Dance of Ecstasy by Michael Wassil (C) 1991, 1997, 2000
Dance of Ecstasy is several things. First, it is a literary detective story, complete with elusive characters, hidden mysteries, secret keys, elaborate riddles, misleading clues and deliberate misinformation. Second, it is the analysis of a remarkable work of hellenistic literature, which was the product of multiple motives and conflicting ideas, and containing multiple layers of meaning. Third, it is the comparison of that hellenistic work to others of apparantly similar content and purpose, produced more or less contemporaneously in India. Fourth, it is an attempted reconstruction of a theory of consciousness upon which that ancient work was based, although in a concerted effort to repress all evidence of the existence of that theory. And finally, it is an attempt to demonstrate the relevance of that theory of consciousness to all human beings in all times, including, and perhaps especially, our own.
I think you will find that Dance of Ecstasy presents compelling evidence for new answers to the perennial questions: Who am I? What am I? What is going on here? You will find that these new answers challenge popular understanding of the nature of life, human experience, existence, consciousness, and sexuality. The radical reappraisal of these matters may shock some and anger others. Yet, I hope you will find the evidence offered in Dance of Ecstasy as thoroughly convincing as it may be controversial.
Many hellenistic gnostic sects of the first and second centuries claimed to possess secret meanings and esoteric teachings. While few scholars have seriously thought that the sect which came to be called Christianity also did so, even a cursory reading reveals a hidden level of teaching hinted at more or less openly throughout the Christian New Testament. Dance of Ecstasy exposes the presence of that secret teaching and lays bare its thoroughly gnostic content. Ironically, though orthodox Christianity bitterly opposed its gnostic competitors, it preserved within its own canon of sacred scriptures one of the most important gnostic documents every penned! The key to understanding that hidden teaching lies in the numerical values of certain Greek words used in the final book of the Christian testament, the Apocalypse. With a turn of its numerical key, what is revealed hidden within the Apocalypse is a gnostic manual of personal salvation, as distinct from the "Christian" path to salvation as night from day.
In addition, Dance of Ecstasy reveals the source from which the gnostic authors derived their esoteric teaching. Although the gnostic authors attempted to disguise this source material, usurp and corrupt its meaning when necessary and eradicate it wherever possible in the text, they could not remove all the clues to its presence. Again, ironically, in their efforts to preserve their own dubious vision of existence, the gnostics inadvertantly preserved within the Christian canon evidence of the most remarkable and holistic theory of consciousness yet envisioned by mankind. This source, hidden within the Apocalypse under a gnostic veil of anagrams, riddles, misleading allusions and metaphysical accretions, is a comprehensive treatise on human consciousness. Stripped of its gnostic overlay and disguise, this remarkable source reveals itself to be essentially identical to the tantric path to what in that metaphysical system is termed "self realization."
Dance of Ecstasy concludes that the miscontrued "God" of Christian orthodoxy corresponds to the "self," as defined by tantric theory, of every individual man and woman. The conscious realization of that self is the "kingdom within" to which we are summoned. Dance of Ecstasy presents the evidence for this conclusion and discusses the methodology through which self realization may be sought. Dance of Ecstasy concludes further that the path to self realization is based firmly and ultimately upon an ancient, nondual and life-affirming theory of consciousness that predates Christianity by many centuries and upon its methodology of the male/female love/sex relationship. I have dubbed this theory of consciousness the Metaphysic of Ecstasy.
Dance of Ecstasy reveals clearly the complete complementarity of the Apocalypse, Indian metaphysics in general and that specific branch of it called tantra. I think you will find the correspondences and the parallels beyond doubt.
To my knowledge, Dance of Ecstasy presents the most detailed, rigorous and concise comparison between the Apocalypse and Indian metaphysics ever attempted, explaining the differences between the ideas espoused by the gnostics and the theory of consciousness proposed by the Metaphysic of Ecstasy. Dance of Ecstasy demonstrates that the Metaphysic of Ecstasy is profoundly psychological and shares the broad pathway of tantric methodologies and metaphysical speculation. Dance of Ecstasy examines in detail the correlations between Indian tantra and the theory of consciousness of the Metaphysic of Ecstasy. And finally, Dance of Ecstasy illuminates how the Metaphysic of Ecstasy remains free of the medieval corruptions suffered by tantra.
You may judge for yourself how successfully I have accomplished my work.