Our Aeonic Inheritance

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Our Aeonic Inheritance

Post by drcyd »

I just posted this article to my New Gnostic Gospel blog. It has pretty pictures if you want to read it over there: https://newgnosticgospel.blogspot.com/2 ... tance.html
Our Aeonic Inheritance
According to the Tripartite Tractate, the structure of the Pleroma is described as a hierarchical structure where the spiritual aeons are at the top, the psychical (mental) aeons are in the middle, and the physical (material) aeons are at the base. The material types of the Pleroma must be thought of as forces and powers, not as actual material, for the Pleroma is an ethereal concept that rests outside of our material universe. The psychical types are similar to the personalities of the gods of various ancient religions—Greek and Roman gods, Egyptian gods, and so on. These types of aeons have well-defined personalities and talents. The spiritual types are called the “spiritual ones” and the “original church,” and it is their job to remain focused on the Father, continuously giving glory. Giving glory to the Father is the method by which the Pleroma remains aligned with the One and functioning within the Father’s will.
These three types of aeons sit together in the hierarchy of the Pleroma. And while we identify the spiritual type as closest to the One, all aeons of the Pleroma are virtuous and good, for they are expressions of all of the traits of the Son, and the One and the Son are good. The aeons of the Pleroma (the ALL, the Fullness, the Totalities) have material counterparts here in our material universe, although they themselves are ethereal potentials with no physical or energetic manifestation. The aeons and their forces and personalities are more akin to thoughts or designs than they are to creatures.
We humans are aggregates of all three types of aeons, fulfilling a version of the adage “As above, so below.” The material part is our physical structure--the mud and meat informed by the matter-building aeonic forces and powers. We can think of these matter-building forces and powers as the primary forces of our universe, such as electromagnetic energy, gravity, and the strong and weak atomic forces, coupled with the laws of physics and chemistry. All together these material forces and powers build every physical structure in our universe, from sub-atomic particles through stars and galaxies, as well as all of the material building blocks of life forms. The matter formed by these forces will not continue on when the end of this cosmos comes, although the aeonic forces will.
The psychical part of our human bodies is very easy to identify as the psychological nature of our selves—our personalities, our talents, our emotions and minds. Our personal identity mainly resides in the psychical level. Our identities will continue after the cosmos is over, because our identities are fractal composites of the personality aeons. When Jung talks about sub-selves and archetypes, this is what he is referring to.
The spiritual part of ourselves is that part which is often identified as our higher Self—the inner sense of awe of the transcendent. This is the part that turns to prayer and other worshipful activities such as meditation, hymn singing, and religious rituals designed to strengthen that connection with our higher self and communicate with God. This the portion that keeps us aligned with the Father and the Pleroma—that which faces onward and upward. This part will also continue on as it is patterned after the spiritual aeons.
All three elements of the person--the material, the psychical, and the spiritual—are part of us, and it is our life task to recognize and merge these fragmented parts into an integrated whole.
The Tripartite Tractate says that there are people who are mostly physical, people who are mostly psychical, and there are a few who are mostly spiritual. We can observe this through personal experience.
The physical types we call materialists. They generally believe that matter is really all that exists and that consciousness is a only a fleeting by-product of the material brain of humans brought about by chemical reactions. Materialists often work in the sciences, describing the physical universe as precisely as they can. There are even psychologists who are physical types; they tend to believe that humans are simply conditioned from birth to behave the way they do. BF Skinner, the father of behaviorism and discoverer of operant conditioning, is a good example of a materialist psychologist who did not believe in either the psychical or spiritual dimensions.
The psychical types of humans are quite interested in the life of the mind. “I think therefore I am,” as Descartes put it. They may even be solipsists—folks who believe that their mind is the only mind and everything and everyone else in the apparent universe is a projection of their own viewpoint. This position is sometimes called extreme egocentrism.
The spiritual types of humans are those whose primary orientation is upward toward the Father. These are the prophets, teachers, evangelists, hymn singers and composers, and so on. They often discount the importance of the ego self and the physical body, placing emphasis upon the higher Self and the spiritual plane. They are sometimes mendicants or those with a strong streak of asceticism, as was Buddha before his experience of Enlightenment.
