Christianity today is a democratic institution.
The Christian baptism is for all, the Christian body of doctrine is for all,
laity and priesthood alike. The lowliest member can be assured that no arcana
exist in the Christian faith, no occult secrets to which he is forbidden, no
hidden cabal to which he is denied access; all is open to the light of day.
Comfortingly, his religion is a perfect expression of Western egalitarianism,
Western democracy – to which indeed it is the time-honoured parent. But is time
incubating a revolution in this ideological Eden?
In a rural area of England a group of charismatic
Anglican communicants have for the past thirty or so years been quietly
effecting a revival of the three-tiered power structure of the first Gnostic
Christian communities. It was a ranking system consisting of laity, priests and
prophets, three categories once known as hylics (the laity), psychics and
Today the members of this very private Anglican group have in effect constituted
themselves, with ecclesiastical consent, the top rung of a distinctly elitist
ladder of spiritual rank formed along ancient lines. They are prophets, or
pneumatics, the highest grade below that of the divine king, Jesus Christ
The members of this group are recruited only by
invitation and initiation. Priests, be they archbishops or even higher, are not
permitted entrance to their meetings; as healers, clairvoyants, exorcists and
psychospiritual counsellors, women take leading parts equally with the men in
their ritual proceedings and affairs. Services culminate in a social mingling
devoted to spirited philosophic and metaphysical debate. There is no authority
in charge; the members in turn officiate at the meetings, which are never made
public and are held in separate premises from the church. Released from the
shackles of ecclesiastical dogma, the climate is one of extraordinary zest,
creativity and personal liberty – liberty of both spirit and intellect.
These people regard themselves as constituting a very
undemocratic Christian brotherhood: an elite, a prophetic elite that stands
above and apart from the priesthood, even though it practices a wholesale
democracy in its internal affairs and relinquishes all governing status in
service to those below it. The basis of this radical return to the political
structure of early Gnostic Christianity, unfamiliar to most Christians today, is
initiation, a process of transformation of consciousness whereby every Christian
prepared to undergo the necessary study and purification can ascend by a number
of stages the entire ranking system up to prophethood.
In 1946 the Gnostic Gospel of Philip, thought to have
been written in the late first century, was discovered among the Nag Hammadi
codices and became a radical new source of insight into primitive Christianity
and its triune hieratic structure. After nineteen centuries of suppression, the
Gospel discloses that originally there were five ascending degrees of Christian
initiation. The Lord, said Philip,
has done everything in a Mystery, a baptism and an
anointing [a chrism], and a eucharist and a redemption and a
marriage-chamber. (Philip 68).
The prophetic rank was associated with the sacrament
of chrism. This was a preliminary anointing with oil on the forehead known as
baptism by fire, but requiring the final sacraments of redemption and the
bridechamber for a complete rebirth in Christ. The mysterious fire of the spirit
associated with chrism and with spiritual light was prefigured in the
Pentecostal visitation of the Paraclete after Christ’s resurrection, a theophany
in which tongues of fire alighted on the heads of those present, bestowing on
them the supernatural gifts of the spirit.
Soul and spirit are constituted of water and fire…
Fire is chrism, light is fire – I do not mean worldly fire, which has no
form, but another kind of fire, whose appearance is white, which is
beautifully luminous, and which bestows beauty. (Philip 58)
Chrism is today a ritual that is, relatively speaking,
little more than a formality. But when Gnosticism was suppressed around the
third century CE so was the sacrament’s true meaning as an initiation that opens
the third eye in the forehead, so bestowing the many psychospiritual gifts of
the spirit; clairvoyance and clairaudience, telepathy and healing powers as well
as wisdom, spiritual knowledge and preternatural sagacity. These gifts were once
what distinguished the prophet from the priest, whose office was of a lower
administrative order, concerned primarily with ecclesiastical law, liturgy and
ritual. Chrism’s central importance in Gnosticism as an initiation of Higher
Mind is revealed when we understand the Christological meaning the Qabalah gives
to the quality of beauty, which stands at the central Christ station on the
Qabalistic Tree of Life and is a primary attribute of the Christ. When the
Gospel of Philip speaks of chrism bestowing beauty, he is therefore conveying
“to those with ears to hear” its power to achieve a cognitive union with the
There has been much controversy over how and when
these Gnostic teachings came about which so incensed the heresiologists of the
young Church, but a very good case exists for them having been derived from the
beginning from the Mandaeans, a Gnostic sect contemporaneous with that of the
infant Jesus movement. Although this is strongly disputed in many quarters, the
renowned Scandinavian scholar Geo Widengren argues convincingly that the
second-century Mandaean records are probably a reliable index of the past.
