Gnosticism and Shamanism
Sacred Knowledge of Spiritual Knowing
by StarStuffsJune 2003
The original Greek word 'gnosis', is "to know" or knowledge in terms of being 'acquainted with' God. Gnosis therefore, is commonly referred to as the "direct knowledge of the divine mysteries". Gnosticism is an exploration of the spiritual and esoteric paths that encompasses many traditions of "knowing" the depth of the mysteries of our beingness. This knoweldge is based in deeper more sacred, inner spiritual truths derived from direct experience. Gnosis is the path of initiation into the Greater Mysteries and is the heart of all the great religions. In a specific religious sense is it the knowledge of God. Gnosis is the ultimate Revelation of knowing (versus reasoning) that is bestowed by the Divine -when God reveals hisself to man.
"Gnosis" and "Gnosticism" are almost always used interchangeably. The suggestion that term "gnosis" ought to be used to describe a state of consciousness, while "Gnosticism" should denote the Gnostic system..."Gnosticism...had surfaced in the twentieth century in the forms of Theosophy, Christian Science, some forms of spiritualism, and in what was called the "New Theology," which had been introduced primarily by German writers on religion." (1)
"...is not simply a synonym for mysticism, paranormal, occult, metaphysics, esoteric or knowledge. It is a distinct category of mystical experience beyond the physical or psychic levels of being. (Psychic experiences, such as speaking in tongues, are not considered to be an experience of gnosis."(2)
"Jung was not only interested in the Gnostics, but he considered them the discoverers and certainly the most important forerunners of depth psychology. The association between Jung's psychology and Gnosticism is profound, and its scope is increasingly revealed with the passage of time and the wider availability of the Nag Hammadi scriptures....What made Jung's view radically different from those of his predecessors was simply this: he believed that Gnostic teachings and myths originated in the personal psychospiritual experience of the Gnostic sages. What originates in the psyche bears the imprint of the psyche. Hence the close affinity between Gnosticism and depth psychology. (1)
Characteristics of Gnostics
"The following characteristics may be considered normative for all Gnostic teachers and groups in the era of classical Gnosticism; thus one who adheres to some or all of them today might properly be called a Gnostic:
*The Gnostics posited an original spiritual unity that came to be split into a plurality.
*As a result of the precosmic division the universe was created. This was done by a leader possessing inferior spiritual powers and who often resembled the Old Testament Jehovah.
*A female emanation of God was involved in the cosmic creation (albeit in a much more positive role than the leader).
*In the cosmos, space and time have a malevolent character and may be personified as demonic beings separating man from God.
*For man, the universe is a vast prison. He is enslaved both by the physical laws of nature and by such moral laws as the Mosaic code.
*Mankind may be personified as Adam, who lies in the deep sleep of ignorance, his powers of spiritual self-awareness stupefied by materiality.
*Within each natural man is an "inner man," a fallen spark of the divine substance. Since this exists in each man, we have the possibility of awakening from our stupefaction.
*What effects the awakening is not obedience, faith, or good works, but knowledge.
*Before the awakening, men undergo troubled dreams.
*Man does not attain the knowledge that awakens him from these dreams by cognition but through revelatory experience, and this knowledge is not information but a modification of the sensate being.
*The awakening (i.e., the salvation) of any individual is a cosmic event.
*Since the effort is to restore the wholeness and unity of the Godhead, active rebellion against the moral law of the Old Testament is enjoined upon every man." (1)
Shamanism has survived since, virtually, the dawn of time, when man was given responsibility over the earth. Our ancestors in previous cultures throughout the world came up with common symbols, images, stories, ideals and "code of ethics". This sometimes has been linked to the 'world consciousness' or in Jung's term, the "collective unconscious".
There seems to be a common knowledge that is always there if we are receptive to it. Shamanism in it's various forms seems to be the cornerstone of most world religions. If we look at the traits of shamanistic behavior: prayers, chants, drumming, astral traveling, dimensional traveling and spirit walking-talking. We'll find that the truth in alternate realities is earned by hard work, study and perserverance.
Shamanism is merely a path that opens for the person that chooses to walk their spirituality of "knowing". This knowledge is not gained from literature or ancient scriptures. This knowledge is discovered and bestowed upon the person by The Great Mystery, Divine Powers, Gods, Goddesses and the various names of the divinic forces.
Shamans of today help on many levels. The term can become blurry in all the spiritual terminology of today, however, the gnosis of this path comes as experience. Regardless of culture, shamanic paths are very similar. It is a path of knowing how to listen and sense the invisible energies around us. All of nature is speaking the invisible language of the shaman, everything is connected to everything else, there are many worlds, dimensions and levels at which one can operate in, the spirit worlds are as real as this world and there is no death, just transformation. It is my opinion, that people whose souls are called to this path "know it".
It is time for those who are called to awaken to the "collective unconscious" and use the knowledge they have "studied" for as a guardian of nature, soul-healer and uniting the planet. This inner truth comes to light as one progresses along the journey. This is Gnosis. The saying as if Spirit or Jesus or Buddha is speaking, "I never said it would be easy, I only told you it would be worth it.", seems to be the hallmark of a shamanic life. Those who follow their soul's calling listen and may not fully understand the ways of the Spirit, but we trust and listen and do what we are told, in this world or another. And sometimes, upon trusting the shaman's heart, by great faith and lasting patience, we are given great treasures.
Shamanism connects us to the consciousness of another by raising our comprehension of the connection that is between man, nature and the universe and the role we each play within the Divine Cosmos. Our ancestors knew this consciousness in all things: in animals, plants, rocks, trees, mountains, rivers and all the elements.
Many today are remembering the language of what the ancestors still teach. To speak the language of All Things is the mission of many shamanic healers. To sing the song of water, to hear the whispering of the wind, and to feel the love the earth has for us and all humans..is the language of the heart. This is true gnosis.
Love and Light and Many Blessings,