October 23, 2019
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The General Description of the Path

caphThis is path number Twenty-one, joining Chesed to Netzach. “Moving from the sphere of Venus, the lesser fortune, Netzach, to the sphere of ultimate benevolence, Chesed, we may count ourselves fortunate, indeed. On this path, the energies of the psyche seem to propel us from one good fortune to an even greater one. Still, it is incumbent upon us to remember that its benevolent aspects will hold good only so long as we continue to maintain ourselves in a state of balance and equilibrium, keeping the four elements of personal selfhood – sensation, emotion, intuition – properly balanced. This is the path of great opportunity, but we must remind ourselves that it is far better to be prepared for opportunity than to seek it.”[1]

Adulation – The experience of this path is the emotional response to creativity.  It is creativity experienced at second hand.  The subject of adulation could be music, art, film, dance, writing, or science.  It is the feeling that brings eighty thousand people together to watch someone sing.  It is what motivates people to visit art galleries. (Collin A. Low, The Hermetic Kabbalah, p. 330)

The keynote for this path is “Progressing from the lesser fortune of human emotion to the greater fortune of Divine Benevolence, we may deem ourselves fortunate indeed, but only if we have learned to reconcile and integrate the four-fold function of our personality, and only if we are and continue to remain ruled by perfect balance.”[2] The magical motto of this path is the following: “Behold… his reward is with him, and his work before him… Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span.”[3]




[1] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 55-56.

[2] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 99.

[3] ISA. 40:10,12. Cited in Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 99.

The Hebrew Letter Correspondence: Caph

caph--This is the Eleventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The numerical value is 20. This letter is pronounced Caph – meaning a “spoon” or “the hollow of one’s hand” – receptive symbols, and therefore feminine. It is attributed to Jupiter, and as it connects Chesed (the sphere of 4) to Netzach, which latter is the sphere of Venus, the path of Caph partakes both of the magnanimous and generous expansive character of 4 and the love nature of T. It repeats on a considerably lower plane the attribution of Jupiter, Zeus, Brahma, and Indra. Caph is entitled “the Conciliatory Intelligence” When the dôgesh is omitted, this letter has a guttural sound, Ch, similar to that of Cheth. It has a final form, viz.: T for use at the end of words, and its numerical value is 500.




The Tarot Trump Correspondence: X – The Wheel of Fortune

wheel-of-fortuneThe Tarot Card attribution for this 21th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is X – The Wheel of Fortune. In some packs, the illustration depicts a wheel of seven spokes, with a figure of Anubis on one side bearing a caduceus, and on the other a demon with a trident. On the top of the circumpherence is a shinx bearing a sword. The wheel represents the ever-whirling karmic cycles of Samsara,[4] of existence after existence, at one moment elevating us above princess and the kings of the land, and at others throwing us below the level of slaves and the dust of earth. On the wheel, at each of the carninal points, are inscribed the letters TARO, and in between them the four Hebrew letters of Tetragrammaton. At each of the four corners of the card, seated on a cloud, is one of the creatures seen in vision by the prophet Ezekiel. In some decks, such as the AG Müller, the wheel is also attended by an individual wearing a blindfold; and often there are people sitting or riding on the wheel whilst others are shown falling from it. In some decks, such as the Waite, the wheel is also inscribed with additional alchemical symbols representing the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water (which are also said to be represented throughout the Tarot by the four ‘suits’ of Pentacles or Discs, Swords, Wands and Cups respectively.[5] On the Waite card shown, though not necessarily on others, there are also four winged creatures in the corners of the card, representing the symbols of the four Evangelists (The Lion, the Ox, the Man and the Eagle). Representing the four astrological signs (Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio). In addition a representation of the god Anubis is seen rising with the wheel on the right side, while the snake-like Typhon descends on the left.

A common aspect to most interpretations of this card within a reading is to introduce an element of change in the querant’s life, such change being in station, position or fortune: such as the rich becoming poor, or the poor becoming rich.[6]In Greek mythology, there are three women known as the Fates. They are responsible for spinning the destiny of each person at his or her birth. It is not surprising that the Fates are spinners because the wheel of fortune is an apt image for the elusive turns of a man’s fate. This is the theme of Card 10. The Wheel of Fortune is one of the few cards in the major arcana that does not have a human figure as a focal point. This is because its center is above the realm of man – in the higher levels (clouds) where the destinies of all are woven together in the tapestry of life. The tarot recognizes that each person sets his own path in life, but is also subject to the larger cycles that include him. We experience chance events that appear to be accidents although they are part of the great plan. In readings, the Wheel of Fortune can indicate a vision or realization that strikes with great force. If you’ve been struggling with a problem or tough situation, this card can signal that you will find the answer if you stand back and view everything from a larger perspective. The Wheel of Fortune also represents unexpected encounters and twists of fate. You can’t predict surprises; you can only be aware when one is circling around. Indeed, Card 10 often suggests wheel-like actions – changes in direction, repeating cycles and rapid movement.


[4] The cycle of indefinite transmigration of living beings. Reincarnation.

[5] A. E. Waite (1910), Pictorial Key to the Tarot, p.??

[6]Wood, Robin, The Robin Wood Tarot, Robin Wood Publishing, 1998; Reed, Ellen Cannon: The Witches Tarot, Llewellyn, 1989; Douglas, Alfred, The Tarot, Gollancz, 1972

The Hindu Deity Correspondence: Brahmah and Indra

Lord-brahma-mantrasThe Hidu deity correspondence for the 21st path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Indra. Indra (Devanagari: इन्द्र) or Śakra is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall. Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda. He is celebrated as a demiurge who pushes up the sky, releases dawn (Ushas) from the Vala cave, and slays Vṛtra; both latter actions are central to the Soma sacrifice. On the other hand, he also commits (like Zeus) many kinds of mischief (kilbiṣa) for which he is sometimes punished. He has many epithets, notably vṛṣan the bull, and vṛtrahan, slayer of Vṛtra and maghavan “the bountiful’. Indra appears as the name of an arch-demon in the Zoroastrian religion, while his epithet Verethragna appears as a god of victory. Aspects of Indra as a deity are cognate to other Indo-European gods; they are either thunder gods such as Thor, Perun, and Zeus, or gods of intoxicating drinks such as Dionysos. The name of Indra (Indara) is also mentioned among the gods of the Mitanni, a Hurrian speaking people who ruled northern Syria from ca.1500BC-1300BC. In the Rig Veda, Indra is the king of the gods and ruler of the heavens. Indra is the god of thunder and rain and a great warrior, a symbol of courage and strength. He leads the Deva (the gods who form and maintain Heaven) and the elements, such as Agni (Fire), Varuna (Water) and Surya (Sun), and constantly wages war against the opponents of the gods, the demon-like Asuras. As the god of war, he is also regarded as one of the Guardians of the directions, representing the east. As the favourite ‘national’ god of the Vedic Indians, Indra has about 250 hymns dedicated to him in the Rigveda. Indra’s weapon, is the (Vajra), though he also uses a bow, a net, and a hook. In the post-Vedic period, he rides a large, four-tusked white elephant called Airavata. When portrayed having four arms, he has lances in two of his hands which resemble elephant goads. When he is shown to have two, he holds the Vajra and a bow.[7] He lives in Svarga in the clouds around Mt. Meru. Deceased warriors go to his hall after death, where they live without sadness, pain or fear. They watch the Apsaras and the Gandharvas dance, and play games. The gods of the elements, celestial sages, great kings, and warriors enrich his court.


[7]Masson-Oursel, P.; Morin, Louise (1976). “Indian Mythology.” In New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, pp. 325–359. New York: The Hamlyn Publishing Group.

