Exoteric elements vs. the esoteric core of the Master-Disciple-relationship in the Kosmic Gnosis
I took a substantial break from this blog to focus on other matters at hand as well as reevaluating the best form and shape for my output and endeavors, more on which to follow at another time. However, in my last posts before this ‘sabbatical’, I addressed in particular the topic of teacher-student-relationships, which are integral to the Gnostic current I work in, and because of its relevance I want to add a few more notes to this subject. I already discussed common misconceptions on this relation, which you can find here. For those not yet familiar with it, the Pandaemonic Kosmic Gnosis comprises an essentially Life-/Soul-Body-centric world experience, shaped into an initiatory Gnostic path and system(s) by David Beth. David is the one I personally have in mind when referring to the Gnostic Teacher. Not only because of the intangible characteristics our own ‘Soul-relation’ has developed over the years, nor solely because of the invaluable instructions, advise and insights he provides, but especially for certain qualities observable in his engagement with all his students. To state this clearly: while it is an important aspect of the Kosmic Gnostic current, the Master-Disciple-relationship in its fullest depth is not necessarily developed with each student of the current nor is it obligatory from the beginning, but rather an option and invitation depending on the student and his/her pre-dispositions. Also, while personal meetings are a requirement at some point, the relationship does not require regular spatial closeness, and distance might actually be an advantage in some ways. A lot lies directly in the responsibility and control of the student so that a Master-Disciple-relationship as understood and practiced here cannot be confused with nor dismissed as ‘abuse by rank’ nor ‘self-centered ego-trips’ by the Master.
It should be self-evident, but not every occult master is a Gnostic Teacher. And by “occult master” I am not referring to self-claimed gurus nor occultists with airs and graces but those we could almost objectively call “masters” of their subject or path. They might be instructors. They might be mentors. They might even be dispensers of wisdom. All qualities a true Teacher has as well. However, master-ship, whether by degree, education or learning does not automatically generate or transfer the ability to teach in the most esoteric meaning of the word. Nor does being a student of a magical or spiritual tradition, system or Master automatically turn you into a true esoteric Disciple. Studying with a Gnostic Teacher does not necessarily or let alone spontaneously establish the Master-Disciple-relationship either. And again, while I personally think such a relationship essential and most successful in regards to a metaphysical and gnostic transformation, it is still not the right choice for everyone. There might be reasonable concerns by self-reflective individuals who are not yet ready for such a step of Esoteric Dependence, for example. Others sadly limit the Gnostic Teacher to the function of instructor or mentor; they expect the Master to teach them all there is to know, to finally bring them into reach of that particular occult secret, their own projection of ‘power’, not realizing that they might not even recognize it when it is right in front of them. This example of ‘student’ is often easily discerned in their way of demands and their attitudes towards peers, however. Then there are many, more or less sincere, seekers, who look to the Master merely for inspiration, attention and confirmation of their own self-image, which is firmly held in place. They might be ‘all in’ for a span of time and then drop out or draw back when they no longer receive the reinforcements or attention they came looking for. Lastly, although I do not claim this list to be complete, there are students and prospective disciples who not only project all their needs and desires on the Master but expect him/her to be their Savior out of the alien wasteland of modern life. The tricky thing about this is that it is not entirely wrong. In my experience, a Master-Disciple relationship will almost always include projections and eventually the students might be ‘liberated’ of these provided they recognize, accept and actively engage in their part of the work. The difficulty lies in students with certain mental issues and fragmentations and/or the inability to loosen their grasp on false individuality, who (unconsciously) mistake the Teacher for a psychotherapist or life coach (mainly); students who focus more if not only on the exoteric elements of the relationship than its esoteric core. Such a relationship is not destined to fail, but it requires a lot of time and effort from both sides, and a good degree of self-reflection by the student.
Now, if needed, the Master will certainly advise all of his/her students in life decisions, whether Disciples or not, and support them with words and deeds in difficult circumstances as far as is possible and reasonable – just as their spiritual community will do, in particular their mentors or elders. Besides nudging them towards spiritual changes which will influence their profane reality anyways, they will show them alternative options as well as the limits of their current considerations. In this way they might indeed resemble a psychotherapist – who might also force us to confront unpleasant truths that our self-constructed identity will reject and deny. Actual therapy can prove to be a helpful experience for some, if we allow it and are observant enough, e.g. in confronting our current Self, in reacting to externally caused discomfort or in understanding others. Eventually, however, the therapist is interested in ‘healing’ our minds. He/She will try to assist in strengthening or (re)creating a ‘whole’ Self, in order to function as best as possible in the outside world, full of radical (false) individuals. The Kosmic Gnostic Teacher on the other hand aims to break down and destroy the logocentric idea of Self your ego has built; to destabilize the thoughts, notions and projections of your mind, which immensely tarnish the receptive capacities of your Soul. In this way he becomes the ‘dangerous friend’ who threatens your individuation by dispensing his/her poison which either kills or saves. The Gnostic Teacher is “a physician of the Soul, not the mind” (David Beth) and this difference cannot be overestimated! He/She will help you become a ‘true’ individual by breaking away those layers of false identity, by rekindling your inner flame, and instead of feeding your false self-image, the Master will reawaken the Ur-image of your Soul’s essence. Although this sounds much more active and instantaneous than it is. It would probably be more accurate to say ‘chip away at or weaken those layers bit by bit’. There is progress and regress. There are all kinds of emotions. This process needs trust, courage, faith and patience. And time. And dedication. And while basic practices will be the same, the process and development of the relationship will be different from student to student and over time. In most traditions that employ a teacher-student-relationship, this is said to open or expand the student’s perception beyond the material world available to our ordinary physical senses and towards the spiritual world. Similarly, the practices and connection of the teacher-student-relationship within the Kosmic Gnosis facilitate the student’s ability to perceive / connect to / enter the Reality of Images, the World of Souls and Becoming. In contrast to those other traditions, the student is not kept in nor led to just another level of logocentric, transcendent or monistic ideal of reality but is led to a Soul-driven realization of the Life-centric Kosmos, supplementing and amplifying the initiatory path. Their individual life is re-connected (but not drowned in) the Life of All-that-is-becoming. At the esoteric core of the Master-Disciple relationship lies the transmission of Kosmic Gnosis proper. The Gnostic Teacher draws the student’s daemonic nature into the roundelay of pandaemonic ecstasy – beginning with the invitation to and the establishment of a ritually shared sacred space between Master and Disciple. Embedded within the auratic space of the Master and fed by his sacred poisons, the soul of the student gradually transforms and is literally forged in Kosmic fires to regain its primordial state and power. This is no easy work and a path fraught with dangers. Due to its threatening nature to the type of Self-identity we have come to divinize and worship in the West, the deepest layers of this particular path of Guru Yoga will probably only be eligible for a small elite of daring students.
“Those fortunate chelas, however, who can truly abandon themselves to this alchemical work between Guru and chela will be rewarded with the death of the false inner King/Queen that ruled their Self. This truly sacrificial regicide will lead to the awakening of the Daemon from her slumber and the Absolute Individual may reclaim their true sovereignty of the Soul.”David Beth to Jessica Grote, private correspondence.