Redemption of Wisdom/Sophia through Empathy/Christos

May 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm (Prodigal Valentine) (, )

Wisdom became an empty shell when it fell into the unforgiving world of forms as a result of its ignorance. Therefore, Wisdom alone, is cold and unforgiving. Except where it is tempered by empathy and compassion, when the two dance in symmetry to one another, mirrored in the round dance of the cross, and in the mystery of the bridal chamber.

The rebirth of empathy through wisdom, and achieving that delicate balance between the two, is “the resurrection from the dead”, which the Gospel of Philip speaks of.

However one may frame such a resurrection, be it through gnostic, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, or Buddhist theology or secular humanism, such an enlightenment is endemic to all humans who attain and maintain the spiritual maturity of actively living in the ethic of reciprocity.

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Quote of the Year

May 30, 2009 at 10:42 am (Prodigal Valentine)

“Intellectual vigor of the sort I care about is not dry in the least, but fully engaged with the juicy realities of being human in the world. It is up to its elbows in blood, sweat, flesh, bone, gristle, fire, ice. It is ideas, yes, but not ideas detached from reality and floating in the ether.”

From the Non-Theist Friends blog.

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On the Origin of the World – the ineffable aeon

May 29, 2009 at 8:39 am (Prodigal Valentine)

For these will enter into the holy place of their father, and they will reside in rest, and eternal, ineffable glory, and ceaseless joy. They are already kings, immortal within the mortal realm.

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Lectio Divina of the Minor Texts: Paraphrase of Shem

May 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm (Prodigal Valentine)

Most gnostics, and every Gnostic surely, know the major texts of the “canon”: Depending on whether the religious Gnostic is Sethian, Valentinian, Ophite, etc., they can and do quote from their own selection of the writings.

I have always harped upon the idea, to my more fundamentalist of acquaintances, that they can consider the early Middle Eastern corpus of literature as inerrant, if they so wish; so long as they consider the entire corpus, and its origins, such as we have extant today, three thousand years later.

Time for me to start practicing what I preach, I think. I may reread the Sethian and Valentinian texts again and again, but it is time for me to concentrate on the less “popular” texts, I think.

Texts like The Paraphrase of Shem. (The text linked here is to the Ecclesia Gnostica’s version, but I will be quoting from Barnstone and Meyer’s text.)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Meditations on the Reflection of Wisdom

May 23, 2009 at 11:55 am (my funny valentine, Personal Insight, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine) ()

In the Valentinian cosmogony, after the blind god Samael declares “I am the only god and there is no other beside me”, Wisdom leans down, into the world of forms, and the image of perfect wisdom, a shadow of the god-above-god, is reflected on the waters of the world.

In the Sethian cosmogony, it is Adama or the Anthropos (the androgynous perfect human) that looks down through “the harmony” and sees itself reflected back in the waters of the world.

In the Valentinian mythos, the act of Wisdom is a salvific one, showing the archons in thrall to the demiurge that there is a god beside the blind god that has spewed them out of his mouth. (I always get the image of the archons being created that way, with the wings of vultures and faces of lions; “in the image of” Yaldabaoth.)

In Sethian terms, the reflection of the Anthropos on the waters of the world is what causes the human soul to be trapped in the lower nature. It is a retelling of the Narcissus tale, particularly apropos for the Hellenized Judaism that the Sethians and Cainites sprang from.

We all have, within us, a spark that makes us human. Deific or otherwise. We all have that still, small voice inside, that we know we should listen to and too often we do not. Whether one identifies this voice of wisdom as the mariologized Sophianic figure of the religious Gnostics, the literalized christological figure of the fundamentalist Christians, or even Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio, we all have that voice of wisdom within us, whatever it ultimately is.

In the end, it doesn’t matter at all what the voice of wisdom ultimately is. The question, do I listen to that still small voice, regardless of its source? If I do not, why not? Can I strike a reasonable balance between the perfect wisdom reflected in everyone, and try not to get trapped by a reflection of my own wisdom that is really only a shadow-self, that will lead me further into darkness, and away from the light?

