October 23, 2019
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 The General Description of the Path

yod----The Twentieth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is attributed to the Hebrew letter Yod. This path is joining Chesed to Tiphareth. Linking balanced consciousness with higher love, it is a path of great peace but also of solitude. “Leaving all attachments behind, the soul engages in the “flight of the alone to the alone.” By following in the footsteps of the adepts who have gone before, we in our turn become way showers to those who will follow.”[1]

Innovation – An important aspect of governance is recognizing when something has to change.  Change does not come easy; the corrective aspects of Geburah will tend to act against it. Any organism (at whatever scale) that cannot adapt to changes in its environment will eventually cease to exist.  This is a path of change, of innovation.  One can associate it with leadership such as Ghandhi, Martin Luther King, Mandela, or Emmeline Pankhurst. These are people who acted as focus and catalyst for important social transformation. (Collin A. Low, The Hermetic Kabbalah, p. 329)

The keynote for this path is “From human love, sacrified upon the altar of beauty, we proceed to all-sustaining Divine Love, thereby undergoing the loneliness of the one who sacrificed all he was, without having, yet become what he shall be.”[2] The magical motto of this path is the following: “Stand alone and isolated, because nothing that is embodied, nothing that is conscious of separation, nothing that is out of the Eternal, can aid you.”[3]



[1] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 54.
[2] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 93.
[3] Mabel Collins, Light on the Path, p.? Cited by Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 93.


The Hebrew Letter Correspondence: Yod (10)

yod-------The Hebrew letter correspondence for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Yod. This is the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The numerical value is 10. The mysterious letter Yod, often indicating the seed or beginning of life, litterally meaning a “hand”; or rather the pointed index finger on the hand, with all the other fingers closed. It, too, Israel Tegardie tells us, is a phallic symbol who is “representing the spermatozoon or the unconscious secret will – essence (libido) and, in the various legends, the youth setting forth upon his advantures after receiving the wand – or attaining puberty.”[4]


[4] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 77.

The Magical Weapon Correspondence: The Wand & the Lamp

genie-lampThe magical weapon attribution for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the wand. In his book A Garden of Pomegrenates, Israel Regardie mentions only this one but some other authors, as Stephen Hoeller, for example, add the lamps as a second magical weapon attribution for this path.[5] The reason for those attributions seems pretty obvious when we take a look at the Tarot Card correspondence for this path, IX- The Hermit; a card depicting an eldedrly figure reposing his weight on a staff and holding a lamp with his other hand. According to Israel Regardie the weapon contained in this illustration is extremely interresting because this is an instrument “in which the Freudian significance is clearly perceptible,”[6] namely the Lamp, and and Eucharistic Host. Furthermore, he goes in more details and explains that “the significance of the Hand of God or the Dhyan-Chohanic consciousness”[7] (which is nothing less than what sets the world-forces in motion) may also be read into the Hebrew letter Yod (also attributed to this path).hpnbwandlu-w370


[5] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 55.
[6] [6] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 77.
[7] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 77.

The Tarot Trump Correspondence: IX – The Hermit

The-Hermit-smallThe Tarot Card, IX – The Hermit, gives the conception of an aged adept, cowled and robed in black, holding a lamp in his right hand, bearing a wand or staff in his left. Those are the “lamp of the spirit” and “the staff of intuition”.[8] In the background is a wasteland. Just beyond the wasteland is a mountain range. Stephen A. Hoeller describes him in the most beautiful manner as follow: “He is garbed in the mantle of discretion and unobtrusively shows the way to all who dares to follow him. He walks the path of the flight of the alone to the alone, but upon his adeptic example depend countless aspirants to initiation into the mysteries of spirit. He is no longer a ma of the world, but not yet joined the company of the gods. Thus his loneliness is vast beyond belief and glorious beyond all imagination.”[9] The Hermit has internalized the lessons of life to the point that he is the lesson. The Hermit, as a kind of shamanistic hero, has made the complete journey – both the withdrawal and the return. As Joseph Campbell said, “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”[10] There are two possible ways this card can be interpreted: First, the need to withdraw from society to become comfortable with himself. Second, the hermit must return from his isolation to share his knowledge with others.









[8] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 92.
[9] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 92.
[10] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, p. ??

The Zodiacal Correspondence: Virgo

virgo-------------------The zodiacal correspondence for the 20th path of the qabalistic Tree Of Life is Virgo. Its name is Latin for virgin, and its symbol is . Lying between Leo to the west and Libra to the east, it is the second largest constellation in the sky exceeded only by the much fainter Hydra. It can be easily found through its brightest star, Spica. With 26 known exoplanets orbiting around 20 stars in this constellation, Virgo has more confirmed exoplanets than any other constellation. The Greeks called the constellation Parthenos. She is usually identified as Dike, goddess of justice, who was daughter of Zeus and Themis; but she is also known as Astraeia, daughter of Astraeus (father of the stars) and Eos (goddess of the dawn). Virgo is depicted with wings, reminiscent of an angel, holding an ear of wheat in her left hand (the star Spica). Dike features as the impartial observer in a moral tale depicting mankind’s declining standards. It was a favourite tale of Greek and Roman mythologists, and its themes still sound familiar today. According to the Babylonian Mul.Apin, which dates between 1000 BC and 686 BC, this constellation was formerly known as “The Furrow,” representing the goddess Shala’s ear of grain or corn. One star in this constellation, Spica, retains this tradition as it is Latin for “ear of grain”, one of the major products of the Mesopotamian furrow. The constellation was also known as AB.SIN and absinnu. For this reason the constellation became associated with fertility. According to Gavin White the figure of Virgo corresponds to two Babylonian constellations – the ‘Furrow’ in the eastern sector of Virgo and the ‘Frond of Erua’ in the western sector. The Frond of Erua was depicted as a goddess holding a palm-frond – a motif that still occasionally appears in much later depictions of Virgo.[11]The Greeks and Romans associated Virgo with their goddess of wheat, Demeter-Ceres who is the mother of Proserpina-Persephone (also called Kore, meaning ‘maiden’). Persephone might have remained a virgin for ever had not her uncle, Hades, god of the Underworld, kidnapped her while she was out picking flowers one day at Henna in Sicily. Hades swept her aboard his chariot drawn by four black horses and galloped with her into his underground kingdom, where she became his reluctant queen. There are other goddesses who can claim identity with Virgo. Eratosthenes offers the additional suggestion that Virgo might be Atargatis, the Syrian fertility goddess, who was sometime depicted holding an ear of corn. But Atargatis is identified with the constellation Piscis Austrinus. Hyginus equates Virgo with Erigone, the daughter of Icarius, who hanged herself after the death of her father. In this story, Icarius became the constellation Boötes, which adjoins Virgo to the north, and Icarius’s dog Maera became the star Procyon (see Boötes and Canis Minor). Eratosthenes and Hyginus both name Tyche, the goddess of fortune, as another identification of Virgo; but Tyche was usually represented holding the horn of plenty (cornucopia) rather than an ear of grain. In the sky, the ear of corn is represented by the first-magnitude star Spica, Latin for ‘ear of grain’ (the name in Greek, Stachys, has the same meaning). Alternatively, she was sometimes identified as the virgin goddess Iustitia or Astraea, holding the scales of justice in her hand as the constellation Libra. In the middle Ages, Virgo was sometimes associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.


