top of page

Gladiator Unmasked I

Gladiator Unmasked Chapter I

“What we do in life echoes in eternity.” What echoes in eternity also sheds light—on the orders given and battles won in Germania, the actions taken and blood spilled in the sands of the coliseum, and the lies told and scrolls written in the Senate—casting shadows on the dust of Rome. To know this in life is to give back Rome her True Self. These are the core esoteric teaching masked within the modern-day multi-Oscar-winning classic Gladiator, written by David Franzoni, revised by John Logan, directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Russell Crowe. In all humility by the Grace of knowledge bestowed on us from above, we will now unmask these secret teachings, in the hopes that they may assist all who long to serve their One True Emperor and earn the right to return home.

Please note: all quotes from the Gladiator film sourced from: Any/all other quotes, graphics, artwork, video are cited accordingly. WARNING: This article CONTAINS SPOILERS…and EPIPHANIES.

A Striking Story

QUINTUS: “People should know when they’re conquered.” MAXIMUS: “Would you Quintus? Would I?”

It is a noteworthy question, is it not? In taking a long, hard look at ourselves, do we truly know if we are free or if we are, in fact, conquered? This is the first of many questions raised by Ridley Scott’s 7-time Academy Award winning film Gladiator; the first of many whose answers we hope to uncover in this, our first attempt at an unveiling of a major work of esoteric art, in the tradition of Samael Aun Weor’s Parsifal Unveiled.

Before we jump into the task at hand, it is necessary, dear reader, to share a few words concerning the nature of high art and how it comes into being, in order that we may approach this unmasking with an open mind at least, and an empty cup at best.

It is unlikely the collaborators on this film and its story would say they consciously set out to convey what we are about to reveal. They may accuse us of “reading too much into their work,” as it were. Having seen the film for yourself, dear reader, you may likewise experience such a mental reaction to the purported symbolism in this essay. That somehow this unveiling is a product of overthinking or overactive imagination. Moreover, should any of the artists behind Gladiator stand up and openly refute our allegations in public, it is more than likely you would side with them. After all, it is their artwork, is it not? After all, who better than the artist can say what the work is really all about?

Rest assured we are NOT about to launch into some diatribe about post-structuralism, relativism, “art-for-art’s-sake,” how meaning cannot exist outside of language, “the medium is the message,” how there is no universal meaning, that all meaning is conditioned by culture and beliefs, etc. You will NOT be subjected to such monotonous intellectualism here; and if you happened to come here for that and are expecting/desiring that, may we politely suggest you’ve come to the wrong place.

That said, to suggest every artist knows precisely what they are doing and why would be making a grave error in judgment and a profound assumption about the nature of inspiration, the manifestation of high art, and the creation of art in general—especially the performing arts. How art happens is an immense topic impossible to discuss here, now. In this preamble we reveal one thing: how meaning happens.

Meaning simply is. It exists within all of us, whether we know it or not. As Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung explored to varying degrees of success, meaning exists as archetypes. Objective Truth (yes, with a capital “T”), is unconditioned and universal—beyond the reach of the influence, manipulation, alteration and degeneration of subjective experience and ego-mind. These archetypes are the foundation of our capacity to construct, express, receive, digest, experience and know meaning, including language. The archetypal fabric of our being influences, impregnates, advises, inspires, gives insights to, and embeds itself into all that is, all we are, and all we do. The universe as we know it is a 3D expression, projection, or crystallization of very subtle, higher dimensional, unexpressed essences. Forget about blueprints, archetypes are the unquantified and undrafted shapes, patterns and numbers with which the blueprints for the universal stage of reality are drafted as well as the settings, characters and stories played out on said stage are written. If reality is form and function, archetypes are the formless essences of form, and the functions at rest in a tranquil state of potentiality. Suddenly the attention paid by many to sacred geometry, numerology, symbols, colour, music, language, etc. begins to make sense; as does Joseph Campbell’s study of story and myth. They are, in their purest form, how the mind understands and works with archetypes. They are how we connect to and experience meaning existing in higher, subtler dimensions of being here, now, at our level of consciousness.

