isis unveiled, vol 2: chapter ii (sorcery)

“The erudite author of Supernatural Religion assiduously endeavors to prove that by Simon Magus we must understand the apostle Paul, whose Epistles were secretly as well as openly calumniated by Peter, and charged with containing “dysnoetic learning.” The Apostle of the Gentiles was brave, outspoken, sincere, and very learned; the Apostle of Circumcision, cowardly, cautious, insincere, and very ignorant.

That Paul had been, partially, at least, if not completely, initiated into the theurgic mysteries, admits of little doubt. His language, the phraseology so peculiar to the Greek philosophers, certain expressions used but by the initiates, are so many sure earmarks to that supposition. Our suspicion has been strengthened by an able article in one of the New York periodicals, entitled Paul and Plato, in which the author puts forward one remarkable and, for us, very precious observation.

In his Epistles to the Corinthians, he shows Paul abounding with “expressions suggested by the initiations of Sabazius and Eleusis, and the lectures of the, (Greek), philosophers. He, (Paul), designates himself an idiotes – a person unskillful in the Word, but not in the gnosis or philosophical learning. We speak wisdom among the perfect or initiated’, he writes, ‘not the wisdom of this world, nor of the archons of this world, but divine wisdom in a mystery, secret – which none of the Archons of this world knew.'”

What else can the apostle mean by these unequivocal words, but that he himself, as belonging to the mystae, (initiated), spoke of things shown and explained only in the Mysteries? The “divine wisdom in a mystery which none of the archons of this world knew”, has evidently some direct reference to the basileus of the Eleusinian initiation who did know. The basileus belonged to the staff of the great hierophant and was an archon of Athens; and as such was one of the chief mystae, belonging to the interior Mysteries, to which a very select and small number obtained an entrance. The magistrates supervising the Eleusinians were called archons.

Another proof that Paul belonged to the circle of the “Initiates” lies in the following fact. The apostle had his head shorn at Cenchrea, (where Lucius, Apuleius, was initiated), because “he had a vow.” The nazars – or set apart – as we see in the Jewish Scriptures, had to cut their hair which they wore long, and which “no razor touched” at any other time, and sacrifice it in the altar of initiation. And the nazars were a class of Chaldean theurgists. We will show further that Jesus belonged to this class.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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