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Religion and Spirituality: The Outline of a Gnostic Temple

[from http://www.infocomm.net/~jeff/magan/rel_mag.html ]

Subject: Religion and Spirituality: The Outline of a Gnostic Temple
                                      
   As students of Qabalah, we see life as a balance of polarities. We
   also take the stance that neither polarity is either "good" or "evil",
   but that extremes in polarity can create unbalanced conditions in
   which forces are brought about to restore balance. At times, we
   intentionally unbalance the forces to create a dynamic environment in
   order to grow, but the overall state throughout a continuum is
   balance. We see the balancing of religion and spirituality and that of
   prayer and magyq as two key balancing acts.
   
   For purposes of discussion, we define religion as the act of group
   worship of some Divine agency. Since this is a group endeavor, it
   normally involves a set of doctrine to guide the group. Initially,
   this doctrine may be very loose, but over time, most doctrine turns
   into dogma. As dogma sets into the religion, it becomes increasingly
   controlling. Ultimately, it runs the danger of developing an
   entrenched priesthood that seeks to control the individuals' access to
   the Divine. In extreme cases, it seeks to completely sever the
   contact, or at lease bury it so deeply that it is no longer actively
   felt, in order to control its adherents. This, we feel, is the case
   with much of Western religion today.
   
   Spirituality is the individual expression of contact with the Divine
   agency. Since it is an individual expression, there is virtually no
   dogma, unless each individual establishes their own. Taken to an
   extreme, the spiritual expression can result in a disintegration of
   society as each person becomes enamored of their own contact with the
   Divine. In this enraptured state, they lose concern for the daily
   activities and the social interaction of Man. This is the case with
   some monastic orders, as they became enamored with their discipline
   and lost contact with the external society.
   
   We see Man as inherently a spiritual and a social creature. Thus, pure
   religion tends to cut us off from our spiritual nature and pure
   spirituality tends to cut us off from our social nature. To satisfy
   both aspects of our nature, we need to balance spiritual and the
   religion. This points to some form of Gnostic Temple. Note, we say
   "some form of Gnostic Temple". We are not endorsing any single
   organization that calls itself a Gnostic Temple.
   
   Why a "Gnostic" Temple?
   
   The answer lies in the meaning of Gnostic and Temple.
   
   Gnosis is knowledge, specifically knowledge gained from an individual
   quest for Divine contact. Looking at the traditional Qabalah and the
   Tree, we equate knowledge with Da'ath and Da'ath with the Abyss. This
   means the individual must be willing and prepared to enter into the
   Abyss to seek that knowledge. If successful, he then illuminates the
   knowledge and brings it forth burning brilliantly as a Beacon of Light
   and a Ray of Hope. The illumination of the knowledge involves Kether,
   which in some aspects is a twin of Da'ath.
   
   A Temple is something that holds a Divine presence. Thus, it can be an
   individual person, a group or a building. A Gnostic Temple can
   likewise be all three. Each Gnostic initiate creates his own temple as
   he awakens to the Divine. The group forms a temple as it works to
   manifest the Divine presence among themselves. If they use a building
   in which they habitually work, it too will eventually house a Divine
   presence. The word temple is distinct from the word church. In the
   dictionary, we find a very clear linkage between church and
   Christianity. This linkage is also present in the psyche as the word
   church is used almost exclusively with Christianity. As we feel the
   Gnostic element tends to be more ecumenical, we have steered away from
   the word church. This was a hard choice, as the word church is derived
   from the Greek word kurikos, "meaning of the Lord". Words have a power
   of their own, which increases with long usage (their egregore). We
   feel the power of the word church is too closely associated with a
   specific religion and brings that egregore to bear on any operation.
   
