Ancient Zoroastrian Priest
Undertaking the vast internal journey of discovery suggested by the Left-Hand Path can result in many surprises, unexpected turns, and spontaneously convergent harmonies. One such harmonic convergence can be found in the teachings of Gurdjieff, and Zarathustra.
For me the discovery of Setian ideas seemed to lead quite naturally to a subsequent discovery the ‘Fourth Way’ system of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. This line of investigation further resulted in my encountering a local branch of the Gurdjieff Foundation where I learned the movements, techniques for self-remembering, and engaged in advanced group study of Gurdjieff’s masterwork, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson (hereafter notes as “BTTHG”). All told I spent about ten years working with this group before life circumstances took me elsewhere, yet I retained many valuable lessons and found much of the work to be mutually reciprocal and harmonious with my continuing TOS work.
Some years later, thanks to super-efforts of the wise Darban I Den, I began encountering ideas from the teachings of the 10th century BCE prophet Zarathushtra. Outbursts of “wait, that sounds like Setianism!” were challenged in frequency only by outbursts of “wait, that sounds like Gurdjieff!”
In all of these things I am not alone. Many students of the Left-Hand Path have found great relevance in the ‘Fourth Way’ teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff. Still others have found the same in the teachings of the 10th Century BCE Magus Zoroaster. In fact there are many correspondences between the two teachings, and certain common fundamental ideas about the nature of man and the cosmos. For instance, things like:
- Focus on oral tradition and the transmission of important ideas ‘mouth to ear’
- Remembering – or in other words, initiation is largely a matter of remembering yourself.
- Man is fundamentally good in nature
- Objective Consciousness and the idea that life is a struggle against non-conscious mechanical forces (The Druj)
- The source of consciousness is a singularity (monotheism)
- Conscience – The central aim of initiation is the development of ‘Conscience‘ and that this further brings a social benefit of peace and prosperity for mankind.
- Triads and the Law of Threes
The best place to begin this examination is Gurdjieff’s own writings and in particular his magnum opus Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, in which it is believed that he actually drew on on oral teachings of Zarathushtra in crafting the character Ashia Shiemash, whom he envisions as one of the first great pre Judaeo-Christian prophets to mankind. It is widely considered by students of the work that Ashiata Shiemash is actually a reference to the ancient Indo-Iranian prophet Zarathushtra. As a student of the Gurdjieff Work and then later a student of Mazadaism, this question for me has only grown with mystery. Gurdjieff at many times indicated that what he taught was simply the original system for becoming; the first system that had been forgotten and buried by time and instances of man’s foolishness. On the other side, the more one studies Zoroastrianism in philosophy and history, the more one comes to see that quite possibly this was the original ‘way’ – the original spiritual teaching from which all others were born, grew, diverged, and eventually lost resonance and resemblance with. Here it is my wish to highlight the significant ideas and stories surrounding the character of Ashiata Shiemash, note the various correspondences with Zarathustra as they may arise, and arouse thought on all of this in the spirit of generating a more comprehensive understanding of the universality of this line of work.
There are certainly some differences between Ashiata Shiemash and Zarathrustra. But there are as many if not more similarities, and deep ones at that. It may be useful to keep in mind that Gurdjieff never considered himself an academic, and were anyone to request academic citation for any of his ideas he would likely scoff and point them to the door. Yet it is clear from his many writings as well as the many writings about him – that he contained within himself a wealth of legitimate knowledge of man, psychology, religion, and history.
Regarding time and place there are strong correspondences with Ashiata Shiemash and what we know if the historical Zarathustra. Of Ashiata It is said he was born in Sumeria in a small village called ‘Pis pascana’ some 700 years before a ‘ great meeting of learned beings’ in the city of Babylon. Most modern scholars of Zoroastrianism generally place Zarathustra as having lived in north-east Iran or northern Afghanistan which puts Ashiata Shiemash in generally the right location. Scholars further consider Zarathustra to have lived sometime between 1700 and 1300 BCE. The city of Babylon underwent a variety of incarnations over a sweeping period as far back as 2300 BCE (the Akkadian Empire) to 539 BCE (Neo-Babylonia) with a cultural peak with the distinction of largest city in the world around 1770 to 1670. So timewise we can at least consider Ashiata Shiemash to be in the same neighborhood and Zarathustra.
