October 23, 2019
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What is Geburah?

Geburah-2Gevurah or geburah (גבורה) is the fifth sephirot in the kabbalistic tree of life, and it is the second of the emotive attributes of the sephirot. Geburah sits below Binah, across from Chesed, and above Hod.   Chesed gives rise to Geburah, which is essentially a reflection of Binah. Geburah, meaning “Strength” or “Power,” is the fifth Sephirah, feminine, and to it is given the divine name of Elohim Gibor TTTTTTT, the “Mighty Gods.” (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 47)

Despite the fact that Geburah is a feminine potency, as are all the Sephiroth on the left-hand column of the Tree, practically all its attributions are male and vigorous. There is an old alchemical aphorism, “Man is peace, and Woman is power.” This concept is borne out in the Qabalistic system. The three Sephiroth, all male, of the right-hand column, are called the Pillar of Mercy ; whereas those three feminine Sephiroth on the left constitute the Pillar of Severity. Most of the attributions given to Chesed, the male Sephirah, are feminine in quality. This is not confusion of thought but a recognition of the necessity for equilibrium. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 47-48)

In the Bahir it is written “And who are the Officers? We learned that there are three. Strength (Gevurah) Is the Officer of all the Holy Forms to the left of the Blessed Holy One. He is Gabriel.”

Gevurah is the fifth of the ten sefirot, and second of the emotive attributes in Creation, and which corresponds to the second day of creation[3](Zohar 2:127b). In the Bahir it says “What is the fifth (utterance)? Fifth is the great fire of God, of which it says ‘let me see no more of this great fire, lest I die (Deut 18:16). This is the left hand of God”.[4]

Geburah-3Gevurah is understood as God’s mode of punishing the wicked and judging humanity in general. It is the foundation of stringency, absolute adherence to the letter of the law, and strict meting out of justice. This stands in contrast to chesed.

We thus speak of God’s primary modes of action as being the kindness and unaccountability of chesed, versus the stringency and strict accountability of gevurah. It is called “strength” because of the power of God’s absolute judgment.

Gevurah is associated in the soul with the power to restrain one’s innate urge to bestow goodness upon others, when the recipient of that good is judged to be unworthy and liable to misuse it. As the force which measures and assesses the worthiness of Creation, gevurah is also referred to in Kabbalah as midat hadin (“the attribute of judgment”). It is the restraining might of gevurah which allows one to overcome his enemies, be they from without or from within (his evil inclination).

Chesed and Gevurah act together to create an inner balance in the soul’s approach to the outside world. While the “right arm” of chesed operates to draw others near, the “left arm” of gevurah reserves the option of repelling those deemed undeserving. (Even towards those to whom one’s initial relation is that of “the left arm repels,” one must subsequently apply the complementary principle of “the right arm draws near”).

Ultimately, the might of gevurah becomes the power and forcefulness to implement one’s innate desire of chesed. Only by the power of gevurah is chesed able to penetrate the coarse, opposing surface of reality. The Baal Shem Tov discusses the ability of gevurah to effect Divine withdrawal (tzimzum), which in turn creates potential for chesed to occur in creation. (commentary to Parshat Toldot).

Gevurah appears in the configuration of the sefirot along the left axis, directly beneath binah, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim to the “left arm.”

The numerical value of Gevurah, 216, is 6 times 6 times 6. The tablets of the covenant that Moses received at Sinai were 6 by 6 by 6 handbreadths. The Torah was given to Moses and Israel from “the Mouth of the Gevurah.” It is most significant that the name of no other sefirah is used by our sages to connote God Himself, other than gevurah (In the Bible, God is referred to as “the netzach [eternity] of Israel” (Samuel 1 15:29), but not as netzach alone). Here, gevurah implies God’s essential power to contract and concentrate His infinite light and strength into the finite letters of Torah (especially those engraved on the tablets of the covenant, the Ten Commandments).

Gevurah = 216 = 3 times 72 (chesed). Each of God’s 72 hidden names possesses three letters, in all—216 letters. Meaning inheres to words and names. The ultimate “meaning” of every one of God’s Names is His expression of love (chesed) for His Creation. Each Name expresses His love in a unique way. The components of each word and name, the “building blocks” of Creation are the letters which combine to form the words. The letters, “hewn” from the “raw material” of “pro-creation” (the secret of the reshimu, the “impression” of God’s infinite light which remains after the initial act of tzimtzum, “contraction”) reflect God’s gevurah.

The two hands which act together to form all reality, chesed (72) plus gevurah (216) = 288 = 2 times 12 squared. 288 is the number of nitzotzot “fallen sparks” (from the primordial cataclysm of “the breaking of the vessels”) which permeate all of created reality. Through the “dual effort” of chesed and gevurah, not only to form reality, but to rectify reality (through the means of “the left arm repels while the right draws near”), these fallen sparks are redeemed and elevated to return and unite with their ultimate source. In a universal sense, this is the secret of the coming of Mashiach and the resurrection of the dead

The Element Attribution: Fire

Fire elementGevurah is ‘the essence of judgment (DIN) and limitation, and corresponds to awe and the element of fire,’[1]   

Fire has been an important part of all cultures and religions from pre-history to modern day and was vital to the development of civilization. It has been regarded in many different contexts throughout history, but especially as a metaphysical constant of the world.

