DANIIL ANDREEV AND THE RUSSIAN MYSTICISM OF FEMININITY
(with a synopsis of Daniil Andreev's treatise The Rose of the World)
In the book The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, ed. by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1997, pp. 325-355.
Though Daniil Andreev's works began to be published only in 1989, thirty years after his death, his legacy is already a major factor in Russian intellectual life. His many admirers regard his treatise The Rose of the World (1950-1958) as one of the highest peaks of twentieth century Russian spirituality. A mystic and a poet, with strong historical, utopian, and philosophical dimensions in his universalist vision, Andreev is often interpreted as the embodiment of the synthetic aspirations of Russian culture. An article about him in the influential newspaper Nezavisimaia gazeta stated: "In his investigation Leo Tolstoi and Dostoevsky (1901-1902), Merezhkovsky grasped the imminent emergence in Russia of a poet who will synthesize in his creativity the carnal, paganist, and highly spiritual elements, i.e., the artistic discoveries of Leo Tolstoi and Dostoevsky, respectively. The epic scope of Homer, the visionary gift of Dante, the religious heroism of Milton, the universality of Goethe indissolubly merged in the creativity of D. Andreev." (0) However exaggerated this opinion may be, it conveys accurately the rising influence of Andreev. His legacy belongs to those historiosophical and cosmosophical movements of Russian thought which attempt to synthesize natural sciences, social utopias and religious inspirations in a kind of occult "superknowledge" claiming the power of complete transformation of the world.
It is difficult to establish a strict border between
occult, mystical, and eschatological components of Andreev's teachings.
Andreev's cosmology, his vision of the Rose of the World as a hierarchical
system of worlds, both visible and invisible, comprises the most evident
occult dimension of his work (a brief synopsis of this system is provided
in the Appendix to this article). Andreev's interpretation of the Rose
of the World as the "interreligion of the future," uniting all existing
churches as "petals," has both mystical and eschatological dimensions.
On the one hand, the Rose of the World is based on long-standing traditions
of European and Russian mysticism, especially the so-called "sophiology,"
treating the "eternal feminine" as the Wisdom of God and the soul of the
universe; this mystical aspect forms the focus of our article. On the other
hand, in Andreev's description, the rule of the Rose of the World, as the
State of universal theocracy, ends with the accession of the Antichrist,
who makes use of the "interreligious" doctrines, including the worship
of the "eternal feminine," for the perpetuation of his own power and for
the elimination of the Rose of the World itself; this eschatological aspect
is analyzed in the last section of this article.
Russian-Soviet mysticism has several distinctive features. First of all, it usually represents a mixture of Christian and pagan mythological beliefs (the so-called dvoeverie, "dual faith"). Russian pre-Christian mythology, as is well known, survived only in scattered fragments after the baptism of Russia in 988 A.D., which left open a large field for mystical conjectures concerning the qualities of Russian deities and their continued impact on the fate of Russia. Very few of these mystical restorations of Russian paganism are openly anti-Christian, but they attempt to combine Orthodox tradition with archaic beliefs or, more precisely, with the restorers' notions of what these beliefs must have been.
Another important feature of Russian-Soviet mysticism is its combinmation of national distinctiveness with universalist claims. Russia's location between Europe and Asia has fueled speculation about the global destiny of the Russian nation, which was to become a keeper of universal wisdom, blending the best spiritual illuminations of both the West and the East.
The third feature of Russian-Soviet mysticism is its strong social orientation. Rarely does it lapse into the realm of highly subjective individual contemplation. More often, it is offered as a new social teaching intended to inspire the whole nation and to give a just resolution to the most agonizing problems of contemporary society. This predetermines the messianic style of Russian mysticism that tries to appeal to the masses and to organize them into an ideal societal body.
The fourth peculiarity of Russian-Soviet mysticism is its cosmic dimension. Not only the individual, but even society and the Earth itself are considered too small for implementing the great visions of national prophets. This implies the future necessity of space exploration and colonization, as well as penetration into the multiplicity of invisible spiritual worlds.
Fifth, Russian mysticism has always been closely connected with the specificity of Russian history, yet also has striven to overcome history and thus has followed apocalyptic patterns. Russia can fulfill its historical destination only by being the first post-historical nation which is fated to experience all the suffering and illuminations imposed on the world by the struggle of Christ and the Antichrist on the Last Day.
Last but not least, Russian mysticism has included worship of the feminine spiritual essence of the universe and even the feminine hypostasis of the Divine Wholeness, Sophia, in such terms as "the Eternal Feminine" (Vechnaia Zhenstvennost' ), " The Soul of the World" (Dusha Mira) , and " The Companion of the Lord" (Podruga Boga).
All of these features, which can be traced separately
through such prominent mystical and occult thinkers as Vladimir Soloviev,
Nikolai Fedorov, Dmitri Merezhkovsky, Nikolai Berdiaev, Pavel Florensky,
Andrei Bely, Velimir Khlebnikov, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the Cosmists and
the Eurasianists, are combined in the phenomenon of Daniil Andreev's thought.
Undoubtedly, he is the most important Russian mystic of the Soviet epoch
and perhaps gives the most explicit and integrated expression of the ideas
of his predecessors.
Since Daniil Andreev is completely unknown in the West, let us provide some biographical background, though the deepest insights into his spiritual biography can be gained from his mystical treatise, The Rose of the World. The following is based upon the recollections of Daniil Andreev's widow, Alla Andreeva.
Daniil Andreev, born in 1906, was the son of Leonid Andreev (1871 - 1919), an eminent prose writer and dramatist, who fearlessly investigated the darkest depths of the human soul. Daniil confessed that the writings of his father remained alien to him: the latter was a neo-realist skeptic, partly inclined to a decadent version of Satanism and Nietzscheanism, whereas Daniil received a Christian upbringing and searched for religious revelations throughout his intellectual development. Daniil Andreev did not know his father well. His mother, Aleksandra Mikhailovna Veligorskaia, died three weeks after his birth and he was brought up by his grandmother, Efrosinia Varfolomeevna Shevchenko, his aunt, Elizaveta Mikhailovna, and his uncle, a Moscow doctor named Filipp Aleksandrovich Dobrov, in a very intelligent, tender and caring family. Visitors to their hospitable home included the novelist Ivan Bunin, the poet Marina Tsvetaeva, the singer Fyodor Chaliapin, the composer Alexander Skriabin, who played his "mysteries" for them, and other members of the artistic elite of that time.
Little Daniil inadvertently caused the death of his grandmother who contracted diphtheria from him when he was six. Shortly thereafter Daniil tried to commit suicide. It was explained to him that his grandmother had gone "far away" to see his mother, and only at the last moment was he prevented from drowning himself in a pond -- he was going to see his mother too. From these episodes one gets a premonition of the future Daniil's spiritual wanderings into other worlds. At the tender age of six or seven he was writing a huge cosmic epic, depicting a travel between other planets and other universes. During the Bolshevik revolution, Daniil liked to sit on the roof of his house and observe the stars. Although he may well have been acquainted with theosophic and anthroposophic literature, one can infer from his mystical predilections in childhood that most of his subsequent ideas were not borrowed from books.
In the twenties, Daniil Andreev studied at Vysshie Literaturnye Kursy (Highest Literary Courses) in Moscow. He married a journalist, Aleksandra Gorobova, but they soon divorced. Andreev spent a great deal of time reading about history and became so immersed in its details that he devised a game: a friend would pick an arbitrary year (for example, 1246 or 1683) and Daniil would describe all important events that took place around the world during that year. A native Muscovite, he enjoyed strolling around the city which he knew inside and out. Though he had a natural religious inclination, he was formally reintroduced to the Orthodox Church (votserkovlen ) only in 1921 by his friend, the actress Nadezhda Butova.
After finishing his literary studies, Daniil spent some time working as an editor for a factory newspaper in Moscow. He published a variety of political materials, but surreptitiously laid aside numerous anti-religious articles and finally decided to look for another job. Andreev turned to graphic art, designing maps, fonts and calligraphy styles, to earn a living at a job that also gave him time to pursue his writing, mostly at night. He wrote many poems and his first, unfinished novel, Sinners (Greshniki) during this period. In March 1937, he met his future second wife, Alla Aleksandrovna, an artist, 22 years old at the time, and the wife of his close friend, the artist, Sergei Ivashov-Musatov.
In the late thirties, as Andreev wrote his new novel, Wanderers of the Night (Stranniki nochi) , he read it to a small group of Moscow intellectuals. The book's heroes aspire to transform Russia spiritually: one of them designs the temple of the Sun of the World at the site where, by a strange coincidence, Moscow State University was built ten years later.
During World War II, Andreev worked as a medical orderly; he was with the first Soviet troops to reach besieged Leningrad by the famous Ice Road across Lake Ladoga, an experience he describes in his epic poem "Leningrad Apocalypse." He also worked as a member of a funeral detachment; while burying the dead in communal graves, he prayed for the repose of their souls. In 1945 he returned to Moscow, deeply depressed by everything he had seen. At this point, both Daniil and Alla had divorced their former spouses and married each other. By the beginning of 1947, he had almost completed Wanderers of the Night. On April 21 he was arrested by the State Security; the arrest of his wife came two days later. On the basis of his novel, they were accused of a terrorist plot against Stalin and spent thirteen months in Lubyanka Prison and then six months in Lefortovo Prison. Each of them was sentenced to twenty five years' imprisonment; under Khrushchev's rule, this term was reduced to ten years.