Gurdjieff always insisted that all of his knowledge of ‘The System’ came from oral tradition – the kind of knowledge that is passed from mouth to ear. In fact his father was an ‘Ashok’ a tribal storyteller of the rural Armenian/Turkish culture Gurdjieff grew up in. In his book Meetings with Remarkable Men he tells of how after the Epic of Gilgamesh was ‘discovered’ and published in the late 1800s, he then realized the power of oral tradition, for he had already been familiarized with all of the stories in this work by the oral tradition told him by his father. From this formative experience grew G’s belief that oral tradition was in fact a more powerful force than the written word for the transmission of esoteric ideas over time. This also ties in with his ideas about “Legominism.” A legominism is, according to Gurdjieff, “one of the means of transmitting information about certain events of long-past ages through initiates”.
Certainly any of Gurdjieff’s knowledge of Zarathushtra would have come from oral tradition, NOT from books of academicians or historians. In fact the first modern comprehensive writing on the subject of Zarathushtra came from explorer Anquetil du Perron who after many years of courageous exploration throughout the Middle East in search of the ancient prophet finally stumbled upon the Parsi sect in India, and subsequently published the first translation of the Avesta in three volumes in 1771. Even such publication were not widely available especially in the late Nineteenth Century Armenia where Gurdjieff was born. Again it can only be assumed that all of his knowledge here came from oral traditions.
Consider these ideas in relation to the destruction of the Temples, mass burning of books, and murdering of Priests that took place 330 BCE as the Greeks under Alexander the Great attempted to blot out Zarathrushtra’s teachings from the Earth. A full version of this storyline is found in the Ardāy Wirāz Nāmag (1.1-7; text: Vahman, 1985, pp. 76 f.; tr. Bailey, 1943, pp. 151-52, and Gnoli, p. 137):
“Once Zarathustra had received the religion it was propagated in the world until 300 years were completed. Then the accursed, wicked Evil Spirit deluded the accursed Alexander the Roman (i.e., Byzantine), who lived in Egypt, in order to cause the people to have doubt about this religion; and he came to the land of Iran with great destruction, strife, and trouble. He killed the ruler of Iran and destroyed the court and sovereignty, and ruined them. And this religious tradition (dēn), the entire Avesta and Zand as it was written on adorned ox-hides in golden ink, had been placed in Pābak’s (city of) Istaxr in the Fortress of Archives (diž ī nipišt). That ill-omened adversary, the wicked, evil-doing heretic Alexander the Roman, who lived in Egypt, carried them off and burnt them. And he slew some of the religious authorities (dastwarān), judges, hērbeds, mōbeds, religious leaders, and able and wise people of the land of Iran. … Since they (the Iranians) had no rulers, chiefs, leaders, or judges who knew the religion, and they were doubtful about things connected with the Divine Beings, many types of sects, beliefs, heresy, doubt, and disagreement came into being in the world.”
It is estimated by some that ‘1200 oxhides’ or the entirety of Zoroastrian religious writings were here destroyed. It is possible Beelzebub refers to this same event when he says:
“In the course of my subsequent investigations it turned out that , later on, when the Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash had establhsied the particular contions of ordinary being-existence he had planned, several of these tablets, on his advice and initiateive, were set up in appropriate places in many of the large towns, and upon them were engraved all kids of precents and counsels for a corresponding existence.
“But later, when their big wars began again, all these tablets were destroyed by these strange beings themselves, with the excepttion of that one which has somehow remained intact, as I have already told you, and is now the property of this brotherhood. [BTTHG p.329]
Despite such mass destructions, as we learned of what has survived orally within remote groups like the Iranis in Iran, and the Parsis in India; who as a part of tradition commit whole pieces of the Gathas and other spiritual ‘song’ to memory, and daily recitation, we see that core ideas and values have indeed survived. We see them in fact quite clearly in at the root of other religious systems as well – the duality of light vs darkness, the idea of an immortal soul, the roots of the word “Magic” and “Magus,” and so forth.
It is further plausible that many of these core ideas following the destructions of Iran, Babylon, Byzantium etc, that the ideas would have survived orally in various pockets even beyond the tight ethnic group of the Paris and Iranis. For instance the numerous Sufi groups through the Middle East which upon observation can be seen to have many of these same commonalities between Zoroastrianism and Gurdjieff. Perhaps the clearest instance of this is in the Sarmoung Brotherhood which Gurdjieff attributes to being the groups that he was initiated into and from which he received ‘The System.’
