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Saint

Carpocrates

And
The Libertine Companions
of
ANTINOUS

"For these are 'wandering stars'


Referred to in prophecy,
Who wander from the narrow road
Of the commandments
Into a boundless abyss
Of the carnal and bodily sins."
--Clement of Alexandria

"There Being Nothing Really Evil by Nature"

Carpocrates, lived in Alexandria during the reign of Hadrian and into the reign of
Antoninus Pius. The date of his birth is uncertain, some sources say that he was born in
the year 130 when Antinous died, others say that his teachings began in 130, and others
that his teachings did not come to prominence until 150, but Kurt Rudolph, in his book
“Gnosis” writes that Carpocrates lived during Hadrian’s reign and that his movement,
headed by successors gained notoriety during the reign of Antoninus Pius. My conclusion
is that he was born sometime before 130, and emerged as a teacher in the years following
the death of Antinous, but did not gain world-wide fame until after the death of Hadrian.
He was in my opinion nearly the same age as Antinous or somewhat older, being perhaps
more closely related in age to Aelius Caesar. According to Epiphanius of Salamis,
Carpocrates was born in Asia Minor, and is said to have been a student of Saturninus in
Antioch and then later of Basilides in Alexandria, where he later founded his own school.
Saturninus and Basilides were prominent Gnostic teachers who had emerged from the
school of Menander, who in turn was of the school Simon Magus, the Father of
Gnosticism and contemporary of Jesus. Carpocrates had one son that history records,
named Epiphanes (not to be confused with Epiphanius the anti-heretic bishop) who
carried on his father's work, but died when he was seventeen. Like Antinous, the birth
and death of Carpocrates are unrecorded, and though his influence has been both subtle
and powerful, only a few lines of his own writing remain, recorded by his enemies the
Fathers of the Catholic Church. What is important is that Carpocrates may have lived
during the life of Antinous, he might even have been a contemporary. It is within the
realm of possibility that he was present during the visitation of Hadrian and Antinous to
Alexandria. Without question, his doctrine and the ancient religion of Antinous were
contemporary faiths, born almost simultaneously, and doomed to the same fate, growing,
flourishing, fading, and dieing in the same place at the same time.
Carpocrates was a native of Asia Minor, where Antinous was born, and from where
Dionysus spread his religion, the land of Magna Mater and her bloody, transsexual lover
Attis. There may be a connection between Carpocrates and the River Carpos in Phrygia.
In the “Dionysiaca”, the poet Nonnos relates the story of how the river Carpus fell in love
with a boy named Calamus, and that while they were swimming together, Calamus was
overtaken by the current and drowned. The River god was so overcome with grief that he
immortalized Calamus by turning him into the reed plant that bears his name. The
Calamus plant was used as an early symbol for homosexuality by Walt Whitman and
others, and so we are immediately inclined to see the connection between Carpocrates
and the homosexual river Carpos, and the immortal youth Calamus, who bears so much
in common with our own Antinous.

The followers of Carpocrates presented a formidable threat to the unity of the Catholic
Church, a threat that was growing in strength. With the Antonine Philosopher-Emperors
in power, the greatest threat to the survival of Christianity came from within its own
(still) diverse teaching. The religious tolerance of Hadrian and his successors favored the
rise of wide speculation and the proliferation of ideologies, and the Catholic Church
could do nothing about it but talk. St. Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202) was a Doctor of
Catholic theology that labored extensively in defense the Catholic Church, his treatise,
"Against all Heresies" is a work that both explains and condemns every mode of theology
but the ONE that would eventually win by fire and sword. Carpocrates is given a small
but significant chapter. From this work, and from another recently discovered text, most
of what is know about the Carpocratians and their mysterious Patriarch is derived.
Irenaeus only intended to slander and defame Carpocrates, his words are meant only to
shock and dismay delicate souls into submission to the Church, but we find that like so
much that is written about Antinous, the calumny about Carpocrates presents us with a
brief glimpse into the revolutionary doctrine of the great prophet of Freedom. My intent
is to offer a speculative theory of what the Doctrine of Carpocrates might have held,
based primarily on what Irenaeus suggests, and supported by other anti-heretics, to
ultimately show that the Doctrine of Carpocrates and the Religion of Antinous had a
relationship, despite their obvious differences. So I begin with an examination of Irenaeus
of Lyons.

The Doctrine of Carpocrates

Carpocrates venerated Jesus, but he also believed that the philosophers Plato, Pythagoras,
Aristotle and others were gods. He believed that Jesus was just another man, like any of
us, upon whom an extraordinary recollection descended. Carpocrates seems to have
placed no faith in anything like the Immaculate Conception, or the virgin birth, but
blatantly states that Jesus was the son of Joseph. Essentially what he means is that there is
no way to know anything more than what seems obvious. One has to remember that in
his time, the Gospels had only recently been written, or were still in the process of
revision. There was indeed a sense that these writings were sacred, but they had not yet
won the unquestioning faith of later centuries. The Gnostics, being closer to the event,
were less trusting that what the four gospels contained was the untainted word of Christ.
The possibility that Jesus was human, like anyone, did not disturb Carpocrates because he
saw that the wisdom of Jesus had elevated him to godliness, which was therefore a
possibility for anyone who emulated him. Carpocrates did not believe that salvation could
be obtained only by following Jesus, but that one had to Become Jesus in order to find
salvation.

"They also hold that Jesus was the son of Joseph, and was just like other men, with the
exception that he differed from them in this respect, that inasmuch as his soul was
steadfast and pure, he perfectly remembered those things which he had witnessed within
the sphere of the Unbegotten God…

The soul, therefore, which is like that of Christ can despise those rulers who were the
creators of the world, and, in like manner, receives power for accomplishing the same
results. This idea has raised them to such a pitch of pride, that some of them declare
themselves similar to Jesus; while others, still more mighty, maintain that they are
superior to his disciples, such as Peter and Paul, and the rest of the apostles, whom they
consider to be in no respect inferior to Jesus. For their souls, descending from the same
sphere as his, and therefore despising in like manner the creators of the world, are
deemed worthy of the same power, and again depart to the same place. But if any one
shall have despised the things in this world more than he did, he thus proves himself
superior to him."
--Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. Bk. I, Ch. 25, 1-2

The recollection of Jesus is the memory that dwells within us all, that we were once part
of the Unbegotten, unmentionable being who dwells entirely beyond our cosmos, that as
Plato says, we once circled the heavens in union with the origin of truth and witnessed
the essence from which the forms, and archetypes of our reality are composed, we were
all once witnesses of the truth and more than that, we are the truth that underlies all
creation. Our human consciousness, and our eternal spirit is a descended spark that fell
into the darkness of chaos from the place of light, what the Gnostics called the Pleroma,
the fullness, where the Uncreated Being reposes and gazes down upon our abyss. Total
recollection brings unity and power that transcends this world in all ways and gives the
beholder the same power and brilliant light that we are all made of, but that is deeply
hidden within our mortal flesh, beneath the layers of our soul, far away from the false
light of the sun that is perceived by the eyes of the mind. Union with the unknown, divine
fire within us is the very basis of this doctrine. Though it is 1,900 years old, it remains as
unprecedented and controversial now as it was then. One does not need to wait until
death to know the great mystery of the cosmos, by then it will be too late, but rather, in
this life, here and now, we are all capable of exposing the flames that burn inside us in
their totality.

Carpocrates recommended that we struggle to live life vigorously, that we experience the
summits and the depths of living. The meaning of "steadfast and pure" being the
conditions of recollection do not mean what they seem to Carpocrates. The only goal is to
free what lies within us and by living, to remember our origin. Just as Jesus could not
differentiate himself from the Heavenly Father, so too does Carpocrates say that we must
assume our own Godliness and identify ourselves with the one true fire. Jesus took
fisherman, shepards, tax collectors, and prostitutes and made them into Gods.

Carpocrates showed us how to love the world and how to free ourselves from loving it.
The world is not God but his shadow. What our reasoning mind tells us is beautiful and
sublime in its complexity is nothing when compared to the splendor of the light that casts
this shadow. One is always reminded of Plato's allegory of the Cave. Our universe is a
cavern separated from the divine fire by death and corruption. All that we know and love
in the world is slowly dying, passing away and fading under the influence of time. Even
that which is newly born, or is renewed, has already begun its journey towards death and
finality.

The way to salvation is self-deification. Carpocrates showed us that within us is the might
and power of the Unbegotten fire, the authority (that has no authority) of the Unknown
God, if we take hold of it. The angels, powers, and gods that created the world cannot
resist or control this power, they cannot lay their judgment upon what is beyond all
apprehension. However, when one attempts to throw off these shackles, all force is
brought to bear against him, so that life falls into darkness and is wracked with
misfortune and inner turmoil. This period of examination is a never-ending test of
steadfastness, faith and Love. This world belongs to the natural forces under the Law,
every aspect is under their control, including the body and the mind of a living man.
Freedom comes with the most severe penalties, including total loss and total destruction.

Freedom is obtained when one, by force of will, remembers our divine origin and remains
steadfast in a state which can only be described as “between the worlds.” Carpocrates
recommends that one know life in all its eccentricities. When one comes to understand
Everything, and has gained experience of the All, only then can the spark break free and
become a consuming fire that burns away the iron bars and stone walls of our
imprisonment…a painful, and torturous experience, a self-inflicted sacrifice for Love and
Freedom.

"So unbridled is their madness, that they declare they have in their power all things which
are irreligious and impious, and are at liberty to practice them; for they maintain that
things are evil or good, simply in virtue of human opinion. They deem it necessary,
therefore, that by means of transmigration from body to body, souls should have
experience of every kind of life as well as every kind of action (unless, indeed, by a
single incarnation, one may be able to prevent any need for others, by once and for all,
and with equal completeness, doing all those things which we dare not either speak or
hear of, nay, which we must not even conceive in our thoughts, nor think credible, if any
such thing is mooted among those persons who are our fellow-citizens), in order that, as
their writings express it, their souls, having made trial of every kind of life, may, at their
departure, not be wanting in any particular. It is necessary to insist upon this, lest, on
account of some one thing being still wanting to their deliverance, they should be
compelled once more to become incarnate. They affirm that for this reason Jesus spoke
the following parable: -- "Whilst thou art with thine adversary in the way, give all
diligence, that thou mayest be delivered from him, lest he give thee up to the judge, and
the judge surrender thee to the officer, and he cast thee into prison. Verily, I say unto
thee, thou shalt not go out thence until thou pay the very last mite."
--Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. Bk. I, Ch. 25, 4

What Irenaeus and the Catholic Fathers as a whole refuse to see is that not only does
Carpocrates free us from the control that error and death have over us, but he also frees us
from the restraint of what is considered to be virtuous. The Church fathers are shocked by
the indulgence that Carpocrates encouraged his followers to enjoin, but one must
understand that Carpocrates said that they make a "trial of every kind of life," which must
include a virtuous life as well. Not only must one know every sin, every lust, every
horror, but if the spirit is to be awakened and freed, so too must every virtue, every
abstinence, and every joy be known. If one fails to accomplish this total freedom, the
penalty is that the soul will return to pay the very last mite.

This is where the direction of "steadfast and pure" takes its turn, and departs from the
apparent meaning of the phrase, in that one must by experience set themselves free from
all judgment of right and wrong, not by abstinence and denial, but through the process of
virtuous and non-virtuous experimentation.

The result of such a vigorous will is not only the freedom of the spirit, but while still
living, the enlightenment and understanding of one who has experienced all, and become
less and less ignorant, adding layers of broad perspective upon a rapidly expanding
horizon of the soul. This is the road towards freedom, where along the way,
enlightenment and deification are discovered long before we reach the all-concealing
grave.

Does this mean that we are free to cause pain and suffering, does it mean that we are free
to murder, or commit any number of crimes? No, because we have already committed
these crimes in the past, as animals, or as ignorant human beings. When we feel aversion
to a certain act it is because the memory of having already committed such a deed is with
us, and needs no repetition. It is those actions that we are drawn to that demand
experience. Only the moral code of society, shame, fear, guilt, and all the precepts of the
nature law restrain us. But this law is the creation of "those rulers who were the creators
of the world." The ten commandments and their million clauses are the bars of our
confinement, used against us at the dissolution of the soul in order to re-imprison us
within new bodies, as part of the natural order and progress of the world.

'Jesus said, "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever
has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy."
--The Gospel of Thomas

Our bodies are a prison, and the world is a place where darkness detains the immortal
spark in a divided state, spread throughout the cosmos. Socrates, the greatest of all
homosexual prophets, held this belief. Freedom from the constancy of death that
surrounds us, the corruption and decay, is within us all when we understand that we are
innocent of the accusations that are to be laid against us after death. The Archons
pronounce sentence upon our souls according to their law. We have been taught all our
lives, mostly through punishment, intimidation and threat, to humble ourselves before the
cosmos, which is so much grander than we are, whose scientific and moral laws cannot
be violated without risk to ourselves and those we care for. The Hindus called this law
Karma, while the Egyptians represented judgment as a scale upon which our heart is
weighed against the feather of Maat. Should the heart be out of balance with Maat, it was
consumed by the beast. Our heart is portrayed as clump of bleeding muscle, obviously
heavier than the delicate feather of the Archonic Law, what they would have us believe is
the image of Justice. We are presumed Guilty before ever approaching the scale, and only
a miracle can save us from our deserved fate. But what this symbol also illustrates,
unintentionally, is that we are far more powerful than the frail law of the world. If we
stand up against it, within ourselves, our hearts can smash the scales and transcend their
indictments, and become unjudge-able. He who obeys the Law of the world has abdicated
his authority. This is not a license for chaos and mayhem. Carpocrates presents us with a
far more difficult balance upon which to weigh our salvation. Evil, hatred, jealousy,
greed, and anything within us that causes injury are to be despised as much as anything
else, as part of the order of the world, in full cooperation with the forces of domination
and control.

