I posted this review today.
The World of Classical Myth: Gods and Goddesses, Heroines and Heroes
by Carl A. P. Ruck, Danny Staples
August 2001 reprint
Truly integrates entheogens in their proper place
This is a fine survey and analysis of Greek mythology. The matter-of-fact balanced integration of the entheogen aspect of myth is noteworthy. This clear, straightforward book is a good college textbook.
When searching for the phrase "cup of mind" which I had happily read in a recent posting, I found that here, too, was Klaus Schilling with his helpful translation/summary technique of great essays. I formatted and uploaded Klaus's summary and translation of the essay of Jean Magne, "Deux mythes et deux rites a` l'origine du christianisme", covering early- and proto-Christian and Gnostic eucharist.
Two Myths and Two Rites for the Origin of Christianity
God willed to have Mind set up in the midst for souls, just as it were a prize. He filled a mighty Cup with Mind, and sent it down, joining a Herald to it, to whom He gave command to make this proclamation to the hearts of men: Baptize thyself with this Cup's baptism, what heart can do so, thou that hast faith thou canst ascend to him that hath sent down the Cup, thou that dost know for what thou didst come into being!
As many then as understood the Herald's tidings and doused themselves in Mind, became partakers in the Gnosis; and when they had received the Mind, they were made perfect men. But they who do not understand the tidings, since they possess the aid of Reason only and not Mind, are ignorant wherefore they have come into being and whereby.
The page has temporary timestamps for checking sequence of the portions of the translation. Fixed some typos. I look forward to reading this and the other formatted translations/summaries.
"They are ignorant wherefore they have come into being" -- Drinking the cup of mind reveals the stamp of authorship on each of one's thoughts in the stream of mental constructs: "Authored by God (the totally hidden and mysterious transcendent creator above the individual control agent)". A small angel shat out by a holy cow pointed this out to a proclaiming herald.
In official Christianity, baptism and eucharist are the two especially important sacraments. Magne argues that both "baptism" and "eucharist" were originally a matter of ingesting something. He mentions being rescued from one's status as marionette controlled by the lower rulers.
>> A small angel shat
>> out by a holy cow pointed this out to a proclaiming herald.
>Isn't it now obvious why the "cow" is a sacred animal in eastern
>They provide for the sacred food (psilocybin mushrooms)
Out of dung, comes highest enlightenment.
>If Jonah was enlightened by his experience in the "fish," his behavior afterward belies the fact.
Jonah's complaining attitude of disappointment proves that he has grasped the nature of enlightenment, and particularly the limitations of enlightenment and the lack of enlightenment's delivery of the expected goodies and benefits.
>Would someone who had received "salvation" from God immediately start arguing with God about God's having humiliated him,
Yes. Enlightenment is a humiliation of the ego and its expectations of what enlightenment is all about. Everyone thinks they want to be enlightened, and they think they'll want to pay the price, until they find out that something far more intimate than they ever even thought of is demanded of them: their free will, a truly painful price for an egoic mind, which is above all, a mind built on the sand of freewill thinking.
>and then tell God twice that he is so angry at God that he wishes he (Jonah) were dead?
Existential depression can follow upon the enlightened discovery of no-free-will, upon finding out that while one expected per the marketing literature blissful nirvana, eternal life, destruction of one's enemy nation, flowing milk & honey, a kingdom of heaven -- instead, all I got was this lousy t-shirt saying "The kingdom of heaven and victorious Israel is nothing but the discovery and realization of no-free-will." You've just attained the highest goal and the ultimate enlightenment and as a result, ask "That's it?! That's all?!"
>I don't think so. It sounds like Jonah missed the boat, so to speak.
We cannot expect Jonah to be happy, after having all of his literalist worldview of expectations about what constitutes "Israel's victory" shattered.
Like the trials of Job, Jonah is a reflection on the surprising contrast between what enlightenment is vs. what people want it to be.
The person of Jonah reflects the conflict between literalist notions of righteousness and preconceptions about enlightenment vs. metaphysical/spiritual/esoteric actual nature of rightness and enlightenment. Jonah combines temporal development from unenlightened to enlightened *and* atemporal layering of conflict between one's higher mode of being enlightened vs. lower mode of wanting enlightenment to have positive literalist results.
