The Telestai were what the ancient Gnostics called themselves. Gnostic was a derogatory term that other people had for them, akin to “know-it-all” or “smart Alec”. Telestai means, “those who are aimed”. From the Greek “telos”, meaning aim, goal or objective. When I first encountered that term I wondered what they were aiming at! Wrong question; the result of anthropocentric programming. The better question is: who, or what, aimed them?
Very little information on the practices of the ancient Mystery Schools of Europe, the Levant and Egypt has survived. However there is evidence from historical records, poetry and oblique references from initiates that the primary methodology of the Telestai was instruction via the Organic Light. The Organic Light is the primary substance body of Gaia.
“Within the sanctuaries of the telestai, “those who are aimed,” the Mysteries were divided into general admission and special admission, the latter being membership in a cell of 16 people. Qualifications for special admission were various: the desire to learn a specific trade or craft, acceptance of a term of apprenticeship with a veteran, willingness to experiment with psychoactive plants for the purpose of learning specific things, and, most importantly, the desire for a consistent and repeatable encounter with the Organic Light. Apprentices in the Mystery cells were taught many things, including skills in all the arts of culture, music, mathematics, navigation, geography, animal husbandry, metallurgy, and much more.
The primary method of the initiates for fostering higher education (mathesis) was instruction by the Light or theoria. In that time and setting, theoria meant “beholding” and literally does mean that in ancient usage as Arthur Koestler notes in his masterpiece, The Act of Creation. These is a pun on theoria and thea, “things divine.” To encounter the Organic Light is to behold things divine and learn intensively and optimally from the “supernal vision.””
The telestai were teachers and above all else“Gnostic shamans,” interacting directly with Sophia, to bring wisdom to the people, to inform art, literature, sciences, medicine and society. They were egalitarian in sharing their teaching and learning processes. The only requirements were not to have committed unjustified murder or dishonesty to the harm of others. “The only qualification to be brought to an encounter with the Organic Light was the innocent and heartfelt desire to meet the White Goddess.” JLL
Fast forward 2000 years or so and we are in a very different world. Our indigenous European shamanic tradition is lost and forgotten and with it our link to wisdom. There is a growing surge of interest in shamanism and many curious individuals who feel the call are looking to other cultures, where pockets of the local tradition have survived. There is always something to learn from other traditions, but every shamanic tradition has grown from the land of its origins. The story of that land and the people who lived there is intertwined and encoded in the DNA of the indigenous people. We can’t move between the nagual and the tonal unless we are able to live those stories today, in every moment, in their entirety. This is difficult because we have been displaced and dispersed over many generations. Our roots have been deliberately cut, making it difficult for us to access our ancestral memories. I enjoy hearing the beautiful creation myths from different cultures, but they are not my stories.
This is where permaculture comes into the picture. The permaculture ethics of care for the earth, care for the people and return and surplus (in that order) are an echo from the distant past. The call to set up a permaculture garden comes from the same source as the call of the spirit world – from the Earth. If you love life and love the Earth who provides it, you hear the call. For me, the call of the nagual came first, leading me to explore different traditions and practices. From that came the realization that I didn’t want to live in the city anymore; I hungered for space where we could grow our own food and be away from other people and all their noise. We followed an invisible trail to the place where the call felt strongest.
My lineage is forgotten. My mother is Spanish, but not from this part of Spain, and I lived most of my life in London. My father is English and all we know of his ancestry is through the name, which is from the Huguenots Protestants of France. However, I feel more at home here than I ever have before, even though I don’t speak the language and am not part of the local culture as it is today! My connection is with the land and this has deepened as we observed the seasonal changes and planted trees and began working on the garden. As we worked with the land, the Planetary Animal Mother worked with us, clearing out the dross and waking up our senses.
Love is the supernatural force that brought me to Galicia, where I could ‘discover’ the Sophianic Narrative and then the Terma of Gaia Awakening in the perfect setting to unlocked the phylogenetic memory banks my ancestors shared with the Earth. This is the same for everyone; you don’t need to have previous knowledge of where your ancestors are from in order to recognise your ancestral home when you land there. But you do need to know that the Organic Light exists before you can see it and I don’t think I would have been able to see it in London. Through the Organic Light, I’m learning how to find my way back to Wisdom and share that knowledge with anyone who wants to participate in Her Story. This is more fundamental than healing the sick or saving humanity, because without wisdom humanity has no future. That’s what we are doing in Planetary Tantra Retreats.
The telestic shaman were aimed and guided by the Sophianic Mythos and this is my story too. We all draw sustenance and strength from the roots of our ancestral history and from this place we can meet other cultures who share our love for the Earth and together we will guide humanity back to Wisdom.