I'm a little late with this one. On Thursday, I worked until 10, then back at 9 on Friday (Thurs. before work, I had domestic duties. The home must go on...). I did not want to rush this too much.
Gnosis is a Greek word, meaning 'to know.' The Gnostic movement was named in early Christian history as a heresy, but it pre-dates the Church by many centuries. The basic premise is that God can be best known through direct mystical experience, and not through dogmas or institutions.
Allow me to present a parallel. Some of you may remember that I was going to audition for a metal band about a month ago. (they have since disbanded). I downloaded their album, and was familiar with their songs. (like a dogma). My friend – Kyle, the singer – provided the music for me to learn three of their songs. After I had learned them, I knew them; the notes, the structure, and the instrumental interactions that made the songs work. Knowing the music on this level was such a deeper understanding than merely listening and grooving- out. It was an intimacy.
In the Old Testament, “Know” was synonymous with sex, as in “Adam knew Eve, and they beget Cain and Abel.” I can't speak for everyone, but I've found that when I'm physically intimate, it deepens my understanding of a person. Even in my marriage, we have a more tangible comfort level when we're 'active.'
Much of the Gnostic literature speaks in parallels like the ones above. This is because until one has experienced a knowledge of the Divine through mystical experience, there is no way of communicating it. Likewise, once one has had a Gnostic experience, there is no word to describe it, only hints and inadequate parables. I have had some pretty vivid spiritual experiences, both within a religious institutional setting, and beyond it, but I don't claim to have achieved a Gnosis. To learn more, I can't help you, but it requires a lot of devotion and time.