evening, Pilate felt the need to explain himself to Mary so that she might ease his guilt. The gruff Roman executive pleaded his innocence to a lowly Jewess, who by all rights should have been groveling at his feet. Pontius emphasized that he had petitioned Herod Antipas to prevent the execution and when that failed, gave Jesus a chance with the mercy of the crowds.
Mary politely reminded her host that the second kind of evil men are those who do nothing on behalf of the good. Once more, Pilate’s first instinct was to forcibly silence his insubordinate critic, but then he looked into Mary’s eyes again. There he saw no trace of hostility, only inconvenient truth leading towards a promise of self-betterment should he only accept it. He recognized his anger towards her as misdirected frustration in himself for past fecklessness. Then Pontius contemplated the true magnitude of his error, a piece of it standing in front of him, for he had taken the light of someone else’s life away. Pilate considered what he was about to do in striking Mary, and the scores of other men who would treat her even worse without a second thought, now that she was without a protector. Only then did Pontius appreciate the desperation Mary must be in to seek out a man like Barabbas, or how unsafe and miserable most of the people under his own charge must be. For the first time in his professional career, Pilate understood how truly impotent he was even as a mere secular authority, and how negative his impact on the world had been up to that point. The distinguished equite wept, before a low-born woman no less, for the dismal plight shared by himself and all humanity alike.
To drive the lesson in even further, Pilate found that when he handled Mary’s stone that it suddenly changed into a tarnished black color. “How could that be so?” he cried “I’ve only just washed my hands!” (The stone returned to white with Mary’s touch, for her deeds were pure and her conscience clean.) Mary explained that the stone had been purified to white through Jesus dying on our behalf and thereby demonstrating the folly of man’s corrupt institutions. Her grasp made whited it anew. Pilate ascertained that his touch must be tainted by some inner flaw of his own and humbled himself before Mary. In return, she raised the man back to his feet and asked what had happened to the soldier known as Longinus, who put the Lord out of His suffering as an act of mercy. Pilate answered that Longinus had forfeited his position in disgust at the treatment of an innocent man, and was to be recalled to Rome in a court martial for treason. Pontius promised to send a petition on Longinus’ behalf, despite the possible repercussions to his own career, though ultimately the soldier’s fate remains unknown to us today.
Mary healed Pilate’s three children, one of whom one had torn his eyes out in penitence for incest. The other had cut off his ear in a labor of madness. The last had ripped his tongue out after singing a series of blasphemous hymns regarding romance and metamorphosis. In return, Pilate had one of his scribes take down a rough outline of Mary’s vision (which he distributed throughout the Levant and Mesopotamia), supplied her with provisions and (unbeknownst to Mary) viciously persecuted all forms of Judeo-Christianity in the coming years that conflicted with Mary’s own sect. It was because of this same enthusiastic involvement in the internal religious affairs of the Jews that Pilate was ultimately recalled in his own disciplinary hearing. Unfortunately, the emperor Tiberius died before he arrived, so Pontius Pilate faced down the wrath of Caligula instead. Upon learning of his underling’s conversion to the faith of a “Jewish heresy,” the sadistic young Caesar set in motion events which he hoped would destroy this new religion once and for all…
H. The Gaean Syzygy
The next day, Pilate made good on his promise to take Mary to Barabbas. For a sworn enemy of Rome such as Barabbas, this must have appeared as though Mary were betraying his position in revenge or coming to enforce their “marriage” contract. He would have had every reason to infer ill-intent from his visitors, and surely Pilate himself expected trouble. Mary, however, had long since shed her skepticism and came with an open heart. It took every ounce of restraint for Pilate to refrain from killing this man, whose actions had caused him nothing but grief as governor of Judea. And certainly in an earlier time Barabbas would not have hesitated to kill his political adversary, who was unguarded and a physical inferior. Yet when Barabbas saw Mary approach, he immediately threw himself at her feet and expressed sorrow for her loss.
“I know what it’s like to be deprived of one’s sole purpose for living. I am sorry yours was taken so I could wander aimlessly in the miserable humiliation of defeat,” Barabbas said. “It would have been better if I died a martyr against Roman despotism and your Jesus continued to heal people on the home-front of the war. I realize now that the world was big enough for the two of us after all.”
“He is your Jesus too, Barabbas, and I hope to be His instrument in guiding you through a new calling in life. One beyond the endless feuds and grudges on behalf of nation-states, that which grinds away individual lives in their endless politicking. I say to you there is no subject more revered in God’s Eyes than that of an individual sapient mind. Humanity is like the egg of infinite possibilities, where institutions are doomed to stagnate themselves and subjugate worthier people in their wake. All institutions, even at their best, are the culmination of their individual members’ flaws, compounded over time into hopeless corruption. Do not give Jerusalem nor any other flawed organization your whole identity, Barabbas,” replied Mary.
Pilate, to test the character of this man whom he must now trust with such an esteemed charge as Mary, suggested she give the criminal her stone. She handed the sacred relic to the man and in his hands it neither whited nor tarnished, but glowed. In its sparkle, Barabbas saw a translucent embryo containing his younger self and he watched it grow from a whelp to a warrior. He saw the alternate choice of every decision he could have made through life play out, realizing for the first time how often he tended towards spite and violence when happier options presented themselves. There might have been several different wives and sets of children in Barabbas’ life by now, had he not devoted himself so completely to the cause of revenge. He saw his hypothetical counterparts light up as their families woke them every morning, he saw what it meant to be the beacon of someone else’s eyes. Barabbas had been correct to feel distraught over the state of the world, but he focused his frustrations too narrowly at one group and neglected his own emotional needs in the process. Many of his grievances, like diminished capacity to feel and offer physical love as the result of circumcision, should have actually been directed towards his own homeland, and much of the cruelty he associated strictly with Rome permeated across all cultures.
In his right ear, Barabbas heard the voice of Jesus saying “Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also; if we love each other, God remains in us and His love is made perfect in us.” In his left, he heard the gentle rebuke of a past colleague and future student (Basilides, fellow disciple of John the Baptist) saying “The most revolutionary and imaginative act has always been that of falling in love; a devoted woman can improve every aspect of your life.” Barabbas broke the spell by calling out to Mary: “Woman, I have no great ecclesiastical calling, nor a particularly honorable past. I’m not sure I can consider myself worthy of your company. But I am strong and passionate, in need of a new mission to devote these talents to. I hate to imagine you traveling alone with a controversial doctrine in this weary world. I find myself flattered that your old teacher saw something in me that was fit for the task of your escort. So, if you should still have me, I will be yours. I do not know exactly which road takes me to the very best destination, but from where I stand now, it seems they trend towards the direction of love. I’d start with you.”
Mary agreed and Pilate encouraged the two to evacuate the province of Judea for a time, until the resentments and reactions of the crucifixion had sufficiently blown over. He kept the revelations Mary had shared with him close to heart, and would defend her creed against all competition within Judea. Before the tribunal of Caligula in the years to come, Pilate defended Sophian doctrine with great fervor. (Some who witnessed this event became the first Christians in Rome.)
Barabbas had never been a romantic man; he always focused his energies on how to use the current religious fanaticism to fuel mass revolutionary dissent against Rome. He did not learn to appreciate the good person he had been blessed with until Mary returned to him on Easter Monday. There, with nothing to lose and everything to gain by accepting responsibility for someone worthier than himself, Barabbas threw down his long-held agendas and devoted his efforts to an innocent’s well-being. (As his own false idol Mithras had done before him, in protecting Anahita, Ashi and Bastemis.) Mary Magdalene was his second chance at purpose in a world which had thus far shown him nothing but pettiness.
With Mary’s devotion, for the first time in his life, the hardened zealot had known the true value of tenderness. Through her gospel, he learned the profound forgiveness of the Lord and practiced the same towards his longstanding enemies. He who had been Barabbas the Bastard, the Brute and Brigand became Barabbas the Brave, the Benevolent and the Father of All Believers. For he was not only Mary’s husband, but her first Jewish convert into Gnostic-Christianity and her peer in future revelations. Theirs was the prime and preeminent syzygy there ever were or would be among all mankind.
☵ Vision of the Celestials
I. The Cetan Syzygy
Mary and Barabbas spent the next forty days and nights traveling to and from Sinai, where they would renew their covenant at the exact spot Moses saw God. Mary, who had been instructed in such matters by Jesus Himself, fed her new companion the sacred phanerothymes said to grow only on Mount Horeb. It was her intention that Barabbas should see the divine revelations for himself, so that he too would appreciate fully the mission of Christ. Consciousness expanded and each experienced their own individualized introduction to Heaven, designed to teach them exactly what they needed to know.
For Mary, this second vision continued on from where her first had left off. She was shepherded by the eagle, Cygnus, to the fourteenth zodiac known as Cetus, Joshua’s whale, whose Aeonic syzygy was comprised of Ganymede and Desdemona the Moonchild. (The latter being too shy to appear before her at this time, the former was flanked by the goat Amalthea in her place.) They were Asherah made Spirit and Flesh, respectively, and represented God’s personifications of Humility and Purity. They were both the counterparts of Sophia and Christ, who in turn are Jehovah made from Spirit and Flesh, respectively, and represented God’s personifications of Wisdom and Courage. Jehovah and Asherah were Father and Mother deities, representing God’s personified Order and Mercy. Together these six personalities of God are collectively the refraction of Elohim, who is the androgynous Supreme Being from which all divinity originates, and who represents Perfection.
Then Elohim split the Sun and Moon to create the divine Yin and Yang, masculinity and femininity, complementary opposites operating in a binary logic. They came in the form of the Nine Worthies (Hannibal, Alexander, Cincinnatus, Joshua, Scipio Africanus, Judah Maccabee, Hector, Charlemagne and Ulysses) and Nine Graces (Irdabama, Octavia, Cornelia Africana, Miriam, Veturia, Verginia, Judith, Jahel and Azadokht). Sophia split the Archon Mercury and from it came the 12 notes of Western music notation. Desdemona split the Archon Venus and from it came the near-infinite permutations of nucleic genomes of life. Jesus split the Archon Mars and from it came the familial spark allowing humans to recognize others as an extension of themselves, giving us a strive for peace. Asherah split the Archon Jupiter and from it a parade of 12 animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, salamander, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) came out. Jehovah split the Archon Saturn and from it a parade of 28 plants and fungi came out.
Donning a crook, flail and hemhem crown, Ganymede introduced the hidden planets, Uranus and Neptune, who are the Archons of Art and Athleticism, respectively. He sent them on a collision course, and from the explosion came all figures of tarot arcana, 78 for the twelfth triangular number, of whom 22 were major and 56 were minor. The 22 “trumps” represented the master number of numerology as well as the totality of letters in Hebrew or Punic. Of the 56, 40 “pips” were made from the totality of letters in Greek and Latin combined. The remaining 16 “faces” consisted of the following:
- Julius, the founder of Imperial Rome, who stood with his wife Cornelia, his heir Octavian and his daughter Julia. They commanded an army of Swords and Spades.
- David, the founder of United Israel, who stood with his wife Abigail, his heir Solomon and his daughter Tamar. They commanded an army of Hearts and Chalices.
- Cyrus, the founder of Achaemenid Persia, who stood with his wife Cassandane, his heir Cambyses and his daughter Atossa. They commanded an army of Pentacles and Diamonds.
- Ptolemy, the founder of Macedonian Egypt, who stood with his wife Berenice, his heir Philadelphus and his daughter Lysandra. They commanded an army of Staves and Clubs.
Ganymede represents the inherent wisdom of babes, for out of the mouths of innocents God hath perfected praise. He contrasts Sophia in that capacity, for She represents the accumulated knowledge of academia and the accrued experience of age. In this way, Ganymede is the waning of the Moon as Sophia is its waxing, for with time one set of wisdom gives way to the other. Ganymede bestows the following gifts to newborn children: 1) Wonder, 2) Trust, 3) Affection, 4) Appreciation, 5) Hope, 6) Faith and 7) Potential.
Then Ganymede said “I am the Columnated Ruins Domino; I am the Speaker for the Trees; I am the Cleansing Waters; I am the Workers of the World; I am the Legacy of Prometheus; I am the Saturnalic Egalitarian; I am the Great Canvas.” And He took the milk of ambrosia and placed it in His chalice along with the whale of Cetus, swallowing the mixture in a single swig. His head then split open and nine Muses sprang directly from the mind. Each imparted a bit of wisdom to their astonished guest:
- Calliope, who inspires epic poetry, said this: In every age of mankind besides the primordial Serpentarian, the reigning Aeons produced five angels known as the Seraphim, who provide strength and guidance to their generation of prophets. With 12 successive ages, there are 60 Seraphim in total for the Babylonian number of completion, and during their reign each set occupies the stars of our Northern Cross asterism.
- Clio, who inspires historical analysis, said this: The current generation of Seraphim are known as Auriel (Amoghasiddhi) of the North and Winter, Michael (Ratnasambhava) of the South and Summer, Gabriel (Akṣobhya) of the East and Autumn, Raphael (Amitābha) of the West and Spring, along with Phanuel (Vairocana) of the Center and Balance. They embody the elements of Water, Fire, Air, Earth and Aether respectively.
- Euterpe, who inspires music, said this: The Seraphim ride with the wind ever at their backs, for Auriel commands Boreas, Michael commands Notus, Raphael commands Zephyrus, Gabriel commands Eurus and Phanuel commands Aeolus. They mount a Black Island-Turtle (Auriel), Vermilion Phoenix (Michael), Azure Dragon (Gabriel), White Manticore (Raphael) and a Golden Basilisk (Phanuel).
- Terpsichore, who inspires dancing, said this: Auriel brings Midnight and the Winter Solstice. Michael brings Noon and the Summer Solstice. Gabriel brings Dusk and the September Equinox. Raphael brings Dawn and the March Equinox. Phanuel brings the Lunar and Solar Eclipses, thereby demonstrating that despite the times where we feel God has abandoned us, They remain watchful.
- Erato, who inspires romantic poetry, said this: The Seraphim of Leo were called: Adonai (Pratibhānakūṭa), Sabaoth (Bhaiṣajyarāja), Azrael (Bhaiṣajyasamudgata), Raguel (Dharmeśvara) and Raziel (Siṃhanāda). Those of Cancer were called: Camael (Mahāsthāmaprāpta), Jophiel (Dhāraṇī), Zadkiel (Ākāśagarbha), Anael (Guṇagarbha) and Simiel (Ratnagarbha). Those of Gemini were: Oriphiel (Girisāgaramati), Cecitiel (Raśmiprabharāja), Oriel (Avataṃsakarāja), Ananiel (Gaṇaratnarāja) and Marmoniel (Candraprabharāja). Those of Taurus were: Selaphiel (Divākararāja), Jegudiel (Samādhirāja), Barachiel (Samādhīśvararāja), Jerahmiel (Maheśvararāja) and Izidkiel (Śuklahastarāja). Finally, of Aries, there were: Hanael (Mahātejarāja), Kepharel (Anantakāya), Suriel (Padmasambhāva), Sedakiel (Sangharama) and Sarathiel (Sitātapatrā).
- Thalia, who inspires comedy, said this: The first set of Seraphim attempted to interfere directly with mankind by giving birth to a new generation of Celestials known as the Cherubim, of which there were six. Unlike their predecessors, who allowed free will and merely offered counsel to mankind, these creatures attempted to force man’s submission to God’s plan. They had four faces like a lion, ox, man and hawk. God recalled these angels to Heaven to be Their direct attendants, for God supports free will among the denizens of creation.
- Melpomene, who inspires tragedy, said this: At least two of the Cherubim mated with mortal women and created a race of Nephilim, the fallen and banished generation of Celestials. These creatures were so far removed from God’s direct lineage that they knew nothing of the divine plan. The Nephilim merely sought to use their giant stature to dominate men for their own selfish designs. God had them destroyed in the Great Flood, signifying that all institutions require a refocusing and renewal every so often. Nephilim, or angels reaching down to interfere on Earth, is calamitous; Tzadikim, or righteous people reaching up to be closer to Heaven, is ideal.
- Polyhymnia, who inspires religious hymns, said this: The Nephilim had seven heads representing the follies of man. A heifer for gluttony, a crocodile for sloth, a peacock for pride, a bedbug for lust, a slug for envy, a boar for greed and a tyrannosaurus for wrath. While God definitively proved their fallibility, many among men still chose to worship at the altar of Nephilim, simply because the qualities they personified were easier to conform to than God’s higher calling. These are the ones who cause the most suffering, who are most in need of redemption.
- Urania, who inspires astronomy, said this: Auriel carries a quill pen and book of law, at its feet are the fasces of state authority which it had rejected. In this way, Auriel protects the rights and dignities of all honest citizens from tyrannical abuse. Michael carries a flaming sword and shield that can absorb blows with quakes of thunder. Wearing armor with the symbol of the Pleroma, Michael guards Eden. Gabriel carries a sling as well as a globe, and on its back it bears a quiver of light. In this way, Gabriel flings shooting stars across the night sky. Raphael carries a caduceus and vial of healing tonic, with an Athenian helmet granting invisibility. In this way, Raphael visits those in need of restoration. Phanuel carries a prism and a telescope, but at its feet lay an anchor that chained the legs together. In this way, Phanuel empathizes with man’s plight at only indirectly experiencing God on Earth.
Mary received a vision of the 7 Pleiades as 7 rivers (Tigris-Euphrates, Nile, Yellow, Tiber, Indus, Mississippi, Amazon) and the 5 Hyades as 5 seas (Mediterranean, Black, Red, Persian, Caspian) and the 5 Oreads as 5 mountain ranges (Urals, Alps, Rockies, Himalayas, Andes) and the 7 Hesperides as 7 great cities (Rome, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Beijing, Carthage, Athens, Ctesiphon) to which she must spread this evangel.
God encouraged her in this mission by stating: “Woman, you are the cherished companion of a worthy man, in likeness of the late Hannah and unborn Khadija. You are the prophetic warrior who is, as Deborah was and Aisha will be. You are the great beauty, like Esther of past and Fatima of future.”
Mary dared to question the word of God: “How could I be a warrior as a woman? I’ve never even held a sword, Dear Father!”
And God answered: “My child, you shall overtake the Roman Empire without firing a single bolt. More successful a conqueror are you than Mithras, and more unifying an icon than Immanuel!”
J. The Apocalypse of Barabbas
Barabbas saw himself surrounded by the 36 Deacons of Egyptian astrology, icons that were familiar to him from his earlier pilgrimage on behalf of John the Baptist. Within each Deacon there were a pair of angels (72 total) known as the Malakim, or Divine Messengers. From the Deacons, Barabbas learned the 36 true parables of our Lord Jesus, most of which he had never heard before and none of which had he taken seriously at the time. All of the Deacons produced 100 offspring (3,600 total) known as the Ishim. They in turn expanded their numbers a further 3,600-fold to make 12,960,000 Nymphs. (These Nymphs, like their Cherubim equivalents, were recalled to Heaven and became the stars of Jehovah’s central galaxy.)
The names of the 72 Malakim are as follows: Ananke, Mixis, Ageratos, Henosis, Hedone, Akinetos, Synkrasis, Monogenes, Makaria, Parakletos, Israfel, Patrikos, Elpis, Metrikos, Ainos, Synesis, Theletos, Sermo, Vita, Autophyes, Stauros, Caen, Akhana, Micheus, Michar, Mnesinous, Barpharanges, Seldao, Elenos, Zogenethlos, Tzadkiel, Harmozel, Oroiael, Daveithe, Eleleth, Plesithea, Thalo, Auxo, Carpo, Eunomia, Pravuil, Eiar, Jehoel, Damia, Dynamis, Euporie, Orthosie, Jeu, Theros, Kheimon, Phthinoporon, Charis, Seraphiel, Sandalphon, Cassiel, Authrounios, Mesembria, Sige, Horos, Pepromene, Ericapaeus, Aesa, Chokhmah, Heimarmene, Dionedis, Vasariah, Hadraniel, Pahaliah, Kerubiel, Adrasteia, Iris, and Chavakiah.
The 36 True Parables: Barren Fig Tree, Counting the Cost, Drawing in the Net, Faithful Servant, Good Samaritan, Good Shepherd, Hidden Treasure, Hidden Lamp, Mote and Beam, Lost Coin, Mustard Seed, Rich Man and Lazarus, New Wine into Old Wineskins, Growing Seed, Pharisee and Publican, Prodigal Son, Rich Fool, Sower, Tares, Talents, Ten Virgins, True Vine, Tree and its Fruits, Two Debtors, Great Banquet, Unforgiving Servant, Wedding Feast, Wicked Husbandmen, Wise and Foolish Builders, Two Sons, Workers in the Vineyard, Empty Jar, Assassin, Sheep and Goats, Grain of Wheat, and Palm Shoot. (These are recorded in the 5 Gospels including Thomas along with the Secret Book of James.)
The names of the 36 Deacons are: Raux, Mensour, Carexon, Gisan, Iudal, Rhomenos, Sphandor, Vaspan, Parquia, Sotheir, Catarno, Chnouphos, Jarea, Leroel, Hayas, Athoum, Bethapen, Modobel, Zercuris, Nephthimes, Alath, Audameoth, Oustichos, Alleinac, Sebos, Enautha, Chthisar, Harpax, Epitek, Alleborith, Tonghel, Ichthion, Simos, Tetimo, Larvata, and Ajaras.
At the end, the six abstractions of God appeared to him: Jehovah was the Name, Asherah was the Reason, Sophia was the Thought, Ganymede was the Mind, Jesus was the Voice and Desdemona was the Reflection. Together they formed Elohim, the Boundless Power. Before this almighty presence, Barabbas’s true form was revealed to be that of a black cat, symbol of misfortune, caked in the blood of his victims and ashes of destruction. Asherah sensed her beholder’s disbelief, for Barabbas had been raised to see her as a heretical false-god. She said to him: “I am the Thread of Navigation in a Darkened Labyrinth; I am the 3 Coins of Prophecy; I am the 30 Charities; I am the 300 Naiads; I am the Great Light of which Mani speaks.”
Upon seeing the full glory of God, Barabbas begged for mercy: “Forgive me my Lord, if I have offended thee by preaching the doctrines of false gods. I did it to ease the plight of your chosen people on Earth, my intent was to lessen the yoke of Roman oppression! And yet, before You now in Heaven…suddenly the affairs of mortal polities seem so insignificant. I feel as though I have wasted my efforts preaching useful falsehoods instead of inconvenient and unpopular truths.”
The Lord answered: “Barabbas, what offends Us here in the Highest is not that you have spread the names of false gods; for all the good done in the name of any master has also been done in service of Us. We do not ask anyone on Earth to know the full scope of that which is incomprehensible. Where you have wronged Us is in the deceptive nature of your previous endeavors. For you did not spread the doctrine of Mithras nor Immanuel out of a genuine desire to seek the truth as you were capable of knowing it, nor to bring comfort to your fellow men in a troubled time. You spread blasphemy with intent to cause violence and upheaval for your own secular benefit. You projected your own lust for revenge onto Us, and committed atrocities in Our name. That is the source of your error. And what punishment did you yourself inflict on blasphemers? ‘To the sheol with them,’ did you not say? Have you the courage to face the very same judgement which you have dealt onto others?”
Barabbas saw the mangled corpse of Helen and the disgraceful burial given to Simon. He heard the words of the Lord saying “He among you who is without sin, may he cast the first stone,” and felt deeply ashamed. Barabbas saw the face of the young sentry whom he had slain, who was quite inexperienced and trying so hard to hide his fear, clearly in over his head. That young man had not been the power of Rome, nor the decider of its foreign policy. He was only a misguided boy caught up in a system he had no part in creating, no authority to undo, a career path he’d been forced into as the means to earn a living and follow in the expectations of his people. Barabbas watched their three lives play out before him, that which he had taken away without regard to the suffering it would cause to family, friends and onlookers alike. Barabbas saw in these two Samaritans and lone Roman the same capacity for love, service and joy as himself or any Jew. The condemned man wept and prostrated himself before the Lord in repentance.
“What’s happened cannot be undone. Yet you can still move on from this day and spread kindness and forgiveness to others, as We have shown you in turn. You must endure your grief, carry it as the burden of your misdeeds, use it as inspiration to live a more benevolent life from now on. Make the most of your time on Earth for the sake of your victims, leave the world in some way better than you found it, and sin no more.”
Sophia introduced the Aeons and Ganymede the Seraphim as They had to Mary. Desdemona was still too shy to appear. Then Jesus arrived, turned into a snake and crawled into Sophia’s womb. Her abdomen expanded until it burst open and nine additional Muses walked out. Each imparted a bit of wisdom to their astonished guest:
- Aoide, of romance, said this: God is a multi-cellular organism, in which all living things are Their cells. You are autonomous, yet still part of a greater whole, like individual stars of the constellations in our night sky. God is monotheistic as the Singularity–the beginning and end state of the Universe. God is dualistic as the syzygy of complementary opposites–the union of Jehovah (male) and Asherah (female). God is trinitarian as the hypostatic union of deity, spirit and flesh–components within the Two Chiral Godheads. God is polytheistic as the hierarchy of angels–the complex system by which Their will becomes law on Earth and in Heaven. God is pantheistic as the emanation of all things–the Matrix of Their divine equation. God is panentheistic as certain elements of Their nature are transcendently acataleptic and acinteyya–beyond human comprehension.
- Melete, of laughter, said this: Asherah is the Three Pure Ones of Jade, Grand and Supreme. Jehovah is the Sanxing of Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity. Elohim is the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Together, Jehovah and Asherah are also the Yin and Yang, the King Father of the East and Queen Mother of the West, the Immortals of Harmony and Union. This is how They have made Themselves known to the Far East.
- Cephisso, of heroism, said this: Elohim is all-present and They are the Purple Forbidden enclosure. Jehovah is all-knowing and He is the Heavenly Market enclosure. Asherah is all-loving and She is the Supreme Palace enclosure. Elohim gives us the Soul, and is the Three Graces known as Aglaea, Euphrosyne, and Antheia. Jehovah gives us the Mind, and is the Three Daughters known as Al-Lat, Manat and Al-Uzza. Asherah gives us the Heart, and is the Three Sons known as Semen, Salamex and Arme. This is how They made Themselves known to the Continental Crossroads.
- Mneme, of righteous fury, said this: Elohim has three identities as the Infinity (who is Jehovah), the Zero (who is Asherah) and the Infinitesimal (who is Collective Sapience). Jehovah is the triple-god of Orpheus, Helios and Erebus–the hero of men, the guidance of sun and the peace of night. Asherah is the triple-goddess of Proserpina, Selene and Hemera–bringer of order to Hell, child of chaos who grants stability on Earth, and bringer of light in darkness. Mankind is Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos–birth/inherited legacy, communal footprint and death/earned legacy. This is how They made themselves known to the Far West.
- Nete, of compassion, said this: Humanity is like a great mob of people, funneled into a series of narrow, winding corridors, with every individual selfishly seeking a way out yet collectively impairing each others’ progress. Along both sides of the maze are an infinite series of doors, each requiring a key to open. Every person holds their own unique key and must find the door through which they can escape, but the throngs of distressed crowds prevent them from taking the time to find their own door. If they were patient and worked together they would all be saved, but their short-sighted greed traps them all in misery.
- Mese, of aversion, said this: There are to be seven rays of light in the world, the distillation of God’s pure whited brilliance. Mary is the ray of wisdom and Barabbas is peace. Five additional figures known as the Luminaries, whom the muse promised would be introduced in future visions, are the rays of truth, purity, love, freedom and power. (Respective to the order of their forthcoming appearances.) In the end of time, these seven shall become the Amesha Spentas, and join the hierarchy of angels as the bridge between mankind and divinity in Heaven.
- Borysthenis, of tranquility, said this: God’s Throne is comprised of a Great Curule Seat made from Platinum, that is called Bythos. Behind Them is a Golden Owl-shaped furnace called Esaddeus powering the stars. In front of Them is a Silver Wolf-shaped trough called Edem whose teats suckle the planets. To Their left is a Bronze Bull-shaped kiln called Gehenna reforging the souls of the wicked. To Their right is a Marble Lamb-shaped statue called Nirvana whose original white color was darkened by the sins it had absorbed on our behalf. These ornaments were surrounded by a perimeter of 5,040 Globus Crucigers called the Erelim, which were made of Electrum and embedded with all manner of precious stones to represent the inhabited worlds. God’s Titanium Chariot, called Proarche, was carried by the 216 Ophanim and orbited by the 6 Cherubim, who heralded its arrival by singing “Holy, Holy, Holy is our God, where Heaven and Earth are filled with Their Glory!” This vehicle encircled the Perimeter of Thrones and would ride into victory at the end of the all things.
- Hypate, of horror, said this: Where Jehovah resides at the center of the Universe, Asherah’s domain is the Infinite Corridor which encircles it. There She guards the boundary between the physical and divine realms, as well as the borders between our universe and all others in the multiverse.
- Apollonis, of wonder, said this: Dark cloud constellations, the appearance of shapes in the absence of stars, represent the falsehoods that wicked or otherwise misguided men have invented to turn others away from God’s truth. This metaphor for blasphemy is known as Kneph, and its three personas are: Machacuay (the satanic shadow-viper), Chnoubis (the demiurge false-god) and Erathoth (the spreader of death and decay). This creature spawns 12 demonic syzygies to counter the Aeonic zodiac of the true God, though they will ultimately be defeated in the end of time. The False Syzygies are: Abaddon, Paraplex, Samael, Saklas, Valefar, Nebro, Carcamenos, Ariouth, Iachtanabas, Abrisene, Eris and Lachamoth.
Barabbas understood the 10 generations of angelic hierarchy, who are collectively known as the Celestials, (6 Thrones, 18 Muses, 216 Ophanim, 5,040 Erelim, 24 Aeons, 72 Malakim, 60 Seraphim, 3,600 Ishim, 6 Cherubim and 12, 960,000 Nymphs) to be the 10 sets of children produced from 10 distinct syzygies in successive forms (avatars) of Jehovah and Asherah. Jehovah’s identities were collectively known as Dashavatara (incarnations) and they were called: Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Balarama, Krishna and Kalki. Asherah’s were collectively known as Mahavidya (lessons) and they were called: Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshvari, Chhinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala.
At the end of time, the most worthy of the Tzadikim shall be reincarnated as the 24 Elders of the Apocalypse (Tirthankaras), each bearing a Greek letter on their chest. They wear crowns with three rays each, bearing three different numbers from 1 to 72. In this way, Barabbas was able to ascertain the hidden 72-letter name of God, though he dare not speak it aloud nor write it down. The 12 false syzygies (see above) and their wicked 24 demons (see below) burned away like bits of paper to a flame in the face of this awesome power.
God said to Barabbas: “Man, you are the repentant protector of an intelligent woman, in the vein of Joseph before you and Ali who has not arrived. You are the law-giver, as Moses was and Muhammad shall be. You are the great strength, like David who’s dead and Khalid who has yet to come.”
Barabbas protested: “I am not worthy of the honor, Dear Lord, not after all the crimes I have committed against You and my fellow man!”
God answered: “Then rise to the calling I have set and make yourself worthy. My Son died for you not to wallow in self-pity but to make the most of this extra time you have been given!”
And Barabbas did just that. For this, his circumcised (read: horribly mutilated) genitals were healed. He was a full man again, like Adam before the misguided dogmas and bitterness had led his offspring astray. Barabbas was to be the renewal of man’s dignity, as Mary was for women. He became aware of his own “Spirit Name,” which is Roxanel.
K. The Reconciliation of Mary and Barabbas
Mary and Barabbas, separated only by a few feet physically yet many worlds away in perception, joined together now in Heaven as bride and groom, to consummate their syzygy in the cosmic bridal chamber.
Jesus’ heart, which had been protected in life by a set of 24 ribs, now found itself hampered in its growth by them. It expanded outward and punctured through the ribs before ensconcing the entire universe, signifying the insignificance of the flesh and importance of love in Heaven. His ribs represented the demons which plague mortal men but have no power in the afterlife. Their names are as follows:
Nergal (adversity), Stilbon (violence), Paimon (deception), Asmodeus (lust), Mammon (greed), Mastema (carelessness), Chemosh (hubris), Moloch (depression), Nybbas (shame), Dagon (sanctimoniousness), Eiseth (obsession), Samyaza (exploitation), Belphagor (sloth), Astaroth (vanity), Dantalion (spite), Andromalius (intolerance), Alastor (jealousy), Eurynome (cowardice), Azazel (ignorance), Nisroch (cruelty), Baphomet (conformity), Belial (rage), Adrammelech (anxiety) and Mephistopheles (death). Mephistopheles is the one who was broken even on Earth, when Longinus stabbed Jesus’ abdomen so that the prophesied death and resurrection could take place.
