July 18, 2019
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The General Description of the Path

nunCorresponding to the previous path, but on the opposite side of the Tree, we come upon the Twenty-Fourth Path, leading from Netzach to Tiphareth. Just as the tyranny of the intellect is abolished by the advent of the illumination bestowed by Tiphareth, so in this case the advent of the Tipharetic Kingdom sounds the death knell to the rule of the passions. All that is not worthy to enter the Kingdom must die so that it might come to life in a new, purified form. The destruction of the egostical drives and feelings for the individuation is accomplished on this path.[1]

Possession/Equanimity – Equanimity is the virtue of having presence of mind, composure calmness, and stability, in situations that most people would find distressing or alarming.  A key to equanimity is not being overwhelmed by feeling.  When we are possessed by feeling, detachment vanishes, and we become our feelings.  This often occurs with anger, love and fear.  This path is a mirror of the path from Tifereth to Hod.  The descent from Tifareth to Netzach is a descent into a small world created by strong feeling.  Anger, love and fear are normally narrow feelings: they focus on specific people and situations.  Anger is an immensely disturbing feeling that can consume the mind to th exclusion of all else.  Mystical traditions tend to value equanimity, suggesting that we  should be composed in the face of adversity.  This undervalues the survival value of strong feelings.  For most people their daily routines are seemingly incompetent, a desire to support friends and colleagues, love of friends and family, anger at transgression, taking care of oneself.  people who have been socialised intelligently usually have feelings that serve a positive role in their lives.  They have an instinct for good or appropriate behaviour that is most often seen when something unexpected happens.  This path is one of the most important paths on the Tree, because here we confront the organic necessity of the world head-on.  Feelings are part of the organic necessity of existence. Thet seem to be part of our core being, our essential identity. On this path we watch them, learn how they work, and try to mould them to serve us. (Collin A. Low, The Hermetic Kabbalah, p. 328)

The keynote to this path is “Only the empty cup can be filled. If our hearts are to be irradiated with Divine Love, all human loves and attachments must pass away. The many must die in order to make way for the the One.”[2] The magical motto for this path is the following:”O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”[3]



[1] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p.53.
[2] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p.89.
[3] The Bible, I, Corr, 15:55. Cited in Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p.89.

 The Hebrew Letter Correspondence: Nun

nun------This is the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This is path no. Twenty-four, joining Tiphareth to Netzach. Its numerical value is 50. Pronounced noon, and means a “fish.” This letter, too, has a final form T, the numerical value of which is 700.






The Tarot Trump Correspondence: XIII – Death

deathThe tarot attribution, XIII – Death, continues this conception, picturing a black skeleton mounted on a white horse (remnding us of one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) armed with a scythe mowing down all and everything with which he comes into contact.[4] Surrounding this skeleton character are dead and dying people from all classes, including kings, bishops and commoners. The skeleton carries a black standard emblazoned with a white flower. Some decks depict the Crashing Towers from The Moon with The Sun rising behind them in the background. Some decks, such as the Tarot of Marseilles, omit the name from the card. According to Eden Gray and other authors on the subject, it is unlikely that this card actually represents a physical death. [5] Typically it implies an end, possibly of a relationship or interest, and therefore implies an increased sense of self-awareness—not to be confused with self-consciousness or any kind of self-diminishment.[6] The king is trampled by a reaping skeleton horseman, as A. E. Waite’s book The Pictorial Key to the Tarot describes him, which appears to be a personification of death. The fall of the king may represent the importance and magnitude of the critical event of this card, or that death takes us all equally. The reaper carries a black banner emblazoned with the Mystic Rose, which according to Waite symbolises life or rebirth. As in other cards, the gray background may indicate uncertainty surrounding this event. The bishop may represent faith in the face of death, faith in the divine plan, and faith that “God works in mysterious ways”. The maiden seeming distraught by the fall of the king represents the sorrow and great pain that often accompanies death. The child, seemingly entranced by the occurrence, may represent bewilderment or curiosity. In the darkness behind, according to Waite’s PKT, lies the whole world of ascent in the spirit. Although some believe the New Jerusalem appears as a silhouette across the Sun, it does not appear clearly enough to be certain and may instead be the tops of The Moon’s mountains.


[4] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.
[5]Gray, Eden. The Complete Guide to the Tarot, p.?
[6]Bunning, Joan. Learning the Tarot, p.?

The Zociacal Correspondence: Scorpio

scorpio--The zodiactal attribution for thios 24th path or the Tree of Life is Scorpio. As Israel Regardie points out, “the correspondences again appear to follow the astrological interpretation, which is Scorpio, the reptile fabled to sting itself to death.”[7]






[7] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence: Kephra

kephraThe Egyptian deity correspondence for this 24rd path of the Tree of Life, is Kephra. In Egyptian mythology, Khepri (also spelled Khepera, Kheper, Chepri, Khepra) is the name of a major god. Khepri is associated with the dung beetle (kheper), whose behavior of maintaining spherical balls of dung represents the forces which move the sun. Khepri gradually came to be considered as an embodiment of the sun itself, and therefore was a solar deity. To explain where the sun goes at night, such pushing was extended to the underworld, Khepri’s pushing of the sun being ceaseless. Since the scarab beetle lays its eggs in the bodies of various dead animals, including other scarabs, and in dung, from which they emerge having been born, the ancient Egyptians believed that scarab beetles were created from dead matter. Because of this, they also associated the Khepri with rebirth, renewal, and resurrection. Indeed, his name means “to come into being”. As a result of this, when the rival cult of the sun-god Ra gained significance, Khepri was identified as the aspect of Ra which constitutes only the dawning sun (i.e. the sun when it comes into being). Khepri was principally depicted as a whole scarab beetle, though in some tomb paintings and funerary papyri he is represented as a human male with a scarab as a head. He is also depicted as a scarab in a solar barque held aloft by Nun. When represented as a scarab beetle, he was typically depicted pushing the sun across the sky every day, as well as rolling it safely through the Egyptian underworld every night. As an aspect of Ra, he is particularly prevalent in the funerary literature of the New Kingdom, when many Ramesside tombs in the Valley of the Kings were decorated with depictions of Ra as a sun-disc, containing images of Khepri, the dawning sun, and Atum, the setting sun. The scarab, Egyptian language (kh)pr is used in many pharaonic names, for example Thutmosis III as Mn-Kheper-Re. Because it is used so frequently in pharaonic names.[8] its meaning needs to be presented. As the word “transform”, or “transformation”, the phrase Men-(Kh)eper-Re becomes: strong-transforming-Ra, and some renderings in common English are The Transforming Strength (of) Ra, or Ra’s Steadfastness (of) Transformations. A much later word that replaced the kheper, ‘transforming’ was the Greek language “epiphanous”, the word for manifesting. A similar usage, but not with the implications of transformation, as an insect larva, transforming into an adult-form bug. The Ptolemaic era Ptolemy V of the Rosetta Stone, 196 BC is named Ptolemy V Epiphanes. Coins of Greece and other Greek influenced kingdoms had coins using the King’s profile and the word epi(ph)anous, namely basileus epi(ph)anous, (King-Manifested). For example: “Kheper-i kheper kheperu, kheper-kuy, m kheper n khepri kheperu m sep tepy.” “I became, and the becoming became. I became by becoming the form of Khepra, god of transformations, who came into being in the First Time. Through me all transformations were enacted.”