The Greek Deity Correspondence: Zeus

jupiterrrrrrThe Greek deity attribution for the twenty-first path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Zeus. One of the main reasons for this attribution seems to be the fact that he is considered as the master of fate, a characteristic which is cognant with the Tarot Trump attributed to this path, The Wheel of Fortune. In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus (Ancient Greek: Ζεύς; Modern Greek: Δίας, Dias) was the “Father of Gods and men” (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε)[8] who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter, Hindu counterpart is Indra and Etruscan counterpart is Tinia. Zeus was the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists as a regal man, mature with sturdy figure and dark beard, carrying himself in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical “cloud-gatherer” also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the Ancient Near East, such as the scepter. In most traditions he was married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort was Dione. According to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione. Zeu is notorious for his numerous erotic escapades. These resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.[9] As Walter Burkert points out in his book, Greek Religion, “Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rises in his presence.”[10] For the Greeks, he was the King of the Gods, who oversaw the universe. As Pausanias observed, “That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men.”[11] He was also the original source of all prophetic power, the figure from whom all prophetic signs and sounds always proceeded.[12] In Hesiod’s Theogony Zeus assigns the various gods their roles. In the Homeric Hymns he is referred to as the chieftain of the gods. He is the highest ruler, who with his counsel manages every thing,[13] the founder of kingly power, of law and of order.[14] Zeus and his brothers distributed among themselves the government of the world by lot, Poseidon obtained the sea, Hades the lower world, and Zeus the heavens and the upper regions, but the earth became common to all.[15] Even with such superiority over all other gods and mens and with all the recognition that he enjoyed, the reign of Zeus did not remained unchallenged for he gained a superstar status fighting numerous battles against countless foes. Among others, Zeus acquired quite a reputation fighting in the Titan War. According to the story, in fear for his throne because of a prophecy stating that he will be deposed by one of Kronos’ son, the Titan-king decided to devour each one of his offspring as soon as they were born. Only Zeus survived the carnage thanks to the trickery of his mother Rhea that hid him in a cave on the island of Krete and fed Kronos a substitute rock. When he finally reached adulthood, Zeus challenged Kronos and forced him to disgorge his siblings. With the help of an army of divine-allies, he brought war to the Titanes, which he overthrew and drove into the pit of Tartaros, where they were bound. Another of his highlight concerns his battle against Typhoeus (or Typhon), a monstrous immortal storm-giant responsible for devastating storm winds which issued forth from that dark nether realm.which he defeated and imprisoned in the pit of Tartaros.Gaia infuriated by the imprisonment of the Titans in Tartarus (who were her childrens), incited the Giants to rise up in arms against them, end their reign, and restore the Titans’ rule. Following her lead, the giants, made war on the gods and attempted to storm Olympos. This is known as The War of the Giants.Led on by Alcyoneus, and Porphyrion, the Giant tested the strength of the Olympians in what is known as the Gigantomachia or Gigantomachy. The Olympians called upon the aid of Heracles after a prophecy warned them that he was required to defeat the Giants, for the aid of a mortal was needed. Athena, instructed by Zeus, sought out Heracles and requested his participation in the battle. Heracles responded to Athena’s request by shooting an arrow dipped in the poisonous blood of the dreaded Hydra at Alcyoneus, which made the Giant fall to the earth. However, the Giant was immortal so long as he remained in Pallene. Athena advised Heracles to drag Alcyoneus outside Pallene to make the Giant susceptible to death. Once outside Pallene, he was beaten to death by Heracles. So, if we go back to more earthly matters, we can say that, not restricting himself in taking care of the internal affairs of the gods, Zeus take also upon himself to protects the assembly of the people (agoraios), the meetings of the council (boulaios), and as he presides over the whole state, so also over every house and family.[16] Every thing good as well as bad comes from Zeus, and according to his own choice he assigns their good or evil lot to mortals,[17] and even fate itself was subordinate to him. Zeus, no doubt, was originally a god of a portion of nature, whence the oak with its eatable fruit and the fertile doves were sacred to him at Dodona and in Arcadia (hence also rain, storms, and the seasons were regarded as his work, and hence the Cretan stories of milk, honey, and cornucopia); but in the Homeric poems, this primitive character of a personification of certain powers of nature is already effaced to some extent, and the god appears as a political and national divinity, as the king and father of men, as the founder and protector of all institutions hallowed by law, custom. or religion. The major center where all Greeks converged to pay honor to their chief god was Olympia. Their quadrennial festival featured the famous Games. There was also an altar to Zeus made not of stone, but of ash, from the accumulated remains of many centuries’ worth of animals sacrificed there. Outside of the major inter-polis sanctuaries, there were no modes of worshipping Zeus precisely shared across the Greek world.


[8]Hesiod, Theogony 542 and other sources.

[9]Hamilton, Edith (1942). Mythology (1998 ed.). New York: Back Bay Books. pp. 467.

[10] Homer, Iliad, book 1.503;533

[11]Pausanias, 2. 24.2.

[12] Panomphaios, Il. viii. 250 ; comp. Aeschyl. Eum. 19 ; Callim. Hymn. in Jov. 69.

[13] Homer, Illiad, i. 175, viii. 22.

[14] See Homer, Illiad, i. 238, ii. 205, ix. 99, xvi. 387; comp. See also Hesiod. Op. et D. 36 ; Callim. Hymn. in Jov. 79.

[15] Homer, Illiad. xv. 187, &c., i. 528, ii. 111; Virgil. Aen. iv. 372).

[16] Herkeios, Od. xxii. 335; comp. Ov. Ib. 285.

[17] Od. iv. 237, vi. 188, ix. 552, Il. x. 71, xvii. 632, &c.

The Roman Deity Correspondence #1: Jupiter 

jupiter--versailleThe Roman deity correspondence for the 21th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Jupiter. It seems that the main reason for this attribution for this path is, of course, the numerous correspondences between him and the other major deity attributed to this path like Zeus, Indra, Brahma, Njord, etc., for Jupiter has less original mythos than his fellows from other religions, a lack that he compensates well by being a lot more involved in the affairs of the state that any other before him. In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter (Latin Iuppiter) or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. The name of the god was also adopted as the name of the planet Jupiter, and the adjective “jovial” originally described those born under the planet of Jupiter,[18] who were supposed by nature to be jolly, optimistic, and buoyant in temperament. The Latin name Iuppiter originated as a vocative compound of the Old Latin vocative *Iou and pater (“father”) and came to replace the Old Latin nominative case *Ious.[19] Jupiter is also widely recognized as the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon. Scholars sometimes stress the peculiarity of Jupiter as the only case in Indo-European religions in which the original heavenly god had preserved his name as well as his identity and prerogatives. More than any of its counterparts, Jupiter was and remained the god of Heaven and kept its original conceptual identification with the sky for a very long time in the conscience of Latin poets as his name was commonly used as a synonym of sky.[20] In this respect he would be different from his Greek equivalent Zeus, who is considered a personal god, warden and dispenser of skylight. His name reflects this idea as it is a derivate of the Indo-European word for bright, shining sky. Jupiter may have begun as a sky-god, concerned mainly with wine festivals and associated with the sacred oak on the Capitol. If so, he developed a twofold character, because he later received the spolia opima and became a god of war; as Stator he made the armies stand firm and as Victor he gave them victory.[21] As the sky-god, he was the first resort as a divine witness to oaths.[22] This special relationship with the sky explains why Jupiter’s primary sacred animal is the eagle, the king of birds. Jupiter was the central deity of the early Capitoline Triad of Roman state religion, comprising Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus, who each possessed some measure of the divine characteristics essential to Rome’s agricultural economy, social organisation and success in war.[23] He retained this position as senior deity among the later Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each of them presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, land, and underworld. Jupiter remained Rome’s chief official deity throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until displaced by the religious hegemony of Christianity. The Romans believed that Jupiter granted them supremacy because they had honored him more than any other people had. Jupiter was “the fount of the auspices upon which the relationship of the city with the gods rested.”[24] He personified the divine authority of Rome’s highest offices, internal organization, and external relations. His image in the Republican and Imperial Capitol bore regalia associated with Rome’s ancient kings and the highest consular and imperial honours.[25]The consuls swore their oath of office in Jupiter’s name, and honored him on the annual feriae of the Capitol in September. To thank him for his help, and to secure his continued support, they offered him a white, castrated ox (bos mas) with gilded horns.[26]Jupiter’s association with kingship and sovereignty was reinterpreted as Rome’s form of government changed. Jupiter was served by the patrician Flamen Dialis, the most senior of the flamines, a college of fifteen priests in the official public cult of Rome, along with his wife, the Flaminica Dialis. The Flaminica had her own duties, and presided over the sacrifice of a ram to Jupiter on each of the nundinae, the “market” days of a calendar cycle comparable to a week.[27]The fetials were a college of twenty men devoted to the religious administration of the international affairs of the state.[28] Their task was to preserve and apply the fetial law (ius fetiale), a complex set of procedures aimed at ensuring the protection of the gods in Rome’s relations with foreign states. Iupiter Lapis is the god under whose protection they act and whom the chief fetial (pater patratus) invokes in the rite concluding a treaty.[29] If a declaration of war ensues, then the fetial must calls upon Jupiter, Juno (or Janus), Quirinus, and the heavenly, earthly and chthonic gods to witness the violation of the ius. He can then declare war within thirty-three days.[30] The temple to Jupiter Optimus Maximus stood on the Capitoline Hill. Jupiter was worshiped there as an individual deity, and with Juno and Minerva as part of the Capitoline Triad. It was topped with the statues of four horses drawing a quadriga, with Jupiter as charioteer. A large statue of Jupiter stood within; on festival days, its face was painted red.[31] In or near the same temple was the Iuppiter Lapis or the Jupiter Stone, on which oaths could be sworn. There were two temples in Rome dedicated to Iuppiter Stator: the first one was vowed and built in 294 BC by Marcus Atilius Regulus after the third Saamnite War. It was located on the Via Nova, below the Porta Mugonia, ancient entrance to the Palatine.[32] A second temple of Iuppiter Stator was built and dedicated by Quintus Caecilus Metellus Macedonicus after his triumph in 146 BC near the Circus Flaminius. Iuppiter Victor had a temple dedicated by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges during the third Samnite War in 295 BC. Its location remained unknown. There were also countless festivities held in honnor of Jupiter. For example, the Ides (the day that was the midpoint of any given month) was known to be sacred to Jupiter, because on that day the heavenly light shines uninterrupted day and night.[33] The nundinae recurred every ninth day. During the Republican era, more fixed holidays on the Roman calendar were devoted to Jupiter than to any other deity. [34]Festivals of viniculture and wine belonged to Jupiter. Dumézil describes the wine as a “kingly” drink with the power to inebriate and exhilarate, analogous with Vedic Soma. At least three Roman festivals were connected with viniculture and wine: The Vinalia altera,[35] the Meditrinalia,[36]and the Vinalia urbana.[37] The Regifugium (“King’s Flight”) on February 24 is in relation with the Poplifugia on July 5, which was a day holy to Jupiter.[38]The Regifugium followed immediately on the festival of Iuppiter Terminus (Jupiter of Boundaries) on February 23. A temporary vacancy of power, took place between the Regifugium on February 24 and the New Year on March 1, when the lunar cycle was thought to coincide again with the solar cycle and the incertitudes of change during the two winter months are over.[39] There were two festivals called epulum Iovis, “Feast of Jove”. One was held on September 13, the anniversary of the foundation of Jupiter’s Capitoline temple and the other (that was probably an older festival) was part of the Plebeian Games (Ludi Plebei), and was held on November 13.[40]The games of September (the most ancient Roman games) were named Ludi Magni and originally were not held every year, later they became the yearly Ludi Romani.[41]



[18]Walter W. Skeat, A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1882, OUP 1984, p.274 It is interesting to know that “Jove” was the original namesake of Latin forms of the weekday now known in English as Thursday but originally called Iovis Dies in Latin, giving rise to jeudi in French.

