6. Finding the Path: Epiousios, Magnetism, and Runa

Epiousios approaches some of the most basic questions about initiation and the Elect.  For example the question of how and why does someone find their way to something like the Temple of Set? Epiousios works with Runa, guiding us to the Path. It is how Set seeks his Elect.

Imagine watering your lawn with a garden hose – the stream leaves the spout strong and unified; but the further it gets it disperses and spreads out. Leaving droplets on grass and leaves, some of the water then sinks into the earth. Different forms of organic life react to it differently – they all need water but in different amounts and have different methods of absorbing it. Now imagine a similar stream from a great cosmic garden hose. As the stream moves through the Cosmoses, and eventually over the surface of Planet Earth, there is a gradual dispersal such as you might see with any other stream. Not all forms of organic life happen to be in the right place at the right time where the droplets are falling, and different forms of organic life have different reactions to it and different ways of integrating with it. Many are in the right place but unable to receive, or can receive only certain filtered aspects. Those that are in the right place and able receive – that is awake and prepared to receive – can begin to make efforts for attracting and receiving more in the future. And then certain locations – for instance our Solar System and Planet Earth – seem to be in the center of the stream. A similar cosmic pattern is reflected in the Parable of the Sower in the Synoptic Gospels.

There seems to be intention and purpose behind this stream – as though there were a gardener guiding the hose. Epiousios manifests for us in the form of impressions that are derived from a higher source (the gardener). Initially in profane life we may find these droplets dispersed in various forms of impressions, for example art, music, literature or architecture which seems to bear some higher frequency, purpose, or sense of the sacred than do other sorts of art, music or literature and so forth. In most cases if studied far enough it will be found that such manifestations were themselves ultimately derived/created by previous generations of initiates working with the Supersubstantial.

Certain events will conspire, often by means of of shocks, to create within us the right kind of open state to be able to receive the Supersubstantial. These droplets congeal and Remanifest within us, taking on a magnetic quality. Gurdjieff referred to this as Magnetic Center, and you can find obscure references to this process in other ‘lost’ systems, like Tibetan Buddhism where it is claimed special new bones are formed in the bodies of Saints as a result of their earthly initiation, or in Vedanta where there is an idea of different ‘bodies’ being developed within being through initiatory processes, bodies which then allow us to see and move in new ways. In any case, the accumulation of Epiousios within our being over time eventually may grow to a certain point that it connects with the force called Runa and becomes an attractor for yet more Supersubstantial elements and experiences; it begins to lead us somewhere. Or perhaps something within us grows to the point that Runa begins to pull it in a certain direction; we fall into the orbit of something greater than ourselves.

Initially this magnetic draw may lead us to certain other people – individuals, who share a common interest in those same apparent influences of music, art, or literature. This step along the way can be quite exhilarating as we make connections with others who share values not embraced by the mainstream. But if we continue in this manner; that is continue to find opportunities to open ourselves to receiving higher influences, we will soon see that this is only an intermediary step and that there is far more that is needed. Ultimately the magnetic pull – the force of Runa – is drawing us toward the source, which varying somewhat with time and place means an initiatory school or esoteric circle of some sort; a place where ideas about personal psyche-centric evolution are studied.  For 21st century Westerners it mostly means the Temple of Set. In the past it could have meant an Ancient Egyptian Priesthood, a Gnostic School, or Pythagorean Academy. This is one reason why you see certain recurring ideas and patterns in such circles; for instance the idea of sacred guardianship, and the clear indication that there is something substantial that requires guarding and cultivation. Such a place constitutes the source of Epiousios. Now that same energy that had previously been accumulated in bits and pieces through various esoteric influences, may now be experienced directly.

