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3rd October 2009, 22:45
Continuous Revelation

What Is Revelation?

Most of us who were raised in an orthodox Christian religion have been taught that revelation is obtainable through two or three primary sources: scripture; sacraments; and church hierarchy. In an orthodox setting, if a person has an experience of divine reality, for that experience to be considered revelation, the content of the message must agree with all prior revelations already approved by the church elders. Usually these prior, approved revelations are published in the Bible, and in the case of Roman Catholics, in the official pronouncements of the Pope and bishops around the world, or in the writings of canonized saints.

Unfortunately for the contemporary Catholic, in 1545 the Council of Trent declared the approved books of the Bible to be closed. No further revelations could be added to the “canon.” Not even the Protestants have challenged this rule, except to say that they do not recognize several texts from the Hebrew scriptures that the Catholics did include in their approved books of the Bible. It is interesting to observe that orthodox Christians disagree among themselves as to what books should be considered revelation. It is further intriguing that their disagreement is about which books should be left out, as opposed to which new books should be let in!

How do gnostics differ from this approach to revelation? First, gnostics do not attempt to turn revelation into a rule or a way to measure which kind of insight is acceptable or not. Gnostics experience the presence of the divine reality in various ways ranging from the mundane events of their daily lives to profound states of consciousness during their meditations and reflections. Sometimes the experience of the Divine challenges one’s assumptions or current beliefs. The person may become aware of new (to oneself) thoughts, insights, or principles. Further, the new awareness may trigger an emotional reaction that lends a sense of importance to the event.

In some cases, the gnostic may receive in his or her mind a picture or a story or a message that seems important to write down. The message might include words and actions of well-known figures such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc. who personify archetypes within us. In other cases, the gnostic may receive an awareness that translates previously published writings in a manner that opens up the deeper meanings of the text. These kinds of experiences can serve as examples of the continuous work of the Spirit to open our minds to greater and greater awareness of reality.

The gnostic does not compare the more recent revelation to prior revelations in the Bible because a revelation from the divine Mind is always current no matter when the human being received the revelation. We do not make the assumption that because a text is a few thousand years old, it must be closer to Truth. Rather, we assume that the Spirit worked in the lives of people then and continues to work in our lives now. We can go through the exact same process of receiving revelation that the ancient gnostics did. There is no need to make the comparisons such as “more authentic” or “less inspired,” etc.

When a revelation involves the figures we are familiar with from Bible stories, we do not assume that the revelation must be analyzed as a historical narrative of past events. Instead, we take the view that the Bible figures personify archetypes that live within us and speak to us just as they lived within the people of the past and spoke to them. A revelation that is given today about the sayings of Jesus is a revelation from the living archetype of the Christ that lives within our psyches. It is not a series of quotations spoken by the man, Jesus of Nazareth, a few thousand years ago.

The quality that particularly characterizes the gnostic experience of revelation is that the revelation is accepted as an archetypal experience of the divine that is meant to provide insight and inspiration for the soul’s journey. If the numinous experience of revelation is later reduced to a written text, and that written text provides others with insight and inspiration for their work of individuation, then that text can be considered a worthy scriptural revelation for the community. If the text does not resonate among the members of the group, it can be accepted as a personal revelation that remains meaningful and helpful to the one who received it.

Unlike orthodox believers, the gnostic is not overly attached to the idea of a “perfect” revelation that agrees with all past revelations, or a “perfect” translation that literally moves the ancient language into modern English. The focus among gnostics has more to do with the enhancing of the soul’s journey, the furthering of the experience of the divine in other people. Because the experience of the divine is so often a right-brained phenomenon, the literal focus on words, or the strict matching of present with past revelation, is often a distraction from the centrality of gnosis as an experience, rather than a concept.

Does this mean that gnostics lack a central tradition that guides our approach to the divine? Certainly not! We have a robust tradition, built on many years of living experience that continues to shape and guide us as we seek revelation. There is a definite coherence to our tradition. We are not scattered in our thinking or practices. Although we open ourselves to the continuous revelation of the divine, this does not mean that just any psychic experience, including grandiose or paranoid fantasies, becomes equivalent to the Spirit’s revelation among us. Why not? The two key answers have to do with discernment and trust.

Discernment is a gift of the Spirit. It is the ability to interpret the meaning of one’s experience, including sometimes baffling psychic or spiritual experiences straight out of the collective unconscious. The Spirit works in the community to help people to relate to the revelation and to interpret it in depth so that its message furthers the soul’s journey and provides insight and inspiration for the individuation work. If the interpretation of the revelation resonates with the community, it will do so because it is providing needed assistance in the gnostic pursuit of wholeness.

The other key answer to why continuous revelation enhances our living gnostic tradition is that we trust the presence and work of the Spirit among us and we trust that the revelation experiences that we have are always—when interpreted in depth—helpful to knowing ourselves and thus knowing the divine. We understand that if we are being given an experience to live with, to relate to, to discern, then that experience will in some way prove helpful to us as we seek to fulfill our primary reason for being on earth.

