Friday, September 22, 2006

Individual Presentation: Gnostic Terms

A few terms -- all more or less overlapping synonyms --from the individual presentation today on Gnosticism:
  • Rosy Cross: the central symbol of the Fraternity of the Rose Cross, i.e. the rosicrucian order. The homepage of the Rosicrucian Archive is littered with terms like mystery and hidden meaning.
  • Manichean: a metaphysic of Persian origin of perennial attraction to gnostics. Absolute dualism: Good and Evil are opposing gods of co-equal power.
  • Apocryphal Christian writings: (apocrypha = Gr. "hidden") Non-Biblical documents, real or fraudulent, dated to early centuries AD. To gnostics, this extra-biblicality is suppression and, then, secrecy and proof of power. To non-gnostics, they are documents that, where they are not fakes, merely did not pass the criteria of the various editing panels set by the early Church to compile a compendium of works into one authorised anthology eventually called simply The Book -- or in Latin, Bible. Gnostics at times intimate that Christianity hides the apocryphal writings. The Catholic encyclopedia has an extensive treatment. The texts are widely available: here online for instance. The Book of Mormon is an example of an extra-Biblical text that has illuminati qualities. One other major non-Christian text may also come to mind here.
  • The illuminati: simply, enlightened ones. The Conspiracy Archive has a treatment. Freemasons are illuminati; "New World Order" is an illuminati jargon.
  • Kabbalah. A Judiac mystical tradition. Pop singer -- and perennially interesting person -- Madonna (or Madge, to the press in her adoptive home, England) is a practicing Kabbalist. On Kabbalism's sometime claim that mere open sexual practices have been exaggerated into charges of sexual deviancy to cover supression by the Church: right here in Vancouver, one Ivon Shearing, leader of the Kabalarian Society, was convicted by B.C. Supreme Court in 1997 on two counts of rape, three of sexual assault, four of indecent assault and three of gross indecency involving seven teenage girls between 1966 and 1989. You can read an account and estimation of Kabbalism in the transcript of a trial at the Supreme Court of Canada against Shearing. Quotation: "The accused was the leader of a cult which believed that enlightenment is reached through ascension by steps of consciousness. He preached that sexual experience was a way to progress to higher levels and that he, as cult leader, could be instrumental in enabling young girls to reach higher levels through sexual and spiritual contact. He was charged with 20 counts of sexual offences alleged to have occurred between 1965 and 1990. Two of the 11 complainants were sisters who had resided with the accused at the cult’s group residence while teenagers .... the Kabalarians are a secretive society whose original philosophy seems to have been reduced by the appellant to a hodge-podge of spiritual fantasies (e.g., having sex with disembodied minds). Kabalarians believe that enlightenment is reached through ascension by steps of consciousness. Sexual experience, the appellant says, is a key way to progress to the next level. Perhaps not surprisingly, the appellant preached that he, as the leader, could be instrumental in enabling young girls to reach these higher levels through sexual/spiritual contact with him."

Gnosticism, as detailed in lecture, is a catch-all term covering an overlapping complex of institutions, ideas, and traditions; characterised generally by a shared sense of secrecy and conspiracy.

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