In my imagination, the Pleroma sits in its hierarchy like a pyramidal-shaped slime mold. The fascinating thing about slime molds is that they are comprised of single-celled organisms that work as a fully integrated whole, moving as one, simultaneously sharing information and nutrition across the entirety. “All for one and one for all” is their motto. Like the slime mold, the Pleroma is both a singular unit as well as a collection of individuals with one mind, singing one song, dreaming one dream.
The dream of the Pleroma is that place we humans recognize as Paradise. In this dream of theirs, there are the “figures” which preceded us and our world. The Pleroma dreams of our entire cosmos, including everything and everyone in it, with all of the figures imagined in the same manner a human filmmaker imagines the characters and settings of a movie long before the stage is built, characters cast, and the play enacted and filmed. And the way the Paradise is constructed and populated is by the aeons (Totalities) combining their abilities and talents to make up novel combinations of themselves.
According to the Tripartite Tractate, we are the “living figures” that represent in this material world the figures and forces of the Pleroma, and we are patterned directly from them and we are their “fruit.”
“Not only did the aeons generate the countenance of the Father to whom they gave praise, ... but also they generated their own; for the aeons who give glory generated their countenance and their face. They were produced as an army for him, as for a king, since the beings of the thought have a powerful fellowship and an intermingled harmony.” [Tripartite Tractate, v. 87]
“The fruit of the agreement with him, of which we previously spoke, is subject to the power of the Totalities (aeons). For the Father has set the Totalities within him, both the ones which pre-exist and the ones which are, and the ones which will be. ... He directed the organization of the universe according to the authority which was given him, from the first and according to the power of the task.” [Tripartite Tractate, v. 88]
The way this generation came about is part of Gnostic cosmology. It is said that the best and brightest of the aeons reached for the glory of the Father and attempted to reunite with the One without consensus, leaving behind the rest of the Pleroma. Instead of reuniting with the Father, the aeon fell out of the Pleroma and broke open in another dimension, scattering its components in all directions. It is this scattering of the disobedient aeon that became our cosmos. At first the cosmos was entirely chaotic, arising as it did from disobedience. The Pleroma, in concert with the Father, immediately sent down their forces, talents, and personalities to give structure and order to the chaos. These were all based upon the aeons’ dream of Paradise. In this manner, creation was populated by fruit of the Pleroma.
“Then from the harmony, in a joyous willingness which had come into being, they brought forth the fruit, which was a begetting from the harmony, a unity, a possession of the Totalities, revealing the countenance of the Father, of whom the aeons thought as they gave glory and prayed for help for their brother (who fell) with a wish in which the Father counted himself with them. Thus, it was willingly and gladly that they bring forth the fruit.” [Tripartite Tractate, v. 86]
Our world reflects the multiplicity of the aeons’ dream of Paradise, overlaid upon the consequences of the broken cosmos created by the Fall. Our universe mirrors Paradise and its figures while still possessing the chaos and shadows that arose from the Fall. We creatures here below must contend with the disaster of the Fallen state, yet with a dim remembrance of the Pleroma, the Father, and the Paradise which is our true home.
In order to give more assistance to us, the living figures, in our struggles with the shadows of the Fall, the Father and the Pleroma produced another fruit that was the perfection of the entirety combined with the love and eternal traits of the Father. This one is called the Christ, and it came to our cosmos in the guise of every form and figure, so that every form and figure would recognize it and receive aid, reassurance, and redemption. The plan is for every manifestation of the material cosmos to be inhabited by the correcting information and love of the Christ, thereby eliminating once and for all the Fallen State. At that point, our eternal spirits will return to a new home in Paradise, where there is no death or destruction, no loss, or grief, and every living figure that has existed throughout time will someday call home.
It is our life’s task to integrate the physical, psychical, and spiritual aeons of which we are composed into a single, “truly living” figure. This can only be accomplished with the guiding aid of the Christ to steer our spiritual orientation onward and upward. We call this “giving glory” to either the Christ or the Father, which necessitates a turning away from focus on our isolated egos and preoccupation with our physical forms.
In Gnostic Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth is Christ incarnate. He was a fully integrated human being, fully human, fully God, sent to lead humanity out of our fallen, fragmented state. It is said that on judgment day, every living figure will recognize, remember, and repent, with help from the Christ, that they came from the Father and to the Father they will gladly return. This, of course, is exactly what the aeons who are our parents are waiting for. Waiting to welcome us home.
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