Sunday, June 13, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
What does this mean, to say that an idea or a thought is literally alive? And that it seizes on men here and there and makes use of them to actualize itself into the stream of human history? Perhaps the pre-Socratic philosophers were correct; the cosmos is one vast entity that thinks. It may in fact do nothing but think. In that case either what we call the universe is merely a form of disguise that it takes, or it somehow is the universe -- some variation on this pantheistic view, my favorite being that it cunningly mimics the world that we experience daily, and we remain none the wiser. This is the view of the oldest religion of India, and to some extent it was the view of Spinoza and Alfred North Whitehead, the concept of an immanent God, God within the universe, not transcendent above it and therefore not part of it. The Sufi saying [by Rumi] "The workman is invisible within the workshop" applies here, with workshop as universe and workman as God. But this still expresses the theistic notion that the universe is something that God created; whereas I am saying, perhaps God created nothing but merely is. And we spend our lives within him or her or it, wondering constantly where he or she or it can be found.- Philip K. Dick, from If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others.
Monday, January 18, 2010
- Ecclesia Gnostica in Nova Albion was a blog written by Fr. Jordan Stratford+ of the Apostolic Johannite Church (a gnostic church). It became large enough that he had to start a new blog as a continuation. Especially helpful are his posts entitled Gnosticism 101 and Gnosticism 102.
- Summer Harvest by Jeremy Puma. Jeremy is independent of any ecclesiastical structure to my knowledge, save for the Order of Allogenes. He's written a lot of interesting stuff that's definitely worth checking out.
- Forbidden Gospels is the blog of April DeConick, Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University. Whereas the two prior blogs mentioned deal with Gnosticsm as a modern practice, Dr. DeConick strictly deals with ancient G/gnosticsm from an academic perspective, and does so brilliantly. She also deals with other aspects of the early Christian narrative, including Christian and Jewish mysticism.
There's a short list of churches and organizations over on the left, but here's some of the important ones (in alphabetical order): Alexandrian Gnostic Church, Apostolic Johannite Church, Ecclesia Gnostica, Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum, North American College of Gnostic Bishops, and Thomasine Church. You should check these out and see what each has to say about itself. You may find something that interests you. There are other organizations out there that claim to be "gnostic", but have nothing at all to do with what I've been talking about, or what you'll find in the links and blogs listed here. So buyer beware, read, research, and understand what you're looking at.
This is just a jumping off point. There is a lot of information to look through linked above, but it's a good place to start in your exploration of Gnosticism.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Of course you should know certain things about what it is that opens up the inner spiritual world for you, what guides you along that path, be it Gnosticism*, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. There is, however, no reason why you should focus on one of these isms exclusively if you find truth in a variety of places. You can find truth in both the gutter and the cathedral. I sometimes wonder if you might find more of it in the gutter.
It has taken me some time to realize that these things don't have to fit in neat, tidy little boxes. That has been something I have struggled with in the past. I've felt pulled in several directions, and it only serves to confuse the point of it all and makes me take two steps back. Now I realize that I can be focused on something, and still occasionally look to other places for inspiration without it blurring the lines beyond recognition. Because really it's not about the isms. It's about how they allow you to become better than you are.
This idea isn't new. It's as old as thought itself.
(*Whatever Gnosticism means**.**For a general idea of what I mean when I say Gnosticism, see Logosphere links to the left. Sadly, many of them have become a little less than active in the last year, as has mine, but there is still a tremendous amount of information worth looking through.)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The Zohar says that when Adam sinned and became achad, a seemingly alienated self obsessed with its delusion of uniqueness and separation, his capacity to achieve full divine consciousness was removed from him.When Enoch was born that capacity was placed in Enoch instead where it could once again be cultivated:
Enoch was born just outside the Garden of Eden. From birth a holy light glowed within him, and covered him, and made him the most beautiful of men. Enoch sought out the Tree of Life at the center of the Garden. When he found it he breathed deeply of its aroma, and his heart filled with the spirit of the Tree. Suddenly angels from heaven descended and instructed Enoch in the deepest wisdom of God. They pulled from the Tree a book that had been hidden there, and handed it to Enoch to study. Enoch read the book carefully and found within it the most sublime paths of God. As he practiced each path the light within him became even more pure. Soon the light was at its most pristine, and it desired to return to heaven from whence it came, to manifest this purity in the very being of Enoch.
Enoch is the promise that we can overcome our human limitations and reclaim our original divine potential. Importantly the light of God began to shine “within Enoch,” and the Light of God became “perfect within him.” Enoch’s transformation is an inner one first. Only when he embodies the Light of God on earth can he become the fire body of Metatron in heaven. Enoch is symbolic of that which each of us can become, and for which all humanity was destined from the very beginning.
Metatron is called “keeper of the keys” to wisdom, and one of these keys is called “the light of discernment.” This light allows humans to explore and ultimately to grasp the most sublime mysteries of creation. “Metatron, then, is the aspect of [God’s] glory that is depicted as the measurable anthropos (human) who sits upon the throne and appears in prophetic visions.” He is the “link between the human and the divine.”