[11]Gavin White (2008), Babylonian Star-lore. Solaria Pubs, page 115

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence#1: Isis 

IsissssssThe Egyptian deity’s correspondences for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are Isis and Nephthys. One of the main reasons that explain these attributions, Israel Regardie informs us, is the fact that they are “both virgins.”[12] Isis or in original more likely Aset (Ancient Greek: Ἶσις) is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans, and the downtrodden, and she listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats, and rulers.[13] Isis is often depicted as the mother of Horus, the hawk-headed god of war and protection (although in earlier traditions Horus’s mother was Hathor), and she is depicted suckling him in an attitude similar to that of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus. Isis is also known as protectress of the dead and goddess of children. The name Isis means “Throne”. Her headdress is a throne. As the personification of the throne, she was an important representation of the pharaoh’s power. The pharaoh was depicted as her child, who sat on the throne she provided. In the typical form of her myth, Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky, and she was born on the fourth intercalary day. She married her brother, Osiris, and she conceived Horus by him. Isis was instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Seth. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Seth.[14]The first written references to Isis date back to the Fifth dynasty of Egypt. Based on the association of her name with the throne, some early Egyptologists believed that Isis’s original function was that of throne-mother. However, more recent scholarship suggests that aspects of that role came later by association. In many African tribes, the throne is known as the mother of the king, and that concept fits well with either theory, possibly giving insight into the thinking of ancient Egyptians.During the Old Kingdom period, Isis was represented as the wife or assistant to the deceased pharaoh. Thus she had a funerary association, her name appearing over eighty times in the pharaoh’s funeral texts (the Pyramid Texts). This association with the pharaoh’s wife is consistent with the role of Isis as the spouse of Horus, the god associated with the pharaoh as his protector, and then later as the deification of the pharaoh himself. But in addition, Isis was also represented as the mother of the “four suns of Horus”, the four deities who protected the canopic jars containing the pharaoh’s internal organs. More specifically, Isis was viewed as the protectress of the liver-jar-deity, Imsety.[15] By the Middle Kingdom period, as the funeral texts began to be used by members of Egyptian society other than the royal family, the role of Isis as protectress also grew, to include the protection of nobles and even commoners. By the New Kingdom period, the role of Isis as a mother deity had displaced that of the spouse. She was seen as the mother of the pharaoh, and was often depicted breastfeeding the pharaoh.The cult of Isis became very prominent in late antiquity, when it began to absorb the cults of many other goddesses with strong cult centers. Like other Egyptian deities, the cult of Isis spread outside Egypt, and became the focus of a centralized cult in the Hellenistic period. This is when the cult of Osiris became widespread as well. Temples to Isis began to be built outside of Egypt. In many locations, devotees of Isis considered the local goddess to be Isis, but under a different name. Thus other Mediterranean goddesses, such as Demeter, Astarte, and Aphrodite, were identified with her.[16] Throughout the Graeco-Roman world, the cult of Isis became one of the most significant of the mystery religions, and many classical writers refer to her temples, cults, and rites.   Due to her attributes as a protector and mother, as well as a lusty aspect gained when she absorbed some aspects of Hathor, she became the patron goddess of sailors, who spread her worship with the trading ships circulating the Mediterranean Sea. During the formative centuries of Christianity, the religion of Isis drew converts from every corner of the Roman Empire. In Italy itself, Egyptian religion was an important force. At Pompeii, archaeological evidence reveals that the cult of Isis was prominent. In Rome, temples were built and obelisks erected in her honour. In Greece, traditional centres of worship in Delos, Delphi, Eleusis and Athens were taken over by followers of Isis, and this occurred in northern Greece as well. Harbours of Isis were to be found on the Arabian Sea and the Black Sea. Inscriptions show followers in Gaul, Spain, Pannonia, Germany, Arabia, Asia Minor, Portugal and many shrines even in Britain.[17]


[12]Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.
[13]R.E Witt (1997), Isis in the Ancient World, p. 7.
[14] See Veronica Ions (1968), Egyptian Mythology, Paul Hamlyn.
[15]Joyce Tyldesley (2011), The Penguin Book of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt.
[16]Likewise, the Arabian goddess Al-Ozza or Al-Uzza العُزّى (al ȝozza), whose name is close to that of Isis, is believed to be a manifestation of her. This, however, is thought to be based on the similarity in the name.
[17] See R.E Witt (1997), Isis in the Ancient World.

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence #2: Nephtys

nephtyssssssssThe goddess Nephtys is the othe Egyptian deity correspondence for this 20th path of the Tree of Life. Like her counterpart Isis, she was attributed to this path because of her alledged virginity to be coherent with the zodiacal attribution for this path, which is Virgo.Nephthys is the Greek form of an epithet (transliterated as Nebet-het, and Nebt-het, from Egyptian hieroglyphs).The origin of the goddess Nephthys is unclear but the literal translation of her name is usually given as “Lady of the House,” which has caused some to mistakenly identify her with the notion of a “housewife,” or as the primary lady who ruled a domestic household. This is a pervasive error repeated in many commentaries concerning this deity. Her name means quite specifically, “Lady of the [Temple] Enclosure” which associates her with the role of priestess.In Egyptian mythology, Nephthys is a member of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis, a daughter of Nut and Geb. Nephthys was typically paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites[18] because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Seth.Nephthys is regarded as the mother of the funerary-deity Anubis (Inpu) in some myths.[19] Alternatively Anubis appears as the son of Bastet[20] or Isis. Nephthys was known in some ancient Egyptian temple theologies and cosmologies as the “Useful Goddess” or the “Excellent Goddess”.[21] These late Ancient Egyptian temple texts describe a goddess who represented divine assistance and protective guardianship.Less well understood than her sister Isis, Nephthys was no less important in Egyptian Religion as confirmed by the work of E. Hornung,[22] along with the work of several noted scholars.As the primary “nursing mother” of the incarnate Pharaonic-god, Horus, Nephthys also was considered to be the nurse of the reigning Pharaoh himself.[23] Though other goddesses could assume this role, Nephthys was most usually portrayed in this function. In contrast Nephthys is sometimes featured as a rather ferocious and dangerous divinity, capable of incinerating the enemies of the Pharaoh with her fiery breath.[24]At the time of the Fifth Dynasty Pyramid Texts, Nephthys appears as a goddess of the Heliopolitan Ennead. She is the sister of Isis and companion of the war-like deity, Set. As sister of Isis and especially Osiris, Nephthys is a protective goddess who symbolizes the death experience, just as Isis represented the (re-)birth experience. In the funerary role, Nephthys often was depicted as a bird of prey called a kite,[25] or as a woman with falcon wings, usually outstretched as a symbol of protection. It is Nephthys who assists Isis in gathering and mourning the dismembered portions of the body of Osiris, after his murder by the envious Set. Nephthys also serves as the nursemaid and watchful guardian of the infant Horus. Nephthys was clearly viewed as a morbid-but-crucial force of heavenly transition, i.e., the Pharaoh becomes strong for his journey to the afterlife through the intervention of Isis and Nephthys. The same divine power could be applied later to all of the dead, who were advised to consider Nephthys a necessary companion. Nephthys was attested as one of the four “Great Chiefs” ruling in the Osirian cult-center of Busiris, in the Delta (cf. The Book of the Dead, Theban Recension) and she appears to have occupied an honorary position at the holy city of Abydos. According to the Pyramid Texts, Nephthys, along with Isis, was a force before whom demons trembled in fear, and whose magical spells were necessary for navigating the various levels of Duat, as the region of the afterlife was termed. Though it commonly has been assumed that Nepthys was married to Set, recent Egyptological research has called this into question. A recent study notes that while Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride mentions the deity’s marriage, there is very little specifically linking Nephthys and Set in the original early Egyptian sources.[26]  The Ramesside Pharaohs were particularly devoted to Set’s prerogatives and, in the 19th Dynasty, a temple of Nephthys called the “House of Nephthys of Ramesses-Meriamun” was built or refurbished in the town of Sepermeru.


