“Thus, from the Hebdomad, the Light–which had already come down from above from the Ogdoad unto the Son of the Hebdomad–descended upon Jesus, son of Mary, and he was illumined, being caught on fire in harmony with the Light that streamed into him. This is the meaning of the saying, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee’–that is to say, that which came from the Sonship through the Limitary Spirit to the Ogdoad and Hebdomad, down as far as Mary [the body]–and ‘The Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee’–that is to say, the divine creative power which cometh from the [ætherial] heights (the Pleroma) above through the Demiurge, which power belongeth to the Son.” (The Apostle Basilides; source Mead, “Fragments of a Faith Forgotten,” NHL Archives.)

Understanding the Apostle Basilides
Bishop Tom Saunders, B.A. B.S./Certified Linguist


I have been working over a decade on glossaries aimed at explaining the unique words used in Nag Hammadi Library and related works. These unique words used by the earliest Christians were known and used by the Apostle Basilides, and those that had taught him. This included the Apostle Matthias, and Glaucius who was Peter’s Scribe. Around 60 A.D. Mark returned to Alexandria from Rome with Glaucius,  and with Peter’s notes and started writing his gospel. (Clement)

For this work I have selected a single paragraph written by the Apostle Basilides and I examine what the unique Sethian specific words mean that he uses. This is not easy because Sethian specific words were only known in the secret Christian teachings of Alexandrian Gnostics. It involves the Pythagorean Monad, and Sethian Aeonology. It took me years to decipher them. 

My work, below is mostly referenced with the help of my, “Saunders Gnostic Glossary(s), cited in this work as, (SGG). These works took over a decade to compose, and develop to point where they are now. These works were done with the help of many other people I have contacted over the years, mostly on the internet.

Basilides was a teacher to Valentinus, and rightly earned the title of Apostle to Jesus. His work is part of the reason Valentinus claimed to have been taught the “Secret Teachings” of Jesus. (NHL, see Valentinus) Over the years I have tried to learn enough to explain what Basilides meant by Aeons, Hebdomads, and Ogdoads. This is what I have learned from his writing…


Basilides: (?-138) An Alexandrian Gnostic and Apostle, who formed sects around 120 to 138. Basilides was known to be associated with, Valentinus, Glaucius, the Apostle Matthias, and other early Christian leaders. He may have also had knowledge of Dositheos and others associated with Simon Magus, and Gnosticism in Samaria. He is associated with Sethian-Valentinian works by Theodotus, and Clement. He is thought to have had knowledge of both mystical and Hellenistic philosophy. (See also; ”The Other Bible,” by Barnstone, Harper, 1980; See also; ”Stromata.” Mead’s “Forgotten Faith.”) (SGG)

Contemplate this passage below written by the Apostle Basilides. I try and explain all the unfamiliar terms in the rest of this work as they apply to Sethian and Valentinian Gnostic Christian Philosophy. Hebdomads and Ogdoads mentioned below in Basilides’ work refer to Aeon emanations. (I suggest you read this passage more than once.)

Basilides wrote:

“Thus, from the Hebdomad, the Light–which had already come down from above from the Ogdoad unto the Son of the Hebdomad–descended upon Jesus, son of Mary, and he was illumined, being caught on fire in harmony with the Light that streamed into him. This is the meaning of the saying, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee’–that is to say, that which came from the Sonship through the Limitary Spirit to the Ogdoad and Hebdomad, down as far as Mary [the body]–and ‘The Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee’–that is to say, the divine creative power which cometh from the [ætherial] heights (the Pleroma) above through the Demiurge, which power belongeth to the Son.” (The Apostle Basilides; source Mead, “Fragments of a Faith Forgotten,” NHL Archives.)

Hebdomads are Aeon emanations while Ogdoads are larger Aeon emanations, but are more like bodies, sometimes called Archons, meaning “Ruler.” All Aeon formations are formed from a sequence that begins from the Monad. The Sethian and Valentinian Aeonology is based upon the Pythagorean concepts of the Monad and Monadic sequence. These are complex mathematical formations governed by geometric boundaries.

Sethians may have been the first people that ever revealed written works with Aeons and Monads together. In Sethian philosophy Jesus is the Aeon of Aeons. Jesus is number One, the Monad.

