Gnosis: The Not-So-Secret History of Jesus

The Electric JesusThis article, which discusses the Mystery School origins of Christianity, comes from my new memoir, The Electric Jesus: The Healing Journey of a Contemporary Gnostic through Evolver Editions/North Atlantic Books.

In December 1945, during the tail end of the most devastating war in human history, a peasant named Mohammed Ali of the al-Samman clan stumbled upon an earthenware jar near limestone caves in the deserts of Upper Egypt. He feared an evil djin (genie) resided inside, but hoping for lost riches, he still opened the jar. To his disappointment, twelve ragged leather-bound codices fell onto the ground. He didn’t realize these 1,200 weathered pages contained a priceless treasure with dozens of lost Christian gospels that had been hidden away for 1,600 years. Mohammed carried them home to his mother, who kept warm throughout the night by feeding pages of what we now call The Nag Hammadi Library to her fireplace.

These fifty-two texts, with titles like The Gospel of Thomas, Secret James, The Gospel of Mary, The Origin of the World, The Gospel of Philip, Secret John, and The Sophia of Jesus, showed that first-through-fourth century Christianity was much more varied than previously thought, comprised of diverse sects claiming “secret knowledge” of heavenly realms. Modern scholars now label these texts as “Gnostic,” since they lay out an initiatory process for candidates to overcome the “forgetfulness,” “drunkenness,” “blindness,” and “sleep” of the illusory world in order to access gnosis, direct experience or personal revelation of a divine reality.

The Nag Hammadi Library supported the popular theory that Christianity stemmed from the ancient mystery school traditions of the Mediterranean, which featured “dying and resurrecting godmen.” In Egypt they worshiped Horus; in Greece, Dionysus; in Syria, Adonis; in Asia Minor, Attis; in Persia (and later Rome), Mithras; and in Israel, Jesus (historically the most recent). The similarities among these hierophants were uncanny. Several of them, according to the legends, were born on December 25 around the winter solstice to a virgin in humble surroundings (a cave or a manger) with a star in the Eastern sky. Some grew up to be spiritual masters with twelve disciples (Horus, Mithras, Jesus), performing miracles, giving baptisms and communions. They all died (Dionysus dismembered by Titans, Attis and Adonis eaten by wild boars, and Horus, Mithras, and Jesus crucified) before experiencing a miraculous resurrection.

In The Jesus Mysteries, authors Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy discuss how the Vatican sits atop a destroyed Mithraic Temple. “Where today the gathered faithful revere their Lord Jesus Christ, the ancients worshiped another godman who, like Jesus, had been miraculously born on December 25 before three shepherds. In this ancient sanctuary Pagan congregations once glorified a Pagan redeemer who, like Jesus, was said to have ascended to heaven and to have promised to come again at the end of time to judge the quick and the dead. On the same spot where the Pope celebrates the Catholic mass, Pagan priests also celebrated a symbolic meal of bread and wine in memory of their savor who, just like Jesus had declared: ‘He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.”1

Freke and Gandy argue adamantly that there never was a historical Jesus who walked the sands of Israel, but rather he is a composite of the earlier godmen. But perhaps that’s too hard of a line to draw, since mythical figures are often based on real people — think of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, for example.

According to Freke and Gandy, a number of the Mystery school godmen were called the “Son of God,” and some the “Sun of God.” The word “horizon” comes from “Horus-Sun,” meaning sunrise. As the Egyptian God of daytime, Horus battled his jackal-headed enemy Set (“Sun-Set”), the bringer of night, in a cosmic battle of light and dark. Jesus played a similar role as Horus being “the light of the world” surrounded by twelve disciples who represented the twelve months of the year, and the twelve signs of the zodiac. The sun enters each zodiac sign at thirty degrees (30 x 12 = 360); thus, these “Suns of God” embarked on their ministry at the age of thirty. The classic zodiac cross bisects the twelve astrological signs within a circle. The sun hangs “crucified” in the center as it passes through the precession of the equinoxes, something the mystery schools followed closely as each new sign marked the next world age.

Given the astrological significance of the cross, wisdom traditions often depicted the crucifixion in their writing and art. A notorious second-to-third century European talisman reveals a human figure that looks like Jesus on the cross (with a crescent moon and seven stars above him), but the inscription reads “Orpheus becomes a Bacchoi.” Orpheus was a prophet in the Dionysian mysteries and Bacchio refers to an enlightened disciple who had undergone the final stages of initiation. Around the same time as the talisman had been crafted, a Roman graffiti artist sketched on a pillar the image of a crucified donkey, which symbolized the initiates’ death to their animalistic nature and ascension to the higher Self. The first portrayal of Jesus on a cross wouldn’t appear until 200 years later.

Rather than rejoicing in their similarities, “literalist” Christian leaders — those who had not experienced the secret gnosis (direct knowledge) of the highest mysteries — created dams and divisions between the diverse spiritual streams that originally flowed from the same mystical source. As Freke and Gandy explain, the parallels between Mithras and Jesus threatened the emerging “Literalist Church.” Roman bishops such as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Irenaeus made the ridiculous claim that the devil had engaged in “diabolical mimicry,” “plagiarizing by anticipation” the story of Jesus before it had actually happened in order to mislead the weak-minded.

