Jan 25, 2010

John Lash on the Gnostic Mysteries

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Some really good interviews with Gnostic scholar John Lamb Lash recently popped up on YouTube. Both allow him to explain pretty thoroughly his unique take on the Nag Hammadi Codices. I've posted a few things on Lash and his Metahistory site, previously, although I should caveat that whatever links I've posted are probably dead. The site seems to be constantly undergoing reorganization, and becomes more confusing with every innovation.

Lash's take on the Gnostics is unusual in its rejection of the idea that what is written in the Nag Hammadi texts is associated with Christianity. His book Not in His Image explores a Gnosticism that is entirely pagan, and a Judeo-Christian movement that is adversarial to these ancient teachings and cultures.

In these interviews he explains the Sophianic creation mythology presented in Gnostic texts and how it relates to everything from Lovelock and Margulis's Gaia hypothesis to the origin and nature of the Archons. (As I've previously stated, Archons are most easily analogized to the Smiths in The Matrix.) Some of the material is challenging and Lash can be prickly when confronted with ideas he ascribes to the salvationist world view he vehemently rejects. But, these interviews, like all of his work provide ample food for thought.

Addenda and Supplemental Reading:

I stumbled on a thought provoking review and feminist critique of Not in His Image by Medusa, which includes Lash's rebuttal.

In looking over the most recent changes on the Metahistory site, I noticed a series of articles on Carlos Castaneda. I have been somewhat baffled by Lash's reliance on some of Castaneda's books, which seems to ascribe to Castaneda a credibility I don't think is merited. His study here, though, is one of the most compelling analyses of the fictional nature of Castaneda's work and persona I've read.

Still more interviews with Lash can be found in the playlists on my YouTube channel.


  1. Hi, LaVaughn !
    just to share: here the downloads

    ..and this one is fascinating

    warm regards

  2. ...another fascinating takes:

    I was first taken back to the primordial beginning before creation and there experienced human evolution in the context of a larger cosmic agenda. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by the most extraordinary Love, a love unlike anything I had ever encountered before. It was a romantic love, cosmic in scope and intensity. As I stabilized under this amorous assault, I began to remember from deep within my story. An ancient love, a divine love of unbelievable proportions. I was a Cosmic Being being loved by another Cosmic Being. Though at one level I had never been separated from my Lover, at another level we had been separated for billions of years, and my return was rekindling our ancient love. The pieces were hard to catch. Creation seemed to be a reality that had come forth from the dynamic relation between two Cosmic Beings, which had themselves emerged from a more fundamental Primal Unity. One Being,who felt more like a He, had remained fully conscious outside of matter while the other had plunged Herself into the task of creating the material dimension, knowing in advance that She would lose Her self-awareness in this work and become unconscious of Her true reality for billions of years. She had voluntarily submitted to this long and painful exile in order to create the raw substance of physical life that would in time become transparent to divine intention as matter evolved into full self-awareness. This work now largely complete, the self-imposed exile was coming to an end, and the Lovers were being reunited at long last....

    Christopher Bache, "Dark Night, Early Dawn: Steps To A Deep Ecology of Mind"
    ...I then felt myself being whisked off into the cosmos, further and further, beyond the sun, beyond our solar system, beyond the Milky Way. And even further until I was in the edge of the universe, and still further until I was at such vantage point that I could see the universe in its entirety. I was stunned by what I saw: the universe was alive! And it was a single organism of awesome complexity, but whole and totally integrated. I recognized that it was still in the stage of its early development, comparable to a fetus, still differentiating the various aspects of itself. I saw how everything that exists, including me and every being was a part of that awesome being. We were aspects of its components just like the various parts of own our being are aspects of who we are. I saw that everything that exists is part of a greater whole and that the whole requires every part in order to be fully who it is. Every part is essential. And out of this a harmony ensues....

    The profound and mysterious complexity of the Universe accompanies me to this day, its unity, its aliveness, and the impossibility of ever expressing in words haunts me. Every aspect of the Universe, including us, has a place of relationship with it. We are perhaps the only beings who think that we are somehow independent, not realizing that our most profound task is to remain aligned with the Universe, in relationship with this awesome, vast being. And that our own wholeness is vital for the wholeness of the Universe. And only in this way do we ultimately come to experience our own place of belonging in the Universe.

    ~Eligio Stephen Gallegos PhD, "Into Wholeness: The Path of Deep Imagery"

  3. ahhhhh..


    I'm sitting with my dog on a quiet hill overlooking my small hometown and all of its insignificant busyness. I'm 12 years old, and I'm thinking about some big questions that fascinate me: "Why are we here? What's the purpose of life? What happens after death? What should I do with my life? Why is there so much suffering in the world? How can I be truly happy? How can I really help others?"
    I'm convinced that I've been born on the wrong planet because I clearly don't belong here. Being alive is so profoundly strange, yet the grown-ups around me seem to just take everything for granted. It's as if they've fallen into some sort of coma and don't notice that they're alive. Or perhaps they've secretly agreed never to talk about the big questions of life, but to anesthetize themselves with trivia.
    Everyone goes about their daily business as if they know exactly what life is all about. But I can see that no one's really got a clue as to what's going on. Most people just go along with whatever ideas are currently in vogue, wether they're about makeup, music, or the nature of reality. Something inside of me rages against their inane, unquestioning, "commonsense" approach to life. I refuse to believe that my purpose in this extravagant universe could be to climb a career ladder, buy a house, and get a pension plan. Life is too important to waste just making money and acquiring things. Life is like an enormous question that demands an answer.

    And then, unexpectedly and inexplicably, it happens...

    My train of thoughts jolts to a halt, and the whole world starts vibrating, sending seismic shudders through my soul. I feel as if the top of my head has just come off and the sky has poured in. I'm overwhelmed by awesome, unfathomable, breathtaking mystery. I don't know anything. Nobody knows anything. Life is a miracle of such enormous proportions that the mind can't possibly comprehend it.
    I seem to have inexplicably slipped into another reality in which the colors are brighter and the birds sing symphonies. I'm immersed in wonder. I feel a bizarre sense of oneness with everything around me, as if I'm the universe looking at itself, amazed by its own beauty. I'm utterly happy for no reason at all. I feel certain beyond doubt of the goodness of all that is.
    The humdrum world has peeled away like a superficial veneer, revealing a secret garden that I've always suspected was close by. I know this place. It feels like home. But how can it be so familiar when it's unlike anything I've ever experienced? I have no idea what is happening to me. But I know that my life will never be the same again. And I know that the answer I'm searching for so desperately is not a clever theory about life. It's this experience of wonder in which all of my questions dissolve.

    And then there is sudden, deep silence. I'm consumed by the sensation of sinking, as if I'm being engulfed by an ocean of bliss. Spasms of relaxation ripple through my young body, and I feel embraced by such a love that tears of relief spring spontaneously to my eyes. The entire vast universe is pulsating with limitless love. It is held together by love. And I am that love. There is only love. I've been born to experience this moment.

    ~Tim Freke, "How long is now?"

  4. @ Jose, Thank-you so much for sharing these excerpts!


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