Redaction: The act of changing a text for a specific purpose. (See; “The Five
Gospels,” pg. 547.)

Resurrection: In Gnostic terms the resurrection takes place in the process of
Gnosis while one is still animate. According to the “Gospel of Phillip,” “It
is fitting that we acquire the resurrection so that when we strip off the

Rhodon: ( circa 180 C.E.) Was supposed by St. Jerome to have been the author of the work against the Cataphrygians, usually ascribed to Asterius Urbanus. Rhodon was a student of Tatian who wrote against the philosophies of Marcion. (New Advent.)

Sabaoth: Earthly form of Yaldaboath, (begetter of the Heavens)… “truth which is the power of Sabaoth the Good which is in thy material body – that is the truth which sprouted from the earth.” ( See; “Pistis Sophia“) Also a form relating to Deity. ”SHBOH, meaning The Seven.” (See; ”The Chaldæan Oracles
of Zoroaster.” Edited and revised by Sapere Aude. [William Wynn Westcott] With an introduction by L. O. [Percy Bullock] [1895]. See also; “Origin of The World,” and ”The Testimony of Truth.”) Mary, the mother, again further interpreteth the same scripture from the meeting of herself with Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptizer, thy mother, and Elizabeth, mother of John, whom I have met. ‘Grace’ then is the power of Sabaōth in me, which went forth out of me, which thou art. Thou hast had mercy on the whole race of men. ‘Truth’ on the other hand is the power in Elizabeth, which is John, who did come and hath made proclamation concerning the way of Truth, which thou art,–who hath made proclamation before thee.” (”Pistis Sophia,” Chapter 61.)

Sadducees: Jewish aristocracy who aligned themselves with the Roman Empire, and controlled the Jewish Council called the Sanhedrin. High priests of the Jewish Temple were Saducees. There were also Pharisees who were high in temple hierarchy. ( See; ”The Five Gospels,” Jesus Seminar, Harper-Collins, 1997.)

Sacrophilia: Alignment of sensibility (possibly the soul, nous) toward or with the body and spirit. (See; “Birth of Christianity,” Crossan, pg. 37-38.)

Sacrophobia: Opposition of spirit to body. Can include a compendium of human fears of hylic nature that effect the perspective of the body, spirit, and soul. In Gnostic terms the body is what makes the kenomic state impure, as it is seen to pollute the pleromic state which is thought to be pure. (See; ”The Birth of
,” Crossan, Harper, 1998.)

Saklas: Literally means “fool.” It is another name for the Demiurge. In most Gnostic schema those entities that are not in the non-corporeal pleromic state are thought to be in the hylic state, and imperfect. Some are considered incapable of Gnostic transcention, and are doomed. In the ”Gospel of Judas,”
Saklas is considered Satan, or satanic. (See; ”Apocryphon of John,” ”The Apocalypse of Adam,” and ”The Gospel of Judas.”)

Sarkic: “Fleshly” (Greek sarkikos) Same as or similar to “hylic” but may connote the lowest form of Gnostic understanding, animalistic. “The Book of Thomas the Contender” quotes Jesus as saying some men are beasts.

Saturninus: (100-125 A.D.) An Antioch Gnostic philosopher noted for his strong dualism between God and Satan. Thought to have strong feelings toward ascetic views. A student of Simon Magus. (See; Simon Magus, Hoeller p. 78-79.)

Samael: The word “Samael” means “blind god” and is another name for the Demiurge, in some Gnostic schema.

Samaritans: One of the seven Jewish sects mentioned by Hegesippus. According to Jewish traditions, the descendants of those who were resettled in the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians after they had conquered it in 721 B.C. (2 Kings XVII, 9-12) In fact they must have been the result of intermarriage between the Jews who were left behind and the Gentile settlers. At some stage they became a religious sect with a temple on Mt. Gerizim; they accepted the Scripture the Pentateuch (The Torah) alone. ( “The History of the Church,” Eusebius, Williamson, Penguin, 1989, pg. 414.) See; ”Fragments of Heracleon” for mention of Samaritans, and explanations from the ”Gospel of John”.

