Dark days behind us: today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere (04:49 UTC). The December solstice refers to birth or rebirth of the weakened sun in northern countries, often described in allegorical terms, as one New Age writer puts it: "The sun is dawning after the increasing darkness of winter. The Winter Solstice is nature’s physical equivalent of a spiritual awakening and enlightenment." From Theosophy Northwest:
For denizens of the New Age Internet, this solstice is the culmination of 2015's online spiritual awakening, perhaps a Fifth Great Awakening in the United States, occasioned by a proclaimed end to the war between the sexes. When combined with hermeticism, discussed in today's post, the gnostic truce between the sexes attacks all polarized categorizations of identity. Online gurus argue that only hardened egoists prosper in an environment where inflexible categorizations of identity are the norm. Spiritual commentators prefer to cultivate a continuum of identities and they expect that spectrum to expand social compassion.At the winter solstice the universal currents of life help human consciousness to enter divine spheres. At the same time spiritual energy can descend from higher worlds into the human arena: the gods "descend into hell" to garner experience in their underworld -- our own world -- thereby bringing inspiration and enlightenment to humanity. At this time each of us also may undergo a new birth. Nature has opened the door, and it is up to us to recognize this and take a step further.
The winter solstice at Stonehenge. Image Source: Stonehenge Trips.
In the aftermath of the supposed collapse of egocentric western dualism, hermeticists pick up the pieces, to recover cultural memory and allow their amnesiac followers to 'remember' earlier ways of identifying with the physical, rational, emotional and spiritual aspects of existence. The hermetic part of this phenomenon makes the now-gender-neutral collective unconscious 'conscious' in practical senses, as with the establishment of new political movements. Of course, the shift in values is not widespread or universal. Nor are gnostic-hermetic solutions necessarily good ones, whatever their devotees may expect.
One must step back from the arcane language and beliefs to observe the actual trend behind them. Online debates on these subjects in mid-late 2015 indicate a tipping point, wherein interaction in virtual reality has begun to change behaviour and awareness on deeper levels. The Internet is breaking down and synthesizing demarcated experiences, whether between mind and body, between the genders, between the individual and the collective, or between the local and global. Perhaps hermeticism and gnosticism are the most durable ideas available in western culture to describe flexible identification, as individuals find themselves simultaneously immersed in virtual reality and 'real' reality.
China's One Belt, One Road Initiative (2015). Image Source: Roman Wilhelm/MERICS/The Diplomat.
To ask these questions about western values now is akin to asking how the introduction of the printing press in Germany (1439-1440) led to the Protestant Reformation (1517-1617) and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). The spiritual and moral outlook of a society is indexed to its level of technology and prosperity. When the latter two factors change, so does the former. Anomie and aporia, experienced then as now, will lead to experiments to develop values better suited to new ways of living. But that process emerges through trial and error. Societies sometimes depend on war to determine a new dominant narrative.
My treatment of these topics comes with a caveat. While I may comment on unusual online material here, I do not personally identify with evidence I uncover. Hermetic traditions and politics can be weird, occult, radical, fringe or extremist. My comments in this series of blog posts do not constitute my endorsement of these beliefs. They are presented here as part of an examination of the cultural historical impact of the Internet on western values, under increasingly universalized, yet decentralized and chaotic conditions. I also do not personally agree with conspiracy theories mentioned here, but rather regard them as signs of contemporary mentalities.
Hermeticism, A Background
A reading of The Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy (1912). Video Source: Youtube.
Caption for the above video: "The Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy is a 1908 book claiming to be the essence of the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus, published anonymously by a group or person under the pseudonym of "the Three Initiates". The Kybalion was first published in 1912 by the Yogi Publication Society and is now in the public domain, and can be found on the internet. The book purports to be based upon ancient Hermeticism, though many of its ideas are relatively modern concepts arising from the [19th century] New Thought movement. The book early on makes the claim that it makes its appearance in one's life when the time is appropriate and includes variations of material found in the Book of Proverbs. [The Kybalion focuses on] Mental Transmutation (also described as Mental Alchemy, the Art of Mental Chemistry, and the Art of Polarization) refers to the art of changing and transforming one's own mental states and conditions, as well as influencing those of others. It is also called a form of "Mystic Psychology". The book devotes a chapter to each of its seven "Principles", or axioms: The Principle of Mentalism, The Principle of Correspondence, The Principle of Vibration, The Principle of Polarity, The Principle of Rhythm, The Principle of Cause and Effect, and The Principle of Gender."
