Are you a Gnostic?

To understand Gnosticism, said Hans Jonas, one needs something very much like a musical ear. Such a Gnostic "musical ear" is not come by easily. One person who seemingly possesses it is Professor Clark Emery of the University of Miami. In a small work on William Blake, Emery summarizes twelve points on which Gnostics tended to agree. Nowhere in the current literature have I found anything else so concise and accurate in describing the normative characteristics of the Gnostic mythos. Hence I shall present it here as a suggested collection of criteria that one might apply in determining what Gnosticism is. 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.

Update 2:

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.

Update 3:

I copied all this from:

What Is a Gnostic?

by Stephan A. Hoeller

I wanted to answer a question but found I was out of answers for today.

Update 4:

Thank you... your answers are inspired.

Update 5:

[Passerby] Thanks for your response. My first experience was similar to the description posted by [single eye] it took a long time to understand what was happening and I was in a fundamentalist congregation at the time. Knowing the Gnostic concept of the Talents or the Prodigal son by revelation is harsh when you know it’s different than what’s being taught.

I’ve read many Gnostic scriptures the Secret Gospel of John and The Gospel of St Tomas are my favorites. I love that the teachings of Zoroaster are directly referenced in John when describing the Arcons. I am harsh on Christian fundies because I know their hypocrisies and I sympathize with those oppressed by them and I find nothing in the behavior of Jesus [my example] that makes me wish to stop, even then I jump the religion not the believer.

Update 6:

[iqfrenzy4] as passerby said the term Gnostic wasn't the term used by the people that believed like us it's what their enemies called them. It will happen that you’ll know without being told. You will know someone’s dark secret that must be reviled, or your child’s dream when they need to be reminded or when to skip work to get another job or when to go to Las Vegas to meet your future spouse, all this without skipping work before, or ever traveling to Las Vegas before or after. A knowing that is revelation and scares you to the bone from time to time.

Perhaps Gnostic isn’t the right term but [iqfrenzy4] you shine.

I still feel awakening coming for many. Changing of an age maybe, or perhaps some literal truth to end time prophesy? I don’t know but it’s coming and there are more shiny people all the time :)

Update 7:

I like calling myself Gnostic. I embrace the disgrace. :)

Update 8:

[crystallinectar, take 2] Gnosticism (from Greek gnosis, knowledge) refers to a diverse religious movement consisting of various belief systems generally united in the teaching that humans are divine souls trapped in a material world created by an imperfect spirit, the demiurge, who is frequently identified with the Abrahamic God. In order to free oneself from the inferior material world, one needs gnosis, or esoteric spiritual knowledge available only by inner revelation. Jesus is identified by some Gnostic sects as an embodiment of the Supreme Being who became incarnate to bring gnosis to the Earth.

Gnostics also use more scriptures than just the Bible one of the best is “The Apocryphon of John.” Here’s the link to a complete translation.

Once understood even the Christian Bible brings a richer deeper understanding than expected.

Update 9:

[Raven's Voice] I have so many Wiccan friends in the meat world. I know that Gerald Gardner created Wicca from various traditions with a good bit of Masonic symbology, which came directly and indirectly, from the Gnostic sects. People that don’t know they are in prison don’t fight for liberation. Welcome to the matrix.

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I agree with much of what is said, although I would use different terms in different areas. In those days there were many "Gnostic" groups, but the name "Gnostic" was not used by those who taught what became bunched up as "Gnostic". The word Gnostic was used by condemners, since they derived the word from "Gnosis." So Gnostic would mean those who seek gnosis as salvation, those who seek to know thy self, since Gnosticism is closely related to Platonic thought. Not to say that one was derived from the other but Plato's discourses was the first to dub the "demiurge".

    Sameal/Yalaboath or the Demiurge from Gnostic point of view was the OT God, however the scriptures weren't taken literally so the OT God was perceived more as a force or law which prevents and paradoxically at the same time aids in mans ultimate development as a corrective force (karma or everything returns to its source), same principles as the law of Gravity which returns everything to its surface state or "earth", but rather this worked upon the mind if one was without consciousness. This may all not make sense, however it has to do with man being mechanical/on auto-pilot by nature and unconscious. The Gnostic Creation of the world stories are important to read to really see the message of Gnostic's (at least the fundamentals).

    If you take a look at the bible scriptures then they are gnostic as well, since they relate higher things. If you look at the parable of the prodigal son, it becomes apparent how gnostic that parable is especially if you pay close attention to "inheritance," the son being from the kingdom and being under the "citizen of the far country" under whom he forgot from where he came.

    Anyways I wrote that question out previously because I felt many hadn't eve read the Nag Hammadi Library before to get a feel for the "Gnostic" outlook on things. If only they read the Gnostic creation myths to get a sense of it as I think it would be good to to at least know what the historical "Gnostic's" spoke with respect to the world.

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  • I'm not a Gnostic, but I believe there is more mysticism and universalism in Holy Spirit knowledge than the average Christian understands. There are many things I've been studying that have opened my eyes to the more supernatural and eternal aspects of God and the universe.

