What is Yesod?
Yesod (Hebrew: יסוד “foundation”) is a sephirah in the kabbalistic Tree of Life. Yesod is the sephirah below Hod and Netzach, and above Malkuth (the kingdom). It is the vehicle, from one thing or condition to another. It is the power of connection. Netzach and Hod result in Yesod, the “Foundation,” completing a series of three triads. Yesod is that subtle basis upon which the physical world is based, and according to both Eliphas Levi Zahed and Madame Blavatsky it is the astral plane, which in one sense being passive and reflecting the energies from above, is lunar, even as the moon reflects the light from the Sun. The astral light is an omnipresent and all-permeating fluid or medium of extremely subtle matter ; substance in a highly tenuous state, electric and magnetif in constitution, which is the model upon which the physical world is built. It is the endless, changeless ebb and flow of the world’s forces that, in the last resort, garantee the stability of the world and provides its foundation. Yesod is this stable foundation, this changeless ebb and flow of astral forces, and the universal reproductive power in nature. “Everything shall return to its foundation, from which it has proceeded. All marrow, seed, and energy are gathered in this place. Hence a ll the potentialities which exist go out through this” (Zohar). (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 53)
The sephirah of Yesod translates spiritual concepts into actions that unite us with God. It plays the role of collecting and balancing the different and opposing energies of Hod and Netzach, and also from Tiferet above it, storing and distributing it throughout the world. It is likened to the ‘engine-room’ of creation.
The Egyptian God Attribution: Shu
Its Egyptian god is Shu, who was the god of space,61 represented as lifting up Nuit, the queen of heaven, from off the body of Seb, the Earth. Its Hindu equivalent is Ganesha, the elephant god who breaks down all obstacles, and supports the universe while himself standing on the tortoise.(Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 54) Shu (//; meaning “emptiness” and “he who rises up”) was one of the primordial gods in Egyptian mythology, a personification of air, one of the Ennead of Heliopolis. He was created by Atum, his father and Iusaaset, his mother in the city of Heliopolis. With his sister Tefnut (moisture), he was the father of Nut and Geb. His daughter, Nut, was the sky goddess whom he held over the Earth (Geb), separating the two. The Egyptians believed that if Shu didn’t hold his son and daughter (the god of the earth and the goddess of the sky) apart there would be no way life could be created. Shu’s grandchildren are Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys. His great-grandsons are Horus and Anubis. As the air, Shu was considered to be cooling, and thus calming, influence, and pacifier. Due to the association with air, calm, and thus Ma’at (truth, justice and order), Shu was portrayed in art as wearing an ostrich feather. Shu was seen with between one and four feathers. In a much later myth, representing the terrible weather disaster at the end of the Old Kingdom, it was said that Tefnut and Shu once argued, and Tefnut left Egypt for Nubia (which was always more temperate). It was said that Shu quickly decided that he missed her, but she changed into a cat that destroyed any man or god that approached. Thoth, disguised, eventually succeeded in convincing her to return. He carries an ankh, the symbol of life.
The Greek God Attribution: Diana of Ephesus
From the Greek point of view Ephesian Artemis is a distinctive form of their goddess Artemis. In Greek cult and myth, Artemis is the twin of Apollo, a virgin huntress who supplanted the Titan Selene as goddess of the Moon. At Ephesus, a goddess whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was venerated in an archaic, certainly pre-Hellenic cult image that was carved of wood and kept decorated with jewelry.
A votive inscription mentioned by Florence Mary Bennett, which dates probably from about the 3rd century BC, associates Ephesian Artemis with Crete: “To the Healer of diseases, to Apollo, Giver of Light to mortals, Eutyches has set up in votive offering [a statue of] the Cretan Lady of Ephesus, the Light-Bearer.”
The Greek habits of syncretism assimilated all foreign gods under some form of the Olympian pantheon familiar to them— in interpretatio graeca— and it is clear that at Ephesus, the identification with Artemis that the Ionian settlers made of the “Lady of Ephesus” was slender. The Christian approach was at variance with the tolerant syncretistic approach of pagans to gods who were not theirs. A Christian inscription at Ephesus suggests why so little remains at the site:
“Destroying the delusive image of the demon Artemis, Demeas has erected this symbol of Truth, the God that drives away idols, and the Cross of priests, deathless and victorious sign of Christ.”
The assertion that the Ephesians thought that their cult image had fallen from the sky, though it was a familiar origin-myth at other sites, is only known at Ephesus from Acts 19:35:
“What man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which fell down from Jupiter?”
Lynn LiDonnici observes that modern scholars are likely to be more concerned with origins of the Lady of Ephesus and her iconology than her adherents were at any point in time, and are prone to creating a synthetic account of the Lady of Ephesus by drawing together documentation that ranges over more than a millennium in its origins, creating a falsified, unitary picture, as of an unchanging icon.
The Astrological Correspondance: The Moon
It is often associated with the Moon, because it is the sphere which reflects the light of all the other sephirot into Malkuth, and it is associated with the sexual organs, because it is here that the higher spheres connect to the earth.
The Moon (Latin: Luna) is the Earth‘s only natural satellite.[e][f] Although not the largest natural satellite in the Solar System, it is the largest relative to the size of the object it orbits (its primary) [g] and, after Jupiter‘s satellite Io, it is the second most dense satellite among those whose densities are known.
The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, always showing the same face with its near side marked by dark volcanic maria that fill between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. It is the most luminous object in the sky after the Sun. Although it appears a very bright white, its surface is actually dark, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt. Its prominence in the sky and its regular cycle of phases have, since ancient times, made the Moon an important cultural influence on language, calendars, art, and mythology. The Moon’s gravitational influence produces the ocean tides and the slight lengthening of the day. The Moon’s current orbital distance is about thirty times the diameter of Earth, causing it to have an apparent size in the sky almost the same as that of the Sun. This allows the Moon to cover the Sun nearly precisely in total solar eclipse. This matching of apparent visual size is a coincidence. The Moon’s linear distance from Earth is currently increasing at a rate of 3.82±0.07 cm per year, but this rate is not constant.
The Moon is thought to have formed nearly 4.5 billion years ago, not long after Earth. Although there have been several hypotheses for its origin in the past, the current most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body.
The English proper name for Earth’s natural satellite is “the Moon”. The noun moon derives from moone (around 1380), which developed from mone (1135), which derives from Old English mōna (dating from before 725), which, like all Germanic language cognates, ultimately stems from Proto-Germanic *mǣnōn.
The principal modern English adjective pertaining to the Moon is lunar, derived from the Latin Luna. Another less common adjective is selenic, derived from the Ancient Greek Selene (Σελήνη), from which the prefix “seleno-” (as in selenography) is derived.
Understanding of the Moon’s cycles was an early development of astronomy: by the 5th century BC, Babylonian astronomers had recorded the 18-year Saros cycle of lunar eclipses, and Indian astronomers had described the Moon’s monthly elongation. The Chinese astronomer Shi Shen (fl. 4th century BC) gave instructions for predicting solar and lunar eclipses. Later, the physical form of the Moon and the cause of moonlight became understood. The ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras (d. 428 BC) reasoned that the Sun and Moon were both giant spherical rocks, and that the latter reflected the light of the former. Although the Chinese of the Han Dynasty believed the Moon to be energy equated to qi, their ‘radiating influence’ theory also recognized that the light of the Moon was merely a reflection of the Sun, and Jing Fang (78–37 BC) noted the sphericity of the Moon. In 2nd century AD Lucian wrote a novel where the heroes travel to the Moon, which is inhabited. In 499 AD, the Indian astronomer Aryabhata mentioned in his Aryabhatiya that reflected sunlight is the cause of the shining of the Moon. The astronomer and physicist Alhazen (965–1039) found that sunlight was not reflected from the Moon like a mirror, but that light was emitted from every part of the Moon’s sunlit surface in all directions. Shen Kuo (1031–1095) of the Song Dynasty created an allegory equating the waxing and waning of the Moon to a round ball of reflective silver that, when doused with white powder and viewed from the side, would appear to be a crescent.
In Aristotle’s (384–322 BC) description of the universe, the Moon marked the boundary between the spheres of the mutable elements (earth, water, air and fire), and the imperishable stars of aether, an influential philosophy that would dominate for centuries. However, in the 2nd century BC, Seleucus of Seleucia correctly theorized that tides were due to the attraction of the Moon, and that their height depends on the Moon’s position relative to the Sun. In the same century, Aristarchus computed the size and distance of the Moon from Earth, obtaining a value of about twenty times the radius of Earth for the distance. These figures were greatly improved by Ptolemy (90–168 AD): his values of a mean distance of 59 times Earth’s radius and a diameter of 0.292 Earth diameters were close to the correct values of about 60 and 0.273 respectively. Archimedes (287–212 BC) designed a planetarium that could calculate the motions of the Moon and other objects in the Solar System.
During the Middle Ages, before the invention of the telescope, the Moon was increasingly recognised as a sphere, though many believed that it was “perfectly smooth”. In 1609, Galileo Galilei drew one of the first telescopic drawings of the Moon in his book Sidereus Nuncius and noted that it was not smooth but had mountains and craters. Telescopic mapping of the Moon followed: later in the 17th century, the efforts of Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Francesco Maria Grimaldi led to the system of naming of lunar features in use today. The more exact 1834–36 Mappa Selenographica of Wilhelm Beer and Johann Heinrich Mädler, and their associated 1837 book Der Mond, the first trigonometrically accurate study of lunar features, included the heights of more than a thousand mountains, and introduced the study of the Moon at accuracies possible in earthly geography. Lunar craters, first noted by Galileo, were thought to be volcanic until the 1870s proposal of Richard Proctor that they were formed by collisions. This view gained support in 1892 from the experimentation of geologist Grove Karl Gilbert, and from comparative studies from 1920 to the 1940s, leading to the development of lunar stratigraphy, which by the 1950s was becoming a new and growing branch of astrogeology.
