Gnostic Doctrine

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

How to Become a Gnostic

How to Become a Gnostic

Gnosticism is an age old spiritual path focused upon Gnosis, which means individual direct knowledge of the divine. If you've seen The Matrix, then you've seen pieces of art that embody Gnostic themes. If you want to become a gnostic, then you have to start with the basics and work your way up to changing your life and spirituality.


Read, Contemplate, Read, Contemplate, and Read. Although Gnosticism embodies Gnosis which is divine knowledge rather than simple facts, being a Gnostic requires quite a bit of reading. Gnosticism arose in an ancient cultural matrix, involving a different world-view, and a different understanding of the practice of religion. At the bottom of this page there will be links to several excellent sources.

Find out if Gnostic views are for you. Although Gnostic myths are incredibly varied due to the very nature of the tradition, there are some key points that are common. Note, you don't have to accept all of these, but a majority of these represent traditional Gnostic thought, so it's a good idea to use these as a sort of starting point (taken from Stephan A. Hoeller's "Introduction to Gnosticism"):
There is an original and transcendental spiritual unity from which emanated a vast manifestation of pluralities.
The manifest universe of matter and mind was created not by the original spiritual unity, but by spiritual beings possessing inferior powers.
One of the objectives of these creators is the perpetual separation of humans from the unity (God).
The human being is a composite: the outer aspect is the handiwork of the inferior creatures, while the inner aspect is a fallen spark of the ultimate divine unity.
The sparks of transcendental holiness slumber in their material and mental prison, their self-awareness stupefied by the forces of materiality and the mind.
The slumbering sparks have not been abandoned by the ultimate unity; rather, a constant effort directed toward their awakening and liberation comes forth from this unity.
The awakening of the inmost divine essence in humans comes through salvific knowledge, called "gnosis".
Gnosis is not brought about by belief or by the performance of virtuous deeds or by obedience to commandments; these at best serve to prepare one for liberating knowledge.
Among those aiding the slumbering sparks, a particular position of honor and importance belongs to a feminine emanation of the unity, Sophia (Wisdom). She was involved in the creation of the world and ever since has remained the guide of her orphaned human children.
From the earliest times of history, messengers of Light have been sent forth from the ultimate unity for the purpose of advancing gnosis in the souls of humans.
The greatest of these messengers in our historical and geographical matrix was the descended Logos of God manifest in Jesus Christ.
Jesus exercised a twofold ministry: he was a teacher, imparting instruction concerning the way of gnosis; and he was a hierophant, imparting mysteries.
The mysteries imparted by Jesus (which are also known as sacraments) are mighty aids towards gnosis and have been entrusted by him to his apostles and their successors.
Through the spiritual practice of the mysteries (sacraments) and a relentless and uncompromising striving for gnosis, humans can steadily advance toward liberation from all confinement, material and otherwise. The ultimate objective of this process of liberation is the achievement of salvific knowledge and with it, freedom from embodied existence and return to the ultimate unity.

Spiritual Practice. Amassing facts is not enough, one must also practice to achieve gnosis:
Read Gnostic Scripture Gnostic scripture is a fairly wide category, and includes the Bible, Lost Gospels, Sethian literature, Valentinian literature, Early Syrian Christian literature, Hermetic literature, Mandaean literature, Manichaean literature, Cathar literature, Islamic mystical literature, Jewish mystical literature, and several more.
Pray often Prayer focuses the mind and also calls the attention of the divine unity which can impart grace for gnosis. Regular prayer is as vital for a Gnostic as meditation is for a Buddhist (in fact, meditation can be used in Gnosticism to great effect as well).
Practice and receive the sacraments These will be covered in the next major step.

Sacraments. Gnostic Christianity often uses the same seven sacraments used in the Orthodoxy, but with different liturgy and different applied meaning. These sacraments are: Baptism, Chrism (Confirmation), Holy Eucharist, Redemption, Bride-Chamber, Extreme Unction, and Healing. Redemption is considered the ultimate form of liberation and should not be undertaken by anyone wishing to incarnate again in a body. Bride-Chamber is a mystery that is usually conferred after death in the spiritual realm, however, it may take on some earthly form at a later time that God ordains. There are two lesser versions of these sacraments, and they may be taken as a form of preparation for these greater sacraments (Redemption and Bride-chamber). These are Penance and Matrimony (marriage). Unlike many churches, most Gnostic Churches allow anyone to partake of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist should be received often, and one should receive baptism and chrismation when one feels comfortable to do so. Note: You can contact a nearby Gnostic church for baptism and chrismation without being a member and travel there. These aren't rituals designed to make you a member of a physical church, but rather the body of Gnosis. The Eucharist can be performed solo and there are many ways of practicing it available on various websites and in several books.

Never stop practicing Gnosticism is a constant striving. You don't have to be a member of a church, or follow their liturgy to the word. You just have to understand the mysteries, perform them, pray often, and immerse yourself in writings that will assist you on your path to gnosis.

How to become a Christian according to the Gospel of Philip

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