The Thunder, Perfect Mind

November 10, 2014

Little goddess from Ma'amara, Egypt, 3500-3400BC

Little goddess from Ma’amara, Egypt, 3500-3400BC

“….I am the incomprehensible silence and the much-remembered thought.
I am the voice of many sounds and the utterance of many forms.
I am the utterance of my name.

Why, you who hate me, do you love me
And hate those who love me?
You who deny me, confess me,
And you who confess me, deny me.
You who speak the truth about me, tell lies about me,
And you who have told lies about me, speak the truth about me.
You who know me, become ignorant of me;
and may those who have been ignorant of me, come to know me .

For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and boldness.
I am unashamed, I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and peace.

Give heed to me.

I am the disgraced and the exalted one…”

 translated by Anne McGuire from Nag Hammadi Codex VI
for the complete text click here

The red clay jar was old, sealed with some black stuff. The brothers were afraid. Did it contain a djinn?

But maybe it was gold… They broke the seal and shook out the contents of the jar. Counted them out, 12 tightly rolled papyri covered with unfamiliar writing. The spoils were divided between the seven men, but five refused. This sort of thing was cursed. It might bring bad luck.

The brothers Muhammad and Khalifa Ali took the scrolls home and dumped them in a pile of straw. Their mother was dismayed and quietly destroyed some of the papers. She too knew about the bad luck associated with ancient things, and the strange symbols scratched on the papyrus could be magic spells.

fayum

One of the mummy portraits from Faiyum. These were made around the same time as the Nag Hammadi Library.

She was right in a way. These manuscripts were very old, dating from the third century AD. The mysterious language was Coptic, the language of the Egyptians before it was superseded by Arabic in the 7th century. And these were indeed religious texts, among them an extraordinary incantatory poem, which would become known as The Thunder: Perfect Mind.

The brothers’ find was made in December 1945. Passing through the hands of pedlars, middlemen, antiques dealers, collectors and museums, the manuscripts travelled the world from New York to Zurich to Brussels, until eventually they arrived back in the hands of the Egyptian authorities and are now housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo.

The Nag Hammadi Library as it was named — after the nearest modern town — turned out to contain 52 texts, some certainly translated from the Greek into Coptic, which had been hidden in that jar more than 1500 years earlier. Most of them made up what is now known as the Gnostic Gospel, parts of the Bible that were purged because they did not fit in with the orthodox views of the Church in 3rd century Egypt, specifically the Gospel of Thomas. The Church Fathers at that time were busy stamping out a dangerous heresy called gnosticism.

tumblr_mrnulxhpcn1qahgvlo1_500

Another Faiyum portrait

Gnosticism — a belief that you can encounter god without an intermediary, that god is immanent. Perhaps a belief in reincarnation and a god who is both male and female.

The Nag Hammadi texts were not published right away, even after they’d finally reached the desks of people who could understand and translate them into modern languages. Coptic is a dead language now, spoken only by priests and monks in church services. Due to academic filibustering, obfuscation and grandstanding, the texts were not published in full until 1977. Of course, news of their content had been filtering out into the world for decades.

Academics were excited by the ideas in the Gospel of Thomas. The gnostics seemed to see Mary Magdalene as a consort of Jesus, Jesus seemed to have a brother. It was all the same but different

But one text stood out. One text was not only not the same as any of the others in the Library, but it was not the same as any other piece of literature that has survived from ancient times.

The goddess speaks directly to us in Thunder: Perfect Mind . 

I was sent forth from the power,
and I have come to those who reflect upon me,
and I have been found among those who seek after me.
Look upon me, you who reflect upon me,
and you hearers, hear me.
You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.
And do not banish me from your sight.
And do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing.
Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or any time. Be on your guard!
Do not be ignorant of me.

translated by George Macrae
for the complete text click here.

She is not like any Christian concept of god that we are familiar with.

I am the honoured and the scorned,
I am the harlot and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter.
I am the members of my mother.

I am the barren one and the one with many children.
I am she whose marriage is multiple, and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not give birth.
I am the comforting of my labor pains.

 translated by Anne McGuire

My friend J sent me a link to Thunder: Perfect Mind yesterday, the day that Mercury in Scorpio reached the last whisker of its shadow phase. It felt as if a god was speaking directly to me as I read the incantation.

If you think as an astrologer, there is no riddle to the dichotomies proposed in this text. These oppositions are exactly how an astrologer thinks. You need to encompass these ideas that are seemingly opposite in order to understand the power of the symbolism of astrology.

“The honoured and the scorned” might describe Leo.

“The harlot and the holy one” might describe Virgo.

“The barren one and the one with many children” might describe Cancer.

Each sign contains its own inner oppositions and also opposes another sign on the 12-spoked wheel of the Zodiac, so there are polarities within polarities. The goddess mind or god mind encompasses all of these opposites, holding them together, making no value judgment.