The Moon’s regular phases make it a very convenient timepiece, and the periods of its waxing and waning form the basis of many of the oldest calendars. Tally sticks, notched bones dating as far back as 20–30,000 years ago, are believed by some to mark the phases of the Moon. The ~30-day month is an approximation of the lunar cycle. The English noun month and its cognates in other Germanic languages stem from Proto-Germanic *mǣnṓth-, which is connected to the above mentioned Proto-Germanic *mǣnōn, indicating the usage of a lunar calendar among the Germanic peoples (Germanic calendar) prior to the adoption of a solar calendar. The same Indo-European root as moon led, via Latin, to measure and menstrual, words which echo the Moon’s importance to many ancient cultures in measuring time (see Latin mensis and Ancient Greek μήνας (mēnas), meaning “month”).
The Moon has been the subject of many works of art and literature and the inspiration for countless others. It is a motif in the visual arts, the performing arts, poetry, prose and music. A 5,000-year-old rock carving at Knowth, Ireland, may represent the Moon, which would be the earliest depiction discovered. The contrast between the brighter highlands and the darker maria creates the patterns seen by different cultures as the Man in the Moon, the rabbit and the buffalo, among others. In many prehistoric and ancient cultures, the Moon was personified as a deity or other supernatural phenomenon, and astrological views of the Moon continue to be propagated today.
The Moon plays an important role in Islam; the Islamic calendar is strictly lunar, and in many Muslim countries the months are determined by the visual sighting of the hilal, or earliest crescent moon, over the horizon. The star and crescent, initially a symbol of the Ottoman Empire, has recently been adopted as a wider symbol for the Muslim community. The splitting of the moon (Arabic: انشقاق القمر) was a miracle attributed to the prophet Muhammad.
The Moon has a long association with insanity and irrationality; the words lunacy and lunatic (popular shortening loony) are derived from the Latin name for the Moon, Luna. Philosophers Aristotle and Pliny the Elder argued that the full moon induced insanity in susceptible individuals, believing that the brain, which is mostly water, must be affected by the Moon and its power over the tides, but the Moon’s gravity is too slight to affect any single person. Even today, people insist that admissions to psychiatric hospitals, traffic accidents, homicides or suicides increase during a full moon, although there is no scientific evidence to support such claims.
The Roman God Attribution: Diana as the Moon
The Roman God correspondence for Yesod is Diana. (Aleister Crowley, 777, p.11) An important consideration in the understanding of Yesod, Israel Regardie tells us, is the significance of the attribution of the moon to Diana which, according to the occult tradition, “is a dead yet living body whose particles are full of active and destructive life, of potent magical power.” (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p.54) Diana was the goddess of light and in the Roman temples represented the moon. The general conception of Yesod is of change with stability. Some writers have referred to the astral light which us the sphere of Yesod as the Anima Mundi, the Soul ou the World.62 The psychoanalyst Jung has a very similar concept which he terms the collective unconscious63 which differs in no wise from the Qabalistic idea. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 54)
The Hindu Deity Correspondence: Ganesha,Vishnu (Kurrn Avatar)
Ganesha , also spelled Ganesa, also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka is a widely worshipped deity in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India and Nepal. Hindu sects worship him regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India.
Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha’s elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography.
Ganesha emerged as a distinct deity in the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta Period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors. He was formally included among the five primary deities of Smartism (a Hindu denomination) in the 9th century. A sect of devotees called the Ganapatya arose, who identified Ganesha as the supreme deity. The principal scriptures dedicated to Ganesha are the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvashirsa.
Ganesha has been ascribed many other titles and epithets, including Ganapati and Vighneshvara. The Hindu title of respect Shri (Sanskrit: श्री; IAST: śrī; also spelled Sri or Shree) is often added before his name. One popular way Ganesha is worshipped is by chanting a Ganesha Sahasranama, a litany of “a thousand names of Ganesha”. Each name in the sahasranama conveys a different meaning and symbolises a different aspect of Ganesha. At least two different versions of the Ganesha Sahasranama exist; one version is drawn from the Ganesha Purana, a Hindu scripture venerating Ganesha.
The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words gana (Sanskrit: गण; IAST: gaṇa), meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha (Sanskrit: ईश; IAST: īśa), meaning lord or master. The word gaņa when associated with Ganesha is often taken to refer to the gaņas, a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva (IAST: Śiva). The term more generally means a category, class, community, association, or corporation. Some commentators interpret the name “Lord of the Gaņas” to mean “Lord of Hosts” or “Lord of created categories”, such as the elements. Ganapati (Sanskrit: गणपति; IAST: gaṇapati), a synonym for Ganesha, is a compound composed of gaṇa, meaning “group”, and pati, meaning “ruler” or “lord”. The Amarakosha, an early Sanskrit lexicon, lists eight synonyms of Ganesha : Vinayaka, Vighnarāja (equivalent to Vighnesha), Dvaimātura (one who has two mothers), Gaṇādhipa (equivalent to Ganapati and Ganesha), Ekadanta (one who has one tusk), Heramba, Lambodara (one who has a pot belly, or, literally, one who has a hanging belly), and Gajanana (IAST: gajānana); having the face of an elephant).
Vinayaka (Sanskrit: विनायक; IAST: vināyaka) is a common name for Ganesha that appears in the Purāṇas and in Buddhist Tantras. This name is reflected in the naming of the eight famous Ganesha temples in Maharashtra known as the Ashtavinayak (aṣṭavināyaka). The names Vighnesha (Sanskrit: विघ्नेश; IAST: vighneśa) and Vighneshvara (विघ्नेश्वर; vighneśvara) (Lord of Obstacles) refers to his primary function in Hindu theology as the master and remover of obstacles (vighna).
A prominent name for Ganesha in the Tamil language is Pillai (Tamil: பிள்ளை) or Pillaiyaar (பிள்ளையார்) (Little Child). A. K. Narain differentiates these terms by saying that pillai means a “child” while pillaiyar means a “noble child”. He adds that the words pallu, pella, and pell in the Dravidian family of languages signify “tooth or tusk”, also “elephant tooth or tusk”. Anita Raina Thapan notes that the root word pille in the name Pillaiyar might have originally meant “the young of the elephant”, because the Pali word pillaka means “a young elephant”.
Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the early stages of his appearance in Indian art. Puranic myths provide many explanations for how he got his elephant head. One of his popular forms, Heramba-Ganapati, has five elephant heads, and other less-common variations in the number of heads are known. While some texts say that Ganesha was born with an elephant head, he acquires the head later in most stories. The most recurrent motif in these stories is that Ganesha was created by Parvati using clay to protect her and Shiva beheaded him when Ganesha came between Shiva and Parvati. Shiva then replaced Ganesha’s original head with that of an elephant. Details of the battle and where the replacement head came from vary from source to source. Another story says that Ganesha was created directly by Shiva’s laughter. Because Shiva considered Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant and a protruding belly.
Ganesha’s earliest name was Ekadanta (One Tusked), referring to his single whole tusk, the other being broken. Some of the earliest images of Ganesha show him holding his broken tusk. The importance of this distinctive feature is reflected in the Mudgala Purana, which states that the name of Ganesha’s second incarnation is Ekadanta. Ganesha’s protruding belly appears as a distinctive attribute in his earliest statuary, which dates to the Gupta period (4th to 6th centuries). This feature is so important that, according to the Mudgala Purana, two different incarnations of Ganesha use names based on it: Lambodara (Pot Belly, or, literally, Hanging Belly) and Mahodara (Great Belly). Both names are Sanskrit compounds describing his belly (IAST: udara). The Brahmanda Purana says that Ganesha has the name Lambodara because all the universes (i.e., cosmic eggs; IAST: brahmāṇḍas) of the past, present, and future are present in him. The number of Ganesha’s arms varies; his best-known forms have between two and sixteen arms. Many depictions of Ganesha feature four arms, which is mentioned in Puranic sources and codified as a standard form in some iconographic texts. His earliest images had two arms. Forms with 14 and 20 arms appeared in Central India during the 9th and the 10th centuries. The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms. According to the Ganesha Purana, Ganesha wrapped the serpent Vasuki around his neck. Other depictions of snakes include use as a sacred thread (IAST: yajñyopavīta) wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Upon Ganesha’s forehead may be a third eye or the Shaivite sectarian mark (IAST: tilaka), which consists of three horizontal lines. The Ganesha Purana prescribes a tilaka mark as well as a crescent moon on the forehead. A distinct form of Ganesha called Bhalachandra (IAST: bhālacandra; “Moon on the Forehead”) includes that iconographic element. Ganesha is often described as red in color. Specific colors are associated with certain forms. Many examples of color associations with specific meditation forms are prescribed in the Sritattvanidhi, a treatise on Hindu iconography. For example, white is associated with his representations as Heramba-Ganapati and Rina-Mochana-Ganapati (Ganapati Who Releases from Bondage). Ekadanta-Ganapati is visualized as blue during meditation in that form.
Though Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the Puranic myths give different versions about his birth. He may have been created by Parvati, or by Shiva and Parvati, or may have appeared mysteriously and was discovered by Shiva and Parvati.
The family includes his brother the war god Kartikeya, who is also called Subramanya, Skanda, Murugan and other names. Regional differences dictate the order of their births. In northern India, Skanda is generally said to be the elder, while in the south, Ganesha is considered the first born. In northern India, Skanda was an important martial deity from about 500 BCE to about 600 CE, when worship of him declined significantly in northern India. As Skanda fell, Ganesha rose. Several stories tell of sibling rivalry between the brothers and may reflect sectarian tensions.
