Esoteric Christianity is a term which refers to an ensemble of spiritual currents which regard Christianity as a mystery religion, and profess the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices, hidden from the public but accessible only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people.
These spiritual currents share some common denominators, such as:
- heterodox or heretical Christian theology;
- the four canonical gospels, various apocalyptic literature, and some New Testament apocrypha as sacred texts; and
- disciplina arcani, a supposed oral tradition from the Twelve Apostles containing esoteric teachings of Jesus the Christ.
Early Christians used the word μυστήριον (mysterion) to describe the Christian Mystery. The Old Testament versions use the word mysterion as an equivalent to the Hebrew sôd, "secret" (Proverbs 20:19; Judith 2:2; Sirach 22:27; 2 Maccabees 13:21). In the New Testament the word mystery is applied ordinarily to the sublime revelation of the Gospel (Matthew 13:11; Colossians 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Corinthians 15:51), and to the Incarnation and life of the Saviour and his manifestation by the preaching of the Apostles (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:4; 6:19; Colossians 1:26; 4:3). Theologians give the name mystery to revealed truths that surpass the powers of natural reason, so, in a narrow sense, the Mystery is a truth that transcends the created intellect. The impossibility of obtaining a rational comprehension of the Mystery leads to an inner or hidden way of comprehension of the Christian Mystery that is indicated by the term esoteric in Esoteric Christianity.
Even though revealed and believed, the Mystery remains nevertheless obscure and veiled during the mortal life, if the deciphering of the mysteries, made possible by esotericism, does not intervene.
This esoteric knowledge would allow a deep comprehension of the Christian mysteries that otherwise would remain obscure.
Some modern scholars believe that in the early stages of Christianity a nucleus of oral teachings were inherited from Palestinian and Hellenistic Judaism which formed the basis of a secret oral tradition, which in the 4th century came to be called the disciplina arcani, which mainstream theologians believe contained only liturgical details and certain other traditions which remain a part of some branches of mainstream Christianity (for example, the doctrine of Transubstantiation is thought to have been a part of this by Catholic theologians). Important influences on Esoteric Christianity are the Christian theologians Clement of Alexandria and Origen, the main figures of the Catechetical School of Alexandria.
Origen was a most prolific writer - according to Epiphanius, he wrote about 6,000 books - making it a difficult task to define the central core of his teachings. The original Greek text of his main theological work De Principiis only survives in fragments, while a 5th century Latin translation was cleared of controversial teachings by the translator Rufinus, making it hard for modern scholars to rebuild Origen's original thoughts. Thus, it is unclear whether reincarnation and the pre-existence of souls formed part of Origen's beliefs.
Despite this apparent contradiction, most modern Esoteric Christian movements refer to Origen's writings (along, with other Church Fathers and biblical passages) to validate these ideas as part of the Esoteric Christian tradition.
Early modern formsEdit
In the later Middle Ages forms of Western esotericism, for example alchemy and astrology, were constructed on Christian foundations, combining Christian theology and doctrines with esoteric concepts.
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola's Apologia ("Apologia J. Pici Mirandolani, Concordiae comitis" published in 1489) states that there are two types of "magic", which are theurgy (divine magic), and goetia (demonic magic). These disciplines were explained as the "Operation of the Stars", just as alchemy was the "Operation of the Sun", and astrology the "Operation of the Moon." Kabbalah was also an active discipline. These spiritual traditions allegedly aided the esoteric to arise to higher forms of consciousness, and arise to a better understanding of God, The Self, and the Universe. Esoteric Christians practice these forms or traditions, which they believe are all apart of the same spiritual truth, which help to convey "mystery knowledge", which can only be learned directly from spiritual experience via Theurgy, Kabbalah, or Mysticism.
In the 16th and 17th centuries this was followed up by the development of Theosophy and Rosicrucianism. The Behmenist movements also developed around this time, as did Freemasonry.