"They also declare the "adversary" is one of those angels who are in the world, whom
they call the Devil, maintaining that he was formed for this purpose, that he might lead
those souls which have perished from the world to the Supreme Ruler. They describe him
also as being chief among the makers of the world, and maintain that he delivers such
souls [as have been mentioned] to another angel, who ministers to him, that he may shut
them up in other bodies; for they declare that the body is "the prison."
--Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. Bk. I, Ch. 31, 4

The Devil (called Abolus, by Epiphanes, the son of Carpocrates,) was an entity
acknowledged by Carpocrates, and proclaimed to be in league with the ruler of the
World, his double agent carrying on the dark, cruel aspect of control, that which the Ruler
and his Angels do not want to seem to be responsible for. Carpocrates says that it is the
Devil who carries out the punishment by imprisoning the innocent soul into a new body
because it has been foolish enough in life to submit to their authority. The Devil seals the
tomb, compelling the soul to undergo another life of pain, suffering, poverty and death,
interspersed with periods of happiness and contentment. We are taught to offer up our
thankful gratitude to this God for the joys of our lives, when all along we recognize that
He is the primary cause for all our misfortune, it is he who holds the Devils leash. The
ruler, what most religions refer to as God, is one and the same as the Devil. The creator
of the world is beyond good and evil, having accomplished what Carpocrates suggests to
the fullest, having become un-judgable. It was this being, the Sky Father, the God of
Israel, Zeus, Amun-Ra, whatever name you choose, who created life, and has protected
life, and made it beautiful and splendorous, but only at the price of pain and Death. There
can be no Life without Death, no pleasure without pain. The All-Father is Life and Death
made indistinguishable, but necessary through a system of ordered laws.
The Unknowable Being, the god of the Gnostics, is neither Life nor Death, having
nothing to do with our existence, blamelessly distant, and yet intimately close.

Reincarnation, also known as metempsychosis, is present in the Doctrine of Carpocrates,


but it is viewed as the work of the Devil, to undergo reincarnation is to suffer the worst
form of cruelty and punishment. In the Gnostic view, Hell is essentially the place where
the soul is melted down for recycling. The wisdom of Carpocrates was meant to break
free from reincarnation, here and now, by fore of will alone. Irenaeus misinterprets the
Doctrine of Carpocrates in book II of “Against all Heresies” where he recapitulates his
arguments against the Carpocratians. He wrongly interprets that Carpocrates was in favor
of reincarnation from the fact that he believed in it. Carpocrates we are told, incidentally,
did not believe in the resurrection of the Body on the Day of Judgment. What Carpocrates
simply meant was that reincarnation is the fate of the immortal spirit, but in conforming
to it and in looking upon it as a favorable thing, in the manner of the Hindus, we are
giving ourselves over to the Justice of the creators of the world. We are sentencing our
holy and immortal spirit to imprisonment in yet another body where it must undergo
another lifetime of pain and suffering intermingled with periods of happiness and
contentment. Carpocrates, in keeping with the words of Jesus, says that we have in our
power, at every moment, the ability to change our immortal destiny, to save ourselves…if
only we have a mustard seed of faith in our own power. We may find that we are not
strong enough to break free from cosmic destiny, but we must always try even at the risk
of condemning our souls to the eternal flames of error…because we are already doomed.
Only those souls who willfully end their imprisonment are free to truly know heaven, not
to look upon god from a distance, but to become god and see from within.

"The Angels that created the world established 'just actions' to lead men by such precepts
into servitude."
--Simon Magus

Carpocrates gave us the secret of this Freedom from the law, freedom from life and the
ever-present penalty of repeated death. He taught us that freedom is in defiance, and
enslavement is obedience. If we are to be free, we must defy the Law of the Creator and
his agents by making ourselves unjudge-able. To do this we must commit every crime
and sin, and then proceed to undermine our trespasses by acts of every virtue and
goodness. We must look within ourselves and find the emanation of Light and the source
of darkness, we must transform our meager spark into an inferno of Godliness, and
destroy the worldly law that restrains us with its rewards and punishments. We must not
seek to be rewarded for our good deeds, and not avail ourselves to the greatest of all
punishments, death. We must become living gods, equal to Jesus and the Apostles.

In this way, we must become Antinous the Hero, who likewise transcended this law,
defied the precepts of the creators by becoming an immortal. Like Antinous, our divinity
will be incomprehensible to those who remain within the control of the Angels of the
world.
'Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become
that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."
--The Gospel of Thomas

But how can a life of iniquity and indulgence bring salvation? We are told that sin and
desire are what imprison and enslave the soul, how then can it lead to freedom? The
answer is that only one who has sinned can repent, only one who knows can understand.
When after committing a terrible deed we are able to look within ourselves and confess,
without shame, to the secret priest found deep within the hidden chamber of our heart,
only then can we know regret. Only when such a confession is made to the self, as priest,
and ear of the One Unknown Goodness, which transcends our judgment of right and
wrong, only then are we free and absolved. Irenaeus describes the teaching of
Carpocrates on this power of self-absolution in this way:

"Men cannot be saved until they have gone through all kinds of experience. An angel,
they maintain, attends them in every one of their sinful and abominable actions, and urges
them to venture on audacity and incur pollution. Whatever may be the nature of the
action, they declare that they do it in the name of the angel, saying, "O thou angel, I use
thy work; O thou power, I accomplish thy operation !" And they maintain that this is
"perfect knowledge," without shrinking to rush into such actions as it is not lawful even
to name.

And thus, if ungodly, unlawful, and forbidden actions are committed among them, I can
no longer find ground for believing them to be such. And in their writings we read as
follows, the interpretation which they give [of their views], declaring that Jesus spoke in
a mystery to His disciples and apostles privately, and that they requested and obtained
permission to hand down the things thus taught them, to others who should be worthy and
believing. We are saved, indeed, by means of faith and love; but all other things, while in
their nature indifferent, are reckoned by the opinion of men -some good and some evil,
there being nothing really evil by nature."
--Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. Bk. I, Ch. 31, 2

There is no way to define that which is good from that which is bad, without accepting
what laws, morals and the circumstance of society dictate. But these interpretations are
based simply on human opinion which is subject to error and removed from the eternal
unity and multiplicity of the Monad.

“We are saved, indeed, by means of faith and love”…Alone.

Faith and Love are all that is needed, and this is the foundation of all libertine and
Antinomian philosophy. Only one who is saved can differentiate within himself (and only
within himself) when he is in error. Salvation, the memory of our origin and its
inflammatory manifestation in our spirit, removes us from the confines of the laws. Our
souls become as pure as the original fire of the stars. Like gold, no matter into what filth
and depravity we may be plunged, our essence remains unchanged, and emerges as
brilliant and splendid as before it fell, because it never falls, but only seems to fall in the
opinions of men. This is the secret teaching of Jesus that is not offered to the world at
large because the world cannot harbor so much freedom without falling into total
anarchy. With Faith and Love in your heart, Virtue enters of its own accord, the struggle
is not to be virtuous, but to be free which can be tremendously more difficult if
approached through Faith and Love. This is how Carpocrates explained his own teaching.

Like Antinous, Carpocrates was just a man, who found the Divine Fire that burns within
us all, and set it free to consume his own life, and to infect the world with a viral spark
that destroys the encasement of the immortal Pneuma, the Holy Spirit, the reflection of
Narcissus gazing down upon himself in the darkness of our world. He found what Jesus
found, and what he saw was truth and glory and splendor, the Highest Beauty that lies
dormant within all creatures. Jesus was indeed part God, and part Human, but so are we.
When we remember our origin, and unite ourselves with the One, we rise above the
world and its creators becoming their equals in body alone, but their masters in spirit. We
gain authority over the forces of life and death. We need only a mustard seed of faith in
who we are to accomplish these wonders. The Catholic interpretation of the words of
Jesus was to worship him as the only manifestation of God, and that only by submitting
ourselves to him can salvation be obtained. This is servitude, a sublime insertion of
domination planted by the Archons to turn our attention away from our own godliness
and toward theirs. Jesus did not ask that his followers worship him as God, but to become
as he was.

With this in mind, Carpocrates gave authority over the gods and angels of the world to
his followers. Anyone who becomes One with the Unknown has the same power as Jesus
and all the saviors of the world. We must first save ourselves, and then turn this power
toward saving the world, we must become the Savior in order to be Saved.

This concept is mirrored in the portrayal of Antinous as the savior gods, Dionysus and
Osiris and so many others. Antinous became these gods, in a consubstantial manner. One
who believes in Antinous, and believes that he obtained unity with the Saviors, though he
was a human, like any one of us, must wonder if the same is not possible for everyone.
Failure to believe in our own divinity, that we can become "in no respect inferior to Jesus
[or Antinous]” verges on a lack of faith that Antinous was ever truly a God.

"They practice also magical arts and incantations; philters, also, and love-potions; and
have recourse to familiar spirits, dream-sending demons, and other abominations,
declaring that they possess power to rule over, even now, the princes and formers of this
world; and not only them, but also all things that are in it."
--Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. Bk. I, Ch. 25, 3

The Carpocratians believed in the use of Magic, using their transcendent knowledge of
self-godliness as source of power and authority to command the spirits of the world. They
were perhaps part of the movement that included the Theurgists of Marcus Aurelius’s
reign, including Julianus, who revealed the Chaldean Oracles, which are essentially
Hermetic-Gnosticism attributed to Zoroaster. Ceremonial magic was coming into
prominence among the Neo-Platonists culminating with the work of Iamblicus.
Theurgists believed in what they called “god-work” where they strove to manipulate the
Demons and Demi-gods to serve their ends, through the authority of the Heavenly gods.
The Carpocratians, however, practiced the same form of Demonic manipulation, only that
they believed themselves to be the source of all-powerful authority.

Magic was also part of the religion of Antinous, as suggested by the spell which
Pancrates, the Prophet of Heliopolis, demonstrated for Hadrian, and shown by the love
spell cast by a man called Sarapaman, in which he calls upon Antinous, “the name at
whose sound the demons tremble in fear,” to compel a certain women to submit to his
lust. We are told by Origen that magic and conjury were a central part of the Religion of
Antinous, which is yet another aspect in common with the Doctrine of Carpocrates. The
basic premise of magic and the manipulation of demi-gods can be explained in this way:

The guardian of the gate of the underworld is a dog. It knows who has passed, and who
should pass. Any soul that it does not recognize is cause for alarm, it barks and bears it’s
teeth, it attacks when unknown strangers pass the boundary. This is why Cerberus has
three heads, he knows who has passed, who is passing, and who will pass from this world
to the next. Cerberus is among the most knowledgeable forces in the cosmos, his wisdom,
cruelty and merciful silence is as vast and as knowing as the Creator himself. Cerberus
knows the saved from the damned, he is not their judge, but their recollector. He who
knows Cerberus is his master. The Dog does not bark at his Master, the Dog is a creature
of the absolute justice of the Archons, the Dog never defies the law, unless his master
should command him to do so. The Dog has no will of his own, but obeys the will of the
Light with all his courage and submission. When a person, through the Gnosis, becomes
the Light of the Unknown God, he becomes the Master of the Keeper of the Gate of the
Underworld. They who become the Dogs of Antinous are recognized and loved by the
Dog who guards the passageway between the worlds. This is a simple explanation of the
manipulation of the demons.

Carpocrates teaches us that we are the Master, we are the emanations of the light that
cannot be judged. Even the Dog falls silent at our approach. But this power and authority
is not only given to us when we have died, but is ours here and now. We are the masters
of the world when we remember our origin, and become what we are.

“Others of them employ outward marks, branding their disciples inside the lobe of the
right ear. From among these also arose Marcellina, who came to Rome under [the
episcopate of] Anicetus (154 to 167.), and, holding these doctrines, she led multitudes
astray. They style themselves Gnostics. They also possess images, some of them painted,
and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of
Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them. They crown these
images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to
say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also
other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles.”
--Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. Bk. I, Ch. 25, 6
Irenaeus of Lyons, ends his report with the above statement that shows us several more
aspects of the teachings of Carpocrates in condensed form. The first, that they seemed to
have believed that entry into their faith was as permanent as the brand which they used as
sign to others and as a reminder to the self. And from the statement “others of them”
seems to indicate that there were diversified groups of Carpocratians that acted in an
independent manner. Then there is the issue of the Women Marcellina who journeyed to
Rome to teacher the Doctrine of Carpocrates, or to lead multitudes astray, as Irenaeus
says. Either Carpocrates or his successors show their utter disregard for matters of gender
by sending a woman to represent them in the capitol, where her work would fall under
the scrutiny of the anti-heretical Pope Anicetus. There is much more to be said about
Marcellina, but we shall save that for later.

The closing paragraph then says that the Carpocratians were the first to “style”
themselves Gnostics, which is a very important distinction. Though the name is used as a
general description for many hundreds of groups with widely varied, mixed-matched or
entirely contradictory philosophies, with enough general similarity to earn the name, the
Carpocratians are the originators or inseminators of what Gnosticism might really have
meant.

