The flow here seems to be that if a prophet were to appear he must be the incarnation of one of the prophets from the past and so Jesus is asking the disciples who the people think has incarnated as Jesus. The idea of the reincarnation of the prophets is taken for granted and the sole point of the question is to find out who the multitudes believe him to be. These scriptures indicate that, at least to Jesus and the disciples, the concept of reincarnation was common fare. Herod also heard that others were saying one of the prophets of long ago had reincarnated. This again indicates that such a belief in reincarnation was common at that time. Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. Luke 9:7-8, NIV
In the first five hundred years of Christianity, reincarnation was most certainly on the main stage. It was a prominent and well-respected merchant in the bazaar of Christian theology. A significant number of early church pillars such as St. Augustine, Clement of Alexandria, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Justin Martyr, and St. Jerome believed in the doctrine of reincarnation. In his Confessions, St. Augustine ponders the common sense viability of reincarnation: Did my infancy succeed another age of mine that dies before it? Was it that which I spent within my mother's womb? . . . And what before that life again, O God of my joy, was I anywhere or in any body? Confessions of St. Augustine, Edward Pusey, translator, Book I. There is one early church father who is the central figure in this complex story of intrigue and deception. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Origen (C.E. 185-254) was the most prominent, most distinguished and most influential of the early church fathers. We would do well to consider the enormity of this statement. The Encyclopedia Britannica also declares that he was the most prolific writer and theologian of early Christianity with works numbering around 6,000. St. Jerome asks, "Which of us can read all that he has written?" It is important to understand that Origen's story, is not about the trials and tribulations of an obscure backwoods rogue theologian. How such an important and prominent luminary receded into the blackness of obscurity is a fascinating story and underscores the ego's perennial effort to have its own way.
The doctrine of reincarnation was banished because it gives power and authority to the people. Reincarnation contradicted the aspirations of a few bishops and deacons who felt they alone should dispense the truth to the multitudes. This authoritarian strangle-hold is strengthened by the doctrine of "one chance-one life" because a person who wrongly chose to think for themselves, dismissing the authority of the hierarchy, would not get another chance to put things aright if they guessed wrongly. The position of the hierarchy is that eternal damnation without parole would be the irrevocable fate of those who dared to question the hierarchy's authority.
Jesus follows with a long commentary and tells Judas that even though he (Jesus) is giving Judas (and others) special insight there are yet even more things which Jesus will not reveal to them because they are not ready for them. That would make two layers of insight beyond the multitudes. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. John 16:12, KJV There are hidden teachings which Jesus discussed openly with the disciples but not with the masses simply because the masses were not spiritually prepared. To do so would have been to cast pearls before swine. How could a barnyard animal appreciate the value of a pearl? Paul indicates that he too adjusts the directness of his teachings according to the understanding of the audience. Paul clearly states that there are teachings which he holds back because the listeners lack the spiritual depth to comprehend it. Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, NIV Today what remains of Paul's teachings, which are his public letters, are milk for spiritual infants. The "meat" was not recorded as open letters to churches but were taught by Paul directly to those whom he considered qualified. His revelation of Melchizedek is another indication of this. The Holy Kabbalah is the hidden or secret tradition of Judaism not because it was forbidden but because it requires a high degree of spiritual maturity and insight to grasp. The Kabbalah is solid spiritual food that cannot be given to milk-drinking babes. Also, early Kabbalists did not want the teachings corrupted and perverted by well meaning but immature souls. In centuries past, one had to prove worthiness to be taught the Kabbalah. The divine teaching and the spiritual practices such as ecstatic communion with God and meditation were transmitted orally under the careful and watchful guidance of an accomplished master much like the guru/disciple relationship that exists between Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic Sufi masters and their disciples. For the most part, the Kabbalah was first committed to print and published in the Middle Ages releasing it for the first time into the grasp of the secular body of mankind. Today the Kabbalah is studied and practiced by many Jews and it holds the doctrinal center stage for Hasidic Jews. Hebrew theology was divided into three aspects which are the law, the soul of the law and the soul of the soul of the law. The law was taught to every Jew; the soul of the law, or Mishna, was revealed to Rabbis; while the soul of the soul of the law, the Kabbalah, was revealed only to the highest initiates. We have just read that Jesus and Paul both referred to knowledge that is given to the many as distinct from knowledge that is given to the few. According to Kabbalistic history, the teachings of the Kabbalah were given to a school of angels prior to the fall of man. The angels later revealed these teachings to Adam so that the fallen state of mankind might be redeemed. Specifically, the angel Raziel was sent from heaven by God to tutor Adam in the divine principles of the Kabbalah. Various angels were then sent to the Jewish patriarchs to clarify and intensify the understanding of this profound divine science. Shem was taught by the angel Tophiel, Raphael taught Isaac, Metatron taught Moses, and Michael taught David. Solomon was also a very high initiate in Kabbalistic wisdom.
