October 23, 2019
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The General Description of the Path

chethThis is path number eighteen, joining Binah and Geburah. The Eighteenth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life has been attributed to the Hebrew letter Cheth.  It is located entirely on the pillar of retriction, or severity. In consequence, “it is a path of extreme power, but having the qualities of righteousness, strictness, and mercilessness. Unlike the Seventeenth Path, this one does not possess the softening influence of Tiphareth and is therefore a hard and terrible road to travel. On it, the wayfarer must learn the correct use of power and be mindful of the qualities of the previously traversed Thirteenth Path with its experience of Kether and the sacrificial love of Tiphareth; otherwise, he will fall victim to the experience of unmitigated dominance.”[1]

Duality – Binah is the Mother of Forms, the root of distinction.  Movement down this path is an awareness of separation, of the separation of one thing from another, the root awareness of being different and distinct.  The development of this awareness is noticeable in children as they become aware of siblings, possessions, and personal space. “It’s mine!” is the dominant cry. This path is the authentic “root of all evil.” (Collin A. Low, The Hermetic Kabbalah, p. 331)

chetThe keynote of this path goes like this: “This path is one of extreme power, since it connects two severe principles. Lest we soften our experienceof relentless power on this path, we shall be tempted to become inflatuated with power and shall be prone to misuse it. It is therefore important at this point to be conscious of our need to be unselfish, compassionate, and utterly dedicated to the Almighty Will that fulfills itself in us.”[2] The magical motto of this path is “Take unto the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”[3]
[1] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 58-59
[2] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 107.
[3] EPH, 6:13; cited in Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 107.

The Hebrew Letter Correspondence: Cheth

cheth---This is the eighth letter of alphabet. Its numerical value is 8. Cheth (guttural “ch” as in “loch”) – a “fence.” The Sepher Yetzirah names Cheth “the House of Influence” ;







The Tarot Trump Correspondence: VII – The Chariot

the-chariot---The tarot card attribution for the 18th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is VII The Chariot. This card, which is the seventh trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks, denotes a chariot, the canopy of which is blue and decked with stars (representing Nuit, the night sky-blue, space, and our lady of the stars). In the chariot is a crowned and armored figure, on whose forehead glitters a silver star – the symbol of spiritual rebirth. On his shoulders are mounted two crescents, the waxing and waning Moon. Drawing the chariot are two sphinxes, one being which he has mastered. There is often a black and white motif, for example one of the steeds may be black and the other white, most certainly “depicting the opposites of manifest existence”.[4] On the front of the chariot is aglyph of the lingam, his regenerated or sublimated id or libido, surmounted by the wingned globe, his transcendantal ego with whom he has become united.[5] According to Israel Regardie, “The whole card adequately symbolizes the Great Work, that process by which a man come to know the unknown Crow, and attains to the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel, perfect self-integration and consciousness.”[6] The chariot he drives has four corners, indicating the four-fold lesser human self; [7] behind him the silhouette of a walled city that he has left behind the world of form in order to conquer the uncharted regions of formless divine power. The character depicted on the card can be considered as depicting Julius Caesar riding his chariot triumphantly into Rome. He has defeated his enemies and conquered vast, new lands. This is the spirit of the Chariot. In this perspective this card also represents the victories that are possible through willpower and self-mastery. A military image is appropriate for the Chariot because this card stands for the strengths associated with combat – discipline, grit, determination and assertiveness, “unyielding, irreversible power radiates from this Arcanum, depicting the soul bent on conquering the supernal kingdom.”[8] According to Hoeller, “the wand in his hand tames the beast of the opposites.”[9] In readings, the Chariot often appears when hard control is or could be in evidence. At its best, hard control is not brutal, but firm and direct. It is backed up by a strong will and great confidence. The Chariot can mean self-control or control of the environment. The Chariot represents the positive aspects of the ego. A healthy ego is one that is strong and self-assured. It knows what it wants and how to get it. We can get annoyed at someone whose ego is too healthy, but we often turn to that person to lead us through difficult moments. We know he or she won’t be wishy-washy. This card also represents victory. There are many types of wins; the Chariot’s is of the win-lose type. Your success comes from beating the competition to become number one. Such moments are glorious in the right circumstances.


[4] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 106.
[5] Freud’s ’’id’’ is familiar to the Qabalistic Nephesh – the lower soul or the lower unconscious. The “transcendental ego” refers to the Higher Self.
[6] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 76.
[7] Concerning the term “libido.” In this term Jung saw a concept of an unknown nature, comparable to Henri Bergson’s élan vital, a hypothetical energy of life, which occupies itself not alone in sexuality but in various other physiological spiritual manifestations. Bergson speaks of this élan vital as a movement of self-creation, a becoming, and as the very stuff and reality of our being.
[8] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 106.
[9] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 106.

The Seventh Step of the Fool’s Pilgrimage

ffoooooooooolllBy the time the Fool becomes an adult, he has a strong identity and a certain mastery over himself. Through discipline and will-power, he has developed an inner control which allows him to triumph over his environment. The Chariot (7) represents the vigorous ego that is the Fool’s crowning achievement so far. On Card 7, we see a proud, commanding figure riding victoriously through his world. He is in visible control of himself and all he surveys. For the moment, the Fool’s assertive success is all he might wish, and he feels a certain self-satisfaction. His is the assured confidence of youth.







The Zodiacal Correspondence: Cancer

CANCER 3DThe zodiacal attribution for the 18th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the sign of the Crab, Cancer. Its name is Latin for crab and it is commonly represented as such. Its symbol is . Cancer is small and its stars are faint. It lies between Gemini to the west and Leo to the east, Lynx to the north and Canis Minor and Hydra to the south. 55 Cancri is a quintuple planet system with four gas giants and one terrestrial planet which has temperatures likely to allow the existence of liquid water and potentially the conditions to sustain life. Cancer is also the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It is considered a water sign and one of four cardinal signs.[10] Cancer is ruled by the Moon. Individuals born when the Sun is in this sign are considered Cancerian individuals. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun enters Cancer on the moment of summer solstice by definition, or roughly on June 21, leaving it around July 21. Cancer is said to have been the place for the Akkadian Sun of the South, perhaps from its position at the summer solstice in very remote antiquity. But afterwards it was associated with the fourth month Duzu (June–July in the modern western calendar), and was known as the Northern Gate of Sun. Showing but few stars, and its brightest stars being of only 4th magnitude, Cancer was often considered the “Dark Sign”, quaintly described as black and without eyes.[11] In the Egyptian records of about 2000 BC it was described as Scarabaeus (Scarab), the sacred emblem of immortality. In Babylonia the constellation was known as MUL.AL.LUL, a name which can refer to both a crab and a snapping turtle. On boundary stones, the image of a turtle or tortoise appears quite regularly and it is believed that this represent Cancer as a conventional crab has not so far been discovered on any of these monuments. There also appears to be a strong connection between the Babylonian constellation and ideas of death and a passage to the underworld, which may be the origin of these ideas in much later Greek myths associated with Hercules and the Hydra.[12] In the 12th century, an illustrated astronomical manuscript shows it as a water beetle.

cancer-sun-sign-symbolAlbumasar writes of this sign in the work published in 1489 as a large crayfish. Jakob Bartsch and Stanislaus Lubienitzki, in the 17th century, described it as a lobster. In Ancient Greece, Aratus called Καρκινος (Karkinos), which was followed by Hipparchus and Ptolemy. The Alfonsine tables called it Carcinus, a Latinized form of the Greek word. Eratosthenes extended this as Καρκινος, Ονοι, και Φατνη: the Crab, Asses, and Crib. The Indian language Sanskrit shares a common ancestor with Greek, and the Sanskrit name of Cancer is Karka and Karkata. In Telugu it is “Karkatakam”, in Kannada “Karkataka” or “Kataka”, in Tamil Karkatan, and in Sinhalese Kagthaca. The later Hindus knew it as Kulira, from the Greek Κολουρος (Koloyros), the term originated by Proclus. In Ancient Rome, Manilius and Ovid called the constellation Litoreus (shore-inhabiting). Astacus and Cammarus appear in various classic writers, while it is called Nepa in Cicero’s De Finibus and the works of Columella, Plautus, and Varro; all of these words signify crab, lobster, or scorpion. Athanasius Kircher said that in Coptic Egypt it was Κλαρια, the Bestia seu Statio Typhonis (the Power of Darkness). Jérôme Lalande identified this with Anubis, one of the Egyptian divinities commonly associated with Sirius. Cancer the giant crab, also plays a minor role in the Twelve Labors of Hercules. While Hercules was busy fighting the multi-headed monster, Lernaean Hydra, the goddess Hera, who hated her step-son Hercules, sent the Crab to distract him. Cancer tried to kill Hercules, but Hercules kicked Cancer so hard that the crab was sent into the sky. By other accounts, Cancer grabbed onto the hero’s toe with its claws, but barely breaking the rhythm of his great battle with Hydra, Hercules crushed the crab with his foot. Hera, grateful for the little crustacean’s heroic but pitiful effort, gave it a place in the sky; but none of its stars were bright because the crab had failed to accomplish its given task. Some scholars have suggested that Cancer was a late add-on to the myth of Hercules to make the Twelve Labors correspond to the twelve signs of the Zodiac.


