What follows is a series of essays in the form of open letters, by Hilda Fairley. The articles are written in the format of "letters to the editor" and explore various topics concerning Gnosticism, often from a biblical or Christian Gnostic perspective. There is plenty here for all Gnostics to consider, or for those with a curiousity regarding Gnosticism. They will be updated and added to on a monthly basis.
I have started a new section for the new articles, as they have a slightly different slant. This first page is titled "Finding the Feminine in Gnostic & Bible Scriptures", whereas the new section serves as a broader introduction to classical Gnosticism, looking at the cosmology and sacred history.
PLEASE SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE NEWEST ADDITIONS! THEY ARE ALL DATED SO YOU CAN TELL WHAT IS NEW AT A QUICK GLANCE. I HAVE CHOSEN TO ADD NEWEST TO THE BOTTOM IN ORDER TO KEEP THE INTRODUCTION AT THE TOP AND THEREFORE ALLOWING ANY NEW READER TO READ THROUGH THE LETTERS IN SEQUENCE.
and Bible Scriptures
When I bought the Nag Hammadi Library book, little did I realise the contents would be a continuing source of inspiration and learning. These ancient writings are proving to hold valuable keys which open doors into mysteries that have baffled me for many years. Only by reading it again and again was my inner mind awakened to grasp the meaning of these myths and the implications they bring.
My first impression was finding the powerful feminine thread that weaves it’s way through many of the writings and gradually these mythical feminine beings began to interpret some of the mysteries of the Bible Scriptures that had never been made clear or known to me.
Reading these Myths was like finding a treasure chest at the bottom of the sea. Diving into the deep water under difficult conditions and struggling to open the chest's heavy lid; continually feeling exhausted and falling asleep, then waking up, the hidden treasure emerged. Pearls of wisdom, gold ornaments of perfection and purity, silver bangles of wholeness, bronze beads of spiritual understanding, precious colored stones of truth that have beautiful messages that liberate and release, finally surfaced.
The purpose and aim of the Christian Gnostic Scriptures is to find and experience acquaintance or gnosis with God the Father.
Gnosis is a Greek word meaning knowledge (an act of knowing). Certain features of the Gnostic Scriptures are typically sectarian and would appear to have originally been used by Gnostic esoteric groups during the time of Jesus Christ. Without doubt many Gnostic believers were converted to Christ and joined the early churches bringing their already established myths and synthesizing them with Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian and the Old and New testament stories.
There is a definite theme made clear in all Gnostic writings, but each scripture differs, and often they are found to be contradictory. However, in spite of these strange writings they offer a wisdom and understanding that provides us with some answers to unsolved problems that have been a stumbling block for many Christians in the past and present.
From the beginning of time, mysteries have always been handed down, the Old and New Testaments are packed full of them and we are now living in the days of the unfolding of these mysteries both in the secular and Christians worlds.
Some were not made clear until after Jesus Christ rose from the dead when He revealed insights to His disciples. He interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures and gave new knowledge and then returned to His Father. There has since been a continual unfolding of prophecies, visions and revelation to His chosen servants.
Some fifty years ago the book of Revelation found in the Bible was sealed to us, but now we marvel that this eschatological work written so long ago is springing into life in our day and generation.
I would like to share some of the treasures found in the Bible and Gnostic Scriptures with you, as they are eternal among the aeons (angels).
by Hilda Fairley
There have been so many sermons, books and articles written about Adam and Eve that we really never tire of scratching the surface of this myth. However, we are looking for the feminine in these Scriptures and as Eve is called our mother, we should not be surprised to find Eve as an illuminator of reality.
When Adam was formed, he was androgynous (both male and female). Although he apparently lived in harmony, God found he needed a helper, one who was comparable to him (a helper that was his equal.) His feminine component self within was in harmony with his masculine self within. When Adam was separated from Eve, in some ways it may appear to have strengthened him, but it was at the expense of the loss of his feminine and spiritual power, gifts with which Eve was endowed.
