Congratulations to the chaste saints. Their souls never condemn them. Having won them, they are never separated from themselves. Congratulations to the spirits of the chaste saints. They have received the perfect heavenly crown from the heavenly sphere assigned to them. Congratulations to the bodies of the chaste saints. They have been deemed worthy to become temples of God, so that Christ may dwell in them. ―Acts of Thomas
What is Chastity?
For many people, we associate chastity with celibacy, which is the total avoidance of sex. For centuries, many religious organizations have taught us that sex is shameful, that sex should be avoided except in the cases of marriage or to procreate children. For many centuries, this teaching has been propagated that sex is something shameful or dangerous, precisely because of its tremendous power and the sacred nature of the sexual act. It is in sex that we have the power to create life, and God, divinity, also has that power to create life, and has given us the ability to do that through the unity of a man and a woman in sex.
We see in sex the principles of creation. There are always three factors involved whenever life is created. There is a masculine principle that is projected. There is a feminine principle that is receptive. Uniting them, there is the holy conciliation, sex, through the Holy Spirit if you are familiar with the Christian teachings.
Today’s lecture will be an introduction to the Gnostic mysteries of chastity, and we will be studying a gnostic text, a scripture from almost two thousand years ago called Acts of Thomas in India.
This scripture is generally considered to be a teaching of celibacy by many mainstream scholars, and that is because at that time, the true teaching of chastity―how to harness our sexual energy and how to work in the sexual act in accordance with God’s highest commandments―was not taught publicly.
For many centuries, sex has been relegated to the private sphere, and what happened in people’s private, sexual lives was not talked about openly. Perhaps it is for this reason that many people have associated sex with shame and fear, but the reality is that sex has a dual potential. It has a potential to bring us into greater suffering, to create pain, for who could deny that sexual abuse, sexual crimes that are committed, are among the most horrible abominable acts that we see today?
Sex also has a beautiful potential, a spiritual potential. Chastity is the teaching about how we can use sex and our sexual force in accordance with God’s commandments. Those familiar with Christianity know that two commandments directly concern sex. One of them is that “Thou shall not commit adultery.” We should not have sex with multiple people. That is a commandment from God. The other commandment is “Thou shall not fornicate.” Fornication is the misuse of sex, whether outside of a marriage or within a marriage―if sex is used with impurity, with lust, with desire, for selfish pleasures, in forgetfulness of divinity, which is always present with us―especially in the sexual act when we have that power of creation illuminated.
The Duality of Sex
There are two doors related to sex. When we go through the act of sex in one direction―which is what we know about today in our public media, in our television shows, in music―we experience all of the sexual sensations with a tremendous desire. We go around seeking more and more of those sensations. We watch videos. We read articles. We find partners and go to places intending to find sexual partners, and that is the modern idea of sex, that sex is something to be enjoyed.
Ever since the sexual liberation movement around the 1960s and 1970s, we had so much public content shared about sex. There has been medical research, lots of movies, television shows, in which, in the very first few moments, you see very graphic content that several decades ago or even just a few years ago would not have been permissible.
Sex is unavoidable in our modern culture, and that is why in this teaching of chastity, we have finally been granted access to how to use sex in accordance with God’s law, knowledge that was not given publicly before the 1950s, knowledge that was preserved for centuries and millennia by true initiates of mystery schools, of genuine temples, of religion. Only those who were properly prepared, who had purity of mind and heart, who had willpower and self-control, were able to understand and learn the true secret of chastity: how to perform the sexual act with purity.
That is why when we study ancient gospels like Acts of Thomas, we see that sex can be veiled, can be a hidden mystery, something that must be discovered. Anyone who remembers being a child, before they had exposure or had much understanding about sex, it was a great mystery. It was something that, when encountered for the first time, it produced a tremendous reaction and tremendous effect in all of us. Anyone who has experienced some form of sexual trauma can tell you that sex is much more than of mere physical act, that sex is psychological, and has tremendous power to shape our life. Each of us, if we are sincere and examine our psychological relationship with sex, can see that this is an important aspect of life, and sex is a natural part of life. But if that act produces pain or produces joy is truly dependent on the psychological state that we bring to that act. That is why we seek to understand, through scriptures, the mysteries of how to become pure, how to become chaste, and gain all of those rewards that are spoken of regarding the chaste saints that I read earlier from this scripture, Acts of Thomas.
How to Approach Sacred Sexuality
In order to properly approach this teaching today, we have to set aside the concepts, the ideas, even the experiences or preferences that we may have regarding sex, to encounter this teaching with an open mind, for it is a mystery to most of us, a very new teaching to many of us, that has not been heard about before. For those who have never heard of chastity before, it may be surprising. It may be offensive to your ideas about what sex is, and since we have been exposed to a large amount of propaganda in our culture regarding sex, it is difficult to approach it with humility and open-mindedness when we already have strongly held positions and opinions about our sexuality.
So, I encourage you to take the mindset of a child, and if you are able to, return to that state of innocence before you had much knowledge of sex, what it really signified, and to have an open mind as you hear this teaching today. For Jesus taught us in the Gospel of Matthew that we must be changed and become as children. Through chastity, we are able to become again like children, like virgins, new to sex.
And [Jesus] said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” ―Matthew 18:3-4
If we really want to enter into heaven to know the mysteries of divinity, to experience the bliss of Eden from which we have been cast out by our abuse of sexuality, we must have that innocence, that purity, that humility and reverence of a child when we approach the topic of sex.
Kabbalah and Alchemy: The Heart of Gnostic Christianity
We also need the two esoteric sciences of Gnostic Christianity that allow us to interpret scripture according to the principles of the initiates. People who are initiated into the mystery schools or the highest levels and temples of genuine religion were taught Kabbalah and Alchemy.
The first, Kabbalah, is related with the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, because Kabbalah can unveil to us the mysteries of the universe, of nature, of ourselves. Kabbalah is like a map of divinity, and for those who have not studied it before, I strongly encourage you to study the course on Glorian.org.
This course on Kabbalah relates to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet and has a corresponding course related to the twenty-two arcana of Tarot. These twenty-two letters and twenty-two arcana of tarot are one in the same, and that each one encodes a spiritual principle, a mystery about our universe, our existence, our spiritual journey, and how we can return to divinity. That code is very deep, and it requires much more study than what I can provide to you today, but we will apply it in a basic way through kabbalistic numerology, to give you an introduction on how we must apply this science to spiritual scriptures.
Similarly, Alchemy is essential for understanding scripture and we would be remiss not to apply Alchemy to this particular scripture, Acts of Thomas, for it is an extremely sexual and alchemical text.
Alchemy comes from two roots, Al, El, God. אל El is God in Hebrew and Al-, the + ilah, God, الله Allah, “The God” relates to the Arabic name of God. Chem, or Khem is from χυμεία Kimia (Greek), this means “to fuse or to cast metal.” Those of us who are familiar with the tradition of Alchemy from medieval times will understand why they encoded Alchemy through symbols of converting lead into gold, that one must take a very heavy, dense, and dark material and transform it through a scientific procedure into gold, the most pure and rarified and noble of the metals. That science encodes how we can use sex, as a procedure, through which we can convert the base lead of our personality, of our corrupted psychology, into the pure gold of the spirit, and give birth to Christ within our own physical body.
It is very important to understand Alchemy was written in code and that the masters who wrote about it, just like the great masters of all religions, kept the sexual teaching hidden, so it would not be abused by people who approached it with ambition, with pride, with lust, with little spiritual understanding. Only now, because our society has become so open, because we have entered the era of Aquarius where sexual liberation is abundant, we are able to speak publicly about mysteries which were never revealed to the profane.
Though Alchemy, sexual Alchemy, we are able to fuse ourselves with divinity. Alchemy is the science to fuse the human soul with Christ, God, divinity. Christ is a principle, a force, an energy, an intelligence that is permeating every atom of life in our universe. Christ is far beyond one terrestrial person, but Christ has the ability to manifest physically in our world through a properly prepared individual. That is why Jesus Christ, the greatest master this planet has ever known, is given that title of Christ, because he was incarnating Christ into the physical world, so that infinite force of love, compassion, and wisdom could teach humanity how to live in accordance with the laws that divinity has set into our nature―laws like chastity, which forbid fornication and forbid adultery, so that sex can only be used in purity, in accordance with divinity, in mindfulness of the divine nature of that sacrament.
Mystical Geography in the Acts of Thomas
So, in order to understand the basics of these two sciences―Kabbalah relating to the Tree of Life and Alchemy relating to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden―we will study the location of this scripture.
Acts of Thomas in India is about an apostle, Judas Thomas, who is sent on a mission to India. While scholars generally accept that this was truly a real man who traveled to the actual location of India around the Indus river, in that region at that time, establishing Christian churches, we must also know that this text is symbolic. It encodes a greater truth, a spiritual truth, a secret, a mystery, hidden in its symbols.
The first symbol is India because India is far more than a literal place in this scripture. India indicates the setting or the environment in which this apostle is going to bring his teaching, the teaching of Christ, the teaching of chastity. This is why we need to analyze India in accordance with Kabbalah, this divine science that can help us to understand the nature of God and also the path to return to divinity.
In Hebrew the word for India is הֹדּוּ Hodu. הֹדּוּ Hodu is written with three Hebrew letters. The first is ה Hei, the second is ד Daleth, the third is ו Vav. Just observing the shape of the symbols of these letters, we can see already a hint of their spiritual significance. In the letter ה Hei, we see a shape of a womb, a uterus. That is because ה Hei represents femininity, the divine feminine, and also the physical feminine body and sexual organs. At the end of this word, we see ו Vav. ו Vav is a phallic symbol resembling an erect penis. For that reason, we can understand that on either side of this word, we have the man and the woman present. Uniting this man and woman is ד Daleth, which has the shape of a door. ד Daleth means “door” in Hebrew.
Sex can be referred to as the door to Eden, and it is also the door out of Eden through the abuse of sex. We lose the ability to remain in union with Christ, with God. We lose our bliss, for עֵדֶן Eden means “bliss” in Hebrew.
That is why initially in this gospel, Acts of Thomas, the apostle is a bit reluctant to travel to the place where he is assigned, because India is not literally a place he is reluctant to go, but symbolically it signifies sex, that door which is so treacherous and can lead us back to God, but it can also expel us away from God and separate us from God if sex is abused. That is why we see this quote from Samael Aun Weor in his book Tarot and Kabbalah:
…within sex is a major force that can liberate the human being, but also a major force that can enslave the human being.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Tarot, Kabbalah, and the Hebrew Letters
For those familiar with Tarot, you can see the symbol of the fifteenth arcanum, Passion, commonly referred to as the devil. The fifteenth arcanum relates to the Hebrew letter ס Samech, the serpent biting its tail.
That cycle of passion is what can enslave us and convert us unto devils. If we see an attractive person walking by, we may be compelled to act a certain way around them and talk a certain way around them. We may obsess about that person, or conversely, we may try to repress that force and avoid that person, avoid thinking about them. But either way we know that sexual potency is a major force that has an impact on us psychologically, regardless of if we try to indulge it or repress it. It shapes us, and very few are those human beings who can truly master and command their sexual force.
Sex is also the key to liberating us, and that is what Thomas will teach us in this Gospel.
The reason why we can relate the Arcanum 15 with India, esoterically speaking, is because the kabbalistic addition of the three letters in the word India: ה Hei, being the fifth letter in the Hebrew alphabet, corresponds with the number five; ד Daleth, being the fourth, corresponds with the number four; and ו Vav corresponds with six as the sixth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. In Kabbalah we know that there is an esoteric significance to the sum total of any number given in a scripture. When we add 5 + 4 + 6, we receive the kabbalistic sum of 15, the devil.
Judas Thomas of Acts of Thomas has the challenging task of going to the realm of the devil in order to convert the people there, who are confused about sex and sexuality, through many interesting parables about sex, back to chastity, so they can become chaste saints, disciples of Christ.
Alchemical Symbolism of the Indus River and Date Palm Tree
Through the study of Alchemy, we can also examine the symbol of India, which relates to the Indus River, a river which gave tremendous life to that region and continues to give tremendous life to that region.
The Indus River in Sanskrit: सिन्धु Sindhu, “a large body of water; river, ocean,” derived from Cintu: date palm tree. For those who have studied the course on Kabbalah and Alchemy, they will know immediately that water, especially bodies of water like rivers and oceans, correspond with the sexual force, especially the sexual force in relationship with the Divine Mother, for it is the waters of the womb which create life. The sexual waters of the woman bring life and also the sexual waters of the man, semen, also give life. That is the alchemical significance of water when we see it mentioned in the scriptures, the waters of life.
However, it is important to know that water can also bring destruction, and that is why through the floods of Noah, humanity was destroyed for their crimes, for their vices. This is a dual symbol. Sex can bring life and it can destroy life, depending on how it is used.
This teaching is seen very clearly in the Qur’an. The word Sindhu is derived from “Cintu,” date palm tree and date palms, which were abundant in the Middle Eastern region. They are sometimes considered to be the true tree in the Garden of Eden―not an apple tree, but a date palm from which Adam and Eve ate, and that is a very sexual symbol. That is why that is the tree related with Alchemy, the science of fusing oneself with God through sacred sexuality.
In Surah 16:67 in the Qur’an, we see that the date palm is mentioned along with grapevines. Grapes are another sexual symbol, which is why Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding, and that miracle was to convert water into wine. We see the relationship here, that water is our potential, and if that water is transformed, it can become the spiritual wine of the soul at a wedding, where two are married. That is the same symbol as converting the lead―the impure sexuality, slowly through a process of gentle heat, through a scientific method―into the gold of the purified spirit and soul.
And from the fruits of date palm trees and grapevines you derive intoxicants as well as wholesome provision. Surely in this is a sign for those who understand. ―Quran 16:67
Who are the people with spiritual understanding? They are the initiates: the ones with spiritual ears and eyes who can hear and see the mysteries that are hidden behind in the scripture. In this mystery, so beautifully presented to us in the Holy Qur’an, is that from sex, we can see intoxication, obsession, addiction, lust, desire, that has no satiation. We can also see wholesome provision: the ability to bring life, not only physical life of a child, but also spiritual life to regenerate ourselves.
The date palm, interestingly, the date resembles the testes, the male sexual organ. The date is considered a sacred food in Islam. We can see why that is sacred, just as our sexual seed is sacred. The sexual water must be conserved, transformed, transmuted through the science of Alchemy.
Harnessing the Sexual Force
That is precisely the science that Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the Gnostic tradition, unveiled in the 1950s in his book, The Perfect Matrimony. As today’s lecture is only an introduction into the Gnostic mystery of chastity, I strongly encourage you to read this book, which can be read for free online on Glorian.org or purchased from any bookseller. In this book, Samael Aun Weor extensively teaches us the science of sexual Alchemy, chastity, and also pranayama or transmutation for single persons, who are not yet married and need the science by which they can still harness that sexual force for themselves.
For single people, it is important to note that they can conserve their sexual energy and must transmute it every day through practices like pranayama, which you can read about in the book The Perfect Matrimony. If one conserves their sexual energy but represses it, does not transform that energy, one could become a very troubled person. We have seen that the celibacy, the total avoidance of sex, is harmful. It produces psychological imbalances, and in some cases has led to sexual crimes. We do not advocate celibacy in this teaching, but chastity does require that an unmarried person abstain from sex. Until we are married, we should be transmuting that energy, working with prayer, mantra, pranayama, so that force is continually flowing through our body and allowing us to unite with divinity.
