This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Fundamentals of Gnosticism, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy.
Gnosticism, in its pristine form, has been studied in accordance with four pillars, as we have been discussing throughout this course. As a tradition, it is founded upon the teachings and studies of science, mysticism, art and philosophy. With this lecture, we are going to conclude this series, by explaining the fundamentals of Gnostic philosophy.It is important to look at the state of our humanity, the state of our planet, with all of its chaos, its afflictions and its great turmoil. It is this state that many types of politics, politicians, systems, codes of conduct are propitiated, are taught as a means of trying to contain and control the tremendous afflictions that humanity is enduring, its death throws.
We have to understand what is it that perpetuates suffering, conflict, disorder. For this, we have no other solution than to return to the ancient sciences, the ancient modes of spirituality, of conduct, or self-reflection. As Immanuel Kant, the great philosopher of Königsberg, stated, "The exterior is merely the reflection of the interior." So, the conflicts that we see in humanity, are precisely that which we carry inside; in our mind, in our heart, and which we act out in our body, to the detriment or benefit of others.
It is precisely this study of self, which is the core of the Gnostics, their endeavor, their philosophy. And, if we look at the original word "philos-sophia" in Greek, we understand that it means, "love of wisdom." It does not mean academic study, intellectualism, scholasticism, something to debate for or against, a means of belittling another person, in terms of pontificating academic vocabulary, a system of the intellect used to subjugate others, a way of thinking; it does not mean that. And, as we explain in etymological terms, science is genuine knowledge: scientia. Mysticism is when we close our eyes to illusion, "myein" in Greek, which is where we get the word mystikos, initiate, someone initiated into a superior way of being. And art, from "artus," and many other words, signifying to join, an expression of consciousness, which is the definition of art. So, philos-sophia is the same meaning as religion; the Latin "religare," which means to re-unite with the divine. We do that precisely by loving divinity. And, as Jesus stated, "love thy neighbour as thyself; first, love thy God above all things." Have philos for your own inner wisdom (sophia).
Sadly, people think that philosophy is a means of caging the intellect—which is what it does—of knowing the truth, of explaining the many diverse phenomena which we encounter; whether it be in politics, natural law, etc. But real philosophy is when we, as a soul, experience the truth, and that love that is born spontaneously from the heart, of recognizing that divinity for ourselves, a humility, that faith. This is the definition of philos-sophia; it is not a system to cage the mind, something to believe in, something to battle in a debate against an opponent, in terms of intellectual concepts, intellectual arsenal, we could say.
Our problems with our humanity will be resolved, easily, if each individual takes it upon him or herself, to rectify his or her own behavior; his mind, his heart, his behavior, his habits. As Buddha said, "We become what we think; mind precedes phenomena. " If our mind is full of degeneration, of desire, of passion and lust, of fear and anger, we are worshipping that which is impure. This prevents us from accessing love of wisdom, love of truth, the experience of the truth.
Genuine spirituality is real philosophy; it is not separate. As we have been emphasizing in this course, the four pillars of Gnosticism are integral, they are not separate. We must look at philosophy as something psychological and scientific, as something methodical, experiential and experimental. We have to look at philosophy and psychology as science, as a mysticism; as a way of closing our eyes to ignorance and illusion, in order to perceive with our own spiritual sight, the truths that are contained within religion. All of that is, of course, expressed and demonstrated in art. Many great mistikos, initiates of past times, conveyed to humanity the very keys of how to change for the better, how to transform the mind.
As you see in this opening image, we have the academy, with the great philosophers Aristotle and Plato in the very center, and in the image, we have many of the great thinkers and luminaries of humanity, which existed in Greece. In this school, we emphasize these core issues, that real knowledge is spiritual, conscious; real philosophy is conscious, what we have verified, what we know for ourselves. And that, when we possess this knowledge from experience, we are able to look at any work of art, as we were talking about previously, and interpret the symbolism, the instructions, the keys that will teach us how to transform our suffering into peace and harmony.
Genuine philosophy is the key; Gnostic philosophy is the essence of how we are going to change who we are, and how we are going to make the changes that we want for humanity. In this next graphic, we have the oracle at the Temple of Delphi, who famously stated, "Homo Nosce Te Ipsum," "Man know thyself (and you can know the universe and its Gods.)" This philosophy, this knowing, this love of truth, comes when we know ourselves.
We have to ask the question, do we know how we are, fundamentally? When we observe our psyche, when we learn to self-observe as Samael Aun Weor stated in his Revolutionary Psychology we begin to see with a new sense that thoughts, feelings, impulses, will, desires, these things are separate from the observer; they are a conglomeration of different factors, which are distinct and yet work together, through mechanical association, through our physical habits. We have to see that these elements, and their chaos, constitute our suffering, the causes of our pain. We call these different elements, defects, memories, thoughts, desires, "egos" which we have created. As much as we can discuss and point out the faults of American politics and all of the chaos that humanity has endured, for millennia, we have to see that, while that type of analysis bears merit, we have to see how we contribute to that chaos, that conflict. As Kant said, "We are the exterior, the exterior world is inside." So, it is better to not point the finger, but to look at ourselves; as the Temple of Delphi, the Oracle stated, "Know thyself, and you will know the universe and its Gods." By knowing our defects, our faults and errors, and by transforming them through the esoteric science of mysticism, of meditation, we in turn gain conscious knowledge of ourselves, of who we are, and where we need to go.
Spiritual Sight and the Repented Soul
Another word that relates to philosophy is the Sanskrit word, दर्शन "Darshan." In Hinduism, it means, "auspicious sight." It means to see directly, from the root word, "drs" meaning "to see." We included this image of Jesus before Mary Magdalene, after his resurrection, to demonstrate the relationship between philos and sophia, and also the nature of auspicious sight. What does it mean to be auspicious? To be in awe, to be filled with... even terror, before that which is divine. Not out of a sense of egotism, of insecurity, but to be overwhelmed by the immense power of the divine, and that beauty that is so penetrative that it transforms everything.
Mary Magdalene was seeing before her the physical Jesus, raised from the dead; the great Master Aberamentho, the head of the Gnostic Church. She wanted to approach him—she representing sophia, the fallen Sophia of the Coptic text Pistis Sophia, who, as a repented prostitute, seeks to unite with the truth, but recognizes the impurity of her psyche... which is us. And so, Jesus steps back and says, "You cannot touch me yet, for my hour has not yet come; you are not allowed to approach me with your degeneration, with your evil psychology," in other words, you have to transform that. Mary Magdalene is a soul that has prostituted itself, has created all of these discursive elements that we call ego: fear, anger, lust, etc. And yet, she recognizes her perversity, how she herself has been indoctrinated with systems and concepts and philosophies that have taught her how to ignore her divine nature. But, she needs to approach him, and she, out of divine love, approaches the Christ—which is a representation of our inner divinity. In this manner, she has a love of truth, because she has experienced it, and she recognizes her own perversity, and repents. Of course, Mary Magdalene became the great saint, canonized by the church, and who is the most beloved disciple of Jesus, amongst the Gnostics. When we genuinely see the truth for ourselves, we are filled with awe. We are filled with a recognition of our own faults, and what we must do to change them.
The Esoteric Philosophy in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
So, speaking on this concept of genuine philosophy, this love of wisdom, we have included an image, sketched by the initiate Jan Saenredam, but it has some Latin inscriptions, which emphasize the points we have made previously about Mary Magdalene: Lux Venit In Mundun Et Dilexerunt Homines Magis Tenebras Quam Lucem. This inscription states, "The light shineth in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not." And, "the light has shone in the world, but men have rejected the light because their ways are evil." This is from the book of John. But we have included this image explaining the Allegory of the Cave of Plato, to emphasize what is the nature of genuine philosophy, what does it mean to have love of wisdom, and what is the process that leads us to that recognition for ourselves. In the famous Allegory of the Cave by Plato, who was a Gnostic master, he explains a very famous process of obtaining knowledge and truth for oneself, which is very well documented and studied in universities, but I am going to be explaining the esoteric meaning of this, not the academic presentation.
In this myth, like Mary Magdalene, she is in darkness. We see a group of men who are in prison, in the far right corner, enchained. And, in Socrates narration in the text of The Republic, their necks, hands and arms are chained to the back of this wall, which we see. They do not see anything; they are in darkness, they are in ignorance. Ignorance does not mean to lack a university degree, or some form of education, but to not know the causes of suffering in ourselves. In that definition, all of us are ignorant; we ignore how we perpetuate our own pain. These men who are in darkness live in the shadows their entire life. But, there are some who happen to see shadows projected onto the wall before them, because there is a fire behind this wall onto which they are enchained, and people pass to and fro with objects, pottery, images, etc., on their heads or their hands, that, through the light of the fire in this cave, project onto the wall before these men, these prisoners. Sometimes, they see darkness, sometimes they may see images, shadows on the wall, illusions.
This is, of course, a representation of all the different theories, beliefs, ideas, idols that people worship, images that people have in their minds, systems, dogmas, that they project onto the screen of their existence, which is a very shallow, narrow cave in which they are imprisoned. That cave is a symbol of the mind, the intellect, which keeps us enchained, through its beliefs, ideations, etc.
One either sees nothing, a complete state of ignorance and sleep of the consciousness, or one see images; these are states of consciousness, we could say. We say that the first state of consciousness is the darkness of the cave, it is complete annihilation of awareness of self. This constitutes, in itself, a state of complete barbarity; all of the states of war, of persecution, torture, violence, hatred, etc., is the profound state of sleep. It is people who live in darkness, psychologically. But there are those who have images in their minds, idols in the minds, concepts and beliefs that they worship in their intellects. These could be Christianity, Judaism, Islam, metaphysics, occultism... many ideas in the intellect that have no verification within the psyche. These are dreams, these are illusions that people see in the projection from their mind, which is caused by all the statues, images, etc., in the background. These are all the different beliefs that people have formulated, that they study, adhere to and worship, as if they were God, as if they were the divine, ignoring that these are just projections, concepts, toys of the intellect. These are not conscious, experiential wisdom or knowledge.
Unfortunately, it is perhaps only one or two prisoners that might be released from their prison, their chains, taken by a Master, a guru, a Mahatma, an angelic being, who, out of sacrifice, goes into those hell regions, the darkness of that cave, to release prisoners. A prisoner who is released, is forced to look straight at the fire of this cave for the first time; that fire is blinding, dazzling. For, when one awakens consciousness, they perceive in a completely new way; that fire is the light of intelligence, the light of conscious perception of the truth. It is awakened knowledge. It means, to perceive the fire for the first time, and to make the analysis, to understand that all those images that we are seeing on the shadows of the wall are illusions, and that they have their source from this fire. Likewise, when we observe our mind, and see that we are not our thoughts; we are not our moods, our feelings, our sentiments; we are not our impulses; we are something else; we are something more intelligent; dynamic, conscious knowledge, conscious perception is born in us. We learn to revise our way of thinking, to understand that what we believed about ourselves, what we think about ourselves, was an illusion, a mistake. And yet, born from the experience, is developed real courage to change.
But this is not the end of the myth. For, the Guru, the master takes this proselyte, this disciple, who has seen the fire for the first time, and has pulled, dragged them out of this cave; out of the long tunnel that we see in the top left of this image, where that person is brought before genuine daylight. Actually in The Republic, it states that he sees, for the first time, the stars, and even the stars are blinding, because his entire existence has been in shadows, in psychological sleep. But, when the Sun rises for the first time, this prisoner is in awe. The sun is a representation of the Platonic Logos, the Christ in Gnostic terms, which is an intelligence, power, which permeates all of nature.
So, when we see the sun for the first time, it is a symbol of perceiving the divine for ourselves; whether it be in meditation, or when our physical body is asleep, when we as a soul exit out of our cave, this body that we have in which we are trapped. We go out, into the internal dimensions, up that magical Tree of Life, which we have discussed in lectures on Kabbalah, and we experience divinity; we talk face to face, for ourselves, with the truth. Of course, being in front of the presence of the sun is powerful. One feels oneself humbled and annihilated before the light, like Moses on Mount Sinai, saying to the Lord, "Show me your true form." And the Lord replies, "If I show you My true form, you will die." Meaning, not merely to die physically, but psychologically: "In order to see Me, you must be purified," he says.
This has been a symbol for academia, of how the individual person acquires some type of intellectual knowledge, or study, and becomes sophisticated, or knowing the truth in terms of concept. But that is not the real meaning: this pertains to how we, as a soul, escape the conditions of the psyche, and experience Christ, the light, fully in ourselves. That objective consciousness, or supra-consciousness, is beyond the limits of our physical senses. We learn to activate that, through the sciences of meditation and dream yoga, which we will be giving courses on in the near future.
Philosophy in the Ancient Mystery Schools
That is real philosophy, experience, love of truth, love of wisdom. In order to elaborate on these points, we are going to talk about how the ancients studied and knew this teaching. People look at the ancient schools of mysteries as somehow being unnecessary, simplistic; a concept that the ancient schools of mysteries in Greece, Egypt, Rome, Carthage, etc., were idolaters, or that they were superstitious. As we explained in the lecture on Gnostic mysticism, we talked about how the ancient mystery schools knew this knowledge directly from conscious experience; they verified what they had seen for themselves.
We have to take the same type of scrutiny, in relation to what we perceive, the same type of analysis. We don't doubt, we don't justify what we perceive; we discriminate, we look for facts. That is how the individual in the cave is looking at the fire and discriminating that the images that were projected on the wall are just pottery—concepts, intellect, ideas—they don't really constitute any substantial reality, in the most objective sense.
These ancient schools were very pure in the past. But, of course, they lost their essence, as they were exposed to more persecution, and were shut down. But these ancient schools were integrated into science, art, philosophy and mysticism. They had a love of wisdom that pertained to scientific knowledge, the study of botany, many types of studies, such as physics, chemistry, etc., and they expressed their knowledge in a mystical way through art.
Let us talk about how philosophy, in its genuine, most intrinsic sense, used to be integrated with these different pillars, for as Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, states in his book, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education:
"Thus, since ancient times, on the different scenarios of the theaters of life, psychology has always played its role by being intelligently disguised with the costumes of philosophy.
"Since the terrifying night of all times, on the banks of the Ganges in the sacred India of the Vedas, there have existed many forms of Yoga, which in their depth are pure, higher experimental psychology. The seven types of Yoga have always been described as methods, procedures, or philosophical systems.
"In the Arab world, the sacred, partly metaphysical, and partly religious teachings of the Sufis have indeed a purely psychological character.
"In old Europe (which is rotten to its very bone morrow because of so many wars, racial, religious, and political prejudices, etc.,) right up to the end of the nineteen century, psychology was disguised with the costumes of philosophy in order to pass unnoticed." —Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
We only have to look at the writings of Dostoevsky, for that example, who, embedded his characters, his literary forms, with psychological knowledge. You can even look back to the book Crime and Punishment with the Russian student, Raskolnikov, who was, in Russian, a split being. "Raskolv" means split, fractured, divided. He is a student who decides to commit a murder, of an old pawnbroker, a woman, because he wants to assert his superiority as a superman, to use Nietzsche’s term.
Of course, this refers to any of us who have killed, psychologically, our own potential to know the truth. The rest of that novel is about how this student comes to remorse and repentance. There are many symbols in that text, but Raskolnikov represents us; we are split between the sense of right and wrong. Meaning, we are wanting to enter spirituality, but we have committed many errors, whether we have murdered in past existences, or what not... and so, Dostoevsky, and many other writers, were philosophers and psychologists, and this is very well accepted, even in academia. But we find that these traditions are very rich. Philosophy and psychology were integrated.
"So, notwithstanding all the divisions and subdivisions of philosophy—such as logic, the theory of knowledge, ethics, aesthetics, etc.—nonetheless, psychology is undoubtedly in itself: evident self-reflection, mystical cognition of the Being (of the divine), a fundamental cognition of an awakened consciousness (as represented by the allegory of the cave). The error of many philosophical schools consists in having considered psychology as something inferior to philosophy, as something related only to the lowest and even trivial aspects of the human nature." –Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
Descartes, the Mind and Consciousness
We are going to talk about some of these different schools of thought and philosophy, in order to extract the best, and to disregard what is useless. We talked about the Gnostic teaching of knowing oneself, of transcending the intellect. Rene Descartes explained in his treatises, the very famous concept, "I think therefore I am." This statement is incorrect. But, many Western thinkers, people who identified with the demonic qualities of the intellect, fascinated with their shadows on the wall, approach Descartes like a God, as an idol.
"The concept of Descartes, “I think, therefore I am,” is completely false,"—as Samael Aun Weor states in Igneous Rose--"because the true Man is the Innermost, and the Innermost does not think, because He knows."
Of course, in relation to the allegory of the cave, the Innermost is represented by the sun, the Solar Logos; the Spirit, as an expression of that light, of that truth. God does not think, he is omniscient; meaning, he sees and perceives, beyond thought, will, sensation... he is knowledge of a supra-conscious state.
"The mind thinks, not the Innermost.
"In its current state of evolution, the human mind is the animal that we carry within. The Innermost does not need to think because He is omniscient." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
We included this image of Jesus, riding upon the donkey, into the city of Jerusalem. That donkey is a representation of the mind, or as we say in Kabbalah, Netzach, the intellect. So, Christ, Jesus, representing the Inner Platonic Logos, within us, is that light, force, energy that must learn to control this donkey of a mind that we have, to train it. But, sadly, in most people, the donkey is riding us; as we can see with our present-day humanity.
This is emphasized by Rumi, the great Sufi poet, who said that Jesus needs to ride the donkey into the city, but most people have their donkey riding their Jesus, from a Sufi poem that he wrote.
This concept that, "I think therefore I am," is wrong. To think is not to be present, to be conscious; thinking is a very inferior way of being, of existing. We can only know this if we have escaped from that cave. If we escape the intellect, even if only for a few moments, we see that we are not the mind, that the mind is a machine, a tool; it can process information, useful for storing information, memorizing things, forming concepts, but that is all it does. The mind cannot know God. It cannot know the truth.
Even Christ, through Jesus, said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the father, but by me." —John 14:6
So, the cosmic truth said through Jesus, "I Am." This "I Am" is the Being; it is presence, cognizance, free of default, of affliction, of conditioning. Only the Being can say, "I Am" because he is the presence of life within every galaxy, atom, cosmos. He is present within every being, and yet, not all beings know Him.
God does not think. This "I Am," the Christ, does not conceptualize; he knows, thereforE, he does not have to think. The intellect is useful, but it should not be our sole preoccupation, or what we identify ourselves with. Jesus did not disregard the donkey altogether, rather, he controlled it; he used it in order for it to be of service to humanity, represented by his entrance into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas
Philosophy, in modern times, is very much dedicated to this concept of fortifying the intellect. But, the ancient Gnostic gospel of Thomas, teaches us that real philosophy is psychological and spiritual. It is not based upon the limitations of the mind; it goes beyond it. For, as this gospel states, with Jesus narrating mystical teachings to his disciples:
"And he said, Whoever discovers what these sayings mean will not taste death." —Gospel of Thomas
This does not necessarily mean physical death, but spiritual, in which the soul, when released from its body, is sent into the inferior dimensions, in order to be cleansed of its defects, faults. We could say that hell, the inferior dimensions, is a recycling plant. If that soul does not willingly choose to destroy those errors, and ascend that Tree of Life, instead that soul enters into those inferior regions (hell, Avitchi, Averno, etc.), and devolves.
So, "Whosover discovers what these sayings mean" will escape that process of cleansing of the psyche within those dimensions those realms.
"Yeshua said, Seek and do not stop seeking until you find. When you find, you will be troubled. When you are troubled, you will marvel and rule over all." —Gospel of Thomas
This is real philosophy; to seek, and not stop seeking. To have inspiration to want to know the truth, and to not want to rest until we find it. And, when we find it, like the allegory of the cave states, we go back into the cave, to teach those who are less fortunate, who have not experienced what we have experienced, in order to help raise their level of being; to instruct them, teach them, to help them, in accordance with our talents, our dispositions, our skills. So, do not stop seeking until you find. Then, when you do find, "you will be troubled," because when we recognize that we are the cause of our own suffering, everything changes. We no longer blame others so easily, we don't accuse others so easily. We recognize that the faults we see in our neighbor, are what we possess in abundance, therefore we do not need to judge, as Christ taught.
"When you are troubled, you will marvel and rule over all," meaning, by entering that spiritual path out of the cave, that straight and narrow way that leadeth unto life, to freedom of the soul and to God, which few find. By following that path, and accomplishing the completion of this work, this path of initiation, as Samael Aun Weor states in The Perfect Matrimony, "We will marvel and rule over all, we will conquer ourselves."
"Yeshua said, Know what is in front of your face and what is hidden from you will be disclosed. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed." —Gospel of Thomas
What is hidden from us are those truths contained within religion, that seem obscure and abstract, which we seek to experiment and to verify, as represented by doubting Thomas. Thomas was told by the apostles that Jesus had arisen from the dead, and yet, he would not believe them. He said, "I will only believe that this is true, when I have seen it for myself. I will not accept your testimony as fact." And so, the apostles brought Thomas to Jesus, and even then, in front of Jesus, he did not accept that he was the risen Christ yet. Jesus told him to approach, and to place his finger into the wound in his side where he was pierced by the lance of Longinus. And there, Thomas, with his finger in the wound—as we see in this image—stepped back and realized that, yes, he was Jesus, he was Christ.
People look at this historically as an account of how Thomas, as an apostle, was skeptical, and that he was not as good a believer as the others. This is not the point of this symbol. This symbol of how we as a consciousness must learn to discriminate fact from fiction, truth from falsehood. When anyone tells us anything, we say, "Well, it sounds plausible, but I really do not know. While I am not going to reject what you say, I am not going to affirm what you say; instead, I am going to test it." Then, in meditation, we as a soul go into our internal planes, and we speak face-to-face with Christ. We can speak to the Master Jesus outside of us, but we can also speak to our own Inner Christ, and recognize that we have that divine presence within us.
This reminds me of an experience I had in the astral plane, many years ago, in which I invoked Jesus. I was in the presence of my house, outside of my property, in the astral plane, I looked to the sky and invoked Jesus: "In the name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the majesty of Christ, Aberamentho!" He came, and he was a being of such luminosity that I was terrified; I did not know how to approach him. I was afraid that I might be misled. But he then showed me something symbolic in that dream state, which I won't narrate in full, but he gave me a teaching that made me realize that yes, this is Aberamentho, teaching me. He came to my property from the heavens, to instruct me. It was like me being Thomas, putting my finger in his wound—not literally, but questioning him, asking him with my heart, to instruct me, to guide me, with certain problems I was having at that time. He gave me a teaching that was beautiful, very hard to grasp, since he is a very high master, very elevated.
I was like Thomas, testing him, inquiring, and of course, Jesus did not get upset. He accepted my poverty, my state of being, being inferior; he was there to teach me. It was not because I am special, but because, as Jesus said, "I have not come to teach the righteous, but the sinners." But he also said, "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. He who is greatest in heaven will be your servant." So, I suggest that, if you learn dream yoga, you can invoke him, and acquire that knowledge, that truth for yourself, directly.
The Aquarian Age and Immanuel Kant’s Philosophy
There are eras and epochs in nature, in thought, in history, in politics and philosophy. Samael Aun Weor stated:
"The Age of Reason was initiated by Aristotle. It reached its culmination with Emmanuel Kant and ends now with the birth of the new Era of Aquarius." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
In astrology, we previously were in the era of Pisces, until the 1960s, approximately. Pisces, as an astrological influence, relates to how certain initiatic schools conserved a teaching or knowledge without disclosing it to the public. Pisces was an era of conservatism, of hiding; of teaching and instructing the truth, the higher levels of religion and mysticism, from mouth to ear. But the Aquarian era is very different; it is revolutionary.
Aquarius—the age in which we are presently—is symbolized by the water carrier, and is the age when knowledge if freely given. This woman carrying these water pails is bringing the truth and instruction to the public, openly, for the first time; particularly through the writings of Samael Aun Weor, who is the avatar of Aquarius. Samael came to teach the knowledge of how to work with those waters, which we carry within our body as the sexual energy, the sexual fluid. Through its transformation, we can learn to become true spiritual revolutionaries; not against other people, but against ourselves, by conquering ourselves.
So, Aristotle initiated the era of reason, and Emmanuel Kant concluded it. It is interesting, if you read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, where he states and emphasizes the teachings of Kant often. It is not that Kant was an initiate, but Kant made some understandings and insights that were very relevant for the Western tradition. What is important to recognize is that, in Kant’s writings he stated that the intellect cannot know the truth. Of course, many philosophers hated him for that, in the West. But, since Aristotle, and until Emmanuel Kant, people in the Western tradition have been fascinated with intellect, with reason. And yet, Emmanuel Kant, his major contribution to philosophy, is the fact that the mind cannot know anything of the truth. He states this in his Critique of Pure Reason, his Critique of Practical Reason, and his Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics, which is a much smaller, and much more approachable text.
The beauty of Kant’s teaching, which many have rejected, is understanding that the intellect, in itself, is just a tool, as we were stating previously. He provided four postulates, known as antinomies of reason. An antinomy is merely a postulation or statement that can go either way: thesis or antithesis, pro and con. An antinomy is basically a contradiction or paradox. Without going into some of the academic explanations of this, in synthesis, he was pointing out how the mind cannot know the truth, and that we can prove this through four antinomies.
Firstly, we have the mathematical antimony, in relation to space and time, atomism. Then, the dynamic or qualitative antinomies, relating to spontaneity and causal determinism, free will or mechanicity, laws of nature, likewise, whether or not there is a necessary being.
So, the philosophical discussions on space and time, which were very popular in the times of Aristotle and Plato, there is a thesis that the world has a beginning in time, likewise, it is also limited regarding space. But, then, there is an antithetical way of thinking, in relation to Aristotle's belief that the Earth was infinite, and eternal: he stated this in his Physics. He said that the world has no beginning, no limits in space; it is infinite regarding both time and space.
The second antinomy is a discussion on whether everything is made up of simple parts, or whether or not everything is complex, in terms of atomism: whether everything is made up of atoms, or compound substances, in large degree.
In relation to spontaneity and causal determinism, he emphasized that there is either complete mechanicity in nature, and that there is no possibility for free will (determinism); or, that there is the ability to have free will in the midst of this. And so there are different arguments, for and against, which many philosophers in the West have battled over in their treatises, for centuries. Likewise, whether there is a necessary Being or not; whether there is a God or not.
These are discussions that people are hypnotized by, to this day. And Kant laid it how very clearly: you can either be in one camp or another; so, what is the point? You can argue for it, or you can argue against it. You can fulfill and propound your own evidence for either case, and be just as right... and yet both are wrong, or right. That is the paradox.
He is emphasizing that the conviction of these philosophers is based upon a form of thinking that is devoid of actual knowing. And, that one can just argue for something, because one has a concept in their mind, and they have a lot of data to support it. Just look at the last presidential debates, in which we see two sides arguing against each other, and many people have in their own beliefs for one candidate or another, regardless of whether it is true or not. This shows a tendency in the mind to want to use data to propose a point, and to support a point. And yet, where is the objectivity in all of that? That is what Kant was teaching, that we are dealing with phenomena, we are not dealing with noumena. Phenomena are appearances, noumena are the things themselves, conscious principles, the truth, relating to the Greek word, "Pneuma" meaning spirit.
The Demonic Mind, Arguments, and Intellectual Liberty
So, all these philosophies are based upon this quality of the intellect and the heart; of wanting to assert an idea and gain dominance upon others. Of course, this is negative. We could also call it black magic or witchcraft: to assert oneself on another person; to control their intellect is sorcery, black magic. We see this dynamic ubiquitously, in every place. I have personally sat in philosophy debates for schools, in which you see these kids taking a position, one way or another, and trying to come up with as many reasons as they can for why they are right. And, while in Buddhism, certain schools have propounded the necessity of being able to argue for something or against it, you see, especially in the West, that this is very degenerated. I have personally seen people get very angry and inflict a lot of harm with their words, in the middle of these so-called debates.
As Samael Aun Weor stated in the Major Mysteries, we must avoid debate, arguments. This is because, in the act of arguing, we are asserting our own will upon another person. We can state our point, but, if they accept it or reject our ideas, that is their business. We have to learn how to speak without asserting ourselves over another person, without anger, without coercion. As Prophet Muhammed, in the doctrine of Islam, in the Qur'an states, "There is no coercion in religion." Religion is about bringing people together, but debates and arguments divide people. Philosophy has degenerated into this farce, this show of trying to dominate with our concepts. This has infected esoteric schools, in abundance: this is a very big problem in spiritual movements. It is enough to look at the Catholic Church, or even the Western Esoteric Tradition; certain individuals and speaks—I won't name them—but we can think of many different examples of people who are fighting in spiritual groups to assert their so-called superiority, upon others... saying, "I am a Master, therefore, if you disagree with me, you are going to hell." That type of nonsense.
"Discussions and polemics have ruined many spiritual schools. When two individuals argue, what they have is pride and arrogance in their mind; both want to demonstrate their boasted superiority to one another, both have Satan enthroned in their mind. We must always respectfully express our concept and allow our listener the freedom to accept or reject our concept. Everybody is free to think as they please and we cannot exercise power over our neighbor’s mind, because that would be black magic. Intellectual discussion is luciferic and demonic." —Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
It is very hard to achieve, but it can be done. We may be surrounded by people who disagree with us, disagree with Gnosis, esotericism, etc., yet instead of wanting to retaliate against those people, and to justify ourselves with that sense of hurt self-esteem or pride, it doesn't bother us. We learn to receive that impression, that criticism, and to not identify with it. But, of course, it is very obvious that debates totally destroy organizations, groups, etc. And, we should learn to avoid those types of conflicts.
The Three Minds and their Philosophical Movements
People base their entire understanding, or philosophy, in relation to three minds. We have talked a lot about the concept of the intellect, as the mind—the ability to think, rationalize, reason—as a form of mind, as a functionalism of the intellect. In Gnostic psychology, we talk about three minds; three different types or ways of thinking, way of being. These ways can help us to understand the nature of philosophy, the nature of different philosophical schools in this physical world, but also the nature of genuine philosophy in the internal worlds—this genuine love of wisdom born from experience.
We have included three images: we have Jesus before Pilate on the left, with the text stating, "Inner Mind." We have a group of Rabbis in a synagogue, in relation to the Intermediate and Mystical Mind. And, on the right, we have a bacchanalia, an orgy, in relation to the Sensual Mind.
Let us talk about the Sensual Mind first. What does it mean to have a Sensual Mind? A Sensual Mind is a way of conceptualizing oneself, identifying oneself, solely based on evidence from the five senses. We believe that we are a certain way, that the world is a certain way, based on our experience from sight, taste, hearing, touch, smell. There are many doctrines that are focused on merely the five senses, as if the material is all that exists; that material is the limit of all that there is possible to perceive. But, of course, Emmanuel Kant stated that phenomena are just the appearances of things, but that there is something deeper, something spiritual, as we know.
The Sensual Mind is a mind that is basing its theories and concepts on empirical evidence. Likewise, many philosophies, such as Epicureanism, which is propounded by the Scottish philosopher David Hume; you have Hedonism, the belief that one should gratify their senses, as much as possible, before dying and that pleasure is the highest good... according to Epicureans.
We represented this idea with the image of this bacchanalia. People who indulge in orgies, lust and desire, satisfying the pleasures of their senses, thinking that nothing matters and that there is no consequence to their actions. They believe that when one dies physically, one will cease to exist. These people ignore the fundamental law of karma, cause and effect. While a person gratifies their physical senses, the soul or consciousness, embedded in ego, perpetuates throughout time; it does not cease to exist. But people who are sensually indoctrinated think that, because they only see with the five senses—they do not have their spiritual senses developed—when they go to the grave, that nothing will happen, they will cease to exist. This is nihilism, of course. It is a very sad way to think.
The senses are not the limit of all there is to perceive. In fact, consciousness and perception can expand to an infinite degree, as the 14th Dalai Lama stated. But people who are fully indoctrinated by the intellect, the Sensual Mind, they only base themselves on evidence from their physical senses. Such people reject anything related to metaphysics or spirituality.
Of course, there is another degree of mind that is inferior. While, one type of mind, of the senses, is fascinated with impressions of an empirical nature, you have the intermediate or mystical mind, which constitute all the religions of the world today. All the beliefs about God, all the concepts and theologies that the universe is a certain way, because the scriptures state it, because one thinks it is true, therefore it must be true, and that if one believes in it, it must be true—this is the essential nature of the Mystical Mind. That, having this conviction, is based on a type of thinking which is not predicated on experience, not based on facts. So, all the schools of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, which are founded on scripture and are limited to those scriptures and ways of thinking, the people of these groups live with a Mystical Mind. They have mystical concepts, metaphysics, beliefs, ideas, ways of thinking that they may have in their mind, and yet, they do not have the real experience of it.
But, of course, there is a mind that is superior; the Inner Mind. This is the mind of a being like Jesus, of Buddha, of Krishna, of Moses. An "Inner Mind" is a type of perception relating to awakened consciousness. When we awaken our consciousness, as in the allegory of the cave, we are awakening our own intelligence. Like a fire that we learn to see in the dark, to make our way through the nature of our mind, and to experience the truth.
Jesus fully awakened his consciousness. And, by awakening the consciousness, we have to eliminate the ego. So, when the ego dies, little by little, the consciousness trapped within it awakens; it becomes expansive, more profound. The Inner Mind awakens in accordance with the death of the ego. So, the more consciousness that we liberate, the more our inner faculties will awaken. Like that experience I narrated to you—I was seeing Jesus in the astral plane, I was awakening my Inner Mind, and I could see Jesus of Nazareth, Master Aberamentho, and I talked with him. That is because I had my Inner Mind awakened, to a degree; I am not saying fully awakened, in that state... it was very clear, but, of course, in order for me to be fully awakened, I have to eliminate my defects. But an Inner Mind that is fully expansive, without any type of conditioning, is a being like Moses, who could really talk, completely, with God.
So, in this image, we have Jesus presented before Pilate, in his passion. After he was delivered 5000 lashes of the whip. Pilate is a symbol of the intellect. You can say that he is the Sensual and Intermediate Mind; a mind that is only believing in what the senses teach or instruct, or what the scriptures state, but that has not verified for themselves what the scriptures teach.
Pilate asks Jesus, "What is the truth?" Jesus kept silent; how could he teach the intellect, the mind, what the truth is? That is the beauty of this teaching. Pilate was confused... people think that this is just a historical account of Jesus talking to his persecutors, but Pilate represents our mind: the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, that ask, "What is the truth? How do I know what is real?" And Jesus, the Inner Christic principle, remained silent, because silence is the eloquence of wisdom. Instead of receiving that knowledge intellectually, through a book, lecture of concept, we experience it in the silence of meditation. I remember that experience, in which I was with Jesus, I said that I "talked" with him; I was speaking to him telepathically, with my heart, asking him things, because he could read my mind completely. He instructed me based on what I was asking him in my heart. So, he was teaching me in silence; he did not say anything verbally, but he was showing me through symbols in the astral plane, what I needed to do.
So, Jesus remained silent. And likewise, what Buddha was asked, "What is the truth?" He turned and walked away. Same teaching.