Like the book of Job, it is a deliberately complex contrast and reflection, deliberately throwing a wrench into an expected simplistic story. It deliberately highlights the problematic and objectionable aspects of enlightenment, highlighting what enlightenment "fails" to be, according to our lower preconceptions.
People indeed *do* complain just like Jonah that metaphysical enlightenment utterly fails to live up to their preconceptions about how wonderful everything will be at the second, imperial coming of Christ into his kingdom (parousia) and how wonderful and gold-filled the kingdom of heaven will be and how blissful nirvana/extinction will be. The standard initiation sequence is:
1. Surprising unexpected discovery of no-free-will, in addition to the more expected no-separate-self. This is the block-universe determinism discovery, which is not the final stop on the path. One has attained lower enlightenment but is not yet divinized or transcendent or ascended.
2. No-free-will (part of timeless block-universe determinism) becomes desperately problematic, leading to heading for a self-control shipwreck, suddenly pacified by the descent of divine thinking, regeneration, turning, transcendent prayer establishing right relationship between ego as puppet and the apophatic puppeteer/primary controller. One is now divinized, sanctified, and ascended -- not only extinguished, but lifted up. I made a mistake in a previous posting today by portraying this as the final stop.
3. Now, the books of Job and Jonah kick in, and also perhaps the disappointment about waiting for the kingdom, or disappointment about the kingdom itself -- perhaps including the complaint about the desert after Exodus. This very advanced spiritual stage can be called the transcendent complaint stage, when enlightenment utterly fails to live up to what we told it it ought to be, in our egoic preconceptions -- the egoic version/notion of enlightenment here becomes fully disappointed.
The promises of gold-filled Heaven and everlasting bliss, imagined during the mystic peak state, were *not to be taken literally*. There is a deep conflict between egoic literalistic notions of what enlightenment and the kingdom of heaven and incorruptibility/immortality/eternal life provide, versus the actuality of mere esoteric right-thinking, the merely *allegorical* and merely metaphysical -- as it turns out in the end -- nature of the promised land, kingdom of heaven, nirvana, enlightenment.
Nirvana is a better example these days: the vulgar think Nirvana is endless blissfulness, and when they finally reach mystic Nirvana -- not just the mystic-state vision of it but the final state of extinction -- an actual, real-world mind or a real person is bound to be largely disappointed.
That disappointment doesn't mean that the person is unenlightened; it means that the person is disappointed to find out that all the "skillful means" -- the carrots of promises and inflated wishful marketing material -- don't literally deliver the goods promised, but merely deliver visionary experiences and a permanently revised mental worldmodel -- that's all. Here in the kingdom of heaven, just like Gahan Wilson's disappointed angels in a shoddy, run-down Heaven comment: "It's not quite what I expected."
Temporal development from unenlightened to enlightened -- Jonah willingly asks to be thrown overboard to save the ship. That willingness to sacrifice one's early, pre-initiated egoic self is spiritually righteous. Also, Jonah's prayer in the big fish is righteous and a conversion -- even though Jonah retains his former preconception, as an ingrained wish, that spiritual righteousness ought to be granted to literal Israel and not other nations.
Jonah after metaphysical enlightenment continued also the lower wish that the promised victory of Israel and crushing of its oppressors (Ninevah) would be *literally* true.
As a "real person" with a fullness of thinking and attitudes -- rather than a cartoon cardboard icon of the ideal enlightened man -- Jonah ends up combining his lower literalist wishes about Israel with enlightened metaphysical attainment of the *real* nature of Israel's glorification, which is something that, alas we lament, happens just on the allegorical and metaphysical plane. Enlightenment is disappointing to real people, who when they attain it at last, wish it were more.
The book of Jonah teaches that God's gracious purposes are not directed toward literal Israel, but instead, to spiritual Israel. This can be disappointed to those who have been driven by literalist notions of God's gracious purposes and who still retain that *attitude* even after attaining that so-abstract thing that salvation and enlightenment and nirvana turn out to be.
One's disappointment in no way means that one is unenlightened; in fact the disappointment is a result of gaining enlightenment and finding out how different its "benefits" are, compared to one's former literalist expectations about its benefits.