In his book Meetings with Remarkable Men Gurdjieff goes on to relate the Sarmoung to the Nestorians, descendants of the ancient Byzantine Empire, their expulsion from Mesopotamia and the city of Nineveh, so the geography matches up nicely.
In fact The word Sarmoung uses the Armenian pronunciation of the Persian term Sarman, which may mean either “he who preserves the doctrine of Zoroaster” or “bee”.
Regarding the meaning, the author and student of Gurdjieff, John. G. Bennet writes:
“The word can be interpreted in three ways. It is the word for bee, which has always been a symbol of those who collect the precious ‘honey’ of traditional wisdom and preserve it for further generations. A collection of legends, well known in Armenian and Syrian circles with the title of The Bees, was revised by Mar Salamon, a Nestorian Archimandrite in the thirteenth century. The Bees refers to a mysterious power transmitted from the time of Zoroaster and made manifest in the time of Christ…. Man is Persian meaning as the quality transmitted by heredity and hence a distinguished family or race. It can be the repository of an heirloom or tradition. The word sar means head, both literally and in the sense of principal or chief. The combination sarman would thus mean the chief repository of the tradition.” Yet another possibility was “those whose heads have been purified”, in other words: the enlightened.
So in the Sarmoung Brotherhood we find not only the missing link for Ashiata Shiemash and Zarathushtra, but also between Bees and Beelzebub. As Darban I Den once remarked to me, “I was never comfortable with Beelzebub being related to flies – something shitty and annoying. I always felt it must be Bees – it’s in his name after all.” This latter connection though fascinating may all have even greater implications for The Esoteric Order of Beelzebub.
According to Beelzebub, Ashiata’s teaching method deferred radically from anything done by any teacher before or any teacher after. He taught without teaching:
“The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash taught nothing whatever to the ordinary three-brained beings of the Earth, nor did he preach anything to them, as was done before and after him by all the other Messengers sent from Above with the same aim. “ (BTTHG p. 318)
In other words, there is a very distinctive form of essence-exchange suggested by his system. Something more than the writings, and something not obtainable by the one-way authoritarian structure followed by the popular forms of monotheism. It is also here in the narrative of Beelzebub that the idea of ‘legominism’ is introduced. “A Legomonism,” Beelzebub tells us, “is the name given to one of the means used there for transmitting from generation to generation information about certain events of long-past ages through those three-brained beings who have become worthy to be, and to be called, ‘initiates.’” In other places Gurdjieff had spoken of great physical works like the Sphynx, or the Gothic Cathedrals as examples, but here he refers to a legominism called “The Terror of the Situation.” In the work this idea is known in the shock of realizing one’s own mechanical nature which can be tied back to the wish for being, or ‘being-conscience.’ As we shall see, conscience also has a central role in Zarathushtra’s teaching as well.
As Beelzebub concludes, “’legomonism’ is the name given to the successive transmission of information about long-past events on the planet Earth from initiate to initiate of the first kind, that is, between really meritorious beings, transmitting what they themselves have received from similar meritorious beings.” (BTTHG p. 320) In other words, legominism is the unique form of essential-transfer developed by Ashiata Shiemash.
It is not only in the direction of academic correspondences that we must look toward in this effort, but correspondences in pattern, archetype, and resonance. Once one allows for this, one begins to see that there is actually a lot of evidence to support the notion that Ashiata Sheimash and Zarathustra are one and the same, and the most intriguing one lies right up front in the name: Ashiata Sheimash. Gurdjieff seemed to relish in dressing-up and encoding references to people, places and things in the work of Beelzebub’s Tales, in what feels like spirit of mischievous obfuscation. It is said that when his students were proofreading manuscripts for him if they too-easily arrived at his meaning, he would respond, “ah, I must bury the bone deeper then.” BTTHG offers an entire lexicon of Grecco-Armenian-Russian crafted code-words, and new names for characters that – as your eyes adjust – gradually become familiar. For instance, Lentrohamsanin = Lenin, Archangel Loosios = Lucifer, and so forth. In the prophet’s first name “Ashiata” we find the letters spelling “Asha” which is the expression of higher truth/objective consciousness in the teachings of Zarathustra. Of this word Dr. Flowers in his book The Good Religion says “There is no adequate English translation. It connotes a synthesis of world-order, truth, right, righteousness and holiness.” Which corresponds closely with the introduction of Ashiata Shiemash, who seems to have been born from such due to the conditions which Beelzebub elaborates on:
…by the all-gracious command of our Infinitely Loving Common Father Endlessness, our Highest and Most Saintly Cosmic Individuals sometimes actualize within the presence of some terrestrial three-brained being the ‘definitized conception’ of a Sacred Individual, in order that, having become a terrestrial being with such a presence, he might comprehend the situation on the spot and give a suitable new direction to the process of the ordinary being-existence of your favorites, thanks to which there could perhaps be removed from their presences the already crystallized consequences of the properties of the organ kundabuffer as well as the predisposition to new crystallizations.