Ganesha’s marital status, the subject of considerable scholarly review, varies widely in mythological stories. One pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried brahmacari. This view is common in southern India and parts of northern India. Another pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity); these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses, said to be Ganesha’s wives. He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant (Sanskrit: daşi). Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Sarasvati or Śarda (particularly in Maharashtra). He is also associated with the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi. Another pattern, mainly prevalent in the Bengal region, links Ganesha with the banana tree, Kala Bo.
The Shiva Purana says that Ganesha had begotten two sons: Kşema (prosperity) and Lābha (profit). In northern Indian variants of this story, the sons are often said to be Śubha (auspiciouness) and Lābha. The 1975 Hindi film Jai Santoshi Maa shows Ganesha married to Riddhi and Siddhi and having a daughter named Santoshi Ma, the goddess of satisfaction. This story has no Puranic basis, but Anita Raina Thapan and Lawrence Cohen cite Santoshi Ma’s cult as evidence of Ganesha’s continuing evolution as a popular deity.
Ganesha is worshipped on many religious and secular occasions; especially at the beginning of ventures such as buying a vehicle or starting a business. K.N. Somayaji says, “there can hardly be a [Hindu] home [in India] which does not house an idol of Ganapati. [..] Ganapati, being the most popular deity in India, is worshipped by almost all castes and in all parts of the country”. Devotees believe that if Ganesha is propitiated, he grants success, prosperity and protection against adversity.
Ganesha is a non-sectarian deity, and Hindus of all denominations invoke him at the beginning of prayers, important undertakings, and religious ceremonies. Dancers and musicians, particularly in southern India, begin performances of arts such as the Bharatnatyam dance with a prayer to Ganesha. Mantras such as Om Shri Gaṇeshāya Namah (Om, salutation to the Illustrious Ganesha) are often used. One of the most famous mantras associated with Ganesha is Om Gaṃ Ganapataye Namah (Om, Gaṃ, Salutation to the Lord of Hosts).
Devotees offer Ganesha sweets such as modaka and small sweet balls (laddus). He is often shown carrying a bowl of sweets, called a modakapātra. Because of his identification with the color red, he is often worshipped with red sandalwood paste (raktacandana) or red flowers. Dūrvā grass (Cynodon dactylon) and other materials are also used in his worship.
Festivals associated with Ganesh are Ganesh Chaturthi or Vināyaka chaturthī in the śuklapakṣa (the fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of bhādrapada (August/September) and the Gaṇeśa jayanti (Gaṇeśa‘s birthday) celebrated on the cathurthī of the śuklapakṣa (fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of māgha (January/February).”
In Hindu temples, Ganesha is depicted in various ways: as an acolyte or subordinate deity (pãrśva-devatã); as a deity related to the principal deity (parivāra-devatã); or as the principal deity of the temple (pradhāna), treated similarly as the highest gods of the Hindu pantheon. As the god of transitions, he is placed at the doorway of many Hindu temples to keep out the unworthy, which is analogous to his role as Parvati’s doorkeeper. In addition, several shrines are dedicated to Ganesha himself, of which the Ashtavinayak (Sanskrit: अष्टविनायक; aṣṭavināyaka; lit. “eight Ganesha (shrines)”) in Maharashtra are particularly well known. Located within a 100-kilometer radius of the city of Pune, each of these eight shrines celebrates a particular form of Ganapati, complete with its own lore and legend. The eight shrines are: Morgaon, Siddhatek, Pali, Mahad, Theur, Lenyadri, Ozar and Ranjangaon.
Commercial and cultural contacts extended India’s influence in western and southeast Asia. Ganesha is one of a number of Hindu deities who reached foreign lands as a result.
Ganesha was particularly worshipped by traders and merchants, who went out of India for commercial ventures. From approximately the 10th century onwards, new networks of exchange developed including the formation of trade guilds and a resurgence of money circulation. During this time, Ganesha became the principal deity associated with traders. The earliest inscription invoking Ganesha before any other deity is associated with the merchant community.
Hindus migrated to Maritime Southeast Asia and took their culture, including Ganesha, with them. Statues of Ganesha are found throughout the region, often beside Shiva sanctuaries. The forms of Ganesha found in Hindu art of Java, Bali, and Borneo show specific regional influences. The spread of Hindu culture to southeast Asia established Ganesha in modified forms in Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand. In Indochina, Hinduism and Buddhism were practiced side by side, and mutual influences can be seen in the iconography of Ganesha in the region. In Thailand, Cambodia, and among the Hindu classes of the Chams in Vietnam, Ganesha was mainly thought of as a remover of obstacles. Today in Buddhist Thailand, Ganesha is regarded as a remover of obstacles, the god of success.
Before the arrival of Islam, Afghanistan had close cultural ties with India, and the adoration of both Hindu and Buddhist deities was practiced. Examples of sculptures from the 5th to the 7th centuries have survived, suggesting that the worship of Ganesha was then in vogue in the region.
Ganesha appears in Mahayana Buddhism, not only in the form of the Buddhist god Vināyaka, but also as a Hindu demon form with the same name. His image appears in Buddhist sculptures during the late Gupta period. As the Buddhist god Vināyaka, he is often shown dancing. This form, called Nṛtta Ganapati, was popular in northern India, later adopted in Nepal, and then in Tibet. In Nepal, the Hindu form of Ganesha, known as Heramba, is popular; he has five heads and rides a lion. Tibetan representations of Ganesha show ambivalent views of him. A Tibetan rendering of Ganapati is tshogs bdag. In one Tibetan form, he is shown being trodden under foot by Mahākāla,(Shiva) a popular Tibetan deity. Other depictions show him as the Destroyer of Obstacles, and sometimes dancing. Ganesha appears in China and Japan in forms that show distinct regional character. In northern China, the earliest known stone statue of Ganesha carries an inscription dated to 531. In Japan, where Ganesha is known as Kangiten, the Ganesha cult was first mentioned in 806.
The canonical literature of Jainism does not mention the worship of Ganesha. However, Ganesha is worshipped by most Jains, for whom he appears to have taken over certain functions of Kubera. Jain connections with the trading community support the idea that Jainism took up Ganesha worship as a result of commercial connections. The earliest known Jain Ganesha statue dates to about the 9th century. A 15th-century Jain text lists procedures for the installation of Ganapati images. Images of Ganesha appear in the Jain temples of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The Angel and Archangel Correspondence: Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (Hebrew: גַּבְרִיאֵל, Modern Gavri’el Tiberian Gaḇrîʼēl, God is my strength; Arabic: جبريل, Jibrīl or جبرائيل Jibrāʾīl) is an angel who typically serves as a messenger sent from God to certain people.
In the Bible, Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, he appeared to the prophet Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel’s visions (Daniel 8:15–26, 9:21–27). In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel appeared to Zecharias, and to the virgin Mary foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, respectively (Luke 1:11–38). In the Book of Daniel, he is referred to as “the man Gabriel”, while in the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel is referred to as “an angel of the Lord” (Luke 1:11). Gabriel is not called an archangel in the Bible, but is so called in Intertestamental period sources like the Book of Enoch. In the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, the archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel are also referred to as saints.
In Islam, Gabriel (Jibra’il) is considered one of the four archangels whom God sent with his divine message to various prophets, including Muhammad. The 96th chapter of the Quran, sura Al-Alaq, is believed by Muslims to be the first surah revealed by Gabriel to Muhammad.
Gabriel is interpreted by the Rabbanim to be the “man in linen” in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Ezekiel. In the Book of Daniel, he is responsible for interpreting Daniel’s visions. Gabriel’s main function in Daniel is that of revealer, a role he continues in later literature. In the Book of Ezekiel, Gabriel is understood to be the angel that was sent to destroy Jerusalem. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, Gabriel takes the form of a man, and stands at the left hand of God. Simeon ben Lakish (Palestine, 3rd century) concluded that the angelic names of Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel came out of the Babylonian exile (Gen. Rab. 48:9).
In Kabbalah, Gabriel is identified with the sephirot of Yesod. Gabriel also has a prominent role as one of God’s archangels in the Kabbalah literature. There, Gabriel is portrayed as working in concert with Michael as part of God’s court. Gabriel is not to be prayed to; because only God can answer prayers, and sends Gabriel as His agent.
According to Jewish mythology, in the garden of Eden there is a tree of life or the “tree of souls” that blossoms and produces new souls, which fall into the Guf, the Treasury of Souls. Gabriel reaches into the treasury and takes out the first soul that comes into his hand. Then Lailah, the Angel of Conception, watches over the embryo until it is born.
The intertestamental period (roughly 200 BCE – 50 CE) produced a wealth of literature, much of it having an apocalyptic orientation. The names and ranks of angels and devils were greatly expanded, and each had particular duties and status before God.
