Monday, October 6, 2008

Pythagoras' Dietary Suggestions


Since food, used properly and regularly, greatly contributes to the best discipline, it may be interesting to consider Pythagoras's precepts on the subject. Forbidden was generally all food causing flatulence or indigestion, while he recommended the contrary kind of food, that preserve and are astringent. Wherefore he recommended the nutritious qualities of millet. Rejected was all food foreign to the Gods, as withdrawing us from communion with them. On the other hand, he forbade to his disciples all food that was sacred, as too honorable to subserve common utility. He exhorted his disciples to abstain from such things as were an impediment to prophecy or to the purity and chastity to the soul, or to the habit of temperance, and virtue. Lastly, he rejected all things that were an impediment to sanctity and disturbed or obscured the other purities of the soul, and the phantasms which occur in sleep. Such were the general regulations about food.

Specially, however, the most contemplative of the philosophers, who had arrived at the summit of philosophic attainments, were forbidden superfluous, food such as wine, or unjustifiable food such as was animated; and not to sacrifice animals to the Gods, nor by any means to injure animals, but to observe most solicitous justice towards them. He himself lived after this manner, abstaining from animal food, and adoring altars undefiled with blood. He was likewise careful to prevent others from destroying animals of a nature kindred to ours, and rather corrected and instructed savage animals, than injured them as punishment. Further, he ordered abstaining from animal food even to politicians; for as they desired to act justly to the highest degree, they must certainly not injure any kindred animals. How indeed could they persuade others to act justly, if they themselves were detected in an insatiable avidity in devouring animals allied to us. These are conjoined to us by a fraternal alliance through the communion of life, and the same elements, and the commingling of these.

Eating of the flesh of certain animals was however permitted to those whose life was not entirely purified, philosophic and sacred; but even for these was appointed a definite time of abstinence. Besides, these were not to eat the heart, nor the brain, which entirely forbidden to all Pythagoreans. For these organs are predominant and as it were ladders and seats of wisdom and life. Food other than animal was by him also considered sacred, on account of the nature of divine reason. Thus his disciples were to abstain from mallows, because this plant is the first messenger and signal of the sympathy of celestial with terrestrial natures. Moreover, the fish melanurus was interdicted because sacred to the terrestrial gods. Likewise, the erythinus. Beans also on account of many causes also were interdicted, physical, psychic and sacred.

Many other similar precepts were enjoined in the attempt to lead men to virtue through their food.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Ritual to Hekate

A Ritual to Hekate


This is a modern ritual in the general style of ancient Hellas. It is designed for indoor use, and does not require an altar fire or incense. It is written for one person to perform, but could easily be modified for performance by a group. If held outdoors, a regular altar fire could be used instead of candles. Incense could be used, and different things used for the offerings. Wine does not have to be used. Milk or honey could be used for libations. After purifying himself with the khernips water, the person acting as priest or priestess could cast a few drops of water on the altar. This ritual was first performed on March 28, 2759 AUC (2006).

Materials needed: 2 regular candles or tapers, 2 scented candles, bowl of water for khernips ( fresh spring water or bottled water would be appropriate), sea salt (or regular salt), match or wooden stick, barley, offering bowl, bread and cheese for the offering, wine and water for the libation, and a cup for the libation.

Place the candles on or next to the altar. If possible, place the tapers next to the altar and the scented candles on the altar. The other items can be placed on a stand or table near the altar. Everything should be in place before the ritual begins.

Modifications for Use by a Group

If used by a group, different roles could be assigned to the participants: one person to serve as the officiating priest or priestess, one person to mix the water and wine, each of the participants could bring an offering (in which case the priest or priestess would make the actual act of offering).

Each person should purify himself with the khernips water. This could be done by pouring the water from a vase or jug over the person's hands into the bowl. One person could be in charge of this procedure. In this case, the water in the jug should be blessed by salt and fire beforehand.

Each of the participants should take a sip of the mixed water and wine from the libation cup after the first libation is poured, or small individual cups could be provided for all of the participants.

The Ritual

To begin the ceremony, approach the altar. Light the tapers. Sprinkle sea salt in the khernips water, and say:

"May this purifying water be blessed by the Gods."

Light a stick or match from one of the tapers, plunge it the khernips water, and lay the stick aside. Dip your hands or fingers in the consecrated water and then dry your hands. Say:

"Let all that is profane be gone from here."

Light the scented candles, and say:

"I am here to honor and make offerings to Hekate."

Place the offering bowl on the altar (or have the bowl already in place). Cast the barley on the altar, and say:

"Greetings and praise to Hekate.

Hekate, Kekate, Hekate

I call upon you, Hekate, Great Goddess, by this or by whatever names are pleasing to you, to come to us and to accept this offering

Praise be to you ,Great Hekate

Great and primeval Goddess

You have power in the heavens, sea, and earth, and in the underworld beyond death

You give victory and success, wealth and prosperity, and wellness of being

Goddess of the moon and the night

Goddess of the crossroads and the turning path

Goddess of the key that opens the way

Triple Goddess, crowned with oak leaves and robed in saffron

Bright Hekate, may your flaming torches light the path and may your key open the door

Hekate, hear our prayer

Hekate, take delight in this ritual

Hekate, accept our offering.

An offering to Hekate."

Tear the bread and cheese into pieces and place them in the offering bowl. Say:

"To Hekate, I make an offering. May you be pleased with this offering, Hekate, and may you look with favor upon those who make the offering."

Pour wine and water into the libation cup, and say:

"To Hekate I pour a libation of wine and water. May you be pleased with this offering, Hekate."

Pour some of the mixed wine and water from the cup into the offering bowl. Say:

"To Hekate."

Take a sip from the cup. Say:

"A libation to Hekate."

Pour the rest of the cup into the offering bowl.

At this point, additional hymns, prayers, and requests could be recited. Thank Hekate for favors received. Spend several minutes in meditation.

When you are ready to finish the ritual, say:

"Praise and thanksgiving to Hekate. These rites are ended. So be it."

Let the candles burn, and leave the offerings on the altar for a time, at least for an hour or so. When it is time to dispose of the offerings, pour any liquids down a clean kitchen sink and rinse the sink afterwards. Solid material can be wrapped in a plastic bag or paper towels and placed in the trash. Do not loosely mix the offerings with regular trash. If practical, the offerings could be disposed of somewhere outside in an out of the way location where they would be naturally absorbed into the earth.

This ritual comes from:

Fragments of Parmenides

English translation :
John Burnet (1892)


The steeds that bear me carried me as far as ever my heart
Desired, since they brought me and set me on the renowned
Way of the goddess, who with her own hands conducts the man
who knows through all things. On what way was I borne

5 along; for on it did the wise steeds carry me, drawing my car,
and maidens showed the way. And the axle, glowing in the socket -
for it was urged round by the whirling wheels at each
end - gave forth a sound as of a pipe, when the daughters of the
Sun, hasting to convey me into the light, threw back their veils

10 from off their faces and left the abode of Night.
There are the gates of the ways of Night and Day, fitted
above with a lintel and below with a threshold of stone. They
themselves, high in the air, are closed by mighty doors, and
Avenging Justice keeps the keys that open them. Her did

15 the maidens entreat with gentle words and skilfully persuade
to unfasten without demur the bolted bars from the gates.
Then, when the doors were thrown back,
they disclosed a widepening, when their brazen
hinges swung backwards in the

20 sockets fastened with rivets and nails. Straight through them,
on the broad way, did the maidens guide the horses and the car,
and the goddess greeted me kindly, and took my right hand
in hers, and spake to me these words: -
Welcome, noble youth, that comest to my abode on the car

25 that bears thee tended by immortal charioteers ! It is no ill
chance, but justice and right that has sent thee forth to travel
on this way. Far, indeed, does it lie from the beaten track of
men ! Meet it is that thou shouldst learn all things, as well
the unshaken heart of persuasive truth, as the opinions of

30 mortals in which is no true belief at all. Yet none the less
shalt thou learn of these things also, since thou must judge
approvedly of the things that seem to men as thou goest
through all things in thy journey."


Come now, I will tell thee - and do thou hearken to my
saying and carry it away - the only two ways of search that
can be thought of. The first, namely, that It is, and that it is
impossible for anything not to be, is the way of. conviction,

5 for truth is its companion.. The other, namely, that It is not,
and that something must needs not be, - that, I tell thee, is a
wholly untrustworthy path. For you cannot know what is
not - that is impossible - nor utter it;


For it is the same thing that can be thought and that can be.




It needs must be that what can be thought and spoken of is;
for it is possible for it to be, and it is not possible for, what is
nothing to be. This is what I bid thee ponder. I hold thee
back from this first way of inquiry, and from this other also,

5 upon which mortals knowing naught wander in two minds; for
hesitation guides the wandering thought in their breasts, so that
they are borne along stupefied like men deaf and blind.
Undiscerning crowds, in whose eyes the same thing and not the
same is and is not, and all things travel in opposite directions !


For this shall never be proved, that the things that are not
are; and do thou restrain thy thought from this way of inquiry.
Nor let habit force thee to cast a wandering eye upon this
devious track, or to turn thither thy resounding ear or thy

5 tongue; but do thou judge the subtle refutation of their
discourse uttered by me.


One path only is left for us to
speak of, namely, that It is. In it are very many tokens that
what is, is uncreated and indestructible, alone, complete,
immovable and without end. Nor was it ever, nor will it be; for

5 now it is, all at once, a continuous one. For what kind of origin
for it. will you look for ? In what way and from what source
could it have drawn its increase ? I shall not let thee say nor
think that it came from what is not; for it can neither be
thought nor uttered that what is not is. And, if it came from

10 nothing, what need could have made it arise later rather than
sooner ? Therefore must it either be altogether or be not at
all. Nor will the force of truth suffer aught to arise besides
itself from that which in any way is. Wherefore, Justice does
not loose her fetters and let anything come into being or pass

15 away, but holds it fast.
" Is it or is it not ? " Surely it is adjudged, as it needs must
be, that we are to set aside the one way as unthinkable and
nameless (for it is no true way), and that the other path is real
and true. How, then, can what is be going to be in the

20 future ? Or how could it come into being ? If it came into
being, it is not; nor is it if it is going to be in the future. Thus is
becoming extinguished and passing away not to be heard of.
Nor is it divisible, since it is all alike, and there is no more
of it in one place than in another, to hinder it from holding
together, nor less of it, but everything is full of what is.

25 Wherefore all holds together; for what is; is in contact with what is.
Moreover, it is immovable in the bonds of mighty chains, without
beginning and without end; since coming into being
and passing away have been driven afar, and true belief has cast them away.
It is the same, and it rests in the self-same place, abiding in itself.

30 And thus it remaineth constant in its place; for hard necessity
keeps it in the bonds of the limit that holds it fast on every side.
Wherefore it is not permitted to what is to be infinite; for it is in need of nothing ; while, if it were infinite, it would stand in need of everything. It is the
same thing that can be thought and for the sake of which the thought exists ;

35 for you cannot find thought without something that is, to which it is
betrothed. And there is not, and never shall be, any time other, than that which
is present, since fate has chained it so as to be whole and immovable.
Wherefore all these things are but the names which mortals
have given, believing them, to be true –

40 coming into being and passing away, being and not being,
change of place and alteration of bright colour.
Where, then, it has its farthest boundary, it is complete on
every side, equally poised from the centre in every direction,
like the mass of a rounded sphere; for it cannot be greater or

45 smaller in one place than in another. For there is nothing
which is not that could keep it from reaching out equally, nor
is it possible that there should be more of what is in this place
and less in that, since it is all inviolable. For, since it is equal
in all directions, it is equally confined within limits.

50 Here shall I close my trustworthy speech and thought about the truth.
Henceforward learn the opinions of mortals,
giving ear to the deceptive ordering of my words.
Mortals have settled in their minds to speak of two forms, one of which
they should have left out, and that is where they go astray from the truth.

55 They have assigned an opposite
substance to each, and marks distinct from one another. To the
one they allot the fire of heaven, light, thin, in every direction
the same as itself, but not the same as the other. The other is
opposite to it, dark night, a compact and heavy body. Of these

60 I tell thee the whole arrangement as it seems to men,
in order that no mortal may surpass thee in knowledge.


Now that all things have been named light and night; and the things
which belong to the power of each have been assigned to these
things and to those, everything is full at once of light and dark night,
both equal, since neither has aught to do with the other.


And thou shalt know the origin of all the things on high,
and all the signs in the sky, and the resplendent works of the
glowing sun’s clear torch, and whence they arose. And thou
shalt learn likewise of the wandering deeds of the round-faced

5 moon, and of her origin. Thou shalt know, too, the heavens
that surround us, whence they arose, and how Necessity took
them and bound them to keep the limits of the stars . . .


How the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the sky that is
common to all, and the Milky Way, and the outermost Olympos,
and the burning might of the stars


The narrower circles are filled with unmixed fire, and those
surrounding them with night, and in the midst of these rushes
their portion of fire. In the midst of these circles is the divinity that directs
the course of all things; for she rules over all painful birth and all begetting,

5 driving the female to the embrace of the male, and the male to that of the female.


First of all the gods she contrived Eros.


Shining by night with borrowed light, wandering round the earth.


Always straining her eyes to the beams of the sun.




On the right boys; on the left girls.



Thus, according to men’s opinions, did things comp into
being, and thus they are now. In time (they think) they will
grow up and pass away. To each of these things men have
assigned a fixed name.


The Ko'ans of Pythagoras

This paper is an introduction to the study of the fragmentary materials from the 6th c. B.C. Pythagorean monastery at Croton in southern Italy. Since the students at that school were sworn to secrecy, and furthermore the school was brutally eradicated by hostile forces afraid of the "new thinking", there has always been much of a mystery about Pythagoras and Pythagorean thought.

I have felt that if the "Symboulai" or Counsels were taken as ko'an like riddles which the Master proposed to his students for study, and a comparison were made to the Zen Buddhist tradition dating from the 12th c. A.D., we might understand these difficult statements better.

My first step is to give a clear account of the fragments, with only as much scholarly detail as is necessary, and then consider the text for its wide variety of interpretative meanings. These Counsels have in the West been taken as odd, eccentric, tabu-ridden and even forgeries, so this is a first attempt to make sense of what are, after all, parts of a very ancient philosophical school

When Pythagoras returned from travels in the Near East, sometime after the middle of the 6th century B.C., he found his home on Samos under the power of a local tyrant, possibly because of this, or for other reasons, he decided to move to the West, which then meant the lower part of Italy later called Magna Graecia. At Croton he founded a colony of about two hundred men and nearly twenty women, for the purpose of exploring Mind and Thought. The work there was conducted within the walls of a school, which assumed many of the characteristics of a monastery, since it involved regular lessons, tests of adequate comprehension of a body of essential principles, a regularized diet of food and thought. The work was internal and secret by definition.

