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An Hypothesis Regarding the Origin of the Modern …

Flower constancy - Revolvy

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THE ORIGIN OF THE MODERN CHRISTIAN WEDDING CEREMONY

Though I leave much unsaid, I must set down and introduce into this narrative the following sample of all Julian's learning and prudence. It so happened that the boldest of the pupils of Apsines had, in a fierce encounter, got the upper hand of Julian's pupils in the course of the war of factions that they kept up. After laying violent hands on them in Spartan fashion, though the victims of their ill-treatment had been in danger of their lives, they prosecuted them as though they themselves were the injured parties. The case was referred to the proconsul, who, showing himself stern and implacable, ordered that their teacher also be arrested, and that all the accused be thrown into chains, like men imprisoned on a charge of murder. It seems, however, that, for a Roman, he was not uneducated or bred in a boorish and illiberal fashion. Accordingly Julian was in court, as he had been ordered, and Apsines was there also, not in obedience to orders but to help the case of the plaintiffs. Now all was ready for the hearing of the case, and the plaintiffs were permitted to enter. The leader of the disorderly Spartan faction was one Themistocles, an Athenian, who was in fact responsible for all the trouble, for he was a rash and headstrong youth and a disgrace to his famous name. The proconsul at once glared fiercely at Apsines, and said: "Who ordered you to come here?" He replied that he had come because he was anxious about his children. The magistrate concealed his real opinion and said no more; and then the prisoners who had been so unfairly treated again came before the court, and with them their teacher. Their hair was uncut and they were in great physical affliction, so that even to the judge they were a pitiful sight. Then the plaintiffs were permitted to speak, and Apsines began to make a speech, but the proconsul interrupted him and said: "This procedure is not approved by the Romans. He who delivered the speech for the prosecution at the first hearing must try his luck at the second also." There was then no time for preparation because of the suddenness of the decision. Now Themistocles had made the speech for the prosecution before, but now on being compelled to speak he changed colour, bit his lips in great embarrassment, looked furtively towards his comrades, and consulted them in whispers as to what they had better do. For they had come into court prepared only to shout and applaud vociferously their teacher's speech in their behalf. Therefore profound silence and confusion reigned, a general silence in the court and confusion in the ranks of the accusers. Then Julian, in a low and pitiful voice said: "Nay, then, give me leave to speak." Whereupon, the proconsul exclaimed: "No, not one of you shall plead, you teachers who have come with your speeches prepared, nor shall anyone of your pupils applaud the speaker; but you shall learn forthwith how perfect and how pure is the justice that the Romans dispense. First let Themistocles finish his speech for the prosecution, and then he whom you think best fitted shall speak in defence." But no one spoke up for the plaintiffs, and Themistocles was a scandal and a disgrace to his great name. When, thereupon, the proconsul ordered that anyone who could should reply to the earlier speech of the prosecution, Julian the sophist said: "Proconsul, in your superlative justice you have transformed Apsines into a Pythagoras, who tardily but very properly has learned how to maintain silence; for Pythagoras long ago (as you are well aware) taught his the Pythagorean manner. But, if you allow one of my pupils to make our defence, give orders for Prohaeresius to be released from his bonds, and you shall judge for yourself whether I have taught him the Attic manner or the Pythagorean." The proconsul granted this request very graciously, as Tuscianus, who was present at the trial, reported to the author, and Prohaeresius came forward from the ranks of the defendants without his fetters before them all, after his master had called out to him not in a loud and piercing voice, such as is used by those who exhort and incite athletes contending for a garland, but still in penetrating accents: "Speak, Prohaeresius! Now is the time to make a speech!" He then first delivered a prooemium of some sort. Tuscianus could not exactly recall it, though he told me its purport. It launched out and soon slid into a pitiable account of their sufferings and he inserted an encomium of their teacher. In this prooemium he let fall only one allusion to a grievance, when he pointed out how headlong the proconsular authority had been, since not even after sufficient proof of their guilt was it proper for them to undergo and suffer such treatment. At this the proconsul bowed his head and was overcome with admiration of the force of his arguments, his weighty style, his facility and sonorous eloquence. Meanwhile they all longed to applaud, but sat cowering as though forbidden to do so by a sign from heaven, and a mystic silence pervaded the place. Then he lengthened his speech into a second prooemium as follows (for this part Tuscianus remembered): "If, then, men may with impunity commit any injustice and bring accusations and win belief for what they say, before the defence is heard, so be it! Let our city be enslaved to Themistocles! " Then up jumped the proconsul, and shaking his purple-edged cloak (the Romans call it a "tebennos "), that austere and inexorable judge applauded Prohaeresius like a schoolboy. Even Apsines joined in the applause, not of his own free will, but because there is no fighting against necessity. Julian his teacher could only weep. The proconsul ordered all the accused, but of the accusers their teacher only, to withdraw, and then, taking aside Themistocles and his Spartans, he reminded them forcibly of the floggings of Lacedaemon, and added besides the kind of flogging in vogue at Athens. Julian himself won a great reputation by his own eloquence, and also through the fame of his disciples, and when he died at Athens he left to his pupils a great occasion for competing over his funeral oration.

