Cloud of unknowing

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The Cloud of Unknowing was a book originally written in Middle English by an anonymous fourteenth-century mystic as a practical guide to contemplation.

The author writes that all concepts, images, and thoughts must be abandoned “beneath a cloud of forgetting” while a man must “reach out to pierce the darkness above”—the cloud of unknowing that lies “between you and your God.” He explains that the cloud must be entered because “by love He may be gotten and holden, but by thought of understanding, never.... Yes, beat upon that thick cloud of unknowing with the dart of your loving desire and do not cease come what may.”

The author also introduces the science of the sacred word or mantra, advocating the use of a one-syllable word, such as God or Love, in contemplation to “subdue all distractions.”

The cloud of knowing

The Ascended Master John the Beloved explains how the “cloud of unknowing” can become the “cloud of knowing”:

Think what can be done for the healing of planet earth [as] more and more come to understand the tremendous power of the group meditation in the Sacred Ritual for the Creation of the Cloud! This ritual, beloved, is surely a testimony in itself of the works of God in his sons and daughters. For when this ritual is followed as given, and the concentration and the love and the visualization and the tremendous desiring to bring about constructive world change are there, [change will come about and] it will be noted, it will be seen. It is almost, beloved, almost impossible to give a nine-day novena or longer in the ritual of the cloud and not to note physical, tangible results!

This method, beloved, of visualizing and intensifying the white fire, the Light of the I AM Presence, does result in the following for the individual who does give it for the benefit of others: the pulling down of the cloud that has been called “the cloud of unknowing.” But it is “the cloud of knowing”! For you do not worship the unknown God[1] but you worship the known Divine Monad, the I AM THAT I AM, the YOD HE VAU HE, even the Holy One of God!

And this Holy One is surrounded by the intensity and the immensity of the fiery cloud of the entire Causal Body of your lifestream. Thus, when you call down that Light [in order] to intensify it in this physical plane for physical alchemy, you are also drawing down your Mighty I AM Presence, your Causal Body of Light (known as the Dharmakaya), and you truly walk with God. And not only are you singing the song “I’ll Walk with God” but you are walking in the Presence of the I AM.

And this [cloud of knowing] does come to you and you feel it now and then. And it is Holiness unto the Lord! Holiness unto the Lord! Holiness unto the Lord! And you see why the ancient priests had [these words] inscribed upon their foreheads.[2]

Thus, Holiness unto the Lord! was the acknowledgment of the holiness of the I AM THAT I AM that should be the vestment and the clothing of the true priest of God. And aye, it is [the sign] of the true Order of Melchizedek. For those who would walk as priests and priestesses of the sacred fire must have as their goal walking in the Presence of the I AM.[3]


The Cloud of Unknowing and the Book of Privy Counseling, ed. William Johnston (Garden City, N.Y.: Image Books, 1973), pp. 9, 53, 54, 55.

Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness (New York: E. P. Dutton & Company, 1961), pp. 48, 348–49, 466.

Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Lost Teachings of Jesus: Missing Texts • Karma and Reincarnation

  1. Acts 17:22, 23.
  2. Exod. 28:36–38; 39:30, 31.
  3. John the Beloved, “The Great Mystery of the Christos,” Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 33, no. 24, June 24, 1990.