“In Gnosticism, gnosis is no formal philosophy of the Platonic kind, but a means of escaping existence; no knowledge of the world, but an attempt to anticipate the undoing of the world’s creation. However strongly Gnosticism may make the impression of being a philosophy, in essence it is not so, but an attempt to render all philosophy superfluous. It is first and foremost a secret revelation.” H.W. Drijvers
“Gnosis is the revelation and salvific knowledge of who we were, of what we have become, of where we were, of wherein we have been thrown, of whereto we are hastening, of what we are being freed, of what birth really is, and of what rebirth really is.” www.gnosis.org
“A person comes to Divine Gnosis by Divine Grace, combined with sincere and informed human aspiration.” www.gnosis.org
“Gnosis – The Greek word meaning knowledge, also intended to mean spiritual elevation. The Gnostic position is the root of all occult philosophy. Gnosis, with Wisdom (Sophia) are the highest virtues and the path to immortality. Gnosis is the revelation of the higher world, not so much a knowing as a remembering of one’s original nature, superior to matter, a remembering of one’s identity and position, original purpose and origin. Through gnosis, a person knows that spiritual origin and destination are the same. The result of gnosis is a restoration to the everlasting part of one’s self beyond the powers of fate and time. The Saviors, divine messengers who bring this revelation, remain strangers in this world of time. Gnostics venerated the serpent because a divine messenger disguised as a serpent, brought gnosis to Adam and Eve and taught them complete knowledge of the mysteries from on high.” Dictionary of Common Era Gnosticism
“Gnosticism was an integral part of the ancient mysteries since both involved the belief that only personal inner enlightenment could bring understanding. According to the Masonic philosopher Manly Hall, “This knowledge of how man’s manifold constitution could be most quickly and most completely regenerated to the point of spiritual illumination constituted the secret or esoteric doctrine of antiquity.” Hall said such enlightenment and awareness had to be jealously guarded from profane persons who might abuse or misuse such knowledge. So lengthy periods of initiation were instituted and the most sensitive ancient knowledge was shrouded in symbols and allegory. ‘Christianity itself may be cited as an example,’ he wrote. ‘The entire New Testament is in fact an ingeniously concealed exposition of the secret processes of human regeneration.’ Rule by Secrecy by Jim Marrs
“The secret of gnosis is that when one comes to know oneself at the deepest level, one comes to know God as the source of one’s being. …Whoever is reborn of the Heavenly Father and Mother receives back a part of him/her self that had been lost in the beginning of time; the Spirit – the partner of one’s soul. This person then becomes a Christ.” The Origin of Satan – Elaine Pagels
Professor Pagels just explained the Sacred Marriage. It’s when your Spirit and soul reunite. You are then a Christ. Jesus says that the Light worker family are going to be the Christ’s of this era. He says that all souls at some point will be Light workers – and Christ’s.
The early Church father Irenaus wrote that the Gnostics believed that every initiate received, or was capable of receiving, direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Because of this they treated each member of their group equally. When they met they would draw lots to decide who would officiate in the different roles of their services. One would read scriptures, one would preach, one would be the prophet, another would officiate over their sacrament, etc.
According to the author of The Return of the Serpents of Wisdom;
“Gnostics claimed that the wisdom of their school was as old as the primeval Garden of Eden and had been transmitted to Adam as part of the Kabbalic teachings. They maintained that the original preceptor of Gnosticism was the serpent on the tree, which had been ‘a type of Jesus Christ.’ The Primal Serpent transmitted the teachings of Gnosticism to Adam, Adam passed them to Seth (Thoth Hermes) and Seth in turn passed them to the ‘Sons of Seth’. Through the Sons of Seth, which the Gnostic historian Iamblichus identified as the descendants of the first Thoth-Hermes the wisdom of Gnosticism eventually spread throughout the Earth. After many ages, the lineage of gnostic Masters culminated with the birth of the historical Jesus Christ, the greatest gnostic adept of them all. Christ, a later incarnation of the original Serpent on the Tree, was supposedly sent down to Earth by his mother, Sophia, during a dark period of humankind’s evolution. His mission was to teach all people how to escape via gnosis the oppressive dictates of Yaldaboath, the evil ruler of the world.”
Tau Malachi in his book Living Gnosis a Practical Guide to Gnostic Christianity brings additional insight into Christian Gnosticism;
“Gnosticism is experiential, not a fixed set of dogmas and creeds to be conceptually learned. Most authentic Gnostic traditions place emphasis on an actual contact with a living image of the Light transmission and the receiving of a spiritual education. Thus the acquisition of gnosis and progressive self-discipline, practice and the integration of one’s spirituality to daily living. Anyone who is willing to engage in actual spiritual practice and spiritual living can enter into the experience of the living Yeshua and consciously evolve him or herself towards Christ consciousness. This is the most basic message of Gnostic Christianity. …. From the Sophian perspective, on every level of our being and consciousness, we truly live, move and have all of our experience in God, and it is the realization of this which is enlightenment and liberation. The whole message of the Gospel is that the kingdom of God is within and all around us; we merely need to have the eyes to see it, and thus to live in it.”
