Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thunder - Introduction & Evolution

Thunder is a one of the most perplexing gnostic texts and worth its weight in gold. A worthy read and an even more worthy collection of verses to meditate on. Because its verses contain such contradictory descriptions(sometimes in the same line!) it is necessary to nibble on it instead of trying to digest it in one sitting. It really will give you a splitting headache. I've been 'nibbling' at it for a few months now and finally have a grasp of most of the broad concepts explored therein.

Among Nag Hammadi experts it is most commonly thought that Sophia herself speaks through the voice of an author(unknown) to create a powerful but complicated feminine persona who traverses a thousand years of ancient literary equivalents. There are parallels in Thunder's literary styles with Sanskrit, Egyptian, and Jewish literature devices and forms. Thunder as a historical religious text and Sophia's mystery aren't that mysterious when taken into those contexts, then. The poetic form is timeless.

A few related verses from Thunder has fired my imagination to blog today. In no particular order:

"I am silence incomprehensible
and an idea remembered often."

"I am the utterance of my name."

"I am hearing for all,
and my speech is indeciperable.
I am an unspeaking mute
and enormous in my many words."

"Those unconnected to me are unfamiliar with me,
and those in my substance know me.
Those close to me are ignorant of me,
and those far away have known me.
On the day I am close to you, you are far,
and on the day I am far, I am close to you."

"Hear me, hearers,
and find out about my words, you who know me.
I am the hearing all can reach;
I am speech undecipherable.
I am the name of the sound
and the sound of the name.
I am the sign of the letter
and the designation of the division."


"Come to childhood and don't despise it, because it is small and tiny."


The last line seems to be the icing on the cake, for me anyway. The punctuation at the end of a sentence. A gentle hug after a good long cry. Because you know we all royally pissed off our parents during childhood. It's not easy being a parent. It's hard to know whether to let your child suffer for a bit in order to learn or to help them right up after a fall.

And along the lines of Night Reflection's post concerning FEELING and recognizing that divine connection to God in our lives, how can we write about these conversations with the All? At times I am so stumped for words I cannot even think of where to begin. This is why having eloquent verses like Thunder available in print is so vitally important for those of us who strive to learn and feel more than what is available for common consumption on CNN and with our cup of coffee.

In my own struggle to come up with an adequate description of what this divine connection and communion feels... I feel inept and not up to the task. My conclusion is that this is because I am such a visual person. And my relationship with Pleroma seems to be one of fewer words and more emotional surges. There's only so many words in a thesaurus to describe warm, fuzzy, loving, adoring, universal, all encompassing, endlessly compassionate, endlessly forgiving...

And I have arrived at a solution while writing out that paragraph. In one word. My search has ended.


Now of course I can come up with a dozen more synonyms for that. Boundless. Eternal. Infinite. Unceasing. Etc.

But endless seems to cover it.

Like an endlessly overflowing cup of joy. When I was a child I recognized this. Instinctively. And it was terrifying! I didn't know what this visualization was(cup of overflowing substance) or what it represented. I had nothing to hang onto. There was no edge to that cup. It was just me in my little bitty body floundering in that emotion. All I knew was that I felt too much, knew too little, and had no one to help me with such a thing.

It took me another twenty years of living to discover what it was. Him. Her. Them. The All. Everything!

Picture a continually overflowing cup. Our very analytical human minds will constantly try to grasp at ideas of where the substance is being sourced from. But here's the answer to the riddle: there is no Place where it resides. There is no Beginning to find. It simply is. And that is what we find so unfathomable. And outrageous in our narrow human view, therefore we make up and even accept the most absurd allegorical stories to be fact to stop us from being faced with that endlessness. It terrifies us. Deep down, it terrifies us. We don't see an edge to that great big swimming pool. There are no life rafts for us to grab onto.

Occam's razor isn't just a mathematical term. And we shouldn't believe myths to be facts simply because it's easier to bear. We cannot evolve as truly responsible adults in the eyes of the All if we shackle ourselves to these literal interpretations. By releasing our bonds we are letting go of the edge we have superficially created and float free in His substance; content and liberated in our spiritual growth. Endlessness doesn't make us tremble anymore. We dive into that tranquil sea and don't touch bottom.


Steve Truebluehealer said...

Thunder seems a bit like that Gospel of riddles, is it Thomas, Angel ?
Reminds one of a buddhist koan to baffle the left brain into closing down to enable transcendence. And all that endlessness is inside you.

You are quite correct, words are an impediment to describing gnosis., so inadequate they are. It must be experienced. You write some lovely things. Precious you are. Love Steve.

Angel said...

Book of Riddles, it is. Thomas is far easier for me to absorb than Thunder. Probably because Thomas deals more with the character of Christ than Sophia and Sophia is an entity I hadn't had the time to study up until this point.

If something is close to you and yet far, then how far is close and how far is far? How big can something be if it is far and close at the same instant in time?

It's like defining the 'vastness' of space. Incomprehensible unless you use the tools of metaphor and simile.

Koans are mindbreaking, true. Maybe that's why I had such a rough time with Thunder originally and had to ignore it for so long. My mind wasn't ready to be bent that way yet.

As inadequate as words can be to describe gnosis, I think that it is vital to all of humanity that we give it our best attempt. I cannot imagine where our civilization would be if historical gnostics' writings had not prevailed against the harsh elements of time.

Eternal peace to you, Steve


Jillatay said...

The mystery becomes clear by leaving the mind's activity of wording. Easier said than done and finding that little trick that works for YOU is the beginning of the Path. May each and every one know this wonderful freedom in this very lifetime.