Gnosis is a Greek word which means ‘insight’, an intuitive process of knowing oneself. And to know oneself, is to know human nature and human destiny.
All religious traditions acknowledge the world is imperfect. Few are able to account for all the pain and suffering that exists in our world.
Gnostics believe the world is flawed because it was created in a flawed manner. Gnostics believe there is a true, ultimate and transcendent God, who is beyond all created universes and never created anything. The basic gnostic myth refers to Aeons, intermediate deific beings who exist between the ultimate true God and ourselves. The Aeons and the true God comprise the realm of Pleroma (Fullness), the totality of divine powers.
Sophia (Wisdom) is one of the aeons who, from her own volition, emanated a flawed consciousness called the Demiurge. The Demiurge then created Earth and all living things which are also flawed. In effect, humanity is the product of a cosmic error!
The Demiurge was also the creator of the Archons or rulers to keep humanity in order.
Human nature mirrors the duality found in the world; consisting of a perishable physical component made by the false God, the Demiurge, and a fragment of the divine essence from the true God, referred to as the divine spark, or the I AM. The gnostic’s mission is to liberate that divine spark.
Human beings are often unaware of this divine spark within them. The Demiurge and his Archons are intent upon keeping men and women ignorant of their true nature and destiny. All our earthly attachments keep us enslaved to these lower cosmic rulers. Death releases the divine spark, but unless the individual has attained gnosis prior to death, they will reincarnate back into the physical world.
Fortunately, Messengers of Light, or Avatars, have been sent from the true God to assist us in our quest for gnosis. Jesus is considered the main saviour figure by gnostics.
In the gnostic texts Jesus speaks of illusion and enlightenment, not of sin and repentance. Instead of redeeming us from our sins, he comes as a guide to aid our spiritual understanding. When the individual attains enlightenment, Jesus is no longer their spiritual master – they become equal.
Gnosticism encourages us to become a ‘being in the world, but not of it’, a lack of egotism, and a respect for the freedom and dignity of all other beings.
In the fullness of time, with conscious effort, every spiritual being will be reunited with its higher self and be able to enter the Pleroma.
Most gnostic texts are written in mythical form to convey a deeper, underlying meaning. A myth is not only a story, it is a statement made in symbols. The language of the unconscious is symbolic. A symbol speaks directly to the soul, even when the mind does not understand. When a symbol touches the soul there is a change. Every myth takes its origin in inspiration, from the Latin inspirare, a message from the spirit, the breath of life. The spirit speaks from the cosmos, and gives us answers to the unanswered. Meeting this spirit fulfils a destiny way beyond our material world and these texts are trying to show us the way.
The gnostics believe Jesus only imparted advance teachings to the spiritual elite while withholding them from the uninitiated.
In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus said, “I disclose my mysteries to those who are worthy of my mysteries.”
In my next blog, I will be discussing The Secret Book of John, considered to be the most important and valued gnostic text from the Nag Hammadi Library.
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