The most likely thing you will ever hear about the Gnostics is all the bad boy behavior they perpetrated. The Gnostics were accused of a plethora of raunchy deeds and foul words. From the acts of Simony and encouraging divorce to flagellating themselves and working toward the destruction Jesus Christ’s one true church on earth. Tales are told of ex-Gnostic’s blowing the whistle on these demon worshiping, zombie raising, blood drinking, brainwashing charlatan’s and Don Juan’s. They did it all. They were the Sultan’s of Tantra, the Johnny Depp’s of the holy altar, the Chris Angel’s of mock crucifixion’s, the William Blake’s of poetry and pun. Theirs was a world drowning in magic, immersed in myth. Like the cliché’ goes, “now you see it, now you don’t,” in the same time it takes to say it, they vanished from history.
THE VAMPIRE ARCHETYPE
There are reports from Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Celsus, Aquila, Nicetas, Origen, Justin, Tertullian, Jerome, Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Augustine- all of which have a very superstitious, paranoid view on these pesky Gnostics. In the Clementine Homilies, Aquila and Nicetas claim that Simon said he would never die and in another place in the same writing Simon eats flesh and drinks blood. (1) This is much like the vampire known to the ancient eastern Europeans as Strigoi in Romania, or Vrykolakas of Greece which drank blood and were slain werewolves. This disease was caused by either a sacrilegious life, excommunication, eating sheep killed by a wolf, or burial in an unconsecrated ground. People with red hair and grey eyes were often thought to be vampires just as people with unibrows were thought to be werewolves. There was a superstition about knocking much related to the angel of death. It was said it was best to burn their corpses while they slept on Saturday or something to that effect.
DIONYSIAN LOVE FESTS
If they weren’t murdering a baby and eating semen and menses they were talking smack about the Pope or some other Saint. Orgies and Symposiums were the norm. I guess Gnostic nuns were whores and Bishops fucked their way to the top right? Probably not. There is a tale of a miracle contest in the sky found in the Acts of Peter in which Simon Magus attempts to fly and falls from the air to his death much as in the Toledot Yeshu when Jesus and Judas Iscariot battle in the air. Jesus here, like Simon, is a magician who can raise the dead and claims to be born of a virgin, but is a bastard son and a defiant student.
“Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish color, so that Charis, who is one of those that are superior to all things, should be thought to drop her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation, and that thus those who are present should be led to rejoice to taste of that cup, in order that, by so doing, the Charis, who is set forth by this magician, may also flow into them. Again, handing mixed cups to the women, he bids them consecrate these in his presence. When this has been done, he himself produces another cup of much larger size than that which the deluded woman has consecrated, ) and pouting from the smaller one consecrated by the woman into that which has been brought forward by himself, he at the same time pronounces these words: “May that Chaffs who is before all things, and who transcends all knowledge and speech, fill thine inner man, and multiply in thee her own knowledge, by sowing the grain of mustard seed in thee as in good soil.” Repeating certain other like words, and thus goading on the wretched woman [to madness], he then appears a worker of wonders when the large cup is seen to have been filled out of the small one, so as even to overflow by what has been obtained from it. By accomplishing several other similar things, he has completely deceived many, and drawn them away after him.” (2)
“It appears probable enough that this man possesses a demon as his familiar spirit, by means of whom he seems able to prophesy, and also enables as many as he counts worthy to be partakers of his Charis themselves to prophesy. He devotes himself especially to women, and those such as are well-bred, and elegantly attired, and of great wealth, whom he frequently seeks to draw after him, by addressing them in such seductive words as these: “I am eager to make thee a partaker of my Charis”. (3)
Marcus liked to share his Charisma with the ladies and get them drunk on pleasure and charm. He had a familiar spirit like Simon Magus. There is yet more dirt on Marcus:
“Marcus, thou former of idols, inspector of portents, Skilled in consulting the stars, and deep in the black arts of magic, Ever by tricks such as these confirming the doctrines of error, Furnishing signs unto those involved by thee in deception, Wonders of power that is utterly severed from God and apostate, Which Satan, thy true father, enables thee still to accomplish, By means of Azazel, that fallen and yet mighty angel,-Thus making thee the precursor of his own impious actions.” (4)
EXORCISMS AND DEMONIC POSSESSION
Perhaps Simon drew a different conclusion from the saying, “Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” (5) In the Homilies, there is a story about Simon making a boy of air and claiming that the boy had no immortal soul but that a demon pretends to be the soul. Irenaeus even complains that the Gnostics used exorcisms and incantations. Exorcisms were common among the Egyptians, Magi, Zoroastrians, and other shamanic groups in antiquity. Prayer itself is a form of incantation, so is the act of consecrating the eucharist. The practice of pharmaceuticals was originally spells written on papyri and swallowed (or at least that is the story archaeologists have come up with). Really, they were likely nothing more than prescriptions followed with a dose of a drug which is why the paperwork still survives.
LOVE POTIONS AND CHARMS
The Gnostics supposedly concocted love-potions and forged charms. Love potions are also known today as Aphrodisiacs, named after Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love making. These practices were seen as survivals of Paganism. Yet, many of these practices were done by Jesus in the New Testament! There may as well be a show called, “I dream of Jesus” or “Be-Jesused” the movie.
1. Clementine Homilies 2.22
2. Irenaeus, AH 1.13.2
3. Irenaeus, AH 1.13.3
4. Irenaeus, AH 1.15.6
5. Luke 9:48