   A Gnostic Temple then is a "body" that has little doctrine and no
   dogma. It values the individual contact with the Divine and seeks to
   foster this quest rather than to squelch it. Its role lies in
   preparing the quester to enter into the Abyss and then to help him
   bring forth the knowledge obtained. While the temple then shares this
   knowledge, it also cautions its members that knowledge obtained on the
   quest may be relevant only to the quester and not to everyone. It
   seeks to share the knowledge, though, as it may provide a key for
   another's quest. Thus, the temple has three basic roles:
   
   unicursal Prepare the individual for the Quest.
   unicursal Assist the quester in understanding the knowledge obtained
   in the Quest
   unicursal Disseminating the knowledge
   
Preparation of the individual for the Quest

   The temple acts as a training ground for the individual to help him
   awaken the inititiatic current. This initiatic current is grace, which
   we will explain below. The temple in no way initiates the individual.
   Only the individual can do that for himself. The temple provides two
   things in the training process:
   unicursal The tools to help the individual to start the flow of grace.
   
   unicursal The environment conducive to initiation
   
  The tools to help the individual to start the flow of grace
  
   These tools involve both individual and group study. In a sense, they
   are "lessons" learned from the quests of others. Generally speaking,
   they will consist of ways to focus the mind and make contact with the
   individual's superconsciousness or Holy Guardian Angel.
   
   [INLINE] We see the mind as divided into three parts: the
   subconsciousness, the consciousness and the superconsciousness. In
   most people, there is a symbolic link between the consciousness and
   subconsciousness. There is a tenuous link between the
   superconsciousness and the subconsciousness. There is little or no
   link between the conscious mind and the superconscious mind. This link
   must be developed through the initiatic process.
   
   The first step in the process is to help the conscious mind
   communicate better with the subconscious mind. The conscious mind and
   the subconscious mind communicate via a symbolic language. Thus, early
   training needs to focus on this symbolic link and help the individual
   to develop a cohesive symbolic language whereby the conscious and
   subconscious minds can communicate effectively. This is the reason
   that symbols are so important.
   
   If this is a language that communicates within the mind, then why the
   emphasis on a common base of symbols we often see?
   
   If the only communication we were concerned with was between the
   conscious and the subconscious mind, then a common symbolic language
   may not be important. However, since the goal is to develop a link
   between the conscious and the superconscious mind, we must take the
   superconscious mind into consideration when developing the language.
   As the diagram shows, the superconscious mind is in contact with a
   spiritual laminŠ. This laminŠ is the realm in which all superconscious
   minds operate and communicate with each other. This joint
   communication of superconscious minds provides for the common
   language, which is the collective symbolic base found throughout
   Mankind, regardless of race or geographic region. This is the symbolic
   language we use to strengthen the link between conscious and
   subconscious mind as well as to facilitate follow on communication
   with the superconscious mind.
   
   As the diagram shows, there is a tenuous link between the
   superconscious and the subconscious minds. This link is the source of
   the intuition or gut feeling we often receive. The superconscious
   mind, which through the spiritual laminŠ is in contact with other
   superconscious minds, passes messages to the subconscious. These
   messages then bubble up to the conscious mind. This process explains
   both how magyq operates and why we sometimes have an instant like or
   dislike of people we meet for the first time.
   
   While further discussion of the process and magyq are beyond the scope
   of this article, we must say the process involves identifying and
   understanding the individual's Will. The Will is the individual's task
   or purpose of creation. The superconscious mind knows this Will.
   Contact with the superconscious then enables the conscious mind to
   identify and understand the Will. To the extent that a magyqal
   operation is congruent to the Will, the operation will be successful.
   
   The element of Will leads into the issue of prayer versus magyq. We
   see prayer as a supplication of the Divine agency to do something. Its
   major preposition is the individual is incapable of performing the
   action requested. Since prayer asks the Divine Agency for action, it
   also implies the individual has no responsibility for the outcome.
   Magyq operates from the premise that Man is essentially a Divine
   creature and can take of himself. The magyqal operation involves
   understanding the forces operating on the 4 laminŠ shown in the
   diagram and having the wisdom to know how, when and why to use them.
   Since the magyqal operator directs the action, he has full
   responsibility for the outcome of the operation. This distinction must
   be part of the individual's training.
   
