Sunday 10 December 2023

The Prince Of The Air Ephesians 2: 1-3

2:1 And you Gentiles too were once dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you at one time walked according to the age of this order of things, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit of falsehood that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 among whom also we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Galatians 1:4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present wicked age, according to the will of our God and Father,

The spirit of disobedience which dwells in the world is personified: "Wherein in time past ye walked, according to the age of this world, according to THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE, among whom also we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and of the mind" (Eph. 2:2,3). Now is the judgment of this world: now shall THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said signifying what death he should die " (John 12:31-33).

To walk being dead in trespasses and sins, is to live according to the age of this world. So says the apostle (eph. 2:1,2). The age of the world is according to the thinking of sinful flesh, in whatever way it may be manifested or expressed. If a man embrace one of the religions of kingdom of men, he is still "dead in trespasses and sins", and walks according to the age of the world. In brief, anything short of faith in the gospel of the kingdom, and obedience to the law of faith, is walking according to the age of the world. To walk in sin is to walk in this age. Hence, the apostle terms walking according to the age of the world, walking according to the Prince of the Power of the Air: which he explains as "the Spirit now working in the children of disobedience". The "power of the air", or aerial power, is the political power of the world, which is energized and infused by the spirit of disobedience, which is sin in the flesh; and styled above, the Prince of the Power of the Air. This is that prince of whom Jesus spoke, saying, "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the Prince of this World be cast out" (John 12:31), that is, "judged" (John 16:11). The key to this is suggested in what follows "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die."

The words “Satan” and “Devil” do not occur here.

“Walking”, v. 2, (i.e. living) according to the prince of the power of the air, is defined in v. 3 as living according to the lust of our fleshly mind. The “lusts of our flesh” come from within us (Mk. 7: 21-23; James 1:14) not from anything outside of us.

“The power of the air” is clearly a figurative expression - “the prince” probably is also.

“The prince” is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”. The spirit frequently refers to an attitude of mind (e.g. Deut: 2:30; Prov. 25:28; Is. 54:6; 61: 3; Ez. 18:31; Mk.14:38; Lk. 2:40; 2 Cor. 2:13; 12:18; Eph. 4:23). This is confirmed by v. 3 - such people’s lives are controlled by “fulfilling the lusts of our flesh (which come from our heart- James 1:14), fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind”. Fleshly people do not allow their lives to be controlled by a physical “prince” outside of them, but by following their fleshly desires which are in their minds. A physical being cannot exist as a “spirit” in the sense of an intangible essence. A spirit does not have flesh and bones, i.e. a physical body (Lk. 24:39); therefore because “the prince” is a “spirit”, this must be a figurative expression not a physical being. The “spirit” or attitude of mind is a figurative prince, as sin is a figurative paymaster (Rom. 6: 23).

 This passage (and v. 11) speaks of their former Gentile lives. 1 Pet. 4:3 speaks of life before conversion as: “In the time past we followed the will of the Gentiles…we walked in lusts”. Their own flesh was their “prince”. Thus walking according to the prince of the air (v.2) is parallel with walking in the flesh (v. 11). The more common antithesis to walking in spirit is walking after the flesh- here termed “the age of this world”.

The “whole world lieth in wickedness (1 Jn. 5:19) because by nature we all have a fleshly mind or spirit. “The children of disobedience” show this by their lives “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (v. 1 & 3). Thus “the prince of the power of the air” is our evil, fleshly mind, i.e. the real Devil.

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Challenging the Immortality of the Soul in the Gospel of Thomas

Challenging Immortality: Examining the Gospel of Thomas' Perspective on the Soul

**Title: Exploring the Interdependence of Body and Soul: A Deeper Dive into Gospel of Thomas Sayings and Corinthians 15**

Title: Exploring the Interdependence of Body and Soul: A Deeper Dive into Gospel of Thomas Sayings and Corinthians 15


The Gospel of Thomas, a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus, offers profound insights into the nature of existence, particularly the relationship between the body and soul. Two significant sayings, number 87 and 112, shed light on the interdependence of the soul and body. Additionally, the correlation with 1 Corinthians 15 further elucidates the mortal nature of the soul and its connection to the physical body. In this exploration, we delve into the implications of these sayings and the biblical passage, shedding light on the concept of resurrection and the nature of the soul.

Interdependence of Body and Soul in Gospel of Thomas:

Saying 87 portrays the misery of a body depending on another body and a soul intertwined with both. Saying 112 reinforces this message by emphasizing the dire consequences for the flesh dependent on the soul and vice versa. Both sayings underscore the significant interdependence between the body and the soul.

Equivalence of Body and Soul:

To strengthen the argument of equivalence between the body and soul, the exploration turns to 1 Corinthians 15:44-46. This biblical passage speaks of the body being sown as a body of the soul and resurrected as a body of the spirit. The shift from soul to spirit denotes a transformative process, intricately connected to the concept of resurrection, which is a central theme in this passage. The correlation between the body of the soul and the body of the spirit further solidifies the idea that the soul, in this context, is not immortal but mortal.

Mortality and Resurrection:

The focus on 1 Corinthians 15 brings attention to the mortal nature of the soul. The passage speaks of the first man, Adam, becoming a living soul, and the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. This transition from a living soul to a life-giving spirit is tied to the theme of resurrection, suggesting that the soul undergoes a transformative process. The mortality of the soul is highlighted by the need for resurrection at the second coming, emphasizing that the soul is not inherently immortal but requires divine intervention for eternal life.

The Natural Body and Lack of Evolution:

By characterizing the soul as the natural body in 1 Corinthians 15, the narrative reinforces that the soul is not inherently spiritual but rather carnal. This challenges the notion of spiritual evolution, asserting that the soul remains in a natural state and requires resurrection for any transcendent transformation. The emphasis on the natural body underscores the fundamental nature of the soul, unaltered by any inherent spiritual evolution.

Gospel of Thomas Saying 3: Kingdom Beyond the Sky:

The exploration concludes with a brief analysis of Gospel of Thomas Saying 3, which asserts that the kingdom is not in the sky (heaven). This saying challenges conventional ideas about the afterlife, suggesting that the ultimate reality lies beyond the celestial realms. It invites contemplation on the nature of the divine kingdom and encourages seekers to look beyond conventional paradigms.


In this comprehensive exploration, we have delved into the interconnectedness of body and soul as portrayed in Gospel of Thomas Sayings 87 and 112, supplemented by insights from 1 Corinthians 15. The mortal nature of the soul, the need for resurrection, and the assertion that the soul is the natural body challenge prevailing ideas about spirituality and the afterlife. These profound teachings invite reflection on the intricate relationship between the physical and spiritual dimensions of human existence, opening doors to a deeper understanding of the soul's journey toward eternal life.

Title: Understanding the Gospel of Thomas: A Perspective on the Non-Teaching of Immortality of the Soul


The Gospel of Thomas, a non-canonical text attributed to Jesus, presents a unique collection of sayings that offer insights into the teachings of Jesus. Among the various topics explored in this gospel, the concept of the immortality of the soul is notably absent. This document aims to explore the Gospel of Thomas and provide a perspective on why it does not teach the immortality of the soul.

The Dead are Unconscious and Know Nothing:

Throughout the Gospel of Thomas, there are several sayings that emphasize the state of the dead as unconscious and devoid of knowledge. Sayings 11, 52, 59, 60, and 85 explicitly highlight the notion that the dead do not possess consciousness or awareness. This perspective contrasts with the belief in the immortality of the soul, which suggests the continuation of consciousness after death.

Absence of Teaching on the Afterlife:

One significant aspect of the Gospel of Thomas is its lack of explicit teachings on the afterlife. Sayings 3, 82, and 113 exemplify this absence, as they do not suggest a belief in a heavenly destination for the soul. This stands in contrast to certain canonical texts that discuss heaven as a dwelling place for the departed. The emphasis on the present moment and the teachings of wisdom in the Gospel of Thomas implies a focus on the present life rather than an eternal afterlife.

In contrast to traditional Christian teachings, the Gospel of Thomas, as demonstrated in sayings 3, 82, and 113, does not offer a clear doctrine regarding the afterlife or eternal rewards. Instead, the focus is on the present moment and the teachings of Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas encourages individuals to seek enlightenment and understanding in the present rather than concerning themselves with the fate of the soul after death.

The Unconscious State of the Dead:

Sayings 11, 59, 52, 57, 85, and 60 consistently reinforce the notion that the dead exist in an unconscious state. These sayings suggest that the deceased do not possess knowledge or awareness and are therefore unable to experience any form of existence. This understanding challenges the idea of an immortal soul that continues to possess consciousness beyond physical death.