[8] For example : Kheperkare Senusret I, Khakheperre Senusret II, Aakheperkare Thutmose I, Aakheperenre Thutmose II, Menkheperre Thutmose III, Aakheperrure Amenhotep II, Menkheperrure Thutmose IV, etc.

The Greek Deity Correspondence: Ares

ares6The Greek deity correspondence for this 24th path of the qabalictic Tree of Life is Ares, “an immense serpent.” Ares (Ancient Greek: Ἄρης, Μodern Greek: Άρης) is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera.[9] The etymology of the name Ares is traditionally connected with the Greek word ἀρή (arē), the Ionic form of the Doric ἀρά (ara), “bane, ruin, curse, imprecation”. There may also be a connection with the Roman god of war Mars, via hypothetical Proto-Indo-European *M̥rēs; compare Ancient Greek μάρναμαι (marnamai), “to fight, to battle”, or Punjabi maarna (to kill, to hit). The earliest attested form of the name is the Mycenaean Greek a-re, written in Linear B syllabic script. Walter Burkert notes that “Ares is apparently an ancient abstract noun meaning throng of battle, war.”[10] In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.[11]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.”[12] The union of Ares and Aphrodite created the gods Eros, Anteros, Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia, and Adrestia. While Eros and Anteros’ godly stations favored their mother, Adrestia by far preferred to emulate her father, often accompanying him to war. Fear (Phobos) and Terror (Deimos) were yoked to his battle chariot.[13] In the Iliad his father Zeus tells him that he is the god most hateful to him.[14] An association with Ares endows places and objects with a savage, dangerous, or militarized quality.[15] His value as a war god is even 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.[16]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.[17] When Ares does appear in myths, he typically faces humiliation.[18] He is well known as the lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love who was married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship,[19] but the most famous story involving the couple shows them exposed to ridicule through the wronged husband’s clever device.[20]The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars, who as a father of the Roman people held a more important and dignified place in ancient Roman religion for his agricultural and tutelary functions. In Macedonia, however, he was viewed as a bearded war veteran with superb military skills and physical strength. The ancient Macedonians looked up to Ares as a divine leader as well as a god. In Sparta Ares was viewed as a masculine soldier in which his resilience, physical strength and military intelligence was unrivaled.The birds of Ares (Ornithes Areioi) were a flock of feather-dart-dropping birds that guarded the Amazons’ shrine of the god on a coastal island in the Black Sea.[21] Vultures and dogs, both of which prey upon carrion in the battlefield, were sacred to him. Although Ares received occasional sacrifice from armies going to war, the god had a formal temple and cult at only a few sites.[22] At Sparta, however, youths each sacrificed a puppy to Enyalios before engaging in ritual fighting at the Phoebaeum.[23] The chthonic night-time sacrifice of a dog to Enyalios became assimilated to the cult of Ares. Just east of Sparta stood an archaic statue of the god in chains, to show that the spirit of war and victory was never to leave the city.[24] Deimos, “Terror” or “Dread”, and Phobos, “Fear”, are his companions in war[25] and also his children, borne by Aphrodite, according to Hesiod.[26] The sister and companion of the violent Ares is Eris, the goddess of discord, or Enyo, the goddess of war, bloodshed, and violence. Enyalius, rather than another name for Ares, in at least one tradition was his son by Enyo.[26] Ares may also be accompanied by Kydoimos, the demon of the din of battle; the Makhai (“Battles”); thev “Hysminai” (“Acts of manslaughter”); Polemos, a minor spirit of war, or only an epithet of Ares, since it has no specific dominion; and Polemos’s daughter, Alala, the goddess or personification of the Greek war-cry, whose name Ares uses as his own war-cry. Ares’s sister Hebe, “Youth,” also draws baths for him. According to Pausanias, local inhabitants of Therapne, Sparta, recognized Thero “feral, savage” as a nurse of Ares.[27] The temple to Ares in the agora of Athens that Pausanias saw in the second century AD had only been moved and rededicated there during the time of Augustus; in essence it was a Roman temple to the Augustan Mars Ultor.[28] The Areopagus, the “mount of Ares” where Paul of Tarsus preached, is sited at some distance from the Acropolis; from archaic times it was a site of trials. Its connection with Ares, perhaps based on a false etymology, is purely etiological myth. A second temple has also been located at the archaeological site of Metropolis in what is now Western Turkey. One of the roles of Ares that was sited in mainland Greece itself was in the founding myth of Thebes: Ares was the progenitor of the water-dragon slain by Cadmus, for the dragon’s teeth were sown into the ground as if a crop and sprung up as the fully armored autochthonic Spartoi. To propitiate Ares, Cadmus took as a bride Harmonia, daughter of Ares’ union with Aphrodite, thus harmonizing all strife and founding the city of Thebes.[29]