Fire is one of the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy and science. It was commonly associated with the qualities of energy, assertiveness, and passion. In one Greek myth, Prometheus stole fire from the gods to protect the otherwise helpless humans, but was punished for this charity.[1]

Fire was one of many archai proposed by the Pre-socratics, most of whom sought to reduce the cosmos, or its creation, by a single substance. Heraclitus (c. 535 BCE – c. 475 BCE) considered fire to be the most fundamental of all elements. He believed fire gave rise to the other three elements: “All things are an interchange for fire, and fire for all things, just like goods for gold and gold for goods.”[2] He had a reputation for obscure philosophical principles and for speaking in riddles. He described how fire gave rise to the other elements as the: “upward-downward path”, (ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω),[3] a “hidden harmony” [4] or series of transformations he called the “turnings of fire”, (πυρὸς τροπαὶ),[5] first into sea, and half that sea into earth, and half that earth into rarefied air. This is a concept that anticipates both the four classical elements of Empedocles and Aristotle‘s transmutation of the four elements into one another.

This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made. But it always was and will be: an ever-living fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out.[6]

Heraclitus regarded the soul as being a mixture of fire and water, with fire being the more noble part and water the ignoble aspect. He believed the goal of the soul is to be rid of water and become pure fire: the dry soul is the best and it is worldly pleasures that make the soul “moist”.[7] He was known as the “weeping philosopher” and died of hydropsy, a swelling due to abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin.

However, Empedocles of Acragas (c. 495 – c. 435 BCE), is best known for having selected all elements as his archai and by the time of Plato (427 – 347 BCE), the four Empedoclian elements were well established. In the Timaeus, Plato’s major cosmological dialogue, the Platonic solid he associated with fire was the tetrahedron which is formed from four triangles and contains the least volume with the greatest surface area. This also makes fire the element with the smallest number of sides, and Plato regarded it as appropriate for the heat of fire, which he felt is sharp and stabbing, (like one of the points of a tetrahedron).[8]

Plato’s student Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE) did not maintain his former teacher’s geometric view of the elements, but rather preferred a somewhat more naturalistic explanation for the elements based on their traditional qualities. Fire the hot and dry element, like the other elements, was an abstract principle and not identical with the normal solids, liquids and combustion phenomena we experience:

What we commonly call fire. It is not really fire, for fire is an excess of heat and a sort of ebullition; but in reality, of what we call air, the part surrounding the earth is moist and warm, because it contains both vapour and a dry exhalation from the earth.[9]

According to Aristotle, the four elements rise or fall toward their natural place in concentric layers surrounding the center of the earth and form the terrestrial or sublunary spheres.[10]

In ancient Greek medicine, each of the four humours became associated with an element. Yellow bile was the humor identified with fire, since both were hot and dry. Other things associated with fire and yellow bile in ancient and medieval medicine included the season of summer, since it increased the qualities of heat and aridity; the choleric temperament (of a person dominated by the yellow bile humour); the masculine; and the eastern point of the compass.

In alchemy the chemical element of sulfur was often associated with fire and its alchemical symbol and its symbol was an upward-pointing triangle. In alchemic tradition, metals are incubated by fire in the womb of the Earth and alchemists only accelerate their development.[1]


People born under the astrological signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are thought to have dominant fire personalities. Fire personalities are believed to have good leading qualities and also tend to be enthusiastic, extroverted, rebellious, passionate, brave and valiant; however, they can also be hot-tempered, snappy, uncontrollable and angry.

Fire and the other Greek classical elements were incorporated into the Golden Dawn system. Philosophus (4=7) is the elemental grade attributed to fire; this grade is also attributed to the Qabalistic Sephirah Netzach and the planet Venus.[11] The elemental weapon of fire is the Wand.[12] Each of the elements has several associated spiritual beings. The archangel of fire is Michael, the angel is Aral, the ruler is Seraph, the king is Djin, and the fire elementals (following Paracelsus) are called salamanders.[13] Fire is considered to be active; it is represented by the symbol for Leo and it is referred to the lower right point of the pentacle in the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentacle.[14] Many of these associations have since spread throughout the occult community.

Fire in Tarot symbolizes conversion or passion. Many references to fire in tarot are related to the usage of fire in the practice of alchemy, in which the application of fire is a prime method of conversion, and everything that touches fire is changed, often beyond recognition. The symbol of fire was a cue pointing towards transformation, the chemical variant being the symbol delta, which is also the classical symbol for fire.[15] Conversion symbolized can be good, for example, refining raw crudities to gold, as seen in The Devil. Conversion can also be bad, as in The Tower, symbolizing a downfall due to anger. Fire is associated with the suit of rods/wands, and as such, represents passion from inspiration. As an element, fire has very mixed symbolism because it represents energy, which can be helpful when controlled, but volatile if left unchecked.[16]

Agni is a Hindu and Vedic deity. The word agni is Sanskrit for fire (noun), cognate with Latin ignis (the root of English ignite), Russian огонь (fire), pronounced agon. Agni has three forms: fire, lightning and the sun.

Agni is one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods. He is ever-young, because the fire is re-lit every day, yet he is also immortal. In Indian tradition Fire is also linked to Surya or the Sun and Mangala or Mars, and with the south-east direction.

Fire is one of the five elements that appear in most Wiccan traditions influenced by the Golden Dawn system of magic, and Aleister Crowley‘s mysticism, which was in turn inspired by the Golden Dawn.[17]

The element of fire shows up in mythological stories all across the world, often in stories related to the sun.

