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.
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