Key to the Gnosis #2 – The Great Work (2001)

Copyright: Nick Sandberg 2001


In this piece I’m going to try and relate a little of the spirit and content of the so-called “Great Work” of the esoteric orders. The completion of this Great Work remains the goal of the “Western Mystery Schools.” And, without sounding too melodramatic, if they’re right, it also remains the goal of both our species and the world we inhabit. Very little writing on this subject has ever emerged and, in order to try and convey the essence of their beliefs, I am first going to have to introduce the reader to several topics, the subject matter of which they may have little, or quite contradictory, prior knowledge. I hope that the reader will be inspired to bear with me through this process for it is my belief they will find their patience well rewarded. Prior to introducing any specific material, I will briefly explain a little of the role of the Western Mystery Schools.

The Western Mystery Schools

The phrase “Western Mystery School” is the usual generic term given to the various organizations that today offer ancient esoteric teachings from the tradition of Qabalah. The Golden Dawn (GD), the Builders of the Adytum (BOTA), the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), and the Servants of the Light (SOL) are examples of these organizations, to name but a few. For an annual subscription fee the school offers the individual training in the esoteric arts via two channels. Firstly, as a correspondence course of lessons, introducing members to the various elements and principles of that particular school’s teachings. And, secondly, through the attendance of meetings where various esoteric meditations and initiations are undertaken.

Whilst interpretations may vary considerably, what unites all the Western Mystery Schools is the principle source of their teachings – the ancient esoteric doctrine of Qabalah (usually pronounced kub-ál-ah). This Judaeo-Christian doctrine, which in English is usually written Qabalah or Kabbalah, is the fountainhead of all the teachings of the Mystery Schools, sometimes via its principle offshoots – Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, and Gnosticism.

Qabalah is a living doctrine, developing as its ideas are interpreted and re-interpreted by modern writers and today’s devotees. It does, however, have three principle source documents – The Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation), The Old and New Testaments of The Bible, and The Zohar, though none serve in a literal capacity. The ideas of Qabalah are always hidden behind a veil of symbolism, metaphor, and numerology and, even to this day, there is no little disagreement as to how they should be interpreted.

To put the work of these schools in perspective, that their place in our culture might be understood, is no easy task. But, to state things simply, the Western Mystery Schools offer guidance for those individuals who have acquired some level of psychic development. What I mean by “psychic development” is the acquiring of a level of sensory perception beyond that usually given to us – sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Less this ability be misunderstood and regarded as something that is intrinsically of value, it should be remembered that, in Hinduism, a school of religious thought that has previously produced many great men and women, the value of psychicism is largely disregarded. Even the most accomplished masters of these schools, those who have attained enlightenment, invariably state that psychic abilities are of little or no meaningful value, and are frequently simply a barrier to self-realization.

This said, the Western tradition is different from its counterparts in the East, and the responsible use of psychic abilities is looked upon as having both social value and use on the journey of self development.

As I mentioned above, the teachings offered invariably take two forms – that of the objective transmission of ideas through the written word, and the subjective transmission of experience through group meditations and ritual work. As these pieces are not meditations, I will thus be limiting myself to the former, but that this are only one side of the story should always be borne in mind.

Before delving too deeply into the nature of the Great Work, I will first look at three concepts at the heart of Qabalah – the notion of the Yahveh, the idea of various levels of consciousness, and the principle of self-similarity.


The term “Yahveh” is the word I will use to denote the theoretical, indescribable concept believed by Qabalists to be at the heart of our existence. Qabalah holds that there exists an infinite and timeless consciousness or being, from which our limited world descended at the beginning of time, and to which it will return at the end of time. This boundless, eternal being constantly creates, sustains, and dissolves our universe and remains its foundation for the duration of all time.