Eve, his bride and he together lived happily in the Garden of Eden. As Eve matured, her spirituality grew and she longed for more gnosis, more experiential knowledge of the God who met them in the garden in the cool of the evening. Also, more understanding of herself and the universe she lived in. She knew about the tree of good and evil and it was her desire to have wisdom that triggered her action. She had no idea of the negative side of wisdom, so they both ate the fruit.
Eve's eyes were opened and she saw God's dual character and his insistence on absolute obedience to him; otherwise he would bring down his wrath, retribution and death if necessary. This brought the terrible realization that all humans were born with his character, because he claimed to be the Creator, the God of Israel, (read Isaiah Ch. 45 particularly v 5, 6,7, 12.)
Adam now separated from Eve was deprived of his feminine wisdom, so his masculine side was over developed, causing him to dominate, and control without knowing or caring what he was like. Sadly, he had lost the mechanism to stay balanced and whole.
Unfortunately, now separated from his feelings, he dramatically changed when he experienced the negative side of life and found they could no longer live in the garden of unconsciousness, so their God sent them out into the big wide world.
This myth was the beginning of the patriarchal epoch and wisdom was crushed, dominated, separated away and silenced.
When Adam overshadowed Eve, her life was unbearable. Her son Cain killed his brother Abel. However, she was fortunately reinstated and God gave the promise that her seed would be blessed and there would be a Savior in time to come. Her next son Seth was pure of heart and carried the seed of promise. Eve represents wisdom and her Mother called The Holy Spirit, is Mother Wisdom.
She is pure and has the ability to turn around the negative and what we see as failure is transformed into strength to reach for the stars of purity and wholeness. Mother Wisdom is never punitive when we disobey her wise ways. She just keeps on tugging at our hearts until we see the Light.
Without the negative I wonder how advanced our world would be. Every adversity is the seed of a greater benefit. When we only know Eve’s God, it certainly is a world of adversity. However, does Mother Wisdom lie down and allow adversity to walk all over Her? No, She calls from Heaven and whispers secrets and mysteries in our ears and our higher consciousness responds, our hearts are revived and the old unproductive ways renewed.
To work towards androgyny, Adam must individually develop his feminine side and Eve her masculine side. Both must be independent and both interdependent. Androgyny is the balance and wholeness of male and female. Not until Wisdom is given Her rightful place, will we ever know the beauty and joy of unity.
How do we achieve these psychological changes? All change comes from the way we think. Our bodies only react to the commands from the brain. According to the myth, Eve lost her power and her offspring believe they have lost it too.
When women reverse their belief and see themselves as half male and they begin to take an outer exoteric initiative; when they set their goals, work hard and stimulate a drive, the brain will not accept the lie that women have lost their power.
We must wake up our subconscious and unconscious minds and bring old patterns of ignorance to the surface to be dealt with. Let go and dismiss into the nether gloom every negative lie held against us and in their place sow seeds of truth about ourselves; remembering, that Mother Wisdom is alive and well and She is calling us to examine our inner world, so that we may move with confidence, faith, peace and harmony and all that She is teaching us.
by Hilda Fairley
Timelessness with no beginning and no end could only refer to the Heavenly Father God and that is what the Gnostic myths are endeavoring to express, as no words are adequate or ever will be. However, myths are an ideal way to make the impossible, possible, the unknowable, knowable, the invisible, visible.
I will attempt in my simple way to present to you in an abbreviated form, the myth of the Heavenly Family found in "The Secret Book According to John."
Gnostic myths always see the Father and the Holy Spirit (Mother) as pure Light, not a being, or a person, or anything that is 'something'. I call God, Father and the Holy Spirit Mother and Christ their Son "The Heavenly Family ". This family is incorruptible, glorious and Perfect Light and there is no darkness in them. James 1-17 writes, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of Light with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." Each have their own spiritual identities, gifts or attributes, but they are ONE, (variety within unity.) The ONE contains the ALL. This is why we say that God is the Originator of everything. The Heavenly Family has the capacity through their own will and purpose to release a fragment of their Light Spark, (the myth calls it emanating,) so that 'Spark of Light' is from God but is not the whole of God only a spark. Therefore only the Family are Incorruptible Deity to be loved and worshipped.
