Maybe this is more of the intellectual masturbation that I despise so much, but while listening to Troy Pierce speak earlier, I learned something important: one must always know or at least have some idea of where one is spiritually. The Golden Sufis insist that you cannot know where you are, at least in one sense, and maybe this is true, but at the same time, on a more conscious level, we can have some sense of the framework in which we operate.

Troy also made the point that one’s understanding and conceptions may be proved wrong and that these constantly evolve and change, at least in some respect, and on this point, I would heavily agree with him and think it could account for why it appears that I “switch” religions so often. Elsewhere, I’ve commented that a core of what I hold to be true and have encountered has remained the same, while the specifics and aesthetics have fluctuated. Overall, I may need to take into account that my own understanding at this point in time could be wrong and that what I’m writing about isn’t anything that the Gnostics don’t know.

To date, I have found no system that expresses what I know and experience 100% accurately, which means that either I’m misunderstanding my experiences, what the system teaches, or that the traditions simply don’t account for my experiences, or that every system is ultimately going to have gaps in it, as I mentioned before concerning paradigms.

The follow points are major features that Bishop Stephan Hoeller of the Ecclesia Gnostica has made, which I will address accordingly.

  • The Gnostics posited an original spiritual unity that came to be split into a plurality.

Sure, I can buy this. The original spiritual unity is God. This would even mesh with orthodoxy in many ways- except that orthodoxy wouldn’t see God as splitting necessarily, but that’s not the point. Some of the Neo-Platonic explanations of God that influenced the orthodoxy would say the same thing, so I’m generally in agreement here.

  • As a result of the precosmic division, the universe was created. This was done by a leader possessing inferior spiritual powers and who often resembled the Old Testament Jehovah.
  • A female emanation of God was involved in the cosmic creation (albeit in a much more positive role than the leader).

While I do think that the division of God led to the origin of the universe, I do not think that the universe was created by the demiurge. My own experiences have indicated that Christ/Logos is the universe, the physicality and materiality, the Divine Manifest, as it were. This is exemplified in many places, including the Holy Eucharist and my own experiences with Christ as the Earth Father Archetype. To say that Christ is matter may not be exactly correct, though, but I haven’t worked through this mystery entirely. We’ll see what happens.

So my view is that the Creation is basically good and part of the Good, and that the demiurge somehow corrupted it and created a sort of veil over it. This may psychologically analogous to the creation of the ego. Matter does not have an ego in and of itself, and the body is not evil in and of itself- it is the ignorance that is created and overlaid by the ego that causes us to lose sight of any kind of profound Truth in the world.

As far as Sophia’s role in this goes, it would make sense to say that she makes an attempt to participate in the Creation process, albeit without Christ/Logos, and in doing so begets the demiurge. But because Sophia IS the Divine Syzygy of Christ/Logos, this causes a corruption in the Form.

  • In the cosmos, space and time have a malevolent character and may be personified as demonic beings separating man from God.

Sure. Essentially our perceptions of space and time are projections of the human mind and not necessarily something that exists objectively; they’re convenient notions to explain our experiences.

  • For man, the universe is a vast prison. He is enslaved both by the physical laws of nature and by such moral laws as the Mosaic code.

We aren’t separate from the universe, and the universe is essentially not separate from God. Our minds are what trap us, not the universe- our particular psychological configuration and misunderstanding, as it were. Moral laws such as the Mosaic code are well-meaning but often ridiculous in the face of better, clearer, and simpler codes that are much more effective and cause far less damage, so I would agree here.

  • Mankind may be personified as Adam, who lies in the deep sleep of ignorance, his powers of spiritual self-awareness stupefied by materiality.

Again, the materiality is not the problem, unless this refers to a preoccupation with the so-called “things of this world,” whereby we mean people who have no sense of a deeper ontological experience than seeking sex, money, and fame or the routine of getting up, going to work, and going home again, or having a wife and 2.5 kids. So depending on the understanding here, I may indeed be in agreement.

  • Within each natural man is an “inner man,” a fallen spark of the divine substance. Since this exists in each man, we have the possibility of awakening from our stupefaction.

