As evidenced by this great work of art, we will discover how Puccini, as a great master of Freemasonry, was an initiate of the straight path, the direct path of the Bodhisattva: those who incarnate Christ in order to help humanity, to sacrifice for humanity.
His particular focus in his last work of art that he composed is to talk about the Divine Mother, as evidenced by the name Turandot, which reminds us of the Nordic runes. As we began this lecture, we practiced the Rune Ur, the mantra Ram-IO. Ur we find in TUR-andot, and the mantra Ram-IO is found with Ra and O, the vowels and syllables of this name.
Ur is light, the divine, which in heaven is known as Kundalini. But when that energy is channeled within the ego, it is Kundabuffer. This opera teaches us this precise duality of the nature of that divine force, which, once it is purified, liberates the soul. But when it is fed through desire, through fornication, it becomes the tempting serpent of Eden, which is something we find symbolized in the great dramas of this opera, particularly Act One, of which we are going to focus on today.
Even the name Turandot, syllabically reminds us of תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the human soul. Ur or אוֹר Aur is light in Hebrew: תִּפְ-אֶוֹרֶ-ת Tiph-aur-ret. That name begins with the Hebrew letter ת Tav and ends in ת Tav: the Seal of God, the covenant, the pact of sexual magic which unites the brave heroes, the great warriors who are willing to answer three riddles, in order to marry the divine Princess Turandot, the Hebrew Shekinah of the Kabbalists.
So the human soul must incarnate the light, אוֹר Aur, or as we find in the Rune Ur, we pray, "Oh Divine Mother of mine, oh Isis of mine. You have the child Horus, my true Being within your arms." And what is that true being Horus? It is a symbol of Christ because the Divine Mother is the mother of Christ. We find in this opera by Puccini the Path of the Bodhisattva, of the incarnation of Christ, the path of sacrifice, in which the great heroes overcome trials and temptations in order to marry, to be purified within the Divine Mother.
As we find in that prayer, “You carry my true Being within your arms. I need to die within my defects so that my Essence may be lost in Him, in Him, in Him.” Three times, three riddles, three forces, which we find in the Christian trinity, which is a number in the tarot that we find repeated often in this opera, not only in its structure of three acts, but also three questions that the hero must answer in order to be liberated, to marry or self-realize the divine.
We will be talking about the tarot in depth in this explanation of the opera Turandot.
Death and Immortality
This Arcanum 13 we discussed previously. Immortality is the profound core of this opera, because we find in the first act of Turandot that anyone who wishes to marry Shekinah, the Divine Mother, must answer three riddles. If he fails in any one of them, he must die, which is a symbol of how one loses one's soul if one fails in the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum, because the work against the elimination of the ego is very difficult, very painful, very challenging.
But if we are faithful to our Divine Mother Death, She will give us a crown of life, immortality, perfection, because in order to marry or self-realize the Divine Mother, Binah in Kabbalah, the Holy Spirit or אם אלהים Aima Elohim, the feminine aspect of the Holy Ghost, we as a soul must be dead to the ego. The ego must not exist. In order to reach that point, we have to answer three riddles, which are symbols that we will be covering in Act Two.
But Arcanum 13 is a profound teaching that Puccini knew very well and depicted so beautifully in his work. Samael Aun Weor mentions in The Aquarian Message that many operas existed in relation to the mysteries of the tarot, as well as the 13th Arcanum, which is why he explains how in the 13 Arcanum, one faces what are known as the funereal ordeals, and that opera has been used to depict that path of the death of desire.
The funeral ordeals of the thirteenth arcanum developed as a profound opera within the great archaic mysteries. The austere hierophants of the great mysteries rose from within the old sepulchers of ancient times. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Because who are those austere hierophants? Austere meaning “severe,” masters of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, reminding us of severity, justice. And on the right pillar we find mercy. These two pillars of Kabbalah of the Tree of Life resonate within the dramas and symbols of this opera. But these hierophants are those who master, precisely, the left pillar of the Tree of Life, the serpent Ida.
Remember that we have two serpents in our spine: the solar and the lunar serpents. Pingala and Ida, Adam-Eve, male-female, ו Vav and ז Zayin. That left serpent in most people has fallen because it has descended, down the Chakra Muladhara through the coccyx, to form what is known as the tail of demons within the astral body. That is the tempting serpent that any initiate must overcome through the death of desire.
The old operas of the thirteenth arcanum resounded with their ineffable melodies in the terrifying night of the centuries within the subterranean caverns of the Earth. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Some people read this statement very literally, not understanding that Samael Aun Weor spoke in a very kabbalistic way, because these operas of the 13th Arcanum, they resound within this Kali Yuga, this age of darkness we live in, in order to teach those souls who are demonic, the path of the light―the straight path. We find that these operas resound within the subterranean caverns of the Earth.
And what are these caverns the Earth? People like to think that the Master Samael literally meant underground somewhere, where some operas are being portrayed, but the meaning is much more symbolic. We are in מלכות Malkuth, but we also know from our studies that our sephirah Malkuth is submerged within the inferior laws of Klipoth, within negative infra-dimensions, which is why in certain cities like Chicago, New York, L.A., we find tremendous degeneration.
We are within the caverns of the Earth, because we are in the abyss, even when physically active. Because we find that those inferior qualities, laws of the infernal dimensions have surfaced, but symbolically, we are in the caves. We are in the darkness. And so, Turandot is an opera that resounds, with its symbolism of the 13th Arcanum, within the caverns of the Earth, which are the opera houses.
When we recognize the ineffable melodies that portray the teachings of Christ, we become filled with awe, inspiration, remembrance, so that we become inspired to work. And precisely, this opera is a tool for initiates, to remind them and to teach them what they must do if they want to succeed. It is through the mysteries of this opera of the 13th Arcanum, is how we rise from the sepulchers, like the austere hierophants of ancient ages, because through the teachings of this opera, we learn to overcome death. Not only psychologically, or better said, spiritually, but also physically through the path of resurrection, of reunion, of return to the divine.
In order to talk about this opera, we have to repeatedly refer to the Tree of Life, because there are many characters in places that are symbolized by the teachings of the Tree of Life. Each character is a different sephirah, a different aspect of the soul. And likewise, the multi-dimensionality of the Tree of Life teaches us how to interpret where we are in the opera, where the soul is and what it must do.
The Opening of Act I
So the opera begins with tremendous clamor, tumult, amongst the people of Peking, as an executioner of the law, the tribunal of divine justice, pronounces the following prophetic and deadly words:
Any man of noble blood who desires to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles. If he fails, he will be beheaded.
If we want to marry the Divine Mother Turandot, we must become an initiate, a man born of noble blood. What does it mean to be a human being? It means to reach mastery on the Tree of Life.
We talk about five initiations of fire that lead to the creation of the human being by raising the Kundalini serpent from the body of Malkuth within its spine, from the Chakra Muladhara to the brain―likewise with the vital body, יְסוֹד Yesod; the astral body, הוד Hod; the mental body, נצח Netzach; and תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the causal body. At that point one can say he has become a true human being, a man of noble blood.
But that is not enough, because one could reach mastery, reach that level Tiphereth, the center of the Tree of Life, and yet, it is another thing to reach perfection in mastery through the straight path of the Bodhisattvas.
In order to reach that point, one must achieve what is called the Buddhist annihilation, the death of the ego, in a complete sense. Right now, we are in Malkuth, and to use the terms of Freemasonry, of which Puccini was very familiar, we are imitatus, souls that imitate the works and lives of the great masters, the adeptus, the adepts. To become an adept, which is a master of the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries, we could say an adeptus minor, Tiphereth, we have to answer three riddles, which of course relate to how we work with the three brains, the three mother letters of Kabbalah: א Aleph, ש Shin, and מ Mem, which spell השם Hashem: the Name, which if we take the letter א Aleph and pronounce it as a letter ה Hei, השם Hashem, we spell the sacred name of God or the sacred appellation from the Name: יהוה Iod-Havah, Jehovah.
So in the beginning of this opera, we have an executioner who provides some context for why Peking is in chaos. It is also important to note that within the writings of Samael Aun Weor, he explains that in the tribunal of justice within the superior worlds, there are executioners.
What is that tribunal of justice represented in this opera? We find by the holy city of China, the divine, which if you look on the Tree of Life, we find that there are different places mapped out here. China, the kingdom of Turandot, represents the Far East, the top trinity of the Tree of Life. It is important to recognize that when we look at the directions of this vertical glyph, we can transpose the four directions of any compass onto this glyph.
We know that Tiphereth is where the sun rises, which is the solar logos. Tiphereth is governed by Venus and the Sun. The Sun rises in the East in Tiphereth. Therefore it is the East. To go further is to reach the Far East, which is China: כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, בִּינָה Binah. We know that Binah or the feminine aspect of Binah is known as אם אלהים Aima Elohim, as I said, the Divine Mother Kundalini.
The West is where the Sun sets towards Malkuth, but also towards the infra-dimensions where the darkness of the mind exists. The West is towards what is known as the Tartarus, which is the opening of our opera. We could also say is the city of Peking, because in the opening of this great drama, we see there is tremendous chaos. There are crowds pushing against each other, screaming out in agony, suffering incredibly. That is hell. We begin this opera within the abyss. As you remember from the opening of this lecture, we talked about how the ineffable melodies of the 13th Arcanum resound as an opera within the abyss.
Just as we find that statement from Samael Aun Weor, we find that a great executioner of the law, a divine being, speaks to those multitudes of demons, that “If you wish to escape your fate within the infra-dimensions, you must answer three riddles. You must be of noble blood, an initiate. By answering those riddles, you will marry Turandot.” You will leave the West, which is the abyss, and enter towards China, the Far East, to marry the divine princess.
But of course, very few take that path. Very few aspire to unite with Christ, which is why in the beginning of the opera, you find that there is only one person who is willing to do so amongst the majority of people, of which we will be talking about in brief. He is the prince whose name is not given until the very end of the opera in Act Three. But it is important to remember that in order to escape Peking, Tartarus, the abyss, we must become initiates. We must answer the riddles and ascend the Tree of Life.
The initiate who does not die to the ego, who fails in those three ordeals―relating to how we work against the ego in the three brains: the intellectual brain, the emotional brain, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain―if we fail in those trials and ordeals in the struggle against the elimination of our defects, it means that we cannot marry [self-realize] the Divine Mother. We fail like the Prince of Persia, who failed the ordeals and is executed in this act.
Kundalini above, Kundabuffer below. We notice that from the chorus of people in the opera, there are people who praise Turandot, but also fear her. This is why Samael Aun Weor said that “The Divine Mother is the terror of love and law.” Above she is heavenly, but down in the abyss, she is the tempting serpent that leads the lost souls, the demons, into the path of devolution.
The three principal characters we are introduced to in the beginning of this opera, his name is never given. His name is Timur. He is the father of the prince, who is the Prince Calaf. Timur is the exiled king of Tartary, and we find that he is with his faithful servant, Liu, before they reunite with their Prince Calaf, who is the son of Timur.
Timur is related to Tartary. He is exiled from his kingdom and now he is in Peking. He is with his servant Liu, who is the only person who supported him after losing his kingdom―a terrifying symbol of how our Spirit, our Innermost God, Timur, has been exiled. Our inner God, the 4th Arcanum of the Tarot: the Emperor, has lost his empire. And now he is lost seeking his son who has been separated from him.
That is a symbol of any person who, because of having created the ego, loses all development, and loses all innocence. Therefore, Timur, the Spirit, חֶסֶד Chesed in Kabbalah, as well as גְּבוּרָה Geburah, the divine soul, represented by Liu, the servant, are abandoned. They are separated from the soul, which is Tiphereth.
Tiphereth, the prince, is lost in Peking, but they reunite together within the city, indicating how any person who enters Gnosis and experiences their inner God, has that reunion, which is very beautifully depicted in this opera where the prince says, “Padre, mio padre,” “I have waited for you so long! I have lost you but now we are united!” because through meditation, through initial exercises in this tradition, we become reunited with our inner God.
We will state that Tartary was a great tract of Northern and Central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea in the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Tartary relates to the North, the regions of the cold of Asia. In Kabbalah, we say that Chesed is the North, because if you take the four directions―East is the vertical part of the Tree of Life towards China, the top Trinity of the Tree of Life, the West is Malkuth―the North is towards the right, Chesed; and the South relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life, because we know that the further South you go on the globe, the hotter it gets, typically beneath the equator. Towards the northern regions, it gets colder, which is why certain authors like Friedrich Nietzsche depicted how initiates live within the North, and why many German authors and composers like Wagner always depicted the great heroes coming from the North, from the land of Boreas, Hyperboreas, Hyperborea, “the northern wind,” a symbol of an ancient humanity, but also representative of how spiritual forces dwell within the higher regions of the globe like the mountains―the mountain of initiation, the North.
Geburah, the South, relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life because through the powers of the left pillar is how one can return to Binah, the Holy Ghost, or by abusing the powers of the left pillar, as we discussed in Arcanum 8: Justice, that force can descend down through Malkuth into the infernal planes.
This is why the very beginning of the opera, when Timur falls, the king falls, his servant Liu says, “My master has fallen! Will someone raise him for me?” It is a powerful symbol: how in us our master is no longer active. Our inner master has fallen, meaning: our development has been nullified. Why does Geburah, Liu, the servant, the divine soul, state, “My master has fallen. Will someone raise him?” This is because she is the power of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, which can raise the initiate, but she needs her help, and that is where the prince comes in, Prince Calaf, played by Placido Domingo in this version we have been watching.
That is when they are reunited. The prince, Tiphereth, emerges because only through the sephirah Tiphereth, our human willpower, can we conquer Netzach, the mind; Hod, the emotions; Yesod, our vitality, and Malkuth, our physicality, but also enter into the inferior worlds, the infra-dimensions, in order to work against the mind.
The Fall of Tyr
This path of initiation and this recognition of one's psychological state has been depicted in the Bible. When Liu says, How my master is fallen,” we find this represented in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 23, with the fall of the city of Tyre.
1 Wail, you ships of Tarshish!
The city of Tyre was a representation of the city of the soul that was perfected. If you are familiar with the Rune Tyr amongst the Nordics, in our tradition, we do the mantra Tyr with our hands raised above our head, when we descend our hands down in the form of an arrow pointing up with our head as an apex. We do the mantra Tyr:
That is the power of Christ that descends through our mind, the Chakra Sahasrara, or China, the Far East in our head, because the solar logos enters our mind, our head, in order to descend down towards the Middle East, which is Tiphereth, our heart. Because Tiphereth is the East, but since it is in the middle of the Tree of Life, we call it the Middle East, which is why the character named the Prince of Persia in this opera was a master of the Middle East, the heart, but who failed the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum.
