Ways of considering Gnosis:
- Western Zen.*
- Spiritual Anarchism.
- Distilled Paleo-Christianity.
- The Matrix sans the violence.
- Knowledge in the sense of “spiritual intimacy”.**
- The teaching that the most crucial “secret knowledge” is within each of us.†
Key points on Gnosis’s historical background:
- Everything and every human pursuit stems from the Occult and from exploring the mysteries of the universe: Religion, Science, Philosophy itself. It all seems to hearken back to a more integrated humanity. We are becoming more fragmented all the time. We call it “progress”, yet it is destroying out world—both the inner and the outer one.
- It was the Gnostics of Jesus’s era who raised Σοφια (Sophia, or Wisdom) to goddess status, in an effort to express in the mythical language of the pagans (i.e. the countryfolk) the supremacy of in-sight and intuition in man’s quest inward and upward.
- Some Gnostic schools became supremacist, secretive, and otherwise cultish, but from where I sit this has nothing to do with true Gnosis. The most central “secret knowledge” is within me, rather than being on some scroll. And true Gnostics do not despise Fideists, or mainstream Christians. Gnosis may be the summit, but you get there by looking up to things above, not down on others. Gnosis, like Jainism, is about each person finding their path, not comparing myself to others.
- The Gnostics are, to my knowledge, the only group who continue Jesus’s custom of teaching only in parables to the uninitiated. This is because true Gnosticism doesn’t embrace any social or political paradigm, though probably the one it influences most is Anarchsim. In this sense, I have to admit, the above graphic could be a tad misleading, in the same way that The Matrix is.
- One fun example of the near-ubiquitous yet strangely undetected influence of Gnosis on mainstream Christianity is in the Advent hymn (often mistaken for a Christmas carol) “O Come Emmanuel”.
“O come, thou Wisdom (Sophia) from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of Knowledge (Gnosis) show,
and teach us in her ways to go.”
Sophia shows us the way of Gnosis. That would account for the Gnostic’s emphasizing of her.
My research journey:
- Once I began to research Gnosis, I soon saw that it is the heart of the matter and the key to compatibility with the Gospel and with Science, because of course it is the origin of them both—it is the highest and arguably the oldest expression of man’s return voyage to Unity and Completeness, which is what Holiness actually means.
- When you spend some quality time in the study of Gnosis, you sort of deftly come to see how faith and science aren’t different worlds, but rather they both stem from Gnosis and can both be crowned and completed by Gnosis. That’s the experience I would like everyone to have, because it would spell untold unity and effectiveness for our great work of speaking the words of Total Freedom.
Somewhat ancillary video: Is the Tarot “Catholic-Kosher”? The answer may surprise you (especially if you are American)!
* Whereas Gnosis is “Western Zen”, Qabbalah is “Western Confucianism”, and of course this ties in with the above infographic showing Illuminism on the opposite end of the spectrum. Basically, Zen is about spirit whereas Confucianism is about method. Qabbalah, of course, is the origin of Western European witchcraft, freemasonry, and the dark side of magic, which has very little speculation or philosophy to it because it is about carnal pursuits and about chasing the illusion of power.
** And of course we know that this deepening type of knowledge (which has nothing to do with one’s IQ or academic marks) is the key to liberation. This is why the Gnostics are big on guardian angels and on the higher faculties. (Thought is the action that counts!) One of their favorite parables through the ages has been that of Sleeping Beauty, which has some obvious Biblical overtones (such as the poisoned apple, which represents moral duality/dichotomy). Sleeping Beauty (the soul) can only be awakened by a Prince. For the Gnostics, that Prince is my guardian angel, my spirit-twin, the higher part of me that links up to the All-Father or All-One (Alone, Monad), which is the True God (and is distinguished from the gods of the Hebrews, such as Elohim who created matter and Yahweh who gave commandments. Most often the Gnostics’ pantheon most prominently features the Greek and Egyptian deities, in that order. In the mystical realm this life is death and death is life).
† The key is knowing myself, as opposed to familiarizing myself with some heavily guarded manuscript. In practice, then, Gnosis largely involves comprehending, and overcoming the self, the ego. It is neither self-esteem nor self-hatred but self-knowledge.