Another gem from Appolonius
Mar 15, 2002 03:37 PM
by John Beers
More on the Greek religion from Appolonius. This is a conversation we had.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Apollonius" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2001 9:05 AM
Subject: Re: [Pythagorean] Hyperborean Apollo
In message <email@example.com>, "John
Thank you, Apollonius. This is great stuff. It brings out some of the
beauty and complexity of the Greek religion. And it reinforces my belief
that all of the great religions teach the same great truths, though in a
different way, suited to different times and cultures.
His answer: "My pleasure; I'm glad you found it worthwhile. I agree that
there are enormous similarities, especially in the mystical traditions. In
rereading the Stoics a couple years ago, I was struck for the first time
by the similarity to many Buddhist ideas."
I wrote, "Does Kingsley explain "the spiritual fathers"? Are they gods, or
perhaps his predessors in a lineage of initiation?
His answer: "Yes, he talks quite a bit about them. One's spiritual father
was a living person who had "adopted" you spiritually for the purpose of
teaching and initiation. Corpus Hermeticum XIII gives a revealing example
of a dialogue between a spiritual father and his "child."
" If you follow such a lineage back far enough, you will eventually
encounter legendary and mythological teachers. Pythagoras is already
somewhat in this category. Then we have Orpheus, Hermes Trismegistus,
"Of course, at some point such a lineage must begin with direct contact with
the divine realm. However, it was not simply a matter of passing on a
single initial "revelation," for initiates were taught methods of contact
with divine, to keep the tradition alive. (This ties in with David's
remarks about the oracles.)
"Also, as David remarked, there are two lineages: a horizontal one from
teacher to student (spiritual father to child) and a vertical one of
emanation of each soul from a God. These two lineages are the warp and woof
of a spiritual tradition.
I wrote, "Jesus said, (just after he said the Father and I are one) "Is it
not written in your law, 'I have said you are gods'? If it calls those men
gods to whom God's word was addressed ..." (John 10:34)
His answer: "Yes, and although I don't know too much about Christianity, I
understand that deification (theosis) is an important part of some sects,
especially of the Eastern Orthodox church.
I wrote, "Buddhism and Hinduism also teach that purification and meditation
help bring about union with the one, and perhaps the Buddhist nirvana is the
same as the Noetic realm. It is a state of consciousness in which one knows
the oneness of all. This has been expressed as "the dewdrop slips into the
shining sea." It has also
been expressed as "the shining sea slips into the dewdrop", because, for to
the person who attains this level of consciousness, it seems to him as if he
were the totality of all consciousness.
His answer: "However, I think it is important to distinguish two stages in
the Ascent. The penultimate stage, which may be called Approach, is when
one has transcended the duality of the Noetic Realm (the Realm of Forms) to
an apprehension of (or rather, a love of) the One. However, there is still
a distinction of subject and object, Lover and Beloved. The final stage is
the ecstatic Union of Lover and Beloved. That is the stage when you become
the All and the All becomes you.
I wrote, "The Greeks had their underground chambers, from which they could
travel to the underworld and speak with the dead. People still do that. We
call it sensory deprivation and astral travel, and with or without a spirit
guide, astral travellers still talk to the dead. We would say we were in
the astral body rather than the "dark chthonic twin". Only the names have
His answer: "I agree with your overall point, that the techniques are quite
similar, across cultures and through times. (The Jungian psychologist C. A.
Meier has written a book _Ancient Incubation and Modern Psychotherapy_.)
However, I would disagree with your identification of the astral body and
the "dark chthonic twin." The latter, in this context, is a God, Dionysus,
an eternal, universal and archetypal divine force; the astral body
(astroeides soma) is one of the vehicles of the soul, and quite closely
connected to an individual mortal.
Also, I think it was probably more common for the ancient Greeks to talk to
the Gods than to talk to the dead, and even then probably only to Heroes.
(The theurgists among the Neo-Platonists have quite a lot
to say about how to tell whether you are talking to a God, Hero, etc.!) By
such techniques one can travel to the Heavens as well as to the Underworld.
Thanks for your comments.
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