In the Gospel of St. John it is written: “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Further, it is written, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh, and what is born of Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:3, 5-8).
The Gnostic Path, in essence, is this Path of Initiation; the Way to Christ Consciousness..
There is no doubt that the intelligence of the heart, which we call “faith,” is an essential key to any authentic spiritual development, yet, quite clearly, these verses speak of something more than faith – they speak of direct spiritual and mystical experience of Christ, and they point to Divine Gnosis, a state of Divine Illumination. This defines “salvation” or “redemption” as understood by Gnostic Christians – it is an enlightenment experience that liberates the soul, and the evolution of the soul to Christ Consciousness. We are set upon the Gnostic Path by faith: faith in the Divine Incarnation and the Great Mystery revealed in the events of the Gospel, and by faith in the Light-indweller (Christ in us). Yet, ultimately, it is through Divine Gnosis that we experience “salvation” – hence, through Self-realization in Christ.
When we study and contemplate the Holy Gospel we see an allegory of the development and evolution of the soul to Supernal or Messianic Consciousness. Though from the very outset of the Gospel, at the baptism of the Master in the Sacred Jordan by John the Baptist, Lord Yeshua embodies the Spirit of the Messiah – Supernal Being; nevertheless he enacts a Mystery Drama with his disciples, revealing the cycles of Initiation in the Path to Self-realization. According to the masters of the Tradition, the Divine Incarnation served a twofold purpose: Firstly, to embody the Supernal Light-presence (Christos) in the material dimension, and to manifest the Gnostic and Light Transmission (hence, the Gnostic Apostolic Succession); and secondly, to teach the Path to Self-realization in Christ, opening the Way to Supernal or Messianic Consciousness. Thus, the purpose of the Divine Incarnation was Spiritual Initiation through which Christ Consciousness might be manifest in the human life-wave on earth.
The Gnostic Path, in essence, is this Path of Initiation; the Way to Christ Consciousness.
In the Sophian lineage of Gnostic Christianity there is one single Initiation, which assumes an outer and inner form.
- Eightfold path of Christian Initiation
The Eightfold Path of Christian Initiation
In the Holy Gospel of the Messiah we find Eight Cycles of Initiation:
– This corresponds to the element of earth and the root star in the subtle body. Our spiritual birth on the most fundamental level is the dawn of faith, and faith represents the very first gradation of the enlightenment experience, for it is an intuition of the Truth and Light, which invokes the experience of the Truth and Light, and it is the sense of the Mystery the leads us in our Sacred Quest. Faith, itself, is a great mystery, for no one can say why one person has faith and another does not; yet, apart from faith in some form, no one can truly enter the Path to Self-realization. It is akin to our birth in this world in that it comes by way of Divine Providence and is a gift of the Holy Spirit, just as is our birth and life in this world.
In the Holy Gospel we are told that Lord Yeshua was born of the Virgin Mother through Immaculate Conception – which is a metaphor of Spiritual Awakening. The dawn of faith is like a Holy Seed of Light implanted in the womb of the Virgin of Light – our own personality and life-display, and our very bodies, being her womb in which the Light-indweller (Christ) is conceived, gestated and born. From this Immaculate Conception by way of the Mother Spirit all of the cycles of Christian Initiation unfold and we are destined to evolve into the Divine Fullness of Christ as sons and daughters of the Great Seth, the True Light.
(On another level the story of the Virgin Birth is meant to convey that the soul incarnate as Lord Yeshua was Christed before incarnation in this world, and thus points to the mystery of the Order of Melchizedek – the Universal Order of Enlightenment. Here we may say: Divine Wisdom is the Mother of all Enlightened Ones; hence the Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ.)
– This corresponds to the element of water and to the navel star in the subtle body.
In the Sophian lineage of Gnostic Christianity there is one single Initiation, which assumes an outer and inner form. The outer form, which corresponds to the Exterior Church, is composed of baptism, chrism (anointing) and the wedding feast (holy eucharist). The inner form, which corresponds to the Interior Church, is communicated by living word, radiant holy breath and the laying on of hands. Essentially, the inner form of the Initiation is meant to draw out the energetic dimension of the outer form, and though occurring at two different points in space-time, it is one and the same movement of Divine Grace from the perspective of the eternal realm or Risen Messiah; hence, on single Initiation.
This describes the Initiation of the esoteric Gnostic Apostolic Succession, which is the foundation of the Sophian Tradition of Gnostic Christianity – a vehicle of the Gnostic and Light Transmission that opens the way to direct spiritual and mystical experience of the Living Yeshua, the Risen Savior, and the evolution of the soul to Supernal or Messianic Consciousness. Yet, the nature of the Initiation transcends the external forms that may be used to facilitate it, and may occur apart from anything external. In essence, the True Initiation, represented by “baptism,” from a Gnostic perspective, is the reception of the Light from above and the awakening of the Serpent Power (called “Kundalini” in the East). Thus, in the Holy Gospel we hear of a threefold baptism, of water, fire and Spirit; water represents the reception of the Light from above, fire represents the activation of the Serpent Power (“Fire Snake”), and the Spirit represents the potential state of Divine Illumination (Divine Gnosis) that may transpire when the Serpent Power is integrated, uplifted and redeemed (brought into repose or cessation).
At the outset of the Gnostic Path we seek to consciously open ourselves to the Mother’s Force – the Anointed and Holy Spirit; specifically, we wish to open ourselves to the Light from above, and to welcome and invite the Light-presence (Christ) and Light-power (Holy Spirit) into us and into our lives. We do nothing to force an awaking of the Serpent Power, but rather we learn to wait upon the Spirit of Messiah, and let Divine Grace awaken, uplift and redeem the Serpent Power in due season. Typically speaking, to the extent we open and become sensitive to the Light-presence, and surrender to the Light-presence, the Light-power moves with, in and through us, and the Serpent Power is awakened.
There is a natural Ordeal of Initiation that comes with this Gnostic Baptism – the Temptation. You may recall, following the reception of the Spirit of Messiah, “the Light from above,” Lord Yeshua was driven out into the wilderness of the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by Satan (the Opponent). This represents the spiritual labor to integrate and uplift the Serpent Power and the First Dark Night of the Soul that naturally occurs in this process – quite literally, one undergoes a mystical death and rebirth. Not only is there a temptation to go back to the old and unenlightened life, as though to go back to sleep, but there is also the temptation towards a misuse of psychic and spiritual power for self-gratification and self-aggrandizement, as one experiences an influx of extreme levels of desire-energy and the full power of the soul comes into being. The awakening of the Serpent Power is not enlightenment and liberation itself, but rather the Fiery Intelligence must be sublimated, and consciously directed inward and upward – Godward.
At the outset of the Gnostic Path we seek to consciously open ourselves to the Mother’s Force – the Anointed and Holy Spirit; specifically, we wish to open ourselves to the Light from above, and to welcome and invite the Light-presence (Christ) and Light-power (Holy Spirit) into us and into our lives.
- Eightfold path of Christian Initiation