The western world has murdered its’ mysticism. Centuries have passed with a successive and successful suppression of the mystical tradition. This murder has coincided with a deep plunge into the profane, the structure of addiction to substance. This plunge has resulted in a hidden belief, an actual terror that drives modern man insane. This insanity takes many forms, is inspired by many assumptions, yet ultimately is the error of worshiping the divinity of form.
Science is now picking the bones of this ancient mystical tradition. Here they have found keys they have distorted, in order to gain power for their benefactors, those who are fully determined to gain the means by which mankind is reduced to their playthings. These corruptors of tradition are not mystics; they have no respect for the soul.
Throughout history there have been those who had such respect, who spontaneously rekindled a Gnostic sensibility to conscious awareness. They reestablished the reality challenging mysticism of the Gnostics. In achieving this they returned to mankind a tonic and a cure to the oppression of the priests of form. Such a rebirth is occurring today.
All religious and mystical striving is based on the idea that something better than the present condition exists, and is attainable. Thus the goal of any particular group and/or individual must evince this idea of betterment. In conventional religion, the goal is to arrive at an agreeable living condition, which is generally taken on faith to be one that pleases the ultimate authority, and guarantees some form of reward. This is what people mean when they claim that religion is a moral guide. Its emphasis is on steering member behavior toward an ideal.
Religions usually have different goals than mysticism. Religion is primarily exoteric, concerned with behavior and conformity, while mysticism is esoteric, primarily concerned with the lived experience. Mysticism can exist within religion, as is common in Asia, yet where this occurs, goals assume a moral quality. Thus, Buddhism states its goals include an end to the suffering of all sentient beings. This causes mysticism to serve within broader religious, political goals. This reduces mysticism into a subservient branch of the religion. Here it should be noted that Christianity has destroyed its mysticism exactly because European mystics, such as Jacob Boehme have a history of being true to their realizations, rather than the decrees of the church.
In the case of Gnosticism, which is mysticism without religion, the goal is not overtly moral, nor is it to lobby for any religion. Gnosticism exists to provide a path for direct experiential knowing, and in this provide for the liberation of the mystic. Thus, we see first and foremost that Gnosticism is almost purely focused on firsthand experience, with the keys available to understanding this experience, and that any behavior modification comes from one’s spiritual development, not from the decrees of any external authority.
Thus, Gnosticism as it is portrayed in history and modern media is at best misunderstood, and at worst intentionally misrepresented. Here it must be emphasized that Gnosticism participates in a tradition that is far older than any Abrahamic religion.
Scholars treat Gnosticism as a rival, a rebellion against conventional religion, when Gnosticism is really just throwing off the chains of imposition of that external authority-not seeking to take the place of it. The true mystic does not wish to be president, they just have no use for a president who wants to determine and control their lives.
When pressed, the Gnostic is able to point out exactly how conventional religions, and authoritarian decrees, stunt the realization of liberation. These teaching moments are not unique to Gnosticism, but they betray the desire of the Gnostic to be free from oppression. Ultimately, as an experiential mystical path dedicated to liberation, the method of the Gnostic is individual and as such must leave room for individual interpretation of the method. Thus, from history into modern times, there has never been one single form of Gnosticism.
Of course, this begs the question; if one is seeking liberation, what exactly does one wish to be liberated from? This indeed is a central question, one which hearkens back to the oldest of ancient lore. This question is found in the life cycle of the Gods; Dionysus, Odin, Lugh. It is found in the tests of the Heroes. It is aspired to in the Grail mythos. It is the path of the soul that seeks its destiny, and upon achieving it, takes its place in Celestial realms. There are many explanations, but for the modern reader perhaps a good explanation is this; the Gnostic seeks to be liberated from the parasitism, insanity, and disease that characterize this world.
This path is an aged one, where the incarnate soul grasps its moment, and survives the oblivion of the Darkness, to rise to its level of achievement in the lands beyond the Sun.