The Golden Bough’s James Frazier noted a similar contention between Attis, the mystery god from Asia Minor, and Jesus. “In point of fact it appears from the testimony of an anonymous Christian, who wrote in the fourth century of our era, that Christians and pagans alike were struck by the remarkable coincidence between the death and resurrection of their respective deities, and that the coincidence formed a theme of bitter controversy between the adherents of the rival religions, the pagans contending that the resurrection of Christ was a spurious imitation of the resurrection of Attis, and the Christians asserting with equal warmth that the resurrection of Attis was a diabolical counterfeit of Christ.”2

Literalist Christians refused to accept that the rites of the mystery schools form the central narrative of The New Testament. But the similarities are too plentiful to ignore. Jesus encounters a baptism (spiritual cleansing), a eucharist (communion), an anointing (“Christ” means “the anointed one”) and the death and resurrection ritual. These mystical rites provided a rare alchemical education, unifying spiritual energies (pneuma, as the early Christians called it) for candidates. In the words of The Gospel of Philip, one of the so-called Gnostic texts, “The Lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism, and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber. […] he said, ‘I came to make the things below like the things above, and the things outside like the things inside. I came to unite them in the place.”

The word “mystery” appears twenty-seven times in The New Testament with Paul telling fellow Christians, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of God.” Jesus speaks of clandestine teachings for those in the inner circles when he says to his disciples, “You have been given the secret of God’s imperial rule; but to those outside everything is presented in parables.” (Mathew 4:11)

As an energy healer, I found myself especially drawn to how early Christians utilized pneuma for personal transformation. Jesus baptizes with “fire and spirit,” heals with “power,” and transmits wisdom to his disciples through the “bubbling spring” drawn from a higher source. The purpose of these schools was to create Pneumatics, people full of spiritual energy. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus announces to his disciples, “Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.”

Even common Christian terms revealed clues to this ancient transformational process. I studied the original Greek word for “sin,” Harmatia, which turned out to be an archery term meaning “missing the mark.” It lacked the guilt and shame pastors used to control their flocks and simply indicated when seekers strayed from their path and needed to get back on course. Similarly, the Hebrew word Satan (“adversary”) highlighted the ego/personality attachment the soul needed to overcome in order to reach higher states of consciousness.

Repent (metanoia) meant to “change one’s mind” or “have a shift in consciousness,” which can occur when absorbing higher frequencies from someone closely connected to source-energy, like Jesus. Most surprisingly, Christ was not our Lord and “savior” but rather our “soter,” meaning “healer,” “bestower of health,” or “one who makes whole.” Staying connected to universal spirit, Jesus travels through the rift of separation consciousness to heal us and bring us back to our celestial home. “I am the one who comes from what is whole” (Gospel of Thomas). When we finally release our attachments to the material realm, we become “redeemed” (apolytrosis), meaning “released.”

Of course, I couldn’t help wonder what happened to the original meanings of these words, as well as the numerous Gnostic churches that had proliferated in the Middle East. When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and its Second Temple in 70 AD, after the Jewish revolt, they left one-third of the population dead, and the Christian mysteries fractured into pieces. Members joined the mass exodus out of the country. Those who hadn’t been exposed to the inner mysteries started up literalist churches. The remaining Gnostics called these rigid sects “imitation churches” as they did not teach the secret gnosis of “the Christ within.”

According to the Apocalypse of Peter, literalist church fathers were “waterless canals” bereft of consciousness-expanding pneuma who arrogantly claimed to be the sole gatekeepers of heaven. “Some who do not understand mystery speak of things which they do not understand, but they will boast that the mystery of truth is theirs alone.” These “empty” churches sprouted up across the Roman Empire. In a sad touch of historical irony, their leaders, like the infamous Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyon, became heretic hunters attacking those who still carried the inner teachings of their religion. “We were hated and persecuted, not only by those who are ignorant, but also by those who think they are advancing the name of Christ, since they were unknowingly empty, not knowing who they are.” (The Second Treatise of the Great Seth).

As the number of Christians multiplied in Roman lands, power-hungry Constantine switched the state religion to co-opt this growing movement, uniting Rome under “one God, one religion,” and incidentally, one emperor. In 325 he oversaw the Council of Nicaea, where church fathers reduced the vast library of Christian written knowledge to a few documents that we now call The New Testament.

In 391 Emperor Theodosius passed an edict to close all “pagan” temples and burn their books. Christian hordes set out on murderous rampages across the empire smashing all traces of the mystery traditions from which their own religion had blossomed. They killed off the last of the Gnostic circles, including their libraries, churches, scrolls, and most importantly, the flame of gnosis that had been carefully passed down throughout the ages. By 410 AD, the Roman Empire had nearly torn itself apart and the Visigoths strolled in to finish the job. Only 85 years after the Council of Nicaea, the Dark Ages had begun.

While poring over the lost Gnostic texts of The Nag Hammadi Library, I was surprised how many of them focused on reframing the Garden of Eden story. These tales, like The Secret Book of John, explained the human origin story quite differently than Genesis. They described a complicated cosmology that began with a single being (or parent), who was ineffable, eternal, immeasurable light, and created an image or reflection of itself, Barbelo, which in turn begot a multitude of heavenly planes (aeons) that were part of a wider divine realm (the pleroma).

Christ was not just a man but a distinct aeon or larger divine being in the pleroma. Those who fully realized the mysteries became one with “Christ,” carrying this high vibrational force inside themselves. Bedazzled by the cosmic palace, Sophia, the aeon of wisdom, created her own world without consent from the über-parent or her male counterpart. This experiment went awry and Sophia separated from the pleroma, creating a sinister Frankenstein ruler called the Demiurge (craftsman or maker), who manufactured our “counterfeit” material world.