[9]Hesiod, Theogony 921; Iliad, 5.890–896. By contrast, Ares’ Roman counterpart Mars was born from Juno alone, according to Ovid (Fasti 5.229–260).
[10]Walter Burkert, Greek Religion (Harvard) 1985: pt III.2.12 p 169.
[11]Walter Burkert, Greek Religion (Blackwell, 1985, 2004 reprint, originally published 1977 in German), pp. 141; William Hansen, Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical World of the Greeks and Romans (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 113.
[12]Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 169.
[13]Burkert, Greek Religion, p.169.
[14] Homer, Iliad 5.890–891.
[15]Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 114–115.
[16]Burkert, Greek Religion,p. 169.
[17]Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 113–114; Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 169.
[18]Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 113–114. See for instance Ares and the giants below.
[19]In the Iliad, however, the wife of Hephaestus is Charis, “Grace,” as noted by Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 168.
[20]Odyssey 8.266–366; Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 113–114.
[21]Argonautica (ii.382ff and 1031ff; Hyginus, Fabulae 30.
[22]Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 170.
[23]”Here each company of youths sacrifices a puppy to Enyalius, holding that the most valiant of tame animals is an acceptable victim to the most valiant of the gods. I know of no other Greeks who are accustomed to sacrifice puppies except the people of Colophon; these too sacrifice a puppy, a black bitch, to the Wayside Goddess.” Pausanias, 3.14.9.
[24]”Opposite this temple [the temple of Hipposthenes] is an old image of Enyalius in fetters. The idea the Lacedaemonians express by this image is the same as the Athenians express by their Wingless Victory; the former think that Enyalius will never run away from them, being bound in the fetters, while the Athenians think that Victory, having no wings, will always remain where she is.” Pausanias, 3.15.7.
[25]Iliad 4.436f, and 13.299f’ Hesiodic Shield of Heracles 191, 460; Quintus Smyrnaeus, 10.51, etc.
[26]Hesiod, Theogony 934f.
[27]Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3. 19. 7 – 8
[28]Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 170.
[29]Burkert, Greek Religion, p.169.

The Roman Deity Correspondence: Mars

marrssThe Roman deity correspondence for this 24th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Mars; the main reason for that, obviously, is because “Mars rules Scorpio.”[30] Although Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera,[31] Mars was the son of Juno alone. Jupiter had usurped the mother’s function when he gave birth to Minerva directly from his forehead (or mind); to restore the balance, Juno sought the advice of the goddess Flora on how to do the same. Flora obtained a magic flower (Latin flos, plural flores, a masculine word) and tested it on a heifer who became fecund at once. She then plucked a flower ritually using her thumb, touched Juno’s belly, and impregnated her. Juno withdrew to Thrace and the shore of Marmara for the birth. Ovid tells this story in the Fasti, his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar.[32] It may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars’ month, which is also marked on a calendar from late antiquity as the birthday of Mars. Mars (Latin: Mārs, adjectives Martius and Martialis) was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome.[33] In the Roman pantheon he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was by far the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions. 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, 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.[34] The consort of Mars was Nerio or Nerine, “Valour.” She represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars.[35] Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, “manly virtue” (from vir, “man”).[36] In the early 3rd century BC, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife.[37]A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Nerine were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23.[38] In the later Roman Empire, Nerine came to be identified with Minerva.[39] In Roman art, Mars is depicted as either bearded and mature or young and clean-shaven. Even nude or seminude, he often wears a helmet or carries a spear as emblems of his warrior nature. Virility as a kind of life force (vis) or virtue (virtus) is an essential characteristic of Mars.[40] As an agricultural god, he directs his energies toward creating conditions that allow crops to grow, which may include warding off hostile forces of nature.[41] As an embodiment of masculine aggression, he is the force that drives wars — but ideally, war that delivers a secure peace. The priesthood of the Arval Brothers called on Mars to drive off “rust” (lues), with its double meaning of wheat fungus and the red oxides that affect metal, a threat to both iron farm implements and weaponry. In the surviving text of their hymn, the Arval Brothers invoked Mars as ferus, “savage” or “feral” like a wild animal.[42] Mars’ potential for savagery is expressed in his obscure connections to the wild woodlands, and he may even have originated as a god of the wild, beyond the boundaries set by humans, and thus a force to be propitiated.[43] In his book on farming, Cato invokes Mars Silvanus for a ritual to be carried out in silva, in the woods, an uncultivated place that if not held within bounds can threaten to overtake the fields needed for crops.[44] Mars’ character as an agricultural god may derive solely from his role as a defender and protector,[45] or may be inseparable from his warrior nature,[46] as the leaping of his armed priests the Salii was meant to quicken the growth of crops.[47] The two wild animals most sacred to Mars were the woodpecker and the wolf, which in the natural lore of the Romans were said always to inhabit the same foothills and woodlands.[48]Plutarch notes that the woodpecker (picus) is sacred to Mars because “it is a courageous and spirited bird and has a beak so strong that it can overturn oaks by pecking them until it has reached the inmost part of the tree.”[49] As the beak of the picus Martius contained the god’s power to ward off harm, it was carried as a magic charm to prevent bee stings and leech bites.[50] The bird of Mars also guarded a woodland herb (paeonia) used for treatment of the digestive or female reproductive systems; those who sought to harvest it were advised to do so by night, lest the woodpecker jab out their eyes.[51]The woodpecker was revered by the Latin peoples, who abstained from eating its flesh.[52] It was one of the most important birds in Roman and Italic augury, the practice of reading the will of the gods through watching the sky for signs.[53] The mythological figure named Picus had powers of augury that he retained when he was transformed into a woodpecker; in one tradition, Picus was the son of Mars.[54] The Umbriancognate peiqu also means “woodpecker,” and the Italic Picenes were supposed to have derived their name from the picus who served as their guide animal during a ritual migration undertaken as a rite of Mars.[55] In the territory of the Aequi, another Italic people, Mars had an oracle of great antiquity where the prophecies were supposed to be spoken by a woodpecker perched on a wooden column.[56]Mars’ association with the wolf is familiar from what may be the most famous of Roman myths, the story of how a she-wolf (lupa) suckled his infant sons when they were exposed by order of their human uncle, who feared that they would take back the kingship he had usurped.[57] A lesser-known part of the story is that the woodpecker also brought nourishment to the twins.[58]The wolf appears elsewhere in Roman art and literature in masculine form as the animal of Mars. A statue group that stood along the Appian Way showed Mars in the company of wolves.[59] At the Battle of Sentinum in 295 BC, the appearance of the wolf of Mars (Martius lupus) was a sign that Roman victory was to come.[60]In Roman Gaul, the goose was associated with the Celtic forms of Mars, and archaeologists have found geese buried alongside warriors in graves. The goose was considered a bellicose animal because it is easily provoked to aggression.The spear is the instrument of Mars in the same way that Jupiter wields the lightning bolt, Neptune the trident, and Saturn the scythe or sickle.[61] A relic or fetish called the spear of Mars[62] was kept in the Regia, the former residence of the Kings of Rome.[63] When Mars is pictured as a peace-bringer, his spear is wreathed with laurel or other vegetation, as on the Ara Pacis or a coin of Aemilianus.[64] 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 himself, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome. Although the center of Mars’ worship was originally located outside the pomerium, or sacred boundary of Rome, Augustus brought the god into the center of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum.[65] 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.[66] 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, particularly in the Western provinces.


