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The Second Treatise of the Great Seth
Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:16 pm
The Second Treatise of the Great Seth is a delightful ancient sacred text of Gnosticism, one that comes from one of the early traditions that held a severly dualistic world-view at its core, as did many of the ancient Gnostic traditions. The use of a dualistic view in these schools was as a vehicle of transcendence, and much like methods in non-dualistic schools most likely held the aim of a non-dual gnostic awareness - the distinction in the view of schools simply representing a difference in method of the spiritual life and practice.
I recall when I first read and early translation of this sacred text many years ago - what most stood out to me was that tale of the baptism and Divine incarnation; hence the story of Christ entering in. It is written in the Treatise: "I visited a bodily dwelling. I cast out the one who was in it first, and I went in." The text continues, "And I was the one who was in the image, not resembling him who was in the body first. For he was an earthly man, but I, I am from above the heavens." Obviously this version of the baptism and Divine incarnation holds many implications - it clearly seems to support a strongly dualistic world-view. Yet, all Gnostic texts and teachings reflect the gnosis of the initiates of a given school; hence they tend to reflect actual spiritual or mystical experiences and the Truth and Light as understood from those experiences. What has struck me over the years is how this directly reflects the experience of the inner and secret baptism, especially the "secret." This became even more profoundly true following a significant experience with the baptism some ten or so years ago.
Now, as we know, the outer baptism is symbolic and represents our taking up the spiritual life and practice of the Gospel - unless there is an experience of the inner baptism, it is akin to an emtpy shell. The inner baptism is the experience of the reception of Light from above and the awakening of the Light-presence in us - this also leads to the awkening of the Serpent Power that must be sublimmated and redeemed. The secret baptism is the experience that follows from the inner baptism - the fruition of the process, as it were, in which one experiences the influx of the supernal or Messianic consciousness. On an experiential level this latter baptism is akin to the description given in The Second Treatise of the Great Seth, for there is a radical transformation in consciousness and it is as though the Supernal Light-presence enters in and tkes up one's life; hence as though, inwardly, one is not at all the same person. What the sacred text implies is a certain "level" of initiation that would appear to have been known to initiates of this early Gnostic Christian school.
In Kabbalisitc terms what this description suggests is the experience of the embodiment of one's holy Neshamah - the heavenly or supernal soul, and the power of the Hayyah and Yechidah that is in it. It also may allude to the phenomenon known as ivur, in which it is said that it is possible for a great soul of Light to enter and merges with the soul of a righteous individual. Thus, similar ideas to what appears in the Second Treatise of the Great Seth also occur in the holy Kabbalah. Obviously this proves a very interesting contemplation - it is certianly one that captures my imagination!
Now in behind all of this there is a very potent spiritual practice, for there is a way to open oneself to a Greater Light-presence and to offer oneself up so that the Greater Light-presence might take up one's personality and life-display. Curiously enough it is hidden in the first action of faith when one sets oneself on the path - when one invites and welcomes the Anointed and Mother Spirit into oneself and one's life. Potentially, this alone could bring about a thunderbolt enlightenment. In fact, all spiritual practices of the Tradition aim at just such an advent of Christ consciousness in us, though typically speaking there is something of a process along the way preparing the vehicle for the influx of Supernal Light.
What is the virtue of the methods in a more dualistic world-view among many of the Gnostic schools, such as the Cathari? Quite simply, it is enacting a new self-identification with the person of Light in oneself and shedding the grasping at name and form through more radical means, the intention of which is seeking this thunderbolt of Divine illumination.
What is so striking in the modern revival of interest in Gnosticism is how much misunderstanding there is about Gnostics and the purpose of their schools of thought. Many people approach these schools of thought as yet another "religion" one converts to and then espouses, but do not understand that these schools represent teachings and practice to facilitate the enlightenment experience; hence True Gnosis. Thus, reading the ancient texts some very strange ideas emerge, and often folks fall into debating oppinions about the meaning of the sacred texts completely apart from the self-realization of which the sacred texts are actually speaking. However, Gnostics assume that initiates will read their texts and hear their teachings from the perspective of the insider (or at least the perspective of one seeking to become an insider), which is to say from the perspective of the Gnostic experience itself - the experience of the Gnostic and Light-transmission. In other words, how does a sacred text reflect the self-realization process unfolding in one's own experience and facilitate one's ability to become more conscious of that experience and capable of communicating it to oneself and others? This is how Gnostics approach Scriptures - it is in this sense that we wish to study and contemplate Gnostic Scriptures, and in this way the Scriptures of various schools will prove useful to us, even if they speak a very different vision than that of our own tradition.