We find this journey again and again repeated; the life where the choice is made, the aspiration set: Death, dismemberment, where the soul, which has learned to identify with the body, is divided into disparate pieces. Ascendency, realization, where the light of knowledge continues to glow and the next stage of life is attained, to dwell with those who have achieved this state, remembered in myth. There are many names for these celestial realms: Light Elven Home, Avalon, the Celestial Hierarchy, the Treasury of Light, but the attainment, the goal is from that ancient path.
The path was set, in ancient times, tread by Warriors and Druids, Shamans and Kings, and with the Gnostic, the path is traversed by the mystic. Thus one could say that the Gnostic is an ecstatic, in the sense of Eliade, who saw ecstasy as mystical flight. Certainly the Theurgists, who took magic to its highest aspect, also had a certain kinship with them, as the essence of the Theurgist ascended higher and higher toward the divine. The Gnostic then, is one whose essence, whose very soul travels to the ineffable realms during life.
It should be understood while this type of astral travel, out of body experience, spirit flight is associated with the collection of esoteric knowledge beyond the tenets of Gnosticism, Gnostics view this exercise as a prelude to the destination sought for one’s essence after transition out of the material form. In a very real sense, the Gnostic is mapping the hidden pathways to the Celestial realms, with an eye for moving to ever finer planes. The rule for the Gnostic is that they rise to the point they had achieved in life.
In this, there is some similarity to the Bardo of Tibet, where the death experience provides the chance for the soul to escape reincarnation, but the soul is usually overwhelmed by the experience, and is unable to make the choice to leave the wheel of death and rebirth.
Both Tibetan and Gnostic tradition assert there is a better place than this material existence; attainable, realizable, and in fact the only real goal. Therefore the Gnostic dwells in that which is so strongly denied in this modern world.
Some might view this perspective as uncompromising, even bordering on disturbing, and that is exactly the state whereby the Gnostic finds their impetus towards this goal. It is exactly this disquiet, this unrest, which propels the consciousness out of its lazy complacency, and onto the trying path of mysticism.
Thus, the Gnostic is one who finds issue with the world of material existence, one who reads it as compromised, flawed, and a poor reflection of finer realms. Thus, the path of the Gnostic is the path of peril. In the depths of the psyche one discovers the rift between the punishing viciousness of material existence, and the brilliant, perfect light of the Treasury. Knowing this, the Gnostic is fueled by the longing to attain to these higher planes, and seeing around him only the trappings of evil, seeks to blaze a path whereby the higher realms can be realized.
The Gnostic is neither mad nor possessed, but is at heart a visionary who trusts his vision as something of far greater veracity than the blind fumbling of materially obsessed mankind. Apply this key to the original Gnostic scripture, and what seems incomprehensible is made comprehensible.
Gnosticism is also historically linked with Jesus. We explored part of this phenomenon in our previous piece on Jesus, The Healer, yet to make sense of it, we must grasp that spirit flight does not automatically focus on the higher realms. There is no guarantee that one will ever find the finer planes with one’s own wiles. Thus the traveler needs a teacher, a knowledgeable guide, a mighty principle of the Light. Historically, Jesus filled this role, yet currently, with Christianity oppressively enforcing its ideas upon the world, the mystic is rediscovering antecedent guides and teachers to the Savior who has entered the Silence. Christians don’t take kindly to more ancient understandings of their Christ, and are on the record for savagely murdering all non-Christians, especially Gnostics, and continue to hate them to this very day.
Due to the long history of demented savagery, amnesia, and ignorance, the relationship between Gnosticism and Jesus is distorted, clouded, and intentionally misrepresented. Few modern Gnostics realize that they can have concordance with their savior without accepting the bloody mantle of ignorance advanced by Christianity. However, this is simply an unavoidable conflict for any who are called to Gnosticism today, and it is another perilous facet of the question; what it means to be a Gnostic, because this area has yet to be fully put to rest, resolved, or defined. We aim to clear some of that fog with this piece.
