March 27, 2019
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The General Description of the Path

pehThis is path number Twenty-seven, which runs horizontally across the Tree joining Netzach to Hod. “It is known as the first veil or barrier on the upward path, and it is full of peril and destructive potential. Joining intellect with feeling, its experience ressembles that of mixing fire and water, which generates steam, a source of great power for better or worse. The path leading up to this point may be visualized as the supporting beams of a scaffolding upon which consciousness now may walk across, precariously balanced.”[1]

Decision – The path between Netzach and Hod is one of the three horizontal paths corresponding to the three mother letters (aleph, mem, shin) in the Hebrew alphabet.  These paths express duality, the dynamics of force and form.  The tension of manifestation is expressed through these paths: they are the ‘mothers of form’.  In this case we have the duality of two ways of responding to the world: by thinking, and by feeling.  (Collin A. Low, The Hermetic Kabbalah, p. 326)


[1] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 52.

The Hebrew Letter Correspondence: Peh (80)

alphabet-hebreu-pe-feThis is the seventeenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Its numerical value is 80. The reader will note that it is by shape similar to Caph meaning the hollow of the hand, with the addition of a little tongue of Yod. The meaning of Peh is a “mouth.”   It is the third of the reciprocal paths. Its Yetziratic title is “the Natural Intelligence.” This letter has, with the letter Caph, particular reference to a magical formula which is admirably suited to the grade of Adeptus Major.[2] When the dôgesh is omitted from this letter, it is pronounced as “Ph” or “F.” Its final form is TT – 800.


[2] The 6=5 grade of Adeptus Major is the Golden Dawn’s inner Order grade that corresponds to the Sephirah of Geburah, also attributed to Mars.





 The Tarot Trump Correspondence: XVI – The Tower

the-tower--The tarot card appropriate is XVI – The Tower, the upper part of which is shaped like a crown. It is alternately called the House of God, and its subsidiary title is “The Lord of the Host of the Hosts of the Mighty.” The card illustrates the Tower being struck by a vivid zigzag flash of lightning which has demolished the top, and red tongues of flame lick the three windows from which two figures have jumped. This card follows immediately after The Devil in all Tarots that contain it,[3] and is considered an ill omen. Some early painted decks such as the Visconti-Sforza tarot do not contain it.[1] Also, some Tarot variants used for game playing omit it. Early printed decks that preserve all their cards do feature The Tower. In these decks the card bears a number of different names and designs. In the Minchiate deck, the image usually shown is of two nude or scantily clad people fleeing the open door of what appears to be a burning building. In some Belgian tarots and the seventeenth century tarot of Jacques Vieville, the card is called La Foudre or La Fouldre, (“The Lightning”) and depicts a tree being struck by lightning. In the Tarot of Paris (17th century), the image shown is of the Devil, beating his drums, before what appears to be the mouth of Hell; the card still is called La Fouldre. The Tarot of Marseilles merges these two concepts, and depicts a burning tower being struck by lightning or fire from the sky, its top section dislodged and crumbling. Two men are depicted in mid-fall, against a field of multicolored balls.[4] A. E. Waite‘s version is based on the Marseilles image, with bits of fire in the shape of Hebrew yod letters replacing the balls.[5] (see Tower1 above right) The Tower is an unsettling card. Fire, lightning, falling on jagged rocks – definitely looks like trouble! Card 16 will not be welcomed by those who dislike change. It represents a sudden, dramatic upheaval or reversal in fortune. Usually change is gradual, giving us time to adapt, but sometimes it is quick and explosive. This is the action of the Tower. In films, the hero sometimes slaps someone who is groggy or babbling. Having tried everything else, he finally resorts to a sharp sting to snap him out of it. Sudden crises are life’s way of telling you to wake up. Something’s wrong, and you’re not responding. Are you too full of pride? Expect a blow to your ego. Are you holding back your anger? Expect the dam to burst. Are you stuck in a rut? Expect a surprise. The querent may be holding on to false ideas or pretenses; a new approach to thinking about the problem is needed. The querent is advised to think outside the box. The querent is warned that truth may not oblige schema. It may be time for the querent to re-examine belief structures, ideologies, and paradigms they hold to. The card may also point toward seeking education or higher knowledge.To some, it symbolizes failure, ruin and catastrophe. To others, the Tower represents the paradigms constructed by the ego, the sum total of all schemas that the mind constructs to understand the universe. The Tower is struck by lightning when reality does not conform to expectation. Epiphanies, transcendental states of consciousness, and Kundalini experiences[6] may result. In the Triple Goddess Tarot, the card is named “Kundalini Rising”. The Tower further symbolizes that moment in trance in which the mind actually changes the direction of the force of attention from alpha condition (pointed mindward) to theta condition (pointed imaginal stageward). A Theta condition (especially in waking versions of theta states) is that moment when information coming into the ego-mind overwhelms external or sensory stimuli, resulting in what might otherwise be called a “vision” or “hallucination.” Each card in the Major Arcana is a related to the previous ones. After the self bondage of The Devil, life is self correcting. Either the querents must make changes in their own lives, or the changes will be made for them. How you respond to the Tower’s change makes all the difference in how uncomfortable the experience will be. Recognize that the disruption occurred because it was needed. Perhaps embracing the change is too much to ask, but try to find the positive in it. In fact, you may feel tremendous release that you have finally been forced in a new direction. You may have a burst of insight about your situation and reach a new level of understanding about it.


[3]Bill Butler, Dictionary of the Tarot. Schocken, 1975.
[4] Paul Huson (2004), Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage Destiny, p.??
[5] Robert Place. “The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination” ISBN (Jeremy Tarcher, 2005 1-58542-349-1) p.207
[6]Nevill Drury, (2004), The dictionary of the esoteric: 3000 entries on the mystical and occult traditions, p309

 The 16th Step in the Fool’s Pilgrimage

fool-court-jesterHow can the Fool free himself from the Devil? Can he root out his influence? The Fool may only find release through the sudden change represented by the Tower (16). The Tower is the ego fortress each of us has built around his beautiful inner core. Gray, cold and rock-hard, this fortress seems to protect but is really a prison. Sometimes only a monumental crisis can generate enough power to smash the walls of the Tower. On Card 16 we see an enlightening bolt striking this building. It has ejected the occupants who seem to be tumbling to their deaths. The crown indicates they were once proud rulers; now they are humbled by a force stronger than they. The Fool may need such a severe shakeup if he is to free himself, but the resulting revelation makes the painful experience worthwhile. The dark despair is blasted away in an instant, and the light of truth is free to shine down.



 The Roman Deity/Astrological Correspondence: Mars

marrssIts astrological attribution is Mars, and therefore “this path repeats to a large extent the attributions of the sphere of Geburah, although on a less spiritual plane.”[7] Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named after the Roman god of war, Mars, it is often described as the “Red Planet” as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. Mars (Latin: Mārs, adjectives Martius and Martialis) was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome.[8] He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions. Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars. But the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, who is often treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek literature.[9] Mars was a part of the Archaic Triad along with Jupiter and Quirinus, the latter of whom as a guardian of the Roman people had no Greek equivalent. Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people.[10] In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls. The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity, particularly in the Western provinces. The consort of Mars was Nerio or Nerine, “Valour.” She represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars.[11] Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, “manly virtue” (from vir, “man”).[12] In the early 3rd century BC, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife.[13] A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Nerine were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23.[14] In the later Roman Empire, Nerine came to be identified with Minerva.[15] Nerio probably originates as a divine personification of Mars’ power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. Her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity. The influence of Greek mythology and its anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as “marriages.”[16] St. Augustine disapprovingly gives Mars and the war goddess Bellona as an example of a divine couple who were also sister and brother.[17] Virility as a kind of life force (vis) or virtue (virtus) is an essential characteristic of Mars.[18] Onians connects the name of Mars to the Latin mas, maris, “male,”[19] as had Isidore of Seville, saying that the month of March (Martius) was named after Mars “because at that time all living things are stirred toward virility (mas, gen. maris) and to the pleasures of sexual intercourse”[20] In antiquity, vis was thought to be related etymologically to vita, “life.” Varro notes[21] that vis is vita: “vis drives us to do everything.”As an agricultural god, he directs his energies toward creating conditions that allow crops to grow, which may include warding off hostile forces of nature.[22] As an embodiment of masculine aggression, he is the force that drives wars — but ideally, war that delivers a secure peace. The priesthood of the Arval Brothers called on Mars to drive off “rust” (lues), with its double meaning of wheat fungus and the red oxides that affect metal, a threat to both iron farm implements and weaponry. In the surviving text of their hymn, the Arval Brothers invoked Mars as ferus, “savage” or “feral” like a wild animal.[23] Mars’ potential for savagery is expressed in his obscure connections to the wild woodlands, and he may even have originated as a god of the wild, beyond the boundaries set by humans, and thus a force to be propitiated.[24] In his book on farming, Cato invokes Mars Silvanus for a ritual to be carried out in silva, in the woods, an uncultivated place that if not held within bounds can threaten to overtake the fields needed for crops.[25] Mars’ character as an agricultural god may derive solely from his role as a defender and protector,[26] or may be inseparable from his warrior nature,[27] as the leaping of his armed priests the Salii was meant to quicken the growth of crops.[23] His festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.Mars’ altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa himself, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome. Although the center of Mars’ worship was originally located outside the pomerium, or sacred boundary of Rome, Augustus brought the god into the center of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum.[28]Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people.[29] In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls. The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity, particularly in the Western provinces. The two wild animals most sacred to Mars were the woodpecker and the wolf, which in the natural lore of the Romans were said always to inhabit the same foothills and woodlands.[30] Plutarch notes that the woodpecker (picus) is sacred to Mars because “it is a courageous and spirited bird and has a beak so strong that it can overturn oaks by pecking them until it has reached the inmost part of the tree.”[31] As the beak of the picus Martius contained the god’s power to ward off harm, it was carried as a magic charm to prevent bee stings and leech bites.[32] The bird of Mars also guarded a woodland herb (paeonia) used for treatment of the digestive or female reproductive systems; those who sought to harvest it were advised to do so by night, lest the woodpecker jab out their eyes.[33] The picus Martius seems to have been a particular species, but authorities differ on which one: perhaps Picus viridis[34] or Dryocopus martius.[35] The woodpecker was revered by the Latin peoples, who abstained from eating its flesh.[36] It was one of the most important birds in Roman and Italic augury, the practice of reading the will of the gods through watching the sky for signs.[37] The mythological figure named Picus had powers of augury that he retained when he was transformed into a woodpecker; in one tradition, Picus was the son of Mars.[38] The Umbrian cognate peiqu also means “woodpecker,” and the Italic Picenes were supposed to have derived their name from the picus who served as their guide animal during a ritual migration undertaken as a rite of Mars.[39] In the territory of the Aequi, another Italic people, Mars had an oracle of great antiquity where the prophecies were supposed to be spoken by a woodpecker perched on a wooden column.[40] Mars’ association with the wolf is familiar from what may be the most famous of Roman myths, the story of how a she-wolf (lupa) suckled his infant sons when they were exposed by order of their human uncle, who feared that they would take back the kingship he had usurped.[41] A lesser-known part of the story is that the woodpecker also brought nourishment to the twins.[42] The wolf appears elsewhere in Roman art and literature in masculine form as the animal of Mars. A statue group that stood along the Appian Way showed Mars in the company of wolves.[43] At the Battle of Sentinum in 295 BC, the appearance of the wolf of Mars (Martius lupus) was a sign that Roman victory was to come.[44] In Roman Gaul, the goose was associated with the Celtic forms of Mars, and archaeologists have found geese buried alongside warriors in graves. The goose was considered a bellicose animal because it is easily provoked to aggression.[45] The two most distinctive animal sacrifices made to Mars were the suovetaurilia, for which a pig (sus), ram (ovis) and bull (taurus) were the victims,[46] and the October Horse, the only horse sacrifice known to have been carried out in ancient Rome and a rare instance of a victim the Romans considered inedible.[47] In Roman art, Mars is depicted as either bearded and mature or young and clean-shaven. Even nude or seminude, he often wears a helmet or carries a spear as emblems which displays his warrior nature. On the Augustan Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis), built in the last years of the 1st century BC, Mars is a mature man with a “handsome, classicizing” face, and a short curly beard and moustache. His helmet is a plumed neo-Attic-type. He wears a military cloak (paludamentum) and a cuirass ornamented with a gorgoneion. Although the relief is somewhat damaged at this spot, he appears to hold a spear garlanded in laurel, symbolizing a peace that is won by military victory. In this guise, Mars is presented as the dignified ancestor of the Roman people. The panel of the Ara Pacis on which he appears would have faced the Campus Martius, reminding viewers that Mars was the god whose altar Numa established there, that is, the god of Rome’s oldest civic and military institutions.[48] The spear is the instrument of Mars in the same way that Jupiter wields the lightning bolt, Neptune the trident, and Saturn the scythe or sickle.[49] A relic or fetish called the spear of Mars[50]was kept in the Regia, the former residence of the Kings of Rome.[51] When Mars is pictured as a peace-bringer, his spear is wreathed with laurel or other vegetation, as on the Ara Pacis or a coin of Aemilianus.[52]


[7] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84.
[8]Mary Beard, J.A. North, and S.R.F. Price, Religions of Rome: A History (Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 47–48.
[9]Kurt A. Raaflaub, War and Peace in the Ancient World (Blackwell, 2007), p. 15.
[10]Isidore of Seville calls Mars Romanae gentis auctorem, the originator or founder of the Roman people as a gens (Etymologiae 5.33.5).
[11]Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 13.23. Gellius says the word Nerio or Nerienes is Sabine and is supposed to be the origin of the name Nero as used by the Claudian family, who were Sabine in origin. The Sabines themselves, Gellius says, thought the word was Greek in origin, from νεῦρα (neura), Latin nervi, meaning the sinews and ligaments of the limbs.
[12]Robert E.A. Palmer, The Archaic Community of the Romans (Cambridge University Press, 1970, 2009), p. 167.
[13] Plautus, Truculentus 515.
[14] Johannes Lydus, De mensibus 4.60 (42).
[15]Porphyrion, Commentum in Horatium Flaccum, on Epistula II.2.209.
[16]William Warde Fowler, The Religious Experience of the Roman People (London, 1922), p. 150–154; Roger D. Woodard, Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (University of Illinois Press, 2006), pp. 113–114; Gary Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War (University of California Press, 2005), p. 145. The prayer is recorded in the passage on Nerio in Aulus Gellius.
[17]Augustine, De civitate Dei 6.10, citing Seneca; Fowler doubts the authority of the passage (Religious Experience, p. 166, note 16).
[18]R.B. Onians, The Origins of European Thought about the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time and Fate (Cambridge University Press, 1951), pp. 470–471.
[19]R.B. Onians, The Origins of European Thought about the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time and Fate (Cambridge University Press, 1951, p. 178.
[20] “eo tempore cuncta animantia agantur ad marem et ad concumbendi voluptatem” (Etymologies 5.33.5, translation by Stephen A. Barney, The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 128.
[21] Varo, De lingua latina 5.64, quoting Lucilius.
[22]On the relation of Mars’ warrior aspect to his agricultural functions with respect to Dumézil’s Trifunctional hypothesis, see Wouter W. Belier, Decayed Gods: Origin and Development of Georges Dumézil’s ‘idéologie tripartie’ (Brill, 1991), pp. 88–91.
[23]Schilling, “Mars,” in Roman and European Mythologies, p. 135; Palmer, Archaic Community, pp. 113–114.
[24]Gary Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome (University of California Press, 2005), p. 127; Fowler, Religious Experience, p. 134.
[25]Cato, On Agriculture 141. In pre-modern agricultural societies, encroaching woodland or wild growth was a real threat to the food supply, since clearing land for cultivation required intense manual labor with minimal tools and little or no large-scale machinery. Fowler says of Mars, “As he was not localised either on the farm or in the city, I prefer to think that he was originally conceived as a Power outside the boundary in each case, but for that very reason all the more to be propitiated by the settlers within it” (Religious Experience, p. 142).
[26] Schilling, “Mars,” p. 135.
[27]Beard et al., Religions of Rome: A History, pp. 47–48.
[28]Paul Rehak and John G. Younger, Imperium and Cosmos: Augustus and the Northern Campus Martius (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006), pp. 11–12.
[29]Isidore of Seville calls Mars Romanae gentis auctorem, the originator or founder of the Roman people as a gens (Etymologiae 5.33.5).
[30] Plutarch, Roman Questions 21, citing Nigidius Figulus.
[31]Plutarch, Roman Questions 21; also named as sacred to Mars in his Life of Romulus. Ovid (Fasti 3.37) calls the woodpecker the bird of Mars.
[32]Pliny, Natural History 29.29.
[33]Pliny, Natural History 27.60. Pliny names the herb as glycysīdē in Greek, Latin paeonia (see Peony: Name), also called pentorobos.
[34]A.H. Krappe, “Picus Who Is Also Zeus,” Mnemosyne 9.4 (1941), p. 241.
[35]William Geoffrey Arnott, Birds in the ancient world from A to Z (Routledge, 2007), p. 63.
[36]Plutarch, Roman Questions 21. Athenaeus lists the woodpecker among delicacies on Greek tables (Deipnosophistae 9.369).
[37]Plautus, Asinaria 259–261; Pliny, Natural History 10.18. Named also in the Iguvine Tables (6a, 1–7), as Umbrian peiqu; Schilling, “Roman Divination,” in Roman and European Mythologies (University of Chicago Press, 1992), pp. 96–97 and 105, note 7.
[38]Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1.31; Peter F. Dorcey, The Cult of Silvanus: A Study in Roman Folk Religion (Brill, 1992), p. 33.
[39]John Greppin, entry on “woodpecker,” Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997), p. 648.
[40]Dionysius Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities I.14.5, as noted by Mary Emma Armstrong, The Significance of Certain Colors in Roman Ritual (George Banta Publishing, 1917), p. 6.
[41]The myth of the she-wolf, and the birth of the twins with Mars as their father, is a long and complex tradition that weaves together multiple stories about the founding of Rome. See T.P. Wiseman, Remus: A Roman Myth (Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. xiii, 73ff. et passim.
[42]Plutarch, Life of Romulus.
[43]Livy 22.1.12, as cited by Wiseman, Remus, p. 189, note 6, and Armstrong, The Significance of Certain Colors, p. 6.
[44] Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 10.27.
[45]Miranda Green, Animals in Celtic Life and Myth (Routledge, 1992), p. 126.
[46]Mary Beard, J.A. North, and S.R.F. Price, Religions of Rome: A Sourcebook (Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 153.
[47]C. Bennett Pascal, “October Horse,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 85 (1981), pp. 263, 268, 277.
[48]Paul Rehak and John G. Younger, Imperium and Cosmos: Augustus and the Northern Campus Martius (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006), p. 114.
[49]Martianus Capella 5.425, with Mars specified as Gradivus and Neptune named as Portunus.
[50]Varro, Antiquitates frg. 254* (Cardauns); Plutarch, Romulus 29.1 (a rather muddled account); Arnobius, Adversus nationes 6.11.
[51]Michael Lipka, Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach (Brill, 2009), p. 88.
[52]Paul Rehak and John G. Younger, Imperium and Cosmos: Augustus and the Northern Campus Martius (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006), p. 114.

