Gnosis signifies knowledge from experience. Gnosticism, as a field of study, pertains to all the ancient schools of mysteries from both East and West, whose scriptures encompass the practical science of awakening consciousness. Gnosis is not isolated to the first Christians, but permeates all times, cultures, and spaces, for while consciousness is universal, the means of expressing such experiential wisdom of the divine is temporal and idiosyncratic to the language, mentality, and needs of a particular society.
Gnosis is what we have verified through experience and experimentation, predicated upon practical methods and personal effort. It is never the product of a belief system, of adopting a religious or mystical attitude, demeanor, or behavior. It is never achieved through attendance, adherence to, or acceptance from a group, by believing in doctrine or creed. It is the flowering and natural unfolding of the soul, which is created and developed when the proper causes and conditions have been met.
Just as there are laws that govern the physical universe, so too are there spiritual laws, causes, and methods to originate the soul: the awakening of the consciousness.
Therefore, the term gnosis is synonymous with genuine faith. Faith has nothing to do with belief, with accepting or rejecting a concept in the mind or upholding a sentiment in the heart. Faith is what we know from facts, from witnessing and understanding reality. Belief takes no effort to foster or develop, whereas the awakening of consciousness and divine experience requires tremendous discipline and the application of spiritual works.
Many religious traditions today fail to recognize this distinction, yet it constitutes an essential dynamic for genuine spirituality as taught within the ancient mystery schools:
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (James 2:14-17).
"Here we think a note on faith should be of interest. Initiates say its meaning has been misunderstood. Faith, as the world uses it, possesses no spiritual nature; though in the secondary system it means power and energy applied to action. All success in Yoga comes from this application; for the true quality of faith is a Solar force that illumines the mind and attracts to it atoms of power and energy. More human wrecks have resulted from the misconception of this quality than man realises." -M., The Dayspring of Youth
Esoteric schools have always represented the highest divinity by the sun, the Platonic or Solar Logos, the Absolute Good or creative Verb that initiates and sustains any cosmos. Therefore, the realization of divine knowledge is a solar quality, distinguished by the luminosity of character, the brilliance of conduct, and the limitless power of any master who has fully developed divinity within themselves. The solar quality of faith can only be actualized through practical spirituality, since it indicates the complete application of one's energies and efforts to the awakening of consciousness.
The opposite of solar faith is lunar belief. The moon represents all that is mechanical, repetitious, and destitute of life. Just as divinity originates all life, the moon is the culmination of the process of death; it is a dead planet. Any lunar satellite operates like a parasite of any planet or sun. Individuals who only cultivate theories are like the moon, empty, cold, and cadaverous, borrowing the light of insight from others in the same manner that a vampire gains its vitality from stealing and sucking blood. They have no real individuality or spiritual understanding born from experience; they have to borrow or merely repeat what others have learned, what the prophets said, what certain teachers have written, or what groups have discussed, but have no real cognizance of the truths contained within religion. Such persons are completely mechanical and conditioned by their own negative habits, obscuring the light of consciousness in the same manner as a solar eclipse.
While the sun of knowledge gives life, the beliefs and theories of humanity have thrust it into limbo, a mechanical, psychological slumber wherein the consciousness is hypnotized and incapable of acting on its own. Theories fascinate, debilitate, and intoxicate. High on theories, humanity has precipitated itself towards complete degeneration, with all of its wars, prostitution, and modern-day slavery. Since the reality of suffering is too intense for most people to confront, belief has been used to opiate the masses and to fundamentally ignore its tragic and terrible trajectory.
Therefore, the great initiates have always used the moon to symbolize all the complicated, contradictory, and convoluted theories of the masses that perpetuate mistaken views and sorrow. When an individual bases him or herself upon the assumption that one already knows truth, such a person will never strive in the implementation of solar values and the elimination of the causes of suffering. Therefore with just reason did Jesus of Nazareth state, "With patience possess ye your souls" (Luke 21:19), for it is only through patiently working with effective spiritual methods that one can develop one's solar consciousness.
