01/15/09 – 1:39pm (interview with a Nashimite)
Interview with a Nashimite
by Anders Sandberg
Holy art Thou, Lord of the universe.
Holy art Thou, whom nature hath not formed.
Holy art Thou, the vast and mighty One.
Lord of the Light and of the Darkness.
As a part of my studies of the logomantic factions, I found references to the Nashimites of the Celestial Chorus. This group is said to believe that the Highest contains both good and evil, and that these cannot exist without each other. Needless to say, this is not a popular view among the Chorus, so I was forced to search long and hard before finding a chorister willing to discuss the matter. I eventually found her in the cold North, at a chantry in the apparently liberal Sweden which appears to have become a sanctuary for the oft-persecuted Nashimites.
I interviewed Veronica sitting on a bench on the Stockholm Northern Cemetery a sunny spring day. A few seagulls were noisily building a nest on top of a mausoleum belonging to a long dead industrialist, and somewhere a gardener was moving the grass.
Interviewer: “Could you explain your faith to me?”
Veronica: “Faith… that is the important word. I assume you are familiar with our view of the creation?”
Interviewer: “More or less. It is somewhat Gnostic, isn’t it? The One created all things out of Its essence, leaving shards of Its divine spirit trapped in matter.”
Veronica: “Yes. Look at this rock. What is it made of? An apprentice will immediately answer ‘Quintessence’. But what is Quintessence? No, it is not the power of God. It is God. God is all things, and all things are God. There can be nothing that is not God… but of course, most things and beings have forgotten this. God in Its pure form is unknowable for finite beings like us. It is simply too vast, it encompasses everything. ”
Interviewer: “Including evil?”
Veronica: “Exactly. Since everything that exists in the end is of God, even evil is of God.”
Interviewer: “So you don’t accept the view that evil is just the absence of good?”
Veronica: “No. Anybody trying to solve the teodicé problem that way gets into trouble because she then has to explain why God doesn’t do something about it. If she says God can’t do anything about evil, then she denies the omnipotence of God which is one of the main tenets of our tradition, and if she says God can do something about it then she implies that God lets evil exist – which is equivalent to saying that God is responsible for evil. The only consistent position is to accept that God is beyond good and evil.”
Interviewer: “But you go a bit further than saying evil is of God, don’t you? As far as I understand your views, you see it as equal to good!”
Veronica: “Light and darkness are in perfect balance. I know some claim that this balance can be shifted this way or that by our actions, but this appears unlikely. To God all times and places are one, and a shift in the balance would imply a shift in the nature of God, which is beyond change. I see all of reality as one immense Song, where we take part but are able to improvise. We have some free will, since that is a part of God, but it is the free will of God. Nothing can happen that God does not want or intend, although it doesn’t have to be deterministic.”
Interviewer: “So the Fall was the will of God?”
Veronica: “Exactly. One could see it as the introduction of a dramatic theme right at the beginning, replacing the previous serenity and really getting the song going.”
Interviewer: “So what is our role in this great song?”
Veronica: “To fulfil the Will of God. But we don’t understand it, of course. We must have faith, faith in God, faith in ourselves, so our voices are strong and beautiful, regardless of what we sing. The dark and apparently disharmonious voices are part of the whole, which we cannot hear in our limited state.
Faith is terribly important. Most beings lack faith, and just plod along without realising their inherent greatness or the presence of God around them. God does not need faith per se, since It is the basis for all that exists, but faith shapes our perceptions of God and our songs.”
Interviewer: “But if I have understood you correctly, it doesn’t matter what they believe in, as long as they believe?”
Veronica: “Yes. As long as they have faith in one aspect of God, they are on the right path. The details doesn’t matter. Even some Satanists are true to God, since they worship Its dark side.”
Interviewer: “So infernalism is of God?!”
Veronica: “Not exactly… there are Satanists and Satanists. The “good” Satanists have faith in evil, they sing with dark voices and fulfil the Will of God by doing evil. But then there are those who turn to infernalism to gain power, without having faith in it. And this is wrong, since they just become pragmatic bores serving the infernal forces.”
Interviewer: “Don’t take this wrong, but some have claimed the Nashimites are a refuge for barabbi.”
Veronica: “There are barabbi and barabbi too. Many who have been called barabbi are really innocent, they just follow unorthodox paths and believe in odd or unacceptable things. Quite naturally we accept them. The real barabbi have sold out. To become a barabbi you give up everything you stand for; your faith, your self-respect, your paradigm. You become little more than a puppet to the Nephandi masters, and seek to help them diminish the One. And that is wrong!”
Interviewer: “But I get the impression that you worry more about the Technocracy than the Nephandi?”
Veronica: “Yes, the lack of faith the Technocracy spreads is much more pernicious. This is the real duty of all tradition mages: to make people believe. It really doesn’t matter which tradition or paradigm it is, just as long as they believe. One could say that all mages who understand Prime are prophets, who know God (although they seldom refer to Reality as God). Technomancers are false prophets who try to mislead people into disbelief, while the Nephandi are false prophets trying to lead people into self- defeating acts. The Marauders are insane prophets who lack direction – they believe in everything.”
Interviewer: “So you see no problems in working with other traditions?”
Veronica: “Have you ever pondered what is needed to found a workable religion?”
Veronica: “Religions are based on faith, but also a sense of community. People have to get close to each other, share the same attitudes, be able to identify with the religion. And then you will need a lot more beside general faith; a philosophy, an ethics, symbols, rites and ideals. It has to fit in with society. And that is why we have so many opposing traditions – different religions, all based on the same faith, but with different attitudes. Which one becomes dominant doesn’t matter and is mostly a question of personal aesthetics.”
Interviewer: “You acknowledge the importance of religion, but according to what you told me before this interview you have been a priest in the Church of Sweden until recently, when you quit. Why?”
Veronica: “The Church of Sweden lacks faith, and has become an empty shell, a kind of diffuse religiosity with no direction, no strength. And personally I found it hard to keep my preaching Christ-centred as I understood my own faith better and better, so I decided to quit before the parishioners became too confused. I began to work directly with people instead, showing them the way through action instead of preaching.”
Interviewer: “I assume most people are a bit taken aback by your acceptance of both good and evil?”
Veronica: “Indeed they are. In most cases it is best to let people believe what they believe, and strengthen their faith, instead of try to explain the symmetry of good and evil. Mages and some sleepers are ready for the truth, but it is hard to bear, since it can be paralysing to know that all acts are of God. Some seems to think this just leads to passive acceptance of everything, but that is a mistake. We all have our duties, our parts to sing. Our wills reflect the Will of God.”