Septuagent: The Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, containing the Deuteroconon, which are books not used in the later Vulgate. ”Biblia Polyglotta Complutinus,” appeared around 1514. The ”Vulgate,” is the Latin version of the Bible. (See; ”Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Smith, Thomas nelson, 1986. See
also; Torah.)

Seraphim: A celestial being having three pairs of wings, or the first of the nine orders of angels in medieval angelology.

Seraphim surround the divine throne in this illustration from the Petites Heures de Jean de Berry, a 14th-century illuminated manuscript.

Seraphim surround the divine throne in this illustration from the Petites Heures de Jean de Berry, a 14th-century illuminated manuscript.

Seth: ”From Adam three natures were begotten. The first was the irrational, which was Cain’s, the second the rational and just, which was Abel’s, the third the spiritual, which was Seth’s. Now that which is earthly is “according to the image,” that which is psychical according to the ” likeness ” of God, and that
which is spiritual is according to the real nature; and with refer­ence to these three, without the other children of Adam, it was said, “This is the book of the generation of men.” And because Seth was spiritual he neither tends flocks nor tills the soil but produces a child, as spiritual things do. And him, who “hoped
to call upon the name of the Lord” who looked upward and whose “citizenship is in heaven – him the world does not contain.” (Theodotus, Criddle Collection.)

Sethian: It is a name for a specific sect of Gnostics, but also a category created by scholars to refer to a number of sects that are related to Valentinians. The Sethians as a group were known to Hippolytus who dedicated Book Five in his work, ”The Refutation of All Hereseys,” to denouncing them. (See Gaffney) Seth was a character of Gnosticism who represented a savior figure and third son of Adam, founder of the Gnostic race. Generally Sethian works include, “Pistis Sophia,” “Allogenes,” ”The Gospel of Mary,*” “Sentences of Sextus,” “Marsanes,” “Gospel of The Egyptians,*” ”The Apocalypse of Adam,*”
“Origin of The World,” ”The Gospel of Thomas,*” ”The Gospel of Philip,” “The Three Steles of Seth,” “Melchizidek,” ”The Apocryphon of John,” ”The Gospel of Judas,” Trimorphic Protennoia,” the un-named text in the Bruce Codex, and ”Zostrianos.” (Others) Some Sethian works suggest strong ties with
Jewish Gnosticism, as well as Platonic thought, as well as Zoroasterism. (They maintained three principles; darkness below, light above, and spirit in-between, according to work attributed to Dr. Roy Blizzard, University of Texas. See also; ”Sethian Gnosticism, A Literary History,” Turner) see also; ( * Indicates works from the Nag Hammadi Lib., with other works by the same name.)

Sethian Monadology: The system of the monad, constructed through the tetraktys
of the decad, which serves as an underlying philosophy in Sethian Gnosticism. It
is developed from the creation myths. The system is like, and based upon that
of Pythagoreans, and resembles the principles of the ancient Chinese philosophy
of the Tai Chi., which is based upon the ogdoad. The system is based upon
working variations of numerical values. Turner states, ”….vigorous
arithmological speculation on the first ten numbers, but especially the first
four numbers, comprising the Pythagorean tetraktys (the {mode} of the first four
numbers). This was carried on by such Pythagoreanizing Platonists as Theon of
Smyrna and Nicomachus of Gerasa, who in turn depend in part on similar arithmological and mathematical theories produced by such early first century Platonist figures as Dercyllides, Adrastos of Aphrodisias (a Peripatetic commentator on Plato’s Timaeus) and Thrasyllos, a court philosopher under the Emperor Tiberius. The harmonic ratios produced by these first four numbers and
the geometric entities of point, line, surface, and solid had been applied to the structure and the creation of the world soul long before by Plato and his successors in the Old Academy, especially Speusippus and Xenocrates. (See;
Turner, See also; ”The History of Chinese Philosophy, Vol. 2.,” by Fung
Yu-Lan, Princeton, 1953, See also; ”A Valentinian Exposition.”)

Sextus: (4 BCE– 65-CE ?) A first century Greek Pythagorean philosopher. A collection of his sayings are contained in the Nag Hammadi Lib. Tractate 1 Codex XII.

