The Hidden Spirituality of Final Fantasy 7

Final Fantasy 7 Heralded by millions today as one of the greatest videogames ever made. There is just no describing how potent this game is, no way to express the sheer impact honestly it’s had on the landscape of videogames and culture today, and how this game single-handedly transformed the art of storytelling and videogames forever.

Now, this video is intended to be an exploration of the hidden spirituality Within FF7, but to make it accessible for people who might not have heard of it, allow me to provide an incredibly brief overview of the plot. Fair warning - This will spoil everything. 

The game begins as a simple story of an ex-soldier named Cloud Strife whose bleh disposition towards the world gets him a job as a mercenary running a bombing run of a large reactor within a large city, which is draining the planets life-force energy. The town is owned and operated by the Shinra corporation, using the power to fuel the city, make bank, and support the evil corporatocracy in generally ruling the world. Cloud doesn’t care about any of that, though, he just wants to get paid. 

Joining cloud in his adventures at first is Barrett - the gun-armed leader of the rebel faction called Avalanche trying to destroy Shinra, clouds old friend Tifa who just kicks ass, and Aerith, a mysterious yet beautiful flower girl who is later revealed to be the last living descendent of an ancient race of super-spiritual humans called the Cetra, some of which descended from the heights of their spiritual connection, and become regular humans.

Throughout the game, fighting the corporatocracy, it is revealed that there is a more profound, more significant evil in the world. It began a long time ago when a parasitic lifeform crashed onto the planet, leaving a massive crater at the north pole. This lifeform was called Jenova, the calamity from the skies, which wiped out the ancient Cetra, transforming them into monsters. A meteor crashed into the planet, which had a parasitic lifeform on it called Jenova, which was responsible for wiping out the ancient Cetra. Jenova was sealed away by the surviving Cetra, in the Ballater in time, and a few thousand years later was discovered by Shinra, Jenova was captured by the corporatocracy who performed, and they did bio-experiments with it, and created a half-human half Jenova clone-being named Sephiroth. 

Along the journey, we meet Red 13, a talking wolf with a Charmander tail who introduces us to his grandfather. This floating wise man reveals to us that the entire planet, whose name is Gaia, is a giant living organism that shares its energy freely with the lifeforms on the world. He explains that we are all intimately connected and that when we die, our soul energy returns to the planet and becomes one with the power, called the Lifestream, whereby after which we can respond in another body and live out more lifetimes as the high energy naturally flows through us to do so. 

Meanwhile, we also discover that Sephiroth over his life, has come to awaken the Jenova DNA within him and recognizes himself as Jenova’s child, and fuels this evil-Jesus complex within him. He sets out on a mission to use magic to summon another meteor to crash into the planet, directly on top of him, which will release the massive amount of the lifestream energy, only to be absorbed by Jenova, and fuse Jenova with the planet. So the goal of the villain is basically to become the villain from Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Jenova would become a planet, and then can create anything it wishes, master of the evil reality matrix. Part of the journey to make this happen involves going into this ancient pyramid with a mind-bending reality labyrinth inside, and we’ll talk more about this later. 

Now as mentioned, we also learn of the Cetra - this ancient super spiritual civilization that once thrived on the planet, who could communicate with the earth itself but have all disappeared, leaving behind only a few remnants of its culture, and Aerith, a mystical girl with magical healing powers, who is instrumental in saving the day through the power of prayer and a deep, intimate connection with nature and the holy spirit - no joke. There are legends of their homeland called the Promised Land, a place where the Lifestream energy flows like milk and honey, and this fuels the plot because the Shinra corp is looking for it so that they can extract more energy because their other wells are drying up. At one point, in what is perhaps one of the most legendary turning points in a videogame ever, Aerith leaves the party and goes to the forgotten city, a particularly magical town of the Ancient Cetra, where she is found deep in mystic prayer. Moments later, Sephiroth descends from above and kills her, creating a huge turning point for the game and the emotional wellbeing of the characters. 

Cloud, too, goes on a journey of self-discovery through this game, as he first discovers that he is not himself, but his memories were a clone of another soldier named Zach, who had black hair and a thing for Tifa! This, cloud realizes, is the source of his depression and anxiety, but through the reconciliation of this inner paradox of “who am I’ helps him understand who he truly is and ultimately leads him to confront Sephiroth at the end of the game courageously. 