The Temple of Set in this sense is a place where Epiousios is intentionally accumulated, gathered, and cultivated. Epiousios is the life’s blood of an Initiatory school. Here one has the opportunity to work with the Supersubstantial directly and in a far more accelerated and intensive manner than one possibly can in profane culture or by working alone. There are a number of reasons for this; one is the synergy and exponentially multiplied magnetism created by numerous people working together with a common aim, like a grand symphony. It is very important that one understands the difference in the quality of energy received in an Esoteric Circle via ‘direct’ Epiousios as compared to the quality of energy that one receives outside of an Esoteric Circle via ‘indirect’ Epiousios. Within the Circle it is received directly – from and in the presence of other Initiates. Outside the Circle it is received only by intermediate vehicles – again like literature, arts, or music – which you might say carry a certain residue.

The other reason work is accelerated in an Esoteric Circle has to do with the sort of state one needs to be in to be able to work with Epiousios, and to be able to receive these higher influences – that is, an open state.  To those unfamiliar with these sorts of ideas, an “open state” may seem abstract; they may not understand, or understand only in terms of their own experience which is of a profane nature and can result only in an incomplete understanding. But within the right kind of school one can learn what it means to be open, and practice doing so in a safe environment. Even if one is able to achieve an open state in the profane world whether by effort or accident, it will be of no use if not in the right context; that is, a context where Supersubstantial influences are present.  Additionally it must be a safe context, meaning there are no nefarious or exploitive forces or individuals around. Again, a legitimate Esoteric School will have a sense of sacred guardianship, and make certain efforts to keep the initiatory environment clear of such influences.

The importance of having a safe place for working with the idea of openness cannot be overemphasized. Being in an open state allows you to receive the Supersubstantial, but also can leave you susceptible to unethical, exploitive, even criminal intentions. There are many charlatans and crooks out there who know this, and this is not only a reason to exercise caution in your searches, but also a reason why initiatory schools are needed – they provide a ‘safe zone’ for openness. These then are two important functions of the Temple of Set,

  1. To act as a repository or well for Epiousios
  2. To provide safe conditions for working with Epiousios

Once one has found their way to The Temple, a variety of techniques for cultivating receptivity can be explored – meditation, ceremonial magic, discussion groups and so forth.  Most if not all of these techniques and practices facilitate some level of exchange between initiates, which means exchange of the Supersubstantial. To this end, the Priesthood of Set bears a tremendous responsibility in maintaining safe conditions for the Temple of Set, so that openness is encouraged. Thus might the Temple remain an effective well-spring of Epiousios.

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Sir Loki and Daimonosophy

Someone recently asked me who is Sir Loki and how it is he ended up getting the sole dedication in the book Daimonosophy. A fair enough question worthy of answer.

During my Adept days, Sir Loki was my good friend, fellow student, and initiatory brother. We both hailed as the first two Setians in the small town of Lincoln, Nebraska. We were Recognized Adept within only a few months of each other, attended our first Conclave in San Francisco together (Set XII), and together established the first TOS group in Nebraska: the Asmodeus Pylon.

The first year of Asmodeus Pylon activities (1991-92) centered around studies of Reading List titles – Secrets of the Geman Sex Magicians, Morning of the Magicians, and eventually an interesting little book called The Fourth Way. We would read the agreed-upon book on our own, take notes, then get together and share those notes with engaging discussions that would go on for hours. It was a very intense time of discovery for both of us, being also each enrolled in our own respective undergraduate programs at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

What sealed the dedication in Daimonosophy 20 years later is connected with our study session for the book The Fourth Way by P.D. Ouspensky. Those who are familiar with the Fourth Way or similar books by Ouspensky will recall the model of A, B, and C Influences. I won’t relate details of the model here but only circumstances of the study session, in which Sir Loki said, “I noticed that if you replace the term ‘C Influnces’ with ‘the Black Flame,’ it seems to still make sense.”

I gave it a try, and indeed it seemed true. In fact more than simply maintaining coherence, it seemed to further create an expansive depth of new meaning to the text. Nearly everything that was further stated in regard to C Influences seemed to reveal more insight into the phenomenon Setians refer to as the Black Flame: it transmits knowledge and meaning, it energizes, and it is substantial.

From that time on the Black Flame became a central idea in my approach to initiation. Not just a symbol for an ancient genetic modification and arising of sapience, but moreover an approach to the Black Flame as a symbol for substantial higher influences that can have a transformative effect on those who are aware of it and are prepared to receive it. A stream of the Supersubstantial, for those who are ready to ‘tune in.’

