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Not in His Image

Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief
Paperback Book
Chelsea Green
November, 2006
$34.95 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

To make the case for awe, I go back to the rapturous bond with nature that was celebrated in Pagan religions in the classical world. I return to the Mysteries, whose purpose was to keep us on course… I will show how practical visionaries known as Gnostics practiced and taught that connection with the living earth. When their sacred tradition was destroyed, we were set on a sure course for self-annihilation.

Basing much of Not in His Image on the Nag Hammadi and other Gnostic writings, John Lamb Lash explains how a little-known messianic sect propelled itself into a dominant world power, systematically wiping out the great Gnostic spiritual teachers, the Druid priests, and the shamanistic healers of Europe and North Africa. They burned libraries and destroyed temples in an attempt to silence the ancient truth-tellers and keep their own secrets. But as Lash reveals, when the truth is the living Earth itself it cannot be hidden or destroyed.

Deep rapport with nature is not accessible to the sanctified ego or the self-conscious mind, but only to the egoless awareness of the body-mind…

Gnosticism is not an alternative religion, it is an alternative to religion, a path and practice that must be lived and expressed one person at a time. Gnosis is psychosomatic illumination, the full-body rush of cognitive ecstasy and direct sensorial reception of the vital intelligence of the earth.

Not in His Image delves deeply into the shadows of ancient Gnostic writings, exploring the richness of the ancient European Pagan spirituality—the Pagan Mysteries, the Great Goddess, Gnosis, the myths of Sophia and Gaia.

Long before the birth of Christianity, monotheism was an anomaly; Europe and the Near East flourished under the divine guidance of Sophia, the ancient goddess of wisdom. The earth was the embodiment of Sophia and thus sacred to the people who sought fulfillment in union with her. This ancient way of life was threatening to the emerging salvation-based creed of Christianity that was based on patriarchal dominion over the earth and lauded personal suffering as a path to the afterlife.

There is a growing perception that something is fundamentally wrong with mainstream religious values. Each day, I see more evidence that some people at least are prepared to face the terrifying question: Why do we betray our humanity in the name of our spiritual principles?

This book is a call of alarm, but also a call for inspiration. The following pages contain a heady mix of history, science, theology, anthropology, myth, and personal testimony of mystical experience

The all-pervasive theme is the goddess Sophia, whose name is wisdom, whose sensory body is the earth. My first objective is to recover and restore the Sophianic vision of the Mysteries celebrated in ancient Europe and the Near East. The guardians of this vision were called gnostokoi, “those who know as the gods know.” To correlate Mystery teachings with Gaia theory and deep ecology—the second objective of this book—cannot be done without looking closely at what destroyed the Sophianic vision of the living earth, and how it was able to do so. The genocide of native spirituality in the classical world went on for centuries, but a cover-up has largely concealed this fact, and continues to this day. To expose the cover-up and reveal both the cause and scope of the destruction so wrought is the third objective of this book. Finally, the fourth objective is to show what is basically wrong, indeed, pathologically dangerous, in salvationist theology and Judeo-Christian ethics. —from the intro

The legacy of divine paternalism is a hundred generations of bad parenting and abuse. This is a lot of dysfunctionality to overcome! But the enlightenment of the last thirty years looks extremely promising…

This is a time, the old legends say, when exceptional gains in spiritual life are possible in individual cases, but they occur against the background of extreme decay and degeneration for society at large. It remains to be seen who can and will respond directly to the voice of the wisdom goddess. Who will listen in the clairaudient rapture of silent knowing, taking instruction from the wellspring of the Organic Light?

“Combining impeccable scholarship with remarkable visionary insight, the author provides a profound analysis of the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and their connections to the patriarchal system. He identifies the deep roots of the intrinsic problems of these three religions—perpetrator-victim emphasis and salvationist ideology—and points out their relationship to the alienation and agony of modern humanity. This book is a must for everybody who is trying to understand the psycho-spiritual currents underlying the present global crisis.” —Stanislav Grof, author of Psychology of the Future

An extraordinary and profound book. Not In His Image is a blessing, and a warning that we must cease taking the terrible advice of Christianity… and that we must instead re-inhabit our own joyful, painful, mortal, beautiful bodies and fight for our lives and for the lives of those we love. This book points the way home.

Derrick Jensen, from the afterword

Publisher’s Description: 

Lash gets to the heart of what went wrong when the rich spiritual world of the pagan mysteries and the Great Goddess was ruthlessly eradicated and then replaced by a patriarchal monotheistic Church. Plumbing the depths of the Gnostic texts, he discovers the true origins of the Western spiritual tradition and how this knowledge can help us recover a healing relationship with all creation.

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