I am interested in modern Gnosticism, trying to get a handle on what Gnostics today believe, or exactly how Gnosticism influences their life. I've read various wiki articles, but I am more interested in what individual Gnostics think. Here is a response from someone on another forum who identifies himself as a Christian Gnostic. Is this something you agree with?
Gnosticism isn't a religion, it's a method. It transcends religions for that reason. It is a means of taking an interior journey to find one's "self." Modern Gnosticism is more closely related to psychology, linguistic philosophy and anthropology then it is with religion. Indeed, I have been helped in my journey by reading Friedrich Neitzsche, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell as much as any recognized "religious" text. I prefer the language of Christianity (my favorite ancient Christian text is the Gospel of Thomas) because I am most comfortable with having grown up in an "orthodox" Christian culture - but I was unable to ascertain its meaning for me until I walked away from it and began studying other myths. I am also very fond of the Tao Te Ching.
Gnostic myths are not to be taken literally. They are vehicles to aid in the inward journey and not an end in themselves. Consequently, it is not accurate to say "Gnostics believed Jesus was this . . . " or "Gnostics believed the existence of a 'demiurge' . . ." in the same sense that we talk about followers of a religion "believing" in the tenets of a particular faith.
Indeed, the Gnostic doesn't suggest, as do Creationists, that things just simply appeared (some 4000 years ago, or what-have-you). Rather, the emanation, or work of the Demiurge, occurred according to a PROCESS ... which is described in some detail in the Kabbalah, from what I gather - yet is certainly given in detail by various Theosophical authors, these resonating considerably with the Neo-Platonics (eg, Plotinus) in their explanations.
This came to me on the road, and I am well aware it reads like a 'trick question', but I think it is valid nonetheless.
If the Gnostic believes in the 'free thinking' expression of spiritual realities in terms of a mythic cosmology ...
... why then does he insist that another's doctrine must equally be a mythic cosmology? Why cannot it be a literal reality, that encompasses the mythic and the metaphorical?
Gnosis is a natural function of the consciousness, a Perennis et Universalis Philosophy.
True gnosis is found when those artifacts within one’s psyche or soul that normally distort the image of truth are removed in either a temporal or absolute fashion. When the true nature of reality can be direct experienced: this is Gnosis. Gnosis is undoubtedly direct mystical experience of the ultra. It is absolutely clear, profound and inexorably shakes the very foundations of one’s inner constitution.
Gnosis means knowledge, yet not intellectual knowledge. As astounding as it may sound, anyone can study the scriptures, even “Gnostic” scriptures, and not have an inkling of true gnosis. Likewise, a strictly intellectual study of such scriptures as Gospel of Thomas, The Thunder Perfect Mind, or The Pistis Sophia (Books of the Savior) is similar to someone attempting to reconstruct a meal from the ashes of a stove. The Bread of Wisdom is found in the Heart. The Doctrine of the Heart is gnosis. The Doctrine of the Eye is everything else.
Those who have nourished themselves on the Heart Wisdom intuitively understand the sublime truths of ancient texts even though no empirical evidence can prove to those who follow the Doctrine of the Eye of such truths. Jesus, throughout the Bible, is always condemning the Pharisees because they are the ones who are following the Doctrine of Eye. They don’t understand Jesus because he was teaching the Doctrine of the Heart.
Many people believe in God, yet who has really experienced this intelligence? Many people believe in the subtle bodies and the higher planes yet how many of us have directly left their physical body and experienced the Heavens? Many believe of the Masters of humanity, yet how has spoken with them?
Many people hold on to very incipient and nominal experiences as if they were the absolute experience of the transcendental. I do not want to underestimate such these experiences, yet I think many people accidentally, haphazardly experience something and suddenly feel as if they have been enlightened with gnosis. There is a level of gnosis there, in these random experiences; yet we (Gnostics) need to be more profound in these studies. Let us go much deeper into meditation, transform the vague into the precise. The light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness does not understand. So you must go deeper. The Light is the awakened consciousness, the darkness is the unconsciousness. Thus, to enlighten one’s self is to give gnosis to one’s self.
Because few people who study the Gnostic scriptures actually have any real gnosis, the interpretations of their doctrines have been very limited. People believe that the Demiurge is some insane God that is living in the outside world. Yet, the real Demiurge lives within one’s own self. The false creation of the Demiurge is one’s ego; the Demiurge is you and I.
The Twelve Repentances of Sophia is directly related with the Twelve Labors of Hercules, the Twelve Hours of Apollonius, and the Twelve Keys of Basil Valentine. Thus, these repentances are something that one must work in order to perform within each one of us.
The 13 Aeons are directly related with the 12 plus one, that is to say, 10 emanations plus the three aspects of the absolute (Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur). This invites us to reflect on the profound kabbalistic symbolism that no scholar I have ever seen even suspect. Who really knows what the 13 Aeons are? The empirical scholars do not know, they only debate and speculate; where is the gnosis they study so much about? Anyone who studies their own inner self knows very well.
The Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden is the Tree of Gnosis. Under this tree Satan (Demiurge-Logos) tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. The mystery of the cooperative antaganism of Christus-Lucifer is being displayed here. Lucifer (Carrier of Light) is what gives light, knowledge (gnosis) yet only when one overcomes him, like in the story of Job. But in story of Adam and Eve, they did not overcome, thus they fell into the opposite of gnosis: ignorance.
Daath in the Kabbalah means Knowledge, Gnosis. Daath is the hidden knowledge or gnosis. Daath is related with the Seal of Solomon (The Star of David) which itself is tantric knowledge. Remember that tantrism is not coition per se, yet, certainly the phenomena arising from intercourse is obviously tantric. The cross on which Christ saves is tantric, the cross is where knowledge, gnosis forms. This is why “Adam knew Eve” in the sexual act. The tantric-gnostic crossing of Wisdom and Compassion is the foundational basis of Buddhism, the crossing of Imagination and Willpower through skillful means is the basis of meditation.
Redemption is within gnosis because it is under the Tree of Gnosis that one fell into ignorance (without gnosis). With ignorance, Buddha said, comes suffering. This is why Buddha meditated under the Tree in order to awaken from ignorance. Gnosis is the auto-discovery of one’s own self. The wisdom of the Word is stored within your own subconsciousness. Liberating the Word allows one to utter the mystery. I am speaking in code, what this means is related with the fact that God speaks in order to create. Remember, Daath is located at the larynx of God. The larynx of God is like a uterus that fecundates the Verb through the Waters of Life. God said through his masculine principle, “Let there be light!” and then it was reflected back through his feminine principle, “And there was light!” This is tantric, this is gnosis. This is why the highest levels of Buddhism are tantric. This is what created the universe, thus to gain gnosis is to understand not only your self, but that which your self is a reflection of, all of Creation.