Note: The following letters are reprinted with permission.

On the Forbidden Letters - by John Hume

Part 1  


'The moment an author accepts an historical Christ, he's in trouble.' [Paul Butterworth]

'It is curious that no Jewish rabbinic writings of the 1st or 2nd century so much as mention a renegade student of Gamaliel [Saul], who, having studied under the master and vigorously enforced orthodoxy on behalf of the high priests, experienced a life-changing vision on an away mission. Not a word emerges from the rabbis about the star pupil who "went bad", a heretic who scrapped the prohibitions of the Sabbath and pronounced the Law and circumcision obsolete. Surely such a renegade could not have completely escaped the attention of the scribes?'
[ Kenneth Humphreys at http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/saul-paul.htm  ] 

'The trail-blazing Christian missionary and apostle, St Paul, appears nowhere in the secular histories of his age (not in Tacitus, not in Pliny, not in Josephus, etc.) Though Paul, we are told, mingled in the company of provincial governors and had audiences before kings and emperors, no scribe thought it worthwhile to record these events. The popular image of the saint is selectively crafted from two sources: the Book of Acts and the Epistles which bear his name. Yet the two sources actually present two radically different individuals and two wildly divergent stories.' [Kenneth Humphreys] 

'Paul probably never existed.' [William Perkins]

      [ Friedrich Nietzsche ]

In his 1945 Festschrift for Gustav Senn, Carl Jung said that the Stone of Alchemy was 'a great embarrassment to the alchemist, for since it had never been produced, no one could say what it really was.' It was said it was 'born from a living thing' and 'extracted from man,' and 'its connection with immortality was attested from very early times,' but, again, 'no one could say what it really was.'

For Jung the most probable hypothesis was, that that stone represented 'a psychic experience.'  This suggests that he indeed missed 'the deeper level of alchemy and thereby of resurrection.'
[de Renzi, Fenelon, de la Censerie]

Jung guessed that the succesful alchemist, 'this most pure or most true man, must be no other than what he is, just as argentum putum is unalloyed silver. He must be (...) a man who knows and possesses everything human' and must not be 'adulterated by any influence or admixture from without. This man will appear on earth only in the last days.' 

If one thinks Jung has identified the alchemist as the Christ here, one is severely mistaking. The alchemist, Jung continues, 'cannot be Christ, for Christ, by his blood, has already redeemed the world from the consequences of the Fall.(...) Christ is the purissimus homo, not the putissimus.'  Christ 'is also God. Not pure silver, but gold aswell. And therefore not putus [meaning only silver, like the alchemist/Hume].' [italics added]

'On no account,' Jung continues, 'is it a question here of a future Christ and saviour of the microcosm, but rather of the alchemical preserver of the macrocosm, representing the still unconscious idea of the whole and complete man who shall bring about what the sacrificial death of Christ has obviously left unfinished, namely the deliverance of the world of evil." [italics added]

Jung had degraded the alchemist now, but not yet the stone. He would soon take care of that too.

'The alchemists did not hesitate to endow their stone with positively divine attributes and to put that stone, as a microcosm and a man, on a par with Christ.' [Jung]

Jung said that the stone can only be understood 'as a symbol of the inner Christ.' [italics added] Because 'although the stone is a parallel of Christ, it is not meant to replace him.' [Jung]

He even warns us 'not to try to force this numinous being [meaning Christ/Hume], at the risk of our own psychic destruction, into our own narrow human mould, for it is greater than man's consciousness and greater than his will.'  In other words: let nobody think he is potentially Christ.

What a contrast here with Friedrich Nietzsche and his seven devils in Thus Spake Zarathustra:

'Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself. And your way leads past yourself and your seven devils. You must consume yourself in your own flame; how could you wish not to become new, unless you had first become ashes! - Lonely one, you are going the way of the creator: you would create a god for yourself out of your seven devils.'

 [ Emblem from Atalanta Fugiens ] *)

This text is of course as alchemical as alchemical can get. And one is tempted then to identify those seven devils as the dark energy released in the Night of the Soul with which the Lightbody is composed.

But does this mean that Nietzsche knew about the deeper level of alchemy? I don't think so. If that had been the case, he would have recognized the Secrets of the Kingdom of  God of the New Testament. Secrets he instead ridiculed with the question: why secrets?

It is more likely that the philologist Nietzsche was somehow familiar with the 'inextricable junction of fire, self and immortality,' to quote Heesterman, and that he used that junction in Zarathustra.

Thus Spake Zarathustra is in my opinion therefore not 'the highest book there is, born out of the innermost wealth of truth,' as Nietzsche claimed; it is simply a thrilling piece of fiction with respectable kernels of truth. Just like the New Testament.

*) Note that this resurrectional fire, like the one in the Forbidden Letters, is nocturnal too, the moon being out.