When that energy descends down into your body, it reaches what is called the West, which is your feet, Malkuth. The North is the right hand, South is the left hand. Chesed-Geburah. So when we work with that mantra Tyr, we are invoking those energies down to our body, and then we do the Rune Bar with our left hand on our left hip, our left heel against our right, our right hand against our side.
Bar is fire because we take the enemies of Christ down through our organism our Tree of Life, our spine, and then charge our body with the Rune Bar. Bar in Aramaic means “son.” It also means “fire,” and it is the root word of words like “barbarian,” “bar-bar-Aryan,” Ares, the power of Samael.
Another interesting etymology is that the power of Tyr, Timur, the power of light of the Spirit of the Rune Tyr, also relates to the acrostic Artyr―Arthur. King Arthur is the Spirit, the Innermost. We find that the Rune Ar, with our left hand on our left side, our right foot out, our right hand on our right side. We do the mantra Ario:
This is in order to prepare for the awakening of the sacred fire of the Kundalini.
The Rune Tyr, again, is when Christ descends into us. So, Arthur in the Britannic myths relate to the Spirit, the power of Tartary, the North, because we know that Britain and many of the Nordic lands were relating to the northern regions.
So that energy from the heavenly worlds has been abused, has been lost, represented by the fall of Tyre in the Bible. That energy of Christ entered us, but because of our mistakes, the city has been punished. Our soul has been lost.
So “On the great waters came the grain of the Shihor;” when one of those great waters of alchemy, our energies, which is where the grain, the seed, of Shihor― שין האוֹר Shin Ha’Aur: the fire and light of our potential is carried through the waters. “That was the revenue of Tyr,” meeting that our spiritual city, our soul, in the past, might have had development, and yet we have lost it, evidenced by the fact that we are ignorant. We are in Peking. We are in the darkness of the mind, lost like in the beginning of this opera.
4 Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea,
And why mention that the sea has spoken? That sea is the Divine Mother, the ocean of the uncreated light: the Ain, the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur―represented by the very top of the Tree of Life, the Absolute. That is the great ocean, the cosmic space, Turandot, whom we seek to reunite with.
So “I have never been in labor nor given birth. I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters,” because that ocean of the great light has not created true men in many cases. Most of humanity does not want to be a child of God, an initiate. Therefore, the ocean of the light says, “I have not reared children, initiates, in this planet Earth, because it is a failure.” Where are the bodhisattvas, the masters?” As Liu says, “My master has fallen.” So our planet is precisely a mess. It is the city of Tyre that has been destroyed, and will be destroyed like Babylon in the Book of Revelations.
5 When word comes to Egypt,
And what is this Egypt? מִצְרָיִם Mitzraim in Hebrew, meaning “the place between the waters.” In this case, when news of the fall of Tyre has been made manifest, those initiates from the Egyptian pantheon in the internal worlds look at us with a great sorrow.
6 Cross over to Tarshish;
So Tyr, again, is the bestower of crowns, because in the Rune Tyr, you are invoking Christ into your crown of your head, your chakra. So even though those forces have entered into us, because we have been degenerate, we have expelled that light. We have destroyed the city of our Inner Being.
9 The Lord Almighty planned it,
Why mention the sea so much and the ships of Tarshish? In the internal planes, if you are driving a boat or riding in a boat, it is a symbol of working in alchemy, or it is a symbol also of working with the waters of sexuality, because the boat of the great arcanum, the great ark, the path of the arch-angels, hovers over the faces of the waters, of Genesis, of alchemy, of transmutation. Those ships have no harbor, meaning they have nowhere to go, because we have betrayed the great arcanum, the teachings of chastity.
11 The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea
Like the exiled king of Tartary, Timur. It is interesting that the word Tartary sounds like Tyr-tyry―Tyr, the powers of Tyr from above, the heavenly worlds that have been crushed, lost. And Timur, Liu, and the Prince Calaf have no place to rest, because they are in exile. They are being hunted, persecuted, because our soul is being persecuted by the ego, being hunted.
13 Look at the land of the Babylonians,
Arcanum 7 reminds us of war, battles, against the ego: Triumph. Because “Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years, the span of a king's life.” If you reach and raise the seven serpents of fire within the lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life, you become a king. You reunite with Timur, your Spirit, the light.
15 But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:
Why mention prostitution or prostitutes who sing their songs in remembrance of their past glories? Because right now, our soul is prostituted. It is lost. It is filthy. We may remember past days in our own meditations, our own experiences, in which we were once initiates. If you meditate and enter the internal worlds, you can find out from your inner God, what is your development? Because in most cases, for most people who are in the Gnostic movement, it is because we were here before, as a law of return a recurrence of all life. Many people who are in the Gnostic movement were once in other movements related to Gnosis in the past, but because they made mistakes, they left, and now they are returning again because Timur, the Spirit, is pushing for reunion.
But we are like that prostituted soul that sings about past glories. We may remember in our own meditations how perhaps we were up there, but now we are here. We are in suffering. So that is something you can verify and that is something very personal, because when you learn about your inner God and your development, perhaps in the past you were in initiate, but the point is that now we are here and we are not initiates. We have to regain what we lost. We have to regain what we remember.
17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes. ―Isaiah 23
Because when you work with Arcanum 7, you develop many treasures and virtues of the soul. If you remember, we talked about how by overcoming the ego, we acquire great triumphs, blessings from divinity, glories from our inner God. “And we will return to trade,” meaning, working with the ocean, the sea, the ships―working in transmutation once again, so that those goods which are stored up, those virtues of the soul, will be like fine clothes, meaning: solar bodies, which are inflamed with fire and life.
So, in this opera, Chesed, Geburah, and Tiphereth: Timur, Liu, and Prince Calaf, are reunited. Meaning, the human soul has, by meditation, have experiences with the Spirit and the divine soul because the human soul, we have to remember, is where we get the Essence.
Right now, we are the Essence, which is 3% free and 97% conditioned by ego. But when we reunite with the divine, we feel a great joy, but also great sorrow, because any initiate who once finds the path again after having lost it is filled with a lot of lamentation and sweet melancholy. Really, to be without God is to be in the greatest suffering, which indicates why Calaf in this Opera, the prince, is filled with such remorse, because he is a fallen bodhisattva.
He suffers a lot. He is a man of noble blood, meaning: he once entered initiation in the past and now he is returning to the path, because he wants to return to the Divine Mother Turandot.
Also in the opera, Calaf hesitates to pronounce his father's name. In the beginning of this opera, he says to his father, “I won't say your name here because we are being persecuted.” It is interesting because Samael Aun Weor mentions that the Spirit, Chesed, has a sacred name. All of us, our inner Spirit, has a divine name. Samael Aun Weor is a sacred name of the Angel Samael. Every person, every Being, every Innermost, has a sacred name.
As we circulate through existence from existence adopting new personalities, new terrestrial names, either of the male or female sex, those things are temporary. In truth, we maintain and always continue on in our profound depths of our consciousness with the divine name, the name that belongs to our inner God, our Being. So the prince Calaf says to his father, "I won't say your name here because we are being hunted." He knows his inner name, who his true identity is, but he fears to pronounce it because of what might happen to him, also because they do not want to evoke the wrath of the secret enemy stated by Moriy in his Dayspring of Youth: the ego, desire, the animal “I.”
Liu is the only person out of the whole kingdom that was faithful to King Timur when everything fell apart, because the divine soul, which is known as Buddhi in Sanskrit, is part of the Innermost. The Spirit, Chesed, is known as Atman amongst the Hindus. Atman-Buddhi. And when you unite the human soul in that trinity, you form Atman-Buddhi-Manas: Spirit―divine soul―human soul.
The divine soul is feminine, receptive, but she is also the power of Mars: strength, spirituality. She remains faithful to Timur because, again, she is part of him. Atman-Buddhi is one unit when one enters initiation, and so the human soul must unite with that inner trinity.
Another term for Liu is Beatrice: Dante's divine soul in his comedy, his Divine Comedy. It is Beatrice who always serves God, is divine. So she helps Tiphereth, and when the Prince Calaf asks her, “Why did you serve my father so much?” She says, “It is because you smiled at me once”―a reference to how the divine soul loves the human soul. Liu is in love with the Prince Calaf, and so serves him selflessly. Of course, Tiphereth wants to marry Binah, the Holy Spirit, simply because in the Tree of Life, Binah is the higher sephirah that we must attain above Geburah. But all parts of the soul must be integrated, must be united and must work together, as we will see in this opera.
Devolution and the Second Death
Perhaps one of the most terrifying scenes in this opera is the very opening, where we find the phrase or the song “Gira la cote,” and they are singing about blood and death and destruction―violence, hell. Gira la cote means “spin the wheel,” sharpen the executioner's axe. This is the song of the demons of the abyss, in Peking or in the infernal worlds. It is the wheel of cyclical existence (Bhavachakra) that spins upon the axis of ignorance, craving, and aversion.
It is important to note that in the Bible we find the following phrase, "Nephesh, nephesh, blood is paid for blood." נפש Nephesh we explain is the animal soul, which we find in our blood, in our instinct.
When the energies of sex are expelled, we form the tail of Satan as I mentioned, Kundabuffer. That is a nephesh, animal soul. That is the energy that takes those fornicators down into the worlds of Klipoth in order to devolve, to be disintegrated, which is why all the people of Peking in the beginning are crying out and singing to hell. They are singing about the second death, because they want those fallen souls, for the initiates to join them within the abyss, within Tartarus, the infernal planes.
It is also interesting that in that part of the opera, they are waiting for the executioner to come. Pu-Tin-Pao is his name, which reminds us of I-A-O, but in hell, because the power of Tyr, the heavenly world, has been lost in the infernal dimensions. Christ has been inverted and the energies of Christ above, when they are taken and used through fornication, become the forces of the hell realms―the power of nephesh, the animal soul.
So all of these people are clamoring out in intoxication from desire. All those black initiates of the infernal planes don't want people to marry Turandot, and so they fight against them and sing against them, saying, “Let him try to answer the riddles, but he will fail and join us in death.” So the initiates of the Black Lodge, as we explained in Arcanum 8: Justice, identify and fortify the forces of devolution, so that through many aeons, they are disintegrated within the interior of the earth, within the astral and mental planes or the inferior astral and mental planes, the Klipoth.
It always fills me with great horror whenever I watch that part of the opera, because I have had experiences related to it. I remember many years ago, I was in the astral plane and a group of black magicians came after me. They were very angry with me, because I am working in this path. So they took me and brought me into the interior of the earth, and forced me to watch a ceremony, which is similar to what we see in the opening of Turandot, which if you are familiar with the Metropolitan Opera version, you see that they are dancing with a dragon, a serpent. Where in the astral plane, I saw a ritual they were performing, showing how the devolving serpent is taking them down into the infernal planes. It was a kind of like a parade or ceremony.
But of course, at that time I didn't feel any fear or discomfort. I was simply happy to be awake, conscious. But I looked at them very sorrowful, and of course that made them angry because they weren't convincing me about what they were doing. But I remember being in that Black Lodge and they were trying to tempt me, and teach me about the inverted serpent, but I already know enough about that, and I have confronted them many times in my work, where they try to tempt you to enter the devolving path.
This is the same multitudes, the lunar multitudes who worship Luna. When they are waiting for the executioner to arrive, to kill the Prince of Persia, the master who failed in the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum, we find that they bow down and worship the moon. It is a symbol of how black magicians worship the ego, because the moon as we explained in Arcanum 8 is the ego, desire, mechanicity, repetition, suffering. They even refer to the moon as “a lopped off head, a severed head.” It is a symbol of how those black magicians worship egotism, נפש nephesh, animality. And so, when they worship the moon, it is a symbol of how they are descending from Malkuth to the nine spheres of hell. The first sphere of hell relates to the moon, according to Dante in The Divine Comedy. And that is the entrance into the infernal worlds.
Question: But doesn’t the moon also relate to Yesod?
Instructor: Yes, because Yesod is the vital energy. In heaven it is pure, but through fornication, it is limbo, the first sphere of hell. The chorus says a couple lines such as how they love “the bloodless one.” They are lovers of the dead, meaning: they are worshiping and loving hell because down there, there is no spirit. If you remember what Nietzsche is saying from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, he says that “Write with blood and you will discover that blood is spirit.” So the bloodless ones have no Spirit. They have no development, and because they are in hell, they are in Klipoth, the world of shells. They have no substance, no life, no reality, and they suffer for many eternities down there.
But at the end of that choir calling for Pu-Tin-Pao―the power of I-A-O, diablo, the infernal powers that originally came from Christ, but have been filtered, conditioned, shelled, with animality, after the end of that song to Pu-Tin-Pao, the executioner―we hear a chorus of children singing a melody related to Turandot. It is very beautiful and innocent, very pure. It is a symbol of how after the soul devolves through the infernal worlds and after the ego is fully eliminated, then the consciousness can be extracted and returns as a child, an elemental, back within the paradises of the mineral kingdom, and then through evolution it can enter the plant kingdom, and then the animal kingdom, and then finally the humanoid kingdom again.
Those children are those souls that, after having entered and passed through the second death, the death of the ego within Klipoth, they return through transmigration back up the cycles of evolution. They are singing in their song about Turandot. They say “thousands of voices from the deserts of the sea call upon Turandot,” because those innocent children now have another opportunity in order to return to the Divine Mother. But of course, they failed, but they are going to restart the whole journey, again through many millions and millions and aeons of time. Of course, that is the great problem when initiates decide to fall: they lose everything and have to start over again, which of course is a very painful process.
When Masters Fall
At this point in the opera, the Prince of Persia is being led to his death. The Prince of Persia had answered or tried to answer three riddles, but failed them. And therefore, he is going to be executed. Persia is in the Middle East, which is why Puccini depicted how Tiphereth is in the Middle East of the glyph. Again, the Sun rises in Tiphereth, and since Tiphereth is in the middle of the Tree of Life, it has been depicted in certain religious scriptures as the Middle East. So the Prince of Persia is a master. He is a malik, a king, a warrior, Tiphereth, emphasized by the name Persia, or Pharisee, Farsi, which means “worshiper of fire,” INRI, Christ.
Question: But that’s the enlightened version of a Pharisee?
Instructor: Yes, so this character, he is a bodhisattva. But he failed the ordeals. He didn't eliminate the ego, and therefore he is going to be decapitated by the executioner, meaning: he is going to enter devolution because he failed. He couldn't eliminate his desires. They are too powerful.
