Gnosis, a journal of the Western Inner Tradition, was first issued
in 1985 and quickly emerged as one of the highest quality
newsstand periodicals serving the groups and individuals
whose spiritual vision has emerged out of the Western alternative
spiritual tradition that has collectively been known as
Gnosticism. Associated with Gnosis as its sponsor was the
Lumen Foundation, a nonprofit organization existing primarily
to raise the income to keep Gnosis financially solvent.
Glauber, Johann Rudolph Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Gnosticism enjoyed a widespread popularity in the early
centuries of the Common Era, but lost out to Orthodox Christianity.
Since that time it has periodically reappeared in the
West as a series of movements that challenge some of the basic
concepts of Christian Orthodoxy. The Divine is generally
thought of as transcendent, impersonal, and ultimately unknowable
rather than as personal and involved in human history.
God did not create the world by a sovereign act; rather, the
visible universe is the end result of God’s emanations of His
own spiritual essence. The universe is structured in layers with
the visible universe at the lowest level. Salvation consists in
gaining the wisdom (gnosis) that provides the information for
escaping the world of matter, in which human entities are
trapped on a wheel of reincarnation. Commonly, Gnostics believe
that humans have forgotten their divine origin as an emanation
of the deity and thus need to reawaken their memory by
various spiritual disciplines.
The Gnostic vision experienced a notable revival in the seventeenth
century in such movements as Rosicrucianism and
speculative Freemasonry. Modern representatives include
Theosophy, ceremonial magic, and the New Age movement
of the 1980s. Spiritualism, Christian Science, and New
Thought have all grown from Gnosticism, and the movement
has its Eastern correlates in the various mystical movements
such as Sufism and Sant Mat. In the twentieth century, several
groups emerged trying to self-consciously revive the traditions
and teachings of second-century Gnostic Christianity. Gnosis attempted
to speak to the modern heirs of the Gnostic spiritual
impulse. It claimed among its writers some of the finest scholars
and spiritual leaders representing the Gnostic impulse.
Each issue of Gnosis was built around a set of articles, the
lead articles usually being grouped around a single theme. Especially
prominent were the book reviews, which were of the
kind one expected of a literary journal rather than a newsstand
magazine. In the end, it failed to find a popular audience that
would allow it to survive. After struggling to exist for 15 years,
its last issue was released in 1999.
Gnosis was issued quarterly from publishing headquarters in
the San Francisco Bay area under the direction of Jay Kenny,
editor-in-chief, and Richard Smoley, editor.
Gnosis. San Francisco, California, n.d