The Lament of the First Souls

Defining the plight of all fallen spirit.

Once I roamed the reaches of the universe in a body of
light. I was all places at all times, for I was filled with the
vision of The One. Now I wander the earth bound in the
form of an animal. Once as spirit I mastered flesh, now flesh
masters me. The memory of my divine origins dims and is replaced
by fables, dreams, and myths. My divine knowledge degenerates into
faith, philosophy, and religion. My mind-power over matter is lost
and is replaced by machines. No longer can I enter and leave the
physical body at will.

Now I die a thousand deaths in the cycle of rebirth. No longer can
I enter the higher realms, for I placed my will before the will of the
Father-Mother God. My vision of the divine has grown dim. Now
I grope my way through the shadow world of matter seeing faintly
as if by the light of distant suns.

— Lament of the First Souls from The Book of Remembrance
As told in The Light of Distant Suns

What Kind of God Toys With Us

Views from a universal spiritual tradition.

This world is full of challenges. Life is a story of our desires and the opposition to those desires. Opposition may come from other people or from circumstances and events, but I have never met a person who did not face obstacles, adversity, and suffering in their life. Indeed, as humans, we are defined by the degree to which we overcome these challenges. At the end of the day, life is really a personal school or boot camp we attend for growth. Our journey is the stuff of art, the core of religion, and the object of scientific inquiry.

This is the reality of the world. Why is it so? Why isn’t Earth the easy paradise symbolized by Eden? Why is the material world different from the heaven so many of our religions envision, a beneficent place where earthly cares are shed? A tradition exists that directly addresses the questions above.

As I pursued spiritual matters throughout the course of my life, it became apparent to me that certain threads interconnected the course of human spiritual history. From India and Asia, through Persia and on into the Middle East and Europe, echoes of a universal wisdom appear in multifold traditions from Hinduism to Buddhism, Manichaeism, Greek philosophy, the Mediterranean mystery schools, and ultimately the three Abrahamic religions. See the Video and Articles links for more information.

A universal spiritual tradition existed that was at the root of every major religion on earth, pagan or mainstream. This tradition, directly or indirectly and to a greater or lesser degree, speaks of a fall, a change from a higher to lower state of awareness. But unlike the fall depicted in Judeo-Christian traditions, the fallen, according to this wisdom, are never really separated or different from that from which they have fallen away, neither was there the concept of sin attached to this event. The fall, though apparently a mistake, was ultimately intentional, because the Source and the fallen were one.

The Source—call it God, the One, the Monad—permeates everything. Therefore, the fall was an act of conscious self-limitation, a dispersing of one Universal Consciousness into the appearance of many limited points of view. Limitation means ignorance of the whole, and ignorance is a form of shadow. So, shadow and error were inherent in human experience. This is why one often hears the world described as an illusion by offshoots of this tradition, illusion meaning that human consciousness is separated from the reality of its oneness not in fact but by misperception.

Central in this collective story is the recognition that the universe, both seen and unseen, was shaped by intelligent forces. In physics, we have gravity, electro-magnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. These unseen forces shape our physical world. But, according to the ancient wisdom, even these energies were controlled by higher forces that affected the human soul (the psyche) as well. Natural law had a mathematical precision; the psychic world of the mind and soul was chaotic, seemingly subject to random chance and full of suffering. It was order and chaos, good and evil, side by side.

How is this duality possible when even the scientist and the religious believer instinctively sense a unity behind all things? The scientist searches for the holy grail of a grand unified field theory to unite all the natural forces. The religious person seeks God, and if God is everything, how can a loving god be the source of all the evil in the world? What kind of god toys with us by tempting us into evil with the gift of free will?

What kind of god toys with us by tempting us into evil with the gift of free will? The Gnostic, or western, branch of this ancient wisdom answers this question by telling us God did not create the world—not exactly. There is one God, but God operated through intermediary energies or intelligences in the creation. Most major religions echo this belief in some form, even the ones most zealous about their monotheism. Christianity has the Christ and the Holy Spirit as well as the angels and devils they share in common with their Judaic and Islamic cousins. Islam has jinns. Hinduism and Buddhism have their gods and goddesses, each one differing in their intrinsic blend of light and shadow.