The last decade (1948-1958) proved to be the most creative period of Andreev's life. It was in Vladimirskaia prison that Daniil began to hear the voices that dictated his masterpiece, The Rose of the World (Roza mira ). Andreev spent these years "communicating" with the highest spirits in Russian and other national "metacultures" (his term); Lermontov, Dostoevsky and Blok "guided" him in his wanderings through other worlds. During this time, he wrote on tiny scraps of paper, which were invariably confiscated, but he restored his prose and verses from memory and continued to write. It was only after Stalin's death in 1953 when a new chief David Ivanovich Krot arrived at the prison, that Daniil was given paper and ink and allowed to write on a regular basis. With his prison roommates, a famous biologist Vasily Parin and a historian Lev Rakov, Daniil co-authored a fictional, very inventive and humorous, encyclopedia about outstanding figures of the past who in reality never existed.
Throughout these ten years, Daniil and Alla heard almost no news of each other as she served her sentence in a concentration camp in Mordovia. On April 21, 1957, he was freed and they were reunited in Moscow. At first they were not permitted to live within the city itself and settled in an outlying area. Their life was dominated by poverty and they were forced to move frequently from one place to another. During one of their short residences on the Oka River, Daniil had a chance to see his brother, the gifted writer Vadim Andreev, who had left Russia after the October Revolution and had lived in Paris for forty years.
In spite of chronic diseases and other hardships, within twenty-three months after his release from prison, Andreev had completed The Rose of the World and his dramatic poem, Iron Mystery (Zheleznaia misteriia). His book of verses, Russian Deities (Russkie bogi), which included such long poems as "Navna" and "The Death of Ivan the Terrible," remained unfinished.
His health deteriorated seriously and he died on March 30, 1959, the victim of a heart attack (as early as 1954 he suffered a heart attack while still in prison). He was buried at the Novodevichie Cemetery in Moscow, near his motherís grave. As Alla Andreeva remarked, his angel kept him alive as long as he needed to finish most of his work. Shortly before his death, he reread The Rose of the World, suddenly declaring to his wife, "No, it was not a madman who wrote it."
He was a quiet, meek, rather silent man who was not capable of practical leadership, although he certainly exhibited enormous moral courage during the years of persecution. Strong religious faith, although not constrained by church dogmas, gave him the ability to resist the social pressures on him and to develop his "metahistorical" vision. For Andreev, however, it was a tremendous tragedy that an Orthodox priest refused to grant him Holy Communion shortly before his death because he had confessed to believing in reincarnation. In Alla Andreeva's opinion, Daniil was an inherently faithful Orthodox Christian who never fell into heresy in his writing, except for availing himself of that kind of freedom which is inherent in the creative imagination.
It is impossible to judge the evolution of Andreev's views, since nothing that he had written before his arrest in 1947 was preserved (save for several poems that he succeeded in restoring from memory): all his works were destroyed by the KGB after he was sentenced, including letters from his father. Nevertheless, one can hypothesize that Andreev's metaphysical views were formed in his youth and gradually increased in clarity and intensity but did not undergo any radical changes.
In the nineteen thirties, he was already writing poetry that provided an early hint of his mystical vision and a characteristic set of imaginary mythological names and terms. By the time he wrote The Wanderers of the Night, he was committed to the metahistorical and transphysical vision that he later would elaborate in The Rose of the World. One of the novel's heroes, Adrian Gordov, believes that one can rise from the dead and change the rest of the world. Another character, Leonid Glinsky, delivers a lecture on the alternation of red and blue epochs in Russian history. With each blue epoch, red underground movements develop and vice-versa. For example, the beginning of the twentieth century was a blue epoch with a red (politically left) underground, while after the October Revolution, there was a red political epoch with a blue mystical undercurrent. Such lifelong visions of Andreev were brought together in The Rose of the World.
Andreev began The Rose of the World on December 24, 1950 and completed it on October 12, 1958. For a long time the author's widow was the sole custodian of the only copy, and no one else even suspected its existence. Later Alla Andreeva decided, however, that the time for readers had come; by the late 1970s, the book was already circulating in Samizdat and acquired many followers who considered it the greatest mystical revelation since the Gospels. During glasnost in the late 1980s, some publications about Daniil Andreev began to appear in the Moscow press, in the newspaper of the Moscow Komsomol for example. In April, 1988 the first official Andreev commemorative meeting was held at the Experimental Creative Center in Moscow. In 1989 and in 1990, Andreev's poetical collection ("ensemble") Russian Deities and his long dramatic poem Iron Mystery were released by the Sovremennik and Molodaia gvardiia publishing houses, respectively. The first complete edition of The Rose of the World was released by the Moscow publishing house Prometei in 1991. In 1993, Moskovskii rabochii and Alesia began to publish Andreev's Collected Works in 3 volumes.
Currently the most diverse and incompatible intellectual movements find support in The Rose of the World. Liberal Westernizers, who defend religious pluralism and Christian ecumenism, revere Andreev's legacy as much as neopaganists who draw upon the "Aryan" roots of the Russian national spirit and declare Andreev to be the messenger of mythic "proto-Russianism". The Rose of the World's scope of influence stretches from elitist esotericism to stands on topical issues, and from the occult journal Urania which offers an astrological interpretation of Andreev's ideas, to the journalistic articles in the collection The Square of Freedom, where his thought is used to explain the "metahistorical" meaning of the August, 1991 pro-communist putsch.
It is clear that the Soviet system was not merely
a political and legislative entity but was founded on an ideology officially
called Marxism that was also informed by metaphysical and even eschatological
visions of Russian religious philosophers of the Silver Age. The demise
of the Soviet regime left more than a need for governmental reform: it
engendered a metaphysical vacuum, eager to be filled. This accounts for
the increasing popularity of Andreev's and of other spiritual and occult
The Rose of the World is a multifaceted book exploring the structure of all existing worlds, both visible and invisible, ascending to Paradise and descending to Hell. The narration contains a great many terms and expressions which cannot be found in any dictionary -- they are defined in a special glossary following at the end of the book. These words, says Andreev, were introduced by supernatural voices into his consciousness and were rationalized by him as signifying the principal elements of the transphysical universe. For example, Andreev defined Bramfatura as the system of different material levels comprising celestial bodies; Shadanakar is the name of our planet's bramfatura consisting of a great number of planes (more than 240) of different kinds of matter, with various dimensions of time and space. Though the majority of these terms cannot be identified in any language, one sometimes discerns an element of Russian and especially Sanskrit word roots. To Andreev's admirers the very fact that these neologisms are from no real language indicates the genuine source of this mystical inspiration, comprehensible only through spontaneous contact with the highest spirits. Daniil Andreev's entire mythological system is an elaboration of the hidden meanings of these primordial words.
It is impossible to cover in one short article all aspects of Andreev's teachings, for they address a wide gamut of social, moral, environmental, historical, and theological questions. Let us return to the focus of this article, the feminine element of the universe according to Andreev. I will first explicate the unification of two adversarial trends in Russian thought, sophiology and materialism, for this constitutes the starting point for Andreev's teachings; then turn to his ideas about the role of femininity in the destiny of Russia and the world; and conclude with a discussion of the contradictory aspects of Andreev's vision of femininity.
Many Russian visionaries and intellectuals have emphasized the feminine element of Russian popular culture. The philosopher George Fedotov argued that "at every step in studying Russian popular religion one meets the constant longing for a great divine female power. . ."According to Nikolai Berdiaev: "The religion of soil is very strong in the Russian people; it lies deep down in the very foundation of the Russian soul. The land is the final intercessor. The fundamental category is motherhood. The Mother of God takes precedence of the Trinity and is almost identified with the Trinity."
This preoccupation with the feminine is conventionally explained partly by geographical and historical conditions: Russia's vast stretches of open plains are often compared metaphorically to a womb that must be safeguarded from a foreign invasion; for centuries, Russia sustained herself as an agricultural society, which supported a corresponding mythological vision of the earth as a divine mother. Rural rituals of fertilizing the earth survived in Russia into the 20th century. The very names Rus' and Rossiia are of feminine gender and lead quite naturally to such folkloric and poetic expressions as "Mother Russia" (matushka Rossiia) and "Rus' Wife" (Rus' - zhena ).
Not all of the consequences of this "gender" mysticism have been investigated, especially as concerns its contemporary implications. Mythological relics of femininity and maternity are still relevant to twentieth century Russia, in spite of her obsession with the tasks of political and social innovation. It is characteristic, however, that even in the most comprehensive and informative Western investigation of feminine themes in Russian culture, Joanna Hubbs's Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture, the ideology and practice of Russian communism is not considered at all. Hubbs does not even mention the Russian concept of materiia [matter] even though materialism, as an official Soviet ideology, is probably the most important outcome of this traditional worship of Russia as mother.
