This Week's Episode: ANARCHISM & GNOSTICISM



August 30 (and onward): Although mostly nonpolitical, the ancient Gnostics might find today civic kinship with the modern Anarchist movements. After all, the ancient Gnostics rejected all earthly and heavenly systems, demanding that their divine spark (rights) remain solely with the individual; and that all power corrupted and thus needed to be negated or pushed back against the establishments in one way or another. We make the case for Anarchism being the political home for any modern Gnosticism, in a world collapsing under the weight of vast and grinding and rusty political machines.

Astral Guest-- Robert Bonomo, author of Your Love Incomplete and Cactus Land.

More information on Robert and this week's show

ARTICLES:

What is Gnosticism?   What is Gnosis?    Do Gnostics Believe in Hell?   The Pagan Origins of the Gnostic Sophia   The Real Reason the Nag Hammadi was buried    John the Baptist & The Gnostics   The Complete Gospel of Mary   The Counterfeit Spirit   Jesus & Gnosticism in Islam   Should Gnostics be Political?   You Might be a Gnostic if...  The Gnostic Influence on the Founding of the USA     The Great Declaration by Simon Magus   An Ocean of God   Gnostic Women Leaders & Heroines   Should Gnostics Celebrate Easter?   Do Gnostics Believe in Reincarnation?   Why do Gnostics consider Mary Magdalene the greatest Apostle?   The Gnostic origins of Valentine's Day  Do Gnostics believe in charity and good works?



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Politics & The Occult 09/06/2014


Ever since Church and State began to separate during the Age of Enlightenment, Esoteric ideas have heavily influenced government institutions. This has been more of a norm than an exception, even and especially today. Mystic Philosophers, Mercurial Occultists and Militant Secret Brotherhoods have repeatedly changed the course of history. Rosicrucians, Freemason, Kabbalists, Theosophists and many other groups have caused as much damage as good to Western Civilization. From the Great Revolutions to the World Wars, we study the strange and often violent matrimony of Occultism and Government. And how the precursor of the fall of great civilizations eerily parallels our modern times.  




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Anarchism and Gnosticism 8/30/2014


Although mostly nonpolitical, the ancient Gnostics might find today civic kinship with the modern Anarchist movements. After all, the ancient Gnostics rejected all earthly and heavenly systems, demanding that their divine spark (rights) remain solely with the individual; and that all power corrupted and thus needed to be negated or pushed back against the establishments in one way or another. We make the case for Anarchism being the political home for any modern Gnosticism, in a world collapsing under the weight of vast and grinding and rusty political machines.

Astral Guest-- Robert Bonomo, author of Your Love Incomplete and Cactus Land.

More information on Robert
Robert's excellent blog, The Cactus Land




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The Spirit & The Counterfeit Spirit (by Robert Wood)


"And he made a plan with his powers. He sent his angels to the daughters of men, that they might take some of them for themselves and raise offspring for their enjoyment. And at first they did not succeed. When they had no success, they gathered together again and they made a plan together. They created a counterfeit spirit, who resembles the Spirit who had descended, so as to pollute the souls through it. And the angels changed themselves in their likeness into the likeness of their mates (the daughters of men), filling them with the spirit of darkness, which they had mixed for them, and with evil. They brought gold and silver and a gift and copper and iron and metal and all kinds of things. And they steered the people who had followed them into great troubles, by leading them astray with many deceptions. They (the people) became old without having enjoyment. They died, not having found truth and without knowing the God of truth. And thus the whole creation became enslaved forever, from the foundation of the world until now. And they took women and begot children out of the darkness according to the likeness of their spirit. And they closed their hearts, and they hardened themselves through the hardness of the counterfeit spirit until now. – Apocryphon of John

For those who take the Gnostic mythos seriously, you cannot escape dualism. Dualism is fundamental to understanding the texts and Gnostic Christian Spirituality. It is not good versus evil but how spirit and matter are distinct. That matter is a container for spirit; and that matter will eventually perish and die, while the spirit will live on. This analogy works for explaining truth and image. As expressed in the Gospel of Philip, truth comes in images. The truth can only be expressed to us in images but images can be deceptive. What image conveys truth to one person, may not convey truth to another person. A maniac can use an image of something true to convey something that is not true to someone. But images are NOT the truth in and of themselves. This is a trap that we all fall prey to at some point in our life and why understanding dualism can help us avoid this trap. Now what exactly is spirit, you may be asking yourself at this point. Spirit is basically a nonphysical force that moves us to act in a particular way. It is not a disembodied wisp of ether but how we are moved to act. Now that we have a basic understanding of what spirit is, we can now explain the counterfeit spirit and the true spirit.

