Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mani's Message

Dragon Chasing Pearl- Manichean Emblem

Here is part of Mani's message as given by Trevor Ravenscroft:

Evil has not existed as evil from the beginning but only in its elements. For what is good and right is different for different times.Thus what at first belonged to the good because it belonged to the time, later worked injuriously. Taken merely in its elements then, evil is of the same origin as good, and it too therefore is without end. But as evil it does end. Yet it determines its own end, being placed in a position to do so by the sacrificial act of the good which freely mingles with it.

In order that good shall be able to redeem evil, it develops so far while separated from it, so that it then has the power through partly uniting with the evil to place it in the position of becoming good out of free will, stimulated by the radiant light of the good.

Now because evil has five members while the good has seven, the good only remains by itself alone at the beginning and the end. But in the middle period of its evolution it dips down into the five and redeems the harmony of the twelvefoldness. [Here reference is made to the seven light constellations above the ecliptic and the five below it on the Sun's course through the procession of the equinox.]

Therefore the Godhead, King of the Paradise of Light, adopts five members. His five members are gentleness, knowledge, understanding, silence and penetration. His five other members are concerned with the heart: love, faith, fidelity, bravery and wisdom.

As the further development of the world brought about the severance of the world of light, that is, the severance of the heights from the dark flood of the depths, Satan was not himself without beginning but was nevertheless without beginning in his parts and elements; thus it was these parts which came together out of the elements and formed themselves into Satan. His head was that of a lion, his trunk was that of a dragon, his wings like that of a great bird, his tail was that of a water animal. [Here again reference is made to the fixed stars, in this instance to the reflection of the four quarters of the Zodiac.]

As this being had formed itself out of the darkness, it was called the dragon, the old serpent. Then he began to destroy, to swallow to injure other beings, stalking hither and thither to right and to left and penetrating down below into the depths where he continued to bring injury and destruction to all who sought to overpower him. 

Thereafter he departed upwards into the heights and catching sight of the radiance of the light felt a repugnance for it. When he further saw that this radiance was only strengthened by coming into contact with its opposite, he was alarmed crumpled up altogether limb by limb and withdrew into fundamental matter.

But now once again he manifested himself and darted once more the heights. And now also the light earth observed the activity of Satan and his intention to attack and destroy. And as the earth observed this, behold! the world of insight, the world of knowledge, the world of silence, then the world of understanding, and the world of gentleness observed it. Thereupon the King of the Paradise of Light himself observed it and considered by what means Satan might be met. His own hosts were in all truth powerful enough, but in the realm of light there was only good. Thereafter he with his righteous with his twelve worlds, his five elements, created a race final race of men. This race he sent below that it might mix itself with the darkness. And it was this race which was to fight the dragon.

Then primeval man armed himself with the five spirit spheres, five gods, with the fluttering breath, with the wind, with the light, with the water and the fire. The first thing with which he clothed himself was the breath. Over the fluttering breath he wrapped the mantle of light that undulated downwards, over the light he drew the veil of the welling water and protected himself with the blowing wind. Finally he took the fire as a shield, and lance in hand hastened to descend from Paradise.

Then the dragon supported himself on his five spiritual spheres - on the smoke, the flame, the darkness, the scorching wind and suffocating fumes. He armed himself with them, took them for shield and went forth against primeval man. They fought long the dragon finally won the victory over man, devoured some his light and enveloped him with his spirit spheres and elements.

Then arose the storm, the whirling dance of death, and hell consumed itself.

Thus arose the human race. Humanity, however, recognized the friend of light, the King of the Paradise of Light. And this radiance filled him with delight.

The light of man that the dragon had swallowed caused it to feel pleasure in light. May the light be enkindled by light! - rejoiced humanity, and the abyss rose ever higher and higher, radiating, sparkling, shining and emitting light like a sun. 

Thus were the substances redeemed, uplifted, illuminated and warmed, so that gentleness proved stronger than hatred. In man, gentleness redeemed the dragon from hell.
-from The Cup of Destiny: Trevor Ravenscroft (the original source being Walter Stein's The Ninth Century, pages 81 and 82)

"This is a free rendering of what Kessler describes in his book about Mani, Mani: Forschungen über die manichäische Religion, Konrad Kessler, Volume 1, p.306. Berlin 1889, together with indications Rudolf Steiner has made on this subject."
- Note 7, Chapter 4, The Ninth Century.


  1. I would not turn to Trevor Ravenscroft as an authority or reference on anything. I was suspicious of his two books, The Spear of Destiny and The Cup of Destiny, from the moment I took them into my hands, because Ravenscroft gives the impression of being careless and because some of what he puts forward as historical fact contradicts accounts of other sources. Ravenscroft's unreliability was confirmed in conversation with René Querido, who was a pupil of Walter Johannes Stein's in London, and who knew Ravenscroft personally, as did others of my acquaintances. Querido described these books as a travesty against the person of WJ Stein, being one part truth, one part complete fabrication, and one part amalgamation of fact and fantasy--and it is very difficult to know what one is dealing with in any given passage. Another friend of mine said that Ravenscroft, who had had several failed attempts at financial success, saw the publication of The Spear of Destiny as his last chance to make some money for himself and did not care what truths he had to tread underfoot in the process.

    So Ravenscroft's account of Manichaeism could be accurate, or it could be something he made up or tailored to suit his self-serving purposes.

  2. This quote from Trevor Ravenscroft is pretty much all taken from Walter Stein. As to the original historical source of the information, I am not aware.

    Ravenscroft's book, The Cup of Destiny, is unlike his Spear of Destiny, which he admitted is a work of fiction.

    As to authorities in spiritual matters, there are none. The only authority is the individual, who has to make up his mind for himself. And one way the individual might decide in this case, is to view the original historical manuscripts.

  3. The original source of the quote is Walter Stein's The Ninth Century, pages 81 and 82.