This was The Old Testament God, who Gnostics called Yaldabaoth, Samael (God of the blind), and Saklas (a fool), as he believed himself to be the only god in the universe, ignorant of the pleroma and the omnipresent light of the parent. Breathing life into Adam (and unknowingly the divine spirit of Sophia), the Demiurge ruled over humans with his demonic bully-friends, the archons. The angelic realms of the pleroma embarked on a rescue mission for both Sophia and Adam and Eve. Like an undercover agent, Jesus snuck behind enemy lines into the Garden, inviting the first humans to eat of the Tree of Knowledge (“the Epinoia of pure light”) to “awaken them out of the depth of sleep” and their “fallen state.”

The Gnostic’s description of archons immediately intrigued an activist side in me. These devilish autocrats seemed representative of the oppressive empires that dominated Western history books. Today’s Halliburtons and Bechtels, Neo-cons and Exxons, seemed to follow a long shadowy lineage of hierarchical powers profiting from human suffering while expanding their empires. Maybe the Gnostics understood that we needed mystical agents of transformation smuggling in celestial light to liberate lost souls on the planet.

And the Christ story seemed to be the perfect place to help free us from worldly bondage. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that millions of people living today have been wounded or mislead by literalist Christianity, robbed of their own divine spark. For more than a millennia, the Judeo-Christian tradition has supplied the underlying operating platform for our whole society — our languages, laws, mores, work ethic, sexuality, even our way of perceiving time (with the Gregorian calendar) — shaping our worldview, whether we realize it or not.

Integrating this tradition could prove a powerful tool in coming to terms with ourselves, and our history. And that doesn’t necessarily mean plodding through obscure Gnostic texts, making sense of strange Demiurge names. The mysteries lay right there in The New Testament for those with “eyes to see” and “ears to hear.” But we need an upgrade of the Protestant Revolution, one that incorporates the gnosis of Christ-consciousness. Imagine already established churches, the ones on your block, enhancing their services with meditation, prayer, breathwork, energy healing, body movement, possibly even late night dancing, and among the more radicalized churches, the ingesting of psychoactive sacraments in a safe and protected space. Why build entirely new systems for connecting us to pneuma when the institutions have already been created, whether Methodist, Lutheran, or Baptist? But these “waterless” religions would have to give up their addiction to dominating worshipers, address the evolution of the spirit, and infuse the essence of the mysteries into their hollow edifices.

Many of the popular Eastern disciplines of today have us turning away from the world around us, meditating on our navel. But Christ wasn’t only a yogi; he was a mystical activist, carrying his message to those who most needed it. In this time of great transition, our ailing planet needs spiritual warriors, ones capable of standing up to the Western materialist machine, so we can create sustainable societies that care for their citizens, harmonize with the cycles of nature, and receive and honor the vast healing light that quietly connects us all.

1. Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999), 1.

2. Sir James George Frazier, The Golden Bough (New York: Macmillan, 1992), chapter 37.

, , , , , ,

  • Anonymous

    The Emperor is all Heretic.

  • Redacted

    The Emperor is all Heretic.

  • Anonymous

    great article.

  • Guest

  • feint_ruled

    Interesting article, but Horizon=”Horus Sun”, although cute, is tripe. It comes from Greek.

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=horizon
     
    I won’t even comment on “Sun-Set”

    • gnomad1618

      Exactly.
      The authors and the source of their ideas (I’m assuming it’s Jordon Maxwell) seem to think the early Gnostics spoke modern English. Please.

      If I am wrong, could someone please show me what ancient languages whose words for “sun” and “son” are also homophones? It is not Greek. It is not Aramaic. It is not Hebrew.

      To me, this linguistic farce invalidates any further efforts the authors make at comparative religion and is an insult to any legitimate gnostic inquiry.

      • Anon

        It isn’t necessary that “sun” and “son” be homophones in the original language (translating from), only that the English copies be perverted over the course of re-copying.

        Duh.

        • gnomad1618

          Most of the comparative studies in that particular Zeitgeist ilk which I have seen suggest that the perversion comes when the Biblical authors/ scholars misrepresent the  “Sun of God” as the “Son of God.” This comparison becomes meaningless when there is no homophonic quality. It stinks of Maxwell, who uses these linguistic twists to convey authoritative knowledge over a subject, which is bogus. 
          I must give my apologies to the author, though, for once I read that paragraph, I stopped reading and commented. After reading his response to feint_ruled in this thread regarding his chronicling of his personal initiatory process, I read the rest of the article. You, sir, are indeed in pursuit of legitimate gnostic inquiry. It is the academic “gnostics” who are “missing the mark.”

          The pseudo academics (to me, Maxwell , Acharya S., and, to some extent, Tsarion) are far worse, as they seem to be leading people to dismiss Christianity (and, in particular, the Christian Mysteries) as a by-product of deceit and power-hungry political control through religion.

          While I do not deny that such a control structure exists, Maxwell and the like perpetuate said control by distracting genuine inquirers from the Deeper Truths, primarily of which (IMO and experience) there IS a correlation between the Solar deities and Christ. But it is to be found in a wholly indwelling Gnostic experience, and not in literature.I need only point to one thing that demonstrates Maxwell and Tsarion fabricate their teachings. (I have not read Freke and Gandy, and admittedly only assume that that the source material is the same). Both of them suggest that Rudolph Steiner was a Luciferian. Nothing could be further from the truth.