In this sense, existentialist issues don't occur only before enlightenment as Wilber seems to imply; some of the deepest existentialist issues occur *after* enlightenment, *due to* enlightenment -- due to disappointment with what enlightenment turns out to be, what enlightenment must be and what it can only amount to.
Official Bible commentaries are so retardedly literalist, trapped like bees in a window frame of their own little bubble of an interpretive framework. Bible dictionary: "Scholars think Jonah is imaginal, but that does not do justice to the fact that our Lord very evidently held to the historicity of the book." They argue for the historicity of Jonah based on the uncritical assumption of the historicity of Jesus, with the sayings of Jesus read in a mode that automatically reads in the most literal way possible.
They go splattering extreme literalism everywhere; no wonder they then perceive evidence for literalism everywhere -- they are trapped in their own hall of mirrors of their own projected literalism everywhere.
Spiritual & Demonic Magic: From Ficino to Campanella (Magic in History Series)
D. P. Walker
Page 4 (scanned) raises the problem of mania followed by depression. I assume the context is entheogenic mysticism.
Legends of the Bible
>>The intense heat in the belly of the fish had consumed his garments, and made his hair fall out, and he was sore plagued by swarms of insects. To afford Jonah protection, God caused the kikayon to grow up. When he opened his eyes one morning, he saw a plant with two hundred and seventy-five leave, each leaf measuring more than a span, so that it afforded relief from the heat of the sun. But the sun smote the gourd that it withered, and Jonah was again annoyed by the insects. He began to weep and wish for death to release him from his troubles. But when God led him to the plant, and showed him what lesson he might derive from it -- how, though he had not labored for the plant, he had pity on it -- he realized his wrong in desiring God to be relentless toward Nineveh, the great city, with its many inhabitants, rather than have his reputation as a prophet suffer taint [because of his proclamation of defeat being disproved, making him a false prophet]. He prostrated himself and said: "O god, guide the world according to They goodness." ... Jonah's suffering in the watery abyss had been so severe that by way of compensation God exempted him from death: living he was permitted to enter Paradise.
Jonah was permitted to enter Paradise while stile alive -- this is an allusion to the mystic state, which one enters while alive.
The declaration of doom is a description of the egoic-mode mind's thinking just prior to self-control seizure in ego death, when egoic thinking starts to see the writing on the wall and detect the transient, unstable, passing, impermanent, and illusory nature of egoic personal control power. One's mental stability or mode of life is doomed and is not doomed; the egoic phase of life is doomed, but overall life continues in the new, imperishable, a-thanatos, non-killable mode of thinking, translated as 'immortality' and 'eternal life'.
Clark wrote (paraphrased):
>>There are parallels of Jonah's story to deep entheogenesis.
>>Ginzburg's take is extremely fanciful and misses the point.
>>> ...suffer taint [because of his proclamation of defeat being disproved, making him a false prophet].
>>There was no imminent "defeat" -- God was going to destroy the city himself.
>>Jonah was upset because in God's sparing of the city there was no way for the inhabitants to know whether the city would have been destroyed had they not repented, leaving the validity of his prediction moot [up the the air, indeterminate, inconclusive].
>>Obviously Jonah fell short of attaining the life-changing benefits of full immersion in God, since he was still under the thrall of the false ego at the story's conclusion.
>>>Jonah was upset because in God's sparing of the city there was no way for the inhabitants to know whether the city would have been destroyed had they not repented, leaving the validity of his prediction moot
>[up the the air, indeterminate, inconclusive].
Without the entire section from the book I quoted, it's impossible to untangle the idea threads. The book tells legends of his being called a false prophet because he said the city was overthrown and it wasn't overthrown -- but finally it was.
As yet another instance of the near-explicit evidence for the entheogen foundation of religion, the Corpus Hermeticum contains a baptismal ceremony in the Crater in the 4th treatise. Klaus Schilling pointed that out in reference to Jean Magne. G.R.S. Mead translates:
3. Reason (Logos) indeed, O Tat, among all men hath He distributed, but Mind not yet; not that He grudgeth any, for grudging cometh not from Him, but hath its place below, within the souls of men who have no Mind.
Tat: Why then did God, O father, not on all bestow a share of Mind?
H: He willed, my son, to have it set up in the midst for souls, just as it were a prize.