No abrahamic religion, including Christianity, can claim a home grown mysticism. The Qabbala appeared in prototypical form long before the inception of Judaism, which has since altered it into a syncretic distillation. Sufism existed long before Islam was invented, and Gnosticism existed before Christianity arose from the template of Judaism. The struggle of the Gnostic with what today is erroneously seen as the parent religion will inevitably brand the Gnostic an upstart, a prodigal child, a mere reactionary, and these labels will tarnish the genuine anguish which is the spark of Gnosticism for as long as they reinforce a misguided ‘church first’ belief.
The Christian church did not exist before the 4th century, which began as Constantine’s experiment. Gnosticism, in contrast was codified, practiced, represented in documents and railed against by detractors, long before this date.
The description of what it is to be a Gnostic then, at least in some circles, is erroneously allowed to be defined by the church, and a common conception of Christian-ness, which means that it becomes impossible for the Gnostic to truly escape religious politics: a queer position indeed for a mystic with lofty intentions, and an unenviable one. This situation becomes much clearer when one understands that Christianity is a political construct, intentionally and carefully crafted, from Augustine’s original sin, to Irenaeus’ apology for “simplicity”, and that the early church fathers sought relevance by contrasting their developing religion with the traditional mystical and religious elements of their time.
Gnosticism has indeed an enduring association in another arena besides politics, and that is philosophy. Gnostics by nature practice through mythology, with leanings toward philosophy, and have borrowed much from the discoveries and investigations of the Platonists, including the principles of emanation, hypostases, and the structure of the cosmos. Much of the nature of reality so attributed to Gnosticism finds its inception amidst and amongst the great initiates of yore, the philosophers who provided the genius and the intuition to draw back the veil of ignorance. Perhaps it should be said here that some of the best thinkers in math and science today have emulated the Gnostics in a more cynical fashion, and use this newfound understanding to offer avenues by which a physical manipulation of these ancient principles can provide better tools to enslave and override your biological reality. The purpose, unsurprisingly, is to rob from you and your children the opportunity to be human, forever.
It is chilling that such scientists have adopted the explanations of the mystics, without any of the realization. This reminds one of marketing specialists taking up meditation in order to allow a one pointed focus in making decisions to strip the trusting of their resources and recourse. Certainly, the worship of the divinity of form is alive and well in the ranks of the highest echelons of this society. Just as certainly, the abduction of explanations designed to advance mankind, twisted and deployed in order to destroy mankind, cannot be defined as any form or type of mysticism.
Gnosticism is a mysticism guided by the power of myth, one not overly concerned with its own apparent contradictions and complexities. It is a well known spiritual truth that the existence of plateaus of conundrums says more about the understanding of the querent, or lack thereof, than the efficacy and truth of any genuine mystical tradition.
Modern Gnostics, however, rarely concern themselves with a philosophical basis for their Gnosticism. The more visible Gnostics content themselves with offering what they hope to be unique insights, and explaining their universe to a curious public. This means they do not disassemble the myths. Thus, the exploration of mythopoesis, and the role of myth in the development of an image for the modern mind today becomes the focus for their efforts. The value of such a practice is to affirm that myths follow a Gnostic structure, rather than one determined by outside forces.
The confusion which surrounds Gnostic origins, some might say, the intentional confusion, does offer the Gnostic a rare opportunity to exploit the hostility and invent oneself. Some modern Gnostic groups have done exactly that, claiming a temporal lineage and tradition from the extant corpus, through today. However, unlike with some revivals, there are documented Gnostic groups that can claim this lineage, yet at the time of this writing, two relatively well known Gnostic groups that survived for many centuries are being targeted, and utterly destroyed.