Silvanus: Name of main character in the “Teachings of Silvanus,” Tractate 4, Codex VII. of the Nag Hammadi Lib., anti-Pagan work not thought to be Gnostic. A person called Silvanus was a disciple of Peter who carried messages from Peter to Asia Minor from Rome. (Also mentioned by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 1,1; 2 Thessalonians 1,1; 2 Corinthians 1,19.)

Similitude: Meaning a likeness or having similarity, like a simile, parable, allegory, or likeness.

Simon Magus: (1st Century CE) From Samaria, he was thought to be one of the earliest Gnostics, and a follower of John the Baptist. He was skilled in the arts of the Occult. He interpreted the Garden of Eden, exodus from Egypt, and the crossing of the Red Sea as allegories. He was rejected by Peter for his views on the Holy Spirit. (see Simony) Simon Magus offered the disciples of Jesus payment for the power to perform miracles. He formed the ancient Gnostic sect of Simonianism, and is thought to have influenced later secular forms of Gnosticism. (See; ”Jung and the Lost Gospels,” by Hoeller, Theophysical Pub., 1989.) (See also; Dositheos.)

The death of Simon Magus, from the Nuremberg Chronicle or Liber Chronicarum, 1493

The death of Simon Magus, from the Nuremberg Chronicle or Liber Chronicarum, 1493

Simony: The ecclesiastical crime and sin of paying for offices or positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus, who appears in the ”Acts of the Apostles,” 8:18-24.

: Means “Wisdom.” Like the Logos this is considered a primal form. While the Logos is personified as male, Sophia is female. Logos has a direct and intellectual basis for guidance, Sophia is inspirational (sometimes even sensual). The basic idea is comparable to wisdom being Sophia (sofia) or “Holy
Spirit” in the form of pure wisdom. Pistis, means faith, hylic, or Prunikus Sophia refers to the imperfect or earthly state of the living, or earthly form from Pleromic origins. ”As appropriated by Sethianism and the Gnostics in general, Sophia is a hypostatized form of Hokmah, (i.e., the divine Wisdom of Proverbs 8, Job 28, Sirach 24).” ( See; Turner.)

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Friends, and Fellow-Travelers,

I am writing this in response to one of Eric’s recent questions,

about some of our mythology regarding Sophia, the feminine

personification of divine wisdom (I am holding off until next time

the other question about the pairing of the aeons).

I was very struck by Eric’s way of formulating the question: “Why is

Sophia the one who got into trouble?” which puts the question very

succinctly and very powerfully I think. For the benefit of those of

you who may not be as familiar with Gnostic creation myths, let me

briefly review the story that Eric is raising. Please note that I

am essentially harmonizing and conflating several different creation

accounts from the Nag Hammadi texts, in order to produce a “typical”

version of the Gnostic creation story � of course, strictly speaking

there can never be such a version, given the dynamic quality of

Gnostic myth-expression, but if you will grant me your patience, I

hope to make a few suggestions that may be helpful to you in your

own explorations of Gnostic mythology.

We pick up the story in the midst of the “pleroma” or the spiritual

realm which has been brought into existence by emanations emerging

outward (metaphorically, not spatially) from the source of spirit,

which we call God. Sophia is one of the aeons or spiritual beings

that inhabit this pleroma. For reasons that are never fully clear

in the stories, Sophia longs to produce something on her own, apart

from the rest of the pleroma, and in so doing she gives birth to a

child that is monstrously deformed in terms of its spiritual

identity � “On the Origin of the World” portrays the imperfect

aspects of the child as being formed like “an abortion without any

spirit in it.” It is this child of Sophia who becomes Yaldabaoth,

the Demuirgos, the demiurge and shaper of the physical realm or


Yaldabaoth is above all a mixed being, a being divided against

himself, constantly torn apart by the forces that war within him, by

the contest between the parts of his identity that are the “abortion

without any spirit in it” and the parts that are in fact the

spiritual principle he has inherited from Sophia. Again, the

gradual self-realization of the demiurge is portrayed most vividly

in On the Origin of the World, where Yaldabaoth emerges up out of

the waters and darkness of chaos, looks around and sees nothing but

himself and chaos, since he is separated by a veil of darkness from

a full vision of the pleroma � and proclaims himself as the only God

and ruler of the chaos. It is in this supreme act of suffering and

divided will, detached from spiritual awareness, that the physical

realm comes into existence. What was spiritual in Yaldabaoth

remains spirit trapped in the formalisms of physical space-time.