The counterfeit spirit is the compilation of all the forces that keep us from knowing God. It manifests itself in different ways in our lives. It could be competition; it could be the sexual desire; it could be greed; it could even be the spirit of justice but they all have a common thread. That common thread is they convince you to follow in a way that is opposed to the love and wisdom of God. It is this spirit that tells us that the homeless got what they deserve; that you should “win” by any means necessary even it means cutting your brother’s throat; that we are “God’s nation.” The counterfeit spirit is not new, it has always been around us but it manifests itself in subtle ways and it is always about keeping control and maintaining a particular order. It manifests in response to the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit which is our instructor that tries to wake us up to this illusion.

I have spent a good amount of time talking about the counterfeit spirit so what is the Holy Spirit? Why is the Holy Spirit so frightening to the rulers that a counterfeit spirit has to be created? The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. It is the spirit of the perfect union of wisdom and love. As stated in other scripture, it is our instructor that moves us to show the image of the true God. It encourages us to go against the order that is built on a lie. It encourages us to do move in ways that goes against the law when the law is not righteous. It is not vengeance but merciful. It teaches a way that is not of this world. It teaches to be compassionate, merciful and a lover of truth. It brings chaos that eventually brings true peace and rest. It is like the withdrawals an addict, feels before they become clean. They know that it is good for them but their body is telling them to not stop; to not mess up the order. It produces all kinds of ways to convince you to not give it up. This is how the world reacts to the spirit of truth. It does not care about truth or what is good; but for what will keep things the way they are and maintain control. The spirit of truth is about life and freedom, the counterfeit spirit is about death and control.

We are all addicts in this world of forms. We all have our own struggles that we have to overcome to find our life and the light that is within us. We are encouraged to look inward because we have our own unique struggles, so that we do not condemn others that are going through struggles of their own. It is easier to denounce the struggles of others than to denounce our own failings and for a system that is looking to control, all it needs to do is to capitalize on that and that is what the counterfeit spirit hopes to do. If we are ever overcome the virus that is the empire, we need the Holy Spirit. It brings truth that will expose the lies that will free us from our own captors. It always comes from the unlikeliest of places which is why we must remain vigilant. Like Christ, the Spirit does not come to us as a conquering warrior with an army of angels. It does not come as a powerful man with the most advance weaponry. It comes as a little child born in filthy barn. It comes as a child who says “I am not broken because some lady ate an apple.”


Amen.



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The Return of the Inquisition 08/23/2014


The foundation of The Inquisition began with the Heresiologists and their polemics against the Gnostics. The tools of the Totalitarian Regimes-- including thought crime, instilling horror in the population and public confessions, just to name a few-- were borrowed from the Church Father in their wars against the Cathars, Manichaeans and Bogomils. Later in history, in a very conscious way, these procedures were utilized by modern fascist and socialist regimes. There has always been an intellectual movement to banish the Gnostics. We reveal that this movement is alive as ever. It's a chilling reality…and they're coming for you sooner than you think...

Arthur Versluis, author of The New Inquisition, Restoring Paradise: Western Esotericism, Literature, and Consciousness, Awakening the Contemplative Spirit, as well as editor of Esoterica and Professor of American Studies at Michigan State University.



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Phoenix Wright and Gnostic Spirituality (by Robert Wood)


14:17: Even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. ~ The Gospel of John

"...you're thinking too normal... think crazy..." – Mia Fey, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
                       
Video games are a big part of my life. When I was 4 years old, my parents got a Nintendo Entertainment System. It was something that we played together as a family activity. I still have fond memories of playing Super Mario Bros and Little Nemo: The Dream Master with my family. After my Dad’s accident, video games became a coping tool to help me deal with the problems that my family endured. I still play video games to this day. Today, I’ll be talking about the Phoenix Wright series and its connection to Gnostic Christian spirituality. While it is NOT an explicitly Gnostic game, it has elements that do reinforce Gnostic Christian spirituality.

The first element is faith in what is true. I know with some Gnostics faith is considered a dirty word, but faith is an important part of Gnostic Christian spirituality. Having faith means to trust, not blindly believing as some spiritual systems try to hock. You play as a lawyer by the name of Phoenix Wright. The core of each case is putting faith in your client that they are telling you the truth and that they are actually innocent. With your faith in your client, you begin to search for evidence to show that your client is innocent. In Gnostic Christian spirituality, you put your faith in the teachings put forth in the most of the New Testament and the Nag Hammadi scriptures. Why you put your faith them is up to you to decide, but the teachings cannot be followed if you do not trust that they have value to them.

The next element that the Phoenix Wright shares with Gnostic Christian spirituality is the symbolism of the courtroom. Your character, Phoenix Wright, is basically a Christ allegory. He defends his client against the judgment of the prosecutors and the world. In this particular world, clients are guilty until proven innocent which reflects how we intuitively react. We innately want vengeance, not mercy. We want those we accuse to be punished. We desire blood for blood, an eye for an eye. The prosecutors in this game are basically traditional Satans from Judaism and Gnostic Christianity, which are also prosecutors in their respective mythos. The Catholic/Protestant Christian and Islamic views of Satan do not apply here since the prosecutors are not necessarily evil; they want to win their case and get a conviction. They want eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth vengeance with no regard for the truth. They just want retribution for the crime. The judge in this game would correlate with the world in the Gnostic mythos. The judge in this particular game is on the side of the prosecutor and from the start of each case is ready to dismiss the arguments of the defense and declare a guilty verdict. As the judge and prosecutors are close allies in this game so are Satan and the world in the Gnostic mythos. The world wants to keep itself stable and is already compelled to believe what is already established. Satans are assigned to defend the status quo and to argue that the status quo is true for the sake of keeping the system of beliefs in tack. Like Christ, you as Phoenix Wright show that the world that we believe to be true is not what it seems. That the little details often get overlooked and ignored will illustrate a bigger, more accurate picture than what the judge or the prosecutor want to believe is there.

Finally, the last element that ties closely with Gnostic Christian spirituality is that truth will be revealed through testing and that lies will crumble under testing. This is a core element of the Gnostic Christian dualism and where the matter and spirit dichotomy comes from. If something is true, it will withstand any testing. If something is a lie, it will fall apart. A lie requires a grain of truth to exist but it cannot exist without that grain of truth and perishes under testing. Spirit represents truth and matter represents lies in the dualism. Not all truth is good, some truths are rather unpleasant but it is the truth that frees oneself from the bondage of lies. It is the truth that frees the clients in this game from the lies that try to ensnare them. As Phoenix Wright, you bring the truth to light so that those falsely accused do not have to suffer because of the world’s need for retribution.

As I stated earlier, the Phoenix Wright games are not Gnostic, but they do have some elements that are important to Gnostic Christian spirituality that I do not think the creators of this game were aware of being present. The importance of faith, the court room as a spiritual analogy, and the desire to find truth are representative of Gnostic Christianity. Faith is important because it gives you a starting point. We live life in the spiritual courtroom where we have an advocate within us who is willing to defend us; and forces that seek to accuse, punish, and imprison us. Finally, the truth will always be revealed and lies will pass away, just as spirit will continue after the container of matter has perished. May you place your faith in what is true and imperishable. May you have an advocate within yourself who will defend you from the accusers who ever they are. 

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Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes (The Serpent Worshipers) 08/16/2014


Perhaps the most enigmatic of Gnostic sects were the Serpent Worshipers, the Ophites and Naassenes-- who saw the Snake in the Garden of Eden as an incarnation of Sophia or Jesus Christ. Of these heretics there is little remaining in a censoring history won by the victors, except for a Naassene Psalm that reveals a penetrating view of early alternative Christianity and primordial Gnosis. We delve into the mysticism of the dangerous Serpent Worshipers, understanding how their forbidden message is as relevant today as it was in an era of rising Orthodoxy and crumbling empires.

Astral Guest-- Mark Gaffney, author of Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes: The Initiatory Teachings of the Last Supper.


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Jesus the Alchemist 08/09/2014


Evidence suggests that Alchemy might be far more than the precursor of chemistry or a pursuit for spiritual transformation. Alchemy is ritual of a primordial religion, an arduous process that harnesses the powers of nature and the cosmos to create materials that in essence can make a human into God.  It was a lore than ancient man understood and practiced, coding this Alchemy in the form of myth and holy scripture. Although this secret to immortality thrived in the Egyptian Mysteries, it was later handed to other faiths, Mystery Religions, and Secret Societies. And one of these were perhaps the early Christians and the Classic Gnostics. When seen through the eye of the Alchemist, the teachings of Jesus, especially in the Gnostic Gospels, are full of hints and instructions on how to recreate the true Philosopher's Stone--the powder that makes man literally divine as the gods have always wanted.

Astral Guest-- Al Sylvester, author of The First Mythology.

Al's Homepage (includes sections on his steps on the Alchemical Ritual & Research on The Gnostic Gospels



















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Occult Messages in Movies 08/02/2014


The medium of film has been a powerful conduit for contraband Esoterica, from the Theosopy of The Wizard of Oz to the Gnostic Gospel of The Matrix, from the Gnosis of Ed Wood to the dark magick of James Bond. We explore occult themes in movies, as well as their forbidden gifts message and arcane symbolism, revealing incredible mythological vistas to spiritual freedom.

Astral Guest-- Robert Sullivan, author of Cinema Symbolism  and The Royal Arch of Enoch.

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The Gnostic View of Suffering 07/26/2014


All faiths possess their reasoning for the reality of suffering. The Gnostics claim their own unique slant, oddly paralleling other religions yet at the same time just as oddly original. Through the eyes of a brand new Gnostic Gospel, in the form of a powerful fiction novel, we explore how the Gnostics saw the origins of iniquity and other theological conundrums that to this day bring great confusion and debate among all the world's ideologies. There must be some way out of here, said the Joker to the Thief…

Astral Guest-- Tim Roux, author of Fishing for Christians.






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Interpretations of Mary's Journey of the Soul (by Robert Wood)


And desire said, I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie since you belong to me ? The soul answered and said, I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment and you did not know me. When it said this, it (the soul) went away rejoicing greatly. Again it came to the third power, which is called ignorance. The power questioned the soul, saying, Where are you going? In wickedness are you bound. But you are bound; do not judge ! And the soul said, Why do you judge me, although I have not judged? I was bound, though I have not bound. I was not recognized. But I have recognized that the All is being dissolved, both the earthly things and the heavenly. When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, which took seven forms. The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven powers of wrath. They asked the soul, Whence do you come slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space? The soul answered and said, What binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome, and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died.  In a aeon I was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient. From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence.
 – The Gospel of Mary

The special teaching that Mary receives from Jesus in this particular work is unique because it details the journey of the soul in Christian literature. While it is focused on the afterlife, the story detailed is a parable of the trials we must overcome in our life. The powers that the soul encounters are attachments that prevent us from being authentic individuals. There are forces in our everyday life that hold us back from learning about who we are. We must challenge the physical, mental, and spiritual authorities within and outside of us that want to rule our lives if we are to find true peace. While it reads like a "Book of the Dead," it could be viewed more as a parable about how to live.

We do not know what the first power is due to the text being fragment so we will begin by looking at the second power, Desire. Desire is anything we crave; what we believe that we cannot live without. Desire’s challenge to the soul is “why do lie since you belong to me”. The illusion that Desire tries to create is that we are the sum of our desires. That our desires define who we are as people and that desires is all that there is to our personhood. The soul’s response is that “it is a garment”. Being the animals that we are, we are going to have desires and goals that we wish to obtain; but those desires do not define our personhood. Desires are an outer shell of what makes us people. We have a core that is unique in shape but similar in substance to every other person. Like clothing, desires fade and wear out with time. They make you feel accomplished when you obtain them, they may even make you feel special, but they do not complete us. They do not make us whole and they do not fill that void that is within us. If anything, they make the void bigger and make us lose sight of what makes others and ourselves human. A rich person without clothes is still a person, just a as poor person without clothing is still a person. When we understand that our desires can be put away and removed like clothing; not only can we forgive ourselves but we can forgive the transgressions of others. We recognize the humanity of others and ourselves.

The next power encountered is Ignorance. The challenge that ignorance proposes to the soul is, “In wickedness you are bound. But you are bound; do not judge!”  While this power is called ignorance it could more modernly described as unreflective guilt. This is the guilt one feels for no reason. It is guilt felt for committing some wrong, whether you have committed it or not and extends to assuming that others are guilty of committing the same sin one feels guilty. The soul’s reply is “Why do you judge me, although I have not judged? I was bound, though I have not bound. I was not recognized. But I have recognized that the All is being dissolved, both the earthly things and the heavenly.”  The solution is to not judge others and to be reflective of your life. We all commit wrongs either intentionally or unintentionally, that’s part of living in a world where we have to compete for resources. Accept the wrongs that you have done and try to fix them if you can. If you cannot, accept that it was done and learn from it. Either way you are forgiven and are not bound by them. You only bound yourself to sin when you refuse to let it go and remain in ignorance concerning them. Being forgiven, you can and should forgive others. You do not know the struggles and hearts of others so you cannot judge their soul. Judging their souls just binds your soul even more tightly to your own guilt and prevents you from accepting your own forgiveness that you have already received.

The last power listed is the seven powers of wrath. This power is the external world or rather what one perceives to be the external world. This interpretation is based on Marvin Meyer’s, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, where the footnote comments that this is a reference to the seven planets that was once believed to make up the universe. The question of this power is, “Whence do you come slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space?” reinforces the idea that this power is the external world. Couple it with the fact that this power is listed last makes the case even stronger. It calls the soul “slayer of men” because we live in a world where we have to compete with each other. While most of us in the first world do not have to literally kill others to survive, we still have to compete for limited resources. We have to “conquer” our space when we compete. The soul’s response is “What binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome, and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died.  In a aeon I was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient. From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence.”  This is basically making peace with one’s life and the final recognition that we are not one but two. We are a spirit and body with a soul/mind that filters what the spirit experiences through the body. When we die, our desires, our guilt, and our instincts die with us. All that is left when we leave our body is ourselves. Have you removed desires like the garments that they are or are you still clinging to them? Are you still seeking something you do not need anymore or are you ready to make peace with yourself?

While we are not dead and I do not know what the afterlife holds, we can still apply these teachings to our life in the present. What desires are we ready to let go? What guilt are we ready to be forgiven for so we can more readily forgive others? How are we willing to cooperate with our competitors and show compassion to people that the world tells us are our enemies? I do not have the answers to these questions but these are questions to think about as we go through our lives. Now this interpretation is based on the English translation since I do not know Coptic. There may be puns or references within this text that may have eluded me due to my own ignorance. This is the layer of this passage that I understand and wish to share with you. Feel free to find more layers that I have missed and build from it. Reflect on your life so you do not get trapped and enslaved by the worldview that you create. Create a worldview that is based on truth for truth does not enslave nor ensnare but it grows and sets you free.

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Neoplatonism 07/19/2014


One of the main relatives of Gnosticism is Neoplatonism. Unlike the Gnostics, Neoplatonic thought was embraced by Judaism and Christianity, even influenced early Islam and modern Occultism. We deeply mine the theology, philosophy, and rituals of Neoplatonism, finding that although not as edgy as Gnosticism it still demands much from the soul to reach the heart of divinity and overcome sensible reality. And how both Gnosticism and Neoplatonism perhaps offer the best spiritual solutions to a world lost in the darkness of material being.

Astral Guest-- Jeffrey S. Kupperman, author of Living Theurgy.

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The Pleroma or Zero Point Field 07/12/2014


The ancient Gnostics claimed that there existed an ultimate and idealized reality called the Pleroma, the primordial consciousness that permeated and perhaps sustained all of existence. Beyond that, it also was the roadmap in the sensible world that could grant sentient forms its supernal information, teach one the ways of eternity...also called Gnosis or perhaps Total Recall. New science reveals that the Pleroma is not just the philosophical musings of bygone heretics but an active force that can be tapped into in order to access infinite power and knowledge. In essence, the Pleroma or Zero Point Field has the potential of granting the promise of The Gnostics: to become divine while still in the flesh.

Astral Guests--Anthony Peake, author of The Man Who Remembered the Future: A Life of Philip K. Dick, The Daemon and Is There Life After Death?.

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Secret Mark, Carpocrates & Homosexuality in Early Christianity 07/05/2014


Recent and sober scholarship indicates that the controversial Secret Gospel of Mark is authentic. This points to a libertine, mystical form of Christianity that thrived in the ancient world. The hotbed of this movement was in Alexandria with the mercurial Gnostic sage, Carpocrates. We enter the dangerous yet egalitarian teachings of the Carpocrateans and other alternative Christianities that incurred the wrath of Orthodoxy, and find relevant teachings for a world that still cannot embrace tolerance.

It's out 8th year anniversary celebration!

Astral Guest-- Robert Conner, author of Magic in the New Testament and Jesus The Sorcerer.






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