          I bring this up because it is a comprehension of Steiner’s vision that reconciles and illuminates the Solar/ Christ Mystery exoterically. And quite frankly, no scholarly attempt to correlate the Mystery will be satisfactory, and is virtually guaranteed to be flawed. But one finds in Anthroposophy a certain reverence coupled with verbose exposition which may satisfy the scholarly mind. In this vein, regarding the Solar Christ, I might hesitantly recommend “Christ and Sophia” by Valentin Tomberg, or at least sections of it.

          • Ed12261973

            “The pseudo academics (to me, Maxwell , Acharya S., and, to some extent, Tsarion) are far worse, as they seem to be leading people to dismiss Christianity (and, in particular, the Christian Mysteries) as a by-product of deceit and power-hungry political control through religion.”
            However, the truth remains that Christianity is a by-product of deceit and power-hungry political control through religion.

    • Jonathan Talat

      Thanks, you’re right.  If there’s a reprint, I’ll remove this line.  Frazier is more reliable in this material than Freke and Gandy. He found numberous similarities between these mystery traditions and finds sources at the time who comment on the phenomenon (often complaining about it) in the Golden Bough.  This is the only chapter where I really reference The Jesus Mysteries.  The rest of the book quotes directly from the original Gnostic texts so mistakes like this shouldn’t show up.

      Also, this isn’t a strictly academic book about Gnosticism.  I chronicles my challenging initiatory process involving kundalini awakenings, ayahuasca ceremonies, bizarre energy healings, even some galactic encounters, as I pursue my own gnosis.

      • Jonathan Talat

         That should be “I chronicle”… 

    • Illestvillain8

      Exactly! That relates to @ad71d12f0b75e33851098b38cbf9fe44:disqus  too, this new-agey mystery shit makes a lot of bogus claims to validity. What clearly exposes it is the part about “Jesus snuck behind enemy lines into the Garden, inviting the first humans to eat of the Tree of Knowledge”… So the Jesus of the Gnostics is the Snake of the Old Testament?
      Isn’t that Luciferianism, aren’t the ruling elite Luciferians at the top, aren’t these the people behind the UN, the push to global government, one world religion, gloablised corporate fascism, the globalised dumbing-down education program, fake environmentalism, population reduction, wars, destruction, suffering, ignorance and death? Except for the selected few who “have the knowledge” of course.
      The fruits of this mystery religion is this fucked up world we find ourselves in. If your philosophy doesn’t affirm Life and Liberty in its actions not just its words its absolutely worthless and if unchecked, ultimately destructive.
      And I’m not saying accept the Church’s Christianity unquestioningly either, but the Jesus that taught empathy, humility, standing up for the downtrodden, flipping the tables of the money-changers, who liberated people from reliance on the authority of the priests to access God, that sounds like someone worth emulating. And in the same texts that describe this character, he also faces the temptations of the same Serpent who gave the fruit of Knowledge to Man, now you want me to accept that that Serpent IS Jesus, BULL!! The mystery school is full of deceptions, like with obviously contrived etymology pointed out above, aren’t we suppose to spread Truth?
       

      • Allenqualls2

        the new testament was written a considerable time after the the old testament, and jesus’ words are largely second and third hand “quotes.”  probably, they are the words of Paul who, I imagine, had an agenda to establish a “church,” contrary to the Jewish tradition.  Hell, the Essenes had a faith contrary to the Jewish tradition of the time (they thought the Sanhedren-read centrists-were in cahoots with the Romans) and they were Jewish themselves. Well, it was probably a response to what the Jews had become.  The hardline Jews at that time, tended to demonize anyone who was outside of the fold.
        At any rate, why are people here citing Frazier?  He was mostly concerned with European, pagan fertility cults.  I get the whole conflated Easter thing, but still.  It seems like apples and oranges, considering the context of the article.

      • Jonathan Talat

         Hi Illestvillain8,

        I appreciate these thoughts and think you have a lot going on in this comment.  I guess I’d like to start with the serpent as it is a symbol found across the globe almost universally symboloziing transformation, perhaps due to how it sheds its skin.  Also, there’s a great book by Jeremy Narby, “The Cosmic Serpent,” which shows how shamans and mystics across the world talk about entwined, or double-helix serpents as symbols of healing and transformation (Narby argues that these spiritual adepts understood the form of DNA), so just to label the serpent as bad, as is done in some Christian doctrine may be a little one-sided. 

        But most early Gnostics would look at the world created by the jealous Old Testament God (the Demiurge) as generating the negative doctrines and institutions that you see today (including the empire of the Roman Catholic Church, which does not focus on the liberating force of “Christ Within” but on submission to autocratic powers.  Just like, you, they saw Jesus as the solution to this problem, that he was a liberating, redeeming force set forth to bring light into this world.

