Dualism Redux

September 10, 2009 at 2:47 am (Media Divinia, my funny valentine, Personal Insight) ()

A little too personal an odyssey this evening (likely that was the point), and due to my personal problems lately, I found myself drifting into the Sophian meditations this evening.

I became very much aware of darkness versus light, the push-pull of the awareness of the light in myself and others, and when that light becomes dimmed, through my own actions or the actions of others. This wasn’t an insight about assigning blame, however, although I admit responsibility for spreading darkness instead of light, lately. This is not a problem to feel guilt over, or beat myself up over, it is a matter of acknowledging it and then taking steps to change it.

I’m not the type for sharp, sudden changes, but I have been making the effort. The meditations tonight were insightful, not in a pleasant way, but the light of Truth has an ultimate neutrality that only human nature assigns positive or negative values to. I could make it all about the negative, and how I’ve failed or been mistaken, or I can take the opportunity to use the realizations in a positive manner to effect change.

I prevaricate. Perhaps the insight I gained tonight is not an appropriate subject for a public blog post. Much more metaphorical than I have gotten, in a long, long while.

The first meditation was very much about Sophia-as-child, who wanders away, exploring and curious, but losing sight of the thread that leads her back to the Ultimate. A squalling, quarrelsome child, which I may have come across as, of late. Time to change that. Time to pick up the thread again, and listen to that still, small voice, before I say/type things without considering them more than I have been.

The second meditation, the blind god and the prison-house of the world, led my mind down a path of apocalyptic imagery, where I admit I haven’t gone in quite a long time. I have long since re-interpreted the apocalypticism of the Christian canonical scriptures however, and I know now, that the apocalypses (multiple!) that the gospel texts speak of, are individual, personal journeys, not speaking of a literal global eschaton. Usually that’s a sign I need to make changes, pronto, or that changes are coming for me. (Like it or lump it.)

The third meditation was very much about grasping the thread back to the ultimate, of seeing the reflection of perfect wisdom in everything, as a good panentheist properly should. I’m not a good panentheist even on my best days. Witnessing the reflection of the Ultimate in this poor simulacrum of reality is what can lead one back along the golden thread to the Truth. Good, bad, or indifferent though that truth might be.

The fourth meditation was reflective of how that ingrained wisdom, that I know is there, but often refuse to listen to (far more often than I should) is what ultimately leads us all back to the Truth with a capital T, that unvarnished view of reality shown to those of us who choose to open our eyes and see. I thought about the third meditation from the Thomasine meditations, of the lost sheep loved best, and there was even some ministry tangentially related to the parable, although not presented in an allegorical manner.

The fifth and sixth meditations were very much about motion and rest, and the push-pull of darkness and light that is the eternal human condition. The final meditation was very much about following the golden thread, back to the Ultimate, and dwelling in the Truth therein.

A productive half-hour, and instructive in that I realized I have to start a daily praxis again. For the moment at least.


Permalink Leave a Comment

Pissing off the religious is my part-time hobby.

August 15, 2009 at 5:13 pm ("Like it says on the tin.", my funny valentine, Personal Insight, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine)

I have long been attracted to the idea of becoming a Non-Theist Friend.

To that end, I have begun participating more in the online Quaker world, most notably on the QuakerQuaker site, which says it’s one thing, and has proven to be quite another, indeed.

The site is most decidedly for Christians only, and the Quakers there (the real ones) have tried their utmost to make the Christians realize their intolerance, narrow-mindedness and general bigotry, is well, maybe, not OK. (I mentioned they’re Quakers, right?)

Recently, a Pagan Quaker decided to post a section on QuakerQuaker for Liberal Quakers. Liberal Quakers include non-Christians and non-theists, or sometimes they do, apparently. Yeah I know, it’s a Quaker thing. So I decided to participate, and posted the following videos:

Comedian Dave Allen’s Introduction to Christianity. I mentioned in the description the Christian canonical scriptures of a little child leading them, and out of the mouths of babes.

