February 22, 2019
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What is Chokmah?

Chokmah-2Chokhmah (“Wisdom”; חכמה) (or chochmah or hokhmah) is the uppermost of the sephirot of the right line (kav yamin, the “Pillar of Mercy”) in the kabbalistic Tree of Life. It is to the bottom right of Keter, with Binah across from it. Under it are the sephirot of Chesed and Netzach. It commonly has four paths going to Keter, Binah, Tifereth, and Chesed. (Some kabbalists attribute a path between Chockma and Gevurah.) In Jewish mysticism, it denotes the first intermediate step between Keter and the rest of the Sephirot, forwarding and channeling Ein Sof through the rest of the sephirot.

Chokmah-3Chokhmah appears in the configuration of the sefirot at the top of the right axis, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim (“the Divine image”) to the right eye, or right hemisphere of the brain.  In its fully articulated form, Chokhmah possesses two partzufim (“faces” or “features”): the higher of these is referred to as Abba Ila’ah (“the higher father”), whereas the lower is referred to as Yisrael Saba (“Israel, the Elder”). These two partzufim are referred to jointly as Abba (“father”).   Chokhmah is the primary (“beginning”) force in the creative process, Creativity, as it is said: “You have made them all with Chokhmah .” The first word of the Torah (in Genesis, Breishit means “In the beginning (God created the heavens and the earth)”, is translated (Targum Yonatan) as “With Chokhmah (God created…).”[5]  Chokmah is the dynamic thrust and drive of spiritual force.  it is the upwelling spirit of kether in positive action, the powerhouse of the Universe.  (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 76)

The Sepher Yetzirah names it “the Illuminating Intelligence” (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42; Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 4)

Chokmah’s Relationship with Kether

In the array of sefirot in three columns (gimel kavim), Chokmah is situated at the top of the right column, and corresponds to the right hemisphere of the brain.

In all matters of spiritual analysis it is best to work from the highest point downwards in order to get a genuine understanding, for the higher precedes the lower point of creation and its thus its cause. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 77)

The first Sephirah (the essence of Being-Spirit-Matter) contained in essence and potentiality the other nine Sephiroth and gave rise to them in a process which can be mathematically stated. S. Liddell MacGregor Mather asks, “How is Number Two to be found ?” He answers the question in his Introduction to the Kabbalah Unveiled : “By reflection of itself. For although 0 be incapable of definition, 1 is definable. And the effect of a definition is to form an Eidolon, duplicate or image, of the thing defined. Thus, then, we obtain a duad composed of1 and its reflection. Now, also, we have the commencement of a vibration established, for the number 1 vibrates alternately from changelessness to definition and back to changelessness.”28  [1]

Isaac Ibn Latif (1220-1290 A.D.) also furnishes us with a mathematical definition of the processes of evolution : “As the point extends, and thickens into a line, the line into the plane into the expaded body, so God’s manifestation unfolds itself.” If we try for a moment to think what is the ultimate differentiation of existence, we shall find that so far as we can grasp it, it is a plus and minus, positive and negative, male and female, and so we should expect on the Tree of Life to find that the two emanations succeeding Kether partake of these characteristics. We acertain that the second Sephirah, Chokmah or “Wisdom,” is male, vigorous, and active. It is called the Father, the divine name being Yoh TT,29 and the choir of angels appropriate being the Ophanim.30 [2]

There are several aspects of Chokmah: The word Chokmah itself may be broken into two words — koach (“potential”) and ma (“what is”). Thus, Chokmah means “the potential of what is”, or, “the potential to be.” This aspect of Chokmah describes the state of Chokmah in relation to the sefira of Keter. As Chokmah emanates from Keter, the first dawning of the “Infinite Light”, it “appears” in an obscure and undefined state that is a virtual non-being. Thus the verse states, “and Chokmah emerges from nothingness”  [6]. The light of the Ein Sof becomes unified in the world of Atzilut through clothing itself first in the sefira of Chokmah. In its fully articulated form, Chokmah possesses two partzufim (“faces” or “appearances”): the higher of these is referred to as Abba (“father”), whereas the lower is referred to as Yisrael Sabba “Israel [the] ancient (grandfather)”.

Thus Chokmah is a dynamic Sephirah because it is a reflection of Kether and all the subsequent symbolism stems from this fact.  To use the language of metaphorical symbolism, one could say that the God-head manifests, a vast Countenance, from the nothingness of the Great Unmanifest.  It is therefore alone and self-created with nothing else in manifestation to attract its attention.  It therefore reflects upon itself and this reflection causes an image of itself to be formed, and as the Mind of God is so powerful, this image takes on an objective existence-anything that God thinks, is.  Thus, the whole of manifestation could be conceived of as thought process of God. “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.”(Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 77)

It is the first projection of an idea of itself that is what we call the Sephirah of Chokmah.  It is the action of the Mind of God in manifestation, and this great image of God being the perfect image, is also self-conscious, so that a great polarity of mutual recognition is set up between Kether and Chokmah.  As God in Kether becomes aware of the image of itself in Chokmah so does its own mentation change, thus producing a change in its image, Chokmah, which again produces a change in Kether, and so on ad infinitum.  “The Lord our God is a living God”.  The Mysteries of this great primal polarity are parts of the great Eleventh Path of Concealed Glory which leads between Chokmah and Kether and whose Tarot symbols is perhaps the profoundest in the whole pack – The Fool. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 77-78)

It may be noticed that we refer to God as It.  This is not meant in an attempt to reduce the Universe to a conception of mechanics-though mecanics, like geometry, can give a useful field of symbolism, “God gemetrises.” – but because God is the Great Androgyne, both masculine and feminine and yet transcending them. It is in view of this pure prime reflection of the Godhead, Kether, that the Yetziratic Text describes Chokmah as “Crown of Creation, the Splendour of Unity, equalling it.  It is exalted above every head, and is namely by Qabalists, the Second Glory.” (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 78)

Chokmah: The Sephirah of Wisdom

According to the Bahir: “The second (utterance) is wisdom, as is written: ‘Y-H-W-H acquired me at the beginning of His way, before His deeds of old’ (Prov 8:22). And there is no ‘beginning’ but wisdom.” [3]  Chokhmah, the second of the ten sefirot, is the first power of conscious intellect within Creation, and the first point of ‘real’ existence, since Keter represents emptiness. According to the book of Job, “Wisdom comes from nothingness”. (The Bible, Job. 28:12) This point is both infinitely small, and yet encompasses the whole of being, but it remains incomprehensible until it is given shape and form in Binah. (Rabbi Moshe Cordovero. The Palm Tree of Devorah)  The Hebrew noun chokma (חכמה khok·mä), also sometimes transliterated hokhmah, is the Hebrew word for “wisdom”. The word occurs 149 times in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible. The Talmud (Shabbat 31a) describes knowledge of the Talmudic order of Kodshim as a high level of wisdom, chokhmah. It is cognate with the Arabic word for wisdom hikmah. The related adjective for “wise” or noun “wise man” is hakham, the feminine adjective is hakhama). For example, a rabbi or person who is very learned in Torah and Talmud is called a Talmid Chacham, denoting a very “learned person” or, literally, a “wise student [of Torah knowledge].” Certain Sefardic Jews refer to their rabbis as a “wise man” (hakham) and the Chief rabbi of the Ottoman Empire was called a hakham Bashi. The name chabad (חבד), of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidim, is an acronym, and the first letter (ח – “Ch”) is taken from chokhmah: ח (Ch’okmah) for “wisdom” – ב (Binah) for “understanding” – ד (Da’at) for “knowledge.”  Chokmah is also called Fear, ‘because it has no measure of boundary, and therefore the mind does not have the power to grasp it’. [4] The book of Job states ‘Behold the fear of God is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding’ . [5] The word Chokmah is read in the Zohar (Numbers 220b) as koach mah, “the power of selflessness”, or, alternatively, as cheich mah, “the palate of selflessness.” The “wisdom” of Chokmah also implies the ability to look deeply at some aspect of reality and abstract its conceptual essence till one succeeds in uncovering its underlying axiomatic truth. These seeds of truth can then be conveyed to the companion power of Binah for the sake of intellectual analysis and development.  “The power of selflessness” implies not only the attribute of selflessness itself, but the great creative power that selflessness entails.  “The palate of selflessness” is the soul’s ability to “taste” Divinity by virtue of one’s state of selflessness, as is said (Psalms 34:9): “Taste and see that God is good.” In general, the sense of sight relates to Chokmah (the lightning-flash referred to above). From this verse we learn that there is an inner, spiritual sense of taste in Chokmah that precedes and arouses the sense of sight.  In Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s commentary on the Bahir he says “Wisdom (Chokmah) is therefore the first thing that the mind can grasp, and is therefore called a “beginning.” and according to the Hasidic Judaism site Inner.org, Chokmah refers to “the first power of conscious intellect within Creation.”  Chokmah has 2 faces, one facing kether above, and the other overseeing the over sefirot. Therefore, to emulate this Sefira, one aspect should be in communion with his Creator in order to increase his wisdom, and the other should be to teach others the wisdom that the Holy One has endowed him. (Rabbi Moshe Cordovero. The Palm Tree of Devorah)

Chokmah in the Soul: The Power of Intuitive Insight

We’ve seen earlier that Chokmah is the dynamic thrust and drive of spiritual force.  It is nothing less than the upwelling spirit of kether in positive action (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 76) In the soul, Chokmah is associated with the power of intuitive insight, the flashing lightning-like across consciousness. The partzuf of Abba Ila’ah is associated with the power to spontaneously extract such insight from the superconscious realm, whereas the partzuf of Yisrael Saba is associated with the power to subsequently direct it into consciousness.  In the Zohar Chokmah is the primordial point which shines forth from the will of God and thus, is the starting point of Creation. All things are still undifferentiated at this point and only become intelligible at Binah.

The Virtue of Chokmah: Devotion

In further consideration of this analysis of Chokmah, it’s Virtue is Devotion, and one can imagine that any Vision of God face to face would impel devotion. At such a high level of mystical realisation as this there could be no evil manifesting and so, as with Kether, there is no Vice assigned to Chokmah.  And looking at the world today it is pretty obvious that general conditions are so tainted that no-one could live an artive life without dirtying his hands spiritually in some way-the only exception being one such as Our Lord.  So if anyone claims to be of the esoteric grade of magus or Ipsissimus, the grades assigned to Chokmah and Kether, he proclaims himself either as Christ, a liar, or a fool.  And if in justification he should say that the assignation of the Path between Chokmah and Keter is The Fool, then he is further guilty of a sheer ignorant abuse of symbolism.  It is the meaning behind symbolism that is important, not the mere outward form of the symbol as we must realise if we are to understand the phallic symbolism of Chokmah and the yonic symbolism of Binah correctly.  (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 79)

The Spiritual Experience of Chokmah: Meeting God Face to Face

Being a pure prime reflection of the Godhead, Kether, that the Yetziratic Text describes Chokmah as “Crown of Creation, the Splendour of Unity, equalling it.  It is exalted above every head, and is namely by Qabalists, the Second Glory.”  It explains the nature of the Spiritual Experience of Chokmah, the Vision of God face to face.  It is unlikely that any living person could attain to such a high mystic vision, for as is said in the Bible in several places, no man can look upon the face of God and live.  And when one realises how difficult it is for man to took upon himself as he really is, one can  imagine how much more of a shattering experience it would be to look upon his Creator.  However, the parallel is not exact, for man finds it difficult to look upon himself because of the tawdry shabbiness of his own sin, whereas the Vision of God face to face would be a realisation of searing omnipotent perfection – or naked Truth.  yet as man is built in the image of God, he has his own God-head within him, his Spirit which first created him. This he has to look upon also in the end.  But what stops him is his own self-made blockages, the barriers he has created within himself through his deviation from the Divine Plan.  thus he has first to face his own Dweller on the Threshold, to disperse his own Shadow and False Darkness before he can go eventually to face the Light.  The Light that is usually referred to in religious writings is that of Tiphareth, and the facing of the Dweller comes on the Paths between Tiphareth and Geburah, and Geburah and Chesed, far below the exalted visions of Chokmah.  (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 78-79)

The Symbols of Chokmah

Chokmah being described as “the powerhouse of the Universe” and the “first intellectual power of the soul” one does have to be much of a Freudian psychologist to see the idea of masculine sexuality behind most of the subsidiary symbols associated with this Sphere. At the same time Chokmah is the Sephirah of Wisdom, which may seems rather strange at first sight, for in much of the workings out of the drive of sexuality, Wisdom is usually the one thing which is noticeable by its absence.  However, it must be remembered that we are dealing with cosmic principles behind manifestation and not with their reflection in the greatly aberrated actions of man. In its passive aspect Chokmah is a relection of the primal upwelling of force in Kether, and in its positive aspect it is the divine force in positive function as opposed to its passive mode of action in Binah.  When the glyph of the Pillars is placed upon the Tree Chokmah is at the head of the Positive Pillar and Binah is at the head of the Negatve one, so we can expect to find all symbols of a positive and masculine nature assigned to the former, and all symbols of a passive and feminine nature assigned to the latter. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 76-77) By examining the sexual symbolism first and then proceeding from that to the cosmic factors one is liable to fall into the error of many followers of freud who try to describe religious symbolism as mere projections of human sexuality. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 77) Of the subsidiary symbols, perhaps the simplest is the straight line, which gives the idea of the point, a symbol of Kether, now in dimensional motion.  (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 82)

Chokmah in Mythology

The positive masculine  side of Chokmah is the All-Father as is suggested by the Magical Image of a bearded male figure, and the subsidiary title of the Supernal Father.  (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 79) The Inner Robe of Glory is one of the series of symbols or titles which conceives of the various Sephiroth as having correspondences in the technical equipment of a rtual magician.  The meaning intended here is that God is a Great Magician bringing higher powers down into lower forms, thus the tarot card, The magician, is assigned to the Path between Kether and Binah, the Godhead and the Archetypal idea of Form. Form, in this particular symbolism, is said to be The Outer Robe of Concealment, but as Chokmah is above even the idea of form, and yet is not Gidhead itself, though a reflection of it, its is naturally called The Inner Robe Glory. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 82-83)  The remaining symbols are phallic, or phallic derivatives, and signify the Male Principle of the Universe or the Universal Male.  The subject of sexual symbolism in religion is a vast one, overlaid with many false trails  and confusing ramifications. The fact that many of the visions of the saints are expressed in sexual symbolism has led some to infer that religion is nothing more than a sublimated expression on inhibited sexual desire.  This of course may be true up to a point, and many of the saints were probably pathological, but this by no means proves the thesis, which is indeed that most treacherous of things, a half-truth.  (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 83) The point is that we have to keep in mind that it is the “Creative Power of God” that we are talking about here.  in the pagan mythologies obviously all the Great Father figures can be referred to Chokmah, and in their higher aspects, all the Priapic gods such as Pan.  But perhaps the best god-form to meditate upon is that of Pallas Athene-the virgin godess of wisdom, who sprang fully armed from the brow of Zeus much as Chokmah sprang from the reflection of Kether.  The meaning of the title Chokmah is Wisdom.  Or, if the Egyptian god-form are preferred, her Egyptian counterpart, Isis-Urania can be used, winged, to show her cosmic affinities, and with the disk of Sothis above her head. Both goddesses can be visualised against a background of the night sky, and this into this picture in the form that it really is, a sphere spinning and spiralling through inter-stellar space.  (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 86)

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[1]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 41.
[2]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 41-42
[3]  Arthur Green. A Guide to the Zohar.
[4] Aryeh Kaplan. Meditation and Kabbalah.
[5] The Bible, Job 28:28.
[6]  Job 28:12, see Zohar II, 121a, Zohar III, 290a, commentaries.

The Name of God Attribution: Jehovah

The name of God associated with Chokmah is Yah, or Jehovah, or, as it appears in transliterated Hebrew script, JHVH. (Yod, Heh, Vau, Heh.)  (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 79)   Much has been written on this Name, it is the pedantic Qabalist’s delight.  It is this particular Name of which it is said that were it to be pronounced correctly the Universe would be destroyed.  It is not recommended that students attempt the experiment as their vocal chords will be worn out with effort long before the attempted cataclysm is achieved.  Silence will come upon them, but not the Unmanifest Silence.  The more credible idea behind this story is that anyone able to function in the Sephirah Chokmah, which is the Sphere of the Vision of God, and wouldn’t thus, from the point of view of manifestation, no longer exist.  he would attain an entirely noumenal rather than a phenomenal reality and thus his own manifest Universe would be destroyed.  This is not to deny that there is great power behind certain words, particularly Holy Names.  on the contrary there is often great power, that is what the Names are for and they should not be used indiscriminately.  There are many Words of Power in occultism which are kept as guarded secrets for this reason.  This is not only for fear that someone might do himself harm by using them foolishly, but such foolish use would also tend to disperse their power.  It is really for the same reason that one would not use an altar covering for a dish wiping cloth.  Orthodox Jews do not pronounce the Name of God when reading from their texts, but either make a pause or substitute another word.  Although this might facilely be considered superstition it is really an act of reverence, and reverence should be paid to occult symbols if one is to make best use of them, and words are also symbols. JVH, (or IHVH or YHVH – the Hebrew letter Yod being transliterated as a J,I or Y by various authorities) like the God Name for kether, Eheieh, (Aleph, Heh, Yod, Heh.) is a tetragrammatonic or four letter word which signifies the idea “to be.”  It can be variously written in twelve different ways and, according to Magregor Mathers, all these transpositions retain the meaning “to be”, a fact which is not applicable to any other word.  The twelve permutation of the four letters are called ‘the twelve banners of the mighty name’ and are said by some to correspond to the twelve zodiacal signs.  This theory is interesting in the light of the fact that the Mundane Chakra of Chokmah is the Zodiac. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 80-81)

The Mundane Chakra Attribution: the Zodiac

The Mundane Chakra of Chokmah is the Zodiac. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 80-81)

The Esoteric Grade Attribution: Magus and/or Ipsissimus

If anyone claims to be of the esoteric grade of magus or Ipsissimus, the grades assigned to Chokmah and Kether, he proclaims himself either as Christ, a liar, or a fool.  And if in justification he should say that the assignation of the Path between Chokmah and Keter is The Fool, then he is further guilty of a sheer ignorant abuse of symbolism.   (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 79)

The Esoteric Hrade attribution in the Order of the Silver Star (S:S.) is Magus. (9°=2): The Magus seeks to attain Wisdom, declares his law, and is a Master of all Magick in its greatest and highest sense. His will is entirely free from internal diversion or external opposition; His work is to create a new Universe in accordance with his Will. This grade corresponds to Chokmah on the Tree of Life. It also bears some resemblance to Nietzsche’s “new philosopher” who creates values, although with more focus on self-transcendence according to Crowley biographer Lawrence Sutin (Sutin, Do what thou wilt, p. 126.).

The Hebrew Letter Attribution: YOD

yodddThe Zohar also attributes to Chokmah the first letter Yod of the Tetragrammaton YHVH. The Yod also has attributed to it the four Kings of the Tarot. The attributions of the Tetragrammaton should be very carefully followed, for much of Zoharic speculation devolves upon them. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 43) The letter Yod, the first letter of the God Name of Chockmah, is the letter signifying initiatory fecundation power.  The Hebrew symbol for the letter Yod is the Hand.  Crowley has considered this to be a euphemism for the male sperm, and there is much to be said for this interpretation, but it also signifies the Hand of God which stretches forth and sets creation in motion.  The painting of the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo in the Sixtine Chapel gives a good visual conception of this. This is further explained by the title The Power of Yetzirah, or The Power of Formation, for it is the power of Chokmah which animates all subsequent forms. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 82)

The Name of God Correspondence: Jehovah

jesus-ruling-1According to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the name of God associated with Chokmah is Jehovah. Jehovah is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, which has also been transcribed as “Yehowah” or “Yahweh”. This word appears 6,518 times in the traditional Masoretic Text, in addition to 305 instances of יֱהֹוִה (Jehovih). The earliest available Latin text to use a vocalization similar to Jehovah dates from the 13th century. [1] Most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai, but there is some evidence that it may already have been in use in Late Antiquity (5th century). [2] The consensus among scholars is that the historical vocalization of the Tetragrammaton at the time of the redaction of the Torah (6th century BCE) is most likely Yahweh, however there is disagreement. The historical vocalization was lost because in Second Temple Judaism, during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton came to be avoided, being substituted with Adonai (“my Lord”).

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[1] Pugio fidei by Raymund Martin, written in about 1270
[2] “Although most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai (the traditionally pronounced version of יהוה), many magical texts in Semitic and Greek establish an early pronunciation of the divine name as both Yehovah and Yahweh” (Roy Kotansky, Jeffrey Spier, “The ‘Horned Hunter’ on a Lost Gnostic Gem”, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 88, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), p. 318.) ; “This [Yehowah] is the correct pronunciation of the tetragramaton, as is clear from the pronunciation of proper names in the First Testament (FT), poetry, fifth-century Aramaic documents, Greek translations of the name in the Dead Sea Scrolls and church fathers.” (George Wesley Buchanan, “The Tower of Siloam”, The Expository Times 2003; 115: 37; pp. 40, 41)

Egyptian God Attribution #1: Thoth as Logos

thotthhhReason for the Attribution

The Egyptian Deities correspondences for Chokmah according to Crowley’s classification are Amoun, Thoth and Nuit (as Zodiac).  [1]   The explanation Crowley give for this attribution is that he is talking about “Thoth as logos.” [2]  Israel Regardie explains the attribution of Thoth to Chokmah in the follwing manner: “Tahuti or Thoth is attributed to this Sephirah of wisdom, for he was the god of writting. Learning, and magick.  Thoth is represented as an ibis-headed god, and occasionally has an ape or baboon in attendance.”  [3]

The Place of Thoth in the Egyptian Mythology

Thoth (from Greek Θώθ thṓth, from Egyptian ḏḥwty) was one of the deities of the Egyptian pantheon. According to Theodor Hopfner, Thoth’s Egyptian name written as ḏḥwty originated from ḏḥw, claimed to be the oldest known name for the Ibis although normally written as hbj. [4] The addition of -ty denotes that he possessed the attributes of the Ibis. [5] Hence his name means “He who is like the Ibis”. In addition, Thoth was also known by specific aspects of himself, for instance the moon god Iah-Djehuty, representing the Moon for the entire month. [6] The Greeks related Thoth to their god Hermes due to his similar attributes and functions. [7] One of Thoth’s titles, “Three times great, great” was translated to the Greek τρισμεγιστος (Trismegistos) making Hermes Trismegistus. [8] In art, Thoth was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, animals sacred to him. His feminine counterpart was Seshat, and his wife was Ma’at. [9]  Thoth has been depicted in many ways depending on the era and on the aspect the artist wished to convey. Usually, he is depicted in his human form with the head of an ibis. [10] In this form, he can be represented as the reckoner of times and seasons by a headdress of the lunar disk sitting on top of a crescent moon resting on his head. When depicted as a form of Shu or Ankher, he was depicted to be wearing the respective god’s headdress. Sometimes he was also seen in art to be wearing the Atef crown or the United Crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. [11] When not depicted in this common form, he sometimes takes the form of the ibis directly. [12]   He also appears as a dog faced baboon or a man with the head of a baboon when he is A’an, the god of equilibrium. [13] In the form of A’ah-Djehuty he took a more human-looking form. [14] These forms are all symbolic and are metaphors for Thoth’s attributes. The Egyptians did not believe these gods actually looked like humans with animal heads .[15] For example, Ma’at is often depicted with an ostrich feather, “the feather of truth,” on her head, [16] or with a feather for a head. [17]  In the later history of ancient Egypt, Thoth became heavily associated with the arbitration of godly disputes, [18] the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science, [19] and the judgment of the dead. [20]  Thoth’s roles in Egyptian mythology were many. He served as a mediating power, especially between good and evil, making sure neither had a decisive victory over the other. [21] He also served as scribe of the gods, [22] credited with the invention of writing and alphabets (i.e. hieroglyphs) themselves. [23]

Thoth’s Attributes and Magical Tools

Thoth had numerous roles in Egyptian mythology. He served as a mediating power, especially between good and evil, making sure neither had a decisive victory over the other. [24] He also served as scribe of the gods,[25] credited with the invention of writing and alphabets (i.e. hieroglyphs) themselves. [26] In the underworld, Duat, he appeared as an ape, A’an, the god of equilibrium, who reported when the scales weighing the deceased’s heart against the feather, representing the principle of Ma’at, was exactly even. [27]  The ancient Egyptians regarded Thoth as One, self-begotten, and self-produced. [28] He was the master of both physical and moral (i.e. Divine) law, making proper use of Ma’at. [29] He is credited with making the calculations for the establishment of the heavens, stars, Earth, [30] and everything in them. [31] Compare this to how his feminine counterpart, Ma’at was the force which maintained the Universe. [32] He is said to direct the motions of the heavenly bodies. Without his words, the Egyptians believed, the gods would not exist. [33] His power was unlimited in the Underworld and rivaled that of Ra and Osiris.   The Egyptians credited him as the author of all works of science, religion, philosophy, and magic. [34] The Greeks further declared him the inventor of astronomy, astrology, the science of numbers, mathematics, geometry, land surveying, medicine, botany, theology, civilized government, the alphabet, reading, writing, and oratory. They further claimed he was the true author of every work of every branch of knowledge, human and divine. [35]

The Cult of Thoth

Thoth’s chief temple was located in the city of Khmun, later called Hermopolis Magna during the Greco-Roman era (in reference to him through the Greeks’ interpretation that he was the same as their god Hermes).  In that city, he led the Ogdoad pantheon of eight principal deities. He also had numerous shrines within the cities of Abydos, Hesert, Urit, Per-Ab, Rekhui, Ta-ur, Sep, Hat, Pselket, Talmsis, Antcha-Mutet, Bah, Amen-heri-ab, and Ta-kens. [36]  Thoth played many vital and prominent roles in Egyptian mythology, such as maintaining the universe, and being one of the two deities (the other being Ma’at) who stood on either side of Ra’s boat. [37]

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[1]  Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 6.
[2]  Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 81.
[3]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[4] Hopfner, Theodor, b. 1886. Der tierkult der alten Agypter nach den griechisch-romischen berichten und den wichtigeren denkmalern. Wien, In kommission bei A. Holder, 1913. Call#= 060 VPD v.57
[5] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 p. 402.
[6] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 pp. 412–3.
[7] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, p. 402.
[8] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 p. 415.
[9] Thutmose III: A New Biography By Eric H Cline, David O’Connor University of Michigan Press (January 5, 2006) p. 127
[10] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 p. 401
[11] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 p. 402
[12] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 p. 401
[13] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 p. 403
[14] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 plate between pp. 408–9
[15] Allen, James P. (2000). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs, p. 44.
[16] Allen, James P. (2000). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs, p. 115.
[17] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1 p. 416
[18] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1 p. 405.
[19] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1 p. 414.
[20] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptian Vol I, p. 403.
[21] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 405
[22] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 408
[23] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 414.
[24] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 405
[25] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 408
[26] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 414
[27] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 403
[28] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 401
[29] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 407
[30] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 401
[31] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 407.
[32] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, pp. 407–8
[33] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 408
[34] Manly P. Hall The Hermetic Marriage p. 224
[35] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1, p. 414
[36] Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Thoth was said to be born from the skull of set also said to be born from the heart of Ra.p. 401
[37]  Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1, p. 400.

Egyptian God Attribution #2: Amoun

amounExplanation of the Attribution

Anoun is also an attribution fro Chokmah according to Crowley’s classification. [1]  The aspect of him taht Crowley put emphasis on for this attribution is “Amoun as the Creative Chiah.” [2] The Chiah is our True Will. It is the Creative and Inquisitive Inner Impulse from the Divine which causes us to reach outside and inside of ourselves to become better than we are. It makes us try harder to want to do the best and do better than we have done before. [3]

The Place of Amoun in Egyptian Mythology

Amun (also Amon, Amen, Greek Ἄμμων Ámmōn, Ἅμμων Hámmōn) was a local deity of Thebes. He was attested since the Old Kingdom (c. 2686 BC–c. 2181 BC) together with his spouse Amaunet. Amun and Amaunet are mentioned in the Old Egyptian pyramid texts. [4] Amun and Amaunet formed one quarter of the ancient Ogdoad of Hermopolis, representing the primordial concept or element of air or invisibility (corresponding to Shu in the Ennead), hence Amun’s later function as a wind deity, and the name Amun (written imn, pronounced Amana in ancient Egyptian [5]), meaning “hidden.” [6] It was thought that Amun created himself and then his surroundings. Amun rose to the position of tutelary deity of Thebes after the end of the First Intermediate Period,[7]  under the 11th dynasty. [8] As the patron of Thebes, his spouse was Mut. In Thebes, Amun as father, Mut as mother and the Moon god Khonsu formed a divine family or “Theban Triad”. With the 11th dynasty (c. 21st century BC), he rose to the position of patron deity of Thebes by replacing Monthu.  After the rebellion of Thebes against the Hyksos and with the rule of Ahmose I, Amun acquired national importance, expressed in his fusion with the Sun god, Ra, as Amun-Ra.   Amun-Ra retained chief importance in the Egyptian pantheon throughout the New Kingdom (with the exception of the “Atenist heresy” under Akhenaten). Amun-Ra in this period (16th to 11th centuries BC) held the position of transcendental, self-created [9] creator deity “par excellence”, he was the champion of the poor or troubled and central to personal piety. [10] His position as King of Gods developed to the point of virtual monotheism where other gods fbecame manifestations of him. In the New Kingdom, the strength of his position as King of Gods was such that he became successively identified with all other Egyptian deities, to the point of virtual monotheism (which was then attacked by means of the “counter-monotheism” of Atenism). Primarily, the god of wind Amun came to be identified with the solar god Ra and the god of fertility and creation Min, so that Amun-Ra had the main characteristic of a solar god, creator god and fertility god. He also adopted the aspect of the ram from the Nubian solar god, besides numerous other titles and aspects. With Osiris, Amun-Ra is the most widely recorded of the Egyptian gods. [11] As the chief deity of the Egyptian Empire, Amun-Ra also came to be worshipped outside of Egypt, in Ancient Libya and Nubia, and as Zeus Ammon came to be identified with Zeus in Ancient Greece. In the 10th century BC, the overwhelming dominance of Amun over all of Egypt gradually began to decline. In Thebes, however, his worship continued unabated, especially under the Nubian Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt, as Amun was by now seen as a national god in Nubia. The Temple of Amun, Jebel Barkal, founded during the New Kingdom, came to be the center of the religious ideology of the Kingdom of Kush. The Victory Stele of Piye at Gebel Barkal (8th century BC) now distinguishes between an “Amun of Napata” and an “Amun of Thebes”. Tantamani (who died in 653 BC), the last pharaoh of the Nubian dynasty, still bore a theophoric name referring to Amun in the Nubian form Amani.  Amun is mentioned as a deity in the Hebrew Bible, and in the Nevi’im (the second main division of the Hebrew Bible ), texts presumably written in the 7th century BC, the name נא אמון No Amown occurs twice in reference to Thebes, by the KJV rendered just as No:

Jeremiah 46:25:25 The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, said: “Behold, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him.English Standard Version:

Nahum 3:8 “Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?”

Such was its reputation among the Classical Greeks that Alexander the Great journeyed there after the battle of Issus and during his occupation of Egypt, where he was declared “the son of Amun” by the oracle. Alexander thereafter considered himself divine. Even during this occupation, Amun, identified by these Greeks as a form of Zeus, [12] continued to be the principal local deity of Thebes.  Several words derive from Amun via the Greek form, Ammon, such as ammonia and ammonite. The Romans called the ammonium chloride they collected from deposits near the Temple of Jupiter Amun in ancient Libya sal ammoniacus (salt of Amun) because of proximity to the nearby temple. Ammonia, as well as being the chemical, is a genus name in the foraminifera. Both these foraminiferans (shelled Protozoa) and ammonites (extinct shelled cephalopods) bear spiral shells resembling a ram’s, and Ammon’s, horns. The regions of the hippocampus in the brain are called the cornu ammonis – literally “Amun’s Horns”, due to the horned appearance of the dark and light bands of cellular layers.  In Paradise Lost, Milton identifies Ammon with the biblical Ham (Cham) and states that the gentiles called him the Libyan Jove.

The Cult of Amoun

The history of Amun as the patron god of Thebes begins in the 20th century BC, with the construction of the Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak under Senusret I. The city of Thebes does not appear to have been of great significance before the 11th dynasty.  Major construction work in the Precinct of Amun-Re took place during the 18th dynasty when Thebes became the capital of the unified Ancient Egypt. Construction of the Hypostyle Hall may have also began during the 18th dynasty, though most building was undertaken under Seti I and Ramesses II. Merenptah commemorated his victories over the Sea Peoples on the walls of the Cachette Court, the start of the processional route to the Luxor Temple. This Great Inscription (which has now lost about a third of its content) shows the king’s campaigns and eventual return with booty and prisoners. Next to this inscription is the Victory Stela, which is largely a copy of the more famous Israel Stela found in the West Bank funerary complex of Merenptah.  Merenptah’s son Seti II added 2 small obelisks in front of the Second Pylon, and a triple bark-shrine to the north of the processional avenue in the same area. This was constructed of sandstone, with a chapel to Amun flanked by those of Mut and Khonsu. The last major change to the Precinct of Amun-Re’s layout was the addition of the first pylon and the massive enclosure walls that surrounded the whole Precinct, both constructed by Nectanebo I.   In areas outside of Egypt where the Egyptians had previously brought the cult of Amun his worship continued into Classical Antiquity. In Nubia, where his name was pronounced Amane or Amani, he remained a national deity, with his priests, at Meroe and Nobatia, [13] regulating the whole government of the country via an oracle, choosing the ruler, and directing military expeditions. According to Diodorus Siculus, these religious leaders even were able to compel kings to commit suicide, although this tradition stopped when Arkamane, in the 3rd century BC, slew them.   In Libya there remained a solitary oracle of Amun in the Libyan Desert at the oasis of Siwa. [14] The worship of Ammon was introduced into Greece at an early period, probably through the medium of the Greek colony in Cyrene, which must have formed a connection with the great oracle of Ammon in the Oasis soon after its establishment. Iarbas, a mythological king of Libya, was also considered a son of Hammon.   Ammon had a temple and a statue, the gift of Pindar (d. 443 BC), at Thebes, [15] and another at Sparta, the inhabitants of which, as Pausanias says, [16] consulted the oracle of Ammon in Libya from early times more than the other Greeks. At Aphytis, Chalcidice, Ammon was worshipped, from the time of Lysander (d. 395 BC), as zealously as in Ammonium. Pindar the poet honoured the god with a hymn. At Megalopolis the god was represented with the head of a ram, [17] and the Greeks of Cyrenaica dedicated at Delphi a chariot with a statue of Ammon.

 The Priesthood of Amoun

The High Priest of Amun or First Prophet of Amun (hem netjer en tepy) was the highest-ranking priest in the priesthood of the Ancient Egyptian god Amun. [18] The first high priests of Amun appear in the New Kingdom (1550 BC – c. 1077), at the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty (1543–1292 BC).  The priesthood of Amun rose in power during the early Eighteenth dynasty through significant tributes to the god Amun by ruler such as Hatshepsut and more importantly Thutmose III. [19] The Amun priesthood in Thebes had four high-ranking priests: [20]

  1. The high priest of Amun at Karnak (hm netjer tepy en Amun), also referred to as the first prophet of Amun.
  2. The second priest of Amun at Karnak (hm netjer sen-nu en Amun), also referred to as the second prophet of Amun.
  3. The third priest of Amun at Karnak (hm netjer khemet-nu en Amun), also referred to as the third prophet of Amun.
  4. The fourth priest of Amun at Karnak (hm netjer fed-nu en Amun), also referred to as the fourth prophet of Amun.

The power of the Amun priesthood was temporarily curtailed during the Amarna period. A high priest named Maya is recorded in year 4 of Akhenaten. Akhenaten has the name of Amun removed from monuments during his reign (as well as the names of several other deities). When Akhenaten died, the priests of Amun-Ra reasserted themselves. His name was struck from Egyptian records, all of his religious and governmental changes were undone, and the capital was returned to Thebes. The return to the previous capital and its patron deity was accomplished so swiftly that it seemed this almost monotheistic cult and its governmental reforms had never existed. Worship of Aten ceased and the worship of Amun-Ra was restored to his place of prominence among the cults in Egypt. The priests of Amun even persuaded his young son, Tutankhaten, whose name meant “the living image of Aten”—and who later would become a pharaoh—to change his name to Tutankhamun, “the living image of Amun”.

The young pharaoh Tutankhaten changes his name to Tutankhamen to signal the restoration of the old god to his former place of prominence. [21]  The High Priest of Amun in Thebes was appointed by the King. It was not uncommon for the position to be held by dignitaries who held additional posts in the pharaoh’s administration. Several of the high priests from the time of Ramesses II also served as Vizier. [22]

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 6.
[2] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 81.
[3] Donald Michael Kraig, Modern Magick, p.?
[4] Die Altaegyptischen Pyramidentexte nach den Papierabdrucken und Photographien des Berliner Museums (1908), no 446.
[5] Douglas J. Brewer, Emily Teeter, Egypt and the Egyptians, Cambridge University Press, p. 123.
[6] Stewert, Desmond and editors of the Newsweek Book Division “The Pyramids and Sphinx” 1971 pp. 60–62.
[7] The First Intermediate Period, often described as a “dark period” in ancient Egyptian history, spanned approximately one hundred years, from ca. 2181–2055 BC, after the end of the Old Kingdom. It included the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and part of the eleventh dynasties.
[8] The Eleventh Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty XI) is a well attested group of rulers, whose earlier members before Mentuhotep II are grouped with the four preceding dynasties to form the First Intermediate Period, while the later members are considered part of the Middle Kingdom. They all ruled from Thebes.
[9] Michael Brennan Dick, Born in heaven, made on earth: the making of the cult image in the ancient Near East, Eisenbrauns, 1999, p. 184 (fn. 80)
[10] Vincent Arieh Tobin, Oxford Guide: The Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology, Edited by Donald B. Redford, p. 20, Berkley books
[11] Vincent Arieh Tobin, Oxford Guide: The Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology, Edited by Donald B. Redford, p. 20, Berkley books
[12] Jerem. xlvi.25
[13] Herodotus, The Histories ii.29
[14] Pausanias, Description of Greece x.13 § 3
[15] Pausanias, Description of Greece ix.16 § 1
[16] Pausanias, Description of Greece iii.18 § 2
[17] Pausanias. viii.32 § 1.
[18] See Dodson and Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, London 2004
[19] Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 2: The Eighteenth Dynasty.
[20] Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 2: The Eighteenth Dynasty
[21] Aldred, Akhenaten: King of Egypt, Thames & Hudson (1991)
[22] Kitchen, Rammeside Inscriptions, Translated & Annotated, Translations, Volume III, Blackwell Publishers, 199

Egyptian God Attribution #3:  Nuit (as Zodiac)

Explanation of the Attribution

Nut-entryThe Egyptian goddess Nuit is alos an attribution on Chokmah according to Crowley’s classification. [1]  The peculiar aspect Crowley’s pointing at is Nuit as Zodiac. [2]  He giving us more details about what he have in mide deeper in his Qabalistic book 777, telling us that what is really talking about is “Nuit as connected with Mazloth.” [3] Mazloth is a Heaven of Assiah Mazloth (MZLVTh) – The Destinie.