In attempting to relate to the reader any notion of what this unlimited consciousness might be like, certain conceptual problems have to be recognized. Language, like the human mind in normal consciousness, is dualistic in nature and cannot therefore deal directly with theoretical concepts of total unity. It can assign names, and it can attempt to describe, but it cannot relate infinite consciousness. Something which is by its nature unbound cannot be circumscribed by language. The experience of Yahveh cannot therefore be related to another, merely had by oneself in a state of divine union known as superconsciousness or samadhi, terms that will be explored further later on.

Language has therefore three options when attempting to convey to the reader some notion of infinite consciousness. It can use words to try and relate what it is like, it can use words to try and relate what it is not like, or it can relate techniques and practices intended to allow the individual to experience it first-hand. In this piece I am making use of the first option and using words like “infinite” and “timeless” to try and give the reader a feel of what Yahveh really is.

The concept that I am using the word “Yahveh” to denote is assigned other names in different schools of thought, notably those of Hinduism and Buddhism. In fact these other terms may well be more familiar to the average reader but, as this is principally a Qabalistic piece, I prefer to use a term from that school of thought. I will, however, look at the other prevalent terms, to further aid comprehension.

In the Sanskrit language, the words Sunyata (Buddhism) and Brahman (Hinduism) are both used to denote the same concept as Yahveh. In the West the term the Void, a translation of Sunyata, is also found. This can be particularly apt as, denoting an infinitely empty space, it offers a useful means of relating the paradoxical nature of Yahveh. This word aside, Qabalist groups themselves often use terms like “The One Thing” or “The All” to refer to the same notion. In addition, the terms Jehovah, Yod Heh Vav Heh, and YHVH are all earlier forms of the word “Yahveh.”

Before moving on, I will look briefly at Brahman as this can serve to further aid comprehension. Hindus know Yahveh as “Brahman,” and the Vedas assert that there are two states in which Brahman can exist – active and potential. When Brahman is active, it is known as Iswara, and the world exists. When Brahman is in potential, the world does not exist. The Vedas further assert that our limited world forever moves between actually existing (as it does now) and existing only as potential (as it will at the end of time). The process by which our world comes into being and then returns to Yahveh at the end of time is known to Qabalists as the process of descent and return. This process will be examined in greater detail later on.

Levels of Consciousness

A source of much confusion for newcomers to Qabalah is the notion of there being different levels of consciousness. As you read this piece, your mind is in what Qabalah refers to as fourth level consciousness, or self-consciousness. However, this is not the only level of consciousness that exists.

Qabalah asserts that there are five principle levels of consciousness, one for each of the five kingdoms of nature. Thus, there exists mineral consciousness, that experienced by minerals; plant consciousness, that experienced by plants; animal consciousness, that experienced by animals; self-consciousness or human consciousness, that experienced by humans in normal day-to-day awareness; and superconsciousness, direct experience of Yahveh – infinite, eternal consciousness.

In addition, between the fourth and fifth levels, self-consciousness and superconsciousness, there exists astral consciousness – similar to the type of awareness we experience in dreams.

From this perspective, a plant may be considered an entity that experiences plant consciousness, an animal an entity that experiences animal consciousness, and a human, in his or her day-to-day state, an entity that experiences self-consciousness.

Human, or self-consciousness, is characterized by its bipolar, or dualistic, nature. The mind is restrained by space and time and experiences a continuous apparent resolution of opposing forces. In the terminology of modern mathematics, one might say that the mind, in self-consciousness, attempts to differentiate the undifferentiable fractals of its raw experience, and, in so doing brings forth an apparent world of both exterior phenomena – the universe that surrounds us – and interior phenomena – thoughts and feelings. One feature of the self-conscious mind is that it cannot know truth, but is forever condemned to try and to do so.

The experience of astral consciousness will be looked at later on in this series. It is similar to our nightly experience of dreaming but differs in that the individual is fully aware and in control of the state. Astral consciousness is experienced in so-called “lucid dreams” but is otherwise difficult to enter and only usually attainable after many years of diligent endeavour.