At a certain time, neighboring people became alarmed by what was going on at the monastery, they arranged to have it raided and destroyed, therefore only a thin trickle of information about Pythagorean doctrine filtered through to later Greek times. Some of this later information came from defecting scholars of the original group, some has been traced to derivative thinkers, and some was the later figment of pure imagination. But Pythagorean thought did not die out in the ancient world, if later became fused with the popular cult of Orphism, and retained a place in the Hellenistic academic world Plato was deeply influenced by Pythagorean thinking although he hardly mentions it, while Aristotle gave a reasoned critique of what he understood the Pythagoreans to have added to Greek philosophy. But the genuine source material which issued from the Pythagorean school at Croton is pitifully thin.

Among the "remains" is a body of Sayings or Symbola, which purported to be statements from the mouth of Pythagoras himself. Many of them are cited as "he himself said that... " (autos ephe), while others resemble these in general tone and attitude. But these citations stem from authors writing well along in the Christian period, they were far removed from the world of 6th century Greece. Philosophical critical acumen was of a low sort in the later period, which was largely given over to rote acceptance of scraps of information, or to rationalization of deep thought in simple terms. Yet from such sources we inherit a body of almost a hundred "Sayings" ascribed to Pythagoras himself or to senior members of his school. These Sayings, which are usually pithy and in a short sentence form, are varied in scope and style, most are initially difficult to interpret, and a very few cannot be interpreted at all.

For generations scholars have been non-plused by the Pythagorean Symbola. Kirk and Raven cite and translate a number of them, but without serious analysis, marking some as "nothing more than common ethical or religious reflections", while others are noted as "probably descended from primitive folk-taboo". Others "clearly concern ritual purity", yet some "seem to owe their origin to sympathetic magic"

Wheelwright notes that "each of them carries an ethical and occasionally a metaphysical meaning, which in some cases the reader can discern for himself, in other perhaps not." He translates some examples loosely, without much comment, and we are left to discern or not. (as he said), for ourselves. Even such a redoubtable scholar as Kathleen Freeman considers sifting for meaning "a thankless task", and decide that ".Perhaps it is wiser to leave them 'undemonstrable and unexplained'".

The problem is that Western scholars have looked back to the Pythagorean Symbola as historical precursors of what was to follow in the annals of Greek philosophy, and they have missed one important criterion : The School of Pythagoras at Croton was run like a monastery, He Himself (Pythagoras the Master) set the tone, the curriculum and individual lessons. His students were committed to learning with and through him, some were titled as Akousmaticoi (auditors), others were Mathematicoi (graduate students), and the instruction was directed through verbal rapport with the Master. The organization and purpose of this Croton Monastery is so similar to the monastic schools which were organized in China and then in Japan after the tenth century, that a general awareness of what the Zen scholars were about can help us to understand more about the very fragmented history of the Croton school.

First, the primary aim of both Greek and Japanese Zen schools was enlightenment. This could only be achieved in isolation from the pressures of society, in a removed society which was closely directed by someone who had learned a great deal about "knowing", along with a regulated diet of both food and thought. Instruction in ancient Japan was often performed in terms of koans, which the Master issued selectively to each student for meditation and explication after long study. It is the contention of this paper that the Pythagorean Symbola were in every sense koans, lesson assignments designed to raise the student's understanding bit by bit as he progressed on the road toward real knowledge. Since our knowledge of the Zen schools is rich and full, we can use it as an intellectual backdrop for the much less well understood school of the Pythagorean brotherhood at Croton.

Symbola and koans start with a puzzle-like statement, which the student wrestles with, improvises upon, and finally, after consulting with his Master, uses to expand his view of the world and his own perceptions. When the Master sees that the student has come to a raised level of mind, as is evidenced by his responses and even more by his questions, the koan has served its purpose, then new and harder ones can be devised to fit the student's needs. Seen in this light, the majority of the Symbola are excellent koan-like lessons for individual, private learning. They are puzzles for the student's growing intelligence, and when seen in this light there is no reason that they should confuse us in any way. A few Symbola are still impossible to understand, but this may be the result of two thousand years of academic transmission without understanding them at all; or it may be that, since we are in fact all students in the art of becoming enlightened, we have not ready for the level of the lesson at hand.

In this paper, the full list of the 96 Symbola will be given in English translation, rather than the selections common to most textbooks, so that we can have the complete material at hand. Some of the sayings are repeated in a slightly different wording, these too have been given in the interest of completeness. In an ensuing section some of the Symbola will be selected for commentary, to make clear the wide range of the experience which students at the Croton academy must have gone through. Surprisingly some of the Symbola are still alive and quite pertinent to problems which we still face.

I hope that another scholar with interest in the Zen tradition, with compare these materials with specific documents from the 12th c. Zen period of study with Pythagorean items, in the hope that comparative treatment of the two educational systems may shed light on the very fragmentary and misunderstood Pythagorean studies. Similarities between the Zen and Pythagorean school systems probably stem from the very fact of humanness and common experience, although there are glimpses of sources in ancient India which may have furnished both the Orient and Hellas with similar elements in their separate ways of thinking.

THE NAME OF THE COLLECTION : Symbola or Counsels

No one is sure when the term Symbola was first applied to this collection of Pythagorean materials. These Pythagorean sayings are usually called Akousmata, from the verb akouo "hear; listen", or Symbola. The first term is entirely understandable, since akouo is often used for "hearing a lecturer", almost to the degree of "taking a course". But the other term Symbola is less comprehensible. In Greek the word sum-bolon (coming from ballo) always speaks of something "put together", whether it is a business agreement,. the legal "seal" of a signet ring, a receipt, or any other set of conditions in which one this is joined with another. But this has little meaning when used for the Pythagorean taught doctrines.

One of the Sayings provides a clue to what I believe was the original title as named in the Doric Dialect within the Pythagorean school. I am concerned with the Greek verb: sym-bouleuo, as in:

"Counsel (symbouleue) only what is good for him being counseled, since counsel (boule) is holy".

Croton was in a South Italian area where Doric Greek was been spoken. Croton had been founded about 700 B.C. by a colony of Achaeans, who were Doric speaking Peloponnesians without question. Many of the students, men and women, are recorded by place of origin, and there is a preponderance of Doric speakers by place of origin. Now in the Doric dialect, the Attic vowel -ou- is regularly - pronounced -w-, and attested examples of Doric writing regularly have bwleuo for Att. bouleuo, just as they have bolomai for Att. boulomai and bola for Att. boule. We know that the Pythagorean studies were done in a completely oral form, they were secret and could be leaked to the outside world on authentic (Doric speaking) lips, so it seems reasonable to assume that in the words which insiders used to describe to outsiders the "Words of the Master", they would have used the Doric term symbwlla. At a later date, Atticistic commentators would have heard this as symbola, a simple phonetic alteration from a long vowel to a short one in the interests of connecting with an established Attic word, symbolon "agreements, etc." Modern historical linguists know the sound laws of the dialects better, and can retrace -o- to -ou- in this word, but there is no reason to think that the pitiful linguistics of Plato's generation would have been thought of following this path.

Therefore, it is suggested that the word Symbola be reinterpreted as symbola, reconnected with the verb symbouleuo "counsel, advise", and reoriented to the very important Fragment :

"counsel (symbouleue) what is best for the one being counseled, for counsel (boule) is holy.

But of course the Pythagorean materials have been run through the Attic sieve, and we may well want to "restore" the title in a Doric form, from which we will have a better understanding of what the title means, what the Sayings were originally understood to do, and how we are to approach this collection of unusual materials. From this point on we will refers to the Pythagorean Symbola as "Counsels"

(An academic aside concerning the vocalization of the Greek dialects, specifically an Attic transmutation of a South Italian Doric word. First we should examine the word boule and its derivatives in terms of the Greek dialects: Attic bouleuo should turn up in Dor. as bwleuo, that is Dor. omega would correspond to Att. -ou- in such a configuration. This is clear and factual. (Now what can the L-S entry under boule mean: Dor. bwlla, Decr. Byz. ap. D.". This must be the Decretum Byzantinum apud D(emosthenes)" since D. is their regular abbr. for him. But what is clear is this: that Att. boul-euo = Aeol. boll = Dor. bwl-.)

In the light of the above, these sayings should clearly be called Counsels. The master/teacher has not only intellectual responsibility for his students, but personal responsibility as well. Counsel involves a special relation ship between master and student, the master must at all time be aware of that will ultimately harm as well as benefit the student... Since the learning experience in a monastic type learning-center like that of Pythagoras is done of a personal basis., we can have the image of the eager students, whether Akousmaticoi or Mathematicoi, auditors or graduate students, and beside these, we are aware of a powerful figure, one autos, who speaks statements worthy of meditation. So between the Master and the Disciples exists the basis for Counseling and it should be no surprise that the Sayings were called Counsels.

The following translation is from the citations from the Greek sources : Diels-Kranz 5 ed. vol 2 under Pythagoristae. The order is as listed in DK, based on the origin of the quotations from ancient sources, hence there is no thematic order at all, as compared with the commented treatment which follows. The reason for listing the quotations this way is to present the raw material, as it were, by itself. One can easily see why many commentators have felt that this list of sayings is either incomprehensible or mere tabu of the organization. I suggest reading the plain text carefully first, then going to my commentary to see if it sheds light on the shadows which embrace the ruined walls of the Pythagorean Monastery at Croton.

l) "Thunder exists, as the Pythagoreans say, for the purpose of threatening those in the the Underworld, so that they may be frightened". Aristotle, D. 462-37

2) " He (. Pythagoras) said certain things in a mystical manner... e.g. the sea is "a tear", the bears "the hands of Rhea, the Pleiades "the lyre of the Muses, the planets "the hound of Persephone, and the sound that arises when the bronze (cymbal) is struck is "the voice of a spirit threatened by the bronze. Porphyrius. D.462-40

3) 'He said that the holiest thing of all was the leaf of the plant "malache". Aelian D.463-4

4) The wisest thing of all is number (arithmos), and second he who puts names on things (actually pragmasi).Aelian,D.462-5.

5) He explained earthquake as nothing else than assembly of the dead. Aelian, D. 463-6

6).... and he used to say that Iris (rainbow) is the light of the sun, Aelian, D.463-7

7) and the echo which resounds in mens' ears is the voice of the Greater Ones (gods). Aelian, D. 463-8

8) "According to Aristotle he (Pythagoras) said to avoid beans, since they are similar to genitals, and to the gates of Hell... (lacuna: ? eat only?) what is ungenerative. [This is either because this destroys, or is like the nature of the whole, or because it is oligarchical, since they choose by lot with it.] Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-9

9)... and not to pick up what has fallen [so one does get used to eating guttonously, or because it is the end of something. And Aristophanes says in his play The Heroes " do not taste what falls under the tale".]Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-12

l0)... and do not lay hands on a white rooster, since it is holy to Moon (meis), and a suppliant. [This is one of the good things, he is holy to Moon, and signals the time; if white it is of good nature, if black of bad.] Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-16

11) And do not lay hands on such fish as are holy [for these are not to be handled by gods or men, just as by freemen and slaves]. Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-19.

12) Do not break a loaf [because men of ancient times used to pass around a whole loaf among friends, just as the barbarians do nowadays., nor for a person who brings together, to take apart. Some do (this) because of the judgment in Hell, others out of cowardice in battle.. Diogenes Laertius, D. 462-21

13) Of solid (geometric) forms the fairest is the ball, of plane forms, the fairest is the circle. Diogenes Laertius, D.463-24

14) Age is continually lessening, and it is also growth and youth. Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-25

15) Health is the retention of form, disease is the loss of it. Diogenes Laertius, D. 463.26

16) Of salt, it is right to set it out (as at dinner) as a reminder of the just, for salt preserves what it contacts, and is produced by the cleansing actions of sun and sea. Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-27
Iamblichus D. 463-33 speaking of the Acousmata "which are to be received as such without discussion (logos), but retained and preserved", says "they are divided into three classes: l) What a given thing signifies (semainei), 2)what it IS, and 3)what it is necessary to do or refrain from doing."

In the first classification, of what things signify, are listed a variety of questions and answers:

17) What are the Isles of the Blessed? Sun and Moon. Iamblichus D. 464-6

18) What is the oracle at Delphi? The tetractys, which exists in the harmony of the Planets (Seirenes or "twinklers").Iamblichus, D. 464 -7
In the second class of what Is, we find:

19) What is wisest? First number, then names. Iamblichus, D. 464-8

20) What is the wisest of human things (ta par hemin)? Medical art. Iamblichus, D. 464 -8

21) What is fairest? Harmony. Iamblichus D. 464 -9

22) What is strongest? Intelligence (gnome). Iamblichus, D. 464 -10

23) What is best? Happiness. Iamblichus, D. 464-10

24) [What is the truest thing ever said? That men are evil. Iamblichus, D. 464-11
And in the third class of what is and is not to be done are these:

25) One must procreate children, [since one should leave behind him persons who will serve God].Iamblichus, D. 464-22

26) One must put on the right shoe first. Iamblichus, D. 464-23

27) One must not follow the people's major highways. Iamblichus, D. 464-23

28) One must not dip one's hand into the lustral vessel., or wash in the public bath.[It is not clear in these cases if the participants do become cleansed.]Iamblichus, D. 464-24

29) Do not participate in lifting up a load, but you can help getting it down. [This is not for the sake of avoiding labor.] Iamblichus, D. 464-25

30)Do not associate with a woman who has gold for the purpose of begetting children. Iamblicus, 464-26

31) Do not speak without light. Iamblichus, D. 464-27

32) Pour a libation to the gods over the "ear" of the cup, for the same of a good omen (oionos) so that one cannot drink from it (the "ear" or mouth of the vessel).Iamblichus, D. 464-28

33) Do not have the figure of a deity on your ring [lest it get dirty in use]. Rather have a statue of the deity, and keep it in your house.

34) Do not chase after your wife, for she is a holy suppliant. We should (rather) lead her from the hearth, and let the "taking" of her be on the right side. Iamblichus, D. 464-30. Aristotle amplified this 9465-15 ff. with a remark about this being an ancient form of law designed to protect women from their husbands, citing this material with the comment that "in this way least harm will be seen to result". D. 465-15 ff.

35) Do not (sacrifice) a white rooster, which is suppliant and holy to Moon, and also signals the time. Iamblichus, D. 464 -31

36) Counsel nothing but the best for him who is being counseled, for counsel is holy. Iamblichus, D. 464-32

37) Work is good, but leisure (hedonai) is in every way evil.[One must chastise those coming to chastisement.]

