About The Acts

I can fly like a bird in the sky
I can buy anything that money can buy…
I can turn a river into a raging fire
I can live forever, if I so desire…

Barrett Strong

I’m Glendenning Cram, and I have always been interested in the history of religion and mythology. When I became aware of Simon many years ago, I thought his life would make a great novel, so I started writing it. The Acts of Simon Magus in the First Century AD is the autobiography of this fascinating character, told at the end of a long and eventful life, describing his many adventures in the time of Christ and Nero. From Palestine to Egypt to Albion to Rome; from cave to temple to whorehouse to palace,  Simon’s seen it all and done it all and now he’s sharing it all with you, the modern reader. It’s been quite an adventure channelling his memoirs, but I now have it pretty well done. Recently, though, I have decided to give it a little more scope to breathe by making it a trilogy. This will allow me to fully flesh out the first part and get it published, while giving more time to do justice to the rest. I think it’s a tale that needs to be told, and I think you’ll agree. I hope you will help me make it happen!

Click here for some readings from The Acts of Simon Magus!
 

So who was Simon?

In Simon’s first and only appearance in the Bible (Acts 8:9-25), he was a Samarian wizard who offered to buy the Holy Spirit from the apostles in order to use it for his own magical purposes, and was firmly scolded for it by St. Peter. In later legends he became an antiChrist figure, doing magical battle with the early Church all over the Roman Empire, before being cast down to ignominious death by the saints in Rome.

The same legends also identified Simon as the founder of Gnosticism, a strange, wonderful and very real rival to Christianity, which also combined Hebrew religion, Greek philosophy and mythologies from all over, and identified the Judaeo-Christian God with the Devil. The Gnosis enjoyed some popularity in the Roman world, but collapsed when its ever more fantastic and contradictory mythologies came up against the much simpler message of Christ Risen.

So Simon became a symbol for everything evil. Whenever Gnostic cults arose in the ensuing centuries, the Catholic Church mercilessly crushed them. When the Protestants denounced the sins of that same Church, the worst of those sins, selling salvation for money, was called Simony–the only sin named after a person. He played the Devil in the original Faust story, got roasted upside-down in Dante’s Inferno, and has featured more recently as villain of film and comic book. And now he’s the hero, in The Acts of Simon Magus in the First Century AD. For the first time, the Magus has a chance to tell his own story. It’s time for the truth, from the Father of Lies!

What’s the story?

At the start of the tale, young Shim of Gitta in Samaria is riding an oxcart to catch a ship to Egypt. His whole village has pooled their resources to send him to the Academy in Alexandria, hoping he will return with the knowledge and connections to rise in the Roman administration. Shim has other plans, involving the mysteries buried in the arcane texts and lost tombs of that ancient land. Suddenly he spies a man, beaten and bloody, almost dead by the side of the road…

Thus begins A Search in Secret Egypt, the first volume of The Acts of Simon Magus. In it we learn of Shim’s early life: his roving father, his dead brother (who won’t leave him alone) and the village wise-woman who has doomed him to a mysterious, inconvenient quest. In Alexandria he moves into a tomb, studies under protoChristian philosopher Philo, is inspired by the rise and fall of Apseth the Bird God and, with the sorceress Selene, reaches for the ultimate power.

In future volumes, Shim’s story will see him

  • lead his own charismatic cult to become Simon Magus, Great Power of God
  • find Holy Wisdom in a brothel
  • participate in the odd events surrounding an execution in Jerusalem
  • enjoy a hot night with a future saint
  • clash with the devotees of a strange new sect
  • travel to the ends of Earth and beyond

climaxing in an epic magical contest before the Emperor Nero.

Who’s in it?

