October 23, 2019
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 The General Description of the Path

zayyyinnThe Seventeenth Path, leading from Tiphareth to Binah, is the next to be traveled. It proceeds from the position of balance to the dark, restrictive apex of the negative pillar. “It is a path wherein the element of right choices and proper priorities is of extreme importance. Were it not for the temporary union with the ultimate godhead experienced at the end of the preceeding Thirteenth Path, the traveler might be most adversely affected by his entry into the sphere of Binah at the end of the present path. This is primarily a path of choices. The quality to be developed and depended upon here is discrimination, or discerning judgment. Unless the traveler maintains his balance within his own nature, by way of a proper ordering of his inward priorities, he may plunge down through Tiphareth to the lower paths of probation. If the path is successfully completed, it will raise the soul to the consciousness of Binah, and it will be reborn into the life of God, by reentering the dark womb of the Divine Mother.”[1]

The intelligible – “The intelligible” is a term that derives from the Platonic school of philosophy.  It signifies that which can be apprehended through the inner eye of the rational intellect, an aspect of cognition that was sometimes called nous. It suppose that behind the appearance of the world (which we comprehend via our senses) there is another ‘realm’ of causes and principles that gives rise to appearances.  With our nous we can perceive primary causes and rise to the level of the divine intellect or intelligence.  Because there was an influence of Hellenistic philosophy on Kabbalah, we find an overlap between the sefira Binah (understanding or intelligence), and the Platonic Intelligible or Intellectual Principle.  The development of modern technology provides tangible evidence that there are indeed deep principles in the natural world.  They are not apparent.  They have been discovered through investigative disciplines – physics, chemistry, biology, geology an so on. (Collin A. Low, The Hermetic Kabbalah, p. 329)

zayinThe keynote of this path goes like this: “From a position of balanced illumination, consciousness now travels to the restrictive and often sorrowful state of profound understanding. Such an experience can best be faced if the inner opposites of the soul are completely reconciled and constant guidance from the Higher Self (Holy Guardian Angel) is available.”[2] The magical motto of this path is the following: “When you make the male and the female into a single one so that the male will not be male and the female not be female… then shall you enter the kingdom.”[3]


[1] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 59.

[2]Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 103.

[3] The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 22. Cited in [3] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 103.

The Hebrew Letter Correspondence: Zayin

zayin--The seventeenth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life has been attributed to the Hebrew letter Zayin. This is path no. Seventeen, joining Binah and Zayin. The word Zayin means a “sword,” and “in examining the shape of the letter one could imagine that the top part of the letter was the hilt, and the lower part of the blade.”[4] Ayin is called in the Sepher Yetzirah “the Disposing Intelligence.”


[4] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 74.




The Tarot Trump Correspondence: The Lovers

the-lovers--The Tarot Trump attributed to the seventeenth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is VI – The Lovers. Ancient packs describe this as representing a man between two women, who are Vice and Virtue, Lilith, the wife of the evil Samael,[5] and Eve. Modern cards, however, show a nude male and female figure, with an angel or a Cupid with outspread wings hovering above them.[6]According to Hoeller, “The man stands for the animus (masculine soul-component), while the female represents the anima (female soul-component) within the individual. The two must be reconciled and united in a fitting manner, and this work is accomplished through angelic guidance. Behind the woman is the tree of knowledge of the good and evil, symbolic of the living nature (eros), while behind the man is a tree brearing flames, symbolic of the intellectual-spiritual nature (logos). A high mountain looms in the background, indicating further summits the pair is to climb together. The moonday sun of divine illumination shines overhead, sustaining human and angelic nature alike.”[7]In some traditions, the Lovers represent relationships and choices. Its appearance in a spread indicates some decision about an existing relationship, a temptation of the heart, or a choice of potential partners. Often an aspect of the Querent‘s life will have to be sacrificed; a bachelor(ette)’s lifestyle may be sacrificed and a relationship gained (or vice versa), or one potential partner may be chosen while another is turned down. Whatever the choice, it should not be made lightly, as the ramifications will be lasting.”The Lovers are the image of the first true challenge of the Fool’s life — a choice in love. This does not only mean a choice between two women, or two men. It also is a reflection of chosen values, of the decision the Fool must make, which will define him as a person.


[5] In Qabalistic symbolism, Lilith is the Qlippath or evil and unbalanced force of Malkuth, while Samael (“the liar”) is the Qlippah of Hod.

[6] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.

[7] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 102.



The Sixth Step of the Fool’s Pilgrimage

court_jesterEventually, the Fool faces two new challenges. He experiences the powerful urge for sexual union with another person. Before, he was mainly self-centered. Now he feels the balancing tendency, pictured in the Lovers (6), to reach out and become half of a loving partnership. He yearns for relationship. The Fool is not yet fully mature, and so has difficulty separating his physical desires from what is right. The consequences of the choice he must make are far-reaching, affecting every part of his life. This choice is thrust upon him before he is ready, as are many choices in life, and so a mistake may be inevitable. This situation cannot be avoided, and a choice must be made; abstaining from this choice is not an option. The Fool, not yet ready for this, does not fully understand that all choices — good and bad — carry consequences. This is an important lesson for the Fool, for he must realize that all things have a cost associated with them.” The Fool also needs to decide upon his own beliefs. It is well enough to conform while he learns and grows, but at some point, he must determine his own values if he is to be true to himself. He must start to question received opinion.

