Consciousness and Religion
Course X: The Universality of Religious Consciousness
Course Outline: This course examines the interdependency of consciousness and religion. This includes how physical and non-physical religious consciousness have existed in many cultures and civilizations throughout recorded human history. We also discuss how, like our modern day society, consciousness and religion influenced the scientific and social knowledge of one of our most ancient ancestors, Egypt. If you have not yet taken Courses I-IX, we recommend doing so in order to fully understand the references we make to those courses in this discussion on consciousness and religion.
Externalizing Religion and Consciousness
The recurring theme present throughout every course thus far, and leading up to our discussion on consciousness and religion, has been the Universality of consciousness. From David’s Bohm’s implicate order demonstrations and William Tiller’s bio-body suit research, to the global consciousness project, the SRI and D.C. experiments, as well as subtle energy science practitioning…. more and more research continually comes to light demonstrating that (11 dimensional) non-physical consciousness is not limited to the same perceptual and experiential confines as (4-dimensional) physical consciousness.
Beginning with our discussion on neuroscience and consciousness, we also began to thresh out the factors, like the proliferation of subjective biases leading to materialist individualism, that either significantly limit (or fully preclude) a human being’s ability to experience non-physical consciousness in everyday life. This includes the belief that transformation from externalized to internalized consciousness in our modern day world is a necessary marker of (what our society considers) “intelligence.”
As Course IX discussed, this belief has led many modern day scholars, scientists, policy makers and everyday citizens to marginalize the viewpoints and wisdom of people and cultures who have not initiated their own internalization processes. Of course, and as we conceptually introduced in Course IX, our society moved from “mythos” (literal biblical interpretation) to “logos” (materialist scientific inquiry in a 4-dimensional Universe), which led to the favoring of internalized, individualist processing (Courses V, VI) However, this has not plagued every society throughout history as it does ours in the present day.
In fact, when we strip away the Orientalist bias against externalized societies, and frame consciousness as an active, transformational awakening process versus an passive electrochemical one, we find that our ancestors knew much more about non-physical consciousness in our multidimensional Universe than we do (en masse) today. What is more, we find that the roots of modern consciousness and religion were laid in the soil of humanity long ago….
The Ancient Priesthood of Egypt
The stone remnants of the (at least) 4500 year old Karnak Temple in Egypt, where the priesthood held private ceremonies and trained initiates, including pharaohs
There is a proverb etched in stone on the walls of the Egyptian Temple of Amen of Ipet-isut (Karnak) that reads, “True teaching is not an accumulation of knowledge. It is an awakening of consciousness which goes through successive stages.” Although today people of all backgrounds from all across the world can walk between the massive stone remains of the Karnak Temple, in Ancient Egypt only the priests, and their chosen initiates were welcomed into such hallowed halls. These initiates, and their teachers, believed that awakening consciousness was the true definition of a “religious experience.”
Even before the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt occurred, priests mapped patterns of stars, planets and other celestial anomalies they recorded over lifetimes of dedicated observation. In fact, the Egyptian priesthood derived its name from the word “episcopacy,” which means “those who watch and map the heavens.” Initially, they built circular mud-brick walls to make a false horizon. This horizon marked the sun’s position as it rose at dawn and follow its daily increments. They also used tools like a plumb bob to observe and record solstices, equinoxes and other important celestial events.
From small mud brick walls sprung large observation towers attached to temples located throughout Egypt. In fact, by the time the pyramids were constructed only 500 years after Egypt is thought to have centralized its power, priests had amassed more power than Pharaohs. With the exception of two intermediate periods of governmental decentralization and the late New Kingdom period, every Pharaoh for more than 2000 years was an initiate.
Even during the United States’ infancy, people of learned cultural backgrounds knew the influence of the ancient priesthoods. This included 2nd US president John Adams who, in an 1814 letter to John Taylor, wrote:
“Turn our thoughts, in the next place, to the characters of learned men. The priesthood has, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. Read over again all the accounts we have of Hindoos, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Teutons, we shall find that priests had all the knowledge, and really governed all mankind.”
