MODERN SETHIAN PRACTICE
The ancient Sethian Gnostics doubtless had a complex ritual tradition, but sadly even though many
of their sacred texts have survived the ages they deal with theology, cosmology, and mythology - the theory of Sethian belief rather than its practice. Their ritual tradition likely varied between individual Sethian congregations (at their peak Sethian Gnostic groups could be found from Rome to the Levant, Alexandria to Armenia), and over time. At the core of the Sethian tradition there is a questing nature, a desire to seek out and know the truth and we can see from their texts how as a movement they sought (successfully) to adapt to the prevailing intellectual reality of the times. The core elements of Sethian belief remained essentially unchanged over the original centuries of their existance. These elements began by being expressed in a predominantly Judaic language and ended in a detailed Platonic framework. They were not affraid to inovate to ensure that their most sacred beliefs remained in harmony not only with the wisdom of their ancestors, but the most advanced thinking of their contemporaries - and their is no reason why modern Gnostics that seek to re-follow the 'Sethian' path should not do the same.
A Meditative Mantra
It is clear from their surviving texts that the resonant chanting of vowels with sacred meaning was an integral part of classic Sethian Gnostic practice. Intone the following vowels phoenetically, letting them resonate. Repeat the sequence in a cyclic fashion for as long as you are comfortable doing so while practicing focused metitation. Such meditative practices can bring cognetive and other health benefits as well as spiritual benefits as an act of communion with the divine.
Taken from esoteric Sethian text known as the Holy Book of The Great Invisible Spirit (also as the Gopel of the Egyptians). It is presented as a chant of praise offered by various aeons (Initially by Barbelo though the chant occurs more than once in the text) to the Great Invisible Spirit that came before them. The meaning of this chant is likely 'IEOU', I as a reference to the highest God, E as shorthand for estin meaning 'is' in Greek, followed by A = Alpha, then O = Omega. So the chant effectively means 'The Father is the beginning and the end'.
Lectio Divina (divine reading)
The practice of slow and contemplative reading of sacred texts to reveal their essential or hidden meaning. This practice originated in early Christianity at the same time that the Gnostic traditions were emerging and given the importance of written texts to the ancient Sethians was no doubt practiced within the communities of their tradition.
In its more modern form (codified in 1200s) it consists of four stages:
Before begining take a moment to ensure you are in a calm and still state of mind.
Lectio - Slowly and reverently begin reading your chosen passage.
Meditaio - Reflect on the passage for a few minutes, listening to what its inner meaning might be.
Oratio - Express any prayers that may spontaneously arise within you or simply take note of the thoughts that the passage has inspired.
Contemplatio - Allow your mind and spirit to simply rest in silent communion with the divine and your own inner self (similar to Open Monitoring Meditation).
A Hymnal Prayer to Yesseus Mazareus Yessedekeus (Jesus of Nazareth, the Righteous) and the the divine aeon Autogenes, the Christ
IE IEUS EO OU EO OUA!
Really, truly, O Yesseus Mazareus Yessedekeus,
O living water, O child of the child, O glorious name!
AION O ON (O existing Aeon),
IIII EEEE EEEE OOOO UUUU OOOO AAAAA.
EI AAAA OOOO, O
Existing one who sees the Aeons!
A EEEEE IIII UUUUUU OOOOOOOO,
Who is eternally eternal!
In the heart, who exists,
U AEI EIS AEI
EI O EI, EI OS EI ('Son forever')
You are what you are, You are who you are!
This great name of yours is upon me, O Self-Begotten perfect one, who is not outside me. I see you, O you who are visible to everyone. For who will be able to comprehend you
('In another voice')
Now that I have known you, I have mixed myself with the immutable. I have armed myself with an armor of light; I have become light!
For the Mother was at that place because of the splendid beauty of grace. Therefore, I have stretched out my hands while they were folded. I was shaped in the circle of the riches of the light which is in my bosom, which gives shape to the many begotten ones in the light into which no complaint reaches.
I shall declare your glory truly, for I have comprehended you,
SOU IES IDE AEIO OIS,
O AEON, AEON, O God of Silence!
I honor you completely. You are my place of rest, O Son ES ES O E, the formless one who exists in the formless ones, who exists raising up the man in whom you will purify me into your life, according to your imperishable name.
Therefore, the incense of life is in me. I mixed it with water after the model of all archons, in order that I may live with you in the peace of the saints, you who exist really truly forever.
(Taken/adapted from the Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit)
The Prayer of Melchizadek
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O Father of all those who truly exists, and of those who do not exist, Abel Baruch (blessed breath) for ever and ever, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, Mother of the aeons, Barbelo, for ever and ever, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, First-born of the aeons, Doxomedon Domedon, for ever and ever, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O divine Autogenes, the god of truth, for ever and ever, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O chief commander, luminary of the first aeon, Harmozel, for ever and ever, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, commander, luminary of the aeons, Oriael, for ever and ever, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, commander of the aeons, man-of-light, Daveithe, for ever and ever. Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, commander-in-chief, Eleleth, luminary of the aeons for ever and ever, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, chief commander Pigeradamas, for ever and ever amen
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, good god of the virtuous words, O great Mirocheirothetou, for ever and ever, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy are you, chief Commander of the All, Jesus Christ, for ever and ever, Amen.
