The Letter to Theophilus, Part II

Of Saint Mark the Wonderworker

The blessed Saint Mark the Wonderworker drew many men and women into our company as students and initiates, teaching skills and celebration of our abilities and gifts.

In consecrating the sacred cup of thanksgiving, Mark prayed to the Goddess Charis to drop her sacred blood into the cup that all may be inspired and empowered by it, saying, “May that Charis who is before all things, and who transcends all knowledge and speech, fill your inner being and multiply in you her own knowledge, by sowing the grain of mustard seed in you as in good soil.” Remember that Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed.

Mark also allowed the women of his company to consecrate the cup, since in our company women are equal in authority to men.

Mark was both a prophet and a teacher who could enable his students to prophesize as well. He said to the women he was teaching, “I am eager to make you a partaker of my Charis, since the Father of all continually beholds your angel before His face. Behold, Charis has descended upon you; open your mouth and say what comes into your mind immediately, and you will prophesize.”

To overcome their doubts, Mark explained to his students that messages from the gods arise in our minds instantly, so we must have faith in the message and not think ourselves unworthy of divine guidance. At our feasts, we draw lots to take turns practicing prophesizing and divination upon one another, in order to strengthen our abilities to divine the truth and know the will of the Father.

 

Of the Full Initiation into the Sacred Mysteries

Once a woman gained the skill of prophecy, she had proved herself worthy of admission into the inner mysteries. Preparing the bridal chamber, Mark pronounced this blessing:

“Now the place of your angel is among us: it behooves us to join the two into one. Receive first from me and by me the gift of Charis. Adorn yourself as a bride who is expecting her bridegroom, that you may be what I am, and I what you are. Establish the germ of light in your nuptial chamber. Receive from me a spouse, and become receptive of him, while you are received by him.”

Then they celebrated the sacred mystery that the two may become one, for Jesus said, “When you make the two into one, you will become truly human.”

All of creation was engendered by our Fathe and Mother as they celebrated the sacred mysteries of sexuality, for our pleasure in our sexuality is but a pale reflection of the infinite ecstasy that blazes in the hearts of the divine. The union of man and woman is this derived from the divine emanation of heaven above. We always prepare a nuptial couch to celebrate the sacred mystery with those who are being initiated, for this is the sacred marriage, reflecting the marriage and passion of the gods above.

Great is the mystery of marriage! For without it, the world would not exist. Indeed, marriage in the world is a mystery for those who have taken a wife. If there is a hidden quality to the marriage of this world, how much more is the sacred marriage a true mystery!

For the survival of our race, God has implanted in us a desire that neither law nor custom nor any other constraint can destroy, for it is God’s decree. The law commands us to take a husband or wife and to multiply like the sands of the sea. Passion is our delight, for in passion we fulfill the law. Desire is not evil, for without desire, no one would ever fulfill that first commandment. Hence marriage, love, and the bearing of children are all cooperation with the work of creation.

We know that our sexual conjunction is a sacred mystery that will bring us to the Kingdom of God. We must always celebrate the sacred mysteries, our pathway to everlasting blessedness, for whoever in this world does not so love a woman as to gain her for the truth is not of the truth and shall not attain to the truth. Grace is our own; it descends upon us from above as we celebrate our sacred mysteries in the bridal chamber.

The heretics blaspheme our mysteries, calling them immoral and defilement. They have forgotten what Jesus said, “What goes into your mouth will not defile you. Rather, it is what comes out of your mouth that will defile you.” They have fallen so far away from the truth that they may never awaken.

Sometimes the heretics have kidnapped our initiates and compelled them to recant the truth and to submit again to their heresies that blaspheme and reject the true sacred mysteries passed down to us by the Prophet and his Queen.

 

Of the Power of the Truth

Mark taught that the infinite fourfold power descended upon him in the form of a woman (for the world could not have borne it coming as a male), to enlighten him about her own nature and about the origin of all things, which she had never before revealed to any one either of gods or of men.

The fourfold power said to him, “I wish to show you Truth herself; for I have brought her down from the dwellings above, that you may see her naked and perceive her beauty, that you may hear her speak and admire her wisdom. Raise your thoughts to the heights. Listen to the words spoken by Truth of the self-begotten Word, who is also the dispenser of the bounty of the Father.”Then Truth spoke to him the name of power that he has taught us.

Truth is one single thing; yet it is many things for our sakes,  in order to teach us about this one thing in love through many things. For Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way. Truth brought names into existence in the world for our sakes, because we cannot learn truth without names. Truth, which existed since the beginning, is sown everywhere and many see it being sown, but few see it being reaped.

 

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    While I find this interesting, and clearly see some of the sources of the various parts of the letter thus far, I have to ask: is it all going to be this heterosexist?