Light Within the "Man of Light":

Saying 24 in the Gospel of Thomas refers to a "man of light" who possesses the light of knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. This saying highlights that the light is not universally present within all individuals but is specific to those who have attained a higher level of understanding and enlightenment. The emphasis is on the light of knowledge rather than an inherent divine spark present in every individual. Therefore, the Gospel of Thomas does not support the idea of a universal light within everyone, which is often associated with the immortality of the soul.

The Light Within the Man of Light:

In the Gospel of Thomas, saying 24 introduces the concept of the "man of light" who possesses the light of knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. This light is not portrayed as universally present within all individuals but is specific to those who have attained a particular level of understanding and enlightenment. This concept deviates from the notion of an inherent divine spark or light present in every individual, which is often associated with the immortality of the soul.

The Limited Divine Light:

Saying 24 of the Gospel of Thomas introduces the concept of the "man of light" who possesses the light of knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. This saying highlights that the light is not universally present within all individuals but is specific to those who have achieved a particular level of enlightenment. The Gospel of Thomas does not support the notion of a universal divine spark or light within everyone, often associated with the immortality of the soul.

Preaching and Enlightenment:

Saying 33 in the Gospel of Thomas emphasizes the act of preaching and proclaiming the teachings of Jesus. This saying suggests that the light within, mentioned in saying 24, is acquired through the process of sharing the teachings and spreading knowledge. It does not imply the existence of an immortal soul but rather emphasizes the importance of actively engaging with and disseminating spiritual wisdom.

Emphasis on Knowledge and Enlightenment:

Throughout the Gospel of Thomas, there is a consistent focus on acquiring knowledge and attaining enlightenment. The emphasis is placed on the light of understanding, which individuals can attain through their interaction with Jesus' teachings. This perspective suggests that the path to salvation lies in gaining insight and wisdom rather than relying on the notion of an inherently immortal soul.

The Concept of Spiritual Ignorance:

In the Gospel of Thomas, spiritual ignorance is portrayed as a state of darkness or lack of understanding. The text highlights the need to overcome this ignorance through the pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment. Rather than assuming the existence of an immortal soul, the focus is on transforming one's consciousness and attaining a higher spiritual understanding.

Rejection of Dualistic Thinking:

The Gospel of Thomas rejects dualistic thinking, which often includes the separation of body and soul. Instead, it emphasizes the unity of the individual as a whole being. The text does not delineate the soul as a separate immortal entity but encourages individuals to seek unity within themselves and with the divine.

Emphasis on the Present Moment:

Another characteristic of the Gospel of Thomas is its emphasis on the present moment and the immediate experience of divine presence. The focus is on recognizing the divine within the present reality rather than speculating on the fate of the soul after death. This perspective underscores the importance of engaging with the present life and embodying spiritual principles in the here and now.

Concept of Rebirth and Transformation:

The Gospel of Thomas introduces the concept of rebirth as a transformative process of spiritual awakening. Rather than the traditional notion of an immortal soul, the text suggests that individuals can experience spiritual rebirth in their lifetime through inner transformation and the attainment of knowledge. This emphasis on personal growth and evolution further supports the absence of a definitive teaching on the immortality of the soul.

Reevaluation through Spiritual Exploration:

By examining the Gospel of Thomas, we can discern a distinctive perspective that challenges the traditional belief in the immortality of the soul. The text invites individuals to question established dogmas and engage in a deeper exploration of spiritual truths. The Gospel of Thomas encourages a shift in focus from the eternal fate of the soul to the present experience and the pursuit of spiritual wisdom.


Through an analysis of specific sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, it becomes evident that this text does not teach the immortality of the soul. The emphasis on the unconsciousness of the dead, the absence of teachings on the afterlife, and the restricted nature of divine light all contribute to this perspective. The Gospel of Thomas prompts individuals to reevaluate conventional beliefs and directs them towards an exploration of spiritual truths in the present moment. While the concept of the immortality of the soul may be absent, the Gospel of Thomas provides an alternative perspective on spirituality, encouraging personal introspection and the pursuit of enlightenment.


While the Gospel of Thomas provides unique insights into Jesus' teachings, it diverges from traditional Christian doctrines, including the concept of an immortal soul. Instead, it emphasizes the pursuit of knowledge, enlightenment, and inner transformation as essential components of spiritual growth. By exploring alternative perspectives on the nature of human existence, the Gospel of Thomas invites individuals to engage actively in their spiritual journeys and seek profound understanding in the present moment.


Based on the analysis of various sayings within the Gospel of Thomas, it becomes evident that this text does not explicitly teach the immortality of the soul. The emphasis on the unconsciousness and lack of knowledge of the dead, the absence of teachings on the afterlife, and the limited presence of divine light within specific individuals all contribute to this perspective.

While interpretations may vary, it is important to consider the Gospel of Thomas within its historical and theological context. This non-canonical text offers a unique lens through which we can explore the teachings of Jesus. By recognizing the distinctive features of the Gospel of Thomas, such as its emphasis on the present life and the absence of teachings on the immortality of the soul, we gain a deeper understanding of the diverse range of beliefs and perspectives within early Christian thought.

As with any religious text, the interpretation of the Gospel of Thomas is subject to individual and scholarly analysis. It is through respectful dialogue and examination of different perspectives that we can further our understanding of the complex and multifaceted nature of religious teachings.

Sunday 3 December 2023



 Title: Exploring the Depths of Gnostic Philosophy: A Journey into Esoteric Wisdom


Gnostic Philosophy, deriving from the Greek term "gnostikón," forms the cornerstone of a profound exploration into knowledge, particularly esoteric mystical knowledge. Functioning as an adjective, "gnostic" links the seeker to the depths of understanding, emphasizing a connection to hidden realms of wisdom. Rooted in the Love of Wisdom, or "philosophia" in Greek, this philosophy encompasses both the esoteric and exoteric, inviting individuals to embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and enlightenment.

Gnostic: A Crucial Adjective:

At its essence, "gnostic" serves as an adjective, denoting a profound connection to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge. This term lays the foundation for the exploration of Gnostic Philosophy, providing insight into the philosophy's focus on a specialized and profound understanding of the mysteries of existence.

Philosophy: The Love of Wisdom Explored:

As a noun, "philosophy" embodies the Love of Wisdom, transcending the ordinary and inviting individuals to delve into the intricacies of knowledge, reality, and existence. As an academic discipline, it signifies the study of the fundamental nature of these concepts, forming the intellectual framework upon which Gnostic Philosophy unfolds.

Esoteric and Exoteric Dimensions:

Delving into the adjectives "esoteric" and "exoteric," the former signifies knowledge intended for a select few with specialized knowledge or interest. In contrast, "exoteric" in its formal sense denotes knowledge accessible to the general public. This dual nature encapsulates the inclusivity of Gnostic Philosophy, catering to both those immersed in esoteric pursuits and those seeking a broader understanding.

Mystic: A Transformative Noun:

Within Gnostic Philosophy, the term "mystic" emerges as a noun, representing a person who seeks unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute. Through contemplation and self-surrender, the mystic embarks on a journey that transcends mere intellectual understanding, seeking spiritual apprehension of truths beyond conventional comprehension.

Embracing Diversity in Knowledge:

Gnostic Philosophy encourages an open-minded approach to knowledge, emphasizing that wisdom transcends cultural, religious, and philosophical boundaries. The call to listen before judging underscores the importance of diverse sources in making informed decisions. This philosophy promotes a holistic understanding of the human experience, fostering unity amid the multitude of paths to enlightenment.

The Door to Gnosis and Personal Empowerment:

Central to Gnostic Philosophy is the concept that one can lead themselves to the door of gnosis, intuitive knowledge that brings enlightenment. This transformative journey toward self-discovery does not necessitate intermediaries like priests. Instead, Gnostic Philosophy advocates for direct communion with one's inner self, reinforcing the idea that to unlock the profound mysteries of existence, one must first know oneself.


In conclusion, Gnostic Philosophy unfolds as a rich tapestry, interweaving the adjectives and nouns that define its essence. "Gnostic" serves as the key to understanding, "philosophy" embodies the Love of Wisdom, "esoteric" and "exoteric" capture the dual nature of its teachings, and "mystic" represents the transformative seekers within its fold. The philosophy beckons each individual to step through the door to gnosis, empowering themselves to unravel the profound truths that lie within and fostering a deep connection to esoteric wisdom. In this journey, the call echoes loudly – know thyself, for therein lies the key to unlocking the mysteries of existence.