This myth does not make clear why the happy and contented Heavenly Family desired to release a Light Spark. However, Scripture does say that the Father promised the Son a Heavenly Kingdom that would be everlasting and magnificent and all members would be individually whole and a part of the Family through the Son's mediation.
The first member of the Kingdom of Heaven
The Father conceived a 'thought' and together with the Holy Spirit emanated a glorious, radiant and perfect invisible female being. Mother Holy Spirit bestowed wonderful gifts upon her and called her Barbelo, other names are Epinoia, Protennoia and there may be more, but I would like to call her Protennoia.
She was the first magnificent emanation and her glory shone with the glory from the Heavenly Family. Her character had the likeness of her Mother and Father who delighted in giving and giving again and again and did not suffer any lack when they blessed, as that was their joy and fulfillment. The passion of the Mother Holy Spirit was to pour out Her Grace, Love and Life -giving force to Protennoia and to all who know Her. Protennoia speaks very clearly in one of the other Scriptures and the general consensus in the myths show, that she was the "Voice of God", so I would like to let her speak for herself.
Trimorphic Protennoia represents the three family members - Father,Mother and Son
Protennoia is literally shouting and she is saying listen to my voice from within you, I will instruct you about heavenly things and give you many gifts that will equip you for Heaven. You will perceive and have gnosis, that is, spiritual knowledge and understanding coming from your inner soul, not from your logical thinking. She is your inner self, giving you Life, Love, Light and Grace. She is there for the feminine in everyone and this is her very good advice.
Shut out all extraneous sounds and noises and go inside to silence. Listen to hear her tender voice. Lift high your antenna to catch ideas. Check everything you believe about yourself like, I'm too shy, fearful, small, fat, ugly, lazy, slow etc. and see whether there is something that has been clogging your inner mind and heart, then let it go and allow Protennoia to reassure you that her gifts are waiting for you.
Protennoia is the progenitor of the Heavenly Kingdom
With the Father as consort, Protennoia emanated an aeon and that was the beginning of a multitude of heavenly aeons, as each new aeon emanated they produced eternities, ages, eternal realms and they were understood as extants of time and abstractions.
Four important Luminaries (mighty Archangels) appeared called 'The Entirety' some call it 'The Pleroma' and each had three aeons. They were hierarchically structured and Christ was placed over the whole Entirety, (remember the Father promised He would give Him a Kingdom.) These luminaries played a special role in the myth and they had been instructed by Christ for a very long time, in fact they had been acquainted with knowledge (gnosis) all of their lives.
The Four Luminaries and the Twelve Eternal Realms.
Matthew 26:53 Jesus Christ said:- Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels.
First Luminary, loveliness, truth, form. Here we see the exquisite character of Christ shining through the first aeons emanated by the great Harmozel (Intellect)
Second Luminary, afterthought, perception, memory. Now there is a slight lowering of their characters as "after" indicates there had been a time when they were closer to Christ, now the thought is 'after' (not now.)
Why do they need perception? There is no need unless there is something else that must be perceived. Memory is past tense, it all happened, but not happening now.
Third Luminary, Intelligence has remained strong, love is still strong but ideal form indicates that Harmozel's 'form' has lost out and they now remember it only as an ideal.
Fourth Luminary Eleleth, perfection and peace is in name only as we will find out when we study Sophia Wisdom.
The last four Archetypes will not be included now, as they are not directly important to the aeon Sophia Wisdom.
There was a time when my own life gradually and imperceptibly moved away from the centre, the place where I was originally connected to the Father and where I had known the blessing of His loveliness and form.
My next letter to the Editor is about the myth of Sophia Wisdom. Her story is remarkably Twenty-First Century and it is very close to some of our own lives.
by Hilda Fairley
Sophia Falls into Reality
course Heaven is timeless, so earth time is used to help us grasp a heavenly
concept. My understanding of this myth are the stages of spiritual birth,
toddler, child, adolescence and ongoing maturity and awareness.
