Tag Archives: gnosis

Talk Gnosis Interview

Sophia

Last Wednesday, I had a great time speaking with with Bishops +Ken Canterbury and +Lainie Petersen of the Oriental Apostolic Church of Damcar, along with Fr. Tony Silvia+ of the Apostolic Johannite Church. If you don’t currently watch Talk Gnosis, I’d encourage you to subscribe to their YouTube channel — they do live YouTube episodes every Wednesday evening, followed up by their podcast Talk Gnosis After Dark. They touch on a wide variety of Gnostic topics from various different traditions, and I was honored to be able to speak with them about the Little Office and praying the hours, following their wonderful interview with my own bishop from the Ecclesia Gnostica, the Most Rev. +Stephan Hoeller.

My interview can be found here: Talk Gnosis After Dark

The Most Rev. +Stephan Hoeller’s interview is here: Talk Gnosis

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Filed under Divine Office, Gnostic Thoughts, Little Office, Prayer

Christ is our Foundation, and our Chief Cornerstone

Bridal ChamberThis blog is primarily focused on devotional practices, but since it’s been practically dead for several months, I thought it would also be beneficial to use it as a way of collecting my thoughts on various Gnostic topics.  With that in mind, I hope to spend more of my time focused on essay writing.  At present, I’d like to address an issue I’ve found on Facebook more and more lately.  I see so many memes and posts criticizing Christian beliefs, and often they’re difficult for me to respond to because on the one hand, I’m not terribly comfortable with Christianity; but on the other hand, I identify as one.

I see people criticize the Christian God, laughing that an all-knowing god would create the world, create human beings, place a Tree of Knowledge in the garden where they live and tell them not to eat from it – knowing full well that that’s exactly what they’ll do.  And then what does he do?  He punishes them for it!  And thousands of years later, he sends his only son (who happens to be God Himself) to be killed, so that He (God) can finally forgive people of their sins.

I also have friends who tease me about believing in a “magical sky fairy.”

Both of these things trouble me, because I don’t believe in them.  “Magical sky fairy” doesn’t really work for a Christian Gnostic, because God is not just out there, like He is for mainstream Christians.  He didn’t create the world ex nihilo, and He’s not just sitting up in the sky looking down on us, waiting for judgment day.

Gnosticism, while Christian, diverged from its brethren in the early centuries of the common era.  So while mainstream Christians have had 2,000 years to develop their dogma(s), Gnosticism died out.  True, Gnostic thought was carried like a lamp through the centuries, often in secret.  But we haven’t had the luxury of an unbroken chain of succession (and I don’t mean Apostolic Succession), as the exoteric Church has.  Our teachings and mythos seem foreign, because we haven’t had centuries to perpetuate these things to the point that they became “mainstream.”

When I speak of God, I mean something quite different from what a Catholic or an Evangelical would mean.  When I speak of God, I mean the ineffable, invisible God, who is the Source of All – and we are but emanations of that Source.  The Great Invisible God dwells within us, and without us.  Unlike pantheists, who say that the Divine exists within the whole Universe; we, Gnostics, would say that the Universe exists within the Divine.

In the beginning was the Source:  the One:  the All:  Spirit:  Life:  Light.  He contained within Himself all potentialities – including light and darkness, good and evil.  He wished to understand Himself; and this, His first thought, poured forth from Him and became manifest as the Aeon Barbelo:  Forethought.

At this point, there finally existed an observer and an observee.  God could look upon Himself, through His First Thought.

By the cooperation of Forethought, he brought forth other emanations (aeons) – pouring forth aspects of Himself, through the mediation of His Consort, the Divine Mother.  He brought forth Foreknowledge, Indestructibility, Eternal Life, Truth.  Together with Barbelo, He brought forth the Alone-Begotton Son, the Christos:  a perfect reflection of His Divine Light.  He brought forth Luminaries to rule over their regions, containing within themselves three aeons.  And the last emanation He brought forth was Wisdom (Sophia).

Up until now, I’ve been writing in the past tense – but this is due to the limitations of language.  We have no eternal tense in English, and these things are Eternal Truths that have no beginning or end.  But it’s at this point that we begin to enter upon the creation of time.  Sophia, in Her longing to know Her Source, brought forth a child on her own: Ialdabaoth.  He is the moment time began.

Ialdabaoth, the demiurge, created archons to serve him, modeled on the divine realm above.  He had no knowledge of the aeons that preceded him, but his is creation is a reflection of the Divine Fullness from whence he sprang.  And then he created a physical world, and a man who was a reflection of the Divine Man, the Son of the Invisible God.

It was Ialdabaoth who created a tree of knowledge, telling the man (Adam) and his wife (Eve) not to eat from it.  He said, “I am god, and there is none other beside me!”

Sophia, whose power was trapped in the demiurge’s creation, begged the light to have mercy on these people, and save them from the control of the demiurge.  And then the Feminine Spiritual Principal entered a serpent, who instructed the man and woman to eat of the tree of knowledge, that they might know their divine origins in the True God.  Eating of this tree was not the first sin, but the first act of redemption!