Superconsciousness is the general term given to an series of progressively more unified states of awareness. In Hinduism, the experience is known as samadhi and five levels of it are related to exist. In the highest state, known to the Hindus as nirvikalpa samadhi, there is only a direct experience of Yahveh. There are no sensory phenomena, no thoughts or feelings, and no sense of individuality, merely a state of total union with the source of all creation. In the lower states there is an experience of Yahveh with some degree of sensory perceptions or internal sensation also present.

It should be noted that the relationship between self-consciousness and superconsciousness also reflects the relationship between the Ego and what Qabalists usually called the “Higher Self.” Qabalists believe that the Ego, our typical perception of our self and our world, is simply the result of our limited, self-conscious awareness. And that, at a deeper level, we are fully aware that we are, in fact, unlimited and immortal. Thus, it is said that entering superconsciousness causes us to die to the Ego and be reborn to the Higher Self.


Self-similarity is a modern mathematical principle that closely relates to the ancient Qabalist notion of microcosm and macrocosm. It refers to the principle that structures, whose sizes may be vastly different, can have similar features or follow similar patterns in their development over time. This can be because one system affects the other, or because both are dependent on another process, comprehensible or otherwise. The resemblance between the motion of electrons around a central atomic nucleus and the orbits of planets around a star is one example of self-similarity. One feature of self-similar systems is that they allows predictions to be made about the development of one, based on observations of developments in the other.

As mentioned above, Qabalah knows this notion as microcosm and macrocosm. The Qabalistic microcosm is usually the individual human being or the world he inhabits. The Qabalistic macrocosm is usually an archetypal world of form where certain processes are represented and proceed according to immutable laws. An example of this is the popular and ancient belief in astrology – the idea that the position of the sun, the moon, and the planets with reference to the twelve signs of the zodiac affects our daily life. Another is the esoteric Tarot, which I will look at more closely in a later chapter. It is an excellent example of how a series of symbolic processes may proceed in similar manner within systems of vastly different scale.

Whether the processes of the microcosm and macrocosm are interdependent, or both dependent on a higher process, the result is the same. What happens in the microcosm will also happen in the macrocosm – and vice versa. This concept is related in the well known esoteric maxim – As above, so below.

Preliminaries over with, I will now look more closely at the Great Work itself.

The Great Work

“Nature unaided always fails” – esoteric maxim

The so-called “Great Work” of the esoteric orders is at the heart of all serious esoteric endeavour in both the East and the West. And the “completion” of this Great Work is the supreme goal alluded to in the literature of many different esoteric schools of thought. It is the “Grail” of classical European mythology, it is the “Wish-fulfilling jewel” of some Buddhist doctrines, it is the “Elixir of Life” of alchemy, and it is the “Reconstruction of the Temple of Jerusalem” referred to in the New Testament – to give but a few examples.

“Completing the Great Work” is therefore the supreme goal of all serious esoteric endeavour, and there are two self-similar fields where activities to this end are undertaken – the human body and the world at large.

Completing the Great Work in the human body is the supreme accomplishment of the individual esoteric practitioner. This goal of the various esoteric traditions is known by different names within each. To the Western Mystery Schools it is known as achieving cosmic consciousness or Christ consciousness. To the Hindus and Buddhists it is known as achieving enlightenment or entering nirvana. All refer to essentially the same concept, and in this piece I will principally use the term achieving enlightenment.

Western esoteric thought holds that the evolutionary process in Man is not yet complete and that it is individual humans themselves who must undertake the final steps. This is done by the pursuit of certain physical and mental disciplines intended to initiate a specific psycho-physiological transformational process believed to lead one to the final evolutionary state. This process is known in the East as kundalini-awakening. To complete the kundalini-awakening process is to complete one’s personal Great Work.

As with the term “cosmic consciousness,” the phenomena of kundalini awakening is known by different names to devotees from different fields. However, I shall here use this term as it is the one used by most modern Qabalists.

In traditional Hindu texts, kundalini is usually envisioned in the body in the form of a snake, curled up asleep in the bowels. Once kundalini is aroused, it rises through subtle energy channels in the spine where it sequentially opens a series of transformational vortices, known as the “chakras,” bringing about a progressive psychological transformation in the individual. When the kundalini energy reaches the final, seventh chakra, the process is deemed to have completed and the individual to have been “reborn” in a state known as that of being enlightened, or having achieved cosmic consciousness. Death and rebirth symbolism is frequently used in both Western and Eastern texts relating the process, referring to the notion that the Ego, or “lower self,” is believed to die, giving way to the immortal part of our being, the “Higher Self.”

Modern theories about the phenomena of kundalini-awakening frequently revolve around the idea that it may occur as a result of slight physiological changes that take place in the organs of the brain, notably the pineal gland. The effect of these changes is to release certain psychoactive chemicals into the bloodstream that permit periodic access to the various states of superconsciousness. The psychological effect of increasingly experiencing the essential unity of all life is to progressively liberate the individual from the inhibitory influences of the psychological concept of repression.

Different schools of thought have arisen over the ages as to how kundalini may safely be awakened. These are usually comprised of a mixture of techniques taken from two opposing positions, both apparently with origins in the East. These are the conservative, yogic perspective, focussing on right thought, right action, denial and meditation, and the more radical, tantric perspective, focussing on breathwork, sexual expression, ritual, vipassana, and esoteric techniques like shaktipat. In the West, the various Mystery Schools have absorbed influences from numerous Eastern schools and refined them, creating systems more suitable for Westerners. The kind of things included are usually guided meditations focussing on the Qabalistic Tree of Life and related structures, initiatory esoteric rituals aimed at purifying an individual’s intent, and group rituals intended to draw down the energies of the macrocosm for the beneficial use of all participants.

This is no little disagreement between adherents of the various Mystery Schools as to what kundalini is and what its significance is. Some speak openly of it with reverence. Others with disdain, others only accompanied by dire warnings, others only mention it in very advanced documents, and still others fail to mention it entirely. The reason for this is that, if kundalini is awakened slowly and in a controlled fashion, there is no actual need to mention it or, indeed, even to conceive of it. The guided meditations and visualizations that initiates of the Mystery Schools undertake are designed to gently refine the subtle bodies of the individual (Qabalists believe that the physical body is merely one of a series of bodies we possess) such that kundalini is safely awakened and the transformational effect is has on the body proceeds so gently as to be barely noticeable on a day-to-day basis.

The term “kundalini” has only come into being through the experiences of those individuals who have experienced a spontaneous awakening, usually outside of a preparatory environment. When this happens the experience is frequently so overwhelming that the mind has to categorize it in some way and so, over the years, the term has come into being. Dr Paul Foster Case, founder of Builders of the Adytum, reportedly experienced a particularly harsh spontaneous awakening and this may be the reason why material from that school features more specific reference to it than others.

Returning to the Great Work, Qabalists believe that the awakening process may only be commenced once the Higher Self, the immortal part of our being, has decided it is time. Relatively few humans have as yet completed the Great Work in the microcosm but, as we shall see, those who have play a major part in the continued development of human culture.

Completing the Great Work in the world is seen as being the ultimate goal of the human species and, as we shall see, of the physical universe itself. Undertaking the Great Work here involves subtly directing the cultural evolution of humanity, through the manipulation of occult forces, to create the conditions such that more individuals may complete their own personal Great Work. This can involve activities to both positive or negative ends.

Toward positive ends, work here might include the performing of group rituals and meditations aimed at bringing about more peace on Earth, thus creating the right conditions for more people to pursue their own development.

Toward negative ends, it might include the undertaking the rituals and meditations to bring about conflicts and wars, such that the karmic issues of whole groups of people might be swiftly resolved. This is not to suggest that esoteric groups have necessarily been involved in practices of this nature, merely to point out that such things could theoretically take place.

What is of particular interest with reference to the notion of completing the Great Work in the world is the question of what happens as more and more individuals complete their own personal Great Work. Thus far, the number of individuals who have achieved cosmic consciousness is believed to be miniscule in comparison to the greater body of man. But their role is anything but minor. As stated before, Qabalah holds that our limited world of experience, that of fourth level consciousness, is eternally created and sustained by Yahveh – infinite, eternal consciousness. As humans, we constantly bring forth the limited universe that is our experience, but, were we to develop the ability to enter superconsciousness, we would bring forth simply Yahveh itself. And, as I shall explore later on in this piece, those who can enter superconsciousness draw all others slowly toward experiencing the state themselves.

The ramifications of what this could mean are, to say the least, earth-shattering! And, to the best of my knowledge, have never been made public, though they do appear to be symbolically related in the New Testament. I will now start to examine things in greater detail.

Descent and Return

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” – John 12:32

In order to be able to examine the question “What could happen to our world if large numbers of people develop the ability to enter superconsciousness?” I will first need to look a little more closely at Qabalist creation mythology and at the relationship of our world to the infinite consciousness of Yahveh. I have already written a little on the ancient’s belief in the principle of self-similarity, and how the concept of “microcosm and macrocosm” was used to interpret and manipulate celestial forces. Now I will look at how Qabalists believe the world was created from the slightly more objective framework they developed to relate their knowledge of this process to the self-conscious mind.

At the inception of our universe, time and space began to unfold from Yahveh in an event we know as the “Big Bang.” Thus were created two principles – matter and intelligence. This “matter” was the primordial substance of the universe, frequently referred to by names such as prakriti (Hinduism) or materia prima (alchemy). I will call it primal matter and it is essentially matter prior to observation, prior to the action of consciousness upon it. This “intelligence” was essentially a non-material blueprint for bringing about the return of the world just created to Yahveh – a plan, essentially, an intuitive pattern of development intended to one day return our world to its source. Thus, the basic building blocks of our world were created at the beginning of time, created with the innate intention of returning to their source – Yahveh – an overall process often referred to by Qabalists as “Descent & Return.”

These three basic elements of the creation – Yahvehprimal matter, and intelligence, are important features in literature from many different schools of esoteric thought. They are the three “gunas” of Hindu Vedanta – sattva, tamas, and rajas; the three elements of Alchemy – the mercury, the salt, and the sulphur; the three sephiroth of the supernal triad of the Tree of Life in Qabalah – Kether, Binah, and Chokmah; and the three principles of the esoteric interpretation of The Bible – the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

It is important to remember that these elements are not “real” in any fixed sense. Qabalists appreciated the impossibility of trying to relate the essence of the creation to the mind in its normal day-to-day state of awareness, and so simply created models that it could grasp and work with. To reflect this, I will resolve the elements of “primal matter” and “intelligence” into mind-stuff – a matter-intelligence dipole – for they are, essentially, simply opposing poles of the same concept. “Mind-stuff” may thus be considered as being the basic “building block” of the universe.

The underlying direction of development of “mind-stuff,” over time, is back toward Yahveh. In order to return to Yahveh, “mind-stuff” must develop itself into structures that can bring about its own transformation – structures that can facilitate consciousness. It needs to develop itself into structures that can facilitate consciousness because the action of consciousness upon “mind-stuff” converts it into whatever it appears to be to the conscious entity experiencing it. If “mind-stuff” can therefore develop itself into something which can experience it as infinite, eternal consciousness, then it will have been converted back to its original source.

However, to create such a thing is no easy task. Prior to “mind-stuff” being able to develop itself into something which can experience itself as infinite, it must first create itself into more basic “vessels of consciousness.” And thus a reason for the transformative process of evolution becomes apparent. Over time, “mind-stuff” evolves itself into a series of progressively more developed “vessels of consciousness,” with the ultimate intention of one day developing itself into something that can transform it back into its source. These vessels of consciousness are living life forms. Qabalists believe that the evolution of consciousness in this manner – via forms through which consciousness can manifest – takes place in five stages – minerals, plants, animals, humans, and enlightened humans (note that Qabalists believe that minerals possess a very basic level of consciousness).

