Concluding Remarks: The Transfiguration of the Earth

The credo of the Knighthood of Sophia, as referred to in my series of meditations and commentaries on Henry Corbin’s Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, were “May we be among those who will bring about the Transfiguration of the Earth“.

Let me remark that you will find little support for environmental activism, or even tendencies towards pantheism as you would find with the Romantics of the 18th and 19th century, in this blog. That does not mean I am entirely disinterested with the conditions for continued life on this earth, now or for any unknown future. Neither am I very symphatetic with the corporate culture of mass consumption which has been going on as long as I have been alive in my part of the world, the “industrialized, developed West”.

When I posted this series on one of the forums I participated in many years ago, I got a limited amount of feedback. This way around I got none. I am not disheartened at this, I am quite sure some of you have found the time to read and ponder upon what I have contributed.

Some of the feedback was questions. That was quite inspiring, since questions raised function as a signal that something is received.

One of the questions were: “What is your perspective on the mystery of restoration”. I linked the concept of restoration with said Transfiguration intuitively, which is an unpardonable intellectual vice – but the result, I felt, answered the question. An additional observation before giving you my old answer to this challenge, the Book of Revelation, historically held to be written by John the Apostle while imprisoned on the island Patmos, gives us a vision of the old world, heavens and earth included, consumed and rolled up, devoured and entirely annihilated, to be replaced with a Paradisical new earth with some quite interesting features, such as the description of the “sea being no more”. I have been unable to read this apocalyptical vision as anything an interior vision which draws upon the experiences the writer and the reader have with the phenomenal, physical world. The Transfiguration we may seek to participate in, involves a deeper understanding of everything which is – from a point of enquiry well beyond the finite and mortal realms of newborn stars and dying suns. This point coincides with the most interior, most hidden, yet most intimate of all: your starting point for every enquiry – your Self.

The restoration was mentioned, in fact, in the first paragraph of the 6th part of the series, and described as:

“Transfiguration of the world and the expulsion of the powers of darkness from the existencial sphere human,natural and angelic- restoring the “paradisical purity””

But what in the world would that might be?

Within the specific hermeneutic applied by Corbin in his treatment of this theme “the transfiguration of the earth”, the task of the “Knighthood of Sophia” – there is a distinction between oppressive darkness,intervening with Being – which has a myriad names but constitute the same thing, which might be considered within a moment, or within a potentionality of eternities (which nevertheless is not eternal) – and a luminous darkness, which could be likened to the soil, or even earth, from which the sparks of light, the souls, the beings – hid inside it,can be retrieved.

Sophiology, as we might find it in the slightly heterodox thinkers Vladimir Solovyev and Nicolai Berdyaev, as well as the more orthodox oriented thinkers such as Sergei Bulgakov and Pavel Florensky – operates with Dual aspect of Sophia, or a dual expression of Sophia (Wisdom); a creaturely Sophia and a Divine Sophia – the might be considered the same “person” under different circumstances,conditions and predicaments, co-existing.

They are unified through the agent of Man who can “wed” the separate realms and dimensions of being in himself through the discipline which in this context is called a “Sophianity”.

Achamoth (Echmoth) can be construed to be the substantiality which fills the galaxies of forms and potentional existence, she “leaks” life, or “bleeds” it – into all containers, and upon contact, participates in the natures, which is to say, in this “diminishing” of herself into a plurality

– she “creates”, fashions or “gives birth to” ..worlds. Taking on the nature or participating in the life which is shaped by this union, a certain Wisdom accrues, while also it is subject to the mortality of the recipient forms, their fragility. Her presence fills up every form, every person, every globe – and those who experience, like she experiences, the exchanges between the outer and the inner, between the twilight and dawn, is informed of what Beauty is, what longing is (a very wise endeavour, but shut in, by itself.. Eros, according to the myth – is born of the union of such longing with industry (activity)) and what suffering means.

What lacks here, at the foundation of such existence, such being – galaxies and universes, is a connection with the initial identity, the initial integrity, and a resolve of will, of conscious participation – an active knowing.

“He that knows the All, yet lacking Self-Knowledge, lacks everything”

to paraphrase the Gospel of Thomas.. but this “lacking” is an continuous condition of our “earth”, and because of this condition the aforementioned powers, dark or evil we might say, have their say and influence on all that participates in the self-same “life”.

I am trying to state something difficult: That your “god”, your “consciousness” – everything elevated to some distance of value or integrity, all “powers”, “angels” and “principalities” – not calling them demons,archons or tyrants as such, they might become this, just as we might become bitter men and women, corrupt, perverted, misanthropes, hating not only the world, our next, any “god” – but also oursleves, our lives etc. participating in the continuous “sin against the Holy Spirit” – is party to this condition, this predicament.. and subject to a Shadow, which enlivens the passive/active ignorance,arrogance,forgetting,uncharity. That Shadow is not Achamoth, but every “child” of Achamoth, like Herself, is born into a world which is dominated by the active pollution of the Shadow of every single particle or universal; they would not have been born into that particular predicament.. had not the flaw of their mother been reproduced in their own interior. So men, in a unconscious capacity, in amnesis, forgetting -and subservience to these powers – “create the world”, as well as becoming products,charges,debtors to the selfsame.

Every child, again, contains a Dual aspect – they are as much the child of the Higher, redeemed,unfailing Divine Sophia, as they are a child of Achamoth, just as much are they the product of the union of Logos with Sophia, as they have become the bastard product of the union of Ialdabaoth with Achamoth; or as much from “Heaven” as they are from “the World”; and every child again, is not exclusively human, animal, angelic etc. but represents all that are emanated out of Sophia – whether into Her own, in the Pleroma – or into Achamoth, which becomes Kenoma (emptiness) continuously; this also represents a Dual Aspect, in origin it is One, but becomes many in the multiplicity both of Light and Dark, only in the struggle between the two, does it become divided.

From a Gnostic perspective – the redemption of identity through interior knowledge, Gnosis – is that predicament which is of greatest priority; without that, there is no true power in us to interfer,assist or parry – whatever powers,developements and events come our way, we can only do damage.. call that “sin” if you will, but at the very least there is lesser or greater damage being done.

Zoroastrianism being decidedly Monotheistic in cosmology (sic!) recognizes only one possible outcome for the All, but appreciates the nature of man as something a bit different than other monotheistic orthodoxies: Like Angels who are messengers, lighthouses of intent,information,wisdom..and power of intercession – Man is a redeemer and a repairer, who paradoxically is in the closest vicinity of that which needs redemption..

The Good is defined, not in the passive and docile enjoyment of a paradisical condition as such, but in the active participation in making things better, the Good is, very primitively put, Love..not the thought of Love, or sentiment, or ideal – but that transformative intercession. While most souls will travel to the Bridge of Chinvat with a very heavy baggage, and meet something resembling a gruesome parody of a man or a woman, once they arrive – some will participate in the work represented by the Advocate, like some parts of existence and reality will shine the brighter, reflecting the Light of the Divine, even if its present form and constitution..will be ruined at the end of the “last day” when all is accomplished.

Some traditions of Gnostic Christianity, as well as- certain traditions of the Esoteric or “hidden” aspect of so-called Orthodox Christianity, as well as with the Kabbalistical tradition of Isaac Luria (I cannot vouch for all the others) – teach an Apokatastasis Panthon – the restoration of all things into their origin; they will no more linger in a middle condition, being not exactly of this constitution or the other, not truelly fulfilling their natures or revealing their true identities, not really participating in a reality which is informed by their potentionality; what looses itself to darkness, is darkness, and what looses itself to light, is light – that which is born out of this process of purification, this distilling of the true light from the mixture – becomes a new, truer being, for they are children of redemption. Of Christ-Sophia.

So with Man, He either works upon “nature”, or “nature” works upon him. If he takes no part, still he is a child of Sophia, but he has not “put on the robe of light”, he has not “intervened on behalf of “his” soul, which is *not* his self” – he is no Knight, nor a page.. he is some uncharitable person who nevertheless profit by way of the redemption of the kingdom, for it will provide a sanctified spot for him to continue to be passive,uncharitable,cowardly and whatever else he desires, until he tires of it.. finally gravity itself will pull his roots up and land him right in the trouble which brought him here, and finally this trouble will be resolved.