One often encounters the opinion that materialism was alien to the Russian mentality and was mechanically adapted from the Western European "scientific spirit" of the 19th century. According to this stereotype, Russians are a mystical people, extremely resistant to rational knowledge about the world; hence they refuse to rely on objective laws, unaffected will or imagination. Despite the partial accuracy of these characterizations, materialism should not be confused with rationalism or empiricism. Indeed, the "average," archetypal Russian is neither a rationalist nor an empiricist, but nevertheless can be regarded as a materialist; and the most unyielding materialism does not preclude him from proclaiming the mystic qualities of matter.
It is important to bear in mind that the Russian word "materiia " is broader and more philosophically loaded than the corresponding English "matter." In the Academic Dictionary of Russian language, "materiia" is defined firstly as "the objective reality that exists beyond and independently of human consciousness," and secondly as "the substance from which the physical bodies of nature are composed." Only the second meaning is equivalent to "matter" in English. The Russian concept of "materiia," therefore, has not only physical, but metaphysical implications, presupposing the objective nature of matter and even its priority over consciousness, a tenet that is the foundation of Soviet materialism (which in its turn certainly influenced the definitions of ideologically charged terminology).
The major Russian philosopher, Aleksei Losev (1893-1988), argued that the entirety of Russian thought, even in its religious components, has a deeply materialistic bias:
Before materialism became an official doctrine, another femininely oriented philosophy had been developing in Russia, the so-called "sophiology." At the end of the 19th, and during the first half of the 20th, century this concept was elaborated by Vladimir Soloviev, Pavel Florensky, Sergei Bulgakov, and other thinkers who considered the Russian soul to be especially attuned to Sophia, Divine Wisdom. Both materiia and Sophia, they argued, characterized the feminine element in the universe, but there is a major difference between them: materiia is nature which gives birth to living beings; Sophia is Divine Wisdom which generates nature itself. In the Old Testament, Sophia (Hokhma in Hebrew) is portrayed as follows:
[. . .] Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. . . ("Proverbs," 8: 22-23, 30-31).
Wisdom I loved; I sought her out when I was young and longed to win her for my bride, and I fell in love with her beauty. She adds lustre to her noble birth, because it is given her to live with God, and the Lord of all things has accepted her ("The Wisdom of Solomon," 8: 2-3).
Materialism and sophiology in Russian thought share the same mythological origin: both glorify the primary feminine elements of existence, namely nature and wisdom. Sophia represents the virginal, and materiia the maternal, aspects of this femininity. Both are rooted in the deepest mythological archetypes of Russian thought as the two pillars of feminine mysticism. The Soviet intensification of materialism deepened the traditional symbolic rift between the two conceptions of femininity. Materialism, as propagated by Marxism-Leninism, is not merely the glorification of the forces of materiia; in alliance with atheism, it strives to tear materiia away from its divine origins, from Sophia, and to submit it to the mastery of man.
Originally, the image of Sophia was ambiguous, as can be seen from Thunder, Whole Mind, one of the writings found at Nag Hammadi in 1945 and probably written during the first century B.C. Here Sophia manifests herself as both saint and whore. Gradually, however, these aspects of the Feminine Divinity became increasingly distinct. As I have indicated, Sophia was identified with the Holy Wisdom of God and the immaculate Mother of God, the Eternal Virgin (Prisnodeva). Thus the sophiological preference for chastity begins to betray an ascetic bias, a one-sidedness for which materialism strives to compensate. Virginity is in conflict with the fertile, prolific forces of nature. Thus the other aspect of primordial female Divinity--fertility and sensuality (called the fallen Sophia by the gnostics)--is developed in materialist teachings, where it acts as a counterbalance to virginity, eventually beginning to overcompensate, moving into the excesses of dissipation.
Many Russian thinkers have lamented the internal
division of the Russian national character, which strains in two opposite
directions, ascetic/"angelic" and sensual/"animalistic", but seldom succeeds
in integrating spiritual and material impulses in a human middle-ground.
The same tragic split occurs within the feminine elements of Russian culture;
hence, an important task of contemporary Russian thought is to resolve
the historical antagonism between the two philosophical tendencies of sophiology
Throughout his creative years, Daniil Andreev suffered under the pressure of official Soviet ideology's "stubborn iron materialism," but his inner resistance to this mysticism of materiia did not push him to the other extreme of bodiless spiritualism. Nature was the center of his whole system, and he singled out a special category of "elementals" (stikhiali ), spiritual entities which have an elevating effect on the human soul and are embodied in such natural elements (stikhii ) as rivers, trees, wind, and snow. Daniil Andreev enjoyed traveling through the wildest and most remote corners of Russian forests, because for him, nature suggested the most genuine way of knowing God and partaking in supreme wisdom. Like Rozanov and Merezhkovsky, he sought the "sanctification of the flesh," and vehemently opposed the ascetic contempt for sensuality. For him, the entire substance of nature was a manifestation of the feminine soul of the universe.
The double materialistic and sophiological context of Andreev's view on femininity becomes clear from his short remark indicating the whole spectrum of traditional Russian worship of the earth as mother and as lover. "Earth is not only our mother; in some deeper sense which still cannot be explicated, she is our lover. One should remember the precept of Dostoevsky, who urged us to kiss the earth constantly during every step." (Rose of the World, book 12, chapter 3, page 259).
Andreev attempts to elevate this "pagan" worship of the earth to the highest level of Christian theology. The chapter "Femininity" in Rose of the World treats this question in terms of the Holy Trinity. Andreev considered himself Christian, but he dared to dispute the doctrine of the Trinity:
It is difficult to say whether Andreev was familiar with the ideas of Anna Shmidt, Dmitri Merezhkovsky or Sergei Bulgakov. Anna Shmidt (1851-1905) has postulated in her treatise "The Third Testament" (1886?) that the third hypostasis of God is "God's Daughter, the Eternal Virgin." Merezhkovsky did not deny that the Holy Spirit is God's third hypostasis, but he claimed it to be feminine and identical to the Holy Mother, the symbol union of divine spirit and earthly flesh. Bulgakov developed sophiology as a specific division within Eastern theology but his deliberately vague doctrine of Sophia as a separate hypostasis outside the Trinity was condemned by the Orthodox hierarchy (1935), even though Bulgakov did not assert directly that Sophia is the fourth hypostasis of Divinity. It is likely that Church authorities censured sophiology as heresy because it seemed to pattern the Trinity after a trivial family union and it introduced seductive sexual elements into the dogmatic core of Christianity.
Indeed, the mysterious essence of the Trinity is undermined when the Mother of God is substituted for the Holy Spirit. The concept of the Holy Spirit may have derived from the concept of Hokhma, or Divine Wisdom in the Old Testament. But when the "second" hypostasis of the Son was incorporated into the concept of God in the New Testament, the "third" hypostasis had to be revised and purified of any feminine elements in order to avoid any associations with an earthly family structure. Thus the divine wisdom of the Old Testament could become the Holy Spirit of the New Testament.
Unlike the Reverend Sergei Bulgakov, the convict Daniil Andreev was not constrained in his theological imagination by church canons. For Andreev, the incorporation of feminine elements into the Trinity had far-reaching implications for Russia. This meant that the whole material aspect of life might be spiritualized and sanctified since Maternity, which gives life to all creatures, would be a hypostasis of Divinity Itself.
Daniil Andreev identified this feminine essence as Zventa-Sventana, whose approximate meaning he conveys as "the lightest of the light, the holiest of the holy" (6,3, 124). The Russian word svet means light, while "zventa" sounds similar to "zvezda " - "a star." Generally, Andreev prefers to substitute the neologisms he claimed to have received directly from higher spirits for traditional names and terms; in this case, as in many others, he does not care to explicate the semantic difference between Sophia and Zventa-Sventana. There are other modifications of this "universal femininity" (Mirovaia Zhenstvenností ) in Andreev's vision, such as Navna, or the Communal Soul (Sobornaia Dusha). The relationship of these names and personifications to one another is sometimes obscure. Zventa-Sventana is defined as the great monad born from God, the expression of eternal femininity, and the bride of a planetary Logos. Navna also is a monad born from God and one of the great sisters, a communal soul of Russian meta-culture. When considering the cosmic, global dimensions of femininity, Andreev prefers the name Zventa-Sventana. The name Navna is reserved for the feminine soul of Russia: "The Eternally Feminine principle whose embodiment in Russia, Navna. . ." (Vechno-Zhenstvennoe nachalo, vyrazitel'nitsa kotorogo v Rossii, Navna. . . ) (10, 2, 180).
In each inspiration, in each art
Of this nocturnal and snowy country
Only the dawn of Thy distant presentiments
Slightly gilds our mournful dreams.
According to Andreev's mytho-historiosophy, the Russian demiurge Iarosvet was destined to marry the Communal Soul of the Russian nation and give birth to Zventa-Sventana. But this process was delayed by the interference of Velga, the great demon of a feminine nature who removes the taboos against blasphemy and destruction. Each nation has its own Velga, like the goddess Kali in Hinduism, or Lilith in Judaism, or the "fallen Sophia" in Gnosticism, who represents another pole of the communal soul and attempts to bring society into the fold of demonic materialism. In these terms, Soviet materialistic civilization can be interpreted as an involution of Velga.
