Church of Gnostic Luminism





Luminist Manifesto: Basic Concepts



The Society of the Future

Humanity is still living in the late prehistory of true civilization.

The first social system of the future that can justly be called civilized must be humane and equitable, sustainable, and ecologically sound.

It must have a voluntary, cooperative worldwide economic system that can provide fully for all Earth citizens.

The foundation of this new society must be a worldwide cultural recognition of ABSOLUTE INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND PERSONAL SOVEREIGNTY.

Such a society is, in our view, the proper destiny of the human race.  Its blueprint is encoded in our genes, awaiting the conscious awakening of a “critical mass” of Humanity to trigger the changes that will bring it into being.

It is to this CONSCIOUS AWAKENING that our efforts are dedicated. Our goal is to make the Utopian vision of  “How It Ought To Be” an obtainable reality in our lifetime.

The Syncretic-Eclectic Method

The teachings of the Church of Gnostic Luminism will be based on a synergistic and holistic method of obtaining experiential knowledge of reality ( = Gnosis).  Our approach will harmonize and utilize the combined perspectives of SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, and THEOLOGY — providing access to a new type of mental comprehension which can overcome the limitations of sterile rationalism.

The traditions of GNOSIS and LUMINISM teach that humanity can have access to an enlightened and scientifically calibrated subjective intuition, a precision instrument of consciousness. Once this technique has been learned and mastered, direct revelation of truth about reality ( = Gnosis) will be possible, along with liberation from all limitation. 

The Church of Gnostic Luminism will utilize technologies of consciousness expansion ancient and modern, as a means of achieving this power.

The Church curriculum will incorporate safeguards against superstition and dogma, based on a rigorous critical examination of all things.

Syncretism, the first of two equally important elements of the Gnostic-Luminist method, prescribes an attitude of openness to and respect for all of the varied religious, philosophical, and scientific traditions, disciplines, and schools of thought that exist now or have existed on Earth. While not necessarily implying acceptance, the syncretic approach mandates an unbiased and fair evaluation of each school of thought, and an honest attempt to recognize and appreciate the values to be found therein.

Eclecticism, the second element, is the selective use of only those aspects of each tradition that prove to be valid after exhaustive analysis and research, and disregard of all other aspects. The eclectic approach provides a safeguard against the superstition and error that has plagued the religious traditions of the past.

Intuition, the faculty of direct, unmediated perception of reality, is a natural human trait, although it has been largely overlooked in modern Western (Euro-American) traditions. Once it has been awakened and properly attuned, the intuitive faculty will guide and empower the intellect in its pursuit of the syncretic/eclectic method.

Training in intuitive receptivity and its practical applications will prove to be a powerful instrument for the acquisition of the true knowledge of reality ( = Gnosis) that, in Gnostic theology, confers redemptive and liberating power.

and visionary experience are available to all who choose to make use of the techniques of consciousness expansion or entheogenesis. Grounded by the syncretic/eclectic method and guided by an enlightened intuition, the Gnostic Luminist will be prepared to utilize the revelatory or “psychedelic” (soul-manifesting) experiences that are available on the frontiers of consciousness to maximum effect. These combined consciousness technologies constitute a “macroscope,” an instrument that 21st century science may find to be as vital as the microscope was to the biologists of the 19th century, or the telescope to the astronomers of the 18th.


The word “gnostic” derives from the Greek word gnostikon, one who has secret or esoteric knowledge; from the Greek root gnosis, knowledge. Stemming from the same Indo-European root as the English word “know,” gnosis forms the basis of words like “agnostic” (one who lacks knowledge), “diagnosis” (knowledge obtained by observation), etc.

The “knowledge” referred to, when the word is used in its theological sense, is absolute certainty with no possibility of error.

The Gnostic schools of spiritual and philosophical thought hold that this knowledge, which may be obtained by the Initiate, is the basis of all true “salvation” or spiritual self-transformation — or, in Oriental terms, liberation from bondage to the limitations of materiality.

Gnosis replaces the “faith” or blind belief
of exoteric religion.


The Church of Gnostic Luminism will assert that such knowledge is both possible and necessary. Our task will be to research, develop, perfect, and teach methods by which true gnosis may be acquired.

Early Gnostics

Various ancient spiritual and/or “occult” movements have been known as Gnostics, including Egyptian, Persian, Palestinian, and Babylonian esoteric schools and initiate orders.