If we lose that force through vices such as masturbation, we lose our connection to divinity. That is why many feel shame after orgasm, for they know that they have lost something valuable. Yes, on a physical level we can lose thousands of sperm, but for men and women orgasm is harmful, more importantly on a spiritual and energetic level, because the orgasm produces a short circuit in the physical and energetic bodies and destroys those bodies. The orgasm not only affects us energetically and physically, but also spiritually, in that when we expel that sacred substance from our bodies, we are losing the very force of God, the creator within us. That is why we become blind, deaf, and lame, spiritually speaking. That is why when most of us sit to meditate or pray, we see black. We hear nothing because we are dead inside, spiritually speaking, because we have lost the very force of life and creation within our own body.
Spiritual Creation is Sexual
Samael Aun Weor states:
The sexual act is the real consubstantiation of love in the tremendous psycho-physical reality of our Nature. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
Consubstantiation in Christian terms relates to the teaching that the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Communion, is simultaneously one with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Con represents “together,” substantiation: substance―they are one substance together, simultaneously. That is the teaching in mainstream Christianity, but Samael Aun Weor taught from an esoteric standpoint and is pointing out that in a psychological and physical reality, sex unites us with divinity.
Psychologically and physically, we must be pure. We must maintain that sexual energy within our body and transform it in accordance with God’s guidance, the teachings of chastity. That is the real consubstantiation in which we are simultaneously human and divine.
Something is created when a man and a woman unite sexually. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
In the sexual act when man and woman unite, something is created. What is created? Of course, we know that a physical child can be created when a man and woman unite sexually, and there is a mystery in which one sperm and one egg are needed to create a pure physical child. That is a mystery for another lecture, the mystery of Immaculate Conception, but you can read about it in The Yellow Book by Samael Aun Weor if you are interested in learning more about it.
What else is created when we unite sexually? Well, if we reflect on our lives, what have we seen created through sex? We may see some happy marriages, although these are becoming fewer. We have seen much pain created by sex, suffering. That is because mankind has not been taught how to use sex appropriately. Mankind has been taught how to abuse sex, how to indulge in sex, how to go around seeking the next sensations or have multiple partners and masturbate―all kinds of sexual vices which corrupt our psychology. These vices do not just harm our physical body. They harm us psychologically. They create imbalances. They create addictions. They create lunacy. Some of the worst sexual crimes are committed by lunatics who have zero control over their sexual force.
Sexuality must be properly understood so that we can use it in balance with divinity. This is a great mystery that can only be known through experience. Anyone who has experienced the suffering, the heartbreak, the loss and sorrow of lust, can understand that there is one doorway that we can pass through with sex that brings an emptiness, a longing that is never fulfilled. Many people believe in the promise of love, of sex as love, but do not know how to bring real love into the sexual act. Love must be brought not only for our spouse and our partner—with selflessness, sacrificing our own selfish desires for that act—but out of love, union with our partner.
Love must also involve divinity. Where divinity is not present, there is no love. Christ, God, divinity is love. If you are performing the sexual act or sexual behaviors without divinity, there is no love present there. We need to understand that the very potential for our own heart to love our spouse, to love humanity, to love our children, the potential in our own heart is the spark of divinity. The one who loses their sexual forces, their sexual energies, and their sexual substance, loses that ability to love. That is why lust for the pleasure it can bring, in the short term, never materializes with that eternal happiness that it seems to promise.
People spend their whole lives believing that chasing sex will somehow bring them that happiness, will bring them to love. But it is not sex alone which brings us to love. We must bring love to sex, through our inner union with divinity. That is why chastity does not begin just in the sexual union with a partner. Alchemy begins with us, with our willingness to purify our minds and hearts, to become as children, to go sincerely and humbly unto God, and to learn these mysteries from our inner divinity. Divinity will teach you much about chastity and sexual Alchemy if you are open in your heart, in your mind, if you are pure, if you have set aside your pride which thinks it already understands sexuality, that it already knows what sex is about. You allow God to teach you God’s divine mystery of sex. You will see that on the other side of that door that there is a tremendous abundance of sacred mystery that we have barely begun to understand through our modern, contemporary notions about sex.
The Prerequisites of Sexual Alchemy
So, how does one practice sexual Alchemy with their partner? For those of us who are married, what is the practice of chastity? How do we engage in this sexual act, but do it with purity and do it with full meditative awareness of the presence of divinity?
Samael Aun Weor gives the full teaching about that in The Perfect Matrimony, but just to read a little bit for you today from that book―in relationship to a man and a woman, sexually united and experiencing all the bliss of that union―he states the following:
If man and woman would know how to withdraw without the spasm, if in those moments of delightful enjoyment they would have the willpower to control the animal ego, and if at that point they would retire from the sexual act without ejaculating the semen (neither inside the womb, nor outside of it or to the side of it, nor in any other place) they would have then performed an act of Sexual Magic. This is what is called in occultism the Arcanum A. Z. F.
God has created a door for us, a door in physical nature through which we can enter Eden, into bliss, or through which we can leave it. Meditate on your experiences with sex. Become prayerful and sincere and see if sex has really brought you lasting happiness, or if you have been abusing that act, forgetting divinity, forgetting love, and if that is the case, then you will understand when he states Cupid leaves crying. Cupid relates to the god Eros, the god of love, one in the same mystery of Christ in the Greek mysteries.
Eros leaves us when we orgasm, men and women. Although women may not lose any physical substance through the orgasm, they are losing tremendous substance energetically and spiritually, and that can be seeing through clairvoyance. Orgasm separates us from love and locks us out of heaven. We must become pure like children, like chaste virgins, as we enter into the sexual act every time remaining pure, bringing love for our spouse and love for divinity.
If we break this law of nature and we fornicate through orgasm―orgasm and fornication are one in the same, regardless if we are in a marriage or not―we will in the long run experience tremendous suffering because we are losing our connection to divinity. Divinity is what really brings us happiness. Through sex, we strengthen our union with divinity if it is performed with purity, prayer, and love.
Before we can perform sacred sexuality, sexual Alchemy with a partner, we have to establish that covenant with our own inner divinity by establishing purity within ourselves. We begin this practice as animals, filled with animal lust and desire, but through willpower, through constant application, we are refining this act and refining our own psychology, meditating on the evils that exist within our own heart, the selfishness, the pride, the greed, the lust, the desires that are never happy, that are never satisfied.
How do we free ourselves from that? How do we liberate ourselves from that? It is through sex, working with Kundalini, which is the mystery of the Divine Mother who controls those sexual waters and allows us to become free, to become washed and purified by those waters, if we keep those waters within our body.
When we lose that spiritual water, we become inhabited. We open that doorway for evil forces to come into our body. Sex is the original sin, because sex with fornication opened the gates of Eden and expelled us out of union with divinity. Sex is called the original sin, but sex with purity is salvation and redemption of mankind.
Acts of Thomas is about many, many individuals who are suffering from the misuse of sex. Today we are only going to talk a little bit about Act I, “The Wedding Feast of the King’s Daughter,” but if you read this scripture, you will see again and again that people are committing sexual crimes, that people are being tormented by sexual demons, that sex is prevalent throughout this act. That is why Kabbalistically and esoterically speaking, India symbolizes sex, the perilous nation in which people are afflicted by sexual impurities, just like each one of us.
Whether we have had sex or not, each of us should examine our relationship to sex, our sexual behaviors, our psychological relationship to sex, and ask ourselves if it is pure. Many who fear sex just want to avoid it, never want to think about it, want to repress it, want to be celibate. But that is a false door, because the celibate person never goes anywhere. They never grow. The chaste person, even if they are single, is growing through their own sexual force or through the union of masculine and feminine forces in the sexual act. But the celibate person who refuses to transform that energy, who tries to ignore it and runs away from it, is lying to themselves. Sex is an essential part of nature and human experience. Sex is an essential aspect of our spiritual journey, because without sex, we have no power to get out of the current state that we are in and we have no power to reunite with divinity.
Building the Temple of God
So, we need to preserve those sexual energies, which are continually coming into our body from above, from our Divine Father and our Divine Mother. We need to preserve those energies, transform them, and use them to build the temple of God in our own bodies. That is why Thomas goes to India, to build a palace for a King. The true king is God. The palace is the temple. The temple of our body can become a palace, a temple of God, but only if we meet God’s requirements, just as divinity demands that there is purity of heart and spirit in the sexual act. That is what we need to understand. If we do not meet the prerequisite, this is the law of nature that states that sex expels you from Eden, or it brings you back into Eden. Abusing sex separates you from God. Sex performed with purity and chastity reunites you with God. That is the law of nature. That is not an idea that someone just made up. That is a law written into nature, and we can experience it, work with it, and verify it directly through our experience.
Judas Thomas unwillingly gets sold by Jesus, his master, as a slave, so that he is forced to go to India, sold as a slave who will build a palace for a King in India. Before he is able to build this palace, he is compelled to attend a wedding feast for the local king’s daughter. Why does he have to attend a wedding feast before he can build a palace? Spiritually speaking, this is symbolic. The wedding feast, the consummation of marriage, the sexual act, is the prerequisite through which the temple of God can be built, truly, to create a vessel into which Christ, that profound, tremendous power of wisdom and love, can actually incarnate within a human body. Those vessels are created through sex. That is the only way that anything in nature is created. That is why Thomas and Jesus as his twin teach the mystery of chastity in the bridal chamber.
The Teaching in the Bridal Chamber
When they are teaching this, Jesus appears to the young couple in the form of Judas Thomas, and they are surprised because Judas Thomas has just left the room after blessing them and praying for them. They asked, “How is it possible that you are still in the room?” and Jesus explains to them that he is not the physical man Judas Thomas, that he is Christ.
This again is symbolic. Thoma means “twin.” Thomas is “twin,” the twin of Christ. The physical apostle is the vessel in which Christ manifests and gives that gospel to humanity. Jesus was a literal person, but symbolically, looking at this symbol, we see that Jesus is representing the force of Christ because this gospel takes place after Jesus had died and resurrected. His spirit comes through the vessel of Thomas, his physical apostle, to teach the mystery of chastity.
So, what does Jesus teach in the bridal chamber? Acts of Thomas says that Jesus taught the following to the young couple:
Remember, my children, what my brother spake unto you and what he delivered before you: and know this, that if ye abstain from this foul intercourse, ye become holy temples, pure, being quit of impulses and pains, seen and unseen, and ye will acquire no cares of life or of children, whose end is destruction… But if ye be persuaded and keep your souls chaste before God, there will come unto you living children whom these blemishes touch not, and ye shall be without care, leading a tranquil life without grief or anxiety, looking to receive that incorruptible and true marriage, and ye shall be therein groomsmen entering into that bride-chamber which is full of immortality and light. ―Acts of Thomas
Modern scholars who know nothing, who have never been initiated into the deepest genuine mysteries of spiritual teachings, always interpret this scripture as advocating for celibacy, total abstinence form sex. In reality, this scripture very obviously indicates that sex is important, and Jesus spends the whole night there in that bridal chamber with the couple. What happens in that bridal chamber is not explicitly stated in this gospel, for at that time it was forbidden to give this knowledge publicly to the profane, to people who were not properly prepared, who could not handle working with sex in this way.
We see that Jesus is talking about two marriages here. One marriage is of foul intercourse, the lustful marriage which brings impulses and pains, seen and unseen. Physical pain, yes, it can bring physical illnesses to us, karmically speaking, in the long term, but also unseen impulses and pain, those addictions, psychological imbalances, the madness that comes when sex is out of control and abused. The other marriage that he mentions is the incorruptible and true marriage, the bride chamber, which is full of immortality and light. When we practice chastity and we are meditating and we are awakening our spiritual senses, our spiritual eyes, we can see the light penetrating around and through our physical bodies. We can see that divinity is present. Angels are present, observing and guiding that sacred sexual act. It is a holy sacrament, and for those who work with it, they can verify this in their experience, but the prerequisite is purity.
You will never reach the heights of this chastity of this teaching if you are orgasming. If you are losing that sacred energy, even just now and then, you will never be able to build the temple of God, because it is a law of nature that is required. That is the substance through which the Divine Mother can build a vessel for God within us. Only a fool would spend so much time, effort, and discipline to build a beautiful temple and go in with a sledgehammer and start breaking down the walls, destroying it, and then decide to go back and rebuild it again. We will never get anywhere if we are going back and forth. We must obey the law. We must work with sex. It is absolutely essential, but we must work in accordance with God’s commandments, which forbid fornication. They forbid orgasm and forbid adultery. The person who tries to practice this with many partners will also get nowhere. Love must be present, genuine love that grows and grows and grows as we continue to practice with our spouse, love for our spouse and love for divinity. Love is the substance of divinity and divinity leaves the adulterer.
The Response of the Bride
Although the sexual act is not explicitly discussed or written down in this scripture, it is clear to us that a marriage has taken place, that Jesus spent an evening with the young couple teaching them and guiding them in the sexual act. We know that something has happened, because the next day the bride and groom are radically transformed. In fact, when the king and queen come down to see their daughter and her new husband, they are shocked, very surprised to see that she has removed her veil, which is called the “garment of shame” in those times, which the woman would wear to hide her shame after having sex. They come down and they ask her and her husband, “Why do you look so happy? Why are you not ashamed? Is it because that you are in such great love with each other that you are not ashamed?” They are shocked because they have never seen a couple come out of the sexual act with a happiness and joy that pervades them in this way, in this level of transformation. So, the bride, the daughter, responds to her parents and says this:
Verily, father, I am in great love, and I pray my Lord that the love which I have perceived this night may abide with me, and I will ask for that husband of whom I have learned today: and therefore I will no more veil myself, because the mirror (veil) of shame is removed from me; and therefore am I no more ashamed or abashed, because the deed of shame and confusion is departed far from me; and that I am not confounded, it is because my astonishment hath not continued with me; and that I am in cheerfulness and joy, it is because the day of my joy hath not been troubled; and that I have set at naught this husband and this marriage that passes away from before mine eyes, it is because I am joined in another marriage; and that I have had no intercourse with a husband that is temporal, whereof the end is with lasciviousness and bitterness of soul, it is because I am yoked unto a true husband [Christ]. ―Response of the Bride, Acts of Thomas
There are many symbols of Alchemy in the bride’s response in this scripture, but even to the uninitiated we can see very clearly that she has experienced, through this teaching, joy, happiness, and is beginning to enter into the true marriage, the marriage of Christ.
Many of us are seeking for temporary pleasure when we are lustful. We are seeking after physical sensations, physical experiences. That is temporal and passes away. That leads to lasciviousness and bitterness of soul. But chastity, chaste sexual union, is actually uniting the husband and wife with their inner divinity. The divinity of the wife, the divinity of the husband become one, and that is why it is not a marriage with a spouse that is temporal―not just a union of the physical bodies, but really the union of the immortal souls. That is why there are two marriages: one marriage that is temporary and passes away when the physical body dies, and another marriage through which the souls of the husband and wife become one with the spirit, with Christ. They are re-establishing, rebuilding that bridge, that connection that guides us back to God. That is what gives us conscience. That is what gives us insight, intuition, guidance, visions, dreams that are prophetic. All of that is established through working with our sexual potential, because sex is what can reunite us with God, just as it has separated us from our inner divinity through its abuse.