In East Asia fire is represented by the Vermilion Bird, known as 朱雀 (Zhū Què) in Chinese, Suzaku in Japanese and Ju-jak (주작, Hanja:朱雀) in Korean. Fire is represented in the Aztec religion by a flint; to the Native Americans, a mouse; to the Hindu and Islamic faiths, a lightning bolt; to the Scythians, an axe, to the Greeks, an apple-bough; and in Christian iconography, lions and ravens.

In freemasonry, fire is present, for example, during the ceremony of winter solstice, a symbol also of renaissance and energy. Freemasonry takes the ancient symbolic meaning of fire and recognizes its double nature: creation, light, on the one hand, and destruction and purification, on the other.[18]

In East Asia fire is represented by the Vermilion Bird, known as 朱雀 (Zhū Què) in Chinese, Suzaku in Japanese and Ju-jak (주작, Hanja:朱雀) in Korean. Fire is represented in the Aztec religion by a flint; to the Native Americans, a mouse; to the Hindu and Islamic faiths, a lightning bolt; to the Scythians, an axe, to the Greeks, an apple-bough; and in Christian iconography, lions and ravens.

In freemasonry, fire is present, for example, during the ceremony of winter solstice, a symbol also of renaissance and energy. Freemasonry takes the ancient symbolic meaning of fire and recognizes its double nature: creation, light, on the one hand, and destruction and purification, on the other.[18]

The Astrological Body Correspondence: Mars

mars-red-planetMars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often described as the “Red Planet” because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance.[16] Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the second highest known mountain within the Solar System (the tallest on a planet), and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons. The smooth Borealis basin in the northern hemisphere covers 40% of the planet and may be a giant impact feature.[17][18] Mars has two known moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped. These may be captured asteroids,[19][20] similar to 5261 Eureka, a Martian trojan asteroid.

Until the first successful Mars flyby in 1965 by Mariner 4, many speculated about the presence of liquid water on the planet’s surface. This was based on observed periodic variations in light and dark patches, particularly in the polar latitudes, which appeared to be seas and continents; long, dark striations were interpreted by some as irrigation channels for liquid water. These straight line features were later explained as optical illusions, though geological evidence gathered by unmanned missions suggest that Mars once had large-scale water coverage on its surface.[21] In 2005, radar data revealed the presence of large quantities of water ice at the poles[22] and at mid-latitudes.[23][24] The Mars rover Spirit sampled chemical compounds containing water molecules in March 2007. The Phoenix lander directly sampled water ice in shallow Martian soil on July 31, 2008.[25]

Mars is currently host to five functioning spacecraft: three in orbit – the Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – and two on the surface – Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity and the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity. Defunct spacecraft on the surface include MER-A Spirit and several other inert landers and rovers such as the Phoenix lander, which completed its mission in 2008. Observations by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed possible flowing water during the warmest months on Mars.[26] In 2013, NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered that Mars’ soil contains between 1.5% and 3% water by mass (about two pints of water per cubic foot or 33 liters per cubic meter, albeit attached to other compounds and thus not freely accessible).[27]

Mars can easily be seen from Earth with the naked eye, as can its reddish coloring. Its apparent magnitude reaches −3.0,[9] which is surpassed only by Jupiter, Venus, the Moon, and the Sun. Optical ground-based telescopes are typically limited to resolving features about 300 km (186 miles) across when Earth and Mars are closest because of Earth’s atmosphere.[28]

The Roman Deity Attribution: Mars

marrssThe Roman Deity correspondance for Geburtah is Mars (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 11) who, according to Israel Regardie, “even in popular parlance is the accredited god of war.” (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48)

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars (Latin: Mārs, Martis) was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome.[1] He was second in importance only to Jupiter and Neptune and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.

Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares,[2] whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars. But the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, who is often treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek literature.[3] Mars was a part of the Archaic Triad along with Jupiter and Quirinus, the latter of whom as a guardian of the Roman people had no Greek equivalent. Mars’ altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome. Although the center of Mars’ worship was originally located outside the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium), Augustus made the god a renewed focus of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum.[4]

Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people.[5] In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity,

The Greek Deity Correspondence: Ares

The Greek Deity attribution for Geburah is Ares, (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 8) who is generally depicted as delighting in the din and roar of battle, in the slaughter of men, and in the destruction of towns. Geburah represents on a much lower plane the Sakti force-element attributed to Binah. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48)

ares6Ares (Ancient Greek: Ἄρης [árɛːs]) is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera.[1] In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.[2]

The Greeks were ambivalent toward Ares: although he embodied the physical valor necessary for success in war, he was a dangerous force, “overwhelming, insatiable in battle, destructive, and man-slaughtering.”[3] His sons Fear (Phobos) and Terror (Deimos) and his lover, or sister, Discord (Enyo) accompanied him on his war chariot.[4] In the Iliad, his father Zeus tells him that he is the god most hateful to him.[5] An association with Ares endows places and objects with a savage, dangerous, or militarized quality.[6] His value as a war god is placed in doubt: during the Trojan War, Ares was on the losing side, while Athena, often depicted in Greek art as holding Nike (Victory) in her hand, favored the triumphant Greeks.[7]

Ares plays a relatively limited role in Greek mythology as represented in literary narratives, though his numerous love affairs and abundant offspring are often alluded to.[8] When Ares does appear in myths, he typically faces humiliation.[9] He is well known as the lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who was married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship.[10] The most famous story related to Ares and Aphrodite shows them exposed to ridicule through the wronged husband’s clever device.[11]

The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars,[12] who as a father of the Roman people was given a more important and dignified place in ancient Roman religion as a guardian deity. During the Hellenization of Latin literature, the myths of Ares were reinterpreted by Roman writers under the name of Mars. Greek writers under Roman rule also recorded cult practices and beliefs pertaining to Mars under the name of Ares. Thus in the classical tradition of later Western art and literature, the mythology of the two figures becomes virtually indistinguishable.

