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The interview with my guest of this week’s episode was actually recorded right away on New Year’s Day and I’m very happy to welcome author, leader of a Gnostic Parish and a Martinist Lodge, 32nd Degree Mason and 9° Magus in the S.I.R.A., Rev. Mathieu G. Ravignat. Mathieu has published three large and very deeply researched and well-written books on the Élus Coëns, the French Gnostic Church and Egyptian Masonry and of course these will be our main topics of interest.
Growing up in a devout but open-minded Canadian Catholic family Mathieu was called to spirituality at a young age and even considered priesthood as a path in his early teens. However, during his university years he discovered several authors like William Blake who exerted a huge influence on his spiritual views and pointed him into different directions making him re-questioning his orthodox Catholic framework and opening up the gates to Western Esotericism to him. Mathieu went on to contact local esoteric groups and soon became active in Masonic circles, especially embracing Martinism.
In 2019 Mathieu published a book ‘The French Gnostic Church: Doctrinal and Liturgical Evolution’ which is about one of the least understood esoteric parts of the Western Esoteric Tradition. We’ll be talking about his inspiration for putting quite a lot of work into this project as well as how digitization played a big part in it. We’ll be exploring how the Gnostic Church could evolve in France, how it embraced mystical experiences in a Valentinian tradition and went on to become the first church in modern history that consecrated a woman as a bishop. Of course we’ll be discussing the figure of visionary and neo-Catharist Jules Doinel who as its leader aimed to return to a ‘primitive’ form of Christianity with its basis in the Gospel of John.
Aside from Roman Catholicism and Protestantism that both got carried forward into French respectively British Esoteric practices there was also a third ‘movement’ within esotericism without a religious framework which was a huge inspiration for another of Mathieu’s books, ‘Quest for a Lost Rite: The Origins, High Degrees and Spiritual Practices of Traditional Egyptian Freemasonry’. In this book he aims for the reconstruction of very specific degrees and also provides spiritual methods of the rites and we’ll be diving deeply into his motivation to make the information within this book available for the public in not only going into details on historical aspects but creating a work that is useful to the soul and offers real tools for practice.
In the end, Mathieu will kindly open up on his upcoming projects including a book titled ‘Hermetic Musings Volume I.’, containing articles on esoteric subjects such as the concept of the bridal chamber in ancient Gnosticism, practical alchemy and much more.
Music played in this episode
ONCE AGAIN, TODAY’S MUSIC IS BY ONE OF OUR LISTENERS. BENJAMIN BROWN, SOUND ENGINEER FROM SCOTLAND, CONTACTED ME AND OFFERED US THREE OF HIS WORKS.
Benjamin Brown is a recording engineer and musician based between Glasgow and The Black Isle in Scotland. The music that we hear in this episode is from a record he made during 2020 and finished last year.
Here is what he says about his work:
“It’s a pretty little thing which I suppose is something I have always wanted to make.. It is a continuation of what I have always done – express myself via music – and to me, makes perfect sense. When I was nineteen I joined the band Falloch and made a quiet decision to spend the next decade pursuing “music” to see where I could get.
“Where I got is where I wanted: a place where music is an anchor and helps support living costs while allowing for ease of creative expression. I love music and in particular, I like spending time noodling on instruments at home where I can be alone and comfortable.
“I also like reading and spend a lot of time with books. I find that in many ways it is what I read that triggers inspiration and becomes an impetus to create sounds. The bands are for the big ideas, the synthesizer at home for my more introspective and minimal thoughts.
“These songs are the latter. Little thoughts about the quiet and wonderful. I enjoyed making them and found them to be therapeutic and reassuring. The work on them was in no way arduous and took place over an eighteen-month period. You can hear more at my Bandcamp (benjaminbrownsound.bandcamp.com), get in touch with the studio on Instagram at Black Isle Recordings, or see Barshasketh at Netherlands Deathfest in May in 2022″.