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels is a good source for studying the Nag Hammadi texts. The following are short quotes from that book;
“What Muhammad Ali discovered at Nag Hammadi is, apparently, a library of writings, almost all of them Gnostic. Although they claim to offer secret teaching, many of these texts refer to the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and others to the letters of Paul and the New Testament gospels. Many of them include the same dramatic personae as the New Testament – Jesus and his disciples. Yet the differences are striking. Orthodox Jews and Christians insist that a chasm separates humanity from its creator: God is wholly other. But some of the Gnostics who wrote these gospels contradict this: ‘self-knowledge is knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical.’
Second, the “living Jesus” of these texts speaks of illusion and enlightenment, not of sin and repentance, like the Jesus of the New Testament. Instead of coming to save us from sin, he comes as a guide who opens access to spiritual understanding. But when the disciple attains enlightenment, Jesus no longer serves as his spiritual master: the two have become equal – even identical.
Third, orthodox Christians believe that Jesus is Lord and Son of God in a unique way: he remains forever distinct from the rest of humanity whom he came to save. Yet the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas relates that as soon as Thomas recognizes him, Jesus says to Thomas that they have both received their being from the same source: Jesus said, ‘I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become drunk from the bubbling stream which I have measured out…He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.’…Like Baptists, Quakers, and many others, the Gnostic is convinced that whoever receives the Spirit communicates directly with the divine.”
The word ‘Ebionite’ translates as ‘the poor’. They acquired this name because they lived communally, gave away their possessions, and shared anything they received with their community, as did the Essenes. This group was the first Christian church established by Jesus.
According to the early church theologian Irenaeus, the Ebionites insisted that Jesus was man, not God, and was not born of a virgin. They claim that he became the Messiah only at the time of his baptism. Irenaeus stated that the Ebionite’s used only the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of the Hebrews, which I believe to be the same as the Gospel of the Holy Twelve, and like Jesus and the Essenes, also used the prophetic books of the Old Testament. They adhered scrupulously to Judaic law – not the same one in today’s biblical Old Testament, but the original one given to them by Moses. Irenaus also said that the Ebionite’s used alternative versions of the Acts of the Apostles. The Church Father Hippolytus, writing about 225 C.E. wrote; “And the Ebionite’s allege that they themselves, also, when in like manner they fulfill the law, are able to become Christ’s; for they assert that our Lord himself was a man in like sense with all humanity.”
From the author Manly Hall in Fragments of a Faith Forgotten;
“Nevertheless it was Ebionism which preserved the tradition of the earliest converts of the public teaching, and the Ebionite community’s doubtless possessed a collection of the public sayings and based their lives upon them. How then did the original Ebionite’s view the person and teaching of Jesus? They regarded their leader as a wise man, a prophet, a Jonas, nay even a Solomon. Moreover, he was a manifestation of the Messiah, the Anointed, who was to come, but he had not yet appeared as the Messiah; that would only be at his second coming. In his birth as Jesus, he was a prophet simply. The New Dispensation was but the continuation of the Old Law all was essentially Jewish. They therefore expected the coming of the Messiah as literally prophesied by their men of old. He was to come as king, and then all the nations would be subjected to the power of the Chosen People, and for a thousand years there would be peace and prosperity and plenty on Earth.”
From Mysteries of the Bridechamber;
“Like the Nazoreans, these fraternities were believed to be descended from the discredited prophetic orders, once so influential in the region. Jesus the Nazorean was widely recognized as heir to the prophetic tradition. The early Christians identified him with the prophet Enoch, and the Ebionite’s also regarded Jesus as a prophet. According to the testimony of Clement, the Ebionite’s taught that Jesus was a human being like any other, but one on whom the Christ Spirit, an archangelic being of the highest hierarchy of angels, descended at the time of Jesus’ baptism. The Ebionite’s believed in reincarnation and revered Jesus as the True Prophet, an incarnation of the ancient Iranian prophet Zarathustra. It was only in Zarathustra’s final embodiment as Jesus the Hebrew so these sectaries believed that the great seer received the full revelation of the Divine: ‘Since the creation of the world, the True Prophet hastens through the centuries, changing his name and form of appearance. He incarnates himself again and again. Jesus is the true incarnation of this Prophet.’ …But if Jesus was so commonly designated a prophet, why do the gospels not accord him the dignity of his rank? Indeed, we might ask further why Hebrew prophecy itself suddenly vanished from the annals of religious history, seemingly ceasing to exist long before Jesus was born. At this point the suspicion arises that both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian scriptures may be very political documents.”
One direct offshoot of the Ebionites were the Elchesaites who were later known as Sampsaeans – which means ‘Sun People’, after the Johannite practice of worshiping the morning and evening stars, at those times of day. The Elchesaites reportedly didn’t use the Old or New Testaments of the Bible. Epiphanius (320– 403) was bishop of Salamis at the end of the 4th century. He made the statement that the Essenes “Had now renounced Judaism, and no longer lived in the manner of the Jews.”
In the book The God Kings of Europe, the author relates that “The Elchesaite’s were an early Judaic-Christian sect who were also called Mughtasilab – which means shortcut, because they had a shortcut to God” I believe that shortcut was Jesus method of opening the heart chakra. The third century theologian Hippolytus, tells how a book by the individual he calls Elchasai was brought to Rome and he describes the followers of this Elchasai as having an incarnationist doctrine of many ‘Christ’s’, Jesus, “continually being infused into many bodies, manifested at many times.”
