Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thirsty

I've been thinking a lot lately about where I am drawn spiritually. Obviously the pretext is that of Gnosticism, not just of gnosis, but of the larger Gnostic Restoration that began in the late 19th century and was reinvigorated with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library in 1945.

Having had an individual journey so far, I don't really find easy placement within the larger community, which I feel is one predominately of organized ecclesiastical communities (Apostolic Johannite Church, Ecclesia Gnostica, Alexandrian Gnostic Church, et al). I whole-heartedly believe in and support what these organizations are doing and hope to one day participate in them, but that is not where I am right now.

My jaunty little path is, right now, a solitary movement of one. This is true of all Gnostics when we are alone with our own minds, to be fair. Certainly, also, I am connected with the broader community through the shared understandings of what gnosis and Gnosticism are, at least at its core. These are explored at the Palm Tree Garden forums in the form of the "Four Point Plane", which outlines the core priniciples that most Gnostics (at least those involved at the PTG) would likely agree upon:

1. Emanations cosmology (Becoming is an extension of Being)
2 Immanent Pneumatology (Spirit is "veiled" in matter and can be "unveiled")
3. Gnostic soteriology (The experience of gnosis is what saves one from the realms of imperfection)
4. Sacramental Praxis (Gnosis is achieved by a variety of practices which seek to make the imperfect realms "holy" or sacred-- the eucharist, contemplative practice, etc.)

Those core ideas expand when you come to individual Gnostics. The many shades shift from Buddhism, to ceremonial magic and the Hermetic, to a more goddess-oriented approach, and all of this is not even to mention the differences and nuances between the various classical sects of Gnosticism (Valentinian/Sethian/etc).

All that considered, I have been thinking about what I am drawn to, what inspires me. What shades color my vision of Gnosticism? Surprisingly I have to say that I feel most attuned with the more Christian Gnostic aspects.

Not originating in Christianity, gnosticism can be quite varied even when it has been embraced within Christian contexts. Clear evidence of this is seen from any exploration of the Valentinians, to the Mandaeans, and later the Cathars. By their nature these are all gnostic movements to varying degrees, but they each express the common thread of gnosis differently. Indeed, there are major differences between some of these groups, and there is some disagreement as to whether all are properly Gnostic.

There was a point when I was adamantly anti-Christian. I rebelled against what I was lead to believe Christianity was, when what I knew of Christianity was actually more like an old teapot, covered in years of grime, dust, and neglect, dented and scuffed, blackened with age. My Gnostic perspective has allowed me to re-examine this old teapot, and as I scrub away at the layers of obfuscation, I can see the brilliant shining beneath.

I am afraid that there will always be remnants of that outer layer on the figurative teapot that I can never fully get rid of, but the truth is, I don't need to. I know what is behind it now, and I happily anticipate the nourishment I can gain from this old teapot, no matter what flavor of tea I taste or what cup I drink from.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there--

    I know you once mentioned interest in the Order of Allogenes, and I do think you'd be a good candidate, especially since we're mainly about providing resources for independent Gnostics. If you're ever interested in chatting about it, please do let me know!

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