Blesings & shalom!
Posted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 6:40 am
This post is quite illuminating and thought-provoking. It seems many consider gnosticism as a kind of spiritual smorgasbord, as if one can pick and choose which delights to put on one's plate, instead of recognizing that each school and sect has and is its own method
that brings about this thunderbolt enlightenment.
The current interest in a gnostic revival has been generated in large part by scholarly translations and interpretations of various teachings. This has led to much confusion; gnostics can't be easily lumped together into one belief system (ie. religion), and the inability to reconcile the seeming contradiction between dualism and non-dual gnostic awareness is but one example of this. Unless we recognize that various schools of gnosticism represent various methods
, and fully embrace and practice one method, how can we call ourselves gnostic? And how can we hope to bring about this thunderbolt illumination?
I'm going to stand in the storm holding up my Sophian lightning rod.
Posted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:20 am
Greetings Rebekah, and all!
I do not know that it is inappropriate to be rooted in one Gnostic tradition and then to draw from another, but having a strong root and foundation in one integral school of thought is certainly skillful means if one's aim is an actual self-realization in Christ consciousness. Likewise, as I mention, it seems essential that one understands that the world-view, cosmology and such are not simple a doctrine to be accepted, but represent a method of attainment and also a communication of the nature of the attainment. This aspect of the discussion, of course, is the outermost, more useful is the contemplation of the wisdom that may be drawn from this or other sacred Gnostic texts. In terms of The Second Treatise of the Great Seth we can take this consideration of the baptism a bit further, contemplating what the rest of the Gnostic Gospel has to say. As we do we can bear in mind that in early Christianity from church to church the canon was different, as from church to church different Scriptures were held in sacred trust.
Previously I mentioned that the dualistic world-view could be a vehicle for the ultimate realization of the non-dual gnostic awareness; hence the supernal or Messianic consciousness. This gospel reveals how that might be possible, extending its thought from the soul-shifting baptism. As we read the gospel further we find the demiurge, Yaldabaot, associated completely with Yahweh, to include the traditional heavens and orders of angels. There is a specific message in this, as well as a specific vision held in spiritual practice - a message we hear echoed in the Sophian Tradition, though put in a different way. Essentially, it says that even the highest heaven is not enlightenment and liberation, and suggests that upon death, when the soul departs the body, one ought neither accept heaven or hell as inherently "real," but seek to recognize one's innate unity with the True Light. Indeed! The Supernal Abode lies beyond the heavens and in the supernal or Messianic consciousness one enters into the Supernal Abode, which represents an experience of unification with God and Godhead - this is the true attainment of enlightenment and liberation. Of course, in order to accomplish this one must let go of all creatures, earthly and heavenly, and one must brings one's consciousness into the womb of cessation. (This is key to the secret baptism as described as well!) This provides a way in the spiritual life and practice that aims at this supernal self-realization.
It is a powerful spiritual practice to walk in the world as one who is not of this world, but one who is of the spiritual elect - assuming one is dissolving the egoistic self and practicing a way of self-transcendence. Indeed! The practice here is to envision an entirely new person in Christ taking up one's personality and life; hence walking as that person of Light. Only in this school a sever world-view is utilized to support the practitioner, whereas, generally speaking, a more gentle view is used by most Sophians.
I find the description of the entrance of the supernal Light-presence most fascinating in connection with my own experience ten or so years ago, for this gospel says that the entrance of the supernal Light-presence causes a great disturbance in the upper and lower realms, and in the earthly sphere. That is certainly what I have witness regarding the supernal Light-presence and its affect/effects on most beings. It is distinctly akin to an "alien presence" in relationship to the present human condition and the play of spiritual forces within and behind it - thus the gospel is true to an actual experience of Supernal Gnosis. Quite clearly, there are very few who seek or desire the Supernal Light in this world as yet - most grasp at the reflected light or at the shadows and shades. It is much like what is written concerning the Judgment in the Gospel of St. John, the third chapter. The exact tale of the experiential level of the supernal Light-presence is striking in The Second Treatise of the Great Seth. It would seem that whoever wrote it experienced the Supernal Gnosis. It is a Gnostic jewel, though radical in its style of communication.