γνωστικών (greek)

"Relating to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge."

φιλοσοφία (greek)
or "philo"+"sophia" which is the Love of Wisdom

"the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline."

That is my definition of the name : "Gnostic Philosophy".

[The words below will follow these definitions so we all know what I am talking about : not the Urban Dictionary terms.]


"intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest."


"intended for or likely to be understood by the general public."


"a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect."

Knowledge can come from anyone and any faith so remember to listen first before we judge. 

We need more than one source to make an informed decision.

You can lead yourself to the door of gnosis but you must open it.

You do NOT need priests, you need to know yourself

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Sabaoth the Good in Pistis Sophia

Sabaoth the Good

Sabaoth (צבאות 
Tzavaot) – army or host – “Lord of Hosts”

Sabaoth the Good is the power of the Light-emanations

The name Sabaoth comes from the Hebrew word for "hosts" or "forces," particularly in the expression "Yahweh Sabaoth," 
"LORD of hosts."  He Will Be Armies. Sabaoth plays a similar role in Pistis Sophia

In the Orig. World Sabaoth is a Son of Yaldabaoth and a prominent power of this world in gnostic texts.  

On the Origin of the World:When Sabaoth received light, he received great authority against all of the powers of chaos. Since that day he has been called “the lord of the powers.”  He hated his father, the darkness, and his mother, the abyss. He loathed his sister, the thought of the chief creator, the one who moves to and fro over the water.

On account of his light, all of the authorities of chaos were jealous of him. And when they were disturbed, they made a great war in the seven heavens. Then when Pistis Sophia saw the war, she sent seven archangels from her light to Sabaoth. They snatched him away up to the seventh heaven.  They took their stand before him as servants. Furthermore, she sent him three other archangels and established the kingdom for him above everyone so that he might dwell above the twelve gods of chaos.

When Sabaoth received the place of rest because of his repentance, Pistis also gave him her daughter, Zoe,  with great authority, so that she might inform him about everything that exists in the eighth heaven. And since he had authority, he first created a dwelling place for himself. It is huge, magnificent, seven times as great as all those that exist in the seven heavens.

Sabaoth the Good

Psychic Plane or Mixture (Lower Manas)

       Sabaoth, the Good

Hylic (Astral) Plane

The Twelve Aeons
       The First Six Sons or Emanations of the Self-Centered One
       Sabaoth-Adamas (The Great Tyrant, Ialdabaoth, the Lion-Faced Power)

The Great Sabaoth, the Good

As mentioned above, this figure provides a power or soul for Jesus’ earthly incarnation, making him effectively Jesus’ earthly father. This role is most widely discussed through extensive interpretations of Psalm 85:10-11 in Chapters 62-63.

Sabaoth, the Adamas

This is the primary representative of evil or wickedness in the majority of the Pistis Sophia. He is accused of inappropriate sexual conduct, begetting archons and other beings, and as a result he is imprisoned in the bounds of the zodiac, or the material universe. For those human souls who did not receive the mysteries before death and are thus bound to be reincarnated in the world, he is also responsible for giving the “cup of forgetfulness,” denying them the knowledge they had acquired from previous lives and punishments.

Sunday 26 November 2023

Self Baptism or Auto Baptism in the Acts of Paul and Thecla

Self Baptism or Auto Baptism in the Acts of Thecla 

An opening reading from The Acts of Paul and Thecla

38 But Thecla, being taken out of the hand of Tryphaena, was stripped and a girdle put upon her, and was cast into the stadium: and lions and bears were set against her. And a fierce lioness running to her lay down at her feet, and the press of women cried aloud. And a bear ran upon her; but the lioness ran and met him, and tore the bear in sunder. And again a lion, trained against men, which was Alexander's, ran upon her, and the lioness wrestled with him and was slain along with him. And the women bewailed yet more, seeing that the lioness also that succoured her was dead.

34 Then did they put in many beasts, while she stood and stretched out her hands and prayed. And when she had ended her prayer, she turned and saw a great tank full of water, and said: Now is it time that I should wash myself. And she cast herself in, saying: In the name of Jesus Christ do I baptize myself on the last day. And all the women seeing it and all the people wept, saying: Cast not thyself into the water: so that even the governor wept that so great beauty should be devoured by seals. So, then, she cast herself into the water in the name of Jesus Christ; and the seals, seeing the light of a flash of fire, floated dead on the top of the water. And there was about her a cloud of fire, so that neither did the beasts touch her, nor was she seen to be naked. (The Acts of Paul and Thecla)

Auto-Baptism in Gnostic Teachings: The Unique Rite of Self-Baptism

The term "αυτοβαπτιση" (autobaptism) in Greek essentially refers to "self-baptism" or "baptism by oneself." The prefix "αυτό" (auto) means "self" or "by oneself," while "βαπτιση" (baptism) refers to the religious ritual of immersion in water s a symbol of purification, initiation, or induction into a faith.

The concept of auto-baptism, or self-baptism, emerges as a profound expression of spiritual independence and personal connection with God and Jesus. The Acts of Paul and Thecla, an apocryphal work, recounts the extraordinary tale of Thecla, a woman who, faced with imminent danger in the arena, takes matters into her own hands and baptizes herself. This narrative not only challenges conventional notions of baptism but also embodies the Gnostic emphasis on self-knowledge and direct communion with God and Jesus. This account not only challenges traditional baptismal norms but also embodies the essence of Gnostic beliefs in self-awareness and spiritual independence, without the involvement of priests or priesthood.

The Gnostic Perspective on Self-Baptism: 

Gnosticism, rooted in the pursuit of self-knowledge and enlightenment, deviates from established religious practices by emphasizing individual revelation over hierarchical authority. Self-baptism, or auto-baptism, aligns seamlessly with Gnostic principles, representing the notion that spiritual awakening and initiation can be self-initiated, devoid of intermediary figures such as priests or religious officiants.

**Acts of Paul and Thecla: The Unusual Arena Baptism:**

The Acts of Paul and Thecla provide a detailed account of Thecla's self-baptism within the confines of an arena. Stripped and cast into the stadium, Thecla faces imminent danger from lions, bears, and other ferocious beasts. Amidst this perilous situation, a remarkable scene unfolds as Thecla, prompted by divine inspiration, turns her attention to a vat of water.

**The Ritual Unfolds:**

Thecla's decision to baptize herself in the arena adds an extraordinary layer to the narrative. Observing a vat containing seals or sea-calves, she seizes what she perceives as her last opportunity for baptism. The symbolism of water, a fundamental element in Christian baptism, takes on a surreal quality as Thecla immerses herself in the vat.

**The Miraculous Intervention:**

As Thecla proclaims her self-baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, a miraculous event transpires. Lightning strikes, killing the seals or sea-calves before they can harm her. This supernatural intervention adds a layer of divine approval to Thecla's unique baptism, reinforcing the spiritual significance attributed to the act.

**Symbolism and Spiritual Triumph:**

The narrative unfolds with symbolic resonance. The lioness, initially a threat, becomes an unexpected ally, protecting Thecla from other predators. This transformation echoes the transformative power of self-baptism, turning perceived dangers into elements of spiritual triumph.

**The Cloud of Fire: A Divine Canopy:**

As Thecla immerses herself in the water, invoking the name of Jesus Christ, a cloud of fire envelops her. This ethereal manifestation serves as a protective barrier, preventing harm from the surrounding beasts. The imagery of fire and water converging symbolizes purification and spiritual rebirth, reinforcing the transformative nature of self-baptism.

**Reactions of Onlookers:**

The reaction of the spectators, including the governor, adds a human dimension to the account. Witnessing Thecla's daring act, the people and even the governor are moved to tears. The juxtaposition of beauty on the brink of peril evokes a profound emotional response, emphasizing the gravity of Thecla's self-baptism.


In the tapestry of Gnostic teachings, the practice of auto-baptism emerges as a bold assertion of individual spirituality. The Acts of Paul and Thecla provide a captivating example through the extraordinary self-baptism of Thecla in the arena. This ritual, laden with symbolism and divine intervention, challenges conventional notions of baptism, portraying a unique form of spiritual expression that transcends societal norms. The story of Thecla stands as a testament to the Gnostic belief in personal communion with God and Jesus and the transformative power of self-initiated rituals

**Title: A Spiritual Journey: A Guide to Self-Baptism and Its Significance**


Self-baptism, an ancient practice rooted in various religious traditions, offers individuals a unique path towards spiritual renewal and connection with their faith. The act of baptizing oneself is not only a profound expression of personal devotion but also a deeply individualized experience. This guide delves into the significance and steps of self-baptism, exploring its context within different belief systems and offering a practical understanding of the process.