[30] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.
[31]Hesiod, Theogony p. 79 in the translation of Norman O. Brown (Bobbs-Merrill, 1953); 921; Iliad, 5.890–896.
[32]Ovid, Fasti 5.229–260.
[33]Mary Beard, J.A. North, and S.R.F. Price, Religions of Rome: A History (Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 47–48.
[34]Kurt A. Raaflaub, War and Peace in the Ancient World (Blackwell, 2007), p. 15.
[35]Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 13.23. Gellius says the word Nerio or Nerienes is Sabine and is supposed to be the origin of the name Nero as used by the Claudian family, who were Sabine in origin. The Sabines themselves, Gellius says, thought the word was Greek in origin, from νεῦρα (neura), Latin nervi, meaning the sinews and ligaments of the limbs.
[36]Robert E.A. Palmer, The Archaic Community of the Romans (Cambridge University Press, 1970, 2009), p. 167.
[37]Plautus, Truculentus 515.
[38]Johannes Lydus, De mensibus 4.60 (42).
[39]Porphyrion, Commentum in Horatium Flaccum, on Epistula II.2.209.
[40]R.B. Onians, The Origins of European Thought about the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time and Fate (Cambridge University Press, 1951), pp. 470–471. Onians connects the name of Mars to the Latin mas, maris, “male” (p. 178), as had Isidore of Seville, saying that the month of March (Martius) was named after Mars “because at that time all living things are stirred toward virility (mas, gen. maris) and to the pleasures of sexual intercourse”(Etymologies 5.33.5, translation by Stephen A. Barney, The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 128. In antiquity, vis was thought to be related etymologically to vita, “life.” Varro (De lingua latina 5.64, quoting Lucilius) notes that vis is vita: “vis drives us to do everything.”
[41]On the relation of Mars’ warrior aspect to his agricultural functions with respect to Dumézil’s Trifunctional hypothesis, see Wouter W. Belier, Decayed Gods: Origin and Development of Georges Dumézil’s ‘idéologie tripartie’ (Brill, 1991), pp. 88–91
[42]Schilling, “Mars,” in Roman and European Mythologies, p. 135; Palmer, Archaic Community, pp. 113–114.
[43]Gary Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome (University of California Press, 2005), p. 127; Fowler, Religious Experience, p. 134.
[44]Cato, On Agriculture 141. In pre-modern agricultural societies, encroaching woodland or wild growth was a real threat to the food supply, since clearing land for cultivation required intense manual labor with minimal tools and little or no large-scale machinery. Fowler says of Mars, “As he was not localised either on the farm or in the city, but we prefer to think that he was originally conceived as a Power outside the boundary in each case, but for that very reason all the more to be propitiated by the settlers within it” (Religious Experience, p. 142).
[45]Schilling, “Mars,” in Roman and European Mythologies, p. 135.
[46]Beard et al., Religions of Rome: A History, pp. 47–48.
[47]Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome, p. 127.
[48] Plutarch, Roman Questions 21, citing Nigidius Figulus.
[49]Plutarch, Roman Questions 21; also named as sacred to Mars in his Life of Romulus. Ovid (Fasti 3.37) calls the woodpecker the bird of Mars.
[50]Pliny, Natural History 29.29.
[51]Pliny, Natural History 27.60. Pliny names the herb as glycysīdē in Greek, Latin paeonia (see Peony: Name), also called pentorobos.
[52]Plutarch, Roman Questions 21. Athenaeus lists the woodpecker among delicacies on Greek tables (Deipnosophistae 9.369).
[53]Plautus, Asinaria 259–261; Pliny, Natural History 10.18. Named also in the Iguvine Tables (6a, 1–7), as Umbrian peiqu; Schilling, “Roman Divination,” in Roman and European Mythologies (University of Chicago Press, 1992), pp. 96–97 and 105, note 7.
[54]Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1.31; Peter F. Dorcey, The Cult of Silvanus: A Study in Roman Folk Religion (Brill, 1992), p. 33.
[55]John Greppin, entry on “woodpecker,” Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997), p. 648.
[56]Dionysius Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities I.14.5, as noted by Mary Emma Armstrong, The Significance of Certain Colors in Roman Ritual (George Banta Publishing, 1917), p. 6.
[57]The myth of the she-wolf, and the birth of the twins with Mars as their father, is a long and complex tradition that weaves together multiple stories about the founding of Rome. See T.P. Wiseman, Remus: A Roman Myth (Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. xiii, 73ff. et passim.
[58]Plutarch, Life of Romulus.
[59]Livy 22.1.12, as cited by Wiseman, Remus, p. 189, note 6, and Armstrong, The Significance of Certain Colors, p. 6.
[60]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 10.27.
[61]Martianus Capella 5.425, with Mars specified as Gradivus and Neptune named as Portunus.
[62]Varro, Antiquitates frg. 254* (Cardauns); Plutarch, Romulus 29.1 (a rather muddled account); Arnobius, Adversus nationes 6.11.
[63]Michael Lipka, Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach (Brill, 2009), p. 88.
[64]Michael Lipka, Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach (Brill, 2009), p. 88.
[65]Paul Rehak and John G. Younger, Imperium and Cosmos: Augustus and the Northern Campus Martius (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006), pp. 11–12.
[66]Isidore of Seville calls Mars Romanae gentis auctorem, the originator or founder of the Roman people as a gens (Etymologiae 5.33.5).