At this point, the chorus shifts gears. It is interesting that the chorus sometimes praises the initiates but then sometimes praises hell. It is because in us, our kingdom is mixed. We are mixed with other virtues and vices, but everyone cries out to Turandot for mercy for the Prince of Persia, because they see how beautiful he is. Because any master who has light is beautiful, is Tiphereth, because Tiphereth in Hebrew means “beauty.” They want mercy for him. They don't want him to be executed. But of course, the Divine Mother is very severe, because if you want to marry her, you have to have no ego. That is why She is very demanding and why She is sometimes depicted in this opera as being very cruel: cold as jade, cold as a sword, because she is ז Zayin, the letter of Kabbalah relating to the spine, the Kundalini, the 7th Arcanum.
We will state that he was a prince of the Middle East who wanted to marry the Divine Mother in the Far East, China, and through the help of the Spirit and the divine soul. And so, it is a tragedy that this Prince of Persia failed, and it is very common. Many bodhisattvas fail in the work because they need to work more diligently in the death of the ego. And as we say, the chorus laments his death or his impending death because, coming from the Greek traditions, the word, the chorus, can either be congratulatory or condemning. It plays a dual function, referring to how the Word, the Christ, can be channeled in heaven or in hell.
Sometimes the crowd praises Christ saying, “Hosanna, hosanna in the highest! Glory to God in the highest!” And then next, “Crucifixia! Crucifixia!” So you find the duality in the chorus even from the Greek traditions, but also in this opera.
When Calaf sees the prince, sees the Prince of Persia going to his death, he says "Turandot, you are cruel. Let me see your face so I can curse you!” Because anyone in the beginning of these studies, when hearing about the severity of the Divine Mother, obviously feels fear or the ego feels fear and says, “Let me look at that divinity so I can curse her!” But this is the moment when he sees her for the first time and is overwhelmed and overcome by her beauty. When he sees her in this version of the opera, the stage rises along with the glorious theme or motif for the Divine Mother: kind of a mixture of Italian with Chinese music. It is a very beautiful alchemical synthesis of styles.
When he sees her for the first time, he is overwhelmed with love because anyone who experiences the Divine Mother in Her true form, wants to marry Her, to be reunited with Her, because She is perfection in an absolute sense.
And Calaf, in this version of the opera, I don't know of what other versions may have this, but he has his hands outstretched raised, like this, in the form of the Rune Man, because he wants to receive the power of the Divine Mother within him, the light.
At this point in time, the crowds disperse. Turandot vanishes and the chorus states "Koung tzè, please take the soul of the dying Prince of Persia up to heaven." It is interesting that this word “Kung” is mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in his book Christ's Will, which reminds us of a gong, a keynote in nature. He explains in that book how all of nature has it sounds, its key notes within the spiritual realms as well as the physical. So he says that, I believe the line he uses in his book is, how “Christ resounds like the Chinese Kung,” and you find in this opera, ”Koung-tzè, please take this soul of this dying man up to heaven.” Because any sound, like a gong or a bell, is a symbol of the divine, of Christ. You say in the astral plane, looking to the sky, “In the name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the glory of Christ!”―you will see from the sky a bell and hear a tremendous gong.
You know those church bells that resound in the tops of cathedrals? They originated from that, because when you invoke Christ in the astral plane, you hear a gong, a bell, which also reminds us of ringing the bell three times when the Prince Calaf decides to take upon himself the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum by ringing the gong three times to awaken Turandot, a symbol of how we awaken the Kundalini within the Chakra Muladhara, which is coiled three-and-a-half times within the coccyx.
But before that point, Calaf has to face many trials. He becomes inebriated by her perfume, which is a symbol of chastity, because pure smells reminds us of incense, of transmutation, of the aroma of the sexual energy, which we inhale through the breath, the prana, and we circulate it throughout our body.
When he cries out her name, “Turandot!” three times, the crowd becomes silent and then you hear the Prince of Persia yell, “Turandot!” and then he is executed. And of course, Timur and Liu in this part of the opera become very concerned. They don't want their child, the human soul to enter that path [of devolution]. But the fact that the crowds cry out in fear and terror when the Prince of Persia is executed also represents how in the internal planes, if you call out the name of the Virgin Mary, Miriam, the demons scream in terror. They despise chastity, which is something that Samael Aun Weor stated in his books.
But of course, King Timur and Liu, they are concerned with Calaf. They don't want him to enter that fate, and it seems contradictory that if Timur is the Spirit and Liu is the divine soul, why would they try to dissuade Calaf from the path? It is also something very subtle and symbolic, something very beautiful. They warn him about the consequences of failure, but they don't dissuade him from the path. They only tell him that if you fail, you will suffer more than had you never started. Because, when you work with energy, you build up power and force, and if that becomes diverted back down into hell again, one falls lower than one began.
They emphasize that the work of the ego is very dangerous, very difficult. If you fail, you will lose more than if you had never started. But this type of dynamic in the relationship refers to a scripture in the Book of Mark, chapter 10 verses 29 to 30, when Jesus refers to how one's family, one's friends will go against oneself, which is represented by this symbol, because when we enter the path of initiation, people go against us. They dislike the fact that we are working against the ego.
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
Diablo, Lucifer, and the Three Traitors
At this point in time we meet three very enigmatic characters. Their names are Ping, Pang, and Pong. They come into the scene in order to stop the prince from following his destiny. They are coming into the scene order to tempt the prince, and their names aren't given at this point of the opera, but their names are Ping, Pang, and Pong. If you look at the vowels of their name, you find the meaning of their symbol: I-A-O. Igneous, Aqua, Origo.
Question: A sacred symbol? That is a sacred name!
Instructor: Yes, because this force of I-A-O, when it is in heaven is pure, but within the ego, is the tempter. This is where we get the word diablo (DI-A-BLO). So this is Lucifer, which represents part of our Being. He is our psychological trainer. The light of Lucifer reminds us of luci feros, the light of Christ. Up in heaven, Lucifer was divine, but because we fell, we took Lucifer, the creative sexual energy, and destroyed it, conditioned it through desire, through ego. That light became the devil, the ego, desire.
So that energy is partly trapped in the ego. It needs to be liberated, which is why Samael Aun Weor stated that Lucifer is our psychological trainer who is mixed with desire. He is the part of our Being that gives us trials and ordeals and temptations so that we can face ourselves, face the mind, in order to see our problems, because without facing those psychological conflicts, those trials, those ordeals, we can't find and work on the ego. We can't see our defects.
He is the light of I-A-O, but in hell, he is diablo, the tempter. This is why in the Buddhist myth, Mara has three daughters who tempt Buddha when he is meditating beneath the Bodhi Tree. Likewise, Jesus is betrayed by three traitors: Judas, Pilate, and Caiphas. Calaf wants to climb the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, to work with a marriage. Of course, he is tempted in his three brains: his intellect, his emotions, and his sex, through desire, because the ego manifests in the three brains: I-A-O. “I” reminds us of the intellectual brain because the mantra “I,” pronounced “ee,” vibrates in the head. The mantra O vibrates in the heart. The vowel A reminds us of the waters, also the breath, because we work with the breath and the creative sexual energy through our lungs to work upon the waters of Genesis. I-A-O: intellectual brain related with Netzach, emotional brain relating to Hod, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain relating to Yesod, our waters.
For Calaf to be more determined in his path, he has to be tempted, and so his own mind goes against him, raging and conflicting with him by saying, “Turandot doesn't even exist. Why do you want to enter this path? Who are you? What do you want?” And that is a question that we ask ourselves and we are asked in our Gnostic studies. Who are we? What are we living for? Where we going? Why are we living?
Any student who enters Gnosis for the first time faces that conflict. When beginning to learn meditation, they find that the mind is fighting, is agitated, is addicted to sensations, to desires. I believe there is even one line that Ping, Pang, and Pong say, “Why do you want to marry Turandot so much? Why do you want the Divine Mother? You can have many women here in this physical plane.” And so that is lust and temptation in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
Calaf becomes very angry, very agitated. He says, “Leave me be! Let me follow my path.” But of course, the ego is always going after him. Lucifer is always tempting, trying to show him his own faults so that he can marry Turandot. That is the great mystery of diablo. If there is no temptation, there is no light. Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light.
If you want to enter the Far East as a soul emanating from the Middle East, you have to descend to the West, the abyss, the Tartarus, where the power of Tyr, Tyrtarus, Tyr―the energies are inverted. You have to go down into your own hell realms through Arcanum 1: The Magician, through descending into the infernal worlds in order to reascend with power. That is the mystery of Lucifer.
We find that these three characters Ping, Pang, and Pong are represented in this work many times throughout the opera, in Acts Two and Three;, more importantly within Act One, but also in Act Three. Act Two is a little bit more subtle.
But it is important to note that if we want mastery, we have to be tempted.
Love of Divinity: The Sufi Trope of the Initiatic Madman
Samael Aun Weor explains in his book The Mystery of the Golden Flower that there are many Spirits, many masters, or monads, inner Beings―because the word Monad means unity―that don't want mastery. Therefore, they don't push their soul with spiritual inquietudes or longings to want to enter into initiation. But those who are really pushed by the Being, who want to obtain self-realization, feel great disturbances, great longings, great sufferings, because they know that, intuitively, if they continue as they are, they will be taken by the forces of devolution in order to be destroyed in hell. If any one of us are in these studies and classrooms is because we know from experience, deep down, that we don't want to enter that path.
So many people think that those who enter initiation are crazy, insane, which is why Calaf is accused of being a lunatic in this opera, or in this act. They think he is mad because he wants to unite with Turandot and of course, you can look at the size of our classrooms, of people who are interested in marrying or self-realizing the Divine Mother Turandot. Most people, they run away. They are not interested in working on ego, because to marry Turandot is very demanding. To marry the Divine Princess Shekinah is very arduous, which is why Kahlil Gibran, who wrote many Sufi, Christian poems like The Prophet, describes this path very beautifully in relation to this opera. I am not saying that he saw this opera and commented on it, but there are certain allegories here in his writings, in The Madman, that relate to what Prince Calaf and what any person entering into initiation experiences.
You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen,―the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives, ―ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting, "Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves."
So what is that sun? It is Christ. We have to tear the veil of Isis in the seven bodies, “the seven masks we have worn in seven lives,” by raising the fire of Kundalini up the bodies of Malkuth, Yesod, Netzach, Tiphereth, Geburah, Chesed. We are tearing the seven masks off from our face so that Christ, the Sun, the Solar Logos, can inflame us with purity, so that we can become united with Christ.
People who enter this path are obviously accused of being lunatics. These types of topics don't please people. They don't please academics. They don't please the scholars, the religious fanatics, the fornicators. This type of knowledge is very distinct, which is why the mysteries of the 13th Arcanum resound within the darkness of the caverns of the Earth, where there are very few people who want to take advantage of it.
Temptations on the Path
As Calaf and Ping, Pang, and Pong, Lucifer in the three brains―because Lucifer tempts us in our intellect, our emotions, and our sex―as they are arguing, certain mistresses to the Princess Turandot reprimand them that she is sleeping and that they shouldn't awaken her. It is a symbol of how our Kundalini is sleeping in the Chakra Muladhara and is awaiting for the moment of divine awakening within sexual alchemy, through I-A-O, which we know is the sacred mantra in The Perfect Matrimony, the supreme mantra for sexual alchemy.
Ping, Pang, and Pong tell him, “Shun the riddles of Turandot. It's like shunning the mountains.” It is one word they use, meaning: “Don't enter initiation. Don't climb the mountain of the Tree of Life, but stay down here.” They tell him “Why do you want Turandot so much? She doesn't even exist. She is not real”―which is what the ego says, the mind says. Personally, I remember one retreat in which I was having a conversation with certain Buddhists―black magicians. They are awake and they were trying to convince me again that my love for my Divine Mother is illusory, that I should enter down in the infernal worlds, because they think, in a backward sense, that going into the interior of the earth is entering to development, because they are identified with those forces, with the Divine Mother in hell. So they offer many arguments and philosophical debates and theories and beliefs telling you why fornication is good and why the Divine Mother is bad. So these are very common conflicts that one faces.
The Call of the Dead
It is here at this point in the opera that we hear the ghosts of the dead worshipping Devi Kundalini. Those are the disembodied souls who have entered into Klipoth, who fell into the abyss because they failed the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum. So even in their suffering when they are devolving, they are singing out. If you remember in the opera, they are showing the heads of the decapitated on spikes, and you hear their ghostly call from the infernal worlds calling up saying, "We still love Turandot." Because even when they are devolving and being disintegrated, they love the divine force of the Divine Mother, but of course, in heaven She is divine, but in hell, She devours Her own children. That is because that force is utilized depending on our level of being, our qualities of being.
It is also important to know that the Divine Mother never abandons Her child, because those souls who are filled with ego, who don't want to rise up to the light, they have to be disintegrated out of compassion. So the Divine Mother accompanies them down into the infernal worlds to be destroyed.
But at this point in time, the prince hears those ghosts calling out from the dead, from the abyss, and he says, "No, only I love Turandot!”
Only a prince of the Middle East can love Turandot perfectly, be reflected within her and her within him. It is also interesting to note that the sacred mantra for the sephirah Tiphereth is אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod Hei Vau Hei, meaning “goddess of knowledge,” יהוה Iod-Havah, Jehovah, as described within the region of Atziluth within the world of Tiphereth, the sacred name of God in that sephirah.
Signore Ascolta: “Listen My Lord”
Liu sings for Calaf not to leave because she does not want him to fail. She says, "Your name has always been on my lips” as we have wandered within these infernal world seeking your remembrance. So the word for God is השם Hashem, the Name: “Your name has been on my lips,” and the lips refers to דעת Da’ath, meaning: “We have always remembered you, the soul,” but “we are separated from you as we are in exile,” because we are the Essence, which emanated from Tiphereth, but we are in Malkuth and we seek to be reunited with the Spirit and the divine soul.
So this is when she sings Signore, ascolta: “Listen my Lord.” This is a direct reference to:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
In Kabbalah, Tiphereth is ישראל Israel, the son of Isis, the Divine Mother; Ra, the Solar Logos; and אל El, the Spirit, Timur. Prince Calaf is Israel, the willpower of the initiate, symbolized by Moses, who must liberate the different parts of the soul trapped in suffering, by the different egos, the people of Peking. Remember that they are enslaved to the devolving forces or inverted serpentine powers of the Kundabuffer, Kali: the negative aspect of the Divine Mother Death. To achieve liberation, we must love divinity within our three brains, with all our soul, heart, and strength. The three brains will be constantly referenced in the next two acts as well.
Signore ascolta also means, esoterically: don't fail in your work, because if you fail in the work, the thread that unites the soul with the Being will be cut. That is known as the Antahkarana thread, and in fallen souls, demons, who have no hope for redemption, that connection is severed. And so she sings in lamentation. “If you fail in this work, you will be cut off from us and you'll be devolving and suffering tremendously.”