[18]Abeer El-Shahawy, (2005), The Funerary Art of Ancient Egypt: a Bridge to the Realm of the Hereafter, American University in Cairo Press, 2005
[19]Virginia Schomp, The Ancient Egyptians, Marshall Cavendish, 2007, p. 27; G. A. Wainwright, Seshat and the Pharaoh, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 26, (Feb., 1941), pp. 30-40
[20] See A. K. Eyma, A Delta-man in Yebu, Universal-Publishers, 2003; Page 219 in the article “On a Topos in Egyptian Medical History” by Hedvig Györy.
[21]P. Wilson (1997), A Ptolemaic Lexikon: A Lexicographical Study of the Texts in the Temple of Edfu, OLA 78, 1997.
[22] See Versuch über Nephthys, in: A. B. Lloyd [Hrsg.], Studies in Pharaonic Religion and Society in Honour of J. G. Griffiths, London 1992, 186-188.
[23]K.A. Kitchen (1993), Ramesside Inscriptions, Blackwell.
[24]Sauneron, Elephantine, Beitrage Bf. 6, 46 n.d.; Traunecker, Karnak VII, 184 n. 2; Cauville, ‘Essai,’ 152 n.7
[25]Kites are birds of prey which, along with hawks and eagles, are from the family Accipitridae.
[26]It is argued that: “while Nephthys’s marriage to Set was a part of Egyptian mythology, it was not a part of the myth of the murder and resurrection of Osiris. She was not paired with Set the villain, but with Set’s other aspect, the benevolent figure who was the killer of Apophis. This was the aspect of Set worshiped in the western oases during the Roman period, where he is depicted with Nephthys as co-ruler.” (Levai, Jessica. “Nephthys and Seth: Anatomy of a Mythical Marriage”, Paper presented at The 58th Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, Wyndham Toledo Hotel, Toledo, Ohio, Apr 20, 2007).

The Hindu Deity Correspondence: Gopi/Shepherdesses of Brindaban


Krishna with Gopis – Painting from the Smithsonian Institution

The Hindu deities’ correspondences for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are the Gopi cow-girls, or the shepherdesses of Brindaban who became enamored with love of Shri Krishna.[27] Gopi is a word of Sanskrit (गोपी) origin meaning ‘cow-herd girl’. In Hinduism specifically the name gopi (sometimes gopika) is used more commonly to refer to the group of cow herding girls famous within Vaishnava Theology for their unconditional devotion (Bhakti) to Krishna as described in the stories of Bhagavata Purana and other Puranic literatures. The Gopi symbolize those who find God through bhakti or “devotion” without jnanam or “learning.”[28] Of this group, one gopi known as Radha (or Radhika) holds a place of particularly high reverence and importance in a number of religious traditions, especially within Gaudiya Vaishnavism. According to Hindu Vaishnava theology the stories concerning the gopis are said to exemplify Suddha-bhakti which is described as ‘the highest form of unconditional love for God’ (Krishna). Their spontaneous and unwavering devotion is described in depth in the later chapters of the Bhagavata Purana, within Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes and also in the stories of the sage Uddhava.

According to Stephen Hoeller, in his book The Fool’s Pilgrimage, another Hindu deity correspondence for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Shiva in his yogi aspect.[29] God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Shiva in Yogic practice is known as the Mahayogi; the ideal Yogi Shiva with his spiritual practices, covered with his incredible abilities. Shiva stands as the symbolic representation of all Hindu deities. In Hinduism, Shiva is revered for three primary roles; the Yogi, the destroyer and the preserver. Yogeshwar Shiva, the lord of Yoga, surpassed all form of the absolute, explored the entire evolution of life and consciousness through Yoga. Shiva in this posture depicts an elongated state of deep serenity in an undisturbed meditation. A number of pictures and in countless stories Shiva is depicted as sitting in elongated state of deep serene in undisturbed meditation. The Yogic form of Shiva is typified and heightened by the presence of his third eye. The form of Shiva in Yogic practice reveals the timelessness of Shiva. He then transcends the present, the past and even the future. Legends, myths and stories are there in Hindu mythology asserting the fact of Shiva being the Yogiraj. The stories reason out the fact of his engagement in yogic feats and above all the over all presence of Shiva in Yogic practices. As revealed by the stories, Shiva, on his retreat to Kashi was angry, mournful and upset by heart as he has cut off the head of Brahma, the creator and smeared with blood. Shiva realized that he could not find the higher truth within this manifest realm. He was contemplating over the facts that are plaguing his soul was trying to perceive the ingrained truth beyond the veil of illusion that is Maya. At the end he found the solution through the practice of yoga the nexus of the soul and the Supreme, where humanity and Nature merge with the higher consciousness of the cosmos. Shiva is know under many names and is worshipped under numerous forms. Two specific aspects of Shiva are closely related to the figure of the yogi: Dakshinamurthy and Bhikshatana-murthi. What is called “Dakshinamurthy,” is Siva in his aspect as the universal teacher, teaching the secrets of yoga, tantras, yantras, alchemy, magic, occult knowledge, arts and sciences, ancient history or knowledge of the future to the sages and saints, gods and goddesses and his highly qualified devotees. He is called Dakshinamurthy, because he does his teachings sitting on the snowy mountains of Himalayas and facing towards the Indian subcontinent, which is in the southerly direction. The images of “Dakshinamurthy,” depict Siva in his pleasant mood, seated on a high seat, with one leg folded while the other rests on the Apasmarapurusha, the self. Two of his arms hold a snake or rosary or both in one hand, fire in the other. The snake is a symbol of tantric knowledge and the fire symbol of enlightenment. Of the remaining two one is in abhayamudra (posture of assurance) and the other holds a scripture in gnanamudra (posture of presenting knowledge).Bhikshatana-murthi is Siva in his ascetic aspect, doing penance or lost in his own thoughts. Even today we can see some followers of Siva going around the villages in India in this form. Some of them even do a little magic to attract our attention or scare away the trailing children.


[27]Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.
[28] See Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 91, note 39.
[29] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. A Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 55.

