Quantum Spirituality: Science, Gnostic Mysticism, and Connecting with Source Consciousness

Quantum Spirituality: Science, Gnostic Mysticism, and Connecting with Source Consciousness

Peter Canova, Rochester, Vt.: Bear & Company, 2023; 244 pp., paper, $20.

Theosophists who have studied The Secret Doctrine will recognize much of what Peter Canova writes in Quantum Spirituality, a very readable exploration synthesizing science, Gnosticism, Jewish mysticism, and spirituality. Canova admits to having “devoured every book” he could find on “spirituality and psychic phenomena.” He includes quantum physics in the mix. If you’ve not studied much quantum physics, don’t worry: Canova gives you a lesson on “quantum physics in a nutshell,” and he does it very well. So don’t let those two words scare you.

Canova tells us that the “Gnostic view of Creation began with the primary male-female Source or God.” He recounts the Gnostic myth of Sophia, beginning with the Aeons, “mind-generated thought-forms or ideals from the mind of God, aka “archetypes” or a “blueprint of a basic pattern, way of thinking or being.”

The Gnostics believed that achieving gnosis, or inner knowledge, was far more important than outer knowledge; for them, “knowing thyself” is the key to the spiritual path. Canova gives us a taste of the Gnostic Gospels, including The Secret Teachings of Jesus (a modern translation of The Gospel of Thomas) and The Gospel of Mary, a text that has been mostly dismissed by mainstream Christianity for its depiction of Mary Magdalene as a disciple of Jesus who teaches the other disciples.

According to Canova, humankind experienced the fall described by the Gnostics as “the creation of this psychic dimension of subtle matter, called dark matter today,” which is where science comes into the picture. Spirit descended through “chaos,” which we might also call the void. It is not really empty but is filled with “proto-matter” or potentiality, which, according to quantum physicists, contains undifferentiated matter.

Canova contends that consciousness is fundamental to the creation of matter. In fact, reality depends on the consciousness of the observer, as we see in Erwin Schrödinger’s observer effect. Canova cites philosophy professor Philip Goff and Tim Hunt, a psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who view consciousness as a “fundamental feature of all physical matter down to every single particle in existence,” Canova says.

“Panpsychism theorists, like Goff, insist that it is a materialist theory despite superficial appearances. It explains consciousness as an aggregation of lesser forms of consciousness building to more complex forms of consciousness . . . in terms of its intrinsic nature [matter] is a form of consciousness.’”

Elaborating on this theme, Hunt speaks of consciousness existing among many smaller constituents and evolving with each conscious entity into “larger and more complex forms.” I am reminded of the evolution of consciousness mentioned in The Secret Doctrine: from minerals to plants, animals, and humans, each a conscious entity. As for where this consciousness originates, Canova quotes Hunt as saying, “It’s just always been there.” 

Canova finally expresses what his book is all about: “The primacy of consciousness and the dependence of reality on the observer is the only view wherein the pieces of disciplines such as science, psychology and spiritual wisdom fit together so well.”

Shakespeare once wrote that “all the world’s a stage,” and we are merely actors. Canova tells us that all the world is a film strip, “a universe ‘papered’ . . . by two-dimensional sheets of the information-packed Planck Lengths.” In other words, the world is a movie of frames in a film strip put in motion by light and energy.

So could it be that God starts the projector and just watches the movie? Canova explores that in his section “Who’s Running the Projector?” in which he writes, “God (Consciousness) is the light source projecting the archetypal thought images that form the various information grids to impart specific directions to our phenomenal world.”

In closing, Canova introduces us to the “Third Way,” a path that questions our conventional knowledge about religion and the world around us. He reminds us that the Ancient Wisdom teaches us that “we all have divine potential within us, since we are all projections of the Divine Unity (Source). We are all capable of changing, of healing, of helping others, and all these things are miracles.”

Canova recommends that we spend a portion of each day in study, prayer, meditation, and contemplation. If we don’t, he says, “we will keep stumbling along in ignorance.”

Clare Goldsberry

Clare Goldsberry’s latest book, The Illusion of Life and Death, was reviewed in Quest, spring 2022.