In the sanctuary of our heart, a kiss symbolizes devotion, true love, rebirth, a remembering and a spiritual union. As our lips open, we share our breath and we share our spirits. A kiss opens the heaven within us.
True lover’s kiss, happily ever after …
We often roll our eyes or shrug in doubt meeting these words. It’s understandable; we grow up, we see things fall apart and why would we even believe in such a divine thing, as love, after all?
I want you to remember.
I want you to remember how it all started and how a kiss is not just a kiss, but a union with something greater than us; and how through understanding the essence of the true lover’s kiss, we will integrate within and without, remembering who we truly are.
Andy Warhol, Kiss 1964
The first kiss is perhaps one of the most crucial parts of any story. It is perhaps even more powerful than the final surrender, because this kiss already holds within it that surrender.
A kiss holds spiritual, and even sacred, power indeed when it is with the right person; it can open the gates of personal transformation, it can awaken you to a higher consciousness and connect you to a deeper part of yourself, from this life and those past. A kiss can collide dimensions and run its strong energy throughout your entire body, as if you are having an out-of-body experience. At the same time – it can also cause pain, fear, emptiness and even a feeling of loss or disgust.
In today’s world people are either “far too opened” and desensitized to sensual kissing or they are closed-off, edgy and rigid, fearful of truly allowing another person in.
The main problem is that hearts are closed off, bodies are dense with unhealed emotions and people have lost the connection to their true selves. When we can’t connect to our own self – we won’t be able to connect to another through our heart center. Often kissing and sex are done without much feeling or true connection, and this ultimately robs people of truly experiencing real intimacy, on a spiritual, emotional and physical level.
The power of a sacred kiss is that is stays with us for a lifetime, and sometimes even after still. This is why when we meet someone from a past life connection with whom we’ve been truly intimate and in love with, even their mere presence beside us can provoke these energetic memories stirring up our deepest emotions. Depending on what the experience with that person was and how it ended, the feelings provoked, which are based on unconscious past life memories, will vary. One thing is for sure – our body always knows how we feel about someone and will show us through our feelings, so we must trust it. Souls recognize each other long before our minds may acknowledge it, but our body never lies. Once we’ve been entwined with someone on a spiritual level, this creates an energetic bond that can spill through lifetimes; it makes a transformative impact on our cellular being, awakening our core essence and connecting us to the breath of our soul, and higher consciousness itself. This is because our heart is the initiatory pathway for higher consciousness.
Francesco Hayez, The Kiss 1859
In tales, lore and myth, we come across the true love’s kiss. In Romeo and Juliet, the kiss is symbolic of their faith, devotion and loyalty as it is compared to their praying hands, “and palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.” It was almost a ritual, formal and symbolic, initiating their surrender to love. In The Sleeping Beauty, the kiss carries esoteric wisdom symbolizing the sacred union between the divine masculine and the divine feminine; the consciousness awakens after the true lover’s kiss.
True lover’s kiss may often symbolize the kiss of God to the human, the embrace of the soul with the divine, or the integration of self within between the masculine and the feminine. The eroticism implied by the kiss is often symbolizing the completion of the mystical experience and infusion of true love, within and without.
Esoterically, it also carries the idea of exchange of heart and soul through the sharing of breath. In these cases, the kiss is not just romantic; it has resurrecting power. The sacred union is complete and our faith in love through love is restored.
What is then known as happily ever after often times refers to the vitality, or mystical ecstasy, recognized within our soul and physical experience; the divine beauty and grace which are available for us to tap into through our heart connection; the union of spirit and body.
In poetic style similar to ancient mysticism, tales are just symbolic allegories built on the theme of the soul’s path towards self-discovery and unity. Fairy tales carry this deep symbolic language – one of the drumming of the human heart and imaginative theatre of the mind – as they reach the inside corners of our psyche, if we allow them, to make sense of what was maybe unknown and unseen, as we recognize parts of us outside of us. In a way, they serve as initiates to awaken our own wisdom, whether from this life or a past one.
