Do you often find life a complex puzzle? Perhaps a maze, where no matter which path you go on, it seems inescapable. 

Life can be tricky sometimes, but still, it’s the most beautiful feeling to be truly alive. However, when times turn rough, people struggle to find a balance between their emotions and mind. It feels like the brain is clouded with questions your heart doesn’t have answers to. At that point, you sometimes start blaming yourself for your inability to overcome the puzzling mindset, which ultimately results in anxiety, stress, and depression.

However, like the famous Serenity Prayer mentions, do not blame yourself for things you can not control; instead, focus on what’s in your hands. Try to understand and be kinder to yourself. Seek help from a spiritual therapist if things become too overwhelming. That’s the crux of the upcoming interview. It was organized under the Psychoanthropology Project to provide readers with an insight into what lies between psychotherapy and spiritual. The interview tries to bridge the gap between science and spirituality through Dr Lancaster’s Gnostic Pneumatherapy, which helps an individual better understand the self and heal it.

Moving on with the interview—

Interview with Dr. Joseph Lancaster, Psychologist, in California.

Dr. Joseph Lancaster is an author, public speaker and clinical psychologist with a spiritual emphasis. His expertise lies in combining psychological and spiritual insights to heal the human being: mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually, embracing all spiritual contexts and themes. Thus, starting in 2007, under the supervision of Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, a renowned Gnostic-Jungian scholar, Dr. Lancaster founded a unique approach to therapy. This open-minded approach, called Gnostic Pneumatherapy®, is both clinical and spiritual in nature. 


Interviewer: Dr. Lancaster, can you tell us about your pneumatherapy method?

J.L.: Gnostic Pneumatherapy is a psycho-spiritual method of finding our true self. It is a path, a work of self-discovery on different levels. To do this, the therapist can also make use of the patient’s dreams or visions.

Interviewer: What relationship is between your method and gnosis as a doctrine?

J.L.: One must bear in mind that gnosis is not a doctrine, but is only experiential knowledge, which also means spiritual knowledge, i.e., It goes beyond the Ego and its limitations (greed, anger, pride, etc.). Gnosis expands one’s consciousness to heal these limitations.

Interviewer: Does this which you described occur in a waking state, not in a hypnotic state?

J.L.: In some ways it’s like hypnosis, but it’s truly not. If we look at Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, he called it ‘active imagination’, a state in which the patient or initiate of this path work focuses on the experience in such a way that he spontaneously experiences it and participates in it for inner transformation of consciousness. Thus, one comes to gradually know themselves within.

Interviewer:: Is this process something related to the spiritual world?

J.L.: Yes, it is a spiritual experience and process of the highest level. It is not mental projection, but direct contact with the divine. An alchemical change of consciousness happens to the initiate.

Interviewer:: Is your teacher, Stephan A. Hoeller[1], a bishop of the Gnostic Church in America?

J.L.: Yes. He is the oldest Gnostic bishop in America. He is 91 years old and still gives lectures and talks. I am still being trained by him, and this has been going on for the last 22 years. So, in 2007, under his mentorship, I started Gnostic Pneumatherapy. In similar and different ways, he and I are trying to carry on the work done by Carl Jung through the tradition of the Gnostics.

Interviewer: What was the relationship between Stephan Hoeller and Jung?

J.L.: When Austro-Hungarian, Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, was a teenager, he met C. G. Jung and had later contact with Franz Jung. Jung’s son, Franz, is known to have praised Dr. Hoeller for accurately interpreting an early copy of Jung’s treatise “The Seven Sermons to the Dead.“[2] Dr. Hoeller also wrote several other books on Jung and Gnosticism.

Interviewer: So, Jung was a Gnostic in your opinion?

J.L.: Although Jung, on certain occasions, denied that he was, he initially used Gnosticism to construct his conception of analytical psychology, such as the process of individuation; the Gnostics already knew about this developmental process before he did, they simply expressed it in mythological and poetic language. The Gnostics empirically explored what Jung called the collective unconscious and provided descriptions of the various archetypal images such as the Gnostic Sophia, which Jung believed should be included in psychology. For Jung, he related to the Gnostics because he saw Gnosticism as an expression of the human struggle to achieve wholeness, the completeness of being. Therefore, in his “Red Book“,[3] he speaks about his development toward wholeness. Overall, by definition, Gnostics were “knowers” and Jung was a “knower” per his Gnostic-like experiences and the substance of his work. So, in this sense, as Dr. Hoeller mentions in “The Gnostic Jung“[4] book, yes, he was a Gnostic.