In 1 Enoch 9:1–3, Gabriel, along with Michael, Uriel and Suriel, “saw much blood being shed upon the earth” (9:1) and heard the souls of men cry, “Bring our cause before the Most High.” (9:3) In 1 Enoch 10:1, the reply came from “the Most High, the Holy and Great One” who sent forth agents, including Gabriel—
And the Lord said to Gabriel: “‘Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates, and against the children of fornication: and destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from amongst men [and cause them to go forth]: send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle: for length of days shall they not have.” —1 Enoch 10:9
Gabriel is fifth of the five angels who keep watch: “Gabriel, one of the holy angels, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the Cherubim.” (1 Enoch 20:7)
When Enoch asked who the four figures were that he had seen: “And he said to me: ‘This first is Michael, the merciful and long-suffering: and the second, who is set over all the diseases and all the wounds of the children of men, is Raphael: and the third, who is set over all the powers, is Gabriel: and the fourth, who is set over the repentance unto hope of those who inherit eternal life, is named Phanuel.’ And these are the four angels of the Lord of Spirits and the four voices I heard in those days.” (Enoch 40:9)
First, concerning John the Baptist, an angel appeared to his father Zacharias, a priest of the course of Abia, (Luke 1:5-7) whose “barren” wife Elisabeth was of the daughters of Aaron, while he ministered in the temple:
Luke 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
(Luke 1:10-20 KJV) (other versions: Luke 1:1-25)
After completing his week of ministry, Zacharias returned to his house (in Hebron) and his wife Elizabeth conceived. After she completed “five months” (Luke 1:21-25) of her pregnancy, Gabriel is mentioned again:
Luke 1:26 ¶ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
(Luke 1:26-38 KJV) (other versions: Luke 1:26-38)
Gabriel only appears by name in those two passages in Luke. In the first passage the angel identified himself as Gabriel, but in the second it is Luke who identified him as Gabriel. The only other named angels in the New Testament are “Michael the archangel” (in Jude 1:9) and “Abaddon” (in Revelation 9:11) . Gabriel is not called an archangel in the Bible. Believers are expressly warned not to worship angels (in Colossians 2:18-19 and Revelation 19:10).
In English-speaking culture, a familiar trope is the image of Gabriel blowing a trumpet blast to indicate the Lord’s return to Earth. It ranges from its first appearance in English in John Milton‘s Paradise Lost (1667) to African-American spirituals: in Marc Connelly‘s play based on spirituals, The Green Pastures (1930), Gabriel has his beloved trumpet constantly with him, and the Lord has to warn him not to blow it too soon. Four years later “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” was introduced by Ethel Merman in Cole Porter‘s Anything Goes (1934). The mathematical figure given the modern name “Gabriel’s Horn“, was invented by Evangelista Torricelli (1608–1647); it is a paradoxical solid of revolution that has infinite surface area, but finite volume.
The feast of Saint Gabriel was included for the first time in the General Roman Calendar in 1921, for celebration on March 24. In 1969 it was transferred to 29 September for celebration together with St. Michael and St. Raphael. The Church of England has also adopted the 29 September date, known as Michaelmas.
The Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite celebrate his feast day on 8 November (for those churches that follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 8 November currently falls on 21 November of the modern Gregorian Calendar, a difference of 13 days). Eastern Orthodox commemorate him, not only on his November feast, but also on two other days: 26 March is the “Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel” and celebrates his role in the Annunciation. 13 July is also known as the “Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel”, and celebrates all the appearances and miracles attributed to Gabriel throughout history. The feast was first established on Mount Athos when, in the 9th century, during the reign of Emperor Basil II and the Empress Constantina Porphyrogenitus and while Nicholas Chrysoverges was Patriarch of Constantinople, the Archangel appeared in a cell near Karyes, where he wrote with his finger on a stone tablet the hymn to the Theotokos, “It is truly meet…“.
Additionally, Gabriel is the patron saint of messengers, those who work for broadcasting and telecommunications such as radio and television, remote sensing, postal workers, clerics, diplomats, and stamp collectors.
Latter-Day Saint teachings
In Latter-day Saint theology, Gabriel is believed to have lived a mortal life as the prophet Noah. The two are regarded as the same individual; Noah being his mortal name and Gabriel being his heavenly name.
Gabriel in Arts
Angels are described as pure spirits.  The lack of a defined form allows artists wide latitude in depicting them. Amelia R. Brown draws comparisons in Byzantine iconography between portrayals of angels and the conventions used to depict court eunuchs. Mainly from the Caucasus, they tended to have light eyes, hair, and skin; and those “castrated in childhood developed a distinctive skeletal structure, lacked full masculine musculature, body hair and beards,….” As officials, they would wear a white tunic decorated with gold. Brown suggests that “Byzantine artists drew, consciously or not, on this iconography of the court eunuch”. Some recent popular works on angels consider Gabriel to be female or androgynous.
Daniel 8:15 describes Gabriel as appearing in the “likeness of man” and in Daniel 9:21 he is referred to as “the man Gabriel.” David Everson observes that “such anthropomorphic descriptions of an angel are consistent with previous … descriptions of angels,” as in Genesis 19:5.
Gabriel is most often portrayed in the context of scenes of the Annunciation. In 2008 a 16th-century drawing by Lucas van Leyden of the Netherlands was discovered. George R. Goldner, chairman of the department of prints and drawings at New York’a Metropolitan Museum of Art, suggests that the sketch was for a stained glass window. “The fact that the archangel is an ordinary-looking person and not an idealized boy is typical of the artist”, said Goldner.
Gabriel – The Supreme Commader
Twelve legions of angels comprise a host numbering 2,985,984 pairs or 5,971,968 individuals, and twelve such hosts (35,831,808 pairs or 71,663,616 individuals) make up the largest operating organization of seraphim, an angelic army. A seraphic host is commanded by an archangel or by some other personality of co-ordinate status, while the angelic armies are directed by the Brilliant Evening Stars or by other immediate lieutenants of Gabriel. And Gabriel is the “supreme commander of the armies of heaven,” the chief executive of the Sovereign of Nebadon, “the Lord God of hosts.” ~ The Urantia Book, (38:6.2)
The Sacred Plant Attribution: Mandrake and Damiana
Its plants are the mandrake and damiana,(Aleister Crowley, 777, p.10) “both of whose aphrodisiac qualities are well known.” (Regardie Israel, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p.?) Mandrake is the common name for members of the plant genus Mandragora, particularly the species Mandragora officinarum, belonging to the nightshades family (Solanaceae). Because mandrake contains deliriant hallucinogenic tropane alkaloids such as atropine, scopolamine, apoatropine, and hyoscyamine, and the roots sometimes contain bifurcations causing them to resemble human figures, their roots have long been used in magic rituals, today also in contemporary pagan traditions such as Wicca and Odinism. The root is often branched. This root gives off at the surface of the ground a rosette of ovate-oblong to ovate, wrinkled, crisp, sinuate-dentate to entire leaves, 5 to 40 cm (2.0 to 15.7 in) long, somewhat resembling those of the tobacco plant. A number of one-flowered nodding peduncles spring from the neck bearing whitish-green or purple flowers, nearly 5 cm (2.0 in) broad, which produce globular, orange to red berries, resembling small tomatoes. The only part of the mandrake that is not poisonous is the fruit.
- The alkaloid chemicals contained in the root include atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. These chemicals are anticholinergics, hallucinogens, and hypnotics.
Anticholinergic properties can lead to asphyxiation. Ingesting mandrake root is likely to have other adverse effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. The alkaloid concentration varies between plant samples, and accidental poisoning is likely to occur.Two references to דודאים(dûdã’im)—literally meaning “love plant”—occur in the Jewish scriptures. The Septuagint translates דודאים (dûdã’im) as μανδραγόρας (mandragoras), and Vulgate follows Septuagint. A number of later translations into different languages follow Septuagint (and Vulgate) and use mandrake as the plant as the proper meaning in both Genesis 30:14–16 and Song of Solomon 7:13. Others follow the example of the Luther Bible and provide a more literal translation.
In Genesis 30:14, Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob and Leah finds mandrake in a field. Rachel, Jacob’s infertile second wife and Leah’s sister, is desirous of the דודאים and barters with Leah for them. The trade offered by Rachel is for Leah to spend that night in Jacob’s bed in exchange for Leah’s דודאים. Leah gives away the plant to her barren sister, but soon after this (Genesis 30:14–22), Leah, who had previously had four sons but had been infertile for a long while, became pregnant once more and in time gave birth to two more sons, Issachar and Zebulun, and a daughter, Dinah. Only years after this episode of her asking for the mandrakes did Rachel manage to become pregnant. The predominant traditional Jewish view is that דודאים were an ancient folk remedy to help barren women conceive a child.
15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.
16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
A number of other plants have been suggested by biblical scholars,e.g., most notably, ginseng, which looks similar to the mandrake root and reputedly has fertility enhancing properties, for which it was picked by Reuben in the Bible; blackberries, Zizyphus lotus, the sidr of the Arabs, the banana, lily, citron, and fig. Sir Thomas Browne, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica, ch. VII, suggested the dudai’im of Genesis 30:14 is the opium poppy, because the word duda’im may be a reference to a woman’s breasts.
The final verses of Song of Songs (Song of Songs 7:12–13), are:
לְכָ֤ה דֹודִי֙ נֵצֵ֣א הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה נָלִ֖ינָה בַּכְּפָרִֽים׃ נַשְׁכִּ֙ימָה֙ לַכְּרָמִ֔ים נִרְאֶ֞ה אִם פָּֽרְחָ֤ה הַגֶּ֙פֶן֙ פִּתַּ֣ח הַסְּמָדַ֔ר הֵנֵ֖צוּ הָרִמֹּונִ֑ים שָׁ֛ם אֶתֵּ֥ן אֶת־דֹּדַ֖י לָֽךְ׃
12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
13 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.According to the legend, when the root is dug up, it screams and kills all who hear it. Literature includes complex directions for harvesting a mandrake root in relative safety. For example Josephus (circa AD 37 Jerusalem – 100) gives the following directions for pulling it up:
A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavours to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this, the root can be handled without fear.
Excerpt from Chapter XVI, Witchcraft and Spells: Transcendental Magic its Doctrine and Ritual by nineteenth-century occultist and ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi. A Complete Translation of Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie by Arthur Edward Waite. 1896
It was a common folklore in some countries that mandrake would only grow where the semen of a hanged man had dripped on to the ground; this would appear to be the reason for the methods employed by the alchemists who “projected human seed into animal earth”. In Germany, the plant is known as the Alraune: the novel (later adapted as a film) Alraune by Hanns Heinz Ewers is based on a soul-less woman conceived from a hanged man’s semen, the title referring to this myth of the mandrake’s origins.
