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 Pritchard) 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 Pritchard). 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.