Hermeticism is a form of western magic with Greek and Egyptian origins. It probably derives from the period of Greek rule in Egypt, the Hellenistic Ptolemaic kingdom which ended in 30 BCE with the death of Cleopatra. The tradition is named after a 1st century CE mythical figure, Hermes Trismegistus, a combination of the Greek god of transitions, boundaries and healing, Hermes, and the Egyptian god of knowledge, Thoth. Supposedly the greatest priest-king-philosopher, Hermes Trismegistus was named 'thrice great,' because he embodied a divine triadic union or trinity, "the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe." The first part of the triad was theurgy, which deals with interactions between gods and humans, and the attempts of humans to improve themselves so that they come closer to godliness. The second part was astrology, an arcane precursor of world politics; it describes the power of the celestial realm as manifested in real terms on earth. The third part was alchemy, which aimed to purify and perfect substances in protoscientific materialist investigations. Albert Pike wrote that hermeticism was simultaneously "a religion, a philosophy, and a natural science."
Hermeticism synthesized ancient Egyptian and Greek beliefs, with contributions from Jewish mysticism. It stressed that its followers believe in the material realm and discernible matter to improve and discover the spiritual conditions in life. By contrast, Christianity synthesized ancient Egyptian and Jewish beliefs and spread that synthesis to Rome. Christianity inverts the hermetic impulse - that is, travels in the opposite philosophical direction - by stressing faith in the unseen and spiritual realms to improve the material conditions of life. Yet the Christian unified trinity celebrates similar ideas to that of the hermetic triad: God the Holy Spirit (the higher consciousness, spiritual realm and soul); God the Son (the divine presence on earth, the seat of moral power as exhibited through real experience, the higher heart, and emotions); God the Father (the clock maker, the higher mind, the rational architect). With these contending traditions and their overlapping cultural sources, one is left with two competing triangles of soul, heart and mind. One can start on earth and work one's way up to heaven philosophically; or one can start in heaven and work one's way back down to earth. Hence the hermetic maxim: as below so above - or - as above so below.
Hermeticism has survived as an enormous body of Judaeo-Christian heresy. One can see hermeticism in present-day Freemasonry; the fabled anti-Semitic Illuminati and New World Order conspiracy theories (both in substance of the theories and in the methods and attitudes of the theorists themselves); numerology; astrology; the Tarot cards; the Kabbalah; eco-spirituality and theories of eco-technological consciousness; Martinism; Scientology; Christian Science; the Jehovah's Witnesses; Mormonism; Seventh Day Adventists; the Order of the Golden Dawn and various Crowleyian projects; Wicca; Neopaganism and polytheology; polyamory and similar lifestyles linked in their origins to sex magic; Satanism; and other traditions, sects and cults. Their proliferation shows that hermeticism is resilient and popular.
If they even grasp that hermeticism lies behind these secret societies and subcultures, staunch Christians and anti-Illuminati conspiracy theorists rarely learn what hermeticism is, beyond the flying pyramids, pentagrams, and other creepy and not-so-creepy symbols which are part of western esotericism:
[Western esotericism] refers to a wide array of ideas and movements which have developed within Western society, and which have remained largely distinct from both orthodox Judeo-Christian religion and Enlightenment rationalism. A trans-disciplinary field, esotericism has pervaded various forms of Western philosophy, religion, pseudoscience, art, literature, and music, continuing to have an impact on intellectual ideas and popular culture. ...