G.R.S. Mead wrote…

“In his Aeonology, Simon (Magus), like other Gnostic teachers, begins with the Word, the Logos, which springs up from the Depths of the Unknown-Invisible, Incomprehensible Silence…

The Word, then, issuing from Silence is first a Monad, then a Duad, a Triad (Pythagorean Trivium) and a Hebdomad (trivium) – (quadrivium). For no sooner has differentiation commenced in it, and it passes from the state of Oneness, than the Duadic and Triadic state immediately supervene, arising, so to say, simultaneously in the mind, for the mind cannot rest on Duality, but is forced by a law of its nature to rest only on the joint emanation of the Two. Thus the first natural resting point is the Trinity. The next is the Hebdomad.” (G.R.S. Mead, “Simon Magus” SGG, my inserts.)

Word and Logos mean the same thing in the context of Gnosticism:

Logos: The term for Sethians and Valentinians can be synonymous with the Word of God as an emanation of truth, or as a reflection of man’s divine or Aeon form in the Pleroma. In both Sethian and Platonic Christian Gnosticism logos refers to a system of order, reason, and knowledge. Aristotle characterized logos as an examination of a premise using both inductive and deductive logic, i.e. checks and balances. The concept of truth in the Logos in Sethian Christianity is shown with the following algorithm used in Trivium Method logic. This principle is based upon three roads meeting to form one road, and where four roads meet, forms a single point: (1st Premise/Monad {A=C}) (2nd Supporting Premise/Duad {A=B = B=C}) (Synthesis/Triad of {A=B=C}) = 1 or the Logos.” (SGG)

An Aeon can be defined as:

Aeon: The term refers to emanations (spirit or pneuma) from the Pleroma, or the energy of thought entering man’s mind, like from the demiurge as an Aeon-Monad. Aeons are formed from tripartite unions. Aeons as emanations are one-half of a duality, and Aeon sequences are made of other Aeon-Monads which can form a matrix. Aeon names are given mathematical, literal, and gematric tripartite values. Aeon names represent titles for whole fields of study. The emanation process in Sethianism is based upon the early Sethian Father, Mother, and Son, Ogdoad trinity, giving Jesus the power of divinity as the Monad. This method is based upon the concept of three roads meeting to form one road, and when four roads come together, it forms one point. Aeons are constructed from Monads aligned with the algorithm of the Trivium Method. All Aeon emanations like triads, tetrads, hebdomads, and ogdoads work based upon the same algorithm: (1st Premise/Monad A=C) ∩ (2nd Supporting Premise/Duad A=B = B=C) ∩ (Synthesis/Triad of A=B=C) = 1. (Logos) (SGG)

The Ogdoad

The emanation theories of Aeons or the Asian concept of Chi (subtle human energy), work in the real world aligned to the same primary algorithm based upon Trivium logic. Ogdoads it turns out worked the same for Pythagoras as Lao Tzu.

The Pythagorean and ancient Chinese model of the Aeon or Chi emanation of the Ogdoad works on exactly the same mathematical-based formula as all other Aeon emanations do. This includes Triads, Tetrads, Hebdomads, and Ogdoads. (See Fung Yu-Lan, “History of Chinese Philosophy, Princeton, 1953. Yu-Lan shows how the ancient Ba Gua science works like Pythagorean math.)

All Monadic constructions equal one, and all of them are formed from a Monad which is formed from a triad in a tripartite union as described by Plato in his “Republic.” This is where three things combine to form one thing…

“Now then, join them to each other and make them a single one – for they are three – so that they grow together, and all are in a single image outside of the image of the man just like him who is unable to see the things inside him. But what is outside only is what he sees. And it is apparent what creature his image is in and that he was formed in a human image.”(Plato)

The Primary Tripartite Algorithm of Trivium Logic that form Aeons:

(1st premise-Monad) ∩ (2nd supporting premise-Duad) ∩ (synthesis-Triad {a.b.c.}) = 1.  

(Above is the Primary Algorithm, where three things become one thing.) Note: (∩ = is a part of)

1. Triad: (1st premise/ { a. c.}) ∩ (2nd premise {b. a.}) ∩ ( synthesis {a.b.c.}) =1

2. Tetrad: (1st premise/ { a. b.}) ∩ (2nd premise { c. d.} ) ∩ (synthesis {a.b.c.d.}) = 1

3. Hebdomad: (1st premise Triad-Trivium {a.b.c.}) ∩ (2nd premise Tetrad-Quadrivium {d.e.f.g.}) ∩ (synthesis of trivium-quadrivium {a.b.c.d.e.f.g.}) = 1

4. Ogdoad: (1st premise Tetrad/{a.b.c.d.}) ∩ (2nd premise Tetrad/{e.f.g.h.}) ∩ (synthesis {a.b.c.d.e.f.g.h.}) =1

Aeons or Chi emanate in a mathematical progression starting with the Monad (Tai Chi) and ending at the limits of triads/triviums, tetrads/quadriviums, hebdoads/hebdomads, and ogdoads etc. An Ogdoad is called so, because it has eight parts, as a triad has three. All Aeon emanations equal one.