The Zodiacal Correspondence: Gemini- the Twins

geminiIn astrology the zodiacal attribution for the seventeenth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the sign of Gemini, the Twins. Gemini (♊) is the third astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the Zodiac between the 60th and 89th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between May 21 to June 20 each year (sometimes the dates vary slightly). Individuals born during these dates, whilst the Sun is within this sign are called Geminians. Because the Sun’s transit through the sign of Gemini concludes at the moment of the summer solstice, the sign is seasonally associated with the transition from spring to summer. Because its period indicates a change of season, it is known as a ‘mutable sign‘,[8]describing an impulse towards change and versatility, and an easy ability to adapt to the demands of the environment. The sign is governed by Mercury, a planet noted for swift movement and symbolically associated with the interchange of ideas and fluid responses to circumstances. Gemini is also linked with the ‘element of air‘ which represents the mental and social realms, the ability to formulate abstract ideas and to effectively interpret symbols, imagined concepts and communicative signals.[9] As the mutable air sign, governed by a planet which is astrologically given to the principle of transmutation and communication, the symbolic focus of the sign falls upon movement, quick-thinking, free-flowing expression, gesticulation, and spontaneous reaction. The sign is symbolised by ‘the twins’, which also presents duality: the ability to relate to opposing visions simultaneously, to possess dexterity and a talent for multi-tasking.[10]

gemini-symbolCorrespondingly, Geminians are said to be curious and to enjoy mental exploration, to be almost always at ease in social situations, it is considered by some astrologers as the most flirtatious in the zodiac and to have a talent for writing and reporting, and to enjoy all forms of ‘talk’, from gossip to political debate. On the negative, they are reputed to have “butterfly minds” which become easily bored, and to shift their allegiances in a way that lacks commitment or loyalty.[11] They are also said to experience discomfort with the expression of deep emotion.[12] For this reason, though praised for being quick and clever, Geminians are also criticised for being elusive, fickle and ill-at-ease with emotional commitment. The ancient Babylonians referred to the constellation as Mastabba Galgal, the ‘Great Twins’, and commemorated within it the mythical friendship of the demi-god Gilgamesh and his mortal friend Enkidu, who fought against the gods in twelve adventures.[13] Stricken by grief at Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh pursued a quest to ensure his own immortality. The ancient Greek tale of the egg-born brothers Castor and Pollux, born to their mother Leda after she was seduced by Zeus in the guise of a swan. Their consummation, on the same night as Leda lay with her husband, Sparta’s King Tyndareus resulted in the birth of immortal Pollux, who possessed great physical strength, and mortal Castor who possessed great ingenuity. Upon Castor’s death Pollux begged Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together and they were transformed into the Gemini constellation. The classical myth is said to demonstrate the mutual reliance of conscious reasoning and unconscious belief to indicate “acute polarisation of the spiritual and material, alternation between the extremes of rational logic and instinctive belief, and the quest to reconcile all contradictions in a central threshold where reason and belief, intellect and emotion, masculinity and femininity, merge into one.”[14] Juan Eduardo Cirlot also reports that the Gemini motif is essentially a symbol of opposites, inversions and alternating contradictions between life and death and positives and negatives. Cirlot points out that a study of the Gemini-myth in megalithic culture shows that it has two tendencies: “one white and the other black; one creates, the other destroys; both these characteristics are indicated by the arms of each of the Twins, which in landscape symbolism are identical with the river of youth and the river of death”.[15]


[8] See William Lilly, (1647) Christian Astrology. Republished as facsimile, London: Regulus, 1985. p.88

[9]Kevin Burk, Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart: a Comprehensive Guide to Classical Interpretation. Llewellyn Worldwide, 2001. p. 48.

[10]Joanna Watters, Astrology for Today. London: Carroll & Brown, 2003. p.18.

[11]Joanna Watters, Astrology for Today. London: Carroll & Brown, 2003. p.18.

[12]Kevin Burk, Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart: a Comprehensive Guide to Classical Interpretation. Llewellyn Worldwide, 2001. p. 55.

[13]Deborah Houlding, ‘Star Lore of the Constellations: Gemini the Twins‘. The Mountain Astrologer, issue #139, June 2008

[14]Deborah Houlding, ‘Gemini the Twins‘. The Mountain Astrologer, issue #139, June 2008.

[15]Juan Eduardo Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols, p.116. Routledge Kegan & Paul, 1962.

The Hindu Deity Correspondence: Rekht and Merti

All twin gods are therefore attributed to this path. Rekht and Merti of the Hindus,[16] and Castor and Pollux of the Greeks.


[16] Israel Regardie, in his book A Garden of Pomegrenate, points out the fact that Rekht and Merti are not really Hindu but Egyptian. The Merti were the twin god-desses of the Inundation, South and North. (Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, Notes, p. 91).

The Greek Deity Correspondence: Apollo, Castor & Pollux

castor_and_pollux_by_zerolexaIn Greek and Roman mythology, Castor (Latin: Castōr; Greek: Κάστωρ, Kastōr, “beaver”) and Pollux (Latin: Pollūx) or Polydeuces (Greek: Πολυδεύκης, Poludeukēs, “much sweet wine”[17]) were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri (Latin: Dioscūrī; Greek: Διόσκουροι, Dioskouroi, “sons of Zeus”). Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who visited Leda in the guise of a swan. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini (“twins”) or Castores. Castor and Pollux aspired to marry the Leucippides (“daughters of the white horse”), Phoebe and Hilaeira, whose father was a brother of Leucippus (“white horse”).[10] Although both women were already betrothed to cousins of the Dioscuri, the twin brothers Lynceus and Idas of Thebes, sons of Tyndareus‘s brother Aphareus. Castor and Pollux carried the women off to Sparta, where Phoebe bore Mnesileos to Pollux and Hilaeira bore Anogon to Castor. This began a feud among the four cousins. The cousins carried out a cattle-raid in Arcadia together but fell out over the division of the meat. After stealing the herd, but before dividing it, the cousins butchered, quartered, and roasted a calf.[18] As they prepared to eat, the gigantic Idas suggested that the herd be divided into two parts instead of four, based on which pair of cousins finished their meal first. Castor and Pollux agreed. Idas quickly ate both his portion and Lynceus’ portion. Castor and Pollux had been duped. They allowed their cousins to take the entire herd, but vowed to someday take revenge.[19]

