Tag Archives: Sophia

The Little Office is Now Available on Amazon

Little Office Print

I’m pleased to announce that The Little Office of the Blessed Sophia is now available on Amazon.com, and can be purchased here. Just in time for Christmas, this 150 page book of hours features:

  • a complete calendar
  • instructions and rubrics for praying alone or with a group
  • the Ordinary of the Little Office (the regular prayers to be said each day) consisting of Matins, Lauds, Diurnum, Vespers, and Compline
  • Lessons for both the Penitential Seasons (Advent & Lent), as well as Lessons to be used throughout the rest of the year
  • the Book of Odes, with the Odes of Solomon arranged according to a 3-day cycle
  • Commemorations for the feast days over 100 saints, as well as other high holy days
  • an Office of the Dead

Modeled after the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary but with Gnostics in mind, this book is designed to both honor the Most Holy Sophia, and to elevate our consciousness to the Divine Light through a daily cycle of prayer. It is my hope that this book will become an important part of your prayer life, enriching your devotional practice.

Here are a couple of sample pages, to give you an idea of what the book looks like. (I do apologize for the poor quality of the photos!)

The beginning of the Office of Vespers, prayed in the evening around sunset.

The beginning of the Office of Vespers, prayed in the evening around sunset.

A selection from the Commemorations, showing the prayer for Restoration Day, Cyprian of Antioch, Cosmas & Damian, Mary Undoer of Knots, and Archangel Michael

A selection from the Commemorations, showing the prayer for Restoration Day, Cyprian of Antioch, Cosmas & Damian, Mary Undoer of Knots, and Archangel Michael.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Divine Office, Little Office, Prayer, Rituals

Little Office of the Blessed Sophia

Little Office of the Blessed Sophia

If any of you are on Facebook, here’s the official Facebook page (because everything needs a Facebook page!) for The Little Office of the Blessed Sophia. Feel free to like it and share it, and check back often for updates. The Little Office should, God willing, be released this month. I also hope to make the page a place to share biographies of the saints commemorated in the Office, as well as various other Gnostic topics of interest.

https://www.facebook.com/LittleOfficeOfTheBlessedSophia

In imitation of the Divine Office and the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this book of hours contains a daily cycle of prayer specifically for Gnostics, in honor of the Most Holy Sophia. Centered around the Odes of Solomon, rather than the Psalms of David, the five offices in this book also include various other prayers, canticles, hymns, and readings from scripture. Additionally, there are commemorations for over 100 feast days of saints, along with other major holy days. It’s my hope that this book will be something others can carry with them, and that it will aid them in their prayer lives.

7 Comments

Filed under Divine Office, Little Office, Saints

The Faithful Heart of Sophia

Faithful Heart of Sophia

May the dove and serpent unite, and white lily with red rose we wed. Amen.

Last Friday, we celebrated the Assumption of Sophia, the return of Sophia to the Pleroma out of the chaos into which She had fallen, when all the aeons of Light came together to rescue Her. In the exoteric Church, this same feast day celebrates the Assumption or Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, based on the belief that Holy Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven by God at the end of her earthly life.

On August 22, 1944, the octave day of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII instituted a feast day in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – a popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin which in many ways is analogous to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As Gnostics, this special octave day may be an opportunity to contemplate a similar mystery in relation to Sophia’s Assumption, focusing on what I like to call the Faithful Heart of Sophia.

Now if you’ve followed my sporadically updated blog here at Gnostic Devotions, you may have noticed the Faithful Heart of Sophia mentioned already, particularly in a prayer from the Chaplet for the Dead: “Faithful Heart of Sophia, be my salvation.” As the Faithful Heart is more of an idea than an official devotion (yet!), let’s consider the fall of Sophia into the outer chaos, and Her triumphant yet compassionate return to the Pleroma.

In the Book, Pistis Sophia, Jesus tells His apostles of the fall of Sophia, and His own journey through the spheres to rescue Her from the rulers of the chaos: called, in Gnostic scripture, the archons. Sophia, whose name means “Wisdom”, is the youngest of the aeons – emmanations of God, not created by Him, but rather aspects of Himself poured forth, the whole of which make up the Pleroma (Fullness). In the story Jesus tells, Sophia longs to know God, Her Source, and be united with Him; and She sees a reflection of His light below. Thinking it was the Light Himself, She rushes toward it, and in so doing She finds that She has plunged into the chaos, outside of the Pleroma. She is unable to return to Her home, and in Her sorrow at Her predicament, an imperfect and monstrous emanation is brought forth from Her, called in various scriptures: Ialdabaoth, Saklas, Samael, the demiurge or half-creator.