In keeping with the notion of intermediary forces, Gnostics believed the creator of the material world was not the One True God, but an inferior force, generated from, but too far removed from the Source, to create perfection. Think of how videos or CD’s degrade in clarity with each successive copy and you have the general idea behind this notion. Thus we have the genesis of the rampant flaws and evil evident on the material plane of existence. The goal of the Gnostic was attaining the spiritual knowledge necessary to overcome these limiting forces that intervened between humanity and the True God at the root of all things.

Far fetched? Much needless conflict has occurred over the nature of God. This is puzzling because the “monotheistic” religions recognize god-like intermediary forces and the “polytheistic” religions ultimately acknowledge that one Supreme Being manifested all the sub-deities. These religions ascribe differing names to the intermediary forces, but they all hold that unseen intelligences play a great role in human life. Significantly, most religions also recognize that the various non-material powers are not entirely beneficial to human development. Thus, we have the concepts of devils, jinns, and evil spirits—in other words, retardant forces.

Gnostics and their myths accounted for the fact that the further the manifested forces were from the Source, the more “shadow” they contained. This shadow gave rise to the creator god and the distinction between him and the ‘hidden” True God. The two gods are a symbolic of the dichotomy between the flawed material world and the perfection we are always told that God truly represents.

Prayer of the Scribe

A popular poem from The Thirteenth Disciple

O Lord, grant me a poem.
Let me tell a story to rend the hearts of men.
True God of All Things seen and unseen,
breathe Thy spirit into me.
Let me tell a story to break the stony hearts of men–
that Thou may enter their shattered prisons,
and fill the crevices of their sorrow,
and drain the swamps of their fear,
and lift them from shadow to dwell in truth.
Let me translate Thy Love into a language
they will understand for all time.
Allow me a poem of eternal beauty
that will open the hearts of men,
and draw them closer to Thee,
and show them they are of Thy realm,
and assure them that Thou dwelleth in them.
O Lord, let me tell a story, frozen in eternal beauty,
for all generations to come, that will break the iron hearts of men.

Ancient Wisdom’s New Paradigm

By Peter Canova

There was an ancient spiritual wisdom tradition, universal throughout Sumer, India, Persia, and into the Mediterranean cultures, that spoke to the origin, destiny, and purpose of humanity. This tradition was radical, for it said that human beings were not external creations of God as we are taught in most modern religions. The startling central secret of this wisdom was that human beings are God in a particular state of being. That state of being is spirit consciousness embodied in physical form experiencing a material existence.

This concept is an enormous shift from our currently accepted paradigm of reality. The traditional modern view of God, humanity, and reality can be summarized as follows: human beings were created from the dust of the earth like lumps of clay into which God breathed life. This God is like a stern judge or bearded old emperor on a throne dispensing justice. We are rewarded for doing good and punished for sins. Sin is a built-in condition of humanity, for early humans transgressed against God, so we forever labor under the shadow of our ancestor’s actions.
One might think that many today have discarded such notions with a more enlightened or even a more atheistic view about God, but the fear and guilt of these beliefs are hardwired into the collective psyche and have a profound subconscious influence on our lives.

Now contrast this belief with the notion that God is consciousness, the source of all being. This all pervasive consciousness existed, but It desired a different state, that of experiencing. So, everything began to project Its Consciousness outward into numerous points of consciousness with a small “c.” Envision this process as a row of unlit candles. The original flame lights the first candle, the first candle lights the second, and so on.

This is the process the ancients called emanation, the outflowing or projection of God’s energetic essence to form conscious beings. So, all conscious beings are part of God’s essence, but, ah, there’s a catch. The Everything is unlimited, while to be something necessarily implies limitation. Therefore Consciousness, like an electrical current, had to be stepped down or altered like a reverse transformer. Think of the process this way— successive copies of a DVD will lose a degree of resolution and clarity in relation to the copy before it. Similarly, these separate points of spirit consciousness lose awareness the further they are projected away from the Source.

This diminished awareness or ignorance is actually a necessary precondition for having a separate sense of self. The only way the one True Consciousness of Everything can gain experience as something such as an individual being is to forget Itself, to become ignorant of Its own light in varying degrees. This is what the Hindus and Buddhists call maya, or illusion, and they have described our world as the playground in which God fools Himself. This is the basic theme of pop culture phenomena such as the Matrix movie.

And the great part about all this for you and me? We can remember. If what the tradition says is true, think of the implications. We would not be helpless creatures blown about by fate, ignorant of our origin, purpose, and destiny. We would not be born to a lowly state of sin, but only to one of forgetfulness. But we can remember. We can regain the light of the source (enlightenment) by remembrance of and focus on our true state of unity.

Armed with basic knowledge and desire, we can refocus our awareness from experiencing back to being. True meditation and contemplation is about using the knowledge described here combined with heartfelt desire to transcend our condition. This eventually leads to a personal inner experience with higher intelligence. This life altering contact transports us beyond faith and intellectual knowledge. It puts us in the highest state of knowledge, that of knowing God or Supreme Consciousness through actual experience.

If all this sounds alien to traditional modern religion, you’ll be amazed to know that these beliefs were embedded into the very original core of ancient Judaism and Christianity before being ruthlessly suppressed. The tragic loss of this tradition is closely tied in with the mysterious disappearance of the early female Christian leaders such as Mary Magdalene.

The other startling thing about this ancient spiritual tradition is that the visions brought back and recorded by its mystic practitioners predicted the most cutting edge theories of modern quantum physics—the Big Bang, Parallel Universe Theory, Relativity, and the Holographic Universe Theory among others.

This wisdom tradition was buried but not extinguished. Elements of it survived in numerous forms over the ages—the Tarot, the Rosicrucians, Theosophy, and Masonry, to mention some. It even formed the impetus for the New Age movement, as pejorative as some those elements have become.

Spiritual seekers take heart. Your search is guided and supported by this ancient tradition. It’s not a new dogma or “ism” in which to get caught. It’s a guide, a signpost along your spiritual highway, not a bus stop where you have to punch your ticket and stagnate in a particular set of beliefs. It is about true liberation and freedom to which you may come through work, desire and application of growing knowledge of spirit. And ultimately, these are the things that truly set us free.

Peter Canova’s novel, Pope Annalisa, is the first book in a trilogy called the First Souls. Pope Annalisa is a spiritual thriller about an African nun who becomes the first female pope.

My Personal Journey

I started my spiritual odyssey having some vivid experiences in the 1970’s after discovering I was an accurate medical intuitive. In the 70’s, I travelled the world as an international businessman somewhat in a limbo between my corporate left brain life and my growing intuitive right brained metaphysical life.

By 1999, I had the idea to write a story in an effort to understand all of the psychic and intuitive experiences I had undergone. It was going to be a story about how spirit first came to exist in the material world. I was prompted to study ancient spiritual traditions as research for the book, and as a way for my Capricorn mind to understand the basis for all the intuitive information I was receiving from another source.

Something also told me that Mary Magdalene was to be a central part of this story. Odd, because I knew nothing at all about Mary Magdalene, and it seemed no one else did either at the turn of the new century. I searched everywhere and found scant information about Magdalene, only enough to sense a great mystery behind this figure portrayed in the Bible in a way that begs you to ask, why is she even mentioned? I sensed she was like a teaser ad for a much bigger, unrevealed story.

Owing to lack of historical information, I began to channel a story involving Magdalene. My primary work was still international luxury hotel development so I researched and wrote the book in fragmentary scenes on long plane rides, which is why it took a decade to complete the book. Many told me I was crazy to pick this obscure figure and write a story that smacked of religious controversy if I ever wanted to have a successful novel.