The Hindu Deity Correspondence: Kundalini

kndlniThe Hindu deity correspondence for this 24th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Kundalini.[67] The word “Kundalini” (kuṇḍalinī, Sanskrit: कुण्डलिनी, Thai: กุณฺฑลินี)literally means coiled. In yoga, a “corporeal energy”[68] – an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force or Shakti, lies at the base of the spine.[69] According to well-known teacher and translator Eknath Easwaran, kundalini litterally means “the coiled power,” a force which ordinarily rests at the base of the spine, described as being coiled there like a serpent.[70] It is envisioned either as a goddess or else as a sleeping serpent, hence a number of English renderings of the term such as ‘serpent power’. The kundalini resides in the sacrum bone in three and a half coils and has been described as a residual power of pure desire.[71] Kundalini is the Hindu goddess representing the creative force (libido), coiled up as a serpent at the base of the spine, in the so-called lotus of the Muladhara chakra. Its magical formula is regeneration through putrefaction. The alchemists of old used this formula mainly. The first common matter of their operations was base, and had to pass through several stages of corruptions or putrefaction (or chemical change, as it would be styled today), when it was called the black dragon – but from this putrid stage, the pure gold was derived.[72] Another application of the same formula applies to that psychological state of which all mystics speak: the spiritual dryness or “the Dark Night of the Soul,” wherein all one’s powers are held temporarily in abeyance gathering, in reality, strength to shoot up and blossom forth in the light of the spiritual Sun.[73] Kundalini is described as a sleeping, dormant potential force in the human organism. It is one of the components of an esoteric description of the ‘subtle body’, which consists of nadis (energy channels), chakras (psychic centres), prana (subtle energy), and bindu (drops of essence). Kundalini is described as being coiled up at the base of the spine, usually within muladhara chakra. The image given is that of a serpent coiled three and a half times around a smokey grey lingam. Each coil is said to represent one of the three gunas, with the half coil signifying transcendence. Through meditation, and various esoteric practices, such as Kundalini Yoga, Sahaja Yoga, and Kriya Yoga, the kundalini is awakened, and can rise up through the central nadi, called sushumna, that rises up inside or alongside the spine. The progress of kundalini through the different chakras leads to different levels of awakening and mystical experience, until the kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, Sahasrara chakra, producing an extremely profound mystical experience that is siad to be indescribable. The kundalini rises from muladhara chakra up a subtle channel at the base of the spine (called Sushumna), and from there to top of the head merging with the sahasrara, or crown chakra. When kundalini Shakti is conceived as a goddess, then, when it rises to the head, it unites itself with the Supreme Being (Lord Shiva). Then the aspirant becomes engrossed in deep meditation and infinite bliss.The arousing of kundalini is said by some to be the one and only way of attaining Divine Wisdom. Self-Realization is said to be equivalent to Divine Wisdom or Gnosis or what amounts to the same thing: self-knowledge.[12] The awakening of the kundalini shows itself as “awakening of inner knowledge” and brings with itself “pure joy, pure knowledge and pure love.”According to the western interpretation Kundalini is considered an interaction of the subtle body along with chakra energy centers and nadis channels. Each chakra is said to contain special characteristics and with proper training, moving kundalini energy ‘through’ these chakras can help express or open these characteristics.Sir John Woodroffe (pen name Arthur Avalon) was one of the first to bring the notion of kundalini to the West. As High Court Judge in Calcutta, he became interested in Shaktism and Hindu Tantra. His translation of and commentary on two key texts was published as The Serpent Power. Woodroffe rendered kundalini as “Serpent Power” for lack of a better term in the English language but “kundala” in Sanskrit means “coiled”.[74]Western awareness of the idea of kundalini was strengthened by the Theosophical Society and the interest of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875–1961).”[75] Jung’s seminar on kundalini yoga, presented to the Psychological Club in Zurich in 1932, has been widely regarded as a milestone in the psychological understanding of Eastern thought. Kundalini yoga presented Jung with a model for the development of higher consciousness, and he interpreted its symbols in terms of the process of individuation”.[76]Sri Aurobindo was the other great authority scholar on Kundalini parallel to Sir John Woodroffe, with a somewhat different viewpoint, according to Mary Scott (who is herself a later day scholar on Kundalini and its physical basis) and was a member of the Theosophical Society.[77]Another populariser of the concept of kundalini among Western readers was Gopi Krishna. His autobiography is entitled Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man.[78] According to one writer his writings influenced Western interest in kundalini yoga.[79]In the early 1930s two Italian scholars, Tommaso Palamidessi and Julius Evola, published several books with the intent of re-interpreting alchemy with reference to yoga.[80] Those works had an impact on modern interpretations of Alchemy as a mystical science. In those works, kundalini is called an “Igneous Power” or “Serpentine Fire”.

The God, Khepri, from the Tomb of Nefertari, New Kingdom (Wall Painting)


[67] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81; Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 53.
[68] Flood (1996), p. 96.
[69] Harper et al. (2002), p. 94.
[70]Eknath Easwaran, A Glossary of Sanskrit from the Spiritual Tradition of India, Berkeley, Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, 1970, p. 5.
[71] Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Srivastava: “Meta Modern Era”, pages 233-248. Vishwa Nirmala Dharma; first edition, 1995.
[72] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.
[73] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.
[74]Avalon, Arthur (1974). The Serpent Power. Dover Publications Inc.. p. 1.
[75]Flood (1996), p. 99.
[76]Princeton University Press, Book description to C. G Jung – “The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga”, 1999
[77]Author: Scott, Mary, 1906-; Title: Kundalini in the physical world; Imprint: London ; Boston:Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983. Description: 275 p. : ill. ; 22 cm. Bibliography: p. 259-263.
[78]Krishna, Gopi (1971) Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man. Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala.
[79]For quotation “Western interest at the popular level in kundalini yoga was probably most influenced by the writings of Gopi Krishna, in which kundalini was redefined as a chaotic and spontaneous religious experience.” see: McDaniel, p. 280.
[80]Palamidessi Tommaso, Alchimia come via allo Spirito, ed. EGO, 1948 Turin.

