This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Secret Teachings of Opera, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
As evidenced by this great work of art, we will discover how Puccini, as a great master of Freemasonry, was an initiate of the straight path, the direct path of the Bodhisattva: those who incarnate Christ in order to help humanity, to sacrifice for humanity.
His particular focus in his last work of art that he composed is to talk about the Divine Mother, as evidenced by the name Turandot, which reminds us of the Nordic runes. As we began this lecture, we practiced the Rune Ur, the mantra Ram-IO. Ur we find in TUR-andot, and the mantra Ram-IO is found with Ra and O, the vowels and syllables of this name.
Ur is light, the divine, which in heaven is known as Kundalini. But when that energy is channeled within the ego, it is Kundabuffer. This opera teaches us this precise duality of the nature of that divine force, which, once it is purified, liberates the soul. But when it is fed through desire, through fornication, it becomes the tempting serpent of Eden, which is something we find symbolized in the great dramas of this opera, particularly Act One, of which we are going to focus on today.
Even the name Turandot, syllabically reminds us of תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the human soul. Ur or אוֹר Aur is light in Hebrew: תִּפְ-אֶוֹרֶ-ת Tiph-aur-ret. That name begins with the Hebrew letter ת Tav and ends in ת Tav: the Seal of God, the covenant, the pact of sexual magic which unites the brave heroes, the great warriors who are willing to answer three riddles, in order to marry the divine Princess Turandot, the Hebrew Shekinah of the Kabbalists.
So the human soul must incarnate the light, אוֹר Aur, or as we find in the Rune Ur, we pray, "Oh Divine Mother of mine, oh Isis of mine. You have the child Horus, my true Being within your arms." And what is that true being Horus? It is a symbol of Christ because the Divine Mother is the mother of Christ. We find in this opera by Puccini the Path of the Bodhisattva, of the incarnation of Christ, the path of sacrifice, in which the great heroes overcome trials and temptations in order to marry, to be purified within the Divine Mother.
As we find in that prayer, “You carry my true Being within your arms. I need to die within my defects so that my Essence may be lost in Him, in Him, in Him.” Three times, three riddles, three forces, which we find in the Christian trinity, which is a number in the tarot that we find repeated often in this opera, not only in its structure of three acts, but also three questions that the hero must answer in order to be liberated, to marry or self-realize the divine.
We will be talking about the tarot in depth in this explanation of the opera Turandot.
Death and Immortality
This Arcanum 13 we discussed previously. Immortality is the profound core of this opera, because we find in the first act of Turandot that anyone who wishes to marry Shekinah, the Divine Mother, must answer three riddles. If he fails in any one of them, he must die, which is a symbol of how one loses one's soul if one fails in the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum, because the work against the elimination of the ego is very difficult, very painful, very challenging.
But if we are faithful to our Divine Mother Death, She will give us a crown of life, immortality, perfection, because in order to marry or self-realize the Divine Mother, Binah in Kabbalah, the Holy Spirit or אם אלהים Aima Elohim, the feminine aspect of the Holy Ghost, we as a soul must be dead to the ego. The ego must not exist. In order to reach that point, we have to answer three riddles, which are symbols that we will be covering in Act Two.
But Arcanum 13 is a profound teaching that Puccini knew very well and depicted so beautifully in his work. Samael Aun Weor mentions in The Aquarian Message that many operas existed in relation to the mysteries of the tarot, as well as the 13th Arcanum, which is why he explains how in the 13 Arcanum, one faces what are known as the funereal ordeals, and that opera has been used to depict that path of the death of desire.
"The funeral ordeals of the thirteenth arcanum developed as a profound opera within the great archaic mysteries. The austere hierophants of the great mysteries rose from within the old sepulchers of ancient times." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Because who are those austere hierophants? Austere meaning “severe,” masters of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, reminding us of severity, justice. And on the right pillar we find mercy. These two pillars of Kabbalah of the Tree of Life resonate within the dramas and symbols of this opera. But these hierophants are those who master, precisely, the left pillar of the Tree of Life, the serpent Ida.
Remember that we have two serpents in our spine: the solar and the lunar serpents. Pingala and Ida, Adam-Eve, male-female, ו Vav and ז Zayin. That left serpent in most people has fallen because it has descended, down the Chakra Muladhara through the coccyx, to form what is known as the tail of demons within the astral body. That is the tempting serpent that any initiate must overcome through the death of desire.
“The old operas of the thirteenth arcanum resounded with their ineffable melodies in the terrifying night of the centuries within the subterranean caverns of the Earth." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Some people read this statement very literally, not understanding that Samael Aun Weor spoke in a very kabbalistic way, because these operas of the 13th Arcanum, they resound within this Kali Yuga, this age of darkness we live in, in order to teach those souls who are demonic, the path of the light―the straight path. We find that these operas resound within the subterranean caverns of the Earth.
And what are these caverns the Earth? People like to think that the Master Samael literally meant underground somewhere, where some operas are being portrayed, but the meaning is much more symbolic. We are in מלכות Malkuth, but we also know from our studies that our sephirah Malkuth is submerged within the inferior laws of Klipoth, within negative infra-dimensions, which is why in certain cities like Chicago, New York, L.A., we find tremendous degeneration.
We are within the caverns of the Earth, because we are in the abyss, even when physically active. Because we find that those inferior qualities, laws of the infernal dimensions have surfaced, but symbolically, we are in the caves. We are in the darkness. And so, Turandot is an opera that resounds, with its symbolism of the 13th Arcanum, within the caverns of the Earth, which are the opera houses.
When we recognize the ineffable melodies that portray the teachings of Christ, we become filled with awe, inspiration, remembrance, so that we become inspired to work. And precisely, this opera is a tool for initiates, to remind them and to teach them what they must do if they want to succeed. It is through the mysteries of this opera of the 13th Arcanum, is how we rise from the sepulchers, like the austere hierophants of ancient ages, because through the teachings of this opera, we learn to overcome death. Not only psychologically, or better said, spiritually, but also physically through the path of resurrection, of reunion, of return to the divine.
In order to talk about this opera, we have to repeatedly refer to the Tree of Life, because there are many characters in places that are symbolized by the teachings of the Tree of Life. Each character is a different sephirah, a different aspect of the soul. And likewise, the multi-dimensionality of the Tree of Life teaches us how to interpret where we are in the opera, where the soul is and what it must do.
The Opening of Act I
So the opera begins with tremendous clamor, tumult, amongst the people of Peking, as an executioner of the law, the tribunal of divine justice, pronounces the following prophetic and deadly words:
“Any man of noble blood who desires to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles. If he fails, he will be beheaded.”
If we want to marry the Divine Mother Turandot, we must become an initiate, a man born of noble blood. What does it mean to be a human being? It means to reach mastery on the Tree of Life.
We talk about five initiations of fire that lead to the creation of the human being by raising the Kundalini serpent from the body of Malkuth within its spine, from the Chakra Muladhara to the brain―likewise with the vital body, יְסוֹד Yesod; the astral body, הוד Hod; the mental body, נצח Netzach; and תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the causal body. At that point one can say he has become a true human being, a man of noble blood.
But that is not enough, because one could reach mastery, reach that level Tiphereth, the center of the Tree of Life, and yet, it is another thing to reach perfection in mastery through the straight path of the Bodhisattvas.
In order to reach that point, one must achieve what is called the Buddhist annihilation, the death of the ego, in a complete sense. Right now, we are in Malkuth, and to use the terms of Freemasonry, of which Puccini was very familiar, we are imitatus, souls that imitate the works and lives of the great masters, the adeptus, the adepts. To become an adept, which is a master of the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries, we could say an adeptus minor, Tiphereth, we have to answer three riddles, which of course relate to how we work with the three brains, the three mother letters of Kabbalah: א Aleph, ש Shin, and מ Mem, which spell השם Hashem: the Name, which if we take the letter א Aleph and pronounce it as a letter ה Hei, השם Hashem, we spell the sacred name of God or the sacred appellation from the Name: יהוה Iod-Havah, Jehovah.
So in the beginning of this opera, we have an executioner who provides some context for why Peking is in chaos. It is also important to note that within the writings of Samael Aun Weor, he explains that in the tribunal of justice within the superior worlds, there are executioners.
What is that tribunal of justice represented in this opera? We find by the holy city of China, the divine, which if you look on the Tree of Life, we find that there are different places mapped out here. China, the kingdom of Turandot, represents the Far East, the top trinity of the Tree of Life. It is important to recognize that when we look at the directions of this vertical glyph, we can transpose the four directions of any compass onto this glyph.
We know that Tiphereth is where the sun rises, which is the solar logos. Tiphereth is governed by Venus and the Sun. The Sun rises in the East in Tiphereth. Therefore it is the East. To go further is to reach the Far East, which is China: כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, בִּינָה Binah. We know that Binah or the feminine aspect of Binah is known as אם אלהים Aima Elohim, as I said, the Divine Mother Kundalini.
The West is where the Sun sets towards Malkuth, but also towards the infra-dimensions where the darkness of the mind exists. The West is towards what is known as the Tartarus, which is the opening of our opera. We could also say is the city of Peking, because in the opening of this great drama, we see there is tremendous chaos. There are crowds pushing against each other, screaming out in agony, suffering incredibly. That is hell. We begin this opera within the abyss. As you remember from the opening of this lecture, we talked about how the ineffable melodies of the 13th Arcanum resound as an opera within the abyss.
Just as we find that statement from Samael Aun Weor, we find that a great executioner of the law, a divine being, speaks to those multitudes of demons, that “If you wish to escape your fate within the infra-dimensions, you must answer three riddles. You must be of noble blood, an initiate. By answering those riddles, you will marry Turandot.” You will leave the West, which is the abyss, and enter towards China, the Far East, to marry the divine princess.
But of course, very few take that path. Very few aspire to unite with Christ, which is why in the beginning of the opera, you find that there is only one person who is willing to do so amongst the majority of people, of which we will be talking about in brief. He is the prince whose name is not given until the very end of the opera in Act Three. But it is important to remember that in order to escape Peking, Tartarus, the abyss, we must become initiates. We must answer the riddles and ascend the Tree of Life.
The initiate who does not die to the ego, who fails in those three ordeals―relating to how we work against the ego in the three brains: the intellectual brain, the emotional brain, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain―if we fail in those trials and ordeals in the struggle against the elimination of our defects, it means that we cannot marry [self-realize] the Divine Mother. We fail like the Prince of Persia, who failed the ordeals and is executed in this act.
Kundalini above, Kundabuffer below. We notice that from the chorus of people in the opera, there are people who praise Turandot, but also fear her. This is why Samael Aun Weor said that “The Divine Mother is the terror of love and law.” Above she is heavenly, but down in the abyss, she is the tempting serpent that leads the lost souls, the demons, into the path of devolution.
The three principal characters we are introduced to in the beginning of this opera, his name is never given. His name is Timur. He is the father of the prince, who is the Prince Calaf. Timur is the exiled king of Tartary, and we find that he is with his faithful servant, Liu, before they reunite with their Prince Calaf, who is the son of Timur.
Timur is related to Tartary. He is exiled from his kingdom and now he is in Peking. He is with his servant Liu, who is the only person who supported him after losing his kingdom―a terrifying symbol of how our Spirit, our Innermost God, Timur, has been exiled. Our inner God, the 4th Arcanum of the Tarot: the Emperor, has lost his empire. And now he is lost seeking his son who has been separated from him.
That is a symbol of any person who, because of having created the ego, loses all development, and loses all innocence. Therefore, Timur, the Spirit, חֶסֶד Chesed in Kabbalah, as well as גְּבוּרָה Geburah, the divine soul, represented by Liu, the servant, are abandoned. They are separated from the soul, which is Tiphereth.
Tiphereth, the prince, is lost in Peking, but they reunite together within the city, indicating how any person who enters Gnosis and experiences their inner God, has that reunion, which is very beautifully depicted in this opera where the prince says, “Padre, mio padre,” “I have waited for you so long! I have lost you but now we are united!” because through meditation, through initial exercises in this tradition, we become reunited with our inner God.
We will state that Tartary was a great tract of Northern and Central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea in the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Tartary relates to the North, the regions of the cold of Asia. In Kabbalah, we say that Chesed is the North, because if you take the four directions―East is the vertical part of the Tree of Life towards China, the top Trinity of the Tree of Life, the West is Malkuth―the North is towards the right, Chesed; and the South relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life, because we know that the further South you go on the globe, the hotter it gets, typically beneath the equator. Towards the northern regions, it gets colder, which is why certain authors like Friedrich Nietzsche depicted how initiates live within the North, and why many German authors and composers like Wagner always depicted the great heroes coming from the North, from the land of Boreas, Hyperboreas, Hyperborea, “the northern wind,” a symbol of an ancient humanity, but also representative of how spiritual forces dwell within the higher regions of the globe like the mountains―the mountain of initiation, the North.
Geburah, the South, relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life because through the powers of the left pillar is how one can return to Binah, the Holy Ghost, or by abusing the powers of the left pillar, as we discussed in Arcanum 8: Justice, that force can descend down through Malkuth into the infernal planes.
This is why the very beginning of the opera, when Timur falls, the king falls, his servant Liu says, “My master has fallen! Will someone raise him for me?” It is a powerful symbol: how in us our master is no longer active. Our inner master has fallen, meaning: our development has been nullified. Why does Geburah, Liu, the servant, the divine soul, state, “My master has fallen. Will someone raise him?” This is because she is the power of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, which can raise the initiate, but she needs her help, and that is where the prince comes in, Prince Calaf, played by Placido Domingo in this version we have been watching.
That is when they are reunited. The prince, Tiphereth, emerges because only through the sephirah Tiphereth, our human willpower, can we conquer Netzach, the mind; Hod, the emotions; Yesod, our vitality, and Malkuth, our physicality, but also enter into the inferior worlds, the infra-dimensions, in order to work against the mind.
The Fall of Tyr
This path of initiation and this recognition of one's psychological state has been depicted in the Bible. When Liu says, How my master is fallen,” we find this represented in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 23, with the fall of the city of Tyre.
1 Wail, you ships of Tarshish!
For Tyre is destroyed
and left without house or harbor.
From the land of Cyprus
word has come to them.
2 Be silent, you people of the island
and you merchants of Sidon,
whom the seafarers have enriched.
3 On the great waters
came the grain of the Shihor;
the harvest of the Nile[a] was the revenue of Tyre,
and she became the marketplace of the nations
The city of Tyre was a representation of the city of the soul that was perfected. If you are familiar with the Rune Tyr amongst the Nordics, in our tradition, we do the mantra Tyr with our hands raised above our head, when we descend our hands down in the form of an arrow pointing up with our head as an apex. We do the mantra Tyr:
That is the power of Christ that descends through our mind, the Chakra Sahasrara, or China, the Far East in our head, because the solar logos enters our mind, our head, in order to descend down towards the Middle East, which is Tiphereth, our heart. Because Tiphereth is the East, but since it is in the middle of the Tree of Life, we call it the Middle East, which is why the character named the Prince of Persia in this opera was a master of the Middle East, the heart, but who failed the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum.
When that energy descends down into your body, it reaches what is called the West, which is your feet, Malkuth. The North is the right hand, South is the left hand. Chesed-Geburah. So when we work with that mantra Tyr, we are invoking those energies down to our body, and then we do the Rune Bar with our left hand on our left hip, our left heel against our right, our right hand against our side.
Bar is fire because we take the enemies of Christ down through our organism our Tree of Life, our spine, and then charge our body with the Rune Bar. Bar in Aramaic means “son.” It also means “fire,” and it is the root word of words like “barbarian,” “bar-bar-Aryan,” Ares, the power of Samael.
Another interesting etymology is that the power of Tyr, Timur, the power of light of the Spirit of the Rune Tyr, also relates to the acrostic Artyr―Arthur. King Arthur is the Spirit, the Innermost. We find that the Rune Ar, with our left hand on our left side, our right foot out, our right hand on our right side. We do the mantra Ario:
This is in order to prepare for the awakening of the sacred fire of the Kundalini.
The Rune Tyr, again, is when Christ descends into us. So, Arthur in the Britannic myths relate to the Spirit, the power of Tartary, the North, because we know that Britain and many of the Nordic lands were relating to the northern regions.
So that energy from the heavenly worlds has been abused, has been lost, represented by the fall of Tyre in the Bible. That energy of Christ entered us, but because of our mistakes, the city has been punished. Our soul has been lost.
So “On the great waters came the grain of the Shihor;” when one of those great waters of alchemy, our energies, which is where the grain, the seed, of Shihor― שין האוֹר Shin Ha’Aur: the fire and light of our potential is carried through the waters. “That was the revenue of Tyr,” meeting that our spiritual city, our soul, in the past, might have had development, and yet we have lost it, evidenced by the fact that we are ignorant. We are in Peking. We are in the darkness of the mind, lost like in the beginning of this opera.
4 Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea,
for the sea has spoken:
“I have neither been in labor nor given birth;
I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters.”
And why mention that the sea has spoken? That sea is the Divine Mother, the ocean of the uncreated light: the Ain, the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur―represented by the very top of the Tree of Life, the Absolute. That is the great ocean, the cosmic space, Turandot, whom we seek to reunite with.
So “I have never been in labor nor given birth. I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters,” because that ocean of the great light has not created true men in many cases. Most of humanity does not want to be a child of God, an initiate. Therefore, the ocean of the light says, “I have not reared children, initiates, in this planet Earth, because it is a failure.” Where are the bodhisattvas, the masters?” As Liu says, “My master has fallen.” So our planet is precisely a mess. It is the city of Tyre that has been destroyed, and will be destroyed like Babylon in the Book of Revelations.
5 When word comes to Egypt,
they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre.
And what is this Egypt? מִצְרָיִם Mitzraim in Hebrew, meaning “the place between the waters.” In this case, when news of the fall of Tyre has been made manifest, those initiates from the Egyptian pantheon in the internal worlds look at us with a great sorrow.
6 Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, you people of the island.
7 Is this your city of revelry,
the old, old city,
whose feet have taken her
to settle in far-off lands?
…meaning to become strangers to the kingdom of God, the soul.
8 Who planned this against Tyre,
the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants are princes,
whose traders are renowned in the earth?
So Tyr, again, is the bestower of crowns, because in the Rune Tyr, you are invoking Christ into your crown of your head, your chakra. So even though those forces have entered into us, because we have been degenerate, we have expelled that light. We have destroyed the city of our Inner Being.
9 The Lord Almighty planned it,
to bring down her pride in all her splendor
and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.
10 Till your land as they do along the Nile,
for you no longer have a harbor.
Why mention the sea so much and the ships of Tarshish? In the internal planes, if you are driving a boat or riding in a boat, it is a symbol of working in alchemy, or it is a symbol also of working with the waters of sexuality, because the boat of the great arcanum, the great ark, the path of the arch-angels, hovers over the faces of the waters, of Genesis, of alchemy, of transmutation. Those ships have no harbor, meaning they have nowhere to go, because we have betrayed the great arcanum, the teachings of chastity.
11 The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea
and made its kingdoms tremble.
He has given an order concerning Phoenicia
that her fortresses be destroyed.
12 He said, “No more of your reveling,
Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed!
“Up, cross over to Cyprus;
even there you will find no rest.”
Like the exiled king of Tartary, Timur. It is interesting that the word Tartary sounds like Tyr-tyry―Tyr, the powers of Tyr from above, the heavenly worlds that have been crushed, lost. And Timur, Liu, and the Prince Calaf have no place to rest, because they are in exile. They are being hunted, persecuted, because our soul is being persecuted by the ego, being hunted.
13 Look at the land of the Babylonians,
this people that is now of no account!
The Assyrians have made it
a place for desert creatures;
they raised up their siege towers,
they stripped its fortresses bare
and turned it into a ruin.
14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish;
your fortress is destroyed!
15 At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life
Arcanum 7 reminds us of war, battles, against the ego: Triumph. Because “Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years, the span of a king's life.” If you reach and raise the seven serpents of fire within the lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life, you become a king. You reunite with Timur, your Spirit, the light.
15 But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:
16 “Take up a harp, walk through the city,
you forgotten prostitute;
play the harp well, sing many a song,
so that you will be remembered.”
Why mention prostitution or prostitutes who sing their songs in remembrance of their past glories? Because right now, our soul is prostituted. It is lost. It is filthy. We may remember past days in our own meditations, our own experiences, in which we were once initiates. If you meditate and enter the internal worlds, you can find out from your inner God, what is your development? Because in most cases, for most people who are in the Gnostic movement, it is because we were here before, as a law of return a recurrence of all life. Many people who are in the Gnostic movement were once in other movements related to Gnosis in the past, but because they made mistakes, they left, and now they are returning again because Timur, the Spirit, is pushing for reunion.
But we are like that prostituted soul that sings about past glories. We may remember in our own meditations how perhaps we were up there, but now we are here. We are in suffering. So that is something you can verify and that is something very personal, because when you learn about your inner God and your development, perhaps in the past you were in initiate, but the point is that now we are here and we are not initiates. We have to regain what we lost. We have to regain what we remember.
17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes. ―Isaiah 23
Because when you work with Arcanum 7, you develop many treasures and virtues of the soul. If you remember, we talked about how by overcoming the ego, we acquire great triumphs, blessings from divinity, glories from our inner God. “And we will return to trade,” meaning, working with the ocean, the sea, the ships―working in transmutation once again, so that those goods which are stored up, those virtues of the soul, will be like fine clothes, meaning: solar bodies, which are inflamed with fire and life.
So, in this opera, Chesed, Geburah, and Tiphereth: Timur, Liu, and Prince Calaf, are reunited. Meaning, the human soul has, by meditation, have experiences with the Spirit and the divine soul because the human soul, we have to remember, is where we get the Essence.
Right now, we are the Essence, which is 3% free and 97% conditioned by ego. But when we reunite with the divine, we feel a great joy, but also great sorrow, because any initiate who once finds the path again after having lost it is filled with a lot of lamentation and sweet melancholy. Really, to be without God is to be in the greatest suffering, which indicates why Calaf in this Opera, the prince, is filled with such remorse, because he is a fallen bodhisattva.
He suffers a lot. He is a man of noble blood, meaning: he once entered initiation in the past and now he is returning to the path, because he wants to return to the Divine Mother Turandot.
Also in the opera, Calaf hesitates to pronounce his father's name. In the beginning of this opera, he says to his father, “I won't say your name here because we are being persecuted.” It is interesting because Samael Aun Weor mentions that the Spirit, Chesed, has a sacred name. All of us, our inner Spirit, has a divine name. Samael Aun Weor is a sacred name of the Angel Samael. Every person, every Being, every Innermost, has a sacred name.
As we circulate through existence from existence adopting new personalities, new terrestrial names, either of the male or female sex, those things are temporary. In truth, we maintain and always continue on in our profound depths of our consciousness with the divine name, the name that belongs to our inner God, our Being. So the prince Calaf says to his father, "I won't say your name here because we are being hunted." He knows his inner name, who his true identity is, but he fears to pronounce it because of what might happen to him, also because they do not want to evoke the wrath of the secret enemy stated by Moriy in his Dayspring of Youth: the ego, desire, the animal “I.”
Liu is the only person out of the whole kingdom that was faithful to King Timur when everything fell apart, because the divine soul, which is known as Buddhi in Sanskrit, is part of the Innermost. The Spirit, Chesed, is known as Atman amongst the Hindus. Atman-Buddhi. And when you unite the human soul in that trinity, you form Atman-Buddhi-Manas: Spirit―divine soul―human soul.
The divine soul is feminine, receptive, but she is also the power of Mars: strength, spirituality. She remains faithful to Timur because, again, she is part of him. Atman-Buddhi is one unit when one enters initiation, and so the human soul must unite with that inner trinity.
Another term for Liu is Beatrice: Dante's divine soul in his comedy, his Divine Comedy. It is Beatrice who always serves God, is divine. So she helps Tiphereth, and when the Prince Calaf asks her, “Why did you serve my father so much?” She says, “It is because you smiled at me once”―a reference to how the divine soul loves the human soul. Liu is in love with the Prince Calaf, and so serves him selflessly. Of course, Tiphereth wants to marry Binah, the Holy Spirit, simply because in the Tree of Life, Binah is the higher sephirah that we must attain above Geburah. But all parts of the soul must be integrated, must be united and must work together, as we will see in this opera.
Devolution and the Second Death
Perhaps one of the most terrifying scenes in this opera is the very opening, where we find the phrase or the song “Gira la cote,” and they are singing about blood and death and destruction―violence, hell. Gira la cote means “spin the wheel,” sharpen the executioner's axe. This is the song of the demons of the abyss, in Peking or in the infernal worlds. It is the wheel of cyclical existence (Bhavachakra) that spins upon the axis of ignorance, craving, and aversion.
It is important to note that in the Bible we find the following phrase, "Nephesh, nephesh, blood is paid for blood." נפש Nephesh we explain is the animal soul, which we find in our blood, in our instinct.
When the energies of sex are expelled, we form the tail of Satan as I mentioned, Kundabuffer. That is a nephesh, animal soul. That is the energy that takes those fornicators down into the worlds of Klipoth in order to devolve, to be disintegrated, which is why all the people of Peking in the beginning are crying out and singing to hell. They are singing about the second death, because they want those fallen souls, for the initiates to join them within the abyss, within Tartarus, the infernal planes.
It is also interesting that in that part of the opera, they are waiting for the executioner to come. Pu-Tin-Pao is his name, which reminds us of I-A-O, but in hell, because the power of Tyr, the heavenly world, has been lost in the infernal dimensions. Christ has been inverted and the energies of Christ above, when they are taken and used through fornication, become the forces of the hell realms―the power of nephesh, the animal soul.
So all of these people are clamoring out in intoxication from desire. All those black initiates of the infernal planes don't want people to marry Turandot, and so they fight against them and sing against them, saying, “Let him try to answer the riddles, but he will fail and join us in death.” So the initiates of the Black Lodge, as we explained in Arcanum 8: Justice, identify and fortify the forces of devolution, so that through many aeons, they are disintegrated within the interior of the earth, within the astral and mental planes or the inferior astral and mental planes, the Klipoth.
It always fills me with great horror whenever I watch that part of the opera, because I have had experiences related to it. I remember many years ago, I was in the astral plane and a group of black magicians came after me. They were very angry with me, because I am working in this path. So they took me and brought me into the interior of the earth, and forced me to watch a ceremony, which is similar to what we see in the opening of Turandot, which if you are familiar with the Metropolitan Opera version, you see that they are dancing with a dragon, a serpent. Where in the astral plane, I saw a ritual they were performing, showing how the devolving serpent is taking them down into the infernal planes. It was a kind of like a parade or ceremony.
But of course, at that time I didn't feel any fear or discomfort. I was simply happy to be awake, conscious. But I looked at them very sorrowful, and of course that made them angry because they weren't convincing me about what they were doing. But I remember being in that Black Lodge and they were trying to tempt me, and teach me about the inverted serpent, but I already know enough about that, and I have confronted them many times in my work, where they try to tempt you to enter the devolving path.
This is the same multitudes, the lunar multitudes who worship Luna. When they are waiting for the executioner to arrive, to kill the Prince of Persia, the master who failed in the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum, we find that they bow down and worship the moon. It is a symbol of how black magicians worship the ego, because the moon as we explained in Arcanum 8 is the ego, desire, mechanicity, repetition, suffering. They even refer to the moon as “a lopped off head, a severed head.” It is a symbol of how those black magicians worship egotism, נפש nephesh, animality. And so, when they worship the moon, it is a symbol of how they are descending from Malkuth to the nine spheres of hell. The first sphere of hell relates to the moon, according to Dante in The Divine Comedy. And that is the entrance into the infernal worlds.
Question: But doesn’t the moon also relate to Yesod?
Instructor: Yes, because Yesod is the vital energy. In heaven it is pure, but through fornication, it is limbo, the first sphere of hell. The chorus says a couple lines such as how they love “the bloodless one.” They are lovers of the dead, meaning: they are worshiping and loving hell because down there, there is no spirit. If you remember what Nietzsche is saying from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, he says that “Write with blood and you will discover that blood is spirit.” So the bloodless ones have no Spirit. They have no development, and because they are in hell, they are in Klipoth, the world of shells. They have no substance, no life, no reality, and they suffer for many eternities down there.
But at the end of that choir calling for Pu-Tin-Pao―the power of I-A-O, diablo, the infernal powers that originally came from Christ, but have been filtered, conditioned, shelled, with animality, after the end of that song to Pu-Tin-Pao, the executioner―we hear a chorus of children singing a melody related to Turandot. It is very beautiful and innocent, very pure. It is a symbol of how after the soul devolves through the infernal worlds and after the ego is fully eliminated, then the consciousness can be extracted and returns as a child, an elemental, back within the paradises of the mineral kingdom, and then through evolution it can enter the plant kingdom, and then the animal kingdom, and then finally the humanoid kingdom again.
Those children are those souls that, after having entered and passed through the second death, the death of the ego within Klipoth, they return through transmigration back up the cycles of evolution. They are singing in their song about Turandot. They say “thousands of voices from the deserts of the sea call upon Turandot,” because those innocent children now have another opportunity in order to return to the Divine Mother. But of course, they failed, but they are going to restart the whole journey, again through many millions and millions and aeons of time. Of course, that is the great problem when initiates decide to fall: they lose everything and have to start over again, which of course is a very painful process.
When Masters Fall
At this point in the opera, the Prince of Persia is being led to his death. The Prince of Persia had answered or tried to answer three riddles, but failed them. And therefore, he is going to be executed. Persia is in the Middle East, which is why Puccini depicted how Tiphereth is in the Middle East of the glyph. Again, the Sun rises in Tiphereth, and since Tiphereth is in the middle of the Tree of Life, it has been depicted in certain religious scriptures as the Middle East. So the Prince of Persia is a master. He is a malik, a king, a warrior, Tiphereth, emphasized by the name Persia, or Pharisee, Farsi, which means “worshiper of fire,” INRI, Christ.
Question: But that’s the enlightened version of a Pharisee?
Instructor: Yes, so this character, he is a bodhisattva. But he failed the ordeals. He didn't eliminate the ego, and therefore he is going to be decapitated by the executioner, meaning: he is going to enter devolution because he failed. He couldn't eliminate his desires. They are too powerful.
At this point, the chorus shifts gears. It is interesting that the chorus sometimes praises the initiates but then sometimes praises hell. It is because in us, our kingdom is mixed. We are mixed with other virtues and vices, but everyone cries out to Turandot for mercy for the Prince of Persia, because they see how beautiful he is. Because any master who has light is beautiful, is Tiphereth, because Tiphereth in Hebrew means “beauty.” They want mercy for him. They don't want him to be executed. But of course, the Divine Mother is very severe, because if you want to marry her, you have to have no ego. That is why She is very demanding and why She is sometimes depicted in this opera as being very cruel: cold as jade, cold as a sword, because she is ז Zayin, the letter of Kabbalah relating to the spine, the Kundalini, the 7th Arcanum.
We will state that he was a prince of the Middle East who wanted to marry the Divine Mother in the Far East, China, and through the help of the Spirit and the divine soul. And so, it is a tragedy that this Prince of Persia failed, and it is very common. Many bodhisattvas fail in the work because they need to work more diligently in the death of the ego. And as we say, the chorus laments his death or his impending death because, coming from the Greek traditions, the word, the chorus, can either be congratulatory or condemning. It plays a dual function, referring to how the Word, the Christ, can be channeled in heaven or in hell.
Sometimes the crowd praises Christ saying, “Hosanna, hosanna in the highest! Glory to God in the highest!” And then next, “Crucifixia! Crucifixia!” So you find the duality in the chorus even from the Greek traditions, but also in this opera.
When Calaf sees the prince, sees the Prince of Persia going to his death, he says "Turandot, you are cruel. Let me see your face so I can curse you!” Because anyone in the beginning of these studies, when hearing about the severity of the Divine Mother, obviously feels fear or the ego feels fear and says, “Let me look at that divinity so I can curse her!” But this is the moment when he sees her for the first time and is overwhelmed and overcome by her beauty. When he sees her in this version of the opera, the stage rises along with the glorious theme or motif for the Divine Mother: kind of a mixture of Italian with Chinese music. It is a very beautiful alchemical synthesis of styles.
When he sees her for the first time, he is overwhelmed with love because anyone who experiences the Divine Mother in Her true form, wants to marry Her, to be reunited with Her, because She is perfection in an absolute sense.
And Calaf, in this version of the opera, I don't know of what other versions may have this, but he has his hands outstretched raised, like this, in the form of the Rune Man, because he wants to receive the power of the Divine Mother within him, the light.
At this point in time, the crowds disperse. Turandot vanishes and the chorus states "Koung tzè, please take the soul of the dying Prince of Persia up to heaven." It is interesting that this word “Kung” is mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in his book Christ's Will, which reminds us of a gong, a keynote in nature. He explains in that book how all of nature has it sounds, its key notes within the spiritual realms as well as the physical. So he says that, I believe the line he uses in his book is, how “Christ resounds like the Chinese Kung,” and you find in this opera, ”Koung-tzè, please take this soul of this dying man up to heaven.” Because any sound, like a gong or a bell, is a symbol of the divine, of Christ. You say in the astral plane, looking to the sky, “In the name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the glory of Christ!”―you will see from the sky a bell and hear a tremendous gong.
You know those church bells that resound in the tops of cathedrals? They originated from that, because when you invoke Christ in the astral plane, you hear a gong, a bell, which also reminds us of ringing the bell three times when the Prince Calaf decides to take upon himself the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum by ringing the gong three times to awaken Turandot, a symbol of how we awaken the Kundalini within the Chakra Muladhara, which is coiled three-and-a-half times within the coccyx.
But before that point, Calaf has to face many trials. He becomes inebriated by her perfume, which is a symbol of chastity, because pure smells reminds us of incense, of transmutation, of the aroma of the sexual energy, which we inhale through the breath, the prana, and we circulate it throughout our body.
When he cries out her name, “Turandot!” three times, the crowd becomes silent and then you hear the Prince of Persia yell, “Turandot!l and then he is executed. And of course, Timur and Liu in this part of the opera become very concerned. They don't want their child, the human soul to enter that path [of devolution]. But the fact that the crowds cry out in fear and terror when the Prince of Persia is executed also represents how in the internal planes, if you call out the name of the Virgin Mary, Miriam, the demons scream in terror. They despise chastity, which is something that Samael Aun Weor stated in his books.
But of course, King Timur and Liu, they are concerned with Calaf. They don't want him to enter that fate, and it seems contradictory that if Timur is the Spirit and Liu is the divine soul, why would they try to dissuade Calaf from the path? It is also something very subtle and symbolic, something very beautiful. They warn him about the consequences of failure, but they don't dissuade him from the path. They only tell him that if you fail, you will suffer more than had you never started. Because, when you work with energy, you build up power and force, and if that becomes diverted back down into hell again, one falls lower than one began.
They emphasize that the work of the ego is very dangerous, very difficult. If you fail, you will lose more than if you had never started. But this type of dynamic in the relationship refers to a scripture in the Book of Mark, chapter 10 verses 29 to 30, when Jesus refers to how one's family, one's friends will go against oneself, which is represented by this symbol, because when we enter the path of initiation, people go against us. They dislike the fact that we are working against the ego.
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
“But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” ―Mark 10:29-30
Diablo, Lucifer, and the Three Traitors
At this point in time we meet three very enigmatic characters. Their names are Ping, Pang, and Pong. They come into the scene in order to stop the prince from following his destiny. They are coming into the scene order to tempt the prince, and their names aren't given at this point of the opera, but their names are Ping, Pang, and Pong. If you look at the vowels of their name, you find the meaning of their symbol: I-A-O. Igneous, Aqua, Origo.
