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Universal Gnostic Ministry & Study
Affirming Unity + Celebrating Diversity
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"Whatever happens to another, happens to oneself."

- Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

Circle of the Free Spirit was founded in 1992, and is rooted in the independent sacramental lineage and the Way of Gnosis as found in pre-Nicene Christianity. We seek Wisdom - Sophia - wherever She may be found. As such we openly draw from Buddhism and other traditions.

We are not bound by literalist interpretations of scripture, and freely reject what we consider to be false and unjust notions propagated in the name of religion.

We affirm the mutual freedom of all individuals in matters of conscience and lifestyle, and welcome those traditonally excluded and oppressed by organized religion on the basis of gender and sexuality. Indeed, spiritual androgyny is a hallmark and goal of the Way of Gnosis, and calls into question traditional and repressive sex-role stereotyping. The true Self is both - and beyond - male and female.

As all beings are embraced by the same true Self, the One Reality, we see that whatever we do to others, we do to our Self. This is the inner and Gnostic meaning to the ancient Golden Rule to "Love your neighbor as your Self." As self-conscious beings - as the universe becoming conscious of itself - we are called to help bring about a more just and compassionate world.

Ours is a "socially-engaged Gnosticism" guided by what may be called (as in the Epistle of James) the "Law of Liberty", and also the "Law of Love". We seek to create spiritual community in which relationships are guided by the "love mode" rather than the "power mode" (in the words of Buddhist teacher Sangharakshita). In contrast to the "Christo-fascism" of fundamentalism, our vision is of a "Christi-anarchy" guided by the Spirit of Love, practicing non-violence, equality of the many genders, and freely sharing resources - relating to one another with both generosity and gratitude.

Gnostics look to what is called "Christ in you", and thereby seek to become a "true individual" (in the words of the late gay liberation theologian Bishop Mikhail Itkin) - guided by the indwelling Spirit of Christ - the Spirit of Love - to live in freedom and to help liberate others and restore wholeness to our fragmented world. This is the role of the Christ Spirit - the awakened Self - in the world.

We seek to change consciousness in order to change the world. "As above, so below - as within, so without" is a guiding insight from the Hermetic path of Gnosis. We must find within ourselves what we seek outside ourselves. Meditation and sacramental ritual, as in the Circle, are ways of finding and knowing who we are.

The path of Gnosis is the journey of a lifetime - marked by moments of initiation and insight. What we seek is inside us and outside us. It is not only waiting, but calling out, to be found. Stop, look, and listen deeply. Be still and know.

Contact us:

Circle of the Free Spirit
Box 230316 Ansonia Station
New York, NY 10023

Bishop + Mark Aelred

And visit us again!

July 7, 2006

Revised November 27, 2007