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 1:50 pm
Greetings Malachi and Rebekah!
"I visited a bodily dwelling. I cast out the one who was in it first, and I went in. ... And I was the one who was in the image, not resembling him who was in the body first. For he was an earthly man, but I, I am from above the heavens."
What's really striking about this to me is that both the individual awareness and personality display are completely new. I'd expect that a personal awareness, or witness, would be consistent, even with a changing of the dominant presence within. That is, I would expect that one might be aware of an emerging presence; even if it came as a lightning bolt, the silent witness would be the observer. In this dialogue, even the observer is completely alien to the host.
Do you think initiates of this gnostic tradition so radically "lost" themselves to a new presence? (or perhaps I should use the present tense "lose," since this linneage may still exist.) Or could the "earthly man" reassert his will, if he wanted? Or did that will or personality display cease to exist? Very curious -- and startling! We could even call it troubling!
Blessings & Shalom!
Diversity of Experience
Posted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 3:11 pm
I do not know that a fixed rule can be applied to the enlightenment experience - it seems to be unique in the experience of each individual. Here, it would seem, we are being told of a more radical experience - a more radical possibility.
This is all very difficult to speak about - all our words are extremely deceptive; falsehood mixed in with the truth. Perhaps we can say this: It is entirely possible for one to be fully human and fully divine, and once this state of being dawns one is no longer an earthly person - no longer a child of the demiurge. But what does that mean?
Yeshua only spoke to very close disciples about this, which suggests it is a very private conversation, and one that requires we draw very close to one who embodies this Divine illumination in order for the communication to occur. It would seems the communication must occur on a more experiential level - something mind to mind and heart to heart, as it were.
We can say this, however: There definitely is a living lineage (or lineages) of this thunderbolt enlightenment, and there are individuals who embody something of this Divine illumination. I'd dare say it could even transpire independent of lineage - the Anointed and Holy Spirit are quite free to move as they please.
Perhaps the earthly person becomes as a mask consciously worn by those who are taken up in this thunderbolt enlightenment...
Blessings & shalom!
re: diversity of experience
Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 7:51 pm
This is perhaps as good a topic as any for my first post.
The aforementioned quote from The Second Treatise of the Great Seth is indeed radical, and serves as a prime example of Gnostic sayings which the early Church Fathers viewed as heretical. In fact, this particular saying would probably sound like a certifiable case of demonic possesion to the modern-day exoteric Christian!
And yet, this quote, like so many of the so-called heretic writings of the Gnostic texts, actually sheds much Light upon the accepted Gospels of the New Testament. In this case I'm thinking of John 3:3 where Yeshua tells us: "Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God".
Rather than the lip service given to this passage by "fundamentalists", to truly be born again would speak of a certain death to a non-bodily aspect of the individual prior to being reborn. Thus, that which is perishable and non-eternal within a body would be replaced by that which is not perishable and eternal, the born Nephesh being functionally replaced by the bornless Neschamah, as suggested by Tau Malachi.
This would be the quintessential experience sought after by any Christian, Gnostic or otherwise. Baptism by water is obviously analogous to the birth experience of the infant, who, in most cases anyway, comes into this world devoid of memory and experience. Such a clearing of the slate would seem to be necessary, as Yeshua tells us in Luke 5:36,37,38 and 39: ""No man putteth a piece of new garment upon an old: if otherwise, then both the old and new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled and the bottles perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightaway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better."
Thus the necessity of reenacting a psychodrama of death and rebirth in the Initiation rites of so many Mystery Traditions. As the life of Yeshua is as a Pageant showing us the Way back unto the Light, so it should be that His Initiation Rite of Baptism by John should do no less than this. And it seems to me that this is wherefore Yeshua speaks. As radical as it may sound at first hearing, if there is are any fixed rules, this is one of them for Christians, no matter what Tradition and lineage.