The Place of Nut in Egyptian Pantheon and Mythology

Nut or Neuth (also spelled Nuit or Newet) was the goddess of the sky in the Ennead of Egyptian mythology. She was seen as a star-covered nude woman arching over the earth, [3a] or as a cow. Nut is a daughter of Shu and Tefnut. She is Geb’s wife as well as sister. She has four or five children: Osiris, Set, Isis, Nephthys, and sometimes Horus. Her name is translated to mean ‘sky’ [4] and she is considered one of the oldest deities among the Egyptian pantheon, [5] with her origin being found on the creation story of Heliopolis. She was originally the goddess of the nighttime sky, but eventually became referred to as simply the sky goddess. Her headdress was the hieroglyphic of part of her name, a pot, which may also symbolize the uterus. Mostly depicted in nude human form, Nut was also sometimes depicted in the form of a cow whose great body formed the sky and heavens, a sycamore tree, or as a giant sow, suckling many piglets (representing the stars).

Nut appears in the creation myth of Heliopolis which involves several goddesses who play important roles: Tefnut (Tefenet) is a personification of moisture, who mated with Shu (Air) and then gave birth to Sky as the goddess Nut, who mated with her brother Earth, as Geb. From the union of Geb and Nut came, among others, the most popular of Egyptian goddesses, Isis, the mother of Horus, whose story is central to that of her brother-husband, the resurrection god Osiris. Nut was the goddess of the sky and all heavenly bodies, a symbol of protecting the dead when they enter the after life. According to the Egyptians, during the day, the heavenly bodies—such as the sun and moon—would make their way across her body. Then, at dusk, they would be swallowed, pass through her belly during the night, and be reborn at dawn. [5a] Nut is also the barrier separating the forces of chaos from the ordered cosmos in the world. She was pictured as a woman arched on her toes and fingertips over the earth; her body portrayed as a star-filled sky. Nut’s fingers and toes were believed to touch the four cardinal points or directions of north, south, east, and west. She was often painted on the inside lid of the sarcophagus, protecting the deceased. The vault of tombs often were painted dark blue with many stars as a representation of Nut. The Book of the Dead says:

Hail, thou Sycamore Tree of the Goddess Nut! Give me of the water and of the air which is in thee. I embrace that throne which is in Unu, and I keep guard over the Egg of Nekek-ur. It flourisheth, and I flourish; it liveth, and I live; it snuffeth the air, and I snuff the air, I the Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, in peace.

Ra, the sun god, was the second to rule the world, according to the reign of the gods. Ra was a strong ruler but he feared anyone taking his throne. When he discovered that Nut was to have children he was furious. He decreed, “Nut shall not give birth any day of the year.” At that time, the year was only 360 days. Nut spoke to Thoth, god of wisdom, and he had a plan. Thoth gambled with Khonshu, god of the moon, whose light rivaled that of Ra’s. Every time Khonshu lost, he had to give Thoth some of his moonlight. Khonshu lost so many times that Thoth had enough moonlight to make 5 extra days. Since these days were not part of the year, Nut could have her children. She had 5: Osiris, Horus the Elder, Set, Isis, and Nepthys. When Ra found out, he was furious. He separated Nut from her husband Geb for all eternity. Her father, Shu, was to keep them apart. Still, Nut did not regret her decision.

The mythos of Osiris include her mother in a prominent fashion. Osiris is killed by his brother Seth and scattered over the Earth in 14 pieces which Isis gathers up and puts back together. Osiris then climbs a ladder into his mother Nut for safety and eventually becomes king of the dead. [6] He is killed by his brother Seth and scattered over the Earth in 14 pieces which Isis gathers up and puts back together. Osiris then climbs a ladder into his mother Nut for safety and eventually becomes king of the dead.  A huge cult developed about Osiris that lasted well into Roman times. Isis was her husband’s queen in the underworld and the theological basis for the role of the queen on earth. It can be said that she was a version of the great goddess Hathor. Like Hathor she not only had death and rebirth associations, but was the protector of children and the goddess of childbirth. [7]

Within the Thelemic system, the goddess Nuit is one-third of the triadic cosmology, along with Hadit (her masculine counterpart), and Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the Crowned and Conquering Child. She has several titles, including the “Queen of Infinite Space”, “Our Lady of the Stars”, and “Lady of the Starry Heaven”. Nuit represents the infinitely-expanded circle whose circumference is unmeasurable and whose center is everywhere (whereas Hadit is the infinitely small point within the core of every single thing). According to Thelemic doctrine, it is the interaction between these two cosmic principles that creates the manifested universe similar to the gnostic syzygy. [8]

Nuits Attributes and Magical Tools

A sacred symbol of Nut was the ladder, used by Osiris to enter her heavenly skies. This ladder-symbol was called maqet and was placed in tombs to protect the deceased, and to invoke the aid of the deity of the dead. Nut and her brother, Geb, are largely considered as enigmatic in the world of mythology. In direct contrast to most other mythologies which usually develop a sky father associated with an Earth mother (or Mother Nature), she personified the sky and he the Earth. Some of the titles of Nut were: Coverer of the Sky: Nut was said to be covered in stars touching the different points of her body. She Who Protects: Among her jobs was to envelop and protect Ra, the sun god. [9] Mistress of All or “She who Bore the Gods”: Originally, Nut was said to be laying on top of Geb (Earth) and continually having intercourse. During this time she birthed four children: Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. [10] A fifth child named Arueris is mentioned by Plutarch. He was the Egyptian counterpart to the Greek god Apollo, who was made syncretic with Horus in the Hellenistic era as ‘Horus the Elder’. The Ptolemaic temple of Edfu is dedicated to Horus the Elder and there he is called the son of Nut and Geb, brother of Osiris, and the eldest son of Geb. [11] She Who Holds a Thousand Souls: Because of her role in the re-birthing of Ra every morning and in her son Osiris’s resurrection, Nut became a key god in many of the myths about the after-life.

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 6.
[2] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 6.
[3] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 81.
[3a] See Richard Cavendish, Mythology, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Principal Myths and Religions of the World, 1998.
[4] Wörterbuch der Ägyptischen Sprache, edited by Adolf Erman and Hermann Grapow, 1957, p 214.
[5] The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, by Leonard H. Lesko, 2001.
[5a] Hart, George, Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Routledge; 2 edition (15 March 2005), p.111.
[6] “Egyptian goddesses” The Oxford Companion to World Mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Southeast Missouri State University. 7 May 2009.
[7] “Egyptian goddesses” The Oxford Companion to World Mythology. David Leeming, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 7 May 2009.
[8] In many Gnostic systems, various emanations of “God” are known by such names as One, Monad, Aion teleos (αἰών τέλεος “The Broadest Aeon”), Bythos (“depth or profundity”, βυθός), Proarkhe (“before the beginning”, προαρχή), Arkhe (“the beginning”, ἀρχή), and Aeons. In different systems these emanations are differently named, classified, and described, but emanation theory is common to all forms of Gnosticism. In Basilidian Gnosis they are called sonships (υἱότητες huiotetes; sing.: υἱότης huiotes); according to Marcus, they are numbers and sounds; in Valentinianism they form male/female pairs called syzygies (Greek συζυγίαι, from σύζυγοι syzygoi, lit. “yokings together”)
[9] The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, by Leonard H. Lesko, 2001.
[10] Clark, R. T. Rundle. Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt. London: Thames and Hudson, 1959.
[11] Emma Swan Hall, Harpocrates and Other Child Deities in Ancient Egyptian Sculpture, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt Vol. 14, (1977), pp. 55-58.

The Astrological Correspondence: Uranus

uranussExplanation for the Attribution

The astrological correspondence for Chokmah is Uranus – although, Israel Regardie warns us, ” traditionally the sphere of the zodiac is allocated thereto.” [1]

The Place of Uranus in the Solar System

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Though it is visible to the naked eye like the five classical planets, it was never recognized as a planet by ancient observers because of its dimness and slow orbit.  The earliest recorded sighting was in 1690 when John Flamsteed observed it at least six times, cataloging it as 34 Tauri. The French astronomer Pierre Lemonnier observed Uranus at least twelve times between 1750 and 1769, including on four consecutive nights. So, even though it is visible to the naked eye like the five classical planets, it was never recognized as a planet by early observers because of its dimness and slow orbit.  It was Sir William Herschel that first announced its discovery on March 13, 1781, expanding the known boundaries of the Solar System for the first time in history. Uranus was also the first planet discovered with a telescope.Sir William Herschel announced its discovery on March 13, 1781, expanding the known boundaries of the Solar System for the first time in history. Uranus was also the first planet discovered with a telescope. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both are of different chemical composition than the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. For this reason, astronomers sometimes place them in a separate category called “ice giants”. Uranus’s atmosphere, although similar to Jupiter’s and Saturn’s in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium, contains more “ices” such as water, ammonia, and methane, along with traces of hydrocarbons. At ultraviolet and visible wavelengths, Uranus’s atmosphere is remarkably bland in comparison to the other giant planets, even to Neptune, which it otherwise closely resembles. When Voyager 2 flew by Uranus in 1986, it observed a total of ten cloud features across the entire planet. [2] One proposed explanation for this dearth of features is that Uranus’s internal heat appears markedly lower than that of the other giant planets.  It is the coldest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System, with a minimum temperature of 49 K (−224.2 °C), and has a complex, layered cloud structure, with water thought to make up the lowest clouds, and methane the uppermost layer of clouds. In contrast, the interior of Uranus is mainly composed of ices and rock. [3] Curiously, Uranus is the only planet whose name is derived from a figure from Greek mythology rather than Roman mythology like the other planets, from the Latinized version of the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos.  The Uranian system has a unique configuration among those of the planets because its axis of rotation is tilted sideways, nearly into the plane of its revolution about the Sun. Its north and south poles therefore lie where most other planets have their equators. [4] In 1986, images from Voyager 2 showed Uranus as a virtually featureless planet in visible light without the cloud bands or storms associated with the other giants. Terrestrial observers have seen signs of seasonal change and increased weather activity in recent years as Uranus approached its equinox. The wind speeds on Uranus can reach 250 meters per second (900 km/h, 560 mph). [5] Uranus has 27 known natural satellites. [6] The names for these satellites are chosen from characters in the works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.  [7]  The five main satellites are Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon. [8] Like the other giant planets, Uranus has a ring system, a magnetosphere, and numerous moons. The Uranian satellite system is the least massive among those of the giant planets. The rings are composed of extremely dark particles, which vary in size from micrometers to a fraction of a meter. [9] Thirteen distinct rings are presently known, the brightest being the ε ring. All except two rings of Uranus are extremely narrow – they are usually a few kilometres wide. The rings are probably quite young; the dynamics considerations indicate that they did not form with Uranus. The matter in the rings may once have been part of a moon (or moons) that was shattered by high-speed impacts.

The Place or Uranus in Astrology and Planetary Magick

Uranus is named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky Uranus (Ancient Greek: Οὐρανός), the father of Cronus (Saturn) and grandfather of Zeus (Jupiter), which in Latin became “Ūranus”. It is the only planet whose name is derived from a figure from Greek mythology rather than Roman mythology. The adjective of Uranus is “Uranian”.  Uranus has two astronomical symbols. The first to be proposed, ♅, was suggested by Lalande in 1784. In a letter to Herschel, Lalande described it as “un globe surmonté par la première lettre de votre nom” (“a globe surmounted by the first letter of your surname”). [10] A later proposal,  is a hybrid of the symbols for Mars and the Sun because Uranus was the Sky in Greek mythology, which was thought to be dominated by the combined powers of the Sun and Mars. The sigil of Uranus that is used by modern astrologist and occultist is a circle surmounted by an equal-armed cross, with two crescents facing outwards, one on each of the ends of the horizontal line of the cross.  Planetary magicians amd astrologers explains this sigil in the folowing manner: “The elemental balance of the the cross is radiated outwards as change (the two crescents) and dominates spirit (circle), indicating the manifestation and radiation of ideas into reality, which fits with the revolutionary nature of Uranus.” [10a]  In the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese languages, its name is literally translated as the “sky king star” (天王星). [11] The chemical element uranium, discovered in 1789 by the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth, was named after the newly discovered planet Uranus. [12] “Uranus, the Magician” is a movement in Gustav Holst’s The Planets, written between 1914 and 1916.  Having being discovered late in history, Uranus in not used very muck in planetary magick.  The magical image of Uranus is “a strong but elderly bearded man.” [13] There are not much details available about his magical image because “he is the less anthropomorphized of the gods.” [14]

For some modern Western astrologers, the planet Uranus (Uranus's astrological symbol.svg) is the ruling planet of Aquarius and is exalted in Scorpio. In Greek mythology, Uranus is the personification of the heavens and the night sky. The planet Uranus is very unusual among the planets in that it rotates on its side, so that it presents each of its poles to the Sun in turn during its orbit; causing both hemispheres to alternate between being bathed in light and lying in total darkness over the course of the orbit. Uranus takes 84 years to orbit the Sun, spending about 7 years in each sign of the zodiac. Uranus was discovered only in 1781 by Sir William Herschel. Astrologically modern interpretations associate Uranus with the principles of genius, individuality, new and unconventional ideas, discoveries, electricity, inventions, and the beginnings of the industrial revolution. Uranus, among all planets, most governs genius. Uranus governs societies, clubs, and any group dedicated to humanitarian or progressive ideals. Uranus, the planet of sudden and unexpected changes, rules freedom and originality. In society, it rules radical ideas and people, as well as revolutionary events that upset established structures. In art and literature, the discovery of Uranus coincided with the Romantic movement, which emphasized individuality and freedom of expression. In medicine, Uranus is believed to be particularly associated with the sympathetic nervous system, mental disorders, breakdowns and hysteria, spasms, and cramps. Uranus is considered by modern astrologers to be ruler of the eleventh house.

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[1]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[2] Smith, B. A.; Soderblom, L. A.; Beebe, A.; Bliss, D.; Boyce, J. M.; Brahic, A.; Briggs, G. A.; Brown, R. H.; Collins, S. A. (4 July 1986). “Voyager 2 in the Uranian System: Imaging Science Results”. Science 233 (4759): 43–64
[3] Podolak, M.; Weizman, A.; Marley, M. (December 1995). “Comparative models of Uranus and Neptune”. Planetary and Space Science 43 (12): 1517–1522.
[4] Smith, B. A.; Soderblom, L. A.; Beebe, A.; Bliss, D.; Boyce, J. M.; Brahic, A.; Briggs, G. A.; Brown, R. H.; Collins, S. A. (4 July 1986). “Voyager 2 in the Uranian System: Imaging Science Results”. Science 233 (4759): 43–64.
[5] Sromovsky, L. A.; Fry, P. M. (December 2005). “Dynamics of cloud features on Uranus”. Icarus 179 (2): 459–484.
[6] Sheppard, S. S.; Jewitt, D.; Kleyna, J. (2005). “An Ultradeep Survey for Irregular Satellites of Uranus: Limits to Completeness”. The Astronomical Journal 129: 518.
[7] Faure, Gunter; Mensing, Teresa (2007). Uranus: What Happened Here?. In Faure, Gunter; Mensing, Teresa M. “Introduction to Planetary Science”. Introduction to Planetary Science. Springer Netherlands. p. 369.
[8] Faure, Gunter; Mensing, Teresa (2007). Uranus: What Happened Here?. In Faure, Gunter; Mensing, Teresa M. “Introduction to Planetary Science”. Introduction to Planetary Science. Springer Netherlands. p. 369.
[9] Smith, B. A.; Soderblom, L. A.; Beebe, A.; Bliss, D.; Boyce, J. M.; Brahic, A.; Briggs, G. A.; Brown, R. H.; Collins, S. A. (4 July 1986). “Voyager 2 in the Uranian System: Imaging Science Results”. Science 233 (4759): 43–64.
[10] Herschel, Francisca (1917). “The meaning of the symbol H+o for the planet Uranus“. The Observatory (The Observatory) 40: 306.
[10a] David Rankine & Sortia D’Este, Practical Planetary Magick, p. 167.
[11] China: De Groot, Jan Jakob Maria (1912). “Religion in China: universism. a key to the study of Taoism and Confucianism”. American lectures on the history of religions 10 (G. P. Putnam’s Sons). p. 300.
[12] “Uranium”. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Houghton Mifflin Company.
[13] David Rankine & Sortia D’Este, Practical Planetary Magick, p. 166.
[14] David Rankine & Sortia D’Este, Practical Planetary Magick, p. 166.

The Greek Deity Correspondence #1: Pallas Athena

Douris-AthenaExplanation for the Attribution

Another attribution for Chokmah is the Greek Goddess Athena. [1]  The aspect of Athena that Crowley is taling about is “Athena as the Wisdow which springs full-arms form the brain of Zeus.” [2] The reason for the presence of Pallas Athena, Israel Regardie tells us, is because “she is the giver of intellectual gifts and one in whom power and wisdom were harmoniously blended. […] In Greek mythology, she appeared as the preserver of human life, and instituted the ancient court of the Areopagus at Athens.”  [3]

The Place of Pallas Athenas in the Greek Pantheon and Mythology

 In Greek religion and mythology, Athena or Athene, also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene (Παλλὰς Ἀθηνᾶ; Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη), is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. Minerva is the Roman goddess identified with Athena.  Athena is portrayed as a shrewd companion of heroes and is the patron goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patroness of Athens. The Athenians founded the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens (Athena Parthenos), in her honour. The Greek philosopher Plato (428–347 BC) identified her with the Egyptian deity Neith, which, they say was worshiped at the city of Sais, located at the Delta of Egypt, as the founder of the city. (Plato, Timaeus 21e) The latter was the war goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians since the ancient Pre-Dynastic period, who was also identified with weaving. The ancient Greeks believed that Athena had visited many mythological places such as Libya’s Triton River in North Africa and the Phlegraean plain. [4] Scholar Martin Bernal created the controversial [5] Black Athena Theory to explain this associated origin by claiming that the conception of Neith was brought to Greece from Egypt, along with “an enormous number of features of civilization and culture in the third and second millennia”. [6]

Athena_owl_vase-Although Athena appears before Zeus at Knossos —in Linear B,[7]  as a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja, “Mistress Athena” [8]—in the Classical Olympian pantheon, Athena was remade as the favorite daughter of Zeus, born fully armed from his forehead. [9] The story of her birth comes in several versions. According to Hesiod (Theogony. 886, &c.), Zeus lay with Metis, the goddess of crafty thought and wisdom, but he immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear children more powerful than the sire, even Zeus himself. In order to forestall these dire consequences, after lying with Metis, Zeus “put her away inside his own belly;” he “swallowed her down all of a sudden.” [10] He was too late: Metis had already conceived.  Eventually Zeus experienced an enormous headache; Prometheus, Hephaestus, Hermes, Ares, or Palaemon (depending on the sources examined) cleaved Zeus’s head with the double-headed Minoan axe, the labrys. Athena leaped from Zeus’s head, fully grown and armed, with a shout— “and pealed to the broad sky her clarion cry of war. And Ouranos trembled to hear, and Mother Gaia…”. [11]  Pindar (Ol. vii. 35, &c.) adds, that Hephaestus split the head of Zeus with his axe, and that Athena sprang forth with a mighty war-shout. Others relate, that Prometheus or Hermes or Palamaon assisted Zeus in giving birth to Athena, and mentioned the river Triton as the place where the event took place. (Apollod. i. 4. § 6; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. vii. 66.)   Plato, in Cratylus (407B) gave the etymology of her name as signifying “the mind of god”, theou noesis. The Christian apologist of the 2nd century Justin Martyr takes issue with those pagans who erect at springs images of Kore, whom he interprets as Athena:

“They said that Athena was the daughter of Zeus not from intercourse, but when the god had in mind the making of a world through a word (logos) his first thought was Athena”. [12]

The major competing tradition regarding Athena’s parentage involves some of her more mysterious epithets: Pallas, as in the ancient-Greek Παλλάς Ἀθήνη (also Pallantias) and Tritogeneia (also Trito, Tritonis, Tritoneia, Tritogenes).  A distant archaic separate entity named Pallas is invoked as Athena’s father, sister, foster sister, companion, or opponent in battle. Pallas was a nymph of Lake Tritonis in Libya, North Africa.  In the mythology of the local tribes, both she and the Libyan Athena were probably daughters of Triton (a Libyan sea-god identified with Poseidon) and Tritonis (goddess of the salt-water lake Tritonis, identified with Amphitrite). In their childhood war games, Athena accidentally slew Pallas. The story was reenacted in an annual festival celebrated by the lakeside tribes. This how Greek mythographer Pseudo-Apollodorus (C2nd A.D.) described this myth:

“They say that after Athene’s birth, she was reared by Triton, who had a daughter named Pallas. Both girls cultivated the military life, which once led them into contentious dispute. As Pallas was about to give Athene a whack, Zeus skittishly held out the aegis, so that she glanced up to protect herself, and thus was wounded by Athene and fell. Extremely saddened by what had happened to Pallas, Athene fashioned a wooden likeness of her, and round its breast tied the aegis which had frightened her, and set the statue beside Zeus and paid it honour. Later on, Elektra, after her seduction, sought refuge at this statue, whereupon Zeus threw both her and the palladium into the Ilian land.” [14]

This myth is aslo attested by Psaunias [15] and Herodotus. [16] But Athena may be called the daughter of Poseidon and a nymph named Tritonis, without involving Pallas. Likewise, Pallas may be Athena’s father or opponent, without involving Triton. [17] On this topic, Walter Burkert says “she is the Pallas of Athens, Pallas Athenaie, just as Hera of Argos is Here Argeie. [18] For the Athenians, Burkert notes, Athena was simply “the Goddess”, hē theós, certainly an ancient title.  In every case, Athena kills Pallas, accidentally, and thereby gains the name for herself. In one telling, they practice the arts of war together until one day they have a falling out. As Pallas is about to strike Athena, Zeus intervenes. With Pallas stunned by a blow from Zeus, Athena takes advantage and kills her. Distraught over what she has done, Athena takes the name Pallas for herself.

Athena as the goddess of philosophy became an aspect of the cult in Classical Greece during the late 5th century BC. [19] She is the patroness of various crafts, especially of weaving, as Athena Ergane, and was honored as such at festivals such as Chalceia. The metalwork of weapons also fell under her patronage. She led battles (Athena Promachos or the warrior maiden Athena Parthenos) [20] as the disciplined, strategic side of war, in contrast to her brother Ares, the patron of violence, bloodlust and slaughter—”the raw force of war”. [21] Athena is the goddess of knowledge, purity, arts, crafts, learning, justice and wisdom. She represents intelligence, humility, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, the arts, eloquence and power. She stands for Truth, Justice, and Moral values. She plays a tough, clever and independent role. Not only was this version of Athena the opposite of Ares in combat, it was also the polar opposite of the serene earth goddess version of the deity, Athena Polias. [22]

Athena appears in Greek mythology as the patron and helper of many heroes, including Odysseus, Jason, and Heracles. In Classical Greek myths, she never consorts with a lover, nor does she ever marry, [23] earning the title Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin). A remnant of archaic myth depicts her as the adoptive mother of Erechtheus/Erichthonius through the foiled rape by Hephaestus. [24] Other variants relate that Erichthonius, the serpent that accompanied Athena, was born to Gaia: when the rape failed, the semen landed on Gaia and impregnated her. After Erechthonius was born, Gaia gave him to Athena. Though Athena is a goddess of war strategy, she disliked fighting without purpose and preferred to use wisdom to settle predicaments. The goddess only encouraged fighting for a reasonable cause or to resolve conflict. She emphasises everyone to use intuitive wisdom rather than anger or violence. As patron of Athens she fought in the Trojan war on the side of the Achaeans.

Athena competed with Poseidon to be the patron deity of Athens, which was yet unnamed, in a version of one founding myth. They agreed that each would give the Athenians one gift and that the Athenians would choose the gift they preferred. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring sprang up; this gave them a means of trade and water—Athens at its height was a significant sea power, defeating the Persian fleet at the Battle of Salamis—but the water was salty and not very good for drinking.

The Attributes and Magical Tools of Athena

shieldClassically, Athena is portrayed wearing a full- length chiton, and sometimes in armor, with her helmet raised high on the forehead to reveal the image of Nike. [25]  Her shield bears at its centre the aegis with the head of the gorgon (gorgoneion) in the center and snakes around the edge. Objects sacred to her, such as an olive branch, a serpent, an owl, a cock, and a lance. Her garment is usually the Spartan tunic without sleeves, and over it she wears a cloak, the peplus, or, though rarely, the chlamys. The general expression of her figure is thoughtfulness and earnestness; her face is rather oval than round, the hair is rich and generally combed backwards over the temples, and floats freely down behind. The whole figure is majestic, and rather strong built than slender: the hips are small and the shoulders broad, so that the whole somewhat resembles a male figure.  It is in this standing posture that she was depicted in Phidias’s famous lost gold and ivory statue of her, 36 m tall, the Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon. Among the things sacred to her we may mention the owl, serpent, cock, and olive-tree, which she was said to have created in her contest with Poseidon about the possession of Attica. [28]

The Owl

little-owl-or-minervas-owl-athene-noctua--goddess-of-wisdom-chouette-cheveche-nationalpark-eifel-urft-valley-artAthena is often depicted with an owl sitting on one of her shoulders. The owl’s role as a symbol of wisdom originates in this association with Athena.   The earliest rendering of an owl is about 30,000 years old and appears on the limestone wall of the Chauvet Cave in Southern France.  With its ear tufts round face and vertically barred body, the image strongly suggests the large eagle owl that was common at the time on the Eurasian continent. [28aa]  These owls are the greatest raptors of the night, as eagles are of the day.  The owl’s role as a symbol of wisdom originates in this association with Athena.   Owls have extremely keen vision provided by eyes set in bony  sockets that cannot move.  Their heads compensate by being to turn more than 240 degrees in either direction, reversing so swiftly some observers have had the illusion of being followed in a complete circle. Owls were considered to be very wise namely because they can see in the dark. Other would says that rather than exclusively intellectual wisdom, owls are also connected with the wisdom of the soul.  Owls are often seen as mysterious, mostly because many owls are strictly nocturnal and humans have always found night to be full of mystery and the unknown.  Owls live within the darkness, which includes magic, mystery, and ancient knowledge.  Related to the night is the moon, which owls are also connected to.  It becomes a symbol of the feminine and fertility, with the moon’s cycles of renewal.  Even the mythology relates owl to this wisdom and femininity. 

owl-chauvet

The earliest known rendering of an owl in the Chauvet Cave in Southern France

The owl was a symbol for Athena, goddess of wisdom and strategy, before the Greeks gave their pantheon human forms.  According to myth, an owl sat on Athena’s blind side, so that she could see the whole truth.  In Ancient Greece, the owl was a symbol of a higher wisdom, and it was also a guardian of the Acropolis.  Diana, which along with Minerva, was the Roman response to Athena, was strongly associated with the moon, and also the owl.  The Pawnee and the Sioux saw the owl as a messenger (akicita) to the first of all evil creatures (Unktehi).  While the Lakota tribe had an “Owl Society,” where the warriors fought primarily at night and painted dark rings around their eyes because they believed that would allow them to have an owl’s acute vision. Unsurprisingly, the owl became a sort of Athenian mascot.  Some authors believe that, in early times, Athena was either an owl herself or a bird goddess in general: in Book 3 of the Odyssey, she takes the form of a sea-eagle. These authors argue that she dropped her prophylactic owl-mask before she lost her wings. It seems that Athena, by the time she appears in art, has completely shed her animal form, has reduced the shapes she once wore of snake and bird to attributes, but occasionally in black-figure vase-paintings she still appears with wings. There are many superstitions surrounding the owl in other cultures, many of which focus on death.  In Europe and America, owl was seen as a harbinger of death.  This was due to certain peoples, like the Dakota, and some Germanic tribes and Scandinavian Vikings, who would signal the approach of attack with the hoot of an owl.  This was and still remains the easiest bird call to imitate.  The Mayans called the screech owl of the Yucatan “the moan bird,” and believed that it meant death.

The Helmet

helmet-Among the attributes which characterise the goddess Athena in numerous works of art, we must also mention the helmet, which she usually wears on her head, but in a few instances carries in her hand.  The large Helmet denoted that she waged invisibly a silent war against Sloth and Ignorance.  It is usually ornamented in the most beautiful manner with griffins, heads of rams, horses, and sphinxes. [28a] In symbolism, helmet are usually symbols of invisibility, invunerability and power. [28b]  The symbolism of the helmet is similar  to the symbolism of head which they protect. It may be said in this context that they hide as well as guard the thoughts. The helmet is a symbol of elevation, but also of dissimulation when the vizor is closed.  There was in England, in the 16th century, an elusive Litterary Society that had taken Athena as their patron which was headed by no other than Sir Francis Bacon. The members of this Secret Literary Society which centered in Pallas Athena were known as The Knights of the Helmet. They had a ritual created by Francis Bacon himself and were initiated with an elaborate ceremonial that took the symbolism of the helmet as part of the initiation. There was a vow, recitatives, perambulations. The Initiate was capped with the Helmet of Pallas to denote he was henceforth an “Invisible” in the fight for Human Advancement. [28c]

The Aegis or Argolic Shield

aegisssssssss

The round Argolic shield. in the centre of which is represented the head of Medusa.

The aegis is widely recognized as an attribute of Athena.  The Aegis (Ancient Greek: Αἰγίς), as stated in the Iliad, is carried by Athena and Zeus, but its nature is uncertain. The Greek Αἰγίς, has many meanings including: [25a] “violent windstorm”, from the verb ἀΐσσω [25b] (stem ἀïγ-) = “I rush or move violently”. Akin to καταιγίς, “thunderstorm”. The shield of a deity as described above. “goatskin coat”, from treating the word as meaning “something grammatically feminine pertaining to goat” (Greek αἴξ (stem αἰγ-) = “goat”, + suffix -ίς (stem -ίδ-)). The original meaning may have been #1, and Ζεὺς Αἰγίοχος = “Zeus who holds the aegis” may have originally meant “Sky/Heaven, who holds the thunderstorm”. The transition to the meaning “shield” or “goat-skin” may have come by folk-etymology among a people familiar with draping an animal skin over the left arm as a shield.  It had been interpreted as an animal-skin or a shield, sometimes bearing the head of a Gorgon. There may be a connection with a deity named Aex or Aix, a daughter of Helios and a nurse of Zeus or alternatively a mistress of Zeus. [25c]  The aegis of Athena is referred to in several places in the Iliad. According to legends it produced a sound as from a myriad roaring dragons [25d]  and was borne by Athena in battle “… and among them went bright-eyed Athene, holding the precious aegis which is ageless and immortal: a hundred tassels of pure gold hang fluttering from it, tight-woven each of them, and each the worth of a hundred oxen.” [25e]   The modern concept of doing something “under someone’s aegis” means doing something under the protection of a powerful, knowledgeable, or benevolent source. The word aegis is identified with protection by a strong force with its roots in Greek mythology and adopted by the Romans; there are parallels in Norse mythology and in Egyptian mythology as well, where the Greek word aegis is applied by extension.

The Spear

AA146The goddess Athena was usually depicted in Greek Art holding the Spear of Knowledge in her right hand, poised to strike at the Serpent of Ignorance writhing under her foot.  In symbolism the spear is universally regarded as an axial, phallic, fiery or solar symbol.  A custom in the Greco-Roman world,  shows how much all element affecting the libido may be both honored and restrained or controlled  Officers or ordinary soldiers who had performed some outstanding usually blunt, not simple because it was awarded as an honour, but because it conferred no position of authority in either civil or military affairs.  For the strength which the spear expresses, and this is evidence of it, had to be that of public authority overriding that of the private individual. This is why the spear held a symbolic place in all thing deriving from the law, protecting contracts, and the legal process as a whole.  [25fff] Statues of her are usually placed on the Greek Temples with a Golden Spear in her hand. When the morning rays of the sun glinted on the weapon, causing it apparently to tremble, the common people were in the habit of saying smilingly : “Athena is Shaking her Spear again.” She was thus known as “the Spear Shaker” or the “Shaker of the Spear.” It might be interesting here to mention that Athena was the Goddess to whom Francis Bacon plighted his troth when a youth. [25f] Just as to reinforce the well known Bacon-Shakespeare identity theory, we have seen earlier when talking about Athena’s helmet that Bacon founded a litterary society which too Athena as a patron deity. The members of this Secret Literary Society which centered in Pallas Athena were known as The Knights of the Helmet. They had a ritual created by Francis Bacon and were initiated with an elaborate ceremonial that included  a vow, recitatives and perambulations. Like we have seen earlier, the Initiate was capped with the Helmet of Pallas to denote he was henceforth an “Invisible” in the fight for Human Advancement.  Furthermore 9and this is where it gets interesting), a large Spear was placed in his hand indicative of a pen for he was to Shake the Spear of Knowledge at the Dragons of Ignorance. He thus became a “Spear-Shaker”, and the head of the little band of “Spear-Shakers” was “Shake-Speare” himself, Athena’s visible representative on earth…….Francis Bacon. [25g]

The Olive Tree

olive-treeThe olive tree is sacred to Athena. In an archaic Athenian foundation myth, Athena won the patronship of Attica from Poseidon with the gift of the olive. Athena, offered the Athenians the first domesticated olive tree. The Athenians (or their king, Cecrops) accepted the olive tree and with it the patronage of Athena, for the olive tree brought wood, oil, and food.  English scholar Robert Graves (author of I Claudius) was of the opinion that “Poseidon’s attempts to take possession of certain cities are political myths” which reflect the conflict between matriarchal and patriarchal religions. [26]  Though, according to the 4th-century BC father of botany, Theophrastus, olive trees ordinarily attained an age of about 200 years, [26a] he mentions that the very olive tree of Athena still grew on the Acropolis; it was still to be seen there in the 2nd century AD; [26b] and when Pausanias was shown it, c. 170 AD, he reported “Legend also says that when the Persians fired Athens the olive was burnt down, but on the very day it was burnt it grew again to the height of two cubits.”[26c] Indeed, olive suckers sprout readily from the stump, and the great age of some existing olive trees shows that it was perfectly possible that the olive tree of the Acropolis dated to the Bronze Age. The olive was sacred to Athena and appeared on the Athenian coinage.  The branches and leaves of the olive tree are also known to have some magical properties.  Beside the fact that olive oil has been used in ritual contexts as fuel in altar lamps and as an ointment oil (for healing and sacraments), it is also said that “olive leaves scattered or placed in a room spread a peaceful vibration throughout the area.” [26d]  There is another superstition according to which if you write Athena’s name on an olive branch, you press it against the head or wear it on the body, “it will cure headache.” [26e] Other beliefs suggests that “when eaten, olives ensure fertility as well as sexual potency in men, and are also lust-inducing.” [26f] This is why “Athenian brides wore crowns of olive leaves to ensure their fertility.” [26g]

The Cult of Athena

temple-athenaAthena was worshipped in all parts of Greece, and from the ancient towns on the lake Copais her worship was introduced at a very early period into Attica, where she became the great national divinity of the city and the country. The most important part of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, was of course the cult statue of Athena. The great artist Phidias created a massive gold and ivory statue of Athena with a spear, helmet, shield, serpent, and holding a statue of victory. At some point during 4th century the great statue of Athena was taken to Constantinople and eventually destroyed, perhaps when soldiers of the Fourth Crusades sacked the city in 1204.  Here she was afterwards regarded as the thea sôteira, ugieia, and paiônia, and the serpent, the symbol of perpetual renovation, was sacred to her. [27] At Lindus in Rhodes her worship was likewise very ancient.

  At Corone in Messenia her statue bore a crow in its hand. [29]  Athena was the goddess who presided over the security and defense of towns and cities. She was also a goddess of the crafts such as pottery, sculpture, and weaving. She had numerous shrines and temples throughout Greece, many of which were established on town citadels. Her presence here was believed to ensure the security of a town in times of war. Her most important shrines were the temples of the Acropoli of Athens and Sparta.  Plato, in the Laws, attributes the cult of Athena to the culture of Crete, introduced, he thought, from Libya during the dawn of Greek culture.  In classical Greek mythology the role of Athena changed as the pantheon became organized under the leadership of Zeus. In earlier mythology she is identified as a parthenogenic daughter of a goddess, but the classical myths fashion for her a peculiar “birth from the head of Zeus” that assigns a father for Athena and eliminates a mother for her, identifying the father as a deity who at one time was portrayed as her brother.

athena-museumAthens may have fallen in 404 B.C. but the cult of Athena was so dominant in the culture that it survived the transitions seen in the mythic roles of other goddesses, albeit with a juggling of “family” relationships. Athena also was the patron goddess of several other Greek cities, notably Sparta, where the archaic cult of Athena Alea had its sanctuaries in the surrounding villages of Mantineia and, notably, Tegea. In Sparta itself, the temple of Athena Khalkíoikos (Athena “of the Brazen House”, often latinized as Chalcioecus) was the grandest and located on the Spartan acropolis; presumably it had a roof of bronze. The forecourt of the Brazen House was the place where the most solemn religious functions in Sparta took place. Tegea was an important religious center of ancient Greece,containing the Temple of Athena Alea. The temenos was founded by Aleus, Pausanias was informed. [30] Votive bronzes at the site from the Geometric and Archaic periods take the forms of horses and deer; there are sealstone and fibulae. In the Archaic period the nine villages that underlie Tegea banded together in a synoecism to form one city. Tegea was listed in Homer’s Catalogue of Ships as one of the cities that contributed ships and men for the Achaean assault on Troy. The various Athena subgroups, or cults, all branching from the central goddess herself often proctored various initiation rites of Grecian youth, for example, the passage into citizenship by young men and for women the elevation to the status of citizen wife. Her various cults were portals of a uniform socialization, even beyond mainland Greece. [31]  The sacrifices offered to her consisted of bulls, whence she probably derived the surname of taurobolos (Suid. s. v.), rams, and cows. [32]  Eustathius  remarks, that only female animals were sacrificed to her, but no female lambs. [33] In Ilion, Locrian maidens or children are said to have been sacrificed to her every year as an atonement for the crime committed by the Locrian Ajax upon Cassandra; and Suidas (s. v. poinê) states, that these human sacrifices continued to be offered to her down to B. C. 346.

