In February 2002 I took my first course with The Gnostic Movement which was the free online course about astral projection. I always had an interest in my dreams, some of which were quite vivid and lucid on rare occasions. Looking back, I can see I had some experiences of being conscious in the astral as a child although I didn’t understand that at the time.
Towards the end of my school days I found myself questioning aspects of the Christian religion I was brought up in along with some deep wonderings about life. This is when I had some spontaneous out-of-body experiences and one night I went to bed with a determination that I would become conscious in my dreams and to my amazement, I did.
Around this time (1990) I got the only book out from the local library (this was pre-Internet days!) which had some mention of astral travel in it after a close friend of mine told me about what astral travel is and I realized it matched with some of my experiences. I gave up very quickly though as the techniques described in the book to gain astral experiences were very complicated and seemed overly convoluted. A few years later my close friend had suddenly died and soon after it was like he came to see me one last time in a very lucid and vivid dream.
About nine years went by and I happened to see a poster near my job advertising a free self-knowledge course which caught my eye. I stopped to read it and noticed it said there was also a course on astral travel and that there was a website, called Mysticweb, about it all. I was excited to look up something of interest on this new thing called the Internet!
So I signed up for the next Astral course starting in a month’s time in February 2002. My interest having been piqued by that course, I went on to complete all the courses online to continue with my personal exploration into spirituality. The information presented was very interesting to me and it seemed to just ring true and be possible answers for many questions I had. There was a clarity and common sense to Mark Pritchard’s explanations about Gnosis and what was really great was to try the various exercises which were straightforward enough to understand what to do. I enjoyed getting a new topic each week with an exercise to try, it was like a little adventure of discovery each week.
Mark gave practical advice and the exercises really helped me to begin delving into seeing more of my own world of thoughts, self-talk, drives, motivations, and reactions with the goal of becoming a better person through not acting negatively.
This appealed to me because I had quite an interest in psychology and the courses really helped me to start to see my own psychology from a fresh perspective, and it made a lot of sense. Also in the year before, I had tried to quit smoking but relapsed a couple times and was generally feeling, as a result of various situations in life, like I needed to be a better person. I was wanting peace through self-control and these free courses I stumbled upon seemed like they might have the tools to do so along with gaining mystical experiences (and indeed they did) which I was also already interested in prior to these courses. I wish I had access to these courses ten years earlier; I would have avoided a lot of grief.
I also delved into the recommended books by Samael Aun Weor and found them very succinctly insightful, inspiring, poetic, and mystical although sometimes a little harder to understand than Mark’s straightforward explanations.
Going through all the courses was like an adventure, I got so much out of each topic that it was exciting to see the next topic, there was a logical progression—building exercises and understanding so that the more advanced teachings of Gnosis could be understood in the right context. It really resonated with me that throughout all the courses, the gaining of one’s own practical direct experience was emphasized and to rely on that knowledge rather than blindly believing in anything that was taught.
My life became more purposeful and magical.
When I had become stale and burnt out, lingering in addiction and grief, The Gnostic Movement and its courses by Mark Pritchard/Belzebuub helped to lift me out of all that.
Now I had practical ways to raise myself out of the spiritual doldrums and seek answers to life’s deep questions which had always left me wondering with no idea how or if I could find out.
A school teacher once said that life is a mystery that has to be lived, not a puzzle that has to be solved but I could not connect with that line of thinking. Where I once was agnostic I came to be Gnostic which was far more fulfilling and filled the hole of a lack of an interactive spiritual connection to life and everything around me.
I decided I wanted to give the experiment a real go and see what happened. So I made some changes in my life whilst going through the initial courses; I stopped smoking for good since June 2002 as well as gradually stopping some other deleterious things. I was getting some lucid dreams again, much more than before the courses, so I wanted to build on all of that.
I started to have my first real consciously coming out of my body experiences and continuing lucid dreams, sometimes symbolic dreams and some waking up in dreams experiences which were very vivid and bright. It was very amazing to feel and see myself floating up out of my body or to be lying awake in bed and then realizing I was actually doing that in the astral and I could hear myself lightly snoring as if it was far away!