And so I would have to agree that indeed, the body is as a mask, a necessary vehicle for the Comings and Goings of the Neschamah. And even though it is an ignorant creature of the demiurge Yaldabaoth, the body is the perfect servant for the Acts of the Anointed One who continues the Great Work in this earthly realm.
Now, it may appear just a mite too radical that the person who existed before baptism be cast out completely, especially to those of us who yet cling to that personality, how can it be any other way? As long as that which clings to the ego and experience remains, there would always be a division within, and as Yeshua tells us in Luke 16:13: "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
In any case, one who undergoes such a radical metennoia would be as a dead man walking, and would surely appear as one possessed and/or deranged by those who knew the person before. Then again, one might suspect that the Neschamah is a darned good actor behind that mask!
Blessings and Shalom!
(otherwise known by his screen name
The Threefold Body & the Anointed One
Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:25 am
I enjoyed reading your post. It invokes a bit more contemplation of this baptism, this spiritual transformation.
First, a teaching from the Gospel of Philip comes to mind that says one must experience the resurrection before they are able to "die." Of course, this is the reverse of what is typically thought - typically one would think one dies and then is resurrected. Obviously the meaning of "death" in this context is different than our ordinary use of the word - it is the cessation of the soul's bondage to the dominion of the demiurgos and the gilgulim - cessation from the cycles of transmigration. "Resurrection" thus applies to an full awakening of energy - the Serpent Power, both the descending and ascending force, and "death" would indicate the cessation of that fiery intelligence, which brings about the dawn of the Supernal or Messianic Consciousness. In this we gain insight into the inner and secret dimension of the baptism, for the awakening of the energy is the inner baptism and its cessation and dawn of Supernal or Messianic Consciousness is the secret baptism, of which the outer baptism is a talismanic action.
Now what is interesting about this is that the inner baptism can be mistaken for the secret baptism, so that experiencing the awakening of the energy individuals might assume that it is the frution of the process when, in fact, it is not. Essentially, a full and complete cessation is not possible until this energy is awakened, but the awakening of this energy itself is not the fruition of enlightenment and liberation - rather it is a transitional phase, as it were, in between.
The spiritual life and practice constitute the outer baptism, which creates the necessary conditions for Divine Grace to awaken the Serpent Power in us. The uplifting of this Serpent Power, in turn, seems to become like an invocation for the descent of the Supernal Light-presence; hence the Light-force that transforms all levels of consciousness into the image and likeness of Itself. It seems that this threefold baptism could happen all at once, or at least in a very brief span of time, or that it could happen in stages over a longer period of time. No doubt, however, the culminating experience is a radical transformation in consciousness - such a person has become more than human, and yet is truly human, having actualized the human potential as the image and likeness of Divine Being.
It seems that any way we speak of this it is a mix of truth and falsehood - for the experience of a removal of the former person bears a certain degree of truth, and yet is more dualistic in tone than the nature of the experience. It might be truer to say that the earthly person is transformed into the image and likeness of the heavenly person - the Nefesh is transformed into the image and likeness of the Neshamah. Yet, in effect, in the it is as though one person is "booted out" while another "enters in" - for the one who 'Remembers' (Zakor, in Hebrew) is a very different person, an authentic individual.
The nature of this transformation is found in the root of the word Zakor, Zak, which means pure, transparent or innocent. It reminds of the purpose of the outer baptism of water, which is a rite of purification. And it reminds of the image of water itself, which is clear or transparent. The idea of transparency also points directly to cessation, for in cessation one becomes transparent, thus the Supernal Light naturally and spontaneously shines through oneself.
If we contemplate the teachings on the threefold body of Melchizedek and threefold sanctuary we find that this idea of a threefold baptism directly corresponds - hence those teachings are a way of contemplating the threefold baptism. If we include the contemplation of the teachings on the threefold body, it becomes a question whether or not even the body remains the same - the story of the transfiguration and other events recorded in various sacred scriptures of the Christian stream also invoke this question.
Now this advent of the Anointed One, the Supernal Light-presence, proves very interesting, for this Light-presence is one and the same in all who embody it, yet at the same time it is unique in each and every manifestation. In any apostle of the Light we encounter the Light-presence of all apostles of the past, present and future, and at the same time we encounter a unique individual emanation of the Supernal Light - this reflects the non-dual nature of the Supernal or Messianic Consciousness; something akin to a Quantum Consciousness in the experience, oneness and multiplicity, the One and Many.