The idea became an overriding theme throughout much of my initiation since then, and thus much of what appears in Daimonosophy, which of necessity is a reflection of the evolution of many ideas over time and in harmony with the central notion of the Supersubstantial, and my own efforts of ‘dialing-in’ my own ability to speak about it. Over time what sounds like many transmissions from many voices all speaking at once, acquired gradual focus and harmony in the mode of a singular voice. As represented in the dedication for Daimonosophy, I could have thanked maybe a hundred individuals. But in the memory of Sir Loki – who has since himself transformed and left this earthly existence – I see all of it represented in a seed that has only yet to flower.

2. Epiousios – Academia

To understand Epiousios it is necessary to first understand a little about the word’s history and how it has survived through – and perhaps in spite of – the Gospels. Here is a brief study of some significant facts regarding the word.

Epiousios is a Greek word used in the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 6:11) and the Gospel of Luke  (Luke 11:3). Most people will immediately recognize the passage “Give us this day our daily bread…” Here the English word “daily” has replaced the Greek word “Epiousios.”

Hapax Legomenon

Epiousios is a Hapax Legomenon, i.e. a word that appears only once within a corpus. There are no other validated living examples of the word being used by the Ancient Greeks outside of Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3.

The Greek rendering of the Gospels is a translation of an Aramaic rendering of the Gospels and that original Aramaic rendering has been lost. The indication is that whatever the writers of the Aramaic Gospels were trying to express with this mysterious word, it was such a novel and unique idea that the Greek writers had to create an entirely new word to convey it, pointing to the possibility that Epiousios is actually a fragment from a lost teaching.

When the translator for the Latin version of the Gospels (St. Jerome 347-420 AD) came across the Greek word Epiousios, he apparently found it so unique that he produced the Latin innovation of “supersubstantialem” in Matthew, which in English we can easily identify as supersubstantial, and even innovate other interesting expressions like extremely nourishing, excessively real, or high quality essence. Keep in mind that Latin as spoken in the Roman Empire did not encourage this sort of linguistic innovation, and we can assume Jerome would not have dared such an innovation unless truly needed; unless he were truly mystified by the word Epiousios.

In his translation of Luke, St Jerome made the curious decision to translate Epiousios as “quotidianum” or “Daily,” and this was then superimposed back on Matthew in the English translation. This is the point at which we really have to start considering this a corruption, as we can clearly see that whatever was intended by Epiousious/Supersubstantialem, it was quite different if not the opposite of ‘Daily’ – something commonly occurring, expected, predictable, obligatory.

Following this linguistic progression back through history not only shows us how badly ideas can be corrupted, it also points to that time period predating the contemporary Abrahamic world-view. It takes us back to the times of ancient mystery schools were the Elect sought knowledge and wisdom in places removed from the mainstream. The ancient users of the technology of Epiousios were boldly wishing for something vital and powerful, not humbly groveling for their common/average/daily allowance.

In reference to the progression of such Gospel distortions via subsequent translations, P.D. Ouspensky stated:

The alterations and distortions are all similar to one another. Their psychological nature is always identical, that is in every case in which an alteration is noticed it can be seen that the translator or scribe did not understand the text; something was too difficult, too abstract, for him. So he corrected it very slightly, adding one little word, and in this way giving to the text in question a clear and logical meaning on the level of his own understanding. This fact does not allow of the slightest doubt and can be verified in the later translations. [P.D. Ouspensky, A New Model of the Universe 1931]

Clearly Epiousios represents an example of just such distortion. The Latin translator had to innovate to transcribe the word and subsequent translators found even that too difficult. Various modern biblical scholars who have tried to re-interpret Epiousios as reflecting some sense of “daily” are entirely at a lost to explain the Latin “Supersubtantialem” and may therefore be dismissed.

