So todays video is going to be about the secret God, now, what is this secret God? It is a God which is above all other Gods and was never taught within the Christian church, it was deemed a demon by the church and theologians of Christianity because it was the Great Archon within basilidian Gnosticism and Gnosticism was seen as heresy by the church, so… why is this the secret God of Jung and Nietzsche?
To get into the technical aspect of its name, Abraxas has 7 letters and these 7 letters symbolise the 7 known planets of the solar system that was astrologically known, if we add up the value of each letter within its name through Greek translation we get to the total of: 365 which is the total number of days there are in the year, so this God was deemed very important.
As we can see from the symbolism of the Abraxas it is fundamentally a symbol of unified polarities, we have the shield of protective wisdom compensated with the whip of power, a roosters head to symbolise attention and vigilance and of course the legs of a snake which is very feminine, especially when you start you look towards the Shakti energies with regards to Kundalini which means the coiled snake, and of course the body of a man.
But this symbol starts to get really interesting when we start to look at the theological terms within Gnosticism like: Pleroma, this term falls in line with other metaphysical understandings such as: Brahman in Hinduism, The Tao in Taoism and Unus Mundus in Alchemy, this idea that there is an underlying fabric within our existence which is itself limited by definition through our language and comprehension like the Tao is, we cannot define it because language would limit our understanding of the pleroma, it is the pre-material, the cosmic immaterial, you can even relate it to the hermetic principle which is referred to as the “ALL” the underlying substantial reality, but at the same time is it the undifferentiated world, that which lies before differentiation, before creation into the material for what exists within all of us is the pleroma yet the material is not the pleroma itself.
Jung’s Seven Sermons to the Dead is a gnostic texts which expands the ideas of Abraxas further and through it we start to identify that abraxas is a God above God, something beyond good and evil, this is where we identify the Nietzschean link.
*So what I am going to do is pick out areas of the seven sermons to the dead, expand on them and explain them instead of reading the entire thing which is very heavy going in itself and something you would probably want to do instead*
This mystical text I believe was an active imagination and thus Jung does not identify that he wrote this himself, he says that these are the words of the Christian gnostic teacher Basilides who idealised Abraxas as the Great Archon and he is thus giving sermons to the dead who are the Christians.
“nothingness is the same as fullness. in infinity full is as good as empty, nothingness is empty and full. You might as just as well say anything else about nothingness, for instance, that it is white, or black. or that it does not exist, or that it exists. That which is endless and eternal has no qualities, since it has all qualities.
We call this nothingness and fullness the pleroma”
This is the introduction to the first sermon which is saying, look: the pleroma is the explicated manifold of divine characteristics, a state of fullness with the existence of opposites BEFORE they manifest and become as such, that they are in the state of promise before they become, but at the same time the opposites are non-existent because they have not yet become differentiated through creation, so to give a rough example: what existed before the big bang? That would be the pleroma, the existence of divinity before being attached to the material.
Jung also developed this idea of the pleroma in relation to the Tibetan Bardo, because Bardo is the intermediate state between two lives, so pragmatically, think of ones consciousness being suspended from the body within a meditative state, that would be referred to as the Bardo, it would be the same with even being in the state of illness, and Jung said: well okay, the Bardo is pre-existence and potentiality at the same time which is the pleroma itself
Moving on he states that we need to distinguish the qualities of the pleroma, and he says that these qualities are pairs of opposites:
“the effective and the ineffective, the fullness and the emptiness, the living and the dead, the different and the same, light and darkness, hot and cold, force and matter, time and space, good and evil, the beautiful and the ugly the one and the many etc…”
but then he writes:
“The pairs of opposites are the qualities of the pleroma that do not exist, because they cancel themselves out. as we are the pleroma itself we also have all these qualities in us. since our nature is grounded in differentiation, we have these qualities in the name and under the sign of differentiation, which means:
“1st: these qualities are differentiated and separate in us: therefore they do not cancel each other out, but are effective. Thus we are the victims of the pairs of opposites. The Pleroma is rent within us.
2nd: these qualities belong to the pleroma, and we must possess and live them only in the name and under the sign of differentiation. We must differentiate ourselves from these qualities. They cancel each other out in the pleroma. But not in us. Distinction from them saves us.”