Tales remind us of the important primordial wisdoms of life passed down to us from our ancestors – if only we have the eyes to see.
Like the Web of Wyrd, everything is interconnected and so it is no wonder that the symbology of the kiss has been portrayed throughout history and throughout cultures.
Many stories, fairy tales and myths are actually following a very basic archetype using esoteric symbology; they are old myths that are retold and recreated all the time throughout history and throughout cultures.
Specific stories actually work in our subconscious as a vehicle of remembering, of initiation and of awakening.
Often times, they awaken our psychic ability and retrace a shared path of humanity; we retrace information stored in our consciousness from past lives, which awakens us and connects us in a deeper way.
These stories access and engage with our subconscious causing us to connect to parts of us that are deeply ingrained in our soul. This is also why sometimes we read or watch something, and it just makes sense to us even if we don’t understand why; it is part of our consciousness perhaps from past lives – it runs as a stream in our being, woven in our soul.
We see the symbology of the kiss throughout mythology, religion and mystery schools.
To understand the symbolism of something, we must first understand its essence and put it into context asking, why is it happening and how is it happening?
Kiss as the embodiment of heavenly love.
Merging human love with divine and spiritual love was something that we see throughout history, including Sufism, mystery school, Greek mythology, Hinduism and Christian mysticism.
The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, 1647–1652
In Christian mystical texts, mystics often used the sentiments and experience of human sensual love to describe their experience of connection to God, as seen from the biblical Song of Songs and The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa.
There is talk of love, sensual delight, vitality, bliss, passion and ecstatic union with the beloved, such as God or Christ. Within the romantic love tradition itself some Christian writers also correlated human and divine experiences of love, as they did not see it as separate, but rather as inseparable in meaning under the Christian conception of love. All the while, they incorporated the importance of blessedness, grace and virtues such as loyalty, devotion, humility and faith, that are needed to attain the connection to higher consciousness.
True love, sacred love, dissolves all divisions within ourselves and merges two into one; it has the capacity to transform human to divine, while remaining as it is. The beloved through love becomes a window to the divine, while remaining true to self.
The kiss has often symbolized the kiss of God to the human, embracing the soul with the divine.
Divine Love is like the Eternal Virgin energy.
The Eternal Virgin isn’t someone who’s never had sexual relations, she is someone who is complete in herself and doesn’t need to be with anyone to know who she is. She is someone who interacts with external energies but doesn’t allow herself to ever be fundamentally changed, shifted, or transmuted by any forces that come from without. In other words, the eternal virgin energy remains true to herself and her essence within and does not allow anything or anyone other than her self to shift her. She always seeks the higher connection to God, or to higher consciousness, and she does this by way of service, surrender, humbleness, selflessness and compassion. And each time there is a transformational experience, instead of allowing herself to be changed from without, she renews herself from within completely, like a phoenix.
In other words:
Love stays true to its inner state, incapable of being swayed from without.
It’s a sense of being that we all strive to reach within ourselves, just think of all the times our inner peace and joy are disturbed by what happens outside of us, whether someone’s opinion or a life’s situation. This inner state is what people call “awakening”. For example, Buddhist teachings on love have nothing to do with ordinary relationships or receiving love from others; they are about cultivating the capacity to be able to love.
Let him kiss me with the kisses of the mouth, for your breasts are better than wine ~ Song of Songs 1:1
This opening verse from the Song of Songs and sensual imagery of kisses is often interpreted as an allegory for the marriage of Christ who was known as the bridesgroom with the bride, his Church, soul’s and heart’s faith. From the first line, “let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” the book is filled with intimacy and sensual imagery symbolizing encounters with the divine and a sacred union. And yet, it isn’t about pleasures of the flesh, but it is rather about the dissolution of self to be willing and giving to another, so that union happens. It is about building a bridge, and the spiritual delight that happens when we have fallen truly into trust and love – there is a selflessness that has taken place.
