Generation 7 and the Divine Light of God
Ohr (Light) is one of the central concepts of Kabbalah, used as way of describing God’s divine emanations, and it’s one of the two main metaphors for understanding divinity, alongside the metaphor of the human soul-body relationship depicted by the Sephirot of the Tree of Life.
Light can become veiled as it descends the chain of worlds of the Tree of Life, or it can be reflected as it ascends. Like white light divides into 7 colors, and that plurality unites from one source, Divine Light divides into the 7 emotional Sephirot, yet there is no plurality in the Divine Essence.
It’s important to note that the concept of plurality, emanations and Divine Light only applies to the point of view of the Creation, because to God, the Source, everything is as it has always been, it remains united and not plural.
The Creation sees the 10 Sephirot (divine emanations or attributes) as a revelation of the unknowable Godhead and a channeling of the creative life-force to all levels of existence. However, these do not represent the Divine Essence itself, the original Luminary, but rather they are manifestations of God, “forms of light”.
Besides the 10 lights contained in the Sephirot, Kabbalah describes another primordial light that shines from the Ein Sof (Infinite) itself. This light, the origin of all Creation, when combined with the other 10 lower lights, forms the “Ohr Ein Sof” (The Infinite Light), which can be understood as a Divine self-knowledge of everything before the Creation came to be.
Since the Ohr Ein Sof is infinite, it cannot be the source of Creation itself. Rather, this is produced by a progressive restriction, or veiling, of the Light as it descends through the chain of the worlds and passes each Sephirot. These restrictions are called “Tzimtzum” (Constrictions).
Isaac Luria later introduced the concept of a First Tzimtzum, where the Divine withdraws itself at the beginning of Creation, resulting in a Vacated Space where Creation is allowed to take place. Once again, this concealment is only seen from the side of Creation itself and only applies to God’s Light.
This idea leads to the creation of yet another concept, the Kav (Ray), which is a diminished second light that shines into the Vacated Space, and is adapted to the perspective of the subsequent creations on their own terms (this is explained as the light adapting to each Sephirot, which are the vessels receiving the light). While this light is related to finite creation (Divine Immanence), the Primordial Light is connected to the infinite (Divine Transcendence).
The purpose of Creation and the concealment of the Light is then something done for the sake of the physical realm, where the Divine Will shall have a dwelling place in the World, made by man, something that is to be achieved in the Messianic Age.
By now, it should be obvious that Necrozma and Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are connected to these concepts involving Divine Light. Now the question is how all of this affects Necrozma’s story and the future of the series, which we will be discussing in the following parts.
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The Fall of Necrozma and the Lost Light of Sophia
As we can see when looking at the Universal Tree of Life of the series, Generation 7 is placed in the Sephirah of Chokhmah, which can mean Wisdom.
This Wisdom is connected to the philosophical concept of Sophiology, as well as the theological concept of the Wisdom of God.
That said, Sophia (Greek for Wisdom) is a central term in various philosophical and religious belief systems, along with Gnosis (Greek for Knowledge), and is seen by them from multiple perspectives. Some see Sophia as a deity, others as the Bride of Christ, others as a feminine aspect of God, and others as the wisdom of God. It does play a major role in Gnostic Christianity though.
In Gnostic texts, Sophia is the lowest Aeon, or an anthropic expression of the emanation of the Light of God. She is considered to have fallen from grace in some way, and in doing so created or helped create the material world.
In the Gnostic mythos the universe begins with an original, unknowable God, that spontaneously emanates further Aeons, pairs of progressively ‘lesser’ beings in sequence. Together with God, they form the Pleroma, or fullness, of God, being therefore symbolic abstractions of the divine nature. The transition from the immaterial to the material is then brought about by a flaw, passion, or sin, in one of the Aeons.
