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TitleThe Ogdoadic Journal - Vol. 1 No. 1
TagsGnosticism Hermeticism Hermetic Qabalah Nous Hermes Trismegistus
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Page 2

The Ogdoadic Journal
of the Western Mysteries






Vol. 1 No. 1:
Reflections on the Ogdoadic Tradition










EDITED BY
DERIK RICHARDS & KERRY WISNER












TEMPUS SEMENTIS 2007






©2007 by Sun Lion Publications
ORDO ASTRUM SOPHIÆ

All rights reserved.

Page 29

THE OGDOADIC JOURNAL, VOL. 1 NO. 1 28

The Serpentine Gnosis of Ogdoadic Tradition


NIGEL JACKSON


AT THE HEART of the Ogdoadic Tradition blazes the radiant archetype of
Agathodaimon, brilliant lord of the noetic sun and winged serpent of holiest wisdom
revered in the temple-mysteries of ancient Alexandria, in the hoary crypts of Middle
Eastern sanctuaries and in the rites of the Gnostic sects of the Mediterranean world.

In the Greco-Egyptian figure of Khnouphis the winged serpent represents a later
form of the creator-serpent Kamatef, the primeval ophidian shape of the god Amun, the
“Hidden One” symbolized by the serpent sceptre which embodies the “Soul of Amun” in
Egyptian symbolism. The imagery of Kamatef is resumed in the
Kneph symbol of the serpent encoiling the cosmic egg. We might
relate this to the role of Agathodaimon in Alexandrian alchemy as
patron of the Great Work and guardian of the alchemical vessel.
The many carven gems of Agathodaimon from late Greco-
Egyptian antiquity are thought to have had a special use in
healing ailments of the womb, as the alchemical vessel itself was
regarded symbolically as the matrix. Khnouphis was the
legendary founder of the Royal Art of Alchemy and also the
ophidian embodiment of the solar Secret Fire of divine theurgy
which progressively “ripens” the primal matter toward perfection,
in whose mystical flame the spiritual transmutation into the
immortal Body of Light is realized (just as the god Khnum fires
pottery in his kiln/athanor.) The obscure Egypto-Hellenistic sect
of the Agathadaemonites probably represents one of the lineal predecessors of our
Ogdoadic tradition during the Ptolemaic period.

In the “Corpus Hermeticum” we read that “Mind (Nous) is the Agathodaimon”
and in Platonist and Hermetic teachings the realm of Divine Mind is the 8th sphere, the
heaven of the fixed stars, which the Ophite Gnostics according to the heresiologist
Celsus, equated with the Garden of Eden. The Ophites or Naassenes identified Mind or
Nous with Naas - “Serpent”, a Hellenization of Hebrew Nachash. For them the Serpent of
Eden was the numinous principle of Mind in serpentine form, the bringer of illumination
and liberation via the gift of transcendent knowledge. Denning and Phillips have written
that “Agathodaimon … is Nachash: thus also Yeheshua of later Judaeo-Christian
Qabalah.” As the gnostic teachings in John 3:14 say: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent
in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

According to Persian lore after the Flood the patriarch Abraham was guided by a
serpent to the site of the Ka”abah and after he had raised this primal centre of ancient
star-mysteries again the serpent encoiled it. We might also note W. Scott, translator of the
Hermetica states that Arab writers “identified Hermes with Enoch, and his teacher
Agathos Daimon [Agathodaimon] with Seth, son of Adam”. Seth is also a figure of high
import in Gnostic tradition and a mythic founder of Alchemy. Agathodaimon may well
be synonymous with the winged serpent divinity Shemal worshipped in the temple-crypts

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THE OGDOADIC JOURNAL, VOL. 1 NO. 1 29

of Harran by the Sabaeans as the “lord of the genii (or daemons), the highest God, the
God of the Mysteries”.

In 1st century Alexandria we find temple-worship dedicated to the serpentine
Agathodaimon, in this specific context actually a form of the Egyptian god Shay or Pshoi,
the embodiment of ones own destiny. Heracleitus taught that “The Daimon is the
Destiny”, i.e. the power that guides toward the fulfillment of our truest life-purpose. The
Romans customarily depicted the Genius or tutelary spirit as a great serpent and here
Agathodaimon embodies the personal Daimon or Holy Guardian Angel of an individual,
“the power that consummates the chosen life” as the Divine Plato puts it.

Page 58

THE OGDOADIC JOURNAL, VOL. 1 NO. 1 57

Review: Tarot Psychology by Robert Wang

JOSEPH AMARA


THE OGDOADIC JOURNAL is pleased to support the works of Robert Wang and Marcus
Aurelius Press. Over the next few issues we will highlight his books, beginning with his
exceptional work on the Jungian Tarot.

Wang’s Jungian Tarot cards richly illustrate the Arcana using the archetypes and
psychic processes of Jungian psychology. His attribution of the cards deviates from the
traditional esoteric interpretations, but adds to a deeper understanding of the energies
involved.

The first volume of Robert Wang’s Jungian Tarot trilogy is
entitled Tarot Psychology. Being the first book in the series, the
requisite explanation of each of the cards takes up the vast bulk of
this text. The author’s long-time study of the Tarot, as well as his
formidable grasp of Jungian psychology, is demonstrated in the
assignation of each card to an aspect of the psyche.

The Major Arcana are assigned to abstract aspects of the
archetypal Male-Female duality. For example, the Hermit is “The
Grandfather as Teacher” and the Devil is “The Dark Son.” The
Court cards are assigned to personality aspects of the Male-
Female, with the King as Father, Queen as Mother, Prince as Son,
and Princess as Daughter. The Prince of Swords, for example, is
called “The Idealistic Son” and the Prince of Wands “The
Affectionate Son.” The Minor Arcana are attributed to practical experiences and
manifestations of these forces, such as the Three of Cups as “Secure Environment” and
the Five of Pentacles as “Responsible Authority.”

In addition to an explanation of each card, Dr. Wang includes a 34-week study
course for the development of self understanding. The student is lead though a series of
active imagination exercises, using the cards to trigger dialog within the psyche. The time
commitment for this endeavor is a modest 30 minutes a week and would assist the
student in developing self-knowledge and acquiring a good grasp of the basic symbolism
of Jungian psychology.

Page 59

58

In the Next Issue of


The Ogdoadic Journal
of the Western Mysteries




SYMBOLISM OF THE OGDOADIC TRADITION





Forthcoming themes will include


HISTORICAL THREADS OF THE TRADITION, and OGDOADIC RITUAL MAGIC






Individuals interested in making submissions can contact [email protected] in care of Sun Lion
Publications. Articles will be accepted at the discretion of the publication team and may be

edited, with permission, to better fit the style or format of the journal.

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