- I've always wondered why some people choose to slap a nihilistic
label on people of a Gnostic persuasion. I'm not saying that a
nihilistic attitude might not be part of a process for some, but does
a "negative" worldview, or more precisely, a view recognizing the
imperfection or lack residing in this world, necessarily call for
futilitarianism? I think not.
A recent article in _Utne_ magazine has offered readers yet another
"How Optimistic Are You?"
Beliefnet offers another quiz about "How cynical are you?" that I
took just to check the results from the first one:
Well, I scored a "31" on the first one and a "4" on the second.
Apparently, I'm an optimist and my cynicism level is very low. I've
certainly never thought of myself as a Pollyanna, but then being
optimistic doesn't have to mean blindly clueless. This world may be
imperfect; I have my temporary funks,... but I'll take charge of my
outlook, thank you, and not leave it to archonic influences to
permanently determine that for me.
I'm reminded of Logion 42 from _The Gospel of Thomas_, "Jesus
said, `Be passersby.'"
- Jana, Mike is in fact clergy in the EG, and we value his presence. As
Cari states, the EG is a bit of a modern reworking of the
Valentinians... with a slight Jungian slant. So maybe I could make
something a bit more clear about the historic Valentinians (and this
is outside Mike's answers concerning his own church).
The Valentinians were part of early Catholic/Orthodox church (before
the schism between the two). Valentinians existed within that
Catholic church but offered a continued "initiation" beyond
that "orthodox" teaching. In other words, there were a
true "esoteric" order that existed within an exoteric foundation.
This should answer the question you had concerning bishops and
You have to understand, even though it has been popular for modern
sensationalist authors to build some kind of a fight between
Gnosticism and religious orders, the fact is historically this is not
something that happened until later.
There were also other Gnostic groups that were NOT part of the
Catholic (or even "Christian") outlines. For instance, Sethians were
probably not originally Christian. Some scholors believe that John
the Baptist was actually Sethian, but we can't know for sure
(however, this could imply something about the teachings of Jesus if
it is true... and if Jesus even ever historically existed. Gnosticism
is not dependant on an actual historical Jesus though).
However, let me point out to you that Gnostics were historically
quite structured. In spite of the need by some New Age authors to
make Gnostics some kind of spiritual anarchists, in fact these orders
were initatory, and that means there was also a destinction made
between levels of initation. One of the attacks that we see in the
anti-Gnostic authors of the time was that Gnostics are a bit too
elitist. I don't think that is completely true either, but that is
not to say it is completely false.
As we read historical Gnostic texts, such as those found in the Nag
Hammadi library, we will see mention of those levels of initiation.
If there are levels, there is structure... they simply go hand in
Ok, finally, your question in this last post... do Gnostics pray for
This is an arguement that I don't think can be completely resolved.
Part of that may be in that it depends on the sect. Truth is, if you
really look through the Gnostic texts, you would be hard pressed to
find an example. On the other hand, the people who wrote against
Gnostics accuse them of making love potions, stomach ointments, and
spells (spells are simply prayers) etc.. If you think about it, it
does not seem logical that a Gnostic would do such things, since some
of the things mentioned would really be against Gnostic beliefs.
So, you already conceded that Gnostics probably would not pray to the
first father (since it does not think or hear or consider anything
from the field of time... including prayers), so then who would a
Gnostic pray too? The Second father? The Sophia? The Logos? It
depends on whether you take these to be literal beings... otherwise
you are praying to aspects of yourself that connect you to the second
father. I am trying to pooint out that the question you ask is not
cut and dry, balck vs white, but that it also may entirely depend on
the practice of the sect invloved. Many Gnostics probably don't
believe in prayer, but some may.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
> > > I guess you could call us neo-Valenitnians. I am the senior
> > of
> > > the Ecclesia Gnostica, which along with the Gnostic Society, is
> > > parent body of http://www.gnosis.org/. My Bishop is Stephan
> > Höeller,
> > > who has written a number of books on Gnosticism.
> Mike, I had even told my husband that I thought you were a priest.
> You have that patient air about you! I read about the sacraments
> the site, but I need to look at them again. Are they necessary to
> achieve gnosis or salvation?
> Cari, Mike, pmcv, anyone,
> Do gnostics believe that any being (I understand the First Father
> does not) intervenes on our behalf? For instance, if one wanted to
> pray for another's protection or health?