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Baptized with Fire: Proclus and Simonian Theosophy on the Symbolism of Fire and Water

“I baptize you with water (υδορ), but (…) he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost (Paraklêtos) and with fire (pyro or πῦρ)”

LUKE 3:16

Iaonnes baptizes Iesous with water, and it goes on to say that Iesous will baptize you with the FIRE, but this fire is the higher knowledge, or Gnosis.

The Meaning of Fire in Baptism

Is it the fire on Mount Sinai in the Mosaic account? Pyro or πῦρ, the intelligible fire of the Ionian school? In the theology of Proclus, the fire is the first-principle in “Creation,” and this “Fire Beyond” was in its paternity, intellectual, and thus Mind. Its triadic power (δυναμις) was diffused through Matter. It was taught that the Deity is reached through Mind, and is nourished by its own power.

Thus man has to nourish this power that is also in them. This DEITY — the Mind of all Minds was represented by Seven Powers and geometric figures, from the Monad, the Duad, Triad to the Hebdomad. All issue from the FIRE in the Great Depth, Pleroma.

“All things are the progeny of one fire.
The Father perfected all things, and delivered them over
To the second Mind, whom all nations of men call the first.”
(Isaac Preston Cory. The Chaldæn Oracles: Ancient Fragments, Z. Psell. 24.–Plet. 30., 2nd ed., 1832.)

The Six Roots of the Aeons (Powers) in the Plêroma of the Simonian School as in the “Philosophumena

Fire (πῦρ)*
Mind (νους) or Heaven (ουρανος)
Thought (επινοια) or Earth (γη)
Voice (φονη) or Sun (ηλιος)
Name (ονομα) or Moon (σεληνη)
Reason (λογισμος) or Air (αηρ)
Reflection (ενθυμησις) or Water (υδορ)

All corresponding to the Seven Sefirot of the Jewish Kabbalah (see G.R.S. Mead, Simon Magus, 1892.)

This fire (Agni) was represented under the fire-gods of Phoenicia, Samothrace, and the ancient Babylonians.

The Meaning of Water in Baptism 

In the Mysteries, the water symbolized the lower two stages of the purificatory processes. These stages replenish and regenerate the physical body. The trial by fire was the last stage where it alone could regenerate the inner spiritual man. It was the self-conqueror, who could perceive by means of Self, the abiding SELF or Root Thought. Therein dwells the indestructible, free and beyond the ordinary senses of perception. This is the teaching on the Logos, the “Hidden Fire” (κρυπτός), the Archeus.

It is beyond Name and Form.

“Pray not! the darkness will not brighten! Ask
Nought from the Silence, for it cannot speak!
Vex not your mournful minds with pious pains!
Ah! Brothers, Sisters seek
Nought from the helpless gods by gift and hymn,
Nor bribe with blood, nor feed with fruit and cakes!
Within yourselves deliverance must be sought;
Each man his prison makes.”

(Edwin Arnold, The Light of Asia)

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