However, awakening consciousness was not something the priesthood trusted to just anyone. Those who dedicated their lives to such a pursuit and thus, were allowed to venture into the halls of temples like Karnak, were trusted with information and knowledge other people were not. This knowledge was hidden within stories that to “normal” people, were presented as literal historical facts…. much in the same way scientists like Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon and Galileo Galilei read the Christian bible thousands of years later.
These are called “religious parables.” Religious parables are tools allowing the creator(s) of transmittable information to embed multiple levels of meaning (or “consciousness”) within the same narrative or story. How exactly do religious parables work? Let’s take a look at one of the most famous religious parables of all time: The Birth of (the sun) God on December 25th….
Religious Parables: The Birth of the Sun God
Ancient Egyptian papyrus painting of the god Osiris and the “Weighing of the Heart” to determine a person’s afterlife journey
It is no secret that many ancient civilizations, and quite a few modern ones, celebrate(d) December 25th Some of these included Persia, Greece, Rome, India, Chaldea, and even the Maya and Aztec. Let’s say we were citizens in the Egyptian city of Abydos on December 25th. We would be treated to ceremonies and feasts celebrating the birth of Osiris, Egypt’s first Pharaoh who overcame death to resurrect and become the judge of human souls in the afterlife.
There were constant retellings of his miraculous birth at every temple, along with feasts celebrating the grains and meat grown from the agricultural wisdom he imparted on the Egyptians in their cultural infancy. We would eat, drink and celebrate; confident in the fact our lives must remain in balance with the actions Osiris would eventually judge us for, if we want to know salvation in the afterlife.
Meanwhile, if we were priesthood initiates we would be treated to the same story, but only from its more accurate celestial context. In this regard, we would understand the “holy day” (the etymological root of the modern word “holiday”) of December 25th pertained directly to the relation of the earth to the sun, as well as the annual celestial phenomenon called the “Winter Solstice.”
The Winter Solstice takes place annually on December 21st, and it marks the sun at its lowest point in the northern hemispherical heavens. This is the shortest daylight period of the year, and also the longest night. In many locales, it is one of the coldest days of the year as well. The dissolution of heat and light prevented crops from growing and the earth from flourishing.
The Southern Constellation, or Crux, used with the very gracious permission of Christopher Picking of Starry Night Skies Photography
This led the Egyptians to mourn the loss of the sun, which they called Osiris and who was the Son of God, into the nether regions of the heavens.
December 22nd is the second shortest daylight period of the year. On this day, the sun continues to move south, resulting in Osiris venturing further into the netherworld until he reaches the pit.
In the sky below the equator during this period, stars are visible to naked eyesight that appears to form a cross. The Egyptians called them the “Southern Cross,” and today they are known as the Southern Constellation.
Furthermore, on a sundial from December 22nd to the 24th, the sun appears to stop moving. However, beginning on December 25th, the daylight period becomes longer again, and Osiris (or the solar system’s sun), begins its ascent out of the netherworld and thus, back into the realm of life-giving, or the “living.”
Between December 22nd and 25th, three of the brightest stars in the nighttime sky are Mintaka, Aniltak and Anilam. Together, they comprise the constellation Orion’s belt. Orion was the most celebrated constellation in Egyptian scripture and was said to be the home of its main pantheon of gods. These are also the stars several academic scientists, including Astrophysicist and Professor Vincenzo Orofino of The University of Salento, believe deliberately correlate with the intentional geographic construction of the pyramids on the Giza Plateau. These three stars are also known in the modern world (in parable form of course) as the “Three Wise Men.”
The three stars Mintaka, Aniltak and Anilam on the Belt of Orion
The three pyramids on the Giza Plateau in Egypt – image courtesy of NASA
These three stars point the way to Sirius (or the Star of Bethlehem), the brightest and most visible star in the wintertime sky. In Egyptian religion, Sirius was the celestial marker heralding the death and rebirth of Osiris. During wintertime in higher elevations especially, Sirius appears so large and brightly whitish-reddish-bluish to the naked eye that it can easily be mistaken for terrestrial phenomena. This includes the beacon light on an airplane that just doesn’t seem to move in the manner a vehicle in flight should.