Sophia looks down into the chaos over which Yaldabaoth asserts his

reign, and out of pure compassion (like that of Christ) she

dedicates herself to the liberation of that spirit � the liberation

we call gnosis.

Last night, I spent some time talking to one of our dear sisters who

has a great devotion to Sophia, but a tempestuous one and she gets

angry with her. “Why,” she asks, “would Sophia do these things that

brought about, even if indirectly, pain and sorrow?” Many people

seem to have these feelings about the mythological structure.

I say, to the contrary, these myths give us profound ways to

conceptualize Sophia and radical hope for the future of our own

individual and collective spiritual liberation. Remember, dualities

are part of the physical cosmos � actually, they constitute the

cosmos. We are so enmeshed in these dualities that we want to apply

them to our myths. We want Sophia to be ashamed of her mistakes; we

find her present centrality to our liberation an intolerable pride

given the stories we tell about her. But the Thunder: Perfect Mind

gives Sophia’s voice to reply to just such sentiments: “For I am

knowledge and ignorance. / I am shame and boldness. / I am

shameless; I am ashamed.”

In other words, all this is to say that spirit purely transcends all

dualities, but to us � mired as we are in a world defined by

dualities � this transcendence manifests itself as something that

encompasses both sides of the dualities. So, again in the words of

the Thunder: Perfect Mind, ” I am the one who has been hated

everywhere / and who has been loved everywhere. / I am the one whom

they call Life, / and you have called Death. / I am the one whom

they call Law, / and you have called Lawlessness.”

Further, our myths about Sophia demonstrate the ultimate optimism of

Gnosticism. It is true that we are tragic optimists, and much of

what we say can be misinterpreted as pessimistic in terms of how we

view the limitations placed on spirit in the cosmos. In the long

run, however, we fall back on the understanding that what is

spiritual within us contains our true destiny. So what do the myths

of Yaldabaoth and Sophia say to us? They say we can move forward.

Before we have any experience of gnosis, we are strikingly like

Yaldabaoth; we suffer without knowing the cause of suffering, we

comfort ourselves with delusions too often, we mistake control over

others for love. But through the process of spiritual liberation,

we become like Sophia in transforming ourselves into agents of

compassion and indeed agents of the spiritual liberation of others.

Indeed in the mythic structure, there is no reason to suppose that

Yaldabaoth himself will not eventually heed the call of Sophia

fully, and emerge from the chaos into the unity of the pleroma.

Let me close by sharing one more thing from “On the Origin of the

World.” In describing the origin of Yaldabaoth’s name, the text

tells us that Sophia calls out to the demiurge, mired in chaos,

saying “Ialda Baoth which means ‘Child pass through here.’” We too

are mixed beings, we too suffer, we too find ourselves imprisoned in

the dualities that surround us and grip us in their vise. And

yet…and yet…we too hear that call, Sophia crying out to us in

her tragic compassion: “Pass through here.” As we begin to ascend,

we reach first the darkness of that veil that separates cosmos from

pleroma, and this is disorienting, frightening, like a great abyss.

But as we hold to the path, we begin to see emerging out of that

darkness the beauty of a pure existence, unlimited, undivided, no

longer separated. And that, I think, is the final message of

Sophia’s story, for she, like Christ, gives us not only the call to

take this journey, but a model for what we shall become when we

surrender ourselves to her embrace.