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Now there was one Philometor, a kinsman of hers, who, overcome by her beauty and eloquence, and recognizing the divinity of her nature, fell in love with her; and his passion possessed him and completely overmastered him. Not. only was he completely conquered by it but she also felt its onslaught. So she said to Maximus, who was one of the most distinguished pupils of Aedesius and was moreover his kinsman: "Maximus, pray find out what ailment I have, that I may not be troubled by it." When he inquired: "Why what ails you?" she replied: "When Philometor is with me he is simply Philometor, and in no way different from the crowd. But when I see that he is going away my heart within me is wounded and tortured till it tries to escape from my breast. Do you exert yourself on my behalf," she added, "and so display your piety." When he had heard this, Maximus went away puffed up with pride as though he were now associating with the gods, because so wonderful a woman had put such faith in him. Meanwhile Philometor pursued his purpose, but Maximus having discovered by his sacrificial lore what was the power that Philometor possessed, strove to counteract and nullify the weaker spell by one more potent and efficacious. When Maximus had completed this rite he hastened to Sosipatra, and bade her observe carefully whether she had the same sensations in future. But she replied that she no longer felt them, and described to Maximus his own prayer and the whole ceremony; she also told him the hour at which it took place, as though she had been present, and revealed to him the omens that had appeared. And when he fell to the earth in amazement and proclaimed Sosipatra visibly a goddess, she said: "Rise, my son. The gods love you if you raise your eyes to them and do not lean towards earthly and perishable riches." On hearing this he went away more uplifted than before with pride, seeing that he now had clear and certain proof of the woman's divine nature. Near the door he was met by Philometor who was coming in in high spirits with many of his friends, and with a loud voice Maximus called out to him from some distance: "Friend Philometor, I adjure you in Heaven's name, cease to burn wood to no purpose." Perhaps he said this with some inner knowledge of the malpractices in which the other was engaged. Thereupon Philometor was overawed by Maximus, believed him to be divine, and ceased his plotting, even ridiculing the course of action that he had entered on before. And for the future Sosipatra beheld Philometor with pure and changed eyes, though she admired him for so greatly admiring herself. Once, for example, when they were all met at her house----Philometor however was not present but was staying in the country----the theme under discussion and their inquiry was concerning the soul. Several theories were propounded, and then Sosipatra began to speak, and gradually by her proofs disposed of their arguments; then she fell to discoursing on the descent of the soul, and what part of it is subject to punishment, what part immortal, when in the midst of her bacchie and frenzied flow of speech she became silent, as though her voice had been cut off, and after letting a short interval pass she cried aloud in their midst: "What is this? Behold my kinsman Philometor riding in a carriage! The carriage has been overturned in a rough place in the road and both his legs are in danger! However, his servants have dragged him out unharmed, except that he has received wounds on his elbows and hands, though even these are not dangerous. He is being carried home on a stretcher, groaning loudly." These were her words, and they were the truth, for so it actually was. By this all were convinced that Sosipatra was omnipresent, and that, even as the philosophers assert concerning the gods, nothing happened without her being there to see. She died leaving the three sons of whom she had spoken. The names of two of them I need not record. But Antoninus was worthy of his parents, for he settled at the Canobic mouth of the Nile and devoted himself wholly to the religious rites of that place, and strove with all his powers to fulfil his mother's prophecy. To him resorted all the youth whose souls were sane and sound, and who hungered for philosophy, and the temple was filled with young men acting as priests. Though he himself still appeared to be human and he associated with human beings, he foretold to all his followers that after his death the temple would cease to be, and even the great and holy temples of Serapis would pass into formless darkness and be transformed, and that a fabulous and unseemly gloom would hold sway over the fairest things on earth. To all these prophecies time bore witness, and in the end his prediction gained the force of an oracle. From this family----for it is not my purpose to write an , as Hesiod's poem is called----there survived certain effluences as though from the stars, and these were dispersed and distributed among various classes of professed philosophers who made a profit out of their affinity with genuine philosophy, and they spent most of their time running risks in the law courts, like Socrates in the porch of the King Archon. Such was their contempt for money and their detestation of gold! In fact their philosophy consisted in wearing the philosopher's cloak and constantly alluding to Sosipatra, while Eustathius was ever on their lips; moreover they carried other obvious and external signs, big wallets so crammed with books that they would have laden several camels. They had learned these very carefully by heart. And these books of theirs anyhow bore upon none of the ancient philosophers, but were wills and copies of wills, contracts of sales and suchlike documents, which are highly esteemed in that life which is prone to dissolute folly and licence. Thus it proved that Sosipatra could also divine correctly what should happen after these events. But I need not write down even the names of these men, for my narrative is eager to lead on to those that are not unworthy but worthy. An exception must be made of one of her sons; his name was Antoninus, and I mentioned him just now; he crossed to Alexandria, and then so greatly admired and preferred the mouth of the Nile at Canobus, that he wholly dedicated and applied himself to the worship of the gods there, and to their secret rites. He made rapid progress towards affinity with the divine, despised his body, freed himself from its pleasures, and embraced a wisdom that was hidden from the crowd. On this matter I may well speak at greater length. He displayed no tendency to theurgy and that which is at variance with sensible appearances, perhaps because he kept a wary eye on the imperial views and policy which were opposed to these practices. But all admired his fortitude and his unswerving and inflexible character, and those who were then pursuing their studies at Alexandria used to go down to him to the seashore. For, on account of its temple of Serapis, Alexandria was a world in itself, a world consecrated by religion: at any rate those who resorted to it from all parts were a multitude equal in number to its own citizens, and these, after they had worshipped the god, used to hasten to Antoninus, some, who were in haste, by land, while others were content with boats that plied on the river, gliding in a leisurely way to their studies. On being granted an interview with him, some would propound a logical problem, and were forthwith abundantly fed with the philosophy of Plato; but others, who raised questions as to things divine, encountered a statue. For he would utter not a word to any one of them, but fixing his eyes and gazing up at the sky he would lie there speechless and unrelenting, nor did anyone ever see him lightly enter into converse with any man on such themes as these.

