Gnosis and Gnostics in European intellectual history are usually associated with early Christianity. However, there have been Gnostics throughout history. For the Gnosis – the divine knowledge – has always been and still is a force that can communicate directly to each person, regardless of religious systems and traditions.
The word Gnosis is Greek and means ‘light of knowledge’. What knowledge and belief the Gnostics possess, and what spiritual path they follow, is generally rarely known. Gnosis can only be experienced by one who has a direct connection with it in his heart. This connection, however, changes one so that afterwards he is no longer the same as before. Even after centuries, their writings show these Gnostics to have been fascinating people.
For centuries, the various written traditions of the early Christian Gnostics were only known from hints in the writings of the Inquisition of the Catholic Church. The attention of the public returned in 1945 when some original Gnostic texts, which were found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, were published. Since then, many papers have been published on Gnosticism, and further texts have been found.
A Powerful Breath flows through the Ancient Writings
Gnosis is not a complex structure of ideas – although the ancient scriptures speak a language that is not easily reveal to the reader. One who tries to approach the ancient gnostic texts purely intellectually will hardly be able to comprehend the substance of their spiritual message. There seems to be a force, a mighty breath behind the words that moves the reader in the deepest part of his mind. But if he opens his heart, his intuition, and if he has faith, he may discover that transforming ‘Breath of God’.
One of the most famous Gnostic writings is ‘The Mystery of the Pistis Sophia’. The Dutch Rosicrucian and co-founder of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum, Jan van Rijckenborgh, republished this Gnostic manuscipt and helped explain it for spiritual seekers. The title indicates the nature of Gnosis very pricisely as the insoluble connection between faith (Pistis, Πίστη) and wisdom (Sophia, Σοφία).
Gnosis is a radiation, a spiritual Light. It is concentrated in the Gnostic writings, and is present in the atmosphere. It wants to awaken man and provoke him. In today’s era of Aquarius, those who seek for inner knowledge are enabled to discover the Gnostic radiation within themselves and work with it.