Gnostic spokespersons in the ancient world included
Simon Magus, Valentinus, and Basilides.  

The Gnostic movement in the first two centuries of the common era was a major formative influence on early Christianity — but nearly all Gnostic influences were purged from “official” Roman Christianity after its establishment under the emperor Constantine.

Gnostic texts of the early Christian era included the
Apocryphon of John, the Pistis Sophia, the Gospel of Thomas, and others, some of which were among the manuscripts discovered at Nag Hammadi in the 1940s. The Ophites and the Phibionites were among the ancient Gnostic movements.

Of primary importance to medieval and subsequent Gnostic thought was the
Qabalah, an esoteric Hebrew tradition.  The Knights Templar preserved the ancient Hermetic and Qabalistic lore, and forged ties with parallel Oriental  and Islamic traditions including the Sufis and the infamous Hashishim
 or “Assassins,” an Ishmaili initiate order founded in 1090 by the legendary Sheikh Hassan-bin-Sabbah.

Modern Gnostics

In the medieval, renaissance, and early modern periods, proponents of views influenced by Gnosticism included:

The Gnostic tradition in the 20th century includes the German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), and the French Islamic scholar and mystic, Henry Corbin (1903-1978).

Also showing the influence of Gnosticism are the archetypal or depth psychologies of Carl Jung, James Hillman, David Miller, etc.

At the present time, organized representatives of the Gnostic tradition include the Theosophical and Anthroposophical movements, the schools of Gurdjeiff and Ouspensky, the Ecclesia Gnostica, the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (religious affiliate of Ordo Templi Orientis), the Ambrosii Magi Hortus Rosarum, the Universal Gnostic Fellowship, and others.

The study of the history, lore, and teachings of this Gnostic tradition will form a part of our curriculum of study; the Church of Gnostic Luminism will honor these voices as antecedents in its spiritual lineage.


The word “Luminism” (also spelled Illuminism) comes from the Latin lumen, meaning “light.”  Its implication is “inner light” or “enlightenment” — a subjective experience of spontaneous awareness and understanding of truths about reality. This term relates to a religious and philosophical tradition based on direct experience of reality as opposed to faith, belief, or rational speculation. Rather than trying to obtain true information about reality through the abstractions of rational thought, the Luminist will seek to awaken the mind into higher levels of consciousness in which the object of inquiry can be interacted with directly without the intermediary of abstractions.

Luminists adopt a rigorously critical skepticism not unlike the modern scientific method; the major distinction is that the Luminist laboratory admits evidence acquired by instruments other than the five physical senses.

Early Luminists

Historical antecedents to the Church of Gnostic Luminism in the Luminist tradition include the pre-Christian “Mystery Religions”: the Greek and Roman cults of Dionysus or Bacchus, and Pan; of Demeter, Kore or Persephone; of Orpheus, Attis, and Osiris. Important Luminist movements included the Greek Mystery Schools of Eleusis and Delphi, and the Pythagorean school founded at Crotona in Southern Italy in the 6th century BC, a syncretistic learning center that established links with Persian, Syrian, and Egyptian cultures and engaged in dialog with Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists.

The Ptolemaic cult of Serapis of the second century BC and the cult of Mithra that flourished in the second century CE contributed to the Luminist tradition.

The esoteric philosophies of Neoplatonism and Hermeticism carried the movement forward through the balance of the first millennium. Later Luminists included the medieval alchemists, Paracelsus (1493-1541), the Rosicrucian orders, and renaissance magicians like John Dee (1527-1608) and Edward Kelly (1555-1597).

Luminism took definitive shape as the doctrine of the esoteric movement within Freemasonry, beginning with the Knights Templar, and including the Illuminati of Bavaria, which combined Tantric, Zoroastrian and Manichaean mysticism with revolutionary anarchism.

Modern Luminists

More recent manifestations of Luminism include the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the “Scientific Illuminism” of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) as taught through the O.T.O. and in Crowley’s periodical, The Equinox, and his other writings.

In the 20th century, the Luminist tradition was manifested in the “psychedelic revolution” of the 1960s, and in the works of Wilhelm Reich, Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, and Terence McKenna. The tradition continues today with the work of contemporary Luminists like Ram Dass, Stephen Gaskin, Stanislav Grof,  and many others. The Church of Gnostic Luminism will respect all of these sources and draw upon them for inspiration.




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