Questions, Thoughts, Musing and Observations

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Majere
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:49 pm
Location: Iowa

Questions, Thoughts, Musing and Observations

#1 Postby Majere » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:54 pm

Hello again everyone. Being new here I wanted to share some of the things that have preoccupied the spiritual journey that has brought me here to these forums. If anyone would care to respond to either the questions or the observations that would be greatly appreciated.

1) When I first decided to search beyond the Catholic Church my first instinct was Eastern Orthodoxy. The Orthodox church in many ways is much more "mystic" than the Catholic Church. The ancient practice of Hesychasm is still practiced by its monks; a practice leading to direct experience of divine reality (the uncreated energies of God) through theosis or "deification." This seems very gnostic to me and gives me the impression that the desert fathers so revered by orthodoxy may in fact have been more gnostic than either the Orthodox or Catholics are willing to admit.

2) The best Orthodox book I read was titled; "Christ the Eternal Tao" by Hieromonk Damascene, a student of Seraphim Rose. In this work the idea of Christ as the eternal Logos of the father is compared to Lao Tsu's conception of the Tao in the Tao te Ching. A major point is both religions are of "the way." It is a fascinating look into common threads of mysticism between the East and West. Has any gnostic tradition explored this connection?

3) I then moved on to Zen Catholicism. It appears in an attempt to try to recapture the legacy of Catholic mysticism many priests and religious are directly defying the Pope and practicing a syncretic Zen/Catholic amalgamation. Zen seems to lend itself well to this method, but Catholicism not so much. Even some Protestant theologians have picked up this trend after the works of Paul Tillich who described God as "the ground of being." I have noticed in my reading that many Gnostic concepts lend themselves well to a Buddhist interpretation as well. In the gnostic opinion is something like Zen acceptable to practice?

4) Going further into Zen I read several works by Thich Naht Hahn starting with "The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings" This was a great read and insightful work, but what really called to me were "Living Buddha, Living Christ" and "Going Home." Hahn's insight into the common ground between Buddhism and Christianity is amazing, and whether he realizes it or not, seems to me to lend itself to a direct Gnostic interpretation. Again it seemed to be that the Eastern traditions were giving more life to Christianity than the western traditions themselves.

5) After exploring Buddhism I moved on to Hinduism. Again, Hinduism seems to have many amazing insights into human/divine reality and the meeting ground between the two. What began to occur to me was that at the heart of every exoteric religion was a core esoteric tradition of mystic visions. These mystics attempted to record their experiences of an unknowable, indescribable reality in paltry human terms within the limits of their language and Culture. It occurred to me that the various world religions are not in fact different paths to the same God, but are different interpretations of the exact same path. Is this the gnostic view or is it somewhat more exclusive like its orthodox cousins?

6) Then in a quirk of fate one of my mother-in-laws friends passed away, leaving her an extensive collection of books. My mother-in-law decided to divide up the books and my wife and I received a large number of books that included numerous Gnostic writtings including the Nag Hammadi library by James Robinson, Elain Pagel's the "Gnostic Gospels" the "Gnostic Paul" and "Adam, Eve, and the Serpent", several books about Mary Magdelene by Margaret Starbird (Bride in Exile and Woman with the Alabaster Jar) and the "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" by Jean-Yves Leloup. These books began my interest in gnosticism and eventually led here to Eclesia Pistis Sophia. I do not believe this happened by chance. Six moths ago I would have looked at such books and shoved them in a box to rot in the basement, but then, at the exact moment my mind was ripe for these volumes they come to me...