The Johannites started at least as far back in time as Jnana Pandita in India or Sri Lanka. This line eventually led to the biblical John the Baptist. From John it went to Jesus, then to Jesus brother James, and then to John the apostle. According to the author of World Gnosis the early John’s had been Jesus disciples. He cites Zebedee, Simon and Titus as succeeding Johns. It was clear that among the Gnostic’s Mary Magdalene and John were the disciples of Jesus who understood his teaching best. The Johannites held them both in high esteem. The Johannites can be traced later in history to the Knights Templar. The leader of the Templar’s always held the title of ‘John’. In an unaltered version of the Gospel of John called the Evangelicon, it was related that John had received more of the esoteric wisdom and Holy Spirit power than the other Apostles. To the Gnostic’s, John was Jesus’ true successor.
According to the author of Guardians of the Holy Grail;
“Thus the power and wisdom of the Green Man, the Jnana Pandita that had once entered John the Baptist later entered the Cupbearer John the Apostle. The Cupbearer John the Apostle chose as his symbol a golden chalice with a spiraling snake emerging from it. This emblem, which was immortalized in a painting by the great Spanish artist El Greco, denoted the Cup of Immortality or Holy Grail and its indwelling serpentine Kundalini or Water of Life. John’s chalice also represented the Apostle’s inheritance from his Master Jesus that the Messiah had promised when he stated to him: ‘Of my cup you shall indeed drink.’ The snake or serpent symbol of John, when combined with the eagle, another of the Apostle’s symbolic animals, comprises the symbol of the Zodiacal sign of Scorpio, which not surprisingly is the sign associated with the trans-formative Holy Spirit or Kundalini. …The training and transmission of the Holy Spirit that John and James had received under John the Baptist before coming over to the Christ also set them apart from the other disciples of Jesus. The Messiah officially acknowledged the abundance of Holy Spirit power wielded by the brothers when he nicknamed them Boanerges, meaning ‘Sons of Thunder’.”
There was an unbroken lineage in the Johannite line through the Templar’s until the first Crusade when Hugues de Payens was invested with the ‘Apostolic Patriarchal Power’. That lineage could very well be unbroken to this day.
In a document called the Levitikon, written in the fifth century by a Greek monk, it relates that John the Beloved was Jesus chosen successor. The Levitikon corroborates the fact that Jesus studied in Egypt and acquired Gnostic wisdom and power within the Priesthood of Osiris. To the Egyptians of his day, Jesus was the long awaited Horus, the Egyptian Sun God, and the Messiah. One author stated that he believed Paul was so enthusiastic about furthering Christianity because he believed that Jesus had been a reincarnation of Mithras.
- The Naassenes
The Naassenes, whose name is derived from the Hebrew nahash or serpent, were said to have been started by Jesus brother James and Mary Magdalene. They claim the distinction of being called by Hippolytus in his Refutation of Heresies, “the most ancient form of Christian heresy” – keeping in mind that he is calling the religion of Jesus and his family a Christian heresy!
Hippolytus noted that the Gnostic’s claimed that Christianity, or rather the ‘Good News of the Christ’, was the consummation of the inner doctrine of the Mystery institutions of all nations and that, “the end of them all was the revelation of the Mystery of Man.” I believe the mystery referred to, is the fact that all humans are incarnations of the Infinite Spirit, i.e. ‘gods’. Even though we are told we are gods in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, people still don’t take it literally. The doctrine of Jesus godhood has, I believe, caused something very important to be lost. What was lost was that what Jesus achieved – his godhood, was something that he did as a very human man. He is the perfect model for humanity to follow if they want to achieve their godhood. People need to know that every ‘miracle’ Jesus performed is achievable by all humans should they choose to evolve in a Godly direction.
One of the Naassene’s secret documents found its way into the historian Hippolytus’ hands. That document states that their teachings were derived from James the brother of the Lord, who had delivered it to Mariamne – who I believe is Mary Magdalene. According to Hippolytus, the Naassene’s doctrines were taken from the Mysteries, culminating in the assertion that the Naassenes, as a matter of fact, were, “nothing else than sectaries of the Mysteries of the Mother of the Gods,” in proof of which he quotes at length from a secret document of their school. I don’t doubt that he was absolutely correct in his assertion. Believe me he doesn’t need to prove it to me!
The author of Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes speaks of the inclusion in the Naassene Sermon of the ‘Assyrian fish god’ who was Oannes – known to the Mesopotamians as Enki and to the Babylonians as Ea, also Dagon, Poseidon, Sabaoth, etc. The author states; “This can only mean that Gnostic Christians understood the parallels between Oannes and the ‘Son of Man’ in the early period of Christianity.” And then; “By favoring a name that clearly predated Judaism by thousands of years, Jesus was very consciously placing himself in a context of human history so sweeping in scope that it recedes from us into the mists of the dawn of civilization. And the Naassene scribe’s insistence on preserving these links with antiquity surely reflects the Naassene’s awareness of this.” The author relates that the Naassene Sermon is, “most helpful in this regard because it documents in amazing detail just how widespread this concept of the Anthropos or Heavenly Adam was in the ancient world.” This archetype is central to the title Jesus gave to himself, that of the ‘Son of Man’.