The Inner Mind is the genuine Gnostic philosophy of the great initiates, based on what we perceive, what we verify. The Intermediate Mind is the mind based on beliefs, on metaphysics, theologies; which are not grounded in conscious, experiential knowledge. Likewise, the Sensual Mind is a mind that is based on materialism.
There has always been a conflict between these three minds, in humanity. People who are very materialistic, reject and attack those who are very metaphysical, people who have metaphysical concepts. And, likewise, people who have certain religious beliefs, condemn those who are nihilists or anarchists, or whatever term we want to give to those types of people who follow the Sensual Mind. In the Sensual Mind, we have materialism, Marxism, etc. But the Inner Mind is tranquil; it does not argue. Of course, when Jesus was asked what is the truth, he kept silent—he did not argue, because he knew that he could not convey that truth to Pilate's mind—only the soul can know the truth.
Samael Aun Weor states and synthesizes, this teaching that I have been explaining, in a very profound and simple way, in his Revolution of the Dialectic, in which he talks about these different forms, different schools of thought.
"Matter is nothing but condensed energy. The infinite modifications of energy are absolutely unknown; this is true as much for historic materialism as for dialectic materialism.
"Energy is equal to mass multiplied by the velocity of the light squared. We the Gnostics separate ourselves from the antithetical struggle which exists between metaphysics and dialectical materialism. Those are the two poles of ignorance, the two antitheses of error.
"We walk on another path; we are Gnostics, we consider life as a whole. The object is a point in space which serves as a vehicle to specific sums of values.
"Inspired Knowledge permits us to study the intimate existent relationship between all shapes, all psychological values and nature.
"Dialectic materialism does not know the values." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Meaning, the consciousness, or even the different values of the ego that we carry within, they ignore that they have ego, or they really do not see the nature of the mind.
"It only studies the object. Metaphysics does not know the values or the object.
"Therefore, we, the Gnostics, withdraw ourselves from these two antitheses of ignorance. We, the Gnostics, study the human being and nature integrally, seeking an integral revolution." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So, religious people and atheists arguing against each other—a very typical conversation that is had today—and yet, people do not have real understanding from experience; they have not awakened their Inner Mind. We need to learn to awaken our Inner Mind, which we do through meditation. If our mind is fully immersed in the senses, we fail to see life in its true form.
The Cosmic Christ and the Awakening of Consciousness
I mentioned to you about awakening the Inner Mind, like Moses before the Lord on Mount Sinai. We have included in this final graphic an image of Arjuna, from the Bhagavad Gita (the Song of the Lord, from the Mahabharata.) Arjuna, the great warrior, talking to Krishna, who is Christ, the Lord, the avatar of Vishnu, which is the Cosmic Christ, the Christic principle, that primordial root energy at the heart of every existing thing, that noumena of Kant. Of course, he did not use the term Christ, but that is what Kant was referring to; the truth in the things themselves, as being noumena. But we know in esotericism, the real Pneuma (spirit) is the Lord, the divine, within every atom, every existing cosmic unit.
"For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination as the wind (carries away) a boat on the waters." —Bhagavad-Gita 2:67
And so, as we talked about the nature of the mind, as being preoccupied and distracted with thoughts, memories, ideas, concepts, etc., this type of mind that is attached to the senses, one that is caught in beliefs and ideas, theories, etc., is carried away like a boat on the waters, according to the Bhagavad Gita.
As we emphasized previously, Krishna, the Lord, is speaking to Arjuna, much like Moses was talking to the Lord on Mount Sinai. We too, by awakening our consciousness, our Inner Mind, our spiritual potential, can speak face to face with that divinity, as represented in many religious cosmogonies, many religious scriptures.
So, we must learn to not identify with the intellect, but to learn how to use it for spiritual purposes. It is a tool, a machine, a means by which we can study ourselves, but also learn to interact and relate to the world. So, as we were explaining in this lecture, the intellect in itself is not useless: we need it. But we neither need to be identified or carried away by it. People think, in many spiritual circles, that to be spiritual means to be not focus on the intellect, to be simple, but that is another extreme that we seek to avoid in this type of studies.
We talked about how philosophies in different schools, based on the intellect, may be interesting or compelling, but they are not grounded in the experience of the truth, on direct facts, what we have verified with our consciousness. But this is not to say that the intellect must be disregarded. We saw in the example of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, upon the donkey of the mind—a symbol of the intellect—in order to enter into the heavenly city on Palm Sunday; the symbol of entering into those spiritual states of consciousness that we can access when we learn to control the intellect. It is not as though Jesus just threw away the animal, disregarded it; instead, he used it for God.
Christ, as a principle, is within each of us. Our Inner Christ needs to learn to conquer this intellect that we have, and to use it for the well-being of humanity. Repeating the quote we gave earlier, "For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination as the wind (carries away) a boat on the waters." Our inner divinity must control this intellect that we have. But, of course, we learn to do that by cooperating with that inner presence, inner principle, through practices like meditation.
The Divine Philosophy of the Being
To conclude this lecture, we will talk about a quote given by Samael Aun Weor, in his book, Igneous Rose. In this book, he sums up the essence of this course we have been giving. We have talked about how philosophy is based on the senses, beliefs about who we are, but is not grounded on facts, experience, on the truth. So, we must learn to access that truth within us, by learning to direct our attention, by awakening our potential, our consciousness.
"Our Innermost is yes, yes, yes. The wisdom of our Innermost is yes, yes, yes. The love of our Innermost is yes, yes, yes." --Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
We have talked about philos-sophia, being "love of wisdom," of God, of the truth. That wisdom and love that we feel in the presence of the divine is born in us when we awaken that within us. The divine is always ready to aid us, in any moment, when we learn to pay attention here and now. It is always an affirmation of, "Yes…" "I will help you, I will aid you, I will not reject you." Like Rumi says in his poems, "Ours is not a caravan of despair. Even if you have broken your vow a thousand times, come, join us. Come."
So, the wisdom of our Innermost, our inner divine Being is like that.
"When we say, ‘I am hungry, I am thirsty,’ etc., we are affirming something absurd, because the Innermost is not hungry, neither thirsty. The one that is hungry and thirsty is the physical body. Therefore the most correct way to say this is, ‘My body is hungry, my body is thirsty.’
"The same happens with the mind when we say, ‘I have a powerful mental force, I have a problem, I have such a conflict, I have such suffering, some thoughts are arising in me,’ etc. We then are affirming very grave errors, because these things are from the mind, not from the Innermost.
"Our disciples must change the process of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension…
"…To reason is a crime of great magnitude against the Innermost." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
This does not mean that the intellect is not useful, when it is guided by the spirit. As Samael Aun Weor stated, to reason is a great crime against God; this does not mean that the mind cannot be used in its genuine, original and intended sense. Our intellect, in these times, tends to dominate us. We are filled with thoughts, worries, anxieties, preoccupations, desires, impulses that really charge our life with a lot of negativity. So, that type reasoning is very negative; to be consumed by that type of conditioned mind, a Sensual Mind, which is only preoccupied with material things, and not with the treasuries of God within us. To reason, in that sense, is a crime, because the intellect, which says, "I think, therefore I am," like Descartes stated in his philosophy; this is wrong. Instead, the one who says, "I am here, I am present, I am the Being" is God, because that presence is within us, that truth is in us. The Innermost does not think, as we stated previously. God does not need to rationalize, to come up with a solution with the intellect to a problem. Of course, God is not a person, but an intelligence or force within us, which we have to actualize, to develop; it is in a potential state within us, here and now, but not fully active.
So, we must learn to "change the processes of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension." This is the essence of real philosophy. Real philosophy is not about academics, throwing large words around to sound clever or interesting, to make someone look stupid on the opposing side of the debate... instead, it refers to how we change the way we think. To not be so identified with thinking and rationalizing and worrying, but instead to be present, to be mindful, to be awake, as a spiritual being.
So, we "must change the process of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension." Comprehension is not reasoning. The distinction between Gnostic philosophy and regular philosophy is predicated on this point. Comprehension is when we know the truth for ourselves, when we understand the real solution to an intimate problem; not from having thought about it, by not thinking about it. This is very common in business circles, in which a committee gets together to discuss the solution to a problem, and yet, with all the thinking and rationalizing they do, they cannot find a solution. Instead, they all walk away, they take a break, and in those moments of not thinking about the problem, the insight comes, the realization of what needs to be done comes to the mind.
Comprehension is like when we put our hand on a hot stove, and we burn our hand. We retract our hand in pain, and we realize from the experience that if we put our hand there again, we will get burned. The same thing happens in psychology. When we look at a habit in our psyche, and we see that a certain tendency that we have is harmful, we may comprehend by getting burned in that situation, to not act on that habit, to change it.
But people who are great rationalists don't comprehend the truth behind the problems that they face. We can look at cases of alcoholics. A person who is an alcoholic may intellectually understand, reason that the habit is bad, yet they continue to indulge in the behavior. So, comprehension is realizing that this action is harmful, and that we need to stop, because if we don't, we will die. We have the same distinction in spiritual studies. When we see that certain habits like anger, fear, pride, lust, vanity, defects, etc., cause us to suffer, and make others suffer, we comprehend, and we learn not to behave in those ways any more. That is real, genuine spiritual philosophy. We have a love of wisdom, and we realize more and more how we create our daily suffering, we create our daily problems. If we identify with the mind, we will perpetuate our suffering.
Questions and Answers
Audience: So, the intellect is basically the five senses? And, then you mentioned, intelligence is different, more holistic?
Instructor: We could say that we have six senses, in synthesis: we have sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell, plus the ability to imagine. There is also the sense of intuition too. Intuition is knowing without having to reason. This is exactly the quality of awakening consciousness, in which you do not have to solve a problem with the intellect, instead, you simply know what you must do: that is intuition.
Audience: And that would be more intelligence, as opposed to intellect?
Instructor: Yes. It is intelligence. The intellect is a quality of ego, our defects; I will give a concrete example. Perhaps we have a conflict at work, in which someone says something derogatory towards us, and provokes our self-esteem, our pride, which feels hurt. Then, there is the concepts in those moments where we feel, "I should say this, in order to retaliate, to get retribution for what they said to me." That is a form of mind that is very degenerate, wrong, negative. But, comprehension is when we know that, that type of thinking is wrong. Then, we change, we do not react to life so mechanically; we learn to respond, which is intelligence, intuition, and the capacity to perceive consciously.
Again, consciousness has degrees; there is conditioned consciousness, which is anger, fear, pride, laziness, gluttony, defects—these are conditions of our psyche that make us feel weighted down, and make us suffer, and make others suffer too. But unconditioned consciousness is when we free our psyche from those elements, and we learn to develop peace, serenity, a mind that is perfectly pristine and clear, that can directly reflect like a lake on a mountain, the heavens of Urania.
We talked about the famous allegory of the cave of Plato; how a man or woman escapes the cave, after imprisonment, and sees the stars for the first time, on the mountainside. Escaping that narrow path of the cave, and entering onto the open landscape, is a symbol of spiritual liberation. Seeing the stars for the first time is seeing our inner divinity within us and recognizing that presence directly.
Our mind is like a lake. If we throw stones in it, if we thrash ourselves in those waters, through anger or fear, etc., we disturb the equilibrium of that pond. When the waters are churning, through reason, through intellect, through concepts, desires, we cannot see the reflection that could be naturally present there.
When we learn to still our mind, by comprehending those defects, and not letting the impressions of life enter us mechanically, where we just react constantly to the different stimulus of life, instead learn to receive it with a receptive mind, and we do not identify with these elements, the mind gradually stills, calms. This happens by learning to behave appropriately, learning to respond to life with a sense of dignity and rectitude, of ethics. Every religion has this concept, that, if you want to know God, you must follow certain rules. These are not just a list or memoranda or code of conduct that one thinks about, admires, but does not really follow. Instead, it refers to not killing, not stealing, not doing drugs, not fornicating, not committing adultery... people think that these are just physical laws to help communities stay together, at a physical level. They are that, it is true. But the real meaning is that, when we learn to curtail psychological habits, we look at our mind and see that we have violence, we have fear, we have anger, we have elements that commit adultery and fornicate in the mind, even if we might not physically do so.
As Jesus said, "You have heard it said of old, you should not commit adultery. But, even if you look at a person from the opposite sex out of lust, you have committed adultery in your heart."
First, stop those habits, and the mind begins to settle. Then, psychologically, we begin to enter deeper states of serenity.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Fundamentals of Gnosticism, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy.
In this tradition of Gnosticism, we study what is known as the four pillars: four foundations to spirituality. These can help us to understand many of the religious traditions of which we may have been acclimated.
It is important to note again that the word Gnosis is Greek, and it refers to self-knowledge. This type of self-knowledge is not intellectual, nor is it found in any book or lecture. This type of knowledge pertains to one’s cognizance of spiritual truth, one’s experience of the divine.
So, we emphasize and teach, through many lectures and books, the foundations of spiritual practice. In this course, the fundamentals of Gnosticism, we are explaining how the science of self-knowledge has been taught in many religions and traditions, whether in Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, etc.
In the last lecture, we emphasized that Gnosis is a science, coming from the Greek word, "scientia" meaning knowledge. Again, this is not intellectual scholasticism; it is not something to be argued, to be debated. Instead, it pertains to how we perceive God, how we know God, directly. And, in the last lecture, we emphasized that this is a practical teaching that has been manifested in different religions.
Today, we are going to talk about the pillar of art, within Gnosis. There are four pillars: science, art, mysticism (religion) and philosophy. The study of our own, inner divine nature, our inner God, relates to these four pillars. We are going to explain how Gnosis, self-knowledge, knowledge of God within us, is an art; we explained how it is science and mysticism, but today we are going to explain how this methodology has been present in many great paintings, sculptures, music, classical compositions, architecture, etc. These art forms are physical representations of divine truths.
We explain that the purpose of Gnosis is to know God, to know our inner Being, from experience. We state, "to be made into the image of God." Many people think that, since people has this physical representation of this physical body, that the image of God is physical; that there is some anthropomorphic figure in the clouds, dictating the fate of this poor humanity. But that is not the image of God that we seek to develop.
The truth is, this image is psychological in nature, spiritual in nature. It has to do with our own self-perception. In the Bible, the Gnostic book of Genesis states that God (Jehovah-Elohim in Hebrew, Iod-Chavah Elohim) breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life, and he became a living soul. These are the spiritual principles and truths that we need to actualize; they have nothing to do with the mere physicality. The breath of life is precisely the energy and force of God. We say that God is an energy, not a person.
We find in this image, this archetype represented. This is a painting from the Sistine Chapel, by the Master Michelangelo, who is a Gnostic master. In this painting, he emphasizes and expresses the beauty of the creation of the soul. Many people think that they have soul, but, if we observe ourselves and analyze our psyche, typically, what we find are many discursive elements—frustration, pride, anger, resentment, lust, vanity—defects of a psychological type. But, here, if we are sincere in analyzing ourselves, and examine our psychological states, we will find that when we close our eyes to meditate, we see darkness. This means that we do not see our inner divinity within, who is represented in this image as an anthropomorphic figure, but, really, God is an energy. Thus, painters and great masters, in order to teach spiritual principles, would use physical forms to teach this path. This is precisely the creation of a soul made into the image of God.
God is like wind, breath, spirit, for as Jesus taught, "You must be born again of water and spirit, and the spirit bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:5, 8). This pertains to how God is an energy which we can find in our breath; it is an abstract force. It is not physical breath, but energy.
God, we find, is creating this human being: this is our goal in these studies. We want to be true human beings. To know what this means, we have to analyze the term. "Hum" in Sanskrit is wind, spirit; "man" comes from the Sanskrit "Manas" which means mind. So, a Hum-Man, human is a mind—whether from a male body or female body, it makes no difference—that is crafted into the psychological and spiritual image of divinity. A real human being—though they might look like us, having a body like ours—does not have pride, anger, vanity. Instead they embody the highest and most beautiful ideals that humanity has encountered, such as through figures like Jesus of Nazareth, Plato, Buddha, Krishna, the Prophet Muhammed... different religious teachers who taught the doctrine of peace, and how to become spiritual.
This is an artform, which has been represented in art. You will see by the diversity of expression, that this science is universal: it is not particular to one tradition. When speaking of Gnosis, we say that people typically think of Gnostic Christianity, but it pertains to all traditions, all religions, all paths.
The Gnostic Definition of Art
It is good to examine what the word art really means. Art from the Greek arti meaning "just"; to be just, to have justice. Or, as we say in Hebrew, the Tzadikim, the righteous ones, righteous before the eyes of God. This means that we work, psychologically, on our own imperfections, so that we can become perfect; or, as Jesus of Nazareth taught, "Be perfect as your father who is in Heaven is perfect."
It is also from the word artios meaning "complete, suitable." We see that the creation of Adam—which represents all of humanity, which can be made into the image of God—really is the work of becoming complete and suitable, before our divinity. This is something that we need to verify and examine, psychologically, to see whether or not we are suitable for the incarnation of God. God cannot mix with anger, resentment, wrath, and all the other defects that we carry inside. We have to remove all of that, if we want to be made like Adam into the image of Jehovah Elohim.
The word art also comes from the German word artizein, "to prepare." Gnosis as an art is the preparation of the human being to be made into the image of God; this is what we teach in many books and lectures, through many practices that we provide in this tradition.
The Latin, artus "joint." We find that this is the joining of the divine with the human, the divine with the terrestrial. This is the real meaning of religion, from the Latin religare, which means to re-unite. This is the same meaning as the word yoga, in Sanksrit: yug is the root word, meaning to unite or join. So, we want to join with our divinity, but, if we want to mix with the divine, while carrying our impurities, then that connection is impossible; only when the soul is pure can that union be made.
We find the Armenian word arnam "make;" early 13c. Art is a "skill as a result of learning or practice." Likewise, when we want to know God, we have to learn the skills necessary to know our Being, to know divinity. As we find in sculpture or painting, one needs certain skills in order to produce certain results; one needs to study, intellectually, in order to develop practically. It is the same thing with spirituality, genuine knowledge of God, because it is a skill that we develop through learning, such as through books, and by applying these principles in our own life.
It is also from the French, artem, meaning, "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft.” This is what people typically think of when they think of art. But, here, we are looking at it a little more esoterically, a little more deeply; looking at the hidden meanings behind these terms.
We are going to look at many different works of art that portray and exemplify these principles.
The Secret Teachings in Art
Here we find the crucifixion of Christ, Jesus. We find his burial beneath, his crucifixion in the center, followed by John the Baptist pointing towards the Lord, emphasizing precisely what is this path of becoming a human being, a hum-man, a spirit-man. This is pointing towards death, precisely through the death of impurity is how one can unite in purity. For, as Paul of Tarsus taught, it is by throwing away a belief, throwing away corruption, that one can inherit incorruption.
Art, as in this painting, we find many symbols and messages which were transmitted in secret by initiates. What I mean by an initiate is a person who has been enculturated, has studied and learned from experience, the divine truths contained within religion; not the outward formalities of scripture and practice, but really the internal experience of what God is. These painters, musicians, artists would dedicate their entire lives to explaining the path of self-realization to humanity, through art.
Sadly, people always take from these art forms, yet they do not appreciate the genuine depth that these works of art demonstrate. As Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—founder of the Theosophical movement, and great Yogi and master, and proponent of Gnosticism—emphasizes in The Secret Doctrine:
"The ancients knew these powers so well, that, while concealing their true nature under various allegories, for the benefit (or to the detriment) of the uneducated rabble, they never departed from the multiple object in view, while inverting them. They contrived to throw a thick veil over the nucleus of truth concealed by the symbol, but they ever tried to preserve the latter as a record for future generations, sufficiently transparent to allow their wise men to discern that truth behind the fabulous form of the glyph or allegory." —H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine
Painting, music, art is symbolic, representative of experiences that we can have in meditation, or in the dream state, specifically.
"They are accused of superstition and credulity, those ancient sages; and this by those very nations, which, learned in all the modern arts and sciences, cultured and wise in their generation, accept to this day as their one living and infinite God, the anthropomorphic "Jehovah" of the Jews. " –H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, iv. “The Four Elements”
People who say that they are very religious, who believe in an anthropomorphic God in the clouds, really are ignorant about the esotericism, the experience represented behind these principles. Just as Jesus of Nazareth had to face his Passion, his crucifixion and his resurrection, this is a representation of what we need to do, inside. Jesus of Nazareth, a great master, taught how each of us carries within our own inner divinity, known as Christ; from the Greek Chrestos, Christos, meaning ‘anointed one.’ It also refers to the Greek God of fire, Chrestos.
We find these letters atop of Mount of Calvary, I.N.R.I., which from Latin translates as Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Judæorum, which we can break down in many ways. We can also say that it is Ignis Natura Renovatur Integra, which means "fire renews nature incessantly." So, Christ is not a physical person, but is a fire, an energy, a force that we can incarnate, if we know how; if we are prepared, if we know the method, the artform. Likewise, the Christ, through Jesus, taught us a very beautiful path, filled with difficulty, but one which can produce the peace and genuine development of the soul. We also find that the Latin inscription above Jesus can also mean, In Neci Renascor Integer: "In death I am reborn intact and pure." So, through the death of the psychological impurity, ego, defects, we can attain the resurrection of Christ within our soul. This is represented in this painting.
We also have an image by the Master Botticelli of the death of Christ. We find the three Mary’s of Christianity, followed by the Apostles, specifically Peter, who is holding the keys to Heaven. People think literally that these apostles were simply people from the past who documented a historical event, ignoring that these initiates, these people who were instructed into the inner mysteries of divinity, came to represent for us archetypes that we need to develop inside. Just as there is an Apostle Peter outside, a physical personage, he came to represent our own, inner Peter, the Latin Patar, which means stone, Caiaphas in Aramaic. What alchemists call in the medieval traditions the philosopher’s stone really refers to Peter. He represents in us, to synthesize, the work of sexual-spiritual-psychological energy within our interior. The word Peter, Patar, means stone, and it is the foundation of our spiritual work. We unfortunately find as a slang word for the phallus, the word Peter, which refers to the sexual nature of what this apostle represents, as we find represented in the keys that he holds in his hand. Often, in these studies, we talk about the mysteries of matrimony—how a man and woman, united sexually, can use those energies for God, which is the path of Tantra in the East.
He has a gold key and silver key in his hand. Gold represents the solar energy, the projective, masculine force, the man; silver represents the lunar, receptive, the feminine. The man and woman together can come to really know God, by working with the most holy energy that they carry within, which is the stone, that some people call the Holy Spirit, which we say is the sexual energy. It is an energy that can be used for divinity.
We find the three Mary’s which represent three aspects of our inner divinity that we need to develop. We have a Mary Magdalene, we have a Mary, mother of Jesus, and we see on the left Mary of Bethany, who is a repented soul that represents any person who genuinely enters onto this path of self-realization, who really yearns for a spiritual change.
The other apostles are in disarray, they are confounded. But, notice how all the apostles, as represented in this image, have their heads at a slant; the meaning of this is that in this process of self-realization there is disbalance. In the path of self-knowledge, we seek to acquire balance, to equilibrate these forces inside of us. When there is silence and balance within, we can really develop our full divine potential. Notice that Peter is the only one who is level—he is the foundation, the rock of the holy Christian Universal Gnostic Catholic Church. Catholic really means universal; it is not merely the Roman sect, which deviated from the Gnostic Church founded by Peter.
This image represents for us a beautiful teaching. This work with Peter is a representation of how we work with energy inside of us; it is our foundation, it is where we begin. The Freemasons often talk about the cubic stone that needs to be perfected, which is Peter. Our energies need to be reflected in our mind, our heart, and our body. The three Mary’s are representations of the feminine aspect of our inner divinity; just as we talk about the Divine Father, so too do we have a Divine Mother. We often talk about five aspects of our Divine Mother, but, three of them are very important for us: the Divine Mother Space, which is the abstract Seity, the universal Cosmic Mother, represented by all of the substance of space known as Akash or force. She is the origin of all worlds, stars, planets, suns, Gods. Likewise, we have Divine Mother Nature, which is our inner Divine Mother, the feminine principle of God, who creates our physical body. Our body is a type of Mother Nature, which contains many forces that we can use by following the path of Peter, to find balance and equilibrium. Likewise, we find our inner Divine Mother Kundalini, our particular individual Divine Mother; like each of us has a particular Divine Father, likewise we all have our own inner Divine Mother inside.
Usually, when we supplicate, we do so to our individual Divine Mother, represented in Kabbalah as Binah. Kabbalah is the study of the Hebrew letters, which are also principles and teachings within the individual letters of the language; as we find in this glyph.
The True Human Being or Upright Pentagram
So, through different paintings and art, we find many symbols represented in this path of self-knowledge. We find Leonardo DaVinci, the Vitruvian man, next to the symbol of the Gnostic pentagram. In regards to the pentagram, people typically think of Wiccans or witchcraft; but, this is a misconception based on propaganda. Unfortunately, this symbol has been denigrated by many traditions. It represents the human being made in the image of God. The star represents a man who's spiritual reasoning is governing his heart and his body; he is ascending towards God. Usually, when people think of the pentagram, they think of the inverted pentagram, which is the opposite of the human being; it is the head facing towards the earth, the legs facing up. That represents the demon, a being whose reasoning is subservient to sexual passion. It is represented by the sexual organs, which when inverted, sex governs the head. That produces, as we can see in our world today, grave suffering for humanity.
We are not going to explain every meaning and symbol of the pentagram, we could give a whole lecture on just this image, but one thing I would like you to notice is that we have the Hebrew letters Adam, then Iod-Havah. The right arm has Iod-Havah, which is Jehovah. Likewise, the word Adam is the human being, the man made into the image of God. This star is the man spiritually, psychologically, embodying all the divine virtues and principles of Christ, represented by יהוה Iod-Havah, which is the Hebrew name for Christ. The other letter, ש Shin, the three-pronged letter, in between יה Iod-Hei, and then וה Vav-Hei, you have the word יהשוה Yeshua, which is Jesus; that word means savior. It is the force that can save us, spiritually, psychologically, if we know how to work with it. So, the star is Adam Iod-Havah, like in the image of Adam being created by Jehovah, it is the same meaning, as the man is being approached by his Inner God. That is why it means to be made into the star.
I mention this briefly, because in our next image, we often find Jesus—such as in the Ghent altar piece, by Jan van Eyck—with this common greeting of Christ, where he extends his middle finger, index finger and his thumb out, with the other two fingers down. This is representative of the pentagram that we just saw; meaning, that Christ greets us, saying Inverential Peace, peace unto you, by showing the pentagram. This symbol really represents the arms extended outward, with the head towards heaven; this represents the human being that has been created by God. The people, like the hippies, who make that sign with two fingers pointing up (representing the legs), and the other three (the arms, and the head) pointing downward, the so-called symbol for peace, are actually making the sign of the inverted pentagram. We often talk about hippies and others who have this fascination with drugs, promiscuity, negative sexuality... theirs is really a very degenerated way; it is the opposite of the path of Christ, the latter which is a type of pure law.
On the left, we have the Divine Mother Mary, in the center we have the victorious, resurrected Christ, on the right, we have John the Baptist.
What is interesting, is that when we look at images like this, we find that there is a lot meaning; my intention is not to exhaust all the meaning in this, but to emphasize that many initiates portrayed, through art, beautiful teachings. For example, on the crown of Mary, Miriam, if we look closely, we can see that there is ten stars above her crown. The number ten is significant in the studies of Hebraic Kabbalah, which as we mentioned in a previous lecture, is one of the Trees of the Garden of Eden: the Tree of Life, which is the Kabbalah, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is the science of Alchemy. The Tree of Life is represented as the map of the soul, in different degrees and elements. This Tree of Life is represented by ten spheres, ten sephiroth, which are modalities of energies and consciousness, as well as matter; they represent the heights of divinity within us, as well as our physicality, at its lowest. The fact that the Divine Mother has ten stars in her crown represents that she has fully developed in her child, which is us, all the aspects and principles of divinity within. You could say that this is like the Christmas tree, as a symbol. The Christmas tree represents that man, that Tree of Life, which is illuminated with stars, with light, with virtues, powers and understanding. Likewise, this image of the crown of stars represents how she has within herself those ten sephiroth fully developed, which is our ten aspects of our own psychology that we need to develop inside.
What is important, is the we see that she is looking at a book, she is studying. This is emphasizing that we need to study, and to really know the teachings well, in order to interpret what art is telling us. John also has a book, representing how he is studying deeply into these teachings. Christ wears three crowns on his head, this represents the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, or in Kabbalah Kether (crown), Chokmah (wisdom, Christ) and Binah (understanding, the Holy Spirit). Within Christ are all three principles of the higher aspect of divinity, represented in this image.
Music, Numerology, and the Kabbalistic Teachings
Not only does painting represent many teachings, but so too does music, especially classical music. For divinity decided, many centuries ago, to spread this through many great musical compositions, specifically through opera, as well as classical symphonies. Really, music is a language; it is mathematical. Mathematics is the science of Kabbalah, the science of numerology, measurement. We say in this tradition that God is a geometrist, God creates through numbers. Numbers are infinite and holy, mathematical. The universe is created through many laws, which are governed by Christ, the energy of God.
Music represents, mathematically and through notation, spiritual, emotional and psychological principles that we can actualize within ourselves. Some examples of great masters who taught through music are Freemasons like Puccini, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, etc. Very little is known about their membership to these groups, such as Freemasonry, because they were very secretive. Instead of giving lectures or providing books, this knowledge used to be underground, due to the dangers that were present if they were to openly unveil these teachings. So, a lot of these composers would teach other initiates by making symphonies; they would create a symphony, then have it played; other masters would come, and being very awakened spiritually, they would understand the meanings of the symphonies, getting teachings, and communicating in that way. Since they had a lot time, and they were not allowed to openly divulge this type of knowledge—at the time, it would have been sacrilegious, but in this time, in the information age, there are very different laws in motion.
Classical Music and the Three Brains
We have the following quote from the founder of this tradition, Samael Aun Weor, from his book, The Revolution of the Dialectic. In it, he speaks about how music is a beautiful teaching that pertains to every aspect of our psychology, our constitution.
"In music it is well known that certain notes can produce happiness in the thinking (intellectual) center, other notes can produce sadness in the sensitive (emotional) center and other notes can produce religiosity in the motor center." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
In the last lecture, we discussed how the human being has three centers within our body and psyche; how we function intellectually through thought; how we process emotion or sentiment; and, our motor center, which is how we acquire movement, physicality.
Gnosis as fourth way teaching, relates to what Master Gurdjieff taught. We emphasize a lot of things that he taught, as he was a very humorous and very strong Master. So, like Gurdjieff taught, we find the following teachings in this book:
"Indeed, the old Hierophants (the Masters of the temples of Mysteries, the Freemasons, etc.) never ignored that integral knowledge can only be acquired through the three cerebrums." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
We talk about the three brains in these studies. People think that we only have one brain, but the reality is different; the term brain, in these studies, denominates how we process information in a psychological experience. So, we process information intellectually, through thought, concept, argument, debate, idea, thesis/antithesis, etc. We also have the emotional brain where we process psychic perception, intuition, sentiment, love, compassion, etc. And finally, we have movement, which includes how we experience sensation, as well as our sexual impulses and our instinct. Likewise, music was really intended for all three aspects of our psyche; it nourishes our mind, our heart and our body, when it is coming from divinity.
"A single cerebrum cannot give complete information." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Usually, in life, we tend to only develop one of our three brains over the others. However, in the ancient schools, instead of just studying intellectually so much every day, they used to provide theatre and dance, sculpture, music, in order to work with different aspects of our psychology and our centers, so they could understand deeper messages.
With the three brains, you can think of it like a car: our body has three aspects, a mind, a heart and a body. How we use those three brains depends upon our consciousness, which is our soul, which can either follow the will of God, or can get carried away the whims of the intellect, the heart or the body. In order to really understand superior messages in music, we need to really have a lot of perception in meditation, practical skill, which is the definition of the word art. We need to have experience, internally, such as in meditation or in the dream yoga state. As the Master Samael, the founder of this tradition states:
"The sacred dance and the cosmic drama, wisely combined with music, served to transmit tremendous archaic teachings of a cosmogenetic, psychobiological, psychochemical, metaphysical type, etc., to the neophytes." –Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Cosmogenesis relates to how the cosmos, the divine, relates to our genes, our genesis, creation: how we create the image of God within us. How we bring the spiritual down to the physical, which is really what artists like Beethoven did, and you will see through some quotes of his that this is really what he was getting at in his symphonies.
So, like I said, opera is one of my most favorite artforms, because it is an amalgamation of theatre, music, drama, containing many symbolic teachings, which is something that we can go very extensively into.
In The Perfect Matrimony, the Master Samael Aun Weor explains that art has always been dual in nature: it can express the most divine in the human being, but it can also express the most diabolic, and I am sure we can think of many examples of both.
"The Initiate loves great classical music and feels repugnance for the infernal music of vulgar people. Afro-Cuban music awakens the lowest animal instincts of the human being. The Initiate loves the music of the great composers." —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
This is not to say that to say that all music from Africa is degenerated or negative. In fact, there are many tribal teachings, Native America, Tibetan, African, which are very positive. But, typically, in these times, when we think of Afro-Cuban music, we think of salsa, and many types of dance and music which if we are examining ourselves, provokes a lot of subjective elements, psychologically speaking, if we are observant; if we really pay attention to how our three brains respond, what we think, what we feel and how we act. When we awaken, psychologically, spiritually, we in turn can comprehend the great messages of the superior worlds.
Divine Art and the Masters of Music
We have this image of the Master Jesus, or the Christ, who has ascended to Heaven. We put this image here to represent how divinity comes down and can express through any Master who is fully prepared, who is developing the art of the initiate within him or herself.
Samael Aun Weor states in the book, Igneous Rose:
"We must comprehend the significance of music, happiness, and optimism.
"One remains in ecstasy when listening to The Magic Flute of Mozart, which reminds us of an Egyptian Initiation." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Mozart, when he wrote The Magic Flute, in the dream state he received a blessing or celebration in the temple of Egypt in the Astral plane—what people call the world of dreams. He was awakened in that state, and due to his work as a practitioner, he was accepted into that temple.
In The Magic Flute, at the very end there are three notes that are played in successive order, representing the three pyramids, which is the trinity of God, Father-Son-Holy Spirit, but also the pyramids of Giza, where he was initiated in the internal worlds.
We work here physically, spiritually speaking, but celebrations such as what Mozart went through, happen when we are physically asleep and our soul is awake, outside of the body.
"One feels amazed when listening to the nine symphonies of Beethoven, or the ineffable melodies of Chopin and Liszt.
"The ineffable music of the great classics comes from the exquisite regions of Nirvana where only happiness that is beyond love reigns.
"All the great Children of the Fire (Angels, Elohim) distill the perfume of happiness and the exquisite fragrance of music and joy." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
All that music, the beautiful symphonies of Beethoven, particularly the ninth, the Choral symphony, Ode to Joy, represents the happiness of God, that is flowing within all of nature.
If we learn to travel in the internal planes, achieve what is known as astral projection, we can meet these Angels, as well as Beethoven, many other Masters, and speak to them, face-to-face. With this type of perception, we can speak to the Gods, the Angels, the Buddhas, the Jinns, whatever names we want to give to those beings. We can see that they really embody the highest virtues represented by the beauty of the great symphonies, in the music of Lizst, Chopin, etc.
