Divinity reveals herself in all things. Everything has Divinity latent within itself. For she enfolds and imparts herself even unto the smallest beings, and from the smallest beings, according to their capacity. Without her presence nothing would have being, because she is the essence of the existence of the first unto the last being.
Little did Bruno know that this work–among his many volumes of esoteric, magical, philosophical and astrological books–would be used as the primary evidence to convict him of heresy. Bruno was burned at the stake in Campo dei Fiori, Rome, on Ash Wednesday, 17 February, 1600. Even as we remember victims of intolerance, ignorance and abuse of civil authority, we must also confront the real enemy of human dignity: self-ignorance, and therefore the ignorance of the indwelling Divine.
Do we recognize the hidden voice of the Divine within us? Am I conscious, am I increasing my consciousness through real acts of thoughtfulness? These are the questions that help us enrich our spiritual life, and they must be asked first of ourselves before we criticize others. That is to say, we need to recognize the Divine within us before we can grow in the knowledge of the Divine that inhabits everyone and everything else.
To follow the path of Gnosis is a very intimate way of knowing the Divine. We do not lock ourselves up in fortresses of “right thinking” or determinism. Giordano Bruno would no doubt agree fully with such freedom of conscience and spiritual growth. It was he who taught that each one of us is a transcendent being daily faced with the challenges of ignorance and materialism. Bruno could see the microcosm which bases itself on abstractions of humanity, clumped into strata, classes and castes, without ever treating the phenomenon of Being. Correspondingly, this clumping creates a macrocosm of social, political and economic actions that deny the spirit of humanity and its uniquely free will. This travesty is not accidental; in fact its emptiness haunts everything that comes into contact with us if we play by the superficial rules of this materiality.
There is a beautiful passage in the gnostic apocryphal book entitled The Three Forms of the First Thought, which echoes the sound of that inner voice to which Johannites are devoted:
I am a voice speaking softly. I am from the beginning. I am in the silence that surrounds every one of them. And the hidden voice is in me, in intangible, immeasurable thought, in the immeasurable silence. I descended into the underworld and shone down on the darkness. I poured water. I am hidden in radiant waters. I gradually dawn on all by my thought. I am weighed down by the voice. Through me knowledge comes. I am in the ineffable and unknowable. I am perception and knowledge, uttering a voice by means of thought. I am the real voice. I cry out in everyone, and they recognize it, since there a seed lives in them.
This is a path that is not dogmatic and does not depend on scriptures or deterministic mythology or eschatology for its experience and fulfillment. This path, which has been followed by many Christians since the days of the first community of St. John in Asia Minor, requires only that we learn to know ourselves, and to treat others as equally important sparks of the Divine. This is the path which sees that Divinity reveals herself in all things.