The Greek Deity Correspondence: Ares

ares6Ares and Mars of the Greeks and Romans, “and all other warrior gods are the deity attributions.”[53] Ares (Ancient Greek: Ἄρης, Μodern Greek: Άρης) is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera.[54] In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.[55] The Greeks were ambivalent toward Ares: although he embodied the physical valor necessary for success in war, he was a dangerous force, “overwhelming, insatiable in battle, destructive, and man-slaughtering.”[56] In the Iliad his father Zeus tells him that he is the god most hateful to him.[57] An association with Ares endows places and objects with a savage, dangerous, or militarized quality.[58] His value as a war god is even placed in doubt: during the Trojan War, Ares was on the losing side, while Athena, often depicted in Greek art as holding Nike (Victory) in her hand, favored the triumphant Greeks.[59]Ares plays a relatively limited role in Greek mythology as represented in literary narratives, though his numerous love affairs and abundant offspring are often alluded to.[60] When Ares does appear in myths, he typically faces humiliation.[61] He is well known as the lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love who was married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship,[62] but the most famous story involving the couple shows them exposed to ridicule through the wronged husband’s clever device.[63]The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars, who as a father of the Roman people held a more important and dignified place in ancient Roman religion for his agricultural and tutelary functions. During the Hellenization of Latin literature, the myths of Ares were reinterpreted by Roman writers under the name of Mars. Greek writers under Roman rule also recorded cult practices and beliefs pertaining to Mars under the name of Ares. Thus in the classical tradition of later Western art and literature, the mythology of the two figures becomes virtually indistinguishable. The etymology of the name Ares is traditionally connected with the Greek word ἀρή (arē), the Ionic form of the Doric ἀρά (ara), “bane, ruin, curse, imprecation.” There may also be a connection with the Roman god of war Mars, via hypothetical Proto-Indo-European *M̥rēs; compare Ancient Greek μάρναμαι (marnamai), “to fight, to battle”, or Punjabi maarna (to kill, to hit). The earliest attested form of the name is the Mycenaean Greek a-re, written in Linear B syllabic script. Walter Burkert notes that “Ares is apparently an ancient abstract noun meaning throng of battle, war.”[64]The adjectival epithet Areios was frequently appended to the names of other gods when they take on a warrior aspect or become involved in warfare: Zeus Areios, Athena Areia, even Aphrodite Areia. In the Iliad, the word ares is used as a common noun synonymous with “battle.”[65]Inscriptions as early as Mycenaean times, and continuing into the Classical period, attest to Enyalios, another name for the god of war.Ares was one of the Twelve Olympians in the archaictradition represented by the Iliad and Odyssey, but Zeus expresses a recurring Greek revulsion toward the god when Ares returns wounded and complaining from the battlefield at Troy. Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him:

‘Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.

To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympos.

Forever quarrelling is dear to your heart, wars and battles. […]

And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since

you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you.

But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous

long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky.” [66]

This ambivalence is expressed also in the god’s association with the Thracians, who were regarded by the Greeks as a barbarous and warlike people.[67] Thrace was Ares’ birthplace, true home, and refuge after the affair with Aphrodite was exposed to the general mockery of the other gods.[68] A late 6th-century BC funerary inscription from Attica emphasizes the consequences of coming under Ares’ sway:

Stay and mourn at the tomb of dead Kroisos

Whom raging Ares destroyed one day, fighting in the foremost ranks.[69]

In Macedonia, however, he was viewed as a bearded war veteran with superb military skills and physical strength. The ancient Macedonians looked up to Ares as a divine leader as well as a god. In Sparta Ares was viewed as a masculine soldier in which his resilience, physical strength and military intelligence was unrivaled. The birds of Ares (Ornithes Areioi) were a flock of feather-dart-dropping birds that guarded the Amazons’ shrine of the god on a coastal island in the Black Sea.[70] Vultures and dogs, both of which prey upon carrion in the battlefield, were sacred to him. In Renaissance and Neoclassical works of art, Ares’ symbols are a spear and helmet, his animal is a dog, and his bird is the vulture. In literary works of these eras, Ares is replaced by the Roman Mars, a romantic emblem of manly valor rather than the cruel and blood-thirsty god of Greek mythology. Deimos, “Terror” or “Dread”, and Phobos, “Fear”, are his companions in war[71] and also his children, borne by Aphrodite, according to Hesiod.[72] They are sometimes depicted as been were yoked to his battle chariot.[73] The sisterand companion of the violent Ares is Eris, the goddess of discord, or Enyo, the goddess of war, bloodshed, and violence. Enyalius, rather than another name for Ares, in at least one tradition was his son by Enyo.[74] Ares may also be accompanied by Kydoimos, the demon of the din of battle; the Makhai (“Battles”); thev “Hysminai” (“Acts of manslaughter”); Polemos, a minor spirit of war, or only an epithet of Ares, since it has no specific dominion; and Polemos’s daughter, Alala, the goddess or personification of the Greek war-cry, whose name Ares uses as his own war-cry. Ares’s sister Hebe, “Youth,” also draws baths for him. According to Pausanias, local inhabitants of Therapne, Sparta, recognized Thero “feral, savage” as a nurse of Ares.[75] The union of Ares and Aphrodite created the gods Eros, Anteros, Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia, and Adrestia. While Eros and Anteros’ godly stations favored their mother, Adrestia by far preferred to emulate her father, often accompanying him to war. Ares, upon one occasion, incurred the anger of Poseidon by slaying his son Halirrhothius, who had raped Alcippe, another daughter of the war-god. For this deed, Poseidon summoned Ares to appear before the tribunal of the Olympic gods, which was held upon a hill in Athens. Ares was acquitted, and this event is supposed to have given rise to the name Areopagus (or Hill of Ares), which afterward became famous as a court of justice.[76] There are accounts of a son of Ares, Cycnus (Κύκνος) of Macedonia, who was so murderous that he tried to build a temple with the skulls and the bones of travellers. Heracles slaughtered this abominable monstrosity, engendering the wrath of Ares, whom the hero wounded.[77] One of the roles of Ares that was sited in mainland Greece itself was in the founding myth of Thebes: Ares was the progenitor of the water-dragon slain by Cadmus, for the dragon’s teeth were sown into the ground as if a crop and sprung up as the fully armored autochthonic Spartoi. To propitiate Ares, Cadmus took as a bride Harmonia, daughter of Ares’ union with Aphrodite, thus harmonizing all strife and founding the city of Thebes.[78] In the tale sung by the bard in the hall of Alcinous,[79] the Sun-god Helios once spied Ares and Aphrodite enjoying each other secretly in the hall of Hephaestus, and he promptly reported the incident to Aphrodite’s Olympian consort. Hephaestus contrived to catch the couple in the act, and so he fashioned a finely-knitted and nearly invisible net with which to snare the illicit lovers. At the appropriate time, this net was sprung, and trapped Ares and Aphrodite locked in very private embrace. But Hephaestus was not yet satisfied with his revenge — he invited the Olympian gods and goddesses to view the unfortunate pair. For the sake of modesty, the goddesses demurred, but the male gods went to witness the sight. Some commented on the beauty of Aphrodite, others remarked that they would eagerly trade places with Ares, but all who were present mocked the two. Once the couple were loosed, Ares, embarrassed, returned to his homeland, Thrace.[80] In a much later interpolated detail, Ares put the youth Alectryon by his door to warn them of Helios’ arrival, as Helios would tell Hephaestus of Aphrodite’s infidelity if the two were discovered, but Alectryon fell asleep. Helios discovered the two and alerted Hephaestus. Ares was furious and turned Alectryon into a rooster, which now never forgets to announce the arrival of the sun in the morning. In one archaic myth related only in the Iliad by the goddess Dione to her daughter Aphrodite, two chthonic giants, the Aloadae, named Otus and Ephialtes, threw Ares into chains and put him in a bronze urn, where he remained for thirteen months, a lunar year. “And that would have been the end of Ares and his appetite for war, if the beautiful Eriboea, the young giants’ stepmother, had not told Hermes what they had done,” she related.[81] “In this one suspects a festival of licence which is unleashed in the thirteenth month.[82] Ares remained screaming and howling in the urn until Hermes rescued him and Artemis tricked the Aloadae into slaying each other. In Nonnus’ Dionysiaca[83] Ares also killed Ekhidnades, the giant son of Echidna and a great enemy of the gods; it is not clear whether the nameless Ekhidnades (“of Echidna’s lineage”) was entirely Nonnus’ invention or not. In the Iliad,[48] Homer represented Ares as having no fixed allegiances, rewarding courage on both sides: he promised Athena and Hera that he would fight on the side of the Achaeans,[84] but Aphrodite was able to persuade Ares to side with the Trojans. During the war, Diomedes fought with Hector and saw Ares fighting on the Trojans’ side. Diomedes called for his soldiers to fall back slowly.[85] Hera, Ares’s mother, saw his interference and asked Zeus, his father, for permission to drive Ares away from the battlefield, which Zeus granted.[86] Hera and Athena encouraged Diomedes to attack Ares.[87] Diomedes thrust with his spear at Ares, with Athena driving it home, and Ares’ cries made Achaeans and Trojans alike tremble.[88] Ares fled to Mt. Olympus, forcing the Trojans to fall back. When Hera during a conversation with Zeus mentioned that Ares’ son Ascalaphus was killed, Ares wanted to again join the fight on the side of the Achaeans disregarding Zeus’ order that no Olympic god should enter the battle, but Athena stopped him.[89] Later, when Zeus allowed the gods to fight in the war again,[90] Ares was the first to act, attacking Athena to avenge himself for his previous injury, but Athena managed to overpower him by striking Ares with a boulder.[91] Although Ares received occasional sacrifice from armies going to war, the god had a formal temple and cult at only a few sites.[92] At Sparta, however, youths each sacrificed a puppy to Enyalios before engaging in ritual fighting at the Phoebaeum.[93] The chthonic night-time sacrifice of a dog to Enyalios became assimilated to the cult of Ares. Just east of Sparta stood an archaic statue of the god in chains, to show that the spirit of war and victory was never to leave the city.[94]The temple to Ares in the agora of Athens that Pausanias saw in the second century AD had only been moved and rededicated there during the time of Augustus; in essence it was a Roman temple to the Augustan Mars Ultor.[95] The Areopagus, the “mount of Ares” where Paul of Tarsus preached, is sited at some distance from the Acropolis; from archaic times it was a site of trials. Its connection with Ares, perhaps based on a false etymology, is purely etiological myth. A second temple has also been located at the archaeological site of Metropolis in what is now Western Turkey.


[53] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84.
[54]Hesiod, Theogony 921; Iliad, 5.890–896. By contrast, Ares’ Roman counterpart Mars was born from Juno alone, according to Ovid (Fasti 5.229–260).
[55]Walter Burkert, Greek Religion (Blackwell, 1985, 2004 reprint, originally published 1977 in German), pp. 141; William Hansen, Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical World of the Greeks and Romans (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 113.
[56]Burkert, Greek Religion, p.169.
[57] Homer, Iliad 5.890–891.
[58]Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 114–115.
[59]Burkert, Greek Religion,p. 169.
[60]Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 113–114; Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 169.
[61]Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 113–114. See for instance Ares and the giants.
[62]In the Iliad, however, the wife of Hephaestus is Charis, “Grace,” as noted by Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 168.
[63] Homer, Odyssey 8.266–366; Hansen, Classical Mythology, pp. 113–114.
[64]Walter Burkert, Greek Religion (Harvard) 1985: pt III.2.12 p 169.
[65]Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 169.
[66] Homer, Iliad, Book 5, lines 798–891, 895–898 in the translation of Richmond Lattimore.
[67] Homer, Iliad 13.301; Ovid, Ars Amatoria, II.10.
[68]Homer Odyssey viii. 361; for Ares/Mars and Thrace, see Ovid, Ars Amatoria, book ii.part xi.585, which tells the same tale: “Their captive bodies are, with difficulty, freed, at your plea, Neptune: Venus runs to Paphos: Mars heads for Thrace.”; for Ares/Mars and Thrace, see also Statius, Thebaid vii. 42; Herodotus, iv. 59, 62.
[69]Athens, NM 3851 quoted in Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works, Introduction: I. “The Sources”
[70]Argonautica (ii.382ff and 1031ff; Hyginus, Fabulae 30.
[71]Iliad 4.436f, and 13.299f’ Hesiodic Shield of Heracles 191, 460; Quintus Smyrnaeus, 10.51, etc.
[72]Hesiod, Theogony 934f.
[73]Burkert, Greek Religion, p.169.
[74]Eustathius on Homer 944
[75]Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3. 19. 7 – 8
[76]Berens, E.M.: Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, page 113. Project Gutenberg, 2007.
[77]Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, 2. 5. 11 & 2. 7. 7
[78]Burkert, Greek Religion, p.169.
[79] Homer, Odyssey 8.300.
[80]”Odyssey, 8.295.””In Robert Fagles’ translation “”…and the two lovers, free of the bonds that overwhelmed them so, sprang up and away at once, and the Wargod sped Thrace, while Love with her telltale laughter sped to Paphos…”.”
[81] Homer, Iliad 5.385–391.
[82]Burkert (1985). Greek Religion. pp. 169.
[83]Nonnus, Dionysiaca 18. 274 ff.
[84]Homer, Iliad V.830–834, XXI.410–414.
[85]Homer, Illiad, V.590–605.
[86]Homer, Illiad, V.711–769.
[87] Homer, Illiad, V.780–834.
[88]Homer, Illiad, V.855–864.
[89]Homer, Illiad, XV.110–128.
[90]Homer, Illiad, XX.20–29.
[91] Homer, Illiad, XXI.391–408.
[92]Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 170.
[93]”Here each company of youths sacrifices a puppy to Enyalius, holding that the most valiant of tame animals is an acceptable victim to the most valiant of the gods. I know of no other Greeks who are accustomed to sacrifice puppies except the people of Colophon; these too sacrifice a puppy, a black bitch, to the Wayside Goddess.” Pausanias, 3.14.9.
[94]”Opposite this temple [the temple of Hipposthenes] is an old image of Enyalius in fetters. The idea the Lacedaemonians express by this image is the same as the Athenians express by their Wingless Victory; the former think that Enyalius will never run away from them, being bound in the fetters, while the Athenians think that Victory, having no wings, will always remain where she is.” Pausanias, 3.15.7.
[95]Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 170.

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence #1: Horus

horruussThe Egyptian deity correspondence for this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are Horus, “the hawk-headed lord of strength,”[96] and Mentu, “the god of war of the Egyptians.”[97] Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists.[98] These various forms may possibly be different perceptions of the same multi-layered deity in which certain attributes or syncretic relationships are emphasized, not necessarily in opposition but complementary to one another, consistent with how the Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality.[99] He was most often depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner or peregrine, or as a man with a falcon head.[100]The earliest recorded form of Horus is the patron deity of Nekhen in Upper Egypt, who is the first known national god, specifically related to the king who in time came to be regarded as a manifestation of Horus in life and Osiris in death. The most commonly encountered family relationship describes Horus as the son of Isis and Osiris but in another tradition Hathor is regarded as his mother and sometimes as his wife.[101] Horus served many functions in the Egyptian pantheon, most notably being the god of the Sky, god of War and god of Protection. Horus was also said to be a god of war and hunting. The Horus falcon is shown upon a standard on the predynastic Hunters Palette in the “lion hunt”. Thus he became a symbol of majesty and power as well as the model of the pharaohs. The Pharaohs were said to be Horus in human form. Furthermore Nemty, another war god, was later identified as Horus. Horus had many battles with Set, not only to avenge his father, but to choose the rightful ruler of Egypt. Since Horus was said to be the sky, he was considered to also contain the sun and moon. It became said that the sun was his right eye and the moon his left, and that they traversed the sky when he, a falcon, flew across it. Later, the reason that the moon was not as bright as the sun was explained by a tale, known as the contestings of Horus and Set, originating as a metaphor for the conquest of Upper Egypt by Lower Egypt in about 3000 BC. In this tale, it was said that Set, the patron of Upper Egypt, and Horus, the patron of Lower Egypt, had battled for Egypt brutally, with neither side victorious, until eventually the gods sided with Horus. As Horus was the ultimate victor he became known as Harsiesis, Heru-ur or Har-Wer (ḥr.w wr ‘Horus the Great’), but more usually translated as Horus the Elder. In the struggle Set had lost a testicle, explaining why the desert, which Set represented, is infertile. Horus’ left eye had also been gouged out, which explained why the moon, which it represented, was so weak compared to the sun. One scene stated how Horus was on the verge of killing Set; but his mother (and Set’s sister), Isis, stopped him. Isis injured Horus, but eventually healed him. Set still refused to relent, and the other gods were getting tired from over eighty years of fighting and challenges. Horus and Set challenged each other to a boat race, where they each raced in a boat made of stone. Horus and Set agreed, and the race started. But Horus had an edge: his boat was made of wood painted to resemble stone, rather than true stone. Set’s boat, being made of heavy stone, sank, but Horus’s did not. Horus then won the race, and Set stepped down and officially gave Horus the throne of Egypt. But after the New Kingdom, Set still was considered Lord of the desert and its oases.This myth, along with others, could be seen as an explanation of how the two kingdoms of Egypt (Upper and Lower) came to be united. Horus was seen as the God of Lower Egypt, and Set as the God of Upper Egypt. In this myth, the respective Upper and Lower deities have a fight, through which Horus is the victor. However, some of Horus (representing Lower Egypt) enters into Set (Upper Egypt) thus explaining why Lower Egypt is dominant over Upper Egypt. Set’s regions were then considered to be of the desert.


[96] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84.
[97] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84.
[98]”The Oxford Guide: Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology”, Edited by Donald B. Redford, Horus: by Edmund S. Meltzer, Berkley, 2003, p164–168.
[99]”The Oxford Guide: Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology”, Edited by Donald B. Redford, Berkley, 2003, p106 & p165.
[100]Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 202.
[101]”The Oxford Guide: Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology”, Edited by Donald B. Redford, Horus: by Edmund S. Meltzer, p164–168, Berkley, 2003.