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 8
[2] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 84
[3] “The Aeropagite Council was the earliest aristocratic council of ancient Athens.  The word Areopagite is based on Aeropagus or “‘Ares’ Hill, “, a hill northwest of the Acropolis where mettings were held. ( Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.)
[4] Aeschylus. Eumenides v.292–293. Cf. the tradition that she was the daughter of Neilos: see, e.g. Clement of Alexandria Protr. 2.28.2; Cicero, De Natura Deorum. 3.59.
[5] Mary R. Lefkowitz, Black Athena Revisited, The University of North Carolina Press, 1996, on Google books ; Jacques Berlinerblau, Heresy in the University: The Black Athena Controversy and the Responsibilities of American Intellectuals, Rutgers University Press, 1999, on Google books
[6] M. . Bernal, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987), 21, 51–53.
[7] Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries
[8] Knossos tablet V 52 (John Chadwick, The Mycenaean World [Cambridge] 1976:88 fig 37.) Athana Potnia does not appear at Mycenaean Pylos, where the mistress goddess is ma-te-re te-i-ja, Mater Theia, literally “Mother Goddess”.
[9] Jane Ellen Harrison’s famous characterization of this myth-element as, “a desperate theological expedient to rid an earth-born Kore of her matriarchal conditions” has never been refuted (Harrison 1922:302).
[10] Hesiod, Theogony 890ff and 924ff.
[11] Pindar, Seventh Olympian Ode.
[12] Justin, Apology 64.5. quoted in Robert McQueen Grant, Gods and the One God, vol 1 :155, who observes that it is Porphyry “who similarly identifies Athena with “forethought”.
[13]
[14] Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 144 (trans. Aldrich) Online ref.
[15]Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 14. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) : “The Libyans have a saying that the Goddess [Athene] is the daughter of Poseidon and Lake Tritonis, and for this reason has blue eyes like Poseidon.”
[16]Herodotus, Histories 4. 180. 1 ff (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) : “[On the tribes of Libya:] Next to the Makhlyes are the Auseans; these and the Makhlyes, separated by the Triton, live on the shores of Lake Tritonis. The Makhlyes wear their hair long behind, the Auseans in front. They celebrate a yearly festival of Athena, where their maidens are separated into two bands and fight each other with stones and sticks, thus, they say, honoring in the way of their ancestors that native goddess whom we call Athena. Maidens who die of their wounds are called false virgins. Before the girls are set fighting, the whole people choose the fairest maid, and arm her with a Korinthian helmet and Greek panoply, to be then mounted on a chariot and drawn all along the lake shore. With what armor they equipped their maidens before Greeks came to live near them, I cannot say; but I suppose the armor was Egyptian; for I maintain that the Greeks took their shield and helmet from Egypt.”
[17] Graves, Robert, The Greek Myths I, “The Birth of Athena”, 8.a., p. 51. The story comes from Libyan (modern Berbers) where the Greek Athena and the Egyptian Neith blend into one deity. The story is not often referenced because some of the details are contradicted by other, better-documented theories. Frazer, vol. 2 p.41
[18] Burkert, Walter, 1985. Greek Religion (Harvard), p. 139.
[19] Walter Burkert, Greek Religion 1985:VII “Philosophical Religion” treats these transformations.
[20]C.J. Herrington, Athena Parthenos and Athena Polias. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1955
[21] Darmon.”Athena and Ares”. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1978.
[22] C.J. Herrington, Athena Parthenos and Athena Polias. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1955
[23] S. Goldhill. Reading Greek Tragedy (Aesch.Eum.737). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986
[24] Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 3.14.6.
[25] In Greek mythology, Nike (Greek: Νίκη, “Victory”) was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal).
[25a] αἰγίς. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
[25b] “to quickly move, to shoot, dart, to put in motion”: ἀΐσσω. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
[25c] Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 13.
[25d] Homer, Iliad, 4.17.
[25e] Iliad 2.446–9, (Martin Hammond’s translation)
[25f] See Alfred Dodd, The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon, pp. 30-35 Chapter II.
[25fff] Lavendan, P., Dictionaire Illustré de la Mythologie et des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, Paris, 1931, p. 573.
[25g] See Alfred Dodd, The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon, pp. 30-35 Chapter II.
[26] See Graves, Robert, (1955) 1960. The Greek Myths revised edition.
[28aa] See Chauvet, J.M., E.B. Deschamps and G. Hilaire. Dawn of Art: The Chauvet Cave, the Oldest Known Paintings in the World. NY, 1996.
[26a] Theophrastus, On the Causes of Plants,, 4.13.5., noted by Signe Isager and Jens Erik Skydsgaard, Ancient Greek Agriculture, An introduction, 1992, p. 38.
[26b] “…which is still shown in the Pandroseion” (pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke, 3.14.1).
[26c] Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 27. 1.
[26d] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, p. 187.
[26e] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, p. 187.
[26f] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, p. 187.
[26g] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, p. 187.
[27] Pausanias.Description of Greece i. 23. § 5, 31. § 3, 2. § 4.
[28] Plut. de Is. et Os.; Paus. vi. 26. § 2, i. 24. § 3; Hygin. Fab. 164.
[28a] Comp. Horn. Il. v. 743.
[28b] Jean Chevalier & Alain Gheerbrant, 1996, The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, p.492.
[28c] See Alfred Dodd, The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon, pp. 30-35 Chapter II.
[29] Pausanias. iv. 34. § 3.
[30] Pausanias, Description of Greece viii.4.8.
[31] P.Schmitt,”Athena Apatouria et la ceinture: Les aspects féminins des apatouries à Athènes” in Annales:Economies, Societies, Civilisations (1059-1073). London: Thames and Hudson, 2000.
[32] Horn. Il. ii. 550; Ov. Met. iv. 754.
[33] Eustathius, ad Hom. l. c.

The Greek Deity Correspondence #2: Uranus

Explanation of the Attribution

The Greek deities attribution for Chokmah, according to Crowley’s classification are  Athena and Uranus. [1]   Regardie and Crowley tells us that the aspect of Uranus that interests us the most here is “Uranus as the Starry heavens.”[2]

The Place of Uranus in Greek Pantheon and Mythology

Aion-Uranus with Terra (Greek Gaia) on mosaic

Aion-Uranus with Terra (Greek Gaia) on mosaic, in the guise of a man standing above the reclining form of Gaia (Earth) holding the zodiac wheel in his hand. , Roman mosaic C3rd A.D., Glyptothek Museum, Munich

Uranus (Ancient Greek Οὐρανός, Ouranos meaning “sky” or “heaven”) was the primal Greek god personifying the sky. The most probable etymology is from the basic Proto-Greek form *(F)orsanόj (worsanos) derived from the noun *(F)orsό (worso, Sanskrit: varsa “rain” ). The relative Proto-Indo-European language root is *ers “to moisten, to drip” (Sanskrit: varsati “to rain”), which is connected with the Greek ourόw (Latin: “urina”, English: “urine”, compare Sanskrit: var “water,” Avestan var “rain,” Lithuanian jures “seas,” Old English wær “sea,” Old Norse ver “sea,” Old Norse ur “drizzling rain”) therefore Ouranos is the “rainmaker” or the “fertilizer”. His equivalent in Roman mythology was Caelus.  The Greeks imagined the sky as a solid dome of brass, decorated with stars, whose edges descended to rest upon the outermost limits of the flat earth. In Ancient Greek literature, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, Mother Earth. According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Uranus was conceived by Gaia alone, but other sources cite Aether as his father. Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times, and Uranus does not appear among the usual themes of Greek painted pottery. “We did not regard them as being in any way worthy of worship,” Karl Kerenyi tells us.  He add: “with the single exception, perhaps, of Cronos; and with the exception, also, of Helios.”  [3] Elemental Earth, Sky and Styx might be joined, however, in a solemn invocation in Homeric epic. [4]  Ouranos was the literal sky, just as his consort Gaia was the earth.  Ouranos and Gaia fathered twelve sons and six daughters.

The eldest of these–the giant Kyklopes and Hekatonkheires–he locked away inside the belly of Earth. Gaia suffered immense pain and persuaded her Titan sons to rebel. Four of these were set as sentinels at the four corners of the world, ready to grasp their father as he descended to lie upon the Earth. The fifth took his place in the centre, and armed with an adamantine sickle, castrated Ouranos while his brothers held him firm. The sky-god’s blood fell and drenched the earth, producing the avenging Erinyes and the Gigantes.

After his castration, the Sky came no more to cover the Earth at night, but held to its place, and “the original begetting came to an end”, according to Kerényi. Uranus was scarcely regarded as anthropomorphic, aside from the genitalia in the castration myth. He was simply the sky, which was conceived by the ancients as an overarching dome or roof of bronze, held in place (or turned on an axis) by the Titan Atlas. Ouranos does not occur in early Greek art, however Egyptian representations of the sky-goddess Nut show how he was imagined–as a gigantic, star-spangled man with long arms and legs, who rested on all fours, with his finger-tips in the far east, his toes in the far west, and his arching body raised to form the dome of the sky. In Roman-era art he was often depicted as Aion, god of eternal time, in the guise of a man standing above the reclining form of Gaia (Earth) holding the zodiac wheel in his hand.   In formulaic expressions in the Homeric poems ouranos is sometimes an alternative to Olympus as the collective home of the gods; an obvious occurrence would be the moment in Iliad 1.495, when Thetis rises from the sea to plead with Zeus: “and early in the morning she rose up to greet Ouranos-and-Olympus and she found the son of Kronos …”  After his downfall, Ouranos prophesied the fall of the Titanes and the punishment they would suffer for their crimes–a prophecy which was later fulfilled by Zeus who deposed the brothers and cast them into the Tartarean pit.

uranusUranus is connected with the night sky, and Váruṇa is the god of the sky and the celestial ocean, which is connected with the Milky Way. In Vedic religion, Varuna (Sanskrit Varuṇa वरुण, Malay: Baruna) or Waruna, is a god of the water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law of the underwater world. A Makara is his mount.  His daughter Lakshmi is said to have arisen from an ocean of milk, a myth similar to the myth of Aphrodite. Both Lakshmi and Aphrodite are associated with the planet Venus. The Greek creation myth is similar to the Hurrian creation myth. In Hurrian religion Anu is the sky god. His son Kumarbis bit off his genitals and spat out three deities, one of whom, Teshub, later deposed Kumarbis. [5] In Sumerian mythology and later for Assyrians and Babylonians, Anu is the sky god and represented law and order.

Georges Dumézil made a cautious case for the identity of Uranus and Vedic Váruṇa at the earliest Indo-European cultural level. [6] Dumézil’s identification of mythic elements shared by the two figures, relying to a great extent on linguistic interpretation, but not positing a common origin, was taken up by Robert Graves and others. The identification of the name Ouranos with the Hindu Váruṇa, based in part on a posited PIE (Proto-Indo-European language) root *-ŭer with a sense of “binding”—ancient king god Váruṇa binds the wicked, ancient king god Uranus binds the Cyclopes—is widely rejected by those who find the most probable etymology is from Proto-Greek *(F)orsanόj (worsanos) from a PIE root *ers “to moisten, to drip” (referring to the rain).  Vedic Indra is linked with Zeus grandson of Uranus, but according to Vedic myths Indra & Váruna were brothers so it is possible that Indra is the grand-uncle of Zeus and not his counterpart. Another of Dumézil’s theories is that the Iranian supreme God Ahura Mazda is a development of the Indo-Iranian *vouruna-*mitra.[7] Therefore this divinity has also the qualities of Mitra, which is the god of the falling rain. According to Dumezil Varuna is the god of “masses of water”, while falling rain is rather related to Mitra.

The_Mutiliation_of_Uranus_by_Saturn

The Mutilation of Uranus by Saturn: fresco by Giorgio Vasari and Cristofano Gherardi, c. 1560 (Sala di Cosimo I, Palazzo Vecchio)

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley,  p.8.
[2] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley,  p.84; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[3] Kerenyi, The Gods of the Greeks, 1951, p. 20.
[4] Homer Iliad xv.36f and Odyssey v.184f.
[5] Guterbock, Hans Gustav. “Hittite Religion” in Forgotten Religions including some Primitive Religions” ed. Vergilius Firm. NY Philadelphia Library 1950: 88f,103f.
[6] See Dumézil, Ouranós-Váruna: Étude de mythologie comparée indo-européenne (Paris: Maisonneuve 1934).
[7] Dumézil, G. (1940,1948). Mitra Varuna Essai Sur Deux Representations. Paris: Gallimard, 1948. ; Dumézil, G., tr. Coltman, D. (1940, 1988) Mitra-Varuna: an essay on two Indo-European representations of sovereignty. New York: Zone Books.

 

The Greek Deity Correspondence #3: Hermes

hermesssExplanation for the Attribution

Hermes is also an attribution for the Sephirah of Chokmah according to Crowley’s classification. [1]  The aspect of Hermes Crowley want us to put emphasis on in this attribution is “Hermes as the Messenger of Logos.” [2]  Regardie would add: “Hermes as the Logos and the transmitter of the influence from Kether.” [3] The image of Hermes evolved and varied according to Greek art and culture. During Archaic Greece he was usually depicted as a mature man, bearded, dressed as a traveler, herald, or pastor. During Classical and Hellenistic Greece he is usually depicted young and nude, with athleticism, as befits the god of speech and of the gymnastics, or a robe, a formula is set predominantly through the centuries.  When represented as Logios (speaker), his attitude is consistent with the attribute. Phidias (a Greek sculptor, painter and architect, who lived in the 5th century BC) left a statue of a famous Hermes Logios and Praxiteles another, also well known, showing him with the baby Dionysus in his arms. At all times, however, through the Hellenistic periods, Roman, and throughout Western history into the present day, several of his characteristic objects are present as identification, but not always all together. [3a]

The Place of Hermes in the Greek Pantheon and Mythology

Hermes (Greek: Ἑρμῆς) is an Olympian god in Greek religion and mythology, son of Zeus and the Pleiad Maia. He is second youngest of the Olympian gods.  The earliest form of the name Hermes is the Mycenaean Greek, *e-ma-a2 (e-ma-ha), written in the Linear B [4] syllabic script.  Most scholars derive “Hermes” from Greek herma (a stone, roadside shrine or boundary marker), dedicated to Hermes as a god of travelers and boundaries; the etymology of herma itself is unknown. “Hermes” may be related to Greek hermeneus (“the interpreter”), reflecting Hermes’s function as divine messenger. [5] Plato offers a Socratic folk-etymology for Hermes’s name, deriving it from the divine messenger’s reliance on eirein (the power of speech). [6] Scholarly speculation that “Hermes” derives from a more primitive form meaning “one cairn” is disputed. [7] The word “hermeneutics”, the study and theory of interpretation, is derived from hermeneus. In Greek a lucky find is a hermaion.   It is also suggested that Hermes is cognate of the Vedic Sarama. [8]  Hermes (Hermês, Hermeias, Dor. Hermas), a son of Zeus and Maia, the daughter of Atlas, was born in a cave of Mount Cyllene in Arcadia, [9] whence he is called Atlantiades or Cyllenius; but Philostratus [10] places his birth in Olympus. According to the legend, Hermes stole Apollo’s cattle when he was born.  In the first hours after his birth, he escaped from his cradle, went to Pieiria, and carried off some of the oxen of Apollo. [11] He jumped out of his crib and hid the cattle. Just when Apollo realized, Hermes jumped back into his crib and pretended to be innocent. Apollo took Hermes by the scruff of the neck and took him to his father, Zeus. Apollo said he was unhappy with the way he was being treated. Instead of punishing young Hermes, Zeus just laughed and found the matter kind of funny. Classical literature offers only a few, brief descriptions of the physical characteristics of the gods. Some sources depicts him as a very young man. [11a] Homer, in the Odyssey, would say: “I was met by golden-wanded Hermes; he seemed a youth in the lovely spring of life, with the first down upon his lip.”  [11b] According to Apuleius, in  The Golden Ass (Roman novel C2nd A.D.), tells his readers that Hermes was: “A radiant boy appeared, naked except for a youth’s cloak draped over his left shoulder; his blonde hair made him the cynosure of all eyes. Tiny wings of gold were projecting from his locks, in which they had been fastened symmetrically on both sides. The herald’s staff and the wand which he carried identified him as Mercurius [Hermes].” [11c]  Even Ovid would write that he “look good,” [11d] describing his as weearing wigned sandals and a magic cap. [11e]  In arts, he was commonly depicted nude, with a robe draped over his shoulder and arm. Sometimes he was equipped with a winged cap. In older Greek art Hermes was portrayed as a more mature, bearded god, a representation which remained popular on Herma (phallic bust-topped pillar-statues) well into classical times.

One of the main charateristic of Hermes, which is widely recognized, is the fact that he is considered to be the messenger of the gods, especialy of Zeus. He act as such in numerous places in Greek mythology.  This is attested by almost every usual classical sources. In this scence of Homer’s Odyssey, “Zeus who masses the clouds made answer . . . turned to his dear son Hermes: ‘Hermes, you are always our messenger.’” [18a]  in his Theogony hesiod call him “Glorious (kydimos) Hermes, the herald of the deathless gods (keryx athanaton).” [18b] and elsewhere, he called him “Hermes, the herald of the gods.” [18c] Many other sources would say the same thing, like Pseudo-Apollodorus will confirms it: “Zeus made Hermes his personal herald.” [18d]

Hermes is a god of transitions and boundaries. He is quick and cunning, and moved freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, as emissary and messenger of the gods, intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. In another myth, Hermes is also said to have rescued Ares from a brazen vessel where he had been imprisoned by Otus and Ephialtes (two strong and aggressive giants brothers). In the Odyssey he helped his great-grand son, the protagonist, Odysseus, informing him about the fate of his companions, who were turned into animals by the power of Circe, and instructed him to protect himself by chewing a magic herb; he also told Calypso (a nymph) Zeus’ order for her to free the same hero from her island to continue his journey back home. When Odysseus killed the suitors of his wife, Hermes led their souls to Hades. [16] In The Works and Days, [17] when Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create Pandora to disgrace humanity by punishing the act of Prometheus giving fire to man, every god gave her a gift, and Hermes’s gift was lies and seductive words, and a dubious character. Then he was instructed to take her as wife to Epimetheus. [18]  He is protector and patron of travelers, herdsmen, thieves, [12] orators and wit, literature and poets, athletics and sports, invention and trade. [13] Hermes was also the god of prudence and skill in all the relations of social intercourse. [14]

Being endowed with these aptitudes, he was also regarded as the author of a variety of inventions, and, besides the lyre and syrinx, he is said to have invented the alphabet, numbers, astronomy, music, the art of fighting, gymnastics, the cultivation of the olive tree, measures, weights, and many other things. [15] Returning to Cyllene one day, he found a tortoise at the entrance of his native cave. He took the animal’s shell, drew strings across it, and thus invented the lyre and plectrum. The number of strings of his new invention is said by some to have been three and by others seven, and they were made of the guts either of oxen or of sheep. [15a]   Phlegon of Tralles said he was invoked to ward off ghosts. [15b] As dreams are sent by Zeus, Hermes, the hêgêtôr oneirôn, conducts them to man, and hence he is also described as the god who had it in his power to send refreshing sleep or to take it away. [15c] Hermes now invented the syrinx, and after having disclosed his inventions to Apollo, the two gods concluded an intimate friendship with each other. [15d]  Apollo presented his young friend with his own golden shepherd’s staff, taught him the art of prophesying by means of dice, and Zeus made him his own herald, and also of the gods of the lower world. According to the Homeric hymn, [15e] Apollo refused to teach Hermes the art of prophecy, and referred him for it to the three sisters dwelling on Parnassus; but he conferred upon him the office of protecting flocks and pastures.  [15f] Another important function of Hermes was his being the patron of all the gymnastic games of the Greeks.

In some myths Hermes is a trickster, and outwits other gods for his own satisfaction or the sake of humankind.  In the Iliad and Odyssey‘s tradition he is often portrayed as a cunning thief, the author of skilled or deceptive acts, and also as a benefactor of mortals [19] Other accounts, again, refer the theft of the oxen to a more advanced period of the life of the god. [20]  In order not to be discovered by the traces of his footsteps, Hermes put on sandals, and drove the oxen to Pylos, where he killed two, and concealed the rest in a cave. [21] Aeschylus wrote in The Eumenides that Hermes helped Orestes kill Clytemnestra under a false identity and other stratagems, [22]  and also said that he was the god of searches, and those who seek things lost or stolen. [23] In Philoctetes, Sophocles invokes Hermes when Odysseus needs to convince Philoctetes to join the Trojan War on the side of the Greeks, and in Euripides’ Rhesus Hermes helps Dolon spy on the Greek navy. [24]  In the Iliad he was called “the bringer of good luck,” “guide and guardian” and “excellent in all the tricks.” He was a divine ally of the Greeks against the Trojans. However, he did protect Priam when he went to the Greek camp to retrieve the body of his son Hector, and he accompanies them back to Troy. [25]

The idea of his being the herald and messenger of the gods, of his travelling from place to place and concluding treaties, necessarily implied the notion that he was the promoter of social intercourse and of commerce among men, and that he was friendly towards man. [25a]  In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon, Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, [26] who, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics, such as being the patron of commerce. As the god of commerce, he was called diemporos, empolaios, palinkapêlos, kerdemporos, agoraios, etc., [26a] and as commerce is the source of wealth, Hermes is also the god of gain and riches, especially of sudden and unexpected riches, such as are acquired by commerce.

In his own personal spiritual practices, the skins of the slaughtered animals were nailed to a rock, and part of their flesh was prepared and consumed, and the rest burnt; at the same time he offered scrifices to the twelve gods, whence he is probably called the inventor of divine worship and sacrifices. [27] Since Hermes was considered as the inventor of sacrifices, and hence he not only acts the part of a herald at sacrifices, [28] but is also the protector of sacrificial animals, and was believed in particular to increase the fertility of sheep. [29] For this reason he was especially worshipped by shepherds, and is mentioned in connection with Pan and the Nymphs. [30]

Hermes’ Sacred Objects and Magical Tools

Hermes was the great Olympian god of herds, travel, trade, heraldry, language, athletics and thievery. Hermes’ attributes in classical art were the caduceus or kerykeion (herald’s rod), petasos (brimmed cap) sometimes winged, chlamys (traveller’s cloak), and winged boots. He was represented in doorways, possibly as an amulet of good fortune, or as a symbol of purification. His sacred animals were the tortoise, ram and hawk, and his plant the purple crocus.  His attributes and symbols include the herma, the rooster and the tortoise, purse or pouch, winged sandals, winged cap, and his main symbol is the herald’s staff, the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus which consisted of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff.  Among the things sacred to him we may mention the palm tree, the tortoise, the number four, and several kinds of fish [31] In addition to these attributes, Hermes sometimes holds a purse in his hands. Several representations of the god at different periods of his life, as well as in the discharge of his different functions, have come down to us. His sacred tree was the strawberry tree according to Pausanias : “In the sanctuary of [Hermes] Promakhos (the Champion) [in Tanagra, Boiotia] is kept all that is left of the wild strawberry-tree (andrakhnos) under which they believe that Hermes was nourished.” [31a]  The crocus seems also to be associated with him and is liked to the story of the transformation of Hermes beloved Krokos into the flower.

The Petasos or Traveling Hat

Petasos01Among these objects is a wide-brimmed hat, the Petasos. A travelling hat, with a broad brim, which in later times was adorned with two little wings; the latter, however, are sometimes seen arising from his locks, his head not being covered with the hat.  A petasos or petasus (Greek: πέτασος) is a sun hat of Thessalian origin worn by the ancient Greeks, often in combination with the chlamys cape. It was usually made of wool felt, leather or straw, with a broad, floppy brim.

petasos It was worn primarily by farmers and travellers, and was considered characteristic of rural people.  It was widely used by rural people of antiquity to protect themselves from the sun, and that in later times was adorned with a pair of small wings, sometimes the hat is not present, but may then have wings rising from the hair. As a winged hat, it became the symbol of Hermes, the Greek mythological messenger god (Roman equivalent Mercury). A type of metal helmet worn by Athenian cavalry was made in the shape of a petasos. Some examples have holes around the outer edge of the brim, presumably so a fabric cover could be attached. These are known from reliefs and vase paintings, with at least one archaeological example found in an Athenian tomb. [32]

The Porta (or Staff) and the Caduceus

hermes-cadduceusAnother object is the Porta a stick, called rhabdomyolysis (stick) or skeptron (scepter), which is referred to as a magic wand. Some early sources say that this was the bat he received from Apollo, but others question the merits of this claim. The staff (rhabdos or skêptron) is frequently mentioned in the Homeric poems as the magic staff by means of which he closes and opens the eyes of mortals, but no mention is made of the person or god from whom he received it, nor of the entwining serpents which appear in late works of art. According to the Homeric hymn and Apollodorus, he received it from Apollo; and it appears that we must distinguish two staves, which were afterwards united into one: first, the ordinary herald’s staff, [34] and secondly, a magic staff, such as other divinities also possessed. [35] The white ribbons with which the herald’s staff was originally surrounded were changed by later artists into two serpents, [36] though the ancients themselves accounted for them either by tracing them to some feat of the god, or by regarding them as symbolical representations of prudence, life, health, and the like. The staff, in later times, is further adorned with a pair of wings, expressing the rapidity with which the messenger of the gods moved from place to place.  It seems that there may have been two canes, with time in a cast, one of a shepherd’s staff, as stated in the Homeric Hymn, and the other a magic wand, according to some authors. His bat also came to be called kerykeion, the caduceus, in later times. Early depictions of the staff it show it as a baton stick topped by a golden way that resembled the number eight, though sometimes with its top truncated and open. Later the staff had two intertwined snakes and sometimes it was crowned with a pair of wings and a ball, but the old form remained in use even when Hermes was associated with Mercury by the Romans. [33]

Caduceus--The caduceus (from Greek κηρύκειον kērukeion “herald’s wand or staff”) is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology. It derives from κῆρυξ kērux, meaning “messenger, herald, envoy”.  [37] The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings. In Roman iconography it was often depicted being carried in the left hand of Mercury, the messenger of the gods, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, shepherds, gamblers, liars, and thieves. [38] The caduceus is not to be confused with the Rod of Asclepius, the patron of medicine and son of Apollo, which bears only one snake. The rod of Asclepius was adopted by most Western doctors as a badge of their profession, but in several medical organizations of the United States, the caduceus took its place since the 18th century, although this use is declining.  In later Antiquity the caduceus provided the basis for the astrological symbol representing the planet Mercury. Thus, through its use in astrology and alchemy, it has come to denote the elemental metal of the same name. It is said the wand would wake the sleeping and send the awake to sleep. If applied to the dying their death was gentle, if applied to the dead they returned to life. [39] Hyginus (Latin author, freedman of Caesar Augustus) explained the presence of snakes, saying that Hermes was traveling in Arcadia when he saw two snakes intertwined in battle. He put the caduceus between them and parted, and so said his staff would bring peace. [40]  The caduceus, historically, there appeared with Hermes, and is documented among the Babylonians from about 3500 BC. The Homeric hymn to Hermes relates how Hermes offered his lyre fashioned from a tortoise shell as compensation for the cattle he stole from his half brother Apollo. Apollo in return gave Hermes the caduceus as a gesture of friendship. The association with the serpent thus connects Hermes to Apollo, as later the serpent was associated with Asclepius, the “son of Apollo”. [41] The association of Apollo with the serpent is a continuation of the older Indo-European dragon-slayer motif. German classical scholar Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher pointed out that the serpent as an attribute of both Hermes and Asclepius is a variant of the “pre-historic semi-chthonic serpent hero known at Delphi as Python,” who in classical mythology is slain by Apollo. [42] One Greek myth of origin of the caduceus is part of the story of Tiresias, [43] who found two snakes copulating and killed the female with his staff. Tiresias was immediately turned into a woman, and so remained until he was able to repeat the act with the male snake seven years later. This staff later came into the possession of the god Hermes, along with its transformative powers. Another myth suggests that Hermes (or Mercury) saw two serpents entwined in mortal combat. Separating them with his wand he brought about peace between them, and as a result the wand with two serpents came to be seen as a sign of peace. [43a] The two snakes coiled around a stick was a symbol of the god Ningishzida ( Mesopotamian deity of the underworld), which served as a mediator between humans and the mother goddess Ishtar (East Semitic Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex) or the supreme Ningirsu (Assyrian, Akkadian and babylonian god of Lagash, identified with Ningirsu). In Greece itself the other gods have been depicted holding a caduceus, but it was mainly associated with Hermes. It was said to have the power to make people fall asleep or wake up, and also made peace between litigants, and is a visible sign of his authority, being used as a sceptre.  After the Renaissance the caduceus also appeared in the heraldic crests of several, and currently is a symbol of commerce. [44] In Rome, Livy refers to the caduceator who negotiated peace arrangements under the diplomatic protection of the caduceus he carried. [45]

The Wingned Sandals (pedilla)

wingedsandals-hermes-Hermes wore winged, short leather boots called by the Greeks pteroeis pedila and by the Romans talaria. Those sandals were made of palm and myrtle branches, but were described as beautiful, golden and immortal, made a sublime art, able to take the roads with the speed of wind. They were said to be able to carry the god across land and sea with the rapidity of wind. But Homer no where says or suggests that they were provided with wings.  Originally they had no wings, but late in the artistic representations, they are depicted. In certain images, the wings spring directly from the ankles.   The plastic art, on the other hand, required some outward sign to express this quality of the god’s sandals, and therefore formed wings at his ancles, whence he is called ptênopedilos, or alipes. [47] In the Orphic Hymn to Hermes, si he described as :“Hermes . . . With winged feet ’tis thine through air to course.” [48]  According to Greek epic poet Nonnus, “Hermes was off into the sky unapproachable, twirling in the air the windswift soles of his shoes.” [49] Apuleius, in The Golden Ass (Roman novel C2nd A.D.), descrbes the wings :

“Tiny wings of gold were projecting from his [an actor playing Hermes’] locks, in which they had been fastened symmetrically on both sides.” [49aa]

The Cap of Invisibility

HermesHelmetIn many myths Hermes has been depicted with a purse or a bag in his hands, and wearing a robe or cloak, which had the power to confer invisibility.   His wide-brimmed felt cap was the hat of Aidoneus (the Unseen) which rendered its wearer invisible. In classical mythology, the Cap of Invisibility (Ἄϊδος κυνέην (H)aidos kuneēn in Greek, lit. dog-skin of Hades) is a helmet or cap that can turn the wearer invisible. [49a] It is also known as the Cap of Hades, Helm of Hades, [49b] or Helm of Darkness. Wearers of the cap in Greek myths include Athena, the goddess of wisdom, the messenger god Hermes, and the hero Perseus. The Cap of Invisibility enables the user to become invisible to other supernatural entities, functioning much like the cloud of mist that the gods surround themselves in to become undetectable. [49c] It si said that Hermes wore the Cap during his battle with Hippolytus, the giant. His magic cap is featured in Ovid, Metamorphoses :

“He [Hermes] fastened on his ankle-wings, grasped in his fist the wand that charms to sleep, put on his magic cap, and thus arrayed . . . sprang from his father’s citadel down to earth. There he removed his cap, laid by his wings; only his wand he kept.” [50]

The Golden Blade

golden-bladeThe weapon of Hermes was a golden blade, from which he received the epithet “Of the Golden Blade.” He was depicted wielding this golden sword in the war between the gods and the Gigantes.  His weapon was a sword of gold, which is the same as the one who killed Argos; lent to Perseus to kill Medusa. [46] According to legend, Hermes sometimes give weapons to people he endorses, like Perseus. Greek mythographer Pseudo-Apollodorus (C2nd A.D) confirms this telling his readers that: “He [Perseus] also received from Hermes a sickle made of adamant.”    [51a]

“Heaven’s master [Zeus] could no more endure Phoronis’ [Io’s] distress [a captive of Hera’s guard, the hundred-eyed giant Argos Panoptes], and summoned his son [Hermes] . . . and charged him to accomplish Argus’ death . . . [and he] with his sword struck off the nodding head [of Argos] and from the rock threw it all bloody, spattering the cliff with gore.”  [52]

We find another mention of the golden blade in Ovid’s Metamorphoses:

“Perseus struck and thrust him [the Aithiopian Ekhemon] through with Cyllenius’ [Hermes’] curved blade.” [53]

The Sheferd’s Pipe

250px-PotterpipeAnother of Harmes sacred objects or tools is the shepherd’s pipe.  This attribution come form the aspect of Hermes as the god of animal husbandry, including cattle-herding, shepherding, goat-herding and even the breeding of horses and mules. In this role he represented both the protection and flourishing of the herds and their destruction by wild beasts (lions, wolves, boars, birds of prey). He was also the god of cattle-thieves and acttle hustling.  According to Greek mythographer Pseudo-Apollodorus (C2nd A.D.) :

“As Hermes was tending the cattle, this time he fashioned a shepherd’s pipe which he proceeded to play. Covetous also of this, Apollon offered him the golden staff which he held when he herded cattle. But Hermes wanted both the staff and proficiency in the art of prophecy in return for the pipe. So he was taught how to prophesy by means of pebbles, and gave Apollon the pipe.”[54]

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses we can also find a scene where we can see Hermes disguised as a herdman playing his pipes:

“[Hermes disguised himself as a] herdsman [in order to slay the giant Argos Panoptes], he drove a flock of goats through the green byways, gathered as he went, and played his pipes of reed. The strange sweet skill charmed Juno’s [Hera’s] guardian. ‘My friend’, he called, ‘whoever you are, well might you sit with me here on this rock, and see how cool the shade extends congenial for a shepherd’s seat.’     So Atlantiades [Hermes] joined him, and with many a tale he stayed the passing hours and on his reeds played soft refrains to lull the watching eyes. But Argus fought to keep at bay the charms of slumber and, though many of his eyes were closed in sleep, still many kept their guard. He asked too by what means this new design (for new it was), the pipe of reeds, was found. Then the god told this story [of Pan and his pursuit of the Nymphe Syrinx] . . . The tale remained untold; for Cyllenius [Hermes] saw all Argus’ eyelids closed and every eye vanquished in sleep. He stopped and with his wand, his magic wand, soothed the tired resting eyes and sealed their slumber.” [55]

The Sacred Animals of Hermes

The Birds of Omen (Hawks)

hawksssHermes was the god of the birds of omen, birds despatched from heaven under the divine inspiration of prophetic Apollon. Only seers, under the god’s patronage, could distinguish birds of omen from those “idly-chattering” and interpret their divine messages. Hermes was heaven’s herald and so was naturally regarded as the source of those other winged messengers of heaven – the birds of omen. This is illustrated in the Homeric Hymns, where we hear Apollo saying:

” ….. ‘Whosoever shall come guided by the call and flight of birds of sure omen, that man shall have advantage through my voice, and I will not deceive him. But whoso shall trust to idly-chattering birds and shall seek to invoke my prophetic art contrary to my will, and to understand more than the eternal gods, I declare that he shall come on an idle journey; yet his gifts I would take . . .’ And from heaven father Zeus himself gave confirmation to his words, and commanded that glorious Hermes should be lord over all birds of omen ” [56]

The association which is specific with the hawk can be found in Aelian, On Animals 12. 4 :

“There are in fact several species of Hawks . . . They are allotted separately to many gods . . . the ocypterus is a servant of Apollon . . . [and] the dove-killer is said to be the darling of Hermes.” [57]

The Tortoise

turtledThis come from the myth according to which after having stolen Apollos’ cattle, Hermes returned to Cyllene, where he found a tortoise at the entrance of his native cave. He took the animal’s shell, drew strings across it, and thus invented the lyre and plectrum. The number of strings of his new invention is said by some to have been three and by others seven, and they were made of the guts either of oxen or of sheep. [58]  This is attested by Pausanias: “Within the temple is a statue of . . . Hermes with a tortoise which he has caught to make a lyre.” [59] After having unsuccessfully denying having stolen the oxen, Hermes  conducted Apollo to Pylos, and restored to him his oxen and gave him the lyre as compensation. When Apollo heard the sounds of the lyre, he was so charmed that he allowed Hermes to keep the animals. [59]  According to another myth, Hermes  transformed the lazy nymphe Khelone into a tortoire. The fable of the tortoise and hare perhaps demonstrates why this, and not the seemingly faster beast, was his animal.