At this point Calaf still remains resolved. He says (metaphorically), “I won't renounce my effort, my will, because I want to marry and self-realize my Divine Mother.” That is the type of willpower we need, the aspiration we need, when we practice. Calaf says he suffered too much. He no longer smiles. That is because any fallen bodhisattva has lost God, and so he says, “I once smiled in the past, but now I am unhappy. I will only be happy when I return to Devi Kundalini, my divine princess.” Really, every aspirant who finds the path does so because they want to cease suffering, but even more so for fallen masters. A fallen master suffers tremendously because they had the light and they lost it. Now they want to return back to their origins.
Question: The Divine Mother, is that also the princess? Are they synonymous?
Instructor: Yes, because the Divine Mother is Turandot. She is RAM-IO.
Question: Ok, well the mother and the princess, they are a little different...
Instructor: Right. So the concept of the Divine Mother may sound a little strange. Why is the Prince Calaf trying to marry the Divine Mother? It is because She is the mother of the soul. When our soul has perfected itself fully, it unites with Aima Elohim and Abba Elohim as a perfect unity. So you have Osiris-Ra and Horus. Osiris is the Divine Father. Isis is the Divine Mother and Horus is the Son. Through self realization, that trinity becomes perfected, unified.
But of course in order to get to that point, Calaf, the prince, has to suffer a lot, because it is through suffering in which one becomes inspired to change. So, fallen bodhisattvas, obviously, suffer more than other people, because they had a higher knowledge of the law, and because they broke the law, they are more accountable and have more responsibility. This is known as the lion of the law, Katancia: karma of the initiates and the gods, as we discussed in Arcanum 5: The Hierarch.
The people around them say life is beautiful. Why do you want to abandon life? Why do you want to abandon this physical world? Why do you want to go up there and challenge love, to be united with Her and risk everything? But Calaf says, “I ask for pity from you, because I love Her so much that I am willing to do anything in my power.” He says, “No power on Earth can hold me back. I follow my destiny!” And the crowd is singing, “We are digging your grave for you, ready for you,” for those who challenge love, because the ordeals over the death of the ego are very challenging as we said.
Friedrich Nietzsche depicts this struggle in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, of which we will relate in brief. This is from “On the Way of the Creator,” and I have added some commentary and explanations into some of the language he uses because it is very deep:
Is it your wish, my brother (or fellow initiate) to go into solitude (meditation)? Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself? (your Divine Mother or your Ain Soph? Because remember when we do the Rune Ur, we say, “I need to die within my defects so that my Essence may be lost in Him, in Him, in Him.’ That Him is our Ain Soph, our inner Being as we discussed in Arcanum 2: The High Priestess of the Eternal Tarot). Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself? Then linger a moment and listen to me.
This is what Calaf does. The whole world was against him, saying, “You can't do this. You can't rise. You want to go to the very heights of the Absolute, go beyond the universe, and yet you are down here. You think you can do this?” And so this is how the mind and the black magicians tempt you, fighting against you and railing and trying to tempt you in the astral plane and physically, trying to plant doubts to make you fail or to convince you that you can't do it.
This is a process that is beautifully described in the writings of Rudolf Steiner and also Samael Aun Weor where he talks about the Guardian of the Threshold. For those of you who are not familiar with the Guardian of the Threshold, Samael Aun Weor explains that this is part of our Being, which, in the beginning of this path, we have to face a certain ordeal in which we confront a figure of or manifestation of all of our defects. This can happen in the internal planes through internal experiences, in which you see a great monster, gigantic, a full reflection of what you are. And so you have to fight that monster and defeat it, in the Name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the glory of Christ. This is partly alluded to in this opera in which he wants to ring the gong three times to awaken Devi Kundalini, because before we can awaken the Kundalini, we have to face the Guardian of the Threshold in which we are tempted by our own defects. We have to face that beast.
Personally, I remember fighting my own monster, my Guardian, and it was a very bloody battle, but fortunately, I succeeded, and I remember in that experience a group of black magicians were looking at me and they were horrified. I remember the light of Christ inspired me to speak and say “It can be done. You have to want it.” And they stood there amazed.
Comment: Just to add to what you said about the Dweller, the Guardian of the Threshold―a number of metaphysicians, one, he died not too long ago. His name was Stuart Wilde. Anyway, he was talking about the Guardian. He said that it was truly terrifying. He then knew what Carl Jung was up against when he described the Guardian. Carl Jung experienced it. Steiner said it too. It’s pretty heavy! Well, you experienced it. You see, it’s scary!
Instructor: But you see that reflected in the opera, in which you have all the voices of hell raised against him. He says, “Turandot!” and of course the people in the crowd say “muerte!” “Turandot!” “Muerte!” and then “Turandot!” again, muerte meaning “death.” Everytime he says her name, they say death, because that death will either occur through initiation, through victory, or in failure. There are two ways to die: willingly or unwillingly.
So after he overcomes their temptations, the struggle against the crowd, he strikes the gong three times in order to awaken the Divine Mother. So this is when the Kundalini awakens from the Chakra Muladhara, to rise up in the 33 vertebrae of the spine, and 33 reminds us of 3 plus 3, which is 6, Arcanum 6: Indecision, which is what we find reflected in this struggle, in this opera. It also refers to the commandment, “Thou shalt not fornicate.” This how he begins to initiate his journey back up the Tree of Life from Malkuth to Tiphereth, the Middle East.
Conclusion: A Spiritual Experience
In conclusion, I will relate to you another experience that relates to this topic. Many years ago I was meditating and had the experience of leaving my body, and then I found myself in the astral plane flying, being taken by my Divine Mother to a travel agency.
I knew I wanted a specific destination in the travel agency. I went up to the counter. I said to the lady at the desk, "I want to go to the Middle East. How much do I have to pay?” The woman said, “355 dollars." 5 + 5 is 10, + 3 is 13. So they were telling me, “You want to go to the Middle East, Tiphereth? Achieve Arcanum 13. Die in your ego.” I remember at that moment, I heard someone laughing at me, and I knew intuitively it was an executioner of the law, because in the opera, not necessarily in this version, but in other versions too, when he strikes the gong three times, Calaf, you hear the executioner laughs. And so I remember that experience. They were telling me that the executioner was laughing because there is going to be death either way, victoriously, or as a failure. It depends on our work.
Questions and Answers
Do you have any questions?
Question: This has something to do with the ego. Is the best way to eliminate an ego would not be the dwell on it, if you did something good today at work or something, but to forget about it, and when you go home, to remember it for a split second and then just meditate on it and comprehend it?
Instructor: Yeah, so it's one thing to reflect on an ego, and another thing to be identified with it. I know that when we face certain uglinesses in the mind, relating to our faults, it gets very painful. But the thing we have to remember is that we have to observe what we witnessed, what we saw in that moment. Look at concrete facts, concrete details. So if we discovered in a moment of conflict with a co-worker, an element of anger and pride, and also resentment, and we feel that we acted wrong, we feel that intuitive discernment and remorse, the thing is to remember that and to again feel that longing, but also don't dwell on it. Don't beat oneself up over the fault, but to feel remorse is another thing, primarily because remorse is a conscious quality, but shame is something else. Shame is not useful. It doesn't help. But if we feel remorse and say to ourselves, “I really made a terrible mistake here,” personally when I have had that at work, certain conflicts, I tell myself, “Okay. Let me continue observing. Let me be mindful. Remember my God.” I continue to pray until when I get home, I go and I reflect on that mistake and pray for understanding. Imagine that scene as it happened, concentrate on my inner God, my Divine Mother. Ask Her, “Show me with insight, how did I make a mistake here? What did I do wrong?”
You’ll find with profundity of depth in the practice, without forgetting what we are concentrating on, what we are meditating on, the insight will come to you. In that way, you can pray for elimination. That is how we travel to the Middle East, go up the Tree of Life―not flagellating ourselves and saying, “I am a bad person. I am negative.” Because even though we are demons, there is no need to adopt a morbid attitude. It doesn't help anyone. People who are morbid end up leaving Gnosis because they don't see any benefit from the practices. But people who comprehend and feel remorse is something else, because they feel inspired. When you feel remorse, you recognize, you say, “I made a big mistake,” and that remorse in the heart is what is inspiring us from divinity to change. Because without that inspiration, without that remorse, we would be lost, which is why Calaf in the beginning of the opera, or better said at the end of the first Act, says “I have suffered too much. I am in so much pain. I feel so much remorse. I am no longer happy.” That recognition of the causes of suffering is what pushes one to want to enter the path of love, to challenge love.
Question: This is opera about the thirteenth arcanum?
Instructor: Yes, about death, death of the ego.
Question: Turandot then is the Shekinah?
Instructor: The Divine Mother.
Comment: You mentioned how you could hurt somebody or realized that you hurt them. You look at their heart, somehow. I think you mentioned how it is corrosive to the divine force, your negative feelings, even if you feel justified. It is not good. If you could sort of feel the pain and realize that you are wounding another body, and you are trying to justify it in your mind, it is still no good. It is a corrosive force that will hold you back on the path. But you really have feelings, and you tell yourself that―words are one thing―“Oh yeah, I was wrong,” But unless you feel it in your heart… It brings out a sense of empathy towards others.
Instructor: Right. And that sense develops the more you meditate, because you find that in your interactions with people, whether at work or with family or friends, you become more intuitive, more insightful. You see how even your thoughts affect people. Even your emotions affect others invisibly, which, you know, we like to think that we are separated from people in a very physical sense, like there is a barrier, “I can think whatever I want and feel whatever I want and that it is not going to affect anyone.” But the truth is that our mind influences people, and if you become very intuitive and clairvoyant and develop that faculty very well, you start to sense more and more, and recognize how wrong, negative, psychological states produce suffering.
Question: In The Revolution of the Dialectic, so Samael says that basically the mind is pretty much purely Satanic. Are we only supposed to use that for comprehension, whereas opinions are not really good to have? Obviously sarcasm is not good to have. But to use the mind, “I got to fix this. I have to work on this problem”?
Instructor: The solution is observe. Obviously, it is good not to talk about what one doesn't know. I know in my employment, my job, when people ask me things that I am not capable of or don't know, I say, “I don't know. I can give you an educated guess, but I think you should talk to so-and-so,” because it is important not to try to go about thinking that one knows things that one doesn't, which is something I apply very strictly to my lectures here―to teach things only that I know or to refer to the Master Samael for things I don't know.
Comment: Or repeating...
Instructor: Or repeating what other people said and that I don't really have an experience, because it doesn't help anybody. You have a lot of people in the Gnostic movement who are like that. They parrot. They talk about things they haven't experienced. So it is always good to speak from our own knowledge, from experience, and to observe and just observe, what is our psychological sate, and to be mindful throughout the day. Observe in each moment, and that is how you get data about your defects, because as we say in this teaching, there is no golden maxim, that “I can follow this, this, this, and this and I am going to go up to the Middle East and the Far East and marry Turandot and I'll be done.” It is very difficult, as you'll see in Act Two. It is very difficult, very dangerous, because you find that when you have to answer those riddles in yourself, when you answer those ordeals, when you reach conflicts in your daily life, how you choose to respond determines your fate and where you go. So the way to understand proper psychological states is to observe, and then intuitively you'll know in any circumstance of life what to do.
Question: Would you say that it is wrong to point that out to other people?...
Instructor: If they need it and if you know that they are going to listen. But at the same time, there are certain people that, we respect their will. We say, if you don't want to change, that is your business. Personally, I work with certain clients that are very difficult. They test me all the time―try to find loopholes in my thinking, the way that I work with them. But they like me a lot because I don't judge them. It still doesn't mean that I don't instill punitive measures when I have to, but at the same time we have to help people based on our capacity, our abilities, but without forcing our will on others as we relate it with Arcanum 11: Persuasion.
Question: When you talk about the black magicians, witches... but then you say they are awake. What does that mean? They just have this knowledge...
Instructor: What I meant was that they are awakened in evil. To be awake doesn't necessarily mean they are awake in a good way. A black magician is being, a real full-fledged black magician, is a being who is aware that they are awake. They have powers in the ego. They can astral project. They can do jinn science. They can read people's minds. They can talk telepathically. So when I was talking about those specific cases, I should have been more clear, that they are awakened in evil. They are demons, and they are trying to pull me from my path, telling me things and trying to have arguments with me. I was trying to be like Prince Calaf, like I remember from the opera, just saying, “No. Just let me be. That is your path. So be it!”
Question: So they probably have this knowledge, whether it's this or Rosicrucian or something, and they just go off on the opposite end?
Instructor: Some of them do. A lot of them don't. There are many who do know now that Samael Aun Weor's teaching has been more explicit and open. They have been very aware of what he teaches. This is why the ineffable melodies of the 13th Arcanum resound as an opera within the caverns of the Earth, because this teaching is now open to everyone. Samael Aun Weor explained the symbols of these great operas in his teachings. So, they know the knowledge and it is even more painful for them when they reject the knowledge, because as you read the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad was teaching how he kept giving his doctrine, his light, but the unbelievers wouldn't accept it. Or as the Bible says, “The people who walketh in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). They don't understand the light. A lot of them don't want to change. Some do.
Comment: So right now, America is being inundated with the seven deadly sins. It is like ridiculous right now and even people are being tricked by pride, with pride parades.
Instructor: That is because no one loves death of the ego. They love the ego. This is why all the multitudes of humanity in the chorus (Gira la cote) are praising blood and death and fornication and evil. That is the multitudes who worship the moon, which is why the opera begins in that setting and they all are worshiping and bowing to the executioner who is going to kill, the second death. That is what humanity loves.
Question: Is this happening because we have to get this out of our system or is this whole negative thing that is going on?
Instructor: It is happening because the ego has been building up so much in our humanity that finally, there is only a maximum that it can reach before this humanity needs to be annihilated, as we explained in the first lecture in this course, the Introduction to the Secret Teachings of Opera. Humanity has reached its end. This Aryan Root Race will be pulverized, will be annihilated. But before that point, the teachings of the 13th Arcanum are made available in the opera houses to teach the demons who want to change. And those who don't, so be it. Let them be.
Question: A lot of people they go to see Turandot, they want to hear the music... not all, since some parts are not the most melodious. But as far as the metaphysical aspects... Maybe one in a hundred like… What do you think? You never hear them talk about it! They’re like, “Oh, Puccini!” Nothing metaphysical!
Instructor: Not even. I have looked on the internet to see if anyone in our tradition has commented on Turandot and I didn't find anyone yet. I mean, I know people who I have worked with in this tradition who know about it. They know the opera well, but I haven't found anyone who has explained it. So, personally this is an opera that has influenced me greatly so I felt it important for me to explain for people who don't know.
