This article is an extract taken from the book Return to Source.
The process of creation of matter and spiritual life at the beginning of the universe is one of the greatest of mysteries. Understanding its basic principles is important for understanding how enlightenment works, as enlightenment is the re-absorption back into the one, the divine source of creation.
The Pistis Sophia, a text suppressed for well over a thousand years, recounts the teachings Jesus gave to the disciples after his ascension, on the final stages of enlightenment. In it Jesus describes the First Mystery as also being the last mystery. That is, the divine source of creation is also the final point of return, which is why it is described as the head of the universe but also the completion of all completions.
“And Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I am come forth out of that First Mystery, which is the last mystery, that is the four-and-twentieth mystery.’ And his disciples have not known nor understood that anything existeth within that mystery; but they thought of that mystery, that it is the head of the universe and the head of all existence; and they thought it is the completion of all completions…”
~ Pistis Sophia translated by G.R.S. Mead
Where we came from and why we are here are fundamental questions that lie at the heart of every quest for spiritual truth. Throughout ancient spiritual teachings and cultures we find stories of creation, which if we look at closely share remarkable similarities. Creation gave rise to our universe, it gave birth to us, and is constantly creating the life all around us. We too are creators, as we bring children into the world. But we also have the potential to be spiritual creators. The process of spiritual creation (in enlightenment) on an individual level is a replica of that on a universal level, as the fundamental principles are the same.
The Microcosmic and the Macrocosmic
Most cultures have a creation myth, which explains how they and the universe came to be. Seen by some as a simple story to explain existence to primitive people, many of these myths which we find in ancient texts such as Genesis, the Rig Veda, the Tao Te Ching, on the temple walls of ancient Egypt, and in the legends of the Incas, are actually profoundly symbolic descriptions which can be understood on many levels.
It is now even postulated by scientists that the same principles that govern the movement of planets, also govern the inner workings of atoms. The same principles that make a spiral galaxy also create the structure of a seashell and unfurling of a fern. This is why ancient spiritual people used natural symbols to convey universal concepts, and also why people—who don’t understand this intuitive language, nor the principles of creation—can easily write creation stories off as simple nature myths. In reality, the principles of spirituality and the purpose of life are written into the very fabric of life and creation.
“In everything that is life is the law written. You find it in the grass, in the tree, in the river, in the mountain, in the birds of heaven, in the fishes of the sea; but seek it chiefly in yourselves. For I tell you truly, all living things are nearer to God than the scripture which is without life. God so made life and all living things that they might by the everlasting word teach the laws of the true God to man. God wrote not the laws in the pages of books, but in your heart and in your spirit. They are in your breath, your blood, your bone; in your flesh, your bowels, your eyes, your ears, and in every little part of your body. They are present in the air, in the water, in the earth, in the plants, in the sunbeams, in the depths and in the heights. They all speak to you that you may understand the tongue and the will of the living God.”
~ Jesus in the Essene Gospel of Peace, translated by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely
Scientists are just scratching the surface of the nature of matter and the fabric of the universe from the study of what lies within minute particles. But many thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt the knowledge of sacred geometry was used to build temples to harness the same energetic principles and aesthetics found throughout creation, and many ancient religious symbols, such as the spiral, swastika, pentagram, and yin and yang, can be found in the movements of the heavens and the earth. Mystics throughout time and the world have known about the relationship between the macrocosmic and the microcosmic, and symbolized it in sacred texts and temples in many different cultures. This is where the famous maxim of wisdom comes from, “As above, so below.”
“Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from Tao; but the law of Tao is its own spontaneity.”
~ Tao Te Ching, translated by Lionel Giles
The External and the Internal
But there is another important maxim of wisdom that says that not only is there an intimate relationship between the macrocosmic and the microcosmic, but that there is also a relationship between the outer sensory world and the inner spiritual world. The symbols of creation myths now take on another level of meaning, as they also come to describe principles of the inner, spiritual realm.
This maxim can be found in the early esoteric Christian text the Book of Thomas the Contender in the Nag Hammadi Library, when Jesus says:
“For he who has not known himself, has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all.”
~ Jesus in The Book of Thomas the Contender, translated by John D. Turner
We have the ability to understand the greatest of mysteries by understanding ourselves. Genesis of the Bible says that we were created male and female, in the image and likeness of God. In Hindu mythology, the supreme creator is said to exist within and pervade all that is, including us. These sacred teachings tell us that by looking within, we can find and know the spiritual source of creation.
The spiritual principles of creation have been imbued in all of creation, and thus can not only be found all around us, but also within us (which can be done through the study of spiritual self-knowledge), thus allowing us to understand our origins and the true purpose of life whenever we choose to look.
“Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.”
~ Jesus in The Gospel of Thomas, translated by Thomas O. Lambdin
The Creative Power of Sex
Sex is the foundation of all life. Human life is created from the union of male and female in the birth of a child. In the ancient Indian text, the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, the primordial being, after realizing it was alone, created a woman from its body. From their union humans were born (just as Eve is created from Adam’s body, and their union gives birth to the human race). After this the woman hid from the man by taking the form of a cow. But he came as a bull and from their union, cattle were born. She then hid as a mare, but he came as a stallion, and from that union all one-hoofed animals were born. This went on for each of the various animals for which there is a male and female, right down to the ants. This teaching illustrates the creative power of sex found throughout life and the universe—that the union of male and female (yang and yin) forces gives birth to and creates all life on the largest of scales, right down to the smallest.
“One yin and one yang is called the tao… male and female mingle their ching and all creatures are born.”
~ I Ching (the oldest known book of China)
Some people treat sex as ungodly and taboo, as if it was something separate from spirituality. But spirituality is not apart from life, and thus sex is not apart from spirituality either. Sex is part of the great mystery of creation. In spiritually advanced creation myths, we find the union of male and female forces which give birth to life. Deified in ancient sacred teachings, man and woman are seen as god and goddess with the powers of creation. This is also why in genuine spiritual teachings the sexual relationship between a man and woman is seen as sacred, as in essence it belongs to the processes of divinity unlike any other human relationship. Within this relationship is the potential and power of the divine if used properly. It has been referred to as Tantrism in the East, the medieval transformation of lead into gold termed alchemy, HeQi (meaning “joining energy”) in the Taoism of China, and the bridal chamber of the esoteric Christians.
Spiritually advanced ancient peoples knew that creation is a process which is universal and which is found in the very largest scale, to the most microscopic. Therefore, they knew that the forces of male and female united give birth on earth, give birth to the spiritual within, and also to the universe.
The Union of Male and Female Forces in Ancient Creation Myths
One of the most famous teachings on creation is found in Genesis, and starts:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
~ Genesis from the Bible
Genesis describes the process of creation by merging the natural with the supernatural using the symbols of water, the spirit of God, and the light of the first day. These are the three fundamental forces of creation which gives rise to all life over a symbolic seven days (seven is the number through which all creation is organized), which Genesis describes as it continues.
The waters is the female seedbed of all life, which is fecundated by the male through his Spirit, and the light their union produces is the child, the Son/sun, who is known as the “Son of God,” the universal spiritual force of the Christ (the Christ is a term used to describe a universal force that does not belong to any religion, but has been symbolized throughout all great spiritual teachings).
The Druids also symbolized creation being brought forth from the union of male and female forces. In the beginning of creation, the Druids believed that the sap of the cauldron of the Great Mother goddess Cariadwen/Cerridwen was fertilized by three drops of dew from the Word of the Father god Celu and gives birth to Hu Gadarn/Taliesun.
In ancient Chinese texts, the intercourse of female and male forces called yin and yang brings all of creation into manifestation.
“If you go searching for the Great Creator, you will come back empty-handed. The source of the universe is ultimately unknowable, a great invisible river flowing forever through a vast and fertile valley. Silent and uncreated, it creates all things. All things are brought forth from the subtle realm into the manifest world by the mystical intercourse of yin and yang. The dynamic river yang pushes forward, the still valley yin is receptive, and through their integration things come into existence.”
~ Hua Hu Ching, translated by Brian Walker
In a Chinese story of creation there existed a cosmic egg that floated in the void. The egg was the opposites of yin and yang totally mingled; as they were mingled, creation was not able to come into being yet. Then within this egg grew the primordial man, P’an Ku, who broke out of the egg and split yin and yang into opposites, creating the sky and the earth etc. Later, P’an Ku entered a holy virgin as a ray of light, and was born into the world as T’ien-Tsun, the first principle of the universe created from yin and yang (in this story T’ien-Tsun represents the Son/Christ).
