Fundamental and Secondary Practices of the Gnostic Teachings
In the Gnostic teachings, there are many practices of mystical and psychological type, that have as the goal to awaken the consciousness and mystical feelings, so that we can move closer and closer to the incarnation of the Being, and later on to the full integration and mergance with it. Everything that we do in this Great Work is to fulfil the highest purpose of our life in and in the Wheel of Samsara – the self-realization of the Being and the liberation from this Universe and its laws; becoming a spiritual being that is truly free to advance in the horizons of the Creation and the Absolute. In order to reach that point, it is necessary to apply a series of spiritual exercises.
Samael Aun Weor and other advanced esoteric teachers have left us with many practices and have urged us to apply them if we wish to reach stages of spiritual mastery. Some practices, however, are more important than others. Certain teachers have been focusing more on practices of one kind, whilst others have focused on practices that are a bit different. There were teachers such as Gurdjieff who mostly focused on the psychological aspect of the work, then there were those such as Eliphas Levi who were focused a lot on the ceremonial mystical aspect, and those of the kind of Blavatsky who focused a lot on the mystical aspect in order to expand the thought in that way, and there were those of the like of Sivananda who focused a lot on the development of certain parts of our spiritual constitution, such as the Kundalini and the chakras, etc. etc. All these teachers had a unique mission and a unique ray of their Being, which is why they focused on different things in regard to the awakening process, though the people that got in touch with them have profited in their own development of the consciousness; perhaps we can say that it is what humanity needed at that time.
Samael Aun Weor came as a man with awakened consciousness whose mission was to bring a new type of teachings, the teachings that combine both the mystical and the psychological exercises in a new and thorough way. We could say he made a unique order in the teachings of awakening with the purpose for the people to reach stages of spiritual mastery in just one or a few lifetimes. The speed of reaching such spiritual heights would depend of course on each individual and their Being, as it is the latter that has the last word as to when the essence will begin the process of spiritual liberation and how fast it will move.
The teachings of Samael resulted in a number of students reaching different degrees of spiritual mastery, and then they too organized the practices in a way that they felt or feel that others will benefit the most of. They felt that that was needed to do in order to put a higher focus on some exercises, and to use other ones at different times as an addition, rather than having dozens of them and not knowing which one should one focus on the most. Samael Aun Weor has left us with many of them, and unless someone is thoroughly acquainted with his teachings and the exercises that he prioritized, it could happen that focus might be placed on the secondary practices and disregarding the primary ones. On this subject, let’s see which are the main exercises of the Gnostic teachings.
The fundamental practices of the Gnostic teachings
The question of which are the main exercises is not always easy to answer, because we are all different essences with different spiritual needs, but in general we could say that the most essential ones are exercises known as the Three Keys to awakening. These Keys are:
1. The Death
This refers to the practices of the Mystical death, which is applying the technique to disintegrate the egos from moment to moment, and also in meditation as a meditation on the ego, as the retrospective exercise, and as the transformation of impression exercise. This is the primary way to advance spiritually because it is only when the old dies that the new can be born within us. The old here are the heavy ego energies that keep us enslaved to the Samsaric Wheel through the endless repetition of mistakes and thus bounding us to the Law of Karma and the Law of Return and Recurrance. If there is not enough dying, then consciousness remains stagnant and no progress takes place, even if one practices alchemy. We could therefore say that the Mystical Death is the gateway to any real inner progress.
2. The Birth
The birth in this context refers to the usage of sexuality for spiritual awakening, through a practice known as alchemy or white tantra. From the death of the heaviness of the egos are born virtues and merits, such as love, compassion and wisdom. As these virtues develop, the usage of sexuality and sexual intimacy gradually becomes more and more transcendental and aligned with the above said virtues. The purely animalistic function of sexuality thus becomes spiritualized and transformative, through which the higher spiritual bodies/vehicles (vital, astral, mental, causal, buddhic, atmic) are created or activated (depending on if we have them from before or not), in which the distinct parts of the Being can incarnate, parallel to the passing of initiations and tests on the Path to awakening. These spiritual vehicles are also known as the solar bodies, which later become the golden bodies, and finally they are transformed into the bodies of light. In Judaic tradition, these vehicles are known as Mercaba, the Chariot of the Gods.
Our inner God (the Being), with all its distinct parts, needs his vehicles in which he can incarnate and use them in his work. It is said that these vehicles can be created and/or activated only through the sexual alchemy – this is mostly true, but if for one reason or another there is no possibility to practice alchemy, one should not dismay but keep active with other exercises of the inner work, as alchemy can happen in more than one way, and the bodies can be received from a higher source as well. These alternative ways, however, seem to depend a lot on the esoteric history of the essence and the goals of their Being, and so it remains true that the main way of acquiring those solar bodies is by building them through one’s own effort in this lifetime in the process of sexual alchemy, though keeping in mind that the Reality is vast and that different process can happen beyond what you currently may know.
3. The Sacrifice
The sacrifice for humanity, helping others spirituality, being of service to others so that those who are ready can also spiritually awaken. This is not really an exercise but rather acts made of compassion and understanding that by helping others spiritually, we are helped too. The amount of help that we receive when we help others is significant and, I would dare to say, crucial for the unfoldment of the process of awakening on higher octaves. It is in human nature to be helpful, so we are helpful to those who are coming behind us in this work, just like those ahead of us are helping us. It is the basic law of give and receive. When we give unconditionally, we receive unconditionally.