The Response of the Groom
Personally, I prefer the response of the groom even more because the groom, as we can see in his response, is someone like many of us who has been confused, who has been taught many ideas, corruption, impurity, and suffering. We can hear in this response from the groom so much gratitude for how sex has guided him back to his true nature, his soul, reunion with divinity and real love for Christ. In Acts of Thomas, the groom states:
I give thee thanks, O Lord, that hast been proclaimed by the stranger [Judas Thomas], and found in us [Christ within us]; O Lord who hast removed me far from corruption and sown life in me; who hast rid me of this disease that is hard to be healed and cured and abides forever, and hast implanted sober health in me [chastity]; who hast shown me thyself and revealed unto me all my state wherein I am; who hast redeemed me from falling and led me to that which is better, and set me free from temporal things and made me worthy of those that are immortal and everlasting; that hast made thyself lowly even down to me and my littleness, that thou mayest present me unto thy greatness and unite me unto thyself; […] hast shown me how to seek myself and know who I was, and who and in what manner I now am, that I may again become that which I was: whom I knew not, but thyself did seek me out: of whom I was not aware, but thyself hast taken me to thee: whom I have perceived, and now am not able to be unmindful of him: whose love burns within me… ―Response of the Groom, Acts of Thomas
That is Christ. The disease that is hard to be healed and cured is lust, abuse of sex. We see that there is so much addiction, especially to pornography that is extremely hard to be healed. It leads people to lunacy, suffering, pain, to have affairs, to throw away their marriage. That disease can be healed by Christ. That is a tremendous source of hope. This teaching allows us to change no matter how fallen we are. Even if we are a prostitute, we can be saved through chastity, through being purified and washed by the waters of our Divine Mother. It is an incredible power, a sacrament that should be approached with tremendous respect and humility. Most of us approach sex with impurity, selfishness, disgusting desires, and that is why we hurt ourselves, other people, and that is why we see so much pain and suffering in our society, so much abuse of sex, abuse of children, sexual assault, and rape. Mankind has not been taught how to control his sexual force, and that is because sexuality is so powerful that only the properly prepared have been taught this teaching.
Now, frankly speaking, we are in a society, in a time, in which the abuse of sex has become so great that there is really no other option than to give this openly with the hope that maybe a few people will have enough willpower, sincerity, humility, and genuine love for divinity to be able to accomplish this very difficult feat of chastity and sexual Alchemy. It is not easy. It is very demanding, but the rewards are infinite, eternal rewards, the ability to know your God again. We see here that the groom says he knew not God, he knew not Christ, but Christ sought him out. He was not aware of Christ, but Christ took him back to divinity through sex, sacred sexuality.
This is just an introduction today to a really deep mystery, and for those who really want to experience this, I encourage you to study a lot, to prepare yourself through meditation, meditating on lust everyday, because with this sexual force, you will have the power of the Divine Mother working within you, and that power can destroy your lust, your greed, your anger, your envy, your hatred, your pride. That is the power of chastity, to regenerate the human being, to purify the human being, to restore the spiritual senses of the soul, so that we can see and hear divinity again, and always be mindful of divinity because divinity will burn like love within us.
If we abuse this teaching, if we abuse sex, those waters will drown us. If we pollute those waters with impurity, and we try to work this practice, it will create nothing but extreme suffering for us and the people around us. So, prepare yourself properly, because the groom you are seeking to unite with is Christ.
Christ: The Groom and the Church
Christ is an infinite beauty, power wisdom, and love. Christ is the force that animates and gives life to every atom in this universe. That is why in Acts of Thomas, the apostle states:
If man loved God as much as they love one another, they would ask of him all things and receive them, and there would be nothing which would not obey them. ―Acts of Thomas, 128:9
If we love God, if we love Christ, that force of divinity, as much as we love our spouse―which hopefully we love our spouse, because nowadays mankind does not seem to love each other as much as we have the potential to―if we loved God, with the strongest intensity, with which we loved another person, then we would have the power to reunite with God through this sexual practice. Love is sexual. Eros, the god of love through the Greek mysteries, representing the force of Christ, is erotic love. Those two are intertwined. That is why the teaching was given to us in the Bible by Paul of Tarsus―relating to Christ and the church, the church being the Ecclesia―the ones called forth to the assembly, the congregation. The church is not as the physical building, but the church as the community of the followers of Christ who become the physical vessels in which Christ acts and performs his miracles, manifests, and gives his teachings to humanity―through his apostles, through those who work with this science to purify themselves, to create a vessel that can withstand that tremendous energy of Christ within it. That is why in this teaching in Ephesians, Paul of Tarsus directly relates the love of Christ, the union with Christ, to the relationship between husband and wife. It is one in the same mystery. If engage in the sexual act, we renounce orgasm, and we bring the presence of divinity, prayer, and love into that act, that is the path to God. Paul wrote:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. ―Paul of Tarsus, Ephesians 5:25-32
So, we see here that when a man and a woman unite, they become one flesh, one flesh with each other, one flesh with divinity, if we are without blemish, if we have been washed by those waters, if we are holy. The church are the true apostles, the true followers of Christ.
There are many people, many organizations that claim to be the true church of Christ, but we should examine ourselves: are we a temple of God? Are we the physical body through which God can perform his will? Or are we filled with selfish desires, self-will, egotism? Are we motivated by the guidance we are receiving internally from divinity and acting in ways that help humanity, that heal humanity, that brings happiness unto us and others, and that help us to reunite with God? Are we giving that teaching of Christ? Or are we teaching spiritual things out of vanity, out of pride, out of ambition and seeking for power? Or are we just totally living a life divorced from God, totally about me, myself, and what I want?
Maybe we say spiritual things when we are in public streets, and then when we go into the bedroom and whatever happens there, well, that is not of God’s business, we think. We are fools if we think that God does not see especially that which has happened when we are working with the force of creation, with the power to give life in our own bodies. That is the moment when God is most present and our Divine Mother weeps when we lose and abuse that force.
If you work with this teaching, if you work with this practice, I promise you that you will begin awakening consciousness. Then you will see, with tremendous shame, the pain that we have brought to divinity and to other people through lust. So much of the suffering in this world has been the direct result of uncontrolled lust, a lack of willpower, indulgence in lust. That is it. There are many other problems, but lust is the root because in lust we have lost the connection with divinity. We have lost our conscience, which guides us to perform what is right in God’s eyes. You know we truly learn from within, from our conscience, what is good and what is evil, what is constructive and what is destructive. We can read it in a book, in the commandments. The ethical precepts of all great religions are wonderful starting places, and are necessary. We should be following those to purify our psychology, but the real teaching of right and wrong comes in each moment, in the presence of Christ, of divinity within us.
But we have to be awakened. We have to have spiritual sight and hearing to interpret those messages. It is one thing to receive a message, to have a powerful dream for example, but if we are foolish and our mind is out of balance, if we are totally controlled by selfish wishes, then we are going to interpret that dream according to our ego, according to our egotism, “What do I want that dream to mean?” Then that spiritual value, that gift that has been given to us, is lost.
So, if we want to become the bride of Christ, we have to work very hard with ourselves. Sexual Alchemy is important. Union with a spouse is important. But merely doing this practice with a spouse without any purity, without any love of divinity, without any love of our spouse, is not going to be enough. We should be the bride of Christ, because our physical body can be that receptive vehicle which can receive that projective force of Christ. The spirit can come down into the womb of our physical body and grow, be developed, and channel light here in this physical world, which needs the light of Christ, the teachings, and the presence of Christ more than ever. Because so few people are capable of this, each of us should hold this duty, this obligation to work on ourselves, to purify ourselves, to work with this practice with respect, with humility, to follow the will of our inner God. Humanity needs it now more than ever.
We see again Paul of Tarsus teaching us this mystery, that we as the souls of men can become betrothed or married to Christ, that divine spirit. Paul wrote:
For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. ―Paul of Tarsus, 2 Corinthians 11:2
How does one become a virgin? Through virility, through virtue, through chastity. Humanity has fallen, but we can be redeemed. We can be purified. We can become again virginal, virginal bodies, virginal minds, virginal hearts, virginal souls, through chastity, through working with Christ, reading those scriptures, learning Kabbalah, learning Alchemy, studying this, doing these practices, transmuting every day, whether single or in a marriage, finding a way to work with that energy and meditating on our defects to destroy them, and performing good works and sacrifices that help humanity, even in small ways, helping people around us, not for our benefit, not for our pride, not for our ambition, but out of love, because Christ is love.
If you think of the moment in your life, or the time when you felt the strongest love for another human being, that is Christ―a small taste of Christ. As we work with chastity, we enliven that force. We bring that fire to life in our hearts, the fire of love. The sexual fire becomes pure and it brings us power, but the power of God, power that can only be granted if we are obeying the laws of God.
Again, I recommend for those who want to learn more about this sacred mystery of chastity and are interested in applying it as a way to regenerate their souls, return to God, and receive that inner guidance within, to read the book The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor. Study Alchemy. Study Kabbalah. We have a tremendous gift that this teaching is being given publicly for humanity. People for centuries would risk their lives, would dedicate years, decades, in preparation in the temples to receive this mystery, and it is being given to us because we so desperately need it, and because without it, well, we already know the direction that our society is going. We are not progressing. We are crumbling. If that is the outcome we are already headed for, then we have nothing to lose by working with chastity, by applying it, by dedicating ourselves to it.
If your sexual behavior has brought you nothing but pain in life, then sacrifice it. Give it up and try this practice. Work with chastity, and see directly, in your experience, the tremendous results that you can receive through consistent, dedicated practice. You will be transformed. You can be purified. You can become converted like a child. There is tremendous power in sexual Alchemy.
So, let us conclude from one final verse from Acts of Thomas:
It is particularly fitting for you to live in holy chastity, for that is favored in God’s eyes and it leads to eternal life. It is the capital city of all good things in the eyes of God. Those who don’t compete in Christ’s stadium won’t receive the prize of holy chastity. Holy chastity was revealed by God: it destroys sexual immorality, overturns the enemy and pleases God, for it is an unconquered athlete, having honor from God and esteemed by many. It is the ambassador of peace, proclaiming peace; if anyone acquires it, that person remains carefree, pleasing the Lord, expecting the time of redemption. It does nothing improper but affords life, rest, and joy to all who acquire it. ―Acts of Thomas 85:3-8
If you have any questions, please write them in the chat box.
Questions and Answers
Question: How can a single person before marriage identify if a partner would commit to a sex life without orgasm?
Instructor: That is a wonderful question. I will let you know that I know many Gnostic practitioners in this teaching who work with chastity with a spouse who does not practice chastity. So, it is possible that we can purify ourselves and unite with divinity by working in the sexual act if there is love in that marriage. Obviously, that has its challenges, right? So, be mindful of it, but if you are performing the law of God, if you are obeying and are chaste, then you will be able to achieve union with your inner divinity, with Christ through sexual Alchemy. The forces are present there. The masculine, the feminine, the Holy Spirit of sex is present there. God can come to you if you are prepared. Of course, your spouse might not like that. That is your karma. That is your situation. That is what God has given you, and so you have to consider very carefully before marriage, is love really present there in that relationship? Or is it desire? Many people have been fooled by desire and ended up in very unhappy marriages.
If your spouse is not open to this and you are already married, if there is love present in that marriage, you should not run away from that marriage. Love is the prerequisite for chastity, and those who choose to only marry another Gnostic, only with another person who agrees with what “I” believe, and do so only out of ambition, will get nowhere, because there is no love in that marriage. Of course, if you meet another person that is open to this and wants to practice with you, that is ideal. That is perfect. That is wonderful and beautiful, but only if love is present. So, do not get married out of ambition. Meditate and pray. Let God guide you to the spouse who you are destined for, the one whom you can love, and who can love you, the one who will bring you closer to Christ through that love, through the force of Christ within your hearts.
Question: What are the characteristics of chastity in woman versus in men? To be more specific, how does chastity manifest itself in men and women?
Instructor: Well, the spiritual work for men and women is the same. So, as a woman, I am required to fulfill all the same requisites of purity, of chastity, abstaining from orgasm, transforming that energy in my body through pranayama, or through sexual Alchemy, meditation, working on my vices every day. It is really no different. One thing I will say for women who practice this though, who transmute, whether married or single: we do not work with our sexual energy when we are on our period. If you are in your menstrual cycle, abstain from working with sexual energy for that time. That is a time of cleansing in which the body is flushing out impurities, and energetically as well. It is a great benefit that women have, that nature purifies our bodies every month, but it means that we should not be transmuting those energies, because that is a time when impurities are being cleansed from us by nature.
So, what does chastity look like for a woman versus a man? It is the same. As a woman, you should not be orgasming. Many women say, “Well, I am not losing any seed when I orgasm.” You do not see what you are losing spiritually and energetically in that orgasm. You are losing your vitality, that sexual energy that connects you with divinity, that power of creation in your own body. So, men, woman, it is very similar. I cannot speak too much on the man’s point of view, but at least as a woman I can share that.
Question: What is the name of the broad statue shown in this lecture with a quote of Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony, and is that position the only way to practice? Can you provide terms on what one should do, or how to perform sexual magic in simple terms with detail on the procedure?
Instructor: So, that is not the only position which one can practice sexual magic. Generally speaking, the position is really not so important. You can perform this with the man on top of the woman, or the woman on top of the man. What is important is that you are awake. If you are meditative, if you are prayerful, you feel love for your spouse. You feel love for divinity. You are not allowing animal passion to overcome your willpower. You are allowing the heat, the fire, and the bliss of those pleasant sensations to awaken your consciousness, to nourish you, but you are not losing that force through orgasm.
I am not familiar with the name of that specific statue, but I have seen many like it. That comes from Tantric Buddhism. There are many symbols throughout the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that describe and show this union. There are many buddhas or many spiritual masters, enlightened ones who are showing that particular act, such as Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal, or his consort, as an example. There are many examples of that practice within that religion specifically. In terms of the only position or the way to practice, you can study a certain chapter in The Mystery of The Golden Flower by Samael Aun Weor [The Sexual Paroxysm and The Golden Embryo]. There are different positions and postures that one can practice with in accordance with Hindu scripture and ancient text itself.
Definitely, in these texts you will learn a variety of mantras as well. Mantra is an important part of sexual Alchemy because it allows us to move that energy more effectively in our body. One of the main mantras that is taught in The Perfect Matrimony is IAO, which is pronounced as in Latin:
I: (as the ee in “tree”):
A: (as the ah in “father”)
O: (as the oh in “holy”)
Take a breath when you are united with your partner and vocalize the vowel sound:
That is just one practice to give as an example, but before you enter into this practice you should study the book and you will learn a lot more mantras and much more about how to engage in that practice effectively.