The game ends with the massive meteor that Sephiroth has summoned, coming to smash the planet. Still, thanks to Aerith’s sacred prayer just before she died, she was able to gather the lifestream to awaken to the threat and stop the giant space rock from smashing into the planet. After the credits, we see the world many years later and find that life has taken over the old Shinra city; it is now covered in moss. 

So off the bat, let me just ask, do you notice any hidden spirituality in this game? 

Now, every aspect of this story we could go deeper into, the Shinra corporation personifies the current economic and business systems of the world, draining the planet of her lifeforce through the extraction of her natural resources with reckless abandon. We see references to an ancient civilization that thrived in connection with the earth. Today in our world, we see scientists and historians are now beginning to acknowledge sites like Gobekli Tepe and that there must have been an ancient civilization of some kind on this planet over 13,000 years ago. We even see an in-depth psychological reference to exploring your genuine nature with the spirit of the earth, when the cloud falls into the Lifestream. 

But yet, with a game like FF7, the real hidden spirituality goes way more in-depth, though it’s a unique reflection of Qabalistic Wisdom. Just as a side note, if this next bit doesn’t make total sense, watch our Spirit Science Tree of Life series afterward, and then rewatch this. It’ll blow your mind thousand times more! 

The first clue we see to this is through the name of the main villain, Sephiroth. In the Qabalistic Tree of Life, each sphere is called a Sephiroth, the same spelling, and everything. We see further connections to the tree of life with the characters Aerith, Barrett, and Tifa, some of the original characters we meet in the game. Aerith connects to Chesed, which stands for the archetypes of love, grace, and benevolence. Barrett opposes her with Geburah, the force of power, and purposeful destruction to refine the creative process. It makes sense because he is the one who organizes the bombing run on the reactors that are draining the lifestream for-profits, he also is missing his left arm, which correlates with the sphere of Geburah on the tree of life.

Then we have Tifa, whose name relates to Tephareth, and stands for the harmony and goodness of the spirit of humanity. This is only scratching the surface, though, because it seems nearly everyone has some sort of spiritual or religious reference. Even Hojo, the evil scientist who created evil Jesus, has a mutated form later called Hellenic Hojo, a misromanization of "Heretic Hojo," referring to Heresy, a concept in many religions about going against the norm of their belief system. 

But on top of this, FF7 goes even more profound! You see, there is an idea that comes from Ancient Gnosticism and Kabbalistic lore about the creation of the universe. Necessarily it’s the idea that the supreme oneness created the first layer of production, a dimension called an Aeon, which had supreme knowing and understanding from the wisdom of the Godhead. Production extended out further, creating more dimensional Aeons, but which had less knowledge and connection to the supreme source. Eventually, an Aeon was created that was entirely disconnected from even knowing that there was anything higher, which the Gnostics called the Demiurge. It thought that IT was the supreme all-powerful benevolence, and this Demiurge was what created the universe, and inhabited it with all of life. However, the powers that it used were still from the supreme oneness, and so the seeds of benevolence and goodness were hidden within all created beings on the planet. 

Now, Final Fantasy 7 Demonstrates this story in several ways. The first is that it describes how some people can choose a life of goodness and strive, and others walk a path of evil and corruption. It also shows that sometimes, pain and conflict are thrust upon us, and we must transmute and transform the energy within us if we are to become who we were born to be. This is why clouds last name, is strife - it is through his conflict that he both finds himself, and saves the world. 

But the real hidden spirituality here is this! Regarding the story of the demiurge, we see it told through Jenova. Now - the name here Jenova is not dissimilar from the Jewish Jehovah, their name for God, fused with the ancient Nova - meaning New, essentially giving Jenova a name that means “New God.” FF7 here is using this name as a commentary on the way that God was described in the old testament. It said that God is a jealous God, with several other very human qualities. This is the idea of the false god, the Demiurge, pretending to be the supreme oneness, which it cannot be. 