When individuals are not willing to experiment, test, and verify spiritual truths, they ensure the repetition of their sorrows, dramas, comedies, and tragedies of life, the perils of fortune sung so painfully in Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana.
No real spiritual knowledge can be realized without efforts and change, for as Christ taught in the Gospel of Thomas, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find."
Practice, therefore, and not theories, produce radical changes and the experience of the real. If you wish to experience divinity, you must enact the proper causes for its fruition. This is why we offer so many spiritual practices in this tradition. While numerous spiritual schools exclusively focus on memorization, recitation, and labyrinthine discussions of esoteric philosophy, the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy and other Gnostic institutions integrate profound study with conscious action. It is through precise methods that one can see concrete results and achieve the complete development of the human being. We invite you towards the realization of your intimate potential and the full expression of your innermost divinity, here and now.
For further study, please see the following resources on practical spirituality:
Saturday, April 13th and Saturday, July 13th, 2019, are very special days within the gnostic tradition. These are two of the only days in the year where the 13th falls on a Saturday, indicating to us through practical astrology the manifestation of powerful planetary influences. Therefore, at the 13th hour (1 o'clock in the afternoon) on these dates, our planet earth will vibrate with powerful cosmic forces as a result of the Genii Melchizedek, who, according to Samael Aun Weor, is the angelic intelligence that governs our planet earth.
This enigmatic figure or spiritual king taught Abraham the rite of transubstantiation (the Gnostic Unction or Eucharist) after great battles against the Sodomites and Gomorrites. It is stated in the Bible (Genesis 14) that he was the King of שָׁלֵם Salem, which is highly symbolic, since this word shares etymological correspondence to the Hebrew word for "peace": שָׁלוֹם Shalom, and Shelamut שְׁלֵמוּת "perfection." Those who know Kabbalah will not be surprised that these words relate with שְׁלֹמֹה Sholomah or Solomon, who is an archetype of the perfected human being made into the image of God.
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was [is] the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram to the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." And he gave him tithe from all." —Genesis 14:18-20
Melchizedek's blessing of Abraham symbolizes how our inner divinity, represented by Abram or Abraham, is given honors from the god of the earth as a result of the initiatic process within each one of us. מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק Melchizedek is literally "King" (מֶ֖לֶךְ Melech) of divine "Justice" (צדק Tzadik) on our planet earth. Therefore, it is important to work with this intelligence in order to become a righteous one (צדיק Tzaddik), known in other words as: an "initiate."
Those who attain genuine initiation through this spiritual and psychological work do so in accordance with the order of Melchizedek. He is the divine planetary intelligence of the earth who grants entryway to the heights of spiritual realization for our humanity. Since he is the life and strength of this planet, we seek to become "Kings" and "Queens" of nature through his beneficence and help, just as all the "righteous ones" (Tzaddikim) צדיקים have done before (including Abraham, Moses, Jonah, Job, Elijah, and all the prophets).
Melchizedek is also referenced by Jesus within The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia:
"Jesus, — that is Aberamentho, — said: “Since indeed the father of my father, — that is Yew,— is the foreminder of all the rulers, Gods and powers who have arisen out of the matter of the Light of the Treasury, and Zorokothora Melchisedec is the envoy to all the lights which are purified in the rulers, leading them into the Treasury of the Light, — these two alone are the great Lights, and their ordinance is that they down go to the rulers and purify them, and that Zorokothora Melchisedec carrieth away the purification of the lights which they have purified in the rulers and leadeth them into the Treasury of the Light, — when the cipher and the time of their ordinance cometh, that they go down to the rulers and oppress and constrain them, carrying away the purification from the rulers." -The Pistis Sophia
The number 13, in accordance with The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, signifies death, purification, and the elimination of defects that obstruct the light of divinity within the consciousness. Therefore, the planetary intelligence Melchizedek can aid the practitioner on any Saturday the 13th at 1 PM, the thirteenth hour, to give inner strength and assistance in the elimination of one's internal faults and impurities. Through eliminating our psychological defects, we can in turn generate light, thereby entering the superior worlds with serenity, happiness, contentment. This is the meaning of Melchizedek "carrying away the purification of the lights" to lead the soul "into the Treasury of the Light," the heavenly realms.
