09 February 2009

Pulling Gnosis from a Shell

In Sophia and the Classroom Called Earth, I wrote about how our path to Conscious, Gnosis or Knowledge is obscured by life events. The song "Pulling Mussels (from a Shell)" by Squeeze keeps running through my mind, but instead of singing, "pulling mussels from a shell", I am singing, "pulling Gnosis from a shell" because that is what it feels like at times.

It's like there is a mussel shell, closed tightly, with all the information bundled up in it. How do I pull the information from the shell?

Over the past year, I have talked to an intuitive counselor, not exactly on this subject, but about my own path. She revealed to me some truths that, at times, I still have a challenge assimilating.

She introduced me to my guides. I have two. One guide I met in a dream before I ever searched for counsel. He is a tall brown skinned warrior with black hair and a straight nose. His body is strong. He stands a head taller than me. He is my stabilizing force. In the dream, he challenged the question, "When are you going to embrace your heritage?" It took about two years before I discovered that African ancestry courses my blood.

My other guide is my great grandmother who I felt a strong bond, though I have not met on this Earth. It is from her lineage that my African ancestry comes. I have one photo of her taken with my grandfather when he was about four. He stands next to the seated woman with her arm around him. Her large hand with wedding band keeps him close. Neither of them smiles. Her mouth is turned slightly downward, but when I look at the photo, I am sure that I see her smiling. It is hard to tell what race she is.

She lived in North Carolina in a little town named Chadbourn. They were farm workers, though eventually, probably after my great grandmother's death, my great grandfather ran a roadside store and restaurant.

This is what my counselor had to say about her: "And she carries the wisdom of the sacred pipe. Okay. It's the sacred pipe, uh, the peace pipe, uh, Buffalo Calf Woman? Um, she's connected to White Buffalo Calf Woman, her energy."

This is the part that I have challenges assimilating.

White Buffalo Calf Woman manifested herself to the Lakota Indians of what is now South Dakota about 2000 years ago. As not to rehash the story, a beautiful rendition can be found here: White Buffalo Calf Woman at Goddess Gift

I didn't know any of this when my counselor revealed it to me. I went home and, as always, did my research. I felt disbelief. I returned to my counselor and challenged her statement saying and asking, "I am having a tough time digesting this. Having my great grandmother, with this energy, as my spirit guide would be for the Native Americans equivalent to a Christian saying that their guides have Jesus' energy. If she is indeed connected to White Buffalo Calf Woman and was born to this Earth and manifested as a human, how could she not know during her lifetime that she was indeed connected to White Buffalo Calf Woman?"

As I write this, I still feel challenged in my belief and at the same time, I don't want to dishonor any Native American beliefs as well as dishonor my own great grandmother.

My counselor's response was, "But dear, who are you?"

This is when I came to know what a harsh classroom the Earth really is, and I often feel that I'm pulling Gnosis from a shell.

Sophia and the Classroom Called Earth

The Earth is a hard classroom. To know thyself is a difficult challenge because life gets in the way. Before we come into the human state of being, we have created for ourselves a path, and then, we are born to this Earthly plane. Birth, in itself is a traumatic event, but we are born with clarity and remembrance of our true essence. As we age, social conditioning clouds us and the distance from our true essence and soul path widens. The hell on Earth begins.

I write this, because I have found yet another source to confirm my belief. In the book Jesus and the Lost Goddess, the authors write on page 87:

"Self-knowledge is not a spectator sport. The only way to know Christ- our shared essential identity- is to become a worthy bride- a mature initiate."

The above thought originates from the myth of Sophia. My condensed interpretation of the Myth... Sophia leaves her Father, comes to Earth (is born into a body), and falls into a difficult life having to endure rape and abuse at the hands of men. Becoming overburden with shame, she finds it difficult to leave her abusers who have left her with nothing but sickly children. She asks forgiveness from her Father and pleads that he brings her back to herself again. Her Father promises to send her brother, his first born son, to be her bridegroom.

Sophia prepares herself by leaving her abusers and washing herself. She changes her lifestyle, but she has moved so far from 'good' that she no longer remembers her brother. She perseveres dreaming of her lover at night. Eventually the bridegroom arrives, they unite to share a single life, and give birth to many good children.

We all long to birth something good, but we can only do this by knowing ourselves. Our essence is good and pure, but we become distracted along the way. When one begins that path of Gnosis, of knowing, of realization, there are feelings of anticipation. Like Sophia, will we know our true path or recognize that true essence when it presents itself to us?

Sophia is the path to our consciousness, to Christ. Christ, as the Gnostics knew Christ, is consciousness. Christ is knowing, thyself. Christ means 'anointed one' and is a Greek word from the Hebrew word 'messiah' which is another way of saying 'leader'. If we look at the meaning in this aspect, we are anointed ones and leaders of ourselves because Sophia is the path to Christ, consciousness, which is at the center of our beings.

Reviewing the book, Jesus and the Lost Goddess (pgs. 14 &15), the authors bring up the story of Exodus. They interpret, from Gnosis (knowledge, knowing, knowers), that Exodus is an allegory for leaving the old behind and discovering the soul or conscious. The crossing of the Red Sea symbolized Baptism as an initiation on the path to spiritual awakening.

What has happened to Exodus, as to what has happened with Gnosis, is that literalists interpreted these stories as un-embellished and as factual. If you have ever read Hopi or Navajo stories, one realizes they are metaphors for how to live life and not literal translations of actual events. Maybe it is easier to see this because the Native Americans often use animals instead of humans as their main characters. But it is the same thing. In the story of Exodus, Egypt symbolizes the body and leaving the idea that humans are merely a body and moving into the knowledge that humans are more than their physical bodies on Earth.

Again, we know this at birth. We have Gnosis, but life gets in the way. Teaching, brainwashing, fear, trauma, etc are all little bricks in the wall that pull us farther from our true essence, from consciousness, from Christ. Sophia is the path. She is the example of this. She ran away and was born into body. She suffered and endured and through the balance of self, dedication and perseverance recognized again, her Christ...her own anointment...the messiah and leader within herself. After realizing her own worthiness, she then was able to go forth and enact much goodness in the world.

The challenge with the myth above is not to translate it literally. That is what we have been trained to do, and that is how patriarchal literalism rose to wipe out most of what we may recall of the path of Gnosis in 431 when the Christian Council convened at Ephesus, ironically, the former main place of worship of the Pagan Goddess. At this meeting, the council decided to take the view of the Jewish Old Testament and of patriarchal monotheism. This placed God on the outside, as a literal father to please or displease. This put the power in the hands of men as this decision of monotheistic patriarchy wiped out equality of the sexes as the Gnostics practiced. The literal translation of Genesis portrayed women as evil descendants of Eve and not spiritual partners of men. This became the official religion of the 4th century Roman Empire. Christian literalism had the support of the Roman leaders and their troops. A horrific battle ensued against Pagans and Christian Gnosticism including the destruction of temples, writings and libraries. It included the slaying of human beings as well.

By the Romans adopting a monotheistic patriarchal view, the power of knowing thyself also came to an end. It took the power from the people. Christian literalist leaders did not want people to know that they themselves are anointed ones and leaders of their own knowledge. Anyone who dissented was labeled a heretic and killed. The Dark Ages ensued.

The Earth is a hard classroom, and obscures the path. I believe that this is why people abuse themselves in harmful ways or with harmful substance. People feel hopeless, but somewhere deep inside the conscious, there is slight memory of essence. There is knowledge of our heavenly divinity. Experiences on this Earth create a chasm that appears deep, gaping and impossible to cross. We ache to return home. The pain is unbearable so we do what we can to numb the loneliness until death.

I am not against Christians. I am against literalism. I am not afraid of the persecution or anger that may lash out at me due to my words, thoughts and beliefs. I, in the ancient world, would be a heretic. But in the eyes of whom? The eyes of people, not God. Everything we read is of the hands of humans. Every translation has the ability to be manipulated.

I think, specifically, of the stereotypical evangelical church where people are singing and praising Jesus in worship. I think that these folks have the Gnosis. I think that through their celebration of the Lord, that they know Christ within themselves. At the point of rapture during celebration, they may feel that they are more than a body on this Earth. They may actually feel themselves uplifted. The spiritual happening is real. They have Gnosis. And who can blame them for wanting to share this knowledge. These feelings are for everyone, but there is no one set recipe. As each of us are unique and different, so are the paths of knowing.

I, personally, can not support a faith that states that the only way to God (Gnosis) is through the literal translation of a book that was written and manipulated by man. The bible says exactly what the monotheistic patriarch wants it to say. It is fear based and lacking in ethics of equality for the sexes, other faiths, social classes, animals and other points of view. I do not believe that I am going to hell because I do not believe in the literal translation of the bible. I do not see it as the work or word of God or Gnosis. I see it as the work of men, some of which give good advice, and some who have twisted, eliminated and changed words and passages to support their efforts of control.

For almost 2,000 years we are governed by this one path and by its set of social standards. The rules of the bible are the rules of society. The separation of church and state is a farce. We still live in the Dark Ages. Christian literalism is a way of keeping us spiritually enslaved. The workings and ethics of the world are based in it. Christian literalism pretends to be the foundation, but is more the roof that needs replacing. It is not the foundation nor even the walls, but the cap that keeps some of us repressed. There is a deeper truth, and older knowledge which Christian literalism is based. That is the Gnosis that I search.

The battle for Truth still ensues. The Light grows, even as I write. As one person knows and shares the knowledge, the Gnosis, and another learns and accepts it, it grows. I am grateful to all who have tried to keep the path intact in whatever means possible, especially those who are committed to print. To my fellow scribes, I am forever indebted.