Perth Postering

Matthew’s Welcome Spiritual Discovery

Matthew
Matthew O

When I stumbled across one of The Gnostic Movement’s websites, I’d not participated in a religious or spiritual group before. I wasn’t looking to join one either. I was open-minded about spirituality, but wasn’t interested in taking up a particular creed.

Most spiritual groups I was aware of, whether large or small, generally had a doctrine that you could either accept as the truth or reject; and if the latter you could not really participate meaningfully. I found that approach quite limiting.

I wanted a tangible way to explore spirituality and discover what is really going on in life for myself. But I didn’t think or expect any group offered a practical way to do that.

The Gnostic Movement had another approach, however, which I found appealing. It had its doctrine and teachings, but it also offered a series of free course where you could learn how to apply its spiritual exercises in a practical way. You were encouraged to use the exercises to explore what was explained in its teachings for yourself. There was no obligation to accept everything in its doctrine upfront.

The first thing that attracted me to The Gnostic Movement was the information on astral projection. Some unusual circumstances had prompted me to investigate the “paranormal”: I’d had a few spontaneous out-of-body-experiences and strange experiences with sleep paralysis which baffled me. I wanted to understand what was happening and take control of these situations, and explore this phenomenon in a hands-on way.

So I started searching the internet for information, and came across the site Astralweb in mid-2004. It had some good information and forums where I asked a few questions, and it also advertised a free astral projection course which was then run on another site called Mysticweb. I signed up to take the course online as there was no center or group where I lived.

Beyond astral projection, I didn’t have much interest in the rest of the gnostic stuff at that time. Samael Aun Weor’s books were available as PDFs on their website, and I skimmed through them a bit before taking the course, but I didn’t really find it appealing at first and was not convinced it was all true. I decided to just do the course and try the practices, and didn’t plan going beyond that.

The course was a 9-week program, with a new topic and exercise to try each week. The weekly topics and exercises were explained in PDF documents made available for download at the start of each week, which were written by Belzebuub. There were course forums where you could share feedback and ask questions.

I found Belzebub’s writing clear and practical in a way that really struck a chord with me. But what struck an even deeper chord were the experiences I began to have through trying the techniques provided. I was astonished to discover they really worked.

Even though I was practicing alone in my bedroom, without access to the support and guidance of a Gnostic center, I felt I was getting help in some way, like I was somehow becoming connected to something much bigger going on in life.

During the online course I experienced astral travel. Through the course I’d learned that you could ask for a spiritual teaching when consciously out-of-the-body; I tried that out and found it was possible. One night I was taken to a place where four men were seated at a table; they were just dressed normally. I walked over and sat down with them. I had no idea who they were. Later on though, when I saw some photographs, I recognised who three of them were: one was actually Belzebuub, one was Rabolu and another was Samael Aun Weor – the three teachers of modern Gnosis. But at the time I didn’t know who they were, or that they were spiritual teachers or anything, because I was new to this information and wasn’t familiar with their appearances, and had not taken any particular interest in them prior to that.

The one who I later found out was Samael Aun Weor asked me a question, and my response was incredibly silly. Belzebuub laughed, in a very genuine and lighthearted kind of way. Looking back, what I said was pretty ridiculous and I would probably laugh too if someone said that to me.

After that I received a personal teaching in a symbolic way. It gave me some pretty clear guidance about something I needed to change in my life which was holding me back spiritually, and it came in a way that I would have never expected – a symbolic way that spoke straight to my heart.

To get this kind of direct guidance was amazing. The written teachings were an extremely useful guide to help me, but by putting them into practice I found it was possible at night to get more personal spiritual guidance. I never knew this avenue for guidance from above existed before finding the Gnostic teachings. Considering the course was free, this was very good value.

Through conscious experiences like that beyond the body, I came to see that the teachings offered in The Gnostic Movement were not just something made up – there was a real spiritual depth to them, and they brought tangible results. I also discovered that Belzebuub, who guided The Gnostic Movement, was a genuine spiritual teacher, as were his predecessors. The guidance was not just static in words – it went beyond this physical world and manifested in dreams and astral experiences.

In astral experiences, Belzebuub didn’t always teach how I would expect. I remember an experience I had much later, where he came to me in the astral, and I was kind of stuck in a wall and couldn’t get out – at least I thought I couldn’t get out. I asked him for help, but he just walked away! I realised it was up to me to find the way to break free. I put in a bigger effort to get free – I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to get a teaching – and found I could get out after all. Belzebuub actually helped me overcome my defeatism by walking away, as it helped me learn to do it myself. And after freeing myself I caught up with him and got a really profound teaching.

I’d stumbled on a spiritual goldmine, and I found out so much about myself and my life through the experiences I was getting. I began to see the value in the spiritual work, in taking life in a different way to learn about myself, change for the better and help others to do the same. So I did all the courses I could, right through to the teacher’s training course.

Taking part in the courses put me in touch with the spiritual dimension of life I lacked contact with before. It inspired me to cultivate a relationship with divinity. I made more of an effort to improve my actions and inner state during the day, and made prayer a part of my daily life. If I became conscious in the astral plane, I learned that I could pray there too, and ask for spiritual guidance from higher spiritual aspects which guide us personally (which gnosis calls the divine mother and divine father). This guidance would often show me things I needed to improve or change in daily life.

At the start of 2006, about a year and a half after I first found the site Astralweb, a senior teacher moved to my city to start a new center. I was a trainee teacher, and had gone as far as I could in the online courses. My wife and I helped the new center to get established. Soon we had a flourishing center and the three of us were like family, and had many good times together.

Having been an online student who’d mostly practiced by myself, I really enjoyed being able to do practices with other people. It was a magical feeling, gathering in the hall in the evening, with the fragrance of incense, and doing the practices in a group. These could be really uplifting, and the room was charged with a spiritual atmosphere. Pronouncing mantras in a large group was a particularly enjoyable and energising experience.

It wasn’t until the end of that year that I actually met Belzebuub physically. This happened when I went to an Australian retreat he attended. I didn’t know he was coming so it was a nice surprise when he turned up.

I found him to be a very warm and considerate person. He gave some talks and guided some practices. And he was more than happy to answer some questions I had one-on-one as well. On the last night at the retreat everyone gathered around a camp fire, under the stars, and Belzebuub gave one of the most moving and profound talks I have ever heard. I remember another student describing it as feeling his words right in the heart, and I know what he meant. I left the retreat very inspired to keep striving to move forward in my spiritual journey.

I became a member of the organization in the ensuing year, and had the opportunity to work with Belzebuub and other committed people for a common spiritual aim. I found it very fulfilling to be part of an organization that was working for the greater good, and learned so much through my involvement, and really enjoyed being involved in the different projects and activities it was coordinating.

It wasn’t always easy, as I discovered, and there were lots of challenges, but I found that those challenges and opportunities provided just what I needed for my own spiritual journey. In facing external obstacles there are always inner obstacles to overcome, and things to learn about myself, and I’ve found the situations I was involved with in the organization gave me vital opportunities to learn and change in ways that just couldn’t occur if I wasn’t part of it.

I was so glad that out of all the commercial “spiritual” flotsam out there these days, that I managed to come across the teachings of Belzebuub and The Gnostic Movement, and discovered a real spiritual teacher, a real spiritual school, and a real opportunity for spiritual change, filled with genuine people working together in harmony.

I made many friendships in The Gnostic Movement that endured after the organisation closed. All the members and teachers who were there to the end were very kind considerate people. It was a very warm and supportive working environment, and some of the people I worked with became like family in a way. And Belzebuub was there along the way offering his guidance and support to all of us who were working together for this common aim, and his wisdom and guidance were truly priceless.

It’s very sad The Gnostic Movement is no longer around, and I still feel a great sense of loss at its closure. It was a truly unique organization in which I learned so much, and it made a lasting positive impact on my life.

I carry more than just happy memories from The Gnostic Movement. In my heart, the living connection with spirituality it taught me to forge is still there, and that, for me, is its true legacy which must be preserved.

Matthew O

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Perth's First Course

Wanting to Make a Difference — Priya’s Experience

Priya
Priya O

When I came across The Gnostic Movement about 9 years ago, I was looking for a way to do something worthwhile having just finished university and returned from travelling with friends. I’d spent my formative years waiting for the time when I was finally ‘free’ from school and university to explore the world and have fun, but now that I had reached that point, I was left feeling strangely dissatisfied with the materialistic kind of life I was living, and wanted to do something that would contribute to a better world and be a better person. I came from a country where hundreds of millions of people suffered abject poverty, and I wondered what good fortune had struck me that I had grown up in a privileged first-world country. Very little apart from sheer luck seemed to have given me a different kind of life from millions of others, and I guess my conscience was hammering me not to selfishly squander my life.