    • Calypso_1

      It is cute…just as cute as that sunday morning favorite of ‘history’ being ‘His Story’.  Language has always been, in part, a game to program its recipients with the intent of the author.  Concepts, like words, are also fun to play with.
            Let’s take ‘tripe’.  Tripe: edible parts of the stomach.  The Sons of Horus:  gods of Egyptian funerary rites associated with the jars that contained various organs.  Duamutef: the Jackal headed god associated with the jar that holds the embalmed stomach.  In some myths the son of Horus and Isis, in others of Osiris (this provides us with numerous connections to Anubis or Set).   The name Duamutef means ‘he who adores his mother’ referring to Isis.  Isis Queen of Heaven, Isis with Child…..
          The Greek Thesomophoria Mysteries were an importation of Egyptian Isis Mysteries.  Read Plutarch’s ‘Isis and Osiris’ and Cyrus Gordon’s ‘The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations’.  To broadly dismiss a word, used in a non-technical, conceptual context as ‘it comes from Greek’ is silly.  Many elements of language are rooted in mythological space and mythologies are transmitted and transmuted from culture to culture –  there ultimate origins a distillation of human consciousness reaching into mythopoetic dimensions.  So creatively placing words onto constructs that resonate with your inner sight is a valid use of language as thought form. 
        

  • feint_ruled

    Interesting article, but Horizon=”Horus Sun”, although cute, is tripe. It comes from Greek.

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=horizon
     
    I won’t even comment on “Sun-Set”

  • Sytallix

    If you want a less materialist and more spiritually connected world have everyone try mushrooms, ayawaska and/or cannabis, these substances allow you to plug right into the “divine” instead of going through priests to learn and experience something spiritual.  Besides if you look back through-out history spirituality has mostly been about altered states of consciousness, we’ve now lost our right to do that in most places around the world, and now lap up superstitions imposed by merely human authority.

    • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

      Nonsense!

      The only way to get right with god is to give small green pieces of paper to your local priest/pedophile class.

      • Jonathan Talat

        I remember growing up watching “The 500 Club” where Pat Robertson would have TV audiences on their knees praying for repentance before hitting them up to financially support the program.  Spiritual extortion.

    • Jonathan Talat

      Hi Sytallix,

      There seems to be a history of initiatory paths using plant medicine for the transformation of consciousness.  There is soma in the vedic texts, kykeon of the Eleusinian mysteries, and even a version of ayahuasca in the Christian based Santo Daime tradition today.  There’s some evidence that the Mithras Mysteries used mushrooms (http://www.amazon.com/Mushrooms-Myth-Mithras-Civilized-Europe/dp/0872864707), as well as the Christian mystery schools.  Just do a Google image search for Jesus and mushrooms and you’ll find some interesting ancient paintings of Jesus and the magic fungi.  

      I feel you’re correct about controlling institutions limiting our freedom to explore consciousness.  Fortunately, there have been some recent cases, thanks to the Freedom of Religion Act that have allowed peyote use by the Native Americans and ayahuasca in Oregon.  I hope this freedom keeps expanding with a growing societal maturity towards plant medicines.

  • Sytallix

    If you want a less materialist and more spiritually connected world have everyone try mushrooms, ayawaska and/or cannabis, these substances allow you to plug right into the “divine” instead of going through priests to learn and experience something spiritual.  Besides if you look back through-out history spirituality has mostly been about altered states of consciousness, we’ve now lost our right to do that in most places around the world, and now lap up superstitions imposed by merely human authority.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Nonsense!

    The only way to get right with god is to give small green pieces of paper to your local priest/pedophile class.

  • DITM

    The “mythical origins” claim returns, still with zero academics supporting it and zero reasonable arguments. The theory holds that all evidence of the gnostic origins was destroyed? How convenient.

    • Jonathan

      Hi DITM,

      I’m confused about your comment regarding all gnostic origins being destroyed.  We’ve found dozens and dozens of “Gnostic” texts from the early days to support this theory.  In fact, fragments of “The Gospel of Thomas” may date earlier than Mark.

      • DITM

        I said that because the theorists always push the idea that what they believe is true but all of the evidence you would expect has been destroyed. The book this article cites by Freke and Gandy says exactly that. A similar book by Acharya S claims further that the destruction was covered up by the freemasons. I kid not.

        The Gospel of Thomas is interesting, and I personally would like to see it included in bibles. It makes little sense to call it gnostic though. It shares almost no key gnostic features. The gospels that define gnosticism (judas, mary, philip, etc.) are all late second century at best.

        Of course, your comment got four likes. Perhaps because you are knowledgeable and appear to be defending the thoroughly debunked “mythic origins” stance. Such has sadly come to be expected among the “new atheists” who have for the large part abandoned the stated disinterested search for the truth in favour of just attacking christianity with whatever they can find. As an atheist, I really wish our movement was better than this.

        • Jonathan Talat

          Thanks DITM for your thoughtful reply here.  I also wish Thomas would be included in The New Testament.  The word “Gnostic” gets a little tricky as it’s a label that some modern day scholars have given to ancient practitioners.  The word gnosis, as you probably know given your research, indicates direct knowledge or experience of the divine or revelatory phenomenon.  In that regard I feel Thomas is a “gnostic” text, like this line for example: “Heaven is inside you and outside you.  When you know yourselves, then you will be known and you will understand that you are children of the living father.”  It’s also found in the Nag Hammadi Library, a “Gnostic” collection of texts. 

  • DITM

    The “mythical origins” claim returns, still with zero academics supporting it and zero reasonable arguments. The theory holds that all evidence of the gnostic origins was destroyed? How convenient.

  • GnosticSpellChecker

    “Harmatia” is a typo – “Hamartia”

  • GnosticSpellChecker

    “Harmatia” is a typo – “Hamartia”

  • JVP

    Ayahuasca, Freke and Gandy, blah blah blah. Very little having to do with what is currently known about the Gnostics themselves. There’s better info out there, people….