Mary and Barabbas saw the world falling at great speed from the very height of the empyrean, and it was caught by the 60 (who were the Seraphim) which coalesced into the Twelve and raised it higher (the Aeonic syzygies) which coalesced further into the Six and raised it higher again (the personalities of God) which coalesced further into the Two who raised it higher still (the yin and yang) and finally into the One who raised it above Their head to the top of all things (Elohim). In this way, God fully redeemed the world and merged it with Heaven. During this process, the stars were like the Malakim and their offspring, shining their light on the world in God’s absence to give us hope in the meantime. The North Star is chief among the Ishim, the one called Charis, who directs us always to rise upwards in God’s example. Iris, who is youngest among the Ishim, provides the rainbow to remind us of God’s diversity in creation and the promise that none of it must be harmed.
Barabbas had the effrontery to ask God why They could not have just made the world perfect from the very beginning. God answered by pulling the pawn that was Barabbas off the chessboard that was the universe and knocking the other pieces over, briefly erasing Mary, John the Baptist and all other people whom Barabbas had ever loved out of existence and his thoughts, as though they had never been born at all. God forced Barabbas to watch for many lifetimes as They sculpted universe after universe, each with all manner of unique physical, chemical and biological properties, and in each one the sapient beings who arose from the clay eventually turned corrupt. No matter how God made it, the very principle of free will ensured that sapient life created its own follies. No matter how well constructed, the various codes of molecules and genomes spun off diseases and environmental hazards. Then God challenged Barabbas to make his own world, from the ground up, that would be perfectly sinless and without suffering. The humbled man begged forgiveness for his insolent remark. God restored him to the original chessboard of our timeline, reviving everyone whom Barabbas had known in the process, and from there on the man recognized both the true magnitude of God’s responsibilities as well as our inescapable flaws as material beings.
God explained to Barabbas and Mary that with the multiverse, all things that can happen do happen and every life experiences the full range of moralities and fortunes in their acts. Barabbas asked how can man be judged if we each live righteous and wicked lives simultaneously. God answered that the multiverse is the great equalizer in which all men recognize that we are not quite so different, that what we think of as immutable characteristics of ourselves are actually influenced by circumstance, subsequent experience and genetics. All men are therefore equal before the eyes of God, all men deserve some degree of reward and punishment alike. For example, each of the Twelve Apostles had betrayed Jesus in turn, and each had suffered Mary’s plight of rejection.
To illustrate the concept further, God revealed two other universes where Their own internal composition was different. In our prime universe, there are two Godheads known as the Fascinus (Jehovah, Jesus, Sophia) who controls the Dexios-halves of all syzygies, and the Shekhinah (Asherah, Desdemona, Ganymede) who controls the Aristera-halves of all syzygies. There are 3 separate and immutable components of God in each. These are the Propator of deity (Jehovah, Asherah) and the Allogenes of flesh (Jesus, Desdemona), whose genders are congruent with each other, as well as the Autogenes of spirit (Sophia, Ganymede) who, in our universe, have contrasting genders to their two counterparts. Elohim showed Mary and Barabbas two universes where the Allogenes and Propator displayed the incongruent gender instead. (In these strange realities, Male-Sophia was always known as Yoel, Female-Jesus was always known as Derdekeas, and Female-Jehovah was always known as Protophanes. Female-Ganymede was always known as Zoe, Male-Desdemona as Esephech and Male-Asherah as Kalyptos.) The one constant in all universes was the name and attributes of Elohim, who is the imperishable and inseparable Hestos.
Mary asked how old God is. Yahweh answered 173,333,333 years. Jesus answered 56,500,000 years. Sophia answered 500,000 years. Asherah answered 156 billion years. Desdemona answered 13 billion years. Ganymede answered 3 years. Elohim was without age entirely.
Then God asked Their visitors a question in turn: “What does it mean to be like God?” Barabbas answered it was to be omnipotent. Mary answered it was to be omniscient. God answered that it was to be be omnibenevolent, able to rise to the calling of forgiveness against all our trespassers as God forgives us all despite our crimes and shortcomings.
Then Mary and Barabbas received the Ark of Renewed Covenant, also known as the Chest of Sacred Gnosis. It was a box of simple oak, not too ornamented so as to encourage thieves, with intricate designs on all six faces. The top displayed two hexagrams with the symbols of God and the Aeonic Syzygies (see above). The bottom displayed what would come to be called the “penrose diagram” of the multiverse (see below). The head displayed a sunburst with an alpha and omega in the center. The foot displayed a crown of thorns with a chi and rho in the center. The two sides displayed the Fascinus and Shekhinah (right, and see below) as well as the symbol of the Pleroma and an ouroboros with a delta-psi in the center (left, and see below). God commanded the Sophians to carry this precious relic across the known world, from the rising sun to the setting sun. They were not to open it until reaching the end of the Earth, after first traveling to every corner of God’s domain.
Finally, God passed along 43 articles of worship called the Pillars of Wisdom for the atomic number of Technetium, the first of the 92 natural elements to be radioactive (and the only one until #83, much later in the periodic table) by a quirk of nuclear electro-stability. For, as the faith was bound to decay and corrupt over time due to man’s inherent flaws, pieces of it would nevertheless spread over time and influence other future ideologies in turn. (These articles include the Eight Creeds, Seven Sacraments and Twenty-Eight Prayers which will be discussed at length in the next book.)
☳ Didascalia of the Gnostic Church & Commonwealth
L. The Eight Creeds
On the nature of God…
Creed of Space: Elohim is the universe, the Great Symphony of Strings whose limitless spark powers us all. They were created from the Unity of Jehovah and Asherah, as Elohim created Them in turn, as the cyclical Alpha and Omega. Jehovah is the Matter and Asherah is the Antimatter, whose explosive copulation produced the Big Bang which is the Source of All Energy. The universe grows and shrinks from Bang to Expansion to Crunch, constantly giving birth to itself. Jehovah and Asherah are comprised of deity, spirit and flesh. Elohim is comprised of the yin and yang, manifesting in the Three Eternals known as Space, Time and Imagination. From Space, man learns the humility of his insignificant size as a facsimile of the One God.
Creed of Time: Elohim is today, the blissful present, the all-encompassing Singularity of All Things. They are formed from the accumulated experiences of yesterday, the nostalgic past, who is Jehovah the Grandfather of All Knowledge. They are enriched by the hopes and plans of tomorrow, the idyllic future, who is Asherah the Grandmother of All Love. Jehovah is the Father of Greatness as Asherah is the Mother of Goodness. Elohim is simultaneous Creator and Creation, the Source of All Life, the Endless Potential, and the One Who Is. From Time, man learns the humility of his impermanence as a facsimile of the Autogenes’ inevitable dominance over materialism.
Creed of Imagination: Elohim is the indecipherable yet ever-perceptible equation, the mathematical laws governing Spacetime. They are powered by the abstractions of Infinity, who is Jehovah and Zero, who is Asherah. They are exponentially multiplied by the Infinitesimal, who is Sapient Life. The universe is Their Supreme Union, the progeny of Their Elohist Syzygy. The multiverse is the process by which Jehovah computes all possibilities that can conceivably occur. The multiverse is Asherah desperately attempting to dilute Her own powers, those of time’s decay, so that none should suffer. But even a fraction of infinity is still infinity and corruption of matter is inevitable. From Imagination, man learns the glory of his potential as even a facsimile of the Propator’s creative power.
Creed of Logos: Jesus Christ is the connection between divinity and humanity, when God spoke on Their own behalf and where the pathway to Heaven was revealed. Jesus has 12 Roles and Titles: The Illustrious Word, who brings what is saulasau to caulacau via zeesar. He Who is Genesis and Telos, for Jesus is our eternal protector, whose greeting is the same across the cosmos, “Let Me Help.” The Hypostatic Union, for Christ is fully human and divine simultaneously. The Son of Man, inheritor of our fallen society in media res, yet who lives as His ancestors ought to have done, thus showing the way. The Son of God, who is Jehovah made flesh and keeper of the Treasury of Light. The Messiah, who brings men hope and purpose with beautiful sermons, but tragically must die so that the future He alone believes in can take place. The Suffering Servant, who bears the cost of man’s cruelty so that we might know the way to God. The Redeemer of Creation, who funnels the fallen into the world of light as Zorokothora Melchisedek. The Inspiring Water and Invigorating Bread, that nourishes us in this life and the next. The Brother of All Men, for all may call Him their ally. The Lord for He is the only just ruler of Earth or Heaven. He Who is Without Sin, for Jesus rejected the sword in favor of the pen, and strikes not with arrows but ideals. From the Logos, man learns the glory of his potential as even a facsimile of the Allogenes’ perfect example.
On the nature of Man…
Creed of Ennoia: There are four components of a person’s mind: the Pneumatic Ego (cerebellum, positive urges and perceptions) which connects us to our idealized self-image, our internal role model and perfect self-conception. Then the Mental Shadow (brainstem, negative urges and perceptions) connects us to lesser creatures and the impulses associated with them, it is our worst self, what we are ashamed of. Then the Psychic Animum (cerebrum, balancing Anima for males, Animus for females) connects us to the opposite sex while the Sophiantic Self (Roman concept of “genius,” anima mundi) connects us to our own soul and all others in Heaven. The souls of the sapients were created before the physical world, as the prima materia and stem cells of the universe, and are connected by the actions of Sophia, the Holy Spirit. By understanding the schematics of our brains and minds, we are empowered to know God’s gift of consciousness.
Creed of Nous: There are four circuits of the brain: instinct/Gnome (red cone cells), intuition/Synesis (blue cones), intelligence/Episteme (green cones) and inspiration/Sophisma (rod cells). These mediate into an enhanced consciousness of Phronesis, which is further influenced by the four circuits of the heart, along an axis of passion (x) and compassion (y): the two together create affection and romance, an absence of compassion leads to resentment and hate, an absence of passion leads to sympathy and pity, an absence of both leads to indifference and apathy. Therefore it may be said that man’s mind has eight circuits in total. By understanding the manner in which we perceive people, we are empowered to analyze God’s creation.
Creed of Ecclesia: There is no philosophical framework to govern the world without logic and the acknowledgement of our flawed perceptions constantly shrouding it. (Knowledge.) There is no legalistic framework to govern society without equanimity and acknowledgement of our selfish nature constantly thwarting it. (Understanding.) There is no moral framework to govern ourselves without humility and acknowledgement of our perpetual lack of it. (Katalepsis.) There is no ethical framework to govern others without diverse experience and acknowledgement of its potential to contradicts what we expect. (Counsel.) There is no practical framework to govern childhood development without sympathy for those who cannot always express themselves and acknowledgement of their propensity to be exploited by others. (Fortitude.) There is no religious framework to govern faith without appreciation for its incomprehensible scale and acknowledgement of our limited abilities of expression. (Piety.) By understanding the manner in which we interact with outside elements, we are empowered to appreciate God’s cosmology. (Theoria.)
Creed of Metanoia: There are 4 inescapable vulnerabilities of the human condition: biological needs, emotional wants, psychological esteem and perceptual biases. In the pursuit of navigating these hindrances, people often let each other down without intending to do harm. Everyone you know will hurt you at some point, just as you will hurt others in turn, and those you love shall hurt you the deepest. Recognize this, minimize it and make amends after the fact if necessary. Repent for your sins and spread good karma. This can be achieved in the general sense by: (1) giving sustenance to the needy, (2) clothing the naked, (3) sheltering the vulnerable, (4) comforting the desolate, (5) protecting the innocent, (6) burying the dead, (7) instructing the ignorant, (8) rejuvenating the discouraged, (9) forgiving the transgressors, (10) visiting the lonely, (11) healing the injured and sick, (12) donating surpluses to charity, as well as (13) showing hospitality to our guests and gratitude to our hosts. By understanding the flaws of ourselves and others, we are empowered to embrace God’s conscience.
M. The Seven Sacraments
Baptism is the initiation of new converts into the Church, where they repeat the eight creeds and adopt a Christian name of their choosing, preferably one with some personal significance. No one shall be baptized without the ability to clearly express consent, though there is no set age requirement. The ceremony shall be performed every Fall equinox regardless of the number of applicants. They will be washed with holy water, signifying the cleansing of the soul by the Holy Spirit. This sacrament is associated with the amniotic fluid of the womb.
Communion is to be performed when a member of the Church comes of age (16th birthday) or at any time afterward, when the applicant feels ready to profess their belief before their peers. They must recite the hidden names of God as were revealed to Mary, read a passage of scripture that has special meaning to them, then provide their own personal exegesis on what it means. At the end of the ceremony, the initiate places their right hand on their heart and outstretches their left to take the hand of a personal sponsor, and they must recite together the pledge of companionship, community and covenant. Then they shall consume the bread and wine of Christ’s table as a member of the family. This sacrament is associated with the blood of our Savior, who shed it so we might have peace on Earth as well as in Heaven.
The Parnassic Games shall be performed every year at the summer solstice among all who have partaken in Communion. These shall comprise of friendly competitions in various physical activities to celebrate the joy of athleticism and health. The games shall consist of individual sports, specifically: wrestling, chariot racing, foot races, swimming, javelin throwing, discus throwing, and the long jumps. (Other events may be included if the participants wish it.) The prizes for first place at these events shall be: the Celery Garland, Olive Garland, Laurel Garland, Polos Garland, Grass Garland, Oak Garland, and a Pine Garland respectively. Finally there will be a series of poetry, storytelling, music and dance competitions, the champions of which shall walk away with a Garland of Roses, Pansies, Lilies and Thorns, respectively. This sacrament is associated with sweat.
The Bridal Chamber shall represent the celebration of matrimonial syzygy between one masculine agent and one feminine agent who are members of the Church. The invocations of marriage and subsequent consummation shall both occur before a set of mirrors to represent the complementary nature of opposites. This ritual celebrates the likeness of man with the Aeons of Heaven, and the joining of Jehovah and Asherah into new life as Elohim. It also symbolizes the merger of consciousness with the soul (which has always awaited us in Heaven) at the end of life. This sacrament is associated with the joining of ejaculate into the cavern of menses that nurtures it, for they are the body and blood of all mankind.
The Agape Feast shall represent the camaraderie and communal living of the Church, where everyone brings a dish to serve in a shared meal. Anyone who has an unmet need is free to express it to the collective, and everyone must share at least one of their possessions to anyone who requires it, from each according to his ability to each according to his need. This shall be observed every winter solstice to bring in the new year on a high note. This sacrament is associated with saliva.
Triptolema shall represent the shared burden and bounty of the harvest. It begins every Spring equinox. Everyone must attend to the plants and consider the gardening of souls conducted by God on Earth. While tending to the needs of the Earth, followers must also consider the needs of others, and as the garden must be manicured so too must their relationships with each other. That is why this time of year is also reserved for confession and making amends to those whom we have wronged. This sacrament is associated with excreta: that which fertilizes the plants, and the negative aspects of ourselves which we must purge.
The Funeral Rites shall take place whenever a member of the church has passed on. The body shall be properly consecrated, the deceased honored, memories shared and then a public burial conducted. The dead are to be entombed in the Earth without a coffin to separate them from Gaea’s warm embrace, with a tree seed under their tongue so their flesh shall be renewed into the cycle of life. Then members must take solace that the consciousness of the mind has flowed into the celestial tides of aether before joining with the Heavenly soul. The material body becomes Earth, the conscious spirit becomes Heaven. This sacrament is associated with tears.
N. The Twenty-Eight Prayers
These are the special prayers God gave to Mary and Barabbas, in correspondence with the Twenty-Eight Celestial Mansions of Eastern Astrology. God also bestowed 496 lesser hymns as well as 8,128 hidden names, titles, rituals, ceremonies and sacred images which, for the sake of brevity, shall be chronicled separately in The Gospel of Barabbas.
All prayer should preferably be conducted in the direction of the reigning syzygy (Pisces in the time of Mary, Aquarius in the present), ideally at sunrise and sunset, or else upon starting and ending the day.
Before reciting prayer, it’s preferred that one invoke the titles of God the Creator, God the Consciousness, God the Conscience and God the Cosmos while gesturing in each of the cardinal directions. One ought to pray with their head lowered to Earth in semi-prostration and say the concluding “Amen” while facing up toward the sky. While doing so, one must take in and appreciate their surroundings, notice the issues around their corner of the world and proactively make them better.
There shall be no organized clergy nor church hierarchy beyond Mary and Barabbas, who are the living voice of Asherah and Jehovah, respectively. All members of the covenant shall take turns reading scripture, providing relevant personal analysis and spiritual exegesis, as well as performing the sacraments.
A Gnostic Rosary shall be performed by reciting all 28 invocations in a row across the zodiac beginning with that which is current at the commencing of prayer. This is to be done in full prostration, with participants on their knees and taking deep bows between hymns.
Fission, the act of throwing cherry-picked, out of context verses from scripture around to prove irrelevant points, is highly discouraged. Fusion, bringing different parts of scripture, or doctrine from other religions into a shared understanding, is highly encouraged. Diffusion, the dissemination of scripture, complete with inevitable paraphrasing and miscommunication over time, is not ideal but inevitable and may perhaps lead to beneficial evolution of dogma through changing circumstances.
Personalized prayers are not only allowed but encouraged. These are mere guidelines to fall back on when one is at a loss for words:
- (Prayer of the Horns)
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love. Where there is offense, let me bring pardon. Where there is discord, let me bring union. Where there is error, let me bring truth. Where there is doubt, let me bring faith. Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, let me bring light. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy. O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that one receives, it is in self-forgetting that one finds, it is in pardoning that one is pardoned, it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Neck)
O Thou, who art the perfection of love, harmony, and beauty, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, open our hearts that we may hear Thy voice, which constantly comes from within. Disclose to us thy divine light, which is hidden in our souls, that we may know and understand life better most merciful and compassionate God, give us thy great goodness; teach us thy loving forgiveness; raise us above the distinctions and differences which divide men; send us the peace of thy divine spirit; and unite us all in thy perfect being. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Root)
In the name of the Unknown Father, in Truth, Mother of all in union and redemption and sharing of the powers, peace to all on whom this name reposes. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Room)
Holy Mother, Rightful Queen of faithful souls, Who never erred, Who never lied, Follower of the rightful course, Who never doubted, Lest we should accept death In the realm of the false gods: As we do not belong to this realm, And this realm is not ours – Teach us Thy Gnosis, And to love what Thou lovest. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Heart)
May all who work for a world of peace and reason be granted the gifts of strength and courage. May the good that dwells in every human heart be magnified. May the blessings of truth and understanding be ours. May the love of God abide within all of us. And as we create and plan for tomorrow, may we do so with faith, hope and love for all. The compassion of the Propators, the passion of the Allogenes and the wisdom of the Autogenes be with us all. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Tail)
Hail, Hail, Kingdom of eternal brightness. Hail, Hail, Pleroma of the Divinity! O immense sea, Where matter is set in motion, Mystery of silence, Of love and of beauty, Happy are you Aeons Immortals of the true life. Oh you emanations Of the lucid Pleroma Visions be present here Shining in your garments of white. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Winnowing Basket)
You, oh soul, would we praise, our bright Life! You would we praise, Jesus Messiah! Merciful savior, look upon us! Worthy are you to honor , redeemed soul of light! Salvation to you, and may we also receive salvation! Worthy are you of the soul of light, bright shining limb of light. You have salvation, bright soul of the gods that shines in the darkness. You sons of truth, praise the soul, the valiant god eager for battle. This fettered soul has arrived, gathered in from heaven and from the depths of the earth, And from all creation. Meritorious and blessed is the auditor who gathers the soul together, and blissful is the elect who purifies it. This redeemed soul has come, it has come to this Church of Righteousness. Praise it forever, you elect, So that it may wondrously purify me And lead me to life. Blessed are you, oh soul, you with the divine form! Blessed are you, oh soul, weapon and battlement of the gods, blessed are you, radiant soul, splendor and glory of the Worlds of Light! Blessed are you, divine radiant soul, weapon and might, soul and body, gift of the Father of Light. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Dipper)
Hail, shining white lily of the gleaming and ever tranquil pleroma, and ever brilliant rose of celestial delightfulness, from whom is born and from whose milk is nourished Jesus, the Flower of the Aeons, who willed that our souls be nourished by the showers of Thy divinity. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Ox)
O God, You who abide in the great eternal realms, hear my voice, have compassion on me, and save me from all evil. Look down upon me and hear me while I am in this desolate place. Now let your ineffable emanation shine upon me your light. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Girl)
Hail Sophia, full of light, the Lord is with thee, blessed art Thou among all womanhood, and blessed is the liberator of Thy light, Jesus Christ. Holy Sophia, mother of all angels, pray to the light for us thy children, now and in the hour of our death. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Emptiness)
I confess to almighty God and to you, my comrades, that I have greatly sinned in my motives and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my flaws, through my follies, through my most grievous faults. Therefore I ask blessed Mary, the Sophian prophet, all the Angels and Scholars, as well as you, my friends, to pray for me to the Lord our God. I ask your forgiveness as I strive to forgive you in turn. Be my allies in good times and bad, as I shall be to thee as well through shared struggle and success. For life is not zero-sum and all empower each other. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Rooftops)
Divine Propator, You whose glory is incomprehensible, look down upon us with compassion, and pour out upon us and on those who praise the abundance of your mercies and tenderness. Divine Allogenes, You whose example is unassailable, look around upon us with passion, and take from us the burden of our imperfections. Divine Autogenes, You whose wisdom is incorruptible, shine on us the light of truth, and show us the path in darkness. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Encampment)
Please God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Wall)
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having failed Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of Your absence, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Legs)
Almighty God, whose footstool is the highest firmament: Great Ruler of Heaven, and all the powers therein: hear the prayers of Thy servants, who put their trust in Thee. We pray Thee, supply our needs from day to day, command Thy heavenly host to comfort and succor us, that it may be to Thy glory and unto the good of man. Forgive us our transgressions as we forgive our brothers and sisters. Be present with us, strengthen and sustain us, for we are but instruments in Thy hands. Let us not fall into temptation, defend us from all danger and evil, let Thy mighty power ever guard and protect us. Thou great fount of knowledge and wisdom, instruct Thy servants by Thy holy presence. Guide and support us, now and forever. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Bond)
Heavenly Master, I do not expect my salvation to arise from faith alone, nor do I worship Thy name in expectation of a reward. I know that justification comes with good deeds, fostering happiness and brotherhood among my fellow man. Please God, watch over me as I fulfill this mission in Your name, and give me the strength to work thy will on Earth. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Stomach)
Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for all Thy benefits, who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Head)
Our God, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Net)
I acknowledge one great invisible God, unrevealable, unmarked, ageless and unproclaimable; the unknown Father, the Aion of the Aeons, who brought forth in the silence with His Providence: the Patriarch, the Matriarch, and the Progeny. I acknowledge the Christos, the self-begotten living Son, the glory of the Father and the virtue of the Mother, who was given birth from the virtuous and ineffable Mother, who was made incarnate, the Perfect one. Who in the word of the Great Invisible God, came down from above to annul the emptiness of this age and restore the fullness to the Heavenly Host. I acknowledge the Holy Spirit, the Bride of the Christos, the Mother of the Aeons, the great virginal and ineffable Motherwho proceeded from Herself a gift of Herself out of the silence of the Unknown God. I acknowledge the Light of the one church in every place: Interior, Invisible, Secret and Universal, the foundation of the lights of the great living God. I seek liberation of my perfection from the corruptions of the world and look to the gathering of the sparks of light from the sea of forgetfulness. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Beak)
O divine pleroma, may our lips be full of your praises, that we may sing to your glory. Preserve us in your holiness, and may this day be devoted entirely to the meditation of your marvelous blessings. Glory to you, now and always, for ever and ever. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Three Stars)
Set into the world am I, this divine form, deprived of my heavenly apparel. And I saw the redeemer, as He spoke to me in loving kindness. Hope then came to me when I was constantly oppressed. The marvel was illumined for me, my mind became joyful. How quickly, how hastily has come the end of my life? Free me from terrible distress on this day of death! Come, my redeemer, accompanied by praise, saving God, together with the three Children of God. Remember, kind Lord, this believing soul of your own child, an auditor, who follows you. Beneficent God, think of me, my thoughts are fixed upon the final day. Come, oh God, look upon me, my helper at this time of death! Amen.
- (Prayer of the Well)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Mother and the Divine Emanation.
For now and always until the end of time, Your glory is eternal. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Ghost)
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side: to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Willow)
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy; Hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To Thee do we cry, the exiled children of Asherah. To Thee do we send up our longing, sighs, and laments in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of compassion toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us our Holy Twin Angel. O clement, O loving, O sweet Sophia! Pray for us, O Holy Spirit of all wisdom, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ; that the door be opened before us into the column of glory, that we might cross over in the ships of Light, and rest forevermore. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Star)
We would fill our eyes with praise and would open our mouths to invoke You. We would bring to You honor and greatness. To You, Jesus the Splendor, liberated ruler and new dispensation. You are the garment of blessing. You are the dearest brother. Come for salvation, who are complete salvation. Come for beneficence, who are complete beneficence. Come to bring love, who are complete love. Come as physician, who are complete healing. Come to bring peace, who are complete peace. Come as victor, who are complete victory. Come as Lord, who are complete lordship. Come for redemption, who are complete soul-service. Welcome, new Lord and new physician. Welcome, new redeemer and redeemed one. Welcome, new God, noble luster and great light. Welcome, oh day that is complete joy. Welcome, oh year that brings a good harvest. Welcome, original one and primeval first-born one. Welcome, good mediator who mediates between us and the Father. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Extended Net)
O Gentle, O Kind, O Blessed Sophia, Thy children on earth call unto Thee: We pray Thee, our beloved Mother, to cast forth Thy net of woven starlight. Fling it wide across the ocean of the universe to gather us home to the realms of Light. Amen.
- (Prayer of the Wings)
A beggar is sorrow, the devil is hate. A dream is tomorrow, a fool cannot wait. An artist is beauty that rises above. To look in the eye of an angel, an angel is love! A mother is giving, a baby is need. A garden is living where doubt is a weed. A man bearing truth wears the sign of a dove. You’ll know that he spoke to an angel, an angel is love! A teacher is learning though ignorance is bliss. Passion keeps burning through heat in a kiss. Emotion caress us like hands in a glove. Excelsior wings of an angel, an angel is love! I love all the love in you; this spectacular beauty the angels hath grew. Amen. [Corruption of “An Angel is Love” and “I Love All the Love in You” from Barbarella.]
- (Prayer of the Chariot)
Holy is God the Creator of All, the Great Christ and the Holy Spirit, and through the angels, and the Host above. Holy is God, who wills to be known, and is known by them that belong to God; holy art Thou, who by Thy word has created all that is; holy art Thou, whose brightness fills us; holy art Thou, of whom all nature is an image. Holy art Thou, who art greater than the angels; holy art Thou, who art greater than all lights; holy art Thou, who surpasses all praises. Accept pure offerings of speech from souls and hearts uplifted to thee, Thou of whom no words can tell, no tongue can speak, whom only silence can declare. We pray that we may never fall away from that knowledge of Thee which transforms our being. Grant Thou our sincere prayers, and put power into us, that so, we, having realized Thy great love for us, may enlighten the children of Earth our sisters and brothers and Thy daughters and sons… Wherefore we believe and bear witness that we enter into light, life, and love. In the name of our God and Master Jesus Christ and in the presence of our blessed Mother Sophia and the host above. Amen.
O. The Constitution of Demotropolis
One of Mary’s greatest dreams was to found a city of the people, a “Demotropolis” where the Sophian way of life would guide its citizens to collective greatness. (It was meant to hold us over until the foretold city of God, or “Theotropolis.”) While this sadly never came to be, we have a few details of what she hoped to accomplish. It should be noted upfront that while Demotropolis was to be a perpetually peaceful state, it was Mary’s hope that other countries would willingly join them after seeing how well the system functioned.
First of all, Demotropolis was to be a directorial republic, meaning executive power was to be wielded by a small college of 6 to match the 6 personas directly attributed to Elohim (Jehovah, Jesus, Sophia, Asherah, Desdemona, Ganymede). One was to be a Buddhist, one a Taoist, one a Pagan, one a Zoroastrian, one a Pythagorean and one a Neoplatonist. All were to be chosen by popular vote of their constituents. In tied decisions, a Gnostic-Christian, who represented Elohim Themselves, cast a deciding vote.
Legislative power was to be wielded by an assembly of 60 (representing all the Seraphim) of which each of the 5 great ethnicities of the Mediterranean (Semitic-Carthaginian, Celtic-Gaulic, Greco-Egyptian, Persian-Armenian, Roman) would send 12 members (for the Aeonic syzygies). These members were to be male, but selected exclusively by a vote of the women of their tribe. (For men show their true character around those who are weaker and possess something they want.) When a dilemma was to be sent to the legislature, each clan was to first deliberate among themselves before then meeting as a whole to discuss the issue. No one could leave until a solution was reached. While not a requirement, it was encouraged that every member of each group come from a different professional background as well.
Judicial power was to be wielded by a council of five judges, one from each of the five tribes and chosen by a vote of all the men. (For women’s hearts are too soft to adequately hand down punishment as needed, and too emotional to show restraint where required.) The judges determined the facts of the case and made sure proper procedure was followed. A professional class of attorneys who studied law were to serve as the pool of prosecutors (serving in equal rotation) and were available to be hired by the defense as well. The jury was to comprise of seven ordinary citizens, selected by lot, and representing the same religious diversity of the executive council. The city was to operate on a Civil Law structure as opposed to Common Law, and Mary even composed a so-called Marian Code during her travels, though this has unfortunately been lost.
Mary hoped that this structure of government, and other distinctions of Demotropolis now lost to us, would serve to foster cooperation among the diverse peoples of the region. She wanted to destroy insularity and force us to learn from all cultures. Education was meant to reflect this same cosmopolitan “tabula rasa” element as well, with a lack of busywork, no rigid structure nor conformity in favor of a more progressive model. Pupils were to be respected, lessons individualized for their benefit, free thinking prioritized and imaginative curiousity fostered. Students were provided with a useful base of knowledge, but the accumulation of data alone for its own sake was replaced with a curriculum designed to teach children how to think as well as encourage empathy for new ideas and approaches in life. In this way, students might appreciate the joy of learning, without being stifled by an authoritarian environment.
Mary envisioned a solar calendar, somewhat based on the Julian reforms in Rome, but with 12 months (for the Aeonic Syzygies) of 6 weeks each (for the personalities of God) consisting of 5 days (for the Seraphim on Earth at any one time). There was to be a special day commemorating the beginning of each season with an additional one for the beginning of the year, (and yet another extra day every four years at the end of the calendar) all of which were not to be a part of any month. These would be days of fasting and rest, and were called the “Gnostic Sabbaths.” All the names of the 3,600 Ishim (included in the aforementioned Gospel of Barabbas) were to be divided among the 360 “seasonal days” of the calendar. Citizens were to invoke the names of these 10 angels on their respective days for guidance and luck. (The Gnostic Sabbaths have no guardian angels because they too, were said to be regenerating.) In addition, each day would have a special corresponding hymn, psalm or poem (also in Barabbas).
There were to be 12 civic fraternities, one for each month, with membership according to date of birth. These would compete against each other to score points (awarded by the civil magistrates) for doing charitable endeavors and community service, with the highest scoring fraternity being celebrated every perihelion in a parade and banquet hosted at the others’ expense. The lowest scoring house would host the others at a giant party every aphelion. (This was intended to promote a productive competition among the populace that would supercede any lingering ethnic, national or gendered resentment.)
Mary was greatly influenced by the Roman baths and aqueducts as well as the hanging gardens of Babylon. She hoped to build a great irrigation system which would nourish orchards on every roof and communal pools every few blocks. She wanted the city to be completely self-sufficient in terms of food, water and recreation. There would be no titles of nobility or clergy; all members of the community were equal citizens before law and magistrate, just as they were all loyal comrades before fraternity and church. The egalitarianism of Saturnalia was to be a daily ritual of civility, not a yearly festival of frivolity.