The Kabbalistic torch was passed from Adam to Noah and then to Abraham who immigrated to Egypt where he allowed a portion of the divine doctrine to be revealed to the Egyptians. Moses, who was adept in all the wisdom of Egypt, first learned the Kabbalah there but became most proficient in it while wandering for forty years in the wilderness. Moses also initiated the Seventy Elders into the way of the Kabbalah which they, in turn, transmitted orally to their students. In centuries past the teachings of the Kabbalah were closely guarded but the sacred texts also predicted a time when the teachings could be accessed by anyone. Today the Kabbalah is experiencing a tremendous resurgence of popularity and is being taught by Rabbis in living room study groups or classes offered through local synagogues. Non-Jews are also flocking to Kabbalah classes being held in local libraries and adult education programs. While most mainstream Jews in our modern world do not court reincarnation, Kabbalists are unshakably wedded to it. The three greatest books of Kabbalism are the Sepher Yetzirah, The Book of Formation; the Sepher ha Zohar, The Book of Splendor; and the Apocalypse, The Book of Revelation. The following is a quote from the Sephar ha Zohar. The souls must re-enter the Absolute, from whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this end they must develop the perfections; the germ of which is planted in them. And if they have not developed these traits in this one life, then they must commence another, a third, and so forth. They must go on like this until they acquire the condition that allows them to associate again with God. The Zohar The "germ" that is planted in them which leads to the "perfections" is the I AM; it is our oneness in Christ.
Originally posted by cenpuppie
Yea, so.. is it good or bad that i already think like this dude? I mean, the only thing i want outta this life is a spiritual enlightenment. If i could mediate all day under a tree, i'd do it. And when i think about what I've seen and heard, i am so much trying to attain it.
Thanks MamaJ, this thread adds so many pieces to the puzzle. I got more questions but that is what alone time is for. Everyone has to seek the answers their own way. Whoever said there is only one path. 7 Billion people, 7 Billion different ways.
in 325 AD, the first Christian council was called at Nicaea to bring the stories of twin brothers, Jesus 'the Rabbi' and Judas Khrestus into one deity that we now know as Jesus Christ. Tony says they were not born of virgin birth but to Nabatean Arab Mariamne Herod (now known as the Virgin Mary) and fathered by Tiberius ben Panthera, a Roman Centurion. The brothers were raised in the Essene community and became Khrists of their faith. Rabbi Jesus later was initiated in Egypt at the highest of levels similar to the 33rd degree of Freemasonry of which many Prime ministers and Presidents around the world today are members. He then later married three wives, one of whom we know as a Mary Magdalene, a Druidic Princess, stole the Torah from the temple and moved to Lud, now London. Tony believes the reason Jesus stole the Torah was that he said it contained "a very special secret", which he was going to reveal that secret to the world. He was stoned to death and the Torah taken from him before he could. The elder brother, Judas Khrestus, with his "Khrestian" followers conspired to take the throne of Rome, his royal birthright, and was captured, tried, and was sentenced to be crucified. (The "Khrestians" and the Essenic army, the Nazarenes, would today be likened to terrorists.) At the trial, Judas exercised his royal birthright to have a replacement in Simon of Cyrene (Luke 23:41) and then was sold as a slave to live out his days as a carpenter in India. Rabbi Jesus spent a considerable amount of time at the Palace of the British in Rome and sometime around 48 AD, he left for Egypt to pursue his greatest esoteric goal. The spiritual knowledge from his secret education in the Essene and Druid movements was soon to be elevated to the highest level possible - initiation into the innermost rite of the Egyptian temples.
Originally posted by jhill76
reply to post by MamaJ
After my son died from his long battle with Leukemia we had Baptist ministers who told my now ex husband that Joshua may have gotten sick due to his sins.
Typical of pastors not knowing, that in which they teach.