7) I agreed with much of gnosticism in theory, but my major hang up was the concept of the demiurge. Although my mind has come far from my fundamentalist and orthodox views I was not willing to accept the God of the Old Testament as a "demiurge." Jesus was Jewish, the way he thought about God was Jewish. His God was the Jewish God and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the same God as Jesus' Father.
So, I developed my own "theology" with God manifesting a male aspect (the son or divine tao/logos) and a female aspect (the daughter or divine wisdom; Holy Sophia). The son manifests the physical world, while the daughter manifests the spiritual world. Man is the product of the son, while the angles etc. the product of the daughter. Lucifer rebels and is cast from the spiritual world to the physical world, creating the fall and the concept of the demiurge. Then in the ultimate act of revenge Satan co-ops humanity as well with the formation of the ego-illusion.
Now, in my original concept the Son manifested the Christ into the physical world, joining Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. At the same time the daughter manifested the Holy Spirit into the world. Jesus underwent two significant events prior to his death. The first was baptism where he received the Holy Spirit. The second was the transfiguration, which seems to me to be a "gnosis" event. An event that each Christian should have as well. Atonement through Baptism and the death/resurrection (which creates a clean slate) and gnosis through the transfiguration which created the divine unification or "theosis" experience.

8 I recently purchased Tau Malachi's "Living Gnosis" and his concept of the demiurge broke the final barrier for me to want to identify myself as "Gnostic." I was shocked to see everything I had been going over in my mind for many months laid out in a coherent, systematic way. I was especially impressed that the Sophian system is rooted in Christianities’ Jewish legacy. Admittedly I do not know much about the Kabala but it seems to be a fascinating area of study from the small amount I have seen of it.

9) As I read Tau Malachi's book and have explored the forums here I see mention of magic and magical systems, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn being one of them. You must forgive my fundamentalist/orthodox upbringing and humor me for a minute. What does a Gnostic mean by magic and practicing a magical system? I am hung up in "thou shall not suffer a witch to live" and my longtime hobby of playing Dungeons and Dragons. So when I think of Magic its wizards casting Fireballs, witches casting hexes and warlocks throwing eldritch blasts. Not exactly what you are thinking I suppose. So could someone please explain to me what "magic" is and how it is ok for a Christian Gnostic to practice it? Thanks!

10) Thanks for bearing with me if you stuck this out to the end. If you could give me any insights here or with a PM that would be great.
God bless you!

And one more thing...
If anyone could reccomend a good book on the Rosicrucion Ordewr and Rosicrucionsim that would be a great help!
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. ---Buddha

Tau Malachi
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"Mircle" or "Magic"?

#2 Postby Tau Malachi » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:23 am

Greetings and blessings in the light of the Messiah!

Thank you for sharing something of your spiritual development and journey with us, and for your kind words – I’m happy to hear that “Living Gnosis” was helpful and beneficial for you, and I praise the Lord, Adonai, for the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life, granting you insights, guidance and illumination. The stories of brothers and sisters, and their spiritual evolution, always invoke praise and thanksgiving, awe and wonder of the presence and power of the Living God, Hayyim Elohim.

Your question is one that I enjoy very much, and enjoy contemplating.

The truth is, in association with holy people, the patriarchs and matriarchs, the prophets, and Adonai Yeshua and the apostles, the Holy Bible speaks about magic, divine theurgy or wonderworking – a very real power of God, but it has come to be called “miracles.”

Miracles, magic, theurgy, wonderworking – these are words indicating the same thing, a movement of divine power with, in and through us, one that the affects of an actual connection with the Spirit of God and an actual spiritual realization. If we wish to consider the role of “magic,” we may consider the role of “miracles,” and if we wish to contemplate the spiritual labor of holy people, messengers, we will find something of a vision bringer, a “shaman” or “magician” in it.

The question is, if there is a magical action or miracle, what’s the intention, whom does the person of knowledge and power serve? In this we find the difference between a prophet, or apostle of God, and a sorcerer or false prophet, the former is a servant and messenger of God, the latter serves him or herself, and is a messenger of something else, a lesser god or lesser power – likewise, the former gives the glory to God, while the latter takes the glory for themselves.

If we look into scriptures and consider the wonders performed by the holy ones, on one hand we see that they bolster faith in peoples and call peoples to return to God, to seek the source of their being, their soul, and so to draw near and cleave to God, the Truth and the Light. Likewise, we see them acting as conscious agents of God and the kingdom of heaven, taking up spiritual works, using their knowledge of God and the power of God to give spiritual assistance to people, communicating various blessings of deliverance and healing, and illumination.