Figure 1 gives a rough diagram of the process. “Mind-stuff,” brought into being by the Big Bang at the beginning of time, evolves itself into a series of vessels of consciousness – minerals, plants, animals, humans, and finally enlightened humans. The final vessel – the enlightened human – is thus the reason for the whole process – an enlightened individual can access superconsciousness, and thus transmute “mind-stuff” back into its source – Yahveh.

From this it can be understood that Qabalistic evolution theory closely follows that of modern science. But, whilst the modern scientific perspective is that it is an evolution of forms that is taking place, the Qabalist believes that it is an evolution of consciousness that is taking place, through an evolution of forms. The scientific view is that evolutionary changes are driven by the need for biological adaptation to changing environments. The Qabalist view is that the evolution of forms takes place because this is the means by which the universe can return to its source, and that the changing environments that dictate directions in evolutionary development are merely one aspect of the activity of the matter-intelligence dipole “mind-stuff.” This perspective thus assumes that there is an innate intelligence to our universe, and that, behind both our physical and socio-cultural environment, hidden factors are at work.

If the above has been read and understood, the reader will now be in a position to appreciate the Qabalist perspective on evolution and see the importance of enlightened humans to the destiny of our world. However, I have still not looked at the question of what happens when the level of enlightened humans living rises to certain levels. And, before I can do this, I need to examine one other implication of the Qabalist perspective on evolution.

Our traditional perspective of evolution, with its emphasis on the need for biological adaptation to a changing environment, indicates that the evolution of forms proceeds in a relatively smooth and linear fashion over time. If, however, evolution be considered from the perspective of evolving consciousness, then it can be seen that, far from being linear, the process proceeds in distinct leaps. For example, plants develop, in relatively slow fashion over many millenia and then, over a relatively short period of time, a whole new kingdom – that of animals – emerges, with a corresponding sudden rise in consciousness. In a similar way, the animal world evolves forms slowly over a long period then, suddenly, humans emerge, another rapid rise in consciousness having taken place.

A similar pattern is actually observed by modern scientists studying living systems, so called “autonomedia.” Major leaps in the level of organization of a living system always take place very rapidly, and to degrees both mathematically predictable and wildly chaotic. The way consciousness evolves through the evolution of living life forms is therefore similar, and these changes can thus be considered as being quantized – occurring in sudden leaps as opposed to in a smooth, linear fashion.

Armed with the above knowledge of the Qabalist perspective on evolution, some basic insights from the study of autonomedia, and ever keeping in mind the principle of self-similarity, we are now able to start to look closely at what is, in truth, the central theme of this piece – the destiny of our universe.

Higher States

“Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust” – Isaiah 26:19

In order to make predictions about the final stages of the “descent and return” cycle, I will first need to examine more closely how individual humans complete their own personal Great Work. This is because the principle of self-similarity allows us to make predictions about the future of one system – the universe – based on observations of its self-similar counterpart – in this case the human being.

As we have seen above, Qabalists believe that humans achieve their final evolutionary state, frequently referred as that of “being enlightened,” through the process of kundalini awakening. Kundalini may thus be considered, in some ways, as being one aspect of the “intelligence” pole of the matter-intelligence dipole, “mind-stuff.” In actuality, kundalini is believed to be a subtle energy whose sites of operation, whilst having counterparts in our physical body, are actually in our higher-dimensional bodies. Kundalini is usually experienced as our sexual energy, and perhaps the closest term we have for it in the West is “libido.”

Hindu and Qabalist scripts relate that kundalini is a subtle energy form that is produced in the intestines from the assimilation of food. It accumulates in the reproductive system, where it is initially experienced and released from the body as sexual energy. However, when certain specific physical and mental practices are diligently pursued, it is believed that this energy can be diverted from its usual route of dissipation and driven, through subtle energy channels in the spine, to the head, where it causes certain, specific changes in the physiology of the brain. These changes in “brain hardware,” amongst them the increased development of the pineal gland, allow the individual to begin to occasionally experience the various states of superconsciousness, and further progressively free him or her from the inhibitory influences of the psychological concept of repression.

It is believed that what impedes the flow of kundalini is the presence of blockages in a series of psycho-transformational centres usually known as the chakras. Each chakra is associated with, amongst other things, a specific area of the body and a specific type of feeling or emotion – sexual feelings are limited to the groin area, personal power feelings to the stomach, feelings of love to the centre of the chest, and intellectual feelings to the head. As kundalini flows up the spine, these “chakras” gradually “open,” progressively liberating the individual from the limitation of feelings and emotions transforming their daily life.

As an individual approaches the completion of their personal “Great Work,” they will find themselves spending more and more time in states of superconsciousness and less and less in ordinary, human consciousness. They will increasingly experience the presence of Yahveh in all that surrounds them.

Keeping in mind the principle of self-similarity, I will now look at how this personal experience of the process of becoming enlightened translates into the environment of our world with its gradually rising level of awakening individuals.


“The eager longing of the Creation itself waits expectantly for the revelation of the Sons of God” – Romans 8:19 (from The Original New Testament).

Individuals, in achieving enlightenment and thus completing their own personal Great Work, simultaneously develop the ability to convert “mind-stuff” back to its infinite source. This is because “mind-stuff” becomes whatever it appears to be to the observer experiencing it. In entering superconsciousness, therefore, the adept changes “mind-stuff” back into its original source material – the infinite consciousness of Yahveh.

A hint as to the significance of this process is given in the above-quoted passage from St Paul’s epistle to the Romans. In the Greek original, the word translated as “revelation” was epopteia, meaning, literally, “unveiling” or “revealing.” To the ancient Greeks, this word was a metaphor for the kundalini-awakening process and is found throughout the Bible appearing, most famously, in the title of the last book – Revelation. (Kundalini was known to the Greeks by the word “speirêma”). The “revelation of the Sons of God,” therefore, refers to the enlightenment of Man by the kundalini-awakening process. The “Sons of God” are those who can achieve superconsciousness and the creation awaits them for this is the means by which it returns to its source – this is the mechanism of its salvation.

As yet, there are insufficient persons in the world capable of entering superconsciousness to cause “mind-stuff” to irrevocably return to its infinite source. Consequently, after entering the state, the individual will later return to the limited state of awareness that is our usual experience – self-consciousness. The effect of him or her having entered the state, however, will have had a minute effect on the rest of creation, causing all sentient creatures to be slightly more consciously aware. This is because each time a human being enters the state, so consciousness itself is drawn a small step closer to its actual source.

Eventually, there will be sufficient people entering the state of superconsciousness at one time such that, instead of them returning to normal consciousness afterward, the rest of creation will be drawn upwards, out of limitation, and either into unlimited consciousness forever or into one of the “Higher Worlds” Qabalists believe to exist above our dimension. The world as we know it will cease to be for, ultimately, it is simply the product of our fourth level awareness and when that goes, it goes too. This act may be referred to as the ascension. It occurs rapidly because, as we have seen, shifts from one level of consciousness to another always take place in rapid leaps.

That the ancients were likely quite familiar with this is revealed by close examination of many traditional myths and ceremonies. Veiled or symbolic references to the process abound in Christian and pre-Christian literature, ritual, and mythology, usually taking the form of a springtime death and rebirth ceremony that brings about the salvation of a people and their land. In ancient Babylonian culture, the Vegetation God, Tammuz, was held to die and then be reborn around the time of the spring solstice, bringing Nature back to life and ensuring the fertility of the land, animals and people throughout the coming year. Many early cultures have similar myths and rituals, particularly noteworthy being those surrounding the Greek god, Adonis and the Phrygian god, Attis. The Lesser Eleusian Mysteries are an excellent example. Where rituals are performed, the death and the rebirth of the Nature god is frequently enacted via the sacrifice of a older “god” or “king” figure, either symbolically or, in some ancient cultures, actually, who is then replaced with a younger individual, symbolizing the death of the Ego to the Higher Self.

In modern-day Europe, many of these myths and rituals survive in ceremonies where local women mourn the passing of an elderly patriarchal figure in springtime and then celebrate his return to life as a young and virile man. In the “Grail” myths that arose in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, a sticken Waste Land is presided over by an aging and injured King figure. The salvation of both can only be achieved by the redemptive act of a Hero figure who must first cleanse himself of all moral impurity and then take the place of the stricken King. Finally, in Christian literature, Jesus was put to death and was reborn at Easter to bring about the salvation of the whole world.

In all of these examples it can be seen that the whole of creation, either actually or symbolically, relies for its salvation on the death and rebirth of a hero, king or god figure, an act symbolically representing the achieving of enlightenment. This would seem to indicate that knowledge of this process has been present for millenia, though it could also be the case that archetypal processes depicting “descent and return” have forever been reproduced in the culture of man and his forebears, nature perhaps leaving clues of its innate knowledge within the fabric of creation.

Figure 2 depicts this “descent and return” cycle through the various stages in the development of consciousness – mineral, plant, animal, human, and enlightened human. The solid line is the time axis {note it is unlinear as in Fig. 1) and it commences in the upper left part of the diagram and proceeds anti-clockwise, culminating in the ascension of the physical world back to either Yahveh or a higher dimensional realm.

I will now briefly summarize the material of this chapter.


According to the doctrines of Qabalah, Hinduism, and Buddhism there exists an unlimited, eternal consciousness – Yahveh. From Yahveh, time and space first unfold in a primal act of creation – the Big Bang – and limited existence, thus created, seeks to return to Yahveh. In order to effect this return, the primal “mind-stuff” of creation progressively evolves itself into a series of increasingly complex “vessels of transformation,” or “vessels of consciousness,” with the intention of eventually evolving itself into something that can transform it back to Yahveh. This transformational process is that of becoming conscious, for the act of being conscious transforms “mind-stuff” into whatever it is experienced as. Having proceeded as far as the evolution of human beings – vessels of self-consciousness – the final stage in this process is to bring about the development of human beings that can experience unlimited consciousness. This occurs via the process of kundalini-awakening, in which individual humans are psychologically and physically transformed such that they may experience Yahveh directly, in superconscious states of awareness. A person undergoing this awakening is said to die to their old, Ego self and be reborn to their Higher Self, the immortal part of their being.

When sufficient humans can experience superconsciousness, the universe itself will make a “quantum leap” back toward Yahveh, an act that may be referred to as “the ascension.”

From examining the symbology of much Christian and pre-Christian ritual and mythology, it can be divined that these processes have either been understood by ancient peoples for millenia, or that archetypal interactions symbolizing the same have forever been pursued as an integral part of the unfolding drama of our life on earth.

© Nick Sandberg 2001


[to follow]


Case, Paul Foster, Dr. (1995). The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, Builders of the Adytum Ltd.

Goddard, David. (1999). The Tower of Alchemy: An Advanced Guide to the Great Work, Samuel Weiser Inc.

Pryse, James Morgan. (1910). The Apocalypse Unsealed, Health Research.

Sannella, Lee, Dr. (1976). The Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence, Integral Publishing.

Schonfield, Hugh J. (1998). The Original New Testament, Element Books Ltd.

Troward, Thomas. (1913). Bible Mystery, Bible Meaning, DeVorss & Co.

Washburn, Michael. (1995). The Ego and the Dynamic Ground, State University of New York Press.

Wilbur, Ken. (1993). The Spectrum of Consciousness, Quest Books.

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