    • aidanakelly

      I certainly don’t intend it to be heterosexist, but I simply have not yet found anything in source documents about gay sex–aside from the bigotry about it in the “mainstream,” of course. One thing I do know is that the Greek word in Paul that is routinely translated as “homosexual” actually meant “male prostitute,” an entirely different issue.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        The entire context of the Secret Gospel of Mark, and much of what seems to have been said about Carpocratians, suggests that homoeroticism wasn’t out-of-bounds for them. I’ve always found those passages interesting food for thought, in any case…And, there’s been several homoeroticism- (or, in certain respects, bisexuality-) approving interpretations of Jesus in various places, many of which never mention the Secret Gospel of Mark.
        It’s a thought, in any case…

        • aidanakelly

          You’re right, PSVL, that story in Secret Mark could be interpreted that way, but that would have to be in the context of rethinking the whole pericope. Is the Secret Mark version less evolved than John’s version? Was, as the rationalists would insist, Lazarus merely in a coma? Did John rewrite it to make it foreshadow the dying and raising of Jesus? Was the death-and-raising of Lazarus actually symbolic, as part of an overall larger initiation sequenced? And the problem with the earlier bit: if J met M,M&L in Jericho, why would he have snubbed them? My imaginatiob has not yet figured out how to sort all thast out and connect it with other pieces of the puzzle. BTW, there are certain details about me that I’ve never discussed outside of the right sort of 12-step meeting.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            To be sure, it’s a fascinating and complex set of topics, certainly…

            My own theory, in brief: the “naked man running into the night” of Mark, who was once purported to be Mark the evangelist, and who with Secret Mark turns out to be the rich man Jesus loved, the “Lazarus” figure he raises, the naked man running into the night at the arrest, and the young man in the tomb who tells the women Jesus has been raised, is pretty much the person from whom the Mark gospel originates, and who also inspired the stories in John about the Beloved Disciple and Lazarus, the latter of which (very oddly!) was interpreted way too literally in the aftermath. Whether their deaths were actual or metaphorical/initiatory, of course, we can’t know for sure, but I suspect that they were mythologized and were perhaps initiatory in nature.

            Certainly, all this is getting off track with your aims in these pieces…but, it bears further thought, if nothing else! Thanks for indulging me here!
            And, you’ve done something evil: tantalized me with details on a conversation that sounds very interesting, and then held out! Oh well…perhaps when we meet in person someday, we can discuss such things over chai. ;)

    • Dave Burwasser

      Sufenas, I hear what you’re saying, I definitely do. But I’d like to put in a word on Aidan’s behalf, because of what we have in common.
      We were both born in the early 1940s, thus spending our teen years in the 1950s. At that time any sexuality was morally condemned. As young heterosexuals our sexuality was a source of shame and a risk of damnation (sound familiar?). I broke free of that through the heritage of the Enlightenment; Aiden’s escape was through an epiphanal revelation that sexuality is sacred.
      But that was his sexuality, and the products of his creative imagination such as the Letter to Theophilus and Goddess Murder come to him in that form. If you will, this is the portal through which his Muse addresses him.
      As with any work of art, I try to appreciated his stuff for what it is, not what it might be if someone else created it. His is one voice among many, and will speak what is given to him to announce. I prefer to enjoy it for what it is.

      • aidanakelly

        Thank you, Dave. It would not have occurred to me to offer such a defense. It’s nice to have fans!

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        While I do see what you’re saying, Dave, the main reason I was commenting is not because I have a problem with Aidan’s experiences or identity as a heterosexual; it’s because, as I read it, this particular series of posts is not so much “here’s my life and my understandings of it,” but instead a potentially more universal and widely-applicable theological understanding, which is very definitely appealing and enjoyable. That the enjoyment of it is diminished for those who aren’t exclusively heterosexual–both by the focus on male/female pairings, and also on the quote from the Gospel of Philip about “when has a female conceived by a female?” (and which is seriously questioned by, for example, a story of exactly that happening in a biologically defensible manner in an Irish story that draws upon the episode of Mary and Elizabeth in Luke!) which sort of puts lesbians out of the question in many respects.

        In any case, it’s my job to look for things like this, and to ask about such matters when they come up. Art has the power to be very transformative if understood in the right light and under the right circumstances; that a whole class of people is excluded from such transformative potentials is, at very least, a concern of some of us.

        • Dave Burwasser

          I wouldn’t dream of suggesting you withhold critical commentary. Politically I’m on your side. I think it would be interesting to do with Paul’s dour remarks about male-on-male sex what Aiden did with the orthodox comments on “seductive” Gnostic women.


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