If we ask why many individuals, as in the case of ordinary Christians, might shy away from the consideration of the possibility of a greater experience of transformation, not only does it seems to me an issue of grasping at name and form, but also the innate insecurity and self-doubt that comes with self-grasping. Many individuals doubt it is possible for them, or feel as though they are not "good enough" or are in some way "unworthy." If there are "wiles of the devil," surely it is this, which is also the cause of those who claim premature attainment, defending insecurity or the delusion of lack with arrogance and pride.
In speaking of this experience it can sound so static or fixed, yet it is not - one certainly does not walk around thinking one possess the Divine illumination. After all, the sun does not need to think of itself as a luminous and heavenly body to shine, for it is just its nature to shine. And so it is with the embodiment of the heavenly person - the person of the Supernal Light-presence.
This is the extension of the contemplation that emerged this morning...
Blessings & shalom!
re: the threefold body and the anointed one
Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:54 pm
Greetings Tau Malachi!
"...the extension of the contemplation..." What a wonderful way to express it!
And what an extension. The threefold nature of baptism you describe aligns perfectly with the threefold (or tripartite as I often prefer) nature of man in Nephesch, Ruach and Neschamah. I have yet to investigate the threefold nature of Melchezedik in relation to these levels of baptism, however. So much to do, so much to study! That is what is so wonderful about the Gnostic texts, Jewish Psuedepigrapha and the Christian Apocrypha - they provide such a huge corpus for the mind to fill itself with! Mine seems like a bottomless abyss at times...
And so your extension fuels my reciprocal contemplation and extension:
Tau Malachi, the term "ordinary Christian" you used is particularly poignant here, at least in regards to those whose earnest aspirations are so likely to fall on barren ground. I perhaps don't need to quote Yeshua's parables of the sower here. It seems such a waste, on so many levels, that the exoteric Church has had so many forthright and inspired individuals whose potential for receiving the Light has been so tragically aborted by the fear-based strictures of the early Church Fathers. Even though the inner and secret baptisms are what their Spirit truly seeks, in Truth what every true Christian seeks, the likelihood of them ever overcoming their Nephesh fear, instilled in them by the very Church they cleave unto, remains severely diminished. And so the talismanic baptism is all they ever know. One must wonder at how it would have been had Valentinus been elected Bishop to Rome way back when...
After all, if those of us who have the ears to hear and eyes to see, and those of us who have the great fortune to have found themselves drawn unto the Presence of a Master as we collected here have, yet find it a challenge to hearken to the wise words and direction of the Master, what then of those spirits whose karmic place is not to be so blessed (at least not yet anyway). Speaking for myself, I am so often dismayed by my own self-grasping and self-doubt given the nearly endless opportunities I have to conquer them every day! And yet this dismay turns into hope in the simple fact that I have at least been given the tools and methods by which I might achieve the awareness to recognise them for what they are - delusion. I can truly Understand why it has been said that it takes so many lifetimes for one to attain to the Supernal Light! I would have to concur that, for myself, the inner baptism, the awakening to the fact that I was asleep, was so cathartic it could have easily mistaken it for enlightenment or the secret baptism itself. But alas, my Spirit Knows that the secret baptism remains yet veiled for this seeker by his own darkness. As the writer Truman Capote once wrote, "When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and that whip is intended entirely for self flagellation!"
Tau Malachi, something else you wrote in your post invokes a realization I had many years ago while contemplating the Otz Chiim. You wrote: "The uplifting of this Serpent Power, in turn, seems to become like an invocation for the descent of the Supernal Light-presence..." The image I had then was that as the Serpent rises so does the Dove descend, in accordance with the Hermetic axiom "As above, so below". The consciousness calls down the Light just as the Light draws up the consciousness (up and down being relative of course). They become mutual and reciprocal. As the Serpent traverses the Paths upward below Tiphareth, so the the Dove descends upon those Paths above it. Would this meeting place in Tiphareth be the Bridal Chamber spoken of in Gnostic texts? And would this meeting result in the secret baptism?
As to the "resurrection first, then death" teaching of St. Philip you mentioned in the beginning of your post, are you suggesting then that the inner baptism may correspond to the resurrection, while the secret baptism corresponds to death? That would certainly mirror the ideas in the previous posts.
