Thursday, June 19, 2008


Salvation, like many words and topics, is very misunderstood. From a Gnostic viewpoint, Gnosis offers salvation. Gnosis is knowledge of the Divine, which is also simultaneously knowledge of the self (see here). Thus, it is in no way contradictory to the idea that your spiritual evolution is up to yourself. It is. And you are ultimately the one who "saves" yourself. What you save yourself from can depend on your tradition. It might be the prison of the Cosmos, the cycle of samsara, or simply: ignorance. In the end, they are all the same thing.

""Salvation" must be self-induced and self-devised."

-Israel Regardie, The Tree of Life

I think we may have inadvertently "tabooed" the word "save", since so many people want to "save our Souls". Only we can do that. A Gnostic does not see Christ (Soter, the Saviour) as an external agent, or would only see him thus in order to personify the Higher Self (as all traditions do). The Qabalistic assignation of Christ and similar mythological figures to Tiphareth is in accordance with this.

Salvation, as someone pointed out to me recently, implies that we have a debt to pay (original sin, etc.). In this modern age of reclaiming our authority over our own lives, this is not an acceptable notion. But in a sense, we do have a debt - a debt to ourselves. It's our failure to recognise the truth about ourselves, about our divinity, about the world around us (and how the physical isn't everything), that results in us being fallen. The Fall may only be a state of mind, an illusion, the product of ignorance, but this is what mythology is all about - describing these things. In the end, there's something wrong with us here - otherwise we'd all be enlightened. It's this lack of enlightenment that we need to be saved from, even if the Saviour is ourselves.

Sin, as so many of us Gnostics point out, did not originally mean "a spiritual crime", as it is often depicted today. It simply meant "missing the mark". We missed the mark. We took a leap and we fell. We do not have to throw out concepts; we can simply reinterpret them, as Gnostics have done for millennia. A Gnostic might also accuse the Demiurge of committing the original sin, the sin of ignorance, a sin against the true divinity of God beyond the Veil. See an old poem of mine for more on this potential interpretation.

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