The Ram

ramThis aspect probably come from the fact that Hermes was the god of animal husbandry, including cattle-herding, shepherding, goat-herding and even the breeding of horses and mules. In this role he represented both the protection and flourishing of the herds and their destruction by wild beasts. Hermes was often depicted in classical art carrying a ram in his arms. This attested by Pausanias at several places in his Description of Greece: “There are statues of the gods . . . Hermes carrying a ram.” [62] Later on he describes another statues of Harmes saying : “[A statue of] Hermes carrying the ram under his arm, with a helmet on his head, and clad in tunic and cloak.” [63]  Elsewhere in the book he comment about the animal husbandry aspect of Hermes:

“We see a bronze image of a seated Hermes. By him stands a ram, for Hermes is the god who is thought most to care for and to increase flocks . . . The story told at the mysteries of the Mother [Demeter] about Hermes and the ram I know but do not relate.” [64]

Elsewhere Pausanias, describe maybe on source from where the association with the ram may come from. He recounts a story where “Hermes averted a pestilence from the city [of Tanagra] by carrying a ram round the walls; to commemorate this alamis made an image of Hermes carrying a ram upon his shoulders.” [64]  Another reference to the ram comes from Roman mythographer Pseudo-Hyginus : “Triangle [Triangulum]. This constellation … Mercury [Hermes] is thought to have placed it above the head of Aries (the Ram), so that the dimness of Aries might be marked by its brightness.” [65]

The Cult of Hermes

Hermes-is-the-patron-of-athletes-and-of-the-gymnasiumHermes’s feast was the special Hermaea was celebrated with sacrifices to the god and with athletics and gymnastics, possibly having been established in the 6th century BC, but no documentation on the festival before the 4th century BC survives. However, Plato said that Socrates attended a Hermaea. Of all the festivals involving Greek games, these were the most like initiations because participation in them was restricted to young boys and excluded adults. [66]  Plato talks about the fashion Hermaea was celebrated in wrestling schools:

“I was making my way from the Academy straight to the Lykeion (Lyceum), by the road outside the town wall . . . and they [at the Lykeion gymnasium] are keeping the Hermaia (Festival of Hermes), so that the youths and boys are all mingled together . . . I took Ktesippos with me into the wrestling school, and the others came after us. When we got inside, we found that the boys had performed the sacrifice in the place and, as the ceremonial business was now almost over, they were all playing at knuckle-bones and wearing their finest attire.” [N.B. The festival of Hermes, who was specially honored in wrestling schools.] [67]

 This link between Hermes and wrestling shools is also attested by Pausanias:  “Hermes, Herakles and Theseus, who are honored in the gymnasium and wrestling-ground according to a practice universal among Greeks, and now common among barbarians.” [68]  There is also the Hermai, that merit to be mentioned here, which were boundary or mile-stones, carved with the the head and phallus of Hermes.  They were kind of “rural markers” which were also supposed to ensure the fertility of the herds and flocks and bring luck according to myth and folklore. The Hermai were usually erected at boundaries, crossroads and in gymnasia.  Hermes was worshiped in many places but the most ancient seat of his worship was Arcadia, the land of his birth, where Lycaon, the son of Pelasgus, is said to have built to him the first temple. [69]  The sacrifices offered to him consisted of incense, honey, cakes, pigs, and especially lambs and young goats. [69a]  From thence his worship was carried to Athens, and ultimately spread through all Greece. Philostratus, in Life of Apollonius of Tyana, gives us some more details about the ritualistic context:

“[At the] temple of Hermes . . . one of them [the supplicants requesting wisdom] would hang on the altar gold, another silver, another a herald’s wand of ivory, and others other rich presents of the kind. Now Aesop, she said, was not in a position to own any of these things; but he saved up what he had, and poured a libation of as much milk as a sheep would give at one milking in honour of Hermes, and brought a honeycomb and laid it on the altar, big enough to fill the hand, and he thought of regaling the god with myrtle berries, or perhaps by laying just a few roses or violets at the altar.” [70]

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings, p. 8
[2] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings, p. 84.
[3] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[3a] Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1867. pp. 411-413; Müller, Karl Otfried. Ancient art and its remains: or,  A manual of the archæology of art. B. Quaritch, 1852. pp. 483-488.
[4] Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek.
[5] Silver, Morris (1992). Taking Ancient Mythology Economically. Leiden: Brill. pp. 159–160. Davies, Anna Morpurgo & Duhoux, Yves. Linear B: a 1984 survey. Peeters Publishers, 1985. p. 136;
[6] Plato. Cratylus 383.
[7] Davies, Anna Morpurgo & Duhoux, Yves. Linear B: a 1984 survey. Peeters Publishers, 1985. p. 136.
[8] Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, ed. Félix Guirand & Robert Graves, Hamlyn, 1968; p.123.
[9]  Homer. Od. viii. 335, xiv. 435, xxiv. 1; Hymn. in Merc. 1, &c.; Ovid. Metamorphosis. i. 682, xiv. 291.
[10] Philostratus, Icon. i. 26.
[11] Homer, Hymn. in Merc. 17.
[11a] “They create [images of] him [Hermes] as the youngest of all [the gods].” (Suidas s.v. Hermes (trans. Suda On Line)
[11b] Homer, Odyssey 10. 135 ff.
[11c] Apuleius, The Golden Ass, 10. 30 ff, a Roman novel C2nd A.D., (trans. Walsh).
[11d] Ovid, Metamorphoses 2. 730 ff :
“[Hermes has] such trust in his good looks! Yet though his trust was sound, he spared no pains; he smoothed his hair, arranged his robe to hang aright, to show the whole long golden hem, saw that his wand, the wand he wields to bring and banish sleep, shone with a polish, and his ankle-wings were lustrous and his sandals brushed and clean.”
[11e] Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 583 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) : “He [Hermes] fastened on his ankle-wings, grasped in his fist the wand that charms to sleep, put on his magic cap, and thus arrayed Jove’s [Zeus’] son [Hermes] sprang from his father’s citadel down to earth.”
[12] Brown, Norman Oliver. Hermes the Thief: The Evolution of a Myth. Steiner Books, 1990. pp. 3–10.
[13] Walter Burkert, Greek Religion 1985 section III.2.8.
[14] Homer, Iliad. xx. 35, xxiv. 282, Odyssey. ii. 38.
[15] Plutarch. Sympos. ix. 3; Diod. l.c. and v. 75; Hygin. Fab. 277.
[15a] Hom. l. c. 51; Diod. i. 16, v. 75; Orph. Argon. 381; Horat. Carm. i. 10. 6.
[15b] Phlegon of Tralles,  Book of Marvels, 2.1. Quoted in Guide of the Dead. The Theoi Project: Greek Mythology.
[15c] Homer. Hymn. in Merc. 14, Il. ii. 26, xxiv. 343, &c.
[15d]  Homer. l.c. 514, &c.
[15e]  Homer, Odyssey, 533, &c.
[15f] Lucian, Dial. Deor. 7; Ov. Met. ii. 683, &c.
[16] Homer. The Odyssey. Plain Label Books, 1990. Trad. Samuel Butler. pp. 40, 81–82, 192–195.
[17] The Works and Days (Ancient Greek: Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι, Erga kai Hēmerai) is a didactic poem of some 800 lines written by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod around 700 BCE. At its center, the Works and Days is a farmer’s almanac in which Hesiod instructs his brother Perses in the agricultural arts.
[18] Hesiod. Works And Days. ll. 60–68. Trad. Hugh G. Evelyn-White, 1914.
[18a] Homer, Odyssey 5. 4 ff (trans. Shewring)
[18b] Hesiod, Theogony, 938 ff (trans. Evelyn-White)
[18c] Hesiod, The Astronomy Frag 1 (from Scholiast on Pindar’s Nemean Ode 2. 16)
[18d] Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 115 (trans. Aldrich)
[19] Homer, Iliad. v. 390, xxiv. 24.
[20]  Apollod. iii. 10. § 2; Anton. Lib. 23.
[21] It’s interresting to compare the different stratagems by which he escaped in Horn. Hymn. in Merc. 75, &c., and Anton. Lib. l. c.
[22] Brown, Norman Oliver. Hermes the thief: the evolution of a myth. Steiner Books, 1990. pp. 3–10
[23] Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 919. Quoted in God of Searchers. The Theoi Project: Greek Mythology
[24] Brown, Norman Oliver. Hermes the thief: the evolution of a myth. Steiner Books, 1990. pp. 3–10
[25] Homer. The Iliad. The Project Gutenberg Etext. Trad. Samuel Butler.
[25a] Homer, Odyssey. xix. 135, Il. xxiv. 333.
[26] Bullfinch’s Mythology, (1978), Crown Publishers, p. 926.
[26a] Aristoph. Plut. 1155; Pollux, vii. 15; Orph. Hymn. xxvii. 6; Paus. i. 15. § 1, ii. 9. §. 7, iii. 11. § 8, &c.
[27] Homer. Hymn. in Merc. 125, &c.; Diod. i. 16.
[28] Aristophan. Pax, 433
[29] Hom. Hymn. in Merc. 567, &c., Il. xiv. 490, xvi. 180, &c; Hesid. Theogony. 444.
[30]  Homer. Odyssey. xiv. 435; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1766; Aristoph. Thesm. 977; Paus. viii. 16. § 1; ix. 34. § 2; Schol. ad Soph. Philoct. 14, 59.
[31]  Pausanias. vii. 22. § 2; Aristoph. Plut. 1121, 1144; Homer. Odyssey. xiv. 435, xix. 397; Athen. i. p. 16.
[31a] Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 22. 2 (trans. Jones)
[32] Nicholas Sekunda, The Ancient Greeks (Osprey Publishing, 1986, 2005), p. 19.
[33] Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1867. pp. 411-413.
[34] Homer, Iliad. vii. 277, xviii. 505.
[35] Lucian, Dial. Deor. vii. 5; Virg. Aen. iv. 242, &c.
[36] Schol. ad Thuc. i. 53; Macrob. Sat. i. 19; comp. Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 7; Serv. ad Aen. iv. 242, viii. 138.
[37] Stuart L. Tyson, “The Caduceus”, The Scientific Monthly, 34.6, (1932:492–98) p. 493.
[38] Hornblower, Spawforth, The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd Ed., Oxford, 1996, pp. 690–691.
[39] William Godwin (1876). “Lives of the Necromancers”. p. 37.
[40] Hyginus. Astronomica, 2.7. Cited in God of Heralds and Bringer of Peace. The Theoi Project: Greek Mythology.
[41] Deldon Anne McNeely Mercury rising: women, evil, and the trickster gods, Spring Publications, 1996, p. 90. “Homer tell us that Hermes’ caduceus, the golden wand, was acquired by Hermes from Apollo in exchange for the tortoise-lyre; later the caduceus changed hands again from Hermes to Apollo’s son, Asclepius.”
[42] S. Davis, ‘Argeiphontes in Homer – The Dragon-Slayer’, Greece & Rome, Vol. 22, No. 64 (Feb., 1953), pp. 33–38, http://www.jstor.org/stable/640827 citing W. H. Roscher, Omphalos (1913).
[43] Blayney, Keith (September 2002). “The Caduceus vs the Staff of Asclepius”. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
[43a] Tyson, Stuart L (1932). “The Caduceus”. Scientific Monthly 34 (6): 495.
[41] Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1867. pp. 411-413.
[45] Livy: Ab urbe condita, 31,38,9–10.
[46] Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1867. pp. 411-413.
[47] The Orphic Hymns. xxvii. 4; Ov. Met. xi. 312.
[48] Orphic Hymn 28 to Hermes (trans. Taylor)
[49] Nonnus, Dionysiaca 9. 59 ff.
[49aa] Apuleius, in The Golden Ass 10. 30 ff (trans. Walsh)
[49a] See Hansen, William (2004-06-10). Handbook of Classical Mythology. World Mythology. Santa Barbara.
[49b] Michael W. Stewart (2006-08-15). “Helm of Hades (Cap of Hades)”. Greek Mythology: From The Iliad To The Fall Of The Last Tyrant. Retrieved 20014-06-05.
[49c] G. S. Kirk (1990). The Iliad: A Commentary, Books 5-8. Cambridge University Press. pp. 147–148.
[50] Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 583 ff (trans. Melville)
[51] Pseudo-Apollodorus (C2nd A.D), Bibliotheca 2. 37 (trans. Aldrich)
[51a] Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 37 (trans. Aldrich)
[52] Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 583 ff (trans. Melville)
[53] Ovid, Metamorphoses 5. 176 ff.
[54] Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 115 (trans. Aldrich)
[55] Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 583 ff (trans. Melville)
[56] Homeric Hymn 4 to Hermes 526 ff  (trans. Evelyn-White)
[57] Aelian, On Animals 12. 4 (trans. Schofield)
[58] Hom. l. c. 51; Diod. i. 16, v. 75; Orph. Argon. 381; Horat. Carm. i. 10. 6.
[59] Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 19. 6-7 (trans. Jones)
[60] Hom. l.c. 514, &c.
[61] Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 3. 4 (trans. Jones).
[62] Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 33. 4.
[63] Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 27. 8.
[64] Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 22. 1.
[65] Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 19 (trans. Grant).
[66] Scanlon, Thomas Francis. Eros and Greek athletics. Oxford University Press U.S., 2002. pp. 92-93.
[67] Plato, Lysis 203a & 206d (trans. Lamb).
[68] Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4. 32. 1 .
[69] Hygin. Fab. 225.
[69a]  Pausanias. vii. 22. § 2; Aristoph. Plut. 1121, 1144; Homer. Odyssey. xiv. 435, xix. 397; Athen. i. p. 16.
[70] Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 5. 15 (trans. Conybeare).

The Roman Deity Correspondence #1: Janus

JanusssExplanation for the Attribution

Chokhmah has 2 faces, one facing Keter above, and the other overseeing the over Sefiroth.  The Romand Deity attribution for Chokmah is Janus.  Israel Regardie, in his book A Garden of Pomegrenates, who usually follows Crowleys classification very closely, does not say a word about Janus in his section concerning Chokmah. [2]  Crowley does not give us much more details anywhere in his Qabalistic writtings about the link between Janus and the Sephirah of Kether.  In the explanation of the columns of his classification table provided in 777 he explain this attribution only by saying “Janus is the dyad.” [3]

The Place of Janus in the Roman Pantheon and Mythology

The Etymology and Main Functions of Janus

janus-91In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (Latin: Ianus) is the ambivalent deity with two faces, one on each side  of the head, was one of the most angient gods of Rome.  Originally the god of gods and benevolent creator, he became the god of beginnings and transitions, [4] and thereby of gates, doors, passages, endings and time. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past, presiding over such transitions as the developement of the past to the future, of one condition to anotherm of one vision to another and of one univers to another.  This is why he was considered as the god of the gate. German-born classical scholar, Leonhard Schmitz suggests that he was likely the most important god in the Roman archaic pantheon. He was often invoked together with Iuppiter (Jupiter). [4a]  There is at least three major etymologies that were proposed by ancient erudites to explain the origins of his name and each of them is bearing heavy implications about the very nature of the god itself. [5]  The first etymology is based on the definition of Chaos that was given by Paul the Deacon (Benedict monk and historian) [5a] : hiantem, hiare, which means “be open,” from which the word Ianus would derive by loss of the initial aspirate.  In this etymology the notion of Chaos would define the primordial nature of the god. [6] An association of Janus to the Greek concept of “Chaos” is considered by G. Capdeville, as the initial function of Janus would suffice to explain his place at the origin of time. [7]   The second etymology was proposed by Nigidius Figulus (Roman scholar and friend of Cicero) [7a] and was later related by Macrobius (5th century Roman writer) [8].  According to this interpretation,  Ianus would be Apollo and Diana Iana, by the addition of a D for the sake of euphony. This curious explanation has been eventually accepted by British classical scholar A. B. Cook and Scottish social anthropologist J. G. Frazer (author of the Golden Bough) which were very influencial in the field for a long period of time.  One thing that plays in its favour is the fact that this etymology had the advantage of supporting all the assimilations of Janus to the bright sky, the sun and the moon. In order to make sense, it supposes a former *Dianus, formed on *dia- < *dy-eð2 that is coming from Indo-European root *dey- shine which is represented in Latin by dies day, Diovis and Iuppiter. [9] However, the Dianus formulation postulated by Nigidius is not attested and would not be the interpretation that would be retained by history.  The interpretation of Janus as being the god of beginnings and transitions that is commonly recongnized as bieng the “correct one,” or at least the most satisfactory among scholars, is based on a third etymology that was indicated by Cicero, Ovid and Macrobius, which explains the name as Latin, deriving it from the verb ire (“to go”). [10]  Modern scholars have conjectured that it probably derives from the Indo-European root meaning transitional movement (Sanskrit “yana-” or Avestan “yah-“, likewise with Latin “i-” and Greek “ei-“.). [11] The objections that were raised by A. Meillet and A. Ernout about the validity of this etymology have been rejected by most French scholars in the field, namely É. Benveniste, R. Schilling, G. Dumezil and G. Capdeville.  According to this interpretation, Iānus is an action name expressing the idea of going, passing, formed on the root *yā- < *y-eð2– theme II of the root *ey- go from which eō, ειμι.  Other modern scholars object to a Indo-European etymology either from Dianus or from root *yā-. [12]  From Ianus derived ianua (“door”), [13] and eventually also the English word “janitor” (Latin, ianitor). The interpretation of Janus as the god of beginnings and transitions is based on a third etymology that came to us via Cicero, Ovid and Macrobius, which explains the name as Latin, deriving it from the verb ire (“to go”). [14]  In accord with his fundamental character of being the Beginner Janus was considered by Romans the first king of Latium, sometimes along with Camese. [15] He would have received hospitably god Saturn, who, expelled from Heaven by Jupiter, arrived on a ship to the Janiculum. Janus would have also effected the miracle of turning the waters of the spring at the foot of the Viminal ( the smallest of the famous seven hills of Rome) from cold to scorching hot in order to fend off the assault of the Sabines of king Titus Tatius, come to avenge the kidnapping of their daughters by the Romans. [16]

The Roots and Origins of  Janus in the History of Religions

jannuusssMost Roman and Greek authors maintained Janus was an exclusively Roman god. [17] But this Roman exclusivity pretence may be a little bit excessive according to scholars like R. Schilling, [18] at least as far as iconography is concerned. Schilling bring to our attention to the inconvenient fact that the god with two faces so revered by Romans also appeared repeatedly in Babylonian art. [19] Reproductions of the image of such a god, named Usmu, on cylinders in Sumero-Accadic art is to be found in H. Frankfort’s work Cylinder seals (London 1939) especially in plates at p. 106, 123, 132, 133, 137, 165, 245, 247, 254. On plate XXI, c, Usmu is seen while introducing worshippers to a seated god. Janus-like heads of gods related to Hermes have been found in Greece, perhaps suggesting a compound god. [20] English herald and antiquarian William Betham argued that the cult arrived from the Middle East and that Janus corresponds to the Baal-ianus or Belinus of the Chaldeans sharing a common origin with the Oannes (a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom) of Berosus.[21] P. Grimal considers Janus as a conflation of a Roman god of doorways and an ancient Syro-Hittite uranic cosmogonic god. [22] The Roman statue of the Janus of the Argiletum, traditionally ascribed to Numa, was possibly very ancient, perhaps a sort of xoanon (an Archaic wooden cult image), like the Greek ones of the 8th century BC. [23] We can also find in Hinduism the image of double or even four faced gods, which are commonly known as a symbolic depiction of the divine power of seeing through space and time. Other analogous or comparable deities of the prima in Indoeuropean religions have been analysed by G. Dumézil. [24] They include the Indian goddess Aditi (the vedic mother of the gods) who is called two faced as she is the one who starts and concludes ceremonies, [25] and Scandinavian god Heimdallr. The theological features of Heimdallr look similar to Janus’s: both in space and time he stands at the limits. His abode is at the limits of Earth, at the extremity of the Heaven, he is the protector of the gods; his birth is at the beginning of time, he is the forefather of mankind, the generator of classes and the founder of the social order. Nonetheless he is inferior to sovereign god Oðinn: the Minor Völuspá defines his relationship to Oðinn almost with the same terms as which Varro defines that of Janus, god of the prima to Jupiter, god of the summa: Heimdallr is born as the firstborn (primigenius, var einn borinn í árdaga), Oðinn is born as the greatest (maximus, var einn borinn öllum meiri). [26] Analogous Iranian formulae are to be found in an Avestic gāthā (Gathas). [27] In other towns of ancient Latium the function of presiding on beginnings was probably performed by other deities of feminine sex, notably the Fortuna Primigenia of Praeneste ( the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion).

Janus’ Theological Functions

janus-as-keyWhile the etymology and fundamental nature of Janus is debated, as we have seen,  most modern scholars nevertheless considers the god’s main functions as being organized around a single principle: presiding over all beginnings and transitions, whether abstract or concrete, sacred or profane. [28] Interpretations concerning the god’s fundamental nature either limit it to this general function or emphasize a concrete or particular aspect of it (identifying him with light [29] the sun, the moon, [30] time, [31] movement, [32] the year, doorways (Janus would have developed from the animistic spirit of the door, ianua), [33] bridges [34] etc.) or else see in the god a sort of cosmological principle, interpreting him as a uranic deity. [35]

Janus as God of Beginings and Passages

As we have seen, Janus’ function as god of beginnings has been clearly expressed in numerous ancient sources, among them most notably Cicero, Ovid and Varro. [36] Janus was the presiding deity of the begining of almost anything. The opening month of the year (January, from janua, ‘gate’) was sacred to him, as was the first day of each month.  He presided over the start, and the Vestals the completion, of any enterprise.  He ruled the birth of gods, the cosmos, mankind and its undertakings.  As warden of gates, which he opened and closed, his attributes were a doorkeeper’s keys and staff.  His two faces means that he watches the entrances as well as the exits and saw into the eternal as well as the external world, left and right, above and below, before and after, for and against.  He was both vigilance and perhaps ab image of an empire which knew no bounds.  His shrines were archways, such as gateways or arcades at crossing places.  Coins were struck with his head and, on the reverse, a ship.

Janus as the God and Change and Time

januswJanus frequently symbolized change and transitions such as the progress of future to past, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, and young people’s growth to adulthood. He represented time, because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. Macrobiusin his Saturnalias, tells his reader that “Antevorta [goddess of the future] and Postvorta or Porrima [goddess of the past] are his associates deities in this function.” [37]  Ovid states that his double head means he as caelestis ianitor aulae, gatekeeper of the heavenly mansion, can watch both the eastern and western gate of heaven. [38] Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as at marriages, deaths and other beginnings. He represented the middle ground between barbarism and civilization, rural and urban space, youth and adulthood. Having jurisdiction over beginnings Janus had an intrinsic association with omens and auspices.  Ovid writes in Fasti:

“Omens are in the beginnings, You turn your fearful ears to the first sound and the augur decides on the grounds of the first bird he has seen. The doors of the temples are open as well as the ears of the gods…and the words have weight”. [39]

Janus and the Solar God Theory

janus-clipartAccording to Macrobius who cites Nigidius Figulus and Cicero, Janus and Jana (Diana) are a pair of divinities, worshipped as Apollo or the sun and moon, whence Janus received sacrifices before all the others, because through him is apparent the way of access to the desired deity. [40] A similar solar interpretation has been offered by A. Audin who interprets the god as the issue of a long process of development, starting with the Sumeric cultures, from the two solar pillars located on the eastern side of temples, each of them marking the direction of the rising sun at the dates of the two solstices: the southeastern corresponding to the Winter and the northeastern to the Summer solstice. These two pillars would be at the origin of the theology of the divine twins, one of whom is mortal (related to the NE pillar, as confining with the region where the sun does not shine) and the other is immortal (related to the SE pillar and the region where the sun always shines). According to Hebrew Kabbalah symbolism, the right and left correspond respectively to two Divine attributes: mercy (CHESED) and justice (GEBURAH) which stands as the two pillars of the Tree of Life. ijanus0001p1On one level, this shows that the seeker judges no one except himself, and on a more spiritual level, it proves that the invisible part or third face is the real judge of the living and dead, the one that conveys harmony and peace. This small cartouche, therefore, shows us that when the masculine and feminine energies within the mystic function properly and in harmony, then the mystical wedding takes place in the seeker, bringing about his/her own invisible face and presence of Cosmic Consciousness. This invisible presence also has the symbolic name of Melchizedek. Later these iconographic models evolved in the Middle East and Egypt into a single column representing two torsos and finally a single body with two heads looking at opposite directions. [41]  Numa in his regulation of the Roman calendar called the first month Januarius after Janus, according to tradition considered the highest divinity at the time.

Janus’ Sacred Objects and Magical Tools

As warden of gates, which he opened and closed, his attributes were a doorkeeper’s keys and staff. With his staff in his right hand and his key in hisleft, he guarded all the gates and rules all the roads.

The Gates

janus-gate-RomaArcoGianoCosIn our Western tradition, beginning with Pythagorus, then Plato, then the neo-platonists, Numenius, Macrobius, Proclus, and Porphyry, we have an esoteric tradition about the divine purposes of the winter and summer solstices. The Greeks described the “descent into generation” into re-birth, by the tropical gate of Cancer and the “ascent to god” of the soul after death, by the tropical gate of Capricorn, in which the soul ascends into the spiritual ether of the planetary spheres. Therefore, the traditional symbolism of the gate of god to the north in Capricorn and the gate of men to the south in Cancer, is nothing more than our annual ascending and descending phases of the tropical zodiac. Traditionally, the Gate of Man was that zodiacal house where the soul, before birth and intended for incarnation on earth, would descend into the moon sphere waiting for re-birth. The Gate of the Sun was that zodiacal house wherein the human soul, after death, would ascend into the planetary spheres beyond the moon sphere, for its sojourn thru the spiritual worlds, to meet God. So the gateways symbolize the scene of passing from one state to another, from one world to another, from the known to the unknown, from light to darkness. Janus is the god who opens the doors (januae) of the two gates with the two keys, which are his principle attributes. The doors are the same as the solstitial gates and the two keys open the thresholds leading from one sphere to another. Both the doors, as a circle of the sun with tangent lines and the two keys, have been preserved in Masonic symbolism and seen on every lambskin apron of old.  Janus gave his name to the month of January in the Roman calender, which is the term of the winter month following the winter solstice and of the astronomical sign of Capricorn, which is the sign of the Gate of the gods. Doors open upon the mysterious, but they are a dynamic psychological quality for they not only indicate athreshold but invite us to cross it.  It is an invitation to a voyage into the beyond.  The passage to which they invite us is more often than not, in the symbolic sense of the term, a passage from the realm of the profane to that of the sacred. This is embodied everywhere, from doorways of Cathedrals to gateways of cities, temples, etc.  Temple gates are often provided with terrifying guardians as fabulous animals, gods or mythical beasts.  The symbolism of the guardian derives from initiation (meaning entrance), which may be interpreted as crossing the threshold.  because of this Janus was cosidered as the god of initiation into the mysteries, because he held the keys of the “Doors of the Solstices,” that is the ascendant and descendant phases of the annual solar cycle.  These were the Gateway of the Gods” and the “Gateway of Men” opening onto the two roads of which Janus, like the Ganesha in India, was the master piri-yana and deva-yana in Hindu tradition, the roads of the Ancestors and of the Gods. The two gates are also juana and juana inferni, the Gate of Heaven and Hell. It is interesting to note that Janus, as the god of initiation, presides over the COLLEGIS FABRORUM. This college was also known as the Guild of the Artisans, which presided over the craft guilds. These craft guilds, by regular transmission of secret practices, later evolved into craft masonry in the Middle Ages, which by its nature retained its initiatic character. So we have here the correspondence between the god of initiation and his craft guilds which maintained and retained the initiatic signs and symbols of masonry. This is particularly true of the masons building trades, the builders of the great cathedrals of Europe, who adopted as their patrons the “two St. Johns.” The so-called Lodge of St. John preserved by masonic traditions has its direct filiation from the COLLEGIS FABRORUM, with each John representing one of the two faces of Janus, which in turn, represents one of the two solstitial gates.

The Keys

13440130-silver-and-gold-keysLike we have just seen, Janus was considered as the god of initiation into the mysteries because he held the keys of the “Doors of the Solstices. The symbolism of the key directly relates to its twofold function of “locking” and “unlocking.”  This attribute fits well with his ambivalent nature of Janus for those keys plays the double role of opening up and shutting out. The power of the keys  is that of binding or loosing and off shutting Heaven.  In alchemical terms  this power is the same as “coagulation” and “dissolution.” Sometimes Janus is shown with two keys, those of the solstice gates, Janua Celi and Janua Inferni, corresponding respectively to the winter and summer solstices, the two extremes in the sun’s annual course, for as master of time, Janus is the janitor who opens and closes this cycle. This is that same power that is emblazoned in the papal coats of arms vy the two keys, one silver and one gold, which correspond to the key of Janus. Janus is also the god of initiation into the mysteries.  The word “initiation” derives from in-ire, or enter (again the symbolism of the gate).  Christ said, “I am the Way,” which brings us to just another connection between Janus and Christ. Turning to their initiatory symbolism, Janus as the god of initiation has two keys, gold and silver, that represent the greater mysteries and the lesser mysteries, and the celestial and terrestrial paradises, respectively.  Janus’ key also open the gates of solstice granting admission to the waxing or waning phases of the cucle of the year or the respective realms of yin and yang which come into equilibrium at the equinoxes. Because Janus is also the master of the solstices, with ascending and descending cycles that begin at the winter and summer solstice respectively, he is also the Master of the Two Ways to which the solstice gates give access, the ways of the right and the left, which the Pythagoreans represented by the letter “Y,” represented exoterically in the myth of Hercules as the ways of virtue and vice. The key, usually depicted on his left side represents Jana, his complement, or Sophia, the higher intuition and intelligence within a mystic that holds the key to the kingdom.  Janus was also regarded as the conductor of souls, hence his two faces, one gazing earthwards and the other heavenwards.

The Staff of Janus

janusssssJanus is portrayed as holding the sceptre and the key.  His sceptre is shaped into the form of a long staff. In symbolism the staff appears in different roles but basically it has been used as a weapons, and especially as a magical weapon, it has been used as a support for pilgrims, travelers and shepherds.  When described Janus’ staff is generaly depicted as a sceptre. In symbolism the septre are an extension of the arm and signs of power and authority In the Greek tradition the sceptre symbolized the the right to deliver judgment and in Rome is was to become part of the panoply of the consuls. Just like the crown, the sceptre is the emblem of royal power. Seen from a mystical perspective, they symbolize one who has reached the highest level of Cosmic Consciousness as an awakened master of himself and of his own destiny. Furthermore, since the sceptre is on his right, or masculine, side he represents, in an initiatory sense, the inner spiritual power of the mystic.

The Crown of Janus

janus3pd Just like the sceptre, the sceptre is the emblem of royal power.  There is a certain similarity in the Latin words for “crown” (corona) and “horn” (cornu) and both express the same sense of elevation and power and enlightenment.  Alchemical symbolism depicts the spirits of the planets receiving their light, in the shape of crowns, from the hand of their king, the Sun.  In ancient Greece and Rome the crown were signs of consecration to the gods, and at sacrifices both priest and victim were crowned.  The crown symbolizes the three principles in a mystic, i.e., his mystical wedding or the union of the two opposites on the axial neutral pole of pure Consciousness and Being. The crown that harmonizes and unites them after their “mystical wedding” gives rise to the third face, which remains invisible and represents the crowning of the great work, the androgynous level of consciousness where God incarnates in the seeker. Thus, the seeker knows in all humility that he is a Son of God. For this reason, the crown is a solar symbol and, therefore, the two streams of the moon within the seeker blend, and from a level of duality, they unite with the Sun symbol of the Father and God. The alchemical symbol of the rebis reminds us of the same principle hidden behind the cartouche of Janus/Jana.

The Cult of Janus

ouroborosjanusThe Romans named the month of January (Ianuarius) in his honor. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The doors of his temple were open in time of war, and closed to mark the peace. As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping. Janus had no flamen or specialized priest (sacerdos) assigned to him, but the King of the Sacred Rites (rex sacrorum) himself carried out his ceremonies. Janus had a ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year, and was ritually invoked at the beginning of each one, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion.

The Rites Associated with Janus

janus-shrineThe rites concerning Janus were numerous. Owing to the versatile and far reaching character of his basic function marking all beginnings and transitions, his presence was ubiquitous and fragmented. Apart from the rites solemnizing the beginning of the new year and of every month, there were the special times of the year which marked the beginning and closing of the military season, in March and October respectively. These included the rite of the arma movēre on March 1 and that of the arma condĕre at the end of the month performed by the Salii, and the Tigillum Sororium on October 1. Janus Quirinus was closely associated with the anniversaries of the dedications of the temples of Mars on June 1 (a date that corresponded with the festival of Carna, a deity associated with Janus: see below) and of that of Quirinus on June 29 (which was the last day of the month in the pre-Julian calendar). These important rites are discussed in detail below. Any rite or religious act whatever required the invocation of Janus first, with a corresponding invocation to Vesta at the end (Janus primus and Vesta extrema). Instances are to be found in the Carmen Saliare, the formula of the devotio, [42] the lutration of the fields and the sacrifice of the porca praecidanea, [43] the Acta of the Arval Brethren. [44] Although Janus had no flamen (assigned priest), [45] he was closely associated with the rex sacrorum (senatorial priesthood reserved for patricians) [46] who performed his sacrifices and took part in most of his rites: the rex held the first place in the ordo sacerdotum, hierarchy of priests. Some scholars opine that the rex was Janus’s priest, e.g. M. Renard “Aspects anciens de Jaanus et de Junon.” [47] . G. Dumézil disagrees as he considers the rex also and even more directly associated with Jupiter.The flamen of Portunus performed the ritual greasing of the spear of the god Quirinus on August 17, day of the Portunalia, on the same date that the temple of Janus in the Forum Holitorium had been consecrated by consul Gaius Duilius in 260 BC. Portunus seems to be a god closely related to Janus, if with a specifically restricted area of competence, in that he presides over doorways and harbours and shares with Janus his two symbols, the key and the stick for he was considered to be the “god of harbours and patron of doors”. [48]

The Temples and Monuments Dedicated to Janus

Sesterce_temple_janus

The temple of Janus with closed doors, on a sestertius issued under Nero in 66 AD

The temple of Janus is named Janus Geminus and had to stand open in times of war. It was said to have been built by king Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome who reigned 715–673 BC  (succeeding Romulus) who kept it always shut during his reign as there were no wars. After him it was closed very few times, one after the end of the first Punic War, three times under Augustus and once by Nero. It is recorded that emperor Gordianus III ( Roman Emperor from 238 AD to 244 AD) opened the Janus Geminus. [49]

Numa built the Ianus geminus (also Janus Bifrons, Janus Quirinus or Portae Belli), a passage ritually opened at times of war, and shut again when Roman arms rested. [50] It formed a walled enclosure with gates at each end, situated between the old Roman Forum near the Argiletum and that of Julius Caesar, which had been consecrated by Numa Pompilius himself. About the exact location and aspect of the temple there has been much debate among scholars. [51]  It had doors on both ends, and inside was a statue of Janus, the two-faced god of boundaries. The Temple doors (the “Gates of Janus”) were closed in times of peace and opened in times of war. In wartime the gates of the Janus were opened, and in its interior sacrifices and vaticinia were held, to forecast the outcome of military deeds. [52] The doors were closed only during peacetime, an extremely rare event. Livy wrote in his Ab urbe condita that the doors of the temple had only been closed twice since the reign of Numa: firstly in 235 BC after the first Punic war and secondly in after the battle of Actium in 31 BC.  [53] According to Livy 1.19 the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, decided to distract the early, warlike Romans from their violent ways by instilling in them awe and reverence. His projects included promoting religion, certain priesthoods, and the building of temples as a distraction with the beneficial effect of imbuing spirituality. The Temple of Janus was Numa’s most famous temple project. During Numa’s reign, the Gates of the Temple of Janus were closed and Rome remained at peace. The next king, Tullus Hostilius, opened the Gates of Janus when he went to war with Alba Longa. The Gates of Janus remained open for the next 400 years until after the First Punic War when T. Manlius Torquatus closed the Gates of Janus in 235 BC. This closure lasted about eight years. War with the Gauls in Northern Italy forced the Gates of Janus to reopen. They did not close again until 29 BC, following the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra.

The function of the Ianus Geminus was supposed to be a sort of good omen: in time of peace it was said to close the wars within or to keep peace inside; in times of war it was said to be open to allow the return of the people on duty. [54] Plutarch, in Life of King Numa, wrote:

[Janus] also has a temple at Rome with double doors, which they call the gates of war; for the temple always stands open in time of war, but is closed when peace has come. The latter was a difficult matter, and it rarely happened, since the realm was always engaged in some war, as its increasing size brought it into collision with the barbarous nations which encompassed it round about. But in the time of Augustus it was closed, after he had overthrown Mark Antony; and before that, when Marcus Atilius and Titus Manlius were consuls, it was closed a short time; then war broke out again at once, and it was opened. [55]

gate-janusA temple of Janus is said to have been consecrated by the consul Gaius Duilius in 260 BC after the Battle of Mylae in the Forum Holitorium ( site of a commercial marketplace). It contained a statue of the god with the right hand showing the number 300 and the left the number 65—i.e., the length in days of the solar year, and twelve altars, one for each month. [56]

The four-sided structure known as the Arch of Janus in the Forum Transitorium dates from the 1st century CE: according to common opinion it was built by the Emperor Domitian. However American scholars L. Ross Taylor and L. Adams Holland on the grounds of a passage of Roman poet Statius (1st century AD) [57] maintain that it was an earlier structure (tradition has it the Ianus Quadrifrons was brought to Rome from Falerii) [58] and that Domitian only surrounded it with his new forum. [59] In fact the building of the Forum Transitorium was completed and inaugurated by Roman Emperor Nerva in 96 CE.  The Arch of Janus is the only quadrifrons triumphal arch preserved in Rome, across a crossroads in the Velabrum-Forum Boarium. It was built in the early 4th century, using spolia, possibly in honour of Constantine I or Constantius II. Its current name probably dates from the Renaissance or later, and was not used to describe it in classical antiquity. The name is derived from the structure’s four-fronted, four-arched configuration; relating this to the four-faced version of Janus (Ianus Quadrifons), as well as to actual Janus-related structures mentioned in historic descriptions of ancient Rome.

