Gnosis, or The Beam in the Eye

There is a big question that is difficult to get at that nonetheless needs to be addressed if I am going to talk about gnosticism. Namely: what is gnosis? I have an answer, but I also have an allusive sensibility, so please pardon me as I make some wide circuits through this question.

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[NB] Experience-first language

A long time ago now, I was discussing an article by Toshihiko Izutsu with a group of friends. I can’t recall the specific article at this remove (it was one found in Creation and the Timeless Order of Things), but it was one of his discussions of mystical experiences in Sufi literature. Over the course of the article, he made the comparison between descriptions of musical experience and descriptions of mystical experiences, highlighting how they are both resistant to direct description.

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Basic Spiritualist Practice

Maybe it is time to talk just a little about spiritualist praxis? There are some emblematic tools and practices that can be used a lot of different ways. I have hesitated a little because I do have some concerns about people misusing spiritualist practices, but I suspect that is a bit silly on my part. There is nothing that can be talked about on the web that couldn’t be found a dozen or more ways by the curious. It might even be useful to give the techniques some context so folks aren’t just blundering around.

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Spiritual Disposition and Practice

I want to keep talking about my spiritual practice in this post. The last post focused on the practice itself, but now I want to focus on the individual undertaking the practice. From this perspective, the emphasis shifts toward an appreciation of spiritual disposition. The practices described in the previous post really only become fully intelligible when you realize that they are directed at realizing a kernel of possibilities contained within the singular individual, in this case me. These possibilities are specific to me and my life and so the more clearly I identify them, the better I am able to activate them.

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What is that thing that I do?

Before I get too much further, I probably ought to talk a little about myself and my magico-spiritual work in specific. I’ve been doing that all along, but I have been avoiding about talking directly about my practice, circling around it at a theological and theurgical remove. Some of that is a natural predisposition toward privacy, some of it has to do with how difficult I find translating the work into clear language. A goodly portion of my theological distance has been an effort to lay some of the groundwork for that translation. Hopefully I can put that to some use here…

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