[10]Jeff Mayo, Teach Yourself Astrology, pp 38-41, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1979.
[11]Dante, alluding to this faintness and position of heavens, wrote in Paradiso:“Then a light among them brightened, So that, if Cancer one such crystal had, Winter would have a month of one sole day.”
[12]Gavin White(2008), Babylonian Star-lore. Solaria Pubs, p. 79-82.

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence: Khephra

kephraThe Egyptian deity correspondence of this 18th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Khephra, the beetle-headed god, representing the midnight Sun. Israel Regardie points out that “In the ancient Egyptian astrological philosophy, Cancer was considered to be the celestial house of the soul.”[13]   In Egyptian mythology, Khepri (also spelled Khepera, Kheper, Chepri, Khepra) is the name of a major god. Khepri is associated with the dung beetle (kheper), whose behavior of maintaining spherical balls of dung represents the forces which move the sun. Khepri gradually came to be considered as an embodiment of the sun itself, and therefore was a solar deity. To explain where the sun goes at night, such pushing was extended to the underworld, Khepri’s pushing of the sun being ceaseless. Since the scarab beetle lays its eggs in the bodies of various dead animals, including other scarabs, and in dung, from which they emerge having been born, the ancient Egyptians believed that scarab beetles were created from dead matter. Because of this, they also associated the Khepri with rebirth, renewal, and resurrection. Indeed, his name means “to come into being”. As a result of this, when the rival cult of the sun-god Ra gained significance, Khepri was identified as the aspect of Ra which constitutes only the dawning sun (i.e. the sun when it comes into being).  Khepri was principally depicted as a whole scarab beetle, though in some tomb paintings and funerary papyri he is represented as a human male with a scarab as a head. He is also depicted as a scarab in a solar barque held aloft by Nun. When represented as a scarab beetle, he was typically depicted pushing the sun across the sky every day, as well as rolling it safely through the Egyptian underworld every night. As an aspect of Ra, he is particularly prevalent in the funerary literature of the New Kingdom, when many Ramesside tombs in the Valley of the Kings were decorated with depictions of Ra as a sun-disc, containing images of Khepri, the dawning sun, and Atum, the setting sun.During and following the New Kingdom, scarab amulets were often placed over the heart of the mummified deceased. These “heart scarabs” (such as the one pictured above) were meant to be weighed against the feather of truth during the final judgement. The amulets were often inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead which entreated the heart to, “do not stand as a witness against me.”


[13] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.

The Greek Deity Correspondence: Mercury & Apollo the Charioter

Mercury in his aspect of the messenger of the gods, and

apolloAnother attribution for this 18th path is “Apollo in his role of the charioteer.”[14] The Charioteer of Delphi, also known as Heniokhos (the rein-holder), is one of the best-known statues surviving from Ancient Greece, and is considered one of the finest examples of ancient bronze statues. The life-size statue of a chariot driver was found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. It is now in the Delphi Archaeological Museum. The statue was erected at Delphi in 474 BC, to commemorate the victory of a chariot team in the Pythian Games, which were held at Delphi every four years in honor of Pythean Apollo. It was originally part of a larger group of statuary, including the chariot, four (possibly six) horses and two grooms. Some fragments of the horses were found with the statue. When intact, it must have been one of the most imposing works of statuary in the world. It is certain that the statue is Apollo because, in addition to the fact that there were Artemis statues with it (perhaps from a common temple of the twin gods), the statue has Apollo’s classic hairstyle as it is known from other renditions in sculpture and painting.On the Melian amphora in the Archaeological Museum, and on the white lekythos in the Metropolitan Museum, Apollo is fully dressed as a charioteer, and this is also true of one of the Dioskours, who is pictured clothed in an ample tunic (xystis). There is another representation which, although it could be interpreted thus, is probably not the god Dionysos as a clothed charioteer.Apollo’s chariot was pulled by swans, and Apollo flew towards the north on it in autumn, and returned in spring. People celebrated his departure and arrival with melancholy or joyful songs, accordingly. Other gods and heroes had winged chariots as well, such as Helios – the Sun, Zeus, Poseidon, Hermes, Artemis, Demeter, and Triptolemos. The chariot (difros) was “invented in the East,” and its precious load was the charioteer, and sometimes a companion (a warrior or athlete). It had two wheels attached to a shaft, a platform, and a barrier that was usually covered with leather and reached as high as the knees of the charioteer. The rudder (steering column) in the middle of the shaft projected up to the waist of the charioteer, and there the horses’ yoke and the reins were fastened.

apollooo A list found in a weapons storeroom at Knossos cited 1000 sets of wheels and 340 chariots. The Riders usually got onto the chariot with their left foot, and grasped the upper part of the barrier to make their ascent easier. They usually stood upright. (There were a few exceptions to this.) The chariot was pulled by either two or four horses, and was called a biga or quadriga accordingly. Sometimes, however, the chariot was pulled by one horse, or three. The quadriga appeared in the 7th century B.C., and was used in chariot races, which were considered essential during Panhellenic festivities. Later on quadrigas would decorate the pediments of temples. It is interesting to know that in antiquity there were very few owners of chariots: only officials and the rich could buy and keep horses.


[14] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.


The Scandinavian Deity Correspondence: Hermond

hermod-norse-god-photo-researchersThe Norse correspondence is Hermond, “the envoy of the gods, the son of Odin, who gave him a helmet and corselet which Hermod wore when dispatched on his dangerous missions.”[15] Hermóðr the Brave (Old Norse “war-spirit”)[16] is a figure in Norse mythology, the son of god Odin. Hermóðr appears distinctly in section 49 of the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning. There, it is described that the gods were speechless and devastated at the death of Baldr, unable to react due to their grief. After the gods gathered their wits from the immense shock and grief of Baldr’s death, Frigg asked the Æsir who amongst them wished “to gain all of her love and favor”[17] by riding the road to Hel. Whoever agreed was to offer Hel a ransom in exchange for Baldr’s return to Asgard. Hermóðr agrees to this and set off with Sleipnir to Hel. Hermóðr rode Odin’s horse Sleipnir for nine nights through deep and dark valleys to the Gjöll bridge covered with shining gold, the bridge being guarded by the maiden Móðguðr ‘Battle-frenzy’ or ‘Battle-tired’. Móðguðr told Hermóðr that Baldr had already crossed the bridge and that Hermóðr should ride downwards and northwards. Upon coming to Hel’s gate, Hermóðr dismounted, tightened Sleipnir’s girth, mounted again, and spurred Sleipnir so that Sleipnir leapt entirely over the gate. So at last Hermóðr came to Hel’s hall and saw Baldr seated in the most honorable seat. Hermóðr begged Hel to release Baldr, citing the great weeping for Baldr among the Æsir. Thereupon Hel announced that Baldr would only be released if all things, dead and alive, wept for him. Baldr gave Hermóðr the ring Draupnir which had been burned with him on his pyre, to take back to Odin. Nanna gave a linen robe for Frigg along with other gifts and a finger-ring for Fulla. Thereupon Hermóðr returned with his message. Hermóðr is called “son” of Odin in most manuscripts, while in the Codex Regius version—normally considered the best manuscript—Hermóðr is called sveinn Óðins ‘Odin’s boy’, which in the context is as likely to mean ‘Odin’s servant’. However Hermóðr in a later passage is called Baldr’s brother and also appears as son of Odin in a list of Odin’s sons.