The objective Truth of archetypes finds its expressions on many levels in nature, philosophy, scripture, and of course the arts. The two primary levels of distinction are the exoteric—the visible, superficial, literal, materialist level—and the esoteric—the invisible, supernal, allegorical, essential level. There are of course many levels to esoteric meaning. This is why we call some artworks “shallow,” and others “deep.” As for exoteric meaning, because it is superficial, a veneer of sorts, it is incapable of having depth. So, to compensate and make things more interesting, it turns to complexity and/or chaos. In other words, our heart-response to high art is “whoa! This is deep, beautiful (in the sense of timeless beauty not attractiveness), miraculous; I am in awe, speechless, etcwhile our mental, emotional, physical reactions to everything else is “whoa! That was cool, awesome, scary, wicked, amazing, fascinating, intriguing, complicated, sophisticated, high-brow, pretentious…” the list goes on and on. If the complexity or chaos is not stimulating enough, it is judged “BO-RING! Snooze-Fest! Stupid, dumb, waste of time, et al.” Since all art—including high art—has an exoteric meaning, sometimes we express our love and admiration in the language of stimulus-response; but as we shall see (and as we discussed in our article Star Wars – The Substance Sleeps), we always also experience the esoteric meaning, even if we don’t know it consciously.

Do you see, dear reader, the implication of this? We can experience art on an esoteric level and not know it. We can be touched and moved on a deeper level by the universal archetypes in Star Wars and still get caught-up in the action, charmed by the characters, mesmerized by the settings, fascinated with the story, and blown away by the special effects. It must follow, then, that the same thing can happen during the experience of creating art. We can create art on an esoteric level and not know it! We can be inspired to do this or that and make it this or that way following our gut/heart most of the time, and still be getting caught up in our heads and the nuts and bolts of what we’re doing on the surface—completely unaware of what’s going on inside us and what’s coming through us and into our work—in front of our eyes yet just beneath the surface of our conscious awareness. An awareness which, again, is fascinated, absorbed and/or distracted by all the ‘bells and whistles’ on the surface.

There is no question that Gladiator has an exoteric meaning. It’s right on the movie poster: “The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an Emperor.” Simple enough, and a fairly straightforward revenge story to boot. Despite Commodus’s glib remark, there is nothing particularly striking about it on the surface. Did we not see as much in Spartcus? And certainly, in the process of dreaming up the story, David Franzoni was no doubt inspired by such films as Spartacus; influenced by countless other stories, films, histories, and legends.

Marcus Aurelius was an actual emperor of Rome—and a philosopher and warrior, just as portrayed in the film. Many of his books are still widely read, most notably his Meditations. Commodus too was a real Caesar. And here again, as portrayed in the film, Commodus was obsessed with the games of the gladiatorial arena. He is said to have even participated in hundreds of fights in the coliseum (rigged, of course). He did not die in the Coliseum, but according to some sources he was assassinated by a gladiator hired to kill him. Senator Gracchus was likewise a real person, but he is placed out of time in the history of the film compared to when he actually lived. In this respect, the film can be said to have taken numerous liberties with the actual historical characters.

Clearly then, Gladiator is a fiction. The real-life characters cherry-picked from history add substance to what is, after all, an epic historical drama. This is not a new device. One need only look at the historical dramas of Shakespeare to note how actual historical figures and events can serve as backdrop for otherwise completely fictitious characters, relationships, and their stories. Another modern-day example of this is James Cameron’s epic Titanic. No, no gunshots were ever fired on the deck of that doomed vessel; nor did anyone hang off its bow spooning a young Englishwoman shouting with teenage hormonal exuberance, “I’m the king of the world!” Suffice it to say, this bit of fluff was actually an expression of the childlike youthful exuberance in the filmmaker’s heart. While it’s somewhat hokey and sentimental execution became a quintessential part of the exoteric layer of Cameron’s epic—and the defining moment rippling in the wake of Titanic’s impact on the collective unconsciousness—it’s roots where neither historical nor intellectual. They were deeply and profoundly personal.