Edvard Munch, Kyss IV (The Kiss IV) 1897-1902
Merging human love with divine love can also be portrayed by The Sacred Heart, or the heart of Jesus Christ, as he was the embodiment of the heavenly love, of the divine; the merge between heaven and earth, kissed by the Holy Spirit to incarnate. Our heart is what connects human love and divine love, as the two co-exist.
Our heart is the initiatory pathway for higher consciousness.
When our heart is blocked, we are blocking our connection to the higher realms and stay within the lower realms, as it is the heart that sits at the core of our energy. We can experience divine presence in our immanent everyday experience of love, if we know how to connect deeper into our high heart and understand its symbolism and esoteric wisdom, which bears an almost sacred quality.
A kiss is symbolic of the divine grace infusing itself on the lovers making their lives sacramental. Through the openness of our heart and soul, we then dissolve our divisions and merge into one, and romantic love transforms into a window of divine grace and beauty through which light shines upon the sacrament of love.
To kiss – we open our mouths and share breath; we share life, we share our souls. This symbolizes humility and surrender, qualities which are essential to true love and reaching higher consciousness.
Talantbek Cherikov, Kiss in Paris
Some ancient mystics described eroticism as the antidote to death – as aliveness, vibrancy, vitality and ecstasy. Just like mysticism, eroticism was described as a transgressive force negating the “known” to break the boundaries of reality and take us outside of the limitations of life.
From that mystical eye’s perspective, prayer itself is the greatest opening of our heart and coming into vitality and aliveness. Using our purity of heart and openness of soul we build a bridge of love to connect to higher consciousness. Our entire body opens to experience the extraordinary beyond the explainable, to surrender into the blind faith and trust of the unknown and unseen. We let go of the mind’s rational explanations and reach out with trembling hands for a tender hope in the light of our blackness. We fall to our knees in our most humble moments; we fall deeper into trust.
Love also demands such a surrender and transcendence beyond the known. And just like prayer, love too is sacred.
The pressing of lips during kissing is another important symbolism. In sacred rituals and initiation ceremonies, people pressed their lips for a sip of wine and a bite of bread, vowing for the union of spirit (wine) and Christ’s body (bread). This is also why many people kiss the icons in churches – because it shows our humbleness and humility as human beings, and willingness to remain in openness.
Antonio Canova, Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss 1793
Eros and Psyche: Breathe life into the desire of your soul.
We can’t really talk about the kiss without considering one of the most famous sculptures of all time, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s by Italian artist Antonio Canova.
The Greek myth story of Eros and Psyche portray love through the merging of our soul and our desire. Eros meaning desire and the God of sexual pleasure, and Psyche meaning breath of our soul come together and through their love merging, we remember to breathe life into the desire of our soul.
Yet it doesn’t come without sacrifice, hardship and redemption. A transcendence with grace, as well as deep falling into trust and into our heart’s center is needed to achieve a sacred love.
The word psyche in the world of psychology has two meanings. One refers to our capacity of experiencing the imaginary world as well as our physical one, and the other meaning refers to the entire realm of experience, both conscious and unconscious. In the first case, psyche is identified with the soul, and the second – psyche is the world of the soul. In both Christian mysticism and Greek mythology, the soul is awakened to spiritual passion. What’s central to these stories though is the symbology of wounding and the need to heal it first within. As our heart is the initiatory pathway to higher consciousness, whatever blocks our heart such as unresolved wounds, fears, trauma and emotional pain – ultimately becomes our block, that we need to dissolve before being able to step into openness through spiritual passion.
The marriage between the human soul and the divine lover represents a creative union of self with the divine. Sacred marriage is only achieved through the self-return to wholeness. Once we can integrate all aspects of ourselves, we will no longer be in separation from self, and only then we can experience a true union with another.
Erich Neumann suggests that Psyche cannot truly love Eros in the dark. As Psyche, she requires vision; this vision is the third eye vision of inner truth, of higher truth, of both suffering and real love, of true acceptance and wholeness.
