666 and the Whore
666, ‘the mark of the beast,’ is one of the most popular images of the Apocalypse. 666 is considered be synonymous with the antichrist, though that term is not actually used in the Book of Revelation. It appears in a few parts of the New Testament in this context: “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the Antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)
As written elsewhere, I took the dogma out of it (stories of Jesus as the one and only savior, which puts the self/other narrative into a saved/damned context. Recognizing the ongoing danger inherent in such narratives, I distilled it into the essential components of Christ = the spirit of inclusion, antichrist = the spirit of exclusion. In mystic Christianity, the second coming of Christ is considered to be a collective event, a sharing of Christ consciousness is all humanity as cells in the collective body of holy consciousness, breathing in unity while manifesting magnificent particularity. In that context, what is 666 consciousness, the antichrist?
Historically 666/ the anti-Christ has been seen as the devil / evil incarnate in a specific male individual: a bad guy such as Nero, Hitler, George Bush, etc. (though some liked George Bush and some saw Hitler as the second coming of Christ, so who one calls the Antichrist, like most things, has to do with personal opinion and perspective, which is why I distilled it down to avoid the “if I hate him, he’s the antichrist; if I like him, he’s Christ.” Personal preference is not a good barometer in such cases.
Not everyone sees the Antichrist as embodied in an individual. If you have any thoughts on working for world peace, you might be infected with the Antichrist virus: “There’ll be no peace until Jesus comes. Any preaching of peace prior to his return is heresy; it’s against the word of God; it’s Antichrist,” said TV evangelist Jim Robison, who was invited by President Reagan to deliver the opening prayer at the 1984 Republican National Convention.
What does Revelation actually say? “Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it’s the number of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty and six.”
During the time when the apocalyptic genre was popular in the Mediterranean basin, numbers had meanings, and one can see numbers figure prominently in the Book of Revelation — in addition to 666, there’s 7s, 12s and 144,000. 666 in that context doesn’t refer to a person, but rather it refers to an ego gone tyrannical, the little mind or lower mind, the narcissistic wounded ego when it wants to take over everything, the archetype of arrogance.
Putting the 666 archetype on the shoulders of someone like Hitler takes the easy way out: without followers, Hitler or any other tyrant might have been a solo whack job.
Anyone with a human ego has the capacity, and even the tendency, for self-centered, and even tyrannical, behavior: the self/other war, in which self has more value than other.
The answer to ‘who is 666’ becomes stunningly simple: if you want to say it in terms of the Christ and the Antichrist duking it out, 666 / Antichrist is not a man but a state of consciousness: the little mind, or egoic consciousness — that aspect of consciousness that humans are both blessed and cursed with, that is a gift in terms of the astonishing capacity to experience the world and one’s interiority from the vantage point of an autonomous individual — becomes a danger to the entire world when it becomes so enamored with itself that it is willing to hurt others for what it thinks is its own benefit.
There is nothing wrong with wanting good food, shelter, security, beauty, sex, even wealth, fame, or road trips. Yet when those desires become so important that one would cause harm to the other – whether that be other human, the earth itself, or other creatures we share the world with – and all those desires become tangled up in a 666-based status quo in which harming the other is considered the cost of doing business — then we are trapped in the 666 mind. The 666 mind is fine when it is held in check as part of an internal community that makes up the totality of individual consciousness, and is in conversation with collective concerns and ethics. When it takes over, it becomes a bully.
People project the idea of the Apocalypse into the future when it’s easy to see it all around us now. That often comes from an unexamined 666 mindset – “If I’m doing ok, then it’s not the Apocalypse, yet.”
In regards to the connection with the devil / Satan, The Heart of the Qur’an calls Satan the “ living archetype of arrogance which “beguiles human beings into negating the Source of Love. ”
The great apocalyptic drama is an inside job just as much as, if not more than, an outside event.
The Whore of Babylon
The whore of Babylon holds a “gold wine cup filled with the filth of her fornication.” She is “drunk with the blood of the saints.” Edinger writes that this image “shows us that everything ‘feminine’ (earth, nature, body, matter) underwent a profound deprecation with the onset of our aeon.”