4. T: And where hath He set it up?
H: He filled a mighty Cup with it, and sent it down, joining a Herald [to it], to whom He gave command to make this proclamation to the hearts of men: Baptize thyself with this Cup's baptism, what heart can do so, thou that hast faith thou canst ascend to him that hath sent down the Cup, thou that dost know for what thou didst come into being!
As many then as understood the Herald's tidings and doused themselves in Mind, became partakers in the Gnosis; and when they had "received the Mind" they were made "perfect men". But they who do not understand the tidings, these, since they possess the aid of Reason [only] and not Mind, are ignorant wherefor they have come into being and whereby.
Havrylak Kern points out in Proverbs 9:4-5, the bread and wine of personified Understanding, another name for Wisdom (Proverbs 8:14). Philo identifies that with Logos. To obtain this Understanding/ Wisdom/ Logos, one must eat her bread and drink her wine. In the eucharist, communicants partake of the Christ or Logos who was with God and who was God (John 1) and who is equivalent to the feminine Wisdom or Understanding figure in the OT Proverbs.
There's a good Hermetic passage on drinking the Cup of Mind in one of my Western esotericism books, perhaps in Versluis' book TheoSophia.
I find many such interesting, clear, and valuable clues in the books on religious subjects. The entheogen theory is supported almost everywhere, if sought out. Nearly every spiritual thread seems to have its root in visionary plants. The only real question is a matter of degree, and of influential role. Religion is inspired above all by entheogens, a thousand times more than by practice that is rooted and sourced in contemplation.
Hermeticism has substantial and often straightforward mystic-altered state insight. Hermeticism is well-positioned among mystic astrology, ecstatic alchemy, Neoplatonism, gnosis, stoicism, and early Christianity -- from the heyday of Hellenism, around 250 CE.
Western Esotericism = Hermeticism + Sufi, Kabbala, and Christian mysticism
Book list: Hermeticism and ancient mystic astrology
Sample pages and reader comments.
http://www.gnosis.org/hermes.htm -- portrays Hermeticism as the leading semi-alternative to Christianity throughout European history.
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/corpherm.html -- Corpus Hermeticum - John Everard. The Divine Pymander in XVII books.. London 1650. This was translated by John Everard from the Ficino Latin translation. Ch. 12 has the Cup of Mind passage.
http://www.alchemylab.com/mead.htm -- "Commentary on the Pymander -- G.R.S. Mead. Of Vision and Apocalypse. The Pymander treatise not only belongs to the most important type of the literature attributed to Hermes Trismegistus but is also the most important document within that type. It constitutes, so to speak, the Ground Gospel of the Hermetic Communities, in the form of a revelation or apocalypse received by the founder of the tradition. That founder, however, is not so much a historical personage as the personification of a teaching-power or grade of spiritual illumination -- in other words, of one who had reached the Hermetic or rather "Thrice-greatest" state of consciousness or enlightenment. ... This stage of enlightenment is characterized by a heightening of the spiritual intuition that made the mystic capable of receiving the first touch of cosmic consciousness, and of retaining it in his physical memory when he returned to the normal state. The setting forth of the divine teaching is thus naturally in the form of apocalyptic scenes but of an ordered and logical nature. The treatise purports to be a setting forth of the spiritual "Epopteia" ("seeing beyond") of the Inner Mysteries, the Vision revealed by the Great Initiator or Master Hierophant, the One Mind of all-masterhood
>received communion in a 'church' setting ... why the 'host' must dissolve on the tongue. ... administering nitroglycerin (for cardiac dilation) to patients, and the importance of its sublingual dissolvement.
I didn't "receive communion" - gave myself a cracker and grape juice in a "not Catholic, not Protestant, Bible-only based" church as the plates went around, every week in that church.
>I wonder if entheogen intake long ago, was in the form of necessity for oral dissolvement, as a means of attaining full action.
There are few conjectures of what "breaking bread" meant entheogenically - Amanita? entheogen such as psilocybin & datura in loaves? The whole area of Hellenistic entheogen preparations cries out for research. What was in "mixed wine"? What would "manna" be - ergot extract? If I had to fake it, I'd stick with psilocybin - clean and reliable.