Castor_and_PolluxSome time later, Idas and Lynceus visited their uncle’s home in Sparta. The uncle was on his way to Crete, so he left Helen in charge of entertaining the guests, which included both sets of cousins, as well as Paris, prince of Troy. Castor and Pollux recognized the opportunity to exact revenge, made an excuse that justified leaving the feast, and set out to steal their cousins’ herd. Idas and Lynceus eventually set out for home, leaving Helen alone with Paris, who then kidnapped Helen. Thus, the four cousins helped set into motion the events that gave rise to the Trojan War. Meanwhile, Castor and Pollux had reached their destination. Castor climbed a tree to keep a watch as Pollux began to free the cattle. Far away, Idas and Lynceus approached. Lynceus, named for the lynx because he could see in the dark, spied Castor hiding in the tree. Idas and Lynceus immediately understood what was happening. Idas, furious, ambushed Castor, fatally wounding him with a blow from his spear—but not before Castor called out to warn Pollux. In the ensuing brawl, Pollux killed Lynceus. As Idas was about to kill Pollux, Zeus, who had been watching from Mt. Olympus, hurled a thunderbolt, killing Idas and saving his son.Returning to the dying Castor, Pollux was given the choice by Zeus of spending all his time on Mount Olympus or giving half his immortality to his mortal brother. He opted for the latter (so giving half his immortality to Castor), enabling the twins to alternate between Olympus and Hades.[20] The brothers became the two brightest stars in the constellation Gemini (“the twins”): Castor (Alpha Geminorum) and Pollux (Beta Geminorum). As emblems of immortality and death, the Dioscuri, like Heracles, were said to have been initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries.[21]Ancient Greek authors tell a number of versions of the story of Castor and Pollux. Homer portrays them initially as ordinary mortals, treating them as dead in the Iliad, but in the Odyssey they are treated as alive even though “the corn-bearing earth holds them.” The author describes them as “having honour equal to gods,” living on alternate days due to the intervention of Zeus. In both the Odyssey and in Hesiod, they are described as the sons of Tyndareus and Leda. In Pindar, Pollux is the son of Zeus while Castor is the son of the mortal Tyndareus. The theme of ambiguous parentage is not unique to Castor and Pollux; similar characterisations appear in the stories of Hercules and Theseus.[22] The Dioscuri are also invoked in AlcaeusFragment 34a, though whether this poem antedates the Homeric Hymn to the twins is unknown.[23] They make an appearance together in two plays by Euripides, Helen and Elektra. Cicero tells the story of how Simonides of Ceos was rebuked by Scopas, his patron, for devoting too much space to praising Castor and Pollux in an ode celebrating Scopas’ victory in a chariot race. Shortly afterwards, Simonides was told that two young men wished to speak to him; after he had left the banqueting room, the roof fell in and crushed Scopas and his guests.[24] Castor and Pollux are consistently associated with horses in art and literature. They are widely depicted as helmeted horsemen carrying spears. The Pseudo-Oppian manuscript depicts the brothers hunting, both on horseback and on foot. [25] On votive reliefs they are depicted with a variety of symbols representing the concept of twinhood, such as the dokana (δόκανα – two upright piece of wood connected by two cross-beams), a pair of amphorae, a pair of shields, or a pair of snakes. They are also often shown wearing felt caps, above which stars may be depicted. They are depicted on metopes from Delphi showing them on the voyage of the Argo (Ἀργώ) and rustling cattle with Idas. Greek vases regularly show them in the rape of the Leucippides, as Argonauts, in religious ceremonies and at the delivery to Leda of the egg containing Helen.[26] They can be recognized in some vase-paintings by the skull-cap they wear, the pilos (πῖλος), which was already explained in antiquity as the remnants of the egg from which they hatched.[27]

apolllloApollo also is a correspondence for this seventeenth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life (zayin), but “only in that aspect of him as the Diviner, having the power to communicate the gift of prophecy to both gods and men.”[28] Nietzsche, in his marvellous book, Birth of the Tragedy, says that Apollo not only is he a god of all shaping energies, but that he is also the soothsaying god: “He who (as the etymology of the name indicates) is the “shining one,” the deity of light, also rules over the fair appearance of inner world of fantasies. The higher truth, the perfection of these states in contrast to fantasies. The higher truth, the perfection of these states in constrast to the only partially intelligible everyday world, ay, the deep consciousness of nature, healing and helping in sleep and dream, is at the same time the symbolical analogue of the faculty of soothsaying and, in general of all the arts, through which life is made possible and worth living.”[29]



[17]Dioscuri.” Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd, 1996.

[18] Potis Stratikis (1987), Greek Mythology, Vol. B, pp. 20-23.

[19] Potis Stratikis (1987), Greek Mythology, Vol. B, pp. 20-23.

[20]Castor and Polydeuces.” Who’s Who in Classical Mythology, Routledge. London: Routledge, 2002.

[21]In the oration of the Athenian peace emissary sent to Sparta in 371, according to Xenophon (Hellenica VI), it was asserted that “these three heroes were the first strangers upon whom this gift was bestowed.” (Karl Kerenyi, (1967), Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter (Princeton: Bollingen), p. 122.

[22]Robert Christopher Towneley Parker “Dioscuri.” The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Ed. Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth. Oxford University Press 2003.

[23]David Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press 1967

[24]Dioscūri”. Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World. Ed. John Roberts. Oxford University Press, 2007.

[25]Alexander Kazhdan, Alice-Mary Talbot “Dioskouroi”. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Ed. Alexander P. Kazhdan. Oxford University Press 1991.

[26]Robert Christopher Towneley Parker “Dioscuri.” The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Ed. Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth. Oxford University Press 2003.

[27]Scholiast on Lycophron, noted by Karl Kerenyi, 1959. The Heroes of the Greeks, p. 107 note 584.

[28] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p.

[29] Frederich Nietzsche, Birth of the Tragedy from the Spirit of Music. Penguin Books, 1994.