These amazingly breathtaking astronomical beacons heralded the rebirth of the forthcoming Son of God Osiris and thus, the renewed hope for humankind’s salvation and sustenance. Each day after December 25th, the daylight period got longer and the earth got warmer. Salvation came when the sunlight grew longer, warmer and brighter each day thereafter. This light and warmth finally overtakes hell on earth every April.
During the spring equinox, the Son of God crosses back over the horizon and resurrects back into heaven, which is called “cross-i-fication” or “crucifixion.” Astronomical crucifixion is religiously symbolized the resurrection of the Osiris, or the sun back into its rightful place in the heavens. This also corresponds with the time of year the Nile would flood, thereby helping ensure rebirth, renewal and abundance.
Influence of Ancient Priesthoods on the Modern World
Parable gives us one story that appeases two groups of people at the same time, based on each person’s level of conscious awareness. The mass citizenry was treated to a functional, faith-based story of annual promise, hope and goodwill for all men and women. At the same time, initiates were critically re-schooled on the astronomical and atmospheric influences resulting from the motions and interactions of the planets, stars and forces shaping earth’s seasons in general and the Nile’s flooding in particular. The critical, contextual meaning of these processes were called “The Outer (or Lesser) Mysteries.”
These “mysteries” represented the first stage of an awakening process moving a person from solely physical consciousness, to the understanding that something more exists beyond the physical, 4-dimensional interpretation basic human senses perceive. But it was not just the Egyptian priesthood that used parable to help initiates awaken consciousness. We do have accounts of conversations between priesthood members from outside Egypt too. In the Timeaus and Critias, Plato recounted his ancestor Solon talking with a senior priest during his time as a guest of the Egyptian Priesthood:
“Thereupon one of the priests, who was of a very great age, said: ‘O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you.’ Solon in return asked him what he meant. ‘I mean to say,’ he replied, ‘that in mind you are all young. There is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science, which is hoary with age.”
This international collusion is why, among other religious congruencies, the Greeks celebrated the birth of Dionysus on December 25th every year under very similar circumstances as Osiris in Egypt. When Rome eventually rose to assimilate the Greek and Egyptian cultures into its empire, the priesthood led celebrations for Bacchus, which bared a striking resemblance to those several millennia beforehand in Egypt. Celebrations of this sort were not limited to the Mediterranean area either.
In fact, the Aztecs in the Americas, the Norse in Northern Europe, and the Mesopotamians and (later) Persians in the Middle East all had their own unique rituals and festivals paying homage to the Sun God on December 25th, just to name a few. And of course, it goes without saying that this story bears a striking resemblance to a story that has indelibly shaped the past 2000 years of world history: The birth of the Jewish “Son of God” Jesus Christ.
Osiris, his wife Isis and their son Horus, the embodiment of the living God and the first “virgin” birth, Notice the solar disk adorning Isis’ head.
Joseph, his wife Mary and their son Jesus who came by way of a “virgin birth.” Notice the solar disks surrounding each of their heads
In fact, even devout (non-Egyptian) religious adherents in the modern world have supported the “Christian Savior-Winter Solstice” hypothesis. Among them was one Sir Isaac Newton. In his Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John, Newton argued that “A sun connection is possible because Christians considered Jesus to be the ‘Sun of righteousness’ prophesied in Malachi 4:2: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.'”
Although significantly outnumbered in his own day as he would be now, Newton was not entirely alone in his belief. For example, theologian Saint Augustine of Hippo, almost 1300 years before Newton walked the earth, wrote, “That which is known as the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist; from the beginning of the human race until the time when Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed began to be called Christianity.”
Going back even earlier than St. Augustine’s time, we find evidence of the externalized Egyptian influence on one of the most widespread modern religions in the world based on none other than the Jewish sage himself, the Nazarene. As Matthew 13:11 states, “Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, ‘The knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.’”
He also understood the most sacred spiritual treasure of all, as Luke 17:21 states, “Once having been asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied,’ The kingdom of God does not come from your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is’ or “There it is’ because the Kingdom of God is within you.”