1. Monad, {a.} =1

2. Duad, {a. ∩ b.} =1
3. Triad, {a.∩b.∩c.} =1
4. Tetrad, {a.∩b.∩c.∩d.} =1

5. Hebdomad, {a.b.c. ∩ d.e.f.g.} =1

6. Ogdoads, {a.b.c.d. ∩ d.e.f.g.h.} =1
7. Decad, {a.b.c.d.e. ∩ f.g.h.i. j.} =1
8. Dodecad, {a.b.c.d.e.f. ∩ g.h.i.j.k.l.} =1

The algorithm which let ancient Gnostics use these forms as heuristic devices works also within the tripartite model of Trivium Logic: (a.1st premise) ∩ (b. 2nd supporting premise) ∩ (c. Synthesis {a.b.c.}) =1

Lao Tzu lists over twenty-four fields of study based upon the concepts of applying Ogdoads as eight units called Ba Gua sequences. The “I Ching” is a matrix made with this same method where sets of eight trigrams are combined to form a matrix. This matrix of Ogdoads is used as a memory palace by Lao Tzu, and Pythagoreans. ( see: “Hua Hu Ching,” by Lao Tzu)

Below is one way the Ogdoad model is applied in the real world using the eight major contact weapons of the body, eight major fighting skills, and eight essential qualities that can be observed in a fight. This is three Ogdoads that become one thing. The model below is from classical Asian martial arts. The model shows how Ogdoads are formed, and how they ling to form a matrix. (Hebdomads link the same way as Ogdoad sequences do to form a matrix.)

An Ogdoad of Man’s Primary Weapon System:

(1st premise-upper body, a. R. Hand, b. L. Hand, c. R. Elbow d. L. Elbow) ∩ (2nd premise-lower body, e. R. Knee, f. L. Knee, g. R. Foot, h. L. Foot) ∩ (synthesis {a.b.c.d. ∩ e.f.g.h.} ) = 1

Apply the Weapons to the offensive and defensive Ogdoad skills. This is what trained fighters do.

(1st premise-boxing skills {a. punching, b. grabbing, c. chokes d. kicking) ∩ (2nd premise-grappling skills, e. throwing, f. joint locks, g. ground fighting h. control}) ∩ (synthesis {a.b.c.d. ∩ e.f.g.h.}) = 1.

Apply the two Ogdoads above to the following essential internal and external eight qualities for using weapons and skills. Internal skills are those that are done with the mind and senses while external skills are demonstrated externally with the praxis of the body. I use Okinawan words in the last Ogdoad, which is very much a part of the whole matrix as one thing.

(1st premise-internal {a. Kamae, b. Maai, c. Ma, d. Kakei}) ∩ (2nd premise – external {e. Muchimi, f. Chinkuchi, g. Fesa, h. Atifa}) ∩ (synthesis, {a.b.c.d.e.f.g.h.}) = 1

1.Kamae, (cam-may) refers to the skill of the fighter to becoming aware, composed and in control of his actions, and reactions. Kamae refers to the composure of the fighter the instant he/she takes conscious control of his skills in a fight.
2. Maai (maw-ee) describes the space that exists between you and your opponent, and how this space is utilized. We often call this space the arena, but basically its the environment around you.
3. Ma (maw) refers to the movement within the distance between opponents to strike. “Ma involves advancing and retreating, meeting and departing.” This refers also to control of the arena.
4. Kakei, (calk-kay) refers to the ability to touch and ‘feel out’ an opponent, for strengths and weakness, using the Ma, and Maai. In Judo and Jiu Jitsu, the quality to feel out an opponent is referred to as ‘kuzushi.’ This is a highly developed skill, meaning to break the opponent’s posture, or balance.
5. Muchimi, (moo-chee-mee) refers to moving in a trained agile way when fighting. It is described as Okinawan trained karate fighters having the attributes of the qualities of a willow tree, or like stalks of bamboo. This same quality is seen in good wrestling arts.
6. Chinkuchi, (ctch-in-koo-chee) refers to the torque of the technique, muscle and joint control. It is through chinkuchi that audible snapping action of punches and kicks is achieved. It is used in offense and defense, and in all karate techniques to one degree or another. ‘’To achieve ‘chinkuchi’ all of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, breathing and mental intentions are in perfect coordination in a single moment of time.”
7. Fesa, (fe-za) refers to the virtual speed of the boxing or grappling technique, applied with chinkuchi and also refers to sighting and delivering techniques to the path of least resistance to the target. In grappling it applies to the speed of delivery of the grappling technique.
8. Atifa, (at-tee-fa) refers to the skill to send the shock wave of a technique all the way through the opponent’s body. This is a skill directed toward attacking the body’s systems of balance; circulatory, skeletal-muscular, and nervous systems.