**Understanding the Spiritual Significance:**

Self-baptism is not merely a physical act but a spiritual journey, an intimate communion with one's faith and understanding of God and Jesus. Rooted in Gnostic traditions, the practice emphasizes the individual's direct connection with God and Jesus, free from the conventional structures of organized religious ceremonies. It represents a conscious decision to embark on a transformative journey of spiritual cleansing and renewal without the intermediary presence of a religious officiant or community.

Gnosticism: A Path to Self-Knowledge: 

At the heart of Gnostic philosophy lies the pursuit of self-knowledge—gnosis. Gnostics believe in the direct, personal experience with God and Jesus, transcending the need for intermediaries such as priests in spiritual matters. This emphasis on personal revelation sets the stage for the Unique act of self-baptism portrayed in The Acts of Paul and Thecla.

**The Acts of Paul and Thecla: An Unique Baptism:**

In certain religious texts like the Acts of Paul and Thecla, accounts of individuals baptizing themselves emerge, portraying the unique yet deeply personal nature of this ritual. The story of Thecla's self-baptism in the arena, amidst imminent danger, symbolizes a profound commitment to spiritual devotion, transcending societal norms and expectations.

**Steps to Self-Baptism: A Practical Guide:**

For those considering self-baptism, a thoughtful and intentional approach is crucial. The suggested steps draw inspiration from the Acts of Paul and Thecla, as well as incorporating insights from a practical and spiritual perspective.

1. **Preparation through Prayer and Reflection:**

Before the physical act of self-baptism, take time for prayer, reflection, and meditation. Consider reading and contemplating passages such as Romans chapter 6, which delve into the symbolism of baptism as a sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ.

2. **Repentance as Recognition:**

Embrace repentance as a recognition before the Deity that we are imperfect beings in need of grace. Acknowledge the need for healing and growth, understanding that the baptized are not exempt from the reality of human frailty.

3. **Setting the Intention:**

Prior to entering the water, express your intention clearly. Acknowledge that you are being baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. This declaration serves as a focal point for the spiritual significance of the ritual.

4. **Entering the Water:**

Private Ritual: Find a suitable place, such as a bath or tub, conducive to the act of self-baptism. While in the water, express the intent aloud, stating, "I am being baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins."

Immersing and Emerging: Submerge oneself in the water, signifying a symbolic cleansing and rebirth, and emerge from the water, symbolizing identification with Christ's resurrection.

5. **Post-Baptism Prayer:**

Upon emerging from the water, offer a prayer, expressing gratitude and seeking continued guidance on your spiritual journey. This moment of communion serves as a bridge between the physical act and the ongoing spiritual transformation.

**Personal Testimony: Baptism in a Bathtub:**

The article shares a personal testimony of someone who underwent self-baptism in a bathtub. The practical aspects, such as lying on one's side with the head towards the taps, are highlighted, making the ritual accessible to individuals seeking a private and intimate experience.

**Gnostic Christian Self-Baptism Formula:**

For Gnostic Christians, a specific self-baptism formula is presented. This formula encapsulates the essence of Gnostic beliefs, invoking the unknown father of the universe, truth, and the divine presence that descended upon Jesus.


Self-baptism emerges as a profound and personal journey, intertwining spirituality with symbolism. Whether inspired by Gnostic teachings or a desire for a more direct connection with God and Jesus, the practice of self-baptism offers individuals a unique and meaningful way to express their faith. This guide seeks to illuminate the steps and considerations involved, recognizing the depth and significance of this intimate spiritual ritual. May those who embark on this journey find solace, renewal, and a strengthened connection with their faith.

Saturday 25 November 2023

The Five Seals in Sethian Gnosticism

The Five Seals


- The Five Seals are mentioned in the Sethian Gnostic texts such as The Gospel of the Egyptians, The Three Forms of First Thought and The Apocryphon of John.

Before we look at the Five seals in the Sethian Gnostic texts we will first look at the meaning of sealing and the number five

The Number Five

The Number 5 is a symbol of God’s grace. It is also one of the most widely mentioned words in the Bible. It is also a number that symbolizes God’s kindness and favour to humankind. 25 is 5*5 and it makes “grace upon grace”. (John 1:16).

The instructions given by God in order to build a “tabernacle in the wilderness” were all centred around the number five, everything was made out of five components, like 5 curtains, 5 pillars, 5 bars, etc. Also, there were 5 ingredients in the holy oil, which was needed to sanctify the Tabernacle.

Five Pentad, quintet; the realm of the divine Father, consisting of Barbelo and four personified attributes (foreknowledge, incorruptibility, life eternal, and truth) in Sethian texts. Since the five is androgynous, it is also called the ten, and it constitutes the divine Father in emanation.

In the Valentinian Gospel of Philip there are five sacraments. Five trees of paradise are referred to in the Gospel of Thomas. 

The Meaning of Sealing 

The concept of "Having the seal of the living God" holds profound significance, drawing parallels from various biblical references. In Job 33:16 and 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, the Truth itself is depicted as the seal of God. Corresponding to an image imprinted on a seal, the Truth leaves its mark on the heart, evident through a transformed life (Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 4:6-7). Notably, Christ, the personification of Truth, is symbolically sealed by the Father (John 6:27).

In the perception of the people, Jesus' words, works, and character manifested the essence of Yahweh. His teachings carried the unmistakable stamp of Divine authority, akin to a sealed message authenticated by a person in authority. The saints, referred to as a sealed community in Song of Solomon 4:12 and 8:6, bear the seal of divine teaching, demonstrated through their actions (Revelation 14:1; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13).

The cry with a loud voice to the four angels, charged with potential harm to the earth and sea, underscores the urgency of the request. The plea is to withhold judgment temporarily to facilitate the sealing of the servants of God in their foreheads, a concept derived from Ezekiel 9:4. Drawing a parallel to the priests of Israel sealed in their foreheads, this sealing signifies a mental impression with the things of God, a requirement for salvation (Revelation 14:1).

The Book of Revelation, specifically given for the illumination of the "servants of God," reveals a prayer seeking a delay in judgment until the work of sealing is complete. This prayer aligns with the idea of God's longsuffering, waiting for a purpose, as reflected in 2 Peter 3:15 and 1 Peter 3:20. The return of Christ is anticipated only after the completion of this sealing work.

Revelation 7:2-4 introduces another angel with the seal of the living God, instructing not to harm the earth, sea, or trees until the servants of God are sealed on their foreheads. The twelve tribes of Israel symbolize the twelve spiritual faculties of man, and the "seal of God" signifies the identity of the Christ consciousness. The number 144,000, representing twelve times twelve with three zeros symbolizing the unlimited or unspecified, points to the perfected human consciousness—a harmonious integration and multiplication of the twelve faculties.

In conclusion, the seal of the living God encompasses the Truth, mental impressions with divine teachings, and the integration of spiritual faculties. The Book of Revelation portrays a prayer for a delay in judgment until the sealing of the servants of God is complete, emphasizing the significance of this transformative process in the grand narrative of salvation.

The Five Seals
The Gnostic Path to Enlightenment: Unveiling the Mystery of the Five Seals

This is the father’s realm of five. It is: the first human, the image of the invisible spirit, that is, forethought, which is Barbelo, and thought, along with foreknowledge, incorruptibility, life eternal, truth. This is the androgynous realm of five, which is the realm of ten, which is the father. (The Apocryphon of John)

In the profound tapestry of Sethian belief, the concept of the Five Seals emerges as a mystical journey, an ascent to the divine realms 
that embodies the essence of the Father's spiritual realm. Rooted in ancient texts such as The Apocryphon of John and the Three Forms of First Thought, the Five Seals represent important aspects that, when received through a transformative ritual, enable the Gnostic to ascend to the Upper Aeons and dwell in the presence of the Deity.

The Apocryphon of John presents the Father's realm of five, with each element revealing an aspect of the divine mysteries.

TruthReceiving the seal of truth involves embracing ultimate reality, authenticity, and the embodiment of ultimate truth within oneself, aligning one's existence with the divine sphere of truth and wisdom

The Gnostic Seal of Truth resonates as the Absolute—a divine principle inherently connected to God, eternal and unchanging. (Hebrews 13:8) It embodies the essence of reality, an eternal truth that remains constant throughout time, unaltered by temporal fluctuations. Truth, at its core, dwells within the essence of human consciousness, waiting to be unveiled as one expands their awareness.