    Some of these are:

    1) Instances in the Bible that seem to suggest reincarnation.

    2) The discovery that light has intelligence and that separated particles can communicate with each other (according to scientist involved in the study of Quantum physics).

    3) My own Holy Spirit visions and experiences.

    4) Learning that the Hebrew word for "Holy Spirit" in the OT has a female connotation to it.

    5) The continual seemingly inability of scientist to actually come to the same conclusions about the dates of artifacts, as well as the constant waivering as to what is an accurate "test" for discerning the ages of said artifacts.

    6) The very real possibility that many dimensions co-exist in time and space (again, Quantum physics and mechanics).

    In the last few years things of this nature have been reshaping my idea of God, Christ, the universe, and humankind's relationship to them all. There is more than what I've named above, but I don't wish to get too detailed in this response...I've already gotten way off topic.

    But, again, no, I'm not a Gnostic. lol

    Thank you for the kind words, Gnostic. You shine just as brightly. Perhaps I am Gnostic, I just don't know it yet, lol. I just know I am no longer satisfied with the common Christian doctrine that I've been spoon-fed for so long.

    BTW, this is a great question. Thanks for posting it.

    Thanks, passerby for the website. I will check it out today.

    Guvo, you have expressed some of my concerns with the Christianity of today, as well. I often wonder why Paul seems to be the emphasis in most churches now, and not Christ. When did this change come about?

    Anyway the cosmos must be connecting us, Gnostic and passerby, because I've been wanting to look into this, and have just been unsure as to where to go to get accurate information. I can start with the website, and I'm going to request to add you all as contacts. Thanks, again.

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  • 1 decade ago

    There's a saying in Witchcraft circles that resembles your comment about troubled dreams:

    "Those the Gods love most, they first tear asunder". This refers to a rending of the mundane personality, the ego, if you will, and it's a necessary step in the initiatory process in Wicca and other initiatory traditions of Witchcraft. If this doesn't happen, then you're not ready for the revealed mysteries.

    No, I'm not a Gnostic. I'm a Witch. But I would hazard to say that most Witches are gnostic in intent - what we also seek is a direct, revelatory experience of the Divine. We may look in different places for that, but we have the same hunger for connection with the Divine.

    I also believe in the original Singularity that divided itself first into Goddess and God, then into all things in the multiiverse. On the other hand, I do not see physical life as a prison.

    I've attended a Gnostic church, and I was utterly fascinated.

    I, for one, would like to know more.

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  • Guvo
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I think iqfrenzy4's answer would apply to me as well. I don't think I'm gnostic, however I see many things that modern Christianity teaches that I do not agree with. I think being a Christian has replaced being Christian. In otherwords belonging to a religion known as Christianity is more important than following the teachings of Christ. It reminds me of the question by Jesus when he said that a man had two sons. He asked the first son to do a task and his son said "I will not" but later he felt bad about it and did what his father asked. He asked his second son to do a task and he said "Sure, I'll do it" but then he forgot about it and did not do it. Who obeyed their father? Christianity says "Sure, we'll do it" and then gets too wrapped up in passing judgement on others instead of bettering their own lives. Many other beliefs may say "No, we won't be Christians" and yet live in a way more consistent with what Jesus taught. Hmmm.

    Blessings in the Light of Christ!

    ~Embracing my Pangelism

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have experienced an inner awakening from The Spirit of God. This has not led me to identify with any group of people christian, gnostic, mystic or otherwise. I have experienced unconditional love and been shown absolute truth. I will not ever settle for less again. Any spiritual understanding that does not proceed from The Light of the world and remain consistant with what Jesus taught and did, must be rejected as the source is not holy or good.

    Response to comment from thor: You say that knowledge comes from within and not books, yet in your profile that is just about all you talk about is books??? Which is it? Personally, I find that reading other opinions destroys the clarity I enjoy from The Spirit of truth within.

    Source(s): The Light of life
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  • 1 decade ago

    No, I am not, but to be quite honest, this isn't too much different from being a Christian.

    The only difference is that some Christians get visions and these are given to them by God. The old prophets, who lived close to God, had more than one prophecy come true.

    In the modern world, this seldom happens, because we have drifted away from our God and have started to live in a material world, where we don't see and listen to what God has to tell us anymore. We have become ignorant to the power of God and don't listen to what He's telling us anymore.

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  • Shihan
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Having read your wonderful description, I do believe there are Gnostics out there who do not realize that is what they are. While I follow many of the tenets that you describe above, I am unwilling to label myself anymore than as a Fusionist. Your beliefs are mine. But some of mine are not yours.

    Thank you for a beautiful introduction to a unique spiritual avenue. Blessed Be!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes, I'm a Gnostic though my entry was through zen it amounts to the same cosmic mind. And you are right everything old is torn away. All the Mystics are like this.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As a gnostic - you cannot have any myths.

    Gnostics get their knowledge from within - on their own account. Not by reading books or following any religious myths.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Nope, a Wiccan. But, you already KNOW that *GOOD Morning Hugs* to a wonderful woman.

    Raji the Green Witch

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