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The Fravartis part 14 with conclusion

“In Yasht XIX we hear celebrated the creatures

who are to come from the world of light and , in the

form of the Saoshyants, renew earthly existence,

making it an existence in the nature of Fire, when all

creatures will possess an incorruptible body of luminous

Fire. But that is an event toward which all creatures

of light are working now, in the present. This work

and this event were the very reason, from the beginning, for the choice and battle of the Fravartis. The creatures of light receive their capacity to fulfill or to anticipate this metamorphosis thanks to the victorial Fire whose radiance embodied in beings is called by the personal name of the Angel Arshtat.”

Henry Corbin:Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth…pp.45

“This tranfiguring energy of which the Imago Gloriae is the source and organ, envelopes the whole soul. Perception of the Fire of earthly Flory proclaims the radiance of a spiritual Fire bringing the soul to incandescence, to the Light of saving knowledge (gnosis) introduces the soul to the Earth of Light, and to all the beings composing its own world, the world for which it

is answerable. That is why the figure of Daena, the light of knowledge and the Imago Animae, is sometimes

substituted for that of the Angel Arshtat.

And that is also why at the “judgement” which is the confrontation of

the soul with the celestial archetypes for which it had to answer on earth, the Angel Arshtat stands at the side of Zamyat, the Dea terrestris, at the

“weighing” of the soul, both of them assisting the archangel

Amertat.For this confrontation causes the soul to ask: with what “weight” did it weigh its own Xvarnah which was

for the transformation of being? To what degree was it itself a Saoshyant, thus fulfilling the vow of its own prayer: “May we be among those who are to bring about the Transfiguration of the

Earth”..” Henry Corbin: Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth..pp.45-46

“In Eran-Vej, close by the mountain of Hukairya <Hugar, the very High – a mountain as high as the stars, from which the spring of life,the Heavenly Waters of Ardvi Sura Anahita. More about the conncection between Hukairya and Ardvi Sura Anahita later. TDB>, there is a mountain of the dawns (Ushidarena). The Liturgical chant to the Angel Zamyat opens with a strophe in praise of this mountain of the dawns. it is made of ruby of the substance of heaven: It is situated in the middle of the cosmic sea Vourukasha, into which it pours the waters it receives from Hukairya.It is the first mountain to be lighted up by the auroral fires; for this

reason, it is the receptacle, the treasury of the dawns,

and likewise (by homophony) that which gives Intelligence to men. It is said that “the mountain first lighted up by the rays of the dawn also enlightens the intelligence, since dawn and intelligence are one (Usha and Ushi).
Finally, the ritual affirms the connection which is essential here between the mountain of dawn and

eschatology; it prescribes that an offering be made to the

Angel Arshtat at the hour of Aushahin ( between

midnight and dawn), and the reason given is that the mountain of dawn is mentioned in order to propriate the Angel Arshtat.And now the connection becomes clear: It is at the dawn that rises after the third night following death that the soul has to face the ordeal of the Chinvat Bridge. Thus,the mountain of dawn is invested

with the Light of Glory <Xvarnah> at the same exact hour when the soul is called upon to testify concerning its earthly existence in the presence of the Angel Arshtat and Zamyat, the Angel of the Earth, both of whom assist the Amahraspand Amertat in the

“weighing of the souls”.” Henry Corbin: Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, pp.27

The Ritual and Liturgy opens up a landscape, a pattern which is a habitation of spiritual presences in confrontation with earthly destiny and attainment. It is event (a dawn, in both the

literal and symbolical sense) and space (in the case of

the mountain of dawn“): event and space are both

biographical in relation to the greater context of The Soul on

Its Journey and its fateful weighing on the third day after the bond of the body is loosened. Transfiguration occurs on a Mountain. Transfiguration represents the outpouring,a libation, of supernatural and celestial light which “disturbs” the forms and structures which is

delineated by the senses. This we may compare well and good with the New testament gospel account of the Transfiguration of Jesus at the “Mount of Vision“, the Mountain Tabor. The “threeformed” spiritual presence of living intelligence is also typified in the early christian tradition by assigning the identities of Jesus as Christ with Moses and Elijah on his right and left hand. Do we

have, in the west, a ritual comparable to the splendour of the “Ritual of Dawn (Aushahin)”?