Question: The Guardian of the Threshold, is that a book by Samael?
Instructor: There are references to the Guardian of the Threshold in The Perfect Matrimony, specifically. This is where he introduces that, but also he talks about the Guardian of the Threshold in The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled.
Question: What is the Guardian of the Threshold? What is the definition?
Instructor: The Guardian of the Threshold is an ordeal that the disciple faces at the beginning of the path to determine whether or not they are going to be qualified for what are known as the Major Mysteries. So in the beginning of the path, before we can awaken Devi Kundalini, we have to be tested. This is known as the probationary path or the Minor Mysteries. Any person who is single or even married has to pass through the minor initiations relating to nine degrees, which also relates to entering the interior of the earth and its nine strata, its nine infernal regions. It is a symbol of how we have to face ourselves to a certain degree, in which we recognize our egotism, our suffering and that we need to change.
Comment: That is interesting. There are many books by metaphysicians on the Kundalini… how to raise it. Nothing about the Guardian of the Threshold.
Instructor: It is because the black magicians fortify that element in themselves. They don't want to work against it, but in the probationary path, you have to face the Guardian. You face an ordeal in the internal worlds, internally, in which you have to confront your own self. So the Guardian of the Threshold, Samael says, is your Being, but it reflects in you all of your garbage, all your evilness that you have accumulated over many millennia. You have to face it in a very great battle. You have to fight hand-to-hand, psychologically, against this beast and conjure it. If you don't defeat it, people who don't defeat it eventually leave Gnosis. They abandon the teaching, but people who have conquered, they stay, because they conquered the ordeal. And so you find that subtle reference in the opera where you have all these people going against them, all the voices clamoring, saying “Have pity on us! Don’t do this work! What do you think you are doing? You can't reach Turandot!” Ping, Pang, and Pong, Diablo, is part of that. It is related to the Guardian the Threshold because he is the tempter.
Question: But those are the three brains also right?
Instructor: Right, because Ping, Pang, and Pong, I-A-O, “I” vibrates in the head, the intellectual brain. “O” relates to the heart. “A,” the breath, can also relate to your seminal energies―three brains.
Question: Since we live in a dualistic world, isn't it better to not think positive thoughts?...
Instructor: We have to learn how to use the mind intuitively. That is a very subtle skill we acquire through meditation, because even for a job, we need the intellect to help us, but it doesn't mean that the intellect has to be used all the time.
Question: I am saying when you are walking down the street, you are in a car. Isn't it better to just keep it blank? You get a lot of self-help books that say “Think positive thoughts” with this and that. It is automatically going to weave, and some negative thoughts is going to come up.
Instructor: The highest form of thought is no thought. But to reach that point as Samael Aun Weor states in his book Igneous Rose, thought must flow serenely and sweetly like a river without obstruction. Typically, our thinking tends to be very heavy, identified, and disturbing. But thought should be something serene and subtle, to the point that you are not thinking anymore. You are only receiving life. And I remember there is a lecture that Samael Aun Weor gave in which he gave to his students, “A lot of you struggle with your mind. Your mind is bossing you around. You are identified too much with it. Personally, my mind is perfectly under control. You know, there are moments in which I have to teach, and therefore, I use my mental body. But when I don't need to use it, I don't use it.”
Comment: The ability to rest the mind is of the greatest value. Because then when you need answers, they come out of nowhere like in the morning or during the day. It's amazing.
Instructor: So in the opera you find that that teaching of serenity very beautifully exemplified by the fact that, as strong as the Prince Calaf is, it may seem that he is very disturbed. Obviously, someone who is singing in an opera is very passionate, but we have to remember that equanimity, silence of the mind, serenity, is a quality distinctly related to Tiphereth, because the human soul, human willpower, pure concentration, is a state of serenity, of calmness, in which there is no agitation in the mind. We talked about this extensively in our lectures on Gnostic Meditation, about the nine stages of meditative concentration [or Calm Abiding: The Stages of Serenity] in which one ascends from a completely distracted mind to a fully serene and concentrated mind. So meditative equipoise is equanimity, is Tiphereth, because when we reach the ninth degree of concentration in which we are fully relaxed, serene, calm. We have reached Tiphereth, psychologically speaking, in terms of the part of our soul that is most active.
Question: When you astral travel, are you sitting in your chair like this or are you laying down?
Instructor: Sometimes when I have meditated, I have fallen asleep in my chair, my meditation chair. Other times, I have lain down to go to bed, doing a mantra in my mind, falling asleep, and having that experience.
Question: What about when you are sleeping? Are you astral traveling or are you lucid dreaming?
Instructor: Well, with astral travel, what happens is, every person projects into the astral plane at night every time one goes to sleep. The problem is that we do so unconsciously. We tend to do so without any awareness. But if we train ourselves, we can take something that is mechanical and make it conscious. So lucid dreaming can happen often when we are working in mindfulness, working with what is known as the key of SOL: Subject, Object, Location.
Be aware that you are in your body. You are the subject. You are observing the objects around you and you question it and interpret: what is your location? Where are you situated? You train your mind like that when you are living physically, living life physically. You learn to do that in the astral plane because we go many places unconsciously without awareness, without any understanding about where we are at and where we are going. But we may have a moment in which we gain insight. We suddenly see ourselves in some place. We question, “Where am I? How did I get here?” You involve yourself in a type of questioning.
Question: But in what conscious state or dream state?
Instructor: And you ask that question and to test yourself. You can either jump in the air to see if you will float or pull your finger. Pull your finger to see if it will stretch. You pull your finger so that it stretches out. You will realize that you are in your lunar astral body and that you are in the dream state.
Comment: They say there are techniques I am trying to do, but sometimes it is not that easy. You can wake up in a dream and you need to give yourself a prompt before you go to sleep, but when that happens you are like "Oh, I am in a dream!” I have had that experience once. Its very unique to say that you know “I am here in the street.” Of course it’s in a dream. You see everything is similar as you see around here. But then you say to yourself, “Oh my God, but I am on my bed at the same time as I am watching this scene.” But to be able to will it, night after night, to repeat that…
Instructor: So what this opera teaches us in relation to that practice is that we need to be very defined. We need to be very passionate in the conscious sense, following the Passion of Christ. We have to be inspired, and the way that we can do that, like we began this lecture, with was with the runes. You know, get yourself good energy. Do the Runes Man, Fa, Ario, Isis, Ur, with the mantra Ram-IO, and work with practices every day so that we feel charged, because if you see in the opera, Calaf, what makes him such a memorable character, so loved by many audiences, is that he is determined to the point that he is not going to let anything stop him. That is the type of willpower we need in our practices, whether it be of astral projection, dream yoga, meditation.
Question: Building up the energy that you spoke about through certain actions, runes, getting solar energy, will that help you in the night time to access these planes, such as energy built up from meditations during the day time?
Instructor: Yes, because when there is no energy, there is no fire; there is no light. If you don't save your energy, if we waste it through negative emotions, we can't awaken in the astral plane, the world of emotions. If we waste our mental energy, we can't awaken in the mental plane because we have no fuel there. And likewise, the sexual energy too, which is the basis of all three, of all three brains, because the sexual energy circulates from Yesod to Tiphereth to Kether in your body―speaking of your body as a Tree of Life.
So we need energy. We need to enthusiasm, which is why I really love Prince Calaf so much as an initiate in this opera, and Puccini, who was reflecting what he went through, because no artist can reflect that if they haven't experienced it themselves. You can't teach something like that unless you have lived it. So he had a lot of passion, meaning he loved his Being so much that he was willing to do anything to work for Her. And so when we have that longing in our heart, when we are very determined, we don't let obstacles get in our way. Instead, we triumph through them and are willing to suffer no matter what the cost will be, because we love divinity so much and that has to come from inside, from experience. When you personally converse with your Divine Mother and see how beautiful she is, you can't help but melt. You enter ecstasy. She will come to you in symbols and dreams and different forms to teach you psychological truths about yourself. You know, as I gave the example of going into the travel agency. She was showing me, She was at the counter saying, “You want to go to the Middle East? Well, you want to return to me? Pay 355 dollars.” Money in the symbolic language has to do with dharma or karma. Paying money means you have to earn certain experiences. You have to work for them. And that is why I teach this doctrine, because I have been pushed by my Being to do what He and She wants, which is self-realization. I know that a lot of people don't want it.
Question: Why not?
Instructor: Because some people realize how difficult it is and they run away. They had to face the Guardian of the Threshold and then they can't face that.
Question: They can't, but what about people wondering they are going to die someday and they are wondering about the day after life? You would think that would be an inducement.
Instructor: So, many people like to follow the moon, like in the opera, but those who want to succeed in initiation are few. But if you are filled with inspiration and longing, we have to feed it daily so that we don't retrogress.
As gnostics, we become enraptured, inflamed, delighted, by the works of the great classical composers such as Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Beethoven, Wagner. It also is remarkable that these paragons of music have taught in their art, the secret teachings of all ages, the secret path of initiation.
Just as we become enthralled by the pyramids of Egypt, Yucatan, the temples of the Maya, the Aztecs, the great churches and synagogues, the great mosques, all the architecture that the best of humanity has produced; these things inspire us. While these forms of art have always been profound, moving, inspiring, it is also a tremendous inspiration to understand how these great works of art have taught in their secret symbols, their allegory, the spiritual path that leads the disciple from ignorance into the light of comprehension. The path of yoga, reunion, religion.
Art has always been used to reflect divine principles, divine truths, with many meanings and symbols that hide tremendous cosmological truths and experiences of the consciousness. Even though in our studies of anthropology, or better said, gnostic anthropology, we have looked at the great architecture of the ancients, the philosophies of the Greeks, the ancient sciences of psychology, mysticism, kabbalah—it can be argued that opera is one of the most refined, and if not, the most synthetic teaching given to humanity.
This art form is truly a form of alchemy. It is alchemical, because it is a mixture of music, drama, theater, art: visual representations, costumes that are appropriate to the given context of a specific opera can help to convey profound truths about the nature of religion, of psychology.
Opera has always been utilized by the great initiates. It is very well known amongst writers that Puccini, Mozart, Beethoven and many others like Tchaikovsky, were Freemasons. Mozart's Magic Flute, which portrays the initiations of the Masonic Lodge, eventually got him into trouble, precisely because he was expressing truths in that opera that were not allowed to be conveyed to the public. But, given his inspiration, he provided a beautiful teaching about the nature of initiation, the spiritual path, of which we will be studying in this course on the Secret Teachings of Opera.
But today I want to just discuss for us some of the principles, the foundations in order to interpret opera, especially the kabbalah and alchemical knowledge that is the synthesis of this great art.
As I stated, the great architecture of humanity, the ancient religions and traditions, while profound and beautiful, are not as refined as this art form, because opera is the synthesis of many aeons of development—many centuries of expressing the teaching in a way that was only communicable and understood by other initiates.
And as I stated, this path is about קבלה kabbalah and alchemy. How is opera kabbalistic, alchemical? The word קבל kabbel in Hebrew means “to receive.” It is knowledge that we receive not only from books or scriptures, but from experience of the consciousness.
Classical music elevates the soul, because this music was composed by prophets.
Many people think that Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt were simply musicians, and that they had a type of genius and creativity that could not be explained. But the profound reality is that they developed their music, their art form, as a result of awakening their full conscious potential.
In their music, they portray many truths relating to mathematics, to numbers. We know that music is very mathematical, kabbalistic, because kabbalah is the science of numbers. In these studies, we know that kabbalah is intuitive. Numbers are intuitive. They represent forces in nature: principles, archetypes, blueprints for the creation of the soul, in which we find represented in the many different characters of the operas like Rodolfo in La Bohème, a reference to the 21st Arcanum of the tarot: the Fool, the ignorant, the Bohemian.
Likewise, we find the tremendous archaic teachings of the thirteenth arcanum in Puccini's Turandot; the mysteries of death and the Divine Mother. Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin teaches about the loss of the soul. Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, which has terrified many audiences, is a teaching about the path of failure.
So these great masters conveyed in their music, psychological truths about the dangers of the spiritual path of initiation. When we watch opera, we learn to receive the knowledge which is kabbalah, kabbel. We receive the music which inspires the heart, and through the drama of its characters, the narrative, the lyrics, or the libretto, we gain insight into the nature of what is known as the Tree of Life and its different sephiroth. For each character in an opera represents parts of the soul that must be developed, which must be integrated.
So divine art is precisely opera. It is the amalgamation or alchemy of the verb. Of music. Of drama. In opera there is sculpture, there are sets, there is music, there is poetry or literary narrative. In many cases there is dance. So, the initiates, throughout the centuries, for millennia, had provided their teachings within sculpture, within paintings, within music. As a synthesis of this great art, of these great teachings, we find that opera is the peak, the height, the most refined, precisely because it synthesizes all the art forms from the previous eras, of which we'll be talking about in this lecture.
Sadly as much as people love opera and classical music, they don't really comprehend the meaning of the great art forms. They don't understand that the dramas represented in these forms of art, in these presentations, show us something symbolic. They show us something about ourselves, if we are truly walking this path of initiation that we have been explaining in our course on the Tarot, especially.
Opera is a divine art, but in order to benefit from it, we have to awaken consciousness, because for many centuries people have listened to opera. They have watched it. They have been amused by it and have commented on it. They have debated about its purpose and the meanings of certain composers’ work. But sadly, humanity ignores the science of the Tree of Knowledge and the science of the Tree of Life, which are the synthesis of the secret teachings and which can unlock the door to understanding the great works of art, such as with Wagner's Parsifal, of which the Master Samael Aun Weor wrote a book specifically explaining its symbolism, its mysteries. Another opera of which we will be talking about later in this course.
Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis
So in order to discuss the nature of art and the place of opera within the scale of our humanity, it is necessary to speak about some very ancient forms of history which are not documented by our anthropologists, our scientists, who only study physical matter. We have to speak about cosmogenesis and the nature of what is called root races and subraces within our humanity and previous humanities, in order to discuss the teachings of opera. But why?
As we stated, through our many aeons, this teaching has been taught, it has been known, it has been practiced, and many operas teach an ancient form of history that is not known by humanity. It is enough to watch Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, in order to understand and first-hand witness the history of ancient humanities on our planet.
So in order to talk about the place of art that has developed throughout history and reached its peak with opera, we are going to talk about this ancient history in synthesis. We won't have the time in this lecture to really expound upon all the details of these ancient humanities that populated our planet, but we want to point and indicate their place in general in order to help us provide a context for this lecture.