Question: As a single person I have verified that these teachings are true through my own experiences with pranayama, prayer, self-observation, meditation, etc. I am totally dedicated to this path. It has given my life the most beautiful meaning and purpose. I know these teachings are true in my heart and are the purpose of life. Ever since I started sincerely practicing these teachings and transmuting my sexual energies daily, about a year ago, I had been experiencing nocturnal pollutions about every two to three months. These are very painful experiences as I observe my consciousness is weakened and I lose my psychic energies. My question is, what is the cause of these experiences? Is it karmic debt from past sexual misconduct? Are these tests in the internal worlds? Is it a lack of comprehension of lust? A combination of all these? Obviously, the goal is eventually find a spouse and enter into the Major Mysteries of sexual Alchemy. Is physical chastity possible like Sivananda and Yogananda?
Instructor: What an important question! Thank you for asking. For those who are not familiar with the term nocturnal pollutions, it refers to wet dreams, where―most notably for men, this is obvious―men might wake up and realize that he has orgasmed in his sleep. Women may wake up and realize that their body is orgasming. This can happen for men and women. There are a variety of reasons why this may happen, and we also have a remedy for this: the remedy of the melon drink, which can help you. So, if you are suffering from nocturnal pollutions, I encourage you to drink that remedy frequently until you see that the problem has been lessened.
But we need a permanent solution to this problem. The cause of the problem is lust. On one hand, I think that many single people are not transmuting enough, at minimum ten to fifteen minutes a day, but you can practice pranayama as long as you need. If you are a particularly fiery person, if that is your sexual temperament, you might need to perform a lot of pranayama every day. Also, work with runes―another sacred science that we teach in this tradition and you can find a whole course about the runes on Glorian.org. There are also videos of these runes that allows you to transform more energy.
So, one cause can be that you have too much sexual energy pent up, and since it is not being transformed, it is leading to that nocturnal pollution. That is a big problem, because you do not want to lose that energy.
The other is that we are tempted and tested in dreams. Often our own egos come out in dreams and take the shapes of many attractive people or situations that tempt us, and if we have not developed enough willpower through meditation, then when we are less awake, when we are more hypnotized in the dream state, we are more likely to fail and to engage in some kind of sexual activity in the dream state that causes our physical body to orgasm and to lose that energy. So, do the best that you can. It takes time to train the body. It takes time also to train our psyche.
But we should be vigilant. We should meditate on lust everyday, to understand our lust. How does it manifest? What does it want? How does it control us? What provokes it? What tempts it? Some people try to avoid temptation all together, but when we see something in our life, we should not be looking at pornography. We should not try to find ways to test ourselves. That would be foolish. We are not at that level. But things happen in our life. We see people that we feel some attraction to. Do not avoid that. Go home and meditate. Meditate, meditate, meditate. What in you is impure? Sometimes we think we may love a person, but that love is mixed with a lot of impurity. So, even if you are married you still need to be meditating on lust. Lust is always selfish and divinity is selfless.
The karmic debt from past sexual misconduct is the creation of lust in our own psychology. So, whenever we commit abuse of sex, we generate a psychological consequence, and that strengthens lust in our psyche, which then causes us to have less control over sexual force in both our physical life and in our dream life in the astral plane. So, the karma is psychological. But we do have the power to overcome that. We do have the power to meditate on that. What did you dream about? Meditate on it. Understand it. Do not just feel like, “I failed. I should be ashamed!” and then not learn anything from that. It is a very humbling experience, and it is a very painful experience. We should learn from that, because when that happens to us, it is an opportunity to understand something about ourselves that we do not understand. Otherwise, it would not happen.
As a single person, we can achieve up to 50% of the elimination of the ego. Right now, in this teaching, we know that most of us in this planet have about 97% ego. That means we are 97% selfish and blind to divinity. We have 3% consciousness free that can perceive things in a new way, that can perceive divinity, that can act spontaneously, and the other 97% of us is conditioned to habitual behaviors, conditioned psychology, that wants to repeat habits again and again―repeat the same anger, repeat the same envy in a new situation, repeat the same lustful sensations. So, as a single person, it is possible to become truly pure.
Yogananda is a beautiful example. He made the mistake of believing that he could be married within to his Divine Mother without a spouse, and so he was only able to achieve half of that work, but what a tremendously beautiful soul, like an elemental, very pure, that brought wonderful teachings to humanity! Yes, that is possible for the single person.
We should not have such a strong desire for a spouse that we forget about how to live in happiness with what we have. God has put you in that situation for a reason. It is possible that if you found a spouse, but you weren’t properly prepared, that you could generate a lot of pain for you and that person, that it could harm your future lifetimes, that it could create a karmic consequence that could be much more terrible. So, there are worse things than being single. We could use that time as a single person to master our sexuality, to become very comfortable with moving those forces in our body, with transforming, to awaken with purity like a child, to become virginal. Then when the time is right, God will bring a spouse to you and you will know it because you will feel love, real love, not just sexual attraction, but real love.
Question: Usually we find “You shall not commit adultery” in the Ten Commandments, yet we do not see, “We shall not fornicate.” Is that a part of the former commandment or is it a hidden commandment that was not taught before the Age of Aquarius openly?
Instructor: That is a good question. “Thou shall not fornicate” is not part of one of the Ten Commandments, but we see it repeatedly in the Bible, so I might of misspoke a little bit there. Fornication is frequently talked about in the Bible as a sin against God. Fornicate comes from the same root as furnace, that sexual fire. Is that fire working in a positive way or is that fire destroying us?
Fornication is destructive. Chastity is regenerative, revitalizing. Whenever we are expelling the sexual energy, we are adulterating the power of the Divine Mother. In terms of the tradition itself, the commandments, those have been interpreted and even modified in different ways throughout religious tradition, but specifically there is a distinction between “You shall not fornicate” or expel the sexual energy, but also “You shall not commit adultery” or misuse that force in multiple relationships, as the lecturer had said.
Question: Could you explain the connection between sexuality and the original sin? Can we say that sexual sin, lust, is the fundamental vice and the source of all other vices?
Instructor: Yes, we can. That is the original sin because lust, the orgasm, is what kicked us out of Eden, brought us separation from divinity. When we feed lust, when we orgasm, we become hypnotized. We become confused. A little piece of us or a big piece of us starts to become deluded, and through that delusion, humanity can wander further away from God. The more that that action is repeated, the more delusion humanity enters into, and that delusion can include all other kinds of crimes: anger murder, hatred, theft, greed, pride.
So, it is from lust over many centuries, over many lifetimes that we have been committing lustful acts, that all of these other crimes have been able to occur. Now these vices can occur separate from lust as well. Even the gods are said to have spiritual pride, which is a vice, but those gods know how to work with sex in the appropriate way through sexual chastity, using sex with purity. So, while it is the root of all sins, those sins can be manifold. We usually say that there are seven deadly sins, but even within those seven there are so many unique manifestations of those seven deadly sins, and lust is like that. Sometimes lust can be proud. Sometimes lust can be angry. Sometimes lust can be greedy. So, they are all interrelated. If you really want to understand the fall of humanity, the sexual fall of humanity, then I encourage you to read the book The Elimination of Satan’s Tail, which tells the history behind why humanity originally fell out of the Garden of Eden. Really interesting story by Samael Aun Weor.
Question: Taoist and other traditions distinguish between orgasm and ejaculation for men. Is this distinction made in Gnosticism? Is the key for men to restrict ejaculation, what many people are calling today semen retention?
Instructor: That is a great question and one that comes up often when we give this teaching. Orgasm and the loss of semen are both considered not permitted in the sacred sexual act. So, no. You cannot just retain the semen but indulge in the energetic orgasm.
As I mentioned earlier for men or for women, the short circuit of the orgasm is destructive for the physical body and for the vital body, which is the energetic body that animates us, that gives the power to move around, that enlivens our heart and allows it to keep beating. That vital body gets destroyed and that is why illnesses can develop. It is harmful. But spiritually speaking, as I just mentioned in the previous answer, when we indulge in that orgasm, in that sensation, our psychology changes. Our consciousness becomes conditioned, becomes addicted, becomes hypnotized by and wants more, more, and more. So, even if you are only performing the orgasm now and then, or you are only performing the orgasm to have a child, it is harmful for this practice. You should renounce orgasm one hundred percent if you are going to work in chastity and perform the perfect matrimony. That is what we teach, because that law of nature indicates that through that door, we can leave heaven. We can go into hell, into the lower states of consciousness, and that door is directly related with sex, with orgasm. Orgasm opens the door to the lower states of consciousness and allows devilish qualities, evil energies, to enter into us psychologically and spiritually.
When we go up through that door, when we transmute that energy from the sexual organs up the spine into the brain, to enliven the pineal gland, the seat of the soul, where our inner divinity can give us guidance, we are going back up to divinity. Orgasm will bring us down. The law dictates that chastity is a prerequisite to go up unto the heavenly realms.
Question: Is it possible to over do pranayama if single? Sometimes if I do Ham-Sah too much it seems to build up too much fire, or is it because I am not doing the pranayama correctly? It does not produce much fire with runic vowels, etc.
Instructor: It is not possible to harm yourself by doing too much. So, you can do three hours of it a day. You can do five hours of it a day. It will not hurt you. If you say that you are feeling a lot of fire as a result, it is because that sexual fire which was latent has become active, and you need to apply that fire in your meditation.
When we feel sexual fire, we are very awake. Our consciousness becomes vigilant. Now when we are conditioned by lust, yes, that lust drives us to become vigilant, seeking sexual sensations, but when we meditate on that lust and seek to understand it, as we are enlivened by that same fire, that fire gives us the ability to be very awake and very aware and go deep into comprehension of that ego of lust. Fire, also transmuted, gives your Divine Mother the power. That fire is Her power to destroy those egos of lust. So, if you are feeling overly stimulated by the practice, yes, you can do some other practice instead to balance it out, but meditate on what is coming up for you psychologically. If you become overwhelmed in your meditation, and the impression is too powerful, you cannot transform it, you are being tempted too much, go outside. Go for a walk. Read a scripture. Do something to calm yourself down, and then meditate again when you are feeling calmer.
Question: You have mentioned ambition in spouse selection as an impediment in progressing in the path. You have also said that we should not submit to animal passion in the act. If one is in a loving marriage where the couple is disinterested in Alchemy in one evening, is it best to practice pranayama?
Instructor: If I understand the question correctly, you are asking if we have to practice the sexual act every night? No. The most that sexual Alchemy should be practiced is once per day, and again, women should not be performing this act on their menstrual cycle, so there is a magnetic pause during that time.
You do not need to practice it every day. It depends on the temperament of the couple. If the couple has a cooler temperament around sexuality, then they might practice this once a month, once a week. That is ok. A very fiery couple will probably practice once per day. If you are not feeling interested in sex, then it is ok to practice pranayama. If you feel particularly lustful one day and you are afraid that you are going to enter into that sexual act and potentially lose your energy, then I would encourage you to practice pranayama first. Meditate first. Wait until you are not feeling that lustful anymore to enter into that act, because it is very difficult in the beginning. We have an animal mind that seeks sensation and that wants more, more, more of that desire, and that is difficult to overcome. So, in the beginning, we usually encourage couples to only connect very briefly, or just to maybe touch, hold each other, kiss, but not to physically connect right away, just to get used to conquering that sensation, and then to connect, just for a few minutes, and to take a break. It depends on your temperament. It depends on how much discipline you have with your mind and pranayama before marriage. If you practiced with pranayama for many years, you might be able to adapt to the sexual Alchemy practice more quickly, but it really varies by individual. Each of us has our own karma which has shaped our psychology. So some of us are more strongly addicted to lust than others, but all of us have lust and all of us need to meditate on it.
Question: If the couple is ambitious and decides to engage in the Arcanum A.Z.F., do those creative energies give life to ambition, potentially related to desire?
Instructor: Thank you for clarifying. So, just like lust, we should not bring ambition into the act. In the act we should really meditate on our love for our spouse. We should not just be saying, “Ok, let us practice today because I want to have more spiritual experiences and experience divinity!” and that is the motivation for our practice. We should practice because we love God and we love our spouse, and so if you are going to the act with ambition, you are not going to get very far. You are actually going to channel that energy into your ambition, so that desire for more and more spiritual sensations will become stronger. Meditate before Alchemy. Meditate on ambition, or lust, or whatever defect you see coming up in the act to corrupt it, to separate you from divinity. Then pray before that act to your Divine Mother. Use the sexual energy. Use the sacred power to eliminate this ego of ambition, this ego of lust or whatever it may be for you. That will really help your practice.
Question: Is it only suitable to engage in sex when both parties are in a state of innocent love for one another?
Instructor: As I mentioned before, we might have a partner, a spouse who is not interested in chastity and who is engaging in orgasm. That is a painful situation, but it happens, and we should not leave that person because of that. However, we are going to need to have those hard conversations and discuss to find a way, which out of love, that person can respect your choice to be chaste. That is really specific to the case of the couple. If you have a spouse that is practicing chastity with you and feels particularly lustful one day and says, “I do not want to engage,” then respect them. Have love for them. Support them.
Also, if you and your spouse find that lust is coming for you in sex, meditate. In the beginning, there is going to be a lot of lust there. As much as we try to start with an innocent mind, with purity, with love, there will be lust there. So, in that case, again, we should meditate after sex. Meditate on what we saw. In the beginning it is very difficult. That fire is big. It is out of control. It takes time and willpower to learn, so engage for a few moments until you realize that you are starting to get distracted. You are starting to get hypnotized by the sensations and losing your wakefulness, your vigilance, your awareness of God.
Love is a very beautiful sensation that comes out in sex. I do not want to encourage people to be afraid, so afraid that they are not able to do this practice. Let your heart guide you, and let divinity guide you. There will be lust present in the beginning and that is why we need this practice to purify ourselves. Eventually, if we are successful, we can become saints free from that torment of lust. We can become masters of our sexuality, and then we command the sexual force to work when we want it to work rather than that sexual force commanding us to be slaves, to be servants of its sensations. It takes time.
Question: I am curious on what you mean by orgasm exactly. My experience of raising the sexual energy up the spine and into the brain centers is actually highly orgasmic. The body pulsates in just the way it does during orgasm and a feeling of joy is generated. The same goes for all chakras and dantians. Do you mean that this whole body energetic experience should be avoided in Gnosticism?
Instructor: Good question. There are sensations in Alchemy. There is sexual pleasure. There is bliss, the bliss of love, the bliss of Alchemy. So you really have to examine for yourself. But yes, if there is an orgasm in your sexual organs and you feel that, then that is not sexual Alchemy. So, in black magic, they teach you how to perform the sexual act with orgasm and channel that energy in the way that has just been described in the question in order to awaken consciousness. But what happens because of the orgasm and those negative demonic influences that come in, you might experience bliss, but you are also awakening consciousness and developing within the ego, which is separate from God.
So, you really have to meditate on yourself, on what is happening there, because there is spiritual bliss, energy, moving in the body in Alchemy, but there is not the orgasm in the sexual organs. It is white Alchemy. White Tantra that we teach here in this school does not permit orgasm because that orgasm short circuits the body, loses the energy. While the sensations of bliss that you might feel in a orgasm―even outside of any spiritual context, of course, orgasm is “blissful” and people feel that sensation of bliss―that is actually not positive, because it is the bliss of that energy, but then that energy is lost and expelled from the body. So we want to keep that bliss, calm and consistent, throughout our practice.