38) One must sacrifice barefoot, and address the holy images (or come forth to the holy places). Iamblichus, D. 464-35

39) One must not turn out of this way to a temple; one must not make God a side-issue. Iamblichus, D. 464-35

40) [To die standing firm and receiving wounds on the front of the body is good. the reverse is bad.] Iamblichus, D. 464-36

41) The soul of a man does not proceed to single-simple living creatures, with whom it is permisable to make sacrifice; and for this reason one can eat of such sacrificed animals, but of no other. Iamblichus, D. 464-37
Anaximandros of Miletus wrote a digest of Pythagorean sayings, (his explanations are pedestrian and pseudo-logical) (Suidas, 465-19),among which are:

42) Do not step over a yoke. Suidas, D. 465-23

43) Do not stir the fire with a dagger. Suidas, D. 465-23

44) Do not eat from a whole loaf. Suidas, D. 465-24
Diogenes Laertius continues with Anaximandran quotations, as does Suidas:

45) Do not pluck from a wreath. Diogenes Laertius, D. 465-28

46) Eat not the heart. Diogenes Laertius, D. 465-29

47) Do not sit on a choinix (gallon pail).Diogenes Laertius, D. 465-30

48) When traveling away from home, do not be turning about. Diogenes Laertius, D. 465-31

49 Do not walk on the public highways. Diogenes Laertius, D. 465-32

50) Do not receive swallows in your house. Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-2

51) Working with others lifting, you may set down a load, but do not lift it up with them. Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-3

52) Do not carry images of deities on rings. Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-5

53) Make sacrifices to the gods over the "ears" of the cups. Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-7

54) It is not right to eat generation, growth, beginning or end, nor that from which the first development (hypothesis) comes. This includes loins, testicles, genitals, brain, head and feet. Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-9

55) One must refrain from beans as from human flesh. Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-12

56) He urged refraining from metra, triglis and akalephe, as well as from most other sea creatures. Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-13
Now Iamblichus gives (466 -15 ff) as abbreviated list of most of the above items, but with slightly different wording, as follows:

57) Going away to a holy temple, kneel down, and the meanwhile neither think nor do anything pertaining to one's regular life. Iamblichus, D. 466-16

58) One must not go to a temple as side-issue, nor fall right down on his knees, not even if he happens to be passing the very doors of the holy place. Iamblichus, D. 466-16

59) Sacrifice and kneel barefoot. Iamblichus, D. 466-18

60) Disinclining from public roads, walk the untrodden (paths).Iamblichus, D. 466-17

61) Avoid (eating) melanouros or " the fish blacktail", for it belongs to the Earth Deities. Iamblichus, D. 466-19

62) Control your tongue above all else when following the Gods. Iamblichus, 466-20

63) When the winds blow, kneel down to Echo. Iamblichus, 466-21

64) DO not stir the fire with a dagger. Iamblichus, D. 466-21

65) Always turn the vinegar cruet away from yourself. Iamblichus, D. 466-22

66) Help a man lifting up a load, do not help him lifting it down. Iamblichus, D. 466-22

67) Put the right foot into the shoe first, for footwashing, do left first. Iamblichus D. 466-23

68) Speak not without light about Pythagorean matters. Iamblichus, D. 466-24

69) Cross not a yoke-beam. Iamblichus, D. 466-25

70) Traveling away from your home, do not turn yourself around, for the Furies (erinnues) follow. Iamblichus, 466-25

71) Do not urinate turning toward the sun. Iamblichus, D. 466-26

72) Do not wipe your bottom with a stick. Iamblichus, D. 466-25

73) Keep a cock but do not sacrifice it. Iamblichus, D. 466-27

74) Do not sit on a choinix (gallon bucket). Iamblichus, D. 466-28

76) Raise not an animal which has hooked claws. Iamblichus, 466-28

77) Do not split up on a road. Iamblichus, D. 466-28

78) Receive swallows not in your house. Iamblichus, D. 466-29

79) Do not wear a ring. Iamblichus, D. 466-29

80) Engrave not the figure of a deity on your ring. Iamblichus, D. 466-29

81) Do not look at yourself in a mirror by candlelight. Iamblichus, D. 466-30

82) Fail not to believe any amazing things about deities or ideas about the theic. Iamblichus, D. 466-30

83) Be not held by uncontrollable laughter. Iamblichus, D. 466-31

84) Do not cut your nails at a sacrificial ritual. Iamblichus, D. 466-32

85) Do not hold out your right hand to every person readily. Iamblichus, D. 466-32

86) Rising up from bed, roll up the bedclothes and smoothe out the place. Iamblichus, D. 466-32

87) Gnaw not the heart. Iamblichus, D. 466-33

88) Eat not the brain. Iamblichus, D. 466-34

89) Look with disgust at (lit. spit upon) your hair-cuttings and fingernail clippings. Iamblichus, D. 466-34

90) Do not accept the erythinos (a hermaphrodite fish). Iamblichus, D. 466-35

91) Efface the mark of the pot from the ashes. Iamblichus, D. 466-35

92) Be not close to a woman who has gold for the purposes of child-begetting. Iamblichus, D. 466-35

93) Give special honor to the shape and motion of the " shape and tri-obol (coin)". Iamblichus, D. 466-36 [The text is hopelessly corrupt, tou schema looks like a scribal repetition; perhaps tribolos, "spiked chestnut" is meant.]

94) Keep away from beans. Iamblichus, D. 466-37

95) Grow the plant "moloche" but do not eat it. Iamblichus, D. 466-38. Cf. 3) for spelling.

96) Restrain yourself from (eating) things which have life. Iamblichus, D. 466-39


Now we can turn to examine the Counsels (Symboulai) with care, in a thematically rearranged order, with a new and detailed commentary. I have had these Counsels in my mind for several decades, and found that they had a way of "revealing themselves" one at a time over the years. I record the history of my unforced discovering of inner meaning and spiritual values, as evidence of a way which I believe the Master must have intended his students to follow. If some of my points seem forced, put them on the shelf for future consideration, thinking of the slow pace of the classic Zen Ko'ans of the early period and the way they could later explode into understanding.


The first group, which is most interesting from a philosophical and humanistic point of view, is concerned with problems affecting enlightenment and the art of knowing, the way by which men come to know themselves and the world around them. Confining ourselves to the Symbola which concern man's way of viewing the world, we find these examples :

4) The wisest thing of all is number (arithmos), and second he who puts names on things (pragmasi).Aelian,D.462-5.

What is most startling about this statement is the remote time in which it was formulated. When Lord Kelvin said that only when we can put numbers onto things, do we begin to know something about them, he was working in a long line of researchers from Galileo to Cavendish, who understood the importance of numbers for scientific thought.. Modern developments from Cybernetics to computer theory, and on the other hand in the genetics coding of life forms, have gone even further in making us aware of the primacy of number over word-concept. One could almost say that God, or the Nature of the Universe, thinks in numbers, which notion probably would not have surprised Pythagoras at all.

62) Control your tongue above all else when following the Gods. (Iamblichus, 466-20)

Simplicity is required for the highest matters, although people from time immemorial have discoursed at length on theology. One thinks of the endless Indian Buddhist disquisitions, which so confused and displease the 12th c. Zen masters in Japan. Reducing words, they tried to clear out the web of needless discourse.

68) Speak not without light about Pythagorean matters. (Iamblichus, D. 466-24)

31) Do not speak without light. (Iamblichus, D. 464-27)

This follows indirectly from the caution of 4).about the use of words. The earlier Greeks in general had not overloaded their thought with verbal baggage, which distinguishes their needs from the 12th C. Zen masters who were trying to get clear of centuries of verbal overlay stemming from China and India. Each age has its own, special impediments on the road to inquiry.

60) Disinclining from public roads, walk the untrodden (paths). (Iamblichus, D. 466-17).

26) One must not follow the people's major highways. (Iamblichus, D. 464-23)

49) Do not walk on the public highways. (Diogenes Laertius, D. 465-32)

The Greeks were new to the role of heavy socialization of masses of men and women, which had proved so successful from the eighth millennium B.C. in India, Egypt and the Near East. Possibly because of their neophyte socialization, they could accept working in states (poleis), while being aware of the danger of too much social cloning, which is eventually the sure damper to inventive genius. Living socially, but distrusting the processes of socialization, the Greek trod his own private highways, and this led him to supremacy in art, literature, science and philosophy. Thoughtful moderns like Robert Frost have repeatedly spoken about the "other roads", an ancient caution in a new setting.

One thinks of Frost's choice of the road less traveled, and the worth of that choice. In physics the "highway" of ether-theory was trod by everybody, until a recalcitrant few went on another path. Humans are in many ways herd animals, and this can be an impediment to progress.

70) Traveling away from your home, do not turn yourself around for the Furies (Erinnyes) follow. (Iamblichus, D.466-25)

Whether "home" is a place on the map, or a point in our past, the inveterate act of repeatedly looking back destroys not only awareness of the present but also consideration of the future. One might almost way that an undue "looking back" constitutes the core of neurosis, and causes the kind of calcification of the mind which Lot's wife physically symbolizes. In a typical situation, Orpheus through his artistic imagination created what appeared to be a coherent way of "looking back", so that he believed his dead wife was actually with him, until he finally "looked back" in real vision to find she was not there at all. We all know this personally in our personal quandaries about having turned off the lights and locked the door, as we drive down the highway on a vacation, after-thinking is a human trait, but one which can easily become compulsive.

81) Do not look at yourself in a mirror by candlelight. (Iamblichus, D. 466-30)

Since the invention of silvered glass in the 17th century, mirrors have become so good as to fool the eye, we even use the phrase "mirror-image", although mirrors reverse the right and left side of our faces and make writing unintelligible. But in the Hellenic world, mirrors were made of polished brass, which accounts for St. Paul's odd phrase about knowing yourself "through a glass darkly", where "glass" is the venerable King James Version's "modernization". Now imagine looking at yourself in a brass mirror by the light of a Greco-Roman olive-oil lamp, which is far darker and smokier than a candle , and now ask yourself what you really see. Beyond the reflected image is the retinal impression of the surface of a person, absorbing and reflecting certain wavelengths of light and filtering the image through a complex human brain-field, which in turn is modified in its perception by experience, social modes, and habit. The very process of looking at oneself is fraught with perceptual dangers, and if one really want to see himself fully and behold his real self, there will insurmountable problems with the mirrored image. The novice Pythagorean monk in the sixth century B.C. could drive himself to desperation wondering how he could ever really perceive himself. Here we see the value of this koan, a deep puzzle worthy of the great Socratic phrase: Know Thyself. It was this lifelong problem of self-knowing that Socrates was talking about, not a simple distinction between men and gods, as Herodotus and generations of Classical scholars have maintained. Reading this "case", one sees that the West has not been unaware of some of the larger problems. concerned with self-knowledge., problems which the East continued try to solve.

85) Do not hold out your right hand to every person readily. (Iamblichus, D. 466-32)

Automatic social behavior, even if friendly, is likely to be thoughtless. In a world which is often thoughtless, thoughtlessness must be monitored even in minor situations. Thoughtless persons lose the capacity for careful thinking.

83) Be not held by uncontrollable laughter. (Iamblichus, D. 466-31)

Both automatic goodwill and automatic risibility blind the mind to watchfulness., which is probably why the Zen man and the Karate master seem at times so removed and cautious. Too much on the outside is likely to indicate too little on the inside; one must balance Yin and Yang.

There may also be a notion of breath being somehow aligned with "Soul". Breathing out overly in laughter could be felt to be analogous to "breathing out your soul" or dying. And in some very few cases hysterical laughter may precede a stroke.....

77) Do not split up on a road. (Iamblichus, D. 466-38)

This is strange indeed, if we are speaking of a real roadway, but if we are thinking in larger terms, the Road of Life is a road we cannot get off, any more than we can get on it. Or the pathway of a thought.... we must not split and divide, wobble and hesitate. Just go right on through, as in the Zen statement: "When you sit, sit....when you walk, just walk, do not wobble."

12) Do not break a loaf [because men of ancient times used to pass around a whole loaf among friends, just as the barbarians do nowadays.] [Nor for a person who brings together, to take apart. Some do (this) because of the judgment in Hell, others out of cowardice in battle.] (Diogenes Laertius, D. 462-21)

[The bracketed section is certainly a late interpolated interpretation, but retained for one interesting part which is discussed below.] The concept of "the whole" pervades Greek thought, in its science and its philosophy, and is by no means absent from the contemporary world. Dividing up usually means losing some of the parts, some of the essence. The whole is more than its parts, that is what the concept of synergy means. Synergy applies to thought processes as well as to the usual examples of the alloying of metals in metallurgical engineering.. In these passages, we find heroic thinkers struggling to conceptualize the idea of "the whole", using the homely example of a round wheel of bread from the bakery as a model.

It is curious to note the argument (referred to above in the above passage),which finds today's "outskirts men" doing what yesterday's city dwellers formerly did, this is a perfect parallel to Thucydides' discussion a century later of "bearing weapons" (sideroforein) among the countryfolk of his own time. The idea of cultural diffusion from city to countryside with a specific time lag, something our sociologists might think they invented, was obviously a commonplace Greek perception.

22)What is strongest? Intelligence (gnome). (Iamblichus, D. 464 -10)

As we near the close of this century, we recognize the supreme role of Intelligence, which in our daily dealings we are likely to call Software, or Artificial Intelligence, or Pattern Recognition. Our predecessors before the middle of the century thought the strongest force was to be found in Production, Manpower and "Hardware". No further commentary is needed in this example for people now living in the Age of the Computers!


A second group of Symbola deals with things occurring in the real world for which people need some degree of explanation. One must remember that many of the things we take as common knowledge must have been terribly difficult for the ancients to grasp. For some things, concepts and even descriptive words were entirely lacking. A Greek puzzling statement or koan could be used for outlining a concept, for which verbal terms would be found later. This is the inverse of many l2 c. A.D. Japanese koans, which are designed to strip the overage of wording away from central perceptual and spiritual concepts, so that the basic thought may emerge. The use of the koan in Greece is similar as a teaching and thinking device, but the aim is as different as the fifteen hundred years which separate the Greek and medieval Japanese cultures.

4) The wisest thing of all is number (arithmon), and second he who puts names on things (pragmasi). (Aelian,D.462-5).

19)What is wisest? First number, then names. (Iamblichus, D. 464-8)

We have spoken above about "number"; we should consider the role of the "names" here. Perhaps the most characteristic feature of "naming" is that although there is much inventiveness and intuition in fashioning a name, as soon as this becomes an item of regularized vocabulary, it is treated as a cipher or character, thus losing a great deal of the imagination which generated it. Hence the ever new search for newness in words and wording. For thinkers, words can be traps, this was the experience of the time of the experiments of the Mumonkan, whose "barrier where there is no gateway" was consistently blocked by words. Marshall MacLuhan told the English-speaking public about the dangers of a pure Print-Culture in the l960's, and we still labor under those same problems. The "New Illiteracy" may in a strange way have some healthy intuitions, while in the new Computer World, words have already started to disappear, or become technical catch-phrases to be used in illustrative manuals.. Perhaps God thinks more like a computer than we like to imagine, somewhat in the mathematical mode which Pythagoras foresaw.

