Gnosticism is a peculiar religion that has roots older than Christianity. With the arrival of Jesus Christ, Gnosticism developed a strong Christological element, but it is not Christianity by any means. The origins of Gnosticism are difficult to pinpoint, but there are heavy doses of Neoplatonism and Jewish mysticism present, along with touches of Zoroastrianism and Hermeticism. The name itself comes from the greek word *gnosis*, or “knowledge”, and it entails esoteric traditions and secret knowledge to assist the journey of the soul to unity with God. It stands distinct from the generic religious movement of *Illuminism*, which simply means to be guided by new, special revelation from God. Gnosticism has a definite set of beliefs, complete with a theology all it’s own. The basic idea of Gnosticism is this: The true infinite God “emanated” some beings from itself. These beings are called Aeons. Depending on the particular flavor of Gnosticism you are talking about, these Aeons have various names. But one, named Sophia (Greek for *wisdom*), emanated another creature called the “DemiUrge”. The DemiUrge thinks it is God, and is the God of the Hebrew Old Testament. It doesn’t realize it has been emanated from an emanation and is already twice-removed. Thinking itself God, it created material universe as we live in it, and created beings called Archons to rule it. Humans, a result of the material universe created by DemiUrge, are animated by a “spark” of light, which is really just a part of the true, infinite God that began the whole process with its emanations. This spark strives to break free of the imprisonment of material existence, and moves towards unity with the true, infinite God. However, the Archons and DemiUrge fight against this evolutions towards unity. By enlightenment and special knowledge (*gnosis*), humans who have become aware of their true nature can combat the Archons and DemiUrge, sometimes through esoteric ritual. Throughout history, the true infinite God emanated Messengers of the Light to assist mankind in its journey towards unity. These Messengers have included Seth (the third Son of Adam), Jesus, and the Prophet Mani. Gnosticism is an active, thriving religion. In France, it is L’Eglise des Inities (Church of the Initiated), the Pre-Nicene Gnostic Catholic Church in England, and in the US, the [Gnostic Society]. They have sacraments, a liturgy, holy orders (the Ecclesia Gnostica) and sacred texts.