I started doing some volunteer work with the Red Cross, got involved in environmental & human rights causes etc. and tried to be an active global citizen. But even though I was doing these things, I didn’t feel that it actually made me any better a person. I was still the same old person inside that treated others badly and was self-absorbed, and despite my efforts to do something good, they were thwarted by the inner turbulence I was feeling.

Perth Center
Inside the main hall of the Perth center where I taught, just before a meditation practice

I found out about the Gnostic Movement through my partner who had come across the courses it was running online. I had a passing interest in it and was happy that he had found something that meant something to him, but felt personally that spirituality was something for ‘later in life’ when I’d settled down and could commit to something. I still didn’t really know what I was looking for, but the sense of dissatisfaction and disillusionment within me grew, which I found frustrating as these were meant to be the best years of my life.

One day I started reading some of the course material which were in PDFs that my partner had, from the Journey to Enlightenment course (published in Secret Knowledge, Hidden Wisdom by Belzebuub). Something from it just really struck me and I had this intuitive knowing that what was being written about was true, that there was a purpose to life and it involved spiritual change, and it would give me the answers I was looking for. Still, I didn’t really do much about it until 2006 when a teacher from another state came over to start up a physical group in my hometown. My partner had already been in touch with her and when she came, we both helped her get set up and find a place to stay.

Perth Center
One of the classes in the Perth center on astral travel

We hit it off straight away and became good friends quickly. We all lived nearby and would share meals together, check out places to run classes, head out to cafes and shops and put advertising posters up, and when classes actually started running in rented community halls we helped out. We shared countless discussions on spirituality and mystical experiences, and I learned and experienced many different spiritual practices that connected me to a part of myself I’d never known, and made me feel much more in touch with nature, the cosmos, and other people. It was an amazing time and there was a real spirit in the air of fostering a community of like-minded people interested in spirituality.

Soon after, we found a big old church for rent for a good price. It had polished wooden floorboards, high ceilings, a huge outdoor area, and a separate kitchen and dining area, and was walking distance to the river and parks. It was a beautiful place and we jumped at the chance to lease it to turn into a dedicated Gnostic center.

Swan River Perth
A group walk and discussion by the nearby Swan River

Having the center meant we could run meditation classes and courses whenever we liked, and it became a hub of activity, with drop-in meditation classes during the weeknights, and workshops and courses all weekend. People from all over the city would come and enjoy the ambience and environment of the place, and we would frequently go for walks to the nearby parks and river. During the evenings we would do practices together in a group like chanting mantras, concentrating on our heartbeat to try to astral project, have movie nights where we would share a meal and watch an inspiring film, etc.

On the weekends we would run different courses and activities, and sometimes get out of the city and into nature to go for bushwalks. We planted a beautiful garden full of scented flowers and native plants to attractive birdlife where we would spend many hours deep in conversation, and we were even adopted by 2 gorgeous white fantail pigeons who decided to make their home at the center, whom we built a little shelter for outside. These activities were really enjoyable but also helped mePerth Pigeons personally to explore spirituality in my life, as whatever activity, spiritual practice, or course we ran, it was done with the aim of learning from the situations of life, like treating others with respect and care, being responsible, overcoming fears, and so on. I learned so much in terms of being able to handle/overcome stress and anxiety, develop confidence and reduce negative thoughts about myself and others, feel more moments of peace and clarity, and have really amazing dreams and out-of-body experiences where I saw wonderful places and interacted with other beings in that dimension. Life took on a new purpose for me, not just to ‘go through the motions’ but to appreciate the circumstances I was in and the people around me, even if it was difficult, because I could see that they were exactly what I needed for my learning and inner development.

Perth Center Scented Garden
The scented garden we created out the front of the center when it was first planted

Eventually I became a member of the organization and got more involved with its running beyond the center, and worked with like-minded people from all around the world on different projects like new courses, websites, videos, publicity campaigns, etc. I developed more friendships and bonds with people that I still have to this day, and learned so many new skills and gained experience in different fields like law, management, copywriting, etc. which have also helped me in my career.

I also worked with the spiritual teacher of the organization, Mark (Belzebuub), which has been a really rewarding experience. The knowledge and wisdom he has gained through his own personal experiences have been very inspirational for me, and I find that he has an uncanny ability to sense when I was struggling with something, and in a gentle and unobtrusive way suggest or facilitate a solution that addressed it. He also gave me opportunities to contribute within the organization when I had really no experience or qualifications in those areas, which helped me develop certain skills and build upon strengths I had that otherwise I would never have developed in the normal course of things.

Perth Center fantail pigeons
The adorable fantail pigeons who stook a shine to us and adopted the center as their home

Overall my experience with The Gnostic Movement and its teachings has been very good, and it helped me to discover a meaning and purpose to my existence that was previously lacking. Learning how to combine right action and good deeds externally with a corresponding change for the better inside has really made an impact on my life and improved it on every level. I feel very fortunate to have been part of the organization while it was around, and am extremely saddened at its loss.

Priya O

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Melbourne Candle Workshop

Uplifting Spiritual Experience – David’s Experience

David A
David A

I really miss The Gnostic Movement. It’s not an understatement to say that the years I spent in it as a student and later as a teacher were some of the most fulfilling and uplifting of my entire life! Throughout my adult years I have spent time around people of many different spiritual and religious backgrounds. It was the teachings of Gnosis however that clicked with me the most, they made sense and could be taken up in life, something which I felt was really needed if I was going to fully learn about whatever possibilities spirituality held.

If you’ve ever tried any type of meditation or awareness practice at home by yourself, you’d probably know it can be quite difficult to stay focused and to get results. So even though I’d tried lots of different types of practices from many different traditions that I’d found in books or on the internet, I hadn’t had much success. I found that by going to my local Gnostic center and practicing with like-minded people I had a lot more success staying focused, and had some pretty amazing results almost straight away. As a result I went to as many practices I was able to and the Gnostic center became like a home away from home! It was a really magical time of my life as I knew that if I went to a practice, particularly ones in the evening when I was a little sleepy and could relax more easily, I was likely to have some sort of spiritual experience! Going to so many practices also meant I got to spend time socially with senior students and teachers, and I spent many hours in the center cafe, lapping up stories about how people found Gnosis, their experience of how to best use the practices in their lives, and the spiritual experiences they had gained. The friendships I made at the center, and also at the various retreats I attended were some of the most genuine and authentic I have ever had. Interestingly because of our shared interest in spirituality, even when meeting others interested in Gnosis for the first time, I often felt like I had known them for years.

Before I found out about Gnosis I had struggled with depression and sadness. I had been interested in out-of-body experiences for years but had never been able to achieve one and I thought that they potentially weren’t possible (but that wasn’t going to stop me trying). About 3-4 months into doing the courses I learned about ways to overcome depression, and when I tried them out, I saw that they worked! When I had my first out-of-body experience, along with all the other experiences I had previously that showed me there was truth in what I was learning, this was the icing on the cake – I was hooked! 🙂 I credit the success I had with the practices to the clarity of Belzebuub’s work. I have learned much from the books of Samael Aun Weor, but the way Belzebuub writes is very clear and approachable, down-to-earth spirituality for the current age that helped to explain Samael’s teachings and to put them into a modern context.

Because I had been getting so much out of the courses and practices I wanted to give something back. I admired how the teachers gave of themselves so freely, even when I kept them back for ages after class asking questions. As I began helping out in small ways where I could I began to develop a love of helping others – I now find it to be one of my most fulfilling activities. When I had the opportunity it seemed a natural progression then to learn to teach Gnosis. When I became a trainee teacher life became even more exciting. Because I had more opportunities for practicing and the knowledge that if I wanted to help others I needed first to have a thorough understanding of what I was helping them with, the extra momentum helped me to gain even more experience. Teaching also meant I got to see it wasn’t just myself benefiting from what I had learned. It was great to see the magic I had experienced also being felt by new attendees to the courses, to see the joyful excitement in people’s faces and to hear about the remarkable and life-changing experiences they were having.