We say in these studies that art is intimately related to what we know as the soul of the plant known as saffron. In these studies, we have been explaining how there are initiates or masters who have attained development; in other words, we could say that they are apostles. So, without exaggerating in anyway, we could say that Lizst, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart, etc., they were apostles of art, prophets of art; they taught how to unite with the soul, through their music.
In these studies, we often talk about the work with the elemental souls of nature, such as through elemental magic; specifically through plants, by working with the souls of plants. We have many methods that we explain in books like Igneous Rose, in which we can really work with elemental souls of nature, in order to help protect ourselves and inspire us to work spiritually.
The saffron is the plant of the apostolate. We see this image of the Buddha, who is tempted by the three daughters of Mara, represented in Christianity as Judas, Pilot, Caiaphas, the three traitors, who are trying to tempt Buddha from attaining his enlightenment. This represents our inner God within us, the initiate who is really acquiring equanimity of mind through meditation. He is doing the Vitarka Mudra, where he has his three fingers up, and the index finger and thumb together; this represents the transmission of a teaching. Buddha is transmitting the teaching of self-knowledge, because the color saffron, yellow, pertains to knowledge, Gnosis, objective knowledge. If we have an internal experience with the color yellow, it pertains to self-knowledge, understanding oneself, in a dream.
"The saffron is the plant of the apostolate.
"The elemental population of the saffron is found to be intimately related with the apostolate." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
We chose this image because the Buddha is conquering his own mind, represented by these three temptresses. He conquers his own mind, in order to provide a teaching. With the Vitarka Mudra, he is expressing the doctrine of the Inner Buddha, and meditation.
Likewise, an apostle of art, like Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, Chopin, they cultivated their mind through studying music, and practicing their art, in order to express a divine teaching. So, like Buddha giving the self-knowledge of inner mind, likewise, the different masters of music gave teachings through their art.
The three daughters of Mara in this image, or Judas, Pilot and Caiaphas in Christianity, are intimately related with the number three. Three is a very symbolic number: it relates to creation, Father-Son-Holy Spirit, positive force, negative force, neutral force. The three daughters of Mara are not people who lived in the past, but represent legion. We can characterize our own inner demons, our own defects as three, because we have three brains. Pilot is the demon of the mind, who always washes his hands, and justifies himself of sin; Caiaphas is the demon of the heart who rejects the lord, who does his own will, such as through anger, violence, etc.; Judas is the demon of desire, who sells the Lord for thirty coins, sexual passion essentially, through lust. Yet, even though we have three brains, and we say that there are three traitors, represented by how we wrongly use our mind, heart and body, but we have many defects, which is represented by Lazarus, the man who is possessed by many demons, that Jesus exorcized. Jesus asked him, and the man said, "We are legion, for we are many." There are a multitude of defects that we have inside. We can synthesize those defects as three, because we have three brains.
This is what Buddha overcame; this is what Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart overcame in themselves, in order to give their teaching, a very potent wisdom through their music.
"The apostle is a martyr of the cosmic mind.
"The mind of the authentic apostle is crucified." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
This is a very powerful statement. Is it not true that many of these masters who gave their music, were heavily criticized? Many people have created a lot of books, writings, propaganda against certain musicians; things that are not true. Being criticized for their work, these apostles suffered; they had to crucify their mind, in order to overcome their reactions to a public that does not really understand the esoteric message behind the music, but which they give for love of humanity.
"The mind of the authentic apostle is intimately related with the elemental department of the saffron." -Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
If we want to work with developing happiness and optimism, we can work with the elemental magic of the saffron plant, which is intimately related with the apostles of art.
"The mind of the arhat (the meditator who has conquered his mind) is intimately related with this elemental department of the saffron.
"The apostle is a martyr.
"Everyone in the world benefits from the works of the apostles. Everyone is the world reads their books [or listens to their music]. Everyone in the world pays the apostle with the coin of ingratitude because, according to popular concept, ‘the apostle has not the right to know.’" —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
This is referring to how people, humanity, typically masters like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and exchanges their divine works with ingratitude. People say, "How can anyone know God? Beethoven, Mozart... they did not know God. So how could they know this?" Out of ignorance, people reject the deeper message behind these works of art. The apostles suffered for that; it is a tremendous suffering to give a teaching like the ninth symphony, and humanity applauds and venerates this work of art, but they don't really understand the meaning, or they criticize it, not knowing the message. People think that no one can possibly know God, which is agnosticism; if you put an ‘A’ in front of Gnosticism, it means to not know, to be ignorant. It does not merely mean to not read books, it means to not have experience of God, which is really all of us, to a greater or lesser degree. But, through conquering our mind, like Buddha, we can emanate that light, which is Christ, the light of God, our inner energies, forces.
"However, all the great works of the world are due to the apostles." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
And I say, without exception:
"The saffron is intimately related with the great apostles of art: Beethoven, Mozart, Berlioz, Wagner, Bach, etc.
"The planet related to saffron is Venus, the star of love." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
In relation to medieval Alchemy, Venus relates to arts, the influences of music, culture, literature, etc.
Here is Beethoven, who, in his own words, really demonstrates what this teaching is about, and what his music is about. He said in a letter to Archduke Rudolph, in 1823:
"There is no loftier mission than to approach the Divinity nearer than other men, and to disseminate the divine rays among mankind."
He was experiencing many things in the meditations he had, as well as out of his body, in order to transmit the teachings of his God. People are astounded that before even composing the ninth symphony, one of his greatest works, he was physically deaf: he couldn't hear a thing. And yet, his expression, and his notation in the music is perfect. People debate, and wonder how that could be possible. That a deaf man could compose something as tremendous as this; that this is unfathomable. The explanation of this is that, while physically he was deaf, but when he would go out of his body, in the Astral plane, or even in Nirvana, in different dimensions, represented by the Tree of Life, he was hearing that music from his inner divinity. He was memorizing everything, retaining everything, then returning to his body, where he was physically deaf, and trying to notate everything that he experienced. He was very awakened. I have verified, and give testimony, that his music teaches very elevated principles. We can know these things directly, if we investigate.
He also stated:
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend." —Quoted by Bettina von Arnin, letter to Goethe, 1810
Meaning, we cannot comprehend with the intellect, which is what people try to do with his music. They look at it intellectually, and are amazed by its complexity, but, it is like learning Hebrew, but not understanding the Bible. It is a said fact, but it is a reality.
Quoted by Bettina van Arnin, in a letter to Goethe, another great master of literature that we also venerate, Beethoven stated:
"When I open my eyes I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion, and I must despise the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."
This is my favorite quote of his:
"He who understands my music can never know unhappiness again."
If you listen to the ninth symphony, it is really about self-realization; you unite with your God, then you can truly sing the chorus from that symphony. That is the angels expressing that joy that another soul has entered into Nirvana, into bliss. It is really a profound teaching. So, if you understand that from experience, you won't be so dejected, and you will really work harder to know God.
Even Wagner, who is tremendously slandered in these times, as an anti-Semite, as a misogynist, was a great master. If we understand that all the apostles of art have been denigrated by the critics, by people who don't really understand religion, or science, or mysticism, art, we understand that his teachings are very profound. His operas teach a lot of Kabbalah; they are Hebraic teachings. So, it is incongruous to say that he was an anti-Semite, when his operas represent the entire Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge of Genesis.
In synthesis, he states the following, regarding the purpose of art:
"When religion becomes artificial, art has a duty to rescue it. Art can show that the symbols which religions would have us believe literally true are actually figurative. Art can idealize those symbols, and so reveal the profound truths they contain…
"…I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven, and likewise their disciples and apostles; —I believe in the Holy Spirit and the truth of the one, indivisible Art; —I believe that this Art proceeds from God, and lives within the hearts of all illumined men (initiates); —I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art, is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her;—I believe that through Art all men are saved." —Richard Wagner
Art teaches us the path. When we study art, it inspires us to really work ourselves, psychologically, spiritually. To have that experience of what his opera Parsifal teaches, such as the Master Samael teaches in the book, Parsifal Unveiled... it is mind boggling; it inspires us to really change, and make effort to overcome our own suffering, as well as the suffering of others.
We have an image of Parsifal, with the temptress Kundry, which is another representation of how Buddha was facing his inner devil, the temptresses of Mara, which are represented in this opera as Kundry; it is the same drama. Parsifal is the knight who seeks to retrieve the lance of Longinus, which pierced the side of the Lord.
We find that, just as there is divinity in art, there is also a lot of diabolic representations within art too. This is easy to find if we look at our modern media, as well as much of the artforms that are presented in these times; such as through things like death metal, gangster rap, violent forms of music, which are provocative, usually of a lustful nature as well.
We find that even theatre, as well as places that once transmitted the divine teachings, have been overcome by people who really do not understand these messages. So, just as people who play in a symphony, they may not know the meaning of the music, they can at least express that teaching; it is the same thing as works by Shakespeare, which are esoteric plays, esoteric dramas. A lot of times, the theatre, and many other forms and expressions of art, have been infiltrated and degenerated by lude interpretations.
Samael Aun Weor is very clear in the Revolution of the Dialectic. He states:
"The tenebrous ones have stolen the theatre and the stage. They have miserably profaned it. They have totally prostituted it." --Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
This may seem harsh, but the thing to realize is that, if we look at theatre, we see that a lot of the representations are very provocative, lustful, sexually charged, and are usually devoid of any inherit esoteric divine principles.
We were talking a little about how divinity expresses through art, but now we are explaining how art can also be an expression of negativity.
"The Sabbath, the day of the theatre, the day of the mysteries, was very popular in the ancient temples. Marvelous cosmic dramas were then presented.
"Drama served to transmit valuable teachings to the Initiates. Different ways to experience the Being (divinity) and the manifestations of the Being were transmitted to the initiates by means of drama." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Shakespeare retains a lot of this teaching; such as Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, Macbeth... these characters represent principles that we need to study and understand in ourselves.
"Among the dramas, the most ancient one is that of the Cosmic Christ. The Initiates knew very well that each of us must become the Christ of such a drama if we indeed aspire to the Kingdom of the Superman." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
The superman is the term denominated by Nietzsche, who also knew this science. A superman is a man who is a human being, fully integrated with Christ: a fully developed being. Like, King Solomon, the Solar king from the Bible.
"The cosmic dramas are based on the Law of Seven. Certain intelligent deviations of such a law were always utilized in order to transmit transcendental teachings to the neophyte." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
We talk about the Law of Seven, which relates to Kabbalah. You may hear how the ancients studied seven planets, and many people have this assumption that the ancients must be stupid, because there are more than seven planets. That is not the case. They actually knew of all the planets in the solar system, even while our modern astronomers do not. The explanation for this is that they had awakened internally, in order to investigate things about the solar system. The law of seven is a law of organization. We find the seven notes in our musical scale; likewise, seven is represented by the organization of our psyche, namely with our physical, energetic, emotional, mental, volitive, conscious and spiritual principles. This relates to Kabbalah, which we will explain about more in other lectures. But, a lot of art and drama explains this mystery of the law of seven. Plus, if you had the law of three, the law of creation (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to the law of seven, you have ten: the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life, in Kabbalah.
Spiritual Sculpture, Architecture, and the True Human Being
Here we see an image of the sphinx, which is an Egyptian work of art. It represents a great mystery that we need to solve. I am sure we have all heard of the mystery of the sphinx; Oedipus Rex had to solve the mystery of the sphinx, in order to save his city.
"In addition to this, it is suitable here to mention sculpture. The latter was grandiose in bygone times. The allegorical beings chiseled on hard rock reveal to us that the ancient Masters never ignored the Law of Seven." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So, sculpture like the pyramids, the great buildings of antiquity, show us principles that we need to develop. Many Egyptologists, archaeologists laugh at the Egyptians, thinking that they worshipped idols, statues... this is wrong. These sculptures are symbols, they are not literal. To look at the flag of the United States literally, we would see that there is 50 stars, 13 white stripes, and that is literally there... that would be absurd. The Egyptians did not think that way. They represented cosmic principles in their sculpture.
"Let us remember the Sphinx of Giza, in Egypt. The sphinx depicts for us the four elements of nature and the four basic conditions of the Superman." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
We see the paws of a lion; the face of a man; hooves of a bull; and the wings of an eagle; this is the traditional representation. The bull represents earth, our physicality. We have the elements in our body that we need to conquer. Likewise, the face of the man, which represents water, referring to our sexual forces, our energetic principles, our vitality, etc. We have the wings of the eagle, related to air, the mind; the mind is of an aerial nature, breath. And then we have the paws of the lion, which represent fire; emotional processes. We feel fire in the heart when we're angry, or with love, etc.
In order to become an angel, we need to conquer those elements, which is what the riddle of the sphinx tells us. If we want to become a man or woman made into the image of God, we need to conquer these elements inside of us. Or, as Jesus taught, "You should worship your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your will, and all your strength." These are the four elements represented here.
To emphasize how these teachers like Michelangelo, and other artists, taught us a hidden teaching, I would like to emphasize some quotes, specifically about Michelangelo.
This is an image of the Pieta by Michelangelo, the dead Christ being held by the Virgin Mary, after his Passion. Here are some quotes that I am going to explain a little, in order to look at them at a deeper level. These are sayings by Michelangelo:
"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."
Just as we say that, in order to create a beautiful sculpture, we need to see the image in our mind, then chisel it into the stone, which is the literal meaning that Michelangelo is saying here. On a deeper level, we understand that, like that stone of Peter, our psyche is a stone that is impure, rough, and that we need to chisel in order to produce that image of God inside. So, Patar, Peter, the stone, is our energies that we need to purify, chisel away, by bearing in mind the image of our creator, so that we can create that sculpture, which is that perfected human being: a human being that is a work of divine art.
"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."
We all have an Angel inside our stone, symbolically. We need to chisel away that stone, so that we can work patiently, with a lot of love, in order to produce this Angel inside.
"The best artist has that thought alone which is contained within the marble shell; the sculptor's hand can only break the spell to free the figures slumbering in the stone."
Again, these figures are slumbering, sleeping in the stone. We say in this teaching that we are asleep, like the myth of Psyche and Cupid. Psyche, our soul, is not awake to her full potential. Cupid has to awaken her. This represents how only Christ, Cupid, can awaken us. In order to chisel that stone, and produce that awakened, perfected image; to become fully illuminated, awakened, a Buddha.
"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.
"The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.
"My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth's loveliness."
Another beautiful teaching. People think that Heaven is some abstract thing in the clouds... but, we reach Heaven by working here physically, in order body, by meditating, praying, etc.
This also refers to Earths loveliness; which is a matrimony. To enjoy one's earth, one's body, is to be married; that is really when Earth's loveliness is shown. It is in a matrimony when the power of God can really be realized in depth. This is what Samael Aun Weor taught in The Perfect Matrimony.
"I live in sin, to kill myself I live; no longer my life my own, but sin's; my good is given to me by heaven, my evil by myself, by my free will, of which I am deprived."
This is a very honest examination of himself; he was saying that he had a lot of sin inside himself, but that he wanted to be purified. "To kill myself, I live," meaning, to kill one’s defects, which is the passion of Christ.
"Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."
If we meditate a little bit at a time, and really work little by little to gain perfection, we will do it. Perfection is no trifle.
"Death and love are the two wings that bear the good man to heaven.
"It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges."
Meaning, every action that we perform, we need to be observant of our mind. We need to really let our Being, our God, express through us, and to not be identified with physicality so much.
"Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."
To always want to know more of divinity. Or, as the Qur'an states, "Allah has not been known as he deserves to be known." In knowing God, there is always levels.
Kukulcan, the Feathered Serpent, and the Pyramid of Chichen Itza
Here we see another sculpture, the pyramid of Kukulkan, the feathered serpent of the Maya. The Mayan civilization bore a great teaching in their architecture and taught many divine principles. The pyramid of Chichen Itza has four sides contain 365 steps (depicting the solar year). There are 52 panels (for each year in the Mayan century as well as each week in the solar year). 18 terraces (for the 18 months in the religious year). Designed by astronomers, astrologers, and mathematicians.
Maya and Toltec people worshipped Kukulkan, the feathered serpent or in the Aztec language, Quetzacoatl; this same bronze serpent that Moses raised on the staff for the Israelites, in order to heal them. It is a representation of what the Hindus call the Kundalini, which we can work with in a matrimony. The sculptures and architecture of the Maya depicted all of this; it is a very profound and beautiful teaching. We also see in this image, a snake of light that appears on the pyramid in seven degrees during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, when day and night are in equilibrium. The fact that they planned this with such precision, to show this serpent of light raising up to the top of the temple, is representing many beautiful things for us; that if we work with that energy called Kundalini, we can ascend into our inner temple, to receive initiation.
Likewise, sacred dances such as those found in the Middle East, in the Sufi, Muslim traditions, teach us a lot. We have the following teaching given by Samael Aun Weor, in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
"Sacred dances were authentic informative books which were deliberately transmitting certain transcendental cosmic teachings.
"The Whirling Dervishes do not ignore the mutually equilibrated seven temptations of living organisms." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Again, the Law of Seven is present here. We can say that we have seven main defects that we have to face: the seven deadly sins, lust, pride, greed, gluttony, laziness, anger, envy.
"The ancient dancers knew the seven independent parts of the body and knew very well what the seven different lines of movement are. The sacred dancers knew very well that each of the seven lines of movement possesses seven points of dynamic concentration." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So, these Sufi dancers would concentrate and pray very deeply, and they would focus on the movements of their bodies, on their seven points of concentration, which we call the seven chakras in Hinduism.
By doing this whirling, they would activate their chakras positively, so that they could perceive things spiritually; through movement and prayer by focusing on their seven centers, in order to awaken them.
"The dancers of Babylon, Greece, and Egypt did not ignore that all of this crystallized in the whirling atom and on the gigantic planet that dances around its center of cosmic gravitation.
"If we could invent a machine that would imitate with exactness all the movements of the seven planets of our solar system around the sun, we would then discover with amazement the secret of the Whirling Dervishes. Indeed, the Whirling Dervishes perfectly imitate all of the movements of the planets around the Sun." –Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So, as a practice, it is a work with energy: doing movement, dance, with prayer and recitation. These dances represent how the cosmos functions.
Spiritual Concert According to Sufism
We find this Sufi text, Al-Risalah, which translates as Principles of Sufism by a Sufi Master by the name of Al Qushayri. He explains that music and poetry is divine; it can express, as through Shakespeare and other great works of art, many intimate experiences of the heart. It states:
"Know that listening to poetry with beautiful melodies and delightful intonation—when the one who listens does not believe it to be forbidden, does not hear anything that is blamable according to the divine Command, is not driven by the reins of his lust, and does not gather with others for the sake of lusts—is wholly permissible." —Al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism
A lot of the Muslims were arguing whether music is acceptable. This argument emphasizes that there is always a conflict between whether art can express the divine in man, or if the people who perform these dances would do so out of lust for others within the congregation, which was a common problem back then, but even more so now.
"There is no denying that poetry was recited before the Messenger of God, and that he listened to it and did not censure those who recited it. So if hearing it without beautiful melody is licit, how should the rule be altered by hearing it with melody?
"This is the obvious side of the matter. What comes next is that the one who listens should find his wish to perform acts of devotion increased. " -Al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism
So, to really know whether music or art is really objective or not, is really spiritual, we have to sincerely examine ourselves: do we feel more devoted and concentrated? Or, do we feel anger or lust or certain other negative psychological elements inside, when we encounter this type of art?
"He should remember the degrees that God Most High has prepared for his servants who fear Him.
"This should lead him to guard against sins, and immediately convey to his heart the purity of feeling and impression required by the religion and preferred in the divine Law." —Al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism
Music should really inspire us to love God more deeply, to know God more deeply; to study as it is according to the divine law. The translation of this is really Shariah, but here we are not talking about the law in the MIddle East, in the Muslim countries, which is a deviation of the spiritual meaning of Shariah, which you could call in Hebrew, Torah, or Dharma in Sanskrit, the law, the instruction we get through books or teachings.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, ‘The spiritual concert is forbidden to ordinary people because of the continued maintenance of their egos.’" —Al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism
A lot of these concerts were forbidden for people who never knew anything about esotericism, because they would always approach it with lust or filthiness.
"It is permissible for renunciates (practitioners) because of their pursuit of inner struggle (meaning struggling with their own defects, to become more pure in mind, body and heart, so that God can incarnate). It is recommended (music, art, poetry) for our companions, for the sake of the life of their hearts." —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, like the symphonies of Beethoven, it is really for companions. What does it meant to be a companion of God? It is to experience God directly, in meditation, or out of the body.
The Degeneration of Modern Art
I'd like to emphasize modern art, which is a deviation from the ancient, esoteric principles we were discussing. We find that this time of materialism and the bankruptcy of morals, demonstrates itself through the type of art that people create nowadays. Where in comparison with ancient times, we have experienced a rapid acceleration of violence, prostitution, drugs, alcoholism, mental illness, disease, etc. This reflects in our art. People minds are focused on the diabolic, and not the divine. This image here is literally of the Venus de Milo made of excrement. We see here statues made of garbage; another image by Andy Warhol of Campbell's Soup Cans... the message behind this, is that there really is no message behind it: it is empty. The word for can, or empty shell, in Hebrew, is Klipah, Klifah, which is where we get the word Klipoth from, which means Hell. So, the emptiness of spirituality is represented in our art.
Samael Aun Weor, in The Revolution of the Dialectic states:
"When the first symptoms of atheism, skepticism, and materialism began to appear in Babylon, the degeneration of the five senses accelerated in a frightening manner.
"It is perfectly demonstrated that we are what we think." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
This is what Buddha taught, 2500 years ago.
"Therefore, if we think as materialists, we degenerate and fossilize ourselves.
"Karl Marx committed an unforgivable crime. He took away the spiritual values of humanity. Marxism has unleashed religious persecution. Marxism has precipitated humanity to its total degeneration." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
We find this in countries that adopted Marxism, Communism, in which people’s human rights were taken away from them, and they weren't allowed to have any belief in spirituality. We see that humanity without religion is barbaric; without beliefs as to how to live a good life, life becomes chaos, chaotic. This shows in the different art that is being produced.
"Materialistic Marxist ideas have infiltrated everywhere, in schools and in the home, in the temple and in the office, etc.
"The artists of each new generation have become true apologists of dialectical materialism. Every breath of spirituality has disappeared in ultramodern art.
"Modern artists no longer know anything about the Law of Seven. They no longer know anything about the cosmic dramas. They no longer know anything about the sacred dances of the ancient mysteries." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic –Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Not all art that is of a diabolic nature, is necessarily ugly, aesthetically speaking. This is a painting by Salvador Dali, who is a very famous painter, and a very good one by his own right; the only thing is, his imagery, while possessing tremendous technical skill and artistry, really conveys a lot of the subconscious nature that he demonstrated. This is evident by his own life, his quotes, his sayings, as well as his actions. Here are some quotes of his, to contrast Michelangelo:
"Have no fear of perfection—you'll never reach it."
To say that one will never reach perfection with divinity is really diabolic.
"Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.
"The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant."
So, this is explaining that, even knowing that there is a spiritual, divine path, he is saying that is better to follow one’s own subconscious, diabolic nature; saying that it is the deceptive nature which is better.
So, he is really showing the opposite in his artwork: he even recommended to other artists to masturbate into their paintings, to use their sexual bodily fluids in their art, to paint. We say that masturbation is truly contrary to the teachings that we provide here; masturbation, if we take the Latin word, it is manus-stuprare. Manus is hand, stuprare means "defilment," or stupare, which means to become stupid. We lose our intelligence if we masturbate, because that energy which can be used for God is lost. Salvidor Dali was addicted to that. He said:
"I don't do drugs. I am drugs."
And we emphasize that drugs can only awaken infernal, diabolic perceptions, such as through LSD, marijuana, etc. This is what many artists take into their body and mind, in order to have, what they say, are spiritual experience, but are really inverted experiences. We do not teach any dependence on drugs in this teaching. To know God, we seek to know God without filters, without any external substance, but directly, within ourselves.
"There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad."
He knew what he was doing was diabolic, in the kind of art that he was expressing.
"Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic.
"Liking money like I like it, is nothing less than mysticism. Money is a glory."
So, he was very materialistic; he expressed through his art, his own subconscious perception. We can say that, a person who has perception does not necessarily have it objectively. This is the meaning of the word clairvoyance.
I have seen some of his paintings in different museums, and it is a very hypnotic and fascinating thing. We say that hypnosis is the opposite of Gnosis. Hypnosis puts the soul to sleep, but Gnosis is about awakening the soul, in order to know God. We have this dual nature: we have the consciousness, which can awaken to divinity, which can awaken from sleep; then, we have our own diabolic subconscious nature. Dali was saying that it is better to follow your passions than to follow your divinity. He knew this, so he was really emphasizing the opposite of what we teach. Art communicates energetically, psychologically. So, we do not recommend indulging in these kinds of art forms.
This is a painting by Miro. Again, technically, very well done, masterful. But, there is no esoteric message behind it, there is no divine principle expressed through it.
We find the following quote from Samael Aun Weor in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
"It is already proven by observation and experience that the absence of spiritual values produces degeneration.
"The paintings of this day and age, as well as the music, the sculptures, etc., are nothing but the product of degeneration."
We look at art, and we find that people use art to express violence, hatred, pornography, sickness, disease of the mind, etc.
"The initiates of ancient times, the sacred female dancers, the true artists of ancient great times, no longer appear on the stage. Now, only sick automatons, degenerated singers, rebels without a cause, etc. appear on the stage."
If you look at television... for instance, I try to exercise at a gym, and they always play music videos of modern music, and it is very filthy; women dancing in very provocative and lustful ways. It is always a challenge going there. We find that art in these times does not reflect God at all; it is very easy to analyze this.
If you look a couple of hundred years ago, we find beautiful, artistic paintings representing religious principles. But now? It is completely deviated, we have gibberish. And, I am sorry to say to Miro, that it is very well done... but that is what the mind is like inside; different egos, defects.
"Ultramodern theatres are the antithesis of the sacred theatres of the great mysteries of Egypt, Greece, India, etc. The art of this day and age is tenebrous; it is the antithesis of Light. Modern artists are tenebrous as well.
"Surrealistic and Marxist paintings, ultramodern sculpture, Afro-Cuban music and the modern female dancers are the outcome of human degeneration.
"The young men and women of the new generations receive by means of their three cerebrums data which is sufficient to convert them into swindlers, thieves, assassins, bandits, homosexuals, prostitutes, etc." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
We find that, if we look at today’s art, people are learning how to become, like with video games, more violent, more angry, more lustful, more proud. Art, in this times, reflects the consciousness of our humanity, which is of a very degenerating type. It is absent of kindness, compassion, love, understanding, which are all from divinity. But we find that a lot of art is really just the expressing of what is negative and evil in our person; instead, we want to cultivate art that shows us our own divine potential.
This is another good painting, it is by Edvard Munch, which actually very well captures the modern mentality, "The Scream." To clarify this use of this image, we will again quote Samael Aun Weor:
"After the Second World War, existentialist philosophy and art were born. When we have seen the existentialist actors on stage, we have arrived at the conclusion that they are truly maniacal and perversely sick people."
We find that this image of a human being screaming in horror at the modern mentality, really demonstrates the type of degeneration that occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even now, onward, onto the 21st century, since the 1960s.
"If Marxism continues to be disseminated, then the human being will end up totally losing his five senses (which are in the process of degeneration)." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
We emphasize that art expresses the consciousness of a person; the level of development or non-development of a person. We look at art and we find that the ancient music, theatre, dance, etc., really conveyed in their depth a profound wisdom that we need to actualize in ourselves, if we want to know God. But, also, art in these times has veered away from its genuine purpose, represented by existentialist art. Existentialist philosophy pertains to a belief that there is no God, and that one must make meaning from meaninglessness. It is a philosophy founded on hopelessness; it is the myth of Sisyphus, such as taught by existentialist philosophers like Albert Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard and others.
Questions and Answers
Audience: What you talk about, is it derivative of some lineage related to Samael Aun Weor?
Instructor: Yes. He is the founder of the tradition we study. I use his writings, principally because, in comparison with other authors, of his clarity and his depth. We study in this tradition many authors, particularly Gurdjieff, Steiner, Blavatsky, Dion Fortune, Max Heindel... many other occultists; people who have studied the hidden within the human being. But, we particularly use Samael Aun Weor's writings for his potency of his knowledge that he expressed in different books, which can provide clarity and insight into works of other occultists who came before him.
His teachings, I have found, have helped clarify the relationship between many principles and ideas which, in occult circles, may seem very divergent and separate, but he explains how they connect. His particular gift was that he explained the synthesis of religions, and how to interpret these different religious teachings and art, specifically.
Audience: It seems like he connected the dots.
Instructor: Yes. He really explains a lot in his books.
Audience: You also mentioned Paul of Tarsus.
Instructor: Yes. Referring specifically to the apostle who wrote the Epistles, part of the New Testament.
Audience: So, how is this different from Freemasonry?
Instructor: Freemasonry was once a Gnostic teaching. The rituals that were performed by the Freemasons are really Gnostic in origin. If you look at the symbol of Masonry, you have the compass and square with the letter G in the middle; that letter G is Gnosis, knowledge. They say that by working with your stone, Peter, chiseling that force inside, we can attain to unity with God.
Freemasonry was once a Gnostic tradition, before it became a social club, essentially. People who attend say that they are masters of the 33rd degree... but, they have just read books, they have not really practiced the meaning of their tradition. Which is the same with any religion nowadays. But, Freemasonry was a very active force in Europe; even in the Middle East as well. For instance, the meaning of the stone of Kaaba, in Islam, pertains to the cubic stone that we need to perfect, the stone of Peter. This, in the Middle East, is black, representing how our soul is impure, and that we need to chisel it to make it pure. We do that by performing seven circumambulations around the Kaaba, during the Hajj. So, the meaning of that, is working with the law of seven, which even the Muslims know about... it is a very beautiful tradition that they have. Again, like we said about how seven is the organizing principle, in all religions.
Audience: You mentioned Judas, and then you also mentioned that he was lustful, can you explain what lust is?
Instructor: Lust is a sexual desire that seeks to be satiated by sensation; specifically, the orgasm. So, the epitome of lust is to reach the sexual climax in which the energies of Peter, Patar, the stone, are expelled. Lust pertains, if we examine our mind, to desire for sexual sensations. The only way to really understand what lust is, is to see it in action, by learning to develop our spiritual purity, our chastity. By chastity, we do not mean sexual abstinence, but, purity. One can be engaged sexually, as a husband and wife in a chaste, pure way. Lust is the opposite of sexual attraction; it takes the sexual attraction that one naturally has in one’s magnetism, as a couple, and then abuses it for the experience of sensations, for no purpose other than that. So, we say that it is an animal tendency, lust. The opposite is the virtues of God, which is chastity. Virtue is the opposite, coming from the word Virya, meaning warrior; to be a warrior is to conquer one’s animal desires. It is to have virtue, which is the same root word as virility.
The only way we can understand what lust is, is to observe it.
Audience: But, how is the related to Judas; he just sold out Jesus?
Instructor: We have to understand that all the apostles came to represent something inside of us, that we need to encounter. So, just as there was Jesus Christ physically, we also have our own, internal Jesus Christ, who is our Being. Likewise, we also have inside of us, Pilate, a demon who crucifies the Christ; meaning, we crucify our Being, and our ego washes its hand of that, saying, "I am not guilty. I did not do anything wrong." Caiaphas is our evil will; whenever we feel hatred towards another person, we are disobeying the commandment of God to love thy neighbor as thyself: that is Caiaphas inside of us. Judas is a type of sexual desire; he sells the Lord for thirty pieces of silver...
Audience: The titillation of the orgasm abuses the Christic force?
Instructor: Yes. The energies of sex are the Christ. So, Judas, as desire, passion, sells the Lord for an orgasm, basically. Meaning, how our own ego makes our Lord suffer, hands over our Inner Being to our own defects by selling the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. Thirty represents the power of creation, and silver is the moon. So, again, in relation to our body, the moon relates to lunar forces relating to sex. The powers of sex relate to what we call Yesod in Kabbalah, relates to procreation and lunar habits, which are not Christic, which are not Solar; they are the opposite. We need to make the moon into a Sun.
Judas gives away his Being, meaning, a person who is a Judas is someone who orgasms, who wastes that energy, in order to have thirty pieces of silver, a moment of pleasure that is ephemeral... it’s gone. But, that energy which could create the soul inside, is lost. That is the meaning of Judas. He represented, in all of us, our own desire, which betrays God; particularly within the sexual act.
Audience: What about the dangers of repression of the sexual force?
Instructor: Like the Buddha taught, to observe is to know God. We have to learn how to see ourselves without pushing away, not looking at that inside of ourselves which we don't like, hiding from ourselves; that doesn't produce any comprehension. In fact, what that develops is a lot of frustration and mental tension, which eventually resurfaces as storm, basically. Neither do you want to feed that desire. To learn the middle way is precisely the entire path of self-realization; to balance those forces within oneself.
Like that image I showed of Botticelli, the death of Christ: everyone is disbalanced and is trying to equilibrate. And then you have Peter, who is level, upright, and who says, "I know that my Lord will resurrect within me, if I am balanced." So, the way that we balance ourselves is by working with those two keys that he has in his hand; the gold key and then silver key, masculine force / feminine force, a matrimony. That is the ultimate meaning of that. However, individual practitioners can work with those two forces, in a minor degree, in order to learn to balance the mind.
We learn how to overcome repression and suppression, as well as justification, simply by balancing our psyche, little by little. This does not come immediately, but through a lifetime, or even lifetimes, of work. But we get that balance gradually.
Audience: Why were the days of the week changed?
Instructor: Because of people who do not know Astrology. There was an original astrological calendar, which was adulterated by the Catholic church, by people who did not understand the esoteric nature of how the days of the week relate to the seven planets, the law of seven of Alchemy. We currently have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. But, the original calendar was Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Saturday is the only day that is actually in its right place, the Sabbath. The days relate to the planets; Monday relates to the Moon, Lunes in Spanish, Lunar, the Moon. Wednesday is Mercury, Miercoles in Spanish—sometimes the Spanish words have a deeper connection to this. Viernes, or Venus, which is Friday, the Goddess of love. Jueves, the Sun, Sunday. Then you have Tuesday, Martes, or Mars. Jupiter is Thursday. Saturn is Saturday. They were changed because the people in the Catholic Church did not know what they were doing, and they wanted to make Sunday the last day of the week, instead of the middle of the week, because they believed that after the six days in the Garden of Eden, God rested on the seventh day. They wanted the seventh day to be Sunday, for their own political purposes and misconceptions.
Audience: Do we get any benefit by going with the old days of the week?
Instructor: Yes... so long as you don't get confused when you wake up for work.
Audience: Where do encounter this other way of doing it?
Instructor: We have a book called Practical Astrology; it explains the calendar.
Audience: I mean, which cultures used this?
Instructor: All the ancient cultures knew these seven days in depth. It is only recently, in the last couple of thousand years or so that it was changed.