The Roman Deity Correspondence: Janus

JanusssJanus is an attribution, “since he is represented with two faces, each looking in a different direction”.[30] In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions,[31] thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past. The concepts of January and janitor are both based on aspects of Janus. While the fundamental nature of Janus is debated, the set of its functions may be seen as organized around a simple principle: in the view of most modern scholars that of presiding over all beginnings and transitions, whether abstract or concrete, sacred or profane.[32] Interpretations concerning the fundamental nature of the god either limit it to this general function itself or emphasize a concrete or particular aspect of it (identifying him with light[33] the sun,[34] the moon,[35] time,[36] movement,[37] the year,[38] doorways,[39] bridges[40] etc.) or see in the god a sort of cosmological principle, i. e. interpret him as a uranic deity.[41]The rites concerning Janus were numerous. Owing to the versatile and far reaching character of the basic function of the god, marking beginnings and transitions his presence was ubiquitous and fragmented. Apart from the rites solemnizing the beginning of the New Year and of every month there were the special times of the year which marked the beginning and the closing of the military season, in March and October respectively.



[30] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.

[31]Varro apud Augustine De Civitate Dei VII 9 and 3; Servius Aen. I 449; Paulus ex Festus s. v. Chaos p. 45 L

[32] Namely C. Bailey; M. Renard; R. Schilling; G. Dumezil; G. Capdeville.

[33]L. Preller-H. Jordan Römische Mythologie I Berlin 1881 3rd p. 166-184.

[34]A. Schwegler Römische Geschichte I Tübingen 1867 2nd p. 218-223; A. Brelich “Vesta:Janus und Vesta” in Albae Vigiliae Zurich 1949 p. 28 ff. esp. p. 34 and 39; R. Pettazzoni “Per l’iconografia di Giano” in Studi Etruschi 24 1955-56 p. 79-90 esp. p. 89.

[35]L. A. MacKay “Janus” in University of California Publications in Classical Philology 15 4 1956 p. 157-182.

[36] J. S. Speÿer “Le dieu romain Janus” in Revue de l’histoire des religions 26 1892 p. 1-47 esp. p. 43.

[37] M. Renard “Aspects anciens de Janus et de Junon” in Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 31 1 1953 p. 5-21 esp. p.6.

[38] O. Huth Janus. Ein Beitrag zur altrömischen Religionsgeschichte Bonn 1932.

[39]W. H. Roscher Ausfürliches Lexicon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie II 1890-1894 col. 15-55 s. v. Ianus; P. Grimal “Le dieu Janus et les origines de Rome” in Lettres d’humanité IV 1945 p. 15-121: Janus would be a conflation of the Latin numen of the mystic Gate of Rome with a Syrian-Hittite sky god brought to Italy by the Etruscans; C. Bailey Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome Berkeley 1932 p. 46-47: Janus would have developed from the animistic spirit of the door, ianua.

[40]L. A. Holland “Janus and the bridge” in Papers and Monographs of the American Academy in Rome 21 1961 p. 231-3.

[41] J. S. Speÿer above esp. p. 44; A. B. Cook Zeus a study in ancient religion II Cambridge 1925 p. 328-392; P. Grimal “Le dieu Janus et les origines de Rome” in Lettres d’humanité IV 1945 p. 15-121 esp. p. 118.

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence: Hoor-paar-Kraat & Harpocrates

harpocrate--According to Dr. Israel Regardie, Hoor-paar-Kraat is an attribution on this seventeenth path “principally because he sums up the two twin gods of Horus, the lord of strength, and Harpocrates, the lord of silence, in one deific personality.”[42] In a sense, says Regardie, “all hybrids are attributed here.”[43] In Late Greek mythology as developed in Ptolemaic Alexandria, Harpocrates is the god of silence. Harpocrates was adapted by the Greeks from the Egyptian child god Horus. To the ancient Egyptians, Horus represented the new-born Sun, rising each day at dawn. When the Greeks conquered Egypt under Alexander the Great, they transformed the Egyptian Horus into theirHellenistic god known as Harpocrates, a rendering from Egyptian Har-pa-khered or Heru-pa-khered (meaning “Horus the Child”). Harpocrates, the child Horus, personifies the newborn sun each day, the first strength of the winter sun, and also the image of early vegetation. Egyptian statues represent the child Horus, pictured as a naked boy with his finger on his mouth, a realization of the hieroglyph for “child” that is unrelated to the Greco-Roman and modern gesture for “silence”. Misunderstanding this sign, the later Greeks and Roman poets made Harpocrates the god of Silence and Secrecy, taking their cue from Marcus Terentius Varro, who asserted in De lingua Latina of Caelum (Sky) and Terra (Earth) “These gods are the same as those who in Egypt are called Serapis and Isis,[44] though Harpocrates with his finger makes a sign to me to be quiet. The same first gods were in Latium called Saturn and Ops.” Plutarch wrote that Harpocrates was the second son of Isis and that he was born prematurely with lame legs. Horus the Child became the special protector of children and their mothers. As he was healed of a poisonous snake bite by Re he became a symbol of hope in the gods looking after suffering humanity.[45] Modern occultists display his image, loosely connected now with Hermetic Gnosticism. Typically, “Harpocrates is the Babe in the Egg of Blue that sits upon the lotus flower in the Nile”. He may be termed the ‘God of Silence’ and said to represent the Higher Self and be the ‘Holy Guardian Angel’ and more in similar vein, adapted from Aleister Crowley’s often-reprinted book entitled Magick.


[42] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.

[43] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.

[44]Ovid, Metamorphoses 9:688 – 9:692.

[45]Geraldine Pinch, (2004), Egyptian Mythology, p. 147, Oxford University Press US.

