The Gnostic Celtic Church centers personal religious practice for each aspirant, and recognizes that personal religious experience is essential to explore religious and spiritual questions. The GCC therefore assists its members with their personal, spiritual growth in a manner that is Gnostic, Universalist, and Pelagian.
The word Gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, which means “personal knowledge” or “recognition.” The term is used to signify our understanding that personal experience, rather than dogmatic belief or membership in an organization, can form the heart of a spiritual path. Gnostic, for us, does not imply that we hold the same theology or cosmology the ancient Gnostics did. As part of the contemporary Gnostic movement, the GCC affirms that individual experience is central to its vision of spirituality.
The GCC holds that communion with spiritual realities is open to every being without exception, and that all beings — again, without exception —will eventually enter into harmony with the Divine. As an heir to the legacy of the Universalist Church, the GCC affirms that the recognition of the potential for spiritual achievement in all beings is central to its vision of spirituality.
Pelagius was a Celtic Christian mystic who taught that the salvation of each individual is entirely the result of that individual’s own efforts, and can neither be gained through anyone else’s merits or denied on account of anyone else’s failings. As an heir to the teachings of the Celtic Church, the GCC affirms the value of personal responsibility and personal freedom in its vision of spirituality.
As befits a church founded on the principle of individual spiritual experience, the GCC does not require its members to accept any of these teachings, but it does expect its priestesses and priests to be familiar with them, to understand their meaning and value within the GCC’s tradition, and to be able to discuss them intelligently.
The GCC also accepts certain basic principles common to most of the world’s religions and spiritual paths:
- that the universe we see is a reflection of an invisible reality we do not normally see;
- that there are many other beings in the universe besides humanity, some less complex and intelligent than humanity, some more so;
- that each human being has a dimension that transcends the physical and is capable of surviving the death of the physical body;
- that the incidents of life on Earth are not merely random, but are obedient to purposes greater than those we know;
- and that a personal relationship based on reverence and gratitude is an appropriate way of interaction with spiritual powers and of participation in the cosmos as a whole.
The GCC does not specify the number, gender, or nature of the spiritual powers its deacons, priests and priestesses, and bishops revere. Human beings throughout history have drawn inspiration, benediction, and guidance from a rich diversity of divine beings and impersonal spiritual powers. The GCC chooses not to take a position on an issue that human beings may never be able to settle for certain. One or many, personal or impersonal, gods or goddesses, spirits or elements, some of each—these questions are left to the free choice and the personal experience of the individual.
However, the spiritual practices of the GCC presuppose a belief in, and an orientation toward, some power or powers greater than humanity, with whom a personal relationship is possible. Those who reject such a belief and orientation are entirely free to do so, in or out of AODA, but they will not benefit from the training the GCC provides for its clergy and therefore are not eligible for training and ordination. We encourage them to seek elsewhere for a system of training better suited to their needs.