Thank you very much.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Fundamentals of Gnosticism, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy.
We are continuing our course that we initiated about the foundations of Gnostic studies. Gnosticism, as a tradition and as a means of practice, is the application of specific methods for acquiring personal knowledge of divinity. Let us remember that the Greek word gnosis means knowledge. As we have explained in previous lectures, this form of knowledge has had many names, in different cultures. It has been known as Marifah amongst the Sufis and Muslims; the esotericism of Islam. It has been known as Da’ath, in Hebrew, amongst the Kabbalists of Israel. It has been known as Torah and Dharma. It is not simply a code of instructions given within scripture. But, it applies to psychological ways of being, psychological ways of behaving, of knowing.
As we have explained previously, this wisdom of knowing divinity has been manifested in all our religions, regardless of distinction—delivered in accordance with the idiosyncrasies and the language and customs of a given people, whether through the prophet Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc. The teaching is the same—it is universal—how do we understand the inner obstacles within our psyche, that prevent us from knowing God, Buddha, that intelligence or light known as Christ? (amongst the Gnostic Christians). Christ is an energy, not a person. But, that energy can become particularized within any persons who prepare themselves, who knows themself fully.
This knowledge is personal, it is intimate. It is developed within oneself, as a result of specific causes and conditions. By putting into effect certain methods, we learn to know divinity for ourselves. Therefore, we do not need to believe anything. Belief is a concept in the mind, or a feeling in the heart, that we think we know; we identify with a certain tradition, we venerate a scripture, but yet, we do not really know the depth of what that teaching explains. And why should not beings like Moses, who spoke face to face with God, or Buddha who knew himself fully, or Jesus who propounded the heights of the divine regions of the Father, of the Lord—if they can accomplish these things, how can we not? Therefore, to respect these individuals as persons who provided a teaching in history is beautiful. To venerate the masters of humanity is necessary, but, we have to follow in their footsteps. We have to imitate their example, through practical works. Or, as the Apostle James stated in the Bible, "Faith without works is dead." We must do, we must apply.
In the course of these lectures, we are explaining some of the traditional aspects of these different religions, and the unifying principle behind them. We also, in these studies, talk about many exercises, in order to know the truth for ourselves. One thing we will emphasize in this lecture, and throughout this course, are what are known as the four pillars of the Gnostic tradition. We speak of four foundations for studying Gnosis as a doctrinal explanation of the different faiths and religions that have existed in the past. These four pillars also apply to psychological ways of being. How do we know ourselves? These pillars are known as science, mysticism, art and philosophy.
We previously explained the three essential sciences of any genuine spiritual tradition, known specifically with the names of Kabbalah, the mysticism of Judaism. Likewise, Alchemy, the science of working with energy, of transforming base material into spiritual material. Meaning, transforming the lead of our personality, into the gold of the spirit, into something divine—which we do by working with energies, in our mind, our body and our heart. Lastly, we also spoke about psychology, which is a Greek teaching: how to unite psyche, the soul, with the Logos, the Word. If we remember the Bible, "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God." The Word, in Greek, is Logos. The three Logoi is the holy Trinity of Christianity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These are not people, but energies. Alchemy teaches us how to use divine forces that come from the Lord, within us, and, that we need to learn to become conscious of, to know how to use, so have to fuse the soul with God. In Arabic, the words Allah-Khemia, refer to the chemistry of God; how the soul mixes, unites, gets lost, fuses with the divine, intimately. Psychology, is of course the mediator for that. We also study our mind, and the obstacles within us, that prevent us from knowing that truth for ourselves.
Kabbalah, a Hebrew science, is a map, a diagram. We talked about the Tree of Life, and also, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life is Kabbalah, symbolized in the book of Genesis. That is a representation of the different levels and states of perception. In books such as Tarot and Kabbalah, which we have available as a publication, we teach the study of this intimate glyph, with ten spheres, mapping out the highest regions of perception, energy, consciousness, to the lowest levels of matter, energy and perception as well.
We study Kabbalah in depth, and we are going to give many courses about how to study that diagram. But, previously, we introduced the concept that Kabbalah is a map of knowing our relationship with God. It is a type of diagram, a glyph, that can teach us things about our psyche.
In this image, and in this discussion on the fundamentals of mysticism, we chose a stained glass window of Jesus, delivering the keys of the kingdom to Peter. And, going back to our previous discussions, on the study of Alchemy, the holy keys held within the hand of the Lord, delivered into Peter, precisely represent the science of Alchemy.
Alchemy is the work of transforming substances into other substances, which the European medieval Alchemists were very much dedicated to. But, what we have to understand, as with many traditions, this is symbolic. It was not simply a literal attempt to get rich. Instead, it pertains to how we transform our mind, fundamentally.
Regarding the keys of the kingdom of God, which Jesus gives to Peter, one is gold and one is silver. Previously, we discussed how a man and a woman, within a matrimony, husband and wife, uniting together in sexual cooperation and in remembrance of God—those forces, studied through the Buddhist Tantras—teach us how to awaken that fire of creative sexual power, in order to conserve and transform it. To take that energy, and to raise it within oneself, up the spine, to the brain, and then to the heart, through certain energetic channels that exist within a more subtle form, within our physiology, and about which Yoga teaches very abundantly.
It is by working in a marriage that one can harness the most potent forces in the universe, in the cosmos. As a physical child can be created through man and wife, likewise, husband and wife can take that very same power, in order to give birth to the soul. In this lecture, in our studies of mysticism, we will talk about what are called the three factors for obtaining genuine mystical achievements, mystical knowledge.
First, Peter is the one who receives the keys to the kingdom of the divine. Of course, we must emphasize that the Roman Catholic church was not founded by Peter. Instead, he founded the Gnostic Universal Christian Catholic Church; catholic simply means, “universal.” If we look symbolically into some names, we see that Rome, Roma, backwards, is Amore, love. So, the keys to the kingdom of love, of the divine realms of God, is between a husband and wife. We will be talking more about that aspect, in relation to this lecture.
So, let's talk a little bit more about what does mysticism really mean. It comes from the Greek, mystḗrion, originating from the root word Myein, “to close the eyes,” and relating to Mystikos: “initiate.”
This refers to closing one’s physical eyes to the external world, and learning how to meditate, to go consciously within one’s psyche, in order to abandon the illusions of the senses, and the attachments of the mind towards the external world, in order to go deep within our perception. It is to let the body rest, and for the soul to experience the higher regions of the cosmos, the higher dimensions; different levels of perception, which we partially taste when we have dreams. We can also transform that dream state into something conscious, something more vibrant, more aware. We can become awake within dreams, where the body is asleep, the physical eyes are closed, and yet the soul is awake, out of its physical vehicle. Meditation helps us to achieve that; this is the study of dream yoga, dream science, awakening within dreams. We do that by obtaining genuine mysticism, closing our physical eyes and learning to perceive inside, those realms. To not dream anymore, but to be awake, in that state of being. To be conscious. To no longer project subjective things, or to experience in a very superficial manner that state of being.
The word mystery also relates to mystikos, which means, initiate: someone who has begun a new way of life, who has transformed their way of being into something more profound. Meaning, to stop being inattentive, to be focused, to be aware of God as a soul, for oneself. To be fully connected with God. An initiate is a being, a person like Jesus, like Buddha, like Muhammad, like Krishna and Moses... these are individuals who fully knew God for themselves. They are fully awakened to their full potential, as a human being. They are not asleep, or unaware of their true calling, or the immediate presence of God within them.
We state in these studies that we need to be aware, awake, attentive. The soul needs to know God. We do that by learning to close our physical eyes to illusions—physical, but also psychological—in terms of the elements that we carry within, which prevent us from knowing God, and which we will be discussing in relation to psychology. This is why Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society, stated the following in a scripture called The Voice of the Silence.
"Before the Soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion." —H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
Mysticism is a discipline. It is a way that we train our mind, we train our psyche, we train ourselves to learn to be attentive. Buddhism speaks abundantly about this; to be mindful. Aware of the body, aware of our thoughts, aware of our feelings. We need to learn to be concentrated fully in the present moment in which we find ourselves, at all times. To not think about things, to not be carried away by memory, but to be aware; whether it is in a lecture, or our daily job, such as when we are engaged with our responsibilities. We need to be aware of what we are doing, at all times. That is how the soul learns to see; we learn to become aware of deeper states of being, deeper connections with the divine within us.
Paul of Tarsus wrote—in chapter 2 of Corinthians, verses 6-7—about the nature of a high teaching, which has been given symbolically throughout the Christian scriptures, and within certain schools of esoteric study. And, which, this Gnostic Academy of Chicago is a part; we are part of the Gnostic Church, founded by Jesus, and ministrated by his Apostles. Paul of Tarsus, a great priest of the Gnostic Church, explained the following about the nature of this hidden wisdom, which we need to know, and to access.
"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory." —1 Corinthians 2:6-7
Contrary to mainstream religion, there is a hidden teaching. There is an esoteric science. There are practical methods which we can use to access our personal knowledge of God. Of course, the beginning of that is mindfulness, awareness—closing your physical eyes, learning to dedicate perhaps ten minutes in the beginning... then more, half an hour, an hour, in which we exclude all of our attention from the outside world. We go inside, observing our thoughts, our emotions, our impulses, our experiences throughout the day, learning to reflect on our reactions to daily life. Perhaps our negative qualities, and what we can do to change them. This is the heart of the genuine mystical teachings of the Gnostics; changing who we are. Learning about ourselves, and what makes us suffer. It is by learning to perceive what makes us suffer, in which we can change and fundamentally know God. For, the obstacles that prevent us from knowing the truth are in us. Likewise, the keys to knowing ourselves fully are within us.
This knowledge of genuine mysticism is precisely that direct connection with God, for ourselves. It has been taught by many different teachers, throughout humanity. When I speak of mindfulness, it is not simply contingent to the Buddhist religion. We find that in Sufism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, the Old Testament, etc. We will be talking about some of the many similarities between these faiths.
Manly P. Hall—a great Western esotericist, famous author of many books in the English language—explained and emphasized that there has always been a secret school of mystical wisdom. It has been given—whether through Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.—towards humanity. And, that this knowledge of knowing the truth and knowing ourselves intimately, has been given in secret. This type of knowledge was never given openly, due to its power. The ability to transform who we are and to know God, is a terrible weapon, which if we use consciously, can help transform our psyche and transform how we help others. And, to let God guide us within, to the benefit of others. For, our actions truly represent the qualities of God, stemming from inside and manifesting to the external.
This knowledge was underground, precisely because humanity has not been capable of understanding this mystical science. Manly P. Hall and many other authors—whether from Blavatsky, or current writings, such as by Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition—have been giving instructions and opening up the doors to this teaching, for the first time.
Manly P. Hall emphasized the following:
"There is an incontrovertible mass of evidence indicating the existence of initiated philosophers possessing a superior knowledge of divine and natural laws. There is also sufficient proof that these initiates were the agents of a World Fraternity or Brotherhood of Adepts that has existed from the most remote time. This overfraternity has been called the Philosophic Empire, the Great School, the College of the Holy Spirit, and the Invisible Government of the World. References to this sovereign body of “the ancient ones of the earth” occur in the sacred writings, the philosophical literature, and the mystical traditions of all races and nations of mankind. …[we] have referred to the stream of the secret doctrine as Humanism. The term is not used in its popular sense, but to describe the grand program of the Mystery Schools for the emancipation of man from bondage to ignorance, superstition, and fear." –Manly P. Hall, Orders of the Quest
Manly P. Hall called this Humanism, the quality of being human. The word human, in Sanskrit, comes from Hum, spirit, and Manas, which means mind—a mind, which is us, the terrestrial person, that is fully united with the spirit, with God. So, a real human being is a Jesus, a Buddha, a master who fully knows him or herself, and in whom God is fully present, in their every action, word and deed. There are many masters who are part of this fraternity, and who are helping humanity, secretly and publicly.
The term humanism is applicable to the writings of Manly P. Hall, but, we call this knowledge Gnosis, Gnosticism. Gnosis is the very knowledge of how we overcome our own lack of cognizance of God, our ignorance, the superstitions of fundamentalist thinking. And also, the fears that afflict us on a daily basis.
This secret knowledge was known in the Middle East, as I mentioned, as Marifah. Marifah, in Arabic, means Gnosis, knowledge. We explained in a course that we gave recently on Sufism, the many sacred teachings of the Qur'an... which, when taught through a literal interpretation, is something dogmatic and detrimental to humanity—if we look at scripture from a literal standpoint, like that one must kill the unbelievers, as is so famously propagated in this tradition. However, psychologically speaking, what the Sufis talked about, what the Muslims talked about, when speaking about the "unbelievers," are factors not outside, but inside. Our anger is an unbeliever; it does not want to follow God. Our prejudices, which cloud our understanding, our anger which wants us to harm and afflict pain on those we love—that element, psychologically speaking, does not believe in God. It only wants to act on its own will. Likewise with fear, lack of confidence, any negative psychological quality, does not belong to God, but is our own creation; and, which prevents us from knowing the truth. The Qur'an says that you must fight against this, inside yourself. You cannot accuse and blame someone outside of your tradition. To be an unbeliever does not mean to not follow Islam, it means to not submit to God within ourselves. We explain that Islam, in Arabic, means submission to God. We submit to God for our actions, our psychological ways of being.
In the Qur'an, which is a beautiful text, if we know how to read it - emphasizes that there is an allegorical teaching in that scripture. It is not meant to be read as the dead letter, in many cases. As it says in the Sura, Al-Imran:
"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah (or you could say, our inner Buddha, inner God, in Christ, etc). And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge (Gnosis) say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding." –Qur'an, Al-Imran [3:7]
So, whether it be the Qur'an, the Bhagavad Gita, the Sutras, the Tantras, the Buddhist teachings, etc., we will gain nothing if we approach it from a literal standpoint. The language of the Judeo-Christian Bible and the Qur'an are symbolic, allegorical, philosophical. We cannot read it as the dead letter, because that dead letter is what kills the soul. Yet, behind the letter, if we know how to read, gives us the spirit, gives us genuine knowledge of ourselves.
These prophets and teachers of the past gave Gnosis, this knowledge, allegorically, in a hidden way, so that those who are educated, who knew how to read, could interpret those scriptures, accurately. And, the other people, who are not trained or initiated into their school, they would either blindly follow it, or would not get its message, because that teaching had to be kept in secret, to preserve its purity.
Many people ask, "What is genuine mysticism?" We discuss a lot, in this teaching, the Gnostic gospels as given in the Apocrypha, as well as the different non-canonical texts, which have recently come out in the past few decades. But, as you can see, we talk about all religions.
One thing I like to emphasize about the nature of mysticism, primarily relates to the Gospel of Thomas. When students ask, "What is genuine mystical knowledge? What does it mean to know God? What are the fundamentals? What are the primary steps that we can engage with, to know the truth, so that the truth can set us free?" We give the following scripture, where Yeshua, Jesus, or better said, that intelligence known as Christ, manifested through Jesus of Nazareth, stated the following:
"Know what is in front of your face
‘and what is hidden from you will be disclosed.
‘There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed."
Meaning, be mindful. Be awake. Be attentive as a consciousness. Be aware of what is going on in the mind, what is going on in our heart, what is going on with our body, what is going with our surroundings. To be mindful and attentive—to be aware.
"His students asked him and said to him,
“Do you want us to fast?
“How should we pray?
“Should we give to charity?
“What diet should we observe?"
Many people who approach religion, ask these questions. "What are the ritual preliminaries? What are the exercises that I need to do, in order to be spiritual? What do we need to do on a practical basis, to change?"
“Do not lie and do not do what you hate.
“All things are disclosed before heaven.
“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed,
“nothing covered that will remain undisclosed." -The Gospel of Thomas 5-6
So—do not lie, and do not do what you hate—meaning, in a moment of conflict with a loved one, or a coworker, when we feel anger and we want to speak with resentment, with anger, with pride, and we feel remorse and know in that moment, "I know I should not say this thing," and yet, we fail to act on that conscience—that small voice that tells us what is right and what is wrong. We say the wrong thing, we cause a problem, we cause a conflict with this situation, a chain of events, a cycle and process as a result of our mistaken action, and we create pain. Afterward, we might feel that pain, morally speaking, knowing that we did something wrong. Therefore, do not do what you hate—act on the voice of conscience, which you sense in the very core of your being to be right action, right thinking, right feeling and right doing. All things are disclosed before God; God is aware of all things. Our inner divinity knows all. Therefore, we need to act upon that conviction and knowledge, that we are held accountable for our very words, and what effects we produce upon human beings. That is the essence of mysticism.
We see in this image, Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane, where, very diligently, he was preparing for his Passion, his crucifixion—which is another symbolic teaching about the path we need to follow, individually. So, he prayed in the garden, similar to the garden of Eden, preparing for tremendous suffering, tremendous ordeals and conflicts, which, if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, we too must face certain ordeals, certain conflicts. And, in that struggle with ourselves, battling against our own defects—our fear, pride and anger, those unbelievers—we remember, "do not lie, and do not do what you hate," and know to be wrong. Then, fundamentally, we will be aided by the truth.
Jesus explained in the Gospel of Matthew the very famous teaching about the Sermon on the Mount, explaining, precisely, the difficulty of obtaining genuine reunion with God. Many Christians repeat this teaching, by memory:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life (spiritual life), and those who find it are few." -Matthew 7:13
To be one of the few does not mean to simply believe in Christianity, to believe in the Christian, the Catholic or even the Gnostic Church. It means to change who we are, fundamentally, psychologically. Do we decide to improve our psychological state of mind? To transform our very being, into something spiritual, so that every action and engagement with life is done with awareness, with kindness, with compassion toward humanity? Or, do we act on our negative qualities? Do we obey the bad voice which is the devil on one shoulder, telling us to indulge in that habit, indulge in desire, to do things for oneself, and to act in a way that is going to harm others? One does not need to be a criminal to realise this dichotomy between: should I behave in this way, or should I not?
The voice of conscience is what leads the soul toward that narrow path, that straight gate. That path is not entered by raising one’s hand and saying, "I believe in Jesus." One is not saved simply by thinking and feeling that one is one with God; one has to be united through practical works, through discipline, through change, by becoming really mystical, becoming aware of how our mind, our emotions, delude us. When we make mistakes, and learn how to change them.
By entering into that straight path within ourselves, that difficult process of change, we become initiates. As I mentioned, initiation is related to the word mystikos, mysterion, mystery. We have included an image of the sacred Tarot, the Egyptian cards associated, sadly in these times, with many forms of divination, which have been divorced from their deeper spiritual significance. The Tarot cards are related with the Hebraic tradition, the Kabbalistic tradition. Tarot relates to Torah, in Judaism. The major cards of this deck are 22; each are associated with a Hebraic letter of the alphabet of Kabbalah.
We included this image of the first card, which is called the magician. This is the card of initiation. The card that begins all spiritual life. We have represented in this glyph, a man pointing with his right hand down toward the earth, and his left hand holding a magic wand toward the air. This magician is our own divinity. The word magician comes from the Indo-European word “Mag,” which means priest. So, a priest or priestess is a magician: someone who works with all the energies of our interior, and gives that to God. Someone who knows how to obey the will of God, and how to use that power of divinity to help others: that is magic. It does not mean pulling rabbits out of a hat, or many other silly things. To be a practical magician is to be a spiritual being, an initiate, someone who knows the divine.
We won't explain all of this card, this glyph, but, he is pointing with his right hand towards the earth, and his left hand is facing up. This is indicating that, if you want to ascend to the higher regions of the divine, if you want to know the truth, you must first of all descend—confront all of your negativity, all of your impurity, all of your defects and to eliminate them. So that you can rise up, toward the truth. For, as the book of Isaiah states:
"Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain..." -Isaiah 40:4
This is a reference to this card.
Initiation, from the dictionary, means “formal admission or acceptance, into a club or group; an adult status within one's community.” In Judaism, this is through the Bar Mitzvah. Or, quintinera in Latin American culture. Initiation refers to the act of initiating or being brought into a group.
Now, people think that this term only applies to physical attendance to a school, or being indoctrinated into a culture of a spiritual type. The real meaning is that initiation, as Samael Aun Weor states, is our own life "lived intensely, with rectitude and with love."
Many people want to be Freemasonry, or to enter a church, to be part of a certain society or group, and that is beautiful, it is necessary. Every community needs its own leaders, its own doctrines, teachings and its own harmony. To disrupt that is to cause tremendous suffering for those people. It is wrong to want to create division in certain spiritual groups, which certain people have attempted. But, the real meaning of initiation is, how do we change who we are, so that our soul can vibrate at a higher way of being? A higher way of knowing? So that we are initiated into a culture relating to Gods, Angels, Buddhas, masters.
When we learn to change our fundamental position in life, from a psychological standpoint, we remove the impurities of the soul, the lead that weighs us down in suffering. We can, in turn, elevate ourselves to the golden regions of God. That is the mystery of Alchemy. We, in turn, change our life; our life becomes initiation. From then, we become fully knowledgeable about, and speak directly, face to face, with those beings that achieved that state of perfection. We can do that when the body is asleep, when the soul abandons the physicality, and enters into the dream world. Then, we can communicate with those angels, those beings like Moses did, like Buddha, Jesus, etc. But, first, we have to change our daily life, where we are at, this physical body. This is where we start. We have to change our life intensely, living it intensely. It does not mean doing drugs, or doing something intensely like engaging in dangerous sport, or things like that. To live intensely refers to a psychological way of being, in which we are consciously working to be attentive, active, as a soul. And, in moments of crisis and conflict, we learn to act with ethics, with a conscious sense of right and wrong. Morals relate to dogma, belief; we know that what is wrong in one country is acceptable in another. That is not the type of ethics we are referring to. Morals belong to time, but ethics is a code of being, a way of acting that relates to our connection to God, and how we help others, and create harmony within society: that is ethics, or rectitude. Rectitude is our path of spiritual discipline.
The Three Factors of Genuine Mysticism
So, we live intensely with rectitude and love. And, as Jesus taught in the gospel of Luke:
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." –Luke 9:23
This statement condenses a very deep and elaborate teaching about the three aspects of mysticism, which we are going to explain in detail.
"If any man will come after to me, let him deny himself"—let him confront all of his impurity, within him. Let him die to his own individual egotistical desires. So that the soul can be given birth to; so that the soul can resurrect within us. "And take up his cross daily," that cross refers to precisely the two keys that we talked about; the gold and silver keys of Peter. The cross is a symbol of the union of a man and woman; the vertical phallus, the horizontal uterus, together form the cross, which Jesus died upon. Meaning, he showed with his life, how we as a soul need to use that very same power, to die in our own egotism. That energy that can give life, can destroy the impurities of the soul, so that the soul can resurrect into a new life. "To follow me" means to do good deeds, in order to help others, to live by his good example.
In the path of Initiation, we talk about what are called the three factors. The three factors for genuine mystical knowledge refer to birth, death and sacrifice, as represented in this quote: "let him deny himself": let him die to his own self-will, so that his will can be one with the divine.
Likewise, to "take up thy cross" is to give birth to the soul, which is achieved between a man and a woman, husband and wife. With those two energies, of man and a woman together, instead of creating physical life, we can create the soul.
To "follow me" is to sacrifice for humanity, to do good deeds; to sacrifice our own comforts, in order to act and work in favor of humanity.
So, mystical birth refers to the teachings given by Jesus to Nicodemus, which if you're familiar with the Judeo-Christian Bible, is a very important piece that establishes the teachings of the church—whether Gnostic or the Catholic church, which misappropriated this knowledge. He talks about the need to be born again. Many people think that to be born again is to simply raise one’s hand, and to say, "I believe in Jesus, and therefore I am saved." But, birth does not occur as a result of thinking, of wanting something intellectually or desiring something with the heart. Birth is produced when a man and a woman unite sexually, and they give birth with that energy to a child: that is birth. Just as you have a physical child, engendered through that act, by learning to conserve that very power, between a husband and wife in a marriage, that energy can give birth to our very spiritual essence. This is why Jesus said, in the Book of John 3: 5-8:
"Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
That which is born of the flesh—meaning, when husband and wife copulate, they give birth to a child. That is a birth of the flesh. But, through that very same sexual act, if the husband and wife know the secret of conversing that seminal power, those waters of life, and transform that into light, spiritual, fire, essence, consciousness, then "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." So, there is a physical way to engender a child, but, that act can also engender God, the spirit within.
Of course, Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus was teaching him at the time; even being a very well educated Rabbi, a mystical teacher of Judaism. He say, "How can I be born again, how can I reenter my mother’s womb a second time, in order to be born again?" Of course, Jesus was speaking in allegories. But, people who are very intellectual, read the dead letter and do not understand the philosophical meaning of the teaching. Which is why Jesus says:
"Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again (spiritually). The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit."
The teachings of mystical birth are the rites of baptism, popularised within the Christian faith. To be baptised by water is to take the very sexual, creative potential, which is in our physical sexual organs, and to transform those waters into energy, through certain exercises of meditation, of tantrism, of working as a couple. Those waters can be conserved, transformed into the wine of the spirit; if you remember Jesus' first miracle, he transformed water into wine. That wine was not simply to get a group of people drunk. It refers to the wine of the spirit; psychological, superior states of being. Those waters were transformed precisely in a marriage. So, husband and wife can take that very seminal power, the semen, the matter, and instead of expelling it, by conserving it and transforming it through the sexual act, in a state of ritual purity, in a state of love, divine love, that energy can rise up the spine, through certain energetic channels in the back, towards the brain. That energy, that fire, illuminates the mind. Instead of engendering a child, that power can go within our very center of our psyche, rejuvenating our organs, our physicality, as well as certain latent psychological capacities. He sees that Jesus was illuminated by this halo, and all of the prophets and masters have that image, where their mind is fully illuminated with light, with power. That is because they knew this mystery of baptism, where they learned to work with the waters of life, within them. Those waters can be a source of rejuvenation for us, if we transform them, if we use them consciously.
Those who are born of the spirit are like the wind. You cannot know where they come from or where they go; psychologically speaking, the superior state of a master, an angel, a Buddha, is very hard to comprehend, because their consciousness is fully awake. Our mind is typically very terrestrial, limited, and we try to understand these great beings and it is very difficult. But, if we learn to fulfill these three factors within ourselves, we can come to know their genuine mysteries.
We have included an excerpt from the Gospel of Thomas, elaborating on the point of spiritual birth, where he talks specifically about the nature and the need to become like a child, innocent, pure. It does not mean to become naive, "be as children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven." He does not refer to becoming juvenile, simplistic; but, psychologically speaking, this parable refers to a state of purity and innocence that we have lost, when, physically, we were children. Likewise, through our own transgressions, through different existences, different events in our life.
"Yeshua saw some babies nursing. He said to his students, these nursing babies are like those who enter the kingdom.
“They said to him, then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?"
Of course, you look these interchanges and dialogues, where people read Jesus literally... they cannot understand what he is getting at. He is a spiritual being, like the wind, constantly moving, giving insight, very dynamic. But, people who are very literal and intellectual miss the meaning.
In this quote, he explains, precisely, the mysteries of Alchemy, of fusing with God; when husband and wife unite sexually, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.
"Yeshua said to them, When you make the two into one (meaning, man and wife when they unite), and when you make the inner like the outer, and the outer like the inner and the upper like the lower..."
What is the upper and lower? Well, when husband and wife are in the sexual act, the husband could be on top, the woman below.
"...and when you make male and female into a single one,
“So that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye..."
Which refers to myein, the mysteries of Gnostic mysticism: closing one’s physical eyes to illusion and developing spiritual insight, through a matrimony.
"...a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot..."
Meaning your actions are no longer from below, from our own personal desires, but from God.
"...an image in place of an image..."
Meaning, our self image. Who do we see ourselves as? Are we simply terrestrial, or do we have a divine identity? Which we do, but we need to realize that; to replace our self image with the image of God, who is within.
"...then you will enter the kingdom." -The Gospel of Thomas 22
This is a very famous teaching that was disseminated amongst Gnostic circles. When you make the male and female into one, when the male is no longer is male and the female, female; when a man and woman are together, they cease being just man and wife. In Hebrew, the sacred name of God is Jehovah. That word Jehovah relates precisely to this dynamic.
Jehovah comes from the Hebrew, Ya-Havah. Ya is masculine; a father. Havah, or Eve, is the wife, a woman. So, Jehovah is the union of both man and woman. The power of God, of Jehovah is within a husband and wife. When they unite, man is no longer man, nor woman a woman, because those forces are active, and you have an androgynous being, a divine being. If those forces are contained, can create life, spiritually. But, if they are expelled, we are kicked out of Eden, represented by the book of Genesis. This is the great battle that any aspirant of Gnostic mysticism faces.
This is why Jesus gave a beautiful teaching to the Samaritan woman at the well. This was woman that was known to have slept with many men, approached Jesus at this well. Their conversation reached the point in which, Jesus asked for water. After, this woman learned from Jesus about the waters of life, about a water springing up from one’s belly, up, inward, to everlasting life. This relates to the sexual energy; the creative force of love. Likewise, she says, "Give me of this water that will give me eternal life, spiritually." Jesus replies, very enigmatically, "Approach, bring thy husband. If you want to know the mysteries of divine life, bring your husband." For a woman, have a husband; for a man, have a wife. Of course, this is understand when reading between the lines—it was never given explicitly. Now that we talk about this in a very detailed manner, it is very obvious.
The Mysteries of Circumcision
The teachings of circumcision relate to this process. Of course, in Judaism, and Christianity, and especially Islam, young males practice the rite of circumcision, which is the cutting of the foreskin of the phallus. This was a tradition that was meant to help young men, that when they finally got married, they were not so stimulated in the sexual act, by the physicality of the act itself, to prevent that energy becoming so powerful, that one loses control; resulting in the expulsion of that energy. The foreskin represents animality. The sexual act can be taken over by the animal of desire, of instinct, of passion. Or, if we cut the animality from that act, it can be something divine, spiritual, creative, in which God can act through us.
The physical rite of circumcision was meant to be something useful, so that when a husband united with his wife, the foreskin would not stimulate the phallus so much, resulting in him losing control of his energy, and having an ejaculation, losing that power. Instead, these practitioners wanted to conserve that energy, to not waste it, to not reach the orgasm, to not expel it to create a physical child; instead, they wanted to create a spiritual child. So, cutting the foreskin was an ancient rite of Abraham, associated with this. But, symbolically, it refers to how we remove our own animal passions from the sexual act. This is why his students said to him:
"His students said to him, Is circumcision useful or not?
“He said to them,
“If it were useful, fathers would produce children already circumcised from their mothers."
You notice that many men that have been circumcised do not know these mysteries. Therefore, when they have sex, they do so for animal pleasure, and to reach the orgasm. That is all they think about. But, here, in these studies, we are teaching something more profound, something very different. If physical circumcision was the end all, be all, it would have produced the results that we want. But, physical circumcision does not matter; which is why Jesus says:
"But the true circumcision in spirit is altogether valuable."
Meaning, we no longer approach our wife (if we are a man) with lust. Instead, we venerate that being with divine love. We no longer treat the sexual act as something culminating a moment of pleasure, which depletes the psyche, depletes the mind and depletes the heart.
"Yeshua said, How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on both." -The Gospel of Thomas 53, 87
Meaning, to be fully thinking, rationalizing, conceptualizing, daydreaming about having sex constantly. But, sex without any type of love or respect for the other, for one’s partner. This is why, in the book of Hebrews, it states:
"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."
The bed defiled refers to the couple culminating with the orgasm, defiling themselves. Leviticus, in the Old Testament, refers specifically to the processes and rituals associated with ritual cleansing, as a result of having gone through that act.
Of course, the work of removing the animal within is the work of mystical death, which is the second factor for genuine mysticism. As I mentioned to you, upon the cross, within a marriage, we can fully eliminate all of our defects, all of our faults. But, of course, this is a very painful process. It is not one that many follow. Jesus lived this teaching with his life. He chose to physically represent, with his crucifixion, something that we need to do on a daily basis: not to be crucified physically, but psychologically, we crucify our own desires, our own egotism, our hatred, etc., etc. To emphasize the symbolic representation of this act, we will quote, in brief, the book of Matthew 27: 33-37:
"And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
“They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
“And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
“And sitting down they watched him there;
“And set up over his head his accusation written, IESUS NAZARENUS REX IUDAEORUM." -Matthew 27:33-37
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
The word I.N.R.I, written above the cross, representing this Latin inscription, can be interpreted in different ways, in the form of sacred sounds, mantras. INRI also represents, "Ignis Natura Renovatur Integra": fire renews nature incessantly. What is that fire? The fire of the burning bush that illuminates the Tree of Life, that Moses saw on Mount Sinai. Likewise, this fire is this creative, sexual energy, which, when husband and wife are together, are inflamed with love, with power. That power can be used for God, to eliminate desire, defects.
INRI also represents, "In Necis Renascor Integer": “In death I am reborn, intact and pure.” Our own desires can die through that act, between as husband and wife, which is the ultimate ordeal, for any person, in spiritual life: to learn how to reconcile and love, to give selflessly. It is by working with that energy that we can remove the impurities. Once the soul is fully purified, when all desire and egotism, defects are eliminated, the soul can resurrect: it can fully give birth.
In the Gospel of Thomas, we have the emphasis of the animal within, as we have been discussing. We need to remove and eliminate the animal within our psyche. Our defects like anger, pride, hatred, are animalistic; these are animal qualities, these are not human qualities. A human being, that is fully one with God, does not have anger. Sometimes people say that God has a sense of wrath, but, God is force, but not anger. Anger is something we project onto our understanding of God. Instead, we say that these animal defects, pride, fear, are about self-preservation—me, myself, who I am, my benefit, what I want, what I need—that ignores the other. We know that in this society, this is a civilisation of eat or be eaten.
“Blessings on the lion if a human eats it, making the lion human.
“Foul is the human if a lion eats it, making the lion human." -The Gospel of Thomas 7
What is this lion? When we are full of great distress, great vexation, wrath, we are an animal. We do not reason. We only want to cause pain. Therefore, in those moments, that lion is eating our divine potential; it is devouring us. But, if we control that lion, and we conquer it, we can transform that beastial energy into something pure. That is the mystery of Alchemy. We transform that which is subjective, negative, detrimental, into something conscious, divine and pure. That is the path of death. It is very painful; the Muslims refer to this as jihad, striving. It does not mean Holy War. There are many words in Arabic for Holy War, but the word Mujahidah means to strive, to fight. This fight occurs within. When we confront everything that is wrong with us, and change it. This is a great battle, represented in the Old Testament by Jacob struggling with an angel, where he is fighting hand to hand combat with an Aangel, in the book of Genesis. It is a symbol of fighting with that power of God, which we use in an animal way; that energy of the creative sexual potential is from divinity. It comes from God. Sadly, we use it in an animalistic way, to procreate, physically. Therefore, the animal, that lion, eats us in that act. If we give into lust, that animal devours us. But, if we learn to conquer the animal within, restraining our body, mind, and heart, we can transform that lion into something human, divine.
Mystical Sacrifice and Service
This path is a great sacrifice, which is why many beings do not follow it. It is very arduous and painful. We talked about the teachings of mystical birth, and mystical death. The path of denying oneself, and the path of giving birth to the soul. Lastly, Jesus said, "follow me." This is sacrifice for humanity.