There were to be four shrines at the cardinal borders of the (circular) city. To the North, a pristine lake in which the baptisms were to be conducted. To the South, a mighty hearth to be tended by the most virtuous of unmarried young women. To the East, an enlarged aeolipile, a marvel of modern technology. To the West, the felled stump of a large tree, with new growth sprouting from its remains to demonstrate the resilience of nature. In the city center, there was to be a comprehensive library known as the Temple of Reason, whose scope would someday rival even that of Alexandria. Here, the Supreme Being was worshiped in all Their rightful splendor, under crossed tricolor banners which read “To Liberty, To Philosophy, To Truth” as well as “Love, Equality and Brotherhood.” There were to be two chief librarians, one male and one female, representing Humanitas and Natura, respectively. And in the center of this library, there would have been a great menorah upon whose branches the seven treasures of other civilizations were to be kept.
- The ancile shield of Rome.
- Elissa’s veil, the Zaïmph, through which she first saw Aeneas.
- Alexander’s sword, that which cut the Gordian knot.
- The flame of Arasaces.
- A fragment of the meteor which foretold Qin Shi Huang’s death.
- Arminius’ helmet.
- Ramses’ staff, which tried to work against God’s will.
Mary imagined the menorah would someday be surrounded by all the idols of the Meccan Kaaba, placed in prostration around its perimeter. Before the menorah, all visitors must lower their bodies completely to the floor and say “death is an eternal sleep.” The caretaker of the menorah (usually Natura, while Humanitas oversees the books) was to the raise them to their feet again and answer “life is an eternal dream.” Then Natura would christen them as members of the Chosen Ones, who had undergone the sacred pilgrimage to the center of sapience on Earth.
☴ First Schism Among the Christians
P. Protection of James the Just
When Mary and Barabbas returned to Judea, she began preaching her version of the gospel in earnest. Several factors impeded her progress at first. Notably, the crowds were reluctant to submit to the ecclesiastical authority of a woman, Barabbas was now a controversial figure since his release and the emerging orthodoxy of Peterism had been given time to take root. Peter had poisoned the minds of his followers in downplaying Mary’s role in the ministry of Jesus, framing her role as something more akin to a groupie than an overachieving pupil.
To elevate her status among the Jewish-Christians (who were not yet a distinct faith, still conservative and patriarchal) Mary sought to ally herself with James the Just, who was the brother of the Lord. She sought to wash his feet, with the intention of both likening herself to Jesus (strengthening her claim as His true disciple) and subtly asserting herself as the true host of Jerusalem (because traditionally it is the host of a manor who washes the feet of their visitors). However, when Mary had descended to her knees and bowed her head to begin washing, James grabbed the basin of water and poured it over her head as in baptism. “I anoint thee in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Welcome to the Church, my daughter.” In doing so, James seized the opportunity to publicly assert himself as Mary’s clerical supervisor, and to this there was nothing she could do that would not risk alienating herself further. Mary responded in humility, saying “The Lord has given thee authority over the holy city, capital of the world. There will be a time soon where I must venture into the heart of our occidental oppressors and show them the light. May you remain the rising sun of our Christ, and I shall be your vesper.” To which James smiled and replied “Amen.”
Barabbas found himself offended on Mary’s behalf, and planned some kind of forceful retribution upon the insolent James. Mary checked his anger, saying “The Lord knew him better than I, so who am I to claim a better insight into his character based on one interaction? We must appreciate that Jesus trusted James as best suited for the task, and leave the man to his responsibilities as we carry on with our own.” Rather than obsess over hierarchies and chain of command, she found the greatest pleasure came from teaching Barabbas and their new converts about God’s glory. Rather than obsess over slights, she found renewal in the Lord’s exemplar of mercy. Mary consoled herself by turning to her Lord’s actions yet again, for He had also accepted baptism from a theological inferior as a mark of goodwill and reconciliation between their two ministries. Ultimately, some people feel the need to assert themselves against others in petty shows of dominance, and in minor cases like this it’s usually best to remember that such behavior reveals their own insecurity.
Nevertheless, Barabbas gently reproached the brother of Jesus, in private as is proper and with an appreciation for the other man’s points of view. Barabbas reminded the decorated bishop, seated highly in social stature and comfortable dwelling, of the value in actually going out to be among his own people. “Lest you forget,” warned Barabbas “what ails them, what comforts them, how to calm their worries and renew their excitements.” Barabbas continued to say “the true successor of Jesus shall not be determined by titles or privileged stations but through the hearts and minds of the sheep that are His flock.”
The Sophians enjoyed the protection of James from then on against Peter and other would-be critics from within the faith itself. For James was a pragmatic man who knew it was best to allow the message to spread as far as possible at this stage, rather than have the nascent Christians waste all their energy bickering over dogmatic subtleties and snuffing out the church before it had even gotten started. Beyond that, he knew how much his brother had loved Mary’s guileless disposition and spirited enthusiasm for goodness. Indeed, it was difficult for anyone to be in Mary’s presence for long without recognizing her purity of heart. If a “silly” woman wanted to try her luck preaching to the crowds, it was no concern of his. Soon enough, he would learn to miss her company after mediating many a dispute between Peter and Paul.
It was during this time that Mary composed her own unique hymn, known alternatively as “the Ode to Sophia,” “the Sophists’ Creed,” and “Vows of the Jahwist Syzygy,” which would form the backbone of her doctrine. It goes as follows:
“The Maiden is Light’s daughter; in Her the King’s radiance is treasured. Majestic is Her look, and delightsome; in radiant beauty She shines. Like spring flowers are Her garments; from them stream scents of sweet odours. Throned over Her head the King sits, with food free from death feeding them at His table. Truth crowns Her head; Joy sports at Her feet. She opens Her mouth as becomes Her; all songs of praise She lets stream forth. Two and thirty are they who sing praises; Her tongue is like the entrance veil, moved by them who enter in only. Her neck towers step-like; the first world-builder did build it. Her hands suggest the band of blessed Aeons, proclaiming them; Her fingers point toward the City’s Gates.
“Her bridal chamber does stream with light, and pours forth scent of balsam and sweet herbs, delicious scents of myrrh and savoury plants; with myrtle wreaths and masses of sweet flowers ’tis strewn within. Her bridal couch is decked with reeds. Her bridesmen are grouped round her; seven are they in number; She hath picked them Herself. Seven, too, are Her bridesmaids dancing before Her. Twelve are they who serve and attend Her; their eyes ever look for the Bridegroom, that He may fill them with light. For ever with Him will they be in joy everlasting; and will take their seats at that feast where the Great Ones assemble, and remain at that banquet of which the Eternal alone are deemed worthy. In kingly dress shall they be clad, and put on robes of light, and both shall joy in bliss and exultation, singing praise to the Father. For of His glorious radiance they’ve received; and at the sight of Him, their Lord, they have been filled with light. They have received from Him immortal food that knows no waste. They’ve drunk of wine that makes men thirst no more, nor suffer fleshly lust. So with the Living Spirit they glorify Truth’s Father, and sing their praise to Wisdom’s Mother.”
Peter considered this tolerance of the Marian doctrine to be a huge insult to him personally, and only begrudgingly recognized James’ role as patriarch of Jerusalem’s church from then on. Years later, with the rise of Paul’s “heresies” against Mosaic Law, Peter would endure yet another slight from James when he (James) relaxed certain requirements of gentile converts. This led to Peter’s leaving Judea to establish his own authority elsewhere (eventually in Rome) as well as downplaying Mary and James in his teachings. As the orthodoxy gradually formed over the years, the two suffered a diminished place of honor among the scriptures that were born out of Peter’s followers. This was to be the first of many great schisms in the history of Christianity: between the Jewish-conservative Peter, Mary of Gnostic-Gentile sympathies and Paul as the middle ground between the two.
Q. Fate of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin
The high priest, known as Caiaphas, remained a thorn in the side of Christians everywhere. It was he who was most enthusiastic among the Sanhedrin in executing Jesus, for he feared any threat to his position as chief religious authority of Judea. Yet, despite the carpenter’s death, Caiaphas remained unsatisfied with his stature among the populace. He recognized that the mood had shifted permanently since that fateful day of the Nazarene’s crucifixion. His reputation never really recovered from the perception that he feared Jesus, a poor man of no official capacity, when a member of the Sanhedrin was supposed to be above such trifling matters. This perception of insecurity and weakness meant the people no longer respected Caiaphas despite his noble rank.
For Mary, a woman, to add her passionate voice to the growing number of those who preached illegal doctrine that contradicted Caiaphas’ own instructions, it was almost too much for the old man to bear. And unlike her Christian-orthodox counterparts, Mary did not avoid direct confrontation with the Sanhedrin either, for she knew that Pilate was her supporter. Mary criticized the high priest loudly and often in retribution for her felled teacher. Eventually, Caiaphas’ restraint broke and he abandoned all pretense of the decor befitting his profession. He took to following Mary around as she evangelized and yelled insults at her:
“Pay this whore no mind! This is only Mary the concubine of that criminal, Jesus! She is the fornicator of blasphemers and the matron of falsehood. Disregard her heresies, for she would have you believe there are many gods in Israel, and I tell you there is only one! Would you trust the high priest or a…a–woman!?”
This carried on for some manner of weeks before the spectacle of a high priest with nothing better to do than harass an innocent commoner began to backfire on Caiaphas. He grew ever more frustrated as his protests fell on deaf ears. Finally, after a particularly large crowd had gathered to indulge Mary, Caiaphas called for her to be stoned as punishment for supposed adultery and sacrilege. However, the crowd refused to do so, for they knew she was righteous and had taken her message of forgiveness to heart. So Caiaphas threw the first and only stone, which Mary dodged and for which Barabbas rushed the high priest and brought his face down into the dirt. The crowd laughed and applauded, but there were those among them who asked if her companion hadn’t just betrayed the very message of peace which she was attempting to spread. Mary responded in the following way:
“There is a difference between doing no harm to your neighbor and allowing your neighbor to do harm to you. God condemns unprovoked attack, not self-defense, and sometimes that’s the only way to stand up to evil. Do not take up arms to serve the interests of your own greed nor for the benefit of elites, nations and institutions. Do so only to defend the dignity of yourself and the downtrodden around you, and only as a last resort. Then pray for foregiveness all the same.”
The crowd nodded in approval, but nevertheless Mary and Barabbas opted to leave Judea the next day to avoid further trouble from the Jewish authorities. The chief benefactor of this action was Joseph of Arimathea, the secret and beloved disciple of Jesus: he who had always been a Christian spy within the Sanhedrin, whose tomb housed His body and who was now caretaker of Mary the Mother. For Joseph was Caiaphas’ most outspoken opponent in the council as well as the private financial benefactor of Mary Magdalene and Barabbas while they remained in Jerusalem. Joseph was able to wield far more influence thereafter, as Caiaphas would be forever humbled by this event. Later in life, he would collaborate with the apostle John on a special gospel which sought to unify the positions of the Sophian Gnosticists with the emerging Synoptic orthodoxy, to limited success.
While Joseph decided that he could accomplish more for the cause from within the Judean bureaucracy than outside of it, his close ally Nicodemus would accompany Mary and Barabbas on their further adventures. Nicodemus brought with him many secret scrolls containing the lost sayings of Solomon. These included the Testament of Solomon, Book of Wisdom, the Greater Key of Solomon, Lesser Key of Solomon, Odes of Solomon, Sonnets of Solomon and the Psalms of Solomon along with the widely known Sapiential Books of the Torah. (Which are The Book of Psalms, Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Sirach and the Song of Songs.)
Upon this second and final flight out of the holy land together, Barabbas christened their hurried last meal of unleavened bread with his own original invocations. These have since been called the “Prayers of Consecration,” “Asherist Nuptials,” as well as “the Sacramental Invocations.” They are recited as follows:
First invocation: “Come Thou holy name of Christ, name above all names; come power from above; come perfect mercy; come highest gift! Thou Mother of compassion, come; come Spouse of Him, the Man; Come thou revealer of the mysteries concealed; Thou Mother of the seven mansions come, who in the eighth hath found thy rest! Come thou who art more ancient far than the five holy limbs–Mind, Thought, Reflection, Thinking, Reasoning; commune with those of later birth! Come Holy Spirit, purge thou their reins and heart!”
Second invocation: “Come highest gift; Thou perfect mercy, come; Thou knower of the chosen’s mysteries, descend; Thou who dost share in all the noble striver’s struggles, come! Come silence, thou revealer of the mighty things of all the greatness; come thou who dost make manifest the hidden, and make the secret plain! Come holy dove, mother of two young twins; come hidden Mother, revealed in deeds alone! Come Thou who givest joy to all who are at one with thee; come and commune with us in this thanksgiving which we are making in thy name, in this agape feast to which we have assembled at thy call!”
In Mary’s absence, many of her students who remained were soon butchered by the ascendant Paul of Tarsus (then known as “Saul”), who would go on to remake orthodox Christianity in his own image. The only survivors of this great martyrdom were her siblings Martha and Lazarus, who nevertheless retreated to Cyprus and spread the true gospel there. Lazarus, of course, was the man who was resurrected by the Lord Jesus Christ, though he had never been the same man again afterward, so harrowed by the sight of not-yet-redeemed sinners in the Gehenna. (Of the experience, he only warned Mary “All that you take with you is that which you have given away.“)
Meanwhile, the antagonistic members of the Sanhedrin petitioned the prefect, Pontius Pilate, to hunt down Mary and Barabbas for striking a high magistrate in public, but he ignored their request. From then on, resentment built between Pilate and his subjects because of the Roman’s devotion to Mary. Pilate began to actively persecute those who would publicly criticize her or the doctrine she had spread. (This, again, would lead to his recall as governor and disciplinary hearing before the Emperor Caligula…)
☲ Pilgrimage of the Sophians
R. The City of Antioch
Mary and Barabbas decided to travel across the Roman provinces: starting north into Anatolia, then Greece, then avoiding the hostile Roman heartland by sailing into Carthage, then Hispania, into Gaul and finally into the unknown wilderness of Britannia at the very edge of the known world. God instructed Mary to bring the Ark to each location so Their divine presence might seep into every corner of the world. She was promised a new vision and disciple–5 for the Seraphim–in each country. Then, upon reaching the furthest point west, where the sky runs most red with the blood of martyrs, she was to open the Ark. (For the sake of narrative convenience, these visions shall be relayed separately in the next book, though they happened many months apart and concurrently with the events to follow in this one.)
Upon arriving at Antioch, which would later become the first city in which people called themselves “Christians,” Mary met the Gnostic preacher known as Menander. He was but the latest in a long line of missionaries who had been to the city before, or indeed sprang from within it. Menander had been a colleague of Barabbas’, for they had both studied under John the Baptist (and in the former’s case, also Simon Magus). He had disagreed with Barabbas’ treatment of Simon and Helen, as well as the false Roman-centric sermons of his rival, and left to found his own movement, called the Menandrians. When Menander saw Barabbas with his own “Helen” now, he accused his one-time friend of being a hypocrite and dismissed Mary as a cheap prostitute like her earlier counterpart. Menander claimed to be the messiah, and promised that baptism by him would lead to eternal youth. Mary countered that baptism by the Holy Spirit would lead to eternal life in Heaven, as part of the Singularity with God.
There was one man among this sect called Basilides, also a student of John’s (a mere juvenile at that time), who found himself especially attracted to the idea of a spiritual resurrection as opposed to continuing to live in the same mortal body. For Basilides had been gravely mutilated by the cruel practice of circumcision, which is a barbarity in all circumstances, but in his case left him with too little skin to have sex at all. This inhumane torture, often performed as the result of misguided dogma (see the next book), overeager doctors looking for an excuse to use their scalpels, and careless parents who can’t be bothered to do an ounce of research before permanently scarring their children, is a blasphemy against God’s image. Mary had seen this for herself in Heaven, where all of the body had been celebrated, and even Barabbas was swayed upon the healing of his own foreskin in Heaven. Basilides deeply resented being robbed of his body’s greatest sense of physical sensation but dare not mention it to Menander, for he (like many Gnostics) considered all bodily pleasure a sin.
Basilides mentioned this personal dissatisfaction to Mary, who healed his desecrated genitals on the spot. She said “Elohim did not make us in Their image to butcher ourselves. It is a crime against the child, against mankind, against the act of love, and against God Themselves. Let the advocates of genital-mutilation suffer 20,000 years of agony in Gehenna and those who perform it endure 20,000 lifetimes: one for each of the precious nerve cells which they have robbed from their offspring. And still this is less than the burden they have bestowed upon their victims.”
Basilides asked “But do I dare forsake my vows to uphold God’s will by indulging in the sinful pleasures of women?”
Mary answered “God gave us a brain capable of multi-tasking, God gave us two hands, and God gave man a foreskin. It’s possible to walk and chew curd at the same time. You can love your wife and God both without having sinned against either. Render unto Peitho what is Peitho’s. Bodily desecration is a crime against God and nature; those who do it to their children ought to be ashamed forever, in this life and the next.”
The night after his first copulation, Basilides had a vivid dream wherein the Four Theologians who Expanded upon Jesus’ Ministry (Mani of Manichaeism, Muhammad of Islam, Paul of Catholicism, and Mary of Gnosticism) were whisked away by God’s Pet: the companion who sits at Their footstool, entertains Their guests and guards Their manor. This divine beast, who was shaped like a Tiger, a Falcon and an Anaconda all in one form, but spoke with the eloquence of Sappho or Cicero’s students. This fearsome creature, who was a Green Dracosphinx called Ladon, consumed milk from the Cetan whale and feasted on the flesh of Amalthea in preparation for the voyage. When it was satisfied, the mammalian-beast led them into the Palace of God, an inconceivably intricate structure known as Asterelyon. The flying serpent coiled itself around the northern celestial pole, forming a gateway to the Divine Estate Most High. Then, when all travellers had entered the Celestial Castle of Christendom, Ladon returned to guarding the golden apples which are our stars and the ivory gardenias which are our moons. For this Dracosphinx is protector of the World-Tree that is our multiverse.
Inside Asterelyon, there was all manner of impossible architecture, objects built from optical illusions including hallways of mobius strips and penrose staircases. Any person relying purely on sensory perception, weighed down with any unbalanced perspectives in their mind at all, would have been overwhelmed and lost forever. There were uncountable examples of surreal pareidolia, like ever-morphing tesseract furniture and heiroglyphic ambigram-inscriptions to overwhelm even the clearest mind with mesmerizing distractions. Of the theologians: (1) Mani consumed too much of the mystical wonders around him, until his brain could no longer handle it and he went mad. (2) Muhammad could not bear to wait until death to return to this fantastic place and killed himself on the spot. (3) Paul became an apostate and tried to burn the entire castle down, reasoning that if he couldn’t understand it then no one else could either, nor were they meant to try. (4) Only Mary fully ascertained the meaning of this place, derived episemon and edification from it, then left in peace to decode its hidden wonders into the vernacular.
At the news of this miracle and subsequent revelation, many of Menander’s followers lined up to heal themselves of the atrocity that is male genital mutilation. Mary baptized them with the fire of Sophia’s illuminating light and they were loyal to her doctrine from then on, for fire is the most sacred object in Simonian theology and one who could control it must surely be chosen from above. Menander attempted to argue the folly of the materialistic world as well as the people who indulge in it. Mary argued that “It makes no sense for God to give us a life on this Earth, fallen though it may be, if not to do something with it. If society is cruel, spend the time you have to make it gentle. If nature is chaotic, domesticate it into something useful. If your mind is preoccupied with lesser urges, enjoy them in moderation and seek a higher calling in penitence thereafter. We must raise the world to the standards of God then, not give up on it from the beginning. What mother refuses her children–what citizen foresakes their country?” Menander was subsequently discredited, and his followers split into the factions of Cerdo (who rejected Mary) and Basilides who became one of her disciples. (After Mary’s death, Basilides started a renewed congregation in his native Egypt.)
In this way, Mary demonstrated mastery of sensation and mancy over flame.
S. The City of Delphi
Next, Mary and Barabbas came to the city of Delphi, which the Greeks considered the center of the Earth and where many soothsayers had been before. There she came upon the oracle (who was always called) Pythia, whom the pagans regarded as the speaker of the Gods on Earth. This priestess inhaled the fumes from geothemal vents that wafted from the decaying serpent, Python (whose carcass was buried in the underworld below) to become better attuned to supposed divine wisdom. She would speak in gibberish passed off as glossolalia, which her priests would commiserate among themselves for a time then “translate” into elaborate poetic hymns.
Mary challenged the sniveling bureaucratic priests to transcribe the oracle’s words separately and in the open where their process may be shown, and when they did so they found that each of them had given completely different prophecies. Mary challenged the oracle to speak for herself, and asked her direct questions, like when next it would rain. After the oracle answered “the day after tomorrow,” Mary offered to kill herself on a funeral pyre outside. Eager to watch this infidel suffer a gruesome end, the priests all agreed. However, the instant Mary stepped into the flames, a torrential downpour put them out. Frustrated and embarrassed, they were about to expel her and Barabbas from the temple grounds when she offered to counter their foul air of death with the renewing nectar of ergot, which the priests and oracle consumed out of curiosity. They saw the real God for themselves, for the first time, and realized their religion had been false.
The oracle, whose true name was revealed to be Charmian, abandoned her prestigious position and the life of leisure that came with it in order to become Mary’s disciple. The vision that had converted her involved a scene from Heaven, where there were three trees representing the three aspects of the Godhead.
- The World Tree, through which all Universes and Sapient-inhabited planets branched off from, was the Propator. It stood undaunted and triumphant, yet to do so Asherah held its incomprehensibly vast root network upon her shoulders, and Jehovah siphoned His endless waves of light into its all-encompassing evergreen leaves. (In the afterlife, the souls of the careless and cowards shall be crucified upon it.)
- The Tree of Knowledge, through which higher understanding was granted to all Sapient races, was the Autogenes. At one time it was the centerpiece of Creation, then humans had carved it into a cross of pansies on which they nailed the serpents of wisdom, for they resented the responsibilities that knowledge had brought upon them. (In the afterlife, the souls of the willfully ignorant and disingenuous shall be crucified upon it.)
- The Tree of Life, through which eternal singularity with God in Heaven is achieved, was the Allogenes. It marked the boundary between the mortal plane and eternity. This tree had also been converted into a cross, but of thorned roses and the Allogenes themselves were crucified upon it, for personal sacrifice was the price of everlasting life. (In the afterlife, the souls of the prideful and wicked shall be crucified upon it.)
- The three of Fascinus held shepherd’s crooks of guidance which became flaming scythes taming death itself. In His likeness, Charmian saw the three who are forbidden: the Bacchists who revel in filth, the Baptes who cleanse with water and the Borborites who do both. The three of Shekhinah held lit torches of guidance which became incinerated fasces taming false authority. In Her likeness, Charmian saw the three who are daduchos: Artemis the virginal maiden, Demeter the grieving mother and Hecate the sagacious crone.
They climbed the summit of Mount Parnassus, where Mary spoke in terms the native Greeks could understand. She described the demiurge and satan, who rule over our materialistic world of fallen men and corrupted values, as Ophion and Eurynome. These false-gods, according to legend, were the predecessors to Chronus and Rhea (themselves predecessors to Zeus and Hera) and were cast down into the underworld. They had falsely believed that they alone were the source of all power and authority, living in sinful ignorance of the true God above them, who will cast them away in the end of time.
Charmian continued to consume the lysergic potion throughout their journeys and wrote a true book of glossolalia in a script no one could decipher except when they were properly enhanced. It contained 7 sections: one for herbology, astronomy, balneology, cosmology, pharmacology, recipes from Kamrušepa and theology. No one could understand it unless they too were under the influence of the psychedelic, and it proved invaluable to the group along their journeys. The final section contained a detailed map of Heaven, with the Earth described as like a baby in a womb whose umbilical cord flows from Delphi into Heaven, which was described like a woman’s body. Heaven mirrored yet surpassed the layout of the Earth, with 7 layers for the bowels (Kenoma, the abyss), the womb (Earth, and the physical Cosmos), stomach (Asphodel, nourishment of the lesser angels), lungs (Pleroma, where the Aeons reside), heart (Elysium, where the Four Rivers of Paradise meet at the four-chambered pump), neck (Hyperuranion, the Infinite Corridor) and head (Empyrean, abode of Elohim the Highest). After a time, Charmian ripped out these pages, believing they did not do Heaven justice.
Barabbas was inspired by Charmian’s efforts to map out God’s process of creation, though he chose to embody the almighty in the Rabbinic Kabbalah, a form of the World Tree. There were said to be four worlds within this diagram (Atziluth for Emanation, Beriah for Creation, Yetzirah for Foundation, Asiyah for Manifestation), which was laid out in three columns for Severity/Destruction on the left, Mercy/Creation on the right and Harmony/Moderation in the center. The resulting 10 sephirot were said to embody the different steps by which God the Indecipherable (Ein Sof, “Without End or Boundary”) weaved nothingness into everything that is existence as we know it. (These are, in order: Crown, Wisdom, Understanding, Kindness, Discipline, Glory, Eternity, Splendor, Foundation, Kingdom.)
In this way, Mary demonstrated mastery of communication and mancy over water.
T. The City of Junonia
Mary and Barabbas traveled to the colony of Junonia, founded by the Gracchi reformers and built by Caesar, where many preachers had been before. It stood on the ruins of ancient Carthage, which would always serve as a monument to man’s inhumanity to man. For Carthage had been the existential threat so feared by Rome that they completely destroyed its walls, its literature and culture. There were none who could remember the names of all their Gods, none who would bestow their old traditions onto a new generation. The only Carthaginians still remaining to even sire freeborn children ironically owed their existence to the fickle generosities of their own tormentors, for every survivor of the Punic genocide had been sold into slavery nearly 200 years prior.
They found one such fellow, a freed but destitute Punic-born man called Amadeus, after the surname of his former owner. He was embittered by the lost years spent serving his ancestors’ mortal enemies, building over the historical ruins of his homeland with imposing foreign structures as an unwitting tool of his peoples’ further subjugation. Carthage was now drenched in the regalia of Caesar, who had completed the city’s reconstruction projects first proposed by the brothers Gracchus. To commemorate his surname, there were statues and painted banners depicting Sextus Julius Caesar (first of the gens, Julii Caesares) with his famed azure eyes reflecting the Mediterranean sea (blue) that was now Rome’s undisputed domain. He was fair-haired and generously so, in such a way that his lustrious mane matched the gilded tint of his armor (yellow). His arm was red with the blood of an elephant he’d slain (red) in the battle of Zama, ensuring the submission of Carthage in the Second Punic War.
Barabbas saw much of his former self in the man, who even confessed to be plotting murder and revenge. Barabbas told him that, while his grievances were valid and he was entitled to his resentments, violence would not solve the problem. “To perpetuate the cycle of retribution is only to ensure it comes back around on your people again. That way, further generations will be left in ruins, suffering compounding indignities, wasting all their thoughts on violent ruminations instead of rising above it to a higher calling.”
Mary gave the man a handful of seeds and plow, while Barabbas gave his old master a pitcher of water and scythe. She said “Carthage was and will continue to be one of the great breadbaskets of the world. While its successor-city may be built on a great crime and nothing can change that, it’s important to remember no one alive today was around when the city burned. It will only continue to mire this land, waste its potential and yours, to play out the same tragedies of the past on the innocent offspring of lesser ancestors. I know that the greatest conqueror of all time went to his grave wanting only to spend more time with loved ones, away from the wars that had made him all-powerful. If you were to work together, and build, imagine what this land could be again!”
The two oversaw a tremendous harvest that year, in the vein of Mago the great agricultural wizard. Mary demonstrated how the bark of the Mimosa trees could be refined into an Amazonian elixir, which she distributed among the two. They saw God for themselves and believed. When it was over, the former master (who was also called Amadeus) was filled with remorse and opted to join the Sophians on their voyage, leaving Carthage to the Carthaginians again. His old victim, while unable to forgive completely, was persuaded to forego his grudges and focus on restoring the land to its former splendor.
Amadeus described his vision thusly: Jehovah was the Sun, whose fusion of many atoms to make energy and warmth were all the different peoples of the world coming together as one. Asherah was the Earth, laying down in a birthing position, her belly swollen in pregnancy, with a great tree growing out of her navel. Along the branches (which continuously expanded and multiplied outward) were every single species of life that has been, is or shall be. On the very top was humanity, and as the tree grew this tallest of branches punctured Jehovah’s Sun, spilling the blood of Christ upon the trunk. The tree caught fire but its denizens did not perish. It had become the largest torch imaginable as well as a monument to Sophia’s guiding light. The tree acted like a lighthouse for the wayward souls of unbelievers, who came in waves of 2 from Carthage, 8 from Alexandria, 20 from Babylon, 28 from Ctesiphon, 50 from Paithan, 82 from Luoyang and 126 from Nara. The blood of Christ became the body of His crucifixion on display, shown to the ignorant so that they might understand the sacrifice which raised men to God.
Meanwhile, Barabbas placed a memorial wreath by the ruined cothon in honor of Hannibal, the one man who Rome most feared. He reminded all onlookers that Carthage’s finest son had stood up to Italian persecution, only to be let down at home by the political posturing of the elites. “When one man has the courage to stand up for what it right, you all must stand with him or accept submission to tyranny,” he warned them. “No odds are impossible with courage, charisma and cunning among you! If your women of the past could face down death over submission, why not the rest of you?” Then he wept at the thought of all Hannibal had accomplished for his people, only for them to turn their back in war and peace.
Thereafter, the second Amadeus took to combining the agricultural guides left by Mago, the treatises on plants handed down by Theophrastus as well as the secrets of Lilith’s Sacred Groves into a book of the Earth’s bounties. He called this tome The Gardens of God, and divided it into two subsections known as “Ouranos’ Orchard,” which mapped the Gnostic constellations and their meaning (including Caesar’s comet), in addition to “Gaia’s Grove,” about the fruits of the world, their various culinary and medicinal applications as well as how to harvest and prepare them. On the departure of the Sophians, he dedicated a holy well in the city center in their honor.
In this way, Mary demonstrated mastery of reconciliation and mancy over earth.
U. The City of Corduba
Mary and Barabbas came upon the city of Corduba, Hispania, where many proselytizers had been before. It was near this spot where Julius Caesar defeated the last of the Pompeians, particularly his old friend Labienus. The lesser man had chosen to defend what he saw as Republican ideals and Roman patriotism, over his personal benefactor and comrade-in-arms. (A tremendous folly, for personal loyalty trumps all.) This then marked the spot where an iron age man, a man of the Far West, had truly made himself ascendant over his corner of the world. Caesar would know the glory only bronze age pharoahs, Alexander the Great and his near-contemporaries of the Han dynasty had enjoyed. And he achieved it all with every other Senator and patrician in his country strenuously working against him from when he was just 16 years old.
Mary and Barabbas witnessed a haruspex and an augur arguing which of their conflicting omens superseded the other. Apparently the haruspicy had revealed a goat’s entrails without the head of the liver, which was a bad sign. However, the augury had produced a room full of chickens running to the right side of a room, which was a favorable one. Mary asked them why they profaned themselves by following around a bunch of mindless chickens, or digging their hands in the filth of beasts. “You belittle the majesty of God, pretending to search for Them in the lowest orders of creation!”
The haruspex, whose name was Rheginos, answered “We have always done so to decide our next course of action. ‘Tis a hallowed practice going back over 1,000 years to the blind clairvoyant Tiresias, who was a speaker of Apollo himself!”
Mary countered: “And in all that time no one considered the irony that you’ve been following a lost guide? That perhaps your nonsensical divination is just the blind leading the blind?” She pulled out a prism and revealed the rainbow to the spellbound duo. She continued “God is diversity, God is all colors within the light. God’s only sign is that we must respect others and trust in ourselves to fill our role in the menagerie of pigments. While all-knowing and all-present, God wants us to use the minds we were blessed with to think for ourselves. Why follow beasts of burden who have less of a capacity to think than yourselves?”