The Egyptian God Attribution: Horus, Nepthys

The Egyptian Deity correspondence, according to Aleister Crowley are Horus and Nepthys. (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 6) Nephthys, the lady of severity, the shadowy double and sister of Isis, is attributed to this digit five, and so we would naturally expect her to manifest in this Sephirah a quality similar to that of Binah, but much less pure as an sbstract spiritual force. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48)

horruussHorus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egypt specialists.[1] These various forms may possibly be different perceptions of the same multi-layered deity in which certain attributes or syncretic relationships are emphasized, not necessarily in opposition but complementary to one another, consistent with how the Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality.[2] He was most often depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner or peregrine, or as a man with a falcon head.[3]

The earliest recorded form of Horus is the patron deity of Nekhen in Upper Egypt, who is the first known national god, specifically related to the king who in time came to be regarded as a manifestation of Horus in life and Osiris in death.[1] The most commonly encountered family relationship describes Horus as the son of Isis and Osiris but in another tradition Hathor is regarded as his mother and sometimes as his wife.[1] Horus served many functions in the Egyptian pantheon, most notably being the god of the sun, war and protection.

The Scandinavian God Attribution: Thor

ThorThe Scandinavian Deity correspondence for Geburah is Thor. (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 8) Thor is the Norwegian war god, and according to the Sagas, a scarlet cloud above his head reflected the fiery glint in hi seyes ; he was girded with strength and armor and was drawn to battle in a chariot. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48)

In Norse mythology, Thor (from Old Norse Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar (runic þonar ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱ), stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning “thunder”).

Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, to the tribal expansions of the Migration Period, to his high popularity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, emblems of his hammer, Mjölnir, were worn in defiance and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity. Into the modern period, Thor continued to be acknowledged in rural folklore throughout Germanic regions. Thor is frequently referred to in place names, the day of the week Thursday (“Thor’s day”; Old English Thunresdaeg, Thunor’s day); German “Donnerstag” (Donar’s day), bears his name, and names stemming from the pagan period containing his own continue to be used today.

In Norse mythology, largely recorded in Iceland from traditional material stemming from Scandinavia, numerous tales and information about Thor are provided. In these sources, Thor bears at least fourteen names, is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif, is the lover of the jötunn Járnsaxa, and is generally described as fierce-eyed, red-haired and red-bearded.[1] With Sif, Thor fathered the goddess (and possible valkyrie) Þrúðr; with Járnsaxa, he fathered Magni; with a mother whose name is not recorded, he fathered Móði, and he is the stepfather of the god Ullr. The same sources list Thor as the son of the god Odin and the personified earth, Fjörgyn, and by way of Odin, Thor has numerous brothers. Thor has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, rides in a cart or chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (that he eats and resurrects), and is ascribed three dwellings (Bilskirnir, Þrúðheimr, and Þrúðvangr). Thor wields the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjölnir, wears the belt Megingjörð and the iron gloves Járngreipr, and owns the staff Gríðarvölr. Thor’s exploits, including his relentless slaughter of his foes and fierce battles with the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr—and their foretold mutual deaths during the events of Ragnarök—are recorded throughout sources for Norse mythology.

The Magical Weapon Attribution: The Sword, Spear, Scourge and Burin

weapons-magicalThe magical weapon of Geburah are the sword, spear, scourge and burin, (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 13) all of these explicitely suggesting warfare and bloodletting.

The Metal Correspondence: Iron

Iron-135048The metal attribution for Geburah is iron. An attributions being quite obvious as implying strength. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48)  Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is by mass the most common element on Earth, forming much of Earth’s outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust. Iron’s very common presence in rocky planets like Earth is due to its abundant production as a result of fusion in high-mass stars, wherein the production of nickel-56 (which decays to the most common isotope of iron) is the last nuclear fusion reaction that is exothermic. Therefore, radioactive nickel is the last element to be produced, before collapse of a supernova causes the explosion that abundantly scatters this precursor radionuclide into space.

Like other group 8 elements, iron exists in a wide range of oxidation states, −2 to +6, although +2 and +3 are the most common. Elemental iron occurs in meteoroids and other low oxygen environments, but is reactive to oxygen and water. Fresh iron surfaces appear lustrous silvery-gray, but oxidize in normal air to give hydrated iron oxides, commonly known as rust. Unlike many other metals which form passivating oxide layers, iron oxides occupy more volume than iron metal, and thus iron oxides flake off and expose fresh surfaces for corrosion.