Sacrifice for humanity refers to what we do to help others; how do we serve others selflessly? How do we give, based upon our potential, based upon our psychological disposition, our gifts, our good qualities? How do we use what is in our skill and ability, to genuinely help others? Jesus taught, with his life, this doctrine. The highest sacrifice one can give is to teach this kind of knowledge, how to help people change. Personally, this is something that I do; not because I want to personally, but because I have had the experience when speaking to beings like Jesus, about what I need to do to serve humanity and pay my debts. So, this is something that I engage with as a result of what my inner divinity has instructed me to do.
Sacrifice for humanity can occur in many ways. It does not mean that one has to become a priest or missionary, to disseminate a type of teaching like this. We have to find our own ways of giving to others, in accordance with our disposition. We give based on that which we are capable of, and what can we do to really help others. Of course, this is a very painful process too, because, egotistically, our mind does not like to focus on the will, the needs of others. Instead, it wants to give to itself, constantly. It is a sacrifice. We have to fulfill what is called, the sacred office, which is where the word sacrifice comes from. It always involves pain, to some degree.
Jesus represented this with his life. He stated the missionary aspect of this type of sacrifice, in the following gospel of Matthew:
"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." -Matthew 4:17-20
Sacrifice for humanity means to go fishing, you could say: fishing for people. To help, to assist in whatever way we can. And, to really give from our heart, from our capacity, from divine love, from compassion. When we see that someone suffers outside of us, who really deserves and needs help—and especially if they do not deserve that help, we give it anyway. We like to say, "that person wronged me, they do not deserve my compassion." Yet, that is precisely the egotism that we need to struggle against, and which you find that at work... Work can be very confrontational, very aggressive, very negative. And yet, I have found that, by being able to restrain my own sense of pride and self-esteem, and to speak with kindness and peace towards my clients at work, who may be causing a problem, it has diffused situations that would have escalated. Peace is what establishes equilibrium within any social environment. If we are angry, we perpetuate the wheel of pain. If we are at peace, like a sword, we cut through that chain of suffering and we totally disable that situation. Which is why the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition stated, "Kindness is a much more crushing force than anger." You can unmask traitors with love and compassion; you disarm people with kindness. We have to verify that, experience that and to work for that; it does not come easily in the beginning. We have to fight for it. But, when we find that this way of being than acting on our own egotism, we see that this becomes our foundation, and what we strive to fulfill every day, every moment. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated that we have to really concentrate on the effects of our actions, and not think about our intentions. We may intend to do good, but, the ego is all intention; it wants for itself. Yet, the results are disastrous. Our own self-will has intentions, perhaps of benefiting others, and yet we have to consciously observe what are the effects, if we act in certain ways. This is why he says:
"The results are always that which speak; it serves no purpose to have good intentions if the results are disastrous." —Samael Aun Weor
Love does not mean sentimentalism, hallmark cards or superficiality. It refers to the love that a being like Jesus gave for humanity, selflessly; where he was beaten, spat upon, crucified, and yet he only said, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do." Love is the law, but conscious love. It is not love for ourselves, our own self-love, but love for the other being, regardless of whether we benefit or not. That is the type of divine love that we need, when we sacrifice for others. Depending on whatever our vocation is.
So, the path of sacrifice specifically relates to missionary work, how we sow the seeds of kindness to others, and how we fish in the rivers of life, looking for people who will want to be spiritual, who want to change.
In the Gospel of Thomas, verses 8-9, we have an elaboration on the previous points.
"And he said,
“Humankind is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish.
“Among the fish he found a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea and easily chose the large fish.
“Whoever has ears to hear should hear."
You find this in the gospels, quite frequently: let he who has the understanding, know. As the Qur'an says, only those with direct knowledge of God will know the meaning of the scriptures. Let he who is initiated understand this teaching. In terms of this fishing of men, he is referring to how, when Jesus was teaching, he had thousands of people listening to his sermons, and yet, only a few really practiced what he taught. Likewise, with this kind of knowledge, which we are unveiling.
Jesus chose the large fish, meaning, people that have some depth, who really are going to change themselves, who are going to transform who they are, and do so in a very serious way.
The following parable is the famous parable of the sower, which people read literally. But, it represents how this type of knowledge is being disseminated, spread, and taught.
“Look, the sower went out, took a handful of seeds, and scattered them."
He emphasizes how, some of these seeds will be destroyed. Meaning, some people will benefit, some people will listen, some people will take it seriously and will change. Others, will either debate or argue, such as with the following verse:
"Some fell on the road and the birds came and pecked them up.
“Others fell on rock and they did not take root in the soil and did not produce heads of grain.
“Others fell on thorns and they choked the seeds and worms devoured them.
“And others fell on good soil and it brought forth a good crop,
“Yielding sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure." -The Gospel of Thomas 8-9
So, the seeds of knowledge, which are being disseminated, some fell on the road, and the birds ate them. The birds represent, symbolically, the thought, where one’s philosophy of thinking looks at this teaching and perhaps rejects it, devours it, destroys it. Others fell on rock and they did not take root; meaning, when Jesus was teaching to the thousands of people, some people were very hardened, psychologically, they had no remorse, they would not want to change anyway, and therefore lost that opportunity to learn from the Christ. Others fell on thorns; meaning, criticism, slander, and you see in the life of any prophet, they are surrounded by critics and condemned. These are the very people who crowned him with thorns, so to speak. Others fell on good soil; meaning, those who truly feel in their heart that they want to change, fundamentally, to become genuine mystics.
The numbers 60 + 120 relates to the kabbalistic teachings, the numerical science of Hebraism. We talked in brief, previously, about how numbers represent certain qualities, and certain teachings of a very profound depth, which we will be elaborating upon in our lectures. But, when you look at Kabbalah, numbers in the Bible, they represent archetypes, symbols, as with the first card of the Tarot that we looked at, the number 1. Likewise, these numbers relate to other teachings, other principles. 60 + 120 = 180. In Kabbalah, you take these numbers, and you add the sum of the digits: 1 + 8 = 9. As we have talked previously, the number 9 is very important in the Bible. 9 relates, in Kabbalah, to what is called the sphere of Yesod. Yesod, in Hebrew, means foundation; it is the rock that Jesus builds his church upon. That rock, Yesod, in Freemasonry, is the cubic stone, upon which we build our church, the Church of Rome, the Church of Amore, of Love. That stone is the creative energy, in its depth. The teachings of Alchemy, how to use the creative power of sex, for something divine. The Muslims refer to that stone as the Qabba, which is the stone that they circumambulate around, during the Hajj pilgrimage. That stone is black in us, it has to be purified, made to become white in the Muslim tradition.
In synthesis, we will be explaining in future lectures about the teachings of the other pillars of Gnosis. We talked about mysticism in depth; previously we talked about psychology, and our next lecture will be dedicated to art. Science and mysticism, as well as art and philosophy, are integral: these are not something separate. We are discussing things in a very didactic way, to emphasize certain principles, which are important to know. But, we know that science in its real depth, the process of experimentation, of verification, is mystical in depth. Likewise, it is philosophical; the language of the parables of the Bible have allegorical meanings, philosophical meanings. These teachings have been given amongst many great artists of humanity, like Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt... many classical composers. The pyramids of Egypt and Yucatan verify and teach spiritual principles, and everything we have explained in this lecture about mysticism, will elaborate, in certain forms of art, as we see, whether amongst the Egyptians, the Aztecs and Maya, or the Sufis. Lastly, we will be talking about the nature of philosophy, especially from the West, but also within India.
Questions and Answers
Audience: You mentioned the appearance of angels in the New Testament, is that allegorical as well? When someone sees an angel, or is confronted by an angel, that is them looking inward, and hearing the right voice?
Instructor: Yes. As with Jacob struggling against an Angel, it was not something historical, specifically. People think that the Bible is a historical text. But, it refers to something psychological. The Hebraic Kabbalists write in the Zohar that the Angel that Jacob wrestled with was Samael. As you see in the writings that we have available, the author is Samael Aun Weor. He is the terrestrial person of the Angel Samael, and the Angel Samael is the God of War, known as Ares or Mars in Greek and Roman myth.
Samael is a force, an Angel, a being who exists, right now, in the superior dimensions. He was physically incarnated, and wrote many books, to teach this science. The Zohar talks about how Jacob wrestled with this Angel, which represents the strength of sex, sexual energy, the sexual power. The very force that can give life to our full potential, to help transform into a perfect human being, into an Angel, is within our sexual organs. The bible, which has been edited throughout many centuries, lost this. But, the Zohar, and many other scriptures have a tradition that emphasises some of the allegorical meaning, that was associated with the Bible, that was extirpated.
When Jacob fights with the Angel, it is talking about how we as a soul have to wrestle with the powers that exist within us. It is a spiritual fight. In the bible, Jacob, when he is wrestling, he breaks his thigh, it gets dislocated. The thigh is near the sexual organs—there are many other teachings associated with this symbol too, but, we find that these stories are not literal. People who read them literally, are children; they don't really see the adult material there, the spiritual material that is really profound.
Audience: Before I met you, and started doing this, I was studying occultism—whether it be Manly P. Hall, light occultism or dark occultism—the more you delve into it, delve into it, delve into it, it’s all from within, it is all the stuff that is going on in the world, in the universe, that is happening within. That being said, the one thing I have noticed, is that when you do the shadow work, and you start working on yourself, breaking down barriers of things you don't like about yourself, the more you get attacked. I don't know whether it's just negative emotions, real entities... but, the more you try, the more it is going to be harder.
Instructor: That is the battle of the devil.
Audience: Yeah, but, if you ever saw the Matrix—where they said, you can take either the red pill or the blue pill—it's almost like, the more you do, the work gets harder and harder and harder. Whereas, I can see friends or family sitting in front of the TV, watching football, drinking beer and not worrying about any of this. You almost get pissed off, because they're not doing any work on themselves. My take on it is, moderation does not work anymore.
Audience: Moderation in the spiritual work?
Audience: Well, yeah. It is almost like, whether it is alcohol, or lust.. whatever the seven deadly sins of the psyche are, it is almost like there is no room for error. The more you delve into, the more you try.
Instructor: Ethical discipline is something militaristic. It is a battle. But, by applying the teaching, we develop more equanimity. Especially in the beginning, when we are adjusting to knowing the causes of our suffering; it is painful to realise that we create all of our pain, and that we are responsible for everything that we do, and the reasons why we suffer.
For instance, as I was explaining my job, at one point, my mind wanted to blame my clients, "they just don't want to learn." I had an experience internally, in the dream state, where I was shown black birds. A bird, as I mentioned to you, is thought; the mind is aerial in nature, it relates to wind, breath, air. It was Samael Aun Weor who was showing me that symbol; he was saying that your mental state, being negative, is attracting that criticism from your clients, therefore, you are right in being judged by them. Then I returned to my body, and I was thankful. He was showing me something that I need to change, and that I can't blame then for anything they do. Yes, they can be negative, but I can be kind in response—that will neutralise much of that conflict.
But, in the beginning, when we are learning to look inside, it is a battle. We gain more equilibrium and stamina in this work, by continuing to do it. It takes a lot of discipline, especially in the beginning, to curtail negative thought, negative feeling. As many scriptures state, we cannot give any inch to anger, to fear, etc. But, we gain strength the more that we apply this science, and we cease to be filled with despair.
Of course, there are moments of darkness and suffering that every initiate goes through. If you listen to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, his piece about his spiritual night that he went through. He was a very high master who was tested, where they stopped giving him those experiences; and, he composed in his music his sorrow, his pain. So, even great masters go through that type of conflict. But, what guides them through those dark moments in their journey is having faith; recalling the qualities of God, and knowing that the divine is always with us. But, we have to be tested, and tried, like Nietzsche says in Thus Spoke Zarathustra—a German philosopher who knew this teaching in depth, he said: "You only know the spark of the Spirit, but you do not see the anvil that it is, and all the cruelty in its hammer." Referring to the God Thor, the God of war, first putting us in hot fire, and hammering us, tempering us, until the soul is perfected. We face ordeals because we have to confront our own negativity. An ordeal is a situation that is very problematic, a conflict, which provokes a lot of negativity, and yet, we have to be mindful of that, look at it, what are the causes that are provoked, and then go home and reflect; "what did I see?" And, to work on what we see, didactically. This is a psychological teaching.
Upon finding these studies, we are tested, we are given ordeals. That goes back to the parable of the birds devouring the seeds. Many people struggle and lose that conflict, because they get devoured by their own negativity, their own thinking; the thorns of slander or criticism, not only from others, but from themselves. We have to face trial and error. We fail many times, over and over again; we will get up, we get knocked down; it is a war. But, if you are persistent, and you remember God, you will get through it. Moses did it, Buddha did it, Jesus did it.
Audience: I think the first step, that I have taken from this last month and half, is self-awareness. You become aware—I think I mentioned once, I became aware, that more than an hourly basis, something negative came up, and I had to catch it. Have you ever heard of people that begin this process, who begin to say, it doesn't seem to get any better?
Instructor: Many people face that. The problem is, what is lacking is insight. Now, whether one is a high initiate, or a beginner, there is always going to be suffering, to a degree. The question is, do we comprehend the causes of our suffering? In those moments of trial, we have to learn to be patient. I can think of a couple of quotes relating to this—Nietzsche had a very beautiful way of explaining this science. He said, there will come a time in which all that is holy and divine to you will seem like a ghost, it will frighten you, and you will say all is false and despair. We feel abandoned, like Jesus said on the Cross, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani!" "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" This is Jesus saying this... the highest master we know of, in terms of hierarchy. And yet, he even said in that moment, "My God, where are you?" But, he remembered God, and he prayed and he conquered. In those moments of trial, when we suffer, we can listen to good music; personally, when I go through ordeals, I listen to good classical music, by masters like Tchaikovsky, Beethoven... Beethoven especially.
Audience: Do you listen to Rachmaninoff?
Instructor: I like Rachmaninoff. But, in terms of hierarchy amongst the musicians, Beethoven and Wagner are very, very high. People associate Wagner with Nazis, and the misappropriation of Nietzsche's' teaching, but you know the Ride of the Valkyria, the warrior woman fighting for God, Wotan in other words; it is a very famous song, which has been misappropriated, sadly. But, it is a warrior’s song, of the soul marching for Christ, and combatting all that is evil within oneself. Of course, these warrior women are representatives of qualities of our own soul. You can listen to Holst's Planets, the piece on Mars. I can show you perhaps in another lecture, we can play that piece. But, it shows you the type of willpower you need to fight against degeneration. It is not a war of anger, physical violence, but it is a spiritual war in which, through peace and comprehension, you conquer that which is impure.
We learn to really overcome those challenges by learning to meditate. Close your physical eyes, retrospect in your mind; visualise, try to imagine the difficulties you're facing. See it in your mind’s eye: what did you do, what did you say, what happened? We are going to give many explanations about that process in the coming weeks.
Audience: In true esoteric Freemasonry, Manly P. Hall said, that in order to get to the 33rd degree, he had to know one thing. And, the one thing that he had to know was, if one suffers, we all suffer.
Instructor: Exactly, because, if we ignore the suffering of others, especially when we're in pain, we can't transcend the problem. I am thinking of certain ordeals that I had in my job, where certain clients were problematic and causing me a lot of suffering. Then, I was realizing that, they are who they are, and they need to be responsible for who they are. But, my own resentment, my own anger, I need to change what I can. By conquering that, comprehending those faults of my own, I have been able to kind to these clients. And, even when they have been cross with me, very negative, I have neutralized certain things. That has given me more faith to overcome those challenges.
So, we do it little by little. To get out of those ruts, we have to remember the suffering of others.
Audience: What about marriage? When you talk about marriage, and the Gnostics talk about marriage, they are talking about love, they're not talking about the piece of paper...
Instructor: Exactly. People think that marriage is paperwork. But, Samael Aun Weor said that modern marriage is with paperwork is legal prostitution. This is because, these couples are joining in matrimony for lust, not for love. If you look at the divorce rate in America, you can see the results of this...
Audience: This is my first experience trying to learn Gnostic traditions. In your lecture, you mentioned about love, and unity, and what is necessary to be a partner, and to love, and you mentioned a man and a woman. Is that a Gnostic way? There is no homosexuality in Gnostic teachings? Can that love exist between a woman and a woman, and a man and a man?
Instructor: Good question. Biologically speaking, we know that the physical male counterpart maintains the male potential. Likewise, the woman with the female energy. And, as we know that Jehovah, the name is Ya-Havah, meaning, masculine-feminine, those two polarities manifest within the physical man, and physical woman. To create physically, to create a physical child, it needs a man and a woman. But, to create a spiritual being, you also need a man and woman too.
A male with a male, or a female with a female, does not possess the creative potential to create that spiritual element.
Audience: Doesn't that refer to the hermaphrodite, in terms of actual the male-female?
Instructor: Well, in terms of the hermaphrodite, we could say that a hermaphrodite, a being that has fully integrated male-female, is an angel. It is a being that has—through a matrimony, physically, like any one of us—we learn to work with the opposite sex, so that we have that power, physically and also spiritually, to create. When we fully perfected ourselves, those two principles are fully manifest. An angel is a perfect human being. But, to become an angel, we need to have both polarities; even physically, to create not only a physical child, but, spiritually speaking too.
Audience: Well, the whole brain is divided; the left brain is the sacred masculine, and the right brain is the sacred feminine. And, you want to come together in the middle, which is the prefrontal cortex, the third eye. So, we all have the sacred feminine; all males have the sacred feminine within, and all females have the sacred masculine in them.
Instructor: We do have, what we could say, the Divine Mother within us: the Divine Mother Kundalini. We also have the Divine Father within us. But, in order to march to those heights, physically, we have to work with where we are at. Meaning, a man, physically needs a wife, sexually speaking. He needs that actual counterpart to compliment the male. Likewise, the male needs that feminine counterpart, so that those energies, which when aroused physically, can create something spiritual. As Jesus says, that which is born of flesh is flesh, but, that which is born of Spirit is Spirit. Meaning, man and wife can birth to a physical child, but, to give birth to a spiritual child, we need the same energies, the same act, but, manifested in a different way. We are not against homosexuals. We don't condemn individuals.
Audience: So, that means, even the love that they share, that can create some kind of spiritual energy, but it cannot create a spiritual being?
Instructor: Well, we could say that, that energy, between a man and a woman is what develops our spiritual life, precisely.
Audience: And a man and a man, or a woman and a woman cannot obtain, cannot reach that level?
Instructor: A man and a man cannot. A woman and woman cannot. But, man and wife, is what creates spiritual life.
Audience: But, we're not against those people?
Instructor: Well, I personally do not choose that path, because, as Jesus said, straight is the gate of the spinal medulla, in which that energy can rise up to the brain. Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth into life, spiritual life. Life, in Hebrew, relates to Chaiah. In Judaism, we say, Le’Chaim, "to life." Chaiah relates to our sexual organs, because we give life, physically, through sex. But, also, spiritual life, if we know how to take, to not be tempted by that energy, like Adam and Eve in the garden. We transfer from Chavah, and raise it to our brain, represented by Adam, then up the spine. This is the path that the Kundalini of the Divine Mother rises; up our spinal medulla, to our brain, in order to illuminate it.
Homosexuality cannot create spiritual life. But, it does create certain elements which are contrary to the divine elements. If you are interested, you can look into the Zohar; it has a lot of teachings about this. About how homosexuality is the opposite of creating spiritually, but something else, something inferior. Of course, a lot of people, who are homosexual or gay, do not like to hear that. That is why Jesus says, straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life. People who are attached to their customs may not want to change, but, that is their choice. Personally, we do not condemn homosexuals. But, we point of that, just as we cannot create a child physically through homosexuality, you cannot create spiritually within you without having that counterpart, that compliment. We need both man and woman to reach that full potential.
Audience: The problem with this, what you just said, if you were to say that to a forum of people, they would say that is politically incorrect...
Instructor: Well, that is the birds eating up the seeds, so to speak; devouring it. The minds saying that they do not like this. But, the thing is, I remember hearing about the Dalai Lama, who is a great master, a Gnostic teacher; he was giving a lecture before an audience, a homosexual community, and they asked him, "Can one be homosexual and Buddhist?" And he answered, kindly but firmly, "No, you cannot." And, of course, they were hissing at him, which was their choice. But, if we want to create, as we mentioned, even spiritually, a matrimony is needed; and, I do not mean papers, I mean, when a man loves a woman, and there is divine communion between, both in the world of thought, feeling and will, then we can develop genuine mysticism within us.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Fundamentals of Gnosticism, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy.
We are continuing this course on the fundamentals of Gnosticism, as both a tradition and a way of practice. The word gnosis, in Greek, means knowledge, direct experience of mystical truth. It is that which has been symbolically explained within religion, in the cryptic language of the prophets, whether it be through Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, etc.
Gnosis, as a Greek term applied to western studies, is our direct cognizance of the divine, that which is born from our own conscious experience of the truth, which has been taught within all religions, irrespective of a particular culture, language and identity.
When we talk about gnosis, we talk about our own, personal relationship to our inner divinity who is within us, which has been given many names. The Buddhists refer to the divine within as the Inner Buddha. Buddha means “awakened one, cognizant one,” a luminous being, a perceptive being. Amongst the mystics of Israel, the teachers of the Kabbalistic tradition, they refer to God as El, the breath, as the presence, a force. Not as an anthropomorphic figure of tyranny, one that dispenses lightning bolts upon a poor, suffering humanity. Instead, that is a symbol for something personal and intimate, within us.
Divinity is an intelligence, a presence, a force that we can access when we learn to develop our consciousness, our cognizance. Gnosis is that direct relationship that we acquire, when we know how to cultivate qualities of superior being, superior ways of understanding, within our mind, our heart and our body.
Likewise, gnosis, as the experience of the truth, has been taught in different ways, in different religions, in a pristine form, in its original root. We say that, in these present times, the gnostic teaching within those religions has been lost. People who only believe in a tradition, who follow a specific leader or member of a group, many times fail to understand how to cultivate a personal relationship with the divine. So, in these studies, we state that those who have genuine knowledge, do not need to believe in anything. We do not follow anyone. We do not follow a pope, an imam, a priest, a rabbi; we do not follow any individual. We seek to follow our own knowledge: what we test, what we verify, what we experience for ourselves. In that manner, we learn to differentiate and discriminate between different teachings, and to understand that which is the spiritual within those different doctrines, those different faiths, those different religions, in their original form; not as they are being taught today. If we look at the state of being of these different faiths, religions—whether it be Catholicism, Islam, Judaism—we find that many traditions are now focused on the external, and are following a certain form of dogma. They are not cultivating a personal relationship, an intimate relationship, with the divine.
In this course, we are discussing what are known as the four pillars: four foundations of genuine spiritual knowledge and understanding. Gnosis is explained and understood through four pillars, four cornerstones. It has been known through science; it has been known through mysticism; it has been known through art; and, it has been known through philosophy.
In ancient schools of mystical teaching, the precepts of genuine spiritual science were taught, and elaborated through artistic forms in a philosophical way. Science, mysticism, art and philosophy were once an integral unity; they were not separate as we find today.
Our science today is divorced from spirituality. Our spirituality is divorced of reason in these present, modern times. Likewise, our art no longer reflects the genuine spiritual principles that the ancient masters of art—like Da Vinci, or of music like Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin, Lizst, and many other great classical composers—once followed. Likewise, the philosophies of today, our post-modern era, are divorced of genuine experiential verification of the truth, of facts, of things that we can test and know for ourselves. But, as we are going to explain in this course, really, science, mysticism, art, philosophy, cannot be separated. They cannot be divorced from one another.
So, as we are going to explain in this lecture, on the first pillar of gnostic wisdom, we are going to discuss the nature of science. The root of science comes from scientia, which means “knowledge.” In the previous lecture, we explained that, from the German root, it is skhizein, which is where we get science as well. Skhizein means “to split, to rend, to break apart.” Our science today—which is no longer in balance with our most ancient traditions—is split; it is divorced from any sense of mysticism, any sense of spirituality, but for a few exceptions, where certain scientists are investigating Buddhism, in order to explain quantum mechanics, sub-atomic particles, how light particles can make decisions, in certain experiments.
This testifies to the nature of the mystical reality of genuine science. That mysticism, which means, from the root word myein, “to close one’s eyes,” is the closing of our sensual perception, and the awakening of our spiritual perception. It is to know that which is true, from a conscious standpoint.
We find that in gnostic science, we are exploring that which has been taught within ancient scriptures in a cryptic way. We are going to elaborate on how science, in its genuine form, has been taught within the most ancient schools of philosophy, of literature, of art, and of different cultures.
One thing we emphasize, is that, "Gnosis is lived upon facts, it withers away in abstractions and it is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts." This is a statement given by Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern gnostic tradition. This emphasizes that, no matter how noble our aspirations, our beliefs, they are fruitless if we do not experiment, if we do not test, if we do not verify; if we do not take it upon ourselves to really experience what different prophets have taught. This is the basis of genuine religion. The word religion comes from the Latin, religare, which means “to re-unite,” with the divine. Not through beliefs or attending a group, but through spiritual experience.
One thing we will talk about in this lecture, is how gnostic science is boiled down to three fundamental principles; you could say, three sciences. I will be talking about those three sciences in depth, which were taught in all the most ancient schools of the mysteries.
We included this image of a woman from the Egyptian pantheon, with a famous inscription written by Beethoven, who was a Freemason that had a painting of the Virgin Mary, the Divine Mother, from Hinduism, the feminine divine, with the following words:
I am the one who has been, is and will be, and no mortal has lifted my veil.
This is an Egyptian maxim, and we are going to talk about Egyptian mysticism in depth today, along with Greek dialectics, thought and philosophy, in psychological terms, as well as the Hebraic mysticism: the Kabbalah. This inscription refers to how we must tear the veil of ignorance that blinds our spiritual eyes from knowing the truth. That veil is our own unconsciousness. We state in these studies that we have the potential to expand consciousness to an infinite degree. This was stated by the 14th Dalai Lama.
The image references the Egyptian roots of the mysteries of Isis; the ancient Egyptian mystery schools that taught these fundamentals in their organizations, and which the Freemasons followed, those such as Beethoven, Mozart, and many other great spiritual masters, composers, etc. So, we must tear that veil that blinds our perception of the truth.
We have to emphasize that our physical sciences in this present day are not the end and be all. The famous Theosophist, Leadbeater, stated:
“It is one of the commonest of our mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all that there is to perceive.” —C.W. Leadbeater
Materialistic science, as well as religion today, is based on dogma. We may receive certain facts about phenomena, without fully knowing the hidden root cause of that phenomena. Immanuel Kant, in his philosophy, referred to a principle known as noumena: the truth, “things in themselves,” the principles behind physical matter, the energy or principles behind any type of phenomena that we experience.
Our scientists today, many of them focus on empirical data. They fail to recognize that there is another means of investigation that we can cultivate, which is learning to awaken our spiritual perception, and to verify the truth behind any type of phenomena. The demarcation between gnostic science and materialistic science is a standpoint of perception. We have many exercises in this tradition, such as meditation, exercises of awakening consciousness in dreams, in order to investigate the different regions of matter, energy and perception that exist not only in this physical dimension, but also in different dimensions, which are accessed in the realm of sleep.
We state that the heavens mentioned in religion are precisely the different realities that we can access, when our physical senses shut down, and our consciousness can expand and verify, test and know directly the mysteries of life and death: the source of all things, the laws that govern not only physical nature, but also our spiritual nature.
It is sad to see that in these present times, modern science looks at ancient civilizations with scorn, as if these individuals of the past—whether it be the Aztecs or Mayans, the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans—were primitive. Meanwhile, no one can deny the tremendous mathematical and astronomical knowledge that these cultures possessed; or that their certain architecture, sculptures, structures dedicated to religious principles, were highly scientific and mathematical. Their knowledge, and the symbols attributed to their cultures, are conveying a mysterious science, a mysteries truth. They did not believe in false idols, as if they literally believed in a statue as a God. Those statues of the different traditions represent principles in nature, that we can learn to verify, to speak with and to communicate with.
We have to understand that these ancient cultures were not ignorant; they were much more advanced. We look at our present day humanity, and we find that human beings have launched themselves to more wars and violence; there is more chaos, there is more confusion, there is more destruction. We have to seriously consider how the ancient civilizations once developed a type of knowledge that is superior, which we can experiment and verify.
The following quote is from Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society, who wrote a book called Isis Unveiled, which is the precursor to her larger work called The Secret Doctrine, which we study in depth. She emphasizes, in this quote, how materialistic science is not the pinnacle of human achievement. We can learn many things from studying matter, but likewise, we learn with esoteric procedures how to investigate energy and consciousness, which are beyond physical matter. She states:
"The recognized laws of physical science account for but a few of the more objective of the so-called spiritual phenomena. While proving the reality of certain visible effects of an unknown force, they have not thus far enabled scientists to control at will even this portion of the phenomena."
So, we see that as wonderful as many of our achievements are, in the present day, as scientific efforts, they are not necessarily, absolutely conclusive of how we understand our experience.
"The truth is that the professors have not yet discovered the necessary conditions of their occurrence."
Meaning, there is a spiritual principle behind every physical phenomena, as Immanuel Kant explained.
"They must go as deeply into the study of the triple nature of man—physiological, psychological, and divine—as did their predecessors, the magicians, theurgists, and thaumaturgists of old.
"As the dawn of physical science broke into a glaring day-light, the spiritual sciences merged deeper and deeper into night, and in their turn they were denied. So, now, these greatest masters in psychology are looked upon as “ignorant and superstitious ancestors”; as mountebanks and jugglers, because, forsooth, the sun of modern learning shines today so bright, it has become an axiom that the philosophers and men of science of the olden time knew nothing, and lived in a night of superstition. But their traducers forget that the sun of today will seem dark by comparison with the luminary of tomorrow, whether justly or not; and as the men of our century think their ancestors ignorant, so will perhaps their descendants count them for know-nothings." —H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled
The founder of the modern gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated: “What science accepts today, it rejects tomorrow. What it rejects today, it accepts tomorrow.” He also emphasizes, in a very clear manner, a differentiation between two sciences, as we have been indicating.
"There are two types of science. The first is nothing more than a compost heap of subjective theories that abound out there; the second is the pure science of the great illuminati: the objective science of the Being." —Samael Aun Weor
The "Being" is a term we use in this tradition, referring to the divine, as presence, as cognizance, as perception, as God, which is within us, not outside. This intelligence is something that we can access. To become one of the illuminati, is to become illuminated: to have that direct perception of the truth of the divine within us. We can state with certainty that the first science is nothing more than a subjective conglomeration of ideas, because we have many theories about life, of the origin of the universe, of the cosmos, of the ancient histories of humanity. But, they are based on material phenomena, and ignore the spiritual roots of physical life.
The Three Esoteric Sciences
So, we say that there are three esoteric sciences. Gnosticism, as a tradition, is founded upon three specific cultural teachings. We have the mystical Kabbalah of Judaism; we have the Egyptian and Middle Eastern doctrine of Alchemy; and then we have the Greek dialectical teachings or philosophies of psychology. We state that this gnostic path, the modern gnostic movement, follows these three sciences and cultivates them. We are going to talk in depth about these three different aspects of esoteric science: what it entails, how do we cultivate it, how do we apply it, in order to understand our relationship with the divine.
“In the Gnostic path, we live practically in the most complete equilibrium; we study Alchemy and Kabbalah. We work on the disintegration of the psychological ‘I.’” —Samael Aun Weor
…which is the mind, the sense of egotistical or subjective self—what we say is "me," "mine," etc. Alchemy and Kabbalah have been taught in many different ways, primarily in relation to the book of Genesis. Kabbalah is the Tree of Life: a map of the cosmos and the divine, which we are going to talk about first. Alchemy is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—these are symbols, they are not literally trees that existed in some remote part of the Middle East, which Adam and Eve ate from and were caused to be banished. Likewise, the subsequent suffering of humanity... these are symbols.
With Kabbalah, Alchemy and Psychology, we emphasize that these are three specific, practical teachings, which are really one unity, and which we study separately, but also together. They integrate completely. We will talk a lot about some of the etymology behind these words, and how they have manifested in different traditions.
Kabbalah: The Tree of Life
Kabbalah is a map of consciousness; from physical matter to the highest regions of perception. The bottom of this tree, this glyph, we see Malkuth, which in Hebrew means kingdom. This is our physicality, our physical world, our physical existence. We see here that it is at the bottom of this glyph; meaning, it is not the end limit of all that there is to perceive and know. We say that this image is a symbol of understanding who we are, and what we need to aspire to, if we want to know through gnosis, directly, the truth. At the top of the tree, we have higher regions of energy, matter and consciousness. Likewise, at the bottom, as we descend this tree, we enter into more dense aspects of matter, energy and perception.
Above Malkuth, our physical body, we have Yesod: our energy, our vitality. When we wake up in the morning, rejuvenated and renewed, that is the work of our vitality, our vital energy, which gives us life. Likewise, we have our emotional energy, related to the sephirah Hod, which in Hebrew means “splendor.” It is our emotional states. Likewise, we have Netzach, which is mind, intellect, conception, thesis-antithesis, etc. Above that, we have more rarefied aspects of consciousness, relating to will and consciousness specifically, and our spirit, our divine being.
In this tradition, we study the Tree of Life in depth, in a practical manner, in order to understand who we are, as well as to interpret the different scriptures, such as the Bible, the Qu'ran and many other traditions. This glyph can be used to interpret any pantheon or tradition. Notice that at the top we have a trinity, which in Hebrew is Kether, Chokmah, Binah, which in Christian terms is Father, Son, Holy Spirit. These are forces, not people. They are intelligences and energies that we can work with, and verify. Amongst the Hindus, this trinity is Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Amongst the Egyptians: Osiris, Horus, Isis. Different names for the same thing; this glyph helps us to understand many traditions, and to understand what the original root is.
To quote from Dion Fortune from her Mystical Qabalah, a very profound, modern work, on a very ancient technique and tradition:
"It [the Tree of Life] is a glyph, that is to say a composite symbol, which is intended to represent the cosmos in its entirety and the soul of man as related thereto; and the more we study it, the more we see that it is an amazingly adequate representation; we use it as the engineer or the mathematician uses his sliding-rule, to scan and calculate the intricacies of existence, visible and invisible, in external nature or the hidden depth of the soul." –Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
So, I just mentioned some of our psychological applications to us. This is also a map of different dimensions. These principles exist in different layers, like an onion. They are different levels or modalities of being, different forms of matter. When we go to sleep at night, physically, our body rests, and our soul, which relates to our willpower and which is enmeshed in thought and feeling, enters this realm known as Hod, the world of dreams. It is a different level or dimension of being. It is a place in which life exists as a form of materiality; nothing vague or vaporous. But, unfortunately, because our consciousness is not developed, we typically enter that world, either completely unconscious, or we may have some sporadic dreams which are very chaotic, very fantastical. They are not rooted in anything divine.
In that realm, we can access and awaken our perception to a higher degree, in which we cease to dream, but in which our soul, our consciousness, divested of its physical form, can learn to investigate and perceive that dimension, that realm. This is what people call "out of body experiences." We call it Dream Yoga: to practice union with God in dreams. The word yoga, from the Sanskrit yug, means “to unite” with the truth. This glyph helps us to understand different dimensions which we can access when we know how to develop our perception.