Irenaeus also states that they possessed images, from which we can guess that they were
practitioners of some form of idolatry, but the most important statement is that they
claimed to have had in their possession a depiction of Jesus which was supposed to have
been commissioned by Pontius Pilate, and was therefore the oldest, and the most
accurate. From "They crown these images, and set them up..." we can suppose that the
Likeness of Jesus was in the form of a statue. Here we have an immediate similarity to
the Religion of Antinous which was based on the adoration of likenesses that were
perfect representations of the young god while he "lived among them." The Carpocratians
were worshippers of the human spirit, so therefore, it would have been tremendously
important to them to know and confront the true face of Christ, and not leave such an
important matter up to the vague imagination of faith. Whether the likeness was really
commissioned by Pilate, and how Carpocrates came to possess it is less important than
the fact that they believed that it was real, and that it was so important for them to have
the real face of Jesus Christ as an object to place their faith in. This is definitely a trait of
our Antinous religion, from it’s conception till now, and if it is true, then they are one of
the only other religions to place so much faith and importance on the purely human,
physical appearance of their god.

The paragraph demonstrates that the Doctrine of Carpocrates involved gratitude and
recognition of wisdom in other free souls. They worshipped men who had obtained the
knowledge that brings freedom and eternal life as though they were gods, "after the same
manner of the Gentiles," which means as Pagans. This is a pure form of idolatry, the kind
that is not impressed so much by the tenuous, abstract, mythological gods of pagan
culture, but sees the greatest manifestation of godliness in the wisdom of human beings.
This spirit is again brought to light in the worship of Antinous, who might have found a
place for his image beside the great philosophers that Carpocrates worshipped as Gods.
The message is that like these men who had become gods, we too are capable of igniting
the same fire in the chamber of Our Holy Spirit.

This Doctrine of the Libertines, as the followers of Carpocrates are often called, cannot
be accomplished in solitude and isolation. The aesthetic that shuts himself away,
distaining the influence of a beautiful, corrupt, ordered, natural, lawful and unjust world,
cannot find the manifestation of the light until he emerges from his cave, and throws
himself into the sea of passions. If he has found salvation then he will rise, if he has not,
then he will sink, but mostly he will feel the ebb of an inner tide, because only by testing
the power and the conviction of his divinity can he destroy the chains of life and death.
We have only one body, turn against it and you turn against yourself…you turn against
your only God. Rather live your life as though this is the only life you intend to live, as
though this is the only body that you will ever inhabit. Reject reincarnation as an evil
doctrine of perpetual imprisonment. Deviate from self-love and fall into self-hatred,
because only by loving the world and the body can we free ourselves from its control.
Through the statement, "there being nothing really evil by nature" Carpocrates has
nullified Evil, abolishing the work of the Adversary, making all things Good.

Concerning Righteousness

Carpocrates had a son named Epiphanes, a perfect name, meaning Divine Manifestation.
Epiphanes died when he was seventeen, very near the same age as Antinous. Perhaps
Carpocrates, if he was still alive, (there are those who say that he also died at seventeen)
felt so much closer to Hadrian and his beloved Antinous, at the death of his beloved son.
But there is another strange connection between the two young gods. Epiphanes was
active in the School of Carpocrates, teaching the doctrine in the name of his father. He
wrote a treatise called "Concerning Righteousness," that was preserved by Clement of
Alexandria, strangely enough. Here is the majority of what Clement quotes…the full text
can be found on the link at the end of this document.

"But the followers of Carpocrates and Epiphanes think that wives should be common
property. Through them the worst calumny has become current against the Christian
name. This fellow Epiphanes, whose writings I have at hand, was a son of Carpocrates
and his mother was named Alexandria. On his father's side he was an Alexandrine, on his
mother's a Cephallenian. He lived in all only seventeen years, and at Same in Cephallenia
was honoured as a god. There a temple of vast blocks of stone was erected and dedicated
to him, with altars, sacred precincts, and a "museum." The Cephallenians gather at the
temple every new moon and celebrate with sacrifices the day when Epiphanes became a
god as his birthday; they pour libations to him, feast in his honour, and sing his praises.
He was educated by his father in the general education and in Platonism, and he was
instructed in the knowledge of the Monad, which is the root-origin of the Carpocratians'
heresy.
This is what he says, then, in the book Concerning Righteousness: "The righteousness of
God is a kind of universal fairness and equality. There is equality in the heaven which is
stretched out in all directions and contains the entire earth in its circle. The night reveals
equally all the stars. The light of the sun, which is the cause of the daytime and the father
of light, God pours out from above upon the earth in equal measure on all who have
power to see. For all see alike. There is no distinction between rich and poor, people and
governor, stupid and clever, female and male, free men and slaves. Even the irrational
animals are not accorded any different treatment; but in just the same way God pours out
from above sunlight equally upon all the animals. He establishes his righteousness to both
good and bad by seeing that none is able to get more than his share and to deprive his
neighbour, so that he has twice the light his neighbour has….

…He did not make a distinction between female and male, rational and irrational, nor
between anything and anything else at all; rather he shared out sight equally and
universally. It was given to all alike by a single command. As the laws (he says) could
not punish men who were ignorant of them, they taught men that they were transgressors.
But the laws, by pre-supposing the existence of private property, cut up and destroyed the
universal equality decreed by the divine law." As he does not understand the words of the
apostle where he says "Through the law I knew sin," he says that the idea of Mine and
Thine came into existence through the laws so that the earth and money were no longer
put to common use. And so also with marriage. "For God has made vines for all to use in
common, since they are not protected against sparrows and a thief; and similarly corn and
the other fruits. But the abolition, contrary to divine law, of community of use and
equality begat the thief of domestic animals and fruits.

He brought female to be with male and in the same way united all animals. He thus
showed righteousness to be a universal fairness and equality .But those who have been
born in this way have denied the universality which is the corollary of their birth and say,
'Let him who has taken one woman keep her,' whereas all alike can have her, just as the
other animals do."

… Carpocrates fights against God, and Epiphanes does likewise. The latter in the same
notorious book, I mean Concerning Righteousness, writes in one passage as follows:
"Consequently one must understand the saying 'Thou shalt not covet' as if the lawgiver
was making a jest, to which he added the even more comic words 'thy neighbour's goods'.
For he himself who gave the desire to sustain the race orders that it is to be suppressed,
though he removes it from no other animals. And by the words 'thy neighbour's wife' he
says something even more ludicrous, since he forces what should be common property to
be treated as a private possession."

These then are the doctrines of the excellent Carpocratians. These, so they say, and
certain other enthusiasts for the same wickednesses, gather together for feasts (I would
not call their meeting an Agape), men and women together. After they have sated their
appetites (" on repletion Cypris, the goddess of love, enters,"21 as it is said), then they
overturn the lamps and so extinguish the light that the shame of their adulterous
"righteousness" is hidden, and they have intercourse where they will and with whom they
will.23 After they have practiced community of use in this love-feast, they demand by
daylight of whatever women they wish that they will be obedient to the law of
Carpocrates-it would not be right to say the law of God. Such, I think, is the law that
Carpocrates must have given for the copulations of dogs and pigs and goats. He seems to
me to have misunderstood the saying of Plato in the Republic24 that the women of all are
to be common. Plato means that the unmarried are common for those who wish to ask
them, as also the theatre is open to the public for all who wish to see, but that when each
one has chosen his wife, then the married woman is no longer common to all."
--CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
Miscellanies, Book III, excerpts from chapter 2

The first paragraph of Clement’s summary of the work of Ephiphanes offers intimate
parallels between the Carpocratian school of Gnosticism and its contemporary, the
Religion of Antinous. The son of Carpocrates died when he was only seventeen, but was
wonderfully educated by his father, who imparted so much brilliance that although he
was very young, his ideas were quoted and discussed by one of the foremost theologists
of the time.

We are told that when Epiphanes died his followers worshipped him as a god, and that a
temple was built for him in his maternal-ancestral home, the city of Same, or Zamhe on
the Greek island now known as Kefallinia, which is north of the Pelopenesus. The
statement that Epiphanes was worshipped as a god is startling, though it conforms to
what is known of the Carpocratian theology, that they worshipped philosophers, and were
more concerned with human deities than with natural forces, and that they believed
themselves capable of self-deification. The worship of the seventeen-year-old
philosopher makes a sudden parallel to the religion of Antinous. What is more, some
writers believe that Epiphanes was worshipped as a Moon god, whose religion operated
on a monthly cycle, with the darkest night being the most holy. And further, the religion
of Epiphanes, like that of Antinous was not confined to Egypt, but spread across the sea
to Greece, to an ancestral corner, not all that far (necessarily) from Mantineia, the
ancestral homeland of Antinous, and then spread around the world. We are confronted
with two religions, with founders that are part Phrygian, part Greek, whose cults originate
in Egypt, spreading throughout the world, with a second home in Greece, whose central
figures are teenage boys, whose lives are sexually liberal, and who were worshipped as
Moon Gods.

We must therefore suppose that Carpocrates, the founder of the school, was also revered
as a god.

Though Carpocrates and Epiphanes are considered Gnostic Christians, heretics from the
Church, it becomes apparent through their doctrine and their practice that they were
almost completely Pagan in their beliefs and were only Christian to a superficial extent. It
has been said of Carpocrates that he was a Platonist who incorporated the teachings of
Jesus (and not the other way around.) His doctrine is not derived from Christ and the
Apostles, but from Simon Magus and his successors, who were Samaritans. Carpocrates
is also said to be the originator of the word Gnostic, which was then taken up and applied
to all the various forms of the wide-spread and much varied philosophy. Carpocrates and
Epiphanes must have been Hellenic Alexandrians, which is yet another close connection
to the Religion of Antinous, which might have favored Greek ancestry, and certainly
promoted Greek ideals in the middle of the Egyptian desert. The veneration of Epiphanes
as a god leads one to believe that though on the surface, Christianity had entered into the
Platonic-Libertine vision of Carpocrates, the meetings in the Temple on the new-moon,
the blood sacrifices and the pouring of libations are all part of the Roman Religion, which
Christianity expressly forbade. In short, every sign seems to indicate that the
Carpocratians were Pagans first and Christians second, but they were a somewhat new
form of Paganism, one that preferred the divinity of human beings, especially
philosophers, to the gods of nature and myth. They had a parallel in the Cult of the
Emperors, but differed in that that they did not recognize Kingship as a sign of divinity,
but worshipped wisdom and those who demonstrated it as their gods. Here we see
another possible affinity to the religion of Antinous.

The quotations that Clement of Alexandria makes should not be understood as the limit
and extent of what Epiphanes and the Carpocratians believed. This is only a portion of
Clements’s chapter on Marriage, in which he uses the extreme position of the
Carpocratians to illustrate what he believes to be wrong. All we have is a small part of a
larger book written by Epiphanes, of which only the part useful to Clement’s argument
remain. There was so much more, but we have to make do with what remains.

Epiphanes cannot be more clear when he compares the light of the sun to the love and
grace of god, how it shines everywhere and is equally divided, and that it is we who have
imposed divisions of Right and Wrong, Mine and Yours, Clean and Unclean, Lawful and
Unlawful upon what is undifferentiated and all-encompassing. His ideas are ultimately a
hint of the modern view of globalism, total freedom, and equality. The quite
revolutionary view that all things are sacred, all are equal, that nothing is evil, impure or
unnatural, by a simple extension of reason, might have led to the position of the
Carpocratians on the nature of homosexuality, that like all other things, homosexuality
was blessed by the presence of god. They viewed all forms of sexuality as pure and
sacred, and though they are denounced as sexual extremists, they were probably more
restrained than what is told, since abstinence, monogamy and child-raising were certainly
thought to be just as pure and acceptable as any other form of sexuality. It is only because
they likewise gave their benediction and encouragement to obscure forms of sexual
expression that they were ultimately denounced.

Epiphanes demonstrates that the Carpocratians were not entirely like later Gnostic
schools, such as the Marcionites, Phibionites and the later Cathars, who despised worldly
existence and therefore encouraged homosexuality as a sacred form of sexuality that did
not add souls to the enslavement of mankind. Rather the position of Epiphanes is that the
world, and existence in it, like everything else is full of the divine grace, and that nothing
should be frowned upon as unholy, as not partaking of the Light of God. We must rid
ourselves of the notion of evil, and replace it with a knowledge of absolute good, even
though the two are indivisible. Other Gnostic schools, influenced by Zoroastrianism, such
as the Hermits of Egypt, the Valentinians, and the later Manichaens, held that the Earth
and Life were created by evil and were themselves therefore evil, and so the only way to
become pure was to abstain from all desire, to drop out of the world and wait patiently
and purely for death. But Carpocrates said that it is only through experience of all things
that we can differentiate, according to our taste, between what brings pleasure and what
brings pain. The pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain are the ultimate goal for a
good life, but not until such time as the nature of these (difficult to discern) principles are
investigated can we ever know for ourselves where the source of this secret divine
knowledge dwells.

Law is a human invention, a limitation on nature, believed in and upheld as though it


were primordial and absolute, that there are certain truths that cannot be violated without
the entire universe collapsing into chaos. But these truths are an illusion, because they are
violated at every moment, everywhere in the cosmos simultaneously. Our perception
gives us the impression that what we see, what we understand is absolute reality. This is
the “Jest” that Epiphanes tells us the “Lawgiver” made when he gave us to believe that
we could imprison the undifferentiated nature of the cosmos by imposing our concept of
laws upon it. Essentially the basis of the Carpocratian Doctrine, as Clement says, is
derived from the Monad, the “One”, the unity of the cosmos, which is described and
revered as an Unknowable God who exists beyond our cosmos of “the Many,” where
Law exist.

