Vision of Abraxas
A life changing encounter with an ancient symbol for divinity which triggered the ultimate mystical experience of becoming God and a vision which revealed to me the nature of eternal life.
Here I relate perhaps one of the most powerful and defining experiences of my life. It occurred on the Winter Solstice of 1998. It happened during one of the most depressed and melancholic periods I had ever experienced.
I remember 1998 was an eventful year. It started of with a lot of excitement. I was playing guitar in a psychedelic trance band and had the opportunity to travel to many interesting places all over the world. At first it was very enjoyable. I loved to perform in front of the audience and appreciated all the attention. But the novelty soon wore off and I found myself increasingly disillusioned with the world of music and entertainment. I rediscovered my passion for brain science, artificial intelligence and trying to discover how minds worked. Also my life at that point was being irresistibly drawn towards the mystical, spiritual and religious. I started spending inordinate amounts of time thinking about the nature of God, about who I was and life's purpose.
My involvement with the band came to an end in the Summer of 1998 and I threw myself totally into my studies and thoughts. I had a very creative and productive Summer that year. My head really came alive and I was reading a lot of books about the brain, general science and mathematics. I also read a lot of religious and philosophical books. I got so absorbed in my own mental life that I tended to neglect the social dimension. As a result friends drifted away and I became something of a loner. This situation was reinforced by my seeming inability to appreciate that not all people were interested in the things that so captivated my mind. In any conversation, it always quite quickly reached a point where I would put forth my religious ideas with much conviction and force of will. This alienated a lot of people. Together with the fact that I was starting to develop a certain sense of mission, this probably made me a little obnoxious and hard to be around. While my life's work was making rapid progress, at the same time my social network was disintegrating. However I pressed on with what I felt I had to do. My days were spent mainly reading, thinking and writing in my notes. Less and less time would be devoted to human interaction. In the space of a few months my rich social life faded away into a life of solitude. It came to the point where days would pass without my speaking to anybody, except people working in shops. At first I didn't really miss the social interaction and I didn't think there was anything strange happening to my life. I was too focused on my work.
The weeks and the months passed. Summer turned to Autumn and my routine continued. However as the days grew shorter and there was less daylight, I felt a gradual lowering of my general mood. Also the pace of my work slowed and I found myself reflecting on my situation more and more. And as December came and Winter approached, I started to question what I was doing with my life. I was nowhere in this World, without a job, without a partner, without any money and without any friends. I was aged 28, and it seemed I had nothing to show for my life except what was in my head and in my notebooks. I had few possessions and my domestic circumstances were quite bad, in the sense that I was living in cheap lodgings with undesirables who had little respect for either myself or what I was trying to do.
I realize now in retrospect that while I was working with the band, earlier in the year, this acted as a kind of support for my self-esteem and gave me a sense of importance. When my time with the band finished, I substituted this confidence boosting activity with my burning passion for my life's work relating to the brain and mind, and also my increasing involvement with religious matters. My obsession with these areas and my total engagement with the realm of ideas made me blind to what was happening to my life. Once my work started to slow down, I opened my eyes and I saw that my life had fallen apart. It was nearing the Winter Solstice and I was succumbing to seasonal affective disorder(SAD), which was quite severe. Because of this I became utterly disillusioned with my chosen path and sank into a state of hopelessness. What was this crazy life I was leading. It seemed that I had been directed down a certain path by God through what I had experienced and seen. I followed the path that was laid out for me in the belief that it led to my destiny. But now I was feeling that this path only led to oblivion and unhappiness. I became very depressed. My energy levels were very low and I found it hard to concentrate. In this state, I lost access to the realm of ideas that I could normally access with my mind. My mental life became impoverished and I lost my main source of pleasure at that time, which were my thoughts, my ideas and working on my project.
So in this state of despair, I thought seriously about doing a complete U-turn with my life. I would do all those things that my Mother would approve of. Get a regular job, get my haircut, get married and get a mortgage on a house in the suburbs. And so it was in this state of mind that I challenged the Universe for a sign. I felt that everything I had been doing with my life up to that point, was a game that the Universe had encouraged me to play. Through playing this game my life had gone astray, I was very unhappy and I felt like a total loser. So I decided that if I wasn't given a sign by the Universe, then I wouldn't play this game any longer. So it was that on the morning of the Winter Solstice 1998, I set out of my house, in the quest for a sign.
