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ZOROCHRISTIAN GNOSTIC

The Gnostic path is one of seeking knowledge of reality and of good and evil.

We regard Zoroaster (perhaps 1000BC), as the founder of the Gnostic path and highly value his work known as the Zoroastrian Gathas.

Gnostics were very active both in the Persian world and next door in the Greek-speaking Middle-East around the beginning of the Christian Era.

We are interested in Gnostic knowledge found in Iranian texts such as the Bundahishn, as well as in Gnostic Christian writings, and some mainstream Christian writings as well.


GNOSTIC ASPECTS - TYCHE

By gnostic we can mean 'with an emphasis on individual knowledge seeking', and hence 'not suscribing to conventional beliefs uncritically'.

In ancient times there were many different gnostic sects - each with their own particular doctrines - some of these considered that the created world was evil or at least not completely a creation of the good god. Zorochristians consider that the world is at least potentially good in so far as Ashura-Mazda is the creative/governing powers within it.

However we recognise Tyche as the amoral 'world-doer' who is separate from Agathon. The concept of Tyche has some similarity to the Demiurge or Chief Archon in ancient gnostic systems of thought. Tyche doesn't have an independent will of her own and her actions are largely determined by the actions of human beings and others forms of life acting upon the Hexis (existing state) of Zurvan (the period of time we are living in). The Hexis is itself something that has largely been built up through past actions of bions or living beings.

PROTARCHE

Protarche is the 'first source' of existence - and perhaps the nearest equivalent to the Abrahamic god in Zartochrestianism.

Protarche gives birth both to Zurvan - the period of time and space in which we have a dynamic existence, and to Agathon - the abstract Good that can be embodied within Zurvan. Tyche 'the do-er' is a personification of the workings of Zurvan.

WHAT IS ZOROCHRISTIAN GNOSTICISM?

One description of our 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 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 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 Chrestus acts - to produce the Divine Order that brings happiness and the best existence.

RELIGIOUS SCRIPTURE

We have four strands of religious scriptures:
1. The Persian Scriptures of the Avesta and later Zoroastrian texts. For gnostics the Gathas Zarti (Songs of Zoroaster) and the Bundahishn (Creation) are especially important.
2. The Jesus Scriptures are selected from the Judeochristian New Testament and Gnostic texts of the same era.
3. Spiritual Scriptures are additional writings that shape our spiritual character. There is no agreement on what is included but the writings of Inayat Khan are a recommendation.
4. New Scriptures - there are modern writings of Zorochristians - which have largely not been written yet.

In addition we study the wisdom texts of the senior teaching magi : Zoroaster, Plato and Aristotle.

PROTARCHE

Protarche is the first source and God Transcendent. He is the incorruptible heavenly source of all that underlies our existence. He includes Zurvan (time) , Helius (divine sun) and the Pleroma (realm of divine forms).

ZURVAN
Zurvan is the Time Lord, the Lord of what happens in Time. He is the Lord of Activity, the Lord of Happening. Ultimately Zurvan decides the course of life for all, but he is open to influence by us through our active wills.

Marcus Zartianus,
Mainly June-September 2019 CE , Updated January 2021