Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

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Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Lúthien » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:26 am


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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Ginnie » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:49 pm

I just listened to Stephan Hoeller's "An introduction to Gnosticism"

I want to share a few thoughts, he speaks of Christian Gnosticism having extra barriers because of their "world view or weltunschaung" and this is true as far as my experience. He speaks of the poetry of St. John of the Cross which is an amazing example of Christian Gnosis and of the difficulty he had when trying to explain his vision. I have experienced a like difficulty when speaking with Christians. The restraints placed upon the ability to even have a discussion of Christian Gnosis because this world view is so confining in good part because the language has become so inflexible. As a quick example such terms as 'salvation' or "born again" have come to be associated with an incantation that protestant Christians must perform asking Jesus into their hearts and by some magic they attain salvation. To speak of salvation as a transformative experience that in a very real way, much like the transformative process described by the rites of Eleusis become impossible because of this associative deadening in the language.


Perhaps I escaped some of this lack of flexibity having been raised by an Atheist father, now he was not a philosophical atheist but rather he was a reactionary atheist who's main contention was "it's all bullshit". That's all he needed to know and other than a few references to "where are the dinosaurs in the bible?" as if this was proof positive of it's bullshittyness.


I discovered Christianity on my own, and when I first read it I sensed that embedded within it was something important yet I could not find the rosetta stone that would unlock this mystery. It was my encounter with the teachings of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, (also mentioned by Hoeller in this lecture) that many of the keys to unlock the profoundness I was barely aquainted with were discovered.


My worldview was somewhat a tabula rasa when it came to Christianity, as much as one can be growing up in a culture imbued with it's exoteric teachings. And perhaps that is why when I first read the Gospels I was so intrigued and maintained that curiosity for years. It's not that I didn't go searching for these answers within mainstream churches, I did, but abandoned that within a year or two as utterly useless. I could clearly see that contact with these churches was not giving it's members a method for the kind of transformative experience I witnessed in these ancient documents.

I studied on my own, for many years without encounter with main stream Christianity and so when I first got online, I beelined it for religious chat rooms and experienced disappointment and outrage and any number of other feelings of a negative quality including the now iconic "wtf?". I saw, and still do see a grave ignorance that is consistently reinforced by the parameters of a world view within Christianity that "bars the gate" for the majority of Christianity.


I've found the poem that Steven Hoeller speaks of in this lecture and I'd like to share my thoughts on it, and perhaps with you a sense of the creative embedding found with it. Before I do that tho, I will speak a little of the classical greek method of spiritual epsitemology in it's literature

The Greeks and most likely the Egyptians who influenced them greatly used language and literature in specific ways, they used a double rendering of meaning where a word was acknowledged to have an outer meaning and an inner meaning. These inner meanings were quite consistent. Some are still in use today. One example is the use of 'right' and 'left' to signify different methods to the divine.

The right hand path is traditional, it's slow and plodding yet it's advantage is, generally speaking a psychologically safe method of transformation. A person is guided thru very well worn methods that when followed can lead to a similar result of experiencing a transformation of experience.

The left hand path is wilder, it's terrain is not, and cannot be, pointed out in the more rational manner (tho not sure that word is the best to use here but I'm using it as a sort of step 1-2-3-4 etc) This is a path that uses forces or energies (like entheogens but not exclusive to) to accelerate the process, it's in effect a short cut. It's also recognised for thousands of years to be a more psychologically dangerous path for some people. Meaning it's results are less consistent.

In traditional Christianity the word "left' came to exoterically mean 'evil' or 'witchcraft' or associated with Paganism or magic in some form. Such that a hundred years ago left handers were punished for being born with that trait. The words for left and right retained a flavour of this double rendering but went decidedly sour due to ignorance.


So, with this in mind I'll share this poem by St. John of the Cross and some of the embedded meaning I see within it. I'm no expert on this sort of language but I can reference you to a couple of excellent books on this double rendering within Christian documents that can be found online.

These books The New Man and The Mark were written by a student and lifelong friend of C.G. Jung and a student of G.I. Gurdjieff by the name of Maurice Nicoll. This man is an amazing intellect but even better he has the 'Gnosis' required to share with others.


Stanzas Of The Soul

St. John of the Cross




1. One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
- ah, the sheer grace! -
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.
Darkness in every Gnostic literature is associated with ignorance, of not knowing, of forgotten or hidden from consciousness information about our true and spiritual nature. Love's urgen longings is that of the seeker longing for this opening and union with the divine. I went out.. (away from the information of the senses) and in a state of meditation of 'stillness' house being a double rendering for the body of the self.