If we are to speak of “miracles,” or “magic,” among Gnostic Christians, it is for this reason we take up the wonderworking art – it is active spiritual compassion and love, rendering spiritual assistance.

In a manner of speaking, we are called to be conscious agents of the Holy One answering the prayers of others whenever we can, both through material and spiritual works – the spiritual works being movements of the Holy Spirit enacting wonders, or “magic.”

Consider Moses and the exodus, and the play of his “magic,” the power of Yahweh, against the magic of the Egyptian magicians, and consider the many wonders he performed for the deliverance of the children of Israel, meeting their needs, bolstering their faith, and educating them. Likewise, consider the same play with Elijah, and his confrontation with the priest of Baal, along with the various wonders he performed, such as the generation of an abundance of oil for the widow and her son, or his raising the dead.

Then, consider all of the wonderworking of Master Yeshua – these holy people are clearly shamans, magicians, wonderworkers, laboring in Spirit for the people.

Consider what Master Yeshua says of those who believe and who receive the power of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of St. Mark, chapter sixteen – he says that by the power of his name they will cast out demons, speak in new tongues, handle snakes, be immune to poisons, and heal the sick. Sounds a lot like magic to me!

What we are talking about in terms of miracles, magic, wonderworking, is the movement of the Holy Spirit, and the witness of her power with us – an actual play of the presence and power of God with the faithful and elect.

This goes a bit deeper, however, for as Christian Gnostics we labor for gnosis, which is to say an actual self-realization in Christ, the dawn of Supernal or Messianic Consciousness; hence, the awakening of our soul, our energetic being, and the embodiment of the Light-presence (Christ) and Light-power (Holy Spirit), and a natural side effect of this is “magic power,” wonderworking power.

In terms of the play of the wonderworking art, through it we continue to unfold our self-realization in Christ, and we labor in the harvest of souls.

As much as communicating the gospel to visible spirits in this world, so also we are communicating it to invisible spirits – and in Christian Gnosticism, we believe in a “preaching of the gospel” not only to human beings, but to all beings, and we believe in a universal salvation, enlightenment and liberation. In our play of wonderworking we draw all manner of spiritual forces into the service of God and the kingdom of heaven.

When we read about miracles that have occurred, rather than merely talking about them as something of the past, or viewing them as something removed from us, instead we look to see how they might continue among us, we look to see how such spiritual works might be performed – instead of something “supernatural,” we see it as a science of mind, consciousness. It is a natural part of the awakening of co-creators taking up their God given role.

Here we might inquire, did Yeshua perform wonders only to prove he was the Christ, the Son of God, or, did he perform wonders to reveal the true nature of reality, and the true nature of our soul, consciousness or mind? From a Gnostic point of view, he is like a lucid dreamer in a collective dream, laboring to awaken other dreamers in the dream – awakening, it is only natural that we, too, might engage in something of the same play, and to those still asleep it will likely seem like a “miracle,” but really it is a science of mind, consciousness or soul.

As for the peak of the wonderworking art, this is the play of Light Transmission, spiritual initiation and empowerments – the ability of an adept or master to communicate, transmit, something of the power of their spiritual realization, helping other souls to awaken and to enter into the very same spiritual realization.

In this we may know and understand the intention of the wonderworking art, or magic, among Gnostic Christians, or at least the intention of it in the Sophian Gnostic tradition.

Regarding the Golden Dawn, our lineage and tradition doesn’t have much to do with that western esoteric order, although we do have friends in our extended community who are involved with it, as well as friends who are involved with other esoteric orders as well, such as the Order of St. Martin for example.

In terms of books discussing mysteries of the R+C, “The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary,” by Karl Von Eckartshausen is a favorite of mine, also, “The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order,” by Paul Foster Case. These are the two I’d suggest.

It is good to see you here – I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Peace be with you!
Tau Malachi
Sophia Fellowship
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

Majere
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:49 pm
Location: Iowa

#3 Postby Majere » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:09 pm

Thank you so much for your response! I found it very helpful. I hope to be around for awhile, so I'll continue to delve deeper into this mystery of wonderworking and see where it takes me.
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. ---Buddha


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