Question: A sacred symbol? That is a sacred name!
Instructor: Yes, because this force of I-A-O, when it is in heaven is pure, but within the ego, is the tempter. This is where we get the word diablo (DI-A-BLO). So this is Lucifer, which represents part of our Being. He is our psychological trainer. The light of Lucifer reminds us of luci feros, the light of Christ. Up in heaven, Lucifer was divine, but because we fell, we took Lucifer, the creative sexual energy, and destroyed it, conditioned it through desire, through ego. That light became the devil, the ego, desire.
So that energy is partly trapped in the ego. It needs to be liberated, which is why Samael Aun Weor stated that Lucifer is our psychological trainer who is mixed with desire. He is the part of our Being that gives us trials and ordeals and temptations so that we can face ourselves, face the mind, in order to see our problems, because without facing those psychological conflicts, those trials, those ordeals, we can't find and work on the ego. We can't see our defects.
He is the light of I-A-O, but in hell, he is diablo, the tempter. This is why in the Buddhist myth, Mara has three daughters who tempt Buddha when he is meditating beneath the Bodhi Tree. Likewise, Jesus is betrayed by three traitors: Judas, Pilate, and Caiphas. Calaf wants to climb the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, to work with a marriage. Of course, he is tempted in his three brains: his intellect, his emotions, and his sex, through desire, because the ego manifests in the three brains: I-A-O. “I” reminds us of the intellectual brain because the mantra “I,” pronounced “ee,” vibrates in the head. The mantra O vibrates in the heart. The vowel A reminds us of the waters, also the breath, because we work with the breath and the creative sexual energy through our lungs to work upon the waters of Genesis. I-A-O: intellectual brain related with Netzach, emotional brain relating to Hod, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain relating to Yesod, our waters.
For Calaf to be more determined in his path, he has to be tempted, and so his own mind goes against him, raging and conflicting with him by saying, “Turandot doesn't even exist. Why do you want to enter this path? Who are you? What do you want?” And that is a question that we ask ourselves and we are asked in our Gnostic studies. Who are we? What are we living for? Where we going? Why are we living?
Any student who enters Gnosis for the first time faces that conflict. When beginning to learn meditation, they find that the mind is fighting, is agitated, is addicted to sensations, to desires. I believe there is even one line that Ping, Pang, and Pong say, “Why do you want to marry Turandot so much? Why do you want the Divine Mother? You can have many women here in this physical plane.” And so that is lust and temptation in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
Calaf becomes very angry, very agitated. He says, “Leave me be! Let me follow my path.” But of course, the ego is always going after him. Lucifer is always tempting, trying to show him his own faults so that he can marry Turandot. That is the great mystery of diablo. If there is no temptation, there is no light. Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light.
If you want to enter the Far East as a soul emanating from the Middle East, you have to descend to the West, the abyss, the Tartarus, where the power of Tyr, Tyrtarus, Tyr―the energies are inverted. You have to go down into your own hell realms through Arcanum 1: The Magician, through descending into the infernal worlds in order to reascend with power. That is the mystery of Lucifer.
We find that these three characters Ping, Pang, and Pong are represented in this work many times throughout the opera, in Acts Two and Three;, more importantly within Act One, but also in Act Three. Act Two is a little bit more subtle.
But it is important to note that if we want mastery, we have to be tempted.
Love of Divinity: The Sufi Trope of the Initiatic Madman
Samael Aun Weor explains in his book The Mystery of the Golden Flower that there are many Spirits, many masters, or monads, inner Beings―because the word Monad means unity―that don't want mastery. Therefore, they don't push their soul with spiritual inquietudes or longings to want to enter into initiation. But those who are really pushed by the Being, who want to obtain self-realization, feel great disturbances, great longings, great sufferings, because they know that, intuitively, if they continue as they are, they will be taken by the forces of devolution in order to be destroyed in hell. If any one of us are in these studies and classrooms is because we know from experience, deep down, that we don't want to enter that path.
So many people think that those who enter initiation are crazy, insane, which is why Calaf is accused of being a lunatic in this opera, or in this act. They think he is mad because he wants to unite with Turandot and of course, you can look at the size of our classrooms, of people who are interested in marrying or self-realizing the Divine Mother Turandot. Most people, they run away. They are not interested in working on ego, because to marry Turandot is very demanding. To marry the Divine Princess Shekinah is very arduous, which is why Kahlil Gibran, who wrote many Sufi, Christian poems like The Prophet, describes this path very beautifully in relation to this opera. I am not saying that he saw this opera and commented on it, but there are certain allegories here in his writings, in The Madman, that relate to what Prince Calaf and what any person entering into initiation experiences.
"You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen,―the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives, ―ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting, ‘Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves.’
“Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear of me.
“And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top cried, ‘He is a madman.’ I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun (just as Calaf falls in love with the Divine Mother Turandot when he sees her for the first time) and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.”
“Thus I became a madman.
“And I have found both freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.
“But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief.” ―Kahlil Gibran, The Madman
So what is that sun? It is Christ. We have to tear the veil of Isis in the seven bodies, “the seven masks we have worn in seven lives,” by raising the fire of Kundalini up the bodies of Malkuth, Yesod, Netzach, Tiphereth, Geburah, Chesed. We are tearing the seven masks off from our face so that Christ, the Sun, the Solar Logos, can inflame us with purity, so that we can become united with Christ.
People who enter this path are obviously accused of being lunatics. These types of topics don't please people. They don't please academics. They don't please the scholars, the religious fanatics, the fornicators. This type of knowledge is very distinct, which is why the mysteries of the 13th Arcanum resound within the darkness of the caverns of the Earth, where there are very few people who want to take advantage of it.
Temptations on the Path
As Calaf and Ping, Pang, and Pong, Lucifer in the three brains―because Lucifer tempts us in our intellect, our emotions, and our sex―as they are arguing, certain mistresses to the Princess Turandot reprimand them that she is sleeping and that they shouldn't awaken her. It is a symbol of how our Kundalini is sleeping in the Chakra Muladhara and is awaiting for the moment of divine awakening within sexual alchemy, through I-A-O, which we know is the sacred mantra in The Perfect Matrimony, the supreme mantra for sexual alchemy.
Ping, Pang, and Pong tell him, “Shun the riddles of Turandot. It's like shunning the mountains.” It is one word they use, meaning: “Don't enter initiation. Don't climb the mountain of the Tree of Life, but stay down here.” They tell him “Why do you want Turandot so much? She doesn't even exist. She is not real”―which is what the ego says, the mind says. Personally, I remember one retreat in which I was having a conversation with certain Buddhists―black magicians. They are awake and they were trying to convince me again that my love for my Divine Mother is illusory, that I should enter down in the infernal worlds, because they think, in a backward sense, that going into the interior of the earth is entering to development, because they are identified with those forces, with the Divine Mother in hell. So they offer many arguments and philosophical debates and theories and beliefs telling you why fornication is good and why the Divine Mother is bad. So these are very common conflicts that one faces.
The Call of the Dead
It is here at this point in the opera that we hear the ghosts of the dead worshipping Devi Kundalini. Those are the disembodied souls who have entered into Klipoth, who fell into the abyss because they failed the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum. So even in their suffering when they are devolving, they are singing out. If you remember in the opera, they are showing the heads of the decapitated on spikes, and you hear their ghostly call from the infernal worlds calling up saying, "We still love Turandot." Because even when they are devolving and being disintegrated, they love the divine force of the Divine Mother, but of course, in heaven She is divine, but in hell, She devours Her own children. That is because that force is utilized depending on our level of being, our qualities of being.
It is also important to know that the Divine Mother never abandons Her child, because those souls who are filled with ego, who don't want to rise up to the light, they have to be disintegrated out of compassion. So the Divine Mother accompanies them down into the inferno worlds to be destroyed.
But at this point in time, the prince hears those ghosts calling out from the dead, from the abyss, and he says, "No, only I love Turandot!”
Only a prince of the Middle East can love Turandot perfectly, be reflected within her and her within him. It is also interesting to note that the sacred mantra for the sephirah Tiphereth is אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod Hei Vau Hei, meaning “goddess of knowledge,” יהוה Iod-Havah, Jehovah, as described within the region of Atziluth within the world of Tiphereth, the sacred name of God in that sephirah.
Signore Ascolta: “Listen My Lord”
Liu sings for Calaf not to leave because she does not want him to fail. She says, "Your name has always been on my lips” as we have wandered within these infernal world seeking your remembrance. So the word for God is השם Hashem, the Name: “Your name has been on my lips,” and the lips refers to דעת Da’ath, meaning: “We have always remembered you, the soul,” but “we are separated from you as we are in exile,” because we are the Essence, which emanated from Tiphereth, but we are in Malkuth and we seek to be reunited with the Spirit and the divine soul.
So this is when she sings Signore, ascolta: “Listen my Lord.” This is a direct reference to:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.” ―Deuteronomy 6:4-5
In Kabbalah, Tiphereth is ישראל Israel, the son of Isis, the Divine Mother; Ra, the Solar Logos; and אל El, the Spirit, Timur. Prince Calaf is Israel, the willpower of the initiate, symbolized by Moses, who must liberate the different parts of the soul trapped in suffering, by the different egos, the people of Peking. Remember that they are enslaved to the devolving forces or inverted serpentine powers of the Kundabuffer, Kali: the negative aspect of the Divine Mother Death. To achieve liberation, we must love divinity within our three brains, with all our soul, heart, and strength. The three brains will be constantly referenced in the next two acts as well.
Signore ascolta also means, esoterically: don't fail in your work, because if you fail in the work, the thread that unites the soul with the Being will be cut. That is known as the Antahkarana thread, and in fallen souls, demons, who have no hope for redemption, that connection is severed. And so she sings in lamentation. “If you fail in this work, you will be cut off from us and you'll be devolving and suffering tremendously.”
At this point Calaf still remains resolved. He says (metaphorically), “I won't renounce my effort, my will, because I want to marry and self-realize my Divine Mother.” That is the type of willpower we need, the aspiration we need, when we practice. Calaf says he suffered too much. He no longer smiles. That is because any fallen bodhisattva has lost God, and so he says, “I once smiled in the past, but now I am unhappy. I will only be happy when I return to Devi Kundalini, my divine princess.” Really, every aspirant who finds the path does so because they want to cease suffering, but even more so for fallen masters. A fallen master suffers tremendously because they had the light and they lost it. Now they want to return back to their origins.
Question: The Divine Mother, is that also the princess? Are they synonymous?
Instructor: Yes, because the Divine Mother is Turandot. She is RAM-IO.
Question: Ok, well the mother and the princess, they are a little different...
Instructor: Right. So the concept of the Divine Mother may sound a little strange. Why is the Prince Calaf trying to marry the Divine Mother? It is because She is the mother of the soul. When our soul has perfected itself fully, it unites with Aima Elohim and Abba Elohim as a perfect unity. So you have Osiris-Ra and Horus. Osiris is the Divine Father. Isis is the Divine Mother and Horus is the Son. Through self realization, that trinity becomes perfected, unified.
But of course in order to get to that point, Calaf, the prince, has to suffer a lot, because it is through suffering in which one becomes inspired to change. So, fallen bodhisattvas, obviously, suffer more than other people, because they had a higher knowledge of the law, and because they broke the law, they are more accountable and have more responsibility. This is known as the lion of the law, Katancia: karma of the initiates and the gods, as we discussed in Arcanum 5.
The people around them say life is beautiful. Why do you want to abandon life? Why do you want to abandon this physical world? Why do you want to go up there and challenge love, to be united with Her and risk everything? But Calaf says, “I ask for pity from you, because I love Her so much that I am willing to do anything in my power.” He says, “No power on Earth can hold me back. I follow my destiny!” And the crowd is singing, “We are digging your grave for you, ready for you,” for those who challenge love, because the ordeals over the death of the ego are very challenging as we said.
Friedrich Nietzsche depicts this struggle in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, of which we will relate in brief. This is from “On the Way of the Creator,” and I have added some commentary and explanations into some of the language he uses because it is very deep:
“Is it your wish, my brother (or fellow initiate) to go into solitude (meditation)? Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself? (your Divine Mother or your Ain Soph? Because remember when we do the Rune Ur, we say, “I need to die within my defects so that my Essence may be lost in Him, in Him, in Him.’ That Him is our Ain Soph, our inner Being as we discussed in Arcanum 2 of the Eternal Tarot). Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself? Then linger a moment and listen to me.
“He who seeks the way to himself (initiation) easily gets lost (in the abyss and the second death). All loneliness is guilt (or better said, all loneliness or contemplation and self-remembering is guilt). Thus speaks the heard (the fornicators, the people of Peking). And you have longed belonged to the herd. The (egotistical) voice of the herd will still be audible in you, and when you will say, ‘I no longer have a common conscience with you,’ it will be a lament and agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the common conscience (the collective lunar mind and of the intellectual animals, the lunar multitudes who worship the second death), and the last glimmer of that conscience still glows on your affliction (for you’re entering into initiation through conscious works and voluntary sufferings).
“But do you want to go the way of your affliction (the path of sacrifice of the 13th Arcanum, the denial of the ego), which is the way to yourself (Ain Soph Paranishpanna as we explained in Arcanum 2)? Then show me your right and your strength to do so. Are you a new strength and a new right? (Meaning: the aspiration, longing, and power of Bodhichitta, which claims for itself the end goal: self-realization, Ain Soph Paranishpanna). Are you a new strength and a new right? A first movement (related to Kether)? Are are you a self-propelled wheel? Can you compel the very stars to revolve around you?" ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “On the Way of the Creator”
This is what Calaf does. The whole world was against him, saying, “You can't do this. You can't rise. You want to go to the very heights of the Absolute, go beyond the universe, and yet you are down here. You think you can do this?” And so this is how the mind and the black magicians tempt you, fighting against you and railing and trying to tempt you in the astral plane and physically, trying to plant doubts to make you fail or to convince you that you can't do it.
This is a process that is beautifully described in the writings of Rudolf Steiner and also Samael Aun Weor where he talks about the Guardian of the Threshold. For those of you who are not familiar with the Guardian of the Threshold, Samael Aun Weor explains that this is part of our Being, which, in the beginning of this path, we have to face a certain ordeal in which we confront a figure of or manifestation of all of our defects. This can happen in the internal planes through internal experiences, in which you see a great monster, gigantic, a full reflection of what you are. And so you have to fight that monster and defeat it, in the Name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the glory of Christ. This is partly alluded to in this opera in which he wants to ring the gong three times to awaken Devi Kundalini, because before we can awaken the Kundalini, we have to face the Guardian of the Threshold in which we are tempted by our own defects. We have to face that beast.
Personally, I remember fighting my own monster, my Guardian, and it was a very bloody battle, but fortunately, I succeeded, and I remember in that experience a group of black magicians were looking at me and they were horrified. I remember the light of Christ inspired me to speak and say “It can be done. You have to want it.” And they stood there amazed.
Comment: Just to add to what you said about the Dweller, the Guardian of the Threshold―a number of metaphysicians, one, he died not too long ago. His name was Stuart Wilde. Anyway, he was talking about the Guardian. He said that it was truly terrifying. He then knew what Carl Jung was up against when he described the Guardian. Carl Jung experienced it. Steiner said it too. It’s pretty heavy! Well, you experienced it. You see, it’s scary!
Instructor: But you see that reflected in the opera, in which you have all the voices of hell raised against him. He says, “Turandot!” and of course the people in the crowd say “muerte!” “Turandot!” “Muerte!” and then “Turandot!” again, muerte meaning “death.” Everytime he says her name, they say death, because that death will either occur through initiation, through victory, or in failure. There are two ways to die: willingly or unwillingly.
So after he overcomes their temptations, the struggle against the crowd, he strikes the gong three times in order to awaken the Divine Mother. So this is when the Kundalini awakens from the Chakra Muladhara, to rise up in the 33 vertebrae of the spine, and 33 reminds us of 3 plus 3, which is 6, Arcanum 6: Indecision, which is what we find reflected in this struggle, in this opera. It also refers to the commandment, “Thou shalt not fornicate.” This how he begins to initiate his journey back up the Tree of Life from Malkuth to Tiphereth, the Middle East.
Conclusion: A Spiritual Experience
In conclusion, I will relate to you another experience that relates to this topic. Many years ago I was meditating and had the experience of leaving my body, and then I found myself in the astral plane flying, being taken by my Divine Mother to a travel agency.
I knew I wanted a specific destination in the travel agency. I went up to the counter. I said to the lady at the desk, "I want to go to the Middle East. How much do I have to pay? The woman said, “355 dollars." 5 + 5 is 10, + 3 is 13. So they were telling me, “You want to go to the Middle East, Tiphereth, achieve Arcanum 13. Die in your ego.” I remember at that moment, I heard someone laughing at me, and I knew intuitively it was an executioner of the law, because in the opera, not necessarily in this version, but in other versions too, when he strikes the gong three times, Calaf, you hear the executioner laughs. And so I remember that experience. They were telling me that the executioner was laughing because there is going to be death either way, victoriously, or as a failure. It depends on our work.
Questions and Answers
Do you have any questions?
Question: This has something to do with the ego. Is the best way to eliminate an ego would not be the dwell on it, if you did something good today at work or something, but to forget about it, and when you go home, to remember it for a split second and then just meditate on it and comprehend it?
Instructor: Yeah, so it's one thing to reflect on an ego, and another thing to be identified with it. I know that when we face certain uglinesses in the mind, relating to our faults, it gets very painful. But the thing we have to remember is that we have to observe what we witnessed, what we saw in that moment. Look at concrete facts, concrete details. So if we discovered in a moment of conflict with a co-worker, an element of anger and pride, and also resentment, and we feel that we acted wrong, we feel that intuitive discernment and remorse, the thing is to remember that and to again feel that longing, but also don't dwell on it. Don't beat oneself up over the fault, but to feel remorse is another thing, primarily because remorse is a conscious quality, but shame is something else. Shame is not useful. It doesn't help. But if we feel remorse and say to ourselves, “I really made a terrible mistake here,” personally when I have had that at work, certain conflicts, I tell myself, “Okay. Let me continue observing. Let me be mindful. Remember my God.” I continue to pray until when I get home, I go and I reflect on that mistake and pray for understanding. Imagine that scene as it happened, concentrate on my inner God, my Divine Mother. Ask Her, “Show me with insight, how did I make a mistake here? What did I do wrong?”
You’ll find with profundity of depth in the practice, without forgetting what we are concentrating on, what we are meditating on, the insight will come to you. In that way, you can pray for elimination. That is how we travel to the Middle East, go up the Tree of Life―not flagellating ourselves and saying, “I am a bad person. I am negative.” Because even though we are demons, there is no need to adopt a morbid attitude. It doesn't help anyone. People who are morbid end up leaving Gnosis because they don't see any benefit from the practices. But people who comprehend and feel remorse is something else, because they feel inspired. When you feel remorse, you recognize, you say, “I made a big mistake,” and that remorse in the heart is what is inspiring us from divinity to change. Because without that inspiration, without that remorse, we would be lost, which is why Calaf in the beginning of the opera, or better said at the end of the first Act, says “I have suffered too much. I am in so much pain. I feel so much remorse. I am no longer happy.” That recognition of the causes of suffering is what pushes one to want to enter the path of love, to challenge love.
Question: This is opera about the thirteenth arcanum?
Instructor: Yes, about death, death of the ego.
Question: Turandot then is the Shekinah?
Instructor: The Divine Mother.
Comment: You mentioned how you could hurt somebody or realized that you hurt them. You look at their heart, somehow. I think you mentioned how it is corrosive to the divine force, your negative feelings, even if you feel justified. It is not good. If you could sort of feel the pain and realize that you are wounding another body, and you are trying to justify it in your mind, it is still no good. It is a corrosive force that will hold you back on the path. But you really have feelings, and you tell yourself that―words are one thing―“Oh yeah, I was wrong,” But unless you feel it in your heart… It brings out a sense of empathy towards others.
Instructor: Right. And that sense develops the more you meditate, because you find that in your interactions with people, whether at work or with family or friends, you become more intuitive, more insightful. You see how even your thoughts affect people. Even your emotions affect others invisibly, which, you know, we like to think that we are separated from people in a very physical sense, like there is a barrier, “I can think whatever I want and feel whatever I want and that it is not going to affect anyone.” But the truth is that our mind influences people, and if you become very intuitive and clairvoyant and develop that faculty very well, you start to sense more and more, and recognize how wrong, negative, psychological states produce suffering.
Question: In The Revolution of the Dialectic, so Samael says that basically the mind is pretty much purely Satanic. Are we only supposed to use that for comprehension, whereas opinions are not really good to have? Obviously sarcasm is not good to have. But to use the mind, “I got to fix this. I have to work on this problem”?
Instructor: The solution is observe. Obviously, it is good not to talk about what one doesn't know. I know in my employment, my job, when people ask me things that I am not capable of or don't know, I say, “I don't know. I can give you an educated guess, but I think you should talk to so-and-so,” because it is important not to try to go about thinking that one knows things that one doesn't, which is something I apply very strictly to my lectures here―to teach things only that I know or to refer to the Master Samael for things I don't know.
Comment: Or repeating...
Instructor: Or repeating what other people said and that I don't really have an experience, because it doesn't help anybody. You have a lot of people in the Gnostic movement who are like that. They parrot. They talk about things they haven't experienced. So it is always good to speak from our own knowledge, from experience, and to observe and just observe, what is our psychological sate, and to be mindful throughout the day. Observe in each moment, and that is how you get data about your defects, because as we say in this teaching, there is no golden maxim, that “I can follow this, this, this, and this and I am going to go up to the Middle East and the Far East and marry Turandot and I'll be done.” It is very difficult, as you'll see in Act Two. It is very difficult, very dangerous, because you find that when you have to answer those riddles in yourself, when you answer those ordeals, when you reach conflicts in your daily life, how you choose to respond determines your fate and where you go. So the way to understand proper psychological states is to observe, and then intuitively you'll know in any circumstance of life what to do.
Question: Would you say that it is wrong to point that out to other people...
Instructor: If they need it and if you know that they are going to listen. But at the same time, there are certain people that, we respect their will. We say, if you don't want to change, that is your business. Personally, I work with certain clients that are very difficult. They test me all the time―try to find loopholes in my thinking, the way that I work with them. But they like me a lot because I don't judge them. It still doesn't mean that I don't instill punitive measures when I have to, but at the same time we have to help people based on our capacity, our abilities, but without forcing our will on others as we relate it with Arcanum 11: Persuasion.
Question: When you talk about the black magicians, witches... but then you say they are awake. What does that mean? They just have this knowledge...
Instructor: What I meant was that they are awakened in evil. To be awake doesn't necessarily mean they are awake in a good way. A black magician is being, a real full-fledged black magician, is a being who is aware that they are awake. They have powers in the ego. They can astral project. They can do jinn science. They can read people's minds. They can talk telepathically. So when I was talking about those specific cases, I should have been more clear, that they are awakened in evil. They are demons, and they are trying to pull me from my path, telling me things and trying to have arguments with me. I was trying to be like Prince Calaf, like I remember from the opera, just saying, “No. Just let me be. That is your path. So be it!”
Question: So they probably have this knowledge whether it's this or Rosicrucian or something and they just go off on the opposite end.
Instructor: Some of them do. A lot of them don't. There are many who do know now that Samael Aun Weor's teaching has been more explicit and open. They have been very aware of what he teaches. This is why the ineffable melodies of the 13th Arcanum resound as an opera within the caverns of the Earth, because this teaching is now open to everyone. Samael Aun Weor explained the symbols of these great operas in his teachings. So, they know the knowledge and it is even more painful for them when they reject the knowledge, because as you read the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad was teaching how he kept giving his doctrine, his light, but the unbelievers wouldn't accept it. Or as the Bible says, “The people who walketh in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). They don't understand the light. A lot of them don't want to change. Some do.
Comment: So right now, America is being inundated with the seven deadly sins. It is like ridiculous right now and even people are being tricked by pride, with pride parades.
Instructor: That is because no one loves death of the ego. They love the ego. This is why all the multitudes of humanity in the chorus (Gira la cote) are praising blood and death and fornication and evil. That is the multitudes who worship the moon, which is why the opera begins in that setting and they all are worshiping and bowing to the executioner who is going to kill, the second death. That is what humanity loves.
Question: Is this happening because we have to get this out of our system or is this whole negative thing that is going on?
Instructor: It is happening because the ego has been building up so much in our humanity that finally, there is only a maximum that it can reach before this humanity needs to be annihilated, as we explained in the first lecture in this course, the Introduction to the Secret Teachings of Opera available on chicagognosis.org. Humanity has reached its end. This Aryan Root Race will be pulverized, will be annihilated. But before that point, the teachings of the 13th Arcanum are made available in the opera houses to teach the demons who want to change. And those who don't, so be it. Let them be.
Question: A lot of people they go to see Turandot, they want to hear the music... not all, since some parts are not the most melodious. But as far as the metaphysical aspects... Maybe one in a hundred like… What do you think? You never hear them talk about it! They’re like, “Oh, Puccini!” Nothing metaphysical!
Instructor: Not even. I have looked on the internet to see if anyone in our tradition has commented on Turandot and I didn't find anyone yet. I mean, I know people who I have worked with in this tradition who know about it. They know the opera well, but I haven't found anyone who has explained it. So, personally this is an opera that has influenced me greatly so I felt it important for me to explain for people who don't know.
Question: The Guardian of the Threshold, is that a book by Samael?
Instructor: There are references to the Guardian of the Threshold in The Perfect Matrimony, specifically. This is where he introduces that, but also he talks about the Guardian of the Threshold in The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled.
Question: What is the Guardian of the Threshold? What is the definition?
Instructor: The Guardian of the Threshold is an ordeal that the disciple faces at the beginning of the path to determine whether or not they are going to be qualified for what are known as the Major Mysteries. So in the beginning of the path, before we can awaken Devi Kundalini, we have to be tested. This is known as the probationary path or the Minor Mysteries. Any person who is single or even married has to pass through the minor initiations relating to nine degrees, which also relates to entering the interior of the earth and its nine strata, its nine infernal regions. It is a symbol of how we have to face ourselves to a certain degree, in which we recognize our egotism, our suffering and that we need to change.
Question: That is interesting. There are many books by metaphysicians on the Kundalini… how to raise it. Nothing about the Guardian of the Threshold.
Instructor: It is because the black magicians fortify that element in themselves. They don't want to work against it, but in the probationary path, you have to face the Guardian. You face an ordeal in the internal worlds, internally, in which you have to confront your own self. So the Guardian of the Threshold, Samael says, is your Being, but it reflects in you all of your garbage, all your evilness that you have accumulated over many millennia. You have to face it in a very great battle. You have to fight hand-to-hand, psychologically, against this beast and conjure it. If you don't defeat it, people who don't defeat it eventually leave Gnosis. They abandon the teaching, but people who have conquered, they stay, because they conquered the ordeal. And so you find that subtle reference in the opera where you have all these people going against them, all the voices clamoring, saying “Have pity on us! Don’t do this work! What do you think you are doing? You can't reach Turandot!” Ping, Pang, and Pong, Diablo, is part of that. It is related to the Guardian the Threshold because he is the tempter.
Question: But those are the three brains also right?
Instructor: Right, because Ping, Pang, and Pong, I-A-O, “I” vibrates in the head, the intellectual brain. “O” relates to the heart. “A,” the breath, can also relate to your seminal energies―three brains.
Question: Since we live in a dualistic world, isn't it better to not think positive thoughts...
Instructor: We have to learn how to use the mind intuitively. That is a very subtle skill we acquire through meditation, because even for a job, we need the intellect to help us, but it doesn't mean that the intellect has to be used all the time.
Question: I am saying when you are walking down the street, you are in a car. Isn't it better to just keep it blank? You get a lot of self-help books that say “Think positive thoughts” with this and that. It is automatically going to weave, and some negative thoughts is going to come up.
Instructor: The highest form of thought is no thought. But to reach that point as Samael Aun Weor states in his book Igneous Rose, thought must flow serenely and sweetly like a river without obstruction. Typically, our thinking tends to be very heavy, identified, and disturbing. But thought should be something serene and subtle, to the point that you are not thinking anymore. You are only receiving life. And I remember there is a lecture that Samael Aun Weor gave in which he gave to his students, “A lot of you struggle with your mind. Your mind is bossing you around. You are identified too much with it. Personally, my mind is perfectly under control. You know, there are moments in which I have to teach, and therefore, I use my mental body. But when I don't need to use it, I don't use it.”
Comment: ...the ability to rest the mind is of the greatest value. Because then when you need answers, they come out of nowhere like in the morning or during the day. It's amazing.
Instructor: So in the opera you find that that teaching of serenity very beautifully exemplified by the fact that, as strong as the Prince Calaf is, it may seem that he is very disturbed. Obviously, someone who is singing in an opera is very passionate, but we have to remember that equanimity, silence of the mind, serenity, is a quality distinctly related to Tiphereth, because the human soul, human willpower, pure concentration, is a state of serenity, of calmness, in which there is no agitation in the mind. We talked about this extensively in our lectures on Gnostic Meditation, about the nine stages of meditative concentration [or Calm Abiding: The Stages of Serenity] in which one ascends from a completely distracted mind to a fully serene and concentrated mind. So meditative equipoise is equanimity, is Tiphereth, because when we reach the ninth degree of concentration in which we are fully relaxed, serene, calm. We have reached Tiphereth, psychologically speaking, in terms of the part of our soul that is most active.
Question: When you astral travel, are you sitting in your chair like this or are you laying down?
Instructor: Sometimes when I have meditated, I have fallen asleep in my chair, my meditation chair. Other times, I have lain down to go to bed, doing a mantra in my mind, falling asleep, and having that experience.
Question: What about when you are sleeping? Are you astral traveling or are you lucid dreaming?
Instructor: Well, with astral travel, what happens is, every person projects into the astral plane at night every time one goes to sleep. The problem is that we do so unconsciously. We tend to do so without any awareness. But if we train ourselves, we can take something that is mechanical and make it conscious. So lucid dreaming can happen often when we are working in mindfulness, working with what is known as the key of SOL: Subject, Object, Location.
Be aware that you are in your body. You are the subject. You are observing the objects around you and you question it and interpret: what is your location? Where are you situated? You train your mind like that when you are living physically, living life physically. You learn to do that in the astral plane because we go many places unconsciously without awareness, without any understanding about where we are at and where we are going. But we may have a moment in which we gain insight. We suddenly see ourselves in some place. We question, “Where am I? How did I get here?” You involve yourself in a type of questioning.
Question: But in what conscious state or dream state?
Instructor: And you ask that question and to test yourself. You can either jump in the air to see if you will float or pull your finger. Pull your finger to see if it will stretch. You pull your finger so that it stretches out. You will realize that you are in your lunar astral body and that you are in the dream state.
Comment: They say there are techniques I am trying to do, but sometimes it is not that easy. You can wake up in a dream and you need to give yourself a prompt before you go to sleep, but when that happens you are like "Oh, I am in a dream!” I have had that experience once. Its very unique to say that you know “I am here in the street.” Of course it’s in a dream. You see everything is similar as you see around here. But then you say to yourself, “Oh my God, but I am on my bed at the same time as I am watching this scene.” But to be able to will it, night after night, to repeat that…
Instructor: So what this opera teaches us in relation to that practice is that we need to be very defined. We need to be very passionate in the conscious sense, following the Passion of Christ. We have to be inspired, and the way that we can do that, like we began this lecture, with was with the runes. You know, get yourself good energy. Do the Runes Man, Fa, Ario, Isis, Ur, with the mantra Ram-IO, and work with practices every day so that we feel charged, because if you see in the opera, Calaf, what makes him such a memorable character, so loved by many audiences, is that he is determined to the point that he is not going to let anything stop him. That is the type of willpower we need in our practices, whether it be of astral projection, dream yoga, meditation.
Question: Building up the energy that you spoke about through certain actions, runes, getting solar energy, will that help you in the night time to access these planes, such as energy built up from meditations during the day time?
Instructor: Yes, because when there is no energy, there is no fire; there is no light. If you don't save your energy, if we waste it through negative emotions, we can't awaken in the astral plane, the world of emotions. If we waste our mental energy, we can't awaken in the mental plane because we have no fuel there. And likewise, the sexual energy too, which is the basis of all three, of all three brains, because the sexual energy circulates from Yesod to Tiphereth to Kether in your body―speaking of your body as a Tree of Life.
So we need energy. We need to enthusiasm, which is why I really love Prince Calaf so much as an initiate in this opera, and Puccini, who was reflecting what he went through, because no artist can reflect that if they haven't experienced it themselves. You can't teach something like that unless you have lived it. So he had a lot of passion, meaning he loved his Being so much that he was willing to do anything to work for Her. And so when we have that longing in our heart, when we are very determined, we don't let obstacles get in our way. Instead, we triumph through them and are willing to suffer no matter what the cost will be, because we love divinity so much and that has to come from inside, from experience. When you personally converse with your Divine Mother and see how beautiful she is, you can't help but melt. You enter ecstasy. She will come to you in symbols and dreams and different forms to teach you psychological truths about yourself. You know, as I gave the example of going into the travel agency. She was showing me, She was at the counter saying, “You want to go to the Middle East? Well, you want to return to me? Pay 355 dollars.” Money in the symbolic language has to do with dharma or karma. Paying money means you have to earn certain experiences. You have to work for them. And that is why I teach this doctrine, because I have been pushed by my Being to do what He and She wants, which is self-realization. I know that a lot of people don't want it.
Question: Why not?
Instructor: Because some people realize how difficult it is and they run away. They had to face the Guardian of the Threshold and then they can't face that.
Question: They can't, but what about people wondering they are going to die someday and they are wondering about the day after life? You would think that would be an inducement.
Instructor: So, many people like to follow the moon, like in the opera, but those who want to succeed in initiation are few. But if you are filled with inspiration and longing, we have to feed it daily so that we don't retrogress.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Secret Teachings of Opera, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
As gnostics, we become enraptured, inflamed, delighted, by the works of the great classical composers such as Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Beethoven, Wagner. It also is remarkable that these paragons of music have taught in their art, the secret teachings of all ages, the secret path of initiation.
Just as we become enthralled by the pyramids of Egypt, Yucatan, the temples of the Maya, the Aztecs, the great churches and synagogues, the great mosques, all the architecture that the best of humanity has produced; these things inspire us. While these forms of art have always been profound, moving, inspiring, it is also a tremendous inspiration to understand how these great works of art have taught in their secret symbols, their allegory, the spiritual path that leads the disciple from ignorance into the light of comprehension. The path of yoga, reunion, religion.
Art has always been used to reflect divine principles, divine truths, with many meanings and symbols that hide tremendous cosmological truths and experiences of the consciousness. Even though in our studies of anthropology, or better said, gnostic anthropology, we have looked at the great architecture of the ancients, the philosophies of the Greeks, the ancient sciences of psychology, mysticism, kabbalah—it can be argued that opera is one of the most refined, and if not, the most synthetic teaching given to humanity.
This art form is truly a form of alchemy. It is alchemical, because it is a mixture of music, drama, theater, art: visual representations, costumes that are appropriate to the given context of a specific opera can help to convey profound truths about the nature of religion, of psychology.
Opera has always been utilized by the great initiates. It is very well known amongst writers that Puccini, Mozart, Beethoven and many others like Tchaikovsky, were Freemasons. Mozart's Magic Flute, which portrays the initiations of the Masonic Lodge, eventually got him into trouble, precisely because he was expressing truths in that opera that were not allowed to be conveyed to the public. But, given his inspiration, he provided a beautiful teaching about the nature of initiation, the spiritual path, of which we will be studying in this course on the Secret Teachings of Opera.