Question: Is it true that cardiovascular exercise, running while breathing through the nostrils and out through the mouth, helps to transmute the sexual energies?
Instructor: Yes. Some exercise, some sports, some martial arts like Aikido, or some that are not too violent, that can be one form of transmutation of sexual energy. However, I caution you not to use that as your only form, because without pranayama, your body naturally is not going to move those energies back up the spine. Pranayama done everyday is cleaning out the two cords which go around the spine, the two channels of Ida and Pingala, and allowing that energy to become accustomed to moving up the spine into the brain and heart. If you are not doing that every day, those channels are going to be very dirty, and they are blocked. If you are just playing soccer with your friends, but you are not performing pranayama, then no, you are probably not transmuting very much energy. So, it can be good to walk and to breathe, but breathe with transmutation, with that visualization coming up through your spine. You can use the Ham-Sah pranayama, if you are familiar with it, throughout the day. I have used it at work silently, just to keep myself awake and vigilant if I notice that I am starting to get unaware of what is happening spiritually, lose my self-observation.
Work with some form of pranayama every day if you are a single person, and if you are married, you can also work with pranayama. It is an option for married people so that you do not have to feel the pressure to work in sexual Alchemy every day. Generally speaking, married people are moving more energy in that sexual connection, so they may not need pranayama on the days that they are not united. It really depends on the couple. You have to investigate, meditate, pray, and watch the answers that you receive in your dreams from divinity. Divinity will tell you if you are going off of the correct path, then guide you on how to get back.
Question: Isn’t chastity a cruel repression of the self? Sometimes like a punishment or a sadistic behavior, then when it is released in different ways, it creates suffering everywhere?
Instructor: If you are referring to celibacy, as I mentioned earlier in the lecture, it does produce suffering if that energy is not worked with through prayer, through transmutation. Celibacy creates imbalances in the psychology in the same way that lust and orgasm create imbalances in the psychology. In celibacy, that energy sits there like a pool of water that becomes stagnant, and that energy becomes putrid and poisons the mind, and that creates suffering. Chastity is not celibacy. Chastity is learning how to work with sex in a positive way and so it is not a repression of one’s self. It is connecting directly with ones sexuality in a very powerful way, in a very conscious way, and working with that energy in the body. The result of real chastity, if you are practicing this without orgasm consistently, then you will have positive benefits. You will feel more love for your neighbor. You will feel more subtle emotions. You will feel more peace and happiness. You will feel more awake, and more spiritual senses developed, spiritual vision, more powerful dreams.
No, I would disagree with that idea.
Question: I am getting more confused about orgasm and ejaculation. I always felt through experience that they are one in the same or happen at the same time in my past. How are they different?
Instructor: I am not too familiar with semen retention, although I have heard of it. It is the practice by which some retain the semen instead of ejaculating semen, but still experience the orgasm and allow those sensations to move through the body. So, with the orgasm without ejaculation, you are not losing the physical substance, but you are losing the energetic, spiritual substance, because its that short circuit that occurs in the orgasm. That energy moves quickly through the body, then it is lost. So, those moments of bliss, which may be prolonged and may last for certain time, ultimately leave and are depleted. It is the feeling of bliss that the sexual energy is being depleted, which is very different from the feeling of bliss that we have when the sexual energy is being activated and conserved and moved through the body. Both might be considered blissful but have different flavors, but when you work with both those practices you will understand the difference.
It is quite popular and a lot of people like that, they can still have the orgasm and feel like they are getting the benefits of non-ejaculating, but it is black magic. Semen retention is black magic, and if you read the book The Perfect Matrimony, you will understand why we consider it black magic in this tradition, because it breaks the law that God has put in nature, and it hypnotizes the psyche. Your psychology becomes imbalanced and addicted to sensations, and while you may feel spiritual doing it, you are actually strengthening ego and you are giving that energy into egoic states, desire, lust, pride. So, you will not experience the benefits of chastity that I have described.
Question: If you are doing pranayama with alternate nostril breathing, what is the best mantra to use? Is it acceptable to use an abbreviated Egyptian mantra: Ton Sa Ham?
Instructor: We recommend that when you choose one of the practices, you can use the mantras specifically denoted in that practice. So, if you have read the practice in the book about the Egyptian pranayama, you should use the mantras in the way that they are taught in the book. There is a pranayama of alternate nostril breathing that does not require any mantra. That is just focusing, bringing your awareness, breathing in through one nostril as you visualize the energy moving up one side of the spine, up one of those cords, and then through the other one, visualizing that energy moving up the other column up the spine (Ida and Pingala). If you are too burdened by the mantras, then begin with alternate nostril breathing that does not require a mantra.
There have existed alternative forms of Christianity, which have very recently gained recognition amongst scholars, although much of that criticism applies only to the past. What many are not willing to recognize is the existence of a modern esoteric Christianity. This term “esoteric” or “esotericism” implies that which is hidden, secret, obscured from the public. The roots of this esoteric Christianity are very ancient. They are even older than Christianity itself, the first Christian sects.
The reason for our studies is to approach the science by which we can experience the truths contained within religion. However, for modern scholasticism, the tendency amongst many spiritual groups is to compartmentalize knowledge, to label things within easy categories, within labels, within a structure, and there is credence and value to this. But the reality is that individuals, groups, and systems are complex. They are subtle. They are nuanced. The tendency to approach religion with our assumptions, our preconceptions of what is there, really demonstrates for us the fundamental nature of belief, which really constitute a set of values, philosophical approaches, for making sense of life. Beliefs can create a sense of order in a world that is falling apart. However, we have to recognize that beliefs have a very limited utility when it comes to practical spirituality.
Due to this tendency, many have approached modern Gnosticism as another such system of belief, but I would like to present something different, and to ask us to reflect on a very important principle, as is demonstrated by the Gnostic scriptures themselves, their mere existence, the Gnostic teachings. We find that this wisdom strikes at the heart of what it means to believe, but more importantly, what does it mean to possess knowledge from experience, to know divinity? ― not from a theory, not from an idea, or what we have read, or a conviction without evidence. Instead, it has to do with facts.
Gnosis is a living tradition. It was made, and is made of many mystery schools, which had gone underground primarily to avoid persecution, and corruption when exposed to humanity. It is a natural law. When the divine provides exceptional and expedient knowledge for transformation, eventually when exposed to humanity, to degeneration, to vices, traditions become adulterated. They fall apart when the adherents of those disciplines no longer enact and fulfil their requisite values upon which such traditions are based. While this occurred even with early Christianity, this dynamic persists even today.
This is why the real keys for unlocking such knowledge, such enigmatic writings, were never giving to the public for millennia, and there is a very good reason for this. Humanity with its prejudices, its biases, its assumptions, translates and interprets according to the conditioning of our psychology. Therefore such wisdom was only given to those who had earned it, not to the uneducated, the inexperienced, or we could say, the uninitiated, because these scriptures lose their essential message when we lack the key, and more importantly when we are not willing to reflect upon their significance within our own life, with full objectivity and self-criticism, with analyisis, with investigation.
This knowledge is now being given openly out of compassion. Before, to really receive these kinds of teachings and instructions, scriptures and knowledge, one had to be part of a group in the physical world for a very long period of time, but now we are in a very different era where scriptures that were once hidden, and unavailable to the public, are now immediately present. You can pick up your iPhone and find the Gnostic Gospels. You can find teachings that were obscured for thousands of years―for a long time―with ease. This kind of reality is unprecedented in our history, but it is also important to remember that while we have a bunch of scriptural knowledge, the task is incumbent upon us to know how to interpret.
When approaching these studies, it is also important to examine our motives. Do we sincerely seek to understand the causes of our suffering, and more importantly, the suffering of others? Are we willing to sacrifice behaviors and views that produce conflict, discord? Or do we approach spirituality with ambition, with vanity, with selfishness, to impress others with obscure knowledge, or to acquire power?
The Esoteric Gnostic Christian tradition has methods and practices, procedures by which we can comprehend all of this, how to become better people, to change, to help others, and in that process of embodying the most elevated ideals of humanity, we approach divinity from experience.
We investigate these divine truths through experimentation, through analysis, through inquiry, through investigation, but first in order to do this, one must understand that which conditions our psychological states, so that by understanding them, we can remove them. In the process of self-transformation, Gnostic scriptures become very useful. But when isolated from the core teachings that inform their being, their genesis, their secrecy, these texts become elusive at best, and even useless.
Understanding gnosis, the Gnostic Gospels―without exception―requires initiation into the codes by which such scriptures were written, which specifically are known as Kabbalah and Alchemy. We are going to elaborate on what these two sciences are today, because without an understanding of what these principles are, it is impossible to understand what the Gnostics were referring to, because those were the codes in which those scriptures were communicated.
Just as appreciating Shakespeare requires a strong knowledge of English, likewise interpreting the Gnostic scriptures requires facility with the symbols, the methods, the allegories, the parables, the mystical language in which they were written, in which they were disseminated. We will examine today the necessity for evaluating our concepts, especially regarding the Gnostic traditions, in what manner the Gnostic Gospels were composed and why. We are also going to examine why the Esoteric Christian tradition was forced underground only to remerge to the public in the 1950’s.
I cannot emphasis enough―the Gnostic Gospels are truly compelling. They are practical writings for those who are initiated into its systems. We will take some time to elaborate on the practical roots of Gnostic scriptures, because they challenge our millennia-old beliefs, our assumptions, our theories, as well as the limitations of such beliefs.
Who Were the Gnostics?
The term γνῶσις gnosis is not well understood today. While literally indicating “knowledge,” gnosis is not limited to a particular geography, or history, or denomination. Just as water has many names, but is prevalent throughout all cultures, likewise gnosis, which is the experience and the knowledge of divine truth from personal testimony, is eternal. Many messengers, many prophets, many luminaries, taught humanity about the origin of spiritual life, but their languages are different. The symbols and codes they use are unique to a given culture. However, the essence of what they taught is the same.
As a tradition, Gnosticism constitutes the secret doctrines of Christianity, which precisely stipulate the following, as stated in the Gospel of John:
Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. ―John 8:32
Many modern scholars and students of religion are really fascinated by the early Christians, the Gnostics, because their teachings differ greatly in terms of their content, and especially their pedagogy, in relation to modern Christian dogma. Rather than exclusively believe in the personality of Jesus, the Gnostics taught, and teach, how Christ is an internal principle, something that must be developed, and that salvation does not depend upon following a system of belief. It is found by awakening to our true nature, by comprehending and eliminating the obstacles to our own redemption.
Gnostic Christianity teaches a personal, experiential relationship with the divine. It does not require mediation from a priest, from a rabbi, from an imam, from any theology, from any idea or group. Gnosis is what we know from our own investigations based on facts.
Some have argued traditionally that Gnostic Christianity interpreted their mysteries through pagan symbolism, and there is some credence to this. However, Gnosticism extends very far beyond any particular geography, including the Middle East, the Holy Land, any particular language, any individual messenger, any historized or localized group. Through studying and applying these principles, we can verify this truth for ourselves, the universality of diverse spiritual traditions. We begin to see the essential thread that unites them, which is direct experience of the truth.
The Gnostic tradition, like many other mystical traditions, was maintained within secret societies, or esoteric schools, which was only accessible by certain candidates who had demonstrated their maturity, their ethics, their dedication, specifically to transforming themselves so that they can benefit humanity. Therefore much scholarship and modern interpretations surrounding the essential nature of Gnostic doctrine is wrong. Most scholars of Gnosticism even admit this. What little history we have, acquired regarding the first Christian groups and their teachings, has some problems.
First, it is obscured by a lack of material. We cannot really construct a comprehensive picture of their faith. We have ideas. We have assumptions. We have correlations. We have studious analyses of different texts by scholars and renowned academics, but the truth is that there is a lot that is missing, and because universities and scholars do not have access to methods and means for investigating these on a deeper level, in a spiritual sense, their judgments are incipient, insufficient. They have not received training within the mystery schools that are living the teaching. Therefore they cannot comment. It is beyond their scope.
Secondly, the knowledge that we have is filtered. We have many biases and assumptions, many ideas as I said, but we have to remember that what little that we possess of Gnostic treasures have been pieced together. The essential knowledge of the Gnostics was never written down. It was written in code, what little we have. Most of that knowledge was transmitted orally through a secretive chain of transmission between master and disciple. Therefore what remains of their doctrine is very limited. It is like a door without a key, since a lot of their teachings were destroyed, as evidenced by this statement by Manly P. Hall in The Secret Teachings of All Ages:
The entire history of Christian and pagan Gnosticism is shrouded in the deepest mystery and obscurity; for, while the Gnostics were undoubtedly prolific writers, little of their literature has survived. They brought down upon themselves the animosity of the early Christian Church, and when this institution reached its position of world power it destroyed all available records of the Gnostic cultus. ―Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
Therefore to truly understand the Gnostics, one has to be an initiate. One has to be a member of the initiatic, living mystery school. Now this statement can seem problematic. We are not referring necessarily to a physical group or school, because there are many Gnostic institutions that teach what we are teaching. When I refer to the living mystery school, I am specifically referring to states of consciousness that are beyond mere physicality. We practice the science of meditation, so that we can withdraw the senses and enter into profound introspection, and learn to experience our internal reality.
Some people may be familiar with dreams. Some people call it astral projections, astral experiences, lucid dreaming. We are going to be giving a course very soon on this topic [Dream Yoga and Astral Travel], but I just like to synthesize for you that there is knowledge accessible to us beyond the physical body, and that the consciousness can learn to gain lucidity, clarity, confidence, familiarity, skill, efficacy, abilities within the dream state, so that we are no longer dreaming there, and we can learn to access knowledge that is far beyond which is conceivable with our materialistic theories. The living mystery schools and the Gnostic Church are within these internal realities, these internal worlds. It is something that we can verify and experiment with, to test, to know, to witness.
It is important we learn to approach this knowledge without believing or disbelieving, but merely experimenting with it, testing its principles, its hypotheses, so that we can learn from facts what is the reality here, because physical senses are very limited. Intellectual knowledge that we gather from books does not really gives us the full picture of the reality of a thing. Intellectual knowledge is useful in its place, but it is not the core purpose of why we approach this type of spirituality.
Comprehension and understanding is born from experience. It is not acquired by merely reading a book, or attending a lecture. It is something much deeper than that. So we have many practices that we provide so that you can verify these things if that is your wish.
Now in relation to the Gnostic Gospels, some have referred to them as the Apocrypha, from the Greek apokryptein, “to hide away.” We can hear within this etymology the word “cryptic,” that which is indecipherable, archaic, obscure. This term includes religious scriptures not included within the standard canon. It can apply to biblical books from early Christianity, such as the Greek version of the Old Testament, which is not included in the Hebrew Bible. Apocrypha can also signify texts which are considered of doubtful authenticity, which despite their prevalence, may be questionable, even if they are accepted commonly.
For the purpose of our studies, we are examining these apocryphal texts, because they challenge us. They challenge well-established assumptions about the essential nature of Christianity, of Christian dispensation, about faith, about reality, about experience, about investigation, about knowing.
Many have tried to prove these scriptures false because it is truly frightening, if you think about it, to conceive that we in the West, our Western culture which prides itself on its magnificence, its worldly materialism and glories, really stands on mistaken foundations. This is why we study meditation very deeply and practice it, so that we can verify and test these truths, to discriminate with knowledge, with insight, with intelligence.
