And having danced these things with us, Beloved, the Lord went forth. And we, as though beside ourselves, or wakened out of [deep sleep, fled each our several ways. To me it seems almost certain, as I argued in the first edition of Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, in , that this Hymn is no hymn, but a mystery-ritual and perhaps the earliest Christian ritual of which we have any trace.
In a number of passages the Disciples are bidden to "surround" that is, join hands round the Master at certain praise-givings and invocations of the Father, who is addressed as: The "Second Book of Ieou" ends with a long praise-giving, in the inner spaces; for these highly mystical treatises dead with the instruction of the Disciples by the Master out of the body.
This praise-giving begins as follows Carl Schmidt, Gnost. Codex Brucianus --Leipzig, pp. And He began to sing a hymn, praising His Father, and saying: As far as I can discover from the most recent works of reference, "Amen" is considered by scholars to be a pure Hebrew word. It is said to have been originally an adjective signifying "stability," "firmness," "certainty," which subsequently became an interjection, used first of all in conversation, and then restricted to the most solemn form of asseveration; as, for instance, in oaths, and, in the temple ritual, in the responses of the congregation to the doxologies and solemn utterances of the priests and readers.
We are told that in the great synagogue at Alexandria, at the conclusion of the reader's doxology, the attendant signalled with a flag for the congregation to respond Amen. This use of this sacred utterance was taken over by the Christian churches; so that we find Jerome writing: It is well know that Hebrew and Aramaic are exceedingly rich in loan-words from other languages.
The G. R. S. Mead Collection
I have, however, never seen it yet suggested that Amen may be a loan-word. I would now, with all submission to Hebraist specialists, make this suggestion, for Plutarch in his treatise On Isis and Osiris writes ix. We thus learn that in Egypt Amen was a "word of power," indeed the chief "word of power" in general theurgic use. We cannot suppose that Hecataeus, in his History of Egypt, intended us to understand that the Egyptians shouted it after one another in the street.
The sacred dancing was common to all great mystery-ceremonies. Here it will be sufficient to quote from what Philo of Alexandria, in the first quarter of our era, tells us, in his famous treatise On the Contemplative Life, about the sacred dances of the Therapeuts or "Servants of God. And this is how it is kept:. And a leader is chosen for each, the conductor whose reputation is greatest and the one most suitable for the post. The ideas are of the most beautiful, the expressions of the most beautiful, and the dancers reverent; while the goal of the ideas, expressions, and dancers is piety.
And now we will turn to the text of our Hymn, which pertains to a still higher mystery, first of all dealing with the introductory words of the writer of the Acts. The "lawless Jews" refers to those who are "under the law of the lawless Serpent"; that is to say, those who are under the sway of Generation as contrasted with those who are under the law of Regeneration, of carnal birth as opposed to spiritual birth; or again, of the Lesser as contrasted with the Greater Mysteries.
The regenerated or perfect man, the man of. The order of the triple praise-giving is then reversed: And finally there is a trinity in unity, Praise being given to the Father as Light; the same as the oft-recurring invocation in the Coptic Gnostic works: The doxology being ended, we come to a striking series of double clauses or antitheses.
I at once submit that these were not originally intended to be uttered. Nor were they addressed to the Disciples; there was some single person for whom the whole was intended, and to whom much of it is addressed.
If, then, we have before us not a hymn, but the remains of a mystery-ritual, there must have been two people in the circle. One of them was the Master, the Initiator. Who was the other? Manifestly, the one to be initiated. Now the ultimate end of all Gnosis was the at-one-ment or union of the little man with the Great Man, of the human soul with the Divine Soul.
In the great Wisdom-myth, the human soul was regarded as the "lost sheep," the erring and suffering Sophia fallen into generation, from which she was saved by the Christ, her true Lord and Spouse. On the side of the Great Descent we have the most wonderful attempts made by the Gnostics to pierce the veil of the. On the way of the Great Ascent or Return, the Gnosis attempted to raise the veil of the mysteries of soteriology, or of the rescue of the separated human soul, and its restoration to the Bosom of the Divine.
This was called the "enformation according to gnosis"--that is, Self-consciousness. The duologue is therefore carried on by those who are acting out the mystery of the Sophia and the Christ; through we should never forget that they are in reality or essentially one and the same Person,the lower and higher self in the Presence of the Great Self.
The twelve disciples are the representatives of the powers of the Master, sent forth apostles into the outer worlds, corresponding with the Great Twelve of the Presence,the Twelve Above; and they dance to the dancing or cosmic motions of the Twelve, even as the candidate, or neophyte, the Sophia below, dances to the cosmic motion of the Charis or Grace or Sophia Above. And if this rite be duly consummated, the Presence that enwraps the doers of the mystery is Divine. How the seers of the Gnosis conceived this marvel of the Godhead may perhaps be seized dimly in the following passages from the "Untitled Apocalypse" of the Bruce Codex F.