From Christianity to Gnosis & from Gnosis to Christianity: An Itinerary Through the Texts to & from the Tree of Paradise
by Author: Jean Magne
Binding: Hardcover, 251 pages
Publisher: Brown Judaic Studies
Published Date: 05/01/1993
List Price: USD $49.95
Problem and deontology
Introduction -- 1
Part I -- From Christianity to Gnosis
1 The Eucharistic Ritual and the Feeding Narratives -- 9
2 The Feeding Narrative and the Last Supper: The Celebration of the Breaking of Bread in Jewish Meals -- 23
3 The Definitions of the Bread and the Cup in the Last Supper Narratives -- 27
4 The Emmaus Disciples and Adam and Eve in Paradise -- 41
5 The History of the Eucharist -- 53
Part II -- From Gnosis to Christianity
6 Gnosis and Its Rejudaization -- 59
7 The Paradise Narrative in Gnostic Writings -- 73
8 The Paradise Narrative Before and After Gnostic Exegesis -- 89
9 The Problem of the Supreme God, the Scriptures, the Devil and Jesus, in the Clementine Homilies -- 105
10 Condemnation and Rehabilitation of the Jewish God in Gnostic Myths -- 115
11 The Identification of the Saviour Jesus With the Lord Sabaoth, and the Jewish God With the Father -- 135
12 Jesus Lord Sabaoth in the Liturgical Prayers Transferred to the Father Or the Three Divine Persons -- 149
13 The Philippians Hymn 2.6-11 -- 173
14 The Two Identifications of the Serpent With the Instructor Jesus and the Seducer Devil -- 187
15 The Problem of Historicization -- 203
Epilogue -- 213
Note on Gnostic Writings -- 217
Bibliography of works cited -- 219
Author's Bibliography -- 223
Index of References -- 227
Translator's Note -- 240
Two Myths and Two Rites for the Origin of Christianity - Jean Magne
(Hermetic 'Wine'-mixing bowl of Mind)
According to reviewer Pessy, Magne, like Couchoud, Drews, Ory, and Wells, thinks Jesus' historicity unlikely, but also considers it necessary to explain how early Christianity developed and spread. Magne focuses on the Eucharist throughout Christian history.
Related book lists: http://www.egodeath.com/#BookLists:
Entheogen theory of the origin of religions
The active Eucharist that reveals the kingdom of God
Eucharist (Catholic authors)
Eucharist (Catholic authors II)
Lord's Supper (Prot., E. Orth, Ecum.)
Magne parallels Jesus' Eucharist with the serpent's apple -- which matches what I wrote a few days ago about the apple as an entheogen that is positioned like a "negative entheogen", that reverses us from pre-freewill thinking of the young child, to freewill thinking. Later, the Eucharist reverses us from freewill thinking to no-free-will and transcendent virtual freewill thinking.
I'm looking for a book of traditional parallels between Old and New Testament stories. Leads?
Subject: Unenlight'd = evil; eyes opened: und. good/evil; misleading
Excerpt from that posting:
>>The Bible can be pictured as a 3-phase movement. At first, Adam and Eve are in the Garden, knowing God, with no free will. They eat the anti-entheogen, so to speak, and fall into the delusion of freewill moral agency. During the moralistic-seeming middle of the Bible story, Adam and Eve are under the delusion of freewill moral agency.
>>When Jesus hands them sacred food (his entheogenic flesh/blood), they re-understand good/evil into the higher interpretive framework, and their illusory egoic-type 'sins' and 'evil' vanish like a possessing demon -- and they reenter the Garden. A great way to picture the apple and "gaining knowledge of good/evil" is that the apple is a toggler between two meaning-networks built upon the terms 'good' and 'evil'.
>>You could say the infant has not yet formed the deluded egoic interpretive framework of 'good' and 'evil' as implying freewill moral agency; the infant or young child hasn't much formed the paradigm of freewill moral agency and its type of 'guilt' and 'praise' and 'blame'. You could say that when the infant does so, it is as though they ate a negative entheogen, toggling from "not assuming freewill moral agency" to now assuming freewill moral agency.
>>Strange as this idea of a "negative entheogen" is, it achieves a certain balance and reflects that under it all, unconsciously, we're always in the Garden, always operating within the reality of "no-free-will".