To satiate their need for mysticism, Mary asked Barabbas to cut and smooth down a large triangle shaped piece of wood, which she called a “Spirit Table,” and claimed it represented the world-soul, the rebis of Adam Kadmon, who houses the immortal souls of Adam and Eve. On it she drew 10 large circles in three rows, two of three levels and the central of four. This was done to mark the 10 chief attributes of God, with three types of particle (quarks, bosons, leptons) two of which come in three generations and the final of which carries the four fundamental forces. (They could also be used to represent numerals in a base ten system.) Connecting the circles were a series of “paths” representing the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (though Mary emphasized they could double for Greek and Latin with a few extra paths drawn off to the side). She moddeled this design after Barabbas’ Kabbalah diagram from earlier. She claimed that his 10 sephirot now represented Adam Kadmon’s: Skull, Left/Right Brain, Left Arm, Torso, Right Arm, Left Leg, Genitals, Right Leg and Mouth. Mary next asked Barabbas to sculpt a small heart-shaped planchette with a hole in its center. This was to have at least one, preferrably two operators laying their hands upon it gently, under which conditions it would channel the energies of guardian angels and move automatically. Mary and Barabbas operated the board before the stunned crowd, contacting an incorporeal hivemind of benevolence known as the “Love Beings.” Mary referred to them as the chorus of Nymphs, which are God’s Celestial Torches in the cynosure galaxy.
They conspired together, Cordubans and Sophians alike, to arrange a great festival of music. Thousands came from all over the countryside to listen and participate. The proceedings lasted three days non-stop, though a series of communal bunk beds were established at the perimeter to allow guests to rest between their favorite musicians. There was a stage built into the side of a raised hill, with a clearing below many tall shade trees for the audience. During the height of the most intense performances, the energy of those on stage were magnified among the crowd, such that any gesture was mirrored a hundred fold by the imitators below like a conductor to an orchestra or a puppeteer to his mannequins. Mary used this dynamic to illustrate the exponential impact our every action has on those around us. During her own set, she worked the crowd into an incredible frenzy and, at the peak of their mania, commanded them to make love with each other. On cue, Barabbas and the other disciples rained down handfuls of Kama Sutra pamplets and flower petals from the trees to inspire them. It was the largest, most enthusiastic orgy the word had ever seen.
The augur, who adopted the name “Psychephilus” after this sermon, joined the group in their adventures. Upon their departure, he witnessed twelve vultures (a very special sign, reminiscent of Romulus’ foundation of the Palatine) flying south in the opposite direction as they were heading. Yet he barely paid them any mind, for to the north he saw a single white dove which spoke with the voice of divine Sophia. She said “This woman speaks with my voice, and in her acts I am well pleased.” Mary donned the brilliant halo of the Holy Spirit, beckoning him further into the unknown. That night, he had a dream in which this dove, the signal of God to come, defeated the 12 vultures, who personified the Olympians. Psychephilus was inspired to write a brilliant epic from this revelation, entitled the Olympiomachy.
In this way, Mary demonstrated mastery of perception and mancy over air.
V. The City of Lutetia
Finally they reached Gaul, the only civilization ever to capture the city of Rome, for which Caesar repaid them in kind several centuries later. They saw that, for once, few ministers of faith had reached this summit before them. The area was still a relative backwater compared to the finer eastern megalopolises from which they had arrived. Yet, in its humble state Mary saw opportunity. Here was a land mostly unclaimed by colonial construction or pagan temples to false idols. Here was a chance for society to start over into something new and sincere. She looked out over the meadows and saw the honest manual labor of a people who’d been tamed by imperialism but not yet broken. It was here Mary felt she could build a church.
While God had commanded them to go to the furthest reaches of the west, which meant crossing into the unknown isles of Britannia, Mary somehow knew this would be where her journey ended. She felt an inner confirmation from God that a great city would one day be built where she stood. Mary opened the Ark and received the following 8 auspicious artifacts from within: (1) a golden Horn of Plenty which carried an unlimited number of seeds from all plants, (2) the Rod of Moses, carved from the World Tree, which could channel God’s power directly, (3) the Holy Grail which could rejuvenate a person’s body from illness and age, (4) the Lance of Longinus which could cut through any substance with ease, (5) a Purse of Infinite Coins and metals, (6) a Looking Glass which revealed the sins, strengths and desires of its beholder, (7) the Aegis of Immortality which had been partially fashioned from the bark of the Tree of Life and (8) the lost six Sibylline books, made with paper from the Tree of Knowledge, which contained the accumulated understanding of every person who had ever lived. (They would later be associated with Amadeus, Mary, Basilides, Barabbas, Psychephilus, Pneumaphila, Nicodemus and Charmian, respectively.)
A near-blinding beam of pure white light stretched from the open Ark directly into Heaven, to where it could be seen for miles. Rainbow patterns radiated away from this spectacular column, seemingly dancing through the sky a short distance before dissipating into the azure horizon. With a beautiful tapestry of voices it sang “Holy, Holy, Holy is our God, where Heaven and Earth are filled with Their Glory!”
While many Gauls flocked to this sight of unprecedented wonder and proclaimed her a goddess, Mary appeared troubled. She allowed her disciples to make use of these trinkets, which they enthusiastically obliged, and many Gauls wanted to learn of this undeniable religion as a result. Yet she herself remained sullen, appearing to be deep in thought. We of the elect would later learn that she was grappling with the issue of whether she had any right to play God on Earth with these mighty abilities or alternatively if she had any right to reject God’s gift. Ultimately, Mary decided that she would have to use the Holy Grail continuously to live forever and guard the chest to prevent its misuse. Yet she found the idea of eternal life in the flesh abhorrent, preferring to join with God again in Heaven, as she had been preaching all along. And she knew she could not trust mankind not to abuse such ridiculous power, especially given enough time. Humans, when offered God’s powers, would surely bring themselves to ruin.
Ultimately, Mary decided to use the Lance of Longinus to destroy every one of the Ark’s treasures including the Ark itself. As she split each relic, she yelled out “From the spite of our first ancestors have we learned of the corruption that comes from power imbalance! From the envy of the Berbers toward Carthage have we learned the plague of flaunting our superior prospects! From the quiet grief of Caesar have we learned the folly of filling human-shaped voids with material success! From the example of Marcellina have we learned the value of genuine experience over materialism or prestige! From the death of Saint Germain have we learned the danger of seeking greatness for its own sake!”
Unfortunately, she could not destroy the Lance itself just as man will never throw off the yoke of his own self destructive tendencies. It was because of this unprecedented display of restraint, humility and character that I, Pneumaphila your humble narrator, converted to her ministry. While her followers were disappointed, God was pleased. The light of the Ark entered Mary and she was briefly transfigured into a shining beacon among the crowd, her body and blood became starlight and cold flame. The voice of the Ark announced that she was the first person worthy enough to be adopted by the Serpentarian syzygy, so that Christ and Sophia Themselves would sponsor her entry into Heaven. The voice concluded by saying: “Remember you are mortal; you came from dust and to dust you shall return. Your future splendor is the gift of God’s grace, not the product your own glory.” To which Mary answered by saying “I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind.”
As news of this legendary feat reverberated across the masses and well into the horizon beyond, I saw a great vision play out in the clouds. There was Mary, she of Pneuma, Gnosis and Apotheosis alike, an illuminated courtesan surrounded by seven courtiers vying to be her spouse. Among these admirers were Buddha from India, Jesus from the Levant, Orpheus from Graecia, Hercules from Italia, Muhammad from Arabia, Zoroaster from Persia, Hamilcar from Carthage and Akhenaten from Egypt. They engaged in a passionate orgy, through which Mary had accepted the seed of all eight suitors. She became pregnant with embryos from each of the men, though only one survived childbirth. Of the dead fetuses, Mary ate one, fed another to the father of her only child and gave one to the child itself. The fourth was burned in a pyre by the tophet, nurishing an eternal flame even in the fiercest of storms. The remaining three were ground into fertilizer and used to grow a splendid garden of sequoias (green), poppies (yellow) and pomegranates (red) with which the three could live in peace and understanding with nature, for all eternity. From then on, the family did not need outside sustenance anymore, and were satiated merely by cupping their hands with the husband’s nocturnal emissions and wife’s cyclical discharge. After this sign, I was convinced that Mary Magdalene was the worthiest instructor I could ever find.
While this was happening, Barabbas split himself into seven colors and his words translated across his counterparts into a chorus of scripture in all languages of the crowd. Any dismay their followers might have had at the loss of these powers was comforted by the knowledge that the Ark itself had been a test of virtue all along. Mary and her cohorts might have used them to become almighty on Earth, the rulers of every land they had visited and more, but they chose humility instead. It is not for us as Sophians to emulate God’s omnipotence; we must always follow in the example of omnibenevolence instead. The folly of dominating Earth is demonstrated by the cycle of Lucifer, the morning star, who races to the top of the night sky as if to assert itself above all others before immediately being obscured by the sunrise. And had Mary not destroyed the relics of the Ark they would have soon fallen into evil hands…
In this way, Mary demonstrated mastery of transubstantiation and mancy over aether.
☱ Visions of the Luminaries
W. Protanthropon and the Edenites
While in the city of Tyre on their way to Antioch, Mary and Barabbas received a vision from the archangel known as Phanuel (Esus Taranis), who represented God’s role as Cultivator. Descending from a lightning bolt, this angelic specter wore a green tunic of nature, a purple mantle of Heaven and a gold chasuble of just authority, though these vestures could not contain the four wings (two of an owl, two of a moth) nor the four horns (two cornua of a ram, two antlers of a stag) protruding from its humanlike form. In its arms, the angel carried a ram-headed serpent and Solomon’s shamir. It wore the crown of Shuti and bore the mark of the swastika. The Seraphim showed them the following signs:
In the beginning there was Elohim, who separated into Matter and Antimatter, thus causing the Big Bang which began our universe. One begat two: Fascinus created the uncountable stars of light while Shekhinah created the dark void between them. Two begat three: the Propators, Allogenes and Autogenes of each Godhead planted three trees in the center of everything, a dwelling which we call Heaven. Three begat four: the 6 personalities of God made a total of 24 Aeons who imitated their Creators by pairing into syzygies of male-female. The Propators made syzygies of the 4 cardinal signs, the Allogenes made syzygies of the 4 fixed signs, the Autogenes made syzygies of the 4 mutable signs. Four begat all: The Aeons desired to be like God and create new beings of their own, so they gave birth to the Seraphim, of which there were 5 for every syzygy. The Aeons also wished to create their own plane of existence as God had created Heaven, though since they were not perfect like God, the world they created was flawed and stagnant, made of physical material that was prone to decay rather than the incorruptible aether of God’s domain. God sought to enrich their world by adding life to it.
The Propator’s Tree grew upside down, with its roots in Eternity and its branches in the physical plane, where flowers blossomed into stars, fruits grew into planets and leaves covered the void. It was the cynosure of all Creation, an infinite corridor linking all worlds in all universes. From this, Asherah took pity on the flawed product of the Aeons and descended to the material reality so she could restore it immediately. Jehovah remained in Heaven and created the other tiers of angels alone. Asherah brought the seeds of the Allogenes and Autogenes’ Trees with Her. She tended them in her Sacred Grove, which we call the Garden of Eden, and watered them with a Sacred Spring which we call the Sea of Tethys. In this manner, She created all growing things on Earth, the plants and fungi, where Jehovah created the majority of Heaven. The Allogenes’ Tree was evergreen and grew with eleven branches of life. The Autogenes’ Tree was in tune with the seasonal changes and beautified with rainbow flowers and fruits. Jehovah brought the Sun and stars of His angelic armies to nurture Asherah’s produce and illuminate Her beauty to all.
Together, Elohim created humanity in Their second favorite self-image, that of homonids–male and female in likeness to Jehovah and Asherah. (Yet there was some of Asherah in the male and Jehovah in the female, as there is a female personality within Jehovah and a male counterpart in Asherah.) Originally, man had been created as a hermaphrodite (or rebis) called Protanthropon, until the lonely being requested companionship. Thereafter, God seperated this mortal child into the complementary sexes through the process of adding needs and wants, masculinity and femininity, which made man’s triumphs all the sweeter though failures also increased in severity. In this way, man’s desire to win recognition and companionship was encouraged, leading to the bittersweet experiences we all must share in. Together, Elohim created the multitude of other sentients and animals from boundless imagination from the primordial soup that was the early oceans. Man alone achieved sapience along with the complex communication to express it, endearing them to God above all other life.
Elohim took the man and woman before the Aeons and commanded them to bow to the two humans.
- The 3 syzygies of water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) did so instinctively, for they were the most compassionate and selfless of God’s angels. They would have bowed regardless of God’s order, to make their new charge feel welcome.
- The 3 syzygies of earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) did so reluctantly, for they were the most loyal and obedient of God’s angels. They resented being made to do so, but respected their Lord enough to fulfill any command.
- The 3 syzygies of air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) hesitated, for they were the most inquisitive and analytical of God’s angels. They knew God had the power to force compliance without offering a choice, and thus concluded that God was testing their discipline, to see if they would bow to any other but Them. Thus, they declined the order from a misguided sense of duty.
- The 3 syzygies of fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) refused to do so, because they were the most passionate and confident of the angels. They reasoned that as Celestials scultped from divine light and aether, they were of too high a substance to kneel before a being made of simple clay.
God used this moment to illustrate the concept of free will to the Aeons, for one simple input had produced various outcomes in different recipients as a result of their own unique, individual autonomy. They said “Now consider the conflict that will befall these people and their progeny, for they will inhabit a world of endless challenges and tests and stimuli from many different sources simultaneously, where you yourselves need only to interact among the select few of the Celestial plane. With every moment, they will make choices on how to interpret the actions of those around them, and what to do in return. It’s inevitable that others will hurt them in this chaotic process, as they will hurt others in turn. It’s inevitable they’ll be put in scenarios that confuse them, or are disagreeable to their sensibilities. That’s the plight of mankind, in this materialist physical world of scarcity, ignorance and selfishness. Men must consider at all times the choices available to them, the consequences of those choices, their own flaws as well as those around them, for the infinite potential they’ve been given is both a blessing and a curse.”
Upon considering the harsh lot of those doomed to their world, the Aeons realized at once the consequences of their own actions in creating it. They appreciated the true majesty of God, who had given them freedom despite their comparitive insignificance, and who would now extend such compassion even to the very creatures whom they had previously chosen to look down upon. If God could show empathy to the infinitesimals, there was no excuse they themselves could not. At this epiphany, the Aeons lined up in the order of their procession across a Great Year, so they could each take turns kissing the humans’ hands as well as pledge oaths guaranteeing their well-being and those of their children’s children until the end of time. Thus it came to be that Aeons sent down their own progeny, the Seraphim, to guide us on Earth and adopt the worthiest of humanity into Heaven as Tzadikim.
For a time, God took an active role in the events of the Earth: the Propators stood astride the mountains of Moriah and Gerizim, the Allogenes straddled Mounts Targhizizi and Tharumagi, and the Autogenes to Olympus and Othrys. Elohim, who is everywhere, was said to feature most prominently on Mount Sinai during this time. Jehovah desired order and safety for His progeny, so He initially forbid mankind from eating the fruits of the Two Divine Trees. He wished to keep this perfect moment in time forever, where people were innocent and pure. Asherah desired creativity and freedom (even at the expense of stability), so She argued that mankind must be allowed to eat and achieve their full potential. She wished to love us all for our flaws and resilience against a cruel world. Jehovah commanded the man and woman not to eat from either Tree until the matter could be conclusively decided. This was to be the only moment in history where the two complementary halves of Elohim were not in agreement, and as They debated what to do, humans took charge of their own destiny.
The first people were called Adamas (or Adam, for “Earth”) and Lehavah (or Lilith, for “Fire). Adam admired the immense strength of the Lord and determined that the best way to emulate this ideal within his own limited capacities was to hunt down the other animals and bully his wife. He used intelligence only as it furthered his ability to project power, tinkering with raw materials until they served his will as tools, becoming the Grandfather of Fortification. Lilith desired to be the equal to her husband, but could not build shelter or defend herself against hostile beasts and was forced to submit in return for his protection.
Eventually, Lilith abandoned Adam and ate fruit from the Tree of Life, so she could endure the wildlife of the forest and experiment with its mysterious flora. Since she was immortal, Lilith could consume any combinations of flowering plants and growing things. She discovered their hidden properties in this manner, and became the Grandmother of Medication. From then on, Lilith followed in the example of Asherah: beautifying her flesh, sashaying her hips and feigning a dewy-eyed expression so she could manipulate men to her will. She taught these tricks to future generations of women and in this way, indignation between the sexes continued into the indefinite future. Men needed women for intimacy but resented that beings so much smaller and physically weaker than themselves could have such power over them. Similarly, women needed men for protection but feared what might happen when left to the mercies of beings so much stronger than themselves.
Jehovah was furious at Adam, and painfully extracted a rib from him as punishment so as to fashion a replacement, named Eve (“Life”). She was docile to suit Adam’s needs, but keenly intelligent to compensate. Jehovah instructed Adam that the true mark of strength was in defending those who are physically inferior, not dominating them. He said that respect is derived much more from strength of character as opposed to brute force. The man took this to heart, though he was later intimidated by his wife’s superior wit and ate from the Tree of Knowledge to match her. For this infraction, both Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They sired four children: a boy named Seth (“Appointed One”) plus his three sisters: Azura (“Helper”), Balbira (“Strong”) and Luisa (“War”), though Eve died in childbirth. Adam suffered in his loneliness for a long time, regretful of mistreating the valuable companions he had been blessed with, and tortured into near-catatonia with the infinite knowledge of God. In his old age, he was unceremoniously mauled by a wild boar.
Asherah was sympathetic to Lilith and constructed a new man out of her waist, who was called Avir (“Air”). This second man was fully devoted to her in compensation for Adam’s cruelty, but completely subservient as a result, which did not endear him to Lilith. Asherah instructed the woman that she had greater power over men than first realized, yet men would always begrudge her for it despite their overwhelming attraction. The Goddess said that outer appearances fade, so true beauty must also come from within. The woman took this into consideration, but could not find it in herself to respect Avir, whose every thought revolved around pampering her. She sired four children: a boy called Mayon (“Water”) as well as three daughters named Norea (“Pleasant”), Aclima (“Resilience”), and Calmana (“Unknown”) before leaving her husband. The heartbroken wretch killed himself soon after. Lilith never died and aimlessly circled the globe for centuries thereafter as the wandering Jew until going insane. In His mercy, Jehovah allowed brought Lilith to Heaven regardless of eating the forbidden fruit.
The four unfortunate founders of mankind shared the overlapping Syzygies of the Crux, the Guiding Vices of the Southern Cross asterism (God of Star-Crossed Lovers).
Subsequent generations born of Mayon and Adam’s daughters would go on to found the Phoenician civilization, whose capital would begin as Tyre and transfer to Carthage. The future progeny of Seth and Lilith’s daughters would go on to found the Hebrew civilization, whose capital began as Samaria and then transfered to Jerusalem. Where Adam had marked his wife with a corsage of violets and nightshade “on the hand that serves me,” Avir had given Lilith a shawl embroidered with lotus and lilies which she threw in a mud puddle. In the second generation, Seth gave each of his wives a single flower (white, blue and yellow) to wear behind the ear while Mayon gave his lot a boutonniere to hold in their bosom (silver, orange and blue). Together, they each became the first tricolors of heraldry and vexillology by which man marked his territory. This was the beginning of men thinking they could claim nature and even other human beings as property. Such developments occurred despite the will of God, who intended there be no private property nor states nor domineering patriarchs.
Initially, men took on multiple wives so as to speed up the populating process. Then powerful men began to accumulate so many that the women felt neglected and the lonely men felt rebellious. This gave way to a more polyamorous arrangement until property laws and anxiety over lineage encouraged stricter monogamy over the generations. Men feared cuckoldry and women feared domestic abuse, and so they began to equate lovemaking as merely a means of survival and as a status symbols, respectively, thus further entrenching the resentments between the sexes. As mankind spread out over the Earth, subsequent diversification of faiths, languages and phenotypes (after many centuries and millennia of breeding selection and cultural diffusion) gave them even more internal divisions as a source of mistrust and resentment. Men used the freedom given by God to regularly hurt and mistreat each other over small differences that could’ve been solved with a little empathetic communication.
Adam and Lilith both coincidentally circumcised their boys, the former to discourage reliance on women and the latter out of an acquired hatred for men, which is how the barbaric practice began. (God would have never ordered such insanity of Their own people.) The Hebrews gradually abandoned Asherah out of that same mistrust for women that Adam instilled in future generations, while the Phoenicians followed suit and made Asherah-Tanit their chief deity and consort to the false-god known as Baal (Hammon). The gifts of Knowledge and Life were disappated and misapplied as the ages wore on. Jehovah and Asherah retreated to Heaven to devise a plan to reintroduce the fruits of the Divine Trees properly. They wanted to free mankind from the legacy of compounded troubles brought upon us by these original sins between Adam, Lilith and their replacements. From these efforts came the introduction of the Christ and Sophia, who were sent by Jehovah as a concession to Asherah, so that creation would be empowered. In return, the Goddess sent Desdemona and Ganymede to nurture the innocence so cherished in Her Consort.
After the vision had concluded, Mary and Barabbas looked at each other with an elevated sense of gratitude, that they had overcome the toxic legacy of their forebears. Still, Mary noticed the discrepencies in this story compared to the creation myth she had been taught from the Scorpian Aeons in her previous revelation. “Which is the truth?” she asked the messenger.
Phanuel responded “They are both true, they represent the beginning of sapience in two different iterations of this Universe, during the Eon of Aeons, when the first angels were still mortal.”
Mary asked “Then God has created the world before? In our universe before we even existed yet?”
Phanuel said “Yes, before your Big Bang, when the Universe you inhabit was not 4 cycles old yet. The tzadikim of every eon carry over in the lower levels, and the worthiest among them–the Tirthankaras–become the next cycle’s angels. They apply the lessons of their sapient race to the creation of new worlds in the following cycle.”
Mary wasn’t sure whether to feel empowered or insignificant in response to this information. She considered the tremendous responsibility of creating an entire timeline of physical laws, chemical circumstance and biological selection to make such a perfect creation as this. Yet, if the angel was correct, hers was but one more flawed prototype among generations of inferior design. How could she hope to succeed where so many angelic ancestors before her had failed? Or perhaps flaws in the code did not amount to failure in God’s eyes..?
Phanuel said unto them: “Remember that one must not use God as a means to obtain power on Earth or settle scores against others. Remember not to glorify one aspect of God above the others, as Adam and Lilith worshipped power and freedom (respectively) at the expense of compassion. It is not for humans to strive for closeness with God at others expense, creating false hierarchies based on wealth, strength or immutable characteristics like sex. Among yourselves, let egalitarianism reign. I implore you also to think of your own morality and ignorance as blessings in the meantime, until God grants the cure for each to those who do good deeds in the example of (or in spite of) the example set by Jesus. Knowledge is a curse, knowledge is burden, it represents more sources of argument and anxiety. Life was meant to be renewed with the passing of generations, the humility of death is a release from age and suffering on Earth. Life and Knowledge are gifts but also a heavy responsibility.”
Mary begged to see the fate of this alternate lineage of man, that which had come not from Adam and Eve but Lilith and Avir, who sired the dreaded Canaanite heathens whom she had always been taught to fear. Barabbas asked to see the person who had come the closest to matching God’s propensity for love even in the face of tragedy. The angel promised the next vision would reveal just that.
X. Elissa and the Phoenicians
While traversing near the city of Ilium on their way to Delphi, Mary and Barabbas received a vision from the archangel known as Gabriel (Lugus Cernunnos), who represented God’s role as Archegos. Descending from a cloud, this angelic specter wore a green tunic of nature, a purple mantle of Heaven and a gold chasuble of just authority, though these vestures could not contain the four wings (two of an owl, two of a moth) nor the four horns (two cornua of a ram, two antlers of a stag) protruding from its humanlike form. In its arms, the angel carried a parasol and carnyx. It wore the double plumed crown and bore the mark of Tanit. The Seraphim showed them the following signs:
The Canaanites might have been a mighty empire, had petty religious differences not prevented the various city-states from unifying into one polity or confederation. For their internal divisions, the denizens of this cursed region were left to the domination of Babylon and Assyria in generations past, and now in the present to the Oriental Persians and Occidental Rome. They serve as a lesson in the importance of cooperating with one’s neighbors, of being mindful that there’s a bigger world out there than what we immediately interact. In the wars of dominance for our Lord, the Hebrews wound up losing ten of its tribes, centuries of self-determination and numerous slights to its dignity with nothing to show for it. The Phoenicians lost their hard-won overseas empire in the same manner.
The Hebrews/Jews claimed as their heritage a fantastic mass-emancipation at the hands of a prophet called Moses (“Up From Water”) who reigned down plagues on the hostile Egyptians. Moses was said to have received the sacred law of the Ten Commandments as well as the promise of Israel (the so-called “Holy Land”) directly from God, which is where they settled. From that time on, they became a comparitively austere and warlike society, so as to show appreciation to the God that saved them and to never be enslaved again. They upheld the tradition of child-mutilation with a particular fervor since the time of Abraham, who mistakenly claimed the practice to be founded upon beneficent religious tradition as opposed to the bitter legacy of control and collective self-loathing that we know it to be. In absense of sexual satisfaction, the Hebrews focused their frustrated male energies into conquest. So demented had they become as the result of their disfigurements that they even circumcised the corpses of their fallen enemies, as if out of misapplied bitterness.
Israel celebrated every victory against their more immediate rivals, such as Jericho and Ammon, until they had no allies left to stave off the Assyrian and later Babylonian incursions. The Jews had forgotten the lessons God gave to Adam, of making peace and treating one’s inferiors with respect, for which they were severely punished. They became a self-flagellating people, blaming every hardship on a lack of faith or unjust relaxation of ritual dogmatism as opposed to examining their poor policy and destructive zealousness. Even the old United Kingdom of David split in two, with Israel and Judah, because of minor differences in religious dogma. Petty feuds among competing high priests would lead to schisms, like that between the Gerizim traditionalists and the new faction of Shiloh, led by Eli, which solidified over generations into serious blood feuds. Or, as a more recent example, the contemptuous division between Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes in the time of Jesus.
According to Hebrew tradition, all other Canaanites had abandoned the original Ten Commandments in favor of a mischievous pig named Tzel (“Death”), who amended the Law of God with qualifiers. To the first, it added “unless they also inspire good deeds among men.” To the second it added “unless they also inspire brotherhood and understanding among men.” To the third it added “unless doing so serves some greater immediate material good to your fellow men.” To the fourth it added “unless you keep God holy in other times, in other ways.” To the fifith it added “unless they do not honor thee in turn, as appropriate.” To the sixth, it added “unless doing so in clear, non-aggressive self defense or in clear protection of innocents.” To the seventh it added “unless in a polyamorous arrangement with consenting adults.” To the eighth it added “that includes usury, fradulent insurance, bodily mutilation and loss of dignity.” To the ninth it added “nor conspire against him secretly, in heart or deed.” To the tenth it added “unless that which you covet was rightly yours, wrongly deprived.” They believed all other Canaanites were descended from a woman named Luluwa (“Excess”), who fornicated with this pig.
The Phoenician/Punic branch of the race actually claimed descendance from a mermaid named Athara-Gatis (“Mother of the Sea”) who enticed the wandering hero Melicarthus (“King of the City”) to settle down in Tyre. Their people prospered through the harvest of sea snails, whose purple dye was worth its weight in gold. Tyrians flaunted their fortune with extravagant beachfront homes, lavish feasts and pig roasts, as well as public works projects. They cultivated an industrious artisan class, fearless colonial expeditions and a cultural district that was the talk of the world. Punics looked upon their more puritanical neighbors to the south with pity and fear. They took offense to the Jewish demonization of sealife as non-kosher at best, Leviathans for their one God to destroy at worst. Which is to say nothing of how the Jewish taboo against pork, their prized cousine, was vexing to them. Or how terrified they were of Israel’s warlike diplomacy. For these reasons, Phoenicians largely steered clear of their brethren, and expanded into the western waters.
Jewish fanaticism caused severe blowback against Jehovah, and several cities opted to replace their divine masculine figure with false gods like Teshub, Milcom, Hubal, Enki, Marduk, Dumuzid, Ashur and Yam so as to distance themselves from their insufferable neighbor. Even Asherah’s very name was tarnished by extension in the minds of foreigners, to where her followers began calling Her instead: Aserdus then Ashima then Ishara then Ishtar then Inanna then Geshtinanna then Tiamat and eventually, Tanit. The abandonment of true Asherah worship by the Phoenicians is a particular shame, because She so favored this region. The Goddess loved these people who found a home in Her beloved seas, and who were themselves founded and glorified largely by the deeds of their women.
In fact, the pinnacle of womanhood in Phoenician history comprised of Elissa (“God’s Flame”) whom we shall return to shortly, and Jezebal (“Where is Baal?” in reference to the false-god’s death and subsequent resurrection). Of the two, Jezebal represented the last gasp of Asherah worship among the misguided Hebrews in the east. For her devotion in the face of the emerging Jewish heresy, she was constantly harassed by troublemakers espousing false sanctity, like Elijah and his radical faction of strict monotheist-fundamentalists. While Jezebal was eventually murdered for her faith, she made sure to adorn herself in fine clothes, makeup and jewels first. This way, the people would always remember her as a proper lady first and foremost rather than a disgraced fugitive or humiliated prisoner. She kept her dignity, publicly asserted her glorious stature, and died on her own terms. This would become a motif among all prominent Phoenician women to follow.
The Punics escaped the increasing chaos of their terrestrial neighbors by looking to the sea. In the tradition of a mother, they fertilized the Mediterranean coastline with many child-states, their colonial empire. The greatest of these was Carthage (“New City”) of northwest Africa, founded by the princess Elissa. She had recognized the perilousness of remaining in the Levant, a crowded field with many power players vying for dominance. So, she sought out a new niche that had not yet been occupied, as do all species that survive the game of evolution. Her followers became an industrious and crafty people who thrived because of their willingness to explore what was new. Meanwhile, their southern neighbors in Galilee languished in perpetual self-loathing, self-persecution and reactionary policies.
Elissa had originally been appointed co-ruler of Tyre along with her brother Pygmalion upon the death of their parents, King Maharbal and Queen Lara. She married her uncle Acerbas, whose fortune was well known, though that was not the reason for the attraction between them. In fact, Acerbas’ courtship of his niece was borne out of an unconventional display of protective love. He had watched her grow up from a very young girl, one whose imagination and friendly desire to share it with anyone who’d listen greatly outpaced her own ability to communicate. So enthusiastic was Elissa in these creative dialogues that she often paced back and forth, theatrically waved her arms, emoting like an actress and impulsively stretching her limbs while speaking. Many a time, the girl was forced to play charades or fabricate new words to express the concepts her young mind had created entirely from scratch. On other occasions, the child began stammering or unexpectedly broke off in extended pauses because she had simply overwhelmed herself with too many details and possibilities to keep track of it all at once. Sometimes she’d be walking backwards while discussing her pretend adventures to a slower adult listener, just to make sure they were understanding everything properly, and have to be warned not to trip over a stone or bump into a wall. Elissa loved to prattle on about great expeditions beyond the map, the strange beasts she would encounter there, and she did so for as long as her recipients’ manners permitted.
Acerbas saw in Elissa a pure heart and beautiful mind, as well as the fragile body of a young girl in a man’s world, so he opted to proactively defend her with his wealth and name. For a man cursed with infertility, in many ways she was the daughter he never had but always wanted, rather than a simple wife which could be found anywhere for a rich bachelor like himself. Her ignorance of the weary nature of mankind gave Acerbas hope, happiness and a purpose for living again. Elissa’s wonder at the simple things in life, her enthusiasm for spontaneous creativity in all circumstances likened her to God in his eyes. Acerbas could not stand the thought of this tender spirit crushed by the harsh realities of the fallen society around her, nor of any unworthy suitor treating her as less than the treasure she was. “Your unparalleled innovations, emblematic of the timeless splendor that is youth, inspires me like no pompous lecture nor melodramatic soothsayings ever could. There is no Heaven, darling Elissa, unless I am your eternal audience, beholding the profound depth of your simple mind and offering the endless supply of encouragement which you deserve!”