It's worth checking out.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
This looking away from gnosticism that I have been doing, encountering, has been occurring for some time, months and months. It is not so much a rejection of G/gnosticism, as it is a yearning for something that I feel is missing. There are core elements of the G/gnostic ideas and mythos that I will always retain should my path lead elsewhere. When I first personally discovered G/gnosticism, there were ideas and ways of thinking, about god and the nature of the world around us, that struck a chord too deep to be forgotten or easily relinquished.
That being said, I know that my path is unmistakably beginning to shift, although this wasn't clear to me until recently. I have many doubts, and anxieties, but I'll continue to learn and to try to understand, and to ask questions. The examined journey is never easy, but the rewards are rich, if only one has the courage and commitment to embrace it.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
My reason for this is not that I do not think that gnosticism existed in the ancient world - in fact I do. But the categories have become so abused, that they have become heuristically meaningless for me as an historian of religion. I can't use them without running into walls.
The category is a huge mess and people use these words whatever-which-way they see fit for whatever argument they want to make. If they don't want a particular text to be gnostic, they will say that it doesn't have this-that-or-the-other characteristic that is gnostic. If they want the text to be gnostic, they will say that it has such-and-such characteristic which is gnostic. And then there is proto-gnostic, which means there are elements of gnosticism here, but not enough to make it gnostic yet.
I'm considering two names for this phenonemon. Transtheism or Supratheism. I like Transtheism because "trans" has two connotations: across and above/beyond. ... Supratheism is also possible, although it may indicate too much of a complete transcendence and separation of the God, as if the otherworldly God has no contact with this world (which is not the case in these systems).
I have continued to ponder this terminology, and I have fallen in love with it. What it will allow me to do in terms of analysis is truly astonishing. I wish I had thought about this earlier in my career. To name the type of theism that these ancient thinkers were involved in allows me to cross boundaries and open up discussions of their ideology. I am not going to be restrained by previous research and definitions! The limits are gone.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time - the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into "grains", just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. "It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time," says Hogan.
If this doesn't blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."
The idea that we live in a hologram probably sounds absurd, but it is a natural extension of our best understanding of black holes, and something with a pretty firm theoretical footing. It has also been surprisingly helpful for physicists wrestling with theories of how the universe works at its most fundamental level.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
So it is fitting in this time of the year, when the Sun is reborn, when we are celebrating birth of things new, when people are celebrating the changes to come, with hopefulness and faith and effort, both in the world and in themselves, that I have decided to change the look yet again. As with the first two versions of the blog, the layout represents me in a way, perhaps in only ways that I am aware of. It reflects that I am changing, hopefully growing and learning, becoming someone better than myself. All this based on what I have learned and what I continue to seek out, whether that be gnosis, Sophia and Christ, god, something to listen to, a book to read, a meal to eat, a future that I can be happy with, or simply myself.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Amongst icons of the Mother of God in the collection of the British Museum is a fine icon of ‘Sophia the Wisdom of God’ (cat. no. 25) from the late 17th century. In this icon are represented two widespread versions of the symbolic union of the image of the Mother of God with the idea of Divine Wisdom ‘building her house’, understood as the creation of the earthly church. The image of the fiery-faced winged angel in the centre, according to Novgorodian tradition, arises from the prophecies of Isaiah about an angel of Great Light and the vision of John the Apostle in the Book of Revelation: ‘And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire’ (10:1).
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I completely ignored the deeper lesson which is do not judge, and get outside yourself, and realize that everyone and everything has its own story, and something to teach you, and that they’re also trying – consciously or unconsciously – to learn and grow from you and everything else around them. And they’re trying with the same passion and hunger and confusion that I was feeling – no matter where they were in their lives, no matter how old or how young.Full post is here.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Both books are exactly what they claim to be. The Kelly work is, as far as I can tell so far, a comprehensive summary of doctrines, beliefs, and ideas that were formed during the early centuries of Christianity. It is a bit dated, obviously, but I think I'll find it very informative.
The other, "Man and God" by Victor Gollancz, also seems very intriguing at first glance. There are quotes and passages assembled from both the Old and New Testaments, noted Rabbis, the Zohar, Soloviev, Saints of both the Eastern and Western Christian churches including Julian of Norwich and John Chrysostom, Beethoven, Chuang Tzu, Goethe, the Bhagavad Gita, C. G. Jung, John Macmurray, Dostoevsky, William Blake and many others. I think it's remarkable, but I haven't had much of a chance to really get into it yet. If I enjoy it as much as I am anticipating, it should be well worth the pennies I spent on it.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
I am rather drawn to it, and really enjoy listening to the music. I have an interest in the Orthodox Christian churches that keeps me coming back to the topic, which is one reason I listen to AFR as much as I do. This is all not to the exclusion of my "gnostic understanding" of the nature of things, but there is a beauty about the Orthodox churches that inspires me. Perhaps I am only seeing a romanticized version of the subject, as I am sure there are probably many Orthodox, who knowing my other spiritual persuasions, would be scandalized. Regardless, it's there, and I embrace it as it is. I don't know where this interest will take me ultimately, but I have an idea of where I would like it to lead me.
Regardless, I'll continue to listen to Ancient Faith Radio, and I encourage others to listen to it and perhaps be inspired by the Spirit of it as I have been.