According to Andreev, the first appearance of Iarosvet in heavenly Russia and his encounter with Navna occurred in the tenth century. Andreev described this event as a "happy tempest": "Navna accepted him as a long-awaited groom in the blissful forest expanses of Holy Russia" (7,1, 128). Yet until the nineteenth century the feminine element was suppressed in Russian culture; the few rather pale images of women such as Iaroslavna in The Song of Igor or Saint Fevroniia cannot even be compared to the significance and power of male imagery. This is because Navna was a prisoner of the Zhrugrs, who personify the demonic aspect of the State, the will to power as the dominant aspiration of patriarchal society.
Daniil Andreev singles out several steps in Russian literature and philosophy which mark the gradual manifestation of Zventa-Sventana. The emanation of this feminine monad into the spiritual world of our planet, Shadanakar, occurred only in the late eighteenth century. This metahistorical event was dimly reflected in the works of Goethe, Novalis and Zhukovsky.
In Russia the first embodiment of this ideal femininity was Tatiana Larina in Eugene Onegin by Pushkin. Then came Turgenev's women, especially Elena in the novel On the Eve and Lukeria from the short story "Living Mummy." The highest manifestations of the Eternal Feminine are found in the works of Vladimir Soloviev (1853-1900), even though he failed to find a more compelling concept for this mysterious entity than the ancient gnostic notion of Sophia. In Andreev's view, Soloviev was the first to understand that the religious revelation of the Eternal Feminine is not compatible with the Trinitarian dogma of Orthodox Christianity. This is why he expressed his vision of Sophia in a long poem, "Three Encounters," whose mystical illuminations are deliberately limited by the framework of a slightly humorous autobiographical sketch, in order to conceal their potential heretical implications. In addition, Soloviev was afraid to introduce the feminine principle into the religious sphere, where it might be mixed with sexual elements, thus leading to the blasphemous equation of spiritual marriage with ritualistic depravity, seen in the practice of some Russian orgiastic sects, such as the Khlysty.
These fears of Soloviev, Andreev continued, made him especially laconic and cautious when revealing his sophiological insights, but they became reality in the works and fate of Alexander Blok (1880 - 1921), who considered himself a spiritual disciple of Soloviev. Blok addressed his first book of poems to the Beautiful Lady, a personification of the feminine soul of the world, but in his subsequent creative work, he fell lower and lower into the abyss of the demonic feminine, following the steps of "fallen Sophia" who appeared to him as an "unknown woman" (neznakomka ), a seductive combination of a virgin and a whore. "Now [Blok] sings about Velga, mistaking her for Navna in his increasing blindness" (10,5, 198). This was not merely an individual error, but the entire country's, reflecting the tragic fall of her feminine soul. From the heights of Sophia, to whom many Russian churches were dedicated, the people were slipping into the chasm of revolutionary materialism--the mystical temptation engendered by the great fornicatress, Velga.
Daniil Andreev was one of the first Russian thinkers to proclaim the primary creative role of the feminine in the spiritual growth of humankind, even though he believed that in some fields, a woman is less gifted than a man. He maintained that though for two hundred years the doors to the arts and sciences had been open wide for women, at least in the privileged classes, there were fewer female than male geniuses in music, painting, literature, science (6,3,123). Nevertheless, Andreev argued,
In the spheres of the highest creativity, something occurs which is opposite to what we see in the physical world. Here the woman is the fertilizing principle while man is the principle of shaping and incarnation. The Divine Comedy is the product of two authors and it could not appear without both Beatrice and Dante. If we could penetrate the depths of the creative process of the majority of great artists, we would become certain that it was through a woman that the spiritual seed of the immortal creations was thrown into the depth of their [artists'] unconscious, into the hiding-place of their creativity (6, 3, 123).
Until now it was proclaimed that not only a man, but a woman is obliged to be manly. . . But. . . not only a woman, but a man too, must be feminine (6, 3, 123, 124).
This synthesis is symbolized by Andreev's central idea -- the Rose of the World, which he defines in the glossary as
The feminine mysticism of Daniil Andreev, as of Russian philosophy, is clearly distinct from those varieties of contemporary Western feminism, which postulate separate, self-contained, spheres of female culture. Andreev stresses not so much the equality of women in historically male-dominated fields, as the superiority of women in those fields which have been traditionally underestimated and underdeveloped by "patriarchal" civilization. While some Western feminists emphasize female perspectives in writing, reading, and criticism, Andreev emphasizes the privileged position of women in domains of intuitive or integral knowledge which cannot be reduced to scientific disciplines or critical discourse.
Russian feminine mysticism proceeds from the idea
of an integral human being in whom heart and mind, body and soul are one.
In men, these capacities are usually split and highly specialized because
of the division of labor. Women, however, have retained their wholeness
because it is necessary for the very act of giving birth. While some Western
feminists defend gender differences against the power of one male canon,
Russian thinkers, such as Soloviev or Andreev, are inclined to defend "androgynism"
as part of a general desire for "total unity" (vseedinstvo) opposed
to gendered specialization. Some Western feminists maintain that women
must affirm their social and cultural independence from male dominated
civilization. Daniil Andreev, however, believed that "not only a woman,
but a man too, must be feminine" (6, 3, 124).
Despite the extremely positive and optimistic nature of Andreev's view of femininity, the underlying ambivalence of the image of Sophia as virgin and whore unconsciously penetrates his thinking. Andreev's pan-religious system contains an inner drama and inherent paradox -- a striking similarity between what he glorifies as the Rose of the World and what he vilifies as the kingdom of the Antichrist. The Rose of the World is the ideal State-Church of the future, embracing all existing religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, under the rule of one world government and one spiritual leader (this idea is reminiscent of Soloviev's utopia of global Christian theocracy led by Tsar and Pope, but in Andreev's vision the future "supreme instructor" integrates these two roles). However, according to Andreev's prophecy, after several generations of peaceful rule, the Rose of the World will inevitably fall into the hands of the Antichrist, whose kingdom will finally be crushed by the second coming of Christ, thus ending the current eon of world history. Andreev characterizes the kingdom of the Antichrist, with its horrors and blasphemies, as completely antithetical to his theocratic utopia, the Rose of the World. Nevertheless, the conceptual system underlying his description leads one to the conclusion that the Rose of the World, the Kingdom of God on Earth, is implicitly the kingdom of the Antichrist, or at least its antecedent.
For example, in his description of the future spiritual leader of the Rose of the World, "the supreme instructor" (verkhovnyi nastavnik), Andreev emphasizes that this figure will integrate artistic genius, moral righteousness and the inspiration of a religious prophet (1, 1, 15). The same combination of gifts is characteristic of the Antichrist, as conceived by Soloviev in his "Tale of Antichrist" (1900), a work which Andreev knew well and which he repeatedly cites in his treatise as a valid prophecy about the advent of the Antichrist. Moreover, in Andreev's own vision, the Antichrist is endowed with a similar "unprecedented versatility of gifts," and he gains power through his ascension to the leadership of the Rose of the World (12, 4, 264-265).
Among the features of the Rose of the World that are ironically mirrored in the Kingdom of the Antichrist, the cult of femininity is of central importance. As soon as the Antichrist ascends to the throne and is crowned, he "announce[s] himself to be the messenger of World Femininity" (12, 4, 265). Vladimir Soloviev never reinterpreted Eternal Femininity ironically as a demonic cult: in his "Tale of Antichrist" he abandons and condemns the ideas of total unity and universal theocracy that he advocated in his previous works, but leaves sophiology intact, as well as the Christian justification of Platonic eroticism attempted in his article "The Meaning of Love." According to Soloviev, it is through sexual love that man ascends to God and unites himself with the "eternal Femininity of God." Characteristically, Andreev considers this erotic moment in Soloviev's theology to be his greatest achievement: "it is precisely the prophecy about Zventa-Sventana and the creation of historical and religious premises for the Rose of the World that constituted his [Soloviev's] mission" (10, 4, 194).
In Andreev's eschatological vision, the kingdom of the Antichrist releases the sexual drives and raises them to the status of a religious cult. Andreev uses the name Lilith, an apocryphal female demon and Adam's rebellious first wife, to designate the feminine counterpart of the Antichrist: "The incarnate Lilith, who pretended to be Femininity, will alternately engage in shameless actions with Anti-logos and in orgy-mysteries, first opened to hundreds of people, and later, in principle, to everybody. . . Everything will be directed towards the unbridling of the sexual element" (12, 4, 266, 267).
Andreev seems to forget that, according to his previous arguments, concerning the bisexual nature of God, the intercourse and marriage of the two Divine hypostases constitutes the main mystery of the religion of the Rose of the World itself. This was in Andreev's own proposal for a future Eighth Ecumenical Council to revise the dogma of the Holy Trinity and to assert Femininity as one of the three hypostases, instead of the Holy Spirit: ". . .the eternal union between Father and Mother. . . and in this love, the Third is born: the Foundation of the Universe. Father--Eternal Virgin-Mother--Son" (6, 3, 121). This dogmatic innovation is reminiscent of an atheistic postulate of Feuerbach, who argued that the Christian Trinity is only a reflection of real sexual relationships within the earthly family. Andreev humanizes and trivializes the mystery of the Trinity, introducing into it male-female polarity, which is originally absent from Christian tradition. Such rationalization reduces the Trinity to the level of the pagan myth of the marriage of heaven and earth.