(Taken/adapted from Melchizadek)
Melchizadek's Invocation of the Divine Aeons
O essence of the aeons, ababa aiaiai ababa!
O divine Autogenes, of the great logos!
O movement of every nature, Mother of the aeons, Barbelo!
O first born of the aeons, splendid Doxomedon Domedon!
O visions of, Jesus Christ! O chief commanders of the Luminaries, you powers Armozel, Oroiael,
And you man-of-light, immortal Aeon Pigeradamas!
And you good god of the virtuous worlds, Mirocheirothetou! I call upon you through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
(Taken/adapted from Melchizadek)
An invocation of the Monad as the Pleroma
Father of All, Ennoia of the Light, dwelling in the heights above the regions below, Light dwelling in the heights, Voice of Truth, upright Nous, untouchable Logos, and ineffable Voice, incomprehensible Father!
(Taken/adapted from the Thought of Norea)
The Hymn of Pronnoia
Now I, the perfect Forethought of all, transformed myself into my offspring. I existed first and went down every path.
I am the abundance of light,
I am the remembrance of the Pleroma.
I went into the realm of great darkness and continued until I entered the midst of the prison. The foundations of chaos shook, and I hid from them because of their evil, and they did not recognize me.
Again I returned, a second time, and went about. I had come from the inhabitants of light. I, the remembrance of Forethought.
I entered the midst of darkness and the bowels of the underworld, turning to my task. The foundations of chaos shook as though to fall upon those who dwell in chaos and destroy them. Again I hurried back to the root of my light lest they be destroyed before their time.
Again, a third time, I went forth.
I am the light dwelling in light,
I am the remembrance of Forethought.
So that I might enter the midst of darkness and the bowels of the underworld, I brightened my face with light from the consummation of their realm and entered the midst of their prison, which is the prison of the body.
I said, Let whoever hears arise from deep sleep.
A person wept and shed tears. Bitter tears the person wiped away, and said, Who is calling my name? From where has my hope come as I dwell in the bondage of prison?
I said, I am the Forethought of pure light,
I am the thought of the Virgin Spirit, who raises you to a place of honor. Arise, remember that you have heard and trace your root, which is I, the compassionate.
Guard yourself against the angels of misery, the demons of chaos and all who entrap you, and beware of deep sleep
and the trap in the bowels of the underworld.
I raised and sealed the person in luminous water with five seals, that death might not prevail over them from that moment on.
(Taken/adapted from the Apocryphon of John)
I join the incorruptible, spiritual church and the Four Lights of the great, living Autogenes, the god of truth, praising, singing, and giving glory with one voice, with one accord, with a mouth which does not rest, to the Father, and the Mother, and the Son, and their whole Pleroma.
For the five seals, and they who rule over the aeons, and they who bear the glory of the leaders, will reveal all to those who are worthy.
(Taken/adapted from the Holy Book of The Great Invisible Spirit)
Prayer to Barbelo
Because of you salvation has come to us,
From you is salvation.
You are wisdom,
you are knowledge,
you are truth.
Because of you is life,
from you is life.
Because of you is mind,
from you is mind.
You are mind,
you are a world of truth.
You are a tripple power,
you are a threefold replication,
truly you are threefold,
the aeon of eternal aeons.
You alone see purely the eternal and ungendered primal principles,
and to the extent that you have been divided,
and the primal divisions.
Unify us as you have been unified.
Teach us what you see.
Emplower us so we may be saved to eternal life.
We are a shadow of you as you are a shadow of the preexistent One.
Hear us first.
We are eternal.
Hear us as perfect individuals.
You are the aeon of aeons,
The all-perfect one who is unified.
You have heard,
you have heard.
You have saved,
you have saved.
We give thanks,
we praise you always,
we shall glorify you.
(Taken/adapted from the Three Steles of Seth - second stele)
A Sethian Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Mother. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, throughout the Aeons of Aeons. Amen, amen, amen.
(Modern, adapted from the Ecclesia Gnostica version)
Affirmation of the Monad
The Monad is a monarchy with nothing above it. It is he who exists as God and Father of everything, the invisible One who is above everything, who exists as incorruption, which is in the pure light into which no eye can look.
He is the invisible Spirit, of whom it is not right to think of him as a god, or something similar. For it is greater than a god, since there is nothing over him, and no lord above. For he does not exist in something inferior to him, since everything exists within him alone.
For it is he who establishes himself. He is eternal, since he does not lack anything. For he is total perfection.
The One is
illimitable, since there is nothing before it to limit it,
unfathomable, since there is nothing before it to fathom it,
immeasurable, since there was nothing before it to measure it,
invisible, since nothing has seen it,
eternal, since it exists eternally,
unutterable, since nothing could comprehend it to utter it,
unnamable, since there is nothing before it to give it a name.
(Taken from the Apocryphon of John)