4. The Kabbalistic Symbology of Opus Dei

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If Escriva was of Jewish stock, his signs and symbols had to be, as a graphic and interpretative representation of his subconscious, in accordance with his condition. The Opus, his Work, his Pompa, his instrument, his great deception, had to be chiselled with emblems and allegories related to the Hebrew Kabbalah. It was on this assumption that we began our investigations, and the results have been surprising.

The official biographer and laudatory of the figure of Escrivá put us on the track when he wrote that "word spread around Madrid that his oratory was full of Kabbalistic signs..." (93) The elliptical oratory in the house on Diego de León Street was also mentioned. Fr.  Severino Alvarez, a Dominican, Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Angelicum in Rome, told us as early as 1950 that complaints against Opus Dei had also been received at the Holy Office in Rome, in which, among other things, reference was made to the heterodoxy of Opus Dei, indicating the elliptical form of the oratory and the external signs, the unconventional manifestations used, so the Master General of the Dominicans, taking advantage of the fact that Father Severino had made a trip to Spain at that time, asked him to visit and inform him of what he saw in the oratory in question.

The signs, the glimpses, the comments on the cryptography used began. It was at the end of 1939 that Opus Dei had opened an oratory attached to the residence on Jenner Street, in Madrid, around which, from those early days, alarm and disconcert began to be felt by the believers who began to circulate by word of mouth that the chapel "was adorned with Kabbalistic and Masonic signs and it is said that thanks to wise plays of light Escrivá de Balaguer was simulating levitation phenomena. (94)

In addition, the Society for Intellectual Cooperation -SOCOIN-, an initiative linked to the Work, was pointed out as a Masonic derivation of an international Jewish organization. At the time when these events were taking place - at the dawn of the foundation of Opus Dei - a professor of international law claimed that he had found in a Hebrew dictionary the true meaning of the acronym SOCOIN, which corresponded to the name of a Hebrew sect of murderers. (95)

In 1940 the Special Court for the Repression of Freemasonry and Communism, which had among other missions that of protecting the security of the State, opened an informative file against José María Escrivá de Balaguer, accusing him of "hiding a Jewish branch of Freemasonry under the name of Opus Dei. (96) Such a serious and unusual accusation must have some basis, be supported, have reasons and arguments, which we will try to clarify.

The first symbol that calls our attention is the adoption of the rose as an emblematic figure, as a differentiating and identifying symbol, which is assumed and attributed to Opus Dei. In this context we cannot forget that the rose is not a whim or something casual, but that it reveals a profound coherence, since according to the Zohar the rose designates "The Community of Israel" (see Zoar, I 1a). Perhaps Father Escrivá wanted to warn a few initiates with this legend not to forget their roots... and their obligations.

Ediciones Rialp, the publishing house owned by Opus Dei, where the official books and texts of the Work are published, the vehicle for disseminating the most apologetic and exultant bibliography of Opus Dei, has as its publishing anagram the image and design of a rose. These are the identifying marks of its bibliographical work. It is the brand image. It is the sign of the rose...

The origin for the introduction of the Kabbalistic sign of the rose goes back to the years of the Spanish War period, when Escrivá, who had been in the "red zone" without too much trouble having the prior information about the outcome of the conflict with the victory of the national forces loyal to Franco, went from a conflict zone across the Pyrenees to the French border, where the group took refuge in the middle of winter in a hut for the night. In the morning, when they were about to resume their march, Escrivá was asked to officiate a mass, which he inexplicably refused, leaving the mountain refuge alone and walking until he was lost in the snow and ice of the mountains, returning shortly thereafter to the point of departure in jubilation, Euphoric, according to eyewitnesses, with his face illuminated and a wooden rose in his hands which he said "had been given to him by Our Lady, who had just appeared to him" (97) in all the apparitions officially recognized by the Catholic Church, there is proof. Of the apparition that Escrivá spread, none, despite his live testimony, which as it were a crude lie, insisted subsequently, nor has such an apparition ever been recognized by the Church.

After that situation he would invent a whole legend. He said that the rose was half buried in the snow and for him "was the clear sign that another era in the life of Opus Dei was approaching and that the period of the plants covered with snow would soon be over," (98) in a clear metaphorical allusion to his secular cirptojudaism, with two obvious interpretations, the rose and its meaning and its hiding place and coming to the surface.

The symbol of the rose is a very important part of the Hebrew Kabbalistic tradition. (99) Already in the psalms and in the Jewish prophetic poems, the red rose and the white rose personify the punished and purified bodies of Israel. But in the Kabbalah it goes even further on the path of meanings. The Tree, sephirotic, divided into three vertical columns, has the central one precisely under the invocation of the rose, which in this way restores and balances the rigorous and severe part of creation -left- with its clement and merciful side -right-.

The rose is not only printed in all the publications that come out of Opus Dei's publishing house, Rialp, which curiously bears the name of the village where, supposedly in 1937, in his hermitage and on his own, without any inconvenient witnesses, our Lady appeared to him, and which since then has become the true symbol for Opus Dei. Nor could he be missing everywhere in Torreciudad, the sumptuous temple built with the obelisk of financial scandals. In Torreciudad we find sculpted roses in the chapel, in the chapel, inside and outside the temple, in many buildings of the architectural complex, everywhere, so that we do not forget that we are in a place with a Kabbalistic message.

