THE FIVE SEALS
The Gnostics taught and practiced five magical rites which they called the Five Seals. The Gospel of Thomas lists these: "The Lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism (anointing) and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber." These Five Seals are:
1. Baptism. There were three buildings specifically used for sacrifice in Jerusalem. The first faced west and was called "the Holy." The second faced south and was called "the Holy of the Holy." The third faced east and was called "the Holy of the Holies." The third was a place where only the high priest was allowed to enter. Baptism is the first, "the Holy" building. The Gnostics, like the Christians and many others, used baptism with water as the primary method of purification. The Gnostic rite of spiritual baptism was said to bestow immortality. It was not conducted to redeem sins, but rather as the spiritual Christ descended on the human Jesus when baptized by John the Baptist, so our spiritual self awakens during this rite. In the Gnostic texts, this seal is called Baptism in the Waters of Life.
2. Anointing. "Now the light is the chrism." The Gospel of Thomas uses the term chrism as a special rite of anointing, the anointing of oil. The name Christ means 'the Anointed One.'
The Gospel says, "It is through water and fire that the whole place is purified - the visible by the visible, the hidden by the hidden. There are some things hidden through those visible. There is water in water, there is fire in a chrism." And the text says, "... it is from the olive tree that we get the chrism, and from the chrism, the resurrection" thus indicating that olive oil was used in the rite, although balsam was probably also used. The rite of anointing with oil was said to protect one from demons, as well as to expel a demon if already possessed. It also was used to cure diseases of both the soul and body. According to Thomas, "The chrism (anointing) is superior to baptism." In the Gnostic texts, this seal is called Wearing a Robe of Light.
3. The Eucharist. "The eucharist is Jesus." The Last Supper of Jesus may have had a part in the Gnostic rite of the eucharist, but this is uncertain. It may also have its roots in the Tantric left-handed rite of Pancha-makara, or the five M's (wine, meat, fish, cereal, and sexual intercourse). According to the Pistis Sophia (chapter 142), this rite consisted of a meal containing wine, water, bread, incense, and plants ("vine branches"). Because some Gnostics did not drink alcoholic beverages, wine may have been substituted with something else. The Gospel of Phillip says, "The cup of prayer contains wine and water, since it is appointed as the type of the blood for which thanks is given. And it is full of the Holy Spirit, and it belongs to the wholly perfect man. When we drink this, we shall receive for ourselves the perfect man." This passage is clear when we see that wine is a symbol for inspiration, and water is a symbol for life. In the Gnostic texts, this seal is called Sitting on the Throne of Glory.
4. Redemption. "Redemption is the Holy of the Holy." The rite of redemption was performed to unite human consciousness with the spiritual world, to elevate it beyond the Abyss, and thus to spiritualize it. Several formulas have come down to us regarding redemption. One says, "In the name of Achamoth (Wisdom), be immersed! May the life, the light which is beamed forth, the spirit of truth, be in your redemption." Another says, "I have been anointed and my soul has been redeemed from every Aeon in the name of IAO, who redeemed himself, and in Jesus of Nazareth." And, "I am established, I am redeemed, and I redeem my soul from this Aeon and from all that comes from it, in the name of IAO, who redeemed himself unto the redemption in Christ, the Living One." These formulas were often spoken aloud over the dying together with an anointment of oil and water. The purpose of the rite was to allow the disembodied consciousness of the deceased to rise above the Abyss, where it would remain safely above the Archons. The Gnostics taught that after the death of one who has received gnosis, the body will return to the earth, the soul will return to the Demiurge, and the spirit will rise up into the spiritual realms beyond the Abyss. The rite of redemption helped to assure this end. In the Gnostic texts, this seal is called Glorification in the Glory of the Father.
5. The Bridal Chamber. "The Holy of the Holies is the bridal chamber." According to the Gospel of Phillip, "It is from water and fire that the soul and the spirit came into being. It is from water and fire and light that the son of the bridal chamber came into being." And also, "A bridal chamber is not for the animals, nor is it for the slaves, nor for the defiled women; but it is for the free men and virgins." The rite of the bridal chamber is the highest of the Five Seals. It is conducted to perform a mystical or spiritual "marriage" in the sense of the dual-forces or syzygies that exist above the Abyss. The bridal chamber is the pleroma (pleroma) where the spiritualized consciousness of the candidate will meet his "other half," unite with it, and become whole. Heavenly perfection is expressed by the union of a man and a woman, a syzygie. According to the Gospel of Phillip, "The human being has intercourse with the human being ... So spirit mingles with spirit, and thought consorts with thought, and light shares with light." This, and other passages suggest that the rite of the bridal chamber was one of sexual magic. The purpose of the rite is to unite your spiritual body with your "image" that pre-exists in the Pleroma. It is equivalent to the union of the male or female aspects of the ego, Carl Jung's anima or animus, the masculinity or femininity that lies within ourselves. According to Jungian psychology, every man has an inner femininity, and every woman has an inner masculinity. The Gnostics understood this as one's syzygistic counterpart - every living being has a sexual counterpart, and thus is a syzygie. This is made clear in the Gospel of Phillip which says, "Great is the mystery of marriage! For without it the world would not have existed. Now the existence of the world depends on man, and the existence of man on marriage. Think of the undefiled relationship, for it possesses a great power." The idea that power can be obtained by meditation on the "undefiled relationship" of a man and a woman, is the basis of all forms of sex magic. The Gospel of Phillip teaches that this rite, if properly conducted, effects a permanent union: "If the woman had not separated from the man, she would not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death ... But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Thus Eve separated from Adam because she was never united with him in the bridal chamber." In the Gnostic texts, this seal is called Being Snatched Away. This name probably refers to egoic consciousness which is temporarily "snatched away" at the moment of orgasm.