Hermeticism looks quasi-religious to today's observer. While gnosticism was and is certainly a heretical religion, hermeticism was a type of of rational and scientific inquiry emerging from an age of faith. It may be that its true origins - as has been confirmed in the case of the hermetic Tarot - lay not so much in antiquity, but rather in an early modern neoclassical fascination with the ancient world. Hermeticism provided the rallying cry of the Renaissance in the work of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494):The earliest traditions to later be labelled as forms of Western esotericism emerged in the Eastern Mediterranean during Late Antiquity, where Hermeticism, Gnosticism, and Neoplatonism developed as schools of thought distinct from mainstream Christianity. In Renaissance Europe, interest in many of these older ideas increased, with various intellectuals seeking to combine "pagan" philosophies with the Kabbalah and Christian philosophy, resulting in the emergence of esoteric movements like Christian theosophy. The 17th century saw the development of initiatory societies professing esoteric knowledge such as Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, while the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century led to the development of new forms of esoteric thought. The 19th-century saw the emergence of new trends of esoteric thought that have come to be known as occultism. Prominent groups in this century included the Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which influenced the development of Thelema. Other developments within occultism were modern paganism, which included religious movements such as Wicca. Esoteric ideas permeated the counterculture of the 1960s and later cultural tendencies, from which emerged the New Age movement in the 1970s.
Hermeticism influenced many Renaissance figures; their impact carried the tradition into our modern and Postmodern mainstream. Some of these thinkers include: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519); Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626); and Sir Isaac Newton (OS: 1642-1726; NS: 1643-1727), whose work inspired the title of this blog, was a devotee of hermetic practices. Newton's writings on alchemy were later purchased and studied by John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946). Keynes was one of the first people to comment on Newton's hermeticism. In 1946, just before his death, Keynes's lecture on the subject was read before the Royal Society:He is famed for the events of 1486, when at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy, and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the Oration on the Dignity of Man [read it here], which has been called the "Manifesto of the Renaissance," and a key text of Renaissance humanism and of what has been called the "Hermetic Reformation."
Newton was seduced by hermeticism's goal to synthesize all knowledge. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was similarly affected; and by extension through Leibniz, there are hermetic traces in some ideas of Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951). The tradition had a huge impact on the theories of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) and is therefore essential if one wants to understand Marxism. Gnostic-hermeticism further shaped the ideas of Michel Foucault (1926-1984).In the eighteenth century and since, Newton came to be thought of as the first and greatest of the modern age of scientists, a rationalist, one who taught us to think on the lines of cold and untinctured reason. I do not see him in this light. I do not think that any one who has pored over the contents of that box which he packed up when he finally left Cambridge in 1696 and which, though partly dispersed, have come down to us, can see him like that. Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind which looked out on the visible and intellectual world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance rather less than 10,000 years ago. Isaac Newton, a posthumous child born with no father on Christmas Day, 1642, was the last wonderchild to whom the Magi could do sincere and appropriate homage. ...Why do I call him a magician? Because he looked on the whole universe and all that is in it as a riddle, as a secret which could be read by applying pure thought to certain evidence, certain mystic clues which God had laid about the world to allow a sort of philosopher's treasure hunt to the esoteric brotherhood. He believed that these clues were to be found partly in the evidence of the heavens and in the constitution of elements (and that is what gives the false suggestion of his being an experimental natural philosopher), but also partly in certain papers and traditions handed down by the brethren in an unbroken chain back to the original cryptic revelation in Babylonia. He regarded the universe as a cryptogram set by the Almighty - just as he himself wrapt the discovery of the calculus in a cryptogram when he communicated with Leibniz. By pure thought, by concentration of mind, the riddle, he believed, would be revealed to the initiate.He did read the riddle of the heavens. And he believed that by the same powers of his introspective imagination he would read the riddle of the Godhead, the riddle of past and future events divinely fore-ordained, the riddle of the elements and their constitution from an original undifferentiated first matter, the riddle of health and of immortality. All would be revealed to him if only he could persevere to the end, uninterrupted, by himself, no one coming into the room, reading, copying, testing-all by himself, no interruption for God's sake, no disclosure, no discordant breakings in or criticism, with fear and shrinking as he assailed these half-ordained, half-forbidden things, creeping back into the bosom of the Godhead as into his mother's womb. 'Voyaging through strange seas of thought alone', not as Charles Lamb 'a fellow who believed nothing unless it was as clear as the three sides of a triangle'. ...Let me give some brief indications of the ... subject [of his secret papers]. They are enormously voluminous - I should say that upwards of 1,000,000 words in his handwriting still survive. They have, beyond doubt, no substantial value whatever except as a fascinating sidelight on the mind of our greatest genius.Let me not exaggerate through reaction against the other Newton myth which has been so sedulously created for the last two hundred years. There was extreme method in his madness. All his unpublished works on esoteric and theological matters are marked by careful learning, accurate method and extreme sobriety of statement. They are just as sane as the Principia, if their whole matter and purpose were not magical. They were nearly all composed during the same twenty-five years of his mathematical studies. They fall into several groups.[One] large section is concerned with all branches of apocalyptic writings from which he sought to deduce the secret truths of the Universe - the measurements of Solomon's Temple, the Book of David, the Book of Revelations, an enormous volume of work of which some part was published in his later days. Along with this are hundreds of pages of Church History and the like, designed to discover the truth of tradition.A large section, judging by the handwriting amongst the earliest, relates to alchemy - transmutation, the philosopher's stone, the elixir of life. The scope and character of these papers have been hushed up, or at least minimized, by nearly all those who have inspected them.