But today I want to just discuss for us some of the principles, the foundations in order to interpret opera, especially the kabbalah and alchemical knowledge that is the synthesis of this great art.
As I stated, the great architecture of humanity, the ancient religions and traditions, while profound and beautiful, are not as refined as this art form, because opera is the synthesis of many aeons of development—many centuries of expressing the teaching in a way that was only communicable and understood by other initiates.
And as I stated, this path is about קבלה kabbalah and alchemy. How is opera kabbalistic, alchemical? The word קבל kabbel in Hebrew means “to receive.” It is knowledge that we receive not only from books or scriptures, but from experience of the consciousness.
Classical music elevates the soul, because this music was composed by prophets.
Many people think that Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt were simply musicians, and that they had a type of genius and creativity that could not be explained. But the profound reality is that they developed their music, their art form, as a result of awakening their full conscious potential.
In their music, they portray many truths relating to mathematics, to numbers. We know that music is very mathematical, kabbalistic, because kabbalah is the science of numbers. In these studies, we know that kabbalah is intuitive. Numbers are intuitive. They represent forces in nature: principles, archetypes, blueprints for the creation of the soul, in which we find represented in the many different characters of the operas like Rodolfo in La Bohème, a reference to the twenty-first arcanum of the tarot: the Fool, the ignorant, the Bohemian.
Likewise, we find the tremendous archaic teachings of the thirteenth arcanum in Puccini's Turandot; the mysteries of death and the Divine Mother. Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin teaches about the loss of the soul. Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, which has terrified many audiences, is a teaching about the path of failure.
So these great masters conveyed in their music, psychological truths about the dangers of the spiritual path of initiation. When we watch opera, we learn to receive the knowledge which is kabbalah, kabbel. We receive the music which inspires the heart, and through the drama of its characters, the narrative, the lyrics, or the libretto, we gain insight into the nature of what is known as the Tree of Life and its different sephiroth. For each character in an opera represents parts of the soul that must be developed, which must be integrated.
So divine art is precisely opera. It is the amalgamation or alchemy of the verb. Of music. Of drama. In opera there is sculpture, there are sets, there is music, there is poetry or literary narrative. In many cases there is dance. So, the initiates, throughout the centuries, for millennia, had provided their teachings within sculpture, within paintings, within music. As a synthesis of this great art, of these great teachings, we find that opera is the peak, the height, the most refined, precisely because it synthesizes all the art forms from the previous eras, of which we'll be talking about in this lecture.
Sadly as much as people love opera and classical music, they don't really comprehend the meaning of the great art forms. They don't understand that the dramas represented in these forms of art, in these presentations, show us something symbolic. They show us something about ourselves, if we are truly walking this path of initiation that we have been explaining in our course on the Tarot, especially.
Opera is a divine art, but in order to benefit from it, we have to awaken consciousness, because for many centuries people have listened to opera. They have watched it. They have been amused by it and have commented on it. They have debated about its purpose and the meanings of certain composers’ work. But sadly, humanity ignores the science of the Tree of Knowledge and the science of the Tree of Life, which are the synthesis of the secret teachings and which can unlock the door to understanding the great works of art, such as with Wagner's Parsifal, of which the Master Samael Aun Weor wrote a book specifically explaining its symbolism, its mysteries. Another opera of which we will be talking about later in this course.
Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis
So in order to discuss the nature of art and the place of opera within the scale of our humanity, it is necessary to speak about some very ancient forms of history which are not documented by our anthropologists, our scientists, who only study physical matter. We have to speak about cosmogenesis and the nature of what is called root races and subraces within our humanity and previous humanities, in order to discuss the teachings of opera. But why?
As we stated, through our many aeons, this teaching has been taught, it has been known, it has been practiced, and many operas teach an ancient form of history that is not known by humanity. It is enough to watch Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, in order to understand and first-hand witness the history of ancient humanities on our planet.
So in order to talk about the place of art that has developed throughout history and reached its peak with opera, we are going to talk about this ancient history in synthesis. We won't have the time in this lecture to really expound upon all the details of these ancient humanities that populated our planet, but we want to point and indicate their place in general in order to help us provide a context for this lecture.
So what is a cosmic era? A cosmic era is known as round, and as we see in this graphic, we have a beautiful depiction of ancient periods in our universal history. We have first what is known as the Mahamanvantara, which is known as the “great cosmic day.” Every universe is born, gives life, and then dies. When it is born, it has existence, when the universe manifests from the unknowable divinity known as the Ain Soph Aur, the Ain Soph, and the Ain in kabbalah, the Absolute.
It emerges and manifests into different levels of matter, energy, and perception, which are mapped by the kabbalah. So, life descends from more subtle forms of matter and energy into the more material.
Life first existed in the mental plane in what is known as the Saturnian Round. When life fully developed in its full capacity in that dimension, after many aeons, trillions of years, and after that round gave birth to seven races in its respective cycle.
It then materialized and entered into what is known as the Solar Round. Life then gestated within the astral plane. Likewise, in that era, seven races were born. When life fully developed at that level, matter, and energy descended into the ethereal plane, the fourth dimension and what is known as the Lunar Round of which Samael Aun Weor spoke about abundantly in his books.
Life in the lunar round existed in what is currently known as the moon, the physical moon which was a planet in previous eras, in the Lunar Round.
A planet always has life, it always has its humanities, its races, that are born and gestated in those eras. But when life fully develops at that level, the planet dies after many aeons, many ages. In that round, life then is extracted from that planet in order for that planet to become a moon, a cadaver.
A moon is a dead planet that once had life in previous rounds. The lunar round took place precisely in our moon, the physical moon and which is why certain writers like Madame Blavatsky taught that the moon is the mother of the Earth. This is contrary to people's belief that the moon was a part of the earth that broke off into space. But the moon was its own planet. It had its own life, its rivers, its forests, its civilizations, its races.
When that planet fully developed its races, its humanities, when the knowledge was given to those ancient epochs, those peoples, the planet eventually has to die, because life is born, is gestated, it sustains, and then it passes. So life once existed on the moon, but the soul of that planet entered into our Earth in the next round, the Terrestrial Round, of which we are currently in—the terrestrial period.
It is important to note that these rounds exist because life is descending. First through the force of involution into different states of matter and perception, so that the souls that are entering into the universe can gain experience, cognizance, understanding.
And what is a root race? There are seven races for each round, as Samael Aun Weor teaches in his books. A root race is precisely a humanity, an age in which certain people are given the opportunity to enter into the mysteries of the secret teachings. To experience and live the path of initiation.
And of course, this terrestrial period indicates with exactitude that life has reached its maximum. Its full materiality. Now we are currently in the process of entering into the higher dimensions once again, from which life first descended.
In the future rounds, life will continue to exist in the ethereal plane. Reconquering the ether. Ascending towards higher worlds and higher states of being. Likewise, the astral plane and the mental plane. Until finally, that universe or the life of the planet and the different worlds will enter back into the Absolute, what is known as the cosmic night: the Mahapralaya, the cosmic period of rest.
Each period has seven root races, of which we are currently in the fifth. We once experienced and had life on this planet through the Polar Race, followed by the Hyperborean Race, the Lemurian Race, the Atlantean Race, the Aryan Race.
Each race or root race has his life and its death. There are always periods of great cataclysms in which such humanities are exterminated once the fruits of those races have been produced. When a humanity has given forth solar men, solar initiates, solar beings through the spiritual path we have been teaching in our courses, then those humanities reach their peak of civilization, and then they decay. When they decay, they are finished through great cataclysms of which the Aztecs and the Maya have depicted in their sun calendars of Tonatiuh, in which these different humanities experience different forms of their demise, which we won't go into depth today.
But we mentioned in brief because in order to talk about opera and art, the great forms of the sacred mysteries, we have to speak about our ancient humanities.
The Seven Aryan Subraces
We are now in the fifth race, the Aryan Race, which should not be confused with the Germans, because the German people are merely one aspect of the Aryan Race.
Each race has seven subraces, of which we have an image of our Aryan Race in the top right. Why is the fifth root race the Aryan Race? Because we are governed by Ares, by Mars, by Samael, the angel of strength. The previous periods were governed by other angels, but now we are under the jurisdiction of Ares, of Samael.
It was a mistake of certain people amongst the Nordics, the Germanic peoples, to think that they were the only Aryans on the planet. That was a mistake. The Aryan Race has flourished upon the whole planet and every continent.
Each root race is divided into seven subraces as we stated.
Humanity amongst the Aryans first developed in Tibet, then moved into India and China.
The third subrace existed in the Middle East, the fourth in Greece and Rome, the fifth amongst the Nordics as well as the Anglo-Saxons, Teutons, and European people.
In Latin America, we have the sixth subrace. Right now, in the United States, we have the seventh subrace that is developing presently here and now. We have stated and it has been stated that the subraces, or better said, the subrace of the United States, is a mixture, is a crucible, a melting pot in which all the races of the our planet are mixing, precisely with the purpose of generating the seed for the next root race, which is the sixth in our terrestrial period.
The sixth root race will be known as Koradi, which is the new people, the new age, the new era of Aquarius cited by Samael Aun Weor, in the Book of Revelation. After our Aryan civilization is destroyed with great cataclysms, like the previous races before, certain people and certain seeds of our race, the seventh subrace, will be extracted and taken in order to develop the new humanity.
So the best seed is always used to cultivate new plants, new life. The same with the subrace of the United States in which the Gnostic movement is marching firmly forward, having originated from Latin America, but also has spread throughout every continent of the planet, to all of humanity, our Aryan race.
We have talked and have spoken a lot about the great cataclysm that is going to afflict our humanity in this present epoch. Nuclear wars, forms of destruction, the end of an era of perversity which has really reached the maximum. Because this Aryan race is so degenerated, divinity has no other option but to eliminate it and to save those seeds, those few people who want to change, psychologically. And through preparing ourselves to the initiative work, we provide ourselves the opportunity to exist in the future root race, if we are pure—if we fully eliminate the ego.
But why talk about opera in this context? It might seem like a digression, but it is important to note that this ancient history, which is not known by our scientists, has been taught in opera especially, Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold.
We will talk about how these great works of art have always spoken about and alluded to these ancient forms of humanity, in a symbolic way, but which people who are very literal, don't know how to interpret… those who are very fanatical or who may like the classical composers, but don't understand the symbols of their work.
This history is only understood through the consciousness. We cannot necessarily find physical remnants of these ancient humanities. There are a few, but the real evidence lies in the internal planes in what is known as the Akashic Records. But to give some indications towards the past remnants of our ancient humanities, we know that there are statues and sculptures on Easter Island, which Samael Aun Weor stated are the remnants of Lemuria who were giants [like Fafner and Fasolt in Wagner’s Das Rheingold]. Gigantic figures, gigantic people, who existed in this third dimension, but also in the fourth before they finally descended into materiality.
What is also interesting is that there have been found by certain archaeologists and scientists, certain glass layers in the Earth found in the Sahara Desert, Libya, Mojave, and other places which could only be formed by the aftermath of tremendous atomic explosions. It is said that in order to create such layers of glass that have reached the diameter found, I believe in the Sahara or Maccabi, it would take nuclear explosions 10,000 times more powerful than those used in New Mexico. The Mahabharata also has certain illusions towards nuclear war amongst the Atlanteans who destroyed themselves through that type of technology in which Plato, I believe in his Timaeus, hints at that these ancient civilizations existed [Wagner even depicts the giants Fafner and Fasolt killing one another in Das Rheingold, reminiscent of how the giant civilization of Atlantis reached its tragic conclusion].
This type of history is not really easy to validate except through awakening consciousness in the internal planes, to really experience and understand from experience where these root races came from. How they lived. What they did. We have Easter Island and a few other remnants found across the planet that point towards the remnants of these civilizations.
It is interesting that we have these facts which scientists can't explain. They want to ignore that there were civilizations before us that were more powerful. The Atlantean science was by far, much more developed than our Aryan Race.
So why talk about opera? Opera developed amongst the fifth Aryan subrace, especially amongst the Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic, and European people. We find that beautiful forms of art that teach the secret knowledge that have been given in Tibet amongst the Indians and Chinese. Especially in the Middle East amongst the Muslims and Sufis. Likewise, amongst Grecians and Romans, and also in Europe amongst the Germans, the English, and other Europeans
While we state that opera is the synthesis of all other art forms, we also state that just because this form of art is synthetic and highly refined, doesn't indicate that the fifth Aryan subrace was superior, because we know from history that the first and second world wars were initiated by this subrace amongst the Aryans, amongst the German people as well as the Europeans, which is very degenerated.
But it was the purpose of the White Lodge to provide teachings within this subrace to give some type of knowledge and understanding for future peoples amongst the Latin Americans, among the Europeans, and especially within the United States, in which we are explaining this knowledge in a very open fashion.
In the age of Pisces, we had many forms of art that had inspired people, but people don't understand the real meaning, their significance.
In the age of Aquarius, the era of the water bearer, we are explaining this knowledge for the first time, the significance of these great works of art. The White Lodge gave many operas, many forms of music, of drama, that teach how to unite with Christ, with the truth but, because people were not necessarily benefiting from that knowledge, the White Lodge determined there was a time in which that knowledge had to be finished, concluded, which was around World War I, when the opera Parsifal debuted. We also have Turandot that came out in 1926, which is fairly late.
Since where we are now in the age of Aquarius, and because this Aryan Root Race is going to end through many great cataclysms, we are now explaining for the first time the meaning of these operas—to give to humanity the secret knowledge that has been hidden, but also has been visible to them for many centuries. But for the fact that people have not known kabbalah and alchemy, they could not interpret it. So now we give this knowledge explicitly for the benefit of those who suffer and who want to understand the path that leads out of suffering.
Art and the Sabbath
Art has always been considered sacred and the ancient epochs, but not in these present times. The Sabbath, the day of Saturn-day, Saturday, relating to the Holy Spirit, was the day of learning among the ancient cultures, in which people would recreate to listen to either opera or great works of art. To see dramas, presentations of the secret path on their day of rest, in which art is highly significant and relates not only to Venus, but to Saturn. Saturn-day—because the teachings of Saturn, the teachings of the Holy Spirit, as well as the teachings of the Third Logos, are precisely the wisdom or the intelligence of the divine, because Binah in Hebrew means “intelligence.” It is the knowledge of the higher mysteries, the secret path.
Ancient art was always used to convey profound cosmic truths, principles, realities. People would attend these performances because they understood from experience that they were divine, profound, and personal. Because when one has personal experience from initiation, from meditation, one sees one's own experience reflected in art.
Therefore, art becomes something very prophetic, divine.
“The Sabbath, the day of the theatre, the day of the mysteries, was very popular in the ancient temples. Marvelous cosmic dramas were then presented. Drama served to transmit valuable teachings to the Initiates. Different ways to experience the Being and the manifestations of the Being were transmitted to the initiates by means of drama. Among the dramas, the most ancient one is that of the Cosmic Christ. The Initiates knew very well that each of us must become the Christ of such a drama if we indeed aspire to the Kingdom of the Superman. The cosmic dramas are based on the Law of Seven. Certain intelligent deviations of such a law were always utilized in order to transmit transcendental teachings to the neophyte.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So what does it mean to become the Christ such a drama? Many operas teach the Christic path, in which the great heroes, such as Sigmund and Siegfried in the Wagnerian Cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen [The Ring of the Nibelungen]—they must overcome great traumas and tragedies and conflicts. Likewise, Prince Calaf from Turandot must conquer the heavenly divine kingdom of China, and marry the divine princess Turandot by overcoming the temptations of Christ.
So these works of art depict psychologically what one must do in those situations, here and now. That art reflects that path itself. It can provide inspiration for those who are working.
The Kabbalah and Alchemy of Music
As I stated, classical music is a medium for prophets. Music is the sacred language of kabbalah, of alchemy, of numbers, of intuitive principles. Music can teach us many profound things through the emotional center, through the heart. That language can only be understood when we know the Tree of Life and the mysteries of working within a matrimony, the Holy Spirit, the divine feminine, and the divine masculine.
So, art is based on these profound principles, on the world of numbers, on the worlds of numbers relating to the Tree of Life and its symbolic language.
When we have been discussing the nature of numbers in relation to the tarot, we have been talking about how those numbers reflect principles, aspects of our psychology, of our spirituality, which we must learn to work with in its progression, in its development. Music depicts through the heart, through its emotional impact in the soul—in relation to specific dramas—what one must do in the spiritual path when facing those types of temptations and ordeals.
It is also important to remember that music is divine, or can be divine. It can elevate the soul, or if it's degenerated, it can push the ego to act, the mind to indulge in negative thoughts, negative sentiment, negative feelings.
But, classical music is the language of the higher worlds. It is literally the messages of the superior angels, the prophets, who are teaching about higher levels of being, higher ways of being.
“We must comprehend the significance of music, happiness, and optimism. One remains in ecstasy when listening to The Magic Flute of Mozart, which reminds us of an Egyptian Initiation.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
And if you remember the opening of The Magic Flute with its three notes, it refers to the Pyramids of Giza. So again, you see how numbers and notes take on conceptual dimensions. They represent things which are very practical for those who are meditating and waking consciousness in the internal worlds, so that when one has those experiences, one can listen to music and interpret the meaning of those messages.
Obviously when listening to The Magic Flute, we hear an initiation relating to Egypt, and personally I have been to Egypt in the astral plane. I have been to the temple of Giza in that dimension. When listening to Mozart's Magic Flute I hear and I see in my mind, my experience of being accepted into the temple. But in order to understand those messages, we have to awaken consciousness, otherwise, those messages and music will not be interpreted. They will not be understood.
This is why Samael Aun Weor stated for someone who is awakening consciousness:
“One feels amazed when listening to the nine symphonies of Beethoven, or the ineffable melodies of Chopin and Liszt. The ineffable music of the great classics comes from the exquisite regions of Nirvana where only happiness that is beyond love reigns. All the great Children of the Fire (the angels, the Elohim, the Malachim, the masters) distill the perfume of happiness and the exquisite fragrance of music and joy.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
In the temples of the higher dimensions are beings that relate to the world of music. We know from Kabbalah that Tiphereth, of which we will be explaining in depth today, is the world of music.
Beethoven, the great master of major mysteries, is a guardian of the temple of music, which Samael Aun Weor confirmed when meeting him in that initiation or related to that state that he experienced.
The great masters of humanity, the angels, the Elohim, bear within their eyes, their consciousness, the beauty of divinity, the beauty of divine music. Personally, when I have been with certain Elohim, after experiencing certain ordeals and overcoming them, I remember in one occasion, I was tested in the astral plane, given certain symbolic experiences which I had to overcome in relation to the four elements.
This reminds us of The Magic Flute in how Tamino and Pamina must, in a matrimony, face the four deals of the elements. Personally, I have had that experience whereby I was tested through the elements, in a symbolic way, and after conquering those ordeals, I was face-to-face with the angels in a living room. When looking at them, one can only see the purity in their eyes, divinity, and the exquisite serenity that they exude is truly indescribable, but one can only describe it in forms of music.
The great classical compositions show us the beauty of the soul.
We could remember the sixth symphony of Tchaikovsky, in which, before the great battle in the first movement against the dragon, of which we've spoken about in Arcanum Six [Indecision from the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah]. One hears the melodies and harmonies of the soul united with its consciousness (or Tiphereth united with Geburah; the human soul with the divine soul).
Music, again, is a profound medium for prophetic art. It teaches that through its dramas and symbols, its emotional impact, how the path of initiation is not taught in the dead letter of certain religions, and that when people look at religion and have made it something dead, there is a means to revive it. To give it life, specifically done through the great classical composers, which is why we heard Wagner state that:
"When religion becomes artificial, art has a duty to rescue it. Art can show that the symbols which religions would have us believe literally true are actually figurative. Art can idealize those symbols, and so reveal the profound truths they contain…I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven, and likewise their disciples and apostles; —I believe in the Holy Spirit and the truth of the one, indivisible Art; —I believe that this Art proceeds from God, and lives within the hearts of all illumined men…” ―Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
…those who have awakened consciousness in the internal worlds.
“—I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art…” through having experiences in meditation and having lived it personally in the higher dimensions, “is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her…” —Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
…when you verify, and the examples such as The Magic Flute of Mozart, certain experiences in the astral plane, you watch those operas and you become inflamed. When we witness the same experiences depicted in symbols through music, through art, and therefore, one feels amazed and “one is consecrate to” art “forever.”
Because through “Art all men are saved." —Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
Divine art, opera, is a means of saving humanity or saving those who want to enter into initiation.
Personally when we went to go see Turandot at the Lyric Opera House, for those of you who are listening online, we took some of our students to go see Puccini's masterpiece in the Lyric Opera House in Chicago, and I remember that morning having certain astral experiences about what was going to happen when watching this work of art. And personally, having experienced some of the mysteries of that piece of music, truly watching that art form, really puts one into ecstasy.
It elevates the soul and when you have experience of what these masters have taught, you are consequent to her forever. Even if your ego or doubt wanted to deny the truth, you would know it and you would not be able to deny her.
Richard Wagner is a great master who depicted the entire path of initiation in his Ring Cycle of which will be giving future courses most likely.
Classical Music and the Human Machine
Talking about some of the practical dimensions of listening to music, in our Gnostic studies we emphasize that classical music elevates the five centers of the human machine, and that negative forms of music are destructive for the emotional center, especially, but also the mind and even our sexual, instinctual, and motor centers, which certain vulgar music can inspire through the ego to dance or to act in negative ways.
But the way to discern the difference between conscious music and vulgar music is through meditation—by having familiarity with superior states of being, because many of our students ask us online, but also in person, about how one can discern between conscious art and diabolic art.
In many cases, such art forms may be very similar and very hard to discern, one from the other, but the way to resolve that question is to examine your emotional center when you are listening to certain forms of art.
Does it provoke anger, resentment, pride, laziness, gluttony, avarice, greed? Negative states? Which if we are observant, we will see that those forms of art provoke those elements and therefore we can know that they are negative.
But to learn how to perceive conscious art is through meditation, and by awakening within the higher dimensions, because when you listen to works like the nine symphonies of Beethoven, and observe the reaction of the heart in a profound state of concentration and awareness, we can sense and discriminate and interpret the impact in the emotional center of that art.
This is why the ancient schools of mysteries taught that the whole science and art of the secret path had to integrate all three brains of gnostic psychology. They knew very well that people don't just learn from the intellect through lecture, through books, but through movement and through emotion. Three brains: the intellectual brain, emotional brain, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of the Dialectic that:
“In music it is well known that certain notes can produce happiness in the thinking (intellectual) center, other notes can produce sadness in the sensitive (emotional) center and other notes can produce religiosity in the motor center.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
If we are listening to Puccini's Turandot and we are very attentive, concentrated in our three brains, meditating, waiting, listening—we observe our heart—we can hear how some notes can inspire us to have profound understanding in the intellectual brain.
I believe you mentioned asking about the difference between the intellect that is superior and the intellect that is inferior. The inferior intellect churns with thought. It projects its ideas. But understanding is the capacity of the superior intellectual center in which one understands something without having to think about it, and that applies to music. You can listen to a composition and immediately know. You can understand through the notes and its emotional impact that it conceptually represents something that you experienced and therefore that produces a profound state of religiosity in the motor center. It can inspire.
The Sufis taught to dance, to perform the whirling dervishes, and we'll talk about that in our next slide about how religiosity can inspire the motor center. How certain notes produce ecstasy, not only in the mind and heart, but in the body.
This is why certain forms of dance are very sacred.
“Indeed, the old Hierophants never ignored that integral knowledge can only be acquired through the three cerebrums. A single cerebrum cannot give complete information.
“The sacred dance and the cosmic drama, wisely combined with music, served to transmit tremendous archaic teachings of a cosmogenetic, psychobiological, psychochemical, metaphysical type, etc., to the neophytes.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Inspirations and Meditations on Classical Music
This music was formed to teach conscious principles, like we find with the Sufis—many indigenous cultures, as well as ancient civilizations like amongst the Middle East. Among the esoteric circles, they would use music in conjunction with dance to portray or embody conscious principles. To inspire the devotee to want to practice the path.
So that is really the purpose of opera. Of any classical music. It is to inspire us to work, because that music is something heavenly and divine, and when we understand and feel that intuitive impact of an opera or a piece of music, and we understand its message and shows us that this path is possible, that it could be done, one then feels inspired to meditate, to work.
Music is also an expression of consciousness and the Sufis teach that one should listen to music and gather around certain dances and works in order to inspire us to enter the path, and also to help us keep walking it.
As we stated, when listening to conscious music, one should observe one's three brains. Music becomes a very profound form of concentration or concentration exercise, in which our object of meditation, we sit, or better said, our object of concentration, we relax in a chair, on a couch, or in bed. I actually don't recommend lying down because one may fall asleep, especially when the music is very calm and soothing. Instead we sit in a chair and we give our full attention, with eyes closed, to the music, to the composition.
The principle applies even to opera, but it's a little different because with opera, you need to have your eyes open. Which is why watching opera is much more demanding in terms of meditation, because with classical music you can sit, close your eyes in a chair, listen to the composition, be aware of its influence in the three brains—how the notes produce inspiration in the heart, concepts in the mind, or intuitive understandings in the mind, and religiosity in the motor center, humbleness, humility.
That is easier to do than watching an opera because when you watch an opera, you need to know who is saying what, what the characters are doing. Therefore, that type of meditation is much more difficult, which is why opera really was not intended for the masses—although people like Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven, and others composed to earn money. In a superficial sense they had to live. But their real purpose in giving that art was to reach the few.
So people who were very trained in meditation would watch their operas, who were initiates. They would understand the meaning just by listening to the music and observing, because they had trained themselves in concentration for so long where they can listen to the music and not forget what they are doing.
Sufi Teachings on Spiritual Concerts
The Sufis teach these principles very beautifully which apply not only just to Middle Eastern dance and music, but also to opera. The Sufis taught that when one listens to such works of art, one should act like one is in a temple. That one is in the presence of the divine, because one truly is listening to Christ, to God, when one hears the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven.
As we stated in our lecture on our Arcanum Nine, literally we hear the verb, the voice of the divine Elohim, singing in unison. It is a representation of Christ. So, when we listen to music like that or watch operas, we have to be very attentive, in a state of humility, in prayer, because those works of art were not given haphazardly, but intentionally to teach specific truths.
So “Know that listening to poetry with beautiful melodies and delightful intonation—when the one who listens does not believe it to be forbidden, does not hear anything that is blamable according to the divine Command, is not driven by the reins of his lust, and does not gather with others for the sake of lusts—is wholly permissible.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Sufis emphasized that when one listens to music one should do so in accordance with the Divine Law, which they call Sharia, not to be mistaken with the punitive laws of Muslim countries, but to the spiritual discipline of the initiates in the Middle East. Ethical work.
So, music should not inspire us to identify with pride or lust or anger or fear or degeneration. That is something we can only determine by listening and being awake and following our intuition. That music is permissible when it does not inspire the ego. It does not inspire our desires. That is only something we can discern through constant work and tasting the psychological flavor of higher states in comparison with lower states. It is like comparing water and wine. It is a distinct taste, but we have to learn to meditate to discriminate the difference.
“There is no denying that poetry was recited before the Messenger of God, and that he listened to it and did not censure those who recited it.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Sufis have often argued with the orthodoxy that poetry and music are divine expressions, such as with the Qur’an, which can be read in a very melodic and beautiful way and that Prophet Muhammad did not find those forms of recitation to be illicit, negative. This is something that has pertained to the Sufi schools and their fight for survival against the Muslim orthodoxy, because many Muslims think that poetry and music are not positive. But the truth is that according to the Sufis, music is something divine.
“So if hearing it without beautiful melody is licit, how should the rule be altered by hearing it with melody? This is the obvious side of the matter. What comes next is that the one who listens should find his wish to perform acts of devotion increased.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So while this pertains to listening to the Qur’an, one should feel inspired to listen to that scripture, but likewise with classical music, an opera. When we listen to such art, we should really feel motivated and inspired, which is not very difficult to do when we are approaching certain operas or music for the first time as some of us experienced with the opera Turandot at the Lyric Opera House.
“He should remember the degrees that God Most High has prepared for his servants who fear Him. This should lead him to guard against sins, and immediately convey to his heart the purity of feeling and impression required by the religion and preferred in the divine Law.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So this principle applies to meditating on classical music.
“He should remember the degrees that God Most High has prepared for his servants who fear Him.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning, when we have respect and reverence for divinity, we listen to the music and we hear the power of the divine. Such as with Mozart's compositions, his Requiem. Especially Verdi's Requiem, in which we hear the severity of the law falling upon and punishing the souls of the damned. When we hear that music, we feel fear and reverence in recognition that we do not want to enter that fate. Likewise, when we listen to music and see operas:
“This should lead him to guard against sins, and immediately convey to his heart the purity of feeling and impression required by the religion and preferred in the divine Law.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Like with Parsifal, in which we find the hero is confronted in the garden of temptation by Kundry, Kundabuffer, the inverted serpent. Listening to the sublime music of Wagner's composition, we remember in our own experiences certain temptations in the astral plane, in which witches and sorcerers try to tempt one to fall from the path. One is tempted to engage in lust in that state when one renounces that like Parsifal does. One should fear and feel inspired to reject sins as required by religion, as preferred in the divine law, which is chastity.
The great Arcanum is the divine law, which the Muslims call Sharia, or the Sufis called Sharia, because the public orthodox Muslim doctrine does not know the spiritual dimension of these things. But instead, the divine law has to do with the great Arcanum, the stipulations of chastity.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, ‘The spiritual concert is forbidden to ordinary people because of the continued maintenance of their egos.’” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So look at all the opera house today. Millions of individuals go see the opera, but it's vulgar for them because they are egotistical. They don't understand how to meditate. They don't know how to discern the conscious qualities of that, of that work of art. Therefore it is really forbidden because amongst the Sufis, they were very strict. They felt that their dances should not be given to people who are fornicators.
But because we live in a different era now, this knowledge is more open and therefore the spiritual concert is open to all. It is why Mozart, Puccini, Wagner, Beethoven, the latter who only composed one opera, Fidelio, they gave that opera and those art forms because they wanted to give the teachings for a future people. For people who have understanding.
But “spiritual concerts are forbidden to ordinary people because of the continued maintenance of their egos. It is permissible for renunciants, people who renounce lust, desire, fornication, and the ego, because of their pursuit of inner struggle.
“It is permissible for renunciates (people who renounce lust, desire, fornication, and the ego” because of their pursuit of inner struggle.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
And how is this acceptable for renunciants? It is enough to look at an opera like Puccini's Turandot to see the path of renunciation there, especially in the first act in which Prince Calaf is going to ring the gong that is going to put him on trial for the three riddles—to answer before Devi Kundalini, the Divine Mother. Everyone goes against him. They strive to put him away from the path, but he fights very adamantly and very courageously, because he is renouncing evil, the infernal worlds. We will be talking about the dynamics of that opera in our next lecture.
Lastly, classical music or spiritual concert “is recommended for our companions,” for the initiates, for the masters, “for the sake of the life of their hearts.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So going back to what we Richard Wagner taught, he stated that when one understands divine art, one is consecrate to her forever and cannot deny her.
Kabbalah: The Tree of Life and Classical Music
So where does music originate from, kabbalistically?
We talked about how the universe is emerged from the Absolute: the Ain, the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur, descending down the different levels of materiality, energy, perception, and experience.
Music is Christ, the Word, the Logos.
“In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” —John 1:1
Christ is an energy. It is vibration. It is sound. It is harmony. It is the force that creates, that originates, that gives life.
Therefore, classical music as composed by the great masters of Tiphereth, those who reach the Fifth Initiation of Fire, are those who learn how to incarnate the Christ, the Word, through their heart, since Tiphereth relates to the heart.
They express the divine teachings down through Netzach, the mind, Hod, the emotional vehicle, Yesod, our vitality, and Malkuth, our physicality.
I like to read for you some quotations from a book called Christ's Will by Samael Aun Weor, who explains the nature of kabbalah, of music, of sound, of Christ, very synthetically and beautifully.
He emphasizes that the will of Christ is music, is art, because Christ is harmony, is beauty, is purity, which, can either reflect in music or in the heart of those initiates who know how to experience the truth.
16. Christ's will is ineffable music.
17. The world of willpower is the world of music...
18. Music grants to willpower the ineffable harmony of the Gods.
19. Music and willpower form a marriage of love, impossible to describe with human words.
20. Music grants willpower the quality of conjunct beauty... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
And why is that? Music is Christ. The Divine Logos. The Verb. As we find in the Beethoven's Ninth Dymphony, relating to the nine heavens of the Tree of Life and also Kether, the Crown of Glory, which anoints or crowns any initiate who has fully reached the end of the path. Willpower is Tiphereth, the human soul, which must learn to conquer the disharmony of the mind, Netzach, the mind, Hod, the emotions, Yesod, our sexuality and instincts and Malkuth, our physical body.
So music, Chokmah, Christ, the world of sound, gives beauty to Tiphereth, because we find that the trinity finds its equilibrium within the heart, within Tiphereth.
21. Music grants willpower the harmony of the great cosmic diapason. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Or the great marching symphony of the cosmos, because as we heard in the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, the Ode to Joy:
“Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.”
The music is a march, is a symphony, in which all the Angels march towards the ineffable light of Christ, of the Absolute, the Ain Soph Aur, the “limitless light.” So those lyrics literally mean:
“Joy, beautiful spark of the Gods,
Daughter of Elysium (Empyrion: the ninth heaven, Kether).
We enter brought by fire (from Yesod, our foundation).
Himmlische dein Heiligtum! (Heavenly Thy sanctuary…)
…which is heilig, holy, Tum. We have done the mantra Tum previously, in which we invoke the crown, Kether, Chokmah, the Son, and Binah, the Holy Spirit, into our three brains. The mantra Tum is a profound mantra of ineffable power in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enter inside of us.
“Heiligtum” means sanctuary. So, to return to that holy sanctuary is to return to the top trinity of the Tree of Life.
“Your magic reunites those whom stern custom has parted (Deine Zauber binden wieder. Was die Mode streng geteilt).”
Your magic reunites those whom the custom of the ego has separated, has pulled apart, because the ego is disharmony, is dissonance, is conflict.
“All men should become brothers under your gentle wing,” within the Absolute.
So that is the great cosmic march. diapason. The great symphony of the initiates in which one returns the light of divine truth.
So willpower relates to that principle, because it is through our will that we will decide to enter the harmonies above or the dissonance of the infernal worlds below, beneath the Tree of Life, which is Klipoth, the hell realms.
22. The volitive acts of music are as harmonious and solemn as the movement of the stars in the space... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
...which again is something that Beethoven depicted.
23. As long as the fifth degree of the power of the fire has not entered the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, volitive acts will not be in accord with the vibrant harmonies of the solemn cosmic symphonies. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So only by raising the fire of Kundalini up the lower bodies, the first initiation of fire, relating to Malkuth. The second initiation of fire related with Yesod. The third initiation fire relating to Hod. The fourth initiation of fire with Netzach and with Tiphereth, one must raise the serpent power of Kundalini in order to create the causal vehicle. To raise it up the spine, to the mind, then into the heart.
So only when that power has reached the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, will our willpower, our actions, will be in accord with the vibrant symphonies of the divine.