The author of World Gnosis connects the Naassenes with the Nazarenes. He cites; “One historical incident that irrefutably links the Nazoreans with the Naassenes has James the Just (Jesus’ brother) sending some very secretive serpent teachings to the Naassenes via his chosen envoy, Mariam. This Nazorean Mariam is believed to be none other than Mary Magdalene, who was apparently in association with the Apostles and their Nazorean sect long after the departure of Jesus.”
Elaine Pagels, in The Origin of Satan, cites the work of an “accomplished professor of Celtic literature” named Jessie Weston, who, in her book From Ritual to Romance proposed “an elucidation of the Grail Problem”, in which she traced the Grail stories origins to the Naassene Sermon. Weston believed she had found parallels in the Naassene Sermon indicating that the Grail might have come from a pagan vegetation ritual which was later reworked with the Christian elements added. Weston states; “We can show that between these Mystery cults and Christianity there existed at one time a close and intimate union, such a union as of itself involved the practical assimilation of the central rite, in each case a Eucharistic feast in which the worshipers partook of the Food of Life from the sacred vessels.” This, in Weston’s view, was the origin of the sacred vessel or chalice which is the Grail referred to in the Grail stories.
Pagels wrote; “Weston believed that Christianity had merely reconstituted these older pagan gods in the person of Jesus, fashioning a new myth from old fabric. She did not however, see this as a problem for Christianity because she did not regard pagan religion as primitive. On the contrary, Weston declared that ‘the more closely one studies pre-Christian theology the more strongly one is impressed with the deeply, and daringly, spiritual character of its speculations.’ In her view, the nature cults of the pagan world were a vehicle for ‘the most-lofty teaching as to the cosmic relations existing between God and man.’
The author of Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes also believes the Grail stories originated with the Naassenes. He wrote that at their heart, the myths were meant to convey the idea of immanence – the meaning of which is that God is all in all. He/She is in everything and He/She is everything. This being my simplistic explanation of the term. Carl Jung said that, “The Grail signifies the realization of divinity reaching right down into matter.”
The following is from Fragments of a Faith Forgotten;
“Indeed the Naassenes document, when analyzed into its sources, is found to be the Christian overworking of the Jewish overworking of a Pagan commentary on a Hymn of the Mysteries. The date of the Christian over-writer may be placed about the middle of the second century, and the document is especially valuable as pointing out the identity of the inner teachings of Gnostic Christianity with the tenets of the Mysteries – Phrygian, Eleusinian, Dionysian, Samothracian, Egyptian, Assyrian, etc. The Christian writer claimed that his tradition was handed down from James to a certain Mariamne. This Miriam, or Mary, is somewhat of a puzzle to scholarship; it seems, however, probable that the treatise belonged to the same cycle of tradition as ‘The Greater and Lesser Questions of Mary’, ‘The Gospel of Mary’, etc., in the frame of which the ‘Pistis Sophia’ treatise is also set. The main features of the system are that the cosmos is symbolized as the (Heavenly) Man, male-female, of three natures, spiritual (or intelligible), psychic and material; that these three natures found themselves in perfection in Jesus, who was therefore truly the Son of Man. Mankind is divided into three classes, assemblies, or churches: the Elect, the called, and the bound (or in other words, the spiritual or angelic, the psychic, and the choïc or material), according as one or other of these natures predominates.
The school of the Naasseni, it is said, were all initiated into the Mysteries of the Great Mother, because they found that the whole mystery of rebirth was taught in these rites; they were also rigid ascetics. The name Naasseni was given them because they represented the ‘Moist Essence’ of the universe – without which nothing that exists, whether immortal or mortal, whether animate or inanimate, could hold together – by the symbol of a serpent. This is the cosmic Akāsha of the Upanishads, and the Kundalini, or serpentine force in man, which when following animal impulse is the force of generation, but when applied to spiritual things makes of a man a god.”
The author of The Return of the Serpents of Wisdom wrote that; “According to Hippolytus, a Church Father and historian who composed a Christian history of heretical sects, many of the very first Gnostics who traveled to Egypt were known as the Naasseni, or the Serpents. The Naasseni were descendants of the School of the Prophets (the Mt. Carmel Essenes) and continued the ancient worship of their predecessors by worshipping Nahustan, the golden or brazen Primal Serpent, which they adoringly placed upon wooden crosses.”
For an interesting story, go to www. miriamhakedosha.blogspot.com/
Look up the story of Calalus which was a Jewish settlement near what is now Tucson Arizona, in 775 C.E. It’s the story of a lead mining operation by our family. There’s a search engine box in the upper left corner of that site. Just type in ‘Calalus’ to be taken to that article. The reason I included this information is because you will see in that article that our family was still using the term Nahustan circa 775 C.E., right here in America. You might note too, that Europeans reached North America long before Columbus.