The Mandaeans still exist in the Middle East and have recently migrated to
America. Once known as Nazareans, they claim that both Jesus and John the
Baptist were prophets initiated into their ancient organization. To this day the
sect’s initiatory structure is triune, consisting of the laity (mandayi),
then the cult priests (tarmidi) and finally, at the apex of the three
grades, the prophets or magi (nasoraiyi), the high rank to which both
Jesus and John were reputed to belong. (Dr. Kurt Rudolph, a noted German
scholar, says that the Mandaeans on all occasions telescoped the first three
sacraments into one, so that there were essentially but three sacraments
corresponding to the three levels of rank. This arrangement may also have
prevailed in early Christianity.) Although he defected from their sect, Jesus
was therefore a Nasurai – that is, a Nazarean prophet, say the Mandaeans.
The early Christians identified Jesus with the prophet
Enoch. And according to the testimony of Clement of Alexandria, the sect of
Ebionites taught that Jesus, a human being like any other, was a prophet on whom
the Christ Spirit, an Archangelic being of the highest hierarchy of Angels,
descended at the time of Jesus’ baptism, anointing him a Son of God. The
Ebionites believed in reincarnation and revered Jesus as the legendary True
Prophet, an incarnation of the ancient Iranian prophet Zarathustra. It was only
in Zarathustra’s final embodiment as Jesus the Hebrew, so these sectarians
believed, that the great seer received the full revelation of the Divine.
Since the creation of the world, the True Prophet
hastens through the centuries, changing his name and form of appearance. He
incarnates himself again and again… Jesus is the true incarnation of this
According to this belief, Jesus was thus empowered to
initiate his inner circle into a high state of consciousness similar to his own.
Through a secret baptismal initiation they too became prophets. It was through
such men that a tradition of self-knowledge and internalising of moral authority
was seeded in the young Christian movement; they became a force for personal
freedom of thought and conscience that neutralized to a degree the heavy
legalism of the clergy. Indeed, for the first time, Christian prophets
declared, an initiation existed that was independent of any outer authority,
enabling a direct personal connection to be made with the divine throne, one
that was energetically potent enough to tap the psychospiritual resources of
love and wisdom that poured forth from the divine monarch, Jesus Christ himself.
Above all, these neo-prophets encouraged the development of the Higher Mind by
the exercise of creative, independent thought, thus liberating a sense of
autonomous selfhood among Christians unknown to the general mill of the Roman
The physicist Amit Goswani offers a definition of Higher
Mind when he speaks of a “supramental intellect” or “theme
body”, a body of archetypal themes that shape and unify the movements of the
lower physical, vital and mental bodies
- in other words, it correlates with the “causal body” of the classical Hindu
lexicon. This supramental or intuitive intellect was the distinguishing feature
of the Gnostic prophets, conferring on them the power to illumine consciousness
in such a way as to manifest the love, wisdom and clairvoyant “gifts of the
spirit” that are now so signally absent from mainstream Christianity.
The leading lights within the Anglican group of which I
am now speaking have won such cognitive gifts in abundance. They can rightfully
be called sages or prophets. They have no governing function in the church, but
work solely in conjunction with the ecclesiastical taskforce on the next lower
rung, placing their formidable charismatic gifts at the service of the parish
priests’ pastoral work.
I have witnessed their participation in an exorcism
and have been amazed at the quiet skill and assurance with which three of these
people, working together, controlled the successful course of the healing. Here
one finds none of the emotionalism that characterizes nearly all the Christian
evangelical and charismatic sects: in the work of the spirit these Anglican
initiates are true professionals, working at a level beyond that of the
emotions. A similar but even more radical experiment is underway in the Reformed
Lutheran church in Java, and there may well be other such cases of quiet
revision to be found in the Christian world. In Indonesia, a Javanese bishop
known for his ecumenical activities has been permitted to retain his initiate
connection with a mystical Javanese school with a Hindu-Buddhist background,
thus enabling him to bring to the Church the clairvoyant powers that still
flourish in the Javanese non-Christian schools. It is one example of the
tolerance that may be slowly developing in the Church abroad for other religions
– a tolerance that was once the special mark of the prophets.