Wisdom was the last aeon to be emanated and she was a child among all
the experienced adult aeons. This myth gives the impression that Sophia,
from the beginning was not very well nurtured by her group and by the
time she was in adolescence she had become more independent and separated
from the other aeons.
She lived and understood the perfect life and when matured, she wanted to emanate, but couldn’t find a suitable consort. Either she was not interested in them, or they were not interested in her. This would indicate that the Pleroma was not functioning as well as they thought and if there was dysfunction, it was overlooked as they saw themselves as perfect, because they lived a structured religious life. Their aim was to reach the eighth, ninth and tenth heavens, and to achieve this status the hierarchical order remained close to the Heavenly Family and were in a constant state of worship and thanksgiving.
Wisdom had a gnawing, empty feeling inside of her that couldn’t be satisfied
by this worship. She felt separated from the Father although she lived
an exemplary life. Sophia concluded that emanating with a consort would
not give her the life she yearned, so she decided to emanate without a
consort, as there was something inside of her that needed to come out.
So Sophia emanated and produced a dreadfully ugly son, who was animal faced, distorted, self-willed and disgusting. Part of him had returned to the animal kingdom and lived an instinctual life. His spiritual life was centred on himself and he desired to be worshipped and saw himself as God and Sophia called him Yaldaboath. She was devastated and decided to relegate him to the abyss far away from the Pleroma. There she nurtured him and tried to help him to live the good life.
grew strong but had no intention of changing. Although he had some of
his mother’s beautiful attributes, he hated them and hated her and was
determined to make his own decisions and go his own way. He was androgynous
and in time emanated many others like himself, called Archons. These other
Archons gradually lost the concept of good and eventually became evil
and the chief Archon was called Satan.
Yaldaboath set up his own kingdom and saw himself as God, as he didn’t know there was a higher God. He used his vast number of Archons as slaves to make him powerful and expected total obedience and constant worship. He declared “There is no other God besides Me”. His kingdom therefore was one of good and evil, the good being the religion of keeping his law and the evil being the terrible lie that he was God. Isaiah Ch. 44 and Ch. 45.
Sophia was so distraught, as she had discovered a part of herself she
was unaware of, that is, the false ego that desires to be a God. In pain
and agony of heart and mind her spirit cried out and shouted; “ I have
made a discovery about myself that is too horrible to contemplate and
I have passed it on to my son who will not listen to me. He goes his own
way and sees himself as God with his own Kingdom. Some of his slaves are
so bad they have a Chief who is called Satan and he too has set up his
own kingdom with multitudes of evil beings who hate me and are always
intimidating me and making my life a misery.
They influence Yaldaboath’s Archons and drag them down to the darkness
of the abyss, living lives that look good, but are not. In fact, they
are unaware of the kind of Archons they really are, they think they are
righteous and have no intention of looking within, so they may change
and leave this terrible place”.
whole of Heaven heard Sophia pouring out her heart and they heard her
say, “ I repent of everything I have been and done, please connect me
to my Heavenly Father and Mother the only true and perfect God. My name
is Sophia Wisdom, I now know all about who I am and I fully understand
that the meaning of my name is two-fold, both wise and foolish. I realize
I was given the right to remain in ignorance, but I desired a perfect
life, so I cried to Heaven and Christ my true Consort heard me and brought
me to His Father and Mother. They elevated me to the high seventh and
eighth heavens, where I rested and discovered the Glory and Beauty of
my Heavenly Family, who pronounced me pure and fit for the real Kingdom
Wisdom symbolizes the history of the feminine principle and her evolution
from the beginning of civilization. Her biography is thwarted with peaks
and troughs, but through it all she has been the driving force of the
evolution of consciousness. A thread of revelation may be traced throughout
time and today the daughters of Sophia Wisdom are embarking upon a new
faint voice crying out from the past is heard “If you will hearken to
the voice of my Wisdom, the completion of the work that was accomplished
at Calvary will be clearly understood and the importance of my contribution
on the cross with Jesus Christ will encapsulate the hitherto unknown power
and Glory of My knowledge and subsequent liberation.”