These Three Keys are not really practices but a way of life: the moments in the day are transformed into eliminating the egos from moment to moment, the sexual intimacy becomes a transcendental sexual intimacy, and we give freely of our time to help others to grow spiritually. The only meditative practices in here are aspects of the first key: meditation on the ego, retrospection and the transformation of impressions. In order to eliminate the ego from moment to moment, one also has to make the first effort into the awakening of the consciousness, and this effort is to be in the state of self-remembrance, and to self-observe the egos – that too is part of that way of life, rather than a sit down practice.
There are many secondary exercises in the Gnostic teachings that serve to awaken the consciousness, provide us with insights, inspiration and knowledge, so that by having all these higher qualities we could be reminded of the work and harness higher energy that can be used as a fuel for the work with the Three Keys. These practices are:
Transmutation of the sexual energies
This is a sit down practice that one does as a single person in the morning or different times of day (I say as a single to distinguish when this is done within alchemy). The transmutation practice is when the stored sexual energy is moved up from the sexual center up the spine into the brain and then down into the heart, so that in the heart it can be transmuted and given to the Being to use it as a fuel for the inner work. This exercise can be done as a single person as a sit down practice, or as a couple within alchemy.
This refers to the exploration of the various regions of nature that are invisible to our physical senses, such as the etheric world, the astral world, the mental world, and the causal world. Exploration of those places can give us incredible understanding of reality, ourselves, and it open us up to a higher life, so that we do not get lost in the everyday problems of our physical life. We normally start with the exploration of the astral world, but as we develop more and more, we gain access to other dimensions of life as well.
Even though I’ve put meditation among the secondary exercises, it is a very important one, and practicing it daily gives us good results and helps immensely with the inner work. We can use meditation as a way to explore reality and different topics of life, death, Creation etc., and we can also use it to explore our own inner defects, as mentioned in the First Key (the Death). Meditation provides us with a daily contact with our Being; this contact is a silent one, though nonetheless it nourishes us and gives us a distinct fuel for our inner work.
Chanting or vocalizing mantras
By so doing, we activate spiritual centers within us that put our psyche to a higher state of being, and also we become more profoundly identified with the consciousness and its qualities. The mantras that we have in the Gnostic tradition are many, and we also use spiritual mantras from the Buddhist, the Hindu, and some other traditions that serve for various purposes, such as increased devotion, calming down the mind, purifying ourselves and the surrounding space etc.
Developing psychic senses
As our spiritual work proceeds, we expand our awareness from the strictly physical into the realities of the non-physical. The consciousness and the chakras provide us with the ability to perceive things of the higher worlds and to use our psychic senses in everyday life. These senses are telepathy, intuition, clairvoyance etc. It can be very inspirational and useful for the inner work to have developed the above said faculties; with intuition we could navigate our way through life and our spiritual Path, through telepathy we can communicate with spirits and masters, and with clairvoyance we can also communicate as well as perceive things in the Universe and its dimensions. With clairvoyance, we can for example trace the history of any object we focus on, and we may even see its future unfoldment; we can also perceive remotely in this dimension, or gaze into higher dimensions of life. Obviously, when we are certain that those visions are real, this could give us a lot of inspiration and remembrance of the inner work in daily life. Generally speaking, there are many uses of having access to psychic senses.
Some additional practices
In his teachings, Samael Aun Weor also gave us many other practices that one can use if so intuitively guided. These practices mostly relate to the build up of special forces that can be used for the inner work:
The runic exercises
The Gnostic Runes are a series of exercises that involve physical postures, visualization, prayer, transmutation, drawing the energy from an external source (such as the sun), and vocalizing mantras. Some people find these exercises a great mean to connect with nature, particularly when doing them in the morning and in a natural environment. However, certain runes can also be done under the starry sky.
In a few of his books, Samael mentioned some practices related to zodiac constellations. This may be a good way to harness some particular energies as a mean of having additional force for the work, if that is what your Being needs at this point in time. When I experimented with these practices, I did it as a sit down meditation in which I asked the Father to create a shield between me and the energies coming in from the zodiacal constellation I was focusing on, so that only energies beneficial for the Being may flow through me. There is more to this exercise, which I may explain in a future article.
Working with the elementals and the Devas
In the Gnostic teachings, we use the elemental magic (or connect with their Devic rulers) in particular cases that can be helpful for our inner work, such as when we need spiritual protection or assistance with out-of-body travel, or when we need to purify our energies etc. The elemental magic can also be used when in need of physical protection or of some basic necessity, or when there is a need to help others, such as when they are under an influence of black magic. However, one should never employ the elementals to do things based on your egoic wishes, or to control or harm others, as then it is you who would be doing the black magic. If used, this knowledge of the elemental magic should be applied with great care.
As already mentioned, in the Gnostic teachings we are equipped with all the necessary exercises that serve for the permanent awakening of the consciousness and self-realization of the Being. It is advised to use the exercises only when properly understand them and what they do. We should always remember that it is the Three Keys that are the foundation of any real progress on the line of the Path and spiritual ascension. Without the Keys, we are only optimizing our inner energies, but are not transforming them, and we are not moving towards becoming a spiritual being. If one or two keys are missing, we do what we have available, and practice other exercises, and then things will start to move, and we will progress. The exercises should be looked at in the context of the Path, as they are there to help us climb up the Three Mountains, the Path of Ascension. It is this Path that takes us to the Final Liberation.
HDP, March 2022.