Ialdabaoth declares, “I am God, and there is no other god but me!” And he begins creating beings to serve him, the archons, and together they create and rule the physical universe and everything in it. When Sophia sees what Her error has resulted in, She cries out to the Light to save Her. In the Pistis Sophia (meaning, approximately, “Faithful Wisdom”), She utters a series of repentences, followed by odes of praise to the Light – and the Light hears Her, and takes pity on Her. As Fr. Sam+ mentioned in his homily on Sunday, She experienced more pain and sorrow in Her fall from the Pleroma than we can ever imagine or experience here on earth. Just try to imagine a divine being losing Her place in a realm of timeless perfection, and being trapped in matter by a monster who fancies himself to be God.

But She never loses faith! Even in the midst of Her despair, She cries out in Her first repentance, “O Light of lights, in whom I have had faith from the beginning, hearken now then, O Light, unto my repentance. Save me, O Light…” Through Her songs of sorrow and praise, the Light hears Her, and sends a Savior in whom the entire Fullness of God dwells: the Christos. But even as She is rescued, She takes pity on creatures whom the demiurge Ialdabaoth had made, left stranded in the darkness. So She separates Herself, so that a part of Her can remain in the world, to assist and comfort Her children still trapped in the world that resulted from Her mistake.

Last week we celebrated Sophia’s return to the Pleroma – mirroring our own eventual return. And in a few weeks we will, sadly, commemorate Her fall into the chaos, and by extension, our own fall into matter. But on tomorrow’s octave, in between Sophia’s Assumption and Descent, let’s particularly remember Her faith. Let’s keep our hearts faithful, as Hers is; remembering, of course, that “faith” is not a synonym for “belief”. Belief won’t save us, but trust and confidence is the foundation of the Path of Gnosis. As the Gospel of Philip says, “Faith is the earth, in which we take root.” Sophia’s story is our story, therefore may our hearts be ever enflamed with Pistis: faith in the Light, who is rescuing us out of the darkness of this world, and will restore us to our rightful home amongst the aeons.

Antiphon. My heart hath rejoiced in the Lord, and my voice praiseth my God, because I have joyed in His salvation.

℣. Hidden beneath the surface of all appearances, alleluia, alleluia.

℟. She liveth as the eternal Heart of the Living Sun, alleluia, alleluia.

Let us pray. O Father of the Light, in whom Pistis Sophia had faith from the beginning, singing praises unto Thee even from the depths of chaos: grant in Thy loving-kindness, that we who with devout minds recall Her Faithful Heart, may always live our lives with our hearts aflame by that same faith which She kept while in Her deepest sorrow. Through our Lord the Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(From The Little Office of the Blessed Sophia)

Leave a comment

Filed under Divine Office, Gnostic Thoughts

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!

3 Comments

Filed under Gnostic Thoughts

Holy Rosary of Our Lady Sophia

Introduction

This version of the Holy Gnostic Rosary focuses on the whole of the Gnostic mythos, from our source in the Unknown Father, through the Fall of Sophia and the creation of matter, to our ultimate redemption through the Christos.  It is the Rosary I personally pray, and is a conglomeration of Gnostic Rosaries that are (or have been) available online.  The prayers of the Rosary primarily come from the Ecclesia Gnostica, while the Mysteries are those used by the Apostolic Gnostic Church in America (which, as far as I can tell, no longer exists – but if I’m wrong, and someone from the AGCA stumbles upon this blog, I’d love to hear from you!).  Like the traditional Catholic Rosary, the Gnostic Rosary uses three sets of five Mysteries, upon which one meditates while vocalizing the prayers and keeping track of the prayers on each bead.  One can either choose one set of Mysteries to focus on, or may decide to pray all 15 at once.