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence #2: Mentu

mentuIn Ancient Egyptian religion, Monthu was a falcon-god of war. Monthu’s name, shown in Egyptian hieroglyphs is technically transcribed as mntw. Because of the difficulty in transcribing Egyptian, it is often realized as Montu, Montju, or Menthu. Monthu was an ancient god, his name meaning nomad, originally a manifestation of the scorching effect of the sun, Ra, and as such often appeared under the epithet Monthu-Ra. The destructiveness of this characteristic led to him gaining characteristics of a warrior, and eventually becoming a war-god. Because of the association of raging bulls with strength and war, Monthu was also said to manifest himself in a white bull with a black face, which was referred to as the Bakha. Egypt’s greatest general-kings called themselves Mighty Bulls, the sons of Monthu. In the famous narrative of the Battle of Kadesh, Ramesses II was said to have seen the enemy and “raged at them like Monthu, Lord of Thebes”. In Ancient Egyptian art, he was pictured as a falcon-headed or bull-headed man who wore the sun-disc, with two plumes on his head, the falcon representing the sky, and the bull representing strength and war. He would hold various weaponry, including scimitars, bows and arrows, and knives in his hands. The Temple of Monthu at Medamud was probably begun during the Old Kingdom era. During the New Kingdom, large and impressive temples to Monthu were constructed in Armant. In fact, the Greek name of the city of Armant was Hermonthis, meaning the land of Monthu. Earlier temples to Monthu include one located adjacent to the Middle Kingdom fortress of Uronarti below the Second Cataract of the Nile, dating to the nineteenth century BCE. Monthu formed a triad with the goddess Reto and their son Hor-Pre.[102] Mentuhotep, a name given to several pharaohs in the Middle Kingdom, means “Menthu is satisfied”.


[102]Florence Nightingale; Gérard Vallée (1 May 2003). Florence Nightingale on mysticism and eastern religions. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 242.

The Hindu Deity Correspondence: the Warrior Aspects of Krishna

krishna_ChanuraThe Hindu deity correspondence for this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Krisna, “as the charioteer to the Kurukshetra battle.”[103] Krishna (Sanskrit: कृष्ण) (kṛṣṇa in IAST, literally “dark, black, dark-blue”) is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is known as the eighth and “complete” avatar of Lord Vishnu, come to restore Dharma to the earth in a time of great dharmic imbalance. Krishna is identified as a historical individual who participated in the events of the Mahabharata. The scene on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, notably where he addresses Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, is another common subject for representation. In these depictions, he is shown as a man, often with typical god-like characteristics of Hindu religious art, such as multiple arms or heads, denoting power, and with attributes of Vishnu, such as the chakra or in his two-armed form as a charioteer. Cave paintings dated to 800 BCE in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, North India, show raiding horse-charioteers, one of whom is about to hurl a wheel, and who could potentially be identified as Krishna.[104]The earliest text to explicitly provide detailed descriptions of Krishna as a personality is the epic Mahābhārata which depicts Krishna as an incarnation of Vishnu. Krishna is central to many of the main stories of the epic. The eighteen chapters of the sixth book (Bhishma Parva) of the epic that constitute the Bhagavad Gita contain the advice of Krishna to the warrior-hero Arjuna, on the battlefield. Krishna is already an adult in the epic, although there are allusions to his earlier exploits. The Harivamsa, a later appendix to this epic, contains the earliest detailed version of Krishna’s childhood and youth. According to the Indian epic poem Mahābhārata, a dynastic succession struggle between two groups of cousins of an Indo-Aryan kingdom called Kuru, the Kauravas and Pandavas, for the throne of Hastinapura resulted in the Kurukshetra War in which a number of ancient kingdoms participated as allies of the rival groups. The location of the battle was Kurukshetra in the modern state of Haryana in India. The conflict is believed to be formed an essential component of an ancient work called Jaya and hence the epic Mahābhārata.

On the 9th day of war, Bhisma kills millions of people. Krishna gets upset with Bhisma's method of using weapons and massacre at war. Krishna jumps off his chariot and runs with a discus to kill Bhisma. Arjuna runs behind Krishna, holds him down, pleads Krishna to keep his promise to only drive the chariot and not directly kill anyone (pictured). Krishna yields to Arjuna's dharma reminder and refrains from killing Bhisma (standing in the chariot).

On the 9th day of war, Bhisma kills millions of people. Krishna gets upset with Bhisma’s method of using weapons and massacre at war. Krishna jumps off his chariot and runs with a discus to kill Bhisma. Arjuna runs behind Krishna, holds him down, pleads Krishna to keep his promise to only drive the chariot and not directly kill anyone (pictured). Krishna yields to Arjuna’s dharma reminder and refrains from killing Bhisma (standing in the chariot).

The Kurukshetra War is believed to date variously from 6000 BCE to 500 BCE,[105] based on the astronomical and literary information from Mahābhārata. The history of the Kurukshetra War is also traced to the Battle of the Ten Kings mentioned in Rigveda.After a failed attempted at making peace, once battle seemed inevitable, Krishna offered both sides the opportunity to choose between having either his army called narayani sena or himself alone, but on the condition that he personally would not raise any weapon. Arjuna, on behalf of the Pandavas, chose to have Krishna on their side, and Duryodhana, Kaurava prince, chose Krishna’s army. At the time of the great battle, Krishna acted as Arjuna’s charioteer, since this position did not require the wielding of weapons. Upon arrival at the battlefield, and seeing that the enemies are his family, his grandfather, his cousins and loved ones, Arjuna becomes doubtful about the fight. He lost all his hopes and put down his Gandiv (Arjuna’s bow). Krishna then advises him about the battle, with the conversation soon extending into a discourse which was later compiled as the Bhagavad Gita.[106] Krishna had a profound effect on the Mahabharata war and its consequences. He considered the Kurukshetra war as a last resort by voluntarily making himself as a messenger in order to establish peace between the Pandavas and Kauravas. But, once these peace negotiations failed and was embarked into the war, then he became a clever strategist. During the war, upon becoming angry with Arjun for not fighting in true spirit against his ancestors, Krishna once picked up a carriage wheel and converted it to a Chakra (discus) to challenge Bhishma when the latter injured him. Upon seeing this, Bhishma dropped his weapons and asked Krishna to kill him. However, Arjuna apologized to Krishna, promising that he would fight with full dedication here/after, and the battle continued. Krishna had directed Yudhisthira and Arjuna to return to Bhishma the boon of “victory” which he had given to Yudhisthira before the war commenced, since he himself was standing in their way to victory. Bhishma understood the message and told them the means through which he would drop his weapons—which was if a woman entered the battlefield. Next day, upon Krishna’s directions, Shikhandi (Amba reborn) accompanied Arjuna to the battlefield and thus, Bhishma laid down his arms. This was a decisive moment in the war because Bhishma was the chief commander of the Kaurava army and the most formidable warrior on the battlefield. Krishna aided Arjuna in killing Jayadratha, who had held the other four Pandava brothers at bay while Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu entered Drona’s Chakravyuha formation—an effort in which he got killed by the simultaneous attack of eight Kaurava warriors. Krishna also caused the downfall of Drona, when he signalled Bhima to kill an elephant called Ashwatthama, the namesake of Drona’s son. Pandavas started shouting that Ashwatthama was dead but Drona refused to believe them saying he would believe it only if he heard it from Yudhisthira. Krishna knew that Yudhisthira would never tell a lie, so he devised a clever ploy so that Yudhisthira wouldn’t lie and at the same time Drona would be convinced of his son’s death. On asked by Drona, Yudhisthira proclaimed: “Ashwathama Hatahath, naro va Kunjaro va” i.e. Ashwathama had died but he was nor sure whether it was a Drona’s son or an elephant. But as soon as Yudhisthira had uttered the first line, Pandava army on Krishna’s direction broke into celebration with drums and conchs, in the din of which Drona could not hear the second part of the Yudhisthira’s declaration and assumed that his son indeed was dead. Overcome with grief he laid down his arms, and on Krishna’s instruction Dhrishtadyumna beheaded Drona. When Arjuna was fighting Karna, the latter’s chariot’s wheels sank into the ground.

While Karna was trying to take out the chariot from the grip of the Earth, Krishna reminded Arjuna how Karna and the other Kauravas had broken all rules of battle while simultaneously attacking and killing Abhimanyu, and he convinced Arjuna to do the same in revenge in order to kill Karna. During the final stage of the war, when Duryodhana was going to meet his mother Gandhari for taking her blessings which would convert all parts of his body on which her sight falls to steel, Krishna tricks him to wearing banana leaves to hide his groin. When Duryodhana meets Gandhari, her vision and blessings fall on his entire body except his groin and thighs, and she becomes unhappy about it because she was not able to convert his entire body to steel. When Duryodhana was in a mace-fight with Bhima, Bhima’s blows had no effect on Duryodhana. Upon this, Krishna reminded Bhima of his vow to kill Duryodhana by hitting him on the thigh, and Bhima did the same to win the war despite it being against the rules of mace-fight (since Duryodhana had himself broken Dharma in all his past acts). Thus, Krishna’s unparalleled strategy helped the Pandavas win the Mahabharata war by bringing the downfall of all the chief Kaurava warriors, without lifting any weapon. He also brought back to life Arjuna’s grandson Parikshit, who had been attacked by a Brahmastra weapon from Ashwatthama while he was in his mother’s womb. Parikshit became the Pandavas’ successor


[103] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84.
[104]D. D. Kosambi (1962), Myth and Reality: Studies in the Formation of Indian Culture, New Delhi, Chapter I: Social and Economic Aspects of the Bhagavad-Gita, paragraph 1.16
[105]”the dates proposed for the Kurukshetra war range from as early as 6000 BC to as recently as 500 BC.” (Yogananda, Paramahansa (2007). God Talks With Arjuna. Diamond Pocket Books, Ltd. p. xxi.)
[106]Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, by Robert N. Minor in Bryant, Edwin H. (2007). Krishna: A Sourcebook. Oxford University Press, USA, pp. 7.–79;

The Norse Deity Correspondence: Odin as a War God

odin-war-godThe Norse deity correspondence for this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Odin. The main reason for this attribution Israel Regardie tells us, is because he “was portaryed in the Norse myths as a war god, and sent the Valkyries to welcome the fallen heroes to the festive boards of Valhalla.”[107] In a sense, the Valkyries too are a correspondence, because they carry out his will for war. Anderson, in his book Norse Mythology, says that the Valkyries “are the handmaidens of Odin, and the god of war sends his thoughts and his will to the carnage of the battlefield in the form of mighty armed women, in the same manner as he dends his ravens all over the earth.”[108] Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn) is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon “Wōden” and the Old High German “Wotan.”[109] In the compound Wednesday, the first member is cognate to the genitive Odin’s. His name is related to ōðr, meaning “fury, excitation,” besides “mind,” or “poetry.” His role, like that of many of the Norse gods, is complex. Odin is a principal member of the Æsir (the major group of the Norse pantheon) and is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is Thor. Odin is an ambivalent deity. Old Norse (Viking Age) connotations of Odin lie with “poetry, inspiration” as well as with “fury, madness and the wanderer.” Odin sacrificed his eye (which eye he sacrificed is unclear) at Mímir’s spring in order to gain the Wisdom of Ages. Odin gives to worthy poets the mead of inspiration, made by the dwarfs, from the vessel Óð-rœrir.[3] Odin is associated with the concept of the Wild Hunt, a noisy, bellowing movement across the sky, leading a host of slain warriors. Consistent with this, Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda depicts Odin as welcoming the great, dead warriors who have died in battle into his hall, Valhalla, which, when literally interpreted, signifies the hall of the slain. The fallen, the einherjar, are assembled and entertained by Odin in order that they in return might fight for, and support, the gods in the final battle of the end of Earth, Ragnarök. Snorri also wrote that Freyja receives half of the fallen in her hall Folkvang. He is also a god of war, appearing throughout Norse myth as the bringer of victory. In the Norse sagas, Odin sometimes acts as the instigator of wars, and is said to have been able to start wars by simply throwing down his spear Gungnir, and/or sending his valkyries, to influence the battle toward the end that he desires. The Valkyries are Odin’s beautiful battle maidens that went out to the fields of war to select and collect the worthy men who died in battle to come and sit at Odin’s table in Valhalla, feasting and battling until they had to fight in the final battle, Ragnarök. Odin would also appear on the battle-field, sitting upon his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, with his two ravens, one on each shoulder, Hugin (Thought) and Munin (Memory), and two wolves (Geri and Freki) on each side of him. Odin is also associated with trickery, cunning, and deception. Most sagas have tales of Odin using his cunning to overcome adversaries and achieve his goals, such as swindling the blood of Kvasir from the dwarves. The Christianization of Scandinavia was slow, and it worked its way downwards from the nobility. Among commoners, beliefs in Odin lingered and legends would be told until modern times. The last battle where Scandinavians attributed a victory to Odin was the Battle of Lena in 1208.[110] The former Swedish king Sverker had arrived with a large Danish army, and the Swedes led by their new king Eric were outnumbered. It is said that Odin then appeared riding on Sleipnir and he positioned himself in front of the Swedish battle formation. He led the Swedish charge and gave them victory. The Bagler sagas, written in the thirteenth century concerning events in the first two decades of the thirteenth century, tells a story of a one-eyed rider with a broad-brimmed hat and a blue coat who asks a smith to shoe his horse. The suspicious smith asks where the stranger stayed during the previous night. The stranger mentions places so distant that the smith does not believe him. The stranger says that he has stayed for a long time in the north and taken part in many battles, but now he is going to Sweden. When the horse is shod, the rider mounts his horse and says “I am Odin” to the stunned smith, and rides away. The next day, the battle of Lena took place. The context of this tale in the saga is that a peace-treaty has been signed in Norway, and Odin, a god of war, no longer has a place there. Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar, written in the 1260s, describes how, at some point in the 1230s, Skule Baardsson has the skald Snorri Sturluson compose a poem comparing one of Skule’s enemies to Odin, describing them both as bringers of strife and disagreement. These episodes do not necessarily imply a continued belief in Odin as a god, but show clearly that his name was still widely known at this time. Scandinavian folklore also maintained a belief in Odin as the leader of the Wild Hunt. His main objective seems to have been to track down and kill a lady who could be the forest dweller huldran or skogsrået. In these accounts, Odin was typically a lone hunter, save for his two dogs.[111]


[107] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84.
[108] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84.
[109]The name is descended from Proto-Germanic “*Wodanaz” 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.
[110]Starbäck, Carl Georg, & Bäckström, Per Olof. Berättelser ur Svenska Historien. Stockholm: F. & G. Beijers Förlag (1885–86), Vol. 1, p. 325
[111] Schön, Ebbe. (2004). Asa-Tors hammare, Gudar och jättar i tro och tradition. Fält & Hässler, Värnamo. pp. 201–205.

The Metal Correspondence: Iron

Iron-135048The sacred metal of this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of life is iron.[112] Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element (by mass) forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth’s outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust. Iron exists in a wide range of oxidation states.[113] Elemental iron occurs in meteoroids and other low oxygen environments, but is reactive to oxygen and water. Fresh iron surfaces appear lustrous silvery-gray, but oxidize in normal air to give iron oxides, also known as rust. Iron metal has been used since ancient times, though lower-melting copper alloys were used first in history. Pure iron is soft (softer than aluminium), but is unobtainable by smelting. The material is significantly hardened and strengthened by impurities from the smelting process, such as carbon. A certain proportion of carbon (between 0.2% and 2.1%) produces steel, which may be up to 1000 times harder than pure iron. Crude iron metal is produced in blast furnaces, where ore is reduced by coke to cast iron, which has a high carbon content. Further refinement with oxygen reduces the carbon content to the correct proportion to make steel. Steels and low carbon iron alloys with other metals (alloy steels) are by far the most common metals in industrial use, due to their great range of desirable properties. Iron objects of great age are much rarer than objects made of gold or silver due to the ease of corrosion of iron.[114] Beads made of meteoric iron in 3500 B.C. or earlier were found in Gerzah, Egypt by G. A. Wainwright.[115] The beads contain 7.5% nickel, which is a signature of meteoric origin since iron found in the Earth’s crust has very little to no nickel content. Meteoric iron was highly regarded due to its origin in the heavens and was often used to forge weapons and tools or whole specimens placed in churches. Items that were likely made of iron by Egyptians date from 2500 to 3000 BC. Iron had a distinct advantage over bronze in warfare implements. It was much harder and more durable than bronze, although susceptible to rust. However, this is contested. Hittitologist Trevor Bryce argues that before advanced iron-working techniques were developed in Europe and India, cast-iron weapons used by early Mesopotamian armies had a tendency to shatter in combat, due to their high carbon content.[116] The first iron production started in the Middle Bronze Age but it took several centuries before iron displaced bronze. Samples of smelted iron from Asmar, Mesopotamia and Tall Chagar Bazaar in northern Syria were made sometime between 2700 and 3000 BC. The Hittites appear to be the first to understand the production of iron from its ores and regard it highly in their society. They began to smelt iron between 1500 and 1200 BC and the practice spread to the rest of the Near East after their empire fell in 1180 BC. The subsequent period is called the Iron Age. Iron smelting, and thus the Iron Age, reached Europe two hundred years later and arrived in Zimbabwe, Africa by the 8th century. Artifacts from smelted iron occur in India from 1800 to 1200 BC, and in the Levant from about 1500 BC (suggesting smelting in Anatolia or the Caucasus).[117] The Book of Genesis, fourth chapter, verse 22 contains the first mention of iron in the Old Testament of the Bible; “Tubal-cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.”[118] Other verses allude to iron mining,[119] iron used as a stylus,[120] furnace,[121] chariots,[122] nails,[123] saws and axes,[124] and cooking utensils.[125] The metal is also mentioned in the New Testament, for example in Acts chapter 12 verse 10, “[Peter passed through] the iron gate that leadeth unto the city” of Antioch.[126] The Quran referred to Iron 1400 years ago. Iron working was introduced to Greece in the late 11th century BC.[127] The spread of ironworking in Central and Western Europe is associated with Celtic expansion. According to Pliny the Elder, iron use was common in the Roman era.[128] The annual iron output of the Roman Empire is estimated at 84,750 t,[129] while the similarly populous Han China produced around 5,000 t.[130]


