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Inner alchemy archives - Christ and Satan as Brothers

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Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 00:24:54 +0000

From "Psychology and Religion" (somewhere in pars 138-149):

"Ultimately, every individual life is at the same time the eternal life of the species.
The individual is continuously 'historical' because strictly time-bound; the relation of
the type to time, on the other hand , is irrelevant. Since the life of Christ is
archetypal to a high degree, it represents to just that degree the life of the archetype.
But since the archtetype is the unconscoious precondition of every human life, its life ,
when revealed, also reveals the hidden, unconscious ground-life of every individual. That
is to say, what happens in the life of Christ happens always and everywhere. In the
Christian archetype all lives of this kind are prefigured and are expressed over and
over again or once and for all."

From "Aion" (56/57):

"The author of the [Clemintine] Homilies espouses a Petrine Christianity distinctly
"High Church" or ritualistic in flavour. This, taken together with his doctrine of the
dual aspect of god, brings him into close relationship with the early Jewish-Christian
Church, where, according to the testimony of Epiphanius, we find the Ebionite notion that
God had two sons, an elder one, Satan, and a younger one, Christ-- (Panarium, ed. by
Oehler, I, p.267). Michaias, one of the speakers in the dialogue, suggests as much when
he remarks that if good and evil were begotten in the same way they must be brothers--
(Cleminitine Homilies XX, ch. VII)."

Donald Minson

From: Mats Winther
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 09:56:50 +0200

The Satan-Christ brothership:

J B Russel "Satan", Cornell University Press, 1981, p.56, 153-154
Lactantius (c.245-325) "Divine Institutes" 2.8 etcetera
Epiphanius "Panarion" 24.6
C G Jung "Aion" par.77
CG Jung "The Spirit Mercurius" par.271 f
Michael Psellus "De daemonibus" (trans.Marcilio Ficino),fol.N.Vv.
Epiphanius "Panarion" XXX,16,2 (edit.Karl Holl, Leipzig 1915-33)

The source of satanic myth is "The Book of Enoch" (probably mid second
century B.C). But the book mentions the Son of Man and Samyaza. This was
before the term "Christ", but the meaning is the same, for those who arenīt
completely blind.

Mats Winther

Date: Fri, 04 Apr 1997 16:50:26 -1100
From: Br.Athanasius

The line taken by recent discussions is so far distant from my
understanding of the main purpose of this group, that is the study
of alchemy as such, that I must withdraw from the active participation
for a time. I hope to reestablish contact with many of you in the future.

Brother Athanasius
Orthodox Monastery of the Glorious Ascension

From: Joe
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997

Brother A - don't go away mad at us. It is language which confuses us and
drives us to our dogmatic ends. Christ and Satan as brothers probably drives
an orthodox man like yourself to fits; but it's the word brothers which is
the problem. For the relationship "described" by the symbol of the uroborus -
that is, the relationship between head/tail & eating/vomiting, coming &
going, malkuth to kether - a word like "brother" only obfuscates if its taken
literally. And the taking of the symbol literally is the real "sin" of modern
man. I think Mats Winthers might not agree with me here about "sin" but it
strikes me that a lot of recent threads in the forum come together over the
recent "Christ & Satan as Brothers" riff. About the uroborus I remember this:
It is the head of the serpent [Pendragon] which is emblematic of Christ; it
is the tail [Satanael {sp?}] which is emblematic of his "twin". Now let the
puking/eating debate rage on.

Glad to see you weathered the lent. I'm up in Michigan waiting for my lake
to thaw. He may be risen, but his grace is late where I live.


Date: Sun, 6 Apr 97

It seems clear to me that, although the Ebionites and others were brave enough
and enlightened enough to regard Christ and Satan as brothers, if Christ was,
as is said, "the only begotten son", that one would have to push through to
the logical conclusion of this, that is to say that the gematria version is
the correct interpretation: NChSh = MShIH (and this in no uncertain terms)...
This interpretation - for all the fact that its is nuanced (HShTN, for
example, does NOT equal HMShIH) would certainly open out onto a very useful
reevaluation of the real nature and role of such concepts as Satan, good/evil,
even Judas Iscariot, and, in fact, the whole mechanism of Near Eastern
dualism, surely extraordinarily long-overdue...
To quote Rabbi Schimeon: 'How long shall we abide in the condition of one
column by itself?'


From: Noel Kettering
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 1997

As side-bar to this discussion, I will point to:
"The Gods of the Egyptians" by E.A.Wallis Budge,
in which he makes an arguement for the meanings
of the names HERU ([Khoor]-Horus) and SET.

