Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fluidity

I've come to a somewhat obvious (after the fact) conclusion. I should preface by saying I've always known this on a more basic level, but never considered it on a broader scale: You can in fact go through life without a clearly delineated set of religious/spiritual/whatever beliefs.

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

Enoch

I've been reading ZEEK lately, a website that covers various topics from Jewish perspectives. I came across an interesting article regarding Enoch. Here's a snippet:


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

Looking Away

Apologies for the lack of posts. A lot has  been happening in the personal life, and also a lot has been churning through my mind regarding the spiritual as well. I should simply say that I feel lately as if I am beginning to move in a different direction.

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

Like So Many Theisms

I wanted to highlight some work that April DeConick is doing, which she's posted about over at The Forbidden Gospels Blog. In a post from about a week ago she mentioned that she's considering the potential for introducing new language to describe the field that currently is labeled "gnostic or gnosticism":
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.

In other words, there's much baggage associated with the terms "gnostic and gnosticism", and DeConick wants to step out of that box as it is constricting and stifles scholarly work! She goes on to suggest two possibilities:
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).

Most recently, in a post entitled "Transtheism it is", DeConick has revealed her choice to move forward with, and why:
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.

I'm by no means a scholar, but I find this all very fascinating. Also, DeConick's book, the Thirteenth Apostle (about the Gospel of Judas), is soon to be re-released with a revised edition. I hadn't picked it up yet, and now I'm glad I hadn't. I'll be checking the new edition out as soon as I can.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Book Sale

There was another book sale at the local public library last week, and I made two trips down to check it out. The first trip wasn't very successful. An entire room, a relatively large room that's used for meetings and lectures, was used for the sale. The problem is that the room wasn't large enough for the crowd that showed up on the first day. The prices were cheap, which means that if you get lucky you can find something you're looking for, or even something you weren't but were pleasantly surprised to find, for no more than a few dollars.

During the first trip I searched around and picked up some art books, and the "The Da Vinci Enigma Tarot" by Caitlin Matthews. She's also the author of "Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God", which I have seen recommended before, but have yet to read. It's interesting, but it's missing two of the cards and had a few cards too many. I may try to use some of the excess cards, the internet, a printer, and some tape or glue to resolve that problem.

On the second trip, which was on the last day of the book sale, I was again lucky to find some interesting things. I say lucky, because the book fair lasts a week, and by the end of the week the selection is fairly picked over. Also to note on the last day, they let you stuff a bag with as many books as you can stuff, and you only spend a dollar for the whole lot. You can do this as many times as you like. I picked up three books (others with me picked up several more than three), and on average, I spent pennies for each. The first, "Inward Stillness", by George A. Maloney, S.J. This is a book about prayer and silence with a focus on the "inner" spiritual life. Second, a hardback copy of the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments. It's red, with red-edged pages and gold-foil on the cover. It's quite nice. Lastly, a copy of the 1979 edition of the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church. Until recently this copy belonged to a small, but historic Episcopal church in the area. Lately I have developed quite an interest in the Episcopal Church, so I was glad to find this.

All things considered, the trips were productive, although I think they need a larger venue for the next sale. I look forward to delving into the selections I picked up, especially the Book of Common Prayer, if only to feed my curiousity.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our World May Be a Giant Hologram

...or so says a very intresting article from NewScientist, located HERE. An excerpt:
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.
What's even more interesting is if you read this article and then read Philip K. Dick's "Cosmogony and Cosmology", which PKD wrote in 1978, over at the PTG.