   The specific tools used to awaken the initiatic current vary. We use
   the Qabalah as our basic tool set. The goal is to get the individual
   from Malkuth to Chesed to prepare for the Quest. From our perspective,
   the Qabalah provides an excellent frame of reference in which to
   correlate information.
   
    Grace
    
   In Hebrew, the word for grace is [INLINE] . This word closely
   parallels the word [INLINE] . Chennok ( [INLINE] ), or Enoch as it is
   rendered in English, contains the root Chen ( [INLINE] ). It means to
   initiate. Gershom Scholem, in his book Kabballah, links chen to a
   Notariqon Chockmah Nistarah, which means "Secret Wisdom". Wescott
   links Chokmah Nistarah directly to the Qabalah and mentions the chen
   notariqon as well. Thus, we see the Qabalah as a tool to initiate into
   grace.
   
   We use the image of Enoch transformed into Metatron as our basic model
   for the initiatory current of grace. Each person becomes Enoch and is
   then transformed into Metatron. As such, we also work with the story
   of Enoch and the Nephilim. Both Enoch and the Nephilim are treated in
   a very cursory manner in Genesis. We think the reason is because the
   organized religion sought to control the initiatic current. Our
   research hints that the answers the puzzles offered in the Tanak lie
   in Mesopotamia.
   
   Our spiritual roots were first sown in the Fertile Crescent. Virtually
   every Western religion or spiritual path shares these roots. Over
   time, however, these roots have been lost--either accidentally or
   deliberately obscured. We firmly feel that in order to understand
   where we are, we need to understand where we started and how we got
   here. To do this, we've developed a model Theological Alchemy that
   examines the path from Sumer to today and our thoughts on where we are
   headed. We think the end state, at least as far as we can currently
   see, is that we become like unto the Angelic Nephilim as we awaken up
   to the Divine.
   
  Setting the Environment
  
   Skilled members of the temple set an environment in which [INLINE] is
   awakened in the individual. These initiatic settings are carefully set
   and conducted to create imprints within the individual's mind to help
   awaken [INLINE] . As with all tools, the techniques used in [INLINE]
   will vary with the temple.
   
   This re-imprinting allows the mind to make new connections and free
   itself of cultural conditioning. Because the imprinting process is so
   strong, it must be conducted by trained and caring individuals. The
   trip from imprinting to brainwashing is very short indeed. The
   candidate for initiation places a great deal of trust in those
   conducting the ceremony. Trust is the bond that holds the temple
   together.
   
Assist the quester in Understanding the knowledge obtained in the Quest

   If the tools and training took the individual to Chesed, this process
   of understanding takes the individual into Binah. The quester returns
   from the Quest and then must work to understand what he learned in the
   Abyss. While the individual must ultimately achieve this
   understanding, the temple members may provide insights. The key is to
   ensure others provide insights and not solutions. The understanding
   must come from a further flow of [INLINE] in Binah.
   
   Additional work by qualified temple members in an initiatory setting
   may help, but once the individual enters the Abyss, he needs to be
   fully in control of further imprinting. These follow on initiatic
   settings then are simply ways to help the individual to reach the
   altered state required for him to complete his own imprinting.
   
Disseminate the Knowledge

   This process takes the individual into Chokmah. The individual must
   gain the wisdom to know how, where and when to apply the knowledge
   gained in the Abyss. Again temple members may assist in this process,
   but they cannot do it for the individual.
   
   The dissemination is critical we think. In the past, esoteric
   knowledge or Gnosis was closely guarded. Most often, this was out of
   fear for the safety of the Gnosis and the individuals. This was a wise
   and well-justified action. The time was not ripe for the Gnosis. We
   now firmly think and feel the time is right to bring the knowledge out
   from the Abyss. Mankind stands upon a cusp right now. There are forces
   that can push Man back into a Dark Age. But Man can also move forward
   into an Age of Illumination. 

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