Part I | Part II
9. Gnosis. Hypostatically, the upshot of this whole process is that the Limitless Light’s self-knowledge has been interrupted within the realm of ignorance by the Demiurge, who wants us to worship him. Sophia realized this immediately, of course, which is one of the reasons she gets called Wisdom, and set about correcting this error by essentially sneaking a portion of the Limitless Light into the human-being assembly line. With the Logos, she activates that portion of the Limitless Light within us, allowing us to understand who we are, where we come from, where we are and where we are going. This activation by both the Logos and Sophia is called gnosis, or enlightenment.
Even a cursory glance through the extant material illustrates that the word “gnosis” doesn’t mean what most people say it means. It’s not anything like “enlightenment” in the popular sense of the word. It’s not some kind of radical insight granted by taking entheogens. It’s a multi-faceted understanding that has multiple components, which we describe, in This Way, as a formula: Gnosis = Awakening (Word + Wisdom).
A: An Awakening Event – This might be an epiphany, a theophany, a revelation, etc., but it must be personal and must be experienced. Way persons may participate in and perform the Christian Sacrament of the Eucharist, and perform and recognize the validity of the other Christian Sacraments. The primary practice for the cultivation of awakening, however, is contemplative.
L: The Word, or Logos – An informational context into which one can place the awakening event. Remember that one of the meanings of Logos is “word,” but it also means “faculty of reason,” “discourse,” “law,” “pronouncement.” Jesus Christ, as the Logos, represents the deliverer of discourse– in Buddhist terms, we may find similarities to the Buddha as the Living Dharma. In the Sethian myth, Jesus carries forth the Discourse as an extended faculty of reason initiated in the Pleroma by the Divine Seth. The preexistent Logos within the Pleroma is the Christos, which manifests within the World of Forms as living information. He is the instructor who institutes the sacraments– information. He teaches the Way to his disciples– information. He facilitates the presence of the Nous within each of us– information.
S: Wisdom, or Sophia – The wisdom to apply the awakening event through praxis within one’s holistic life. This is Sophia, tempered by faith, who carries us forward in our day-to-day existence. She delivers the essential Wisdom necessary to apply the teachings of the Logos to day-to-day life. With her infinite compassion, she descends through the spheres of the Archons to engage the spirit in each of us and allow us to develop compassion for all beings. She allows us to perform the sacraments presented by the Logos wisely, and fills our actions with content, keeping us moving forward and upward as we climb the ladder of emanations towards the realms of the Pleroma.
If it doesn’t include all three of these components, it might be pretty cool, but it ain’t gnosis.
Something else: gnosis doesn’t give you superpowers, the ability to read minds or materialize things out of thin air. It isn’t available for sale (quite the opposite). The Path isn’t revealed by channeled Atlantean Warriors or UFOnauts or visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Enlightened beings don’t perform miracles or intervene on behalf of this or the other organization– even Jesus himself didn’t perform miracles for people who asked for them. Most mystical traditions state that getting in touch with your past lives or performing magic tricks are actually substantial distractions from the path. Zen monks tell you to ignore visions and prophecies you receive when meditating because they’re not the goal. Zen monks don’t do card tricks.
Another popular trope, which is really silly when you start to think about it, is that “gnosis is different for everybody.” That’s a little like saying “objectivity is different for everybody.” Consider: stick your hand in a bucket of water, a bowl full of ice, or above a steaming bathtub. What happens? Your hand gets wet. Same kind of deal with gnosis: it may manifest differently for everyone, but it doesn’t mean anything anyone wants it to. It is specific to certain contexts.
A note on entheogenic drugs. It is this author’s humble opinion that they’re really, really dangerous, and probably not worth it. I mean, they’re made of matter. They’re artifacts of the World of Forms. Artifacts of the World of Forms can assist in personal introspection, but they can’t deliver gnosis on their own. I can’t advise anybody to use ‘em.
Of course, there is the matter of grace. Grace is the exception to these conditions. The Logos and Sophia can do whatever they want; they may activate the gnosis of the Pleroma at any time, at any moment, in any person. The ways of the Christos and Sophia can’t ever truly be known by humans; otherwise, the Archons might learn of their plans and work against them. Their activities in the World of Forms, and those whom they touch, must remain transparent to the Authorities.
So: how do we get this gnosis? Well, if you’re interested in gnosis within the limitations of the Black Iron Prison, the person of Knowledge (that’s you) can cultivate the gnosis of the Fullness through the Mysteries established by the Christos and Sophia: Devotion to Reason and Living Information, The Ascent Through The Spheres, Mindful Incorporation Into the Continuum of Being.
Devotion to the Word is sincere and honest study of the Living Information as revealed by certain enlightened teachers and their students. The Ascent Through The Spheres is the denial of the Archons and the overcoming of Fate. Mindful Incorporation Into the Continuum of Being is the spiritual methodology of the Buddha. We’ll go into a little more detail on each of these later on this site– for now, we’ll stick to this overview.