It must be said that any genuine mystical lineage is first, a spiritual one. It is the spiritual call that establishes veracity, and breathes life into any form. The spiritual is not concerned with claims of blood quantum, only the demonstration of competency. Lineage is almost universally explained as some type of inheritance or transmission, or genealogical progression, yet lineage in spiritual terms is something that manifests due to ability. For example, Grace O’Malley won the rank of Captain, because she directly demonstrated that she had the sight, and she knew the winds and waves.
It may well be that the efforts spent to trace and work up a lineage and history are at heart an attempt to arrive at an objective truth. Certainty is something which is becoming alarmingly absent from modern society. The control complex is forever lying and distorting things to terrorize the populous, and give themselves undeserved praise. In such an environment truth and certainty are either shut out, or heavily modified to the point of no return. Perhaps it is only to be expected, that efforts to reaffirm a sense of tradition and authority will be made in response.
In contrast, modern efforts from the worshippers of form focus upon the destructive, the reductive, and upon forms of paralysis to achieve their goals of power through harm. Their servants steal from the ancient mystical tradition to make all this possible.
It is often impossible to recognize the truth, that such a fascination with devastation has been a recent addition to the experience of mankind. The truth is that amongst the ancestors, the rational faculty and the uses of it to arrive at the truth, from inductive reasoning to the dialectical approach, launched a brand new exploration, one which humanity embraced to explore this existence. These great ancestors were able to maintain their intuitive faculties, whilst developing the rational. However, later generations were not so well disposed, successively launching into ever colder and ever more meaningless flights of rationality, until reaching the cul-de-sac of modern substance worship. No balance could be achieved, because as rationality abandoned the intuitive, the intuitive thus rejected rationality, and during its various periods of ascendency and decline, rationality has grasped at all manner of bombastic and devastating absurdities, which it carries with it today. The intuitive, left without any rational rudder casts itself into successive misreads of reality, and armors itself with a cocoon of emotionality. The result has been a rapid and alarming decay of capability and capacity to function. Now, finally, as the insanity of modern man deepens, and the error this schism carries multiplies, the end becomes horrifyingly visible. This is the terror and insanity given form by modern belief. It is in a very real sense the doom of modern mankind.
It is possible, as Jean Gebser observed, for humanity to emerge from this madness into the next step in consciousness: the transcendence of identity. Yet in order to accomplish this feat, a great deal of modern material theory must be dethroned. It is my personal belief that Gnosticism has miraculously been reborn into this modern milieu because this world desperately needs the balance of mythopoeia, rationality, and intuition that Gnosticism champions.
The Gnostic explanation offers a tonic to the position humanity currently occupies. As an apocalyptic mysticism, it seeks to reveal a path of liberation from all the prisons of material existence. In this way, it is mysticism of trust and leaps, and especially of efforts to develop the inner faculties to make such leaps possible.
This entire modern condition of mankind can be a springboard to a higher level in consciousness, one where the structure of society is no longer entrusted to an increasingly dysfunctional dying paradigm, but a moving forward into an entirely undreamt universe. Gnosticism appeals to both rational and spiritual-intuitive aspects of mind. This is the state which is critical for the transcendence of identity without the annihilation of identity.
Gnosticism can contribute to this development, and provide a lexicon for entering into the unknown. In fact, it already has.
The purpose here is not to sell Gnosticism as some new vaccine for modern pathocracies, but to shed light upon Gnosticism as a time tested mystical path that has been returned to mankind. Despite attempts to claim the contrary, Gnosticism is not Christianity. The fundamental tenets of Christianity are actually in direct opposition to the mythic dimension that Gnosticism inhabits.
Mankind has now entered a phase of put up or shut up. Unfortunately, the majority of modern people, and the systems they energize, have already capitulated, and have decided to loot ferociously until death catches up with them. This type of behavior will only speed their inevitable obsolescence.
Gnosticism is but one path for those who have not embraced oblivion as their master. It has already earned its’ stripes, many times over, and it will contribute to that small number who will survive the current dystopia and forge ahead to the next world they are ready to emerge into and dwell within.
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