For Andreev, the replacement of the Holy Spirit by the female aspect of Divinity is the "decisive thesis" of his entire book, though he acknowledges that he dares to break with the "foundation of foundations," the Holy Trinity as preached by the Christian Churches: "The idea of World Femininity cannot but grow into the idea of the Female aspect of Divinity, and this naturally threatens to destroy the dogmatic ideas about the hypostases of the Holy Trinity" (6, 3, 120-121).
This introduction of a female principle into the Trinity is not purely a theoretical proposal. Femininity, as a new dogma crucial for the religion of the Rose of the World, is also realized in the specific hierarchy of the female priesthood, which reflects the second hypostasis of the Trinity. There will be specific temples and rituals designed exclusively for priestesses, the blue hierarchy, functioning along with the golden hierarchy of God-Father and the white hierarchy of God-Son (12, 3, 258). Moreover, Andreev also anticipates certain cult practices, such as the blessing of young couples seeking marriage not by Christians priests, but by the fertile forces of nature, more precisely, by the special order of "nature-priests" under the auspices of the Rose of the World. ". . .[O]ne should not impose wedding vows for more than several years, and it is more appropriate to ask for help not from the hierarchy of Christian trans-myth, but from Mother Earth and even from the popular Aphrodite of humankind" (12, 3, 255).
Unconsciously Andreev reveals the demonic side of his own utopia: his reverence for a sexually bipolar divinity lays the foundation for the sacrilegious practices of the Antichrist and the eventual doom of the Rose of the World. The Antichrist's main project, and the source of his power over humanity, is sexual permissiveness, for which he will offer religious justification: "Anti-Logos will announce himself to be the incarnation of God-Father, and the woman whose appearance Lilith has taken by means of a demonic miracle to be the incarnation of Eternal Femininity [. . .] Around himself and the incarnate Lilith, the Antichrist will create a blasphemous cult of world fornication, and vile actions between the two of them, surrounded by fantastic effects and stupefying splendor, will be performed before the eyes of the everyone, allegedly reflecting, in our world, the cosmic marriage of two hypostases of the Trinity" (12, 4, 265).
It is clear that if not for the transformation of the Trinity into the cosmic marriage of two hypostases, sanctified and dogmatized by the Rose of the World, there would be nothing for the Antichrist to reflect or imitate. It is impossible to create the cult of world fornication from the relationship of the two traditional hypostases--God-Father and the Holy Spirit--as understood by Christianity. The original Trinity simply lacks any premise for such blasphemy, precludes any consideration of it, whereas the Trinity announced by Andreev, presenting "the mystery of the union of Father and Mother" (6,3, 121), clears the path for the cult of fornication. How can the sexually bipolar Trinity be reflected in ritual except through an infinite succession of sexual unions, which is precisely what constitutes the seductive appeal of the Antichrist and his female hypostasis?
One wonders why Andreev, who was so sensitive to the spiritual dangers of feminine mysticism--those, in his view, avoided by Soloviev and fatal for Blok--proved to be so susceptible to them himself. Perhaps "The Rose of the World," though formally "finished," should not be viewed as fully completed, since there is a certain discordance between Andreev's social prophecies and his eschatological visions. (In the end, the author, mortally ill, had less than two years after his release from prison to organize and elaborate on his inspirational fragments). Andreev understands perfectly that "the intrusion of ideas about the difference of divinely-male and divinely-female principles into religious organizations and cults is fraught with exceptional dangers. Understood with insufficient spirituality, separated with insufficient strictness from the sexual sphere of humanity, these intrusions lead to the darkening of spirituality with [the loosening of] the sexual element, to the blasphemous identification of cosmic spiritual marriage with sensual love and, in the final analysis, with ritual debauchery." (10,4,194). This is exactly the temptation that haunts Andreev's own thought and, unconsciously, transforms his Utopia into the Apocalypse.
What Andreev proclaims as the "decisive thesis" for the Rose of the World, he also condemns as a "blasphemous cult" in the kingdom of the Antichrist, but it is the very same feminine principle, polarized into "virgin" and "whore." Andreev's attempt to reconcile these two aspects in the image of the Eternal Mother, who is both Sophia and Materiia, proved to be a spiritually dangerous enterprise, since the opposition between these two aspects should not be completely erased. As soon as the desired synthesis of all-comprehensive femininity is achieved in the project of the Rose of the World, it becomes subject to a new doubling, to the materialization of a demonic and purely sensual femininity in the kingdom of the Antichrist, and it is this theoretical irony that ultimately undermines Andreev's theocratic utopia.
Thus the mystical element of Andreev's doctrine,
his veneration of the feminine aspect of Divinity, comes into a very complicated
and controversial relationship with the eschatological element of his doctrine,
an apprehension of the "ritual debauchery" at the very essence of the demonic
"Anti-trinity." Andreev himself never succeeded in overcoming this contradiction
but, of all Russian mystics, he most expressively testifies to its hidden
0. Boris Chukov, "Most iz mira real'nogo v mir transtsendental'nyi. Daniil Andreev - poet, vizioner, filosof," Nezavisimaia gazeta (Moscow), No. 166 (842), Sept. 1, 1994, p.7.
1 The life of Daniil Andreev, rich with spiritual insights and shaped by sudden twists of fate and daily adversity remains unwritten. One of the most reliable biographical sources is recollections of Andreev's widow, Alla Aleksandrovna Andreeva, taped by this author in an interview with her on April 28, 1988 (the typescript is 58 pages). A short biographical essay written by Alla Andreeva appearsas the introduction to the first volume of Daniil Andreev's Collected Works: "Zhizn' Daniila Andreeva, rasskazannaia ego zhenoi," in Daniil Andreev. Sobranie sochinenii in 3 vv., v.1, Moscow: Moskovskii rabochii, firma Alesia, 1993, 5-26.
2 D.L. Andreev, V.V. Parin, and L.L. Rakov, Noveishii Plutarkh (Newest Plutarch: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of Imagined Famous Figures of All Countries and Times, from A to Z). Moscow: Moskovskii rabochii, 1991.
3 G.P.Fedotov,The Russian Religious Mind. Cambridge (Mass.), 1946, p. 362.
On the connection between Russia, Mother-Earth and the Virgin (God Mother) see also Andrei Sinyavsky, chapter "Mat'-syra Zemlia i Bogomater'," in his book Ivan-durak. Ocherk russkoi narodnoi very, Paris: Sintaksis, 1991, pp.181-192. "As the expression of universal Motherhood, the the image of the Mother of God sometimes merges with or stands close by the moist Mother earth" (189).
4 Nikolai Berdyaev. The Russian Idea, trans. by R.M. Frenchapter. Hudson (New York): Lindisfarne Press, 1992, p.24.
5 Joanna Hubbs, Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1988.
6 Slovar' russkogo iazyka, in 4 vv., Akademiia nauk SSSR. Moscow: Russkii iazyk, 1982, vol.2, 236.
7 A. F. Losev. Osnovnye osobennosti russkoi filosofii, in his book Filosofiia. Mifologiia. Kultura. Moscow: Politizdat, 1991, p.509.
8 V. N. Toporov. Prostranstvo i tekst. Tekst: semantika i struktura. Moscow: Nauka,1983, 236-237.
9 V.I.Lenin, Sochineniia, 4th edition. Moscow: Politizdat, 1952, v.14, 176, 177.
10 K. Marx and F. Engels, Sochineniia, 2nd pr. Moscow: Gospolitizdat,1961, v. 21, 283.
11 Paul Federn, a disciple of Freud, argued that Bolshevism is nothing but the replacement of the father's power by the principles of matriarchy. See P. Federn. Zur Psychologie der Revolution. Wien: Die Österreichische Volkswirt, 1919.
12 Vladimir Soloviev: La Sophia et les autres écrits français, ed. with introduction by Fr. François Rouleau, Lausanne, 1978; Pavel Florensky. Stolp i utverzhdenie istiny. "Pis'mo desiatoe": Sofiia. Sobranie sochinenii, Paris: YMCA-Press, 1989, vol.4, 319-392; Sergei Bulgakov. The Wisdom of God. A Brief Summary of Sophiology. New York, London: The Paisley Press Inc., 1937).
13 The New English Bible with the Apocrypha. Oxford: Oxford UP, Cambridge UP, 1970, 105.
14 Sergei Averintsev. K uiasneniiu smysla nadpisi nad konkhoi tsentral'noi apsidy Sofii Kievskoi. Drevnerusskoe iskusstvo. Moscow, 1972, 28.
15 For Lenin, "all worship of divinity is necrophilia - be it the cleanest, most ideal, not sought-out but built-up divinity, it's all the same." (A Letter to Maxim Gorky, November 13 or 14, 1913. V.I.Lenin. On Religion. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969, 39. Characteristically, in Russian original Lenin uses for "a divinity" not a common form Bog, but a diminutive bozhen'ka, a "little god," implying contemptuous feeling for the Heavenly Father as if He were a child.