>>For those who understand the systematic meaning-flipping quality of terms, especially 'good' and 'evil', the apple generally is a clear representation of the idea "Taking the entheogen toggles the mind's interpretive framework of terms that especially include 'good' and 'evil'." To take the entheogen is to re-understand the meaning of 'good' and 'evil'.
Like Christianity, the use of entheogens runs throughout the history of Buddhism. Official Buddhism had reasons to largely suppress and deny the entheogenic fountainhead, source, and origin.
There are tensions between folk use of entheogens, popular moralism, monastery decorum, and politics, resulting in the same mix in Christianity and Buddhism of mythic allusion to entheogens, official disallowing of entheogens, continued covert use of entheogens in monasteries, popular moralism against entheogens, and popular use of entheogens, utilizing Buddhist and Hindu religious elements. Entheogens have been used in a minority of Buddhist practice, but have had a major influence.
Official Buddhism uses a great deal of myth, literalism, and moralism. When these are discounted, and myth is read as description of entheogenic mystic altered state experiences, Buddhism is revealed as a distorted embodiment of transcendent insight and experiencing. Buddhist ideas must be read from an interpretive framework that filters out the lower reading and maps the terms into the higher reading.
When doing this with Buddhism and Christianity, the equivalence of the systems comes forward, approaching a full equivalence.
For the mind in the intense mystic altered state, "taking refuge in the compassionate protection of the Buddha" is functionally equivalent to praying for rescue by the Hellenistic godman -- it's a control-stabilizing move to solve a cybernetic self-control and thought-control crisis, a crisis represented by Mara and by the death-head grimace that literally shows what an unburied corpse soon looks like -- a symbol of ego death.
Liberal demythologized religion tends to be further from the truth than mythically dense folk religion. Myth, magic, supernatural, walking on water, resurrecting the dead, wrathful and compassionate deities, and suchlike elements signal the nearness of transcendent truth and entheogenic allegory; where those terms are absent in the major religions, the resulting religion is bereft of entheogenic insights and mystic experiencing.
Liberal demythologized readings of these religions often ends up being even more literalist than supernaturalist-style readings, where it really matters: "instead of reaching Nirvana in many lifetimes, this version of Buddhism enables it in a single lifetime" -- that sounds less literalist, but it is still literalist, because it still implies potential literal reincarnation.
It would be better to say that the multiple lifetimes idea is just a metaphor and speculation serving to prop up the delusion of separate-self moral agency, and promising a method of enlightenment that takes not a lifetime, but a year or so. Public relations, institutional strategy and other tangential concerns are the only reason to turn enlightenment into something so difficult as to require multiple literal lifetimes.
Ultimately, it must be explained that "multiple lifetimes" is just a metaphorical description for the series of partial enlightenments that occur in a series of entheogenic altered state sessions. In a way, today's de-Buddhismized meditation is closer to transcendent truth by removing the religious literalism -- but along with removing literalism, we've also removed the mythical metaphorical content, which serves functions during the altered state.
How will the mind react during a crisis that results from effective de-religionized meditation, if that meditation technique has neither literalism nor mythic metaphor to fall back on? To create a viable system of meditation, we need to provide a modern equivalent not for the literalist elements, but for the mythic metaphorical elements.
What is the dereligionized functional equivalent to "taking refuge in the compassionate protection of the Buddha", given that the latter was a device designed to bring back stability in the entheogenic intense mystic altered state? We cannot have such a functional equivalent, forming a truly superior meditation technology, without passing a milestone of making sense out of mythic metaphor in general as a key functional part of a system of altered-state mystic insight and experiencing.
>Indeed, are there not two forms of Buddhism in Japan: Zen, and Amitabha, or Pure Land Buddhism, the latter of which promises enlightenment in the Pure Land after death to anyone who merely ("merely"?) repeats the name of Amitabha? I believe Watts (through Suzuki) used to refer to them as the extremes of "trying" and "no trying", or "self-power" and "other-power".
There are many versions -- often conflicting versions -- of all religions, making it difficult to meaningfully articulate a general model of mystic insight that effectively supercedes all religions. If I only had to explain the real, undistorted meaning behind literalist Protestant Christianity, that would be relatively easy.
It is hard to also supercede at the same time charismatic, Orthodox, and Catholic Christianity, and Eastern Buddhism and Western popular Buddhism, to show that all major religions are more or less distorted expressions of the systematic model of transcendent knowledge I'm defining. Exoteric religions by definition work hard to appear to be incompatible with other religions.