The Platonists called our universe of perception, the Nous, the Mind, the origin of ideal,
archetypical, Form. Most religions, science and general human opinion are concerned
only with the Nous, the measurable, imaginable, provable, mentally conceivable
existence that can be duplicated in the laboratory, but the Gnostics had taken notice of
something beyond the describable, the un-absolute truth from which the Nous and all
reality is descended. They called it the Unknown, or Unbegotten Being, the Abyss or the
Monad. It is everywhere and it is nowhere all at once. It is the sum total of time, space,
matter, and energy, but it is simultaneously “everything” that our universe is NOT. (This
is the essence of the concept of Anti-Nous.)

Awareness of the Monad is salvation, and one who is saved can never be lost again.
Therefore, no law applies, and the Saved can take part in whatever sin or virtue he may
choose without risk to the soul because all things are perfectly natural to one who obtains
the Gnosis of all that is, and all that is Not. When one is aware of the unity, it becomes
impossible to view any particular concept as good or bad. This is the purity that the
Carpocratians speak of, the state of being unaffected, of understanding the multiplicity of
things, the contradictory paradox of looking over the world with and without the
Knowledge of Good and Evil. Even the pain and punishment that comes a consequence is
perfectly natural and part of the goodness of all things. Carpocrates calls this a
recollection of the sphere of the Unbegotten God, meaning that it is within us all, but we
have only forgotten the full implications of what we already know. Even a taste of this
recollection is godliness, and we are all capable of such a miracle at any moment we
desire. We are already participating in our divinity fully and completely, and it is only
our opinion of what godliness should be that makes us blind.
A late manifestation of Carpocratianism occurred among the followers of Martin Luther
at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Rebelling against the legalization and
imposition of precise doctrine that the Catholic Church made on the nature of Salvation,
certain Protestants took the position that those who are saved are free from the
restrictions of the Ten Commandments, because Salvation through Jesus Christ was total,
everlasting and inviolable. Salvation was obtained through Grace and through Grace
alone. These were the first Protestant Heretics, who were expelled because of their
extreme Libertine views. They were called Antinomians, “Those against the Law,” by
Martin Luther, a name which strangely resonates with Antinous.

The undifferentiated state of Divine Grace is specifically addressed to sexual


relationships by Epiphanes. Whether this is because the Carpocratians were particularly
obsessed with sexuality or because their critics were primarily obsessed with their views
on the subject, we cannot know, but sexuality always seems to take precedence. Their
views on sexual liberty are modern in scope, and like all things too far ahead of their
time, they were misunderstood and suppressed. But though our society still struggles with
the legacy of imposed shame, jealousy and guilt that Christianity has left us, we are
becoming more aware that human nature makes way for a much more varied array of
sexual and loving relationships. The Carpocratians are a brilliant examination of how
openness in love can bring peace and happiness through the elimination primarily of
Jealousy, which is a poison of the soul more closely related to hatred than to Love. And
of course the description of the Carpocratian Lovefeast calls to mind the Sacred Nights of
Antinous.

“ These men, while they boast of Jesus as being their Master, do in fact emulate the
philosophy of Epicurus and the indifference of the Cynics”
--Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. Bk. II, Ch. 32, 2

The Doctrine of Carpocrates and his son, Epiphanes, was indeed Epicurean in this respect
and in many others. The sexual license of the Carpocratians was an extension of the basic
belief that one who is free can do as he chooses, and that pleasure and happiness were the
goal of existence. Sensuality being pleasurable and deeply connected to Love was the
primary concern of the Carpocratians…Love is the only reason to exist in the world at all.

Irenaeus later points out that the Carpocratian philosophy advises us to have experience
of every kind of work and conduct, and that to do this would require one to achieve every
form of academic learning, every form of art, every form of technical skill, and to gain
experience in every career known to man, but that the Carpocratians only seem to be
interested in various forms of sexual expression. This might be an accurate indictment
against the basic premise of ‘Righteousness,’ but we must also consider that the
experiences listed by Irenaeus are all in some way useful to society, whereas the sexual
license of the Carpocratians is beneficial only to the participants.

Gnosis is self-recollection, the deep knowledge of who you are and what you want,
without the limitations of what you “should be,” and without the shame of being what
you “should not” be. We know what we want to do, what we need to do, what we have
already done, and what we must never do. Experience of every kind of life as well as
every kind of action is an entirely personal matter that cannot be formalized like a
checklist of requirements, like a spiritual scavenger hunt. Only the individual can plot the
route towards their own Salvation and if that road does not include the whole of science,
art and crafts, and is preoccupied with sexuality, then so be it…this would be the
meaning of total freedom.

This is the defining matter between the Carpocratians and most other religions. Except
for the Carpocratians and their descendants, all other theologies present spirituality as a
system of bi-laws, of delineations between right and wrong, from which they extend their
belief in reward and punishment. Carpocrates was among the first to do away with these
theories, following after the example of Epicurus, by applying the profundity of doubt
and the pursuit of pleasure to a transcendent faith.

The treatise, ‘Concerning Righteousness’, is a fragment and relic of the wisdom of the
great of Carpocrates, and Epiphanes, and is so much in keeping with our modern view of
love and freedom that we are astonished to hear that a seventeen year old boy almost two
thousand years ago could have had such perfect knowledge. He shows us that the
Carpocratians understood that humanity was just another animal of the earth, not
something more than the rest of creation, a notion that Darwin would expose and that
even now troubles the minds of Biblical adherents. The Carpocratians are shown through
Epiphanes to be preoccupied with sexual freedom above all else. When they speak of
Liberty and freedom, they are predominantly referring to the freedom to Love as we are
inclined to experience it, in defiance of the moral code. Love is their foremost concern,
and they have little to say on other matters because nothing else had for them as much
importance, and as much sacredness.

The Secret Gospel of Mark

In 1958, a scholar named Morton Smith, while examining the contents of a Greek
Orthodox Monastery , called Mar Saba, near Jerusalem, found what is believed to be a
letter written by Clement of Alexandria to a priest who was troubled by a confrontation
he had with the followers of Carpocrates. The Carpocratians had disturbingly revealed to
the priest that the wisdom of their founder was based on the words of Jesus as preserved
in "The Secret Gospel of Mark," a rough draft so to speak, of the final version of the
Gospel of Mark contained in the Bible. Clement explains briefly to the priest that this
secret book existed and was kept hidden by the Church of Alexandria, "where it even yet
is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great
mysteries" of whom Clement claims to be among the only such privileged. He goes on to
say that Carpocrates used magic to enslave a Priest and thereby obtain a copy of the text,
upon which his doctrine was based. The complete letter from Clement is as follows:

"To Theodore,
You did well in silencing the unspeakable teachings of the Carpocratians. For these are
"wandering stars" referred to in the prophecy, who wander from the narrow road of the
commandments into a boundless abyss of the carnal and bodily sins. For, priding
themselves in knowledge, as they say, "of the deep things of Satan, they do not know that
they are casting themselves away into "the netherworld of the darkness" of falseness, and
boasting that they are free, they have become slaves of servile desires. Such men are to be
opposed in all ways and altogether. For, even if they should say something true, one who
loves the truth should not, even so, agree with them. For not all true things are the truth,
nor should that truth which merely seems true according to human opinions be preferred
to the true truth, that according to the faith.

Now of the things they keep saying about the divinely inspired Gospel according to
Mark, some are altogether falsifications, and others, even if they do contain some true
elements, nevertheless are not reported truly. For the true things being mixed with
inventions, are falsified, so that, as the saying goes, even the salt loses its savor.

As for Mark, then, during Peter’s stay in Rome he wrote an account of the Lord’s doings,
not, however, declaring all of them, nor yet hinting at the secret ones, but selecting what
he thought most useful for increasing the faith of those who were being instructed. But
when Peter died a martyr, Mark came over to Alexandria, bringing both his own notes
and those of Peter, from which he transferred to his former books the things suitable to
whatever makes for progress toward knowledge. Thus he composed a more spiritual
Gospel for the use of those who were being perfected. Nevertheless, he yet did not
divulge the things not to be uttered, nor did he write down the hierophantic teaching of
the Lord, but to the stories already written he added yet others and, moreover, brought in
certain sayings of which he knew the interpretation would, as a mystagogue , lead the
hearers into the innermost sanctuary of truth hidden by seven veils. Thus, in sum, he
prepared matters, neither grudgingly nor incautionously, in my opinion, and, dying, he
left his composition to the church in Alexandria, where it even yet is most carefully
guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.

But since the foul demons are always devising destruction for the race of men,
Carpocrates, instructed by them and using deceitful arts, so enslaved a certain presbyter
of the church in Alexandria that he got from him a copy of the secret Gospel, which he
both interpreted according to his blasphemous and carnal doctrine and, moreover,
polluted, mixing with the spotless and holy words utterly shameless lies. From this
mixture is withdrawn off the teaching of the Carpocratians.

To them, therefore, as I said above, one must never give way ; nor, when they put
forward their falsifications, should one concede that the secret Gospel is by Mark, but
should even deny it on oath. For, "For not all true things are to be said to all men". For
this reason the Wisdom of God, through Solomon, advises, "Answer the fool with his
folly," , teaching that the light of the truth should be hidden from those who are mentally
blind. Again it says, "From him who has not shall be taken away" and "Let the fool walk
in darkness". But we are "children of Light" having been illuminated by "the dayspring"
of the spirit of the Lord "from on high", and "Where the Spirit of the Lord is" , it says,
"there is liberty", for "All things are pure to the pure".

To you, therefore, I shall not hesitate to answer the questions you have asked, refuting the
falsifications by the very words of the Gospel. For example, after "And they were in the
road going up to Jerusalem" and what follows, until "After three days he shall arise", the
secret Gospel brings the following material word for word:

"And they come into Bethany. And a certain woman whose brother had died was there.
And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says to him, "Son of David, have
mercy on me". But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered , went off with
her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway, going in where the youth was,
he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon
him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of
the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus
told him what to do and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth
over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the
mystery of the Kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the
Jordan."

And these words follow the text, "And James and John come to him" and all that section.
But "naked man with naked man" and the other things about which you wrote, are not
found.

And after the words, “And he comes into Jericho," the secret Gospel adds only, "And the
sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus
did not receive them." But many other things about which you wrote both seem to be and
are falsifications."
--Clement of Alexandria

The extraordinary statement, “For, even if they should say something true, one who loves
the truth should not, even so, agree with them,” acknowledges the existence and validity
of the Secret Gospel that was acquired by Carpocrates, and in advising Theodore to deny
its existence, even under oath, demonstrates the magnitude of what it must have
contained. We can suppose that many of the Gnostic fathers began their career as
Orthodox believers, but something caused a change in their spirit, some wisdom was
passed before their eyes that broke them away from the Orthodox creed. Because so
many of them were from Alexandria, one is led to believe that perhaps this Secret Gospel
of Mark, may have been singularly influential in their transformation. But why is it not
mentioned elsewhere, why was it so repressed that only Clement of Alexandria has
revealed its existence, and at that only partially. In later years Clement would himself fall
under criticism for incorporating Gnostic views into his teachings. What ever he might
have read in this hidden book, may have changed him forever, and he was both terrified
to reveal it, and yet bursting at the seams with the joy that he had found. He could not
resist the opportunity to hint at its contents to this Theodore, but by his cryptic words
"For not all true things are to be said to all men," we can be sure that he is only telling
half the story.

No one can know what occurred between Jesus and the boy, but the Church Fathers had
their suspicions, and this is why it was silenced, repressed, and omitted from the final
version of the Bible; not because of what it says, but because of what it implies. Whether
Jesus loved the boy carnally or not, we do not know, but there is indication that the Boy
loved Jesus, with all his soul and with all his body, and begged that he might ‘be’ with
Him, to which Jesus responded by staying six days in his house, demonstrating the
Kingdom of Heaven in a manner found nowhere else in the Bible. Of course we must
keep in mind that according to the story, Jesus first raised the boy from the dead. How
could such a one not love his Savior with all his heart, and with all his body, who had so
recently been dead? This boy had experienced life in the world, the pain and darkness of
death, the judgment of the soul, and all the truths that we can never know, and had been
raised from the Dead, how can we begin to understand what passed between Jesus and a
boy such as this? With a linen cloth over his naked body, the boy was taught the mystery
of the Kingdom of God, however sexual this might at first sound, we must remember that
it is also an image of one who is laying in his tomb…the way that Jesus found him “with
a ‘Shroud’ over his Naked Body.” Why Mark should mention that the boy was Naked is
strange, and might betray what Mark felt about the situation, the disturbed impression
that the unusual miracle and sacrament of Jesus had upon him and the other Apostles.
The circumstances of the story, that it was in Bethany, and that the sister of the boy
begged Jesus to intervene suggest that it might be a reflection of Lazarus, similar but only
coincidentally, or there might have been more to the Lazarus story than what we are told.

Whether Jesus had sex with the boy or not is irrelevant, what matters is that Mark
believed that something unmentionable had occurred, and the Church Fathers (the
privileged few) who read the passage seem to have agreed, because they completely
omitted the passage from the final version of the Bible. The statement of Clement of
Alexandria that "Not all true things are to be said to all men" is an indication that he
might indeed have believed that something occurred between Jesus and the Boy that
should not be revealed. Carpocrates seems to have taken what we immediately suspect as
the real Gospel Truth. Clement accuses Carpocrates of stealing the document by
witchcraft and then inserting his own falsifications. What those falsifications were we
cannot know, but the small quotation that Clement makes “Naked Man against Naked
Man” is enough to give us a hint.