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Of I have spoken earlier, and indeed the author of this narrative did not fail to see the man with his own eyes, but while still a youth met him in his old age and heard his voice, which was such as one might have heard from Homer's Athene or Apollo. The very pupils of his eyes were, so to speak, winged; he had a long grey beard, and his glance revealed the agile impulses of his soul. There was a wonderful harmony in his person, both to the eye and ear, and all who conversed with him were amazed as to both these faculties, since one could hardly endure the swift movements of his eyes or his rapid flow of words. In discussion with him no one ventured to contradict him, not even the most experienced and most eloquent, but they yielded to him in silence and acquiesced in what he said as though it came from the tripod of an oracle; such a charm sat on his lips. He came of an honourable family and possessed ample means; and he had two lawful brothers whom he kept from holding the very highest rank because he held it himself. They were Claudianus who settled in Alexandria and taught there, and Nymphidianus who became very distinguished as a sophist at Smyrna.

Maximus was one of those who had been saturated with the wisdom of Aedesius; moreover he received the honour of being the teacher of the Emperor Julian. After all his relatives had been put to death by Constantius, as I have recorded with more details in my account of Julian, and the whole family had been stripped bare, Julian alone was left alive, being despised on the score of his tender years and his mild disposition. Nevertheless, eunuchs from the palace took charge of him, and were assigned to keep watch so that he might not waver from the Christian faith. But even in the face of these difficulties he displayed the greatness of his genius. For he had their books so thoroughly by heart that they fretted at the scantiness of their erudition, since there was nothing that they could teach the boy. Now since they had nothing to teach him and Julian had nothing to learn from them, he begged his cousin's permission to attend the schools of the sophists and lectures on philosophy. He, as the gods so willed, permitted this, because he wished Julian to browse among books and to have leisure for them, rather than leave him to reflect on his own family and his claim to empire. After he had obtained this permission, since ample and abundant wealth from many sources was at his disposal, he used to travel about accompanied by the emperor's suspicions and a bodyguard, and went where he pleased. Thus it was that he came to Pergamon, following on the report of the wisdom of Aedesius. But the latter was by this time far on in years, and his bodily strength was failing. First and foremost of all his students were Maximus, about whom I am now writing, Chrysanthius of Sardis, Priscus the Thesprotian or Molossian, and Eusebius who came from Myndus, a city of Caria. On being allowed to study under Aedesius, Julian, who was old for his boyish years, in amazement and admiration of his vigour and the divine qualities of his soul, refused to leave him, but like those who had been bitten by the snake in the story he longed to drink down learning open-mouthed and at a gulp, and to win his end used to send Aedesius gifts worthy of an emperor. But Aedesius would not accept these, and having summoned the youth he said: "Well, thou also knowest my soul, for thou hast listened many a time to my teachings; but thou seest how its instrument is affected now that that whereby it is connected and held together is dissolving into that from which it was composed. But if thou dost desire to accomplish aught, beloved child of wisdom as thou art, such signs and tokens of thy soul do I discern, go to those who are true sons of mine. From their store fill thyself to overflowing with every kind of wisdom and learning. Once admitted to their mysteries thou shalt be utterly ashamed to have been born and to be called a man. I could have wished that Maximus also were here, but he has been dispatched to Ephesus. Of Priscus too I should have said the same, but he also has sailed to Greece. But there remain of my disciples Eusebius and Chrysanthius, and if thou wilt study with them thou wilt cease to harass my old age."

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I found the following story in a small Dutch paranormal magazine Paravisie from the 1970's. It appeared in the column of reactions from readers, letters that Andre Groote would comment on (translation from the Dutch, with his permission):
"In regards to the report in Paravisie, 4th year, number 5 about "The Spirit by the Book Shelf", I want to tell you about my own experience, a remarkable meeting with a strange bronze colored being at the coast of Costa Brava in the neighborhood of Blanes while on vacation in June 1987. [my own note: Costa Brava is a coastal region of northeastern Catalonia, Spain].