So what is a cosmic era? A cosmic era is known as round, and as we see in this graphic, we have a beautiful depiction of ancient periods in our universal history. We have first what is known as the Mahamanvantara, which is known as the “great cosmic day.” Every universe is born, gives life, and then dies. When it is born, it has existence, when the universe manifests from the unknowable divinity known as the Ain Soph Aur, the Ain Soph, and the Ain in kabbalah, the Absolute.
It emerges and manifests into different levels of matter, energy, and perception, which are mapped by the kabbalah. So, life descends from more subtle forms of matter and energy into the more material.
Life first existed in the mental plane in what is known as the Saturnian Round. When life fully developed in its full capacity in that dimension, after many aeons, trillions of years, and after that round gave birth to seven races in its respective cycle.
It then materialized and entered into what is known as the Solar Round. Life then gestated within the astral plane. Likewise, in that era, seven races were born. When life fully developed at that level, matter, and energy descended into the ethereal plane, the fourth dimension and what is known as the Lunar Round of which Samael Aun Weor spoke about abundantly in his books.
Life in the lunar round existed in what is currently known as the moon, the physical moon which was a planet in previous eras, in the Lunar Round.
A planet always has life, it always has its humanities, its races, that are born and gestated in those eras. But when life fully develops at that level, the planet dies after many aeons, many ages. In that round, life then is extracted from that planet in order for that planet to become a moon, a cadaver.
A moon is a dead planet that once had life in previous rounds. The lunar round took place precisely in our moon, the physical moon and which is why certain writers like Madame Blavatsky taught that the moon is the mother of the Earth. This is contrary to people's belief that the moon was a part of the earth that broke off into space. But the moon was its own planet. It had its own life, its rivers, its forests, its civilizations, its races.
When that planet fully developed its races, its humanities, when the knowledge was given to those ancient epochs, those peoples, the planet eventually has to die, because life is born, is gestated, it sustains, and then it passes. So life once existed on the moon, but the soul of that planet entered into our Earth in the next round, the Terrestrial Round, of which we are currently in—the terrestrial period.
It is important to note that these rounds exist because life is descending. First through the force of involution into different states of matter and perception, so that the souls that are entering into the universe can gain experience, cognizance, understanding.
And what is a root race? There are seven races for each round, as Samael Aun Weor teaches in his books. A root race is precisely a humanity, an age in which certain people are given the opportunity to enter into the mysteries of the secret teachings. To experience and live the path of initiation.
And of course, this terrestrial period indicates with exactitude that life has reached its maximum. Its full materiality. Now we are currently in the process of entering into the higher dimensions once again, from which life first descended.
In the future rounds, life will continue to exist in the ethereal plane. Reconquering the ether. Ascending towards higher worlds and higher states of being. Likewise, the astral plane and the mental plane. Until finally, that universe or the life of the planet and the different worlds will enter back into the Absolute, what is known as the cosmic night: the Mahapralaya, the cosmic period of rest.
Each period has seven root races, of which we are currently in the fifth. We once experienced and had life on this planet through the Polar Race, followed by the Hyperborean Race, the Lemurian Race, the Atlantean Race, the Aryan Race.
Each race or root race has his life and its death. There are always periods of great cataclysms in which such humanities are exterminated once the fruits of those races have been produced. When a humanity has given forth solar men, solar initiates, solar beings through the spiritual path we have been teaching in our courses, then those humanities reach their peak of civilization, and then they decay. When they decay, they are finished through great cataclysms of which the Aztecs and the Maya have depicted in their sun calendars of Tonatiuh, in which these different humanities experience different forms of their demise, which we won't go into depth today.
But we mentioned in brief because in order to talk about opera and art, the great forms of the sacred mysteries, we have to speak about our ancient humanities.
The Seven Aryan Subraces
We are now in the fifth race, the Aryan Race, which should not be confused with the Germans, because the German people are merely one aspect of the Aryan Race.
Each race has seven subraces, of which we have an image of our Aryan Race in the top right. Why is the fifth root race the Aryan Race? Because we are governed by Ares, by Mars, by Samael, the angel of strength. The previous periods were governed by other angels, but now we are under the jurisdiction of Ares, of Samael.
It was a mistake of certain people amongst the Nordics, the Germanic peoples, to think that they were the only Aryans on the planet. That was a mistake. The Aryan Race has flourished upon the whole planet and every continent.
Each root race is divided into seven subraces as we stated.
Humanity amongst the Aryans first developed in Tibet, then moved into India and China.
The third subrace existed in the Middle East, the fourth in Greece and Rome, the fifth amongst the Nordics as well as the Anglo-Saxons, Teutons, and European people.
In Latin America, we have the sixth subrace. Right now, in the United States, we have the seventh subrace that is developing presently here and now. We have stated and it has been stated that the subraces, or better said, the subrace of the United States, is a mixture, is a crucible, a melting pot in which all the races of the our planet are mixing, precisely with the purpose of generating the seed for the next root race, which is the sixth in our terrestrial period.
The sixth root race will be known as Koradi, which is the new people, the new age, the new era of Aquarius cited by Samael Aun Weor, in the Book of Revelation. After our Aryan civilization is destroyed with great cataclysms, like the previous races before, certain people and certain seeds of our race, the seventh subrace, will be extracted and taken in order to develop the new humanity.
So the best seed is always used to cultivate new plants, new life. The same with the subrace of the United States in which the Gnostic movement is marching firmly forward, having originated from Latin America, but also has spread throughout every continent of the planet, to all of humanity, our Aryan race.
We have talked and have spoken a lot about the great cataclysm that is going to afflict our humanity in this present epoch. Nuclear wars, forms of destruction, the end of an era of perversity which has really reached the maximum. Because this Aryan race is so degenerated, divinity has no other option but to eliminate it and to save those seeds, those few people who want to change, psychologically. And through preparing ourselves to the initiative work, we provide ourselves the opportunity to exist in the future root race, if we are pure—if we fully eliminate the ego.
But why talk about opera in this context? It might seem like a digression, but it is important to note that this ancient history, which is not known by our scientists, has been taught in opera especially, Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold.
We will talk about how these great works of art have always spoken about and alluded to these ancient forms of humanity, in a symbolic way, but which people who are very literal, don't know how to interpret… those who are very fanatical or who may like the classical composers, but don't understand the symbols of their work.
This history is only understood through the consciousness. We cannot necessarily find physical remnants of these ancient humanities. There are a few, but the real evidence lies in the internal planes in what is known as the Akashic Records. But to give some indications towards the past remnants of our ancient humanities, we know that there are statues and sculptures on Easter Island, which Samael Aun Weor stated are the remnants of Lemuria who were giants [like Fafner and Fasolt in Wagner’s Das Rheingold]. Gigantic figures, gigantic people, who existed in this third dimension, but also in the fourth before they finally descended into materiality.
What is also interesting is that there have been found by certain archaeologists and scientists, certain glass layers in the Earth found in the Sahara Desert, Libya, Mojave, and other places which could only be formed by the aftermath of tremendous atomic explosions. It is said that in order to create such layers of glass that have reached the diameter found, I believe in the Sahara or Mojave, it would take nuclear explosions 10,000 times more powerful than those used in New Mexico. The Mahabharata also has certain allusions towards nuclear war amongst the Atlanteans, who destroyed themselves through that type of technology, in which Plato, I believe in his Timaeus, hints at, that these ancient civilizations existed [Wagner even depicts the giants Fafner and Fasolt killing one another in Das Rheingold, reminiscent of how the giant civilization of Atlantis reached its tragic conclusion].
This type of history is not really easy to validate except through awakening consciousness in the internal planes, to really experience and understand from experience where these root races came from. How they lived. What they did. We have Easter Island and a few other remnants found across the planet that point towards the remnants of these civilizations.
It is interesting that we have these facts which scientists can't explain. They want to ignore that there were civilizations before us that were more powerful. The Atlantean science was by far, much more developed than our Aryan Race.
So why talk about opera? Opera developed amongst the fifth Aryan subrace, especially amongst the Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic, and European peoples. We find that beautiful forms of art that teach the secret knowledge that have been given in Tibet amongst the Indians and Chinese. Especially in the Middle East amongst the Muslims and Sufis. Likewise, amongst Grecians and Romans, and also in Europe amongst the Germans, the English, and other Europeans
While we state that opera is the synthesis of all other art forms, we also state that just because this form of art is synthetic and highly refined, doesn't indicate that the fifth Aryan subrace was superior, because we know from history that the first and second world wars were initiated by this subrace amongst the Aryans, amongst the German people as well as the Europeans, which is very degenerated.
But it was the purpose of the White Lodge to provide teachings within this subrace to give some type of knowledge and understanding for future peoples amongst the Latin Americans, among the Europeans, and especially within the United States, in which we are explaining this knowledge in a very open fashion.
In the age of Pisces, we had many forms of art that had inspired people, but people don't understand the real meaning, their significance.
In the age of Aquarius, the era of the water bearer, we are explaining this knowledge for the first time, the significance of these great works of art. The White Lodge gave many operas, many forms of music, of drama, that teach how to unite with Christ, with the truth but, because people were not necessarily benefiting from that knowledge, the White Lodge determined there was a time in which that knowledge had to be finished, concluded, which was around World War I, when the opera Parsifal debuted. We also have Turandot that came out in 1926, which is fairly late.
Since where we are now in the age of Aquarius, and because this Aryan Root Race is going to end through many great cataclysms, we are now explaining for the first time the meaning of these operas—to give to humanity the secret knowledge that has been hidden, but also has been visible to them for many centuries. But for the fact that people have not known kabbalah and alchemy, they could not interpret it. So now we give this knowledge explicitly for the benefit of those who suffer and who want to understand the path that leads out of suffering.
Art and the Sabbath
Art has always been considered sacred and the ancient epochs, but not in these present times. The Sabbath, the day of Saturn-day, Saturday, relating to the Holy Spirit, was the day of learning among the ancient cultures, in which people would recreate to listen to either opera or great works of art. To see dramas, presentations of the secret path on their day of rest, in which art is highly significant and relates not only to Venus, but to Saturn. Saturn-day—because the teachings of Saturn, the teachings of the Holy Spirit, as well as the teachings of the Third Logos, are precisely the wisdom or the intelligence of the divine, because Binah in Hebrew means “intelligence.” It is the knowledge of the higher mysteries, the secret path.
Ancient art was always used to convey profound cosmic truths, principles, realities. People would attend these performances because they understood from experience that they were divine, profound, and personal. Because when one has personal experience from initiation, from meditation, one sees one's own experience reflected in art.
Therefore, art becomes something very prophetic, divine.
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 and the manifestations of the Being were transmitted to the initiates by means of drama. 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. 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
So what does it mean to become the Christ such a drama? Many operas teach the Christic path, in which the great heroes, such as Sigmund and Siegfried in the Wagnerian Cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen [The Ring of the Nibelungen]—they must overcome great traumas and tragedies and conflicts. Likewise, Prince Calaf from Turandot must conquer the heavenly divine kingdom of China, and marry the divine princess Turandot by overcoming the temptations of Christ.
So these works of art depict psychologically what one must do in those situations, here and now. That art reflects that path itself. It can provide inspiration for those who are working.
The Kabbalah and Alchemy of Music
As I stated, classical music is a medium for prophets. Music is the sacred language of kabbalah, of alchemy, of numbers, of intuitive principles. Music can teach us many profound things through the emotional center, through the heart. That language can only be understood when we know the Tree of Life and the mysteries of working within a matrimony, the Holy Spirit, the divine feminine, and the divine masculine.
So, art is based on these profound principles, on the world of numbers, on the worlds of numbers relating to the Tree of Life and its symbolic language.
When we have been discussing the nature of numbers in relation to the tarot, we have been talking about how those numbers reflect principles, aspects of our psychology, of our spirituality, which we must learn to work with in its progression, in its development. Music depicts through the heart, through its emotional impact in the soul—in relation to specific dramas—what one must do in the spiritual path when facing those types of temptations and ordeals.
It is also important to remember that music is divine, or can be divine. It can elevate the soul, or if it's degenerated, it can push the ego to act, the mind to indulge in negative thoughts, negative sentiment, negative feelings.
But, classical music is the language of the higher worlds. It is literally the messages of the superior angels, the prophets, who are teaching about higher levels of being, higher ways of being.
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
And if you remember the opening of The Magic Flute with its three notes, it refers to the Pyramids of Giza. So again, you see how numbers and notes take on conceptual dimensions. They represent things which are very practical for those who are meditating and waking consciousness in the internal worlds, so that when one has those experiences, one can listen to music and interpret the meaning of those messages.
Obviously when listening to The Magic Flute, we hear an initiation relating to Egypt, and personally I have been to Egypt in the astral plane. I have been to the temple of Giza in that dimension. When listening to Mozart's Magic Flute I hear and I see in my mind, my experience of being accepted into the temple. But in order to understand those messages, we have to awaken consciousness, otherwise, those messages and music will not be interpreted. They will not be understood.
This is why Samael Aun Weor stated for someone who is awakening consciousness:
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 (the angels, the Elohim, the Malachim, the masters) distill the perfume of happiness and the exquisite fragrance of music and joy. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
In the temples of the higher dimensions are beings that relate to the world of music. We know from Kabbalah that Tiphereth, of which we will be explaining in depth today, is the world of music.
Beethoven, the great master of major mysteries, is a guardian of the temple of music, which Samael Aun Weor confirmed when meeting him in that initiation or related to that state that he experienced.
The great masters of humanity, the angels, the Elohim, bear within their eyes, their consciousness, the beauty of divinity, the beauty of divine music. Personally, when I have been with certain Elohim, after experiencing certain ordeals and overcoming them, I remember in one occasion, I was tested in the astral plane, given certain symbolic experiences which I had to overcome in relation to the four elements.
This reminds us of The Magic Flute in how Tamino and Pamina must, in a matrimony, face the four deals of the elements. Personally, I have had that experience whereby I was tested through the elements, in a symbolic way, and after conquering those ordeals, I was face-to-face with the angels in a living room. When looking at them, one can only see the purity in their eyes, divinity, and the exquisite serenity that they exude is truly indescribable, but one can only describe it in forms of music.
The great classical compositions show us the beauty of the soul.
We could remember the sixth symphony of Tchaikovsky, in which, before the great battle in the first movement against the dragon, of which we've spoken about in Arcanum Six [Indecision from the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah]. One hears the melodies and harmonies of the soul united with its consciousness (or Tiphereth united with Geburah; the human soul with the divine soul).