[112] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84.
[113] −2 to + 6, although +2 and +3 are the most common.
[114]Weeks, Mary Elvira; Leichester, Henry M. (1968). “Elements Known to the Ancients”. Discovery of the Elements. Easton, PA: Journal of Chemical Education. pp. 29.
[115]Weeks 1968, p. 29.pp. 31.
[116]Trevor Bryce, “Hittite Warrior” (Osprey Publishing, London: 2007) pp. 22–23.
[117]Photos, E. (1989). “The Question of Meteoritic versus Smelted Nickel-Rich Iron: Archaeological Evidence and Experimental Results”. World Archaeology (Taylor & Francis, Ltd.) 20 (3): 403–421.
[118]Weeks 1968, p. 29.
[119] The Bible, Job 28:2.
[120] The Bible, Job 19:24.
[121]The Bible, Deuteronomy 4:20.
[122] The Bible, Joshua 17:16.
[123] The Bible, I Chron. 22:3.
[124] The Bible, II Sam. 12:31.
[125] The Bible, Ezekiel 4:3; See also Weeks 1968, pp. 29–30.
[126]Weeks 1968, p. 30.
[127]Riederer, Josef; Wartke, Ralf-B.: “Iron”, Cancik, Hubert; Schneider, Helmuth (eds.): Brill’s New Pauly, Brill 2009.
[128]Weeks 1968, p. 31.
[129]Craddock, Paul T. (2008): “Mining and Metallurgy”, in: Oleson, John Peter (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World, Oxford University Press, p. 108.
[130]Wagner, Donald B.: “The State and the Iron Industry in Han China”, NIAS Publishing, Copenhagen 2001, p. 73

The Animal Correspondence #1: The Bear

brown-bearThe main sacred animal correspondences for this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are usually the bear, wolf[131] but some authors also add the horse and the boar to the count.[132] The reason why the bear is attributed here, Aleister Crowley tells us, is because “the bear is martial chiefly for alchemical reasons and because of his great strength.”[133] Evidence suggests that since Paleolithic times, human being have made the bear an object of magico-religious veneration. Clever, curious, dexterous, the bear is so like a human in appearance and character. Yet it is also wild and massive, with its broad head, extended jaws, huge teeth, shaggy coat and heavy, powerful paws with five razor-sharp claws capable of tearing its prey limb from limb. On a more subtle level , if we take a look to the Jungian psychoanalyst’s point of view, we find out that like all lunar manifestation of the divine, the bear’s relationship is primarly with the instincts. Given its strength, Jung considers it the symbol of the potentially devouring affective energies of psyche’s unconscious realm, primal raw spiritual energies that can seize us destructively, especially if we are naïve or disrespectful enough to underestimate their significance. In alchemy the bear is an emanation of gloom and darkness associated with the blackness of matter in its primary state. Darkness allied with the forbidden, strengthens the bear’s role as the mystagogue. In alchemical terms, the bear corresponds to the primary phases of development and raw natural processes. Powerful, violent, dangerous, uncontrolled, like some primal force, the bear is traditionally the emblem of cruelty, blood-thirstiness and brutality. Througout the Celtic world the bear was the emblem or symbol of the warrior caste. The common Celtic word for for ‘bear’, artos (Irish, art; Welsh, arth; Breton, arzh) is echoed in the name of mythical King Arthur (artoris), or in the Irish male name Mathgen (matugenos meaning ‘son of a bear’). It stands in neat opposition to the Boar, the symbol of priestly caste. In the Welsh state of Culhwch and Olwen, Arthur hunts the Twrch Trwyth and its litter. Now this creature was a white boar and their battle – which lasted nine days and nights –mrepresents the struggle between ‘Church’ and ‘State’. In the Irish tale, The Fate of the Children of Tuireann, the opposite is the case. Here, rather than a priestly boar ravaging the lands of a sovereign prince, members of the warrior caste murder Cian, father of the god Lug, disguised as a druidical boar.   In Gaul (and at Bern, which still keeps its name ‘Bear’) thre was even a goddess, Artio, who still more powerfully underlines the female character of the warrior caste. One may also observe that the Welsh called both the constellations with their polar symbolism, the Great Bear and the Little Bear, Cerbyd Arthur, ‘Arthur’s Wain’.[134] Among the Celts, therefore, the bear competed – or associated – with the boar, as temporal power with spiritual authority. In India the same was true or the Kshatriya and the Brahman. This aspect – the bear being slightly yin relative to the boar’s yang – would explain why the she-bear recurs so often. Unlike the fore going, in China the bear is a male symbol. It heralds the birth of boys and is an expression of yang. The bear is in harmony with his home, the mountain, and in conflict with the serpent (yin, the equivalent of water). Yu the Great, Regulator of the World, took the shape of a bear in the course of his duties. Again, this is not really a reversal of symbols, still less a relationship setting bear in conflict with she-bear, since the Chineese wang combines the two powers, while the duties of the cosmic architect correspond to those of Kshatria. In Japan, the bear is regarded as the ancestor of the Ainu. This ancient racial group, inhabiting northern Japan and the island of Hokkaido, believed that the bear was a mountain-god, the ruler of all. They celebrated the Feast of the Bear (Kaimui omante) in December. On that day the godhead came down to Earth and was welcomed by mankind, left them different gifts and returned at once to the realm of the gods. For many peoples, this largest carnivorous land mammal, able to rise up to ten feet tall on its hind legs, has represented a sacred creature that could move between worlds, often functioning as a “tutelary figure” or spirit helper to mythic heroes. In the heavens the Big bear and the Little Bear, linked tonthe pole star, orient geographical as well as mystical journeys, the whole vault of heaven seeming to revolve in time with the Bear’s circuit. In Siberia and Alaska the bear is placed in the same category as the Moon, because it vanishes with Winter and returns with Spring. This also shows that animal’s link with the annual cycle of vegetation, also controlled by the Moon. The bear is, in any case, held to be the ancestor of the human race; “for man, whose life is similar to that of the moon, must have been created out of the very substance or by magic power of that orb of living reality.”[135] There are stories that tell of marriages and crossing-over between bear and humans. Many Native American tribes saw the bear as a master healer who in using plants to support its own health taught human about their medicinal properties.[136] Shamans or medicine men often dressed as bear and imitated their dances to take on its healing powers, or shape-shifted into bears for their spirit journey.[137] To don the bearskin was to become one with a superhuman, initiating ancestor. In Canada, the Algonquin Indians often referred to the bear respectfully as “brother”, “grand mother”[138] or grand father.[139] This belief appears to have inspired the widespread myth of bears carrying off womens, who live a married life with their ravishers. In Norse legend, the god Odin who is an attribution for this path, has special warriors that were called “berserkers” because of the bearskins they wore to enter a trance of uncontrollable fury, displaying superhuman strength and resistance in battle. Immensely powerful, the bear knows about death through its ability to deal it as well as to survive it. Associated with highly potent and thus dangerous spiritual domains, the bear is also emblematic of the drastic repercussions for the uninitiated who violate them. Among the Koryaks of north-eastern Siberia, the Gilyaks, Tingits, Tongas and Haidas, a bear “is present in the initiation ceremonies, just as it played an important part in the ceremonies of Paleolithic times.”[140] It is also the case for the Pomo Indians of Northern California who “have their candidate initiated by the Grizzly Bear, which ‘kills’ them and ‘makes a hole’ in their backs with its claws.”[141] In some inscriptions from the archaic period in China, one dating from the Shang, the other from the Chou Dynasty, L.C. Hopkins believed he could make out a “masked shaman dancing dressed in a bear’s skin.”[142] In Greek Mythology the bear is the animal of the virgin huntress-goddess Artemis, “one unto herself” like the single bear mother, ferocious patroness of childbirth, young animals and childrens, and capable of dismembering anyone who intrude upon her sphere. Yet, the bear is equally evocative of the mothering aspect of nature, manifested in the image of the she-bear holding and sucking her cubs upright, carrying them to forage and hunt. Nine-year-old Artemis Athenian girls were fostered by the she-bear Artemis as member of her cult. Wearing bearskins and dancing in the forest, they contacted their own fierce nature while learning about the particularities of feminine mysteries surrounding fertility and birth. The bear, as a creature of the Moon, incorporates one aspect of the dialectic attached to the lunar myth, potentially both aggressor and sufferer, priest and sacrificial victim. In this sense, the bear stands in contrast with the hare, typically representing the aggressive, cruel, sacrificing-priestly side of the myth. Like all large carnivore, the bear shares the symbolism of the chthonian unconscious. A lunar creature and therefore nocturnal, it originates in the inner landscapes of the Earth Mother. It is therefore all too easy to understand why so many Altaic peoples regarded the bear as their ancestor. This gives point to Harva’s observation that: “Sternberg mentions the existence in the Amur Valley of several tribes which derive their ancestry from a tiger or a bear, because their ancestor dreamed he had sexual intercourse with one or other of these creatures.”[143] The Yakut, in Siberia, believed that the bear was omniscient, “he remembers everything, and forgets nothing.” The Altaic Tatar believed that he hears “through the mediation of the Earth,” while the Soyot said “the Earth is the bear’s ear.”[144] Tungus, Chores and Tatars from Minusinsk nailed a bear’s paw close to the door of the house or the entrance of their tent to ward off evil spirits. If they placed one in the cradle, the Yakut believed it would protect their babies. The Telyut believed that the genius of the doorwayt is dressed in a bear’s skin. A bear’s claws had therapeutic properties, the Chores believing that it cured enteritis in their herds, the Altaic Tatars that it cured headache. Lastly many Altaic peoples called the bear to witness their oaths; the Yakut made their attestations seated on a bear’s skull.


[131] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84; Aleister Crowley, Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. A Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 52.
[132] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley. Tables of Correspondences, p. 10 and p. 91-92.
[133] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.91.
[134] Guenon, René (1962), Symboles Fondamentaux de la Science Sacrée, p. 177-83.
[135] Mircea Eliade (1958), Pattern in Comparative Religion, translated by Rosemary Sheed, London and New York, p. 157.
[136] Shepard, Paul & Barry Saunders (1985), The Sacred Paw: The Bear in Nature, Myth and Litterature. NY, p. 100.
[137] Saunders, Nicholas (1995), Animal Spirits, NY, p. 76.
[138] Mircea Eliade, p. 459.
[139]Muller, Werner (1962), ‘Les Religions des Indiens d’Amérique du Nord,’ in Les Religions Amérindiennes, translated from the German by L. Jospin, Paris, p.229.
[140] Mircea Eliade (1958), Pattern in Comparative Religion, translated by Rosemary Sheed, London and New York, p. 175.
[141] Mircea Eliade (1958), Pattern in Comparative Religion, translated by Rosemary Sheed, London and New York, p. 175.
[142] Mircea Eliade (1964), Shamanism, translated by Willard R. Trask, London & New York, p. 452.
[143]Hara, Uno (1959), Les Représentations Religieuses des Peuples Altaïques, translated from the German by Jean-Louis Perret, Paris, p. 322.
[144]Hara, Uno (1959), Les Représentations Religieuses des Peuples Altaïques, translated from the German by Jean-Louis Perret, Paris, p. 281ff.

The Animal Correspondence #2: The Horse

arabian_horseThe horse is also attributed to this 27th path of the Tree of Life. The reason for this attribution, Aleister Crowley tells us, is because “the horse is sacred to Mars traditionally on account of his spirited nature.”[145] The aspect of the horse that must be emphasized here is his role in the bringing of men to war, either by having a cavalier on his back or by pulling a chariot. The abilities of the horse that are put on the spotlight here are those concerning his qualities as a reliable companion in war campaigns, a difficult task that appeal as much to his legendary strength as to his intelligence. This is the reason why the horse is sacred to most of the war gods, wether they are Ares, Mars, Krishna or Odin. Horses in warfare have been seen for most of recorded history. The first archaeological evidence of horses used in warfare dates to between 4000 to 3000 BC, and the use of horses in warfare was widespread by the end of the Bronze Age.[146] The horses are closely associated with the Greek god of war, Ares, who was sometimes called “Ares, god of the golden reins.”[147] Wounded in the Trojan War, Aphrodite once asked for her brother’s [Arès] “gold-bridled horses”[148] to come and save her. Countless mentions are made of Arès horse powered chariot in Greek mythology, poetry and litterature.[149] The horse are also sacred to Mars, the Roman war god. ………. The races of the war-horse were called Equirria on March 14 and February 27, and the great race was run on the Ides of October. October 15 was the date of the October Horse (Equus October). The Campus Martius was the site of a two-horse chariot race where the right-hand horse of the victorious pair was sacrificed on an altar to Him on the Campus by His flamen. The war-horse was killed by a spear. It was then decapitated and the head decorated with cakes before the residents of the Via Sacra and those of Suburbia fought over the possession of it. It was nailed to the wall of the Regia if the Via Sacra people won. If the Suburbanites won, it was mounted to the Turris Mamilia. The horse’s tail, still dripping blood, was rushed to the Regia where the blood was let drop on the sacred hearth. The Vestal Virgins kept some once it had congealed for use at the Parilia on April 21. By the late Republic, this rite was regarded as a cleansing of the army at the end of the campaign season, but it may have had an agricultural origin, with the horse representing a corn spirit. Originally, they had sacrificed a farm horse. Norse war god Odin has a number of magical artifacts associated with him[150] but one of his most treasured possessions is without a doubt Sleipnir, an octopedal horse, who was given to Odin by Loki.In Norse mythology, Sleipnir (Old Norse “slippy”[151] or “the slipper”[152]) is an eight-legged horse. Sleipnir is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, Sleipnir is Odin’s steed, is the child of Loki and Svaðilfari, is described as the best of all horses, and is sometimes ridden to the location of Hel. The Prose Edda contains extended information regarding the circumstances of Sleipnir’s birth, and details that he is gray in color. Additionally, Sleipnir is mentioned in a riddle found in the 13th century legendary saga Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, in the 13th century legendary saga Völsunga saga as the ancestor of the horse Grani, and book I of Gesta Danorum, written in the 12th century by Saxo Grammaticus, contains an episode considered by many scholars to involve Sleipnir. Sleipnir is generally accepted as depicted on two 8th century Gotlandic image stones; the Tjängvide image stone and the Ardre VIII image stone. Scholarly theories have been proposed regarding Sleipnir’s potential connection to shamanic practices among the Norse pagans. In modern times, Sleipnir appears in Icelandic folklore as the creator of Ásbyrgi, in works of art, literature, software, and in the names of ships. Hilda Ellis Davidson says that “the eight-legged horse of Odin is the typical steed of the shaman” and that in the shaman’s journeys to the heavens or the underworld, a shaman “is usually represented as riding on some bird or animal.” Davidson says that while the creature may vary, the horse is fairly common “in the lands where horses are in general use, and Sleipnir’s ability to bear the god through the air is typical of the shaman’s steed” and cites an example from a study of shamanism by Mircea Eliade of an eight-legged foal from a story of a Buryat shaman. Davidson says that while attempts have been made to connect Sleipnir with hobby horses and steeds with more than four feet that appear in carnivals and processions, but that “a more fruitful resemblance seems to be on the bier on which a dead man is carried in the funeral procession by four bearers; borne along thus, he may be described as riding on a steed with eight legs.” As an example, Davidson cites a funeral dirge from the Gondi people in India as recorded by Verrier Elwin, stating that “it contains references to Bagri Maro, the horse with eight legs, and it is clear from the song that it is the dead man’s bier.”


[145] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.91.
[146]Whitaker, Julie; Whitelaw, Ian (2007). The Horse: A Miscellany of Equine Knowledge. New York: St. Martin’s Press.pp. 30–31
[147] Homer, Odyssey 8. 267 ff
[148] Homer, Iliad 5. 352 ff
[149] Homeric Hymn 2 to Ares; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 8. 239 ff; Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 820 ff; Virgil, Aeneid 8. 414 ff; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 3. 89 ff; Statius, Thebaid 7. 64 ff; Statius, Silvae 1. 1. 18; Nonnus, Dionysiaca 29. 364 ff.
[150]The spear Gungnir, which never misses its target; a magical gold ring (Draupnir), from which every ninth night eight new rings appear; and two ravens Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory), who fly around Earth daily and report the happenings of the world to Odin in Valhalla at night […] and the severed head of Mímir, which foretold the future.
[151]Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend, p. 151.
[152]Kermode, Philip Moore Callow (1904). Traces of Norse Mythology in the Isle of Man. Harvard University Press, p. 6.

