Egypt and the Mediterranean
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
There are two kind of 'knowing': both derive from the Greek one is logos and the other is gnosis. Both are significant when we look to understand at what the ancients understood about the material world and what they understood from their intuition and spirituality.
What did the ancients do for us?
All the ancient civilisations gave us something new from the knowledge they acquired from experimentation and testing: the Sumerians gave us the wheel, metalworking, levees and canals. The Phoenicians gave us navigation by the stars and put keels on ships' hulls for stability. The Babylonians gave us Law: that of Hammurabi as well as astronomy and astrology. The Egyptians gave us paper, the water-clock, sundials, the calendar and makeup.
The Ancients knew that the earth goes round the sun and the moon goes round the earth.
They gave us ethics, music, drama, architecture, roads, maps, schools.
We also know that the ideas that started in Egypt found their way to Greece and can be found in the writings of Aristotle, Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato: including the idea of life after death, the capacity of the Mind and the nature of Consciousness.
Logos translates as 'the Word' and it's appropriate because what we know is derived from our education, our physical experiences, books and our curiosity. It was the same for the Ancients and we are discovering that they were far more knowledgeable about our world and the Universe.
This applies particularly to the Egyptians whose culture goes back into the very mists of time. I want to show that what they knew, we are discovering is what we have been discovering but only since the Renaissance. Why since the Renaissance?
In the West the learning was abandoned and ancient knowledge forgotten following the Council Of Nicea in 325 when the Christian Church adopted a literalist approach to their religion. Christians, Intolerant of anything pagan, demolished the world centres of learning including the great Library at Alexandria (391), demolished all the pagan temples and artifacts of rival religions and murdered non believers in their thousands.
Learning about the Universe, learning about our Earth, Science, Philosophy, the Humanities and the Arts was forbidden on pain of death. All the books were destroyed. The knowledge of the ancients was forgotten. Knowledge, other than that prescribed by the Church was forbidden.
Without these Dark Ages, the Space Age would probably have happened 1500 years ago.
Common To Mankind
Mankind has always had a sense of the Divine: that there is something else beyond this world of matter. It has been expressed in the beliefs of people throughout the Ages.
The Dying and Rising God Myth
After thousands of years of religious development, the Egyptians introduced the idea of a dying and rising god in the story of Isis, Osiris and Horus. The cult of Isis, the virgin mother figure, spread throughout the Mediterranean area before the start of the Common Era and well before the birth of Christianity as we know it at the Council of Nicea.
The dying and rising god myth, representing a person's awakening to the reality of the divine presence and of Man being a spiritual being, here for a time on earth, manifested itself in the many Mystery religions and cults that pervaded the Middle East at the same time as the growth of the Isis cult.
There is more on these themes in the various blogs ( Egyptian religion; the Mystery religions; the dying and rising god mystery religions; the birth of Christianity as a literalist religion; the Isis cult and its influence on the Christian church etc)
The earliest 'Christians' were Gnostics. It started as a Jewish mystery religion, probably created in Alexandria (the centre for learning and scholarship) in answer to the other similar stories and simply to provide a Jewish version of the dying and rising god myth. The faction that decided to take the story literally did not materialise until later and eventually took control by wiping out the Gnostics and once hijacked by Rome murdering all pagan believers and destroying their places of worship and their scriptures.
The Gnostics were so called because of the 'knowledge' that by dying to the belief in the supremacy of the material world an waking up to their true spiritual nature they became enlightened.
The Cathars exemplify the true spirit of the Gnostic Christians. Peace-loving and highly spiritual they became the object of a vicious campaign by the Catholic Church and at the command of the Pope, the French King organised a crusade of genocide to obliterate them from the face of the Earth.
Read more in the book by Sean McGlynn and listen to a Radio 4 programme hosted by Melvyn Bragg.
If the Hymn of the Cathars fails to move you to tears, I shall be very surprised.