Budge finds evidence that Khoor means "That which
is Above" and argues that Set must (and does) mean
"That which is Below."

Budge may have been familiar with Alchemy, but
makes no overt connection between these names
and the ancient maxim of Hermes "That which is
above, is the same as that which is below,"
except in his choice of words.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Egyptian
mythology, Horus and Set are, symbolically,
similar to Christ and Satan.

While not directly related to the Hebrew gematrical
NChSh = MShIH connection, pointed out by Mike Dickman,
it shows an archetypal relationship between these two


From: Bernard Bovasso
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997

>For those who may be unfamiliar with Egyptian
>mythology, Horus and Set are, symbolically,
>similar to Christ and Satan.

That does indeed complicate matters, since Set is the uncle of Horus
and thus brother of his mother, Isis. But if his mother's brother is his
brother, then Isis, who is his mother is his sister. This incestuous
round robin apparently is of little consequence in uroboric (closed
matricircle) consciousness, although quite outrageous to ourselves who are
party to the straigtended out, rising up and erect (brazen)
serpent kind of consciousness.



Date: Tue, 8 Apr 97

Dear Brother Athanasius

What a pity.

Christos serode! in any case.


Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 10:54:34 -0500 (EST)
From: Richard Patz

>From: Mats Winther
>But, surely you must know of the Satanic myth, that Satan really
>belongs to the Godhead as Christs' elder brother. This is mentioned in The
>Book of Enoch and elsewhere.

Dear Mats:

Can you give some specific sources - chapter and verse as it were - on this?


Richard Patz

From: Mats Winther
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 23:36:16 +0200

Iīm glad you made the observation that the drama of Christ does not mean
freeing the spirit from matter. I myself protested against this gnostic
notion in an earlier mail (in the answer to "Nigredo Friday").

This is how I understand the "brazen serpent" symbol. You are right in
saying that it is analogous to the crucifixion, but the meaning is
different. The "serpens mercurialis" is actually sometimes shown nailed to
a cross instead of a tree. I understand it as an "expanding consciousness"
symbol. The breaking up of the Urobourous into a straight serpent, would be
to take the spirit from itsī unconscious state of infantile wholeness in
Prima Materia. The breaking up of the Urobouros circle has been discussed
at length earlier, but as "womiting tail" (which seems to be a more
compulsive variation of the theme). To a Christian the black serpent would
undoubtedly be interpreted as Satan. To the alchemist, however, it is
Mercurius. But as Satan is the devil of God, so is Mercurius the devil of
the alchemist. This nailing to the tree of the serpent is the same thing as
enclosement of serpent, or entombment of serpent. This is what the
alchemist does first - he takes the serpens mercurialis and locks it up in
the alchemical vessel. This has a similar meaning as the nailing to the
tree; the nailing fast to the ground; the enclosement in the tomb. The
primitive spirit has his freedom restricted. This is exactly what God did
with his devil; Satan. He threw him in jail down in hell where he sits
enclosed (but sometimes manages to escape). Odin nailed Loki to the rock.
And Prometheus was also treated in a similar way by Zeus.

Now, the alchemist does the same thing as God. He threws his devil into his
little hell, which is the Vas Hermeticum under which the fire burns. When
the primitive spirit is locked up, the conscious spirit can break
completely free from him. So the tertiary spirit leaves the primitive
wholeness and flies away, higher and higher, and develops his understanding
to become a beautiful blue dragon. So the breaking free of the spirit from
Prima Materia means that a part of it, "the hopeless one", - the black,
wingless dragon - must stay behind and be enclosed so he cannot run around
freely, creating projections, lures and temptations for the mind. So this
is why "freedom of the spirit" is achieved by enclosing (or brazing) the
primitive Spiritus Mercurius.
But if a wholeness is to be achieved, the tertiary spirit, fully developed,
must return and again unite with the dark spirit in the vessel to achieve
the quaternity wholeness. This time it will not be a primitive black
Urobourous as in the beginning.

The differentiated tertiary spirit of the Godhead is the Holy Trinity. It
broke free from itsī primitive conjunction with Satan when he was cast into
the abyss. But a wholeness must again be achieved, so God must descend from
his lofty height of supreme wisdom and again unite with the left behind
dark force. He descends with his body Jesus Christ and undergoes the
conjunction in the vessel of the grave. However, He was not quite
successful since He couldnīt carry his cross and had to be nailed to it.
But at the second coming of Christ, He will be strong enough to go through
with it, and the Godhead becomes a four-unity. So God does with himself
what he earlier did with Satan. Satan was "crucified" and cast down into
the tomb of earth. Now, He lets himself be crucified and entombed. But this
actually means a unification of spirit and matter, of Heaven and Earth.
There will be no split no more. Heaven is here on Earth. And this is what
Jesus says in the Gospels.