Would you like to make a Mandragora, as powerful as the homunculus (little man in a bottle) so praised by Paracelsus? Then find a root of the plant called bryony. Take it out of the ground on a Monday (the day of the moon), a little time after the vernal equinox. Cut off the ends of the root and bury it at night in some country churchyard in a dead man’s grave. For 30 days, water it with cow’s milk in which three bats have been drowned. When the 31st day arrives, take out the root in the middle of the night and dry it in an oven heated with branches of verbena; then wrap it up in a piece of a dead man’s winding-sheet and carry it with you everywhere.
It is in Samuel Beckett‘s Waiting For Godot, too. “Let’s hang ourselves immediately!” “It’d give us an Erection!” “An Erection!” “With all that follows—where it falls, Mandrakes grow, that’s why they shriek when you pull them up. Did you not know that?”
Machiavelli wrote in 1518 a play Mandragola (The Mandrake) in which the plot revolves around the use of a mandrake potion as a ploy to bed a woman.
Shakespeare refers four times to mandrake and twice under the name of mandragora.
- “… Not poppy, nor mandragora,
- Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
- Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
- Which thou owedst yesterday.”
- Shakespeare: Othello III.iii
- “Give me to drink mandragora …
- That I might sleep out this great gap of time
- My Antony is away.”
- Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra I.v
- “Shrieks like mandrakes’ torn out of the earth.”
- Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet IV.iii
- “Would curses kill, as doth the mandrake’s groan”
- King Henry VI part II III.ii
In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot (contained in the Sherlock Homes collection His Last Bow) a crystalline extract of “Devil’s Foot Root”, also called mandrake, is at the root, so to speak, of two bizarre and related murders.
The Sacred Perfume Attribution: Jasmine
Its perfume is jasmine, (Aleister Crowley, 777, p.13) which is, according to Regardie, “also a sexual excitant” (Regardie Israel, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p.54) Jasmine (taxonomic name Jasminum //) is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae). It contains around 200 species native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Jasmines are widely cultivated for the characteristic fragrance of their flowers. A number of unrelated plants contain the word ‘Jasmine’ in their common names (see Other plants called ‘Jasmine’)
Jasmines can be either deciduous (leaves falling in autumn) or evergreen (green all year round), and can be erect, spreading, or climbing shrubs and vines. Their leaves are borne opposite or alternate. They can be simple, trifoliate, or pinnate. The flowers are typically around 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in diameter. They are white or yellow in color, although in rare instances they can be slightly reddish. The flowers are borne in cymose clusters with a minimum of three flowers, though they can also be solitary on the ends of branchlets. Each flower has about four to nine petals, two locules, and one to four ovules. They have two stamens with very short filaments. The bracts are linear or ovate. The calyx is bell-shaped. They are usually very fragrant. The fruits of jasmines are berries that turn black when ripe.
The basic chromosome number of the genus is 13, and most species are diploid (2n=26). However, natural polyploidy exists, particularly in Jasminum sambac (2n=39), Jasminum flexile (2n=52), Jasminum primulinum (2n=39), and Jasminum angustifolium (2n=52).
Species belonging to genus Jasminum are classified under the tribe Jasmineae of the olive family (Oleaceae). Jasminum is divided into five sections—Alternifolia, Jasminum, Primulina, Trifoliolata, and Unifoliolata.
Widely cultivated for its flowers, jasmine is enjoyed in the garden, as a house plant, and as cut flowers. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in southern and southeast Asia. The delicate jasmine flower opens only at night and may be plucked in the morning when the tiny petals are tightly closed, then stored in a cool place until night. The petals begin to open between six and eight in the evening, as the temperature lowers.
Jasmine tea is consumed in China, where it is called jasmine-flower tea (茉莉花茶; pinyin: mò lì huā chá). Jasminum sambac flowers are also used to make jasmine tea, which often has a base of green tea or white tea, but sometimes an Oolong base is used. Flowers and tea are “mated”[clarification needed] in machines that control temperature and humidity. It takes four hours or so for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavour of the jasmine blossoms, and for the highest grades, this process may be repeated as many as seven times. It must be refired to prevent spoilage. The spent flowers may or may not be removed from the final product, as the flowers are completely dry and contain no aroma. Giant fans are used to blow away and remove the petals from the denser tea leaves.
Jasmine is considered an absolute and not an essential oil as the petals of the flower are much too delicate and would be destroyed by the distillation process used in creating essential oils. Other than the processing method it is essentially the same as an essential oil. Absolute is a technical term used to denote the process of extraction. It is in common use. Its flowers are either extracted by the labour-intensive method of enfleurage or through chemical extraction. It is expensive due to the large number of flowers needed to produce a small amount of oil. The flowers have to be gathered at night because the odour of jasmine is more powerful after dark. The flowers are laid out on cotton cloths soaked in olive oil for several days and then extracted leaving the true jasmine essence. Some of the countries producing jasmine essential oil are India, Egypt, China and Morocco.
Jasmine scent has been reported to have sedative properties.
Madurai, the Southern district of Tamil Nadu, is famous for the Jasmine production. In the western and southern states of India, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu, jasmine is cultivated alongside other flowers in private homes, within gardens or as potted plants. These flowers are used in regular worship at home as well as for hair ornaments (for the girls and women of the house). Jasmine is also cultivated commercially, for both the domestic purposes discussed above and other purposes (such as use in the perfume industry). It is used in rituals like marriages, religious ceremony, and festivals. In the Chandan Yatra of lord Jagannath, the deity is bathed with water flavored in sandalwood paste and jasmine.
Jasmine flower vendors selling ready-made garlands of jasmine, or in the case of the thicker motiyaa (in Hindi) or mograa (in Marathi) varietal, bunches of jasmine, as well as flowers by weight, are a common sight on city streets in many parts of India. They may be found around entrances to temples, on major thoroughfares, and in major business areas (including bus stands). This is common as far north as Mumbai, and generally from Maharashtra southward through all of South India. Jasmine vendors may also be found in Kolkata, though roadside sales are fewer there, since in North India women and girls generally, by tradition, do not wear flowers in their hair.
A change in presidency in Tunisia in 1987 and the Tunisian Revolution of 2011 are both called “Jasmine revolutions” in reference to the flower. Jasmine flowers were also used as a symbol during the 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests in the People’s Republic of China.
“Jasmine” is also a feminine given name in some countries.
The Sacred Color Attribution: Purple
The word ‘purple’ comes from the Old English word purpul which derives from the Latin purpura, in turn from the Greek πορφύρα (porphura), name of the Tyrian purple dye manufactured in classical antiquity from a mucus secreted by the spiny dye-murex snail.
While the two colors look similar, from the point of view of optics there are important differences. Violet is a spectral, or real color – it occupies its own place at the end of the spectrum of light, and it has its own wavelength (approximately 380–420 nm). It was one of the colors of the spectrum first identified by Isaac Newton in 1672, whereas purple is simply a combination of two colors, red and blue. There is no such thing as the “wavelength of purple light”; it only exists as a combination. 
While the scientific definitions of violet and purple are clear, the cultural definitions are more varied. The color known in antiquity as Tyrian purple ranged from crimson to a deep bluish-purple, depending upon how it was made. In France, purple is defined as “a dark red, inclined toward violet.”  The color called purple by the French, pourpre, contains more red and half the amount of blue of the color called purple in the United States and the U.K. In German, this color is sometimes called Purpurrot (“purple-red”) to avoid confusion.
Purple was one of the first colors used in prehistoric art. The artists of Pech Merle cave and other Neolithic sites in France used sticks of manganese and hematite powder to draw and paint animals and the outlines of their own hands on the walls of their caves. These works have been dated to between 16,000 and 25,000 BC.
As early as the 15th century BC the citizens of Sidon and Tyre, two cities on the coast of Ancient Phoenicia, (present day Lebanon), were producing purple dye from a sea snail called the spiny dye-murex. Clothing colored with the Tyrian dye was mentioned in both the Iliad of Homer and the Aeneid of Virgil. The deep, rich purple dye made from this snail became known as Tyrian purple.
The process of making the dye was long, difficult and expensive. Thousands of the tiny snails had to be found, their shells cracked, the snail removed. Mountains of empty shells have been found at the ancient sites of Sidon and Tyre. The snails were left to soak, then a tiny gland was removed and the juice extracted and put in a basin, which was placed in the sunlight. There a remarkable transformation took place. In the sunlight the juice turned white, then yellow-green, then green, then violet, then a red which turned darker and darker. The process had to be stopped at exactly the right time to obtain the desired color, which could range from a bright crimson to a dark purple, the color of dried blood. Then either wool, linen or silk would be dyed. The exact hue varied between crimson and violet, but it was always rich, bright and lasting.
Tyrian purple became the color of kings, nobles, priests and magistrates all around the Mediterranean. It was mentioned in the Old Testament; In the Book of Exodus, God instructs Moses to have the Israelites bring him an offering including cloth “of blue, and purple, and scarlet.”, to be used in the curtains of the Tabernacle and the garments of priests. The term used for purple in the 4th century Latin Vulgate version of the Bible passage is purpura or Tyrian purple. In the Iliad of Homer, the belt of Ajax is purple, and the tails of the horses of Trojan warriors are dipped in purple. In the Odyssey, the blankets on the wedding bed of Odysseus are purple. In the poems of Sappho (6th century BC) she celebrates the skill of the dyers of the Greek kingdom of Lydia who made purple footwear, and in the play of Aeschylus (525–456 BC), Queen Clytemnestra welcomes back her husband Agamemnon by decorating the palace with purple carpets. In 950 BC, King Solomon was reported to have brought artisans from Tyre to provide purple fabrics to decorate the Temple of Jerusalem.