The Nag Hammadi Scriptures
The Nag Hammadi scriptures are Coptic texts. They were discovered in 1945 by a group of Egyptian peasants in upper Egypt. They were digging for fertiliser near a boulder when they discovered a sealed jar. Thinking that they might have found gold, and overcoming the fear of unleashing a Jinn—which is a bottled spirit—they broke the jar and found the codices written in Coptic. Coptic, which was influenced by Greek, originally descended from ancient Egyptian language, the former having been superseded by Egyptian Arabic. Coptic is a form of the Egyptian language that was used, I believe, from the Roman period up until more recent times.
The Nag Hammadi scriptures are approximately 50 different gnostic texts, constituted by 13 leather-bound papyri, bound books which are not scrolls.
A lot of supposition has been spread and focused upon the origins of these texts. They were most likely buried in the second half of the 4th century CE, and while originally written in Greek during the early centuries of the Christian movement, such texts were translated into Coptic, possibly by early Christian monks. This is what scholars like Marvin Meyer and Elaine Pagels believe.
Supposedly these monks translated these texts despite the accusations in Spring of 367 by Athanasius, the archbishop of Alexandria, who was calling for believers to reject what he called heretical, “illegitimate and secret books.” Instead the texts were conserved in a jar. They were buried, and then they were miraculously found 1600 years later.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls were surrounded in mystery as well, a deep history that you can read about especially on Deadseacrolls.org.il. They were initially discovered by a treasure seeker group of Bedouins in Qumran, by a nomadic group of people near the northern end of the Dead Sea. They were excavations of various documents, papyri, which were written on goat and sheep skin scrolls. Many of these were mostly written in Hebrew, but also in Aramaic. I am going to present to you most of the contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, so that you can have a sense of what exactly was found before we go in to a deep analysis of the Gnostic Gospels themselves.
There were biblical scriptures, all except the Book of Esther. These are the oldest existing copies of these texts, so you can imagine that this is a huge find for archaeologists. There were translations of scripture in Greek and Aramaic, which was a language commonly spoken in the Holy Land 2000 years ago.
There were תפילין tefillin, which are prayer parchment slips. If you are familiar with the Jewish tradition, when praying in a synagogue, one wears תפילין tefillin, which are phylacteries, black leather straps around one’s arm, and a black box with prayer parchment slips as you see in the word תפילין tefillin themselves, which a placed in the black box that you wear on your forehead between your eyebrows, a representation of how we have to wrap ourselves within prayer, deep devotion, especially of our mind, controlling our mind, devotion to divinity.
There are מזוזה Mezuzot, prayers that are placed on the door post of houses. Usually you find a cylindrical object that has the Hebrew letter ש Shin, representative of שדי אל חי Shaddai El Chai, the Almighty Living God within Hebrew, a sacred name. מזוזה Mezuzot are prayers written by rabbis that are placed within these מזוזה Mezuzot, which are situated on the door posts of Jewish homes.
We also have אפוקריפה Apocrypha. These are Catholic and Eastern orthodox canons, not a part of Hebrew and the Protestant Bible. This includes Ben Sira, the Book of Tobit and the Epistle of Jeremiah.
We also have calendrical texts, which are solar rather than lunar calculations, which document the festivals, the ceremonies, and the priestly courses of those communities, sometimes written in cryptic script.
There are exegetical texts, which are explicit analyses and interpretations of biblical works. If you have gone on our website you find we talk about many scriptures. We provide exegeses, which are commentary on different obscure verses within various traditions. Here in the Dead Sea Scrolls you find that they were many exegetical texts about the Bible, including פשר Pesher, relating to biblical prophecies that are applied to historical moments.
You also have historical texts, which are numerous historical events with theological and moral commentary, and there are also legal texts as well, rabbinical Halakah, which means the Jewish laws and customs of those communities relating to the Bible. If you have read the Old Testament you are probably familiar with Leviticus, and Deuteronomy especially, which outline a lot of the Jewish law, which mystical texts like the Zohar comment upon.
There are parabiblical texts retelling expansions and embelishments of biblical stories, or legal texts. There is poetical and liturgical texts: hymns and prayers that people use in synagogue, or in many ceremonies relating to biblical poetry. There is sapiential texts relating to wisdom or knowledge. It is a continuation of the wisdom tradition of Proverbs, the Book of Job, Ecclesiastes, some Psalms, Ben Sera, and the Wisdom of Solomon.
There are also sectarian texts which interest a lot of scholars, which are the unique theology, world view, and history of the Essenes, or Yahad, “the community.” There is a lot of obscurity about who the Essenes were. Their history is very hidden from materialistic science and archaeology, but this is something that we can investigate within our meditations, to go deep into learning the history of these groups, if that is our wish.
What is at Stake?
Now, the question becomes: “What is at stake by studying the Gnostic Gospels?”
Despite their novelty within the context of Christianity’s evolution in the public sense, the presence of Gnostic scriptures asks us to revise our assumptions, our convictions, our beliefs, which for many obviously can be source of discomfort. There is a lot at stake for mainstream Christianity when studying their origins and the significance of their tradition. This is why many people simply dismiss the Gnostic Gospels as heresy, as inauthentic, as satanic, but regardless or not whether they are true, their presence asks us and compels us to present an uncomfortable question:
“What do we really know? What do we know about Jesus? What do we know about ourselves and divinity?”
We are basically asked to question what it means to believe, and what it means to know. While it is difficult even to believe in a tradition today, as evidenced by the prevalence of Atheism in the West, especially North America, it is even more difficult to experience religion, simply because for the modern mind, which is conditioned by its own scepticism, such possibilities do not exist for it. It is incompatible with the materialistic dogma that has perpetuated, and conditioned our Western world view, but the reality is even if we are in a religion, we may be very materialistic, primarily because we deny that it is even possible to experience these things.
When someone says they have experienced divinity, we look at them like they are crazy, but it is sad that this is the general outlook and attitude, because all religions are teachings from individuals who experienced divinity. If you look at scriptures such as the Qur’an, there are really many Surahs that simply are of the Prophet Muhammad contesting with the unbelievers who reject his testimony, much like the ancient Christian prophets and masters, or the Hebrew rabbis, the enlightened ones, who constantly had to contend with very doubtful people. So there is nothing new under the Sun here.
But rather than dismiss the Gnostic Gospels, it is better to really examine the situation, rather than follow the easy, dismissive, and unscientific path of just rejecting what does not fit our world view, that which is not palatable for us. We can really come to the conclusion that there must be reasons why we do not have this knowledge. I am not talking about from a book, or from a scripture, but from experience, from verification, from meditation.
Part of why we do not know these things is due to our inherent tendencies, such as mechanically taking in information. We always like to compare data that we receive with our memories, with our knowledge. Perhaps you are listening to this lecture and comparing what I am saying with what somebody else said, or to a book you have read, or to a lecture you heard, or to a scripture you are studying. The mind can only compare thesis and antithesis, point A and point B. It can only look at the corelations between them. It can store data. It is useful for basically storing information, but when it comes to trying to experience what these scriptures entail, the mind, with its overdependence on rationalization, tends to become the obstacle, a very chatty, distracted, and disorientated mind. We tend to project our thoughts onto the reality before us, and therefore we do not really see what is new.
We also like to compartmentalize information we have heard, so that it will fit a certain box, an a priori assumption, and most people get stuck there. They do not go any further, and it is unfortunate, because there is really more to life and experience, as evidenced by the Gnostic Gospels, than is merely assumed, or lived, or believed. Rather than see a phenomenon for what it is, we tend to just merely interact with our concepts, and we can say that this is really a profound state of sleep, spiritually speaking, unconsciousness, not really knowing ourselves, not really knowing our full potential or what we could do.
The reason why this happens is that there is comfort within structures. There is complacency within belief systems. They provide us with a sense of order. They give us cohesion when we approach a world that is really afflicted, and afflictive, with a society that is really backwards, upside down. You just simply have to look at the news to see what is happening, even in the Middle East right now, or in different cities. It is distressful, and the truth is that if you look at the conflict going on in Israel right now, you find that people have their firm convictions and beliefs why the enemy is wrong.
Beliefs do not change anybody. Our religion, our attitudes, our beliefs do not really affect a lasting, profound, and deep spiritual realization. If you do not believe me, you can simply examine your own life. We can think and feel one day that something is true, and yet that changes. Our ideas change. Our political parties change. Our religions change, and yet we continue to suffer. People change religion and political parties, ideas, like changing clothes. These tend to be very superficial, and worn like regalia, or a costume, in order to fit in with a specific group. But unfortunately that does not really penetrate the depth of the consciousness, of really altering the fundamental trajectory of our life, of examining what behaviors we enact that really produce problems for ourselves and for others, and learning to change them. We can change our political affiliations and ideologies, and yet we can continue to be unhappy, to be burdened with problems, with pain.
Therefore if these are impermanent, the question become: what is not? What is permanent? What is real? Is it not facts born from experience the most real thing that we can come close to, that we can approximate, that we can agree upon? But unfortunately when it comes to spirituality, we have many assumptions and vague notions about what spirit, what divinity, what Christ is, because if people’s basic terminologies and definitions completely differ from one another, then it is not factual. It is a belief. It is not based in evidence. It is not the raw experience of a thing.
So this is why knowledge, when it is divorced from practice, is really useless. Studying and accumulating information in the intellect, but not deeply changing our daily states, is a waste of time. We can use scriptures, and these teachings, and the Gnostic Gospels to inform the basis of an ethical lifestyle, but without the effort and the will to work, it will not get us anywhere, unfortunately. If our knowledge does not rectify our suffering, then it is necessary to revise our method. What is the common saying? It’s the definition of madness is to keep repeating the same thing expecting a different result. This is why Gnosis exists.
But traditionally this knowledge has been so revolutionary that it had to go underground, because most people cannot accept it. Whether you are new, or have studied these teachings for some time, you can simply go on the internet to realize this fact, how many people do not get it, but that is ok. People are at their level. They have their beliefs and we respect them. As for our personal life, we work with what is effective, and try to provide clarity for those who need it, who want it.
Some people merely hear this knowledge, about this type of instruction, and then they dismiss it because it does not fit preconceptions, and there is some truth to that. It is a natural sentiment to not want to feel challenged in one’s beliefs, our identity. We feel offended when someone criticizes perhaps even our taste in music, or our religion. It is a natural reaction or instinct, but if we want to go deeper in our understanding of these principles, it is important to question that reaction. This is why this wisdom traditionally was only given to people or candidates who proved their willingness, their maturity.
To understand who the Gnostics were really requires initiation, meaning, entering the discipline, into the tradition that they practice, which has to do with our inner experiences, by practicing meditation, by verifying these truths within oneself. Now contrary to popular assumption, this tradition has indeed thrived throughout many centuries in very different ways―sometimes subversive, always hidden, but always adapting to the social, the cultural, the religious climate of different periods in history. There have been many figures throughout history who have known and practiced Gnosticism, yet many of them never announced their allegiance, because it was risky.
We now live in an era of information, as I said, that is unprecedented. We have access to knowledge that was veiled for millennia. However, since there is so much confusion surrounding it, humanity has been granted access to this knowledge so that they can gain clarity, orientation. This is the purpose of the Gnostic Gospels and the Gnostic teachings.
These are the teachings of a mystery school, but as I mentioned, what is a mystery school?
Some people only like to think that they are groups far removed from the past, but the truth is that they are a living entity that sustain, emerge, and last in accordance with the work of the individual practitioners who belong to those groups. So there are physical groups as I said, but more importantly, the Gnostic Church is within the superior, internal worlds, which we access when we physically go to sleep. We enter deep meditation and we awaken in those states. This is not a theory. It is not a belief. Personally for me, this is not what I believe. This is something I practice, and so I invite you to study and enter that discipline yourself.
So as we said, scholars often have not been initiated into gnosis, specifically the practices that allow aspirants to really acquire this knowledge for themselves. What we are providing here is verifiable through experience, through study and practice. It is not a belief. If some people wish to make Gnosticism into a another belief system, that is ok. That is their path. They can do that, but that is personally not why we at this school are providing these lectures. That is not a reflection of the reality and purpose of this teaching. We can only really understand this through study, and looking at some of the historical trends, but more importantly living this esoteric knowledge.
Esoteric and Public Christianity
But in order to kind of emphasize and provide a distinction between the different forms of Christianity that emerged, I am going to relay to you some quotes from Dion Fortune who wrote in her book The Training and Work of an Initiate about some of the history of the early Gnostic Christians, because her analysis is very eloquent and very deep.
She emphasizes that there is a great tendency in humanity. People want to adhere to an outer religious form without really understanding its inherent mysteries. So there has always been a division between two spheres―outward religious forms and inner mystical meaning. This is a binary that has been studied and documented by many scholars, some very renowned individuals like Gershom Scholem, who was a German Israeli philosopher. He made Kabbalah very popular for academics, some valuable history that one can learn, but obviously one has to discriminate what the scholars assume, but also what we have known from experience, because they are different. These domains constitute the esoteric and public religious forms―the secret meaning of a tradition and its outward symbols.
So classes of people have developed in relation to this binary, one which is made up of dogma and the other from direct experience. In other words, one group has been initiated into these mysteries, and the majority merely adhere to a structure, a code, a ritual system, a belief system without verification. I will read for you her quote at length:
There naturally sprang up a keen rivalry between the two types of Christians; those who had accepted the teaching of Our Lord without any previous Mystery-training depended entirely upon spiritual intuition and good works; those who were already accustomed to the methods of the Mysteries sought to express the Christian truths in the language of the esoteric philosophy of their day. The first chapter of the Gospel according to John is an excellent example of the process whereby men already highly trained in mystical knowledge correlated the new teaching with that which was already familiar to them. In this Gospel we see the influence of the Greek Schools of initiation, but in the Apocalypse we see the influence of Qabalistic thought.
For those who are not familiar, Kabbalah constitutes the mystical teachings of esoteric Judaism, which can inform our understanding of Gnostic Christianity, its inception, its meaning. This is because Christianity has Jewish roots. Jesus was a rabbi. He was an Essene, as we are going to examine in later quotes. Therefore, if we want to understand the Gnostics, the esoteric Christian tradition, we need to know the esoteric Jewish tradition from which it sprung, without exception.
Likewise, Dion Fortune also emphasised something very interesting, that Gnostic Christianity was formed by initiates from different esoteric groups. These are people who already possessed knowledge. They had spiritual development. Therefore they recognized within the newly emerging esoteric Christian traditions their inherent mysteries. These were encoded, these were conveyed, and they were taught within the new religious movement.
As is the tendency of modern humanity, many new adherents to Christianity did not want to engage with the difficult task of learning Kabbalah: the Jewish mystical science which informs esoteric Christianity. The study of Kabbalah consists of the archetypal nature of the Hebrew letters, their symbology, what they represent, divine numerology, and many intuitive symbols. Instead, certain followers of public Christianity either ignored or they removed such roots. They wanted to make their tradition more acceptable, and as a result, they sterilized Christianity. I will read for you Dion Fortune again:
In the struggle between the two types of Christians, the initiates and the non-initiates, the latter eventually gained the day, and forthwith the order for persecution and abolition went forth against the Mysteries of Jesus. The orthodox element then gradually developed, as was inevitable, something of a Mystery System of their own in the sacraments, which are ritual magic pure and simple, as is agreed even by such an authority as Evelyn Underhill.
