THE GNOSTICS AND
MAY 1, 2014
Greetings Dear Friends
Hello my friends
I'm back in Canada and my bald head is adjusting to the temperatures. Very happy to be here though, many special events to look forward to. Hoping to catch up with some of you at chant club and to see some of you at the Euphoria event in Toronto.
Jen Gillmor and I have formed a musical duo called Jennis. We're very excited about the pending release of our first CD, 'The Current'. We have two CD release parties planned - one in Toronto and one near Guelph. Please see details below.
My book, Why Is Life?, is now available as an e-book, for only about $6. see details below.
In this next series of newsletters I will feature articles based on a section of my book, Why Is Life?' entitled 'Reality According to Ancient Mysticism'. This will provide a brief overview of several of the mystical traditions, which have so much to say about the nature of our reality and our journey through life. This month we'll take an introductory look at the Gnostics and Christian Mysticism.
Something I'd like to tell you about - I'm involved with a group who are building an intentional community in Guelph - a place where we can live in an environment of shared values. If you are interested in such a thing and you'd like to know more about it, please feel free to contact me.
If you'd like to access past newsletters containing articles on the Big Shift, as well as articles on the Physics of Mysticism, Magic, the Power of Mantra and other topics, please visit the 'newsletter' page of my website:
CHANT CLUB RESUMES - THE NEXT ONE WILL BE MAY 7.
HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
GUELPH CHANT CLUB DATE CITY VENUE
WED., MAY 7, 2014 Guelph, Unitarian Church
7:45 to 9:30 pm Ontaro
The Unitarian Church is on the corner of
Harris and York Streets in Guelph.
For more detailed directions, check out guelph-unitarians.com
SUGGESTED DONATION - $15
PART 9 -
THE GNOSTICS AND CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM
by Dennis Gaumond
Of all of the major religious establishments, the Christian Church based in Rome has been the least tolerant of mystics and mysticism. There are no well-defined examples of Christian mysticism within this religion, and many of the greatest individual Christian mystics are virtually unknown. Some of the more acceptable mystics were canonized by the Church and made into saints and some established monastic orders. Some of them whose views and practices threatened the authority of the Church, such as Giordano Bruno, were put to death.
Some groups tried to break away from the extreme authoritarianism of the Roman Church, but were heavily persecuted. One such group was the Cathars, a mystically oriented community of about 100,000, living in the south of France circa 1200 AD. This entire community was squashed by the Church, with many of its members being put to death. Mystics advocate a direct contact with divinity, with no need for a 'middle man'. The Church felt at they were the intermediaries, the representatives of God on Earth and that all contact had to go through them. The power of the Church hierarchy felt threatened by the free-thinking mystics. Despite the persecution, mystical groups persisted in secret.
Outside of the jurisdiction of Roman authorities, especially in the first few centuries after Christ, there were several mystical groups such as the Manicheans and the Arians. Probably the most important of these groups were the Gnostics. Centered in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, the Gnostics claimed to follow more closely the true teachings of Jesus. They shared many of the views and practices of eastern mystical groups and the Greek Mystery Schools. Again, this involved a direct 'knowing' of divinity, which they called 'gnosis'. Their methods of achieving gnosis were much the same as those of other traditions, and they had their own forms of mystery school. They were openly opposed to any form of Christian establishment. A Gnostic text called 'the Apocalypse of Peter' quotes Jesus as having said, "Those who name themselves bishop and deacon, as if they had received their authority from God, are in reality waterless canals who do not understand the Mystery; although they boast that the Truth belongs to them alone." Jesus warns that a false Church will lead many astray.
In a Gnostic text called 'On the Origins of the World', the Old Testament God, Yahweh/Jehovah, is portrayed as a false god, obscuring the true nature of divinity from the people. Another text called 'The Testimony of Truth' tells the story of Creation from the serpent's point of view. The serpent is portrayed as the representative of true divinity, guiding Adam and Eve away from the tyranny of Yahweh and leading them to the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. It is interesting that in all cultures other than the Judeo-Christian, the serpent/dragon is a revered symbol that appears again and again in various art forms, insignia, legends, etc.
The Gnostics believed that Jesus was a man, and was the son of God in the same way that we are all children of God. They believed that he came to teach us how to become 'christened', how to become a Christ, how to become enlightened. In the Gnostic 'Gospel of Philip', Jesus says, "You saw the spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become the father. You see your Self, and what you see you shall become." In the 'Testimony of Truth', Jesus urges his followers to listen to their own hearts and minds; "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you".
It is easy to see how mystical groups like the Gnostics represented a big threat to the growing authority of the Christian Church of Rome. Over the centuries, they were ruthlessly persecuted into oblivion, their books were burned, their philosophies obliterated. Fortunately, many of these writings have recently become available to us once again. Back at the time of the book burnings, someone had the good sense to bury a collection of Gnostic scrolls. In 1945 in a small village in upper Egypt called Nag Hamadi, large clay jars containing these scrolls were uncovered. This collection has come to be known as the Nag Hamadi Library. Much of what these scrolls have to say about the life of Jesus differs greatly from what the Church has been saying.
In subsequent newsletters we'll take a look at Islamic mystical traditions, such as Sufism.
Jen Gilmorr and I have a new musical project called Jennis, featuring original songs and a fresh new sound. Please visit our website at
The Guelph release will be on Fri., June 6
at the Eden Mills Community Hall, 108 Mill St., in Eden Mills, ON (just a few kms east of Guelph).
Tom Wolf will join us on drums and Brent Rowan on sax.
The lovely and talented Sue Smith will open the show.
Beer, wine, juice, munchies and beautiful vibrations will be available.
Doors will open at 7:30pm
All other details are the same.
'WHY IS LIFE?'- NOW ONLY $6
My book, Why Is Life?, has been released as an e-book, available for approximately $6 or less, from a list of online bookstores:
Apple i-Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony Reader Store, Koby, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, eBookPie, eSentral, Scribd and PagePusher.
The book can be purchased at any of these outlets, searching with either the title or this ISBN number: 9781483515403
OR, just click on one of these links:
New to e-books?
Click this link for a wikipedia article about e-books:
If this is the first time you've bought an e-book, you may need to download an app - the most popular ones are from Amazon and are free to download. You can read an e-book on on your computer, laptop or an e-book device like a Kindle (Amazon) or an I-Book or I-Pad (Apple). For an article comparing them, click here:
To download a Kindle app for any reading device including Apple products, click here:
ABOUT 'WHY IS LIFE'
To read a variety of reviews of this book, click here and then, once in the website, click 'reviews':