Mastery of Mystery:
A Glass Bead Game
By Karen Dell Kinnison
The Gospel of Sophia is more than a book; it is a starting point in a grand adventure limited only by the reader’s degree of willingness to explore. When one opens the volume, he or she sets forth down the path of mastering the greatest mysteries that confront humankind – the nature of spirit itself.
Is this not the first step toward mastery – the willingness to release oneself from self-constructed limitations, the wooden planks we build to cross this far, and navigate vast, unknown mysteries in search of more expansive truths?
In turning the first page, one essentially sets sail, pushes off from the conventional wooden dock and launches into a deep ocean of fluid thoughts and eternal truths. Is this not the first step toward mastery – the willingness to release oneself from self-constructed limitations, the wooden planks we build to cross this far, and navigate vast, unknown mysteries in search of more expansive truths?
By providing a comprehensive, multifaceted experience, The Gospel of Sophia does something new in our age: it synthesizes religion, art, science and philosophy, connecting these disciplines in a harmonious and deeply personal way that joyously awakens the mind with knowledge.
For example, through discussion of the Divine Feminine Trinity, The Gospel celebrates an ancient and evolutionary religious foundation of the divine feminine.
With its presentation of inspired poetry, evocative imagery and an innovative writing style, it achieves an artistic pinnacle as a new form of literary expression.
With its curriculum of the ethers in relationship to esoteric human anatomy, drawing on the most advanced studies of energy and biochemistry, it formulates a solid science.
With its announcement of irrefutable truths along the way, it builds with unfaltering certainty the cornerstones of a compelling wisdom-based philosophy.
This type of unique cultural synthesis – religion, art, science and philosophy – is what poets, artists and philosophers have been striving to accomplish for thousands of years, from the ancient Sumerians, to the Egyptians, to the genius of the Greek sages and higher minds in all successive ages. In their crumbled pyramids, stone tablets and papyrus scrolls, they left us a heritage of continuance to pursue. Their greatest effort, they hand to us through the ages with hope that we will build an even greater future of thought.
The Gospel of Sophia embraces these ancient traditions of knowledge and constitutes a Renaissance, similar to the breadth of disciplines expressed in the works of Leonardo da Vinci as a sign of his times. It echoes and pays tribute to all of the prior cultures that also attempted to harmonize the various influences on human knowledge to explain the mysteries of the interconnected earthly and spiritual realms.
The Glass Bead Game
An even more specific comparison can be made to Herman Hesse’s “Glass Bead Game,” in which he presents an ideal of intellectual mastery of diverse cultural elements in his fictional vision of a future society. He calls the Glass Bead Game an “eternal idea”:
This same eternal idea, which for us has been embodied in the Glass Bead Game, has underlain every movement of Mind toward the ideal goal of a universities litterarum, every Platonic academy, every league of an intellectual elite, every rapprochement between the exact and the more liberal disciplines, every effort toward reconciliation between science and art or science and religion.
In The Glass Bead Game, a book for which he won the Nobel Prize, Hesse formalizes an ideal of high civilization in his fictional, futuristic city of Castalia. In a monastic setting, painstakingly trained and socially reclusive scholars uphold an age-old tradition of playing what is known as the “Glass Bead Game,” the most prestigious demonstration of their ability to draw cultural and symbolic connections among various disciplines – music, art, philosophy, history, science, symbolism and all other forms of study that one might find in a university curriculum.
In competing annually in the Glass Bead Game, the town of Castalia coalesces all of the disciplines into one expression of mastery that unifies the wisdom of broader human civilization. Players of the game become initiates in a mystery, versed in complex symbolism they have spent their lives working tirelessly to master.
The Glass Bead Game, then, is about mastery of mystery. Brilliantly, Hesse never describes the complete working intricacies of a game end-to-end, preserving the concept of mystery about the game itself as its own fictional symbol.
As he describes:
The game is an abstract synthesis of all arts and sciences. It proceeds by players making deep connections between seemingly unrelated topics. It is "a kind of synthesis of human learning" in which themes, such as a musical phrase or a philosophical thought, are stated. As the game progresses, associations between the themes become deeper and more varied. The game uses artistic forms, and eventually cultural symbols. Themes are developed almost as a poet would,and building variations as a composer. It was a way of symbolizing music and of building broad insights into the world.
So, too, is The Gospel of Sophia about mastery of mystery.
So, too, like the scholarly monks in Castalia, are readers of The Gospel called to be initiates in a great wisdom process of seeking the ultimate knowledge that takes a lifetime to master.
As Hesse explains:
All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study are reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ. And this organ has attained an almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number. Theoretically this instrument is capable of reproducing the game the entire intellectual content of the universe.
Yet, the Gospel differs from the Glass Bead Game in an important way. It is specific.
Whereas the Glass Bead Game expresses an eternal mystery at the foundation of the fictional Castalian culture, The Gospel of Sophia offers practical guidance for the here and now: substantive information, leading truths, scientific data, compelling connections and ancient symbols to help humans decipher the incredible spiritual mysteries regarding fulfilling our rightful interactions with the divine hierarchies.
Where The Glass Bead Game provides the thought, The Gospel of Sophia provides the thought leadership.
The Gospel of Sophia is a guide to understanding the divine truth in the heart of the spiritual aspirant through a living, dynamic uncovering of inner spirit. Sophia is the guide and The Gospel is the good news of Her message of the soul’s rebirth into the redeemed spiritual self.
All religion with its many forms of spiritual architecture is a noble human attempt to bring the divine into our physical world. Yet, The Gospel is most practical: it teaches us how to build our own Temple of Wisdom and find answers within.
As the Music Master, a key character in The Glass Bead Game who symbolizes ultimate creative wisdom, advises his student:
“The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.”
The Music of Ideas
It takes an interdisciplinary approach to perceive the full panorama of Sophia, a being also known as Wisdom. In Volume 1, Sophia’s hidden and subsumed nature is examined throughout history. We are informed that, over time, Her once vital symbols were reduced to words and titles that today must be resurrected and clothed anew with royal garments. Through symbols and parables, Her nature is revived once again as a growing light of divine feminine awareness in the world.
Along the way, the reader experiences the intricate interplay of zodiacal, planetary and earthly rhythms and forces that influence all beings who interact with the Divine Feminine Trinity. We learn that to understand Sophia is to comprehend a “language of the spirit” that reveals Her workings in all aspects of physical and spiritual manifestation.
For example, the Harmony of the Spheres is both a mathematical and musical way to describe Sophia as the past, present and future. Ascension means raising the vibrations of consciousness into higher octaves that resonant with the sun, planets and the zodiac. This music is the harmony, wisdom and dance of the hierarchy and Sophia the key to understanding the language of the spirit.
The concept is similar to The Glass Bead Game:
It is a virtual music of ideas highlighting cross-disciplinary truths. Music is the marriage of passion with tight structure in the field of sound, poetry the marriage of passion with tight structure in the field of words. The Glass Bead Game is the marriage of passion with tight structure in the field of ideas -- specifically including verbal, pictorial, and musical ideas.
We recognize this multi-disciplinary nature in modern mind mapping, the Internet, search engines, data bases, and other attempts at coherent correspondences that directly affect the world:
The entire range of ideas can thus legitimately be brought into play: and this means not only that ideas from different disciplines can be juxtaposed, but also that ideas expressed in "languages" as diverse as music, painting, sculpture, dance, mathematics, and philosophy can be juxtaposed, without necessarily first being "translated" into a common language – although the creation of such a common language -- mathematical, logical, or other – may itself play an important role in the design of a Glass Bead Game.
In the same way, The Gospel of Sophia uses multiple facets of human knowledge to deliver the reader a holistic portal into Sophia’s nature.
For example, the development of thought, philoSophia, describes both Her inner nature and outer workings. Poetry attempts to call forth Her resonance by articulating feelings that otherwise could not be expressed.
Images of truth clothe Her with garments of light to define Her many beautiful forms.
The new musical instrument that describes Sophia in part is the winged heart, which knows the eternal. The work of wisdom in our personal lives is another instrument that evokes the beauty of karma, destiny, mercy, grace and love put to daily practice.
The Gospel of Sophia, then, is truly an encyclopedia of wisdom that lays out the path, or map, back to the spiritual world. It presents a coherent and living cosmology of correspondences – one that is historically substantiated and personally verifiable through self-evident truth. Like the Glass Bead Game, The Gospel uses a unified data model with the following correspondent components:
Connection – Connects ideas (link, list, categorize)
Analogy – Relates ideas by likeness
Contemplation – Thinks deeply about ideas and their relationships
Formalism – Requires rules of play and constraints; a formal, quasi-mathematical game language
Iconicity – Compresses ideas in glyphs, symbols, art
Syncretism – Achieves depth, permanence
High Ritual – Associates with an invented formal language
For our human benefit, our intellect is Sophia’s child. The Mother of All is very concerned with the evolution of our thoughts. PhiloSophy is the love of Sophia. We learn that thoughts are real beings that evolve alongside us. Ideas are living archetypes, hierarchical beings led by Sophia.
As The Gospel states, “Thought is the only spiritual influence in the world.”
A Beautiful Synthesis
The goal of The Gospel is to present a comprehensive language of the spirit, a beautiful synthesis of all progressive spiritual thinking on the Earth, no matter the religion, science, mythology or source. Hesse, no doubt, would have appreciated this objective, as the Glass Bead Game shares a similar one:
The purpose of the game itself is contemplative: the glimpsing of some unity of form or structure beneath the bewildering profusion of appearances. And it is precisely this contemplative nature of the game which allows it, at its best, to be a vehicle for mastery – and an access point for mystery.
The Gospel of Sophia is about spiritual self-mastery through a life of contemplation about Sophia, Wisdom. Through Her, the Divine Feminine Trinity is able to unify the world in the past, present and future. This presents an opportunity for the reader to experience Sophia fully and proceed, with each volume, further down the path of mastering the mystery.
Once sailing on this great sea of knowledge, the question then becomes: How has the world grown so small, for my spirit and mind are now more expansive?
For this, The Gospel of Sophia answers:“The heavenly world rejoices at the awakening of a soul that receives the light of spirit into the clear silence of the heart.
”So is the living Gospel lived.
Play the Glass Bead Game
The Glass Bead Game is a game of self-discovery and self-mastery. The game pieces, called "glass beads", span a variety of disciplines and media platforms across the speed of the Internet, like the Kalki Avatar's white winged horse! Don't forget--in the play of consciousness some of the glass beads transcend time and space so pay attention to synchronicity, magic, and flow.
Join us in playing in the field of consciousness. Here are some of the glass beads already in play:
Star Wars and Indiana Jones (early movies)
YouTube Glass Bead Game playlist for the curious