The one that usually brings about this instability in the Pleroma is often Sophia, in turn bringing about the creation of materiality. Some say that it happens as a result of Sophia trying to emanate without her syzygy, or because she tries to breach the barrier between herself and the unknowable God. This cataclysmic fall from the Pleroma, causes Sophia to lose her ‘life’ and Light of God, and the resulting fear and anguish cause confusion inside her and a longing to return to the Pleroma. Because of this longing, matter and soul come into existence. The Demiurge, the Son of Chaos, is another mistake resulting from this exile, which proceeds to create the physical world in which we live, while ignoring Sophia, who still manages to infuse some spiritual spark (Pneuma) into his creation.
In one Gnostic text in particular, called Pistis Sophia, the resurrected Jesus teaches his disciples about the lower and higher mysteries, which are related to the knowledge necessary for the soul to reach the highest divine realms. Moreover, it also outlines the myth of the fall and restoration of the figure known as Pistis Sophia. Pistis means faith, so it has been suggested to mean “Faith of/in Wisdom” or “Wisdom in Faith”, but since in Gnosticism Sophia is the divine syzygy of Christ the context seems to suggest the “Faith of Sophia” as the correct interpretation.
In the text, Pistis Sophia dwells in the 13th aeon, but is tricked into leaving her aeon and descending into Chaos, which results in her light power being stolen and not being allowed to return to her place until Jesus ascends through the aeons. During this time, she recites many repentances and prayers, while being repeatedly persecuted by wicked archontic beings (followers of the Demiurge), before eventually being allowed to wait just outside of the 13th aeon for restoration. Here she’s not a divine being, but a being of the material aeons, and her restoration only goes as far as the 13th aeon, so the story is meant to suggest that whoever receives the mysteries of this group can surpass Pistis Sophia and reach the divine realms of light.
Overall, for the Gnostics, the drama of the redemption of the Sophia through the Christ, or Logos, who brings her the Gnosis she needs to once again see the light and return to spirit, is the central drama of the universe, and implies that Sophia resides in all of us as the Divine Spark that allows us to be rescued from the physical world and return to the spiritual world.
This story of Sophia’s fall is also pretty similar to the story of Samael/Lucifer/Satan, in which that archangel, for one of various possible reasons, falls from grace to Earth and becomes its master, bringing with it several fallen angels, much like Sophia causes the fall of several souls in some stories. The light Alchemy seeks to restore via the Great Work also seems to be this same light, explaining its ultimate objective of containing divine light inside of a body.
Now that you have read this part, I think it should be pretty obvious that Necrozma symbolizes Sophia, and the plot of Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon will revolve around restoring its lost light, giving rise to the “Light Necrozma Forme” that we have only seen the enlightened silhouette of so far. Moreover, the Ultra Beasts that Necrozma drags out of their home worlds when it starts opening Ultra Wormholes over Alola should also be a pretty obvious reference to the fallen angels/souls described above that must be returned home during the game, and could also possibly reference the Archons that Sophia faces if Necrozma ends up having to duke it out with the Ultra Beasts. The fact that you can only visit their home worlds after Necrozma has been separated from Solgaleo or Lunala also supports the idea that you must first return them to their homes. Considering all of this, it might be that Necrozma had some sort of role, directly or indirectly, in the creation of the Pokémon universe/cosmos, or at least the physical and materialistic side of it that we usually interact with.
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Necrozma, the Ultra Beasts, and the Two Sides of Knowledge
The Tree of Life contains a “hidden Sephirah” known as Da’at (Knowledge), which is in fact more of a mystical state where all 10 Sephirot are united as one. It’s at this point that humans who become self-giving, or altruistic, like the Light, become able to see it from our perspective in Malkuth (Kingdom), while those who remain selfish cannot see it, and so its benefits seem “hidden” to them.
This point of Da’at is also seen as the third and last conscious power of intellect, especially in the context of the lower Da’at. It is associated with the powers or memory and concentration, which rely upon one’s “recognition” of, and “sensivity” to, the potential meaningfulness of the ideas generated in consciousness through the powers of Chokhmah (Wisdom) and Binah (Understanding).