 The Greek Deity Correspondence #1: Narcissus

Narcissus_croppedAnother Greek deity correspondence for the 20th path of the Tree of Life is Narcissus the god who used to love himself a little bit too much. Narcissus, in Greek mythology was a hunter from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia who was renowned for his beauty and, according to Israel Regardie, represents “the beautiful youth inaccessible to the emotion of love.”[30] The name Narcissus or Narkissos (Greek: Νάρκισσος) is possibly derived from the word ναρκη (narke) meaning “sleep”, or “numbness.” It was notorious that Narcissus was exceptionally proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. Nemesis saw this and attracted Narcissus to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the waters and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus died.There are several versions of this myth that have survived from ancient sources. The classic version is by Ovid, found in book 3 of his Metamorphoses (completed 8 AD). This is the story of Narcissus and Echo. An earlier version ascribed to the poet Parthenius of Nicaea, composed around 50 BC, was recently rediscovered among the Oxyrhynchus papyri at Oxford.[31] Unlike Ovid’s version, this one ends with Narcissus committing suicide. Another version by Conon, a writter contemporary of Ovid, also ends in suicide.[32] A century later the travel writer Pausanias recorded a novel variant of the story, in which Narcissus falls in love with his twin sister rather than himself.[33] Тhe myth of Narcissus has inspired artists for at least two thousand years, even before the Roman poet Ovid featured a version in book III of his Metamorphoses. This was followed in more recent centuries by other poets (e.g. Keats and Alfred Edward Housman) and painters (Caravaggio, Poussin, Turner, Dalí, and Waterhouse). Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky used lonely Narcissus-type characters in his poems and novels, such as Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin in The Double (1846). In Stendhal’s novel Le Rouge et le Noir (1830), there is a classic narcissist in the character of Mathilde. Says Prince Korasoff to Julien Sorel, the protagonist, with respect to his beloved girl: The myth had a decided influence on English Victorian homoerotic culture, via André Gide’s study of the myth, Traite du Narcisse, and the only novel by Oscar Wilde, the Picture of Dorian Gray. Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist also starts with a story about Narcissus, found (we are told) by the alchemist in a book brought by someone in the caravan. The alchemist’s (and Coelho’s) source was very probably Hesketh Pearson’s The Life of Oscar Wilde (1946) in which this story is recorded as one of Wilde’s inspired inventions.[34]


[30] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.
[31]David Keys, “Ancient manuscript sheds new light on an enduring myth”, BBC History Magazine, Vol. 5 No. 5 (May 2004), p. 9 (accessed April 30, 2010);
[32]Conon, Narrations, 24.
[33]Pausanias, Guide to Greece, 9.31.7. See also Mario Jacoby (1985), Individuation and Narcissism.
[34]Hesketh Pearson, The Life of Oscar Wilde. Penguin Edition, p. 217.

The Greek Deity Correspondence #2: Adonis

adonis----Another Greek deity that is considered as a correspondence for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Adonis, who is known everywhere asthe famous Hellenistic god of beauty and desire.In Greek mythology, the birth of Adonis appears to be shrouded in confusion for all the Cartesian spirits who requires a single and authoritative version, for various peripheral stories circulated concerning Adonis’ parentage. [35]The most detailed and literary version of the story is a late one, in Book X of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Everything begin with the goddess Myrrha (or Smyrna),having neglected the worship of Aphrodite, who was punished by the goddess with an unnatural love for her father,[36] which later compelled her to commit incest with Theias, her father, the king of Assyria.The story tells us that her nurse helped her with this trickery to become pregnant and, when Theias finaly discovered this abomination, he chased her with a knife but she fled. After being nearly overtaken, she prayed to the gods to make her invisible. The Olympians were moved to pity and finally agreed to help her avoiding the wrath of her father by changing her into a tree called smurna (a myrrh tree).After the lapse of nine months, the tree suddenly burst open, allowing Adonis to emerge.[37]When she saw the little boy, Aphrodite was so moved by his beauty that she fell in love with the beautiful youth (possibly because she had been wounded by Eros’s arrow) and she sheltered him and entrusted him to Persephone. Unfortunately Persephone was also mesmerized by his incredible beauty and ultimately refused to give him back. Eventually, the dispute between the two goddesses was settled by Zeus (or by Calliope on Zeus’ behalf).[38] The result of the settlement was that during four months of every year Adonis should be left to himself, during four months he should belong to Persephone, and during the remaining four to Aphrodite. Adonis however preferring to live with Aphrodite, also spent with her the four months over which he had controul. Afterwards Adonis is mortally wounded by a boar during the chase.The wild boar was said to have been sent variously by Artemis, jealous of Adonis’ hunting skills or in retaliation for Aphrodite instigating the death of Hippolytus, a favorite of the huntress goddess; or by Aphrodite’s paramour, Ares, who was jealous of Aphrodite’s love for Adonis; or by Apollo, to punish Aphrodite for blinding his son, Erymanthus.[39] At the end, Adonis died in Aphrodite’s arms, who came to him when she heard his groans. When he died she sprinkled the blood with nectar, from which sprang the short-lived anemone, which takes its name from the wind which so easily makes its petals fall. And so it is the blood of Adonis that each spring turns to red the torrential river, the Adonis River (also known as Abraham River or Nahr Ibrahim in Arabic) in modern Lebanon. Afqa is the sacred source where the waters of the river emerge from a huge grotto in a cliff 200 meters high. It is there that the myth of Astarte (Venus) and Adonis was born. With time, the young god gained quite a reputation and became a real archetype, being considered all around the world as the ultimate personification of masculine beauty. That’s why even today, an extremely attractive, youthful male is often called an Adonis, often with a connotation of deserved vanity, commonly called “the office Adonis.”[40] Beyond his association with beauty and desire, we can say that Adonis is one of the most complex figures in classical times. Depending on the sources he has had multiple roles, and there has been much scholarship over the centuries concerning his meaning and purpose in Greek religious beliefs. He is an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar. It would seem that Adonis is a divinity with Northwest Semitic antecedents because we find him as a central figure in various other mystery religions. The Greek Ἄδωνις, the name Adōnis is a variation of the Semitic word Adonai, meaning “lord”, which is also one of the names used to refer to God in the Old Testament. Syrian Adonis is closely related to the Cypriot Gauas[41] or Aos, to Egyptian Osiris, to the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, to the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation. In the Homeric poems no trace of it occurs, and the later Greek poets changed the original symbolic account of Adonis into a poetical story. In the Asiatic religions Aphrodite was the fructifying principle of nature, and Adonis appears to have reference to the death of nature in winter and its revival in spring — hence he spends six months in the lower and six in the upper world. His death and his return to life were celebrated in annual festivals (Adônia) at Byblos, Alexandria in Egypt, Athens, and other places.In both of his principal aspects, as much as a god of beauty than as a go nature, it is safe to say that his religion mainly belonged to women. The widespread cult of the dying of Adonis was fully developed in the circle of young girls around the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, about 600 BCE, as revealed in a fragment of Sappho’s surviving poetry.[42] Adonis was largely worshipped in unspoken mystery religions. It is not until Imperial Roman times[43] does any written source mention that the women were consoled by a revived Adonis. The third century BCE poet Euphorion of Chalcis in his Hyacinth wrote “Only Cocytus washed the wounds of Adonis.”[44] It is known that Women in Athens would plant “gardens of Adonis” which are quick-growing herbs that sprang up from seed and died. The Festival of Adonis was celebrated by women at midsummer by sowing fennel and lettuce, and grains of wheat and barley. The plants sprang up soon, and withered quickly, and women mourned for the death of the vegetation god.[45] It is not until Imperial Roman times[46] that we can find any written source mentioning that the women in those rites were consoled by a revived Adonis. The third century BCE poet Euphorion of Chalcis in his Hyacinth wrote “Only Cocytus washed the wounds of Adonis.”[47] Women in Athens would plant “gardens of Adonis” quick-growing herbs that sprang up from seed and died. The Festival of Adonis was celebrated by women at midsummer by sowing fennel and lettuce, and grains of wheat and barley. The plants sprang up soon, and withered quickly, and women mourned for the death of the vegetation god.[48]¸