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[1]  Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writting of Aleister Crowley, p. 11.
[2]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[3]  Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writting of Aleister Crowley, p. 86.
[4] Varro apud Augustine De Civitate Dei VII 9 and 3; Servius Aen. I 449; Paulus ex Festus s. v. Chaos p. 45 L.
[4a] L. Schmitz s.v. Janus in  L. Schmitz in W. Smith Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology s.v. Ianus II, 1890,  p. 550-551.
[5] G. Capdeville “Les épithètes cultuelles de Janus” in MEFRA 85 2 1973 p . 399.
[5a] Paul the Deacon (c. 720s – 13 April probably 799), also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis (i.e. “of Monte Cassino”), was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.
[6] Paulus above : “Chaos appellabat Hesiodus confusam quondam ab initio unitatem, hiantem patentemque in profundum. Ex eo et χάσκειν Graeci, et nos hiare dicimus. Unde Ianus detracta aspiratione nominatur id, quod fuerit omnium primum; cui primo supplicabant velut parenti, et a quo rerum omnium factum putabant initium”. Hesiod only reads (Theogonia 116): “Ή τοι μεν πρώτιστα Χάος γένετο…”; cfr. also Ovid Fasti I 103 ff.
[7] See: G. Capdeville “Les épithetes cultuels de Janus” in Mélanges de l’École Française de Rome (Antiquité) 85 2 1973 p. 399-400.
[7a] Publius Nigidius Figulus (c. 98–45 BC) was a scholar of the Late Roman Republic and one of the praetors for 58 BC. He was a friend of Cicero, to whom he gave his support at the time of the Catilinarian conspiracy. Nigidius sided with the Optimates in the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompeius Magnus.
[8] Macrobius above I 9,8. Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, commonly referred to as Macrobius, was a Roman who flourished during the early fifth century. He is primarily known for his writings, which include the Saturnalia, a compendium of ancient Roman religious and antiquarian lore.
[9] A. B. Cook Zeus. A Study in Ancient Religion Cambridge 1925 II p. 338-9 supposes two parallel series *Divianus, *Dianus, Ianus and Diviana (Varro Lingua Latina V 68), Diana, Iana (Varro De Re Rustica I 37, 3).
[10] Ovid Fasti I 126-7; Macrobius, Saturnalia, I, 9, 11.
[11] Taylor, Rabun, “Watching the Skies: Janus, Auspication, and the Shrine in the Roman Forum,” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome vol. 45 (2000): p. 1.
[12] A. Meillet DELL s.v. Ianus; A. Ernout “Consus, Ianus, Sancus” in Philologica II 1957 p. 175: Ernout takes into consideration the legends of the Thessalic origin of Janus too.
[13] F. Altheim History of Roman Religion London 1938 p. 194; V. Basanoff Les dieux des Romains Paris 1942 p. 18
[14] Ovid Fasti I 126-7; Macrobius, Saturnalia, I, 9, 11.
[15] Macrobius Saturnalia I 7, 20.
[16] Ovid Fasti I 265–276: Metamorphoses XIV 775-800.
[17] Ovid FastiI 90; Dionysius Halicarnasseus.
[18] R. Schilling “Janus. Le dieu introducteur. Le dieu des passages” in Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire 72 1960 p. 110, citing A. Piganiol in MEFR 1908, p. 115.
[19] A. Ungnad “Der babylonische Janus” in Archiv für Orientforschung 5 1929 p. 185.
[20] J. Marcadé “Hermès double” in Bulletin de Correspondence Hellénique 76 1952 p. 596–624.
[21] Hellenistic-era Babylonian writer, a priest of Bel Marduk and astronomer.
[22] P. Grimal “Le dieu Janus et les origines de Rome” in Lettres d’humanité IV 1945 p. 15-121.
[23] P. J. Riis An introduction to Etruscan art Copenhagen 1953 p. 121.>
[24] G. Dumezil “Remarques comparatives sur le dieu scandinave Heimdallr” in Études Celtiques 1959 pp. 263–283; “De Janus à Vesta” in Tarpeia Paris 1947 pp. 31–113 esp. pp. 86–88.
[25] Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (Shatapathabrahmana) III 2, 4, 16

[26] Hyndluljóð strophe 37 and 40.
[27] Yasna 45 first verses of strophes 2, 4 and 6.
[28] Among these: C. Bailey; M. Renard; R. Schilling; G. Dumezil; G. Capdeville.
[29] L. Preller-H. Jordan Römische Mythologie I Berlin 1881 3rd p. 166-184.
[30] L. A. MacKay “Janus” in University of California Publications in Classical Philology 15 4 1956 p. 157-182.
[31] J. S. Speÿer “Le dieu romain Janus” in Revue de l’histoire des religions 26 1892 p. 1-47 esp. p. 43.
[32] M. Renard “Aspects anciens de Janus et de Junon” in Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 31 1 1953 p. 5-21 esp. p.6.
[33] C. Bailey Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome Berkeley 1932 p. 46-47.
[34] L. A. Holland “Janus and the bridge” in Papers and Monographs of the American Academy in Rome 21 1961 p. 231-3.
[35] P. Grimal “Le dieu Janus et les origines de Rome” in Lettres d’humanité IV 1945 p. 15-121 esp. p. 118.
[36] Varro apud Augustine De Civitate Dei VII 9.
[37] Macrobius Saturnalia I 7, 20 and I 9, 4.
[38] Ovid Fasti I 133-40.
[39] Ovid Fasti I 178-82.
[40] Macrobius Saturnalia I 9, 8-9; Cicero De Natura Deorum ii. 67.
[41] A. Audin “Dianus bifrons ou les deux stations solaires, piliers jumeaux et portiques solsticiaux” in Revue de géographie de Lyon 1956 31 3 p. 191-198.
[42] >Livy VIII 9, 6. In ancient Roman religion, the devotio was an extreme form of votum (an offering in fulfillment of an advance promise) in which a Roman general vowed to sacrifice his own life in battle along with the enemy to chthonic gods in exchange for a victory.
[43] Cato De Agri Cultura 141 and 143.
[44] Acta Fratrum Arvalium ed. Henze p. CCXIV and 144 ff.  In ancient Roman religion, the Arval Brethren (Latin: Fratres Arvales, “Brothers of the Fields”) or Arval Brothers were a body of priests who offered annual sacrifices to the Lares and gods to guarantee good harvests.Inscriptions provide evidence of their oaths, rituals and sacrifices.
[45] In ancient Roman religion, a flamen was a priest assigned to one of fifteen deities with official cults during the Roman Republic
[46] In ancient Roman religion, the rex sacrorum (also sometimes rex sacrificulus) was a senatorial priesthood reserved for patricians.
[47] M. Renard, “Aspects anciens de Jaanus et de Junon.”, Revue belge de philologie et d’ histoire 31 1. 1953 p. 8.
[48] Scholiasta Veronensis Aen. V 241.
[49] Julius Capitolinus Gordianus XXVI 3.
[50] Horat. Carm. iv. 15. 8; Virg. Aen. vii. 607.
[51] V. Müller “the shrine of Janus Geminus in Rome” in American Journal of Archaeology 47 1943 p. 437–440; P. Grimal “Le Janus de l’ Argilète” in Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire 64 1952 p. 39–58.
[52] Livy, History of Rome, I, 19, 2.
[53] Livy, Ab urbe condita; Cf. Ovid Fasti I 121–4; 277–83.
[54] Ovid above I 279–280.
[55] Plutarch’s Lives Volume 1.
[56] Pliny Naturalis Historia XXXIV 33; Macrobius Saturnalia I 9 10; Varro apud Macrobius above I 9 16. R. Schilling above p. 115 remarks such a feature could have been added only after the Julian reform of the calendar.
[57] Silvae IV 3, 9–10: “… qui limina bellicosa Iani/ iustis legibus et foro coronat”, “… who crowns the warlike boundaries of Janus with just laws and the Forum”.
[58] Macrobius I 9, 13; Servius Aen. VI 607; Lydus De Menisibus IV 1.
[59] L. Adams Holland “Janus and the Fasti” in Classical Philology 1952 p. 139.

The Roman Deity Correspondence #2: Minerva

minerva------Explanation of the Attribution

Aleister Crowley does not say a word about minerva as an attribution for Chokmah in his Qabalistic writtings but Israel Regardie insist that we add  Minerva to the list, mainly because her name is “considered by philologists to contain the root of mens, to think; she is accordingly the thinking power personified. Maat, the goddess of truth,  Minerve goddess of truth is linked with Thoth, is another Egyptian correspondence. Uranus, as the starry heavens, and Hermes as the Logos and the transmitter of the influence from Kether, also are attributions. [1]

The Place of Minerva in the Roman Pantheon and Mythology

2013_MinervaMinerva (Etruscan: Menrva) was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. She was born from the godhead of Jupiter with weapons.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena.  She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic.  She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the “owl of Minerva,” which symbolizes that she is connected to wisdom. Stemming from an Italic moon goddess *Meneswā (‘She who measures’), the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, *Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva. It is assumed that her Roman name, Minerva, is based on this Etruscan mythology, Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus). By a process of folk etymology, the Romans could have linked her foreign name to the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning “mind”, perhaps because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual. The word mens is built from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- ‘mind’ (linked with memory as in Greek Mnemosyne/μνημοσύνη and mnestis/μνῆστις: memory, remembrance, recollection, manush in Sanskrit meaning mind). Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia (the god of the sky and the highest god in Etruscan mythology) and Uni (the supreme goddess of the Etruscanpantheon), equivalent to the Roman Capitoline Triad of Jupiter-Juno-Minerva. Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter.

As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and doctors. As Minerva Achaea, she was worshipped at Luceria in Apulia where votive gifts [2] and arms said to be those of Diomedes (a hero in Greek mythology) were preserved in her temple. [3] In Fasti III, Ovid called her the “goddess of a thousand works”. Minerva was worshiped throughout Italy, and when she eventually became equated with the Greek goddess Athena, she also became a goddess of war, although in Rome her warlike nature was less emphasized. Her worship was also taken out to the empire — in Britain, for example, she was conflated with the local wisdom goddess Sulis. We know that in localised Celtic polytheism practised in Britain, Sulis was a deity worshipped at the thermal spring of Bath (now in Somerset). She was worshipped by the Romano-British as Sulis Minerva, whose votive objects and inscribed lead tablets suggest that she was conceived of both as a nourishing, life-giving mother goddess and as an effective agent of curses wished by her votaries

The Sacred Objects, Animals and Magical Tools of Minerva

shieldClassically, Minerva is portrayed wearing a full- length chiton, and sometimes in armor, with her helmet raised high on the forehead to reveal the image of Nike. [25]  Her shield bears at its centre the aegis with the head of the gorgon (gorgoneion) in the center and snakes around the edge. Objects sacred to her, such as an olive branch, a serpent, an owl, a cock, and a lance. Her garment is usually the Spartan tunic without sleeves, and over it she wears a cloak, the peplus, or, though rarely, the chlamys. The general expression of her figure is thoughtfulness and earnestness; her face is rather oval than round, the hair is rich and generally combed backwards over the temples, and floats freely down behind. The whole figure is majestic, and rather strong built than slender: the hips are small and the shoulders broad, so that the whole somewhat resembles a male figure.  It is in this standing posture that she was depicted in Phidias’s famous lost gold and ivory statue of her, 36 m tall, the Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon. Among the things sacred to her we may mention the owl, serpent, cock, and olive-tree, which she was said to have created in her contest with Poseidon about the possession of Attica. [28]

The Owl

little-owl-or-minervas-owl-athene-noctua--goddess-of-wisdom-chouette-cheveche-nationalpark-eifel-urft-valley-artMinervas often depicted with an owl sitting on one of her shoulders. The earliest rendering of an owl is about 30,000 years old and appears on the limestone wall of the Chauvet Cave in Southern France.  With its ear tufts round face and vertically barred body, the image strongly suggests the large eagle owl that was common at the time on the Eurasian continent. [28aa]  These owls are the greatest raptors of the night, as eagles are of the day.  The owl’s role as a symbol of wisdom originates in this association with Athena.   Owls have extremely keen vision provided by eyes set in bony  sockets that cannot move.  Their heads compensate by being to turn more than 240 degrees in either direction, reversing so swiftly some observers have had the illusion of being followed in a complete circle.  Owls were considered to be very wise namely because they can see in the dark. Other would says that rather than exclusively intellectual wisdom, owls are also connected with the wisdom of the soul.  Owls are often seen as mysterious, mostly because many owls are strictly nocturnal and humans have always found night to be full of mystery and the unknown.  Owls live within the darkness, which includes magic, mystery, and ancient knowledge.  Related to the night is the moon, which owls are also connected to.  It becomes a symbol of the feminine and fertility, with the moon’s cycles of renewal.  Even the mythology relates owl to this wisdom and femininity. 

owl-chauvet

The earliest known rendering of an owl in the Chauvet Cave in Southern France

The owl was a symbol for Athena, goddess of wisdom and strategy, before the Greeks gave their pantheon human forms.  According to myth, an owl sat on Athena’s blind side, so that she could see the whole truth.  In Ancient Greece, the owl was a symbol of a higher wisdom, and it was also a guardian of the Acropolis.  Diana, which along with Minerva, was the Roman response to Athena, was strongly associated with the moon, and also the owl.  The Pawnee and the Sioux saw the owl as a messenger (akicita) to the first of all evil creatures (Unktehi).  While the Lakota tribe had an “Owl Society,” where the warriors fought primarily at night and painted dark rings around their eyes because they believed that would allow them to have an owl’s acute vision. Unsurprisingly, the owl became a sort of Athenian mascot.  Some authors believe that, in early times, Athena was either an owl herself or a bird goddess in general: in Book 3 of the Odyssey, she takes the form of a sea-eagle. These authors argue that she dropped her prophylactic owl-mask before she lost her wings. It seems that Athena, by the time she appears in art, has completely shed her animal form, has reduced the shapes she once wore of snake and bird to attributes, but occasionally in black-figure vase-paintings she still appears with wings. There are many superstitions surrounding the owl in other cultures, many of which focus on death.  In Europe and America, owl was seen as a harbinger of death.  This was due to certain peoples, like the Dakota, and some Germanic tribes and Scandinavian Vikings, who would signal the approach of attack with the hoot of an owl.  This was and still remains the easiest bird call to imitate.  The Mayans called the screech owl of the Yucatan “the moan bird,” and believed that it meant death.

 

The Helmet

helmet-Among the attributes which characterise the goddess Minerva in numerous works of art, we must also mention the helmet, which she usually wears on her head, but in a few instances carries in her hand.  The large Helmet denoted that she waged invisibly a silent war against Sloth and Ignorance.  It is usually ornamented in the most beautiful manner with griffins, heads of rams, horses, and sphinxes. [28a] In symbolism, helmet are usually symbols of invisibility, invunerability and power. [28b]  The symbolism of the helmet is similar  to the symbolism of head which they protect. It may be said in this context that they hide as well as guard the thoughts. The helmet is a symbol of elevation, but also of dissimulation when the vizor is closed.  There was in England, in the 16th century, an elusive Litterary Society that had taken Athena as their patron which was headed by no other than Sir Francis Bacon. The members of this Secret Literary Society which centered in Pallas Athena were known as The Knights of the Helmet. They had a ritual created by Francis Bacon himself and were initiated with an elaborate ceremonial that took the symbolism of the helmet as part of the initiation. There was a vow, recitatives, perambulations. The Initiate was capped with the Helmet of Pallas to denote he was henceforth an “Invisible” in the fight for Human Advancement. [28c]

The Aegis or Argolic Shield

aegisssssssss

The round Argolic shield. in the centre of which is represented the head of Medusa.

The aegis is widely recognized as an attribute of Athena.  The Aegis (Ancient Greek: Αἰγίς), as stated in the Iliad, is carried by Athena and Zeus, but its nature is uncertain. The Greek Αἰγίς, has many meanings including: [25a] “violent windstorm”, from the verb ἀΐσσω [25b] (stem ἀïγ-) = “I rush or move violently”. Akin to καταιγίς, “thunderstorm”. The shield of a deity as described above. “goatskin coat”, from treating the word as meaning “something grammatically feminine pertaining to goat” (Greek αἴξ (stem αἰγ-) = “goat”, + suffix -ίς (stem -ίδ-)). The original meaning may have been #1, and Ζεὺς Αἰγίοχος = “Zeus who holds the aegis” may have originally meant “Sky/Heaven, who holds the thunderstorm”. The transition to the meaning “shield” or “goat-skin” may have come by folk-etymology among a people familiar with draping an animal skin over the left arm as a shield.  It had been interpreted as an animal-skin or a shield, sometimes bearing the head of a Gorgon. There may be a connection with a deity named Aex or Aix, a daughter of Helios and a nurse of Zeus or alternatively a mistress of Zeus. [25c]  The aegis of Athena is referred to in several places in the Iliad. According to legends it produced a sound as from a myriad roaring dragons [25d]  and was borne by Athena in battle “… and among them went bright-eyed Athene, holding the precious aegis which is ageless and immortal: a hundred tassels of pure gold hang fluttering from it, tight-woven each of them, and each the worth of a hundred oxen.” [25e]   The modern concept of doing something “under someone’s aegis” means doing something under the protection of a powerful, knowledgeable, or benevolent source. The word aegis is identified with protection by a strong force with its roots in Greek mythology and adopted by the Romans; there are parallels in Norse mythology and in Egyptian mythology as well, where the Greek word aegis is applied by extension.

The Spear

AA146The goddess Athena was usually depicted in Greek Art holding the Spear of Knowledge in her right hand, poised to strike at the Serpent of Ignorance writhing under her foot.  In symbolism the spear is universally regarded as an axial, phallic, fiery or solar symbol.  A custom in the Greco-Roman world,  shows how much all element affecting the libido may be both honored and restrained or controlled  Officers or ordinary soldiers who had performed some outstanding usually blunt, not simple because it was awarded as an honour, but because it conferred no position of authority in either civil or military affairs.  For the strength which the spear expresses, and this is evidence of it, had to be that of public authority overriding that of the private individual. This is why the spear held a symbolic place in all thing deriving from the law, protecting contracts, and the legal process as a whole.  [25fff] Statues of her are usually placed on the Greek Temples with a Golden Spear in her hand. When the morning rays of the sun glinted on the weapon, causing it apparently to tremble, the common people were in the habit of saying smilingly : “Athena is Shaking her Spear again.” She was thus known as “the Spear Shaker” or the “Shaker of the Spear.” It might be interesting here to mention that Athena was the Goddess to whom Francis Bacon plighted his troth when a youth. [25f] Just as to reinforce the well known Bacon-Shakespeare identity theory, we have seen earlier when talking about Athena’s helmet that Bacon founded a litterary society which too Athena as a patron deity. The members of this Secret Literary Society which centered in Pallas Athena were known as The Knights of the Helmet. They had a ritual created by Francis Bacon and were initiated with an elaborate ceremonial. There was a vow, recitatives, perambulations. Like we have seen earlier, the Initiate was capped with the Helmet of Pallas to denote he was henceforth an “Invisible” in the fight for Human Advancement.  Furthermore 9and this is where it gets interesting), a large Spear was placed in his hand indicative of a pen for he was to Shake the Spear of Knowledge at the Dragons of Ignorance. He thus became a “Spear-Shaker”, and the head of the little band of “Spear-Shakers” was “Shake-Speare” himself, Athena’s visible representative on earth…….Francis Bacon. [25g]

The Olive Tree

olive-treeThe olive tree is sacred to Athena. In an archaic Athenian foundation myth, Athena won the patronship of Attica from Poseidon with the gift of the olive. Athena, offered the Athenians the first domesticated olive tree. The Athenians (or their king, Cecrops) accepted the olive tree and with it the patronage of Athena, for the olive tree brought wood, oil, and food.  English scholar Robert Graves (author of I Claudius) was of the opinion that “Poseidon’s attempts to take possession of certain cities are political myths” which reflect the conflict between matriarchal and patriarchal religions. [26]  Though, according to the 4th-century BC father of botany, Theophrastus, olive trees ordinarily attained an age of about 200 years, [26a] he mentions that the very olive tree of Athena still grew on the Acropolis; it was still to be seen there in the 2nd century AD; [26b] and when Pausanias was shown it, c. 170 AD, he reported “Legend also says that when the Persians fired Athens the olive was burnt down, but on the very day it was burnt it grew again to the height of two cubits.”[26c] Indeed, olive suckers sprout readily from the stump, and the great age of some existing olive trees shows that it was perfectly possible that the olive tree of the Acropolis dated to the Bronze Age. The olive was sacred to Athena and appeared on the Athenian coinage.  The branches and leaves of the olive tree are also known to have some magical properties.  Beside the fact that olive oil has been used in ritual contexts as fuel in altar lamps and as an ointment oil (for healing and sacraments), it is also said that “olive leaves scattered or placed in a room spread a peaceful vibration throughout the area.” [26d]  There is another superstition according to which if you write Athena’s name on an olive branch, you press it against the head or wear it on the body, “it will cure headache.” [26e] Other beliefs suggests that “when eaten, olives ensure fertility as well as sexual potency in men, and are also lust-inducing.” [26f] This is why “Athenian brides wore crowns of olive leaves to ensure their fertility.” [26g]

The Cult of Minerva

Banquet_Euaion_LouvreThe Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23 during the day which is called, in the neuter plural, Quinquatria, the fifth after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, an artisans’ holiday.  According to Varro, [4]  it was so-called because it was held on the fifth (quinqu-) day after the Ides, in the same way as the Tusculans (the most powerful secular noblemen in Latium, near Rome) called a festival on the sixth day after the Ides Sexatrus or one on the seventh SeptimatrusIn similar fashion, Festus states that the Faliscans called a festival on the tenth day after the Ides Decimatrus.  Both Varro and Festus state that the Quinquatrus was celebrated for only one day, but Ovid [5] says that it was celebrated for five days, hence the name: on the first day no blood was shed, but that on the last four there were contests of gladiators. The first day was the festival proper, and that the following four were an expansion made perhaps in the time of Caesar to gratify the people. The ancient Roman religious calendars assign only one day to the festival. Ovid says that this festival was celebrated in commemoration of the birthday of Minerva; but according to Festus it was sacred to Minerva because her temple on the Aventine (one of the seven hills on which ancient Rome was built) was consecrated on that day. On the fifth day of the festival, according to Ovid, [6]  the trumpets used in sacred rites were purified; but this seems to have been originally a separate festival called Tubilustrium (a ceremony to make the army fit for war), which ancient calendars place on 23 March. When the celebration of Quinquatrus was extended to five days, the Tubilustrium would have fallen on the last day of that festival. As this festival was sacred to Minerva, it seems that women were accustomed to consult fortune-tellers and diviners upon this day. Domitian caused it to be celebrated every year in his Alban villa, situated at the foot of the Alban hills, and instituted a collegium to superintend the celebration, which consisted of shows of wild beasts, of the exhibition of plays, and of contests of orators and poets. [7] A lesser version, the Minusculae Quinquatria or Quinquatrus Minores, was held on the Ides of June, June 13, by the flute-players, who were particularly useful to religion. Then went on playing the tibicines (an ancient Greek wind instrument, depicted often in art) went through the city in procession to the temple of Minerva. In 207 BC, a guild of poets and actors was formed to meet and make votive offerings at the temple of Minerva on the Aventine Hill. Among others, its members included Livius Andronicus. The Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle Roman Republic. Minerva was worshipped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno, at the Temple of Minerva Medica, and at the “Delubrum Minervae” a temple founded around 50 BC by Pompey on the site now occupied by the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva facing the present-day Piazza della Minerva.

The Combat of Mars and Minerva. 1771. Jacques-Louis David

The Combat of Mars and Minerva. 1771. Jacques-Louis David

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[1] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[2] A votive deposit or votive offering is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes.
[3] Aristotle Mirab. Narrat. 117; Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). “Achaea (2)”. In Smith, William. 1. Boston. p. 8.
[4] de Ling. Lat. vi.14
[5] Ovid, Fasti iii.809, &c.
[6] Ovid, Fasti iii.849
[7] Suetonius, The Life of Domitian, 4
[28aa] See Chauvet, J.M., E.B. Deschamps and G. Hilaire. Dawn of Art: The Chauvet Cave, the Oldest Known Paintings in the World. NY, 1996.
[26] See Graves, Robert, (1955) 1960. The Greek Myths revised edition.
[28aa] See Chauvet, J.M., E.B. Deschamps and G. Hilaire. Dawn of Art: The Chauvet Cave, the Oldest Known Paintings in the World. NY, 1996.
[26a] Theophrastus, On the Causes of Plants,, 4.13.5., noted by Signe Isager and Jens Erik Skydsgaard, Ancient Greek Agriculture, An introduction, 1992, p. 38.
[26b] “…which is still shown in the Pandroseion” (pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke, 3.14.1).
[26c] Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 27. 1.
[26d] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, p. 187.
[26e] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, p. 187.
[26f] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, p. 187.
[26g] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, p. 187.

The Taoist Attribution: Yang

yinYangExplanation for the Attribution

In Taoism, the positive yang would correspond to this Sephirah. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42) Crowlew would add Khien to the list. [1]

The Symbolism of Yang

In Chinese philosophy, the masculine or positive principle (characterized by light, warmth, dryness, activity, etc.) of the two opposing cosmic forces into which creative energy divides and whose fusion in physical matter brings the phenomenal world into being. The principle of yin and yang is represented in Taoism by the Taijitu (literally “diagram of the supreme ultimate”). The term is commonly used to mean the simple “divided circle” form, but may refer to any of several schematic diagrams representing these principles, such as the swastika, common to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Similar symbols have also appeared in other cultures, such as in Celtic art and Roman shield markings. [3] In the I Ching (1,000 BC and before), [2] yin and yang are represented by broken and solid lines: yin is broken () and yang is solid ().

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 12.
[2] Giovanni Monastra: “The “Yin–Yang” among the Insignia of the Roman Empire?,” “Sophia,” Vol. 6, No. 2 (2000); Helmut Nickel: “The Dragon and the Pearl,” Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 26 (1991), p. 146, Fn. 5.
[3] Steininger, Hans (1971). Bleeker, C. J. and G. Widengren, ed. Historia Religionum, Volume 2 Religions of the Present. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 478. “Most probably the oldest extant book of divination in the world, dating back to 1,000 B.C. and before.”

Hindu God Attribution#1: Vishnu

vishnu2Explanation for the Attribution

Chokmah, Israel Regardie tells us,” is the vital energizing element of existence, Spirit or the Purusha of the Sankhyan philosophy of India, by which is implied the basic reality underlying all manifestations of consciousness.” [1]  In this context Regardie point to Vishnu and Ishvara as hindu deity correspondences for Chokmah. [2]   Chokmah is the Word, Israel Regatdie tells us, the Greek Logos, and the Memrah of the Targum. [3] He explains: Targum is Aramaic for “Translation” or “Interpretation.” It alludes to any of the various Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible Written after the Babylonian Exile in a time when Aramaic replaced Hebrew as the spoken language of the Jews, these translations were devised to bring the knowledge of the Old testament to the common people. [4]  Crowley in his quabalistic writttings also add would specify that the aspect of Vishnu that he refers to is “Vishnu as Budhas’ avatars,” he mentions also Akasa (as matter), Shiva and Lingam to the list [5] Unfortunately he doesn’t provuide furthers details about those attribution in the explanations of the columns of his correspondences tables.

The Place of Vishnu in the Hindu Pantheon and Mythology

Vishnu (Viṣṇu) is the Supreme God of Vaishnavism, one of the three main sects of Hinduism. Vishnu is also known as Narayana and Hari. Laksmi is the wife of Vishnu.  The traditional explanation of the name Vishnu involves the root viś, meaning “to settle” (cognate with Latin vicus, English -wich “village,” Slavic: vas -ves), or also (in the Rigveda) “to enter into, to pervade,” glossing the name as “the All-Pervading One”. [6] Yaska, an early commentator on the Vedas, in his Nirukta, (etymological interpretation), defines Vishnu as viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā, “one who enters everywhere”. He also writes, atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati, “that which is free from fetters and bondages is Vishnu”. [7] Adi Sankara (one of the most revered Hindu philosophers and theologians) in his commentary on the Sahasranama states derivation from viś, with a meaning “presence everywhere” (“As he pervades everything, vevesti, he is called Vishnu“). Adi Sankara states (regarding Vishnu Purana, 3.1.45): “The Power of the Supreme Being has entered within the universe. The root viś means ‘enter into’.” Swami Chinmayananda (Hindu spiritual leader), in his translation of Vishnu Sahasranama further elaborates on that verse: “The root vis means to enter.

Iconographically, Vishnu is depicted as being of dark blue color with four arms, as are his incarnations but some other depictions of Vishnu exist as green-bodied, and in the Kurma Purana (one of the eighteen Mahapurana, a genre of Hindu religious texts) he is described as colorless and with red eyes.  He is seated on a throne. In his four hands he holds a conch, a war discus, a mace, and a lotus. He wears the Kaustubha gem around his neck and has a tuft of hair on his chest called Shrivatsa. His vehicle is the man-eagle Garuda. His spouse is Lakshmi, or Sri. In the highest understanding he exists as all things and also transcends them. [7b]

Vishnu first appears in the Vedas as a rather insignificant divinity, with only minor ritual importance. There are only 64 mentions of him in the Rig Veda, most of them in passing, with only a handful of hymns addressed to him alone. He is celebrated in the Vedas mostly for his “three steps” that saved the world, in his incarnation as Vamana Avatar. [5a] Vishnu first gains prominence in the later Vedic period, apparently after being identified with Vasudeva, a non-Vedic god popular in western India in the last centuries before the Common Era, and with the god Narayana of the Vedic Brahmana literature. By the time of the Mahabharataand Ramayana epics his prominence was assured. He was identified both with the gods Krishna, hero of the Mahabharata, and Rama, hero of the Ramayana. Eventually, Vishnu’s cult reached full development when he was recognized as Mahavishnu (great Vishnu), preserver of the universe, who entered into the world when needed in successive Avatars or “descents.” Before the world is created, Vishnu sleeps on the cosmic Milk Ocean the back of the divine serpent Adishesha. Out of his navel grows a lotus from which Brahma the creator god emerges to create the universe. Once the world is created Vishnu reigns in his heavenly realm of Vaikuntha. [5b] The entire world of things and beings is pervaded by Him and the Upanishad emphatically insists in its mantra ‘whatever that is there is the world of change.’ Hence, it means that He is not limited by space, time or substance. Chinmayananda states that, that which pervades everything is Vishnu.” [8]

In the vedas, Vishnu is the Supreme God who takes manifest forms or avatars across various ages or periods to save humanity from evil beings, demons or Asuras, who became powerful after receiving boons from Shiva. Whenever Vishnu takes an avatar, he is subject to birth and death just as a human is. One of his avatar, Krishna of the MAHABHARATA, for instance, dies by being shot in the heel. The Vishnu Sahasranama (a list of list of 1,000 names of Vishnu) declares Vishnu as Paramatman (supreme soul) and Parameshwara (supreme God). It describes Vishnu as the all-pervading essence of all beings, the master of—and beyond—the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, preserves, sustains and governs the universe and originates and develops all elements within.    Vishnu as the sustainer divinity takes human or animal incarnations when needed to maintain or defend the world. The Bhagavad Gita says that whenever there is a decrease in righteousness and an increase in unrighteousness in the world, Vishnu (there Krishna) sends himself forth. Only Vishnu among the gods is seen to take on incarnations as part of a divine duty. Other gods such as Shiva and the Goddess will be found in various forms, but these will not be referred to in general as avatars or incarnations. There are different lists of avatars or incarnations of Vishnu in different texts and traditions, variously containing 10, 12, or 22 god names. The most common list of avatars is Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varaha (boar), Narasimha (man-lion), Vamana (dwarf), Parashurama (Rama with the axe), Rama of the Ramayana, Krishna, Buddha, and Kalki (his future incarnation). Sometimes Krishna’s brother Balarama is made the 11th avatar and sometimes both Krishna and Balarama are classified as one avatar. [8a]

According to the extant Hindu texts and traditions, Lord Vishnu is considered to be resident in the direction of the “Makara Rashi” (the “Shravana Nakshatra”), which is about coincident with the Capricorn constellation. [9]  In some of the extant Puranas, and Vaishnava traditions, Vishnu’s eye is considered to be situated at the infinitely distant Southern Celestial Pole. [10] In the Rigveda, Vishnu is mentioned 93 times. He is frequently invoked alongside other deities, especially Indra, whom he helps in killing Vritra and with whom he drinks Soma. His distinguishing characteristic in the Vedas is his association with light. Two Rigvedic hymns in Mandala 7 are dedicated to Vishnu. In 7.99, Vishnu is addressed as the god who separates heaven and earth, a characteristic he shares with Indra.

Vishnu in his various forms is one of the most worshipped gods in the Indian pantheon. His tradition, known as Vaishnavism, constitutes the second largest sect within Hinduism.[11]

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[1]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42; In the notes Regardie explains what he means by that: “Purusha is Sanskrit for “person” or “spirit.” It refers to the eternal, unchanging self.  In Samkhyan philosophy, the purusha is in opposition to prakriti or “”matter.” The bondage of the human soul is caused by a confusion of purusha with prakriti.  Freedom from this bondage is brought about by a disassociation  of purush from prakriti. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 59)
[2]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[3]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[4]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 59.
[5]  Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 9.
[5a] Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, J. Gordon Melton, Series Editor, Facts on File Inc., 1961, p.491.
[5b] Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, J. Gordon Melton, Series Editor, Facts on File Inc., 1961, p.491.
[6] “Collected writings – Volume 12”, by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Boris De Zirkoff, p. 149.
[7] Adluri, Vishwa; Joydeep Bagchee (February 2012). “From Poetic Immortality to Salvation: Ruru and Orpheus in Indic and Greek Myth”. History of Religions 51 (3): 245–246.
[7b] Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, J. Gordon Melton, Series Editor, Facts on File Inc., 1961, p.491.
[8] Swami Chinmayananda’s translation of Vishnu sahasranama pgs. 16–17, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust.
[8a] Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, J. Gordon Melton, Series Editor, Facts on File Inc., 1961, p.492.
[9] Hart De Fouw; Robert Svoboda (2003). Light on Life: An Introduction to the Astrology of India. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
[10] White, David Gordon (2010-07-15). Sinister Yogis.
[11] Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, J. Gordon Melton, Series Editor, Facts on File Inc., 1961, p.491

Hindu God Attribution#2: Ishvara

vishnuuuExplanations for the Attribution

Anotehr correspondence for Chokmah is Ishvara according to Israel Regardie. In his book A Garden of Pomegrenates, Regardie explains to his readers the nature of Ishvara saying: “When the neutral, absolute reality of Braman takes on attributes, it become Ishvara, god or overlord.  Ishvara is said to have three aspects: Brahma, Shiva, and Visnu.” [1]  Crowley makes no mention of this or at least he doesn’t metions Ishvara by name in his qabalistic writtings.

The Place of Ishvara in the Hindu Pantheon and Mythology

Ishvara (Sanskrit Īśvara) is a theological concept in Hinduism translating to “lord”, applied to the “Supreme Being” or God in the monotheistic sense, or as an Ishta-deva in monistic thought. Much like “lord” (dominus, kurios) in Western usage, the Sanskrit īśvará primarily (late Vedic Sanskrit) has a temporal meaning of “lord, master, prince”. The theological meaning “the Supreme Being” first arises in the Manu Smriti, while īśa is used as a name of Rudra somewhat earlier, in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (c. 300 BCE), considered the first evidence of the development of that deity, the later Shiva, into a supreme, cosmological god. In Saivite traditions of Hinduism, the term is used as part of the compound “Maheshvara” (“great lord”) as a name for Shiva. In Mahayana Buddhism it is used as part of the compound “Avalokiteśvara” (“lord who hears the cries of the world”), the name of a bodhisattva revered for her compassion. When referring to divine as female, particularly in Shaktism, the feminine Īśvarī is sometimes used. In Vedanta Ishvara is a transcendent and immanent entity best described in the last chapter of the Shukla Yajur Veda Samhita, known as the Isha Upanishad. It states īśā vāsyam idaṃ sarvaṃ, “enveloped by the Lord must be this all”, suggesting a kind of panentheism. The conception of Ishvara in Hinduism is very much dependent on the particular school of thought. While any one of five forms of a personal being can embody the concept of Ishvara in Advaita Vedanta, schools of Vaishnavism, on other hand, consider only Vishnu and His incarnations as the ultimate omnipotent Ishvara and all other forms as merely expansions or aspects of Vishnu. Advaitism holds that when human beings think of Brahman, the Supreme Cosmic Spirit is projected upon the limited, finite human mind and appears as Ishvara.  Therefore, the mind projects human attributes, such as personality, motherhood, and fatherhood on the Supreme Being. An interesting metaphor is that when the “reflection” of the Cosmic Spirit falls upon the mirror of Maya (Māyā; the principle of illusion, which binds the mind), it appears as the Supreme Lord.[1] Brahman is not thought to have such attributes in the true sense. [2] However it may be helpful to project such attributes onto Brahman. In Vishishtadvaita, Ishvara is the supreme cosmic spirit who maintains complete control over the universe and all the sentient beings, which together also form the pan-organistic body of Ishvara. The triad of Ishvara along with the universe and the sentient beings is Brahman, which signifies the completeness of existence. Ishvara is Para Brahman endowed with innumerable auspicious qualities (Kalyana Gunas). Para Brahman (IAST para-brahmaṇ) or Parama Brahman (the Highest Brahman; not to be confused with brahmin, an Indic social class designation) is a term often used by Vedantic philosophers as to the “attainment of the ultimate goal.” As such, Ishvara is perfect, omniscient, omnipresent, incorporeal, independent, creator of the world, its active ruler and also the eventual destroyer. He is causeless, eternal and unchangeable — and is yet the material and the efficient cause of the world. He is both immanent (like whiteness in milk) and transcendent (like a watch-maker independent of a watch). He is the subject of worship. He is the basis of morality and giver of the fruits of one’s Karma. He rules the world with His Māyā — His divine power. According to the Dvaita school, Ishvara possesses all the qualities seen in Vishishtadvaita. Ishvara is the efficient and material cause of the universe and the sentient beings and yet exists independently. Thus, Dvaitism does not separate Ishvara and Brahman, and does not believe that the highest form of Brahman is attributeless, or that Ishvara is incorporeal.  Instead, Ishvara is the highest form of truth and worship of Ishvara involves belief in an infinite and yet personal and loving being. Acintya bhedābheda is a school of Vedanta representing the philosophy of inconceivable one-ness and difference, in relation to the power creation and creator, Ishvara, (Krishna), svayam bhagavan. [3] and also between God and his energies [4] within the Gaudiya Vaishnava religious tradition. In Sanskrit achintya means ‘inconceivable’, bheda translates as ‘difference’, and abheda translates as ‘one-ness’. It is believed that this philosophy was taught by the movement’s theological founder Chaitanya Mahaprabhu [5] and differentiates the Gaudiya tradition from the other Vaishnava Sampradayas.

Western occultists describe Chokhma as the creative, active principle behind the cosmos. It is force, the ultimate Subject, as compared to Binah, the ultimate Object. In this respect, it is very similar to the idea of Shiva in the Shiva-Shakti duality of Shakta tantra. Chokhma and Binah are compared to the fuel and the engine of a car. Chokhma is the fuel, pure force, and Binah is the engine, pure potential. One without the other is useless, both are needed to drive the cosmos.

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[1]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Poemgretates, notes, p. 59.
[2] Swami Bhaskarananda, The Essentials of Hinduism (Viveka Press 1994)
[3] Kaviraja, K.G. Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. Bengali text, translation, and commentary by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Madhya 20.108-109 “It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna because he is the marginal energy of Krishna and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire.”
[4] Prabhupada, A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami (1972). Bhagavad-gita as it is. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Los Angeles, Calif.7.8
[5] Lord Chaitanya taught that as spirit souls we are part of God and thus we are one with Him in quality, and yet at the same time we are also different from Him in quantity. This is called acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva, inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference.

Hindu God Attribution#3: The Purusha

Purusha Prakriti

Purusha and Prakriti

Explanation for the Attribution

Chokmah, Israel Regardie tells us,” is the vital energizing element of existence, Spirit or the Purusha of the Sankhyan philosophy of India, by which is implied the basic reality underlying all manifestations of consciousness.” [1]

The Place of the Purusha in Hindu Philosophy

In some lineages of Hinduism, Purusha (Sanskrit puruṣa, पुरुष “man, cosmic man,” [2]  in Sutra literature also called puṃs “man”) is the “Self” which pervades the universe. [2a] The Vedic divinities are interpretations of the many facets of Purusha. According to the Rigvedic Purusha sukta, [3] Purusha was dismembered by the devas (benevolent supernatural being) —his mind is the Moon, his eyes are the Sun, and his breath is the wind.

In the Rigveda, Purusha is described as a primeval giant that is sacrificed by the gods (see Purushamedha) and from whose body the world and the varnas (classes) are built. He is described as having a thousand heads and a thousand feet. He emanated Viraj, the female creative principle, from which he is reborn in turn after the world was made out of his parts.

Bhagavata Purana describes that Purusha is the first form of Supreme Lord Narayana [4] and this Purusha is the source of everything in the universe. The Purusha in the title of Purusha Sukta refers to the Parama Purusha, Purushottama, Vedic Supreme God Narayana, in his form as the Viraat Purusha (Enormously Huge Being). It describes this form of his as having countless heads, eyes and legs manifested everywhere, and beyond the scope of any limited method of comprehension. All creation is but a fourth part of him. The rest is unmanifested. He is the source of all creation. Purusha along with Prakrti (the basic nature of intelligence by which the Universe exists) creates the necessary tattvas (meaning ‘thatness’, ‘principle’, ‘reality’ or ‘truth’) for the creation of universe. The parallel to Norse Ymir (primeval being born of primordial elemental poison)  is often [5] considered to reflect the myth’s origin in Proto-Indo-European religion. [6] Rishi Angiras of the Atmopanishad belonging to the Atharvaveda (sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas) explains that Purusha, the dweller in the body, is three-fold:

  1. The Bahyatman (the Outer-Atman) which is born and dies.
  2. The Antaratman (the Inner-Atman) which comprehends the whole range of material phenomena, gross and subtle, with which the Jiva (a living being, or more specifically, the immortal essence or soul of a living organism) concerns himself.
  3.  The Paramatman which is all-pervading, unthinkable, indescribable, purifies the unclean, is without action and has no Samskaras. [7]  In Hindu theology, Paramatman or Paramātmā is the Absolute Atman or Supreme Soul or Spirit (also known as Supersoul or Oversoul) in the Vedanta and Yoga philosophies of India. Paramatman is the “Primordial Self” or the “Self Beyond” who is spiritually practically identical with the Absolute, identical with Brahman. Selflessness is the attribute of Paramatman, where all personality/individuality vanishes. [8]  The Vedanta Sutras state janmādy asya yatah, meaning that ‘The Absolute Truth is that from which everything else emanates’ Bhagavata Purana [S.1.1.1]. This Absolute Truth, which is personal in nature, is Purusha personified.