I’m glad you asked. A story is only as good as its characters, and The Acts of Simon Magus has some of the best. You may even have heard of a few of them, though they appear through Simon’s eyes in a rather new light. Here are some of the major players:

  • Simon: He wants to fly; can he pay the price?
  • Helena/Sophia: Goddess, whore and more, she just wants to go home.
  • Gorgio: A werewolf can be handy in a tight spot.
  • Jesous: Pigboy turned preacher, his sticky end is only the beginning.
  • Selene: Lovely witch on a deadly quest.
  • The Rock: The fisher’s net is aimed right at Simon.
  • Saul: To atone for his secret sin, he must change the world.
  • Luni: The littlest spook is more than he seems.

along with assorted kings & beggars, deities & demons, saints & sinners… Someone for everyone! I love them all, and I think you will too. Help me bring them back to life!

What’s it really about?

As I said, I have always been fascinated in the origins and (can I say it?) evolution of religion, and the time in which Simon lived was a time of great spiritual turmoil and change. The Roman Empire forced together people of every religious background and leaning: mystery cultists, emperor worshippers, monotheists, philosophical atheists and pragmatic pagans, and the story of Christianity’s rise from backwater sect to world-class faith (in which Simon plays no small part) from the midst of it all is the backdrop to the story.

As a student of anthropology, I would also like to portray a mentality very different from the modern, one in which everything is alive, gods and demons are everywhere, and every mythos from Christ to Cthulhu is true, even when it contradicts all the others. The people of Simon’s world approach life in ways that are often incomprehensible to the 21st century mind; on the other hand, as someone once said, “Times change, people don’t,” and though the characters are most certainly of their time, they are still just like us in all the ways that really matter.

To bring this out, the language of my story combines ancient and modern forms, idioms and ideas, sometimes poetically, sometimes humourously, sometimes bawdily. See excerpts here: I’d love to know if you think it works.

Please enter your email in the form at top left to follow Simon’s progress and be alerted when the IndieGoGo campaign begins. If you know anyone who may be interested in Simon and his story, please share!

by Glendenning Cram

15 thoughts on “About The Acts

  1. jesus loved simon simon did something for him I am the law of god I am the word of god I AM THE POWER OF GOD RIGHT AND TRUTH

  2. Hi, Glen. I found your site by the somewhat Spamish link you left on my site in the article I wrote about Simon. So I’m curious: how much of your novel is to be a historical romance and how much is to be a supernatural thriller? The gist above implies a bit of each.

    • Yes, a bit of both. I’m trying to capture the spirit of that age, not create a new world like many fantasists. But I also take as a premise that all the myths (including the Christian one) are true, at least to the people living them, so the supernatural is real. I’m finding it an interesting balancing act.

  3. I touched on the Christian view of Simon Magus in my book Hold the Faith.
    On a different subject, it is a challenge trying to be authentic when writing of the first century AD – the research takes so long.
    Do you have a published book of this?
    Thanks
    Susan

    • It’s not published; in fact I haven’t quite finished the first volume yet, though it’s getting close! Yes, the research is challenging, but also fun. Every new thing you learn makes you see things from a different angle. I especially recommend for the spirit of that time the 2 “Steps of” books by H.V. Morton listed on my Sources page http://simonmagus.com/sources/, where he takes the events of the Gospels & Acts and shows how they fit, sometimes surprisingly, into the land and its customs, and gives new insights into their meaning. Simon is not a Christian in my story; he’s a Samaritan, so naturally his first meeting with Jesus involves rescuing him from a ditch where he’s been left for dead by robbers. You may enjoy this description of their second encounter: http://simonmagus.com/readings/lamb

  4. thank you for finding us, we would love to speak sometime about our mutual interests, as you may know we are also an academic working on something we call Our Red Goddess project, inspired by Scarlet Imprint’s very own Peter Grey, who wrote The Red Goddess, and more recently, Apocalyptic Witchcraft, please, if you so desire, learn more about our academic work here: http://ourredgoddess.blogspot.com/ (you know us also as Thee Uncondemning Monk, and Simon Magus, II) … please email us with all the information you desire to share, we are most desirous in starting a dialog with you… A.A.

  5. Love the picture from Silver Chalice, my favorite cheesy movie featuring the Magus! I’ve long wanted to write up a Simon Magus novel. Best of luck in your project.