The foundational truth lies in the conscious unity of the individual mind with the Divine Mind, a connection facilitated by the indwelling Christ. Affirming this unity allows one to attain a perfected state of mind, akin to that of Christ Jesus.

The path of Truth is likened to a straight and narrow road guided by Spirit. (Matt. 7:13–14) It's a smooth and secure passage that resists the allure of sensory deception, leading towards a deeper spiritual understanding.

The source of absolute Truth stems solely from God—an intimate and personal Father to all His children. Absolute Truth cannot be obtained from any other source; it is a divine gift bestowed upon those seeking spiritual enlightenment.

The Spirit of truth acts as a catalyst for spiritual consciousness, infusing our minds with ideas akin to those of Jesus. It meticulously oversees every aspect of life and, upon invocation, revitalizes both mind and body, guiding towards adherence to spiritual and physical laws that restore health and well-being.

Life Eternal: At the core of the Father's realm is the concept of eternal life—a seal that symbolizes existence beyond temporal limitations. To receive this seal is to awaken to the perpetual nature of one's spiritual being, transcending mortal boundaries and connecting with the timeless essence.

Gnostic understanding of "eternal life" transcends mere temporal existence. In their perspective, the term "eternal life" embodies an age or a pattern—an aeon that embodies life within the Christ consciousness, both in the present age of glory and in an infinite sense beyond mortal bounds.

In the Gnostic interpretation, the Greek term 'aeon', often translated as 'eternal life', signifies existence within the realm of heightened consciousness. This concept, scarcely depicted in traditional scriptures, aligns with the idea of life attuned to the glory of the Christ consciousness, offering a deeper understanding beyond temporal limitations.

References to eternal life within the Gnostic context can be found in passages like Romans 6:22-23. Here, eternal life represents participation in the truth—the seal of sanctification—and 
comes to a climax in the Christ consciousness. It details a departure from a life ensnared by sin, offering the free gift of eternal life through divine consciousness.

Further affirmations of this eternal life unfold in 2 Peter 1:11, emphasizing the need for steadfast dedication to confirm one's call and election, securing an entrance into the eternal kingdom of the Lord. This eternal kingdom symbolizes a realm entrenched within the Christ consciousness, offering a sanctuary from regression into lower stages of consciousness.

The language of "aeon" surfaces once more in 2 Peter 3:17-18, underlining the importance of steering clear from the error of lawlessness—representative of a consciousness rooted in sin. Instead, the directive is to foster growth in grace and knowledge of the Lord, signifying a journey towards the glory of the Christ consciousness.

For the Sethians, "eternal life" extends beyond the conventional scope of mortal existence. It is a state of consciousness in harmony with the divine glory of the Christ consciousness—an aeon that transcends temporal boundaries, leading towards an everlasting union with divine truth.

Incorruptibility: The seal of incorruptibility signifies purity, immutability, and divine perfection. To receive this aspect is to recognize the incorruptible nature within oneself, a quality untouched by decay or imperfection, aligning with the divine essence.

The Gnostic concept of the Seal of Incorruptibility delves into the transformative journey of the egoic self, often characterized by judgmental tendencies. Within this framework, the psyche—the embodiment of the ego in lower stages—holds the potential for a profound metamorphosis. The aspiration of the Christ consciousness is ignited by recognizing the great potentials within the Psyche.

In the pursuit of elevating the ego to the level of the Christ consciousness, the intuitive self endeavours to inspire the Psyche. This transformative journey is driven by a determination to guide the Psyche towards a realization—specifically, recognizing the inadequacy of its love for a contemptible being. The reward for this arduous endeavour comes to fruition as the Psyche, having unveiled its error, undergoes a remarkable transformation.

This transformation culminates in the state of incorruptibility, a condition akin to godliness or perfection. In this context, incorruptibility signifies a harmonization of reasoning at the same elevated level as the Christ consciousness—the intuitive self. The once-judgmental and flawed psyche now attains a godlike status, having aligned its cognitive processes with the divine truth inherent in the Christ consciousness.

The Seal of Incorruptibility, therefore, symbolizes not only the transcendence of egoic judgments but also the attainment of a godlike perfection through alignment with the divine wisdom of the Christ consciousness. It portrays a profound metamorphosis where the psyche, once mired in limited perspectives, evolves into a state of incorruptibility by reasoning at the elevated level of the intuitive self—the divine guide within the Gnostic framework.

Foreknowledge: An important aspect of the divine realm is foreknowledge, an awareness that transcends time and space. To attain this seal is to gain insight into the complexities of the spiritual realm, a profound understanding that goes beyond the limitations of mortal existence.

The Gnostic Seal of Foreknowledge embodies intuitive perception and a profound clarity of vision. It operates on the principle that every occurrence in the manifested world initially transpires within the realm of thought. For those spiritually attuned, the ability to discern these movements of thought grants a unique advantage—the ability to foresee and anticipate what is to unfold in the future.

Forethought Barbelo and Thought: At the heart of the Father's realm dwells the first Heavenly Man, the image of the invisible spirit—Forethought, embodied in Barbelo. This realm encompasses the intellectual and conceptual aspects, representing the capacity for discernment and comprehension. To receive these aspects is to delve into the highest planes of spiritual understanding, recognizing oneself as an image of the invisible spirit.

Forethought, personified as Barbelo, symbolizes the Jerusalem above the mother of us all, the Eternal Invisible Virginal Spirit the unseen spiritual essence. Barbelo, often synonymous with the supreme feminine divine principle, signifies the mother of the Aeons and serves as the fountain of emanation within the Sethian belief structure. It's noteworthy that in Sethian texts, Barbelo is referred to as both 'male' and 'virginal,' showcasing the identity of God and Barbelo as the same spiritual entity, emphasizing the androgynous nature of the Deity.

The Realm of Five
The realm of five, a celestial domain within Sethian cosmology, unfolds through the manifestation of the Five Seals, each embodying profound glories and divine gifts. These seals, situated in the uppermost light, which are synonymous with the Upper Aeons, serve as gateways to the secret knowledge and unity with the divine.

Originating from the Father in the Upper Aeons, the Five Seals are described as sacred emanations brought forth from the Father's bosom, (
Gospel of the Egyptians) representing the quintessence of spiritual attributes. Christ, recognized as the Verifier in the realm of five, assumes an important role in bestowing these seals. In th
e complex process of verification, each soul is sealed with the divine mark, ushering them toward the first Father—a self-existent divine being dwelling within himself.

The transformative journey of the Elect unfolds as they ascend to the watery light of the Upper Aeons, a sacred realm where the Five Seals are granted. This ascent, akin to a baptism in the divine mysteries, culminates in the sealing of the Elect, rendering them imperishable and shielded from the dominion of death. Protennoia, the saviour figure within this spiritual narrative, dwells in the Elect through the ineffable Five Seals 
(Three Forms of First Thought 50:9), fostering a reciprocal dwelling as the Elect, in turn, abide with the saviour in the Upper Aeons.

The granting of the Five Seals in the Upper Aeons
(Apocryphon of John 31:22) is a moment of profound significance. These seals serve as conduits to the mysteries of divine knowledge, unifying the initiate with the Light. (Three Forms of First Thought 48:30) The process involves a sacred act, as depicted in the Apocryphon of John, where a soul is raised, and sealed in the light of the water with five sacred seals, thereby attaining resilience against the power of death.

The culmination of this journey is encapsulated in the Three Forms of First Thought, where the initiate is taken into the light-place of the Fatherhood. Here, in the Upper Aeons, the individual receives the Five Seals directly from the Light of the Mother, Protennoia. This granting is transformative, allowing the initiate to partake in the mystery of knowledge and to become a Light in Light, signifying a union with the divine essence.

In the realm of five, the journey toward the Upper Aeons and the reception of the Five Seals represent a profound spiritual ascent. It is a process of initiation, verification, and sealing that leads to a heightened understanding of the mysteries and a unity with the divine Light. The realm of five, through these seals, becomes a sacred space where the seeker is not only marked but also transformed, transcending the mortal realm and attaining a luminous existence in the divine realms.