The Sacred Animal Correspondence #1: The Beetle

p17966agrThe sacred animal attribution for this 24th path according to Israel Regardie is the beetle.[81] Other animals are also attributed like the scorpion and the wolf.[82] Coleopterais an order of insects commonly called beetles. The word “coleoptera” is from the Greek κολεός, koleos, “sheath”; and πτερόν, pteron, “wing”, thus “sheathed wing”. Coleoptera contains more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms.[83] About 40% of all described insect species are beetles, which add up to about 400,000 species. Most of the time, when people talk about beetle, they generally refers to the scarab, which is well know because he features in many myths. Though the term “scarab” applies to a whole body of beetles,[84] it is the scarabeus sacer, the dung beetle of the western desert that has so captured the mythopoetic imagination. Scarabaeus sacer is a species of dung beetle, found in coastal dunes and marshes around the Mediterranean Basin. The dung beetle has the remarkable instinct of rolling balls of animal dung along the ground to its underground cache where the dung will be stored for food, where it will eventually be used to feed its offspring. Unlike the image of the scarab, however, it is not its front legs but its feathery-looking hind legs with which the beetle rolls the balls of dung. The ball is sometimes so large that the beetle is forced to an almost vertical position; yet, persistent and resolute, the scarab manages to negotiate obstacles in his way. The ball itself is an image of the World Egg from which all manifestation arose. African cultures featured the dung beetle in myths of the beginning, as the creature able to bring up a piece of primordial earth from the watery abyss. But the scarab’s pushing of its dung ball resonated especially in the imagination of the ancient Egyptians, its behaviour inspired them to compare it to the sun god Khepri, and they considered S. sacer to be sacred and adopted its symbolism in their pantheon. In the context of this 24th path of the Tree of Life, the Beetle represents specifically the Egyptian god Khephra, the beetle-god of the Midnight Sun symbolizing Light in Darkness. Kephri associated in particular with the sun of the morning, was depicted in lifelike form as the black dung beetle, sometimes wit its wings spread, or as the figure of man with a scarab beetle head. The Egyptian hieroglyphs of the scarab with legs outstretched correspond to the verb Kheper, from which Khepri gets his name means “to take shape,” “assuming a given form”or “to come into being,” evoking the sun and solar consciousness taking visible shape with day. But Khepri’s blackness also suggests that is an invisible force that upholds solar energies, an unconscious that propels consciousness into its awakening and discriminated forms, creativity and perceptual motion. This is a moment of spiritual transformation, like Israel Regardie points out that “during the mystical state refered to, the whole of one’s inner life appears, in the most heartbreaking manner conceivable, to be torn asunder. [85] The scarab’s relation to the rising of the sun made it an emblem of rebirth. This symbolism was reinforced by the fact that besides the dung ball it rolls for food, the scarab fashions from sheep dung a pear-shapewd ball in which tro lay its eggs and feed its larvae. Pupae resembling tiny mummies, their wings and legs encased, rise out of the earth in which the dung ball containing the beetle’s egg was embedded, giving all the appearance of spontaneous self-creation. Scarabs were also worn as cheap protective amulets, for the insect had concealed in himself the power of eternal rebewal of life, scarabs were given the spreading wings of hawks, like those on Tutankhamen’s coffin, and used as talismans, being invoked in the words of a spell in The Book of the Righteous ‘as the god who is in my body, my creator who maintains my limbs’. So much did the scarab evoke the qualities of immortality, sublimation and transcendence that its dwelling, a subterranean, vertical shaft leading to a horizontal passage, may have been imitated in the architecture of the Egyptian tombs.[86] Hundreds of thousands of scarab amulets were inscribed with images of animals, gods, kings and other designs, and they drew power to the living in the form of seals or jewelry,[87] or where placed with the dead in the tomb as symbols of new life.[88] Funerary texts illuminate the notion that at death the heart, seen as the center of life, feeling, action and memory, would be weighed against the feather of Maat, the goddess of order and proportion. This is what is called the psychostasis. In depictions of this process the dead person’s heart bore witness to his morality and judged his conscience. The accused had, therefore, to conciliate this portion of himself since it could determine his salvation or his damnation. If the heart failed to balance, it would be devoured by a monster, prohibiting entry into the afterworld. Heart scarabs were a magical means of preventing such an outcome, even, presumably, if the life lacked virtue.[89] Attached or sewn to the mummy binding over the chest, their purpose was “to bind the heart to silence during the weighing.” Many were inscribed with pleas to the heart not to betray its owner: “Do not contradict me with the judges… do not make any name stink to the gods.”[90] The heart was the conscience; it dictated a person’s actions and rebuked him; it was an independent being of a superior essence dwelling in the body. Written on a coffin in the Vienna Museum are the worlds: “A man’s heart is his own god.”[91] In such a context the image of the scarab may be said to signify, on one hand, a well-concealed defense mechanism against excessive authenticity; and on the other, the balance and essence required for a “coming into being” as a liking of finite and infinite dimension. Considered as being self-generated by the Ancient Egyptians, it is interesting to notice that the scarab received the same explanation in China. “The scarab rolls its ball,” we read in The Secret of the Golden Flower, “and in that ball life is engendered, the fruit of its undivided effort of concentration.”[92] If an embryo could be generated in the dung-ball, why, they concluded, could not concentration of the spirit give birth the Embryo of Immortality in the ‘celestial heart?’ Taoist commentators cite the activities of the dung-beetle as an example of the skill of what is to all appearances skill-less, and of the perfection of what seems imperfect, of which Lao Tzu spoke, and which are the criteria of Wisdom.[93]


[81] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.
[82]Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrmage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 53.
[83]Powell, Jerry A. (2009). “Coleoptera”. In Vincent H. Resh & Ring T. Cardé. Encyclopedia of Insects (2nd ed.). Academic Press. p. 1132.
[84]The family Scarabaeidae as currently defined consists of over 30,000 species of beetles worldwide.
[85] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.
[86] Andrews, Carol (1994), Amulets of the Ancient Egypt, Austin. TX. p.51.
[87] Andrews, Carol (1994), Amulets of the Ancient Egypt, Austin. TX. p.51.
[88] Lurker, Manfed (1980), The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Egypt, NY, p. 105.
[89] Andrews, Carol (1994), Amulets of the Ancient Egypt, Austin. TX. p.56.
[90] Wilkinson, Richard H. (1992), Reading Egyptian Art. London, p. 77.
[91] Posner, G. , S. Sauneron & J. Yoyotte (1962), A Dictionary of Egyptian Civilization, translated by Alix Macfarlane, London, p.61, 259-260.
[92] See Wilhelm, Richerd (1931), The Secret of the Golden Flower. Harvest Book.
[93]See Wieger,Fr Léon (1950), Les Père du Système Taoïste, Leiden and Paris.