I left my house in Kentish town in the late morning and started to go for a very very long walk. I walked all over London for hours and hours. All the while looking out for a kind of sign from God that would give me some kind of assurance that my life had not been a total waste. I was looking for reaffirmation in my belief that there was a cosmic intelligence and also that there was plan and purpose to this universe. So I walked and all the while I was looking around for a sign. Perhaps an unlikely encounter with some mysterious person, perhaps some sort of bizarre event that I could interpret as a sign. But nothing. I walked and walked, around eight or nine hours in total, only resting for coffee and visits to fast food restaurants. I walked all over London, from the City district to Hyde park, through Soho, along the Thames, back to West London then to East London again. But nothing happened. My legs were numb, my body was tired. My head though stimulated by all the coffee that I had drunk that day, really felt quite dead and pretty vacant. So I decided to give up. It felt like the end, I had given up, my life had been a total waste after all. My life as I knew it was now over.
By this time, it was around 8pm and was in the Baker street area of London. I happened to pass Marylebone public library and decided I would sit and rest a while. It was near closing time and most of the people had gone home. I went to sit at one of the tables and stared into space for a bit. I recall that I really did feel utterly empty inside and completely lost. But then I looked over at the table next to me and saw an opened book. I stared at the page and couldn't believe what I saw. I was tired and mentally exhausted and so was convinced that it must have been an illusion. But I looked again and it was still there. I saw my name in big bold capital letters beneath a strange archaic looking depiction. It was a mans torso with a roosters head and snakes for legs. He or it carried a whip together with a shield, and seemed to wear some sort of armour. I picked up the book and read the short passage below the picture.
It read 'Gnosis Spiritual knowledge. Gnostic adherents believe that religious beliefs should be based on experiential self-knowledge and not on inherited doctrine or dogma'.
I remember at this point I was finding this all quite humorous. There developed within me an intense laughter and a sense of comedy. It was as if my entire adult life and all the things that had happened to me, were a sort of huge cosmic joke written by the cosmic intelligence. Now I was being given the punch line. I felt an immense joy and a sort of trembling. I felt good, very good. At the same time I felt the sensation of my body change. There was a strong sexual feeling which permeated this whole experience. It felt as if, the woman of my dreams was somehow naked against me but also within me, inside me. The feeling can only be described as orgasmic! Then I started to lose my sense of reality. I was no longer in the library in London. It felt as if all space and all time were somehow curling up and entering into me. I felt I was being turned inside out. Everything that was normally me, seemed to be squeezed out of my body and everything that was in the universe at the same time was injecting itself into my being. Things then became very very strange and really beyond metaphor, beyond simile, beyond description. I was in eternity, I was infinity. I was everything that ever was and everything that ever shall be. I was totality and nothing was outside of me. There was no space, there was no time. There was only God and that was me... I had returned once again as I always do and always will, I became God!...
Here's the page that I saw opened. The text at the bottom reads, 'Gnosis Spiritual knowledge. Gnostic adherents believe that religious beliefs should be based on experiential self-knowledge and not on inherited doctrine or dogma'
Eventually I started to gradually re-enter physical reality and regain the sense of my body. My sense of time and space returned. Then I started to see a vision. I saw a huge chain of beads on a thread. The thread was endless and the beads seemed infinite. It was an awesome sight writhing and swirling like a dancing snake, but making movements and transforming itself like no physical animal could. This was against a backdrop of intricate geometric patterns. Multi-colored and pulsating, living and breathing somehow. It was like the geometric forms that decorate the inside of Muslim mosques, but the colors were much more intense and with a metallic quality. After a while something was happening to the beads. Each was breaking up and disintegrating.
I could see that each bead was hollow and the surface was like a thin membrane. The surface of each bead was unraveling into a spiral like the rind of a perfectly pealed orange or apple. Inside the unraveling rind were myriad fragments that were contained within each of the beads. Each of these fragments was in turn a bead but much tinier than the original that enclosed it. I saw that all these smaller beads were in turn strung together by a single thread. These beads also danced and swirled. My focus was lead inwards towards these miniature beads and then the process repeated itself again. Now each of these fragments which were beads on a string, in their turn disintegrated. Their surfaces unraveled and a multitude of thousands of tinier beads emerged and again each of these contained beads likewise strung together by a continuous thread. This process repeated itself many times. I would see a multitude of beads all strung together by a thread. Each of these beads would unravel to show that they in turn contained another galaxy of tinier beads also linked together like a necklace, and so on.