As an aside, not the sentimental Hollywood love-story, the obsessive compulsive attention to historical accuracy (artistic license notwithstanding), the cutting-edge computer animation and overwhelming scale of special effects, nor ever the exorbitant budget can account for Titanic’s critical and box office success. Being that this exploration is not about that film, allow us to suggest an alternate and ironic title to Titanic which would have and does encapsulate the esoteric essence—the timeless archetypes—which make the story of the sinking of said vessel such powerful symbol and compelling part of our history…Unsinkable Men.

We have seen dear reader, that that fictitious elements in historical dramas come from many sources. Yes, they are inspired by other films of a similar character, but Gladiator is no carbon copy of Spartacus. Obviously meaning emerges in layers as a mix of inspiration and intention from both inside and outside the artist(s) and/or collaborators: writers, producers, directors, actors, et al. The artists may or may not be fully conscious and aware of the deeper meaning they are connecting; but at the same time, if you read this unmasking with an open mind, you will see the coincidences add up to mathematical improbabilities. So much so you may end up wanting to give the filmmakers the benefit of doubt; you may choose to believe they must have known what they were doing, for how could anyone make such beauty and Truth by accident? Well, there are no accidents. Beauty, Truth, meaning longs to express itself, just as the consciousness longs to receive it…experience it…know it.

Is this not the case in nature? In life? Is the essence of beauty and Truth not at the core of every experience, if only we connect to it in the moment, moment by moment? It is why we use the word inspiration (meaning in-breath and in-spirit), not expiration (meaning out-breath and death). And that is not by accident. It is true for many writers that works coming from their head into the world seem to have a very near expiration date (a short lifespan). They do not inspire others, and so they expire quite quickly. Even blockbuster films which fascinate, titillate, horrify, etc. are quickly consumed and almost just as quickly forgotten.

The trend in television and in movies these days is continuing episodic storytelling through multiple seasons / sequels in which every potential resolution is merely an anti-climax and setup for the next season. Every plotline has been carefully arranged to conjure magic for ‘the mob,’ and keep them returning to the sands of the Coliseum. And we do…in droves…to be ravaged, “again, and again, and again.” With this striking story told, we are now prepared to enter the ring ourselves, kneel down, grab a handful of sand in our right hand, and reveal what stories lay hidden beneath the story; what Truths lay within the symbols.

The Hero & The Tree of Life

Maximus’s full name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Decimus comes from the same root as decimal, decalitre, etc. meaning ten. Meridius derives from meridian meaning middle. So now we have the greatest, ten, in the middle…and in reverse, in the middle of the ten greatest. Why in reverse? It is common for us to write surnames first in formal situations. But more importantly, the hero’s journey is a return. So Maximus says his name from beginning to end: the name he was born with, but his real name and true meaning reveals itself only later when he returns home and is reborn. Suffice it to say, being in the middle of the ten is also a direct and obvious reference to the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah.

For our purposes, we will be using the Gnostic Tree of Life, a map of the complete human being in microcosm and the universe in macrocosm. This version of Kabbalah may differ somewhat from those who study only Kabbalah. For instance, we doubt the typical depiction of The Tree of Life includes references to The Buddhic Body and The Atmic Body, both terms which come from Buddhism. Gnosis studies all religions, spiritual traditions, art, science, and philosophy. We are not saying the Tree of Life we will be using is superior; we are simply pointing out the potential differences ahead of time so that self-styled Kabbalists do not dismiss our findings carte-blanche. The differences, if any, will be minor at best. When we talk about symbolism of the 10 sephiroth of the Tree of Life, subtlety and nuance are key—if one approaches this exercise purely with the intellect, one may find oneself quickly mired-down in details. (For instance, we have omitted Klipoth for our analysis. Rest assured the dark shadows of the tree will be explored.) Remember, the devil is in the details, so don’t give the devil his due! Be relaxed, play. Try not to take any of this too seriously and you will enjoy yourself much more as Gladiator takes you to a whole new level of the hero’s journey.