In Christ and Sophia,



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Friends, and Fellow Travelers,

I am finally back home from my trip! I just wanted to let you all know that I am

back and if you have sent me emails or messages, I will get to them as soon as I

can. I am copying some text from an email I sent earlier today about Sophia, in

case some of you might find it interesting. It was in reply to a lengthy email

by a Romanian inquiring about a number of things including possible connections

between Orthodox and Gnostic theology. Love in Christ and Sophia,

First, about our geographical location — most of our members live across the

United States, although we also have members and supporters in Canada, the

Phillippines, and Italy. We have a strong emphasis on supporting the

individual’s spiritual search, especially in areas where there are few other

people pursuing the Gnostic path. We also encourage the formation of

semi-independent local groups and churches, and currently have formed or are

forming several in the United States, in Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Las

Vegas. We are always looking for new groups to form and hopefully will continue

to expand local communities outside North America as well. Our local groups all

have a great deal of autonomy and independence while linked together in a

democratic communion of fellowship.

I am indeed familiar with Sergei Bulgakov’s work. It may be interesting to you

that there are certain similarities that western Gnosticism shares more in

common with the Orthodox and eastern Christian churches than it does with

western Christianity. As the east and west began to diverge over the centuries,

eastern theologians and philosophers came to emphasize what we call in English

“theosis” or the transformation and transcendence of the human into the divine.

For example, Basil the Great reportedly put it by saying “the human being is an

animal that has the calling to become God.”

You can see that such an idea is similar — though not exactly the same — as

our concept of “gnosis” or the gaining of experiential knowledge of the divine

within us. For example, in the Gospel of Thomas we read Jesus saying that, “I

am the light that pervades all things. I am the totality. From me the totality

come forth, and unto me did the totality extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am

there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there” (saying 77). Yet at the

very same time, we also read Jesus say that we too can take up the same kind of

relationship to God and the “totality” or pleroma (spiritual realm): “They who

will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become them, and

the things that are hidden will be revealed to them” (saying 108). In other

words, gnosis is conceived as being a radical transformation of the self by

which we become “divinized” — or more precisely, we come to see the divine that

is already in the core of our being, all around

us, “pervading all things.” This is ultimately what we mean by gnosis, which is

both this state of enlightenment and the process by which we pursue it.

This kind of thinking never became a major part of Latin Christianity, and I

think this is part of why today many Gnostics feel such a split from western

Christianity but also why so many people are becoming interested in Gnosticism.

On the other hand, it is true that some western Christians, especially mystics

and visionaries, took up the theme of Sophia and developed it into what became

known in Latin as “Sapientia” or Wisdom. Sapiential theology, which was

promoted by people like Hildegard of Bingen, revolved around focusing on the

feminine relationship of the individual to divine wisdom, the mediation of that

space between the divine and the human, so that it can be crossed, or entered.

This, however, never has really become a part of the mainstream Christianity of

the west.

Sophia is a very complex force in contemporary Gnostic belief. Sometimes we

speak of her as a being, like a character, and sometimes like an abstracted

force like Wisdom, but in essence she stands as a symbol that transcends this

kind of category and is at the same time neither one and both, as we can read in

texts like the Thunder Perfect Mind. Let me try to summarize, however, three

fundamental roles that Sophia plays to the system of Gnosticism.

Sophia functions as a representation or symbol of the forces that can propel us

along the journey of gnosis, as well as the goals for which we strive. Gnosis

– “knowledge” — is in the end seen as leading to “Wisdom,” something even more

intimate, a deep and indissoluble connection between the human person and the

spirit/God. Sophia also represents the importance of the feminine nature of

this process, emphasizing such charcteristics as silence, the “dark night of the

soul,” mystical awareness.

This helps us see a second function of Sophia. In the Gnostic system, she

serves as a sort of counterbalance to Christ. She complements Christ, and makes

Christ complete, just as he makes her complete. The Gnostic Christ is above all

both the Logos or Word and the speaker of the Logos, sending it out into the

world, as he does in the Gospel of Thomas. Sophia complements this by

representing what the Thunder Perfect Mind calls “the silence that is

incomprehensible” — the moments when words and even the Logos/Word fail us and

we are simply overwhelmed by the mystery of what we experience as we move along

life’s journey. As human beings, we face the paradox that we must speak about

the spirit in order to move toward it, but in the end we must also find that we

can never speak in a way that contains the spirit within material language.