[19]Linguistic studies identify the form *Iou-pater as deriving from the Indo-European vocative compound *Dyēu-pəter (meaning “O Father Sky-god”; nominative: *Dyēus-pətēr). See”Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans”. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed. ed.). 2000.

[20] Georg Wissowa, Religion und Kultus der Römer Munich, 1912, p. 102. Wissowa, above, cites three passages from Horace, Carmina: I 1, 25 manet sub Iove frigido venator; I 22, 20 quod latus mundi nebulae malusque Iuppiter urget; III 10, 7 ut glaciet nives puro numine Iuppiter.

[21]Victor became an intermediary feminine personification Victoria.

[22]Fides had a similar function, but was feminine. Mars was also a deity of both agriculture and war, and was offered a sheep, a suckling pig and a bull for his continued protection of the fields and family. Cited by Halm, in Rüpke (ed), 239. See also Cato the Elder, On Agriculture, 141. The Colline deity Quirinus may have equivalent in some way to both Mars and Jupiter: “Quirinus, perhaps the war god of the Quirinal settlement or the god who presided over the assembled citizens.” (Howard Hayes Scullard, (2003), A History of the Roman World, 753 to 146 BC, page 393. Routledge.)

[23]For a summary regarding the nature, status and complex development of Jupiter from regal to Republican era, see Beard et al., Vol. 1, 59 – 60. For the conceptual difficulties involved in discussion of Roman deities and their cults, see Rüpke, in Rüpke (ed) 1 – 7.

[24]Mary Beard, J.A. North, and S.R.F. Price, Religions of Rome: A History (Cambridge University Press, 1998), vol. 1, p. 59.

[25]Orlin, in Rüpke, Jörg (Editor), A Companion to Roman Religion, Wiley-Blackwell, 2007. p.58.

[26]Scheid, in Rüpke (ed), 263 – 271; G. Dumézil ARR It. tr. p. 181 citing Jean Bayet Les annales de Tite Live édition G. Budé vol. III 1942 Appendix V p. 153 and n. 3.

[27]Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.16.

[28]Dionysius Halicarnasseus Ant. Rom. I 21, 1 ; Livy I 32, 4.

[29]Livy I 24, 8.

[30]Livy I 32, 10.

[31]Ovid, Fasti, 1.201f.

[32] Georg Wissowa Religion und Kultus der Römer Munich 1912, p. 107; Livy X 36, 1 and 37, 15 f.

[33]Wissowa above p. 101 citing Macrobius Saturnalia I 15, 14 and 18, Iohannes Lydus De Mensibus III 7, Plutarch Quaestiones Romanae 24.

[34]Michael Lipka, Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach (Brill, 2009), p. 36.

[35]The rustic Vinalia altera of August 19 asked for good weather for ripening the grapes before harvest.

[36]The Meditrinalia of October 11 marked the end of the grape harvest; new wine was pressed, tasted and mixed with old wine to control fermentation. In the Fasti Amiternini this festival is assigned to Jupiter.

[37]At the Vinalia urbana of April 23 the new wine was offered to Jupiter. Large quantities of it were poured into a ditch near the temple of Venus Erycina, which was located on the Capitol.

[38]Robert Turcan, The Cults of the Roman Empire (Blackwell, 1992, 1996, 2001 printing, originally published 1989 in French), p. 75. Wissowa had already connected the Poplifugia to Jupiter: p. 102, citing Cassius Dio XLVII 18 and the Fasti Amiternini (feriae Iovis).

[39] André Magdelain “Auspicia ad patres redeunt” in Hommage á Jean Bayet Bruxelles 1964 527 ff. See also Jean Bayet Histoire politique et psychologique de la religion romaine Paris 1957 p. 99; Jacques Heurgon, Rome et la Méditerranée occcidentale Paris 1969 p. 204-8.; Paul-M. Martin “La fonction calendaire du roi de Rome et sa participation á certaines fêtes” in Annles de Bretagne et des pays de l’ Ouest 83 1976 2 p. 239-244

[40] Henri Le Bonniec Le culte de Cérès á Rome Paris 1958 p. 348, developing Jean Bayet Les annales de Tite Live (Titus Livius AUC libri qui supersunt) ed. G. Budé vol. III Paris 1942 Appendix V p. 145-153.

[41]Mommsen Römischen Forschungen II p. 42 ff. puts their founding on 366 BC at the establishment of the curule aedility. Cited by Wissowa p. 111.