In Modern Alchemy: Occultism and the Emergence of Atomic Theory, Mark Morrisson argued that hermeticism provided the founding principles of the atomic age. German conservative political theorist Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) saw gnostics and hermetic cultists everywhere, and dismissed modernity's claim to being scientific or secular. He insisted: modern rationalism was magic, all the way. A blind faith in the evidently unreal had simply been replaced by a blind faith in the evidently real. In 1938, Voegelin wrote a major book, Modernity without Restraint: The Political Religions, The New Science of Politics, and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, in which he dismissed 18th, 19th and 20th century ideologies and rationalizations as a family of gnostic-hermetic political religions. His annoyance at this corruption of political philosophy has been echoed by his adversaries on the cultish side of the spectrum. Occultists jealously guard hermeticism and dislike the fact that it is so entangled in modern politics. Then, in a 1993 article by E. Davis, "Techgnosis: Magic, Memory, and the Angels of Information" (South Atlantic Quarterly, 92(4), pp. 585-616), Davis maintained that gnostic hermetisicm underpinned cyberpunk. Davis also confirmed that hermeticism would dictate how we would come to live in virtual reality. As a descendant of Platonism and early modern rational awareness, hermeticism rationalizes the irrational or the anti-rational, and lends itself well to pseudo-science, often found in conspiracy theories and Fortean research on the Internet today.
In modern terms, hermeticism is a creed of alchemy or arcane change. It explains how to purify, and thereby transform, something into something else. The early science of alchemy was supposed to illustrate the path to enlightenment chemically, to find the substance that would turn base metals into gold, also known as the Philosopher's Stone. As with physical matter, so with the soul, emotions, and mind. Mostly masculine-oriented hermetic groups would (and presumably still do) advise an initiate to 'enlighten' himself morally and intellectually by following a ritualistic path through challenges and tests. These tests demand balances struck between different aspects of thought and behaviour to ascend to higher awareness, to an ever larger perspective.
Freemasons associate the hermetic pillars of light and darkness with the columns at the entrance of the original Jewish Temple of Solomon. Newton studied all aspects of the Temple's construction as a mathematical code to reach god because he believed it expressed sacred geometry. For Freemasons, the pillars represent two extremes, but can manifest a third way, a healing conciliation between the columns. This esoteric hermetic union of dark feminine and light masculine principles forms a cryptic ladder to higher consciousness. You can read more in Albert Pike's 1872 classic, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The relevant passage on pillars symbolizing the powers of the moon and sun is here at Google Books.
Masonic imagery displaying the moon and sun, whose powers are associated with twin pillars. Image Source: Fraternal Clip Art via Image Kind.