Thanks to Belzebuub’s explanations of the teachings of modern Gnosis I have been able to experience states of peace I could not have believed possible, a massive reduction in troublesome emotions such as anxiety and depression, and incredible experiences of astral projection and lucid dreaming, some which are hard to even put into words. I have also been able to manage chronic illness and deal with difficult situations in my life which before Gnosis I wouldn’t have been able to withstand. Belzebuub has played an integral part in my spiritual interest and – despite having a long way to go – my spiritual development.

I can honestly say I don’t know where I would be now if I had never come across the work of modern Gnosis, Belzebuub and The Gnostic Movement. My teenage years were pretty turbulent and unfortunately it looked likely I was not going to end up anywhere good. Finding and being able to be part of The Gnostic Movement really helped me turn my life around however, and I will be eternally grateful for the years I was able to spend in The Gnostic Movement. For the years of amazing friendship and support from like-minded people – many I consider lucky to still call friends today – and for the many exciting and uplifting, experiences, challenges and adventures I gained through learning about and practicing Gnosis.

David A

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This picture is from April 2006. A group of us went hiking near Toronto and explored near this waterfall.

The Depth of Gnosis — Justin’s Experience

Justin
Justin N

I wasn’t raised in a religious family, but I feel I’ve always had a small part of me that was interested in connecting with the spiritual in some way. I had a certain inner urge to experience something that was “deep” — something profound or beyond my everyday experience. Although I searched for this experience in many places and found a whisper of it occasionally, I usually didn’t identify it as something spiritual.

Over time the idea of participating in anything overtly spiritual actually became very unappealing. As a teenager, I liked to consider myself an “intellectual”, and I became a committed atheist, certain that I was smarter than everyone else and had it all figured out. I still sought out certain types of “deep” experiences, but mostly through the lens of art and music or through my goal of being a writer.

Life seemed rosy on the surface, but I had one big problem: the life I had built was making me deeply unhappy. The unhappiness came not so much from my external life, but rather from the internal world of thoughts and emotions that I lived in every day. I was consumed with unpleasant and negative feelings such as jealousy, anger, and negativity, along with compulsive thoughts connected with these feelings. I seemed unable to shut off my mind or enjoy the nice things in my life, even though I seemed to have it made. Each day I was consumed by these awful inner states, with seemingly no way out.

This reached a tipping point where I had to admit to myself that I didn’t have it all figured out after all. My approach to life seemed perfectly logical, but it wasn’t leading me to happiness. I had to acknowledge that I had missed the boat somewhere, and even in the seeming failure of admitting that, there was an odd relief. The unknown and mysterious opened up to me again, and I could contemplate a world that held the potential for something more than my current unhappy state, even if I had no idea what that “more” was.

As if on cue, around that time I was introduced to some spiritual writings and in particular the teachings of Samael Aun Weor through some chance acquaintances. I still had a lot of built-in skepticism around spirituality, especially organized religion (which I didn’t see the point of) and the new age (which seemed a bit hokey to me). So it was very difficult to become open to any kind of spiritual study. However these new teachings seemed to provide an alternative way. It was a more “scientific” kind of spirituality, in that it involved experimentation and experience. I liked how the Gnostic teachings seemed direct and honest about both the good and the bad in life — they didn’t just sugar-coat everything with pleasant ideals, which I thought a lot of other teachings did. I felt an affinity with this perspective, which allowed me to get past my biases and start to explore things in a more open way.

In reading Samael Aun Weor, I learnt about the concepts of Gnostic psychology, of the many “I’s” or egos and the notion of being “asleep”. These ideas seemed intuitively correct, even if I didn’t fully understand them. I could actually see the truth of these things within my own psychology, in a limited way, and I felt these teachings had answers to a question I had often thought about without finding any real solution: who am I? Among all the different thoughts, ideas, and feelings, where is the essential me?

My main difficulty in studying Gnosis was that I was used to approaching things intellectually. As I absorbed more information, my mind became filled with Gnostic ideas, and even though I tried many practices enthusiastically, the experiences lacked depth because of my intellectual approach. I adopted some new spiritual concepts into my life, but I think that, based on the books alone, I didn’t yet have the understanding of Gnosis needed to make real changes.

This picture is from April 2006. A group of us went hiking near Toronto and explored near this waterfall.
This picture is from April 2006. A group of us went hiking near Toronto and explored near this waterfall.

Soon after this, I encountered the teachings of Belzebuub. I attended some of the courses that he had authored which were given by The Gnostic Movement, and I read the course handouts online (which would later be published as his books).

At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The teachings seemed so simple, very matter-of-fact and down-to-earth. I was expecting something much more complex and grand from a spiritual teacher.

But I was encouraged by the fact that the teachings given in The Gnostic Movement made things seem very practical and accessible. For example, when I had read about astral projection or learned about it in other schools, I got the impression it was something “advanced,” an experience I might have after many years of study.

But when I attended my first course with The Gnostic Movement, the teacher said I could experience astral projection in my first week if I tried. The thought that I could actually leave my body and experience mystical phenomena as an objective reality was just flabbergasting. I was so excited to try it. Some people actually did have experiences quite quickly, including close friends of mine. I was amazed. This wasn’t a theoretical teaching like I was used to. This was something that integrated with life.

I soon had astral experiences of my own, and even more importantly, I was learning how to tap into my consciousness (the spiritual part within). Before this time, I had twisted my brain into knots trying to experience mindfulness or increase my self-awareness, all with little success. I also had been still unable to fully control my negative emotions and thoughts. All my intellectual study had given me some interesting spiritual concepts, but I was throwing them into my internal mess, with all its compulsive negativity, and couldn’t figure out how to really change that.

It was the teachings given in The Gnostic Movement that really taught me how to be aware, explaining precisely the steps I needed to try. And in doing this I was able to discover what was truly spiritual within me.

I was so surprised and overjoyed to discover this source of real spirituality within myself. I had never really thought spiritual experiences were real or that you could actually experience a heightened state of consciousness just by practicing a meditative technique. But I saw for myself that you can do this and that there’s something magical in living this way.

I then saw how I could truly detach myself from the negativity and unhappiness within myself. I didn’t just paper over it with positive thinking or try to repress the negativity, but I actually began to observe and learn about these thoughts and feelings. Using the techniques given, I could see the possibility of becoming free from these inner states and replacing them with a better way of being. I was changing myself, in a fundamental way. It was such a magical and exciting time of discovery — life took on this mystical quality, and my most basic understanding of what was possible in life changed completely.

vancouver_teachers_justin
Here’s me teaching a course in Vancouver.

It was this type of experience that really changed the course of my life and propelled me to continue my search into Gnosis. If I had not experienced something real within myself, I don’t think I could have continued working for it as long as I have. Even in difficult times, the memory of this is strong in me and reminds me to ‘wake up’ when I’ve fallen ‘asleep’.

It was the power of these experiences that also propelled me to get more involved in The Gnostic Movement, as I felt that learning more and being able to share this information with others was one of the most important things I could do.

Vancouver Gnostic Group
A course being held in Vancouver at a nice community centre in a converted church building. We could have up to 80 people at these talks.

I eventually became a teacher of The Gnostic Movement and helped with giving courses, workshops, and retreats in several cities. I also joined a larger community of teachers and members working online, over time taking on a variety of responsibilities in many areas — accounting, legal matters, corporate administration, managing websites, running marketing campaigns, helping design a new course system, and so much more.

The experiences I’ve gained in doing all that have been priceless. Even on a simple level, the activities I did as a volunteer helped increase my confidence and capability in many areas in life, eventually launching me into my current career. But the more intangible rewards have been even greater.

Vancouver Arts and Crafts
An arts and crafts fundraiser we held in Vancouver. This one involved making our own tile mosaics.

To start with, teaching is a great way of learning, as you are continually inspired to re-engage with subjects afresh and to go deeper in your own practices. As a Gnostic teacher, I was able to connect with literally thousands of people who attended courses of The Gnostic Movement that I helped facilitate. These teaching activities were a constant source of strengthening energy in my life, as I engaged with people who were sharing a common interest in discovering the spiritual and mystical. In a world where the dominant values of society are oriented towards material things or towards more conventional belief systems, it was really incredible to create a shared space for people interested in experimentation and exploration of the unknown.

There was a “buzz” in the atmosphere as dozens of like-minded people gathered together to explore astral projection or to learn about consciousness. In retrospect, it almost amazes me that it ever happened, and I feel both a certain nostalgia for those bright days and a sense of loss that those times are over.

Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island
A hike on the beautiful Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island during a mini-retreat we held.

I also gained so much by working as part of an international team of committed volunteers. There have been many people that I have learned from and that inspired me through working on countless different projects, as well as many friendships formed. All of us were committed to the cause of sharing Gnosis with the world because we really valued it, and we were also committed to practicing it within ourselves. It felt like being part of a real team (very different than typical office politics) where the primary goal was to accomplish something greater than ourselves.

Writing this now, I can recall so many little memories that have a lot of significance. Even simple things like advertising for courses, renovating a center, helping with the search for a retreat center, building new websites, casual meals or conversations with friends, going on retreats, seeing Belzebuub teach in person and sharing experiences with him…they all had value.

I am really grateful to have had all that as part of my life for so many years, and I hope I and others can have a similar opportunity again one day. It was something precious in its day, and it is a shame that a school like that doesn’t exist any longer.

Justin N

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Earth Day Toronto Center

A Great Adventure – Vida’s Experience

Vida
Vida N

I found the Gnostic Movement at two pivotal times in my life. The first, when I had moved to the ‘big city’ and started out on my own, looking for adventure and to find more of a purpose in my life. The area I moved into had a library right around the corner and almost everyday I would visit its ‘new age’ and ‘occult’ section, devouring every book I could find on practical spirituality.

Despite my enthusiasm and motivation to explore spirituality, and what it means to be ‘awakened’ or ‘enlightened,’ I found I kept facing a dead end, as nothing was really providing a realistic or practical way to achieve it. On one of my trips to the library, I happened to notice a poster advertising a free introduction to a course on self-knowledge and meditation run by the Gnostic Movement.

The (Old) Toronto Center location when I first came
The (Old) Toronto Center location when I first came

I attended the introductory lecture, and was really impressed, and decided to check out the courses at their center. I attended for the self-knowledge course and part of the astral course, and was amazed at how much I was able to learn about myself and spirituality through the simple practices. Much more than I had reading stacks and stacks of ‘new age’ books in the library. It was also great to be able to talk to people about spirituality, and share experiences with a group of people looking to explore what life was all about. Unfortunately, a series of difficult events unfolded and I stopped attending the courses.

Fast forward two years, and the second time I found the Gnostic Movement I had set out on another adventure – parenthood! I was 4 months pregnant with a little girl when I started attending their new center, and it was an incredible time in my life. I was able to reconnect with friends I had previously made there, and as I started practicing the techniques again and exploring the topics I began to overcome and work through many of the aspects in my life that had weighed me down for so long, like anxiety and fear. I always looked forward to attending the various courses and events, and had many an interesting discussion on spiritual topics and experiences over what seemed like endless cups of tea. 🙂

Some of us that were on a walk on a popular nature trail near the city in 2010, when I first started training to become a teacher.
Some of us that were on a walk on a popular nature trail near the city in 2010, when I first started training to become a teacher.

After I had my daughter, I began to take the advanced courses with the Gnostic Movement and started to volunteer in various ways to help the organization, and eventually began to train to become a teacher. I learned a lot about myself from these experiences, and about life in general, as I was able to come out of my shell so to speak and explore things I would have otherwise felt too insecure to try.

I was able to meet Mark (Belzebuub) on a retreat that the Gnostic Movement ran, and I have to say he is a very caring, understanding, and down to earth person with an awesome sense of humor. 🙂 The experiences I gained from my time participating in the Gnostic Movement have continued to be a source of inspiration to me even today, and I am forever grateful for Mark’s efforts with the Gnostic Movement and all the people who made it such an incredible esoteric school.

Vida N

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Intro Talk July 2007

Stumbling upon Gnosis — Jordan’s Experience

Jordan
Jordan B

I remember first coming across some aspects of the Gnostic teachings via word of mouth. I had heard about Gnosis through some friends and their new acquaintances who were studying Samael Aun Weor in 2002, but from what I was told about Gnosis by them, and in seeing the examples of people who were supposedly “Gnostics,” I wasn’t the least bit interested. It seemed that it was all like some sort of fairy tale, and I felt that if I took it up, I’d end up looking and acting in ways that to me seemed false and pious, and on the whole quite strange.

Fortunately, then came our encounter with The Gnostic Movement. People emphatically told me about how great the courses were, that the teachers were so knowledgeable, patient, and helpful, and how the information they got really changed their lives for the better. They said it was different to the approach that this other group of people were taking, and that the teachers there were spiritual, yet normal people and quite friendly.

A special dedicated meditation room at the Toronto Center, where I would later go on to do many more meditation practices
A special dedicated meditation room at the Toronto Center, where I would later go on to do many more meditation practices

Nonetheless, being somewhat of a bookworm I was hesitant to attend any classes without having done some reading first. I took out a book on meditation from the local library and started practising on my own. It felt quite nice and relaxing to do, yet I felt there was something missing from simply doing meditation practices a couple times a day. A friend sent me a copy of the courses online at the time, which other than some supplementary reading material and books by other Gnostic authors, were written by Belzebuub (Mark) and eventually became available in book format as The Peace of the Spirit Within and A Course in Astral Travel and Dreams. Also, another friend of mine lent me Revolutionary Psychology by Samael Aun Weor.

When I actually began to read The Peace of the Spirit Within and Revolutionary Psychology at the beginning of 2003, it hit me deep down just how important this information was. I was really moved by the honesty and sincerity of the authors, and not only read all the material very carefully, but wholeheartedly tried the exercises and practices mentioned in the weekly topics of The Peace of the Spirit Within. It was as if a light bulb had gone off inside, and I made a firm decision internally then and there to apply the information I was reading as much as I could to my own life.

I phoned my friend full of enthusiasm and demanded to know when the next live course session was taking place. Fortunately, it was later on that week, and I quickly rearranged whatever else I had going on at the time in order to attend.

An Intro Talk on Astral Travel and Dreams I gave in Toronto in 2007 in the exact same library room in which I attended that first Astral course in 2003
An Intro Talk on Astral Travel and Dreams I gave in Toronto in 2007 in the exact same library room in which I attended that first Astral course in 2003

When I first came to the Astral Travel and Dreams Course that night, I could immediately see what they were talking about. You could see clearly that the teacher was moved by a love for what he was doing at the time, and had that genuine care and wish to help others who were interested in attempting to achieve it too. It helped to foster that sense of enthusiasm I had developed towards these teachings and guide me in how to apply the various practices in my daily life.

I went through all of the courses at the time with eagerness, but had yet to meet the author, Mark (Belzebuub) in person. At the time, since there weren’t yet all the videos and audio talks on the web, all I knew of him was from second-hand accounts or from what I had read in the books. Finally, after a couple of opportunities fell through, we heard he’d be guiding a retreat in the next province in the country I lived in. Leading up to that retreat, I had all sorts of thoughts running through my mind as to what it’d be like to meet a real spiritual teacher, but that was all shattered the first time we met—a simple smile and wave from the car on his way up there at first, and then introducing himself to me and a handshake. I was quite relieved that it turned out in reality to be a very simple and humble man, dressed normally, and without all the usual pretenses, funny clothes, or ways of acting that usually accompany those the world considers “spiritual.” Yet at the same time, I could really feel a real sense of strength and love from within underneath it all, a power that I couldn’t quite put into words, and which really came out when he was teaching. Whatever it was that he had, I wished I could achieve too.

My wife Jenny and I and some friends from The Gnostic Movement on a walk about an hour from the city in 2007
My wife Jenny and I and some friends from The Gnostic Movement on a walk about an hour from the city in 2007

That meeting solidified for me in a way the whole package of Gnosis. What I mean by that is not only was I learning and gaining so much from the Gnostic teachings personally in so many ways in my life, but also, I could see that there was someone who had actually achieved the Gnostic work in their lifetime, a living example of Gnosis.

I have had many encounters and experiences with Belzebuub and of course The Gnostic Movement over the years I was involved that helped me immensely, and confirmed time and again just how important this information was, and really reminded me to be thankful for the efforts of those who went through many difficulties to ensure this message stayed out there and also spread to new places. It may not have been for everyone, but for those who were interested, it was a true guiding light.