The different religions have called this "heaven;" the heavenly realms, heavenly ways of being, heavenly states of perception. The Kabbalah, this Tree of Life, is a map to help us understand the language of the world of dreams, the world of spirituality. Samael Aun Weor, in his book Tarot and Kabbalah, stated:
"The objective of studying the Kabbalah is to be skilled for work in the Internal Worlds... One who does not comprehend remains confused in the Internal Worlds. Kabbalah is the basis in order to understand the language of these worlds.” –Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Many prophets, such as Daniel, explained that the world of dreams is a symbolic world. People have talked about dream language, dream interpretation, knowing how to interpret the dreams one experiences. In these studies, we say that dreams are subjective, belonging to our egotistical self. But, a vision is something else. We project dreams in that realm, but a vision is when the mind is receptive and calm, and in which we experience for ourselves, in a dramatic form, a teaching given by the divine.
I remember, many years ago when I first started this teaching, I was practicing exercises of meditation, in which, by entering a state of silence and quietude of my mind, I physically fell asleep. I found myself in the dream world, in my house, we could call this the astral plane, the world of emotions. I invoked and prayed to the divine within me to teach me something useful, that I could use to guide my life. In a miraculous way, I was shown a television screen, and on the television screen, it stated in scrolling letters, like in a film, “The Path to the Self-realization of the Being.” We say in these studies that the being is our spirit; we could call it Chesed in Hebrew, which means “mercy”—the truth within us, our own particular God. I remember seeing an image very similar to this glyph. I saw two rows of five portraits of faces of people, going lengthwise—not vertical, but horizontal, from left to right: five above, five below.
On the top left, I saw an image of a very divine and powerful old man, the anthropomorphic Jehovah, we could say. A figure of a divine, an elderly figure of wisdom. I saw many other faces too, but, at the very bottom, on the far right, I saw my own face. This was at a time when I did not really study the Kabbalah in depth, but, then I meditated, and I read certain texts that we have in this teaching, in which I realized that those ten faces are the ten spheres of this image. Each sphere as its own portrait, its own personality, we could say, its own way of being. Of course, I was at the very bottom, meaning Malkuth, the body; but, I was learning to perceive that the complete human being, the complete person, is more than just a physical body. It is also vitality, emotion, mind, will, consciousness, spirit and the trinity above. It was a very powerful representation of understanding who we are, in our fundamental root.
In the world of dreams, we can experience visions, and we can be taught symbolically, something about ourselves. We teach many ways of how to access that state of consciousness, so that we know how to get guidance from God; then, we do not need to really on anybody, or any group.
Kabbalah is a teaching that was divorced from the Bible, at least amongst modern Christians. Dion Fortune, a modern writer on the Western Esoteric Tradition, has a lot of criticism towards the present day Catholicism that many worship and follow. Precisely because this tradition has lost its roots. Jesus was a rabbi, who taught Kabbalah in his language, in his parables, in his allegories. Such as, "you must be born again of water and spirit," he said. Well, knowing the Hebrew alphabet, we know that water is מ Mem in Hebrew. Spirit, or fire, is ש Shin in Hebrew. To be born again from the breath, the wind of God, is ה Hei. You add those letters together, and you spell המש Moshe: מ Mem, ש Shin, ה Hei. Moshe is an archetype or symbol of how we cultivate our will, in union with God.
The New Testament is dependent on the Old Testament. The Old Testament is written in the language of Kabbalah, which modern Christians have divorced themselves from, sadly. If we do not know Kabbalah, we cannot interpret the symbolic language of the Torah, and the New Testament. For, as Dion Fortune wrote:
"The Qabalistic cosmology is the Christian Gnosis. Without it we have an incomplete system in our religion, and it is this incomplete system which has been the weakness of Christianity." –Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
She likewise continues explaining this divergence from this modern Christianity we know today, and the esoteric Christianity that was taught in the past. She states the following in her book, The Training and Work of the Initiate:
"Consequently there is an unbridged gulf in our modern Christianity between the mysticism of its deep spiritual truths and the symbolic and magical ceremonial of its ritual. This gulf it is the task of the modern Mystery Schools to bridge (our present day efforts in this tradition). These, however, have in many cases re-illumined their fires at an Eastern altar, so that the bridge they build does not lead to the Christian contacts of the West."
She is talking about, how many people who grew up Christian, ended up becoming Buddhist or Hindu, precisely because the Christianity of our present continent is superficial, devoid of any genuine depth. Therefore, many people have left Christianity to pursue other faiths. Sadly, people do not realize that Christianity has, in its genuine heart, a profound teaching of how to unite with the divine.
"Those of their followers who seek initiation (meaning, entering the spiritual mysteries), instead of having revealed to them the deeper issues of their own faith, have to change their religion and follow other Masters.
“How are we of the West, therefore, to bridge this gulf? We must do what the original gnostics did (the original Gnostic Christians, of which Jesus was the founder): seek to express in the metaphysical language of the Mysteries the teachings of Our Lord, and thereby establish an esoteric Christian School—the Initiation of the West. The Gnostics drew their inspiration from two main sources…"
(This is where we get into studies of psychology and Kabbalah.)
"…the Mysteries of Greece and the mysticism of Israel, the Qabalah, with which Our Lord (Jesus) was obviously very familiar. These are the sources wherein we shall find the mental and magical interpretation of our religion which shall supply the missing keys."
The word magic is a term that people associate with something fantastical or illusory. But, the word magician comes from the word, mag, which is an Indo-European word that means “priest,” someone who has a full connection with the divine. A real priest is a person who controls, magically, their own mind, the air; the fires of the heart, their emotions; and the waters of the body—through will. A priest is a person who is fully united and connected with God. It does not mean someone who enters a theological seminary and who becomes indoctrinated. A real priest is a magician: someone who can control matter, not just physical, but psychological, and has full dominance of their interior. That is a real human being, a complete human being.
The Christian Kabbalah precisely teaches us this dynamic; the different levels of mind, energy, matter, consciousness and will, of which our present-day Christianity is divorced.
"The elements which were discarded from Christianity must be replaced if it is to become a true Wisdom Religion (a true esoteric school), and unless it can answer to the needs of the intellect as well as of the heart, those who need the food of the intellect rather than the heart will seek it elsewhere, and we cannot blame them." —Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
Look at modern day Christianity, which says believe in Jesus and you are saved. There is no richness to that faith, that tradition, divorced from the intellectual, Kabbalistic symbolism of how to enrich our mind, as well as our heart. Not to just believe with our heart, but to know from our soul.
In relation to Kabbalah, we explain that there are many books our there; there is a lot of facts and knowledge available in different traditions and different schools. It is very easy to get lost. There are different theories about this tradition, which are abundant. In very direct terms, we state that genuine Kabbalah comes from the Hebrew Kabel, which means “to receive.” Genuine Kabbalah is the knowledge we experience directly from God. We study certain texts intellectually, to be prepared for work in the internal worlds. So, that image of the Tree of Life that I showed, of the ten spheres, was something that I vividly experienced, and verified, before I even knew about the Tree of Life. I later found out about the facts of this image, and meditated on it, to realize that, this is something factual; I experienced it before I read about it. But, genuine Kabbalah is what we verify for ourselves. We do study intellectually to be prepared to interpret that language.
Samael Aun Weor stated the following, about the difference between intellectual Kabbalah and conscious Kabbalah:
"On such a simple thing, scholars have written millions and volumes and theories that would turn anyone crazy who had the bad taste of becoming intellectualized with that entire arsenal.” –Samael Aun Weor
So, knowing a lot of information intellectually, is good if we become conscious of it, if we learn to experience what the texts teach us. Having an intellectual knowledge is good, but, divorced of any practical application or life, is when it becomes problematic; when the head becomes a library, yet we feel that desperation of not knowing God for ourselves. That is something that we must reverse. We study in balance with practice and harmony.
The Twenty-Two Hebrew Letters of Kabbalah
This brings us to the image of the famous Shoshanna or the rose, mentioned by Solomon, in the Bible. This is an image of the 22 Hebrew letters of Kabbalah. As we mentioned, the 22 letters represent principles: 22 laws. Which brings us towards the 22 Arcana, or laws, of the Tarot. The Torah is the Tarot. It is the same wisdom given by an Angel by the name of Metatron, to the Jewish people. The Jewish language is not the sole property of those people living in the Middle East, or across the globe. This language pertains to all of humanity, because it is a divine language that was given to us to express divine truths. Sadly, this language is as abused as any other language today: like Arabic or Sanskrit, or Latin. Latin has a lot of power, which Dion Fortune says is the reason why the Catholic Church has it existed for so long, because a lot of their rituals were performed in Latin and language has power. We can invoke divine forces through our speech, which is why we pray out loud through certain practices, and pronounce sacred sounds, to invoke those forces. As the Book of John says, "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God."
These languages have a lot of power. The Latin language, Dion Fortune says, is the reason why the Catholic Church has subsisted. But now, they are doing their rituals in English; so, it does not have as much power. The sad part is, many people perform these prayers and rituals, invoking these forces, but they do not know how to fully develop them; they are not aware of what they are doing.
The Hebraic alphabet is a powerful language, which can help us to understand many traditions; not only Judaism, or the Christian doctrine.
When we state that one should learn the language of Kabbalah, we do not mean that one has to be fluent in Hebrew. It simply means that one learns to memorize and understand the principles behind these letters, to have an informed eye when we read scripture.
Dion Fortune stated the following, in emphasis of this:
"It is not required of those who would use the Qabalah as their Yoga (as their way of union in the West) that they should acquire any extensive knowledge of the Hebrew language; all they need is to be able to read and write the Hebrew characters."
And, 22 is pretty simple to learn, even if you did not grow up Jewish, or unfamiliar with that tradition.
"The modern Qabalah has been pretty thoroughly naturalized in the English language, but it retains, and must ever retain, all its Words of Power in Hebrew, which is the sacred language of the West just as Sanskrit is the sacred language of the East."
I emphasize that language has power. Mantra, sacred sounds—we can invoke God with our words. We can invoke blessing upon another human being, or damnation upon that person. So, how we use our speech determines how we follow God.
"There are those who have objected to the free employment of Sanskrit terms in occult literature," (the word occult does not just mean satanic groups; the word occult comes from the Latic Occultare, “to cultivate the hidden”) …and no doubt they will object even more strongly to the employment of Hebrew characters, but their use is unavoidable, for every letter in Hebrew is also a number, and the numbers to which words add up are not only an important clue to their significance, but can also be used to express the relationships existing between different ideas and potencies." –Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
So, the Hebrew letters represent different elements, symbols, powers, principles. When we read the original Old Testament, the Tanakh or the Torah, when we look at the transliteration from Hebrew, we can interpret the names of certain figures, in order to understand what they are representing. When you look at the Hebrew letters, you can see that this or that character represents this or that, such as המש Moshe, who represents the soul, the willpower, that knows how to work with מ Mem, the waters of God; ש Shin, the fire of the heart; and air, א Aleph or ה Hei, the breath, the wind.
It is an intricate system, and very useful and very practical; which is what we emphasize above all things.
We included an image in this next graphic of the 13th Arcanum of the Tarot. Arcana means “laws,” Arcanum means “law,” singular. The Tarot and the Torah are integral, united. In this image, we see a man who is on this card, "Immortality," the 13th card, unlucky number 13, which is in disrepute and has such a bad reputation in these times, which we are going to talk about through an example. These numbers represent principles, represent truths. These images of the Tarot can help us to understand where we are spiritually, in relationship to God.
The Tarot is not just some kind of fortune-telling scandal, or ruse to cheat people of their money... which unfortunately, many people approach in that way. The Tarot are sacred; they are symbols. Physical readings are one thing, but learning to interpret these numbers from dreams or visions is another.
One thing we will emphasize is that numbers, mathematics, associating with the Hebraic Kabbalah, pertains to our experience of the truth; conscious principles. The quantitative translates into the qualitative. Kabbalah, as the numerical science of Judaism, not only applies to the written scriptures of the Torah, but also to how we relate to God. I will explain with an example:
I had an inner experience, many years ago, in which I invoked my divinity. I awoke and had this vision of flying towards a travel bureau, in the astral plane. Of course, in the world of dreams we can fly. As we all may remember from dreams from our own experience. So, I remember flying towards this travel bureau, and there was a divine force carrying me towards this bureau, in some city. Of course, this is a symbol, and I will explain what it means. I entered the building, and I approached the counter, and I really desperately felt in my heart that I had a longing to travel to the Middle East. Not physically, but travel towards the higher dimensions of the spirit. For, if we look back at the image of the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, we say that the Middle East, in spiritual terms, is Tiphereth. This is because Tiphereth, astrologically, relates to the Sun. We state that all the spheres of the Tree of Life have astrological influences, planetary influences, and we look at Tiphereth, the soul or willpower, as where the Sun rises. So, Tiphereth is the East, like Muslims who pray towards the East, in reminiscence of worshipping the divine, the Platonic Logos, the Sun. Of course, Muslims today say that they do not worship the Sun, but the tradition had its roots in that; praying towards Mecca, the East, which is the heart, Tiphereth. Middle East, meaning, the middle of this Tree of Life, and here in this graphic, the very center of things. Tiphereth is the world, in Buddhist terms, of Nirvana, the heavenly realm.
So, I was praying to my inner God, "Take me to the Middle East." So, my Divine Mother took me to this place, this bureau. The woman at the counter said, "You really want to travel to the Middle East?" And I said “Yes!” We know that in the current times the Middle East is filled with a lot of problems, conflicts, and wars. She said, "You must pay $355." And, in dreams, numbers have significance. You add the numbers together, to get a sum total which represents one of the 22 major Arcana of the Tarot. 3 + 5 + 5 = 13. 13 is the card of “Immortality,” or, we could say, the card of death. People associate number 13 with death, but, the death of what is the question. Really, the Tarot, this card, emphasizes the death of our own egotistical desires, our own selfishness, our own anger, our defects, our subjective self or ego. To reap the purity of the spirit, you must destroy the chaff; as we reap, so shall we sow. To become immortal, to become an inhabitant of the heavenly realm of the Middle East on the Tree of Life, Tiphereth, we must plant appropriate seeds so that the spirit can give birth. But, of course, the seed must die in order for the crop to flourish.
So, my Divine Mother, my inner divinity was telling me, "You want to travel to the Middle East? You have to pay $355," meaning, you have to reach Arcanum 13, you have to die in your defects. Only through the death of the impure is how the soul resurrects, as taught by the life of Jesus.
It was a powerful teaching. Many other things happened in that experience too, but that was the main point. Of course, we see in this card the Hebrew letter מ Mem, which means water, which is where we get names like Miriam, Mary, the Virgin of Christianity; the mother of Jesus. It is a symbol of our own Divine Mother. Miriam, She is the Hindu Goddess, Durga or Kali, the Goddess of death, who kills our defects so that the soul can be liberated from those shells, that conditioning.
H. P. Blavatsky states in Isis Unveiled, explaining how these numbers have qualitative principles that we need to interpret:
"It is recognized by modern science that all the higher laws of nature assume the form of quantitative statement. This is perhaps a fuller elaboration or more explicit affirmation of the Pythagorean doctrine (going back to the Greek mysteries). Numbers were regarded as the best representations of the laws of harmony which pervade the cosmos."
So, again, numbers represent principles. Our card 13 says that you must die to your defects, if you want to become immortal, spiritually speaking.
"We know too that in chemistry the doctrine of atoms and the laws of combination are actually and, as it were, arbitrarily defined by numbers. As Mr. W. Archer Butler has expressed it: “The world is, then, through all its departments, a living arithmetic in its development, a realized geometry in its repose.” –H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: Before the Veil, “Review of the Ancient Philosophical Systems”
Likewise, Samael Aun Weor states, in Tarot and Kabbalah:
"In Kabbalah, everything is numbers and mathematics. The number is holy and infinite. In the universe everything is measurement and weight. For the Gnostics, God is a Geometrist. Mathematics are sacred. No one was admitted into the school of Pythagoras if they were not knowledgeable about mathematics, music, etc. Numbers are sacred." –Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Again, numbers represent values. The 22 Hebrew letters, the 22 cards of the Tarot, teach us things that we need to do, spiritually. So, if you receive a card in the internal dimensions, they are showing you that this is what you need to do, to study, to develop your soul.
Kabbalah is not everything. We also study the teachings of Alchemy. The word Alchemy has Egyptian roots, but also Middle Eastern and Persian as well.
Alchemy: Allah + (Greek) Khemia, Chemistry of God, "to fuse or cast a metal.” Al—Khem; the land of Egypt.
This is where we get the words such as Chemistry from. In Buddhism they teach this as Tantrism, Tantra.
Tantra: Sanskrit for "continuum" or "unbroken stream." from Sanskrit tantram, lit. "loom, warp," hence "groundwork, system, doctrine," from tan "to stretch, extend.” Tantra refers to:
Allah-Khemia, “to fuse oneself with God,” is the work energy. People commonly associate Alchemy as the transformation of lead in gold, which, in Europe, was performed by a few masters—as an exception. Many people tried to perform this feat, not understanding that Alchemy is a symbolic teaching. To transform the lead into gold is to transform the mind, the ego, into the spiritual substance of God. The density of the soul, into the purity of the spirit. The lead of our physicality, the density of our body, into the purest forces of God represented by the Tree of Life.
Alchemy, how we fuse with God, is how we use our forces: physically, psychologically, spiritually. We have to form a continuum within our body, our mind, our heart. We have to learn how to make certain forces flow within us through spiritual practices; such as through mantras, sacred sounds and meditation.
So, Alchemy or Tantrism is:
(1) the continuum of vital energy that sustains all existence, and second
(2) the class of knowledge and practices that harnesses that vital energy, thereby transforming the practitioner.
The Tantras of Buddhism are scriptures, forms of teaching given by Padmasambhava and many other Buddhist masters, as well as other prophets of Buddhism. But, also, Tantra is how we work with energy within us. Without energy, we cannot live physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. Likewise, to know God, we need power, which is why we included this image, the painting of the Christ-Alchemist, who, represented by Jesus, is a person who has resurrected from the dead, the dead spiritually, not just physically, but psychologically. We are dead if we do not know God. But, when we die to our defects, we can resurrect within the Lord within us.
The Middle Eastern teachings talk about Alchemy in the following form. There is a famous Iranian myth called the Cup of Jamshid, which is similar to the Holy Grail of Christianity. We state in these studies that Alchemy is the union of forces within man and woman. Tantrism, which is very popular in the West, especially now, refers to the sexual cooperation between a husband and wife, in which man and woman, when they unite, physically, they also unite in mind and heart. The sexual connection is the flow or continuum of forces which exist between the couple when they are sexually aroused, and which that vital force is inflamed, when it has become active. When the couple knows how to work with that energy without expelling it, that force forms a continuum within the body, the mind and the heart. Christianity refers to the creative sexual power as the Holy Ghost. So, to be baptized by water is a symbol of working with that power; to be born from that power. Jesus said, "you must be born again of water and spirit." Not just physical water, as in, the rite of baptism, which is a symbol—he instead referred to how, physically, you can give birth to a child when man and woman unite, but, when man and woman unite and they conserve that power, they can give birth to the soul, through spiritual practices. By learning to work in a matrimony, and to conserve that power, to give birth to God within oneself. The Cup of Jamshid represents that myth, that teaching.
It is stated in popular myth that all the seven heavens of the cosmos can be perceived by looking into the elixir of immortality within this chalice, the Cup of Jamshid. The chalice is the symbol of the feminine sexual organs. The spear that pierced the side of Jesus, is the symbol of the phallus of the male sexual member. When Jesus was crucified, he physically lived this drama, to teach something symbolic. The cross that he died upon was a sexual symbol; referring to the vertical phallus, and the horizontal uterus, united. Through that power of God, one can die to one’s impurities. This is a painful process for the mind, the ego, but one that can be accomplished through spiritual works. The Cup of Jamshid is referring to that creative potential of God, in which, by looking into those energies that we cultivate through our matrimony, one can awaken one’s spiritual perception, to perceive the seven heavens. In Islam, they refer to seven heavens; you could also say the seven chakras of Hinduism, of the spine, but also seven dimensions, referring to the Tree of Life.
Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi states, in a very beautiful way, the nature of sexuality and how people view sex today, as well as though who knew the mysteries of sexuality, in its depth:
“If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see Allah in it. Those who are not in love with Allah will see only their own faces in it.”
The waters, again, refer to sexual energy, creative power. The Book of Genesis talks about the Genesiatic waters of life which give birth to the world; not a physical world, but our spiritual world, our spiritual life, through seven days, seven initiations, seven steps up that Tree of Life, which refer to the seven lower spheres of the Tree of Life itself, leading up towards the spirit.
If we drink water from a cup, if we learn to look at a matrimony in a divine sense, not just the union for physical pleasure, but to use that creative power for God, we can see God in that water. But, those who are impassioned by their own lust and desire, only see sex as something filthy, as impure, as something to satisfy carnal pleasure and not to cultivate a relationship with God, which is what Rumi is talking about.
Many famous philosophers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, author of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, knew this teaching of Alchemy. We included this image of the God Mercury holding the famous caduceus, upon which he awoke the dead souls of Limbo into a new life. Mercury is referring to the creative power of God, called the Holy Ghost. Mercury, as an Alchemical tradition, coming from the European and Middle Eastern traditions, is a symbol of the sexual power, which, if we cultivate within ourselves, can rise up our spine from the sexual organs, up to two energetic channels of the spine, represented by the famous glyph of Mercury, the two serpents rising up the spinal medulla. These have different names in different traditions.
This image refers to how that mercurial power can rise up within us and illuminate our mind. The famous halo of the saints is a representation of how those prophets took that power, conserved it, and raised it to the mind, in order to illuminate it. Likewise, we have this symbol of Halloween, in which the pumpkin gourd, which is the symbol of the mind, becomes purified, in order to be illuminated by a single candle. So, we must first purify our mind, we must remove the guck and filth from that gourd. When we say someone is out of their gourd, we are referring to the intellect, their mind. The gourd—when it is purified, when it is cleansed of its internal material elements, when we clean from its interior—in the tradition of Halloween, we place a candle inside, in order to illuminate. Therefore, that evening becomes hallowed, holy; the darkness of our spirituality has ended in which we are now resurrected into a new life.
Friedrich Nietzsche, who was very famous for saying in his book, "God is dead," knew this teaching very well. He said that the Judeo-Christian God is dead, meaning, that the anthropomorphic Jehovah that people worship does not exist; that God is not real. But, instead, the Superman, the super human being, the divine Logos, the divine creator-God, who is our own divinity, Mercury, exists. And, that we need to know how to worship that.
Nietzsche explains the following teaching, regarding Alchemy, and also Kabbalah and Psychology as well. This is an excerpt from a chapter called, “On the Rabble,” which I want to read for you in depth, due to its beautiful lyricism and depth. I will stop at periods to talk about some of the symbolism of his language.
"Life is a well of joy, but where the rabble also drinks, there all wells are poisoned."
The rabble are those who are base, egotistical, sinful, lustful, desirous.
"I appreciate all that is clean; but I do not like to see the grinning snouts of the unclean."
People who look at sexuality as something filthy, as something passionate and carnal.
"They cast their eyes into the well; now their disgusting smile reflects back up to me from the well."
What is a well? It is referring to our body: our body is the earth, and our creative seminal matter, the semen—whether in man or woman—the seminal fluids, are water. One can either look at that energy as something that can be used for carnal pleasure, or to converse and to use for God; to give birth to the spirit. We could say that this is the holy water; the holy waters by which we must become baptized, by transforming that energy into light, into fire, through specific practices of Tantra.
"They have poisoned the holy water with their lustfulness, and when they called their filthy dreams “pleasure,” they poisoned the language too."
The word pleasure, in Hebrew, is Eden. Eden is not a physical garden in the Middle East; it refers to the sexual bliss that a husband and wife cultivate when they are united. But the terrible part is that lust enters the mind, that serpentine power tempts us to use that energy in the wrong way, and not to conquer that serpent. That serpent, that power incites the couple to want to fornicate; meaning, to waste or expel that power in a moment of pleasure. The spiritual teachings of Alchemy teach us that, that serpent, if we step on its head and control it, can rise within our spine, as the serpentine power of God—when we refrain from the orgasm, when we refrain from that physical act of trying to engender a child, physically. Instead, we can converse that power to engender the spiritual child of Alchemy, the golden child of Christ, within us. Of course, we must control that serpent. "They have poisoned the holy water with their lustfulness," means they look at sex as something filthy, as carnal. "And, when they call their filthy dreams pleasure," meaning they took the language that we could describe sex, as something filthy and poisoned.
One thing I will mention is this excerpt from the book of Hebrews, which states, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." So, the bed undefiled, meaning, to not orgasm, to not spill that energy, which can be conserved and used for God. That energy can create, or it can destroy us. This is the power of Shiva-Shakti in Hinduism. Shiva-Shakti is the creator God and destroyer God. That energy can give life, or it can give death, in a spiritual sense.
"But what happened to me? How did I redeem myself from nausea?"
Meaning, this disgust with my everyday life; feeling that I am spiritually empty and looking for meaning.
"Who rejuvenated my eyes?"
My spiritual eyes, spiritual sight, which we open through myein: closing the eyes to delusion through meditation.
"How did I manage to fly to the height where no more rabble sits by the well?"
That height, the mountain in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, is emphasized many times. Where the fictional prophet, Zarathustra, narrated by Nietzsche, is on a mountain top. That mountain is the symbol of the superior worlds, the superior dimensions of the Tree of Life. If you ever dream of climbing a mountain, it is very good; meaning, you are entering the spiritual path, you are climbing that difficult path of the spinal column—up the 33 canyons, or vertebrae, of the spine, in order to raise that power of God back to its source. Which Nietzsche calls the feathered serpent, which the Aztecs called Quetzalcoatl, the Mayans Kukulkan, the serpent and the dove of Christianity.
"Did my nausea itself create wings for me and water-divining powers? Truly, into the highest regions I had to fly in order to rediscover the wellspring of pleasure again!"
This natural disgust one feels with the state of affairs of humanity is what helps us fly into the goldenness in order to discover God, to know God. What are these wings that emerge from water divining powers? These wings are the wing of Mercury we see upon his head, which in the Germanic myth we see as the Valkyries—the warrior women with the winged helmets, immortalized by Wagner. This is a symbol of when that energy rises to the brain, the centers of the mind are fully awakened, and the wings of the spirit are active, the eagle. Likewise, that is the wings of the Angel, the perfected human being. The waters, of course, is the creative powers which can give us access to the heights of God. And, "the highest regions I had to fly in order to rediscover the wellspring of pleasure again!"—that energy of the Holy Spirit comes from above, and descends down the Tree of Life, into our physical body, into our sexuality. Now, it is a matter of returning that energy back, inward and upward, to the source.
"Oh I found it, my brothers! Here in the highest regions the wellspring of pleasure gushes for me! And there is a life from which no rabble drinks! Almost too forcefully you flow, well of pleasure!"
Meaning, the well of Eden; the original, pristine, primordial consciousness humanity once shared with God in the past, but lost.
“And often you empty the cup again in wanting to fill it!...
…A summer in the highest regions with cold springs and blissful silence:”
Meaning, silence in meditation, in which we can talk with God directly.
“Oh come, my friends, and let the silence become even more blissful!
“For it is our height and our homeland; too high and steep we live here for all the unclean and their thirst."
People who are attached to lust and desire always want to satisfy that act, perpetually. They become depleted and exhausted. Their thirst is insatiable. The thirst of lust can only be conquered through comprehension, in which we attain the stillness of the waters of the mind, the heart and the sex. It is in that silence that we can really talk with God.
"Cast your pure eyes into the wellspring of pleasure, you friends! How could it become murky from that! It shall laugh back at you with its purity." –Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: On the Rabble
In the internal worlds, water is a symbol of creative energy and also the mind. When the waters are still, it means that the mind is silent, pristine, and it can reflect the heavenly images of God from above, the stars, which is the symbol of the divine as well.
We will touch upon psychology last. Psychology comes from the Greek:
Psyche – Logos. From Greek psyche (pskhe) meaning "soul," and Logos, the "principle governing the cosmos," the Word, God.
Plato talks about the Logos, or Absolute Good, which is God, Christ in Christian terms, which is not a person, but an energy.
True psychology is "the knowledge of the relationship of the soul with God," psyche and God. It is not just the study of the mind, though we do place great emphasis on the study of ourselves. Psychology, in these times, has become divorced of its spiritual roots. People think, in these times, psychology pertains to the study of the brain; ignoring that the physical brain is just a vehicle of mind, as we look back at that Tree of Life of the Kabbalah.
Sadly, psychology now is disoriented. They have accomplished many ways of treating certain illnesses, physically, and also psychologically, but sadly they ignore that real psychology, as taught in ancient schools, was the relationship of the soul with the divine, as represented by Cupid or Eros and Psyche, in the Greek myth. In the Greek myth, Psyche was asleep, and was awakened by Eros, Cupid, the God of Love. Eros is from where we get the word eroticism. It is a symbol of the Christic divine energy which is called the Holy Ghost by some, but it is also the divine power of God, which can awaken sleeping beauty. Again, sleeping beauty was awakened by a prince; the full potential of God in us can be awakened by the union of man and woman. Likewise, with divine eroticism, the soul awakens to its full potential. Psychology helps us to understand the inner obstacles in our mind and our heart and our body that prevent us from fully using those energies in an appropriate way, in a divine way.
Samael Aun Weor explains how psychology is practiced in modern times. He mentioned, emphatically, the need to study the original roots of the traditions. He states:
"Teachers of schools, colleges, and universities must profoundly study the revolutionary psychology taught by all the International Gnostic Movements; this psychology is a constant revolution and is radically different from anything previously known by this name."
Meaning, we must go into combat against our own inner afflictions, to face our own psychological causes of suffering and to change them.
"Undoubtedly, we can state, without fear of being mistaken, that in the course of the centuries that have preceded us since the profound night of all times, psychology has never fallen as low as is presently in this age of the “rebels without a cause,” “the little henchmen of rock’n’roll.
“Moreover, and to the breaking point of disgrace, the retarded and reactionary psychology of these modern times has lost its sense of being, and every direct contact with its true origin. Yes, in these times of sexual degeneration and total deterioration of the mind, not only is it impossible to accurately define the term “psychology,” but shockingly, the fundamental subjects of psychology are truly unknown." –Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
This is evidenced by the fact that psychology thinks that the mind is the brain—only. It ignores that the soul is beyond the mind, and that the mind uses the physical brain as a vehicle. So, we study not just physical psychology, but also spiritual psychology, which is the relationship of the soul with God, in all of its departments and qualities.
We only have to look at the news today today to see the widespread prostitution of humanity—and many of the crimes that it is committing—to understand that really, the psychology of our present humanity is very degenerated. It is divorced from divine principles. There is much good being performed by many, but, we see that there is a great trauma associated with our present state of being.
In order to rectify that, we look at the original roots of psychology, in order to change ourselves. Humanity always seeks to change things from the outside-in, ignoring that we can only change from the inside-out.
In this image, we have a temple that is in decrepitude, which we chose because it emphasizes how psychology used to be taught in the ancient schools, but was adulterated and lost by the mistaken interpretations of certain followers.
Psychology has ancient roots; it has been disguised in many teachings, many forms of literature, philosophy. Samael Aun Weor states:
"Those who mistakenly suppose that psychology is the most recent contemporary science are really misguided, because psychology is a very ancient science that has its origins in the old schools of archaic mysteries.
“It is impossible for the snob, the ultramodern swindler, the backward individual, to define the origin of that which is known as psychology, since it is obvious that psychology never existed under such a name—with the exception of this contemporary epoch. Why? Because for this or that reason, psychology was always suspected of subversive tendencies in religious or political matters, thus it was forced to be concealed by multiple disguises.
“Thus, since ancient times, on the different scenarios of the theaters of life, psychology has always played its role by being intelligently disguised with the costumes of philosophy." –Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
We can look to the writings of Dostoevsky, of Nietzsche, as well as Plato, the writings of Shakespeare, to find many psychological teachings. Many people study these writings for their depth; they convey many esoteric principles, of how to unite the soul with God. Many of these psychological teachings were hidden in a cryptic way, in some of our most venerated traditions, meant to be read by those who had an informed eye.
Samael Aun Weor explains that these traditions were integral. They were not separate. We included an image of a sacred dancer of the whirling Dervishes of the Middle East, whose dances represent cosmic principles. The whirling of Sufis, in gyration together, represent the navigation of the planets around the sun, and the cosmos. As Samael Aun Weor states, in the Fundamentals of Gnostic Education:
"Psychology was always connected to philosophy, to the authentic objective art, to science, and to religion in the ancient schools of mysteries from Greece, Egypt, Rome, India, Persia, Mexico, Peru, Assyria, Chaldea, etc. Yes, in those ancient times, psychology was cleverly hidden behind the graceful forms of sacred dancers or behind the enigma of cryptic hieroglyphs or beautiful sculptures, or in poetry or tragedy, and even within the delectable music of the temples.
“Indeed, before science, philosophy, art, and religion split asunder in order to subsist as independent parts, psychology reigned in all the very ancient schools of mysteries." --Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education:
This is because this is the fundamental science to help us understand ourselves; understand our inner obstacles that prevent illumination.
"When the Initiatic Colleges ceased to operate due to the Kali Yuga or the Dark Age in which we still live, psychology survived within the symbolism of several esoteric and pseudo-esoteric schools of this modern world, and especially within Gnostic esotericism.
"Profound analysis and in-depth investigation allows us to comprehend with complete meridian clarity that the different systems and psychological doctrines that existed in the past and that presently exist can be divided into two categories.
"First: The doctrines that are conceived such as many intellectuals suppose them to be. Modern psychology belongs, in fact, to this category.
"Second: The doctrines that study the human being from the point of view of the revolution of the consciousness." --Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education:
What is this revolution? Meaning, not to revolt against other people, but within, against ourselves. Fundamentally, in our root, our own defects prevent us from knowing God, as Arcanum 13 emphasizes; the ego must die, in order for the soul to resurrect. It is a fight, mentioned in Islam as Jihad, or mujahidah—which means to strive against the infidel, which is not outside, but within us.
"This second category truly contains the original and most ancient doctrines; only these doctrines allow us to comprehend the living origins of psychology and their profound significance." –Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
To conclude, we will emphasize all three sciences of Kabbalah, Alchemy and psychology, through scripture, and also the teachings of the 14th Dalai Lama, who is a great master of Buddhism and of Gnosis. We have, what we can call, three brains, three centers of activity—physiological and psychological. We have the physical brain or intellectual mind, we have the heart, the center of emotions, and we have our sexual organs. As I mentioned to you, that caduceus of Mercury, that image of the spinal column with the two serpents, represents the energies of Tantra which circulate through our body, mind and heart. So, the holy eight, the number 8, represents that continuum of forces within our psychology and body. Our mental health, our psychological well-being, our emotional well-being, pertains to how we use energy; how we direct it, conserve it and use it. This is why the Dalai Lama stated:
"In the view of Tantra, the body's vital energies are the vehicles of the mind. When the vital energies are pure and subtle, one's state of mind will be accordingly affected. By transforming these bodily energies we transform the state of consciousness."