Atheist Peace, by Bad Religion. Titled “My Kind of Peace Testimony!”, with a description that read, “Atheist Peace a music video that lines up nicely with the Quaker Peace Testimony.” Which it does, if you watch the video. So I decided to log in this afternoon, to see what kind of discussion had been sparked. This is what I found when I tried to access the site:

I wasn’t even logged in, so it looks like I’ve been banned by my IP address. Classic. (What are you going to do when I connect to the Internet through a different wireless connection, Martin?)

Also! An update from the NTF list, another non-Christian Quaker has disassociated himself from the site.

Silly Christians. The inner light is for everyone, and in everyone. If you can’t see that, or live that, or feel that, well, you’re not living up to the Quaker Faith and Practices very well, are you? Then again, you’re not really Quakers, you’re just trying to take over Quakerism, and make it into something it’s not.

There’s a reason your Christian ancestors tortured, jailed, and excommunicated the early Quakers. Trying to usurp Quakerism from within, and make it orthodox again, is not going to go over very well with the rest of the Quakers who aren’t Christians, who don’t believe in the inerrancy of Romanized/Anglicized Christian canon, who don’t believe we are saved by believing a man lived and died in Jerusalem a long time ago (“he” didn’t, it was an allegory).

I’ll confess, when the religious Gnostics kicked me to the curb, I went through a “fuck ’em all” phase, but I decided to keep pursuing the non-theism among Quakers angle. This minor little incident has inspired the opposite reaction in me, and it has only cemented my feeling that I should pursue association with non-theist Friends, and/or Liberal Quakers.

My praxis has been non-existent lately. This, more than anything else, is an indication I need to resume. With or without a MfW surrounding it.

Edit #2:  The Pagan Quaker I mentioned above, has disassociated from the website.

Edit #3: As with my dismissal from the holy presence of the religious Gnostics, I was given neither warning nor explanation for my banning, nor even a cursory email explaining why I was banned. What is it about Christians and their complete and utter lack of basic netiquette, I wonder? Oh, that’s right, they’re “above the law”, I keep forgetting that…..

Edit #4: Apparently there have not been any other bannings. and thanks to the cursory nature of my banning, I have no idea whether it was the videos that pushed Martin Kelley over the edge, or my response to the Dialogue with Non-Christians thread. I’m a non-Christian, why should I get banned for responding to the ghetto thread created for us on QuakerQuaker? Oh, that’s right, it’s because it was a thread for the Christians to preach us into the “correct” way of thinking.

Well, that’s my last word on the matter. Time to be moving on.

Final, final edit: Looks like both of the above non-Christian Quakers have removed their blog posts that I linked to. Probably because I linked to them. 😦 Ah well. Final word on the matter. Better things to do, other people to interact with, I guess. 😦

Permalink 2 Comments

Gloomy Sunday and random musings

June 7, 2009 at 1:01 pm ("Like it says on the tin.", Personal Insight, Prodigal Valentine)

I stumbled across this through a combination of surfing, URL-hacking, and generally puttering around on the Net. The title and the pic at the top are a bit off-putting, but hey I read the Johannites’ blogs, without having to buy into the institution they’re selling, so I kept reading. The article started out reasonably enough, the experience of Gnosis being universal, whether you belong to a church or not, and you’ll know it when you have it, etcetera, etcetera.

Then I came across this little gem (emphasis mine):

[Long screed about how the pre-NHL gnosticism was too “psychological” and “Jungian” for the author’s “esoteric” tastes, redacted]

Such [gnostics that don’t agree with the self-professed “arch-bishop’s” worldview] are in grave error and apostasy.

My reaction? Shut up, fool! Every human has the spark of consciousness within them! EVERY human. We are each unique for a reason, and seeking to make people cookie-cutters of yourself or your One True Gnosis, is a thrall of the archons, the delusion of a false self.