24. When willpower is distant from music, it is coarse and rude, like the caress of a feline beast... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
What does it mean that willpower is distant from music? Because when we act from anger, from resentment, from pride, we create music, but in hell. Through disharmony, through hatred, through fear, through our interactions with humanity.
25. However, once the Sacred Fire has entered the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, volitive actions are true living symphonies... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Our actions become divine, and this explains why certain composers like Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, they depicted so much in their art. People don't comprehend how they had the capacity to express so much. That is because people in Malkuth, do not know anything about spiritual development, but when someone raises the fire of Kundalini, one can awaken capacities of genius, of intelligence, Binah in kabbalah.
So conscious acts are represented by the works of the great initiates, the prophets. Beethoven is a prophet. I don't really consider him to be a musician because he really taught in his art how to unite with Christ. The same with Wagner, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Bach, and many others.
26. Christ's will has the majesty of the tempest and the love of the dawning star...
27. Music grants unto willpower that eurythmy of Apollo and that beauty of Venus de Milo...
28. The willpower of music is the phallus of the Gods...
29. The Masters of music are columns of the temple of the living God...
30. Music generates actions as perfect as the harmonies of the cosmic diapason.
31. The entire universe is the temple of music...
32. Arthur Shopenhauer, in his book entitled, "The World as Will and Representation," conceived Nature as a representation of willpower.
33. Nonetheless, he forgot that willpower is music... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
And why is willpower music? Tiphereth is the causal world. We have Malkuth, the physical plane, the physical world. Yesod, the etheric world. Hod, the astral, emotional world. Netzach, the mental world. And Tiphereth, the causal plane.
I remember having an experience in Tiphereth after overcoming an ordeal in the astral plane in which Samael Aun Weor took me and let me experience a little vacation in Tiphereth, in which in that experience one sees the trees, the waves of the water, the wind as cause-and-effect, rippling in beautiful harmony, in perfection. I saw there many masters in their tunics of initiation who were welcoming me at that level saying, “This is what is possible for you if you work.”
So that world is a world of causality, cause and effect, in which you see how the rippling of the tides, the wind, the air, of people's speech, people's communication, of one's interactions, is of divine love, of purity.
So, the world of will is a world of music.
There is a temple of music in the world of Nirvana, the sixth dimension, the fifth sephirah of the Tree of Life [from the bottom up].
34. Every living flower, the sigh of every bird, and the love hidden within the bosom of the earth, are living incarnations of music...
35. Everything in nature has a key note, and the set of all those notes constitutes that magnificent tone of the Great Mother, which resounds in the ardent space with the Chinese Kung...
36. When Joshua blew the trumpet, the walls of Jericho collapsed, because he sounded the key note of those unconquered walls...
37. A soft word calms wrath, and discordant words break the harmony of the cosmic diapason, and generate disorder... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So this asks us to beg the question: what is our psychological state? Do our actions produce harmony, happiness, or suffering?
The comprehension, the beauty, and the harmony of the soul is represented in opera. Especially composed by the great masters. Not modern opera, but those composed by initiates.
Samael Aun Weor continues:
38. The ineffable orchestras of the zodiacal belt resound in the world of willpower, lifting us toward the most sublime summits of samadhi.
39. The great rhythms of fire produce the dances of the stars within the incommensurable spaces.
40. The will of music sustains the flux and reflux of life, and moves the pendulum of the infinite existences throughout the Mahamanvantara. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So harkening back to the beginning of our lecture, we spoke extensively about the cosmic days and the root races and the subraces. That is because when the universe forms from the absolute, it is because of music. It is because:
41. The Word is incarnated within the heart of every lotus, and in the throb of every life.
42. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So remember what Wagner said about his belief in the illumined men, the initiates, those who have incarnated Christ and who teach the path of Christ and their art as bodhisattvas, as prophets.
42. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
So look at the operas that our humanity has. The light shines in the darkness, but people don't understand the messages they contain.
42. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (That John is broken down acrostically is Johannes. I E O U A M S: the seven vowels, which we pronounce with our sacred runes, the runic exercises, the verb).
So in order to understand Christ, we have to work with those mantras, the seven notes of the musical scale.
42. “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”
Or better said, follow him from having understood from experience what those teachings entail.
42. “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him…”
Referring to those cosmic rounds we spoke about—the Saturnian, the Solar, the Lunar, and the Terrestrial periods.
42. “…and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him (through kabel, kabbalah, through listening to the great operas of music, and listening to what those symphonies entail, that art) to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name [Hashem, the Verb]: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh (through initiation), and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." – John 1:1-14
So Samael Aun Weor continues:
43. Music is will of God...
44. Music is Christ's will.
45. Classical music generates universes, and sustains suns during the great cosmic day...
46. One becomes enraptured when listening to compositions like the nine symphonies of Beethoven...
47. One becomes ecstatically overwhelmed amidst the notes of Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt...
48. Every upright action is music of light...
49. Every wrong action is fatal music.
50. Negative music like mambo, guaracha, porro, cumbia, etc., is infernal music from the abyss that only originates fornications, adulteries, hatreds, gormandize, drunkennesses, crimes, etc. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Now other forms of music like rock and roll, rap, many that we can list that are degenerate. They provoke the ego to act, which is why the Sufis taught that we should only listen to music that is accordance with the divine law, with Christ.
51. We prove with this that willpower is music, and that every action is a daughter of music.
52. War marches inflame the will of men and take them to violence.
53. Funeral marches fill the eyes with tears and produce confusion of faces and bitterness.
54. Human words are articulated music, sometimes sweet and calm like inneffable melodies, sometimes satanic and discordant like infernal notes...
55. The articulated word is a terrible weapon, as much for good as for evil.
56. When humanity had not yet left Eden, it only uttered the word of the light, which as a golden river sweetly slid through the thick, sunny jungle.
57. Within the ineffable profundity of music, all of nature utters that ineffable tongue of the Gods.
58. The tongue of the Gods is sacred music.
59. This divine tongue has its sacred alphabet, and to that sacred alphabet belong the divine runes (read Igneous Rose and Magic of the Runes).
60. The creative larynx is the sexual organ of Christ's will.
61. The word of the Gods places the worlds into existence.
62. The word of the Gods is Christ's will. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Therefore we can say that opera, as the manifestation of the spoken verb, drama, and music, is the perfect amalgamation and alchemy of Christ. Opera is divine. It is the synthesis of all the previous eras of art and music. It is the most refined. The most synthetic.
Now we cannot say that modern classical music portrays the higher principles of the divine, even though such compositions can be very mathematical, but they tend to be very cold, dissonant, and discordant.
Classical music in a modern times tends to be from the ego, and as we stated, the Age of Pisces ended quite a while ago, but at the same time, the White Lodge had determined that humanity does not need any more works of art, of that nature. There may be some people in these times who are Gnostic and who are working on music, which is wonderful. I know a few people who are trying to do some Aquarian music. But in terms of the great prophetic works of art like opera, the time has ended, because the Aryan Race is going to be concluded soon.
73. The golden tongue resounds in all creation.
74. The golden tongue is Christ's will.
75. Now, rejoice, oh Buddha, because you have entered into the temple of music... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
…as he states in his book Christ's Will. He is talking to the initiates who have achieved the Fourth Initiation of Fire, who were entering into Tiphereth. By raising the sacred fire of Kundalini up that spine of the essence in the world of beauty, of Tiphereth.
A person who reaches the fourth initiation of fire becomes a buddha, a master that level, but is a neophyte when entering into this dimension.
76. With patience, study the divine art of music.
77. From this moment, the professor of this sacred college (within the world of Tiphereth, Nirvana) will teach music-will to you. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So if you really want to learn music and its significance, we should awaken consciousness in Nirvana, the sixth dimension, the world of Tiphereth, because when you are in that dimension, you see literally cause and effect of all phenomena: thoughts, actions, movements, people, things. Everything is in a great flux and reflux of life, cosmic movement.
And so those colleges of initiation in that level will teach you how to work with music, which is how Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, learned.
They physically received training in this world to become composers, but their real training consisted in meditation and learning in the higher dimensions, which explains why someone like Beethoven, who went completely deaf, I believe before composing his Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis, he was able to compose his art, even though he physically couldn't hear anything.
So people don't have explanations other than he was a genius, and yes, he was, but we know that he was a prophet, because he was awakened in those dimensions.
78. Music-will is Christ's will.
79. Christ's will is the Word...
80. Christ's will is music.
81. Christ was the incarnation of the Word.
82. And the Word was made flesh (made manifest within the great works of art, the initiates), and dwelt among us (in our opera houses we can say).
83. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Meaning: those prophets teach through Turandot, through Tosca, through the Ring Cycle, through The Damnation of Faust, through Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito, and many works of art of initiation, and yet people do not understand the art.
84. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Wil
So we are discussing Christ-will, in the Verb. You see these Elohim are greeting the Sun, Chokmah, within the arms of the Divine Mother, and they are playing celestial music, which emphasizes again how when we work with sacred art, and we listen to sacred art especially, that that music can inspire us to form Christ within our hearts, within our souls, within our minds, in order to become like Elohim.
Conclusion of The Perfect Matrimony
We will conclude with an excerpt from the Perfect Matrimony, which provides a very beautiful experience by Samael Aun Weor, about an opera he saw in the fourth dimension.
He concluded The Perfect Matrimony by relating experience he had by going into a Rosicrucian temple in the Jinn state, the fourth dimension, where he watched an opera composed by an angel or performed by one of the Elohim, one of the Gods.
So as we stated, opera is the royal art of consciousness. It is a means of effectively communicating initiation and the path of the present development of our humanity, but also the past epics our humanity developed in.
Samael Aun Weor was in this temple, which was only populated by very few people. He said he could count on the fingers of one hand how many people deserved and had come present to this performance. So, this is in the fourth dimension, where he listened to an opera sung by an angel, a God.
So “…the master commanded the Angel to go up to the choir of musicians and singers in order to sing. The Angel obeyed, and after having ascended to the choir, he sang the history of the centuries in opera.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So this experience tells us that opera truly is a divine art and also that opera teaches us the ancient histories of humanity.
“The Angel, from the doctrinal point of view, placed himself mentally in the time of the future Fifth Round of planetary evolution.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So right now we are in the fourth round, the terrestrial epoch, and here in the opera that he was seeing in the higher dimensions, he was depicting the future fifth round that is going to take place in the etheric world.
“In that future age, the physical-chemical Earth will already be nothing more than a cadaver, a new moon. Then all the evolving life will develop within the ethereal plane or ethereal region of our Earth. The seven Root Races of flesh and bone will no longer exist. These races will have become extinct.
“The Angel sang with a voice so ineffable and sweet that it resembled The Magic Flute of Mozart. My whole being went into ecstasy. To hear an Angel sing is something that you can never forget in your life.
“The Angel, situated mentally in the future Earth of the Fifth Round, narrated in opera the history of terrestrial evolution. He mentioned all the prophets that have been sent to the Earth. With a melodious voice he narrated the history of the seven Root Races of the world, the apocalypse of the present Fifth Root Race, the continents that existed in the past and their general destruction, the great cataclysms of the Earth, the great wars, the superhuman efforts that had been made by the great Avatars to save humanity, the crucifixion of the Martyr of Golgotha, etc. Subsequently, he lamented with pain the few that had been saved. Only a few had managed to be born as Angels. The rest, the great majority of human beings, were swallowed up by the Abyss. Thus, from the billions of Souls that entered evolution and devolution on the planet Earth, only a handful of creatures were fit for the angelic state. ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’
“When the Angel reached this part of his ineffable opera, I felt profoundly moved and amazed. Frankly, I had believed that the case of only a few being saved and the great majority being lost only applied to Earth, and in the past Mahamanvantara to the Earth-Moon… (which is the Lunar Period).” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
Because, in the Lunar Period, the Selenites, the inhabitants of Selene where Samael Aun Weor was teaching, even at that time, had degenerated and entered the path of black magic. Billions of souls in that planet became demons and the demons that we have now in our planet Earth, who are the heads of the black lodge, came from that epoch. Samael Aun Weor was even crucified in that world before, when he was giving his doctrine.
So he thought that the Earth-Moon, which reincarnated into the planet Earth, the life of that planet, carrying the karma of that ancient histories with it, somehow was something distinct, and that the other planets of other humanities did not experience or witness this great tragedy, of billions of souls being lost in the abyss.
“I believed that in the rest of the worlds things were different. The Angel pointed out this error when he said, ‘And this that has happened on Earth will always be repeated on all the worlds of the infinite space.’ When the Angel finished his ineffable song I understood why so many people had attended my meetings, and why, from the many who began, only a few remained with me. Now I am willing to continue with the few. I am no longer interested in having a room full of people. Indeed, many are they who begin, but few are those who arrive.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So that experience with an opera explains for us the fact that humanity has reached its peak, or the Aryan Race has reached its end. Because no more art is being given, on a grand scale, as we found within Europe. Because humanity has received the knowledge within music, within art, but doesn't want it. It doesn't understand it, and it is now our duty in these lectures and courses to explain some of the operas, which we will be seeing not only at Lyric Opera house, but also viewing together.
It is important to remember that with opera, we are concluding this humanity by teaching the secret knowledge in a very explicit way. So, we are going to explain many operas and works of art from the kabbalistic and alchemical traditions, so that those few who want to learn the path itself and to practice it can do so.
Questions and Answers
Question: What about modern composers who compose Beethoven or Mozart? Is that considered a medium...?
Instructor: Yes, because someone could be a medium of Christ without knowing it [Editor’s Note: a “vehicle,” not a spiritualist or a practitioner of mediumship / channeling], and you know you have people like Pavarotti and many singers who are very talented and they are not initiates, but their skill is so profound and so dharmic.
Question: What about, Pink Floyd, if there are certain songs that you feel moved? Is it all or any song that is not classical or opera is considered negative?
Instructor: I know a lot about Pink Floyd. I mean I've listened, I grew up on Pink Floyd, too. That kind of music, you know, there are certain things which can be very negative. But then there's some that it's kind of in limbo, necessarily. Not so deep down, but still it may be beautiful. But it still belongs to Klipoth, not necessarily at the deepest degree, like you find with like death metal and black metal and all sorts of other evil things, that are gangster rap, or things that are very destructive.
Question: What about Gnostic art?
Instructor: I know this is a good question because I know some of our listeners and some of our students have asked us and wanted to pursue the creation of Gnostic art and rap, which personally, I'm actually a musician myself. I played piano for about ten years and I have certain compositions that I have been inspired to do, but personally, I don't have the time or the means, because I'm teaching these lectures. So, I found that my most effective means of helping humanity is explaining art that's already been done.
But people who want to pursue art, it's their business. Personally, I am a composer and, in a very amateurish degree, minor degree, I have music in my mind that I hear that I have heard in my meditations that are divine, but for me to articulate that, it would have to be an entirely different work that would take me away from teaching these lectures.
Question: Does one need to listen to the opera in full or only specific songs?
Instructor: The best effect is when you have watched it. When you have seen a performance. You have read the lyrics, you know what they are singing. Personally, I have listened to Turandot so much and I've seen the opera so many times that when I listen to the lyrics, I know certain words and lyrics, like with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony too, which is why I could relate to you the lyrics from that Ninth Symphony, because I have listened to it so much and I know the lyrics. So, I can just cut to the chase if I wanted to listen to certain parts, because I already know the meaning of it.
Question: Would you consider church music the same or close to classical music?
Instructor: It can inspire a lot of religiosity for sure. I mean, I have been to churches where, even though not Gnostic, you hear certain songs which have very ancient roots, which are beautiful. They can inspire you, which is why many people go to those churches because they hear the music and it inspires them. There are certain roots of divinity that try to teach them that way, you know, even using people who don't know any better.
But you know, the result is a little muddled, because as I said, people have listened to the operas of the masters. "The light shineth in the darkness." But people don't comprehend the light, because we need instructors and people to teach explicitly what the kabbalistic and alchemical teachings of all that work of art symbolize.
Question: The last things I have heard is that because they changed the hertz, the frequency....
Instructor: I have heard that too, and I know that Samael Aun Weor stated explicitly that, as I mentioned in this lecture, that certain music, the vibration affects the human machine very negatively—especially mechanical music, synthesizers, electronica. If you observe your five centers and you listen to that music, after having acculturated your body and mind to listening to opera and classical music, you find that there's a disconnect. It is very discordant.
The Master Samael explains that initiates feel great love for the classical composers and feel great repulsion or revulsion towards the music of vulgar people, because that kind of music you taste and you know exactly what the egotistical messages behind it. It doesn't inspire anything decent, because if you meditate for a long time, and some people who listen to classical music in our studies for the first time, don't like it. It is because they are not accustomed to it. So, people who are not accustomed to that kind of music, you mean obviously, we gravitate towards what our level of being is. If your level of being is high, you feel only attraction towards music like Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, his ballets, or other very beautiful music. But if we're very inferior in our states, we might listen to rock and roll or death metal or whatever.
Sadly, I know a lot of people in our movement, instructors who teach this knowledge, but they still like a lot of forms of degenerate music like metal. I remember one instructor was teaching in a certain place and he mentioned that he liked old metal music, which is stuff that I grew up on that now when I hear it, I cringe. I can't stand it, because the music is so degenerate, and you listen to it and you feel that it is bringing your level of being down.
Question: What about more like Crosby, Stills and Nash?
Instructor: My father enjoys that music and he showed me a lot. That stuff is not that degenerate. Some music is very superficial like if you look at the nine inverted spheres of Klipoth, some music is very beautiful. But it is still egotistical, we could say. It is in the first sphere of hell, which is known as limbo.
Some music is really down there, which certain bands, like black metal and not just black metal, but you know extreme forms of death metal, like Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse and things like that. I have known these bands and I know what their music preaches, where they talk about things that are very black. They are speaking in Aramaic and all these languages or Babylonian or whatever, and they are trying to invoke Klipoth. It is intentional. That is why these bands have inverted pentagrams, which of course for our listeners, represents the inverted man, the fallen man.
Question: On a side note, there are also all these microbreweries that are using satanic, or esoteric symbolism. I grew up on rock and rebelling against the system, so we listened to rock like Pink Floyd.
Instructor: Yeah, and sadly a lot of people in our movement don't understand that difference because they feel that, "Well this music is rebelling against the government and you know, all these political affiliations," but we emphasize in our teachings that music should elevate the soul. You should feel that your level of religiosity, your inspiration, your meditation should be lifted when you listen to music. So that's why, you know, personally I tend to be very strict. If I hear something on the radio I don't like, I avoid it.
Those listeners who are from Chicago, we listen to WFMT 98.7, which is a classical music station, and even the many things they play are very bad, because it is very modernized and very degenerate. But you can pick a good things out from them, and personally I use an iPad or iPod.
Question: I listen to Sirius Radio and I have listened to the modern songs and I just don't resonate with them.
Instructor: So the thing is our level of being attracts our life, and if we listen to music, and basically music is a type of food, and this is why the Muslim state, like in the quote amongst the Sufis that "we should only consume what is licit."
They often speak in their tradition about Halal, eating only what has been blessed or what is holy, which is similar to the Hebrew Kosher. People not only eat with food, but eat impressions, because Samael Aun Weor emphasized that one needs water for the body, air for the body, we have our food for our physical vehicle, but our mind also is nourished. Our consciousness is also nourished with impressions, which is why he also stated that if you want to have experiences in the higher dimensions, acculturate yourself to listen to classical music, because that will literally raise your level of being.
I know one missionary told me he was listening to Beethoven's symphonies and fell asleep. He had a tremendous samadhi where he left his physical body and entered the higher dimensions because he was so concentrated on the music when he fell asleep, that he awakened his consciousness. So, art can help us in that endeavor, because it gives us impressions that nourish our consciousness.
Question: Isn't it easier to surround yourself with good things rather than trying so hard to do this or do that?
Instructor: Which is why our home should be like a temple. Personally, my car is like my home because I drive so much, and I always play positive music. I listen to operas, I listen to classical compositions. Things I am really familiar with, readily, because when I listen to lyrics, I am able to hear certain things. When I really listen to a certain pieces, again and again, there are certain understandings that can kind of deepen, especially when you are studying a certain work of art.
[Editor's Endnote: If you are interesting in learning more about the principles of gnostic art, study Fundamentals of Gnostic Art].
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Secret Teachings of Opera, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
It's convenient that we finish this lecture series on Turandot after the Jewish holidays, specifically Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which began on Monday of last week and culminated on Wednesday of this week. The last two acts of this opera relate to these two holidays, specifically the Jewish New Year, ראש השנה Rosh Hashanah and Act II culminating with יום כיפור Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashanah literally means, “Head of the Year," from Hebrew ראש Rosh, “the intellect," the head, and השנה Hashanah meaning, “the year." Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world, and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is a day of prayer and fasting, where many Jews observe certain rituals in their synagogues as an atonement for their sins, for their faults before divinity. So, all these religions, or better said, all these dynamics of this holiday relate esoterically to this opera.
Rosh Hashanah reminds us of सुषुम्णा Sushumna in Sanskrit. Sushumna is the channel of our spinal column which unites with the head, Rosh. We have the two serpents, Ida and Pingala, in the Caduceus of Mercury, and Sushumna is the central channel or spinal column through which the Kundalini rises to Rosh, the head. Rosh Hashanah, therefore, symbolically speaking, is how we enter initiation, the beginning of life and a way of being, because every time we raise a serpent of fire from the chakra Muladhara up our Sushumna channel to our head, we are achieving the Major Mysteries, as well as certain developments in the soul related to time, to esoteric age.
If you're familiar with the writings of Samael Aun Weor, he states in The Major Mysteries that to learn of your age in the internal planes is symbolic. We stated previously that there were nine initiations of minor mysteries, in which we walked the probationary path described in Act I of this opera. We also find that the nine degrees of minor mysteries relate to the ages 10 through 90. The first initiation of minor mysteries relates to 10 years. The second initiation of minor mysteries relates to 20, and likewise, up to 90.
So, if you ask your Being or the masters of the White Lodge, "Where am I in my development?" they'll tell you, "You are twenty years old" or "You are ninety years old," referring to either the 2nd or 9th degrees of minor mysteries, respectively. To enter the ages such as one hundred to nine hundred, or above and beyond, relate to the initiations of fire, the Major Mysteries.
The Major Mysteries pertain to the awakening of the sacred fire within Sushumna to your Rosh, your head, when you achieve any initiation of fire, whether it be from Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, Netzach, Tiphereth, Geburah, or Chesed. The seven initiations of fire relate to the seven sephiroth upon the Tree of Life, which pertains to seven hundred years of age. So, when we read in the Bible that Abraham was ninety-nine years old or Noah was five hundred years old, it relates to the minor mysteries and the Major Mysteries.
It's interesting that אברם Abram, our spirit, symbolically speaking, was ninety-nine years old before he was known as אברהם Abraham, when he gave birth to Isaac through the sexual force of שדי אל חי Shaddai El Chai. He was sterile, but we know that this is symbolic, how he and his wife represent us, qualities of our body, of our spirit. Before working in alchemy, we are sterile, infertile, due to fornication. Through scientific chastity, by learning to work with the Hebrew letter ה Hei, our spirit, אברם Abram, becomes אברהם Abraham. Notice that the name אברהם Abraham is spelled when you add ה Hei to אברם Abram, signifying how we give power to our Innermost when we cooperate in sexual alchemy, when we work with the womb, the ה Hei of our Divine Mother Turandot. We need to be fertile so that we can give birth to the soul, Isaac, and in order to enter the Major Mysteries, we must be married.
The first initiation of fire relates to one hundred years old. The second initiation of fire, two hundred years old. Likewise, up the Tree of Life; so every time we complete an initiation, we are becoming new or entering into a new year, a new life. So—Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Sushumna—when the fires illuminate your head.
It's interesting also that the word, "Hashanah," meaning year, also etymologically sounds like the word, שושנה Shoshana, which means "rose" or "lily. " Hashanah, Shoshana, Sushumna are all related to the rose of the spirit, the igneous rose of the divine. The seven chakras or seven flowers of the soul awaken through the sacred fire, when you raise the kundalini up Sushumna, up to your head, and in that way we learn to develop the sacred fire—because if you look at the Hebrew word, שושנה Shoshana, you find that we have the letter ש Shin, represented twice, which means fire, Christ. We also have the ו Vav. שושנה Shoshana literally means "rose," but it refers to the fires in the spine, which we develop gradually within the couple, because there are two ש Shins—the fire of man and the fire of woman that rise up within your spine through the power of נ Nun, which in Aramaic means "fish," but is also representative of the sperm and the ovum, specifically.
We find this beautiful quote from Chapter 2 of the Song of Solomon, Shalomah, the solar man.
"I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns so is my love among the daughters." —Song of Songs 2:1-2
Sharon reminds us of השרון Ha-Sharon. ה Hei is an indefinite article in Hebrew meaning "the," but it also means “the breath,” because in order to create something, we use our speech, our language, the Word. And through the breath, through mantras, we work with the fires of our body, to circulate those energies in a dynamic matter. So in that sense, we are working with השרון Ha-Sharon whenever we do runes, prayer, mantras. The ש Shin and the breath, the fire and the wind of Christ, the strength of God which is אוֹן Aun. The word אוֹן "Aun" literally means sexual virility, so שרון Sharon is literally the fiery breath of our sexual power, but also the word שושנה Shoshana, which is where you get names like Susanna, relates to the lily, which is a beautiful flower representing the seven chakras.
"And, as the lily among thorns so is my love among the daughters." ―Song of Songs 2:2
You have the Hebrew term הבנות Habanot, meaning “the daughters," which literally can be translated as “the houses," because the word ב Beth relates to the sort of solar values that we create in a marriage. ב Beth we find in famous terms like בית לחם Bethlehem, the House of Bread.
Prince Calaf created his own solar house in Act II by answering the three riddles of Turandot—Solar Astral, Solar Mental, Solar Causal bodies—and in that way he awoke all his Sushumna, by raising not only the serpents of fire, but the serpents of light on the First Mountain.
And so, on the First Mountain, the Mountain of Initiation, we must dive in the ego to a certain degree, within a matrimony, and by taking the direct path, we can incarnate Christ. This is symbolized when Calaf renounces marriage with Turandot, when she refuses him because he still has desire alive. She won't marry him at that level, as a hasnamuss, as a being with a split personality—one heavenly, one diabolic. He has reached the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries and has a choice to make, to remain in Nirvana on the spiral path, or to renounce heaven and incarnate Christ. So, he chooses to fully eliminate his ego, to renounce marriage at the level of a Nirvani Buddha, and to take the straight path of the bodhisattvas, to which the commoners of the palace said, “You are strong!" He renounced that level, choosing to descend into his own infernos, to die radically to his self, so he can ascend higher.
In this way he starts to approach Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur literally means "Day of Atonement." יום Yom in Hebrew is spelled, י Iod, ו Vav, and ם Final Mem, the letter י Iod we saw previously represents Kether, is a point, the seminal energy of sperm and the ovum which we raise up our spine, the letter ו Vav, through the powers of מ Mem, the waters, our sexual energy.
When you achieve initiation, you achieve a day of Genesis. The book of Genesis is not a story of the creation of the physical world, a literal history, but is symbolic of the seven initiations of fire specifically. In the first day, “the earth was formless and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep,” signifying how our psychology is full of darkness. But the Lord said, "Let there be light, and there was light; and God saw that the light was good," and that was the first day, or evening and the day. This relates to the First Initiation of Fire in Malkuth, the physical body. That's the first day of Genesis; the first day of generation.
In the second day, “Let the waters separate from the waters above and below.” השמים Ha-Shamayim, the heavens, with מים mayim, below. And this day, there was no blessing from God, that "It was good," which is very profound—specifically because, when working with the sexual energy, the Sephirah Yesod, there is no guarantee that we'll be successful. This is why the Lord does not say, "It was good." Through the waters we can descend, or better say, fall into Kilpoth. The ninth sephirah on the Tree of Life reminds us of surah nine in the Qur’an, where there is no Bismillah at the beginning. Every surah of the Qur’an has “Bismillah ir-Rahmaan ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,” but in the ninth surah, it doesn't have that reading, which reminds us of this principle. Through Yesod, the ninth sphere, we may succeed, or we may fail, so, there is the danger of falling. This dynamic is beautifully represented within both the book of Genesis and the Qur’an.
In the third day or Third Initiation of Major Mysteries, “Let the dry land appear. Vegetation from the waters, blossoms and fruits. And God said it was good.” In the fourth day, “Let there be light to the expanse of the sky and the firmament of heaven for days and for years.” מְאֹרֹת Meirot, and the word מְאֹרֹת Meirot means “lights.” We have the word אור Aur present. And in the spelling of מְאֹרֹת Meirot there is no ו Vav, indicating that the light must emerge in our spinal column in the mental body. We must create the Solar Mental Body so that we can see the heavens, the stars, of Nut, the Divine Princess Turandot.
In the fifth day, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures and the great sea monsters, the great whales or אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִם הַגְּדֹלִים At-Ha-Taninim Ha-Gedulim, as well as swarms of every kind. And the Lord said, ‘Be fruitful and increase,’ or ‘Be fruitful and רִבּוּ rabbau.’" The word רב rabba reminds us of Rabbi. Be fruitful and master. This verse doesn't mean, “Be fruitful and fornicate.” It means be fruitful and develop those principles in you through a marriage, through alchemy.
On the sixth day, relating to the Sixth Initiation of Fire, “Let the earth bring forth creeping things of the earth, beasts and cattle, and likewise we shall make man into our image, male-female did Jehovah Elohim create them." And this day, of course, was very good. טוב מאוד Tob Meod, which reminds us of the two serpents, Vav and Zayin, or Od and Obd, specifically. טוב מאוד Tob Meod means very good, but also reminds us of Od and Obd, or Ida and Pingala, in Kabbalah. So when those serpents are raised in us and we become a human being with the Solar Astral, Solar Mental, Solar Causal bodies, then we are a man of the Sixth Day of Genesis, which is what Calaf achieved in Act II.
He united with his soul, his divine soul, at that level, but in order to become a man of the Seventh Day, he did something very drastic, very profound. The Seventh Day reminds us of the Sabbath, Saturn-day, Saturday, Shabbat. Yom Kippur is referred to as the Sabbath of the Sabbaths, representing how when the ego is fully eliminated through atonement on the Second Mountain, then the soul can resurrect within the Being, within the Divine Mother. The spirit is absorbed—Chesed within Binah—all the qualities of the soul, the bodies themselves, etc., are absorbed within the Holy Spirit, Binah, but the ego must be fully eliminated. Calaf reached that level of true human being in Act II, and then he takes the direct path and raises the serpents of light.
But he now faces a very great problem, as represented in this final act of this drama. In order to reach the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, it’s very logical that one must pass through the night—Lilith and Nahemah, which opens our discussion of Act III.
Night has fallen on Peking, and no man shall sleep by decree of the divine Princess Turandot. The name of the unknown prince Calaf, which we don't learn of until the very end, must be discovered before dawn, or else her subjects shall be executed. Therefore, the royal guards proclaim her dread command throughout the city in the night, which is followed by the fear and mournful subjection of the people. As I said, Prince Calaf raised the serpents of fire and light on the First Mountain, but while one can achieve mastery at that level, it's a very different thing to achieve perfection in mastery, to fully die to the ego. Only after the ego is fully annihilated can the soul then can unite with Binah, and Binah with the lower seven sephiroth, specifically.
The Second Mountain is the path of descent into the infernal planes within each inverted sephirah: the Lunar hells, the Mercurial hells, the Venusian hells, the Solar hells, the Martian hells, the Jupiterian hells, the Saturnian hells, the Uranian hells and Neptunian hells. Nine inverted sephiroth all relate to the nine heavens on the Tree of Life. You first must descend into hell and face all your evilness, to die radically, in each sephirah below, in order to ascend, to resurrect within a respective heaven. By annihilating the egos relating to the Lunar hell, you rise up to the Lunar heaven, the Mercurial hell to the Mercurial heaven, and likewise until reaching the very end, Kether. That is the level of Chaioth Ha-Kadosh, a holy living creature with no ego.
So, in the prayer to Solomon, the Invocation of Solomon, we state, "Chaioth Ha-Kadosh! Cry! Speak! Roar! Bellow! Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh!" This means, "Holy Creatures! Holy, Holy, Holy!" A Chaioth Ha-Kadosh is an initiate who has no ego, who has the four elements radically purified, and who is now preparing to enter Binah to a higher degree, to resurrect. This was the case of Samael Aun Weor near the end of his life, in which he fully eliminated the ego and was preparing to physically die, because in order to resurrect in the Being, the physical corpse, the flesh of fornication, must leave, to die through a sickness, through karma. The initiate pays all their karma at the end completely, which usually occurs in the form of some type of disease, some type of illness which is incurable and produces a lot of suffering.
So, Calaf is preparing for that precise moment in the opera, where he has to face all the people of Peking who want to know his name, who want to know his secret—who he is—because the riddle that he gave to Turandot was, "If you don't want to marry me, you have to find out my name." It's a very beautiful symbol, because the name in Hebrew is השם Hashem. The Jews always state ברוך השם אדני Baruch Hashem Adonai, or "Blessed be the Name of the Lord. " השם Hashem is the Name, a sacred appellation for יהוה Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, Christ. So, he tells her, "Guess my name, and before dawn, if you find it out, I will gladly die in the morning hours."
Of course, there's two ways to die: either in heaven or in hell. Through resurrection or through failure in the second death. On the night of the Second Mountain, we have to face all of our evilness within the ego and the three brains: intellectual brain, emotional brain, motor-instinctive-sexual brain, which are represented by the elements of the cross as we can see in this image. We have the twenty-two Hebrew letters, the twenty-two archetypes, laws of the Torah, the Tarot, the law, surrounding the שושנה Shoshannah, the rose of spirituality, blossoming. א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem reminds us of the figure eight, which again are repeated in this act and all throughout the opera, but in greater hierarchies, greater octaves. א Aleph relates to the intellectual brain. ש Shin relates to the emotional brain and מ Mem relates to the motor-instinctual-sexual brain. It is through these three centers that we are tempted in the physical plane, and in the internal planes by the demons of the black lodge. More importantly, we are tempted by our own ego that doesn't want us to enter the work, or finish the work, if we reach that point.
The very terrible ordeals one must face, which you've seen in this act, specifically and only applies by rising up through the ten sephiroth, the ten days of Yom Kippur. Only by atoning for all our egos through meditation and death do we have the right to resurrect, to achieve the Day of Atonement—once the sun rises—symbolizing the resurrection of Christ in us.
The Tree of Life, the ten sephiroth, represent the different characters of this drama. We've spoken extensively about Timur, Liu, Calaf, as well as the Emperor Altoum, the latter representing Kether, the Solar Logos. The Divine Mother Turandot is Binah, the Holy Spirit. Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, relates to Chokmah, Christ, יהוה Iod-Hei-Vav-Hei. We say, "Hashem," out of respect for Jehovah, but really the name is יהוה Iod-Chavah. י Iod, the head, הוה Chavah, sex. That is the mystery of Calaf's name.
They constantly ask him, "What is your name? Give us your secret." His secret is: he raises the power of הוה Havah to י Iod. This is the secret of chastity. But the opposite path, that of fornication, is followed by a demon named Chavajoth. He's a backwards being whose הוה Chavah, sex, is governing his י Iod, his head, through lust. The name יהוה Iod-Chavah represents how you raise the powers of sex to the brain as an angel, as a master. So all the servants of Kali, the inverted serpent, represented by the negative or severe side of Turandot’s character, seek to find out the secret of the initiate on the Second Mountain. This includes all the people of Peking, and also the main counselors, Ping, Pang and Pong, the forces of diablo, the devil, who seek to pull us from the path, or pull those masters at that level into the abyss.