So, pure psychology is based on how we use those energies for our inner God.
"It is vital to understand and develop the conviction that consciousness has the potential to increase to an infinite degree." –The 14th Dalai Lama
Lastly, we will conclude with the teachings from the gospel of Mark, when a lawyer of Israel was tempting Jesus to explain the commandments. In the first commandment, Jesus answered, in order to explain the nature of Kabbalah, Alchemy and Psychology:
“The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: Jehovah God, Jehovah Elohim is one;"
Which is the famous declaration of witnessing in Judaism, in which they close their eyes and say, "Shema Y'Israel Iod-Havah Eloheinu Iod-Havah Ecḥad" meaning the following statement given by Jesus. They say Adonai, which means Lord, but the real translation of the original Hebrew is Jehovah-Elohim. They close their eyes because they are showing humility before the divine, to not look directly at God; because, to do so, is to be obliterated; such is the intensity of that power.
"…and you shall love Jehovah Elohim your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength."
So, what is this heart? It is our emotional center. Likewise, our soul is our willpower, our human soul. Or, our mind, our intellect. Likewise, all of our strength, is our sexual power. That forms the continuum that unites us with God. When we use our energies, and use them completely for our divine being, we truly love God with all of our soul. We cannot love God just with our mind and heart... as the Catholics say, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." In doing so, they cross themselves from the head, to the heart, and then from their left to right shoulders; ignoring the sexual energy, the Holy Ghost. So, they do not worship the Third Logos, which is another name for the Holy Spirit.
Instead, the Gnostic Christians, we cross ourselves from our head, to the heart, to our sexual organs, and then to the shoulders, because we are blessing ourselves in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the sex. The father in the head; the Son, Christ, in the heart; and, the Holy Spirit in our sexual organs. Then, we raise that up to our heart, to illuminate our soul. These are forces, not people.
"The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." – Mark 12:28-34
We first love our God by using our forces, psychologically speaking, for God. Then, we love our neighbor as ourselves; we extend that compassion to others.
In synthesis, as we are going to explain in the coming weeks, in the other pillars, gnostic science is the union of Hebraic Kabbalah, Egyptian Alchemy or Middle Eastern Alchemy, as well Greek dialectics. These teachings are three aspects of one thing, which we study in depth, and also separately.
Questions and Answers
Audience: The word apocalypse, in Greek, means the unveiling of truth?
Audience: So, what is your take on what is going on... are people awakening?
Instructor: Unveiling is a direct, conscious endeavor. As you saw from the first graphic, "I am the one who has been, is and will be, and no mortal has lifted my veil." To unveil the truth, is to remove the coverings of our own spiritual perception, our own ignorance. The apocalypse refers to the tremendous death and revolution of our defects, in order to awaken to the full potentiality of the soul.
The Apocalypse, written by John, is very Kabbalistic, very abstract. It refers to certain future events that will happen, but in a symbolic way; not literal, as many Christians try to interpret. They try to read that scripture without knowing Kabbalah, which is like trying to read Shakespeare without knowing English. It's gibberish. But, if you know the symbolic language of God, then you will understand it, that it is something psychological. We will have a course on the Book of Revelation at some point. You can also read The Aquarian Message by Samael Aun Weor.
But, the unveiling is precisely the direct work with the divine feminine, our inner Goddess, our Divine Mother. She has a veil over her face, like the famous Burkhas of the Middle East, which is a symbol of how those women, not just of modesty, but the veiling of Isis, which only the husband can unveil, in Middle Eastern culture. Unveiling is precisely what we are trying to do, practically speaking. But, people, in terms of awakening to those truths, as a humanity, we see that humanity is not awakening in a positive sense, but is realizing the fruits of having eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, from the evil side. People are becoming more aware of the evil they have inside, as we look at humanity.
If we know how to work practically with gnostic science—Kabbalah, Alchemy, and psychology—we can awaken in a positive way. Meaning, removing the conditions of the mind, and developing the full potentiality of the soul.
Audience: You talked about the base on the Tree of Life, is that the same base that they talk about in Freemasonry, when they talk about the base of consciousness?
Instructor: Yeah. We say that, in Kabbalah, the basis is Yesod. Yesod, in Hebrew, means foundation, represented in the Tree of Life, as I am going to show you. Yesod is on the middle pillar, the middle path. Our physical body is tetra-dimensional. Our physical body exists in this three-dimensional plane, but there is a fourth dimensional component, represented by Yesod. The physical body is the 3rd dimension; our vital body, our vital energies is Yesod, the 4th dimension, in which we gain all our vitality, and all of the other spheres of the Tree of Life can move and exist through us, integrally, as a result of that energy, that vital force.
The sephiroth, or spheres in other words, of the Kabbalah, are not something distinct and separate from one another. They are all integrated, they flow, they exist here and now, all together. We say that, in a moment, we can experience thought, feeling and sensations, simultaneously; although, with the predisposition towards one sense of thought, or emotion, or the other. But, the foundation of Freemasonry is Yesod, the vital power.
As Jesus taught, the foundation of our spirituality is to love God with all thy strength. That sexual power is the stone of the temple; how we use that energy determines our spirituality. As "the stone that the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner" according to the gospel. "Is it not marvelous in our eyes?"
So, Yesod is that foundation stone of our spirituality. This temple is the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, represented in Freemasonry by the two pillars. On the right you have Jachin, and on the left you have Boaz. In the middle you the spinal column.
Audience: Zarathustra, is that the same as Zoroaster?
Instructor: Yes. Nietzsche gave a fictional retelling of that prophet.
Audience: Zoroaster, is that a prophet?
Instructor: Yes, he is a great master.
Audience: Of Zoroastrianism?
Audience: Is Zoroastrianism a true esoteric doctrine?
Instructor: Yes, and Nietzsche really venerated the Middle Eastern doctrine.
Audience: Do you get into hermeticism?
Instructor: Yes.. I haven’t really talked about this, in terms of Tantra and psychology; but, this is hermetic science. Hermes is the doctrine of sealing one’s energies, not wasting them, not expelling them.
Audience: The Torah and Tarot as words have the same base?
Instructor: Yes, and the Torah means, law. Likewise, Arcana means laws.
Audience: Ok. So, it sounds to me like everything is symbolism. That way that it’s coming across is that there virtually is nothing that isn't symbolism.
Instructor: Yes, and again, the Tree of Life is a symbol, for realities. The reality is one thing, but the symbol is a language to help us to understand the different religions. All the religions are symbolic.
Audience: The last thing is, there is a movie called 39 Steps, by Hitchcock. And, at the end of the movie there is a man called Mr. Memory, who winds up being shot. Mr. Memory, all he does, is memorize facts. When he's shot and he's dying, it reminds me of when you were talking about having intellectual knowledge without understanding the inner truth of the thing.
Instructor: This knowledge, intellectually, is useful—when we apply it. Which is why, in the literature that we have available, we have many exercises that help us to put it into practice.
Audience: Solomon, doesn't that mean Sun and Moon?
Instructor: Shalomon comes from Shalom, which means peace. Shaloma, Solomon is the king of peace. In Arabic, it is Salam. You could also say Salo-man, the solar man. So, the man is represented by the moon, and the soul, that is fully developed, is the Christic, divine Logos of Plato, represented by Tiphereth, which is where the top trinity finds its center, as we see in this image. Father, Son, Holy Spirit have their center of gravity in the heart, Tiphereth, willpower.
Solomon was a master, physically, who existed in ancient times. But, he also represents a stage of initiation or development that is very high. Someone who has achieved that state that we call resurrection, in which the soul is fully purified. There are no defects. You can look at the demarcation of stages of mastery, spiritual beings, such as through the three magi that visited Jesus; the black king, the white king and the yellow king. The black king is a master or being who is developed, spiritually, but has ego, a lot it; therefore, his soul is black—this is represented by King Saul in the old testament. King David is the white king; he is a master who has a very pure soul, transmits a lot of light. As the Torah says, Saul killed his 1000 enemies, but King David killed his 10,000, referring to the multiplicity of defects one has inside, the enemies of Israel, the enemies of God—our pride, vanity, lust, etc. You could say that king Saul killed a lot of defects, to become a king, a spiritual king, but king David killed 10,000; meaning, he is a very high master. 10 refers to the 10 spheres of the Tree of Life; he has fully manifested and realized that.
Audience: Solomon in Arabic, was a conqueror the Iberian peninsula?
Instructor: There is a lot of history associated with the Middle East which I investigate, but one thing is history, another thing is the teaching they gave; that is something else. One must be informed about history, it's important. Sadly, a lot of professors of universities studied historical material aspect, and they don't know the symbolism of that teaching. Which means, the intellect is very fat, but emotionally, spiritually, they are dead. We balance both, we study both.
Audience: You spoke about magicians, but what about sorcerers, will you get into that at all?
Instructor: There is positive magic and black magic. A white magician is a being who, following Kabbalah, Alchemy and Psychology—is someone who does the will of God, for the benefit of others. So, love thy God with all thy heart, soul and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself. To serve God within one’s very being and consciousness, for the benefit of humanity. That is a white magician. Someone who uses the power of God, selflessly, for the benefit of humanity, for others.
A black magician is someone who develops power within the mind, meaning: desire, hate, anger, pride, fear, defects. They have many powers, as mentioned in the Old Testament, and many other scriptures, where they have power over matter and certain abilities. But, sadly, it is subjective and limited. They have power in hell; hell as a state of mind, ego, defects, but also, the inferior dimensions of nature, which we access when we have nightmares. Nightmares are real places, different dimensions of the mind and nature, which exist in the subtle forms. Black magicians have power in hell. But, God has power in heaven, hell and beyond. Therefore, a white magician transcends physicality and even heaven; this Tree of Life. Beyond the Tree of Life is the origin, we call it the Absolute, represented in Kabbalah with different names—as the Ain, Ain Soph and Ain Soph Aur. A white magician is in principle a being who fears God, and only does the will of God. So, Jesus is a great magician; he healed many sick persons, he had power to illuminate others and help others.
Audience: Weren't the magi Zoroastrians?
Instructor: Historically, yes. They were Parsis. Parsi means worshipper of fire. Jesus is the lord of fire. If you look at the inscription at the name of Jesus: I.N.R.I—which you could say is Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum, when he was crucified. It also translates in Latin as Ignis Natura Renovata Integra: meaning, ‘Fire renews nature incessantly.’ The teachings of Paul of Tarsus say that ‘our God is a consuming fire.’ So, it is an energy, which manifests in our mind, our heart, but more importantly, in the sexual energy; which, if we use that fire for God, can help us when we are working in a marriage, by working with the cross. We follow Via Dela Rosa, the path of pain; the ego suffers, but the soul is rejuvenated, in order to raise that energy up the spine, to the brain. Golgotha, in Hebrew, means ‘place of the skull’; in which the skull becomes illuminated with light and fire, and that is the path that Jesus taught, through his physical life. He was a radical master to physically teach that; it was a very great sacrifice that he made.
A white magician is a being who follows that path. A black magician is another thing; and there are many of them in these times.
Audience: And they're the ones running the world?
Instructor: Oh yeah, they're in politics. There are many famous celebrities that are awakened in evil, it is very common.
Audience: They know how the psychology works?
Instructor: Yes, and they have power because they know how to manipulate people. Samael Aun Weor says that they are more common than weeds; they are abundant everywhere. If you look at places like Haiti, and whole countries like Columbia, North America has a lot of them... they are not just isolated to one place. This whole planet is filled with many of these beings.
Audience: Is the suggestion not to pay attention to them?
Instructor: Yes. You have to not be identified with black magicians, because that is how they steal your energy.
Audience: I mean, the politicians.
Instructor: Yeah, I look at the news sometimes, to see what's going on, but I just look back at the book of Revelation and see that the time of this humanity is near its end. You just look at the facts of the wars, the chaos going on, yeah... it is reaching its culmination. I personally dedicate myself more to meditating, to changing what I can change, and to not worry about the rest. I can't change the politicians, or do anything about them; even the prophets like Jesus and Buddha, who changed many, even they were crucified, poisoned, etc. So, what can we do? As Samael Aun Weor said, save the hat from the drowning man, which is the sad reality. Save yourself, then try to help others; that is how we can make any effective change, in other people.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Fundamentals of Gnosticism, originally given live at the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy.
We are initiating a new course on the fundamentals of the gnostic teachings; the basis upon which the ancient schools of Mysteries—whether from Greece, from Rome, from Asia, the Middle East—have developed. We will be examining not only the fundamental root from which these traditions have sprung, but also the heart teaching which they contain.
Gnosticism, coming from the Greek work gnosis, signifies conscious knowledge, experiential wisdom; truth that we verify from our actions, from our works. It has nothing to do with theory, scholasticism, or something to debate for or against. It instead pertains to the very intimate and profound matter of uniting the soul with divinity; regardless of the name, the definitions, the language that we use.
However, this type of experiential knowledge is universal, and has been manifested in different teachings, different faiths, different religions. It has been manifested through the lives of the great prophets, whom we seek to emulate and to fulfill the code of conduct that they have established, for those who seek to unite with the truth.
So, gnosis is defined as that very profound relationship that we acquire, when we know how to awaken our consciousness to develop our full divine potential. It is to access, from an experiential basis, the truths contained within religion, within the different symbols of the scriptures, the different writings as relayed by the great masters of humanity.
We have included in this image a very famous temple from Delphi, on which we find the maxim, "Homo Nosce Te Ipsum," meaning: “Man, know thyself and you will know the universe and its Gods.” It is precisely by knowing who we are, and knowing our full capacity, that we can truly speak face to face with the divine, with God, with Brahma, Allah, Christ... whatever name we give to that truth. We must develop this introspection within ourselves if we want to seek to understand who we are as a soul, as a body and as a spirit, as a terrestrial vehicle, as an energetic quality, and as a divine being.
And so, we're going to examine the foundations upon which the prophets gave their knowledge. Not only as an experiential wisdom, but as what we can interpret from the different traditions that they left behind. But, of course, we want to verify the truths for ourselves, based on facts. As the founder of the modern gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated:
“Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.” -The Revolution of the Dialectic
This is a very essential thing to think about, to comprehend in ourselves. We make a very fine distinction between belief and faith: belief and conscious knowledge. It is one thing to think, to feel, that something is true. It is a completely different thing to know it is true.
We state in this teaching that one who has genuine faith has no need to belief in anything. Faith is conscious perception; faith is conscious wisdom. The word wisdom is precisely "vis-dom": the power to perceive. It is from where we get the word vision, perception. Likewise, it is the root of the word kingdom, which is precisely referenced in the Gospels. We seek to understand the Kingdom of Heaven, which is a state of being, a quality of consciousness that we need to learn how to verify. When we truly speak face to face with those divine masters—whether in the dream state, or meditation—then we have verification, we know, we have faith that is the rock; it cannot be swayed, cannot be shaken, cannot be diverted. We know the truth, and the truth will set us free; as stated in the Gospel of John.
We must reflect upon what in us is factual. What do we perceive factually in ourselves? Fundamentally, in terms of psychological studies, we seek to verify and establish facts as to who we are. We cannot believe that we are a specific way, that we are a certain type of person. We have many beliefs about who we are as an individual: meaning, our name, our language, our culture, the place we grew up, our history. We know from these studies that these things are temporal: they are born in time, they die in time. But, that which is eternal, that which is the truth, is beyond language, beyond names, beyond our personality, beyond our habits. We will talk more about the specifics of the nature of psychology within this course, how the ancients studied the science of understanding the mind, and what the mind is, what the soul is, what consciousness is. But, fundamentally, we want to know the facts of who we are, and why we suffer.
If our departure point into any type of mystical study is not based up this reflection of understanding the causes of suffering in ourselves, we are wasting time. If we want to know how to unite with the truth, to know the truth, to have conscious knowledge, we have to understand what in us prevents us from knowing that truth. For, as the Sufis state, “He who knows himself, knows his Lord.” If we do not know the Lord, it means that we do not know ourselves.
Obviously, if there are certain obscurations within our experience; if we do not directly know God, we have to verify and understand what in us is preventing the access to that truth, and to have that confrontation within ourselves. Therefore, even if we genuinely adopt a religion or tradition, no matter how noble our aspirations, we have to be scientific, we have to be concrete. We have to examine what in us is preventing us from realizing the truth. We cannot be living in fantasies about the way the world is, or who we are. Once we gain access to conscious knowledge of the divine within us, then we develop the genuine qualities of the soul: peace, virtue, serenity, faith, insight into the nature of our deepest problems; wisdom, patience, conscious love for humanity. These are the natural qualities of the soul. These are the natural qualities of God, which we can access in ourselves, here and now.
If we look at the facts of our life, we see that humanity has truly precipitated itself towards destruction. We have to analyze: how do we contribute to that suffering? How do we contribute to the world’s problem? The exterior world is a reflection of the interior world. We are a part of this chaotic humanity. Being factual and scientific means to look within ourselves and ask, "How do I contribute to the suffering of humanity? How do I suffer and why? What do I need to change in myself to stop suffering?" God does not suffer like us. The Being is plentitude. The Spirit, the truth is genuine peace of mind; it is the life that vibrates within every atom, within every galaxy, within every cosmos.
We need to reflect that truth, like in this image: as the serene waters of the mind, or the lake of understanding, can reflect the images of God. The mountain is a symbol within esoteric literature, representing the path itself. It is the path that leads from this valley of tears, to the heights, the Empyrean, the truth absolute. The highest regions and aspects of understanding that we are capable of.
We will talk about this image of the mountain in relation to the traditions of alchemy, and in relation to some of the ancient philosophical schools. But, I wanted to include this image because it is the arduous path: a mountain. It is rigorous, enlivening and profound.
The Secret Teachings of All Ages
So, this path of self-knowledge, this self-exploration, this seeking of understanding who we are, has been given different names. Gnosis is Greek, but, this teaching has existed on every continent, amongst every people and in diverse forms. There are many synonyms for the word Gnosis (knowledge), in which different prophets and teachers have expressed this truth, in accordance with their idiosyncrasy, the language, the customs of the particular people whom they were teaching.
Amongst the Hindus, the yogis of India, they studied Jnana: Jnana Yoga. Jnana means "knowledge." Notice the prefix "Jn" has the same pronunciation as "Gnosis": the N sound, as you would pronounce it in Spanish. Da’ath, in Hebrew, is the mystical teachings of Judaism; it is the full expression of the wisdom of Moses, and the kabbalistic masters who taught the sciences of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. We will elaborate upon this as the foundation of this tradition.
This teaching has also been known as "Dharma." Dharma, in Sanskrit, means "law, commandment, instruction." The Buddha taught that the one who follows the law of the Dharma, is one who refines his or her conduct, his or her quality of mind, and who understands the causes of suffering within him or herself. If we remember the Four Noble Truths that he taught, within the first turning of the Dharma wheel, he states that in life there is suffering: the first truth. The second truth: suffering has causes. Likewise, the third truth: there exists the cessation of the causes of suffering, meaning, the end of those points, qualities and psychological aspects of ourselves that create our experience of suffering. The fourth truth: there is a path upon which one walks towards the cessation of suffering, the equanimity of mind. This is symbolized by the serene lake which can reflect the heavenly images of Nirvana. Nirvana means "cessation of suffering." It is referred to as a place in dimensionality, but also a quality of being, which is our primary focus.
The teachings of Gnosis have also been known as the Torah. Torah means "law." It is from where we get the word Tarot. The Tarot are those cards and symbols associated with the mysteries of Egypt. The wisdom of Israel and the teachings of the Egyptian mystics are integrally related. Torah, Tarot; this knowledge was given by an Angel by the name of Metatron, a very high master who gave unto the Jewish people the 22 Hebraic letters of the kabbalistic alphabet. The language of Kabbalah, the mystical science of Judaism, is a highly symbolic teaching. Each letter represents a number. Each letter represents a quality of consciousness.
Not only Hebrew, but many other languages are sacred; Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Arabic... Hebrew and Arabic are very intimately related. The wisdom of the Middle East is known as Marifah. Another word of Marifah is "Ilm."
In Gnosis, we study these languages in synthesis. We do not need to be an expert in all of them, but we do study certain aspects of language, to understand conscious qualities of perception.
Here we have five images from the different traditions. We have the Tree of Life, or better said, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil of the Judeo-Christian tradition. We have the image of Christ who embodied the prophets and the Law. Likewise, we have Krishna teaching his divine precepts to Arjuna, through the Bhagavad Gita: the Song of the Lord. Likewise, we have the image of Milarepa; a great Tibetan saint and yogi who taught the path of meditation. Lastly, we have the image of the Prophet Muhammed, riding the mystical create Al-Buraq, which in Arabic symbolizes “the lightning,” the creative energy of God within our body and psyche.
I am going to elaborate on a few scriptural teachings from these faiths, to point towards the unanimity of this knowledge; their integrity, their relationship. That these traditions really are not separate: they are united. They all emphasize the need to know ourselves, to gain self-knowledge. To really analyze our problems and what causes them, from a psychological and spiritual perspective.
In relation to the Hindu tradition, we have a very beautiful scripture called the Bhagavad Gita. This excerpt is from chapter four, verses 36-37, in which Krishna—the embodiment of the divine, whom we could also call the Christ, gave the secret teachings as expressed in the Hindu tradition. Christ is an energy; it can be particularized and manifested within any individual who has been properly prepared. All these masters, whether Milarepa, Muhammed, Jesus, Krishna... they all embodied that principle. Although that light, that knowledge was given different names, divinity is one. The Bhagavad Gita emphasizes how to know Krishna fully, for Arjuna (the soul, the warrior) who must learn to combat against him or herself, must overcome his own errors, his own faults, so as to unite with divinity. Krishna states:
"Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.
“As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities." –Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, Verses 36-37
Karma is the Sanskrit word meaning cause and effect. Buddhism and Hinduism study this in depth. In the Bible it says, “you will reap what you sow”; meaning, our actions produce the fruits of suffering. So, we have to analyze this psychological relationship of cause and effect, as it relates from our interior world to the exterior world.
This type of knowledge is not theoretical. It is not conceptual. It is directly conscious and cognizant. Understanding how we cause pain upon others or within ourselves is an observable fact. It is something that we have to verify through consciousness, through observation of ourselves. It is not an intellectual exercise. We might make a mistake and perhaps say something that is negative towards another person, we may cause harm with our words or our speech, and afterwards we may have a sense of regret. Intellectually, we may know that such an action was wrong. Likewise, if we observe an alcoholic, or a drug addict, somebody that is addicted to a certain vice, they may intellectually understand that what they do is wrong, but they still repeat the same mistake. This shows a vast disparity between intellectual knowledge and conscious knowledge. That alcoholic knows intellectually from AA or some other group, that certain behaviors are negative, and yet fails to be cognizant of the effects of that destructive habit. Likewise, with many other actions, which certain religions and faiths, teach us. We have to be very sincere, analyzing our actions, analyzing our mind, our heart, our body. We must not simply leave this type of teaching to the intellect.
Milarepa gave a very power teaching about the nature of true realization. He uses the word Dharma, which we can say is the gnostic teaching, the conscious wisdom that we seek to utilize to develop genuine peace. He stated:
"Those who practice the Dharma with their mouths
“Talk much and seem to know much teaching,
“But when the time comes for the perceived to leave the deadened body,
“The mouth-bound teacher into space is thrown."
Meaning, to be born again into a new life, in accordance with the doctrine of transmigration: the soul leaving its physical, corporeal form, in order to enter into different bodies. This is a teaching that was extirpated from the Christian Bible. It is hinted at by the experience of Christ rejecting demons from the body of an insane man. And, those evils demon qualities that possessed this man, had entered into the bodies of pigs, if you remember the story from the Gospels.
"When the clear light shines (the clear light of Divinity) it is cloaked by blindness."
Meaning, that light is within us, but we are not aware it, we are not cognizant of it; we do not perceive it factually. We are blind, spiritually, like the myth of Samson, blinded by the Philistines through the deception of Delilah.
"The chance to see the Dharmakaya (Dharma means truth; Kaya means body. Dharmakaya is the vehicle of the truth; it is the highest aspect of divinity that we can access) at the time of death
“Is lost through fear and confusion."
Meaning, a mind that has not been trained for it to be perceptive, conscious and awake at all times. Even though one spends their life in studying the cannon (the scriptures of whatever teaching we follow), it does not help the consciousness at the moment of death: departure from the body.
Having intellectual knowledge from a book, from a scripture, from a lecture is useful, so long as we apply it to our life. That is a fundamental principle that we need to become aware of—factually. Knowledge that we study and that we do not become conscious of, in this life, when we physically die, we will not retain. The soul that has not been trained, psychologically speaking, to be awake, will not be aware of the process of death and the transition of the soul into a new stage of development.
Milarepa warned that people who study Buddhism, or any gnostic teaching, have to be very practical. We must apply what we read, apply what we know. We can say that one should read less, but instead practice more. In this tradition, we have many exercises that we engage with to be practical, to verify, to test and to know.
This type of knowledge was known as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life, in the Judeo-Christian Bible. We have in the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verses 9, and 16-17, the scriptural emphasis of the nature of spiritual knowledge. From the Jewish tradition, we have the following scripture:
"And out of the ground made (Jehovah Elohim) the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life (Otz Chayim, "Tree of Lives") also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."
Otz (tree) Ha-Daath (knowledge) Tob (purity, truth, goodness) Ve (and) Ra (evil, sin, wrongness).
The Tree of Life is a symbol which we are going to examine in this lecture. It is a symbol of the complete human being, made into the image of the divine. The Tree of Knowledge is a symbol of how we use our creative energy. I mentioned how, psychologically, we need to train ourselves: our mind, our heart, to not act from egotistical impulses. To not think harm, to not feel harm, to not act in wrong ways. This is Dharma; this is knowledge, truth, instruction. This is where we learn to not speak evil, to not be sarcastic to others; because that is a form of violence, mentally, psychologically speaking. Likewise, we learn to be highly observant, to conserve our energy: mental, emotional, physical, as well as instinctual and sexual. We must learn how to use energy in accordance with the will of God within us. Energy is simply force; it can be used for good or evil.
The Tree of Knowledge is a symbol of our creative potential, which is known by different names in different traditions, but we can refer to it as the creative sexual energy. The energy of sex can create life, spiritually, as we mentioned previously. It can give birth to a physical child. Or, that energy, when harnessed within our meditation practice, can empower our psyche, our Spirit. It can create physical life, but it can also create spiritual life. That is why we learn to conserve all our forces: physical, emotional, mental, psychic, sexual, vital, etc., etc. The problem, represented in the book of Genesis, is a symbol of ancient humanity that had known this teaching, but that had abused that wisdom. Where people learn to take the forces given to them by God, and to use them for evil things; to use them for evil will. That evil will we can call "self-will." Our will, our tendencies, impulses, tend to be selfish; if we are honest and examine our mind on a moment to moment basis.
Also, the famous prayer, the Pater Noster, states: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Meaning, not our will, but the divine will. We have to learn how to do the will of the divine being within us, here and now. That means, “to love thy God with all thy heart, all thy mind, all thy soul, all thy strength,” as Jesus taught. “And, thy neighbor as thyself.” By learning to fulfill that precept, we in turn develop compassion for others. We also learn to conserve energy: we learn not waste it. As a result of wasting energy all day, we have no fuel with which to be spiritual. Our spirituality is based on how we use energy, on facts, on clear, documentable behavior. That is why, whether it is known as Gnosis, Dharma, Torah... these are instructions, codes of conduct that teach the soul how to behave. We don't follow these instructions merely because one should follow one’s teacher, one’s tradition, out of blind obedience, to be someone because someone said so. Instead, it is a conscious wisdom that we gain when we see how positive action produces positive results. Whereas, negative actions produce its consequences.
So, the Tree of Knowledge is precisely that energy potential that we carry within our body. It can be used for God or for evil. Of course, our humanity ate that forbidden fruit. It is not a literal tree: it is a symbol of how we can abuse those forces, and have created our own egotistical self-will, which has obscured the divine self.
This is why Jehovah Elohim, the Lord, commanded the man, saying:
"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." —Genesis 2: 16-17
This is not a physical death: this is spiritual death.
People continue to this day and age eating the forbidden fruit, wasting their energy, expelling it, and indulging in fruitless activities that invest so much energy and attention, that leave one drained, psychologically and physically. Therefore, what power does one have left to connect with the truth? If there is no energy, if there is no fuel, the car cannot drive. The mind, the heart, the body: these are vehicles that can express the full potential of the soul. But, if we do not know how to give our vehicle—our body, our heart, our mind—good fuel, we will languish, spiritually.
Jesus built off the teachings, being the representation of the highest divine principle that we can access, known as Christ. Christ, through Jesus of Nazareth, taught the following truth to the disbelievers of his time, the Jewish Pharisees and Sadducees—people that believe that they are very spiritual because they've read the Torah, read scripture, read books, and yet, psychologically speaking, they are full of many vices. They may teach to large congregations of people, and yet be truly negative, psychologically speaking. People who preach, but do not practice.
Every tradition, every faith, has these types of individuals. We find this in all schools, in all types of teaching. People may have this kind of knowledge, but they do not fulfill the commandments, personally. This is why Jesus taught the following about the need to follow the Dharma, the Torah, from one’s heart:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
The law of cause and effect, karma, is: you reap what you sow.
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (of the law, the Torah, the physical scriptures), ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." —Matthew, chapter 5, verses 17-20
We include this image of Jesus with the sacred heart, enclosed with a crown of thorns and the cross of light and fire. The following Jewish scripture from the Psalms, Chapter 40, verse 8:
"I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."
The law means, "Torah." David, in the Psalms, was teaching that one has to incarnate that truth by following the law within one’s very being, within one’s very consciousness. And, that intellectual study, divorced of any spiritual discipline or practice, is fruitless. We must embody the law of the prophets in our heart.
We also included an image of the Prophet Muhammed, which we recently discussed in a course on Sufism, entitled The Sufi Path of Self-Knowledge. Prophet Muhammed demonstrated with his life and symbolized through his actions the path that the soul takes to unite with the divine, which constitute the essence of the beautiful teachings of the Middle-East.
You see in this image that he is surrounded by fire; his face is veiled: meaning, the divine truth and states that he accessed and that we need to develop within ourselves are veiled from our physical senses. But, if we know how to work consciously, we can tear that veil: the veil of Isis, mentioned in Theosophy. Fire is the creative energy that he has fully manifested and incarnated. It is that energy of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which can illuminate our mind, our body, our heart. That mystical animal, "Al-Buraq," which in Arabic means, "the lightning," is the creative potential of God, in our body. We can raise that energy up the spine to the mind, the brain, to illuminate our intellect with fire. Some people call this energy Kundalini; the serpent power of the divine; the serpentine force; the Divine Mother; or the energy of Jehovah Elohim, in Hebrew. He had fully developed that energy to rise to the superior worlds, the superior states of being.
The Muslims have a very profound psychological teaching in their scriptures. Which is why in the Qur’an, in Sura 6, verse 91, God Most High says:
"They have not estimated God as he deserves to be estimated."
And in the book, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism, Al-Qusharyi explains the following:
"It is written in commentaries on this verse that it means, “they have not known God as He deserves to be known” (6:91).
In this scripture, he also explains the nature of Marifah. I would like to read a brief excerpt from this book of his, which explains the nature of conscious knowledge.
“In the usage of the scholars, ma'rifa is 'ilm (knowledge). Thus in their opinion all 'ilm is ma'rifa, all ma'rifa is 'ilm, and everyone who is 'alim (knowledgeable) with respect to God is an 'arif (gnostic) and vice versa.” –Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, what is a real gnostic? A real spiritual person? One who has fully acquired self-knowledge of the divine. There is no individual self; there is only the Lord. There is only the Being, the truth. There is no "me," there is no "I," there is only Him. That conscious quality of God is limitless, as we were teaching previously.
“But among the Sufis, Marifah is the attribute of one who knows God (may He be exalted) by His names and His attributes, and is truthful toward God by his deeds.” –Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Again, the need to be basing our spiritual life on action, on facts…
“…who then purifies himself of base qualities and defects, who stands long at the door and who withdraws his heart continually from worldy affairs.” –Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, the door of knowledge, refers to the dervishes, the whirling dervishes of Turkey, as well as the Sufis from the tradition of Rumi. A dervish, a darvish is a poor person, a fakir: someone who stands at the door, waiting for alms. Likewise, we need to stand at the door of knowledge. Not intellectual knowledge, but the door that leads to the temple of our Inner God, which is within us. To recognize our poverty, so that we can be enriched by that truth).
Likewise, the Sufi Master, Abu Ali Al-Daqqaq states the following in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Qushayri, about the nature of one’s consciousness or cognizance of God:
God Most High says, "They have not estimated God as He deserves to be estimated" It is written in commentaries on this verse that it means "They have not known God as He deserves to be known." "One of the signs of Gnosis is the attainment of awe. For one whose Gnosis increases, awe of God increases." –Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
He also stated:
"Gnosis brings about utter tranquility to the heart, just as knowledge brings about peacefulness. So, for one whose Gnosis increases, tranquility increases." –Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is a very important teaching. It is very profound, because if we lack peace in our lives, it is because we do not know God. The more we know God, the more peace we acquire; the more serenity; the more faith; the more understanding of how to live, day by day, moment by moment, not for our own well-being, but for the benefit of others. This is the fundamentals of gnosis: we live to benefit others. To let our own inner divinity be the one who guides us, as to how we manage our daily life, in accordance with the law, the Torah, the Dharma.
The Levels of Spiritual Teaching
In speaking about the fundamentals of gnosis, we emphasis that there are three aspects of teaching. There is an introductory level; there is an intermediate level; and there is an advanced level.
In relation to this demarcation between stages of knowledge, we've included this image by an alchemical author and writer by the name of Heinrech Khunrath. The image is from his Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae, "The Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom." It is a very powerful image that conveys a very profound psychological and spiritual truth.
In relation to the three stages of religion or tradition, we explain that there are forms of knowledge, forms of wisdom and forms of understanding. It is important to know where we are at in the present moment, so that we learn how to enter the higher stages of mystical teaching.
The introductory level of any religion is the exoteric doctrine; it is the body of the teaching. In Judaism, the body of the teaching is known as the Torah, the Law. So, everything that we have been explaining in relation to self-conduct, conscious management of our psyche, our mind, our impulses, our desires, etc., that in itself constitutes the Torah, the Dharma, the law. We begin with the exoteric doctrine; first, by learning to receive teachings, whether from a lecture or a book, as "Shravakas." A Shravaka is someone who listens, in Buddhism. It is from the Sansrkit, "Shravaka," to hear. This constitutes the "Shravakayana," which means the path, the vehicle through which one listens to knowledge: Yana (vehicle), Shravaka (listener).
In the beginning, we have to listen. It begins by learning to listen physically, but more importantly, to listen spiritually, to the truth, to the word of the divine. That is something experiential, something that we can access through our practice, our meditation exercises, our astral projection exercises, our dream yoga practices and methods that we fulfill in this teaching. To learn how to listen to the truth does not mean to just listen to a lecture; it means to hear and to communicate face to face with the divine, from experience.