In various astral experiences I felt different sensations of my astral body separating from the physical such as: a feeling of electricity, a loud bone crack type sound, moaning voices (which I understand to have been my own subconscious), and feeling vibrations or feeling a swaying/swinging type sensation or a floaty feeling. I learned to recognize when I had projected into the astral even though it seemed like I was still lying down in the physical plane.
It took me a while to start to get some conscious astral experiences using the techniques taught. It was about ten months of practicing for the astral most nights when going to bed plus trying to be aware during the day. Some people get astral experiences a lot sooner than this and some take longer. I guess some people give up before they have put in enough time and quality of effort they need to, to get the experiences, and then say the techniques don’t work or the astral is not real. But I knew it was real and possible due to the spontaneous experiences I had in the past and others were reporting that the techniques worked for them so all that helped me to keep persevering.
Around March/April of 2003 I started going to The Gnostic Movement’s Sydney Center to meet others who were exploring the teachings of Gnosis after having had a number of astral experiences thanks to the techniques taught and having spent time on my own getting an understanding of the teachings and what it was all about and finding that the techniques worked.
Starting with the Advanced Investigation course again, I was attending twice a week in the evenings after work and in the later part of the year 2003 I started the Teacher’s Training course. Everyone there was friendly and supportive; it was a nice environment and great to be able to spend time with like-minded people and discuss many points about the teachings and to do practices together. I made some great friends there then who are still great friends today.
One day, after I had been attending the center for a while, whilst helping to clean the center I saw a room there I had not seen before and straightaway it triggered a memory of a very profound dream I had four or five years earlier (1998/1999) and the scene which played out took place in this exact room, there was no doubting it and no wishful thinking.
I was very struck by this enigmatic dream at the time I had it. I did not fully understand all of it but there was definitely the sense of a message being given by a higher power. I partially understood only a part of it and overall I had little understanding of the dream or the lesson it was trying to teach me.
Not having recalled or thought about nor understood this dream since I initially had it, now, years later having gone through Belzebuub’s courses, I completely understood what it was about. Here I was years later in the physical counterpart of where the dream took place in the astral and this physical place was somewhere I had never been before and it was in the mystical school that taught me what the dream meant! Because of Belzebuub’s courses I now understood the message, what it meant for me at that time in my life and what the lesson was overall. So this amazing experience was a very big verification for me that Belzebuub and the school The Gnostic Movement were the real deal. So naturally this helped propel me on to take the next level course, the Teacher’s Training course.
Compared to the path I was on previously, I was becoming a lot healthier as a result of being involved with The Gnostic Movement and going through the free courses written by Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub), gaining a better appreciation for the gift of life and the need to take care of my physical body, and working to improve my psychology and overcome negativity.
There was a regular all-night astral practice in the center on a Saturday night for those in the more advanced courses. These were really great opportunities to practice for the astral and get some experiences. There was usually some success amongst the group during these night practices and at times it was very inspiring. I got some good experiences out of these sessions.
During my time as a trainee teacher and trying to delve more into seeing and improving my psychology, I remember going through a particularly hard time at my place of work.
I had a manager who at times would become quite unreasonably negative towards me. It was a difficult situation. I couldn’t say anything against them or I would probably make the situation worse and possibly lose my job. It became a struggle to go to work each day to possibly get berated.
What kept me going and helped me get through that was applying Mark’s explanations of the teachings. That is, I did my best to remain calm, to see my own negative thoughts going on and remove them, and try to learn from the situation rather than run away from it.
Seeing the horribleness of that person’s behavior gave me a great determination to remove the same elements from inside myself to change for the better. I would talk about the situation in the Teacher’s training course discussions and I received a lot of support from the group.
After a while the situation just suddenly changed, it got better and I no longer had that negativity directed towards me from that person although we still worked together.
As a teacher I started to give classes in the center and help more with the administration of running the center. I also started to help with some online tasks. In a way, being a teacher is a course in itself, as it helped bring up more valuable learning opportunities about myself and the spiritual work. In giving classes and guiding others I would get new insights about the topics in the courses and it would often be a timely reminder of something for my own inner work.