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Praxis and the Valentine worships again

May 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm (my funny valentine, Personal Insight, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine, Un-Lectionary) (, , , )

OK. The rosary of the ascent was not much good to me yesterday, but I realized that was because I had done nothing productive all day. I didn’t do that much more productive today, but I at least ate a quick snack before getting into the swing of things WRT the group experience thing.

So I decided I would stick with the Sophian mythos that has been working for me, for the moment at least. Much better, at least this go-round, and I did not find myself quite so easily distracted.

I ate my snack through the first ten minutes of the service, but it’s not like it’s on webcam, so hey. Another advantage to the virtual meeting thing. Give me some credit though, I tried to approach it with a Gnostic bent, “envisioning the substance of the food and drink as light”. (Even though I disagree with the rest of the self-styled “Malachi’s” writings/teachings.)

So then I dropped fairly comfortably into praxis. They’re not kidding when they say protein is brain food, people. I have no idea why the image of Stella Maris kept popping up however. Maybe I wasn’t devoting enough attention to the meditations, and was focusing too much on the words of the decades? Or maybe it meant something else. Definitely wasn’t the Stella Maris Gnostic Church I was thinking about, although that’s more than likely where the imagery came from, as I have been exposed to that site in the past.

For those of you playing at home, Stella Maris to the Catholics, and to the Gnostics, are essentially sea-goddesses, or guardians/protectors of the sea. You will often find “Star of the Sea” appended to Stella Maris invocations, in both Catholic and Gnostic canon.

Prayer from Our Lady Star of the Sea Gnostic Chapel
“Holy Mother,
Rightful Queen of faithful souls,
Who never erred,
Who never lied,
Follower of the rightful course,
Who never doubted
lest we should accept death
in the realm of the wrong god;
as we do not belong to this realm
and this realm is not ours –
teach us Your gnosis
and to love what You love. “

Early morning church tomorrow. πŸ˜› Ah well, at least it works with my schedule.

Oh, and for the record, as to why I was so puzzled the imagery kept popping up: I can’t even swim. 😯

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Praxis and the Valentine go to worship

May 15, 2009 at 9:22 pm (my funny valentine, Personal Insight, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine) ()

Going through the Sophian rosary today while peering through a glass dimly, I experienced slightly different images than I have had before, during the meditations. The last time this happened, I discerned it was more noise than signal, but I think a break away from this particular format has rendered the tone a little clearer, and this time the images were definitely more signal than noise. It could rightfully be called a “wisdom rosary”, at least this particular time through.

The meditation upon the reflection of perfect wisdom on the waters of the world took on far more Sethian overtones this time; in the Sethian mythological cosmogony, the anthropos staring at its own reflection, causes it to be incarnated into the human form; in the Valentinian mythologies, the reflection of wisdom on the waters of the world cause the archons to make a pale imitation, of the beauty and transcendence they have witnessed, loosing them from the shackles of the blind god Samael.

What sprang to mind for me was a combination; instead of the anthropos, it was Sophia, or Wisdom, that was trapped in the “prison house of the world” by staring at its own reflection. I don’t know if this is because I have been reading Poimandres lately, or if it is merely a random variation on the part of my neocortex to avoid boredom.

The meditation of the redemption of humanity through the breath of wisdom was very much similar to what I have always imagined, with the minor but significant difference that, instead of visualizing the breath of Sophia flowing into a single crude human form (the “soil-man” of the first book of the Judaic Pentateuch), I visualized that, and, the breath then flowed out to encompass everything else, in a very panentheistic way, illuminating everything with a hidden light. (Yeah, I know that makes no sense; but it’s my neocortex generating right-hemispheric non-language-dependent data, so deal.)

The sixth meditation, the descent of the spark from the eternal aeon, always did have (ancient, not modern) Pentecostal overtones for me, at least Pentecostal in the sense of the original narrative, not in the sense that modern mainstream Christianity has assigned to it today. (The speaking in tongues and dancing with snakes bit.) Today, the image seemed to be vested with more meaning or at least it felt more meaningful (could have been the environment, I suppose), and again, the visualization was extended to cover the whole earth, for which my brain decided oddly enough to assign the Genesis Effect from Star Trek: The Search for Spock. (I blame talking about the new movie endlessly for this.) Again, today, it was not limited to the “a house full of believers” as indicated in the original narrative, but to all conscious beings, regardless of belief. Again, very panentheistic.