Gustav Wertheimer, Kiss of The Siren 1882
In the Zohar, the meaning of the imagery of the kiss is an expression of the dynamic union between the upper and the lower worlds. The metaphor of the kiss allows the Zoharic scriptures to embrace several Kabbalistic concepts of love, presenting love as a universal power and a spiritual union between the divine feminine and divine masculine energy.
Beyond the classical interpretation of the Song of Songs’ opening kiss as the relationship between the Church, or the individual soul and Christ, some believe that the kiss was representing Christ himself as the embodiment of heavenly love, as well as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the life of the soul.
When lovers kiss, they breathe their spirits into one another.
Merging of breath and spirit.
When we kiss, we open our mouths and merge our breaths like our souls; the spirits from our mouths meet, mingle and unite, and we devote to being one love. This displays the union and the oneness, based upon which are many schools of mysticism and religion. The true union with eros desire can only be achieved through the soul.
and when i breathe you in, i know you know ~ The God-like Things, Lubomira Kourteva
Breath is powerful; it is how we are alive. It is a common belief that we breathe with our lungs but breathing is done by our whole body. In The Voice of The Body Alexander Lowen explains how the lungs actually play a more passive role in the respiratory process, as proper breathing involves the muscles of our head, neck, thorax and abdomen. The depth of breathing waves varies with emotional states; breathing is shallow when we are stressed and it is deepened through pleasure, sleep and relaxation. With each breath, a wave can be seen to ascend and descend through the entire body. The respiratory waves begins deep in the abdomen with a backward movement of the pelvis, which then allows the belly to expand outward. The wave then moves upward as the rest of the body expands, and eventually our mouth opens. The expiratory wave begins in the upper part of the body and moves downward, the chest collapses and the pelvis moves forward, which creates a pleasurable sensation. In adults, this sensation has a sexual quality even though it doesn’t induce genital sensations. Throughout the entire body, breathing is experienced as fluidity and lightness.
The breath is also the spirit or the soul. In all mystical philosophies, it is the breath that holds the secret to high bliss, which is also why it is the dominant factor of Yoga.
Gustav Wertheimer, Kiss of The Siren 1882
Inhalation of air is the base substance for the spirit of life. In a kiss, lovers inhale together the air of their beloved; they inhale each other’s spirit of life. When we inhale air, particles of breath enter our nostrils together with the inhaled air and they also reach our brain, and the lungs in the breast, and from the lungs to our heart, and with that pulsing to all parts of our body merging with our blood and flesh.
As we already discussed, every part of our body rejoices in breathing and through we kiss, it attaches with another body like a memory. This also raises the temperatures of the bodies and our soul follows this temperature.
The passion and love that have risen between the lovers grow and increase with time. The intertwining of their spirits of life through kissing influences their souls, their paths and harmonizes them.
Each spirit in contained in the other and nurtures their love; breaths unite into wholeness and holiness.
Soul meets soul on the lips.
And just like in Psyche’s revival by Eros’ kiss, our own would is revived and rebirthed by our heart’s desire, by a kiss, by life moving through our entire body.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved’s mine ~ Song of Songs 6:3
The concept of being contained in each other, by which the union becomes a dynamic union, is a central theme to Kabbalists. In this way, the realms of oppositions can be bridged without being destroyed. The two lover souls penetrate one another while keeping their uniqueness, through which the union is intensified wholebodily.
A kiss was also an initiation process, to love. The reincarnated soul or true self comes through the warmth of blood to rise and meet the light of day, or sense of awareness. In time, it awakens the human heart as its initiatory pathway to higher consciousness, of truth and love.
We are all miracles born of love. All human life is sacred and we were all breathed our souls into human life, into being. It takes so much to reincarnate and to have that chance of experiencing ourselves in a human body; all of our cells and parts came together for a mutual decision and said yes to life, yes to us, so that we have the hands with which to hold, the lips with which to kiss and speak love, the noses to smell a fresh apple and the eyes to see the sparkles in our loved ones’ eyes when they laugh. Isn’t that magic? Isn’t that worthy of a great love story; one that we are already living every day?