Yes, the ritual is a reminder and an “opening” into the event of

final dissolution of fate (!), the union with the celestial self, the heavenly “I”, the Daena – it typifies death,resurrection and transfiguration.

What could contain these codes, these images, of our western heritage? The Eucharist celebrated in the sacramental churches. The

Eucharist is prefigured by several antecedent archetypes practised in many cultures and in many different mythos, but its internalization and direct relevance to the “Soul on its Journey” were never more clear than within the Christian Gnosis, lost to almost all who today

profess to be Christians.

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The Fravartis part 13

Ashi Vanuhi is the Angel who radiates Xvarnah,the Light of Glory; but this radiation everlasting,
that is to say, the perdurable radiance thus restored
by vision,now becomes the Angel who is called by the
name Arshtat. In her person she is the Imago
Gloriae
reflecting to the soul the Image of an Earth
transfigured into the image of the soul that transfigures
it.”
Henry Corbin:Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth,pp.45.


This notion of Arshtat as the Mirror held Up to the Soul in its capacity as transfigurating agent – reminds me of an Manichaean hymn fragment I read once, referring to Jesus, the hymn says “He held up a mirror to us, and in it we saw the world”
Arshtat is intimately linked to the Gnostic concept fo “light-man”, as well as “divine twin“. In the Books of Pistis Sophia, a scene shows us Sophia seeking the Light, encountering the Logos – she is not able to see his face for
some reason,but she sees her own countenance glorified in his luminous garments.
Why could and why would a soul seek the transfiguration spoken of in
relationship to both the Angels (specifically the initiatory Fravartis)? First, it is itself sought after,loved,coveted..and the world is trembling and sighing in anticipation for the manifestation of the Children of the Living God..but what good does it do it? The Gospel of Philip speaks of the original man, named Adam in this instance – that “<He>.. came into being
from two virgins; from the spirit and from the virgin
earth.”
Moreover – “Adam´s soul resulted from an act of
blowing. Its partner is the spirit. The element that was
impartd to him is his mother. His soul was taken away and
he was given a spirit in its place. When it had
become joined to him the Rulers envied him because he
spoke words superior to their own..”

It is also
indirectly refering to the “Sethian” myth of Adam and Eve,
where Eve comes into being as a direct incarnation of Zoe – the “heavenly life” as opposed to mere “Bios”; the intelligence and sensuality of man and woman together, all alone in the garden – produce “offspring” which is not corporal- which might be called “words superior to legislation“; The Poetics of Spiritual acquiantance, this “producing” or emanation is nothing but the reflection of their union in the Bridal Chamber – in the Mirror which is existence.

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The Fravartis pt.12

“The soul is again invited to experience another
intuitive anticipation by Daena´s other sister <Corbin
described the ritual celebration of Zarathustra´s Daena as
an anticipatory vision of his future meeting, as a
Soul on Its Journey, with her on the bridge of
Chinvat>, the Angel Ashi Vanuhi, who also, in the trilogy
of the powers described above, serves as mediatrix
between Spenta Armaiti, whose daughter she is, and Daena,
whose sister she is. Her attributes resembles theirs:
she is also an “daughter of Ahura Mazda, and sister
of the Archangels “Yazatas”;
she takes on the
form of a proud and beautiful maiden, her girdle tied
high, pure, noble, and
invincible…”
Corbin:Spiritual Body…pp.43



“In Eran-Vej, that is medio mundi, Zarathustra also meets the Angel Ashi Vanuhi.
This event is strikingly described in Yasht XVII. The
Angel-Goddess, driving her chariot of Victory, is invoked as
all-powerful and as herself possessing Xvarnah (Light of Glory).This Iranian Gloria Victrix is
indeed the sister of the Nike of the
Greek statuary (those “Victories” who, principally owing to
Gnostic influence, were the origin of the Angel in early
Christian iconography).Then, erect on her triumphal chariot,
she invites Zarathustra to approach, to mount and sit beside her:
Thou art beautiful, O Zarathustra, thou art very fair ..
to thy body Xvarnah is given and to thy soul lasting
bliss. Behold, thus I proclaim it to thee..