    • Jonathan Talat

      Perhaps you could share some names or titles that your recommend? I think Elaine Pagels provides a good introduction to this material.  Stephan Hoeller and Richard Smoley are also interesting.  Of course you can dive into the Nag Hammadi Library or the Berlin codex but that can be a little daunting.  For straight out Gnostic scriptures, I recommend starting with Gospel of Thomas for the sayings, Philiip for the initiatory rites, Secret John for cosmology, and Mary for the power of the sacred feminine. 

      • DITM

        Elaine Pagels is good. Bart Ehrman has also written some very accessible stuff, particularly on the gospel of judas.

  • JVP

    Ayahuasca, Freke and Gandy, blah blah blah. Very little having to do with what is currently known about the Gnostics themselves. There’s better info out there, people….

  • Jonathan Talat

    Hi Sytallix,

    There seems to be a history of initiatory paths using plant medicine for the transformation of consciousness.  There is soma in the vedic texts, kykeon of the Eleusinian mysteries, and even a version of ayahuasca in the Christian based Santo Daime tradition today.  There’s some evidence that the Mithras Mysteries used mushrooms (http://www.amazon.com/Mushrooms-Myth-Mithras-Civilized-Europe/dp/0872864707), as well as the Christian mystery schools.  Just do a Google image search for Jesus and mushrooms and you’ll find some interesting ancient paintings of Jesus and the magic fungi.  

    I feel you’re correct about controlling institutions limiting our freedom to explore consciousness.  Fortunately, there have been some recent cases, thanks to the Freedom of Religion Act that have allowed peyote use by the Native Americans and ayahuasca in Oregon.  I hope this freedom keeps expanding with a growing societal maturity towards plant medicines.

  • Jonathan Talat

    Hi Sytallix,

    There seems to be a history of initiatory paths using plant medicine for the transformation of consciousness.  There is soma in the vedic texts, kykeon of the Eleusinian mysteries, and even a version of ayahuasca in the Christian based Santo Daime tradition today.  There’s some evidence that the Mithras Mysteries used mushrooms (http://www.amazon.com/Mushrooms-Myth-Mithras-Civilized-Europe/dp/0872864707), as well as the Christian mystery schools.  Just do a Google image search for Jesus and mushrooms and you’ll find some interesting ancient paintings of Jesus and the magic fungi.  

    I feel you’re correct about controlling institutions limiting our freedom to explore consciousness.  Fortunately, there have been some recent cases, thanks to the Freedom of Religion Act that have allowed peyote use by the Native Americans and ayahuasca in Oregon.  I hope this freedom keeps expanding with a growing societal maturity towards plant medicines.

  • Jonathan

    Hi DITM,

    I’m confused about your comment regarding all gnostic origins being destroyed.  We’ve found dozens and dozens of “Gnostic” texts from the early days to support this theory.  In fact, fragments of “The Gospel of Thomas” may date earlier than Mark.

  • Jonathan

    Hi DITM,

    I’m confused about your comment regarding all gnostic origins being destroyed.  We’ve found dozens and dozens of “Gnostic” texts from the early days to support this theory.  In fact, fragments of “The Gospel of Thomas” may date earlier than Mark.

  • Jonathan Talat

    I remember growing up watching “The 500 Club” where Pat Robertson would have TV audiences on their knees praying for repentance before hitting them up to financially support the program.  Spiritual extortion.

  • Jonathan Talat

    I remember growing up watching “The 500 Club” where Pat Robertson would have TV audiences on their knees praying for repentance before hitting them up to financially support the program.  Spiritual extortion.

  • gnomad1618

    Exactly.
    The authors and the source of their ideas (I’m assuming it’s Jordon Maxwell) seem to think the early Gnostics spoke modern English. Please.

    If I am wrong, could someone please show me what ancient languages whose words for “sun” and “son” are also homophones? It is not Greek. It is not Aramaic. It is not Hebrew.

    To me, this linguistic farce invalidates any further efforts the authors make at comparative religion and is an insult to any legitimate gnostic inquiry.

  • Jonathan Talat

    Perhaps you could share some names or titles that your recommend? I think Elaine Pagels provides a good introduction to this material.  Stephan Hoeller and Richard Smoley are also interesting.  Of course you can dive into the Nag Hammadi Library or the Berlin codex but that can be a little daunting.  For straight out Gnostic scriptures, I recommend starting with Gospel of Thomas for the sayings, Philiip for the initiatory rites, Secret John for cosmology, and Mary for the power of the sacred feminine. 

  • Jonathan Talat

    Thanks, you’re right.  If there’s a reprint, I’ll remove this line.  Frazier is more reliable in this material than Freke and Gandy. He found numberous similarities between these mystery traditions and finds sources at the time who comment on the phenomenon (often complaining about it) in the Golden Bough.  This is the only chapter where I really reference The Jesus Mysteries.  The rest of the book quotes directly from the original Gnostic texts so mistakes like this shouldn’t show up.

    Also, this isn’t a strictly academic book about Gnosticism.  I chronicles my challenging initiatory process involving kundalini awakenings, ayahuasca ceremonies, bizarre energy healings, even some galactic encounters, as I pursue my own gnosis.

  • Jonathan Talat

     That should be “I chronicle”… 

  • Anon

    It isn’t necessary that “sun” and “son” be homophones in the original language (translating from), only that the English copies be perverted over the course of re-copying.

    Duh.