The Roman Deity Correspondence #2: Pluto

4220-140Surprisingly enough, another attribution for this 21st path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Pluto. Obviously it’s not the aspects of Pluto that are related his rulership of the underworld that interests us in this association. Israel Regardie tells us that this correspondence is nevertheless appropriate regarding one of his primary aspects “since he is the blind giver of wealth, symbolical of the infinite and abundant prodigality of nature.”[42] In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto (Πλούτων, Ploutōn) was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself. This deity has two major myths: in Greek cosmogony, he received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brothers Zeus ruling Heaven and Poseidon the Sea; and he abducts Persephone to be his wife and the queen of his realm. In other myths, he plays a secondary role, mostly as the possessor of a quest-object.[43] The name Ploutōn was frequently conflated with that of Plutus (Πλοῦτος, Ploutos), a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, and because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest. Ploutōn became a more positive way to talk about the ruler of the underworld, and the name was popularized through the mystery religions and philosophical systems influenced by Plato, the major Greek source on its meaning.[44] Pluto (genitive Plutonis) is the Latinized form of the Greek Ploutōn. Pluto’s Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean “Rich Father.” Pluto was also identified with the obscure Roman Orcus, like Hades the name of both a god of the underworld and the underworld as a place. The name Pluto is sometimes used for the ruler of the dead in Latin literature, leading some mythology handbooks to assert misleadingly that Pluto was the Roman counterpart of Hades, rather than an adopted Greek name identified with Dis Pater or Orcus.[45] Pluto (French Pluton and Italian Plutone) is commonly used as the name of the classical ruler of the underworld in subsequent Western literature and other art forms. Ploutos, “Wealth,” appears in the Theogony as the child of Demeter and Iasion: “fine Plutus, who goes upon the whole earth and the broad back of the sea, and whoever meets him and comes into his hands, that man he makes rich, and he bestows much wealth upon him.” This union, also described in the Odyssey,[46] took place in a fallow field that had been ploughed three times, in what seems to be a reference to a ritual copulation or sympathetic magic to ensure the earth’s fertility.[47] “The resemblance of the name Ploutos to Plouton …,” it has been noted, “cannot be accidental. Plouton is lord of the dead, but as Persephone’s husband he has serious claims to the powers of fertility.”[48] Demeter’s son merges with her son-in-law, redefining the implacable chariot-driver Hades whose horses trample the flowering earth.[49]One thing that may have contributed to feed the confusion evoking Pluto as a correspondence for the Greek God Hades is the fact that the namePlouton was one of several euphemistic names for Hades in the Iliad when Homer described him as the god who is most hateful to mortals.[50] To Plato, the god of the underworld was “an agent in th[e] beneficent cycle of death and rebirth” meriting worship under the name of Plouton, a giver of spiritual wealth.[51] In the dialogue Cratylus, Plato has Socrates explain the etymology of Plouton, saying that Pluto gives wealth (ploutos), and his name means “giver of wealth, which comes out of the earth beneath.” People prefers to call him this way because the name Hades is taken to mean “the invisible,” people fear what they cannot see; [52] although they are in error about the nature of this deity’s power, Socrates says, but “the office and name of the God really correspond.” Having in itself nothing to do with any kind of hell, the name was in fact to be understood as referring to “the boundless riches of the earth, both the crops on its surface — he was originally a god of the land — and the mines hidden within it.”[53] What is sometimes taken as “confusion” of the two gods Plouton and Ploutos (“Wealth”) held or acquired a theological significance in antiquity; as a lord of abundance or riches, Pluto expresses the positive aspect of the god, symbolized in art by the “horn of plenty” (cornucopia),[54] by means of which Plouton is distinguished from the gloomier Hades.[55]Some scholars think that rituals and beliefs pertaining to Pluto entered Roman culture with the establishment of the Saecular Games in 249 BC, and that Dis pater was only a translation of Plouton.[56] Cicero identifies Pluto with Dis, explaining that “The earth in all its power and plenty is sacred to Father Dis, a name which is the same as Dives, ‘The Wealthy One,’ as is the Greek Plouton. This is because everything is born of the earth and returns to it again.”[57]The geographer Strabo (1st century) makes a clear distinction between Pluto and Hades. In writing of the mineral wealth of ancient Iberia (Roman Spain), he says that among the Turdetani, it is “Pluto, and not Hades, who inhabits the region down below.”[58] In Lucian’s discourse On Mourning (2nd century), Pluto’s “wealth” refers in fact to all the dead souls he rules over in the abyss (chasma); in this context, the name Hades itself is not associated to him directly but is rather reserved to refer to the underworld itself.[59]Another detail that seems to reinforce the link established between Zeus and Pluto by this qabalistic correspondence is the fact that, in Greek religious practice, Pluto is sometimes seen as the “chthonic Zeus” (Zeus Chthonios[60] or Zeus Catachthonios[61]), or at least as having functions or significance equivalent to those of Zeus but pertaining to the earth or underworld.[62] In ancient Roman and Hellenistic religion, Pluto was identified with a large number of other deities, including namely Summanus, the god of nocturnal thunder,[63] Februus, the god from whose purification rites the month of February takes its name,[64] the syncretic god Serapis, who is often regarded as Pluto’s Egyptian equivalent.[65] And there is also the Semitic god Muth (Μούθ). Muth was described by Philo of Byblos as the equivalent of both Thanatos (Death personified) and Pluto.[66] In addition to asserting that Muth was equivalent to both Thanatos (Death personified) and Pluto, Philo also said he was the son of Kronos and Rhea. These references illustrates in a convincing manner that, despite the popular belief, the ancient Greeks did not regard Pluto as “death” per se.[67]The Orphic Hymn to Pluto addresses the god as “strong-spirited” and the “All-Receiver” who commands death and is the master of mortals. His titles are given as Zeus Chthonios and Euboulos means “Good Counsel,” which would be unusual for a warden of hell. In the hymn’s topography, Pluto’s dwelling is in Tartarus, simultaneously a “meadow” and “thick-shaded and dark,” where the Acheron encircles “the roots of the earth.” Hades is again the name of the place, here described as “windless,” and its gates, through which Pluto carried “pure Demeter’s daughter” as his bride, are located in an Attic cave within the district of Eleusis. The names of both Hades and Pluto appear also in the Greek Magical Papyri and curse tablets, with Hades usually referring to the underworld as a “place,” and where Pluto is regularly invoked as the partner of Persephone.[68] Five Latin curse tablets from Rome, dating to the mid-1st century BC, promise Persephone and Pluto an offering of “dates, figs, and a black pig” if the curse is fulfilled by the desired deadline. The pig was a characteristic animal sacrifice to chthonic deities, whose victims were typically black or dark in color.[69] A set of curse tablets written in Doric Greek and found in a tomb addresses a Pasianax, “Lord to All,” [70] sometimes taken as a title of Pluto,[71] but more recently thought to be a magical name for the corpse.[72] Pasianax is found elsewhere as an epithet of Zeus, or in the tablets may invoke a daimon like Abrasax.[73]A sanctuary dedicated to Pluto was called a ploutonion (Latin plutonium). The complex at Eleusis for the mysteries had a ploutonion regarded as the birthplace of the divine child Ploutos, in another instance of conflation or close association of the two gods.[74]Attributes of Pluto mentioned in the Orphic Hymn to Pluto are his scepter, keys, throne, and horses. In the hymn, the keys are connected to his capacity for giving wealth to humanity, specifically the agricultural wealth of “the year’s fruits.” Ambiguity of color is characteristic of Pluto. Although both he and his realm are regularly described as dark, black, or gloomy, the god himself is sometimes seen as pale or having a pallor. Martianus Capella (5th century) describes him as both “growing pale in shadow, a fugitive from light” and actively “shedding darkness in the gloom of Tartarean night,” crowned with a wreath made of ebony as suitable for the kingdom he governs.[75] The horses of Pluto are usually black, but Ovid describes them as “sky-colored” (caeruleus, from caelum, “sky”), which might be blue, greenish-blue, or dark blue.[76]The mythographical Library traditionally attributed to Apollodorus (2nd century BC)[77] uses the name Plouton instead of Hades in relating the tripartite division of sovereignty, the abduction of Persephone, and the visit of Orpheus to the underworld. This version of the theogony for the most part follows Hesiod (see above), but adds that the three brothers were each given a gift by the Cyclopes to use in their battle against the Titans: Zeus thunder and lightning; Poseidon a trident; and Pluto a helmet (kyneê).[78]The helmet Pluto receives is presumably the magical Cap of Invisibility (aidos kyneê), but Apollodorus is the only ancient author who explicitly says it belonged to Pluto.[79] In ordering his ideal city, Plato proposed a calendar in which Pluto was honored as a benefactor in the twelfth month, implicitly ranking him as one of the twelve principal deities.[80] In the Attic calendar, the twelfth month, more or less equivalent to June, was Skirophorion; the name may be connected to the rape of Persephone.[81]



[42] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.

[43]William Hansen, Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical World of the Greeks and Romans. Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 180-181.

[44]Lewis Richard Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States. Clarendon Press, 1907, vol. 3, p. 281.

[45]Hansen, Classical Mythology, p. 182, makes this delicate distinction.

[46]Odyssey 5.125–128: And so it was when Demeter of the lovely hair, yielding / to her desire, lay down with Iasion and loved him / in a thrice-turned field

[47]Hesiod, Theogony 969–74; Apostolos N. Athanassakis, Hesiod. Theogony, Works and Days, Shield (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983, 2004), p. 56.

[48]Athanassakis, Hesiod, p. 56.

[49]Emily Vermeule, Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry (University of California Press, 1979), pp. 37, 219; Hendrik Wagenvoort, “The Origin of the Ludi Saeculares,” in Studies in Roman Literature, Culture and Religion (Brill, 1956), p. 198.

[50]Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 162 and 182, citing Homer, Iliad 9.158–159. Euphemism is a characteristic way of speaking of divine figures associated with the dead and the underworld; Joseph William Hewitt, “The Propitiation of Zeus,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 19 (1908), p. 66, considers euphemism a form of propitiation.

[51]Morrow, Plato’s Cretan City, pp. 452–453.

[52]Plato, Cratylus 403a; Glenn R. Morrow, Plato’s Cretan City: A Historical Interpretation of the Laws (Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 452–453.

[53]Fernando Navarro Antolin, Lygdamus: Corpus Tibullianum III.1–6, Lygdami Elegiarum Liber (Brill, 1996), pp. 145–146.

[54]Charlotte R. Long, The Twelve Gods of Greece and Rome (Brill, 1987), p. 179; Phyllis Fray Bober, “Cernunnos: Origin and Transformation of a Celtic Divinity,” American Journal of Archaeology 55 (1951), p. 28, examples in Greek and Roman art in note 98.

[55]Tsagalis, Inscribing Sorrow, pp. 101–102; Morrow, Plato’s Cretan City, pp. 452–453; John J. Hermann, Jr., “Demeter-Isis or the Egyptian Demeter? A Graeco-Roman Sculpture from an Egyptian Workshop in Boston” in Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 114 (1999), p. 88.

[56]H.D. Jocelyn, The Tragedies of Ennius (Cambridge University Press, 1967), p. 331.

[57]Cicero, De natura deorum 2.66, translation of John MacDonald Ross. Penguin Books, 1972.

[58]Strabo 3.9, talks about the silver mines of Attica, where “the people dig as strenuously as if they expected to bring up Pluto himself”.

[59]Lucian, On Mourning; Peter Bolt, Jesus’ Defeat of Death: Persuading Mark’s Early Readers (Cambridge University Press, 2003) discusses this passage (pp. 126–127) and Greco-Roman conceptions of the underworld as a context for Christian eschatology passim.

[60]Noel Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities: The Sacred Laws of Selinus and Cyrene. Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 102, citing passages from the Orphic Hymns,throughout which Plouton is the ruler of the underworld, and Hades is the name of the place itself.

[61]Hewitt, “The Propitiation of Zeus,” p. 74, asserts that “Zeus Catachthonius seems certainly to be Pluto.”

[62]Zeus Chthonius and Pluto are seen as having “the same significance” in the Orphic Hymns and in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus (6.156ff.), Overlapping functions are also suggested when Hesiod advises farmers to pray to “Zeus Chthonius and to holy Demeter that they may cause the holy corn of Demeter to teem in full perfection.” This form of Zeus receives the black victims typically offered to underworld deities.

[63] Martianus Capella, De Nuptiis 2.161.

[64]Martianus Capella, De nuptiis 2.149; Isidore of Seville, Etymologies 5.33.4; Servius, note to Vergil’s Georgics 1.43 (Vergil refrains from naming the god); John Lydus, De mensibus 4.25.