A Hindu account of creation says that everything was in a state of sleep. There was nothing either moving or static. Then Svayambhu, self-manifested being, a form beyond senses arose. First Svayambhu created the primordial waters (the Being divides to separate into male and female, just as Adam divided becomes male and female) and established the seed of creation into it (the union of male and female). The seed turned into a golden womb (or egg), called Hiranyagarbha. Then Svayambhu entered into the womb, and from this womb all of creation manifested (was born). It is also said that from this golden womb the creator god Brahma emerged, along with the entirety of creation called Brahm-anda.
Another Hindu account of creation says that in the beginning a vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of night (the primordial waters). The god Vishnu (the male force) was asleep on Seshnag, the serpent upon the waters (the female). At the time of creation the vibrant sound of Om filled the void with energy (referred to as the Word in esoteric Christianity). The night had ended and Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break (the creation of the light from the spirit moving upon the waters), a magnificent lotus flower grew from Vishnu’s navel. In the middle of the blossom sat the god Brahma. Vishnu then commanded Brahma to create the world. Brahma split the lotus flower into three. He stretched one part into the heavens. He made another part into the earth. With the third part of the flower he created the skies.
In the Mayan account of creation in the text the Popol Vuh, creation also comes into being by the union of the Mother and the Father, who give birth to a son of light:
“Great is its performance and its account of the completion and germination of all the sky and earth—its four corners and its four sides. All then was measured and staked out into four divisions, doubling over and stretching the measuring cords of the womb of sky and the womb of earth. Thus were established the four corners, the four sides, as it is said, by the Framer and the Shaper, the Mother and the Father of life and all creation, the giver of breath and the giver of heart, they who give birth and give heart to the light everlasting, the child of light born of woman and the son of light born of man, they who are compassionate and wise in all things—all that exists in the sky and on the earth, in the lakes and in the sea.”
~ The Popol Vuh, translated by Allen J. Christenson
The Limits of Science in Understanding Creation
It’s widely accepted in scientific theory that the universe was created around 13.7 billion years ago from a huge expansion called “the Big Bang.” Literally, from a golden fiery ball which expanded faster than thought, creation began, as did all time, light, matter, and space at this moment.
Energy, known as quarks, formed into protons and neutrons, which bound together with electrons (the three primary forces of positive, negative, and neutral) to create atoms. These atoms formed the first elements, which were hydrogen and helium. Gradually, these elements condensed into stars, from which all the other elements of matter were created.
Incredibly, the Big Bang, and expanding golden ball from which all creation emerged, is just like the ancient Hindu explanation in which all of creation expands from a golden embryo or egg resplendent as one thousand suns.
The scientific approach is to look at matter and to see how it was formed, and thus science can only tell us about the creation of physical matter—but science is not able to answer where the fire and light of the Big Bang actually comes from. Understanding the process of creation requires knowledge of the higher multi-dimensional spiritual realms and the spiritual source of matter to be more complete. But as the spiritual is only known by its own kind, it is impossible to use matter to measure it. Matter can only be used to measure the material—it is useless for discovering the immaterial or spiritual, and that is why mystics who can explore the spiritual realms through spiritual experience can go beyond science in understanding creation. Ancient spiritual teachings, therefore, are not only similar to the scientific explanation of creation, which are themselves only very recent theories, but explain it in greater depth.
“From of old until now, its name has never passed away. It watches over the beginning of all things. How do I know this about the beginning of things? Through Tao.”
~ Tao Te Ching, translated by Lionel Giles
Life is multi-dimensional. Creation has its source beyond the dimensions, in the unknowable. This is why the ancient Hindus and the Taoists of China said that the source of creation, which they call Brahman and the Tao, is unknowable and indefinable. This source creates the dimensions and at the same time permeates them, which is also why their sacred texts describe “God” as all, everywhere, and in everything. Gradually, creation forms through the dimensions until it crystallizes as physical matter and the three-dimensional world we are aware of now.
The principles of creation unfold and crystalize into the very fabric of what is created, moving from the macrocosmic down into the microcosmic, through the different dimensions; imbued in both the inner and outer world—and thus seen in the spiraling of a galaxy to the unfolding of a fern. These universal principles of creation, therefore, are intrinsically found in the natural and physical world that we can see all around us, but this physical manifestation is only one part of it.
“These two things, the spiritual and the material, though we call them by different names, in their origin are one and the same. This sameness is a mystery,—the mystery of mysteries. It is the gate of all spirituality.”
~ Tao Te Ching, translated by Lionel Giles
Keep reading in the book Return to Source.
Copyright © Belsebuub & Angela Pritchard 2012