Christianity, as with all religions, is composed and conveyed through the language of symbols, abstractions within philosophy, within allegory, within archetypes. If you do not believe me, look at the verses of the Bible, in the New Testament, where Jesus says he speaks in parables for those who understand, for those who are initiated. Modern Christians interpret their scriptures literally, and they perform and observe rituals without really comprehending the deeper reality, the significance, what their teachings and rituals communicate in a spiritual level, on a psychological level, more importantly.
For Gnostics, rituals are really powerful. They are a medium for developing and awakening our full potential. We have ceremonies that we practice, which encode, empower, and which represent the path itself, within its mystical allegory.
Now what some have denominated magic is the capacity of the consciousness to exert divine influence upon humanity. This term magic is often denigrated today. People do not understand its original roots. It comes from the Indo-European root word mag or magush, meaning “priest.” A real magician is a priest, and there are also in the Gnostic Church priestesses, because men are not the only source of authority, of spiritual guidance, of wisdom. In fact, a real priest needs his priestess in order to be a priest. This has to do with the Gnostic Mysteries of Chastity, which is the next lecture in this course.
Now real magic is learning how to influence others through divinity for a positive purpose, to elevate the soul of others. Through training of spiritual practices, we can develop this capacity. We can develop the intuitive capacity for comprehending scripture, and we can also strengthen our ability to express a superior way of being―real compassion―not the hallmark cards of holidays, gifts, and sentimentalism, but loving so much that we even forgive our worst enemies, like Jesus on the cross. We can really express states of compassion and love, which are facilitated through Gnostic ritual, ceremonies and practices that we have in our tradition.
But unfortunately for many Christians, their tradition has been sterilized, as I said. They are really infertile. Many Christians like to say that they are born again, but really if you look at their teaching, which is divorced from its Jewish roots, there is really is not much fertility there, especially in relation to sexual aspects of this knowledge, which are studied in relation to Alchemy, as we are going to explain.
Their traditions no longer convey effective methods for bridging the divine and the personal worlds. Many who find intellectual, emotional, or practical deficiencies in Christianity flee to other religions. They run away, and this is really sad, because there is something within Christian dispensation for Westerners which is valuable, but when that teaching no longer reflects its original patrimony, its essence, then people become disillusioned. They leave.
Now rather than abandon one’s Christian heritage if one grew up Christian, one can learn to appreciate it deeply. One can find sustenance through the rich intellectual and spiritual sciences of Kabbalah and Alchemy which inform its heart.
As Dion Fortune states:
Consequently there is an unbridged gulf in our modern Christianity between the mysticism of its deep spiritual truths and the symbolic and magical ceremonial of its ritual. This gulf it is the task of the modern Mystery Schools to bridge. These, however, have in many cases re-illumined their fires at an Eastern altar, so that the bridge they build does not lead to the Christian contacts of the West. Those of their followers who seek initiation, instead of having revealed to them the deeper issues of their own faith, have to change their religion and follow other Masters.
The Tree of Life: Christian Kabbalah
Kabbalah is one of the primary codes in which the Gnostic Gospels were written, represented in the Book of Genesis and the Gnostic Gospels as the Tree of Life in Eden.
It is a map of our internal and external universe. It is the structure of consciousness within every dimension. This knowledge flourished secretly within Jewish mystical circles, but Judaism is not its sole patrimony. Each spiritual tradition contains the same elements. Some of these predominate within a specific culture, within a given time or place or language. The Jewish tradition delved very deeply within the Kabbalistic teachings, just as Buddhism flourished with its analytical insights into meditation. However this does not mean that Buddhism is devoid of Kabbalah, or Kabbalah is devoid of meditation. Each tradition encompasses the other. They embody the same principles, much in the same way as water changes shape within different cups. The water is the same.
Christianity has its roots in Judaism, but since its roots were removed from it, Christianity has lost its soil.
Kabbalah is the practical tool for navigating spiritual experience. It is a way to understand our reality and our relationship with divinity.
Dion Fortune states in her book The Mystical Qabalah:
It [the Tree of Life] is a glyph, that is to say a composite symbol, which is intended to represent the cosmos in its entirety and the soul of man as related thereto; and the more we study it, the more we see that it is an amazingly adequate representation; we use it as the engineer or the mathematician uses his sliding-rule, to scan and calculate the intricacies of existence, visible and invisible, in external nature or the hidden depth of the soul. […]
This map depicts ten spheres. These are known as סְפִירוֹת sephiroth in Hebrew, “emanations,” which emerge from the transcendent divinity, or as the Gnostics denominate, Agnostos Theos: the Unknowable God, from the most rarefied states of being to the most condensed and conditioned, material states.
The Gnostics refer to the origin of spiritual life and light as Barbelo, from the Aramaic language. Bar means “son,” while Bel signifies “sun.” Christ, represented by Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the solar divinity, is therefore the embodiment of heavenly light, of compassion, which permeates all the spheres, the eternal realms, the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth or the aeons, and the later which can also signify any inhabitant of such dimensions, those who have mastered those realms.
Barbelo can also be referenced as the Solar Absolute: the אין סוף אור Ain Soph Aur above this Tree of Life, which means the Limitless Light, the Uncreated, the Unmanifested potentiality to be. It is the source and origin of all existing, manifested things, represented by these ten סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, or spheres, these heavens.
All of this emerges because of the essential and eternal compassion of Christ, which is that light, the אין סוף אור Ain Soph Aur, Barbelo. Gnostics have referenced the Absolute, above this diagram, as Pronoia: the “forethought of God,” which is a pure, cosmic abstraction which is not yet materialized. It is not yet in manifestation. The Jewish mystics have referred to the unmanifested divine as אאלהים Aelohim, and the creator demiurge as אלהים Elohim. This duality between the unmanifested cosmic potential and an intelligent but often denigrated creative host or demiurge, is very often depicted in the Gnostic Gospels.
Each sphere relates to different dimensions of nature, in accordance with the densities and the materiality of them. The most subtle and rarefied are at the top, and the most dense are below, as you can see with מלכות Malkuth in Hebrew, the “kingdom,” the physical world, our physical body. Above that we have different realms and spheres which are more subtle to perceive, but are able to be verified through meditation. I will not go through the meaning of all of these סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, because that will be the purpose of this course. We will be unpacking Gnostic scripture in relation with Kabbalah and Alchemy.
So we can access these higher realms when the physical body is asleep, when we experience dreams. But rather than enter such states with a fragmentary awareness or just complete unconsciousness, the Gnostics learn to enter those realms with lucidity, with full awareness, with complete intentionality, with development, so that we can take advantage of those states, of such perceptions, in order to receive divine wisdom. We can learn to speak with the divine, including all of the masters of these celestial realms, the aeons, the divine hierarchies, who can grant us the capacity for transcendence, or make us pay what we owe before the archons, the hierarchs of the Law, which in eastern traditions are known as the Lords of Karma. They work with the creative demiurge, the host of gods and goddesses that manage and manifest all of the laws of nature, whether for good or for ill.
Just as there are physical and societal laws, divinity also enforces superior laws that we have to learn to comprehend and follow if what we want is to achieve liberation, like Sophia in the Gnostic myth ascending up thirteen repentances, towards the source, which is the אין Ain, the Nothingness in Hebrew. Notice that you have ten spheres, and you have three realms above that, so that makes a total of thirteen―the thirteen repentances of Pistis Sophia if you have read The Gnostic Bible.
So all of that relates to the Tree of Life. It is very deep, very important, and all of it is mapped. To really become skilled meditators, we use this graphic to help us understand our experiences and to know what to do in our path.
Alchemy: The Tree of Knowledge
Kabbalah has its twin sister. This is Alchemy. It is the other tree of the Garden of Eden.
The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge―Kabbalah, and Alchemy―are not specific, literal trees in Mesopotamia. These are symbols. In scripture, geography has often served as a code for deeper spiritual realities, in order to escape detection, persecution, and death, as we saw with the Spanish Inquisition.
Alchemy is a rich tradition that encodes a lot of knowledge, but it is not a literal science of transforming lead in to gold. It is a symbol of how we use energy, how we transform the densities of our suffering personality into the lightness and gold of a liberated Essence, a pure consciousness.
There are some interesting correlations between the Tree of Life and the Nag Hammadi scriptures, which we are going to examine some of the etymologies here. The term nag or naga reminds us of a serpent, from the Sanskrit नाग Naga, which in Buddhism are renown as elemental beings of nature who live within and empower nature itself. They are depicted as having a lower body of a snake and a humanoid torso. They often dwell in bodies of water and lakes, rivers especially.
My wife, who before coming to Chicago, she was often praying to the Nagas by the rivers where she lived, in order to receive internal assistance. They have a very concrete reality. They are very beautiful souls that can help us.
But importantly for us in this lecture, we are talking about the serpentine form of these elemental creatures, and the serpent is an ancient symbol. They can refer to our creative energy, which has the power to enliven our spirituality or to damn it, to destroy it. We find this evident in the duality of the tempting serpent, and the serpent of bronze that healed the Israelites in the wilderness.
Nag spelt backwards is גן Gan, ג Gimel- נ Nun, which is a garden. Such a garden of Eden, the Hebrew term for bliss, is not a literal place. It is a psychological and spiritual state of being.
حمادي Hammadi in Arabic means: “praiseworthy,” “one who praises God,” with roots in أحمد ahmad orمحمد Muhammad, the “praised, commendable, laudable.” Therefore, the Nag Hammadi scriptures are the esoteric knowledge of the serpent, of “the praiseworthy serpent,” the bronze serpent of Moses that can heal the soul. These are symbols. That energy, which is very subtle and terrifying for many, can be trained and elevated within our physiology in order to empower our consciousness. Rather than exclusively represent an evil tendency to be shunned, which is done by many superstitious people, the serpentine creative energies, when harnessed and controlled with love, provides happiness and a genuine awakening.
What matters is that we utilize, symbolically, the metals of bronze. This is an amalgamation of copper and tin. Copper is feminine and tin is masculine, Venus and Jupiter when corresponding astrologically to those planets related to those metals. This demonstrates how a woman and a man within the Edenic bliss of sexual union, within a marriage, can overcome temptation. They can perform actions, sexual behaviors, that are praiseworthy before God.
This is the original meaning of Adam and Eve in the garden. A man and a woman naked in a garden before God―obviously this is very sexual. But it is emphasizing that there are two paths that open up for the primordial couple, the archetypical man and woman. This is science has been designated at sexual alchemy, known as sexual magic within our tradition, where a couple, who are married, can utilize their union to achieve genuine religion. They can achieve return, reunion with divinity.
Water into Wine
Now Gnosticism is a specific doctrine of the initiates, primarily Kabbalah and Alchemy as I stated. All religions contain the science of these two trees, although they are in code. These sciences are the absolute synthesis of religion. When you really reduce a religion to its core, you arrive at a sexual trope. Everything else is extemporaneous.
This spiritual knowledge is represented by water, and knowledge (water) is fluidic. It flows like a river, and often times in history, especially in the past ages, this esoteric, secret Christianity was often flowing like a ripple, often still, unperturbed, like in a reservoir underground. But now this knowledge is being given openly like a torrent, very fierce, which we find in writings by the author Samael Aun Weor.
He wrote about Gnosticism since the 1950’s and was really the first to explicitly discuss teachings about early Christianity, about Buddhism, about all religions, that were previously prohibited to discuss. His most prevalent thesis is that all religions have a sexual basis, a sexual essence, which is the most expedient method for intense spiritual transformation. It is found precisely in the relationship between husband and wife. This is known as sexual alchemy, how a martial union grounded in divine love, with an ethical fulfilment, within the highest spiritual ideals, within discipline, within purity, within compassion for suffering, this results in the creation of an angel, a master, a prophet.
Some have qualified Samael Aun Weor’s work as neo-Gnostic, in that his writings are an innovation, yet this is a pleonasm. His teachings regarding the essential practices of the Gnostics are not new. They have been presented throughout all religions without exception. To recognize this fact merely takes study, but unfortunately people do not want to. It is even more evident when you really practice and experience this science for yourself, and then, really, a lot of clarity emerges in relation to abstract symbols and religious allegories, which might seem very superficial and dumb in a literal sense, but really is the spirit of the letter that vivifies.
Some people reject Samael Aun Weor because his work is not just isolated to the first Christians, but is extensive to all religions. Many people do not except the universal religion at the heart of all faiths, which Samael Aun Weor denominated as Gnosis. It is the experience and knowledge of divine truths from witnessing for oneself. He explains the following in his lecture “The Gnostic Institutions”:
There is Gnosis in the Buddhist doctrine, in the Tantric Buddhism from Tibet, in the Zen Buddhism from Japan, in the Chan Buddhism of China, in Sufism, in the Whirling Dervishes, in the Egyptian, Persian, Chaldean, Pythagorean, Greek, Aztec, Mayan, Inca, etc., wisdom. If we carefully study the Christian Gospels, we will find in them Pythagorean mathematics, the Chaldean and Babylonian parable, and the formidable Buddhist moral. ―Samael Aun Weor, “The Gnostic Institutions”
The highest form of spiritual knowledge is Alchemy. This was conserved in secret. This knowledge was kept hidden, was maintained secretly amongst the early Christian groups, because it is volatile. It is powerful. It is controversial. It is a practice that requires the renunciation of our deepest, egotistical, and sexual drives, transforming sexual instinct into something divine, into something pure, into something sacred, creative, divine. We now have the opportunity to explain and learn knowledge that was reserved for the most developed and earnest of practitioners.
This knowledge was represented in the Bible in symbols, in relation to Alchemy. Was not Christ’s first miracle, in transforming water into wine, at a marriage? Christ taught sexual alchemy―to be born again. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Everybody knows this. But the same sexual act, but transformed, elevated, “that which born of the spirit,” through that transformed act, “is spirit.” This is how common intercourse can become spiritual, how lust, which is contrary to love, is transmuted and transformed into divine compassion, conscious love, our soul. This is the basis of Gnosticism in all religions.
Some people might ask, “How is it that Gnosis is in all religions, yet should not be adulterated?” We can say that the sexual teachings constitute the synthesis of all religions. The religious forms have died, but if we have the synthesis, the key, we can unlock these traditions and give them vibrancy, give them life. Religious authorities have expunged this synthesis as best it could, not knowing the full import of certain religious symbols that were retained within the Bible, within scripture. They passed censorship, especially in books like the Book of Revelations, which is so Kabbalistic and symbolic that the censors just did not get it. But because they did not want to remove the teachings of the Lord, they kept it in the Bible even though it is very difficult and impossible to understand without this key. Therefore to approach traditions without this basis is mistaken.
Samael Aun Weor continues:
The system of teaching which was adopted by Jesus was the system of the Essenes. Certainly, the Essenes were one hundred percent Gnostic.
So Gnosis is within all religious forms, but not all forms have retained their essence. All religions have degenerated, unfortunately. Therefore it can be difficult to discern their original teachings if we lack an education in this studies, and especially with practical training in its methods.