While each individual's Way unto the Supernal Light is indeed unique to each individual being according to the Way of the Spirit, there is an Abstract Core upon which these Spiritual experiences accrete which remains constant. It has been said that the closer we get to Truth, the more paradoxes arise - well, I must be getting closer, because there are certainly plenty of paradoxes in Gnostic writing, especially in the parables attributed to Yeshua!
There is an old teaching I was given once about the Knocking of the Spirit. The Spirit Knocks at the Doors of our perception, with subtle signs, synchronicities, dreams, omens. And it tries to find a way through the darkness of the individuals it seeks to arouse, and it tailor makes these Knockings for each individual, sometimes going so far as to shake the sleeper violently in an attempt to get their attention (as was in my case). Unfortunately, in some cases, the darkness is so thick, and the ignorance of the individual is so complete, that the Spirit simply decides that no one is home, gives up, and goes away. I'd like to think of the methods offered here by the Sophian Fellowship as special tools designed by the Spirit to thin out the darkness just enough for the seeker to hear its Knockings, and awaken unto the possibility of attaining to the Supernal Light, here and now as we live and breathe!
Blessings and Shalom!
The Dove & Resurrection
Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:23 am
Greetings Shane and everyone!
Blessings in the Light of the Anointed.
Indeed, we can carry this contemplation further and perhaps gain deeper insight.
First, in terms of the ordinary Christian we must bear in mind that it is not only the outer and unspiritual church that may pose an obstruction but also the state of the soul - the karmic conditioning, as it were, and an immaturity in its development and evolution. In the present humanity there are the bestial or material people, the faithful or psychic and the spiritual elect, which are often called the "three races." The bestial or material human cannot experience the Light from above, for the necessary development and evolution of the soul-being has not occurred as yet, likewise the karmic conditioning of the soul prevents it. The faithful may or may not be able to actually receive the Light from above, for they are in an evolutionary phase in between the material and spiritual humanity and could go either way - this is the realm of the ordinary Christian and peoples of exoteric faith. The spiritual, however, will experience something of the awakening inspite of themselves, as it were, though whether or not the spiritual human brings the awakening to its fruition depends on the degree to which they surrender themselves to the Anointed and Holy Spirit - hence the degree to which they are willing to the divine labor. In other words, in the present humanity there are many different stages of the soul's evolution and it is those in the latter stages that Gnostic apostles seek in the Spirit for sake of the Gnostic and Light-transmission or harvest of souls - all in due season, as it has been said.
Some among the faithful may be taken up in the stream of the Light-transmission and through prolonged exposure may experience the inner baptism to be counted among the spiritual elect; yet, even with exposure others cannot be taken up in the stream of the Light-transmission in this incarnation, though their exposure may serve to form a positive karmic link that will play out in a future incarnation.
This adds another dimension to the contemplation of the three aspects of the soul and the threefold nature of the baptism - for each phase of the baptism corresponds to the actualization of a different part of the soul. Thus, the outer baptism is the generation of Nefesh Elokit, the inner baptism is the generation of the upper Ruach and the secret baptism is the generation of the holy Neshamah, in which is the Hayyah and Yechidah. These aspects of the soul of light also correspond with the three races: Cain, Abel and Seth, respectively, according to the Tradition.
It seems with the outer baptism, if faith-wisdom is present, the soul becomes linked to the resurrection through grace, though it may be that the link is not actualized in this life or the immedeate afterlife experience. However, to whatever degree the inner baptism might occur one has experienced something of the resurrection - for this Gnostic and Light-transmission flows from the Risen Savior, and in terms of the inner baptism we are speaking of the Gnostic and Light-transmission. The fruition of the inner baptism comes with power - distinct wonder-working power; hence the ordeal of power associated with the greater adept in the Rosicrucian grades of initiation. In this sense we may speak of three phases of the inner baptism which span the grades associated with Netzach, Tiferet and Gevurah. When the most traditional form of the Eightfold Initiation is placed on the Tree of Life Glyph, resurrection corresponds to Gevurah. Just as the fruition of the inner baptism comes with power, so also one becomes fully established in the resurrection - the cessation that follows serving to opening the way for the ascension and enthronement.