[65]Plutarch, De Iside 27 (361e): “In fact, men assert that Pluto is none other than Serapis and that Persephone is Isis, even as Archemachus of Euboea has said, and also Heracleides Ponticus who holds the oracle in Canopus to be an oracle of Pluto.”

[66]Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 1.10.34, Philo’s cosmogony as summarized by Eusebius bears some similarities to that of Hesiod and the Orphics. Philo said that these were reinterpretations of “Phoenician” beliefs by the Greeks.

[67]William Hansen, Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical World of the Greeks and Romans (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 182.

[68]Hans Dieter Betz, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation (University of Chicago Press, 1986, 1992); See also John G. Gager, Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World (Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 12 (examples invoking Pluto pp. 99, 135, 143–144, 207–209)

[69]Bolt, Jesus’ Defeat of Death, p. 152; John Scheid, “Sacrifices for Gods and Ancestors”, in A Companion to Roman Religion (Blackwell, 2007), p. 264.

[70]Daniel Ogden, Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 212, with English translation of the curse.

[71]Gager, Curse Tablets, p. 131, with translations of both tablets, and note 35.

[72]Derek Collins, Magic in the Ancient Greek World (Blackwell, 2008), p. 73.

[73]Esther Eidinow, “Why the Athenians Began to Curse,” in Debating the Athenian Cultural Revolution: Art, Literature, Philosophy and Politics 430–380 BC (Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 50; Ogden, Magic, Withcraft, and Ghosts, p. 212.

[74]Bernard Dietrich, “The Religious Prehistory of Demeter’s Eleusinian Mysteries,” in La soteriologia dei culti orientali nell’ Impero Romano (Brill, 1982), p. 454.

[75]Lucifuga inumbratione pallescens and Tartareae noctis obscuritate furvescens, Martianus Capella, De nuptiis 1.79–80; Danuta Shanzer, A Philosophical and Literary Commentary onMartianus Capella’s De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii Book 1 (University of California Press, 1986), p. 171.

[76]Ovid, Fasti 4.446, as cited John G. Fitch, Seneca’s Hercules furens: A Critical Text with Introduction and Commentary (Cornell University Press, 1987), p. 166, note to Seneca’s identical description of the horses of the Sun (line 132). Ovid describes the horses as black (ater) in his version of the abduction myth in the Metamorphoses, 5.310

[77]Sources used to prepare this article uniformly refer to the Library of Apollodorus. Recent scholarship prefers to view the authorship of this work as anonymous; see Bibliotheca (Pseudo-Apollodorus).

[78]Apollodorus, The Library 1.1–2, 1911 Loeb Classical Library edition, translation and notes by J.G. Frazer.

[79]Hansen, Classical Mythology, p. 182. Apparent references to the “helmet of Pluto” in other authors, such as Irenaeus (Against Heresies), are misleading; “Pluto” is substituted by the English translator for “Hades.”

[80]Plato, Laws 828 B-D; Morrow, Plato’s Cretan City p. 452; Long, The Twelve Gods, p. 179.

[81]Morrow, Plato’s Cretan City, p. 453; Long, The Twelve Gods, p. 179.


The Scandinavian Deity Correspondence: Njord

Njord_dieu_de_la_merThe Scandinavian deity correspondence for this 21st path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Njord. In Norse mythology, Njörðr is a god among the Vanir. Njörðr is father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed Van sister, was in an ill-fated marriage with the goddess Skaði, lives in Nóatún and is associated with sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility. The name Njörðr corresponds to that of the older Germanic fertility goddess Nerthus, and both derive from the Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz. The original meaning of the name is contested, but it may be related to the Irish word nert which means “force” and “power”. It has been suggested that the change of sex from the female Nerthus to the male Njörðr is due to the fact that feminine nouns with u-stems disappeared early in Germanic language while the masculine nouns with u-stems prevailed. However, other scholars hold the change to be based not on grammatical gender but on the evolution of religious beliefs; that *Nerþuz and Njörðr appear as different genders because they are to be considered separate beings.[82] The name Njörðr may be related to the name of the Norse goddess Njörun.[83] Njörðr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, in euhemerized form as a beloved mythological early king of Sweden in Heimskringla, also written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century, as one of three gods invoked in the 14th century Hauksbók ring oath, and in numerous Scandinavian place names. Veneration of Njörðr survived into 18th or 19th century Norwegian folk practice, where the god is recorded as Njor and thanked for a bountiful catch of fish. Njörðr has been the subject of an amount of scholarly discourse and theory, often connecting him with the figure of the much earlier attested Germanic goddess Nerthus, the hero Hadingus, and theorizing on his formerly more prominent place in Norse paganism due to the appearance of his name in numerous place names. Njörðr is sometimes modernly anglicized as Njord, Njoerd, or Njorth. In the Northern Sagas we find that it is Njord who rules over the winds and storms, and checks the fury of the sea and fire; he is, moreover, the guardian of wealth and gives possessions to those who call upon him. Njörðr is described as a future survivor of Ragnarök in stanza 39 of the poem Vafþrúðnismál. In this poem, the god Odin, disguised as “Gagnráðr” faces off with the wise jötunn Vafþrúðnir in a battle of wits. While Odin states that Vafþrúðnir knows all the fates of the gods, Odin asks Vafþrúðnir “from where Njörðr came to the sons of the Æsir,” that Njörðr rules over quite a lot of temples and hörgrs (a type of Germanic altar), and further adds that Njörðr was not raised among the Æsir. Vafþrúðnir says:”In Vanaheim the wise Powers made him and gave him as hostage to the gods; at the doom of men he will come back home among the wise Vanir.”[84] In stanza 16 of the poem Grímnismál, Njörðr is described as having a hall in Nóatún made for himself. The stanza describes Njörðr as a “prince of men,” that he is “lacking in malice,” and that he “rules over the “high-timbered temple.”[85] In stanza 43, the creation of the god Freyr’s ship Skíðblaðnir is recounted, and Freyr is cited as the son of Njörðr.[86] In the prose introduction to the poem Skírnismál, Freyr is mentioned as the son of Njörðr, and stanza 2 cites the goddess Skaði as the mother of Freyr.[87] Further in the poem, Njörðr is again mentioned as the father of Freyr in stanzas 38, 39, and 41.[88] In the late flyting poem Lokasenna, an exchange between Njörðr and Loki occurs in stanzas 33, 34, 35, and 36. After Loki has an exchange with the goddess Freyja, in stanza 33 Njörðr states:”That’s harmless, if, beside a husband, a woman has a lover or someone else; what is surprising is a pervert god coming in here, who has borne children.”[89]


[82]Hellquist, E. (1922): Svensk etymologisk ordbok. C. W. K. Gleerups förlag, Lund., p.519.

[83]Jónsson, Finnur (1913). Goðafræði Norðmanna og Íslendinga eftir heimildum. Hið íslenska bókmentafjelag. p. 110. See also Magnússon, Ásgeir Blöndal (1989). Íslensk orðsifjabók. Orðabók Háskólans, p. 671.

[84]Larrington, Carolyne (Trans.) (1999). The Poetic Edda. Oxford World’s Classics, p.46.

[85]Larrington, Carolyne (Trans.) (1999). The Poetic Edda. Oxford World’s Classics, p.54.

[86]Larrington, Carolyne (Trans.) (1999). The Poetic Edda. Oxford World’s Classics, p.61.

[87]Larrington, Carolyne (Trans.) (1999). The Poetic Edda. Oxford World’s Classics, p.61.

[88]Larrington, Carolyne (Trans.) (1999). The Poetic Edda. Oxford World’s Classics, p.67.

[89]Larrington, Carolyne (Trans.) (1999). The Poetic Edda. Oxford World’s Classics, p.90.