I also offer some optional prayers that may be said at the conclusion of the Rosary, if one so desires.  Most often, I pray the Renunciation of the Archons, taken from the Book of the Stranger, which was the official prayerbook of the now defunct Order of Allogenes.  This particular prayer was arranged by Jeremy Puma, based upon a passage from the Pistis Sophia.  One of the other optional prayers is taken from a traditional 13th century Cathari prayer, and is the official prayer of the Order of St. Esclarmonde.

As a slight variation, this Rosary may be offered for the dead by replacing the Gloria with the Requiem prayer.  In either case, it is possible to offer the Rosary for special intentions, by mentioning them after the introductory prayers before announcing the First Mystery – this can mean mentioning the names of deceased loved ones, living friends or family, or any other intention one may have.  I have attempted to be as thorough as possible in this rather lengthy post, but if you’re not familiar with the practice of praying a Rosary, feel free to email me with any questions you may have.

How to Pray the Holy Gnostic Rosary

1.  Begin with the Sign of the Cross, and on the cross recite the Gnostic Credo.

2.  On the first large bead, pray the Gnostic’s Prayer*.

3.  On the three smaller beads, pray three Ave Sophias.

4.  On the space before the next larger bead, pray the Gloria Patri.

5.  On the first large bead, announce the First Mystery, and pray the Gnostic’s Prayer.

6.  Pray the Ave Sophia on each of the 10 beads that follow.  Conclude with a Gloria Patri.

7.  On the second large bead, announce the Second Mystery, and pray the Gnostic’s Prayer.  Continue in the same manner as above around the Rosary for each of the Mysteries.

8.  On the center piece, pray the O Alma Sophia, followed by any concluding prayers you may desire.

9.  Finish with the Sign of the Cross.

*The Gnostic’s Prayer may also be replaced by the more traditional Our Father, if you prefer.

The 15 Mysteries of the Holy Gnostic Rosary

The Pleromic Mysteries

 1.  The Mystery of the Source:  All is at rest in the Divine Pleroma.

 2.  The Mystery of the Emanations:  The Spirit of God, the Unknown Father, moves to create the Æons.

 3.  The Mystery of the Æon Sophia:  Sophia comes to embody the Father’s Divine Wisdom.

 4.  The Mystery of Sophia’s childbearing:  Sophia gives birth to Ialdabaoth, the demiurge.

 5.  The Mystery of Sophia’s separation:  Our Lady, as Mother of Sorrows, is rent into the Higher Sophia and the Lower Sophia, following Ialdabaoth’s arrogant creation of the cosmic realm.

The Liberation Mysteries

 1.  The Mystery of Sophia’s sorrow:  As Mother of Sorrows, Sophia decides to enter the world of humanity.

 2.  The Mystery of the Serpent:  Sophia takes the form of the serpent, and comes to humanity to instruct them in the wisdom of God.

 3.  The Mystery of Eve:  Humanity responds to Sophia’s call to reach for complete understanding.

 4.  The Mystery of Sophia the Teacher:  Throughout human history, Sophia inspires and instructs great prophets, holy people, and ordinary men and women in the ways of Gnosis.

 5.  The Mystery of Sophia the Liberator:  Through Gnosis, Sophia leads each of us now through the veil, as we move toward full reunification with the Pleroma.

The Bridal Mysteries

 1.  The Mystery of the Consorts:  Christ and Sophia are partnered as Æons, syzygies, emanating from Unknown Father, representing poles of God’s unity:  Light and Dark, Male and Female, Word (Logos) and Wisdom (Sophia).

 2.  The Mystery of the Incarnation:  Christ enters the world from the Pleroma through the human being, Jesus of Nazareth, spurred on by the compassion of Sophia.

 3.  The Mystery of the Baptism in the Jordan:  Jesus is baptized by John the Baptizer in the Jordan, and Sophia descends upon Him like a dove, to be with Him during His mission.

 4.  The Mystery of the Resurrection:  After Jesus’ death, Sophia brings Him forward to a new form of life in spirit.

 5.  The Mystery of Sophia the Advocate:  After Jesus leaves the world, Sophia remains as an advocate for those who seek to understand His teachings and message.

The Prayers of the Holy Gnostic Rosary

 Sign of the Cross

In the Name of the + Unknown Father; in Truth, Mother of All; in union, and redemption, and the sharing of powers: peace be to all on whom this Name reposes. Amen.

