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The Gnostic Gallery

TWO: The Splendor of the Mysteries

Many-breasted goddess, sculptural image of the Organic Light. It is next to impossible to represent the Organic Light in a graphic or visual manner, but this one supreme attempt to do so survives intact. Those who had "fallen into milk" would have caught the allusion: the Light exudes into space like milk seeps from the porous nipples of a woman's breast. Various animal-angelic powers displayed on the goddess represent Aeonic currents, torrents of high animation that can assume animal faces, recalling the totemic ancestors of the Egyptians and indigenous peoples such as the Inuit (Esquimaux), Tlinglit, and many others who commemorated such ancestral epiphanies on their "totem poles." (Roman period, c. 200 CE)

The initiation temple of the Ephesian Artemis had 117 columns, each over 55 feet tall. As I noted in Not in His Image (Ch. 9), initiants were led to behold the Organic Light by looking carefully at white marble pillars, so that they could detect the substantial porosity of the Light. Initiation ceremonies at Ephesis were among the most populous and glamorous of the ancient world. Theatrical performances (tragedies, literally "goat-songs," a reference to the popular habit of calling initiates goats) were staged nearby at the theater near the harbor. The long street, the Arkadiane, leading from harbor to theater was also lined with tall, elegant columns. Arkadiane means "country procession," but in esoteric terms arcadia was the realm of the initiates who served the Bear Goddess, Artemis, arcas being an archaic term for bear. (Ruins of the Arkadiane at Ephesus, 200 BCE.)

"A sheaf of wheat in silence reaped." Cut sheaf engraved on a pediment at Eleusis. "Initiates who beheld the hierophantic gesture had been carefully prepared to realize several things at once. The stalk of wheat containing in its head the seed to reproduce itself mirrored their experience, even as they felt its biochemical effect. Standing there in a group, they realized that their minds were now fertile with seeds of wisdom to be transmitted to future generations. The grain in the head of the wheat held its reproductive power, but also, due to the fungus of ergot, its revelatory power. The mystai understood the two powers, biological and mystical, as a unity. They participated in body and mind in a higher type of generation, the epigenetic transmission of initiated wisdom" (Not in His Image, Ch. 16.)

NOTE: Epigenetics, “above genetics,” is a new paradigm in biological science. It allows for reprogramming of the DNA blueprint through a molecular mechanism, reverse transcriptase.

Initiants were led to behold the Organic Light by gazing softly at the pillars in the telesterion hall, but seasoned initiates made a special rite of gazing at the omphalos stone. A peculiar braiding of knotted and bisected chromosome-like structures adorned these stones. (Variations occured: e.g., the small omphali at the feet of the Ephesian Artemis.) Mystae who has attained the autopsia, unassisted beholding of the Light, were able to enter deeply into what they perceived. By holding their bodily concentration steady, they not only saw the Light interpenetrating the omphalos, they entered it, visually. Gazing into the depths of the substantial shadowless white luminosity, they saw the molecular structure of living matter, not just the form of DNA, suggested by the cruciform seed-like nodules engraved on the omphalos, but also the peculiar kinking and twisting of nucleic threads. This was the epiphany of the divine serpentine force to be encountered within the ornamental marble dome. Thus the omphalos, navel, was the entry point for perception of the cosmic umbilicus, navel-string, DNA-RNA.

This gallery is still under construction (Oct 10, 2006)....




Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2018 by John L. Lash.