JAIL BREAK: A Short Gnostic Sermon on the Seven Deadly Sins

          We must all take responsibility for what too many others simply wash their hands of as the “sins” of this world, because the source of all of these so-called sins is weakness, and this weakness is ours alone. We are each held captive by the invisible jailers of this world only to the extent that we are powerless before their various existential weapons, weapons which twist and distort us in our human frailty and steal from us our potential divinity. Pagans, Hermetics, Gnostics, Alchemists and Astrologers all once believed that our world was ruled by seven primary gods, gods who in ancient times were very well known, but today are almost forgotten. In order to become freed from them, one must first become acquainted with them and their primary weapons, and that is precisely what I plan to do here.

The Moon
Our weakness: Insecurity
Our sin: Envy

          The first of these is the Moon itself, and her primary weapon against us is the illusion that makes all of the other divine attacks possible. Yet, as I have said elsewhere, a lie believed can become reality, and the great deception is so thoroughly entrenched that it has become, for all intents and purposes, the truth, at least to a rather significant extent. Break the powers of the Moon and all the others would fall as one, but such a thing is easier said than done. For now it might be best if we simply acknowledge the reality of where we all are and do the work that has been set for us here within our prison of illusions. It is in this world that we must confront each of the hard lessons that must be learned in order to defeat all the rest of the gods, one bully at a time. Remember: Do not envy these gods, for, in the end, they will all be slain.

Mercury
Our weakness: Ignorance
Our sin: Pride

          From deception comes ignorance, and only by pursuing our educations here with proper diligence can we master and overcome the vain realm of Mercury. As we move from infancy towards godhood, knowledge is perhaps the most obvious treasure we have to attain along the way. The danger here, however, is pride, for it is pride that tells us we have learned enough and that the world has nothing more to teach us. Pride is the true weapon of Mercury, and he uses it to keep us all frail and foolish.

Venus
Our weakness: Loneliness
Our sin: Lust

          The next jailer we must address is Venus, who afflicts us with a loneliness the abating of which can override every other ambition, especially our ambitions to be free. The sin of lust is not such because flesh is sinful or pleasure a crime, but because, like all of the seven deadly, it can simply be another expression of the emptiness that fuels the insatiability of human hunger.

The Sun
Our weakness: Hunger
Our sin: Gluttony

          This hunger is of course the central weakness of the human condition, and is therefore given over to the Sun itself as its principle weapon of choice. Fasting is a useful spiritual discipline primarily because when we are deprived of sustenance we truly observe how frail our spirits have become. We are all great and generous people when we are well-rested and well-fed, but our true characters are quickly revealed when we expose ourselves to the dangerous effects of the hunger that lies at the core of our being. It is for this reason that doing so in controlled doses can be a highly beneficial spiritual practice.

Mars
Our weakness: Oppression
Our sin: Wrath

          Yet the incessant starvation at our core spawns even greater evils that must be overcome, and I am open to any creative solutions that one might feel would help do so. Mars offers an obvious and violent oppression, one that has been resisted historically by either rejecting or mastering the violence upon which it is based, but the real danger, regardless of which path you choose, is in the mindless wrath that accompanies his influence. For this, as well as all the other vices, I strongly suggest regular meditation.

Jupiter
Our weakness: Poverty
Our sin: Greed

          On the other hand, Jupiter’s oppression is far more subtle, and rules over us in our greed. Again, one can embrace abundance with generosity towards all or, like many mystics, reject worldly possessions completely, but the basic trap, whether you attempt to own everything or nothing, is in allowing any of these material things to ever own you.

Saturn
Our weakness: Pain
Our sin: Indolence

          Finally, the dark master at the edge of our prison is the god Saturn, whose weapon is pain and whose accompanying sin is that of sloth. To some extent, the answer must be to embrace pain so that it can’t slow us down or turn us away from our path completely, which, as I’ve said, is towards freedom. However, this means that we must also be careful not to end up as the sadomasochistic servants of this, our final, and perhaps greatest, obstacle. In the end, like all of our jailors, we must use the oppression of Saturn to grow purer and stronger, strong enough to one day transcend them all.

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