  • gnomad1618

    Most of the comparative studies in that particular Zeitgeist ilk which I have seen suggest that the perversion comes when the Biblical authors/ scholars misrepresent the  “Sun of God” as the “Son of God.” This comparison becomes meaningless when there is no homophonic quality. It stinks of Maxwell, who uses these linguistic twists to convey authoritative knowledge over a subject, which is bogus. 
    I must give my apologies to the author, though, for once I read that paragraph, I stopped reading and commented. After reading his response to feint_ruled in this thread regarding his chronicling of his personal initiatory process, I read the rest of the article. You, sir, are indeed in pursuit of legitimate gnostic inquiry. It is the academic “gnostics” who are “missing the mark.”

    The pseudo academics (to me, Maxwell , Acharya S., and, to some extent, Tsarion) are far worse, as they seem to be leading people to dismiss Christianity (and, in particular, the Christian Mysteries) as a by-product of deceit and power-hungry political control through religion.

    While I do not deny that such a control structure exists, Maxwell and the like perpetuate said control by distracting genuine inquirers from the Deeper Truths, primarily of which (IMO and experience) there IS a correlation between the Solar deities and Christ. But it is to be found in a wholly indwelling Gnostic experience, and not in literature.I need only point to one thing that demonstrates Maxwell and Tsarion fabricate their teachings. (I have not read Freke and Gandy, and admittedly only assume that that the source material is the same). Both of them suggest that Rudolph Steiner was a Luciferian. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I bring this up because it is a comprehension of Steiner’s vision that reconciles and illuminates the Solar/ Christ Mystery exoterically. And quite frankly, no scholarly attempt to correlate the Mystery will be satisfactory, and is virtually guaranteed to be flawed. But one finds in Anthroposophy a certain reverence coupled with verbose exposition which may satisfy the scholarly mind. In this vein, regarding the Solar Christ, I might hesitantly recommend “Christ and Sophia” by Valentin Tomberg, or at least sections of it.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    The Dawn of an age takes a long time. 

    Its still the dawning of the age of Aquarius (the water bearer).

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    The Dawn of an age takes a long time. 

    Its still the dawning of the age of Aquarius (the water bearer).

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    The Dawn of an age takes a long time. 

    Its still the dawning of the age of Aquarius (the water bearer).

  • Anonymous

    Fascinating reading, flaws notwithstanding. Keep it up!

  • seanooski

    Fascinating reading, flaws notwithstanding. Keep it up!

  • Illestvillain8

    Exactly! That relates to @ad71d12f0b75e33851098b38cbf9fe44:disqus  too, this new-agey mystery shit makes a lot of bogus claims to validity. What clearly exposes it is the part about “Jesus snuck behind enemy lines into the Garden, inviting the first humans to eat of the Tree of Knowledge”… So the Jesus of the Gnostics is the Snake of the Old Testament?
    Isn’t that Luciferianism, aren’t the ruling elite Luciferians at the top, aren’t these the people behind the UN, the push to global government, one world religion, gloablised corporate fascism, the globalised dumbing-down education program, fake environmentalism, population reduction, wars, destruction, suffering, ignorance and death? Except for the selected few who “have the knowledge” of course.
    The fruits of this mystery religion is this fucked up world we find ourselves in. If your philosophy doesn’t affirm Life and Liberty in its actions not just its words its absolutely worthless and if unchecked, ultimately destructive.
    And I’m not saying accept the Church’s Christianity unquestioningly either, but the Jesus that taught empathy, humility, standing up for the downtrodden, flipping the tables of the money-changers, who liberated people from reliance on the authority of the priests to access God, that sounds like someone worth emulating. And in the same texts that describe this character, he also faces the temptations of the same Serpent who gave the fruit of Knowledge to Man, now you want me to accept that that Serpent IS Jesus, BULL!! The mystery school is full of deceptions, like with obviously contrived etymology pointed out above, aren’t we suppose to spread Truth?
     

  • Allenqualls2

    the new testament was written a considerable time after the the old testament, and jesus’ words are largely second and third hand “quotes.”  probably, they are the words of Paul who, I imagine, had an agenda to establish a “church,” contrary to the Jewish tradition.  Hell, the Essenes had a faith contrary to the Jewish tradition of the time (they thought the Sanhedren-read centrists-were in cahoots with the Romans) and they were Jewish themselves. Well, it was probably a response to what the Jews had become.  The hardline Jews at that time, tended to demonize anyone who was outside of the fold.
    At any rate, why are people here citing Frazier?  He was mostly concerned with European, pagan fertility cults.  I get the whole conflated Easter thing, but still.  It seems like apples and oranges, considering the context of the article.

  • DITM

    I said that because the theorists always push the idea that what they believe is true but all of the evidence you would expect has been destroyed. The book this article cites by Freke and Gandy says exactly that. A similar book by Acharya S claims further that the destruction was covered up by the freemasons. I kid not.

    The Gospel of Thomas is interesting, and I personally would like to see it included in bibles. It makes little sense to call it gnostic though. It shares almost no key gnostic features. The gospels that define gnosticism (judas, mary, philip, etc.) are all late second century at best.

    Of course, your comment got four likes. Perhaps because you are knowledgeable and appear to be defending the thoroughly debunked “mythic origins” stance. Such has sadly come to be expected among the “new atheists” who have for the large part abandoned the stated disinterested search for the truth in favour of just attacking christianity with whatever they can find. As an atheist, I really wish our movement was better than this.

  • DITM

    Elaine Pagels is good. Bart Ehrman has also written some very accessible stuff, particularly on the gospel of judas.