Conspiracy theorists depict Freemasonry, a modern hermetic private club of invited members, and the fabled hermetic cult of the Illuminati, as an evil, behind-the-scenes congregation at the top levels of the socio-political hierarchy and the military industrial complex. While they find evidence of Masonic influences all over modern architecture, urban design, institutions and ideologies, they spend little time trying to understand what Freemasonry and its source hermeticism are. They interpret it as a creed of power and oppression, whose entire purpose was conceived in the past three hundred years to destroy the common man, with whom they identify. Millennial conspiracy theorists associate hermetic symbols with patriarchy; governments, corporations, banks, media outlets, and any locus of old power; societies with secret handshakes and funny symbols; and occult politics. Below are typical examples from a conspiracy theorist Website, interpreting hermetic Masonic symbols in the Iranian parliament as a code for purported Illuminati domination. For my post on the distinction between Freemasons and the mythical Illuminati go here.
The Torah Codes conspiracy theorist claims that the Iranian parliament (built 2004) betrays a Masonic design and therefore a dark influence behind 'democratic' representation in Iran. Image Source: Torah Codes 2012.
9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Discover Hermeticism
Conspiracy theorists have attempted to "tie the actual architects of the WTC towers directly to Freemasonry. ... To this point however, we have not been able to do so. We do, however, have some fascinating circumstantial evidence – both from the architecture of the Trade Towers themselves … and from their world-class architect, Minoru Yamasaki." Image Source: Enterprise Mission.
In the sequence of pillar symbolism below, it is evident that 9/11 conspiracy theorists are analyzing hermetic and related Masonic symbolism to prove the existence of the mysterious Illuminati. Truthers have attempted to associate the Twin Towers with the pillars. To do so would link 9/11 to the Masonic magical manifestation of a third way between extremes. This association would bolster the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that 9/11 crimes were perpetrated by the American government, controlled by Jewish banking cabals and the Israeli government. Truthers conclude that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were part of an elaborate secret ritual to manifest a manipulated mass mentality in a terrifying New World Order. In their view, this would be a ghost of repression, viciously and magically incarnated between the now-destroyed Twin Towers, or columns.
A 9/11 conspiracy theorist superimposes Masonic pillars over the World Trade Center Twin Towers, which formed the numerologically significant number 11. The twin pillars, also named Boaz ('In Him is Strength') and Jachin ('He Shall Establish') in Jewish lore, stood at the door of Solomon's Temple. Image Source: Scott Onstott via Infrakshun.
The twin pillars of Solomon's Temple (click to enlarge). Image Source: My Freemasonry.
Hermetic Anti-Dualism and Symbolic Syntheses
Far from the truthers' fears of New World Order, the pillars suggest that the only way to reconcile conflict is to merge the conflict's polarized parties. In Freemasonry, the 'third way' or third pillar is a spiritual manifestation between opposites. One of the most fundamental symbols of dualistic conflict is gender identity, which maps neatly onto the moon versus sun, and a host of other symbols. Manly P. Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy (2011) combined feminine and masculine collective psychology represented in these symbolic pillars:
Below are two excerpts from Eliphas Levi's The Dogma of High Magic (1856), which explain the esoteric meaning of the two pillars in terms of anti-dualism; the full text is here in the 1896 English translation by A. E. Waite."These were the names [Jachin and Boaz] of the two pillars cast from brass set up on the porch of King Solomon’s Temple. They were eighteen cubits in height and beautifully ornamented with wreaths of chainwork, nets, and pomegranates. On the top of each pillar was a large bowl – now erroneously called a ball or globe – one of the bowls probably containing fire and the other water. The celestial globe (originally the bowl of fire), surmounting the right-hand column (Jachin), symbolized the divine man; the terrestrial globe (the bowl of water), surmounting the left-hand column (Boaz), signified the earthly man. These two pillars respectively connote also the active and the passive expressions of Divine Energy, the sun and the moon, sulphur and salt, good and bad, light and darkness. Between them is the door leading into the House of God, and standing thus at the gates of Sanctuary they are a reminder that Jehovah is both an androgynous and an anthropomorphic deity. As two parallel columns they denote the zodiacal signs of Cancer and Capricorn, which were formerly placed in the chamber of initiation to represent birth and death – the extremes of physical life. They accordingly signify the summer and the winter solstices, now known to Freemasons under the comparatively modern appellation of the 'two St. Johns.'"