It seems that also when they kiss the ground, in that love of the material, they mumble the Templar motto "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomine tuo da gloriam" (100). For the Temple, the rose and the thorn were a symbol of capital importance.

Apart from the rose and its clear Kabbalistic message, another sign dear to the founder of Opus Dei was the graphic representation of palmipeds, the hermetic sign of the goose, the goose's foot. There are drawings of ducks made by Escrivá's hand on glass, wood, porcelain, and paper. In an exercise house in Molino Viejo, in the province of Segovia, a duck attributed to the founder himself is painted on a wall. The obsession with the graffiti of the geese has another face and a sibylline Kabbalistic aspect, of an enigmatic and deep meaning.

Another of the most striking peculiarities is the removal of the image of Christ from the crucifixes. Neither does the typical INRI of the cross appear, nor the black sash with the mors mortem superavit. (101)
For Opus Dei, according to its founder's design, the crucifix is the cross without a body, so they reverence and adore not the figure of Christ, but they praise the scaffold, its last scaffold, they venerate the instrument of torture and torment.

The members of Opus Dei carry, in their pockets, crosses without the body of Christ. Of the crucified Son of God, the Work accepts and recognizes as its own only an empty wooden cross. The camouflaged reasons given by Escrivá are that the naked bodies of Jesus Christ are usually badly made and repugnant. The crucifix is the symbol of faith. The wood, the Calvary where the Jews exercised their deicide.

It is a custom and compulsory rule that in every center or house of Opus Dei "there is a black cross without Christ, which will be decorated twice a year. (102) These heterodox practices have been censured as well as their secrecy, as their thumb is placed on their lips.

If to the bare cross we add the rose we have the rose-cross. Kabbalistic alchemy could not be more explicit and perfect.

Continuing in the search for and discovery of Kabbalistic elements, numerology has been a traditional science which draws its inspiration from the Hebrew Kabbalah and whose representation could not be lacking in Opus Dei. The book of Escrivá, The Way, has exactly 999 maxims or points, whose number has not been changed in any re-edition, and which, inverted, becomes the apocalyptic 666, the number of the "Beast", which places us in the eschatological character of the Work. Its historical mission seems to be clearly stated, as Judaism is a major factor in every apocalyptic age. As the Apocalypse tells us, the name of the Beast is written in figures whose value is 666.

Undoubtedly the number is not mere chance. (103) Dante made extensive use of the number 9 and other multiples of 3 in the Divine Comedy. In dimensions of life (maximum 279), three times three, 999, 666...

The number 9 has an esoteric importance of the first magnitude insofar as it represents the sign of the ninth Kabbalistic sephirah, and as Professor Gershom Scholem of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explains, to know the meaning of the profound reasons of the numbers as cosmic magnitudes - it was, for the Kabbalists and for those who followed the universal essence of their theosophy - "a system of thought that proposes to know and describe the operations of the Divinity". (104) For the Kabbalah, the uninterrupted constant of the number 9-yesod, foundation-is fully justified in the Opus as a building block. Three times three makes nine, and three times nine makes 999, which must be reversed, turned around, so that we see the enigmatic and significant bestial name reflected.

Other signs used by Opus Dei in its manifestations are the olive tree and the tree; according to the explanations given in the Haggadah in the Talmud, Israel resembles the olive tree because the oil extracted from it is not mixed with the other liquids, and thus Israel retains its individuality; because the supernatant oil, which the Jews say - it is written in the law "God will place you above all nations" (Deuteronomy XXVI, 19) and because the olive tree needs to be crushed to produce and thus Israel will benefit from the misfortunes and persecutions, some feigned and others provoked. (105)

As a trademark they have also used in large holdings close to Opus Dei, such is the case of Rumasa, another Kabbalistic symbol; the bee enclosed in an exagon, which is the graphic representation of the Hebrew "Deborah" with all its intrinsic connotations.

Finally, it should be noted that among the members of Opus Dei there are, as in Jewish Freemasonry, certain words of passage and recognition. They are greeted with the word "Pax" and the answer is "In aeternum". These are words of identification and filiation, interior slang used to emphasize their membership, a kind of slogan or saint and particular sign. They use Latin in the words chosen as pass or sacred words to use among themselves and not with the other supposed brothers, the Christians.

Another exorcism that is detected is that of sprinkling the bed with a few drops of blessed water before going to bed, whipping oneself, wearing sackcloths or sleeping on the floor once a week as a sign of penance and to come closer in the distance and in the place where they find themselves to the symbolic Hebrew wall of lamentation.


93. Bernal, p 246.
94. Ricci, Marina, "Opus Dei," 30 Day Magazine, No. 5 (May 1990), p. 16.
95. Ibid, p. 17.
96. Ibid, p. 17.
97. Magaña, p 1576.
98. Ynfante, "The Prodigious Adventure of Opus Dei," p. 19.
99. García, Atienza, Juan "La Kabala, Mundo desconocido" magazine, No. 31 (January 1979).
100. Cristobal, Ramiro, "The Templars, an Antecedent of Opus Dei," in Historia, No. 6 (September 1975), p. 62.
101 .Ynfante, Jesus, "The Silence of the Termites," p. 15.
102. Le Vaillant, p 213.
103. Ynfante, "The Prodigious Adventure of Opus Dei," p 386.
104. García Atienza, p 45.
105. Wast, Oro, p 160.

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