The disciples said to Mary “Tell us of the spirit”.
Thus did Mary speak to them; “The spirit is your own sweet essence, the eternal one. The spirit is the gift of summer. It is the white bride, the white bridegroom. It is the white fire, the fire which has form.”
“The spirit is not a person, or a ghost; it is a gateway. A gateway joins two places. The spirit is both yourself and it is your father. It shines like an arch linking you to the things of your father. Through the spirit the light of the father becomes manifest. For it is both you and your father. In the spirit man and god overlap. In the spirit god becomes man and man becomes god. The spirit is the son of man because it descends from man. The spirit is the son of god because it descends from god.”
“For a woman the spirit takes a male form. A woman in her spirit nature is a man. For a man the spirit takes a female form. A man in his spirit nature is a woman.”
At this there was discontent and muttering from the disciples. “But how” they asked her “can we say that a man is a woman in the spirit? Are we to be womanish like a woman? We are men not women.”
And she said to them, “In the kingdom of heaven there is no male and no female. When god made man he made him complete as both male and female. But they were then separated, the female was split from the male. Thus did death come into the world. But in the kingdom what is split will be reunited. A woman must find again the heavenly male who is her husband, a man must find his wife. When you are united with that one then you will be both male and female, hermaphrodite again as man was at the creation.”
Thus is says in the Gospel of Phillip:
When Eve was still with Adam, death did not exist. When she was separated from him, death came into being. If he enters again and attains his former self, death will be no more.
If the woman had not separated from the man, she should not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation, which was from the beginning, and again unite the two, and to give life to those who died as a result of the separation, and unite them. But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed, those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Thus Eve separated from Adam because it was not in the bridal chamber that she united with him.
The writers of the four gospels also remembered these truths but, as always, the meaning is changed and hidden. Thus in Mathew Jesus says:
Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mathew 19)
This refers to the union of the spirit but in Mathew it is made to seem as referring to worldly marriage. Yet Mathew records Jesus as adding these words which tell us that there is a secret meaning:
All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
And he continues:
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. (Mathew 19)
The author of Mathew does not understand the concept he is putting forward. Mathew has available to him a saying that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven it is necessary to become hermaphrodite. Thus a man who is joined with his spirit wife is returning to the state before the separation of male and female and is no longer male. But instead of hermaphrodite Mathew uses the word ‘eunuch’ which is not an accurate equivalent. And so he turns the saying into a trite reflection on chastity.
In John there is the story of the conversion of the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus meets her while he waits for his disciples and asks her for a drink. She is amazed that he, a Jew, is asking a drink from her a Samaritan.
Jesus answered and said to her, `If you had known the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to thee, ‘Give me a drink’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.' The woman said to him, `Sir, you have not even a vessel to draw with, and the well is deep; from where then do you get the living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who did give us the well, and did himself drink out of it, and his sons, and his cattle?' Jesus answered and said to her, `Every one who is drinking of this water shall thirst again; but whoever may drink of the water that I will give him, may not thirst again; and the water that I will give him shall become in him a well of water, springing up to everlasting life.' The woman said to him, `Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw.' Jesus said to her, `Go, call your husband, and come hither.' (John 4)
Jesus’ command, call you husband and come hither, is apparently inexplicable. The woman does not have a husband but has had several lovers and this Jesus knows:
The woman answered and said, `I have not a husband.' Jesus said to her, `Well do you say ‘A husband I have not’, for five husbands you have had, and, now, he whom you have is not your husband; this you have said truly.' The woman said to him, `Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet’ (John 4)
But the husband Jesus is referring to is the woman’s spirit. It is her spirit-husband that is the life giving well. Following the conversation at the well Jesus talks to his disciples about the harvest. “Look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” It is the harvest that will bring the woman her husband.
The Gnostic Marcus had the experience of the female spirit as Irenaeus reports:
He declares that the infinitely exalted Tetrad descended upon him from the invisible and indescribable places in the form of a woman ..
Moreover, the Tetrad, explaining these things to him more fully, said:--I wish to show thee Aletheia (Truth) herself; for I have brought her down from the dwellings above, that thou mayest see her without a veil, and understand her beauty--that thou mayest also hear her speaking, and admire her wisdom.
The Gospel of Thomas records another experience of the spirit in a saying relating to Jesus’ disciple Salome.
Jesus said: Two shall rest upon a bed; one shall die, the other live.
This refers to the fact that the spirit or soul is eternal whilst the mortal person will die. The saying continues:
Salome said: Who art thou; O man? And whose son? Thou hast mounted my bed [or couch], and eaten from my table. Jesus said to her I am he who is from that which is equal; to me was given of the things of my Father. Salome said I am thy disciple. Jesus said to her Therefore I say, when it is equal it will be filled with light, but when it is divided it will be filled with darkness
Salome has had the experience of the spirit whom she addresses. This male spirit is recognised as a form of Jesus. The spirit has mounted her bed and eaten from her table because he is her ‘husband’ and is one with her. Jesus is from that which is ‘equal’, because he forms a union with Achamoth, as signified in the mystery of the bridal chamber. This union results in state of hermaphrodite completeness that is contrasted with the evils of being divided. If the disciple, Salome, is ‘equal’, that is in a state of union with her spirit, she will be filled with light but if divided she will be filled with darkness.
Mary continued to speak of the spirit thus. “The spirit in male form which comes to women is in the form of Jesus, the son of the father. The spirit in female form which comes to men is in the form of Achamoth, or Wisdom, the loving daughter of the father.”
“Thus it is that for so long men have sought Wisdom. She was present with the father in the eternity before the creation, and she knows of his secrets. She is present with the father at the creation. With him she made the creation and she passed into the creation to give it life. The world is the vessel that contains her, and she is the vessel which contains the world. She is the world and the world is her prison. She is the wood and the rocks. She is the fleet footed deer and she is the wind that blows through the wood.”
“Thus Achamoth has two names. There is she who is imprisoned in the world, whom some call Achmoth or little death, and there is Wisdom dwelling in the splendour of the father, who is called Achamoth the living one.”
“Jesus is Achamoth’s husband, her brother and her son. Jesus descends into the world to redeem Achamoth from the world. He descends into Hades to save little death and bring her into life.”