[35] Pseudo-Apollodorus, (Bibliotheke, 3.182) considered Adonis to be the son of Cinyras, of Paphos on Cyprus, and Metharme. According to pseudo-Apollodorus’ Bibliotheke, Hesiod, in an unknown work that does not survive, made of him the son of Phoenix and the otherwise unidentified Aephesiboea (Ps-Apollodorus, iii.14.4.1.) In Cyprus, the cult of Adonis gradually superseded that of Cinyras. Hesiod made him the son of Phoenix, eponym of the Phoenicians, thus a figure of Phoenician origin; his association with Cyprus is not attested before the classical era. Alternatively the late source Bibliotheke calls him the son of Cinyras and Metharme.
[36] According to Hyginus (Fab. 58, 164, 251, 271), Smyrna was punished with the love for her father, because her mother Cenchreis had provoked the anger of Aphrodite by extolling the beauty of her daughter above that of the goddess.
[37] Another version says that Theias struck the tree with an arrow and burst it open.
[38] As a matter of facts, the dispute between Aphrodite and Persephone was according to some accounts settled by Calliope, whom Zeus appointed as mediator between them. (Hygin. Poet. Astron. ii. 7.) See also Ovid (Met x. 300, &c.).
[39]According to Nonnus, Dionysiaca 42.1f. Servius on Virgil’s Eclogues x.18; Orphic Hymn lv.10; Ptolemy Hephaestionos, i.306, all noted by Graves. Atallah (1966) fails to find any cultic or cultural connection with the boar, which he sees simply as a heroic myth-element.
[40]The legendary attractiveness of the figure is referenced in Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac, which describes an unrequited love of the main character, Sarrasine for the image in a painting of an Adonis and a castrato. The allusion to extreme physical attractiveness is apparent in the psychoanalytical Adonis Complex which refers to a body image obsession with improving one’s physique and youthful appearance.
[41] Detienne, Marcel (1994). The Gardens of Adonis: Spices in Greek Mythology. Princeton University Press, p.137.
[42]The standard modern survey and repertory of Adonis in Greek culture is W. Atallah, Adonis dans la littérature et l’art grecs (Paris) 1966.
[43]More precisely in Lucian of Samosata, De Dea Syria, ch. 6.
[44]This was remarked upon in passing by Photius, Biblioteca 190.
[45]See Detienne, Marcel, 1972. Les jardins d’Adonis, translated by Janet Lloyd, 1977. The Gardens of Adonis, Harvester Press.
[46]See Lucian of Samosata, De Dea Syria, ch. 6.
[47] See Photius, Biblioteca 190.
[48] Detienne, Marcel, 1972. Les Jardins d’Adonis, translated by Janet Lloyd, 1977. The Gardens of Adonis, Harvester Press.

The Greek Deity Correspondence #3: Attis

AttisAnother possible Greek deity correspondence for this 20th path of the Tree of Life is the goddess Attis.[49] Attis (Ancient Greek: Ἄττις or Ἄττης) was the consort of Cybele in Phrygian and Greek mythology.[50] The main factor explaining this attribution to the 20th path of the Tree is the fact that Attis was born of a virgin, in a non-sexual fashion, and of course the reference at the negation or absence of sexuality implied in his main distinctive characteristics, namely the fact that his priests were eunuchs, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration. Before he was a member of the Greek pantheon Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation, and in his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.In the late fourth century a cult of Attis became a feature of the Greek world. The 19th-century identification with the name Atys encountered in Herodotus (i.34-45) as the historical name of the son of Croesus, as “Atys the sun god, slain by the boar’s tusk of winter,”[51] are mistaken.[52]The story of his origins at Agdistis, as it was recorded by the traveler Pausanias, comports some distinctly non-Greek elements: Pausanias was told that the daemon Agdistis initially bore both male and female attributes. But the Olympian gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ and cast it away. There grew up from it an almond-tree, and when its fruit was ripe, Nana who was a daughter of the river-god Sangarius picked an almond and laid it in her bosom. The almond disappeared, and she became pregnant. This is an instance of spontaneous conception that occurred when Nana, whose very name was one by which the Great Goddess was known, became pregnant simply by eating the tree’s fruit. The scholarly term used to describe virgin birth is “parthenogenesis,” while many goddesses are referred to as “Parthenos,” the Greek word meaning “virgin.” Nana eventually abandoned the baby (Attis). The infant was tended by a he-goat. Another version of the story reported by Ovid,[53] tells the story of the goddess Cybele falling in love with the beautiful shepherd, and making him her own priest on condition that he should preserve his chastity inviolate. Atis broke the covenant with a nymph, the daughter of the river-god Sangarius, and was thrown by the goddess into a state of madness, in which he unmanned himself. When, as a consequence of all of this he wanted to put an end to his life, Cybele changed him into a firtree, which henceforth became sacred to her, and she commanded that, in future, her priests should be eunuchs. Another version of this same story relate, that Attis, the priest of Cybele, fled into a forest to escape the voluptuous embraces of a Phrygian king, but that he was overtaken, and in the ensuing struggle unmanned his pursuer. The dying king avenged himself by inflicting the same calamity upon Attis. Attis was found by the priests of Cybele under a fir-tree, at the moment he was expiring. They carried him into the temple of the goddess, and endeavoured to restore him to life, but in vain. Cybele ordained that the death of Atys should be bewailed every year in solemn lamentations, and that henceforth her priests should be eunuchs.[54] A third account says, that Cybele, when exposed by her father, the Phrygian king Maeon, was fed by panthers and brought up by shepherdesses, and that she afterwards secretly married Atys, who was subsequently called Papas. At this moment, Cybele was recognised and kindly received by her parents; but when her connexion with Atys became known to them, Maeon ordered Attis, and the shepherdesses among whom she had lived, to be put to death. Cybele, maddened with grief at this act of her father, traversed the country amid loud lamentations and the sound of cymbals. Phrygia was now visited by an epidemic and scarcity. The oracle commanded that Attis should be buried, and divine honours paid to Cybele; but as the body of the youth was already in a state of decomposition, the funeral honours were paid to an image of him, which was made as a substitute.[55] According to a fourth version of this story related this time by Pausanias (vii. 17. § 5), Atys was a son of the Phrygian king Calaus, and by nature incapable of propagating his race. When he had grown up, he went to Lydia, where he introduced the worship of Cybele. The grateful goddess conceived such an attachment for him, that Zeus in his anger sent a wild boar into Lydia, which killed many of the inhabitants and among them Atys also. Atys was believed to be buried in Pessinus under mount Agdistis.[56] According to some versions the King of Pessinos was Midas. Just as the marriage-song was being sung, Agdistis/Cybele appeared in her transcendent power, and Attis went mad and cut off his genitals. Attis’ father-in-law-to-be, the king who was giving his daughter in marriage, followed suit, prefiguring the self-castrating corybantes who devoted themselves to Cybele. But Agdistis repented and saw to it that the body of Attis should neither rot at all nor decay.[57]An Attis cult began around 1200 BCE in Dindymon (today’s Murat Dağı of Gediz, Kütahya). He was originally a local semi-deity of Phrygia, associated with the great Phrygian trading city of Pessinos, which lay under the lee of Mount Agdistis. The mountain was personified as a daemon, which foreigners associated with the Great Mother Cybele. He was worshipped in the temples of Cybele in common with this goddess. In works of art he is represented as a shepherd with flute and staff. His worship appears to have been introduced into Greece at a comparatively late period. It is an ingenious opinion of Böttiger that the mythus of Atys represents the twofold character of nature, the male and female, concentrated in one.