Eventually something different happened. This time my focus was drawn to a single bead as it started to disintegrate and its skin started to unravel into a rind. I could see that the unraveling was very ordered and produced a long thin strip like an unraveled bandage made of some flexible material with a metallic sheen. I was drawn toward one end of this thin strip and then I could see images. I could hear sounds and I could feel sensations. I saw images of a baby, then images of a small child. I watched and then realized the baby and child was myself at different points in my life. I saw myself as a teenager, witnessed things that happened to me that I can remember today. There were happy moments, stressful moments and also traumatic ones. I literally saw my life flash by before me in a chronological sequence. As I saw myself progressing through my life and getting older, I realized what was happening. As this replay of my life was heading towards my current point in life, I felt an intense yearning to see beyond and know what was going to happen to me in the future. I witnessed some events associated with the time I spent working as a musician earlier that year and then things zoomed ahead towards my present situation. I felt a strong excitement, I thought to myself 'Please let me see!, please let me see!'. But then the curtain was drawn shut and a veil was lowered.
It felt like those occasions when sometimes we experience a lucid dream and become fully conscious of ourselves while still dreaming. Usually when I start to lucid dream, I get so excited by what is happening to me and by all the things that I would like to do within the lucid dream that this causes me to wake up. And once I awaken from the dream it is impossible to return.
So I was back in reality again, I was sitting in a public library in London, and one of the librarians was walking around telling everybody that the library was about to close. I slowly got up and made my way to the exit. As I walked out of the building into Marylebone road, everything seemed to have a glowing aura around it. The buildings, the cars, the people. Life felt epic and awesome. Everything felt special and significant. Life was mythological and magic. A little earlier I was feeling exhausted and empty, now I felt invigorated and life became filled with meaning. As I walked home I remember I just couldn't stop smiling.
In the days, weeks and months following this mystical encounter, I set about to learn more about what I had seen in the open book and the strange amalgamation of man, rooster and snake. I learned that he or it was called Abraxas and that this was a Gnostic symbol for God that was quite common in the early centuries. I would trawl the internet for information and more images of Abraxas. I came to learn that the image I saw in the library was a drawing of an instance of what are known as Abraxas Gems and that there many examples of these existing in museums and private collections. They were used as religious symbols, good luck charms and magical talismen. I would download and collect these images for they had a powerful effect on me. They would remind me of the mystical experience that was triggered by the first encounter with Abraxas. Merely the sight of them would help me stay connected to the transcendent and give me encouragement in the life purpose I had set out for myself. That is to discover how the brain worked, create Artificial Intelligence and explain to the world that the mystery of Consciousness and the mystery of God were one and the same.
The Abraxas Synchronicity Trail Continues...
Around Five years after my first encounter with Abraxas I would receive a telephone call while in the same Library, i.e. Marylebone in Central London, where my had my mystical experience on seeing the open book with the depiction of the Gnostic Deity. The call was from a friend of mine who worked at St James Church Piccadilly, telling me that there was a temporary vacancy that had come up and that they needed somebody to work there as a Church Verger(A sort of glorified caretaker and security guard), for the next six months. A few more phone calls and a couple of visits to the church later I found myself working there starting in late April of 2004. The night before I was to start my first day working at the church, I had another strange synchronicity on the way home from a public speaking engagement when a strange old bag lady with a shave head sitting in the street gave me a book called 'Wai Wai', which is my name written twice, about a tribe of Indians living in the Amazon rain forest. The timing of this Synchronicity, literally hours before I was due to start my new job, suggested to me that my life was on the right track and that I had made the right decision to work at the church. I would later discover some special facts about St James Church Piccadilly which were very significant in relation to the Vision of Abraxas that I had experienced five years earlier on the day of the Winter Solstice of 1998. I would come the see the spirit of Abraxas very much all around in this church. And this was because of the two historical figures most closely associated with St James Church Piccadilly, namely William Blake, who was baptized in the church and played on the church grounds as a small child; and Christopher Wren, the architect who designed the building. I came to see them both as lovers of Abraxas for the reasons that follow.