In Samkhya, a school of Hindu philosophy, Purusha is pure consciousness. It is thought to be our true identity, to be contrasted with Prakrti, or the material world, which contains all of our organs, senses, and intellectual faculties.

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[1]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42; In the notes Regardie explains what he means by that: “Purusha is Sanskrit for “person” or “spirit.” It refers to the eternal, unchanging self.  In Samkhyan philosophy, the purusha is in opposition to prakriti or “”matter.” The bondage of the human soul is caused by a confusion of purusha with prakriti.  Freedom from this bondage is brought about by a disassociation  of purush from prakriti. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 59)
[2] The cosmic man, or Macranthropy is a term describing the allegorical portrayal of the universe as a giant anthropomorphic body with the various components of the universe assigned to corresponding body parts. Macranthropy has made appearances in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient India.
[2a] Rigveda 10/81 & Yajurveda 17/19/20, 25.
[3] Purusha sukta (puruṣasūkta, पुरुष सूक्त) is hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda, dedicated to the Purusha, the “Cosmic Being”. The seer of this verse is Rishi Narayana and this sukta can evoke God-experience in the seeker.
[4] Bhagavata Purana 1.3.1.
[5] Encyclopædia Britannica. Edition: 11 V. 19 – 1911 page 143
[6] Patrice Lajoye, “Puruṣa“, Nouvelle Mythologie Comparée / New Comparative Mythologie, 1, 2013.
[7] Swami Madhavananda. Minor Upanishads. Advaita Ashrama. p. 11.
[8] T. Depurucker. An Occult Glossary:A Comendium of Oriental and Theosophical Terms. Kessinger Publishing. p. 130.

Chineese Buddhist Pantheon God Attribution: Kwan Shi Yin

KwanShiYinExplanation for the Attribution

Crowley doesn’t mention anything about this in his qabalistic writtings, but according to Israel Regardie, in his book A Garden of Pomegrenates, tells his readers that the pantheon of the Buddhists of China have a correspondence for Chokmah, his name is Kwan Shi Yin. [1]

The Place of Kwan Shi Yin of the Chineese Pantheon

Guanyin (in pinyin; previous transliterations Quan Yin, Kwan Yin, or Kuanyin) is the bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World”. She is also sometimes referred to as Guanyin Pusa (simplified Chinese: 观音菩萨; traditional Chinese: 觀音菩薩; pinyin: Guānyīn Púsà; literally: “Bodhisattva Guanyin”). [2] Some Buddhists believe that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by Guanyin in the heart of a lotus, and then sent to the western pure land of Sukhāvatī. [3]  It is generally accepted among East Asian adherents that Guanyin originated as the Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara (अवलोकितेश्वर). Commonly known in English as the Mercy Goddess or Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin is also revered by Chinese Taoists (or Daoists) as an Immortal. However, in folk traditions such as Chinese mythology, there are other stories about Guanyin’s origins that are outside the accounts of Avalokiteśvara recorded in Buddhist sutras.  Guanyin is an extremely popular goddess in Chinese folk belief and is worshiped in many Chinese communities throughout East and South East Asia. For example in Taoism, records claim Guanyin was a Chinese female who became an immortal Cihang Zhenren [4]  in Shang Dynasty or Xingyin (姓音). Guanyin is revered in the general Chinese population due to her unconditional love and compassion. She is generally regarded by many as the protector of women and children. By this association, she is also seen as a fertility goddess capable of granting children to couples. An old Chinese superstition involves a woman who, wishing to have a child, offers a shoe to Guanyin. In Chinese culture, a borrowed shoe sometimes is used when a child is expected. After the child is born, the shoe is returned to its owner along with a new pair as a thank you gift. [5]

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[1]   Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[2] Doré S.J., Henry; Kennelly, S.J. (Translator), M. (1914). Researches into Chinese Superstitions. Tusewei Press, Shanghai. Vol I p. 2.
[3] Johnson, Reginald (2008) [1913]. Buddhist China. Soul Care Publishing. Sukhāvatī (Sanskrit: सुखावती sukhāvatī) refers to the western Pure Land of the Buddha Amitābha in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Sukhāvatī translates to “Land of Bliss.” In traditional Mahayana Buddhist countries, there are a number of translations for Sukhāvatī. The Tibetan name for Sukhāvatī is Dewachen (བདེ་བ་ཅན་, bde ba can). In Chinese it is called Jílè (極樂, “Ultimate Bliss”), Ānlè (安樂, “Peaceful Bliss”), or Xītiān (西天, “Western Heaven”). In Japanese it is called Gokuraku (極楽, “Ultimate Bliss”) or Anraku (安楽, “Peaceful Bliss”).
[4] Cihang Zhenren (Chinese: 慈航真人; pinyin: Cíháng Zhēnrén; Wade–Giles: Tz’u-hang Chen-jen; literally: “Compassion Travel/Navigate True Person”) is a Daoist zhenren “Perfected Person” who is identified with the Buddhist bodhisattva Guan Yin. Cihang Zhenren supposedly originated as a Daoist xian “transcendent; immortal” and became a bodhisattva because of his endless willingness and effort in helping those in need.
[5] Doré S.J., Henry; Kennelly, S.J. (Translator), M. (1914). Researches into Chinese Superstitions. Tusewei Press, Shanghai.
Vol I p. 2.

The Scandinavian Deity Correspondence: Odin

Odin,_der_GöttervaterExplanation for the Attribution

The scandinavian deity correspondence for Chokmah is Odin [1]  Unfortunately no other precisions are provided in his qabalistic writting to explain this attribution. Curiously, Israel Regardie does not say a word about it either in his compendium A Garden of Pomegrenates. [2]

The Place of Odin in Norse Pantheon and Mythology

Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn, “The Furious One“) is a major god in most if not all branches of Germanic mythology especially in the Norse mythology branch of Germanic mythology, the Allfather of the gods, and the ruler of Asgard. The place we call Asgard (Old Norse: Ásgarðr”; “Enclosure of the Æsir”) [3] is one of the Nine Worlds [4] and home to the Æsir tribe of gods. [5] It is surrounded by an incomplete wall attributed to a Hrimthurs riding the stallion Svaðilfari, according to Gylfaginning (the first part of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda). Odin and his wife, Frigg, are the rulers of Asgard.  One of Asgard’s well known locations is Valhalla, in which Odin rules. Homologous with the Old English “Wōden”, the Old Saxon “Wôdan” and the Old High German “Wôtan”, [6] the name is descended from Proto-Germanic “*Wōdanaz” or “*Wōđanaz”. “Odin” is generally accepted as the modern English form of the name, although, in some cases, older forms may be used or preferred. His name is related to ōðr, [7] meaning “fury, excitation”, besides “mind” or “poetry”. His role, like that of many of the Norse gods, is extremely complex. Odin is a principal member of the Æsir (the major group of the Norse pantheon) and is usually associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, Shamanism, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is the thunder god Thor. Odin, along with the other Germanic gods and goddesses, is recognized by Germanic neopagans. His Norse form is particularly acknowledged in Ásatrú, the “faith in the Æsir”, an officially recognized religion in Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Spain. [8] Odin was referred to by more than 200 names which hint at his various roles. Among others, he was known as Yggr (terror), Sigfodr (father of Victory) and Alfodr (All Father) in the skaldic and Eddic traditions of heiti and kennings, a poetic method of indirect reference, as in a riddle.  Some epithets establish Odin as a father god: Alföðr, “all-father”, “father of all”; Aldaföðr, “father of men (or of the age)”; Herjaföðr, “father of hosts”; Sigföðr, “father of victory”; and Valföðr, “father of the slain”.

The Cult of Odin: The blóts

A depiction of a Goði leading the people in sacrificing to an idol of Thor in this painting by J.L. Lund.

A depiction of a Goði leading the people in sacrificing to an idol of Thor in this painting by J.L. Lund.

It is attested in primary sources that sacrifices were made to Odin during blóts (Old Norse neuter) which were Norse pagan sacrifices to the Norse gods land spirits. The sacrifice often took the form of a sacramental meal or feast. Related religious practices were performed by other Germanic peoples, such as the pagan Anglo-Saxons. The blót element of horse sacrifice is found throughout Indo-European traditions, including the Indian, Celtic, and Latin traditions. The word blót (Icelandic and Faroese: blót) is the Old Norse and Old English representative of the Proto-Germanic noun *ƀlōtan “sacrifice, worship”. Connected to this is the Proto-Germanic strong verb *ƀlōtanan attested in Gothic blotan, Old Norse blóta, Old English blótan and Old High German bluozan, all of which mean “to sacrifice, offer, worship”. The word also appears in the compound *ƀlōta-hūsan (attested in Old Norse blót-hús “house of worship” and Old High German bluoz-hūz “temple”). With a different nominative affix, the same stem is found in the Proto-Germanic noun *ƀlōstran “sacrifice” (attested in Gothic *blostr in guþ-blostreis “worshipper of God” and Old High German bluostar “offering, sacrifice”). This stem is thought to be connected to the Proto-Germanic verb *ƀlōanan “to blow, bloom, blossom”, as are the words for “blood” (Proto-Germanic *ƀlōđan) and “bloom” (Proto-Germanic *ƀlōmōn). Norwegian philologist and linguist Sophus Bugge [8a] was the first to suggest a connection between blót and the Latin flamen (< *flădmen), and both words can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European stem *bhlād- “to bubble forth; to mumble, murmur, blather”. [9] The sacrifice usually consisted of animals, in particular pigs and horses. The meat was boiled in large cooking pits with heated stones, either indoors or outdoors. The blood was considered to contain special powers and it was sprinkled on the statues of the gods, on the walls and on the participants themselves. It was a sacred moment when the people gathered around the steaming cauldrons to have a meal together with the gods or the Elves. The drink that was passed around was blessed and sacred as well and it was passed from participant to participant. The drink was usually beer or mead but among the nobility it could be imported wine. The old prayer was til árs ok friðar, “for a good year and frith (peace)” They asked for fertility, good health, a good life and peace and harmony between the people and the powers. German medieval chronicler Adam of Bremen [%%] relates that every ninth year, people assembled from all over Sweden to sacrifice at the Temple at Uppsala. [10]

The Winter Nights

The autumn blót was performed in the middle of October (about four weeks after the autumn equinox), the Winter Nights, indicating the beginning of winter. Winter Nights or Old Norse vetrnætr was a specific time of year in medieval Scandinavia. According to Zoega’s Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic, vetr-nætr referred to “the three days which begin the winter season”. The term is attested in the narrative of some of the Fornaldarsögur (a Norse saga that takes place before the colonization of Iceland), [10a] mostly to express passage of time (“as autumn turned into winter”). The term is not mentioned in the Ynglinga saga [11] by Snorri Sturluson (Icelandic historian, poet, and politician) where (in chapter 8) the three great sacrifices of the year are proscribed:

Þá skyldi blóta í móti vetri til árs, en at miðjum vetri blóta til gróðrar, hit þriðja at sumri, þat var sigrblót.
There should be a sacrifice at the beginning of winter for a good year, and at in the middle of winter for a good crop, the third in summer day, that was the sacrifice for victory.

It can be argued that í móti vetri “at the onset of winter” marking the autumn sacrifice in the Ynglinga saga is corresponds to what came to be called vetrnætr “winter nights” at a somewhat later stage of the Old Norse period.  Specific sacrifices held at the beginning of winter during the Old Norse period were álfablót and dísablót.

Dísablót

Of these, dísablót came to be a public sacrifice, according to the Ynglinga saga performed by the king of Sweden; it may, however, at an earlier time have been a sacrifice reserved for women and performed by priestesses (c.f. mōdraniht). It was held in honour of the female spirits or deities called dísir [12] (and the Valkyries), from pre-historic times until the Christianization of Scandinavia. Its purpose was to enhance the coming harvest.  It is mentioned in Hervarar saga, Víga-Glúms saga, Egils saga and the Heimskringla. The celebration still lives on in the form of an annual fair called the Disting in Uppsala, Sweden. [13] In one version of Hervarar saga, there is a description of how the sacrifice was performed. Alfhildr, the daughter of king Alfr of Alfheim, was kidnapped by Starkad Aludreng while she was reddening a horgr with blood. [14]This suggests that the rite was performed by women, especially in light of what is generally believed to be their nearly exclusive role as priestesses of the pagan Germanic religion. [15] However, according to the Ynglinga saga part of the Heimskringla, the king of Sweden performed the rites, which was in accordance with his role as high priest of the Temple at Uppsala. The mention of the Dísablót concerns the death of king Eadgils (Aðils, Adils) who died from falling off his horse while riding around the shrine:

King Adils was at a Disa sacrifice; and as he rode around the Disa hall his horse’ Raven stumbled and fell, and the king was thrown forward upon his head, and his skull was split, and his brains dashed out against a stone. Adils died at Upsal, and was buried there in a mound. The Swedes called him a great king. [16]

A depiction of a Goði leading the people in sacrificing to an idol of Thor in this painting by J.L. Lund.

A depiction of a Goði leading the people in sacrificing to an idol of Thor in this painting by J.L. Lund.

In Sweden, the Dísablót was of central political and social importance. The festivities were held at the end of February or early March at Gamla Uppsala. [17] It was held in conjunction with the great fair Disting and the great popular assembly called the Thing of all Swedes. [18] The shrine where the Dísir were worshiped was called dísarsalr and this building is mentioned in the Ynglinga saga concerning king Aðils’ death. It also appears Hervarar saga, where a woman becomes so infuriated over the death of her father by the hands of Heiðrekr (one of the main characters in the cycle about the magic swordTyrfing), her husband, that she hangs herself in the shrine. The Scandinavian dísablót is associated with the Anglo-Saxon modranect (“mothers’ night”) by Gabriel Turville-Petre. [19] The Anglo-Saxon month roughly equivalent to November was called blot-monath. The number of references to the Disir ranging from the Merseburg Charms (magic spell texts) [20] to many instances in Norse mythology indicate that they were considered vital deities to worship and that they were a primary focus of prayers (e.g. the charms) for luck against enemies in war.

Alfablót

By contrast with the grandiose Dísablót, the álfablót or Elven blót was a small scale sacrifice held at each homestead separately for the local spirits, under the explicit exclusion of any strangers. Not much is known about these rites, since they were surrounded by great secrecy and because strangers were not welcome during the time of the rituals. However, since the elves were collective powers closely connected with the ancestors some assume that it had to do with the ancestor cult and the life force of the family. It also appears that Odin was implied and that the master of the household was called Ölvir when administering the rites.  The first element of Ölvir means “beer”, which was an important element in Norse pagan sacrifices generally.  There is a notable account of the ceremony in Austrfararvísur (skaldic poem dating from 1020)by the Norwegian skald Sigvatr Þórðarson, [21] where he tried to impose on the privacy of a series of homes during the sacred family holiday, a privacy that he was accordingly asked to respect.

The Great Midwinter Blót, or Yule

Chambers_Yule_Log

Hauling a Yule log, 1832

The great midwinter blót, or Yule, took place in the middle of January.  This pagan religious festival was commonly observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later being absorbed into and equated with the Christian festival of Christmas. The earliest references to Yule are by way of indigenous Germanic month names Ærra Jéola (Before Yule) or Jiuli and Æftera Jéola (After Yule). Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Modranicht. [22] Terms with an etymological equivalent to Yule are used in the Nordic countries for Christmas with its religious rites, but also for the holidays of this season. Yule is also used to a lesser extent in English-speaking countries to refer to Christmas. Customs such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from Yule. A number of Neopagans have introduced their own rites. Freyr was the most important god at the Midwinter and autumn blót, and Christmas ham (the pig was for Freyr) is still a main Christmas course in parts of Scandinavia.

The Summer Blót

The Summer blót was undertaken in the middle of April (about four weeks after the spring equinox) and it was given to Odin.  Then, they drank for victory in war and this blót was the starting date for Viking expeditions and wars.   Sacrifices were probably also made to Odin at the beginning of summer (mid-April, actually – summer being reckoned essentially the same as did the Celt, at Beltene, Calan Mai [Welsh], which is Mayday – hence as summer’s “herald”), since the Ynglinga saga [23] states one of the great festivals of the calendar is at sumri, þat var sigrblót, “in summer, sacrifice for victory”. Odin is consistently referred to throughout the Norse mythos as the bringer of victory. The Ynglinga saga also details the sacrifices made by the Swedish king Aun, [24] to whom it was revealed that he would lengthen his life by sacrificing one of his sons every ten years; nine of his ten sons died this way. When he was about to sacrifice his last son Egil, the Swedes stopped him.

The Temples of Odin

Among nordic tribes, a building where the blót took place was called a hov (cf. German Hof). Heathen hofs or Germanic pagan temples were the temple buildings of Germanic paganism; there are also a few built for use in modern Germanic neopaganism. The term hof is taken from Old Norse.  There are many place names derived from this in e.g. Scania, West Götaland [25] and East Götaland. [26] Excavations at the medieval churches of Mære in Trøndelag (region in the central part of Norway) and at Old Uppsala (village outside Uppsala in Sweden) provide the few exceptions where church sites are associated with earlier churches. There were also other sacred places called Hörgr, , Lund and Haug. Horgr means altar possibly consisting of a heap of stones, Lund means “grove” and Ve simply “sacred place”. The Christian laws forbade worshipping at the haug or haugr meaning “mound” or “barrow”. [27]

The German historian Thietmar, Count of Merseburg [28] wrote that the Daner (a North Germanic tribe residing in what more or less comprises modern day Denmark) [29] had their main cult centre on Zealand (largest and most populated island in Denmark) at Lejre (old Norse: Hleiðra), where they gathered every nine years and sacrificed 99 people but also horses, dogs and hens. Archaeological excavations have indeed revealed Lejre to be of great importance and in fact the seat of the royal family dating to at least the Iron Age. There is not conclusive evidence that Lejre was the site of a main cult centre though, but excavations around lake Tissø (4th largest freshwater lake in Denmark) not far to the West, have revealed an ancient hof of great importance.

The Temple at Uppsala was a religious center in the ancient Norse religion once located at what is now Gamla Uppsala (Swedish “Old Uppsala”), Sweden attested in Adam of Bremen’s 11th-century work Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum [30]  and in Heimskringla, written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. [31]  Theories have been proposed about the implications of the descriptions of the temple and the findings (or lack thereof) of the archaeological excavations in the area, along with recent findings of extensive wooden structures and log lines that may have played a supporting role to activities at the site, including ritual sacrifice. Male slaves and males of each species were sacrificed and hung from the branches of the trees.  As the Swedes had the right not only to elect their king but also to depose him, the sagas relate that both King Domalde [32] and King Olof Trätälja [33] were sacrificed to Odin after years of famine. It has been argued that the killing of a combatant in battle was to give a sacrificial offering to Odin. The fickleness of Odin in war was well documented; in Lokasenna (one of the poems of the Poetic Edda), Loki taunts Odin for his inconsistency.  Sometimes sacrifices were made to Odin to bring about changes in circumstance. A notable example is the sacrifice of King Víkar (a legendary Norwegian king) that is detailed in Gautrek’s Saga [34] and in Saxo Grammaticus’ [35]  account of the same event.  Sailors in a fleet that have been blown off course have found themselves without winds for a long period. To raise a wind, a human blood sacrifice to Odin was needed, and the lots fell on King Víkar himself who was hanged.

In Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, Adam of Bremen provides a description of the temple. Adam records that a “very famous temple called Ubsola” exists in a town close to Sigtuna ( locality situated in Sigtuna Municipality, Stockholm County, Sweeden).  [36] Adam details that the temple is “adorned with gold” and that the people there worship statues of three specific gods that sit on a triple throne.  Thor, whom Adam refers to as “the mightiest,” sits in the central throne, while Wodan (Odin) and Fricco (Freyr) are seated on the thrones to the sides of him. Adam provides information about the characteristics of the three gods, including that Fricco is depicted with an immense erect penis, Wodan in armor (“as our people depict Mars,” Adam notes) and that Thor has a mace, a detail which Adam compares to that of the Roman god Jupiter. Adam adds that, in addition, “they also worship gods who were once men, whom they reckon to be immortal because of their heroic acts […].” [37] Adam writes that a golden chain surrounds the temple that hangs from the gables of the building. The chain is very visible to those approaching the temple from a distance due to the landscape where the temple was built; it is surrounded by hills, “like an amphitheatre.” Adam describes that near the temple stands a massive tree with far-spreading branches, which is evergreen both in summer and winter. At the tree is also a spring where sacrifices are also held. According to Adam, a custom exists where a man, alive, is thrown into the spring, and if he fails to return to the surface, “the wish of the people will be fulfilled.” [38]

Olaus_Magnus_-_On_the_Glori

A woodcut depicting the Temple at Uppsala as described by Adam of Bremen, including the golden chain around the temple, the well and the tree, from Olaus Magnus’ Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (1555).

Adam says that the three gods have a priest appointed to them each who offer up sacrifices to the deities from the people. If famine or plague occurs, a sacrifice is made to Thor; if there is war, a sacrifice is made to Wodan; if a marriage is to be held, a sacrifice is made to Fricco. Adam continues that “every nine years there is a communal festival of every province in Sweden held in Ubsola; and those already converted to Christianity have to buy themselves off from the ceremonies.” [39] The feasts and sacrifices continue for a total of nine days, and during the course of each day a man is sacrificed along with two animals. Therefore, in a total of nine days twenty-seven sacrifices occur, and, Adam notes, these sacrifices occur “about the time of the spring equinox.” [40] Adam details sacrificial practices held at the temple; Adam describes that nine males of “every living creature” are offered up for sacrifice, and tradition dictates that their blood placates the gods. The corpses of the nine males are hung within the grove beside the temple. Adam says that the grove is considered extremely sacred to the heathens, so much so that each singular tree “is considered to be divine,” due to the death of those sacrificed or their rotting corpses hanging there, and that dogs and horses hang within the grove among the corpses of men. Adam reveals that “one Christian” informed him that he had seen seventy-two cadavers of differing species hanging within the grove. Adam expresses disgust at the songs they sing during these sacrificial rites, quipping that the songs are “so many and disgusting that it is best to pass over them in silence.” [41]

Midvinterblot

Midvinterblot (1915) by Carl Larsson: King Domalde offers himself for sacrifice before the hof at Gamla Uppsala.

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 8.
[2] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[3] Lindow, John (2002). Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
[4] The cosmology of Norse mythology has “nine homeworlds”, unified by the world tree Yggdrasill.
[5] In Old Norse, ǫ́ss (or áss, ás, plural æsir; feminine ásynja, plural ásynjur) is the term denoting a member of the principal pantheon in the indigenous Germanic religion known as Norse paganism. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr. The second pantheon comprises the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage the Æsir-Vanir War, which results in a unified pantheon.
[6] Brian Murdoch (editor) (2004). German Literature of the Early Middle Ages. Camden House Publishing. p. 62.
[7] In Norse mythology, Óðr (Old Norse for the “Divine Madness, frantic, furious, vehement, eager”, as a noun “mind, feeling” and also “song, poetry”; Orchard (1997) gives “the frenzied one”) or Óð, sometimes angliziced as Odr or Od, is a figure associated with the major goddess Freyja.
[8] Confesiones Minoritarias – Ministerio de Justicia.
[8a] Sophus Bugge (5 January 1833 – 8 July 1907) was a noted Norwegian philologist and linguist. His scholarly work was directed to the study of runic inscriptions and Norse philology. Bugge is best known for his theories and his work on the runic alphabet and the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda.
[9] Orel, Vladimir (2003). A Handbook of Germanic Etymology. Leiden: Bril, p. 50–51; Bammesberger, Alfred (1990). Die Morphologie der urgermanischen Nomens. Heidelberg: Carl Winters Universitätsverlag., p. 87.
[10a] A legendary saga or fornaldarsaga (literally, “story/history of the ancient era”) is a Norse saga that, unlike the Icelanders’ sagas, takes place before the colonization of Iceland.  There are some exceptions, such as Yngvars saga víðförla, which takes place in the 11th century. The sagas were probably all written in Iceland, from about the middle of the 13th century to about 1400, although it is possible that some may be of a later date, such as Hrólfs saga kraka.
[11] Ynglinga saga is a legendary saga, originally written in Old Norse by the Icelandic poet and historian Snorri Sturluson about 1225. It is the first section of his Heimskringla. It was first translated into English and published in 1844 by Samuel Laing.
[$$] Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (Deeds of the Bishops of Hamburg) is a historical treatise written between 1073 and 1076 by Adam of Bremen . It covers the period from 788 to the time it was written.
[12] In Norse mythology, a dís (“lady”, plural dísir) is a ghost, spirit or deity associated with fate who can be both benevolent and antagonistic towards mortal people. Dísir may act as protective spirits of Norse clans. Their original function was possibly that of fertility goddesses who were the object of both private and official worship called dísablót, and their veneration may derive from the worship of the spirits of the dead.
[13] The Disting is an annual market which is held in Uppsala, Sweden, since pre-historic times. The name (Old Swedish: Disæþing or Disaþing) originally referred to the great assembly called the Thing of all Swedes, and it is derived from the fact that both the market and the thing were held in conjunction with the Dísablót.
[14] A hörgr (Old Norse, plural hörgar) or hearg (Old English) was a type of religious building or altar possibly consisting of a heap of stones, used in Norse paganism. Hörgar are attested in the Poetic Edda; compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda; written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, sagas, in the poetry of skalds, the Old English poem Beowulf, and in various place names, often in connection with Germanic deities.
[15] The Religious Practices of the Pre-Christian and Viking Age North at Northvegr.
[16] The Ynglinga saga at Northvegr.
[17] The article Landsting, at the official site of the Museum of National Antiquities, Sweden. As early as the 3rd century AD and the 4th century AD and onwards, it was an important religious, economic and political centre. Early written sources show that already during pre-history, Gamla Uppsala was well known in Northern Europe as the residence of the Swedish kings of the legendary Yngling dynasty.  In fact, the oldest Scandinavian sources, such as Ynglingatal, the Westrogothic law and the Gutasaga talk of the king of Sweden as the “King at Uppsala”.
[18] The Thing of all Swedes (allra Svía þing, Þing allra Svía,Disaþing, or Kyndilþing) was the governing assembly held from pre-historic times to the Middle Ages at Gamla Uppsala, Sweden, occurring at the end of February or early March in conjunction with a great fair and a religious celebration called Dísablót. See The article Disablot, in the encyclopedia Nordisk familjebok.
[19] Edward Oswald Gabriel Turville-Petre F.B.A. (known as Gabriel) (1908 –1978) was Professor of Ancient Icelandic Literature and Antiquities at the University of Oxford. He wrote numerous books and articles in English and Icelandic on literature and religious history. See Myth and Religion of the North (1964), p. 224-227.
[20] The Merseburg Incantations or Merseburg Charms (German: die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) are two medieval magic spells, charms or incantations, written in Old High German.
[21] Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sighvatr Þórðarson, Sigvat Tordarson) or Sigvat the Skald (995-1045) was an Icelandic skald. He was a court poet to King Olaf II of Norway, as well as Canute the Great, Magnus the Good and Anund Jacob, by whose reigns his floruit can be dated to the earlier eleventh century.
[22] Mōdraniht (Old English “Night of the Mothers” or “Mothers’-night”) was an event held at what is now Christmas Eve by the Anglo-Saxon Pagans where a sacrifice may have been made.
[23] Ynglinga saga is a legendary saga, originally written in Old Norse by the Icelandic poet and historian Snorri Sturluson about 1225. It is the first section of his Heimskringla. It was first translated into English and published in 1844 by Samuel Laing.
[24] He was a mythical Swedish king of the House of Yngling, the ancestors of Norway’s first king, Harald Fairhair.
[25] Västergötland (English exonym: West Gothland), is one of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces of Sweden (landskap in Swedish), situated in the southwest of Sweden. In older English literature one may also encounter the Latinized version Westrogothia. Västergötland borders the provinces Bohuslän, Dalsland, Värmland, Närke, Östergötland, Småland, and Halland. It is also bounded by the two largest Swedish lakes Vänern and Vättern, with a small strip to the Kattegat sea area. On this small strip the second largest city of Sweden, Gothenburg, is situated.
[26] Östergötland, English exonym: East Gothland, is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden (landskap in Swedish) in the south of Sweden. It borders Småland, Västergötland, Närke, Södermanland, and the Baltic Sea. In older English literature, one might also encounter the Latinized version, Ostrogothia.
[27] Old Norse Online Base Form Dictionary (Jonathan Slocum and Todd B. Krause. The College of Liberal Arts. University of Texas at Austin).
[28] Thietmar (I) (also Thiatmar, Dietmar, or Thiommar) (died 1 June 932), Count and Margrave, was the military tutor (vir disciplinae militaris peritissmus) of Henry the Fowler while he was the heir and then duke of the Duchy of Saxony.
[29] They are mentioned in the 6th century in Jordanes’ Getica, by Procopius, and by Gregory of Tours. In his description of Scandza, Jordanes says that the Dani were of the same stock as the Suetidi (Swedes, Suithiod?) and expelled the Heruli and took their lands. According to the 12th century author Sven Aggesen, the mythical King Dan gave name to the Danes. The Old English poems Widsith and Beowulf, as well as works by later Scandinavian writers—notably by Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1200)—provide some of the references to Danes.
[30] Adam of Bremen (also: Adamus Bremensis) was a German medieval chronicler. He lived and worked in the second half of the eleventh century. He is most famous for his chronicle Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum (Deeds of Bishops of the Hamburg Church).
[31] Heimskringla is the best known of the Old Norse kings’ sagas. It was written in Old Norse in Iceland by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson (1178/79–1241) ca. 1230.
[33] Olaf Tree Feller (Old Norse: Óláfr trételgja, Swedish: Olof Trätälja, Norwegian: Olav Tretelgja, all meaning Olaf Woodwhittler) was the son of the Swedish king Ingjald ill-ruler of the House of Yngling according to Ynglingatal.
[34] Gautreks saga (Gautrek’s Saga) is a Scandinavian legendary saga put to text towards the end of the 13th century which survives only in much later manuscripts. It seems to have been intended as a compilation of traditional stories, often humorous, about a legendary King Gautrek of West Götaland, to serve as a kind of prequel to the already existing Hrólfs saga Gautrekssonar (Saga of Hrólf son of Gautrek).
[35] Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1150 – c. 1220) also known as Saxo cognomine Longus was a Danish historian and author, thought to have been a clerk or secretary to Absalon, Archbishop of Lund, foremost advisor to Valdemar I of Denmark. He is the author of the first full history of Denmark.
[36] Although less significant today, Sigtuna has an important place in Sweden’s early history. It is the oldest city in Sweden, having been founded in 980. The history of Sigtuna before the 11th century, as described in the Norse sagas and other early medieval sources, can be found in the article Old Sigtuna. It operated as a royal and commercial centre for some 250 years, and was one of the most important cities of Sweden.
[37] Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend, p. 169.
[38] Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend, p. 169.
[39] Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend, p. 169.
[40] Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend, p. 169.
[41] Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend, p. 169.

The Blavatsky System Correspondence: Mahat or Cosmic ideation

BLAVATSKY-COSMIC-IDEATION2Explanationfor the Attribution

In Blavatsky’s system, Israel Regardie tells us, Chokmah would be what is there named Mahat or “Cosmic Ideation.” [1]  Regarding this attribution, in the notes from the chapter on the Sephiroth, Regardie tells us that Mahat (devanāgarī: महत्) is a Sanskrit term frequently translated as “the great principle” (from maha, “great”) or “the Great One.” [2] Crowley doesn’t mentions any equivalences with Blavatsky’s system in his qabalistic writtings.

The Place of Mahat in Blavatsky’s System

 It refers to the universal mind and in Hinduism is the first principle evolved out of the union of purusha (pure consciousness) and prakriti (the principle of matter). In Theosophy mahat is called “Universal Mind”[3] or the “Cosmic Ideation”.[4] It is the universal intelligence, which is not eternal, but limited by the duration of the manvantara.[5] Mahat is also equated to the Third Logos (the manifested one): Mahat, in the Esoteric interpretations, is in reality the Third Logos or the Synthesis of the Seven creative rays, the Seven Logoi. [6] Some synonyms used in The Secret Doctrine are Universal Mind, Cosmic Mind, Cosmic Ideation, Divine Ideation, Divine Thought, Mahâbuddhi, and Ādi-Buddhi. [7]

This is the manifested Logos, called The Secret Doctrine the “luminous sons of manvantaric dawn”. [8] Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

When the hour strikes for the Third Logos to appear, then from the latent potentiality there radiates a lower field of differentiated consciousness, which is Mahat, or the entire collectivity of those Dhyan-Chohans of sentient life of which Fohat is the representative on the objective plane and the Manasaputras on the subjective. [9] Then, at the first radiation of dawn, the “Spirit of God” (after the First and Second Logos were radiated), the Third Logos, or Narayan, began to move on the face of the Great Waters of the “Deep.” [10]

Cosmic Ideation is the Universal Mind (Mahat) or Divine Thought in which lies the plan for the manifestation of the universe. Using this as a “blueprint”, the hosts of Dhyāni-Chohans build the new cosmos:

The plan [for the Cosmos] was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe, and the constructive labour was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers and Forces. [11]

The Cosmic Ideation is the origin of all consciousness and intelligence in the manifested universe:

Universal Ideation—or Mahat, if you like it—sends its homogeneous radiation into the heterogeneous world, and this reaches the human or personal minds through the Astral Light. [12] Cosmic Ideation focussed in a principle or upadhi (basis) results as the consciousness of the individual Ego. Its manifestation varies with the degree of upadhi, e.g., through that known as Manas it wells up as Mind-Consciousness; through the more finely differentiated fabric (sixth state of matter) of the Buddhi resting on the experience of Manas as its basis—as a stream of spiritual INTUITION. [13]

During what they calls “pralaya” (meaning “dissolution” or “melting away”) corresponding in Hinduism it refers to a period where the universe is in a state of non-existence, the Cosmic Ideation is latent in the universal space, but “becomes active at the beginning of every new life-cycle”:[14]

Cosmic Ideation is said to be non-existent during Pralayic periods, for the simple reason that there is no one, and nothing, to perceive its effects. There can be no manifestation of Consciousness, semi-consciousness, or even “unconscious purposiveness,” except through the vehicle of matter. [15]

In describing the stages of manifestation of the Cosmic Ideation, it is said that at the dawn of a new manvantara (meaning the duration of a life span) [16] the Great Breath ( absolute abstract motion) [17] becomes the unmanifested “Pre-Cosmic Ideation”, which later manifests as the Cosmic Ideation:

The great Breath assumes the character of precosmic Ideation. It is the fons et origo of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution. . . . [18]

The manifestation of Cosmic Ideation is coeval with that of Cosmic Substance:

During the period of Universal Pralaya, Cosmic Ideation is non-existent; and the variously differentiated states of Cosmic Substance are resolved back again into the primary state of abstract potential objectivity. Manvantaric impulse commences with the re-awakening of Cosmic Ideation (the “Universal Mind”) concurrently with, and parallel to the primary emergence of Cosmic Substance—the latter being the manvantaric vehicle of the former—from its undifferentiated pralayic state. Then, absolute wisdom mirrors itself in its Ideation; which, by a transcendental process, superior to and incomprehensible by human Consciousness, results in Cosmic Energy (Fohat). [19]

Apart from Cosmic Substance, Cosmic Ideation could not manifest as individual consciousness, since it is only through a vehicle of matter that consciousness wells up as “I am I,” a physical basis being necessary to focus a ray of the Universal Mind at a certain stage of complexity. Again, apart from Cosmic Ideation, Cosmic Substance would remain an empty abstraction, and no emergence of consciousness could ensue. [20]

There can be no manifestation of Consciousness, semi-consciousness, or even “unconscious purposiveness,” except through the vehicle of matter. . . And as Matter existing apart from perception is a mere abstraction, both of these aspects of the ABSOLUTE—Cosmic Substance and Cosmic Ideation—are mutually inter-dependent. [21]

With the manifestation of the pair Cosmic Ideation/Cosmic Substance the highest celestial beings (Ah-hi) or Dragons of Wisdom appear and the Ideation becomes active through them. Sloka I.3 of Cosmogenesis states:

Universal Mind was not, for there were no AH-HI (celestial beings) to contain (hence to manifest) it. [22]

This was explained by Mme. Blavatsky as follows:

The meaning of this sloka is, I think, very clear; it means that, as there are no finite differentiated minds during Pralaya, it is just as though there were no mind at all, because there is nothing to contain or perceive it. There is nothing to receive and reflect the ideation of the Absolute Mind; therefore, it is not. Everything outside of the Absolute and immutable Sat (Be-ness), is necessarily finite and conditioned, since it has beginning and end. Therefore, since the “Ah-hi were not,” there was no Universal Mind as a manifestation. A distinction had to be made between the Absolute Mind, which is ever present, and its reflection and manifestation in the Ah-hi, who, being on the highest plane, reflect the universal mind collectively at the first flutter of Manvantara. [23]

The plan concealed in the Cosmic Ideation is impressed on the Cosmic Substance through Fohat:

Fohat . . . is the “bridge” by which the “Ideas” existing in the “Divine Thought” are impressed on Cosmic substance as the “laws of Nature.” Fohat is thus the dynamic energy of Cosmic Ideation; or, regarded from the other side, it is the intelligent medium, the guiding power of all manifestation, the “Thought Divine” transmitted and made manifest through the Dhyan Chohans, the Architects of the visible World. [24]

Fohat is a term of unknown origin, although H. P. Blavatsky claims it comes from the Tibetan language. According to her it is “one of the most, if not the most important character in esoteric Cosmogony”. [25] Maybe because of this, it can be found in many forms. As Mme. Blavatsky said:

Fohat is a generic term and used in many senses. He is the light (Daiviprakriti) of all the three logoi—the personified symbols of the three spiritual stages of Evolution. Fohat is the aggregate of all the spiritual creative ideations above, and of all the electro-dynamic and creative forces below, in Heaven and on Earth. [26]

Fohat, is “the animating principle electrifying every atom into life.” [27]  During the process of manifestation it is the cosmic energy which produces the differentiation of primordial cosmic matter to form the different planes. In the manifested Universe, Fohat is the link betwenn spirit and matter, subject and object. [28] In The Theosophical Glossary Mme. Blavatsky defined it as follows:

Fohat (Tib.) A term used to represent the active (male) potency of the Sakti (female reproductive power) in nature. The essence of cosmic electricity. An occult Tibetan term for Daiviprakriti primordial light: and in the universe of manifestation the ever-present electrical energy and ceaseless destructive and formative power. Esoterically, it is the same, Fohat being the universal propelling Vital Force, at once the propeller and the resultant. [29]

 

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[1] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[2] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 59.
[3] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 412.
[4] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 16.
[5] Manvantara is a Sanskrit term that results from a combination of words manu and antara (manu-antara or manvantara), literally meaning the duration of a Manu, or his life span.  See Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 62.
[6] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1964), 608.
[7] Mme. Blavatsky mentions “the Boundless Âdi-Buddhi (primeval and Universal Soul)” as a term related to Âdi-Buddha or Wisdom. In The Mahatma Letters Ādi-Buddhi is identified with Yin Sin, “the one form of existence”, and also with Dharmakāya, “the mystic, universally diffused essence”.Ādi-Buddhi is also defined as: “the aggregate intelligence of the universal intelligences including that of the Dhyan Chohans even of the highest order” and “the all-pervading supreme and absolute intelligence with its periodically manifesting Divinity — Avalokiteshvara”. The connection with Avalokiteshvara is also mentioned by Mme. Blavatsky, who wrote that “Parabrahman or Adi-Buddha is eternally manifesting itself as Jivatma (7th principle) or Avalokiteswara”.
[8] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 485.
[9] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 360.
[10] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 379.
[11] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 279.
[12] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1964), 252.
[13] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), fn, 329.
[14] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 883.
[15] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 328-329.
[16] Manvantara is a Sanskrit term that results from a combination of words manu and antara (manu-antara or manvantara), literally meaning the duration of a Manu, or his life span. H. P. Blavatsky defines it as “a period of manifestation, as opposed to Pralaya (dissolution or rest); the term is applied to various cycles, especially to a Day of Brahma–4,320,000,000 Solar years–and to the reign of one Manu–308,448,000–“.
[17] Great Breath is a term used by H. P. Blavatsky to refer to the absolute abstract motion. Being an aspect of the Absolute, this principle is eternally present. The Occult Catechism asks: “What is it that is ever coming and going?” and the answer is given: “The Great Breath.”
[18] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 15.
[19] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 328.
[20] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 15.
[21] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 328-329.
[22] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 37.
[23] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 317.
[24] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 16.
[25] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, Ill: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 109.
[26] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 334.
[27] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, Ill: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 16
[28] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, Ill: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 16.
[29] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 120-121.