 The Animal Correspondence: The Magpie

black-billed-magpieThe sacred animal attributed to the seventeenth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the magpie. In Europe, “magpie” is often used by English speakers as a synonym for the European Magpie, as there are no other magpies in Europe outside Iberia. Magpie is a bird that belongs to the same family as crows, ravens, and jays. It is easily recognised: its head, belly and tail tip are all black, and there are splashes of white on its wings, its lower back and tail, and the back of its head. Its beak is blue-grey in colour, its legs are black, and its eyes are brown. The black-billed magpie lives throughout Europe, central Asia, parts of Siberia, and western North America from Alaska to New Mexico. The yellow-billed magpie lives in California.That bird was referred to as a “pie” until the late 16th century when the feminine name “mag” was added to the beginning.[46] Magpies are believed to be one of the most intelligent of all animals: the European Magpie is one of the few animal species known to be able to recognize itself in a mirror test.[47]According to Joseph Campbell, the magpie is “one of those clever birds that have shamanic qualities”[48]It has long been known as a thief. Generally, this bird has bad thoughts attached to it and it was the symbol of garrulity. The main reason for the attribution of the magpie to this path is the fact that it was a bird sacred to Bacchus, the God of wine, so it became associated with intoxication. Like Bacchus, the magpie is also associated to doors, passages and gateways.The magpie builds its home in the thickest “V” of trees. Forks or V’s in nature are symbolic of gateways or paths into the spirit realm. In this fashion, the magpie asks us about our level of spiritual perception. Specifically, the magpie asks to keep an open mind in matters of the spirit. She also asks us where our spiritual foundation is and encourages us to open the gateways of higher (spiritual) vision.The magpie’s obsession with shiny things is symbolic of our tendency to chase after false ideas or perceptions. It is said that when the magpie comes into our lives it is often a reminder that we may have to re-evaluate our priorities.In nature she has been known to be shy and reclusive – yet in cities she is noted to be extremely sociable with humans. Typically, the magpie is a scavenger, but it has also been witnessed taking down small birds and rodents – acting as a bird of prey (which is not her classification). These and other oddities in her behavior are symbolic of illusion and perception. The magpie’s message her is that not all things are what they appear to be, and we should not set our judgements in stone. Further, this aspect of the magpie is a message that we do not have to be bound to perceptions. In other words, we may want to consider departing from our habitual behaviors and avoid being type-caste into a specific role. Koreans believed that magpies delivered good news and invited good people. The magpie is to the Chineese people a “Bird of Joy”, bringer of good fortune. “A chattering magpie signifies good news, the arrival of guests. The singing of a magpie foretells happiness and good luck.”[49] That’s why it is called ‘Happy Magpie’ by Chinese people. Under the Manchu dynasty it also represented imperial rule. The Manchu minority in Northeast China regards magpies as sacred birds. Among the Christian, it evokes “The Devil; dissipation; vanity.”[50]


[46]Funk & Wagnalls Wildlife Encyclopedia, Volume 11, 1974, p. 1339.

[47]Prior H. et al. (2008). De Waal, Frans. ed. “Mirror-Induced Behavior in the Magpie (Pica pica): Evidence of Self-Recognition”. PLoS Biology (Public Library of Science) 6 (8): e202.

[48] The Magpie plays a role in the legend of the Buffalo Dance, See Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (1988), pp. 75-78

[49] J. C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols (1978), p. 102.

[50] J. C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols (1978), p. 102

The Jewel Correspondence: Alexandrite & Tourmaline

photo_natural_alexandriteThe gemstone attributed to the 17th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Alexandrite and Tourmaline. Alexandrite is a variety of the mineral or gemstone chrysoberyl is an aluminate of beryllium.[3] The name chrysoberyl is derived from the Greek words χρυσός chrysos and βήρυλλος beryllos, meaning “a gold-white spar”. Despite the similarity of their names, chrysoberyl and beryl are two completely different gemstones. Chrysoberyl is the third-hardest frequently encountered natural gemstone and lies at 8.5 on the hardness scale, between corundum (9) and topaz (8).[51] An interesting feature of its crystals are the cyclic twins called trillings. These twinned crystals have a hexagonal appearance, but are the result of a triplet of twins with each “twin” oriented at 120o to its neighbors and taking up 120o of the cyclic trilling. If only two of the three possible twin orientations are present, a “V”-shaped twin results. Strangely, this “twin orientation” and this “v-shape” business that appears in the description of this mineral is a hundred percent coherent with this path’s attribution of the Magpie bird who make their nest in the V-shapes of Trees, which are themselves considered to be doors, gateways, or passages which is also in accord with the Roman deity attribution, Janus, who is known in legends to be the Lords of the gateways. The alexandrite variety of gemstone displays a color change (alexandrite effect) dependent upon the nature of ambient lighting. This color shift is independent of any change of hue with viewing direction through the crystal that would arise from pleochroism. Both these different properties are frequently referred to as “color change”, however. Alexandrite results from small scale replacement of aluminium by chromium ions in the crystal structure, which causes intense absorption of light over a narrow range of wavelengths in the yellow region of the spectrum. Alexandrite from the Ural Mountains in Russia is green by daylight and red by incandescent light. Other varieties of alexandrite may be yellowish or pink in daylight and a columbine or raspberry red by incandescent light. According to a popular but controversial story, alexandrite was discovered by the Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld, (1792–1866) and named alexandrite in honor of the future Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Nordenskiöld’s initial discovery occurred as a result of an examination of a newly found mineral sample he had received from Perovskii, which he identified as emerald at first. The first emerald mine had been opened in 1831.[52]

