header image 2
Universal Gnostic Ministry & Study
Affirming Unity + Celebrating Diversity
Header image



Circle of the Free Spirit (CFS)
is a founding member of the Liberal Gnostic Community (LGC).

The founding was formally declared by signed document on November 1, 2008, following the community's first priestly ordinations held at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in Manhattan, New York City. A few years later, a discerment process resulted in the founding members agreeing that LGC is in the nature of a religious or spiritual Order.

Currently, LGC formal membership consists of several Templars plus four ministers in holy orders: two priests, a bishop, and a presiding bishop or abbot. They are Caroline+ whose priestly ministry is the Sacramental Community of Christ Sophia; Michael Pelagius+, an archpriest whose ministry includes the Oratory of Saint Pelagius; Bishop + George Christopher who is the presiding bishop of the Catholic Universalist Church; and Presiding Bishop / Abbot + Mark Aelred of the Circle of the Free Spirit.

Information about LGC, including liturgies, homilies, and other works by its members and ministries may be posted here from time to time.

A Message from +Mark Aelred

Greetings in Christ Sophia + Word and Wisdom,

When I was an early teen, I remember going to the movies to see “Hawaii”. I will never forget the shock – and the awakening – that I felt when I heard the main character, a Calvinist minister played by Max Von Sydow, say to his wife Jerusha that he was sorrowful for the sin of loving her more than loving God. That’s when I had perhaps my first realization of the harm done by a theology of dualism. By dualism I mean the separation of Reality into Creator on the one hand and Creation on the other. From that, other forms dualism follow: “the sacred” versus “the profane”, “the ideal” versus “the real” – and a host of others. [And from that, the wars of religion throughout history have been provided with deadly fuel – and that is another very tragic story.]

Decades later I was led to reinterpret – but not deny – the idea of the Divine Trinity. God is Reality, and Reality is both a Unity and a Trinity. In one of our liturgies, we say: “In the Name of the Infinite Mind of Light, the Mystical Body of Life, and the Holy Spirit of Love. The One Reality that Manifests, Sustains, and Transforms All Beings.” The Hermetic tradition says something similar: the One is the All.

We also say: “Come! For you are the Knower, the Known, and the Gnosis – the Lover, the Beloved, and the Embrace!” Subject and Object are mutually interconnected – to (truly) Know IS to (truly) Love. To pay attention is to give yourself to the object of attention – self and other unite. Those who meditate often experience this merger with the object of their meditation, whether it is an image or a sound. To pay attention is both to know and to love – to know is to love. We express our love by attending to the those we love – to their needs, and simply to their presence.

The only way I know of loving God is to love what I experience – myself, others, humans, animals, the planet, the universe, the All. So to the Calvinist minister in “Hawaii” I wanted to say: “But loving your wife IS loving God. One love is not opposed to another – Love is One.” Duality is a delusion.

In truth, we are a microcosm of the macrocosmic Trinity+Unity. We are each – for ourselves and for each other – the Knower and the Lover, the Known and the Beloved, the Gnosis and the Embrace! Our True Self IS the Infinite Mind of Light, the Mystical Body of Life, and the Holy Spirit of Love!

May the Spirit of Peace Be with You.

2012 Fall Equinox






c/o Circle of the Free Spirit

Box 230316 Ansonia Station
New York, NY 10023

Bishop + Mark Aelred

Please visit us again!

This page created: September 4, 2008

February 11, 2011; September 21, 2012, October 10, 2013, March 10, 2014