William Blake the mystic, poet, engraver and some would say prophet, certainly knew of Abraxas and was keenly interested in Gnosticism. Together with his strong interest in Prophecies and Apocalypticism, this resonated deeply with my own interests in the end times and the idea that everyone is God. I therefore felt a strong affinity with him and his work. I came to learn that Blake believed that London would be the place where the great eschatological happening would take place, like so many of his contemporaries. That for him the prophecies were about something that would actually take place sometime in the future and not something metaphorical or merely metaphysical. As he wrote...
'The fields from Islington to Marylebone, To Primrose Hill and Saint Johns Wood: Were builded over with pillars of gold, And there Jerusalem's pillars stood.' - William Blake, 1804
So too I believed that London would be the place where the New Jerusalem would be founded and the great revelation emerging from. Also he talked about a spirit or entity, perhaps even a person, called Albion. In his complex mythology, Albion is the Primeval man and the name derives from the mythological name of Britain. In one of Blake's engravings 'The emanations of Albion' he depicts a man with a roosters head, an unmistakable reference to Abraxas. In the Mythic and Cosmological scheme of things I see the two i.e. Albion and Abraxas as really interchangeable. Whilst working in St James church and walking past the famous font where Blake was baptized I wonder sometimes wonder about Blake's depiction of his Albion with Rooster's head of Abraxas. It gave me inspirational thoughts, encouraged me towards the mystical and transcendent. It also suggested to me that I happened to be working in the right place at this time.
The second Abraxas connection with st James Church and in relation to Christopher Wren has to do with Wren's strong connections with Freemasonry. He himself being one and very active as such. For Abraxas is a concept and God name that has always been a part of Freemasonry over the centuries. In a sense during their heyday, in my mind, Freemasonry really carried on the true religion of Abraxas in opposition to the false religion of the mainstream. And certainly during Wren's time, Freemasonry was the source of so much progress and enlightenment in this world. A fellowship that genuinely brought light to the world. And in relation to this fact, St James as a church is quite unusual for its large clear glass windows that let in a lot of light. For as Wren himself said, 'There is nothing more beautiful than light'. And this sentiment he weaved into the very design of the church so that it would be a place of bright light on a sunny day. As Freemasonry brought light to the World, so Freemason Wren brought light into the way he designed St James Church Piccadilly.
Also it made me feel good, being a lover of science, to think that Wren as the founding member of the Invisible College. This was a Freemason meet up discussion group, that went on to become the Royal Society of Science. And which has been described as the midwife of modern science by playing such a large role in promoting scientific method and discourse in the 18th and 19th centuries. And so even though I was working for the Church of England and an Anglican worshipping community, due to the history of the place I felt a strong connotations between Gnosticism and Esoteric Religion on the one hand and St James church on the other. It was the perfect context for my spiritual evolution and the incubation of the future person I needed to become to be able to do the things I needed to do with my life. Like Abraxas with the Roosters head, I eventually came to see myself; as the Cock who would one day announce the new dawn and awaken the world from its slumber. With a finished theory of the brain and showing the world how it worked, I would also like Wren become a bringer of light and understanding. And make a major contribution to the scientific project towards which Wren himself contributed. And through the creation of Artificial Intelligence I would be as a great architect building great structures in mathematics and cyberspace. But my ultimate aim was to explain to the world the mystery of consciousness and show that it was one and the same as the mystery of God. I would one day validate and bring to light the truth hidden at the mystical heart of Freemasonry and indeed all World Religion. A truth also dear to the mystic Blake. So it felt at home to be working in this particular church despite my non Christian background. In it I felt the prescence and purpose of Abraxas.