If you wish to bone-up on the Tree of Life from the Gnostic tradition of Samael Aun Weor, here is a relatively short introduction to The Two Trees of Eden (Course). Gnosis is infused with Kabbalah, so many lectures found on will make than just passing reference to it. Let’s put it this way, what we’re about to attempt to do with Gladiator—show that it can be mapped onto the Tree of Life in multiple ways and levels—can be done with any and all religions, scriptures, spiritual traditions, mythologies, even Shakespeare, Opera, classic fairy tales, many nursery rhymes, and more. We will not be spending our life mapping thousands of these narratives as Joseph Campbell did. Besides, many more knowledgeable souls have done so. Why should we go and repeat the work others? No, our purpose is simply to show that universal themes and archetypes do exist, persist, and are in no way, shape or form limited to the narrow category of “religion.” Too often esotericists of the day spend altogether too much time dwelling on the past. Studying scripture is good! Deciphering ancient codices can yield tremendous treasures, but they were written many hundreds if not thousands of years ago for people who lived very different lives than we do.

Our interest in the here and now is to demonstrate to you, dear reader, that the living archetypes of universal Truth are alive and well, imbued and embedded in the popular culture of TODAY, filling our lives with beauty and Truth if only we relax, concentrate, quiet the mind, and open our minds and our mind’s eye. How we intend to go about revealing that deeper wisdom herein—our first attempt at an esoteric unveiling of a work of art—will, we hope, actually teach Gnostic Kabbalah simply by recounting the story of Gladiator from an esoteric perspective. Think of this as an esoteric commentary track / special featurette on the BluRay.

The Characters & The Tree of Life

We are proceeding under the assumption that anyone reading this has seen the film. There shouldn’t really be any spoilers, but esoterically speaking, SPOILER ALERT: the following cast list spills the beans on how each of the main characters relate to the Tree of Life. It should serve as a handy reference while reading through the remainder of the analysis. It is also a useful overview.

Commodus: The Ego, infecting the Four Bodies of Desire: Physical, Vital, Emotional and Mental Bodies (the 4 Pain Bodies) and is responsible for Rome’s False Self.

Lucilla: Sexuality, Yesod. Her name is related to Light, Lucifer (the Lightbringer). She represents lunar femininity (mechanical nature) under the influence of the ego.

Senators: The Mental Body, Hod. The Senate is “chosen from among the people, to speak for the people.” It has corrupt Senators (Falco, lunar mental body), and those who serve Rome (Gracchus, solar mental body).

The Mob (in the Coliseum): The Astral Body, The Mob is the lifeblood of Rome. He who controls them controls everything.

The People of Rome: Rome’s False Self The Four Bodies of Desire: Physical, Vital, Emotional and Mental Bodies (the 4 Pain Bodies).

Maximus: The Human Soul, The Causal Body, Tipereth, Willpower, Hanuman, etc.

Proximo: Divine Soul, free consciousness, The Buddhic Body, Geburah. The one who was a gladiator before Maximus, who one his freedom, and who teaches Maximus the secret to standing before the Emperor, as he did.

Marcus Aurelius: The Innermost, The Atmic Body.

Rome’s True Self: “The Monad,” the “Lower Trinity” Of the Innermost, Divine Soul & Human Soul. Divine Will, Free Consciousness & Willpower. This is what can “end the corruption” and make the Senate “fit to rule again.”

Maximus’s Wife: The Divine Mother/The Holy Spirit, Binah.

Maximus’s Son: The Second Logos, Chokmah, Christ (which is not a person, but a force in the universe).

Lucius: The Essence. The Christ existing as pure potentiality within us as a seed.

Intermezzo – práctico non fortissimo

We wanted to say “Intermission,” but gosh darn it, all this Roman and Latin is starting to get to us! (BTW, we KNOW that heading is a ridiculous excuse for Latin…it’s contemporary latinese: a little Italian, a little Spanish, a little French—the important part, NON! Say it fortissimo with a French accent, it’s hilarious!)

