From the Tao comes forth the one, From the one comes forth the two, From the two comes forth the three, And from the three comes forth all things.Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
God is not dead; although many of us would like to hold a mirror under the nose of YHVH and determine, finally, that He is a corpse. Rather, the God of our fathers, of Abraham and Isaac and Hagar and Ishmael, the God of the Christians and Jews and Moslems, the monotheistic monolith, this God is merely sleeping.
I mean here not that God-as-entity is asleep, but God-as- part-of-us is. We have deprived God of elan vital, the energy which keeps God moving.
Even if God transcends the physical universe, God still works through it and through physical laws. These natural laws allow for no monopole. There is no “one”, for, if there was, how could it be known? The universe is understood to us by difference, by the knowledge that “this” is unique because “this” is not “that”. There is nothing in an undifferentiated universe, because there is nothing other than “there is” The concept of a unary God is intrinsically unworkable, for the same reason. How can anything about God be known without other God-like references?
(I am not trying to be esoteric here, but we are close to the limits of expression within a linguistic framework. Step over the edge and only being, not words, can be experienced.)
In the physical universe, into which God presumably manifests, the primary dynamic form is threefold. Gurdjieff called this the active, passive, and neutralizing principles. Dion Fortune called them Cosmos, Chaos, and Pass-Not, and the Hindus name them Sat, Chit, Ananda (Being, Awareness, Bliss). In whatever form, the elements remain these; two poles and a field between them. A magnetic or electric field requires both positive and negative poles, which then create a third epiphenomenal “field”. The female pole must complement itself with the mail, which then creates an epiphenomenal sexuality. The list goes on indefinitely, but the form remains the same; one is impossible to conceive, and two immediately create a third. (This is another form of the Law of Fives.)
What began with Zoroaster and Abraham, Azhura Mazda and YHVH, or rather, what ended with the first monotheistic deities, was change. The pantheon, stripped into a single component, lost its ability to self-reflect, to change, adapt or grow. Our conceptualization of deity, which had evolved from the advent of consciousness, took a final decisive step into unity; this unity caused the conceptualization of diversity to flicker and die out, then, even it faded into sleep.
This is why the monotheistic religions are written laws and words, rather than the experience of gnosis, the direct manifestation of the sacred. Judaism thrives on the law, and says, "“the Law gives life"”; Protestant Fundamentalists say the same thing about the Bible. What this statement hides is the revelation that with one god, gnosis is not possible: to know God, one must be aquatinted with at least three forms of manifestation. Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Maiden, Mother, Crone. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Of that last one; Christianity began as a transformation of the Egyptian mystery trinity Isis, Osiris, Horus. Isis is the Great Mother, and the male god does double duty as dead- risen god (Osiris) and child-ruler (Horus). Isis became Mary, the “Queen of Heaven”, as the Catholics still know her, and Osiris/Horus became the two faces of Christ, child and adult. Enough of a trinitarian dynamic remained to keep Christianity growing. But Luther and Calvin put God to rest by ejecting Mary. The Protestant Christian religion defines a God without any feminine component, and thus, without a dynamic, God immediately falls asleep.
The mass of “religious” humanity have been reluctant to accept this, and so there have been movements to “wake God up”, but these always involve active trinitarianism. The Pentecostal movement, perhaps the most dynamic form of Christianity worldwide, and the only one which incorporated gnosis into doctrine, works within a frame in which the Holy Spirit is the field established by the twin poles of YHVH and Jesus Christ, and in this, believers can find room for the gnosis which is the essential element of pentacostal experience, and of all religious experience. Without gnosis, one is bound into idolatry. The Fundamentalist, for all his proclaimed “holiness”, is the greatest idolater of all, for he places an object, the Bible, before himself, and before God, and worships it (this is the definition of “literalism”), interrupting anything which could lead to direct experience of the Godhead. This perversity is yet another example of what William Irwin Thomson has called endantromania, where any movement or process invariably becomes, at its greatest extent, a repudiation of its initial intent.
God sleeps, but perhaps God stirs. Pagans reverence the Great Mother and the Horned One; Diana and Pan; Cerridwen and Curnunnos. Individuals looking for gnosis have turned away from monotheism, toward a pantheon; “from the three comes forth all things”. Between these poles flows the current of gnosis as old as our species, and here the Tao can be found, ever awake, ever changing, ever evolving.Mark D. Pesce