This goes further with the relationship to Sephiroth, giving us an idea of a sort of “evil Jesus” figure. He is the son of God, and the Word of God made manifest in a human body - born of a virgin and performs evil miracles. For example, where Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, Sephiroth killed Aerith so hard that no amount of Pheonix downs could ever bring her back to life. 

I'm sorry… I need a sec… it’s just so sad…

By the way, cloud, how is it you’re standing here when this shot plays immediately after??? Where are your feet, bro? 

Anyway, here’s a few other cool things. 

The game features the use of magic through crystals called Materia, and material is Spanish and Latin for Matter and Material. There are seven types of equipment, which sort of corresponding to the chakras, but it’s more likely they were designed based on the five elements, and then the forces of good and evil beyond the parts. The red material used for summons is notably interesting. Summons are spells cast in the battle that allows you to draw upon some deity to come and assist you in some way, but what’s impressive is that almost every single summon is based on mythological gods in history. Then there’s one for giant chickens. I won’t go through all of them, but here are a few key ones - There are Shiva and Ramah, relating with the Hindu gods of the same name. We have Ifrit from Islamic Mythology, Odin from the Norse mythology, we have Hades from Greek Mythology, and Knights of the Round - who is the most powerful summon by far, and who is king Arther and his 12 knights coming to your rescue and kicking some ass. 

In addition to the primary five materials, there are two more types, White and Black Materia. The black content is a force of chaos for destroying anything and everything you want. In the game, it’s used to summon Meteor to smash into the planet. The White material is called holy, a force of the divine sacred benevolence, which can be used to cleanse the earth of threats. I guess I should mention there is also Huge material, which is kind of like giant chunks of unrefined crystal matter.

Earlier in this video, I mentioned there was this ancient pyramid. Now, you might remember in the Spirit Science human history movie, we talked about how there is this story about the real capstone of the Great Pyramid in Egypt being sealed away somewhere deep underground beneath the great pyramid itself in a secret chamber, and that the little capstone is a perfect image of the great pyramid, made of solid gold, with small passageways and all. This idea was encoded into FF7 - because when you make it to the end of the labyrinth, you enter into this secret chamber and find a tiny version of the whole pyramid that you’re standing inside. And as you go to take it, the great pyramid all around you shakes and trembles. If you remove it, you get the McGuffin, but the pyramid will collapse upon you. Oh, noes! This is a protective measure by the Ancients to keep people from ever taking the McGuffin because that mini pyramid is the black material, the force of chaos used to summon a meteor to smash the planet, you can imagine why Sephiroth is trying to get it. 

Anyways, one of the valuable aspects of this game is that it not only loads us up on hidden spiritual symbolism, but it grabs us emotionally too, which is why the game has weaved such tight emotional memories with nearly everyone who played it. We see all of the characters get very existential throughout the game, dealing with death in their ways, dealing with isolation, coping with pain, loss, sadness, and struggle against their seemingly inevitable demise. 

And remember - all of these characters exist within us as we play. So as you progress throughout the game, you are put in the driver's seat of experiencing those emotional states yourself, you become the characters, and the struggle is real within you, and you grow and evolve with them. Many people who began playing FF7 might have connected with Cloud, not caring about the world or the planet is dying, whatever - but by the end, you see the bigger picture, you know the necessity for change in the world, and maybe… just maybe, you embodied your own inner team Avalanche, your private cloud, Aerith, Barrett, Tifa, or red 13 and set out on a quest to save the world! Just maybe don’t blow up anything, I'm sure we can find a better way to move humanity forward! 

Anyway, final fantasy seven will stand forever in the hearts and minds of millions around the world as a testament to gaming and storytelling. For those who can see deeper into the fabric of the reality-matrix, it stands as an encoded language of ancient mysticism that speaks to the human soul about the nature of life, love, and our connection to the world. The game asks us if we are willing to stand for what we believe in? Are we ready to go inside and do the inner work and discover who we are? Are we willing to look deeper, past the surface level of a story, any story, and find the hidden Spirituality?

Thank you so much for watching! I’d like to give some mad props to the writers at final fantasy fandom.com, along with Peter from Kotaku, whose notes and articles provided some excellent support in making this episode! You’ll find the links in the comments to check out their writings, and of course, to everyone watching - enjoy the FF7 Remake! 

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