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Excerpts from some Gnostic Gospels

sexual alchemy as the holy grail

Excerpts from The Gospel of Philip

One will put on the light in mystery in the union. If the woman had not separated from the man, she would not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this Christ came, in order that he might remove the separation which was from the beginning, and again unite the two; and that he might give life to those who died in the separation, and unite them. But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. But those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Because of this Eve separated from Adam, because she was not united with him in the bridal chamber.

There are two trees in paradise. The one produces beasts; the other produces man. Adam ate from the tree which produced beasts, and becoming a beast he begat beasts.

The union is in this world man and woman, the place of the power and the weakness. [1]

Full text of The Gospel of Philip (translated by Wesley W. Isenberg)

Excerpts from The Gospel of the Egyptians

Salome said, "How long will men die?"

The Lord replied, "As long as you women bring forth."

Salome replied, "I did well, then, by not bringing forth."

The Lord said, "Eat every plant, but do not eat the one which contains bitterness [cf., Genesis 3:16]."

Salome asked when what she was inquiring about would be known.

The Lord said, "When you trample on the garment of shame, and when the two become one, and the male with the female neither male nor female." [2]

Full text of The Gospel of the Egyptians (translated by Montague Rhode James)

Excerpts from The Exegesis on the Soul

Wise men of old gave the soul a feminine name. Indeed she is female in her nature as well. She even has her womb. As long as she was alone with the father, she was virgin and in form androgynous. But when she fell down into a body and came to this life, then she fell into the hands of many robbers. And the wanton creatures passed her from one to another and [...] her. Some made use of her [by force], while others did so by seducing her with a gift. In short, they defiled her, and she [...her] virginity. And in her body she prostituted herself and gave herself to one and all, considering each one she was about to embrace to be her husband.

When she had given herself to wanton, unfaithful adulterers, so that they might make use of her, then she sighed deeply and repented. But even when she turns her face from those adulterers, she runs to others and they compel her to live with them and render service to them upon their bed, as if they were her masters. Out of shame she no longer dares to leave them, whereas they deceive her for a long time, pretending to be faithful, true husbands, as if they greatly respected her. And after all this they abandon her and go....When she perceives the straits she is in and weeps before the Father and repents, then the Father will have mercy on her and he will make her womb turn from the external domain and will turn it again inward, so that the soul will regain her proper character...

When the womb of the soul, by the will of the Father, turns itself inward, it is baptized and is immediately cleansed of the external pollution which was pressed upon it, just as [garments, when] dirty, are put into the [water and] turned about until their dirt is removed and they become clean. And so the cleansing of the soul is to regain the [newness] of her former nature....

From heaven the Father sent her her man, who is her brother, the firstborn. Then the bridegroom came down to the bride....Since that marriage is not like the carnal marriage, those who are to have intercourse with one another will be satisfied with that intercourse. And as if it were a burden they leave behind them the annoyance of physical desire....[Once] they unite [with one another], they become a single life....For they were originally joined to one another when they were with the Father before the woman led astray the man, who is her brother. This marriage has brought them back together again and the soul has been joined to her true love....

Now it is fitting that the soul regenerate herself and become again as she formerly was. The soul then moves of her own accord. And she received the divine nature from the Father for her rejuvenation, so that she might be restored to the place where originally she had been. This is the resurrection that is from the dead. This is the ransom from captivity. This is the upward jouney of ascent to heaven. This is the way of ascent to the Father....Then when she becomes young again she will ascend, praising the Father and her brother, by whom she was rescued. Thus it is by being born again that the soul will be saved.... [3]

Full text of The Exegesis on the Soul (translated by by William C. Robinson Jr. )

Excerpts from The Gospel of Thomas

These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded....

18. The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us, how will our end come?"

Jesus said, "Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.

Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death."

22. Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father's) kingdom."
They said to him, "Then shall we enter the (Father's) kingdom as babies?"

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."

48. Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move from here!' and it will move."

61...."For this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness."

79. A woman in the crowd said to him, "Lucky are the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you."

He said to [her], "Lucky are those who have heard the word of the Father and have truly kept it. For there will be days when you will say, 'Lucky are the womb that has not conceived and the breasts that have not given milk.'"

85. Jesus said, "Adam came from great power and great wealth, but he was not worthy of you. For had he been worthy, [he would] not [have tasted] death." [4]

Full text of The Gospel of Thomas translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer)

Return to Source Materials outline


  1. The Gospel of Philip , by R. McL.Wilson, pp. 46-52
  2. The Secret Sayings of Jesus , by Robert M. Grant, pp. 37
  3. The Nag Hammadi Library in English, by James M. Robinson, ed., pp. 192-196
  4. The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version, by Robert J. Miller, ed.