"I always went for a walk in the early morning hours. June 22nd, at approximately 7h30, I suddenly saw a man walking up straight out of the sea crossing the beach in my direction. He asked me where he was in impeccable and clear Dutch. I told him that we were on the beach in the neighborhood of Blanes. When he came out of the sea water, he was not wet, he didn't wear an oxygen cylinder or diver's glasses. His skin color was bronze, he was approximately 1,80 meters tall, and his eyes were of a chicory flower blue. Above his eyes he had thick very white eye brows. His hair was short and cut towards his back. His clothing was silvery grey. It resembled a work suit. His legs were in very white boots up to his knees. I asked him where he so suddenly came from, what his name was, and what human race he belonged to. He said that his name was Rama Manoe and that he belonged to the sixth human root race that once had lived on earth about 7,000 years ago in the Middle east. The civilization where he and his people had once lived on earth is called Cordemia. [my note: root race is a term used in theosophy]
"They had a supertechnological and high cultural civilization. When their land was swept away by a big, local flood, they were able by means of their supertechnological knowledge, to reach the oceans of the earth, and they built themselves a new existence on the bottom of it. After their disappearance, beings of the fourth human root race came to earth from space, after they had expelled a couple of thousand other beings from the fifth human root race from earth because they were different in character and form.
"On my question of what they actually were doing at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, he said that they were engaged in a large land project, because the earth minerals are loosing their energy, what can be dangerous for planet earth. By the decreasing energy of the minerals the earth might turn slower around its axis. Therefore they are doing all they can to make the earth turn faster, and they work with all their knowledge and technology at large new pieces of land and new minerals. Thus they are busy to make new minerals, land, to bring it up at a later time. All this many of us will experience, when it will happen. In the mean while, I took a cigarette from my right pocket, and he reached out his left hand, and the big red brilliant stone on his ring opened and showed a mini fire red glowing rod. He said that I could light my cigarette with this light-rod in order to cease with smoking, because it was very bad for my health and for the atmosphere in which we are living. He also told me that many millions of his people live on earth among us humans and there they do many good things. He also told or foretold me personal, surprising things which all have come true.
"After we had conversed for about an hour, we departed in good spirits. As a souvenir he gave me a piece of mineral and a strange coin which I have kept as relics. After I went back home, I often had dreams of things that would happen, as the stranger in Spain foretold me."
Dhr. T.L.S. from Z.
In a later issue of the magazine, there was a follow up letter from the same person:
"I would like to react on my own story in the December issue of Paravisie.
"After our meeting, on the third day, in my hotel room, when I was in a deep sleep, I had an interesting visionary dream out-of-the-body experience. I saw my body lying in the hotel bed, quietly breathing, and as if attracted by a mysterious force, I floated out of the hotel window. I went over large pieces of land to an island which had the form of a flying saucer. Nearby this island, I plunged into the blue profound depths. This island was Eastern Island in the Pacific Ocean. I arrived in a large room, many kilometers long, and I was received by a radiant female being. She was dressed in fire-red clothing embroidered with gold flowers and jewels. Her skin was bronze of color, her eyes chestnut brown. She had long wavy hair that reached to just above her shoulders. Her legs had gold colored groin boots. She was approximately 1.65 meters tall. She also was of the sixth human root race. She told me that her name was Venosia Shea and that she had been sent by the lords of the supreme knowing scientific college from the former Barata country to tell me everything I desired to know. Many members of this college had very high functions on earth, and I had served them in my many of my previous lives.
"She told me interesting stories of that island above us that we know as Eastern Island. She told me its history, why all those stone statues were there. She also told me about the people of Atlantis who once had taught in large mystery schools, and she told me that they live again on earth now, and they are not older than forty-five years. Once they lived as magicians, astrologers, parapsychologists, clairvoyants and so on, in Atlantis. Now they they have been given another opportunity to take up their lost occupation.
"After I had seen a lot, I wanted to go back to my body. And immediately after my departure, I woke up in my bed with a blunt feeling in my head and heavily sweating."