The effect that these words, hidden away in the Secret Gospel, had on the Gnostics and
the possible theories of homosexual sanctity that extend from them are perhaps visible by
comparing the implications of the Secret Gospel fragment to later Gnostic cults believed
to be descended from the teachings of Carpocrates. Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis, 310-
402 AD (not to be confused with the son of Carpocrates) wrote a long treatise against
Heresy called the Panarion. He explains that he nearly became a Gnostic, but was saved
from error by some miracle, but most importantly he claims to have personally witnessed
one of the most extraordinary manifestations of Libertinism anywhere told. This would of
course be a very late period cult, as Epiphanius would have been writing well into the
middle of the 4th century, some two-hundred years after Carpocrates, Hadrian and
Antinous lived. Epiphanius calls this sect the Phibionites, but has several others names
for other variations including Borborites, Barbelites, Stratiotici and Coddians. He says
that they are descended from the Sethian-Ophites, who were a Gnostic sect that venerated
snakes and claimed to have obtained their knowledge from a mythical being called Seth,
who is alternatively the , the descended Savior, or the Son of Adam and Eve (ancestor of
Jesus) or the Set of Egyptian mythology. Several texts of Sethian origin are found among
the Nag Hammadi texts.

The Phibionites believed that the Logos, or the Divine Substance was spread throughout
the cosmos, and was highly concentrated in the flesh of living things. Like the Dionysian
mystery cults, Orphics, Pythagoreans, Platonists, Hermetics and Gnostics, they believed
that the world was a prison, and that the Divine Substance was trapped within the life
force of all creatures. The purpose of their faith was to bring an end to the continued
dispersal of the divided sparks, and to draw them together. They believed that the Divine
substance was passed from one life to the next through sexual intercourse, and that it was
contained in the Sperm and Menstrual fluid, and in foods that perpetuated life,
particularly meat. They believed that life was the creation of evil, and that it was for those
who understood the true nature of the immortal spirit to partake in the joys of life,
without perpetuating it’s dispersal through childbirth. Epiphanius describes that they
celebrated lovefeasts where wives were exchanged, and that they held up their hands,
smeared with semen and menstrual blood to the 365 Archons as a sign of sacrifice.

The High Priests, called Levites, openly devoted themselves to homosexuality, abstaining
from female contact, and having frequent sex among themselves, so as to not perpetuate
human enslavement in the world. Homosexuality was the highest and purest state in their
religion.

Should a female member of the cult become pregnant by accident, the foetus was aborted
and ritually consumed by the entire congregation, so as to prevent the dispersal of the
Divine Substance trapped within it’s flesh.

The most sacred element of their bizarre ritual was the elevation and consumption of the
Divine Substance in the form of the Sperm of the Levites in a manner equivalent to the
Holy Eucharist. In other words, the Sperm of the homosexual high priests was considered
to be the seed of the divine light in it’s purest form.

“Jesus himself, they said, was the first teacher of these practices. He took Mary
Magdalene to a mountain, took a woman out of his side and had sex with her, then drank
his own sperm saying: ‘Thus we ought to do, that we may live.’ They even claim that
when Jesus at the Last Supper spoke of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, he was
referring to this practice.”
--Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion

The woman taken from his side, was the mirror-self, the shadow of Jesus, from whose
embrace he took his body and blood and then consumed it, just as the titans had
consumed the limbs of Dionysus. This may be a trace of what Carpocrates discovered in
the Secret Gospel of Mark, passed down over the centuries and taken to its most vivid
extreme.

Whether all of this is true we cannot be sure. The cannibalization of aborted foetuses
seems like propaganda, meant simply to eradicate public support for the group…but one
can never be sure. The same arguments have been used for centuries against every
obscure cult from the Dionysians, heretics, witches, Satanists, and in the early days even
against the Christians themselves. Epiphanius was writing well into the reign of
Constantine, and perhaps even during or shortly after the controversy of Julian the
Apostate. It is simply inflammatory, but strangely enough, it is in perfect keeping with
what Carpocratian-Gnosticism might have become in later years. If it was true, then the
memory of it, might have either been passed down secretly, or was maintained by literate
Catholics who accidentally brought the terror of it back to life again during the
Inquisition.

The importance of the Phibionites to the Secret Gospel of Mark lies in the possibility of a
sexual sacrament, a Bridal Chamber through which the Logos might be passed, or
gathered together, through the Sperm, and that this sacrament was not invented by the
heretics, but might have a basis in the Secret Gospel of Mark, and in whatever other
hidden words of Jesus might have been floating around.

Carpocrates, contemporary of Hadrian and Antinous, witness of the rise of a Homosexual


mystery religion devoted to the beautiful boy Antinous, was the origin of all of this, the
one who stole the Secret Gospel from the Church of Alexandria, by seducing a trusted
priest. It only seems logical that Carpocrates would have been deeply moved by the
Religion of Antinous, since both were from Asia Minor, and both had found their
deification in Egypt. If there was indeed Libertinism in the Religion of Antinous, then
Carpocrates would have been even more attracted. Whether Carpocrates initiated the full
theology of the Spermo-Gnostic Phibionites we cannot know, and whether this had any
influence on, or from the Religion of Antinous we cannot know either, but a single line
from one of the few actual texts of the religion of Antinous lends a veiled clue.

“Once He has accomplished His works among the living,


He takes on every shape of His heart,
Because the Semen of God is truly in His body…
--Sacred Obelisk of Antinous, in Rome

With the Secret Gospel in hand, Carpocrates set forth his doctrine, which we can
reasonably suppose included the sanctification of homosexuality based on what occurred
between Jesus and the boy. This was a doctrine of Homosexual Liberation through which
the Kingdom of Heaven was revealed. This is a portrayal of the Sacrament of the Bridal
Chamber, which was part of the creed of other Gnostic Fathers such as Valentinus, where
the Spirit and the Lover-within are united Spiritually. In this sense, we might say that
Jesus first raised the boy from the dead, and then penetrated his Labyrinth, the twisted
and tormented maze of the intestine, through the gateway of the anus, and there deposited
the mystery of the Holy Spirit. The intestine is where death exits the body; it is like the
underworld within our bodies. Jesus enters like a thief, and brings the Logos, the Divine
Substance of ever-lasting life. It is in this Labyrinth that we absorb nourishment and
reject waste, like an internal place of judgment. It is where life and death exist side by
side through the process of osmosis. Carpocrates implies that Jesus straightened the
crooked road, and placed life where death emerged, reversing the flow of matter, and
confounding the Laws of Nature, which is what was to occur on the night of his own
resurrection. Sodomizing the boy, therefore, surpasses his elevation from the dead by
revealing the Kingdom of Heaven through the mystery of Spermo-Gnosticism (just a
speculation.)

"Naked man with Naked man"

Clement denies that these words are mentioned in the Secret Gospel of Mark, they seem
to have been quoted by Theodore from the words of the Carpocratians, and might
therefore be the interpretation that Carpocrates himself put forth. Not only was the boy
naked, but Jesus was as well, according to Carpocrates. But Theodore seems to have
brought up far more questions than Clement was willing to answer, which Clement
dismisses by saying that Carpocrates added his own interpretation to the words of Jesus.
What that interpretation was we can only imagine. The letter is lost, and Clement only
says that, "But many other things about which you wrote both seem to be and are
falsifications." We can only wonder.

We are left astonished to discover that what we know of Jesus may not be the full story,
that once during this great period of spiritual enlightenment that we know of as the age of
Heresiarchs, there were many other interpretations of the Gospel that have been entirely
suppressed and destroyed. Modern scholars seem to be largely against the validity of the
Secret Gospel, those who are uncomfortable with the implications are convinced that it is
a forgery or a fraud, whether ancient or modern makes no difference. Because it
confounds and destroys the image that we are given to understand Jesus, it has even now
been given over to absolute silence. Very few people today know that it exists, because it
goes unmentioned by popular commentary. Those who believe do so in silence, and those
who reject it never even mention that it was ever found.

Carpocrates was for centuries just an obscure heretic mentioned briefly by Irenaeus and
Hippolytus, barely remembered by the world, until he was rediscovered in 1958, and
found to be surprisingly central to this extraordinary document known as the Secret
Gospel of Mark, and what it implies in the question of Homosexuality and the Bible. One
begins to wonder how much of what Carpocrates taught was based on this lost book, how
much was his own innovation, and how much of it may have been the true teachings of
Jesus of Nazareth.

Aside from homosexual sanctity, can it be that the basic concept of self-deification was
not also set forth by the lost Gospel? We can at least be sure that the words of Jesus, here
contained, were the prized possession of the Carpocratians, and the perhaps the origin of
a great deal of their wisdom…the key that set them free from the world.
Clement of Alexandria validates the existence of the book, and acknowledges that it came
into the possession of Carpocrates. He says that the priest who gave him the copy was
enslaved by magic, but we can be sure that Carpocrates used nothing more than
persuasion. The priest who handed over the carefully guarded book was not possessed,
but must have been convinced of the nobility of Carpocrates to have betrayed to him the
secret treasure of the Church of Alexandria. It is this unnamed priest whom we must
thank, for his courage and the trust that he had in our Saint Carpocrates.

For homosexuals in these changing days of modern sexual philosophy, the School of
Carpocrates takes on a new significance beyond the other Gnostic teachers, and perhaps
even beyond all ancient teachers of Theology. He brings into question the position of the
Church against homosexuality, and casts grave doubt on the validity of the Canonical
Bible, which for so many centuries has been held against the sacredness of
homosexuality. With the Secret Gospel in hand, Carpocrates almost assumes Apostolic
authority because he revealed what the Church had made secret and destroyed. His
teaching suddenly takes on the Sacred Word of Jesus, and stands in profound and
liberating contradiction to the accusations that have been leveled against homosexuality
for so many centuries, and that are at the center of our modern controversy. In his hand,
the Secret Gospel of Mark is an indictment against by the Church for the injustice that
has been perpetrated against homosexuals, and which continues to this day, in total
defiance of the words and actions of Jesus, to this day.

Carpocrates and Antinous

The Reign of Hadrian is the most likely time when Carpocrates lived and taught, and
though Carpocrates is regarded as a Christian and therefore outside of the Romano-
Hellenic world view that Hadrian promoted, we must remember that Carpocrates was a
Platonist first and a Christian second. Through Platonism, which was rapidly developing
into Neo-Platonism, the formidable last stand of the Pagans against the growing influence
of Christianity theology, we are connected to the vast, wide-spread and interconnected
teachings that extend through the Gnostics and Hermetics and Platonists, to the
Pythagoreans, and Orphics that preceded them. Antinous is intimately part of this Pagan
revival that Hadrian promoted and encouraged. Gnosticism came into being at this time
because it was part of the greater Hellenistic atmosphere of syncretism. The Gnostic view
seemed novel and absurd, but it rested on the solid foundation of mystery religions, it was
no more than a new variation on an old theme, as was Antinous.

There are many reasons to argue against the similarity of the Doctrine of Carpocrates to
the Religion of Antinous, but time frame is not one of these reasons. The two religions
were contemporary, indeed very few, if any other religions can claim such a coincidence,
and even fewer ancient religions had as much to say about the sacredness of
homosexuality. The veneration of Idols, the preference for human gods over vague,
mythological beings, the glorification of beauty and sensuality as expressed by the
statues, and all the rumors and sneers that were held against the priests of Antinous are
common to both religions. Antinous and Carpocrates are a case of cross-contamination,
or of mutually-inclusive differentiation.

The Osirian aspect of Antinous, prevalent at Antinoopolis, the place of his death and
transfiguration, is however in many ways the antithesis of Carpocratianism, and of the
Gnostic as a whole. It is within the cosmology of Osiris that the judgment of the dead is
set forth most prominently, and Antinous is indivisibly part of the Osiris, as set forth by
so many documents and by so much of his iconography. What this means is that though
there is similarity between the libertinism of Carpocrates, and the Religion of Antinous in
its later form, there also exists within Antinous, the direct opposite of all that Carpocrates
stood for. Antinous is a many-faceted, multi-layered, diversely-arrayed spectrum of a
god, who represents a whole constellation of semblances, all them galaxies-within-
galaxies of meaning. The original intention of Hadrian, when he deified his beloved
companion was to dispense the splendor and beauty of Antinous across the whole face of
the world, in all languages, and in all forms and open to every interpretation. Thus we
find the truth of Antinous reflected in more than one mirror.

Antinous was held to be the Genius, or guardian spirit, of the Golden Age of Rome, her
protector, and the upholder of peace through order. His depiction as a boy holding
garlands of flowers, delicate wands (never a weapon) and crowned with ivy was held to
be the new spirit of the Empire. Through Him the Law was founded on Love and
protection, and human dignity. He was a new, civilized, graceful Apollonian-Dionysus, a
different kind of savior. In this sense he seems to be Anti-Carpocrates. But Antinous is
not portrayed as an enforcer, a conqueror, or a subjugator, he is a peace-bringing savior, a
new Eros, which is in no way a contradiction of Carpocrates.

Carpocrates taught a doctrine of Love, and absolute Freedom. He did not encourage his
followers to commit harmful crimes against humanity, there is no indication in any of the
criticism of the Church Fathers to show that he influenced his followers to rape, murder,
injure, lie, steal (well maybe Secret Gospels from a Church that conceals them, but
where’s the crime in that!) Carpocrates does not encourage us to commit any other form
of injustice against our fellow living creatures, which are subject to the same
imprisonment in the world as we are. His words, as Irenaeus and Clement unwittingly
confirm, are in perfect keeping with the teachings of Jesus, Plato, Hadrian and Antinous.