The Animal Correspondence #3: The Wolf

Wolf-7The wolf is also attributed to this 27th path of the Tree of Life. The reason for this attribution, Crowley tells us, is because “the wolf is sacred to Mars […] also on account of his savage nature.”[153] For more details Crowley refers us to the legend of the foundation of Rome. The gray wolf or common wolf (Canis lupus) is the largest extant member of the dog family of mammals, the Canidae. Possibly no other creature has stirred us to a more mystical communion with nature or more abject fear of her dark realities than the wolf. “Listening to the rough magic of a wolf’s howl conjures dreamscapes in which wolves are massed at the bottom of an abyss or stroll through the wilderness of urban streets, or loom startingly, at our front door.”[154] The dog-wolf is synonymous with the savage in everyday English and with the depraved in everyday French,[155] but the language of symbols gives these animals infinitely more complex meanings. This is mainly the result of the fact that, as withy all the other symbolic vectors, they may be endowed with positive as well as with negative properties. Until modern times, this species was one of the world’s most widely distributed mammals.[156] Wolves occur primarily but not exclusively in wilderness and remote areas.[157] Though once abundant over much of Eurasia, North Africa and North America, the gray wolf of today inhabits a reduced portion of its former range due to widespread destruction of its territory, human encroachment, and the fear resulting human-wolf encounters that often sparked broad extirpation. Gray wolves have very dense and fluffy winter fur, with short underfur and long, coarse guard hairs.[158] Most of the underfur and some of the guard hairs are shed in the spring and grow back in the autumn period.[159]The winter fur is highly resistant to cold; wolves in northern climates can rest comfortably in open areas at −40° by placing their muzzles between the rear legs and covering their faces with their tail. Wolf fur provides better insulation than dog fur, and, as with wolverines, it does not collect ice when warm breath is condensed against it. In warm climates, the fur is coarser and scarcer than in northern wolves.[160]Coat colour ranges from almost pure white through various shades of blond, cream, and ochre to grays, browns, and blacks.[161] Differences in coat colour between sexes are largely absent,[162] though females may have redder tones.[163] Fur colour does not seem to serve any camouflage purpose, with some scientists concluding that the blended colors have more to do with emphasizing certain gestures during interaction.[164]Their sense of smell is relatively weakly developed when compared to that of some hunting dog breeds, being able to detect carrion upwind no farther than 2–3 km. Because of this, they rarely capture hidden hares or birds, though they can easily follow fresh tracks. Captive wolves are known to be able to detect what foods their handlers have eaten by smell.[165] Their auditory perception is very sharp, being able to hear up to a frequency of 26 kHz,[166] and is greater than that of foxes. Their hearing is sharp enough to register the fall of leaves in the autumn period. The legend that wolves fear the sound of string instruments may have a basis in fact, as captive wolves in the Regent’s Park Zoo were shown to exhibit signs of intense distress when hearing low minor chords. Their eyesight is not as powerful as that of dogs, though their night vision is the most advanced of the Canidae.[167]In popular literature, wolf packs are often portrayed as strictly hierarchical social structures with a breeding “alpha” pair which climbs the social ladder through fighting, followed by subordinate “beta” wolves and a low ranking “omega” which bears the brunt of the pack’s aggression. This terminology is based heavily on the behaviour of captive wolf packs composed of unrelated animals, which will fight and compete against each other for status. Also, as dispersal is impossible in captive situations, fights become more frequent than in natural settings. In the wild, wolf packs are little more than nuclear families whose basic social unit consists of a mated pair, followed by its offspring and, occasionally, adopted immature wolves. They primarily feed on ungulates, which they hunt by wearing them down in short chases.Northern wolf packs tend not to be as compact or unified as those of African wild dogs and spotted hyenas,[168] though they are not as unstable as those of coyotes.[169] Southern wolves are more similar in social behaviour to coyotes and dingoes, living largely alone or in pairs.[170] The average pack consists of 5–11 animals; 1–2 adults, 3–6 juveniles and 1–3 yearlings,[171] though exceptionally large packs consisting of 42 wolves are known. Wolf packs rarely adopt other wolves into their fold, and typically kill them. In the rare cases where strange wolves are adopted, the adoptee is almost invariably a young animal of 1–3 years of age, while killed wolves are mostly fully grown.[172] The adoption of a new member can be a lengthy process, and can consist of weeks of exploratory, non-fatal attacks in order to establish whether or not the newcomer is trustworthy.[173] During times of ungulate abundance (migration, calving etc.), different wolf packs may temporarily join forces.[174] Wolves as young as five months and as old as five years have been recorded to leave their packs to start their own families, though the average age is 11–24 months. Triggers for dispersal include the onset of sexual maturity and competition within the pack for food and breeding.[175]Wolves howl to assemble the pack (usually before and after hunts), to pass on an alarm (particularly at a den site), to locate each other during a storm or unfamiliar territory and to communicate across great distances.[176] Howling consists of a fundamental frequency which may lie between 150 and 780 Hz, and consists of up to 12 harmonically related overtones. The pitch usually remains constant or varies smoothly, and may change direction as many as four or five times. Wolves from different geographic locations may howl in different fashions; the howls of European wolves are much more protracted and melodious than those of North American wolves, whose howls are louder and have a stronger emphasis on the first syllable. The two are however mutually intelligible, as North American wolves have been recorded to respond to European-style howls made by biologists.[177]Wolf howls are generally indistinguishable from those of large dogs.[178]Other vocalisations of wolves are usually divided into three categories: growls, barks and whines. Barking has a fundamental frequency between 320–904 Hz, and is usually emitted by startled wolves. Wolves do not bark as loudly or continuously as dogs do, but will bark a few times and retreat from perceived danger.[179] Growling has a fundamental frequency of 380–450 Hz, and is usually emitted during food challenges. Pups commonly growl when playing. One variation of the howl is accompanied by a high pitched whine, which precedes a lunging attack.[180] Whining is associated with situations of anxiety, curiosity, inquiry and intimacy such as greeting, feeding pups and playing.[181]Gray wolves are typically apex, top of the food-chain predators throughout their range, with only humans and tigers posing significant threats to them. Wolves primarily feed on medium to large sized ungulates[182] though they are not fussy eaters. Medium and small sized animals that may supplement the diet of wolves include lots of different fury animals,[183] fish,[184] and even big birds and their eggs.[185] In times of scarcity, wolves will readily eat carrion, visiting cattle burial grounds and slaughter houses.[186] Cannibalism is not uncommon in wolves; during harsh winters, packs often attack weak or injured wolves, and may eat the bodies of dead pack members.[187] However, they are not known to eat their young as coyotes sometimes do. Humans are rarely, but occasionally preyed upon. As such, they evoke the vital and entirely unsentimental instinctual energies of the animal psyche. In areas where human cultures and wolves both occur, wolves frequently feature in the folklore and mythology of those cultures, both positively and negatively. Wolves are among those creatures that we can call “hair-raisers.” Traversing the great distances on their slenderlegd and prodigious feet they appear to float, silent and spectral, like emissary spirits; this is why they are often assimilated to the spirit of the wood. Postural communication in wolves is composed of a variety of facial expressions, tail positions and piloerection.[188] Aggressive or self assertive wolves are characterised by their slow and deliberate movements, high body posture and raised hackles, while submissive ones carry their bodies low, sleeken their fur and lower their ears and tail.[189] When breeding males encounter subordinate family members, they may stare at them, standing erect and still with their tails horizontal to their spine.[190] The pre-caudal scent glands may play a role in expressing aggression, as combative wolves will raise the base of their tails whilst droping the tip, thus positioning the scent glands at the highest point.[191] According to the ancient Romans, the Hour of the Wolf means the time between night and dawn, just before the light comes, and people believed it to be the time when demons had a heightened power and vitality, the hour when most people died and most children were born, and when nightmares came to one. But in a more down to earth perspective, it alludes to favourite hunting time of these legendary travellers and consorters with ravens. Figuratively, it connotes the precincts of the liminal where divergent energies of light and darkness, life and death, rending, and reintegration meet and merge. In mythology, wolves are depicted as embodiments of the gaping jaws of death and unappeasable appetite. Particularly in Christian iconography they are the rapacious spoilers of sheep-like innocence. According to the Avesta, wolves are a creation of the evil spirit Ahriman, and are ranked among the most cruels of all animals.[192] Wolves are referenced thirteen times in the Bible as symbols of greed and destructiveness.[193]But if the dangers of the chthonic are real, it is also the chthonic in which vital immediacy is embedded. “It is the wolf, at one with nature, who mediates the voluntary death, our suffering the necessary dismemberment of self idealization naively innocent of the dark stuff that carries our substance.”[194] The founder of the Chineese and Mongol dynasties was the Celestial Blue Wolf. Its strength and fighting abilities provided ab allegory which the Turks carried down to the twentieth century since Mustapha Kemal, who called himself Ataturk, ‘Father of the Turks’, was known to this followers as the Grey Wolf. The Turkish people gathered round him and fought to regain their own identity, threatened by the decline of the Ottoman Empire. In so doing, they revived an ancient image, that Gengis Khan’s mythic ancestor, the blue wolf, a manifestation of the power of the light of Heaven (thunderbolt). Because it had mated with the white or yellow fawn, standing for the Earth, it gave his people a claim to have sprung from the sacred marriage of Heaven and Earth. The Chinese also had a celestial wolf (the star Sirius) which was the watchman outside the Heavenly Palace (the Great bear). Its polar character made them attribute the wolf to the north. It should be emphasized at this point that the watchman’s role has replaced the animal’s ferocious aspect and thus, in some areas of Japan, wolves are invoked to protect the people against other wild animals. This conjures up an image of exhuberant strength expending itself in blind savagery. Japaneese grain farmers, for example, used to worship wolves at shrines and left food offerings near their dens, beseeching them to protect their crops from wild boars and deer.[195]Wolves were linked to the sun in some Eurasian cultures. For example, wolves theriomorphically represents the sun god Apollo as bearers of his darker, nore subtle luminosity the alchemists called the light of nature., while the wolf Sköll in Norse mythology was depicted pursuing the setting sun.[196]Wolves also accompagny the war god Mars, connoting the ability to act forcefully and effectively out of instinctual clues and discriminated cunning. In Norse mythology, the völva (witch) Hyndla and the giantess Hyrrokin are both portrayed as using wolves as mounts. Geri and Freki are the robust wolf companions of Odin, the pensive, self-sacricifying Norse god of wisdom, poetry, magic and death. Like them, the vigilant forces of nature look to the appointed times of advent and departure. Livestock depredation has been one of the primary reasons for hunting wolves, and can pose a severe problem for wolf conservation. Wolves typically resort to attacking livestock when wild prey is depleted. Sheep are the most commonly taken livestock species in Europe, domestic reindeer in northern Scandinavia, cattle and turkeys in North America, goats in India and horses in Mongolia.[197] As wolves tend to attack large prey from behind, cattle may be more vulnerable to wolves than horses because the latter are better able to defend their hind quarters with powerful kicks.The number of animals killed in single attacks varies according to species: most attacks on cattle and horses result in one death, while turkeys, sheep and domestic reindeer may be killed in surplus.[198] Wolves mainly attack livestock when the animals are grazing, though they will occasionally break into fenced enclosures.[199]Wolves will kill dogs on occasion, with some wolf populations relying on dogs as an important food source.[200] Wolves generally outmatch dogs, even large ones, in physical confrontations, because of their larger heads and teeth and stronger bites.[201] Also, the fighting styles of wolves and dogs differ significantly; while dogs typically limit themselves to attacking the head, neck and shoulder, wolves will make greater use of body blocks, and attack the extremities of their opponents.[202] In Croatia, wolves kill more dogs than sheep, and wolves in Russia appear to limit stray dog populations. Wolves may display unusually bold behaviour when attacking dogs accompanied by people, sometimes ignoring nearby humans.[203] Wolf attacks on dogs may occur both in house yards and in forests. On village outskirts, wolves may set up ambushes for dogs, with one wolf soliciting the dog to follow it and lead it to another wolf.[204] In some areas, livestock guardian dogs are fitted with wolf collars in order to protect themselves from wolf attacks. Wolves however may learn to avoid the spiked collars just as they do the antlers of ungulate prey, and still kill guard dogs.[205] Wolf attacks on hunting dogs are considered a major problem in Scandinavia and Wisconsin.[206] The most frequently killed hunting breeds in Scandinavia are harriers, with older animals being most at risk, likely because they are less timid than younger animals, and react differently to the presence of wolves. Wolf-caused injuries on dogs are often located on the back, thighs and hind legs. The fatal wound is mostly a bite to the back of the neck. Large hunting dogs such as Swedish elkhounds are more likely to survive wolf attacks due to their better ability to defend themselves.Wolves are generally not dangerous to humans, as long as they are in low numbers, have sufficient food, have little contact with humans and are occasionally hunted. Wolf attacks on humans were a rare, but occasional feature of life in pre-20th century Europe: among one of the earliest historic references to wolves attacking people in Ireland occours in the Annals of Tigernach under the year 1137: The Blind one of … that is, Giolla Muire, was killed by wolves. Under the year 1420 in the Annála Connacht we can read the statement “Wolves killed many people this year.”[207] In France, historical records indicate that during the period 1580–1830, 3,069 people were killed by wolves, of whom 1,857 were killed by non-rabid wolves.[208] Church and administrative accounts from Italy indicate that 440 humans were killed by wolves during the 15th and 19th centuries, occurring in the central part of the Po Valley, which once encompassed part of modern day Switzerland. Prior to 1882, 94 children under the age of 12 were killed in Fennoscandia by non-rabid wolves in a 300 year period. Between 1840 and 1861, 273 non-rabid attacks resulting in the deaths of 169 children and 7 adults occurred throughout Russia,[209] while between 1944 and 1950, 22 children between the ages of 3 and 17 were killed by wolves in the Kirov Oblast. There are numerous documented accounts of wolf attacks in the Asian continent, with three Indian states reporting a large number of non-rabid attacks in recent decades. These attacks were well documented by trained biologists.[210] In Hazaribagh, Bihar, 100 children were injured and 122 killed from 1980 to 1986.[211] The North American continent has very few recorded incidences of such, though the oral history of some Native American tribes confirms that wolves occasionally did kill humans. Predatory attacks usually involve single wolves or packs that learn to exploit humans as prey. Such attacks may be preceded by a long period of habituation, in which wolves gradually lose their fear of humans.[212] The victims are generally attacked in a sustained manner around the neck and face, and are then dragged off and consumed, unless the wolves are disturbed. Such attacks tend to cluster in time and space until the offending animals are killed.[213]The majority of victims of predatory wolf attacks are children under the age of 18 and, in the rare cases where adults are killed, the victims are almost always women.[214] Non-rabid wolves are able to distinguish between armed and unarmed people,[215] and will typically avoid investigating people who display self confident demeanors typical of being armed. Courage, endurance, co-operative skill in the hunt and the fierce protectiveness of their youg are attributes Native Americans admired in the wolf. The war-song of the Prairie Indians runs: “A Lone Wolf I am… I roam in many places.”[216] Good hunters themselves, wolves are also notoriously difficult to hunt due to their elusiveness, their sharp senses, their high endurance in the chase and ability to quickly incapacitate and kill hunting dogs.[217]Traditional stories concerning the founding ofRome handed down by the ancient Romans themselves explain the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth. The most familiar of these myths, and perhaps the most famous of all Roman myths, is without a doubt the story of Romulus and Remus. Romulus and Remus are Rome’s twin founders in its traditional foundation myth, although the former is sometimes said to be the sole founder. Their maternal grandfather was Numitor, rightful king of Alba Longa, a descendant of the Trojan prince Aeneas, and father to Rhea Silvia (also known as Ilia.) Before their conception, Numitor’s brother Amulius deposed his brother, killed his sons and forced Rhea to become a Vestal Virgin, intending to deprive Numitor of lawful heirs and thus secure his own position; but Rhea conceived Romulus and Remus by either the god Mars or the demi-god Hercules. When the twins were born, Amulius left them to die but they were saved by a series of miraculous interventions. A she-wolf (lupa) found them and suckled them. A shepherd and his wife then fostered them and raised them to manhood as shepherds. The twins proved to be natural leaders and acquired many followers. When told their true identities, they killed Amulius, restored Numitor to the throne of Alba Longa and decided to found a new city for themselves. This story had to be reconciled with a dual tradition, set earlier in time, that had the Trojan refugee Aeneas escape to Italy and found the line of Romans through his son Iulus, the namesake of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.[218]The image of the she-wolf suckling the divinely fathered twins became an iconic representation of the city and its founding legend, making Romulus and Remus preeminent among the feral children of ancient mythography. The fact “that the primordial she-wolf nurtured a civilization into beings tells us something about the importance of chthonic wolfish energies as the ground of creative process, culture building and our capacity to engage psyche’s energies of dissolution as well as rebirth in our repeated cycles of transformation.”[219] Ancient pictures of the Roman twins usually follow certain symbolic traditions, depending on the legend they follow: they either show a shepherd, the she-wolf, the twins under a fig tree, and one or two birds (Livy, Plutarch); or they depict two shepherds, the she-wolf, the twins in a cave, seldom a fig tree, and never any birds (Dionysius of Halicarnassus).The legend as a whole encapsulates Rome’s ideas of itself, its origins and moral values; for modern scholarship, it remains one of the most complex and problematic of all foundation myths, particularly in the matter and manner of Remus’ death. Ancient historians had no doubt that Romulus gave his name to the city. Most modern historians believe his name a back-formation from the name Rome; the basis for Remus’ name and role remain subjects of ancient and modern speculation. The myth was fully developed into something like an “official”, chronological version in the Late Republican and early Imperial era. Roman historians dated the city’s foundation from 758 to 728 BC. Plutarch says Romulus was fifty-three at his death; his reckoning gives the twins’ birth year as c. 771 BC. Possible historical bases for the broad mythological narrative remain unclear and disputed; very few modern scholars believe in the historicity of Romulus and Remus.[220]Contrary of Apollo’s wolfs, the she-wolf which suckled Romulus and Remus was not solar and celestial, but rather terrestrial, not to say chthonian. Thus, the animal remains linked with notions of fertility. In the mythology of the Turks,[221] Mongols and Ainu, folk belief has preserved this heritage down to the present day, wolves are believed to be the ancestors of their race,[222] while the Dena’ina believed wolves were once men, and viewed them as brothers.[223]Among the Yakut in Siberia the most highly values bezoar (a hard mass of material in the stomach) is that of the wolf, while in Anatolia, that is at the other end of the geographical range of the Altaic people, barren women still call upon the wolf so that they may bear children. In Kamchatka “at the yearly October festival, an image of a wolf is made from straw and kept for a whole year so that the wolf can marry the young women in the village. A Samoyed legend is on record of a woman who lived in a cave with a wolf.”[224] This chthonian or infernal facet of the symbol forms another major aspect which appears to have remained predominant in European folklore. The story of Little-Red Riding-Hood might be cited in evidence of this, but it merely re-echoes Greco-Latin mythology where Mormolyce, the wolf shich sucked Acheron, was used to threten children, juste like “the big bad wolf” of today.[225] Similarly, Hades, King of the Underworld, was dressed in a wolf-skin, while the Etruscan death-god was depicted with wolf’s ears; and according to Diodorus Siculus, Osiris too, was resurected in the shape of a wolf “to help his wife and son overcome his evil brother.” [226]In Greek mythology, Lycaon was a king of Arcadia, son of Pelasgus and Meliboea, who in the most popular version of the myth tested Zeus by serving him a dish of his slaughtered and dismembered son in order to see whether Zeus was truly omniscient. In return for these gruesome deeds Zeus transformed Lycaon into the form of a wolf, and killed Lycaon’s fifty sons by lightning bolts, except possibly Nyctimus, who was the slaughtered child, and instead became restored to life. Despite being notorious for his horrific deeds, Lycaon was also remembered as a culture hero: he was believed to have founded the city Lycosura, to have established a cult of Zeus Lycaeus and to have started the tradition of the Lycaean Games, which Pausanias think were older than the Panathenaic Games.[227] The Arcadian town Nonakris was thought to have been named after the wife of Lycaon.[228] During the ages when crop-magic ruled, human sacrifices were offered to Lycacan Zeus to end droughts and other natural disasters. Zeus then watered the fields with rain, made the fields fertile and ruled the wind.[229] The Middles Ages generally depicted warlocks changing into wolves when they are set off for their Sabbath, while on such occasions, witches wore wolfskin garters.[230] In Spain, the wolf was the warlock’s steed. Belief in lycanthropy (transformation into wolf form) and werewolves was current in Europe from Classical times, when Virgil mentions them, and only started to disappear slowly in the seventeen century. They are one of the components of European folk belief and doubtless an aspect of the wood-spirits. According to Colin de Plancy, Bodin states brazenly that in 1542 one morning a hundred and fifty werewolves were to be seen in a sqare in Constantinople. To dig a little bit further into the chthonic symbolism of the wolf, it should ne added that this gives the wolf, like the dog, a role as conductor of souls. An Algonquin myth shows the wolf in the guise of a brother of the Demiurge Menebuch, the great rabbit, ruling the kingdom of of the dead, in the west.[231] In Europe one of the wolf’s recognized duties was that of conductor of the souls. Evidence of this may be found in the words of a Romanian funerary song: ‘the wolf knows the way throught the forest and will bring you along a smooth path to the King’s Son in Paradise.’ In Navajo culture, wolves were feared as witches in wolf’s clothing.[232] Similarly, the Tsilhqot’in believed that contact with wolves could cause mental illness and death.[233] According to the Pawnee creation myth, the wolf was the first animal to experience death.[234] It is also interesting to observe that the hell-wolf, and especially his mate personifying sexual lust, are among these obstacles along the path of the Muslim pilgrim to Mecca, and loom even larger on the road to Damascus, where they take on the proportions of beasts of the Apocalypse.


