Ok, all, here is the basic outline.
I kind of have to hurry tonight so I won't try to outline this in
depth, but it will give the basic idea which we can then discuss as
So, to start with there is this spiritual source. The Valentinian
Exposition calls this the "First Father", or the Root of the All. In
other texts we see other names, but lets use this texts this time.
From this "root" comes what this text calls "God", the Second
Father, aka, the Son, or Mind of the All. Again, different names in
different texts (Barbelo, for instance), but lets keep using this
texts as far as we can.
So, where the "First Father" is absolutely outside the field of
concept, outside anything linear, has no attributes, the Second
Father is a sort of lesser infinity. The Second Father is the single
infinity that contains all the other infinities, and is the source
of the Aeons. The First Father is not a "being", nor a "God" it is
beyond the act of "being" itself. The second father, on the other
hand, is a sort of transcendant "God" in a way.
The second father is still an infinite thing that contains all
others, so it is not male or female, and is not subject to the
destinctions of being. From it ripples out, like waves on water, or
like a fountain, various emenations that are specific aspects of it.
That is to say, the seperations of the absolute forms, like dark and
light, male and female (in function) become their own realms of
being. These forms, realms of being, are called the Aeons (you could
see them as philosophical absolutes, in a way, as attributes still
connected to the spiritual realm which are only reflected but not
truely existant in our phisical realm). Logos and Sophia are
generally the two Aeons that get primary attention. Logos, as we all
know, is generally equated with Jesus in modern Christianity. Sophia
(wisdom) is the wife of the Logos.
For anyone who is not familiar, what I am talking about is the
spiritual realms that Plato outlined. As Mike just stated, Gnostics
were Platonists. You will also see something similar to this basic
outline, only using different terms, in Kabbalah, and in Classical
Ok, to continue... from the previously outlined spiritual realm
there is some kind of a slip into someting that is truely destinct
and void of the Spirit.... the realm of the Demiurge. The physical
universe comes into being, and it is a darkness that is unable to
every fully grasp the source. And yet, by some mechanition, we
humans have gained the ability to look beyond our physicality...
into the mind. And, some of us gain the ability to even see beyond
that into an absolute realm of Spirit.... becuase there is an aspect
of that spirit within us. People are then categorised according to
what they identify with. Those who's understanding of the spirit is
based in the physical are "hylic". Those who live in a world of
rationalization (such as dogmatic faith) and thought are "psychic".
Finally, those who grasp the true spirit (to some extent identified
with higher intellect, which belongs to the realm of the Aeons, as
opposed to rationalization) are guided by that spirit, they
Gnosis is the act of comming into the realization of the outline and
meaning of this cosmology, and how we relate to it.
Ok, now we have something to start the discussion with.