In Ancient Rome, the Toga praetexta was an ordinary white toga with a broad purple stripe on its border. It was worn by freeborn Roman boys who had not yet come of age, curule magistrates, certain categories of priests, and a few other categories of citizens.
The Toga picta was solid purple, embroidered with gold. During the Roman Republic, it was worn by generals in their triumphs, and by the Praetor Urbanus when he rode in the chariot of the gods into the circus at the Ludi Apollinares. During the Empire, the toga picta was worn by magistrates giving public gladiatorial games, and by the consuls, as well as by the emperor on special occasions.
During the Roman Republic, when a triumph was held, the general being honored wore an entirely purple toga bordered in gold, and Roman Senators wore a toga with a purple stripe. However, during the Roman Empire, purple was more and more associated exclusively with the Emperors and their officers. The Emperor Caligula had the King of Mauritania murdered for wearing a purple mantle better than his own. Nero made it punishable by death for anyone else to wear the color.
The actual color of Tyrian purple seems to have varied from a reddish to a bluish purple. According to the Roman writer Vitruvius, (1st century BC), the murex coming from northern waters, probably murex brandaris, produced a more bluish color than those of the south, probably murex trunculus. The most valued shades were said to be those closer to the color of dried blood, as seen in the mosaics of the robes of the Emperor Justinian in Ravenna. The chemical composition of the dye from the murex is close to that of the dye from indigo, and indigo was sometimes used to make a counterfeit Tyrian purple, a crime which was severely punished. What seems to have mattered about Tyrian purple was not its color, but its luster, richness, its resistance to weather and light, and its high price.
In modern times, Tyrian purple has been recreated, at great expense. When the German chemist Paul Friedander tried to recreate Tyrian purple in 2008, he needed twelve thousand mollusks to create 1.4 ounces of dye, enough to color a handkerchief. In the year 2000 a gram of Tyrian purple made from ten thousand mollusks according to the original formula, cost two thousand euro.
Through the early Christian era, the rulers of the Byzantine Empire continued the use of purple as the imperial color, for diplomatic gifts, and even for imperial documents and the pages of the Bible. Gospel manuscripts were written in gold lettering on parchment that was colored Tyrian purple. Empresses gave birth in the Purple Chamber, and the Emperors born there were known as “born to the purple,” to separate them from Emperors who won or seized the title through political intrigue or military force. Bishops of the Byzantine church wore white robes with stripes of purple, while government officials wore squares of purple fabric to show their rank.
In western Europe, the Emperor Charlemagne was crowned in 800 wearing a mantle of Tyrian purple, and was buried in 814 in a shroud of the same color, which still exists (see below). However, after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the color lost its imperial status. The great dye works of Constantinople were destroyed, and gradually scarlet, made with dye from the cochineal insect, became the royal color in Europe.
In 1464, Pope Paul II decreed that cardinals should no longer wear purple, and instead wear scarlet, from kermes and alum, since the deep Tyrian purple from Byzantium was no longer available. Bishops and archbishops, of a lower status than cardinals, were assigned the color purple, but not the rich Tyrian purple. They wore cloth dyed first with the less expensive indigo blue, then overlaid with red made from kermes dye.
While purple was worn less frequently by Medieval and Renaissance kings and princes, it was worn by the professors of many of Europe’s new universities. Their robes were modeled after those of the clergy, and they often wore square violet or purple caps and robes, or black robes with purple trim. Purple robes were particularly worn by students of divinity.
Purple and violet also played an important part in the religious paintings of the Renaissance. Angels and the Virgin Mary were often portrayed wearing purple or violet robes.
n the 18th century, purple was still worn on occasion by Catherine the Great and other rulers, by bishops and, in lighter shades, by members of the aristocracy, but rarely by ordinary people, because of its high cost. But in the 19th century, that changed.
In 1856, an eighteen-year old British chemistry student named William Henry Perkin was trying to make a synthetic quinine. His experiments produced instead the first synthetic aniline dye, a purple shade called mauveine, shortened simply to mauve. It took its name from the mallow flower, which is the same color. The new color quickly became fashionable, particularly after Queen Victoria wore a silk gown dyed with mauveine to the Royal Exhibition of 1862. Prior to Perkin’s discovery, mauve was a color which only the aristocracy and rich could afford to wear. Perkin developed an industrial process, built a factory, and produced the dye by the ton, so almost anyone could wear mauve. It was the first of a series of modern industrial dyes which completely transformed both the chemical industry and fashion.
In the west, purple or violet is the color most associated with piety and faith. In the year 1464, shortly after the fall of Constantinople, which stopped the supply of Tyrian purple to Europe, Pope Paul II changed the color worn by Cardinals from purple to red, dyed with expensive cochineal. The next higher rank, Bishops, were given the purple color, made then from a less-expensive mixture of indigo and cochineal.
In the Roman Catholic liturgy, purple symbolizes penitence; priests wear a purple garment when they hear confession. Purple is also worn by priests during Lent. Since the Vatican II Council (1962–65), priests may wear purple rather than black when officiating at funerals – it was decided that black, as the color of mourning, should not be a formal part of a religious service. Purple robes are also worn as part of the academic dress worn at graduation and university ceremonies by students of theology.
At the turn of the century, purple was a favorite color of the German painter Gustave Klimt, who flooded his pictures with sensual purples and violets.
In the 20th century, purple retained its historic connection with royalty; George VI (1896–1952), wore purple in his official portrait, and it was prominent in every feature of the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, from the invitations to the stage design inside Westminster Abbey. But at the same time, it was becoming associated with social change; with the Women’s Suffrage movement for the right to vote for women in the early decades of the century, with Feminism in the 1970s, and with the psychedelic drug culture of the 1960s.
In the early 20th century, purple, green and white were the colors of the Women’s Suffrage movement, which fought to win the right to vote for women, finally succeeding with the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Later, in the 1970s, in a tribute to the Suffragettes, it became the color of the women’s liberation movement.
During the 1960s and early 1970s it was also associated with counterculture, psychedelics and musicians like Jimi Hendrix with his 1967 song Purple Haze, or the English rock band of Deep Purple which formed in 1968. Later, in the 1980s, it was featured in the song and album Purple Rain (1984) by the American musician Prince.
The Purple Rain Protest was a protest against apartheid that took place in Cape Town, South Africa on 2 September 1989, in which a police water cannon with purple dye sprayed thousands of demonstrators. This led to the slogan The Purple Shall Govern.
The violet or purple necktie became very popular at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, particularly among political and business leaders. It combined the assertiveness and confidence of a red necktie with the sense of peace and cooperation of a blue necktie, and it went well with the blue business suit worn by most national and corporate leaders.
In Europe and America, purple is the color most associated with vanity, extravagance, and individualism. Among the seven major sins, it represents vanity. It is a color which is designed to attract attention.
Purple is the color most often associated with the artificial and the unconventional. It is the major color that occurs the least frequently in nature, and was the first color to be synthesized.
Purple is the color most associated with ambiguity. Like other colors made by combining two primary colors, it is seen as uncertain and equivocal.
In Britain, purple is sometimes associated with mourning. In Victorian times, close relatives wore black for the first year following a death (“deep mourning”) , and then replaced it with purple or dark green trimmed with black. This is rarely practiced today.
- In China, purple represents spiritual awareness, physical and mental healing, strength and abundance. A red purple symbolizes luck and fame. The Chinese word for purple, zi, is connected with the North Star, Polaris, or zi Wei in Chinese.
- In Chinese astrology the North Star was the home of the Celestial Emperor, the ruler of the heavens (As noted above, the area around the North Star is called the Purple Forbidden Enclosure in Chinese astronomy.). For that reason the forbidden city in Beijing was also known as the purple forbidden city (zi Jin cheng).
- In Chinese painting, the color purple represents the harmony of the universe because it is a combination of red and blue (Yin and yang respectively).
- In Japan, purple is the color of privilege and wealth, the color associated with the Japanese aristocracy. The word for purple is murasaki, which is also the name of the Purple Gromwell flower
- Purple was a popular color introduced into Japanese dress during the Heian Period (794–1185). The dye was made from the root of the alkanet plant (Anchusa officinalis), also known as murasaki in Japanese. At about the same time, Japanese painters began to use a pigment made from the same plant.
- In Thailand, widows in mourning wear the color purple. Purple is also associated with Saturday on the Thai solar calendar.
The Precious Stone Correspondence: Quarz
Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth‘s continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2.
There are many different varieties of quartz, several of which are semi-precious gemstones. Especially in Europe and the Middle East, varieties of quartz have been since antiquity the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewelry and hardstone carvings.
Quartz belongs to the trigonal crystal system. The ideal crystal shape is a six-sided prism terminating with six-sided pyramids at each end. In nature quartz crystals are often twinned, distorted, or so intergrown with adjacent crystals of quartz or other minerals as to only show part of this shape, or to lack obvious crystal faces altogether and appear massive. Well-formed crystals typically form in a ‘bed’ that has unconstrained growth into a void; usually the crystals are attached at the other end to a matrix and only one termination pyramid is present. However doubly-terminated crystals do occur where they develop freely without attachment, for instance within gypsum. A quartz geode is such a situation where the void is approximately spherical in shape, lined with a bed of crystals pointing inward.
Pure quartz, traditionally called rock crystal (sometimes called clear quartz), is colorless and transparent (clear) or translucent, and has often been used for hardstone carvings, such as the Lothair Crystal. Common colored varieties include citrine, rose quartz, amethyst, smoky quartz, milky quartz, and others. Quartz goes by an array of different names.