The Sacred Animal Correspondence #2: The Scorpion

Emporer Scorpion (Pandinus imperator).Another sacred animal attribution for this 24th path is once again the scorpion, but this time it is not cast in the role of a redeemer like it was the case in the previous path, but he figures here simply because of his role of swift killer which resonates particularly well with the Tarot Trump attribution for this path: XIII – Death. Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping claws and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger.The reputation of swift killer has been sticked on the scorpion a long time ago. The scorpion assumes the role of a contract killer in the Greek myth of Orion.The story tells the story of the god Orion who boasted to goddess Artemis and her mother, Leto, that he would kill every animal on the earth. Although Artemis was known to be a hunter herself she offered protection to all creatures. Artemis and her mother Leto sent a scorpion to deal with Orion. The pair battled and the scorpion killed Orion. However, the contest was apparently a lively one that caught the attention of the king of the gods Zeus, who later raised the scorpion to heaven and afterwards, at the request of Artemis, did the same for Orion to serve as a reminder for mortals to curb their excessive pride. There is also a version that Orion was better than the goddess Artemis but said that Artemis was better than he and so Artemis took a liking to Orion. The god Apollo, Artemis’s twin brother, grew angry and sent a scorpion to attack Orion. After Orion was killed, Artemis asked Zeus to put Orion up in the sky. So every winter Orion hunts in the sky, but every summer he flees as the constellation of the scorpion comes. This is through this myth that this little tiny creature has acquired its terrifying reputation as a swift and rutheless killer in the litterary world. In the wild, all known scorpion species possess venom and use it primarily to kill or paralyze their prey so that it can be eaten; in general, it is fast-acting, allowing for effective prey capture. It is also used as a defense against predators. The venom is a mixture of compounds (neurotoxins, enzyme inhibitors, etc.) each not only causing a different effect, but possibly also targeting a specific animal. Each compound is made and stored in a pair of glandular sacs and is released in a quantity regulated by the scorpion itself.Though the scorpion has a fearsome reputation as venomous, only about 25 species are known to have venom capable of killing a human being,[94] most of those belong to the family Buthidae.Scorpions occur naturally in South, West and North Africa; North, Central and South America; India; and the Caribbean. Among the scorpions in North America, the ‘unpleasant’ ones are typically to be found in Arizona, New Mexico and on the Californian side of the Colorado River, whereas the other North American species are fairly harmless. Among the most dangerous scorpion breeds are Leiurus Quinquestriatus Scorpions, also known as Death Stalker Scorpions. This type of scorpion carries the most potent venom in the family. Other scorpions in the same family, such as the Parabuthus, Tityus, Centruroides, and Androctonus are also known to possess strong venoms.In Mexico each year, 1000 to 2000 deaths occur from scorpion bites. Because of their size scorpions can easily travel anywhere in the world as stowaways with cargo, and they have been found in many large ports. Of all the deaths caused be scorpions each year in the world, which is estimated to 50 thouzands, the Deathstalker scorpion[95] is responsible for over 75% of them. The Androctonus Australis, or the fat-tailed scorpion that can be found in North America, is the cause of many human fatalities; this scorpion tends to inject a lot of venom into its prey. Scorpions can control the amount of venom that they inject into their prey. The usual amount that they release is between 0.1 and 0.6 milligrams. The two types of venoms are the translucent venom, also called prevenom, designed to stun, while opaque venoms are designed to kill. Evidence suggests that they only use their venom for defense or to hunt for food. These deadly scorpions are equipped with neurotoxins, just like the cobras, and can easily kill a young child or elderly person, but are less likely to kill a healthy adult. The reason so many people die from scorpions is because they like to dwell near people’s homes and are often times found in shoes or clothes, which leads to people stepping on them and in turn the scorpion retaliates.


[94] See Gary A. Polis (1990). The Biology of Scorpions. Stanford University Press.
[95]The deathstalker (Leiurus quinquestriatus), is a species of scorpion, a member of the Buthidae family. The deathstalker is regarded as a highly dangerous species because its venom is a powerful cocktail of neurotoxins, with a low LD50. While a sting from this scorpion is extremely painful, it normally would not kill an otherwise healthy adult human. However, young children, the elderly, or infirm (such as those with a heart condition or those who are allergic) would be at much greater risk. Any envenomation runs the risk of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to the venom. If a sting from Leiurus quinquestriatus does prove fatal, the cause of death is usually pulmonary edema.

The Sacred Animal Correspondence #3: The Wolf


The Sacred Plant Correspondence: Cactus

LexFR_Cactus_mainThe sacred plant correspondence for this 24th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the “cactus and all poisonous growths.”[96] The main reason for this attribution seems to be the same that was invoked earlier to explain the scorpion attribution as a sacred animal for this path: the intimate relationship with death. In this case what concerns us is to find the link between death with those poisonous and spiky types of vegetation. As far as the poisonous plants are concerned, the relation to death doesn’t need a lot of detailed explanations. In the case of the cactus, less direct and maybe a little less obvious, its relation to death seems to come from the presence of spikes which are extremely damageable for the soft bodies of human and animals. It is not suprising to learn that cactus has been used as fencing material for thousands of years. This curious and dangerous plant commonly known as cactus (plural: cacti, cactuses or cactus) is a member of the plant family names Cactaceae, which is classified within the order Caryophyllales. Their distinctive appearance is a result of adaptations to conserve water in dry and/or hot environments.[97] The word cactus is derived through Latin from the Greek κάκτος kaktos, which referred to the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus). Linnaeus in 1753 applied this name generically to a genus he called Cactus, which was later reassigned as a family, Cactaceae, and subdivided into multiple genera. Cactuses, the Latin plural cacti, the Greek plural cactoi and the uninflected plural cactus are all used in English. In most species of cactus, the stem has evolved to become photosynthetic and succulent, while the leaves have evolved into spines. Many species are used for ornamental plants, and some are also grown for fodder, forage, fruits, cochineal, and other uses.Cacti come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. The tallest is Pachycereus pringlei, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 m,[98] and the smallest is Blossfeldia liliputiana, only about 1 cm in diameter at maturity. Cactus flowers are large, and like the spines arise from distinctive features called areoles. With a few exceptions, cacti are succulent plants and, like other succulents, they have a variety of adaptations that enable them to survive in hot and dry environments.Among the remains of the Aztec civilization, cactus-like plants can be found in pictorial representations, sculpture and drawings, with many depictions resembling Echinocactus grusonii. Tenochtitlan (the earlier name of Mexico City) means “place of the sacred cactus”. The coat of arms of Mexico to this day shows an eagle perched on a cactus while holding a snake, an image which is at the center of the Aztec origin myth.Christopher Columbus brought the first melocactus to Europe.. Cacti, cultivated by people worldwide, are a familiar sight as potted plants, houseplants or in ornamental gardens in warmer climates. Cacti can be used for fencing material where there is a lack of either natural resources or financial means to construct a permanent fence. This is often seen in arid and warm climates, such as the Maasai Mara in Kenya. This is known as a cactus fence. Cactus fences are often used by homeowners and landscape architects for home security purposes. The sharp thorns of the cactus deter unauthorized persons from entering private properties, and may prevent break-ins if planted under windows and near drainpipes. The peyote, Lophophora williamsii, is a well-known psychoactive agent used by Native Americans in the southwestern United States. Some species of Echinopsis also have psychoactive properties. For example, the San Pedro cactus, a common specimen found in many garden centers, is known to contain mescaline.