Can this return to the ranking system of early Gnostic
Christianity, covert though it is at present, be a sign of things to come? Can
it be one of the first harbingers of a revolution that will affect the
egalitarian standing not merely of the Christian Church but of the
sociopolitical world beyond it? The hierarchical or prophetic ideal has lived on
in the underground occult schools, and today it shows many signs of a
renaissance in the growing New Age movements constellating around the cult of
the Nine Unknowns. Mysterious in outline, secretive in propogation, the
theocratic paradigm proposed by the Nine has evolutionary law behind it, but is
generally very little understood, even by its most ardent proponents.
It has often been remarked, and with good reason, that
beyond the sixth century BCE the religious past is almost a closed book. Up
until that fateful century, the masses, the ordinary people everywhere on earth,
possessed no organized religion that we would recognize as such. They had only a
simple moral code and an annual round of agricultural festivals, the meaning of
which was mythically expressed in terms of gods and goddesses of the natural
elements. True religion, wrapped in secrecy, was a spiritual privilege confined
to the upper classes of temple and court, since its pursuit was understood to
demand a high degree of educated intelligence as well as moral integrity.
Secrecy was maintained because religion at that time bestowed great psychic
powers on those who pursued it, and those powers were always in danger of being
abused in the hands of the ignorant masses. To a great degree that secrecy has
continued to the present day, as we shall see.
Beyond the fact that privileged religion was basically
a practical science involving a wealth of natural and sacred knowledge, and was
constituted of three ascending ranks, that of priest, prophet and divine king –
or four ranks if we include the common folk at the bottom - we still know very
little about it before the sixth century BCE. Our religious history really
begins after that with the advent of the popular religions that arose outside of
the temples, a revolution that brought Zoroastrianism to Persia, Reformed
Judaism to Judaea, Brahminism and Hinayana Buddhism to India, Confucianism to
China and probably Shinto to Japan, opening up a new ceremonial religious world
attuned to the common people. Christianity and Islam, which appeared later,
belonged of course to this popular category. The teachings and practices that
evolved in this simplified and legalistic type of religion, centered as it was
on a list of moral proscriptions, Hammurabi’s Commandments, are really all we
know with any clarity about our spiritual past.
Nevertheless, a pattern is emerging from the shadows
that veil the Bronze age and even earlier eras from the gaze of historians. It
is a pattern throughout the world of a steady deterioration of the theocratic
paradigm that once prevailed throughout human society. From Neolithic times and
from the top down, the baton of socio-political dominance has passed inexorably
from one rank to the next until we arrive at the theoretically classless
democracy of today. And this caste-free condition does not apply only to the
Western world. To a greater or lesser degree, the living hierarchic tradition in
its entirety is not to be found in any of the world religions or major political
We have learned from the ancient Egyptian Pyramid
texts, believed to be the oldest religious texts in the world, that in times
long gone, when the legendary Horus-kings reigned over pre-dynastic Egypt, the
divine initiate-king was the absolute centre of authority and power in the
state; every rank, including the prophets, bowed to his wisdom and his
numinosity. And they did so because in the primordial beginnings of time the
king was seen as literally a god or a Son of a God sent to earth to reign as the
proxy of the Supreme Deity. He was literally Rex Mundi, King or God of this
It was essentially a unifying vision. The rancorous
distinctions between different religions and their different divine rulers –
Christ for Christianity, Allah for Islam, Yahweh for Judaism and so on – did not
then exist; such distinctions belong to our modern thought world. Only one
religion operated across most of the earth, whatever temple celebrated it. The
divine King might have different names and even promulgate different laws and
doctrines in different localities, but in the unified imaginative consciousness
of early peoples divinity was identified with a great celestial body such as the
constellation Draco, the polar deity, or later the Sun deity, and was therefore
always One, and His Sons were always One.
Below the divine king were the high initiates who
mediated his sciences and philosophy to the priestly class below them, while the
priests administered these in more ritualistic ways to the fourth or lowest
class. The prophets also applied the sacred knowledge they received from the
holy Source in all the arts and sciences that furthered civilization, and
constituted a more or less single brotherhood across the earth. No matter where
a prophet operated, he could be in touch, telepathically or literally, with his
brothers in other lands, thus tending to foster universal peace.
But in times beyond our direct recall – times we
regard as mythic, possibly as early as 11,000 BCE, which the Egyptians called
the First Time, “thousands of years before the generally accepted genesis of
- this direct flow of power from the top downward began a process of devolution.
Although the Horus kings were mortal, hawk-headed Horus himself is credited with
being one of the oldest gods of Egypt, older even than the Great Ennead, a
Neolithic prince, the Son of the great god Atum. Horus was identified with the
Sun god Re and regarded as the Lord of this natural world even as his father
Atum was the Lord of the divine realm.