tourmaline-roseThe gemstone named Tourmaline which is also an attribution for this 17th path of the Tree of Life, is a crystal boron silicate mineral compounded with elements such as aluminium, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium. Tourmaline is classified as a semi-precious stone and the gem comes in a wide variety of colors. The name comes from the Sinhalese word “Thuramali” (තුරමලි) or “Thoramalli” (තෝරමල්ලි), which applied to different gemstones found in Sri Lanka. Brightly colored Sri Lankan gem tourmalines were brought to Europe in great quantities by the Dutch East India Company to satisfy a demand for curiosities and gems. At the time it was not realised that schorl and tourmaline were the same mineral. The most common species of tourmaline is schorl.[53] It may account for 95% or more of all tourmaline in nature. Beginning in the 18th century, the name Schörl was mainly used in the German-speaking area. In English, the names shorl and shirl were used in the 18th century. In the 19th century the names common schorl, schörl, schorl and iron tourmaline were used in the Anglo-Saxon area.[54] The word tourmaline has two etymologies, both from the Sinhalese word turamali, meaning “stone attracting ash” (a reference to its pyroelectric properties) or according to other sources “mixed gemstones”. In the fascinating world of gemstones, the tourmaline is very special. Its high availability and its glorious, incomparable colour spectrum make it one of our most popular gemstones – and apart from that, almost every tourmaline is unique. Pink tourmaline symbolizes friendship, compassion, transformation and humanitarianism. It’s the modern birthstone for October and the gemstone for the 8th wedding anniversary. It is sometimes considered an alternate gemstone for the 5th anniversary.Tourmaline’s wide range of colors has intrigued people for centuries. In ancient Egypt, legend had it that tourmaline acquired its many colors by travelling along a rainbow in a journey from the earth to the sun. Other civilizations thought that thought wearing tourmaline could help one become more artistic and aesthetically inclined.Still other ancient people believed tourmaline could actually glow in the dark from its own energy. This is not without basis in fact, as tourmaline has electrical properties which were a subject of great fascination to scientists during the 18th century. In Holland, tourmaline was once known as Aschentrekker or “ash attractor.” A charming tale has it that this name was coined by Dutch children, who saw tourmaline crystals in the marketplace displays of Dutch traders and noticed that the stone attracted ashes and dust. It’s more likely that the term was given by Dutch jewellers, who would have been testing this new gem by applying heat to the stone around the time this moniker first came into use. This is the reason why the scientists too are interested in this gemstone. They were amazed of its astonishing physical qualities, for tourmalines can become electrically charged when they are heated and then allowed to cool. Then, they have a positive charge at one end and a negative one at the other. This is known as ‘pyro-electricity’, derived from the Greek word ‘pyr’, meaning fire. The gemstone also becomes charged under pressure, the polarity subsequently changing when the pressure is taken off. When the charge change the tourmaline begins to oscillate, similar to a rock crystal but much more pronouncedly. The Dutch, who were the first to bring the tourmaline to Europe, were familiar with this effect a long time before it was able to be provided with a scientific explanation. They used a heated tourmaline to draw up the ash from their meerschaum pipes, and called the gemstone with the amazing powers an ‘aschentrekker.’ Tourmaline is said to balance male and female energies, balance the conscious and subconscious mind and balance the left and right brain, so it should come as no surprise that tourmaline is a perfect gemstone for those born under the sign of Libra, the scales! Pink tourmaline also is a gemstone symbolic of the planet, Venus, which rules Libra and Taurus. Other colors of tourmaline are sometimes said to be linked to the planet Saturn. Due to the electrical properties inherent in this mineral, tourmaline could also be an appropriate gemstone for the planet Uranus (the planet of electricity) and those born under the Uranus-ruled sign of Aquarius. Numerologists believe that tourmaline vibrates to the numbers 6 and 7 and, to a lesser extent, the number 2.The different colors of tourmaline correspond to the different chakras- pink tourmaline acts on the Heart (fourth) Chakra. In the domain of crystal healing, Tourmaline is considered a “healer’s stone”, increasing one’s healing powers, helping ease communication, and imparting compassion, wisdom, acceptance and sympathy towards others. It also balances opposing types of energy and imparts self-confidence and serenity upon the wearer. Pink tourmaline attracts love and friendship. From it’s relationshp to the Heart Chakra, pink tourmaline influences the heart, the thymus, the circulatory system, skin, blood and adrenal system. Pink tourmaline is also said to be a stone which can be used to help heal a broken heart or enable the victim of past hurts to deal with their past, transform their life, and achieve peace, joy and serenity.


[51]Klein, Cornelis; and Cornelius S. Hurlbut, Jr. (1985). Manual of Mineralogy (20th ed. ed.). New York: Wiley.

[52]Sinkankas, J (1984). Gem Cutting, A Lapidary’s Manual. van Nostrom Reinhold.

[53]The early history of the mineral schorl shows that the name “schorl” was in use prior to 1400 because a village known today as Zschorlau (in Saxony, Germany) was then named “Schorl” (or minor variants of this name). This village had a nearby tin mine where, in addition to cassiterite, black tourmaline was found.

[54]Ertl, A. (2006) About the Etymology and the Type localities of Schorl, Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Mineralogischen Gesellschaft, 152, 2006, pp 7–16.