Samson, Delilah, and the Three Mother Letters of Kabbalah
This drama has been beautifully depicted in the story of שמשון Samson. Samson allowed himself to be put asleep by דלילה Delilah. לילה Lilah means "night" in Hebrew and ד Daleth is the doorway into the infernal worlds, the night. Samson gave away his secret, his chastity, by unveiling how, by cutting his hair, he could be conquered. He loses his strength by admitting his secret, whereby, in his weakness, he was seized by the Philistines, all his egos. When they cut his hair, the Philistines blinded him, meaning that if we fail to maintain chastity at that level, but give into the ego and fornication, then one is spiritually blinded. You must remember that Samson was a giant, a great warrior, a master of Tiphereth, but who fell, who chose to fornicate after reaching that point. שמשון Samson reminds us of שמש Shemesh, which in Hebrew means sun, S-U-N, and אוֹן Aun, sexual strength. So, the power of the sun was castrated in him, a symbol of how any initiate who does not know how to keep his secret, his purity, ends up being swallowed by the moon, לילה Lilah, the night.
Likewise, the Princess Turandot represents both the solar and the lunar serpents, or in other words, the serpent is represented dualistically. Her servants are trying to find out Calaf’s name, so that they can kill him. This is precisely the great drama of this act. Will he in the end marry Turandot, or will he enter devolution? So, as we discussed in Act I and II of this opera, the three mother letters of kabbalah run thematically throughout this work. א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem are hinted at, even represented by the name שמשון Shamshon, Samson. ש Shin and מ Mem, but also אוֹן Aun, with a silent א Aleph, are hidden in this name. The occult significance of this biblical character shows that if we don't use the three brains correctly: א Aleph in the head, ש Shin in the heart, מ Mem in the sex, we're going to fail.
So, it takes great equilibrium and balance at that degree, especially to not be tempted by the forces of darkness, since they fight very diligently to pull the initiate. You see this not only in this opera, but also in stories like The Pistis Sophia, in which Sophia seeks to return to the source of pleroma, but is constantly afflicted. She wants to return to the light, but can't. She is denied every step of her path, but of course, it is that path of denial, in overcoming those temptations, that one succeeds. In the story of Samson, we find that many initiates fail, but in this opera we have a very different story.
The Two Pillars of Kabbalah and the Secret of Calaf’s Name in the Zohar
We're going to look at the name Calaf in relation to the Zohar, a very profound esoteric book that is the spirit of the doctrine, and explains categorically, distinctly, all the elements of the books of Genesis in detail, through commentary. So, the name Calaf, literally is spelled in Hebrew, כלף Kaf-Lamed-Final Peh, and we find a reference to the name כל Kol, Kaf-Lamed, in the Zohar, which partially constitutes the name of the prince which everyone seeks to know.
‘Let there be light,’ namely, אל גדול El Gadol, great God… (Gedulah is the spirit in Hebrew, Chesed, Mercy). The mystery emerging from the primordial aura. ויהי Vayhi, ‘And there was’―mystery of darkness called אלוהים Elohim. ‘Light’—left merging in right. Then from the mystery of אל El came to be אלוהים Elohim, right merging left, left and right. —Zohar
In order to understand this better, we're going to refer to the Tree of Life, specifically the left and right pillars we've been discussing extensively.
In the left pillar, we have all the forces of Binah that descend into the infernal planes. That is why Turandot is dualistic. In heaven she is Kundalini, but when she's channeled through our ego, she becomes Kundabuffer, the tail of demons, the Lucifers, the black magicians. The right pillar on the Tree of Life relates to mercy, the left is severity. The force of Chokmah, Christ, descends from the right pillar down to Yesod, and that is why the Christic energies are linked to our sexual force, our sexual drive, or why the secret of השם Hashem is founded within Yesod. So, on the left pillar of the Tree of Life, we have three sephiroth that relate to certain names in Hebrew in the world of Atziluth, the world of archetypes, because every sephirah on the Tree of Life relates to a sacred name. The name for Binah in Kabbalah is יהוה אלוהים Jehovah Elohim. The name for Geburah in Kabbalah is אלוהים גיבור Elohim Gibur, the strength of God, or the strength of the Gods and Goddesses. And then, Hod relates to אלוהים צבאות Elohim Sabaoth. So, we find Elohim represented in the left pillar.
In the right pillar, we're referring to אל El because the right is masculine while the feminine left pillar relates to all the forces of the divine life that specifically descends in us, but also to hell. When the serpentine sexual energy descends, it becomes the tail of demons. Ida is the fallen serpent in us that we must raise, and it is through a marriage, in which that left serpent unites with the right serpent, back up the head. Because in most people, clairvoyantly, they have that Kundabuffer tail very strong, but in the body of an alchemist that energy is ascending to the head through Ida and Pingala.
Therefore, let there be light means how our own spirit works within the darkness of our psyche. In the Kabbalah, רוח אלוהים Ruach Elohim, the spirit of God, Chesed, works with the waters of genesis in order to conquer the left pillar. By combining the two pillars, male, female, by working in a marriage, אל El becomes אלוהים Elohim because אלוה Eloah means goddess. אל El is God, masculine. Unite them in a marriage, you have אלוהים Elohim. So ים Iod-Mem is masculine plural. And here אלוהים Elohim literally means ‘gods and goddesses,’ because when a husband and wife are united sexually, they have the power to create life. They are a god and a goddess at that moment. But the problem is temptation, the serpent of Eden, the fallen serpent pushes the couple to engage in the forbidden fruit, the orgasm. That is how they lose everything. Light, left emerging right, and then from the mystery of El came to be Elohim. Right merging in left, left and right.
There's also a quote, I believe, in the Song of Songs, as we stated previously, in which Solomon describes this dynamic. From chapter 2 verses 3-6
"As the apple tree among the trees of the wood so is my beloved among the songs. I sat down under his shadow with great light and his fruit was sweet to my taste." ―Song of Songs 2:3
If you read Igneous Rose, we know that the apple tree represents the Glorian, Christ, which is related to the Ain Soph, the Absolute.
"He brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was love..." —Song of Songs 2:4
Meaning, chastity. The banquet of the Lamb.
"Stay me with flagons. Cover me with apples for I am sick of love (or sick from love)." —Song of Songs 2:5
This indicates the alchemist is so in love with divinity that one is even considered ill by this society, just as everyone condemned Prince Calaf for wanting to enter the funereal trials of Devi Kundalini in Act I. "Stay me with flagons" means to stay with the wine of transmutation no matter what, to be faithful to and enjoy the delights of sexual alchemy. And then…
"His left hand is under my head and his right hand doth embrace me." —Song of Songs 2:6
The left pillar is what sustains the initiates. They must control the left foot, psychologically speaking, because the Master Samael Aun Weor mentions in The Pistis Sophia that the bodhisattva must learn to walk on two feet, symbolically. On the right are the gnostics, the sheep. On the left are the demons, the goats. Sheep and goats. Right and left, but a bodhisattva is neither a saint nor a demon; he or she goes beyond good and evil, to return to the Absolute as a master of the Day.
That term is used by Blavatsky in The Voice of the Silence, but also by Samael Aun Weor. The term day, in Hebrew, is יום Yom, those who attain יום כיפור Yom Kippur, perfection in initiation and mastery. So, the left pillar sustains, which is why Liù, Geburah, the Divine Soul in the beginning of Act I, is the one who says to the multitudes, "How my master is fallen! Will someone raise him for me?" Which is why Calaf jumps in and sings, "Padre mio padre," "My father… my father… I found you again!"
The power of Geburah, Justice, is how we raise ourselves up through the Martian strength of Christ, back to the source. The right hand is what caresses, because the right pillar is mercy, while the left hand or left pillar supports the master. This dynamic of mercy and justice reaches equilibrium within Tiphereth, within the soul, Calaf. As we state in the Invocation of Solomon the Wise, "Mercy and justice, be ye the equilibrium and splendor of my life!" One of the many translations or meanings of the word Tiphereth is splendor.
"God saw that the light was good (Genesis Chapter 1, verse 4)—the central pillar. Good illumining above and below and all directions, through the mystery of Jehovah, the name embracing all sides." ―Zohar
So why is it that the center pillar is the light of radiance that sustains the whole tree of life? It's because the word תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth literally sounds like Tiph-Aur-reth. אור Aur is the light in the central pillar and the very middle of this diagram, where we find the Prince Calaf, the human soul, our Christified will. That is the very one who is responsible for balancing all the forces of the Tree of Life. The light of Christ, Jehovah, or Chokmah, and the powers of Chesed, reach balance in Tiphereth, Tiph-Aur-Reth. Likewise, Aima and Abba Elohim, the Divine Mother or the Holy Spirit in Binah, find their equilibrium or center of gravity here within the heart. The secret name of Tiphereth in Hebrew is אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei. We find אלוה ודעת Eloah Va Daath, Goddess of Knowledge, the Divine Mother and השם Hashem, the appellation of יהוה Iod-Chavah.
Christ and the Divine Mother are balanced in Tiphereth. The Prince Calaf represents this because in the very opening of Act III, he says, "No one shall ever know my name. My secret. השם Hashem. My light." And, he seeks to fully eradicate desire so that he can return through דעת Daath, sexual alchemy, through marriage with Binah. Therefore, Puccini is showing us how the central pillar of the Tree of Life orients everything. This whole opera is fixated on the Prince Calaf because he is Christ-will. Christ-will is how we achieve resurrection through death of the ego.
God separated the light from the darkness, dissipating discord, so that all would be perfect. —Zohar
This is a symbol how in the inferno, we extract the light from each ego, in order to be fully, radically dead.
God called the light day. What does ‘called’ mean? He called forth and summoned this perfect light, standing in the center, to emit a radiance—foundation of the world, upon which worlds are established. From that perfect light, the central pillar, extended יְסוֹדא Yesoda, Foundation. Vitality of the Worlds. ‘Day,’ from the right side. ―Zohar
As I said, Yesod receives all the forces from Chokmah, Chesed, Netzach, down the Tree of Life. That light must be extracted from the darkness within our own inner infernos, within our own Lunar, Mercurial, Venusian, Solar, etc., infernos. Likewise, all the way down until the Neptunian house—the inverted sephiroth, called the Tree of Death or Tree of Zaqqum in the Qur’an.
And the darkness He called night. He called forth something that generated from the side of darkness a female, the moon ruling by night, called Night, mystery of אדני Adonai, אדון Adon, Lord of all the earth (Joshua 3:11). —Zohar
The word for Malkuth in Kabbalah, the sacred name of Malkuth in the world of Atziluth is אדני הארץ Adonai Ha’aretz. Adonai reminds us of the Lord. When you say ברוך השם אדני Baruch Hashem Adonai, you're saying ‘Blessed is the Name of the Lord.’ Adonai should better be read as Adonia, meaning ‘Lady,’ or the beautiful Greek child Adonis. Adonia is the Kundalini in Malkuth, since the earth or physical vehicle receives all the forces from above, so that through the Lord of the Earth, by conquering this body and fornication, we can achieve resurrection.
Adonai also relates to the Lunar forces, which influence Malkuth, since Yesod is the second to the bottom Sephirah on the Tree of Life. It is also already well documented how our physical moon influences many aspects of life on earth, such as tides, menstruation in women, vegetation, animal life, etc. In the Conjuration of the Seven, we pray, “In the name of Gabriel (the regent of the moon or lunar ray), may Adonai command thee and drive thee hence Bael!” Adonai and Bael both mean “Lord,” the former is heavenly, the other is demonic. Or, Kundalini above, Kundabuffer below. Adonai is the mystery of the moon ruling by night, since by working with the lunar forces of Yesod, we become a Lord of the Night, in the positive sense. We conquer the night in ourselves by annihilating the ego on the Second Mountain, the darkness of Act III.
You notice that in the opera, Prince Calaf is singing to the stars. He is in Malkuth preparing to go into his own infernos, because all the temptations of this society, in this world, in Malkuth or within the inverted sephiroth of hell, is where we face great battles, great ordeals. The opposite of אדני הארץ Adonai Ha’aretz, the Kundalini, is the Kundabuffer, which is why the Prince Calaf worships the Lord or Adonia, his Divine Mother, in this great aria Nessun Dorma, which we're going to be examining. Adonia is precisely the name of the Kundalini, the goddess of the earth, who can take Calaf out of hell and into paradise.
The right entered that perfect pillar in the center, embracing the mystery of the left, and ascended to the primordial point, grasping there, the power of three points: חולם cholem, שורק shuruq, חירק chireq, seed of holiness, for without this mystery no seed is sown. —Zohar
We just spoke about how the power of Yesod is the foundation of our temple. It is the motor-instinct-sexual brain, the Temple of Peter, the Gnostic Church, which the enemies of God try to prevent us from entering. There are three diacritical marks in Hebrew known as חולם cholem, שורק shuruq, and חירק chireq. These are points that you put on the original Hebrew in order to pronounce vowels. You have three vowels, literally "Eh" with חירק chireq, "Uu" with שורק shuruq and "Oh" with חולם cholem. These vowels are below, middle and above, respectively. This reminds us of the three brains through which our cosmic alphabet is developed. The Hebrew letters represent forces, principles that we can work with, so when we grasp the power of the three points: intellectual brain, emotional brain, motor-instinctive-sexual brain, we work with the seed of holiness, the power of Yesod. For without this mystery, no seed is sown.
And, we find in this opera three temptations, ordeals, that the prince must face in Act III.
All is united in the central pillar, generating the foundation of the world, who is therefore called Kol כל (Kaf-Lamed, which translates as All, or we could also say totality…) for He embraces all in the radiance of desire. —Zohar
What is this radiance of desire? The Ark. The name of Calaf resides in דַעַת Da’ath, the center of the Tree of Life, in Tiphereth, balanced by Yesod, the foundation, which is the secret, his chastity. He had the letter "F" or פ Peh in Hebrew. It refers to speech, the mouth. When you're working with a matrimony and you're pronouncing sacred mantras in the sexual act, you're working with the power of ‘All’ through the word, through דַעַת Da’ath...
And why is it that Kol, כל Kaf-Lamed, reminds us of All, totality? As Samael Aun Weor stated in his books, the act of sexual magic is the key to all empires, the key to all kingdoms. Every universe is formed through moving with the sexual energy, the power of Lucifer. When we work with פ Peh, כל Kol becomes כלף Calaf, since the energies of sex are sublimated to the heart through mantras. That divine energy also only rises in accordance with the merits of the heart, as Samael Aun Weor stated in The Perfect Matrimony. You cannot work with the serpent Kundalini and raise it up the spine without earning it in your emotional center through ordeals, through the development of virtues.
And so, this where כל Kol, All, embraces all in the radiance of desire. And the word desire typically refers to the ego, but in this case, in a poetic way, we could say desire refers to divine longing. Tiphereth embraces all the sephiroth of the Tree of Life because it is through our human will, our spiritual inquietudes, in which we learn to find integration of the soul with the Being.
The left blazed potently, inhaling, inhaling fragrance of all those rungs. Out of that blazing flame, he generated the female, the moon. That blaze was dark, deriving from darkness. These two sides generated these two rungs: one male and one female. —Zohar
In the sexual act, the left pillar becomes the flame. The power of darkness becomes active, and it is by conquering the ego in a marriage, in those precise moments of temptation, in which we learn to inhale the fragrance of aroma of the Tree of Knowledge, but without eating its fruit. This is symbolic of renouncing and eliminating the orgasm. Out of that blazing flame of the sexual furnace the moon is generated, because as Samael Aun Weor mentions, the moon represents the ego. When you're inflamed in a marriage, in the sexual act, we must face the moon, our own darkness, our own mind.
Foundation was linked to the central pillar by the increase of light within it, for as the central pillar was consummated, pacifying all sides, its radiance was increased from above, from all sides in all-encompassing joy. Out of that increased joy, emerged the foundations of the world called Increase. –Zohar
The word increase in Hebrew is מוסף Musaf, which reminds us of Josef, Joseph, Yesod. Joseph represents the power of Yesod, primarily because he was thrown into well by his brothers, the well of Yesod, the sexual energies, the waters, and he had to escape and face imprisonment in Egypt and certain sexual temptations in order to be rewarded by God, his Being.
The term Egypt is never used in the Bible, since the original Hebrew word is מצרים Mitzrahim, literally translating as “the place between the waters.” This is a symbol not only of the whole planet earth, but our physicality, which enslaves the soul through lust, desire, fornication. Ordeals usually take place in the physical plane, whereby we must define ourselves through how we use our sexual waters, our energies.
From here emerges all forces below and holy spirits and souls from the mystery of יהוה צבאות Iod-Chavah Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts. אל אלהי הרוחות El Elohei Ha-Ruchot, God, God of spirits. —Zohar
Leviathan: The Lost Word
The name Calaf in Sufi terms is the lost word. The lost word is mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in certain books such as Igneous Rose. It is the Christ energy that has been lost in humanity and lost to our soul, because we failed to perform the work.
The lost word reminds us also of the fifth day of Genesis. The term לוויתן Levitanim is translated as the great whales or the great sea monsters, which bears profound esoteric significance. These are the serpents of fire, which we raise in the perfect matrimony. תַּנִּין Tannyn is a word that refers to whales, specifically. If you add the word לוי Levi in front of it, you make לוויתן Levi-Tannyn. You spell leviathan. A Leviathan is a great master of the fifth initiation of Major Mysteries, one who has been purified in the tribe of Levi, the path of the apostles and initiates. When you incarnate Christ, you receive the lost word, but to reach that point you must be swallowed by the serpent up to at least Tiphereth, the human soul. And so, the lost word is found in any master who incarnates Chokmah, which we saw in Act II.
In the words of Samael Aun Weor in Igneous Rose,
"God created everything in the lost word. The masters that live in Asia have this word very well guarded. A great philosopher once said, 'Search for it in China and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartar.' The lost word is like a gigantic fish (לוויתן Leviathan); half blue, half green emerging from the depth of the ocean." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
So, what does that mean to be a gigantic fish? It is to be a master of Tiphereth, the Middle East. "Whosoever knows the Word gives power to. No one has uttered it. No one will utter it, except the one who has it incarnated," the Word, the Christ. This is the saying from Master Huiracocha, who was the teacher of Samael Aun Weor.
The word Asia, you can say, is the word Assiah in Kabbalah. The great masters of the Middle East have this word very well guarded. The term Asia is used, but really Asia should be Assiah, since the world of Assiah is Malkuth, the world of matter and action. We can say that Yetzirah, the world of formation relates to the lower trinity of the Tree of Life. The world of Briah relates to the middle trinity of the Tree of Life and Atziluth relates to the top trinity, the three primary forces. Assiah, the world of matter and action is where we must face temptation, in which we must guard our secret, our chastity.
The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled also mentions that one must incarnate the mysteries of the light, to follow the mysteries of our inner name, our inner God. Every one of us has our own inner spirit and our spirit has his own divine name, spiritual name. And, personally I know the name of my Being, but I won't tell anyone, because it's no one's business. I seek to be humble, because in all of us, the Being is great, is holy, divine—but we are not.
It is ironic that certain people in this movement commonly and frequently proclaim themselves to be the master so and so. "I am the master X. Follow me!" And, many people get caught up in politics within groups, identifying with certain people who say they are the master so-and-so. It may be true that the Being is a master, but this does not mean that the human soul is.
Even if you reach Tiphereth, the Fifth Initiation of Fire, one is a master at that level, but… spiritually, the Being is the master, not us! So, it's ironic that people get caught up in pronouncing eloquent names and spiritual names of God, giving away their secret to humanity. Calaf, or better said, Puccini, and many others knew that the way to resurrect is by not talking so much about one's development—but keeping that a secret. Many so-called Gnostics get caught up in this. Many people follow such individuals who say they are the master so-and-so and then get stuck in groups, politics, debates. But the real way to enter initiation is to keep this secret, the lost word, guarded in Assiah, the physical plane. And, in The Pistis Sophia we must face all the temptations in Assiah and the repentance of Sophia in Klipoth.
In Kabbalah, God creates through Briah; the forces of the top trinity of the Tree of Life create through alchemy, through Da’ath, in order to create the spirit, the divine soul, and the human soul. And, the human soul must give form to a solar mind, solar astral body, solar vital body, and transform the physical body into a solar being, a Christic Being. It is by entering the Second Mountain in which we ascend these nine sephiroth, the heavens, and prepare for resurrection.
The Lost Word of the Sufis
We have a beautiful teaching of the Sufis, which explain this very cryptic teaching of the Middle East: how one must find the lost word. ‘Search for it in China and maybe you'll find it even in the great Tartar.’ Idries Shah explains some very beautiful things about the mysteries of the lost word that we're going to elaborate upon and explain in relation to the opera we are studying:
“Seek knowledge, even as far as China,” the phrase which is on all Sufi lips, has more than a literal or even a figurative sense. This meaning is unlocked by analyzing the use of the word “China,” interpreted through the secret language… —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
…which we say is Kabbalah. In Arabic it is the Abjad system. It's the same as the Hebraic Kabbalah. The numbers of certain letters representing different principles.
Prince Calaf is in China and everyone is trying to find out his name, the lost word. “Seek for knowledge even in China and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartar.” Remember that Calaf is the exiled prince of Tartary.
“China” is a code word for mind concentration, one of the Sufi practices, an essential prerequisite to Sufic development. The phrase is important partly because it provides an example of the coincidence in interpretation possible in either the Arabic or Persian languages. Neither has any real connection with the other. The fact that the word for “China” in both, though spelled and pronounced differently, decodes to substantially the same concept, invests this phrase with a special significance for the Sufi.
CHINA. In Arabic SYN (letters Saad, Ya, Nun). Equivalent numbers: 90, 10, 50. Totaled, these letters yield the number 150. Splitting by hundreds, tens, and units: 100 + 50 (no units remain). Retranslated into numbers: 100=Q, plus 50=N. Q and N recombined form a word: QN. The word QN (in the form of QaNN) represents, in Arabic, the concept of “scrutinizing, observing,” and is therefore taken as a symbol of concentration, focus. The injunction now reads: “Seek knowledge, even as far as concentration (of the mind).” —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
Prince Caliph is in China. He is in his own infernos, his own Tartarus, his hells, in which he must discriminate amongst all the people of Peking, all of his defects, to catch them in action, to understand them, so that by comprehending, he may eliminate through the Divine Mother. In order to achieve knowledge, one must work in Da’ath, in alchemy. One must work diligently in the full death of desire.
CHINA. In Persian CHYN (letters Che, Ya, Nun). Equivalent numbers: 3, 10, 50. Before translating into numbers, the Persian letter Che (CH) is first exchanged for its nearest equivalent in the Abjad scheme, which is J. The three sums totaled: 3 + 10 + 50 = 63. Separated into tens and units: 60 + 3. These numbers retranslated into letters: 60 = SIN; 3 = JIM. The word we now have to determine is a combination of S and J. SJ (pronounced SaJJ) means “to plaster or coat, as with clay.” Reverse the order of the letters (a permissible change, one of very few allowed by the rules) and we have the word JS. The word is pronounced JaSS. This means “to inquire after a thing; to scrutinize (hidden things); to ascertain (news).” This is the root of the word for “espionage,” and hence the Sufi is called the Spy of the Heart. To the Sufi the scrutinization for the purpose of ascertaining hidden things is an equivalent, poetically speaking, with the motive for concentrating the mind. —Idries Shah, The Sufis: “The Coalmen.”
You see in this opera how Prince Calaf is scrutinizing his foes, who all want to find out his name, his secret. He is literally in China, Syn, which reminds us of Sijjeen, the lowest hell in the Qur’an, specifically referenced in Surah 83, Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding.’ We find a profound teaching about the word "Sijjeen," wherein resides the book of the lost ones. The opposite is the realm of Illiyun, the highest heaven, wherein resides the book of the pious.
"The record of the wicked is indeed in Sijjeen." Sin, Sina. China. "And, what can make you know what is in Sijjeen? it is a written record. Woe to the deniers on that day who deny the Day of Retribution." Or better said, the Day of Atonement, Resurrection. "And none denies it, except for every sinful transgressor." —Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding’ 83:7-12
"And the record of the pious is indeed in Illiyyun. And, what can make you know what is in Illiyyun? It is a written record witnessed by those brought near to Allah. Indeed, the pious shall be amid bliss, observing as they recline on couches." —Al-Mutaffifin, ‘The Defrauding’ 83:18-23
Illiyyun can refer to a mountain top, the heights of the Empyrean, the Tree of Life. Sijjeen refers to the lowest hells, so "Seek knowledge even in China, Sijjeen, and maybe you'll find it in the great Tartarus…" because by learning to go through your own hells, with discrimination, is how you develop the spirit, how you will resurrect. The only way to climb the Mountain of Resurrection is by precisely facing all our defects. Every ascent is preceded by a terrible a frightful descent, humiliation.
Even the word ‘sin’ in English comes from this etymology. Sin is an archery term in which, when you're firing towards a center target, you veer off to the left. To sin, Kabbalistically, is to fall through the left pillar, to go down the Tree of Life into Klipoth. That's how you enter devolution, what it means to sin. In this work, we must learn to descend into China, Sijjeen, hell, but without sinning, without sin, to not identify with those realms.
A descent is much different than a fall. To descend is to face all our own evilness with responsibility, to comprehend and annihilate the ego. To fall is to fornicate, to abuse the energies of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, and therefore remain in Klipoth without light.
We said that China is the heavenly kingdom, but in us our heaven is trapped in hell, as indicated in the Arabic Kabbalah. All our parts of our soul are trapped in the ego, and if we wish to achieve the Resurrection mentioned in the Qur’an, we need to atone for our defects through the Second Mountain, Purgatory, the ten days of Yom Kippur.
Therefore, John Milton stated in Paradise Lost, "The mind is its own place. It can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." So, "The inferno is the womb of heaven," says Samael Aun Weor extensively, because it is only by descending into our own darkness, like Calaf does in Act III, by which he develops heaven in himself, by guarding the lost word, his secret.
Search for it in China, with discrimination, and maybe you'll find the truth, the lost word, in the great Tartarus, the inferno, which is what Calaf is doing. He's facing all the temptations of his mind and is rejecting Klipoth. When in hell, we must discriminate what we see with meditation; to not be confused by our own mind or the black magicians. Therefore Tiphereth, Prince Calaf, gets confronted by Ping, Pang, and Pong, IAO, the force of diablo, the devil.
We mentioned that Tiphereth, Prince Calaf, already achieved mastery. In terms of Freemasonry, he was an Adeptus Minor, but now he is preparing for perfection in mastery, to perform the Biblical Exodus, שמות Shemoth in Hebrew. In order to perform the Exodus, which is the return of all the parts of Israel, the soul, with the divine, we must reach Tiphereth first. Only by working with השם Hashem, א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem, by creating the solar bodies, especially the solar causal body, our own Inner Moses, can we incarnate Christ, the lost word, השם Hashem. Remember that the three mother letters of Kabbalah represent השם Hashem, and that השם Hashem spelled backwards is משה Moshe, Moses. Only by entering the direct path, by descending into Klipoth, can we truly incarnate Christ. That is the work of Moses, of the Exodus. We must return to Israel, the Absolute, because we are in exile, but now the Prince Calaf will enter the Exodus through the revolution of the consciousness, by freeing all the parts of his soul from hell.
It’s very interesting that the Book of Exodus is really שמות Shemot, the Book of Names, since the word Shem means ‘Name’ in Hebrew. ו Vav ת Tav is feminine plural. The way that we return to the Promised Land and marry the Divine Princess Turandot, Shekinah, is by guarding our name in the abyss, by freeing the Israelites or parts of the soul that are trapped in sin, Sijjeen, China.
Nessun Dorma: "No Man Shall Sleep"
In the story of Samson and Delilah, Prince Calaf must renounce all the offerings of the darkness, which is why Eliphas Levi has stated, "Woe to the Sampson of the Kabbalah if he allows himself to be put to sleep by the sinful Delilah." Therefore, in the opera, Prince Calaf says, "No man shall sleep." He will not enter the doorway of the night.
When Calaf sings this most famous aria to the stars, we are reminded of the Qur'an and the teachings of the Middle Eastern Sufis. Calaf sings, "No man shall sleep." He's singing to the stars of Urania, the Divine Mother Nut, the cosmic space. As stated in Al-Anam, "The Cattle," Surah 69:7:
"It is he who place for you the stars that you may be guided by them through the darkness of the land and sea. We have detailed the signs for people who know." ―Al-Anam, "The Cattle" 69:7
The following verses from Surah 37 verses 4-6:
"Indeed, your God is One, Lord of the heavens and the earth and that between them and Lord of the sunrises. Indeed, we have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars." —Qur’an 37:4-6
In this recitation, this Qur’an, Prince Calaf is praying to the sky, the heavens during the hour of temptation: Lucifer-Venus, which is occurs between 3 and 4 in the morning. This is when the forces of the black lodge are active in the astral atmosphere, which is why, if you wake up in the astral dimension at those hours and are very weak with lust, it gets very dangerous, because the demons will come after you. If we're diligent and working in chastity, being very strong in our practice, we can’t be harmed.
As you have seen in this opera, Prince Calaf is in ecstasy. He's performing a recitation, the Qur’an, in Arabic terms. He performs night vigil to speak, to pray, to communicate, to ask of his inner God for help during the hour of Lucifer-Venus. Therefore the Qur’an, Surat Al-Isra, ‘The Night Journey,’ verses 78-79, states:
"Establish prayer at the decline of the sun from its meridian until the darkness of the night and also the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. And from part of the night pray with it as additional worship for you. It is expected that the Lord will resurrect you to a praised station." —Surat Al-Isra, ‘The Night Journey,’ verses 78-79
It's good to get into the habit of waking up very early, around 3 or 4 in the morning. If you get up naturally, that's even better, to do mantras, perform prayers. Then, go back to sleep, awaken in the astral plane; you can experience very strong samadhis, because you're channeling and conquering the energies of Lucifer—you're controlling your energies and the temptations of your mind. You can awaken a lot of consciousness that way. In that state you can have certain blissful ecstasies in which you communicate with your inner Divine Mother. This is the occult significance of Prophet Muhammad’s teaching on the night vigil, to be resurrected to a praised station.
The following is from Al-Buraj, the Constellations, Surah 85, verses 1-9:
"By the sky containing great stars and by the Promised Day," or the Day of Resurrection, marriage with Devi Kundalini, Turandot, "and by the witness and what is witnessed, cursed were the companions of the trench, containing a fire full of fuel, When they [the fornicating people of Peking] were sitting near it and they, to what they were doing against the believers [like Prince Calaf], were witnesses. And they resented them not except they believed in Allah, Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy, to whom belongs the dominions of the heavens and the earth, and Allah over all things, is Witness." —Al-Buraj, 85:1-9
If you see stars in the astral plane, the mental plane, it means ascension—where the Divine Mother is showing you that your mind is clear and you're reflecting God inside. You see that firmament. As the Qur’an teaches, "We give signs for those who have certainty" in the astral plane, where you see certain astrological features, like the moon, which means suffering, ego, pain, ordeals. A cloudy sky means too much ego interfering with the intellect, too much rationalization, a cloudy mind, but a clear sky of stars is essential, in which we're radically raising our level being.
Prince Calaf is in samadhi, singing to his Divine Mother in preparation for the Second Mountain. We find such ecstasy reflected in the practice of the mantras, "O AO KAKOF NA KHONSA,” with which we began this meeting today. Let me remind you of the prayer we performed so we can connect it to this beautiful aria Nessun Dorma:
"Be thou, oh, Hadit, my secret, the Gnostic mystery of my Being, the central point of my connection, my heart itself, and bloom (like Shoshanna, the rose or igneous flower of our spirituality) on my fertile lips made Word!
"Up above, in the infinite heavens, in the profound height of the unknowable, the incessant glow of light is the naked beauty of Nut. She reclines, she bends in delectable ecstasy, to receive the kiss and secret fervor of Hadit…
(Hadit is a representation of Binah, the Holy Spirit, the husband of the Divine Mother. We seek to unite with Devi Kundalini, to be so pure that we become one with the Holy Spirit. This can only occur through death the ego, when we, as Tiphereth, become united in Binah through resurrection. Binah is both masculine and feminine: Aima Elohim, the Divine Mother, and Abba Elohim, the Divine Father).
"The winged sphere and the blue of the sky are mine!
"O AO KAKOF NA KHONSA!" —Egyptian Gnostic Prayer
It's on the night of the Second Mountain where the Prince Calaf’s heart is rich, inebriated with the hope of victory, when he says the following holy, ineffable words:
"None shall sleep. None shall sleep… (For I have awakened to one of the mysteries of Daath). Even you, oh princess Kundalini, in your chaste bedroom, (referring to the purified soul and the marriage room of alchemy, the bedroom), watch the stars (the firmament of Kether), that tremble with love and with hope…
"But my secret is hidden within me. No one will know my name, (the secret of initiation or his name, אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei, the name of Tiphereth in the world of Aztiluth, which can be translated as אלוה ודעת השם Eloah Va Daath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei or Eloah Va Da’ath Hashem, the Name, the lost word). No, no! On your mouth I will say it… (The mouth refers to Daath, mantralization, alchemy). I will say it when the light shines (when the word becomes flesh in me.)"
We spoke essentially about the meeting of השם Hashem, previously. Hashem contains breath, א Aleph, ש Shin, מ Mem: air, fire, water respectively. And, when we work with the three brains, the three forces in us, we're working with Hashem: I.A.O., Christ, Ignis, Agua, Origo: Fire. Water. Spirit.
So, he's praying to the night, his Divine Mother, to prepare him for the death of the ego and resurrection. Of course, this aria is very well recited today, but people don't know the meaning of what it represents. Little do people see how Puccini beautifully synthesized Kabbalah, alchemy, Sufism, and the Hebrew letters. So, as you can see, in order to understand this doctrine or this opera, we must know kabbalah very well, very deeply.
So, in this aria, Calaf continues:
"And, my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine."
(Or his kiss upon the lips of the Divine Mother Death, because through Da’ath, the lips, is how one dies to ego, through comprehending in meditation and then asking for annihilation, or in the sexual act through mantra, through prayer, through devotion).
The chorus sings afterward, "No one will know his name. None shall discover the secret of his strength. And we," referring to the psychological aggregates we have inside, "will have to die… to die."
Calaf says, "Vanish, oh, night!" Night of Lilith and Nahemah, "Set stars! Set stars! At dawn (resurrection), I will win! I will win! I will win!"
People want to know Calaf's name. The word Calaf reminds us of caliph, a master of Middle East, Tiphereth, since this Sephirah is the east, but also the middle of the Tree of Life. The sun rises in Tiphereth, astrologically speaking, since it relates kabbalistically to the sun. It also relates to Venus as well, the science of love, the Venustic Initiations we spoke about previously.
So the prince is a master of the Middle East, and people want to know his secret. He is facing a similar situation to that of Odysseus in The Odyssey, when the Greek hero is questioned by Polyphemus, the cyclops, in a barren island cave, "What is your name?" Odysseus says, "I am nobody." One must not identify with the ego; one must cease to be what one is so as to become what one is not—to become the Being—dying moment by moment through meditation, self-remembering, comprehension, prayer, and vigilance.
When Polyphemus is blinded by Odysseus, the Greek hero escapes with his life and his crew, but he makes the mistake of taunting the giant, the animal ego. The cyclops was a very clairvoyant ego, with one giant eye, the third eye—a very big demon with powers in hell. Odysseus was taunting him, saying, "I am Odysseus." But, of course, whenever he would speak, Polyphemus would throw a giant rock and nearly crush his ship, since the giant could still hear. So the danger of the initiate at that level is hubris, mystical pride, vanity, the assumption or futile belief that "I'm a master at that level. I am the master so-and-so, follow me!"