As far as Christ is concerned, there was never a need for anyone to die in order for God to save us.  God could have easily corrected the situation from the very beginning, rescuing us from the demiurge.  But we’re all sparks of His Divine Light, and this world we live in is but another emanation in the eternal process of God knowing Himself.  Every experience we have here on earth is His experience, for He is All.

The aeons of God poured their power upon the Christos and sent Him to earth to save us – no, to wake us up!  To help us remember!  It was the fear of the demiurge and his archons, manifest in all the human institutions we create for ourselves, that caused the Christ to die.  Truth frightens them, as it often frightens us.  The sacrifice of Christ was not death on a cross, but the Divine entering the limitations of matter for our sakes – so that we too can remember that we are Divine.

God does not exist “out there.”  He is at the core of our being, if we only remember.

Christ is our salvation, and our chief cornerstone!

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The Mystery of the Tree of Knowledge

It is with some hesitation that I share this ritual, but the beauty and simplicity with which it strengthens our Gnosis is, I feel, worth sharing.  This ritual, with some slight redactions, comes from Jeremy Puma’s Sacrament of the Apple.  It was published in his book The Book of the Stranger, a prayerbook for the Order of Allogenes, which is available for sale in a nicely printed form, and is also available for free as a PDF here.

I share it because, like Jeremy, I had a dream about this same ritual.  While I was working on composing a ritual based on this dream, for public celebration, Jeremy shared that he had also dreamt of a sacrament of the fruit of knowledge, and presented his ritual to the OA.  I must admit, I liked his ritual better than mine, for its brevity, as well as its content.  While the ritual calls for an apple (the star within the apple being a powerful symbol of the Pleroma), I could also see it being celebrated with a pomegranate, if one desired.  As scripture never specifies what the Fruit of Knowledge was, a pomegranate may be a slightly more hygienic option, although the symbolism of the star would be lost.  However you decide to celebrate this ritual, I strongly encourage you to give it a try!

Mystery of the Tree of Knowledge

This short ritual may be performed singly or collectively.  Required materials: apple(s), holy water/aspergillum, incense, knife, bell.

℣.  In the name of the + Unknown Father, in Truth, Mother of all, in union and redemption and sharing of the powers, peace be to all on whom this name reposes.

℟.  Amen

℣.  O Father of the light,  Who possesseth the incorruptions,  hear us just as Thou hast taken pleasure in Thy holy child Jesus Christ.  For He became for us an illuminator in the darkness.

Yea, hear us! Hear us, Father, just as Thou heardest Thine alone-begotten Son,  and received Him,  and gave Him rest from any imperfection.

Thou art the One Whose power is perfect;  Thine armor, resplendent, is full of the Light above all lights; Thy living presence toucheth the Pleroma;  the Word saveth the Cosmos through the  repentance of Sophia;  life hath come into existence because of Thee.

Thou art the thought and the entire serenity of the solitary.  Again: Hear us just as Thou heardest Thine Elect.  Through Thy sacrifice, these will enter;  through their good works, these have saved their souls from these blind limbs,  so that they might exist eternally.  Amen.

℣. (ringing bell)  O Ye Lumniaries, Lights before the Throne of the Æons of Barbelo and the Limitless Light, be present with us as we participate in this Mystery.  May this place be sanctified and protected from all Archonic influence, and be made holy by Your eternal and enduring presence.

(The celebrant lights incense and sprinkles holy water in four directions while intoning the names of the Luminaries and the æons of their regions.  If other altar servers are available, the area may also be censed.)

     (Facing East)    Harmozel-Orneos-Euthrounios
     (Facing North)  Oraiael-Aphreudasos-Armedos-Arros
     (Facing West)   Daveithe-Laraneus-Epiphanios-Eideos
     (Facing South)  Eleleth-Kodere-Epiphanios-Allogenios

℣.  In the name of the + Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

℟.  Amen.

℣.  Let us pray to the Christos and Sophia that our transgressions be forgiven.

(Kneeling)

℟.  Glory be to Thee,  O Iesus Christos Parakletos Sophia, Who wast sent to redeem us; O Thou Who didst descend into the world of matter, Thou ineffable Word and Wisdom:  Forgive us our transgressions.  Free us from the chains of limitation, and carry us to the Fullness of the Limitless Light. Amen.

(The celebrant rises, places the apple on altar.  Raising his hands above the apple, he intones the following willfully.)

℣.  Holy Sophia, be with us and sanctify us.  Unveil the Pleroma to us, and allow us a vision of that Kingdom which is forever spreading out upon the Earth, but which we do not see.  Come upon and descend into this fruit, as Thou didst descend into the Fruit in the Garden of Eden, granting the Gnosis of the Light to our Holy Mother Eve, and Holy Father Adam.

℣. Then the female spiritual principle came in the serpent, the instructor; and it taught them, saying:

“What did he say to you? Was it, ‘From every tree in the garden shall you eat; yet from the tree of recognizing good and evil do not eat’?”

℟. The carnal woman said, “Not only did he say ‘Do not eat’, but even ‘Do not touch it; for the day you eat from it, with death you shall die.’”