The Jewel Correspondence: Lapiz Lazulli & Amethyst

amethystAmethyst is a violet variety of quartz often used in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek ἀ a- (“not”) and μέθυστος methustos (“intoxicated”), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness; the ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. It is one of several forms of quartz. Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for February. Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz, containing an impurity of iron, which gives the violet color to the mineral.[90] The hardness of the mineral is the same as quartz’s, thus it is suitable for use in jewelry. Amethyst occurs in primary hues from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and blue. The ideal grade is called “Deep Siberian” and has a primary purple hue of around 75–80%, 15–20% blue and (depending on the light source) red secondary hues.[91]Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglio engraved gems.[92] The Greeks believed amethyst gems could prevent intoxication,[93] while medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle – the reason for this being that amethysts are believed to heal people and keep them cool-headed.[94] Beads of amethyst were found in Anglo-Saxon graves in England.[95] The Greek word “amethystos” may be translated as “not drunken”, from Greek a-, “not” + methustos, “intoxicated.” Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. In Greek mythology, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, and of wine, was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Artemis answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos’s desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple. Variations of the story include that Dionysus had been insulted by a mortal and swore to slay the next mortal who crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wrath. The mortal turned out to be a beautiful young woman, Amethystos, who was on her way to pay tribute to Artemis. Her life was spared by Artemis, who transformed the maiden into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god’s tears then stained the quartz purple. Another variation involves the titan Rhea presenting Dionysus with the amethyst stone to preserve the wine-drinker’s sanity.

lapizAntother precious stone attribution for this path isthe Lapis lazuli (Arabic: لازورد‎ Persian: لاژورد Urdu: لاجورد) (sometimes abbreviated to lapis) is a relatively rare semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color. Lapis is the Latin for “stone” and lazuli the genitive form of the Medieval Latin lazulum, which is taken from the Arabic لازورد lāzaward, which is from the Persian لاژورد lāzhward, the name of a place where lapis lazuli was mined.[96] Taken as a whole, lapis lazuli means “stone of Lāzhward”. The name of the place came to be associated with the stone mined there and, eventually, with its color. The English word azure, the French azur, the Italian azzurro, the Polish lazur and the Spanish and Portuguese azul are cognates. Lapis lazuli was being mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan as early as the 3rd millennium BC[97] and there are sources that are found as far east as in the region around Lake Baikal in Siberia. Trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Predynastic Egyptian and ancient Sumerian sites, and as lapis beads at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania. Lapis lazuli is found in limestone in the Kokcha River valley of Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan, where the Sar-e-Sang mine deposits have been worked for more than 6,000 years.[98] Afghanistan was the source of lapis for the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, as well as the later Greeks and Romans. During the height of the Indus valley civilization about 2000 BC, the Harappan colony now known as Shortugai was established near the lapis mines. Lapis takes an excellent polish and can be made into jewelry, carvings, boxes, mosaics, ornaments, and vases. It was also ground and processed to make the pigment ultramarine for tempera paint and, more rarely, oil paint. Its usage as a pigment in oil paint ended in the early 19th century when a chemically identical synthetic variety, often called French ultramarine, became available. In ancient Egypt, lapis lazuli was a favorite stone for amulets and ornaments such as scarabs; it was also used in ancient Mesopotamia by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians for seals and jewelry. The ancient Egyptians used lapis lazuli to represent heaven. Lapis jewelry has been found at excavations of the Predynastic Egyptian site Naqada (3300–3100 BC), and powdered lapis was used as eyeshadow by Cleopatra.[99] In ancient Mesopotamia, lapis artifacts can be found in great abundance, with many notable examples having been excavated at the Royal Cemetery of Ur (2600-2500 BC). In ancient times, lapis lazuli was known as sapphire,[100] which is the name that is used today for the blue corundum variety sapphire.


[90]Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

[91]Richard W Wise (2005), Secrets of the Gem Trade; The Connoisseur’s Guide to Precious Gemstones, Brunswick House Press, Lenox, Massachutes.

[92]Augosto Castellani (1871), Gems, Notes and Extracts, p. 34. London, Bell and Daldy. Augosto Castellani was a famous Italian 19th century jeweler.

[93]Marcell N Smith (1913), Diamonds, Pearls and Precious Stones, Griffith Stillings Press, Boston, Massachutes, p. 74.

[94]George Frederick Kunz (1913), Curious Lore of Precious Stones, Lippincott Company, Philadelphia & London.

[95]The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 261.

[96]Senning, Alexander (2007). “lapis lazuli (lazurite)”. Elsevier’s Dictionary of Chemoetymology. Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 224.; Weekley, Ernest (1967). “azure”. An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English. New York: Dover Publications. pp. 97.

[97]Moorey, Peter Roger (1999). Ancient Mesopotamian Materials and Industries: the Archaeological Evidence. Eisenbrauns. pp. 86–87.

[98]Oldershaw, Cally (2003). “Lapis Lazuli”. Firefly Guide to Gems. Toronto: Firefly Books.

[99]Bowersox, Gary W.; Chamberlin, Bonita E. (1995). Gemstones of Afghanistan. Tucson, AZ: Geoscience Press.

The Plant Correspondence #1: Hyssop

hyssopThe sacred plant attributions for this 20th path of the qabalictic Tree of Life are the Hyssop and the Oak. One of the reasons for the Hyssop attribution on this path is probably his blue color which is coherent with the color attribution which is Royal Violet or blue, and with the precious stone attribution, Amethyst that usually occurs in primary hues from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. Hyssop (Hyssopus) is a genus of about 10-12 species of herbaceous or semi-woody plants in the family Lamiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to central Asia. The name hyssop can be traced back almost unchanged through the Greek ύσσωπος (hyssopos). The plants in the family Lamiaceae are aromatic, with erect branched stems up to 60 cm long covered with fine hairs at the tips. The leaves are narrow oblong, 2–5 cm long. The small blue flowers are borne on the upper part of the branches during summer. By far the best-known species is the Herb Hyssop (H. officinalis), widely cultivated outside its native area in the Mediterranean. Note that anise hyssop, Agastache foeniculum (also called blue giant hyssop), is a very different plant and not a close relation, although both are in the mint family. Anise hyssop is native to much of north-central and northern North America. The Book of Exodus records that the blood of the sacrifices was applied to the doorposts using hyssop on the night of Passover. Its purgative properties are also mentioned in the Book of Psalms.[101] Jesus, on the cross, knowing that all things had now been finished[102] said, “I thirst” and a sponge soaked in vinegar (Roman soldier wine, sour wine) was put at the end of a hyssop branch and brought up to His mouth for Him to drink.[103] Both Matthew and Mark mention the occasion but refer to the plant using the general term καλαμος (kalamos), which is translated as “reed” or “stick.” Hyssop is used as an ingredient in eau de Cologne and the liqueur Chartreuse. It is also used to color the spirit Absinthe, along with Melissa and Roman wormwood. Hyssop is also used, usually in combination with other herbs such as liquorice, in herbal remedies, especially for lung conditions. The essential oils of hyssop can cause fatal convulsions in rats,[104] and may not be as safe as most people believe.When used as a culinary ingredient, Hyssop leaves have a slightly bitter minty flavour and can be added to soups, salads, or meats, although should be used sparingly, as the flavour is very strong.Hyssop is also often used to fill the Catholic ceremonial Aspergillum, which the priest dips into a bowl of holy water, and sprinkles onto the congregation to bless them. To wit, the invocation in Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere states Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. However, researchers have suggested that the Biblical accounts refer not to the plant currently known as hyssop but rather to one of a number of different herbs.

The Plant Correspondence #2: Oak

angel-oak-1The oak is also attributed as a sacred plat to this 20th path of the Tree of Life. The reason for this attribution is witout a doubt base on the fact that the “oak” is recognized everywhere in litteratire as the sacred tree of Zeus, which is the Greek deity attribution for this path.[105] The Olympian Zeus sometimes wears a wreath of olive, and the Dodonaean Zeus a wreath of oak leaves. An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus (Latin “oak tree”), of which about 600 species exist. “Oak” may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus. The genus is native to the northern hemisphere, and includes deciduous and evergreen species extending from cold latitudes to tropical Asia and the Americas.Oaks have spirally arranged leaves, with a lobed margin in many species; some have serrated leaves or entire leaves with a smooth margin. The flowers are catkins, produced in spring. The fruit of the oak is a nut called an acorn, borne in a cup-like structure known as a cupule; each acorn contains one seed (rarely two or three) and takes 6–18 months to mature, depending on species. Wide, quarter-sawn boards of oak have been prized since the middle Ages for use in interior paneling of prestigious buildings such as the debating chamber of the House of Commons in London, England, and in the construction of fine furniture. Oak wood, from Quercus robur and Quercus petraea, was used in Europe for the construction of ships, especially naval men of war, until the 19th century, and was the principal timber used in the construction of European timber-framed buildings. Today oak wood is still commonly used for furniture making and flooring, timber frame buildings, and for veneer production. Barrels in which red wines, sherry, and spirits such as brandy, Scotch whisky and Bourbon whiskey are aged are made from European and American oak. The oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of many countries. Already an ancient Germanic symbol (in the form of the Donar Oak, for instance), certainly since the early nineteenth century, it stands for the nation of Germany.[106] The ancient Greeks and Romans revered the oak. Abraham’s Oak, the Oak of Mamre, is thought to be on the spot where the bible states Abraham pitched his tent; thus the oak became a symbol of Christian worship. In the Bible, the oak tree at Shechem is the site where Jacob buries the foreign gods of his people.[107] In addition, Joshua erects a stone under an oak tree as the first covenant of the Lord.[108] In Isaiah 61, the prophet refers to the Israelites as “Oaks of Righteousness.”According to legend, the Christianisation of the heathen tribes by Saint Boniface was marked by the oak’s being replaced by the fir (whose triangular shape symbolizes the Trinity) as a “sacred” tree. In Baltic mythology, the oak is the sacred tree of Latvian Pērkons, Lithuanian Perkūnas and Prussian Perkūns. Pērkons is the god of thunder and one of the most important deities in the Baltic pantheon. In Celtic mythology, it is the tree of doors, believed to be a gateway between worlds, or a place where portals could be erected. There are accounts that trace the name “druid” to duir, the Celtic term for the oak. More interestingly, the actual translation of duir is “door” and lore indicates the spiritually advanced Celts would access the ethereal planes of higher thought (psychic vision or soul-thought) by “opening the oak door.”In Norse mythology, the oak was sacred to the thunder god, Thor. Some scholars speculate that the reason for this is that the oak – the largest tree in northern Europe – was the one most often struck by lightning. Thor’s Oak was a sacred tree of the Germanic Chatti tribe. This was considered hugely powerful among the ancients and is associated with one of their foremost gods, Dagda. Its attraction for lightning, its size and longevity (oaks are known to easily surpass 200 years of age) all make the oak a powerful, life-affirming symbol. In the British Isles, the ancient Druids considered oak to have both medicinal and mystical significance. According to legend King Arthur’s table was made from one gigantic slice of a very ancient oak tree. For centuries, an oak sprig was inscribed on English and German coins. In Slavic mythology, the oak was the most important tree of the god Perun. Sprigs, branches, leaves, acorns as well as whole trees of oak are fairly common symbols in heraldry. The Oak is considered as an emblem of virtue, strength, resiliency, longevity, and re-birth.