However, Da’at actually operates on two levels. The higher level is referred to as Da’at Elyon (Higher Knowledge) or Da’at Hane’elam (The Hidden Knowledge), which serves to secure the continuous bond between the two higher powers of intellect, wisdom and understanding. This makes it Da’at within Kether (Crown). The lower level is referred to as Da’at Tachton (Lower Knowledge) or Da’at Hamitpashet (Extending Knowledge), which serves to connect the intellect as a whole with the realm of emotion, thereby enhancing one’s determination and resolve to act in accordance with the essential truths that one has integrated into consciousness. This aspect is Da’at as the third power of the intellect. While the first is encompassing and refers to the Divine view from Above, the second is internalized within the person and relates to the Created view from Below.
This duality of Da’at seems to be divided into two individual Trees of Life within the structure of the series, with Da’at Elyon occupying point 12 near Kether and Da’at Tachton taking point 1 near Malkuth. This helps us to understand the duality of Necrozma too, since he has a dark, fallen side in Da’at Tachton, and a light, restored side in Da’at Elyon. Moreover, since the 10 known Ultra Beasts all feature the ability Beast Boost, and are associated with more instinctual and emotional states of being, they seem to fill the Da’at Tachton Tree of Life together with fallen Necrozma, representing the “shadow side” of the 10 Sephiroth. Conversely, it seems likely that maybe the next generation will introduce another 8 Pokémon that will somehow fill the remainder of the Da’at Elyon Tree of Life together with restored Necrozma and its other two forms. These likely will represent some sort of positive aspect, probably related to things necessary to, or expected of, obtaining an enlightened or ascended state of being. There are various possibilities for this, such as the Catholic Seven Archangels, or the Buddhist Seven Factors of Enlightenment, just to name a few.
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Generation 8 and the Coming of the Messiah
Taking into account what we have studied above, it now seems somewhat likely and expected that the next generation of Pokémon games will feature the coming of the Messiah of the Pokémon world.
Like we saw, the restoration of Sophia’s Light is accompanied by the descent of the Logos to Earth, to impart Gnosis on her and everyone else. This knowledge is the knowledge of how you can attain salvation, or enlightenment, via sacrifice and the practice of acts of love and kindness towards yourself and others.
Since it’s regularly specified that Jesus is born of human parents, it’s also likely that this character won’t be a Pokémon, but actually a human character that the protagonist will be able to interact with during the game’s story. It also doesn’t need to be a reference to Jesus specifically, for there have existed various enlightened figures throughout history, who pass along the same message of loving-kindness, such as the Buddha, Krishna, or Lao Tzu.
Curiously, the now often dismissed Pokémon Plus & Minus rumor, happens to feature a character description that fits this archetype quite well, and as we shall see next, it might not be the only thing that is believable about it…
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Generation 8 and the Noble Eightfold Path
I know what you are thinking… “Why the heck are you trying to revive a super old rumor, and what does all of this stuff you have talked about could possibly have anything to do with Buddhism?” Well, let’s reanalyze what we currently know and put it into perspective, shall we?
First of all, we know that Yungoos is a Pokémon that was imported from another region to deal with Alola’s Rattata infestation problem.
Its real world counterpart is the mongoose, more specifically the Small Asian Mongoose, which just so happens to have been introduced to Hawaii by the British in the 1800s to control the expanding rat population, therefore preventing it from destroying the extremely profitable sugar cane plantations they had there.
These small animals can originally be found in the wild in the scrublands and forests of South and Southeast Asia. So that means that the region Yungoos was imported from has to be Pokémon’s version of some area that is part of South or Southeast Asia in the real world.
Where did the rumor state Pokémon Plus & Minus were set? In a region that is based on Southeast Asia…
Second, we know that Ryuki is a Pokémon Trainer that is also a Rock Star, whose name comes from the Black Nightshade, a.k.a. Solanum Nigrum, a species of plant in the Solanum genus that is native to Eurasia but was later introduced in other areas, such as the Americas, Australasia, and South Africa.