Which brings me to my point. The religious Gnostics I took up with, in the earlier part of the year (the ones who kicked me out for not taking the christological myths and allegories literally enough for their liking), accused me of being “the pope of my own orthodoxy”, just because I tried to discuss ideas that were intrinsic to my own gnosis, but anathema to theirs. (They may have also believed that I did not experience gnosis or the Pleroma, because my words and images did not match with theirs.)

With this blog I am, by no means, trying to force my own experiences of gnosis onto anyone else. I just want to discuss what the implications and ramifications of the gnosis I am experiencing through my own individual praxis, means for me. Recording it in a blog lets me organize my thoughts, and process material later that I may not fully comprehend the implications of, at the time that I am writing it.

It has subsequently occurred to me that perhaps people (albeit very few people, which is a good thing) are reading the wrong intentions out of this blog, if they are reading the blog at all. Please don’t do that.

Look, I’m an atheist for one more god than the Christians. Do I “believe” in the Pleroma and the god-above-god? I know I can achieve a subjective non-linear state of consciousness through praxis; however, I do not presume to name, label, or otherwise constrict my own subjective experiences. (Think the speech from The Prisoner.) To do so, for me, is to project a false image onto what is supposed to be Ineffable to me for a reason. In my opinion, if I walked around daily in perfect 24/7 contact with the non-linear consciousness part of our minds, it would look like this. Not conducive to living life in the world, and I am not such a dualist that I want to eschew “the world” and all it contains.

Think of me like the kid from the movie Hackers. I’m messing with the root directory of my own brain, and recording what comes out. My results are, by default, sloppy, off-the-cuff, and not going to be exactly the same as everyone else’s. I would like to think, at the heart of it, that I’m tapping into a universal subjective experience. Whether I actually am or not, is splitting hairs, and beside the point.

Trying to see that subjective, non-linear consciousness peeking through others’ subjective experiences and labels of same, is the part that I need to do the most work on, and that I might ultimately never be able to. But that’s the push-pull of it, for me.

When they ask you, ‘What is the evidence of your Father in you?’ say to them, ‘It is motion and rest.’ Gospel of Thomas

I am reaching towards the Ineffable aeon, but I cannot be encompassed by it fully, because to do so would mean becoming something other than human, which is not possible. Thus, motion and rest.

I am in motion when I am battling the daily archons of fear and self-judgement and the variegated problems and joys of daily living.

I am at rest, when I am in the heart of my praxis, in that non-linear mental space that seems outside of time and all strictures. Both states, in my opinion, are the evidence of the Ineffable within me, as the Gospel of Thomas attests.

Disclaimer: My two cents, not to be applied to anyone else other than me, thus ends my random musings on a gloomy Sunday.

Permalink 2 Comments

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?

Permalink Leave a Comment

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. 😛 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. 😯

Permalink Leave a Comment

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. 😉

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Prodigal Valentine Prays Again

April 4, 2009 at 11:25 pm (Personal Insight, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine) ()

Going through my personal rosary of the ascent with the Poimandrian meditations (instead of the Sophian mythologies I have been using) was a bit sketchy at first. Then I got to thinking about an email an ex-minister from my ex-church sent me recently, and things suddenly clicked into place.

My initial thought on using the Poimandrian meditations was “Why do I have to leave lying, cheating, deceitfulness, etcetera ‘behind’? I don’t do those things in the first place!”

Can you guess what’s coming? The email was about forgiveness. When I first got it, I admit, I was a little bit “Way to miss the point, D.,” but I refrained from hitting “Reply” and sending that knee-jerk response out into cyberspace (See? Maybe I am getting better.), and it’s a good thing I did.

All in all, it proved a very calming meditation, leaving behind the force to grow and decrease, the machinations of evil, the guile of lust, domineering arrogance, unholy daring and rashness, striving for wealth by malicious means, and the malicious lie.

I understand, I think, what the religious Gnostics mean when they speak of Archons. They may couch the term in anthropomorphized or physiologized terms, but in the end, the Poimandrian Ascent of the Spheres outlines the Archons very well.