[96]Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.
[97] See P.S. Nobel. 1988. Environmental Biology of Agaves and Cacti. Cambridge University Press, New York.
[98]Salak, M. (2000). In search of the tallest cactus. Cactus and Succulent Journal 72 (3).

 The Jewel Correspondence: Snakestone

blackcobraThe Jewel attribution for this 24th path of the Tree of Life is the snakestone.[99] The reson for this attribution seems to be related to the scorpion attribution and the ideas of death by poisonous injection. Snake-stones also known as (the) viper’s stone, (the) black stone, (der) schwarze Stein, (la) pierre noire, and (la) piedrita negra or serpent-stone[100] are animal bones, which are widely used and promoted as a treatment for snake bite in Africa, South America and Asia.[101] No scientific study is known which shows this remedy to be effective.There are differing accounts of how to use a black stone. In Peru, the black stone is to be applied to the site of a poisonous snakebite and tied firmly in place. It is left there for several days, during which time it supposedly draws the venom from the wound. Once the poison is all removed, the ‘stone’ loosens of its own accord and falls off. Although called a stone, it is made from animal bones. When taken from snakes, it is usually from the head but also said to be extracted from the tail.  A Nigerian study recommended “education on the need to avoid the use of popular first aid measures of doubtful benefit.” However the same doctors reported a year later that Black Stone may be beneficial. A Bolivian medical study stated that “contrary to widespread belief, no efficacy to treat envenomation may be expected of the BS” (black stone).[102] An Indian study stated that “unscientific methods like ‘black stone’ healing contribute to the delay in seeking appropriate medical care.”[103] A Nigerian study found that “… black stone appears to have beneficial effects by reducing the average antivenom requirement of patients and more studies are needed …”[104]


[99] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.
[100]J.K.A. Madaki, R.E. Obilom, B.M. Mandong (2005). “Pattern of First-Aid Measures Used by Snake-bite Patients and Clinical Outcome at Zamko Comprehensive Health Centre, Langtang, Plateau State”. Nigerian Medical Practitioner 48 (1).
[101]B. Adhisivam, S. Mahadevan (2006). “Snakebite Envenomation in India: A Rural Medical Emergency”. Indian Pediatrics 43: 553–4.
[102]Chippaux JP, Ramos-Cerrillo B, Stock RP (April 2007). “Study of the efficacy of the black stone on envenomation by snake bite in the murine model”. Toxicon 49 (5): 717–20.
[103]B. Adhisivam, S. Mahadevan (2006). “Snakebite Envenomation in India: A Rural Medical Emergency”. Indian Pediatrics 43: 553–4.
[104]JKA Madaki, RE Obilom, BM Mandong (2005). “Pattern of First-Aid Measures Used by Snake-bite Patients and Clinical Outcome at Zamko Comprehensive Health Centre, Langtang, Plateau State”. Nigerian Medical Practitioner 48 (1).

The Color Correspondence: Blue-Green or Beetle-Brown

105952Blue-green is a color that is a representation of the color that is between blue and green on a typical traditional old-fashioned RYB color wheel. Blue-green is belongs to the cyan family of colors.

The Perfume Correspondence: Opoponax

Opoponax-biolandesThe perfume attribution of this 24th path of the Tree of Life is opoponax.[105] Opopanax chironium, also known as sweet myrrh or bisabol myrrh, is an herb that grows one to three feet high and produces a large, yellow inflorescence. The word Opopanax comes from Anglo-Norman opopanac, from Latin opopanax, from Hellenistic Greek ὀποπάναξ, from Ancient Greek ὀπός ‘vegetable juice’ + πάναξ ‘panacea’ (all healing). The botanical name chironium means that it was associated with Chiron the centaur who, in Greek mythology, was the first medical practitioner who was given healing herbs such as centaury by Artemis the goddess of hunting. It is also known as Sweet myrrh and Bisabol myrrh, although these terms are not necessarily related to Opoponax chironium as there are several varieties. The plant thrives in warm climates like Iran, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Somalia, but also grows in cooler climates. Some view opopanax grown in cooler climates as being of inferior quality. A consumable resin can be extracted from opopanax by cutting the plant at the base of a stem and sun-drying the juice that flows out. Though people often find the taste acrid and bitter, the highly flammable resin can be burned as incense to produce a scent somewhat like balsam or lavender. Opoponax or sweet myrrh is a cousin of the healing Myrrh, Commiphora Myrrha, with a warm-balsamic and sweet, honey-like aroma. It is a natural oleo-gum-resin like myrrh and frankincense. The color of its resin is brown; however, good quality crude botanical resin is dark red.Opoponax has been a component of incense and perfumes since Biblical times.

opopanaxKing Solomon allegedly regarded the opoponax as the noblest of incense gums. Talking of perfumery in particular, Opoponax qualities from several Commiphora are widely used, especially in oriental fragrances, to impart sweet balsamic notes.Opopanax is also used in the production of certain perfumes. The spelling ‘opoponax’ is also widely used (eg in). The OED gives ‘opopanax’ as the principal spelling, but lists ‘opoponax’ as a variant spelling recorded from the 19th century. In the thirteenth chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses (Nausicaa), Leopold Bloom recognizes opopanax as an ingredient in the perfume of his wife, Molly. In times past, opoponax was used to unblock obstructions in the body in the organs and in the uterus, so was used as an emmenagogue. It was also used to cure fits of hysterics, as the aroma has a soothing effect which is said to open us up to our spiritual side. For centuries it was used to protect against evil of all kinds, and was used to cleanse and purify the spirit. It has been used to treat respiratory problems, and as an anti-spasmodic. Now, however its chief use is in the perfume industry and as incense. It is good combined with other spicy sweet smelling things such as rose, star anise, vanilla, amber, cloves, juniper, spikenard and patchouli among other things. It usually takes about 10 grains of the resin for a potent smell. The resin has also been used in the treatment of spasms, and, before that, as an emmenagogue, in the treatment of asthma, chronic visceral infections, hysteria and hypochondria. Opopanax resin is most frequently sold in dried irregular pieces, though tear-shaped gems are not uncommon.


[105] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 81.

The Magical Weapon Correspondence: The Pain of Obligation

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