The Five Seals as a Baptismal Ritual 

The Significance of the Five Seals in Sethian Baptism and Gnostic Ascension


The Sethian ritual of baptism holds a profound significance within the realm of Gnostic spirituality, particularly through the reception of the Five Seals. These seals, existing in the uppermost light known as the Upper Aeons, play an important role in the Gnostic's journey towards ascension. Derived from the Father in the Upper Aeons, bestowed by Christ, and serving as a means through which the saviour, such as Protennoia, can dwell within the Elect, the Five Seals are central to the Sethian understanding of spiritual progression.

The Nature of the Five Seals:

According to Sethian scriptures, the Five Seals represent glories that transcend all other forms of glory. Described in the 
Three Forms of First Thought (49:26), they are identified as entities existing in the uppermost light, often synonymous with the Upper Aeons. This celestial realm is the pinnacle of spiritual existence in Gnostic belief, and the acquisition of the Five Seals becomes a crucial step towards ascending to this elevated state.

Origins of the Five Seals:

The Gospel of the Egyptians reveals the divine origin of the Five Seals, attributing their existence to the Father in the Upper Aeons. It is stated, "the five seals which the Father brought forth from his bosom." This declaration underscores the sacred nature of the seals, suggesting a direct connection to the divine source from which they emanate. The implication is that these seals are not ordinary symbols but carry a divine essence that links the recipient to the highest spiritual realities.

Bestowal by Christ:

Christ, identified as the Verifier in Gnostic teachings, assumes a crucial role in the transmission of the Five Seals. The Untitled Bruce emphasizes Christ's involvement in the process, stating, "There is a sonship in their midst, which is called Christ the Verifier. It is he who verifies each one, and he seals him with the seal of the Father." This act of verification and sealing establishes a direct link between the Gnostic practitioner and the divine lineage, marking a transformative moment in their spiritual journey.

Dwelling of the Saviour in the Elect:

Three Forms of First Thought sheds light on the transformative power of the Five Seals by revealing that through them, the saviour (in this instance, Protennoia) dwells within the Elect. The reciprocity of this dwelling is highlighted, as the Elect, in turn, come to dwell with the saviour in the Upper Aeons. "And I proclaimed to them the ineffable Five Seals in order that I might abide in them and they also might abide in me," declares Protennoia (50:9). This mutual indwelling signifies a profound union between the divine and the initiated, underscoring the transformative potential embedded in the reception of the Five Seals.


In conclusion, the Five Seals in the Sethian ritual of baptism represent a sacred and transformative journey for the Gnostic practitioner. Originating from the Father in the Upper Aeons, bestowed by Christ, and facilitating the dwelling of the saviour within the Elect, these seals serve as a conduit for spiritual ascension. The Gnostic understanding of the Five Seals transcends mere symbolism, delving into the mystical realms of divine connection and transformative union, ultimately guiding the initiate towards the celestial heights of the Upper Aeons.

The Ritual of the Five Seals in the Three Forms of First Thought: A Gnostic Baptism and Visionary Ascent


Within the sacred text of the 
Three Forms of First Thought, a profound ritual unfolds, known as the bestowal of the Five Seals. This ritual mirrors a baptismal ceremony, intertwined with visionary ascension to the Upper Aeons. The journey of the initiate involves a sequential process, where each step corresponds to a symbolic action, guided by angelic entities. This exploration delves into the rich symbolism and significance of the Five Seals, shedding light on the transformative nature of the Gnostic ritual.

The Baptismal Process:

The initial stage of the ritual involves the reception of water, symbolizing a baptism that initiates a transformative process. The water serves to strip away the psychic and material garments of the initiate, purging the chaos within the abyss. The 
Three Forms of First Thought articulates this transformative act, stating, "I gave to him from the Water of Life, which strips him of the chaos that is in the uttermost darkness...And I stripped him of it, and I put upon him a shining Light, that is, the knowledge of the Thought of the Fatherhood."

The Five Angelic Orders:

As the baptismal journey unfolds, the initiate encounters five distinct orders of angels, each performing a specific action in the rite. Protennoia, also known as "Forethought," narrates this important phase of the ritual:

Robes of Light: The initiate is delivered to angelic beings—AMMÔN, ELASSÔ, AMÊNAI—who bestow upon him a robe crafted from the radiant garments of Light. This act symbolizes a transformation from darkness to enlightenment.

Baptizers: Subsequently, the initiate is handed over to baptizing angels—MIKHEUS, MIKHAR, MNÊSINOUS—who immerse him in the spring of the Water of Life. This baptism in living water represents purification and spiritual rebirth.

Enthronement: The angelic triad—BARIÊL, NOUTHAN, SABENAI—takes charge of enthroning the initiate, possibly through a symbolic coronation or anointing. This act signifies a connection to the Throne of Glory and the recognition of divine kingship.

Glorification: Another triad—ARIÔM, ÊLIEN, PHARIÊL—undertakes the task of glorifying the initiate with the glory of the Fatherhood. This step marks a recognition of the initiate's elevated spiritual status.

Snatching Away: The final act involves entities such as KAMALIÊL, ABRASAX (inferred from other texts), SAMBLÔ, and servants of great holy luminaries. They perform a "snatching away," likely representing an ecstatic visionary experience, transporting the initiate into the light-place of his Fatherhood.

Symbolism of the Five Seals:

Through careful analysis of the ritual, it becomes evident that the Five Seals are not physical seals but symbolic actions performed by the five triads of angels. These actions include the donning of ceremonial robes, baptism in the water of life, enthronement on the throne of glory, glorification in the glory of the Father, and a visionary ascent or "snatching away."


In conclusion, the ritual of the Five Seals, as detailed in the 
Three Forms of First Thought, unveils a profound Gnostic baptismal and visionary journey. Symbolic actions, guided by angelic entities, lead the initiate through a transformative process that culminates in an ascent to the Upper Aeons. The ritual represents a sacred dance between the material and spiritual realms, emphasizing purification, enlightenment, recognition of divine kingship, and a visionary communion with the divine. The Five Seals, far from being mere symbols, embody the essence of Gnostic mysticism, offering a pathway to transcendent knowledge and spiritual illumination.

Unveiling the Rituals of the Five Seals: Gnostic Baptism and Visionary Transformation


Within the intricate tapestry of Gnostic spirituality, the ritual of the Five Seals emerges as a transformative journey, rich in symbolism and sacred actions. This ritual, resembling a baptismal ceremony, is detailed in texts such as the 
Three Forms of First Thought and the Gospel of the Egyptians. Exploring the intricate details of this spiritual odyssey reveals a profound connection between the material and spiritual realms, guided by angelic beings and invoking divine presence.

Invocation of Angelic Beings:

The Five Seals, presumably, involve an invocation to specific triads of angels, a common element in various Gnostic texts that are replete with rituals. In texts like the Pistis Sophia and Books of Jeu, angelic beings play an integral role in ceremonies and baptisms. Typically, these celestial entities are invoked in the name of God to descend and perform their respective duties on the initiate. For instance, in the Baptism of Water from the Books of Jeu, a prayer involves the recital of secret names of God, followed by an invocation for angelic helpers, numbering fifteen, reflecting a parallel with the ritual of the Five Seals.

Baptismal Portion in Gospel of the Egyptians:

The Gospel of the Egyptians provides a more detailed glimpse into the baptismal portion of the Five Seals ritual. A prayer or adoration, likely recited by the initiate after the baptism, unfolds with powerful invocations. These invocations address the living water, the child of the child, and the glorious name. The prayer is a poetic ode to the divine, expressing a profound connection with the eternal and immutable. Symbolic gestures, such as stretching out hands and shaping in the circle of light, underscore the mystical nature of the baptism.

Components of the Baptism:

The baptism itself appears to be a multi-dimensional ceremony conducted in the name of the Father, Mother, and Son, involving angelic entities such as MIKHEUS, MIKHAR, MNÊSINOUS, and SESENGENPHARANGÊS. The invocation implies a folding and stretching of hands in a circular motion, symbolizing the divine nature of the initiate. This gesture aligns with Neoplatonic concepts of the soul's circular or spherical shape, suggesting a connection to philosophical traditions of late antiquity.

Renunciations and the Five Seals:

The Gospel of the Egyptians mentions "renunciations" as part of the ritual, likely involving declarations renouncing various Archons and the Demiurge. This aspect parallels conventional Catholic baptism, where renouncing Satan and sin is customary. The text also identifies the Five Seals as the triad of the Father, Mother, and Son, along with the angels IOUÊL and ÊSÊPHÊKH. This emphasizes the spiritual significance of the ritual in the context of Gnostic cosmology.