The Angels and Archangel Correspondence: Raziel

san_miguel_unframed_l

This especially beautiful portrait, created in Seville, Spain in the mid-1600s, depicts Raziel with long hair, outspread wings, and jewel-adorned, flowing garments. In his right hand he holds a key, symbolizing his status as a keeper of secrets and divine mystery. The painting is attributed to the circle of Francisco de Zurbarán, a renowned 17th century Spanish painter.

Explanation for the Attribution

The archangel that presides over it is Raziel, the order of angels that reside in it are the Ophanim (the wheels).

The Archangel of the Sephirah is Ratziel and the title Ab or Abba is perhaps of help in contacting this potency.  These titles, consisting of the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabaet, Aleph and Beth, signify the formation of a second principle from the first principle and the term Ab is thus the first coming forth of divine power, and Abba, its reflection.  The Archangel could be conceived as a grey pillar against a light blue background, and the best source of the real quality of the colours is in the clouds in the sky on a bright day.  This visual context will bring in the association of interstellar space which is very pertinent in relation to the higher levels of the Tree of Life. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 81)

The Place of Raziel in Jewish and Christian Lore

Raziel (Hebrew: רזיאל‎ “Secret[s] of God”) is an archangel within the teachings of Jewish mysticism (of the Kabbalah of Judaism) who is the “Keeper of Secrets” and the “Angel of Mysteries.” [1] He is associated with the Sephira Chokmah (the second of ten) in Olam Briah, one of the Four Worlds of Kabbalistic theory. [2] Various teachings assign Raziel to diverse roles, including that of a Cherub, a member of the Ophanim, [3] and chief of the Erelim. [4] Raziel, under the alternate name Galizur, (“Revealer of The Rock”) is described as the “-ruling prince of the 2nd Heaven.-” He is said to expound the “Torah’s divine wisdom,” and protects the ministering angels from the Hayyoth, [5] the “holy Creatures” that uphold the universe. [6]

The famous Sefer Raziel HaMalach (“Book of Raziel the Angel”) attributed to this figure is said to contain all secret knowledge, and is considered to be a book of magic. [7] He stands close by God’s throne, and therefore hears and writes down everything that is said and discussed. [8] He purportedly gave the book to Adam and Eve after they ate from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (for which resulted in their expulsion from the Garden of Eden) so the two could find their way back “home” and better understand their God. Raziel’s fellow angels were deeply disturbed by this, and as such, stole the book from Adam and threw it into the ocean. God Himself decided not to punish Raziel, but instead retrieved the book by means of the angel Rahab and returned it to Adam and Eve. [9] Bertie considers this story – not attested in the Bible – to be a variant of the story of Prometheus in Greek mythology [10] According to some sources, the book was passed on through the generations to Enoch (In 3 Enoch believed to have later become the angel Metatron), who may have incorporated his own writings into the tome. From Enoch, the archangel Raphael gave it to Noah, who used the wisdom within to build Noah’s Ark. [11] The Book of Raziel was said to have come into the possession of King Solomon, and a number of texts claiming to be this volume have recently appeared.

The book cannot be shown to predate the 13th century, but may in parts date back to Late Antiquity. Like other obscure ancient texts such as the Bahir and Sefer Yetzirah, the work has been extant in a number of versions. The tradition around the book attributes it to have been revealed to Adam by the angel Raziel. The title itself is mentioned in another magical work of late antiquity, The Sword of Moses.[12] Critical historians regard it as a medieval work, most probably originating among the Chassidei Ashkenaz, [13] as citations from it begin to appear only in the 13th century. Sections of it are no doubt older. The likely compiler of the medieval version is Eleazer of Worms, [14] as “Sefer Galei Razia”, which developed to what we have now as “Sefer Raziel HaMalakh”, including more writings written by people of various theological opinions.

It draws heavily on Sepher Yetzirah [15] and Sepher Ha-Razim. [16] There are multiple manuscript versions, containing up to seven tractates. The printed version of Sefer Raziel is divided into five books, some of it in the form of a mystical Midrash on Creation. It features an elaborate angelology, magical uses of the zodiac, gematria, names of God, protective spells, and a method of writing magical healing amulets. Book six of the Liber Razielis is based on the Sefer ha-Razim “Book of Secrets”, with various additions including the “Prayer of Adam” of Sefer Adam. The book becomes notorious in German Renaissance magic, named together with Picatrix [17] as among the most abominable works of Nigromantia (necromancia) by Johannes Hartlieb. The prayer of Adam is paraphrased by Nicholas of Cues in two sermons [18] and further made use of by Reuchlin in his De Arte Cabbalistica. [19] Konrad Bollstatter (professional scribe of Augsburg) in the 15th century also shows awareness of the Latin version of the “Prayer of Adam” an interpolation in Cgm 252, although he replaces Raziel with Raphael and Seth with Sem. [20] Adam in his prayer to God, apologized for listening to his wife Eve חוה, who was deceived by the snake into eating from the “Tree of Knowledge” – the עץ הדעת, according to the Book of Raziel, God sent the highest of the Angels, Raziel, to teach Adam the spiritual laws of nature and life on earth, including the knowledge of the planets, stars and the spiritual laws of creation. The Angel Raziel also taught Adam the knowledge of the power of speech, the power of thoughts and the power of a person’s soul within the confines of the physical body and this physical world, basically teaching the knowledge with which one can harmonize physical and spiritual existence in this physical world. The Angel Raziel teaches the power of speech, the energy contained within the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, their combinations and meanings of names. According to Jewish traditions, the angel Raziel was sent to earth to teach Adam, and due to the elevated soul of Abraham, Raziel returned to teach Abraham all the spiritual knowledge and spiritual laws. Raziel was sent to earth with specific purpose to teach Adam and Abraham the ways of Nature. The Book of Raziel explains everything from Astrology of the planets in our solar system, and explains how the creative life energy starts with a thought from the spiritual realms, transcending into speech and action in this physical world. The eternal divine creative life energy of this earth is love, the book explains the spiritual laws of birth, death, reincarnation of the soul, and many spiritual laws of “Change”.

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[1] Davidson, Gustav (1967), A Dictionary of Angels, Including The Fallen Angels, Entry: Raziel, Free Press, pp. 242, 243.
[2] Lewis, James R., Oliver, Evelyn Dorothy, Sisung Kelle S. (Editor) (1996), Angels A to Z, Entry: Raziel, pp. 346, 347, Visible Ink Press. Beri’ah (Hebrew: בריאה or בריה), Briyah, or Briah (also known as Olam Briah, עולם בריאה in Hebrew, literally World of Creation), is the second of the four celestial worlds in the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah, intermediate between the World of Emanation (Atziluth) and the World of Formation (Yetzirah), the third world, that of the angels.
[3] Scarborough, Samuel (2002), “The Tree of Life”, Filing Cabinet of the Western Mystery Tradition and Methods to Recall the Information, Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition No. 3, Vol 1. Autumnal Equinox 2002; The ophanim or ofanim, also Ophde (Hebrew “wheels” אוֹפַנִּים ’ōphannīm; singular אוֺפָן ’ōphān) refer to the wheels seen on Ezekiel’s vision of the chariot (Hebrew merkabah) in Ezekiel 1:15-21. These are first construed as angels in one of the Dead Sea scrolls (4Q405), and as a class of celestial beings in late sections of the Book of Enoch (61:10, 71:7) where with the Cherubim and Seraphim they never sleep, but guard the throne of God.
[4] An Arel, Ar’el, or Er’el, more commonly referred to in the plural as “the Erelim”, are a rank of angels in Jewish Kabbala and Christian religion. The name is seen to mean “the valiant/courageous”. They are generally seen as the third highest rank of divine beings/angels below God. A specific Arel, or the erelim, are also referenced in other modern mysticism, in various ways, like the various Kabbalistic traditions, and elsewhere.
[5] The living creatures, living beings, or Hayyoth (Hebrew חַיּוֹת chayot, from חַיּ chai, “to live”) are a class of heavenly beings described in Ezekiel’s vision of the heavenly chariot in the first and tenth chapters of the Book of Ezekiel. References to the creatures reoccur in texts of Second Temple Judaism, in rabbinical merkabah (“chariot”) literature, and in the Book of Revelation.
[6] Davidson, Gustav (1967), A Dictionary of Angels, Including The Fallen Angels, Entry: Galizur, Free Press, p. 120.
[7] Sefer Raziel HaMalakh, (Hebrew ספר רזיאל המלאך “Book of Raziel the Angel”), is a medieval Practical Kabbalah grimoire, primarily written in Hebrew and Aramaic, but surviving also in Latin translation, as Liber Razielis Archangeli, in a 13th-century manuscript produced under Alfonso X.
[8] “Archangel Raziel”. Sarah’s Archangels.
[9] Lewis, James R., Oliver, Evelyn Dorothy, Sisung Kelle S. (Editor) (1996), Angels A to Z, Entry: Raziel, pp. 346, 347.
[10] Peter Bertie, “The Transmutation of Myth, Ch. 5, P. 172, 178.
[11] Ginzberg, Louis (1909), The Legends of the Jews, Volume 1, Chapter IV, at sacred-texts.com
[12] The Sword of Moses is the title of an apocryphal Hebrew book of magic edited by Moses Gaster in 1896 from a 13th- or 14th-century manuscript from his own collection.
[13] The Chassidei Ashkenaz (חסידי אשכנז “German Pietists”) were a Jewish mystical, ascetic movement in the German Rhineland during the 12th and 13th centuries. Also called Hassidei, they are to be distinguished from the Hasidim.
[14] Eleazar of Worms (אלעזר מוורמייזא) (c. 1176 – 1238), or Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymus, also sometimes known today as Eleazar Rokeach (“Eleazar the Perfumer” אלעזר רקח) from the title of his Book of the Perfumer (Sefer ha rokeah ספר הרקח) – where the numerical value of “Perfumer” (in Hebrew) is equal to Eleazar, was a leading Talmudist and mystic, and the last major member of the Hasidei Ashkenaz, a group of German Jewish pietists.
[15] Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Sēpher Yəṣîrâh “Book of Formation,” or “Book of Creation,” ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest extant book on Jewish esotericism, although some early commentators treated it as a treatise on mathematical and linguistic theory as opposed to Kabbalah. “Yetzirah” is more literally translated as “Formation”; the word “Briah” is used for “Creation.” The book is traditionally ascribed to the patriarch Abraham, while modern scholars haven’t reached consensus on the question of its origins.
[16] The Sepher Ha-Razim is a Jewish mystical text supposedly given to Noah by the angel Raziel, and passed down throughout Biblical history to Solomon, for whom it was a great source of his wisdom, and purported magical powers.
[17] Picatrix is the name used today, and historically in Christian Europe, for a grimoire originally written in Arabic titled غاية الحكيم Ġāyat al-Ḥakīm, which most scholars assume was written in the middle of the 11th century, though a supported argument for composition in the first half of the 10th century has been made. The Arabic title has been translated as “The Aim of the Sage” or “The Goal of The Wise”.
[18]  Sermo I, 4, 16.25; Sermo XX, 8, 10-13.
[19] De Arte Cabbalistica is a 1517 text by the German Renaissance humanist scholar Johann Reuchlin, which deals with his thoughts on Kabbalah. In it, he puts forward the view that the theosophic philosophy of Kabbalah could be of great use in the defence of Christianity and the reconciliation of science with the mysteries of faith. It builds on his earlier work De Verbo Mirifico. Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, Reuchlin-Tagung Pforzheim 2001.
[20] Cgm 252, f. 142r-144r; Encyclopaedia Judaica 1, 777.

The Order of Angels Correspondence: The Auphanim (Wheels)

The Order of Angels is the Auphanium, or Wheels, their colour an iridescent grey.  The word grey is perhaps not a good one as it contains an allusion to nondescriptness or dirtyest, but it is the nearest verbal equivalent to the real colour intended.  The description of this Order of Angels as Wheels gives the conception of cyclic action, unending power through motion; and an idea of their mode of being can perhaps best be obtained by contemplating the eternal wheeling of the stars in the night sky, for the Mundane Chakra of Chokmah is the Zodiac.  The white, flecked red, yellow and blue which is the colour assigned to Assiah also suggests the stars which appear while to naked eye, though many are red, yellow or blue on closer examination.  One way of bilding an image of the Auphanim would be to picture whirling grey iridescent wheels against a background of the night sky. (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism, p. 81-82)

The Chakra System Correspondence: Ajna Chakra/Bindu

ajna-chakraExplanation for the Attribution

Chokhma is related to the phallus and the straight line. It is variously attempted to relate it to different chakras in Indian mysticism. One attempt at reconciliation is that both Chokhma and Binah are united in the Ajna chakra, which is where both Shiva and Shakti, subject and object, are united. In its role as the primal point from which all creation emerges, the idea of Chokhmah is very similar to the Bindu, or primal point. According to the Kabbalah, there are two sephiroth located on the sixth level, associated with the left and right parts of the face. They are called Chokmah (wisdom), and Binah (understanding); it is at these points that the two side pillars of mercy and severity terminate, while the central pillar carries on rising to kether, the crown.[7]

The Place of Ajna in the Chakra Model

Ajna (Sanskrit: आज्ञा, ājňā, [aːɟɲʌ], meaning ‘command’ or ‘summoning’) is the sixth primary chakra according to Hindu tradition.  The Ajna chakra is positioned in the stomata, directly behind the center of the forehead. Its ksehtram, or superficial activation site, is in the eyebrow region at the position of the “third eye.”[1]Ajna is white in color, with two white petals. Inside the pericarp is the Shakti Hakini. It is depicted with a white moon, six faces, and six arms holding a book, a skull, a drum, and a rosary, while making the gestures associated with granting boons and dispelling fears.[2] The downward pointing triangle above her contains a moon-white lingum. In some systems the deity Ardhanarishvara, a hermaphrodite form of ShivaShakti, symbolising the primordial duality of subject and object, resides within the lingum. Above that triangle is another smaller triangle containing the bija mantra, Aum. The seed syllable is Aum, or “Pranava Om,” the supreme sound.[3]Adina has two white petals, said to represent the psychic channels, Ida and Pin gala, which meet the central Subhuman nadir (channel), before rising to the Crown Chakra Sahasrara. The letter ‘Ham’ is written in white on the left petal and represents Shiva. ‘Sham’, written in white on the right petal, represents Shakti. These two petals also represent the manifest and the manifest mind, and are sometimes said to represent the pineal and pituitary glands. Ajna translates as “command”, and is considered the eye of intuition and intellect.[4] When something is seen in the mind’s eye, or in a dream, it is being seen by Ajna. It is a bridge that links gurus with disciples, allowing mind communication to occur between two people. The sense organ and action organ associated with Ajna is the mind. As Hindus believe that spiritual energy from the environment enters their body through this gateway, they take great care to protect it with spiritually positive protecting forces. The various religious marks on the foreheads of men and women belonging to the Hindu faith (like holy ash, namam, vermilion etc.) are the blessed spiritual prasadam of their respective forms of the Hindu gods. Meditation upon Ajna supposedly grants siddhis, or occult powers, to quickly enter another body at will and to become omniscient. He realizes unity with Brahman; and he has the ability to create, preserve, and destroy the three worlds.Directly above Ajna is a minor chakra known as Manas, or mind. It possesses six petals, one for each of the five senses and one for sleep. These petals are normally white, but assume the color of the senses when activated by them, and they are black during sleep. This chakra’s function is sending sense perceptions to the higher chakras. Ajna is associated with the third eye on the forehead. It is also sometimes associated with the pineal gland, which regulates the circadian rhythm, and is related to an actual light-sensitive ‘third eye’ (Parietal eye) found in some lizards, amphibians, and fish. It is also sometimes associated with the pituitary gland, the master of all endocrine glands, whose secretions control all the other endocrine glands.In kundalini yoga, the practices said to stimulate the Ajna chakra include: Trataka (steady gazing), Shambhavi Mudra (gazing at the space between the eyebrows), and some forms of Pranayama (breath exercises).

The Bindu

Bindu (Sanskrit: बिंदु) is a Sanskrit word meaning “point” or “dot”. The feminine-gender ending is bindi, a small ornamental, devotional and mystical dot applied to the forehead in Hinduism.[1]  In metaphysics, Bindu is considered the point at which creation begins and may become unity. It is also described as “the sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state.”[2][3] Bindu is the point around which the mandala is created, representing the universe.[4]  Bindu is often merged with [seed] (or sperm) and ova. In the Yoga Chudamani Upanishad Bindu is a duality, with a white Bindu representing shukla (sperm) and a red Bindu representing maharaj (menses). The white Bindu resides in the bindu visarga and is related to Shiva and the Moon, while the red Bindu resides in the muladhara chakra and is related to Shakti and the Sun.[5] In yoga, the union of these two parts results in the ascension of kundalini to the sahasrara.[6]

In Tantra, Bindu (or Bindu visarga—”falling of the drop”) is a point at the back of the head where Brahmins grow their tuft of hair.[7][8] This point is below the sahasrara chakra and above the ajna chakra, and is represented by a crescent moon with a white drop. It represents the manifestation of creations such as consciousness.[9]

The Bindu visarga is said to be the source of Bindu fluid, which contains a nectar (amrita) and a poison.[10] The fluid is released from the Bindu visarga, and can be stored in the lalana chakra and purified in the Vishuddha chakra. When the Vishuddha is inactive the fluid flows to the manipura chakra, where it is consumed (leading to physical decline). According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a hatha yoga practitioner can prolong their life by controlling the flow of the fluid.[11] Through practice of Khecari mudra, a practitioner can manipulate the flow of the fluid from the lalana to the Vishuddha (where it is purified to amrita).

The picture of the chakra is a lotus with 23 petals. Its symbol is the moon, which supports the growth of vegetation. Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita XV/13, “Becoming the nectarine moon I nourish all plants”. Its divinity is Shiva, who is portrayed with the crescent moon in his hair.

The Bindu chakra is a centre for health, giving us the power for physical and mental recuperation. It benefits eyesight, quietens the emotions and promotes inner harmony, clarity and balance. With the help of this chakra we are capable of controlling hunger and thirst, gaining the ability to overcome unhealthy eating habits. Concentration on Bindu relieves anxiety and depression, nervousness and feelings of oppression in the heart.[12]

The Color Attribution: Gray

666666Explanation for the Attribution

The sacred color correspondence for Chokmah is gray [1] The color attributed to the Sephiroth are from the Golden Dawn’s Queen Scale of color. [2]  Crowley explain the attribution by telling us that the “the grey of Chokmah refers to the cloudy apparence of semen, and indicates the transmission of white to black. It is the double nature of the Dyad.” [3]

The Place of Gray in the Wheel of Color

Grey or gray is a mixture between black and white,  and also, as anyone with a watercolor paint box knows, it results from mixing any of the color opposites: green and red, yellow and violet, blue and orange. Until the 19th century, artists traditionally created grey by simply combining black and white. Rembrandt Van Rijn, for instance, usually used lead white and either carbon black or ivory black, along with touches of either blues or reds to cool or warm the grey. In the early 19th century, a new grey, Payne’s grey, appeared on the market. Payne’s grey is a dark blue-grey, a mixture of ultramarine and black or of ultramarine and Sienna. It is named after William Payne, a British artist who painted watercolors in the late 18th century. The first recorded use of Payne’s grey as a color name in English was in 1835.[18]  Because of this, it has a peculiar position at the center of the color world. [3a]  Despite the attraction Grey is a neutral or achromatic color, meaning literally that it is a color “without color.” [4]  It is the color of a cloud-covered sky, of ash and of lead. [5] In coulour genetics it would seem that grey is the first colour to be perceived and that it remains at the center of human coulour-sphere.  The new born baby lives in a grey world, the same grey which we see when our eyes are closed.  From the point at which a child’s eye are fully open, it becomes more densely surrounded by more and more different colours and, during the first three years of its life, it becomes aware of the world of colours.  Because it is used to grey, it identifies with grey, and grey become the center of its coulour-world and its reference-point. It realizes that all he sees is colour.  [4a] The first recorded use of grey as a color name in the English language was in AD 700. [6] Grey is the dominant spelling in European and Commonwealth English, although gray remained in common usage in the UK until the second half of the 20th century. [7]  Gray has been the preferred American spelling since approximately 1825, [8]  although grey always has been an accepted variant. [9].   According to George Field’s Chromatography (1835) there is a distinctions not only in the words but also in the color itself since, according to him, ‘grey’ indicates a colour composed of black and white whereas ‘gray’ indicates any broken colour having a cool hue.  Grey comes from the Middle English grai or grei, from the Anglo-Saxon graeg, and is related to the German grau. [10] The first recorded use of grey as a color name in the English language was in AD 700. [11]  Despite the attraction of the vivid primary colors may have on the human mind, gray is nevertheless always essential: “… that fundamental grey which distinguishes the master and is the soul of all colours,” wrote the painter Redons [12]  Gray is present to some degree in almost all colors, and this common note ties together in harmony the various hues in a painting. [13]  A colour used in this way, that is in a referential sense, is intended to include all shades of the colour whereas a person using a colour term in an adjectival or descriptive sense has a particular hue in mind.The part of the brain which perceives and processes grey-scale images is different from that part of the brain which deals with colour. [14] Curiously, this bleak colour was resurrected by the Chinese government’s decision to paint the buildings of Beijing grey as part of its bid to stage the 2008 Olympic Games – ‘Grey matches our climate, cultural background and tradition’ says Beijing as reported by The Times (7.11.00) in what must be one of the very few Leaders devoted to a colour. [15]

The Symbolism of Grey/Gray

In America and Europe, grey is one of the least popular colors.  In a European survey, only one percent of men said it was their favorite color, and thirteen percent called it their least favorite color; the response from women was almost the same. According to color historian Eva Heller, “grey is too weak to be considered masculine, but too menacing to be considered a feminine color. It is neither warm nor cold, neither material or spiritual. With grey, nothing seems to be decided.” [15a] Believers in parapsychology say that those who are suffering from the mental illness of depression have grey auras. [15ba]  In Europe and America, grey is the color most associated with boredom, solitude and emptiness. It is associated with rainy days and winter. In the novel Faust by Goethe, the hero is pursued by four “grey women”; pain, necessity, guilt and misery, who follow him until his death. Grey is the color of conformity- not having any personality of its own, it adapts to any other color. It will look either dark or light, depending upon the color next to it. In folklore, grey is often associated with goblins, elves and other legendary mischievous creatures. Scandinavian folklore often depicts gnomes and nisser in grey clothing. This is partly because of their association with dusk, as well as because these creatures were said to be outside traditional moral standards of black and white. The writer J. R. R. Tolkien made use of this folkloric symbolism of grey in his works, which often draw upon Scandinavian folkloric names and themes. Gandalf is called the Grey Pilgrim; settings include the Grey Havensay and Ered Mithrin, the grey mountains; and characters include the Grey Elves.  The color gray, which is neither bright and neither completely dark, take different meaning as the human grows and advance in age.  Probably by association with graying hair, gray stands for old ge and all that is associated with it: retrospection, inaction, narrowing of libido – but also wisdom and serenity. [16] Grey is a very common color for animals, birds and fish, ranging in size from whales to mice. It provides a natural camouflage and allows them to blend with their surroundings.  Grey is a Christian symbol of mourning and of the resurection of the dead, we saw several medieval artists depicting  Christ with a grey cloak at the Last Judgment. [17] Grey is the colour of ashes and of mist. The Children of Israel covered their heads with ashes to give the expression of the poignancy of their grief and Europeans dressed in ash-grey for half-mourning. In antiquity and the Middle Ages, grey was the color of undyed wool, and thus was the color most commonly worn by peasants and the poor. It was also the color worn by monks of the Franciscan order, Cistercian Order and the Capucine Order as a symbol of their vows of humility and poverty. Franciscan monks in England and Scotland were commonly known as the Grey friars, and that name is now attached to many places in Great Britain. Gray evoked saturnine “lead” and the moods that leadenness conveys: sadness, inertia, melancholy, indifference or boredom.  [18] Gray is linked with the sackcloth and ashes of penitence and with the symbolism of ashes in general.  Despite the association of ashes with defeat and failure, however, in alchemy ashes symbolizes the immortal part of the personality that has survived the conforntation with primitive desires and emerged purified. [19] Gray is neutral, an in-between place. Opposites balances there or are yet undifferentiated.  Mythically, dead persons and spirits moving between the realms are gray.  [20] Grey was also frequently used for the drawing of oil paintings, a technique called grisaille.  The painting would first be composed in grey and white, and then the colors, made with thin transparent glazes, would be added on top. The grisaille beneath would provide the shading, visible through the layers of color. Sometimes the grisaille was simply left uncovered, giving the appearance of carved stone.  There is indefiniteness about gray, emboodied especially in gray clouds and fog, which add to its ambibuity and its place as a mediator. In this very same spirit of “shading” and “clouding,” human psychology and social life have this thing that we commonly call a “grey area,” which is a problem or issue which does not admit of a clear unequivocal answer or resolution; something which has ill-defined characteristics; something with features causing it to be positioned between two extreme categories by virtue of having some of the characteristics of each category. For example, in the area of Economics what is called the “Grey Economy” is that element of a country’s economy generating income from activities (such as moonlighting and housework) which, though not part of the illegal black market, are not included in government official figures. [21] In the same context, what is reffered to as the “Gray Market” is then a less extreme variety of a black market which is an integral part of this so called “Gray Economy.”  [22] In sound engineering, grey noise is random noise subjected to a psychoacoustic equal loudness curve, such as an inverted A-weighting curve, over a given range of frequencies, giving the listener the perception that it is equally loud at all frequencies. In ethics, grey is either used pejoratively to describe situations that have no clear moral value; “the grey area”, or positively to balance an all-black or all-white view; for example, shades of grey represent magnitudes of good and bad. Grey is rarely used as a color by political parties, largely because of its common association with conformity, boredom and indecision. Over the centuries, artists have traditionally created grey by mixing black and white in various proportions. They added a little red to make a warmer grey, or a little blue for a cooler grey. Artists could also make a grey by mixing two complementary colors, such as orange and blue. The grey of misty weather sometimes gives a feeling of sadness, melancholy and boredom, while when dreams are enshrouded in a certain greyness, they are said to be drawn from the depths of the unconscious and need to be clarified and brought into the open by a heightened level of consciousness.  They need to be clarified.  Human beings are grey in the middle of the world of colour, which may stand by analogy for the celestial sphere in the chromatic sphere. [23] Human beings are the product of opposite sexes, if they stand in the grey centre between the opposing colours which make up a harmonious chromatic sphere, all the pairs of colour -opposites will be in perfect balance.  The imperfect image of this chromatic sphere may be given material form by physical action. [24] Human beings, whether they are athletes, warriors, artists or healers, have always been trying to give physical shape to the absolute colors which they perceive in dreams.  They go on and colour their surroundings, their tools and sometimes even their skin. The need for colour and coulour-opposites is always present in the human spirit because they are themselves the central grey between the opposing colours, yellow and blue, red and green, black and white, the passage from one to the other of these countless pairs of colour-opposites always leading through a grey mid-point. [25]  It is through the four absolute tones that the world of colour can be oriented. The four basic tonalities are known as absolute yellow, absolute green, absolute blue and absolute red.  These four tones remain absolute and their yellow, green, blue and red aspects do not depend upon the intensity of light.  The tonality of all other colours varies with the density of light.   The four absolute tones correspond to the four cardinal points.  Human beings assign to each point a colour which will depend upon human circumstances.  The attitudes of human beings in the grey centre alter with their character and way of life.  In the circular field containing the twelve major tonalities, the four absolute tones and their intermediaries, there is a perceptible echo of the Zodiac.  Each will unconsciously turn towards the chromatic section to which he or she belongs, towards his or her favourite colour.  Groups, and even whole peoples, reacts in conformity with this and take up attitudes similar to the central gey. Color becomes significant to the individual, the people or perhaps to humanity as a whole in an irrational and quite unforseseable fashion. [26] The varying usage of gray as a symbol suggest that it hasdeffering meningss, depending on one’s temperament.  To the outward-directed personality, which seeks excitement and stimulation, gray stands for all that is burdensome and limiting.  In an 1899 speech, Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failures, than to to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”[27] By contrast, the American poet Paul Engle, writing of his experiences as a student’ at England’s Oxford University, remembered that “The tense American nerve relaxed. I lived with a gray quitness that let the mind grow inward like a root.”[28] During the 19th century, women’s fashions were largely dictated by Paris, while London set fashions for men. The intent of a business suit was above all to show seriousness, and to show one’s position in business and society. In the late 1930s, grey became a symbol of industrialization and war. It was the dominant color of Pablo Picasso’s celebrated painting about the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, Guernica. [29] After the war, the grey business suit became a metaphor for uniformity of thought, popularized in such books as The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, (1955), which became a successful film in 1956. [30] Grey goo is to a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario, also known as ecophagy: out-of-control self-replicating nanobots consume all living matter on Earth while building more of themselves. [31] By the second half of the 20th century, men’s fashions in suits were determined as much by Hollywood as by London tailors. The 1950s and 1960s were the age of glory for the grey suit; they were worn by movie stars, such as Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart, and by President John F. Kennedy, who wore a two-button grey suit. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson was the first U.S. president to be inaugurated wearing an Oxford grey business suit. Grey suits also became the unofficial uniform of Madison Avenue in New York City, the center of the advertising industry.

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley,  p. 7; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[2] For more on the four color scales of the Golden Dawn, see Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha, Experiencing the Kabbalah, p. 227-228 and Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha, The New Ritual Tarot, p. 26-28.
[3] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 71.
[4] Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Third College Edition.
[4a] Jean Chevalier & Alain Gheerbrant, 1996, The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, p.456.
[5] Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition, 2002.
[6] Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill, p. 196.
[7] Marianne Celce-Murcia, Donna Brinton, and Janet M. Goodwin (1996). Teaching pronunciation: a reference for teachers of English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 282.
[8] “Gray vs. grey”. Grammarist. February 17, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
[9] “Grey – Definition and More”. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
[10] Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, 1964.
[11] Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 196.
[12] Gage, John, Color and Culture, Berkeley and L.A. 1999 p. 185.
[13] Gage, John, Color and Culture, Berkeley and L.A. 1999, p. 215.
[14] Ian Paterson 2003, A Dictionary of Color. A Lexicon of the Language of Color, p. 200.
[15] Ian Paterson 2003, A Dictionary of Color. A Lexicon of the Language of Color, p. 200.
[15a] Eva Heller, Psychologie de la Couleur, Effets et Symboliques, p. 226.
[15b] Arthur E. Powell The Astral Body and Other Astral Phenomenon Wheaton, Illinois:1927—Theosophical Publishing House Page 12
[16] Ami Ronnberg & Katleen Martin (eds), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images, Taschen, p. 662.
[17] Frédéric Portal, Des Couleurs Symboliques dans l’Antiquité, le Moyen Age et les Temps Modernes, Paris, 1837, p. 305.
[18] Ami Ronnberg & Katleen Martin (eds), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images, Taschen, p. 662.
[19] Edinger, Edward, F., The Mysterium Lectures, Toronto, 1995, p. 139.
[20] Ami Ronnberg & Katleen Martin (eds), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images, Taschen, p. 662.
[21] Ian Paterson 2003, A Dictionary of Color. A Lexicon of the Language of Color, p. 200.
[22] Ian Paterson 2003,  A Dictionary of Color. A Lexicon of the Language of Color, p. 201.
[23] The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, p. 456.
[24] The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, p. 456.
[25] The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, p. 457.
[26] The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, p. 457.
[27] Gable, John Allen, The Man in the Arena: Speeches and Essays by Theodore Roosevelt, Oyster Bay, NY, 1987, p. 30; Ami Ronnberg & Katleen Martin (eds), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images, Taschen, p. 662.
[28] Paul Engle, Corn, NY, 1939. Cited in Ami Ronnberg & Katleen Martin (eds), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images, Taschen, p. 662.
[29] Stefano Zuffi, (2012), Color in Art, pg. 310.
[30] Eva Heller, Psychologie de la couleur- effets et symboliques, pg. 236-237.
[31] “Leading nanotech experts put ‘grey goo’ in perspective” (Press release). Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. June 9, 2004. Retrieved 2014-06-22.

 

The Perfume Attribution: Orchitic Musk

Explanation for the Attribution

Its perfume the orchitic musk, plant the amaranth, which is the flower of immortality. [1] In his qabalistic writtings, Aleister Crowley explain the attribution saying that ” the orchitic origin of Musk indicates Chokmah.  This is the male aspect of the work.” [2]

The Place of Orchitic Musk in the Vegetal World

Musk-Orchid-ChokmahOrchidaceae is a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with blooms that are often colourful and often fragrant, commonly known as the orchid family. Along with the Asteraceae, they are one of the two largest families of flowering plants, with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species.  More specifically to the point, Herminium monorchis, the musk orchid, is a commonly occurring species of European orchid.  The Musk Orchid is a inconspicuous and rare orchid of Germany, which prefers calcareous and wet-dry soils.  It is generally found in very short, well drained grasslands on chalk or limestone [3] There are up to 20 species of Herminium, a Eurasian genus, recorded but only one from Europe.  In the UK, Musk Orchid is alone in the genus Herminium, but globally there are about species. It has a localised distribution in Britain; sites where it is found include Ham Hill in Wiltshire. [4] The hillsides at this site have short, herb-rich grassland, and the flatter areas, taller vegetation. This is one of only two confirmed sites in Wiltshire for Musk Orchid (Herminium monorchis). The leaves are 2 or 3 in number and elongated elliptical. It grows in short grass on lime. Contrary to the name, it smells of honey rather than musky. [5] The floral fragrance is essential for the attraction of pollinators, which must be very small indeed in order to pollinate this particular orchid. However, it seems that Musk Orchid mainly propagates vegetatively, forming large colonies in some European locations.  It grows in neglected grasslands as well as in fens. It small stature means that it cannot compete if the vegetation is tall, so thin or compact soils that restricts plant grow are favored. It particularly like the narriw “terracettes” formed on steep downland slopes by soil creep, as well as ancient earthworks, abandoned quaries, chalk and lime pits and spoil heaps. [6] The plant emits during flowering time, which lies between June and July, a honey-like scent.

Herminium_monorchis-Orchis_Mainly Musk Orchids propagate vegetatively by underground stolons, so that they are often in small troops to be found.  This overall greenish-yellow orchid is very difficult to spot and usually grows to about 15 cm (occasionally to 30 cm) on short calcareous grassland. The flowers have a strong honey scent and are very attractive to insects but in order to pollinate the minute flowers the insects must be very small indeed. Rather than relying solely on pollination it seems that the Musk Orchid is mainly propagated vegetatively which would account for the large colonies that form in some locations in Europe, although the flower numbers fluctuate tremendously from year to year making it a difficult species to monitor. The pretty little flowers of this diminutive orchid are honey-scented. They are easily mistaken for : Fen Orchid (Liparis loeselii) which also has a short (actually slightly taller) spike of yellow-green flowers, but there they are angled upwards (rather than angled downwards as Musk Orchid) They have some similarities with the Bog Orchid (Hammararbya paludosa) but that is half the height at onlt 6cm and has dark-green flowers that are outwardly-directed. There is a Superficial resemblance between Musk Orchids and the Small-White Orchid (Pseudorchis albida) but that also has flowers that are angled outwards and which are variously white, creamy-white, yellowish-green or green. The Mustk orchid is not un-like the Common Twayblade (Neottia ovata) but at 60cm that is much taller, and the flowers, although mainly yellowish-green, are man-shaped – tall and standing up with a large round cowl as a ‘head’. There is no relation with Musk (Mimulus moschatus), Musk Mallow (Malva moschata), Greater Musk-mallow (Malva alcea), Musk Storksbill (Erodium moschatum), nor to Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans) [plants with similar names belonging to disparate families].