Jordan B

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Giving a talk on Astral Travel and Dreams at the library in Toronto

Finding More — Jenny’s Experience

Jenny
Jenny B

Throughout most of my life, I felt like there was something important that I was missing; the problem was that I did not know what that “something” was… It was like an intangible shadow of an idea following me around, constantly gently hinting at me that what I’m living was not all there is. Everything around me was “business as normal,” my life wasn’t particularly unpleasant or physically lacking in any way. I had all the opportunities I needed to get ahead in life. But that feeling would always be there, poking its head out a tiny bit more every so often…

Without even realizing it, I slowly began searching through various spiritual systems to try and understand what it was I was looking for. I met many people, attended various classes, read many books, bought a great deal of “spiritual” chachkas, and although it all felt unique and interesting to go through, that feeling was not vanquished and besides perhaps feeling a sort of gladness at partaking in things that were metaphysical and fascinating, I felt like I still wasn’t satisfied…

Giving a talk on Astral Travel and Dreams at the library in Toronto
Giving a talk on Astral Travel and Dreams at the library in Toronto

As I was going through different wellness, mind-body-spirit, and metaphysical circles, I chanced upon the teachings of Gnosis, via a tiny class taught at a local library. I had no idea that attending that class would be so life-changing. Suddenly, things took on a whole new meaning and perspective. Gnosis finally helped me to put my finger on what that “something” was, and learn to explore it. The simple techniques I learned in those library classes propelled me to seek answers from within, to seek truth, understand what life was all about, understand my past and consequent future, learn the impact of my actions and choices in life, and also how to find peace with myself — how to put that “something” to rest, assuring I finally understood what it was leading me towards all along.

In retrospect, my experience with The Gnostic Movement, both as a student of the different courses and later as a teacher, was a rare opportunity that I am honored and grateful to have been a part of. From the very first course I attended, a course on Astral Travel and Dreams, I gained so much self-confidence to become a student of life. The course itself was an incredible experience too – it was so inspiring to find a room full of people, bustling with enthusiasm at the possibility of discovering whether it was possible to have a conscious experience out of the body; a warm community where people shared their experiences and encouraged each other to attain experiences through the various exercises in the class; a knowledgeable and experienced instructor who helped me so much along my learning process; and a load of hands-on exercises to explore — life got a lot more interesting.

Jordan and I at a winter retreat[
Jordan and I at a winter retreat
Beyond the learning and experiences I was acquiring through what I was studying, I was also getting to know many people who came along to the courses as well and with whom I had many shared interests. I made many new friends, one of whom later became my husband — we’ve been inseparable for the last 10 years.

I also liked Mark (Belzebuub) as a writer — someone whom at the beginning I only knew as an author of the courses (as the internet was only a fledgling back then, so really if anything you just got to know people mostly by reading about them or from them). Reading his articles, I liked his straight-forward approach to subjects that can typically fill pages with flowery and over-embellished spiritual lingo. He laid it all out simply, but there was a perceptible strength in his instruction too – a peaceful strength that you picked up on when reading the weekly course topics. I liked that quality about him. The techniques that he taught made me feel and understand that these spiritual subjects are not just things to read, but something I could use in life. Later on, when meeting him in person and working with him, I was even more impressed with his character – peaceful, honest, humble, funny, direct, and down to earth.

His manner of teaching reminds me of a part on one of the Gnostic Gospels where Jesus is disguised as a merchant selling pearls:

“And having said these things, he cried out, “Pearls! Pearls!” The rich men of that city heard his voice. They came out of their hidden storerooms. And some were looking out from the storerooms of their houses. Others looked out from their upper windows. And they did not see (that they could gain) anything from him, because there was no pouch on his back nor bundle inside his cloth and napkin. And because of their disdain they did not even acknowledge him. He, for his part, did not reveal himself to them. They returned to their storerooms, saying, “This man is mocking us.”
~ The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles

I feel that within the time I spent with The Gnostic Movement, I have been given something truly wonderful, a precious gift, a tiny “pearl”. I am so grateful today to be sharing this experience with others, and at the same time a bit saddened that because The Gnostic Movement no longer exists the learning and opportunities I’ve had within it are no longer accessible to others.

Jenny B

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Australian Retreat 2009

Mysticism, Music, Mantras, and More – Jon’s Experience

Jon
Jon A

Growing up, I had many interesting dream experiences that somehow told me there was more going on in life, yet I never looked into them deeply or researched the topic until I was in my early 20s. Searching for “astral travel” on the internet quickly brought me to the websites run by The Gnostic Movement.

The personal experience articles I read appealed to me greatly as they gave it more of an honest and ‘real’ foundation than other astral projection sites I saw around. But what intrigued me most was the connection to ancient gnosticism. It made sense that these experiences weren’t anything new, but that people had been having them throughout history, and in fact were the basis of much knowledge found in major religions.

Ultimately, I didn’t want to believe what any particular group or person was teaching on face value. I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on. So I spent about a year just browsing The Gnostic Movement’s websites, reading the forums, seeing people’s experiences, and dipping into some of the free books available. It was during this year that I had a spontaneous conscious astral experience by realizing I was in a dream – I was in a park, took a small jump to test gravity (I floated), and felt an object in front of me with an incredibly heightened sense of touch. Waking up the morning after and reflecting on the experience was just awesome. I believe it took place due to the inspiration I gained from everything I had read on The Gnostic Movement’s website Mysticweb.org.

After this year I decided to join the courses and give it a good effort to see if I could experience more of what people wrote about – overcoming suffering, depression, addictions, and having more astral experiences all interested me. So I got Belzebuub’s books The Peace of the Spirit Within and A Course in Astral Travel & Dreams. These books were eye-opening in themselves, but it was really the practices he taught that made a difference.

In mid-2006 I started the astral course The Gnostic Movement was running online. After four weeks I was encouraged by someone posting in the forums to attend the center in Brisbane where I lived.

Although I was apprehensive about going due to my overall fear of being in new places and meeting new people, I found it such a welcoming environment that I continued for the rest of the course. By the end, there were only two or three regular students including myself. The guy teaching was really helpful with advice and leading the practices. I continued to have more success waking up in dreams every few nights and remembering many dreams usually every night. Through these early experiences I understood that I existed beyond my physical body – an indescribable feeling in itself!

At The Gnostic Movement’s Brisbane center, I practiced awareness of the present moment, mantras, astral projection, and meditation. ‘Gnosis’ was at the core of what was taught, which more specifically was ‘self-knowledge.’ The focus was on learning about ourselves mainly through self-observation and dreams. Rather than being caught up in daydreams, worries, and low emotions, which had been my normal way of life, I was able to feel more spiritual qualities, not be depressed or lazy, and spend my time in much more beneficial activities. Every week when courses were running, we would meet at the center for group practices, discuss how things were going, what insights we may have gained, and of course have a tea and relaxed chat in the cafe afterwards.

At the beginning of 2007 I attended my first international retreat run by The Gnostic Movement at the Bunya Mountains in Queensland, Australia. Here I met many more people than those at the Brisbane center, some who had been involved for many years. There was a harmonious sense of community among everyone. As a pleasant surprise, Mark (Belzebuub) arrived and led many of the practices and talks for the duration of the retreat. Any stereotypical ideas I had of him as a spiritual teacher were quickly put to rest. He was one of the most down-to-earth people I had ever met. I still value the amazing chats by the campfire he had with us all.

Being so inspired at this retreat, I wanted to be involved more and go further with the experiences I had already had. So I continued with the courses and then joined the teacher training course. I learned more about running the organization and how to best help out. I was very keen with everything, as I kept practicing spiritual exercises and getting more personal experiences in dreams and daily life.

There were so many mystical experiences from this time. Doing group mantras as simple as the vowel ‘O’, would produce deeply relaxing and spiritual states. Regular astral experiences meant I could investigate various aspects of that dimension and visit special places (such as the Great Sphinx in Egypt). In many dreams Belzebuub would provide guidance that helped inspire me. In the center we would often listen to music composed by Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Bach, and others, in a meditative state, giving insight into how spiritual music can be. We also meditated regularly on negative inner states we wanted to change – through these practices I was able to reduce irritation and anger, jealousy, fears, hurt pride, and so on, bringing positive changes to all relationships and areas of my life.

At the first international retreat I attended in the USA in mid-2007, there were a number of talented musicians, each of whom contributed various performances throughout the time there. This so inspired me that I decided to get back into playing music, which I had all but given up a few years previous. Through the taught practices like awareness of the present moment and mantras, my music ability has been enriched greatly, not to mention appreciation for great musical works throughout history. Towards the end of The Gnostic Movement, we even had a musical group together and would play every Sunday morning at the center. These were some of my favorite times with others involved with The Gnostic Movement.