21)What is fairest? Harmony. (Iamblichus D. 464 -9)

18)What is the oracle at Delphi? The tetractys, which exists in the harmony of the Planets (Seirenes or "twinklers"). (Iamblichus, D. 464 -7)

There has been much comment since ancient times about the Music of the Spheres, which was at times assumed to be a harmonic musical "chord" of some sort, not unlike the Buddhist's om-like "rtu sound" of the turning world.. The fact of the purely mathematical harmony of our solar system is, easy to overlook but Kepler saw the beauty of planetary harmony as a mathematical fact with a strongly spiritual cast. Looking back we can see his discovery as inevitable, considering how much mathematical thinking his world was heir to, quite aside from its own Renaissance inventiveness. But that Pythagoras should have foreseen this harmonic sequence is amazing. The word Seirenes is a noun from the rare verb seiriazw "to twinkle", which establishes a connection with planetary brightness of light,. rather than sound.

The Oracle at Delphi aspired to the highest knowledge since it could grasp the most recondite data then imaginable. [The tetractys as a mathematical figure seems less pertinent, it's triangular shape with rising rows of three, two and then one dot does have interesting numerical properties, but none that enters into planetary astronomy or seem particularly appropriate here. Since the tetractys was famous as a Pythagorean figure of wisdom, it was probably interpolated by a well-wishing scribe into this saying.].

29) Do not participate in lifting up a load, but you can help getting it down. [This is not for the sake of avoiding labor.] (Iamblichus, D. 464-25)

66) Help a man lifting up a load, do not help him lifting it down. (Iamblichus, D. 466-22)

51) Working with others lifting, you may set down a load, but do not lift it up with them. (Diogenes Laertius, 466-3)

In the three statements above, we are dealing with a definition of gravity, a concept which had never been properly formulated in the Greek world. Without a word, gravity could not be described, and the Greek noun barutes, which should have meant Gravity, is used rarely, and only in engineering situations, to mean "weight, ponderousness". But if a student were to consider the meaning of these three koans carefully he would have to notice that there is a difference of effort required to lift up and let down a weight. A rock three men can barely get up onto an ox-cart, one man can tumble off. The difference between the forces required to get the rock up, as compared with what is required to get it down, in a very rough way indicate the direction, if not the actual amount, of gravitational pull. Without a regular doctrine of gravitational theory to aid us, or even a word for force, most of us today would fumble for a long time before we could enunciate what this koan demanded of its Pythagorean recipient. This seems a particularly brilliant lesson to put to a student, since it works up from a base of something unknown, yet involves some sense of a force which each person and every technology confronts every day. Without isolating such basic phenomena in a firm conceptual framework,. there can be no science at all. Here we are at the very beginning!

6)... and he used to say that Iris (rainbow) is the light of the sun. (Porphyry D.463-8.; Aelian, D.463-7

To us this will seem obvious, but it was not until well into the 17 th. century that the process of refraction of sunlight into the bands of the spectrum was understood at all.. This puzzle shows that the student was intended to figure out where the phenomenon called rainbow came from. The Latin term arcus pluvius tells us is what it looks like, and even when it occurs, but tells us nothing about it origin or what it's nature really is.

43) Do not stir the fire with a dagger. (Suidas, D. 465-23, also 64). (Iamblichus, D. 466-21)

The Greeks were well aware of the peculiar martensitic qualities of certain types of steel with about a half percent of carbon and no more, which when heated and plunged into cold water, attained a remarkable hardness. Homer knows the whole process, which he refers to explicitly in comparison with the heating cycle of copper based alloys. (Odyssey 9,391-3). It was this heat-treatability which made steel different from cast iron, and superior to bronze as a material for tools. This Pythagorean puzzle focuses on the loss of hardness in a dagger (machcaira) when reheated if used as a fire-poker. Heat treating of metals is so common now that we might fail to appreciate the mystery of the process when first seen. Understanding how a soft material by agency of heat and cooling becomes metamorphosed into an intensely hard material is somewhat of a mystery, and can only be explained by a doctrine involving atomic theory, molecular motion with heat, and freezing of this motion with the internally locked up stresses which we call "hardness". There is more here than meets the eye, which is what the novice was intended to intuit somehow.

More simply, the proportion "soft: heat: hard" identifies fire as a quasi-catalytic process, which changes the nature of Ferrum, Fe. This would lead eventually to a recognition of energy as a component of mass, but at the end of a long and tortuous trail.

86) Rising up from bed, roll up the bedclothes and smoothe out the place. (Iamblichus, D. 466-32)

91) Efface the mark of the pot from the ashes. (Iamblichus, D. 466-35)

In the sayings in the above group, we have two things to consider: What is this "form" which remains when the person rises from his bed, what is this "shape of the pot" left in the ashes? The figure of these two "negative forms" is directly dependent on the positive form which made them, but if one were attentive to the widespread technique of mould-making used for the casting of metal objects since the third millennium B.C., one could reverse the sequence and imagine that the form in the bed somehow was responsible for the man's shape, and the ash-shape for the pot. Of course this is just imagination, but from such dreaming can emerge engaging systems, like Plato's Theory of Ideas., which was already academically defunct in Aristotle's time. But it had remarkable offshoots later, not the least of which is the modern discipline of genetics, which incorporates mathematical coding, reaching as near to pure idea as one can get, in a complex chemically operative matrix. "Idea" is thus masterplan for a living being, although we still think of genetic materials as something which we made, whereas it is quite the opposite, they made us.. Part of an ability to understand genetic coding comes from our familiarity with the Platonic and the Pythagorean heritage, which strained forward to formulate the ideal concept of "ideas". At an early stage of thinking, a valuable lesson could be found in the possibly reciprocal relationship between the pot and the ashes around it.


The next entries speak about loss of something ineffable, which in ancient times could not be exactly defined. We can dismiss the breathing out of carbon-dioxided air from the mouth and methane from the intestinal tract as phenomena incidental to living, but to the ancient mind these gaseous emissions seemed related to breathing out life, or the very soul. Almost all of the words which are used for life and soul are drawn from a gaseous background: Gr. thumos" beside Lat. fumus, Gr. anemos vis-a-vis Lat. anima, the Lat. idiom ebullire animam "die", Skt. atman, at-.:

15) Health is the retention of form, disease is the loss of it. (Diogenes Laertius, D. 463.26)

This is apparent on an external level, a sick person loses weight, loses color. .... But on a deeper level, he loses the operation of his normal immunity system, he loses the configuration of his blood. If "form" is the normal state of being which homeostasis tries to perpetuate, then sickness is a distortion of loss of it.

83) Be not held by uncontrollable laughter. (Iamblichus, D. 466-31)

The breathing out of air presages breathing out of soul, hence possibly death. Koan # 83 spoke to this before.

94) Keep away from beans. (Iamblichus, D. 466-37.)

55) One must refrain from beans [as from human flesh]. Diogenes Laertius,(D. 466-12). The bracketed words are probably a gloss which derives from later interpretations of the Pythagorean doctrine of metempsychosis.

Beans, which everywhere produce gas which emanate from the anus, also produce "wind" of a sort.... Could this be a loss of "spirit"? Why is "soul" trying to escape? Refraining from beans and other gas-making foods, you avoid the problem.

65) Always turn the vinegar cruet away from yourself. (Iamblichus, D. 466-22)

Everyone has a natural trait of sniffing at a cruet, even research chemists will often whiff a reagent to check its identity roughly. But this is obviously dangerous, you choke up on vinegar's 2 perc. acetic acid fumes, so think more carefully about testing things which are unknown. What you think about and identify deductively, these things represent useful knowledge, what you "sniff" or casually inspect through the sense can do you harm. And beyond that, you still know nothing about its nature, other than its odor. You can "sniff" bitter, or pungent, and a few other things, but you cannot really sniff "acetic acid", only an odor.

20)What is the wisest of human things (the things with us)? Medical art. (Iamblichus, D. 464 -8)

Loss of "form" or identity is also seen as occurring when the shape of the body is "retained" in the bedclothes, or the pot's impression is "removed" into the fire ashes. Even shorne hair and fingernail clippings are seen as "things removed" detrimentally from the body, for example:.

89) Look with disgust at (literally". spit upon") your hair-cuttings and fingernail clippings. (Iamblichus, 466-34)

Sniffing the acetic whiff which emanates from the vinegar bottle is the exact opposite of this shearing-off process, it is taking into the body something from outside which does not belong there, and thus potentially dangerous not only as a strong odor, but because of its natural "outsideness". In short, all outgoing things (Yin), which proceed out from the body, were seen as losses, detriments, and even finally causes of death. Laughing, belching, farting, and even being excessively demonstrative were not medically advisable; from a different point of view, these outward-going acts tended to diminish concentration on things of the mind, which was always the center of Pythagorean meditation.

We still have much to explain about the disappearance of that vivifying "something" which we call "soul" when we die. We know from careful measurements of the dying, that "soul" has no weight. Some maintain it has no more reality than the kinetic motion of an operating piece of machinery, other compare it to the "program" of a computer which is turned off without being "saved". We have more possibilities but not many more answers than the Pythagoreans, who felt that soul could evaporate by any outward going (Yin) action or motion; but they also felt that soul was not really lost, but was a constant which returned to other live beings.

12) Do not break a loaf [because men of ancient times used to pass around a whole loaf among friends, just as the barbarians do nowadays. Nor for a person who brings together, to take apart. Some do (this) because of the judgment in Hell, others out of cowardice in battle.. (Diogenes Laertius, D. 462-21)

77) Do not split up on a road. (Iamblichus, D. 466-28)

9)... and not to pick up what has fallen [so one does get used to eating guttonously, or because it is the end of something. And Aristophanes says in his play The Heroes " do not taste what falls under the tale".] (Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-12)

[The bracketed sections are transparent additions, late marginal comments which crept into the text in repeated copyings. This is a comment phenomenon in the transmissions of MSS texts.]

These three koans refer to the concept of the "whole", which reaches through a great deal of Greek philosophy down the ages, and deals with the division of the whole into discrete parts. On the one hand we know the circle both as Aristotle's perfect motion and form, and Euclid's notion of wholes as sums of parts. But on the other hand we have Democritean atomism as a realistic way of seeing wholes made up of parts. Presumably at a time when "whole" was not an common, understandable concept, reinforcing "wholeness" by examples (the whole round- loaf of bread), as well as by meditation, would be considered worthwhile. By Aristotle's time "the whole" is as common a concept as the cardinal numbers, although our "zero" might stand in the same position to his zero-less world, as the "whole" was before that time..

The concepts of "right" and "left" are ubiquitous in human societies, they have something to do with the way the brain and hands are connected; this "handedness" often involves cultural preferences and probably goes back to an intuitive sense of the different functions of the hemispheres of the brain. But the physicist's concept of "parity" is also a matter of handedness, and the work of Yang and Lee in l956 with the experimental confirmation of Ms. Wu, proved that parity or universe "mirror-image-ism" need not be conserved. This points to a general handedness of the universe, as it now appears, so that when the koan points the novice to noticing the meaning of handedness, it refers him to something very important in the universe, although it would take two thousand years to make this clear.. The strangely left-handed growth pattern of the hops plant, in a dextro-tortuous botanical world, might provide a suitable modern koan for a biologically oriented college student at the present time.

The following lessons could become rote rituals, but only to one who had completely failed to understand the spirit of his assigned lesson:

26) One must put on the right shoe first. (Iamblichus, D. 464-23)

67) Put the right foot into the shoe first, but for foot washing, do the left first. (Iamblichus, D. 466-23)

If putting on the shoe is Yang, and right-handed, then washing the dirt off the foot is Yin, which must be equated with the left. We are apparently dealing with an intuitive lesson in proportion, thus:

right : put on :: take off : left

16) Of salt, it is right to set it out (as at dinner) as a reminder of the just, for salt preserves what it contacts, and is produced by the cleansing actions of sun and sea. (Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-27)

When a person defines salt as something in a shaker on restaurant tables, pickling salt, plating salts, the "salt of the earth", or NaCl, he tells us a great deal about his cultural and intellectual proclivities. So with this Pythagorean comment..

The justification of salt (a{l") as a condiment for food is curiously tied to its ability to preserve food, as well as its mysterious origin through the process of evaporation by sun's heat from seawater. Use of salt on the dinner table has nothing to do with either of these processes, but the following remark shows that Pythagoreans were interested in explaining "salt-pickling" and "salt by evaporation of water" as phenomena. The idea of "explanation": by definition of use is incorrect, but as natural as answering the question: "What is chocolate?" by saying "It is something to eat".:


Another group of the Pythagorean Symbola deals with religious and spiritual matters. The majority of these sayings directs the learner toward a higher level of spiritual sensitivity, and several approach the level of the Zen koans in their subtle reaching for unverbalizable concepts. In all these koans, there is a movement away from the common and ordinary toward the elevated and special, from an accepted traditional rote-role in religious thought, toward a higher personal and intellectual plane.

82) Fail not to believe any amazing things about deities, or ideas about the theic. (Iamblichus, D. 466-30)

Centuries of formalization of the corpus of Greek myths, accompanied by rationalizing and suiting them for the state cults, had removed a great deal of what was originally theological and astounding. Pythagoras warns the novice to keep his expectations of the wondrous very high, a cautious taken seriously by the Mysteries in Hellenistic times, and not ignored by early Christianity.

58) One must not go to a temple as side-issue, nor fall right down (automatically) on his knees, not even if he happens to be passing the very doors of the holy place. (Iamblichus, D.466-16.)

39) One must not turn out of his way to a temple; one must not make God a side-issue. (parergon) (Iamblichus, D. 464-35)

57) Going away to a holy temple, kneel down, and meanwhile neither think nor do anything pertaining to one's regular life. (Iamblichus, D. 466-16)

59) Sacrifice and kneel barefoot. (Iamblichus, D. 466-18)

The road to the temple is a special part of The Way (Tao), and cannot be dealt with thoughtlessly. In the ancient world, worship was done before the temple rather than in it, and now the worshiper must remember to take off his shoes, as his out-of-place road-gear. Had religious devotions not become automatic and meaningless by this time, such a caution would hardly have been required. A major problem with all religious observance is the unnoticed conversion of ritual, via habit, into rote.

73) Keep a cock but do not sacrifice it. (Iamblichus, D. 466-27)

l0)... and do not lay hands on a white rooster, since it is holy to Moon, and a suppliant. [This is one of the good things, he is holy to Moon, and signals the time; if white it is of good nature, if black of bad.] (Diogenes Laertius, D. 463-16)

35) Do not sacrifice a white rooster, which is a suppliant and holy to Moon, and also signals the time. (Iamblichus, D. 464 -31)

Appreciation of the identity of such a common barnyard phenomenon as a rooster is effected by its one significant trait, its crowing at sunrise and moonlight. If even the cock has meaning in world-order, and knows Sun and Moon, listen when the winds blow. And will not each other living thing also have meaning? For example:

34) Do not chase after your wife, for she is a holy suppliant. We (rather) lead her from the hearth, and let the "taking" of her be on the right side. (Iamblichus, D. 464-230.)