From the beginning Ashiata’s own origins are divine and purposeful. He has a super-ability for seeing truth and and right-order. He sees that the way of helping others see truth is to help them remove their own buffers to truth. Gurdjeiff here introduces theidea of ‘kundabuffer’ to refer to the idea of a tightly programed behavior of not seeing truth that has become so culturally ingrained that people come to believe it is biological, not unlike the Christian concept or original sin. Ahsiata’s mission – like Zarathushtras – is to remind people that seeing the truth and the good begins with a decision to see it, in other words seeing behind ‘the lie’ of original sin.
Kundabuffer thus represents the great obstacle to Remembering yourself, and remembering yourself becomes the central task of the Gurdjieff Work as discussed by his student P.D Ouspensky in works like In Search of the Miraculous or The Fourth Way. What may seem in the surface a simple act quickly becomes deep and complex the more one personally explores and experiments with it.
The idea of Self-Remembering is clearly reflected In the cosmology of Zarathushtra where all humans on Earth actually began as conscious souls before coming here. In this pre-soul state they do have some awareness of what life is like on Earth, and eventually the great evil and ‘Terror of the Situations’ inspires them to come to Earth to fight for the good – for consciousness and conscience. However in being born into this world one of necessity forgets much of the previous life. But one can remember, and one can find others to help one remember. In Zarathrushtra’s system this remembering the fight for good equates directly to the remembering of the self spoken of by Gurdjieff. Each act of remembering the self is thus also a conscious act and a fundamentally good act.
Man is Fundamentally Good
When we recall that sense of existence in our Pre-soul state, we may also recall the reason we willfully chose to come to Earth – to fight against evil I.e. Ignorance, unconsciousness, coercion and mechanicalism. This is the first fundamentally good decision we made, and so our existence sent on earth is the result of this decision for the good. Thus in Zarathushtra’s system the fundamental goodness of man is not only a moral truth but a metaphysical truth as well.
This idea is in direct contradiction to the doctrine of Original Sin, so common to contemporary Christianity. The idea there is that man is fundamentally evil, is born into the world as an evil being, and so all of his life must be an effort to make good on this – to pay off his cosmic debt. An entire negative and pessimistic attitude about how to approach the phenomenon of life has grown from this, beyond monotheism and even to to influence secular ideologies. For instance, much of science views man to have evolved from a vicious and violent simeon species, who only by the grace of civilization can avoid descending back into total chaos and interspecies predation. In the far political left of Green Party and animal rights extremism you further find the idea in the form of anti-humanism – that humans are the problem where environment is concerned and overpopulation the cause of most social problems.
In these systems mans fundamental evilness is conversely a moral and metaphysical truth – it is not in anyway based in any decision that you personally made, it is rather the burden you must bear for someone else’s (I.e. Adam and Eve) bad decision. All of these systems are simply re-iterations of the idea of Original Sin, which is really more of an attitude or a negative emotion. Zarathushtra sweeps all this nonsense away with the idea of man being fundamentally good, and reminds us that it was the original perspective only later clouded and perverted by monotheistic wise-acering. It didn’t even enter Christian Doctrine until the 2nd Century by way of Iraneus.
In Gurdjieff’s cosmology, man like all other ‘Three-Brained Beings’ in the universe will naturally grow and evolve toward conscience. On Earth however a great cosmic disturbance (first moon crashing into the earth) interfered with this and resulted in man perceiving reality ‘upside down.’ The Gurdjieff work of achieving Objective Conscience is thus really a work of returning to man’s original state of goodness, which is his birth-right.
