The neophyte stood in front of the altar with a large divine imagine facing her. On the alter was a folded white robe with a sword upon it. A initiated member of the inner circle lit white candles and incense while another switched on a powerful twin light to illuminate the divinely image. The highest member of the inner circle then took the sword, and preceded with the ritual initiation of the neophyte into the inner circle of the ancient mysteries.(Markides 124)
This scene invokes the imagination to think of Freemasonry, fraternal organizations and even Witchcraft. This is a ritual steeped in the esoteric world of mysteries, but yet it is seemingly Christian! This is the world of Spyros Sathi, the Magus of Strovolos. A man of great spirituality and wisdom. He is known in his region as a great healer, and is highly revered for his gift.
Today he coexists with the Christian church who would have most definitely sent the inquisitioner after him in the past. Although Spyros Sathi is a Christian holy man, is teachings are a swirl of Gnostic Mysticism is a spiritual discipline aiming at a union with the divine through meditation and contemplation. (Webster’s 466)
It has long played apart in religious traditions in every part of the world. “Those who claim to have actually experienced this direct revelation constitutes an elite tradition which transcends the boundary lines of individual religions, cultures and languages.” (Adhayananda 1) There are many Mystic Schools of thought, but some of the more well known are; Ancient Egyptian, Cabalistic, Tantric, Yogic, Sufism, Alchemy and Gnostic. Spyros Sathi, also known as Daskalos, seems to work with all these traditions, especially Gnosticism. Of course I must add that there’s always blurred boundaries between these traditions because they all inter link in various aspects.
Daskalos transcends these boundaries, and uses these traditions as an Daskalos is greatly influenced by the Gnostic-Christian legacy. His teachings mirror that of the Gnostic gospels. It was Simon Magus who first brought Gnosticism to light in the apostolic era. (Picknett & Prince 316) The first clue to Gnostic thought in Daskalos’ teachings is his invisible master, Yohannan. “Daskalos went on to explain that Yohannan was none other than Jesus’ disciple, John the evangelist, who spoke through Daskalos’ body.” (Maekides 6)
The fact that John the evangelist is Daskalos’ invisible master is very significant because John the evangelist was supposedly recipient of Jesus’ secret teachings. (Pickett & Price 333) These teachings are what have come to light in the “Gnostic Gospels”, found in the Egyptian desert, and date back to the fourth century.(Pagels xvi-xvii)
These versions of the canonical gospels are very Gnostic in verse, and it is well known that the New Testament was not complied until 325 CE at the council of Nicaea by bias Catholic priest. Daskalos seems to be teaching those secret teachings of Jesus, which greatly differ from the current popular Christian doctrines. Another apparent correlation between gnosticism and Daskalos’ teachings is the way each views the role of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus. In a Gnostic writing, Judas was held to be a man far advanced in the gnosis. “Judas’s ‘betrayal’ was in fact an act of complicity with Christ’s purpose, and he thus contributed to the scheme of salvation.” (Holroyd 48)
Daskalos has some very similar words about Judas; “The role of Judas is something within the Divine Plan because it facilitates its unfolding.” (Markides 115) Although not as pronounced, but still worth mentioning is how the apostle Peter is “I remember Peter was rough-looking, blondish, with heavy arms. He always held a stick, chasing people away from Jesus. Peter was envious of Yohannan because of his education. He apparently had an inferiority complex because he was illiterate. I remember that Yahannan would smile and shake his head whenever he would see Peter with the stick in his hand driving people and children away from master.” (Markides 120)
Although Daskalos is not informing us of some great new revelation in the personality of Peter , he has always been viewed as , for lack of better words, the “macho man” of the disciples, the fact that Daskalos makes this statement in reference to John the evangelist is! Lynn Pickett and Clive Prince write about the great occult scholar A.E. Waite, in their “The presence of a secret tradition within Christianity that was behind the whole concept of legends also recognize the alchemical, hermetic and Gnostic elements in the stories.”
Although he [Waite] was certain that there are strong hints about the existence of such a ‘hidden church’ in the Grail legends, he does not come to any firm conclusion about its nature, but he does give a prominent place to what he called the ‘Johannine Tradition’. He refers to a long-held idea in esoteric circles of a mystical school of Christianity that was founded by John the Evangelist, based on the secret teachings he had been given by Jesus.
This arcane knowledge did nor appear in the outward or exoteric Christianity that came down through the teachings Could Daskalos be of this same school of thought? I think there is some indications of this subtly hidden in Daskalos’ teachings. Daskalos also uses alchemical symbolism in his teachings. He talks about transmuting silver into gold and vice-versa. He seems to be explaining a universal, metaphysical law on personal transformation. He tells a story of someone he knew that heard he was able to make gold. “After learning of the experiment,[this person] knocked at his door carrying along several bars of lead. He wanted Daskalos to transform them into gold. Daskalos got angry and sent him away.” (Markides 194)
Being that Daskalos got angry at this person shows that there is a underlying message of alchemy. More than just simply creating gold out of lead. This has always been the lore of the Alchemist; to transmute lead into gold, but there’s an underlying message here. “It was made very plain that alchemy was just as much to do with self-mastery as with mastery of the physical laws of nature, and that neither could be achieved without patience, observation and devotion.” (Gilchrist 7)
Although Daskalos can actually transmute metals into gold, that is not is point. His point is that he uses the analogy of transforming something into gold as a metaphor for self transformation or enlightenment. Daskalos, the Magus of Strovolos carried on an age-old tradition of esoteric Christian mysteries, and his teachings are still being taught by faithful followers. His teachings were most likely in the esoteric tradition for a reason. Could it have posed a direct threat to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches?
Gnosticism, along with other traditions like alchemy have long been deemed to be heresies to the church. Daskalos carried on this Gnostic message in the esoteric art in order that the truth remained obtainable for those who seek it! As Jesus himself put it so elegantly; “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)
- Abhayananda, S. History of Mysticism: The unchanging Testament. Olympia: Atma Books, 1937.
- Gilchrist, Cherry. The Elements of Alchemy. Rockport: Element Books, Inc., 1991
- Holroyd, Stuart. The Elements of Gnosticism. Rockport: Element Books, Inc., 1994..
- Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels. New York: Vintage Books , 1979
- Markides, Kyriacos C. The Magus of Strovolos. London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1985
- Picknett, Lynn., and Clive Prince. The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the Indentity of Christ. New York: Touchstone, 1998.
- “Mysticism.” Webster’s New World College Dictionary. 1997 ed.
- The Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1952.