Aristotle amplified this (D. 465-15 ff.) with a remark about this being an ancient form of law designed to protect women from their husbands, adding the comment that "in this way least harm will be seen to result". Delicacy and respect for so complex a biological and spiritual entity as a "wife" must be observed.

In a Western world where rape and violent physical abuse of women has at last come to public attention, this precaution seems remarkably pertinent. Sensitivity and respect for "wife" should be a part of the man's catechism.

63) When the winds blow, kneel down to Echo. (Iamblichus, 466-21)

Of course echo is a phenomenon of energy transmission though the elastic molecular medium we call "air", and has little to do with the direction of the wind other than a very minor Doppler effect. But there is something lovely and respectful about this koan. It is respect for the world around us, rather than Physics, which is being elucidated.

33) Do not have the figure of a deity on your ring [lest is get dirty in use]. Rather have a statue of deity, and keep it in your house (Iamblichus,. D. 464-29)

52) Do not carry images of deities on rings. (Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-5)

The Gods are not ornaments, their graven images must not be carried around on a finger-ring, to be exposed to the routines of daily life. One thinks of the respectful Hebrew ban on graven images of deities, faithfully continued in the Moslem tradition.

53) Make sacrifices to the gods over the "ears" of the cups. (Diogenes Laertius, D. 466-7)

32) Pour a libation to the gods over the "ear" of the cup, for the same of a good omen (oionon) so that one cannot drink from it (the "ear" or mouth of the vessel).Iamblichus, D. 464-28

A cup can be poured out in several ways. Holding the cup in the right hand by the handle or "ear" (which the shape of an applied cup handle resembles), wine can be poured out toward the pourer to drink it, as we all do daily. Or it can be poured out to the left to share, to pour some into a cup for another person. Then it can be poured over the far edge of the cup, away from the holder, which is the usual way of throwing out the contents or emptying the cup. Now these are all the daily uses of cup-pouring, and as such they are not suitable for special religious use. The one way we never employ is pouring the wine out over the handle inverting the wrist, an inconvenient and unusual gesture to be sure. So that is exactly the gesture which the Pythagoreans will mandate for religious services.

In the National Geographic some years ago, a reporter was interviewing in depth a Hassidic Jewish family in Brooklyn. One day, dining with the family,. he attempted to pour for someone a glass of soft drink from a bottle, outward, and over his hand. The shocked family explained that this was forbidden, it was a ritual used on in a funeral ceremony. Again, a sense of specialness, reserved for a special use! Whether this is a parallel development to the Pythagorean notion, or independently generated, is unclear.

Libation too must be treated with special reverence, the ritual must be kept as pure as the lustral water itself:

28) One must not dip one's hand into the lustral vessel., or wash in the public bath.[It is not clear in these cases if the participants do become cleansed.] (Iamblichus, D. 464-24)

It would seem that the idea of dirty-ing the lustral water was extended in a footnote to the very different notion of public bathing. Both are concerned with dirt washing off, but in the ritual washing it is the water which must be kept clean, whereas in physical body-bathing it is the body we want to cleanse.

57) Going away to a holy temple, kneel down, and the meanwhile neither think nor do anything pertaining to one's regular life.

One thinks of the basic Zen emptying of the mind, clearing away all unessential thought, finally clearing away all thought...... This is necessary for deep thought, and not unlike the "kenosis" or spiritual emptying of the Eastern Christian church.


A number of the Pythagorean Symbola are distinguished by their poetic quality, much in the manner of classical Zen koans, while some are at the same time moral and ethical.

2) He (Pythagoras) said certain things in a mystical manner... e.g. the sea is "a tear"; the bears "the hands of Rhea; the Pleiades "the lyre of the Muses; the planets "the hound of Persephone; and the sound that arises when the bronze (cymbal) is struck is "the voice of a spirit threatened by the bronze". Porphyrius DK.462-40

5) He explained earthquake as nothing else than assembly of the dead Aelian, D. 463-6

21)What is fairest? Harmony. Iamblichus D. 464 -9

22)What is strongest? Intelligence (gnome).Iamblichus, D. 464 -10

23)What is best? Happiness. Iamblichus, D. 464-10

What more can be said, or need be said.


A number of the Pythagorean sayings refer to special foods which must be scrupulously avoided. These have generally been taken as tabus with a primarily religious meaning, which is an easy way to dismiss what we do not understand. Since it is often impossible to identify with anything like scientific precision plants and animals which are verbally described in an ancient tradition, there seems little hope that we can grasp the original meaning of many of these Pythagorean food interdictions. On the other hand, raising a powerful herb called malache (spelled moloche in 95) but not eating it implies a pharmacological awareness of some degree:

3) 'He said that the holiest thing of all was the leaf of the plant "malache". (Aelian D.463-4.)

It would seem that the name malache/moloche is related to the general Semitic root *moloch" king". If so perhaps we should look at the Greek translation of this herb into Gr. basileus "king" and the herb "basil". Why Basil should be holy is yet unclear....

61) Avoid (eating) melanouros or " the fish blacktail", for it belongs to the Earth Deities. Iamblichus, D. 466-19

The fish melanouros seems to be a variety of catfish, the Pythagorean interdiction may stem from a parasite it carried which was found dangerous to humans, rather than from its singular form beside familiar teleostic, bony fish. This catfish is the oblata melanura which Aristotle described (Hist. An.. 591 a 15) as emitting a growl while protecting the eggs, a detail which Harvard's Louis Agassiz found correct, renaming it Melanura Aristotelis.. Perhaps the singular sound which the protecting male emits registered to the Pythagoreans as a warning!

From another point of view, the flesh of the catfish is reddish. If one believes in human/animal re-incarnations, which the ancient tradition attributed to the Pythagoreans, this might suggest affinity with mammal flesh, and ultimately humans.

Had trichinosis not persisted to the present day, we would find it hard to understand why the ancient Hebrews were so adamant about avoiding the ingestion of pork. We might well have invented a purely religious explanation, perhaps a hostile "Pig God" of a neighboring populace, and thus missed the warning about a disabling infectious disease.

Diet is one of the most basic ways of distinguishing culture, and the Pythagorean preferences may be in part an act of self-identification of the brotherhood as different from ordinary people. In Japan the Zen monk has a prescribed diet, which both suits his religious conscience, and also identifies him to the public as a special kind of person. All in all it seems best to leave the Pythagorean food-injunctions untouched, as it were, in an intellectual "bracket" We may be able to say more about these things later on a nutritional, parasitical and pharmacological basis.


The next three entries seem incongruous with Pythagorean thought: The first stems from the later misanthropic philosophical tradition, while the second is a borrowing from the Tyrtaean Spartanophile poetry of the 7th c. Both were probably incorporated in Hellenistic schoolbooks and may have been thoughtlessly injected here. The third example is in straight "work-ethic" format, a foreign note in a philosophical monastic brotherhood! These examples are quoted mainly to show how foreign, intrusive material looks in a matrix of real Pythagorean thinking.

23) [What is the truest thing ever said? What men are evil.]. (Iamblichus, D. 464-11)

40) [To die standing firm and receiving wounds on the front of the body is good. the reverse is bad.] (Iamblichus, D. 464-36)

37) [Work is good, but leisure (hedone) is in every way evil. [One must chastise those coming to chastisement.] (Iamblichus, D. 464-34)

The following two remarks occur together and were probably joined later by a simple similarity of wording. #88) Must be dietary, since there was little awareness of the brain as a central control system, but #87) seems to be of a different character, since it employs the verb trwgein, "gnaw, gnaw at, bite on", and hence has hints of personal, emotional meaning.

87) Gnaw not the heart. Iamblichus, D. 466-33

Are we speaking of food or psychology? Or both at the same time?

88) Eat not the brain. Iamblichus, D. 466-34

The huge amount of cholesterol in brains is something known to us recently, we assume the ancients had no idea of this. But if those who ate the brain often as a delicacy were dying young, someone may have made a mental note of the fact.

30) Do not associate with a woman who has gold for the purpose of begetting children. Iamblichus, 464-26

Confusing social-economic and genetic-biological line would seem reprehensible in a world just beginning to sense the way economics operates in a growing society. Or are we speaking of personal operators? Or of something else?

74) Do not sit on a choinix (gallon bucket). Iamblichus, D. 466-28

There is a common Greek saying for describing someone who is lazy: "He sits on a bucket". In this context, a caution about being lazy would seem inappropriate, but this is also something the novice would have to take away and think about. Finally it would come to mind that in the grand world-order there is a not a great deal of difference between "one who does" and "one who does not". In terms of traditional Hindu belief, the killer and killed are one and the same (Bhag. Gita). Buckminster Fuller maintained that everything and everyone are to be counted in the totality of the complete Universe, whether visibly contributing or "just being there". So in Milton's words in the Ode on his Blindness: "They also serve who only sit and wait". Perhaps so here.


Aristotle's four causes

Aristotle's four causes/explanations

Theory derived from the work of Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC). 'Cause' is a misleading, but traditional, translation of a word meaning 'factor responsible', or perhaps 'explanatory factor'.

The 'four causes' provide answers to four questions one might ask about something, for example, a man:

'What is it made from?' 'Flesh and so on' (material cause);

'What is its form or essence?' 'A two-legged creature capable of reason (say)', (formal cause);

'What produced it?' 'The father (on Aristotle's biology)' (efficient cause);

'For what purpose?' 'To fulfill the function of a man (roughly meaning 'to live a life in accordance with reason') (final cause).

The doctrine, or parts of it, can then be extended in various ways (in particular to cover events and states as well as objects), and undergoes various complications in the process; but its primary application is to objects, especially biological objects and artifacts.

The four causes, especially the first two, are closely linked to Aristotle's important dichotomy between matter and form (hylomorphism).

Aristotle, Physics, book 2


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Platonism in Metaphysics

Platonism is the view that there exist such things as abstract objects — where an abstract object is an object that is wholly non-spatial and non-temporal (i.e., that doesn't exist in space or time) and, hence, is entirely non-physical and non-mental. This might be a bit obscure, but in what follows, we will go into much more detail on this and see precisely what the platonist view amounts to. Before we do this, however, it should be noted that the view we will be discussing is a contemporary view. Now, there is no question that this view owes a great deal to the writings of Plato — that, of course, is why it's called ‘platonism’ — but it is not entirely clear that Plato actually endorsed this view, and it is for this reason that the term ‘platonism’ is spelled with a lower-case ‘p’. It may be that Plato endorsed platonism, and indeed, it can probably be said that this is the standard view among Plato scholars, but the question is still controversial.
More here:

Hymn To Hecate

Hymn To Hecate

The Fumigation from Storax.

I call Einodian Hecate, lovely dame,
Of earthly, watery, and celestial frame,
Sepulchral, in a saffron veil arrayed,
Pleased with dark ghosts that wander thro' the shade;
Persian, unconquerable huntress hail!
The world's key-bearer never doomed to fail;
On the rough rock to wander thee delights,
Leader and nurse be present to our rites;
Propitious grant our just desires success,
Accept our homage, and the incense bless.

Translated by Thomas Taylor.*

*Notice that this Hymn is also the final section of the Hymn to Musaeus. In a revision of this translation, Mr. Taylor places this Hymn to Hecate as it's own hymn and subsequent translators have continued this practice. Mr. Taylor notes that Hecate is the Gate-keeper of life, and is meant to usher you into the hymns, just as Death is the final hymn and ushers you out.

Pythagorean Daily Practice

The Pythagorean Daily Practice

This advice should be adjusted by the practitioner, to suit his or her circumstances.

1. Awake early, preferably a little before sunrise.

2. Wash yourself, and do so mindfully, with an attitude of going before the Gods in purity . Not only do you become physically clean, but the practice speaks to your subconscious through its inherent symbolism and will create a real change in you.

3. During those times of the day when you are performing your Pythagorean practice, attempt to dress in white. White symbolizes purity and sets these times of the day apart from the rest of the day.

4. Take a walk, and do so mindfully, without ruminating or analyzing, but be conscious of your self, your movements, and the sacredness of the Nature in which you "live, move and have your being." If it's practical, walk in a place you consider to be particularly sacred.

5. Pray and Meditate. Apollonius recommends praying to the Sun three times a day, in the morning, at midday and in the evening. Pray in a sacred space. If you don't have what you consider to be a sacred space, use a ritual and make one. Use traditional prayers, such as, The Hymns of Orpheus (with the appropriate incense), prayers of your own, or a combination. It is also appropriate, at the evening prayer time, to say a prayer to the god of the day of the week, for example, Saturn on Saturday. In conjunction with the prayers, meditate. Remember, "Sit down when you worship."

6. Exercise. I recommend Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, Distance Running, or my favorite, Wrestling. Remember, "Tis best in every thing to use a mean."

7. Eat in moderation.

8. If possible associate with other Pythagoreans or mystics from other traditions, and share ideas.

9. Be mindful of Universal Friendship, this includes vegetarianism.

10. Study scripture. I recommend, The Aeneid, The Odyssey, The Upanishads, Plato, Plotinus, The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library and Marcus Aurelius.

11. "Never start on any task without first imploring the blessing of the gods."

12. "Never let slumber approach thy wearied eyelids, ere thrice you review what this day you did: Wherein have I sinned? What did I? What duty is neglected? All, from the first to the last, review; and if you have erred grieve in your spirit, rejoicing for all that was good." Do not neglect the "rejoicing for all that was good," part! Everyone needs to pat themselves on the back now and again.

Written by James McKinnon

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pythagorean Satanism



The Three Gates

by Tani Jantsang

In a quote from "Homage to Pythagoras," edited by Christopher Bamfield (ISBN 0940262630), a GREAT book, a number of modern scientists pay tribute, and link to, the Pythagorean doctrine). They say: "...All form is generated from the archetypal principle of volumation, by the five greatest génos which are exemplified by five unique, perfectly regular geometric polyhedra. (Tetrahedron, cube, octohedron, dodecahedron and icosohedron). [And, of course, the sphere]. To the Pythagoreans, the nature of the whole in-forming world was polyhedraic. "Polyhedron" means a form with many faces. The world then is not probabalistic, it is not indeterminate, it is not approximate. It is in essence many-faced. The undiffrentiated monadic field must be configured as Form-Idea in order to express its being. Everything which exists has a form. Form is the antagonist of limitlessness and makes possible both quantity and quality. Form is the fixing of Number into realized relationships." Now, the idea, stated above, that the world is not probabalistic and indeterminate is WRONG as far as present knowledge goes. E.g., If you can determine the position of a particle, then its velocity is only probable. And if you can determine the velocity of a particle, then its position is only probable! Heisenberg turned out to be right on this - but even Einstein resistred it. It could just be that our science doesn't yet know how to determine both!

