It must be very clear that this new approach is not a proposal to reintroduce the old Mystery Schools or the Gnostic branch of Christianity and Judaism. All these are part of the past and cannot be brought back to life again. They are not any old religion adapted to the modern people who would reject them with reason. As an example, it is difficult to imagine a modern man going through the process of initiation the ancients gladly accepted. It is true the Freemasons still have an introduction ceremony quite similar, although much simpler. But this respectable organisation claims that it is not a religious system, and it attracts only a very special type of persons for reasons that are more social that religious.
The Mystery Schools had their “raison d’être” two thousand years ago as religious and social organisations, useful for the people of that time. They were also useful as meeting places for the intellectuals to discuss freely their views, not only on religion, but also on philosophy and sciences. These intellectuals have been badly treated by history that describes them as “primitive”. However it is only necessary to read some of their books to see that they had reached a high level of competence. Their scientific knowledge, of course, looks strange and very limited compared to what we know today, but they are at the base of all we have acquired since.
The Gnostics, especially the Jewish and Christian Gnostics, were the members of the upper intellectual class of their time. Reaching Gnosis required hard work, but also a high level of intellectual capability together with the will to pursue a long and tedious research and introspection. Most people could not do it and they were happy to follow the “Literalists” who offered them salvation by faith only. And this everybody could claim to have.
The new approach proposed is nothing really new, but it is an enlargement of our understanding of our religions, as they exist today. For the Christian, for instance, the starting point is a good knowledge of the teaching, the doctrine, and the rules of the actual Literalist Churches. The candidates who are interested to walk on the path to Knowledge (Gnosis) should start only when this base has been explored and understood.
The path to Gnosis is difficult for the members of all the religions. This is even more so today because there is no help available. The enterprise is a lonely one, misunderstood by most faithful believers, and requires very hard work.
Luckily these days the documentation is available, not always easily, but it exists and is available to most people. Introspection poses another problem. By definition it is a very personal act, but it could be made a little easier if some kind of instructors –people who have gone through the process- were available. Unfortunately this help does not exist and even if some so-called “Guru” pretend to be part of the Gnostic tradition, most of them if not all, cannot be trusted, and forging ahead alone is the better choice.
Again it must be repeated that the road to Knowledge is very hard and very long. Only those who have the intellectual abilities, and the wish to do the hard work required, will succeed to somehow travel some distance on it, but nobody will even reach the end. However, any progress on it is worthwhile, even if it does not guarantee any special recompense; above all it does not guarantee what we call “Salvation”. All the same any travelling part of this lonely road brings a better understanding of religion, that is of life and death as well as of oneself, and this is perhaps the most important.