Yes, I agree here, except that I think we actually ontologically consist of the divine substance itself, which is ultimately Christ, and that our minds or egos (and perhaps even Selves) occlude this as a reality, because it’s essentially unbelievable and counter-intuitive.

  • What effects the awakening is not obedience, faith, or good works, but knowledge.

Here, of course, “knowledge” is a reference to gnosis, and I agree. Obedience counts for very little; faith is helpful, as it is essentially a way of knowing if understood outside the paradigm of mere blind belief (that is, because someone just told you so), and good works are beneficial but do not necessarily contribute to salvation.

  • Before the awakening, men undergo troubled dreams.

Boy, do they ever. I agree 100%. Troubled dreams is an understatement.

  • Man does not attain the knowledge that awakens him from these dreams by cognition but through revelatory experience, and this knowledge is not information but a modification of the sensate being.

Indeed, and this point may be the absolute pinnacle of every point made in the list; that is, salvation is not a matter of just randomly having a new paradigm or learning something new, it is an actual, real, and definite modification of the organism and being on the fundamental level of reality, at the ground of being.

  • The awakening (i.e., the salvation) of any individual is a cosmic event.

Agreed.

  • Since the effort is to restore the wholeness and unity of the Godhead, active rebellion against the moral law of the Old Testament is enjoined upon every man.1

I would agree and extend this to say the general structures of any non-sensical moral code should be thrown out. It’s one thing to live by standards or principles that are well-reasoned and can be tested in practical reality with little damage to one’s self or others, while it’s another thing to simply swallow rules that have no substance to them other than someone screaming “BECAUSE GOD SAID SO.” At the same time, I would argue, for instance, that lying isn’t good, that murder isn’t good, that adultery isn’t good- you see what I mean. But stoning people to death equally isn’t good- so there you have it.

But more than this, Christ Himself, as per the Gospels, creates a summary of the Law that essentially stands superior to it while simultaneously being more challenging: Love God with All You Are, and Love Every Human with All You Are.

I cannot accept that the Creation is ontologically flawed. This is a point where I’m in sharp contradistinction to the Gnostic mythos. In the Catechism of the Ecclesia Gnostica, of course, there’s a point made that the matter which the demiurge uses to create the world according to the Gnostic myth still comes from Sophia and is therefore not entirely bad or disconnected from God.

The Gnostic mythos, of course, is not clear, cut, and dry, and it’s open to interpretation. While I don’t necessarily see the said characters above as literal entities with their own personalities and whatnot, I do see principles working in the universe, and of course the reality is that God and the Aeons may categorically be beyond anything of which we can conceive.

An interesting implication to point out is that while the Gnostics essentially say the demiurge created the universe, it’s also out of Sophia that he creates the universe- we might think of it as being the afterbirth, and thus the Sophia is intimately connected to matter.

Bernadette Roberts says the bit about our being made out of Christ as a kind of Eternal Form (but not in the Platonic sense, or at least as she understands it) without quite going to the point of saying, “Christ is matter.” So it’s interesting to see the connection that they have in their respective positions despite her not including Sophia and being more orthodox minded.

I do sharply disagree with Bernadette when she suggests that Gnosticism has never been representative of authentic Christian mysticism. While her ultimate insights into Christianity are indeed beautiful and make the religion make sense and essentially redeem it from the 2000 years worth of bullshit that it’s included, she DOES go so far outside of actual Christian orthodoxy that it’s strange she would even dare suggest that the Gnostics are somehow inauthentic Christian mystics when her own path overlaps with the Gnostics so many times that she could well be placed in the same category as them.

But then, she is human, and humans have flaws, and she’s not even sure of everything that goes on with her, so I’m not attacking her or blaming her, only pointing out that it’s strange that she goes outside the line and it’s okay for her to do so and challenge the Church but not okay for people who have been doing that for nearly 2000 years to do the same thing- in other words, many Christians wouldn’t consider Bernadette Christian by virtue that she’s Catholic, and secondly, many Catholics who read her mystical account wouldn’t consider her Catholic by virtue of the number of Catholic teachings she disavows.

Just some thoughts.

Beaux


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