In Kaballa, one can see the uppermost Triad: Kether, Binah, & Hochmah. Kether/Binah is Apeiron in Pythagoreanism. It is the Asat/Sat in Vedanta. It is "Big-Bang/Big-Crunch as One Event" in most-modern physics (Roger Penrose type), a force that push/pulls; expands/contracts. The actual Doctrine does not exactly have a Bang/Crunch in the manner, though "bang and crunch" would apply to Galaxies. Hochmah is Protogonos in Pythagoreanism, Unified Field in physics, it is shown as the Vajra in Tantra, and is "The Light." It is also referred to as the Logos.

The Kether/Binah, Asat/Sat or Apeiron can be better explained by saying that these "2 things" are really One Thing, they are The Dark Force in Nature. Not "of Nature," but IN Nature. All things are pushed into Being, or Coagula on the Mendesian Goat's arm, and pulled into their end or death, or Solve on the Mendesian Goat's other arm. The one obvious and visible force or thing all can understand as actually doing this, is Time. You are conceived, you Become a fetus, then you Become a baby, then a child, then an adult, then an old person, then you Become dust. There is no effort in this kind of Becoming, it just happens. You are hence, born as what you are, male, female, or cat, fish, person, or gay, straight, or some ethnic, etc. (We here are speaking of living things). You have no choice in this kind of Becoming. Hence, there is no Free Will about Becoming in this sense at all. The only thing you can do, is rebel against what you are, or flow into it. You can volitionally, with Free Will, take advantage of the potentialities you have and that would involve Free Will - and that is also Becoming which involves an inner awareness, but that has nothing to do with this essay. (Choosing to learn to use a computer or not, is not esotericism at all. Being aware of the Black Flame that burns in the Sat and in yourself is the meat of Esoteric schools and is the first step for Kundalini Yoga - this essay is not about that.).

Rebelling against what you are can also include "striving to be more than you are "because you despise the "limitations" placed on you and you feel the limitations, as if they ARE a limitation; this causes a person to breach their own boundaries of existence and throw what they are in the trash for "want" of what they are not and can not be. This seriously needs to be clarified. 1. A tone deaf person aspiring to be a great musician is rebelling against him/herself. 2. A person with very good ears taking lessons to better his/her inborn hearing abilities is NOT rebelling against him/herself. Again, this kind of "rebelling against the limits on the self" does not mean practicing the piano to get better, or learning to type or learning a skill to improve your living situation, or getting plastic surgery to fix a nose you don't like. That would not be esotericism. "Striving TO BE other than what YOU ARE" is to be taken literally, in the esoteric and inner sense; as if you don't want your own Beingness at all and want to replace it with something else, or some other person's Being - it has esoteric meaning, not practical meaning. All of this rebelling leads to NON-being - that is, you'd end up here, alive, and literally in hell; side by side with people who are alive, here and at peace with the Cosmos. Non- Being is "I wannabe THIS, and also I don't wannabe what I AM." Again, this is to be taken in the esoteric sense, not in any practical sense. Improving your lot in life, your skills, your appearance, has nothing to do with esotericism.

Penrose knows that entropy is not a result of this Big Bang. He also knows that the Bang and Crunch are One Event. According to doctrine, it's not exactly a Bang or Crunch in such absolute terms, but more of a push/pull or expansion/contraction. Nonetheless, this push/pull itself or the result of it can be measured as entropy. That is, the Apeiron (Dark Force in Nature) is the Form, entropy is the Shadow, entropy is what YOU can measure IN the matter/energy that is here, it is a measurable thing, even though the "What" that is causing this entropy is not visible. Apeiron IS the reality behind what is being measured and seen as entropy. For technical formula: see "Dark Force -Entropy, End to this argument." Though we are calling it a Dark Force - it is not a Force as physicists use the word "force." Perhaps we should call it Dark Thing? Boundless Darkness is the esoteric word. In Pythagoreanism, it is Apeiron.

In the oldest tradition the Protogonos (also called Logos in Greek) is considered to be part of the Apeiron - as a Light burning in the Boundless Darkness. Unlike Kaballa, which has 3 things, Kether, Binah and Hochmah, the oldest Dark Tradition has One Thing - Darkness as inactive Asat and Darkness as active Sat which has the Light in it as an embryo. It's not considered a separate thing at all in the oldest Traditions.

What is this Boundless Darkness acting on? All energy/matter (including space and time). What is the energy/matter? It is what Hochmah Became when it emanated or "cooled off." Physics, Taoism, many systems exoterically divide this up into four forces, sometimes they add a fifth: Tantra adds space as the 5th, Taoism adds time (the Tao) as the 5th. But all of these systems speak of "THE Void," The NO-THING (Asat) that came into Being-ness as A Thing (Sat) out of which All Things came out, due to "Necessity." Necessity is that which esoteric schools use to mean, "Nothing is in Stasis." Spirit is what esoteric schools mean by that which push/pulls and which can be measured as entropy. The force IN Nature, INFUSED INTO the Nature, which causes us to not only have urges to do things, but which causes us to experience life.

Esoterically there are SEVEN "THINGS" and "The No-Name-Voidness." Physics calls 4 of them forces and the esoteric schools, even when speaking exoterically, do not quite call them forces. They are Things, like bricks of a building. The building is The Cosmos. Esoterically, 3 of these are Gates and are half here and half still in the Void or Asat/Sat/Apeiron. The Pusher/Puller, Asat/Sat, Apeiron, is the Builder, The Cosmocrator, or "All of Nature's Deity," Nature referring to the entire Cosmos.

How does it build? Physics, so far, does not agree with the Esoteric School which feels that physics is less than half way to knowing because they are, thus far, still hung up on the four forces. The four constructor Sephiroth Kaballistically are Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malkuth. That's the Exoteric School. Physics has 1. strong-color-force or water force (Yesod/Malkuth/Leviathan together as before they broke apart, esoterically called Bahu in Kaballa), 2. Electro-magnetism (Netzach, Hod, and Geburah together, the Geburah is not seen), 3. weak-force (Tipereth), and 4. gravity (Hesed).

Esoterically in the Pythagorean school this is different. The 4 forces before the Cosmos existed as it exists now, would be protons/neutrons, electrons/positrons, photons/phonons, and inertial mass (a kind of mass-alone, just-mass, that does not exist anywhere as the Cosmos is now, as far as is known.

In Pythagoreanism these are known like this:

The Apeiron (Boundless Darkness) [No-Name, the Void or Asat/Sat.]

The Geometry we move through, and are shaped by, which is perceived as Space is called KYKLOS (Hesed before it was ordered, Yat-Zebaoth in our Cosmos [Kaballa]), known by the number Pi to us. This Kyklos or "the Round" is finite, yet boundless. It is represented by the circle because the circle is an object with an infinite number of sides, where each side is an infinitesimal point. (Many professors "know" this, but very few of them actually see it. To Pythagoreans, To See, is To Know, the rest is parroting. If they saw it, really knew it, they'd understand space and gravity better; in fact, they might not even call it "gravity," and they'd know it is not some kind of force; perhaps "field" would more likely be the word they'd use.) This is the closed Gate. The Apeiron "blows through" this closed Gate and thus space itself expands, it is blown up like a baloon.

The here/not-here IN WHICH electron-positron pairs "vanish" as light travels, and IN WHICH a single quark in a neutron "spins around" by which the neutron "becomes" a proton, and IN WHICH the electron around an atom vanishes "somewhere not traveling the space between shells" before reappearing on another of the electron's shells is called MYCHOS (Geburah in Kaballa). Mychos is like a cave, it is called "cave" mytho-poetically, a sort of in-between-the-spaces "place." Like an angle whose point is pointier and pointier and you can never quite get in-between the space wherein the sides are meeting to make that point. Mychos is known by the number e to us, and represented by the square because the square has limits to it. e is the number seen in the rate of growth of all things. Things do not keep growing, they get bigger and bigger and eventually reach a limit. It is the here/not-here, totally open, two-way Gate through which the Bio-Electrical energy in your own body flows, known as Kundalini. Kundalini is "in your body yet not in your body." Kundalini is the Apeiron continuing the Flame moving through your flesh. When it is IN your flesh, it is Light (The-Light, Black Flame) a WHOOSHing feeling rushing up at times, and just a peaceful flowing feeling most of the time.

The push/pull's effect on all things is seen and known as time. KRONOS to Pythagoreans, Tipereth in Kaballa. It is known as the number Phi, and represented by a triangle sometimes, as the yin/yang symbol other times. It is not a "weak force" as physics might call it. It is Time, and if they see this "weak force" when radiation is present, then we say they are witnessing a disruption in time. Phi is the SHAPE all things take in growth. Like the triangle that starts at a point and gets wider and wider, Phi gets wider too: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc. Ever notice that radiation tends to TWIST things up, malform them, change their atomic number? It is the partially open one-way Gate. Aprieon blows through this Gate which causes Time to flow one way and causes entropy to increase.

Electros, or Diastasis (Netzach in Kaballah) is The One Thing that is perceived as many electrons and positrons, and different ways in which electrons seem to function (as particles or as a wave in the Shadows; but as ONE THING in Form).

Phos (Hod in Kaballa) is photons and phonons, waves, one is the energy wave, the other is the matter wave, neither have any rest mass. The same thing, two different appearances. Both photons and phonons can occupy the same space at the same time: nothing else can do this.

Demiurgos (Bahu in Kaballah, Yesod/Malkuth/Leviathan, combined, or Bahu before they "broke open."), is what is seen as the nuclear strong force, or color force. It is the Nature of our life (atomic life), it is the reason we are matter (not energy), it is that which causes living things to have urges (to eat, to mate, etc.). It is the Foundation, like the foundation of a House, of life. YOU are the House. This was shown by a Theta and considered to be a number. Theta is derived by the fraction 144/233. It is a number that spirals closer and closer to Phi. That is center column related. Demiurge was also shown as a stick with 6 spokes having 6 different colors and was called the Foundation of all matter, living or not living. In terms of man, carbon life which we know is 6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons. 666.

Proteus (Yesod in Kaballa) is protons; their number (in the atom) determine EXACTLY WHAT the thing will be (gold, silver, etc.).

Ogkos (not in Kaballa) is a mass or lump - this is rarely used in the tradition.

Ophioneus (Leviathan or Thiavat in Kaballa and also given other more poetic names to refer to the principle in human behavior) is neutrons LET LOOSE, destructive of life.

The three together, Proteus, Ogkos, Ophioneus are Demiurgos.

NOTHING in Pythagorean esoteric systems (nor in Kaballa) means only one thing. In other words, Ophioneus does not JUST mean neutrons, Bahu does not JUST mean the nuclear strong-color force. It is interwoven, interlaced, and layered with meaning upon meaning. We know that you can not just view any of these things as JUST the "thing itself" if you deal in "Gnosis." Bahu is also the Root or Foundation of your own being, it causes your urges (Demi-urge*), it is the ROOT of Kundalini as a force that moves through you, yet NOT through-you exactly. Push/Pull, Asat/Sat, Apeiron is not just a "force or something" measured as entropy, it is the Dark Force in Nature, felt by people who CAN feel it as "LIFE." It is felt as ANIMA, that which ANIMATES. It is known as "SAT" though the Asat is also part of it. It is known in 5 ways called "TAN." It is not JUST something "in physics." *Demi (half) Urge (an urge) is lingo-jargon punning. Demiurgos commonly means "one who works for people," but in Pythagoreanism (and known TO the Orphics) it means "an AUTONOMOUS CREATIVE FORCE, and a DECISIVE POWER!" CONSIDER that meaning. AUTONOMOUS, as if not subject to "the rule of the others." CREATIVE - as if it is creative APART FROM the dark-force in nature itself! DECISIVE POWER - it decides WHAT you are, i.e., you are a carbon based life form, it decides whether something is gold or silver, etc. APART FROM the Dark-Force in Nature! This led to all of the dualisms that had the semblance of "reason." That is, someone with no clue yapping to people about this led to dualistic stupidity.

Demiurgos was described as having SIX COLORS that spin around, as being in ALL matter inanimate or animate, as causing the matter's decay (APART FROM the effect of the "3 Gates" - note that LIGHT does not decay, and contains NO Demiurgos!, but light most definitely obeys the "3 Gates"). Demiurgos was shown two ways, as a staff with 6 spokes on it having 6 colors, and as the Greek Letter Theta. Here is the only thing where the number 6 is of paramount importance. Please keep that in mind.

The 3 Gates are known in Kaballah as Hesed/Geburah/Tipereth, they are here/not-here. If Apeiron can be called the Builder, then these 3 Gates are the MOLD the Builder uses to shape the other 4 Things (bricks). Hence, it is not surprising that Phi and e can be seen in GROWTH, one determining the SHAPE things take, the other determining the RATE in which they grow. But IN WHAT do these things grow? And what is IN these growing things (because nothing is solid)? SPACE is inside them, and they are inside space, growing IN space, growing and moving inside of a Geometry, and taking shape not just to the law of e and Phi, but to the MAIN LAW of SPACE. Hence, we consider Kyklos as not just one of the 3 gates (Hesed), but THE Gate. Kaballah does too: "Yat-Zebaoth is THE Gate, the All-in-One--One-in-All." If the shape of the geometry (space) changed and you walked through that altered shape, you'd change too (if you survived).

Physics has a concept "mass." Not good enough! It is the DEMIURGE that shapes WHAT a thing is and shapes the SPACE AROUND IT; and simultaneously the space shapes it giving it its FORM AND SUBSTANCE. Gravity is seen by physics as the weakest of the 4 forces they use. If this is so, then why is it that when the SHAPE of space is drastically altered with Black Holes, "gravity" turns into the STRONGEST force around, so strong it sucks light into it, and it even sucks the surrounding space/time into it, as if whirling it down a drain? What is happening is that the space BETWEEN and IN the mass in the star begins to get less as the mass crunches together, as if the star seeks to become SOLID. Impossible, it can't. So the space BREAKS, and so does time.

THINGS, living or not, are like dough that pours through a mold and a sifter, like a strainer. The pouring of the dough is the push/pull Apeiron, as if the dough goes TO the mold/sifter as if pushed, and goes through the mold/sifter as if pulled. The mold determines the SHAPE the dough will take, and the sifter makes the dough into strings of dough. Imagine pouring dough through a strainer that had shapes in it; what got poured through the strainer would have specific shapes to it. Now imaging those shapes as atoms moving through time. It would look like a bunch of strings. You are part of that dough. You are not aware of anything pushing or pulling you, you just think you are living! You are not aware of a mold shaping your form in the atomic sense, you just feel like you are a "whole person" and probably think you are solid! You are also not aware that you are atoms going all over the place through something called time and making "strings," either (Minkowsky's "world lines"); you just know "what time it is" from a watch you wear. You can SEE the shape of things since you exist primarily with "spatial awareness." You can even learn to see it IS in a determined form, if you calculate it. You can also see the EFFECTS of the mysterious force of Apeiron's push/pull and make up silly religions about it, and worse, ascribe to it some divine purpose that you or some priest knows, top that purpose off with rules and dogma and end up REBELLING against all that is, with a desire to CONTROL things. Or you can call this push/pull Dark Force in Nature "The Devil," as the simple-minded, inane, babbling Christians have done for centuries.