Finally, the last, and most puzzling change, was to the meditation on the redemption of wisdom; instead of the ascent, today I visualized the ascent, as well as the Orthodox Gnosticism mythos of the Upper and Lower Sophias; i.e., wisdom split itself off, with one part ascending to the highest, and the other part remaining “behind”. I did not visualize this in terms of the lower wisdom being left behind to intercede for believers (as the Gnostics would have it), but rather that the lower wisdom was a facade, or a shell, a persona that only dimly reflected the actual wisdom that had ascended.

That last meditation leads me to ask, what does that mean for each individual? Do we all present a “lower wisdom” to the world, or a persona that is but a dim reflection of a purer wisdom within the neocortex that we cannot adequately express? How do I, individually, recognize that purer wisdom in others, regardless of the shell persona they present me with? Turning that into an introspective, how can I best present that purer wisdom (“Let me not be removed from Gnosis. Fill me with strength, and let me bring light.”) to others I interact with in the world of forms, instead of always presenting a lower wisdom, or a shell that may not adequately reflect reality?

Oh yes, one last thought, for my fellow atheists who may laugh and mock the usefulness of this type of praxis: Daydreams may solve complex problems. So, neener neener neener, and don’t start with me. πŸ˜‰

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Praxis and the Ascent of the Seven Spheres

May 13, 2009 at 9:32 pm (my funny valentine, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine) (, , )

OK, so maybe they aren’t hell-pavers after all. I seem to be getting back into a useful mode of praxis, after letting it slip terribly. Continuing on with the rosary of the ascent I have been using has been helpful, although I did add the Sophian one once, for variety, and because I had time.

The rosary of the ascent is useful for me, I find, as a retrospective of my day, a contemplation on how I was affected by, or affected others with, machinations of evil, the guile of lust (which has nothing to do with sex, honest), unholy arrogance, unholy rashness and daring, the gaining of wealth through malicious means, and the malicious lie. (Leaving behind “the force to grow or decrease” is what gets me “in” to the contemplative space to begin with). If I can’t apply that particular sphere to my day, I try to determine how it applies to the past, either recent or distant.

Thusly, the sixth and the seventh have become, for me, about finally leaving the church (or, more accurately, leaving the leaving of the church) behind. I don’t know if it will be successful in the long run, but for the short term, it seems to be progressing well. WCG/GCI is epitomized by gaining wealth through malicious means, that of malicious lies. Finally leaving that behind, means completely leaving it behind, including the ex-member circles. From whom I have gained much, and hopefully at least a few friends. I intend try to move on, though, through the use of the imagery/meditations of the sixth and the seventh.

Participating in a post-post-modern cyberpunk version of the ritual Valentinian ecclesiastics, who were notable for attending religious services side-by-side with those who believed very differently from them, is proving to be interesting. No, not in the Chinese curse way. And it could hardly be said that I am “attending”, in the sense that the ecclesiastics in question know I’m there! (OK the admins must, at least from the IP logs, if nothing else.) And yes, there is an element of safety, in that I don’t have to directly interact with the others. Which is something to work on, or maybe an issue I will never be able to directly resolve. Meditations on the fourth and the fifth helps greatly with this, however, so we shall see.

I did look in, on their post-ecclesiastic social time once, and immediately regretted it. Not a mistake I will make again, or at least very soon, I think. Although I don’t know how much of that is me, and how much of that is needing to work more on the sixth and the seventh. The meetings are frequent enough that they coincide with my daily praxis, and even though my praxis is sometimes shorter or longer than the length of the meetings, that doesn’t impact me, as they are being hosted in a virtual setting anyway. So if I run over or under the allotted time, there is no one there to shoo me away, or to distract me. And while I found and find parts of the ritual to be distracting by its inherent nature, that is again where the meditations on the fourth and the fifth assist me tremendously.

I intend to try the Sophian rosary again at the next meeting. Since they are in a Christian context, as are the Sophianic mythologies, perhaps that will allow me to “connect” with the more off-putting parts of the ritual and some of its participants, better. Or at the very least, provide an illusion of same.

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