Hold the frequency of heaven on earth within you.
We all have that divine love path inside of us; its roads are unique to us but it is heaven on earth nonetheless. All we need to do is remember this immovable truth and then start walking it.
Marc Fishman, Tristan and Isolde
What “happily ever after” really means.
Happily ever after offers insight into how divided, or not, we are within ourselves, and how we need to reconcile with, within, and of, ourselves. Exactly for this reason, the symbology of this phrase, and the true lover’s kiss, are useful tools for spiritual development because they point to us where is our possibility for wholeness.
One thing that I often come across is the popular idea that passion and stability in love are mutually exclusive; we can have one or the other but we can’t have both. I don’t believe that at all. Those who encourage the illusory split between the two usually associate stability with boring, and passion with drama, which isn’t true and requires a shift of perception. It is true that intimacy demands closeness and a sense of stability while desire demands a certain kind of distance, mystery and unknowingness; so there will always be a dance, a push and pull and a contradiction between wanting to be close to someone yet needing some space to reignite desire. But we are in a constant state of reimagining and reinventing ourselves, and there are ways to approach life, and one another, in new creative ways if we mutually decide to. The notion that we must choose one or the other is absurd to me. Things will inevitably change, love too will change and take on a different shape as the years go by, but it doesn’t mean that it can no longer be happy, sensual or fulfilling. Without stability, we can’t hold the space to build something long-lasting and truly intimate, which then allows us to unfold in our true essence, beingness and creative self-expression. Passion comes from within; it isn’t about drama, it isn’t about instability, it isn’t about a person; it is about the way we see, perceive and experience any side of life in our aliveness, curiosity and vitality.
When we roll our eyes at the true lover’s kiss or the happily ever after – we essentially rob ourselves of the inner wisdom, passion and power that we hold – which is the power of our conscious heart.
Happiness is a right because it is our human right to be joyful; it is our most natural state of being; it is the essence of our soul. Yet happiness is also often times a choice; one that we must consciously make. And the truth is – that passion, aliveness and vitality first comes from within.
Gratitude is also crucial to the enjoyment of the presence of love and divine beauty of our everyday experiences of life. This opens our heart further. Our capacity to see the beauty in our physical experience and the divinity in another person makes us more appreciative of the little things we do for one another and within our ordinary gestures.
The happily ever after holds an important wisdom. To get to it, the characters from the stories often went through many challenges and hurdles, some of them made it to the happy end while others didn’t. For those who made it – it was because of their openness and willigness to transform and reintegrate within themselves as the pressures of life came upon them; they carried that passion, faith, trust, belief and vitality within themselves no matter how many times they fell on the ground.
And so we too, learn to engage with life rather than walk away or get lost in divisions and illusions. It is easy to hear and judge their “happily every after” but they fought their own dragons to get to it, and through their powerlessness they came closer to intimacy, with their soul and with their heart.
They understood a universal truth: The only way out is in, in the heart.
Heaven is within us.
And when we truly understand that love is all there is – illusions and fear will be gone.
Through the true lover’s kiss, you are the embodiment of heaven on earth and so it be.
The happily ever after is not full of roses in the sky – it is hard earned. Perhaps for some people, that phrase really is about escapism. But I believe that its true meaning is one of esoteric wisdom carried within its essence; one that we need to remember.
It symbolizes a union within. It symbolizes our vitality, our aliveness, our passion, our eroticism; that we have finally negated the boundaries of our minds, stripped of our layers of meaninglessness, and have opened our mouths for a deep breath and merging of spirit of life.
It symbolizes the little things of love we do for one another every day; and our choice to love, and trust, and then love again, and again, taking pleasure in what truly matters.
Our happily ever after is found when love opens our eyes and awakens us to life; when we can appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary mundane gestures of life.
And we finally begin our beingness.
And we finally breathe life into the desires of our soul.
And we fall deeper into trust; and we fall deeper into love.
This is an initiation of the heart.
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Cover Art by Leonid Afremov.