Enthronement and Anointing:

The "enthronement" aspect of the ritual is likely symbolic, involving an anointing with oil and possibly a crowning gesture, reflecting ancient enthronement ceremonies. Drawing parallels with the Mandaean baptism, which shares similarities with the Sethian ritual, suggests a common source for these Gnostic traditions. The anointing, possibly with aromatic oils or balsam, may have involved a symbolic sealing of the five organs of sense, aligning with the concept of the Five Seals.


In conclusion, the exploration of the ritual of the Five Seals unveils a multifaceted Gnostic baptismal and visionary journey. From angelic invocations and baptisms to anointings and symbolic gestures, each component contributes to a profound transformative experience. The echoes of these rituals resonate across Gnostic texts, connecting the seeker to divine realms and unveiling the mysteries of the Five Seals as a pathway to spiritual illumination.

The Multifaceted Rites of Initiation and the Attainment of the Five Seals in Gnostic Practice


The intricate rite leading to the attainment of the Five Seals within Gnostic tradition was a complex and multifaceted journey. Each stage of this ritual held profound symbolic significance, guiding the initiate through a transformative process involving renunciations, invocations, multiple baptisms, and other sacred ceremonies. This exploration unveils the intricate layers of this spiritual odyssey that culminates in the bestowal of the Five Seals.

Ritual Sequence:

The ritual commenced with the symbolic act of 'stripping' the initiate of certain garments, representing the shedding of material and psychic existence. This act marked the preliminary stage, paving the way for subsequent rites.

The Preliminary Rites:

The initial stage involved 'the renunciation,' where the initiate received secret names and signs for protection against the Archons. This stage might have included a visionary ascent through the Lower Aeons, reciting sacramental texts aloud, or vocalizing curses against demons and Archons, akin to aspects of the Roman Catholic rite of baptism.

Following the renunciation, 'the invocation' took place, with the recitation of additional names and signs to seek the protection of angels. This phase, possibly involving a visionary ascent through the Upper Aeons or a verbal confession of belief in angelic existence, prepared the initiate for the subsequent baptisms.

Multiple Baptisms:

Gnostics practiced multiple baptisms. The initiate might have undergone a baptism at the end of the renunciation and another at the end of the invocation, paving the way for a third and final baptism.

The Final Baptism:

The culminating moment was the final baptism, symbolized by immersion into the watery light of the Upper Aeons. During this baptism, the initiate might have received a special sign or seal, representing the imprint of their unique image in the watery light, allowing the Father to reflect upon himself through this image. Additionally, the initiate might have received a special name uttered by the Father, symbolizing their divine identity.

The Garment of Light and Union in the Bridal Chamber:

Alongside the image and name, the initiate was bestowed with the 'garment of light,' a protective garment for their earthly life and ascension through the aeons after death. This baptism was interpreted as a union or marriage with the light in the Bridal Chamber, symbolizing the union between the feminine soul (initiate) and the masculine light (Father). The post-baptismal rite of the Bridal Chamber might have followed, possibly in the form of a ritual kiss to welcome the initiate into the Gnostic community.

Chrism and Eucharist:

The anointing with holy oil in the rite of the chrism and the celebration of the eucharist marked the conclusion of the ritual, uniting all present in a sacred communion.


The complex ritual encompassing renunciations, invocations, baptisms, the Bridal Chamber, chrism, and eucharist granted the initiate the Five Seals. Emerging from this multifaceted journey, the initiate carried with them a name, an image, and the protective garment of light, symbolizing their spiritual elevation and union with the divine.

The Acts of Thomas 

In the Acts of Thomas, Judas Thomas orchestrates a profound ritual comprising four rites: chrism, baptism, the eucharist, and enrobing, bestowing upon the initiate, Mygdonia, her 'seal':

In this intricate ceremony, Mygdonia presented herself before the apostle with her head uncovered. Taking the holy oil, the apostle poured it over her head, invoking its sanctifying power. He uttered sacred words, recognizing the oil as a secret mystery revealing the cross, a healer of infirmities, and a revealer of hidden treasures. The apostle invoked the oil's power to establish itself upon Mygdonia, seeking her healing through this consecration.

Following the anointing, the apostle instructed Mygdonia's nurse to disrobe her and wrap her in a linen cloth. Near a fountain of water, the apostle led Mygdonia for baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Once baptized and attired, the apostle broke bread, offered a cup of water, initiating Mygdonia into communion with the body and blood of Christ. Confirming her reception of the seal, he proclaimed her eligibility for eternal life.

The transformative nature of this ritual was accentuated by a divine affirmation—an audible voice from above echoed agreement, responding with a resounding 'Yea, amen.' Witnessing this, Narcia, a bystander, marvelled and implored the apostle to receive the same seal. Granting her request, the apostle assured her of the Lord's care, extending His protection to her as with the rest.

This complex rite, as detailed in the Acts of Thomas, embodies the profound spiritual significance and transformative power bestowed upon the initiates through the sacred rites of chrism, baptism, eucharist, and enrobing.

Original text

Five seals form part of the Sethian ritual of baptism. - By receiving the Five Seals, the Gnostic could ascend to the Upper Aeons.

- The Five Seals exist in the uppermost light (i.e. the Upper Aeons?): 

“These are the glories that are higher than every glory, that is, the Five Seals...” (Three Forms of First Thought 49:26)

- The Five Seals come from the Father in the Upper Aeons: 

“the five seals which the Father brought forth from his bosom” (Gospel of the Egyptians)

- Christ gives the seals: 

“There is a sonship in their midst, which is called Christ the Verifier. It is he who verifies each one, and he seals him with the seal of the Father as he sends them in to the first Father, who exists in himself.” (Untitled Bruce)

- Through the Five Seals, the saviour (here, Protennoia) dwells in the Elect, just as they will come to dwell with the saviour in the Upper Aeons - Protennoia: 

“And I proclaimed to them the ineffable Five Seals in order that I might abide in them and they also might abide in me.” (Three Forms of First Thought 50:9)

In the Three Forms of First Thought, the Five Seals are granted during a five-fold ritual that resembles a baptism and visionary ascent to the Upper Aeons. 

- First, the initiate receives water (presumeably in a baptism) which ‘strips off’ from him the psychic and material garments before ‘putting on’ him a garment of light (which is knowledge of the Father): “I gave to him from the Water of Life, which strips him of the chaos that is in the uttermost darkness that exists inside the entire abyss, that is, the thought of the corporeal and the psychic. All these I put on. And I stripped him of it, and I put upon him a shining Light, that is, the knowledge of the Thought of the Fatherhood.” (Three Forms of First Thought)

In Three Forms of First Thought, we find a key passage which gives the names of various angelic beings, and the acts they perform in the rite. The section is spoken by Protennoia (“Forethought”):

- During the visionary portion of the baptism, the initiate is delivered to five orders of angels: ‘those who give robes of light’, ‘the baptizers’, ‘those who enthrone’, ‘those who glorify’, and ‘those who snatch away’:  The section is spoken by Protennoia (“Forethought”):

“And I delivered him to those who give robes - AMMÔN, ELASSÔ, AMÊNAI - and they covere him with a robe from the robes of the Light; and I delivered him to the baptizers, and they baptized him - MIKHEUS, MIKHAR, MNÊSINOUS - and they immersed him in the spring of the Water of Life. And I delivered him to those who enthrone - BARIÊL, NOUTHAN, SABENAI - and they enthroned him from the Throne of Glory. And I delivered him to those who glorify - ARIÔM, ÊLIEN, PHARIÊL - and they glorified him with the glory of the Fatherhood. And those who snatch away snatched away - KAMALIÊL, [...]ANÊN (this name has not survived, but other texts give ABRASAX), SAMBLÔ, and the servants of <the> great holy luminaries - and they took him into the light-place of his Fatherhood. And he received the Five seals from the Light of the Mother, Protennoia, and it was granted him to partake of the mystery of knowledge, and he became a Light in Light.”

From this passage we may deduce that the 5 “seals” are the actions here described, symbolically performed by the 5 triads of 15 angels: donning of ceremonial robes (probably after undressing), baptism in ‘living water’ (i.e. running water in a river, spring or stream), enthronement (possibly crowning or anointing with oil symbolizing kingship), and a “snatching away”, which probably refers to an ecstatic visionary ritual at the culmination of the ceremony.