The work, "Shaar HaGilgulim," as the title reveals, is about the Torah concept of reincarnation. Based primarily on the Zohar in Parashat Mishpatim where gilgulim are discussed, it is from the writings of the master Kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, zt"l (1534-1572), otherwise known as the 'Arizal.' The book was recorded by his foremost disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital, zt"l, and amended by Rabbi Shmuel Vital, his son. As well as outline principles of personal rectification and reincarnation, this work reveals the spiritual roots of many of the great Torah scholars of the past. Furthermore, it often provides vital information about the future in terms of helping one understand the challenges to be expected throughout Jewish history and particularly at the 'End-of-Days.' Our new annotated English rendition was translated by Rabbi Yitzchak Bar Chaim. We have divided the lengthier of its 42 chapters (in the original called: hakdomot - "Introductions") into a number of sections. The first eleven chapters were edited and annotated by Rabbi Shabtai Teicher of blessed memory, a respected Ari Kabbala scholar in Jerusalem. Chapters 12 - 36 were then edited and annotated by Rabbi Perets Auerbach, a well known teacher of Zohar and Ari, also in Jerusalem.
The Ari was born in Jerusalem in 1534. By the time he was eight, he was recognized as a wonder child, a prodigy who already outshone the greatest minds of Jerusalem. At this tender age, he had already mastered the intricacies of the Talmud and committed dozens of volumes to memory.
Rabbi Chayim Chaim Vital writes in the Introduction to Shaar HaHakdamot: The Ari overflowed with Torah. He was thoroughly expert in Scripture, Mishnah, Talmud, Pilpul, Midrash, Agadah, Ma'aseh Berei# and Ma'aseh Merkavah. He was expert in the language of trees, the language of birds, and the speech of angels. He could read faces in the manner outlined in the Zohar (vol. II, p. 74b). He could discern all that any individual had done, and could see what they would do in the future. He could read people's thoughts, often before the thought even entered their mind. He knew future events, was aware of everything happening here on earth, and what was decreed in heaven. He knew the mysteries of gilgul [reincarnation], who had been born previously, and who was here for the first time. He could look at a person and tell him how he was connected to higher spiritual levels, and his original root in Adam. The Ari could read wondrous things [about people] in the light of a candle or in the flame of a fire. With his eyes he gazed and was able to see the souls of the righteous, both those who had died recently and those who had lived in ancient times. With these departed souls, he studied the true mysteries. From a person's scent, he was able to know all that he had done. (See Zohar, Yenuka vol. III p. 188a). It was as if the answers to all these mysteries lay dormant within him, waiting to be activated whenever he desired. He did not have to seclude himself to seek them out. All this we saw with our own eyes. These are not things that we heard from others. They were wondrous things that had not been seen on earth since the time of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. None of this was attained through magic, heaven forbid. There is a strong prohibition against these arts. Instead, it came automatically, as a result of his saintliness and asceticism, after many years of study in both the ancient and the newer Kabbalistic texts. He then increased his piety, asceticism, purity and holiness until he reached a level where Eliyahu/Elijah would constantly reveal himself to him, speaking to him "mouth to mouth," teaching him these mysteries and secrets.
Originally posted by cenpuppie
All great information. So in essence, it's just the groundwork for this guy coming back. But not blazing out of the sky but as a simple man? Reincarnation is on the books, heh. I've always toyed with idea and gave it some weight but hm. Even the old guys from back in the day believed in it. And as for the bible.. it's not even the same manuscript. It's meant what it's creators meant it to be.
Am i reading it correctly?
"Prophets" have come and gone in times past and I think we are about due for one whether or not he will blaze down is up for speculation though. Its fun to think about.
Originally posted by cenpuppie
reply to post by MamaJ
"Prophets" have come and gone in times past and I think we are about due for one whether or not he will blaze down is up for speculation though. Its fun to think about.
What if i was to tell you that one of these prophets are indeed.. Back?