He indicates that we must free ourselves from the laws of the world, within ourselves, as
we alone interpret it. Not for the purpose of bringing chaos and mayhem, or to harm
anyone, but to find our source of light and darkness, and to bring an end to the cycles of
life and death, simply by knowing ourselves. The Law is to be understood, it does not
need to be blatantly violated, but can be obeyed, without the risk of perjury or betrayal
because there is no such thing as blasphemy. The Law is not to control us, but for us to
simply understand and move through like a vapor. This law includes the restrictions of
religion, the moral code of society, and even the natural laws of life on Earth. Carpocrates
set us free from judgment and placed the authority of the Word upon our own shoulders,
making us our own lords, by the revelation of what I call the “Man-key,” the spark that
flew down from the place of light to dwell in darkness, within our souls. The words of
Carpocrates are the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of [both] Good and Evil, eating this
flesh, and drinking this juice defies death and causes us to become Gods, without
changing us at all, because we have always been gods, just as we are.

Irenaeus of Lyons, did his best to stamp out the teachings of St. Carpocrates, but for
centuries, his words preserved the memory of this visionary. The doctrines themselves
were long ago destroyed. Carpocrates seemed to vanish from the Earth, his followers and
their ideologies were persecuted until no trace remained. His influence was demonstrated
in the allegations brought against the Cathars, the Knights Templar, and the Heretics of
Medieval Europe in general, giving the impression that they had survived in the East and
were brought back with the returning crusaders. But the Unholy Inquisition butchered
and burned all traces of it in the Heretics, or so they believed. Carpocratian-like
Libertinism and the remaining Pagan cult of Dionysus, which was still adhered to by the
Witches and healers of the countryside, were perceived as a united threat against
Christendom and were equated with a vast Satanic plot to bring chaos to the world, as
foretold in Revelation. From this point onward, in the Christian mind and even in the
minds of many Libertines themselves, the basic Doctrine of Carpocrates became the
foundation and inspiration for Satanism and the occult in general.

Simultaneously, however, during the Protestant Reformation, some of the immediate


followers of Martin Luther took up the notion that Grace alone, not good works, or
sacraments, or adherence to the Ten Commandments was necessary for Salvation. One
who was Saved, could not be un-Saved, and was therefore free from concern with
worldly laws. Martin Luther called these men Antinomians, which has since been the
name used for Christian Libertinism.

This was by coincidence the time when a revival of interest in Antinous was underway,
when so many of his statues were discovered and scholarly works on his life and the
implications of his religion first emerged after so many centuries of silence. Here we find
our Saint Cardinal Allesandro Albani, who led a life of libertine indulgence, having never
actually been a priest, but was made a Cardinal by special dispensation from his uncle the
Pope, and then made the unofficial, secret, head of espionage against the English
Protestants, employing ever form of dark and questionable means to obtain his
information. Cardinal Albani may never have been a true believing Antinomian, but his
life and work demonstrate that he was certainly no Catholic. It was he who funded much
of the excavation of Pompeii by our Saint Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who dutifully
and scientifically studied and reported the proliferation of images of the Phallus found
everywhere in Pompeii, used in the same manner as the crucifix. Winckelmann also lived
with Cardinal Albani for a time, and wrote extensively about the Cardinal’s collection of
Antinous statues, and it is rumored that they, together with other known homosexual
artists and writers, formed the first cult devoted to Antinous and Priapus since ancient
times. We can see in them a clear indication of secret Libertinism, right under the Nose of
the Pope in Rome. Cardinal Albani united in one person, the Church of Rome, the new
theories of Christian Antinomianism, and the Cult of Antinous.

Carpocratian-Libertine-Antinomianism rose again during the French Revolution, and


reached its most debased pinnacle in the voluptuous catalogues of perversity glorified by
the Marquis de Sade in his novels. One of his masterpieces is the book “120 Days of
Sodom” which is an extreme and depraved depiction of Phibionite Carpocratianism set to
beautiful prose, in which the lead characters are explicitly referred to as Libertines. They
undergo a systematic and thorough exploration of the Philosophy of Libertinism,
committing every sin in increments that descend steadily towards worse and more
disgusting forms of Lust and Horror. One of the characters is given the name of
Antinous, designated as a “fucker” because of his huge penis. He serves as one of several
Priapus figures, and was named Antinous because his penis, ass and face are equally
beautiful, which according to the Marquis de Sade is an extreme rarity, reminiscent of
“Hadrian’s favorite.” But of course the book was written while the Marquis de Sade was
imprisoned in the Bastille and is only fiction. It was lost during the Revolution and only
found a few decades ago, hidden away in a bed frame. One can only imagine the impact
it might have had on history were it to have been published 200 years ago.

Nietzsche is said to have had leanings towards Libertinism, and the work of Epiphanes,
‘Concerning Righteousness’ is said to have either had an influence on the early
communists, or is just a reflection of like-mindedness. “The Communist Manifesto” in
any case states many of the same basic tenets as Epiphanes such as the sharing of wives
and property in general.

The philosophy of Libertinism had not died but was growing in strength, due to the
failure of the Christian faith to keep pace with a rapidly changing world. World War I
was essentially the breaking point. The survivors turned to the joys of life, having seen
too much of the horrors, and Libertinism became a popular pursuit for the first time.

The teachings of Carpocrates himself were simultaneously resurrected by Aleister


Crowley, and his associates, who used them as a source for their own Antinomian
philosophy, which permeates Thelemic belief and the ritual of the Order Templis
Orientalis. Many of these rituals are based on the Carpocratian-Phibionite model as
related by Epiphanius in the Panarion. Crowley and his associates re-instituted the theory
of Spermo-Gnosticism, which basically held that the Logos was contained in the sperm,
which could be used to confer benediction, wisdom and power. The consumption of
sperm mixed with menstrual fluid was tantamount to the Holy Eucharist. Aspects of these
beliefs have found their way into every level of New Age, Neo-Pagan, and “Modern”
Satanic philosophy. The Carpocratian creed was interpreted, quite accurately by Crowley
as:

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."


Only in recent years has these ideas become part of social consciousness. The teachings
of Carpocrates are utterly modern in their wisdom, and we are only now beginning to
understand what he so long ago discovered, and labored in vain to reveal to the world.

It is no coincidence that Carpocrates lived and taught during the life and reign of Hadrian
and Antinous. Only under the enlightened rule of one such as Hadrian could these ideas
come forth and survive into maturity. The peaceful, intellectual, artistic and religious
freedom, protected by the Antonines almost caused the Catholic Church to fall apart.
Another of Carpocrates Gnostic contemporaries, the famous Valentinus, tried to change
the world by working within the Catholic system, he struggled to maintain a balance
between apostolic authority and speculative (Gnostic) philosophy, because he did not,
like so many other Gnostics, see the world-church as an enemy to be opposed, but
sincerely believed that the Gnostic view could be assimilated into the Orthodox faith.
During the reign of Antoninus Pius, Valentinus was almost made Pope of Rome, and only
lost by a narrow margin. Carpocrates seems to have known that the Gnostic Succession
and the Catholic Church could never merge, and that their differences would eventually
lead to all out war, and he must have also known that Gnosticism would not survive the
conflagration because it has always been a faith comprehensible only to a few, and so he
advised his followers to live in the world, but not conform to it. Yet the Carpocratian
view spread around the Empire and seems to have outlived its master and his son and to
have taken on a life of its own. It was based in Alexandria, had a second home on the
island of Cephallenia, and sent a representative to Rome, and what an interesting and
important person he chose. We must now turn our attention to that representative,
because of all the similarities that abound between the Carpocratians, and the Religion of
Antinous, it is what was said of her that is the most crucial and defining evidence of this
treatise. The last paragraph of Irenaeus’s chapter on the Carpocratians tells us that:

“From among these also arose Marcellina, who came to Rome under [the episcopate of]
Anicetus (154-167), and, holding these doctrines, she led multitudes astray.”
--Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. Bk. I, Ch. 25, 6

During the reign of Antoninus Pius, perhaps inspired by the success of Valentinus,
Carpocrates (or more likely his son Epiphanes) if he was still alive, sent a female
"Bishop" of his church to Rome named Marcellina. The Doctrine of the Libertines was
not male oriented, but all encompassing, as this single line from Irenaeus shows.
Carpocrates sent a woman to Rome to represent him and free the people at a time when
the eternal city was at its height of power, luxury, and over flowing with ideologies.
Marcellina was apparently successful in her charge, and might have confronted and
earned the condemnation of the Anti-heretical Pope Anicetus, who was the first to take
action against the heretics by expressly forbidding them from participation in the Church,
which was believed to be the equivalent of abandoning their souls to Hell. Marcellina
must have caused an great upheaval to gain the recognition of Irenaeus, and to be
mentioned in such close proximity to her beloved Heresiarch.

Marcellina is said to be the founder of her own school by Origen in his work entitled
"Against Celsus" which was a defense of the Christian religion against a Pagan
philosopher named Celsus, who had written a book against the Christian religion. This
book has been lost (or was burned) but is partially preserved in paraphrase by Origen, in
his long refutation. Origen first shows that Marcellina was a famous Gnostic teacher
known to the Pagan Celsus and to himself, and then he gives her role a particular and
unexpected turn of sacredness in the paragraph that follows, which makes an
extraordinary comparison.

“Celsus knows, moreover, certain Marcellians, so called from Marcellina, and


Harpocratians from Salome, and others who derive their name from Mariamme, and
others again from Martha…

In the next place, that he may have the appearance of knowing still more than he has yet
mentioned, he says, agreeably to his usual custom, that “there are others who have
wickedly invented some being as their teacher and demon, and who wallow about in a
great darkness, more unholy and accursed than that of the companions of the Egyptian
Antinous." And he seems to me, indeed, in touching on these matters, to say with a
certain degree of truth, that there are certain others who have wickedly invented another
demon, and who have found him to be their lord, as they wallow about in the great
darkness of their ignorance. With respect, however, to Antinous, who is compared with
our Jesus, we shall not repeat what we have already said in the preceding pages.”
--Origen, Against Celsus, Bk. V, 62, 63

Marcellina and her followers, the “Harpocratians” and the whole of the Libertine Gnostic
movement, is explicitly compared to the religion of Antinous. It is Celsus who first
makes the accusation (a Pagan comparing the Gnostics to the Religion of Antinous!) but
Origen expressly agrees with him, on this at least, if nowhere else. Celsus intended to
degrade Christianity as a whole by saying that they were Even more Accursed than the
“Companions of the Egyptian Antinous” but Origen, wishing to differentiate the Catholic
faith from the Gnostics, explains how it is only certain heretical groups, including the
followers of Marcellina and the “Harpocratians”, who are comparable to Antinous. This
comparison, for anyone who believes in Antinous and in Carpocratian Gnosticism, and in
the possibility that the two faiths are interrelated, is a miraculous passage that brings
together the opinion of a Pagan and a Christian, that there is indeed a relationship!

The brief and puzzling word “Harpocratians” has led some to believe that Origen was
actually referring to Carpocrates, but whether his name was erroneously misspelled by
Origen or the copyist, is unknown. Some have stated that there might have been a
connection between Carpocrates and the Hellenic-Egyptian god Harpocrates, son of
Osiris and Isis, whose name has been interpreted as “Horus the Young,” the silent god
depicted as a young boy with his finger over his mouth. Origen suggests that the god and
the teacher were enshrouded in an intermingled mystery by their followers, much like
Antinous.

Origen also states that the Marcellians and the “Harpocratians” claimed to derive their
teachings from Mariamme (the Virgin Mary) Salome and Martha, which is beyond the
scope of this subject. But as one of the few female Gnostic teachers to make a name for
herself, it seems reasonable to believe that Marcellina would take inspiration from the
female Apostles whose Gospels are lost, with the exception of the Gospel of Mary, found
among the newly discovered and highly controversial Gnostic books of Nag Hammadi.
The female perspective of the Doctrine of Carpocrates, through Marcellina, takes on
importance from these few lines, and adds more depth to the comparison between the
Carpocratians and the Religion of Antinous, who is closely united to Diana.

In regard to the statement that the “Harpocratians” were led or, founded by Salome,
Clement of Alexandria at the end of the Secret Gospel Text, says:

“And after the words, ‘And he comes into Jericho,’ the secret Gospel adds only, ‘And the
sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus
did not receive them.’

We find here a strange connection between Carpocrates, Salome, ‘the youth whom Jesus
loved’ and the Virgin Mary, from whom the “Harpocratians” claim to derive their
teachings, found in three separate sources, Celsus, Origen and Clement of Alexandria.
What this might mean is the tenuous suspicion that Carpocrates based his theology on the
Secret Gospel of Mark may have more truth to it than at first appears, since centuries
after the book was supposedly acquired by him, allusions and hints to the fragment of the
Secret Gospel are still found among his philosophical descendants. And furthermore, the
mysterious ‘youth whom Jesus loved’ a phrase that has remained part of the Canonical
Bible as the ‘Apostle whom Jesus loved’, interpreted as meaning St. John, may actually
suggest that the Boy from the Secret Gospel, and not John, was the unnamed Apostle
who rested his head on Our Lord at the crucial moment of the Last Supper. This wild
possibility leads to the question of whether the bizarre practice of the Phibionites,
consuming sperm as the body and blood of Christ, might have some truth and substance
to it after all. But the most important aspect of all this speculation is that these
descendants of Carpocrates, now supported by an allusion to the Secret Gospel are
accused of wallowing in darkness “More unholy and accursed than that of the
companions of the Egyptian Antinous.”