[153] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.91-92
[154] A. Rosenberg, K. Martin (2010), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images. p. 274.
[155] Jean Chevalier (1969), Dictionary of Symbols, Penguin Book, p. 1119.
[156]The wolf has now become extinct in much of Western Europe, in Mexico & much of the USA.
[157]Their original worldwide range has been reduced by about one-third by deliberate persecution due to depredation on livestock and fear of attacks on humans. Although the species still faces some threats, it is relatively widespread with a stable population trend.
[158] Heptner & Naumov 1998, p. 166.
[159] Lopez 1978, p. 19.
[160] Heptner & Naumov 1998, p. 166.
[161] Lopez 1978, p. 21.
[162]Heptner, V. G.; Naumov, N. P. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol.II Part 1a, Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea cows; Wolves and Bears). Science Publishers, Inc. USA, p. 168.
[163]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 22.
[164]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 45.
[165]Ellis, Shaun (2010). The Man who Lives with Wolves. HarperCollins, p. 45
[166]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 43.
[167]Heptner, V. G.; Naumov, N. P. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol.II Part 1a, Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea cows; Wolves and Bears). Science Publishers, Inc. USA, p. 243
[168]Kruuk, Hans (1972). The Spotted Hyena: A study of predation and social behaviour. New York: Parkwest. pp. 277–79.
[169]Bekoff, Marc (1977). “Canis latrans”. Mammalian Species 79: 1–9.
[170]Hemmer, Helmut (1990). Domestication: the Decline of Environmental Appreciation. Cambridge University Press, p. 96.
[171]Heptner, V. G.; Naumov, N. P. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol.II Part 1a, Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea cows; Wolves and Bears). Science Publishers, Inc. USA., p. 222
[172]Mech & Boitani 2003, p. 2.
[173]Ellis, Shaun (2010). The Man who Lives with Wolves. HarperCollins, p. 46.
[174]Heptner, V. G.; Naumov, N. P. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol.II Part 1a, Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea cows; Wolves and Bears). Science Publishers, Inc. USA, p. 225.
[175]Mech & Boitani 2003, pp. 12–13.
[176]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 38.
[177]Zimen, Erik (1981). The Wolf: His Place in the Natural World. Souvenir Press, p. 73.
[178]Seton, Ernest Thompson (1909). Life-Histories of Northern Animals : An Account of the Mammals of Manitoba. New York City : Scribner. p. 770.
[179]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, pp. 39–41.
[180]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 38.
[181]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited,, pp. 39–41.
[182]Up to the size of bison 10–15 times larger than themselves. (Zimen 1981, p. 9).
[183] Inclusing marmots, beaver, hares, badgers, foxes, weasels, ground squirrels, mice, hamsters, voles and other rodents, as well as insectivores.
[184]Wolf packs in Astrakhan will hunt Caspian seals on the Caspian Sea coastline. Some wolf packs in Alaska and Western Canada have been observed to feed on salmon.
[185]They frequently eat waterfowl (particularly during their moulting period and winter, when their greasy and fatty meat helps wolves build up their fat reserves) and their eggs. When such foods are insufficient, they will prey on lizards, snakes, frogs, rarely toads and large insects as available.
[186]Heptner, V. G.; Naumov, N. P. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol.II Part 1a, Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea cows; Wolves and Bears). Science Publishers, Inc. USA, p. 213.
[187]Heptner, V. G.; Naumov, N. P. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol.II Part 1a, Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea cows; Wolves and Bears). Science Publishers, Inc. USA, p. 214.
[188]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 43.
[189]Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (2003). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press, p. 90.
[190]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 44.
[191]Seton, Ernest Thompson (1909). Life-histories of northern animals : an account of the mammals of Manitoba. New York City : Scribner., p. 773.
[192]Yasna, ix. 18–21.
[193]Bright, Michael (2006). Beasts of the Field: The Revealing Natural History of Animals in the Bible. London: Robson Books. pp. 115–20.
[194] A. Rosenberg, K. Martin (2010), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images. p. 274.
[195] See Walker, Brett L. (2005). The Lost Wolves Of Japan.
[196]Lindow, John (2002), Norse Mythology: a Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs, Oxford University Press US.
[197]Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (2003). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press, p. 305.
[198]Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (2003). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press, p. 306.
[199]Graves, Will (2007). Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Troughout the Ages. Detselig Enterprises, p. 45.
[200]Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (2003). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press, p. 305.
[201]Coppinger, Ray; Coppinger, Lorna (2001). Dogs: a Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behaviorand Evolution. Scribner., pp. 134–5.
[202]Lindsay, Steven R. (2000). Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training: Adaptation and learning. Wiley-Blackwell, p. 18.
[203]Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (2003). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press, p. 305.
[204]Graves, Will (2007). Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Throughout the Ages. Detselig Enterprises, p. 36.
[205] Ellis 2010, pp. 170–71.
[206]Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (2003). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press, p. 305.
[207]Ellis, Shaun (2010). The Man who Lives with Wolves. Harper Collins. pp. 170–71.
[208]See Moriceau, Jean-Marc (2007). Histoire du Méchant Loup : 3 000 Attaques sur l’Homme en France. Paris: Fayard.
[209]Korytin, S. A. 1997 Sex and Age Structure of People Attacked by Wolves in Different Seasons. Proceedings of the scientific conference [Issues of applied ecology, game management and fur farming], 27–28 May 1997, Kirov p-143-146
[210]Linnell, John D. C. (2002). The Fear of Wolves: A Review of Wolf Attacks on Humans. NINA.p. 26
[211]Rajpurohit, K.S. 1999. Child lifting: Wolves in Hazaribagh, India. Ambio 28:162–166.
[212]Linnell, John D. C. (2002). The Fear of Wolves: A Review of Wolf Attacks on Humans. NINA. p. 36.
[213]Linnell, John D. C. (2002). The Fear of Wolves: A Review of Wolf Attacks on Humans. NINA p. 15.
[214]Linnell, John D. C. (2002). The Fear of Wolves: A Review of Wolf Attacks on Humans. NINA p. 37.
[215]Heptner, V. G.; Naumov, N. P. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol.II Part 1a, Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea cows; Wolves and Bears). Science Publishers, Inc. USA.. p. 244.
[216] Alexander Hartley Burr (1953), The World’s Rim: Great Mysteries of the North American Indians, Lincoln (Nebraska), p. 189.
[217]Roosevelt, Theodore (1909). Hunting the Grisly and other Sketches; An Account of the Big Game of the United States and its Chase with Horse, Hound, and Rifle. New York, London, G. P. Putnam’s sons, p. 182 & 192.
[218]Livy (2005-05-26). The Early History of Rome. Penguin Books Ltd.
[219] A. Rosenberg, K. Martin (2010), The Book of Symbols. Reflection on Archetypal Images. p. 274.
[220]The archaeologist Andrea Carandini is one of very few modern scholars who accept Romulus and Remus as historical figures, based on the 1988 discovery of an ancient wall on the north slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome. Carandini dates the structure to the mid 8th century BC and names it the Murus Romuli.
[221]André Wink (2002), Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Brill Academic Publishers, Page 65.
[222]Walker, Brett L. (2005). The Lost Wolves Of Japan.
[223]Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (2003). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press, p. 292.
[224]Roux, Jean-Paul (1966), Faune et Flore Sacrée dans les Sociétés Altaïques, Paris, p.328-329.
[225]Grimal, Pierre (1965), Dictionnaire de la Mythologie Grecque et Romaine, with preface by C.h. Picard, 3rd corrected edition, Paris, p. 303a.
[226] Krappe, Alexandre H. (1992), La Génèse des Mythes, Paris, p.226.
[227]Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8. 2. 1.
[228]Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8. 17. 6.
[229] Eliade, Mircea (1958), Patterns in Comparative Religions, translated by Rosemary Sheed, London and New York, p.78.
[230] See Grillot de Givry (1931), Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy, translated by J. Courtenay Locke, London.
[231] Muller, Werner (1962), ‘Les Religions des Indiens d’Amérique du Nord,’ in Les Religion Amérindiennes, translated from the German by L. Jospin, Paris, p.253.
[232]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men. J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 123.
[233]Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (2003). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press. p. 292.
[234]Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men. J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, p. 133.

The Animal Correspondence #3: The Boar

boarEven if no mention of it is made in Crowley’s Correspondence Tables, it would seem that the boar can also be considered as a proper attribution to this 27th path of the Tree of Life if we believe the detailed explanations provided by Crowley in his detailed explanation of the table. The reason for this attribution, Crowley explains, is because “the boar is martial, as shown in the legend of Adonis. There is a mystery of the grade 6°=5°, the overawing of Tiphareth on Geburah.”[235] Another reason may be the fact that the myths and legends surrounding the bear in many societies seem to sometimes overlap those of the boar. The term boar is used to denote an adult male of certain species — including, confusingly, domestic pigs. However, for wild boar, it applies to the whole species, including, for example, “wild boar sow” or “wild boar piglet.” The wild boar, also known as wild pig, (Sus scrofa) is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises. Wild boar are native across much of Northern and Central Europe, the Mediterranean Region (including North Africa’s Atlas Mountains) and much of Asia as far south as Indonesia.[236]The body of the wild boar is compact; the head is large, the legs relatively short. The fur consists of stiff bristles and usually finer fur. The colour usually varies from dark grey to black or brown, but there are great regional differences in colour; even whitish animals are known from central Asia.[237] During winter the fur is much denser.[238] Adult boars measure 90–200 cm (35–79 in) in length, not counting a tail of 15–40 cm (5.9–16 in), and have a shoulder height of 55–110 cm (22–43 in). As a whole, their average weight is 50–90 kg (110–200 pounds), though boars show a great deal of weight variation within their geographical ranges. Adult males develop tusks, continuously growing teeth that protrude from the mouth, from their upper and lower canine teeth. These serve as weapons and tools. The upper tusks are bent upwards in males, and are regularly ground against the lower ones to produce sharp edges. The tusks normally measure about 6 cm (2.4 in), in exceptional cases even 12 cm (4.7 in). Females also have sharp canines, but they are smaller, and not protruding like the males’ tusks. Adult males are usually solitary outside of the breeding season, but females and their offspring (both sub-adult males and females) live in groups called sounders. Sounders typically number around 20 animals, although groups of over 50 have been seen, and will consist of 2 to 3 sows; one of which will be the dominant female. Group structure changes with the coming and going of farrowing females, the migration of maturing males (usually when they reach around 20 months) and the arrival of unrelated sexually active males. Adult males are usually solitary outside of the breeding season, but females and their offspring (both sub-adult males and females) live in groups called sounders. Sounders typically number around 20 animals, although groups of over 50 have been seen, and will consist of 2 to 3 sows; one of which will be the dominant female. Group structure changes with the coming and going of farrowing females, the migration of maturing males (usually when they reach around 20 months) and the arrival of unrelated sexually active males. Wild boar are situationally crepuscular or nocturnal, foraging in early morning and late afternoon or at night, but resting for periods during both night and day. They are omnivorous scavengers, eating almost anything they come across, including grass, nuts, berries, carrion, nests of ground nesting birds, roots, tubers, refuse, insects and small reptiles. In Medieval hunting the boar, like the hart, was a ‘beast of venery’, the most prestigious form of quarry. It was normally hunted by being harboured, or found by a ‘limer’, or bloodhound handled on a leash, before the pack of hounds were released to pursue it on its hot scent. In The poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight[239] a boar hunt is described, which depicts how dangerous the boar could be to the pack hounds, or raches, which hunted it. Wild boar in Australia are also known to be predators of young deer and lambs. If surprised or cornered, a boar (particularly a sow with her piglets) can and will defend itself and its young with intense vigor. The male lowers its head, charges, and then slashes upward with his tusks. The female, whose tusks are not visible, charges with her head up, mouth wide, and bites. Such attacks may be fatal to humans and when its not the case they result in severe trauma, dismemberment, or massive blood loss. The very corpulent King Robert Baratheon, in R.R. Martin’s fantasy novel Songs of Fire and Ice, learned it the hard way when he was mortally injured by a wild boar during a hunting expedition, getting riped open from groin to nipple, while he was trying to trust the animal with a spear.[240] A story from Nevers, which is reproduced in the Golden Legend, states that one night Charlemagne dreamed he was about to be killed by a wild boar during a hunt, but was saved by the appearance of a child, who had promised to save the emperor if he would give him clothes to cover his nakedness. This dream had a great impact on his pious spirit and set him on the path of a great destiny.[241] Human hunt and eat the boar since time immemorial. In many countries, boar are farmed for their meat, and in countries such as France and Italy, for example, boar (sanglier in French, “cinghiale” in Italian) may often be found for sale in butcher shops or offered in restaurants. In Germany, boar meat ranks among the highest priced types of meat and is as much part of high standard cuisine as venison. In certain countries, such as Laos and parts of China, boar meat is considered an aphrodisiac. In the Asterix comic series set in Gaul, wild boar are the favourite food of Obelix whose immense appetite means that he can eat several roasted boar in a single sitting.[242]Wolves are also major predators of boars in some areas. Striped hyenas occasionally feed on boars, though it has been suggested that only hyenas from the three larger subspecies present in Northwest Africa, the Middle East, and India can successfully kill them. Wild boar are a main food source for tigers in the regions where they coexist. Tigers typically follow boar groups, and pick them off one by one. Tigers have been noted to chase boars for longer distances than with other prey, though they will usually avoid tackling mature male boars. In many cases, boars have gored tigers to death in self defense.[243] As with the bear, the symbolism of the boar is of great antiquity. It is found throughout most of the Indo-European world and, in some aspects, beyond it as well. The myth is part of the Hyperbporean tradition in which the boar represents spiritual authorities. In Hinduism, for example, the boar is endowed with primeval characteristics and Vishnu himself is seen taking the shape of a boar (Varaha). But it is mostly for its link with war and savagery that the boar seems to fit better as a correspondence on this 27th path. This aspect is apparent in Japan where the wild pig or boar, Inonshishi, is the last of the animal of the Zodiac. Emblematic of courage and even of rashness, a boar is used used by the war-kami (deities). Small statues of boars stand outside Shinto shrines dedicated to Wakenokiyomaro. The war-god himself, Usa-hachiman, is sometimes depicted on a boar. Although the boar is set at the hub of the Buddhist Wheel of Existence, it is in the shape of a black animal, the symbol of ignorance and passions. The boar was a common motif on Gaulish battle standards especially on those carved on the triumphal arch at Orange (France) and upon Gaulish coins. There are many examples of boars in votives bronzes or relief carving in stone. Like the druid, the boar was closely connected with the forest, feeding on acorns, while the wild sow, symbolically surrounded by her nine piglets, rooted in the ground at the foot of the apple, the tree of immortality. In Celtic mythology the boar was sacred to the Gallic goddess Arduinna, and boar hunting features in several stories of Celtic and Irish mythology. One such story is that of how Fionn mac Cumhaill (“Finn McCool”) lured his rival Diarmuid Ua Duibhne to his death—gored by a wild boar. Since the Celt’s herds of pigs lived more or less in the wild, the pig and the wild boar were often undifferenciated, and since the boar was the animal dedicated to Lug, pork was the sacrificial food at the festival of Samain (1 November). A number of legend tell of the feasts in the Otherworld at which there is a magic pig, always perfectly cooked and never growing less. Mercury is given the surname, Moccus, (‘pig’) in a Gallo-Roman inscription from Langres (France). The Twrch Trwyth (Irish: triath, ‘king’) with which Arthur did battle symbolizes the power of the priesthood in conflict with that of the king at a time of spiritual decline. Lug’s father, Cian, changed himself into a ‘druidic pig’ to escape his pursuers. However, he died in his human shape. Nowhere in Irish literature, not even when under Christian influence, is the boar anything but a symbol of good. Here the Celtic world stands in sharp contrast with the tendency of the rest of the Christendom. Here the boar symbolizes the Devil – whether one equates it with swinish lust and gluttony or with rashness (comparable with the storm of passion), or again with the devastation which it causes by its headlong rush through crops, orchards and vineyards. According to the justifications provided for this attribution by Aleister Crowley, the legend of Adonis is somehow supposed to expose the “martial” qualities of the boar. According to this story, Adonis grew up a most beautiful youth, and Venus loved him and shared with him the pleasures of the chase, though she always cautioned him against the wild beasts. At last he wounded a boar which killed him in its fury. According to some traditions Ares (Mars), or, according to others, Apollo assumed the form of a boar and thus killed Adonis.[244]A third story related that Dionysus carried off Adonis.[245] When Aphrodite was informed of her beloved being wounded, she hastened to the spot and sprinkled nectar into his blood, from which immediately flowers sprang up. Various other modifications of the story may be read in Hyginus,[246] Theocritus,[247] Bion,[248] and in the scholiast on Lycophron.[249] The wild boar and a boar’s head are common charges in heraldry. It represents what are often seen as the positive qualities of the boar, namely courage and fierceness in battle. The arms of the Campbell of Possil family (see Carter-Campbell of Possil) include the head, erect and erased of a wild boar, as does the crest Mackinnon clan. The arms of the Swinton Family also possess wild boar, as does the coat of arms of the Purcell family.A boar is a long-standing symbol of the city of Milan, Italy. In Andrea Alciato’s Emblemata (1584), beneath a woodcut of the first raising of Milan’s city walls, a boar is seen lifted from the excavation. The foundation of Milan is credited to two Celtic peoples, the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar respectively (Bituricis vervex, Heduis dat sucula signum.); therefore “The city’s symbol is a wool-bearing boar, an animal of double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool,” (Laniger huic signum sus est, animálque biforme, Acribus hinc setis, lanitio inde levi). Alciato credits the most saintly and learned Ambrose for his account.The ancient Lowland Scottish Clan Swinton is said to have to have acquired the name Swinton for their bravery and clearing their area of wild boar. The chief’s coat of arms and the clan crest allude to this legend, as is the name of the village of Swinewood in the county of Berwick which was granted to them in the 11th century.