℣.   And the serpent, the instructor, said, “Do not be afraid.  With death you shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said this to you. For he knows that when you eat from it, your intellect will become sober, and you will come to be like unto gods, recognizing the difference that obtains between evil men and good ones.”

℟.  And the carnal woman took from the tree and ate; and she gave to her husband as well as herself; and these beings that possessed only a soul, ate. And their imperfection became apparent in their lack of knowledge; and they recognized that they were naked of the spiritual element, and took fig leaves and bound them upon their loins.

(The celebrant slices apple in half across the width, holding aloft the two halves exposing seeds to all present. )

℣.  Behold His promise, and Her sign to us, and to our descendants.

(The celebrant passes apple to altar servers, each taking a bite and passing them along to congregants.  Each congregant also takes a bite of the apple.  More apples may be used for larger congregations, but care should be taken that enough is made available for all who wish to partake. After everyone has partaken, the remnants [core, seeds, stem] are returned to the altar.  The celebrant then takes up the remnants, holding them aloft.)

℣.  Now have we partaken of the fruit of the Tree of the Gnosis of Good and Evil.  May our words and actions always reflect our origin in the Light, and our residence in the Pleroma.  Let us rest a moment in the silence of our glorious Lady Sophia, and contemplate the role of the Christos in our hearts and minds.

(Moment of silence.)

℣.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

℟.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, unto the æons of æons. Amen.

℣.  As our corporeal bodies shall return to the dust from which we were made, so shall the corpse of this apple become one with the body of the Earth.

(The celebrant sets apple remnants aside for composting.)

℣.  Let us praise the Lord after the fashion of Solomon the Wise:

My heart was pruned
and its flower appeared,
then grace sprang up in it,
and my heart produced fruits for the Lord.

℟.  For the Most High pruned my heart
by His Holy Spirit,
then He uncovered my inward being towards Him,
and filled me with His love.

℣.  And His opening of me became my salvation,
and I ran in the Way,
in His peace,
in the way of truth.

℟.  From the beginning until the end
I received His Gnosis.

℣.  And I was established upon the rock of truth,
where He had set me.

℟. And speaking waters touched my lips
from the fountain of the Lord, generously.

℣.  And so I drank and became intoxicated,
from the living water that does not die.

℟.  And my intoxication did not cause ignorance,
but  I abandoned vanity,

℣.  And turned toward the Most High, my God,
and was enriched by His favors.

℟.  And I rejected the folly cast upon the earth,
and stripped it off, and cast it from me.

℣.  And the Lord renewed me with His garment,
and possessed me by His light.

℟. And from above He gave me immortal rest,
and I became like the land that blossoms,
and rejoiceth in its fruits.

℣.  And the Lord is like the sun
upon the face of the land.

℟.  My eyes were enlightened,
and my face received the dew;

℣.  And my breath was refreshed
by the pleasant fragrance of the Lord.

℟.  And He took me to His Paradise,
wherein is the wealth of the Lord’s pleasure.

℣.  I beheld blooming and fruit-bearing trees,
And self-grown was their crown.

℟.  Their branches were sprouting,and their fruits were shining.
From an immortal land were their roots.

℣.  And a river of gladness was irrigating them,
And round about them in the land of eternal life.

℟.  Then I worshipped the Lord because of His magnificence.

℣.  And I said: Blessed, O Lord, are they who are planted in Thy land,
and who have a place in Thy Paradise;

℟.  And who grow in the growth of Thy trees,
and have passed from darkness into light.

℣.  Behold, all Thy laborers are fair,
they who work good works,
and turn from wickedness to Thy pleasantness.

℟.  For the pungent odor of the trees is changed in Thy land,
And everything becomes a remnant of Thyself.
Blessed are the workers of Thy waters,
and eternal memorials of Thy faithful servants.

℣.  Indeed, there is much room in Thy Paradise.
And there is nothing in it which is barren,
but everything is filled with fruit.

Glory be to Thee, O God, the delight of Paradise for ever.

℟.  Alleluia!

℣.  Having thus partaken of the Fruit of the Tree of the Gnosis of Good and Evil, let us depart this place, and spread the Light of the Divine Sophia wherever we may tread.  O Ye Holy Luminaries who stand before the throne of the Limitless Light, we thank You for Your presence at this rite, and honor Your Light.  Be with us as we return to the realm of limitations and the World of matter.

     (Facing South)  Eleleth-Kodere-Epiphanios-Allogenios
     (Facing West)   Daveithe-Laraneus-Epiphanios-Eideos
     (Facing North)  Oraiael-Aphreudasos-Armedos-Arros
     (Facing East)    Harmozel-Orneos-Euthrounios

℣.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: From whence have you come?

℟. We have come from the Light, from the place where the Light came into being, sat within Itself, and appeared in the image of the Pleroma.

℣.  Are you the Light?

℟. We are Its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father and of Barbelo.

℣.  What is the evidence of the Father and Barbelo in you?

℟.  It is a movement, and it is a rest.

℣.  Go, then, in peace, and tell no one what hath happened within.

℣.  In the name of the + Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

℟.  Amen.

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