  6. Hello Glen, I have read many books on Simon Magus according to research and understanding he challanged Christ and he was taken down by prayers from ST. Peter. I am Sufi\Wizard or Wizard\Sufi and mystic and Artist I am also well aware of Gnostics teachings which have playes great role in teachinsg Islamic Sufism in Shia thought process. Also I am an Artist you may find my work here http://www.foundmyself.com/Noor-ul-Amin+Ali. If you need my help let me know any thing for brother in path of Magick!.

  7. This was a good piece. I believe if the truth could be brought forth rather than depending in the pure highly imaginative and creative new testiment; Simon would be brought to a far Higher and Appreciable figure thann the lowlife demonical wannabe. I look foreward to further work being done to bring LIGHT to Simon and his co-workes and contemporaries.

  8. Hi Glen
    We are in the shift age,
    here is a little extra………..from the way we view Magus………..
    My list is comparative religion group…………Religion and Science are Twin Sisters !Smiley

    Here is who Simon Magus really is

    ………………………we are not in the allegory and fables,

    for they are equations in the Science Primer, Bible, to be read and deciphered:
    “With reference again to the Helene character that figured basically in many of the sacred legends connected with the Christ, there is the detail that the harlot who accompanied Simon Magus was a certain Helen (Greek Helene, Latin Helena).He said his Helen was the Sophia or Wisdom.

    But the conjecture is that Helene is simply the pseudo graph for Selene, the Moon,whereas Simon the magician wielding spiritual powers was a
    Pseudonym of the SUN, the type of all spiritual miracle working power.
    Hebrew for “Sun” is Shemesh, whence Shimeon, Shimshon,
    Samson, Simon.

    One of the ancient Biblical typal designations of the women who were lunar goddesses accompanying the sun,as mothers of life, the consorts or concubines of the solar deities was the “great Harlot,”.
    To think before being exposed to the truth we thought “they-the characters of the Bible” were real people………..nay not so!

    Like it is written, one day we grow up and learn how to read this book the correct way.

    thelema

  9. I would enjoy this, of course being an old goat, LOL, It would take forever to make sure I could remember all the story lines. I do think the way you write your blogs captivate you, so I’m sure your book will too..

    Nancy

  10. Fascinating! I hope you are familiar (as useful source material fodder) with “The Myth of the Magus” by E. M. Butler; The Body of Myth, by Sansonese; Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism by Franz Cumont and The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” by Julian Jaynes. Each could help you in this very interesting project of yours which I look forward to hearing more about. Oh, I used to work at Warner Bros. Pictures and retain many contacts there. When you´re done, perhaps we should talk.
    Best,
    José

  11. Mr. Cram: I received your e-mail as a result of your addressing a mass mailing to the “Mythfolk” Yahoo! group. I regret to inform you that during a severe illness on the part of the original webmaster, the group and its mailing list was hacked–infiltrated–co-opted–or whatever they call it these days, by a swingers’/phone-sex/hook-up operation. The original members have mostly cancelled, as we were
    far more interested in non-fiction (and fiction) in the area your book deals with.
    But those of us who aren’t lazy have moved the “Mythfolk” to our spam folders
    (I’m lazy, so your mailing still got into my inbox).

    The original webmaster of “Mythfolk” has now recovered, and I’ll forward your mailing to him, since he and several others from the original list are writing novels or novellas themselves. But far too many names on the list you found
    are going to be addresses for folks you probably wouldn’t feel comfortable introducing to your kid sister.

  12. Hi Glen,
    This is a really fascinating work. I am in the middle of gathering information about the Roman Catholic Church’s claim of Apostolic Succession which had been proven to be unscriptural (long time ago). I am searching some connection between the Peter whom the Roman Catholic Church claims to be their first pope and this Simon Magus.

  13. Hey Glen. This sounds like a great idea. I was only peripherally aware of Simon Magus. He sounds like a really fascinating character on which to hang a work of fiction. Good luck with the project! When the manuscript’s in fighting shape, if you want a beta reader, I’d be happy to volunteer.

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