Echoes From The Gnosis Volume X: The Hymn of The Robe of Glory

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But when you see your images which came into being before you, and which neither die nor become manifest, how much you will have to bear! Echoes from the Gnosis is a series of monographs under the title Echoes from the Gnosis recently republished in a centennial edition summarizing his insights into the formation of the Gnostic world-view. By this time Mead had published eight works on various aspects of the early Christian world and on "The Theosophy of the Greeks. Mead was the first modern scholar of Gnostic tradition.

A century later, the corpus of his work remains unequaled in breadth and insight. George Robert Stowe Mead was an author, editor, translator, esotericist, and an influential member of the Theosophical Society as well as the founder of the Quest Society.

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Eventually shifting his education towards the study of Classics he gained much knowledge of both Greek and Latin. In he completed a bachelor of arts degree, in the same year he also began to practice the position of public school master. Activity with the Theosophical Society While still at Cambridge University Mead read Esoteric Buddhism by Alfred Percy Sinnett, this comprehensive theosophical account of the eastern religion prompted Mead to contact two theosophists in London named Bertam Keightly and Mohini Chatterji which eventually led him to join the Theosophical Society.

He abandoned his teaching profession in to be Blavatsky's private secretary and also became a joint-secretary of the Esoteric Section E. S Mead received Blavatsky's six Esoteric Instructions and other teachings at twenty-two meetings headed by Blavatsky which were only attended by the Inner Group of the Theosophical Society. Contributing intellectually to the Theosophical Society, at first most interested in eastern religions he quickly became more and more attracted to western esotericism of religion and philosophy, particularly Neoplatonism, Gnosticism and Hermeticism though his scholarship and publications continued to engage with eastern religion.

Making many contributions to the Theosophical Society's Lucifer as joint editor he eventually became the sole editor of The Theosophical Review in as Lucifer was renamed in Leadbeater had been a prominent member of the Theosophical Society in until he was met with allegations of teaching masturbation under the guise of occult training to the sons of some American Theosophists. While this prompted Mead's leave of the society his frustration at the dogmatism of the Theosophical Society may have been a major contributor to his breaking with the society. He had been a member for twenty-five years.

This literary phenomenon is precisely similar to that presented by The Hymn of Jesus Vol. Our Hymn is indubitably Gnostic; but of what school or tradition? For Bardesanes, see F. This is borne out by the text of the Poem itself, in which the mention of the Parthians 38 a as the ruling race is decidedly in favour of its having been written prior to the overthrow of the Parthian dynasty in A.

The description of the trade-route from Parthia to Egypt and of the adventures of the hero in Egypt, moreover, has led me to ask whether a real piece of personal biography may not have been woven into the Poem. Filled with longing to penetrate the mysteries of the Gnosis, he joins a caravan to Egypt, and arrives at Alexandria. There he meets with a fellow-countryman on the same quest as himself, who gives him some useful hints about the many corrupt and charlatanesque schools of pseudo-gnosis that thrived in that centre of intellectual curiosity and religious enthusiasm.

He, however, in spite of these warnings, seems to have fallen into the hands of the unscrupulous, and so,.

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Only after this bitter experience does he obtain the instruction he longs for, by initiation into the spiritual Gnosis of the inner circles of, it may have been, the Valentinian tradition. Of course this speculation is put forward with all hesitation; but it is neither impossible, nor improbable. In any case, it is the least important element, and need not detain us except as being a possible source of the local colouring matter.

The Hymn itself is a truly poetic inspiration, and deals with far higher mysteries and experiences. But before we can venture to suggest an interpretation, the reader must be made acquainted with the Poem itself in a version based on a minute comparison of all the existing translations. Of my Up-bringers I was delighting,.

Forth-sent me with journey-provision. They bound up for me a load. That all alone I could bear it. That hath power to cut even iron. Which in their love they had wrought me,. Which was woven to match with my stature. In my heart wrote it, not to forget it: Hard by the loud-breathing Serpent, And thy Mantle that goeth upon it,. Shalt thou be Heir in our Kingdom. With two Couriers [ with me ];. For I was young to tread it. The mart of the Eastern merchants,. And from me parted my escorts. Near to his lodging I settled,. While he should sleep and should slumber.