 Thus, the five-seals consists of the five actions mentioned in the rite of baptism   :
1. Receiving a robe of light
2. Baptism in the water of life
3. Enthronement on the throne of glory
4. Glorified in the glory of the Father
5. Snatched away (visionary ascent)

Presumably, each of the 5 Seals involved an invocation to the respective triad of angels; in other Gnostic texts which are rich in rituals, such as the Pistis Sophia, and Books of Jeu, such angelic beings are an integral part of most ceremonies and baptisms, and they are usually invoked in the name of God to descend and perform their respective duty on the initiate. E.g., in the Baptism of Water (Books of Jeu), the formula involves the recital of secret names of God, followed by a prayer to Him to send angelic beings (“helpers”) to baptize the disciples. Interestingly enough, these ‘helpers’ are also 15 in number, just as in the ritual of the 5 Seals:

“Hear me my Father, thou father of all fatherhoods, thou infinite light who art in the Treasury
of the Light. May the fifteen helpers come, which serve the seven virgins of the light which are
over the baptism of life, whose unutterable names are these: ASTRAPA, TESPHOIODE,
DIAKTIOS, KNÊSION, DROMOS, EUIDETOS POLUPAIDOS, ENTROPON. May they come and baptise my disciples in the water of life, of the seven virgins of the light and forgive their sins, and purify their iniquities….”

The baptismal portion of the 5 Seals is described in greater detail in the Gospel of the Egyptians, wherein a prayer\adoration seemingly from it has been preserved. Presumably, it is to be recited by the initiate right after the baptism:

“IÊ IEUS ÊÔ OU ÊÔ ÔUA! Really, truly, O IESSEUS MAZAREUS IESSEDEKEUS, O living water, O child of the child, O glorious name! Really truly, AIÔN O ÔN, IIII ÊÊÊÊ EEEE OOOO UUUU ÔÔÔÔ AAAAA. Really, truly, ÊI AAAA ÔÔÔÔ, O existing one who sees the aeons! Really, truly,AEE ÊÊÊ IIII UUUUUU ÔÔÔÔÔÔÔÔ, who is eternally eternal! Really, truly, IÊA AIÔ, in the heart, who exists, U AEI EIS AEI, EI O EI, EI OS EI. This great name of Thine is upon me, O self begotten

Perfect one, who art not outside me. I see thee, O thou who art visible to everyone. For who will be able to comprehend thee in another tongue? Now that I have known thee, I have mixed myself with the immutable. I have armed myself with an armour of light; I have become light! For the Mother was at that place because of the splendid beauty of grace. Therefore, I have stretched out my hands while they were folded. I was shaped in the circle of the riches of the light which is in my bosom, which gives shape to the many begotten ones in the light into which no complaint reaches. I shall declare thy glory truly, for I have comprehended thee, SOU IÊS IDE AEIÔ AEIE OIS, O aeon, aeon, O God of silence! I honour thee completely. Thou art my place of rest, O Son, ÊS ÊS O E, the formless one who exists in the formless ones, who exists raising up the man in whom thou wilt purify me into Thy life, according to Thine imperishable name. Therefore, the incense of life is in me. I mixed it with water after the model of all archons, in order that I may live with Thee in the peace of the saints, Thou who exist really truly forever.”

The baptism itself was probably done in the name of the Father, Mother, and Son, and the angels MIKHEUS, MIKHAR, MNÊSINOUS, as well as SESENGENPHARANGÊS a spirit or angel (frequently mentioned in the magical papyri) who is said to preside over the “baptism of the living”. According to the above invocation, part of the baptism may have included the initiate folding his\her hands and stretching them forward in a circle, symbolizing his divine part; according to late antique philosophers, especially Neoplatonists, the Soul was circular or spherical in shape, and thus this gesture may be a reflection of that concept.

The Gospel of the Egyptians also mentions “renunciations” as being part of the rite. This probably involved similar declarations as conventional Catholic baptism, where the person baptized (or their sponsor) has to renounce Satan and sin. In the Sethian version, it may have entailed renouncing the various Archons and the Demiurge. The same text also talks about the 5 Seals as being the triad of the Father, Mother, and Son, plus the angels IOUÊL (called “Male Virgin”), and ÊSÊPHÊKH (“The Child of the Child”).

The “enthronement” portion of the ritual probably involved an anointing with oil and\or a crowning of the initiate (both gestures symbolic of kingship, and used in enthronement ceremonies in the ancient world), rather than a real enthronement. This is supported by the rituals of the Mandeans, an Iraqi Gnostic group that still exists today, and whose baptism ceremony has many striking parallels to its Sethian counterpart.

Mandaean baptism involves immersion in a river several times, drinking from the water,
crowning with a myrtle wreath, sealing with specific angelic and divine names, anointing with
oil, and a ritual handshake on leaving the water (among other steps I have not mentioned here). It is thus quite probable that Sethian and Mandaean rituals can be traced back to a common source. The oil used in the anointing was most likely aromatic oil or balsam, or olive oil mixed with myrrh. Some scholars have proposed that the anointing involved a sealing of the 5 organs of sense as symbolic of the 5 Seals.

- The complete rite may be recomposed as follows:

- First, the initiate was ritually ‘stripped’ of certain garments, which symbolized his material and psychic existence.

- In the preliminary rite of ‘the renunciation’, he received secret names and signs to protect him against the Archons. This may have been during a visionary ascent through the Lower Aeons, which was recited aloud with the aid of a sacramental text. Otherwise, the demons and Archons may have been cursed aloud and execrated (as still occurs in the Roman Catholic rite of baptism, where ‘enrobing’ also occurs).

- In the preliminary rite of ‘the invocation’, more names and signs were recited to gain the protection of the angels. This would also have been during a visionary ascent through the Upper Aeons. Otherwise, the initiate would have confessed his belief in the existence of the angels.

- Since Gnostics practised multiple baptisms, the initiate may have been baptized a first time at the end of the renunciation, and second time at the end of the invocation, to prepare him for a third and final baptism.

- The final baptism was experienced as an immersion into the watery light of the Upper Aeons. The initiate may have received a special sign or signet, which symbolized that his unique image had been ‘sealed’ or impressed in the watery light that moment. Through this image, the Father would reflect upon himself. The initiate may also have received a special name, which symbolized that the Father himself had uttered this name to name himself.

- Along with an image and a name, the initiate also received his ‘garment of light’. This garment would protect him for the rest of his life in this world and also during his ascent through the aeons after his death.

- Since baptism was understood as an immersion in the watery light of the Upper Aeons, the initiate emerged from the glowing baptismal waters with his ‘garment of light’. Such a baptism was interpreted, at the same time, as a union or marriage with the light in the Bridal Chamber. The initiate was seen to be the feminine soul and the Father was the masculine light. These two were ‘united in the Bridal Chamber’, and from that time onward, the soul wore the ‘garment of light’ in remembrance of her union with the Father. Hence, the rite of the Bridal Chamber may have followed the baptism, in the form of a ritual kiss to welcome the initiate into the community of Gnostics. 

- In conjunction with the baptism, the initiate may have been anointed with holy oil in the rite of the chrism. 

- At the end, the rite of the eucharist may have been celebrated with all those present. 

- In this way five different rites were granted over the course of one complex rite, which granted the initiate Five Seals: the redemption, baptism, bridal chamber, chrism and eucharist. The initiate emerged from this rite with a name, an image, and a garment of light.

- In the Acts of Thomas, Judas Thomas performs four of the rites mentioned above: chrism, baptism and the eucharist, as well as the enrobing. Through this complex rite, the initiate (a woman named Mygdonia) receives her ‘seal’: “

And when Narcia had brought these things, Mygdonia stood before the apostle with her head bare; and he took the oil and poured it on her head, saying: Thou holy oil given unto us for sanctification, secret mystery whereby the cross was shown unto us, thou art the straightener of the crooked limbs, thou art the humbler (softener) of hard things (works), thou art it that showeth the hidden treasures, thou art the sprout of goodness; let thy power come, let it be established upon thy servant Mygdonia, and heal thou her by this freedom. And when the oil was poured upon her he bade her nurse unclothe her and gird a linen cloth about her; and there was there a fountain of water upon which the apostle went up, and baptized Mygdonia in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. And when she was baptized and clad, he brake bread and took a cup of water and made her a partaker in the body of Christ and the cup of the Son of God, and said: Thou hast received thy seal, get for thyself eternal life. And immediately there was heard from above a voice saying: Yea, amen. And when Narcia heard that voice, she was amazed, and besought the apostle that she also might receive the seal; and the apostle gave it her and said: Let the care of the Lord be about thee as about the rest.” (Acts of Thomas 121)