By James Bean
When I first read the Book of the Great Invisible Spirit (Gospel of the Egyptians) in the Nag Hammadi Library I immediately recognized the strings of vowels that are present in the text as a kind of western equivalent of the AAAUUUMMM (OM) chant of eastern religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism) as well as the HU (“Hooooooo”) chant of the Sufis. I made a study of the writings where Gnostic vowel chant appears (Nag Hammadi, Bruce Codex, Greek Magical Papyri) and started experimenting with it — still do — and also learned how to do harmonic overtone chant…
by James Bean
On International Women’s Day I was watching a Syrian Orthodox gathering that was being streamed online, and much to my surprise one of the speakers began reading from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and discussing it! They were using Karen King’s translation^^ that includes some Greek Oxyrhynchus variants that I had not been aware of, a couple more precious stray verses not typically included in most of the other translations, more lost words we can treasure in this rare gospel that remains filled with lacuna and missing chapters, which hopefully will be unearthed one day from the…
Genres: Psalms, Poetry, Bhakti (devotion), Gnosticism, Gnostic Christianity, Meditation, Sacred Texts, Lost Books of the Bible, Mysticism, Metaphysics, Philosophy
This mysterious collection of ancient psalms known as “the Odes of Solomon,” written in Syriac, a dialect of the Aramaic language, has been described as “some of the most beautiful songs of peace and joy that the world possesses.” These mystical poems and prayers remind me of Rumi and other Sufi poets. Sometimes I refer to the Odes as ‘the would-be book of New Testament psalms’, and I find the Odes to be a very spiritual book, one of the very…
Across the many centuries, lovers of the Beloved have been the composers of divine ecstatic poems, ghazals, odes, hymns psalms, banis, gathas, kirtans, shabds, and bachans. The Way of the Sufis and Saints is the path of love and devotion: from-the-heart expressions of love for the Supreme Ocean of Love and All-consciousness.
I once gave a tape to a friend containing some of my readings from the poetry of Rumi, Kabir, Dadu, Darshan Singh, Tukarama, Hafiz, and several other great souls. After listening to this recording they said, “it was as if it is the same voice or person speaking…
Some fragments from the lost Gospel of Thomas containing a few sayings attributed to Jesus were unearthed by the papyrologists Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt. These sayings were part of an impressive cache of literature composed in Greek that was discovered at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt back in 1897. They published a translation of this Jesus material in a book called, The Sayings of Our Lord.
Those verses of Christ not present in the New Testament gospels were not in any way associated with anything gnostic during those days.
It wasn’t until the entire Gospel of Thomas with all one…
“Since the exterior senses, by hearing, by sight, by the sense of smell and of touch, are not able to search out the innermost mysteries of the natures, on this account God conceals within the inner members a nature having senses more subtle than all the bodies. Now because of the subtleness of its stirrings, this nature searches out the hidden wisdom of the things created by the Lord of all.” (John the Solitary, “John the Solitary On the Soul”, Syriac mystic)
In addition to the categories of apocrypha including New Testament apocrypha, as in alternative gospels and other writings of the first few centuries CE, Nag Hammadi Library and other collections or discoveries of Gnostic texts, there is another genre I’m an avid reader of: the Syriac mystics.
They’re not mystics because they write poetry,
not saints because they’re related to a saint.
Their names and costumes don’t matter;
only those who face the enemy in battle are brave.
They’re not mystics just because they play instruments
and drape an ascetic’s blanket over their shoulders,
or sing and recite scriptures.
Reading the Vedas and performing rituals
does not make them saints.
Penances, pilgrimages and living in forests
make no one a mystic.
Beads, caste marks and smeared ashes —
these don’t make a saint.
If they don’t forget the body*, says Tuka,
they’re just people of the world.
— Sant Tukarama, Many Voices, One Song, The Poet Mystics of Maharashtra
* Note: “forget the body”, or in other words, being able to transcend the material realm via a meditation practice.
I’m sure this book: https://www.academia.edu/s/ed07a7a698 will be well received in the community it is intended for. In terms of historical accuracy however it does not represent a sincere curiosity for truth in any scholarly sense. Predictably it’s confined to an orthodox dogma, restricted canon of scripture, and makes some factual errors when characterizing the religions and scriptures of others, those whose ‘crime’ or “heresy” was being part of some other Christian faith-community in antiquity outside of “orthodoxy” as they came to define themselves.
For instance, there is a kind of “dating game” used by orthodoxy regarding ancient texts. There is…
Carl Sagan in an interview on Science Friday back in the 90’s mentioned there are numerous brief unknown non-repeating radio signals coming from the sky, many apparently “emanating from the galactic plane of the Milky Way” where the greatest concentration of stars and planets are located. Doug Vakoch also mentions there are non-repeating short duration unknown signals in, “Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI)”. Because they don’t repeat, the assumption has been there’s nothing further to be done. Nada. Dead end. But what about creating a long-term database of all these signals? Given enough time, perhaps certain “hot spots” in the…