The word “quartz” comes from the German Quarz (help·info), which is of Slavic origin (Czech miners called it křemen). Other sources attribute the word’s origin to the Saxon word Querkluftertz, meaning cross-vein ore.
Quartz is the most common material identified as the mystical substance maban in Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is found regularly in passage tomb cemeteries in Europe in a burial context, such as Newgrange or Carrowmore in Ireland. The Irish word for quartz is grian cloch, which means ‘stone of the sun’. Quartz was also used in Prehistoric Ireland, as well as many other countries, for stone tools; both vein quartz and rock crystal were knapped as part of the lithic technology of the prehistoric peoples.
While jade has been since earliest times the most prized semi-precious stone for carving in East Asia and Pre-Columbian America, in Europe and the Middle East the different varieties of quartz were the most commonly used for the various types of jewelry and hardstone carving, including engraved gems and cameo gems, rock crystal vases, and extravagant vessels. The tradition continued to produce objects that were very highly valued until the mid-19th century, when it largely fell from fashion except in jewelry. Cameo technique exploits the bands of color in onyx and other varieties.
Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder believed quartz to be water ice, permanently frozen after great lengths of time. (The word “crystal” comes from the Greek word κρύσταλλος, “ice”.) He supported this idea by saying that quartz is found near glaciers in the Alps, but not on volcanic mountains, and that large quartz crystals were fashioned into spheres to cool the hands. He also knew of the ability of quartz to split light into a spectrum. This idea persisted until at least the 17th century.
In the 17th century, Nicolas Steno‘s study of quartz paved the way for modern crystallography. He discovered that regardless of a quartz crystal’s size or shape, its long prism faces always joined at a perfect 60° angle.
Quartz’s piezoelectric properties were discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880. The quartz oscillator or resonator was first developed by Walter Guyton Cady in 1921. George Washington Pierce designed and patented quartz crystal oscillators in 1923. Warren Marrison created the first quartz oscillator clock based on the work of Cady and Pierce in 1927.
Efforts to synthesize quartz began in the mid nineteenth century as scientists attempted to create minerals under laboratory conditions that mimicked the conditions in which the minerals formed in nature: German geologist Karl Emil von Schafhäutl (1803-1890) was the first person to synthesize quartz when in 1845 he created microscopic quartz crystals in a pressure cooker. However, the quality and size of the crystals that were produced by these early efforts were poor. By the 1930s, the electronics industry had become dependent on quartz crystals. The only source of suitable crystals was Brazil; however, World War II disrupted the supplies from Brazil, so nations attempted to synthesize quartz on a commercial scale. German mineralogist Richard Nacken (1884-1971) achieved some success during the 1930s and 1940s. After the war, many laboratories attempted to grow large quartz crystals. In the United States, the U.S. Army Signal Corps contracted with Bell Laboratories and with the Brush Development Company of Cleveland, Ohio to synthesize crystals following Nacken’s lead. (Prior to World War II, Brush Development produced piezoelectric crystals for record players.) By 1948, Brush Development had grown crystals that were 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter, the largest to date. By the 1950s, synthetic quartz crystals were being produced and sold commercially.
Quartz crystals have piezoelectric properties; they develop an electric potential upon the application of mechanical stress. An early use of this property of quartz crystals was in phonograph pickups. One of the most common piezoelectric uses of quartz today is as a crystal oscillator. The quartz clock is a familiar device using the mineral. The resonant frequency of a quartz crystal oscillator is changed by mechanically loading it, and this principle is used for very accurate measurements of very small mass changes in the quartz crystal microbalance and in thin-film thickness monitors.
The Sacred Animal Correspondence: The Elephant
Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Traditionally, two species are recognised, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), although some evidence suggests that African bush elephants and African forest elephants are separate species (L. africana and L. cyclotis respectively). Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephantidae are the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; other, now extinct, families of the order include mammoths and mastodons. Male African elephants are the largest surviving terrestrial animals and can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft) and weigh 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). All elephants have several distinctive features the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water and grasping objects. Their incisors grow into tusks, which can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Elephants’ large ear flaps help to control their body temperature. Their pillar-like legs can carry their great weight. African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs.
Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments. Other animals tend to keep their distance, and predators such as lions, tigers, hyenas and wild dogs usually target only the young elephants (or “calves”). Females (“cows”) tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by an individual known as the matriarch, often the oldest cow.
The word “elephant” is based on the Latin elephas (genitive elephantis) (“elephant”), which is the Latinised form of the Greek ἐλέφας (elephas) (genitive ἐλέφαντος (elephantos)), probably from a non-Indo-European language, likely Phoenician. It is attested in Mycenaean Greek as e-re-pa and e-re-pa-to in Linear B syllabic script. As in Mycenaean Greek, Homer used the Greek word to mean ivory, but after the time of Herodotus, it also referred to the animal. The word “elephant” appears in Middle English as olyfaunt (c.1300) and was borrowed from Old French oliphant (12th century). In Swahili elephants are known as Ndovu or Tembo. In Sanskrit the elephant is called hastin, while in Hindi it is known as hāthī (हाथी). Loxodonta, the generic name for the African elephants, is Greek for “oblique-sided tooth”.
Elephants have been represented in art since Paleolithic times. Africa in particular contains many rock paintings and engravings of the animals, especially in the Sahara and southern Africa. In the Far East, the animals are depicted as motifs in Hindu and Buddhist shrines and temples. Elephants were often difficult to portray by people with no first-hand experience with them. The ancient Romans, who kept the animals in captivity, depicted anatomically accurate elephants on mosaics in Tunisia and Sicily. At the beginning of Middle Ages, when Europeans had little to no access to the animals, elephants were portrayed more like fantasy creatures. They were often depicted with horse- or bovine-like bodies with trumpet-like trunks and tusks like a boar; some were even given hooves. Elephants were commonly featured in motifs by the stonemasons of the Gothic churches. As more elephants began to be sent to European kings as gifts during the 15th century, depictions of them became more accurate, including one made by Leonardo da Vinci. Despite this, some Europeans continued to portray them in a more stylised fashion. Max Ernst‘s 1921 surrealist painting The Elephant Celebes depicts an elephant as a silo with a trunk-like hose protruding from it.
Elephants have been the subject of religious beliefs. The Mbuti people believe that the souls of their dead ancestors resided in elephants. Similar ideas existed among other African tribes, who believed that their chiefs would be reincarnated as elephants. During the 10th century AD, the people of Igbo-Ukwu buried their leaders with elephant tusks. The animals’ religious importance is only totemic in Africa but is much more significant in Asia. In Sumatra, elephants have been associated with lightning. Likewise in Hinduism, they are linked with thunderstorms as Airavata, the father of all elephants, represents both lightning and rainbows. One of the most important Hindu deities, the elephant-headed Ganesha, is ranked equal with the supreme gods Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. Ganesha is associated with writers and merchants and it is believed that he can give people success as well as grant them their desires. In Buddhism, Buddha is said to have been a white elephant reincarnated as a human. In Islamic tradition, the year 570, when the Prophet Muhammad was born, is known as the Year of the Elephant. Elephants were thought to be religious themselves by the Romans, who believed that they worshipped the sun and stars.
Elephants are ubiquitous in Western popular culture as emblems of the exotic, especially since – as with the giraffe, hippopotamus and rhinoceros – there are no similar animals familiar to Western audiences. The use of the elephant as a symbol of the US Republican Party began with an 1874 cartoon by Thomas Nast. As characters, elephants are most common in children’s stories, in which they are generally cast as models of exemplary behaviour. They are typically surrogates for humans with ideal human values. Many stories tell of isolated young elephants returning to a close-knit community, such as “The Elephant’s Child” from Rudyard Kipling‘s Just So Stories, Disney‘s Dumbo and Kathryn and Byron Jackson’s The Saggy Baggy Elephant. Other elephant heroes given human qualities include Jean de Brunhoff‘s Babar, David McKee‘s Elmer and Dr. Seuss‘s Horton.
Several cultural references emphasise the elephant’s size and exotic uniqueness. For instance, a “white elephant” is a byword for something expensive, useless and bizarre. The expression “elephant in the room” refers to an obvious truth that is ignored or otherwise unaddressed. The story of the blind men and an elephant teaches that reality may be viewed by different perspectives.
The Sepher Yetzirah Iitle: the Pure or Clean Intelligence
The Sepher Yetzirah title for Yesod is “the Pure or Clean Intelligence.” (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 4; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p.54)
The Tarot Cards Correspondence: The Four Nines
The Four Nines of The Minor Arcana represent the final stage of action, reflection, thoughts and deeds of the Four Suits. It heralds the end of a cycle and the natural winding down or closing stages of a period of your life, incident, situation, relationship or stage of a relationship . This does not mean that the situation is over and done with or gone forever. What is does mean is that it has run its natural course and is the total culmination of all you have done, all the effort put in and all your hopes, wishes and dreams. The Goals that each have struggled long and hard for are now in sight and ready to be claimed. Wishes are just about to come true and dreams realised. Of course for the Swords it is the end of the road for them with stress and conflict, they too will experience the culmination of all that has come to be throughout their journey.
For all the Suits involved, it is now time to review and reflect on the consequences of their actions. Their journey is over, but not just yet, for they must now take a long hard look back and be totally honest with themselves. They all started out on the same footing; with the same advantages, the same innocence and the same quality of Gift from Spirit. They were all bursting with potential as they accepted and grasped their Gift firmly in their hand. They were all equal and full of promise as they stood before Spirit, receiving their blessings and advice. They had held such high hopes for their futures.