[15] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.
[16]Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. p. 83.
[17]Byock, Jesse (Trans.) (2005). The Prose Edda. Penguin Classics. p. 56.

The Hindu Deity Correspondence: Shiva as a Charioter

siva-charrioteerThe Hindu deity correspondence for the 18th path of the Tree of Life is not evident. If we take a close look at the Hindu pantheon it does not take long to realize that unfortunately, “the Hindu gods are not sufficiently determinate to enable one to make an attribution from their number with any degree of satisfaction.”[18] According to Israel Regardie, in his book A Garden of Pomegrenates, the closest call that we ca possibly get in the hinduist lore and legends as an attribution for this path is “Krisna in his role of driving the chariot of Arjuna to the battle of Kurukshetra, as described in the Mahabharata.”[19] Krishna Janamashtami is observed as the birth day of the 8th Avatar of Lord Vishnu, on the 8th day of the dark half Hindu month of Shraavana, normally falls between mid August and mid September, when the Moon is in Rohini Nakshatra. Krishna is famous for many things, one of the most well known is Bhagavad Gita, which is the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna before the great Battle of Kurukshetra and is considered as a philosophical and literary classic of all times. If we take a look at the Geeta Upadesam picture we see a chariot in the battle field of Kurukshetra. Arjuna as a passenger is seated at back. The chariot is driven by a charioteer (driver) which is the Lord Krishna. HE is holding the reins. There are horses leading the chariot. There are reins controlling the horses. Collectively this composes one full picture of the chariot. But where was this chariot taken? It was taken right into the midst of two fighting armies. If Arjuna was going to war, why was Krishna holding the reins? The symbolism of this scene is somehow closely similar to the one of the Tarot Trump The Chariot. The scene depicted in the illustration is symbolic of our inner instruments to train the mind and senses. This is a very concise and beautiful description, symbolic and full of meaning and profundity. The chariot is the Sarira (body).[20] The passenger Arjuna is the Jivi (embodied individual soul). The charioteer Krishna is the Atma (Self, sometimes referred as Higher Intellect or Buddhi) leading the chariot into the middle of two armies of Kauravas (Demonic nature) and Pandavas (Divine nature) in the battlefield of Kurukshetra (Inner Battle of Mind).[21] The reins are the operations of the Manas (Mind). The horses are the Indriyas (senses, such as, eyes, ears, nose, tongue, etc.)[22] The roads along which this chariot is driven are the objects of the senses. All this is made possible by a joint activity of the Atma/Higher Intellect, the Senses and the Mind.[23] People may forget the historical battle of Mahabharata, but the enlightened don’t forget the message contained in it. In fact, the battle is still going on every day within us; this is the fight between our demonic and divine qualities. There has always been a struggle between the two. In this conflict between opposing forces, Krishna (Self, Atma, Higher Intellect) is ever on the side of Dharma (Righteousness) – the reality which sustains, not the delusion which undermines. If you seek to have the Lord on your side as your guide, equip yourself with the divine nature, the qualities of Dharma. For the Lord is where Dharma is. This chariot is to be driven right to the Destination which is Perfection, Self Realization. Horses may dash down the chariot into a ditch if they are restive, tired, unwilling, and cannot see the road properly. The Bhagavad Gita is the story of invoking and trusting Divine Guidance in order to gain Peace and Enlightenment. And, although we must fight this battle alone, we are not truly alone. We have Divine Guidance, our personal Charioteer, our Krishna, and our Atman assisting us throughout every battle we must fight with each of our Inner Demons. It is also a symbol of Ontological Simultaneity which means “Knowing that one is always Transcendental at the same time that one is always evolving toward one’s Ultimate Nature. Being-at-the-same-time.”


[18] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.
[19] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.
[20]The term sarira or “sharira” (शरीर) is a loanword from Sanskrit. The term “Sarira” originally means “body” in Sankrit, but when used in Buddhist Sanskrit texts to mean “relics”, it is always used in the plural: śarīrāḥ.
[21] The battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas was fought on the plains of Kurukshetra. This is where Lord Krishna instructed Arjuna. Kurukshetra is also called “Dharmkshetra” which means “Land of Dharma”. Before the battle, Arjuna, seeing himself facing his great grandfather Bhishma and his teacher Drona on the other side, has doubts about the battle and he fails to lift his Gāndeeva bow. Krishna wakes him up to his call of duty in the famous Bhagavad Gita section of the epic. Kurukshetra is a district of what is now the northern Indian state of Haryana. 860 places of pilgrimage related to the Mahabharata and Gita exist there today. It is also called “The Holy Land”, “Land of Mahabharat”.
[22]Indriya, literally “belonging to or agreeable to Indra” is the Sanskrit and Pali term for physical strength or ability in general, and for the five senses more specifically. In Buddhism, the term refers to multiple intrapsychic processes and is generally translated as “faculty” or, in specific contexts, as “spiritual faculty” or “controlling principle.”
[23]Ātman (Sanskrit: आत्मन्) is a Sanskrit word that means ‘self’. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one’s true self beyond identification with phenomena. In order to attain salvation (liberation) a human being must acquire self-knowledge (atma jnana) which is to say realise experientially that one’s true self is identical with the transcendent self (paramatman) that is called Brahman.

The Sacred Animal Correspondence #1: The Sphinx

sphinxxxxxxxxxxxxThe sacred animal attributed to this 18th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the sphinx, a well known mythological animal “whose expression of enigma combining male, female, and animal qualities is an apt symbol of the Great Work brought to perfection.”[24] The word sphinx comes from the Greek Σφίγξ, apparently from the verb σφίγγω (sphíngō), meaning “to squeeze”, “to tighten up”.[25] This name may be derived from the fact that the hunters for a pride of lions are the lionesses, and kill their prey by strangulation, biting the throat of prey and holding them down until they die. The word sphincter derives from the same root. The sphinx, in Greek tradition, has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. The name ‘sphinx’ which means ‘strangler’ was first given by the Greeks to a fabulous creature which had the head of a woman and the body of a lion and the wings of a bird. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories, as they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster. According to Hesiod, she was a daughter of Orthus[26] and either Echidna or the Chimera, or perhaps even Ceto;[27] according to others, she was a daughter of Echidna and Typhon. All of these are chthonic figures from the earliest of Greek myths, before the Olympians ruled the Greek pantheon. The Sphinx is called Phix (Φίξ) by Hesiod in line 326 of the Theogony, the proper name for the Sphinx noted by Pierre Grimal’s The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology. In Greek mythology, a sphinx is represented as a monster with a head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a serpent headed tail. The sphinx was the emblem of the ancient city-state of Chios, and appeared on seals and the obverse side of coins from the 6th century BC until the 3rd century AD. Athena appears in the middle of the upper-half of the middle of a sarcophagus found in the middle pyramid of Giza, with two sphinxes at her side. Unlike the Greek sphinx which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man (an androsphinx). In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent in contrast to the malevolent Greek version and was thought of as a guardian often flanking the entrances to temples. The sphinx image also has been adopted into Masonic architecture. Among the Egyptians, sphinxes were placed at the entrance of the temple to guard the mysteries, by warning those who penetrated within, that they should conceal knowledge of them from the uninitiated. Champollion says that the sphinx became successively the symbol of each of the gods, by which portal suggests that the priests intended to express the idea that all the gods were hidden from the people, and that the knowledge of them, guarded in the sanctuaries, was revealed to the initiates only. As a Masonic emblem, the sphinx has been adopted in its Egyptian character as a symbol of mystery, and as such often is found as a decoration sculptured in front of Masonic temples, or engraved at the head of Masonic documents. It cannot, however, be properly called an ancient, recognized symbol of the order. Its introduction has been of comparatively recent date, and rather as a symbolic decoration than as a symbol of any particular dogma.


[24] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.
[25]Note that the γ takes on a ‘ng’ sound in front of both γ and ξ.