Of course, the odds that these similarities are total happenstance are astronomical. This naturally begs the question whether, at some point in his life, the Nazarene himself walked underneath the archway of the inner temple in the Karnak complex inscribed with, “The body is the house of God. That is why it is said, ‘Man, Know Thyself,’” on the way to becoming “The Christ,” or “Christos” in Latin…. which was not a name, but rather a title based on its English translation, “Illuminated Spirit.”
If he was indeed an initiate in a priesthood in Egypt or elsewhere, the Nazarene would have had to achieve a far deeper understanding of consciousness than the outer (lesser) mysteries provided. Instead, his understanding of externalized, non-physical consciousness would have resulted from immersion in the “Inner (or Greater) Mysteries.”
The Inner “Mystery” of Non-Physical Consciousness
An initiation chamber reserved for ceremonies celebrating the inner mysteries located deep inside of an Egyptian Temple
Even more so than the outer mysteries, the inner mysteries were extremely guarded in the ancient world. Initiates took oaths that could have resulted in death if they breached them. Because of this, it is practically impossible to find publicly available, direct source material relating to these mysteries. However, historical evidence does exist to indicate the Ancient Egyptian priesthood was guarding larger pearls of knowledge than celestial movements.
First off, we find inscriptions in the Karnak Temple (both that we have introduced above and, like the following) indicating the priesthood’s philosophical knowledge pertaining to what we modern day folks are beginning to scientifically understand about electromagnetic (non-physical) to electrochemical (physical) transference of consciousness:
“The first concerning the ‘secrets’: All cognition comes from inside; we are therefore initiated only by ourselves, but the Master gives the keys. The second concerning the ‘way’: The seeker has need of a Master to guide him and lift him up when he falls, to lead him back to the right way when he strays.”
Second, we find historical support through accounts like that of ill-fated priest and philosopher Giordano Bruno, who we introduced in Course V. To this effect, recall that among the factors leading to Bruno’s fiery demise, he claimed to be an Egyptian Philosopher who picked up the almost totally extinguished torch of a religion more powerful and pure than anything contained in officially sanctioned Catholic doctrine. As we discussed, a large portion of Bruno’s philosophical bias branched out from the following two tenets:
- The “Intelleto Universale,” or Universal Intellect governing and transforming matter into and out of various energy-based states
- The understanding that mind and matter are not separate, but interconnected and thus, mind is able to manipulate and affect matter in kind
Bruno professed to receive this information from ancient manuscripts like the Corpus Hermeticum. This was a very rare (and church-prohibited) text the wealthy, influential Medici family brought to Europe during the Renaissance. Scholar and Priest Marsilio Facino translated it into Latin from its native Greek. Its connection between Egypt and Greece comes in the form of “Hermes Trismegistus,” its protagonist. The Egyptian god of writing, the alphabet, and knowledge in general, “Thoth,” was one of the many gods Greece copied from Egypt (in the form of Hermes) during its infancy.
Returning to Plato’s account of Solon’s stay in Egypt, it was readily admitted by a proud Greek nationalist (in Plato) that the Greek religion was merely a carbon copy of the Egyptian one. In this context, Solon, who would not have been a guest of the Egyptian priesthood were he not an initiate of the Greek Priesthood, would have also readily understood and accepted that Hermes and Thoth were indeed one in the same.
A courtyard at a monestary in Europe, very much like the one Giordano Bruno would have spent his days pondering the energy-structure of physical reality in
So here is what we know: Bruno had access to a book that did exist in Europe in the 1500’s, which makes this book at least 500+ years old. The people who brought the book to Europe claimed its teachings originated in Ancient Egypt, which would make it older by thousands of years. This book laid out the theoretical framework for what, 400 years after Bruno was burned alive at the stake, David Bohm would call the implicate order (tenet #1). It also laid out the framework explaining why and how Psychoenergetic Science experiments, like those William Tiller’s test subjects undertook, are possible (tenet #2).