Music, again, is a profound medium for prophetic art. It teaches that through its dramas and symbols, its emotional impact, how the path of initiation is not taught in the dead letter of certain religions, and that when people look at religion and have made it something dead, there is a means to revive it. To give it life, specifically done through the great classical composers, which is why we heard Wagner state that:
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... (those who have awakened consciousness in the internal worlds)—I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art (through having experiences in meditation and having lived it personally in the higher dimensions) is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her… —Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
…when you verify, and the examples such as The Magic Flute of Mozart, certain experiences in the astral plane, you watch those operas and you become inflamed. When we witness the same experiences depicted in symbols through music, through art, and therefore, one feels amazed and “one is consecrate to” art “forever.” Because...
I believe through Art all men are saved. —Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
Divine art, opera, is a means of saving humanity or saving those who want to enter into initiation.
Personally when we went to go see Turandot at the Lyric Opera House, for those of you who are listening online, we took some of our students to go see Puccini's masterpiece in the Lyric Opera House in Chicago, and I remember that morning having certain astral experiences about what was going to happen when watching this work of art. And personally, having experienced some of the mysteries of that piece of music, truly watching that art form, really puts one into ecstasy.
It elevates the soul and when you have experience of what these masters have taught, you are consequent to her forever. Even if your ego or doubt wanted to deny the truth, you would know it and you would not be able to deny her.
Richard Wagner is a great master who depicted the entire path of initiation in his Ring Cycle of which will be giving future courses most likely.
Classical Music and the Human Machine
Talking about some of the practical dimensions of listening to music, in our Gnostic studies we emphasize that classical music elevates the five centers of the human machine, and that negative forms of music are destructive for the emotional center, especially, but also the mind and even our sexual, instinctual, and motor centers, which certain vulgar music can inspire through the ego to dance or to act in negative ways.
But the way to discern the difference between conscious music and vulgar music is through meditation—by having familiarity with superior states of being, because many of our students ask us online, but also in person, about how one can discern between conscious art and diabolic art.
In many cases, such art forms may be very similar and very hard to discern, one from the other, but the way to resolve that question is to examine your emotional center when you are listening to certain forms of art.
Does it provoke anger, resentment, pride, laziness, gluttony, avarice, greed? Negative states? Which if we are observant, we will see that those forms of art provoke those elements and therefore we can know that they are negative.
But to learn how to perceive conscious art is through meditation, and by awakening within the higher dimensions, because when you listen to works like the nine symphonies of Beethoven, and observe the reaction of the heart in a profound state of concentration and awareness, we can sense and discriminate and interpret the impact in the emotional center of that art.
This is why the ancient schools of mysteries taught that the whole science and art of the secret path had to integrate all three brains of gnostic psychology. They knew very well that people don't just learn from the intellect through lecture, through books, but through movement and through emotion. Three brains: the intellectual brain, emotional brain, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of the Dialectic that:
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
If we are listening to Puccini's Turandot and we are very attentive, concentrated in our three brains, meditating, waiting, listening—we observe our heart—we can hear how some notes can inspire us to have profound understanding in the intellectual brain.
I believe you mentioned asking about the difference between the intellect that is superior and the intellect that is inferior. The inferior intellect churns with thought. It projects its ideas. But understanding is the capacity of the superior intellectual center in which one understands something without having to think about it, and that applies to music. You can listen to a composition and immediately know. You can understand through the notes and its emotional impact that it conceptually represents something that you experienced and therefore that produces a profound state of religiosity in the motor center. It can inspire.
The Sufis taught to dance, to perform the whirling dervishes, and we'll talk about that in our next slide about how religiosity can inspire the motor center. How certain notes produce ecstasy, not only in the mind and heart, but in the body.
This is why certain forms of dance are very sacred.
Indeed, the old Hierophants never ignored that integral knowledge can only be acquired through the three cerebrums. A single cerebrum cannot give complete information.
Inspirations and Meditations on Classical Music
This music was formed to teach conscious principles, like we find with the Sufis—many indigenous cultures, as well as ancient civilizations like amongst the Middle East. Among the esoteric circles, they would use music in conjunction with dance to portray or embody conscious principles. To inspire the devotee to want to practice the path.
So that is really the purpose of opera. Of any classical music. It is to inspire us to work, because that music is something heavenly and divine, and when we understand and feel that intuitive impact of an opera or a piece of music, and we understand its message and shows us that this path is possible, that it could be done, one then feels inspired to meditate, to work.
Music is also an expression of consciousness and the Sufis teach that one should listen to music and gather around certain dances and works in order to inspire us to enter the path, and also to help us keep walking it.
As we stated, when listening to conscious music, one should observe one's three brains. Music becomes a very profound form of concentration or concentration exercise, in which our object of meditation, we sit, or better said, our object of concentration, we relax in a chair, on a couch, or in bed. I actually don't recommend lying down because one may fall asleep, especially when the music is very calm and soothing. Instead we sit in a chair and we give our full attention, with eyes closed, to the music, to the composition.
The principle applies even to opera, but it's a little different because with opera, you need to have your eyes open. Which is why watching opera is much more demanding in terms of meditation, because with classical music you can sit, close your eyes in a chair, listen to the composition, be aware of its influence in the three brains—how the notes produce inspiration in the heart, concepts in the mind, or intuitive understandings in the mind, and religiosity in the motor center, humbleness, humility.
That is easier to do than watching an opera because when you watch an opera, you need to know who is saying what, what the characters are doing. Therefore, that type of meditation is much more difficult, which is why opera really was not intended for the masses—although people like Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven, and others composed to earn money. In a superficial sense they had to live. But their real purpose in giving that art was to reach the few.
So people who were very trained in meditation would watch their operas, who were initiates. They would understand the meaning just by listening to the music and observing, because they had trained themselves in concentration for so long where they can listen to the music and not forget what they are doing.
Sufi Teachings on Spiritual Concerts
The Sufis teach these principles very beautifully which apply not only just to Middle Eastern dance and music, but also to opera. The Sufis taught that when one listens to such works of art, one should act like one is in a temple. That one is in the presence of the divine, because one truly is listening to Christ, to God, when one hears the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven.
As we stated in our lecture on our Arcanum Nine, literally we hear the verb, the voice of the divine Elohim, singing in unison. It is a representation of Christ. So, when we listen to music like that or watch operas, we have to be very attentive, in a state of humility, in prayer, because those works of art were not given haphazardly, but intentionally to teach specific truths. So...
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, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Sufis emphasized that when one listens to music one should do so in accordance with the Divine Law, which they call Sharia, not to be mistaken with the punitive laws of Muslim countries, but to the spiritual discipline of the initiates in the Middle East. Ethical work.
So, music should not inspire us to identify with pride or lust or anger or fear or degeneration. That is something we can only determine by listening and being awake and following our intuition. That music is permissible when it does not inspire the ego. It does not inspire our desires. That is only something we can discern through constant work and tasting the psychological flavor of higher states in comparison with lower states. It is like comparing water and wine. It is a distinct taste, but we have to learn to meditate to discriminate the difference.
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. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Sufis have often argued with the orthodoxy that poetry and music are divine expressions, such as with the Qur’an, which can be read in a very melodic and beautiful way and that Prophet Muhammad did not find those forms of recitation to be illicit, negative. This is something that has pertained to the Sufi schools and their fight for survival against the Muslim orthodoxy, because many Muslims think that poetry and music are not positive. But the truth is that according to the Sufis, music is something divine.
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, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So while this pertains to listening to the Qur’an, one should feel inspired to listen to that scripture, but likewise with classical music, an opera. When we listen to such art, we should really feel motivated and inspired, which is not very difficult to do when we are approaching certain operas or music for the first time as some of us experienced with the opera Turandot at the Lyric Opera House.
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, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So this principle applies to meditating on classical music.
He should remember the degrees that God Most High has prepared for his servants who fear Him. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning, when we have respect and reverence for divinity, we listen to the music and we hear the power of the divine. Such as with Mozart's compositions, his Requiem. Especially Verdi's Requiem, in which we hear the severity of the law falling upon and punishing the souls of the damned. When we hear that music, we feel fear and reverence in recognition that we do not want to enter that fate. Likewise, when we listen to music and see operas:
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, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Like with Parsifal, in which we find the hero is confronted in the garden of temptation by Kundry, Kundabuffer, the inverted serpent. Listening to the sublime music of Wagner's composition, we remember in our own experiences certain temptations in the astral plane, in which witches and sorcerers try to tempt one to fall from the path. One is tempted to engage in lust in that state when one renounces that like Parsifal does. One should fear and feel inspired to reject sins as required by religion, as preferred in the divine law, which is chastity.
The great Arcanum is the divine law, which the Muslims call Sharia, or the Sufis called Sharia, because the public orthodox Muslim doctrine does not know the spiritual dimension of these things. But instead, the divine law has to do with the great Arcanum, the stipulations of chastity.
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, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So look at all the opera house today. Millions of individuals go see the opera, but it's vulgar for them because they are egotistical. They don't understand how to meditate. They don't know how to discern the conscious qualities of that, of that work of art. Therefore it is really forbidden because amongst the Sufis, they were very strict. They felt that their dances should not be given to people who are fornicators.
But because we live in a different era now, this knowledge is more open and therefore the spiritual concert is open to all. It is why Mozart, Puccini, Wagner, Beethoven, the latter who only composed one opera, Fidelio, they gave that opera and those art forms because they wanted to give the teachings for a future people. For people who have understanding.
But “spiritual concerts are forbidden to ordinary people because of the continued maintenance of their egos. It is permissible for renunciants, people who renounce lust, desire, fornication, and the ego, because of their pursuit of inner struggle.
It is permissible for renunciates (people who renounce lust, desire, fornication, and the ego) because of their pursuit of inner struggle. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
And how is this acceptable for renunciants? It is enough to look at an opera like Puccini's Turandot to see the path of renunciation there, especially in the first act in which Prince Calaf is going to ring the gong that is going to put him on trial for the three riddles—to answer before Devi Kundalini, the Divine Mother. Everyone goes against him. They strive to put him away from the path, but he fights very adamantly and very courageously, because he is renouncing evil, the infernal worlds. We will be talking about the dynamics of that opera in our next lecture.
Lastly, classical music or spiritual concert “is recommended for our companions,” for the initiates, for the masters, “for the sake of the life of their hearts.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So going back to what we Richard Wagner taught, he stated that when one understands divine art, one is consecrate to her forever and cannot deny her.
Kabbalah: The Tree of Life and Classical Music
So where does music originate from, kabbalistically?
We talked about how the universe is emerged from the Absolute: the Ain, the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur, descending down the different levels of materiality, energy, perception, and experience.
Music is Christ, the Word, the Logos.
In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. —John 1:1
Christ is an energy. It is vibration. It is sound. It is harmony. It is the force that creates, that originates, that gives life.
Therefore, classical music as composed by the great masters of Tiphereth, those who reach the Fifth Initiation of Fire, are those who learn how to incarnate the Christ, the Word, through their heart, since Tiphereth relates to the heart.
They express the divine teachings down through Netzach, the mind, Hod, the emotional vehicle, Yesod, our vitality, and Malkuth, our physicality.
I like to read for you some quotations from a book called Christ's Will by Samael Aun Weor, who explains the nature of kabbalah, of music, of sound, of Christ, very synthetically and beautifully.
He emphasizes that the will of Christ is music, is art, because Christ is harmony, is beauty, is purity, which, can either reflect in music or in the heart of those initiates who know how to experience the truth.
16. Christ's will is ineffable music.
And why is that? Music is Christ. The Divine Logos. The Verb. As we find in the Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, relating to the nine heavens of the Tree of Life and also Kether, the Crown of Glory, which anoints or crowns any initiate who has fully reached the end of the path. Willpower is Tiphereth, the human soul, which must learn to conquer the disharmony of the mind, Netzach, the mind, Hod, the emotions, Yesod, our sexuality and instincts and Malkuth, our physical body.
So music, Chokmah, Christ, the world of sound, gives beauty to Tiphereth, because we find that the trinity finds its equilibrium within the heart, within Tiphereth.
21. Music grants willpower the harmony of the great cosmic diapason. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Or the great marching symphony of the cosmos, because as we heard in the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, the Ode to Joy:
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
The music is a march, is a symphony, in which all the Angels march towards the ineffable light of Christ, of the Absolute, the Ain Soph Aur, the “limitless light.” So those lyrics literally mean:
Joy, beautiful spark of the Gods,
…which is heilig, holy, Tum. We have done the mantra Tum previously, in which we invoke the crown, Kether, Chokmah, the Son, and Binah, the Holy Spirit, into our three brains. The mantra Tum is a profound mantra of ineffable power in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enter inside of us.
“Heiligtum” means sanctuary. So, to return to that holy sanctuary is to return to the top trinity of the Tree of Life.
Your magic reunites those whom stern custom has parted.
Your magic reunites those whom the custom of the ego has separated, has pulled apart, because the ego is disharmony, is dissonance, is conflict.
All men should become brothers under your gentle wing (within the Absolute).
So that is the great cosmic march. diapason. The great symphony of the initiates in which one returns the light of divine truth.
So willpower relates to that principle, because it is through our will that we will decide to enter the harmonies above or the dissonance of the infernal worlds below, beneath the Tree of Life, which is Klipoth, the hell realms.
22. The volitive acts of music are as harmonious and solemn as the movement of the stars in the space (which again is something that Beethoven depicted).
So only by raising the fire of Kundalini up the lower bodies, the first initiation of fire, relating to Malkuth. The second initiation of fire related with Yesod. The third initiation fire relating to Hod. The fourth initiation of fire with Netzach and with Tiphereth, one must raise the serpent power of Kundalini in order to create the causal vehicle. To raise it up the spine, to the mind, then into the heart.
So only when that power has reached the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, will our willpower, our actions, will be in accord with the vibrant symphonies of the divine.
24. When willpower is distant from music, it is coarse and rude, like the caress of a feline beast... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
What does it mean that willpower is distant from music? Because when we act from anger, from resentment, from pride, we create music, but in hell. Through disharmony, through hatred, through fear, through our interactions with humanity.
25. However, once the sacred fire has entered the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, volitive actions are true living symphonies... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Our actions become divine, and this explains why certain composers like Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, they depicted so much in their art. People don't comprehend how they had the capacity to express so much. That is because people in Malkuth, do not know anything about spiritual development, but when someone raises the fire of Kundalini, one can awaken capacities of genius, of intelligence, Binah in kabbalah.
So conscious acts are represented by the works of the great initiates, the prophets. Beethoven is a prophet. I don't really consider him to be a musician because he really taught in his art how to unite with Christ. The same with Wagner, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Bach, and many others.
26. Christ's will has the majesty of the tempest and the love of the dawning star...
And why is willpower music? Tiphereth is the causal world. We have Malkuth, the physical plane, the physical world. Yesod, the etheric world. Hod, the astral, emotional world. Netzach, the mental world. And Tiphereth, the causal plane.