The Color Correspondence: Mauve

CC99FFThe color attribution for the 17th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is mauve. This is somehow coherent with one of the gemstone correspondence, of Alexandrite and Tourmaline, since both can reflect those kinds of shades even if they usually tend to the pink. Mauve[55] (rhymes with “stove”; from the French form of Malva “mallow“) is a pale lavenderlilac color, one of many in the range of purples. The color mauve is named after the mallow flower. Mauve is a little bit more grey and more blue than a pale tint of magenta would be. Many pale wildflowers called “blue” are actually mauve. Sometimes mauve can be considered a dirty pink or a shade of purple. Mauve can also be described as pale violet. Another name for this color is mallow.[56] Purple is a combination of blue and red. Red is a focusing, dynamic and active energy while blue is cooling, calming and passive. The coalescence of liveliness and tranquility allows more creative energy to emerge. For this reason, purple is associated with imagination and inspiration.The first recorded use of mallow as a color name in English was in 1611.[57]  Mauve was first named in 1856. Chemist Sir William Henry Perkin, then eighteen, was attempting to create artificial quinine. An unexpected residue caught his eye, which turned out to be the first aniline dye – specifically, Perkin’s mauve or mauveine, sometimes called aniline purple. Perkin was so successful in recommending his discovery to the dyestuffs industry that his biography by Simon Garfield is titled Mauve.[58] As mauveine faded easily, our contemporary understanding of mauve is as a lighter, less saturated color than it was originally known.Purple is also a color very dear to royalty. A mysterious color, purple is associated with both nobility and spirituality. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and sophistication. It conveys wealth and extravagance. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear exotic or artificial. The opposites of hot red and cool blue combine to create this intriguing color. Purple has a special, almost sacred place in nature: lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious. Because purple is derived from the mixing of a strong warm and strong cool color it has both warm and cool properties. Too much purple, like blue, could result in moodiness. A purple room can boost a child’s imagination or an artist’s creativity. In the world of visual arts and theatrical spectacle, Mauve is a commonly used color in stage lighting to represent sunsets. It is said that to see the color mauve in your dream, indicates that you need to clear you mind of negative thoughts and think more positively. The color of mourning for widows in Thailand, purple was also the favorite color of Cleopatra in Egypt. All along history, the color Purple has been traditionally associated with royalty in many cultures. Everywhere Purple robes were worn by royalty and people of authority or high rank. The Purple Heart is a U.S. Military decoration given to soldiers wounded in battle. Almost everywhere in the world, in one form or another, Purple is associated with themes like wisdom, dignity, independence and creativity. All along history, in different orientations and schools, the color Purple has been used to symbolize magic and mystery. It is well known that purple is the color of the 7th Chakra (Crown Chakra) which connects us to our Spiritual Self and brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection and bliss. More recently, British Occultist and head of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), Kenneth Grant wrote a book called Beyond the Mauve Zone published in 1996, make it the emblematic color of the left hand path orientation in magick: “Oblique to the paths that give on to other dimensions, and beyond them, there lies a region which the author has named the Mauve Zone. Mystics, magicians, sorcerers, alchemists, artists of many kinds have – over the centuries – skirted it, stumbled upon it, and fled from it. Very few have penetrated beyond it and survived, or cared to leave any record of the experience. Those that did, have had to present their accounts as fiction or discover a new means of communication – via weird art, symbols, hieroglyphics, signs which fellow pilgrims alone might recognize. Access to the Mauve Zone has been facilitated in more recent times by the use of magical systems developed by occultists such as Austin Osman Spare and Aleister Crowley, both of whom established contact with inter-dimensional entities possessed of transhuman knowledge and power. Both systems involve the use of sexual magick to open hidden gates that have remained sealed for centuries. “[59]


[55]Brians, Paul. “Mauve”.Common Errors in English. Washington State University.

[56]Maerz and Paul (1930), A Dictionary of Color New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 198.

[57]Maerz and Paul (1930), A Dictionary of Color New York: McGraw-Hill Page 198; Color Sample of Mallow: Page 125 Plate 51 Color Sample I3

[58]Garfield, S. (2000). Mauve: How One Man Invented a Colour That Changed the World. Faber and Faber, London, UK.

[59] Kenneth Grant, (1996), Beyond the Mauve Zone, p.???

The Plant Correspondence: Orchids

orchidThe sacred plant attributed to the 17th qabalistic Tree of Life corresponds to “all forms and species of orchids”.[60] The Orchidaceae, commonly referred to as the orchid family, is a morphologically diverse and widespread family of monocots in the order Asparagales. The name comes from the Greek ὄρχις (órkhis), literally meaning “testicle“, because of the shape of the root.[61] Linnaeus categorized the family as Orchidaceae. Orchid was introduced in 1845 by John Lindley in School Botany, due to an incorrect attempt to extract the Latin stem (orchis) from Orchidaceae. Along with the Asteraceae, it is one of the two largest families of flowering plants, with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species, found in 880 genera. Obviously, the main reason that explains the attribution of this flower to the 17th path of the Tree of Life is the Greek myth of Orchis which explains the origin of the plants. Orchis, the son of a nymph and a satyr, came upon a festival of Dionysios (Bacchus) in the forest. He drank too much, and attempted to rape a priestess of Dionysios. For his insult, he was torn apart by the Bacchanalians. His father prayed for him to be restored, but the gods instead changed him into a flower. These flowers were previously called Orchis, Satyrion (Satyrion feminina), or “ballockwort”. Orchidaceae are cosmopolitan, occurring in almost every habitat apart from glaciers. The world’s richest concentration of orchid varieties is found in the Himalayan region of Nepal. The great majority is to be found in the tropics, mostly Asia, South America and Central America, but they are also found above the Arctic Circle. Orchids have been used in traditional medicine in an effort to treat many diseases and ailments. They have been used as a source of herbal remedies in China since 2800 BC. Gastrodia elata is one of the three orchids listed in the earliest known Chinese Materia Medica (Shennon bencaojing) (c. 100 AD). Theophrastus mentions orchids in his book Enquiry into Plants (372–286 BC). In the recent years, a number of studies have been published on anticancer activity of the chemical moscatilin, which is found in the stems of the orchid species Dendrobrium.[62] Orchids have many associations with symbolic values. For example, the orchid is the City Flower of Shaoxing, China. In Chinese culture, the bamboo, plum blossom, orchid, and chrysanthemum (often known as méi lán zhú jú 梅兰竹菊) are collectively referred to as the Four Gentlemen. These four plants also represent the four seasons and, in Confucian ideology, four aspects of the junzi (“prince” or “noble one”).


[60] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 75.

[61] See Corominas, Joan. (1980), Breve Diccionario Etimológico de la Lengua Castellana. Ed. Gredos, pp 328.