The Thunder: Perfect Mind puts into words this mind, which, of course, can only be understood through paradox and juxtaposition. We are not meant to know the mind of god directly or we will be dazzled and burned. But maybe we can know it slantwise, know it like the light falling between trees in a forest.

We hear the voice of Lilith, the outcast goddess.

I am the one who has been hated everywhere
and who has been loved everywhere.
I am the one whom they call Life,
and you have called Death.
I am the one whom they call Law,
and you have called Lawlessness.
I am the one whom you have pursued,
and I am the one whom you have seized.
I am the one whom you have scattered,
and you have gathered me together.
I am the one before whom you have been ashamed,
and you have been shameless to me.
I am she who does not keep festival,
and I am she whose festivals are many.

translated by George Macrae

The Church Fathers eliminated ambiguity. The New Testament God is entirely good. All the bad stuff was thrown out with Lilith. Without the dark dichotomies, the balancing, did they leave Christians with half a god?

Today Mercury in Scorpio will start to align with Neptune, the planet of mysticism and gnosis. Both Scorpio’s rulers Mars and Pluto will conjunct in Capricorn today and tomorrow, and in the small hours, they will be opposed by the Lady Moon. This seems like the perfect time for something chthonic to erupt into our consciousnesses.

Sixty years ago, when Muhammad Ali first broke that jar with his mattock (Pluto was also at 11°), he saw something golden flutter out. Some people say it was just pale pieces of papyrus, but maybe it really was a genie escaping.

More on gnosticism in general and the story of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library.

A seminal book on The Gnostic Gospels.

An explanation of the riddling element of the poem.

An ebook of the latest translation with an interesting preface.

More on the impact of the Nag Hammadi gospels on catholic thinking and a gloriously gory description of the discovery.

PS Lilith herself is at the end of Leo, right on my Ascendant and opposing my natal Lilith.

,

archaeology, goddess, Gods, Lilith, philosophy & ethics

8 comments

mehilainen said:

Incredible. I needed this, I’ve been thinking about the Goddess lately and it’s great to hear her speak 🙂 Also I wasn’t familiar with the Fayum portraits, they are stunning.

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Christina said:

There are two in Oxford at the Ashmolean. I still think it’s shocking that those real people have been disinterred and their remains scattered around the world’s museums. On the other hand, we have had the privilege of seeing these incredible portraits, so vivid, so now!

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Kell said:

Love this! Mercury went direct on my Scorpio Moon/Neptune/Jupiter in my 12th.

Just toured Washington D.C. Freedom, depicted as a Goddess/Woman was the highest point of many rooms. Relieved the eye and mind- too many dead white dudes. She is with us, even when we don’t see her.

Honoring Her and Her Daughters!!!

Great post! Thank you!!

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Hele said:

I love this article. Thanks so much for sharing the voice of the goddess and your understanding around it.

I especially like how you pull out the juxtapositions and apply them to Leo, Virgo, Cancer. Wondering which goddess paradoxes you would apply to the other signs … ?

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Christina said:

I need to think about that one…

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weaver said:

i have come in from a long hard day and have been so touched by your special happening. very happy for you and also that you shared these ancient truths.
amen

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Isy said:

Copyedit note: 4th century (367 was the year the canon was distributed by Archbish Athanasius, according to the last link) but everyone gets that wrong these days…

This is absolutely thrilling. The poetry is shiveringly beautiful, weird and penetrating.

Helps with the long view, which I needed, too 🙂

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Vesta said:

I’m reading this as moon is in scorpio. I love it! Ireland repealed the 8th amendment today, and I’ve been thinking about religion and how my thinking has changed on it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Christianity kept the nice bits and relegated the rest to Lilith.
I discovered what faith means when I lost everything and was about to lose myself too. Certainly changes how you see things. No more illusions. My new understanding of faith is closer to this than what we’re taught. To have faith in the face of terrifying circumstances is my new superpower. The paradoxes are like quantum stuff, there, not there, you feel the energy, but you can’t get close to either, nor should you try, you have to relate on another level within yourself, another vibration. I was going to say that might sound weird, but I’m out of patience with the narrow parameters we call normality. It’s so narrow!! I don’t know why people don’t feel trapped.
My only other insight is that this power isn’t external to us, we all carry it within. I found mine! 🙂 My challenge right now is learning a new way of being, because my habits and ways belong to the old me. Habits and core beliefs go deep. Anyway, no rush, and mars is going retrograde this summer anyway, even less of a rush! lol 🙂
Oh and PS, you were right in your May horoscopes about being lucky with big ticket purchases, I got some great deals today! It was frustrating to wait for mercury retrograde to end, etc etc, but it was worth it, not least because I really thought about my purchases. Thanks, Christina! xx

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