To my fellow-lodgers a stranger. From out of the Dawn-land my kinsman,. Son of Grandees; he came and he joined me. A comrade, for sharing my wares with. That they might not guess I had come. And so rouse the Serpent against me. They learned I was not of their country. Yea, they gave me their victuals to eat. And became a slave to their king. For which my Parents had sent me;. I sank down into a deep sleep.

My Parents perceived and were anxious. That all should speed to our Gate And of the East all the Princes. I should not be left down in Egypt. And to it each Noble his Name set: And thy Mother, Queen of the Dawn-land,.

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To thee, Son, down in Egypt, Our Greeting! Give ear to the words of Our Letter! See whom thou hast served in thy slavedom. For which thou didst journey to Egypt. Thy Splendid Mantle remember,. When thy Name may be read in the Book of the Heroes,. Thou mayest be Heir in Our Kingdom. The King had sealed up with His Right Hand,. Of all the winged tribes the king-bird;. And turned into speech altogether.

I waked and arose from my deep sleep. I loosed its seal and I read it. The words of my Letter were written. And my rank did long for its nature. For which I was sent down to Egypt. The terrible loud-breathing Serpent. And [ Name ] of my Mother, the East-Queen.

And turned to the House of my Father. I stripped off and left in their country. To the Light of our Home, to the Dawn-land. My Letter that had aroused me So now with its light it did lead me With shining appearance before me [? With its love it was drawing me onward. The meeting-place of the merchants,. And my Mantle with which it was covered,. Thither my Parents did send me,. Who trustworthy were with it trusted.

In the House of my Father my childhood had left it, The Glory looked like my own self. And saw me all in [ all of ] it, And yet again one in one likeness. Who unto me had down-brought it,. For one Sign of the King was upon them The Pledge of my Kingship [? With sparkling splendour of colours: Chalcedonies, iris-hued [ Opals? To match its grandeur [?

All of its seams were off-fastened. Was it wrought in a motley of colour. The motions of Gnosis abounding;.

Ready as though for to speak. Which it whispered as it descended [? For whom I was reared with my Father;. How that with his works waxed my stature. Was it pouring itself out towards me,. That I might [ take and ] receive it. To run for to meet it, to take it. With its beauty of colour I decked me,.

GRS Mead: Hymn of the Robe of Glory

To the Gate of Greeting and Homage. To the Glory of Him who had sent it,. I mingled myself with His Princes;. And I was with Him in His Kingdom;. With sweet-sounding voices sing praises. Of the King of Kings I should speed,. Should with him be seen by our King. Both Hoffmann and Preuschen are of opinion that the Poem is a free elaboration of the chief element in the very briefly recorded Parable of the Pearl which the first Evangelist alone has preserved Matt. This seems hardly sufficient in itself to account for the genesis of our Poem.

Certainly for the Gnostics, if the Pearl meant the Kingdom of Heaven in the sense of the Gnosis, it also meant something more definite and intimate, and in. Thus the pre-Christian Hellenistic initiate who was the first commentator of the Naassene Document, quotes a mystery-saying of the Phrygians--? On this the Jewish commentator, who was in high probability a contemporary of Philo of Alexandria--let us say about the first quarter of the first century--writes:. Those logoi, or "words" or "reasons"--that is spiritual minds or true "men"--are the "angels" who perpetually behold the Face of the Father, that is.

In brief the Pearl is the "Higher Self. Later on, in the same Document, the Christian Gnostic writer, who further comments on the interpretation of the Jewish exegete, adds:. And so also in The Acts of John. It is addressed to the Christ, and the sentence that concerns us runs:. It is thus evident that the Pearl is in some way the mystery hidden in man, and, indeed, buried in the body.

For "Egypt" is the body. Thus in the same invaluable Naassene Document, the Jewish commentator, quoting from some still more ancient commentary, writes:. And then he resumes his quotation from presumably some old Jewish Gnostic commentary:.