[62] See Hossain MM.,”Therapeutic orchids: traditional uses and recent advances–an overview.” Fitoterapia. 2011 Mar;82(2):102-40

The Magic Weapon Correspondence: The Tripod

gts-20-9-WODDEN-TRIPODA tripod is a portable three-legged frame, used as a platform for supporting the weight and maintaining the stability of some other object. The word comes from the Greek tripous, meaning “three feet”. First attested in English in the early 17th century, the word tripod comes via Latin “tripodis”, genitive of “tripus”, which is the romanization of Greek “τρίπους” (tripous), “three-footed”, (gen. “τρίποδος” – tripodos), ultimately from “τρι-” (tri-), “three times” (from “τρία” – tria, “three”[4]) + “πούς” (pous), “foot”. The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek ti-ri-po-de, written in Linear B syllabic script. A tripod provides stability against downward forces, horizontal forces and moments about the vertical axis. The positioning of the three feet away from the vertical centre allows the tripod better leverage for resisting lateral forces. Tripods have the disadvantage of being heavy and bulky although they can be used with large equipment. Many cultures, including the ancient peoples of China and Greece, used tripods as ornaments, trophies, sacrificial altars, cooking vessels or cauldrons, and decorative ceramic pottery. Sacrificial tripods were found in use in ancient China usually cast in bronze but sometimes appearing in ceramic form.[63] In prehistoric times, around 2500 B.C. In ancient Greece, tripods were frequently used to support lebes, or cauldrons, sometimes for cooking and other uses such as supporting vases.The tripod is placed in the location where it is needed. The surveyor will press down on the legs’ platforms to securely anchor the legs in soil or to force the feet to a low position on uneven, pock-marked pavement. Leg lengths are adjusted to bring the tripod head to a convenient height and make it roughly level. Once the tripod is positioned and secure, the instrument is placed on the head. The astronomical tripod is a sturdy three-leg stand used to support telescopes or binoculars, though they may also be used to support attached cameras or ancillary equipment. The astronomical tripod is normally fitted with an altazimuth or equatorial mount to assist in tracking celestial bodies.


[63]Eberhard, Wolfram, A History of China, Berkeley and Los Angeles : University of California Press, 3rd edition, 1969.

 The Drug Correspondence: Ergot

ergoErgot or ergot fungi refers to a group of fungi of the genus Claviceps.[64] The most prominent member of this group is Claviceps purpurea. This fungus grows on rye and related plants, and produces alkaloids that can cause ergotism in humans and other mammals who consume grains contaminated with its fruiting structure (called ergot sclerotium). Claviceps includes about 50 known species, mostly in the tropical regions. Economically significant species include C. purpurea (parasitic on grasses and cereals), C. fusiformis (on pearl millet, buffel grass), C. paspali (on dallis grass), and C. africana[65] (on sorghum). C. purpurea most commonly affects outcrossing species such as rye (its most common host), as well as triticale, wheat and barley. It affects oats only rarely. Human poisoning due to the consumption of rye bread made from ergot-infected grain was common in Europe in themiddle Ages. The epidemic was known as Saint Anthony’s fire,[66] or ignis sacer, and some historical events, such as the Great Fear in France during the Revolution have been linked to ergot poisoning.[67] Linnda R. Caporael posited in 1976 that the hysterical symptoms of young women that had spurred the Salem witch trials had been the result of consuming ergot-tainted rye.[68] However, Nicholas P. Spanos and Jack Gottlieb, after a review of the historical and medical evidence, later disputed her conclusions.[69] Other authors have likewise cast doubt on ergotism as the cause of the Salem witch trials.[70]American author John Grigsby contends that the presence of ergot in the stomachs of some of the so called ‘bog-bodies’ (Iron Age human remains from peat bogs N E Europe such as Tollund Man) is indicative of use of ergot in ritual drinks in a prehistoric fertility cult akin to the Eleusinian Mysteries cult of ancient Greece. In his book Beowulf and Grendel, he argues that the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf is based on a memory of the quelling of this fertility cult by followers of Odin. He writes that Beowulf, which he translates as barley-wolf, suggests a connection to ergot which in German was known as the ‘tooth of the wolf’.[71]Kykeon, the beverage consumed by participants in the ancient Greek cult of Eleusinian Mysteries, might have been based on hallucinogens from ergot,[72] and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a potent hallucinogen, which was first synthesized from ergot alkaloids by the Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann, in 1938. Ergot contains no lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) but instead contains ergotamine, which is used to synthesize lysergic acid, an analog of and precursor for synthesis of LSD. Moreover, ergot sclerotia naturally contain some amounts of lysergic acid.[73]


[64]Schardl CL, Panaccione DG, Tudzynski P (2006). “Ergot alkaloids – biology and molecular biology”. The Alkaloids: Chemistry and Biology. The Alkaloids: Chemistry and Biology 63: 45–86.

[65]Bandyopadhyay, Ranajit; Frederickson, Debra E.; McLaren, Neal W.; Odvody, Gary N.; Ryley, Malcolm J. (1998). “Ergot: A New Disease Threat to Sorghum in the Americas and Australia”. Plant Disease 82 (4): 356.

[66]J. Heritage, Emlyn Glyn Vaughn Evans, R. A. Killington. (1999), Microbiology in Action. Cambridge University Press, 1999. p. 115.

[67]Matossian, Mary Kilbourne, Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics, and History. New Haven: Yale, 1989 (reedited in 1991)

[68]Caporael LR (April 1976). “Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?”. Science 192 (4234): 21–6.

[69]Matossian, Mary Kilbourne, Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics, and History. New Haven: Yale, 1989 (reedited in 1991)

[70]Woolf A (2000). “Witchcraft or mycotoxin? The Salem witch trials”. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 38 (4): 457–460.

[71]Grigsby, John (2005). Beowulf & Grendel: The Truth Behind England’s Oldest Legend. Watkins Publishing

[72]Mixing the Kykeon”, ELEUSIS: Journal of Psychoactive Plants and Compounds, New Series 4, 2000

[73]Correia T, Grammel N, Ortel I, Keller U, Tudzynski P. (2001). “Molecular cloning and analysis of the ergopeptine assembly system in the ergot fungus Claviceps purpurea”. Chem Biol. 10 (12): 1281–1292.

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