It is not as easy to see that you are moving through a geometry, though modern physics has talked about this. It is not possible to see that you are not solid with the naked eye, nor to see that you are "here/not-here." It is not possible for you to see that you are atoms moving through time - or as we'd say it: "everything is threads in a woven fabric that IS the Cosmos," unless you "SEE" this with what most would call sorcery, or "Siddhi" or "a 3rd eye" or "intuition." The fact is, you'd HAVE to be able to FEEL this. Analogy: How can you prove that a song is in a minor key? You have to be able to hear it, there is no other way!

ALL things obey these 3 Gates. Light moves in a curve, determined by the geometry of the space itself, even though photons have no mass. Population growth (if unchecked) obeys e. Draw a grid of parallel lines making the space between each line more than the length of a toothpick. Then start throwing toothpicks randomly, let your friends throw them, do it in a completely random fashion, let a machine do it, etc. Then keep track of the toothpicks that land on one of your lines, versus the ones that do not. These will obey Pi and the more you throw, the closer you get to an exact number.

What IS the exact number or Pi, or Phi, or e? Aside from being able to find part of the answer in a dictionary or math book these days, we call it alogon: unspeakable. But it also means "not of THE Logos" to us. Meaning upon meaning. One can play games with numbers, taking the square root of a number and then multiplying itself by its own power such as "the square root of 9, times the square root of 9, equals 9." You are going into the 9, and back out of it. It is LIKE saying if you add and subtract a number from itself, you get the number: 9 + 9 - 9 = 9. Mathematicians of today will argue that this is NOT what they are doing when they claim that the square root of 2 (which is one of those infinite numbers) times the square root of 2, equals 2. We disagree. You can NOT WRITE the square root of 2. They seek to make the infinite into the finite, they seek to make what is not controlled/Dionysian, into what is controlled/Apollonian and subject to their control. That's why they DON'T KNOW the 3 gates.

OK then: Want to see with simple explanation? The square root of 9 is 3. And 3 squared is 9! When you are saying 3 times 3, you are just squaring the 3; but you GOT the 3 from taking the square root of 9. They insist they are not doing that. OK: 9 divided by 3 is 3. 3 times 3 is 9. In and out. Right? Then if I use 3.14159 for Pi and divide that by say, 2, the answer is 1.570795; and now I'll multiply that by 2 and get back to 3.14159. If I take the square root of Pi times the square root of Pi then: square root of Pi 3.14159 is 1.7724531. Times the square root of Pi it ends up being 3.1415899. OOOPS, doesn't work. Do not get lost in calculators rounding off numbers as an EXCUSE for the inability to SEE what I'm trying to convey. WE say and WE KNOW - if you take the square root of 2 times the square root of 2, you DO NOT get 2. You get "ALMOST 2." Almost, is not good enough! Try paying back a car bill with ALMOST the right amount. Try rounding off money when you get $14.9235 and keeping that little .0035. Do it enough and you can swindle a lot of money :-).

If there was stasis, if the cosmos was bounded and the 3 gates did not exist, YES, you'd get 2. Likewise, angles are fine if you plan to make a house, or furniture. And what makes these professors think they know what Euclid Knew, but never wrote for anyone to see; especially since 90% of the Library at Alexandria was burned - what else was lost? "The Pythagorean schools were ESOTERIC: if you see it, KNOW it, someone will show you its method." I.e., MOST of it was NEVER written down - NOT ANYWHERE. How can you REALLY have an angle, in a curved space? You can't. Ok, this is known now to mathematicians. And the mathematicians of today can call us sorcerers and ONLY acknowledge what one of us SEES DIRECTLY when he has 10 degrees behind his name and is "respected" by the world of academia, as when Wheeler SAID he SAW that all electrons and positrons are ONE THING, Feynman listened to him and then tried to prove it - AND DID. But Wheeler was a Professor saying this, not a mystic. And don't we know that Feynman got all the name and fame for it? Wheeler, the One who SAW IT, was barely mentioned. And if Feynman was a dummy and failed to prove it, Wheeler would be equated with us who have SAID THE SAME THINGS for centuries. His statement would have been called "cute," or "quaint." They STILL, in this 20th century, DO NOT KNOW what the people of Athens knew when Pythagoreans were KNOWN. Some of them know that Pythagoreans were AWED by the fact that even a bar stool 1' by 1' square has a diagonal through it that is one of those INFINITE numbers, and they call this feeling of awe "quaint." Not quaint. We felt and still FEEL "the music." THAT is where the awe comes from. They can blithely state that "oh yes, the diagonal is the square root of 2, an infinite number," but they do not SEE what this is, and what this MEANS. REALLY MEANS. In the Eastern Tantrik schools, which are IDENTICAL to Pythagoreanism, they'd offer up the VISIBLE awesome fact about that stool as the reason WHY they KNOW that THIS is Samsara! EVERY TIME one of us goes to them, like Ramanajuan who went to Hardy, he ends up DEAD, dried up of his own creative force. EVERY TIME. "Come to us" means, SHOW YOU CAN HEAR the music, not JUST read the damned notes, or make eloquent speeches about music. If you can't HEAR IT, then you CAN NOT KNOW it!

We have our codes. What is Pi plus Phi plus e? Why, it is Theta! But what the hell does that mean? It's NOT Theta if you actually add them. It's a code. Trying to decode that means having to LEAVE the realm of math altogether and enter into the world of cryptographers or puzzle makers. Fact is, that is just a code. They do not know something that would be very familiar to all esotericists, even the ones who are idiots at arithmetic: that is "the 1/3 and 2/3 thing" involved in Theta meaning Demiurge (strong-color force). They have NO IDEA the relation to Theta to prime numbers OR to the number 17. Here is one possibility regarding Demiurge and Prime numbers: Demiurge is equated with 6 as it was equated to that by the Orphics. If you begin counting the list of all whole numbers from zero to infinity, the number of prime numbers decreases as the numbers you're counting increase in size. The distribution of prime numbers follow the spiral of the natural logarithm. The natural logarithm is the number, e. Prime numbers can be sometimes found next to (above or below) multiples of six. Even some twins can be found that way. But you can miss primes using the "multiple of 6" method or get numbers that are not prime; there are exclusionary rules for those. Of course, no number ending in 5 is prime, no even number is prime, and if you numerologically add any number up and it comes out to a multiple of 3 numerologically, it is also not prime and there are other exclusionary tricks one can use.

At least the esotericists and even theologians had the openness to QUESTION WHY 1/3 and 2/3 would be chosen, and not 1/4 or 3/4. E.g., even in the Christian myth about "1/3 of the angels rebelling." Somehow, they preserved the 1/3. They did not change it. They DO know that there were groups of people that KNEW HOW to get answers regarding prime numbers awfully fast, but it is always an embarrassment to them to admit that these people were Pythagoreans and/or Kaballists (Newton was a Kaballist and he even set up a Maypole). They DESPISE what they call "the intuitive school" and shout them down, intimidate them, with their loud raucous, out of tune, babblings of Apollonian "logic" and yet - they do NOT know the Gates.

Recently there have been some books by legit mathematicians who do say that the Pythagoreans shrouded their mathematics in black magic and kept it all very secret. Don't think in terms of sorcery here. Think in terms of TECHNOLOGY! If you have this kind of knowledge, you have a lot of power in terms of very practical things.

Only mathematically can we show that e is related the distribution of prime numbers. Yet esoterically, Theta was somehow related to these prime numbers. How? I don't know. What about Pi? Basically, we are curved beings, composed of spirals with a numerical value; and we live WITHIN a spiral (curved space, universe). There are patterns in nature, there is a Grand Design emanated there by a Grand Architect - yet this is not a being or person: it can be known through mathematics. Pythagoras knew how, kept it secret. SOME know how, they keep it secret. All I've written of here are the CODES, the hidden veils. Why has this been kept secret? Tradition.


1. There is an excellent movie: "PI, Faith in Chaos."

2. A Japanese person recently calculated Pi to the billionth decimal.


by Tani Jantsang

See end of article for the actual picture of the Tangram puzzle.

TAN is the Chinese word for "Hetaerai" or courtesan, loosely/vulgarly a prostitute, but known to have been highly intelligent female-teachers identical to the Hetaerai. They had Wisdom and were The Teachers. The Tangram (shown below) is known as the "Chinese Prostitute's Puzzle," where it is said that "the 7 is the 5 and from these 7-that-are-5, The Builder makes all things." (Pure Pythagoreanism, but far more ancient).

There are many myths about this, and some purely invented stories. One invention is by Sam Lloyd and the famous mathematician H.E. Dudeney who told about the "Seven Cryptical Books of Tan" from China dating to 4000 BC, that tell all about the Tangram and the secrets of the Universe. The myths about it in China generally go like this: there was a Chinaman named Tan who was walking with a tile. He dropped it and it broke into 7 Pieces. He discovered it was not quite so easy to put it back into a square. How Tan became a Chinese MAN when it was women who were the "Tan" needs no comment! Patriarchy took over and gave men credit for what women did and knew.

The question is, why is this Chinaman's name always TAN? Why didn't anyone ever claim that Lao Tze or Confucius had the tile? Tan is not a common name, why not give him a common Chinese name? WHY TAN? The answer, if asked, is: "Well, that's the story, that's how it goes!" Is this an answer? China did not have a system of female teachers or anything matriarchal for thousands of years, yet you can find tables made and, in common Chinese homes, cut into these 7 Pieces as table designs; and there you can hear the story! The "puzzle" is also called the "Clever 7 Piece Plan," "The 7 Piece Wisdom Board," and "The Seven Tan." Geometry and Mathematics can explain things about this, and one can see that these women, The Tan, knew the Pythagorean Theorem by understanding this, but NO ONE ever figured out why it is said that the "7 are 5 and from that, all things are made."

So who knows the meaning of this riddle? Well! TAN-ists know it! This is classical Esoteric (Dark) Tradition stuff. Today, it is still called the TAN-GRAM. Why, who but one of our kind would re-create this puzzle and sell it to kids to play with? :-)

There is always the "magical" in everything Orphics/Pythagoreans did/do. We are sorcerers, strictly speaking, not really "mathematicians," even though Pythagoreans at the time of Pythagoras called themselves "mathematikoi" and distinguished themselves, on strict lines, from the akousmatikoi; and it IS from the akousmatikoi EXCLUSIVELY that "the public" knows anything that Pythagoreans supposedly said. The mathematikoi are like good-eared musicians who KNOW music. The akousmatikoi are like tone-deaf who parrot the musical words, who learn the language of music, but can't hear any harmony, or even a note, in tune. The two may as well be two completely different species of life - that is how vast the gulf is between them.

Platonists arose from the true mathematikoi (like Plato) but they wrongly thought that one who sees only shadows, can learn to see Forms. Of course, this lead to nothing but parroting. E.g.: Tone-deaf people in the shadows, can NEVER know music (the forms). Impossible! They can NOT HEAR it! As things go, Pythagoreans seem to get answers to math problems, but their proofs for them are not understood. Some can go DOWN into the shadows in some in-between realm, and if a Platonist can rise up a bit and SEE what's to be seen, he can then use his Logic and get a proof that all will understand; but this does not often happen. Platonists are also "into" teaching everyone, educating people. Pythagoreans know that most people can not BE taught save to parrot words and memorize what Knowers tell them - as such, they are not able to distinguish between real Knowledge and nonsense. They end up believing things on faith alone. They just can not KNOW things - just as tone-deaf people can not know music.

Pythagoreans also keep their knowledge SECRET, hence they are part of the Esoteric or Hermetic (hermetically sealed shut) school. They seem to have a sense about WHO DOES know or who CAN know and who CAN NOT know. Neurology would explain that we are using our limbic or Serpent brains (and we do consider ourselves a "race" called Serpents as is shown by what is said in every single initiatory ceremony they devised: "I am a Serpent" - they always distinguish themselves from "the others" whether they call them Adamites, Sethites or whatever else). But this was only recently "discovered" BY NEUROLOGY. Neurology would explain that this "sense" about others is just brain-to-brain communication, nothing mystical or psychic about it. WE AGREE. It is NOT US who call it a "6th sense." It is those who either DO NOT HAVE it, or Platonists who take a PEEK and think they HAVE another sense others lack that claim a 6th sense exists. We know better; it's just how the brain is wired up, nothing more.

Platonism also led to NEO-Platonism which gave Christianity (our WORST enemy at the time) a SEMBLENCE of reason by allowing them to co-opt the doctrines and use them. They can not co-opt ours, we keep them secret and hidden behind LAYERS of code - like the Tangram!

Here is an example of Pythagorean, or magical, thinking: If asked to prove that the angles of every triangle that exists, when added up, equal 180 degrees, it is easy because all triangles can be shown to be half of a "square" (or any 4-sided polygon), and these all have angles that add up to 360 degrees (heh). Well, that is not what Euclid did! But it is a proof - IF you can prove that the angles of the square or any 4 sided object add up to 360 degrees, it's a proof! Now, the Pythagorean will say this is true because: "It is round on the square," which means, that the circle itself has 360 degrees - so, the square does too. Scratching heads, saying: HUH? There are many numerological codes that make no math sense but are "keys" to the math itself. Mathematics (including Geometry) was secret to these people. Well, for one who claims that this is no proof for angles of triangles, let the Platonist prove it his way, and he will see that the answer is right, and the statement about the 4 sided figures is also right.

But what is the connection between the circle and the square? If you look at what we do, we put one inside the other. But, some might say, you can put ANY equal-sided polygon inside a circle, INCLUDING a triangle! Oh sure: "But we do not do that, we put the square and circle together." Ask us why we do that: "Because that's the way we DO it." Tell us why we do it, don't ask us, TELL US, and we might talk to you! But unless YOU can tell US why we do it, you will walk away convinced you met a magical- thinking, mystical-minded fool - who "JUST HAPPENED" to get the answer FASTER than you did; by some strange means (magical, mystical, nonsense, rubbish, etc.) damned Pythagoreans! (NO: Damned Platonists for teaching people to walk that OUGHT TO CRAWL. We see them TRYING to walk, and KNOW - they crawl!).