For a detailed discussion of the Oedipus complex of materialism, see Mikhail Epstein. Labor of Lust. Common Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 1992, vol. 1. No. 3, 91-107.
16 Russian-English Dictionary of Winged Words. Moscow: Russkii iazyk, 1988, 126. This maxim was pronounced by Michurin in 1934.
17 The question of femininity which Daniil Andreev thought to be "the decisive thesis" of the entire The Rose of the World, is most extensively treated in:
book six, "The Highest Worlds of Shadanakar", chapter 3, "Femininity";
book seven, "Towards Metahistory of Kievan Rus' ", chapter 1, "Kievan Rus' as a Metahistorical Phenomenon";
book ten, "Towards a Metahistory of Russian Culture", chapter 2, "Missions and Fates," chapter 3, "Missions and Fates (continuation)", chapter 4, "Missions and Fates (end)", chapter 5, "The Fall of the Messenger";
book twelve, "Possibilities," chapter 3, "Cult."
There are twelve books altogether.
Daniil Andreevís work is quoted from its first edition Roza Mira. Metafilosofiia istorii. Moscow: Prometei, 1991. Henceforth cited parenthetically in text. The first figure in parentheses refers to the number of the book, the second to the chapter, the third to the page.
After this article was completed, several fragments of Andreev's opus magnum appeared in an English translation by Irina Antonyan in the journal Urania, Moscow, 1992, No.1, pp. 28-42 (chapters "Sakuala of Enlightment," "The Zatomises," and "A Short Glossary"). This journal, founded in 1990 and edited by Tatiana Antonyan, is published bimonthly in Russian and three times a year in English. Daniil Andreev's legacy is important for the journal and strongly influences its contributors. Its main specialization is astrology and, to a lesser degree, extrasensory perception; for this reason, Andreev's teaching is primarily interpreted in occult terms.
18 See for a detailed account of Merezhkovsky's "new religious consciousness" and dogmatic innovations, sometimes strikingly anticipating Andreev's conceptions, Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal. Dmitri Sergeevich Merezhkovsky and the Silver Age: the Development of a Revolutionary Mentality. Martinus Nijhoff/ The Hague, 1975, chapter IV, especially pp. 94-96.
19 Bulgakov, chapter 1, "The Divine Sophia in the Holy Trinity," The Wisdom of God, 43-62.
20 Daniil Andreev, Russkie Bogi. Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. Moscow: Sovremennik, 1989, p. 198.
21 A more detailed analysis of the internal ironies and paradoxes of Andreev's The Rose of the World can be found in my article "Roza Mira i Tsarstvo Antikhrista: o paradoksakh russkoi eskhatologii" (The Rose of the World and the Kingdom of Antichrist: on the Paradoxes of Russian Eschatology). Kontinent (Moscow-Paris), No. 79, 1994 (1), 283 - 332.
22 In Ancient Greece, the popular Aphrodite, "Pandemos,"
was the goddess of crude, sensual love, as opposed to Aphrodite Urania
who was the goddess of ideal, heavenly love.
Synopsis of Daniil Andreev's treatise The Rose of the World
The Rose of The World consists of 12 books, each of which is divided into several chapters.
Book One: "The Rose of the World and Its Place
in History." In chapter 1 titled, "The Rose of the World and Its Most Immediate
Tasks," Andreev briefly refers to the history of his manuscript, which
he had to hide during the work and after its completion in 1958. "I belong
to those who have been fatally wounded by two great misfortunes: world
wars and one personís (edinolichnoi ) tyranny" (p. 7). Andreev explains
the task of his book as promoting the rapprochement of religions and ideologies
that aspire to the spiritual unity of the world. The Rose of the World
is the universal teaching of pan-religion, destined to fulfill the integration
of humanity, a process begun by the formation of institutions such as world
religions and the League of Nations. "If old religions are petals then
the Rose of the World is the flower" (13). "Inter-religiousness, the universality
of social aspirations and their concrete character, the dynamism of world
view and consistency of historical goals: these are the traits which set
the Rose of the World apart from all past religions and churches" (14)
"It is a universal, super-national structure (vsemirnoe narodoustroistvo)
that aspires to the sanctification and enlightenment of the entire life
of the world" (16).
In chapter 2, "The Attitude Towards Culture," Andreev regards more specifically the scientific, economic, technological, aesthetic, and ethical problems which the Rose of the World is called to solve. In particular, he prophesies that visual art in the future will follow the patterns of metarealism, showing many material and spiritual layers of reality through one image.
In chapter 3, "The Attitude Towards Religions," Andreev seeks a way to reconcile the contradictory aspects of different world religions, like the strict monotheism of Islam and the Trinity of Christianity.
Book Two: "On the Metahistorical and Transphysical
Methods of Knowledge." Chapter 1, "Some Peculiarities of Metahistorical
Method," lays down the methodological foundation of the book. Metahistory
is the unified history of this world and of all others. It is the totality
of processes which are implemented in all dimensions of space-time and
sometimes shine through the social history of mankind, which is itself
only a tiny part of this metahistory. Andreev categorizes three stages
of metahistorical knowledge: illumination, contemplation, and interpretation.
He recounts the most important metahistorical illuminations of his own
life, which occurred in 1921, 1928, 1932, 1933 and 1943, and then, regularly,
from 1950-53, while he was in jail. In his mystical travels through multiple
worlds he was led by the greatest spirits that ever existed in Russia.
He did not see them, but was able to talk to them and he heard their words
coming from the bottom of his own heart.
Chapter 2, "Some Thoughts on Transphysical Method," focuses on the perception of nature as a transparent physical reality which reveals its transphysical spiritual essence. Andreev describes his own travels across Russia and Ukraine during which he communicated with the spiritual entities of nature, which he calls Stikhiali, or elementals.
In Chapter 3, "The Initial Conception," the most important concepts of the new metahistorical and transphysical vision are described.
1: Multiple Layers. Every layer differs from every other in its number of spatial or temporal dimensions. Several specific terms are introduced: Bramfatura (a system of layers surrounding each celestial body), Enrof (the name of our physical layer, which consists of three spatial and one temporary dimension), Shadanakar (our Planet's Bramfatura, which consists of 242 layers of differing spaces and times), and Sakuala (a system of layers, each of which can be entered from another). Andreev states that elementary particles are living entities that possess free will, but it is still impossible at present to communicate with them.
2: The Origin of Evil/The World's Laws/Karma. The root of Evil is egoism - the intention to include all other monads, or spiritual entities, in one's own self. Only God is capable of creating monads; Lucifer can only try to capture them. Evil is embodied in Gartungr, a planetary demon who possesses three separate and interrelated identities (anti-hypostases): the great tormentor, the great whore, and the principle of form (possibly, as a demonic counterpart to the third hypostasis of the Holy Spirit). The struggle between Gartungr and the Planetary Logos, who was embodied in Christ, comprises the propelling force of the history of the Earth.
3: The Question of Free Will. History is the progressive development of the freedom of human will, which allows an individual monad to liberate itself from evil and its consequences.
4: Being and Consciousness.
5: The Various Material Components of a Human Being. "A monad is an indivisible and spiritual unit, the highest 'self' of people" (117). Monads materialize in shelt, a five-dimensional body, as well as in astral and ethereal bodies. This allows monads to survive physical death and to travel into other sakuals.
6: Metacultures. Andreev introduces the concepts of the super-nation (sverkhnarod ) and its metaculture, which exist simultaneously in many material layers. Super-nations include the Southwestern Roman Catholic Super-nation, the Northwestern German Protestant Super-nation, the Russian Super-nation, and so on. Each super-nation creates its own transmyth as a specific vision of multiple realities -- a unifying myth, defining the collective identity of interconnected nations. These transmyths include those artistic creations which most deeply express the soul of the given super-nation, such as Goethe's Faust and Margarita, or Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear.
A super-nation is flanked by two metacultural realms. The upper layer, called a zatomis, is the metacultural abode of a super-nation's enlightened souls, holy cities and heavenly spirits. The lower layer, called shrastr, is home to the concentrated demonic forces of the super-nation. Olympus, Sinai, and Kitezh exemplify the transmythical images of the zatomises in the Greek, Jewish, and Russian metacultures, respectively. Andreev explains that Russia's relative youth is responsible for the lack of Russian terms in his description of transphysical worlds. They had already been named in the languages of older metacultures, primarily the Indian one.
Book Three: "The Structure of Shadanakar: the
Ascending Row of Worlds." In Chapter 1, "Sakuala of Enlightenment," Andreev
describes his most recent death, which occurred three hundred years ago
in a non-Russian metaculture. He recalls the layers through which his soul
consequently ascended. The first layer was Olirna, a world in which Andreev
met some of his closest relatives and friends. The environment there is
similar to the Earth's, but it is without Earth's extremes of tropical
rains and arctic frost. The sky is a deep green and the sun is multicolored.
A lonely island in Olirna happens to be the residence of the betrayer of
Christ, Judas, who has since repented. Death is not the way from Olirna
to the next, higher worlds; transfiguration is. The next layer is Fier
(Fair), whose inhabitants exult over the abundant light and the appearance
of long-expected wings. Those who reach Fier will never come down to Enrof,
the Earth, unless they have a spiritual mission. Then the worlds Nartis
(the land of great tranquility) and Gotimna (the garden of sublime fates)
Chapter 2: "Zatomises." Zatomises are the top layers of metaculture and are inhabited by sinklits, assemblies of the greatest souls of the super-nations. There are nineteen zatomises, corresponding to the number of metacultures. The first zatomis is Maif, the heavenly synod of the metaculture of Atlantis, the society that existed approximately ten thousand years before the birth of Christ. The culture of Atlantis was similar to that of ancient Egypt, only more repressive and gloomy. Other zatomises include: 1) Linat (Gondvana land), 2) Ialu (Ancient Egypt), 3) Eanna (Babylon, Assyria and Canaan), 4) Shan-Ti (China), 5) Sumera (or Meru, India, the most powerful of all zatomises), 6) Zervan (Ancient Persia), 7) Olymp (Ancient Greece and Rome), 8) Nikhord (Judaism), 9) Rai (Byzantine), 10) Eden (Roman Catholicism), 11) Monsalvat (European Northwest, American North, Australia and some parts of Africa, the most vast of all zatomises), 12) Zhunfleiia (Ethiopia), 13) Jannet (Islam), 14) Sukkhavati (Northern Buddhism), 15) Aireng-Daliang (Indo-Malaysia), 16) Heavenly Russia (Russia), 17) The Zatomis of African Culture (Africa), and 18) Arimoiia. This final one is the emerging, unfinished zatomis of pan-human interreligious culture that is being created by the Rose of the World.
Each zatomis is briefly described and designated by specific symbols. For example, the symbol of China's metaculture is a beautiful woman's face under a lotus-like crown; Greek and Roman metaculture is symbolized by a white temple against a sky blue background; India's metacultural symbol is three mountain chains crowned with golden cities; the Jewish metaculture is symbolized by tent-like buildings surrounded by trees with large red fruits. Finally, Andreev gives a description of heavenly Russia, a pinkish-white city with many temples on a high shore above a blue river. The highest place in heavenly Russia belongs to Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Leo Tolstoi, Alexei Konstantinovich Tolstoi, Dostoevsky, Vladimir Soloviev, and Kutuzov (the general who defeated Napoleon), because national geniuses and messengers†continue their spiritual activity in the zatomises. Scores of great spirits ascended from the Russian zatomis into the world's sinklit, among them Vladimir the Saint, Iaroslav the Wise, Sergei Radonezhsky, Andrei Rublev, and Lomonosov.
In Chapter 3 "The Middle Layers of Shadanakar," Andreev presents the yellowish, smoking spaces where Egregors live. These entities of a non-material nature emerge from the psychic essence of great collectives (tribes, states, parties, communities). Seven subdivisions of these middle worlds of Egregors are described. One such subdivision is Foraun, which consists of the dark, ephemeral radiation that comes from congregations of people gathered in churches. The highest category of humanity, known as Daimons (Demons), inhabits one of the middle worlds. The Daimons are similar to angels, except for the fact that they are divided into two sexes. They inspire earthbound artists and poets. In Andreev's mind, fictional characters, like heroes of Shakespeare, Tolstoi, Dostoevsky and others, have prototypes in the world of Daimons; after the death of a writer, a hero's image, such as that of Ivan Karamazov or Andrei Bolkonsky, ascends to one of the other worlds, elevated by the spiritual force of their creator.
Book Four: "The Structure of Shadanakar and Infraphysics,"
is devoted to the lower worlds. Chapter 1, "The Foundation," describes
Gartungr, the demon of Shadanakar, who imitates aspects of God such as
the Trinity. He lies on the waves of a turbulent lilac ocean with his black
wings spread from horizon to horizon. Gasharva, one of the lowest worlds,
possesses many temporal dimensions, but only two spatial ones. This situation
creates a spiritual stuffiness and an enormous density of matter. This
world is home to the model for Vrubel's famous "Demon," as well as for
the Velgas. The latter are powerful female demons who resemble huge, black,
enveloping clothing that constantly opens and closes. On the Bottom of
the Galaxy, the lowest of all levels, time does not exist. The demonic
creatures living there are one-dimensional, like a black line, and their
suffering is indescribable.
Chapter 2 describes "The Worlds of Retribution," which function as purgatories. The first is Skrivnus, a place without God, colors, or flowers. Millions of people live there in trenches dug among low, but unascendable hills. Their sleep is devoid of dreams and their labor is devoid of creativity: they mend old clothes, wash dirty dishes, and so on. Their condition is further hampered by the enormous, frightful beings who live on the other side of the hills and occasionally throw things at them. The people of Skrivnus look almost human, but their features are smooth, like identical pancakes. The most trying torment for them is boredom and tedious work devoid of any sense of the future. The only way to escape Skrivnus is the black, box-like ship that can be seen when it occasionally floats ashore swiftly and silently. Those who are taken into the ship's hold see nothing - they only feel a horizontal movement followed by a spiraling downfall.
The layers after Skrivnus are Ladref, Morod, and Agr. The latter is composed of black smoke in which mirror images of the Earth's great cities appear. There is no sun, moon, or stars; instead, each object radiates a dim, dark red color. Andreev describes in detail the sight of infra-Petersburg. The following layer is Bustvich, where residents (prisoners) are disgusted with themselves because their ethereal bodies have been reduced to feces. The next purgatories are Rafag, Shim-Big, Dromn and Fukabirn. These are followed by layers of magma (molten rock): Okrus, Gvegr, Ukarvair, Propulk, and Yrl. After the magma, there are levels which descend to the physical core of the Earth. These include: Biask (infra-red caverns), Amiuts (vertical fissures), Ytrech (planetary night), Zhurshch (where only Judas Iscariot ever had resided), and Sufel (or Sufekh). Sufel is the world in which stubbornly evil people experience a second death and their monads are expelled from Shadanakar.
Chapter 3, "Shrastrs and Uitsraors." Shrastrs are worlds which mirror zatomises from beneath the Earth. These "satanocratic" worlds are inhabited by anti-humans who serve the goals of the planetary demon. Among them are the Igvs, who are highly intellectual, but have almost no emotional or sexual feelings. They do not need privacy or spiritual love. Uitsraors, another group of subterranean inhabitants, possess the most important role in history. They were supposed to be the defenders of nations from outward enemies, but then proved to be tools of demonic will. They are the offspring of the female demon Lilith and the demiurges of the super-nations. Uitsraors are enormous; if one imagines the head of this creature to be in the city of Moscow, his tentacles would reach hundreds of miles to the sea. Uitsraors love the human world with a greedy, predatory passion, but they cannot tangibly exist on the Earth. They radiate an enormous amount of psychic energy which is manifested in national, patriotic feelings towards one's state. All the forces that compose a great power, like chauvinism, tyranny, and xenophobia, are concentrated in these huge creatures. The Uitsraors of some previous societies, such as Babylon, Rome and Byzantine, have perished. The Uitsraor of Russia is named Zhrugr. In the lower world of the Russian metaculture, Drukkarg, the Zhrugr uses its power to stifle Navna, the ideal communal soul of Russia.
Book Five: "The Structure of Shadanakar: Stikhials
(Elementals)." Stikhials are the spirits of nature, monads who manifest
themselves in physical worlds. Chapter 1, "Demonic Stikhials," describes
such elements of physical nature as volcanos, magma, the sea floor, and
the Earth's core. The worlds of Shartamakhum, Ganniks, Sviks, Nugurt and
Duggur, the home to the great metropolitan cities of the underworld, including
infra-Petersburg, are portrayed.
Chapter 2, "The Light Stikhials," describes the worlds of Murokhamma (grasses and bushes), Arashamf (souls of the trees), Vaiita (winds), Faltora (meadows and fields), Liurna (souls of the rivers), Vlanmim (upper layers of the seas), Zunguf (clouds and rains), Irudrana (thunderstorms), Nivenna (snow) and many others.
Chapter 3, "The Attitude towards the Animal Kingdom," discusses the spiritual significance of insects, mammals, fish and other creatures. Andreev establishes the moral duty of man as pertains to animals. This includes zoogogy, the pedagogy of animals, a science which accelerates the animals' development to the mental level of human beings.
Book Six: "The Highest Worlds of Shadanakar".
Chapter 1: "Towards World Salvaterra". Salvaterra means 'land of salvation'
or, in poetic terms, "the shining crystal of heaven's strivings" (264).
The highest souls of humanity, encompassing both individuals and nations,
are located here after completing their earthly tasks. Andreev believes
that world leadership will pass to the demiurge of the Russian super-nation
in the near future, which will then be succeeded by the demiurge of India.
Chapter 2, "The Logos of Shadanakar", investigates the fate of Jesus Christ. Andreev suggests that Jesus' mission was not fully carried out. The material element of nature and of humanity has not been enlightened on a worldwide scale, but only in the flesh of Christ himself. During the twenty centuries since his Resurrection, Christ's spiritual powers have increased immensely; Andreev foresees a Second Coming in two or three more centuries.