The original number of Hermetic writings must have been considerable. A good many of these were lost during the systematic destruction of non-Christian literature that took place between the fourth and sixth centuries A.D. ... Church Father Clement of Alexandria says that the books of Hermes treat of Egyptian religion; and Tertullian, Iamblichus, and Porphyry all seem to be acquainted with Hermetic literature.12
Another problem in analysis is that Hermeticism was a secret tradition. As instructed in the Divine Pymander: Avoid all conversation with the multitude or common people; for I would not have thee subject to Envy, much less to be ridiculous unto the many. ... it behoveth to avoid the multitude, and take heed of them as not understanding the virtue and power of the things that are said. [I:83-5] Likewise, Jesus instructs his disciples concerning secret teachings, not to be revealed to the “common people” (whom Jesus refers to as “dogs” and “swine”): Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may never trample them underfoot, then turn around and rip you open. ... Many are called, but few chosen. [Matthew 7:6; 22:14] To you is has been granted to know [gnōnai] the mysteries [mystēria] of the kingdom of God, but for the rest it is in parables, in order that, though looking, they look in vain, and though hearing, they may not comprehend. [Luke 8:10] Evidently, whatever these “mysteries” are, Jesus does not want them preached unto the “ends of the earth.” Here, Jesus is speaking as a Hermetic sage, teaching secrets to his inner circle of followers.
As a divine messenger, Thoth/Hermes becomes associated with the idea of the divine Word (the Logos), the Mind of God, God’s image or manifestation, and the “Son of God.” In the Divine Pymander, the Mind of God speaks: I am that Light, the Mind, thy God ... and that bright and lightful Word from the mind is the Son of God. ... That which in thee seeth and heareth, the Word of the Lord, and the Mind the Father, God, differ not one from the other; and the union of these is Life. [II:8-9]
Such expressions are very reminiscent of the views of Philo, who was very probably exposed to some form of Hermetic tradition. Of course, the above-mentioned concepts of the Word’s identity with God, the Word being the creative agency of God, the Word being the “Son of God,” and the Word’s “Life” and “Light” being reflected as a divine quality in humanity, all reappear at the beginning of the Gospel of John. This strongly suggests that the writer of this gospel was familiar with some form of Hermetic tradition. (The frequent references to the Gospel of John, in the present article, provide further clues as to Hermetic influences in the Johannine tradition.) As John’s gospel continues, the writer refers to John the Baptist as bearing witness or offering proclamation concerning the “light.” Elsewhere, John is the voice “crying out” in the wilderness, who instructs his hearers to get baptized. Similarly, the Divine Pymander mentions, along with a “Cup” motif (which is both Eucharistic and representative of the baptismal font): Filling a large Cup or Bowl therewith, [God] sent it down, giving also a Cryer or Proclaimer. And he commanded him to proclaim these things to the souls of men. Dip and wash thyself, thou that art able in this Cup or Bowl: Thou that believeth that thou shalt return to him that sent this Cup; thou that acknowledgest whereunto thou wert made. As many, therefore, as understood the Proclamation, and were baptized, or dowsed into the Mind, these were made partakers of knowledge, and became perfect men, receiving the Mind. [XII:13-16] Closely echoing the latter part of this passage, John’s gospel records: But as many as did receive him [the Word / the light], to them he gave authority to become children of God, because they were believing in his name; and they were born, not from blood or from man’s will, but from God. [1:12-13] Providing more detail on the original, Hermetic baptismal tradition, Dr. Hoeller states: The Hermeticists had their own sacraments as well. These appear to have consisted primarily of a form of baptism with water and an anointing resembling “a baptism and a chrism” as mentioned in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip. The Corpus Hermeticum mentions an anointing with “ambrosial water” and a self-administered baptism in a sacred vessel, the krater, sent down by Hermes from the heavenly realms.