What is the resurrection? It is the development of consciousness beyond the body, which must become a continuity of self-awareness throughout all states of consciousness, whether waking consciousness, dream and sleep or that which is called "death" and the afterlife states. The key in this shift is the cessation through which the bornless nature - the Clear Light, is realized.
We may also say that the inner baptism corresponds to the transfiguration and the secret baptism to the crucifixion, understanding that the transfiguration and resurrection are intimately connected.
The correspondence you mention of the Serpent and Dove seem quite correct to a point, for the Light that comes from above initially is not the Supernal Light, but rather it is the descending force from the top of the head, which awakens the Serpent Power (and hopefully guides the ascent of the Serpent.) When this descending force and ascending force mingle and are joined, then one experiences the "Father in the form of the Dove," as the Pistis Sophia says; hence the influx of Supernal Light which is called the "descent of the Dove." The dove is a symbol of the Great Mother - Primordial Wisdom (Clear Light Nature), and it is a symbol of peace or repose, and thus alludes to the mystery of the bridal chamber. We may say that on an energy level the union of the two forces, the Light from above and Fire Snake, is an aspect of the bridal chamber - though there may be other aspects to this mystery of hieros gamos, the sacred marriage. However, in terms of the individual process of self-realization in Supernal or Messianic Consciousness, primarily we would be speaking of the union of these two forces, which brings about the descend of the Holy Dove. (Here we may note that Yeshua and the Magdalene are considered personifications of these two forces on an inner level by Sophian initiates.)
In this process we discover that there is light and there is Light; the light which is "seen" is not the Light, for how can seeing "see" itself, or how is the Clear Light beheld as though "some thing" to be seen? We might say that the light that is seen is actually the glory of the True Light, quite wonderful and powerful, yet still not the Essence of Light, the nature of which is Ain, "No-Thingness."
Now we are drawing near to the "secret" of emanation and the appearance of the Risen Savior, and the mystery of the ascension and enthronement. It would seems that the bridal chamber and enthronement point to the same supreme mystery - this repose of the Son in the Father, which transpires in the union of the Holy Bride and Bridegroom, the Great Mother being the sacred space of the bridal chamber.
Here we can say one more thing - the two substances of the wedding feast or Holy Eucharist may represent these two forces, the consumption of both symbolically representing the union of the twin forces. This, of course, gives us another way to meditate upon the words of the Perfect Master - "Do this in Remembrance of me."
This seems enough for the moment...
Blessings & shalom!
re: the dove and resurrection
Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 9:57 am
Greetings Tau Malachi and all!
These past posts have been most enlightening indeed.
I had always "known" that each individual stands upon a "lower" or "higher" rung upon the ladder of evolving consciousness and spirit - said position governed by the the karmic conditioning of that particular monad. The concept of "three races", Bestial, Faithful and Spiritual, effectively describes the most critical positions upon that ladder - for us earthbound soul-beings at any rate.
After some contemplation of the past few posts, I realized that we must always bear in mind that there are many individuals associated with the exoteric Christian churches who are of the Spiritual Elect level; who have, through their own divine labor, surrendered themselves to the Anointed and Holy Spirit. Mother Teresa is one who comes to mind in this regard. Perhaps then the exoteric Christian churches actually pose no obstacle at all to the Spiritual Elect, and in truth they serve an integral role in the necessary karmic conditioning required by the others for their sojourney this time around the wheel. Hmmm... thus all is as it should be according to law of karma.
The image of an infinite ladder of evolving consciousness upon which all soul-beings find themselves can be a great tool for cultivating love and compassion as well as humility - for as surely as there are those below us upon that ladder, there will also just as surely be those above us, no matter how high upon it we may perceive ourselves to be.
Union of the Outer, Inner & Secret
Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:55 pm
Shane, you bring up a very important point - a person in the outer church can very well be among the spiritual elect, just as peoples of other wisdom traditions can be of the spiritual elect; equally, in the midst of a revival of interest in Gnosticism there may be many who call themselves "Gnostic" and claim to be of the "interior church" who, in fact, are not among the spiritual elect, just as there may be many who know a lot of esoteric language but have no real illumination. Truly, it is all a matter of the development and evolution of the soul-being and the degree to which we bring forth the Light that is within us; hence the degree to which we embody the Light-indweller.