2. In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
- ah, the sheer grace! -
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

Here, in this use of "In darkness" there is a quality of letting go of what we think we know and acceptance that we do not know but rather can only encounter and discover what can be known. Grace is now, and has always been the word that points to a spiritual 'air' within which we exist, and flows around us and it carries us or is a vehicle into these realms whether they be the abrahamic desire for the divine lover or being carried away on the winds of the imaginal. So, privately, in darkness, and concealment a this is not an event that can be seen, and by stilling the chatter of the mind and body...

3. On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.
The hearts flame is another symbol rich with meaning but essentially in this context it is that which is native within us that guides us unerringly if we follow to a union with our soul/spirit/ or whatever words can be used


4. This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he was awaiting me
- him I knew so well -
there in a place where no one appeared.
My guess is the "him I knew so well" is the self, unencumbered by all of the ideas of self, the naked self, the essence or what have you.

In a place where no one appeared is suggestive of the state of consciousness where the sense of self dissolves into "no self'.


5. O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.

The Lover and the Beloved are a common theme in mystical poetry and consistently is used to denote the seeker (lover) and the soul (beloved)




6. Upon my flowering breast
which I kept wholly for him alone,
there he lay sleeping,
and I caressing him
there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

I can't really unpack this, I could most likely try but I suspect a big butchery in doing so and I'd rather not The imaginal poet can see for him/herself the beauty of contact with the beloved and the tenderness of this relationship.
7. When the breeze blew from the turret,
as I parted his hair,
it wounded my neck
with its gentle hand,
suspending all my senses.
I will only draw attention to a couple of things.. the breeze (winds of grace/of the imaginal) blew from the turret (a very high placeof consciousness)


8. I abandoned and forgot myself,
laying my face on my Beloved;
all things ceased; I went out from myself,
leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.
The lillies of the field are those beings who have 'flowered in consciousness' those who have experienced the transcendent experience.

Anyway, thought I would share my thoughts and perhaps you might find them useful or they may spark some new interest that may be discussed.

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Ginnie » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:45 pm

Thanks for helping me fix those links! I'm still trying to remember how to do this. :)

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:28 am

No problem. ;)

You just basically go,

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[url=<whatever the URL is>]Text you want to display[/url]
without using the actual '<' or '>' symbols, of course; those are just delimiters for this discussion's sake. The main thing is that for every

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[url=
you have to also have its corresponding closure:

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[/url]

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Lúthien » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:50 am

I don't remember at this moment whether or not I heard this particular lecture (I probably did) but your post hits home on so many points that I certainly will listen to it again.

I see now how much resemblance there is between that poem by St John and my own imaginal experiences! It's uncanny.

I'll come with a longer reply but that will take some time.

I might also move this topic to another (discussion-)forum.

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Ginnie » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:33 pm

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I hadn't encountered the word "imaginal" prior to you, or that may not be entirely true sometimes. I notice that as soon as I understand a word it starts to pop up everywhere so I assume my mind just skips what it's ignorant of and it flies right past consciousness.

What I found amazing, appealing, and deeply interesting was how you discovered this method on your own and I also very much see how it is the same or in line with the gnosis I am familiar with. And so I look forward to hearing more from you.

More and more I'm finding just how much my own experience is born of myth, prose and poetry, and I keep coming back to a few words, breath, word, voice, thought, and feel there is some marvelous connection just barely out of reach.

I think Terrance McKenna said somewhere that language is the birthmother of matter, or I'm taking great liberty in paraphrasing. But, I see something extremely foundational in this. I have experimented with this as well. Noting when thought bloopers out of it's primordial soupiness to enter the cave of the mouth out of which sound becomes word. How once spoken, the ear that listens derives not only meaning but also an ability to hear what is off key or alternatively what is harmonious or true.

It seems to me somehow, in a way that as yet escapes me the necessity of this process from Thought-Sound/voice-Word followed by the use of aural calibration that there is a big key.

Wish I could explain that better. I have trouble linking when on my playbook, and have too often lost an entire post because of some wierdo function but I was recently reading the Nag-Hammadi gospel of Trimorphic Protonoia. I will have to go digging in that garden and see if I can bring up a carrot or two.


Anyway, think I've gone off on a ramble somehow. Oh well... :)

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:04 pm

ginnie wrote:[...] The Greeks and most likely the Egyptians who influenced them greatly used language and literature in specific ways, they used a double rendering of meaning where a word was acknowledged to have an outer meaning and an inner meaning. These inner meanings were quite consistent. Some are still in use today. One example is the use of 'right' and 'left' to signify different methods to the divine.