Notice that all three Ogdoads together form a memory palace that can be used to describe almost every aspect of a fight, like a Cage Match. I use this method and have taught other fighters to use it. The three Ogdoads have formed a Monad, the Fight.

Trained fighters can use it as a heuristic device like a gauge and map. The model can be an ideal heuristic device in almost any field of study.

There are dozens of ways the Ogdoad can be further applied to the fight and many other things. The above example is what Lao Tzu called a simple model to explain. The Pythagorean model and Chinese model of the Ogdoad work the same way, and this is how I eventually figured out the mathematical schema for Aeon emanations.

If you know this “Fighter’s Octagon” schema, chances are you can describe the action of any fight with exact and compatible descriptions as others that recall the conflict and know the formula. This is the true value of learning a memory palace offers.  Some become Masters at using these heuristic devices.

Events relative to the construction of an Ogdoad matrix can be observed and described within the context of using a map or template for the observed events. This way people can see and describe alike. This is what the Apostles meant as Logos. If your friends know the schema on the same level, like it was a map. Everyone can get to the same point. Everyone using this system is for the most part on the same page.

Using the information above a student of Aeons can define the Ogdoad:

Ogdoad; Refers to an eight unit Aeon emanation as a body, composed of two tetrads that form a 1st and 2nd premise in the Trivium Method formula: (1st Tetrad/Premise A=C) (2nd Tetrad/Supporting Premise A=B =B=C) (Synthesis of A=B=C) = 1. Ogdoad. Another way to express the Monadic values of the Ogdoad is: (A. Monad, B. Duad, C. Triad, D. Tetrad) ∩ (E. Pentad, F. Hexad, G. Hebdoad H. Ogdoad) ∩ (Synthesis A=B=C=D=E=F=G=H) =1. A Tetrad works like a four point compass, and an Ogdoad works like an eight point compass.

There are dozens of ways the Ogdoad and Hebdomad can be applied as a heuristic device. Basilides like the martial arts Masters demanded a great deal of focus from students. These types of memory palaces take some study. Basilides is said to have demanded five years of silence from his pupils. As in ancient China the secrets of the Monad and Tai Chi were mostly kept secret. The secret was only shared from Master to Student.

The Hebdomad

All human emotions can be tracked in the mind with the template of the Hebdomad. This includes Wrath, Hate, Lies, Lust, Grief, Envy, and Fear, and their polar opposites. All of these emotions as Hebdomads can be put into a matrix.

“Hebdomad; Refers to a seven unit Aeon emanation composed of a trivium (Monad, Duad, Triad) and quadrivium (Tetrad, Pentad, Hexad, Hebdoad) that follows the Trivium Method algorithm: (1st Premise/Trivium A=C) ∩ (2nd Supporting Premise/Quadrivium A=B = B=C) ∩ (Synthesis of A=B=C) = 1. Hebdomad…

Another way to show the trivium and quadrivium as a model of the Aeon-Hebdomad is: (h.e.b.) (d.o.a.d.) = 1 Hebdomad. One way to describe how a Hebdomad works is by explaining the trivium works as a sign to give information, and the quadrivium works like a signal to represent directed action. These principles are based upon the ancient Trivium Methods “where three roads form one road, and where four roads meet, forms a single point.” (SGG)

In the formation of the Hebdomad, a trivium combines with a tetrad or quadrivium to form one thing. This is the type of trivium logic or “Grammar” that Pythagoreans used, assigning everything a mathematical and gematric value.

