Allegory of the Hymn of the Pearl

Adapted from B. Layton, The Gnostic Scriptures

Folk Tale

Allegorical Meaning (hyponoia)

The King

First Principle

of the East

of the spiritual realm


providentially causes

a royal prince

the individual self/soul/spirit

to go by way of Mesene

to descend past the heavenly bodies

to Egypt

into life in a body within the material world/the world of the senses/of culture

to get a precious pearl

to be educated (gain salvation).

The prince

The individual self/soul/spirit

is poisoned and intoxicated

becomes unconscious and inert

by Egyptians

because of matter/the world/the senses

he is awakened

The self comes to consciousness of its true identity

by a message from the king

in response to the savior or message of wisdom

He takes the pearl

It comes to have gnosis with the true self and its experience

and returns to the East

and is spiritually reunited

where he puts on a robe of gnosis [robe = gnosis of self, 76-78]

when it gains gnosis of itself

and ascends to the king's palace

and of the First Principle

entering the realm of peace

gaining true repose within its true divine home

This page maintained by Anne McGuire; last updated September 7, 2016