Similarly, Christ is experienced fundamentally as Light, illuminating our

journeys, Sophia is experienced as darkness — the darkness of the

night where we abandon our pretensions and surrender to the beauty of the divine

that pervades our very beings. We could carry these ideas out in many different

examples. If Christ is a solid, like a rock, strong and ever-present, Sophia is

like liquid — always present, but in the way she flows around us gently,

passively it would even appear.

The third function of Sophia is that she is also an important figure in Gnostic

mythology. The early Gnostics told many stories about the nature of the world,

about creation, and how things came to be, and so forth. Now it is important of

course to understand that these stories are simply that — stories that we use

to symbolize and reflect on mysteries of the universe around us. Sophia as a

“character” or entity in these stories is very deeply and centrally figured.

There are various Gnostic myths, but in a common myth, we see God emanating

spirit out from God’s self, producing the “pleroma” including Christ and Sophia

(and our own spiritual natures). Sophia, however, comes to desire to produce

something on her own, apart from the rest of God, and ultimately gives birth to

a being/force that is imperfect, separated from the divine — what the myths

call the “demiurge” who in turn becomes the “creator” of the material world,

which is imperfect just as the demiurge is

imperfect, systemically. But Sophia is not a “villain” in this story — it is a

great story of redemption, because she is shown as subsequently being the force

that works to bring about our liberation from imperfections and our

reunification with the rest of the pleroma or spiritual reality. In one version

of the myth, the very production of the demiurge in a sense splits Sophia into

half, a Heavenly Sophia and an earthly one, who long for reunification. It is

the earthly Sophia, moved by her Heavenly counterpart, that comes to the human

beings in the demiurge’s “garden” in the form of a humble, simple animal — the

snake — to lead people on their first steps toward reunification. In a

symbolic sense, then, she becomes our bridge, and we become hers.

I hope this gives you some things to think about and I hope to hear from you

soon. Please accept my warmest blessings and wishes for peace for you and your


Brother Matthew Ouroboros

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax

booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as

he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were

sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to

his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But

when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician,

but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not


Matthew 9:9-13a

Russian Icon, Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, 1812

Russian Icon, Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, 1812

Sophist: Teachers in 5th Century B.C. Greece who took payment for lecturing. Later Sophists were known for presenting convoluted lectures on political subjects to further their own means. Clement of Alexander denounced them for distorting truths. (See; W. K. C. Guthrie, Sophists (1971); H. Diels, ed., The
Older Sophists (1972). “Stromata” Bk 1 )

Soter: “Savior” also a name used for the Logos.

Soteriology: The study of principles of salvation within a religion.

Soul: That part of the human nous that can be activated and bonded with the Holy Spirit, Light, Sophia, etc. (See the Gospel of Phillip, “….the soul bonds with the Holy Spirit….. Nag Hammadi Lib.) According to the ”Acts of Thomas,” and ”The Heart Sutra,” and the ”Sutra of Cause and Effect” the soul is composed
of five ’skandas,’ or elements, form, perception, consciousness, action, and knowledge. (See ”The Jesus Sutras,” Palmer, Ballantine, 2001) See also, ”Tatian’s Letter to the Greeks,” ”The soul is a special kind of spirit.” (See also; Sutra)

Spinther: The “spark” or “splinter” of internal divine light, that is awakened with Gnosis. The spinther is considered a divine spark which is cast into the souls of men, by the light cast off by the Perfect man, in some scenerios this is Seth, Adamas, (Adam), or Jesus. (See Pneumatic. See; Gaffney, p. 246.)

Meaning a range of things in literalist Christian works including different ideas in the Gospels of Luke, Mark, Matthew and John. The Gospel of Mary refers to the spirit as a part of the human condition, as is the soul. Isidore and Theodotus wrote that spirit emanated from the soul. Also used to denote the Holy Spirit. Can mean vital energy, and probably best thought of as a concentration or type of energy. “Further, Clement the Stromatist, in the various definitions which he framed,that they might guide the man desirous of studying theology in every dogma of religion, defining what spirit is, and how it is called spirit, says: “Spirit is a substance, subtle, immaterial, and which issues forth without form.” ( JOANNES
VOL. I. P. 24) (See also; Theodotus)

Stele: Upright stone or pillar with an inscription or design. (See; “The Three Steles of Seth,” Codex VII, Tractate 5, Nag Hammadi Lib.)