The idea of man being fundamentally good in fact corresponds with many other systems considered outside of the established realm of ‘normal’ and ‘common’ like LaVeyan Satanism, Setianism, Ayn Rand’s Objectivism and can in fact even be traced back to Aristotle. It is also worth noting that such systems – and thus the idea of man being fundamentally good – are largely unpopular with mainstream culture.
Gurdjieff attributes to Ashiata many first and unique accomplishments in the areas of philosophy and initiation, and many of these correspond very closely with what we know of Zarathurshtra. For instance, he says
“The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash was the only Messenger sent from Above to your planet who by his holy labors succeeded in creating conditions in which for a certain time the existence of its unfortunate beings somewhat resembled the existence of three-brained beings with the same possibilities that inhabit other planets of our Great Universe.” (BTTHG p. 318)
In so many words he is saying that this prophet is the only one who was actually successful in creating ‘peace on earth’ – the aim that every other prophet touts but never really accomplishes. In a more esoteric sense what this really means is that mankind generally achieved objective consciousness and real and lasting Conscience for a time, one of the practical results of which of course would be relative peace on Earth.
It is often said of Zarathustra that this was accomplished in the reign of Cyrus the II of Persia, founder of the Achaemenid Empire (600 – 530 BC) which followed the teachings of Zarathustra and was well known as one of the most peaceful and prosperous societies in history. Cyrus respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered, following a successful model of administration working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. He also freed the Jews in Babylon and earned a special distinction in the Jewish Bible as Messiah and is the only non-Jew to be so-called.
In the ongoing work of the individual the enemy of Objective Consciousness is embodied in the idea The Druj – an Avestan word meaning “The Lie.” The Druj encompasses all the forces of ignorance, mechanicalism, coercion, slavery, abuse, negative emotions and so forth. In Setian cosmology the same fundamental ideas are represented in the struggle of Set and HarWer as accounted in The Book of Coming Forth by Night. The Ageless Intelligence must struggle to maintain independence from the confused and fitful presence of HarWer.
Though drawing on different terminology and symbolism – the moral basis consciousness = good, non-consciousness = bad reveal a great harmony in these teachings and a shared core-value.
The Source of Consciousness
It is also possible that the Jews of Babylon under Cyrus were influenced by the monotheistic model of Zoroastrianism, and it is widely recognized by scholars that Zarathustra taught the first form of monotheism. Here again we find reference to this aspect of Mazdaism in Beelzebub’s Tales in the world ‘Olbogmek’ which means, “There are no different religions, there is only one God.”(BTTHG\ p. 319). (“Bog” is Russian for “God” as fans of A Clockwork Orange might have recognized).
Zarathustra is universally acknowledged by scholars as producing the first form of monotheism in the character of Ahura Mazda – which is often translated simply as “Lord of Wisdom.” However some scholars assert that Maz-dah is an adjective meaning approximately “he who places (everything) in his mind” (not “wisdom as is commonly rendered.) [The Spirit of Zoroastrianism, Prods Oktor Skjaervo p.13] Such a translation runs much closer to the more technical and specific sense of consciousness and self-consciousness taught by Gurdjieff.
Unknown artist’s rendering of Ashiata Shiemash
It is clear in Beelzebub’s Tales that the significance of conscience pervades the teachings of Ashiata Shiemash, that it is central to his teachings and that all of his other ideas revolve around it.
“After the second transapalnian perturbation occurred to this ill-starred planet, that is, after the ‘loss of Atlantis,’ the action of the cosmic law of Solioonensius in the common presence of your favorites took place at least forty times, and each time, thanks to this strange need of freedom which has become fixed in the majority of them, almost the same thing took place as has recently been occurring among the groups inhabiting that part of the surface of your planet called ‘Russia.’ “Here it is extremely important to note that these terrifying processes could never have occurred among the three-brained beings of the planet Earth if those data for engendering the being-impulse of Conscience, which had remained intact in their subconscious—data to which the Most Saintly Ashiata Shiemash was the first to turn his attention, and which he relied upon for the fulfillment of his mission—had taken part in the functioning of that consciousness of theirs which has become habitual for them during their waking state. “It is only because the data for the sacred impulse of being-Conscience do not take part in the functioning of this consciousness of theirs that the action of the law of Solioonensius, as well as of other inevitable cosmic laws, assumes these abnormal forms which are so lamentable for them.” (BTTHG p. 571)
Many significant ideas can be found in this passage. To begin with, in calling him the first Beelzebub is saying not only was Ashiata the first to identify the importance of Conscience, but that the word fully supported and defined his existence and mission on Earth. It is further suggested that there is an actual biological – even medical – benefit to conscience. The Beelzebub word “Solioonensius” is like kind of like lunacy from the sun – dangerous radiations from the sun make people crazy and make them want to kill other beings. There is actually Sociological support for this, as statistically homicide and violent crime rates tend to increase the closer one gets to the equator, where the influence of the sun is obviously more apparent and felt more strongly by the people who live there. Conscience, or the development of ‘Being-Conscience’ can protect us from these deleterious influences. Thus the development of Conscience goes hand-in-hand with the discouragement of animal-sacrifice, and really violence in general.
