“What is Black Gnosticism?” by T. Hasan Johnson, Ph.D.

ligonsDrs. Alfred and Bernice Ligon

Originally posted on Saturday, February 16, 2008

I have been researching Los Angeles-based Black Gnostic communities since 1992 and have garnered some unique perspectives regarding religion, cultural worldview, and human potential, many of which have yet to be properly acknowledged in a large-scale sense. Here, you have a group of predominantly Black social and religious theorists that have been studying under two unique progenitors, Drs. Alfred and Bernice Ligon, since 1943. Influenced by esoteric practices in freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Black Christian practices, Buddhism, astrology, Islam, Confucianism, amd Catholicism (among other influences), The Aquarian Spiritual Center employed a complex curriculum and lesson-dessemination system to define, frame, and shape the study of metaphysicality from an Africana context in Los Angeles.

In the late 1960’s and 70’s, a new generation of Black Power activists filled the small grassroots metaphysical think-tank. They pushed for a more African-centered approach to the study, and Black Gnosticism was more clearly defined. Using a combination of works by authors such as George G.M. James, Kersey Graves, Gerald Massey, Dane Rudyar, Levi Dowling, and many more, Aquarian metaphysicians attempted to define a mode of spiritual reflection void of the religious dogmatism they encountered in the churches in which they grew up.
Although the Aquarian Center no longer functions in any central location, the Aquarian community is as busy as ever. It is my hope to use this blog to study Black Gnosticism and its impact on a grassroots global scale.

~ by Lord Amaru on June 27, 2008.

5 Responses to ““What is Black Gnosticism?” by T. Hasan Johnson, Ph.D.”

  1. Thank you for your objective summary. I will copy it and share it. The Black Gnostics meet at KRST Unity on Western.
    Have you seen this 81 page interview of Alfred Ligon as a part of an oral history program?
    Hotep, Artist Bridgitte Montgomery

  2. The book Jesus Mysteries has a great reference to the Gnostics.

  3. Shouldn’t we call it “African Gnosticism”?

    • Black Gnosticism extends out of a movement in Southern California that started in the 1940s. “Black” better highlights the experiences of African people after our abduction from Africa. So it stands for not only the African Diaspora, but a specific movement (and consciousness) of self-reliance and activism that marks the activism of 20th century African Diasporans. Lastly, it was the Black Power era activists that re-shaped the Aquarian Spiritual Center in the 1970s that helped give it’s racial emphasis meaning for the young.

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