Iron metal has been used since ancient times, though copper alloys, which have lower melting temperatures, were used first in history. Pure iron is soft (softer than aluminium), but is unobtainable by smelting. The material is significantly hardened and strengthened by impurities, such as carbon, from the smelting process. A certain proportion of carbon (between 0.002% and 2.1%) produces steel, which may be up to 1000 times harder than pure iron. Crude iron metal is produced in blast furnaces, where ore is reduced by coke to pig iron, which has a high carbon content. Further refinement with oxygen reduces the carbon content to the correct proportion to make steel. Steels and low carbon iron alloys along with other metals (alloy steels) are by far the most common metals in industrial use, due to their great range of desirable properties and the abundance of iron.

Iron chemical compounds, which include ferrous and ferric compounds, have many uses. Iron oxide mixed with aluminium powder can be ignited to create a thermite reaction, used in welding and purifying ores. It forms binary compounds with the halogens and the chalcogens. Among its organometallic compounds is ferrocene, the first sandwich compound discovered.

The Sacred Tree Correspondence: The Oak

angel-oak-1The sacred tree correspondence for Geburah is the oak,  attributions being quite obvious as implying strength. In fact, the quality of Geburah is summed up in the general idea of strength and power and force. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48)  It has been suggested that these fourth and fifth and fifth Sephiroth represent the expansive and contracting, centripetal, and centrifugal energies between the poles of the dimensions, acting under the will of the Logos, Chokmah. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48)

An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus (/ˈkwɜrkəs/;[1] Latin “oak tree”), having approximately 600 extant species. The common name “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 cool temperate to tropical latitudes in Asia and the Americas. North America contains the largest number of oak species, with approximately 90 occurring in the United States. Mexico has 160 species, of which 109 are endemic. The second greatest center of oak diversity is China, which contains approximately 100 species.[2]

Oaks have spirally arranged leaves, with lobate margins in many species; some have serrated leaves or entire leaves with smooth margins. Many deciduous species are marcescent, not dropping dead leaves until spring. In spring, a single oak tree produces both male flowers (in the form of catkins) and small female flowers.[3] The fruit 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. The live oaks are distinguished for being evergreen, but are not actually a distinct group and instead are dispersed across the genus.

The Precious Stone Correspondence: Rubis

The precious stone attribution for Geburah is the rubis (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 10), because ” bright scarlet, is harmonious.” (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48)

rubiesA ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. The ruby is considered one of the four precious stones, together with the sapphire, the emerald and the diamond.[1]   Prices of rubies are primarily determined by color. The brightest and most valuable “red” called blood-red, commands a large premium over other rubies of similar quality. After color follows clarity: similar to diamonds, a clear stone will command a premium, but a ruby without any needle-like rutile inclusions may indicate that the stone has been treated. Cut and carat (weight) are also an important factor in determining the price. Ruby is the traditional birthstone for July and is always lighter red or pink than garnet. Generally, gemstone-quality corundum in all shades of red, including pink, are called rubies.[3][4] However, in the United States, a minimum color saturation must be met to be called a ruby, otherwise the stone will be called a pink sapphire.[3] This distinction between rubies and pink sapphires is relatively new, having arisen sometime in the 20th century. If a distinction is made, the line separating a ruby from a pink sapphire is not clear and highly debated.[5] As a result of the difficulty and subjectiveness of such distinctions, trade organizations such as the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICGA) have adopted the broader definition for ruby which encompasses its lighter shades, including pink.[6][7]  An early recorded transport and trading of rubies arises in the literature on the North Silk Road of China, wherein about 200 BC rubies were carried along this ancient trackway moving westward from China.[26]   Rubies have always been held in high esteem in Asian countries. They were used to ornament armor, scabbards, and harnesses of noblemen in India and China. Rubies were laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure.[27]

The Sacred Perfume Correspondence: Tobacco and the Nettle

According to Aleister Crowley’s classification, tobacco, oak, Nux, Vomica and the nettle are the sacred plant correspondences for Geburah, (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 10) .  But tobacco is designed as the correspondence for the sacred perfume attribution (Aleidter Crowley, 777, p. 13)  The reason why tobacco and nettle are such obvious attributions, Israel Regardie tells us, is “because of their fiery and stingning nature. Its colo ris red, obviously martial.”  (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48) Nettle is part of the English name of many plants with stinging hairs, particularly those of the genus Urtica. It is also part of the name of plants which resemble Urtica species in appearance but do not have stinging hairs.

tobacccoTobacco is a plant within the genus Nicotiana of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. While there are more than 70 species of tobacco, the chief commercial crop is N. tabacum. The more potent species N. rustica is also widely used around the world.

Dried tobacco leaves are mainly smoked in cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and flavored shisha tobacco. They are also consumed as snuff, chewing tobacco and dipping tobacco.

Tobacco contains the alkaloid nicotine, a stimulant. Tobacco use is a risk factor for diseases affecting the heart, liver and lungs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. [1]

The Spanish and Portuguese word tabaco is thought to have originated in Taino, the Arawakan language of the Caribbean. In Taino, it was said to refer either to a roll of tobacco leaves (according to Bartolomé de las Casas, 1552), or to the tabago, a kind of Y-shaped pipe for sniffing tobacco smoke also known as snuff (according to Oviedo; with the leaves themselves being referred to as cohiba).[2]

However, similar words in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian were commonly used from 1410 to define medicinal herbs which is believed to be originating from the Arabic طبق tabbaq, a word reportedly dating to the 9th century, as the name of various herbs.[3] Others argued the word may have actually originated from India as tambākū; तंबाकू.