It sucks being a humanoid chameleon…you work on something for a while or hang around with certain people for a bit and before you know it you’re carrying yourself like they are, swearing like they do, adopting their accents, assimilating their customs, stealing their photo ID’s…oh…did I just type that out loud? I’ve said too much. I MUST STOP!

Seriously, you call yourself a spiritual seeker? An esotericist, mystic, Gnostic, whatever? Then STOP HERE, NOW! Don’t be a STORK! Err…dork.

If you’re at all familiar with Kabbalah, go back and contemplate the Tree of Life VISUAL AID above. Whenever we’re encountering new information (and esotericism in a Hollywood blockbuster OTHER than The Matrix might qualify), take a moment to slow down, take a break, and reflect on what you’ve just seen/read/heard. It’s a useful practice in our lives, too—to spend some time each day before we go to bed actually digesting the events of the day (not just consuming the guffaws and hee-haws of whichever late night talk show host you prefer). Allow yourself to relax, focus, and enter into a semi-sleepy state. DON’T THINK; but also DON’T FORCE YOURSELF to not think. Simply observe. Visualize what you’ve just experienced. See the images. The faces. Hear the words. If you read them once, just see them now and don’t read them aloud in your head. RELAX. Don’t try too hard. Don’t DO…BE. Allow whatever to enter into your mind. Don’t remember the movie all that well? Go and watch it again, in that same semi-sleepy state. Pay attention, but don’t go LOOKING for anything. Allow ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to come to you. Invite it.

Honestly give this a chance, and you may just reap some insights as a product of doing so…insights which came from within you, not from this blog. If you have honestly given this a shot and came up with nothing, no worries! Do not beat yourself up. I know a thing or two about beating myself up. It is a bad habit, not useful, and deserves closer scrutiny in meditation. Why do we do it? Why do we kick ourselves when we fail? What are we identified with? Why do we get down on ourselves when someone else can do something which doesn’t come as easily to us? The writer of this article had his first ‘experience’ at the age of 7, more or less, and was gifted with a set of esoteric circumstances which cannot be revealed here, but which expedited his development and acted as the catalyst for where he is today. The point is, we all have different paths to walk, and how we walk them, where they take us, are unique to us. We cannot all be everything to everybody, nor can we be like everybody else (nor should we be). Do not dwell on your difficulties or shortfalls in spiritual ability…rest assured mine are just as great! J

Clairvoyance comes in many flavours. Some see auras. Others, spirits. Still others have telepathy. There are those who communicate with animals. I can’t do any of these, BTW. No, archetypes seem to be more my thing. Simply by aligning with what lies beneath the surface of things, archetypes sort of just ‘do their thing.’ The essence of what makes stuff more than just “stuff” exists in the depths of art and indeed life. Whether it’s feeling deeper into the high-brow “deepness” of a phenomenon, or tepidly immersing oneself into the obsessions of ego-mind, armed with attention and patience, the darkness beneath the surface yields its great Light of wisdom.

It emerges, of course, from within ourselves, as feminine consciousness as the receptive force unites with masculine consciousness as the expressive force. Yes, there is much more to Tantra than what happens between a man and a woman beneath the covers in darkness…that, as you may have just realized, is just the exoteric level; a symbol for the far more critical actions being done beneath the covers of physical reality. BTW, we will deal with Tantra in greater depth in a future article, which has several working titles at present. The “teaser poster” below should give you a little hint.

Eyes on the prize…an alternative Kung Fu Panda poster by an unknown artist. Source:

Wow. And you thought Hollywood was bad stuffing their theatres with ads and previews before the movie…we just stuffed a promo into the INTERMISSION! Not even from the money-grubbing minds of Hollywood have we seen so foul and fair an enterprise as this! And the plagiarism! As if the writer just assumed no Scotsman will be reading this…they must all be off doing their Scottish Rights Masonry knees-bent running around temple blindfolded dancing dosey-do with the secret-handshakes thing; or getting shit-faced and ‘organizing’ a *ahem* spirited-if-spur-of-the-moment boxing ‘tournament’ down pub; or maybe doing voiceover work for the next computer-animated epic (or maybe no, seeing as Gerald Butler seems to have those gigs pretty tied up for himself right now). But I digress… *wink*

… [Just waiting for you, dear reader, to attempt/complete your practice]. Okay?