The Sacred Animal Correspondence #2: The Crab

Red boiled crabThe Crab is also an attribution for this path obviously because of its relationship with the zodiacal sign of Cancer and the constellation of the same name which are also attributions for this path. Both the constellation Cancer and the astrological sign Cancer are named after the crab, and depicted as a crab. William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse drew the Crab Nebula in 1848 and noticed its similarity to the animal; the Crab pulsar lies at the centre of the nebula.[28] Crabs are generally covered with a thick exoskeleton, and armed with a single pair of chelae (claws). Crabs are found in all of the world’s oceans, while many crabs live in fresh water and on land, particularly in tropical regions. Crabs have been endowed with highly effective physical sensors. Bristles and hairs on the body especially on the walking legs are touch receptors alerting the animal to hard surfaces as well as water currents, compound eyes with thouzands of optical units protrude from the front of the shell on short stalks, see very well and can be lowered into sockets for protection. Crabs also hear and make species-unique sounds. Their antennae have smell detectors that helps in mating, finding food and escaping predators. Crabs are mostly active animals with complex behaviour patterns. They can communicate by drumming or waving their pincers. Crabs tend to be aggressive towards one another and males often fight to gain access to females. On rocky seashores, where nearly all caves and crevices are occupied, crabs may also fight over hiding holes.[29]Crabs typically walk sideways[30] (a behaviour which gives us the word crabwise). This is because of the articulation of the legs which makes a sidelong gait more efficient.[31] That’s why as an animal totem, the crab’s ambulation is noteworthy. Never taking a direct (forward, or head-on) route, the crab makes its way on land with a sideways tap-dance. This is a reminder that not all paths are direct and not all ways will be forthcoming in their meaning. When you are moving in a certain direction, and you feel a bit misguided, call upon the travel-savvy crab. She will guide you in an unorthodox way – taking lesser known paths of least resistance and bring you to clarity. The Crab and the Moon are counterparts in symbolism all over the world. The moon rises in the night sky; the crab in its white shell rises from the watery depths. The moon waxes and wanes, cycling from dark to new to full and back. The crab also advances and retreat oriented by lunar tides, and, depending on the species, in its movement typically scuttles sideways, or backward and forward. Moon and crab are associated with mother, night, water, feeling, and also with the changeable, the moody and the inconstant. Biologically and mythically linked in rhythm and nature, crab and moon always watch each other.[32] Backward or sideways, the crabs scuttle, a motion that linkens them to the changeable quality of the moon and sea. The crab reminds us that we may live within the diversity of this world with the preparedness of a warrior (wearing armor), but we are born with this preparedness – we do not have to guard or defend ourselves on purpose. In other words, when we relax and move in the waves of wellbeing – moving in the natural flow of things, we have no need for defense. All of our needs are met, and we are divinely cared for. There’s a reason for the old adage: “happy as a crab.” It’s because the crab is content to move with the natural cadence of the moon, the water, the land, and the perfect rhythm of nature. In China feast of crabs celebrated the fullness of the harvest moon in autumn. The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped nature, especially the sea,[33] and often depicted crabs in their art.[34] In Greek mythology, Karkinos was a crab that came to the aid of the Lernaean Hydra as it battled Heracles. In the popular mind, it seems that the human imagination have always tended to amplify the observed qualities of the crab. All those myths and stories about giant crabs dragging ships down to the bottom of the sea in lore and legends all around the world “reflect the catastrophic reversals and profounds regressions that seem to reach, crablike, out of the void to pull us under.”[35] Yet, better than anybody else, the crab knows that a regression is not essentially negative. He knows that the dark of the moon brings renewal, and the dark of the unconscious, psychic rebirth in the womb of the sea-mother. The tough carapace of the crab has been a metaphor of defensiveness that belies inherent insecurity, but it can also represent the firm, circumscribing of boundaries to safeguard what’s violable. In western astrology the crab is the emblem of the fourth sign of the zodiac, Cancer, in which the moon is exalted. The time of the crab is the summer solstice when the sun reaches its highest nortern point and then retreats backward toward the eliptic as the days get shorter. On the one hand this is the defeat of the solar hero, and likewise the crabbing pull on the life that has reached its zenith. On the other hand, it is the crab’s balancing of progression and regression, and the dissolution of solar avidity in crescent darkness. In the zodiacal chart the crab rules the fouth house, that of the home environment. Here, the crab denotes attunement to the natural rhythm and cycles in which we “home” ourselves, and evokes the instincts for refuge and recuperation, how we go back each day to where we dwell. The sign of the crab hovers over needful aloneness as well as convivial sharing and the memory of ressources. But it is also evokes fierce protection from perceived intrusion, and an unconscious “watchfulness” and deep sensitivity that anticipate the shifting currents amd hard surfaces of experience.


[26]Hesiod, Theogony 327
[27]Whom is meant as the mother is unclear, the problem arising from the ambiguous referent of the pronoun “she” in line 326 of the Theogony, see Clay, Jenny Strauss, Hesiod’s Cosmos, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p.159, note 34.
[28]B. B. Rossi (1969). The Crab Nebula: Ancient History and Recent Discoveries. Center for Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. CSR-P-69-27.
[29]The Miles Kelly Book of Life. Great Bardfield, Essex: Miles Kelly Publishing. 2006. pp. 512
[30]However, some crabs walk forwards or backwards. See Sally Sleinis & Gerald E. Silvey (1980). “Locomotion in a forward walking crab”. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology 136 (4): 301–312.
[31]A. G. Vidal-Gadea, M. D. Rinehart & J. H. Belanger (2008). “Skeletal adaptations for forwards and sideways walking in three species of decapod crustaceans”. Arthropod Structure & Development 37 (2): 179–194.
[32]This close relationship is depicted in a well known fiftheeth century Armenian manuscript illustration. See A. Rosenberg, K. Martin (2010), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images. p. 211.
[33] See Elizabeth Benson (1972). The Mochica: A Culture of Peru. New York, NY: Praeger Press.
[34]Katherine Berrin & Larco Museum (1997), The Spirit of Ancient Peru: Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson. pp. 216.
[35] A. Rosenberg, K. Martin (2010), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images. p. 210.