Conscience also can be seen to emerge with central importance in the teachings of Zarathustra and we find evidence of it in key ideas like Daena Vohuni which is often translated as ‘good conscience.’
Another way Conscience is approached in the Fourth Way work is in the elimination of contradictions, for it is impossible to experience true conscience while one holds on to internal contradictions. P.D. Ouspensky once wrote:
“Conscience is a state in which a man feels all at once everything that he in general feels, or can feel. And as everyone has within him thousands of contradictory feelings which vary from a deeply hidden realization of his own nothingness and fears of all kinds to the most stupid kind of self-conceit, self-confidence, self-satisfaction, and self-praise, to feel all this together would not only be painful but literally unbearable. If a man whose entire inner world is composed of contradictions were suddenly to feel all these contradictions simultaneously within himself, if he were to feel all at once that he loves everything he hates and hates everything he loves, that he lies when he tells the truth and that he tells the truth when he lies; and if he could feel the shame and horror of it all, this would be the state which is called ‘conscience.’ A man cannot live in this state; he must either destroy contradictions or destroy conscience. He cannot destroy conscience, but if he cannot destroy it he can put it to sleep, that is, he can separate by impenetrable barriers one feeling of self from another, never see them together, never feel their incompatibility, the absurdity of one existing alongside another
Conscience is the fire which alone can fuse all the powders in the glass retort, and create the unity which a man lacks in that state in which he begins to study himself.” (Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous)
Ashiata actually has a very personal association with Beelzebub himself, as it is Ashiata that get’s Beelzebub pardoned from the transgressions of his past:
“And thus to one of the planets of this solar system, the planet called “Earth,” a Messenger was once sent from our Endlessness – a certain Ashiata Shiemash. And as Beelzebub had fulfilled a special task indispensable to his mission, this Messenger, upon his return to the Sun Absolute, earnestly besought His Endlessness to pardon the once young and fier but now aged Beelzebub.” (BTTHG p.49)
This ties in with the Mazdan approach to ethics which asserts there is no transgression that cannot be forgiven. That there is no Original Sin which metaphysically connects us with evil, but that good can at anytime be Remanifested by the decision to do so. In popular monotheism the fundamental nature of man is evil – he is born into the world this way due to the sins of Adam, and therefore the whole of his life clouded with shame and a sense of indebtedness for expenses he did not himself occur. In Zarathushtra and Gurdjieff’s world, man comes into the world fundamentally good, but forgets this over the course of life. Yet he always has the opportunity to remember, that is why Teachers, Prophets, Saoshants, and Messengers from Above return to Earth at various times, to remind us.
Triads – Law of Threes
Generally speaking there is quite a lot of tripartition and triadic structures in both in Zoroastrianism and the Fourth way. In Zoroastrian the cosmos is triadic with a Spirit world, a Material world, and then a yet-to-come divine world of spirit-matter fusion. There is also the triadic maxim of “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds,” with ‘good’ meaning of high quality.
An important triad in the Gurdjieff work is the Law of Threes, referring to the interaction of positive, negative and neutralizing forces in nature and in man. With Ashiata Shiemash, the great triad comes from the surviving tablet that survived the ‘big wars’ on which was inscribed the ‘sacred being-impulses’ of Faith, Hope, and Love. This triad also appears in Corinthians 13:13 but as one reads the Ashiata’s inscriptions one can’t help but suspect a deeper triadic pattern at work:
FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE
- Faith of consciousness is freedom
- Faith of feeling is weakness
- Faith of body is stupidity
- Love of consciousness evokes the same in response
- Love of feeling evokes the opposite
- Love of body depends only on type and polarity
- Hope of consciousness is strength
- Hope of feeling is slavery
- Hope of body is disease