A Confession from a Mystery Cell
My name is Lydia Dzumardjin, a woman of the nomadic tribe Mardeena. My tribe is from Parthia, today called Iran, a land known for warriors skilled in archery on horseback. I was born on 306 AD in Hecatombylos, the city of a hundred gates, a crossroads for travelers, Silk Route traders, bandits, scholars, and wandering mystics. My parents were stargazers called Sabians, descended from a long line of seers and diviners. The Mardeena pitched their tents all across Parthia and westward into the Levant. I happened to be born within the walls of the many-gated city when the tribe was attending the Festival of Amber that occurred there every five years.
I am writing these words to tell the world about a vow I made when I was 35 years old, and how I came to fulfill that vow when I lived much later, in another life, in a future time, the 21st century.
The Antioch Cell
I took the vow one autumn day in 341 AD at a gathering near Antioch, now called Antalya in Turkey. I was surrounded by my close friends and spiritual allies, members of a cell of the Mystery School network of the ancient world. Such cells were intimate teams that met regularly in a sacred place, either a temple, underground grotto, or a grove of trees. Accomplished shamans, the members practiced ecstatic trance to acquire wisdom.
That evening was exceptional because all sixteen members of the Antioch cell were attending. Usually, we met in groups of eight, four men and four women, in rotating shifts. We were the most respected cell in Syria, one of the last of the once far-reaching network of shamans and seers who shared a vision of Sophia, the terrestrial goddess. Today people call this same entity "Gaia," meaning the living planet, the superorganism in which humans exist as self-conscious cells.
I joined the Antioch cell at the age of 24 and in seven years I entered the nuclear group, the Company of the Eight. Before arriving in Antioch, I taught astronomy at the Mystery campus in Damascus, and wrote numerous scrolls deposited in the library there. (These writings were later destroyed in the Christian campaign to eradicate the Mysteries and all the knowledge emanating in them — all the high culture of Pagan civilization.) Because of the popularity of the scrolls and my teaching role, I came to be known as Lydia of Damascus. I was also a dancer. In the sacred arts of that time and setting, dance and astronomy were intimately related. I danced to the shifting patterns of the stars and the wandering planets.
That evening in autumn 341 AD, the members of the Antioch cell — we called ourselves telestai, "those who are aimed"— were engrossed in a conversation about Kali Yuga, the last phase of the great cosmic cycle measured by the Zodiac. We spoke in Greek, using the term kairos poneiros for Kali Yuga. Poneiros means wicked or deceitful, with the implication of phoniness. We looked ahead to a time when deception would triumph because human faculties came to be stupefied, and lies overruled any sense of reality. A time when people would be incapable of discerning truth from falsity. Unable, for example, to tell plastic from pearl.
Gathered in the soft yellow glow of rape seed lamps, we discussed a future age when every sacred idea would be violated or ridiculed. In the time of poneiros, it would not merely be difficult to tell the authentic from the fake: it would be impossible. We understood that a moment would come, some 16 centuries in the future, when the human race would plunge into desperate confusion, having lost all sense of the sustaining and animating power of the Sacred.
In our tradition of Pagan mysticism, we understood the Sacred to be the divine presence that sustains life on earth and makes us conscious of being alive, the planetary goddess whom we called Sophia, "divine wisdom." We knew Sophia directly as the ultimate source of beauty, joy, truth, health, and inspired knowledge.
But without direct contact with the Sacred, the living goddess who is the earth, how could humanity continue on its proper way? If people in a future time lost this connection, how could any humane society survive? What touchstone might people of the future need to give them immediate contact with the divine source, the Goddess?
On that autumn night, we of the Antioch cell were perplexed and troubled. Through the evening and well into dawn, we pondered how to provide a solution for humanity in Kali Yuga, a tool of guidance for the hard times of wicked deception.
A Sacred Vow
One thing became vividly clear to us at that moment. When all genuine access to the Sacred had been violated, obscured by a triple veil of lies, delusions, and warped beliefs, the moment would come to offer something truly inviolable -- not a principle, not a message, not a grand plan or teaching, not the promise of another messiah, but something paramount and pristine. A touchstone for truth that could not be violated. A mystery that would allow every single person on earth access to the divine presence, and the wisdom flowing from that presence, direct and first-hand.
As we saw it, there was only one way this fantastic opportunity would come to pass. Someone in that future time would have to reveal the most closely guarded secret of our tradition, the basis of our work and the method we used to achieve it. The Mysteries were ancient schools of coevolution, centers of learning and mystical experimentation. Its members were accomplished shamans who translated what they realized in altered states into an educational guidance program for the world at large. We taught all the arts and sciences, from alchemy to zoology. We were the educators of the ancient world, the founders of the trades and the sacred arts alike. We introduced and fostered literacy. We developed a great many subjects, but due to the sacred vow that held our organization intact over thousands of years, we did not disclose how we ourselves learned what we taught.
The most closely guarded secret of the Mysteries was instruction by the Light. By entering intentional trance, we learned directly from the wisdom goddess Sophia. We interacted with Her luminosity. The medium of our instruction was a soft, deep, living radiance that casts no shadow, the Organic Light. It is not a light that radiates in space, but it wells up from the material mass of things like a pearly eruption. It is not transparent, but milky. Beholding the Organic Light in steady concentration, eyes fully open, not allowing hallucinations, we interacted with the planetary mind as if conversing with another person. Such was the time-tried and inviolable method of illumination in the Mysteries. It might be called trance-learning.
On that fateful evening, all sixteen members of the Antioch cell took a vow that one of us, reincarnating at the end of Kali Yuga, would disclose to the world the medium and method of instruction in the Mysteries. But this method was protected by a sacred vow of silence! So, it would be necessary in that future age to trespass one vow to fulfill another. It came about that I, Lydia of Damascus, was the member of the cell to fulfill that mission and forgo the sacred vow of silence concerning the Organic Light.
In November 2006, there appeared a book titled Not in His Image. This book revealed intimate knowledge of the Organic Light never before disclosed, either in print or in public discourse. Never. Various esoteric traditions allude to the Organic Light, but they do not present a clear-cut description of the appearance and action of the Light. Nor do they explain in explicit language how to learn all manner of things from interacting with it.
For those who beheld the Organic Light for the first time, the senior mystics of a Mystery cell had a welcome benediction:
“A kid, thou hast fallen into milk.”
This is the dedication of Not in His Image, written for the mystics of the future. I offer this confession to those who recognize the Sophianic vision in their own hearts, and long to behold the Goddess in her milky luminous body. Let them know that I, Lydia of Damascus, am here. The tribes of Gaia-Sophia are gathering. I welcome the mystical conversation that will guide our species on its way in love and truth, in harmony with Gaia and all sentient beings.