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I'm slowly working through removing people from the community.  If you get removed please don't take it personally!  Please see our Facebook page at

Over the next few weeks we will be phasing out the Google+ group, which we really haven't used as well as we could have. As a result we will moving a lot of things back over to our Facebook group. If you have any questions let us know.

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Are you coming to Conclave?  Time is getting short and we need  to hear from you.  The next deadline is rapidly approaching and we REALLY need to finalize the numbers for folks who are staying over night.  If you have not registered yet and you plan to stay at least one night, we REALLY NEED to hear from you ASAP.  A quick e-mail with who is coming and for how long is all we need.  Or, better yet, register here:

St. Michael's is now on Twitter!  Follow us @StMichaelsAJC 

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Succinct and spot on!
A Gnostic View of Soul and Spirit
#gnostic   #theology  

I'm going to do some pointing at the moon ( for this post, so take it for what it's worth. 

There is, in my opinion, a distinction between the soul and spirit, when talking about the individual on the microcosmic scale. I don't believe this is how most people treat the subject, however. Most people I encounter would, I suspect, use the two words to refer to the same thing: that part of us which is eternal. For me, this is only accurate when describing the Spirit, and I'll tell you why.

St. Paul, one of the most Gnostic of the Biblical authors, refers to the three parts of a person in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 where he says: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

This mirrors the tripartite division of humanity as the Valentinians would have seen it: the hylic (people of matter), psychic (people of soul), and pneumatic (people of spirit). St. Valentinus' teachings ultimately stemmed from those of St. Paul, so this stands to reason. While, on the one hand, St. Valentinus is referring to the people (the macrocosm), and on the other St. Paul talks about the individual (the microcosm), the concepts are two sides of the same coin. Humanity and the human have three parts. [1]

What we call the Spirit, or Sacred Flame, is that Spark of the Divine that unites all people with the transcendent Godhead. It is the awareness of the true reality of this Spark that we call Gnosis, or at least an aspect of it. The Spirit is eternal, unchanging, and, in typical everyday consciousness, occluded by the other parts of us. The work of the Gnostic is to clear the debris of a life lived in the physical world so that the light of the Sacred Flame can shine through and illuminate the world.

What, then, is the soul, if not all that? I believe the soul is the animating principle, that which gives us Earthly life. It is our thoughts and emotions. For almost all of us, the soul is a collection of patterned responses developed as we grow up. Through instinct and conditioning from the moment we are born to the world we create a persona that allows us to interact with the material world and the people and things in it. If you believe in the archons in some form, you could say that they (or the forces they represent) have created the world in such a way as to encourage the individual to build psychic (in terms of psyche) structures that block the awareness of the Spirit. I like to use the metaphor of a mirror. It's made of glass, but there is a coating of reflective metal, often silver or aluminium, on one side. The mirror is the soul, but behind it sits the Sacred Flame. 

The mirror reflects the world back to itself. It is very good at doing so. However, through spiritual practice designed to develop awareness, we can erode the silver coating on the mirror, little by little, until the Sacred Flame shines through. When our soul is as transparent as glass, that is the state to which we aspire. We call that Theosis. Gnosis is the awareness that there is a Sacred Flame burning behind the mirror, Theosis is the light shining through a transparent soul.

[1] It should be pointed out that I know of no modern Gnostic groups who believe in the kind of radical determinism that the Valentinian texts imply. The three divisions of humanity are seen as states of being, and are fluid. Individuals can move between these states through spiritual work and awareness, or lack thereof.

Photo credit: Holy Spirit dove window by hickory hardscrabble (

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Here is the workbook for our Gospel of Thomas study and discussion!  It is free to download.

Dear Members and Friends of Mission Fabré-Palaprat,

Tomorrow will begin our four-week study of The Gospel of Thomas.  I am so excited at the number of folks who have expressed an interest and signed up to join us for this discussion.  Later today, you will each (if you have signed up) receive a workbook designed to guide you through the reading and study process.  This is not a race to the finish!  Follow the workbook and take your time.  Meditate on the text.  Think about it.  Reflect on what it means in the context of your own lives.  Each week, I will introduce the discussion on the list and I invite all participants to post their thoughts and experiences.  It is that simple.

There is still time to sign up, if you have not yet done so!  Just shoot me an e-mail.

Next weekend is our next physical meeting of the Reading/Study Group.  I hope to see some of you there.  We have been having some great discussions and there are some wonderful events coming up.  Come out and meet your fellow Mission members and Gnostics!

Be warm this week and keep plugging away.  The path to Gnosis is long and rewarding.  Luckily, you need not walk it alone.

Pax Vobis,


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Thank you for the invitation! I think I'll check out the Thomas workbook, Thanks again Brother John!
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