[235] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.92
[236]Populations have also been artificially introduced in some parts of the world, most notably the Americas and Australasia, principally for hunting. Elsewhere, populations have also become established after escapes of wild boar from captivity. (Leaper, R.; Massei, G.; Gorman, M. L.; Aspinall, R. (1999). “The feasibility of reintroducing Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) to Scotland”. Mammal Review 29 (4): 239).
[237] See V. G. Heptner and A. A. Sludskii: Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol. II, Part 2 Carnivora (Hyaenas and Cats). Leiden, New York, 1989.
[238]Wild boar piglets are coloured differently from adults, having marbled chocolate and cream stripes lengthwise over their bodies. The stripes fade by the time the piglet is about 6 months old, when the animal takes on the adult’s grizzled grey or brown colour.
[239]Anonymous (c. 1350). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
[240] Martin, R.R. (1991), Song of Fire and Ice. A Game of Throne, Bantam Books, p. 506.
[241]The bishop of Nevers interpreted this dream to mean that the child was Saint Cyricus and that he wanted the emperor to repair the roof of the Cathédrale Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte de Nevers – which Charlemagne duly did.
[242] Asterix…..???
[243] See V.G Heptner & A.A. Sludskii. Mammals of the Soviet Union, Volume II, Part 2.
[244] Serv. ad Virg. Ecl. x. 18; Ptolem. Hephaest. i. p. 306, ed. Gale.
[245] Phanocles ap. Plut. Sumpos. iv. 5.
[246] Hyginus, Poet. Astron. ii. 7.
[247] Theocritus, Idyll. xv.
[248] Bion, Idyll. i.
[249] Lycophron, 839, &c.

The Color Correspondence: Red

FF0000The sacred color correspondence for this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is red. Red is the color of war mainly because it is the color of blood. The word red comes from the Old English rēad.[250] Further back, the word can be traced to the Proto-Germanic rauthaz and the Proto-Indo European root reudh-. In Sanskrit, the word rudhira means red or blood. Certain shades of red are used to symbolize anger or aggression. In Japan, red is a traditional color for a heroic figure. Red catches people’s attention, and can be used either in a negative way to indicate danger and emergency, or in a positive way in advertising to gain more viewers, or in nature, as a ripe fruit announces its readiness with its red color.[251] Several studies have indicated that red carries the strongest reaction of all the colors. Red is used as a symbol of courage and sacrifice, as in blood spilt in sacrifice or courage in the face of lethal danger.[252] The phrase “red-blooded” describes someone who is audacious, robust, or virile.[253] In Christianity, red is the liturgical color for the feast of martyrs, representing the blood of those who suffered death for their faith. In Roman mythology red is associated with the god of war, Mars. A Roman general receiving a triumph had his entire body painted red in honor of his achievement. Named after the Roman god of war, the planet Mars, it is often described as the “Red Planet” as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance.The apparent color ofthe Martian surface enabled humans to distinguish it from other planets early in human history and motivated them to weave fables of war in association with Mars. One of its earliest names, Har decher, literally meant “Red One” in Egyptian.[254] Its color may have also contributed to a malignant association in Indian astrology, as it was given the names Angaraka and Lohitanga, both reflecting the distinctively red color of Mars as seen by the naked eye. Modern robotic explorers have shown that not only the surfaces, but also the skies above may appear red under sunlit conditions on Mars. Modern observations indicate that Mars’s redness is skin deep. The Martian surface looks reddish primarily because of an ubiquitous dust layer (particles are typically between 3 µm to 45 µm across) that is typically on the order of millimeters thick. Even where the thickest deposits of this reddish dust occur, such as the Tharsis area, the dust layer is probably not more than 2 m (7 feet) thick. Therefore, the reddish dust is essentially an extremely thin veneer on the Martian surface and does not represent the bulk of the Martian subsurface in any way. Recent, approximately true-color in situ images from the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions indicate that the Martian sky may also appear reddish to humans. Absorption of sunlight in the 0.4-0.6 µm range by dust particles may be the primary reason for the redness of the sky. An additional contribution may come from the dominance of photon scattering by dust particles at wavelengths in the order 3 µm, which is in the near-infrared range, over Rayleigh scattering by gas molecules.


[250]Eric Partridge (1966). Origins: An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English. Routledge.
[251]Judd, Charles Hubbard. Psychology: General Introduction. Pgs. 131-132.
[252]Feisner, Edith. Colour. City: King Laurence Publish, 2006. pg. 127
[253]Oxford English Dictionary, “red.”
[254]Kieffer, Hugh H., Bruce M. Jakosky, and Conway W. Snyder (1992), “The planet Mars: From antiquity to the present,” in Mars, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ, p. 2.

The Sacred Jewel Correspondence: The Ruby

rubiesThe sacred jewels correspondence for this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the ruby but can also comprise “many other red stone.”[255] Obviously, the main reason for this attribution is because the most beautiful and expansive rubies are usually blood-red, which is the same color as the sacred color of Mars, the planetary and Greek Deity attribution for this path. In 777, Crowley doesn’t give us much more details telling us that “the ruby represents flaming energy.”[256] The gemstone that we call “ruby” is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. In the fascinating world of gemstones, the ruby is the undisputed ruler. The ruby radiates warmth and a strong sense of vitality and people as well as specialists sometimes refers to it as the king of the gemstones. For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent colour, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. In addition to that, it is an extremely rare gemstone, especially in its finer qualities. The ruby, which is a magnificent red variety from the multi-coloured corundum family, consists of aluminium oxide and chrome as well as very fine traces of other elements – depending on which deposit it was from. In really fine colours and good clarity, however, this gemstone occurs only very rarely in the world’s mines. Somewhat paradoxically, it is actually the colouring element chrome which is responsible for this scarcity. True enough, millions of years ago, when the gemstones were being created deep inside the core of the Earth, chrome was the element which gave the ruby its wonderful colour. But at the same time it was also responsible for causing a multitude of fissures and cracks inside the crystals. Thus only very few ruby crystals were given the good conditions in which they could grow undisturbed to considerable sizes and crystallise to form perfect gemstones. For this reason, rubies of more than 3 carats in size are very rare. So it is no wonder that rubies with hardly any inclusions are so valuable that in good colours and larger sizes they achieve top prices at auctions, surpassing even those paid for diamonds in the same category. An early recorded transport and trading of rubies arises in the literature on the North Silk Road of China, wherein about 200 BC rubies were carried along this ancient trackway moving westward from China.Rubies have always been held in high esteem in Asian countries. They were used to ornament armor, scabbards, and harnesses of noblemen in India and China. Rubies were laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure.The ruby is considered one of the four precious stones, together with the sapphire, the emerald, and the diamond. Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, of which the sapphire is also a variety. Pure corundum is colourless. Slight traces of elements such as chrome, iron, titanium or vanadium are responsible for the colour. These gemstones have excellent hardness. On the Mohs scale their score of 9 is second only to that of the diamond. Only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, all other colours being classified as sapphires. The close relationship between the ruby and the sapphire has only been known since the beginning of the 19th century. Up to that time, red garnets or spinels were also thought to be rubies.[257] For a long time India was regarded as the ruby’s classical country of origin. In the major works of Indian literature, a rich store of knowledge about gemstones has been handed down over a period of more than two thousand years. The term ‘corundum‘, which we use today, is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘kuruvinda‘. The Sanskrit word for ruby is ‘ratnaraj‘, which means something like ‘king of the gemstones’. And it was a royal welcome indeed which used to be prepared for it. Whenever a particularly beautiful ruby crystal was found, the ruler sent high dignitaries out to meet the precious gemstone and welcome it in appropriate style. Today, rubies still decorate the insignia of many royal households.Prices of rubies are primarily determined by color. The brightest and most valuable “red” called pigeon blood-red, commands a huge premium over other rubies of similar quality. After color follows clarity; similar to diamonds, a clear stone will command a premium, but a ruby without any needle-like rutile inclusions may indicate that the stone has been treated. Cut and carat (weight) are also an important factor in determining the price. Generally, gemstone-quality corundum in all shades of red, including pink, are called rubies.[258] However, in the United States, a minimum level of color saturation must be met to be called a ruby, otherwise the stone will be called a pink sapphire.[259] This distinction between rubies and pink sapphires is relatively new, having arisen sometime in the 20th century. If a distinction is made, the line separating a ruby from a pink sapphire is not clear and highly debated. As a result of the difficulty and subjectiveness of such distinctions, trade organizations[260] have adopted the broader definition for ruby which encompasses its lighter shades, including pink. Rubies have historically been mined in Thailand, the Pailin and Samlout District of Cambodia, Burma, India, Afghanistan and in Pakistan. In Sri Lanka, lighter shades of rubies (often “pink sapphires”) are more commonly found. Spinel, another red gemstone, is sometimes found along with rubies in the same gem gravel or marble. Red spinel may be mistaken for ruby by those lacking experience with gems. However, the finest red spinels can have a value approaching that of the average ruby.[261]Diamonds are graded using criteria that have become known as the four Cs, namely color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Similarly natural rubies can be evaluated using the four Cs together with their size and geographic origin. In the evaluation of colored gemstones, color is the single most important factor. Color divides into three components; hue, saturation and tone. Hue refers to “color” as we normally use the term. Transparent gemstones occur in the following primary hues: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. These are known as pure spectral hues.[262] In nature there are rarely pure hues so when speaking of the hue of a gemstone we speak of primary and secondary and sometimes tertiary hues. In ruby the primary hue must be red. All other hues of the gem species corundum are called sapphire. Ruby may exhibit a range of secondary hues. Orange, purple, violet and pink are possible. The finest ruby is best described as being a vivid medium-dark toned red. Secondary hues add an additional complication. Pink, orange, and purple are the normal secondary hues in ruby. Of the three, purple is preferred because, firstly, the purple reinforces the red making it appear richer. Secondly, purple occupies a position on the color wheel halfway between red and blue. In Burma where the term pigeon blood originated, rubies are set in pure gold. Pure gold is itself a highly saturated yellow. Set a purplish-red ruby in yellow and the yellow neutralizes its complement blue leaving the stone appearing to be pure red in the setting. Some rubies display a wonderful silky shine, the so-called ‘silk’ of the ruby. This phenomenon is caused by very fine needles of rutile. And now and then one of the rare star rubies is found. Here too, the mineral rutile is involved: having formed a star-shaped deposit within the ruby, it causes a captivating light effect known by the experts as asterism. If rubies of this kind are cut as half-dome shaped cabochons, the result is a six-spoked star which seems to glide magically across the surface of the stone when the latter is moved. Star rubies are precious rarities. Their value depends on the beauty and attractiveness of the colour and, though only to a lesser extent, on their transparency. Fine star rubies, however, should always display rays which are fully formed all the way to the imaginary horizontal line which runs through the middle of the stone, and the star itself should be situated right in the centre.The red of the ruby is incomparable: warm and fiery. There are also two magical elements that are directly associated with the symbolism of this colour: fire and blood, implying in some case warmth and life for mankind and burns and death in others.[263] The important thing to understand here is this: ruby-red is not just any old colour. It is an absolutely undiluted, hot, passionate, and incredibly powerful colour. Like no other gemstone, the ruby is the perfect way to express powerful feelings. Instead of symbolising some kind of calm, controlled affection, a ring set with a precious ruby bears witness to that passionate, unbridled love that people can feel for each other. In Classical antiquity rubies were regarded as emblems of good fortune. Because of that, in extreme cases, the ruby could even be used as a jauge for future good or bad fortune because people believed that “it was an evil omen if they changed colour.”[264] When they really do change color, it was said that they would regain their-blood-red tint as soon as trouble had passed. It was also believed that “they banished sorrow, restrained lust, resisted poison, were preservatives against plague and warded off evil thoughts.”[265] As a blood-stone, the ruby was used homeopathically in the preparation of medicine to staunch bleeding. For the same reason, Russian popular tradition maintains that it is good for the heart, brain, memory and vitality and that it clears the blood.[266] However, if we are to believe good Bishop Marbodius, it is the solitary and glowing eye which dragons and wyverns carry in the middle of their foreheads. It is then known as a car-buncle. They “surpass all other fiery stones, casting rays like blazing coals, so that the darkness is quite unable to dim their light.”[267]


[255] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84; Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.10; Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 52.
[256] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p. 103.
[257] That, indeed, is why the ‘Black Ruby’ and the ‘Timur Ruby’, two of the British Crown Jewels, were so named, when they are not actually rubies at all, but spinels.
[258] Matlins, Antoinette Leonard (2010). Colored Gemstones. Gemstone Press, p. 203; Reed, Peter (1991). Gemmology. Butterworth-Heinemann, p. 337.
[259]Matlins, Antoinette Leonard (2010). Colored Gemstones. Gemstone Press. pp. 203.
[260]Such as the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA).
[261]Wenk, Hans-Rudolf; Bulakh, A. G. (2004). Minerals: their constitution and origin. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. pp. 539–541.
[262]Wise, Richard W. (2006). Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur’s Guide To Precious Gemstones. Brunswick House Press. pp. 18–22.
[263] In the epic classic Songs of Fire and Ice by fantasy writter R.R.Martin, “fire and blood” is the motto of House Targaryen, a fallen royal bloodline well known for its cruelty and ruthlessness. They belong to an ancestry of Dragon tamers who, a couple centuries before, have been able to unite the “Seven Kingdoms” with the assistance of their Dragons.
[264]Portal, Frédéric (1837), Des Couleurs Symboliques dans l’Antiquité, le Moyen Age et les Temps Modernes, Paris, p.128.
[265]Portal, Frédéric (1837), Des Couleurs Symboliques dans l’Antiquité, le Moyen Age et les Temps Modernes, Paris, p.128.
[266]Marques-Rivière, Jean (1938), Amulettes, Talismans et Pentacles dans les Traditions Orientales et Occidentales, with a preface by Paul Masson-Oursel, Paris.
[267]Gourmont, Rémy de (1913), Le Latin Mystique. Les Poètes de l’Antiphonaire et la Symbolique au Moyen Age, Paris, p.210.

The Sacred Plant Correspondence #1: Rue

Rue-The sacred plant correspondences for this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are rue, pepper, and absinthe.[268] Surprisingly enough, it seems that there is no specific reason that explains those attributions, in 777, his qabalistic reference book, Crowley skip the subject completely by saying that “those attributions are traditionals.”[269] Rue (Ruta) is a genus of strongly scented evergreen subshrubs 20–60 cm tall, in the family Rutaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, Macaronesia and southwest Asia. There are perhaps 8 to 40 species in the genus. A well-known species is the Common Rue. The leaves are bipinnate or tripinnate, with a feathery appearance, and green to strongly glaucous blue-green in colour. The flowers are yellow, with 4–5 petals, about 1 cm diameter, and borne in cymes. The fruit is a 4 to 5 lobed capsule, containing numerous seeds. It is very bitter. It was used extensively in Middle Eastern cuisine in olden days, as well as in many ancient Roman recipes (according to Apicius), and it is still used in northern Africa. In Italy rue leaves are sometimes added to grappa to obtain grappa alla ruta. Extracts from rue have been used to treat eyestrain, sore eyes, and as insect repellent.[270] Rue has been used internally as an antispasmodic, as a treatment for menstrual problems, as an abortifacient, and as a sedative.Caution should be taken with using rue topically. Applied to the skin with sun exposure, the oil and leaves can cause blistering.[271] Some people are much more sensitive than others. Rue is mentioned in the Bible: “But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs.”[272] Rue is well known for its symbolic meaning of regret and it has sometimes been called “herb-of-grace” in literary works. It is one of the flowers distributed by the mad Ophelia in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.[273] It was planted by the gardener in Richard II to mark the spot where the Queen wept upon hearing news of Richard’s capture.[274] It is also given by the rusticated Perdita to her disguised royal father-in-law on the occasion of a sheep-shearing.[275] It is also used by Michael in Milton’s Paradise Lost to give Adam clear sight.[276] Rue is considered a national herb of Lithuania and it is the most frequently referred herb in Lithuanian folk songs, as an attribute of young girls, associated with virginity and maidenhood. It was common in traditional Lithuanian weddings for only virgins to wear a rue (ruta) at their wedding, a symbol to show their purity. In mythology, the basilisk, whose breath could cause plants to wilt and stones to crack, had no effect on rue. Weasels who were bitten by the basilisk would retreat and eat rue in order to recover and return to fight. The Tacuinum Sanitatis, a medieval handbook on wellness,[277] lists some well known properties of rue. Rue was best cultivated near if fig tree and was used to sharpen the eyesight and dissipates flatulence. Among the side effects, people believed that the consumption of rue augments the sperm and dampens the desire for coitus. Rue is used by Gulliver in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels when he returns to England after living among the “Houyhnhnms.”[278] Gulliver can no longer stand the smell of the English Yahoos (people), so he stuffs rue or tobacco in his nose to block out the smell. “I was at last bold enough to walk the street in his (Don Pedro’s) company, but kept my nose well with rue, or sometimes with tobacco.”


[268] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84; Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.10; Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 52.
[269] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.100.
[270]J. G. Vaughan; P. A. Judd (2003). The Oxford Book of Health Foods. Oxford University Press, page 137.
[271]Eickhorst K, DeLeo V, Csaposs J (2007). “Rue the herb: Ruta graveolens-associated phytophototoxicity”. Dermatitis 18 (1): 52–5.
[272] The Bible, Luke 11.42.
[273] “”There’s fennel for you, and columbines: there’s rue for you; and here’s some for me: we may call it herb-grace o’ Sundays: O you must wear your rue with a difference…” (William Shakespeare, Hamlet (IV.50.)
[274] “Here did she fall a tear, here in this place I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace.” (William Shakespeare, Richard II , III.4.104–105).
[275]”For you there’s rosemary and rue; these keep Seeming and savour all the winter long.” (William Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale, IV.4):
[276]”Then purg’d with euphrasy and rue. The visual nerve, for he had much to see.” (John Milton, Paradise Lost, 11.414.)
[277] The Tacuinum Sanitatis was based on the Taqwim al‑sihha تقويم الصحة (“Maintenance of Health”), an eleventh-century Arab medical treatise by Ibn Butlan of Baghdad.
[278]Houyhnhnms are a race of intelligent horses described in the last part of Jonathan Swift’s satirical Gulliver’s Travels.

