Universal Essenes

Universal Essenes Understood Spiritual Allegory

“They [the Essenes] interpreted the Torah and other Hebrew scriptures in an almost exclusively spiritual, symbolic and metaphysical manner, as did the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo. They also had esoteric writings of their own which they would not allow non-Essenes to see. But even more objectionable to the other Hebrews was their study and acceptance of “alien” scriptures–the holy books of other religions–so much so that an official condemnation was made of this practice. In light of this we can say that the Essenes were perhaps the first in the West to hold a universal, eclectic view of religion. Celibacy was prized by them, being often observed even in marriage, and many of them led monastic lives of total renunciation. They considered their male and female members–all of whom were literate–to be spiritual equals, and both sexes were prophets and teachers among them.

“They believed that the sun was a divine manifestation, imparting spiritual powers to both body and mind. They faced the rising and setting sun and recited prayers of worship, refusing upon rising in the morning to speak a single word until the conclusion of those prayers. They did not consider the sun was a god, but a symbol of the One God of Light and Life.

“They believed that miraculous cures were natural extensions of authentic spiritual life. They would wear only white clothes as a sign that they worshiped God who is Light and were clothed by him in light. … The disciples of Saint Thomas in India had a similar rule, only wearing white clothes in worship.” ~Abbot George Burke

Interpreting Scripture

The Universal Essenes, as well as other spiritual groups, did interpret scripture from all religions in a spiritual way. But what does that mean? Doesn’t everyone interpret religious writings in a spiritual way? Sadly, no, they don’t Many interpret them literally. They act as if they are reading a newspaper or history book rather than scripture.

Scripture is almost always written in the form of allegory, parables. Most ancient myths fall into this category also. They are written this way for several reasons. One is that human languages do a poor job of explaining the spiritual. They are simply not designed for it. So those who have spiritual experiences are forced to describe them in allegory. A second reason is that they wanted people who were not ready for a spiritual awakening to remember these teachings until they were. Making them into allegorical tales made them easier to remember. Third, they wanted to make it difficult for evil and materialistic people to understand the truth, so they hid it.

Universal View

The Essenes did have a universal view of religion. They studied Buddhist and Hindu writings as well as Jewish scripture. This also is true of most spiritual or mystical schools. Once you know how to interpret the allegorical tales found in those books, you find that the hidden truths in all of them are essentially the same.

This is different from some of the churches of today that call themselves universal. While they have attempted to do the same thing, they to are interpreting things much too literally. As a result, they ignore some of the most important teachings of the great spiritual masters hidden in allegory.

In short, they understood that while there may be many ways of expressing it, there is really only one truth. Continue reading “Universal Essenes Understood Spiritual Allegory”

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resurrection, Essene Jesus

Essene Jesus and Gnostic Christians

“Jesus of Nazareth was an Essene, as were most of his followers, including the twelve Apostles (some of whom were his cousins). Many elements distinguished and even separated the Essenes from the rest of Israel. Their claims about their very existence was certainly a controversial matter. For the Essenes averred that Moses had created them as a secret fraternity within Judaism, with Aaron and his descendants at their head.

“The prophet Jeremiah was a Master of the Essenes, and it was in his lifetime that they ceased to be a secret society and became a public entity. From that time many of the Essenes began living in communities. Isaiah and Saint John the Baptist were also Masters of the Essenes. Their purpose was to follow a totally esoteric religious philosophy and practice that was derived from the Egyptian Mysteries. As the grandson of the Pharaoh, Moses had been an initiate of those mysteries and destined to ultimately become the head of the Egyptian religion.” ~Abbot George Burke

Essene Jesus

The question of whether or not Jesus was an Essene is one we may never have a definite answer for. Among spiritual groups, however, the evidence is clear enough that he was a member of an Essene community. And since he was often called “Master” or “Rabbi” by his followers, it can reasonable be assumed that he was an Essene Rabbi and the leader of an Essene community.

We can say, then, that if Jesus was an Essene Rabbi, than he apostles and many of his other disciples were Essenes. There are hints of this fact in the Bible and elsewhere. When a wealthy man asked how he could join with Jesus and his community, he was told that he would have to sell his property and donate the money to the poor.

This sounds like a harsh requirement. But it was common practice in an Essene community for anyone who joined to turn over all his wealth and property to the community treasurer to administer for the good of all. And the Essenes often referred to themselves as “poor folk” because they dis not own anything individually, but only as a community. So Jesus was really telling the wealthy man what any other new member would be told: turn over your money and property to the community treasurer. So while academics can argue about it forever, most spiritual schools now except Essene Jesus as a fact.