We can be reasonably sure then, that Carpocrates has a connection to the Religion of
Antinous, that in his youth or at the beginning of his career as a mystic, Carpocrates
might have even looked upon the living Antinous in Alexandria in the summer of the
130, only months before the imperial procession set forth on its journey up the Nile
towards the future site of Antinoopolis, where Antinous died. The Deification of
Antinous by Hadrian must have deeply affected, or intrigued Carpocrates, who would
have understood its implications perfectly. Whether the Deification of Antinous came
after the Doctrine of Carpocrates, or whether Carpocrates was influenced by what was
promoted in Antinoopolis one can never know, but the two faiths were born as twin
brothers. We must remember that for the first time in history, a world leader had publicly
demonstrated and acknowledged his Homosexuality for the whole world to see, making
the object of his affection into an official part of the world-wide religion of Rome, or at
least the Greek-speaking half, which effectively made homosexuality a legally and
religiously recognized and sanctified public institution, with deep, mystical
undercurrents. Carpocrates must have been affected by such an extraordinary
proclamation. Scholars seem to have paid too little attention to the possibility that the
Deification of Antinous, and the proliferation of Gnostic Homosexual cults might be
interrelated. When Hadrian, the Emperor of Rome at its greatest height, gave his approval
to Homosexuality, the whole world changed. Carpocrates took inspiration from what
Hadrian did, and unprecedented numbers of people were willing to listen.

It may be that the followers of Carpocrates became Companions of Antinous, or that


through Antinous, believers were led to Carpocrates, but surely the two religions were in
contact, and were influenced by one another in some way. The city of Antinoopolis in
later years was a haven for all manner of eccentric doctrines. And the priests there are
said (by Origen) to have indulged in Libertine feasts on the Sacred Nights, much like the
Carpocratians. Both were in keeping with the wild orgies of the late Dionysian cult. As
the power of the Orthodox fathers of the Church grew in Alexandria, and the protection
of the Antonine Emperors waned, Antinoopolis became an island of safety for free
thinkers and feelers in a world that was growing ever more dangerous and intolerant.
Antinoopolis, might have become a home for Carpocratians when Alexandria became
hostile, especially under its great Bishop Athanasius, who would later author the Nicene
Creed, which categorically defined the theological position of the Catholic Faith, and was
simultaneously a pledge of allegiance and a declaration of war against the non-
conformity of the Heretics.

Carpocrates is a vivid symbol of the atmosphere of freedom that blossomed for a few
hundred years in the city of Antinoopolis. The Catholics established their own Church
there in order to battle the heretics, and because of its importance, the city became the
seat of a Catholic Bishop. But these Catholic Bishops were largely ineffective, except as
spies and monitors, while the true representatives of Christ were perhaps the Gnostics in
Antinoopolis with their deep connection to Greek philosophy, of whom Carpocrates was
the most brilliant and bizarre. Although he never claimed the title, and perhaps never
entered the city, which was only then under construction, Carpocrates or his
representative, was the true Archbishop of Antinoopolis, a mirror of the religion of
Antinous for semi-Christians. It might even be the Carpocratian influence in Antinoopolis
that led to the comparison of Antinous to Jesus which was so distasteful to Celsus and
Origen, and which continues to puzzle and disturb the concept of Antinous as a purely
Pagan god today. Only the Carpocratians, it seems, could have really bridged such a gap
of ideology, as it was already central to their idolatry to crown images of Jesus alongside
the Philosophers. Antinous, being contemporary, and such an important new example of
godliness, and above all a Homosexual Savior, would have found his place without any
issue. The Antinoopolitan priesthood, seeing the veneration of their beloved Antinous by
Christian-Gnostics, might have opened their arms to the Carpocratians…and their souls
also.

The notion of self-deification was held by the Carpocratians and perhaps even by the
priests of Antinous. There is little direct evidence to show that the priests of Antinous
believed in this difficult to comprehend doctrine, but the strongest example is of course
the apotheosis of Hadrian and Antinous themselves, which demonstrate that the idea had
some place in their understanding of the Human spirit, though it might have been limited
to the Imperial Family in their minds…but Antinous was never officially part of the
Imperial Family. And so by an extension of reasoning, if it was possible for Antinous, the
“Companion of Hadrian,” to be deified, why could the same not be true for one who was
the “Companion of Antinous?” The statues of Antinous, dressed in the likeness of so
many gods also leads one to contemplate the existence of self-deification in the religion
of Antinous. For just as Antinous took on the form and power of the Gods, does it not
follow that a believer, by spiritually adorning himself as Antinous, could likewise take on
His form and His power? And lastly, Hadrian the Founder, believed that he was a god,
and openly accepted the divine titles that were offered up to him. He did not shy away
from portraying himself as the Father, nor did he act in any way less than as an all-
powerful God should…according to his own laws, his own judgment of right and wrong.
His magnificent, and heroic effort towards furthering civilization and the quality of life in
the world is godly in character. And he had every confidence in his power to raise his
beloved Antinous up to eternal life. His pretensions of Godliness were the basis of
criticism laid upon him by the Jews, as detailed in the Midrash. Their condemnation of
Hadrian was extracted from the Law of Moses. This Law is precisely what Jesus,
Carpocrates, and Hadrian defied in assuming Godliness? The commandments tell us that
we should not “Take the Name of God in Vain,” and yet Hadrian freely accepted the
divine titles heaped upon him by the Greeks, and even demonstrated his divine power by
declaring Antinous a God. Jesus did not deny that he was God-made-flesh, and instructed
his disciples on how they too could become what he was. For this he was crucified, in
accordance with the Law of Moses, and for this same transgression, Carpocrates was
condemned and his followers persecuted. Jesus, Carpocrates, and Hadrian defied the Law
of Moses, and took the Name of God in Vain…are we expected to do anything less?

Hadrian certainly was never an Antinomian (One without Law) and would not have
tolerated any such belief in his presence for long, and he certainly instituted no such
philosophy in the Religion of Antinous. The religion, however, outlasted him and
underwent changes, as some of the papyrus fragments suggest.

The sculptures of Antinous predominantly compare him to Dionysus, which leads us to


believe that Hadrian, who knew Antinous best, and who initiated the religion of
Antinous, intended for posterity to equate the ancient religion of Dionysus with the new
belief in Antinous. Dionysus, the Liberator, freed men from their troubles with the gift of
wine, he was the god of intoxication and ecstasy, whose nocturnal rites are the epitome of
an Orgy, and were the inspiration for all forms of Libertinism thereafter. The Dionysian
cult was Antinomian, and Libertine and was the inspiration for Epicurus. Though it is in
all ways closely connected to the Olympian gods, it also represents their undoing, as it is
in the multiple births, the rages of jealousy and persecution, and the transcendent faith of
the god who was torn asunder, driven to madness, and resurrected, that the true nature of
the Olympian Gods is revealed. Dionysus, in the Orphic theogony, is a being beyond the
Celestial Gods, he precedes them and is not subject to the vicissitudes of their favor and
distain. Dionysus is all-powerful Love, Eros himself, who extends beyond the notion of
good and evil, and therefore can never be destroyed and is able to confound every law
and is able to confer his immunity upon those whom he chooses, upon those who do not
resist him. The followers of Dionysus are divided into two basic categories, the
Bacchants, and the Orphics. Simply put, the Bacchants indulged, and the Orphics
refrained, but they shared the same Gnosis of human nature, that our spirit is the divided
Light of Dionysus, imprisoned in the flesh of Titans. This flesh and the world
surrounding it, belongs to the Titans. The Bacchant was free to indulge in all pleasures,
since restriction belonged to the province of the Titans, while the Orphics abstained from
contact with the pollutions of the world for the same reason, to break away from the
prison of flesh. Both held firmly to the belief that union with Bacchus was possible for
any man, or women who did not “resist” Him. Resistance against Dionysus was always
based on moral grounds, which originated with Hera. The Followers of Dionysus, like the
Carpocratians, and the Companions of Antinous, were in the habit of turning their
liberation towards sexual expression. The entourage of Dionysus included demi-gods
whose very nature was sexual and orgiastic, such as Pan, the Satyrs, Priapus, the
Maenads, Ariadne, and the wise, drunkard, Silenus. Homosexuality was a vibrant part of
the Dionysian cult, and was initiated by Orpheus as a sacred state, a priest of Dionysus,
who turned away from women when he failed to bring his wife Euridice back from the
dead. Through Dionysus we are exposed to deeper layers of the Mysteries of Eleusis,
since Persephone is said to have been his first Divine Mother, when he first descended to
reign among the Olympians as the Son of Zeus. Persephone was raped by Hades with the
consent of Zeus and made the Queen of the underworld, by force. What we find in the
Orphic theology is essentially a secret rebellion against Zeus and Hades by Dionysus and
his Mother Persephone to free the immortal souls of humanity from enslavement and
reincarnation, restoring to them their true divine nature by the several methods of
becoming Bacchus common to the Orphics, Mystery Cults, Platonic Philosophers,
Mithraics, Hermetics, and Gnostics.

Orphism was an initiatory philosophy devoted to Dionysus, but it was not purely
Dionysian. It was deeply influenced by Apollo and Artemis, from whom extend the
principles of moral aesthetics and purification. But within Apollo and Artemis is likewise
the Homosexual message, which we find expressed by Socrates, through Plato, who
proclaimed Apollo to be “The God,” from whom all Wisdom, all Purity, and all Light
radiate. Apollo and Dionysus shared the shrine of Delphi, they were as closely connected
as twin brothers, with female counterparts in the aspect of Artemis and Persephone. The
mystery cults are intricately and deeply related, and Antinous and Carpocrates are found
right in the center all their subterfuge, radiance, and sexual license.

The Orphics (in the form of their Neo-Platonic descendants) and the Carpocratians both
agreed that the soul, or more appropriately the immortal spirit-essence, was imprisoned in
the carnal world of illusory forms, and that it is the goal of all introspective and
cosmically aware men to liberate our Divine Substance and return to our super-celestial
source. The only difference between the two philosophies is the way to do so. One
advises purity, while the other advises indulgence, yet they are as different and as similar,
as contradictory and as mystically united as Apollo and Dionysus. Antinous is clothed in
both forms, leaving us to decide from which to choose, but neither have precedence, both
co-habituate upon his flesh.
The Religion of Antinous, under Hadrian’s directive, may not have included the full
weight of Antinomian implication, but Hadrian favored Dionysian artists, whose religion
had been previously outlawed for licentious practices during the Republican period. We
know little about the private life of Hadrian, but there is always the possibility, as his
sexual and artistic interests suggest, that there was more of a Dionysian in him than we
imagine, given the full extent of his complex character. Now just to show that he was not
entirely unfavorable to Antinomianism under certain circumstances, there is a short
document found by Phillupus, the Doctor of Ecclesia Antinoi, and from it, by an
extension of logic, we might suppose that the same license was granted to the Priests of
Antinous.

‘Extract from an edict of deified Hadrian concerning the gifts granted to the society of the
Dionysian Artists:’

“Inviolability, right to front seats, freedom from military service, immunity from public
liturgies, to keep without tax whatever they procure for sacred use or the contests and to
use it as they see fit, the right not to present guarantors of their immunity from taxation,
the right to meet together for sacrifice, the right not to be compelled to accommodate
strangers with billets, freedom from imprisonment or any other form of detention...death
penalty.”
---Translated by James H. Oliver,
From Aedicula Antinoi Library, Phillipus Doctor of Ecclesia Antinoi, IVvir

Perhaps these gifts did not extend to the Cult of Bacchus as a whole, but only to a
particular society, but one is immediately impressed by the resemblance of these gifts to
the basic Doctrine of Libertinism. The words Freedom and immunity occur throughout,
lending an Antinomian interpretation. The Dionysian Artists are given exemption from
every level of the law, and what makes it especially interesting and appealing is that these
same privileges might have also been given to the priests of Antinous, meaning that they
too were beyond the law. Through the close relationship of the Carpocratians and the
‘Companions of Antinous’ (which I suggest) perhaps the Carpocratians of Antinoopolis,
who took up the religion of Antinous and fused it with their own system, were also given
the same privileges. They would have surely sought them out and given the evidence, it
might not have been an easy task to sort the Carpocratians from the traditional
Antinoeans. By far the most profound statement made in this Edict of the Deified
Hadrian, what would have resonated most deeply in the soul of a Carpocratian is the last
line:

Freedom from imprisonment or any other form of detention, [Freedom from the]…death
penalty.”

The Religion of Antinous did not remain pure to the initial directives of Hadrian,
whatever those may have been. It took on the good and bad qualities of influential and
contemporary faiths, such as Christianity, as both Celsus and Origen (a Pagan and a
Christian) confirm that Antinous was compared to Jesus by his followers. Origen lived
from 185- 254 AD, almost forty years after the death of Hadrian, and his book “Against
Celsus” was probably written well past the death of Commodus, 180-192 AD. The
silence of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius on the subject is a vague indication that
the Religion of Antinous began to change immediately after the death of Hadrian, simply
from a lack of interest by the only authority that could realistically prevent nontraditional
influences from infiltrating the Doxology of Antinoopolis. The Religion of Antinous was
obviously still strong enough, two or three generations after its foundation, to gain so
much attention, but something about its form during the time of Celsus and Origen
reminded them both of the Carpocratians. Aspects of Christianity had affected the priests
of Antinous, and their practices took on similarities, and Celsus and Origen both agreed
that it was not the general form of Christianity that they resembled, but the peculiarities
of certain heretical sects, including the Marcellians who were direct descendants of the
Doctrine of Carpocrates. In other words, despite Hadrian’s original plan and intentions,
the Religion of Antinous had become Antinomian. Of course we have precious little
evidence to say what Hadrian’s original directives were, we base our presumptions
primarily on Hadrian’s personality, and the Obelisk, and only vaguely on Antinous
himself, who is a completely hidden mystery. But Compare these two excepts, one about
the Priests of Antinous specifically, the other directed against the Gnostics, by Clement
and Origen, contemporaries, who viewed the Religion of Antinous as being almost
indistinguishable from the Gnostics of the school of Carpocrates.