Shamanic in nature, Horus’s divine rule was followed, however, by a lower, more
ceremonial one, that of the nine Great Ennead. This pantheon, composed of five
gods and four goddesses, was followed by a Lesser Ennead, and then a lesser
lineage still of demi-gods - that of the Divine Souls, the Shemsu-hor,
and finally by the fully mortal Horus-kings who reigned from Heliopolis from
about 3,100 BCE. Thus the gradual decline in quality, from purely divine to
purely mortal, began many millennia before Egyptian history officially began.
The acclaimed author and historical researcher, Andrew Collins. believes the
beginning of the decline can be traced back to the Neolithic era.
Later still, in the carved iconography of the Old
Kingdom the serpent emergent from the king’s forehead tells us that baptism by
the fire of Higher Mind was still alive and well and at one time authorized the
crown to rule over the nation in absolute sovereignty. However, temple annals
reveal that during the New Kingdom many centuries later the prophets of Thebes,
centre of the worship of the god Amun, gained enormous power at the expense of
the crown. They took over all state affairs and the rituals of kingship, and the
Heliopolitan king became little more than a figurehead.
The monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaton, who ascended to
the throne around 1367 BCE, struggled to reverse this trend and win back the
original divine puissance of the monarchy, but his failure to do so is a telling
reminder of the steady downward thrust of religious power towards the end of the
Bronze age. Akhenaton’s reign in his new city of Armana as a genuinely divine
priest-king, as once the Horus-kings had been, lasted only fourteen years, after
which he was ruthlessly excised from history at the hands of the mighty prophets
Thereafter, his royal successors were reduced to figureheads again under the
sages they had once ruled. This same process was happening all over the world;
and with the onset of the next epoch, the Iron age, we see a further devaluation
of religious authority – and of the serpent power that symbolized it.
With the opening of the sixth century BCE, a bitter
power-struggle arises in the Solar temples everywhere between the prophets, now
strongly entrenched in their acquired power, and the priestly rank below them.
It is a time of enormous turmoil, with warring factions created in society by a
newly emerging people’s power. With the rise of popular religion, moral issues
become central for the first time. For the priests and their countless peasant
charges spiritual knowledge is unimportant, the primordial Gnosis is sidelined;
the conquest of good over evil is the main religious criterion and the primary
concern of the faithful.
Thus in India the legalistic Brahmin priests succeed
in supplanting the asmanas, the superior prophetic caste whose members
flee into the Himalayas to become the Forest Sages of the Upanishads. In Persia
the Zervanite prophets are likewise demoted and the moral struggle is defined by
priests in terms of the Good God Ahura Mazdao as opposed to the evil Ahriman,
the Spirit of the Lie; and in Judaea the Levitical priesthood also seizes power
from the rank above, establishing a dualistic theology modelled on
Zoroastrianism and its abiding moral warfare.
The Levites disavow the ancient Judaic mysteries based on the Egyptian religion
and exile the Zadokite prophets to the Syrian and Damascene wildernesses,
forbidding them under pain of death to teach under the name of any prophet later
At the same time the serpent, once kundalini’s potent symbol of wisdom and
sovereignty, becomes in the new dispensation in Jerusalem the outright enemy of
God and is seen no more as the sacred symbol of Higher Mind.
Today, the last act in this great devolutionary drama
is being played out as the secular Western world seeks to dethrone and
emasculate the last vestiges of religious power, now concentrated in priesthood.
The initiate-king has gone, the prophet has gone; their ancient reign has been
forgotten. Now the priest is the final target in a campaign against religion
itself, led by a growing number of sceptical scientists and philosophers like
the renowned atheist Professor Richard Dawkins.
The democracy of the masses has finally triumphed; like all our “elites”,
priests are a threatened species. The Church, whose sole concern for many
centuries has been to police the morals of its flock, is in steep decline, its
authority eroded in the politics of secular majority rule.
It might be objected that religious fundamentalism is
actually on the rise, but fundamentalism is essentially a phenomenon of the
people, heavily laden with home-made dogmas and frequently led by lay preachers
rather than ordained priests. It is par excellence the ultimate symptom
of democracy run riot, of rule by those on the last rung left on the
hierarchical ladder. The overall picture, even in the more traditional
countries, is one of deep religious malaise in a populace that is turning away
from the faith institutions at a very decisive level indeed in favour of the
autonomy of each individual for himself.