Appearances can be sorely deceiving and the Light-presence is not bound by appearances - the Anointed and Holy Spirit go where they will, to whom they will, at any time they will; Divine Grace knows no boundaries.
The teachings on a divine election cannot be allowed to become elitism, for that is not their meaning; if anything, spiritual peoples are "elder" siblings and are responsible for the well-being and welfare of their "younger" siblings. As Yeshua teaches us, one who is "great" in the kingdom of God is the "least of all," the servant of all.
Your point is very important for another reason, too, for it does not seems that we can separate the outer teachings of the Gospel from the inner and secret teachings, but rather it seems that we must understand the outer teachings in the context of the inner and secret teachings. We can say this: the outer teachings of the Gospel are known to be true in the experience of the Gnostic and Light-transmission, though, indeed, they are understood in a new context when one experiences the Divine Reality directly. Likewise, if one experiences the dawn of supernal or Messianic consciousness, one experiences the sacred events depicted by the gospels on an inner and spiritual level - the Gospel of Christ transpires in one's own experience.
The Gnostic and Light-transmission and the experience of Messianic consciousness are certainly not confined to Gnostic circles - the interior church is present with anyone who is taken up by the Anointed and Mother Spirit and joined to the mystical body of the Risen Christ. (Light-bearers can be found in all manner of places and in all manner of circumstances.)
Indeed - enlightenment is not a fixed or static state, and reality is certainly not as linear as it seems. Though we may speak of the potential attainment of supernal or Messianic consciousness, it is just the beginning of a new cycle in the evolution of the soul-being; a journey into the One-Without-End. In relationship to the present human condition it appears as a lofty peak - just as Lord Yeshua himself does, yet he said to his disciples: "You will do greater things..."
What is interesting is that radical leaps in the evolution of the soul or consciousness are possible - thus the idea of a grade to grade attainment, as though climbing a ladder, can be misleading, at least in part. On one hand, if a thunderbolt enlightenment is possible, grasping at a grade to grade progression could become an obstruction; yet, on the other hand, until one is thunder-struck seeking to go from grade to grade is a very sound idea.
Perhaps for the sake of our contemplation we may say: The Path is the Attainment we seek; there is no Goal but the Path. In this way, whether gradual or sudden, Divine illumination is simply dawning all the while and there is no difference. In this context perhaps we can meditate upon the words of the Lord: "The first shall be the last, and the last shall be the first." To this we may add what the Lord say in Revelation: "I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005 3:32 pm
This passage from the Second Treatise of the Great Seth has an exciting, or quickening quality to it. At first it sounds like invasion of the body snatchers. But lately I'm wondering if it's referring to something all that alien.
There is a verse a bit like it, I think, in the Gospel of Thomas, wherein Yeshua says, "You cannot enter the house of the strong and take it by force without binding the owner's hands. Then you can loot the house."
Again, here's this language of taking over something that belongs to someone else. To me this sounds like taking over one's own life, wresting it from the clutches of the being who, until now, was in charge of it, who was misusing it, who was not using it to seek spiritual union. The former occupant was weak in the face of worldly temptations. So the 'invader' seizes him and binds him up, and takes up this life.
But i feel like this is not only a seizing of power ... it's also a simultaneous surrender. One aspect must submit, give up its petty power so that it might experience and witness a greater one. The one who steps in to take up this life, booting the other one out, is the same one who gives it up. They just lead radically different lives, and so the alienness.
Maybe i'm just now getting a glimpse now of what was said before, that the Gnostic school that used the Second Treatise as a teaching tool simply had a different way of approaching the same work. While one school might view awakening as a cooperation, of taming the first occupant of the house and then training it, and then absorbing it, other Gnostics go for an instant transformation -- just be your higher self, simply take over right now, and from this day forward you are a new person.
I can dig that. If an aspect of one's self is prone to reverting to serving his or her own self interest, then tossing that one out and taking up the life with a more righteous attitude seems perfectly legitimate. Tie up its hands -- hands, perhaps symbolizing the means of bringing thoughts and ideas into physical creation or into the world -- so that it cannot bring evil into the world anymore. Instead, loot the treasure, these gifts from the spirit, our faculties, this life, and use them to do the work of the spirit.