Thus,
the Angel Ashi Vanuhi possesses and bestows Xvarnah,
the Light of Glory, bur at the same time she herself
is the Victory, the victorial Fire. In her person
are concentrated the significance both of Glory and
of Destiny, the Aura Gloriae of a being of
light.”


Corbin:Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth,pp.44
I would be neglectful of my own inheritance as a Norseman, If I did not compare Zarathustra´s journey with the Queen of Victory with what fares a warrior when he has died in battle, namely that he is
approached by the Valkyries who bring him safely to his home
in Valhall. I am also reminded of how Abraxas is sometimes depicted on ancient “gnostic” gemstones, as riding a Chariot..he is also a “Victor”; he has overcome his “destiny” as twin-brother and officer to Ialdabaoth – and converted according to his own Sophianity.. She is called “Angel of the Paradisial abode”. An assitant to Spenta Armaiti, who is the Abode of the Choosers, the Knighthood of Sophia.

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The Fravartis part 11

Daena-Sophia has sisters.
Among them is the
Angel Chisti, which is celebrated in Yasht XVI (the
Avestan hymn-cyclus), which is specifically dedicated to
Daena.


“Her name .. conveys the idea of an active Light which
illuminates and reveals a Form of Light. It is she who
confers on each being the faculty of vision, particularly on the participant in the liturgy, who by her is enabled to see and penetrate the meaning of the words and gestures of the Ritual. As it is recalled in the Yasht:
“Zarathustra sacrificed to her, saying: “Rise from thy throne, come from the Abode of Hymns, O most upright Chisti, created by Mazda and
holy..”

In the liturgy consecrated to Daena, it is therefore
Chisti who reveals her presence in mental vision as mediatrix for her “sister” and as the performer of this liturgy. She carries the oblations, she is the priestess in person. Since it is she who confers vision, she herself therefore is the vision, that defines the features of her iconography: tall and slender, clothed in
white and herself white.”


Henri Corbin, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, pp.43.

Zharathustra petitions Chisti to rise from her throne, to greet him and assist him in his liturgy, which is devoted to his divine Daena, his Sophia, his direct anchor into the
deep of Spenta Armaiti´s mysteries. She is the Angel of the liturgy – she is the sight which sanctifies the text, words pronounced, sounds emitted, gestures performed, oblations consecrated and ingested, the mixing of the cup of Hoama, the burning of incense..the
activity of the Active Imagination in transforming mere visual data into a vision of the Transfigured Earth, and standing at its borders, the Persona of the Knight (among whom we must surely account Zarathustra to be) Transfigured.
Each of the inheritances from Primal Man, in each
transmission, in each version; as we can find in Manichaean and
Mandaean sacramentology – we encounter “the spirit of the
Ritual”. Marcus the Valentinian (2nd century Gaul) called
upon the name of “Charis” (Grace), and prepared the
eucharist so that she may “descend upon the chalice” as
well as filling the “inner man” of those who had
communed under her. This Charis is a Sophian presence,
just as the Paraclete and Mani´s own celestial twin.
I´d like to add that it is my understanding that
either of these are *more* than personifications of
abstract “powers”; they are approached as presences whose
place is to stand in front of the thin veil which
stands between “our world” as administered through the
senses, and the Pleroma of the divine worlds. Just as
they guard the gate, they also assist in transmutation
of the souls who pass between them. To the ancients,
each >Ritual occasion represented a specialy
prepared “space” where the discerning could interact with
the spiritual reality from which they claim actual
origin. Persephone is another “Priestess” of Mysteries – as she
mixes the cup of Kykeon whose aroma is both bitter and
sweet. Hoama, which is a counterpart to it – imparts
“immortality” as well as “death swift and certain”. The vision
of Daena at the bridge is apparently prefigured in
Zarathustra´s encounters with Daena´s sisters..he sees them all
and do them due honour, but he knows his Daena in the
same way our Dante knows his Beatrice.

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The Fravartis pt.10

Daena II continued.

Agathos Daimon is considered in many traditions of both the occident and the orient to be the Initiator of all souls.

This presence has jurisdiction over all initiations – before the portal of any Mystery it asks and it receives.

