On Not Buying into Ancient Propaganda

When I was working on Gnostic and New Testament Studies and stuff like that at the GTU in the 1970s, there was one especially important book I could not get hold of: the Panarion (“Medicine Chest for Heresies”) by Epiphanius (d. A.D. 403).  More precisely, I could not find a translation of it. The Greek text I could find, in Professor Migne’s collection of all the writings by the Church Fathers, in Greek and in Latin, from many centuries. Not a vast number of libraries own the complete set of abo … [Read more...]

On the Necessity of Awakening

The Castle Frankenstein poem I posted as a blog records an experience that set me on a Gnostic path. It think it must be significant that I recovered my memory of it during a strange, dark prelude—maybe calling it “existential despair”is not too inaccurate—to my 1963 Awakening experience, of which I have not yet posted a full description, although my long History poem was one attempt to describe it.My experience in 1954 had been an Awakening also. Afterward I knew many things; in that sense I … [Read more...]

The Man Who Falls in Love with Goddesses

He never wants to fall in love; it's justThat every once in a while She walksInto his life, grows wings, burstsInto flame, and then he knowsIt's Her, and he must loveAs long as She decides to stay,Whether a year, or just today. Sometimes she doesn't even know,And there is no way to tell her; soHe works, and waits for the pain to end,Knowing She'll be back again.But when she hears and can assent —Yes she said Yes I will Yes! —Flesh wit … [Read more...]

A Request and Previews

Our intrepid Managing editor for the Patheos Pagan Channel, Dr. Christine Hoff Kraemer, has suggested to me that, in order to avoid burnout, it might be wise not to try to make a major contribution to world literature, theology, and philosophy with every blog. I can see that. It's okay just to chat once in a while.Now, I do have a request. If those among my readers who are college teachers or who otherwise hold a prestigious position that might impress our Dean might be so kind as to post a … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: The BosWash Strip, Alexandrians and Others

Alexandrian Tradition is, in terms of ritual, a minor variant on Gardnerian Witchcraft, although its adherents now far outnumber the orthodox Gardnerians. The tradition goes back to Alexander Sanders (1926-1988), who in 1963 was initiated by Pat Kopanski, an initiate of Patricia Crowther, and allowed to copy her Book of Shadows. As soon as Gerald Gardner died, Sanders began claiming that he had been initiated as a witch at age nine by his grandmother and had received the Book of Shadows from … [Read more...]

The Letter to Theophilus, Part III

[This is the last installment of a hypothetical letter that could have been written by Christian Gnostics who believed in sacred sexuality. There really were some. For more explanation see  the "Preview of the Letter to Theophilus" three days back.]Of Baptism as the First InitiationFor their first initiation we lead our students to a place with living water. They descend into the water skyclad, and we baptize them, saying, "Into the name of the unknown Father of the universe, into Truth, … [Read more...]

The Letter to Theophilus, Part II

Of Saint Mark the WonderworkerThe blessed Saint Mark the Wonderworker drew many men and women into our company as students and initiates, teaching skills and celebration of our abilities and gifts.In consecrating the sacred cup of thanksgiving, Mark prayed to the Goddess Charis to drop her sacred blood into the cup that all may be inspired and empowered by it, saying, "May that Charis who is before all things, and who transcends all knowledge and speech, fill your inner being and … [Read more...]

The Letter to Theophilus, Part I

The Letter to TheophilusMy dear Theophilus, all the brothers and sisters send you greetings in the name of the Lord and the Lady. I will endeavor to answer your questions concerning the teachings of our founders and of all who have preserved the true mysteries of our faith.The Origin of the True ProphetOur community in Alexandria was founded by our Holy Queen, Mariamme Magdala, wife and successor of the True Prophet Jesus, before she fled for safety to the land of the Gauls. Her … [Read more...]

Preview of “The Letter to Theophilus”

In my recent review of The Gnostic Bible, edited and largely translated by Professors Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer, whose death at 64 has made me even more acutely aware of my own mortality, I commented that the book left me unsatisfied. It is the best study yet of the major segment of the “Gnostic” movement, those who were radically dualistic and radically ascetic, but they were not the only varieties of  “heresy” in the ancient and medieval worlds.Another was the Christians who remaine … [Read more...]

Marvin Meyer, 1948-2012

After I posted my blog yesterday reviewing The Gnostic Bible, edited and translated by Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer, I thought I’d copy it to Marvin, since I was taking his name in vain, to see what he thought of it. As I was poking around, trying to figure out where I had stored his contact information, I came across his Wikipedia page, which had been updated, letting me know that he had passed over on August 16th of this year, from melanoma, the same cancer that took my brother a decade a … [Read more...]


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