In mid-2009 I moved to the Bay Area center in California, to be involved with the many activities which were happening there. In a few months I had become a qualified teacher in The Gnostic Movement, and was involved in numerous projects. Being so involved, I was able to develop skills I never had before such as marketing, public speaking, web skills, event management, art appreciation, and video production. The latter has even led me to become a successful video professional, even though I never studied this at school! I never thought I could even do video editing, but working on various projects in The Gnostic Movement gave me the experience I needed to get started.

Apart from these real life skills, through The Gnostic Movement I greatly increased my knowledge of ancient texts, religions, and esoteric theory. Most importantly, it was from trying to understand these areas through personal experience that I gained most benefit. For example, it’s one thing to read about “knowing yourself,” but another to consistently observe what’s happening inside every day, seeing aspects you need to change, and then managing to actually change them and become a better person. This was really the greatest of all things I gained.

The friendships I formed through my time in The Gnostic Movement have been deep and long-lasting. Many are still my friends today, and I hope will remain so for the rest of my life. The common bond we shared through the centers, retreats, practices and experiences is still there, even though the organization from which we all benefited so much is gone. It is terribly sad for me that it no longer exists, however the memories and knowledge I gained will remain with me.

Jon A

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TGM Madison Center

A Life-Changing Spirituality—Jenny’s Experiences

Jenny A
Jenny A

I was first introduced to The Gnostic Movement in late 2002 when a close friend told me about the free spiritual courses on the website Mysticweb. My friend had started with the Astral Travel course, which went over 8 weeks. The course material was given in PDF format at that time. My friend printed off the course PDFs for me, and I did the course that way, as I wasn’t much of a computer person back then.

Before the course I had never had an out-of-body experience. After reading through a few weeks of the course, I had started trying some of the techniques for astral projection, such as awareness of the present moment, and practicing concentration on my heart beats while falling asleep. Early one morning, I had become aware of myself lifting out of my body and then hovering above my sleeping body in my bed. I thought to myself ‘I’ve done it, I’ve astral projected!’ and after that thought, I woke up. It was a short, but profound experience because I had experienced being conscious outside of my physical body, and that experience really opened my mind to the possibilities of a wider reality of existence.

I was brought up Catholic, however I did not go through the confirmation ceremony as a teenager as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to dedicate myself to the Catholic faith, although I appreciated the spiritual principles it had taught me. I was open minded about spiritual possibilities, and thought it would be really cool to experience metaphysical and spiritual things. At the time I had thought that metaphysical experiences only happened to certain people. Having my first out-of-body experience changed that idea, as I had experienced something metaphysical, and it was something I learned to do, and that anyone could learn to do it. I continued on reading the course PDFs and had more astral experiences and lucid dreams, which were awesome experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed taking the course and had gotten a lot out of it.

In the Astral Travel course, Belzebuub had explained that a lot of what we experienced in the dream world – the astral plane was related what was going on a person psychologically, in the mind. This intrigued me, so I decided to take the next course in Self Knowledge. This is when things really hit home and resonated with me.

The course helped me to understand myself, what was going on inside of me with thoughts and emotions, why I felt the way I felt, and how to experience spiritual states like profound peace and stillness within.

I then went on and read the course PDFs of the Journey to Enlightenment course, which touched on deeper spiritual subjects such as the wheel of life, the spiritual transformation of consciousness, alchemy, and karma.

As I kept going with the course I learned techniques to actually change the negative states and emotions inside of me. I started to see that in situations I was feeling less angry, or jealous, worried, or negative, and in place of those feelings, I felt peace and even love and compassion for others.

I really liked how with Gnosis and what The Gnostic Movement taught, that it had within it the common spiritual principles from many religions, and to me was getting at what the heart of what religion was suppose to be about.

When I had started taking these courses, I was at an interesting point in my life. I was a relatively successful musician and had achieved a lot—I had met and exceeded my dreams of being in a successful rock band, I had set my life up in the way that I wanted it to be, and I more or less thought that I had everything I wanted. Though I was really happy where I was in life physically and was having a lot of fun and things were going really good, inside or emotionally I didn’t feel that great and always wanted more out of life and the situations around me, I didn’t understand what that was or why I felt that way.

What I had learned from the courses I put into practice, especially things like awareness of the present moment, self observation, the technique to get rid of negative inner states like anger, as well as meditation and astral projection, and it was like the world came to life in a whole new way.

Each day was an adventure for me to learn and perceive more about the world around me in a very deep and direct way and learn more about myself—both the spiritual part and about the negative things that took me away from that peace within. These experiences, this change inside—this feeling is what I felt I was after all those years, and I was finally getting and experiencing life in the way that I was looking for!

I was really interested in what The Gnostic Movement was teaching so I was put in touch with the course administrators, and because I had done all of the introductory courses on my own with the PDFs, and wanted to take part in the courses on the website, I joined the advanced investigation course online. In the advanced investigation course I further explored the spiritual exercises given, like astral projection, lucid dreaming, meditation on an inner state, meditation to silence the mind, awareness, self-observation and so on, and every week would share my experiences, understandings, and investigations in the course forums. It was really great to take part in the course online with other people, because up until this point I had just been doing the courses on my own.

The close friend that had introduced me to The Gnostic Movement, had taken up the teachers course, as people could do that if they were interested in becoming a teacher of The Gnostic Movement. I contemplated for a while doing the same.

I had really valued what I had learned in the courses, but wasn’t quite ready to make the commitment of training to become a teacher of The Gnostic Movement, so I carried on in the advanced investigation course.

In late 2004 I went on a road trip with another friend across the country, and it gave me a lot of time to reflect on things. I was listening a lot the American radio show ‘Coast to Coast AM’ which has guest experts on UFOs, the paranormal, but also world events. I was reflecting on the state of the world, and how bad things were with people, and wishing there was something that I could do to help people, help change things in the world. Then I had kind of an ‘a ha’ moment, and realized that the courses that The Gnostic Movement was running based on Belzebuub’s work had a lot of potential to help people, as it taught techniques to learn about oneself, how to understand oneself, and how to change the negative emotions inside like anger, pride greed – the states that cause so much misery in the world. I also was really interested in sharing with others the really helpful exercises and techniques I had gotten so much benefit from, which I had learned for free from The Gnostic Movement. I wanted to help pass on the information to others, so when I came back from the trip I finished up the last of the investigation course and signed up for the teachers training course. I began the teachers training course and became a volunteer of the organization.

In 2005 I had the opportunity to be involved with starting up a Gnostic group in the area I lived, Madison Wisconsin, as there was only one center in the US at the time, in California, which was over 2,000 miles away. It was great to set up a physical place to run The Gnostic Movement courses from. Attendees of the courses in Madison really enjoyed the courses, learning about astral projection and practicing it and also the self knowledge techniques as well. I really enjoyed practicing the exercises with other people, and facilitating a space for it all to happen.

I attended The Gnostic Movement retreats held in the USA in 2005, 2006, and 2007 in California, which people from all over the world attended. The international retreats were awesome – it was so great to meet up and practice the spiritual exercises The Gnostic Movement taught with people from around the world. People I met on those early retreats I am still friends with today.

I became a qualified teacher in 2007, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2008 to be part of the Gnostic center there, where The Gnostic Movement was trying to establish a stronger presence. There were many members, teachers, and trainee teachers there, which was awesome – a lot of strong friendships were made during that time. In August 2008 I became a member of The Gnostic Movement.

From 2008-2012, I was part of developing ways to present the courses that would be more suited to an American audience, teaching courses, was part of the filming of the Secret Quest documentary, searching for properties to develop a spiritual retreat center in the countryside, being the host of weekly online talks given by Belzebuub, finding and establishing a larger Gnostic center in the area, coordinating the events and courses for the center, and being part of the process of making the online course videos by either presenting or doing some of the video editing. On many Saturdays, we would have mini-retreats in the nearby parkland and spend the day in nature practicing meditation, awareness, going on walks, and quiet self-reflection practices.

In the last year of The Gnostic Movement USA’s existence, I did most of the company administration.

During this time I was a part of coordinating and helping out at three retreats held where people worldwide attended. At all three of these retreats Belzebuub attended and gave talks, which were really amazing, insightful and inspirational.