Gnostic Credo

I acknowledge one great Invisible God, unrevealable, unmarked, ageless, and unproclaimable; the Unknown Father, the Æon of the Æons, Who brought forth in the silence with His providence:  the Father, the Mother, and the Son.

I acknowledge the Christos, the self-begotten living Son; the glory of the Father, and the virtue of the Mother; Who, given birth from the virginal and ineffable Mother, was made incarnate:  the Perfect One. Who, in the Word of the Great Invisible God, came down from above to annul the emptiness of this age, and restore the fullness to the Æon.

I acknowledge the Holy Spirit, the Bride of the Christos, the Mother of the Æons, the great virginal and ineffable Mother who proceeded from Herself a gift of Herself, out of the silence of the Unknown God.

I acknowledge the Light of the One Church in every place:  Interior, Invisible, Secret, and Universal: the foundation of the Lights of the Great Living God.

I seek liberation of my perfection from the corruptions of the world, and look to the gathering of the sparks of Light from the sea of forgetfulness. Amen.

Gnostic’s Prayer

 Almighty God, Whose footstool is the highest firmament: Great Ruler of Heaven, and all the powers therein: Hear the prayers of Thy servants who put their trust in Thee. We pray Thee, supply our needs from day to day: Command Thy heavenly host to comfort and succor us; that it may be to Thy glory, and unto the good of all. Forgive us our transgressions as we forgive our brothers and sisters. Be present with us; strengthen and sustain us: For we are but instruments in Thy hands. Let us not fall into temptation: Defend us from all danger and evil: Let Thy mighty power ever guard and protect us, Thou great Fount of knowledge and wisdom: Instruct Thy servants by Thy holy presence: Guide and support us, now and forever. Amen.

Ave Sophia

 Hail Sophia, filled with light, the Christ is with Thee.  Blessed art Thou amongst the Æons, and blessed is the Liberator of Thy light, Jesus.  Holy Sophia, Mother of all gods, pray to the Light for us, Thy children, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Gloria Patri

 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.

O Alma Sophia

 O Gentle, O Kind, O Blessed Sophia, Thy children on earth call unto Thee: We pray Thee, our Beloved Mother, to cast forth Thy net of woven starlight.  Fling it wide across the ocean of the universe to gather us home to the realms of Light. Amen.

Optional Prayers

 Renunciation of the Archons

 Rulers of the Midst, hear me: Ye usurpers of the rightful Realms of Perfection, I renounce you and your works, deeds, images. Take to yourselves your destiny! I come not to your regions from this moment onwards. I have become a stranger unto you forever, being about to go unto the region of my inheritance. Rulers of the Midst, hear me: I renounce you and your servants, and commend my whole self to the Realms of Truth, now and forever. Amen.

13th Century Cathari Prayer

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 false god:
As we do not belong to this realm,
And this realm is not ours –
Teach us Thy Gnosis,
And to love what Thou lovest. Amen.

 Hail Holy Queen

 Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy; Hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To Thee do we cry, the exiled children of Eve. To Thee do we send up our longing, sighs, and crying in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of compassion toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us our Holy Twin Angel. O clement, O loving, O sweet Sophia!  Pray for us, O Holy Mother of all gods, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ; that the door be opened before us into the column of glory, that we might cross over in the ships of Light, and rest forevermore. Amen.

Prayer to St. Michael

O glorious prince of the heavenly army, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the eternal combat, which we sustain against the powers of darkness, malice and ignorance, which afflict us on this æonial battlefield of our earthly life! Come, invincible leader of the host of heaven, guardian of the paradise of the world, and wielder of the double-edged, flaming sword! Aid and sustain us in our defense against the adversary; and come to lead us finally into the presence of the Most High, into the abode of the blissful. Enlighten and purify us, O Thou great and mighty Archangel Michael: grant us to abandon the works of darkness, and to love the Gnosis of the Light; so that whilst all things of this world pass away, we may ever hold fast those things which abide for evermore. Amen.

 Rosary for the Dead

 Replace the Gloria Patri with the following:

Repose in the Eternal Fullness grant unto them, O Lord; and let the Light above the Æons shine upon them. Amen.

(The Credo may also be replaced with the De Profundis, Psalm 130 [129 in the Septuagint]: “Out of the depths…”)

6 Comments

Filed under Chaplets, Prayers for the Dead