The Pistis Sophia is an ancient Gnostic text that contains many advanced spiritual teachings. The text provides a glimpse into the final stages of spiritual enlightenment, as well as secret dialogues between Jesus and his disciples following his resurrection.
In the fifth book of the Pistis Sophia, Jesus is with his disciples in a ritual setting and he recites the vowels “iaō” repeatedly. Each letter is then broken down and interpreted as representing the words Iōta, Alpha and Ōmega, and their connection to the cycles of creation in the universe.
And Jesus made invocation, turning himself towards the four corners of the world with his disciples, who were all clad in linen garments, and saying: “iaō iaō iaō.” This is its interpretation: iōta, because the universe hath gone forth; alpha, because it will turn itself back again; ōmega, because the completion of all the completeness will take place.
~ Pistis Sophia, translated by G.R.S. Mead1
Below is a recording of an example of how IAO can be sung as a mantra. Mantras are sacred sounds, words or phrases recited continuously as a form of prayer or meditation,2 and can also be used as part of spiritual ceremonies.
Please note, more practice excerpts will be added as and when we find them. While we recommend the practice in this excerpt, featuring a passage from a text does not mean we can vouch for the entire contents of a text.
Jenny Resnick, Jordan Resnick, and Justin Norris contributed writing and research to this article.
“A FIFTH BOOK.” Pistis Sophia: A Fifth Book: Chapter 136. Accessed February 20, 2018. http://sacred-texts.com/chr/ps/ps141.htm.
“Mantra – definition and Synonyms.” Mantra (noun) Definition and Synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary. Accessed April 07, 2018. https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/mantra.