We’ll also talk more about what it means if you get gnosis. It ain’t all fun and games: getting into this stuff means painting a big ol’ target on your back with a sign that says, “Come an’ get me, Archons!” It also means being incredibly unpopular within most circles.
Gnosis isn’t merely something that’s limited to church or personal ritual. It’s not something that’s done in soup kitchens or prison ministries. Gnosis is something that happens within each individual Gnostic, every second of every day. Gnosis might drop in on someone during Mass or meditation, but it has no limits; it is just as likely to drop in when you’re watching an episode of Louis or driving home from work.
And when you have it, you have to try to live it; there is no alternative, nor is there escape. Gnosis expands within you as an awareness, an intimate awareness of a far more subtle understanding or comprehension of the universe. It then becomes a compulsion. If you aren’t compelled to live it, you haven’t experienced it– this is an absolute.
Gnosis floods your existence. It saturates you and sits on your shoulders like wet wool. It charges you to do something about it, even if there’s nothing you can do. So, you have to try to Live it, as best as you can. You don’t have to go to church or take communion, though you can if that’s how you’re moved. You don’t have to say your prayers every night, though that’s a good practice. You don’t have to meditate every day or even to be nice to other people. You can Live Gnosis by getting up and going to work in the morning. You can live it by writing about it, or by studying it in school. You can live it by forgiving someone who’s done you wrong. You can live it by drawing or painting or making music.
All of these things can also *not* be living gnosis. It’s up to you. Because, *All that it takes to Live gnosis is to allow your gnosis to manifest itself in your interactions with the World.* In computer terms, you have to allow your gnosis to become your input/output device. Everything that comes in gets processed by gnosis. Everything that goes out leaves by gnosis. In that way, you have the opportunity to “live gnosis” every time you talk to anyone whatsoever. You have the opportunity to “live gnosis” when you’re deciding what to have on your pizza. You have the opportunity to “live gnosis” when you’re playing with your dog, or talking with your friends. A little gnosis might happen in church (in any church), but unless you live in your church, eat in your church, sleep and work and interact with other people in your church, most of your gnosis will happen outside of it. In fact, if the only place you’re able to contextualize gnosis is in your church, you are not living gnosis to its fullest.
10. Anthropology and the Chain of Attainment. As containers of the Spiritual Seed, which, when activated by the Christos and Sophia, reveals the inbreaking of the Pleroma into the World of Forms, all humans are intrinsically involved with the redemption of the imperfection. This redemption is necessary inasmuch as the completion of the redemption will allow the Great Invisible Spirit to truly Know itself in full knowledge of its emanations. For this reason, the imprisonment must also have occurred, for how can the Great Invisible Spirit come to know itself if it is not first ignorant of some part of itself?
In one sense, the redemption has already occurred. It’s continually occurring. If, indeed, the Limitless Light is eternal and unchanging, then we can’t limit it in the constraints of Time. The concept of Time is a concept of limitations, and as a concept of limitations, Time is ruled over by the Archons and their servitors. Thus, the passage of Time is an illusion maintained within the World of Forms. The process of redemption and of the gnosis of the Great Invisible Spirit has-occurred-is-occurring-will-occur. All that is, that appears of change, is but a single instance, a single firing of a single synapse in the Nous.
Now then, according to our understanding, humankind exists as three-in-one: the hylic, who has surrendered to the Archon, the pneumatic, who has surrendered to the Christos and Sophia, and the psychic, who sometimes surrenders to the Archon, and sometimes to the Christos and Sophia. Most of us are in the psychic state, which doesn’t mean we can read minds; it means we live in a complex world where sometimes we’re really cool and sometimes we behave like jackasses.
Of course, it’s a huge mistake to say that these are three different types of human by nature. It’s a dangerous game to start applying labels to other people and making value judgements based on those labels. Claiming that any other person is stuck in some kind of spiritual state, or is less than perfect, is giving in to the power of Fate. And we all know who controls Fate, right? That’s right: the SPACE NAZIS! (ha ha obviously not really, but claiming that “so-and-so is hylic and not as good as so-and-so who is pneumatic” is just as dangerous as claiming that “so-and-so is Jewish and not as good as so-and-so who is German,” to get all Godwin-y on you).
So, we use these aspects as tools for self-understanding, because they’re three aspects of all humans, all of whom contain the spiritual seed. The Christos and Sophia can awaken gnosis in any one of these aspects; therefore, your best bet is to treat everybody as though they may already be awakened. You can never know where the Christos and Sophia will do their work, because if it’s that easy for us, then it’s just as easy for the Archons, who could seek the person out, and put that person to death.