Face, desiring to know it; for His Word has gone forth into them, and they long to see Him. And as to the consummation of at-one-ment and the state of him who makes joyful surrender of himself unto the Powers, "and thus becoming Powers he. All this is doubtless "foolishness" to many but is Light and Life and Wisdom for some few, who would strive towards becoming the Many in One, and One in Many. But to the somewhat lesser mysteries of our ritual.
All the terms must, I think, be interpreted as mystery-words; they contained for the Gnostics a wealth of meaning, which differed for each according to his understanding and experience. If, then, I venture on any suggestions of meaning, it should be understood that they are but tentative and ephemeral, and as it were only rough notes in pencil in the margin that may be rubbed out and emended by every one according to his knowledge and preference. The soul is being swirled about in the Ocean of Genesis, in the Spheres of Fate.
She prays for safety, for that state of stability which is attained when the worlds of swirl in the Magna Vorago, or Great Whirlpool, to use a term of the Orphic tradition, are transcended, by means of at-one-ment with the Great Stability, the Logos--"He who stands, has stood and will stand," as the Simonian Great Announcement calls Him. In its beginnings this safety expresses neither motion nor stability, but a ceasing from agitation; the mind or anxiety is no longer within the movement, the Procession of Fate. The tempest-tossed self cries out to be drawn apart from the swirl; while the other self that is not in the swirl would like to enter.
The self within, or subject to, the "downward" elements has to unite with the self of the "upward" elements in order to be saved from the swirling of the passions; while the "higher" self has to be drawn into the "lower," so to say, and unite with it, in order to be "saved" from the incapacity of self-expression. That is, loosed from the bonds of Fate and Genesis.
In some of the rites the candidate was bound with a rope. In Egypt he rope symbolized a serpent, the Typhonic "loud-breathing serpent" of the passions, as the "Hymn of the Soul" of Bardaisan calls it F. Or "I would be pierced. This interpretation is borne out by the alternative reading from a Latin translation, which may have originated in a gloss by one who knew the mystery, for he writes: And so we continue with the mysteries of this truly "Sacred Marriage," or "Spiritual Union," as it was called.
This is the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception, or Self-birth. By "eating," food and eater become one. The soul desires to "eat" the Life.
So it is that men can become part of the Cosmos through right action. But to reach this consummation we must no longer long to live and act our little life, but rather to be, if one may so phrase it, in our turn "eaten"; that is to say, to have our own self-will eaten out of us. And then our fate or life or activity becomes part of the Great Records, and the man becomes a Living Oracle or Drama, a Christ. All Life then becomes a happening with meaning; but this can never be until the man surrenders his self-will and becomes one with the Great Will.
This "eating" signifies a very intimate kind of union, in which the life of a man becomes part of a Great Life. Hearing is much more cosmic or "greater" than seeing, as we learn later on from our fragment, in the Vision of the Cross, where John "sees the Lord Himself above the Cross, not having any shape, but only a voice. To see there must be form, even if the form is only an idea.
Hymn of Jesus: Echoes from the Gnosis by G.R.S. Mead
Again, hearing may be said to be the verb of action when power is being conveyed to a person; while seeing is the verb of action of that person after receiving the power. It is by means of this stability of the true mind that consciousness is enabled to link on the happenings in the whirling spheres, or whorls, of Fate to the Great Things or Things-that-are, and so perceive greater soul-records in phenomena. The last clause is evidently a gloss, but by a knowing scribe. The Logos is the true Understanding or Mind Nous. It may mean simply "I would be purified. In the text this has the next sentence run on to it; but I am myself inclined to think that it is a note or a rubric rather.
Hitherto there had been the circle-dance, the "going round in a ring," which enclosed the mystery-drama, and the chanting of the sacred word. She "leads the dance"; that is to say, the actors begin to act according to the great cosmic movements. Curiously enough, later on in our fragment the Logos is called "Wisdom in harmony. The Greek word for "dance" in the sentence "dance ye all" is different from that in the phrase "leadeth the dance. The Greek drama, I hold, arose from the Mysteries. It is hardly necessary here to remind the reader of the Gospel-saying taken by the first Matth.
Is it possible that there was an inner tradition of a scripture in which this Saying stood in the first person singular?
Hymn of Jesus: Echoes from the Gnosis
I think I have made out a presumption in my analysis of the Naassene Document T. In any case, I would suggest that for the Gnostic there was an under-meaning, and that it is here in our Hymn expressed for us though still mystically hidden. The higher quaternion, or tetrad, as the Gnostic Marcus would have phrased it, of joy is to blend with the lower tetrad of sorrow; and both together are to form an octave, whereby the man is raised from his littleness into the Greatness; that is to say, he can now respond to cosmic music.
