Black Opal :: Gnosticism

Since a child I've been interested in different religions and beliefs. I always had a questioning mind and it led me down paths most people don't follow. One of these paths is that of gnosticism. I came across references firstly in accounts of Mani and the early Christians, but it was some years before I found out more in-depth material, and connected what I had read with my own experiences - and if gnosticism is about anything its about experience! Following are some essays, a story or two, poetry, etc, all related to the experiential, inner knowledge that is gnosis.

Sydney Gnostic Meetup Group


Update as of Sunday 26th February 2006: New Gnostic Letter by Hilda May fairley - added as a new section to reflect a new series :: 10th September 2005: New Gnostic Letter by Hilda Fairly added (The Story of Mary Magdalene Part 1), and a couple of new links added below (Melusina & Sophia: the Transformative Power of Darkness; Mary Magdalene and Her Seven Devils) :: Update as of Sunday 17th July 2005: New Gnostic Letter by Hilda Fairly added :: Tuesday 21st June 2005: New Gnostic Letter by Hilda Fairley added to the Gnosticism section :: Update as of Tuesday 24th May 2005: New Gnostic Letter by Hilda May Fairley added to the Gnosticism section - another lined up for next month, so check back then too :: Update as of 1st May 2005: Thanks to Hilda May Fairley there is now a series of essays or letters on Gnostic topics. These are very thoughtful and interesting explanations of Gnostic topics, and will be added to on a monthly basis. See link below :: Update as of 17th September 2000. Thanks to D.M.DeBacker, author of the article "A Shared Vision" that I have had on my site for a few years now, I can now offer the complete version of that article in .pdf format, as well as an excellent poetic piece by the same author titled "Tales From the Land of Nod". Enjoy!


Link to the D. M. DeBacker's website - http://home.pe.net/~mdeback/index.html

There is a piece on the missing books of the bible below, and you can go to The Black Opal LINKS Page for some external gnostic links (see below)

Agape

Classic Gnostic Scriptures / Gnostic Letters
Letters on Gnostic topics by Hilda May Fairley

Finding the Feminine in Gnostic & Bible Scriptures / Gnostic Letters
Letters on Gnostic topics by Hilda May Fairley

"A Shared Vision" in .pdf format (complete)
You can download the Acrobat Reader for free by clicking the button below

 

"Tales From the Land of Nod" in .pdf format
Gnostic prose/poem. Another very good read by D.M.DeBacker in .pdf format.
You can download the Acrobat Reader for free by clicking the button below


The Lost Books of the Bible
Texts that have been 'lost' or excised from the bible over the centuries

"A Thought on Matter"
Short essays on the nature of matter & on evil

"Axolotls & Salamanders"
Short article on the human state

 

Gnostic Silence & Persecution - NEVER AGAIN!

External Links

Melusina & Sophia: the Transformative Power of Darkness
An essay by Mirnada Zent (Arizona State University) on darkness and light (this links to the site where the Word document is hosted)

Mary Magdalene and Her Seven Devils
An essay by Alvin Boyd Kuhn on male / female symbolism (etc)

Esotericism & Modern Science
Contains the Vitvan audio archive, Massey-Kuhn archive etc.

 

NEW!! Australian / NSW DIRECTORY - contact listings for centres around Australia



What is gnosticism?

 

Gnosticism can be difficult to define because it is a cross-cultural phenomenon. The word "Gnosis" comes from the same Greek root word as the English word "knowledge" and "Gnosis" carries the concept of "knowing", especially the wisdom or knowledge that comes from direct, personal experience, as opposed to knowledge from strictly rational, intellectual pursuits (book knowledge). Gnosticism is also fundamentally different to (some would say diametrically opposite to) the more widespread forms of spirituality that rely on an unquestioning acceptance (faith) of a set of beliefs handed down from a mediator (prophet, priest, etc) between humankind and the divine. So, rather than through faith or belief, gnostics seek personal experience and firsthand knowledge, of the divine. This experience, or "gnosis" can come about through various means, but all have the same goal.

 

Through the ages and around the world gnosticism has taken many different forms. Most people in western countries will be familiar with the classical Gnosticism that grew out of certain Jewish mystic communities (such as the Essenes of the Dead Sea Scrolls fame), Greek philosophy, Hermeticism, & which came to influence and include early Christian theology as well. There is lot of circumstantial evidence, in fact, that Christianity was originally a loose coalition of Gnostic communities until the Council of Nicea in 325ad. After this date, although periodically suppressed in ruthless crusades, Christian forms of Gnosticism managed to survive in pockets right through the middle ages and into the Renaissance, with a resurgence in the eighteenth and more particularly the nineteenth centuries (along with other forms of esoterism such as Spiritualism, Hermeticism, etc). Buddhism is essentially Gnostic in character, and in the Islamic world Gnosticism is most easily recognised in the Sufi tradition which has survived and thrives right through till today. It can also be recognised in the shamanic practices of many cultures around the world.

 

These are all very different to one another (some more similar to others), and their methods and teachings may vary quite a bit: from quiet meditation and prayer; healing and the laying on of hands; group debate; solitary contemplation; to ecstatic dancing; chanting, singing and more. This is one of the reasons why Gnosticism is so difficult for people to pin down.

 

So what are the threads that run through each of these forms of Gnosticism, that makes them essentially Gnostic?

 

Essentials (common to all forms of gnosticism): Humanity is essentially divine in nature, but unaware of, or asleep, or otherwise out of touch with the divine source; Our divine nature is contained within us as a spirit spark, so that the divine is both within and without; The main goal is to achieve union with this divine source; This goal can be achieved through individual revelation and direct, personal knowledge, by whatever methods are open to you.

 

Commonalities (not necessarily apparent in all forms of Gnosticism, but common to a lot: Tolerance of different beliefs, both within & without Gnosticism (usually due to an openness to truth & wisdom wherever it may be found); the balance of feminine & masculine energies in all things including the divine (& therefore, to unite this duality is to achieve Gnosis); some teach a less balanced duality, where the world of matter is evil and that of spirit is good.


 

 

Lynette F. Watters 1997-2005
To contact me, my email address is "lunetta777" followed by "@bigpond.com", less the quotation marks (of course)