This article has become a large one. Therefore I’ll publish it in two parts.
So far, in order to introduce the reader to Western Esotericism, I have only touched upon some of the core teachings of this very large subject.
We briefly looked into some of the aspects used in Western Esotericism, The use of Hebrew, Study of Mythology and Polarity theory (symbolised through the creation myths).
Another very important aspect of Western Esotericism is Philosophy and Astronomy/Astrology. Many of the world’s mysteries can be brought into the light of understanding through the study of the work by the ancient great Philosophers/Astronomers.
One of those is without question Pythagoras. This phenomenal brain was born between 580 – 572 BC and what may be of interest is that his birth was announced to his parents by the great Oracle of Delphi.
His father Mnesarchus was a merchant and together with his wife Parthenis, he consulted the oracle of Delphi to find out if it was a favourable time to journey back to Syria.
However the Prophetess did not answer their question, instead she supplied the information that Parthenis was expecting a child and that she would give birth to a son who would “surpass all men in beauty and wisdom, and would throughout his course of life contribute much to the benefit of mankind”. This child was born in Sidon, Phoenicia and as the oracle had said, it was a son. In the honour of the Delphi, Pythian priestess, Mnesarchus changed his wife’s name to Pythasis. They called their son Pythagoras also in honour of this Delphi oracle.
Many legends have been written about Pythagoras and the most interesting one according to Godfrey Higgins is the one that resembles the history of Jesus.
Both Pythagoras and Jesus were natives of the same country; Pythagoras was born in Sidon and Jesus in Bethlehem. Both places were in the country of then ‘Syria’. The birth of both men were ‘prophetically announced’ to these tow ‘fathers’ that their wives would give birth to a son, who would be a benefactor to mankind. Both mothers were on a journey. Joseph and his wife were on their way to Bethlehem (to be taxed) and the parents of Pythagoras were travelling from Samos (their residence) to Sidon in Syria (Now Lebanon).
The legend of Pythagoras tells us that his father was approached by the God Apollo in the form of a Ghost, to warn him not to have any ‘connexion’ with his wife, a story very similar to that of Joseph who was approached by the ‘Holy Ghost’ with very similar instructions. Pythagoras was like Jesus known as the ‘Son of God’ and was therefore under the influence of ‘divine inspiration’.
This little legend of Pythagoras shows how ancient historians recorded the lives of great intellectual men. Like the ancient war heroes Achilles and Hercules, these intellectual men must have come from the Gods too! (see my article: 'O my 'good' God????)
The problem is with intellect that it brings fear to those that wish to oppress. Pythagoras was murdered alongside his students. Jesus was publically executed and they were certainly not the first or the last that have ended their lives in this manner.
'Gentlemen, it is a fact that every philosopher of eminence for the last two centuries has either been murdered, or, at the least, been very near it, insomuch that if a man calls himself a philosopher, and never had his life attempted, rest assured there is nothing in him; and against Locke's philosophy in particular, I think it is an unanswerable objection (if we needed any) that, although he carried his throat about him in this world for seventy-two years, no man ever condescended to cut it.'
-- Thomas de Quincey, 'Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’.
A small example of philosophers murdered:
Hypatia of Alexandria (born between AD 350 and 370 – 415) female philosopher was killed by a Christian mob.
Socrates – a philosopher, murdered by government in 399 B.C
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca, or Seneca the Younger) (c. 4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, forced to commit suicide.
AD 526 Boethius was strangled on the orders of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric by whom he was employed.
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, a mystical and mercurial philosopher (Medici Court) murdered in 1494 by poisoning with arsenic.
Many other philosophers had been condemned to death over the centuries, either by beheading, burning and a host of other unpleasant ways to go.
One could conclude that philosophy is not good for your health.
This tradition of ‘murder the intellectual’ is often claimed to have started with Socrates but I think ‘the honour’ should go to the man who created the name ‘philosopher’ in the first place, Pythagoras.
Before the time of Pythagoras, a wise man was mainly known as a ‘Sage’. Pythagoras called himself ‘one who is attempting to find out’ which is the translation to ‘Philosopher’.
From the accounts collected about Pythagoras we learn that he came from wealthy parents that ensured that he studied with the best. He was instructed by the Rabbins concerning the secret traditions of Moses. He was initiated into Egyptian, Babylonian and Chaldean mysteries. Some say he may have been a disciple of Zoroaster. One thing is for sure, he was a well travelled man.
Pythagoras brought in existence many foundations that are still used today in for example mathematics, music and astronomy/astrology. However, it is the latter that we discuss in this article.
You may ask, what is the connection between Astrology/astronomy and the fear for the intellectuals?
The connection is the Astrological Age and the influence the constellations have on the human psyche. Despite modern technology, today’s astronomers cannot agree if we are in the Age of Aquarius or not.
Some say that we are still residing in the Age of Pisces and again others claim that we are in the Aquarian Age and that its influence is the cause of wars and many other unpleasant happenings.
Again another line of thought will argue that this is still the cause of the Age of Pisces.
Unlike the usual follow up of the twelve zodiacal sign as in the ‘Sun-sign’ Astrology, the Astrological Ages move in the opposite direction. In Sun-sign astrology, Pisces would have been followed by the sign Aries but with the reverse order of astrological Ages it is the turn of Aquarius.
Over the centuries, some astronomers were of the opinion that the Age of Aquarius started as early as the 15th century, most of them put their lottery tickets concerning the commencement of this age in the 20th century but... technically it has been claimed it will commence in the year 2600!
Where is Pythagoras when we need him?
Many of his findings despite the lack of modern facilities in his time were so accurate that modern Astronomy is only just catching up with proving many of his theories.
Therefore, to determine which Age we are in, I would like to highlight and discuss in the follow up article the thoughts of Pythagoras in line with the effects the astrological Ages have had on the human psyche and development. This I’ll do by comparing it with human behaviour over the centuries.
Until the next article,
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