Gnosis: The gateway to magic

What is gnosis?

Gnosis is an altered state of consciousness where you fix your conscious mind on a single thing… and through this, transition to a state where you’re not actually thinking.

Every culture on earth has a name for this state, whether it’s the Zen principle of Mu, the Hindu Samadhi, or even Christian ritual practices.

There’s a reason so many cultures have come to the same conclusion: Switching off the conscious (inhibitory) part of your mind frees up your subconscious mind to do the work without anything holding it back… allowing you to focus your entire will on your practice.

How to achieve gnosis

The simplest method of achieving gnosis, and the method that works for the majority of people (especially those without much experience) is inhibitory gnosis achieved through meditation.

The process is easy to follow, and can be performed in your own home. The more you practice, the easier it will be to focus your mind, and the deeper you’ll be able to go.

Almost no one can achieve true gnosis on first attempt. The modern world is so chaotic and our minds are so turbulent from daily life, learning to “calm down” the mind can take time.

So don’t get frustrated. Simply set a time to practice every day, and over time you’ll find that you’ll be able to still your consciousness and go deeper into yourself without even trying.

Gnosis method: Meditation

First, find somewhere quiet with neutral lighting and no sudden spikes of sound, temperature or other sensory input.

Start your sessions at around 10-15 minutes. Anything more could be taxing when you first begin, and anything shorter is generally not long enough.

Over time you’ll want to gradually up the length of your sessions. A good point to aim for is 30 minutes.

Step 1: Calm down, stay still

Put yourself into a comfortable position. It could be sitting down in a particular chair, or lying on the floor. Make sure that you’re comfortable enough that you won’t have to move at any time during the session.

As you practice, you’ll want to stay in the same position in every session, as even the physical steps of getting yourself comfortable and getting your breathing under control can be ritualised and help you get closer to your goal.

Keep yourself still and ignore any feelings you might have in both your body and your mind. The first few times you do this, you’ll probably feel strange sensations in your body, including random itches, muscle twinges and aches. This is normal. Your mind isn’t used to sitting still and focusing on nothing, so every sensation and every nerve impulse is magnified. This is good. It means it’s working.

Once you’ve worked up to 30 minutes, move on to the next exercise/step.

Step 2: Learn to focus

Next, you have to learn to focus. The accepted method is to sit as described in a dark, quiet room with a single lit candle and stare at it. Feel free to blink when necessary, and don’t feel you need to keep your eyes open. Just sit and focus on the flame, breathing calmly and steadily.

It’s normal for the room to move and swim around you when you do this. Do your best to ignore this. It’s part of the process.

Once you’ve worked up to 30 minutes, move on to the next exercise/step.

Step 3: Kill the noise

Once you’re comfortable focusing on the candle for the whole session, move onto emptying your mind.

As you watch the flame, try and clear your mind of all thought. This is incredibly hard, and you will fail your first attempt, if not lots more. Your mind hates doing nothing, and emptying it frees it up to do damn near anything. Don’t be surprised if you get weird thoughts out of nowhere or find yourself unable to get a particular thought out of your head.

When this happens, reset. Blink. Take an intentional breath. Empty your mind in your own time then focus on the flame again. You cannot force this process.

Some people have trouble with this step. If this is you, you can kick start the process with sound.

Rhythmic, neutral music, or a mantra or other affirmation that you can repeat without having to focus on gives your conscious mind something to think about so you can free up your subconsciousness.

Once you’ve worked up to 30 minutes, move on to the next exercise/step.

Step 4: Focus on breath

When you’re comfortably going most of a session without disruption, you can move on to focusing entirely on yourself, without external crutches.

Do exactly as you’ve been doing, except remove the candle and flame.

Instead, whenever you breathe, focus all of your attention on your breath with the same empty, neutral mind that you’ve been practising. If your mind turns from your breath, reset and bring it back to your breath in your own time.

Practice achieving gnosis

Over time, this simple practice will teach your mind how to focus itself, driving your awareness into a single point that you can turn on and off whenever you wish.

The single best thing you can do is to start your practice today and experiment. Different people respond to different things, and every person’s practice is unique and individual.

As always, the only way you will be able to learn is by doing.

Other methods for achieving gnosis

As we mentioned earlier, there are multiple methods of achieving gnosis that generally fall into two camps, inhibitory and excitatory.

Inhibitory gnosis

Inhibitory methods focus on denying and taking away.

Examples of this include meditation, fasting and sleep deprivation, and hypnosis. The idea is that by stripping away everything that surrounds you, you can train your conscious mind to focus on nothingness.

Excitatory gnosis

Excitatory methods focus on euphoria and sensory overload.

Examples of this are ritualised dancing, drumming and singing, sex magic, drugs and other state altering substances and techniques involving pain such as the flagellatory practices of medieval monks. The idea behind excitatory methods is to overwhelm the conscious mind with sensation so that it is incapable of focusing on anything else.

Which way is the best?

Both schools have their positives and negatives.

Inhibitory methods are more stable and self reliant, and don’t rely on outside intervention, but require a lot of hard work and are generally performed individually.

Excitatory methods are easier to learn, especially under an expect teacher, which is why dances and song have been an important part of every ancient culture, but you end up relying almost entirely on situational circumstances and things outside of the self.

There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from using both methods in tandem, or experimenting with one, then the other, but it’s generally better to learn a simple, inhibitory method first, which is why we recommend every new practitioner begin by mastering meditation.

After all, once you’ve learned this valuable skill, you can perform it no matter where you are or what you’re using, and no one can ever take it away from you. That simple fact just by itself is priceless.