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Re: Why I'm a gnostic

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  • imdarkchylde
    Blessings and wingwhispers, Pi!! I d like to start with the fact that the ancient Gnostics didn t call themselves gnostic and even their enemies in the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 8, 2006
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      Blessings and wingwhispers, Pi!!
      I'd like to start with the fact that the ancient Gnostics didn't call
      themselves 'gnostic' and even their enemies in the Church of Rome
      didn't refer to them as gnostic, but rather as heretics and I even
      saw a reference to the Cathars as "Manichees". So Gnosticism as a
      term hasn't been around as long as the texts that are dubbed gnostic
      have. But the belief systems go back much farther than 1966, and the
      congress you mentioned I seriously doubt had any 'gnostics' on the
      panel. And as far as it being for the intellectually superior part, I
      think many have the idea that gnostics, manicheans and the like had
      to be from higher social classes and such but I think that had to do
      more with the constant suppression of the truth by 'authorities' and
      sometimes the only way you could be in dissent of orthodoxy is when
      you can hide behind land and title. That, of course, didn't stop the
      Roman Church as it became a means to an end.
      I would therefore perhaps call gnosticism as classification rather
      than phenomenon, but that is me.
      I totally understand your dilemma in finding flesh and blood, living
      examples of an obscure and possibly extinct belief system. When I
      first began my path, and read the texts, I found out quickly that no
      one I could speak with knew anything about gnostics. So I took my
      search to cyberspace. I began to research more and discovered the
      Cathars (Albegesians) and I am still rabid in my consuption on that
      subject. (Now wether the Cathars had connections to the ancient
      Gnostics would be a subject of some debate, I'm sure.) Then I come to
      discover the "Neo-Gnostics" perhaps would be the best term to
      describe them. The Eglise Gnostique was established by Jules Doinel
      who had a mystical experience during a time of researching the
      Cathars in 1890 that he was to recreate, or create, as it were, the
      assembly that once held the gnostic beliefs. This is still a
      fundementally sound organization, as far as their belief system as
      far as I could tell, and this could be one connection to a stream
      that has survived despite the very successful efforts of the Roman
      Catholic Church. Did you know, btw, that the Inquision was
      established to deal with the Cathar 'problem?'
      There is also the Ecclesia Gnostica, but I won't go into a discourse
      on that yet as I believe there are those on this forum that could
      provide much better info than I. Both can be found via the Internet.
      I also enjoy discourse with the Sophian Fellowship, led by Tau
      Malachi, which is the Sophian Tradition that has some very deep
      roots, and I believe Tau Malachi to be a modern mystic. This is, of
      course, my own opinion. This group can also be found on the Net. And
      there is always the Rosecreutians and Knights Templar that can draw
      some lines to gnostics.
      I have never personally had the problems with the mythology and
      cosmolgy, it was actually the first thing that made spiritual sense
      to me and 'struck a chord' somewhere deep. (Perhaps I have the ears
      to hear?) A bit overwhelming, perhaps, but so is the universe if I
      attempt to conceive it in its entirity. It is a complex system that
      shows us simple truths. Like the universe itself. And there would be
      pettyness and drama in the stories, as it is an accurate description
      of the manifestations of the ignorance embodied in the Demiurge.
      Now when you use the word 'dogma'is it in the sense of having a
      belief system, or is it the sense of someone aggressively pushing
      thier views on another? If you mean that they were aggressive, I
      have found that if that were the case, perhaps they would have won at
      the Niocean Council and not those who later promoted orthodoxy. The
      Cathars were also never known to proselyse. Dogma does not florish
      in societies that value secret knowledge and initiations. The
      gnostic saying is "those who know don't tell, and those who tell
      don't know."