In the Mazdean hermeneutic Agathos Daimon is considered the direct initiator of Zharathustra, it is from Agathos Daimon he receives the mysteries of Divine Wisdom, which he becomes

a custodian and “prophet” of. This Agathos Daimon, in context with the earlier terminology, is none other than Daena. She is the Anima Coelestis; Heavenly “I” and Supernal selfhood. The aforementioned initation served as a foretaste of the Transfiguration of the Earth into its internal and celestial vision through its Angel (Spenta Armaiti,Spendarmat- “our Sophia“) – as well as the meeting between the Soul on its Journey and the Angel Daena, daughter of our Sophia – at the fateful entrance of the Chinvat Bridge. Daena is both the “Visionary Soul” and the Visionary Organ of the Soul – serving as a vision of the celestial

world when it is lived. She correlates to the Action which is born out of Thought (over which presides Spenta Armaiti) and which is sister to Word(over which

presides Ashi Vanuhi, the Mistress over the “Abode of Hymns”). She is the face representing the activation of the Celestial earth of vision as a ruling prinsciple

within the soul, once it has chose its own “Sophianity”.

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The Fravartis pt.9

Daena II
Who is this Daena?
We can inspect the soteriology of souls according
to the Mazdeans, to receive a hint
(Note:I paraphrase Corbin.. he admittedly looks at the ancients
through eyes tinted with Sufism,Ismailism,Neo-Platonism and
Gnosticism..among other things):


At the Dawn of the third day, the Soul on its Journey arrives to The Bridge of Chinvat. Here it either meets with Daena, who is its celestial “I”; or on the contrary – it
confronts a terrible apparation, a monster, reflecting nothing but an “I”; it is mutilated and disfigured by every kind of ugliness, since it is cut off from its celestial Archetype.
This monster drags its victim down with itself to the
depths from which it never escapes, where it has ever dwelt, where it has forced the Soul in its life of degradation to live and dwell in thought and deed. The Perfected Soul however, crosses the Bridge of
Chinvat (over our “River Styx”) by the impetus of Spiritual flight and the power of its purity in thought and action:
It moves on towards the stars, then to the Moon, then
to the Sun, and then to the infinite Lights.


Remember the story of the Advocate? It is a variant of
this account.
The “mutilated face” confronting the “erring” Soul on this “third day” – puts me in mind of the “miscarriage” of Sophia which resulted in the Demiurge. If we read that particular component of myth as a
parable of the soul, it is suggestive. If I have eyes to see, when I surrender the life of this body – what shape will my image, my person be in? What in life, have I “produced”?

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The Fravartis pt.8

Daena:
Spenta Armaiti, Spendarmat – the feminine
Archangel of Earth, is the Mother of Daena.
Corbin, Spiritual Body.. pp.15 paraphrased


“Daena is, in fact, the feminine Angel who in herself
typifies the transcendent or celestial “I”; she appears as the soul at the dawn following the third night after its departure from this world: She is its Glory and its Destiny, Its Aeon.”


The capacity of Daena as Archetype of the Soul on its Journey, rather than souls per se, or souls in any static
condition – presents her as a Heroine in all Narratives. Yet she is also a guardian of a most glorious secret, the secret which leads to the manifestation of the fullest and most hidden Pleromic Grace of her
Mother, Spendarmat, our Sophia. To those who are acquianted with the Eleusinian mysteries, these figures correlate directly to Demeter and Korè Persephonè. And
those who have read the Pistis Sophia will also find a correlation between the Virgin of Light (Barbelo) and her daughter Sophia Achamoth. In relation to Daena as the Soul´s Glory, the term Aeon is used by Corbin.
Aeon typifies alternatively age, persona and world (or “universe”) – to me this is very suggestive. Especially in
light of what we have been told so far about the Mystery of the Fravarti and the Xvarnah destiny of the human being who “Choose” the Path of Recollection, who choose to submit to the Quest belonging to the Knighthood of Sophia. Whose Motto is recited in the Yasna
Liturgy
as
:” May we be among those who will bring about
the Transfiguration of the Earth”.
,and whose profession is:
“My Mother is Spendarmat (Sophia), Archangel of the Earth, and my Father is Ohrmazd(Christ), the Lord of Wisdom.”

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