The right hand path is traditional, it's slow and plodding yet it's advantage is, generally speaking a psychologically safe method of transformation. A person is guided thru very well worn methods that when followed can lead to a similar result of experiencing a transformation of experience.

The left hand path is wilder, it's terrain is not, and cannot be, pointed out in the more rational manner (tho not sure that word is the best to use here but I'm using it as a sort of step 1-2-3-4 etc) This is a path that uses forces or energies (like entheogens but not exclusive to) to accelerate the process, it's in effect a short cut. It's also recognised for thousands of years to be a more psychologically dangerous path for some people. Meaning it's results are less consistent.
Interesting! So, I'm a left-hand-Pather, then? B-)

I'm chuckling because in my first forays into non-ordinary consciousness (that which does not automatically come with being an autist, I mean), I was direly warned against such a turn, to some extent by Christians, but much more vociferously by Fundamentalist Wiccans, and was later approached by Anton LaVey 'Satanists' in an attempt to woo me, that finally I had a moment of perfect clarity and said, "y'all are crazier than shit-house rats; I'm outta here!" and discovered Terrence McKenna and entheogens at about the same time.

Anyway, thanks for the concise definition of tems, it makes sense, and is the first time I've seen them defined in a non-judgmental, non-handwavy manner.

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Lúthien » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:01 pm

ginnie wrote:What I found amazing, appealing, and deeply interesting was how you discovered this method on your own and I also very much see how it is the same or in line with the gnosis I am familiar with. And so I look forward to hearing more from you.
Oh, but I didn't figure it out all by myself.
In short it was like this: even though I've had numerous sort of "half-experiences" of the imaginal before I came to IV, and it did increase both in strength and "sense of direction" around 2007-2008, things only fell into place after I joined; started talking to Dave (and others). Listening to Stephan Hoeller's lecture(s) also played quite a significant role.

Funny enough, the formats of the actual imaginal journeys that I started to make after that were certainly partly the work of some of the more pagan minded folk of IV, such as Ellenar (unless he had them from somewhere else - I don't know that. Dave, do you?)

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Ginnie » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:53 pm

Davy Willis Lee wrote:
ginnie wrote:[...] The Greeks and most likely the Egyptians who influenced them greatly used language and literature in specific ways, they used a double rendering of meaning where a word was acknowledged to have an outer meaning and an inner meaning. These inner meanings were quite consistent. Some are still in use today. One example is the use of 'right' and 'left' to signify different methods to the divine.

The right hand path is traditional, it's slow and plodding yet it's advantage is, generally speaking a psychologically safe method of transformation. A person is guided thru very well worn methods that when followed can lead to a similar result of experiencing a transformation of experience.

The left hand path is wilder, it's terrain is not, and cannot be, pointed out in the more rational manner (tho not sure that word is the best to use here but I'm using it as a sort of step 1-2-3-4 etc) This is a path that uses forces or energies (like entheogens but not exclusive to) to accelerate the process, it's in effect a short cut. It's also recognised for thousands of years to be a more psychologically dangerous path for some people. Meaning it's results are less consistent.
Interesting! So, I'm a left-hand-Pather, then? B-)

I'm chuckling because in my first forays into non-ordinary consciousness (that which does not automatically come with being an autist, I mean), I was direly warned against such a turn, to some extent by Christians, but much more vociferously by Fundamentalist Wiccans, and was later approached by Anton LaVey 'Satanists' in an attempt to woo me, that finally I had a moment of perfect clarity and said, "y'all are crazier than shit-house rats; I'm outta here!" and discovered Terrence McKenna and entheogens at about the same time.

Anyway, thanks for the concise definition of tems, it makes sense, and is the first time I've seen them defined in a non-judgmental, non-handwavy manner.

Yes indeed, you are. Left hand path, and bizarrely so would wicca be but only for those who aren't playing wicca. The etymological root of wicca means "to waken" but sincerely, I haven't met any who I would describe as effective or transformational.

Haha, I'm not surprised that you were warned away from the left hand path, few really have any idea why they are talking about, and the term was co-opted by the Levay satanists. They seem to practice a refined sociopathy which is most certainly not the traditional use of the meaning behind left hand path.

Tantric sexual practices are also a form of left hand path and while it was exceedingly risky, perhaps. Not iinitially but as you know, with time every path meets deviations unless revived with corrections. What is left of the initial tantric practices are mere imitations and what have become the playboy of India Kama Sutra pictogaphy.