"…For lust is not easily restrained, destitute as it is of fear; and men now observe the
Sacred Nights of Antinous, the shameful character of which the lover who spent them
with Him knew well."
--Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus, Chapter 4

"There are others who have wickedly invented some being as their teacher and demon,
and who wallow about in a great darkness, more unholy and accursed than that of the
companions of the Egyptian Antinous."
--Origen, Against Celsus, Bk. V, 62, 63

On the subject of the Religion of Antinous becoming Antinomian, let us examine the
word used. Anti-nomian means “against law,” and was the term used by Martin Luther to
describe those who had taken his words to what he considered an unpleasant extreme.
“Nomos” is the Greek word for Law, and in Hellenistic Egypt it was employed in the
world to designate a political jurisdiction, a Politikos Nomos, or a Nome, which was
essentially like a modern-day county. Antinoopolis was the capitol of the surrounding
region, responsible for the administration of the nearby villages and towns. It was a
Nomiarchy with a governor, a tax collector and a military commander responsible for the
area. The prominence of the Religion of Antinous also made it the spiritual capitol, so
that the High Priest of Antinous was a religious authority well beyond the doors of the
Temple and outside the border of city. The Catholic Church appointed a Bishop, so that
the Nomiarchy of Antinoopolis was also a Diocese of the Church. There are many ways
to interpret this conjunction of terms, but I would like to offer the most apparent and the
most in keeping with what I am attempting to say about this particular aspect of the
Religion of Antinous. The name and the word, Antinous and Antinomian, are so
surprisingly similar that they bleed into one another, so that Antinous and “Anti-Nomos”
if that is the correct way of putting it, become one and the same. Although the High Priest
of Antinous was the spiritual Nomiarch of Antinoopolis, his god was “Against the Law”
or perhaps against the Diocesan authority of the Bishops who represented the Law of
Moses. This particular interpretation of the term might have been favorable to the
Carpocratians who resided within the city, who were against the steadily increasing
authority of the Church. The Priests of Antinous were the Spiritual Nomiarchs of
Antinoopolis while Hadrian lived, but as time went on their power declined, and after the
Emperor Theodosius made all forms of Paganism illegal in 388 AD, the remaining priests
of Antinous were compelled to embrace Antinomianism or abandon their religion, and
the evidence shows that a small number chose to defy the new law for at least another
hundred years if not longer. Antinous was expressly condemned as a Demon (in the
satanic sense) as was Carpocrates, and yet their believers continued to worship
them…voluntarily becoming devil worshippers. The words of Celsus and Origen,
however, show that many who believed in Antinous had embraced aspects of
Carpocratian-like Antinomianism within the first few decades of the religion, long before
the decree of Theodosius. Whether this Antinomianism was based on the Dionysian or
the Carpocratian influence is a matter of personal taste, but in any case, the Religion of
Antinous was ultimately forced to become “Anti-Nomian” when the law turned against
them, and they chose to continue in their faith anyway.

The fate of the religion of Antinous and of Carpocrates suffered the same end. They were
both targeted as Satanic distortions of the “true” faith, and of subverting the authority of
the Church and were therefore persecuted to the point of extinction. With the conversion
of Constantine, the heretics were outlawed and persecuted as criminals. Theodosius
closed all pagan shrines, and the last publicly open Priests of Antinous, and the last
Gnostics were together put to death, their believers scattered, their books burned and their
message destroyed. Almost simultaneously, the city of Antinoopolis went into decline
and was ultimately abandoned, forgotten and buried in the sand. But the teachings of
Carpocrates, like the statues of Antinous, did not die but lived on, preserved by the
Catholic Church herself, because of their astonishingly sensual and highly disturbing
beauty.

The controversial discovery of the Secret Gospel of Mark, gives Carpocrates new
significance for homosexuals in the modern world. He took direct interest in our
emancipation and expression of love. He encouraged his followers to experience
homosexuality, and he freed his homosexual adherents to live their lives fully and in the
truth of their love-desire, without fear and without shame. Going so far as to (perhaps)
say that through the sacrament of Jesus and the Boy, “Naked man with Naked man,”
homosexuality is sacred, and might even have been part of the hidden teachings of Jesus.
The Secret Gospel even suggests, though it does not explicitly state, the possibility that
Jesus might have been open to homosexuality, an astonishing revelation, one that could
change the world as we know it. Carpocrates is the first Christian philosopher to take
homosexuality with the same depth of seriousness and honor that the ancient Greek
philosophers knew it to hold, probably because he was not really Christian, but more of a
follower of Socrates. In everyway, the sexual revolution that Carpocrates started mirrors
what we claim to be our modern enlightenment. It was not until the courageous spirit of
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” came into Gay Consciousness that the
Stonewall Riot occurred as a rebellion against the Laws against Sodomy. The truth is that
Carpocrates knew all this long ago, and saw that homosexuality is a noble height of
human love (Aphrodite Uranos) and even the Savior Jesus Christ was not ashamed or
hesitant to experience Same-Love, or to be perceived as having experienced it in front of
his shocked disciples. Never once does Jesus mention homosexuality as a sin, and now
given the brief glimpse that the Secret Gospel presents, of Jesus initiating a naked boy
into the sacramental mysteries of “Naked Man against Naked Man” we can be relatively
sure that the Doctrine of Carpocrates was in harmony with this aspect of the truth of Jesus
Christ. Carpocrates had indeed recalled his origin and was like unto Jesus, their words of
love and salvation are parallel rays from the Unknowable Being to our world. In the
Secret Gospel it is as though Carpocrates was the boy, raised from the dead by the Savior.
He took the love that Jesus revealed to him on that night, what the Church of Alexandria
kept hidden away, and inseminated the world with it, and that power has been resurrected
in our time, and this religion of Antinous is an extension of his theology.

Now we are uncovering what was buried, and revealing the light that Carpocrates set
free. For his loving-kindness, and the for the valor of his courage against the forces that
rule over us, Carpocrates is the Patriarch of Libertinism, a Patron Saint of Homosexuality
and a Divinized Mortal in the Religion of Antinous. His connection to the faith of
Antinous and the expansion of his unprecedented doctrine are what make him sacred,
venerable and blessed to our Beloved God. Antinous died and was raised from the dead
and became God. Carpocrates took this phenomenal power, which he witnessed at the
Deification of Antinous, a potential latent within our soul, and showed us how to become
Gods…in this life. He showed us how to overpower the agents of the Cosmocrater
through love, and free our spirit from domination, by steadfast faith in who we are. We
are beholden only to ourselves and to the Unknown, Divine Substance…the seed of the
Monad.

In freeing ourselves from the chains of cosmic fate, we become…"Wandering Stars."


Referred to in the prophecy of the Secret Gospel.

Despite all the slander that is heaped upon his name, we see that Carpocrates never
strayed from the path of Love, no matter how scandalous he may have been. His Doctrine
was not preoccupied with sexual freedom, but was all-pervasive, and applicable to every
aspects of human existence. The sexual freedom of libertinism has gained the most
attention because it is so shocking and so disturbing to those who remain bound by
shame. Time has proven the Doctrine of Carpocrates to be right and true, though
tremendously difficult to maintain, requiring extraordinary “steadfastness and purity” of
faith in absolute freedom in the face of the apparent realities of the world, but his words
and the blood of the Carpocratian Martyrs are vindicated by the our modern
understanding of the human condition of Love on Earth.

Only the concept of self-deification, total union with the Monad, remains
incomprehensible and explosive in its connotations. But if anyone is to touch the fire of
the divine light, then they must become that fire in order know it. God is only self-
conceivable, to know him, one must become him. And it is into this Cloud of Unknowing
that anyone who dares to follow in the footsteps of Carpocrates must subject themselves,
for better or for worse. In the end there will be no discernable difference between good
and evil, and the true forms of all things will be revealed.

We must become Anti-Nous if we are to glimpse the true image of Inner Man, the most
beautiful, perfect being, the boy Narcissus, gazing down into the pool of our drowning
soul, imprisoned here in the abyss. To know Eros we must become Anteros, we must fall
into the Nile, just as Narcissus gave himself to Styx, and Calamus to Carpos, so too must
we give ourselves to Nous.

The Doctrine of Carpocrates is not for everyone…"For not all true things are to be said to
all men." They are dangerous and have the capacity to destroy anyone who takes them
on, and so they should only be approached with extreme caution, like the Mysteries of
Narcissus. Or they should only be approached by one who is prepared to lose everything.

Carpocrates did not teach us how to break the law and get away with it, nor did he
condemn us to a life of self-degradation without scruple. His advice that “souls should
have experience of every kind of life” includes the knowledge of virtue, beauty and an
appreciation of the law of the world. He recommends that we Despise everything and
Love everything simultaneously, that we drive ourselves to the point of madness so as to
open the doors of undifferentiated truth. We should therefore despise all laws and respect
them for what they are…multifaceted, paradoxical, concrete and illusionary
manifestations of Truth, of which we can only perceive a sperm cell of what the
absolutely Hideous-Beauty might actually be, if it is anything at all.

Do as you will, and let others do as they will…shall be the whole of the law.

Like Antinous who fell into the Nile, we are suffocating here in darkness, having plunged
into the cycles of birth and death, having held our breath under the black water of chaos
for as many lives as time and the Archons have sentenced us to suffer. Now the call from
Above and Below is becoming irresistible, and like drowning men, we are born desperate
to rise and leave this place of death and decay behind, because for the first time in
millions of years, we understand that we are not from this place of darkness and we
cannot resist the urge to break through the surface, because we are only visitors
here…who must breath Light to survive.

But it is we who sacrificed our former godliness…Once. We are the sparks of the god
who jumped into the abyss of this world as an act of Suicide…cutting away our splendor
and falling into mortal flesh. We have no one to blame for our misfortune but ourselves,
because it is we who have brought about our own misery. If the world is a place of death
and suffering, it is only because we have made it so. If we wish to change the world, and
our condition in it…we have the capacity to do so, because we are personally responsible
for, and afflicted with, every horror the world over. And likewise we are personally
adorned with and able to kiss everything beautiful with our true lips …Because we are
God!
Here in the grip of the Archons we are ever-changing, passing from birth to death,
knowing pain and suffering, feeling hunger and satiation, prisoners of Lust, Lechery and
Loathing, and all the storms of quietude, desire and hatred that rage over our heart. But
within us is the constant fire, which is not moved nor swayed by the fluctuations of
matter, having no opinion and making no judgment, but is drawn towards every want
without discrimination. It is a strength that is never worn down by time because it is not
born, and it never dies. It a feeling that has no joy, no pain, accepts nothing, rejects
nothing, and is never pleased nor dismayed because it is all-joy, all-pain, all-agreement,
all-disappointment, all-sorrow, and all-hope…a feeling without beginning or end. It does
nothing and leaves nothing undone. It is a presence in all things, and a void composed of
nothing at all. It has absolutely nothing to do with this Universe in which we exist at all,
though it is spread out evenly (like sunlight) “righteously” upon all things and within all
things. It is everything Else, and everything Same and the simplest knowledge, the
gnosis, within ourselves is all that is required to make union, through memory, through
our capacity of Nous and Anti-Nous, and our affection for Sophia, Our Lady Wisdom,
who is called a Whore because we are all pervaded indiscriminately by “All The Suitors”,
and are at every moment depraved and full of every lust, though we are every moment
made perfect, brilliantly pure, and completely as-one with total Goodness, and Godliness,
just as we are now…without any miracle, and with miracles, like galaxies of stars, in
every drop of our virgin blood. This Gnosis is the only salvation that we can ever
accomplish, it is the only Freedom that we can achieve and all (g)notion of good and bad,
of mine and thine crumbles in the face of such a state of wonder and unity as this.

The Hope and the Faith of Carpocrates, is that the power of human opinion is the
Omnipotent will of God, which has no boundary, making no distinction between any
extreme, participating fully without participating in anything particular, Loving all, and
Despising everything...faithfully.

This principle is carved into the graceful images of Antinous, who is portrayed as so
many gods...But is none of them at all. We know nothing about the Real Antinous, except
that he was just a Boy…who became a God.

'Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find,
they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all.
[And after they have reigned they will rest.]"
--The Gospel of Thomas

In Saint Carpocrates let us Marvel,


That we may remember our absolute Freedom
Through the Faith and Love of Antinous.
Antonius Nikias Subia
Flamen Antinoalis, Companion of Antinous, IVvir
Documents on Carpocrates

Irenaeus of Lyon - Against all Heretics, on Carpocrates

Eusebius of Caesarea - History of the Church, On Carpocrates

Clement of Alexandria - ‘Concerning Righteousness’ On Epiphanes

Hippolytus of Rome - quoting Irenaeus

The Bacchanalia - Early Roman Libertinism

The Temple of Antinous

© 2002 Temple of Antinous