To continue with the words of G.R.S. Mead;
“Many of the Gnostic schools which arose espoused yogic disciplines as a means to spiritual freedom. During the era of the Egyptian Gnostic cults, for example, it was common for a Gnostic seeker to procure a regimen of yoga from an authorized Gnostic Master before retiring to a quiet monastic cell or venturing out into the lonely desert in search of a cave sanctuary to practice these disciplines. Then, while seeking to unite with his Angelic Guide or Higher Self, as their Essene predecessors had once done, the Gnostic seeker would observe celibacy, consume a sparse diet, occasionally fast, study the traditional Gnostic texts, and spend countless hours lost in contemplation and meditation. After a prescribed period of rigorous yogic disciplines, the dormant intuitive faculties would begin to awaken within a Gnostic aspirant and the illusion of the material world would gradually diminish. Under the purifying effects of the activated serpent fire, which was venerated as Sophia as well as Chnouphis, the androgynous lion-headed serpent, the subtle and spiritual bodies would slowly become awakened and the bonds of physical existence broken.
Within his or her awakened Dragon Body, a Gnostic seeker would learn the secrets of astral traveling out of Jaldabaoths kingdom and into the higher heavenly realms. To assist in these inter-dimensional excursions, the aspirant would use as a guide the Book of Enoch and the Neo-Platonist Iamblichus’s schematic of Aeons or stratifications of the universe. Such texts would inform the aspirant concerning what to expect upon any given plane while also instructing him or her in the appropriate mantras to use in order to bypass the dimensional gate keepers. The seeker was, of course, also assisted and protected during these astral flights by his or her Angelic Presence.”
Valentinus was born in Phrebonis in Upper Egypt about 100 C.E. He claimed to have seen a vision of the risen Christ. He became a disciple of the Christian theologian Theudas who had been a disciple of Paul. He began his career in Alexandria around 120AD. In 136 A.D. he went to Rome where he was so well regarded by the Roman church he became a candidate for the office of bishop. The movement he founded spread throughout Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East and endured for over six hundred years.
At the time, Valentinus’ movement was seen as mystic Roman Catholic Christianity. This was a period before the Roman hierarchy started persecuting the mystical side of the Church. By 326 A.D. when Christianity had become the state religion of the Roman Empire, the Church strove to expel the Valentinian’s and other ‘heretics’ from their congregations.
The Valentinians classified their disciples in three categories, depending upon their spiritual maturity and taught them accordingly. They believed that there were three allegorical ways to read the Bible and these three ways pertained to the three types of disciples or students.
According to Gnosis.org
Valentinians treated the Bible as an allegory that disclosed an inner process of redemption in metaphors. The teacher was expected to discern the person’s level of spiritual development and teach accordingly. In doing this, they believed they were following the example of Jesus. In the Acts of John, Jesus says, “I must adapt myself to your hearing and according to each person’s capacity I will impart to you those things of which you can be hearers.” According to the Gospel of Philip, “Truth did not come into the world naked; rather it came in prototypes and images: the world will not accept it in any other form. The myth was seen as an aid to understanding. The spiritual person was expected to recognize the truth hidden metaphorically within the myth.”
All Valentinians agree that God incorporates both masculine and feminine characteristics. This is in opposition to traditional Jewish and orthodox Christian descriptions of God in exclusively masculine terms. According to most sources, the Father (or Parent) can be understood as a male-female dyad. This is related to the notion that God provides the universe with both form and substance. The aspect through which the Father provides the universe with substance can be understood as feminine. In this aspect he is called Silence, Grace and Thought. Silence is God’s primordial state of tranquility and self-awareness. She is the active creative Thought that makes all subsequent states of being or ‘Aeons’ substantial.
The following, from the book The Masters of Wisdom gives insight into the transformation of the teachings of Jesus during the first centuries C.E.;
“The early fathers Papius, Irenaeus, and Jerome all agreed that there was an early Syriac gospel which was the treasure of the Judean Christians, who were called Ebionite’s, to mark their belief in holy poverty. They were not concerned with asking whether Jesus was God or man but with the hope of being transformed by the love which still emanated from those who had been initiated by him. This Divine love came to be known as the Holy Spirit, and it was understood by all Christians to be the center of their initiation.
….profound changes came after AD 70. The churches were now composed of men and women scarcely any of whom had seen or heard an apostle. There had been a false expectation that the horrors of the Jewish war would usher in the millennium and that Christ would come in glory to rule on the Earth. The Christians who did not understand that the Kingdom had already come to them in the form of Divine love were led, chiefly by the Pauline theory of redemption, to believe that the significance of Jesus was that he was the Dying God of the Promise. For this, Jesus had to be God, and two centuries of anxious inquiry on the part of some, and bitter controversy on the part of others, destroyed the unity of Christendom and prepared the way for still worse things to come.
The saddest feature of the Christological disputes is that they totally distracted men’s attention from the sublime event which had occurred. In the eyes of nearly all the disputants ‘God’ meant the creator of the world – the autocratic power that commands obedience – the same creator before whom the Jews had trembled in the days of Moses. For the Greeks, “God” was either Zeus, the father and king of the gods or Aristotle’s First Cause or Prime Mover. To endow such a ‘God’ with a Son was either a foolishness or a stumbling block, as Paul himself had declared. Among the Gnostics, Valentinus saw this clearly for himself or else he was aware of the Great Initiation or at least and important stage of it. He may have known that Jesus was sent to the Earth from an infinitely higher level than that of the creative power; but his teaching was encompassed in such a fog of speculation that only his personal disciples could penetrate to the real meaning. His enemies, and they included the greatest writers of the Catholic Church, were concerned to show the absurdity of doctrines ascribed to him and so to reject everything that he taught.