[49] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 55.
[50]A supposed Lydian connection, based by late 19th-century scholars on a connection with the Atys of Herodotus, and repeated by most modern sources with the exception of Walter Burkert, was examined and dismissed by Jan N. Bremmer, “Attis: A Greek God in Anatolian Pessinous and Catullan Rome” Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, 57.5, (2004:534-573).
[51]A.H. Sayce, The Ancient Empires of the East: Herodotos I-III 1883:21f, noted in Bremmer 2004:536 and note.
[52]The often-repeated connection with Atys is disentangled and dismissed by Bremmer 2004, esp. pp 536-39.
[53] Ovid, Fast. iv. 221.
[54] Galloi, Galli, Serv. ad Aen. ix. 116; comp. Lobeck, ad Phrynich. p. 273.
[55] Diod. iii. 58, &c.
[56] (Paus. i. 4. § 5.)
[57]Pausanias, Greece 7,19.

 The Roman Deity Correspondence: Ceres

ceres-watteauThe Roman deity attribution for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Ceres.[58] The word Ceres’ as a name may derive from the hypothetical Proto-Indo-European root *ker, meaning “to grow”, which is also a possible root for many English words, such as “create”, “cereal”, “grow”, “kernel”, “corn”, and “increase”. Roman etymologists thought “ceres” derived from the Latin verb gerere, “to bear, bring forth, produce”, because the goddess was linked to pastoral, agricultural and human fertility. In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships.[59] Ceres was credited with the discovery of spelt wheat (Latin far), the yoking of oxen and ploughing, the sowing, protection and nourishing of the young seed, and the gift of agriculture to humankind. She is said to have been adopted by the Romans in 496 BC during a devastating famine, when the Sibylline books advised the adoption of the Greek goddesses Demeter, Kore (Persephone) and Iacchus (possibly Dionysus). She was depicted in art with a scepter, a basket of flowers and fruit, and a garland made of wheat ears. She was originally the central deity in Rome’s so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, she was later paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as “the Greek rites of Ceres”. The complex and multi-layered origins of the Aventine Triad and of Ceres herself allowed multiple interpretations of their relationships; Cicero asserts Ceres as mother to both Liber and Libera, consistent with her role as a mothering deity. Varro’s more complex theology groups her functionally with Tellus, Terra, Venus (and thus Victoria) and with Libera as a female aspect of Liber.[60] Surprisingly, if we consider her importance in the pantheon, no native Roman myths of Ceres are known. According to interpretatio romana, which sought the equivalence of Roman to Greek deities, Ceres was an equivalent to Demeter, one of the Twelve Olympians of Greek religion and mythology. This identification ultimately made Ceres one of Rome’s twelve Di Consentes, daughter of Saturn and Ops, sister of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina by Jupiter and sister of Juno, Vesta, Neptune and Pluto. This is the reason why Ceres’ known mythology always seems indistinguishable from Demeter’s.[61]Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales (Ceres’ games). She was also honoured in the May lustration of fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, where she was personified and celebrated by women in secret rituals. She also appear during Roman marriages and funeral rites. Ceres is the only one of Rome’s many agricultural deities to be listed among the Di Consentes, Rome’s equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature. Ceres’ main festival, Cerealia, was held from mid to late April. It was organised by her plebeian aediles and included circus games (ludi circenses). It opened with a horse-race in the Circus Maximus. After the race, foxes were released into the Circus, their tails ablaze with lighted torches, perhaps to cleanse the growing crops and protect them from disease and vermin, or to add warmth and vitality to their growth.[62] From c.175 BC, Cerealia included ludi scaenici (theatrical religious events), held through April 12 to 18.[63]In the ancient sacrum cereale a priest, probably the flamen cerialis, invoked Ceres (and probably also Tellus) along with twelve specialised, minor assistant-gods to secure divine protection and assistance at each stage of the grain cycle, beginning shortly before the Feriae Sementivae. Ceres’ divine agricultural assistants and their specific tasks are the following: “Vervactor who turns fallow land, Reparator who prepares fallow land, Imporcitor who plows with wide furrows” (whose name comes from the Latin imporcare, to put into furrows), “Insitor who sowed, Obarator who plowed the surface, Occator who harrowed, Sarritor who weeded, Subruncinator who thinned out, Messor who harvested, Conuector who carted, Conditor who stored, and Promitor who distributed.”[64]What was called the mundus cerialis (literally “the world” of Ceres) was a pit or underground vault in Rome. Cato describes its shape as a reflection or rather an inversion of the dome of the upper heavens.[65] It was normally sealed by a stone lid known as the lapis manalis.[66] Its origins, uses and location are disputed,[67] and it was opened on only three occasions in the religious year, August 24, October 5 and November 8. The exact circumstances in which this ceremony was performed remain obscure. Nevertheless, these three days are intimate to the official festivals of the agricultural cycle, being clustered within the harvest period: the mundus rite of August 24 follows Consualia (an agricultural festival) and precedes Opiconsivia (another such). With the mundus opened, and the fact announced by the declaration “mundus patet,” offerings were made there to agricultural or underworld deities, including, Ceres as goddess of the fruitful earth and guardian of its underworld portals. It was said that during these days of festivities, the spirits of the dead could lawfully emerge from below and roam among the living, and enjoy themselves during this event that was considered as a sort of ‘holidays, so to speak, for the ghosts’. When the time was up, the passage was re-sealed, and they returned to the realms of the dead.[68] Apart from the festivals of Parentalia and Lemuralia, these rites at the mundus cerialis on particular dies religiosi are the only known, regular official contacts with the spirits of the dead, or Di Manes. This special relation with the underworld may represent a secondary or late function of the mundus. According to Plutarch, the digging of such a pit to receive first-fruits and small quantities of native soil was an Etruscan colonial city-foundation rite.[69] The rites of the mundus suggest that Ceres was not only a guardian deity of seed-corn, but also an essential deity in the establishment and agricultural prosperity of cities, as well as a sort of door-warden of the underworld’s afterlife, in which her daughter Proserpina rules as queen-companion to Pluto or Dis.[70] In Festus, the mundus is an entrance to the underworld realm of Orcus, broadly equivalent to Pluto and Dis Pater.Ceres’ torch was also a mark of Roman weddings. Adult males were excluded from bridal processions; these took place at night and were headed by a young boy, who carried a torch in honour of Ceres. Pliny the Elder “notes that the most auspicious wood for wedding torches came from the spina alba, the may tree, which bore many fruits and hence symbolised fertility”. Once led thus to her husband’s home, the bride was a matron.[71]The goddessCeres was also though as protecting the transitions of women from girlhood to womanhood, from unmarried to married life and motherhood. She also maintained the boundaries between the realms of the living and the dead, regardless of their sex. Given the appropriate rites, she helped the deceased into afterlife as an underworld shade (Di Manes), else their spirit might remain to haunt the living, as a wandering, vengeful ghost. For this service, well-off families offered Ceres sacrifice of a pig. The poor could offer wheat, flowers, and a libation.[72] The expected afterlife for the exclusively female initiates in the sacra Cereris may have been somewhat different; they were offered “a method of living” and of “dying with better hope.”[73]