In working with and being part of The Gnostic Movement I was given many opportunities to help share these teachings with people, and through those diverse opportunities, I learned a lot about myself, learned new skills, and was doing things that I never knew I had the ability to do! These opportunities or situations were not always easy—many of them were challenging, but those challenges allowed me to learn so much about myself, overcome many internal obstacles, and come out of the situation stronger and with new experiences, understandings, and skill sets. Over the years, with all of the activity and people at the Bay Area center, many good times were had, which leaves me with many fond memories of those days.

Being at the Bay Area Gnostic center in California, I also had the opportunity to be able to work with and get to know Belzebuub (Mark) over those years. It’s funny because you can have all these ideas of what a spiritual teacher is like and what you expect of them as a person and so on. In having the opportunity to work with Mark in situations, I’ve seen that he is a very honest and caring person and is kind-hearted, funny, and wholly dedicated to helping people experience spirituality. I have seen over the years the care he has to try to help things work better, so people can more easily find these teachings, and to make them more accessible, so people can experience and understand the teachings for themselves. If something wasn’t working he would work to help change things so they would work better. From my experience of being a student of his teachings and having the opportunity to get to know and work with Mark, I have seen that he is sincere, genuine, and 100% committed to freely helping people to understand, experience, take up the work of spiritual transformation. To me, that is all he was interested in, nothing else, he expected nothing in return, and I have seen that he is really appreciative of help he receives from others personally and the help to share the teachings with the world.

Something that has always stood out to me was the way Belzebuub explains things. I’ve always appreciated that he isn’t trying to convince anyone of anything or put a gloss on how a person obtains spirituality. He explains from his experience what’s needed for profound spiritual transformation, how difficult it is, what to expect from his own experience, and why a person has to go through those things. He also inspires a person to practice and try to take it up themselves to see what the truth is, not just believe in it.

His writings and the experiences he shared have also helped me to understand, value, and to properly deal with difficult situations that come up in life. I have been able to see from my own experience the value and necessity of going through difficult situations and the learning, insight, understanding, and strength you can get from them.

Without The Gnostic Movement, I maybe never would have found out about the universal path of spiritual transformation, or the potential that I have, that every person has, to work to become and experience something more, something truly spiritual. Through my own efforts I had begun to experience and understand extraordinary things about myself and the world around me and have started to notice and feel a true change within, something different, something spiritual. These things have come from my own efforts but I most likely would have never gained any of this without The Gnostic Movement being there to make these teachings accessible.

Everyone I had met and worked with in The Gnostic Movement was great and I had made some true friends. The aim of The Gnostic Movement was simple—it was a spiritual school that was there to give teachings of Gnosis to humanity freely. That is what I saw and understood when I was a student taking the courses and what I saw to be true being a member of The Gnostic Movement. From my experience, the aim was clear and everything that went into making it happen was clear too—everyone worked hard in an honest way to fulfill the mission of The Gnostic Movement.

This has been my experience with The Gnostic Movement and Belzebuub (Mark). I am truly grateful for all of the efforts Belzebuub and The Gnostic Movement made to give its teachings since they had truly changed my life in such a meaningful and deep way.

It was a shame that The Gnostic Movement had to close. I had a really great experience in the 10 years I was a part of it. I wanted to share my positive experience with The Gnostic Movement as a testimony for the legacy it deserves.

Jenny A

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Postering Sept 2007 Sydney

Finding a Needle in a Haystack – Shane’s Extensive Search for Truth

Shane
Shane B

Many years ago when I was in secondary school in the UK, religious education was a topic that held me intrigued. The teacher was very intellectual and well versed in the different theologies and had a keen interest in any new archaeological findings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, the Essenes, and the Nag Hammadi documents. Whilst the education was Catholic, these documents ‘outside’ of the New Testament captivated my curiosity, they seemed to be secrets that led somewhere but I didn’t really know where. The classes seemed thorough but something was missing. A practical real life element, something to experience rather than memorize. The cryptic religious messages seemed only to produce a yearning inside of me to uncover secrets that seemed to be purposefully withheld, like what did the ‘Sphinx’ actually represent? What were the pyramids about and who really built them and why? Why did Jesus really let himself be crucified and what did it really mean? Why not explain the messages so ordinary people could understand?

Over the years as I read different religious texts I instinctively tried to correlate different words in different languages, written at different times, to the same meaning or experience/s, but it became too difficult and just an intellectual exercise. I could hypothesize but the conclusions were still intellectual and could easily be opposed by another interpretation or idea.

As time passed I became embroiled in ordinary daily life, trying to survive, make money and pay bills. In between such tasks I would seek pleasure to alleviate the emptiness of purpose such mundane existence brought on. The inner uneasiness was still there; that there had to be more to life than living and dying in such meaningless manner. It was easy to see that life was based around family, procreation and death, so I felt an aversion to adhering to such plan, but at the same time felt nature pushing me and everyone else in that direction. There had to be a greater purpose and I continued in agitated fashion to try and find it.

The uneasiness led me to read books that were unusual. Some of the eclectic books I recall reading back in the early days were by Erich von Daniken, that argued that all the mystical and transcendental experiences of ‘burning bushes’ and ‘clouds in the sky’ throughout the Bible were just UFOs and aliens affecting humanity. I read books on Parapsychology, the Paranormal, Supernatural, UFOs, Spiritualism, Rasputin, Crowley, Ghosts, Poltergeists, Kirlian Photography, Steiner, Ouspensky, Gurdjieff and so on. I was perplexed by Gurdjieff’s statement ‘To write a book for Conscious Man would be easy, but to write a book for donkeys’. I knew and felt that I was one of the donkeys he was referring to, but I didn’t really know why.

I tried meditating on my own, practicing different techniques I found in books, but most didn’t console the uneasiness, even though sometimes the meditations would make me feel better, more peaceful and rejuvenated. I tried a religion that was a contemporary form of Buddhism that some relatives were hooked on, but in the end felt there was something seriously missing even though I found the chanting of mantras uplifting. I investigated Dowsing Rods and Pendulums and used techniques to visualize making money and obtaining wealth and sometimes they did work. I joined a Yoga class for a while, but soon dropped out as it seemed to be solely focused on keeping fit.

I would often listen to Wagner’s ‘Parsifal’ and couldn’t help but wonder what the story was really about. I knew the references to grail and spear, good and bad magicians meant something but the missing ‘secret’ perplexed me and once again seemed to have been left out on purpose. The prelude to the Opera often stopped me in my tracks and would put me into a different inner state of timelessness. I would somehow feel the agony and enlightenment of Parsifal when kissed by Kundry; I would feel the pain of the wound in Amfortas; but I didn’t know why. Strangely though I knew it was extremely important, which I suppose is why I would watch it so often, even in a drunken stupor (hardly entertaining for a party!). I remember once my brother bought me a DVD copy of it for my birthday. That really surprised me, as he didn’t have a clue what it was and didn’t like it. Yet it made me wonder if I was obsessed perhaps unhealthily with it.

Star gazing always provoked the same awe and wonder within me. Looking into time and space that was unimaginable to the mind. It would produce a silencing effect, just with one thought that the light from the nearest star (our Sun) took eight minutes to reach us, but the light from the nearest star Sirius in the night sky took four years, then others thousands. The dimensions and scale seemed to shock my mind into silence.

I had spent lots of money on ‘New Age’ books, tapes and gadgets which I eventually felt disenchanted about. These included self-hypnosis tapes, Hemi-Sync tapes, Subliminal tapes and so on. I had bought different tapes to learn Astral Projection but none of them worked and I felt defrauded, it was clear some people were making a lot of money from selling these things. They may have worked for some people but not me. I read many books that dealt with the different brain frequencies and which ones were associated with meditation and astral experiences, like lucid dreaming and remote viewing; the alpha and theta states and bought a light-machine to flicker at these frequencies. I did have an experience with this machine, but couldn’t repeat it. It was the first time I fully consciously felt my astral body separate from the physical. It surprised me that it felt so ‘physical’.

I bought books on Pyramid Power and created pyramids to use with magical symbols for concentration, plus keep razor blades sharp and preserve food etc., but still my inner uneasiness was agitated. I was intrigued with the elaborate Tarot pack created by Crowley, but found his writings jumbled and confusing and I had an uneasy feeling about his sexual exploits. I thought about moving to Latin America and looking for a ‘Don Juan’ from Castaneda’s books, but realizing this would be highly unlikely, I decided to move to Australia. Too much time had been wasted in wondering and I was determined to put aside books and theories and join groups that could help me experience things to validate so many theories, but ultimately help me find the real peace and happiness that so many mystical texts alluded to.

