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WHAT IS ZOROASTRIAN GNOSTICISM?|
This project of Zoroastrian Gnosticism has only been going a few weeks and I am still getting a feel for what it is about. It grew out of the earlier but also very new idea of 'Zoroastrian Christianity'.
The change of name encourages us to focus on exploring the concepts of Gnosis and Gnosticism, but from the perspective of a particular tradition.
One description of this tradition would say it begins with the philosophy of Zoroaster, continues with Plato and other Greek and Hellenistic philosophers such as the Stoics and Neoplatonists and is topped off with our choice of modern philosophers of the West.
Another kind of description of this tradition would say our foundation are the Persian Zoroastrian wisdom texts - especially the Gathas and Bundahishn - in combination with the Gnostic Christian legacy of around the time of Jesus.
Inevitably there will be influence also from Eastern traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, but the aim is to create a Western movement which stands in its own feet as much as possible, though originating in Persia, which we regard as the Centre of the world , rather than 'the East'.
WHAT IS GNOSTICISM?
Perhaps Gnosticism is the belief that Salvation comes primarily through knowledge , rather than by some other means such as believing in a deity or trying to be good and loving.
In others words we believe that lack of knowledge (Agnosis) is the main reason we go astray and are unable to produce the Good Existence. Therefore we make the struggle for Knowledge (Gnosis) the prime focus of our activity.
Now Gnosticism need not be a self-standing religion. We do not need to believe that Gnosis is the ONLY thing that matters. Rather we may identify religiously as Zorochristians or Mithraists, and consider Gnosticism as a practice that we follow.
We choose this practice because we believe it is the most helpful one for us to unify us with Chrestus, the Good One.
Gnosis I consider is Knowledge of the reality of existence, of the nature of ourselves and the world, and of good and evil. It is knowledge that is not limited to our intellect but reaches down into our souls and our full being.
Agnosis is ignorance which comes from being trapped in patterns of thought which we believe are reality. Agnosis is confusing illusion - what we see - with what is really there. Agnosis is treating our mental maps as if they were perfect descriptions of the terrain. Agnosis is basing our beliefs on assumptions that we are unaware of and never examine, and which are probably faulty.
Gnosticism as a practice aims at our personal transformation from the state of Agnosis to that of Gnosis. Its major technique is to disrupt our habitual thinking so that what we were previously blind to, we become aware of. This involves both activity on a cognitive level - challenging our hidden assumptions - and also on a psychic (soulful) level - bringing us back in touch with our true inner nature - and the nature of others who share our common humanity.
As Zorochristians or Mithraists however, Gnosis is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. We pursue Gnosis so that we can see Existence with clarity as it really is. This is the way that Chrestus, the eternal Christ sees it. The closer we reach Gnosis, the closer we come to the Christ-nature, and the better able we are to act as Christ acts - to produce the Divine Order that brings happiness and the best existence.
8th August 4019 ME
NB Zorochristianity is based on the triad of Deuspater, Sophia and Chrestus and regards Mithras as an Archangel battling for Christ. In Western Mithraism Mithras is not distinguished from Chrestus, and is a part of the principle triad with Deuspater and Sophia.