A Gnostic Instructor explained, in a lecture entitled A New Heaven and Earth, a special practice for this date:
"The practice to ask for help from Melchisedec is quite simple. It is performed on any Saturday the thirteenth, at the thirteenth hour (one o’clock). Lie face down (on your stomach or solar plexus). You will pray and meditate for one hour, so adopt a posture that will allow you to be fully relaxed for that time. You can use a pillows or cushion as needed. You can rest your head on your hands or arms. Some students prefer to adopt the shape of a star with arms and legs out. As Samael Aun Weor emphasized, the main feature of our posture is that we should be deeply relaxed, capable of totally forgetting about the physical body. If you are distracted by your posture, you will not be able to concentrate effectively.
"Close your eyes and pray to your inner Being, asking to go to the temple of Melchisedec for help. Visualize this happening. The temple is in the center of the Earth. Relax, pray, concentrate, and visualize this process. Imagine talking to him. Generally, students sustain this prayer for the entire hour, meditating throughout.
"Call upon the help of Melchisedec to learn about yourself. Do not call upon Melchisedec and ask him to help you get a new car, or to get a new house, because people do that, and that is not the point of the practice. The point of the practice is to get help from Melchisedec to learn about your own Earth (your self) and to learn about your relationship to his Earth, this planet, and to change. My personal recommendation is to ask for help with your ego and your karma, since they are the root of suffering.
"Most importantly, one must have faith and sincere longing for inner change."
May the Lord God of Truth within bring you harmony, peace and understanding!
-The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Meditation is a means of acquiring information about ourselves, why we suffer, and what we can do to transform our suffering into wisdom and happiness.
It is also a technique for accessing personal knowledge of the divine and receiving insight on how to live with greater rectitude and love.
Meditation is a means of awakening and expanding consciousness beyond conditions and limitations of the physical senses.
Since consciousness is the ability to perceive, meditation is a deepening of that perception, a means of perceiving facts on a psychological and spiritual level.
Meditation is the natural state of the unconditioned, liberated consciousness. Therefore, the practice of meditation is a method of stripping away conditioning, illusions, and misperceptions. It is a means of gathering information about who we are. It is not "spacing out," nor is it solely focused on having ecstatic mystical "experiences."
Meditation is also not produced through artificial means, technology, machines, or drugs, since chemicals and psychedelic substances further condition the mind and psyche. Meditation is a state of being free of conditioning; therefore it is unnecessary to take substances or use technology in order to produce the natural state of awakened perception.
In order to perceive in its natural state, the consciousness must be purified of its conditions through practice and the application of conscious attention.
By removing the conditions of the psyche that make us suffer: anger, pride, fear, resentment, anxiety, desire, envy, etc., we can in turn see past illusions in order to access the essential nature of the consciousness: a profound state of happiness and contentment.
The meditator also possesses subtle energies in the mind, heart, and body that can be harnessed for meditative discipline. This is well explained in certain schools of Yoga and Buddhism.
Since we have everything we need within ourselves in order to strip away what is unnecessary within our consciousness, learning to return to the natural state of perception is only a matter of individual training.
As a practical technique and way of life, meditation is a method of gaining comprehension and guidance in relation to problems, difficulties, and challenges in life that seem impossible to resolve.
By gaining direct knowledge about the causes of our most intimate problems, we can then arrive at peace, serenity, and insight.
This personal, self-knowledge has been called gnosis in Greek. Gnosis is beyond belief, theory, scholasticism, argumentation, debate, concepts, etc. It is in fact the direct apprehension of truths through our very capacity to perceive.
In meditation, we rely on facts and evidence to support our understanding of the truths contained and taught within different traditions.
Here, we do not speculate. We know. For as the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated:
"Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts." -The Revolution of the Dialectic
Interested in learning how to meditate? Attend a class!
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The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
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