The meaning of the Winter Solstice Abraxas Vision clarified
The full meaning of the incident related earlier, when I first encountered the representation of the Gnostic conception of God called Abraxas, came to me when I finally read a book called 'Demain' by the Nobel Prize winning author Herman Hesse. I say finally because for years I had been encouraged by more than one friend to read it and I had become aware through my research that the book contained references to Abraxas. But not being a great reader of novels I'd put it off. Besides I didn't imagine that it could have any special relevance for me. I thought the novel would be just another exploration into the nature of Good and Evil with a few mentions of Abraxas being a concept of God which incorporated both the dark and the light. However, when I read the book in the late November of 2009 I was stunned to discover that it seemed to be talking directly to me. It described to me the purpose of my life, what I had been doing with most of my adult life and what I was planning to do in the future. It seemed to me that my life story was a continuation and indeed consummation of the purpose and process that was happening in lives of the main characters of the book! A quick synopsis of the book would clarify what I came to understand.
The book Demian, which was published in 1919, is mainly set in the time slightly preceding World War I, though it story ends during the conflict and on its battlefields. It is about the coming of age of the main character Emil Sinclair who is befriended in School by a older pupil called Max Demian who introduces Sinclair to Abraxas and other ideas from Esoteric religion. Demian and his Mother, his Father passed away, are well connected to the local occult and mystical crowd and their house is something of a venue where esotericists and various progressives regularly congregate. These people as described by the author Hesse so reminded me of the kind of circles I would often find myself in and of a lot of my friends. i.e. people with an interest in Spirituality, Mysticism, Eastern Philosophy, Meditation, also Vegan and Raw Food diets. But there was also in the book a strong political dimension and one related to social change and the creation of a new world order.
What particularly struck me was one of the characters that Emil Sinclair would encounter on his youthful spiritual odyssey, called 'Pistorius' who was a scholar, church organist but also somebody who had dreams of resurrecting the Religion of Abraxas. That is Gnosticism and the original truth behind all World Religion. Several long passages in the Book seemed to describe exactly the course that I had set my mind upon years earlier and that the Universe seemed to be guiding me towards. At the same time, the hopes and dreams of the character Pistorius were unrealized in the novel. He was an old man who had planned to return to the world the religion of Abraxas but was unable due to his fears and limitations. When I read the details of what he had hoped to do I was stunned to realize that this was exactly what I was trying to do with my life. Where he failed and was fearful to even attempt I would carry out to success and full fruition I felt. It encouraged me greatly that the mission I was attempting had also existed in the minds of others, that is in this case the author of the book Herman Hesse. The book seemed so perfectly tailored for me. The hand of providence had guided Hesse's writing of the book and guided me towards the Vision of Abraxas that would in turn lead me to eventually reading Demian.
It seemed most uncanny. In the the time around 1996 to 1997 through fate and the consequence of a series of mystical experiences I had during this period, I had set out on the task of trying to communicate to the world the truth that Everyone is God. I had come to dedicate practically all my time and efforts towards this end. In the Winter Solstice of 1998 I had serious doubts about this great task I had set out to accomplish. I was ready to give it all up and to set out on a less uncertain course in life. So I went looking for a sign from the universe to help me decide one way or the other. It was then that I chanced upon, in the most incredible of synchronicities, an open book in a public library with a depiction of Abraxas and my name written underneath, which triggered in me a powerful mystical experience. This reaffirmed my mission and gave to me a powerful symbol or token with which I could stay connected to the transcendent and mystical plane. And so my spiritual odyssey would continue together with the ultimate aim and purpose I had set myself. That is to communicate the idea that we are all God. Almost 11 years later I would read the book Demian because it was highly recommended to me and also because I knew it had some references to Abraxas in it. I was shocked and stunned to discover that the book essentially told me what my life was about. The process and purpose of my life was exactly that of the main characters in the book, i.e. the bringing back into the world of the true religion of Abraxas i.e. Gnosticism, Sufism, Kaballah, Tantra and Taoism etc. The three main characters Emil Sinclair, Max Demian and Pistorius I saw clearly reflected in my own life. Emil the seeker and student; Demian the agent and instigator; Pistorius the dreamer and visionary. But what neither of them could realize in the novel and in their fictional lives, I would make manifest in the real world and in my real life. My life and my story was in a funny way a continuation of their lives and the story of the book. In a fictional way, Herman Hesse had captured in his novel a collection of sentiments and desires that existed around the time the novel was written and in which it is set. The purpose of my life was to fully realize these hopes and dreams in present times and in the world today. To resurrect the religion of Abraxas. To restore the true religion.