These plants have flowers with green to white petals that surround bright yellow anthers. Although the berries are usually black, in India and Southeast Asia you can find another strain that has berries that turn red when they are ripe, the “Red Makoi”. In case you haven’t noticed, we basically just described the colors featured in Ryuki’s design (white, yellow, black and red), but it also includes other aspects of this plant.
The berries and leaves of this plant are used for culinary and medicinal purposes in various regions, but the red variety is especially popular in South India and Indonesia. In fact, Indonesia has a popular traditional salad called Lalab, where the berries are fried with oncom, that is usually served as a vegetable dish next to the main course.
Besides this, both India and Indonesia just so happen to have certain cities that are famous for their rock scene, while both countries have also developed their own styles of rock over time, and have hosted big international rock festivals before.
By now you have probably guessed that the region Ryuki came from, can only be based on one of these two areas, but it’s most likely Indonesia, since it’s part of Southeast Asia and closer to Hawaii, and Ryuki says he “has come all the way across the sea” to Alola so he can spread his fame.
Where did the rumor state Pokémon Plus & Minus were set? In a region that is based on Southeast Asia…
Last but not least, we have Buddhism, a belief system that is not only focused on the cultivation of wisdom, loving-kindness and compassion, but also one of the most popular religions in Southeast Asia, therefore making it a prime candidate for Generation 8’s thematic basis.
Furthermore, the Theravada school of Buddhism is most prominent in Southeast Asia, and dedicates itself to the ultimate goal of attaining Nirvana through the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path, thus escaping the cycle of suffering and rebirth, which would follow brilliantly from the past two generations, which had to do with the harmony of the cycle of life and death, and the restoration of the light of wisdom. Plus Buddhism has the Buddha as its central figure, reinforcing the idea of a messianic character being introduced, and it would be a waste to not take advantage of the ideas of the Noble Eightfold Path in an 8th Generation.
Surprisingly, the Noble Eightfold Path also suits itself to the easy creation of a Tree of Life due to its Threefold Division, and mixes pretty well with the names of Plus & Minus via its contrast between samma, the “right, proper, as it ought to be, best” way, and miccha, its opposite.
The eight Buddhist practices in the Noble Eightfold Path, or Middle Way, are: Right View, Right Resolve, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Samadhi.
The Threefold division groups the first two as Insight and Wisdom, the next three as Mortal Virtue, and the final three as Meditation, which lends itself quite well to making a pair and two trios of Legendary Pokémon. Moreover, this can be expanded into the Tenfold Path, which adds the two concepts of Right Knowledge, or Insight, and Right Liberation, or Release, which fall under the category of Wisdom. These two would then add another pair, making for ten Legendary Pokémon.
After that we would only need another one to complete a full Tree of Life, which could be a Pokémon based on the notion of the Noble Eightfold Path itself, featuring a Dharma Wheel in its design, that could act as the trio master that usually gets more attention in the enhanced version of the games, or simply be a Mythical Pokémon that connects all the concepts together.
Then again, Buddhism has so many concepts and potential that it’s hard to say they would keep it at one Tree of Life, plus they still need to finish the Da’at Elyon tree, something they could do by drawing concepts from this.
Overall, I think that all of these ideas and how they mesh together so well gives another lease of life to the Plus & Minus rumor, so we should probably reconsider its potential validity in the light of these findings, but probably shouldn’t expect things to turn out exactly like the rumor indicates, since a lot might have changed since that initial design phase it describes. At least, based on Yungoos and Ryuki alone, a region based on Southeast Asia sounds quite likely, and the appearance of a messianic character is also to be expected considering the basis for Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon.
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Generation 4 Remakes and the Origin of the Cosmos
Last but not least, we can take all that we have learned above to speculate a bit about what the Generation 4 Remakes could bring to the table.
Knowing Game Freak’s recent ‘modus operandi’, we should probably expect the games to be mostly based on the plot of Diamond and Pearl, while retaining a few details that Platinum introduced.
