"We have felt for many years that there is a great need for a study of the principles on which the Gnostic tradition is built. At first we avoided such a task as our knowledge of the Gnostic tradition was still evolving and because any outline of religious symbolism can come across as dogmatic. However, as time progressed we realized that if we waited until all the facts were in and we worked to avoid all possible misconceptions, we would end up with the Gnostic Handbook never being written. Accordingly, we believe that within this handbook is a comprehensive summary of the basic principles of the Gnostic tradition. We realize that what we outline in this text is unusual and rightly so, Gnosticism is a unique form of perception and hence offers a very different worldview from that found in Christian, Pagan or Esoteric and Occult traditions. Gnosticism is the essence behind such outer forms and hence offers the framework from which religion, occultism and mythology create the form."