So, if you don’t feel you have the ability, time, energy, or inclination to go and re-watch the film, mediate on it, etc., and simply wish to have the symbols of Gladiator spelled out for you in detail, then by all means do so. Read on. You are welcome! A fair amount of time and care went into this, and we hope you can get as much out of it reading it as we did writing it! BTW, at this point you should be picturing that scene from Monty Python’s the Holy Grail…

No, not THAT one! What made you think we were talking about THAT ONE!? Sheesh, if you plan on doing this esoteric stuff, you had better start tapping more into your intuition, because after all, it is the Still Soft Voice we should be listening to, not that yammering, jabbering, knee-jerk reactionary messy mass of maleficence we call our mind. Mind you, many do bemoan not making the most of said mental machinations, maybe meaning to maximize what magnifies their manliness or maybe maternal magnificence, in a well-meaning yet majorly misguided mitigation of monstrosities which mostly misappropriate the mental body and muster mammoth malevolence making mainly melancholia but also motivating the masses to moon-like emotional manifestations, and moreover, promoting mania on masse which makes most of humanity mediocre, mesmerized, and miserable.

Now, the next nugget of neo-knowledge we need to know will help negate the noteworthy if somewhat nonsensical information now needling its way into our neo-cortex…

YES! Yes, that’s it! (“Nit!”). That’s the scene we were thinking about. Right. On with the show, then (“whooo!” *splud*)…

Actually, we were leading you on a bit. This examination is turning into less of a blog and more of a BOOK. Seriously. At present, you have trudged through roughly 4,500 words, and there are nearly another 5,000 already written. That’s close to 9,000 words and we are barely into the first few scenes. No, it is clear this undertaking will not be completed in the few days we initially thought. But that’s okay. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It was built brick by brick; as so it should be with all our esoteric efforts. So it shall be with this effort.

But fear not, intrepid reader! In short order there will be plenty of fresh words and insights for you to explore. Rest easy knowing we will meet again soon…

Juba: “Not yet…” Source:

Now We Are Free

Anol shalom Anol sheh lay konnud de ne um {shaddai} Flavum Nom de leesh Ham de nam um das La um de Flavne…We de ze zu bu We de sooo a ru Un va-a pesh a lay Un vi-I bee Un da la pech ni sa (Aaahh) Un di-I lay na day Un ma la pech a nay Mee di nu ku(Fast tempo, 4 times) La la da pa da le na da na Ve va da pa da le na la dumdaAnol shalom Anol sheh ley kon-nud de ne um. Flavum. Flavum. M-ai shondol-lee Flavu… {Live on…} Lof flesh lay Nof ne Nom de lis Ham de num um dass La um de Flavne… Flay Shom de nomm Ma-lun des Dwondi. Dwwoondi Alas sharum du koos Shaley koot-tum.Healing to me And freely to you from Sol Omnipotens Yellow Wings of Joy Warmth of Day, Sun of Dawn O Sun of Yellow,The Son of Righteousness, Son of Morning Light, Shine high and below! Shine Aeonion! Shine now, O Great I AM! (Aaahh) Shine now, O He Who Was! Shine now, O Great to Come! Now we are Free!(Fast tempo, 4 times) One the One now whom he was to be! And the One by whom we now do all seeHealing to me; Healing to you now freely from Sol: Yellow Yellow For all the world too Yellow Live on Rays below, Come now, Wings of Joy Warmth of Day, Sun of Dawn; The Sun of Yellow, Yellow, Flame by Day From Our Lord [Chrestos], [Chrestos], True Sun of Liberty Healing you free.

3 views0 comments


bottom of page