The Sacred Animal Correspondence #1: The Turtle


tortoiceThe Turtle is also an attribution for this 18th path of the Tree of Life mainly because the same constellation that the ancient used to call Cancer, the “Dark Sign”(or the Egyptian Scarabaeus) was also know in Babylonia as MUL.AL.LUL, a name which can refer to both a crab and a snapping turtle. On boundary stones, the image of a turtle or tortoise appears quite regularly and it is believed that this represent Cancer. It seems that a conventional depiction of a crab has not so far been discovered on any of these monuments. It is quite astonishing to see how much the symbolism associated with the turtle is coherent with the symbolism of the crab previously discussed. Turtles and tortoises are frequently depicted in popular culture as easygoing, patient, and wise creatures, snapping turtles aside. Due to their long lifespan, slow movement, sturdiness, and wrinkled appearance, they are an emblem of longevity and stability in many cultures around the world.[36]A pair of tortoises is sometimes depicted with a scale to represent the ebb and flow of the Nile’s floodwaters. They have an important role in mythologies almost everywhere,[37] and are often implicated in creation myths regarding the origin of the Earth.[38] As a result of its role as a slow, peaceful creature in culture, the turtle can be misconceived as a sedentary animal; however, many types of turtle, especially sea turtles, frequently migrate over large distances in oceans.[39]The Tortoise is the symbol of wisdom, and also personifies Water, Moon, and Mother Earth. Like the crab, the turtle is very close to the rhythms of nature, especially those of the moon. Dignified of bearing, paced and deliberate in its rituals, it is well known that the sea turtle deposit his eggs in syncronisation with the moon and tide. Even the rythms that underlie the musical nature of the universe mythically originate with the tortoise, since the Greek god Hermes fashioned the first of all lyres from a tortoise shell, and gave it as a gift to golden Apollo. Through its association with old age, slowness and mother Earth, the turtle has come also to symbolise Time, Immortality, and Fertility. Mythic lore has associated the turtle especially with the fertility and sageness of the great goddess, the moist, shadowy lunar qualities of yin, and the primeval waters in which all things have their beginings.[40] It is well know that the tortoise was major fertility symbol in Greek and Roman times, and an attribute of Aphrodite/Venus.[41] Turtles were presented in rock art very far back into the earliest days of man.In African fairy tales, the tortoise is the cleverest animal.Mzee (Swahili for “wise old man”) is the name of a 130-year-old Aldabran tortoise. Chineese imagines the tortoise as the mother of all animals.[42] In Ancient Egypt, the earliest representations of the Nile turtle date back to pre-dynastic times and were associated with magical significance that was meant to ward off evil. The tortoise is also often related to “self defense” and self preservation. The tortoise, for example, is a marine turtle that eons ago learned to live on land, the tortoise traded fins for short legs, and the plates or scales on its back gradually increased in size as a defense and grew together to form a hard, domed shell into which it can effectively retract its head, legs and tail from predators.[43] Not unlike her symbolic cousin the Crab, some species of water turtle are more than able to defend themselves on their own, an extreme example of those exceptional survival abilities are the case of the snapping turtles[44] who are are notorious for their belligerent disposition when out of the water, their powerful beak-like jaws, and their highly mobile head and neck (hence the specific name “serpentina“, meaning “snake-like”). Coupled with its association with the underworld, this is probably one of the reasons why Amulets and objects with depictions of the turtles represent the turtle as a force to defend health and life. As an aquatic animal, the turtle was associated with the Underworld. Folk etymology attributes the names “turtle” and “tortoise” to tha Latin Taurus, or underworld, conveying the sense of the psyche’s subterranean ground supporting all the ascending levels of life and consciousness.[45] For alchemists, the tortoise symbolizes chaos, or massa confusa, the primal matter to which the things of the spirit must be linked if they are to become incarnate. The image of the tortoise in its shell has a more sinister aspect: the hard, dark carapace of nature under which, in season of darkness and drought, life, growth, potential, creativity and hope seem imprisoned. Yet, “the tortoise also evoke those meditative or introverted states in which, as process or protection, libido is withdrawn form the world in order to devote its heat or moisture to the interior.”[46] As a matter of fact, the tortoise is know to be able to use its bladder as a reservoir for storing water, and by digging a trench inside the earth escapes the blazzing desert sun or hibernates for months below the frost zone. In Ancient Egypt, the turtle was associated with Set, and so with the enemies of Ra who tried to stop the solar barque as it traveled through the underworld. The turtle was associated with night, and so came to symbolize darkness and evil. This is the main reason why, since the XIXth Dynasty, and particularly in the Late and Greco-Roman periods, turtles were known to have been ritually speared by kings and nobles as evil creatures. Aquatic or semiaquatic species of turtles remained at home in the sea, or rivers, lakes, ponds or marshes. The marine turtle has a leathery, flat shell and wide smooth flippers, which it moves like wings, allowing this agile, powerful swimmer to dive to great depths where it can remains for up to half an hour without surfacing for air. When we think about the sea as a symbol of the unconscious, the turtle’s capacity to descend into the dark, cold depths of ocean inspired ambivalent fantasies of being carried and mediated by this spirit of the sea to nethermost regions of mystery and regeneration, and also the terrifying prospect of being snapped up and pulled down into a devouring abyss of death or madness. Yet, it is no surprise to learn that this is precisely on the huge shell of a sea turtle that are carried, in Goethe’s Faust, the little Cabiri, creative spirits and protectors of those who journey over the deep.[47] In ancient Mesopotamia, the turtle was associated with the god Ea[48] and was used on kudurrus as a symbol of Ea.[49] The heron and the turtle is an Ancient Sumerian story that has survived to this day. The ancient Greek writter Aesop[50] retells this story in one of his fable called The Tortoise and the Hare.[51] The tortoise was also the symbol of the ancient Greek city of Peloponnes: the seal of the city shows images of tortoises. The word Chelonian comes from the Greek Chelone, which is the name of a tortoise god. Several myths of creation are associated with the tortoise and it is also believed in several cultures that the tortoise bears the burden of the whole world.The turtle has a prominent position as a symbol of steadfastness and tranquility in religion, mythology, and folklore from around the world. A tortoise’s longevity is suggested by its long lifespan and its shell, which was thought to protect it from any foe.[52] In the cosmological myths of several cultures a World Turtle carries the world upon its back or supports the heavens.[53] The mytheme of a World Tortoise, along with that of a world-bearing elephant, was discussed comparatively by Edward Burnett Tylor (1878:341). The playwright Aeschylus was said to have been killed by a tortoise dropped by a bird. For the Chinese, the tortoise is sacred and symbolizes longevity, power, and tenacity. It is said that the tortoise helped Pangu (also known as P’an Ku) create the world: the creator goddess Nuwa or Nugua cuts the legs off a sea turtle and uses them to prop up the sky after Gong Gong destroys the mountain that had supported the sky. The flat plastron and domed carapace of a turtle parallel the ancient Chinese idea of a flat earth and domed sky.[54] For the Chinese as well as the Indians, the tortoise symbolizes the universe. Quoting Pen T’sao, “the upper dome-shaped part of its back has various signs, which correspond with the constellations on the sky, and this is Yan; the lower part has many lines, which relate to the earth and is the Yin. The tortoise is one of the “Four Fabulous Animals,”[55] the most prominent beasts of China. These animals govern the four points of the compass, with the Black Tortoise the ruler of the north, symbolizing endurance, strength, and longevity.[56] The tortoise and the tiger are the only real animals of the four, although the tortoise is depicted with supernatural features such as dragon ears, flaming tentacles at its shoulders and hips, and a long hairy tail representing seaweed and the growth of plant parasites found on older tortoise shells that flow behind the tortoise as it swims. The Chinese believe that tortoises come out in the spring when they change their shells, and hibernate during the winter, which is the reason for their long life.In Hindu mythology the world is thought to rest on the backs of four elephants who stand on the shell of a turtle.[57] In Hinduism, Akupara is a tortoise who carries the world on his back, upholding the Earth and the sea. One Avatar of Vishnu is the giant turtle Kurma. The Sri Kurmam Temple in Andhra Pradesh, India is dedicated to the Kurma avatar. Kurmavatara is also Kasyapa, the northern star, the first living being, forefather of Vishnu the protector. The plastron symbolizes the earthly world and the carapace the heavenly world. The Shatapatha Brahmana identifies the world as the body of Kurmaraja, the “king of tortoises”, with the earth its plastron, the atmosphere its body, and the vault of the heavens its carapace. The tortoise holds the elephant, on which rests the earth. The elephant is the masculine symbol and the tortoise the feminine.The World Turtle carries the Earth upon its back in myths from North America. In Cheyenne tradition, the great creator spirit Maheo kneads some mud he takes from a coot’s beak until it expands so much that only Old Grandmother Turtle can support it on her back. In Mohawk tradition, the trembling or shaking of the Earth is thought of as a sign that the World Turtle is stretching beneath the great weight that she carries.[58] Indians of North America used combs made of tortoise shell to signify the margin between life and death. According to their beliefs, the cosmic tree emerges from the spine of the tortoise.


