Category Archives: Christ

Who were the Naassenes? Early Christian Gnostics?

In the early centuries of Christianity, a diverse array of cults emerged that were considered to be heterodox in the eyes of the early church fathers. One of the most enigmatic of these cults was the Naassenes, a sect of early Gnostic Christians who believed in a complex amalgam of Jewish and Greek traditions. This paper will analyze the rituals, beliefs, and veneration of the snake associated with the Naassenes, and how these elements encapsulate their an unusual Gnostic worldview.

Naassenes veneration of the Serpent Cross

The Naassenes were based in the region of Phrygia, where the cult figure Alexander is thought to have been born and raised. Although little is known of their origins, they exhibit a hybrid of Jewish and Greco-Roman influences. This combination is reflected in their practice of incorporating certain rituals and associated symbols into their beliefs, including the veneration of the snake.

The practice of honoring the snake was incredibly important to the Naassenes, and they saw it as a way to contact the divine. They viewed the snake as a spiritual signpost of sorts, as they held it to be a representation of Adam’s wisdom. They believed that the snake represented the secret knowledge of the imago dei (the divine image) and heavenly perfection, and saw it as a conduit for the flow of the Holy Spirit. As such, veneration of the snake was seen as a way to honor the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge, which was in turn a way to seek spiritual transformation and growth.

Aside from the veneration of the snake, the Naassenes also incorporated other symbolic practices into their ritual. One example was their ritual of water baptism, which was thought to be a symbol of purification and enlightenment. The Naassenes also included rituals associated with fasting, with their members fasting in preparation for meditation and contemplation, as well as spiritual renewal. Interestingly, the Naassenes honored a rather eclectic pantheon of deities, including figures from both the Old and the New Testaments, as well as several Greco-Roman figures, suggesting the inclusion of these gods into the cult’s beliefs.

The veneration of the snake associated with the Naassenes suggests the presence of a unique worldview within the cult. By venerating the snake, the Naassenes could draw on an animistic conception of the spiritual realm, even while also affirming monotheism. Furthermore, the inclusion of Christian and Greco-Roman elements in their rituals and beliefs shows that they were no strangers to syncretic religious practices. Thus, the veneration of the snake combined with the hybrid nature of their religious views indicates that the Naassenes were Gnostics rather than simply a group of Christians who happened to have unusual beliefs.

The Naassenes sect were known only through the writings of Hippolytus of Rome.

Abraxas Stone or Gem from The Gnostics and their remains by Charles W. King, 1887. The letters are “ΙΑΩ” or “Iao” and “ΣΕΜΕΣ ΕΙΛΑΜ”, “Eternal Sun”.

The Naassenes claimed to have been taught their doctrines by Mariamne, a disciple of James the Just. The retention of the Hebrew form shows that their beliefs may represent the earliest stages of Gnosticism. Hippolytus regards them as among the first to be called simply “Gnostics”, alleging that they alone have sounded the depths of knowledge.

Naassene Sermon :
The Naassenes had one or more books out of which Hippolytus of Rome largely quotes in the Philosophumena, which professed to contain heads of discourses communicated by James, the brother of Jesus, to Mariamne. They contained treatises of a mystical, philosophic, devotional, and exegetical character, rather than a cosmological exposition. A very interesting feature of the book seems to have been the specimens it gave of Ophite hymnology.

The writer (or writers) is possibly Greek. He does indeed use the Hebrew words Naas and Caulacau, but these words had already passed into the common Gnostic vocabulary so as to become known to many unacquainted with Hebrew. He shows a great knowledge of the religious mysteries of various nations. For instance, he dilates much on the Phrygian rites, and the whole section seems to be a commentary on a hymn to the Phrygian Attis.

Creation of Adam, Byzantine mosaic in Monreale

First Man

The Naassenes so far agreed with other Ophites that they gave to the first principle the names First Man and Son of Man, calling him in their hymns Adamas.

The First Man (Protanthropos, Adamas); the fundamental being before its differentiation into individuals (cf. Adam Kadmon).

The Son of Man; the same being after it has been individualized into existing things and thus sunk into matter.

Instead, however, of retaining the female principle of the Syrian Ophites, they represented their “Man” as androgynous; and hence one of their hymns runs “From thee, father, through thee, mother, the two immortal names.” They declared that “the beginning of Perfection is the gnosis of Man, but the gnosis of God is perfected Perfection.”

Although the myths of the earlier Ophite system are but lightly touched on, there is some trace of an acquaintance with them, as for example the myth that Adam was brought forth by the Earth spontaneously; he lay without breath, without motion, without stirring, like a statue; being made after the image of the First Man, through the agency of several Archons. In order for them to seize hold of the First Man, there was given unto Adam a soul, that through this soul the image of the First Man above might suffer and be chastened in bondage.

The Naassenes taught that their primary man was, like Geryon, threefold, containing in himself the three natures to noeron, to psychikon, to choikon; and so that in Jesus the three natures were combined, and through him speak to these different classes of men. From the living waters which he supplies each absorbs that for which his nature has attraction. From the same water the olive can draw its oil, and the vine its wine, and in like manner each other plant its special produce: chaff will be attracted by amber, iron only by the magnet, gold only by the prickle of the sea-hawk, so each according to his nature attracts and imbibes a different supply from the same source.

Three classes :
Thus there are three classes of men and three corresponding churches :

  • Material (the Bound)—the heathen chiefly captive under the dominion of matter.
  • Psychic (the Called)—ordinary Christians.
  • Spiritual (the Elect)—out of the many called, the few chosen members of the Naassene sect.

Creation

The Naassene work known to Hippolytus would seem to have been of what we may call a devotional character rather than a formal exposition of doctrine, and this perhaps is why it is difficult to draw from the accounts left us a thoroughly consistent scheme. Thus, as we proceed, we are led to think of the first principle of nature, not as a single threefold being, but as three distinct substances; on the one hand the pre-existent, otherwise spoken of as the Good being, on the other hand the “outpoured Chaos,” intermediate, between these one called Autogenes, and also the Logos. Chaos is naturally destitute of forms or qualities; neither does the preexistent being himself possess form, for though the cause of everything that comes into being, it is itself none of them, but only the seed from which they spring.

Adam and Eve with the Serpent, Michelangelo

The Logos is the mediator which draws forms from above and transfers them to the world below. Yet he seems to have a rival in this work; for we have reference made to a fourth being, whence or how brought into existence we are not told, a “fiery God,” Esaldaios, the father of the idikos kosmos. That is to say, it was this fiery being, the same who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, who gave forms to the choical or purely material parts of nature. It is he who supplies the fiery heat of generation by which these forms are still continued. In this work the Logos had no part, for “all things were made through him, and without him was made nothing.” The “nothing” that was made without him is the kosmos idikos.

On the other hand, it is the Logos, who is identified with the serpent, and this again with the principle of Water, who brings down the pneumatic and psychical elements, so that through him man became a living soul. But he has now to do a greater work, namely, to provide for the release of the higher elements now enslaved under the dominion of matter, and for their restoration to the good God.

Generation

The Mysteries of the ancient world, it is taught, pertained to generation. The Lesser Mysteries pertained to the carnal, and the Greater dealt with the spiritual. Within the seed—sperma—is the Mystery of the Logos, as it is the original cause of all things that exist.

For the restoration of the chosen seed an essential condition is the complete abandonment of sexual intercourse between men and women. The captive people must pass out of Egypt; Egypt is the body, the Red Sea the work of generation; to cross the Red Sea and pass into the wilderness is to arrive at a state where that work of generation has been forsaken. Thus they arrive at the Jordan.

The Cross and Sacred Serpent Christ

This is the Logos through whose streams rolling downward forms had descended from above, and generations of mortal men had taken place; but now Jesus, like his Old Testament namesake, rolls the stream upwards, and then takes place a generation not of men, but of gods, for to this name the new-born seed may lay claim (Psalms 82:6). But if they return to Egypt, that is to carnal intercourse, “they shall die like men.” For that which is born from below is fleshly and mortal, that which is born from above is spiritual and immortal. This is the divine bliss—hidden, and yet revealed—of that which was, is, and will be—the kingdom of heaven to be sought for within.

The specimens already given present but a faint idea of the author’s method of scripture exegesis. Hippolytus declares that the verses of Paul in Romans 1:27 contain the key to their whole system, which he alludes to with a great deal of innuendo:

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

This “unseemly” being their Mystery of divine bliss, he states; “that heavenly, sublime, felicity, that absence of all form which is the real source of every form.” And baptism applied to none save the man who was introduced into this divine bliss, being washed with the Living Water, and “anointed with the Ineffable Chrism from the Horn, like David [was], not from the flask of clay, like Saul, who was fellow citizen with an evil daemon of fleshly desire.”

The Hermetic alchemists asserted that the Great Work was an opus contra naturam; Paul’s use of “against nature” (παρὰ φύσιν, Romans 1:26) may have been given a similar allegorical meaning by the Naassene exegete. It is certainly possible that the Naassenes viewed homosexuality as exemplifying their concept of androgyny. Carl Jung remarked, “such a disposition should not be adjudged negative in all circumstances, in so far as it preserves the archetype of the Original Man, which a one-sided sexual being has, up to a point, lost.” But as to evidence of any “unseemly” acts, Hippolytus writes that in every way, “they are not emasculated, and yet they act as though they were.”

Exegesis

The writer, it will be seen, makes free use of the New Testament. He seems to have used all the four Gospels, but that of which he makes most use is St. John’s. He quotes from Paul’s epistles to the Romans, Corinthians (both letters), Galatians, and Ephesians. There is a copious use also of the Old Testament; and besides we are told there is a use of the Gospel according to the Egyptians, and that of Thomas. But what most characterizes the document under consideration is the abundant use of pagan writings.

For the author’s method of exegesis enables him to find his system in Homer with as much ease as in the Bible. Great part of the extract given by Hippolytus is a commentary on a hymn to the Phrygian Attis, all the epithets applied to whom are shown when etymologically examined, to be aspects of the Logos. One of the first of the titles applied to Attis is papas—here we are taught to recognise him who brought to rest (epause) all the disorderly motion that prevailed before his appearing. To him all things cry paue, paue, ten asymphonian.

Serpent Grail

The serpent

Every temple, naos, shows by its title that it is intended for the honour of the serpent naas as “the Moist Essence,” of the universe, without which “naught at all of existing things, immortal or mortal, animate or inanimate, can hold together.” Furthermore, “all things are subject to Him, and He is Good, and has all things in Him … so that He distributes beauty and bloom to all that exist according to each one’s nature and peculiarity, as though permeating all.”

G.R.S. Mead has suggested that all of this is in reference to the Kundalini:

This is the cosmic Akāsha of the Upaniṣhads, and the Kuṇḍalinī, or serpentine force in man, which when following animal impulse is the force of generation, but when applied to spiritual things makes of a man a god. It is the Waters of Great Jordan flowing downwards (the generation of men) and upwards (the generation of gods); the Akāsha-gangā or Heavenly Ganges of the Purāṇas, the Heavenly Nile of mystic Egypt.

Eden

The Garden of Eden, in the Naassene system, is the brain, and Paradise the human head, with the four rivers having special significance:

  • Pishon, “that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.”
    • Eyes (because of its dignity and colors that bear witness to what is said)
  • Gihon, “the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.”
    • Hearing (because of its being labyrinthine)
  • Tigris, “that which flows the opposite way to the Assyrians.”
    • Breathing (because “the current of it is very rapid; and it ‘flows the opposite way to the Assyrians,’ because after the breath is breathed out, on breathing in again, the breath that is drawn in from without, from the air, comes in more rapidly, and with greater force.”)
  • Euphrates
    • Mouth (because through prayer and food, a “man is rejoiced, and nourished and expressed.”)

In conclusion, the Naassenes were an early Christian Gnostic cult whose beliefs and practices encompassed a wide range of Jewish and Greco-Roman elements. Of particular importance to the cult was the veneration of the snake, which was seen as a representation of the connection to the divine and an access point to spiritual renewal and growth. This veneration is a clear sign of their complex and syncretic worldview, and shows that the Naassenes were true Gnostics, not just eccentric Christians.

Book by Mark H. Gaffney

Here are some documents and books to look into further in your quest :

  • A Naassene Fragment (quoted by Hippolytus as a summary of the entire Naassene system)
  • The Gospel of Philip (evidently distinct from the Gospel of Philip of the Nag Hammadi Library)
  • The Gospel of Thomas
  • The Greek Gospel of the Egyptians

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Apana Mudra

Apana Mudra or Apan Vayu Mudra is a type of energetic hand gesture (mudra) used for relaxation, healing and overall wellbeing by yogis and practitioners of yoga and meditation. The practice has been around for many centuries and its main purpose is to help balance the mind, body and soul.

The practice of Apana Mudra is said to be very beneficial to physical health, as well as mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is believed that this practice can be used to reduce stress, improve energy, and enhance concentration. Additionally, it can also be used to regulate the digestive system and relieve pain in the body.

This paper will discuss the physical and mental benefits of Apana Mudra and the ways that it is traditionally practiced. The paper will also discuss the specific hand movements and mudras associated with this practice and will provide an understanding of the power and efficacy of this ancient practice.

Body :

Apana Mudra is said to be beneficial in promoting a calm and balanced state of wellbeing, as well as for addressing many physical and mental issues. The hand gestures involved in this practice, known as mudras, direct and amplify the energy that is released from the body to the mind. It is believed that this energy can be used to stimulate healing and provide relief from suffering.

The traditional practice of Apana Mudra involves the practitioner sitting in a comfortable position with their spine straight and palms clasped together in front of the body. The thumb and middle finger are then brought together to form the “Apana Mudra.” This mudra is the starting position for all of the physical, mental and emotional benefits that come with the practice.

Physical Benefits :

The practice of Apana Mudra has many physical benefits. It is said to improve blood circulation, and reduce stress, fatigue and muscle tension. Additionally, this practice can help improve digestion and reduce constipation. It is also believed to help reduce the effects of arthritis, headaches, nausea and even depression.

Mental Benefits :

The mental benefits of Apana Mudra include improving concentration, reducing anxiety and increasing mental clarity. Additionally, this practice can help boost creativity and help the mind become more open and relaxed.

Other Benefits :

In addition to the physical and mental benefits, Apana Mudra is also said to have other benefits, including improving the immune system, strengthening the heart and aiding in relaxation, harmony and spiritual growth.

Apana Mudra is an ancient practice with many physical, mental and spiritual benefits. The practice involves specific hand movements and mudras that are designed to direct and amplify the energy in the body to promote healing and relaxation. It is believed that the practice can help reduce stress, improve energy, and enhance concentration. Additionally, it can be used to improve digestion, strengthen the heart and aid in relaxation, harmony and spiritual growth. The practice of Apana Mudra is a powerful form of therapy that can be used to benefit the whole person and provide a sense of wellbeing.

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Mystical Poetry for Queen Cleopatra

Time of Nile’s kings hath come to pass
Bringeth forth the great Queen of Egypt’s grass
Cleopatra the Seventh, treasure of lore,
Descended down the lineage to open a new door.
Her dynasty would foretell of a holy birth
Ancestor of a Son who cometh of Heaven’s mirth.

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Cryptic Poem for Queen Cleopatra

Queen Cleopatra VII

Ruler of time and space,
Her gaze beholden with grace,
A timeless queen, a pharoah clear,
The ancestor of the Nasarene so near.
Her mysteries and secrets unearthed,
Her beloved Egypt on river rust,
Ancestor of a crucified King,
Her legend flows like a Spring.

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Song of Sophia

Sophia! Grand dame of power in wisdom’s name
Divine intelligence, consuming the flame
To quell the chaos in the minds of man
Through great and unparalleled plan.

Goddess of wisdom, rooted in eternity
Giving insight to searchers of knowledge free
Unveil the truths we’re searching for and more
Let us learn like never before.

Sophia, enlightening us and cast your might
Your guidance always true, brilliant and bright
Leading us forward through uncertain night
Blossom our souls and be a guiding light.

Goddess of the deep, great cosmic array
Our gratitude we offer you always
Embrace our beings and reach the stars
As we honour all the gifts you are.

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Hamid Bey – Coptic Mystic

When Hamid Bey was a small boy, he had a remarkable experience. He and his parents met with a scholar who felt he was a candidate for Coptic Temple training. His parents agreed.

In Coptic temple training, Hamid was taught spiritual disciplines in emotional and mental control and meditation. One lesson involved going out in the countryside to beg for food for the temple. His Master had told him to thank the people, whether they gave him anything or not. This task made a great impression on him.

As Hamid grew in years, so did the advanced pace of his training. He was taught to enter a state of suspended animation. This was achieved by placing his body at the complete command of his will.

There were six preparatory Temples of learning that Hamid passed through before he could enter the final temple, the Temple of Divine Wisdom. In order to get to this temple, it is necessary to swim the Nile and enter through a tunnel. The big test here is that the Nile is infested in this area with vast numbers of crocodiles. The only way to know whether crocodiles are in the murky water is to locate them by mind power. This is something Hamid and his classmates were taught in their previous years of intensive training.

In this last temple, Hamid passed through the greatest and final test. Here, a flower is cultivated which does not grow anywhere in the world except in deepest central Africa. It is a beautiful white flower that gradually opens and closes. When open, the perfume of the flower is very pleasant; but, is a deadly poison to humans. It is used to prove an initiate’s physical and mental control. The flower is placed in the center of a series of eleven concentric circles. The eleventh one is closest to the flower. The initiate begins with the outermost circle. He must sit for one hour in each circle and keep his body independent of the poison, beginning with the outermost circle. The initiate earns a ring for each circle mastered; moving him closer to the flower. Hamid Bey made it to the seventh circle, which made him a seven-ring Master. The rings were symbolically worn on his headdress. When he attained the seventh degree, Hamid felt that he should leave the temple and go out into the world.

Upon his graduation from training, Hamid was given the privilege of a personal meeting with the great Master of the temple. The hour he spent with him gave Hamid guiding inspiration throughout his life.

At the age of eighteen, Hamid returned home to his family in Cairo. He soon joined the armed forces that were being sent out from Egypt to do service in World War I. He spent the next few years in the air force. There was one occasion during the war when his ability to place himself into trance saved his life. He found himself behind the lines with the enemy fast upon him. He put himself into trance and the enemy soldiers completely ignored him, being certain that he was already dead.

After W.W.I., Hamid decided to go to Italy to publicly demonstrate the powers he had learned in the temple training. He wanted to convince a skeptical world that there is much more to a man than the outer form. His intention was to place himself in a state of suspended animation and be buried alive six feet underground for three days.

In 1927, the magician Houdini, was attracting worldwide attention and announced that he could duplicate, by mechanical means, any so-called spiritual phenomenon ever produced. Hamid Bey was sent to the United States at this time to challenge Houdini. Three weeks after Hamid arrived, Houdini died. Hamid, then not knowing any English or any of the customs, signed up as a vaudeville act under a binding two-year contract. He spent the next two years, much to his disdain, doing his “act” on stage three times a day for sometimes heckling audiences. After that experience, he became great friends with Paramhansa Yogananda and traveled with him doing shows and lectures together.

To maintain his temple rank of seven-ring Master, Hamid had to return to Egypt every seven years. He was required to go through additional tests and examinations by his Master. In 1936 when Hamid returned to Egypt, he had a great spiritual experience. He was taken astrally by his Master to the secret Archive Chamber of the Great Pyramid. It was at this time his true mission was revealed. He was to go to the United States, which was to become the new Holy Land, to establish the Coptic Order. In 1937, Master Hamid Bey founded the Coptic Fellowship in Los Angeles, California.

In the following years Hamid dedicated his life to teaching the Universal Principles of right living throughout the United States. Helping him was a pure, humble man from Switzerland, Master Stanley. Only a few details are known of Master Stanley’s background because he would seldom speak of himself or his past

As a young boy in Switzerland, Master Stanley had a spiritual experience that led him to become a teacher of Truth. One hot day he rode his bicycle up a very steep hill. When he reached the top, he was totally exhausted. He went into a state of suspended consciousness. In his words, “the Christ” came to him and spoke. This experience served as a guiding inspiration all his life. Master Stanley often spoke of the Christ’s message of Love, which he wanted to get to as many people as possible.

Master Stanley first was introduced to the Coptic Philosophy when he attended a lecture by Hamid Bey in Detroit, Michigan. A deep spiritual bond was immediately recognized between them. He was ordained by Master Hamid Bey. Master Stanley set about helping to spread the Coptic Teachings throughout the Midwest. He founded the Detroit Coptic Temple, established and taught at centers in Milwaukee, Toledo and Chicago, and went on to open ten more centers throughout the Midwest.

In the next twenty-three years, Hamid Bey, aided by Master Stanley, continued to teach and establish Coptic Centers in the United States. Master Stanley reached the point of transition from his life in 1972.

John Davis, an honorable and humble man from Michigan, was ordained as a Coptic Minister by Master Stanley in 1969. After Master Stanley’s passing, John Davis became the Midwest Coptic director. In 1974, the Coptic Fellowship held their first National Convention in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

On July 16, 1976, Hamid Bey left his physical body. This happened for two reasons: first, he realized that people were not concentrating on learning the truth for themselves; and secondly, they were concentrating on his dynamic personality. He passed over in a hospital in Los Angeles from what doctors called cardiac arrest. Hamid simply stopped his heart from beating.

Before his transition, Hamid Bey chose John Davis to take over as National Director. According to his wishes, Hamid’s body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Today, Coptics are continually growing. We no longer stand on the threshold of the New Age; we have proven ourselves and have stepped through it. The present Coptic Fellowship still follow the teachings of Hamid Bey and are universal in purpose.

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What is the sin of the world? Gospel of Mary Magdalene

What is the sin of the world?”
The Teacher answered:
“There is no sin.
It is you who make sin exist,
when you act according to the habits
of your corrupted nature;
this is where sin lies.
This is why the Good has come into your midst.
It acts together with the elements of your nature
so as to reunite it with its roots.”
Then he continued:
“This is why you become sick,
and why you die:
it is the result of your actions’
what you do takes you further away.
Those who have ears, let them hear.

-Gospel of Mary Magdalene

Blessings,

Sakshi Zion

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The Pistis Sophia

✪ Pistis Sophia book translated by G.R.S. Mead (about the Gnostic tradition of Mary Magdalene, Jesus and disciples. The book is a Gnostic text discovered in 1773, possibly written between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. It relates one Gnostic group’s teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples, including his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Martha. In this text, the risen Jesus had spent eleven years speaking with his disciples, teaching them only the lower mysteries. After eleven years, he receives his true garment and is able to reveal the higher mysteries revered by this group. The prized mysteries relate to complex cosmologies and knowledge necessary for the soul to reach the highest divine realms. 🪬📯

Jesus and Mary Magdalene Kissing

✪ Old picture of Jesus and Mary Magdalene “kissing” in old version of the Bible (source unknown). ❤️‍🔥💋

Christ the Mystic Buddha Yogi Messiah

✪ Christ the Mystic Buddha Yogi Messiah. The Pearl of the Gnostic Hymn of the Pearl, the Blue Jewel (Mani) 💎 of the Buddhas : Om Mani Padme Hum (The Jewel or Pearl within the Sacred Lotus 🪷) the Secret within Your Soul. 🧿