Neo-gnosticism, from the Greek words neo- "new", and gnostikos, from gnosis "knowledge", and -ismos "doctrine, system", is a generic term used to describe any resurgence of the ancient Gnostic belief in salvation through grasping the teachings of an esoteric spiritual knowledge or by achieving "liberating" insight, by coming to special knowledge about the attainment of a clear realization of personal immortality said to be already inherent within oneself, and thereby becoming liberated from the "illusion" of the limitations of bodily material existence, without any need of a mediator or Savior outside of oneself. This has been expressed by the saying, "We cannot teach you anything, but only remind you of what you already know: your own godhood."[Citation Needed]
According to this view, everyone has unlimited, infinite divine potential. Neo-Gnostics have arisen in various periods of history, from the early Medieval period through recent centuries, and are represented today by various groups. Like their ancient Gnostic predecessors, all neo-gnostics past and present are essentially dualists, in that they believe in a world within the body and a world outside the body. They promise spiritual freedom by the supreme gnosis of deliverance from the "illusion" of dependence on the body and its material needs by accessing the divine light within each person. In variant forms of doctrine and method they claim to offer deliverance from the fear of death and eternal salvation from the misery and pain of ignorance caused by the addictive slavery to bodily material limitation and passions in thinking oneself to be only a body instead of a divine spirit of light imprisoned in matter by the Demiurge. Gnosticism and neo-Gnosticism only proposes a fundamental change in one's own point of view regarding existence and its purpose. A multitude of teachers of gnosis claim to have revealed the way of knowledge without need for a Savior to act on behalf of the fallen whole world, among whom neo-gnostics number Jesus Christ and the Avatars of Hinduism.
According to this worldview the only sin is ignorance, and therefore the orthodox catholic Christian doctrine of the one, single, infinite, soul-regenerating, power of the unmerited gift of salvation poured out on all mankind, salvation from death, and offered only through the unique, redemptive sacrifice of the saving passion, bloody death, resurrection and ascension of an incarnated flesh and blood Jesus Christ who conquered sin and death's power through his body, is a tragically misleading falsehood and distortion of his teaching and is not necessary, but is only an inspiring example of overcoming death by indifference to its terror by the knowledge that death is unreal and not eternal, but only a part of the ongoing experience of life. Thus neo-Gnosticism is a syncretistic blend of Christian Catholicism and Orthodox mysticism mixed with ancient pagan Gnosticism and esoteric mystery religions adapted by various teachers and founders of heretical pseudo-Christian sects.
Six Core Beliefs Of Neo-Gnosticism
The Greek word “gnostikos” translates as “possessing knowledge”. Neo-Gnosticism is not itself a particular religion, but only a name for a large number of differing religious philosophies and beliefs, often representing contradictory theologies. The truth of reality is considered by ancient and modern gnostics as being so comprehensive and profound that what seems to be mutually exclusive and absolutely contradictory is only the evident manifestation of the richly varied expression of the multiple aspects of the infinite mind of God. This fundamental principle of gnostic philosophy strikes a blow at the very heart of the meaning of rational intelligence. (Compare Zen Buddhism.) This is not the same as an acknowledgement of the existence of genuine paradoxes in science, mathematics ("irrational number") and philosophy. After the first appearance of Gnosticism A.D. between the first and the second century, it started to spread all over the Mediterranean region of Europe. But over the centuries it was impacted by numerous influences borrowed as adaptations from the doctrines of early Christianity and altered, and in that form was condemned as a false doctrine and as a heresy from Christianity.
Today, Modern Gnosticism is generally known by the name of Neo-Gnosticism. But it slowly transformed, integrating itself into the esotericism of The New Age movement and becoming a part of modern spirituality in the various forms of Cosmic Humanism. Gnosticism and its beliefs and practices is still practiced today. Due to its transformations over the years, numerous followers of these philosophies do not even know that they are following Gnostic beliefs.
The Physical World Is Imperfect
Numerous religions maintain the same thing. This world is filled with suffering. Earth and all of God’s creations are flawed. This whole physical world is flawed. But it is not imperfect because of us and the other creations who erred or disobeyed and fell from perfection. Gnostics believe that God created the whole material universe that way. Perfection created imperfection by design.
The Gnostic God
In Neo-Gnosticism, there is one ultimate God. It/He created the whole universe, not from nothing ex nihilo, but from Himself. Therefore, everything around us and ourselves are parts of God personally and impersonally manifesting Itself (Monism). Neo-Gnosticism is not, however, monotheistic, because Gnosticism acknowledges intermediary Deities called Aeons between God and humankind, helping God by doing certain tasks as manifestations of Divine Being.
The Divine Spark Within Us
In general, neo-Gnosticism teaches that God created us from Himself. Therefore, we all are a part of Him, and we all possess His spark, also known as The Divine Spark. Although every individual person bears this spark, not all of them know it. Only those "mature souls" who are destined for liberation realize who they really are within. But this implies realizing that the physical world is just a façade, a veil covering over the realms of light in eternity, and then starting to pay more attention to the spiritual aspect of their lives.
Gnosis Is Salvation
Every people on earth is counselled by neo-Gnosticism to pay more attention to spiritual health, that all should seek Salvation or Gnosis. Only through salvation will one be able to become one with God. There are two important things about Gnosis that everyone is urged to know. Firstly, that Gnosis is within every human being, but neo-Gnostics say this does not mean that everyone will find salvation. So, secondly, every person must work out their own salvation and stimulate it. (Compare Pelagianism.) Only through spiritual wisdom, will one be able to understand the clear path toward salvation. And God has sent us numerous Messengers of Light who teach us how to seek salvation. Those who die without attaining conscious awareness of this gnosis die without salvation. This includes the unborn, the newborn, the infant, baby, or child in arms who cannot walk, the mentally incompetent person who has no conscious rational understanding of the gnosis within, and every soul that is utterly ignorant and unaware of this doctrine.
Gnosticism Has No Rules
Gnostics reject rules and believe that a person does not need rules to achieve salvation. It comes from within, by direct experiential understanding through individual practice. Although Gnosticism has no rules, neo-gnostics embrace and encourage certain attitudes, such as: non-attachment, respect for freedom and others. Whatever is inspiring and useful for spiritual insight is regarded as a revelation of truth. This can include the Bible and the scriptures of other religions, all texts, pagan, witchcraft, Qabalistic, Alchemical, Yogic, Hermetic, and Satanic, such as Thelema. (See Cafeteria Christianity.) But these are not rules. Every follower of Gnostic principles of gnosis is urged to have his/her own individual practice personally suited to unfold personal spiritual development according to individual judgment of conscience and personal experience of what is interpreted intuitionally as "inner guidance", similar to the principle of sola spiritu.
The Destiny Of Humankind
Each person on earth has a fate, and must find Gnosis before they die. Those who find salvation in time, will reach the final reunion when they leave their bodies. The idea of a physical resurrection of the body unto eternal life with God is regarded as an absurdity, since the body is matter and evil. If they do not discover Gnosis, they might be either trapped in the realms of the Demiurge (equivalent to hell), or they might be forced to be reborn (Reincarnation), a new life with a new chance to find salvation and Spiritual Growth.
Neo-Gnosticism has had numerous famous followers over the years, who tried to understand its variant and contradictory philosophies and teachings. Gnosticism even inspired Carl Jung to write his book called “Septem Sermones ad Mortuos” (Seven Sermons on Death).