Tantric sexual practice was abandoned as a method, due in good part to it producing poor results and for some, as can be seen with Christianity as it's practiced today, some are made worse by their contact with religion than had they never encountered it. I'm thinking the practice of Subud is also left hand and while wildly effective, there were deaths associated with it. People attain a high form of enlightenment and find themselves only surviving a few days is not useful for this world tho, for the individuals no regret.

It seems that people like to use fear to shut down the mind, a sort of dead end signage. It comes from ignorance. I was only maybe early twenties when I realized that I need to be fearless because I felt that all my questions were sincere and nothing should be off limits. I won't say that at times I haven't stumbled a bit but for the most part I've held to my ideal.

There is no reason to paint the left hand path with any malice even if it tickles the atheist Lavans to f with people.

Anyway, it seems to be working for you! :)

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Ginnie » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:02 pm

Lúthien wrote:
ginnie wrote:What I found amazing, appealing, and deeply interesting was how you discovered this method on your own and I also very much see how it is the same or in line with the gnosis I am familiar with. And so I look forward to hearing more from you.
Oh, but I didn't figure it out all by myself.
In short it was like this: even though I've had numerous sort of "half-experiences" of the imaginal before I came to IV, and it did increase both in strength and "sense of direction" around 2007-2008, things only fell into place after I joined; started talking to Dave (and others). Listening to Stephan Hoeller's lecture(s) also played quite a significant role.

Funny enough, the formats of the actual imaginal journeys that I started to make after that were certainly partly the work of some of the more pagan minded folk of IV, such as Ellenar (unless he had them from somewhere else - I don't know that. Dave, do you?)

OK, but I'll still maintain that it is quite impressive for both of you. Very insightful.

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:36 pm

Lúthien wrote:[...] Funny enough, the formats of the actual imaginal journeys that I started to make after that were certainly partly the work of some of the more pagan minded folk of IV, such as Ellenar (unless he had them from somewhere else - I don't know that. Dave, do you?)
They were almost entirely Ellenar's work, but at a time when his hubris was at ebb tide, so to speak.

That only lasted about 6 months, and then a few months later I got the "I will be away for the entire month of August doing Faerie journeys to Falias, Gorias, Finias and Murias." I was like, "Fine -- you do that." And that was when the IV ship slowly started to lose her caulking and take on water.

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Lúthien » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:52 pm

ginnie wrote:(...)
I'm thinking the practice of Subud is also left hand and while wildly effective, there were deaths associated with it. People attain a high form of enlightenment and find themselves only surviving a few days is not useful for this world tho, for the individuals no regret.
I had a look at the Wikipedia article about Subud but I can't find a reason why it would leave people surviving for only a few days after reaching enlightenment?
The practice seems rather harmless, judging by that article?

ginnie wrote:There is no reason to paint the left hand path with any malice even if it tickles the atheist Lavans to f with people.
What does to tickle someone to f (with people) mean?

ginnie wrote:OK, but I'll still maintain that it is quite impressive for both of you. Very insightful.
It felt as if Hoeller gave me the "missing piece of the puzzle" or the "push in the back" that I needed to start "walking into that world", that had been waiting out there all along.
With hindsight I can at least confirm that I have felt it "out there" for most of my life but lacked the confidence or knowledge that it actually was "something other than just a phantom image".

So IV / Stephan Hoeller were extremely helpful for me to find the last encouragement or "key to unlock the door".

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:26 am

Lúthien wrote:
ginnie wrote:There is no reason to paint the left hand path with any malice even if it tickles the atheist Lavans to f with people.
What does to tickle someone to f (with people) mean?
Most likely "to tickle (i.e., amuses) someone to Ploppers with people (i.e., confuse or psychologically misdirect them)"

Anton LaVey so-called 'Satanism' is just sociopathy wrapped in bling.

I prefer the Gangsta rapper motif myself (if I had to choose); at least they have a sense of style.

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Ginnie » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:24 am

Luthien, good catch! Well, sometimes I can be full of it, I should have double checked, I know I was thinking of some particular practice but not Subud, which is Sufi. That's right hand path so... Humble pie for me. :dontknow:

And yes, Dave, to "tickle one self" is to amuse oneself, thanks for making that more clear.

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Re: Some lectures by Stephan Hoeller on gnostic subjects

Post by Lúthien » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:46 pm

No need for humble pies :dontknow: get a nice piece of chocolate pie, that's much better :)

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