Amplifying the term ‘whore’ beyond sex work, which might be a vocation for some, and into a larger context of selling oneself, one can consider the whoredom of global capitalism, which depends on a certain amount of dissatisfaction, misery, isolation, a sense that something is missing. Consider how things like the privatization of water puts people in a stranglehold with the money system.
Contrast whore –one who sells herself – with the original meaning of the word virgin, a woman who is complete in herself, rather than a woman who hasn’t had sex yet — which suggests that once a woman is sexual, she is no longer complete or sovereign in herself. A virgin might be sexual with someone from a place of completeness. People who feel complete in themselves aren’t great consumers.
The Twisted Lovers
Are 666, the Anti-christ, the Beast, the tyrant, the greedy power-monger, and the whore of Babylon, the one whose gifts are desecrated at the marketplace, the twisted lovers of the wounded masculine and feminine? With the deprecation and desecration of the earth, nature, matter, body, humanity’s ability to live as bridges between the visible world and the invisible worlds is severely curtailed. Do we even know all that is possible via the sacred human body?
Spiritual teacher Barry Long wrote:
Woman’s basic unhappiness, her perennial discontent, is because man can no longer reach her physically. Her emotional excess, depressions, tearful frustrations, even premenstrual tension and the conditions leading to hysterectomy and other uterine problems, are due to man’s sexual failure to gather or release in lovemaking her finest, fundamental, female energies. These extraordinarily beautiful divine energies are intense and exquisite and when left untapped in woman, as they are now, they degenerate into psychic or emotional disturbances, and eventually crystallise into physical abnormalities. The womb gives birth to all things.
…To be a fully integrated male, a man has to assimilate in his body the divine female energies that woman can only release to him through right physical lovemaking. But the man has to be man enough. He has to be able to love her enough; that is, love her selflessly during the actual act of lovemaking. He has to be able to absorb and express sufficient love in his body to reach the highest part of her, and love enough to extract the divine energies from her deepest centre. To be able to love in this way is the authority man has lost – his only true authority over woman.
If you don’t give into the temptation to use the above for man/woman type fuel for the self/other war, there’s something fascinating there: that human beings can’t access subtle beauties that live in their bodies by themselves. In a consumer culture, where everything is based on ownership, the body is private property which drives the “I” around as it engages life through a commodified, objectified, discarded perspective. I’m not just talking about money here, but how money-based life teaches people to consider everything in regards to getting a deal, with one’s 666 consciousness as the one thing of true value that everything and everyone else in the world is there to serve. The question is not whether such a consciousness lives in you; the question is how much you let that consciousness control your life.
Sex work can be a valid and artful calling, one unpleasant choice in limited options, and anywhere in between. Part of the charge on the word ‘whore’ comes from an attitude that sex belongs in a field of love, whether that be relational, committed love, transpersonal love, experimenting affection, mutual comfort or pleasure between friends.
Alchemical relationality gives prime importance to the space between. What happens in relationship when neither dominates, not in a politically correct wishy-washiness, but in a dynamically charged offering of self to the space between? If our relationship isn’t about ‘me’ wanting to get something from ‘you’ but a unguarded sincerity and profound curiosity about what is being revealed in the moment in the field that is created by ‘us’ what might happen? It only sounds esoteric because we are so habituated to the marketplace way of relationship, not only with others, but with our own interiority. We can hardly even speak outside commodification in English, because of its syntaxical emphasis on the possessive.
The importance of the slash line
Consider it this way: in self / other, the slash line isn’t merely a device showing the boundary, but the space in between and a critically important part of the equation. A critically important aspect of ending the self-other war is that it opens up that slash line / liminal / space between us, so that we might enter it like a new territory, one that has always been there but has been banished via historical power plays and manipulation of human values and instincts.
Consider whoredom within the context of frustration with lacking the conditions to freely give and receive each other’s innermost gifts in a sacred way, and not only through sexuality, but through the opportunity the interactive field brings.
next up: Dragon