[36]Cirlot, Juan-Eduardo, trans. Sage, Jack, 2002, A Dictionary of Symbols, Courier Dover Publications; Ball, Catherine, 2004, Animal Motifs in Asian Art, Courier Dover Publications.
[37]Garfield, Eugene, 1986, The Turtle: A Most Ancient Mystery. Part 1. Its Role in Art, Literature, and Mythology, Towards Scientography: 9 (Essays of An Information Scientist), Isis Press.
[38] See Stookey, Lorena Laura, 2004, Thematic Guide to World Mythology, Greenwood Press. Sea turtles are considered as charismatic megafauna and are abundantly used as symbols of the marine environment and environmentalism. (See Lutz, Peter L., Musick, John A., and Wyneken, Jeanette, 2002, The Biology of Sea Turtles, CRC Press.)
[39]Plotkin, Pamela, T., 2007, Biology and Conservation of Ridley Sea Turtles, Johns Hopkins University.
[40] The association to fetility probably come from the fact that during the breeding period they can deposit as many as 200 eggs. The way they found a solution for the presence of predatory birds that are waiting for the hatching of the eggs is a great illustration of what we understand by fertility in the context of nature. Each year massive amounts of sea turtles swims vast distances to lay eggs on the same beach at the same time, so that all the hatchlings emerges together and run for the sea in such multitudes as to confuse the birds and ensure that most of the turtles will survives.
[41]The representation of Aphrodite Ourania, with a foot resting on a tortoise, was read later as emblematic of discretion in conjugal love; the image is credited to Phidias, in a chryselephantine sculpture made for Elis, of which we have only a passing remark by Pausanias. (see Pausanias, Periegesis vi.25.1); Aphrodite Pandemos was represented in the same temple riding on a goat, symbol of purely carnal rut: “The meaning of the tortoise and of the he-goat I leave to those who care to guess,” Pausanias remarks.
[42] Jung, C.G. and Karl Kerenyi, Essays on a Science of Mythology. NY, 1949. p.78.
[43] Young, Peter (2003), Tortoise. London. p. 8.
[44] Snapping turtles have “fierce” dispositions; however, when encountered in the water, they usually slip quietly away from any disturbance. Snapping turtles have evolved the ability to snap because unlike other turtles, they are too large to hide in their own shells when confronted. Snapping is their defense mechanism. However, these turtles rarely bite humans; they usually flee when threatened. The snapper is an aquatic ambush hunter, capturing its prey with its beak-like jaws.
[45] See A. Rosenberg, K. Martin (2010), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images. p. 192.
[46] See A. Rosenberg, K. Martin (2010), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images. p. 192.
[47] Goethe, Johann Wolfang von. Faust: A Tragedy: Interpretive Notes, Contexts, Modern Criticism. NY, 2001. See II:2, 231, fn2.
[48]Enki (or Enkil) is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation (Nudimmud: nu, likeness, dim mud, make bear).
[49]Green, Anthony and Black, Jeremy (1992), Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: an illustrated dictionary, University of Texas Press
[50]Aesop (Αἴσωπος, Aisōpos, c. 620-564 BCE) was a Greek writer credited with a number of popular fables. Although his existence remains uncertain and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries. In many of the tales, animals speak and have human characteristics.
[51]The story concerns a hare who ridicules a slow-moving tortoise and is challenged by him to a race. The hare soon leaves the tortoise behind and, confident of winning, decides to take a nap midway through the course. When he awakes, however, he finds that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, has arrived before him.
[52]Ball, Catherine, 2004, Animal Motifs in Asian Art, Courier Dover Publications.
[53]Stookey, Lorena Laura, 2004, Thematic Guide to World Mythology, Greenwood Press.
[54]Allan, Sarah, 1991, The Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art, and Cosmos in Early China, SUNY Press.
[55]Ball, Catherine, 2004, Animal Motifs in Asian Art, Courier Dover Publications.
[56]Simoons, Frederick J., 1991, Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry, CRC Press.
[57]Cobb, Kelton, 2005, The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture, Blackwell Publishing,
[58]Stookey, Lorena Laura, 2004, Thematic Guide to World Mythology, Greenwood Press.

The Sacred Flower Correspondence: Lotus

le-lotus-fleur-sacree-symbole-du-buddhisme-6b0429c1-1930-4e20-b809-0f0b2b03dadfThe sacred flower attribution for the 18th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the lotus.[59] Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, or simply Lotus, is a plant in the monogeneric family Nelumbonaceae. The Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.) and Nymphaea nelumbo, among others. This plant is a pink aquatic perennial flower. Like the other lotuses, its roots sink into the murky soil of a pond or river bottom, theey are refered to as “Mud-born” (pankaja) which is a sanscrit poetic term for the Indian lotus.[60] From the muddy bottom of the river, a stem finally rise above the water surface to present bright flowers to the sun. The cuplike seed pod is surrounded by a a many-layered wreath of lotus petals, which at dawn open to full bloom in time to greet the sun as it rises. Throughout the day the flower turns to face the sun as it moves across the southern sky and after sunset the lotus petals close into a tight bud around the seed pod in the center. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.Researchers report that the lotus has the remarkable ability to regulate the temperature of its flowers to within a narrow range just as humans and other warmblooded animals do and that by doing so they create a warm and welcoming place for bees and other pollinators.[61]As a poetic image and visual icon, “the lotus symbol evokes the realization that all life, rooted in mire, nourished by decomposed matter, growing upward through a fluid and changing medium, opens radiantly into space and light. The mire and fluidity symbolize the grosser, heavier qualities of nature, including the mind’s nature. The flower, beautifully multipetaled, symbolizes the array of subtler, more lucid qualities, with the golden hue, the radiance of spirit, at its center.”[62] In Egyptian myth, a lotus emerges out of the dark waters of the primeval sea as emblem of the spirit of life, luminous and fragrant, disclosing sometimes as a divine child, the sun god Ree; in the form of the beautiful blue lotus of the Nile valley, it is sacred to the goddess, the womb from which golden life arises. The yearly flooding of the Nile was a repetition of this “first time” when the waters receded to reveal the first shallows out of which a lotus-flower could bloom to support the sun-god.[63] From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Asian traditions representing the virtues of sexual purity and non-attachment. Hindus revere it with the divinities Vishnu and Lakshmi often portrayed on a pink lotus in iconography. In the representation of Vishnu as Padmanabha (Lotus navel), a lotus issues from his navel with Brahma on it. Goddess Sarasvati is portrayed on a white-colored lotus. Often used as an example of divine beauty, Vishnu is often described as the ‘Lotus-Eyed One’. Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. In Hindu iconography, other deities, like Ganga and Ganesha are often depicted with lotus flowers as their seats. The lotus plant is cited extensively within Puranic and Vedic literature. Most deities of Asian religions are depicted as seated on a lotus flower. In Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech, and mind as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. According to legendGautama Buddha was born with the ability to walk, and lotus flowers bloomed everywhere he stepped. In the classical written and oral literature of many Asian cultures the lotus is present in figurative form, representing elegance, beauty, perfection, purity and grace, being often used in poems and songs as an allegory for ideal feminine attributes. As is typical for Hindu and Buddhists sacred images, Akshobya, Buddha Imperturbable, sits on a lotus throne amd manifests spiritual luminosity. He touches the ground as his witness that samsaric world, all that arises and passes away, does not disturb him. And yet he is not separate from it. Just as a lotus lives in a murky mud-bottomed pond, so nirvana, of which he is an image, is not apart from samsara, nor samsara from nirvana. The Sanskrit mantra “Om mani padme hum (literally “Om the jewel in the lotus hum”) expresses this seating of Buddha-mind, the enlightening jewel, in the psychophysical world. The esoteric yogas of India and Tibet picture a sequence of chakras, vital energy centers in the subtle body, as lotuses of particular hues and petal numbers. At the top of the head is a thousand-petalled lotus. Their colors and petal numbers reflects the place in the spectrum from red to violet amd hite light, and their energies correspond with the nergies of the universe. The colors, shapes and energies manifests through meditation, chanting and visualizations stimulated by such images as Radha, Krishna, Buddha, their lotus eyes or hands, or a lotus flower. Meditative practice


[59] For a confirmation concerning those attributions, see Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, p. 59; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 76.
[60]In Sanskrit the word lotus (padma पद्म) has many synonyms. Since the lotus thrives in water, ja (denoting birth) is added to synonyms of water to derive some synonyms forthe lotus, like ambuja (ambu= water + ja=born of), neeraj (neera=water + ja= born of), pankaj, pankaja, kamal, kamala, kunala, aravind, arvind, nalin, nalini and saroja and names derived from the lotus, like padmavati (possessing lotuses) or padmini (full of lotuses). These names and derived versions are often used to name girls (and to a lesser extent boys) in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, as well as in many other countries influenced by Indic culture.
[61]Dr. Roger S. Seymour and Dr. Paul Schultze-Motel, physiologists at the University of Adelaide in Australia, found that lotus flowers blooming in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens maintained a temperature of 86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, even when the air temperature dropped to 50 degrees. They suspect the flowers may be turning up the heat for the benefit of their coldblooded insect pollinators. Only two other species have so far been found to be able to regulate their temperature, both in the arum-lily family: the skunk cabbage and a Philodendron known as elephant ear. See Seymour, R. S. and Schultze-Motel, P. (1996) Thermoregulating lotus flowers. Nature 383:305. See also Roger S. Seymour, (2001, Biophysics and Physiology of Temperature Regulation in Thermogenic Flowers,Bioscience Reports, Vol. 21, No. 2, April 2001.
[62] A. Rosenberg, K. Martin (2010), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images. p. 158.
[63] See Stephen Quirke (1992), Ancient Egyptian Religion. NY. p. 26.