[100]Schumann, Walter (2006) [2002]. “Sapphire”. Gemstones of the World. trans. Annette Englander & Daniel Shea (newly revised & expanded 3rd ed.). New York: Sterling. pp. 102. “In antiquity and as late as the Middle Ages, the name sapphire was understood to mean what is today described as lapis lazuli.”

[101] The Bible, Psalms 51:7

[102] The Bible, John 19:28

[103] The Bible, John 19:29; Psalm 69:21.

[104] See Millet Y, et al. (1979). “Experimental Study of the Toxic Convulsant Properties of Commercial Preparations of Essences of Sage and Hyssop”. Rev Electroenceph Neurophys Clin 9 (1): 12; Millet Y, et al. (1980). “Study of the Toxicity of Essential Vegetable Oils: Hyssop oil and sage oil”. Med Leg Toxicol 23: 9; Millet Y, et al. (1981). “Toxicity of Some Essential Plant Oils. Clinical and experimental study”. Clin Toxicol 18 (12): 1485–98.

[105] The eagle, the oak, and the summits of mountains were sacred to Zeus. This a fact cited almost everywhere in ancient literature See Hom. Il. ii. 403; Aristot. Ethic. v. 10, ix. 2; Virg. Aen. iii. 21, ix. 627.

[106]Other countries have also designated the oak as their national tree including England, Estonia, France, Germany, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United States, Wales, Galicia, Bulgaria, and Serbia.

[107] The Bible, Gen. 35:4.

[108] The Bible, Josh. 24.25-7.

 The Perfume Correspondence: Saffron

spanish saffron treads super macro shotThe perfume correspondence for this 21st path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the Saffron, “and all the generous odors.”[109] It is safe to say that one of the reasons for this attribution is the color of the flower of saffron which displays blue and violet shades which is cognant with the color attribution and the precious stone attribution for this path. The fact that saffron is a “generous” fragrance makes il also in accord with the main attributes of Pluto which are generosity and abundance. The Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridaceae. Each saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are each the distal end of a carpel.[110] Together with the styles, or stalks that connect the stigmas to their host plant, the dried stigmas are used mainly in various cuisines as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, long among the world’s most costly spices by weight,[111] is native to Southwest Asia[112] and was first cultivated in Greece.[113]The documented history of saffron cultivation spans more than three millennia.[114] The wild precursor of domesticated saffron crocus was Crocus cartwrightianus. Human cultivators bred wild specimens by selecting for unusually long stigmas; thus, a sterile mutant form of C. cartwrightianus, C. sativus, likely emerged in late Bronze Age Crete.[115]Crocus species in spring are a symbol of the awakening of nature, of resurrection, even of heavenly bliss, in autumn an indication of nature’s later rebirth. This property may have been of great importance for the cult of Ariadne, the goddess of vegetation on Crete and Thera. On the volcanic island of Thera (Santorini) numerous illustrations of Crocus date from Minoan times. The flowers have been found decorating wall frescos, on vessels, and on cult objects.[116]On Cretan frescos the flowers are white, pink or blue, often in a rocky natural habitat. In the second millennium BC at the time when the frescos of Thera were painted, such saffron cultures also existed in the Nile delta of Egypt and were quite common elsewhere. The search for plants in the open countryside was probably restricted to collecting for religious offerings to a vegetation goddess (comparable to Ariadne of the Minoan culture). Saffron flowers were harvested in the months of October to December and this was supposedly carried out by girls during their preparation for initiation into adulthood. Connection with the initiation ceremony into adulthood, both the autumn and spring flowering species of crocus can be regarded as an essential symbol of the renewal of life. Little is known of the Crocus Goddess, but these frescoes clearly depict the crocus as an essential symbol celebrating a new phase of life, the adulthood of young girls and boys.[117]


[109] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.

[110]Kafi, M. (editor); Koocheki, A. (editor); Rashed, M. H. (editor); Nassiri, M. (editor) (2006), Saffron (Crocus sativus) Production and Processing (1st ed.), p.23.

[111]Rau, S. R. (1969), The Cooking of India, Foods of the World, Time-Life Books (published June 1969), p. 53.; Hill, T. (2004), The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices: Seasonings for the Global Kitchen (1st ed.), Wiley, p. 272.

[112]Grigg, D. B. (1974), The Agricultural Systems of the World (1st ed.), Cambridge University Press (published 29 November 1974), p. 287.

[113] McGee, H. (2004), On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Scribner (published 16 November 2004, p. 422.

[114]Deo, B. (2003), “Growing Saffron—The World’s Most Expensive Spice”, Crop and Food Research (New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research) (20), p. 1.

[115]Negbi, M. (editor) (1999), Saffron: Crocus sativus L., CRC Press (published 23 June 1999), p. 1.

[116] See Doumas C. (2004) The Thera Foundation. Athens: Petros M. Nomikos.

[117] Riklef Kandeler1 and Wolfram R. Ullrich, (2009), Symbolism of plants: Examples of European-Mediterranean culture presented with biology and history of art. Journal of Experimental Botany Volume 60, Issue1, p. 6-8.

 The Color Correspondence: Blue/Royal Violet

3C4BE6Blue is a colour, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440–490 nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colours. On the HSV Colour Wheel, the complement of blue is yellow; that is, a colour corresponding to an equal mixture of red and green light. On a colour wheel based on traditional colour theory (RYB) where blue was considered a primary colour, its complementary colour is considered to be orange (based on the Munsell colour wheel).[2] In Modern English, “blue” is one of the basic colour terms, and one of the seven spectral colours, intermediate between violet (purple) and cyan. It comprises a considerable number of identifiable subcategories that can be identified with descriptive terms like navy blue (a dark blue), cyan blue (or “blue-green”, on the boundary to the green range), or sky blue (azure). The modern English word blue comes from Middle English bleu or blewe, from Old French bleu, bleve, blöe, a word of Germanic origin (Frankish or possibly Old High German blāo, “pale, wan, blue-grey”). Traditionally, blue has been considered a primary colour in painting, with the secondary colour orange as its complement. In the English language, blue often represents the human emotion of sadness, for example, “He was feeling blue”. In German, on the other hand, to be “blue” (blau sein) is to be drunk. This derives from the ancient use of urine (which is produced copiously by the human body after drinking alcohol) in dyeing cloth blue with woad or indigo. It may also be in relation to rain, which is usually regarded as a trigger of depressive emotions. Conversely blue, a very popular colour can represent happiness and optimism as days with clearer, blue skies tend to be considered times where these emotions are more easily expressed. When we ask people their favorite color and a clear majority will say blue. Much of the world is blue (skies, seas). Seeing the color blue actually causes the body to produce chemicals that are calming; but that isn’t true of all shades of blue. Many bedrooms are blue because it’s calm, restful color. Blue symbolism emphasizes the cooling and relaxing qualities of blue, reminding us of the peace and calmness of night. Midnight night blue has a sedative effect that promotes meditation and intuition. Clear blue is uplifting, but too much dark blue can be depressing. Navy blue can also be associated with restrictive environments. Blue is associated metaphysically with the throat and thyroid gland. Blue-colored light has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Blue calms the autonomic nervous system and is anti-inflammatory. Dark blue affects the pituitary gland, the regulator of sleep. Dark blue also reduces pain and strengthens the skeleton by keeping bone marrow healthy. Over the ages blue has become associated with steadfastness, dependability, wisdom and loyalty (note how many uniforms are blue). That’s also why a person born of royalty or in the upper class is said to be a “blue blood.” People tend to be more productive in a blue room because they are calm and focused on the task at hand..In Greek and Roman days, blue symbolism was associated with the sky gods Jupiter, Juno and Mercury. In Judaism, blue symbolism is connected to God the Father. In Islam, blue symbolism (including turquoise) is the color both of religion and community and is often used for decorating mosques.Blue is also commonly used in the Western hemisphere to symbolize the male gender in contrast to pink used for females, although in the early 1900s, blue was the colour for girls (as it had traditionally been the colour of the Virgin Mary in Western Art) and pink was for boys (as it was akin to the colour red, considered a masculine colour.[118]Blue symbolism affects many areas of life, including clothing choices, language and cliches, interior design, art, religion and health. Blue symbolism runs the gamut of emotionally-packed meanings and is present everywhere in language in common expressions, metaphors and figure of speech of almost every known language in the world.[119]


[118] Claire Bates (2009), Should we not dress girls in pink?”. BBC Magazine (BBC). 8 January 2009.