Itsī the same with the alchemist. He does the same to himself as he earlier
did with serpens mercurialis. He descends into the grave of the Vas
Hermeticum to achieve a new wholeness and nigredo ensues. Here he will be
transformed. (But a crucifixion of the alchemist would probably mean a
physical death i.e. a conjunction, but at the same time a failure. This can
happen when the alchemist cannot "carry his cross" and go through with the
descent and conjunction. It would be a kind of failure similar to Christs'
- although the latter could hardly be called a failure).

So the ascent of the spirit then - the expanding consciousness - is
achieved by the traditional Christian virtues; locking the little
distracting devil up and concentrating on spiritual things. And it also
means becoming conscious of the shadow, deviced by Jung.

So, for me, Mercurius is the alchemist's Spirit of Matter, while Satan is
the God's Spirit of Matter. But you may be right in saying that the
Mercurius could be interpreted as the grand conjunctive symbol of Satan and
Christ, of spirit and matter. Since Christ is the matter of the spirit (or
body of the spirit) while Satan is the spirit of matter, the Mercurius cold
very well mean the unified spirit and matter. But this needs a little
digging to be established. Then he would be the real symbol of the Self
(Jungīs concept). Concerning your concept of the "Hermetic function" - this
sounds interesting. This would be a gateway between the unconscious and
conscious. Something very wonderful, and controversial.

Maybe I havenīt answered all your questions, but at least Iīve given you
food for thought.

Mats Winther

Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997
From: Bernard Bovasso

Mats Winther writes:
>The disciple "pierces the snake", and "nails it to the tree". This,
>symbolically, is the breaking free from the Mother. The hero killing
>thedragon is similar, except that the disciple seems to have a real
>problem, the snake being so big. The freeing of the spirit from the
>Prima Materia then, is nothing other than taking up an interest in
>that which is not material, like dream interpretation, hard work,
>intellectual understanding, contributions to society by work.

Do you not overlook something of the process by the conclusion
you draw? The nailing of the snake to the tree mimics the
crucifixion of Jesus. But is the latter, quite to the contrary, a
freeing of the spirit from the mother? St. Augustine notes:

"Like a bridegroom Christ went forth from his chamber,
he went out with a presage of his nuptials into the field
of the world. He came to the marriage bed of the cross,
and there, in mounting it, he consumated his marriage.
And when he perceived the sighs of the creature, he lovingly
gave himself in place of his bride, and he joined himself
to the woman forever." (from his *Sermo Suppositus*)

In this case the Mother is at once the tree, the wood of the cross
and the Church. Where Christ become the groom of his Mother,
the alchemical Mercurious must be freed from the protohylic
matricircle (as *materia prima*). Accordingly, the oroboric serpent
is not broken, or broken out of, but bent straight to virtually "rise
up." It then has become brazen, like the serpent in the Garden.
The repose of Christ, on the Cross that is his Mother, is quite in
antithesis to the rising up of the brazen Mercurious. Because of
this seeming anomaly Hermes takes up identity during the Christian
epoch as satan and by which alchemy, as the precursor to modern
science, is addressed as demonic. It may then be clear that the freeing
of the Mercurious from the mother stone is simply a
beginning to the (alchemical) process that must eventually
resolve in death by crucifixtion, and then resurrection unto
eternal life. But how much of such life is embraced according to the
"sighs of the creature" and which becomes the destiny of the Christ who
ventures out into the field of the world?

In that case where is the line drawn between good and evil in the
Christ-Lapis parallel? In a previous post (alchemy-email, 97-04-01) Donald
Minson writes:

"The author of the [Clemintine] Homilies espouses a
Petrine Christianity distinctly "High Church" or ritualistic
in flavour. This, taken together with his doctrine of the
dual aspect of god, brings him into close relationship with
the early Jewish-Christian Church, where, according to
the testimony of Epiphanius, we find the Ebionite notion
that God had two sons, an elder one, Satan, and a
younger one, Christ-- (Panarium, ed. by Oehler, I, p.267).
Michaias, one of the speakers in the dialogue, suggests
as much when he remarks that if good and evil were
begotten in the same way they must be brothers--
(Cleminitine Homilies XX, ch. VII)."

In view of this it would appear that the *tertium quid* mediating
between, good and evil, or Christ and Satan is the Mercurious
which is at once both Christ and Satan and also a figure in its own
right. Indeed, the Mercurious immediately points to what I call
the "Hermetic function," the endopsychic intuition, the psychlogical
function that is an embarrassment to reasonable men, if not their