ABRAXAS:  THE POWER OF NOW

FROM:  "THE SEVEN SERMONS TO THE DEAD" WRITTEN BY
BASILIDES IN ALEXANDRIA, THE CITY WHERE THE EAST
TOUCHETH THE WEST.

Transcribed by Carl Gustav Jung.

 

God and devil are distinguished by the qualities of fullness and
emptiness, generation and destruction. EFFECTIVENESS is
common to both. Effectiveness joineth them. Effectiveness, therefore,
standeth above both; is a god above god, since in its effect it
uniteth fullness and emptiness.
This is a god whom ye knew not, for mankind forgot it. We name it by
its name ABRAXAS. It is more indefinite still than god and
devil. That god may be distinguished from it, we name god HELIOS
or sun. Abraxas is effect. Nothing standeth opposed to it but the
ineffective; hence its effective natyre freely unfoldeth itself.
The ineffective is not, therefore resisteth not. Abraxas standeth
above the sun and above the devil. It is improbable probability, unreal
reality. Had the pleroma a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation.
It is the effective itself, nor any particular effect, but effect in general.

It is unreal reality, because it hath no definite effect.
It is also creatura, because it is distinct from the pleroma.
The sun hath a definite effect, and so hath the devil.
Wherefore do they appear to us more effective than indefinite
Abraxas. It is force, duration, change.

Like mists arising from a marsh, the dead came near and cried:
Speak further unto us concerning the supreme god.
Hard to know is the deity of Abraxas. Its power is the greatest,
because man perceiveth it not. From the sun he draweth the
summum bonum
; from the devil the infimum malum:
but from Abraxas LIFE, altogether indefinite, the mother of good and evil.

Smaller and weaker life seemeth to be than the summum bonum;
wherefore is it also hard to conceive that Abraxas transcendeth even
the sun in power, who is himself the radient source of all the force of life.
Abraxas is the sun, and at the same time the eternally sucking gorge
of the void, the belittling and dismembering devil.

The power of Abraxas is twofold; but ye see it not, because for
your eyes the warring opposites of this power are extinguished.
What the god-sun speaketh is life.
What the devil speaketh is death.
But Abraxas speaketh that hallowed and accursed word which is
life and death at the same time.
Abraxas begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness,
in the same word and in the same act. Wherefore is Abraxas terrible.
It is splendid as the lion in the instant he striketh down his
victim. It is beautiful as a day in spring. It is the great Pan himself
and also the small one. It is Priapos.
It is the monster of the under-world, a thousand-armed polyp,
coiled knot of winged serpents, frenzy.
It is the hermaphrodite of the earliest beginning.
It is the lord of the toads and frogs,, which live in the water and gets
up on the land, whose chorus ascendeth at noon and at midnight.
It is abundance that seeketh union with emptiness.
It is holy begetting.
It is love and love`s murder.
It is the saint and his betrayer.
It is the brightest light of day and the darkest night of madness.
To look upon it, is blindness.
To know it, is sickness.
To worship it, is death.
To fear it, is wisdom.
To resist it not, is redemption.