Tobacco had already long been used in the Americas, with some cultivation sites in Mexico dating back to 1400–1000 B.C.[4] Many Native American tribes have traditionally grown and used tobacco as an entheogen. Eastern North American tribes carried large amounts of tobacco in pouches as a readily accepted trade item, and often smoked it in peace pipes, either in defined sacred ceremonies, or to seal a bargain. [5] They smoked it at such occasions in all stages of life, even in childhood.[6] It was believed that tobacco is a gift from the Creator, and that the exhaled tobacco smoke carries one’s thoughts and prayers to heaven.[7][8]

The Sacred Color Correspondence: Red

FF0000Gevurah is associated with the color red.[2]  Red is the color of blood, rubies and strawberries.[3][4] It is the color of the wavelength of light from approximately 620–740 nm on the electromagnetic spectrum.[2] Next to orange at the end of the visible spectrum, red is commonly associated with danger, sacrifice, passion, fire, beauty, blood, anger, Christmas, socialism, communism, and in China and many other cultures, with happiness.[5]     The word red is derived from the Old English rēd.[6] The word can be further traced to the Proto-Germanic rauthaz and the Proto-Indo European root reudh-. In Sanskrit, the word rudhira means red or blood. In the Akkadian language of Ancient Mesopotamia and in the modern Inuit language of Inuit, the word for red is the same word as “like blood”.[7]   The words for ‘colored’ in Latin (coloratus) and Spanish (colorado) both also mean ‘red.’[8] whereas in Portuguese the word for red is vermelho, which comes from Latin “vermiculus“, meaning “little worm”.[9]    In the Russian language, the word for red, Кра́сный (krasniy), comes from the same old Slavic root as the words for “beautiful”—красивый (krasiviy) and “excellent”—прекрасный (prekrasniy). Thus Red Square in Moscow, named long before the Russian Revolution, meant simply “Beautiful Square”.[10]  In heraldry, the word gules is used for red.[11]   In Ancient Rome, Tyrian purple was the color of the Emperor, but red had an important religious symbolism. Romans wore togas with red stripes on holidays, and the bride at a wedding wore a red shawl, called a flammeum.[29] Red was used to color statues and the skin of gladiators. Red was also the color associated with army; Roman soldiers wore red tunics, and officers wore a cloak called a paludamentum which, depending upon the quality of the dye, could be crimson, scarlet or purple. In Roman mythology red is associated with the god of war, Mars.[30] The vexilloid of the Roman Empire had a red background with the letters SPQR in gold. A Roman general receiving a triumph had his entire body painted red in honor of his achievement.[31]

Surveys show that red is the color most associated with courage.[91] In western countries red is a symbol of martyrs and sacrifice, particularly because of its association with blood.[30] Beginning in the Middle Ages, the Pope and Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church wore red to symbolize the blood of Christ and the Christian martyrs. The banner of the Christian soldiers in the First Crusade was a red cross on a white field, the St. George’s Cross. According to Christian tradition, Saint George was a Roman soldier who was a member of the guards of the Emperor Diocletian, who refused to renounce his Christian faith and was martyred. The Saint George’s Cross became the Flag of England in the 16th century, and now is part of the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, as well as the Flag of the Republic of Georgia.[92]   While red is the color most associated with love, it also the color most frequently associated with hatred, anger, aggression and war. People who are angry are said to “see red.” Red is the color most commonly associated with passion and heat. In ancient times red was the color of Mars, the god of War- the planet Mars was named for him because of its red color.[102]  Red is the traditional color of warning and danger. In the Middle Ages, a red flag announced that the defenders of a town or castle would fight to defend it, and a red flag hoisted by a warship meant they would show no mercy to their enemy. In Britain, in the early days of motoring, motor cars had to follow a man with a red flag who would warn horse-drawn vehicles, before the Locomotives on Highways Act 1896 abolished this law. In automobile races, the red flag is raised if there is danger to the drivers. In international football, a player who has made a serious violation of the rules is shown a red penalty card and ejected from the game.   Several studies have indicated that red carries the strongest reaction of all the colors, with the level of reaction decreasing gradually with the colors orange, yellow, and white, respectively.[103][104] For this reason, red is generally used as the highest level of warning, such as threat level of terrorist attack in the United States. In fact, teachers at a primary school in the UK have been told not to mark children’s work in red ink because it encourages a “negative approach”.[105]

The Sacred Animal Correspondence: The Basilisk

BasiliskThe sacred creature attribution for Geburah is the legendary basilik48 of the staring eye, (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48; Aleister Crowley, 777, p.10) In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk ( from the Greek βασιλίσκος basilískos, “little king;” Latin regulus) is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance. According to the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, the basilisk of Cyrene is a small snake, “being not more than twelve fingers in length,”[2] that is so venomous, it leaves a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal; its weakness is in the odor of the weasel, which, according to Pliny, was thrown into the basilisk’s hole, recognizable because all the surrounding shrubs and grass had been scorched by its presence. It is possible that the legend of the basilisk and its association with the weasel in Europe was inspired by accounts of certain species of Asiatic snakes (such as the king cobra) and their natural predator, the mongoose.

The basilisk is called “king” because it is reputed to have on its head a mitre– or crown-shaped crest. Stories of the basilisk show that it is not completely distinguished from the cockatrice. The basilisk is alleged to be hatched by a cockerel from the egg of a serpent or toad (the reverse of the cockatrice, which was hatched from a cockerel’s “egg” incubated by a serpent or toad). In Medieval Europe, the description of the creature began taking on features from cockerels.