Thoth/Hermes and the Sign of the Fish The idea of baptism, since it involves being “born of water,” naturally invokes the image of a fish – just as early Christians symbolized Christ using the ichthus (fish) symbol – also known as the vesica piscis (sign of the fish). As noted by Freke & Gandy,14 the vesica piscis symbol was well known to the Pythagoreans, who formed it by intersecting two circles so that the circumference of each touches the centre of the other circle. (Measurements based on these two circles then produce the sacred ratio 153:265; interestingly, the number 153 is specifically mentioned in relation to fish, at John 21:11.) The two intersecting circles were seen as a unification of spirit and matter – as echoed in the simultaneous “human and divine” nature of Christ, and in the idea that the soul/spirit has entered into (or, become entombed in) flesh, or in Nature. Thanks to Hermes Trismegistus, the Divine Pymander gives a complex account of divinity ‘separating’ into seven primal Circles (emanated aspects of divinity) to achieve self-reflective Gnosis, and apparently recognizing the vesica piscis or fish shape – representing humanity’s inherent divinity – now formed within the intersecting Circles, or, like fish, “in the Water”:
The way ‘traditional’ Christianity (that is, Christianity as modified and promoted by the Roman Church from the time of Irenaeus) has been presented would lead us to think that the process of its development was one of progressive enlargement and deepening of theology. This view begins with the simple life and maxims of Jesus, as recorded in the canonical gospels, and then expands into the theological musings of Paul, to be advanced by the ante-Nicene Fathers, and to blossom into the fully-developed theology of Augustine et al. However, the discovery that Paul’s letters are the earliest canonical writings began to destabilize this picture within scholarly circles. Pauline theology emerges as if suddenly, as a complex and profound edifice of theological speculation; some years later (up to a century later, according to some liberal scholars) gospels of “Jesus’ life” emerge – and there is no evidence that Paul knew of any such gospels (indeed, many scholars have conclusively determined that he cannot possibly have been aware of them, nor could he have relied upon some much-touted “oral” biography of Jesus, which is clearly wishful thinking on the part of certain orthodox scholars). What is strange here is that Christianity, far from blossoming from simple sayings and traditions into a complex and profound theological system, appears to be evolving backwards (i.e. devolving): first the sophisticated theology, then the simple ‘wise teachings’ of the Master, a few details of his life, and so on. Of course, the written gospel tradition did develop – but was this a matter of progress, or a case of acute romanticizing, where the profound theological musings of Paul et al gave way to romantic fictions about Jesus, replete with dazzling miracles to entertain the pious, ignorant masses?
During the late period of Egyptian history a cult of Thoth gained prominence, due to its main centre, Khnum (Hermopolis Magna), in Upper Egypt also becoming the capital, and millions of dead ibis were mummified and buried in his honor. The rise of his cult also lead to his cult seeking to adjust mythology to give Thoth a greater role, including varying the Ogdoad cosmogony myth so that it is Thoth who gives birth to Ra/Atum/Nefertum/Khepri, as a result of laying, as an ibis, an egg containing him. Later it was said that this was done in the form of a goose - literally as a goose laying a golden egg. The sound of his song was thought to have created four frog gods and snake goddesses of the Ogdoad who continued Thoth's song, helping the sun journey across the sky. Thoth was inserted in many tales as the wise counsel and persuader, and his association with learning, and measurement, lead him to be connected with Seshat, the earlier deification of wisdom, who became said to be his daughter, or variably his wife. Thoth's qualities also lead to him being identified by the Greeks with their closest matching god - Hermes, with whom Thoth was eventually combined, as Hermes Trismegistus, also leading to the Greeks naming Thoth's cult centre as Hermopolis, meaning city of Hermes. Thoth was, the 'One who Made Calculations Concerning the Heavens, the Stars and the Earth' the 'Reckoner of Times and of Seasons' the one who 'Measured out the Heavens and Planned the Earth' he was 'He who Balances' the 'God of the Equilibrium' and 'Master of the Balance' 'The Lord of the Divine Body' 'Scribe of the Company of the Gods' the 'Voice of Ra' the 'Author of Every Work on Every Branch of Knowledge, Both Human and Divine' he who understood 'all that is hidden under the heavenly vault' Thoth was not just a scribe and friend to the gods, but central to order - ma'at - both in Egypt and in the Duat. He was 'He who Reckons the Heavens, the Counter of the Stars and the Measurer of the Earth'. There is an Egyptian pharaoh of the Sixteenth dynasty of Egypt named Djehuty (Thoth) after him, and who reigned for three years.
Geometry - Reality - Time Reality is myth, math, and metaphor. It is a consciousness computer experiment in time and illusion created by thought consciousness. The name Thoth means 'Thought' and 'Time'. Thoth was the master architect who created the blueprint of our reality based on the patterns of sacred geometry or 12 around 1. The program follows binary code 1010101 [ON OFF ON OFF - Matter Anti-Matter] and repeats in cycles called time. It is here - in the duality - duat - underworld - chaos - void - place of creation 'outside the box' of our experience - reflected in gods and goddesses, the landscapes of Egypt including the pyramids and temples - that we experience until we evolve in the alchemy of time and consciousness.
