Introduction To Gnosis
"For anyone acquainted with religious phenomenology it
is an open secret that although physical and spiritual passion are deadly
enemies, they are never-the-less brothers in arms, for which reason it often
needs the merest touch to convert one into the other. Both are real, and
together they form a pair of opposites, which is one of the most fruitful
sources of energy."
Hierarchies that developed in the Gnostic magical pantheons were constructed on an etiology of a fallen, corrupted cosmos. Springing from a syncretic Hellenistic culture with Platonic, Oriental, Jewish and Christian influences, these cosmologies were extremely versatile.
For Plato, the true home of the soul was in the stars, and the object of human experience was to climb through the various planetary spheres and return the soul to its disembodied spiritual existence. This philosophy is now seen by many to be the origin of western dualism. In much Gnostic speculation, even the upper realms of the cosmos have been demonized.
Spiritual goodness is far above the heavens; it dwells beyond human thought in the realm of "depth and silence."
The human being, in most Gnostic cosmologies, cannot pursue the life of the earth and the spirit simultaneously and a recurring theme is how to balance transcendence and sexual power.
In general, the Hermetic and Kabalistic writings which evolved simultaneously and subsequently from Oriental Hellenism rejected the Gnostic theme of antiócosmic dualism, affirming instead that the cosmos is an expression of the immanence of God, within which human beings stand in intermediary relationship, mediating microcosm to macrocosm..
However, modern scholars have sought to uncover the more redemptive aspects of Gnosticism, such as the role of women in the social and religious hierarchy as well as philosophical revelations which point to a more unified view of nature and cosmos, God and humans. The problem of Gnostic dualism is beautifully resolved in the Gospel of Philip.
(Excerpt from the Role of the Sacred Feminine in Gnosticism)
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