AAAAAHHHAaaah! That's better... now able to stretch my wings a bit.
Naasene here is one of the posts on the GnosticHuntersandGatherers Club you posted that I really liked:
--- In GnosticGathering@y..., naasene <no_reply@y...> wrote:
I had promised a post on the subject, then got destracted....
Many people who have heard the term "Gnostic" used in modern
Gnostic sources are very surprized to find out the things I'm
to outline. I have seen books by popular New Age authors that
the impression that Gnostics are some form of spiritual
individually roaming the countryside looking for inner peace.
one believes this is a good idea of how to live or a bad one, it
isn't an accurate picture where Gnostics are concerned.
always had a very specific method of learning and teaching, and
has some important formal elements.
First important point that is common to all forms of Gnosticism is
the tripartite nature of the human animal. Since the person is
divided by three, the method by which a person is thought to
also has three parts. Each one of those parts is geared towards
The first part of the person is the "hyle". The physical body
(world), the instincts, our animal nature, are what we are born
All animals are thought to exist at this level, as are many people.
At this stage of living, a person reacts to perception and causel
effects. They are lead by thier hearts alone, thier desires (which
includes the desire for peace and love etc... a good example of
can be found in Maslow's hierarchy of needs). Since we are all
into this level, childhood is seen as the process of escaping it.
Many however never seem to leave this level of comprehension.
manner for teaching some one at this level is literalization of the
mythological structure for the sake of moral obligation. In other
words, the fear of hell that modern protastantism is so well
for started in the Crhistian religion as the hylic (aka "choic")
section of the lower mystery. Just like with Santa or the tooth fiery
though, the literal beliefs are overthrown with spiritual maturity.
Practical magic, "name it and claim it" forms of Christianity, and
much of the more dogmatic religious beliefs that include praying
deity (any deity, including Jesus, angels, or the Virgin Mary) for
things like health, money, or the like would be at this level in the
That brings us to the next stage. When a person moves away
simple desires and into the mental realm, they were
called "psychics". This onviously doesn't mean ESP or the like,
simply the intellect and the will. The understanding that comes
this level is of analogy and lesser allagory (primary surface
meaning). That is to say "why" are there laws for cleanliness, for
how to treat your neighbors, etc.. It is this level that one comes to
explore thier purpose in the world, and the purpose of thier
This is what moste people today call "spirituality". The Catholic
chruch officially allows for allegorical interpretation even if most
of it's constituancy are literalists. That way it provides space for
it's more mystical members, like Francis of Assisi. The mystical
experience is the tail end of this level, and a movement into the
The Gnostic seeks to become "Pneumatic", or spirit driven. BTW,
spirit and soul are not the same thing in Gnostic parlence. The
is dealt with at the phsycic level, something all people have. Not
every one is thought to have a spirit since it is something you
to foster rather than simply being born with. Or to be more
there has long been a debate as to whether people can be born
thus be preordained to enlightnenment) a spirit or not, but most
forms of Gnosticism outline this as a process, not a
At the level of Pneumaticism, allegory takes on a new function, a
deeper function. It becomes a special language for dealing with
things that can be passed on in no other way. Awakening the
involves having already dealt with the heart and the mind, and
assimilating them into a specific context. The Gnostics (along
every other form of traditional western esotericism) believed this
happened through initiation. In fact, that is the meaning
of "initiation", to start something (which in this case was spiritual
So, the process was a system of lower and higher mysteries,
through initiatory practice. Gnostics did not believe that this
generally happened individually (though it could happen without
initiation, such occurences have been thought to be rare and
dangerous). The normal church that we now think of as
was just the lower mysteries to the Gnostics. Gnostics exsisted
within the church as a whole, and considered themselves to be
creators of the early church (something that has gained
support in recent years). Gnostics of old seemed to have been
surprised when the church termed them "heretics" and purged
of esoteric thought.
Anyways, that is a brief overview of how a Gnostic order would
by teaching morality, backed by a mythological structure. Upon a
greater maturity it would teach critical thinking methods which
be practiced on the aformentioned mythology (eventually
into question). It would give context to ritual, and place the
in a position of greater inner contemplation. Lastly it would take
those myths and turn them on thier head, creating a situation of
shock (even revulsion) and awe. It would break worldview in
way as to make a person ahve to re-evaluate even thier slightest
notions of truth, and thus they would gain a larger picture of truth
outside thier perception (trading subjective truth for objective you
Since these levels of initiation were partially dependend on the
element of surprise. And also since the higher forms of
been proven to have a negative effect on those who were not
them, this process was contained in a secretive structure.
could hear the hylic portion. Anyone who dleved could find out
the psychic portion (which is why the initial forms of these have
survived to this day), but one had to become an insider to get
of the deapest parts. The mysteries then worked on a similar
structure as modern Freemasons (only much deeper IMO, not to
Of course, this is a very simplified version. In it's simplicity it
isn't completely accurate, but surely gives you the basic idea.