Interviewer: When you speak of the divine, what are you referring to?

J.L.: You could say it’s the event that comes about when there is an interaction between us and the spiritual entities, a dialogue. Then we acquire a new knowledge, which is gnosis, in which divine energy is present for our assimilation. This becomes our inner illumination—for life!

Interviewer: In your opinion, is the spiritual world real? Or is it just an imagination, a fantasy and a symbol?

J.L.: From my point of view, the spiritual world is real. Just think of the archetypal dreams, which recur throughout many cultures, timeframes, and spirituals. Many people have had similar dreams whose symbolism is universal, belonging to humanity as a collective. Dr. Hoeller has spoken of a ‘gnostic monomyth’, comparable to an inverted tree, with its roots in heaven and its crown spreading over the earth. People from different cultures have similar experiences in that they draw from the same root, the source that is one. Gnosis is a path of self-knowledge from that same source of mystery. Jung had it. And, currently, Gnostic Pneumatherapy can help initiates to help themselves gain this spiritual gnosis. This Gnostic-Jungian approach gives people the basic knowledge and tools to embark on a spiritual path as they find their own meaning of what they have experienced in a spiritual way. This approach provides support for interpreting experiences according to one’s own perspective and associating it with universal truths. In Gnostic Pneumatherapy, universal truths are shown to the initiate for additional support of their own interpretation.

Interviewer: If I understand correctly, each interpretation has its own unique truth?

J.L.: Yes, the patient, or rather, the ‘initiate’ acquires a new awareness. Their experience is received and based on what they need. Performing a further analysis of this happens thereafter.

Interviewer: So, there is a therapeutic Gnosticism?

J.L.: Yes, that is what I apply in the therapy room for the patient who chooses to be an “initiate” on the path work of Gnostic Pneumatherapy. Like the Greek mysteries, it’s a path work that’s influenced by the Gnostic mysteries. The initiate wants to expand their consciousness, and I am a mentor for this, known as the pneumatherapist. During this path work of the mysteries, they have different types of spiritual learnings and tools at their disposal, such as a book that they read and interpret per mutual discussions.  Therefore, I also have a book and do the same. We progress together during the different phases of the path work, just like in the Gnostic mysteries. The path is experienced through these books, and therefore, called the ‘therapeutic mysteries’; afterwards, we move on to something more experiential, namely the ‘spiritual mysteries’.

Interviewer: Is there a training school to become a pneumatherapist?

J.L.: Yes. It will soon exist. I mention on my website——that a book will be published soon, however, this will be Book One. Book Two will be published soon thereafter. Then there will also be videos made especially for psychologists because the writing of Gnostic Pneumatherapy’s path work is tailor-made for the professional psychologist, or therapist, who can use it with their patients in private practice. Certification to become a “pneumatherapist” will also be offered.

That’s a Wrap!

If you have been feeling anxious or depressed or want to gain a better idea of self through Gnostic Pneumatherapy, Dr Lancaster can help you. With years of experience, his advanced counselling services can connect you with your inner side and redefine yourself in a new light. Life has its ups and downs; however, you must have faith in yourself. If you need assistance, Divine Life Therapy (The home of Gnostic Pneumatherapy) is with you.


[1] An author and scholar of Gnosticism and Jungian psychology, Hoeller is regional bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica. Hoeller has lectured in Australia, New Zealand, England, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Hungary, Germany and the USA. He was a member of the faculty of the Philosophical Research Society of the late Manly P. Hall and national speaker of the American Theosophical Society. Since 1963, he has been Director of Studies of the Los Angeles Gnostic Society, where he has lectured every Friday evening for many decades. He was a frequent contributor to Gnosis magazine and has also written for Quest magazine and many professional journals. He is Professor Emeritus of Comparative spiritual at the College of Oriental Studies in Los Angeles, California.

[2] Jung, C. G. (2020). Seven sermons to the dead (transl. it. D. Curtotti). Mass: Edizioni Clandestine

[3] Jung. C., G. (2010). The Red Book – Liber Novus, edited by Sonu Shamdasani (translated by G. Sorge, G. Schiavoni, A.M. Massimello). Turin: Bollati Boringhieri Ed.

[4] Hoeller, S. A. (1982). The Gnostic Jung and the seven sermons to the dead. Wheaton: Quest Books.

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