Approaching David Beth’s Kosmic Gnosis
Published first on: The Spiritual Survival
The Kosmos is alive and our Souls know it. But the Soul as well as this knowledge of a Kosmos in which every phenomenal body1Not limited to material, physical bodies. is en-souled has been starved in most people. Resurrecting our Souls is a necessary step if we want to ever re-enchant the Kosmos and find intrinsic meaning in life and death.
In the following paragraphs, I want to point towards a unique Gnostic vision and pathway, the pandaemonic ‘Kosmic’ esotericism of David Beth. Although it is mainly taught from Master to chela in personal transmission and thus has remained privy to a selected circle of initiates, spores of its Gnosis have seeped into the outer world through various channels and have enthused esoteric visionaries and dreamers alike.2See for example the books published by Theion Publishing, many of which refer extensively to principles of the Kosmic Gnosis. To me, this pathway is not only a choice of a particular occult or Gnostic practice and philosophy but an affirmation of my experience of Life, my affirmation of the Mysterium of the Soul. As interest in this ‘Gnosis of the Other’ continues to rise outside our circles, I hope that this humble contribution may be of some aid to any sincere seeker.
The pandaemonic reality that a kosmic Gnostic experiences in luminous moments of kosmic vision is an unrepeatable coalescence of phenomena into an image, whose soul enthuses the visionary. This is the daemon that possesses him. One might mistake such an experience for what has been termed in the words of esoteric and mystic traditions a ‘union with the godhead.’ But describing it like this would be based on reducing the Kosmos to an expression/appearance of a transcendent or abstract idea, be it called ‘divine,’ ‘god,’ or ‘the absolute.’ The concept of ‘one-ness’ or ‘unity with all’ is no different. Its root is the idea of one transcendent, primary ‘being’ that underlies and unites everything.
In today’s world, especially in the West, Soul has been desecrated. Reduced to a vague concept of intangible emotions in the profane life of modern society, tainted by sin and dominated by the Holy Spirit in Christian and Christian-based spirituality, deemed non-viable and/or simply conflated with mind in science and Humanities alike.3If the word ‘soul’ is used at all, it is usually used synonymously with mind. This can also be noticed in spiritually inspired texts, even when they want to elevate the soul: first they speak of the importance of soul and then suddenly use mind interchangeably. Nothing could be further from our usage of the term ‘Soul’. (Rational) Mind and individual Self (Identity) have taken her (Soul’s) place. The emphasis on ‘I am,’ on self-reliance and personal will can be seen in all parts of society. Inevitably, this leads to a high degree of isolation and separation that is superficially glossed over by consumerism of any kind. Where there is a reorientation towards spiritual, mystic, or esoteric experience, negative aspects of ego-centrism are often acknowledged but the ‘seeker’ still clings to the idea of his/her identity, emphasizing individual being, and maybe adds importance to the one-ness mentioned above: One with the imagined reality of being beyond the phenomenal world, one with the monadic essence, whether it is called God or absolute Mind. If Soul finds a place in this view, it is only in the idea that all souls are part of this ‘one’ and as a result we all share the one soul, the one being, the one mind (or must develop thereto).
Soul has been conflated with mind, and a wall has been built between the inner and every external phenomenon. The outside – which now already begins at one’s own body – is to be controlled, formed, and dominated by will and ego. Consequently, man (ruled by the rational mind and will to power) finds himself lost, alone in a world that appears devoid of souls and daemonic encounters. He starts searching for feelings of ‘the divine’ or ‘bliss’ in sentiments and shallow experiences of amusement, connectivity, rush or ‘peace of mind.’ But neither short moments of however-induced happiness, nor honest but rational admiration of (for example) art or nature equals a true link between Soul and living Kosmos. This link was the natural state of man in prehistoric times, at the beginning of (his) Life. Through the course of historic time, however, did it get progressively weakened through the influence of the parasitical metaphysical adversary, the mechanical Spirit, a fragment of the static, transcendent One. 4The Spirit, as defined by Ludwig Klages. Compare for example Alksnis, Gunnar: Chthonic Gnosis. Ludwig Klages and his Quest for the Pandaemonic All. Munich: Theion Publishing, 2015.
“Kosmic” or “Pandaemonic Gnosis” designates a specific knowledge of the world and man’s place in it as well as manifests a system/framework of cultic approaches to resurrect the power of the Soul and regain an intimate connection to the sacred Kosmos. 5See: http://www.kosmic-gnosis.org David Beth developed this metaphysics and esoteric system based on deep gnostic insights and experiences of the Reality of daemonic Life as well as decades of occult theory and practice. While we can find important traces of Bachofen, Nietzsche, Benjamin and others reflected in Beth’s teachings it is the work of the so called Kosmic Circle, especially of its main protagonists Wolfskehl, Schuler and Klages, which provided important theoretical foundations for the formulation of his Kosmic ‘chthonic’ Gnosis. Most importantly, however, it was David Beth’s lifelong initiatic contact with and passion for traditional African spirituality and esotericism, as well as practical studies of many other religious systems, including classic Gnosticism and Sufism, and his prominent involvement with Western occult orders, which provided him with the means to carve out powerful esoteric pathways into his unique pandaemonic vision. The pandaemonic Kosmic Gnosis is an approach to life that unites all groups working under David Beth’s hierophancy like for example the Ecclesia Gnostica Aeterna and the Société Voudon Gnostique. While these groups may share some structures and lineages with other Western esoteric groups, their overall approach and methodology, the essence of their concepts differs significantly. Apart from a strong Initiator-chela relationship, one of the most fundamental aspects is the clear primacy of the Soul, which becomes untangled from the modern confusion with mind and is re-established as the sacred, living faculty that enables our world experience as well as all our magical operations. Participating in the Mysterium of the Soul 6“The initiator of the cycle, He becomes the inseminating God whose cultus awakens the mysterium of the Soul: myriad secret voices of the Kosmos luring.” David Beth, “Introduction.” In: Vincente, Tomas: The Faceless God. Munich: Theion Publishing, 2016, p.12. means participation in and manifesting the mysteries of the daemonic All.