Even if the Corpus Hermeticum were a fake —meaning the knowledge in it did not originate with, or pass through the hands of the Egyptian priesthood from a culture potentially even more ancient, it would still have needed to be made up around the year 1500 CE. In doing so, the party (or parties) fabricating it still managed to foretell two scientific discoveries (Psychoenergetic Science and the implicate order) fundamentally altering the landscape of experimental research into consciouses as the same process of awakening the stone inscription in the Karnak temple (at least 4500 years old) says it is . And Bruno sure seemed to know a lot about the theoretical framework for one of those two discoveries when he wrote:
“The Universal Intellect is the intimate, most real, peculiar and powerful part of the soul of the world. This is the single whole, which filleth the whole, illumineth the Universe and directeth nature to the production of natural things, as our intellect with the congruous production of natural kinds.” Now, let’s compare this to David Bohm’s scientific description of the implicate order:
“There is a Universal flux that cannot be defined explicitly but which can be known only implicitly, as indicated by the explicitly definable forms and shapes, some stable and some unstable, that can be abstracted from the Universal flux. In this flow, mind and matter are not separate substances. Rather, they are different aspects of our whole and unbroken movement.”
Our inability to explain how the Egyptians possessed religious knowledge rivaling today’s most cutting edge scientific advances does not lessen the reality that the Corpus Hermeticum most likely contained at least kernels of knowledge from the Egyptian priesthood. Again, how the priesthood knew what it did notwithstanding, such knowledge would not be out of line with the importance “Quantum Spirituality” (Course I)…. or, honoring the existence of both the physically consciousness person and life, and the non-physically consciousness person and life, played in Ancient Egypt’s externalized religious practices.
Egyptian Influence on Religion and Society
The influence of Egyptian consciousness and religion worldwide can be experienced in the modern world on more than just December 25th. Rather, we find Egyptian consciousness present in both social and scientific knowledge. For example, The Book of Going Forth By Day, or as it is known in the modern world, The Book of the Dead, details Egyptian understandings about living a moral and ethical life in order to reconcile physical and non-physical consciousness components.
At approximately 3500 years of age, this papyrus is a newer version of the much older Pyramid Texts. It outlines the steps someone must take throughout physical life in order to maintain consciousness in the non-physical life thereafter. Plate 31 (of the Faulkner Translation) contains over three-dozen affirmations one must follow to stand before the god of soul-ular judgement Osiris and say with a solemn, sincere heart that, and among many others, the following offenses were never committed:
- I have not stolen
- I have not slain people
- I have not told lies
- I have not had intercourse with a married woman
- I have not been violent
- I have not been impatient
- I have not cursed a god
Of course, this list bears a striking resemblance to another list of behavioral guidelines that serves as the foundation for the Jewish and (subsequent) Christian religions: “The 10 Commandments.” In fact, when we begin digging underneath the surface of these two more recent religions, we find them tinged with Egyptian symbolism throughout their rituals and narratives.
Specifically, there is significant evidence to demonstrate the fact that Judaism arose as an offshoot of the “Amarna Revolution” during the reign of the “heretic” Pharaoh Akhenaten. He became famous for banning all the gods and goddesses present in Egyptian religion for thousands of years beforehand, and eventually replacing them with one God, the eternal sun disk called the “Aton.” This action represented the roots of “Monotheism,” or the belief in only one God. After his death, Akhenaten’s proclamations were overturned and his followers were persecuted.
A group of these followers might have formed a caravan to escape persecution, which led to the “exodus” event recounted in both Jewish and Christian scriptures. We find several narrative links between Akhenaten and Judeo-Christian religion in scripture. Most notably, “The Great Hymn of the Aton” and “Psalm 104.” Both pieces of literature pay homage to the one true God, who is described as the creator and sustainer of eternal life. Akhenaton ruled for only 17 years and died in approximately 1335 B.C.E., but his shakeup of the religious-governmental structure of Egypt resonated far beyond his lifetime.