  • Jonathan Talat

    Thanks DITM for your thoughtful reply here.  I also wish Thomas would be included in The New Testament.  The word “Gnostic” gets a little tricky as it’s a label that some modern day scholars have given to ancient practitioners.  The word gnosis, as you probably know given your research, indicates direct knowledge or experience of the divine or revelatory phenomenon.  In that regard I feel Thomas is a “gnostic” text, like this line for example: “Heaven is inside you and outside you.  When you know yourselves, then you will be known and you will understand that you are children of the living father.”  It’s also found in the Nag Hammadi Library, a “Gnostic” collection of texts. 

  • Jonathan Talat

     Hi Illestvillain8,

    I appreciate these thoughts and think you have a lot going on in this comment.  I guess I’d like to start with the serpent as it is a symbol found across the globe almost universally symboloziing transformation, perhaps due to how it sheds its skin.  Also, there’s a great book by Jeremy Narby, “The Cosmic Serpent,” which shows how shamans and mystics across the world talk about entwined, or double-helix serpents as symbols of healing and transformation (Narby argues that these spiritual adepts understood the form of DNA), so just to label the serpent as bad, as is done in some Christian doctrine may be a little one-sided. 

    But most early Gnostics would look at the world created by the jealous Old Testament God (the Demiurge) as generating the negative doctrines and institutions that you see today (including the empire of the Roman Catholic Church, which does not focus on the liberating force of “Christ Within” but on submission to autocratic powers.  Just like, you, they saw Jesus as the solution to this problem, that he was a liberating, redeeming force set forth to bring light into this world.

  • Anonymous

    It is cute…just as cute as that sunday morning favorite of ‘history’ being ‘His Story’.  Language has always been, in part, a game to program its recipients with the intent of the author.  Concepts, like words, are also fun to play with.
          Let’s take ‘tripe’.  Tripe: edible parts of the stomach.  The Sons of Horus:  gods of Egyptian funerary rites associated with the jars that contained various organs.  Duamutef: the Jackal headed god associated with the jar that holds the embalmed stomach.  In some myths the son of Horus and Isis, in others of Osiris (this provides us with numerous connections to Anubis or Set).   The name Duamutef means ‘he who adores his mother’ referring to Isis.  Isis Queen of Heaven, Isis with Child…..
        The Greek Thesomophoria Mysteries were an importation of Egyptian Isis Mysteries.  Read Plutarch’s ‘Isis and Osiris’ and Cyrus Gordon’s ‘The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations’.  To broadly dismiss a word, used in a non-technical, conceptual context as ‘it comes from Greek’ is silly.  Many elements of language are rooted in mythological space and mythologies are transmitted and transmuted from culture to culture –  there ultimate origins a distillation of human consciousness reaching into mythopoetic dimensions.  So creatively placing words onto constructs that resonate with your inner sight is a valid use of language as thought form. 
      

  • Big T

    Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For
    he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a
    dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
    He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
    But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
    All
    we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own
    way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
    He
    was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is
    brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers
    is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
    He
    was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his
    generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the
    transgression of my people was he stricken.
    And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
    Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
    He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
    Therefore will I divide him a portion
    with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because
    he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the
    transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for
    the transgressors.
     Isaiah 53

  • Big T

    Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For
    he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a
    dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
    He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
    But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
    All
    we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own
    way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
    He
    was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is
    brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers
    is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
    He
    was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his
    generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the
    transgression of my people was he stricken.
    And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
    Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
    He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
    Therefore will I divide him a portion
    with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because
    he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the
    transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for
    the transgressors.
     Isaiah 53

  • Jon

    But Jesus was not born on the 25th of December.  In fact it was most likely during the spring.

  • Jon

    But Jesus was not born on the 25th of December.  In fact it was most likely during the spring.

  • Ed12261973

    “The pseudo academics (to me, Maxwell , Acharya S., and, to some extent, Tsarion) are far worse, as they seem to be leading people to dismiss Christianity (and, in particular, the Christian Mysteries) as a by-product of deceit and power-hungry political control through religion.”
    However, the truth remains that Christianity is a by-product of deceit and power-hungry political control through religion.

  • Andrew Drew

    Hi,
    What do you think of this podcast: http://www.desposyni.podbean.com/

    I find there is quite
    interesting information about Jesus’ life, that sounds and feels so true!

  • Andrew Drew

    Hi,
    What do you think of this podcast: http://www.desposyni.podbean.com/

    I find there is quite
    interesting information about Jesus’ life, that sounds and feels so true!

  • Andrew Drew

    Hi,
    What do you think of this podcast: http://www.desposyni.podbean.com/

    I find there is quite
    interesting information about Jesus’ life, that sounds and feels so true!

  • Andrew Drew

    Hi,
    What do you think of this podcast: http://www.desposyni.podbean.com/

    I find there is quite
    interesting information about Jesus’ life, that sounds and feels so true!

  • Andrew Drew

    Hi,
    What do you think of this podcast: http://www.desposyni.podbean.com/

    I find there is quite
    interesting information about Jesus’ life, that sounds and feels so true!

  • Andrew Drew

    Hi,
    What do you think of this podcast: http://www.desposyni.podbean.com/

    I find there is quite
    interesting information about Jesus’ life, that sounds and feels so true!

  • JamesRottnek

    This is a quite tired diatribe.  When people actually bother to read scholars, they come to much better conclusions.

21