Looking at the Universal Tree of Life of the franchise, we can also see that paths 30 and 31 of the Middle Pillar, next to Arceus, are currently empty, and taking into account that these correspond to the Aquamarine and Magenta flames of the Founder’s Threefold Flame we should probably expect them to be connected to new forms of Dialga and Palkia in some way. It’s also possible for Arceus to get some kind of form, but it’s unlikely in my opinion, because that would question its perfection, and we all know God is perfect, so it shouldn’t have another form.
Since the Founder’s Threefold Flame is equivalent to the Ain Soph Aur in Kabbalah, then it’s likely that Arceus represents the Ain (Nothing), while the new forms of Dialga and Palkia represent the Ain Soph Aur (Limitless Light) and Ain Soph (Limitless) respectively. Dialga and Palkia’s new forms would then likely represent concepts that are the opposite of Time and Space, such as stopped time and infinite space. After all, infinite space is technically limitless due to having no tangible boundary or variation in dimension, while in stopped time and infinite space a light would shine forever since it would have no limitations whatsoever.
I also want to suggest that these forms probably would be related to the Red Chain in some way, since it’s made of red crystalline stones similar to the way a Philosopher’s Stone is depicted, and because the various media have shown it restraining Dialga and Palkia, sometimes even by creating a red ring, similar to the one Arceus has, around their bodies. These types of items also seem to get more, and better, uses as the games are remade, sometimes changing from Key Items to Usable or Hold Items, with a good example of this being the Red and Blue Orbs in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire.
For the post game, we will probably get an Episode Alpha, involving the relationship between Arceus and Giratina, and potentially finally explaining why Giratina was banished. It would also create a situation where Arceus might become catchable in-game by using the Azure Flute that was never used in the original games, yet was still mentioned as if it had been in the distribution card of the Arceus they gave away during the 20th Anniversary celebrations.
Since Giratina has an Origin form, which suggest it’s somehow related to the origin of the Pokémon cosmos itself and the Hall of Origin in some way, it could be that this episode will reveal that Giratina is actually the Demiurge, and therefore the creator of everything (yet not the Source), that might have tricked Necrozma into falling from grace, which would arguably be a plausible reason for Arceus wanting to banish it into the Distortion World.
The Distortion World also supports this idea, since it’s a desolate place where everything inside it is distorted and makes no sense, as if it had no rules controlling it, kind of like what things would be near the source where the world is transitioning from being immaterial to the material reality. It would also explain the names of the hidden Sendoff Spring and Turnback Cave (Returning Cave in Japanese) which imply the same idea of returning to the source and are also connected to Giratina, albeit in its Altered form.
Finally, the name Alpha Episode could also help setup Generation 9 if it somehow involves radiation and the games are called Beta and Gamma, which would reference three of the main types of radiation, while possibly complementing the electromagnetism theme that Gen 8 is likely to have if it’s indeed called Plus & Minus. However, this is already speculating too much, so let’s simply rest on the matter for now.
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The Structure of the Pokémon Series and the Universal Tree of Life
To end this speculative article, I would like to leave you with some diagrams I have put together. The first four try to help explain the basics of the Tree of Life, Tree of Death, Jacob’s Ladder, and Universal Tree of Life, while the others depict the structure of the Pokémon series as a Universal Tree of Life, and how the trees of the Four Worlds overlap in each of the Pillars. These diagrams only contain the Legendary Pokémon, since they are the ones who can be seen as the emanations of Arceus that shape the physical world. Do keep in mind that these are a work in progress, so there might be some mistakes here and there. I have stored all of these diagrams on this Google Drive folder, and will try to add a list of reading sources at a later point, in case you wish to further explore these concepts.
Now that you have reached the end, I would like to thank you for sticking with me through this massive wall of text, and to ask you to spread it around if you liked it to help support the site and my research efforts, since ‘the more the merrier’ as the men of old used to say. May the Light shine upon you!