The realm of physics, science, and math has always been in what we call "the blind," and prior to this recent 20th century, and recent years, the Platonic sciences dealt strictly in "the blind," or at best, the "very below" using what we see as the 3 "totally here" Sephiroth. As such, there was a vast gulf between the real "magicians" and the scientists. But now the sciences are beginning to sound more LIKE us, and this is noted BY their members. When I heard about it, I was surprised. But I wait for them to catch up, IF don't destroy the planet first!

Tantra is identical to Pythagoreanism, except that you CAN find out things about Tantra, it is not quite as esoteric and hidden behind blinders. Tantriks never had to live amongst a race of Avestans/Adamites/Eves/etc. who are little more than monkeys with a human appearance who WANT what we know, mass produce things based on what they learn, abuse the hell out of it and the planet, and then use it to lord it over other people who have peaceful, harmonious, and intact cultures of their own with no need of this knowledge. So, it is noted that Tantra is a lot like quantum physics! So is Taoism. It is also known that Pythagoreanism is identical to Tantra - that is, what they can find out about Pythagoreanism is identical to Tantra.

But what don't they know? A lot. For one, no one in the field of these sciences can build anything that Pythagoreans built of old, not even the statues of Athens which were done NOT by geniuses or professors, but by COMMON STREET PEOPLE for pure fun! You WILL NOT find Pythagoreans "in the field." Even Roger Penrose, top physicist, is a PLATONIST. He tells readers that as a child he played with pentacles. He didn't have to mention that, it doesn't even mean anything relevant to what he is writing about, but he DID mention it. So, who did he mention that FOR? Pythagoreans? We still use the pentacle. Platonists DO NOT. The pentacle, to us, is a master-glyph that tells a VAST story layers and layers thick. Some of that story is written of in the LHP Doctrines now (for sale). The rest is not.

In all that is written in the Doctrines, I use the Kaballa words to link up all the other systems. For Hesed (or Yat-Zebaoth), Geburah, and Tipereth, the 3 Sephiroth that are here/not-hear I'll now use Pythagorean words: Kyklos (the round), Mychos (the INNER "cave" the not-space) and Kronos (time). These 3 are GATEWAYS, and Kyklos is THE Gate. How did we represent these, in terms of "the Math?" Pi for Kyklos, e for Mychos, and Phi for Kronos. Let me digress a moment here for mystical code: Pi, the Greek letter chosen (at random?) to represent not only an infinite number, but an irrational and transcendental number (like the infinite and transcendental "God" that Kyklos represents in the Cosmos in Kaballa - Yat-Zebaoth), has the Greek-number value of 80. e, the 5th letter epsilon chosen (at random?) from the alphabet has the Greek-number value of 5 (like the Pentagram, or Mychos - DARK-path through Kundalini that Mychos represents, which also can show how the FIVE govern the SEVEN). And Phi has the Greek-number value of 500 and sort of looks like the yin/yang symbol, except that the straight line used to draw "Phi" is not wavy like the "S" in the circle to form the yin-yang (Tao) symbol. Notably, Tipereth/Kronos IS "THE TAO" pronounced DAO, this IS known to us. So, how random was the choice of letters used to represent "the math?" NOT random. Let us continue with mystical code and then add up the number values, in terms of numerology using the actual letters used in Greek (capital letters) to represent numbers (they do not use 1, 2, 3, etc), of Pi, e, and Phi, the 3 Gates. Pi is 80. e is 5. Phi is 500. Theta, the Root or Demiurge, is 9. 80 + 5 + 500 = 585, which numerologically is 18, which is 9 - the sa-TAN-ic number, the number of the Muse. Now, if you look at the position of the letters Pi, e, and Phi the actual Greek alphabet (not numbers) they are Pi is 16th letters; 3 is 5th letter, Phi is 21st letter and Theta is 8th letter. 16 + 5 + 21 + 8 = 50 - numerologically a 5. So if you add up the number value of the letters used as numbers in Greek, and add up the position they appear in the Greek alphabet as letters, you get a 9 and a 5. What are the odds of having this work out this way?

As to the decimal system, the Mathematikoi swore by the Tetraktys, and STILL DO. After all, the "MET" or METIS in Baphemetis means "Wisdom in terms of MEASUREMENT," and the decimal system was wholly secret until a Hindu gave it to the Western world! Obviously the Pythagorean Guilds had this system and their "magic wands" were nothing but measuring tools like slide rules. (If you are wondering what decimals have to do with the number 9, since decimals are a base-10 system of counting, please just GIVE THIS UP.) Theta or "Th" is 9 as a Greek number. Does this have anything to do with the 3 Gates? It is the Root of those Gates! Is this like when the "expert in Kaballa" said that 72 had no meaning in Kaballa? UH, ahem, it is "only" the number of the "SOD" itself! I.e., "He Who Has Gnosis." It's 72 like the 72 degree angles forming Phi ratios in our own pentacle, and of course, 72 makes 9 again.

Understand, these letters, Pi, e, and Phi were CHOSEN out of an alphabet of many letters to choose from.

e is in fact an infinite irrational/transcendental number in math, known to show up in growth rates, speed of growth of living things. Phi is in fact an infinite and irrational (but not transcendental) number in math, known to show up in the growth form or pattern all living things take. In "time" then, Nature counts like this: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc. Let us make inverse fractions out of each number in the way Nature counts through time: 2/1, 3/2, 5/3, 8/5, 13/8, 21/13, 34/21, 55/34, etc. EACH approaches closer and closer to the actual number Phi, but alternately, they fall just above or below Phi. If you drew a straight line, and made another line to show the fractions, the line would WAVE back and forth, to the left and right of the straight line LIKE an "S," and if drawn IN the circle, forms the Tao symbol. If you make regular fractions (and they go on forever) NONE are reducible to anything else (like 3/15 can reduce to 1/5), as such: 1/2, 2/3, 3/5, 5/8, 8/13, 13/21, etc.

The way light travels has all to do with the point on the pentacle where e is, and we in the tradition always said sound was gross light. That BOTH travel in a wave, is well known to science, but that sound and light are the "same thing" in 2 forms is NOT known, not yet!

We are IN the realm of "those Gates" all the time. Platonists and Pythagoreans have drifted far apart over these 2000-plus years, and we hold these Platonists responsible for enabling Christianity to "sound reasonable," which resulted in our kind being wholly unknown in the West. SELDOM does one come forth. Pythagoreans used to be the Mathematikoi, and Platonists were like students. Now Platonists have become "Mathematicians," and we are but "sorcerers speaking of mystical things," at worst; or the "Intuitive School of Math," at best! They give us that label (Intuitive School) only after THEY have slowly and methodically PROVEN what WE SEE. We find that tiresome. (Like this analogy: No, I'm NOT calculating sound frequencies in my "genius" mind and combining them into 2 or more waves. I am simply HEARING HARMONY!).

This coding we use is "language" and it tells a person who knows how to read it, A LOT. Pi looks like a GATE, or doorway. Pi also looks like the Hebrew letter "Th" as shown on the Baphomet spelling Leviathan (L, V, Y, Th, & N) and it falls on the MYCHOS point. The Bottom point of the star does represent the ROOT and FOUNDATION of Being, and the ROOT of Kundalini; but it is the MYCHOS point that is important to ALL Left-handed sorcerers. It is the ONLY point on the star that not only has its dark principle molding all that is here, but the "defender" principle, or what is outside the point, is ALSO here - as Innocence. ALL of this is inter-related. HOW does it relate to mathematics and these three infinite numbers? It relates in HOW Pythagoreans SEE these things, WHY they CAN see them. It is now known to many hard-line physicists and mathematicians that these things were KNOWN to Pythagoreans, even BEFORE they were called "Pythagoreans" and that they regarded it all as Black Magic. So far, in mathematics, a relationship between Pi and e has been shown, by playing around with "imaginary numbers" and saying that e to the (Pi times i) power + 1 = 0. "i" is an imaginary number. Well! They call US mystical?

This is how things went, after the Platonists and Neo-Platonists went public. The analogy I'll use is the ability to simply SEE color. There are those few people that speak about red, blue, green, yellow, and etc. Among them are others who can see one color, red; so if you tell them there are other colors besides red, they will believe you because they can at least SEE red. The rest of what they see are various shades of gray. Among them also, are those who see only various shades of gray, but they are very good at calculations. Eventually, a system is formed where those who SEE color simply write down a name they invent for that color: red, blue, green, yellow, etc. The ones who see only red, try to line up the various gray colors they see with the colors that are labeled, and they simply write down names of colors. The calculators actually calculate the frequencies of each shade of gray they see, in terms of how light is traveling into the eye, or the wave-lengths of all of these colors. What you end up with is a list with names of colors on it written by people who SEE colors, another list that is identical written by people who can only see red; and another list with calculations on it, exact calculations, numbers. Among this school of people, is a person who can see one color, red; and he is also smart enough to calculate the other colors. His name is Plato and he decides to say that people who see colors are seeing "Forms," and people who can not see them, and can not calculate either, are "in a Cave of Shadows." He feels, sincerely, that you can teach people in the Cave of Shadows to rise up, until they too, can "Know the Forms (see the colors)." There is the error! Who said anything about "KNOWING" colors? The people who see them, SEE THEM! There is nothing to know! There is nothing to even THINK about. You simply LOOK and SEE these colors; you do NOT have to think about "the grass is GREEN," "blood is RED."

As time passes, and all the color blind people begin to get the idea that there are "colors" OUT-THERE/SOMEWHERE to be seen; the notion of "color" takes on a "spiritual" connotation. Empty, klippothic people, the wannabes, all want to see these colors. They make PESTS of themselves. Others think that those who see colors are a race of Demons who are evil and need to be wiped out! Of course, that leads to the people who can see color HIDING and staying hidden; they adopt signals and codes to indicate who they are to others of their own kind. Then the wannabes, all of whom are innate LIARS, claim they can see, they "have the sight," the GODS speak to them; and they write books about colors. This leads them into confrontation with the NEO-Platonists who are doing exact calculations. Some of the people who really can see colors, start to write books of their own labeling the colors correctly, but writing down all false calculations on purpose; while others write the correct calculations down and give the colors completely different names, like "grass is Pink, blood is green." Obviously, these people who can see colors are throwing a monkey-wrench into the Picture, they are causing confusion! They see that this confusion they cause tends to set all the others at each other's throats arguing and fighting, even waging huge wars, which in turn gets these people out of their own hair. What you end up with today, is a heap of books written about the most abject nonsense.

A person who can simply SEE colors can tell which of these nonsensical books is a deliberate fraud written by a person who can really see colors but can not calculate, from one who can both see colors and calculate, and can also easily tell which books are written by people who are just religious fools who can't see colors or calculate anything. It would be EASY to tell the difference. Just look! Even if such a person copied down the facts; what he would say about it would make it perfectly clear. Keep in mind, I used "ability to simply see colors" because everyone knows what this is; everyone knows what color blind people are, and everyone knows what blind people are.

The analogy is this:

1. People who simply see colors - Pythagorean Mathematikoi.

2. People who see one color only and can't calculate - Pythagorean Akousmatikoi.

3. People who can see one or some colors and can calculate - Top Platonist.

4. People who can not see any colors but who can calculate - Platonists.

5. People who can not see colors and can barely calculate - Neo-Platonists.

6. People who can not see colors and can not calculate anything, but they can learn how to calculate - Smarter Christians/etc.

7. People who can not see colors and can not even learn - The Faithful, idiots.

8. People who lie to themselves convincingly, and go around parroting (memorized dogma) what they think is expertise on the subject of colors - wannabes, liars, KLIPPOTHS. They'd also tend to persecute those who really can see colors.

The defining of Pi and e as irrational and transcendental is not the doing of Pythagoreans. It is standard mathematics today. They do not give Phi the label transcendental because they can "define" it with a fraction - but they are using the square-root of 2 to define it. And what is that? They who love to have things neat and controlled would LOVE to control such INFINITE numbers, but we know differently, and this is where Pythagoreanism is IDENTICAL to Tantra. Using the square root of 2 is a cheat.

Tantra, like Pythagoreanism, maintains that ONLY THRU THE FLESH can you know ANYTHING. Like, can anyone prove a song is in a minor key? No. You'd have to HEAR it. Be ABLE to hear it. We see something profound in the fact that you can have a nice neat and finite table in your kitchen, say it measures 4' by 4' - or whatever you want. If you draw a diagonal line across that nice finite table, you end up with one of those infinite numbers. In other words, you can not measure your table diagonally, but you can measure its sides. Sound absurd? Tantra would KNOW that the table is Samsaric, Pythagoreans call it "appearances or shadows." There is a "stretchy- longness" to those infinite numbers and so, what is the visible finite-appearing table stretching into? You can't see anything, right? Are numbers even real? We say: NO! They are also, appearances, being DEFINED by us, who give them a number. Is 1/3 the same kind of number as 1/2? 1/3 is infinite, but as a decimal - not as 1/3 of, say, a cake. Using a nice cake cutter, you can divide a nice round cake into 3 equal parts. But make a decimal out of 1/3. It's .333333333 etc. to infinity. Mathematicians of today, easily forget that they are in the third dimension. Pythagoras knew where he was when he said that ONLY "a" squared + "b" squared = "c" squared. They fail to listen to what Pythagoras DID NOT say. In other words, they did not listen to his SILENCE.

Pi, e, and Phi are numbers with REAL differences, as they can not be expressed by using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the four functions. Phi can be expressed by using a radical, the "square root of 2," but that's rather a cheat! Likewise, UNLIKE all other numbers or fractions, Pi, e, and Phi are NON decimals that go onto infinity with no apparent pattern, no chunks of repeated numbers such as 1/7 or 1/3 as shown above in the "3 Gates."

The Tangram with Kabbalistic Explanations:

The Void or Kether

Binah or the Upper Shekeena. All 5 of 7 in one BIG square

  1. Hesed
  2. Geburah
  3. Tipereth
  4. Netzach
  5. Hod
  6. Yesod
  7. Malkuth, or Lower Shekeena, or a SMALL square.

HOCKMAH is shown by the Binah-BIG square all broken into 5 types of 7 pieces.

The image shown with Tipereth & Malkuth left out as if Tipereth or time is an "as given" & Malkuth is "The Cosmos".

The image shown as a house, with the 3 top Sephiroth left out that are "here, yet not-here" also known as the Lower House in Hermetics and shown as this:

The 3 Sephiroth that are here/not-here shown AS LIKE the VAJRE, or Kundalini Force in Nature.

Netzach & Hod making the symbol for Tipereth. In the symbol is the Vajra showing the center pathway of the Vajra in Kundalini & a tenuous relation to E.M. as related to Kundalini as a BIO-ELECTRICAL Force governing Being

These make either triangle 1 or 2 showing how the world of light/sound is manifest here (1) & how light/sound move or travel (2).

These make either triangle 1 or 2. E.M. manifest (1) & E.M.'s movement through time by moving in/out of "the here" (2).
The Obic Gates shown by combining either triangle 1 & 2, or just by using the rhomboid 3. The "Diamond Heart."