Formed from the Monad, the units of an Aeon Hebdomad sequence, due to the position of the units, always do the same job.

The Trivium’s Jobs:
(1. Monads state the form’s first cause, or sequence name.)
(2. Duads state the motive of the whole sequence, for the seven units.)
(3. Triads consolidate the three forms of the triad into one thing.)

The Quadrivium’s Jobs:

(4. Tetrads state a level of ‘excitement’ in the form.)
(5. Pentads state the nature of the ‘structure’ of the form.)
(6. Hexads state the ‘action’ of the form, related to its specific power of the form.)
(7. Hebdoads state the extent of power or ‘control’ (cause and effect) of the type and form.

The last unit of an Aeon emanation sequence is always the ‘control’ unit. It shows what happens within the cause and effect of ‘what does what, to what’ in the praxis of the emanation. At the level of the triad it makes three things, one thing. The Hebdomad is seven things in the form of a triad and tetrad that become one thing. This is due to the primary algorithm used as a basis for all Aeon emanations and why they all equal one.

The Human Quadrivium

The model for the Hebdomad using the Human Quadrivium and the Primary Algorithm is:

(Trivium {a.b.c.}) ∩ (Quadrivium/ {d. Excitement, e. Structure, f. Action, g. Control}) ∩ (Synthesis {a.b.c.}) =1

Human emotions in the form of Aeons are either good or evil, and often in Sethian and Valentinian works these emotions are referred to as Angels or Demons. Chapter Eight of the “Gospel of Mary,” is dedicated to describing the Seven Powers of Wrath. All evil emotions are based upon the trivium concept of (Darkness, Desire, Ignorance) = Evil Trinity. Both Valentinus and Basilides understood and mention the Evil Trinity.

The following model of the Evil Trinity and its polar opposite are crafted from the description of the Seven Powers of Wrath from the “Gospel of Mary.”

* a. Darkness, b. Desire, c. Ignorance) ∩ (d. Excitement, e. Structure, f. Action, g. Control) ∩ (Synthesis) = 1 (The Evil Hebdomad)

The Light trivium below is the polar opposite of Evil:

(a. Light, b. Fulfillment, c. Knowledge) ∩ (d. Excitement, e. Structure, f. Action, g. Control) ∩ (Synthesis) = 1 (The Good Hebdomad)

One model for the Seven Powers or voices of the Demons is Wrath, Envy, Hate, Grief, Lies, Lust, and Fear. These are all Aeon-Monads with opposites that can be placed in an Aeon matrix where good and evil interact. Theodotus called this evil force “Legion.” Trained Gnostics can/could manipulate the evil matrix like playing chess pieces.

Like playing chess on another human or group, the Aeon force can be manipulated according to the degree of influence you can make on the subject in terms excitement within the form and action and control of the good and evil emotions on the psyche(s). The control of the Human Quadrivium includes all emotions, good or evil.

The control with the good and evil Aeon matrix is learned by focusing on the human quadrivium like it is a living diorama which is shortly stopped in time so you can examine it. Then you can play the Human Quadrivium something like an instrument; with yourself and other psyche(s). Good salesmen have the same kind of focus where they read their clients, then, they work the angles for the sale.

A modern Lie Detector measures the control as to a person’s excitement according to actions in his form or body, and this is much like the ancient Human Quadrivium in the praxis of a Lie. This modern science shows ways we can understand how Hebdomads were used by ancients.

Aeons are very real. The study of how Aeons affect the mind and body in the ancient teachings was called Kinetikos. There are some fields of modern study that relate well to the ancient model of the Human Quadrivium. More study is needed.

The Light, the Demiurge:

Light, Word, and Logos mean about the same thing and are all in reference to the Word of God. In Sethian and Valentinian philosophy Jesus is the power of the Son from the unification of the eight powers of the Father, and eight powers of the Mother, with the powers of the Son.

Demiurge refers to a boundary between these entities of the Logos, and Cosmology. This includes the triple Ogdoad boundaries between the Father, Mother, and Son in the unity which Sethian and Valentinian scripture says Jesus gained the powers of divinity. This tripartite unity explains how Jesus becomes the Word, i.e. the Light. This is what Basilides means by “power of the Son” and “from the Hebdomad of Light.