"BOAZ and JAKIN are the names of the two symbolical Pillars before the principal entrance of Solomon’s Kabalistic Temple. In the Kabalah these Pillars explain all mysteries of antagonism, whether natural, political or religious." ..."The permanent alliance of reason and faith will result not from their absolute distinction and separation, but from their mutual control arid their fraternal concurrence. Such is the significance of the two Pillars of Solomon’s Porch, one named JAKIN and the other BOAZ, one white and the other black. They are distinct and separate, they are even contrary in appearance, but if blind force sought to join them by bringing them close to one another, the roof of the temple would collapse. Separately, their power is one; joined, they are two powers which destroy one another."
A Kabbalistic Tree of Life diagram, illustrating the paths to hermetic enlightenment or god. The twin pillars run up left and right sides of the tree, with the Tarot's Major Arcana imposed on various possible paths up to the centre top. All the trump cards up the middle pillar - the magical synthetic third way manifested between dual or polar opposites - are female, from the bottom up: the World; Temperance; Strength; the High Priestess; the Empress. Image Source: Lion of Judah Society.
The Tree of Life superimposed over the Masonic pillars by a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. Image Source: Infrakshun.
A hermetic occult projection of feminine and masculine principles onto the Masonic pillars, Boaz (the female moon, darkness, unicorn, or completions) and Jachin (the male sun, light, lion. or beginnings). The gender neutral spiritual vision manifesting magically at the top between masculine and feminine principles appears by traversing upward through the universal sign of medicine and healing, Hermes's staff, the caduceus. That is, reconciliation between the genders heals conflict. The last image, immediately above, shows the scene from the feminine perspective, which is why Boaz, the dark column, is on the left. When the dark pillar, Boaz, appears on the right hand side of an image (as in the second-to-last picture), we are regarding a masculine-oriented depiction of reality. Images Sources: Astral Dynamics and The Hidden Lighthouse.
The whole crazy allegory reflects a hermetic obsession to reconcile and overcome primal human physical dualism. Opposition may start between man and woman, but is evident as well in right-handedness and left-handedness, and in the bicameral brain. According to Roger W. Sperry's (now challenged) theory of lateralized brain function, the left brain, which rules the right side of the body, is rational and logical; the right brain, which controls the left side of the body, is creative and imaginative. Our dominant left- or right-handedness betrays inner psychological conflict in our asymmetrical faces. One superstition, only partly confirmed in reality, maintains that while about 90 per cent of humans are right-handed, most apes are left-handed. This theory may have compounded the prejudice against rare human left-handedness. Brain bicameralism hints that the most-feared part of our brains is the part that reminds us that we are animals.
The point behind it all: according to this conspiracy theorist, the pillars and number 11 refer to unifying the left-right capabilities of our bicameral brain to reach higher consciousness. Image Source: Secrets in Plain Sight.
A popular illustration of Sperry's (now challenged) hypothesis. Image Source: UCMAS.
The theory of lateralized brain function is dismissed by critics. But it remains important because of its appeal, based on deep, intuitive belief in humankind's dualistic reality, and so the need to overcome dualism remains. For centuries, modern western architects have used hermetic geometric symbolism in public buildings and urban design to point to that third way. Conspiracy theorists have analyzed examples of this architecture, often to prove virulent anti-Semitic hypotheses (an example is here). But the truthers muddle the original intention. In the west, sacred or important buildings such as parliamentary chambers, when guarded by these famous twin columns, represent a third aspect of higher knowledge, or transcendent awareness. In other words, when you walk into a building between these symbolic columns at the door, your entry constitutes a subliminal statement of intention. You intend, or should intend, to unite the principles embodied in conflict. The message is also that you are walking between them into a building that represents an architectural cranium. In an ideal world, the inhabitants of a building which defends the brain and its highest abilities would build agreements and coalitions to bring a third, anti-dualistic concept into being.
Half-circle diagrams routinely illustrate the left-right divide of parliaments after elections. Parliamentary architecture and seating reflect a cerebral symbolic dualism between two dominant courses of human attitude and behaviour. The original hermetic terminology, used in this way, arose during the French Revolution. Image Source: Wiki.