The Perfume Correspondence: Onycha

onycha_awThe perfume correspondence for this 18th path of the qabalistic Tree of life is Onycha. The word Onycha (Greek: ονυξ), along with equal parts of stacte, galbanum, and frankincense, was one of the components of the consecrated Ketoret (incense) which appears in the Torah book of Exodus[64] and was used in the Jerusalem’s Solomon’s Temple. This formula was to be incorporated as incense, and was not to be duplicated for non-sacred use.[65] What the onycha of antiquity actually was cannot be determined with certainty. The original Hebrew word used for this component of the ketoret was שחלת, shecheleth, which means “to roar; as a lion (from his characteristic roar)” or “peeling off by concussion of sound.” Shecheleth is related to the Syriac shehelta which is translated as “a tear, distillation, or exudation.”[66] In Aramaic, the root SHCHL signifies “retrieve.” When the Torah was translated into Greek (the Septuagint version) the Greek word “onycha” ονυξ, which means “fingernail” or “claw,”[67] was substituted for shecheleth. The internationally renowned Bible scholar Bochart stated, at one point in his research, that onycha was actually benzoin, a gum-resin from the Styrax species.[68] H.J. Abrahams states that the use of benzoin in the Biblical incense is not inconceivable since Syro-Arabian tribes maintained extensive trade routes prior to Hellenism. The apothecary of Shemot (book of Exodus) would have been familiar with its aromatic uses. S. benzoin has a history steeped in antiquity and was once employed as an incense in Egypt. All the compounds identified in benzoin resin were detected in an archaeological organic residue from an Egyptian ceramic censer, thus proving that this resin was used as one of the components of the mixture of organic materials burned as incense in ancient Egypt.[69] An ancient Egyptian perfume formula (1200 BC) contained benzoin as one of its chief ingredients.[70] The name “benzoin” is probably derived from Arabic lubān jāwī (لبان جاوي, “Javan frankincense”); compare the mid-eastern terms “gum benjamin” and “benjoin”.


[64] The Bible, Exodus.30:34-36.
[65] The Bible, Exodus 30:33, 37-38.
[66]Onkelos Shemot 2:10
[67] This is quite interesting especially when we remember that one the three animal attributions for this path is the crab which is notorious for his claws.
[68]Abrahams, H.J. – Onycha, Ingredient of the ancient Jewish incense: An attempt at identification in Econ. Bot. 33(2): 233-6 1979.
[69]Journal of Chromatography A Volume 1134, Issues 1-2, 17 November 2006, Pages 298-304, Aromatic resin characterisation by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry: Rawand archaeological materials, Francesca Modugnoa, Erika Ribechinia and Maria Perla Colombini, a Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Università di Pisa, via Risorgimento 35-56126 Pisa, Italy.
[70]See Kathi Keville, Mindy Green,Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art.

The Color Correspondence: Maroon

830300Maroon is a dark red color. Maroon is derived from French marron (“chestnut”).The first recorded use of maroon as a color name in English was in 1789.[71]Symbolizesthe ability to own ones own self power.  Maroon (/mərn/ mə-ROON or /mərn/ mə-RONE) is a dark brownish-red color, which takes its name from the French word marron, or chestnut.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as “a brownish crimson or claret color.”[3] In the RGB model used to create colors on computer screens and televisions, maroon is created by turning down the brightness of pure red by about half. Maroon is derived from French marron (“chestnut“);,[4] from the Italian marrone, from the medieval Greek maraon.[5] The first recorded use of maroon as a color name in English was in 1789.[6]


[71]Maerz and Paul. A Dictionary of Color. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1930, Page 198; Color Sample of Maroon: Page 37, Plate 7, Color Sample L7.


The Jewel Correspondence: Amber

amberThe sacred jewel attributon for the 18th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is amber.Amber is fossilized tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times.[72] Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents. Because it originates as a soft, sticky tree resin, amber sometimes contains animal and plant material as inclusions. Amber occurring in coal seams is also called resinite, and the term ambrite is applied to that found specifically within New Zealand coal seams.[73] Amber has been used since the Stone Age, from 13,000 years ago.[74] Amber ornaments have been found in Mycenaean tombs and elsewhere across Europe. To this day it is used in the manufacture of smoking and glassblowing mouthpieces. Amber has been used since antiquity in the manufacture of jewelry and ornaments, and also in folk medicine. Amber from the Baltic Sea has been extensively traded since antiquity and in the main land, from where amber was traded 2000 years ago, the natives called it glaes (referring to its see-through similarity to glass).The English word amber derives from the Arabic anbar, via Medieval Latin ambar and Old French ambre. The word originally referred to precious oil derived from the Sperm whale (now called ambergris). The sense was extended to fossil resin circa 1400, and this became the main sense as the use of ambergris waned. The two substances were confused because they both were found washed up on beaches. Ambergris is less dense than water and floats; whereas amber is less dense than stone, but too dense to float.[75] The word “ambar” was brought to Europe by the Crusaders. In French “ambre gris” was then distinguished from “ambre jaune”: ambre gris (gray amber) was ambergris; ambre jaune (yellow amber) was the fossil resin we now call amber. Amber is discussed by Theophrastus, possibly the first historical mention of the material, in the 4th century BC. The Greek name for amber was ηλεκτρον (electron) and was of course connected to the Sun God, one of whose titles was Elector or the Awakener.[76] The presence of insects in amber was noticed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, and led him to theorize correctly that, at some point, amber had to be in a liquid state to cover the bodies of insects. Hence he gave it the expressive name of succinum or gum-stone, a name that is still in use today to describe succinic acid as well as succinite, a term given to a particular type of amber by James Dwight Dana.[77]Amber has been also used extensively as an ingredient in perfumes, and even forms the flavoring for akvavit liquor.[78] In ancient China it was customary to burn amber during large festivities. If amber is heated under the right conditions, oil of amber is produced, and in past times this was combined carefully with nitric acid to create “artificial musk” – a resin with a peculiar musky odor.[79] The modern name for amber is thought to come from the Arabic word, ambar, meaning ambergris.[80] The term “amber” is loosely used to describe a scent that is warm, musky, rich and honey-like, and also somewhat oriental and earthy. It can be synthetically created or derived from natural resins. When derived from natural resins it is most often created out of labdanum. Vanilla and cloves are sometimes used to enhance the aroma and Benzoin is usually part of the recipe, which is interesting because this ingredient has been identified as the main component of Onycha which is the fragrance attributed to this 18th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life. Since the neolitic, amber has been revered for its mystical powers. On a more esoteric and symbolic level, back in antiquity, “amber was not only though as protecting the living, but it was believed to speed the dead in their journey into the shadows.”[81] In ancient Scandinavia, for example, an amber axe was placed in tombs along with other treasured possessions to protect the soul during its journey and to confer immortality. Egyptians also used to put a piece of amber in the casket of a loved one to ensure the body would forever remain whole.It is also interesting to notice that the word designating the fabled drink of immortality, ambrosia, is cognate to amber, as in the Greek word ambrotos, meaning immortal. The association of amber with immortality continued in the older folklore of Lituania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, The British Isles, and Scandinavia, with “amber” mountains representing the land were the dead dwelt at the end of the world. These mountains, as well as “amber islands,” appear to be the forerunners of the glass mountains and island so commonly found in fairy tales. Because amber, in early time, was called gles in the northern regions of Europe, it became confused with glass in stories when this same word began to be used to designate the later. Therefore, as time passed, the amber mountains were slowly forgotten, they became glass mountains and mountians islands. The passing of these mountains sometimes developped into a test for the hero to gain his princess so the land of the dead of the early tales become a place of protection or safety where the princess was safeguraded for immortality or until the hero was able to win her heart. In ancient times, amber was carried by travellers for protection. An amber pendant enshrining a small insect was especially prized for its imagined power of protection against witchcraft. This belief was so widespread that during Pliny’s time, for instance, even young children wore amber around their necks to protect them from evil influence. Mothers in the Kurpic region hung amber over their children’s cribs to protect them from harm. The Moslem of the Middle East made amber bracelets for their babies to wear to keep away evil mischief. The most powerful protection against the evil eye was commonly know to be a phallus made of amber.[82] In Old Testament, amber was the gem of the tribe of Benjamin. To early Christians, amber signified the presence of the Lord. During the crusades amber was worn in battles to protect the warriors and defend them against the enemy just as early gladiator of the Roman coliseum has done.[83] In the Far East, amber is the symbol of courage. The same symbolism is reported in the Baltic legend The Torch of Happiness.[84] Ancient Chineese regard amber as the ‘soul of the tiger,’ while in Buddhist paradise, the purest sould are those with bright amber-yellow faces. As the soul progresses, further merit may grow in the form of diamonds, flowers and amber.[85] Amber has been called the essence of the rays of the setting sun, congealed in the sea before cast upon the shore. Amber in many cultures signifies protection and good luck. It is believed the more generations that have held a piece of amber, the more powerful its protective qualities become. They gain even more power when given as gifts. Amber has long been used in folk medicine for its purported healing properties. In Easter Asia amber is believed to give virility to men and fecundity to women.[86] Amber and extracts were used from the time of Hippocrates in ancient Greece for a wide variety of treatments through the Middles Ages and up until the early twentieth century. Early physicians prescribed amber for headaches, heart problems, arthritis and a variety of other ailments.