I do not doubt that a School of Wisdom existed in Egypt both before and after the time of Christ. The Gnostics were ardent lovers of Jesus and had no doubt of his divine mission. It is not easy to see why they should have been so relentlessly combated and finally suppressed by the orthodox church unless they possessed secrets that might have undermined the doctrines about the nature of Christ and the Deity that were the pretext for power seeking adventures of the Bishops who surrounded the Roman emperors from Constantine to Justinian. This suspicion is strengthened by the zeal with which sacred books of the Gnostics were sought out and destroyed. One thing is certain from AD 321 onward Christianity ceased to be the religion of divine love and became a cult of power and persecution.”
The prophet Mani lived 216–276 AD and started the immensely popular religion called Manichaeism. Mani had been raised an Elchasaite, who were the direct descendants of the Ebionites. Mani declared himself to be an apostle of Jesus and I believe he embraced the reforms made by Jesus. Considering the date of his ministry and his upbringing as an Elchasaite, I think we can safely believe that his teachings were close to that of Jesus’.
In his book, James the Brother of Jesus, Eisenmann tells us that the highest echelon of initiates under Mani were known as the Siddiks or Zaddiks, which means the ‘Righteous Ones’. These terms go back to at least the time when our ancestors went into the Damascene wilderness under the prophet Samuel. Mani taught his followers to abhor riches, suppress sexual desire, to fast, give alms and eat a vegetarian diet. As Jesus sent his disciples out with just a walking stick and no money or change of clothes, so too did Mani. Mani’s religion spread all over Europe and Asia.
The author of Guardians of the Holy Grail relates that Mani was an inspired Messiah and reformer who “transformed the ancient path of Gnosticism into a religion that was more appealing and relevant to the era he was born into.” Mani, by the way was a Mandean of the Nasurai/Nazarene priesthood. Like Jesus, Mani also sought to reform the Mandean religion, thus the Mandeans feel about him the same way they feel about Jesus – that is, not very highly. Mani’s Gnostic empire spread from Spain to China. He was thrown into prison by the Persian Gnostic Magi for tampering with their ancient wisdom. He eventually died and was flayed, and his body displayed for all to see – which was common treatment at the time for ‘heretics’.
The author of The Knights of the Holy Grail gives a good understanding of the political, social and religious background of the Cathars:
“Protected from invasion by the Pyrenees and buffered by the growing strength of the Spanish kingdoms of the Spanish March, the southwestern corner of France, the present day departments of the Languedoc and Roussillon, prospered quietly under the benevolent rule of their local Rex Deus aristocracy and, during the 12th and 13th centuries, gave birth to a truly dazzling civilization; one illuminated by the principles of emerging democracy, love and, above all, religious toleration. The local nobility encouraged trade, economic stability and a level of creative freedom that was truly exceptional in Europe at that time. The feudal rule of the local counts was subjected to a degree of democratic moderation by the wealthy bourgeoisie who were assisted by groups of lawyers in the more prosperous towns and cities.
The influence of the Catholic Church had almost totally vanished in some areas and was in marked decline in the rest of the southwest. The local nobility, tolerant of the large Jewish community in their midst, who had seen the economic and intellectual benefits that flowed from their presence, now extended this toleration to a religious group known as the Cathars, people who claimed to follow the “True Teachings of Jesus.”
Within the Cathar faith, the congregation were known as ‘the hearers’ and the priests as ‘les bonhomie’s’ or the good men who lived according to the ideals laid down by their Essene precursors, yet their hostile critics within the Christian Church called them ‘perfect’, a corruption of the Latin term hereticus perfectus, they were also known as the Cathari, the pure ones. At the end of the 11th century, Count Raymond of Toulouse had raised a considerable army to participate in the First Crusade and liberate his Rex Deus homeland from the infidel, however, attitudes had changed by the mid-12th century and the local nobility, who were growing in confidence in an atmosphere of declining Church power were becoming openly anticlerical. Indeed, according to the Catholic historian Giraud, the nobility of the Languedoc, the prosperous and populous area between Carcassonne and Toulouse, were almost completely Cathar.
Insofar as it can be established, the Cathar religion was a dualist form of Gnosticism whose roots can be traced back to early Zoroastrian religion, the school of Pythagoras and the cult of Mithras; with this strange mélange of beliefs transformed by contact with early Christianity. Some historians also claim that it was a derivative of Manichaeism, an initiatory Christian cult of Persian origin based on the teachings of the mystic, Mani.