You just never can tell. Obviously, we find out all the time that a lot of folks who claim to be ascended spiritual masters, and who volunteer in soup kitchens and give money away and such, are scam artists and manipulative narcissists. On the other end of the pole, as we’ll see, it’s possible for someone with complete gnosis to seem like a jerk who insults people and eats lots of fast food. So it’s best to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, at least at first.
Now, let’s get a little morbid and talk about what happens to us when we die. As Platonic philosophers with a serious Buddhism fix, we’re into the concept of metempsychosis, or “reincarnation.” Most individuals experience this constant cycle of birth and rebirth, and are subject to what Eastern religion calls karma, cause and effect, action and reaction. In This Way, we call it the Chain of Attainment.
According to Gnostic mythology, the soul resides within this imperfect chain of attainment until saved via the gnosis of the Logos and Sophia. The redeemed soul, after death, transcends the realms of limitation and becomes one with the experience of the Ultimate Freedom of the Limitless Light. Should a soul remain unredeemed within a lifetime, that soul will be unable to escape the chain of attainment and will be reborn accordingly.
We are big fans of Universalism, that every single soul will eventually acheive this redemption– it’s just a matter of “Time.” Indeed, according to our understanding of Time, this redemption has already occurred, as the passage of time is an illusion of the imperfect world.
We also refer to “The Kingdom of Heaven” when discussing the ultimate redemption of the universe and the self. As far as the preexistence of the soul, we generally believe that incarnated souls are those which haven’t yet escaped the imperfect World of Forms, or, in many cases, are experiencing incarnation for the very first time as part of the ongoing process of material creation.
This system works really well for the Demiurge: he can reward or punish as he sees fit, and maintain his control over the World of Forms. He does this via the medium of the Black Iron Prison and its impelled control systems, which discourage the individual from finding gnosis for herself, instead maintaining that deliverance can only be granted by another.
Unlike Eastern religion, however, in which reincarnation occurs in linear time, our Gnostic school recognizes that linear time is an Archonic illusion. This is why, in Gnostic scripture, the Archons are assigned the days of the week or signs of the Zodiac. In reality, as we know from our discussion above, the Limitless Light transcends space and time to such an extent that what we perceive as motion, change and time would by necessity appear as a single unit to the Limitless Light, as it would perceive every instant simultaneously. If this is the case, then the soul and the accompanying portion of the Limitless Light might be reborn in any “time” and as any individual. You may be reborn as someone living in the time of Jesus, I may be reborn as someone living in the future.
Remember, the Limitless Light is differentiating itself until it has experienced all of the potentialities that it contains. This means that the process of metempsychosis allows the Limitless Light to experience each of its aspects as a single consciousness. There is only one consciousness—it is the one you are experiencing right now, as you read this. It is also the consciousness that I’m experiencing right now as I type this. This is the Limitless Light learning about itself, and it literally means that everyone is everyone else. I might be reborn as you, you might be reborn as me. Gnosis is the personal realization and experience of this fact. This is a huge secret that I’ve just let you in on.
Obviously, not everyone experiences gnosis. Thankfully, Sophia and the Logos are correcting the divine equation by way of iteration. To return to the Chaos Theory analogy, if we are all rounded variables in a fake ordered set which is dictated by an underlying fractal, the Limitless Light and its Aeons are stripping off the “rounding” and returning us to our original natures that exist on the left side of the decimal point.
This is why ritual can be important, and can also be applied to the concept of the eucharist, whereby the Phildickian “plasmates” (living information) are introduced to an iterated formula: ritual that is repeated at regular intervals. This is not to say that any specific ritual is “right” or “wrong,” but rather that Divinity tends to introduce itself into the equation of the World of Forms via iteration.
Back to the idea of the three states of humanity– again, this is all as ‘literal’ as it needs to be to you. Is it hypostatic, or psychological? Which helps you the most? So. If you die in the state of a hylic aspect, you’ve been weighed down by the material, and ensnared by the Archon, and will descend back into a body in the World of Forms according to the control system of the Archons. This isn’t always a bad thing; it does, however, mean rebirth into the realms of limitations and not into the Kingdom of Heaven. If you die in a pneumatic state, you’re reborn into the Fullness of the Pleroma as soon as the gnosis is realized. After the death of the body, you ascend into the realms of Perfection, the Fullness, escaping the bonds of the Black Iron Prison and the cycle of incarnation. That spirit, that wonderful and perfected spark of the divine Light, may also become a Messenger of the Light– a Bodhisattva, taking on a body in the World of Forms out of compassion and mercy for those still trapped within the Prison, along with the Christos and Sophia assisting them with their own resurrections.
Got to repeat it: you can’t say for sure what state somebody else was in when they died. This is advice for your own self-discovery, not to be used to judge what happened to other people.
Concluded in PART IV!