The Symbolism and Ritual Use of Orchidic Musk

The orchids have been used for a very long time in love spells, specially the root, which is carried in sachet. [7] Some type of orchids are used in “creating visions, trance-states, and inducing psychic powers.” [8]

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, 13; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[2] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, 113
[3] Anne Harrap & Simon Harrap, Orchids of Britain and Ireland: A Field and Site Guide Ebook,2009 on Google Book.
[4] Ham Hill  is an area of chalk downland in Wiltshire, on the steep banks running alongside the road from the village of Ham to Buttermere, close to the Berkshire border. A biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, notified in 1971, covers 1.5 hectares of the site; this designation is due to the site’s species-rich plant and insect communities, which include some rare species. Notable among these is the Musk Orchid (Herminium monorchis), which has been confirmed at only one other site in Wiltshire. The site is managed as a nature reserve by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. It is managed by grazing with sheep to prevent scrub encroachment and takeover by rank vegetation, which would otherwise crowd out the scarce plant species.
[5] Anne Harrap & Simon Harrap, Orchids of Britain and Ireland: A Field and Site Guide Ebook,2009, on Google Book.
[6] Anne Harrap & Simon Harrap,Orchids of Britain and Ireland: A Field and Site Guide Ebook,2009, on Google Book.
[7] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 190.
[8] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 190.

The Sacred Plant Correspondence: Amaranth

Explanantion for the Attribution

The sacred plant attribution for the sephirah of Chokmah is amaranth. [1] Crolwley explain the reason for this attribution in the explanation of the columns of his classification table in his book 777: “The Amarant is the flower of immortality. It is here placed in order to symbolizes that quality of the Yod of tetagrammaton, the principle of Chiah.  The Mistletoe is given for similar reasons.  The Bo or Pipal tree was the shelter of the Buddha at the moment of his enlightenment. Furthermore its leaves suggest the phallus. [2]

The Place of Amaranth in the Vegetal Kingdom

amaranthAmaranthus, collectively known as amaranth, is a cosmopolitan genus of annual or short-lived perennial plants. They have catkin (cylindrical flower cluster) -like cymes of densely packed flowers that grows in summer or autumn. [3] Approximately 60 species are recognized, with inflorescences and foliage ranging from purple and red to green or gold. Members of this genus share many characteristics and uses with members of the closely related genus Celosia. [4] Although several species are often considered weeds, people around the world value amaranths as leaf vegetables, cereals, and ornamental plants. “Amaranth” derives from Greek ἀμάραντος [5] (amarantos), meaning unfading, everlasting, with the Greek word for “flower,” ἄνθος (anthos) which means flower and from, factoring into the word’s development as “amaranth.” The more accurate “amarant” is an archaic variant.  Amaranthus shows a wide variety of morphological diversity among and even within certain species. Although the family (Amaranthaceae) is distinctive, [6] the genus has few distinguishing characters among the 70 species included. [7] This complicates taxonomy and Amaranthus has generally been considered among systematists as a “difficult” genus. [8]

Formerly, Sauer (1955) classified the genus into two subgenera, differentiating only between monoecious and dioecious species: Acnida (L.) Aellen ex K.R. Robertson and Amaranthus. [9] Although this classification was widely accepted, further infrageneric classification was (and still is) needed to differentiate this widely diverse group. Currently, Amaranthus includes three recognized subgenera and 70 species, although species numbers are questionable due to hybridization and species concepts. [10] Infrageneric classification focuses on inflorescence, flower characters and whether a species is monoecious/dioecious, as in the Sauer (1955) suggested classification. [11] A modified infrageneric classification of Amaranthus was published by Mosyakin & Robertson (1996) and includes three subgenera: Acnida, Amaranthus, and Albersia. The taxonomy is further differentiated by sections within each of the subgenera. [11a]

Amaranth-flower-

Even if some of them are beautiful specimens and can be of some use in different areas of life, it’s not all amaranth plants that are cultivated. Most of the species from Amaranthus are summer annual weeds and are commonly referred to as pigweeds. [12]  These species have an extended period of germination, rapid growth, and high rates of seed production, [13] There are a multitude of varieties which cross with one another very easily. Some species have been found to cross with one another e.g. Amaranthus caudatus and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. [14] For most types, flowering occurs as the days become shorter. Being wind-pollinated, they will cross with one another if less than 400 metres apart at flowering time. If the seed is to be used for planting, roguing is necessary to remove inferior individuals before they can flower and pollinate better plants.

An early Greek fable counted among Aesop’s Fables [15] compares the rose to the amaranth to illustrate the difference in fleeting and everlasting beauty:

An amaranth planted in a garden near a Rose-Tree, thus addressed it: “What a lovely flower is the Rose, a favorite alike with Gods and with men. I envy you your beauty and your perfume.” The Rose replied, “I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a brief season! If no cruel hand pluck me from my stem, yet I must perish by an early doom. But thou art immortal and dost never fade, but bloomest for ever in renewed youth.” [16]

In John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost it is given a more fitting neighbour:

Immortal amarant, a flower which once
In paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon for man’s offence
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven
Rolls o’er elysian flowers her amber stream:
With these that never fade the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks. [17]

The Medicinal Use of Amaranth

amaranth---The word amaranth comes from the Greek word amaranton, meaning “unwilting” (from the verb marainesthai, meaning “wilt”).[18] The word was applied to amaranth because it did not soon fade and so symbolized immortality. “Amarant” is a more correct, albeit archaic form, chiefly used in poetry. The current spelling, amaranth, seems to have come from folk etymology that assumed the final syllable derived from the Greek word anthos (“flower”), common in botanical names.  In ancient Greece, the amaranth (also called chrysanthemum and helichrysum) was sacred to Ephesian Artemis. It was supposed to have special healing properties, and, as a symbol of immortality, was used to decorate images of the gods and tombs. In legend, Amarynthus (a form of Amarantus) [19] was a hunter of Artemis and king of Euboea; in a village of Amarynthus, of which he was the eponymous hero, there was a famous temple of Artemis Amarynthia or Amarysia. [20] It was also widely used by the Chinese for its healing chemicals, curing illnesses such as infections, rashes, and migraines. The “Amarantos” is the name of a several-century-old popular Greek folk song. Amaranth is a vegetable to some, a grain to other, a red dye to the Hopi Indians, and an herbal medicine to others. Homeopathic and ayurvedic experts have always recognized the amazing health benefits of amaranth. Both, the seeds and leaves of amaranth, are used as herbal remedies.  This plant was known to the Aztecs as huauhtli, [21] it is thought to have represented up to 80% of their caloric consumption before the conquest.  They used to call it the “food of immortality”. In India, amaranth grain is known as “rajgeera” meaning, “the king’s grain”. The amaranth grain is often milled into flour and combined with other flours for making breads. Another important use of amaranth throughout Mesoamerica was to prepare ritual drinks and foods. To this day, amaranth grains are toasted much like popcorn and mixed with honey, molasses or chocolate to make a treat called alegría, meaning “joy” in Spanish. Known as thotakoora, cholai, marsa, and tamri bhaji, in various Indian languages, amaranth leaves are very popular in Indian cooking, especially in the South, and come in many varieties: green, red, and bicolored. The leaves are used in curries and soups. Amaranth leaves are similar in taste to spinach but with a stronger flavor and cook very easily. In fact, many people rate it higher in terms of taste than spinach. In terms of nutrition as well, when compared to spinach, amaranth has more to offer as it has higher concentrations of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins. Amaranth leaves are also a wonderful astringent, and make a great wash for skin problems like eczema, and a wonderful acne remedy. Amaranth also makes an effective mouthwash for treating mouth sores, swollen gums, and sore throat. Amaranth leaves have been found to be a good home remedy for hair loss and premature greying. Applying the fresh juice of amaranth leaves helps hair to retain its color, and keeps it soft, and is a great hair-loss treatment. Diego Duran described the festivities for Huitzilopochtli, whose name means “hummingbird of the left side” or “left-handed hummingbird”. (Real hummingbirds feed on amaranth flowers.) It seems that even the ignored or indesirable “pig weed” have some useful medicinal properties. It’s been used to treat menstruation, giving it the folk name, “love lies bleeding”. It’s also been used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.  You can actually get popcorn made from this seed. It is commonly seasoned with honey, and supposely very tasty. Amaranth’s high concentration of protein is making this herb popular again in America. The herb has a high quantity of the amino acid, L-Lysine. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal but in the plant world, it is. Amaranth leaves are eaten in place of spinach as a pot herb in places like France. The L-Lysine in Amaranth can be an excellent treatment for Herpes.  Herpes can greatly weaken one’s immune system. Having some L-Lysine your diet will boost your immune system. Amaranth can replace most grains to produce any number of food; such as, breads and desserts. You can never go hungry if you have a rich supply of the Amaranth seed.  This herb can help control the spread of Candida Albicans. In the US, amaranth leaves, grain, and flour are available in Indian and Asian grocery stores, as well as in your local organic and vitamin shops.

Amaranth’s Symbolism and Ritual Use

Amaranth is known by many names by coutryside folks, indigenous people and medecine men.  Some people call it “the flower of immortality,” it was know to the Aztec as “huauhtli,” other call it “floramon,” “Love Lies Bleeding, ” “Red CockComb” “Velvet Flower” or “Princess Feather.” [22] In the context of natural medicine as magic this plant was used for healing, protection and invisibility. [23] The Amarant was notoriously used during Pagan burial funerals.  it was once outlawed by colonial Spanish autority in Mexico because it was used by Aztecs in their rituals. [24] For shamans, magus and witches, wearing an amaranth crown on your head is considered as a viable device that can be used to speeds up the healing process.  To make sure you are never struck by a bullet, pull up  a whole amaranth plant (including the roots) preferably on a Friday during the Full Moon. Leave an offering to the plant and then fold it, roots and all, in a piece of white cloth., Wear this against your breast and you’ll be “bullet proof.” [25]  The dried amaranth have been used to call forth the dead. and are also carried to”cure the affections,” i.e., to mend a broken heart. [26]  Other folks beliefs saiy that “a wreath of amaranth worn confers invisibility.” [27]

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[1] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of  Aleister Crowley, p. 10; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42; Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Experiencing the Kabbalah, p.116
[2] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of  Aleister Crowley, p. 96.
[3] RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136.
[4] Celosia  is a small genus of edible and ornamental plants in the amaranth family, Amaranthaceae. The generic name is derived from the Greek word κηλος (kelos), meaning “burned,” and refers to the flame-like flower heads. Species are commonly known as woolflowers, or, if the flower heads are crested by fasciation, cockscombs. The plants are well known in East Africa’s highlands and are used under their Swahili name, mfungu.
[5] Liddell & Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, s.v. ἀμάραντος
[6] The Amaranthaceae, the Amaranth family, represent the most species-rich lineage within the flowering plant order of Caryophyllales. Now including the former goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae), the extended family contains approximately 180 genera and 2,500 species.
[7] Juan et al. (2007). “Electrophoretic characterization of Amaranthus L. seed proteins and its systematic implication”. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 155: 57–63.
[8] Costea M, DeMason D (2001). “Stem morphology and anatomy in Amaranthus L. (Amaranthaceae)- Taxonomic significance”. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 128 (3): 254–281.
[9] Costea M, DeMason D (2001). “Stem morphology and anatomy in Amaranthus L. (Amaranthaceae)- Taxonomic significance”. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 128 (3): 254–281.
[10] Judd et al. (2008). Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach, Third Edition. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, MA.
[11] Juan et al. (2007). “Electrophoretic characterization of Amaranthus L. seed proteins and its systematic implication”. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 155: 57–63.
[11a]Sergei L. Mosyakin & Kenneth R. Robertso (1996), New infrageneric taxa and combinations in Amaranthus (Amaranthaceae), Ann. Bot. Fennici 33: 275–281, Helsinki 13 December 1996.
[12] Bensch et al. (2003). Interference of redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), Palmer amaranth (A. palmeri), and common waterhemp (A. rudis) in soybean. Weed Science 51: 37-43.
[13] Bensch et al. (2003). Interference of redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), Palmer amaranth (A. palmeri), and common waterhemp (A. rudis) in soybean. Weed Science 51: 37-43.
[14] Amaranthus hypochondriacus is an ornamental plant commonly known as Prince-of-Wales feather or prince’s feather.  Originally endemic to Mexico, it is called quelite, blero and quintonil in Spanish.
[15] Aesop’s Fables or the Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with Aesop’s name have descended to modern times through a number of sources.
[16] Aesopica site
[17] John Milton, Paradise Lost, III, 353.
[18] Nagy, Gregory (2013). The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press. p. 14§32.  “Technically, the blossoms that form the circles of these garlands come from the name of a flower known as amaranton or ‘amaranth’, which literally means ‘unwilting’ (from the verb marainesthai, meaning ‘wilt’). The blossoms of the flower amaranth that are plaited into garlands mimic eternity, since the blossom of the amaranth is observably slow in wilting, unlike the blossoms of most flowers.”
[19] Amarynthus (Ancient Greek: Ἀμάρυνθος) was in Greek mythology a hunter of Artemis, from whom the town of Amarynthus in Euboea (Stephanus of Byzantium says that it was Euboea itself) was believed to have derived its name.
(Strabo, Geographica x. p. 448) From this hero, or rather from the town of Amarynthus, Artemis derived the surname Amarynthia or Amarysia, under which she was wor­shipped there and also in Attica. (Pausanias, Description of Greece i. 31. § 3; Dict. of Ant. s.v. Ἀμαρύνθια; Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). “Amarynthus”. In William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 136.
[20]  Strabo x. 448; Pausanias. i. 31, p. 5.
[21] Coe, S.D. (1994). America’s First Cuisines. University of Texas Press.
[22] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 32.
[22] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 33
[23] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 33.
[24] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 33.
[25] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 33.
[26] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 33.
[27] Scott Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Expanded & Revised Edition, p. 33.

The Sacred Animal Correspondence: Man

mannExplanation for the Attribution

The sacred animal attribution for Chokmah is the man. [1] Unfortunately Crowley offers no other precisions concerning this attribution and neither would other authors like Israel Regardie, Dion Fortune, Gareth Knight and the other usual scholars who wrote about the sephirotic attributions of the Hermetic Qabalah.  It is easy, however, to see in which direction this attribution is going.  What Crowley refers to here is Man as animal but more specifically man as the male counterpart of the human specie. This is easy to deduce since the sephira that plays the role of its conterparts, Binah, which is located on the other side of the Tree on the pillar of Severity, have the “woman” as its sacred animal attribution.  So what we are taling here is man as a specie but only the male specimens.

The Place of Man in the Animal Kingdom

Origins and Etymology of the Word “Man”

The term man comes from Proto-Germanic *mannaz or *manwaz “man, person” and words that are derived from it can designate any or even all of the human race regardless of their sex or age. The word developed into Old English man, mann meaning primarily “adult male human” but secondarily capable of designating a person of unspecified gender, “someone, one” or humanity at large (see also German Mann, Old Norse maðr, Gothic manna “man”). According to Tacitus, the mythological progenitor of the Germanic tribes was called Mannus. *Manus in Indo-European mythology was the first man, see Mannus, Manu (Hinduism). More restricted English terms for an adult male were wer (cognate: Latin vir; survives as the first element in “werewolf”) and guma (cognate: Latin homo; survives as the second element in “bridegroom”). In the context of this attribution to the sephirah of Chokmah, man is taken in the sense of a male human. The term man is usually reserved for an adult, with the term boy being the usual term for a male child or adolescent. The English term “man” is derived from a Proto-Indo-European root *man- (see Sanskrit/Avestan manu-, Slavic mǫž “man, male”). [2] The Old English form had a default meaning of “adult male” (which was the exclusive meaning of wer), though it could also signify a person of unspecified gender. The closely related Old English pronoun man was used just as it is in Modern German to designate “one” (e. g., in the saying man muss mit den Wölfen heulen).

The Animal Man

Materialism sees man as composed of nothing more than material components. His intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects are nothing but products of his material nature acting according to the rules of physics and biology. The implication of the metarialistic point of view usualy implies that man is not responsible for his behavior and that ultimately the environment is to blame for unacceptable behavior. (Leads to emphasis on social programs, big government) Another implications of the materialist creed is that man is by no means distinguishable from the other material of creation. Therefore, he has no dignity or inherent worth. Animals (or even plants) have the same inherent worth as people.  Finally, a third implcation of the materialist belief system if that man’s identity is not in any way related to God. Therefore, man is in some sense ultimate, which sometimes goes as far as idolatry. To naturalists, no part of man separates him from the rest of the plant, animal, and mineral universe. Man can be completely explained by natural processes. Human beings are complex ‘machines’. Even his personality is nothing but an interrelation of chemical and physical properties which we do not yet fully understand. The process of evolution is sufficient to explain all that man is, even if difficulties exist in its application. Man is a highly evolved animal, that is all.  Human beings are complex ‘machines’; personality is an interrelation of chemical and physical properties we do not yet fully understand. The process of evolution is sufficient to explain all that man is, even if difficulties exist in its application. Man is a highly evolved animal, that is all.  Many naturalists, like Carl Sagan, believe that the universe has always existed and always will exist, and that we are children of the universe or cosmos. No spiritual reality exists. In the words of the Humanist Manifesto, naturalists “find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural.”  The materialists and the naturalist are generally proponent of the theory of evolution according to which man come from the ape.  Physically, apes are virtually superheroes compared to us. For example, chimpanzees are roughly four times more powerful than the average human. While humans lack the sheer power of the mighty chimp, our nervous systems exert much more control over our muscles, enabling us to execute far more subtle movements. Humans possess superior motor control, less body hair and a far more advanced brain. Neuroscientists have identified substantially more intricate nerve connectivity in the human brain, as well as some things called spindle neurons. Also known as Von Economo neurons (VENs), these cells appear most frequently in areas of the brain associated with social emotions. Under “social emotions,” you’ll find a whole Pandora’s box of human characteristics, including empathy, guilt and embarrassment. The consensus is that although humans have evolved socially from our last common ancestor, chimps have remained largely the same. Our two species still share such bloody traits as male kin bonding and lethal territorial aggression. Human males and females, however, share a deeper conjugal bond, creating family-based society. Chimps, on the other hand, have separate male and female hierarchies. Such differences depend on often slight genetic details. It is probably ethologist Desmond Morris that came up with the most simple, direct and effective way to describe man as a product of mother nature’s animal kingdom.  There are one  and ninety-three living species of monkey and apes, Desmond Mossris tells us, and among those, one hundred and ninety-two are covered with hair, the only exception to the rule is “a naked ape self-named Homo sapiens.” [3] This description, Morris tells his readers, is a simple, descriptive name based on a simple observation, and has the advantage that it makes no special assumptions.  [4]  Whatever his technological attainments, scientific accomplishments and other conquests, whatever what poets, philosophers and writters may say about him, in the eyes of a zoologist or any other observer of the animal kingdom, it seems clear that “Homo sapiens has remained a naked ape nevertheless; in acquiring loft new motives, he has lost none of the earthy old ones. [5] A recurring theme of naturalism is that man is not duty-bound to adhere to a set of moral rules. The only rules that are available are those of man’s own making. Since people differ on which rules are best, none are binding. The best that we can do is adapt to society or our environment. Death for the naturalist brings extinction. Man lives, he suffers, he dies. According to Ernest Nagel, “Human destiny is an episode between two oblivions.”

The Psychological and Spiritual Man

The man with a broken nose by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

The man with a broken nose by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

On the extreme opposite of the spectrum, idealism sees man as essentially a spiritual being, and his physical body is foreign to his essence. Idealism  is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. To them the body is nothing but a shell for the spirit or the intellect.  This is the reason why idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society.  Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind. Among the implications of the idealist point of view we have the fact that man’s body is neglected in their reflexions, we also have the strange idea according to which the deeds done in the body do not pollute the essence of the person and the belief that the male/female identity is a biological accident.  Among those belief systems the emphasis is on the immaterial component of man, we have Pantheism, Christianity, the Jewish Kabbalah and many others.  Where naturalism sees the cosmos as exclusively material, beleifs systems like pantheism argues that reality is ultimately spiritual. It is our soul, our essence as a person, that is most important. Traditional pantheism sees man’s soul eventually becoming one with the universal soul or mind. New Age teachers in the West have placed the emphasis more on the individual. Unlike naturalism, pantheism sees man’s problem as a spiritual one. Somehow, mankind has collectively forgotten its oneness with the universe. This separates man from understanding the true nature of things. Where naturalism sees only the material universe, and pantheism only a spiritual reality, Christianity argues that both are real in the sense that God, an infinite, personal, spirit-being, created the material universe apart from Himself. What the creation account tells us about the nature of man is that mankind’s creation is different from the rest of the animal kingdom.  In this perspective, the pantheists are also correct in affirming our spiritual component. Christians agrees that we do bear God’s image, but we are not gods ourselves. Both naturalism and pantheism see part of the whole, but both deny the fullness of what it means to be human.  In Christianity, humans were created to have personal fellowship with God. Man’s original position on earth was to be God’s agent and to have dominion over His creation. The disobedience of Adam resulted in a break in that fellowship, only to be corrected by the redemptive work on Christ on the cross. Mankind without God is in a sinful, rebellious state. Enslaved by sin, he feels guilt and shame, which is real and not simply imagined, as well as an emptiness that should be filled with the fellowship of his Creator. [6]   As a result of the fall, God’s image in man is corrupted but not lost entirely. [7] The image of God is the key to man’s identity. Man is God’s representative. Gen. 9:6 Man is a picture of God in some respects. [8] Christ, the God-man, is the perfect representative of what it means to image God. [9]

Hamlet:
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me—
nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

Rosencrantz:
My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.

Hamlet Act 2, scene 2, 303–312

This passage has provoked bitter scholarly battles—over its punctuation. Is Hamlet saying that man is like an angel in apprehension (understanding), or like a god in apprehension? The different placement of commas in the early texts of the play makes all the difference. Man is the noblest of all God’s pieces of work, the “quintessence of dust” (the fifth, or purest, extract from the dust of which all things are compounded). But despite the nobility, the reason, the grace, and the beauty of man, Hamlet cannot be delighted. At least, so he tells the king’s parasites, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as he explains his melancholia.  Maybe that’s what Desmond Morris is trying to tell us, in his book The Naked Ape, when describing the darker and more perplexing side of man:

“This unusual and highly successful specie spends a great deal of time examining his higher motives and an equal amount of time ignoring his fundamental ones.” [10]

The Male Gender

A man is a male human. The term man is usually reserved for an adult, with the term boy being the usual term for a male child or adolescent. However, the term man is also sometimes used to identify a male human, regardless of age. Like most other male mammals, a man’s genome inherits an X chromosome from his mother and a Y chromosome from his father. The male fetus produces larger amounts of androgens and smaller amounts of estrogens than a female fetus. This difference in the relative amounts of these sex steroids is largely responsible for the physiological differences that distinguish men from women. During puberty, hormones which stimulate androgen production result in the development of secondary sexual characteristics, thus exhibiting greater differences between the sexes. Masculinity has its roots in genetics. [11] Therefore while masculinity looks different in different cultures, there are common aspects to its definition across cultures. [12]  Sometimes gender scholars will use the phrase “hegemonic masculinity” to distinguish the most dominant form of masculinity from other variants. In the mid-twentieth century United States, for example, John Wayne might embody one form of masculinity, while Gandhi might be seen as masculine, but not in the same “hegemonic” fashion. Machismo is a form of masculine culture. It includes assertiveness or standing up for one’s rights, responsibility, selflessness, general code of ethics, sincerity, and respect. [13] Anthropology has shown that masculinity itself has social status, just like wealth, race and social class. In western culture, for example, greater masculinity usually brings greater social status. Many English words such as virtue and virile (from the Indo-European root vir meaning man) reflect this.[8][9] An association with physical and/or moral strength is implied. Masculinity is associated more commonly with adult men than with boys. The masculine principle is symbolized by the sun and the heavens in most traditions, with  Teutonic and Oceanic exceptions, and by all that is phallic, piercing, penetrating, upright and associated with heat, e.g. the sun, sword, spear, lance, arrow, dart, spade, plough, ship’s prow, pllar, pole, cone, obelisk, fire, flame, torch, also the linga, the shakta and yang forces, etc. (J.C. Cooper, An Illustrated Dictionary of Traditional Symbols, 1978, Thamesand Hudson, London Ltd., p. 102.) In Amerindian symbolism the male principle is represented by the white eagle feather. In Taoism man is the central and mediating power of the Great Triad of Heaven-Man_Earth.  In Isalm he signifies universal existence, “the link between God and Nature.” The Sufis define man as “the symbol od universal existence.” (J.C. Cooper, An Illustrated Dictionary of Traditional Symbols, 1978, Thamesand Hudson, London Ltd., p. 103.)

The Symbolism of Man

In many traditions, including even the most primitive, man is described as a small-scale copy of the universe, a micrososm or synthesis of the world.  [&&] Man is the center of the world of symbols [??] In the Atharva-Veda (10:7) man was originally regarded as the cosmic pillar, a sort of Atlas, with the duty of holding the Earth and Heaven together, both being threatened with constant dissolution and disintegration. Man is thus both the center and principle of unity, ultimately identical with Brahman, the supreme principle.  The idea of man being made in God’s image, after our likedness… And the Lord God, formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a “living soul.” (Genesis 1:26; 2:7) Commentators observes that the idea of likeness weakens that of image by utterly removing any notion of identity. This concept from Genesis became the cornerstone of astological teatching, wedding the relationship between the microcosm – man – and the macrocosm – not simply the universe, but the all-embrassing mind of God, the idea and power of the universe.  His or her birth is to teach the individual like the creation of the world, since to that individual coming into being and the birth of the world are one aand the same, as are death and the end of the world.  When an individual dies it is one and the same that he or she dies to the world or that the world dies with them.  The entity, God-Universe-Man, is expressed as a sphere, the traditional image of the world in the centre of which each man stands.  His place in the world and the world’s place in him are defined by their mutual ties. Man symbolizes a network of cosmic relationship. Madame Blavatsky wrote: “Like a fetus, he is suspended by all his three spirits, in the matrix of the macrocosmos.” (Cited in Manly P. Hall, Companion in Ancient Philosophy, p. 385) Humanity, then, is still in in an embryonic state and, dwelling within the darkness of the sideral womb, is suspended drom Cause ny a threefold umbilical cord – the cable tow of the Freemason  and the braided cord of the Brajman initiate. Of the tnreefol spirit, Paracelsus writes that the first has its seat in the elements, the second in the spirits of the stars, and the thirdin the divine nature itself. Centuries before, Proclus had defined the truine nature of man as three monads which are one monad-being suspended from unimaginable unity.  The first

 

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[1]  Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 10.

[2] American Heritage Dictionary, Appendix I: Indo-European Roots. man-1.

[3] (Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape, p. 9)

[4] (Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape, p. 15)

[5] (Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape, p. 9)

[6] (See Created in God’s Image by Anthony A. Hoekema, Eerdmans, 1986, 264 pp)

[7] Ps. 58:3, Rom. 5:12, Rom. 8:7,8, 1 Cor. 2:14

[8] Gen. 1:26-31

[9] 2 Cor. 4:3-4, Col. 1:15

[10] (Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape, p. 9)

[11] John Money, ‘The concept of gender identity disorder in childhood and adolescence after 39 years’, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 20 (1994): 163-77.

[12] Donald Brown, Human Universals

[13] Mirande, Alfredo (1997). Hombres y Machos: Masculinity and Latino Culture, p.72-74

[&&] Manly P. Hall, Lectures on Ancient Philosophy, 1984, Penguin Books, p. 385.

[??] Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, p. 630.

The Precious Stone Correspondence: Star Ruby

starrubbyExplanation for the Attribution

The precious stones attribution for Chokmah are the star ruby  [1] because they are “representing the male energy of the creative star” [2]  and the turquoise [3] because it is “suggesting Mazloth, the sphere of the zodiac.” [4]

The Place of Star Ruby in the World of Gems and Precious Stones

Asteria, or star stone (from Gr. star) is a name applied to ornamental stones that exhibit a luminous star when cut en cabochon. [5] Star Rubies are a rare variety of the gemstone Ruby. These magnificent gems display a sharp six-rayed star which seems to glide magically across the surface of the gem when the latter is moved. This is caused due to an optical phenomenon known as “Asterism”. Asterism is an optical phenomenon displayed by some rubies, sapphires, and other gems (i.e. star garnet, star diopside, star spinel, etc.) of an enhanced reflective area in the shape of a “star” on the surface of a cabochon cut from the stone. Star sapphires and rubies get their asterism from the titanium dioxide impurities (rutile) present in them.[6]  The Star-effect or “asterism” is caused by the dense inclusions of tiny fibers of rutile (also known as “silk”). The stars are caused by the light reflecting from needle-like inclusions of rutile aligned perpendicular to the rays of the star. However, since rutile is always present in star gemstones, they are almost never completely transparent.

A distinction can be made between two types of asterism:

  • Epiasterism, such as that seen in sapphire and most other gems, is the result of a reflection of light on parallel arranged inclusions inside the gemstone.
  • Diasterism, such as that seen in rose quartz, is the result of light transmitted through the stone. In order to see this effect, the stone must be illuminated from behind

star-stonesThe most typical asteria is the star-sapphire, generally a bluish-grey corundum, milky or opalescent, with a star of six rays. In red corundum the stellate reflection is less common, and hence the star-ruby occasionally found with the star-sapphire in Ceylon is among the most valued of “fancy stones”. When the radiation is shown by yellow corundum, the stone is called star-topaz. Cymophane, the chatoyant chrysoberyl known as cat’s eye, may also be asteriated. In all these cases the asterism is due to the reflection of light from twin-lamellae or from fine tubular cavities or thin enclosures definitely arranged in the stone. The best way to test the sharpness of the star is to look at the star ruby in sunlight with the dome facing the sun.  The star is best visible when the star ruby is seen in a single light source such as sunlight and spotlight. Star-effect or “asterism” is caused by the dense inclusions of tiny fibers of rutile (also known as “silk”). The stars are caused by the light reflecting from needle-like inclusions of rutile aligned perpendicular to the rays of the star. The star should be sharp (not blurry) and silvery / milky white. All six prongs should be straight and equally prominent. The complete star should be centered in the middle of the gem, but should also be able to glide effortlessly around the cabochon.  However, since rutile is always present in star rubies, they are never completely transparent. In fact, star ruby is one of those few gemstones which actually require inclusions (i.e. rutile).

star-stone-pliny-the-elder

Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – AD 79)

The famous astrion of Pliny the Elder is believed to have been a moonstone, since it is described as a colourless stone from India having within it the appearance of a star shining with the light of the moon. Star-stones were formerly regarded with much superstition. Generally rubies are red. But star ruby is usually not red. Most star rubies are available in pinkish-red, purplish-red or purplish-brown colour. The distribution of colour is often uneven, in stripes and spots. A red ruby with a perfect star is very rare and costly. As a general rule, pink star rubies have the best stars. Normally, star rubies are available in the sizes ranging from 1 carat to 15 carats. Fine star rubies of large sizes are extremely rare and cost a lot of money. Most rough rubies that can be cut into stars are mined from Burma (Myanmar), Srilanka, India, Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia, Cambodia, United States. The most commonly available Star Rubies are usually from Africa and Indian.

The Symbolism and Ritual Use of the Star Ruby

Star Ruby’sproperties are identical to Ruby except that ‘star’ stones are believed to have increased powers and potency, they are deemed very lucky, they offer powerful protection from negative energies, and are seen as the ‘stone of nobility’. Conventional Rubies’ magical properties are well known around the world. According to a widely held belief dreaming of rubies indicates coming success in business or money matters. If dreamt of by a gardener or farmer, the ruby denotes a good harvest. [7]  In the 13th century magic, rubies were well established and widely recognized as wealth-increasing stones.  They were especially effective if engraved with the image of a dragon or snake before using. [8]  Ancient magic from India states that the possession of rubies helps their owner to accumulate other precious gems, perhaps because of the stone’s wealth-inducing qualities. [9] When worn the ruby was thought to convey invulnerability, or protection against all foes, wicked spirits, negativity, plague, fascination (magical manipulation), and famine. It was also a special mascot of soldiers, guarding against wounds in battle. The background contetxt of those superstitions is that “the ruby strengthens the body’s own psychic defense system when worn.” [10] Ruled by Mars, the ruby is worn during magical rituals to increase the energies available to the magician or placed on the alter beside a red candle to lend energy when he is feeling depleeted or drained. [11] Jewelry set with rubies is worn to bannish sadness and negative thought paterns. [12] More specifically, Star Rubies are thoughtto be particularly potent in protective and other forms of magic since a spirit was thought to dwell within it.  Star rubies can also be used as divinatory tools by gazing at the crossed lines of light. [13]

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[1]  Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 10.
[2]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[3]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42; Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 10.
[4]  Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42.
[5] A cabochon, from the Middle French caboche (head), is a gemstone which has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted. The resulting form is usually a convex top with a flat bottom. Cutting en cabochon is usually applied to opaque gems, while faceting is usually applied to transparent stones. Hardness is also taken into account as softer gemstones with a hardness lower than 7 on the Mohs hardness scale are easily scratched, mainly by silicon dioxide in dust and grit. This would quickly make translucent gems unattractive—instead they are polished as cabochons, making the scratches less evident. In the case of asteriated stones such as star sapphires and chatoyant stones such as cat’s eye chrysoberyl, a domed cabochon cut is used to show the star or eye, which would not be visible in a faceted cut. The usual shape for cutting cabochons is an ellipse.
[6] Emsley, John (2001). Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 451 – 53.
[7] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gems and Metal Magic, 2002, Llewellyn, p. 128.
[8] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gems and Metal Magic, 2002, Llewellyn, p. 128-129.
[9] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gems and Metal Magic, 2002, Llewellyn, p. 129.
[10] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gems and Metal Magic, 2002, Llewellyn, p. 129.
[11] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Ggems and Metal Magic, 2002, Llewellyn, p. 129.
[12] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gems and Metal Magic, 2002, Llewellyn, p. 129.
[13] Scott Cunningham, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gems and Metal Magic, 2002, Llewellyn, p. 129.

The Tarot Card Attribution: The Four Twos

the-four-twosThe tarot cards correspondence for Chokmah are the four Twos. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 42; Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 4) The twos are related to the High Priestess. As such they indicate duality, a pause between two choices or an attempt do two thing at once. Most importantly, they indicate instinctual knowledge.  The number two first and foremost represents dualism which is the existence of two fundamental principles, concepts, things or energies, that are in opposition to each other. It is where thought begins to actually take form. Human minds are geared towards seeing the relationships between two things, usually opposite things. We often express ourselves in this way, using opposing concepts to get at what we mean. We say something is good/bad, light/dark, male/female, sweet/sour. It is said we could not know happiness if not for having experienced its opposite, sadness. So, in that way two’s represent that dichotomy of thought that allows coherent expression of the initial idea begun in the Aces.  The planetary association of the number two is the Moon. This is also the heavenly body associated with The High Priestess, Major Arcana II, isn’t that nifty? The High Priestess is the feminine energy that acts as mediator between two opposing things. She is all about the duality thing. She is able to find peace in ambivalence, between holding two opposite ideas at once and recognizing that they can both be true. She doesn’t live in Either/Or Land, but in the margins, the grey areas, the I-can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it-but-I-know-it’s-true places. Each of the four two’s in the Minor Arcana show an aspect of this dualism and mediation between two things.  Because the High Priestess is passive energy, the two’s in tarot often show a time of waiting, deciding, balancing, weighing, discerning. There is a time of recognition in the two’s, of seeing what is the same and what is different, of comparing and contrasting. The focus of this time depends on the suit designation.

The Twos in the Tarot represent balance, the yin and yang of the situation along with the Feminine and Masculine aspect.  Ace (1) stood alone and unique, but now it has been joined by another to make (2).  This changes the dynamics of whatever the situation is.  When we just have to think about ourself we can do as we please but when another is involved we must take their needs and opinions into consideration too.  Their opinion may be different from ours therefore we must be prepared to look at both sides (2) of the situation or listen to what the other (2) has to say.  As a result we get two sides coming together to influence a situation.  They say that “two heads are better than one” but sometimes we can get two with very different opinions and mindsets.  Therefore the Two (2) can make life either easy or difficult depending on the circumstances and depending on the mindsets. Sometimes the opposing mindsets are to be found within and the Twos can often represent an inner struggle.  On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the Four Twos reside in the Second Sephira, Chochmah (Wisdom/Supernal Father) Primal Masculine energy.  The raw force that brings the change to initiate creation.   The Four Kings of the Court Cards also reside here.  At this point of creation energy is still in its raw state but seeks balance now so that proper formation may take place.  That balance is achieved by combining masculine energy with its feminine counterpart.  In  Chochmah we find the raw primal masculine energy which is released through the Four KingsThe High Priestess (II) of The Major Arcana is also a number 2.  She is the abstract representation of Feminine Energy that combines with The Magician (I) to bring about form. In The High Priestess, we see the two pillars; one white, one black which demonstrate the importance and need for balance on all levels. It is through the Three Queens with the  help of The Empress that The High Priestess will be allowed expression.  The Four Twos of The Minor Arcana are also linked to the Justice and Judgement cards of The Major Arcana.  Both cards deal with finding the right balance.  In Justice the scales weigh the evidence between right and wrong and deal with the consequences of our actions while Judgement demands we make our decisions using clear and balanced judgment.  Both Justice and Judgement also deal the double aspect of any situation as there are always two sides to every story. We can now see the connection between these cards and how their combined appearance in a reading can strengthen each others meaning.  The Four Twos in The Minor Arcana,  generally refer to decisions being made, need to be made or have already been made.  These decisions do not always apply to two people deciding on a situation.  On the contrary, most decisions making processes are done individually but decisions are all about weighing up the pros and cons of a situation.  This can involve deciding between the Head and the Heart (2), your Feminine or Masculine side (2) or what is Right or Wrong (2).  The decision process may involve deciding on two different directions to take or even whether to stay or go (2).  It may even come down to deciding between which partner to choose or stay with.  This process creates polarity in a situation and here is where the number 2 reigns supreme.  The moment anything is created, so too is its exact opposite.  Therefore with Twos we can get extremes. This is down to polarity having a two-way or opposing effect.  Like magnets, what draws one to a certain person, place or thing can equally repel depending upon the circumstances.  We all know that love can easily turn to hate overnight.  In the positive sense, Twos draw sides together and bring about an agreeable  balance and cooperation,  but in the negative they can easily lose this equilibrium or harmony and rip asunder.  What we must do now is try to relate these tendencies to the Four Elements/Suits in the Tarot.  So if we relate the process of decision in the individual Suits we can have The Wands deciding on a particular course of action to take, emotional or relationship decisions in The Cups, mental decisions been made in The Swords and financial or material decisions in The Pentacles.  Somewhere in the middle of the decision-making process lies the balanced solution or answer.  However, some of the Suits may find it difficult and therefore run off in one direction or another.

Twos appearing in a reading also raise the question of what we are being drawn to or opposing factors at play in the situation.

* When three or more Twos are present in a reading then the querant must prepare for serious decisions to be made and any decisions made must be well thought over, and viewed from all angles and both sides.  Several Twos can also represent balance and harmony.

When three or more Twos appear reversed then decisions that need to be made or either being actively avoided or blocked by the circumstances.  Disharmony and a lack of balance in the situation is likely. Life can feel a bit like a Pendulum, swinging back and forth from happy and stable to miserable and unstable.

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