George Robert Stowe Mead - Echoes From The Gnosis Vol X The Hymn Of The Robe Of Glory (5.0 MB)

All of this Gnostic allegorizing is, in high probability, to be assigned to pre-Christian Chassid and allied e. Therapeut circles, similar to those which developed the ethical teaching of The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, which Prof. Charles has, in his just published text and translation, so brilliantly conjectured to have been written about B. This ethic, he contends, influenced very strongly the writers of the New Testament documents, and anticipated some of the most characteristic Sayings of Jesus.

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Now all who are ignorant [ sci. It is thus evident that for these mystical allegorists Egypt stood for both the body and also the hylic or gross-material realms, and that the use goes back along the Naassene-Ophite trace to pre-Christian Jewish Gnostic circles. It is, therefore, unnecessary to bring forward later passages from Clement of Alexandria and Origen in confirmation of the use. Even if we were so inelastic as to imagine that it must necessarily have its point of departure in canonical scripture, we might more appropriately surmise that it is rather an elaboration of the beautiful Parable of the Prodigal, which is recorded by the third Evangelist alone Lk.

That, however, it is something far other than a mere embellishment even of this beautiful Parable, must be evident to the most casual reader. There is originality in it, and its resemblances may, with far greater probability, be referred to knowledge of the inner facts that both Parable and Poem set forth, rather than to any slavish following of the canonical text.

Still it is well to remark the resemblances:. It is, however, evident that the whole matter is treated from another standpoint; it is far more intimate and reveals a full insight into the spiritual mysteries. In the Parable there is no mention of the Divine Mother, the Queen of the East; and this is in keeping with later Rabbinical exclusion of the Divine Feminine. But in the circles of the Mystics the Holy Spirit was regarded as feminine, the Spouse of Divinity, and in the Wisdom-literature Wisdom herself.

As in the other great traditions, so also in pre-Christian Jewish Gnostic circles, the natural Trinity was a fundamental of their symbolism, and so also in many a system of the Christianized Gnosis. The origin of the Dual Sonship, however, must in one direction at any rate, be sought for along that very obscure line of descent that is called Ophite Naassene , and which has its roots in the pre-Christian Gnosis and the widespread Myth of Man see H.

A faint trace of this is preserved for us in a system which the polemical Refutation I. Such as it is, however, we will set it down:. That the ruling idea of the Dual Sonship was widespread in Gnostic circles, both non-Christian and Christianized, may be seen from the following parallels,. There is thus little doubt that in Gnostic circles, both pre-Christian and Christian, there was a clear tradition of Two Sons, one who remained, and one who went forth; and the one who went forth or returned was the Christ. Our Poem is therefore a Song of the Christ-Mystery.

It is to be noted that there are two Vestures: Now in the canonical scriptures John xix. The fourth Gospel xix. The writer of the fourth Gospel was a Mystic, and doubtless meant to convey an under-meaning to those who had "ears to hear. As the "Garments" were divided into four among the "four soldiers," can it be that he intended to convey the idea of a Cloak of the four elements, and a Vesture of the one element, or quintessence, the complement of the four?

At any rate this would be in keeping with the mystery-teaching concerning the "perfect body" or "body of resurrection," as may be seen from the Mithriac Ritual. Whether or not he had any such intentions, and whether or not he had further the same ground-ideas in mind as those set forth by the Gnostic poet in our beautiful Hymn, must be left to the opinion of the reader according to his knowledge or ignorance. The difference between the under-garment and mantle may be seen in many a Mithriac monument; while in the Mithriac Ritual we read p. Paul was well versed in Gnostic nomenclature; and the extended meaning of the Robe of Glory, as it was understood by the Mystics, may be grasped by the present-day Mystic who reads the following passages from one of the inspired outbursts of the beautiful Untitled.