[58] See Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 55.
[59]Room, Adrian, Who’s Who in Classical Mythology, p. 89-90. NTC Publishing 1990.
[60]C.M.C. Green, “Varro’s Three Theologies and their influence on the Fasti”, in Geraldine Herbert-Brown, (ed)., Ovid’s Fasti: historical readings at its bimillennium, Oxford University Press, 2002. pp. 78–80.
[61]”When Ceres sought through all the earth with lit torches for Proserpina, who had been seized by Dis Pater, she called her with shouts where three or four roads meet; from this it has endured in her rites that on certain days a lamentation is raised at the crossroads everywhere by the matronae.”(Servius on Vergil, Aeneid, 4.609. Cited in Spaeth, 107.)
[62]Spaeth, Barbette Stanley, The Roman Goddess Ceres, University of Texas Press, 1996, pp. 36–37. Ovid offers a myth by way of explanation: long ago, at ancient Carleoli, a farm-boy caught a fox stealing chickens and tried to burn it alive. The fox escaped and fired the fields and their crops, which were sacred to Ceres. Ever since (says Ovid) foxes are punished at her festival.
[63]A plebeian aedile, C. Memmius, claims credit for Ceres’ first ludi scaeneci. He celebrated the event with the dole of a new commemorative denarius; his claim to have given “the first Cerealia” represents this innovation. See Spaeth, Barbette Stanley, The Roman Goddess Ceres, University of Texas Press, 1996, 1996, p.88.
[64]Ceres’ 12 assistant deities are listed in Servius, On Vergil’s Georgics, 1.21. Cited in Spaeth, 1996, p.36. Servius cites the historian Fabius Pictor (late 3rd century BC) as his source.
[65]Festus p. 261 L2, citing Cato’s commentaries on civil law.
[66]Apparently not the same Lapis manalis used by the pontifices to alleviate droughts.
[67]Candidates for location include the site of Rome’s Comitium and the Palatine Hill, within the city’s ritual boundary (pomerium). According to Roman tradition, it had been dug and sealed by Romulus at Rome’s foundation.
[68]W. Warde Fowler, “Mundus Patet” in Journal of Roman Studies, 2, 1912, pp. 25–26: Warde Fowler notes the possibilty that pigs were offered: also (pp. 35–36) seed-corn, probably far, from the harvest.
[69]Plutarch, Romulus, 11.
[70]For more on Ceres as a liminal deity, her earthly presidence over the underworld and the mundus, see Spaeth, 1996, pp. 5, 18, 31, 63-5. For further connection between the mundus, the penates, and agricultural and underworld deities, see W. Warde Fowler, “Mundus Patet” in Journal of Roman Studies, 2, (1912), pp. 25–33
[71]For further analysis on Roman attitudes to marriage and sexuality, Ceres’ role at marriages and the ideal of a “chaste married life” for Roman matrons, see Staples, 1998, pp. 84–93.
[72]Spaeth, 1996, pp. 55–63. See also Viet Rosenberger, in Rüpke, Jörg (Editor), A Companion to Roman Religion, Wiley-Blackwell, 2007, p 296, for sacrifice of a pig at funerals.
[73]Spaeth, 1996, pp. 60–61, 66; citing Cicero, de Legibus, 2.36. As initiates of mystery religions were sworn to secrecy, very little is known of their central rites or beliefs.

The Scandinavian Deity Correspondence: Balder

balderThe scandanavian deity correspondence for the 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Balder (also Baldr or Baldur) which, is in Norse mythology, “the beautiful virgin god residing in the heavenly mansion called Breidablik into which naught unclean could enter.”[74] Once again, it seems that the main reason for this attribution is the virginity of the God which is in accordance with Virgo, the zodiacal correspondence for this path. In the 12th century, some Danish accounts by Saxo Grammaticus and other Danish Latin chroniclers recorded a euhemerized account of his story. Compiled in Iceland in the 13th century, but based on much older Old Norse poetry, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of Ragnarök. According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, Baldr’s wife is Nanna and their son is Forseti. In Gylfaginning, Snorri relates that Baldr had the greatest ship ever built, named Hringhorni, and that there is no place more beautiful than his hall, Breidablik. Grimm traces the etymology of the name to *balþoz, whence Gothic balþs, Old English bald, Old High German pald, all meaning “bold, brave, audax.“Some scholars identifies Old Norse Baldr with the Old High German given name Paltar, and with Old English bealdor, baldor “lord, prince, king” (used always with a genitive plural, as in gumena baldor “lord of men”, wigena baldor “lord of warriors”, etc.)[75] One of the two Merseburg Incantations [76] mentioned Balder by name, and it also mentions another mythic figure named Phol. It has been theorized that Phol may therefore be another name for Baldr.[77]In Gylfaginning, Baldur is described as a nice white browed fellow, who’s fairness could be seen “both in hair and in body.” He is described as the wisest of the Æsir, and “the fairest-spoken and most gracious.”[78]Apart from this description Baldr is known primarily for the story of his death. His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarök. Baldr will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá. He had a dream of his own death and his mother had the same dreams. Since dreams were usually prophetic, this depressed him, so his mother Frigg made every object on earth vow never to hurt Baldr. All objects made this vow except mistletoe.[79] Frigg had thought it too unimportant and nonthreatening to bother asking it to make the vow (alternatively, it seemed too young to swear).When Loki, the mischief-maker, heard of this, he made a magical spear from this plant (in some later versions, an arrow). He hurried to the place where the gods were indulging in their new pastime of hurling objects at Baldr, which would bounce off without harming him. Loki gave the spear to Baldr’s brother, the blind god Höðr, who then inadvertently killed his brother with it (other versions suggest that Loki guided the arrow himself). For this act, Odin and the giantess Rindr gave birth to Váli who grew to adulthood within a day and slew Höðr.[80] Baldr was ceremonially burnt upon his ship, Hringhorni, the largest of all ships. As he was carried to the ship, Odin whispered in his ear. This was to be a key riddle asked by Odin (in disguise) of the giant Vafthrudnir (and which was, of course, unanswerable) in the poem Vafthrudnismal. The riddle also appears in the riddles of Gestumblindi in Hervarar saga.[81]The dwarf Litr was kicked by Thor into the funeral fire and burnt alive. Nanna, Baldr’s wife, also threw herself on the funeral fire to await Ragnarök when she would be reunited with her husband (alternatively, she died of grief). Baldr’s horse with all its trappings was also burned on the pyre. The ship was set to sea by Hyrrokin, a giantess, who came riding on a wolf and gave the ship such a push that fire flashed from the rollers and all the earth shook. Upon Frigg’s entreaties, delivered through the messenger Hermod, Hel promised to release Baldr from the underworld if all objects alive and dead would weep for him. All did, except a giantess, Þökk, who refused to mourn the slain god. Thus Baldr had to remain in the underworld, not to emerge until after Ragnarök, when he and his brother Höðr would be reconciled and rule the new earth together with Thor’s sons. When the gods discovered that the giantess Þökk had been Loki in disguise, they hunted him down and bound him to three rocks. Then they tied a serpent above him, the venom of which dripped onto his face. His wife Sigyn gathered the venom in a bowl, but from time to time she had to turn away to empty it, at which point the poison would drip onto Loki, who writhed in pain, thus causing earthquakes. He would free himself, however, in time to attack the gods at Ragnarök.