Some, were already formulating plans and goals as they instinctually knew what they wanted of their Elemental Gift (Pentacles). Others had wonderful ideas and visions but preferred not to settle on anything too soon. Bursting with their Fiery Elemental Gift, they would try to experience as much as possible (Wands). Then there were some who held high and noble hopes of love and happiness, not just for one, but for all. They offered their Cup to share with another and set goals of happiness, love and joy (Cups). Of course we had one who fretted and worried over what to do with theirs. Their Gift weighed heavily on them and often wondered why they had drawn the short straw? Their Gift was a potentially dangerous weapon and possibly they felt too inexperienced to know how to handle it adequately. Starting off with such worries and unsettling thoughts did put a dampener on the excitement of the occasion. It did not augur well for the future (Swords). It is a pity they did not understand its beauty for when handle correctly it is a wonder of magic and might.
The Nines are now here to tell you that you have done all you can in this situation, and for better or worse, you must now make ready to move into a whole new cycle. This one is done and dusted, and to be honest we are probably all jaded with the storyline and waiting to move on to something new. It is a bit similar to watching a Movie or Soap Opera. In a Movie, it is very easy to tell, (apart from the time duration) when the story is nearing its conclusion. Loose ends are being tied up and characters settle into position for the Grand Finale. If it did not go through this stage then the Movie would just stop abruptly, leaving us all wondering what the hell happened? In a Soap Opera, they are constantly heading off on journeys similar to our Tarot friends. They run with a particular storyline for a period of time; building it up as they go, and then winding it down sufficiently so that it is no longer the big drama it started out as. They can also choose to bring it to an abrupt and explosive end. They are then free to move onto a new storyline and do the same all over again. A book is no different. I am sure many of you understand that feeling of incredible frustration when we have spent days reading a book only to get to the last couple of chapters and discover that several pages are missing. We have missed out on how all the characters turned out and what became of them. Reading the last page is not enough for it has all happened by then.
The closing down stages are very important and help us understand many things. They help ease us out of our current, aged cycle and into a brand new fresh one. Like The Death Card, we are forever caught up in the ever-turning wheel of birth, death and rebirth. Sudden death can cause a terrible shock to our systems and likewise, moving from an old cycle of life to a new one without going through the winding down phase can also cause a jolt to the system.
We generally sense when something is coming to an end. Friends drift apart as social circles break up in favour of new friends, directions and commitments. Time is moving everyone on and what seemed so important for so long, begins to dissipate. Our feelings towards a job slowly begins to wane as we no longer feel excited about our work. It is time to move on. A relationship runs its course and no longer fulfills us. A stage of a relationship may be coming to an end as a couple decide to move it on by getting married and having children. Regardless, change is coming and an old way of life is being left behind. A house you have lived in for years is now too large for your needs as children move out or a partner dies. You may have aged and are no longer able to climb the stairs. The writing is on the wall and this particular cycle of your life is coming to an end. It will involve closing the door on the old cycle before opening the door to the new one. You have done all that you can and there is precious little else for you to do.
With the Nines, The Four Suits enter a spring cleaning mode and must carefully sift through all that they have accumulated on their journey or cycle. They must be quite ruthless about certain things, for not all can be taken forward into their new cycle. They must only take what was discovered to be useful and valuable and of course what has extreme sentimental or emotional attachment. There must be a thorough cleansing of their mind, body, emotions and spirit before moving into their next cycle.
The Four Suits will be expected to have gained much experience, which can be utilised and applied in their next cycle. They are almost at the end of their Journey with their Goals and dreams in sight but have yet to carry out one last task. These tasks are related to their individual Suits and Governing Element. Their tasks are also based on how they managed their Journey and how close they have come to realising their individual Goals.
In the Nines, they are all allowed to stop for a moment before taking any more action. They should be relieved they are so close to the finish line with their quests and endeavours for it has been a long and difficult journey. Introspection, Retrospection and Reflection are some of the strongest associated words with The Four Nines of The Minor Arcana. They must look back now and objectively analyse each stage of it. They must decide on whether they successfully achieved their aims or fell short of the mark? They must know their weaknesses and strengths, and whether they took them into consideration where relevant. They must determine whether their journey was worth the effort and whether it lived up to their expectations or not. They must ask if they are proud of their achievements or ashamed of their failures? How have the journeys affected their personalities? Do they consider themselves better people with more rounded qualities than before they set out, or has it made them less tolerant and unfriendly. Do they feel strong and vigorous, ready to take on the world or are they weak and dithering, fearful of all that is new or different? Should they have the chance to do it all again, would they change anything, would they handle things differently? Are they all glad it is over?
Yes indeed, much thought and inner-work is needed before they take the final step over the Finish-Line to be awarded their Goal and new cycle. It will be interesting to see how the Four Suits have ranked themselves and their journeys.
The Wands will give much thought to the extent of energy and exhaustion experienced after so much action, the Cups must dwell on the happiness they have craved so much. The Swords must begin to understand the process of unresolved issues that has led them to breaking point, and the Pentacles, close to the financial security they desire, now have time to reflect on their journey and the personal cost involved in attaining their goal.
On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, The Four Nines reside in the 9th Sephira – Yesod (Foundation) Translates spiritual concepts into actions. It is linked to the imagination and The Moon, with the energies of reflection and illumination. The Nines use this energy to shine a bright light on any dark areas of their journey and soul. All will be exposed and reflected upon. This deals more in the unconscious realm rather than the conscious. A time for being held to account and taking personal responsibility for their actions. A time for deep understanding and knowledge. This will lay strong foundations for eventual manifestation in Ten and any new cycles thereafter.
Astrologically – Corresponds with The Moon
In The Major Arcana, The Four Nines correspond with The Hermit (IX). The Hermit’s solitary presence and long grey beard suggest his maturity and understanding. He is the ultimate Seeker of Self-Knowledge and knows, that to hear the inner-voice, and to find your true purpose, involves retreat and withdrawal from distraction, din and noise. The Hermit retreats into the inner-planes, far from where he will be disturbed. He is the driving force behind the Nines in the Final Stage of their Journey. They will all ask the same questions of themselves, ‘What was it all about?’ , ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where have I come from?’, ‘Where am I now?’, ‘Where do I want to go next? and ‘Why’?
The Hermit has seen many cycles come and go and resembles Old Father Time. His knowledge and wisdom is infinite. What he has learned, has not come easy. He advises the Four Suits that should they not have found the answers they were looking for in their current cycle, they just might in the next. The idea is not to give up, even if what they look back on does not, in their estimation, amount to much. There is no such thing as failure or mistakes, for all is knowledge and experience.
The Moon Card (XVIII) of the Major Arcana 1+8 = 9 also corresponds with Nines of The Four Suits. The Moon helps them to analyse, reflect and review, by illuminating their memories and any deep hidden areas they may otherwise choose to ignore. The lessons of the Nines, The Hermit and The Moon are all solitary lessons. They do not come easily but are a necessary stage on the journey to self-realisation and manifestation. The Four Nines came into this world alone and will leave it alone too. The Hermit and Moon drive them to seek self-reliancy, self-understanding and self-knowledge, for it is the only real thing that will support them on their journey. The Nines may fear the implications of The Hermit and The Moon as it involves a solitary and often un-nerving journey. However, this must be conquered before they reach their final destination. It is their last ordeal, trial or task. Most of the Suits should not worry too much for they have already put in a lot of this work along the way.
When a Single Nine is drawn in a Reading it will depend on the surrounding cards, but it suggests that a situation is reaching a conclusion or that it has run its natural course. One Nine alone does not necessarily speak of the end of a cycle or any major change. However, it does ask you to reflect on the issue it relates to. This reflection should be taken back to the beginning of the situation and not just based on recent events. The Querant could do a lot to help resolve or sort the situation as a result. The Single Nine can also indicate that you are nearing the realisation of a goal and that sometimes the going gets very tough in the final stages. The message would be to hang on in there for you are nearly there. Call on all your reserves of energy to carry you through this final stage and don’t give in to fear. Don’t even think of giving up. The same applies to several Nines appearing except the there may be several goals and a lot at stake. This is what you have worked so hard towards, so give it your final shot and you will be there before you know it.
Two or more Nines suggest that a cycle or chapter in your life is drawing to a close and that a time of reflection is needed. The More Nines, the more major the event and a strong impact will be felt. The Querant is bound to have undergone many challenges and ups and downs to have arrived at this stage. There should be a sense of relief mixed with melancholy, but also a building anticipation and excitement for the new road ahead. There may be several life changing actions being taken. Look also for the Judgement Card, Death and The Fool, for new starts, moving on, being at a crossroads, transformation, new directions and taking a chance on life.
When Nines appear Reversed, there may be a reluctance to cut the ties that bind. There may be resistance to the end of a cycle or fear about the beginning of a new one. Depending on the number of Reversed Nines, the Querant may not be giving much time to reflection or introspection. As a result, there may be repetitive patterns of negative attitudes and behaviour. They may be caught in a stale cycle, making the same mistakes over and over.
There is also the possibility with several Reversed Nines that one feels a terrible sense of anti-climax after achieving a goal or making a dream come true. You may not be happy with the Outcome. You need to give much time to understanding why this has happened. Reversed Nines also point to fear of failure at the last moment. Nerves and lack of self-belief may be delaying getting to the finish line. Working towards a goal for so long can become quite scary when the time has come to see it manifest and take responsibility for it. There may be dawdling and deliberate delays with letting something reach its finished state. Weakness and a lack of stamina could undo all the good work up until now. With several Reversed Nines we also get fear of going it alone, fear of taking responsiblity and fear of having to be self-reliant. You really do not believe in yourself or your abilities. It would be necessary to go back to the Eight and find your Strength.
Energy levels may be low with a lack of motivation .