In Chapter 3, "Femininity," Andreev connects the future of humanity with the growing prevalence of femininity; he also revises the traditional concept of the Holy Trinity, to include a female hypostasis or essence.
Book Seven: "Towards the Metahistory of Ancient
Rus'." From this book on, the author presents a kind of cohesive explanation
of Russian history, which commences at its inception and continues up to
the foreseeable future.
Chapter 1: "Kievan Rus' as a Metahistorical Phenomenon." The main heroes of this chapter are the Russian demiurge Iarosvet, Russia's communal soul Navna, and the demonic forces Velga and Gartungr, who were involved in the very conception of Russia.
Chapter 2: "The Christian Myth and Proto-Russianism (prarossianstvo)." The relationship between Orthodox Christianity and Russian paganism is investigated. A duality is found in the contrast between the elegant and cheerful exteriors of Russian cathedrals and their dark and severe interiors.
Chapter 3: "The Epoch of the First Uitsraor," is devoted to the birth of Muscovite Rus' and to the personality of Ivan the Terrible.
Book Eight: "Towards the Metahistory of the Muscovite
Tsardom." In Chapter 1, "The Change of the Uitsraors," the period of Boris
Godunov and the Time of Troubles are described in metahistorical terms.
The Zhrugr of Moscow's statehood is first weakened, then dismembered, and
finally eaten by its offspring. Russia was torn apart and a new Zhrugr
had to usurp the throne in order to restore the integrity of the country.
Chapter 2, "The Egregor of Orthodoxy and Infraphysical Fear," treats the relationship between the church and the state in Russia, Nikon's church reforms of the mid-seventeenth century, the division of initial spiritual integrity, and the birth of metahistorical self-consciousness in Russia.
In Chapter 3, "The Filling of the Space Between Cultures," Andreev interprets Russia's eastward expansion and the assimilation of Siberia and the Far East as a great metahistorical event which filled in the space between Catholic, Muslim and Indian cultures.
Chapter 4: "Rodomysl Peter the Great and the Demonic Distortion of his Mission." Andreev calls rodomysls (the word composed of two Russian roots "birth, genus" and "thought") great historical figures, Peter the Great among them, who play prophetic and crucial roles in the fates of their nations. The author analyzes the contradictions of Peter the Great, whose activity was instigated by the second Zhrugr of Russian statehood after the first Zhrugr had perished in the Time of Troubles.
Book Nine: "Towards the Metahistory of the Petersburg
Empire." Chapter 1: "The Second Uitsraor and Exterior Space." In this chapter
Andreev outlines Russian culture amidst the world culture and Russian achievements
and failures as an intermediary between Western and Eastern civilizations.
Chapter 2: "The Second Uitsraor and Interior Space." The peculiarities of the Russian monarchy and of the Romanov dynasty are described in terms of the laws of karma.
In Chapter 3, "The Removal of Blessing," the reign of Aleksandr I, his life in Siberia after his apparent death in 1825, his angelic nature, and his burden of karma -- all evidence Aleksandr's contradictory relationship to Providence.
Book Ten: "Towards the Metahistory of Russian
Culture." Chapter 1: "The Talent of Messengers." Andreev divides artistic
geniuses and talents into different categories and singles out a specific
rank for messengers. They are people who are inspired by Daimons and reveal
the highest realities of other worlds.
Chapter 2: "Missions and Fates." Andreev traces the role of the eternal feminine in Russian culture and the spiritual missions of Pushkin, Lermontov and Gogol.
Ch 3: "Missions and Fates (continuation)." The missions of Dostoevsky and Tolstoi are regarded as the reconciliation of the two elements of Russian culture, the ascetic Christian and the pagan.
Chapter 4: "Missions and Fates (conclusion)." The works and fates of Ivan Turgenev and Vladimir Soloviev are considered to be a deep revelation of the feminine soul of Russia.
Chapter 5: "The Fall of the Messenger." Aleksandr Blok's descent from the idealism of his early poems to the fascination with Russia as a great whore symbolizes the mystical fall of the whole country into the abyss of revolution.
Book Eleven: "Towards the Metahistory of the Last Century." Chapter 1: "The Third Zhrugr's Ascension to Power." The first Zhrugr inspired the state power of Muscovite Rus' and the second one inspired the Petersburg Empire. Here the third Zhrugr, a crimson beast who proved to be much more cruel and predatory than the first two, begins his struggle against his predecessor.
Chapter 2: "The Struggle Against Spirituality." The doctrine of Soviet ideology is analyzed as a quasi-religion whose aim was to cut all connections of the so-called "new man" with the spiritual worlds. Andreev doubts the cultural potential of the working class, identifying the "faceless" proletariat not as the crown but as the bottom of humanity and as a tragic diffusion and degradation of humanity's truly creative forces, the peasantry and the intelligentsia.
Chapter 3: "The Dark Shepherd." Returning to deep prophecies of Russian literature about the future anti-Christ (poems by Lermontov and Blok, and the images of Saltykov-Shchedrin are mentioned), Andreev demonstrates their embodiment in Stalin. Stalin proved to be a much more successful manifestation of the Gartungr's demonic will than Lenin or Hitler. The mystical motives of Stalin's behavior and his life beyond the grave at the very bottom of the world are set forth.
Chapter 4: "Towards the Metahistory of Our Days." This chapter describes the post-Stalin period, when both the hierarchies of the Light and those of Darkness tried to prevent a planetary catastrophe. The third Uitsraor began to lose its power in Khrushchev's time, though his struggle with Stebing, the Uitsraor of North America, still gave the former Uitsraor many advantages.
Book Twelve: "Possibilities." Chapter 1: "The
Education of a Man with a Noble Spirit." Andreev maintains that the birth
of the Rose of the World is fore-ordained, but no one can predict exactly
when it will appear. While critical of the moral doctrines of communism,
Andreev also identifies some of its positive aspects, in particular the
harmony of the physical and spiritual components of personality, and the
coexistence of civilization and nature. The educational and judicial systems
of the future are described at length.
Chapter 2: "External Measures." The transformation of the earth, the melting of polar ice and snow, the irrigation of desert land into oases, a unified cosmopolitan state, centers of a new religious culture, cities of faith, triumphal gardens, theaters of mysteries, houses of meditation, philosophical institutions - such are the components of Andreev's design for the Rose of the World.
Chapter 3: "The Cult." The liturgy of the Rose of the World will include not only elements of traditional religious rituals, but also the spiritual aspects of the arts and literature, and the sanctified elements of nature. The sacraments of birth, friendship, love, creativity, childhood, old age and, most importantly, femininity will be unified in the temples of the future. Andreev foresees five hierarchies of priests that partly correspond to his new concept of Trinity. The first hierarchy, the Father's, will be golden; the second, the Virgin Mother's, will be blue; and the third hierarchy, the Son's, will be white. The fourth, purple, hierarchy's religious service will be addressed to the self-consciousness and historic roots of a given nation and will include the pantheons worshipping its greatest rodomysls and messengers (for example, the cult of Pro-Russianism). Temples of stikhials and the fifth, green, priesthood will preach the spirituality of nature (257-258).
Chapter 4: "The Prince of Darkness." The Rose of the World will not prevent Satan's arrival. Thirst for power and sexual freedom will put an end to the golden age, by causing the collapse of social harmony. People will worship Gartungr as a rebellious hero against God's tyranny. Anti-Logos will become the most general and brilliant genius, quickly rising to the pinnacle of the arts and sciences. He will be the same monad whose imperfect draft was Stalin. He will perform miracles that will make Christ's miracles pale in comparison (many details are reminiscent of Soloviev's "A Tale of Anti-Christ"). He will announce himself to be the embodiment of God the Father, but gradually he will be replaced by the great tormentor, Satan. The great fornicatress will take the place of the eternal feminine and will seduce myriads of people. The Rose of the World will be banned and all priests and parishes will be destroyed. Anti-humans will rise from beneath the earth's surface and igvs, demonic beings of higher intellect, the inhabitants of the lower worlds, will rule humanity. Suddenly a catastrophe will overtake Anti-Logos, when his monad, which was abducted by Gartungr thousands of years ago, is liberated by the Savior; the Prince of Darkness will fall through all the layers of Hell into the timeless Bottom of Galaxy.
Chapter 5: "The Change of Eons." Unprecedented terror, confusion, and bloody chaos will follow the fall of Satan. There will be sadism, sexual cannibalism, world war between igvs and people, economic collapse, and power in the hands of local tyrants. Nature will become an arena for horrible catastrophes. Several dozens of survivors of the Rose of the World, the brothers of the Light, will gather at a single place on earth, presumably in Siberia.
At this time, Shadanakar will tremble from top to bottom, and Christ will manifest Himself to everyone. He will descend to the lowest layers of the world and will resurrect the remainders of all souls. During this second eon the worlds of retribution, including the so-called "hell," will be expiated and will become empty.
Gartungr, the Great Demon, will remain alone in the jubilant, transformed universe. If he will finally accept God, then the third eon, the redemption of Gartungr, will begin. The entire Shadanakar will disappear from the physical dimension. "This is about the coming of the third eon that the great angel of the Apocalypse swears by saying that there will be time nevermore" (272).