With a high standard of education up to the tertiary
level now available to all, and with the physical sciences in the ascendancy,
the Western mass-mind has in a sense come to maturity. It is its own priest. It
prizes its independent judgment, its capacity to form its own value systems and
standards of behaviour, its own version of spirituality. It has achieved a sense
of selfhood. And this autonomous condition, which is true today of all the
populations of earth to a greater or lesser degree, is precisely the condition
that once distinguished the privileged few in the temples and royal courts from
the peasantry in the fields. We are probably seeing the end of a devolutionary
process in which, for the first time in human history, the entire human species
has become qualified, however untutored as yet, to enter the privileged
spiritual stream once accessible only to a small fraction of the population.
Whether we are therefore at the turning point in a great cycle due to ascend
once more to its beginning in another era of divine kingship, as the cult of the
Nine suggests, is a possibility only, yet one that cannot be ignored.
As the great Western democratic ideal inherited from
ancient Greece finds itself increasingly embattled today by forces of erosion –
the whittling away of civil liberties and rights by laws against terrorism, the
rising political power of nations which are not and never have been democratic,
the imperialistic ambitions of global corporations – the whole controversial
issue of government either by democratic principles or by a ruling hierarchy is
beginning to loom on the horizon. Perhaps as yet no bigger than a man’s hand,
this cloud is nevertheless destined to darken the terminal struggles of Western
civilization as we know it today and to overshadow for good or ill its shaping
in the days to come.
In our two-tiered society the cult of democratic rule
has attained the sanctity of a religion. Yet ever since Plato condemned it, the
value of democracy as a political form of government has been questioned by
some. The German philosopher Herbert Marcuse, writing soon after the Second
World War, called our industrial civilization a “totalitarian democracy” that
has hypnotized us into forfeiting our own best interests and robbed us of our
freedom of thought.
The union of growing productivity and growing
destruction; the brinkmanship of annihilation; the surrender of thought,
hope, and fear to the decisions of the powers that be; the preservation of
misery in the face of unprecedented wealth constitute the most impartial
indictment…of this society.
And in 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, the author
Daniel Pinchbeck rails against the unquestioning glorification of American
democracy, the “sleep-inducing force of indoctrination” that seems to render the
democratic concept the only possible one for sane people.
Hidden behind the scenes, the esoteric schools have always subscribed to a
hierarchical structure of government in their own case and recommended it
sotto voce for society at large.
Indeed, in 530 BCE Pythagoras launched it as a great social experiment in the
Italian city of Crotone, where he and his brotherhood of fellow initiates guided
the prevailing government for some years. In this way they curtailed the
unlimited bureaucratic powers that can tyrannize a society where no limiting
office exists above that of the politicians. (However, it must be noted that as
a consequence of this wise intervention, it is believed that Pythagoras and his
fellow philosophers were eventually murdered by the exasperated rulers below
The Platonic view has always been a subtle one. It
contends that the freedoms of democracy are mythic, illusory, leading inevitably
to a tyranny of the lowest common denominator and total corruption by the forces
of greed. Government by an elite, however, is paradoxically based on a true
philosophy of freedom. How can this be? From such a perspective, elitism is not
a function of birth, wealth, learning, fame or military power; no one can bestow
it and no one can take it away, for it is a function of the sanctified spirit
alone, which has no external cause. It is given by God alone. Ideally, elitism
governs even as the pharaoh Akhenaton claimed to govern, by the spirit of Maat
– an important Egyptian goddess personifying a principle whose primary role is
to establish cosmic order by divine rule. Maat is the spirit of pure rectitude,
pure justice realized as a state of the soul. By the purity of this inner state
it establishes harmonious social conditions; by its spirit of equity it does
justice to every soul in its mandate and blesses all.
By “living in Maat” the divine king mediates between Heaven and Earth, uniting
all those levels below him in his cosmic amplitude. “The king performs the
function of ‘centering the world’, maintaining order from his palace at the
centre of the cosmic axis.”
The Tzaddick, the righteous one of eighteenth-century
Jewish Qabalah and a composite of divine king and prophet, is another example of
such a divine mediator. Quoting the Jewish philosopher Gershom Scholem,
When God created the Earth – our ‘abysmal world of
shards’ – he shattered the vessel of higher mind, sprinkling fragments of
lost wisdom across the globe… The Tzaddick performs the ‘gathering up of the
shards, finding the hidden keys to spiritual knowledge to establish
shalom, peace and harmony on earth.
