There are degrees of the experience we call Gnosis, or Theosis. In our tradition we have these four levels of experience:
Hylics – those who are self identified with the body, represented by the element Earth. Symbol of all outside the Church.
Psychic – those identified by their personality or soul, (“psychic” in this case is from the Greek for “soul” and does not reference Extra Sensory Perception, or the like.) Symbolized by the position of Deacon.
Pneumatic – the initiate who is identified with the Spirit, Essential Self or higher self, spiritual identification. Symbolized by the Priest.
Gnostic – identified with the Universal Spirit, Gnosis in its entirety, the Mystical identification. Symbolized by the Bishop. This is not to say that the people who hold these positions in any church have reached that point in their experience of the divine, but we are all on the path and this is how the tradition has come down to us in its symbology.
These match the four types of people as presented by Louis Claude de St Martin, (as presented in the French schools):
L’Homme du Torrent: Man of the Torrent. Men without will-power and of little individuality, who follow the way of life in a given epoch without bothering about anything except their elementary needs.
L’Homme de Désir: Man of Desire. These are consciously and ardently seeking perfection and absolute Truth on the way of contemplation, entering their own hearts and learning the sources of the Tradition.
Le Nouvel Homme: the New Man. Men who have reached a certain degree of astral development and who, in their judgments about neighbors and themselves, do not commit those errors which the Men of Desire are capable of making.
L’Homme Esprit: Man-Spirit. This last category, according to St Martin’s theory concerns men who are utterly separated from all interests and troubles, as well as attachments of the physical plane. By this fact they are free from the slavery of the animalistic nature, and on the other hand, from imperfect knowledge about their high origin in the sphere of Emanated Life. (From Moni Sadhu’s Tarot).
These again match the Fourth Way and the Christian Tradition as expounded by Boris Mouravieff:
Man of Type 1: “is he whose mental centre of gravity abides in the motor centre;” (stomach).
Man of Type 2: “is he whose centre of gravity resides in the emotional centre;” (heart).
Man of Type 3: “is he whose centre of gravity resides in the intellectual centre,” (head).
Man of Type 4: Christ, the one who has returned to the heart bringing with him the Ogdoad (the eighth “lamp” located above the head, the doorway to the ninth.)
We hold that the doctrine of Theosis, though driven underground by the Roman Catholic Church, and later Protestant churches, still survived in the Western Mystery Tradition. We also hold that this underground current had many roots from the East by way of the Knights Templars, who brought it back from the Crusades. One definition by the Greek Fathers of Theosis was re-integration into God, and the term re-integration had become the raison d’etre, of these movements, as it is with ours.