He limned the Universe in His [ sci. He weareth them like these garments, and putteth them on like these vestures, and wrappeth Himself with creation as with a mantle. If we were to set down all the passages in Gnostic and allied literature connected with the mystery of the Robe of Glory, the Wedding Garment, and the rest of the Light-Vestures of the Soul, we should speedily exhaust the space of this little volume and of several other volumes.

We must, however, find room for a brief notice of the magnificent description of the Descent of the Vesture of Light on the Master, the Gnostic Transfiguration, in the Pistis Sophia P. They saw the Light only, sending forth a host of light-rays. The Light was of various kinds, and it was of various types, from below above, each ray being more admirable than its fellow.

The first was more admirable than the rest [? This is the whole Out-going and the whole Up-going, which hath emanated all Emanations and all that is therein, because of which all Mysteries exist and all their Regions. Thou art the First Mystery which hath existed from the beginning in the Ineffable before it came forth, and the Name thereof is all of us. For we all draw nigh unto Thee to clothe Thee with the First Mystery and all His Glory, by Commandment of the same; in that the First Mystery hath given us it, consisting of two Vestures, besides the one that we have sent Thee, for Thou art worthy of them; for in sooth Thou art prior to us and came into being before us.

For we draw nigh unto Thee, in order to clothe Thee with thy Two Vestures, which have been for Thee from the beginning with the First Mystery, until the time appointed by the Ineffable should be fulfilled. For yet a little while, a very little while, and Thou shalt come to us and leave the world. This gives us all the light we need to throw on the inner meaning of our Poem; it is the inner tradition intended for the initiated, whereas our Poem was intended to be circulated among the people.

If the former, then we have found a terminus for the dating, if not of the Pistis Sophia as a whole, then of one of its "sources," and the date must be pushed back into the second century. But before we leave the Pistis Sophia there is another instructive passage that is reminiscent of the same ideas which underlie the words: It is an otherwise unknown Story of the Infancy and runs as follows P. Where is Jesus my Brother, that I may go to meet Him?

Where is He that I may see Him? Otherwise I await Him in this place. And we gazed on Thee and Him, and found Thee like unto Him. Once I gave a lecture in which I endeavoured to suggest what the nature of its under-meaning may have been, but it is too long to set down here. It is apparently from another "source" of the P.

The Two Couriers also pertain to the mystery hidden under the symbolism of the Twins which meets us everywhere in the ancient myths and legends of initiation; in reversed reflection they would be the Two Thieves crucified with Him. In the Transfiguration-scene in the canonical Gospels, when the Master is clothed with Light, the Two are taken by the unknowing Disciples for Moses and Elias.

In The Gospel of Peter, in the story of the Mystery of the Resurrection, they are seen as Two Men, of the appearance of Light, whose heads reach unto heaven. They lead "the Light-stream into Chaos and bring it forth again" P. In the Book of Enoch lxxi.

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In Hellenic mythology and Hellenistic mystagogy it is Hermes who is the psychagogue and psychopomp, and he bears in his hand a Rod twined about with the Serpent Twins. The geography of the way down from Hyrcania to Egypt, and back again, is consistent with itself , , but puzzling in some of its details. Hyrcania was the mountainous region on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Messene was in all probability the chief emporium of the sea-borne commerce of Babylonia and the West with India, and lay slightly to the south of the present-day Basra.

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The Hymn of the Robe of Glory (complete book) - part of a huge collection of works by G.R.S. Mead, ECHOES FROM THE GNOSIS. VOL. X. BY G. R. S. MEAD. The Hymn of The Robe of Glory Echoes From The Gnosis Volume X [G.R.S. Mead] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The original title of this.

The best solution seems to be that it stands for the City of Babylon itself. But it may also preserve for us a hint of how the geography was allegorized by the Gnostic exegetes; for "The Labyrinth". She enters in her wandering the Labyrinth of ills.

The Way of the Soul, he says, leads from 1 Heaven as the God-realm, through 2 the Firmament, to 3 the Earth--corresponding with the three natures of man: This seems to me a somewhat too elaborate scheme; but if it can stand, it strengthens the case for priority of the scheme underlying the Pistis Sophia to our Poem.