The intermediate path is the mesoteric doctrine; we call this the "soul" of any religion. In Judaism, this is known as the Talmud, in terms of scripture. There are certain scriptures that relate to levels of knowledge, in terms of complexity and profundity. The soul of Judaism is the Talmud, which is more of the philosophical discourses, given by Jewish tradition.
Likewise, we have the advanced teaching, which is the esoteric, the Spirit of any doctrine. In Judaism, the scripture associated with this level is known as the Zohar: a very complex, dense and rich teaching. If you learn to meditate on that scriptural knowledge, and become conscious of it, one will in-turn enter into the profound regions of the consciousness, known as the different dimensions of the Tree of Life, which we will be looking at shortly.
We see this demarcation between the introductory, intermediate and advanced stages in this image. This is a symbol of how the soul, how the individual seeks to know the heart of all things. In the center of this image, we have a castle, a palace with seven bridges on the outside, surrounded by a moat of water. In the center we have a citadel or a mountain upon which a giant dragon rests. Likewise, there is a path in the very center, a doorway leading into this temple, surrounded by two columns, near the bridge, by the moat. We also have a hallway leading from the interior to the exterior, and the exterior into the interior. Around the circumference of this image we have different entrance ways, different pathways, which do not lead to the center, but lead to the circumference. Notice that each section of this cliff, each chamber, is inscribed with words, with letters, referring to different types of knowledge, which pertain to external things. There are 21 chambers represented in this image: 20 that lead nowhere, that do not lead to the center of this image, and one that leads to the center, the straight and narrow path, that leads to life, which leads to the very heart of religion.
So, this is a symbol of how the soul seeks to gain access to the truth. And, the tradition of alchemy, known as Allah-Khemia, from the Arabic and Greek languages, instructs us as to how the soul can unite and fuse with Allah, with El (the Lord in Hebrew). Khemia originates terms like chemistry, fusion, to unite, to cast a metal, to forge oneself into a divine image. As we are, we do not have the divine image within us, fully developed. That is something that we must cultivate.
When the Bible says, "God made man into his image, male-female he created them," that does not refer to the physical body; that refers to the psyche. That is a stage of development that one accesses by entering that straight path in the center. One develops into a true human being when entering the citadel.
Notice here there is an image of a tree, where a disciple is about to enter that very narrow and difficult gate, leading to the heart of the divine. That tree is a symbol of the Tree of Knowledge, the energies that we have to cultivate in order to access the truth. Everything else you see in this image is a waste of time: one circulates along these paths; there are many people circulating, circumambulating around this circumference. They may have studied different religions—whether Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism—receiving intellectual knowledge, receiving instruction, and yet feeling that hunger in the soul in which they do not feel satisfied. They realize that these teachings they have received are incipient; they do not get to the heart of the truth, from verifiable facts, from experience.
So, these forms of knowledge are incipient, as I said. They do not truthfully instruct the soul as to how to enter the true regions of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The intermediate path is precisely represented by this bridge, leading into the palace. Of course, the palace symbolizes the esoteric dimension of the truth, the kingdom of God. As I mentioned to you, the mountain is the symbol, from the alchemical tradition, of initiation, in which the soul initiates a new way of being; the soul is tested and instructed and provided with difficulties in order to overcome them, and gain knowledge, to fully climb that mountain, that Tree of Life, which is the divine.
That dragon is the symbol of God; the heights; the truth. What is a dragon? A dragon has power over fire, over water, over air, and over earth. Our mind is aerial: it is related to the air, to the breath. Our heart is fire, relating to emotion. Our body is the earth, density, materiality. And, our water is our creative energy, the Tree of Knowledge, the waters of life, which, when they are serene and controlled, make the mind serene and controlled.
Notice here in this image, there are two columns at the very center, before the entrance of this bridge, leading to the entrance of the moat. These two pillars, in Masonry, represent Jachin and Boaz. These are the two pillars that uphold the Temple of God. They represent wisdom and love, or mercy and love. God the Father, as wisdom; God the Mother as love, compassion.
In relation to these 21 chambers leading around the circumference, the 21st of which leads to the center, we have in the ancient Tarot, the 21st card, or Arcanum (meaning, law) which refers to the fool of the Tarot. In the image of the card, there is a person that must walk over a crocodile, which is the symbol of the mind, our defects, our errors, which we must cross over dangerously. We must cross over that moat of waters, that bridge that leads to the heart, the truth.
We are that figure, the one who seeks to enter the center. The one who, by overcoming, by walking the straight and narrow path within us, inevitably, by learning to become spiritual in a genuine sense, will overcome the challenges that one must face and enter into the Kingdom of God: by conquering those difficulties, by overcoming one’s errors, one’s defects.
In relation to these three stages, I'd like to relate to you a quote that Samael Aun Weor gave, which is very profound. He stated that, "Behind the letter that kills is the Spirit that vivifies." So, what is the letter that kills? We see in this image different teachings, different instructions, which may feed one intellectually for a time, but do not satisfy the soul. These letters, these many teachings, have killed people, spiritually. People who believe in the dead letter of any tradition, of any faith, who believe in their doctrine in a fundamental sense, have not only ended up killing their soul and their Spirit, but, even physically have caused harm. We only need to look at the Inquisition, and many other acts of violence perpetrated by certain religious groups, to see the evidence of this. Behind the scriptures, the letters, if we know how to read symbolically, spiritually, we find the Spirit that vivifies, that gives us faith, that is an affirmation of our own spiritual discipline, our own practice.
So, these three stages are represented in this image. I'd like to relate to you something profound, that I experienced when I first found this knowledge. I practiced the science of dream yoga very diligently, when I found this teaching about a decade ago. I remember having an experience, a vision, in which... you could call it a dream, but really it was a vision; a dream is something subjective, but a vision is given by God… in which I was flying in an airplane, and I looked out of the window and I saw a giant citadel, which is too divine to adequately describe; it was very holy and sacred. And, it reminds me of this image, in which, by putting into practice the wisdom of the Tree of Knowledge, the divine gave me insight into entering that path, which is symbolized by that palace. To have a vision or experience of a castle, a palace, symbolizes spiritual ascension, and flying in an airplane means one is raising one’s level of being to a higher degree. So, the language of dreams is highly scientific and spiritual
The Tree of Life
Of course, we must learn how to interpret those experiences, the spirit of that teaching. We have mentioned many times the Tree of Life, which is the symbol of the full development and manifestation of the divine within the soul.
Kabbalah comes from the Hebrew, "Kabel," which means "to receive." It is wisdom that we receive from experience. But, in the beginning we study this glyph with the intellect, so that when we have conscious experiences, we know how to interpret our visions, and to know their application to our physical life. How do these visions teach us about our daily experience, how do they relate? This is a map of the different dimensions of nature, but also the map of the soul. Above we have the highest regions of consciousness, and below, we have the lowest regions of consciousness.
The physical body is known as Malkuth, which means, "the Kingdom," where we are now. Above that we have Yesod, which means, "the foundation." This is the energies of our body and our vitality, which give us life. This is the root of the Tree of Knowledge; how we use that vital force determines how we gain knowledge, spiritually.
So, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil have the same roots, in this foundation, in Yesod. It is our foundation spiritually because how we use that creative energy is how we develop spiritual life.
Above that we have Hod, which means, "splendor." It is the emotional vehicle known as the astral body, which people refer to when talking about astral projection, out of body experiences, the world of dreams. When people dream at night, they enter this world of Hod, the astral plane.
Above that, on the right, we have Netzach, which means, "victory" in Hebrew. It is the mind, the mental plane. Above that we have Tiphereth, which means, "beauty." It is our will, our human soul. Above that we have consciousness, the Divine Soul, Geburah. To the right we have the Spirit, Chesed which is God within us; El in Hebrew.
Above that, we have the trinity. In many religions, this trinity has been represented. In Hinduism, this trinity (which in Hebrew is called Kether, Chokmah and Binah) have been known as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. If you remember the story of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: Krishna was an emanation of Vishnu, which is the sphere of Chokmah, known as the Son or Christ in Gnostic terms. So, this trinity is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Christianity; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in Hinduism. These are energies, not people. These are forces that we can develop when we learn to meditate. These are aspects of "self," of consciousness, of who we are. The top trinity is the divine, the highest truth that we can cultivate within us.
In the second triangle, we have our humanity: Spirit, consciousness and will. A human being, a true human person, is someone who has incarnated "Hum." In Sanskrit, Hum means Spirit, which is our Inner God, our Innermost Being, Chesed in Kabbalah, which translates as "mercy." That Spirit manifests through the soul as humanity, our genuine humanity, our genuine compassion.
Below that, we have the lower trinity. If you notice this glyph, you can break it up into three sections; the first trinity at the top, Kether, Chokmah, Binah; this second trinity in the heart, the middle... if you transposed this image on to the human being, the top trinity is the head, the second trinity is the heart, and the lower trinity, or you could say quaternary (including Malkuth, this physical body) represents the lower aspect of our body. The top trinity is our divinity; our middle trinity is our humanity; the lower trinity or quaternary is our impurity. This is because our mind, our emotions, our energies and our body, tend to be polluted with many ailments: physical or psychological, egotistical, subjective. We seek to struggle against these defects and to conquer them.
This is an interesting image that we often study and emphasis: this is the Tree of Life. It is the map of the Being, the map of our soul. It is something that is very divine and profound; it is something that we can access and verify through internal experience and meditation. As the foundation of Gnostic studies, we study the Tree of Life in depth, and we will be going over this glyph in more detail, and in many different ways, because it is that applicable. It helps us to understand different traditions and religions, but, more importantly, it helps us to understand ourselves.
The Kabbalah of the Psalms
To synthesize many of the things that we have talked about—about conduct, behavior, consciousness, mind training—we have included this image, the quote from chapter 19 of the Psalms, verses 7-14. In this quote many of the things we have been discussing are very beautifully synthesized and explained, much better than I can profess. In terms of conduct, we have the following quote:
"The הָורֹת (Torah) of יהוה (Iod-Havah) is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the יהוה (Jehovah) is sure, making wise the simple."
Sometimes they translate יהוה as "Lord" but the real pronunciation is "Iod-Chavah," or "Jehovah." That is one of the many sacred names of divinity, which the Judeo-Christian Bible has translated erroneously. All the names of God have been simply broken down to G-O-D, rather than Jehovah Elohim, Iod-Chavah... these are different aspects of God relating to these Hebrew names that associate to the Tree of Life. Each sphere has its own name of God; different manifestations of God. In relation to the different spheres or levels of our consciousness, each aspect of the Tree of Life has its own divine name. In the Bible, when referring to the actual Hebrew names, tells us where on the Tree of Life we are looking at, what we are studying. The word Jehovah refers to Chokmah in Kabbalah, which is the second sphere from the top, on the top right of the top trinity. Chokmah means wisdom, truth, in Gnostic terms; it is Christ.
That “the testimony of Jehovah is sure,” means that when we experience the truth for ourselves, we are on a foundation stone; there is no deviation; there is no doubt; there is no fear; there is only certainty. It converts the soul, transforms us radically. It makes us very different beings. Also, it “makes the simple into the wise.” Who are those that are simple? People who believe in a religious tradition but who do not know divinity from experience. It does not mean to be simple-minded; we think of that as something negative. To truly be simple is to be like a child: innocent, pure. And, as Jesus said, you must become as little children if you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
"The statutes of יהוה are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of יהוה is pure, enlightening the eyes."
What eyes are we referring to, spiritually speaking? What we perceive physically, or in the dream state, out of the body. That is something that we can experiment with and verify; that is the enlightening of our spiritual eyes; the enlightenment of the truth, of our perception.
“The commandment of Jehovah is pure,” meaning, his instructions about how to behave psychologically are from a perspective of purity. Remember the Tree of Life, or, you could say in Hebrew: "Otz Ha-Daath Tob Ve Ra": עץ הדעת טוב ורע …meaning, the Tree of Knowledge of Purity (Tob) and Impurity (Ra). This refers to physical impurity as well as psychological impurity, relating to impurities of the mind, of the subjective self.
So, the teaching of Jehovah is pure. It teaches us how to be holy, divine.
"The fear of יהוה is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of יהוה are true and righteous altogether."
Fear can also be translated as פַּחַד Pechad, in Hebrew. פַּחַד Pechad is a name associated with restraint of the mind; this does not mean egotistical fear, in the sense of fearing another person or to be afraid of an anthropomorphic God. That anthropomorphic figure does not exist; instead, God is an energy. The fear of God is clean, meaning, we want to purify our mind, our heart, our psyche, by learning to harness energy. To fear God does not mean some kind of debilitating state of mind. It refers to having reverence, awe, and such respect for the teachings given by divinity that we really feel responsible for our actions, and that we are conscious of not entering into error. Therefore, it is clean, meaning we clean our body, clean our mind, clean our heart—relating to the teachings of spiritual conduct.
“The judgements of Jehovah are true, and righteous altogether” because God is the one who can judge our inner world, to help us develop true self-reflection, self-analysis, self-judgement. To learn to be a law unto ourselves, by following the law within us, the divine.
"More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."
Honey is a symbol of the transformation of the impure substance of the soul into the pure substance; the pollen, the coarseness of the mind, into the sweetness of the soul, the sweetness of God. Honey is a symbol relating to the Masters of the White Lodge, that hierarchy of Angels and Beings who have fulfilled the path. Those who have transformed the lead of the soul into the gold of the Spirit. It is a symbol of the alchemical science. The bee is a marvelous creature that is very mechanical, and very unaware of anything beyond its microscopic world, but within that is the symbol of our soul and how we can transform ourselves to develop something that is very pure and very divine.
"Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults!"
This is really at the heart of this teaching. Without cleansing our mind and heart from impurity, we cannot know God.
"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression."
Meaning, to think one is very knowledgeable, spiritual, or elevated, when the truth is, if we examine our mind, we have a lot of wickedness. Let us not presume to be anything other than that which we are, and from that foundation, we learn to ascend.
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O יהוה, my strength, and my redeemer." --Psalms 19:7-14
The Four Pillars of Gnosticism
The Gnostic tradition is founded upon four pillars, which we will be discussing in detail within the coming weeks. Gnosticism has been taught in accordance with four aspects of knowledge; science, mysticism, art and philosophy. We have been explaining many aspects of mysticism, and also the scientific bases upon which religion is founded, genuine "religare,” “to unite with the truth, with the divine,” in Latin.
We can say that science and mysticism as well as philosophy (love of knowledge) are all synthesized and expressed through art, genuine art. In ancient times, these four pillars were once integrated, meaning, this type of knowledge was unitotal, taught in a scientific, mystical, artistic and philosophical manner. The ancient schools of initiation, of spiritual studies, were not really split or schismatic, separated into different forms of study, as we have today. This form of knowledge was once universal and integral, in which genuine mystical teaching was based on facts, based on experiential wisdom in a scientific manner, through scientific investigation.
Many of the great artists of humanity, whether it be Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, Chopin, many classical European composers, knew this teaching, and they expressed the beauty of the soul, and the drama of the souls longing to unite with God, in music. Likewise, the pyramids of Egypt, the great sculptures and architecture of the Mayans, of Rome, once embodied these principles. Also, our ancient schools of philosophy, once embodied a scientific and mystical doctrine, a love of wisdom that was once nourished by the contributions of science and religion.
We are going to talk about these four pillars in brief today, but in more depth within the coming weeks, so that we have a sense of how these traditions, or really how our most present-day traditions, which many venerate, have their roots in the ancient schools, and that these forms of knowledge should not be separate. They are universal and total, related.
To examine how these traditions originated from the same source, from gnosis—how gnosis is expressed through these four forms of knowledge—we are going to examine some of the etymology of these terms which, beyond the surface examination, unveil a lot.
We included as this image of science, the resurrection of Jesus before doubting Thomas. This is a beautiful image representing the nature of faith, the nature of verification, the nature of cognizant wisdom, of factually verifying for oneself the truth. The Apostles stated to Doubting Thomas that Jesus had arisen from the dead, and Thomas doubted. He said, “I will not accept this truth from you, until I verify it for myself.” Many people think and interpret this parable as something relating to skepticism, which is not the case. It refers to a quality of consciousness, called discrimination: to verify, to analyze, to investigate, to interrogate, to inspect, in order to know what is true and what is false from experience.
So, when Thomas finally place his finger inside the wound of the Lord, he then said, “Truly you are the Christ, you are the truth, and now I know that you are arisen from the dead." This is not just a literal story from the past; it is something psychological: how we as a soul have to doubt everything from a conscious perspective, to not accept what others say, or accept what we read. It is to test, experiment and verify, to know the Spirit behind the letter that kills, the Spirit that vivifies and gives life, spiritually.
The word science etymologically relates to that truth:
"Mid-14c., "what is known, knowledge (of something) acquired by study; information;" also "assurance of knowledge, certitude, certainty."
So, this is very important: it is what we are certain about. Science, today, prides itself on empirical knowledge; knowledge based upon the five senses. But, in esoteric studies, we follow conscious experimentation, conscious knowledge. We verify based on our perceptions, spiritually—beyond the five senses.
Physical science is not the totality of science. It is to the detriment of humanity to think that our physical sciences are the limit of all there is to perceive. Esoterically, we investigate from the consciousness, from the soul.
"From Old French science "knowledge, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge" (12c.).
We are familiar with these kinds of sciences; biology, botany, etc.
From Latin scientia "knowledge, a knowing; expertness," from sciens (genitive scientis) "intelligent, skilled," present participle of scire "to know," probably originally "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish," related to scindere "to cut, divide," from PIE root *skei- "to cut, to split" (cognates: Greek skhizein "to split, rend, cleave," Gothic skaidan, Old English sceadan "to divide, separate.”
So, we seek to become experts of meditation in this tradition. Through the science of meditation, of self-reflection, we can investigate all the mysteries of life and death for ourselves, from our soul.
Another key point is that it originally meant to separate one thing from another, to distinguish. This again refers to discrimination: to distinguish between what is true and what is false.
So, we need to be like Thomas: doubting the illusions of our mind and senses, to be certain about what it is that we perceive. That is the foundation of gnostic science.
Another interesting etymological root of science comes from scindere, which means "to cute, divide," and "to cut, split" which is where we get the Greek word skhizein, "to split, rend, cleave”—and look at modern science today: these traditions of modern science are very divided. People are very attached to the beliefs about the information that they have received from the senses, and they have no agreement. Many of them agree with each other one day and disagree another. As the founder of the gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor stated:
"What science rejects today, it accepts tomorrow." —The Perfect Matrimony
And, what science accepts today, it rejects to tomorrow.
In these studies, we prefer not to rely on dogma. We want to verify, to know for ourselves, and to not be split and divided into sects, but to be integral. We want to study things in a highly synthetic manner, to be cultured, to not be biased
The pillar of mysticism, as we have been explaining, pertains to sciences such as the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. It comes from the word, "myein" which means, "to close ones eyes to illusion, to the senses." This means, to be a meditator. In meditation, by abandoning the physical body, you can access the higher dimensions.
From the word “mystic,” late 14c., "spiritually allegorical, pertaining to mysteries of faith," from Old French mistique "mysterious, full of mystery" (14c.), or directly from Latin mysticus "mystical, mystic, of secret rites" (source also of Italian mistico, Spanish mistico), from Greek mystikos "secret, mystic, connected with the mysteries," from mystes "one who has been initiated" (see mystery (n.1)). Meaning "pertaining to occult practices or ancient religions" first recorded 1610s. —Online Etymology Dictionary
It can refer to ritualistic exercises associated with the Gnostic Church, and many other faiths, different churches, etc., which in this present day, are degenerated: they have lost their authentic unity, their power. Certain practices were never given to the public, because of their potential ability to create harm. Many of the rituals that we adopt, whether from the Catholic Church, or from other faiths, are the external manifestation of an internal source. They came from the abuse or misunderstanding of the truth. Meaning, the prophets gave their knowledge, but they gave certain exercises to different levels of beings, different persons of capability. They gave the highest rites and rituals and practices to those who could handle it and gave very introductory exercises for those who are not as a capable. This refers to the Spirit, the soul and the body of the doctrine. Every prophet gave mystical teachings in accordance with those three levels of knowledge.
Unfortunately, many people have the body of certain practices, the body of the teachings, and think that they have the whole teaching; they ignore that there are higher exercises that we can work with. In many of the books of Samael Aun Weor, he gives many exercises from the body, the soul and the Spirit of any teaching. He gave introductory, intermediate and advanced practices for students, throughout his literature, which can give us access to genuine mysticism.
Mystikos, from the Greek, means someone that has been initiated because of their practical works, the experience the divine, the truth.
In this image, we have included Jesus and his ascension. One point I would like to make in relation to this teaching of mysticism, is that by closing our eyes to illusion, myein, to the senses, to the body, to our mistaken perceptions of self, we can achieve the ascension of the soul towards the spiritual realms.
I remember once, many years ago, I awoke in the dream world, the astral plane specifically, and seeing my home, the outdoors, I went outside and looked to the sky in a very vivid state of mind, to invoke the Master Jesus. In the dream world, we can invoke the divinities through sacred sounds, mantras, prayers, in order to speak face to face with those beings. The secret name of Jesus is Aberamentho, from The Pistis Sophia, which we have available with commentary from Samael Aun Weor, in the book The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled. The Gnostic Bible refers to the sacred name of Jesus, his real identity, as Aberamentho. He is a very elevated being.
I invoked him, because I wanted to, like Thomas, know who he was and to speak with this great being who has inspired so many millions. I remember that he came, he was a powerful being, illuminated with a type of cognizance that was beyond my grasp. He appeared wearing a crown. His description is given in detail in a book called The Revolution of Beelzebub, by Samael Aun Weor. If you read that book, you will see how Samael Aun Weor describes how Master Aberamentho can appear in these internal worlds.
So, he came up to me, and I was a little bit afraid, because I wanted to verify whether this was a divine being, or that was I seeing a demon... because there are negative beings that can mislead us. And, to assure me and to calm me, he taught me something very beautiful. I suddenly saw myself third-person; he took my consciousness, and expanded it. The masters can give you light, can give you perception, can expand your consciousness as a blessing, to teach you something about yourself. So, I saw myself, standing there in my yard, seeing myself third-person as in a movie, and I saw him as a ray of light; he shot up into the sky. It was a dark, cloudy, stormy sky, very obscure and black, very negative, and suddenly, there was a hole in the clouds that emerged, like in this image, and above that I saw, in the heavens beyond me, was the galaxies and the stars, which is a symbol of the divine. I stood there and I saw him emerge, and from the Earth and he flew up into the sky in an instant, and I saw him disappear beyond the galaxy. I stood there in awe, because I wanted to attain that state too, but obviously I am not that capable. But he was teaching me that, if you want to know the truth of the divine, you must clear your mind. The mind is related to the air; the sky in the internal planes is the symbol of your state of mind. If it is cloudy and obscure, it means that you are filled with a lot of doubt, skepticism, negativity. It is it black clouds; it can mean negative emotions, negative states of mind; it can also refer to a cloudiness of perception: to be very asleep as a consciousness. He was showing me that my mind was that darkness, and then he shot up through the sky, and I saw the heavens, as in this image.
So, Jesus taught that to many people. Not just me. He was showing to the Apostles in the Gospels, how, through the light of the divine, which he has fully manifested, you can ascend from this physical world, from materiality and clear the skies of understanding, in order to see the truth. He was showing me genuine mysticism, that, if you want to be a real mystic, clear your mind. Work with the energy of Christ in yourself, to purify your psyche.
The Christic energy is, as we have talked about in different lectures, the creative energy. Christ is that force, that is within us, who can grant us access to the mysteries of life and death.
Genuine mysticism is having experience, to perceive spiritually in a very factual, concrete manner. It is nothing vague or ambiguous. I have had dreams where I have been at work, doing this or that... those are just mere dreams. But, a vision is where you are fully aware and in that state of mind, in that plane, dimension, and you know how to navigate consciously. To be a genuine mystic, a genuine occultist, one must learn how to travel in those states.
Continuing our discussion of the four pillars, we have mysticism also represented in art and in other sacred images of art. As I mentioned to you, science, mysticism and philosophy have developed their principles through artistic mediums. Whether through painting, through sculpture, through music and in different forms of transmission of this teaching, given through many beautiful works such as by Michelangelo, by Da Vinci, Hieronymus Bosch, and many other artists who were teaching other initiates this path. Since they were not allowed to give the knowledge openly, they had to give it secretly. Therefore, they did it in symbolic forms through art. They had a lot of time that they could not give lectures; they were not allowed to, so they would teach other initiates through art work. You could see that they were divinely inspired; the art that they conveyed shows a very high level of being, due to the impression that their works make on the soul.
So, the word art, etymologically, has many interesting meanings as well:
Early 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from Old French art (10c.), from Latin artem (nominative ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar-ti- (cognates: Greek arti "just," artios "complete, suitable," artizein "to prepare;" Latin artus "joint;" Armenian arnam "make;" German art "manner, mode"), from root *ar- "fit together, join” —Online Etymology Dictionary
These are very obvious meanings, but, if we apply this to our soul and psyche, our conscious work, we see that the path of the soul is a skill. It is an artform. To create the soul into the image of God, spiritually, is an art. Not just through painting, music or sculpture, but through spiritual discipline: it is an artform.
The act of creating the soul into the image of God is represented in this image. We have on the right, Jehovah, who is approaching Adam, who is the archetype of the human being made into that divine image. People think that this refers to how a physical God created a physical human being. But, this is symbolic. It refers to the beauty of the soul. In this image, the human soul—Tiphereth in Kabbalah—is represented by Adam, who has fully controlled his mind, his heart, his vitality and his body. The first five spheres of the Tree of Life, from the bottom to the center, are represented by Adam.
Jevohah represents all the divine qualities that we need to incarnate, represented by the other five spheres, sephiroth, of the Tree of Life: Kether, Chokmah, Binah (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), Chesed (the Spirit) and Geburah (the Divine Soul). Jehovah represents all those divine principles. The union of those two, Jehovah and Adam, is genuine religion, genuine art.
All of the great masters of art taught the path of awakening consciousness in their works, like Puccini's operas, Wagner's operas, Mozart's... These masters were teaching the path of the unification of the soul with God, through symbols, through physical dramas that people are entertained by, and are inspired by, but they don't really know the meaning. They don't see the Spirit behind the letter that kills. Many people become fascinated with classical music, but that doesn't mean they know the Spirit behind the musical notes, the mystical teachings that are embodied in that.
So, art, in all its forms, teaches how to we can unite with God. It teaches through that artform.
Also, looking further at those etymological roots:
*ar-ti- (cognates: Greek arti "just," artios "complete, suitable," artizein "to prepare;" Latin artus "joint;" Armenian arnam "make;" German art "manner, mode"), from root *ar- "fit together, join.”
This is very significant. To be "Arti" to be just, is to be a righteous person. To see that something is just right means that the soul is perfected. Likewise, to be complete and suitable, is to be complete and suitable to God: meaning that we have purified our soul, and so the light of the divine, the light of Jehovah, manifests in us. It also means to prepare, from "artizein." We must become prepared, and to know how to prepare ourselves, so that we can know the truth. "To join" is precisely represented in this image: how the divine joins with the human.
We will finally explain about the path of philosophy. We have included an image of Mary Magdalene before the resurrected Jesus. This is also a symbol of Sophia before Christ, before the Lord. Sophia means "wisdom." Christ is the divine.
So, philosophy comes from "philos-sophia." Philos means love, sophia means wisdom. You can also say that philos, as love, represents Christ, because Christ is love, that energy, that potential, which we need to activate in us. People typically associate philosophy as a body of knowledge, from "philosophy," a type of intellectual discipline. However, genuine philosophy, or love of wisdom, love of knowledge, is how the soul loves God through study, through Jnana Yoga. Jnana Yoga refers to, in Hinduism, the study of scripture, of meditation practices and their application, so that we can gain spiritual knowledge.
Many philosophers, such as Plato, Socrates, knew this teaching in depth, and they explained the path of how the soul unites with the divine in their doctrines. Such as Plato's Republic, and we will be talking in future lectures about the Allegory of the Cave, specifically, in depth. We will talk about how their teachings and their writings have inspired the Western cannon, the Western tradition, and how such teachings really have their roots in Hinduism, and many other early religions. We will also explore how these philosophies teach us how to unite with the divine.
So, to conclude, we emphasize that gnosis is built upon four pillars. The foundation of our spiritual life is based on how we cultivate our relationship with God, through mystical science, such as meditation, and the study of art forms, to inspire the soul. When we know the meaning of these art forms, we become enlivened, and we see that behind the great operas or the great classical compositions, or the statues of Kukulkan and the Mayan feathered serpent, that we see images such as the Kundalini force amongst the Maya and the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl in the Nahua language in Mexico. We find that these art forms teach us how to create our soul, art forms which can give us inspiration and strength. Likewise, we study the knowledge in a philosophical way, to know our relationship to God, and where we stand presently.
Audience: The four pillars, could that also be a combination of the left brain, which is the sacred masculine, and right brain, which is the sacred feminine? Because you were talking about science, and mysticism, philosophy, and the third eye, do you think that is the combination of that?
Instructor: Well, you could say that we have a more scientific hemisphere of the brain, and a more artistic side too. But, the four pillars themselves, rather than having a physiological relationship, are more related to the traditions that we study. How we biologically relate to certain types of thinking, pertain to mysticism as well as science, specifically. And, how the brain creates is an artform. The brain itself is the most beautiful vehicle for the mind. The brain is not the mind: the mind that thinks uses the physical brain to think, here and how. If we look at the Tree of Life, the mind itself (Netzach) is above emotion (Hod), and it is above vitality, sexuality, instinct, impulse (Yesod). But, the four pillars, in that sense, you cannot associate with our psychological constitution.
More importantly, the four pillars refer to aspects of our tradition that we study, and the framework by which we can understand ourselves in detail; which involves psychology as well, and occult anatomy.
Question: I grew up Catholic, and I am having problems with the Old Testament as far as... there is a lot of it that is about death and destruction and evil, which means many Gods. I looked up the Sumerian tablets which is Enlil and Enki and the Annunaki, and I am trying to decipher this... because, the way you're talking is that, within the Garden of Eden, from the research that I did, there was many Gods and there was a lot of deception...
Instructor: Well, Jehovah, in Hebrew Kabbalah is Iod-Chavah Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts. Jehovah is not just one being, but is the Christ, the divine manifested through all of those masters that have incarnated that light. So Elohim can refer to the angels. An angel is a perfected being, a being that fully manifests the light of Christ.
The Christ is an energy; it is a light, a force. That force is universal: its center is everywhere, and its circumference is nowhere. It is universal. It is a cosmic energy that manifests all of creation, and can manifest in any being that has performed the work.
Question: What about in the Old Testament where it has a lot of death and destruction, sacrificing of animals, first born children, and all of that?
Instructor: Those are symbols. We must sacrifice our own cherished self, first born beliefs about ourselves. Our first-born children is a symbol of certain psychological qualities that we carry inside; meaning our reputation, our self-esteem; things that we value about who we think we are. We also have to sacrifice the animal mind. The mind.
Question: So this has nothing to do with the Annunaki? This is all disinformation regarding the Annunaki, the reptilians?
Instructor: Well, I know a lot of people believe in reptilian beings, and I personally, in the astral plane have not met any of them, so I don't really think about this. However, I know when I look at myself in the mirror, psychologically, in the astral plane, and I see my own animal mind—because, you can visually see yourself as you are as a psyche, through a mirror. They teach you symbolically what you are as a consciousness, and you may see yourself like an animal.
Question: But we do have a reptilian part of the brain, the hippocampus, which is the fight or flight part of the brain...
Instructor: Even physiologically, science knows that we have qualities that are animalistic, that we inherited from an animal past. But, we go further in saying that, the psyche, the soul, is animalistic and not human yet. The human must be created. The human mind, a human being is a being that has perfect equanimity, in thought, feeling, impulse. And is fully manifesting the will of God.
The Bible is symbolic. It is written in the language of Kabbalah. So, people who read the Torah literally, end up very confused, and sometimes traumatized by that tradition, because people teach that God is jealous, angry, violent... But, the truth is, who is he violent towards? God is very jealous of our soul. And, is very violent against the mind, the ego, those qualities that are animalistic that prevent us from going towards the truth. So, God is jealous not in the sense of an old man that says, "You have to obey me, or you get kicked out of church." Instead, it refers to the eagerness of God to fully unify all His parts, that are trapped in suffering, to free us from suffering. If God was not jealous in that sense, we would be in trouble. God demands that he wants all the parts that belong to Him to be returned to happiness, to our source.
The Bible is written in Kabbalah, which even many Jews who read the Torah don't know Kabbalah in depth. Even those that study the Kabbalistic tradition, do so from an intellectual point. They do not awaken the consciousness and verify this in the internal planes what the teachings entail.
It is a symbolic language. People who read the Bible without knowing Kabbalah, is like trying to read Shakespeare without knowing English: it is just gibberish. You would think it is so cryptic, or you would read it literally and say, "Well, this is so dogmatic." But, there is some spiritual truths there that are hidden. If we do not know how to interpret, through knowing the science of the Tree of Knowledge, and the Tree of Life, the science of Kabbalah and Alchemy, that dead letter kills our soul.
You see many people in these traditions who are very devout, but they are dead spiritually. They just repeat information; they are just a walking memory box. They can recite the Torah and all of that, but are they conscious of what it teaches? The Spirit can vivify our soul: the Spirit behind the letter that kills.
If we read fundamentally, without an awakened, mystical, perspective, a scientific vantage point, and from a knowledge of divine art, the language of Kabbalah, we get confused and religion, philosophy, become something rigid and repressive, which is not what we teach.
Question: So, is one of the reasons that we suffer is because we are in duality, within ourselves? We're not as we think, as we feel, as we act, in cohesion. We have to get back to that which is unified. We are not abiding by the natural law, right?
Instructor: And, the law of Christ says, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." But, typically, our mind is trapped in duality: thesis / anti-thesis; belief / disbelief in our heart, where we also have like / dislike. In our motor center, our center of movement which we find at the top of our spine, we have: to do / not to do. Our instinct, associated with the base of our spine, is the center related to impulse, desire, certain activities that are beyond thinking; these relate to impulse, fight / flight. In relation to sexuality, one has either attraction or repulsion.
So, our psyche, it tends to be caught between a duality of, "Should I do this, should I not do this?" Our confusion results from not having equanimity. By observing the chaos of the mind, the heart, the body... we observe who we are psychologically, moment to moment, and seek to acquire a peaceful mind and to understand our own defects. Since we do not know how to be spiritual, to be genuinely conscious, we continue to suffer, and we also continue to be caught between this delusion of duality, of the pendulum of thinking for or against, like or dislike. That is the pendulum that keeps us hypnotized.
Question: What about the world apocalypse, from the Greek, meaning the unveiling truth?
Instructor: The Apocalypse is a titanic book too. It talks about the revelations of the soul, after facing many challenges and ordeals.
Questions: So, the unveiling of truth means learning this esoteric...
Instructor: From experience. From one’s consciousness. When you awaken in the internal planes, you go through your own inner apocalypse: your own ordeals and struggles—you have to face great tribulations and sacrifices. By learning to overcome them, the revelation comes, the light comes.
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