Although Jewish historical accounts posit the beginnings of the religion as commensurate with the creation of the Earth, no historical and/or archaeological accounts of this group exists until somewhere around 1000 B.C.E. It was not until around 500 B.C.E. that the roots of modern day Judaism were canonized into the Pentuach, also called the “Five Books of Moses” contained in the Torah. We also find iconography from Egypt prominently present in both Jewish and Christian houses of worship. Namely:
The “Aton” sun disk worshipped by the “heretic” Pharaoh Akhenaten as the giver of eternal life
The “Eternal Flame” hanging over the ark in every Jewish Temple, signifying God’s eternal presence
The “Sanctuary Lamp” in a Catholic Church, representing God’s indistinguishable presence
The one things we cannot attribute to Ancient Egypt any longer is possibly the most significant mark upon the historical narrative over the past 2000 years: Pyramid Slave Builders. Beginning with the Greek Historian Herodotus (Course IX) claiming slaves built these gargantuan structures, and continuing with Judeo-Christian religious recounts in the Old and New Testaments of the “back-breaking” labor Pharaohs put the Jewish people through, Egypt has bore the brunt of thousands of years of undeserved metaphorical and narrative bias. Then, in 1990 the first graveyard tomb of the pyramid laborers was discovered.
Evidence found within the tomb indicated these laborers came from poor Egyptian families from the North and South of Egypt. They were paid well and highly respected for their work. Even some Jewish scholars no longer believe it would have been possible for their ancient ancestors to have taken part in the building process. Or, as Amihai Mazar, a professor at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem states, “No Jews built the pyramids because Jews didn’t exist at the period when the pyramids were built.”
Consciousness and religion in Egypt has also provided significant technological foundations in medicine, mathematics and literature. Most importantly among these is the 365 day annual calendar. Using religious-based astronomical observations, the Egyptians divided a year into 360 days and 12 months, with each month consisting of 30 days. Each day was divided into 24 hours, specifically in two parts with each part consisting of 12 hours. At the end of every year, the Egyptians added 5 days more that were spent in feast and merrymaking.
Several millenia later, Roman Emperor Julius Caesar adopted this Calendar, which Pope Gregory XIII would also later adopt (called the “Gregorian Calendar”) with a little cultural modification. This means we modern day folks are presently living in a physically framed consciousness state devised by our Egyptian ancestors thousands upon thousands of years ago. In this context, and although we might be physically separated from Ancient Egypt in 4-dimensional spacetime, we are and will always be connected to its religious consciousness in a non-physical sense.
Shine a Light on Religious Bias
The roots of consciousness and religion are those of an externalized journey of discovery, of transmuting a solely physical existence into a calculated balance between the physical and non-physical person and life. So just how exactly have we regressed to the state of ceaseless struggle and seething intolerance that permeates religious consciousness, and for that matter consciousness in general, in the modern era?
The biases resulting from Individualism, Internalization and Orientalism. Individualism leads human beings to view others are inherently different than themselves. Internalization leads to the belief that one religion is right, and all others are therefore wrong. Orientalism leads researchers, academics and those who trust their authority to marginalize the knowledge and contributions of both ancient and modern counterparts…. based on manufactured standards that define wisdom, intelligence and, in a holistic sense, what parameters of consciousness are accepted, versus what ones are not.
If we want to break ourselves free from the shackles that bind us to these biases, we must undertake the process of transmutation from physical to non-physical consciousness. Just as our Egyptian friends did way back when; and just as many other societies and religions have, both in ancient times all the way up to the present day. Should we choose to do this, we will evolve beyond the perceptual confines of materialism scientifically, religiously and humanly speaking. We will also consciously understand and tangibly experience what Brother Giordano Bruno meant when he said:
“Make yourself grow to a greatness beyond measure. By a bound, free yourself from the body; raise yourself beyond all time, become Eternity; then you will understand God. Believe that nothing is impossible for you, think yourself immortal and capable of understanding all —all arts, all sciences, the nature of every living being.”
Only then will we discover our own Psychoenergetic power, and only then will we find peace within our own consciousness both physically and non-physically, in order to live in harmony with our neighbors near and far alike.
In Course XI, we dive into what has long been assumed to be the final frontier: Physical Death. However, we take a new look at the age-old concept of physical death within the contextual framework of non-physical consciousness and the 11 dimensional human bio-bodu suit in our multidimensional, implicate order Universe-at-large….
If you have any questions about how Consciousness and Religion are interdependent and connect people of all faiths on physical and non-physical levels alike, please reach out to us directly….