Basilides refers to Mary in his passage as the Body. This may be a reference to the Divine feminine Mother or Barbelo, in regard that in Pythagorean philosophy where the dyad is considered the One Form. It appears that Basilides and Valentinus did not use the Barbelo model in their presentation of the Dyad as Mother. The Dyad in this case equals the Monad and Duad, or Father-Mother as one thing. ({a.∩ b.} =1.)

As it is explained above, Aeon emanations are governed by a tripartite union based upon three things becoming one thing, a Monad. The Hebdomad is formed from a triad that becomes a Monad and from there; the Monad becomes a triad or trivium and then is joined with a tetrad, to become a Hebdomad.

Sethians and Valentinians only explain bits and pieces of the workings of the Monad in their works, and how a Monad becomes Hebdomads, Ogdoads, etc. Below are passages that mention the elements of the trivium. (Lao Tzu wrote very similar passages where the Monad is called the Tai Chi)

“As I (Jesus) said earlier, among the things that were created the Monad is first, the Dyad follows it, and the Triad, up to the tenths. Now the tenths rule the hundredths; the hundredths rule the thousandths; the thousands rule the ten thousands. This is the pattern immortals. First Man is like this: His Monad […].

Again it is this pattern that exists among the immortals: the Monad and the thought are those things that belong to Immortal Man. The thinking’s are for decads, and the hundreds are the teachings, and the thousands are the counsels, and the ten thousands are the powers. Now those who come from the […] exist with their […] in every Aeon […]. ”  (“Eugnostos the Blessed”)

The Sethian and Valentinian Aeonology is primarily based upon Jesus as the Monad and “Aeon of Aeons.” The Gnostic creation myths differ. But Simon Magus and Dositheos understood Aeons and this teaching was obviously passed on to Basilides and Valentinus.

Dositheos claims authorship for “The Three Steles of Seth” in the Nag Hammadi collection. He mentions Aeons and the Monad. I would point out the term Aeon very likely meant the same things to Basilides and Valentinus as Simon Magus, Dositheos, John Zebedee, and others that knew Jesus.

Simon wrote…

“Of the universal Aeons there are two shoots, without beginning or end, springing from one Root, which is the Power invisible, inapprehensible Silence. Of these shoots one is manifested from above, which is the Great Power, the Universal Mind ordering all things, male, and the other, (is manifested) from below, the Great Thought, female, producing all things.” (Simon Magus, “Apophasis Megale,” Mead)

Both the “Gospel of the Egyptians” and “The Apocryphon of John” explains the same male-female aspects as Simon mentions above.

Hippolytus declares in his works that Sethians had “The Gospel of Thomas,” “The Gospel of the Egyptians,” and other works known in the Nag Hammadi collection. Irenaeus cited a passage which is almost a word for word parallel from “The Apocryphon of John.” This means the three works are probably among the oldest Christian scripture.

Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian all mention Aeons to refute them. They fail to explain Ogdoads, or Hebdomads. They all declare that the Sethians and Valentinians are heretics. They are all considered founding fathers of the Church, and they all had a similar anti-Gnostic agenda to eliminate Sethians and Valentinians. This is why moderns know nothing of the Aeonology.

The Holy Spirit:

Basilides described the Light of the Father and Mother as the Hebdomad of the Holy Spirit:

“…the Hebdomad–descended upon Jesus, son of Mary, and he was illumined, being caught on fire in harmony with the Light that streamed into him. This is the meaning of the saying, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee’–that is to say, that which came from the “Sonship” through the Limitary Spirit to the Ogdoad and Hebdomad, down as far as Mary [the body]” (Basilides, Mead)

Sethians and Valentinians were Pneumatics. Paul called them the gifted by the Holy Spirit. Clement called them gifted and Craftsmen. Pneumatics can demonstrate their gifts and skills.

Pneumatic: One who can comprehend or read Aeons and identifies with the spirit (pneuma), beyond that of the physical (hylic) world and the intellect alone (psychic). The pneuma, described in the ”Gospel of Phillip,” as ‘breath,’ refers to bonding with the internal spark (spinther) that came from and is drawn to reunite with the Father in some Gnostic schema. One who awakens it (the spinther) within the self does it through the process of ‘gnosis.’ (See; Gregory of Nicaea (known as Basil), who used the term Pneumatic in his mystical teachings. This term connotes Gnostic as a Pneumatic). (See also; ”Early Christian Mystics,” McGinn, Crossroads, 2003.) (SGG)

