The Sophian tradition of Gnostic Christianity is among the lineages that existed orior to the discovery of the Nag Hammacli iihrary,- hence it is a pre-Nag Hammadi tradition of Christian Gnosticism. Its known histoi} goes back to the late seventeenth century Europe, when it is said ro have existed in Germany, France. Great Britain, Spain, and Italy, its known history emerges with the dawn of the Rosicrucian enlightenment in Europe, which Gnosticism has been said to significantly influence. However, according to stories told in the tradition, Sophian Gnos cism traces itself back to St. Mary Magdalene and to the Order of Sr. Michael., which is said to have formed around her and her son.
Untii the present generation of Sophian initiates, Scp'nian Gnosticism has been an exclusively oral tradition, passed on mouth to ear from elders7 and tau" of the tradition to their students and disciples. Essentially, the foundation of the. Sophian tradition is a Christian Kabbalah.- it represents a form of Gnostic Christianity with strong ru-v s in Jewish mysticism. As 1 have pointed out in previous books, Jesus was a Jewish teacher and principally taught Jewish disciples. Thus, from a Sophian perspective, it Jesus was a mystic and magician, then the foundation of his teachings would be Jewish mysticism, or what has come to be known as the Holy Kabbalah.
Many forms of Ch: an mysticism and Gnosticism are ft :. ided upon the Kabbalah What is distinct to the Sophian tradition, as implied in its . icing its origin back to St. Mary Magdalene, are its teachings regarding St Mary Magdalene. Not only do Sophians belie-' r;iat Jesus was an enlightened being, they believe that Maty Magdalene was also an enlightened person. Basically, according to Sophian teaclvngs, Mary Magdalene was the consort and wife of the Master, was cc qual and coenligntened with him, and was co-preacher of the Gospel with him.
Obviously, the inclusion of St. Mary Magdalene reflects a very t liferent view of Jesus, his teachings, and the events of the Gospel than what is taught in orthodox Christianity. Whatever is meant by "C nis-tos" in Sophian teachings is not isolate to the person of Jesus. It is embodied in Mary as well, and this, in turn, leads to a teaching of the Christos as the truth and light within each and every human be; g. In the Sophian view, Jesus was a self-realized individual; St. Mary Magdalene also became self-realized, and together they taught other; how to become self-realized. Hence, they taught a path to enlightenment and liberation.
Sophian Gnosticism represents the enlightenment teachings of i lining Western tradition that has been embodied and passed on in secret
8. Sophian masters from one generation of Sophian initiates to another for hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years. It is composed of outer, inner, and secret levels of spiritual teachings and practices, which range from teachings that support a basic spiritual practice and life, to advanced teachings and practices that aim at an actual state of self-realization or enlightenment. At the heart of all Sophian teachings and practices is a direct and personal spiritual experience of the Christos or light-presence within oneself, for it is from this enlightenment experience that the elders and tau of the tradition have formed the teachings and practices, and continue to do so to this very day.
Gnostic Christianity is by nature esoteric, which means "for few." The Gnostic path, as a whole, is not meant for everyone and cannot be taken up by everyone. It is intended for individuals who are spiritually mature and who are actually ready for the mystical journey to enlightenment. As we shall see, Jesus himself did not teach and initiate everyone who came to him,- he taught and initiated only those who were ripe for the harvest. Nevertheless, the heart-wish of every Gnostic Christian is for the enlightenment and liberation of all living spirits and souls, and there are teachings and practices in Gnostic Christianity that are both powerful and practical, and that are useful and beneficial to anyone seeking to develop a spiritual life, who desire to experience a Spirit-connection. It is this dimension of Gnostic Christianity, and specifically of the Sophian tradition, that will be the focus of this book—Gnostic teachings that support a basic spiritual practice and spiritual life. Hopefully, it will serve as an introduction to Gnostic Christian ideas for those who may be unfamiliar with Gnosticism, as well as a guide for beginners who feel inclined towards the Gnostic path.
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