At present, one of the greatest sources of western discord is left-right politics. The historic source for that division originated in the French Revolutionary parliament, the National Assembly of 1789. The king's supporters sat on the right; the revolutionaries sat on the left. Parliaments and politics preserve innate symbolism of the brain and its dualist conflict between leadership and opposition. But in hermetic thought, the goal should be not to focus on the two sides of the dualist conflict. Those who fixate on the split between opposites are trapped in a lower order of understanding. The intention should be to find higher reconciliation between left and right, to become, so to speak, mentally and politically ambidextrous.
This tension between the logic and creativity, the battle between left and right, between men and women, mind and body, along with the inversion between brain lateralization and physical handedness may explain the magical connotations of twinning, mirrors and reconciled opposites. Thus, the number 11 carries well-known symbolic meaning of resolved dualism, of finding solutions out of conflict.
Even if one could confirm that World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1986), fashioned an occult numerological '11' in his WTC design, that would not prove anti-Semitic, anti-financial, and anti-government claims that the towers were made and destroyed by the same secret cabal, to embody conflict and then generate an evil third way on 9/11. Conspiracy theorists might consider instead that the jihadist perpetrators of the crimes on 9/11 also knew this famous symbolism. Actually, they have, but only to confirm their expectations. It is almost impossible to find reputable online sources linking Al-Qaeda's Wahhabism and ISIS's Salafism to hermeticism, but there are plenty of disreputable ones which do. Conspiracy theorists of this type link hermeticism to jihadism to prove 9/11's 'truth' and to confirm that Islamic terrorism is a Jewish or Israeli Illuminati New World Order plot. They reject any connection between radical jihadism and true Islam. This theory contends that hermeticism was in its origins purely Jewish, and hence Salafism and Wahhabism are in fact latter-day Jewish heretical sects, possibly instigated by British imperialist Masons meddling in the Middle East. From Shoah: The Palestinian Holocaust:
The critical point to make here is that it is possible that 9/11 jihadists were and are as hermetic in attitude as their declared mortal enemies in the west. Conspiracy enthusiasts would insist that this is because the jihadists and Illuminati were and are always all one. But if there were hermetic messages in the Twin Towers' construction, and in their destruction, it is because hermeticism is widespread, and elements of it can be found in almost all modern political movements across the west and in the Middle East. The common presence of hermetic ideas in opposing and far-flung groups does not mean that all groups are controlled by an over-arching hermetic group.Wahhabism [w]as founded by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, in the seventeenth century, who according to the [hoax text] Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, was a British agent. Though the authenticity of the work has been questioned, in 1888, Ayyub Sabri Pasha, a well-known Ottoman writer and Turkish naval admiral who served the Ottoman army in the Arabian Peninsula, recounted Wahhab’s association and plotting with a British spy named Hempher. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense released a translation of an Iraqi intelligence document in September 2002, titled “The Emergence of Wahhabism and its Historical Roots,” which indicates that Abdul Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism, and his sponsor ibn Saud, who created the Saudi dynasty that now rules Saudi Arabia, were reported by several sources as being secretly of Jewish origin.Ultimately, Wahhab instigated the rejection of Taqlid, or following a Madhhab, in favor of re-opening the Doors of Ijtihad, which is the bedrock of the platform of the modern Salafi movement. Salafism begins with Jamal ud Din al Afghani, who was the Grand Master of Egyptian Freemasonry, as well as purported member of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, which supposedly also represented a revival of the Brethren of Sincerity. According to K. Paul Johnson, he was also chiefly responsible for the central teachings of H. P. Blavatsky, who is regarded as the godmother of the New Age movement, and whose books are considered “scriptures” of Freemasonry.
Conspiracy theorists are convinced that the 'higher order' sought in hermetic archetypes must signify sinister hierarchical domination by Illuminati bogeymen. This mythology is an anti-Semitic Millennial update of the Russian conspiracy hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903). Historically, anti-Semitic hate literature and revolutionary movements surge during and after economic slumps. The Protocols pamphlet was published following the late 19th century Long Depression. Anti-Semitic sentiment after the First World War and the Great Depression resembles the upswing in anti-Semitic attitudes after 9/11 and the Great Recession. This is why these stories of the ordinary man, crushed by moneyed interests, periodically become so popular.
