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My guest today is someone who has already been on the show three times, author, scholar and widely known authority on Gnostic philosophy, Tobias Churton.
This time, we have the great pleasure to talk about his latest book which was published by Inner Traditions in January 2021, ‘The Lost Pillars of Enoch – When Science & Religion Were One’ which is surprisingly enough not about Enochian Magic and/or John Dee at all.
We’ll be having a wonderful conversation about the biblical Genesis story of the flood and how Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in his work ‘The Antiquities of the Jews’ tried to pin down an urban version of the Septuaginta. According to him the children of Seth inherited wisdom and prophecy of Adam such as the idea for God to destroy the world by water or fire. In order to preserve the knowledge it was inscribed on two pillars, one of brick and one of stone. The second one was said to have survived the Great Flood and thought to be found in ‘Syria’ which was a mistake in the translation process as it should have meant some entirely different location. Tobias’ book explores in its first part the big question of how the remaining pillar could be located.
Of course, we will dive deeply into the explorations of Enoch’s different identities and try to unpack at least a bit how they are connected to the Pillars and Hermes Trismegistos from Hermetic sources. So essentially our journey will lead us to the origins of Hermeticism itself.
Tobias’ latest book “The Lost Pillars of Enoch” is at the centre of our attention in this episode.
It can be ordered here!
One of the main ideas of Tobias presented in his work is in general how the knowledge about the universe and religion must have been identical in some very early antediluvian times. However, Tobias will be elaborating on apocalyptic topics as well such as inner vs. outer apocalypse, individual vs. collective transformational processes and the role of Jesus in this whole picture.
The history of the Pillars also requires the interested audience to follow a red line which is also the main promise of esotericism in general, the idea that man is a fallen being possessing only the shattered mirror of the knowledge that it once had in its hands and that the requirement is to experience a vision of the original in order to reassemble the pieces for which the Pillars of Enoch provide an emblem of vision of the primal unity between God and Man.
The figure of Aleister Crowley can’t be missing in an interview with Tobias as he has written numerous books on The Great Beast, the next one coming out in January 2022 describing Crowley’s years from 1932 to 1947 in Britain during which time he wasn’t able to obtain a visa to leave the country and was confined to it until his death. Tobias has another book on Crowley in work – he says it’s going to be the last one on him – on his years in Paris coming out in 6-8 months and we’ll talk about another one he’s just about to start concerning the origins of alchemy which I’m pretty sure will be a highly interesting topic for many of you.
Music played in this episode
Today’s music is more from the world of classical music, but related to Western Esotericism or Mysticism
JEAN LANGLAIS was a French organist and composer whose lifesppan covered most of the 20th century. Most of his work is religiously inspired, but often in a very mystical, almost “gothic”, gnostic way.
GEORGES I. GURDJEFF played the music that came to his mind on a harmonium, but as he was not able to write it down, Thomas de Harmann, rather well known composer of the time, student and friend of Gurdjeff (and later also husband of his private secretary) did that for him. We hear one of Gurdjeff’s pieces from “An Oriental Suite” in a version for large orchestra.
ERIK SATIE is also French, but lived about half a century before Langlais. His work is strongly influenced by Surrealism, which in itself has a strong link to the Occult. It is said that Satie was also a very active member of the “occult scene” in Paris at the time. His music is often seen in this context.
1) HUIT PIECES MODALES – N°1 – Jean Langlais
(Track starts at [7:34])
Hello, I’ve been enjoying your podcast. It’s very well done. I wonder if you’ve considered the music of Joseph Zawinul a fellow Austrian. His band Weather Report had many great tunes. A track called Mysterious Traveller comes to mind, or the Unknown Soldier.
Hi David, thanks for your nice remarks. I know Joseph Zawinul, of course, but honestly have not thought of him in that context yet. I will have a look into that.