Here he is taking about the human and our nature, that our nature is grounded in differentiation because we are creations, just like the Hegelian synthesis we need to differentiate and not fall prey to the opposites of the pleroma, we need to synthesise because that is what essence is, the essence of the individual is the soul.
Further on a question arises concerning God where the dead ask: “we want to know about God , where is God is God dead?”
“God is not dead he is as alive as ever, God is creation for he is something definite, and therefore differentiated from the pleroma.
“He is less differentiated than creation, since the ground of his his essence is effective fullness”
“effective emptiness is the the essence of the devil”
“everything that differentiation takes out of the pleroma is a pair of opposites, therefore the devil always belongs to God”
From this we can grasp that God is effective fullness and the devil is effective emptiness which are two opposites but this is where we get this idea of abraxas:
“fullness and emptiness, generation and destruction, are what distinguish God and the devil. Effectiveness is common to both. Effectiveness joins them, since it unites fullness and emptiness through its effectuality.”
this is the important part:
“this is a god you knew mothing about, because mankind forgot him. We call him by his name ABRAXAS he is even more indefinite then God and the devil. To distinguish him from God we call God HELIOS or sun. Abraxas is effect. nothing stands opposed to him but the ineffective; hence his effective nature unfolds itself freely. abraxas stands above the sun and above the devil. If the pleroma had an essence. Abraxas would be its manifestation, he is the effectual itself, not any particular effect, but effect in general, he is force duration, change”
So essentially Abraxas is the god which allows effectiveness between the opposites, the God which manifests the synthesis of thesis and antithesis, the absolute, abraxas is life itself which is what is produced from the synthesis of opposites.
The reason why he says that if the pleroma had an essence or a soul with intent it would be abraxas is because the pleroma in itself is the totality of all opposites, and if so then its essence would be some kind of infinite synthesis of creation, but abraxas is above all gods, it is the effect of all causes which collide, the life produced from all things submerging, the mother of good and evil.
“Abraxas is the God who is difficult to grasp, his power is greatest because man does not see it. From the sun he draws the summum bonum (which basically means happiness as being the supreme good), from the devil the infimum malum, but from abraxas LIFE, altogether indefinite the mother of good and evil”
The reason why this relates to Nietzsche is because Abraxas is beyond good and evil, he is the outcome of synthesis, it is neither one or the other, like Nietzsche’s Dionysian affirmation of life, abraxas is the affirming principle, because it is totality itself, nothing is rejected but affirmed because that is what produces LIFE and makes life heavy, the re-evaluation of values also links into this and I think this is what Nietzsche was trying to explain through the understanding of the Ubermensch, is it the case that humans are Abraxas, that we are the individuals that formulate the absolute from the opposites, that we formulate the distinctiveness to be what it means to be an individual, for in this sermon the dead raised a great tumult, for they were Christians! They didn’t like what the gnostic (through the words of Jung) had to say about Abraxas, being preached that there is a God above all Gods and that this itself is the one which brings effect to the causes of differentiation when in opposition, what unfolds from polarity is the life of abraxas, this is very similar in William Blakes poem the marriage of heaven and hell, where you need the existence of the contraries for progression, for life itself.
You could say that it is it is the God which is the moulding of purusha, prakriti and Shiva all in one for it is essence, matter and destruction.
“The power of abraxas is twofold; but you do not see it, because in your eyes the warring opposites of this power are cancelled out. “What the sun God speaks is life, what the devil speaks is death” “but abraxas speaks that hallowed and accursed word that is at once life and death”
“Abraxas produces the truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word in the same act. Therefore Abraxas is terrible”
he is as splendid as the lion in the instant he strikes down his victim. He is beautiful as a spring day
He is the great and the small Pan alike
He is priopos
He is the monster of the underworld, a thousand-armed polyp, a coiled knot of winged serpents, frenzy.
He is the hermaphrodite of the earliest beginning.
He is the lord of toads and frogs, which live in the water and go up on the land, whose chorus ascends at noon and at midnight
He is the fullness that seeks union with emptiness
He is the holy begetting
He is love and its murder
He is the saint and his betrayer
To look upon him, blindness
To recognize him is sickness
to worship his is death
to fear him is wisdom.”