But the Tzaddik and his mystical status was not
officially accepted by the rabbis and was soon swept back into the shadows of
speculative Qabalism, discredited by a tide of Jewish rationalism known
ironically as the Haskala or Jewish Enlightenment.
Like the Tzaddick, Plato too regarded true freedom as
flowing only from the monarchic summit rather than the base of a governing
hierarchy, issuing from the apex alone where wisdom and right action are
enthroned and greed has been conquered. Indeed, in remote times the legitimacy
of divine kingship was so central to the welfare of the kingdom that it was
ensured by divine means. In Persian myth the first Iranian god-kings were said
to bear a facial countenance known as farr, or Divine Glory, a sign of
divinity shared by many of the biblical patriarchs.
Without this sign of divinity a king could not rule,
and if he were to misappropriate this sacred power during his reign then the
farr would leave him in the form of a bird, never to return.
Leavened by the teachings of the forest yogis of
India, the renewed hierarchical ideal of government was the gift that Alexander
the Great brought to Egypt during his conquest of that land in the fourth
century BCE, and was one taken up by many of the Jewish immigrants who came to
live in the Delta city of Alexandria thereafter. It recalled to them the
outlawed Solomonic ideal of government that they claimed had once made Israel
great. The esoteric school of Therapeutae in Alexandria was based on its
the dissident Jewish Essenes took it up for its freedom from ethnicity,
and it became the controversial Gnostic ideal over which the earliest Christians
wrestled, argued and broke heads over, leading to a major schism in their ranks
from which we are still suffering.
Like the Pharaoh Akhenaton’s reformation in the
Egyptian New Kingdom, Jesus’ new movement too aimed at reinstating the reign of
the divine king, the Hebrews’ Davidic Messiah, and was similarly doomed to
failure. The four-runged initiatory ladder of early Christianity was dismantled
when the Christian bishops gained enough power towards the end of the second
century to suppress the grade of prophets above them. Thereafter charismatic
prophecy was once again forced into exile in the Syrian and Egyptian deserts,
and it has remained an underground and unacknowledged force in our civilization
to the present day. Indeed, considering that for nearly eighteen hundred years
the freedom-loving independence and wisdom of Higher Mind and the paranormal
cognitive powers of the prophetic office have been excised from the mainstream
Christian church, as also from official Judaism and Islam, to religion’s great
loss, it is perhaps surprising that the rising modern atheism is not a great
deal more vociferous than it is. It has much to rail against.
Yet while Christian theocracy lived it inspired
irreversible changes in human society. By virtue of the creative energies drawn
down from the divine level above, the prophets were able to articulate the
structural verities of the new faith in living lineaments of light. As a
consequence, for at least two, perhaps three centuries, the Christian religion,
clad in its ancient hierarchic vestments, shed a wonderful radiance over the
Roman world. The wisdom, poetry and spiritual idealism of “pneumatics” like
Marcion, Basilides, Valentinus, Bardesanes of Edessa and many others, leading
intellectuals of their time, illumined the infancy of a grand New Age that was
set to revolutionize society. And even much later the lingering afterglow from
this divine birthing lit in a kind of glory the Desert Fathers of Egypt and
Cappadocia and the brilliant Celtic Church of Ireland. But essentially the
Christian prophets had been banished – excommunicated, murdered in the Roman
circuses or exiled - by the middle of the third century.
Were the Church Fathers aware that history was
repeating itself? – that again and again throughout the story of civilization
this defeat of the higher creative energies, the banishment of the higher mind,
had been accomplished by lower orders like themselves? Did they understand that
Christ had given them the opportunity to participate in an ancient, archetypal,
irreducible organ of divine transmission no part of which could be amputated
without destroying the whole? Indeed, were the Church Fathers ever aware at all
that however much they gathered priestly titles like archbishop, cardinal and
pope, they could not fill the amputated prophetic role because they had not been
empowered to do so – had not been initiated into that transcendental office?
As I have already suggested, there are many
subterranean signs today that the theocratic archetype is once again pressing to
manifest itself, to take over and audaciously remodel on a planetary scale
democratic government as we know it. One such sign, though minor of course, is
the curious eruption of Gnostic procedures in an Anglican See in rural England
and another in the Javanese Reformed Lutheran Church - a duplication that may
hint at many other such hidden hierarchic revivals in the official Christian
scene. But the most important and thought-provoking sign by far is that of the
cult of the Nine Unknowns, which has been gaining ground within New Age
communities from as far back as the early twentieth century and is now
well-established in the Western counter-culture. It is here that we find
incontrovertible evidence of a well-organized programme to bring about what
amounts to a new World Order and a new global religion to underpin it.