Therefore what was apparently originally a rubric "The one Eight" etc. The Ogdoad or Eight in music the full Octave , "sounds with us"; that is, we are now beginning to dance to the Music of the Spheres. And this being so, the sense of the initiated soul may be said to become cosmic, for it begins to vibrate with, or. Or, to speculate more daringly; the indications seem to denote a belief that at this stage in the rite there was present the Presence of Masterhood; and this would mean for the aspirant--as is so nobly set forth in the Trismegistic "Secret Sermon on the Mount," which might very well be called "The Initiation of Tat"--that he passes out of himself to greater things.
And so his "twelve disciples," as it were, begin to dance above him or outside him; for the real disciples or apostles of a new-born Christ are not the things he has been taught on earth as man, but powers raying forth from the true Person into still greater regions. It is not easy to conjecture the meaning of the phrase "all whose nature is to dance doth dance," for the text is so faulty that we cannot be certain of a correct version.
If, however, this be the right rendering, then I would suggest that the "all" is the cosmic order; and that now all is made ready, and spiritual communion has ben established between the church, or circle below, and the Church Above, who again is the Supernal Sophia. The soul must dance, or be active in a corresponding way, with the Great Dance, in order to know, or attain true Gnosis. Knowledge of the Great World can only be attained when the man has abandoned his self-will and acts in harmony with the Great Happenings.
This reminds us of the Saying in the Fourth Gospel vii. It may be that here the new-born is in fear; the new motions of the Great Passions are too great for him. Or, again, it may signify the necessity of balance, or equilibrium; the soul feels itself swept away into the infinitudes, and is held back by the greater power of the Master--the that in him which alone is stable; these two are then the centrifugal and centripetal powers.
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It may also mean "clothed in fit garments"; that is, the soul prays that his little cosmos, which has previously been awry or out of order, may be made like unto the Great Order, and so he may be clad in "glories" or "robes of glory" or "power" like unto the Great Glories of the Heavenly Spheres. We now approach the mystery of union, when the soul abandons with joy its separateness, and frees itself from the limitations of its "possession"--of that which is "mine" as apart from the rest. And so we have the triple declaration as to the loss of "dwelling," "place" and "temple" the very "shrine" of the soul , and the assurance of the gain of all"dwellings," "places" and "temples.
Then follow the comfortable words that the Christ, the Logos, is the Lamp, the Mirror, the Door and the Way for the human soul; the Divine Soul is all things for the beloved. In the worlds of darkness and uncertainty Christ is the Lamp, whom we must follow, for He leads us along the Way. For those who can perceive the Christ-essence in all, this Christ-essence is a Mirror reflecting the great truths of the higher worlds. There is one means alone of passing through the Wall of Separation between the Higher and the Lower, and that is Christ the Mediator. Again, Christ the Logos is the Way.
He is our Path to God, both on the Light-side of things and on the Substance-side; either as a Lamp, or that for which the pure mind looks, or a Way, that on which the feet walk. In either case the Christ is that which leads to God. The ceremony again changes with the words: All now may be believed to be taking place within the Master-Presence. Union of substance has been attained, but not yet union of consciousness. Before that final mystery can be consummated,the knowledge of the Passion of Man, that is of the Great Passion or perpetual experience of the Great Act, must be achieved.
Hereupon in the lower rite, the mystery-drama, the Passion of Man, must have been shown. What it may have been is not easy to conjecture; it must, however, have been something of a most distressing nature, for the neophyte is moved or shaken completely--that is to say,unnerved. He had not the strength of perfect faith in the Power of the Master; for, presumably, he saw that very Master dismembered before his eyes, or becoming many from one, or in some way done to death. After the Passion-drama or Passion-vision comes the instruction; for in such rites--such passions or experiences for the sake of knowing--there must be.
This knowledge is given by the Master Himself, the Logos in man: Wherefore it needs must be the lover should first behold the Beloved suffering. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
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Please try again later. I truly appreciate the works of this author. I have many of his works. Delivery service was prompt as well. One person found this helpful. The edition of this work which I have was published in ; clearly I considered it to be a book worth keeping and rereading. The original printing was in a fact that is evident in the introduction and notes. The discovery of significantly more Gnostic texts and an additional century of research has modified the common view and resolved some of the academic debates reflected in the introduction.
His notes have aged better than the introduction; they are a fount of information - an extensive exploration of the meaning and pronunciation of 'Amen' is information I wish appeared more often in liturgical or biblical commentaries. The core of the book, however, is a ritual poem 'The Hymn of Jesus'. Mead unobtrustively slips information often relegated to footnotes into the text The hymn reads smoothly and the rhythm of a ritual circle dance is clear.
While this hymn is clearly Gnostic in origin, it could easily be adapted to contemporary ritual - I'm thinking of the various attempts to create new ritual for women's groups. Mead would be very unhappy with me for this suggestion. The hymn also provides significant insight into the thinking of early Christians - Gnostic and otherwise.
As such it is great reading for a wide variety of interests. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. The Hymn of Jesus: