The Hidden Spirituality of Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas tells the story of the soul. It is a story rich in symbolism and wisdom teachings, which spans across lifetimes of human experience. It was initially written by David Mitchell and adapted for the screen by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. While this video will be exploring the film, we extend gratitude to the author for the original and complete telling in its written form.
It is a narrative on how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present, and future. We see souls shaped through time, in one lifetime a killer, and later, a hero, and how both the virtues and ignorance within the collective consciousness can ripple across centuries to inspire social systems and collective transformation.
The entire movie seems to bear a profound spiritual truth that we find in the Emerald Tablets of Thoth. He writes, “ You have risen from a state that was little above the beast, until now of all humankind, you are the greatest. Yet before you were others greater than you, and yet as before you others have fallen, so also shall you come to an end. And upon the land where you dwell now, barbarians shall dwell and, in turn, rise to Light. Forgotten shall be the ancient wisdom, yet ever shall it live, though hidden from man.”
We can see this clearly described by the various generations of humanity depicted through the movie, from the barbaric, racist nature of the slavers in our oldest story to the barbarians we find in the farthest story in the future. Wisdom is wisdom, and it is accessible to any who seek it out. If we choose to ignore the hidden truths of the world, we remain at the same level of consciousness, and nothing ever changes. While we do see the development of wisdom and truths along this journey, we also see these same recurring human traits of greed, selfishness, and a lack of empathy that permeates human consciousness.
We might see that the most futuristic society, Neo-Seoul — is the most disconnected, rigid society, with the least amount of empathy. We must see this as a great lesson, that technological advancement isn’t necessarily the thing we should be striving for — in fact, just as we see, the future could return to the point of a barbarian-like consciousness. The seeds that lay the foundation of society must be steeped in love and compassion, truth, and wisdom, or else we lay the seeds of our destruction.
To that end — the film becomes a narrative about all of the different ways that human culture and society can go. We often look at our life from the limited perspective of our individual lives, focused on our joys and suffering, our pain and our pleasure, and rarely do we take the time to connect with the bigger picture of life on earth, with the story of humanity.
And so through Cloud Atlas, we gain this fascinating insight on all of the possibilities about the depth and range of human experience, bringing us to a place of connection with humanity, and perhaps in that — inviting us to become more conscious participants in our lives, with the lessons and awareness that our actions and deeds on a day to day basis affect the more critical human story so much more than we can comprehend.
Now, speaking to truth bombs, the film bears a number of them, and I’d love to explore them for a moment here.
The film often drops lines like “This world spins from the same unseen forces that twist our hearts.” — exploring the intimate connection between ourselves as creators of our lives, and the events and circumstances that seemingly befall upon us day by day. From the invisible internal forces that guide our actions, so too do we see the results of those actions coming into form through us and everyone on the planet.
Another truth bomb is this recurring lesson that by not acting IS still taking action. The first experience for us all today, one that we must learn if we are to overcome our collective challenges. We must recognize that if we sit by and do nothing, and let others steer and direct the course of our lives, then we will continue to get more of the same. The only thing required for evil to prevail is if good people do nothing.”
Another one that is especially moving, a top tier truth bomb if there ever was one — “I understand now, the boundaries between noise and sounds are conventions. All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. One may transcend any convention if only one can first conceive of doing so. In moments like this, I can feel your heart beating as clearly as I can feel my own, And I know that separation is an illusion. My life extends far beyond the limitations of me.”
There’s a lot we could go into from this one passage alone, but at this moment, let us explore just one particular sentence… “one may transcend any convention if only one can first conceive of doing so.” So often today we live in a world filled with I can’t and “that’s impossible” — and so as we believe it, so shall it be. But in this flash of insight, there is a deep knowing that comes forth, that whatever you’re trying to do in your life, even if others tell you it can’t be done — remember You can accomplish anything you set your heart upon.
Now, Cloud Atlas also has incorporated the divine feminine into this film in a brilliant way. For most of the timelines, women are treated much as they have been for countless generations in the world — as secondary to the stories and dramas of men. In the film, there are a few subtle lines here and there reflecting upon this in momentary conversations, and pushing that to an extreme as far as you can go — with the production of slave women in the technopolis Neo Sol, who are used for slave labor, prostitution, and finally with their bodies being repurposed for food.
However, the film very quickly flips this on its head with the story farthest in the future — where the women are treated differently. It is only after the fall we see a rebalancing of the feminine. We see this with the women who are honored as healers, explorers, and given the natural freedom to choose their path just as we all intrinsically have. What’s more beautiful, is that it was the conscious spiritual awakening of one of the slave women — sonmi451 — that led to the fall in the first place, and the end of that old way of life.
But just as brilliant lights are shining throughout the aeons, so too is there an undercurrent of darkness- who is consistently played by none other than Agent Smith. In his lifetimes, he is notoriously the one who beats down others with ignorance, with rigid ways of thinking, and encourages fear, control, and keeps people little. In this he reflects a couple of lessons for us, that there is an undercurrent of fear and ignorance that runs throughout the human consciousness, just as much as there is light. It’s up to all of us to see the truth and courageously face our challenges when they arise in life. He also reflects that sometimes, a soul’s nature is to be that darkness so that the rest of life can learn the lessons of the kind of fear. This may be why he appears in the future reality as a Ghost, a figment of Zakrys imagination. It’s the nature of his soul to be evil and fear-based, it matters not if he incarnates in a body or not, he is a metaphor for the voice in our heads that spread fear all the same.
Now the pinnacle of the film comes from the Revelation of Sonmi, where she explains to the whole world — “ To be is to be perceived, and so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other. The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds that go on and are pushing themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
And much like before, there is a great deal of wisdom in these words, and if we can take the time to connect with them, we can begin to sink into the awareness of the interconnection that permeates all of life, weaving and binding us together.
Sonmi’s revelation reaches the world, and leads to the collapse of civilization, showing us the power of Truth. sonmi451 dropped a truth bomb so big it changed society forever. But yet, only two hundred years later — sonmi451 is worshipped as a deity who came to the world and saved everyone. The wisdom of her words survived, but the truth of her being did not. With the truth revealed, it changes Zachry’s understanding; he shifts into a higher state of awareness and learns to trust someone who he didn’t believe he could.
Towards the end, we are graced with some more wisdom. “I believe we do not stay dead for long,” says Frobisher, as he goes to kill himself, already preparing for his next life. And Sonmi reveals that “Death is only a door when it closes, another opens.” For the idea that our consciousness exists beyond the body, moving from life to life, path to path, brings peace of mind to the question of death, and can even motivate or inspire someone to do great things in this life. We see this illustrated beautifully at the end of the story, where Sonmi and Hae-Joo reconnect with each other, in different experiences, and different times. This also connects with the writings of Thoth Hermes, who describe that Time is a Circle, different points on a great wheel and that our incarnations are all taking place at the same time, all interconnected, and death is the passage we decided to experience a shift in awareness from one to the other.
Now, with everything that we’ve looked at, you might be thinking “wow that’s a lot!” — but there’s one more subtle thing throughout this film, which is the most important and monumental hidden spiritual lesson, more than anything else — the importance and recurrence of the number 6. A number commonly associated with numerology with love, family, and interconnection — and is the most stable number in the Tarot, relating with Tiphareth, the heart center on the Tree of Life. But wait, why is this important?
Well, the film itself is named after the Cloud Atlas Sextet. The legendary orchestral piece by Robert Frobisher and a sextet is essentially a composition for six people to play together, or individually, six people playing a little orchestra together. Now, the film Cloud Atlas features six different stories spread out over nearly 500 years, weaving together a tale that interconnects and weaves these souls together in an understandable manner, bringing more profound meaning to the term Universe — One Verse — One Song — and the idea that all of the universe itself is a symphony of a story with nearly infinite notes. Still, each playing their part in telling the story of the greater whole. Balanced and harmonized in the center, the harmony between above and below, which is the 6th center on the Tree of Life.
BUT WAIT — There’s more! The etymology of the word “Dream” actually relates with Music — and so we find that Music is one way that we are dreaming our reality into being, through the depth of music we find it touches our hearts and guides us to inspiring places within, shaping our thoughts and actions as we live our lives. Of course, the Cloud Atlas is a song; the movie is a song that dreams its way into our imaginations and inspires a tremendous depth of possibility, as we open ourselves up to genuinely listening to greater and greater depths.
And so how then, you might think, can you dream the dream of humanity at greater depths, and listen to the song of humankind across generations? I might recommend giving this a read — the new Aquarian Edition of the Emerald Tablets of Thoth the Atlantean. You can get a free download of it at SpiritMysteries.com.
Thank you to the David Mitchell, the Wachowski’s, and Tom Tykwer for dreaming this story into being. Namaste, you guys are amazing!