As early as 1932, Reuben Swindburne Clymer, the head
of American Rosicrucianism, claimed that his society, the Fraternitas Rosae
Crucis, was directed from a secret order in France called the Council of Nine,
whose doctrines Clymer taught. A letter from this secret body proclaimed:
This is the New Dispensation, and the work of the
Spiritual and Mystical Fraternities must be re-established throughout the
world, so that all peoples may be taught the Law and thereby enabled to
apply it towards universal improvement as the only means of saving mankind…
We, the Council of Nine, have selected your organization…to help in this
Clymer’s group professed to “embrace the esoteric side
of all religions.”
This unification of the religions of the world by absorbing their main
underlying tenets in one grand esoteric system has been at all times the basis
of the Nine’s teachings. In the beginning, God, they declare, had given out one
primordial Gnosis for this planet, which over time has differentiated into a
variety of religions; but the time has come for these different local versions
again to coalesce as one under the control of the Great White Brotherhood, or
the Hierarchy or Hidden Directorate, as it is also known. Such a unification of
our fragmented race would transform the collective consciousness, releasing its
full genetic potential to a degree barely imaginable today. This crossing of a
great transformational threshhold may be imminent, stresses the Nine. It will
usher us into a new galactic universe wherein other human races are pursuing
their transcendental destinies. Empowered to co-create a new vision of planetary
harmony, which has long been the ideal of esoteric schools around the globe, we
will flower gloriously into what has been called “a bodhisattvic race.”
Can it happen, or is it a fevered delusion? It should
be born in mind that a strict correlation exists between the structural and the
psychological processes of the theocratic gradient. When the top rank
disappears, fragmentation appears inevitably in society and in the individuals
that compose it. When the second rank also disappears, the transcendental,
cosmic powers of Higher Mind disappear as well from society and individuals, and
the arts and sciences give way to mere technologies. And when the third rank
disappears we must expect lawlessness and depravity to be added to the previous
losses in society and its individuals. Conversely, what has been lost may be
regained by reversing the flow of power – and only thus. Therefore when the
lowest point of the cycle is reached, the privilege and the burden of
self-responsibility rests with the people alone; only the people can decide the
future. At that point the true meaning of free-will is disclosed and with it the
inner divinity. The appearance of the Nine Unknowns among us may then be seen as
the inevitable concomitant of such a moment of self-revelation, when all else
has been stripped away. The Nine become an inner archetype pointing the way
insistently, inner gods needing to be heard at a point of crisis, of ultimate
The outer manifestation of the Nine is as ambiguous as
its inner meaning. It is extremely difficult to pinpoint the phenomenon, since
the Nine have been channelled in a number of different guises by a wide variety
of high-profile psychics, some of whom, confusingly, appear to bear no
relationship to each other. Sometimes the Nine are referred to as
extraterrestrial Intelligences, sometimes rather as indigenous deities or
discarnate Masters. They act as a hierarchy of Intelligences that rule the
universe, intervening in human evolution at critical times throughout the
Earth’s history. The Nine speak of themselves in deific terms in their
channelled communications – “ God is nobody else than we together, the Nine
Principles of God. There is no God other than what we are together.”
But this statement need not be taken too literally: the convention of
spokespersons speaking in the name of a higher power is commonplace. Elsewhere,
the Nine are evoked in an invitation by one of their followers to another
well-known psychic researcher “to join a new psychic group designed to change
the destinies of the world by occult means.”
Here the Nine are rendered by implication in far more human terms and placed
explicitly at the hub of an occult world-revolution to come.
Various prominent esoteric organizations have been
named as possible messengers of the Nine – among them the worldwide Sons of
Light of the Order of Melchizedek or Alice Bailey’s equally worldwide school
that spun off from Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, featuring the Master
Koot Hoomi and the Tibetan – but the identity of the messenger group remains
obscure. What is, however, evident is that its character is prophetic: the
advanced telepathic skills and the authority of its teachings distinguish the
group as something genuinely new and mystical to enter the public arena. We must
assume therefore that what is being proposed - yet again - is a global return to
the kind of theocratic system that once included the prophets in a leading role,
under the ultimate authority of an Avatar. It is in many ways the Gnostic system
in another guise.