The principle of trust is very important to appreciate as we ponder the meaning of revelation. We can trust that the Spirit does not lead us astray, causing us to adopt merely self-serving philosophies that rationalize egocentric choices. But surely, you say, many people have fallen into that exact trap and made horrific choices in the name of their god. In the name of Jesus Christ, popes have authorized Crusades and Inquisitions, causing the murders of countless women, men, and children. Ministers have led their followers to drink poisoned Kool Aid and commit mass suicide. How can we discern the voice of the Spirit from the voice of the archons and demiurge? The answer lies in discovering and meditating on the principles of divine Mind that are revealed in myth.

3rd October 2009, 22:49
Principles Embedded in Myth

What is myth? A myth might be defined as a story that illuminates some important principle, or principles, concerning mortal existence. In this sense, a myth is always true because it reveals some aspect of Truth. This concept of myth is not affected by whether the incidents or conditions described in the story ever actually existed on a time line. The important thing is that they do exist in the Reality we must master to enhance our mortal existence.

A myth may demonstrate one principle at one time, and something quite different in the context of another time. In both cases, the myth would be true because it speaks to the people of that time, unveiling for them some aspect of Divine Truth or Ultimate Reality.

We don’t approach the scriptures by trying to fit meanings to them. Instead, we use the techniques of meditation to get into the scripture and experience its reality, the situation that caused this story to be included in the sacred books, and how that situation applies to us today. This is approaching scripture as myth.

To discover the meaning hidden in the myths of scripture, we must approach them as we would an icon. When we look at an icon, we may appreciate it as a work of art. We may critically analyze it, consider to what school it belongs, consider techniques the artist used. We may examine its history, consider when it was produced, and research what others have said about it. While all these avenues of consideration may provide useful background for our exploration of the icon, by themselves they cannot bring us to the point where we can discern the value of the icon in our search for Truth. Only by approaching the icon metaphysically, applying the techniques we learn in meditation, do we learn the secrets the icon holds for us.

In the same way, when you approach the scriptures, approach them as a basis for meditation. It may be valuable to read commentaries and examine their historical context, but the secrets of the scriptures will remain hidden from you until you get beyond the words to view the Reality which their stories are unfolding. Instead of trying to find a “correct” interpretation, allow yourself to let the timeless archetypes speak through the words. For example, you can attempt to discern the experience the writer may have had that would prompt this writing to emerge. What was the writer moved to communicate? If you read a saying of Jesus, ask what was a likely question or situation that drew out his response. Don’t worry about whether it happened exactly that way in the past, because what is important is what is happening within you now. Ask yourself why this scripture was considered valuable enough to be included in the canon of scripture. Then probe your own feelings and thoughts that spring up from your reading. When you meditate on these things, you will begin to perceive the underlying principles of Truth that are embedded in the myth.

This takes us back to our question about trusting the continuous revelations of the Spirit. It is clear from our experience that the Spirit continues to consistently reveal images, ideas, stories, perceptions, and insights that flow harmoniously with all the revelations already received by our predecessors. Each contemporary revelation is like a new chapter being added to a beautifully written and cohesive story. The plot line is developed intelligently and the characters grow gradually. Surprising things happen, but all together the revelations fit into each other and into the whole motif of the gnostic myth of salvation. As we do our part and meditate in depth, new revelations may be added to our understanding, but always those new revelations enhance the living Word and open our minds to new ways of thinking.

8th November 2009, 19:54
The Ten Major Principles of the Gnostic Revelation

From Exegesis, by Philip K. Dick

The Gnostic Christians of the second century believed that only a special revelation of knowledge rather than faith could save a person. The contents of this revelation could not be received empirically or derived a priori. They considered this special gnosis so valuable that it must be kept secret. Here are the ten major principles of the gnostic revelation:

The creator of this world is demented.
The world is not as it appears, in order to hide the evil in it, a delusive veil obscuring it and the deranged deity.
There is another, better realm of God, and all our efforts are to be directed toward
returning there
bringing it here
Our actual lives stretch thousands of years back, and we can be made to remember our origin in the stars.
Each of us has a divine counterpart unfallen who can reach a hand down to us to awaken us. This other personality is the authentic waking self; the one we have now is asleep and minor. We are in fact asleep, and in the hands of a dangerous magician disguised as a good god, the deranged creator deity. The bleakness, the evil and pain in this world, the fact that it is a deterministic prison controlled by the demented creator causes us willingly to split with the reality principle early in life, and so to speak willingly fall asleep in delusion.
You can pass from the delusional prison world into the peaceful kingdom if the True Good God places you under His grace and allows you to see reality through His eyes.
Christ gave, rather than received, revelation; he taught his followers how to enter the kingdom while still alive, where other mystery religions only bring about amnesis: knowledge of it at the "other time" in "the other realm," not here. He causes it to come here, and is the living agency to the Sole Good God (i.e. the Logos).
Probably the real, secret Christian church still exists, long underground, with the living Corpus Christi as its head or ruler, the members absorbed into it. Through participation in it they probably have vast, seemingly magical powers.
The division into "two times" (good and evil) and "two realms" (good and evil) will abruptly end with victory for the good time here, as the presently invisible kingdom separates and becomes visible. We cannot know the date.
During this time period we are on the sifting bridge being judged according to which power we give allegiance to, the deranged creator demiurge of this world or the One Good God and his kingdom, whom we know through Christ.

To know these ten principles of Gnostic Christianity is to court disaster.