At the time I found The Gnostic Movement I wasn’t looking for a spiritual school, but did have a vague interest in non-physical phenomena like ghosts, dreams, and the afterlife. Things in my life seemed to nudge me in this direction—I was given books by several unrelated people about spiritual topics, and found myself wondering about the nature of reality, specifically what people experience as reality.
I looked at my friends and wondered why people would drink a lot of alcohol to alter their perception, for example, and which perception of reality was “real”—the intoxicated one or the sober one, since even the intoxicated state was very real to the person who was experiencing it.
I started reading a lot of books about esotericism, which were interesting but left me wishing I knew how to experience the things in the books more directly. Luckily, I came across Samael Aun Weor’s writings, and from there found the Mysticweb.org site with its online courses.
I signed up for the astral course first, but only read the topics and practiced very little. However once the self-discovery course started I really switched on—this was a course that contained all the information I had been wondering about—the perception of reality, what made people tick, etc. I’d always been sensitive to others’ emotions and the course gave me a way to find out about the mechanisms of thought and emotion in myself and others as I interacted with people in my life.
At the time I didn’t think of myself as in a crisis situation, but when one part of the self-knowledge course was emailed through that dealt with an inner problem I had been avoiding, it hit me hard. I could see how far off track I had gone in my life while searching for meaning, and realized that without getting serious about changing my personal flaws, it would lead to inevitable painful consequences.
At this point, I started taking The Gnostic Movement’s courses more seriously, doing the exercises that were assigned for “homework” and earnestly giving the spiritual practices taught my best effort. It took me a long time to have my first astral projection experience, but my dreams were quite vivid and I worked hard to remember them, so this was a huge help in confirming that there was something to all of this metaphysical study. I started dreaming about things before they would happen, or dreaming about places that other people had posted about on Mysticweb, which showed me I could learn and experience something tangible while I slept at night, and that this spiritual school I was getting involved with was real.
Despite finding the online courses very helpful, and having some results from the trying the practices, I found it a struggle to learn online without people to talk to face-to-face. My friends at the time weren’t interested in these subjects, and some of them didn’t understand the personal changes I was slowly making.
I decided to attend a Gnostic Movement retreat in North America, and this ended up being a pivotal point in my life. The people I met at the retreat were real, normal, and actually cared about changing themselves through inner study, meditation, and so on. I was also impressed by how much of a help it was to learn about spirituality in person with others, so much more than what I had been doing online by myself.
After the retreat I decided that I really wanted to participate fully in The Gnostic Movement, and a year later moved 1,200 miles to attend a Gnostic center in person. During this time I became a trainee, and then later on participated as a teacher and member of the organization.
The Gnostic Movement gave me so many opportunities to learn about myself and see what it was like to work alongside others who wanted to bring spirituality to people who didn’t have it. Myself and the other trainees, teachers, and members were motivated to share and volunteer our time freely because we saw something valuable in the spirituality we were sharing—it is the thing that allows you to become something you’re not and to get rid of lower, more animalistic emotions and drives that weigh you down and make your experience of life mundane at best and hellish at worst.
There were times I experienced while working in the strength of the group at the centre that were magical. Shared experiences of entities in the astral, real learning about the kind of person I was in daily life, and overcoming all kinds of obstacles of in order to help other people find out about spirituality was part of my regular experience.
The friendships I made while in The Gnostic Movement were unlike any others. I have people today that I consider the same as a brother or sister; I trust them just the same as I would family, and it’s not just from the shared experiences of running a center and learning together over the years, but because I know we are all working on growing the spiritual part of ourselves, and eliminating the parts which cause people to cheat, hurt, be lazy, be selfish, and so on. Even just thinking of it from a purely logical point of view–wouldn’t you want your closest friends and the people who you spend the most time with to be the kind of people who are working on getting rid of all the darker aspects of human psychology and instead were developing qualities like love, care, and responsibility within themselves?
My time in The Gnostic Movement also gave me valuable work experience that I’ve benefited from personally. I started volunteering doing design work in the organization, and after a few years practice with doing graphics for posters, printed materials, and websites, I was able to take those skills and now currently work as a freelance graphic designer, even though my degree is in a different field. This suits me due to the convenience of being able to work from home or any location I choose.
Above all, The Gnostic Movement provided a very special, unique and safe space to explore spirituality for me and many other people, and this is something I will never forget. The course structure, the conducive environment at the centres for quiet reflective practices, and the encouragement of likeminded people to really take time to explore myself were invaluable. It’s quite rare to have people and an environment that supports you to really look deeply at your life like that, but The Gnostic Movement did this so well.
A core reason that The Gnostic Movement had this effect is because of the guidance and influence that Belzebuub had on the organization. I came to know him and work with him over the years, and can truly say that he is a genuine spiritual teacher and just an overall excellent human.
I met Belzebuub in person for the first time at an Australian retreat I attended in 2007, which was unexpected, and I wondered what he would be like. I was pleasantly surprised to find out he was a normal person, and not one of these guru type of spiritual figures that dons a certain persona to appeal to what you might think of as “spiritual.”
He looked just like a regular person you’d meet on the street but was so kind, and emanated a real warmth and care. Beyond that though, when he gave talks and explained about spiritual topics at the retreat, I was deeply struck by the wisdom, strength, and experience he had. It was like when you watch a professional athlete for example, and they make moving and performing extremely difficult feats with the human body look graceful and even simple–in the same way at that retreat Mark (Belzebuub) spoke and explained about non-physical things, like the inner workings of human psychology, in such a simple, yet profoundly deep way that his experience of those subjects was evident. I could tell he was a man who truly practiced what he was encouraging all of us to do.
The years have confirmed the same initial impression I had of Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub), except that now I have even more respect for him after knowing him for a longer time. Besides being a genuine spiritual teacher that you can meet and learn from in the higher dimensions, I’ve observed through his actions that he is truly selfless, gives of his time and energy freely and asks for nothing in return, because he really just cares that people have access to spiritual knowledge. He will go through hardships and great lengths to uphold the truth, which is why it was amazing when The Gnostic Movement was around to have his guidance, and it’s just humbling now that it’s gone that he still continues to teach and give freely.