For a great many people subconciously attuned to this
covert event alarm bells are already ringing. Intimations of an organized
resistance to the perceived threat to our freedoms are already with us; the
enormous popularity of Richard Dawkins’ latest work to target religion is only
one instance of a spreading unease. There are many others. Alerted, science is
beginning to marshal laboratory research programmes in neurotheology, a branch
of neuroscience devoted to uncovering the brain processes that happen during
religious, spiritual and mysical experiences, and which warn that these
activities may engender a form of illness called psychic dissociation.
Fundamentalist groups of every stripe are also ratcheting up their war on
elites; politicians as well as church leaders are stressing their populist,
democratic credentials. Sufis in Islam and Qabalists in Judaism are confronting
greater opposition than ever as a spontaneous polarization develops in the
religious field, mirroring that of geopolitics. The polarization declares that
the people’s freedoms have been won at great cost; they are not to be lightly
Yet it should be born in mind that almost all we know
of the theocratic system is from the rule of the pulpit and that of kings
divine only in name, many of them autocratic and cruel. A true, full-flowering
theocracy has hardly been known for something like three thousand years, perhaps
longer. Since the sixth century BCE the prophets have not moved among us except
briefly or without office: the Biblical prophets, the mahatmas and Jains of
India; the Gnostic initiates of early Christianity; the Kabbalists of Judaism
and the Sufi initiates of early Islam; the Taoist Mountain-men of China. All
these have passed enigmatically through the portals of history and have been
seen no more, though they wait still in the shadows. How they would help to
govern remains an unknown, although historians tells us that in ancient Egypt
during the Bronze age, when prophecy was at its height, there is evidence that
the society was a peaceful and highly creative one and the people enjoyed many
In the meantime the Council of Nine is not likely to
be more than a long-range preparatory programme, perhaps destined to undergo
numerous changes as it continues to develop its primary theme: that of the
imminent reign of superior Intelligences or Ascended Masters over human affairs.
The most immediate obstacle to the Council’s success is its difficulty in
promoting a picture of global integration while so many of the races and
religions of the world are locked in intractable enmities, loyal to many
different deities, worldviews and value systems. The Nine also have internal
flaws that have not gone unnoticed - racist and overbearing attitudes that
militate against their success in gaining disciples. Does their greatest value,
then, lie in simply being a marketing ploy, a wakeup call alerting us all to the
need for another evolutionary step - a preparation, in other words, for the
return of a divine king whose self-evident powers of wisdom and calm majesty
will bring unity to all the peoples of Earth?
It is noteworthy that today millions of people
worldwide and of many races are awaiting the imminent coming of the next
Light-Bearer, the fifth Buddha, Maitreya.
Kurt Rudolph, Gnosis, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1976, 321.
Geo Widengren, Mani and Manichaeism, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London,
E.S. Drower, The Mandaeans of Iran and Iraq, Clarendon Press, Oxford,
Oscar Cullman, The Christology of the New Testament, London, 1975,
Amit Goswami, Physics of the Soul, Hampton Roads, London, 2001.
Andrew Collins, The Gods of Eden, Headline, London, 1998, 188.
Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy, Berkley
Publishing Group, New York, 1999, 8.
Collins, op. cit., 27.
Collins, op. cit., 132.
Gaalyah Cornfeld, The Archaeology of the Bible, Book by Book, Harper
& Row, New York, 1976, 141.
Charles Potter, The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed, Ballantyne Books,
New York, 1962, 27.
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Bantom Press, New York, 2006.
Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man, Beacon Press, 1964.
Daniel Pinchbeck, 2012: The Return of Questzalcoatl, Jeremy P.
Tarcher/Penguin, New York, 2006, 74.
William Kennedy, The King of the World as Archetype, New Dawn
magazine, July, 2002.
Collins, op. cit., 145.
Pinchbeck, op. cit., 273.
Collins, op. cit., 189.
Marvin Myer, The Gospels of Mary, HarperSanFrancisco, New York, 2004,
Edmund Wilson, The Scrolls from the Dead Sea, W.H. Allen, London,
Christina Stoddard, The Trail of the Serpent, Inquire Within, Boswell
Publishing Co., London, 1936, 297 – 8.
Andrija Puharich, Uri: The Original and Authorized Biography of Uri
Geller, Futura, London, 1974, 14 – 15.
Jacques Vallće, Messengers of Deception, UFO Contacts and Cults,
And/Or Press, Berkeley, 1979, 133.
Sharon Begley, Your Brain or Religion: Mystic visions or brain circuits
at work? Newsweek, Copyright May 7, 2001.