Archons which can also be without, as much as they can be within, you. As above, so below. As within, so without. You leave behind those things, whether you are instigating them, or they have been instigated against you.

Not quite the traditional religious notion of “forgiveness”, but it’s the version that seems to work for me, and one I am going to stick with, for the time being.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The gnostic book of….Romans?! And the Johannine “Comma”

March 6, 2009 at 12:22 am ("Like it says on the tin.", Gnostic Texts, my funny valentine, Reading)

Say it ain’t so! But look what I just stumbled across:

(Following has been taken from the NKJV, with the NU Text footnotes preferred and insert words removed.)

Rom. 14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables.

Hah! Yeah I’ve been there before. You wouldn’t believe how popular vegetarian restaurants were, amongst the members of the church, back in the day. Best way to “know for sure” after all. 😛

3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems day above another; another esteems every day. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

“Men create gods. That is the way it is in the world. Men create gods, and worship their creation. It would be better for gods to worship men!” Gospel of Philip

6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Presumably these verses are where the universalists take their dogma from.

9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

The NKJV footnote reads: “NU-Text omits and rose.” This would be consistent with the metaphysically-manifesting christological figure in The Secret Book of John, and perhaps an oblique reference to the ascent through the spheres from the Faith of Wisdom texts? Compare also with this passage from On the Exegesis of the Soul: “Now it is fitting that the soul regenerates herself and become again as she formerly was. The soul then moves of her own accord. And she received the divine nature from the father for her rejuvenation, so that she might be restored to the place where originally she had been. This is the resurrection that is from the dead.”

10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

The NKJV notes, once again, that “of Christ” was a later addition, and the verse initially read as above. I no longer see this verse in an apocalyptic light, nor do I see this verse  as prophesying some future Great White Throne Judgement. I believe now that this verse exhorts an ongoing self-judgement (“men create gods”) that it would benefit us all to undertake. See also “Baptism by Fire”.

Now on to “the Johaninne Comma”, which I didn’t even realize existed. Here we have Version A, the popular form of the verse that is extant in all of the literal fundamentalist Christian world today (“The Empire never ended.”)

John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

Let us examine the text without the added “comma”:

John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record, 8 the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

This maps quite nicely to the neocortex, the cerebral cortex, and the paleocortex, although surely the verse could not have been understood in those terms two thousand years ago.

They would not have understood (except perhaps dimly, the way the author of the Gospel of Philip did) that the narratives they gained such powerful transformative effects by, actually came from within themselves, and were not bestowed by some literalized, anthropomorphized externalized entity. Or maybe they did understand that, and it has just unfortunately been lost in translation, three thousand years on.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The only sin is ignorance.

January 29, 2009 at 10:06 pm (Personal Insight, Prodigal Valentine)

Today, the topic under review is “Sin”. Ah, yes, “sin”. That bugabear that traps so many in the unwitting clutches of religion. “Everything you do is sinful! You are a base, disgusting, worthless worm that doesn’t deserve to draw breath on this earth! But wait! There’s good news! If you pay, pray, stay and obey, your worm status gets upgraded, and when you die, you won’t be worm food!!”

See, this is where I like the gnostic path. The only “sin” is ignorance. The texts also instruct us to “be not concerned with Error”. Which is often easier said than done. But that’s the whole point of escaping the infinite chain of attainment (of not letting yourself be affected by the goings-on and sturm und drang in the world).

I drive the mainstream Christians batty, just because I approach their divinely inerrant texts as cracking good two-thousand-year-old fiction (with all the rationalism that perspective implies), but then I go that one step further, and try and get the same results out of the texts that they do — without having the need to literalize or historicize the parables. “You are not to be saved by believing that a man lived and died long ago at Jerusalem.” That quote from Gerard Winstanley is pretty much what I set sail by, when it comes to navigating the waters of the texts, both Christian canonicals and gnostic scripture.