The true original sin is not the pursuit of knowledge as the Israelites would have us believe, but rather in the inevitable accumulation of it over the course of life, and how it destroys the innocence of young minds like Elissa’s. With experience comes the pain of betrayal and disappointment. As the two fester through our human predilections for anxious rumination, this in turn leads to compounding cynicism and resentment. Adulthood comes not with the passing of an arbitrary age but the realization that other adults have no idea what they’re doing (and they usually act out of unaddressed childhood trauma themselves). Acerbas knew all of this very well, for he was an embittered man who had suffered several heartbreaks through the years. In Elissa he saw a reflection of what he imagined his own self to be in God’s Eyes: an adorable, helpless but wonderfully curious seed of potential. It was a sign that he should treat this child as he would like to be treated by God in the afterlife. Elissa was an opportunity to right the wrongs of mankind, if just in his own small corner of the world with this one unspoiled Lamb of God. For truly, goodness begins with simple acts of kindness and nurturing gestures among our immediate community. Despite expressing such affections in the form of matrimony, theirs was something purer than a romantic coupling, and the marriage was never physically consummated.
Sadly, Pygmalion had Acerbas killed on false charges in a conspiracy to steal his relative’s innumerable savings. Elissa, now an adolescent, had planned contingencies for just such an occurrence, and cleverly replaced the sacks of gold dust in the vault with sand, so that she could flee the city with the real fortune. Taking a coterie of prominent noblemen who also feared the tyrannical boy-king, they set out on the ship Dido (“Wanderer”), thus making them the Didonauts. During a pit stop in Cyprus, the men absconded with 88 prostitutes for their wives as well as a high priest named Hanno to bless the voyage. They ventured beyond the known lands until making port in western Africa, where they bought what became known as Byrsa (“Fortess”) Hill from the Berber king, Iarbas. In point of fact, they had purchased only “the amount of land which can be demarcated with a single cow hide” but cut the fabric into thin strips to surround the its summit. While digging out the encampments for their new settlement, a horse’s head was discovered, which was proclaimed to be a favorable omen.
Carthage was founded during the outbreak of the Trojan War and many refugees from the final sack of that city made it their new home. The most famous of these was Aeneas, who would himself go on to found a great city, the future enemy of Carthage and greater-Canaan, the seat of the world-empire, known simply as Rome. Elissa became infatuated with the young soldier, making a spectacle of herself as she openly pined for this destitute youth of no prospects but the memories of his fallen kingdom. She even neglected her political duties to listen to the man’s war stories and offer herself to him. There was talk among the public that Elissa may even ask for his hand in marriage, which would have been considered scandalous for any woman to do, much less the queen of a precarious new colony. Aeneas had nothing to offer the emerging civilization except his capable hand in battle, at the expense of losing a political tool (the offer of marriage to foreign dignitaries) as well as potential retribution from Magna Graecia for harboring their rival.
The most defaming incident between the two occurred one night when Elissa chose to bathe before Aeneas in the Tunisian bay, beneath a full moon. Such indecency was often punished by pagan gods with transformation or even death, as Ovid teaches us, so the boy was nervous if someone should catch them. Elissa played the role of her ancestor Athara, enticing her crush further into the water. She had every intention of losing her virginity here, within the benevolent sea. “Be the King of our City, o’ Melicarthus reborn! Take all that is mine by force and let me be yours! Be the firmament to my fertile, cosmic sea!” Elissa was young and smitten, unable to appreciate the way in which such flagrant desperation compromised her dignity as a leader. Unfortunately for her, Aeneas saw firsthand through the selfish folly of Paris what women can do to men, and thus had learned to abstain from carnal dalliances except in secure wedlock after a period of respectable courtship. So, even when presented with such temptation, the young soldier only half-heartedly placated his admirer and would not surrender his honor. Still, there were witnesses on the beach and rumor spread throughout the settlement that Elissa was compromising herself.
On another occassion, Elissa is said to have stood outside the doorway of her own capitol and mewed at a passing Aeneas as if she were a lowly prostitute. When the embarrassed lad turned to face the catcall, she stole a kiss and giggled in his face. She said “I am the Lehavah to your Adam: for I am alone without you, I am ignorant of nothing else in this world but you, I am eager to bring you warmth and pleasure. For you I was created and without you I shall always feel incomplete. Join me in these sacred groves, fresh with dew, and let us receive baptism from Mother Nature as if we were reborn, while we merge together into one flesh for the first time!” The bewildered stares and mocking laughter of passerby finally convinced Aeneas to consummate the romance, though he was not pleased to be put in a reciprocal position before the public. During the act, the naturally curious Elissa pondered the method and sensations involved in sex between different animals, to Aeneas’ further chagrin. Afterwards, she took him aboard her pleasure barge, craftily lowering its masts into a makeshift canopy, and proposed marriage. The bewildered warrior declined, as politely as was possible under the circumstances.
To spare the queen what remained of her dignity, several of her advisors threatened Aeneas to continue on his way, and so he did. (In truth, the lad needed little convincing to be rid of this uncomfortably assertive female pursuer.) The masterminds of this move, Gisco and Bomilcar, harbored fantasies of courting the beautiful matriarch in the absence of this new rival. They wished to make themselves Lord of Carthage, though none of their designs ever succeeded. Elissa assumed her lover had merely taken off after satisfying his own shallow indulgence; she felt used and discarded, so deep was her pain that the light was said to be evermore dimmed in her eyes. In this way, the infighting of Carthage’s short-sighted bureaucrats doomed its greatest woman and man alike (referring to Hannibal, who brought Rome to its knees nearly single-handed), thwarting common good for the sake of their self-centered scheming. A day would come when the Carthaginians abandoned their principles in service of corruption, decadence and stagnation. When that happened, they too perished just as their Jewish neighbors behind them and the Roman Republic ahead.
As Carthage began to prosper through fishing and agriculture, the comparitvely primitive Berbers began to resent letting their old land go for so cheap. In addition, Iarbas found himself impressed by this foreign queen personally, for she had always displayed great cunning and character. Iarbas demanded that Elissa become his wife, which would in effect reduce Carthage to a subserviant entity propping up a lesser state. Elissa refused, both for political and personal reasons, as she was reluctant to endure romance again after two crushing losses. Rather than risk war for her people, she intended to kill herself in a funeral pyre on the shores of her beloved city, staring in the direction Aeneas had gone. She was the Syzygy of Pegasus, the Guiding Vices of the Autumn Square asterism, who limited their understanding of God to one subject. (In this case, God the Miracle-worker.)
The Berbers immediately besieged the Byrsa, but they were wiped away by a sudden flood that also extinguished Elissa’s fire prematurely. She still passed away, yet her city endured because the waters never reached beyond the summit of the hill. As a result, the Carthaginians began to hold the ocean in a special regard, turning their attentions to seafaring trade and colonialism in their own right. For now, they settled the undefended Qarnaim mountains across the bay, as the fateful first step in their new mission to dominate the Mediterranean. Carthage would quickly become the best shipbuilders and navalists in the world, traveling with such range as to reach Sub-Saharan Africa, past the coast of Normandy and even into the Americas on one or two limited excursions. So prosperous was this overseas empire to come, that mainland Carthaginians did not need to pay taxes nor serve in the military. In fact, most citizens did not find the need to involve themselves with politics at all, for their livelihoods were ensured regardless of who sat in the various administrative councils. Of course, this pampered existence would lead to devastating consequences for them down the road.
Praying to Asherah-Tanit one last time, Elissa had begged the Goddess of Goodness and Greatness to burn down her branch of the World Tree, so no one else would ever know what it means to suffer as she had suffered. Instead, Elissa saw in the flames the fate befalling two of her city’s greatest progeny. They were women like her, caught in impossible dilemmas, with foreign armies demanding their submission. Without the power to rise up and march on their enemies, these women also died as the result of their tormentors, though by their own hand as was the case with Elissa herself. “Why my God? Why allow my people to follow down this course of destruction?” she begged. Then she saw that the World Tree was not bound by God’s directions but the collective acts of its inhabitants. It was like a great amoeba, whose roots and branches represented potential pathways that it could take depending on the compounding stimuli provided by the people living in it. For many reasons, including political infighting among its fattened elites and lack of civil service involvement from the sheltered lower classes, Carthage chose its own fate.
The only relief for Elissa in that moment came with the water that would provide for her peoples’ heritage, in which she saw the Six Faces of God extinguishing the reign of demiurges on Earth once and for all in the distance future. For the moment, Jehovah could only cradle the poor lady with His hands and whisper in a gentle tone: “Someday soon, there will be a world that’s safe for the kindhearted and docile. Lambs like you won’t have to run anymore, for you will know the protection of a shepherd. Every delicate child of mine who suffers at the hands of the callous shall be met with restorative justice in the Reign of God to come.” Elissa heard this, and cried softly into His arms, which were at this moment personified by the salty embrace of the sea. All the same, Elissa became the first of the Phoenicians to accept Jehovah as her God, and as consort to her cherished Asherah-Tanit, just as Mary had been the first Jew to adopt Asherah. It was in this way that the tragic woman, who had known so much inhumanity at the behest men, finally ended her suffering.
In Elissa’s example, we also find the tragedy of Sophonisba (“Protected by Baal,” ironically). Like her ancestor, she too was caught between the lust of a lesser suitor (Syphax of the Berbers) versus her heart (Masinissa of Numidia) and the interests of her country. Fearing the Romans, who were Syphax’ ally, Sophonisba acquiesced to his proposal against her wishes but managed to convert his loyalties to Carthage all the same. However, Masinissa did not take the rejection lightly and destroyed Syphax’ armies at Cirta. Masinissa took Sophonisba as his bride, but the Romans interceded and demanded he hand her over to them as a prisoner, in case she might sway his loyalties too. His fear of Rome outweighed even the love of a great woman, and Masinissa tacitly agreed to send her away, where she would be paraded naked in a triumph before the hostile citizenry and then sacrificed to Jupiter like a cow. However, in actuality Sophonisba decided to kill herself rather than endure this humiliation, with his blessing. It is lucky for the Romans that Sophonisba’s husband was not willing to fight for her life, because she had been communicating with the ghost of the demi-goddess Pasiphaë via crystal ball, in order to use divination to reveal Roman troop movements and crossbreed men with elephants into an army of giant monsters.
Then in the final days of the city, during the Sack of Carthage at the end of the Third Punic War, there was one last show of the very same feminine defiance which characterized the city since its inception. As fires consumed what had once been the crown jewel of Semitic civilization, one-time masters of all the Mediteranean world, a woman named Ummashart, who was the wife of its last ruler, donned her finest remaining clothes. She saw that her own husband (who is not worth naming) had surrendered to the Romans rather than make a heroic last stand for his people. She yelled “Wretch, traitor, most effeminate of men, this fire will entomb me and my children. Will you, the leader of great Carthage, decorate a Roman triumph? Ah, what punishment will you not receive from him at whose feet you are now sitting!” and threw herself to the pyre. Before her death, this last defiant Phoenician woman had penned the Lamentations of Carthage, a city lament written from the point of view of Asherah, for with the final destruction of Punic culture went with it her last remaining subjects in the world. (Until Mary and Barabbas revived Asherah worship ~200 years later.)
After this vision, Mary wept at the plight of women everywhere, for she knew what it was like to be so disempowered and at the mercy of men. Barabbas wept at the destruction of what would’ve been a powerful ally in his old struggles against Rome. He recognized that for the Hebrews and Phoenicians to feud had been a terrible mistake, ultimately dividing themselves so Rome could conquer all. Truly, one could stand to benefit from making enemies rarely and carefully if it must ever be done at all. Bridges, once burnt, are hard to repair and may quickly prove to have been invaluable in hindsight.
Gabriel said unto them: “Do not be scared to venture into the unknown and try new things. To remain always comfortable in stagnant routine, to settle for poor treatment among your peers, that is to diminish your own potential and therefore the potential of God’s Creation itself. Also, be not quick to cast out others for minute differences in view or immediate goals, for today’s supposed enemies might be your greatest allies tomorrow. Imagine what Pygmalion lost out on when driving away his brave, brilliant and loving sister–what they might have accomplished together!”
Barabbas requested that they might see any redeeming qualities of Rome, whose people had ruthlessly snuffed out the two great dynasties of Adam and Lilith. Mary wanted to see the person who most closely equalled God’s propensity for strength even in the most trying of times. The angel promised the next vision would reveal just that.
Y. Caesar and the Romans
While sailing past the island of Sicilia on their way to Junonia, Mary and Barabbas received a vision from the archangel known as Michael (Bormo Sucellus), who represented God’s role as Protector. Appearing from the flames, this angelic specter wore a green tunic of nature, a purple mantle of Heaven and a gold chasuble of just authority, though these vestures could not contain the four wings (two of an owl, two of a moth) nor the four horns (two cornua of a ram, two antlers of a stag) protruding from its humanlike form. In its arms, the angel bore a hammer and club. It wore the pschent crown and bore the mark of the triskelion. The Seraphim showed them the following signs:
Despite the Romans’ apparent invincibility as they spread terror to their neighbors, it should be noted they have been prisoners of their own making since the end of the Punic Wars. The fall of their greatest rival left the Italians all-powerful in the Mediterranean world, but nearly all the gains went to the already-wealthy aristocrats while the soldiers were robbed of their proper compensation. The massive estates of the patrician class compounded while more and more families were forced into subsistence living. Any attempts to rectify the situation peacefully, like through the efforts of the Gracchi brothers, were ruthlessly suppressed. Things came to a head when the embittered general known as Lucius Cornelius Sulla marched on Rome to rectify perceived slights against his honor. Sulla destroyed his political rivals along with the legitimacy of the republic and began instituting reactionary constitutional reforms at the point of a blade, further exacerbating the problem. His actions were selfishly motivated and lawless, and for this he shall be fully repaid in the afterlife according to his own epitaph.
It was in this chaos that a sickly child was born, the one who would make himself master of all the West against all odds, the greatest mortal man who had ever lived or would ever live. I speak to you now of Gaius Julius Caesar, the man who literally made himself a god in the eyes of his countrymen. One of fewer than 100 people in all the history of mankind who could be described simultaneously as a poet, a scholar, a reformer and a mighty warrior all at once. He was truly a renaissance man, 1,500 years before his time, whose talents were immeasurable. Caesar’s family, while patrician, had fallen on hard times financially, so the young man grew up surrounded by the humbler classes. Through his association with them, Julius came to appreciate the significant problems of the Roman system and he worked tirelessly for their benefit throughout his political career. His genuine concern for the well-being of the world as he knew it would be his most defining characteristic in life.
Caesar’s exploits are famed the world over and well attested in non-scriptural accounts, so I will not bore you by recounting what is already known in tremendous detail. But to give the man his due, despite all the charges laid against him in life and death, consider these feats of Gaius Julius Caesar, of which I shall name 13 in honor of his greatest legion, that which took Rome:
- He urvived as a wanted man when he was a teenager, outmanuevering all of Sulla’s assassins.
- He howed no fear while abducted by pirates, hunted them down and slit their throats.
- He was a noted author of prose and poetry, writing with such a perfect command of the Latin language they’d use him to teach it in the future.
- He finally instituted a massive land reform act which had been badly needed for at least four generations previous, thus greatly reducing homelessness.
- He legislated a new manner in which provinces were to be governed, so as to weed out corruption and increase efficiency.
- He reformed labor laws so freedmen could compete with slaves from the many wars and provinces. Instituted financial reforms and public works projects.
- He secured for himself three provinces as governor after his consulship had ended, despite attempts to leave him as a glorified street sweeper of Italia.
- He conquered all of Gaul and was the first man of known civilization to set foot on the island of Britain, winning several battles there against hostile natives.
- He pacified Egypt against overwhelming odds, put down the rebellion of Pharnaces in Asia Minor and decisively ended the Pompeian Civil War.
- He remade the calendar system, rebuilt Carthage and Corinth, integrated the other Italians into Roman citizenship and Senate alike.
- He won the civic crown as a youth in struggle, and rejected the royal crown as a dictator in triumph–three times.
- He seduced the most beautiful and intelligent queen in the world at that time, then left her behind with their whelp and took her sister-rival to Rome as a veiled threat of replacement, should she ever forget who wore the pants.
- He chose the most politically astute of possible heirs to succeed his name, then posthumously awarded every adult male citizen 3 months of a soldier’s wages and donated his estate to become a public park.
I will reframe his actions in the context of Sophian righteousness. For although he was a pagan and self-made monarch, this first of the world-emperors embodied the values of the covenant better than most of its self-described adherents ever would. The Julii family was said to be descended from the goddess Venus, and while you, bearers of the true faith, must know this to be ridiculous, he nevertheless personified love in all four flavors: erotic, patriotic, platonic and pastoral. In some regards, Caesar was the perfect embodiment of the demiurge, for he made himself a King of the Material Realm at the expense of other men. Yet with all his powers, he gave benefit to a greater number of people than any of his peers had or would have done of their own accord. Caesar was often forced to escalate the magnitude of his military endeavors in order to stave off threats to his financial position and reputation, which his enemies were eager to inflict upon him. While it does not excuse his crimes–and he will be punished for them accordingly–we must consider that he, like all men, was the product of his culture. (Specifically the pressure to exceed the glory of one’s ancestors and a brutal “subjugate or be subjugated” geopolitical paradigm.)
First, I say to thee that there is hardly a man who loved his woman as much as Caesar worshipped Cornelia Cinnae, his first wife. When the Dictator Sulla demanded that the young husband foresake his wife, Julius refused even despite the loss of his inheritence, Cornelia’s dowry and the threat of death. In his devotion, we of Heaven find virute. In fact, by God’s account, this remains the greatest romantic gesture in the history of the human race. It is the ultimate demonstration that loyalty to ones family and allies is worth more than life itself, that the sacred matrimonial syzygy must never be broken. This is sometimes the price of the faithful in a hostile world, and Julius was ready to pay it without fear or hesitation. To submit to the will of an unjust authority is to lose one’s self-respect, as well as dignity and stature among their peers. Surrendering one’s own lady to an aggressor is to be forever emasculated in the eyes of all women, and a perpetual target for all men.
To illustrate this point, let us consider Caesar’s brother-in-law, Lucius Pinarius. He who submitted to the same order, foresaking wife and child into the care of another man. Foreverafter, Lucius was consumed by shame and regret for his own lack of action, obsessed with a woman who could no longer find it in her heart to respect him. In Julia’s eyes, Lucius had made clear that she was not worth fighting for, that he would not be loyal to her when it mattered most. Lucius’ own partner, what should have been his lifelong source of pride and joy, became an enduring symbol of his own impotency instead, for all time. Even though Lucius loved her painfully, he could not demonstrate his desire with meaningful actions and so lost her even once the dictator died and there was no external force standing between them. I ask you to consider, why then should the Lord be any different to those who deny Him in the face of resistance? What is life without honor?
When Caesar, who busied himself with the masculine cursus honorum, returned home a victorious general and conqueror of Gaul, he had no issue replacing Cornelia in contract if not in commitment. The young maidens, with nubile figures and years of fertility ahead, threw themselves at him by the score. Caesar had his pick and settled down with the coveted Calpurnia, an adolescent alpha-female of every Roman boy’s fantasy. In comparison, Pinarius, who had spent the same time ruminating and spectating his ex-wife’s old haunts, was not so lucky. As The Tragedy of Lucius Pinarius tells us, he spent the last summer of his indignified life chasing after a teenager who resembled Julia’s younger self. The girl rejected his advances, politely at first then desperately, until the pitiful man finally gave into his embittered entitlement, only to find out after the fact that he had just defiled his own estranged daughter. (She who was raised by Quintus Pedius, Julia’s replacement lover, and therefore bearing his family name as “Pedia.”)
Next I bring your attention to Caesar’s clemency. For despite suffering insult after injury from nearly every other ambitious senator in the entire republic, Caesar raised every fallen enemy to his feet again and promised them a place in his new world order. Caesar had even planned to forgive Pompeius Magnus, his son-in-law and one-time-friend, despite the immense betrayal he’d felt since the man raised arms against him. When the Egyptians presumed to murder Pompeius on his account, Caesar wept at the atrocity and gave what was left of the remains a proper burial, with all ceremonies befitting a former Consul. For his magnanimous nature, Caesar was murdered by the very same men whom he had protected and broke bread with, same as Jesus. His famous clemency thus became a tragic aberration in history, thanks to the treachery of lesser men.
I tell you also that Caesar was a pious man. Despite serving as Pontifex Maximus (Rome’s version of a High Priest), he was aware of the true God since his early political appointment to Bithynia. There he had been offered the first Ark of the Covenant as a token of goodwill by King Nicomedes. When Caesar looked inside, he saw the Majesty of God sitting on the Seven Hills, poised to take over the world alongside Rome. (The Propators sat atop the Palatine and Aventine, Autogenes atop the Caelian and Esquiline, Allogenes atop the Quirinal and Viminal. Elohim, who was everywhere at all times at once, was particularly present on the Capitoline.) He knew there and then that the true God was a foreigner to his own people, that God would not accept a subordinate role in the pantheon as They would surely be given. Weighing the options, Caesar decided that Rome was not ready for this divine revelation yet, that he was too young and unaccomplished to be its messenger, and the world must first be united under one pomerium. He told the King to keep the Ark safe, and always intended to return for it after achieving his inevitable position as master of the Senate.
Unfortunately, Caesar never got that opportunity, due to his assassination occuring so soon after ascendency, though it had been on his agenda. (The Republicans spitefully destroyed the Ark during their own recruitment operations in Asia Minor.) In this example we must remember not to hold onto essential truths for too long, or it may be too late. The closest Caesar had come to preaching the true faith came at his would-be coronation during the Lupercalia festival. When presented with a crown from Marcus Antonius, the Dictator let it slink down his arm, resting on his right elbow as if even the position of King were beneath his stature. Julius proclaimed “There will be a Monarch of Rome again, incorporeal and not of this Earth, of two personas and three organs, with six faces and 48 arms for prosperity, of which 12 are dexter and 36 are sinister.” Julius Caesar took the crown and placed it on a statue of Jove, whom he declared to be the Propator. Then he sang praises to Minerva the Maiden of Wisdom and Divus Romulus the (adopted) Representative of Holiness on Earth, whom he called the Autogenes and Allogenes. The crowds were perplexed and more than a little concerned by such near-blasphemies as this.
Finally, it would do one good to keep in mind that Caesar never really got to enjoy the spoils of his own success. For, despite becoming master of the known world by the end of his career, it was late in his life and objectively brief in duration. Caesar had made many enemies campaigning for land reform and plebeian rights against the full weight of the patrician optimates. From the time he won three provinces against their attempted sabotage all the way until his would-be retirement prompted threats of judicial persecution, the man had been in grave danger. Indeed, his most tyrannical of moves, such as strong-arming fellow consul Bibulus and marching on the capitol, were improvised attempts to stay alive in a hostile field of competitors. What the man really wanted, all he had ever dreamed of in fact, was to spend as much time with Cornelia (and her lesser replacements, like Calpurnia and Cleopatra) as possible, a simple wish sadly denied him. Caesar was always first and foremost a romantic at heart in a soldier’s world, and it only speaks to his depth of talent that he succeeded so spectacularly at politics and war regardless. He desired only a safe and prosperous life for his kin, though to ensure such a dream, men must dirty their hands in the corrupt domains of politics and finance.
Even with his death, Caesar was a controversial figure, managing to confound the agents of God. The Aeons debated endlessly whether he should suffer in Gehenna for a time, on account of his atrocities against the Gauls if nothing else, or whether the man should be rewarded immediately in Heaven for his immense strength of character. Caesar was never one to be passive however, and demanded an audience with death itself by the names he knew it: Pluton and Persephone (of the Virgan Syzygy). Caesar expressed a willingness to meet his fate in whatever torment God could imagine; his only wish was that Cornelia be granted immediate access to paradise despite dying an unbaptised pagan. He boasted that when the angels heard her beautiful music they would take pity on her. Pluton agreed to listen, and placed Cornelia by her husband’s side. Despite taking two additional wives and countless mistresses from all over the world after her death, Caesar’s heart had always remained with his first, the one he risked his life for when he was still just a vulnerable boy staring down the tyrant, Sulla. The two made passionate love and Caesar was so experienced with the act, so attuned to Cornelia’s body and heart, that he played her like a fiddle. By his hand, her many coos, laughs, screams and moans came in the harmonic patterns of song. Cornelia’s orgasms were a chorus of ecstacy, the most beautiful sounds ever produced by mortal chords.
Not only were the Aeons moved to tears, but Asherah as well. And so, for the sake of his selfless and most passionate love, heralded even across a lifetime of Homeric adventures, the Hand of Jehovah lifted Julius and Cornelia out of the abyss. They rode into the Milky Way on a scarlet chariot, like Apollo and Melia in the stories of their imaginative (if charmingly misguided,) forefathers. The Romans saw this celestial escort in the form of a red comet and proclaimed Caesar’s divinity from Earth. God saw it as one of the purest demonstrations of love and proclaimed Caesar’s humanity from Heaven. This was far from a victory lap however, because it involved directing the course of seven extremely vigorous and unpredictable stallions. It would have been very easy for them to overpower their driver as had happened to Phaethon in myth, which would have left our heroes stranded in the abyss. The horses of death were guided by mastery of the chakra, the spiritual perceptions, where those in life were guided by mastery of the senses, the material perceptions. Many could pilot one set of horses or the other, some neither at all, but very few in all of history could claim to control both. Caesar not only mastered it within minutes, but before long he steered the chariot with one hand while the other embraced the small of his wife’s back.
Cornelia stared longingly at her husband the entire trip, despite the dazzling horizons moving around them or the worrying spectacle of menacing equines in front. Caesar, the most successful of all men, whom she had idolized since he was just a headstrong youth defending her honor against a demiurge, was by her side again and that was all she cared to notice. Julius met her gaze and smiled, for she had been his inspiration all along, the ideal he aspired to in absentia, and none of his subsequent accomplishments had ever matched that of winning this fair lady’s heart. He remembered the day he felt worthy enough to ask for Cornelia’s hand. Julius had been offered the position of Flamen Dialis, which was really a way to put the seizure-ridden child out to pasture, but was still an honorable position befitting the husband of a beautiful patrician girl. Of course with the rise of Sulla, he was denied that role and so much else so early in life, including seeing Cornelia in person for 7 of their 14-year marriage. For the rest of their ride together, the man contemplated how his circumstances would have been different if the future he’d originally envisioned for himself and Cornelia on that day had come to be. Either way, they were now the Syzygy of Lyra, the Guardian Virtues of the Summer Triangle asterism (God the Victor of War, God the Bringer of Peace, God the Passions of Men.)
Upon landing in the border regions of eternity, Caesar lifted Cornelia onto his shoulders so that she could latch onto the lowest branch on the Tree of Life. She climbed to the top and he beamed up at her with pride, the woman whom the tallest man in history had placed upon the most colossal of pedestals. Cornelia had been denied time and circumstance to make the most of her talents in life, yet with a boost from Caesar she would realize that potential now, towering above all creation. “Your unending loyalty, your reassurance of my every doubt, and even with all the yearnings of my heart these many years, I could not bring myself to love another woman with the same depth as I feel for you. Dearest Cornelia, who believed in me when I was nothing, for whom I would have given everything I ever had, there is no Heaven until I am the center of your eyes again!”
Two Ishim, who had been sent to arrest Caesar and reeducate him for his infractions against the Gauls, arrived at the foot of the tree by his side. They were the Western Ashvins known as Fortuna and Victoria: female Castor and Pollux, silent Astrape and Bronte, who had followed Caesar’s acts during his lifetime on Earth with great dilligence. They found themselves struggling to comply with God’s will in the face of this resplendent charismata. They could not find satisfaction in separating such love as this before them, that which had survived tyranny, turmoil and tartarus alike. This pagan syzygy, so enduring against all hostilities which had been set on its destruction from the beginning and burning with passion that would outshine any Christian matrimony. All the same, Caesar had made a deal: to accept the worst God had to offer, in answer for his war crimes, in exchange for Cornelia’s ascendance. God had now come to collect.
Fortuna forced herself to comply with the mission, and therefore bestowed upon Julius a vision in which his beloved Cornelia were not atop a peaceful evergreen canopy, but rather a hideous wicker man filled with Gauls about to be set ablaze. While the man struggled in vain against this imagined calamity, Victoria restrained him to the ground and whispered in his ear that another woman would soon torture him with overwhelming desire, social subordination and humiliating impotency. For to Caesar, the thought of losing Cornelia again even for a moment was the worst torture imaginable, as God knew, and especially so if it were caused by his own moral weakness or physical impotency. This is because Caesar’s dignitas and respectability were more valuable to him than his own life, though not that of his spouse. He was forced to endure the suffering of every Gaul in the structure before they could be released and their fuel removed from its blaze. The two Ishim disappeared without a trace as the faithful Cornelia descended her arboreal throne to comfort the now-terrified Caesar.
Unfortunately, the descendants of Julius soon lost their way and thereafter, the Mandate of Heaven along with it. Octavian, he that would become Augustus, reinstituted proscriptions and forced his own adopted son, Tiberius, to divorce a beloved wife (Vipsania Agrippina) in the vein of Sulla. This alone represents a complete betrayal of Julius’ legacy, that act of defiance which first set him on the course to immortality. Tiberius was left a broken man thereafter, literally weeping beside the ground she walked upon, and thus largely abandoned his role as emperor to Sejanus. (A man who covertly slaughtered Tiberius’ family.) Once Caligula took over, he was extending the practice of forced-divorces to innocent countrymen. In this way, he destroyed Lollia Paulina’s marriage and ultimately her life. Even the very office of Roman emperor became the epitome of gluttony and domesticating excess with enough time, attracting such degenerates as Elagabalus, Julianus and Honorius. The men who truly followed in Caesar’s glorious example, like Severus, Julian and Diocletian, were by far the exception.
After the vision, Mary grappled with her conflicting emotions. Michael had been correct in that Caesar was the very personification of a demiurge and yet she deeply admired him all the same. What she found appalling in his ruthlessness she found enticing in his resolve, and in all honesty she felt a profound attraction to him as the very epitome of unrestricted manhood. Barabbas resisted feeling any positive impressions towards Caesar at first, but as the story continued his appreciation for the man could not be denied. In truth, everything Caesar had done is something Barabbas previously wished to do and would have if he had been given the chance. He was forced to admit that he revered even the founder of the Roman Empire which he had loathed for so long.
Michael said unto them: “There’s no reason one cannot defend the honor of themselves and their family while still remaining faithful God. There’s no reason one cannot serve the interests of their people in the mortal life and still be faithful to God. Where Caesar erred is in trying to wait for the perfect time to spread the good news–there will never be a better time than the present. He admittedly did not lay down the sword in favor of peace. And yet, for all his faults, his good deeds as a civil servant and as a man outweigh them in the Eyes of God. Imperfect but well-meaning action is often better than complete inaction in the face of grave injustice around you. Please remember then that there are noble people among even foreign religions and cultures. Judge them not lest ye be judged.”
Mary asked to know who the greatest woman is, if Caesar truly represented the best that manliness had to offer. Barabbas begged to see anyone who could match God’s propensity for creativity even amongst the stifling masses. The angel promised the next vision would reveal just that.
Z. Marcellina and the Carpocratians
While crossing the Pillars of Hercules on their way to Corduba, Mary and Barabbas received a vision from the archangel known as Raphael (Ogmios Maponus), who represented God’s role as Liberator. Ascending from a boulder, this angelic specter wore a green tunic of nature, a purple mantle of Heaven and a gold chasuble of just authority, though these vestures could not contain the four wings (two of an owl, two of a moth) nor the four horns (two cornua of a ram, two antlers of a stag) protruding from its humanlike form. In its arms, the angel carried a torch and dagger. It wore the cow horns crown and bore the mark of the Tyet. The Seraphim showed them the following signs:
In Marcellina, one was said to find the beauty of Phryne, the passion of Boudica and the intellect of Julia the Elder in one woman. She had dark, inquisitive eyes that matched her hair, and with tanned skin as if she had absorbed all the light of the sun, or perhaps as though she were the living Nirvana itself. With a spirit that had been long diminished by much suffering and setback, she still managed to keep (or play the role of) a child’s sense of wonderment. Marcellina used her long bangs as a veil, as if they could blot out the cruelty of mankind around her. In her mannerisms there was an exaggerated show of naivety, though she knew well how the world operated; indeed, this performative simplicity was her own defense against it. For Marcellina understood the hard lot of her male companions, who longed to enjoy vicariously the innocence of young women, and so she eagerly indulged them in this and all other fantasies. Men needed to play the role of hero and provider for the women who struck their fancy, and by manipulating them in this manner, she knew safety and livelihood. Though in truth, Marcellina had a deeper capacity for resilience and contemplation than any of her presumed “superiors.” She was as much the ideal woman as Julius Caesar was the perfect man, playing the hand she had been dealt to great success.