One of the earliest accounts of the basilisk comes from Pliny the Elder‘s Natural History, written in roughly 79 AD. He describes the catoblepas, a monstrous cow-like creature of which “all who behold its eyes, fall dead upon the spot,”[3] and then goes on to say,

“There is the same power also in the serpent called the basilisk. It is produced in the province of Cyrene, being not more than twelve fingers in length. It has a white spot on the head, strongly resembling a sort of a diadem. When it hisses, all the other serpents fly from it: and it does not advance its body, like the others, by a succession of folds, but moves along upright and erect upon the middle. It destroys all shrubs, not only by its contact, but those even that it has breathed upon; it burns up all the grass, too, and breaks the stones, so tremendous is its noxious influence. It was formerly a general belief that if a man on horseback killed one of these animals with a spear, the poison would run up the weapon and kill, not only the rider, but the horse, as well. To this dreadful monster the crow of a rooster is fatal, a thing that has been tried with success, for kings have often desired to see its body when killed; so true is it that it has pleased Nature that there should be nothing without its antidote. The animal is thrown into the hole of the basilisk, which is easily known from the soil around it being infected. The weasel destroys the basilisk by its odour, but dies itself in this struggle of nature against its own self.”[4]

Isidore of Seville defined the basilisk as the king of snakes, due to its killing glare and its poisonous breath. The Venerable Bede was the first to attest to the legend of the birth of a basilisk from an egg by an old cockerel, and then other authors added the condition of Sirius being ascendant. Alexander Neckam (died 1217) was the first to say that not the glare but the “air corruption” was the killing tool of the basilisk, a theory developed one century later by Pietro d’Abano.

Theophilus Presbyter gives a long recipe in his book for creating a basilisk to convert copper into “Spanish gold” (De auro hyspanico). The compound was formed by combining powdered basilisk blood, powdered human blood, red copper, and a special kind of vinegar.

Albertus Magnus in the De animalibus wrote about the killing gaze of the basilisk, but he denied other legends, such as the rooster hatching the egg. He gave as source of those legends Hermes Trismegistus, who is credited also as the creator of the story about the basilisk’s ashes being able to convert silver into gold: the attribution is absolutely incorrect, but it shows how the legends of the basilisk were already linked to alchemy in 13th century.

Geoffrey Chaucer featured a basilicok (as he called it) in his Canterbury Tales. According to some legends, basilisks can be killed by hearing the crow of a rooster or gazing at itself through a mirror.[5][6] The latter method of killing the beast is featured in the legend of the basilisk of Warsaw, killed by a man carrying a set of mirrors.

Stories gradually added to the basilisk’s deadly capabilities, such as describing it as a larger beast, capable of breathing fire and killing with the sound of its voice. Some writers even claimed it could kill not only by touch, but also by touching something that is touching the victim, like a sword held in the hand. Also, some stories claim its breath is highly toxic and will cause death, usually immediately. The basilisk is also the guardian creature and traditional symbol of the Swiss city Basel.

The basilisk was, however, believed to be vulnerable to cockerels; therefore travelers in the Middle Ages allegedly sometimes carried cockerels with them as protection.[7]

Leonardo da Vinci included a basilisk in his Bestiary, saying it is so utterly cruel that when it cannot kill animals by its baleful gaze, it turns upon herbs and plants, and fixing its gaze on them withers them up. In his notebooks, he describes the basilisk, in an account clearly dependent directly or indirectly on Pliny’s:

This is found in the province of Cyrenaica and is not more than 12 fingers long. It has on its head a white spot after the fashion of a diadem. It scares all serpents with its whistling. It resembles a snake, but does not move by wriggling but from the centre forwards to the right. It is said that one of these, being killed with a spear by one who was on horse-back, and its venom flowing on the spear, not only the man but the horse also died. It spoils the wheat and not only that which it touches, but where it breathes the grass dries and the stones are split.

Then Leonardo says the following on the weasel: “This beast finding the lair of the basilisk kills it with the smell of its urine, and this smell, indeed, often kills the weasel itself.”

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa wrote that the basilisk “is alwayes, and cannot but be a male, as the more proper receptacle of venome and destructive qualities.”[8]

According to the tradition of the Cantabrian mythology, the ancient Basiliscu (as they called it) has disappeared in most of the Earth but still lives in Cantabria, although it is rare to see it. This animal is born from an egg laid by an old cock just before his death a clear night and full moon exactly at midnight. Within a few days, the egg shell, which is not hard, but rather soft and leathery, is opened by the strange creature that already has all the features of an adult: legs, beak, cockscomb, and reptilian body. Apparently, this strange creature has an intense and penetrating fire in its eyes that at the animal that or person who gazes directly upon it would die. The weasel is the only animal that can face and even attack it. It can only be killed with the crowing of a rooster, so, until very recent times, travelers were carrying a rooster when they ventured into areas where it was said that the basilisks lived.[9]

he basilisk appears in the English Revised Version of the Bible in Isaiah 14:29 in the prophet’s exhortation to the Philistines reading, “Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of thee, because the rod that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a basilisk, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.” The King James version of the Bible states, “out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.”