Many modern Esoteric Christian movements acknowledge reincarnation among their beliefs, as well as a complex energetic structure for the human being (such as etheric body, astral body, mental body and causal body). These movements point out the need of an inner spiritual work which will lead to the renewal of the human person according to the Pauline sense. Rudolf Steiner and Max Heindel gave several spiritual exercises in their writings to help the evolution of the follower. In the same direction are Tommaso Palamidessi's writings, which aim at developing ascetic techniques and meditations. In Bulgaria Peter Deunov opened an Esoteric Christian School, which he called School of the Universal White Brotherhood. It consisted of two classes of students and had 22 school years. George Gurdjieff called his teaching The Fourth Way—the way of conscience, whereby the student learns to work with and transform the negativity and suffering of one’s ordinary life to come to real life (“Life is real only then, when I Am.”). According to all of these esoteric scholars, the ensemble of these techniques (often related with Eastern meditation practices such as chakra meditation or visualization) will lead to salvation and to the total renewal of the human being. This process usually implies the constitution of a spiritual body apt to the experience of resurrection (and therefore called, in Christian terms, resurrection body). Some Esoteric Christians today also incorporate New Age and traditional "magical" practices in their beliefs, such as Qabalah, theurgy, goetia, alchemy, astrology, and hermetism.
Astrology within the BibleEdit
Over the centuries, back in the biblical times, ancient people observed the movements of the celestial bodies, personified them and created stories about them; this could mean the biblical authors might have also personified the stars, by then writing them in an allegorical language in the bible.
Based on the many thousands of years of observation by the ancients, the sun was seen as a symbol of spirit, because it rises and sinks. The sun was the “soul of the world”, signifying immortality, as it is continuously resurrected after “dying” or setting.
Astrology dates before written history, and there is evidence of it all around the globe. If the gods lived in heaven, it was natural for priests to look to heaven for signs to what the king had to know to please them. Egypt has star charts that go as far back as 4,200 BCE. The earliest forms of astrology came from Babylonia, Assyria and Egypt. They merged with Greece when the conquests of Alexander the Great after 323 BCE spread Greek culture throughout the Mesopotamian and Roman world.
The Zodiac and the bibleEdit
The Zodiac is one of the oldest conceptual images in history. It shows the sun as it figuratively passes through the 12 major constellations over the course of a year. It also reflects the 12 months of the year, the four seasons, and the solstices and equinoxes. The term Zodiac relates to the fact that constellations were anthropomorphized, or personified, as figures, or animals.
In comparison, Jesus had 12 companions or "disciples", who travelled around with Jesus, just like how the planets travel around the sun. The disciples were likely to be based on the movements of the sun through the skies, a phenomena that can be found throughout the world because the sun and the 12 zodiac signs can be seen around the globe. Jesus' mother, the Virgin Mary is the constellation Virgo, also known as the Virgo the Virgin, which in Latin means virgin. Virgo is also referred to as the House of Bread, and the represents of virgin holding a wikt:sheaf of wheat. In turn, Bethlehem literally translates to "house of bread".
At the beginning of the 1st century, the sun, on the vernal equinox, passed from Aries to Pisces. That harmonizes with the mentioned lamb and fish in the gospels. With John the Baptist, is seen Aquarius, a man pouring water. Mary is Virgo the virgin. Next to Virgo is Bootes as Joseph. There is even a tiny constellation between them that represents baby Jesus, Coma Berenices.
By late October, when the sun gets in Scorpio, Judas betrays Jesus by kissing him. As the sun exits Libra, it enters into the waiting arms of Scorpio to be kissed by Scorpio's bite. Thus, when the sun enters the house of Scorpio, the scorpion figuratively stings the sun, wounding it to make it slowly die. After the sun has its fateful encounter with Scorpio, it moves on to Sagittarius (Pontius Pilate), leaving Scorpio below the horizon, a figurative death for Scorpio.
Jesus Christ's Son of ManEdit
The Son of Man in the Gospels can be linked to the constellation Orion. Revelation’s description of the Son of man fits the pattern of stars in the constellation Orion. The star on his right shoulder is bright red (upper left star). The three stars at his waist were later seen as the three wise men who announced the birth of Jesus.
The Son of man has a cluster of stars in the background that look like the clouds upon which the Son of man rides. Astronomical maps show the Milky Way behind the constellation Orion. From earth, they look like clouds.
"Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast; his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength." - Rev. 1:12-20
"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle." - Rev. 14:14-20
Orion, as seen in human form, has his right hand holding a sickle or a club. His left hand could be holding an animal skin, a shield or a bow. The Milky Way is behind him. The arc above him represents the sun’s path. The line going through his waste is the celestial equator which runs parallel to earth’s equator.
"As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, 'The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.' And they were greatly distressed." - Matt. 17:22-23
When the sun goes below the equator into the dark days, it is said to be delivered to the enemy. While the earth rotates, the stars appear to be moving westerly until they dip below the horizon. Three days later they reappear in the eastern horizon.
..."'tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' Jesus said to him, 'You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" - Matt. 26:63-64
When facing north, Orion’s rising in the east can be seen as rising from the right. Orion appears at the right hand of the sun.
Astrological ages and the BibleEdit
In the bible there are many references to ‘Age’. Each 2150 year period was called an age. In and around 2150, we shall enter the new age called the Age of Aquarius. The Bible showcases a wikt:symbolic movement through those three ages, while foreshadowing a 4th.
In the Old Testament when Moses came down with The Ten Commandments tablet, he was very upset to see his people worshiping a golden bull calf. The Bull was the symbolic figure for the earlier religion of Mithraism which flourished in The Age of Taurus. The fact is that the golden bull is Taurus the Bull, and Moses represents the new Age of Aries the Ram. That is why Jews even today still blow the Ram's horn. Moses represents the new Age of Aries, and upon the new age, everyone should shed the old age.
Jesus is the figure who ushers in the age following Aries, the Age of Pisces the two Fish. Fish symbolism is very repetitive in the New Testament. It is a Pagan astrological symbolism for the Sun's Kingdom during the Age of Pisces. Also, Jesus' assumed birth date is essentially the start of this age.
When Jesus is asked by his disciples where the next Passover will be, Jesus replied:
‘Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you bearing a pitcher of water... follow him into the house where he entereth in.’.
- Luke 22:10
The man carrying a pitcher of water is Aquarius, the water bearer. He represents the age after Pisces. When the Sun leaves the Age of Pisces, it will go into the House of Aquarius, as Aquarius follows Pisces in the precession of the equinoxes. Apart from the depictions in the Book of Revelation, the main source of this idea comes from this verse, where Jesus says:
I will be with you even to the end of the world.’ - Matthew 28:20
In the King James Version, ‘the world’ is a mistranslation. The actual word being used is "aeon", which means ‘age.’ ‘I will be with you even to the end of the age. Which is true, as Jesus' Solar Piscean representation will end when the Sun enters the Age of Aquarius.
Jesus as a Sun GodEdit
Many of the world's sacrificed godmen have their traditional birthday on December 25th ("Christmas"). This represents the ancient recognition that (from a perspective in the northern hemisphere) the sun makes a yearly descent southward until December 21st or 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops moving southerly for three days and then starts to move northward again. During this time, people back then believed that "God's sun" had "died" for three days and was "born again" on December 25th. After December 25, the Sun moves 1 degree, this time north, foreshadowing longer days. And thus it was said, the Sun died on the cross, was dead for 3 days, only to be resurrected or born again.
- The sun is the "Light of the World." (John 8:12)
- The sun "cometh on clouds, and every eye shall see him." (Revelations 1:7)
- The sun is “anointed” when its rays dip into the sea.
- The sun rising in the morning is the "Savior of mankind," as well as the "healer" or "savior" during the day.
- The sun wears a corona, "crown of thorns" or halo.
- The sun "walks on water," describing its reflection. (John 6:19)
- The sun's "followers," "helpers" or "disciples" are the 12 months and the 12 signs of the zodiac or constellations, through which the sun must pass annually.
- The sun at 12 noon is "Most High" in the sky; thus, "he" begins "his Father's work" at "age" 12.
- The sun enters into each sign of the zodiac at 30°; hence, the "Sun of God" begins his ministry at "age" 30.
- The sun's warmth turns water into wine through ripening grapes.
Bible referring Jesus as a Sun GodEdit
At lower angles the sun has more atmosphere to punch through, so red sunrises and sunsets appear with increasing frequency. Ancients saw these natural events as their sun god weakening as it was falling and bleeding.