The Cathar heresy was a pure form of initiatory Christianity whose only scripture, the Gospel of Love, otherwise known as the Secret Gospel of John, taught the simple message that Jesus came to reveal and not to redeem. In this sense the first identifiable parent of the Cathar faith can be found within the First Church in Jerusalem led by James the Just, the brother of Jesus. At the heart of Cathar doctrine is the notion that true Christianity (which the Cathars claimed to receive in a secret line of apostolic succession from St John) is a life lived, not simply a doctrine believed. For them the life of Jesus was a model the ‘good Christian’ must strive to emulate, not a vicarious sacrifice to be blindly accepted on trust. The existence of the Cathars challenged the legitimacy of the Roman Church as Zoe Oldenbourg explains in Massacre at Montsegur”:
‘The Cathars declared themselves the heirs of a tradition that was older than that held by the Church of Rome – and, by implication, both less contaminated and near in spirit to the apostolic tradition. They claimed to be the only persons who had kept and cherished the Holy Spirit which Christ had bestowed upon His Church; and it looks as though this claim was at least partially justified.’
We learn from the author of Guardians of the Holy Grail;
“With Valentinus Gnostic Cupbearers streaming into Europe, it was only a matter of time before a Gnostic reunion of sorts would take place. This is because another Gnostic movement with origins in the Middle East arrived in Europe at about the same time, although it had followed a road through the portal of Turkey. This second Gnostic movement, which was influenced by the eastern Gnostic sects known as the Bogomils, Paulicians, and the Gnostic religion of Manichaeism, united with Valentinus Cupbearers in southern France to produce the Cathars, a sect that advocated direct personal experience of the Divine, as well as the veneration of the Gnostic Cupbearer John the Apostle, just as its parent sects had. John had become the patron saint of almost all the Gnostic orders at that time, and he was recognized as the glue that finally brought them all together. His two scriptural works, the Gospel of John and the Revelation of St. John the Divine, had become compulsory reading for Gnostics everywhere, and he was rightly venerated as the Father of European Gnosticism.”
The Scandinavian line of our family, the ‘Odinic’ line, were also known as the Ulvungar dynasty. They were descendants of the Lling Lleat dynasty of Asia. The word Lling? It means the same thing as ‘Farr’, the Persian form of the ‘Shining’ epithet attributed to our ancestors. The author of God Kings Outremer gives us the Ulvungar’s angle on the Cathars;
“I think also that many Ulvungar’s blamed their defeat on the Catholic Church and decided that they would do all in their power to bring it down. That they supported the Cathars is without doubt. The Cathars were the direct descendants of the Elchesaites, from whom the Ulvungar’s themselves sprang – indeed, the word Cathar comes from the word katharioi, used to describe the Elchesaites. The Cathar’s, like the Elchesaites, claimed to have written proof that Jesus was married, and who indeed had two wives, one of whom was Mary Magdalene. It was one of the major reasons for the Crusade against the Cathars in 1209, which lasted until 1229, and is known as the Albigensian Crusade. The Templars refused to take part, because the Ulvungar Counts of Toulouse were the protectors of the Cathars and, being senior members of the Templars themselves came under attack. Once again, the Church was trying to kill off the members of The Family and destroy their documents, although now it was also greed that helped to fuel this particular purge.”
When he refers to “The Family” he is referring to the bloodline of Christ. The title ‘Rex Deus’ refers to ‘god kings’. They were originally meant to be leaders of the people who were themselves led by the Christ spirit.
Margaret Starbird, author of Mary Magdalene Bride in Exile has this to say regarding the reasons for the Catholics genocide against the Cathars;
“In 1239, the flowering of the Grail legends was nipped in the bud by the formation of the Inquisition. The southern provinces of France were engulfed in a brutal genocide called the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1250), during which mercenary armies of the pope and French king collaborated to wipe out whole cities. The annals of the Inquisition do not make clear what the Cathars believed that the Roman Church found so unacceptable, but strong evidence asserts that one of their tenets of faith was the marriage union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. In 1209, the French soldiers of Simon de Montfort swept into the walled town of Beziers and killed twenty thousand citizens, of whom many were Cathars. Some sought sanctuary in the church, and perished en masse when the building was torched.
This brutality is mentioned in a contemporaneous document describing the massacre at Beziers believed recorded by Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay, a Cistercian monk writing in 1213 about the Albigensian Crusade and the campaign led by Simon de Montfort. Noting that the slaughter of the men, women, and children at Beziers had been accomplished by order of Pope Innocent III on July 22, the feast day of Mary Magdalene, the zealous monk declared that it was a ‘supreme justice of Providence” because the heretics claimed that Saint Mary Magdalene was the concubine of Jesus Christ. In a second account by the same author, A Description of the Cathars and Waldenses, Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay asserted that the heretics affirmed the marriage of Christ to Mary Magdalene. For this view, he may have relied in part on an earlier source found in ‘An Exposure of the Albigensian Heresies’, attributed to Ermengaud of Beziers, who supports the claim that “Cathars taught in their secret meetings that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus Christ.”
The authors of Rex Deus the True Mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau and the Dynasty of Jesus’ give additional insight into the beliefs and background of the Cathars;
“The dedicated commitment of the Languedoc nobility to the First Crusade and their tolerance for the Cathars derives from the fact that the aristocracy of the entire area was largely drawn from the families of the Rex Deus tradition. The Cathars were members of a dualist school of Gnosticism with roots in early Zoroastrianism, the teachings of Pythagoras and the Mithraic cult transformed by contact with early Christianity. Some authorities claim that Catharism was a derivative of Manichaeism, the initiatory Christian cult based on the teachings of a Persian mystic called Mani. Cathar society had distinct echoes of the Druidic era of the Celts, where the perfect were the equivalent to the Druidic priests and the Troubadours of the Languedoc, wandering minstrels who extolled the spiritual value of courtly love. Celtic Christianity was also an initiatory religion that is often described as having Gnostic and strong dualist tendencies.