The sacred, enchanted world(s) of our ancestors is not an imagination nor a simple projection of the inner. Inside (resurrected soul) and outside (pandaemonic All) permeate each other and interact – enthusing, mirroring, and affecting each other. Soul is the faculty with which we receive and experience, with which we ‘see’ the kosmic reality. And Soul requires Body (and its senses). Thus Body, the complimentary pole to Soul, is also essential to this work and central to its methodology. 7For example, physical initiation is mandatory and there is no valid astral, self, or virtual initiation in the kosmic gnostic current. Also, sexual magic is not regarded as a solely psychic/mental method/experience either. As the Body is the expression of the Soul, a whole gnosiology of the Body (and the Soul) has been developed, in order to reinstate Body and Soul as the primordial polarity which enables the true experience of the world and the harvesting of all implicit powers. This emphasis on the interconnectedness of Body and Soul goes beyond a mere psychosomatic approach, however, nor is Body reduced to a simple tool or vehicle as is often the case in modern spiritual or lifestyle movements as well as systems with a focus on ‘mind-development.’ To the kosmic Gnostic, Body is the sanctuary of Soul and Soul (not mind) is its most Holy, its essence. Soul ignites at another phenomenal body and Body gives sensual meaning to images/souls we perceive. To take care of your body and its health as best as possible is a natural consequence. This should not be mistaken for following rigid food or fitness regimes where breaking (personal) time or strength records or meeting the standards of a subculture become the main goal. The contemporary obsession with physical transformation is too often nothing else but a futile attempt to (re)gain meaning in a world where outer, material, and physical success matters the most. This ego-mind-control of the body might appear like valuing the body but essentially it is the total opposite, it uses the body to feed the ego, establishing an Ersatz religion (and has nothing to do with Soul).
Another important aspect of the Kosmic Gnosis is the realization of the existence of two different ‘worlds,’ the profane cosmos and the sacred Kosmos or “the world of Being and the world of Becoming.” The profane cosmos of scientific order and mere ‘things’, i.e. empty shells without Soul, that our rational, analytical mind has us perceive each day is the only apprehendable ‘reality’ for most people today. Our mind erects a world of Being perceived as filled with material phenomena and biological, physical lifeforms, e.g. animals and plants, that man does either not relate to at all or assigns selectively human personality traits to, in order to create a substitute feeling of connectedness. Only in rare moments of his life, if at all, does he (often unwittingly) catch a glimpse of the sacred Kosmos, the enchanted world. This world is neither the transcendent world of ideas Plato described nor is it a production of our own mind-consciousness or the externalization of an absolute monad. It is the pandaemonium of All that surrounds us; the uncountable multitude of embodied souls born from the chaotic Urground, the kosmic maternal womb. Coalescing, permeating, interweaving in a harmonic, rhythmic flux of never recurring encounters and images which are Life, the ever-Becoming.
Experiences of the world of Becoming have ever been vested in symbols and myths. These can still be found even (though re-framed and watered down) in the life-hostile mono- or non-theistic religions or systems. They may still resonate in the Soul if Soul is not yet totally overpowered in the aspirant and are often easier accessible in the culture one grew up in. But naturally they are most vibrant and potent where they are embedded in a life-centric perception of the world 8Besides perceiving the world as sacred, filled with living entities and powers, a life-centric or biocentric (vs. a logocentric) perception is characterized among other things by an emphasis on cyclical vs. linear time, focus on the past as sustaining the now (vs. focus on the future), ancestor worship and general affirmation of Life. like in pagan or traditional cultures. The turn towards pagan, polytheist and animist religions in the modern spiritual and occult scenes appears thus quite appealing. However, the often-shallow assimilation to modern Western systems and ideas, their out of context appropriations, more often than not turns vibrant, potent symbols into yet other empty shells of logocentric mimicry. An obvious solution might be to follow one of those religions, or spiritual systems that are closer to the biocentric world experience like Voudon or other nature based religions, for example. The problem is that these do usually not realize “the Gnostic dilemma” as David Beth terms it: “Orthodox Voudon and natural religions with their roots in a biocentric reality of the world usually do not address the concept of a Gnostic dilemma. They do not recognize a metaphysical struggle between two spiritual realities and principles and consequently cannot address any microcosmic and macrocosmic implications deriving from such a ‘war in heaven’.” 9From a private conversation with David Beth about his upcoming publication with Theion Publishing, June 2017.
Groups working in the kosmic Gnostic current form a synthesis between the tried and proven Western concepts and tools of occult, gnostic lineages they inherited (forming a better entry point for modern minds) and the symbols and rites of biocentric, pagan cults they incorporate (more potent in their transforming powers). The latter are kept close to their original significance but are adjusted to merge into the kosmic Gnostic frame of reference that allows them to unfold their full potential. All cultic expressions of the Kosmic Gnosis are approaches to the Mysterium of the Soul and the Black Cathedral at its center.
Soul can only be experienced but it is not the sum of our emotions or mental activities. It is intangible but not related to a false idea of ‘wholeness of our personality or self.’ There are many more Souls than those in you and me. Soul does not need a savior, nor does it need to be purified. It needs to be reawakened, resurrected, re-empowered. It needs to start glowing again in the Body and Blood of the initiate. Only then can we genuinely behold the pulsating rhythm of the ever-Becoming and arise in the splendor of the sacred pandaemonic All. The kosmos is alive. Let your Soul lead the way.
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