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“Gnosticism and The Secret Roots of Feminism” – J. Adam Snyder

April 27, 2016

in the Biblical symbolic story of Genesis that most are familiar with, the deity of Eden is a powerful and authoritive father figure who provides for his creations as long as they don’t partake in the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Along comes the sinister Serpent who beguiles the female and, in turn, beguiles the male into gaining this knowledge and are then ruthlessly shunned and cursed by the deity for all eternity.

The female was thus forced to burden the guilt for bringing about the downfall of mankind, being violently and dogmatically oppressed throughout the ages. The idea of a strong, educated, sexual, and liberated woman was seen as being the living antithesis of the deity’s divine plan; fearing such a woman would only bring further sinful destruction upon the world, the profane felt that through making the female feel weak, insecure, dependent, and guilt-ridden that she, along with her inherently flawed sinful nature, could be controlled and the world spared by further wrathful punishment by the deity.

In Gnostic theology however, the symbolic story of Genesis tells a vastly different tale. The deity in Eden is not God, but a lesser and false deity known as the Demiurge. The Demiurge was an aeon, one of many forms of life created by the true God. Aeons were spiritual beings that had been given free-will just as mankind, and as such some chose to be benevolent and others chose to be wicked (again much like mankind, the aeons were also imperfect and flawed of character). One of these wicked aeons went into the mortal plane of existence and begun trapping other higher souls into it for the purpose to be ruled over, and to worship him as the deity. This aeon became known to the Gnostics as the Demiurge, whose personal character is as tyrannical as it is egotistical.

The Demiurge is a jealous being, desiring to be seen as God and manipulating the physical world to ensure that he is seen in a deity manner by the lesser lifeforms below. By keeping mankind ignorant of their true inner divine nature, the Demiurge keeps souls forever trapped in the physical plane of existence (which was initially created by the true God as a place for souls to mature and grow) through an endless cycle of reincarnation. He is insecure, controlling, and prone to angry bursts of violence and genocide.

For the Gnostics, the brutal deity of the Old Testament in the Bible is not the true God but instead the Demiurge, and not the same God that Jesus spoke of in the New Testament. They cite many blood thirsty statements in the Old Testament texts that are in direct contradiction with the teachings of Jesus such as the mass destruction of the world in the flood, the dividing of a utopian society called Babel simply due to mankind advancing peacefully, the encouragement of slavery, the commanded order to rape women and dash their infants in half with their swords upon the rocks (Hosea 13:16), and the misogynistic treatment of women as prime evidence. Jesus by contrast was a peaceful figure who taught mercy, love, and grace above all things, as well as countlessly defying the laws of the Old Testament.

In Eden, the Demiurge imprisoned Adam (meaning “mankind” in Hebrew) and Eve (meaning “breath” or “breath of soul”) within it. Here life was entirely ignorant, and saw the Demiurge as the true God, thus furthering his ego. He also made them physically immortal, as to not allow their souls to mature and eventually escape upon death back to the realm of the true God.

However due to the Demiurge not being an actual deity, he was not actually all powerful as he wanted his followers to believe. For within the artificial paradise the true God created the Tree of Knowledge and came in the form of the Serpent, the Demiurge lacked the power to destroy or remove it, and thus could only attempt to frighten Adam and Eve away from it instead. In many ancient cultures the Serpent was not seen as a devious animal of vice or temptation, but was seen as being a symbol of divine light, wisdom, and immortality. This was especially the case in ancient Sumeria and Egypt, who had secret mystical and symbolic religions based around the worship of the Serpent.

The true God, Gnostics believe, comes into the physical world through a variety of different forms, cultures, and time periods to rescue the world during mass darkness to bring the Light back. Gnostics look not only at the Serpent, but Jesus, Krishna, and the Buddha as being physical embodiments of the Light from the True God, speaking the same true message to different groups of people in a way that particular group will understand. The true God however believes in free-will and as such does not force mankind to listen, accept, or abide by his message. Nor does he destroy the Demiurge for the true God detests all forms of hate and violence, and instead wishes to reveal to mankind that they too are divine have the power to overcome the Demiurge on their own, build a better world, and ascend. Illumination, therefore, is entirely a choice for the individual.

The Serpent, being the first Light-Bearer of the world, spoke to the female and offered her the Knowledge of Enlightenment where she would no longer exist as an ignorant slave for the Demiurge and his ego but as an individual who had become aware of her own divine nature and celestial origins. She then offered to share this enlightenment with Adam, who then also accepted. Upon discovering this, the Demiurge threw a tantrum as his deity-complex plan had been foiled and burned Eden to the ground and exiling mankind from it forever. Despite life being a struggle away from Eden due to the Demiurge corrupting the world upon their exile, Adam and Eve were now forever free. They could now sustain for themselves, Illuminate their souls, and engage in romance and reproduction, thus having the power to continue life independently.

The female in the Gnostic Genesis account is not the harbinger of sin and all the ills of the world, but is a spiritual liberator and bringer of enlightenment and salvation. She is independent, taking the first step to think for herself and to challenge the dogma that ruled over her. She is also sexual, learning how to reproduce through her enlightenment and instructing the male. This is why within Gnosticism females and males were treated equally, as well as why they had always remained opposed to slavery and viewed sex as a magical and enlightened act and not a sinful or shameful practice for procreation only.

These core beliefs set Gnostics apart from the organized religions of their day, and as a result were violently persecuted and forced into hiding, adopting symbols and forming secret societies to continue their teachings. One of these initiated groups was a Jewish sect called the Essenes, which Jesus and his parents belonged to. The Essenes rejected all forms of organized religion and instead focused on spiritualism. They were also egalitarian, condoned all forms of slavery, and practiced Kabbalah.

It is from these roots of Gnosticism that egalitarianism was secretly passed along through the ages by presenting the female in a vastly different spiritual light, a light that would go onto influence the contemporary culture at large, and eventually give birth to feminism and human progression as a whole.

© – J. Adam Snyder

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