Thoth created a grid program of experience - electromagnetic in nature to allow for the bipolar aspects of linear time and illusion. In so doing, we go to 4 [time] and 3 [3D physical reality]. Thoth constructed a pyramidal shaped vehicle which personifies the nature of reality. He placed half above - "As is Above" in the nonphysical and half below "As is Below" thus creating the sands of time - the hourglass - the X Box - at the center of the planet where it all began and will all evolve at Zero Point - a time or place of balance.
Thoth was the 'god of the equilibrium' and considered depictions of him as the 'Master of the Balance' to indicate that he was associated with the precession of the equinoxes - a time when the day and the night were balanced.
Most of the Hermetic books - along with others - were lost during the burning of the royal libraries in Alexandria. The surviving books were secretly buried in the desert where they are presently located. A few initiates of the mystery schools, ancient secret cults, allegedly know their location. What remains of the surviving Hermetic lore has been passed down through generation and published in many languages.
Most important of all are three works. The most important and oldest is The Divine Pymander. It consists on 17 fragments all in one work. Within these fragments are many of the Hermetic concepts, including the was divine wisdom and the secrets of the universe were revealed to Hermes and the way in which Hermes established his ministry to spread this wisdom throughout the world. The Divine Pymander apparently was revised during the first centuries AD but lost none of its meaning due to incorrect translations. Poimmandres or The Vision is the second book of The Divine Pymander and perhaps the most famous. It relates Hermes' mystical vision, cosmogony, and the secret sciences of the Egyptians as to culture and the spiritual development of the soul.The third work - Hermes Trismegistus is the wisdom of the Hermetica - Emerald Tablets.
Sumerian Gods Reality depicted as a biogenetic experiment with extraterrestrial connotations Enki's youngest son, Ningizzida, was Lord of the Tree of Truth, in Mesopotamia. He played the role of Thoth in Egypt and Hermes the Magician - the Alchemist. The ancient Mystery School Teachings of Thoth were past down to his Initiates who became the priests. They hid the secret knowledge of creation, passing it down through the ages Rome Mercury who was Hermes in Greek Mythology - Communication Mercury - Messenger of the Gods Mercury is god of trade and profit, merchants and travelers, but originally of the trade in corn. In later times he was equated with the Greek Hermes. He had a temple in Rome near the Circus Maximus on the Aventine Hill which dates back to 495 BCE. This temple was connected to some kind of trade fair. His main festival, the Mercuralia, was celebrated on May 15 and on this day the merchants sprinkled their heads and their merchandise with water from his well near the Porta Capena. During the time of the Roman Empire the cult of Mercury was widely spread, especially among the Celtic and Germanic peoples. The Celts have their Gaulish Mercury, and the Germans identified him with their Wodan. The attributes of Mercury are the caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes) and a purse (a symbol of his connection with commerce). He is portrayed similarly to Hermes: dressed in a wide cloak, wearing talaria (winged sandals) and petasus (winged hat). Mercury is also known as Alipes ("with the winged feet").
Quetzalcoatl The Mayan Calendar - Time and and end date of December 21, 2012 Quetzalcoatl was identified to Atlantida, Egypt, Sumer, then later to Mesoamerica and Peru as Quetzacoatl. Quetzalcoatl ("feathered snake") is the Aztec name for the Feathered-Serpent deity of ancient Mesoamerica, one of the main gods of many Mexican and northern Central American civilizations. The name "Quetzalcoatl" literally means quetzal-bird snake or serpent with feathers of the Quetzal (which implies something divine or precious) in the Nahuatl language. The meaning of his local name in other Mesoamerican languages is similar. The Maya knew him as Kukulkán; the Quiché as Gukumatz. The Feathered Serpent deity was important in art and religion in most of Mesoamerica for close to 2,000 years, from the Pre-Classic era until the Spanish Conquest. Civilizations worshiping the Feathered Serpent included the Olmec, the Mixtec, the Toltec, the Aztec, and the Maya. The worship of Quetzalcoatl sometimes included human sacrifices, although in other traditions Quetzalcoatl was said to oppose human sacrifice. Duality itself runs rampant in myth, as well as being found in the astronomical/cosmological associations between Quetzalcoatl and the heavens and stars. Questions run the gamut from his morning star associations (as Venus) to the possibilities of his connection with Mercury. Ultimately it is this symbolism that runs through the myth and its astrological and cosmological incarnations which raise the questions and hint at Quetzalcoatl's power and pervasiveness.