Jesus the Magician

Some will likely shudder at the notion of a Left-Hand Path word or teaching that traces back to Jesus of Nazareth. Like many, when I began my quest on the Left-Hand Path I imagined it taking me far away from things like Jesus and the Gospels. Indeed it has, in regard to the conventional manner in which such ideas are traditionally taken.

I began my initiation from a ‘launch pad’ of LaVeyan Satanism, where anything having to do with the Gospels is summarily dismissed, and images of Jesus are merely piñatas for the next Black Mass. But as I ventured in to the  Setian realm, which tends to take you far away from both Satan and the Gospels, I began to see things in a new light; to evaluate things differently and measure by new standards. I explored Gnosticism, Hermeticism and other esoteric streams which reveal many of the formative ideas that later got subsumed by Christianity. I also studied Aleister Crowley, who in his Book of Lies counts Jesus (Dionysus) as a Magus of the old world, one of his “Dinosaurs,” of the Aeon of Osiris.

This way of thinking about great teachers, or Magi was continued by the Temple  (e.g. Set’s referencing Crowley and LaVey as Magi in the Book of Coming Forth by Night) and indeed taken much further. It is a unique way of organizing a perspective on history that puts the question of man’s possible evolution at the center of things.

Regarding the status of Jesus within all this, In exploring the figure of Jesus in his definitive work Lords of the Left-Hand Path Dr. Stephen Flowers concludes:

“…was Jesus a master of the left-hand path? It would appear that from the most objective evidence and methods of investigation – filtering out the often self-serving redactions and interpretations of his followers – that the man and magus Jesus was a practitioner of the left-hand path…” [Stephen Flowers, Lords of the Left Hand Path, 1992 Manuscript].

In regard to why such a teaching as suggested by Epiousios might have been lost, Dr. Flowers further states:

“…his teachings were at once betrayed by a group of his followers so that now no more of this true doctrines survive than do those of Apollonius of Tyana or Simon Magus. “[ibid.]

Thus the mysterious appearance of Epiousios in Matthew 6:11 is quite possibly an example of such a ‘true doctrine,’ a higher teaching that has been lost; until now. Moreover, the word almost certainly represents a fragment of teaching much larger than one man, but rather that of a an esoteric school. It is generally agreed upon by scholars that the Gospels were not written by any of the Apostles, but were likely written much later, probably based on collections of documents accumulated with certain initiatory groups or centers, such as the Gnostics.

 Legominism

“My dear and beloved Grandfather, tell me, please, what does the word Legominism mean?” Hassein asked.

“This word Legominism,” replied Beelzebub, “is given to one of the means existing there of transmitting from generation to generation information about certain events of long-past ages, through just those three-brained beings who are thought worthy to be and who are called initiates.

“This means of transmitting information from generation to generation had been devised by the beings of the continent Atlantis. For your better understanding of the said means of transmitting information to beings of succeeding generations by means of a Legominism, I must here explain to you a little also about those beings there whom other beings called and call initiates.”

– G.I. Gurdjieff, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson

Gurdjieff was fond of using this term ‘Legominism’ in referring to certain terrestrial works which contain with them a message of certain initiatory value that is able to endure over centuries and Aeons, and eventually be received and comprehended by initiates of future generations. Such encoded terrestrial works can take form in art, literature, music, dance and so forth. Gurdjieff referred to the Sphinx as being a legominism, certainly the Temple at Luxor, the Bremer Rhind Papyrus, Stonehenge, the Gothic Cathedrals, certain Dervish Dances and a variety of other things might qualify as well. Words like Thelema and Xeper could certainly be considered Legominisms considering their ancient origins and the seemingly purposeful circumstances surrounding their contemporary re-emergences.

I sense that Epiousios is a Legominism as well. It’s unique existence in the whole of the Greek language, it’s clearly intentional and thoughtful placement in the Gospels, as well as it’s endearance despite attempts to ‘cover it up’ over the centuries and up to the present day speak volumes to the Word’s significance and relevance to the quest for initiatory truths.

But the real proof is in comprehending the sense of the Supersubstantial, and how it integrates with Xeper to produce a Supersubstantial Being.