On hearing this, Julian did not even then leave the philosopher, but for the greater part of his time he devoted his attention to Eusebius and Chrysanthius. Now Chrysanthius had a soul akin to that of Maximus, and like him was passionately absorbed in working marvels, and he withdrew himself in the study of the science of divination, and in other respects also had a very similar character. But Eusebius, at least when Maximus was present, used to avoid precise and exact divisions of a disputation and dialectical devices and subtleties; though when Maximus was not there he would shine out like a bright star, with a light like the sun's; such was the facility and charm that flowered in his discourses. Chrysanthius too was there to applaud and assent, while Julian actually reverenced Eusebius. At the close of his exposition Eusebius would add that these are the only true realities, whereas the impostures of witchcraft and magic that cheat the senses are the works of conjurors who are insane men led astray into the exercise of earthly and material powers. The sainted Julian frequently heard the closing words, and at last took Chrysanthius aside, and said: "If the truth is in you, dear Chrysanthius, tell me plainly what is the meaning of this epilogue that follows his exposition? " Having reflected deeply and with prudence, he said: "The wise thing for you to do will be to inquire this not of me but of himself." Julian listened, took the hint and acted on it, and regarded Chrysanthius as little short of divine on account of what he had said. Then when the next lecture took place, Eusebius ended with the same words as before, and Julian boldly asked him what was the meaning of the epilogue that he perpetually recited. Thereupon Eusebius spread the sails of the eloquence that was his by nature, and giving free rein to his powers of speech said: "Maximus is one of the older and more learned students, who, because of his lofty genius and superabundant eloquence scorned all logical proof in these subjects and impetuously resorted to the acts of a madman. Not long since, he invited us to the temple of Hecate and summoned many witnesses of his folly. When we had arrived there and had saluted the goddess: 'Be seated,' said he, 'my well-beloved friends, and observe what shall come to pass, and how greatly I surpass the common herd.' When he had said this, and we had all sat down, he burned a grain of incense and recited to himself the whole of some hymn or other, and was so highly successful in his demonstration that the image of the goddess first began to smile, then even seemed to laugh aloud. We were all much disturbed by this sight, but he said: 'Let none of you be terrified by these things, for presently even the torches which the goddess holds in her hands shall kindle into flame.' And before he could finish speaking the torches burst into a blaze of light. Now for the moment we came away amazed by that theatrical miracle-worker. But you must not marvel at any of these things, even as I marvel not, but rather believe that the thing of the highest importance is that purification of the soul which is attained by reason." However, when the sainted Julian heard this, he said: "Nay, farewell and devote yourself to your books. You have shown me the man I was in search of." After saying this he kissed the head of Chrysanthius and started for Ephesus. There he had converse with Maximus, and hung on to him and laid fast hold on all that he had to teach. Maximus persuaded him to summon thither the divine Chrysanthius also, and when this had been done the two of them barely sufficed to satisfy the boy's great capacity for acquiring this kind of lore.

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