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  Astrology and Manichaeism

   MANICHAEISM - the religious doctrine got by the Gnostic ideas created Mani. Astrology played a large role in Manichaeism.
  The Manichaeism which arose in the 3rd century in the Middle East extended in the 3-11th centuries from North Africa to China. At the end of the 4th century the Manichaeism along with Christianity, was the main religion of an era of late antiquity though in the late Roman Empire and Byzantium suffered fierce persecution from the state and orthodox Christianity. The Manichaeism found more favorable circumstances in Central and Central Asia and in the 8-9th centuries became the state religion of Uyghurs. The compositions stating fundamentals of Manichaeism were found during the German expedition at the beginning of our century in Turkestan in Turkic, Uigur, Sughd languages and, after the Manichean library in Medinet Madi (Egypt) was found, as well in Coptic.
   According to the doctrine Mani stated, according to tradition, him (the Manichean canon is made by seven compositions of Mani), in the world from time immemorial existed and was transferred by tradition the truth, but it was to the world in the evidence and urgency only from time to time when the envoys showing this truth came. Before Mani the truth was transferred in different forms, was always partial (and, therefore, it is defective). Such truth was announced by Adam, Noah, Seth, Abraham, etc., but most of all three great apostles - Zaratushtra, Buddha and Jesus Christ. However their role was shown only on locally limited spaces (Buddha - the East, Zaratushtra - Iran, Jesus Christ - the West). Mani - not only "the apostle of Babylonia" and modern to him generations of people, the follower of three great apostles, but also ocumenical apostle of the last generation of people, i.e. extreme and top management in a chain of heavenly envoys - openers of the truth, "seal of prophets", educator. Truth light, borne Mani, is complete, absolute, is darkened by nothing and therefore it is perfect. It is characteristic that in one Chinese source of Mani appears under Fishes, the 12th zodiac sign which is noting the last of 12 millennia making a century of the Universe. The doctrine of a manizm can be considered as the system of theosophic syncretism (though its long time, and partly and today, interpreted as eclectic), in which elements of the different religious and philosophical systems are united in a monolithic design where everything is subordinated to one main goal - rescue. From Zoroastrianism are borrowed the dualistic concept of immemorial fight of two beginnings - Light and Darkness (which can be embodied as in more general, like "good - evil", and more special, like "spirit - body, matter", categories), the transformed cosmological schemes and the main eschatological idea anyway connected with the Iranian concept of eternal time and attempts of creation of a quasihistorical row; from the Buddhism - the doctrine about transformation of souls (sansaric cycles), sharp consciousness of intolerableness of the current situation and need of immediate and constant search of a way to rescue; from Christianity - the doctrine about a paraclete and Jesus Christ's image; elements of the ancient Babylonian heritage and Gnosticism are also included.
   The doctrine of Manichaeism about rescue proceeds from an overall picture of fight of the good and evil in the world. The Iranian concept about beginningless and infinite time is transformed to the scheme of "three times", each of which is characterized by a special ratio of two highest and immemorial principles - light and darkness (the new dogma was designated as "light religion" or "church of justice" from within). "At first" - existence of two initial, eternal and resisting principles: good and evil, light and darkness (or matters) delimited from each other. Spatially the good occupies the North, the East and the West, the evil - the South. Each of these first substantion possesses five emanations, or forms ("dwellings", "aeonas"). "The second time" - mixture of two principles: evil (matter) interferes in the kingdom of light and fight of the forces of good led by the Good father against sons ("archons") of a gloom begins. In the course of this fight the sensual world is also created. "The third time" will come when light is purified from mixture with matter, the good will finally triumph over the evil and residues of matter deprived of divine light will die in the universal fire.
   Good father (Father of greatness, Father of light) is described as the kind master of the kingdom of light who is shown in four forms: Deity, Light, Strength, Wisdom. Sometimes he corresponds to Zurvan, but more often he designated differently. At him five Glories (Mind, Knowledge, Mind, Thought, Discretion) and twelve maidens, the personified virtues (Supreme Power, Wisdom, Victory, Reconciliation, Purity, Truth, Belief, Long-suffering, Frankness, Blessing, Justice, Light). Number 12 is also sacralized in Manichean model of the world: 12 daughters of time, 12 light and 12 dark majesties, 12 great gods, 12 apostles, 12 elements of light, 12 constellations, 12 gate, 12 aeons. Seven highest beings of the kingdom of light (Father of light, Mother of life, First man, Friend of light, Great architect, Live spirit and Third envoy) who engage in combat with darkness forces appear in Manichaeism. As a result of this fight and temporary capture by darkness forces light was mixed with darkness, and the Father of light to exempt light elements from impurity, has to create the visible world. From skins of prostrate demons heaven, usually ten, from bones - mountains, from meat and excrements - lands (four or eight) is created. From the part of the world liberated by the forces of darkness, the Sun and the Month are created are catalysts of divine light: during the increases the Moon accepts souls of the dead, and during falling sends them to the Sun which sends them further, to god (therefore the Sun and the Moon are esteemed as the greatest carriers of light, and Mani - as the full moon deity). From light affected by darkness also stars, wind, fire, water which are set in motion are created. Turning point in fight of light and darkness is appearance of the Third envoy and 12 maidens called by them. Forces of darkness make a desperate attempt to hold light elements in captivity and create two sexes (Adam and Eve) that flesh continued to absorb and hold light. Therefore in the person (microcosm) the same situation of the double mixed light-dark nature, as in the Universe (macrocosmos) is reproduced. But this ratio of two beginnings is identical not everywhere: if in Adam lightful particles prevailed, then Eve was created from darkness elements. Lightful Jesus woke Adam from a deep sleep, expelled the demons protecting him and allowed him to taste a fruit from a tree of life and to learn the good and evil. The "old" person turned into "new", opening of the truth and rescue came nearer, but finally they were found only with the advent of the last envoy of the truth - Mani. Only now the person had an opportunity to carry out the main mission - to separate light elements from elements of darkness and to help the released, "expiated" elements of light to connect with light. Release of elements of light at the human level leads to the victory of light and in the space plan. Final release of spirit from a body, light from darkness, will happen in the last times when the Last Judgement comes true and Earth will be filled with a flame during 1468 years. Particles of light will rise to the sky, and matter and demons will appear in an immense abyss.
   The lack of images of god is characteristic of a Manichean cult, its sense - in prayers and abstinences. The main religious holiday - bema festival in memory of Mani's sufferings.


   Д.Куталев Новая астрологическая энциклопедия 
   Смагина Е. Б. Манихейство // Религии древнего Востока. - М.: Издательская фирма "Восточная литература" РАН, 1995