But two startling streams converged in my journey halfway into the decade of 2000. First there was an explosion of information, books and articles on Magdalene almost as if the air had become charged with Magdalene particles.

Around this time I met Dan Brown just after the Da Vinci code was published. Dan’s portrayal of Magdalene was superficial, but he popularized her name and hinted at the suppressed alternative biblical story I had described in my manuscript. In a way, he laid the paving stone for Magdalene awareness I would explore in more depth.

Secondly, I came across the Gnostic gospels, a suppressed body of work by the earliest of Christian mystics. And lo and behold, the star disciple portrayed in these works was not St. Peter, but Mary Magdalene.

In fact, Jesus proclaims Magdalene to be his other half in the gospels, not in the physical sense as in the Da Vinci Code, but in the spiritual sense representing the yin/yang polarity of the universe. Many original Christians actually held Magdalene to be the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, the female aspect of God, just as Jesus embodied the Christ spirit, the male aspect of God.

After studying the Gnostic gospels, I came to realize I had been like a student given a homework assignment I didn’t understand, and I was just beginning to catch on.

I discovered that a universal spiritual tradition once existed that spoke of ONE CONSCIOUSNESS that descended to create all that is, but the details surrounding this knowledge were obscured in the mists of time.

The Gnostic Gospels and other ancient texts spoke of a split in the manifested Godhead itself. It was this schizophrenic split into two energies we call male and female that allowed individuality to come into being, that created good and evil, that fostered all the wondrous shades of existence we call life.

And in the ancient texts, it was always the female aspect of the deity that broke the unity leading to the creation of matter and the physical universe as we know it. The central tension, the very engine that drives our lives with purpose, lies in the effort of these two polarities, the male and female energies, seeking to reunify.

The story I discovered in the texts is that we are fragmented beings, incomplete parts broken off from a whole, and the breaking had everything to do with the feminine energy,

When spirit first descended into materiality and merged with physical forms on this planet, we were closer to the original feminine source of our origin. The world would have been magical to our early ancestors. Their young souls would have intuited and felt their way through the world immersed in the rhythms of Mother Nature. This is evidenced in world cultures prior to 3,000 BC. The majority of earth’s cultures were feminine in orientation and matrilineal. They worshipped the Great Goddess above all other deities.

But now spirit was encased in materiality and subject to the dangers of a physical world. Saber tooth tigers were chasing us around for lunch. Extreme climatic conditions and the need for food supplies now ruled our bodies. To survive, we began to analyze, categorize, and rationalize, and this was a male survival strategy to master our environment. It succeeded so well that we’re now practically destroying ourselves and the environment too.

But the cycling polarities of male/female energies were always in operation. In the Gnostic gospels, the Christ says the two must become one to realize the Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, the texts revealed that the Christ spirit incarnated to reunite with Magdalene, the Holy Spirit, and rescue his counterpart feminine force lost in an alien dimension of physical materiality.

I came to realize that a FEMININE ENERGY is finally reemerging, recycling, not to replace the male dominated vibration but to bring it into balance. It’s a cosmic story of the spiritual evolution of consciousness. We went through our primitive intuitive phase then our analytic rational phase and now we are at the phase of conjunction where we reunite our left and right brain energies into an operating symmetry.
Abraham Maslow called it becoming an actualized human being, Karl Jung called it individuation, and Jesus called it the two becoming one again. The evidence of this shift in consciousness in 2012 is admittedly elusive in scientific terms, but I’ll relate a couple of telling personal anecdotes.

I’ve been attending alternative living expos like since the 70’s. Every psychic or consciousness event I went to was 99% women and me. Guys just didn’t do such touchy, feely stuff. Today every event is close to 50/50.

And the odyssey of my book is another example. I had to self-publish. No one wanted to touch a genre-bending novel by a first-time author on such an exotic, potentially controversial subject. After numerous years in development I received half a dozen serious calls from Hollywood where the books seem to have a cult following and I’m now working on a TV series.

I came to realize that the true story all along was not about Mary Magdalene the person, but Mary Magdalene as a the feminine archetype that was manifesting itself in ways that would transform us as human beings by transforming our ability to perceive reality with different eyes.
The feminine energy of intuitive, heart-based perception is a rising tide, and it’s moving us upward. It is our hope, it is our future. It will transform our abilities to penetrate the higher dimensions from which we originated. Ultimately, we will realize that we are the fingers of the divine touching the face of this world. Our purpose is to spiritualize the material and bring the experience of the material back to spirit.

Thoughts on the Force of Opposition

From scenes in The Thirteenth Disciple

“The book explains the three primary dimensions, the spiritual, psychic, and material.” Avernis said. “The psychic plane is divided between the consciousness of light and darkness. It’s from there that the negative forces of ignorance, fear, and illusion exert their matrix of influence through the human mind to penetrate the material plane. When a person achieves a degree of enlightenment, it weakens that negative matrix. Like killer T-cells in a wounded body, the negative forces sense danger and rush to stanch the blood flow. They attack any source of light and liberation. The attack we experienced here was the physical manifestation of that psychic process.
“I know it’s unsettling to realize forces exist that keep the human soul in ignorant bondage,” Teresa said, “But Tibetan Buddhists have a tradition called terma where the gnosis or knowledge of enlightened spiritual beings is hidden away from corrupting forces to be re-discovered in times of need. The Gnostic gospels were found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945, the year the nuclear bomb was dropped, then the Dead Sea scrolls, and now the Magdalene Gospels.”

A trembling Amelia said, “Teresa, what lies beyond? You must have seen . . . Please . . .”
Teresa knew Amelia had her departed son in mind, and she wanted to help her, to help all of them. She closed her eyes. The stone walls of the cavernous great hall loomed silent. “A few times I crossed the veil . . . to the beginning,” she said in a halting voice. “I looked out on the infinite horizon. It was immense . . . it was uniform . . . it was lonely. Lonely like facing the vastness of the ocean or the emptiness of outer space by oneself. The Great Mind projected portions of Itself to reflect back upon Itself for companionship and experience . . . it was like looking at oneself in many mirrors.”

The team grouped in a tighter cordon around Teresa as she spoke trance-like in a soft, almost ethereal voice. “The One had to forget Itself within the many to project life as independent beings, but I promise you we are never lost as individuals. Our destiny is to experience and transcend the fragmentation of the psychic and physical dimensions by integrating them into our soul experience.
We can move beyond the duality of psychic and material consciousness. We can bring remembrance of our total experience back to the Infinite. We can be ourselves within the One, and enrich the experience of the Totality. That’s the reason for being. God needs us as much as we need God to complete the purpose for existing.”

Teresa opened her eyes. “This was the secret teaching of Jesus and Magdalene—we are not creations of God; we are God lost in a dream of our own making to experience the unique state of physical reality. We’re in a cycle of evolution. Consciousness alters thought and thought alters DNA over time. Spiritual breakthroughs accelerate the evolutionary process. Inspired knowledge of the higher dimensions triggers this process as it did two thousand years ago before the opposing powers drove it underground.”
“The age of miracles,” MacDonald whispered. “Such hope, such energy.”

“This is the Second Coming of the Christ spirit, don’t you see?” Teresa said. “We are the bridge connecting the dimensions of existence through our awakened consciousness. Annalisa and these gospels will reignite the sleeping God within. The new consciousness will generate a species-wide alteration over time, an actual genetic makeover. The soul force will reemerge and regain mastery over the flesh. We can heal and perform miracles. We can gradually banish the dark thought forms and bring heaven to earth. It all begins here, with you. Your efforts will establish its foundation. You must proclaim the gospel of Magdalene to the world. You must finish what Annalisa started.”