“I am She who opens the door of understanding and enlightenment. Knock on my door and I will open to you and acquaint you with my teaching and purpose for you. You will hear my voice in silence, you will traverse many lands in your spirit and learn secrets that have been locked away for milleniums in time. As you wait upon me and search for me you will find me and I will give you the key to unlock my secrets”.
For those who have been down to the abyss like Sophia and have come up triumphantly will understand her message, as She is the feminine side of Christ, so she too suffered death on the cross and rose again. Christ also descended into hell and triumphantly rose again. He preached to the lost souls to give them a chance for a place in His Kingdom. Christ was spiritually united with Wisdom as He understood both the masculine and feminine and was the androgynous Christ the second Adam, being a perfect example of a whole human being both male and female. Now united, together they will heal the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. They will give comfort and consolation to all that mourn. They will give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for the grieving and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness and you will be called trees of righteousness planted by Christ and Wisdom, so that the Father and Mother may be glorified.
May their blessing be upon you.
by Hilda Fairley
The "Thought" of Norea
This tractate, the "Thought of Norea" is the shortest homily in the Nag Hammadi Library. It was possibly written by a woman who searched the feminine soul and found a deep longing of woman to be united with the Heavenly Family. Traditionally, the concept of Father Mother and Son have always been an important Gnostic theme found in all Sethian Scriptures. Seth carried the Holy seed of Adam and Eve and was the founder of the Gnostic message.
Norea was well educated in Gnostic teaching and had insight into the Glory of the incomprehensible Father whom she understood as Light dwelling in the heights above the regions below. She also comprehended the Mother "Epinnoia", the Voice of Truth and "Nous" (mind,) the untouchable Logos whom we now call Christ.
Her longing for integration into the Heavenly Family caused her to cry out for deliverance from spiritual separation and isolation. She was graciously heard and restored by the Triune Family and given a place in the Pleroma that had been set aside for her before the world began.
Norea now redeemed became like a savior to the Pleroma. She was a symbol of Sophia Wisdom and a symbol of the Gnostic soul in need of redemption and reintegration into the Godhead. Secure in her place in the Heavenlies she rested in the ineffable Epinnoia who enlightened and enabled her to inherit the First Mind (the Father) and also as she rested in the divine autogenes (Christ) she inherited the living Logos (the Word.)
This heavenly and spiritual experience produced new life within her and this life equipped her for a journey into the Pleroma where she would speak with the mind of the Father. Her ministry among the imperishable ones began when she spoke the words of Life. Her inner resources refreshed the soul like a spring of water satisfying a spiritual thirst. Her renewed mind (nous) nourished the ability to think the thoughts of the Father and the word she spoke was the word of Truth.
Norea always remained in the presence of the Exalted One (Christ) and always gave Glory to the Father. Her divine message was upheld by the four holy helpers who interceded on her behalf. These helpers were the four Luminaries Harmozel, Oroiael, Daueithai and Eleleth, the great Archangels and their offspring, who are the aeons called the Pleroma, They all came under the authority of Christ.
Norea's message for those who believe in Christ was clear-" Come to the Father of Jesus Christ and receive integration into the Godhead and you will have peace, tranquility,harmony within and a place in the Heavenlies for ever and ever".
Norea delved into the very heart, soul and mind of the Gnostic message. She was given a very high position in the Pleroma and entrusted with their sacred theology. It would appear that she lived through a deep upheaval of Christian thought but she evolved into a new world that was profoundly influential and spiritual. It's noteworthy that Norea learned the lesson of resting. All inner conflicts and struggles had gone as all members of the Kingdom were committed to their beloved Heavenly Family.
by Hilda Fairley
Gnostic and Bible Scriptures
The story of Mary Magdalene
I have written Mary Magdalene in sections. The first from the Bible story. The second from the Gnostic Gospel of Mary. Mary Magdalene has proved to be challenging, very insightful and revelationary.