This becomes very dangerous for advanced practitioners, to be very arrogant in a spiritual way, to be proud of one’s height. Samael Aun Weor mentioned how, in Igneous Rose, initiates must not get hypnotized by the vertigo of the heights, to assume that one is a great initiate, because only divinity is great. In the beginning, Odysseus blinds the giant and escapes, whereby Polyphemus screams, "Nobody has blinded me!" The funny part is that the other giants on the island say, "Okay… So, what? Nobody blinded you!" It's a pun on words, but at the same it's a psychological truth. Cease to be what you are; be content with having no other identity but that of the Being; if you reach that point, that level. If you become fascinated by your own pride, you will tumble into the abyss and risk getting killed… since the cyclops, while blinded, can still hear you…
The Temptations of the Second Mountain
The servants of Kali, the darkness, the Divine Mother Death of the inferno are led by Ping, Pang, and Pong: I-A-O. Literally the vowels of their names are the vowels of diablo, the devil.
First thing they tell him is, "Divert your gaze from the stars and look down here." This is very interesting. We find in Surah 6 of the Qur’an, verses 3-4:
"And He is Allah, the only deity in the heavens and the earth. He knows your secret and what you make public and He knows that which you earn." So, your actions, your virtues, your defects. "And no sign comes to them from the signs of the Lord, except they turn away therefrom." ―Al-Anam 3-4
Meaning: they turn away from the Divine Mother, the sacred cow of Kabbalah. “La Vaca” in Spanish, the cow, spells kabbalah backwards, the Mother of the Tarot, the second arcanum.
There's also another verse relating to this dynamic, where they tell him look down from the sky. They want Calaf to turn away from the signs of God and look down at what's going on in Klipoth, through temptation. The Qur’an, in Surat Al-Hajj, verse 66, states:
"And, He is the one who gave you life and causes you to die and then will again give you life. Indeed, mankind is ever ungrateful." —Al-Hajj 22:66
This verse deserves kabbalistic analysis, since many people interpret things literally. The Being gives life through the Mountain of Initiation, through Rosh Hashanah or the serpents of fire and light, and then He causes you to die on the Second Mountain through Yom Kippur. Then He will again raise you through Resurrection. But… mankind is always ungrateful, because even masters of that level still have defects to work upon.
This verse reminds me of an experience I had many years ago, so if I'm relating this to you about the stars, it’s because I've had many experiences where my Divine Mother was showing me my own heavens, heavenly being, or ascension. I remember one occasion, waking up at 4 AM to meditate, and then falling asleep again, I saw the stars in the sky—beautiful glittering stars… very divine, but then my ego was pulling me from the superior astral plane down to the inferior astral plane. I entered Limbo, Klipoth, the lunar sphere, when my ego invoked a big demon, whose name I will not relate here.
This monster, this giant demon, was like Polyphemus, a cyclopean beast. He was trying to convert me, but I fought my way out of his grasp as he was trying to tempt me, to drag me further down into the hell realms. Fortunately, I received divine aid and was able to escape.
So, I remember that phrase from the Qur’an, very much, with a lot of pain. "Surely we give signs unto you as a sign of certainty, but many are they who are ungrateful." I realize that my ego makes me very ungrateful. We must work hard on our ego so that we don't enter temptation, so that we cannot be misled in the internal worlds.
I-A-O, diablo. Ping, Pang, Pong, present before the initiate three more ordeals—three temptations relating once again to our three brains. In preparation for our resurrection, Lucifer provides the most intense and difficult ordeals. To understand this part of the opera, you have to remember the Book of Job: how Jehovah spoke to Satan and said, "Truly, my servant Job is the most humble, the best, the greatest." And of course, Satan says, "Yeah. Yeah. He praises you, but if you give me the opportunity to make him suffer, he will curse You to Your face." And Jehovah said, "So be it. Tempt him, but do not let him die."
And of course, the book of Job is very short, but very beautifully depicts the end of the path, through the process of resurrection, in which the initiate must face criticism and doubt, pain and sickness and disease and suffering and pay all his or her karma at the very end—to the point that even Job's wife and family were against him, telling him, "Why don't you curse God?" And he says, "Naked I was born, and naked do I return into the womb of the earth." God is just, and the initiate pays all his karma successfully if done with acceptance and humility.
There are eight years of trial and tribulation after Job annihilates the ego. Afterward, one must face certain ordeals, certain sicknesses and illnesses that result in death, physically speaking.
Of course, the initiate also faces other ordeals relating to the three brains. We find that riches, money, materialism, and jewels are presented to the initiate Calaf, which relate to Mammon, the mind. They use these jewels and say, "Take all this treasure and go on a journey anywhere you want. Do whatever you want. Take these fragments of stars." They say, "And the jewels." Of course, it's a very profound symbol in the Qur’an, because stars are from above, but in hell those energies channeled become fragments, broken. So they're telling him, "Don't look up there at Christ. Come down with us in Klipoth."
In the experience I had where I got sucked down into the infernal planes, I had to fight very hard to get out, but I did, because at that moment I was praying a lot and I felt a lot of remorse. There was a certain demon, whose name I won't mention, who took me and awoke me in hell, because I have that ego inside, very strong. But I prayed to my Divine Mother, my Divine Father, "Help me get out!" I woke up in my body and I felt terrible. I remember falling asleep again and being in my bedroom in the astral plane reading the Qur’an, but instead of seeing literal verses, I saw symbols, images. And my physical father, my Divine Father in the form of my physical father, came up to me in the astral plane, just smiled, and walked away, because I was studying with a lot of love and devotion.
I also remember seeing the images of that demon who pulled me down to Klipoth. He was a giant Gollum, bigger than this ceiling, like fifteen feet tall, a big rock giant, and in the Qur’an, I saw that symbol of the infidels, الكافرين al-Kafirin in Arabic. Remember we said early in our previous lecture on the Tarot, כ Kaf is the intellect, the cave in which the demons dwell, down in the hell realms. There is even a surah in the Qur'an called الكهف Al-Kahf, 'The Cave,' which indicates how the Hebrew כ Kaf or Arabic ک / ك Kahf have the same kabbalistic meaning.
It's funny, because my physical father has a complete aversion to Islam, very fearful of that religion, but in my dream, my Divine Father was showing me in the form of my physical father: read the Qur’an when you are tempted.
The Prince Calaf opposes the golden calf, money, materialism, hell. The golden calf literally sounds like Calaf. That's the opposite of the prince, so they offer him gold and money, but he refuses. They offer him women, travels, eroticism, lust, sexual perversity and passion related to the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
The first ordeal related to money is the intellect, because the mind is always wanting money to sustain itself, but the temptations of the body are related to the motor-instinctive-sexual brain. Women of fascinating fatal beauty, hidden beneath their veils, tempt the initiate in the physical and internal worlds. The counselors say ‘take their veils off,’ but of course these are the veils of hell, Klipoth, in which one only finds more and more suffering until one is disintegrated in that region. This is opposite to the veil of Isis, in which one tears it through resurrection to go to the source, the Absolute.
So Calaf denies them too. Ping, Pang, Pong beg the prince that Turandot is sleepless and unrelenting. This shows us how the black lodge accuses us of being cruel, of being evil, because they think that prince should die and not them. And of course, this reminds us of the story of from The Pistis Sophia in which Hitler met a superman. Hitler was an awakened sorcerer, a black magician at that point, and he declared that he was filled with terror before a superman filled with a lot of light. The demons think that masters of the straight path are very evil, because they don't follow the devolving forces. However, neither are the saints followers of the straight path, and therefore the saints don't understand them either. They follow the path of the right. One must follow the path of the middle to achieve self-realization of Turandot. But of course, when we follow the revolutionary path, we are accused of being cruel, demonic, by both the sheep and the goats.
Lucifer is always providing those temptations: mentally, emotionally, physically. And Samael Aun Weor wrote that the worst ordeals are not just brain against sex, sex against brain. Fighting against your lust in the sexual act is hard, but the worst ordeals involve heart against heart, the emotional brain, the emotional center. There are certain traumas or betrayals which are very painful, very difficult, which is why at this point in the opera, Turandot's guards bring out his father, Timur and the servant Liu, threatening their lives if they don't provide Calaf’s name. So, Calaf says he doesn't know them—which, as a simple plot point, makes sense. He's trying to protect his father and the servant, but at a deeper esoteric level, he's saying "I don't know them." He's saying, "I don't know my Being completely yet." As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony, he knew a resurrected friend of his who said that only those who have swallowed soil, achieved resurrection, know anything. Before that, one is only a fool.
At that level, you know, the master has a lot of light and is developing more and more wisdom. However, they basically still don't know the Being yet, until resurrection, so a lot of trial, temptation and pain is involved. But he says, "I don't know them." And, while on one level, this is showing that he's protecting his family and his father and his servant, it also shows us the virtue that we need at this point in the path… which is silence. Silence doesn't just refer to just how we relate to people in the external plane. It’s not about not talking to people. It means that psychologically, we're silent. No mind. No disturbance. With serenity and insight, we cut through illusion, like Manjushri's sword into the depths of hell, in order to conquer all that evilness, because if we identify with ourselves and with our mind, we enter Klipoth. So, patience and tenacity are the two virtues needed on the Second Mountain according to Samael Aun Weor. The magician must know how to be silent, know how to abstain, know how to suffer, and know how to die to the ego.
It's at this point and time when the servant Liu, Geburah, provides a profound sacrifice, which is personally one of my favorite parts of this whole opera. Liu, the divine soul, tells the audience, "I know his name, but I will not tell it to you. I will keep his secret with me." Of course, this is a symbol of how the divine soul interferes and descends into the initiate on the Second Mountain in order to help. The divine soul, Geburah, relates to Mars and the Sun, since the divine soul is like into the solar logos. She teaches the audience, through her sacrifice, the path of mystical death. She says, "His secret is with me,” because the Sun, the solar logos, the mysteries of השם Hashem, יהוה Iod-Chavah, is within her. The divine soul, according to Samael Aun Weor, absorbs all the principles of Christ in her, through the great work.
She absorbs all those forces through the work, the human soul. All the virtues of our Being are within her, which is why the Qur’an says that she is like a "glass of alabaster" in which the light of Al-Nur shines.
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly white star,
Lit from the oil of a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things.
—Surat Al-Nur, 24:35
Allah, the Innermost, is the light. In this verse, He sets forth a parable for his servants, a lamp with a light like a glittering star, contained within a vase of alabaster or glass. Geburah, Liu, is the glass and the light of Allah is Timur, the spirit. So, she is the means of reflecting that divinity in us. She's the divine consciousness who never mixes with the ego, until that initiate has died completely. In the meantime, he can manifest some aspects of the divine soul during the process of the Second Mountain, so that she can help him fight. She does that by sacrificing herself and teaching, through her own death, how to achieve resurrection.
This light is lit through transmutation, the mysteries of alchemy, through the olive tree of knowledge. This tree is neither of the east, Tiphereth, nor of the west, Malkuth, since the light emanates from Da’ath, or Marifah in Arabic. The oil of this tree is the semen, from the Hebrew word for oil, שמן Shemen. It’s interesting that we find even the term שם Shem, Name, in the semen, or sperm and ovum, נ Nun. This is because the power of the initiate’s name is in the brute mercury, the seminal matter. And this is why Calaf guards the secret of his name so much, his sexual purity or scientific chastity. It is the key to all empires.
There's a very similar teaching in the Wagnerian Ring cycle regarding the descent and sacrifice of Geburah within the initiate, in the opera Die Walküre. I think we'll watch it eventually, where Brunhilda, in the German myth, the German opera, represents Geburah, who descends to help the initiate Sigmund, and then Siegfried later on.
A very similar principle is present in the operatic works of the great masters, which we don't have the time to go into depth here, but it's important to remember that the divine soul absorbs Christ and descends to help Tiphereth fight a spiritual war.
Liu, Geburah, is also Martian, the power of Mars, which confuses a lot of people in occultism, because people think of the Martian force as something masculine. The truth is, it’s feminine. You notice that Liu is very sweet? Very serene, very kind, very compassionate, but she's stronger than any of the men in the opera. Primarily because she's responsible for all the pains of the initiate. With her force, her Martian strength, she sacrifices herself. She says, "I know I'll never be able to be with the prince." She loves him, but he loves Turandot. This serves as a simple plot point, a fascinating love triangle, but there’s something very profound here. Puccini is basically showing that, obviously, Tiphereth is in love with Shekinah, Calaf with Turandot. While Calaf doesn’t seem to reciprocate Liu’s romantic love for him, symbolically speaking, the divine soul can only unite with the human soul through death, as we talked about in the play Romeo and Juliet, and one of our lectures on the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah.
In order to unite the divine soul with the human soul, the ego must be completely dead. In that way, the human soul unites with the divine soul and the spirit, and then within Binah, the Holy Spirit, through resurrection. But, of course, this drama must happen first, where Geburah descends into hell to help the initiate, to help him ascend. Liu teaches him that with death, one conquers death, so that one can achieve a perfect marriage with Binah. Therefore, Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "Spirit is the life that itself cuts into life. With its own agony it increases its own knowledge… Did you know that?"
Geburah is Mars, killing, bloodshed. That's her sacrifice, but not against anyone, not a literal killing, but a psychological one. She teaches us how to kill the ego. She teaches the initiate how to die to desire. Liu is showing us that if we want to marry Turandot and unite all the parts of the being, we must die psychologically. We must keep our secret of chastity. We must fulfill the path of Bushido amongst the Samurai, the way of the warrior. Of course, this was a beautiful teaching that degenerated in Japan, but has Zen, Buddhist roots, in which one must die radically to desire. This is the way of the warrior, valkyria, virya, where we get words like virility and virtue.
She is Mars, strength through suffering, which, while sweet and feminine, is the power of the warrior. She's the strongest character in the whole opera. Calaf is very convincing and very powerful, but he couldn't do it without Liu, without the divine servant. She commits seppuku, which originally symbolized the death of the ego. Of course, people think it's literally a physical story about a servant who sacrifices herself, so that a prince can marry a very murderous princess, but of course those literal meanings are, while entertaining, very superficial and absurd. They don’t really withstand an occult, literary analysis.
Liu says that Turandot is girdled with ice, meaning her chastity, severity, which can only be melted by the fire of Calaf’s love. She says, "You will love eventually the Prince Calaf as I love him." Meaning: when the ego is fully dead and the ice of the lunar sphere has melted through chastity, Binah will absorb Tiphereth, and all the lower seven sephiroth through resurrection. So, before the break of day, Liu says, "I shall close my tired eyes never to see him anymore…" except through resurrection. They only see each other through mystical death.
This is when Timur, the spirit who is blind in us, is told about his daughter's death. So he grieves. It's a very painful process for the Being, in which Geburah descends into the initiate. That's because the divine soul and the spirit are one within a master, but in order to help Calaf work in himself, she must descend into him and mix with all the impurities to help him fight. But of course, Timur is blind, grieving. He's the exalted Tartarian king, exiled king of the north, the spirit, and Timur, symbolically speaking, is blind in us. The eyes of Ra, the spirit, are no longer active because we fell, but this doesn't mean that the Being is blind. It just means that in us, that potential is not active, because the Being is always omniscient, even when we are not. The spirit sees. As the Qur’an repeatedly teaches, "Allah is the witness over the heavens and the earth. He sees all things."
"It is dawn my little Liu," Timur says to her. Meaning: Chokmah, the Sun or solar logos, is in Geburah. He also pronounces with great grief that God should be outraged. This is true. The gods, the buddhas would be angered if her death, which is so noble, is not justified with marriage with Turandot… because to reach that point is very high and difficult, but to not make it to the end is very, very painful. One can fall at that point, very easily. It's a very dangerous path, very straight and narrow, which is why the Qur’an says,
"Guide us to the straight path,
"The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray." —Al-Fatihah, the Opening 1:6-7
Every one of us, without exception, has killed our inner God, our inner Being. We assassinated the God Mercury through fornication. We've sinned against the goddess moon and therefore we must pay the price. This is when the multitudes of people say, "Unhappy shade, shameful shade, forgive us!"
And as I said earlier, in the previous lectures, the chorus is dual. It can be heavenly or diabolic, depending upon how the verb is used. So, in heaven it's divine, but in hell it's demonic.
Timur says he will follow to rest beside Geburah, Liu, in the night that knows no dawn. It might seem that the Being is doubting at this point. It's very difficult to escape the darkness in order to turn to the light. He will descend into Klipoth looking for His lost soul if the ego is not fully eliminated, if one fails and enters devolution. So, Ping, Pang and Pong at this point say that this is the first time they look upon death without sneering. IAO, diablo, Lucifer, doesn't mock the descent of Geburah into the initiate. It's very serious.
They say, "Liu, gentle spirit. Rest in peace." Timur and the crowd then exit, which is actually the point, I believe, at which Puccini didn't finish his opera. The rest of the opera was developed by another composer, Franco Alfano, from Puccini’s notes. He made sure that the esoteric message got through for this final work, which is important.
It is at this point and time Tiphereth, Prince Calaf or caliph, the master of the middle east, says to Turandot, "You are princess of death," which is true. In heaven, she is Divine Mother Death, Binah, Saturn, the Sabbath, but down in hell she is Kali who swallows the infidels, al-Kafirin, within the ninth sphere of the inferno. He tells her to come down from her tragic heaven to tear her veil. Only by tearing the veil of Isis through the death of the ego can we achieve resurrection. The veil of Isis, he says, is like ice and water. Again, very symbolic. The ice and water of Yesod must be melted and transmuted in a marriage.
All of this, of course, is very symbolic, which is funny when people see this opera. Obviously, audiences are very fascinated with these dramas, but which are interpreted in a very juvenile sense. Why would this prince want to marry this woman who killed his servant and threatened to kill him? Of course, very literally, it's extremely silly, but symbolically he becomes more aroused by her, in love with her. This is a beautiful symbol of how love and death are one. Divine Mother death is love, the terror of love and law as mentioned innumerable times by Samael Aun Weor.
She resists him. She first says, "Don't touch me. It's a sacrilege." Meaning, to touch the Divine Mother, to approach the Divine Mother with lust, is demonic, blasphemous, but to really be united with her is to be completely dead, chaste. The kiss of the Divine Mother Death requires absolute death of the ego, to become Hadit, the Divine Father, which is Binah, the masculine aspect of the Holy Spirit.
But then he takes her in his arms and kisses her. Very dramatic music thunders, representing the fatality and the supreme negation of the self. He has died to the ego completely. He then calls her the flower of the dawn, referring to Venus, the rose, Shoshannah. Rosh Hashanah, the perfected chastity of the initiate.
She says, "How did you conquer?" And then he says, "Do you weep?" She weeps her first tears. Meaning, the eyes of Binah has melted in the fire of alchemy. He answers her with a question. "Do you weep?" Referring to the eyes, since the eyes of Horus which are now open.
Eyes in Hebrew is עיניים Ayni'im, which contains the letter ע ayin. ע Ayin is found in the middle of דעת Daath. ד Daleth is the doorway through which we see, ע Ayin, the truth, ת Tav. It is through the fires of alchemy that we melt the ice of Yesod, and when Turandot weeps, her vision within the initiate is cleansed, is clear. The Truth is visible to both princess and prince, since Calaf is now completely dead to the ego.
Turandot relates how she despised all the people who tried to marry her before, the initiates who said they loved her, but failed. Yet she feared Calaf, because he was like a Mozart, a Beethoven, a Wagner. Some initiates can conquer the moonlight sonata, the darkness of the soul, and come out in the end with the sun. Many end up like Samson. She says the light springs from him, that she felt the fear of conquering and being conquered. Devi Kundalini fears our failure. She also fears the soul being victorious because the inverted serpent is active there, fighting all the time. So, she still tests Calaf even when he has no ego. She tells him to leave while he has the chance.
Even when you're fully dead to an ego, you must achieve resurrection. So, don't think that as soon as you annihilate the ego, (Snaps fingers), you resurrect. It's a long process in which the initiate must be tested, and of course it's a very dangerous work. He must qualify from his initiations. One achieves initiation, but then one must qualify. This refers to how we must pay all our karma with gladness, and not to pronounce anything against God.
The kiss to the Divine Mother symbolizes his submission to her and the summation of mystical death at this point. She's swooning because he's now preparing for the end of the path, the height of the Second Mountain, so at this point she unveils her love for him.
He then says, "My name is Calaf, son of Timur." At that moment, she says, "I know your name!" And there's that excitement in the audience. They're saying, "Okay. She's probably going to have him killed now, since he gave away his secret!"
It seems like she wants to kill him at that point, but the fact that she says, "I know your name" and that "I’ve achieved victory" is dualistic. She has achieved victory in the soul, because he has perfected his submission to God, his Islam, you could say. He said, "My victory is in your embrace, my life is in your kiss!" It is at this point that he says "It is now the hour of trial!" This is the dilemma of “to be or not to be” in which the soul is to be swallowed by Saturn, Kronos, the Holy Spirit. This is the famous Day of Judgment within the Qur’an, whereby the soul is brought before the divine tribunals of the superior worlds to be evaluated by Devi Kundalini-Turandot. The trial and advent of resurrection is the ultimate, defining moment for the initiate, for Calaf.
You don't know until the very end what will happen, until when they are presented in the palace, Turandot says, "Father, I know the name of this stranger. His name is love!" In Hebrew, Love is גדולה Gedulah, Chesed, the spirit. Because now, when the ego is fully dead, the soul integrates with Geburah, all the lower bodies. The spirit is absorbed in Binah, the Holy Ghost, through resurrection.
And so, at the end, she says it is love. Chesed, the spirit, is united with all the parts of the Being. All the audience hears this beautiful chorus sing of the divine marriage of resurrection.
“Oh sun, life, eternity, light of this world and love. We rejoice and celebrate this song and this sunshine. Our great happiness, glory to thee!"
Therefore we conclude with this following quotation from the book of Revelation, Chapter 2, Verse 10:
“Be thou faithful unto [Divine Mother] death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” —Revelation 2:10
The power of sex that guards the prince in his journey is the Rune Laf, the rune of Life. This is the mystery of scientific chastity, of alchemy. The Rune Laf, in the gnostic tradition, is performed on the 27th of each month. 2 + 7=9: the mysteries of Yesod.
Face east in the morning and walk towards the sun with your hands above your genitalia, walking slowly while praying to the Solar Logos to descend into your hands, into your genitalia, and to grant you any particular blessings you need. Remember that the Rune Laf is the rune of sexuality, the rune of life, which can grant us any petition we need when we are sincere and working in transmutation.
When you raise the Rune Laf [לפ Lamed-Fei in Hebrew] to your head, by raising your hands and sexual energy up above your כ Kaf, your crown, you form כלפ Calaf. When the hands are above your head, you are forming the Rune Man. Stretch your arms in a completely vertical fashion above your head, and you form the Rune Is. Isis. Turandot, the Divine Mother.
Through the rune of life, through transmutation, we achieve the secret of alchemy and transform ourselves into true men and women, through the power of Isis-Turandot.
The mantra for the Rune of Isis is "Iiiiiiiiiiisssssssss Iiiiiiiiiiisssssssss." So Calaf is formed in you when you raise Rune Laf to your head, your Kaf or crown. That's the secret of the Calaf, the master of the middle east.
Questions and Answers
Lecturer: Any questions?
Student: China represents the east and the West. Is that Klipoth or what?
Lecturer: Yes. The west is Klipoth because the sun sets in Malkuth and descends into the infernal planes. In the drama of Geburah, Liu, descends into the initiate. It's a symbol of how the sun must descend into the west in order to go into Klipoth, to help us fight all that evilness inside of us, so that you can return to the east with the sun, through resurrection.
Student: So in the book of revelations, is that battle between the east and the west that battle between our brain, our mind and our sexual brain? Or is that the left and the right brain?
Lecturer: Well, it could relate to the battle between brain and sex. The sun must rise into your head through transmutation, not the other way around, where the soul-energies go out and follow the moon.
Student: What precisely are the stars that Calaf praises in Act III?
Lecturer: The Absolute. In the Kabbalah, if you look back at the Tree of Life, you have three regions that are above the Tree of Life. You have Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur. Ain is the Nothingness, cosmic space; the Cosmic Common Eternal Father. Ain Soph is the light of our Being. As a star, the Absolute shines with omniscience and power. Calaf was praising the stars when singing Nessun Dorma, while looking at his Ain Soph, his inner Glorian, his Christ. He prays that his light aid him in himself, which is the Ain Soph Aur, the limitless light. The light is still unitary in the Unmanifested, but when that light enters the universe, it becomes the trinity: Kether, Chokmah, Binah, the three primary forces that emanate outward and then reconvene as three in order to create.
So, the Ain Soph is precisely our true Being, the star of Bethlehem. You can also look at the lecture we gave on Arcanum 2: The High Priestess, where we explained some details about the Ain Soph, Beth-le-hem, the house of bread, that shines with the Nativity of the Being, which we saw in Act II with the three magi, reading the scrolls of the initiate, his answers, and praising the birth of Christ in him when he takes the direct path.
Student: Well, does one choose to take the direct path to become an initiate, as opposed to the Nirvanic, spiral path? Does this happen in the astral plane?
Lecturer: Those initiations occur internally. There have been rituals done in the past, physically to commemorate and commence the initiate on the path of the bodhisattva. This doesn’t happen frequently because it's a very rare path. Not a lot of people take it, but the nirvanic path is pretty common. Those initiations occur internally through experiences. Your Being will show you if He wants, since his initiations and path belong to Him.
Student: Are there people on this earth working and achieving initiations?
Lecturer: I know people. I know many. Many of the people in the Gnostic movement are returning to Turandot, the Divine Princess Shekinah. There are many fallen bodhisattvas in this movement that are trying to rise again, like the prince in the beginning of Act I or the beginning of Act II. We hear the stories of Ping, Pang and Pong, who talk about how many princes tried to marry Turandot and how many of them failed. They reached initiation at some degree in the past but fell, and then they try to regain what they lost. It is a very difficult path, especially if such fallen masters are not diligent about working on the ego. Remember that they originally fell because of the mind.
Student: Are there any couples having a child through immaculate conception?
Lecturer: There are people, but usually those people don't talk about it with other Gnostics. Apparently, because there's a lot of gossiping and back biting in the Gnostic movement. Specifically, it's a big game of who can be more spiritual. It's the same ego adopted for other things, more spiritual things.
Student: That's kind of what happens in institutional religion. I grew up Roman Catholic. Very quiet about it, but then something just happened, a deep desire. It was all very natural. Can this happen very naturally? Can you become an initiate without even realizing what's happening on a conscious level?
Lecturer: So, good question. Samael Aun Weor mentions that there are many people who are in the minor mysteries, especially in the very beginning of the path, because they're practicing the three factors: sacrifice, birth of the soul through transmutation, and death of the ego. They may not be very awakened, but they have some degree of light, little by little, and some people may not even know that they passed through the minor mysteries yet. Except by having some experiences later on that show them, but there are people too who have been through the Major Mysteries that don't remember certain internal initiations because their Being doesn't want them to see it. This occurs mostly to protect that initiate from being proud, but in another sense, the work of the path itself is very conscious and very specific. To really know where we're at, we must be very awake.
So, of course there's levels. We do it by degrees. It takes a lot of effort on our part, to know where we are at, and the work requires a lot of patience too, because sometimes the Being, while He is very powerful, has a lot of light, doesn't give it to you until later, when He wants. We must learn how to obey, and not resent not having light, because that's our fault. If we have no light, it's because the Being doesn't want us to have light, and that's why Calaf in Act III suffers so much, because he wants light. He says, "I wish this night would end and I wish the dawn were here!" Every initiate suffers a lot in the inferno and must go through a lot of pain, but he has to be very humble and to accept his fate. Let the light enter him when the light needs it; when the light doesn't want certain things to be done, He withdraws. God divided the light from the night. You can relate this principle to the First Initiation of Fire, in which you start to generate that light, but God says, "Let Me divide the night from the day, let Me take that light from you, so that you don't make any mistakes," so we don’t harm ourselves. Because, while we may have light, we may act poorly. This work takes a lot of restraint on our part.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Secret Teachings of Opera, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
This opera is about the path of the Self-realization of the Being. Puccini unveiled, in his work, the intimate process and development of the soul, how to unify the consciousness with Christ and the Divine Mother. Self-realization is the complete integration of the soul with the Being, to manifest the complete potential of our Tree of Life. We seek to realize the Self, the Divine Mother, and all the parts of our Being, while our divinity, our Being, seeks to realize us.
As stated by Samael Aun Weor in Tarot and Kabbalah:
Our own particular Monad (Self, Being) needs us and we need it. Once, while speaking with my Monad, my Monad told me, “I am self-realizing Thee; what I am doing, I am doing for Thee.”
Otherwise, why are we living? The Monad wants to realize the Self and that is why we are here. This is our objective.
The Divine Mother Kundalini, the divine feminine, the Heavenly Princess Turandot, will only marry a man of noble blood. To possess noble blood is to be an initiate, to successfully complete the necessary trials, ordeals, and rites of purification. This is to be worthy to achieve the goal: Self-realization, the Resurrection of the Being within the soul.
The Minor and Major Mysteries
Act I demonstrated the Minor Mysteries, the probationary path. The Minor Mysteries exist to test the disciple, to see whether one will qualify for entering the Major Mysteries. Any disciple must be tested to see if he or she is serious about the path of initiation. According to Samael Aun Weor, there are nine degrees or initiations of Minor Mysteries that the student must pass before qualifying for the Major Mysteries or Initiations of Fire: the awakening and development of the Kundalini.
The Minor Mysteries involve ordeals and mystical experiences. The disciple, in the astral world, witnesses him or herself entering the interior of the earth. Symbolically, we must face our own psychological impurities, our own filthiness and degeneration. This is not so that we can become morbid people, filled with self-flagellation and shame. The sole intention of introspection, of meditation, is to acquire change. We must make an inner account of ourselves: what defects do we possess in abundance, and what virtues do we lack? If we do not confront ourselves, if we are unwilling to take responsibility and ownership of our mistakes, then we will not enter the Major Mysteries. People who fail in the probationary path eventually leave Gnosis, simply because they see no benefit from the practices. They cannot confront the reality of their mind and the psychological causes of their suffering.
The student must be tested and prepared for awakening and raising the Kundalini in a marriage. The serpentine fire rises within the spinal canals of the lower five bodies of the Tree of Life: Malkuth, the physical body; Yesod, the vital body; Hod, the astral body; Netzach, the mental body; and Tiphereth, the causal body. Raising and developing the Kundalini within the spine of each body constitutes one initiation of Major Mysteries. The Major Mysteries, or five Initiations of Fire, are accomplished through the Perfect Matrimony: the union of two pure souls, one who loves more, and the other who loves better.
Single and married people can advance through the Minor Mysteries, but only married couples can awaken the sacred fire of Kundalini and enter the Major Mysteries or Mysteries of the Fire.
Calaf, the exiled Prince of Tartary, conquered certain trials and temptations in Act I. He was tested in his resolve and pursuit of initiation. Every student who enters Gnosis is on probation. All must walk the probationary path, to complete the Minor Mysteries. Before the law of divinity and karma, we are given the opportunity to prove ourselves in the Minor Mysteries, since all of us, without exception, are delinquents, demons, criminals before God. Anyone who has the ego alive is an infidel, an unbeliever, a stranger to the kingdom of heaven. It doesn't matter what we believe, because if we possess anger, lust, desire, it means we are not perfect, but are demonic beings.
The purpose of these studies is to know the heavens of the Tree of Life, to no longer be an outsider, an inhabitant of the Abyss. This can only occur when we remove the garbage of the psyche, our psychological defects. For as Jesus taught us:
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." —Matthew 5:48
Calaf undergoes the Minor Mysteries in his confrontations with three enigmatic figures: Ping, Pang, and Pong. As I stated, the mystery of their significance is found in the vowels of their names: I, A, O. Ping, Pang, and Pong represent Diablo, the devil, the ego. These three individuals help Turandot to govern the lunar multitudes. Who are the lunar multitudes? The people of Peking who worship the moon, mechanicity and the Second Death. Similarly, the commoners also clamored and confronted the Prince, seeking to dissuade him from ringing the fatal gong three times to awaken the Divine Princess Turandot.
Ringing the gong three times symbolizes the work in a matrimony. Remember that the Kundalini is coiled three and a half times, asleep, within the Chakra Muladhara, until the couple awakens the serpent of fire through sexual magic. The number three also reminds us of the three primary forces: Holy Affirmation (man), Holy Negation (woman), and Holy Conciliation (sexual union). Once that serpent is awakened, it begins its journey up the thirty-three vertebrate of the spinal column, the thirty-three canyons or degrees of Freemasonry. The work of raising the Kundalini up each vertebra is the path of the Major Mysteries, which are symbolized by Turandot's three riddles.
These three riddles synthesize and contain within themselves the mysteries of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Kabbalah and Alchemy, which we will explain in detail today.
The Mysteries of Diablo, IAO, Lucifer
The counselors of the palace—Ping, Pang, and Pong—announce the call of the city’s fatal gong. The palace and the streets are stirred, in uproar, because a new disciple has awakened the serpentine fire Kundalini, the Divine Princess Turandot, within his spinal column. The Prince Calaf has entered the Major Mysteries... a rare and dangerous occurrence! Many are those who challenge love (Binah, the Holy Spirit) but fail to eliminate the ego. The trials of the thirteenth arcanum—the work against the disintegration of the animal "I"—is tremendously difficult, precisely due to the nature of the mind and temptation.
In relation to this topic, Ping, Pang, and Pong represent Diablo, IAO, the power of Lucifer. This name scandalizes the religious fanatics who do not understand esoterism, who have been educated poorly. Yet when we comprehend some etymology and have direct experiences from meditation, the beauty of Lucifer’s role in the cosmic drama becomes clear.
Lucifer is not just some person outside of us, but something internal and personal for each one of us. Each one of us has his own Lucifer, who is part of our Being. Lucifer comes from the Latin term lucis: “light”; and fer, fero: “to bear, carry, support, lift, hold, take up”; these terms literally join to form “bearer of light.”
But what is that light? The Christic energy.
Lucifer in heaven is divine, is Christ. Lucifer is the power that gives sexual impulse or longing, which is natural, divine. Without sexual power, without the creative fire, we cannot experience divine love, the beauty of the soul, or the perfect matrimony. The energies of Lucifer are beyond good and evil, but are channeled and conditioned based on our level of being. The problem is not the light, but when it is channeled through the ego. When the light becomes corrupted due to our own desires, defects, and impurities, that light constitutes Diablo, the devil.
Lucifer is our own light that we have polluted within our psyche due to our mistaken actions. Because we created the ego, we transformed Lucifer into a devil, into diablo. Lucifer is properly named Christus-Lucifer, the light of Christ, because this light is part of our Being, but who is mixed with desire, with egotism, due to our own mistakes.
Lucifer is the part of our Being who provides tests and temptations in this physical world and in dreams. But why? Why would part of our Being do this? His purpose in the path of Self-realization is to provide us with necessary training and experiences. Without temptation, we could not develop wisdom.
Does an inexperienced soldier, who trains inconsistently, equal a seasoned warrior who trains his hardest every day? The same principle applies to meditation and the development of the soul. People who never face great adversities, painful tragedies, can never really know their true character and develop qualities like heroism, veracity, and strength.
Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light. Lucifer gives us the fires and pressure of adversity so that we can perceive our own defects. Without terrible ordeals, we cannot see our most secret faults. Without temptation, we cannot confront ourselves and change.
Therefore, Lucifer, portrayed through Ping, Pang, and Pong, Diablo, IAO, plays an essential function in this opera. At the beginning of Act II, Ping, Pang and Pong are organizing preparations for either a wedding or a funeral. This indicates to us that Lucifer is very active in the probationary path, as well as the trials of the thirteenth arcanum, the Major Mysteries. They are preparing for the outcome of the funereal trials, the three riddles that Calaf must answer before Turandot and the palace. Everyone is agitated because no one knows what the result will be: will Calaf become a Master of Major Mysteries, or will he fail and enter devolution within the abyss?
Such a struggle is beautifully depicted in Friedrich Nietzsche’s book, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The following excerpt comes from “On the Tree of the Mountainside,” or the Tree of Life that stands upon the mountain of initiation. Zarathustra here gives some advice to a young boy who longs for the heights, who wants to enter the Major Mysteries.
“You are not yet free, you still search for freedom. You are worn from your search and overawake. You aspire to the free heights, your soul thirsts for the stars (for Urania, the Divine Mother Nut, the cosmic space in the Egyptian mysteries). But your wicked instincts, too, thirst for freedom. Your wild dogs want freedom; they bark with joy in their cellar when your spirit plans to open all prisons.” —Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
This indicates that when you’re raising the Kundalini up the mountain of your spine, within your individual tree of life, the forces of good and evil enter conflict, battle. This is demonstrated by the writings of Samael Aun Weor. He indicates that we must wage very terrible battles against the ego as we raise the Kundalini in each of the thirty-three vertebrae of the spine. The following is from Igneous Rose:
Within the sexual matrass of our organic laboratory, the explosions of passionate fire combine certain ethereal, astral, mental, volitive, conscious, and divine arcana. This occurs to elaborate certain igneous elements, whose substantial principles belong to the Innermost, with the ardent fire of the erotic thirst.
The woman accumulates a very large quantity of elemental fire from nature while in the state of sexual excitement, and when her fire is combined with the erotic magnetism of her husband, then it engenders certain cosmic powers whose tremendous explosions open the spinal chambers.
The boiling passionate fires of man and woman, when mutually and erotically combined, create truly ardent tempests that disturb the atmosphere and cause the tenebrous ones, who are the escorts of each chamber, to go mad.
These submerged entities attack the intrepid ones by defending the fires, whose synthetic and scientific principles are enclosed in the thirty-three internal chambers of our spinal column.
These tenebrous ones defend their rights, and for this reason they qualify us as thieves of powers.
This is the mystery of Baphomet (Lucifer, Diablo). The rose (of virtue, conscious principles) elaborates its perfume with the clay of the earth. The slithering worm does not like the gardener who removes its clay. Our disciples will now comprehend on what basis do the tenebrous ones qualify the sexual alchemists as thieves. —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose, “The Woman”
The mysteries of Lucifer, Arcanum 15: Passion, is the work of eliminating the ego within the sexual act. By removing the impurities of the mind, we whiten the darkness of the devil and create light. Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light!
It’s interesting that 1 + 5 = 6. Arcanum 6: Indecision, the Lovers. The same kabbalistic addition exists with the 33 vertebrae of the spine: 3 + 3 = 6. In Arcanum 6, the disciple finds himself caught between the Virgin on his right: the Divine Mother Turandot, and the Whore on his left: Santa Maria, the Queen of fornication and the abyss. This struggle exists within the spinal column of any initiate practicing sexual alchemy.
The path of the right is a wedding. The path of the left is a funeral. The disciple will either ascend the Tree of Life victoriously, or will shamefully enter the submerged devolution of the infernal worlds. If we fail to eliminate the ego, then hell will do it for us.
If the Prince Calaf succeeds in the ordeals, he will die in the ego and be born as a soul, which is why Samael Aun Weor indicated in The Perfect Matrimony, “The path of life is formed by the hoof prints of the horse of death.”
Pang prepares for a wedding with red lanterns. Pong prepares for a funeral with white lanterns. This is interesting because colors have a very profound significance within esoterism. The three primary colors: blue, yellow, and red, refer to the three primary forces: Kether, the Father; Chokmah, the Son; and Binah, the Holy Spirit. Holy Affirmation (the Father, blue), Holy Negation (the Son, yellow), and Holy Conciliation (the Holy Spirit, red).
The colors red, white, and black were typically associated with coral incense used by the Aztecs in their offerings to the Holy Spirit, Tlaloc: the God of Rain. The waters relate to Binah, the Divine Princess Shekinah, which is why the Genesiatic waters of transmutation are deeply related to the dramas of this opera.
Likewise, the colors red, white, and black depict the purity of the creative, sexual waters within the disciple. We become purified and developed as a consciousness based on the purity of our sexual energy. In the beginning, our sexual energies are black, filthy, darkened to clairvoyant sight. Through the spiritual work and the death of the ego, those energies become white, cleansed, pure, chaste. Afterward, through the awakening of the sacred fire, the energies become red with the serpent Kundalini. These gradations of development occur in relation to the Initiations of Fire upon the Tree of Life.
Therefore, Ping, Pang, and Pong prepare for a wedding and a funeral, because the forces of life and death are two aspects of the same thing. Binah amongst the Hindus is Shiva-Shakti, the giver and taker of life: Creator-Destroyer. Shiva-Shakti, the sexual power of the Holy Spirit, can create or take life. When the seminal energy is conserved and transformed, it gives birth to the soul. But when the sexual energy is expelled, we experience spiritual death, the loss of the soul.
Binah can give birth to the soul and provide death to the ego. This is the solar path. Or—Binah can give birth to the ego and produce the death of the soul within hell. Such is the devolving, lunar path of the black magicians. These two ways are described in detail in our lecture on Arcanum Eight.
Initiation, Princes, and Fallen Bodhisattvas
Ping laments and proclaims the state of China since the terrible reign of Turandot: her kingdom is saturated with the blood of princes. This is interesting because people think of Lucifer as some evil figure. Puccini, however, portrays Lucifer with a lot of wisdom and understanding. The truth is that Lucifer provides ordeals with the express purpose of helping us develop light. Lucifer, therefore, does not work with Turandot so that we can fail, but so that we can succeed. This is evidenced by the great displeasure Ping, Pang, and Pong feel regarding the countless executions in Turandot’s kingdom.
But what is a prince or Meleck in esoterism? A master or warrior of Tiphereth, someone who created the solar bodies in the perfect matrimony. Such a person possesses the Solar Astral, Solar Mental, and Solar Causal Bodies. Such beings are called true human beings, because a true human being possesses these three vehicles and has the fire of Kundalini present within each one of them.
Such princes, in the past, once raised the Kundalini within the lower five Sephiroth of the Tree of Life and became what are known as Twice Born. To be born again is a matter of sexual alchemy, of using the creative energies to give birth to the solar bodies. There exist five initiations of fire or Major Mysteries. Through the First Initiation of Fire, such initiates raised the Kundalini within the spine of the physical body. Through the Second Initiation of Fire, they raised the Kundalini within the spine of the vital body. Through the Third Initiation of Fire, they raised the Kundalini within their lunar astral phantom and created the Solar Astral Body. Through the Fourth Initiation of Fire, they raised the Kundalini within the spine of their lunar mental specter and created a Solar Mental Body. And through the Fifth Initiation of Fire, they raised the Kundalini within the spine of the Essence and gave birth to the Solar Causal Body.
Many princes or masters were trying to answer Turandot’s three riddles, a symbol of working in the Initiations of Fire. To successfully answer the three riddles indicates that one creates the three solar bodies of gnosticism: Christ Astral, Christ Mind, and Christ Will.
It’s interesting, therefore, that Ping announces how many princes, or Malachim, were trying to marry Turandot by answering the three riddles. Why would a prince, who has solar bodies, try to enter the Major Mysteries again? This indicates that such Malachim were fallen, fallen initiates, or fallen Bodhisattvas.
How does one fall? Through sex, through being tempted by the sexual energy—Lucifer—by engaging in fornication after having achieved initiation. This is very serious—very grave—because these initiates betrayed the light.
What is a Bodhisattva? A master of Tiphereth who incarnates Christ. Bodhi literally means “wisdom, light,” and sattva signifies, “essence or incarnation of.” A Bodhisattva is an incarnation of wisdom, Chokmah in Kabbalah, Christ.
Just because a person incarnates Christ and completes the work, doesn’t mean that one is safe from falling, from making mistakes. Many Bodhisattvas, many Malachim or masters, fell because they engaged in the sexual act when it was forbidden to them, and since they could not control Lucifer, the sexual impulse. This is what happened with Count Zanoni…
When Bodhisattvas fall, they lose the light. Christ withdraws from them. According to Samael Aun Weor, such beings are truly worse than demons. But why? They had great responsibility and betrayed their commitment to Christ. Demons are at least consistent, but a fallen Bodhisattva betrayed the Lord. Therefore, who can trust them?
It’s important to note that we should not make the effort to find such people in the Gnostic Movement. Many students become fascinated with this subject and want to find and follow fallen Bodhisattvas. This is very mistaken, because, as we said, fallen Bodhisattvas are worse than demons. Why should we take advice from someone who betrayed Christ? We should only be concerned with the teachings and with our own practice—that is all!
It’s true that there are many fallen initiates within the Gnostic Movement who are trying to rise again. This is commendable. However, such people, when discovering their past, should not divulge their history to the public. It’s quite horrendous and ironic to admit that one is a fallen prince, a fallen Meleck. There’s nothing glorious about it, nothing to be proud about. To be proud for having fallen is to be proud of having murdered one's God. As you can see, it's quite atrocious, monstrous, to feel proud of such a fact...
We have a very special Sanskrit term to describe such not-so-special beings. We call fallen Bodhisattvas and initiates by the term hasnamussen.
A hasnamuss (singular for hasnamussen) signifies a being who may have solar bodies and development in heaven, but also has development in the ego. Such a being has a double center of gravity: one that is divine, within the spirit, but another that is diabolic, within the ego. Hasnamussen are beings with a split personality. Therefore, they are very dangerous, because in any moment, their diabolic center of gravity may manifest.
If we look at some etymology of the original Sanskrit, we can unpack many interesting levels of meaning:
A mouse is a symbol of the ego; this can also refer to a thief, because the ego steals the energies of God, uses it for corruption; to voraciously and passionately consume, indulge in, or spend the sexual energy for lustful purposes, produces pain.
Therefore, it happens in this opera that many princes, men of noble blood, fallen human beings, hasnamussen, wanted to return to Turandot, the Divine Mother, again. They seek to recapitulate initiation, to raise the sacred fire of Kundalini once again within their solar bodies. Through fornication, those sexual fires were extinguished, and must be rekindled once again.
Therefore, Ping announces that many fallen princes, hasnamussen, have been killed during the terrible reign of Turandot. In other words, the Divine Mother has slain many initiates through the Second Death. Why do people fail in these studies? People do not comprehend and eliminate their own ego. Or, even worse, disciples decide not to rise once finding the path of initiation again. Therefore, as evidenced by the executed princes in this opera, they failed the ordeals of the thirteenth arcanum and entered devolution.
The Four Cardinal Points and the Tree of Life
We also spoke about the four directions. The North is Chesed, the right pillar of the Tree of Life. The south relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life. The West is Malkuth, where the sun sets and vanishes into the darkness of Klipoth, the hell realms. The sun rises in Tiphereth, the Middle East, because Tiphereth is the middle of the Tree of Life and is astrologically associated with the Solar Logos, with Christ. It’s easy to see that Tiphereth is the center of the pillar of equilibrium and receives the forces of the top trinity, the Logoic Triangle above, the latter allegorizing the Far East: the heavenly city of China.
The sun rises in Tiphereth and sets in Malkuth. The forces of Christ, the top Trinity, enter Tiphereth, the heart, and descend into hell, with the purpose of illuminating the abyss of the subconsciousness, the unconsciousness, and the infraconsciousness. When the ego, the abyss, has been purified, when the disciple fulfills the Buddhist Annihilation, the soul can rise again with the Christic force. This is the dawn of Resurrection, perfection, within the Far East.
The four directions bear profound Kabbalistic principles. In the North, we have colder regions, which represent for us how the forces of the spirit relate to the mountains of initiation, to the cold, a symbol of chastity. Therefore, Friedrich Nietzsche often spoke about the mountains, snow, and purity of the spirit in relation to the North. The North is Tartary, the northern tract of central Asia, which is mentioned often in this opera.
Then we have the South relating to the left pillar of the Tree of Life, which is significant, because the southern regions of our globe are hotter, obviously. We go south of the equator, we find more tropical regions. The southern region therefore relates to heat, to fire, which is profound. The left pillar originates passion, sexual power, creative impulse, sexual craving. It’s also the reason why the left pillar can take one to Binah, Turandot, the Divine Mother, or into the infernal worlds. The left pillar is the left serpent, Ida, awakened in us through sexual heat, through a matrimony.
The equator relates to the middle pillar of the Tree of Life. Just as the equator is the center of balance for the planet, likewise the pillar of equilibrium balances Mercy and Justice, the pillar of the right and the pillar of the left, in the Kabbalah. Tiphereth, the Prince Calaf, has the duty of balancing all the forces of the Tree of Life within himself, because he is the center of the pillar of equilibrium. Human willpower or human soul is responsible for balancing everything in the spiritual work. We find in this opera that the Prince makes the entire city of Peking revolve around him, or as Friedrich Nietzsche stated in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Can you compel the very stars to revolve around you?” Through our willpower, we learn to raise the forces of the sun, s-u-n, as well as the Son, s-o-n, the Christ, up our spine, to reach the Far East.
The Tarot and the Tree of Life
According to Ping, China once slept with the peace of 70,000 centuries. But again, what is China and the Far East according to Kabbalah?
The City of Peace is known as Jerusalem, Jeru-Shalom in Hebrew, Daru-Salaam in Arabic. That heavenly city is the top trinity of the Tree of Life: Kether, Chokmah, Binah; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. China, the heavenly city, the Far East, the Logoic Triangle, was once at peace for 70,000 centuries, which is not a literal number, but a symbol.
To interpret these mysteries, we must refer to the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, since numbers play a symbolic function within opera.
Turandot is otherwise known as Shekinah, the feminine aspect of Binah, the Holy Spirit. She is the Mother of our Innermost Spirit. She is the Mother of the Tarot, the Mother of the Book cited in the Qur’an (as we mentioned in Arcanum 2). It’s also interesting that the name Turandot sounds like Tarot, the Torah, the law. Samael Aun Weor even mentions that the Divine Mother is "the terror of love and law."
Therefore, to comprehend the mysteries of the spirit, we must utilize the sacred arcana.
Arcanum 7 is the seventh card of the tarot: Triumph. The conquering spirit, Chesed, drives the chariot of war: the solar bodies, in this card. He is our Innermost God who conquers the lower seven sephiroth of the Tree of Life. Arcanum Seven indicates how the spirit achieves wars and victories in His battles against the ego, so that peace may reign within the heavenly kingdom.
He accomplishes this war through his human soul: Tiphereth. The kabbalists often refer to the Sephirah Tiphereth as Israel, which is an acrostic: Isis-Ra-El. Isis is the Divine Mother, Ra is the Solar Logos, the Christ, and El is the Spirit, Chesed. Israel is the esoteric name related to the fifth Sephirah from the bottom to the middle of the Tree of Life. Tiphereth is the Prince Calaf. Remember that in Kabbalah, Israel is in love with Shekinah, the Holy Spirit. Prince Calaf wants to marry Turandot. The same meaning is here. This opera symbolizes how the human soul wants to die to the ego and achieve Self-realization.
By raising the sacred fire up the lower seven bodies or Sephiroth of the Tree of Life, the initiate achieves Triumph, Arcanum 7. Once the ego is annihilated, the human soul can prepare for the process of Resurrection, to be married to or absorbed within the eighth Sephirah of the Tree of Life: Binah. This process is beautifully depicted in Act III of this opera.
It’s interesting that Ping, Pang, and Pong announce that six men were slain in the Year of the Mouse, eight in the Year of the Dog, and thirteen in the terrible Year of the Tiger, according to Chinese astrology. All of this deserves a profound kabbalistic analysis.
Arcanum 6 is Indecision, the work of the human soul to fight against the Whore of the mind. The whore is egotistical desire within the intellect, heart, and sex of the disciple. When you place the number 6 within each of the three brains, you form the diabolic number 666: the ego. 6 + 6 + 6 = 18, Arcanum 18: Twilight. Twilight is the card associated with the terrible struggle between the forces of light and darkness, which especially occurs before the dawn of Resurrection in Act III. With Arcanum 6, the disciple must observe, meditate, and comprehend desire within the intellectual, emotional, and motor-instinctive-sexual brains.
Remember that six princes died in the Year of the Mouse. The word hasnamuss contains the word muss, or mouse, in Sanskrit. Muss can also mean “thief.” So six initiates died in the Year of the Thief, since the ego is a thief; it squanders and abuses the energies of God. While the ego is a thief, we likewise must become thieves of the spirit: stealing the energies of sex for the purposes of divinity. Such is the mystery of Baphomet, Arcanum 15: Passion. Kabbalistically, 1 + 5 = 6, again, since we steal fire from the devil through the Arcanum of the Lovers.
Also of note is the fact that the king of Tartary was also slain; he had a bow six cubits long, another reference to Arcanum 6. He was tempted in the Arcanum of the Lovers. This reminds us of how Timur, the former king of Tartary, Prince Calaf’s father, has lost everything due to the downfall of the human soul, Tiphereth, the Sixth Sephirah from the top to the middle of the Tree of Life.
Remember that Timur, in the opera, is blind. The powers of the spirit are blind in us, the eyes of Ra are incapacitated. Our spiritual sight is lost through breaking the sixth commandment: chastity. Samson also lost his sight by giving away his secret, his hair, chastity, to דְלִילָה Delilah, to ד Daleth: the doorway into Lilith. Lilith is the whore of Arcanum Six: the night of the infernal worlds, the Abyss.
It’s not a coincidence that the number six even sounds like “sex,” a reference to the rites of chastity. Through breaking the sixth commandment, the law of sex, we become demons.
When the powers of the Spirit, Chesed, the North, are in command of our spinal column, then we become kings of Tartary, the Emperor of the Tarot. But when we allow the forces of the Spirit to crumble, to fall, through lust and the left pillar of the Tree of Life, we become kings of hell, the Tartarus. We are spiritually blind, ignorant, lost within hell, Peking.
However, by working against the ego, we achieve Arcanum 8: Justice. This card relates to the Caduceus of Mercury, as we explained earlier, or how we balance the scale of the infinite within our spinal medulla. This is accomplished through psychological equilibrium within our mind, heart, and body.
In Arcanum Eight, we see a woman kneeling in prayer upon three steps, symbolic of the three elements of alchemy: salt, sulfur, and mercury. In her left hand is a sword and above her right hand, a scale levitates. She is the Divine Mother, or any female initiate who is achieving equilibrium in her psyche. When we work with the left serpent of the Tree of Life, the force of Ida, we are working with the left pillar of the Tree of Life. This also signifies the work with ז Zayin, the Kundalini within the spine.
The left pillar of the Tree of life is governed by Binah: Intelligence, but also Geburah: Justice. Remember that the kabbalists teach how the soul and spirit are elevated through the work of the left pillar, by controlling the lunar energies of the left serpent: Ida. The lunar serpent can either raise one towards redemption or lead the soul into damnation, depending on how it is used.
Also remember that Liu, the servant of Timur, proclaims at the beginning of Act I, “How my master is fallen! Will someone raise him for me?” Geburah, the Divine Soul, Liu, asks for help to raise the spirit. This is when Prince Calaf emerges. Through our human willpower, Tiphereth, is how we can raise our spiritual forces. We achieve liberation with the help of Geburah and the left pillar of the Tree of Life.
When the left, lunar serpent, Ida, obeys the commands the spirit, the right, solar serpentine energies of Pingala, we achieve Justice, equilibrium within the soul.
So eight men were slain in the Year of the Dog. The dog is a symbol of sexual instinct, sexual desire, Lucifer. In the Greek myths, Cerberus is the dog who guards the entrance into the infernal worlds. Heracles, the Cosmic Christ, had to rescue him and take him out of the Abyss in one of the twelve labors. This dog is pleasant towards those who enter the hell realms, but is vicious and violent towards those who want to leave. This symbolizes how hell is easy to enter and difficult to escape: fornication is tempting and easy, but chastity and initiation is difficult. The lusts of the mind, our desires, fight against us when we try to steal the sexual fire from the devil.
Since eight princes died in the Year of the Dog, we can conclude that the disciple will enter devolution when failing to work with the left and right pillars of the Tree of Life, with chastity.
Thirteen princes were slain in the terrible Year of the Tiger. The tiger is a beautiful symbol of the sexual energy as well, Christ. We remember the Tiger Knights, the Jaguar Knights from the Aztec pantheon, who, according to Samael Aun Weor, were masters of the thirteenth arcanum: mystical death. They worked in the full elimination of their desires, their ego. Therefore, they are great warriors, great masters. They achieved perfection.
But in the case of Peking, we find that thirteen initiates were slain in the Year of the Tiger. This means that these initiates were slain in hell, through the Second Death, because they failed to rise in the solar path. The dualism of Arcanum 13 is allegorized in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. He writes the following in his chapter “On Chastity,” or “Abstinence”:
I love the forest. It is bad to live in cities: there, too many are in heat (because most people take the heat and sexual fire of the left pillar of the Tree of Life and use it for fornication, for desire).
Is it not better to fall into the hands of a murderer (Divine Mother Death, Turandot, through the solar path of initiation) than into the (lunar) dreams of a woman in heat (Lilith and Nahemah, through devolution within the infernal worlds)?
And just look at these men: their eye says it—they know nothing better on earth than to lie with a woman.
Mud is at the bottom of their souls; and woe! if their mud also has spirit!
So what is mud? It is ego. What does it mean to have mud and spirit mixed? It means to be a fallen Bodhisattva, a hasnamuss with a double center of gravity. There is nothing worse than being a hasnamuss with a double polarity. A fallen Bodhisattva has a lot of power in hell, through enmeshing his or her spirit within the filthiness of the ego.
Friedrich Nietzsche continues:
Would that ye were perfect—at least as animals! But to animals belongs innocence.
Do I counsel you to slay your instincts? I counsel you to innocence in your instincts.
Why are animals innocent, even though they fornicate? They don’t have the intellect yet. They are still evolving within the mechanical forces of nature. They simply obey their instincts, without question or rationalization. They don’t have the capacity to discern good from evil, purity from impurity. They are innocent elementals. Once those souls enter the humanoid kingdom, they receive the intellect and become intellectual animals.
Those souls are then given the commandments to not engage in sexuality as animals, to enter a higher kingdom, the sexuality of true human beings. The sexuality of Malachim, of angels, is chaste. Since we have the intellect and can rationalize, we are more accountable for our actions: we are no longer innocent. It is at this point in our evolution whereby we can become true human beings: princes or Malachim with solar bodies. Animals cannot achieve that until becoming intellectual humanoids, because an animal does not have the intellect yet, cannot reason, or discern good from evil.
Also, we don’t need to reject sex as something filthy, but comprehend and use it in a pure way. Chastity or alchemy is purity of sex, not rejection of it. This is why Nietzsche counsels you “to innocence in your instincts.”
In the East, the Tiger refers to Christ. It also refers to the creative energies one must conquer in oneself. The Western equivalent, within the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition, is the Lion of Judah.
Going further with numerology, the sum of all deaths under Turandot is: 6 + 8 + 13 = 27 = 2 + 7 = 9: The Hermit.
27 is a very interesting number in gnostic esoterism because the 27th is the most Christic day of the month. The forces of the Solar Logos are most active at this time. We even have special holidays related to the 27th of each month, which we celebrate within our Gnostic Churches. We also have the Advent of Samael on October 27th, 1954. We always celebrate certain Gnostic rituals on the 27th of the month in remembrance of divinity, and on October 27th we celebrate the incarnation of the Martian Christ within His Bodhisattva Samael Aun Weor.
27 also relates to the heart beat of any planet. Every planet has a specific term or lifespan, which is measured by the palpitations of the planet’s vitality or heart. Just as we all have a set number of heart beats for our own life, likewise every planet has its own heartbeat, or cosmic rhythms. These energetic palpitations fluctuate in accordance with the harmony of the worlds. Each heart beat in any planet spans 27,000 years. There also exist 2,700,000,000 heartbeats or palpitations within a planet’s life before it must become a cadaver, a corpse, a moon.
2 + 7 = 9, the Ninth Arcanum: the Hermit. The ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life, from the top to the bottom, is Yesod: the Foundation Stone. This is the Great Arcanum, the mysteries of sexual alchemy. Prince Calaf is precisely the Hermit who walks the path of initiation. Symbolically, he carries the staff of the patriarchs, the spinal column, and the lamp of Hermes, the wisdom of the mercurial science, the secret of chastity.
The Role of Lucifer in the Divine Trials
Given our understanding of what Ping, Pang, and Pong represent, it’s interesting that they lament the state of disorder in which Peking resides. Ping, Pang, and Pong feel great aversion for what they are doing. They despise sending men to death. When people think of Diablo, the devil, Lucifer, they think of some being that is external and entirely evil. They don’t understand that Lucifer is inside of us; in our internal heavens he was divine, but when mixed with ego, desire, he is Diablo.
Contrary to popular belief, Lucifer, the light of the Being, our psychological trainer, does not like when the soul fails. The reason why Lucifer gives ordeals is so that we can conquer them. He wants us to obtain Self-realization. He tempts us so that we can become victorious. However, in the vast majority of cases, many disciples are failing in the work of the elimination of the ego.
Lucifer’s regal obligation is to assist Turandot, signified by the all the funerals Ping, Pang, and Pong prepare. And so they are greatly dissatisfied. You notice that they are not happy with so many dead princes. All they want is to return to the peace of their ancestral homes. Ping wants to go back to his house in Honan, Pang with the forests of Tsiang, and Pong with a garden new Kiu. This is why Nietzsche stated, “I love the forest. In the cities, too many are in heat.”
The counselors’ ancestral homes bear profound significance. They represent the original, pristine quality of the soul before the fall into degeneration. The house of Honan, the forests of Tsiang, and the Garden of Kiu, all represent the Garden of Eden, Yesod. We must return to Eden through the secret gate: Lucifer, the sexual instinct. The peace of one's ancestral home represents the happiness of the soul, since Eden in Hebrew means “bliss, voluptuousness.” Such bliss and peace are experienced in the perfect matrimony, between man and woman.
The light of Christus-Lucifer was pure before it became degenerated through fornication. Lucifer was heavenly above, but fell from grace when we indulged in desire. The only way to return home is through the door we exited—Eden, sexuality.
Lucifer suffers within the ego. He provides us with fire and temptation so that we can transform the devil into an angel. The myth of Prometheus teaches us this doctrine. Remember that Prometheus was punished by the Gods, because he gave fire to man. This is a symbol for how, as intellectual animals, we squandered the fire of the sexual energy and imprisoned Lucifer to the rock of suffering, to Yesod. In the myth, Prometheus was tortured daily by a vulture, a symbol of our ego. The ego eats the liver of Lucifer everyday, leaves at night as his wound heals, and returns to repeat the same situation. This represents how we continuously waste our energy through desire, the vulture, and make Lucifer, the Christic light, suffer.
Our sexual behaviors determine if we have light or not. If we are impure, IAO suffers in the soul as Diablo. But if you annihilate the ego, IAO is liberated.
Recall the Wizard of Oz, whether the film or the book. The flying monkeys, known as the Winkies, were servants of the Wicked Witch of the West. Those flying monkeys are the powers of IAO, but trapped in hell, devolution, degeneration. In the story, the Winkies chant, “O IO, IAO.” That is because the power of Lucifer, IAO, is channeled through the ego.
This changes when Dorothy, the Essence, throws water on the Wicked Witch of the West. It's quite a memorable moment in the film when the witch melts, representative of how through transmutation and alchemy, the waters of sexual magic, we can disintegrate the ego.
Afterward, the Winkies are freed from the witch’s influence and thank Dorothy, because now the powers of Lucifer are freed from the Abyss.
The four cardinal points of the compass relate to the four elements, as we discussed in Arcanum 4. Each direction of the compass has its mantra and element, as signified by:
This is why the author of the second part of The Flight of the Feathered Serpent taught:
“Look for the knowledge, which arrived again from the East (Tiphereth)!
“Look for the knowledge, which is written in the North (Chesed)!
“And you will neither have West nor South if you are diligent (in alchemy, by never losing even a single drop of the sacred wine of transmutation).”
Ever hear of the slang, when "things go South?" Hence you can see that if one fornicates, things really “go South," the soul enters degeneration. To fall into the West, into Klipoth, is certainly not pleasant either.
So why would a figure like Lucifer be evil if Ping, Pang, and Pong are not pleased with the failure of many souls? Why does the tempter not want the soul to go South and West, but rather than North and East, kabbalistically speaking? What Lucifer wants most of all is to return home to the Absolute.
When we eliminate the ego, unifying the soul with the purified Lucifer, we become terribly divine Archangels, knowing the Tree of Life. We become Wizards of Oz, Otz Ha Da’ath Tob Vey Ra עץ הדעת טוב ורע, Wizards of the Tree of Knowledge, knowing good and evil completely. But if we have ego, we cannot go anywhere.
Lucifer wants Resurrection. Ping, Pang, and Pong want a Prince to achieve the divine marriage with Turandot, the Holy Spirit. Binah, the Holy Spirit, must absorb the lower seven sephiroth of the Tree of Life through the process of Resurrection. Yet this can only happen with the radical death of desire.
Lucifer cares for Self-realization, evidenced by Ping, Pang, and Pong singing of the death of princes while the chorus shouts, “Gira la cote… grind the wheel, sharpen the executioners ax… blood and death!”—the song of the abyss. The counselors sing, “Addio, amore! Addio, razza! Addio, stirpe divina! E finisce la Cina!” This translates as, “Farewell to love! Farewell to our race! Farewell, divine lineage! And China comes to an end!”
An esoteric translation could include, “Farewell to the solar initiates! Farewell to the Aryan Root Race! Farewell to the solar dynasties, the masters of initiation, the heavenly kingdom of China, Jerusalem!” The race of the gods has ended; the reign of China, the top, Logoic triangle, is no more, since we are in the Kali Yuga, the Age of Darkness, an era populated by demons, hasnamussen, black magicians.
The Aztecs also stated in their codices that in the era of the Fifth Sun, the gods would die. There will be no solar men in our Aryan Root Race. Therefore, Friedrich Nietzsche famously postulated, “God is dead.” But in the future era of the Sixth Sun, the Koradi Root Race, “the gods will be reborn.”
Ping, Pang, and Pong also sing how, if Calaf succeeds in the riddles, they will lead him to the bridal chamber with a lantern. Remember that Lucifer is the sexual impulse, the mysteries of the bridal chamber, of Da’ath: alchemical knowledge. The lantern reminds us of hermetic wisdom, the lamp of Hermes within the Ninth Arcanum: the Hermit. That lamp, that energy, guides the initiate in meditation and daily life. When you have light, you know how to walk the spiritual path.
Ping, Pang, and Pong also proclaim that they will sing of love till daybreak. Through marriage with Binah, through Resurrection, one is permanently established within the dawn of the Solar Logos, the Christ.
The counselors also sing, ecstatically, of “the unclad body initiated into the mystery.” Through the perfect matrimony, husband and wife work in sexual cooperation, transmuting the sexual energy and annihilating desire. The couple uses the left pillar of the Tree of Life, raising ז Zayin, the Kundalini sword of the Divine Mother, to achieve liberation. But for that, the couple must conquer temptation, Lucifer, the serpent of Eden.
Our inner Klipoth must be cleaned, completely. The nine infernal spheres of the Tree of Zaqqum, the tree of hell, must be purified. Yet for that to happen, the Prince Calaf, Tiphereth, must first answer the three riddles of Turandot. These three riddles synthesize the three mother letters of Kabbalah, the four elements, the four cardinal points, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The Palace of Peking
When we begin the path, the solar dynasties, the angels, the Buddhas, welcome us with internal experiences. A palace in esoterism bears profound significance, since in the internal planes, seeing or entering a palace indicates ascension and entrance into the mysteries. Entering a temple or palace signifies divine favor and acceptance of the gods.
Any palace dedicated to the solar dynasties is made of gold, symbolic of the solar principles of the Christ. The Temple of Solomon, Sholomah, the Solar-Man, was made of gold. Samael Aun Weor mentions how the Church of Laodicea, in the internal planes, is made completely of gold, a representation of how this Church, the Chakra Sahasrara, the Lotus of a Thousand Petals, connects us with the heights of divinity.
The funereal trials take place in the palace, showing us that they are not meant to punish the soul. People often think of ordeals as something blind, given from a mistaken and blind sense of divine retribution. The truth is that ordeals are given to the Essence, the consciousness, from divinity, represented by the fact that Prince Calaf must stand before the nobles of China, the aristocracy, the divine beings, to answer Turandot’s riddles.
The reason why the buddhas, the Elohim, the divine beings, provide the initiate tests, is to see them qualify. The divine beings want us to enter the superior worlds with victory, with consciousness, with development. They don’t want the initiates to fail, but to conquer, but the only way for them to enter heaven is to be purified, for as stated in the book of Matthew, Chapter 11, verse 12:
“The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
We must be violent to our own ego by working with our Divine Mother Death. We must learn to fall into the arms of Devi Kundalini, according to Nietzsche. To do so is to face great adversity. As shown in the opera, we must overcome such challenges with sincerity, serenity, patience, and zeal. While divinity provides the ordeals to help the initiates, they do not ignore that such ordeals are very dangerous. How we respond to these tests will determine our fate.
The Negative Confessions and the Egyptian Book of the Dead
In this next image, we see the Temple of Maat, Goddess of Truth and Justice. Puccini was well aware of the Egyptian Book of the Dead of Ani, which is the basis for his opera. Just as Prince Calaf must prove his psychological worth before the nobles of China and the Princess Turandot, likewise Ani and his wife Tutu must present themselves in the Temple of Maat to have Ani’s heart weighed.
Anubis is the supreme lord of Karma in our solar system, who weighs the hearts of the Egyptian initiates to register the purity of their soul. The heart is balanced with a feather, symbolizing how the mind must be balanced with the heart. The feather represents the air, the qualities of the intellectual brain, while the heart symbolizes the fires of the emotional brain. Notice also that a monkey sits on top of the scale, representing desire in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
Ani must balance his three brains through the elimination of the ego, meaning: he must achieve psychological equilibrium and balance. To receive divine favor and join the solar dynasties, he must be pure. If he fails, the monster Ammut, with the face of a crocodile, will devour him, a symbol of the forces of devolution that will swallow the initiate.
Arcanum 21: Transmutation, is the Fool of the Tarot. Those who fail to transmute and eliminate desire end up as fools, bohemians, imbeciles. The crocodile of the card threatens to swallow the initiate standing over it and the waters of sexuality. If the disciple fails to defeat his own lust, then the abyss and the Second Death, represented by the crocodile or the monster Ammut, will devour him.