As for the resurgence of hermeticism and gnosticism in 2015, rather than proving that the myth of the Illuminati is true, the hermetic-gnostic trend proves why people think it can be proven as true. Hermetic and gnostic symbols were already prevalent in western culture for centuries, and readily furnish both the material for political and social myth-making, and the climate in which to do it. On top of this, all understanding of 9/11 and the Great Recession is profoundly affected by mass media and the explosion of connected technology in the same time period, roughly from 2000 to the present. In an incredibly short span of time, there was a complete revolution in how the world communicates. The information of entire societies can be indiscriminately located, combined, altered, and reinterpreted without pause or judgement. Yet the hermetic attitude of the Internet makes every outcome seem informed and rationalized, even with the most cryptic and mythical results. Global communications additionally break down boundaries between cultures and destroy durable modes of identification; those synthesized cultures and identities further chime with gnosticism and hermeticism. This is the case, even when crumbling cultural divisions inspire reactionary assertions of threatened traditional identities. Despite the backlashes and rise of local nationalism, the general pattern on the Internet is still one of relentless cultural amalgamation.
The Web has become a 'wild west' where anything can emerge as a new religion, fabulist political ideology or quasi-techno-science. In the past year or so, there have been shaky attempts to merge the aims of gender neutral politics with anti-statist technological environmentalism. Below is one example of the gnostic-hermetic synthesis in a 2015 political formulation, in this case, an anarchy variant. In subsequent posts in this series, I will provide more examples and analyze their ideas and implications in social values, online politics, and real-virtual behaviour.
The Conscious Resistance (2015)
An example of the gnostic-hermetic synthesis on a book cover published on 12 April 2015. The political messages on the masculine side, superimposed over a Tree of Life, are: no masters, no slaves, your own leader, your own saviour; the political messages on the feminine side are peace, unity, non-compliance, love, care, and truth. Image Source: The Conscious Resistance.
A book published in April 2015, The Conscious Resistance, by John Vibes and Derrick Broze exemplifies 2015's trend of gnostic-hermetic synthesis:
This book is for those who are interested in meditation, consciousness, indigenous teachings, and spirituality. This book is also for those who understand the philosophy of freedom, Anarchy, and self-governance. We hope to bridge the gaps between these two worlds in an effort to help humanity understand freedom in a way that goes beyond the physical world. We also want to help those who are already spiritually inclined to consider what freedom means from a philosophical perspective.
Through a series of essays we will lay out the case for a synthesis of Spiritual teachings and Anarchist philosophy as an empowered path towards a more free, conscious world. We will first outline what exactly the “The Conscious Resistance” is, and then explain the concept of Explorative Agnosticism. We will also examine the topics of animal consciousness and rights, collectivism vs individuality, conscious healing, Panarchy, meditation, Psychedelics, Consciousness, Agorism, Feminism, Gender Roles and much more.
The book will feature discussions on the intersection of Anarchy and Shamanism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Finally, we will take a look at historical examples of peoples living in stateless communities and developing their own sense of philosophy that was intrinsically anti-state. ...
[TABLE OF CONTENTS]
The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality
Part 1 Naming the Path
Chapter 1 – What is the Conscious Resistance?
Chapter 2 – Explorative Agnosticism
Chapter 3 – Reality Beyond the 5 Senses: Beyond Logic, Beyond Reason
Chapter 4 – Towards Panarchy: Anarchy Without Adjectives
Chapter 5 – Tomorrow’s Inner Child Will Save The World
Chapter 6 – Consciousness and Rights Applied to Animals, Plants, and Earth
Chapter 7 – Conscious Healing
Chapter 8 – Rites of Vigil and Solitude
Chapter 9 – Are We All One? Collectivism vs Individuality
Chapter 10 – Balancing the Feminine and the Masculine
PART 2 Anti-Authoritarianism in World Traditions
Chapter 11 – Intersections Of Shamanism And Anarchism
Chapter 12 – Intersections of Christianity And Anarchism
Chapter 13 – Intersections Of Islam And Anarchism
Chapter 14 – Intersections Of Buddhism And Anarchism
Chapter 15 – Intersections of Taoism And Anarchism
Chapter 16 – Zomia And The Art Of Not Being Governed
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