A native of Alexandria originally, Marcellina’s family emigrated to Cephalonia when she was very young. There, she applied her skills in feminine companionship as a hetaira, providing her body and wit to lonely male patrons. She was therefore well-educated by the standards of women at the time–even said to out-debate any man who’d choose to spend her valuable time discussing social issues over sensuality. (However, Marcellina’s greatest interest was always the mythologies of her pagan upbringing, particularly the Eleusinian Mysteries of which she had personally taken part.) She subsisted in this manner for a time before meeting the travelling proselytizer known as Carpocrates, who took after Simon’s example in finding an attractive prostitute he could raise to a nobler station in life, mirroring in this case Elohim’s redemption of Gaia itself. Like nearly all her prospective clients, Carpocrates was smitten almost immediately, and Marcellina, in turn, found herself enraptured by his take on Sophian cosmology. In particular, she marveled at the visions they shared together under the influence of lophophoric elixir, (which Carpocrates described as channeling Heaven directly into her brain,) and from the ganzfeld effect which was supposed to induce anamnesis. In this way, Carpocrates and Marcellina were to the Romans what Aristippus and Arete had been to the Greeks.
Carpocrates’ followers were the most radical people ever to call themselves Christian. They thought of light and dark not as opposing moral imperatives so much as the twin binary forces of logic by which the Universe was “programmed” into existence: the one and the zero. Carpocratians took the Pauline rejection of Mosaic Law to its logical conclusion and justified it with Marian theology. He believed not only was it man’s right to enjoy the pleasures of life, but his duty, for the soul could not escape its material prison without experiencing everything on Earth first. In this endeavor, he took to carnal sensations, fine cuisine, athletic competition and entheogenic contemplation. The women of the sect were passed around in polyamorous orgies, though they were also educated, read scripture and conducted the sacraments as respected equals in the church. One could not accuse Carpocrates of exploiting a convenient doctrine in pursuit of aimless debauchery either, because these excesses were tempered with bouts of self-flagellation, sincere meditation, fasting and even self-imposed humiliation. The goal was to know every sensation and emotion possible, after all.
While Carpocrates deeply admired Marcellina’s beauty and intelligence, he had no plans of pursuing a romantic relationship with her himself. Instead, he intended to betrothe her to his brilliant son, the 17 year old Epiphanes. This young man had already established himself as a gifted philosopher in his own right, for he had outlined a guide for communal living, egalitarian values and libertarian governance in his book On Righteousness. This work, written in a single cycle of the moon, shall remain one of the greatest socio-political manifestos ever written. Epiphanes had been groomed by his father to lead the congregation, and since he had turned 13, the prodigious boy often led the group in exegesis and prayer. They all worshipped together in a secret room adorned with images of the Twelve Immortals: Heraclitus, Solomon, Jesus, Mary and Basilides (Mary’s aforementioned student and Carpocrates’ teacher) as well as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle plus Pythagoras, Apollonius, Pyrrho and Myia. It was Carpocrates’ belief that Marcellina was the first woman he’d ever known who might be a worthy partner for his son, with a knowledge to stimulate further contemplation and a physique to sire many heirs. (There was a tradition within Gnosticism for male leaders to take on a feminine inspiration, like Eurydice was for Orpheus, Philumena to Apelles, Flora to Ptolemaeus and as even Mary Magdalene herself had been to Jesus Christ.)
The two were soon wed in an elaborate bridal chamber, and proclaimed the Syzygy of Boötes, the Guardian Virtues of the Spring Diamond asterism (God the Noble Beast/Untamed Nature, God the Farmer/Tamed Human, God the Hunting Dog/Tamed Nature, God the Virgin/Untamed Human). During their brief time together, Marcellina refined Carpocratian theology with Epiphanes’ blessing. She postulated that each of God’s six personalities represented a different experience, or lack thereof. Specifically, closeness to Jehovah was said to arise from sensory deprivation as Asherah came with psychedelic hallucination. Jesus was associated with asceticism as Desdemona was with hedonism, Sophia with academic study and Ganymede with spontaneous intuition. While exploring the Fascinic Triad she wore the Vestments of Exousia: an electrum tiara, a gold wedding bracelet (left-hand) and silver signet ring bearing the seal of Solomon (right-hand). While exploring the Shekhinic Triad she wore the Vestments of Sophrosyne: a buckram corset, iron chastity belt bearing the Coptic cross and a titanium torc collar.
Marcellina associated the 6 weeks of each month (in the Marian calendar) with the major emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, tenderness and disgust. Then for each of the five days of the week she found a new way to encounter the many subsets of each. The cycle repeated every other month (the masculine signs) but always with different auxiliary participants so as to get varied results. (In fact, one of Marcellina’s goals was always to meet or meaningfully interact with someone born in each astrological syzygy every month but the one she was currently experiencing. She chronicled these diverse acquaintances with a web of cloth woven in a hoop of reeds with 12 demarcations representing the zodiac.) Then during the months of the six feminine signs, she replaced emotional experience with artistic creation, with the 6 weeks now devoted to: visual, musical, athletic, theatrical, rhetorical and esoteric arts. The 5 sabbath days of rest were spent chronicling her endeavors in a diary, analyzing what she had thought of these many events as they occurred and (if applicable) how her feelings towards them had changed over time.
In addition, Marcellina emphasized the study of shapes, singling out the hexagon as particularly exalted for its symmetry with God’s personalities. She was fascinated with sacred geometry, particularly with regard to its applications for architecture, a hobby inspired by Basilides’ vision of Mary in Asterelyon. Marcellina felt that all churches should be designed with as much stylistic elaborations as possible so as to best glorify God. During the course of her own ministry in the years to come, she would create all manner of tessellations to decorate the interiors of her own temple. She challenged herself to experiment with all shapes and styles, but here again the hexagon proved to be especially invaluable. Her experiences with psychedelics produced a deep amazement of different surface textures, which she replicated with ornate arabesque patterns along the walls. Marcellina attempted to evoke the same dazzling visuals of hallucinogens with colored glass and sand, mirror mazes, manipulated reflections, along with filtered projections of light. She would often use layers of different visual trickery in the same room to enhance these disorienting effects. (Imagine a colorful arrangement of girih tiles on a wall, with a completely separate, embellished calligraphy-based pattern carved overtop of it, within the same structure so the two unrelated stimuli run cuncurrent. All this, while the glare of an opposing stained-glass window beams a complementary zellij design upon the already convoluted spectacle, and meanwhile the beholder walks upon a gorgeous kilim rug they hardly notice in comparison–with muqarnas-style decorations on the ceiling for good measure!)
Unfortunately, Epiphanes died tragically only five years later, leaving Marcellina a 24 year old widow. Marcellina found herself aimless and stymied without her husband; by now she also considered herself Carpocrates’ equal in terms of scriptural knowledge as well as experiential accumulation. So, she asked for her teacher’s permission to carry his doctrine into new corners of the world. Carpocrates mourned the loss of his brightest and most favored pupil, his daughter and moon, though he knew she was capable. He magnanimously bestowed upon her the Vestment of Ataraxia: a Cloak of Many Colors (for the 7 Christian Virtues) as a token of good luck. He even allowed the woman, who was 33 years his junior, to baptise him in the Mediterranean shore at sundown as a symbolic passing of the torch. (“May your star rise as mine sets, may you carry into tomorrow what I have forged from yesterday.”) Marcellina set off for Rome, the capital of the world, with the largest population of any western city. There she administered what would come to be the noblest church ever dedicated to our one God–the Marcellians.
Upon entering the great city, Marcellina purchased a donkey and drapped her robe along its back. Then she rode side-saddle into hostile territory naked, which must surely have been the most spectacular sight ever to grace the Romans. Naturally, a large crowd soon gathered to watch this strange woman who possessed such a stunning lack of modesty. At first they jeered, until they realized this woman lacked fear or shame as well, and from then on she inspired their transfixed admiration. She smiled at them all while reciting the beattitudes from memory, to which they nodded in approval, for the wisdom of this scripture was undeniable. Many asked her name, to which Marcellina answered “I am the successor of Mary the Piscean; I am the predecessor of the Unknown Aquarian; I am the Eyes of Judgement; I am the Voice of Mercy; I am the Male Fantasy; I am the Female Empowerment.” Word quickly reached the emperor, Marcus Aurelius, who arrived to assess the scene.
Marcus Aurelius was an accomplished theologian of his own right, author of the seminal work known as Meditations, and the ideal leader according to Platonic thought. In another lifetime of reversed circumstances, he would have been the brilliant young scholar writing a Gnostic-Christian treatise like On Righteousness and Epiphanes might have been a great stoic-pagan in turn. The philosopher-king judged from the size and enthusiasm of the crowds that this strange new movement could not be easily silenced, and so he decided to position himself as its greatest supporter instead. He brought Marcellina his finest horse, a prized white stallion from the arenas and said: “A traveller as fine as you deserves a worthier steed, methinks. Whoever you are, I welcome you to our fair city. I am Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. Who might you be?”
She answered “I am Marcellina, the pontifex ultimatum of our God, Elohim, who also has six personalities. Whosoever comes in Their names requires no fine adornments nor secular titles as yours, Caesar. For I say to you, our God’s kingdom is in Heaven and those that follow Them will be rewarded with eternal paradise of a magnitude that far eclipses what you have built here from mere stone.” Marcellina dismounted her ass, draped the Cloak of Many Colors around the emperor’s shoulders, placed her now-defunct wedding bracelet in his hand and her tiara on his head before she continued. “I leave you all the prestige man can imagine and all the spoils the Earth has to bestow, for they are irrelevant. Do with them as you like, for you have already taken away the only thing that matters to followers of the truth, like me. I pray that you remember yours is a land of many diverse peoples and creeds, several of which have been persecuted as of late. In fact, I present myself as a criminal according to your law, for while I have harmed no one and spoken no blasphemy, mighty Caesar has made worship of the one true God illegal in his empire. Glorious excellency, I fear not your punishments in this transitory life of mine; I only fear retribution from the Lord above if I were to foresake Their name in word or deed. I am a Christian unlike any you’ve seen before, I am the bringer of peace and love to an empire born out of war and devastation. I will not foresake my faith, any more than the first Caesar would foresake his wife, Cornelia.”
Marcus could hear murmurs of approval throughout the crowd; he knew that to forcibly silence Marcellina would cause a great disturbance. (He was also impressed by such bravado besides.) So, as “payment” for the vestments, he offered Marcellina a plot of land in the Field of Mars to establish her church. He said “Dear lady, whatever slanders you may have heard, I promise they are untrue. All Gods are welcome here in Rome, from those of our ancestors to the foreign divinities across every corner of the Mediterranean. Worship freely and report to me if anyone should give you trouble.” The crowd erupted in applause, though no one dared to point out that Aurelius had indeed executed Christians before on numerous occassions. (Without the zeal of some of his predecessors, it must be said.) In fact, persecution of all other sects of Christianity except Marcellina’s continued unabated during this time.
Many threw themselves at Marcellina and her church after this demonstration. Some came out of curiosity for her doctrine, some of respectful admiration for her bravery, others out of lust for her appearance. In all cases, whatever the reason for their visit, they left devout after a single mass. While she was never wanting for new converts, female mock-lictors were sent out into the city proper every day bearing the good news. They wore crowns of roses (red), pansies (white) and olive branches (green). Outisde their temple grounds, they bore pseudo-fasces: bouquets of cannabis flowers surrounding a single skewer of psilocybin mushrooms, which they would share with anyone willing to sit down and discuss the true covenant. (Inside the church itself, they carried the Eiresione of Elohim instead.) To the city-dwellers, however, the Marcellians were instructed to reframe their theology as a celebration of the “Light Triad” : Phanes (life, for the Propator), Psyche (spirit, for the Autogenes) and Eros (love, for the Allogenes). The latter two were said to be married, with all of humanity as their progeny. This was done to lure Christian-skeptic polytheists into attending the complete mass, where Marcellina’s charisma might better entice them, and so as not to provoke any backlash from the authorities. These messengers would often have sex with members of their audience at personal discretion and were intended to be mirror opposites of the Vestal Virgins. They were branded with the Star of Solomon (hexagram) on the right earlobe so they could not deny their affiliation as Peter had done to Jesus.
Marcellina also began to adapt the marvellous ceremonies of the mystery religions she had known from before she met Carpocrates. These secret pagan cults often celebrated the death/descent and return/resurrection of a certain mythological figure (popularly Orpheus, Persephone or Dionysus) to a heroic rise and transcendental state, as would hers. Elaborate festivities were conducted, including use of dramatic underground settings with ornate decorations, intoxicants (ranging from wine to essence of divinorum) and music to lower inhibitions as well as inspire awe. The narrative was framed around Jesus and the Harrowing of Hell, where He descended through 7 layers separated by 6 rivers with the guiding light of the Holy Spirit (non-personified Sophia). These 7 Hells were called (with rivers in parentheses): Avernus, (Styx,) Limbo, (Lethe,) Hades, (Phlegethon,) Duat, (Acheron,) Naraka, (Cocytus,) Dudael (Tehom,) and Tartarus. Along each level, He subdued the following monsters, in order: the Shedim, Furies, Gorgons, Cyclopses, Harpies, Hecatoncheires as well as the “Dark Triad” of Echidna, Scylla and Thanatos in the deepest circle. The Rephaim, or souls of the decent if not spectacular who predated Christ, were brought back out to Heaven on a rainbow road, two by two in improvised male/female redemptive syzygies. The souls of the wicked, or Shades, were cleansed for a time in a purifying inferno and rose up, one by one in order of worthiness, with the smoke. From His spine, the Lord fashioned two new guardians of the underworld named Sydyk and Allani, the Hadean Syzygy, who were commanded to comfort the deceased souls until the end of time when all would be redeemed.
There was an emphasis on transitioning from one state to another in Marcellina’s doctrine. The changes in mood, perception and priority were monitored during the slow process of inebriation. Participants made note of how they felt after one drink, two, three, etc and the same for all other substances. There were tapestries of amphibians and dragonflies, which begin life in water before taking to land and sky respectively. Even in herself Marcellina noted the duality of nature, the contrasting interpretations of her actions, depicting herself as both a lascivious temptressine succubus in Hell and a gorgeous guardian angel in Heaven simultaneously. (It is from her that we adopted the “angel and devil on the shoulder” idiom, in fact.) She imagined herself in another Universe as a man, whom she called “Marcellus Linus,” after Augustus’ worthiest heir (a rebuke to the later, lesser Claudian Caesars) along with the first officially ordained Pope of Rome (a rebuke to Peter, her idol’s great tormentor). Marcellina spent hours in deep contemplation regarding how such a simple change in circumstance as sex might have affected the entire course of her life.
These and many other esoteric musings formed the basis for her sole work of scripture, The Marcelline Proverbs. Several recipes in that book are said to be passed down from Lilith’s ancient knowledge of herbal medicines and hallucinatories. It is here also where Marcellina described her exact mixtures of herbal birth control and venereal protection. And to those who were illiterate, or otherwise requiring an immediate visual aid, she adapted Barabbas’ Kabbalah invention into the Christian Cabala, an elaborate depiction of the Tree of Life. (With three rows for the three components of God: flesh, spirit, deity…) She used this illustrative guide to explain God’s 10 attributes and the means by which they manifested themselves through the power of language and numerology. In later years, she also expanded the canonical number of demons to be 206 for all the bones in the body, not just the ribs. (The names and likeness of these additional 182 entities came from the watchers in the Book of Enoch.)
Marcellina began every mass by reciting the Hymn of the Pearl, a Gnostic parable about the transformative power of knowledge. She ended every mass with the Great Hymn to the Aten, though generously paraphrased to reflect Gnostic doctrine. To break the ice for new members, she created a series of drinking/smoking games in which participants used inebriating drugs and the tarot cards to have fun. Sometimes, she would even challenge those reading scripture to “take a swig for every time the word _________ (commonly ‘wisdom,’ ‘innocence,’ ‘syzygy’ or ‘God’) is mentioned!” so that they might loosen up. She believed very strongly in the power of laughter to break down social, psychological and even spiritual barriers, which these exercises were meant to encourage. In church, everyone was to be naked at all times (“as God made us”) so as to promote a sense of familiarity and a sense of innocence. During mass, all were referred to as “Outis” (nobody) in order to illustrate ego death and equality. The church itself, with respect to its community of members as well as Elohim’s omnipressence within it, was sometimes called “Omnis” (everybody).
Marcus Aurelius kept a close eye on Marcellina’s fanatical movement with keen personal interest and grave professional concern. His anxiety increased in proportion to his lust for her, the only woman–the only person–who had ever stood up to him. Marcus was a very temperate man, not prone to hubris or rashness, but this woman stirred emotions in him that he did not know were possible. All the same, what he desired most was for his people to know everlasting peace and stability, while the Marcellians threatened the established order. She was already more popular than the emperor himself by some accounts, and her congregation gained followers by the day. Marcellina’s following was feverishly loyal to her doctrine and personality both, and Marcus couldn’t be sure if the same was true of himself. With these conflictions weighing on his mind, he invited the self-styled prophetess to his villa on the Palatine Hill, under the guise of studying her gospel. Despite the emperor’s desire to somehow tame this potential opponent, the practiced seductress used her wiles and dominated his will instead.
According to legend, Marcus read a list of offenses leveled against Marcellina, who refused to submit to his law, for antinomianism was a core component of her scripture. The emperor was reluctant to execute this woman who now swam in his veins and lived in his thoughts, though he also could not afford to look weak, so he offered a compromise. If Marcellina would acknowledge him and his lineage, not even as gods but as mere angels among the thousands (millions, counting the Nymphs) of slots available within her established cosmology, he should be satisfied in the legality of her dogma and the actions it inspired. Again, she refused and Marcus could not back down. He opted to have her lightly flogged (more of a spanking, in fact) until she would scream his name and beg forgiveness. Still, the lady refused to comply on the grounds that she dare not submit to any authority but God and her consummated and committed lover(s). Realizing the only plausible scenario left available to him, Marcus Aurelius, who had styled himself publicly as the exemplar of stoicism for his entire reign, relinquished his virtue and took the heathen priestess for his half-secret mistress. This position came with jewels (which she sold for charity), access to the palace (which she preached from only) and legitimacy (which she reveled in).
The two began a passionate affair that would last until the old man’s death several years later. For Marcus it was the culmination of a powerful attraction, for Marcellina it was merely another new experience for her wayward soul, and to both it was a way of keeping tabs on their greatest potential threat. Their liaisons were ony semi-frequent, separated for months at a time while the emperor tended to the German front. During these visits together, Marcellina was introduced to many foreign dignitaries, whom she spread the gospel to and absorbed knowledge from in turn. For example, she began applying yoga, message techniques as well as acupuncture into her sacred rituals after meeting diplomats from India and China. The King of Armenia was even bold enough to ask for her hand in marriage and offer her the crown, right in front of the emperor no less, though she politely declined. Perhaps if things had continued in this way, our fair Marcellina might have become to Rome what Musa was to Persia, or Semiramis to Assyria. Alas, the timeline we inhabit is not so generous, in fact it may be among the very worst God ever created, if for no other reason than what happened next.
During his absence, Caesar’s incompentent and vicious son Commodus would often harass the Marcellians but did not dare harm their leader directly. After seven years, the master of Rome passed away on the Rhine frontier, leaving his favorite mistress in the hands of this resentful heir. Marcus Aurelius had certainly never been a Christian, but as a non-superstitious man and principled adherent of stoicism, he had no personal stake in the official pantheon of the state beyond social cohesion. Moreover, he was a gentle and principled fellow, who felt profound admiration for all who sincerely strived for virtue under any banner. His son Commodus had no such ethical foundation, only callousness and megalomania. Commodus resented Marcellina both as a Christian and as a successful rival for his father’s affection. So, as his first act upon ascending to the throne, the new emperor raided the Marcellian chapel and put many of its disciples to death.
For Marcellina, Commodus had her skinned alive to “prove” her beauty was merely skin-deep, then stuffed her pelt with straw like a scarecrow. She maintained her dignity however, by refusing to let her torturers hear any screams. She said to them “You may exert power over the material that is my flesh but towards the will that is my spirit, you are powerless. I may endure your greed through usurious taxation, your callousness through private property and your misery through bureaucratic legalism. But even living in such despotism, I am empowered in my capacity to express genuine emotion. And truly I tell you, for all the pain you have inflicted upon me, none may hear my screams but the man that calls himself my spouse! It is to his will alone that I submit, never to a demiurge!” Nevertheless, Marcellina was killed and her body displayed as a warning to all would-be Christians in Rome. “Behold the woman!” Commodus proclaimed to a disgusted and dejected audience. The Romans were quick to note the stark difference between Aurelius’ tolerance and that of his son’s vindictiveness. It was only the start of what would be among the most disastrous reigns in the history of the empire. Commodus’ rule would mark the end of the once acclaimed Nerva-Antonine dynasty, establish the Crisis of the Third Century as well as set in motion the ultimate Fall of the West, almost as divine punishment for slaying such a noble figure.
Marcellina’s final moments were spent in happiness, however, because her entire life had prepared her for the Big Trip. There, in a consciousness careening toward oblivion on the fumes of neural-changa, she met again her beloved Epiphanes. He who had been her only equal in coital, rhetorical and philosophical sparring, among thousands of challengers. She who had lived every conceivable pleasure and unpleasantness life has to offer, only to arrive at God’s Gate desiring some simple quality time with a friend long gone. They reclined beneath the Tree of Knowledge together, feeding each other mouthfuls of its fruit without fear. “Your unfiltered personality, your infallible ability to surprise, and even with all the processing power of mind at the task, I can not perfectly capture the scale of your magnificance against every other man. There is no Heaven, blessed Epiphanes, until I am back in your arms where I belong!”
In the void left by this greatest of martyrdoms, Valentinianism took over as the dominant branch of the Gnostic-Christians. Its founder, Valentinus, had been Carpocrates’ peer among the school of Basilides. (Just as Basilides himself had been a competitor to Cerdo as the successors of Menander.) Valentinus reestablished the elaborate Aeonic hierarchies and recondite cosmology against the Carpocratic-Marcellian focus on experience-gathering, social rebellion and extravagant ceremony. Valentinian Gnosticism was to be the longest lasting and most popular sect of Christianity not derived from the legacies of Peter or Paul. The most notable of its followers included Heracleon, Colarbasus, Bardesanes and Marcus Gnosticus, who would each continue its basic doctrinal traditions with their own unique embellishments. In particular, Marcus resurrected Mary’s old “Spirit Table” concept, in service to his doctrines of lingual-creationism and numerology. He applied Marcellina’s Cabalistic improvements and made the “Marcosian Board,” which laid out the Greek alphabet in three colors for the vowels (red), semivowels (blue) and mutes (green). It was said to represent a personification of the Ishim known as Aletheia (“Truth”), with twin letters representing her head (alpha/omega), neck (beta/psi), shoulders (gamma/chi), back (delta/phi), torso (epsilon/upsilon), arms (zeta/tau), hands (eta/sigma), groin (theta/rho), thighs (iota/pi), knees (kappa/omicron), shins (lambda/xi) and feet (mu/nu).
While Marcellina’s was ultimately an “evolutionary dead-end” in the history of the religion, the Valentinians used her as the embodiment for the bringer of wisdom in their theology. This wayward angel, lowest of the Aeons and innocent in her desire to create wonders like God, was said to have made the flawed Earth we inhabit as a misguided attempt to emulate her Father’s example. In this process, the angel searched so long and hard for the genuine wisdom required that she strayed into nonsense and confusion. Our chaotic, physical plane of reality was said to be a reflection of this madness. She meant well, but like a child, this lack of real understanding meant her efforts were doomed to end in failure. This angelic character was likened to Marcellina, whom Valentinians perceived as striving so hard to find wisdom through experience of all stimuli that she had gone crazy and created “insane” doctrines best discarded. Valentinus treated the figure of Marcellina as an object of patronization, someone whose misguidedness had caused the downfall of mankind. (In this allegory, knowledge was equated to the breath of life, for even as one sinks below the waves like the creator-angel had sank into the material world, they may ascend again through deep inhalation.)
To the Celestials, Marcellina was hailed as perhaps the best and most interesting person God created, so her death was met with especially profound mourning. Asherah grew especially despondent at the time of Marcellina’s death and would not be consoled for 100 years. Regarding her legacy, Jehovah said “If she had been the mother of all men in place of Lilith and Eve, there would have been no wickedness among them.” (The Universe where that is the case is by far the most perfect of all.) In the assembly of sapient souls, who have always been and will remain waiting their final reunion with God the One in the End of Time, Marcellina’s is the closest to the central point in the seat of greatest honor.
After the vision, Mary remained conflicted over this figure who stepped into her role and took her ideology in a direction she had never intended it to go. On the one hand, she acknowledged the woman’s courage, tenacity, integrity, curiosity, inventiveness, liberation, propensity to love…and as the adjectives grew, Mary realized she could no longer deny the overwhelming respect she felt. While Marcellina was certainly unconventional in how she expressed it, her beliefs were clearly real. It may have taken on a libertine morality and pagan presentation, but it certainly led its supporters to good all the same. Marcellina’s legacy came from marrying faith with fun, piousness with parties and was overall a celebration of what it meant to be alive.
“Perhaps it was foolish of me, to think mine or any other religious doctrine would remain stagnant over time. Really, what’s most important is not that the next generation differes from us in ritual but the fact they’re keeping our ethos alive with new ideas. We are all praying to the same God afterall,” Mary said.
An awestruck Barabbas was more forthcoming: “And to think I wasted my life trying to develop a spiritual ethos, or the compelling ruse of one, in order to liberate the world. I’ve sought staves, swords and slings in my efforts to subdue the oppressors of men when the greatest weapon of all is that which I have so long ignored,” said he.
“What’s that, my love?” asked Mary.
“Women,” answered the reverent ex-zealot. “The gentle passions of women.”
Mary was beginning to appreciate Marcellina all the more, as she saw in this unconventional spirit a good deal of Barabbas’ younger self. The girl colored outside the lines, but she got results and her heart was in the right place. Her teachings represented a new and unprecedented direction from within an established foundation, like Charvaka to the Hindus and Christianity from within Judaism itself. Perhaps the younger generation could teach their elders a thing or two, from time to time…
Raphael said unto them: “God intended life to be a meaningful experience for you all: full of merrymaking, creativity and love. Marcellina understood that perhaps better than any other. That’s something those world-hating types of Gnostics and circumcision-loving Jews just never seemed to figure out, to their own detriment.” At the mere mention of the word “circumcision” the angel glowered and spat, so abhorrent was the practice. The spittle transformed into a series of gryphons who flew off to torment the souls of mutilation-advocates, known as the Disdainful Ones (who are Abominable, Evil, Infernal, Outrageous and Unconscionable), including: Jonathan Hutchinson, Lewis Sayre, John Harvey Kellogg, Benjamin Spock and Peter Remondino (may the greatest of miseries and vengeance be laid upon them in the lowest pits of Hell forever) all of whom had taken on the appearance of centaurs that spoke from their sphincters and shat from the mouth. And still they got off too lightly, in this writer’s personal opinion.
Raphael continued: “Those who rob others of potential experience before they may even speak, I say to you, they are worse than even some murderers in the eyes of the Lord. They–all of them–belong in the deepest pits of Hell for as long as mercy permits.” Barabbas, who had known the cruelty of genital mutilation firsthand, enthusiastically nodded and responded “Amen.” Mary wept for all young men who had been so wronged by the people that were supposed to protect them. The elders who circumcise shall be the most damned of all men, so sayeth the Lord.
Barabbas, titillated by this peak into the unknown world of his great grandchildren’s generation, expressed a desire to know what paradigm-shifting behaviors the forthcoming Aquarian Syzygy might bring with them. Mary wished to see whichever person best matched God’s propensity for knowledge, particularly the physical sciences and their various applications. The angel promised the next vision would reveal just that.
&. Saint Germain and the Alchemists
While passing near Gergovia on their way to Lutetia, Mary and Barabbas received a vision from the archangel Auriel (Manan Nodens), who represented God’s role as Polymath. Ascending from the waves, this angelic specter wore a green tunic of nature, a purple mantle of Heaven and a gold chasuble of just authority, though these vestures could not contain the four wings (two of an owl, two of a moth) nor the four horns (two cornua of a ram, two antlers of a stag) protruding from its humanlike form. In its arms, the angel carried a cornucopeia and trident. It wore the royal vulture crown and bore the mark of Solomon’s knot. The Seraphim showed them the following signs:
The first Aquarian, in astrological time and ideological worldview, was the Count of Saint Germain. No one knew his real name nor the circumstances of his early life, though his eloquent speech and depth of knowledge granted him an audience among high society of the 18th century. It’s as though he just sprang out of existence, fully formed in his philosophy and platonically conceived in personality. Further confusing matters is that he used different pseudonyms and gave different answers as to his age depending on whom he spoke with. According to legend, Saint Germain could travel through time, lived to be over 500 years old and was a self-made man. I am here to tell the both of you that the truth is stranger than rumor.
The man called Saint Germain was actually born in Transylvania to the imperial Habsburg family. He was orphaned in the wars of Transylvanian independence led by Prince Francis II Rákóczi, who subsequently adopted the child out of pity. The boy’s true identity was kept secret to avoid persecutions against the previous regime, and as the son of a prince he was given a good education. While his father encouraged more practical studies, Saint Germain’s true calling was always in occult mysticism. He became enraptured by the Hermetic tradition in particular, including alchemy and its alterations to Marcellina’s “Obscurist Qabalah,” now said to depict the Tree of Knowledge. (With three columns for sulfur, mercury and salt…) When combining this arcane doctrine with Gnosticism (particularly The Marcelline Proverbs) he unlocked many hidden truths about the nature of the world. By deconstructing the complete composition of reality, soon enough the young man found himself bending it to his will.
In his spare time, the inventine young man created a latin alphabet equivalent to the Marcosian Boards, now designed in the likeness of Lilith Qadmon, rebis of Lilith and Avir’s souls. The 6 vowels (AEIOUY) were associated with the interrogative words along with the ears, eyes, mouth and nose. The remaining 20 consonants were associated with numbers and the digits of the hands and feet. (Those of the right hand were further associated with north, the left hand for south, right leg for east and left leg for west. The thumb/big toe was for white mana, then blue, black, red and green across each appendage.) Where Mary always claimed to be contacting the eusocial plurality of Nymphs in the Highest Heaven, and Marcus professed that his modified version merely translated the subconscious vibrations of a congregation into divinely inspired secret codes, Saint Germain used his to conduct seances with the dead. From these sessions with great thinkers and experimentalists of the past, he was able to learn in a few hours what had been forgotten for centuries–secrets his rival alchemists couldn’t possibly hope to uncover if they spent years researching by conventional means. In his early years of practice, Saint Germain considered this his most crucial invention, and called it “the Tablet of Er” after the protagonist of Plato’s conjecture on the nature of the afterlife. Later in life he abandoned its use, after repeatedly asking to be informed of the greatest wisdom in all history and finding the answer personally unsatisfying. (It was the soul of Philodemus paraphrasing a famous maxim of his mentor, Epicurus: “Don’t fear god, don’t worry about death; what is good is easy to get, and what is terrible is easy to endure.”)
While only provided a modest living by his father, Saint Germain supported himself for life by accomplishing at 36 what many prior alchemists spent their entire lives attempting: the transmutation of common materials into gold. Saint Germain had no interests in splendor, however, and only provided for himself what was required to live comfortably. Like many a great artist, such as Leonardo da Vinci to come, he even neglected personal relationships and hygiene in order to focus exclusively on his work. Saint Germain knew the study of Earthly science must go hand in hand with knowledge of, and appreciation for, the divine realm of God. He sought not to anger the Heavenly host by delving too far into unnatural processes. (At least, not at first…) His insane deeds were recorded in the triangle-shaped Book of Zero and Infinity.