It’s also important to understand that the Goddess Maat is the Divine Mother Death, since מוות Mutt in Hebrew means “death.” It is only through death of the ego that one can obtain truth, justice, and the entrance into the temples of the divine mysteries. Maat also, in Egyptian mythology, did not exist until Ra, the Solar Logos, rose from the ocean of נ Nun, the sexual energy. נ Nun signifies the sperm or ovum, since נ Nun in Aramaic signifies a “fish.” The sperm or ovum are “fish” that swim in our creative waters, מים Mayim in Hebrew. From the sperm and ovum emerge all life. Similarly, we generate the Divine Mother Kundalini in our spine enter the kingdom of truth and justice when we transmute our sperm and ovum into energy. Remember also that the Hebrew name מרים Miriam, Mary, signifies, “to raise, to elevate,” since we are spiritually raised by working with the sexual waters of מ Mem.
On the right, the god Thoth prepares to document and inscribe the fate of the initiate. There is no middle ground. There will either be victory on the solar path, or failure: entrance into the lunar submerged spheres, the Klipoth. As the Qur’an teaches us in Surah 22, verse 70:
Do you not know that Allah knows whatever there is in the sky (the nine heavens or sephiroth of the Tree of Life) and the earth (with its nine submerged spheres)? That is indeed in a Book. That is indeed easy for Allah. —Al-Ḥajj, The Pilgrimage 70
On top of the image of the Temple of Maat are judges, including Hu, Sia, Hathor, Horus (or Aur-us, Oros, the gold or light of the divine spirit), Isis (the Divine Mother), Nepthys, Nut, Geb, and others.
There exist 42 Judges of Karma who evaluate the souls of the dead. These judges determine where the defunct will be placed in the cosmos based on their psychological qualities and actions. This is represented in the opera by the aristocrats and nobles who watch along with the commoners in the palace.
Accompanying this image of the Temple of Maat is a ritual prayer from the Egyptian Book of the Dead: the “Negative Confessions.” In it, the soul proclaims before the Tribunals of Justice that it has never sinned, because it has achieved radical death of the ego. Puccini knew this teaching well and allegorizes how Prince Calaf must overcome such funereal trials within the hall of justice and truth, the Temple of Maat, the heavenly palace of China, the Celestial Jerusalem.
Samael Aun Weor speaks extensively about these “Negative Confessions” in his book Cosmic Teachings of a Lama:
(From the Papyrus of Nu)
Let us now utter from the profound depth of all ages. Listen to me, humans and Gods!
The negative confession from the Papyrus of Nu is for those human beings who have achieved radical and absolute death.
After the definitive annihilation of the ego and of the three traitors of Hiram Abiff, we can certainly give unto ourselves the luxury of penetrating into the double hall of the Truth and Justice, dressed with the glorious bodies of Kam-ur.
To intend to victoriously enter the double hall of Maat without previously having passed through the supreme death would be useless… (We are not referring to the death of the physical body).
Only the authentic defuncts have the right to the negative confession. Indeed, only they can submit themselves to the terrible confession from the Papyrus of Nu of the Egyptian mysteries.
Let it be understood that the authentic defuncts are those who have died in themselves within the forty-nine regions of their subconsciousness.
Therefore, any true defunct can present himself, dressed with his Solar Bodies, in the double hall of Maat, in order to perform his Negative Confession.
Homage to thee, Oh great God, thou Lord of Truth and Justice, I have come to thee, Oh powerful Lord.
I have brought myself hither that I may behold thy radiant beauty! I know thee and I know thy magic name and I know the names of the two and forty divinities who surround thee in this vast hall of Truth and Justice, who live as warders of sinners and who feed upon their blood on the day when the sins of men are taken into account in the presence of Osiris.
The two Goddesses, twin sisters with two eyes, Lord of the Order of the universe is thy name.
Behold, that I have brought in my heart Truth and Justice to thee, since I have destroyed all wickedness from it, for thee.
I have not done evil to mankind. I have not oppressed the members of my family.
I have not brought injustice in the place of Justice. I have had no knowledge of worthless men. I have not wrought evil.
I have not made to be the first consideration of each day that excessive labor should be performed for me. I have not brought forward my name for exaltation to honours. I have not ill-treated servants. I have not thought scorn of Gods.
I have not defrauded the oppressed one of his property.
I have not done that which is an abomination unto the Gods. I have not caused harm to be done to the servant by his chief.
I have not caused pain. I have made no man to suffer hunger. I have made no one of my neighbors to weep.
I have done no murder. I have not given the order for murder to be done for me. I have not inflicted sicknesses upon mankind.
I have not defrauded the temples of their oblations. I have not purloined the cakes of the Gods.
I have not carried off the cakes offered to the sanctified spirits. I have not polluted myself by committing shameful actions within the sacrosanct precinct of the temples.
I have not diminished from the bushel. I have neither added to nor filched away land. I have not encroached upon the fields of others.
I have not added to the weights of the scales to cheat the seller. I have not mis-read the pointer of the scales to cheat the buyer. I have not carried away the milk from the mouth of children. I have not driven away the cattle which were upon their pastures.
I have not snared the feathered fowls of the preserves of the Gods. I have not caught fish with bait made of fish of their kind.
I have not turned back the water at the time when it should flow.
I have not cut a cutting in a canal of running water. I have not extinguished a fire or light when it should burn.
I have not violated the rules of the offerings, the chosen meat-offerings. I have not driven off the cattle from the property of the temples of the Gods.
I have not repulsed a God in his manifestation. I am pure! I am pure! I am pure!
My purity is the purity of that great Phoenix which is in the city of Heracleopolis.
For, behold, I am the Lord of the respiration who maketh all the Initiates to live on the solemn day when the Eye of Horus in the presence of the Divine Lord of this earth which is Heliopolis at the end.
For behold, I have seen the Eye of Horus in Heliopolis at the end, therefore, Oh Gods! let not evil befall me in this land, and in your Hall of Truth and Justice, because I, even I, know the names of these gods who are therein and who are about Maat, the great Divinity of Truth and Justice. —"The Negative Confessions,” quoted by Samael Aun Weor in Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
Calaf’s Entrance to the Palace
The Divine Emperor greets Prince Calaf. The Emperor’s name is never given in the opera, but it explains the meaning of this character very profoundly. Altoum is Kether, the Father, whom the crowds of nobles and aristocrats, as well as the multitudes of commoners, greet with such reverence, inspiration, and grandiosity. The palace of Peking sings in ecstasy before the throne of Kether, Emperor Altoum, because He is the Father of all lights, the height of heights, the Mercy of Mercies.
It’s significant that the mantra Tum is found in His name, Al-Tum. We explained the meaning of the mantra Tum in Arcanum Nine, which refers to the three primary forces. The consonant T relates to Kether, since the name כֶּתֶר Kether even possesses the same consonant, the Hebrew letter ת Tav, symbol of the seal of truth, divinity. The vowel U represents Chokmah, Christ, wisdom. The mantra M relates to Binah, the Holy Spirit, because מ Mem represents the waters.
With the mantra Tum, we invoke the three primary forces within our three brains: Kether, the Father, in the intellectual brain; Chokmah, the Son, in the emotional brain; and Binah, the Holy Spirit, within the motor-instinctive-sexual brain. Samael Aun Weor explains in Tarot and Kabbalah:
The Self-realized Monad is powerful. It has power over the fire, air, water, and earth (which can also signify the four cardinal points of the Tree of Life). That is why in the Egyptian Book of the Dead the devotee directs himself towards Horus and says, “I fortify your legs and your arms.” Likewise, the devotee asks Horus to fortify his three brains (intellectual, emotional and motor). This is because Horus needs the devotee to have his three brains strong. —Arcanum 7: Triumph
The mantra Tum is exceptional and is inferenced in this opera, since Prince Calaf is tested in his three brains, through three riddles, to evaluate his worthiness before the divine hierarchies of Altoum, El-Tum, the three primary forces of Tum in conjunction with the Hebrew spirit, אל El, Chesed.
As the ruler of the palace, the Emperor has seen the death of many initiates. Therefore, he questions the stranger, the Prince Calaf, to see whether he is determined and sincere in his efforts. He questions the prince not because he doesn’t want to see Calaf succeed, but because he is conscious of the dangers and the results of those who don’t qualify.
The Emperor states, in synthesis, “Please leave, so that I do not have to be responsible for or see your death! I have too much blood on my hands!” Even in the Metropolitan Opera performance we watched—staring Placido Domingo as Calaf—portrays the Emperor wringing his hands with grief.
Three times does Prince Calaf state, “Son of Heaven (Kether), I beg you to let me try my fortune!” This indicates how we must be determined to perform the work in each of our three brains, to learn how to fortify Horus within our mind, emotions, and sex; Netzach, the mental body; Hod, the astral body; and Yesod, the vital body.
The Emperor finally states, “Stranger in love with death (Binah, the Divine Mother Turandot). So be it!” Every initiate, when completing any spiritual works, always proclaim, “So be it!” This is very well known amongst members of the Gnostic Church.
At this point in the opera, the executioner of the law of karma returns to remind Calaf of his solemn duty before the solar hierarchies, to conquer himself through answering the three riddles, or to fail and enter the infernal worlds after being judged unworthy.
After the executioner leaves, a chorus of children enter, singing praises to the Divine Princess Turandot. It’s interesting that the children, symbolizing the youthful, vital principles of the moon, follow after the deadly proclamation of fatality and death, Saturn. The moon, astrologically, relates to the forces of Saturn. Through death of the ego, the rites of Saturn, Saturday, the Sabbath or sexual alchemy, is how we are born again as innocent children in the kingdom of heaven.
The children proclaim, “Do you not hear the thousand voices calling from the desert to the sea?” These are the virginal sparks or elemental souls of nature evolving from the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms. The elementals seek the bounty and blessings of Turandot, reminding the Prince Calaf of the glories of Self-realization that await him through the path of mystical death.
Turandot then emerges. She relates how thousands of years ago, Princess Lou-Ling "ruled in silence (of the spirit) and pure (chaste) joy, defying the abhorred tyranny of (fornicating) man with constancy (chastity) and firmness." Thousands of years is symbolic of esoteric ages, Logoic ages, development from initiation, as Samael Aun Weor describes in The Major Mysteries. This indicates how the soul once knew the Logos and the Divine Mother, the Princess Lou-Ling.
In the past, the Divine Mother was pure, untainted, within the soul. Through fornication, the soul fell and lost its perfection, and the energies of the Divine Mother were defiled. Turandot is lamenting that loss, the violation of Lou-Ling's purity. Her chastity was broken through the failure and degeneration of the soul.
People who watch this opera think that Turandot is just a woman who is very vengeful towards men, because the King of Tartary raped her ancestress. The symbology of this drama, however, teaches us to not interpret things so literally. Through fornication, we sin against the Holy Ghost and become strangers from the kingdom of heaven. We took the forces of the spirit, of Tartary, of the North, and threw them into hell, the Tartarus, the West. Therefore, due to our lust, Turandot is enraged with us because we fell. In synthesis, all of us have sinned against the Goddess Moon.
She rejects Calaf because he is impure, with ego. She even proclaims, “No man shall possess me!” or better said, “No fornicator shall have me!” It is only through the complete death of the ego that we can Self-realize, marry, or resurrect within Binah, the Divine Mother.
The commoners, the crowds in the palace, relate how Lou-Ling was raped when the King of Tartary unfurled his seven standards. Seven once again reminds us of the Seventh Arcanum: battles, struggles, wars and pain. This is very interesting given that Calaf and Timur once ruled the Kingdom of Tartary: now Calaf, having been expelled from his kingdom, seeks to regain the divine through his marriage with Turandot. He, as the Bodhisattva, seeks to reconcile the conflicting forces of the Tartars (the soul trapped in the abominable ego) with the heavenly China (the Celestial Jerusalem, the Far East). Tartary refers to the spiritual forces of the north that are now channeled in hell, the Tartarus, and must be redeemed. Prince Calaf is therefore a hasnamuss, since he is trapped in Klipoth, and yet he wants to recapitulate his past initiations through the trials.
Turandot also relates how Lou-Ling was dragged away by a stranger like Calaf. She emphasizes this detail very much, “You are a stranger. You are a foreigner. You do not belong here!” But what does her insistence on his "strangeness" mean?
When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:
To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
Which forsaketh the guide of her youth (the positive forces of vitality, youth, the moon), and forgetteth the covenant of her God (the Sabbath, the rites of Saturn, the Holy Spirit).
Any fornicator is a stranger to God, for the ways of fornication are strange and unnatural to the divine. Therefore, it is appropriate that at the beginning of this path, we are referred to as a “straniero, strangers.” In Jewish terms, we are gentiles, goyim, non-Jews. In strict esoteric language, a Jew is a master who has incarnated Yew, IAO, Christ. If we do not have Christ developed inside, then we are goyim, people with ego, since even the term goyim, backwards, can sound like “ego.”
However, divinity does not withhold favor from the fallen soul, because the Emperor and others show concern for Calaf and want him to be victorious in the trials. Or as stated in Deuteronomy 10:19: “Love the ger, stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Egypt, in the Bible, represents Malkuth, the physical body. We are strangers in Malkuth, this physical world, because we long, as the Essence, to return to the heavens, the stars, the Far East.
Turandot reprimands Calaf, that he is too unclean to marry Her. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want him to succeed. It only indicates that the Divine Mother is the terror of love and law. She is very demanding towards the soul. Absolute perfection is needed for resurrection. Therefore, she challenges him: "No (fornicating) man shall possess me." And: "The riddles are three, death one!"
To which Calaf replies: "The riddles are three, life is one!" Both repeat their proclamations together in this beautiful aria. Truly, as we mentioned earlier, life and death are one. Love and death share same roots. As stated in Beethoven’s ninth symphony, or the poem by Schiller upon which the ninth symphony was based: “Both sinners and saints follow Her path of roses.”
Through Shakti, the Divine Feminine, we are destroyed and reborn, or as it is taught by the Christian mantra INRI: "In Necis Renascor Integer" ("In death I am reborn intact and pure").
The Three Riddles and the Three Mother Letters of Kabbalah
To help explain the significance of the three ordeals, it is necessary to refer to the three mother letters of Hebraic Kabbalah. These letters are:
These three ordeals symbolize the work with water (Ens Seminis), Fire (Kundalini) and Air (Prana) of sexual alchemy. They also represent the brute semen (מ Mem, water), the metallic soul of the sperm (Mercury, Air, א Aleph), and the sulfur fecundating the sexual energy (the Kundalini Fire, ש Shin).
Samael Aun Weor explains the synthesis of these three alchemical elements in The Aquarian Message:
The philosophical fire must be searched for within the ens seminis. In the beginning, this fire is nothing more than a dry and terrestrial exhalation incorporated into seminal steam.
This dry and terrestrial exhalation is transmuted into the marvelous lightning of Kundalini when the priest learns how to withdraw from the altar without wasting even a single drop of the sacred wine.
We receive the flaming sword when reaching these heights. When the ens seminis is fecundated by the fire, it becomes the master and the regenerator of the human being.
The fire nourishes itself with the vital air, with the prana or universal life.
Really, the sexual fire, which is constantly inhaled and exhaled during the supreme ecstasy of love, becomes transformed into that terrific lightning that upon rising through the medullar canal opens the seven churches. —Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Samael Aun Weor also explains the following in The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled:
Three Witnesses in heaven exist: the Father, the Logos, and the Holy Spirit. Three Witnesses on Earth exist: the Breath (א Aleph), the Blood (ש Shin), and the Water (מ Mem). —Samael Aun Weor
Kether, Chokmah, and Binah are those Logoic energies that produce the awakening of the consciousness. They animate our three brains or psychological centers: Kether, the Father, in the intellectual brain; Chokmah, the Logos, in the emotional brain; and Binah, the Holy Spirit, within the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
The three witnesses on earth represent psycho-spiritual and physiological elements, forces that, when utilized and transformed in sexual alchemy, produce the creation of the soul, the solar bodies. These three witnesses on earth also represent the three mother letters of Kabbalah. They also relate to the three brains, א Aleph, the air, in the intellectual brain; ש Shin, the fire, in the emotional brain; and מ Mem, the waters, in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
The true human being is formed by the creation of three solar bodies: the Christ Astral (symbolized by blood, the wine of the Lord in the solar eucharist), the Christ Mind (the Breath of God); and Christ Will (the waters of the spirit).
There is some interesting Hebrew etymology related to the assimilation of oxygen into the bloodstream. When א Aleph, the breath, the prana, is inhaled through our lungs and assimilated into our bloodstream in a conscious way, we begin to initiate spiritual forces. The Hebrew word דם Dam means “blood,” so Aleph-Dam forms אדם Adam, the perfect human being. Contained within Adam are the three witnesses: the blood, the breath, and the waters of the spirit, the seminal matter that is transmuted into fire and light.
The Three Principles of Alchemy within the Zohar
The three riddles also correspond to teachings given within the Zohar. Puccini, as a master of Freemasonry, Kabbalah, and Alchemy, incorporated Jewish mysticism into his dramas, specifically with the three questions Turandot poses to Calaf. These riddles synthesize the work with creating solar bodies in the perfect matrimony. The Zohar can also elucidate how Puccini depicts three dynamics of the same thing: the principles of alchemy.
Rabbi Shim’on resolved the conflict [between the left and right pillars of the Tree of Life, as we discussed in Arcanum 8: Justice], opening with a verse: “It is written, Next to the enclosure are the rings to be, as housings for the poles (Exodus 25:27). Who is that enclosure? A closed site, opened only by a single narrow path, intimated secretly. —Zohar
What does a ring symbolize in the internal worlds? Marriage, Yesod, alchemy. To see seven rings in the internal worlds indicates the perfect matrimony, the union of two souls within all seven planes of cosmic consciousness, the lower seven Sephiroth of the Tree of Life and beyond.
A ring also represents woman, the uterus, while the poles are phallic in nature, the masculine sexual organ. But what is the enclosure? A symbol of woman as well, the feminine sexual organs, or “single narrow path, intimated secretly." The woman is the intimate, secret gate to Eden, which has only been allegorized in the scriptures and never taught explicitly until the 1950's.
Thereby it is filled, and traces gates to kindle lamps. Because it is a site hidden and concealed, it is called enclosure; this is the world that is coming (Binah). —Zohar
Why would the sexual act, the perfect matrimony, alchemy, be the way or gate to “kindle lamps”? Arcanum Nine shows us the Hermit of the tarot, who carries in his left hand the lamp of Hermes, Mercury, alchemical wisdom. We generate light through working with sexual transmutation, so that we can perceive where we are in our work. We also have seven lamps related to our spinal medulla, the seven chakras that must be awakened and enlivened through fire.
The sexual act is the world that will emerge, manifest, because Binah, the Holy Spirit, is the generator and supreme regenerator of the perfect human being.
“Are the rings [of the perfect matrimony] to be—supernal rings linked to one another [since the supernal triangle, the top trinity of the Tree of Life, also relates to the three mother letters of Kabalah], (מ Mem) water from air (א Aleph), air from fire (ש Shin), fire from water (מ Mem), all linked to each other, emerging from one another, like rings. They all gaze at that enclosure, into which merges the supernal river [of Da’ath, the Akashic fiery waters of השמים Ha-Shamayim, the heavens that Elohim created in the opening of Genesis] to water them, and they merge in it. —Zohar
The rings of the perfect matrimony symbolize the solar bodies: Christ Astral, Christ Mind, and Christ Will, which merge with and are created by the fiery waters of Da’ath, השמים Ha-Shamayim. As stated in Genesis 1:1:
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ
Barasheeth Bara Elohim At Ha'Shamayim Ve'At Ha'aretz.
“In the wisdom, Elohim created the heavens (Ha-Shamayim) and the earth (Ha’aretz).”
ש Shin is fire, and מים Mayim is water, for when we work in a marriage, the waters of Yesod become inflamed with the fires, the ש Shin, of Christ, to create the heavens within us, the Christified soul: the solar bodies. This is Genesis, generation, which Prince Calaf must achieve if he wishes to enter the congregation of Israel, the kingdom of China, the Far East. Those without wedding garments, solar bodies, who fail to create them through the three ordeals of the Divine Princess Shekinah, will be cast out to outer darkness, where only the weeping and gnashing of teeth will be heard.
“Housings for the poles—these supernal rings are housings designated for the poles, the chariots below, for one derives from the side of fire, one from the side of water, one from the side of air, and so with them all, constituting a chariot for the ark. —Zohar
What is a chariot? A solar body. Remember that the spirit in Arcanum 7 drives the chariot of war. Chesed, our inner God, must conquer the lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life to obtain Triumph.
One solar body corresponds to the side of fire (Hod, the Solar Astral Body), one from the side of air (Netzach, the Solar Mental Body), and another from the side of water (Tiphereth, the Solar Causal Body). All of these constitute a chariot for the ark, the Great Arcanum, the Ark of the Covenant of Sexual Alchemy between God and man.
So whoever approaches should approach these poles, not what lies within. As we say to the Nazarite, ‘Go around, around! Do not come near the vineyard!’ Except for those worthy of serving within, privileged to enter and draw near. Of this is written: An outsider who comes near shall be put to death (Numbers 1:51). —Zohar
Who are the Nazarenes? H.P. Blavatsky stated that they are:
“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.’”
A Nazarene, in this case, refers to any person who studies esoterism but does not accept Christ, Iod-Chavah, Chokmah, wisdom. They are told to not draw near to the vineyard, the Garden of a marriage, because only those who were worthy and prepared would receive instructions regarding the Great Arcanum.
Why must outsiders not draw near? Because they are fornicators. Therefore, notice how Turandot ostracizes Calaf by calling him a stranger, an outsider. To approach Turandot, one must be perfectly chaste in thought, word, and deed. One must respond consciously to the three ordeals through meditating on and annihilating the ego.
The first ordeal states: "In the dark night flies a many-hued phantom. It soars and spreads its wings above the gloomy human crowd. The whole world calls to it, the whole world implores it. At dawn the phantom vanishes, to be reborn in every heart. And every night 'tis born anew, and every day it dies."
Calaf provides the correct answer: "Hope!" (א Aleph). Hope, as an aerial quality or characteristic of the psyche, refers to the Spirit, Ruach Elohim or wind of God. א Aleph is Prana, the force of life that animates every atom of our physical and spiritual being.
When conquering this ordeal, the negative aspect of the serpent criticizes Calaf, when Turandot says, “Hope that leaves one disillusioned,” meaning, “you will fall no matter what.”
Why would Turandot say this? It’s because, as we mentioned in our first lecture, the serpent is dual: in heaven she is Kundalini. In hell she is Kundabuffer. Both aspects are represented in the trials.
Turandot continues: "It kindles like a flame, but it is not flame. At times it is a frenzy; it is fever, force, passion! Inertia makes it flag. If you lose heart or die it grows cold, but dream of conquest and it flares up. Its voice you heed in trepidation; it glows like the setting sun!"
Calaf panics, as any initiate does before the terrifying ordeals of the Thirteenth Arcanum. All of us need to radically die to the ego. Therefore, divinity helps us by showing us a sunset in the internal planes, which indicates how the Solar Logos needs us to die to desire.
Liù, who is watching with Timur in the crowd, pronounces: "It is for love!" The heart. Thereafter, Calaf provides the correct answer again: "Blood!" (ש Shin). This shows us how the Divine Soul, Buddhi, Geburah, Liù, always aids Tiphereth, the human soul, in battle against the ego, against the Second Death.
Blood, as a quality of passion, is the flame or fire of Christ. ש Shin is the fire that Moshe (Moses) saw on Mount Horeb, the immaculate Lord who appeared as the burning bush. It is interesting that Christ is love, and in the ordeal relating to ש Shin, Liù proclaims that Calaf is fighting for love.
There are also many interesting astrological correspondences in this scene. Chokmah, the Solar Christ, manifests in Geburah because Geburah is not only governed by Mars, but the Sun. Mars relates to blood and bloodshed, while the Sun relates to splendor, radiance, Christ. Both planets relate to Geburah, since blood “glows like the setting sun” when “in trepidation.” The solar logos, the Christ, ש Shin, must inflame our blood through alchemy.
When conquering this ordeal, the Chorus replies, “Hold on, persist, you answerer of riddles!” Turandot has them hit by the guards, representing how, during the ordeals, the negative serpent fights for dominance within the initiates. As we discussed in Arcanum 9, the serpent of Moses fights the serpents of the Egyptians (the black magicians of Malkuth and Klipoth).
The third and final ordeal sums up the mystery of Initiation: "Ice which gives you fire, and which your fire freezes still more! Lily-white and dark, if it allows you your freedom it makes you a slave. If it accepts you as a slave it makes you a King!"
After doubt, consternation and fear, Calaf triumphs in the ordeals and answers: "Victory is mine! My fire will melt your ice: Turandot!"
Turandot, as ice that burns and fire that freezes, refers to the waters of sexuality, the Mayim (מים) of Yesod. Mayim relates to Miriam, the Virgin Mary, Stella Maris, the Virgin of the Sea. Let us remember the Ninth Sphere of Dante's Inferno, where the lost souls, embedded in the ice of Cocytus, burn with the cold until their complete disintegration through the Second Death. Such is the path of death through the waters in hell. מ Mem, however, as the final ordeal, also contains the mystery of Initiation, for it is through the sexual waters that one dies and is reborn on the solar path, through initiation.
The sexual energies are “lily white” through chastity, as any clairvoyant can see the light of a person’s kidneys, wherein is registered within the internal bodies the level of chastity or lust of an individual. Darkness or animal passion is the blackness of the ego, which darkens the astral and mental bodies of demons, the Lucifers.
Also, if you freely give into fornication, Kali makes you a slave of hell. Become a slave of chastity and the Divine Mother, and you will become free, a Meleck, a twice born, a king of Tiphereth.
Let us also remember that מ Mem is the thirteenth letter of Hebraic Kabbalah and refers to the Thirteenth Arcanum, which contains the very essence this opera.
Notice that the three riddles got progressively harder, from air: the mind, to fire: the heart, to water: our sexuality.
This indicates how the aerial nature of our thoughts, א Aleph, is easiest to control. Thoughts are the slowest aspect of our three-brained machine.
The fires of the emotional brain, ש Shin, are much more difficult, dangerous, because the emotional center is much faster than the intellect. Emotions are very difficult to control, especially when they are strong. However, self-restraint is needed in ordeals and initiation, which is our own life intensely lived with rectitude and love.
The greatest ordeal involves facing our own lust in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, מ Mem, the most volatile, dangerous, and consequential of the three centers, as portrayed by Calaf’s near defeat and silence during the final riddle. Since the brain of action is quickest, it is the most difficult to control.
In synthesis, these three mother letters of Kabbalah contain the entire work we must perform. These letters also relate once again to IAO:
Of important note are the three wise men at the funereal trials. These are the three magi of Christ’s Nativity. They witness the ordeals and await the moment when Christ will be born within the heart of the initiate, within the Prince Calaf. They represent the black, white, and gold kings: the gradations of mastery amongst the Bodhisattvas. Black kings possess ego, yet they have Christ inside, which makes them solar kings at the beginning level. White kings possess no ego, while gold kings have achieved resurrection within the Sephirah Binah.
The three magi unveil the scrolls, the answers to Turandot’s riddles after Calaf has answered them, because they represent the three magi who approach the birth of Christ within the soul. This occurs at towards the end of this Act.
Moshe, Moses, and Hashem: the Name of God
After answering the three riddles successfully, Calaf has become a twice born, a master of Tiphereth, whereby the crowd congratulates him ecstatically. He has formed the solar bodies in himself and has achieved the Second Birth. Anyone who reaches the Fifth Initiation of Fire is a twice born with the Christ Astral, Christ Mind, and Christ Will.
While Calaf’s victory is rather quick in the opera, the ordeals in actual life take many years of patient work and sufferings. It is said Madame Blavatsky created her solar bodies in ten years with Colonel Olcott, since she worked hard at first as an individual yogini. People with less training beforehand take even longer.
After conquering the ordeals, Turandot is upset. She cries that despite her defeat, she will not marry any man. But why? This indicates to us that Calaf, while becoming victorious in his ordeals to a certain degree, still has ego, and cannot yet attain complete union with the divine.
While Calaf succeeds, Turandot refuses to marry him because he is still impure; he still has ego. People often think that Turandot is stubborn, sexually prudent to deny Calaf, but Kabbalists understand how the Princess Shekinah won’t resurrect within a soul that still has ego.
In terms of Masonry, he is an Adeptus Minor in Tiphereth, not Adeptus Major in Geburah or Adeptus Exemptus in Chesed. To rise higher on the Tree of Life, one needs perfection in mastery on the Second Mountain, the complete death of desire so as to achieve the goal: resurrection.
The Emperor Altoum says that Turandot’s vow to marry is sacred. She still refuses. Her marriage vow is the pact of alchemy, which the Nirvani Buddhas follow at their level. The problem at this point in the opera is that Turandot, Binah, still wants further development, but a choice must be made by the human soul. Calaf, Tiphereth, either will remain in Nirvana and force Turandot to suffer because he is a hasnamuss with the ego very alive, or he will renounce Nirvana and win the love of Turandot by seeking absolute perfection through the complete death of the ego.
Calaf is presented with a choice after completing the riddles. He says he will not force Turandot into his arms unwillingly but sings that he will have her afire with love, once his own impurities are completely dead.
Remember that Venus is love, which astrologically relates to Tiphereth. When Prince Calaf renounces heaven, marriage, he obtains the Venustic Initiation, which is the incarnation of Christ, the Solar Logos, within Tiphereth, since this Sephirah is also governed by the sun.
Only masters who renounce Nirvana to return to Malkuth to help suffering humanity, those who have Bodhichitta: the compassionate mind of unsurpassed enlightenment, who strive to eliminate the ego in its entirety, can become Bodhisattvas, incarnations of Chokmah, wisdom, Christ. This is what Samael Aun Weor referred to as the Direct Path, the path of the Bodhisattvas who eliminate the ego in one life, rather than over the span of countless aeons on the Spiral, Nirvanic Path.
Bodhisattvas work to completely destroy the ego in one life and to achieve resurrection, marriage with Binah: the Holy Spirit, once all impurities are removed from the soul.
Calaf, therefore, renounces Nirvana, marriage with Turandot at his level, and accepts that Turandot denies him now because his ego is still very alive. However, he says he will have her love him and will not force her to do what she does not want.
This is why the crowd says, “You are strong!" because he is taking the Direct Path. Only the strong take this path, which involves tremendous sufferings and hardship, since to fully annihilate the ego is a work of perfection in mastery. Most initiates, once reaching Nirvana, end up taking the easier, Spiral Path, and since such Nirvanis do not eliminate the ego immediately, nor sacrifice themselves out of love for others who suffer in Malkuth, they do not incarnate Christ.
When the crowd says, “You are strong,” they are indicating that Calaf is now Thrice-honored, blessed by the three primary forces that have descended to help him. The three rays of the Sun in Arcanum Nine have descended to aid the Prince, the Hermit of the great mysteries, specifically the incarnation of Chokmah within his heart.
These mysteries are well described in Kabbalah through the symbolism of Moses. Moses in the Bible is a symbol for a psychological principle we must develop, and which is portrayed in this opera. Only a Moshe, a Moses, can take the Direct Path. Moses or משה Moshe literally means “born of water and fire.” He represents our Christic willpower that has the solar bodies created through initiation.
The letter א Aleph can relate to ה Hei, the breath or womb through which one is born, the “hhhhh…” sound. א Aleph or ה Hei is the Solar Mental Body, ש Shin the Solar Astral Body, and מ Mem the Solar Causal Body created in alchemy, which Calaf achieved by answering the riddles.
Combine ה Hei, ש Shin, and מ Mem, and you spell השם Hashem: the Name. This is the sacred appellation of God, יהוה Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, Christ, within Judaism.
The Jews pray to Jehovah as follows: “Baruch Hashem Adonai!” or “Blessed be the Name of the Lord!” Instead of pronouncing the Unutterable Name, Jehovah, they use השם Hashem to reference יהוה Iod-Chavah, Jehovah, which is the sacred name of God in the Sephirah Chokmah: Christ.
Spell השם Hashem backwards, and you make משה Moshe, Moses. Only by forming Moses in ourselves, the solar bodies, can we incarnate Hashem: Christ.
See how everything is beautifully hidden in Kabbalah?
This is well described in Chapter 3 of the Book of John, whereby Jesus describes this process of the Second Birth.
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born (through the womb of the Divine Mother ה Hei) of water (מ Mem) and the Spirit (ש Shin), he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh (through fornication) is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit (through scientific chastity) is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind (א Aleph) blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit (pneuma, the wind, א Aleph).”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (through the Major Mysteries), even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (through raising the serpents of light, the Venustic Initiations), 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (through Resurrection). 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (since at the end of Act III, the city of Peking is restored to peace, victory, and harmony). —John 3:3-17
The crowd becomes silent after Calaf’s determination and decision to take the Straight Path of the Bodhisattvas. Surprisingly, this is the moment when the Prince presents Turandot with one riddle that she must answer. If she fails to answer it, she must marry him at dawn. But if she discovers the answer, he will gladly die in the morning hours.
He asks her if she can guess his name. How do you say “the Name” in Hebrew? השם Hashem.
Calaf asks Turandot to guess his name, or the Name: השם Hashem, indicating that he has Christ within him, the Solar Logos. He tells her to guess his secret, his mystery, which is the alchemical genesis of the Son of Man. For just as Calaf raised the serpent of Moses up his spine within the wilderness, he has incarnated Christ in himself, and now the Son of Man, Christ, the Serpents of Light, must be lifted up in his spine through the second half of the First Mountain.
According to Samael Aun Weor, Christ is the Lost Word, lost to humanity, but found and realized by the solar initiates upon the path of alchemy. Calaf is now in possession of the Lost Word, Chokmah, Christ, in his heart. If Turandot, in this case, the negative serpent or Kundabuffer organ, can tempt him, find out his name, his secret, make him fall through fornication, he will die at dawn.
Dawn is a symbol of resurrection, for anyone who incarnates Christ now raises the Serpents of Light and afterward enters the Second Mountain: the work of the complete annihilation of the ego before the dawn of Resurrection.
Prince Calaf was in exile from his kingdom. He was lost, lost the sacred word, his kingdom, his prince hood. But he gains it again when he answers the three riddles in court, he incarnates Christ and becomes the Son of Man. He then asks Turandot to guess his name, the Lost Word, because he is in possession of it.
Before, Prince Calaf told his father Timur not to say his name, because they were in danger. Now that the Prince incarnated the Lost Word, he continues to challenge love (Binah) through possessing Hashem, Iod-Chavah, the Name.
The sacred name of Tiphereth in the world of Atziluth is "Eloha va Daath Iod Hei Vau Hei." This translates as "Goddess of Knowledge," stressing the great relationship between the Human Soul and Binah and Chokmah (Iod-Chavah). The significance of Calaf's name (in Da'ath, the mysteries of Alchemy) will be treated upon in the final Act.
Emperor Altoum, El-Tum, the Being, is Osiris, Jupiter, Father of the Gods, Emperor of the heavenly kingdom of China, Lord of Mount Olympus, the mountain of initiation. With adulation for Calaf, Altoum states, "I hope that with the dawn, I will be able to call you my son." What Son? The Christ, the Son of Man who will rise from the dead and conquer death.
As the Prince and Turandot disperse, the chorus sings of the Emperor's divine glories. The fact that we end this Act with a chorus emphasizes the Verb, the Logos, the Word. Christ has not only entered within Calaf, but the Lord is going to raise the serpents of light within lower seven Sephiroth, represented by the multitudes of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who sing with the sacred Verb to celebrate the divine Emperor.
The opera will now move ahead to the works of Heracles, a symbol of Chokmah, the Solar Logos. As described by Samael Aun Weor in The Three Mountains, Heracles performed twelve labors upon the Mountain of Resurrection, which we will see represented within Act III.
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