The Perfecti were men and women, easily identified by their distinctive robes, who lived in working communities irrespective of their previous social status. They traveled the countryside in pairs tending to the pastoral needs of the communities they served, preaching to their growing flock and administering healing. Their healing was based upon spiritual insight moderated by their expertise as herbalists and, in this they consciously replicated the duties of the first apostles and the Essenes.
In the Gospel of Thomas it is recorded that Jesus had informed his disciples that they too would become capable of doing all that he did. The Perfecti, as true initiates of Jesus’ teaching, knew this to be true and, like the supreme initiate they followed, lived a simple life, traveling everywhere on foot to discharge their sacred duties to the community they served. They believed that sacred knowledge came from God through the true teaching of Jesus and that spiritual union with God would be the ultimate result of their Gnosis.
The Cathars knew that the true teaching of Jesus was the sole route to spiritual union with almighty God and that they were the guardians of a form of Gnosis which had been handed down from its roots in the Egyptian temple mysteries, through the Therapeutae, the Essenes, the revelations of John the Baptist and on to its peak of perfection in Jesus’ initiatory teaching. The true spiritual parent of the Cathar religion can be found in the first ‘Church’ in Jerusalem led by James the Just, the brother of Jesus.”
The author of Guardians of the Holy Grail tells us that Cathars believed that the souls of all humans began as angels, lured down to Earth, who became trapped in material bodies by the dark lord Rex Mundi – king of the world. He also relates that each person’s angelic soul drifts between Heaven and Earth waiting for its owner to become purified so that it could reunite with them. The Cathars taught that the goal of all humans was to purify and assimilate their angelic nature, and that through this reunion a Cathar could potentially acquire both gnosis and special angelic abilities to heal and awaken others.
From The Hidden Wisdom – Secrets of the Western Esoteric Tradition;
“God’s supposed representative on Earth, Pope innocent III, declared a crusade against the Albigensian (Cathar) heresy in 1209. The rewards for the butchers who took part in this anti-Christian crusade were tempting indeed. An indulgence granting pardon from their past sins – and from any they might commit in the course of their holy duties – was granted to each crusader who served for forty days. They also had the traditional rights to the lands, property and goods of any declared heretic, be they nobleman or peasant. Every freebooter, rogue, adventurer or landless member of the minor nobility not otherwise gainfully occupied, engaged in an un-holy race to take part. Truly this was a God given and divinely blessed opportunity to murder, rape and pillage without remorse or punishment.”
The author Tim Wallace talks about Gnostic Christian groups we have not discussed;
“Like Mandaeism, Gnostic Christianity once taught in its closed circles that the sacred wedding of the king and the high priestess in the Mysteries is a symbol for spiritual rebirth, the destiny of every soul. It showed that the way to enlightenment, to the Light world of the Kingdom of Heaven, is via the act of love, the ancient principle of the hieros gamos. Sexuality abides at every level of being. At every level it is necessary to marry the polarities, reconciling, wherever they occur, good and evil, reason and heart, heaven and hell, spirit and matter…as well as man and woman. There is no other way to God, Jesus taught, than by the way of transcendence, the way of love transmuted by the fire of mind: the way of the reconciliation of opposites.”
“The Orphics maintained that the way to permanent union with the Son of God was not through drugs or occasional full moon dalliances in the mountains, but through the adoption of a spiritual lifestyle punctuated with the regular observance of yogic practices. They contended that the only way to permanently unite with the transcendental aspect of Dionysus was through renouncing the selfish and animalistic urges which occupy the material flesh. They taught that through a strict vegetarian diet, occasional fasts, study of the scriptures, service to others and lengthy periods of meditation, a seeker could permanently become a Bacchus.” (Christ)
“The greatest of the Orphic and Dactyloi initiates was Pythagoras, a wizard and hierophant whose name means ‘I am the Python” or “I am the Serpent.” Pythagoras was an incarnation of the Primal Serpent which took birth to synthesize and reform the mystery traditions scattered throughout the ancient world. During his upbringing upon the Island of Samos, Pythagoras was exposed to many of the most ancient mystery teachings of the Serpent Goddess. Having been born into a Pelasgian home he was surrounded by the wisdom of the first colonists of the Aegean, some of whom had arrived directly from Atlantis.”
The author of Mysteries of the Bridechamber speaks of the time period circa 375 CE when the Catholic church strove to become a unified religious model and outlawed internal debate and dissent. At that time, the creed was standardized, the “laity dis-empowered, and the bishops elevated to a hierarchical and authoritarian autocracy.”
In 386 C.E., Priscilian, the Bishop of Avila in Spain, was executed for teaching Gnostic doctrines as authentic ingredients of the Christian faith. Priscilians death effectively marked the end of the outward practice of mystic Christianity. Helena Blavatsky remarked that during the Protestant Reformation the ‘letter’ of Christianity was restored – but the ‘Spirit’, was not.