[119] For example, when something that happens rarely is said to happen “once in a blue moon.” Something that is the best of its kind is “blue ribbon.”

The Magical Tool Correspondence: The Scepter

scepterThe magical weapon attribution for this 21st path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the sceptre. The reason for this attribution probably has something to do with the fact that the sceptre is a usual attribute of Zeus and the fact that it used to be a symbol of royalty, which is coherent with some of the other attributions for this path. The sceptre is related to the magic wand, the club, the thunderbolt and the phallus, as well as Thor’s hammer. The symbolism of all these objects falls within the general group of the signs and emblems of fertility.[120] The was[121] and other types of staffs were a sign of authority in Ancient Egypt, for which reason they are often described as “sceptres” even if they are full-length staffs. One of the earliest royal sceptres was discovered in the tomb of Khasekhemwy in Abydos. Kings were also known to carry a staff, and Pharaoh Anedjib is shown on stone vessels carrying a so-called mks-staff. The staff with the longest history seems to be the heqa-sceptre, sometimes described as the shepherd’s crook. The Bronze Age rulers of Mesopotamia are not regularly depicted with sceptres; but in some instances they are shown armed, with bow and arrow and occasionally a mace. Use of a rod or staff as representing authority can be traced to the beginning of Classical Antiquity. Among the early Greeks, the sceptre (Ancient Greek: σκῆπτρον, skeptron, “staff, stick, baton”) was a long staff, such as Agamemnon wielded (Iliad, i) or was used by respected elders,[122] and came to be used by judges, military leaders, priests and others in authority. It is represented on painted vases as a long staff tipped with a metal ornament. When the sceptre is borne by Zeus or Hades, it is headed by a bird. It was this symbol of Zeus, the father of Olympus, that gave their inviolable status to the kerykes, the heralds, who were thus protected by the precursor of modern diplomatic immunity. When, in the Iliad Agamemnon sends Odysseus to the leaders of the Achaeans, he lends him his sceptre. Among the Etruscans, sceptres of great magnificence were used by kings and upper orders of the priesthood, and many representations of such sceptres occur on the walls of the painted tombs of Etruria. The Roman sceptre probably derived from the Etruscan. Under the Republic an ivory sceptre (sceptrum eburneum) was a mark of consular rank. It was also used by victorious generals who received the title of imperator, and its use as a symbol of delegated authority to legates apparently was revived in the marshal’s baton. In the Hellenistic period, the biblical Book of Esther mentions the sceptre of the King of Persia. Under the Roman Empire the sceptrum Augusti was specially used by the emperors, and was often of ivory tipped with a golden eagle. It is frequently shown on medallions of the later empire, which have on the obverse a half-length figure of the emperor, holding in one hand the sceptrum Augusti, and in the other the orb surmounted by a small figure of Victory. With the advent of Christianity the sceptre was often tipped with a cross instead of with an eagle, but during the Middle Ages the finials on the top of the sceptre varied considerably.In England from a very early period two sceptres have been concurrently used, and from the time of Richard I they have been distinguished as being tipped with a cross and a dove respectively. In France the royal sceptre was tipped with a fleur de lys, and the other, known as the main de justice, had an open hand of benediction on the top. Sceptres with small shrines on the top are sometimes represented on royal seals, as on the great seal of Edward III, where the king, enthroned, bears such a sceptre, but it was an unusual form. The earliest English coronation form of the 9th century mentions a sceptre (sceptrum), and a staff (baculum). In the so-called coronation form of Ethelred II a sceptre (sceptrum), and a rod (virga) appear, as they do also in the case of a coronation order of the 12th century. In a contemporary account of Richard I’s coronation the royal sceptre of gold with a gold cross, and the gold rod (virga) with a gold dove on the top, enter the historical record for the first time. For the coronation of Charles II of England new sceptres Sceptre with the Cross and Sceptre with the Dove were made, and though slightly altered, they are still in use today.


[120] Juan Eduardo Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols, Dover Publication, p. 280.

[121] The was (“power, dominion”) sceptre is a symbol that appeared often in relics, art and hieroglyphics associated with the ancient Egyptian religion. They appear as long, straight staffs, with a stylized animal head on top and a forked end. Was scepters were used as symbols of power or dominion, and were associated with the gods (such as Set or Anubis) as well as with the pharaoh. Was scepters also represent the Typhonic beast or Set-animal (the mascot of the Egyptian god Set). In later use, it was a symbol of control over the force of chaos that Set represented.

[122] Homer, Iliad, xviii. 46; Herodotus 1. 196

The Dug Correspondence: Cocaïne

cocaineThe drug correspondence for this 21st path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is cocaïne.[123] The reason for this attribution is probably the intense feeling of invulnerability, omnipotence and powerfullness that is experienced by its users that is reminescent of the attributes of Zeus the king of all the gods. Cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine) (INN) is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant.[124] The name comes from “coca” in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic. Specifically, it is a serotonin–norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor, which mediates functionality of these neurotransmitters as an exogenous catecholamine transporter ligand. Because of the way it affects the mesolimbic reward pathway, cocaine is addictive.[125] Cocaine is a powerful nervous system stimulant. Its effects can last from 15–30 minutes to an hour, depending upon the method of ingestion. Cocaine increases alertness, feelings of well-being and euphoria, energy and motor activity, feelings of competence and sexuality. Athletic performance may be enhanced in sports where sustained attention and endurance is required. Anxiety, paranoia and restlessness are also frequent. With excessive dosage, tremors, convulsions and increased body temperature are observed. With excessive or prolonged use, the drug can cause itching, tachycardia, hallucinations, and paranoid delusions. Overdoses cause tachyarrhythmias and a marked elevation of blood pressure, which can be life-threatening. Cocaine dependence (or addiction) is psychological dependency on the regular use of cocaine. Cocaine dependency may result in physiological damage, lethargy, psychosis, depression, akathisia, and fatal overdose. For over a thousand years South American indigenous peoples have chewed the leaves of Erythroxylon coca, a plant that contains vital nutrients as well as numerous alkaloids, including cocaine. The coca leaf was, and still is, chewed almost universally by some indigenous communities. The remains of coca leaves have been found with ancient Peruvian mummies, and pottery from the time period depicts humans with bulged cheeks, indicating the presence of something on which they are chewing.[126] There is also evidence that these cultures used a mixture of coca leaves and saliva as an anesthetic for the performance of trepanation.[127]When the Spanish arrived in South America, most at first ignored aboriginal claims that the leaf gave them strength and energy, and declared the practice of chewing it the work of the Devil. But after discovering that these claims were true, they legalized and taxed the leaf, taking 10% off the value of each crop. Although the stimulant and hunger-suppressant properties of coca had been known for many centuries, the isolation of the cocaine alkaloid was not achieved until 1855. Carl Koller (a close associate of Sigmund Freud, who would write about cocaine later) experimented with cocaine for ophthalmic usage. The cocaine alkaloid was first isolated by the German chemist Friedrich Gaedcke in 1855. Gaedcke named the alkaloid “erythroxyline”, and published a description in the journal Archiv der Pharmazie.[128]Albert Niemann, a Ph.D. student at the University of Göttingen in Germany, developed an improved purification process.[129]Niemann named the alkaloid “cocaine” from “coca” (from Quechua “cuca”) + suffix “ine”. Because of its use as a local anesthetic, a suffix “-caine” was later extracted and used to form names of synthetic local anesthetics. Cocaine was historically useful as a topical anesthetic in eye and nasal surgery, although it is now predominantly used for nasal and lacrimal duct surgery. The major disadvantages of this use are cocaine’s intense vasoconstrictor activity and potential for cardiovascular toxicity. Cocaine has since been largely replaced in Western medicine by synthetic local anesthetics such as benzocaine, proparacaine, lignocaine/xylocaine/lidocaine, and tetracaine.


[123] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. A Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 56.

[124]Aggrawal, Anil. Narcotic Drugs. National Book Trust, India (1995), p. 52-3.

[125]Fattore L, Piras G, Corda MG, Giorgi O (2009). “The Roman high- and low-avoidance rat lines differ in the acquisition, maintenance, extinction, and reinstatement of intravenous cocaine self-administration”. Neuropsychopharmacology 34 (5): 1091–101.

[126]Altman AJ, Albert DM, Fournier GA (1985). “Cocaine’s use in ophthalmology: our 100-year heritage”. Surv Ophthalmol 29 (4): 300–6.

[127]Gay GR, Inaba DS, Sheppard CW, Newmeyer JA (1975). “Cocaine: history, epidemiology, human pharmacology, and treatment. a perspective on a new debut for an old girl”. Clin. Toxicol. 8 (2): 149–78.

[128]F. Gaedcke (1855). “Ueber das Erythroxylin, dargestellt aus den Blättern des in Südamerika cultivirten Strauches Erythroxylon Coca”. Archiv der Pharmazie 132 (2): 141–150.

[129]Albert Niemann (1860). “Ueber eine neue organische Base in den Cocablättern”. Archiv der Pharmazie 153 (2): 129–256.

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