In Psalm 91:13:[11] “super aspidem et basiliscum calcabis conculcabis leonem et draconem” in the Latin Vulgate, literally “You will tread on the lion and the dragon,/the asp and the basilisk you will trample under foot,” translated in the King James Version as: Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet,”[12] the basilisk appears in the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, though not most English translations, which gave rise to its inclusion in the subject in Early Medieval art of Christ treading on the beasts.

In William Shakespeare’s Richard III, the recently widowed Anne Neville, on hearing seductive compliments on her eyes from her husband’s murderer (Richard, Duke of Gloucester), retorts that she wishes they were those of a basilisk, that she might kill him.[7] In Act II, Scene 4 of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, a character says about a ring, “It is a basilisk unto mine eye, Kills me to look on’t.”

The Yetzirahic Denomination: “The Radical Intelligence.”

According to the Sepher Yetzirah, Geburah is named “The Radical Intelligence.” (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48; Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 4)

The Tarot Cards Correspondance: The Four Fives

the-four-fivesThe  tarot cards attribution for Geburah are the four Fives. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 48; Aleister crowley, 777, p.4)

The four Fives in the Tarot represent change and each Suit shows how it approaches change. The change implied in the Tarot is not always well received or welcome.  The Change is often associated with conflict, stress, upset and loss. The Wands approach this change as if it were a challenge. Rising to the occasion and enjoying the conflict it brings, the challenge of their Five releases their fiercely competitive spirit, burning ambition and fearlessness. The Cups, being sentimental and emotional resist the change their Five forces upon them and mourn the loss it brings. The Swords need for inner change forces them into external clashes and arguments which can sometimes brim over into aggression and violence.  The Pentacles experience a terrible change in circumstances when they lack financially or become physically ill.

The Fives cause chaos and disorder and we  can become vulnerable to the influence of other’s negativity.  Our behaviour  can strongly alter when exposed to stress and upset.   We can also think just of ourselves, blinkered to the needs or feelings of others during times of personal upheaval.  The change or transition the Fives bring to the Four Suits can be difficult and sometimes traumatic. In their reverse they become more open-minded and willing to accept change and the losses associated with it. This unusual association of a reversed card being more positive than the upright is influenced by their number Five, which in numerology brings change, conflict, stress and the unexpected.

The Fives in The Tarot in their upright position resist the change, become narrow-minded, rigid and unyielding.   The influence of Five loses its grip when it reverses. Then change and transition are accepted and dealt with freeing the individual to move on in life.

After their period of stability, building their resources, consolidation and preparation the Universe shifts gear and jolts the Four Suits back into mainstream life once more.  Change is needed to shift them out of their individual ruts, mind-sets, lifestyles and behaviour.  Up until now they may have felt somewhat in control of life and had a certain idea of how things would run from here on in on their journey.  The arrival of the energy of Five throws curve balls at them from out of the blue, some traumatic.  Some may have felt the energy of Five building over a period of time and are not totally surprised by the turn of events while others remained blissfully ignorant of the rapidly approaching upheaval in their lives.

On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the Four Fives reside in the 5th Sephira –  Geburah  (Strength/Judgement/Power).  This Sephira brings with it restrictions, chaos and upheaval. Restrictive and eliminating it can cause energy to die.  Astrologically this Sephira corresponds with the planet Mars – God of War and Conflict. Energy takes another step closer to creation and manifestation.  The birthing or bringing of life into existence is not always easy.

In the Major Arcana, The Four Fives are linked with The Hierophant IV with his restricting, narrowed-thinking and conventional expectations of us he can make it difficult to remain true to our inner-self when faced with difficult circumstances. We may lose the power to think for ourselves.   Temperance XIV attempts to find balance between the influence of Death and The Devil during times of trauma which requires great strength, balanced judgement and personal power.

The effect of the energy of Five on the Four Suits is interesting to observe but also gives us excellent insight into how these archetypal characters respond to challenges and difficulties.  They have all experienced a few bumps along the way but apart from the Suit of Swords in Card 2, 3 and 4, it is really their first taste of disruption or loss. If they had hoped for a clear run and smooth travel throughout their Suits they were sadly delusional as this is life in the full human sense and no one can march through it untouched.

Ideally, one does not want to encounter too many Fives in a reading for obvious reasons.  However, there is very little gain without pain and it is all part of the learning process of life.

One Five in a reading normally represents problems or upheavals that with effort can be sorted out.  The cards that surround the Five would determine what the issue may be, how serious it is and who is involved.

Two or more Fives in a reading suggest a period of difficult changes and upheavals.  Life may feel upended and the individual totally lost as to how to fix things or find peace and stability.  If all four Fives appear and are grouped close to each other it can suggest problems which are ongoing, arguments that have reached a stalemate – no one is backing down or prepared to change.  The individual is bound to be highly stressed and upset. If the Fives are spaced out the Querant is more than likely experiencing change and difficulty in several areas of their life.  This may be as the result of a knock-on effect from an originating issue. Look to the other cards for clues.

When Fives appear reversed the Querant is open to or has managed to accept any changes that have come their way. If several reversed Fives appear, then the individual has freed themself or come out of a period of dreadful discord and upset in their lives.  They may now view their experience as life-changing and cleansing. Great personal power and inner-strength was needed to escape the strong influence of so many Fives. They will not forget this time too easily and are bound to have learned much from their experiences. Their card reading and personal story should be very interesting and inspiring.

A lack of Fives in a reading may possibly suggest a trouble-free time for the Querant when life is running smooth and easy.  However, the other cards in a reading will determine whether that is so.


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