If I refute some generic Christianity, does any particular tradition care? Christianity and Buddhism have labored to hide the fact that their mythic elements point to the same thing. Extinguishing the cycle of rebirths appears to be utterly different than purgatory or ascension into heaven. Identifying and recognizing the equivalence and essential similarity between religions is a matter of learning a conceptual language, a mode of translation and metaphorical meaning-mapping.
Wayne Meeks's book "In Search of the Early Christians", in the article "Man from Heaven: John" about the Gospel of John, discusses Nicodemus coming by night to see Jesus. I like Meeks' style, though as is standard, he is hopelessly Literalist.
Initiation often happens during the night; wrestling with an angel all night is a descriptive metaphor for the initiation experience. The uninitiated initially is not a follower of the godman. During the night, the initiate is brought to the godman.
Meeks holds that Jesus reveals he is the revealer, in a loop. But rather, Jesus reveals something definite, and Jesus is the personification of the revelation of certain definite principles which can be called Jesus principles or godman principles. Jesus is a personification of revelation. What is revealed is the nature of the self, mind, control, time, cosmic unity, cosmic determinism, and a way to in some sense "transcend" cosmic determinism.
What is revealed is the Jesus mind, or the transcendent, adult mental worldmodel as opposed to the child-mind. These are two distinct worldmodels, two distinct ways of conceiving oneself as an agent acting upon the world while moving through time. The child-mind is represented by the unbearded Dionysus/Jesus, and the adult-mind is represented by the bearded Dionysus/Jesus. The initiate grows a beard upon drinking the mixed wine at the initiate's Last Supper banquet/symposium/seder.
This is the night the boy sneaks to Jesus and becomes a man; this is the night the faithless prostitute (Mary "John" Magdalene) becomes a virgin mother of the deity (Virgin Mary). The revealer reveals the adult mental worldmodel, metaphorized as "the mind of Christ".
They provide descriptions of phenomena that need more study, including:
o Dynamic perceptual distortion
o Mental construct dis-integration
o Hyper pattern-recognition enabled by loose cognition
o New perspectives on how the will strives to project control into the future
o Ecstatic supercharged emotions
o Becoming inexorably the cosmic savior, center of the cosmic drama
o Experiencing the awesome force of Necessity
o Becoming the reborn holy Christ/Dionysus/Osiris child held in the arms of the loving transcendent spiritual person.
The holder of the holy infant has a negative and positive manifestation -- sometimes the terrifying and threatening and ego-death bestowing great destroying mother, and sometimes the loving great goddess -- that parent in whose arms one is reborn in full awareness of radical dependence and a power relationship of helplessness or dependence. One hand up, one down: Shiva actively shoves down and tramples on the ego while raising the spirit and consciousness."
>http://www.google.com/search?q=%22mixed+wine%22+greek -- 500 hits
It's pivotally important that we show that "mixed wine" 500 BCE-500 CE was understood to be an entheogenic mixture. It would be good if people could start searching the Web for confirmation.
An axiom and starting point for my way of thinking is that "wine" meant "entheogenic beverage". This is the grenade thrown into the heart of the Death Star. If we redefine what "wine" was to the ancients, we instantly sweep across all their religions, rendering them all entheogenic, and showing the whole culture as entheogenic. Imagine a world like ours today, but in which wine caused not alcohol inebriation, but entheogenic inebriation. That's how the ancient world was, in the years 500-500.
That changes the whole paradigm in the most potent way possible: suddenly mystic experiencing and "elitism" of "withheld knowledge" is seen to be utterly commonplace. The ancients were not only trippers, but tripped as a commonplace and matter-of-fact element of normal life. Did they understand their religious myths literally? No, that's what merely what official (literalist) Christian history falsely claims.
The *normal* interpretation of the Jews, original Christians, and mystery-religionists was mystic-state allegory; the abnormal view (fit for children only) was literalist. The evidence for this is uneven. Most writings were destroyed. We know there were many opium stores; we certainly know the ancients used opium -- we know a lot about their psychoactive use, but we need to bring together this knowledge coherently, against the current paradigm which is systematically blind and forgetful of these elements.