Part  2  


'You have the energy of the sun in you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine.'
[Ibn Rumi]  

'In short, my friend, build a temple [meaning a Lightbody/Hume] from a single stone.' [The alchemist Zosimos of Panopolis]

Fall of Man Giclee Print by Lucas Cranach the Elder

[ Lucas Cranach the Elder - The Fall of Man ]

In the Forbidden Letters [part 2, section 12] the Paris 4 say that their gay man became a child again, 'psychologically' that is, and 'during certain minutes.' He even produced 'a child's voice.' This reminded the Paris 4 and their man of Matthew 18:2-4 in which Jesus called 'a child unto him and set him in the midst and said: "verily, I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."'

The words 'whosoever shall humble himself as this child' I don't trust though. Why is a child humbled by merely setting it in the midst? Michael Roth is of the opinion that 'something else, something deeper is revealed here.' But what then is revealed here?

The Paris 4 quote from their latin text in which there is talk of a pupulus nudus, a naked young boy. And Carl Jung discusses the alchemical phase of ludus puerorum, the play of the children, admitting that 'he found no explanation for that phase,' assuming that 'it must be a euphemistic, and probably also a symbolical definition.'

At the same time Jung was aware of the fact that 'an eternal child lurked in every adult.' And that 'it is all that is abandoned and exposed and at the same time divinely powerful.' He even knew that that child-motif appeared 'in the guise of the dwarf or the elf as personifications of the hidden forces of nature. To this sphere belongs the little metal man of late antiquity, who, until far into the Middle Ages, inhabited the mine shafts and represented the alchemical metals, above all, Mercurius reborn in perfect form as the hermaphrodite, the son of wisdom (filius sapientiae), or as 'our child', infans noster [the child of the alchemists/Hume].' [Jung]

Yet, as Mark O'Neill keenly pointed out at World Mysteries, Jung failed to identify that eternal child as the child that is peeled out in the ludus puerorum.

That eternal child was discussed too by the Jungian psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz in her book Puer Aeternus. She tells us that that puer aeternus (literally: eternal boy)  'was the name of a god in antiquity. The words themselves, puer aeternus, come from Ovid's Metamorphoses and are there applied to the child-god in the Eleusinian mysteries. In later times, the child-god was identified with Dionysus and the god Eros. He is the divine youth who is born in the night in this typical mother-cult mystery of Eleusis, and who is a redeemer. He is a god of life, death and resurrection.'[M.L. von Franz/italics added]

According to von Franz the snake frequently 'appears in ancient mythology combined with the motif of the child.' A secret connection 'exists between the snake and the eternal child.' And since 'the divine child is also the symbol of the Self [i.e. God/Hume], he is also the source of life. Like many mythological saviors he has the source.' [von Franz]

At the same time von Franz asks herself: 'How can you explain that? Why is the motif of the source of Life, the water of Life, so often combined  with the motif of the divine child? What are the practical links?' [von Franz]

Jesus also discusses children in the Gospel of Thomas. But here children are not given as an example for people to humble themselves, no, here obviously something else, 'something deeper is revealed,' to quote Roth again.

'Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "these nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father's) kingdom." They said to him, "then shall we enter the (Father's) kingdom as babies?" Jesus said to them, "when you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]." [Gospel of Thomas, 22]

The child is apparently associated with the process of unification in Thomas 22. But there is more. In 37 of that same Gospel Jesus answers the question 'when will we see you' with the words:

'When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample them, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid.'[Gospel of Thomas, 37/italics added]

'Without being ashamed.' Our ability to feel shame is somehow relevant here then. And that would bring us to the first chapters of Genesis in my opinion, the 'only book in the Old Testament with kernels of alchemy,' according to Paul Nixon.

'And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.' [Genesis 3:6,7/italics added]

'And they knew that they were naked.'  

'And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.' [Genesis 3:22-24]

I do agree with Anton Schneider that there has never been a Fall, and thereby with the Paris 4 that alchemy 'is the goal of evolution,' and that 'God is on his way in our genes.'[de la Censerie] The Fall was just an editorial trick by priests to induce guilt in man and possibly to explain 'why God isn't taking care of us.'[Michaels] - Whatever the case, our 'kernels of alchemy' have clearly survived that edit.


  • C.G. Jung, Alchemical studies, Bollingen Series, Volume 13,
    Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1967.  

  • F. Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Kaufmann, New York, 1964.  

  • Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens, Prague 1617.  

  • M.L. von Franz, Puer Aeternus, Sigo Press, Munich 1970.  

Recommended Reading on Paul

  • J. Murphy-O'Connor, Paul, A Critical Life,Clarendon 1996  

  • J. Murphy-O'Connor, Paul, His Story, Oxford 2005

  •  Daniel T. Unterbrink, New Testament Lies, iUniverse 2006  

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