In early January 2007 I attended a week-long retreat for the first time and met other students and teachers from across Australia and some students from overseas. Mark Pritchard/Belzebuub was also there and it was the first time I met him. It was a great retreat, it was wonderful to be out in nature, to meet everyone and to practice together and talk about the teachings and especially to meet Mark and hear his talks and advice, especially around the campfire at night. Sometimes he would say things like he knew exactly what you had been thinking without you having said it.
Mark was friendly, humorous, down-to-earth, and genuine. He reflected the teachings in his good and humble manner, and could speak quite powerfully about spirituality. You can see these same qualities in videos of him and in his writings. He has no pretense about him of being some sort of guru or sage; he is just interested in helping others understand about spirituality and to help everyone experience it for themselves without seeking to make any profit whatsoever out of it. How many other spiritual teachers can say the same?
This retreat was quite pivotal for me as I met Mark for the first time and found there really is something special about him. I met many other like-minded people and formed new friendships and unbeknownst to me at the time I met my future wife there.
At the end of July 2007, Mark visited the Sydney center for two nights and met with the trainees, teachers, and members of the center. A night had been organized for the trainee teachers, teachers, and members to gather at the center and meet with Mark. A few had prepared food which we all shared.
Mark was happy to see everyone and was interested in how we were going individually and in running the center. He gave some friendly suggestions about how some things could be improved and guided a short mantra practice. There were a few observational good-humored jokes thrown in as well. He was very appreciative of the hospitality he received and of the efforts made to keep the center running.
Over time, various activities took place other than just running courses such as putting up posters advertising the courses, a seminar on Gnostic Judas, repainting and decorating the center, movie/dinner nights, fundraising by selling second-hand items at car boot sales, or holding our own garage sales. All of these were good experiences learning how to deal with something new, in various situations which to learn about oneself, such as working together with others on manual tasks or planning an event whilst aiming to apply awareness and attention to detail to everything we were doing. Gnosis is about learning from the everyday situations of life; it is not just about sitting in a practice room trying to meditate.
The course content was regularly updated or restructured by Mark which helped to keep things alive and fresh. For example, in 2008 there was a new focus more on Gnostic Christianity. It was great to learn more about the early Gnostics and start to read those old texts which can be hard to understand but there is certainly something worthwhile within them. Having come from a Christian background myself it was very interesting to see more of this connection between Gnosis and Christianity and it helped fill in the hole of what I found missing in my mainstream Christian experience prior to The Gnostic Movement.
When I became a member of the Australian organization from August 2008, I started to help more on a national and international level serving on the Australian Board and the International Board and helping to run Australian retreats whilst still helping to run the Sydney center. I also helped with the extensive search for a potential retreat property where I learned a lot about real estate properties and council and fire department requirements which would apply to any proposed retreat property. It was very hard to find any suitable properties within TGM’s price range and all potential properties ended up being knocked out for one reason or another.
The Movement was run in a democratic way and all the members aimed to work harmoniously together and a lot of great things were achieved such as the Secret Quest project and website upgrades.
At times it was very busy having a regular full-time job plus helping to run classes at a center plus responsibilities I had as a member. I got a lot out of it though and what I did was all from my own choosing. I found being active and involved was a framework in which to learn and work upon inner states, and you had to manage and use your time well.
In my eleven-year involvement with The Gnostic Movement and Belzebuub’s courses as a student and as a teacher/member, I had a lot of positive experiences and learning which has helped me to grow in a number of positive ways. Here is a by-no-means exhaustive list that I can say I got from it all;
- amazing astral experiences
- great meditation experiences
- a much better understanding of emotions
- a much better understanding of dreams
- more self confidence
- public speaking experience
- bookkeeping/accounting knowledge and experience
- managerial experience
- property market and property development knowledge
- great friends
- effective tools to reduce and eliminate negativity from my own psychology
- more at peace / more self-control
- more happiness
- better relationships
- a purposeful life
As I said before I can only wish I had found the courses earlier in my life.
It is very sad that The Gnostic Movement had to close down and there isn’t a place for people to gather who are interested in the spiritual work, as explained by Samael Aun Weor and by Mark Pritchard/Belzebuub. I very much miss having the learning opportunities, the practice space, the guidance, and the great experiences it brought and wish I had done more when it was needed to defend it.
~ David H