Mary Magdalene was born in Magdala, a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee. This area in Northern Palestine was known as ‘the land of foreigners’; and it was a main route on an international highway and it had a large population. Tiglath-pileser 111 of Assyria took much of Galilee in 732 BC and united it to Assyria as a province. Because of this mixture of nationalities Mary’s background is not clear.
However, we do know that Mary’s life significantly changed when she met Jesus Christ during one of His itinerary tours. The New Testament doesn’t mention anything about her past life or background, only that she was delivered from seven demons. We will learn more about this later when we investigate the Gnostic scripture called ‘The Gospel of Mary’.
To understand how demons take such control over human beings, we turn to James ch. 21:14. James calls it being tempted and explains that each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed; then when desire has conceived it gives birth to sin and sin when fully grown brings forth death.
Character defects begin during childhood and if not checked, the defects develop well into maturity and become habits, compulsions and addictions. Escaping from reality is another sure way of becoming addicted in one way or another. A dysfunctional family causes children to become dysfunctional. This is the story of most of our lives and the way out is often unknown. When a person is badly dysfunctional a door is left open where demons may enter and if that happens it’s almost impossible to be freed without help.
When Mary heard Jesus Christ teach and preach, she knew He was the only One who could deliver her. Christ cast out the seven demons and she was freed and she followed Jesus on His village tours. It would have been while walking to the next village that she learned about the Kingdom of Heaven, the message Christ came to deliver and the reason why human beings were in such need. Mary’s heart would have leaped for joy when she heard Christ say “ I haven’t come to condemn you but to save you.”
Mary along with other women brought sustenance for Christ and His little band on these village tours. She learnt about the inner life experience and kept these things stored up in her mind and heart. Mary developed and matured quickly and apparently became a comfort, a friend and partner to Jesus Christ. A true partner encourages, uplifts, supports, cares and stays true to the other and this is exactly how Mary lived.
Her devotion was real and lasting through pain, suffering and persecution. Even after Christ’s death Mary was always there. These personal experiences with Christ enabled her to become strong, and knowledgeable.
When Christ was condemned to death, this was the beginning of a terrible time of suffering for all those who believed. While hanging on the cross, there was Mary standing by, with His mother, His mother’s sister and Mary the wife of Clopas. When Joseph had laid Christ in his own new tomb and rolled a stone over the opening, Mary Magdalene was there with the other Mary sitting opposite the tomb.
Early on the first day of the week she came to the tomb while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been rolled away. She ran to Peter and the other disciples and said, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him”. Peter and another disciple ran to see and found the grave clothes neatly folded and they went away again to their own homes. But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb”.
John 20:11-18. Mary saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had laid. Then the angels said to her, “Woman why are you weeping?” Mary said, “They have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where He is”. Suddenly Jesus was standing there, but Mary didn’t recognize Him. Jesus said, “ Mary,” immediately she recognized Him. Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me for I have not yet ascended to My Father, but go to My brethren and say to them “I am ascending to My Father and to My God and your God.” Mary told the disciples everything.
It was there at the tomb she worked through the grief process. Just imagine the One she truly loved had died then risen from the dead and called her name. This is really freaky! However, she was used to unusual things happening with Jesus. What a shock it must have been when Christ said to her “Do not cling to me for I have not yet ascended to my Father”.
It was now clear to her that she must walk through the pain of physical separation in order to become her own woman. The old days in the flesh had gone and Mary was to learn to have a new relationship, one based only in the spirit. This was indeed the beginning of a different life, with a great deal to learn and the risen Christ would be there to teach her until He ascended into Heaven. Afterwards a new kind of spirituality would be made known to her. These were critical days when every word from the Master’s mouth had to be stored and treated as sacred.
And where were the disciples? Well, some had gone fishing, some were at home and some had left and were travelling. The Bible Scriptures fall silent about Mary Magdalene so we will now turn to the Gnostic Scriptures to continue her life’s story in the next section.
by Hilda Fairley
This is an ongoing series, so check back often for updates.