An effective paradigm-leveraging reminder is to cross out the word "wine" wherever you see it in ancient studies, and write "entheogenic beverage". That one little simple change changes everything entirely, and moves the center of gravity from Literalism to mystic-state allegory.
If "wine" meant "fermented grapes", the ancients were Literalists about their religious myth.
If "wine" meant "entheogenic beverage", the ancients were mystic-state allegorists about their religious myth.
There are two sets of propositions, forming paradigms:
A. "Wine" meant "fermented grapes", and the ancients were Literalists about their religious myth.
B. "wine" meant "entheogenic beverage", and the ancients were mystic-state allegorists about their religious myth.
Pick your paradigm, A or B. B does not instantly explain all aspects of religion, but it enables us to finally begin figuring out their religion. *Given* that "wine" actually meant "entheogenic beverage", and *given* that the ancients were mystic-state allegorists about their religious myth, now we may begin seeking what the individual aspects of their religion, doctrine, allegory, rituals, and so on were really about and what they really meant.
In this sense, the entheogen theory of ancient religion combined with the mystic-state allegory theory of ancient religion are not conclusions and answers, so much as the correct enabling methods and axioms, the starting points, for understanding the particulars of ancient religion and asking what the mythic elements meant.
If you assume paradigm A -- including the assumption that "wine" meant "fermented grapes" -- you're left with a very complicated, hazy, unclear theory of ancient religion: which is exactly what modern scholarship came up with. It would mean that allegory is difficult, rare, elite, and that the ancients were highly superstitious and emotional so as to have intense religious experiencing commonly. It would require that the ancients had a very different psychology from us. Paradigm A renders the ancients practically an alien species.
If you assume paradigm B -- including the assumption that "wine" meant "entheogenic beverage" -- immediately a simple, definite, clear theory of ancient religion results: which is what the entheogen theorists and mythic-only Christ theorists, and "esoteric original Christianity" theorists *would* come up with if they could only be brought together.
It would mean that allegory (not literalism) was easy, normal, mainstream, and commonplace, and that the ancients naturally metaphorically described their religious experiencing using mystic-state allegory. This suggests that the ancients had the same psychology as we do today, though in a different culture: one that routinely integrated entheogen use.
Paradigm B renders the ancients the same species as us, but with a key difference in their inebriation culture: we have an alcohol culture, and they had an entheogen culture. Literalism is the alcohol religion; mystic-state allegorism is the entheogen religion. Which religion were the ancients? The explanation for the difference between ancient and modern religion is that the ancients had entheogen religion, which is inherently allegorical, while the moderns had alcohol religion, which is inherently Literalist.
For example, standard Jewish religion as it was understood in antiquity should be thought of as entheogenic mystic-state allegory -- the Jews were not alcohol-paradigm Literalists about their religion; they were entheogenic mystic-state allegorists about their religion. This is a paradigm shift earthquake that changes the entire approach to studying the Jewish scriptures.
When you swap out alcohol in your model of the ancients and their wine, and insert "entheogen beverage" instead, *all* the rules change and -- how can I emphasize? -- all the *history* changes; our conception of what their self-conception was must be entirely rewritten from scratch, as though you've never heard of such a thing as the Jewish religion.
We've been given completely false pictures about how the Jews thought of their religion; we have a Literalist Christian false history of what all religion and all religious history was really about. Interestingly, the Literalist Christian paradigm cannot just be literalist about Christianity -- to cohere, it must distort all religions, portraying them as literalist as well.
It's impossible to reconceive ancient religion as firmly allegorical-only, without also swapping alcohol for entheogenic beverage. There was some literalist thinking, but it was relatively inferior and not the driving factor. Ancient religion was perhaps 1/3 literalist misunderstanding, and 2/3 sophisticated allegorical-only thinking, mastering entheogen altered-state metaphor and allegory (though not particularly or consistently strong at systematic theory).
The center of gravity of ancient religion wasn't systematic theology (spiritual science or "theory") or Literalist religion, but rather, entheogen-state allegory. People still had to move from beginner religion (Literalism) to esoteric religion, but Literalism wasn't strongly predominant like today. They had mysteries; things weren't known openly, but still had to be revealed -- they were "1/3 hidden & Literalist" and "2/3 revealed and allegorist".