Pneumatophoroi: One who has united his Soul with the ‘Light’ (Sophia, Word, Wisdom) achieving Gnosis which is thought in Christian Gnosticism to be a union with Jesus as the Holy Spirit. A more common name for those who have reached this state are “Spirit Bearers.” Those having reached this state are mentioned in “Acts” and Pauline works. These attained individuals are thought to wear the Holy Spirit like a garment. (See; ”1,000 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Holy Spirit,” by Lang, Thomas Nelson Pub. 1999.) (SGG)

The Pneumatophoroi were called Craftsmen by Clement…

Craftsman: A term used to connote Gnostic attainment. The term is also used in regard to creation. “All things were made through Him,” means that it was the Word who caused the Craftsman (Demiurge) to make the world, that is it was not the Word “from whom” or “by whom,” but the one “through whom (all things were made).”. . The term also refers to men, ”The official was the Craftsman, for he himself ruled like a king over those under him.” (Heracleon)  “Clement of Alexandria explains ”…..correct expounders of the truth, are Gnostics. Since also, in what pertains to life, Craftsmen are superior to ordinary people, and model what is beyond common notions; so, consequently, we also, giving a complete exhibition of the Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, from Faith persuaded by demonstration.” (Clement;  “Stromata,” Bk. 7) (SGG)

The “Gospel of the Egyptians” explains a very similar Father, Mother, and Son schema as what Basilides presented in his passage…

“Three powers came forth from him; they are the Father, the Mother, (and) the Son, from the living silence, what came forth from the incorruptible Father. These came forth from the silence of the unknown Father.

And from that place, Domedon Doxomedon came forth, the aeon of the aeons and the light of each one of their powers. And thus the Son came forth fourth; the Mother fifth; the Father sixth. He was […] but unheralded; it is he who is unmarked among all the powers, the glories, and the incorruptions.

From that place, the three powers came forth, the three Ogdoads that the Father brings forth in silence with his providence, from his bosom, i.e., the Father, the Mother, (and) the Son.

The Ogdoad, because of which the thrice-male child came forth, which is the thought, and the Word, and the incorruption, and the eternal life, the will, the mind, and the foreknowledge, the androgynous Father.

The second Ogdoad-power, the Mother, the virginal Barbelon, epititioch[…]ai, memeneaimen[…], who presides over the heaven, karb[…], the uninterpretable power, the ineffable Mother. She originated from herself […]; she came forth; she agreed with the Father of the silent silence.

The third Ogdoad-power, the Son of the silent silence, and the crown of the silent silence, and the glory of the Father, and the virtue of the Mother, he brings forth from the bosom the Seven Powers of the Great Light of the Seven Voices. (Hebdomads, my insertion) And the Word is their completion.

These are the three powers, the three Ogdoads that the Father, through his providence, brought forth from his bosom. He brought them forth at that place.” (“Gospel of the Egyptians”)


Simon Magus, Dositheos, Basilides, and Valentinus wrote about the higher Aeons of Monads, Hebdomads, Ogdoads, and other aspects of Aeonology. Almost the only time these words were ever used in Orthodox Christianity was by anti-Gnostics.

The Christian Orthodoxy never produced any work that would explain what Basilides meant in his passage presented above. Most modern scholars avoid the terms and the philosophy of Aeons.

Basilides, in the one short passage presented above, reveals much of the same explanation of Jesus and his triple Ogdoad power as Pneumatophoroi. The one passage above makes a concise description of what is described in other Sethian and Valentinian works. Most of the Nag Hammadi works focus on the tripartite powers of Father, Mother, and Son. The triple powers of Father, Mother, and Son is what gives Jesus the power of a. Father, b. Son, and c. Holy Ghost. ({a.b.c.}) = 1

Basilides is describing the transcendence of Jesus to the Holy Spirit, or Logos, as the Seth

ians and Valentinians describe in the works. And there are the anti-Gnostic works of Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus that tell us about how heretical these works are.

The Nag Hammadi Library contains the works I mention above including the “Gospel of Thomas.” This work, also called, “The Secret Sayings of the Living Jesus.” Thomas stands out as dedicated to what Jesus said. I would point out if Sethians and Valentinians had Thomas, and what Jesus says in Thomas pertains to their epistemology and metaphysics.

Consider what Living Spirit, Soul, Father, Mother, Sister and Brother in the Thomas text would mean to Basilides in terms of Hebdomads and Ogdoads, i.e. Spirits. This consideration is essential to understanding what Jesus really said.