Homoeroticism and Gnosticism
The title alone of this paper will frighten away some readers but it must be made clear that one of the major elements of the Gnostic tradition is what we call in the twentieth century "homosexuality". In the past it may have gone under many names and descriptions, but the love of ones own sex and the related rejection of the reproductive and family ethic was the core of the Gnostic ethical system. When the Bogomils were nicknamed the Buggers it was for an obvious reason, as were the homosexual claims made against the Knights Templar. It seems too easy today to ignore the more unsavoury elements (in the eyes of modern conservatives) of the Gnostic tradition and attempt to re-mould Gnosticism into some sort of mystical Christianity, "the Christianity to have when you are not a Christian" so to speak. The reality of the real Gnosis couldn't be farther from this distortion.
Matter and Reproduction
The fact of the matter is that the central Gnostic myth is that of the descent into matter, the nexus of this myth is mans entanglement in material perceptions which in turn create the reality we have around is. This model while no necessarily being against the material world does have anti-reproductive ramifications. If matter is the realm of experience and our aim is to return to the higher worlds then anything done to perpetuate that process is destructive. According, reproduction is unacceptable. While some Gnostic groups allowed reproductive couples to exist in the outer ranks (such as the married initiates who existed on the fringes of Essene communities), the prime directive was non-reproduction. The way in which the Gnostic communities dealt with this issue varied from cult to cult, some demanded celibacy, others allowed non-reproductive promiscuity, some allowed non-reproductive heterosexuals in their Ecclesia, many did not. The homosexual elitism of many early Gnostic cults has been ignored by modern scholars, it is as though the heterodox nature of Gnosticism is enough without suggesting sexual abnormality as well ! It seems so easy for modern "Tantricists" to claim that the Gnostics practised Tantra without coming to grips with the real nature of the Gnostic perspective. In the Valentianian Gnostic tradition there were multiple levels of enlightenment, at the highest level the Pneumatic, the sexuality that was permitted was for sacred and ritual purposes, profane sexuality (including all reproduction) was out of the question.
Part of the difficulty in assessing the role of homosexuality is that the later Christian authors made such an effort to edit out the more blatant references and manipulate those that were left. Certainly it seems likely that the supposed "Celibacy" of Catholicism was more an edict against marriage (i.e. reproducing) that against sexuality itself, it is only as views of sexuality became corrupted that the role of "sacred homosexuality" was lost.
Before we actually discuss the homoerotic elements of the Gnostic tradition, we need to understand a few basic principles. Gnosticism does not believe in the concept of equality, it is a stupid and rancid concept born of modern Liberalism and faulty education. Any cursory consideration of the nature of humanity makes it clear that people and groups vary greatly. While we may argue for equality before the eyes of the law for purely civil and legal purposes, it is certainly erroneous to believe that all people are equal in actuality. To really apply the "equality principle" would destroy our society in an instant - whether you are studying, applying for a job or searching for friends, we all discriminate (meaning- right judgement) and we all rate others. Accordingly, no one is equal to anyone else and this concept can be extended to the sexes, sexual orientation and to races and cultures. It is incredulous to suggest that all races are equal, it is quite clear from any unbiased study of genetics, heredity and IQ that races are different in all sorts of way, just as men and women are different and straight and gays are different. Equality is also irrelevant from the perspective of the Gnostic since the mechanism of possible development is reincarnation and, accordingly, personal development takes places through many bodies travelling through various sexes, orientations and races. The "inequality" of human nature can hence be related to personal growth, karma, reincarnation and related issues and therefore a differentiation must be made between the essential "I" and the characteristics of the mind and body. While, as we shall discuss, there are clearly differences between the sexes and the iconography of the sexes as well as variations between orientations (and these include aspects of inferiority and superiority), since the "I" is beyond these labels we are not judging the real "I" but the nature of the form during a given incarnation. Political correctness and current ideological controls notwithstanding, it should be made clear - there is no such thing as equality
The Gnostics preferred queers and that is about as blunt as I can get, while non-reproductive heterosexuals were accepted in many groups the emphasis was on "gender variance". In ancient Israel there was a whole priest-class, the Qadesh who were gender variant and had a sacred role, their task being edited from history by the incoming Pharisaic warlords. In most pre-Judeo-Christian cultures the homosexual was a priest, shaman and wonderworker, it is only the in the literalist and fundamentalist faiths that homosexuals have been degraded. Homosexuals are old souls, they have come into the body to evolve, teach and learn. In the Gnostic tradition, the priesthood is nearly always homosexual, the reason for this is both sexually and spiritually relevant. The essence of homosexuality is, in some sense, narcissistic, it is seeing a reflection of yourself in another's form. While we may argue that each sex have dual identities, this may be true but these dual identifies (Anima/Animus) are locked into a one sex body and hence homosexuality is the ultimate form of self realisation (or self delusion). Homosexuals transform the reproductive program of the DNA/RNA into something new, paternal and maternal instincts programmed at a cellular level are re-rooted away from reproduction into new realms. At least that is what should happen. The powers that be saw the rise of the Gay movement and have worked hard to twist, destroy and mould homosexuals into "heterosexuals who just fuck differently" - nothing could be further from the truth.
Institute for Gnostic Studies, June 2000.