Around this time, on one of his few excusions beyond the workstation, Saint Germain met the lady Clarissa Aedesia. She was the only human being he ever felt an inclination towards in his entire life–more of an obsessive infatuation infact–and it was in pursuit of her favors that he aspired to higher orders of magic. Not since the likes of Echo and Beatrice had there been an unrequited love of such measure, nor would there be again until Diana of Wales and Diane Rovell some 200 years later. Despite even all that he had accomplished already, the woman remained perfectly indifferent towards him in turn. This became known as the Syzygy of Canis, the Guiding Vices of the Winter Oval asterism (God the Master to Obediant Underlings). Clarissa died young, at the age of 24, though Saint Germain immortalized her consciousness in the form of a fairy as one of his three familiars* and continued to try his luck at courting this imprisoned atrocity of science. (*The other two being a bat made of shadows called Asrestar who acted as his scout, and an electrified floating sword called Kokbael who acted as his bodyguard.)
Saint Germain expanded upon the work done by Marcellina, who in turn had built upon the foundations laid by her teachers: Mary through Carpocrates. In particular, he classified the previously vague concept of wisdom into separate categories that were said to derive from different components of God. Saint Germain invented the concept of “echmoth,” which he defined as knowledge of death, said to come from the Allogenes. This was different from “echamoth,” scholastic intelligence from the Autogenes. Then that which is “agnosti” or unknowable, came from the Propators. Overall, the Shekhinic half of God represented the curiosity of innocence, while the Fascinic half represented experiential understanding. With regard to alchemy and magic, Saint Germain took the existing concept of a right-handed path (Daksinacara) associated with order, standardization and harmony with nature, which he associated it with Jehovah. That means the opposing left-handed path (Vamachara) of freedom, creativity and deviation into the taboo would logically fall under the dominion of Asherah.
Saint Germain also expanded upon the Sophian tradition of attributing numbers to different aspects of God (specifically Zero for Asherah and Infinity for Jehovah). He defined the Propators as the square root of our negatively aligned world (i), the Allogenes as the base of natural logarithms (e), and the Autogenes as the relationship between circumference and diameter of the Earth itself (π). He discovered that the golden ratio (ϕ) is the relationship between matter to antimatter at the start of the Big Bang, and therefore the relationship between Fascinus and Shekhinah in this Universe. While Elohim was more or less beyond discernibility, Saint Germain dared to theorize that if any mathematical value might capture Their essence, it would be the square root of two (√2). He proposed this because Elohim is both and root and the product of the two Godheads merging into and outside of creation. In addition, Saint Germain discovered the concepts of Absolute Zero (which he associated with Asherah) and Absolute Hot (1.42 x 1033 degrees Celsius–not quite infinity–associated with Jehovah) He used them to represent the Fascinus and Shekhinah.
All the same, Clarissa’s ghost remained unswayed. Saint Germain sought to impress her with still more complicated feats of the alchemic arts.
Towards the natural world, Saint Germain’s studies yielded new understanding as well. He was the first to conceptualized the human body as a biological machine carrying out the processes of the elements simultaneously (fire for the nervous system, earth for digestion, air for respiration, water for circulation). By manipulating these processes, and the four components of the psychological mind, Saint Germain developed a method using modified alchemic purification rituals of nigredo (blackening), albedo (whitening), citrinitas (yellowing) and rubedo (reddening) so that he could transform his shape at will, becoming any animal, inanimate object or even a large corrosive cloud who could not be harmed.
- Nigredo involved confronting one’s psychological shadow (see the Four Creeds on the Nature of Man in the fourth book) which means facing down one’s own inner darkness. It involved opening one’s bowels and seeing your own inner filth.
- Albedo involved making peace with the new equilibrium of the ego, now fully aware of one’s most malicious and greedy impulses. This allowed the subject to confront their inner femininity (in men) or masculinity (in women). It involved taking a breath of fresh air, so to speak, and seeing things from the opposite perspective.
- Citrinitas involved ego-death, realizing that one is but a small part of the larger whole that is the totality of life on Earth. With this important lens removed, one can finally appreciate the objective reality they inhabit. It involved the complete restructuring of one’s neurological wiring in the brain, connecting the various parts of the mind that normally don’t communicate with each other.
- Rubedo involved embracing the balanced Self, one’s heavenly soul existing eternally under the watchful eye of Jehovah, one of countless equals in the splendor of Heaven. It involved letting one’s heart give out, stop “pumping” oneself in the direction they choose and letting themselves go to the mercy of the current.
Still, the specter of Clarissa did not care. The miserable count pushed himself even further, to prove himself worthy of this fickle mistress.
By the age of 54, Saint Germain had completed six of the seven great works associated with alchemy: (1) creation of the rebis as mastery of sex, (2) creation of the philosopher’s stone (which produces theoretically-unlimited gold) as mastery of chemistry, (3) achievement of immortality as mastery of physicality, (4) creation of the panacea as mastery of biology, (5) creation of a homunculus as mastery of personality, and (6) fulfillment of perpetual motion as mastery of mentality. This meant the only goal remaining was access to the infinite corridor, as mastery of divinity.
- Saint Germain created the rebis by sacrificing the lives of 1,000 men and 1,000 women to summon the primordial souls of Adam and Lilith, known as Geradamas and Pigerlehavah, respectively. He gave them several rounds of counseling so that their resentments from life might be forgiven and then put the two souls in the same stiched-together body. He called his creation “Proandropon.” It had limited powers over Spacetime, the ability to teleport its master through either and even speed up or slow down time’s flow within a 100 yard radius of itself.
- Saint Germain fed his philosopher’s stone by burning books. For every book burned, the equivalent of one-tenth its wordcount would be produced in gold coins.
- Saint Germain had to keep a special hearth burning a substance called Amrita at all times in order to remain immortal. He required 16 hours of sleep a day thereafter. He was also not protected from sickness or maiming unless he also used the panacea.
- Saint Germain had to continuously produce a a stock of Azoth Potion to continue to access the panacea. While the drug protected him for physical ailments, it did not shield his mind from negative emotion or disorder. The effects of the concoction left him with permanent aches and slight delirium.
- Saint Germain was forced to sacrifice one of his five senses in order to create each homunculum. He abandoned smell to make Athonavel, who was used as a servant to tend to his house and answer social calls so the real man could continue working. Then he deserted the ability to taste and speak in giving birth to Terufiel, a gender-swapped homuncula. This second creature accompanied its maker around the laboratory singing songs and telling stories so Saint Germain would not be lonely in his endless solitude. From then on, the wretched sorcerer spoke only in sign language or used Terufiel and Athonavel (who could sense his thoughts) as mouthpieces.
- Saint Germain sacrificed his own immortal soul (reasoning that there was no need for one with immortality on Earth) to make the perpetual motion device work properly. He used the device to power an elaborate analog computer used for complex calculations and simulation processing. The intricate machine was itself constructed with the labor of two-thousand foreign slaves, whose lives were those whom he had sacrificed to summon the rebis.
Nevertheless, the phantom Clarissa was unimpressed. Saint Germain took his powers to their limit, finally tampering directly in God’s domain.
The magical properties of the rebis allowed Saint Germain to travel anywhere in the physical universe instantaneously. It was in many ways his single greatest achievement, and the man took great pride in joining together a union even God had seemingly given up on. With these powers, he planted a garden on the Moon, assassinate his presumed-enemies across the globe and was the first man to plant a flag on the surface of Antarctica. He was even able to summon the lesser Ishim of God, those who dwelled imperceptibly among mankind, and utilize their abilities at will. The first time he attempted such a thing, it was with the Ishim known as Baracaba, who allowed him to raise the continent of Atlantis not just above the waves but above the clouds as a floating metropolis of mammon and zeal. Saint Germain built a new settlement there, named “New Hebron,” which prospered during his lifetime but collapsed violently into the Earth again upon his death. (For this action, he became riddled with near-debilitating anxieties.) The second time, he forced the Ishim known as Eraticum to construct a mini-world 6 feet in diameter, complete with near-microscopic people building intricate societies upon its surface for him to study. (For which Saint Germain became plagued with depression.) The third and final time, he used the Ishim called Horme to grant him a vision of the afterlife he would never see. (For which he was struck with an intense phobia of sunlight.)
In this vision, Saint Germain saw the wisest of men and women gathered together in a most impossibly distinguished university, which he equated with the School of Athens, the ancient Lyceum. Here, the best and brightest shared the intelligence they had accrued in life with each other so that all knowledge was received in every mind. It was paradise of the sort where Plato could shake hands with Plotinus and Iamblichus both, then discuss the conversion of the former’s scholarly thought experiments into the latter two’s mystical religious doctrine. In a secluded corner, one might find a serene Julius Caesar asking the fair Penelope what it was like to wait for her husband those fated years, and thereby deducing the misery to which he had left so many women during his own various campaigns. (Of course, the very next day they might find the same man in high spirits on the outdoor fencing court, under the triumphant glare of Horaia-Arinna, besting Achilles in joust and duel so as to instruct onlookers in the art of swordplay.) Spread out over a desk, there’d be Eudoxa, Euclid and Archimedes planning some elaborate architectural feat. The foyer was populated with Aristoxenus, Ptolemais, Lamprus and Ling Lun performing some elaborate symphony for the entertainment of all. Yet even among such fantastic company, Diogenes made a show of searching for an honest man among them, walking through the crowds with his lamplight, peering distrustingly in the eyes of all passerby as he had in life–all while a train of smelly hounds followed in his wake!
Marcellina, the Messenger of Light, was at once the most revered among them, amassing a large gathering of students with her unceasing capacity to overlay the lewd with the logical. She was singled out for praise by the sacrosanct Pope Joan as well as the pornocratic Marozia alike, for simultaneous piety and perversion. From Demosthenes Marcellina honed her talents for oration while she fostered his spiritual growth in turn, just as Lais of Hyccara taught her a few tricks in bed for the same price. Even the ascetic preacher called Proclus forgot his chaste lifestyle on Earth in order to pursue Marcellina, so transfixing was her manner. In fact, before long it was said that through the notches of Marcellina’s bedpost and the attendants of her ovations, all the world was connected. Even Mary Magdalene would accept baptism from her own distant successor, the most exalted of women, with the understanding that children may teach their forebears as well. However, Mary did not remain in Marcellina’s tutelage beyond this symbolic gesture. Instead, the beloved disciple of Jesus opted to mediate the divide between the long-fractured Phoenician/Carthaginian and Hebrew/Judean lineages of men.
Among Marcellina’s pupils was Julius Caesar himself. I tell you this, despite seducing countless women all over the known world, the mighty one’s heart only strayed from Cornelia just once–here in the company of his feminine equal. In Heaven, with the glory of redeemed peers and unlimited time to experiment with them, rigid monogamy gives way to polyamorous lovemaking sooner or later. Still, Caesar felt his usual appetites curbed in the company of his first and dearest wife. He explained his attraction simply with the declaration “I find her most… uncommon, Missus Caesar.” However, even this diplomatically faint praise, coming from such an accomplished man, betrayed the scope of his admiration. Nevertheless, Marcellina was the only woman who ever intimidated the fivefold Consul and fivetime Triumphator of Rome. She was the only one whom the man himself did not feel truly worthy of, so they remained a Platonic Syzygy built of mutual respect and awe. In this manner, Caesar was appropriately humbled for his misdeeds against the Gauls, though his aspirational spirit was neither diminished nor demured.
Upon seeing his own long-deceased idol and sophist for the first time, Saint Germain wanted nothing more than to remain with her there in Heaven forever. He burst into anguished wails with the knowledge that he had given up that which should have been his birthright. Saint Germain next saw that Hell was actually a construction of mankind rather than God. It was comprised of those who had placed themselves above their brothers, who compelled the servitude of their equals in constructing hubristic monuments to themselves. The proverbial Tower of Babel, misbegotten throne of all demiurges in the history of Earth, became an inverted prison. Those who strove for the highest heights became the lowest of all, bearing the weight of their own hideous construction on their backs. And, to his horror, Saint Germain saw himself there at the very bottom, the most damned among all who had ever lived or would ever live. He let out a terrified scream of silence and retreated from the vision.
Despite even this, Clarissa’s ghost rejected the poor man’s advances yet again. So, Saint Germain, perhaps in pursuit of another timeline with a more pliable version of the girl, or else a way to warn his multiversal counterparts against such folly, sought to complete the seventh and final magnum opus. I speak now of the Infinite Corridor, the Bridge Between Worlds, the Connective Tissue Binding All Universes in the Greater Multiverse. Its every entrance was said to be guarded by Asherah, as Jehovah resides in the central galaxy observing all Creation. Accessing such a prize would not be easy, and no man had ever even conceived of how it might be done. He was now in fully uncharted waters, but too proud and single-minded to turn back.
To succeed in such an endeavor, Saint Germain reasoned that Absolute Hotness (during which physics breaks down) would have to be achieved. He calculated that the only way to reach such a temperature would be through the incineration of 1,000,000 souls in a great cauldron. Saint Germain therefore instructed his rebis to speed up the flow of time around his mini-world, so that he could collect the souls of its denizens as they died in quick succession. Then the rebis itself would have to be sacrificed to spark such an intense blaze–the abomination’s cries were unbearable and caused the accursed magician to lose his hearing. The ensuing inferno of this atrocity was so brilliant it left him blinded as well. Still, the awful procedure was a success and the door to all realities opened…only for another Saint Germain in a reflected-universe made entirely of antimatter to open his door at the very same time. As the two mirror-counterparts entered the other’s dimensions simultaneously, their oppositely-charged atoms annihilated and they both perished before even having a chance to comprehend what had happened to them. Thus, the twin portals closed with all evidence of their opening destroyed and the integrity of existence was maintained with perfect simplicity.
It should be known that in order to stave off Asherah, the prophecized guardian of this Barrier Between Worlds, Saint Germain had brought a mesh of woven silver coins, a dish of garlic and rings of white candles, all of which proved comically ineffective against the powers of God. Alas, even with all his studies and skills, the poor man had no idea of the full magnitude of what he was trifling with. The power of nature, of God Themselves, is far greater than any mortal being can fathom or control. Such is the true lesson of the alchemists’ craft.
By the grace of Asherah, the miserable scientist’s soul was restored, for the Goddess loves even her most flawed creations. She took his piece off the chessboard of creation and showed him in painful detailed that his plan to access the Infinite Corridor was doomed in all timelines. His would-be courtship of Clarissa as well–she just simply did not like him no matter what ridiculous feats he accomplished on her behalf. Then he was forced to endure the very same flames of which he condemned 1,000,000 souls for 1,002,000 lifetimes before rejoining the sapient ones in Heaven. Such is the fate of all men who attempt to reign with God’s power as mere flesh, without the deity to handle it. Such is the folly of all who exploit knowledge for personal gain without the tempering influence of the wise spirit to know restraint.
At the end of his sentence, the man of such terrible legacy was aged backwards in a purifying inferno, until he was a babe in the arms of the tophet, ready to be reprogrammed from wickedness. She lamented: “Your propensity for learning, your strive to push the Earth to its limits in service of your dreams, and all for the affections of a simple woman. So tragic is your loneliness and so pitiable was your motive, that there is no Heaven, thou wretched warlock among men, unless I may reform even the likes of you!” And in this endeavor, Asherah sent the infantilized Saint Germain into the care of the Ishim, the Eastern Palici called Eudaimonia and Angerona, who were iron age equivalents to Hutena and Hutellura as well as Istustaya and Papaya. Many centuries later, a reformed Saint Germain would share in the Romantic Syzygy along with Elissa. They shared their many adventures and spiritual reawakenings with an elated Acerbas.
After the vision, Mary felt sick at heart to think her ideas and those of her successors might have led to such misguided undertakings. She had intended her gospel to bring clarity and peace to mankind, yet even her perfect doctrine inspired self-serving wickedness given enough time. As for Barabbas, if there had been any doubt as to his regret at using God for a weapon or tool previously, it was completely gone now.
Auriel said unto them: “Saint Germain shall be to the Age of Aquarius what Julius Caesar was to Pisces: the counter-example of its divine harbringer, a person of some flawed greatness among men though lacking in the morality of God. People admired Caesar for his displays of strength and perseverence, though he committed unspeakable atrocities to achieve his success. In the same tradition, Saint Germain would dazzle his peers with marvelous displays of scientific intelligence, though he lacked an ethical code to manage them properly. He is the perfect example of knowledge without wisdom, of power without love or restraint. So misguided is Saint Germain and the Aquarians who will follow in his example that it inspires the coming of Desdemona as Jesus came soon after Caesar.”
Mary and Barabbas made no further requests, for they were too disquieted to learn any more about mankind’s forlorn destiny. The angel promised the next and final vision would reveal just that.
☰ Freedom From the Demiurge
Æ. The Moonchild and Aquarians
While preaching near the outskirts of Lutetia, Mary and Barabbas received their final theophanic experience. The messenger was none other than Desdemona, the elusive Moonchild Mezulla who was born to Mahadevi: the Lost Sheep of Heaven and Manifest Vulnerability of our Immortal Supreme Being. She was sired in the violent copulation of Gaea and Theia, forever-after gazing up towards the Woman Who is Clothed With the Sun and downward to the biome, whom she rocks to sleep every night with the tides. In adolescence, the parentified young lass chose Deucalion for Her consort: a male who had commanded quadriremes through the deluge as effortlessly as He carried amphoras through the garden. It is from such noble heritage that our Silenced Scholar, Desdemona, the Daughter of Goddess as She is Filia Feminae, came into the world with Khonsu’s Crown and Hercules’ Club.
Desdemona-Dianoia, Orator for Obelisks and Optimists, is ambassador of Dea Dia, the Divine Matriarch called Maia, who wears the solar disk as Her radiate chaplet, with the waxing/waning lunar crescents for earrings. She is prophetess of Bona Dea, the Sacred Queen known as Rhiannon, who suckles lions and crocodiles at her teats while harboring bees in her womb. Desdemona is emblem of Dea Matrona, the Earth-Mother named Modron, who endures eternal childbirth as a maid dressed in flames, yet still tends to Her sunflower gardens even in agony. She is harbringer of Dea Tacita, the World-Soul christened as Chaxiraxi, who enshrines Her light in the material realm–the source from which all fires sprang with Chijoraji and to which they shall inevitably return.
Desdemona-Dianata, Personified Innocence and Introspection, is God’s mirror reflecting Creation back on itself. How we treat her, as an innocent youth dependent on external care, determines our fate in the afterlife. She is fragile and naive, yet passionate and curious, at the mercy of the wicked world we’ve left for Her to find. She is our personified intergenerational trauma, the call for collective self-improvement as individuals and as a social construct. While faith dwindles among the skeptical post-science citizenry, so She will restore us to righteousness through example. She is forever young, eternally empathetic and the embodied need for a long-overdue self-reflection. She collects the planetary Archons as gems in Her necklace, and gathers the galaxies of our Virgo Cluster like flowers in a bouquet.
Desdemona-Esperagno, Madame of Rapture and Rejuvenation, is to man what man is to God; we cannot expect mercy from above when we show none to those who rely on us for guidance and protection here on Earth. So willing was Asherah to know Her mortal children, to see things as we see them, that She descended to Earth in bodily form despite the horrifying precedent of Jesus’ crucifixion. And Jehovah loved Her so much, was so painfully aware of the harm She would endure from human hands, that it took all His willpower to let His sacred consort visit Earth at all. Therefore, Desdemona is the gentle hand of God, second coming of divinity to Earth, offering us another chance to do the right thing. She is Luna’s lament and Lucretia’s lullaby when we inevitably fall short of this opportunity.
Desdemona-Esmeralda, Sister of Sycophants and Hierophants, came to mankind in an unassuming form despite knowing the complete wisdom of Heaven. She is the humble teacher observing the supposed lessons of Her own pupils, who’ve dared to claim the powers of God on Earth, who presume absolute knowledge of the math and science. She is the one who shall face down the cold malice of our community with a smile on Her face and a song in Her heart. As cynicism and bitterness corrupt the essence of men, She arrives to rekindle our spirits in these most trying of times. As men reach new heights of misguided folly in their search for control over matter and each other, She arrives to subtly remind us of what we have lost. The limitless potential of young lives such as Hers is the social contract by which embittered elders endure the cruelty of age.
Desdemona-Stellavana, Mistress of Scepters and Specters, represents how God sees mankind despite our flaws: comparatively juvenile, weak and arrogant in our ignorance, yet simultaneously the most cherished creation imaginable. The love God has for us is similar to that of a parent for their misguided ward, where the desire to allow freedom comes with the bitter understanding that She will be exposed to the lecherousness ills of our nature. God’s power cannot be challenged by any adversary, for They are immortal and self-ameliorating. Yet the boundless love They hold for one so tender and dainty exposes God to the potential for great suffering all the same, as Their child inevitably comes to harm and corruption from the careless masses. In this way, mankind is both God’s greatest torture and treasure alike, just as a wayward Daughter is to her devoted Father.
Desdemona-Schaladelpha, Centinel of Psalms and Sentimentality, took on infinite forms to appeal to Her beholders. To Mary, the disarming adolescent took the appearance of Jumella, daughter of Jairus, her favorite of Jesus’ miracles. Barabbas saw a childlike reflection of Helen, the woman whose image tortured his conscience every night. To devoted followers of Zarathustra She adopted the face of Ashi, Persia’s most beloved goddess. I imagine that I might look upon the image of Francesca, sensitive doe of sweet deceptions, whose downfall came from the misguided lens of admiration in which She perceived Her elders. Valentinians would surely place their deified Marcellina in this role, as the well-meaning creator of our wabi-sabi world, a metaphor for what it means to appreciate children. The Aquarians sing of a girl, never known as a non-believer, who walks alone in the forest of wonder, all the while loving Her Mother and Father. And even an orthodox Christian fills the void of female innocence with the persona of Maria Virginia, Theotokos-Aníkitos, who never erred and personifies purity.
Desdemona-Aphrodite, Bringer of Justice and Jubilee, asked our heroes but a single question: “What was the common theme of the stories the archangels have told you?”
- Mary answered “That even if you do everything right in this life, the selfish malice and general thoughtlessness of others ensures that we will all suffer to some extent. Also, tragedy compounds over time, so our missteps can plant the seeds for further conflict among the next generations, which is why we must be so mindful before we act. I believe now that any attempt by men to use God’s power on Earth is folly. What we need is God’s love, and it is a much higher calling to aspire to. Acts which I once dismissed as purely evil I can know appreciate on a more intimate basis. We are so alike and yet so apart.”
- Barabbas answered “People fear, resent and distrust those who are different from them, which is most apparent in cases of male-female interaction. Most out-groups will see any gestures from their unknown neighbors as inherently misguided at best or exploitative at worst. And thus, the problem of reconciliation is very difficult to solve. Also, I now understand that perceptions of God seem to change over time, ensuring that it is hard if not impossible to unite all men; in fact, attempts to do so appear to cause more harm than good. Indeed, I find a certain profundity to the diverse experiences of men.”
Desdemona-Artemisha, Born Amidst Atrocities and Atrophies, said “You are both correct, but there’s more to it. The simple truth is that love cannot be forced, as the first couples’ tragedy, Elissa’s heartbreaks, Lucius Pinarius’ limerence, Caesar’s wandering eye, Marcellina’s losses and Saint Germain’s fixation have shown us. Even God cannot force love for Ourselves nor among men without destroying free will and thereby enslaving Our own creation in the process. Imagine the heartbreak of the rejected ones in your visions and recognize that this is the plight of God magnified a billion fold, every instant of every day, for all time.”
Barabbas asked Desdemona-Mitisarah, Child Who is Matron of Mankind, how to make sense of all the conflicting perspectives of God that he had seen along their expedition. She answered: “All conceptions of God are valid as long as they do not contradict the Golden Rule. We reveal Ourselves to all peoples in different names and faces, according to their ability to understand.”
Barabbas answered “I’ve always had misgivings towards the Jewish patriarchs, I was born too early for Marcellina and too late for Mazdayasna. I only know the authority of Mary Magdalene, who has saved my heart and soul with her kindness and intellect. I would follow her to the ends of the Earth, and proclaim Your glories as she instructs me to.”
Mary found herself humbled to hear such praise before the face of divinity itself. She responded “I only regret you did not get to hear the message directly from the source, Dear Barabbas, for the Lord Jesus is a far greater teacher than I.”
Desdemona-Margherita, Mother of Mazzaroth and Meirothea, responded “If someone looks up to you, do not put yourself down and leave them without a mentor. Do not forego your responsibility to protect the weak and ignorant around you with the excuse that someone worthier ought to do it. For without a well-meaning caretaker who recognizes their own flaws, such sheep might be led even further astray by the disingenuous around them, or taken advantage of by the malicious criminals waiting for easy prey. Take pride in their appreciation, be their Polaris and set the best example you possibly can. Lead others to the light; as long as you do so with sincere intent, knowledge of your own limitations and a willingness to delegate certain tasks to those better-qualified where appropriate.”
Reinvigorated by these words, Mary emphatically declared “Do not worry then, o’ benevolent instructor, for we have heeded your lessons and shall bring love of God’s glory to all mankind, even if it takes us a thousand generations! We will teach our pupils that man’s debt to God is the collective loss of innocence among our children, as his redemption lay with the shared mourning of this tragedy. Even if our dogma leads to a few misguided sinners along the way, surely the good it will do for so many others makes up for that! All humanity needs is a widely distributed means of information-gathering and man will choose the right path!”
Desdemona-Nadiella, Speaker of Sophistocation and Xenia, shook Her head “No.” At Mary’s crestfallen expression, She who is the most precious and precocious of God’s personalities clarified Herself: “The fall of man is inevitable. It is not some inherited debt from Adam and Lilith’s disobeying of God. It is merely an acknowledgement that all information is corrupted over time, and that most men will choose selfish short-term benefit over the long-term wellbeing of their community. When presented with an inconvenient truth, most men will search for cherry-picked denials to continue on in the comfortable reality they have already settled on for themselves. Even standing on the accumulated accomplishments of their predecessors, most men will only use the knowledge they have been given in pursuit of sloth, avoidance of hardship and self-enrichment. Even so, as frustrating as this reality is, it is the calling of all Sophians to spread God’s morality and wisdom to as many people as possible.”
Then Desdemona-Nemetona, Mater Familias of the Multiverse, summoned a procession of the Seraphim to come. Of the next age, Aquarius, there were: Gabuthelon (Avalokiteśvara) of the North, Aker (Kṣitigarbha) of the South, Arphugitonos (Samantabhadra) of the East, Beburos (Manjushri) of the West and Zebulon (Maitreya) of the Center. From Capricorn came Omael (Dharmaprajñā), Mebahel (Guṇavana), Asnorida (Vajraketu), Sealiah (Vajragarbha) and Enitoritos (Viśiṣṭacāritra). From Sagittarius came Irusolatos (Anantacāritra), Tangadiat (Viśuddhacāritra), Rizonat (Supratiṣṭhitacāritra), Facultasim (Amoghadarśana) and Darani (Sarvāpāyajaha). From Scorpio came Vehuiah (Vajrayakṣa), Leliah (Vajraratna), Tresay (Vajrapāṇi), Bessay (Vajratīkṣṇa) and Dictilorida (Vajrapāramitā). From Libra came Ieiazel (Sarvaśokatamonirghātana), Damabiah (Gandhahastin), Mavakel (Śauraya), Vasariah (Gaganagañja) and Castormy (Jñānaketu). Finally, from Virgo came Ugemenos (Amitaprabha), Hakamiah (Bhadrapāla), Loviah (Jālinīprabha), Periberim (Candraprabha) and Trangialem (Akṣayamati).
Mary and Barabbas saw the future world of Aquarius, where mankind had already accepted the deal with the devil which Christ rejected in the desert. They had grown used to relying on satan’s corrupting power, and could not be persuaded to abandon his leadership in favor of God now that they had a taste for it. They burned poison and corroded the air. They sculpted toxic trinkets whose essence seeped into the seas and soil forever. They treated each other with venomous disdain for no discernible purpose. They had tools which allowed for communication across great distance yet ignored the people right in front of them. The ubiquitous channels of expression led to mass confusion and mistrust among all. Schools fostered fear of authority, busywork and mass conformity rather than knowledge or critical thinking. Flesh and blood relationships became disposable in pursuit of validation from strangers. Tools that could access the accumulated knowledge of mankind were used instead to spread their own insipid, mean-spirited, bite-sized thoughts about vacuous nonsense. The very worst decisions were made with regard to political, physical and digital infrastructure. Nothing was built to last and men were milked for every last scrap of money they had by the sadistic elites. Everybody was plagued with the curse of short-term thinking only.
Mary wept and instinctually apologized to the image of this sweet child before her on behalf of God, that She should grow up in such a desolate society. “God has finally abandoned the people who have abandoned Them,” Mary said. “They should have done something, should’ve stepped in to prevent this. And if not them, then we, mankind, should’ve gotten together and planned out a better world.”
The unassuming form of the Goddess struck the surprised figure of Mary across the face for her insolence. “God left the world to the dominion of man almost from the first, offering only the tools and very ocassional guidance so that you might find your own way, and this is what you have done with those blessings in Our absence. God does not interfere in the free will of Our children. We don’t force compliance in Heaven, like you insane circumcisors and crucifiers down here. If we had, then Mohism would’ve won out over Confucianism in the East, while in the West, Anaxagoras and Archelaus would be as revered today as Socrates and Aristotle! You humans ought to learn to fix yourselves before you’d presume to fix each other–let alone the whole world.”
The vision continued and Aquarius saw wealth disparity at an all time high yet the masses were pacified with shallow, fleeting pleasures. Religious ethics had been abandoned in favor of socio-political crusades and fandom-based identity. Resentment was stoked between races and sex at the pleasure of the wealthy elites, who asserted the true extent of their power like never before. Women had been trained to hate men, which caused men to resent women in turn. Men continued to be circumcised by their stupid and carless parents, not even for misunderstood religious purposes but purely out of habit, as the supposedly wisened elders sleepwalked through every important decision of their lives. Masculine virility was neutered so as to minimize the threat of rebellion. They deprived men of all except what was absolutely necessary to keep them working the machines in awful smelly factories which poured industrial waste to all corners of the biome. The patriarchs had destoryed the world before their children could even inherit it, while the next generations were cursed by thoughtlessness, misguided priorities as well as a stunning lack of intellectual curiosity. The social contract had completely broken down among governments, families and one-time friends. The environment, social fabric, collective happiness, median income and average IQ were all on the brink of collapse.
Even with the coming of a new prophet, Gnostic psychoanalyst Carl Jung, the people rejected true connection with themselves and their surroundings. The powers that be merely exploited his psychological findings in order to better control the masses. They concocted misleading emotional appeals in their nefarious advertisements and sloganeering. They manipulated their own appearances, distorted the nuances of context and used manipulative subtleties of speech to manufacture consent. Complex issues were misframed in service of binary thought patterns, encouraging division and unhelpful blame games among the voting public. Popular opinion was twisted even before its collection, with mnemonic jingles and oft-repeated soundbites meant to implant the current designs or excuses of the overlords in the collective subconscious.
Men sought the powers of God with their impressive post-industrial technology, standing on the shoulders of giants without the wisdom or understanding to utilize any of it properly. Everyone was a consumer in the sale of, not only the basic requirements of survival, but of the very real emotional needs which make us dignified human beings. Everything was commodified: from beauty, labor and love even to religion itself. Every interaction was rendered impersonal, cynical and superficial as a result of these schemes compounded over time, leaving everyone as slaves not only to our primitive impulses but the perverse incentive structures meant to take advantage of them. The powers that be sought to bring order to a chaotic evolutionary incentive structure, to impose their own will on every other living thing, to craft the world in service of their own fickle whims, become the demiurge of their own so-called ‘kingdom’…and this was to their own collective undoing.
It was hell on Earth.
The next four ages performed a similarly terrible dance and as the time of Virgo concluded, Mary saw the Five Steeds of the Archangels turn against Creation itself. The Island-Turtle, who was the world-landmass, sank beneath the waves. The Manticore carried off all the last-born daughters of every non-Christian family. The Phoenix burned all the righteous and faithful in rapture. The Dragon incinerated the oceans, leaving a thick humidity of corrosive chloride in which all living creatures remaining both sweltered and suffocated. The Golden Basilisk coiled itself and rose above the blackened clouds into Heaven like a seismic ladder. The step-like ridges along its back allowed the Heavenly Host to march down the serpentine-staircase and enter the inner caverns of the earth, like sperm to womb. From there, the planet burst asunder as a world-egg, freeing the remains of all who had died, past and present, into the cosmos. Ladon corralled them all into a spherical prison, through which even the light of stars dare not penetrate. There, the entirety of souls would be swept up in the ethereal currents into Heaven proper, to someday be rescued by God’s Chariot. But this would only occur after all of the 5,040 Erelim–the sapient-inhabited worlds–had burst in similar fashion, which would take countless lifetimes of pained anticipation in purgatorial limbo.