The Sacred Plant Correspondence #2: Pepper

BLACK-PEPPERAnother sacred plant attribution of this 27th path of the Tree of Life is Piper. As it was the case with rue, Crowley makes no mention of the reasons that motivates this sacred plant attribution, saying that it is “traditional.” It is possible, however, to find a coherent reason for this attribution if we take a look at the explanations provided for the perfume attribution of “pepper”, where it is mentioned that heat and pugnancy and qualities that are sacred to Mars.[279] The pepper plants or pepper vines (a term used for certain Clematis in older times), are an important genus in the family Piperaceae, which contains about 1,000-2,000 species of shrubs, herbs, and lianas, many of which are keystone species in their native habitat. The diversification of this taxon is of interest to understanding the evolution of plants. Pepper plants belong to the magnoliids, which are angiosperms but neither monocots nor eudicots. Their family, Piperaceae, is most closely related to the lizardtail family (Saururaceae), which in fact generally look like smaller, more delicate and amphibious pepper plants. Both families have characteristic tail-shaped inflorescences covered in tiny flowers. A somewhat less close relative is the pipevine family (Aristolochiaceae). A well-known and very close relative – being also part of the Piperaceae – are the radiator plants of the genus Peperomia. The scientific name Piper and the common name “pepper” are derived from the Sanskrit term pippali, denoting the Long Pepper (P. longum). Piper species have a pantropical distribution, and are most commonly found in the understory of lowland tropical rainforests, but can also occur in clearings and in higher elevation life zones such as cloud forests. Most Piper species are either herbaceous or vines; some grow as shrubs or almost as small trees. A few species, commonly called “ant pipers” (e.g. Piper cenocladum), live in a mutualism with ants. The fruit of the Piper plant, called a peppercorn when it is round and pea-sized, as is usual, is distributed in the wild mainly by birds, but small fruit-eating mammals – e.g. bats of the genus Carollia – are also important. Despite the high content of chemicals that are noxious to herbivores, some have evolved the ability to withstand the chemical defences of pepper plants, for example the sematurine moth Homidiana subpicta or some flea beetles of the genus Lanka. The latter can be significant pests to pepper growers. Many pepper plants make good ornamentals for gardens in subtropical or warmer regions. Pepper vines can be used much as ivy in temperate climates. Culinary use of pepper plants is attested perhaps as early as 9,000 years ago. Peppercorn remains were found among the food refuse left by Hoabinhian artisans at Spirit Cave, Vietnam. It is not too likely that these plants were deliberately grown rather than collected from the wild.[280]Use of peppercorns as pungent spice is significant on an international scale. In classical antiquity, there was a vigorous trade of spices including Black Pepper (P. nigrum) from South Asia to Europe already. The Apicius, a recipe collection complied about 400 AD, mentions “pepper” as a spice for most main dishes. Judging from the Apicius, in the late Roman Empire, Black Pepper was probably still expensive, but nevertheless seems to have been available readily enough to be used more frequently than salt[281] or sugar.[282] As Europe turned into the Early Middle Ages, trade routes deteriorated and the use of pepper declined somewhat. But this dearth was hardly ever absolute and altogether rather short-lived. Black peppercorns, storing easily and having a high mass per volume, never ceased to be a profitable trade item. In the Middle Ages, international traders were nicknamed Pfeffersäcke (“pepper-sacks”) in German towns of the Hanseatic League and elsewhere. As the Modern Era came into full swing, wars were fought by European powers, between themselves and in complex alliances and enmities with Indian Ocean states, about control of the supply of spices, perhaps the most archetypal being Black Pepper fruit. Today, Black Pepper corns of the three preparations (green, white and black) are one of the most widely used spices of plant origin worldwide. Due to the wide distribution of Piper, the fruit of other species are also important spices, many of them internationally. Mecaxochitl (P. amalgo) was used by the Aztecs to spice up cocoa. Cubeb (P. cubeba), also known as Tailed or Javan Pepper actually played a major role in Early Modern Era spice trade; ocet kubebowy, Cubeb-flavored vinegar, was a popular condiment in 14th century Poland. But reputedly Philip IV of Spain at the end of the 1630s suppressed trade in Cubeb peppercorns to capitalize on his massive share of the Black Pepper trade.[283] After a brief comeback as a medical plant, Cubeb is nowadays fairly obscure in the West. West African Pepper (P. guineense), also given a variety of “regionalized” names like “Benin pepper”, “Ashanti pepper, or the rather ambiguous “Guinea pepper”, is considered supreme for use in stews and other regional specialties. It is used in addition to Black Pepper to impart a particularly refined aroma with hints of nutmeg and saffron. Sometimes it is used in the East African berbere spice mix. This species, despite being traded more extensively in earlier times, is very hard to get outside Africa today. More readily available in the West is Long Pepper (P. longum), commonly traded under its Indian name pipalli. This is possibly the secondmost popular Piper spice internationally; it has a rather chili-like “heat” and the whole inflorescence is used as the fruits are tiny. Not only the seeds of Piper are used in cooking. West African Pepper leaves, known locally as uziza, are used as flavoring vegetable in Nigerian stews. In Mexican-influenced cooking, hoja santa or Mexican Pepperleaf (P. auritum) has a variety of uses, mainly to impart flavor too. In Southeast Asia, leaves of two species of Piper have major importance in cooking: Lolot (P. lolot) is used to wrap meat for grilling in the Indochina region, while Wild Betel (P. sarmentosum), often seen under the Thai name cha phlu, is used raw or cooked as a vegetable in its own right in Malay and Thai cuisine;[284] it is also used to prepare the famous miang kham snacks of northwestern Thailand. Cubeb (P. cubeba) has been used in folk medicine, herbalism and related fields (e.g. alchemy, folk magic or exorcism), as well as, particularly in the early 20th century, as a cigarette flavoring. P. darienense is used medically by the Kuna people of the Panama-Colombia border region, and elsewhere it is used to intoxicate fish which then can be easily caught. Spiked Pepper, often called “matico,”[285] appears to have strong disinfectant and antibiotic properties. Black Pepper (P. nigrum) essential oil is sometimes used in herbalism, and Long Pepper (P. longum) is similarly employed in Ayurveda, where it was an ingredient of Triphala Guggulu and (together with Black Pepper) of Trikatu pills, used for rasayana (rejuvenating and detoxifying) purposes. Two Piper species have gained large-scale use as a stimulant. Betel (P. betle) leaves are used to wrap Betel palm nut slices; its sap helps release the stimulating effect of these “cookies” which are widely known as pan in India. In the Pacific region, where it has been widely spread as a canoe plant, Kava (P. methysticum) is used to produce a calming drink somewhat similar to alcohol but without many of the negative side effects and addiction risk. It has also become popular elsewhere in recent decades, and is used as a medical plant. However, Kava whole-plant “herbal supplement” pills have occasionally shown a strong hepatotoxic effect, which has led to their banning in many countries. On the other hand, the traditional preparation of the root as a calming drink appears to pose little if any such hazard.[286]


[279] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.117.
[280]Gorman, Chester F. (1969): Hoabinhian: A pebble tool complex with early plant associations in Southeast Asia. Science 163(3868): 671-673.
[281]Apicius generally uses garum fish sauce instead; raw brine and large quantities of herbs were also employed by many.
[282]Crystal sugar was about as expensive as precious metals and even to the wealthiest people less available than diamonds are today. Apicius uses honey and caroenum (grape must concentrate).
[283]Parkinson, John (1640): Theatrum Botanicum: the Theater of Plants, etc. T. Cotes, London.
[284] Solomon, Charmaine (1998): Cha Plu. In: Encyclopedia of Asian Food. Periplus Editions.
[285]Except in Ecuador, where this name refers to the unrelated Aristeguietia glutinosa.
[286] Parkinson, John (1640): Theatrum Botanicum: the Theater of Plants, etc. T. Cotes, London.

The Sacred Plant Correspondence #3: Absinthe

AbsintheAbscinthe is also a sacred plant correspondence on this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life. As it’s the case for rue and the other plant correspondence of this path, Crowley does not mention any specific reason to motivate this attribution just saying that this attribution is traditional.[287] Artemisia absinthium (absinthium, absinthe wormwood, wormwood, common wormwood, green ginger or grand wormwood) is a species of wormwood, native to temperate regions of Eurasia and northern Africa. Artemisia comes from Ancient Greek ἀρτεμισία, from Ἄρτεμις (Artemis). In Hellenistic culture, Artemis was a goddess of the hunt, and protector of the forest and children. Absinthium comes from Ancient Greek ἀψίνθιον (apsinthion)/ἀσπίνθιον, underlain by a pre-Greek Pelasgian word, marked by the non-Indoeuropean consonant complex νθ. Alternatively, it might possibly mean “unenjoyable”, and probably refer to the bitter nature of the derived beverage. Consider the following quote by Lucretius in De Rerum Natura, I, 936-8:

“And as physicians when they seek to give

A draught of bitter wormwood to a child,

First smearing along the edge that rims the cup

The liquid sweets of honey, golden-hued,”

The word “wormwood” comes from Middle English wormwode or wermode. The form “wormwood” is influenced by the traditional use as a cure for intestinal worms. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary attributes the etymology to Old English wermōd (compare with German Wermut and the derived drink vermouth), which the OED (s.v.) marks as “of obscure origin”. An alternative explanation dubiously combines the Old English wer, meaning “man” (as in “werewolf”), with Old English mōd, meaning “mood”. Wormwood is mentioned seven times in the Jewish Bible and once in the New Testament, always with the implication of bitterness. The absinthe wormwood is a herbaceous, perennial plant with fibrous roots. The stems are straight, growing to 0.8-1.2 m tall, grooved, branched, and silvery-green. The leaves are spirally arranged, greenish-grey above and white below, covered with silky silvery-white trichomes, and bearing minute oil-producing glands. Its flowers are pale yellow, tubular, and clustered in spherical bent-down heads (capitula), which are in turn clustered in leafy and branched panicles. Flowering is from early summer to early autumn; pollination is anemophilous. The fruit is a small achene; seed dispersal is by gravity. It grows naturally on uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields. It prefers soil rich in nitrogen. It can be propagated by growth (ripened cuttings taken in March or October in temperate climates) or by seeds in nursery beds. It is naturalised in some areas away from its native range, including much of North America. The plant’s characteristic odor can make it useful for making a plant spray against pests. It is used in companion planting to suppress weeds, because its roots secrete substances that inhibit the growth of surrounding plants. It can repel insect larvae when planted on the edge of the cultivated area. It has also been used to repel fleas and moths indoors. It is an ingredient in the spirit absinthe, and also used for flavouring in some other spirits and wines, including bitters, vermouth and pelinkovac. In the Middle Ages, it was used to spice mead. In 18th century England, wormwood was sometimes used instead of hops in beer.[288]Wormwood is the traditional colour and flavour agent for green songpyeon, a type of dduk / tteok (Korean rice cake), eaten during the Korean thanksgiving festival of chuseok in the autumn. Wormwood is picked in the spring when it is still young. The juice from macerated fresh (or reconstituted dry) leaves provides the colouring and flavouring ingredient in the dough prepared to make green songpyeon. The other traditional color for these small desserts is white, made with rice flour dough without wormwood extract. It is also an additional ingredient to mint tea in Moroccan tea culture.


[287] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p. 100.
[288]Hartley, Dorothy (1985) [1954]. Food in England. Futura Publications. p. 456.

The Perfume Correspondence: Pepper & Dragon-Blood

The perfumes correspondence for this 27th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is pepper, dragon-blood,[289] “and all pungent odors.”[290] Piquance (or piquancy) is a sensation associated with the sense of taste. In various Asian countries it has traditionally been considered a basic taste. The English word piquant comes from the Old French present participle of the verb piquer, meaning to prick; it is cognate with the Spanish and Portuguese word picante, which carries the same meaning, and also with the English word pique. Common synonyms for piquance include hotness, pungence, raciness, spiciness, or the condition of something being spicy hot. The use of the word “piquance” eliminates potential lingual ambiguity arising from overlap in meaning with the words “hot” and “spicy” which usually requires a determination or assumption of meaning based on context. The scientific term for the effect of piquance is chemesthesis. Substances such as piperine and capsaicin cause a burning sensation by inducing a trigeminal nerve reaction together with normal taste reception.[291]The reason standing behind this pepper attribution is obvious to Crowley’s eyes, because, he tells us, “heat and pugnency are the two principal qualities of Mars,” consequently he add, “pepper is evidently Martial owing its fiery quality and its specific action on the mocus membrane of the nostrils.”[292]

dragons-bloodEven if many authors don’t bother to mention it, dragon-blood is also considered as a perfume correspondence on this 27th path of the Tree of Life. The reason for this attribution, Crowley tells us, is because “dragon-blood give of a dark red smoke, is angry looking, unpleasant to smell and intuitively perceived as smouldering irritability.”[293] Dragon’s blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. The red resin was used in ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye. It continues to be employed for the aforementioned purposes by some. A great degree of confusion existed for the ancients in regard to the source and identity of dragon’s blood. The resin of Dracaena species, “true” dragon’s blood, and the very poisonous mineral cinnabar (mercury sulfide) were often confused by the ancient Romans, and there appears to have been a tendency to call anything that was bright red “dragon’s blood”. In ancient China, little or no distinction was made among the types of dragon’s blood from the different species. Both Dracaena and Daemonorops resins are still often marketed today as dragon’s blood, with little or no distinction being made between the plant sources, however, the resin obtain from Daemonorops has become the most commonly sold type in modern times, often in the form of large balls of resin. Voyagers to the Canary Islands in the 15th century obtained dragon’s blood as dried garnet-red drops from Dracaena draco, a tree native to the Canary Islands and Morocco. The resin is exuded from its wounded trunk or branches. Dragon’s blood is also obtained by the same method from Dracaena cinnabari, which is endemic to the island of Socotra. This resin was traded to ancient Europe via the Incense Road. Dragon’s blood resin is also produced from the rattan palms of the genus Daemonorops of the Indonesian islands and known there as jerang or djerang. It is gathered by breaking off the layer of red resin encasing the unripe fruit of the rattan. The collected resin is then rolled into solid balls before being sold. The red latex of the Sangre de Grado tree (Croton lechleri), native to north-eastern South America, has wound-healing and antioxidant properties, and has been used for centuries by native people. The dragon’s blood known to the ancient Romans was mostly collected from D. cinnabari, and is mentioned in the 1st century Periplus (30: 10. 17) as one of the products of Socotra. Socotra had been an important trading centre since at least the time of the Ptolemies. Dragon’s blood was used as a dye and medicine especially for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems in the Mediterranean basin, and was held by early Greeks, Romans, and Arabs to have medicinal properties. Dioscorides and other early Greek writers described its medicinal uses.[294]Locals of Moomy city on Socotra island use the Dracaena resin as a sort of cure-all, using it for such things as general wound healing, a coagulant (though this is ill-advised with commercial products, as the Daemonorops species acts as an anti-coagulant[295] and it is usually unknown what species the dragon’s blood came from), curing diarrhea, lowering fevers, dysentery diseases, taken internally for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach, as well as an antiviral for respiratory viruses, stomach viruses and for such skin disorders as eczema. It was also used in medieval ritual magic and alchemy. Not native to North America, some of the plants have been brought over in recent years and have become naturalised. Dragon’s blood of both Dracaena draco (commonly referred to as the Draconis Palm) and Dracaena cinnabari were used as a source of varnish for 18th century Italian violinmakers. There was also an 18th century recipe for toothpaste that contained dragon’s blood. In modern times it is still used as a varnish for violins, in photoengraving, as an incense resin, and as a body oil. Dragon’s blood from both Daemonorops were used for ceremonies in India. Sometimes Dracaena resin, but more often Daemonorops resin, was used in China as red varnish for wooden furniture. It was also used to colour the surface of writing paper for banners and posters, used especially for weddings and for Chinese New Year. In American Hoodoo, African-American folk magic, and New Orleans voodoo, it is used in mojo hands for money-drawing or love-drawing, and is used as incense to cleanse a space of negative entities or influences. It is also added to red ink to make “Dragon’s Blood Ink”, which is used to inscribe magical seals and talismans. In folk medicine, dragon’s blood is used externally as a wash to promote healing of wounds and to stop bleeding. It is used internally for chest pains, post-partum bleeding, internal traumas and menstrual irregularities. In neopagan Witchcraft, it is used to increase the potency of spells for protection, love, banishing and sexuality. In New Age shamanism it is used in ceremonies in a similar way as the neopagans use it. Dragon’s blood incense is also sold as “red rock opium” to unsuspecting would-be drug buyers. It actually contains no opiates, and has only slight psychoactive effects, if any at all.


[289] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.13.
[290] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 84; Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p. 13.
[291]The pungent feeling caused by allyl isothiocyanate, capsaicin, piperine, and allicin is caused by activation of the heat thermo- and chemosensitive TRP ion channels including TRPV1 and TRPA1 nociceptors. Scientists thinks that the pungency of chilies may be an adaptive response to selection by microbial pathogens.
[292] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.117.
[293] Aleister Crowley, 777. And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, p.117.
[294]Casson, L. 1989. The Periplus Maris Erythraei. Princeton University Press, pp. 69, 168-170.
[295]Gibbs A, Green C, Doctor VM. (1983). “Isolation and anticoagulant properties of polysaccharides of Typha Augustata and Daemonorops species”. Thromb Res. 32 (2): 97–108.

The Magical Weapon Correspondence: The Double-Edged Sword

swordAs an alchemical symbol the sword is a symbol of purification. Here we experience the metaphorical sword cleanly piercing the spiritual soul of man. This symbolic action sacrifices physical bondage to release a path to ethereal (enlightened) freedom.Double edged swords give us symbolism of duality of nature and the dual powers of manifestation. Here we see creation as well as destruction (death and life) housed in the instrument. As with all power, there are two sides to it – just as there are two blades to the sword. On the one hand we have the capacity for conceiving beautiful ideas, and solving intricate problems with our mind. On the other side, the mind can easily develop an appetite for destruction. Like in the common saying; “this is like a double edged-sword” which means something that has or can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences. Refering to this saying, Jack Parson, the well known rocket scientist and occultist, wrote a book called Freedom is a Two Edged Sword where he explains that the wonderful freedoms instaured by the U.S. Constution can be used as much in a liberating fashion as they can be used in a dogmatic and restrictive manner.[296] Probably one of the most eloquent illustrations of the double-edged sword is Stormbringner, the magic sword of Michael Moorcock’s fantasy character, Elric the necromancian. The fascinating thing about Stormbrigner is that it really is a double-edged sword both in the litterary sense and in metaphoric sense of the word. Moorcock’s anti-hero, Elric of Melniboné, is an anemic albino lacking the vitality of normal human being and it’s Stormbringner, a sentient soul-eating magic sword that provides him with the energy that he needs to go on with his life. The main problem is that Stormbringer is sometimes hard to control and has a tendency to injure or even kill Elric’s sibblings. Elric’s wife was killed that way. One one side, the blade without Elric is just a piece of forged metal, but in his hand it becomes a lethal weapon and a scary soul harvesting machine that nourrishes both the blade and his bearer. On the other side, Elric knows that something evil is lurking inside this blade,[297] that it tends to harm the people he loves the most, but without it Elric is nothing but a human wreck and has a hard time to do even the most simple and basic things in life.


[296] Talking about this “double edge” Parson says: “We cannot suppress our brother’s liberty without suppressing our own and we cannot murder our brothers without murdering ourselves. We will stand together as men for human freedom and human dignity or we will fall together, as animals, back into the jungle.”
[297] Michael Moorcock, Elric the Stealer of Soul, Ballantine Books: New York, p. 40.

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