[72]Grimaldi, D. (2009). “Pushing Back Amber Production”. Science 326 (5949): 51.
[73]Poinar GO, Poinar R. The Quest for Life in Amber. Basic Books, 1995, p. 133
[74]Grimaldi, D. (2009). “Pushing Back Amber Production”. Science 326 (5949): 51
[75]See: Abu Zaid al Hassan from Siraf & Sulaiman the Merchant (851), Silsilat-al-Tawarikh (travels in Asia).
[76] See King, Rev. C.W. (1867). The Natural History of Gems or Decorative Stones. Cambridge (UK). p. 315.
[77]James Dwight Dana (1813–1895) was an American geologist, mineralogist, volcanologist, and zoologist. He made pioneering studies of mountain-building, volcanic activity, and the origin and structure of continents and oceans around the world.
[78]Akvavit or aquavit (also akevitt in Norwegian) is a traditional flavoured spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century. Akvavit gets its distinctive flavor from spices and herbs, and the main spice should be caraway or dill. It typically contains 40% alcohol by volume. The word aquavit is derived from Latin aqua vītae, “water of life.” Aquavit is an important part of Scandinavian drinking culture, where it is often drunk during a formal procedure called “drinking snaps”.
[79]Although when burned, amber does give off a characteristic “pinewood” fragrance, modern products, such as perfume, do not normally use actual amber. This is due to the fact that fossilized amber produces very little scent. In perfumery, scents referred to as “amber” are often created and patented to emulate the opulent golden warmth of the fossil.
[80]The scent of amber was originally derived from emulating the scent of ambergris and/or labdanum but due to the endangered status of the sperm whale the scent of amber is now largely derived from labdanum. Ambergris is the waxy aromatic substance created in the intestines of sperm whales and was used in making perfumes both in ancient times as well as modern.
[81] Patty C. Rice (2006), Amber: Golden Gem of the Ages, p.166.
[82] Bulge, 1961, p.356; Patty C. Rice (2006), Amber: Golden Gem of the Ages, p.168.
[83] Patty C. Rice (2006), Amber: Golden Gem of the Ages, p.171.
[84] Patty C. Rice (2006), Amber: Golden Gem of the Ages, p.169.
[85] Leach, 1949, p. 456.; Patty C. Rice (2006), Amber: Golden Gem of the Ages, p.170.
[86] Bulge, 1961, p.356; Patty C. Rice (2006), Amber: Golden Gem of the Ages, p.168.

The Drug Correspondence: Watercress

Watercress-001The drug correspondence for the 18th path of the Tree of Life is watercress. One of the main resons for this attribution is probably the link with water in the context of the animal attributions for this path which are the crab and the turtle. Watercresses (Nasturtium officinale, N. microphyllum; formerly Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, R. microphylla) are fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plants native from Europe to central Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings. These plants are members of the Family Brassicaceae or cabbage family, botanically related to garden cress, mustard and radish — all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavour. The hollow stems of watercress are floating, and the leaves are pinnately compound. Watercresses produce small, white and green flowers in clusters. Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. Surprisingly, it also appears that watercress have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties; it is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer.[87] This is especially interesting when we remember that Cancer is the zodiacal attribution for this path of the Tree of Life. Watercress is mentioned in the Talmud as being able to stop bleeding, when mixed with vinegar. Due to its high iodine content, watercress has a strengthening effect on the thyroid gland, thus it is beneficial for sufferers of hypothyroidism. In ancient history cress is one of the first known leafy vegetables to be consumed. The Romans and Ancient Egyptians were known to eat watercress for various health reasons. The Greeks and Romans thought it improved the brain, and later, in medieval Europe, it became an ingredient in a salve for sword wounds. Watercress, sometimes referred to as True Nasturtium, is native to Europe and Asia, and it is now grown in the New World as well. Watercress is so named because it naturally favors wet areas around springs and along riverbanks. Watercress is among the earliest green vegetables cultivated by man – first by the Persians, then soon after by the Greeks and Romans. Watercress was a staple for Greek and Persian soldiers, who noticed that it improved their health and conditioning. Though its scientific name is Nasturtium officinale, the Watercress is unrelated to the garden flower called nasturtium. Loosely translated, Nasturtium is derived from Latin words meaning “wrinkled nose,” which alludes to Watercress’ pungent odor. Watercress contains a large amount of sulfur, which may add to the odor, but also adds to its benefits. Alabama is known as the “Watercress Capital of the World” and Alresford, near Winchester, is often considered the watercress capital of Britain.


[87]A 2010 study conducted by the University of Southampton found that consumption of watercress may also inhibit the growth of breast cancer. The PEITC content of watercress inhibits HIF, which can inhibit angiogenesis. See Hecht SS, Chung FL, Richie JP, et al. (1 December 1995). “Effects of watercress consumption on metabolism of a tobacco-specific lung carcinogen in smokers”. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 4 (8): 877–84. Hecht SS, Carmella SG, Murphy SE (1 October 1999). “Effects of watercress consumption on urinary metabolites of nicotine in smokers”. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 8 (10): 907–13.

The Magical Weapon Correspondence: The Fiery Furnace

furnaceThe Bible story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their fiery furnace experience is a lesson for all Christians today. It is a story of not compromising your beliefs despite severe persecution This story is from Daniel chapter three and involves the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar, making a golden image and his requirement that all in the kingdom must bow down and worship it at the sounding of the music. The three Jews who refused to bow down and worship this image were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When the Chaldeans reported this news to King Nebuchadnezzar, he was furious and gave orders that the three men be brought before him immediately. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego where brought before King Nebuchadnezzar he asked them if it was true that they refused to bow down and worship the image. The king told the three men that they risked being thrown into the fiery furnace if they didn‘t. The three men simply answered the king that it was true – they refused to bow down and worship the golden image. These three Jews didn’t try to make excuses, give the king an apology or try to reason with him. They flatly refused to bow down and worship the idol, even at the king’s command and with the threat of losing their lives. Listen to their bold response: “we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan 3:16-18). King Nebuchadnezzar was outraged and commanded the men to immediately be thrown into the fiery furnace. In fact, the king ordered that the furnace be heated up to seven times its normal rate as an expression of the king’s rage against the men. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound and thrown into the furnace. worker takes a sample at steel companyThe furnace was so hot that it immediately annihilated the soldiers who threw the three men into it. The three men were tied up and bound with their garments so as to have no possible escape. King Nebuchadnezzar must have been present because right after this he was astonished and asked his counselors that “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire? They answered, ’True O King’. He then answered and said, ’But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods’” (Dan 3:24-25). The king apparently recognized the fourth person as being a divine being. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the furnace, their clothes were not harmed, not a hair on their heads were singed and they didn’t even have the smell of smoke on them (Dan. 3:27).

ThreeMenKing Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he commanded everyone in the entire Babylonian Empire to give homage to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to not even speak an ill word against him or be put to death. Even the king gave honor and glory to this god, unknown to him as he was, he wrote praises for him: “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation” (Dan 4:3).  King Nebuchadnezzar understood that his idol was nothing in comparison to the three men’s God. This God may have been Jesus Himself as He is referred to as someone with the “appearance of a son of the gods“(Dan 3:25). Whether this was a Christophany (a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ) we do not know for sure, but it is interesting that Jesus is referred to as “the Son of Man” more than any other single name in the Bible.

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