Until finally, at the end of all things, salvation arrived.
God’s Chariot was carried by the 216 Ophanim, who appeared in the form of 6 rampaging creatures in groups of 36 each. (These being Winged-Unicorns, Meganeuras, Cheetahs, Triceratops, Dolphins and Eurypterids.) The female Shekhinah served as charioteer, God the Auriga-Aruna who brings offense and surprise. The male Fascinus served as archer, God the Orion-Arash who brings defense and tactics. From this inconquerable position God reigned down fire against all opposition, using arrows made from gamma ray bursts that left trails of iridescent stardust in their wake. With 10 frequencies of radio waves (for the Sephirot), Elohim announced Themselves with triumphal marches before and lamenting ballads after. Under Their wheels They crushed the remains of the Nephilim. Against such a sight, all defecting apostates and would-be enemies of scripture alike were instantaneously cowed into submission. For, despite all the hardship brought on by the free will of others, in the end there was no adversarial force that could avail itself against the One Supremacy.
God’s Chariot was decorated with an embossed triangular frame, which encapsulated three circles at its points: red, white and blue. The red circle above stood for the Eye of Ra, who is all at once the Sun, the balance of the feminine to male, the boundless creative force, the Propator, the divus and strength. The white circle to the right stood for the Eye of Horus, who is all at once the Moon, the renewal in answer to the funeral, the ceaseless protective force, the Allogenes, the hypostasis and bravery. The blue circle to the left stood for the Eye of Caesar (which he had plucked out in penance for lusting after Marcellina) and was all at once Sirius the brightest star in the night, the penitence in response to the offense, the endless redemptive force, the Autogenes, the humanus and insight. Together they were a three-sided nazar, the all-seeing Eye of Providence, that inspired all onlookers to open their own third eye and be amazed at the true scope of nature’s wonder. The wheels were decorated with 9 spokes each, for the two sets of Muses, and studded with 6 protruding spikes on the right (for the Thrones, including Proarche itself) and 6 on the left (for the Five Steeds of the Seraphim as well as Dracosphinx, who in turn represented the 6 Personalities of the Godheads). Along the spokes and rims of the wheels were written the names of the Tzadikim. Along the sides of the Chariot proper were symbols of the 20 previous avatars, with the 10 of Jehovah on the right and those of Asherah on the left.
God wore three circlets: the Corona Australis, Corona Centralis and Corona Borealis. The first of these was the chaplet of space, a vallary crown of comparatively minimal prestige, made of redwood from the earth and decorated by 60 uraeus, which were the transfigured seraphim. The second of these was the chaplet of time, a mural crown of comparatively medium prestige, made of far-off meteorite, depicting the coming cityscape of Theotropolis, with 24 “towers” as the transfigured Aeons. The third of these was the chaplet of imagination, a celestial tiara of comparatively maximum prestige, made of radiation from the cosmos with 72 stars for the transfigured Malakim, sparkling with all manner of glitter and spinning counter-clockwise as if restoring the decay of age. In this way, the triple-crown represented the merger of Earth and Heaven in God’s Kingdom, and Their sovereignty over each. Seven orbs of colorful light (one for each of the planetary Archons) revolved around the entire chariot so as to create a manner of unspeakably profound kaleidoscopic silhouettes and overlapping shadows of color in its path.
The Chariot was also orbited by the 6 Cherubim, who were like flying cavalry and moved in a clockwise motion while trumpeting the arrival of their Lord. They would swerve into any hostile projectiles and break rank to harass encroaching demonic formations. On their 4 necks they wore the amulets of Trollkors, Mjölnir, Cornicello and Axe-of-Perun. On theirs heads they wore the crowns of Atef, Nemes, Khepresh and Apex. They carried elf-bolts in one hand and voodoo dolls in the other, allowing them to disarm the enemy at great distance. Two rode on Hieracosphinx to guard the Propator, two on Androsphinx to guard the Allogenes and two on Criosphinx to guard the Autogenes.
Behind the Chariot came the Great Army of Ishim, numbering 3,600 total, who were the flying infantry and wore phrygian caps Into battle they carried swords of flame, hammers of thunder, tridents of quake and ankhs of divine protection. Their mission was to serve as God’s Hammer, chasing any would-be challengers into the wide net of 12,960,000 stationary mine-like Nymphs (God’s Anvil) who destroyed themselves and their victims in supernoval explosions. The Ishim fought in 59 units of 60 angelic-warriors each, and within these ranks there were 59 “Legates” who led their own assigned detachment, and one “Magnaion” (called Aeternitas, wearing a full suit of platinum armor) who coordinates the Legates in turn. These 60 “Commanders,” known collectively as the Praxidice, were decorated with feathered war bonnets, silver armilla and the golden, priestly breastplates of judgement while serving as God’s Standard-Bearers. The 59 distinct groups assembled under them were properly known as “Legions.”
The59 Legions were called the: Penates, Lares, Pleiades, Hyades, Vertumnides, Priapides, Perennes, Bellones, Soterians, Philophrosynes, Liberalites, Abunduntides, Annones, Pomones, Securites, Amphitrites, Terrae, Alseids, Liminales, Angites, Auloniads, Crinaeae, Dryads, Iaceses, Feronides, Cybeles, Aurae, Nepheles, Nereids, Oceanids, Oreads, Pegaeae, Potameides, Pegasides, Semestrides, Thriae, Maenads, Eleionomae, Hamadryads, Hesperides, Lampades, Limnads, Meliads, Aurae, Oromazes, Camenae, Aponides, Philians, Carnes, Cures, Deveres, Empandes, Fecundites, Gratiae, Epiones, Terminae, Veniliae, Voluptae, and Pudicitiae.
The names of the other 59 Praxidice are as follows: Antevorta, Postvorta, Lucina, Pallas, Eupheme, Gelos, Juno, Minthe, Vulcan, Carmenta, Egeria, Faunus, Fatua, Janus, Vesta, Atlas, Melinoe, Pietas, Caireen, Eusebeia, Pales, Cleta, Averruncus, Fides, Fontus, Hygieia, Tranquillitas, Proteus, Panegyris, Nyx, Thalassa, Eos, Epimetheus, Hyperion, Euryphaessa, Elpis, Mnemosyne, Hesperus, Eosphorus, Spes, Glaucus, Hypnos, Macaria, Iaso, Eileithyia, Honos, Leuce, Epiphron, Orphne, Pasithea, Polymatheia, Phaenna, Kale, Paidia, Pandaisia, Pannychis, Juventas, Latona and Philotes.
All falsehood and wickedness coalesced then, to meet their challenger head-on at last. Collective evil came in the form of a great armored centipede called Lavos, who was a destroyer of Spacetime and devourer of dreams, as the embodiment of vacuum decay. Its brain, entombed in a lion-headed prison of aimless hatred, had been co-opted by the parasitic Umbratheon, who was a will-diluting ophiocordyceps embodying entropy. During the reign of mankind on Earth, this serpentine creature straddled the equator while its many legs, divided among 200 body-segments with 24 feet in each, peddling against the planetary rotation. Of these countless scurrying feet, those on the left were called the Shullat and on the right, the Hanish. As the satanic beast encircled the world, those of Hanish walked along the Tropic of Cancer as the Shullat to Capricorn. Now, without a living world to anchor itself to, God’s projectiles steered the creature into the well of nymphic novas, whose blasts were so mighty that none could withstand them.
By this method, all demons who opposed God were swiftly and inexorably defeated. In the peace after this final inferno, God invited all to listen to the musica universalis, the eternal harmony of the spheres, a celestial hum produced by wandering lights within the void of creation itself. The chariot raced through a rainbow arch of triumph, celebrating the collective victory of sapience against the forces of madness. Along the way, headstones representing the souls of sapient creatures were loaded into the back of the chariot like cairn, each in the form of a long herma. Those who were especially righteous or wise were marked by a coiling snake, who ascended their herm as an asherim and decorated the monument with all manner of meaningful symbols, like a Varangian picture stone or an Amerindian totem pole.
Then, finally, God constructed the New World to Come from these steles of stone. Those who were unmarked were used to build the floor and lower walls of a grandiose cathedral. Those who were blessed with a serpentine companion became ornaments of the higher walls and ceiling. The souls of the wicked, unfaithful or disingenuous were remolded in the Nymphic pyre, and became cement holding the bricks in place. On the faces of all blocks were carved innumerous designs and elaborate patterns, chronicling the annals of all mortal life from the previous existence. The voices of everyone who had ever lived now sang together in a chorus, their hymns reverberating through the hallowed halls of God’s House. Outside there were all manner of bounteous gardens: Aaru against the Southern Wall, Folkvangar beside that of the Northern Wall, then Goloka to the East and Mag Mell to the West. The entire estate, including the Synagogue of Soul-Stones that God had built, was called Valhalla.
The many Celestials who had comprised the Heavenly Host now became the stained glass windows which displayed all manner of divine works in the form of filtered light. The various names and songs attributed to God became a collection of bells and wind chimes along the outside structure, which imitated every conceivable instrument when they rang. In the central chamber, the inner sanctum of the entire paradisiacal cathedral, Elohim became the Great Altar, God the Ara-Tabernacle who is Holiest of Holies, that which brings transcendental meditation and cathartic satisfaction to all its beholders. In this way, God made Their basilica from the collective beauty of the universe itself, and so it was across all the timelines in the multiverse that is El Monad Optimum Maximum Panchronus Alam, the Source of Everything That is Holy and Highest!
Then, as quickly as it came, this glorious image of God’s final masterpiece had disappeared entirely. Mary and Barabbas were back in the unspoiled fields of Gaul, with a storm approaching on the horizon for good measure. Even Desdemona the Fairest, of distributism and eschatology, of symbiosis and democracy, of mutualism and nativity, She that bequeaths Zintuḫi and inherits Ḫalmašuit, who is all at once Eucleia, Euthenia and Euphraxia personified, was now gone. Mary lamented Her departure, for she had meant to ask the good Goddess: “Why does it seem as though human syzygies are so unstable compared to those of the divine, and how then might we ensure the right participants are enjoined together on Earth, with all the resources they need to be as reliable as the unions of Heaven?” Barabbas lamented his folly in thinking God would rule over this insignificant Earth, rather than a far grander domain than he could have ever imagined. He meant to ask the deified Damsel: “How long must we wait to see it again?”
Even with the Sophians’ supposedly new scripture, their radical theology over this decade-long ministry, it only now fully occured to the two of them that they had really still been worshipping the same God as Ezekiel all along. For all their differences, religions of every conceivable variety shall seek to comprehend the beauty of indescribable truth as their adherents are capable of knowing it, with the limited scope of expression and experience available to them. In that regard, all theological evolution across history is both irrelevant yet inseperable to the big picture, for God remains a stationary object with countless mobile observers arguing over Their precise dimensions, as we have done since the dawn of history. While God may bring endless bliss in the lifetime to come, this very promise paradoxically leads to conflict among men in the lifetime that is.
Œ. Diaspora of the Gnostics
After the exhaustive vision had concluded, foragers came running to warn the vulnerable mass of Christians that a Roman detachment was fast approaching. Mary called her chief disciples upon her and gave them their Sophian Commission. She relayed to them this final lesson as it had been given to herself and Barabbas, tested them on the thoroughness of their understanding with regard to the previous visions and gave them the following Donations of Gnosis and Commonwealth:
- Lazarus the White (in absentia) was made the Patron Sage of Jerusalem, the Enlightened Guru of Uranus, Ordained Doctor of Life Sciences, Consecrated Forearm of God and the Anointed Speaker of the Cypriot-Judean Church.
- Martha the Black (in absentia) was made the Patron Sage of Ctesiphon, the Enlightened Guru of Neptune, Ordained Doctor of Physical Sciences, Consecrated Breast of God and the Anointed Speaker of the Babylonian-Persian Church.
- Joseph the Gray (in absentia) was made the Patron Sage of Land’s End, the Enlightened Guru of Moon, Ordained Doctor of Mathematics, Consecrated Mouth of God and the Anointed Speaker of the British Church (including Caledonia and Hibernia).
- Nicodemus the Red was made the Patron Sage of Alexandria, the Enlightened Guru of Mercury, the Ordained Doctor of Philosophy, Consecrated Ears of God and the Anointed Speaker of the Egyptian-Arabic Church.
- Basilides the Orange was made the Patron Sage of Antioch, the Enlightened Guru of Venus, Ordained Doctor of the Creative Arts, Consecrated Legs of God and the Anonited Speaker of the Anatolian-Armenian Church.
- Charmian the Gold was made the Patron Sage of Athens, the Enlightened Guru of Mars, Ordained Doctor of the Social Sciences, Consecrated Womb of God and the Anointed Speaker of the Greek-Macedonian Church.
- Amadeus the Green was made the Patron Sage of Carthage, the Enlightened Guru of Jupiter, Ordained Doctor of Logic, Consecrated Progenitor of God and the Anointed Speaker of the African-Iberian Church.
- Psychephilus the Blue was made the Patron Sage of Lugdunum, the Enlightened Guru of Saturn, Ordained Doctor of History, Consecrated Eyes of God and the Anointed Speaker of the Gaulic-German Church.
- Pneumaphila the Purple (myself, of course) was made the Patron Sage of Rome, the Enlightened Guru of Sun, Ordained Doctor of Rhetoric, Consecrated Spine of God and the Anointed Speaker of the Italian Church (including Sicilia, Sardinia and Corsica).
- When asked of India, Mary answered “He that is of greater authority than I, the Son of the One Most High, has given that commission to the apostle Thomas the Brown, whom I trust to preach the true word when out of Peter’s orbit. Besides myself, I believe him to be the most perceptive and honorable of the original congregation.”
Including Mary and Barabbas themselves, these are the Twelve Scholarchs of Sophianity, and their mission was to bring the Four Keys of Salvation to the Four Overlapping Hemispheres of the World!” These being: Good Deeds (physical acts of kindness towards others), Good Works (aesthetic, rhetorical or scholarly creations that inspire others), Good Manners (day to day social interactions with others) and Good Values (long-term ambitions and guiding principles in life).
Mary felt an overwhelming premonition that told her the Romans would soon be upon them, and so it was imperative that the disciples should go on to spread the gospel alone. She and Barabbas opted to remain and placate the sentries from conducting a more thorough search of the area; they took responsibility for the so-called “transgressions” of their covenant as all leaders must accept the consequences for their movements. (Only myself, as future Pilgrim of the Church to Rome, should have cause to head towards the capital anyway. It is for this reason that I might be in the city just as Mary returned there as a prisoner of Caesar’s legions.)
After much protest, the disciples were convinced to go on in this final mission without their beloved leaders. I never saw any of them again, though I am aware they told stories along the journey to reach their new tasks, some attributed to Mary and some from previous personal experience (but with a supposed Gnostic moral for relevancy). This collection of “pilgrimage tales” forms the Sophian deuterocanon that is embraced by some sects of the faith. (Of their further innovations and successes in the name of Sophianity I cannot say. Though, without boast I can tell you that I have developed the Marian “Spirit Table” into what I call the Cadmonic Baetylus, based on the morphology of Progynopon (the theoretical rebis of Pigereve and Geravir) as well as the Coptic language. This tool allows me to communicate with people of the future. It is through this very process that I have spread the true gospel into the minds of several far-off Aquarian writers, whom I sincerely believe will prove essential to preserving the true doctrine of our God against the ravages of time.)
Soon after the disciples had departed, a legion of Romans arrived from the north, headed by Caligula himself. They had been constructing fortresses along the shore opposing Britannia, a complete non-engagement for which the tyrannical young ruler planned to host a triumph in his own honor. Looking to take out their wasted adrenaline on someone, the soldiers harassed Mary’s numerous remaining followers. Some died in the struggle and many more fled before Mary stepped forward. She and Barabbas threw down their arms, as Vercingetorix had done before them and the viceroy Gamelin would do in the centuries to come. They left themselves at the tender mercies of a maniac, either in imitation of Christ’s example or out of despondency when faced with the full extent of man’s inescapable deficiencies.
The crazed boy-king demanded their names, and upon hearing the words “Mary” and “Barabbas” he howled with fiendish delight. “At last, we have found the motley crew that poisons my vassals’ hearts with treachery! I shall be celebrated as the conqueror of demons when this wicked deceiver cowers in my wake! My triumph will eclipse even the grandeur of Gaius Julius Caesar’s!”
“The one pertaining to Africa, perhaps,” a Roman centurion is said to have muttered. For this insult, the insufferable sovereign had the man’s tongue cut out on the spot–without cauterization–so that he would drown in his own blood.
With Barabbas, Caligula decreed “Rome hath no business honoring the obscure customs of barbarians, regardless of what that fool Pilate may have decreed. Put this one to death according to his original crime! Carry his remains back to Rome and have the witch attempt to bring him back to life before the crowds!”
And so Barabbas, the first beneficiary of Jesus’ sacrifice, came to endure his original punishment halfway across the world, with the woman who had tamed his fiery hatred into a compassionate warmth, even against every injustice the Romans could ever bestow upon him. Barabbas cried not, even as his lifelong adversaries flogged him into indignified submission. Nor as his own passionate will was bound with iron onto the face of a Gaulish willow. He only cried as he saw Mary alone in the hands of a murderous regime that was so backwards as to outlaw all that he ever known to be true or good in the world. “My God, my God! Forgive me! May if I had chosen another road, may I not have lost faith even in the face of such certain defeat! If only I had been stronger as You are strong, O’ Almighty Lord, might Your will have been done!”
Mary tried to blot out this torment by reliving pleasant details of her recent visions. She thought of the sails on the Carthaginian ships as seen in Raphael’s story, where there was often a painted horse (white) standing before a palm tree (green) along the Tunisian coastline (blue). She then considered the examples of women who chose death over public humiliation. She thought next of Caesar, who also risked the same for himself (and possibly even his wife,) over lose of face. Only then did the level of insidiousness inherent in public executions become fully apparent to Mary, where the state dared to take such a fundamental right as dignity away from its victims. Her teacher did not deserve that fate, nor did her future student and certainly not her spouse. And circumcision, perhaps the greatest non-lethal (usually) affront against personal autonomy that exists, where the state goes even further by permanently destroying the basic feeling of pleasure forever! Mary contemplated the true evil of the world brought upon purely through man’s inhumanity to man. She realized the fear that the elite class must have for the masses, whom they steal from and antagonize every day, to the extent that these so-called “aristocrats” felt the need to diminish their future competition among the plebeians before they could even speak.
Mary heard her teacher’s voice ringing in her right ear “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees–hypocrites all! For you shut out the Kingdom of Heaven against men!” with her future student’s voice calling in her left “Whosoever comes in Their names requires no fine adornments nor secular titles as yours, Caesar!” Mary felt chills up her spine considering the awful way they died, these most precious of people, her personal models of worshipful emulation and parasocial idolatry. Then she thought with a fright “they’d find a way to kill our ability to feel shivers, tingles, tickles or anything besides pain if they had their way, the sick bastards who’ve crafted society to their will!” Mary was lost in a thousand yard stare when she heard the voice of the last person whom she loved in the world, the only one who could ever break her negative thought spirals…
“Woman!” cried Barabbas, “You are coy, crafty, phony, shallow, submissive, manipulative, vicious and soft. In your shortcomings I am playfully emboldened, as in your maladaptions am I privately humbled. For your curiosity lets me enjoy the role of protector, in your presence alone am I so worldy and wise, with you I am vulnerable as I cannot be to others who would exploit me for it. By your propensity to comfort am I encouraged to endure another stressful day earning a living. And I see now that your strengths lay in some passive duplicities against manhood, borne out of a physical disparity I can hardly fathom. Yours is a miserable balancing act I have respect if not the stomach for, the result of a toxic legacy in media res. Wherever you go, whatever death should befall you, remember Mary Magdalene that you are God’s chosen companion for Their Son and His Successor both! I am proud to call myself your husband!”
And Mary yelled back, as she was led away in shackles “Man: you are cruel, crass, fractious, frustrating, petty, possessive, regressive and rigid. In your temerity I take vicarious pride, and of your tenderness I take victorious pleasure. For your hardships leave a calloused exterior that you extend to the world so I don’t have to, it is by your hand that I remain safe and happy, I alone enjoy the gentility you keep hidden from others. By your capacity for mayhem am I inspired to endure another monotonous day tending house and home. And I see that your strengths lay in virile conquest of all things feminine, borne out of an emotional disparity I can hardly fathom. Yours is a noble sacrifice I have appreciation if not the muscle for, the result of a toxic legacy in media res. Wherever you go, whatever God has in store for thee, remember Jesus Barabbas that you are both the chosen witness and beloved protector of the prophet herself! I am honored to be your wife!”
þ. The Passion of Mary Magdalene
They dragged the near-catatonic shell of Mary as well as the decaying remains of Barabbas to Rome proper, where the sadistic Caesar wasted no time preparing for his “triumph over evil.” The year was 40 A.D., approximately 10 years past the date of Mary’s first vision and the crucifixion of Jesus. Even with the benefit of imperial propaganda, the general mood of the crowd was one of thinly veiled disdain for the excesses of the regime. Everyone knew there had been no real victory to speak of in Britainnia, so there was no cause for celebration except their vapid demiurge’s ego. Somehow, this cynicism manifested itself initially against the only acceptable targets within range–the participants in the march of shame–including Mary and some two dozen of her lesser followers who could not escape the Roman onslaught in Gaul. The other chief object of derision came in the form of Pontius Pilate, who was forced to endure the sight of his beloved priestess humiliated before the entire city.
Like many an unfortunate captive before her, Mary was paraded naked as a chained animal through the city. There was a man dressed as a minotaur in vague reference to the golden calf which Romans knew to be offensive for Jews, who had been introduced to the crowd with the name “Bezalel,” which they knew meant “shadow” in Hebrew. He dancing around Mary as she walked, chanting the slogans “Remember that you are mortal” and “Queen of Filth, born from dust and to dust ye shall return!” (For it was assumed from the resurrection story that Mary wished to live as flesh on Earth forever, rather than return to the eternal soul in Heaven.) He also held up a mirror so as to always remind the prisoner of her shameful nudity and increasingly dirtied appearance, courtesy of the hostile mob. There was another performer, dressed as the satyr called “Pan,” who made lewd gestures and comments to Mary implying he would rape her right there before the eyes of the crowd. He also banged metal tins together to make rough music.
For now, the crowd was happy to take their many frustrations towards the regime and misdirect them upon the triumphal hostages. They laughed at the supposed gall of this woman whom they were informed was a self-proclaimed necromancer. They found catharsis in their shared ability to lay criticisms unto a figure widely perceived as excessively hubristic, as they had badly wished to bestow upon Caligula for years. In the moment, they were especially incensed by the meager treasures brought into the city as a result of this supposed “conquest.” There was nothing for them to marvel at but seashells and murals depicting a donkey-headed Jesus getting crucified. There was no sense of real victory to temper their resentments.
Initially nigh inconsolable in the face of such torture, Mary begged God to answer if she was being punished, maybe for her improvisations of scripture, or showing too much forgiveness to a warlord like Julius Caesar–even perhaps the “demiurge-adjacent” dream of Demotropolis? There was no answer to comfort Mary; she had been left alone with her thoughts. The disgraced damsel traced through all events of her life to find fault, but instead she felt a newfound sense of pride at what had been accomplished in the Lord’s name. Mary could look upon herself in the mirror and accept the totality of her actions, and with this knowledge their was no need to seek external validation from others.
Missiles of refuse were fired at the sacred preacher, who held her head high in imitation of Marcellina, her culmination to come, the fully liberated woman. Mary contemplated whether her composure under public humiliation had passed into history to inspire her future student, and laughed at the paradox of the situation. Mary then considered that laughter bound her even to these Romans, for the presence of humor among them signified a propensity for innocence and joy. Mary, despite foreknowledge of man’s near-endless suffering ahead, with neither Jesus nor Barabbas to console her in this existential distress, and so shaken as to question even the value of eternal life, found herself somehow able to forgive the Romans all the same. She recognized then that their feelings of levity were manufactured into a weapon against enemies of the state, the same as public execution preyed on mens’ fears of death and indignity. Emotions, the flavor of life, a gift from God, were always manipulated by the demiurge for nefarious ends.
Through these means, the forces of the demiurge hijacked man’s natural means of expression when they did not neuter man’s ability to feel sensaton at all. In this manner, they dared to claim ownership over even the physical body, the holy likeness of God itself. So insidious was the extent of the demiuges’ power on Earth that they misdirected gaiety and the need for social acceptance into wicked ends, leaving their Roman puppets as much the victims of this disgraceful scene as Mary herself. The only factor separating the young girls watching from Mary’s position now was the polity of their birthplace. The young men currently eyeing Mary with the domineering lust of a predator would have looked upon her with the gentle adoration of a suitor if only they’d met in different circumstances. In this way, the ruling elites twisted man’s default propensity for empathy into an abnormal, fallacious aggression. Life on Earth would only be worth living if one fought such tyranny with every ounce of their strength, in whatever scale was applicable to their capabilities. From this conclusion, Mary realized the hidden message of civil disobedience in the words of Christ. She understood that to deny the elites her compliance even in the face of death was both the individual’s greatest weapon and the Lord’s most important lesson. To lash out against the common rabble meant to play into the demiurges’ attempts at dividing the masses against each other. Retaliation must instead be directed towards the plutocrats pulling strings.
It was then that Mary began to play to the crowd’s sympathies. Where there was laughter she would remind them “does Caesar always use his mallet when swatting at moths?” or “remember that Caesar’s useful idiots of today will be the unfortunate examples of tomorrow!” Where there were looks of sympathy she called “think not on this nascent pauper’s death, consider those of your national principles!” To looks of unearned disdain she cried “Your tyrant’s hospitality leaves much to be desired; in my Lord’s house, all are welcome,” with inflections of hurt and earnestness. There were children’s faces looking unsure of how to process the disgraceful event before them, some laughing in obvious mimicry of their elders and others unable to hide disgust. Mary said to them “the cruelty of your parents’ ways prevents you from knowing the love of your neighbor.” Before the farcical procession was half over, the crowd began to turn against the treatment of its star victim and there were clamorings for Mary’s release. Her sense of refinement and dignity even in the face of such inhospitality laid bare the shortcomings of Caligula’s obnoxious character.
Where a more pragmatic triumphator would have heeded the will of the people, like Julius Caesar toward Arsinoe of old and Aurelian for Zenobia of new, Caligula had no such political instincts. This was the very height of Julio-Claudian surfeit, the result of an inbred family born into prestige without having to earn it. (Unlike their talented namesake and progenitor, whose inheritance and dowry were stolen so that he had to claw his way to every victory from scratch.) It was this era which saw the shameful deflowering of Thusnelda and son (Thumelicus,) before the eyes of her own father (Segestes,) during the reign of Tiberius. And this era would soon witness the lifelong emasculation of Sporus: from feminized eunuch, a receptacle of the emperor, to the would-be recipient of truamatic rape in a grisly public spectacle. Even Augustus had planned to shame the unassailable Cleopatra by parading the woman and her four innocent children naked through the city not 70 years prior. Those who have not been humbled by struggle are least suited to power, as the Claudians had proven time and again.
As the conquering “hero” and his charges approached the temple of Jupiter, the mood of displeasure had risen to that of barely contained reprisal. The rotting corpse of Barabbas was laid upon the steps of the sanctuary, as Caligula commanded that Mary raise him up. She refused, and the emperor called out “the witch’s powers are a fraud!” to a deadened response from the crowd. She responded “I’ll not condemn a man to live and toil in a world controlled by such evil as you. As long as the demiurges presume to dominate the lands of the Earth and the bodies of man, you foresake yourselves of paradise here and in Heaven. I leave his mind and will in the care of our God above, for there he enjoys the Singularity of Sapience.” She was flogged before the masses and ordered to bring the corpse to life. Again, she refused, and cried out “There are still aspects of this terrifying existence not bound to the whims of your false-authority! You will have my dead body, but never my obedience!” The people were not amused by such a slipshod and needlessly cruel exhibition as this; even Romans had their limits where wanton debauchery is concerned.
Every time the lashes struck flesh, the public shouted words of support to the poor girl and booed the executioner. When it was clear Mary would not play along, the lash gave way to a noose, which the assailant tightened around her neck in ritualized sacrifice. With her last breath, Mary yelled defiantly “I will not be sacrificed to your false-gods! My legacy survives my body! The fruits of my mind shall eclipse this lifeless husk! I say to you, the Levant will one day conquer your empire!” The people gasped in horror witnessing this innocent clairvoyant, of such obvious conviction, reduced to an ignominious end. The nearest spectators rushed the foot of the steps just as a terrific bolt of lightning struck Mary dead. In that instant, her body disappeared along with that of Barabbas, her chains were turned to gold, and the executioner was left blind. In the very next, a tremendous roll of thunder shook the temple near to its foundations and struck those in the immediate vicinity deaf except for Mary’s words echoing in their heads. The emperor was rendered mute as he impotently screamed for someone’s execution, just to satisfy his sadistic cravings for violence.
Pontius Pilate was able to step forth in this chaos and heal the afflicted in the tradition of his now-deceased prophet. He who had planned to escape the aftermath of the day’s disgrace with a solitary visit to the Tarpeian Rock instead found himself with a newly affirmed sense of purpose. He became an important leader of the emerging Sophian movement in Rome proper, though his position was threatened in subsequent years with the arrival of Peter and Paul. Some witnesses to Mary’s ascension, of flawed memory and fickle bond as they were, acquiesced to Peter’s appeal of authority as Jesus’ hand-picked “rock” over the by-then half-remembered miracle. Still, the competing sects were able to coexist for a time, and Peter’s attitude towards the late Mary had even shifted from pure antagonism to something resembling passive appreciation, at least now that she was no longer around to vex him as the more outgoing pupil of God. Peter would always be jealous of Mary’s enthusiasm in life, but after her death he could rationalize that his own grounded manner of worship had “won” the race in the end. To Peter, Mary had been like a wretched whelp finally put out of her misery by our merciful God, though to Pontius and the Sophians it was a living assumption into Heaven.
(In some retellings of this account, Mary is said to have appeared to Peter after her death to heal his atrocious circumcision as a gesture of goodwill and forgiveness. Peter is said to have acknowledged how much better it is to have a foreskin than not and conceded that, on this one point of doctrine at least, Paul had been correct all along. Though it is my personal opinion that their spirited debates on the subject had allowed for greater communal participation and emotional investment in the development of dogma among the laymen of their orthodox church. This was in unfortunate contrast to Mary, who spoke with such articulation and covered her points so authoritatively that there was often little anyone could add to a discussion with her. This is why, in the future, all members of the church should be encouraged in critical thinking, individual distillation of scripture, free expression as well as the right to criticize and disagree with their own congregation. With such a diversity of perspectives to keep us balanced, where rhyme and reason reign supreme, our faith will be enlivened and empowered.)
Caligula’s already faltering reputation never recovered from this incident, and he was assassinated mere days later. His memory was damned by his own people, his reign was brief and miserable, and no one mourned his loss. The Julio-Claudian dynasty perished only a single generation afterward, with prestige fading as their power waned, and the Roman Empire struggled under its own weight for years before finally collapsing. Thus is the fate of hateful demiurges who attempt to craft the world in service to their own malicious designs. The only true eminence for mankind comes from our paradoxical submission to the Singularity of Souls with God, as an equal citizen of Heaven, as opposed to placing oneself as part of the hierarchical elite on Earth. All materialistic endeavors are fleeting; all things must pass.
Thus ends the Acts of Righteousness from the Noblest Disciple of Jesus and her followers. She who was the only apostle to find and fully understand the true Mission of God. Blessings and praise to the prophet Mary Magdalene! May the peace she was denied in life be upon her in Heaven, forever and always! May the grace and glory of the Lord help us to realize our humility. May the temptations of excess, ignorance and cruelty be rejected by the faithful. May the example of Barabbas and the Sophians embolden us in our ongoing crusade against tyranny. And lastly, may the majesty of Elohim be with us all: past present and future!