The Thunder, Perfect Mind
“….I am the incomprehensible silence and the much-remembered thought.
I am the voice of many sounds and the utterance of many forms.
I am the utterance of my name.
Why, you who hate me, do you love me
And hate those who love me?
You who deny me, confess me,
And you who confess me, deny me.
You who speak the truth about me, tell lies about me,
And you who have told lies about me, speak the truth about me.
You who know me, become ignorant of me;
and may those who have been ignorant of me, come to know me .
For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and boldness.
I am unashamed, I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and peace.
Give heed to me.
I am the disgraced and the exalted one…”
translated by Anne McGuire from Nag Hammadi Codex VI
for the complete text click here
The red clay jar was old, sealed with some black stuff. The brothers were afraid. Did it contain a djinn?
But maybe it was gold… They broke the seal and shook out the contents of the jar. Counted them out, 12 tightly rolled papyri covered with unfamiliar writing. The spoils were divided between the seven men, but five refused. This sort of thing was cursed. It might bring bad luck.
The brothers Muhammad and Khalifa Ali took the scrolls home and dumped them in a pile of straw. Their mother was dismayed and quietly destroyed some of the papers. She too knew about the bad luck associated with ancient things, and the strange symbols scratched on the papyrus could be magic spells.
She was right in a way. These manuscripts were very old, dating from the third century AD. The mysterious language was Coptic, the language of the Egyptians before it was superseded by Arabic in the 7th century. And these were indeed religious texts, among them an extraordinary incantatory poem, which would become known as The Thunder: Perfect Mind.
The brothers’ find was made in December 1945. Passing through the hands of pedlars, middlemen, antiques dealers, collectors and museums, the manuscripts travelled the world from New York to Zurich to Brussels, until eventually they arrived back in the hands of the Egyptian authorities and are now housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo.
The Nag Hammadi Library as it was named — after the nearest modern town — turned out to contain 52 texts, some certainly translated from the Greek into Coptic, which had been hidden in that jar more than 1500 years earlier. Most of them made up what is now known as the Gnostic Gospel, parts of the Bible that were purged because they did not fit in with the orthodox views of the Church in 3rd century Egypt, specifically the Gospel of Thomas. The Church Fathers at that time were busy stamping out a dangerous heresy called gnosticism.
Gnosticism — a belief that you can encounter god without an intermediary, that god is immanent. Perhaps a belief in reincarnation and a god who is both male and female.
The Nag Hammadi texts were not published right away, even after they’d finally reached the desks of people who could understand and translate them into modern languages. Coptic is a dead language now, spoken only by priests and monks in church services. Due to academic filibustering, obfuscation and grandstanding, the texts were not published in full until 1977. Of course, news of their content had been filtering out into the world for decades.
Academics were excited by the ideas in the Gospel of Thomas. The gnostics seemed to see Mary Magdalene as a consort of Jesus, Jesus seemed to have a brother. It was all the same but different
But one text stood out. One text was not only not the same as any of the others in the Library, but it was not the same as any other piece of literature that has survived from ancient times.
The goddess speaks directly to us in Thunder: Perfect Mind .
I was sent forth from the power,
and I have come to those who reflect upon me,
and I have been found among those who seek after me.
Look upon me, you who reflect upon me,
and you hearers, hear me.
You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.
And do not banish me from your sight.
And do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing.
Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or any time. Be on your guard!
Do not be ignorant of me.
translated by George Macrae
for the complete text click here.
She is not like any Christian concept of god that we are familiar with.
I am the honoured and the scorned,
I am the harlot and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter.
I am the members of my mother.
I am the barren one and the one with many children.
I am she whose marriage is multiple, and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not give birth.
I am the comforting of my labor pains.
translated by Anne McGuire
My friend J sent me a link to Thunder: Perfect Mind yesterday, the day that Mercury in Scorpio reached the last whisker of its shadow phase. It felt as if a god was speaking directly to me as I read the incantation.
If you think as an astrologer, there is no riddle to the dichotomies proposed in this text. These oppositions are exactly how an astrologer thinks. You need to encompass these ideas that are seemingly opposite in order to understand the power of the symbolism of astrology.
“The honoured and the scorned” might describe Leo.
“The harlot and the holy one” might describe Virgo.
“The barren one and the one with many children” might describe Cancer.
Each sign contains its own inner oppositions and also opposes another sign on the 12-spoked wheel of the Zodiac, so there are polarities within polarities. The goddess mind or god mind encompasses all of these opposites, holding them together, making no value judgment.
The Thunder: Perfect Mind puts into words this mind, which, of course, can only be understood through paradox and juxtaposition. We are not meant to know the mind of god directly or we will be dazzled and burned. But maybe we can know it slantwise, know it like the light falling between trees in a forest.
We hear the voice of Lilith, the outcast goddess.
I am the one who has been hated everywhere
and who has been loved everywhere.
I am the one whom they call Life,
and you have called Death.
I am the one whom they call Law,
and you have called Lawlessness.
I am the one whom you have pursued,
and I am the one whom you have seized.
I am the one whom you have scattered,
and you have gathered me together.
I am the one before whom you have been ashamed,
and you have been shameless to me.
I am she who does not keep festival,
and I am she whose festivals are many.
translated by George Macrae
The Church Fathers eliminated ambiguity. The New Testament God is entirely good. All the bad stuff was thrown out with Lilith. Without the dark dichotomies, the balancing, did they leave Christians with half a god?
Today Mercury in Scorpio will start to align with Neptune, the planet of mysticism and gnosis. Both Scorpio’s rulers Mars and Pluto will conjunct in Capricorn today and tomorrow, and in the small hours, they will be opposed by the Lady Moon. This seems like the perfect time for something chthonic to erupt into our consciousnesses.
Sixty years ago, when Muhammad Ali first broke that jar with his mattock (Pluto was also at 11°), he saw something golden flutter out. Some people say it was just pale pieces of papyrus, but maybe it really was a genie escaping.
PS Lilith herself is at the end of Leo, right on my Ascendant and opposing my natal Lilith.