Students of Moses

Burke says that the Essenes were students of Moses. It may be more accurate t o say that Moses was an Essene. The Essenes claim to have existed for thousands of years under different names in different places. Evidence of that has been found in India and China. Burke says they were followers of the mystery schools of Egypt. In any case, they were strongly connected to the early Christian community under Jesus, and later under Peter and James. The later Christian church formed by Paul, however, was not connected with them. Essene Jesus certainly did not select Paul to take over His church. If He had thought James and Peter were not doing a good job, He would have appeared to them and corrected them. Continue reading “Essene Jesus and Gnostic Christians”

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adornments, druid robes

Adornments of Druids and Other Spiritual Groups

“The most striking adornment of the Arch-Druid was the iodhan moran, or breastplate of judgment. … The Druidic tiara, or anguinum, its front embossed with a number of points to represent the sun’s rays, indicated that the priest was a personification of the rising sun. … An early initiate of the Druidic Mysteries related that admission to their midnight ceremony was gained by means of a glass boat, called Cwrwg Gwydrin. This boat symbolized the moon, which, floating upon the waters of eternity, preserved the seeds of living creatures within it boat-like crescent. …

“Eliphas Levi states that the Druids lived in strict abstinence, studied the natural sciences, preserved the deepest secrecy, and admitted new members only after long probationary periods. … Although celibacy was not demanded of them, few married.” ~Manly P. Hall

Druid Adornments

While there is plenty of evidence that the Druids wore a number of “adornments”, including the iodhan moran, I think the claim that it would strangle anyone who lied while wearing it is not literally true. The Arch-Druid may have said that to make sure a witness would speak the truth. It may have also been allegorical, as in we all choke on our own lies.

The tiara Hall mentions is more interesting to me. Hall says that the points represented the rays of the sun and indicated that the wearer was a personification of the rising sun. This is believable. I wrote before on the design of early crowns and how they represented the sun, especially the spiritual sun.

As with other mystery schools of the past, the adornments of the Druids were not just for show. They usually served a purpose. The Essenes wore stones and crystals to ward off evil and to aid in healing. The adornments of the Druids were usually made of gold or plated in gold. All such schools associated gold with the sun.

Druid Secrecy

Much of what we know about the Druids must be taken with a grain of salt. That is because most of it was written by their enemies. This is true of other ancient Gnostic and spiritual groups as well. One reason for such lack of inside information is that the Druids kept much of their teachings and ceremonies secret. They didn’t invite strangers to watch. They didn’t write things down unless it was codified. Truths were written as myths or with allegorical tales to hide the true meaning from the profane. This secrecy probably applied to the true meaning and purpose of some of those Druid adornments. Continue reading “Adornments of Druids and Other Spiritual Groups”

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The Eleusinian Mystery School

“The most famous of the ancient religious Mysteries were the Eleusinian, whose rites were celebrated every five years in the city of Eleusis to honor Ceres (Demeter, Rhea, or Isis) and her daughter, Persephone. The initiates of the Eleusinian School were famous throughout Greece for the beauty of their philosophical concepts and the high standard of morality which they demonstrated in their daily lives. Because of their excellence, these Mysteries spread to Rome and Britain, … The Eleusinian Mysteries, names for the community in Attica where the sacred dramas were first presented, are generlly believed to have been founded by Eumolpos about fourteen hundred years before the birth of Christ, and through the Platonic system of philosophy their principles have been preserved to modern times. .. There is every reason to believe that all so-called secret schools of the ancient world were branches from one philosophic tree which, with it roots in heaven and its branches on the earth, is—like the spirit of man—an invisible but ever-present cause of the vehicles that give it expression.” ~Manly P. Hall

First, let me correct one common error in this quote. Christ was not born 2000 years ago, Jesus was. Christ is an eternal spirit that, for a time, dwelled in the body of Jesus. Since Christ is eternal, nothing could have happened before He was born.

Eleusinian

Ninnion tablet depicting Eleusinian Mysteries

There were, apparently, many ancient mystery schools. In all of these schools, it was important for the mysteries practiced and taught to be kept secret. Yet somehow most of these schools taught essentially the same thing. And it wasn’t just in Europe and Asia. Similar teaching can be found among ancient civilization in Africa and South America as well. Hall gives one excellent explanation for this: the teachings came down to Earth from Heaven. In fact, these mystery schools could be considered branches of the one school of truth and wisdom fond in Heaven (or the worlds of spirit, if you prefer). In a sense, satellite campuses of the one school. The Essenes, of which most spiritual schools now agree that Jesus and His family belonged to, were one of these schools and taught that they had existed for thousands of years despite the historians who think they were only in existence for a few hundred years. They can’t seem to comprehend that the same group was known by different names in different places and times. Continue reading “The Eleusinian Mystery School”

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