Undefiled Marriage

Elder Gideon
Site Admin
Posts: 1372
Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 8:41 am

Undefiled Marriage

#1 Postby Elder Gideon » Sun Mar 27, 2005 10:43 am


The Gnostic Gospel of Philip has so much explicitly clear imagery of the Hieros Gamos, the Sacred Marriage, of how holy men and women are to conduct themselves in a manner parallel with the mystery of the bridal chamber:

No one can know when the husband and wife have sex except those two.
Marriage in the world is a mystery for those who are married.
If there is a hidden defilement in the marriage,
how much greater is the true mystery of the undefiled marriage!
It is not fleshly but pure.
It belongs not to desire but to the will.
It belongs not to the darkness of the night but to the day and the light.
If a marriage is open to the public,
it has become prostitution,
and the bride plays the harlot
Not only when impregnated by another man
but even if she slips out of her bedroom and is seen.
Let her show herself only to her father and her mother
and to the friend and attendants of the bridegroom.
They are permitted to enter every day into the bridal chamber.
But let the others yearn just to listen to her voice
and enjoy her fragrant ointments,
and let them feed on the crumbs falling from the table, like dogs.
Bridegrooms and brides belong to the bridal chamber.
No one shall be able to see the bridegroom and bride
Unless one becomes a bridegroom or bride.

(from Willis Barnstone’s translation in the Gnostic Bible, p 294)

Yet, within these teachings of the bridal chamber, I hear an equally compelling discourse on Shabbat, when the community of the Faithful and Elect are met by the Beloved. This would shift the dimension of the teaching away from a literal man and woman to describe the internal man and woman of a practioner—the parts of the soul symbolized in these terms by its Valentinian school—which seems to have practiced a kind of restraint from physical sexuality. What might Philip’s school be saying here beyond physical coupling?



Tau Malachi
Site Admin
Posts: 5650
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2003 4:20 pm
Location: Grass Valley, Ca.

The Holy Shabbat, The Bridal Chamber

#2 Postby Tau Malachi » Tue Mar 29, 2005 5:14 pm

Greetings Brother Michael!

Indeed, in all of the sayings corresponding to the mystery of Hieros Gamos there are teachings on the Holy Shabbat, for in Gnostic Christianity the Shabbat becomes the cornerstone of our spiritual life and practice. This is made clear in the Gospel of St. Thomas, for example, where Master Yeshua says that if we do not keep the Shabbat as a Shabbat, we cannot experience the Divine Kingdom. However, in the Gnostic Path we are not speaking about the Shabbat as a religious duty, but rather as a spiritual practice – essentially, it is a day in the week that we dedicate to the spiritual life and practice, thus seeking to deepen our spiritual life and practice. In the midst of our busy and hectic lives in Western culture, if we do not set aside a day on which we can entertain spiritual study and contemplation, and perhaps give more time and energy to spiritual practice, when will we have the time? If I truly desire to progress in an actual Self-realization or experience a greater flow of Spiritual Light in my life, apart from remembering and keeping the Shabbat, how will I actually accomplish this? If it is too difficult to set a day aside, or at least are a significant part of a day, for the sake of my spiritual life and development of my soul, then what does that say about how I am living?

There is a beautiful term for the Shabbat in the Tradition: “The day of meeting the Beloved.” There is no doubt, were we in love, and we could only see our lover on one day of the week, we would not miss our date with him or her. How much more so the Holy Day upon which we meet to our Beloved, the Holy One of Being? It is really simple wisdom – if I truly seek to be Spirit-connected I will naturally do everything I can to cultivate my spiritual life, and the Shabbat will naturally prove key to this; I will keep my date with my Beloved, and no one will need to tell me to – love will compel me! (“Bridegrooms and brides belong to the Bridal Chamber.”)

In the midst of the work-week we seek to engage in daily spiritual practice, whether in the morning or evening, and many practitioners engage in practice sessions both in the morning and evening as their continuum of spiritual practice progresses. Likewise, when we get the opportunity throughout the week we engage in spiritual study and contemplation. All of our spiritual practices we seek to integrate with our daily living, seeking to live according to the Truth and Light revealed in our experience. Yet, in the midst of the work week, there is naturally a limit upon our practice sessions, as well as our time for study and contemplation, thus we need time when we can carry our spiritual effort further – hence the Shabbat.

When we participate in Gnostic Community, of course, not only do we have more time for individual study and practice, but we join together for worship and fellowship, and to entertain sacred discourse, and receive spiritual teachings. We are truly nourished and uplifted by the Shabbat, and we receive an influx of Spiritual Light and Energy that blesses us throughout the week. Secretly, or not so secretly, it is a Day of Initiation, which is to say a Day of Light Transmission for all who are open to receive it.

If we can deepen the spiritual experience unfolding from our practice through remembering and keeping the Holy Shabbat, then quite naturally our spiritual practice throughout the week will also deepen and grow. As the Light Transmission unfolds in our experience, more and more there will be less distinction between the Shabbat and the remainder of the week – every day becomes a Shabbat to one who knows they are not the doer, to one whose personality and life display is taken up by the Light-presence and Light-power. This, in truth, is our noble ideal and aim in the practice of the Shabbat – the Bridal Chamber (Unification).

In the Holy Kabbalah the Shabbat is said to be Binah, the Mother, and Malkut, the Bride; we know the central place of the Mother in the Divine Life, and we know the love Sophians have for the Holy Bride. Shabbat is a principle expression of our conscious intent to open to the Mother’s Force, and to offer ourselves to Her and surrender to Her – an action of devotion to the Great Mother, and so it has been called “Mother’s Day” by many Sophians. The correspondence to Malkut and the Holy Bride is also significant, for She is the Holy Vessel receiving the influx of Spiritual Light from Tiferet, through the agency of Yesod, which is the function of the Spiritual Community on the Shabbat. The individual and the community become the Holy Vessel receiving and transmitting the Spiritual Influx in the world, and in so doing, as the Holy Bride, are joined with the Bridegroom, the Beloved.

So much more can be said of the Holy Shabbat, but no doubt this is enough for now – seeing you mention of Shabbat I thought of few comments on the importance of Shabbat, along with a bit of insight into the metaphysical dimensions of it, might serve to draw out the discussion and contemplation more.

May the Queen of the Shabbat, the Holy Shekinah, bless us and be our constant Companion, amen.

Blessings & shalom!
Tau Malachi
Sophia Fellowship
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

Return to “The Gospel of St. Philip”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest