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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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The Apocalypse of Adam

Discovered in 1945, The Apocalypse of Adam. 🍎
The Apocalypse of Adam, also known as the Revelation of Adam is Adam’s version of what happened in the garden of Eden. 🍒


Part of which Reads: “I went about with her in a glory which she had seen in the aeon from which we had come forth. She taught me a word of knowledge of the eternal God. And we resembled the great eternal angels, for we were higher than the god who had created us and the powers with him, whom we did not know.” 🫂

Omitted from the Bible because of what it reveals. Eve and the serpent are the hero’s of the story teaching Adam’s fruits of eternal knowledge. To “eat from” means to “take in and digest, or to fully understand.” Eve was sent to Adam from the eternal father that Jesus spoke of to remind Adam of who he really is, a light being imprisoned in the material world by a jealous creator god. This creator god made this imperfect material world that he fashioned afrer the eternal heavenly realm. Adam’s soul is what was needed to animate the flesh suit the creator god made as a prison for his soul, claiming he is a jealous God, demanding worship and unquestionable faith. 🐍

Jesus also tells this story in another book omitted from the Bible called the “Secret Book of John,” discovered in a cave in 1945.

Jesus quotes the creator god, and asked a question which reads;
“I am a jealous God and there is no God but me!” 🤔

[But by doing this he admitted to his demons that there is indeed another God.
For, if there were no other God, whom would he possibly be jealous of?] 🤔


Where The Bible starts from the creation of earth, what’s learned is this is actually a galatic story. Adam’s soul is known in this story as “the first knowledge that breathed within him,” aka his eternal spirit which was stolen from the heavenly realm. Eve was sent by the true eternal father located at the center of the galaxy. This is the father Jesus spoke of when he came to deliver the same message to humanity to help free us from the prison of the material realm. 🌎


This different interpretation than the story in the Bible will lead you to your true identity.
🪞 Gnosis or Awakening

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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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). ❤️‍🔥💋

Jesus the Star of the Pleroma ✪

Pleroma : the fullness of real existence in contrast to the empty void and unreality of mere phenomena (kenoma, Iren. I. iv. 1). Thus in Cerinthus it expressed the fulness of the Divine Life out of which the Divine Christ descended upon the man Jesus at his baptism, and into which He returned (Iren. I. xxvi. 1, III. xi. 1, xvi. 1). In the Valentinian system it stands in antithesis to the essential incomprehensible Godhead, as ‘the circle of the Divine attributes,’ the various means by which God reveals Himself: it is the totality of the thirty aeons or emanations which proceed from God, but are separated alike from Him and from the material universe. It is at times almost localized, so that a thing is spoken of as ‘within,’ ‘without,’ ‘above,’ ‘below’ the Pleroma: more often it is the spirit-world, the archetypal ideal existing in the invisible heavens in contrast to the imperfect phenomenal manifestations of that ideal in the universe. Thus ‘the whole Pleroma of the aeons’ contributes each its own excellence to the historic Jesus, and He appears on earth ‘as the perfect beauty and star of the Pleroma’ 𓇳 (teleiotaton kallos kai astron tou pleromatos, Iren. I. xi. 6). (from Wikipedia)

Notice this description of the Pleroma and “Jesus as the perfect beauty and star of the Pleroma” in relation to how Paramahansa Yogananda utilized this symbolism in his Self Realization Fellowship logo and his descriptions of how one enters into the spiritual realms via this star within a circle through meditation & Kriya Yoga. Jesus was also called the Morning Star and the Star of Bethlehem.

In Mahayana Buddhist texts, we read of the prophecy of Buddha’s return as the Buddha of Infinite Compassion who was born of the Goddess Tara. Tara means Star 💫

And how this is the same ✪ pentagram star that mystics, magicians and gnostics used/use for magical rites and protective rituals. The pentagram being a symbol of the Christ Logos ⍟ and was seen as a Pagan or Satanic symbol by the Church and ignorant masses but is only evil or negative when it is inverted as a downward star in a circle.