God's/Jesus' sun imagery is scattered in the Bible:
"For the LORD your God is a consuming fire..." Deuteronomy 4:24
"The Lord God is a sun..." - Psalms 84:11
"The Sun of Righteousness [Jesus] will rise with healing in his wings for you people who fear my name." - Malachi 4:2.
"And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light." - Matthew 17:2
"I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12
"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." - John 12:46
"In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light." - John 1:4-8
"The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world." - John 1:9
"At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me." - Acts 26:13
"...Christ will shine on you." - Ephesians 5:14
See also Edit
- Christianity and astrology
- Christian meditation
- Jewish mythology
- Christian mythology
- Origins of Christianity
- Esoteric astrology
- Christianity and Paganism
- Christianity and Neopaganism
- Christian Kabbalah
- Christian views on magic
- Christian mysticism
- Western Esotericism
- Astrological age
- ↑ Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion: Selected Papers Presented at the 17th Congress
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Besant, Annie (2001). Esoteric Christianity or the Lesser Mysteries. City: Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 9781402100291.
- ↑ From the Greek ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos, "inner"). The term esotericism itself was coined in the 17th century. (Oxford English Dictionary Compact Edition, Volume 1,Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 894.)
- ↑ Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek, Jean-Pierre Brach, Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, Brill 2005.
- ↑ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: esotericism
- ↑ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: esoteric
- ↑ Cf. Matthew 16:16
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 G.G. Stroumsa, Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism, 2005.
- ↑ The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911
- ↑ Tommaso Palamidessi, Introduction to Major and Minor Mysteries, ed. Archeosofica, 1971
- ↑ Frommann, De Disciplina Arcani in vetere Ecclesia christiana obticuisse fertur, Jena 1833.
- ↑ E. Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church, London, 1890, Chapter 10.
- ↑ Jean Danielou, Origen, translated by Walter Mitchell, 1955.
- ↑ Haer., lxiv.63
- ↑ Catholic Answers, Quotes by Church Fathers Against Reincarnation, 2004.
- ↑ John S. Uebersax, Early Christianity and Reincarnation: Modern Misrepresentation of Quotes by Origen, 2006.
- ↑ See Reincarnation and Christianity
- ↑ Archeosofica, Articles on Esoteric Christianity (classical authors)
- ↑ Antoine Faivre, L'ésotérisme, Paris, PUF (« Que sais-je?»), 1992.
- ↑ Weber, Charles, Rosicrucianism and Christianity in Rays from the Rose Cross, 1995
- ↑ Rudolf Steiner, Christianity As Mystical Fact, Steinerbooks.
- ↑ Tommaso Palamidessi, The Guardians of the Thresholds and the Evolutionary Way, Archeosofica, 1978.
- ↑ Max Heindel, The Mystical Interpretation of Easter, Rosicrucian Fellowship.
- ↑ Secrets of the Magical Grimoires by Aaron Leitch, www.northernway.org
- ↑ http://www.astrologyzine.com/astrology-bible.shtml
- ↑ http://www.usbible.com/Astrology/origins_zodiac_bible_code.htm
- ↑ http://numberonestars.com/life/christianity_astrology.htm
- ↑ http://www.astrosoftware.com/AquariusPiscesAge.htm
- ↑ http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/originsofchristianity.pdf
- ↑ http://www.usbible.com/Gospel/jesus_and_judas_iscariot.htm
- ↑ http://www.usbible.com/Astrology/jesus_christ%27s_son.htm
- ↑ http://www.usbible.com/Astrology/death_and_resurrection.htm
- ↑ http://www.usbible.com/Astrology/when_was_jesus_born.htm
- ↑ http://www.astrologyzine.com/taurus-4.shtml
- ↑ http://www.newearthstar.com/aquarius.htm
- ↑ http://www.usbible.com/Astrology/gospel_zodiac.htm
- ↑ http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/mistic/songod_sungod.htm
- Some Comparisons Between Exoteric & Esoteric Christianity a table comparing exoteric and esoteric Christian beliefs.
- Esoteric Christianity - What does it mean?
- Esoteric/Mystic/Experiential Christianity
- The Cornerstone of Esoteric Christianity
- The Focus of Esoteric Futures
- The Esoteric Christianity E-Magazine