Gnosticism contends that the spark of human consciousness is the same within us all. (Some gnostics would deify that spark, but I won’t go that far.) That we are all a part of the universe, just as much as it is a part of us. Being born as blank slates, we somehow forget that connection, as time goes on, and we become wrapped up in our own cares and concerns. We become, like the blind god Samael, self-centred, and we see no others besides ourselves.

That’s the only “original sin” in all of the gnostic texts and mythologies. When you forget who you are, and that everything and everyone is connected. The “we see through a glass darkly” verse from the Christian canon comes to mind here. There are some gnostic elements in the Christian texts. Unfortunately, they have been misapplied by the orthodox regimes.

This is likely why the only reference to sin in the Gospel of John (long claimed by religious Gnostics as “one of their own”) is a literalistic one, that agrees mostly with the orthodox Christian standard of “sin” I have outlined above. The other Johannite text, the Secret Book (Apocryphon) of John (whether it was authored by “John” or not; most likely it was not) takes an entirely different tack, and posits that forgetfulness and ignorance of our place in the panentheistic All was the “original sin” (as reflected in the allegory of the fall of Sophia).

Religious Gnostics accept this allegory as what literally, historically happened. Freethinkers like myself see instead the formation of the three cortexes of the brain reflected in this allegory. The paleocortex, the cerebral cortex, and finally the neocortex. To wit, the primitive brainstem, the “animal brain” (that we share with other mammals), and the thin layer of brain tissue that makes us human. This corresponds with the gnostic three-tiered view of hylics, psychics, and pneumatics. Bear in mind these are definitions from two thousand years ago; pretty cool that they came so close to what science determined as fact, eh?

I personally believe the early gnostics were trying to assimilate and fully understand (“Know thyself.”) the cerebral cortex. Not being as advanced scientifically as we are in modern times, they resorted to the hands-on approach of “Let me mess around with it, and see what happens.” This is what led to meditation and contemplative praxis becoming popular. Studies show that meditation thickens the cerebral cortex of the brain. (Which may explain why I feel as though I have been in a brain fog since I have given up my praxis as of late.)

The only “sin” in the gnostic worldview is, once you have caught a glimpse of what the cerebral cortex can provide you with, once you have tuned it properly, going back to forgetfulness and living life on auto-pilot is a very bad thing. Back to self-centredness, to not seeing yourself as a small spark in a much larger universe. Yeah, that’s been me, all right.

Fragments of Valentinian texts that have survived to present times, suggest that the first baptism, or initiation into gnostic thought, is the forgiveness of ignorance. Both in ourselves and others, I would think. That certainly isn’t the easy part. The gnostic path isn’t the easiest one, anyway, that much I hold to be self-evident and true.

If you want to read further on the gnostic idea of sin as ignorance and fear, I recommend the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocryphon (Secret Book) of John, the Hypostasis of the Archons (translated in some places as The Reality of the Rulers), the Gospel of Truth, and the Gospel of Philip. All of these can be found in Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer’s The Gnostic Bible.

(If you want the full exegesis, including scriptures, of my study on the topic, see here.)

Permalink 2 Comments

Personal Account of Gnosis

January 10, 2009 at 8:29 pm (Personal Insight, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine)

Found this on a mini-Wayback Machine-type jaunt:

I’m looking for personal enlightenment stories, by or about people who have achieved gnosis. I’m really looking for these from a Gnostic perspective, but I’ll gladly look at any submissions. They can be a slam-crash-boom enlightenment, or a slow, gradual learning-experience type of enlightenment.

I am now also looking for contemporary interpretations of what exactly gnosis *is*. Even if it’s something you don’t feel you’ve experienced, but you have some good ideas, please send them along. Anything goes.

The author is Jeremy Puma from the Order of Allogenes. I say “mini-Wayback Machine” because this was posted in February 2008, so the deadline has likely closed. The word limit was noted as being 500 words. Still, it’s a good exercise for any time, if not necessarily the original purpose to which it was intended.

So in 500 words, the achievement of gnosis, from my perspective.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »