This Week's Episode: THE YEZIDIS & GNOSTICISM IN ISLAM



September 20 (and onward): One of the most neglected vehicles of Gnosis transmitted throughout history is Islamic Gnosticism. Although Sufism is widely regarded in esoteric and even exoteric circles these days, the reality is that the Muslim matrix contains various other Gnostic sects, some older than and some deriving from Islam. There is an argument to be made that Muhammad himself was influenced by Gnosticism. Furthermore, the wisdom and legends of Jesus have a long tradition in Islam that is almost unknown in The West (and often far more mystical than mainstream Christianity). We explore how the Gnostic spirit penetrated, thrived and evolved within the Islamic culture; and how it later flowed back into Western Culture in many incarnations (including the enigmatic Peacock Angel). Our guest also discloses additions to the second edition of his lauded book that include virgin insights into Alchemy and the French Troubadours (both who are arguably influenced by Muslim Gnosticism). Lastly, we discuss an overlooked Gnostic and science fiction author whose writings are comparable in depth and power to those of Philip K. Dick, and whose time has come for the Esoterica to embrace.

Astral Guest-- Sean Martin, author of The Gnostics, The Cathars, and Alchemy & Alchemists.

More information on Sean 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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Friendship in Gnosis (by Robert Wood)

Big adventure
Tons of fun
A beautiful heart
Faithful and strong
Sharing kindness!
It's an easy feat
And magic makes it all complete 
– My Little Pony Theme Song

"Become earnest about the word! For as to the word, its first part is faith; the second, love; the third, works; for from these comes life. For the word is like a grain of wheat; when someone had sown it, he had faith in it; and when it had sprouted, he loved it, because he had seen many grains in place of one. And when he had worked, he was saved, because he had prepared it for food, (and) again he left (some) to sow. So also can you yourselves receive the kingdom of heaven; unless you receive this through knowledge, you will not be able to find it." – Apocryphon of James

Outside of running Alpha & Omega: Christian Gnostic Church, I have many interests and activities that I pursue. Being the Gnostic and pastor in training that I am, finding links between these activities and my spiritual path is to be expected. Finding these links not only helps me understand my spiritual path more clearly but also allows me to convey my understanding of my path to others in images that others understand. One of my most resent interests is a series called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. A point of interest is mystical artifact called the Elements of Harmony. These elements are basically virtues but one of these elements seems kind of out of place and unexplained in the series, the element of magic. Now I could be completely off with this connection but I believe that this particular element represents gnosis. The element of magic in Friendship is Magic is gnosis because the way that she discovers her element of harmony is very similar to the general process of how one experiences gnosis; as gnosis is dependent on certain virtues and behaviors, her element grows in response to the other elements of harmony; and the character who represents this element is an intellectual that grows as a person/pony through the series progression.

The process that Twilight Sparkle went through to learn her element is very similar to the process of receiving gnosis. In the first episode, Twilight Sparkle is ordered to leave Canterlot to the small village of Ponyville where she is told to make some friends by her mentor Princess Celestia, a god-like being who rules the land and raises the sun. She is distraught by this order because she discovered some sign that a great catastrophe was going to occur and says to her companion, “The fate of Equestria does not rest on me making friends.”  So as expected, the catastrophe occurs and the ponies that did try to make friends with her know that she knows more about what is going on than them. They decide to follow her into an area that is uncontrolled and untamed by the town ponies called the Everfree Forest to find the mystical artifacts that can stop the disaster, the Elements of Harmony. After a few trials where the ponies demonstrate each of their strengths, Twilight Sparkle’s moment to shine comes but all seems to be lost when not only is she unable to use the artifact, the artifact gets destroyed. She then has a moment, where out of nowhere, she understands the importance of friendship and that the friends that she had made through this adventure actually represent the elements that the artifacts are supposed to contain. After this moment, the artifact that was destroyed reconfigured itself and they were able to redeem the evil they had to confront.

This is like the process of receiving gnosis because gnosis is an experience that is triggered by having the right type of knowledge, the right type of understanding, and an awakening event (Thank you Jeremy Puma for summarizing this). All of these have to be present to receive gnosis. It is not just book learning, it is not just feelings and intuition, it is not just an experience; it is a full package of all of these together. Without the experience, you are Twilight Sparkle wondering why in the world she’s in Ponyville in the first place and seeing the Ponyville that we are in as a waste of time. The experience of gnosis of God reveals something that wisdom and knowledge alone do not convey but without knowledge and wisdom of what this experience is, it is meaningless. If Twilight Sparkle had not of had the knowledge and understanding that she did, the event that triggered her awakening would have not triggered this awakening at all. She would have been lost in the despair at the lost of the artifacts and not realized that what they need was within them all along.

Each of the Elements of Harmony contributes to the element of magic. Without the other elements the element of magic is essentially useless. This was illustrated in the end of the first season when the ponies who represented the other elements forgot who they were and were unable to stop another great disaster. But the element of magic was able to be used to remind the ponies who lost their way to find who they were again. Like gnosis, it is useless without certain virtues. Without compassion, integrity, optimism, charity, and faith, gnosis within a person cannot grow. But gnosis can help those who have lost their way and rediscover the importance of those elements you might have forgotten. Like the fall of Sophia, Sophia could not be saved until she cried out for help and admitted that she could not do it alone. The other aeons and her consort rescued her from her fall. It is in her risen state that she was able to being the process of saving the mistake she had created. It was her descending into the fruit of the tree of knowledge that awakened us to understanding the difference between good and evil and prepared the way for us to recognize the savior when he appears.

Finally, Twilight Sparkle continues to grow as a pony/person throughout the entire series. Even after she becomes a princess as a reward for all the hardships and trials she went through, she still continues to grow. The thing that a lot of people on my particular spiritual path forget, myself included, is that gnosis is not a one time deal. As long as we are alive, we are growing; so it is also with gnosis. Information that does not grow is essentially dead and useless. Just as her element of magic continues to grow in Twilight Sparkle, gnosis continues to grow when it is inside of us. We have to put in the effort to keep that fire alive else it will burn out or burn us up in the process. Being the intellectual that she is, it is not too surprising that her personal growth would correlate to gnosis since much of what she learns is through experience and applying the knowledge that she has in her life in her world of forms, Ponyville. Time and time again, her experiences have been salvific for her personally, for her friends, and even her country of Equestria.


The model of this fantasy world of Equestria, seems to be largely based on Plato’s Republic but I could be wrong on this. If I am correct though and it draws from Plato’s Republic, the element of magic being gnosis does not seem too farfetched. As I demonstrated, Twilight Sparkle, who represents this element grows from being a soul lost in the world of forms, to its eventual savior. She goes through a process and series of awakenings that eventually brings her to where she is currently. And finally like Sophia received assistance from the other Aeons, Twilight Sparkle could not have gotten to where she is without her friends. It is her gnosis of the value of friendship that saved her and her land. It is our gnosis of the nature of the unknowable Father-Mother that will save us from ourselves. May our time in our Ponyville, the World of Forms, help us awaken to what is valuable in our lives. 


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The Yezidis & Gnosticism in Islam 09/20/2014


One of the most neglected vehicles of Gnosis transmitted throughout history is Islamic Gnosticism. Although Sufism is widely regarded in esoteric and even exoteric circles these days, the reality is that the Muslim matrix contains various other Gnostic sects, some older than and some deriving from Islam. There is an argument to be made that Muhammad himself was influenced by Gnosticism.  Furthermore, the wisdom and legends of Jesus have a long tradition in Islam that is almost unknown in The West (and often far more mystical than mainstream Christianity). We explore how the Gnostic spirit penetrated, thrived and evolved within the Islamic culture; and how it later flowed back into Western Culture in many incarnations (including the enigmatic Peacock Angel). Our guest also discloses additions to the second edition of his lauded book that include virgin insights into Alchemy and the French Troubadours (both who are arguably influenced by Muslim Gnosticism). Lastly, we discuss an overlooked Gnostic and science fiction author whose writings are comparable in depth and power to those of Philip K. Dick, and whose time has come for the Esoterica to embrace.

Astral Guest-- Sean Martin, author of The Gnostics, The Cathars, and Alchemy & Alchemists.

Book review for The Gnostics on Fortean Times
Sean's Blog



 
AeonByte - Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio Show



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Politics and Gnosticism 09/13/2014


Gnostic philosophy has greatly influenced many alternative movements in their search for individual freedom, from secret societies to enlightenment thinkers to iconic artists of modernity. But can Gnosticism assist in modern politics? It can indeed, especially since the Gnostic speculations of what forces rule the systems of the cosmos have come true, reflected on material society and its existentialist morass of alienated humanity. We delve into these speculations and attempt to find solutions within the mystic ideas of ancient heresies.

Astral Guest-- Christopher Knowles, author of Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book and The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll.

More information on Chris
Christopher's Blog The Secret Sun









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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.


More information on Mark





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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.

More information on Robert



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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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