      I also don't think you will find the gnostics promoted guilt-quite
      the contrary, the 'Fall' as orthodoxy would show is not comprehended
      that way in a gnostic system. Adam was 'set up' in the first place,
      and if any guilt need be laid it would be laid on the Demiurge. So
      mankind in the gnostic sense would not be seen as
      having 'transgressed' into the realm of God. For one thing, the
      gnostics had many names, Monad, the Entirity, (I personally call it
      Ain Sof or the One) but they did not call what they considered worth
      worshipping as God. Unnameable, and if it had a name how could we
      pronounce it when we are corruptable, how could mouths and tounges of
      base matter give voice to the ineffiable? Just a thought.
      The pleroma was transgressed upon, the Sophia was transgressed upon,
      but the human species did not and has not transgressed. The
      spirutual pull you mentioned is partly due to the dualism in our
      nature, and what makes us able to achieve gnosis, whereas
      other 'animals'cannot. The very thing that is our weakness can also
      be out greatest strength.
      I doubt if the tensions between you and the ancients goes both
      ways.LOL
      Love and inner peas
      DarkChylde



      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "i_eat_pi_at_314"
      <i_eat_pi_at_314@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > The word "gnostic" is plagued with imprecision. The congress
      held
      > in Messina in 1966 defined "gnosis" as knowledge of the divine
      > mysteries reserved for an intellectual elite; whereas "gnosticism"
      is a
      > specific historical phenonenon. The problem, however is these
      > definitions are ad hoc and don't spring up organically. We're
      labeling
      > a group of people without understanding how they saw themselves. In
      > effect, by claiming to be a gnostic, I'm claiming that clothes
      tailor-
      > made to fit someone else will also fit me.
      > Well; in what sense then am I a gnostic? I've been reading
      about
      > the so-called Saphardic Jews living in the Iberian peninsula during
      the
      > 15th century. As the petty kingdoms of Spain began to unite, they
      also
      > put the squeeze on their Jewish populations. Jews were told to
      either
      > convert to Christianity or else get out. Those who did convert
      > eventually left anyway because the Inquisition never trusted their
      > sincerity.
      > Many of the "Christianized" Jews who immigrated from Spain and
      > Portugal ended up in Amsterdam. For the most part, they couldn't
      speak
      > Hebrew and had a skewed understanding of what it meant to be
      Jewish.
      > Essentually, they faced the same dilimma as I do: how does one
      practice
      > a religion without flesh-and-blood examples to go by? While the
      Jews of
      > Amsterdam were able to consult established cummunities elsewhere,
      such
      > as those in Vienna, the practical problem is similiar.
      > The Jews who wanted to repatriate with Eretz Israel of course
      had
      > baggage. There were theological as well as social barriers between
      them
      > and the established community of Judaism. The problem wasn't as
      acute
      > though as say, repenting Christians wanting to return to the fold.
      > Historically, Judaism is more tolerent of heterodoxy than is
      > Christianity.
      > The same is true of gnosticism. Although many gnostic teachers
      > were indeed dogmatic, their core beliefs are not. Ironically, the
      Jews
      > of Amsterdam regained their Jewish identity through the on-going
      > tensions with the larger community. Those "tensions" were, in
      effect a
      > dialogue. It's this paradigm which I claim allows me to
      unambigiously
      > claim to be a gnostic.
      > Many gnostic embellishments are alien to me; some are down-
      right
      > bizarre. Yet, although being alien they continue to speak, albeit
      in
      > strange accents. Frankly, I just don't get much of what they say.
      For
      > example: different systems describe the machinations of various
      angels
      > plotting to steal the purity of the supreme god. There's just so
      much
      > surreal and sometimes petty drama. While the specifics do seem
      > arbitrary, however the message itself is pretty clear. Creation,
      moved
      > by hubris aspires to be the creator. I also have stolen fire from
      the
      > gods; I warm myself with heat to which I have no right.
      > The ancient gnostics knew humanity had transgressed the realm
      of
      > God. At the same time, they also knew humanity was ineluctably
      drawn to
      > that realm. There's no clear line between guilt and entitlement.
      > Knowing that is what makes me a gnostic. The superficial tensions
      > between me and the ancient believers only make that knowledge more
      > trenchant. And, after all, isn't knowledge what gnosis is all about?
      >
      > Sincerely
      > Pi
      >
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