I remember having an experience in Tiphereth after overcoming an ordeal in the astral plane in which Samael Aun Weor took me and let me experience a little vacation in Tiphereth, in which in that experience one sees the trees, the waves of the water, the wind as cause-and-effect, rippling in beautiful harmony, in perfection. I saw there many masters in their tunics of initiation who were welcoming me at that level saying, “This is what is possible for you if you work.”
So that world is a world of causality, cause and effect, in which you see how the rippling of the tides, the wind, the air, of people's speech, people's communication, of one's interactions, is of divine love, of purity.
So, the world of will is a world of music.
There is a temple of music in the world of Nirvana, the sixth dimension, the fifth sephirah of the Tree of Life [from the bottom up].
34. Every living flower, the sigh of every bird, and the love hidden within the bosom of the earth, are living incarnations of music...
So this asks us to beg the question: what is our psychological state? Do our actions produce harmony, happiness, or suffering?
The comprehension, the beauty, and the harmony of the soul is represented in opera. Especially composed by the great masters. Not modern opera, but those composed by initiates.
Samael Aun Weor continues:
38. The ineffable orchestras of the zodiacal belt resound in the world of willpower, lifting us toward the most sublime summits of samadhi.
So harkening back to the beginning of our lecture, we spoke extensively about the cosmic days and the root races and the subraces. That is because when the universe forms from the absolute, it is because of music. It is because:
41. The Word is incarnated within the heart of every lotus, and in the throb of every life.
So remember what Wagner said about his belief in the illumined men, the initiates, those who have incarnated Christ and who teach the path of Christ and their art as bodhisattvas, as prophets.
42. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
So look at the operas that our humanity has. The light shines in the darkness, but people don't understand the messages they contain.
42. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (That John is broken down acrostically is Johannes. I E O U A M S: the seven vowels, which we pronounce with our sacred runes, the runic exercises, the verb).
So in order to understand Christ, we have to work with those mantras, the seven notes of the musical scale.
42. “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe (Or better said, follow him from having understood from experience what those teachings entail). He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him (referring to those cosmic rounds we spoke about—the Saturnian, the Solar, the Lunar, and the Terrestrial periods) and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him (through kabel, kabbalah, through listening to the great operas of music, and listening to what those symphonies entail, that art) to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name [Hashem, the Verb]: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh (through initiation), and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." ―John 1:1-14
So Samael Aun Weor continues:
43. Music is will of God...
Now other forms of music like rock and roll, rap, many that we can list that are degenerate. They provoke the ego to act, which is why the Sufis taught that we should only listen to music that is accordance with the divine law, with Christ.
51. We prove with this that willpower is music, and that every action is a daughter of music.
Therefore we can say that opera, as the manifestation of the spoken verb, drama, and music, is the perfect amalgamation and alchemy of Christ. Opera is divine. It is the synthesis of all the previous eras of art and music. It is the most refined. The most synthetic.
Now we cannot say that modern classical music portrays the higher principles of the divine, even though such compositions can be very mathematical, but they tend to be very cold, dissonant, and discordant.
Classical music in a modern times tends to be from the ego, and as we stated, the Age of Pisces ended quite a while ago, but at the same time, the White Lodge had determined that humanity does not need any more works of art, of that nature. There may be some people in these times who are Gnostic and who are working on music, which is wonderful. I know a few people who are trying to do some Aquarian music. But in terms of the great prophetic works of art like opera, the time has ended, because the Aryan Race is going to be concluded soon.
73. The golden tongue resounds in all creation.
…as he states in his book Christ's Will. He is talking to the initiates who have achieved the Fourth Initiation of Fire, who were entering into Tiphereth. By raising the sacred fire of Kundalini up that spine of the essence in the world of beauty, of Tiphereth.
A person who reaches the fourth initiation of fire becomes a buddha, a master that level, but is a neophyte when entering into this dimension.
76. With patience, study the divine art of music.
So if you really want to learn music and its significance, we should awaken consciousness in Nirvana, the sixth dimension, the world of Tiphereth, because when you are in that dimension, you see literally cause and effect of all phenomena: thoughts, actions, movements, people, things. Everything is in a great flux and reflux of life, cosmic movement.
And so those colleges of initiation in that level will teach you how to work with music, which is how Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, learned.
They physically received training in this world to become composers, but their real training consisted in meditation and learning in the higher dimensions, which explains why someone like Beethoven, who went completely deaf, I believe before composing his Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis, he was able to compose his art, even though he physically couldn't hear anything.
So people don't have explanations other than he was a genius, and yes, he was, but we know that he was a prophet, because he was awakened in those dimensions.
78. Music-will is Christ's will.
Meaning: those prophets teach through Turandot, through Tosca, through the Ring Cycle, through The Damnation of Faust, through Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito, and many works of art of initiation, and yet people do not understand the art.
84. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So we are discussing Christ-will, in the Verb. You see these Elohim are greeting the Sun, Chokmah, within the arms of the Divine Mother, and they are playing celestial music, which emphasizes again how when we work with sacred art, and we listen to sacred art especially, that that music can inspire us to form Christ within our hearts, within our souls, within our minds, in order to become like Elohim.
Conclusion of The Perfect Matrimony
We will conclude with an excerpt from the Perfect Matrimony, which provides a very beautiful experience by Samael Aun Weor, about an opera he saw in the fourth dimension.
He concluded The Perfect Matrimony by relating experience he had by going into a Rosicrucian temple in the Jinn state, the fourth dimension, where he watched an opera composed by an angel or performed by one of the Elohim, one of the Gods.
So as we stated, opera is the royal art of consciousness. It is a means of effectively communicating initiation and the path of the present development of our humanity, but also the past epics our humanity developed in.
Samael Aun Weor was in this temple, which was only populated by very few people. He said he could count on the fingers of one hand how many people deserved and had come present to this performance. So, this is in the fourth dimension, where he listened to an opera sung by an angel, a God. So...
…the master commanded the Angel to go up to the choir of musicians and singers in order to sing. The Angel obeyed, and after having ascended to the choir, he sang the history of the centuries in opera (so this experience tells us that opera truly is a divine art and also that opera teaches us the ancient histories of humanity).
Because, in the Lunar Period, the Selenites, the inhabitants of Selene where Samael Aun Weor was teaching, even at that time, had degenerated and entered the path of black magic. Billions of souls in that planet became demons and the demons that we have now in our planet Earth, who are the heads of the black lodge, came from that epoch. Samael Aun Weor was even crucified in that world before, when he was giving his doctrine.
So he thought that the Earth-Moon, which reincarnated into the planet Earth, the life of that planet, carrying the karma of that ancient histories with it, somehow was something distinct, and that the other planets of other humanities did not experience or witness this great tragedy, of billions of souls being lost in the abyss.
I believed that in the rest of the worlds things were different. The Angel pointed out this error when he said, "And this that has happened on Earth will always be repeated on all the worlds of the infinite space." When the Angel finished his ineffable song I understood why so many people had attended my meetings, and why, from the many who began, only a few remained with me. Now I am willing to continue with the few. I am no longer interested in having a room full of people. Indeed, many are they who begin, but few are those who arrive. —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So that experience with an opera explains for us the fact that humanity has reached its peak, or the Aryan Race has reached its end. Because no more art is being given, on a grand scale, as we found within Europe. Because humanity has received the knowledge within music, within art, but doesn't want it. It doesn't understand it, and it is now our duty in these lectures and courses to explain some of the operas, which we will be seeing not only at Lyric Opera house, but also viewing together.
It is important to remember that with opera, we are concluding this humanity by teaching the secret knowledge in a very explicit way. So, we are going to explain many operas and works of art from the kabbalistic and alchemical traditions, so that those few who want to learn the path itself and to practice it can do so.
Questions and Answers
Question: What about modern composers who conduct Beethoven or Mozart? Is that considered a medium...?
Instructor: Yes, because someone could be a medium of Christ without knowing it [Editor’s Note: a “vehicle,” not a spiritualist or a practitioner of mediumship / channeling], and you know you have people like Pavarotti and many singers who are very talented and they are not initiates, but their skill is so profound and so dharmic.
Question: What about, Pink Floyd, if there are certain songs that you feel moved? Is it all or any song that is not classical or opera is considered negative?
Instructor: I know a lot about Pink Floyd. I mean I've listened, I grew up on Pink Floyd, too. That kind of music, you know, there are certain things which can be very negative. But then there's some that it's kind of in limbo, necessarily. Not so deep down, but still it may be beautiful. But it still belongs to Klipoth, not necessarily at the deepest degree, like you find with like death metal and black metal and all sorts of other evil things, that are gangster rap, or things that are very destructive.
Question: What about Gnostic art?
Instructor: I know this is a good question because I know some of our listeners and some of our students have asked us and wanted to pursue the creation of Gnostic art and rap, which personally, I'm actually a musician myself. I played piano for about ten years and I have certain compositions that I have been inspired to do, but personally, I don't have the time or the means, because I'm teaching these lectures. So, I found that my most effective means of helping humanity is explaining art that's already been done.
But people who want to pursue art, it's their business. Personally, I am a composer and, in a very amateurish degree, minor degree, I have music in my mind that I hear that I have heard in my meditations that are divine, but for me to articulate that, it would have to be an entirely different work that would take me away from teaching these lectures.
Question: Does one need to listen to the opera in full or only specific songs?
Instructor: The best effect is when you have watched it. When you have seen a performance. You have read the lyrics, you know what they are singing. Personally, I have listened to Turandot so much and I've seen the opera so many times that when I listen to the lyrics, I know certain words and lyrics, like with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony too, which is why I could relate to you the lyrics from that Ninth Symphony, because I have listened to it so much and I know the lyrics. So, I can just cut to the chase if I wanted to listen to certain parts, because I already know the meaning of it.
Question: Would you consider church music the same or close to classical music?
Instructor: It can inspire a lot of religiosity for sure. I mean, I have been to churches where, even though not Gnostic, you hear certain songs which have very ancient roots, which are beautiful. They can inspire you, which is why many people go to those churches because they hear the music and it inspires them. There are certain roots of divinity that try to teach them that way, you know, even using people who don't know any better.
But you know, the result is a little muddled, because as I said, people have listened to the operas of the masters. "The light shineth in the darkness." But people don't comprehend the light, because we need instructors and people to teach explicitly what the kabbalistic and alchemical teachings of all that work of art symbolize.
Question: The last things I have heard is that because they changed the hertz, the frequency....
Instructor: I have heard that too, and I know that Samael Aun Weor stated explicitly that, as I mentioned in this lecture, that certain music, the vibration affects the human machine very negatively—especially mechanical music, synthesizers, electronica. If you observe your five centers and you listen to that music, after having acculturated your body and mind to listening to opera and classical music, you find that there's a disconnect. It is very discordant.
The Master Samael explains that initiates feel great love for the classical composers and feel great repulsion or revulsion towards the music of vulgar people, because that kind of music you taste and you know exactly what the egotistical messages behind it. It doesn't inspire anything decent, because if you meditate for a long time, and some people who listen to classical music in our studies for the first time, don't like it. It is because they are not accustomed to it. So, people who are not accustomed to that kind of music, you mean obviously, we gravitate towards what our level of being is. If your level of being is high, you feel only attraction towards music like Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, his ballets, or other very beautiful music. But if we're very inferior in our states, we might listen to rock and roll or death metal or whatever.
Sadly, I know a lot of people in our movement, instructors who teach this knowledge, but they still like a lot of forms of degenerate music like metal. I remember one instructor was teaching in a certain place and he mentioned that he liked old metal music, which is stuff that I grew up on that now when I hear it, I cringe. I can't stand it, because the music is so degenerate, and you listen to it and you feel that it is bringing your level of being down.
Question: What about more like Crosby, Stills and Nash?
Instructor: My father enjoys that music and he showed me a lot. That stuff is not that degenerate. Some music is very superficial like if you look at the nine inverted spheres of Klipoth, some music is very beautiful. But it is still egotistical, we could say. It is in the first sphere of hell, which is known as limbo.
Some music is really down there, which certain bands, like black metal and not just black metal, but you know extreme forms of death metal, like Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse and things like that. I have known these bands and I know what their music preaches, where they talk about things that are very black. They are speaking in Aramaic and all these languages or Babylonian or whatever, and they are trying to invoke Klipoth. It is intentional. That is why these bands have inverted pentagrams, which of course for our listeners, represents the inverted man, the fallen man.
Question: On a side note, there are also all these microbreweries that are using satanic, or esoteric symbolism. I grew up on rock and rebelling against the system, so we listened to rock like Pink Floyd.
Instructor: Yeah, and sadly a lot of people in our movement don't understand that difference because they feel that, "Well this music is rebelling against the government and you know, all these political affiliations," but we emphasize in our teachings that music should elevate the soul. You should feel that your level of religiosity, your inspiration, your meditation should be lifted when you listen to music. So that's why, you know, personally I tend to be very strict. If I hear something on the radio I don't like, I avoid it.
Those listeners who are from Chicago, we listen to WFMT 98.7, which is a classical music station, and even the many things they play are very bad, because it is very modernized and very degenerate. But you can pick a good things out from them, and personally I use an iPad or iPod.
Question: I listen to Sirius Radio and I have listened to the modern songs and I just don't resonate with them.
Instructor: So the thing is our level of being attracts our life, and if we listen to music, and basically music is a type of food, and this is why the Muslim state, like in the quote amongst the Sufis that "we should only consume what is licit."
They often speak in their tradition about Halal, eating only what has been blessed or what is holy, which is similar to the Hebrew Kosher. People not only eat with food, but eat impressions, because Samael Aun Weor emphasized that one needs water for the body, air for the body, we have our food for our physical vehicle, but our mind also is nourished. Our consciousness is also nourished with impressions, which is why he also stated that if you want to have experiences in the higher dimensions, acculturate yourself to listen to classical music, because that will literally raise your level of being.
I know one missionary told me he was listening to Beethoven's symphonies and fell asleep. He had a tremendous samadhi where he left his physical body and entered the higher dimensions because he was so concentrated on the music when he fell asleep, that he awakened his consciousness. So, art can help us in that endeavor, because it gives us impressions that nourish our consciousness.
Question: Isn't it easier to surround yourself with good things rather than trying so hard to do this or do that?
Instructor: Which is why our home should be like a temple. Personally, my car is like my home because I drive so much, and I always play positive music. I listen to operas, I listen to classical compositions. Things I am really familiar with, readily, because when I listen to lyrics, I am able to hear certain things. When I really listen to a certain pieces, again and again, there are certain understandings that can kind of deepen, especially when you are studying a certain work of art.
[Editor's Endnote: If you are interesting in learning more about the principles of gnostic art, study Fundamentals of Gnostic Art].
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Free online courses, lectures, podcasts, and transcriptions.