[NB] Mandaean Eschatology

It is going to be quiet here for a little while yet. The narrative cosmogram that I have been working on is proceeding exactly according to its own pace, which is an interesting experience, but not one that can be easily shared before it is further along.

Here, though, is a little excerpt from a scholar’s meeting with a Mandaean sheikh in the 1970s:

“Sheikh Abdullah showed us his ring and explained that the four animals depicted on the seal—the lion, the wasp, the scorpion, and the encircling snake—were ‘the elements of life’….Cosmological and mythical topis came up. What will happen to us at the end of the world?…the Mandaeans will go to the Lightworld, the heavenly world. Paradise lies beyond the gate at the North Pole, ours is just one of 365 universes, and the earth is flat and stands still. And it will soon end. Such were the sheikh’s words.”—The Mandaeans: Ancient Texts and Modern People, Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley (ix)

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Cosmology, Neither Map nor Territory

I’ve been on a cosmological kick while diving a little more deeply into the Gnostic material. As I read through the divergent perspectives on salvation and the best means of attaining it (which is what the cosmologies are for, after all), I am articulating it with my own magical work. There are some potential pitfalls in this sort of work and as I navigate them I’m reminded of the old saw about the map not being the territory, except that there really isn’t a map or territory in these cosmologies.

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Making of Your Mind a Talisman

There are times when I am writing about spiritual work in public, like here, or in private, in my journals, that I am troubled by what value it has. It seems like there is so much work that goes into the discussion and some of it is so peculiar, that it cannot have any real purpose outside of occupying my thoughts. The speculations about the coil of life, or the giants, or the daemons, can all sound very abstract, especially after the fact. They do have a practical value, of course, in directing my thoughts and actions during spiritual work and in laying the groundwork for talking to others about it, but it seems like that practical value does not quite merit the effort of contemplation that goes into them.

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