On Karl Popper, George Gurdjieff, and Nondisprovable Hypotheses

Religion is a Very Serious subject for most people, whether they think of themselves as “religious” or not. So this is a Very Serious line of thought. Whenever I have mentioned “Gurdjieff’s Partition,” which is the concept that disprovable hypotheses are the province of science, nondisprovable ones the province of faith, some have responded that this concept was proposed by Karl Popper. Perhaps so. Gurdjieff predates Popper, and I don’t have dates for when either of them proposed … [Read more...]

On Gnosticism, the Book of Shadows, and Sex

I received a few days ago my monthly statistical report from Patheos on how many hits I received last month, total, per day, per blog, etc. My total has been running just under 5,000. If I get up to 12,500, I start getting paid (hint, hint). It was interesting to see that the greatest number of hits were on two blogs: “On Jesus as a Gnostic” and “Some New Pages for the Book of Shadows.” I suppose I might garner some more hits if I expand upon those particular topics. I also see I’ve … [Read more...]

On the Soul and the Elements, or, Farewell to the Tripartite Anthropology, Part I

“Tripartite Anthropology” is a standard, although pompous, name for the concept held by the pre-Socratic philosophers 2500 years ago (and no doubt by people  long before then) that humans consist of body, soul, and spirit. Using those terms now is as inadequate for our times as using Empedocles’ four-element model would be for doing chemistry. We do have a physical body, obviously. The problem is with the other two terms.  People now use the terms “soul” and “spirit” more or … [Read more...]

Knowledge Rather Than Faith

What serves as my religion was formed in an instant when I was 14. Ever since, I have searched for adequate vehicles to express it in practical ways. What I know from that experience is how the Divine felt to me. That knowledge is a foundation, primordial relative to all specific religions. It enables me to be aware of the presence of the divine in almost any context, Christian or Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist or Pagan, as long as I remember to pay attention, which I sometimes don’t, at least not … [Read more...]

On the Nature of the Gods

[These are thoughts based on my own Awakening experiences and on Alan Watts’ explication of  The Cloud of Unknowing. These are not “Gospel truth,” but instead are insights from what I myself have experienced, leaving out all the footnotes, qualifications, and conditionals, for the sake of clarity. I’ll be happy to discuss details and fine tuning later. By the way, I think it relevant that the Greek anastasis means both “resurrection” and “Awakening,” and that the Hebrew death … [Read more...]

“History” — Part II

[For an overview of this poem and its complete title, please see the previous blog.] Second Theme 7. Sunlight When the whirled is all inhuman Flower, what can I say To the angel flaming Flower-spectrumed in Eden? Shall I ask this angel Who's got my mind in hock, Who burns my eyeballs green, Who strips the gears of my soul Naked, for wisdom? No, It's the always instant Of knowing nakedness That makes us men. When self Begins to speak again, the leaf Will mean again, and … [Read more...]

“History” — Part I

In December 1963 I had a spontaneous series of altered states that lasted for about three weeks. In the center of it was an ecstatic conversion experience much like what had happened to me at age 14. Most people have no idea that such an experience is even possible. Those who do know about it think that it is always a conversion from one set of beliefs or faith community to another. In my case, and I think in many historical cases, it was a conversion from ignorance to knowledge. Belief became … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, 1967 to 1973, Part I

In the preceding blogs in this history series, I have been describing what was happening with the Craft movement in the US up to the early 1970s. There is one more installment I need to present, on “Witchcraft in the Heartland,” but it is being vetted by some friends, including Orion Foxwood, since I am unsure about the details for some of the groups discussed. I needed to describe what was happening outside of California in the early 1970s, because many of those groups figure directly or … [Read more...]

The Gnostic Bible: A Review

gnostic-bible-barnstone-willis-meyer-marvin-paperback-cover-art

The Gnostic Bible (Boston & London: Shabala, rev. ed., 2009; $29.95 [a bargain]) collects many important documents from the early sects that have been lumped together under the umbrella term of “Gnostic.” It was edited, with many of the documents translated, by Willis Barnstone (who, among his other achievements, has carried out the best translations of Sappho ever) and the late Marvin Meyer (whom I had the pleasure of knowing since my salad days in the AAR and who, I just learned, … [Read more...]

A Very Strange Novel About Witches and Gnostics

As a writer, I have always been fascinated by historical puzzles, about how various religions actually began, and about the nature of writings and movements about which we know too little to be able to reconstruct them by merely logical methods. I had begun trying to answer the question of how Christianity actually began, and so learned about the existence of the Gnostics, who sounded fascinating, and of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, which contained almost all the information about the Gnostics … [Read more...]