Everything You Need to Know but Have Never Been Told – Insights from the Ancient Nag Hammadi Library
A depiction of the burning of Cathars by the Papal Inquisition in the Languedoc in late 12th to early 13th century ( public domain )
Gnostic information has always terrified the Church and for good reason, as we are about to see. It was believed that the details of Gnostic belief had been lost thanks to the efforts of Rome, but then Nag Hammadi changed the game. A major point about these documents is that because they were hidden for so long they have not been twisted and tampered with like their religious counterparts to suit the authorities of the ‘time’. What the writers believed, the texts still say.
The Gnostic All That Is
Nag Hammadi manuscripts reveal why the Church quivered like a jelly at the Gnostic explanation of the world. I was often amazed reading them to see how themes, foundations and much detail synced with my own conclusions reached before I had ever heard of them. They speak of the ‘Father’ (Infinite Awareness, All-Possibility, All-Potential) and make the distinction between nous (mind) and pneuma (Infinite Self). An untitled text in the Nag Hammadi Bruce Codex says that ‘The All’ (all awareness, all that exists) is contained within the ‘Father’:
He is an incomprehensible one, but it is he who comprehends All. He receives them to himself. And nothing exists outside of him. But All exist within him. And he is boundary to them all, as he encloses them all, and they are all within him. It is he who is Father of the aeons, existing before them all. There is no place outside of him.
A page from the apocalypse of St. Peter, Nag Hammadi library ( public domain )
This is what I call the All That Is or Infinite Awareness in awareness of itself – ‘the force that moves all things’. The Infinite is not even a form of energy, but pure awareness, a state of Isness. Energy comes from its imagination. You can appreciate why Gnostics would use the term Father to symbolise the concept for people, but now in the era of quantum physics and computerisation we can use modern analogies. Father symbolism was encompassed by the Bible and Church and ‘he’ was transformed into a bloke on a throne. The word ‘aeons’ would be considered today to mean a long period of time, but to Gnostics aeons referred to what we might call bands of perception, reality and potential. Dictionaries define this meaning of aeon as ‘a power existing from eternity; an emanation or phase of the supreme deity’. Gnostic texts refer to the ‘Upper Aeons’ and ‘Lower Aeons’ in very different terms and they say that between the two is a curtain, veil or boundary. Upper Aeons are said to emanate directly from the unity of ‘The One’ – All That Is in awareness of itself – and can be symbolised as concentric circles expressing the Oneness of their Creator or Emanater. There is no separation or sense of it. Upper Aeons are described by Gnostics as ‘The Silence’, ‘the silent Silence’, ‘the living Silence’, with its ‘Watery Light’. This is not the same as the light that we perceive in our reality which is a trap that can be likened to energetic flypaper; but that’s for later. Water is often used in the texts to symbolise the Upper Aeon realm of Oneness as in ‘... the waters which re above’, ‘... the waters which are above matter’ and ‘... the Aeons in the Living Water’. Upper Aeons are a reality (state of being) with no time or space. ‘Since the emanations are limitless and immeasurable’, as one text says, there can be no time or space. Upper Aeons are pure consciousness or awareness. They are also called Pleroma or ‘the totality’, ‘the fullness’ and the ‘perfection’ of ‘emanations of the Father’. The Nag Hammadi Gospel of Truth says: ‘Therefore, all the emanations of the Father are pleromas, and the root of all his emanations is in the one who made them all grow up in himself.’ Upper Aeons are further described as the ‘Treasure-House’, ‘Store-House’, ‘Dwelling-Place’ and ‘Kingless Realm’. A text entitled the Tripartite Tractate says:
The emanation of the Totalities, which exist from the one who exists, did not occur according to a separation from one another, as something cast off from the one who begets them. Rather, their begetting is like a process of extension, as the Father extends himself to those whom he loves, so that those who have come forth from him might become him as well.