Stoic: A philosophy strongly associated with Plato, and commonly accepted by the first century. Stoics held that virtue is attained by adapting nature and reason, they held that there are four cardinal passions: pleasure, desire, distress, and fear. They held that passions arose from false belief and ignorance, and one should adopt an ‘apatheia’ or an active role of non-passion in human feeling. (See; “The Gospel of Mary Magdala, by Karen King, Polebridge Press, 2003).

Sutra: Refers to literature of Eastern origins, such as the ”Heart Sutra,” known in Persian and Chinese works. Also refers to Chinese works found in Xian China, which are from an early Christian monastery. The ”Sutra of Cause and Effect,” contains the five ”Skandas” {skandhas} of the soul, ”Form, Perception, Consciousness, Action, and Knowledge.” These descriptions match those in the ”Acts of Thomas,” and the ”Heart Sutra.” (See; “The Jesus Sutras,” Palmer, Ballantine, 2001.) ”What we in our ignorance call the Self is really an interplay of five mental elements and the physical body (known as skandhas ), in temporary conjunctions, constantly changing and interacting. “Skandha” is usually translated as “heap”: or “aggregate” or “group,” each skandha being itself a combination of faculties shading into each other. The Sanskrit for the five mental skandhas can be translated as consciousness, sensations, concepts, perceptions, and volition.”The Gnostic Apostle Thomas (c) 1997 Herbert Christian Merillat.

Syncretism: Refers to combining two or more ‘cultural’ or otherwise perspectives into one system. Gnosticism (and therefore Christianity), as well as Kabbalah and the Mysteries of Mithras etc. grew from syncretism. Influence of Jewish mysticism, Zoroastrian, and Hermetic contained in the ”Nag Hammadi
,” and other works suggest that Sethian Gnosticism is based upon a syncretism.

Syncretism is not eclecticism but is often mistaken for the same thing. The latter is a picking and choosing according to taste, without the internal framework of a genuine understanding of function. The former is when two systems come together with cultural perspectives, or mutual economy that needs to be
worked out. Thus the important deeper “hard parts” of a system will still be included after syncretism, but lost on eclecticism.

Synergy: When two or more things combine together to produce or become more than their parts. In the process of Gnosis one must bond with a higher ‘wisdom.’ This is the plemoric part of enlightenment in the trilogy of gnosis in the Plemoric, Psychic, and Hylic states of the Nous, in becoming a Pneumatic.

Synesis: Means “insight” in the aspect of meditation or contemplation in the physical inter-workings of the bonding with Sophia, as an aspect of Gnosis. It is one of the lower powers that was bound into man from the Aeons, by the Demiurge, as derived from ‘a’ Gnostic creation scenerio. This concept is like
other scenarios of the process in Gnosis of bonding with the ‘Light’ or Holy Spirit to become Pneumatophoroi, or enlightened.

Synectic: A term used by Clement of Alexandria to mean a type of thought or memory that reflects aspects of the thought process relative to being human. (See “Stromata” Bk VIII by Clement of Alexandria) “But, in truth, Procatarctic causes (thoughts) are more than one both generically and specifically; as, for example, cold, weakness, fatigue, dyspepsia, drunkenness, generically, of any
disease; and specifically, of fever. But Synectic causes are so, generically alone, and not also specifically….Further, of causes, some are apparent; others are grasped by a process of reasoning; others are occult; others are inferred analogically.” (See also; Procatarctic)

Syzygetic: Having to do with the conjunction or opposition of two heavenly bodies, or either of the points which these occur, most often in regard to the sun and moon.

Syzygos: Literally means “consort”. Sometimes used to refer to the twin. Is generally meant to imply the thing to which one is driven to connect with. A person’s syzygos is their spirit. ”Sophia’s mistake was said to be her drive to create without her syzygos.” Syzgy, is considered a blending of spirit and
soul. (See; Theodotus, Criddle Collection.) Syzgy, is considered a blending of spirit and soul. In Gnosticism the male-female pair of Aeons is called a “Syzygy.”

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