Australia

Once I landed in Australia I started visiting all the New Age shops and searching through all the Occult and Spiritual magazines and schools in Sydney, including the Theosophical library to see what groups I could join. The first place I joined was a Spiritual Church in Sydney. The group sang some songs to generate ‘energy’ followed by the leader going into a mild channeling trance and telling me and everyone else in the audience that ‘so and so’ was with us/me and says ‘x’. We did exercises to develop psychic faculties, like holding objects and sensing who they belonged to and telling a story about the owner etc., but I soon became dissatisfied and didn’t want to ‘earn’ a living by being a psychic which seemed to be their final aim. I attended talks by different groups at the Theosophical Society, but was disenchanted by people toying with Dowsing Rods, singing hymns and sensing auras. I felt they were taking ‘kindergarten’ stuff for something substantial and the ‘end of the road’. I listened to some groups trying to entice people to join their own communities or natural communes away from city life; they were attractive propositions but again something of substance seemed amiss.

I joined another Yoga group that believed that Bob Marley plus other ‘questionable’ individuals were Self-Realised and had fully awakened the Kundalini. I wasn’t convinced even though I could feel all the sensations they were talking about. I decided to look for a free ‘Magical’ group like the ‘Golden Dawn’ or a Gurdjieff group, or possibly join a Masonic Lodge, or any group that would help me to experience other dimensions, so I could know things for myself.

The Gnostic Movement

One day whilst searching in a new age shop in Sydney, I had enquired with the lady at the counter if she knew about any groups locally that ran free meditation classes or similar free practice sessions. She looked at me surprised and said no, but someone had come in only a few weeks before and left their details saying they did such a thing. Strangely she had not even put it on her notice board. Fortunately the lady went into the back room and came out with a piece of paper which had a telephone number written on it.

When back home, I phoned the number and spoke to a gentleman who explained the courses wouldn’t be running again for a few months, but they would phone me when they start. At the time I didn’t know the gentleman’s name but he spoke slowly and carefully with a Welsh accent. It seemed a strange conversation (English accent, Welsh accent, in the middle of Australia!) but then I thought to myself I am probably looking for eccentric people! So I left my details and honestly thought I would never hear back from them. Later I was introduced to the man who I had phoned – Mark (Belzebuub).

A few months later I received a phone call from a lady with a very sweet, gentle voice saying I had enquired about attending their courses. At the time I couldn’t remember phoning them (I had lost the number and obviously didn’t recognize the voice) but it sounded very pleasant so I thought I would go along and see what it was all about. I subsequently learnt the lady I had been speaking to was Mark’s wife.

These two phone conversations were the beginning of many years contact with Mark (Belzebuub). To this day I am deeply indebted to him for all the efforts he has made to achieve spirituality and enlightenment plus the enormous efforts he has made to help other people do the same.

Mark (Belzebuub) and The Gnostic Movement

I went to the first lecture and was intrigued so I kept going back. Bit by bit I realized that what was being said was effortlessly slotting into place, answering many of my burgeoning questions related to religion, spirituality and psychology and refreshingly it all made sense and I was given simple exercises to try.

After a while I was made aware that the group was founded on teachings presented by a Latin American, Samael Aun Weor. Subsequently, after his death, the school and teachings continued through someone called Rabolu. In the early days I was skeptical particularly as the word ‘Christian’ was used in their name and I had become somewhat wary of organized religion. However the teaching incorporated aspects of Tibetan Mysticism, which included concepts such as the Pythagorean transmigration of souls or reincarnation. So clearly the word Christian was being used in new or unusual way, and it was only later that I learnt why. When I did, so many of the missing pieces slotted into place and I had a new way of reading old texts, including Christian, and understanding the references. The missing key, or cornerstone that had been missing for so long had finally been found and encrypted messages could be decrypted.

The Centre

The lectures and topics presented weekly were under the umbrella of Gnosticism. Each topic had an exercise to try at home, at work or at night, and I soon started to corroborate what was being taught and found that the exercises did work. I remember learning about ‘awareness’ and ‘being in the moment’. After the session I walked home rather than catch the bus as I normally did. As I walked home, maybe for an hour or so, I found myself in a very different inner state as I approached the unit where I lived. I had tapped into and maintained an inner state that gave me real stillness, calm and ‘peace’ within even though I was walking most of the way down a very busy road with endless traffic. My new inner state was only disrupted when I had to converse with other residents in the shared accommodation. However, in this process it made me realize and value more the inner state I had previously been in and now lost. I knew something of substance was being taught by The Gnostic Movement, and felt it was just the beginning of something much bigger. It was a huge relief to find exercises that could give so much peace and real ‘happiness’. This type of experience was totally different to anything experienced before with drugs, alcohol, chocolate, exercise or any other pleasure-seeking stimulus. This was a technique independent of the external stimulus. It was something within that could be learned and developed psychologically and spiritually, though at the time I still didn’t really think of it as spiritual, perhaps a bit transcendental. I realized that I had experienced a similar state in early childhood, it would be sporadic and I just assumed everyone else also experienced the same.

The Centre Environment

The small Center I joined, run by Mark (Belzebuub), felt very different from previous environments or schools I had attended. The atmosphere had an air of esoteric discipline combined with a sanctifying reverence. I very much enjoyed that simplicity and once commented about the environment being ‘minimalist’. I enjoyed very much the atmosphere and felt its presence as calming and ‘clean’ rather than energetically unsound as I had perceived in other halls, or school environments. Attending the center twice a week was something I very much looked forward to. In the early days I was very eager to learn more and experiment with the new exercises. I found myself feeling at home, almost content, like returning home after being lost for many years. On reflection I’m sure Mark probably found me disturbing to the peaceful habitat but I appreciated his patience and willingness to help me learn the new exercises.

Involvement in The Gnostic Movement

After attending for a year or so, and seeing that what was being taught had substance and was making a big difference in my life and how I interacted in it, I decided to commit more fully to the group and assist with helping in whatever ways I could. At first I didn’t have much money so instead would help go out and put up posters in the local area so that other people who may be interested could also attend and see if they saw value in it. I recall being very eager about what I had found particularly how our energies were linked to states of consciousness, and I told my brother expecting him to be fascinated as much as I was. However, he responded in a manner that showed me that not everyone had my interest, nor uneasiness to search for something more meaningful in life. I realized many people wouldn’t be interested but I didn’t let that stop me from helping those who would. I felt the message and exercises were very important, and for people suffering it may be the panacea they needed, if they wanted it.

The Organisation

Gradually I became more involved and eventually joined the organization established to promote and market the courses, which were all free of charge. I took on different roles with the structure of the Board, such as President, Treasurer, Auditor, etc and fulfilled those to the best of my ability. It was established as a non-profit Incorporated Association, which was the best legal structure to use at the time. At first I found it a bit strange, because I had ideas about spirituality not being ‘constrained’ by modern legal structures, or other forms of ‘rules’ and requirements, but soon realized there was no choice. The system had to be implemented to work within society, and it was for the protection of all volunteers involved and the public at large. It allowed for basic things such as public liability insurance and so on.

I eventually became a Teacher, giving classes, running courses and guiding exercise practices, plus running a local center and also participating in more national activities. The courses and teacher training were all guided by Mark at the time and it was very enjoyable. I quickly realized that trying to teach and help others was actually one of the best ways for myself to also learn. As I explained things to students I would also simultaneously acquire a greater understanding of what I was trying to teach or impart to others. This created a really nice, mutual exchange of learning on both sides. Such reciprocation created a very uplifting group environment to be in. I very much enjoyed the energy that was created by a group of people all eager to learn and know more. I found the energy and enthusiasm of new students very uplifting and it ensured that things progressed without ever becoming stale or stagnant. The atmosphere was alive. There was no pretension, just simple honest innocent interactions. It was a unique and special ambience.

The course themes would regularly change with emphasis on different topics, so that older students and teachers maintained a fresh approach. The fundamentals remained the same. This was excellent and very well coordinated. It also ensured that the centers nationally had a similar focus and aim, so it was easy to share ideas about marketing, share costs of printing and so on. The different centers would communicate regularly and the time and effort spent would be maximized by efficiencies. The famous quote ‘Sharing and Caring’ applied to the organization throughout.

I was part of the Gnostic Movement for approximately ten years. For most of this time it was coordinated by Mark (Belzebuub) who was the most senior instructor. It was a wonderful unforgettable experience and it is a great shame that the organization closed.

Shane B

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