So despite the fact that Gnosticism is flourishing again, there have been many disagreements among and about Gnostic groups since the times of Jesus, including today in Samael Aun Weor’s movement. For example, the Nazarenes were, according to Blavatsky:
The same as the St. John Christians; called the Mendaeans or Sabeans. They designate Christ “a false Messiah” and only recognize John the Baptist, whom they call the “great Nazar.” ―H.P. Blavatsky
You also find the following from The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor:
The Nazarenes were known as Baptists, Sabians, and Christians of Saint John. Their belief was that the Messiah was not the Son of God, but simply a prophet who wanted to follow John. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Three Mountains
And also from the lecture “Alchemical Symbolism of the Nativity of Christ”:
In those days, there were disputes among the Baptists, the Essenes, and others. ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemical Symbolism of the Nativity of Christ
There is great diversity even today in so called Gnostic groups, whether from Samael Aun Weor or not. Many of them fight with each other. They denominate the others as heretics, much like Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Athanasius, and other heresiologists towards Christians whose doctrinal purity they questioned. For example, Irenaeus and Hippolytus were heresy hunters. They wrote against the Gnostics, yet what is interesting is that Samael Aun Weor refers to them as Gnostics. This can get confusing, right? But rather than becoming confused by this apparent or glaring discrepancy, or merely reject Samael Aun Weor, it would be better to really re-evaluate our definitions, our lexicon, our knowledge about what a Gnostic is.
Scholars had even argued whether to really call the Nag Hammadi scriptures Gnostic, since they do not reflect one ideology or group, but different Gnosticisms or movements. The traditions from which ancient Gnostic texts emerged were highly varied and unfamiliar to modern scholars, because certain bishops really sought to dismiss and erase any viewpoint that conflicted with their own.
Although the term Gnosticism was appropriated to refer to heretically-designated sects, the term gnosis is different for others. Whether elements of teachings or truths were throughout different schools, it really is disingenuous to assume that there is a homogeneous world view to a constellation of very nuanced groups and systems. For example, many believed Gnostics were dualists, who thought the world was created by an evil power, with a very fatalistic view of its god or demiurge. However, this philosophy is only a small range of knowledge within the spectrum of Gnosis, and it does not really constitute the entirety of its teachings.
This is because every religion possesses gnosis, direct personal testimony of divine reality. Even within any given religion there is a tremendous range of knowledge, a tremendous range of practice, let alone varying messengers who all founded different schools. This had occurred even with early Christianity, which was composed of various doctrines or Christianities (plural), many of whom were competing with one another, like basically all religions today, and especially Samael Aun Weor’s Gnostic movement. Many groups are competing with one another.
Now this does not mean that we should condemn, that we should shun, that we should ignore those with whom we disagree. But we should not go to the other extreme as well. We should not elevate Gnostic initiates on a pedestal, on a palanquin, on a throne where we can admire those who are really riddled with flaws. Likewise, we should not reject these people, these individuals, because they still were vehicles, however imperfect, of divine teachings.
This might mean disassociating with certain schools that are not maintaining ethical discipline, and finding a Gnostic institution that resonates with us. But sadly, some potential students perceive the hypocrisy of certain groups and thereafter they leave. They often associate Samael Aun Weor with the failures of his students. This has happened with every religion, without exception, to the point that now many individuals have traumas that are associated with the prophets. We can say that this is really a tremendous crime against the soul. Therefore, if we are instructors or missionaries providing guidance to others, we have a tremendous responsibility to maintain in our body, in our speech, in our mind.
Also there is the need to remove the psychological tendency to think that only one group is real or authentic and that the rest are wrong, as if instructors, or people, as if aspirants are not complicated, as if we are not struggling, as if we are not afflicted despite our best intentions, our most noble ideals. Until we overcome our own karma, our delusions, our assumptions, our egotism, our beliefs, even to a minor degree, we cannot even begin to understand or appreciate reality. Since we have ego, we are all susceptible to liability. We make misinterpretations. We make mistakes, no matter how authentic our teachers may be, because we are fascinated by desires, and we cannot see the truth in that way.
So there is value to be taken from many Gnostics instructors and scriptures, even though there are going to be different nuanced interpretations, often open disagreements between them. We have to remove the fanaticism that dictates, within a rigid, false dichotomy, that only one organization has it right and the rest are condemned.
Now we have to avoid extremes. Neither blind adherence to a dogma, nor its vehement rejection, means that we have arrived at wisdom. In fact, it is the opposite. If we are not examining our position, if we are not scientifically investigating these things through personal inquiry, then we are not making any ground. There is a saying amongst the Sufis that was documented in Al-Qushayri’s Al-Risalah: The Principles of Sufism, that when the Sufis disagree with one another, the harmony and the unity of the group is maintained, since each believer helps the other. As mentioned in the Hadith:
A believer to another believer is like two hands. One washes the other, correcting each other. ―Hadith
However, when the Sufis all agree, then there is a problem. Often this occurs in the form of a dogmatic conformity. So a balance has to be reached. You have to follow your heart, your intuition. What matters is that you rely on your conscious experiences, your knowledge, your meditations to discern and guide you.
Initiation is deeply personal. It is not found in a group. It is found within yourself. It is necessary to study from proven and pure sources, but for that, you need to awaken, to personally verify their efficacy, whether or not they are expedient or effective, whether or not they are worthy. Study from those masters who are proven, the founders of different religions. We have to be very careful with what we ingest, spiritually speaking.
Now even if we tell you that certain scriptures are pure or not, only you can really evaluate and understand these truths from experience. As Samael Aun Weor rightly indicated:
The Gnostic must not be a fanatic. We must study everything in order to reject the useless and accept the useful. Gnosis is not against any religion, school, order, or sect. We have fought for the moral purification of many religions, schools, orders and sects. We have never been against any religion, school, or sect. We know that humanity is divided into groups and that each group needs its own system of particular instruction. All religions, schools, orders, and sects are precious pearls that are strung on the golden thread of divinity. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Yellow Book: "Order and Esoteric Discipline"
We will conclude with a reference to the book The Major Mysteries, which we invite you to study if you wish to learn more about esoteric Christianity, the path of initiation, and a foundation for approaching the Gnostic Gospels. We conclude with this statement by Samael Aun Weor:
If the Lord had not been crucified, the destiny of the Western world would have been another. We would now have sublime enlightened rabbis everywhere, preaching Christic esotericism. The union of Christic esotericism, secret Jewish Kabbalah, and holy alchemy would have completely illuminated and transformed the entire world. Yes, the mysteries of Levi would have shone with the light of Christ. Gnosis (Da’ath) would have magnificently shone everywhere. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
If you have any questions, I invite you to ask them.
Questions and Answers
Question: Do you hold events on specific sexual transmutation practices? I have been practicing for several years and I am looking to go deeper. Thank you!
Instructor: If you go on to Glorian.org there is a course called the Distance Learning Course, which if you have not registered with that, you should. We have practices and exercises that we do as a group online right now due to the pandemic, but also for the students that are long distance, where you can participate in different sexual transmutation practices. There was recently one given by my wife for Ham-Sah Pranayama. So you could study that exercise that was uploaded to our website under Guided Practices specifically. But yes, we do have online practices that we do where you can participate and ask questions of instructors in case you want to go deeper into the exercises themselves.
Question: Can you expound on the meaning of the demiurge and the archons?
Instructor: I was hoping someone would ask that. I have intended to really talk about this topic in future lectures especially, but I can relate to you some basic understandings of the demiurge and the archons.
Now the term demiurge is from the Greek language. It means “worker” or “craftsman.” The demiurgos or “the artificer” is an architect who supposedly, in accordance with Gnostic Gospels, built the universe. Even the Freemasons derive the meaning of “Supreme Architect” from this word. Plato even talked about it in the Timaeus, about the creator God.
The Gnostic Gospels speak very negatively about the demiurge, and this has produced some confusion for people, because in our tradition we talk very highly about the demiurge.
Now in order to explain how our Gnostic tradition refers to the demiurge, or creative architect of the universe, in contradistinction with the transcendent unmanifested deity as we explained, I will relate to you some excerpts from Samael Aun Weor in his writings. This is from The Three Mountains:
Esotericism admits the existence of a Logos, or a collective Creator of the universe, a Demiurge architect. It is unquestionable that such a Demiurge is not a personal deity as many mistakenly suppose, but rather a host of Dhyan Chohans, Angels, Archangels, and other forces. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Three Mountains
He also states in The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled:
It is impossible to symbolize or allegorize the Unknowable One (or in Gnostic terms, Agnostos Theos, the Unmanifested or the Absolute within Kabbalah, the Ain, Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur). Nevertheless, the Manifested One, the Knowable Elohim, can be allegorized or symbolized. The Manifested Elohim is constituted by the Demiurge Creator of the Universe. [...] The great invisible Forefather is Aelohim, the Unknowable Divinity. The great Triple-Powered God is the Demiurge Creator of the Universe: Multiple Perfect Unity. The Creator Logos is the Holy Triamatzikamno. The Verb, the Great Word. The three spaces of the First Mystery are the regions of the Demiurge Creator. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
So if you studied the Kabbalah, you know that the creator is precisely the top three סְפִירוֹת sephiroth of the Tree of Life: כֶּ֫תֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, בִּינָה Binah―Crown, Wisdom, and Intelligence. These are the Trinity of Christianity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which are not people, but forces within divinity. All of the masters and angels who have perfected themselves are the demiurge. They created the universes, the solar systems, the planets, the stars, the galaxies, the infinites. Those are divine beings who are perfect. They are beyond good and evil. They are a perfect, multiple unity. They are individual masters who are in charge of governing the mechanical laws of nature.
Now what confuses people when Samael Aun Weor mentions this is that the Gnostic Gospels, such as the Nag Hammadi or the Dead Sea Scrolls, refer to the demiurge as a tyrant God, as negative, as oppressive, and this is really interesting. It reveals something very nuanced that we have to examine in ourselves.
People, in truth, do not like divinity. In fact, we all like to blame God to some degree. Our egos and our defects, and our vices and errors, do not want to take responsibility for their culpability, for their errors, and so we like to externalize. There are many people―I am sure from our own experience, whom we know, whether in social circles―who blame God for everything, or blame divinity. There are people in the Gnostic movement who blame Archangel Sakaki for the fall of humanity, and many other things. People blame God for everything, for the state of the world, for humanity’s failure, for its degeneration, without willing to accept one’s own responsibility for our own situation. We have our own agency. Yes, there are other influences in nature which are detrimental, that are mechanical, that are oppressive, but at the same time, those can only influence us so long as we subject to them.
Now the Elohim or the demiurge, the gods, the divine, the angels, the masters, the prophets, they are beyond good and evil. They are beyond the mechanical forces of nature, which are represented by the lower סְפִירוֹת sephiroth on the Tree of Life, and because we are subjected to those laws, such as evolution and devolution, mechanical ways of being, we suffer. We are oppressed. Now the demiurge, or the creative host of the Elohim, they manage those forces, whether for good or for evil. They are beyond good and evil, so to speak. Now what is interesting is that the demiurge, the creative host of Elohim, manage everything. Even the hell realms are governed by the angels and the gods. So it is interesting that the Gnostic Gospels, they blame the demiurge for the fall of humanity, and there is some credence to that, but in the sense that they are only mangers of forces that we choose to fulfil in ourselves. So we are fully responsible for our own errors. We cannot blame anyone else, but the tendency of people in spiritual circles is to blame divinity.
This is why the Gnostic Gospels sometimes depict the demiurge as a very negative and oppressive figure. As someone mentioned in the chat box, it is like a judge. But it is true that as we are judged by the divine, he also teaches, trains, and tests us, so that we can grow spiritually.
Now the archons is a different term. It comes from archeus, the Law (arcanum), laws (plural: arcana), the word like archangel have this prefix which relate to the rulers, the different habitants, judges, or lords of the different aeons: the different סְפִירוֹת sephiroth of the Tree of Life. In our tradition, we refer to them as the Lords of Karma. Now in the myths of the Gnostics scriptures such as the Pistis Sophia, which Samael Aun Weor commented upon, explains the path of the soul ascending back to the origin, to the Absolute, to the divine, and in that process one has to answer and repent before the different archons, who are the different Lords of Karma who basically help us to be accountable for our deeds.
So for many people, it is a very painful situation spiritually when you want to enter the higher realms of divinity but you are obstructed by the Law, which is cause and effect. We reap what we sow, and as we repent and change, we learn to transform our situation and receive the blessings of those different beings. So they are kind of like the guards of the different gates, or the different spheres of this diagram of the Kabbalah.
Archons are the Lords of Karma, but there is also a dual significance to this too, which we have to be very careful about. Now, there are some beings that call themselves archons, which are not divine. Instead of being heavenly divinities, cosmic hierarchs, angels or gods within the pure sense, they are beings who are hierarchs of the hell realms and infernal states. We call them, in our studies, black magicians, and personally I have even met many beings like that who refer to themselves are archons.
So that term can be dual. When you read the Gnostic scriptures, it is very important to be very flexible and intuitive, because different gnostic authors, or originators of those scriptures wrote in accordance within a specific context, and many layers and dimensions of meaning, so it is very deep.
One of the essential themes of Gnostic scriptures is that there is a duality. There is the unmanifested divinity and the manifested divinity, and that the reason why we are in this big mess is because we are struggling to reconcile the manifested with the unmanifested. So if you want to learn more about some of the philosophical nuances of that teaching, which of course will take a very long time because it is very profound and difficult, study The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled, which was commented upon by Samael Aun Weor. We have that available at Glorian.org.
Question: Are the archons considered evil or just misunderstood by our limited human understanding?
Instructor: Again, it is both. We often confuse our helper with our enemy. When life gives us difficult situations or circumstances, karma, challenging ordeals, the most instinctual reaction is to complain and to resist it, even though we are just receiving a situation or ordeal to help us, often given to us by the Lords of Karma, the archons, the heavenly beings. But because they are difficult situations which are meant to test us, to help us grow, we should learn to appreciate karma and not to blaspheme, because if we complain, suffer, and blame others, we exacerbate the issue. The karma is deepened instead of being rectified. So the archons in that sense are really divine beings, but also we misunderstand them, those heavenly angels, because of our conditioned state. We do not recognize that they are helping us.
But there are also beings that call themselves archons but they are really of the lower realms, the inverted Tree of Life of the Kabbalah. We are going to go very deeply within these nuances with different scriptures in this course, but I invite you to study again the works of Samal Aun Weor, especially The Gnostic Bible.
One other point to make in relation to this duality, we have to remember that nature is dual. There is good and evil in nature: “Eat or be eaten.” “Conquer or be conquered.” There is an oppressor and opportunity. If you study the opera The Magic Flute by Mozart, you find this exemplified in the Queen of the Night. She provides the flute and the magic bells for Tamino and Papageno, the heroes of the opera, in order to save the daughter of the Queen of the Night. She is representative of the forces of nature, which nourish and support us in the beginning. But if we are not comprehending and conquering those forces within ourselves, we are in danger of becoming its slave.
So I invite you to study especially that opera that eventually we are going to have on our website, as well in the course: The Secret Teachings of Opera. It deeply relates to this topic.
Thank you all for coming!
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
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