[74] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.
[75] See Jacob Grimm (1835), Teutonic Mythology (chapter 11, “Paltar”.)
[76]The Merseburg Incantations (German: die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) are two medieval magic spells, charms or incantations, written in Old High German. They are the only known examples of Germanic pagan belief preserved in this language.
[77]Calvin, Thomas. An Anthology of German Literature, D. C. Heath & co. p.5-6.
[78]Gylfaginning, XXII
[79]Colum, Padraic (1920). The Children of Odin. Aladdin Paperbacks.
[80]Gylfaginning, XLIX
[81]According to Carolyne Larrington in her translation of the Poetic Edda it is assumed that what Odin whispered in Baldr’s ear was a promise of resurrection.

The Jewel Correspondence: The Periodot

peridot-gem-large_infoThe sacred jewel correspondence for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the periodot.[82] The main reason for this attribution is probably the fact that periodot is the stone for the Zodiac sign of Libra which is a major attribution for this path. The color correspondence, namely “yellowish-green,” according to some sources,[83] also correspond to the usual color of the periodot gemstone. Peridot is the gem variety of olivine and ranges between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.The exact origin of the name “peridot” is uncertain. Some sources say that the name “Peridot” is perhaps derived from the French word “peritot” which means unclear, probably due to the inclusions and cloudy nature of large stones. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests an alteration of Anglo–Norman pedoretés (classical Latin pæderot-), a kind of opal, rather than the Arabic word faridat, meaning “gem.”In either case, peridot has been mined as a gemstone for an estimated four thousand years or better, and is mentioned in the Bible under the Hebrew name of pitdah and Chrysolite. Even until recently have jewelers used the term “chrysolite” (latin for golden stone) in referring to peridot gems for some reason. The stones used at that time came from a deposit on a small volcanic island in the Red Sea, some 45 miles off the Egyptian coast at Aswan. Pliny wrote about the green stone from Zagbargad Island in 1500 B.C. Peridot gems along with other gems were probably used in the fabled Breastplates of the Jewish High Priest, artifacts that have never been found. Peridot is actually one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an olive green. The intensity and tint of the green, however, depends on how much iron is contained in the crystal structure, so the color of individual peridot gems can vary from yellow- to olive- to brownish-green. The most valued color is a dark olive-green. It has been found in ruins of ancient Egypt and Greece and was often called the evening emerald by ancient Romans, who noticed that its green color shone even more vividly in lamplight, making it resemble deep green emeralds. Most ancient peridot probably came from the Red Sea island of St. Johns, which produced highly prized dark-green peridot. . In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the goddess Pele’s tears. Some Hawaiian beaches are packed with tiny grains of peridot that are too small to cut. Peridot olivine is the birthstone for August.Olivine, of which peridot is a type, is a common mineral in mafic and ultramafic rocks, and it is often found in lavas and in peridotite xenoliths of the mantle, which lavas carry to the surface; but gem quality peridot only occurs in a fraction of these settings. Peridot can be also found in meteoritesOlivine in general is a very abundant mineral, but gem quality peridot is rather rare. This mineral is precious. In much antique jewelry, peridot could have come from Egypt: in the late 18th century/early 19th century, peridot was taken from Egyptian ecclesiastial and other ornaments and reused in jewelry. Furthermore a location in Egypt was (re-) discovered but its location remains generally unknown. Many of the so-called “emeralds” in European church treasuries, notably those of the “three Magi” in the Cathedral of Cologne are peridots and not emeralds. Legend says that peridot was one of the favorite gemstones of Cleopatra and that some of the “emeralds” worn by her were actually peridot. It is thought to bring the wearer good luck, peace, and success. Its powers include health, protection, and sleep. The advantages of peridot are to attract love and calm anger while also soothing nerves and dispelling negative emotions.


[82] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 54; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.
[83] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 54.

The Flower Correspondence: The Snowdrop & the Narcissus

snowdropThe sacred flower correspondences for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are the snowdrop and the narcissus, “both implying purity and innocence.”[84] Once again, it’s the reference to “purity,” which if taken in a sexual context imply also “virginity,” that explain the attribution of these flowers to this particular path. It puts them in perfect coherence with the zodiacal attribution of Virgo and all those virgin divinities that we saw previously. The flower called Galanthus by the botanists or Snowdrop (Greek gála “milk”, ánthos “flower”) is a small genus of about 20 species of bulbous herbaceous plants in the Amaryllis family, subfamily Amaryllidoideae.[85] Most of them flower in winter, before the vernal equinox (which is March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere), but certain species will flower in early spring and late autumn. Snowdrops are sometimes confused with their relatives, snowflakes, which are Leucojum and Acis species. The Galanthus nivalis is the best-known and most widespread representative of the genus Galanthus. It is native to a large area of Europe, stretching from the Pyrenees in the west, through France and Germany to Poland in the north, Italy, Northern Greece, Ukraine, and European Turkey. It has been introduced and is widely naturalised elsewhere.[86] Although it is often thought of as a British native wild flower, or to have been brought to the British Isles by the Romans, it was probably introduced around the early sixteenth century and is currently not a protected species in the UK.[87]Most other Galanthus species are from the eastern Mediterranean, though several are found in southern Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Galanthus fosteri comes from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and maybe Israel.[88]All species of Galanthus are perennial, herbaceous plants which grow from bulbs. Each bulb generally produces just two or three linear leaves and an erect, leafless scape (flowering stalk), which bears at the top a pair of bract-like spathe valves joined by a papery membrane. From between them emerges a solitary, pendulous, bell-shaped white flower, held on a slender pedicel. The flower has no petals: it consists of six tepals, the outer three being larger and more convex than the inner series. The six anthers open by pores or short slits. The ovary is three-celled, ripening into a three-celled capsule. Each whitish seed has a small, fleshy tail (elaiosome) containing substances attractive to ants which distribute the seeds. The leaves die back a few weeks after the flowers have faded. It was suggested by Duvoisin in 1983 that the mysterious magical herb moly that appears in Homer’s Odyssey is actually snowdrop. An active substance in snowdrop is called galantamine, which, as anticholinesterase, could have acted as an antidote to Circe’s poisons.[89] Galantamine (or galanthamine) can be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, though it is not a cure; the substance also occurs naturally in daffodils and other narcissi. It is known as the ‘flower of hope’ – a sign of life returning to the earth after the long winter months. The Victorians also linked the snowdrop to the dead because it grew close to the ground and therefore closer to those buried. It is another bloom that is considered unlucky to pick and bring into the house. The whole plant is poisonous. A legend about the origin of the snowdrop tells us that after being expelled from the Garden of Eden, Eve sat weeping. An angel comforted her. Since the Fall, no flowers had bloomed, but snow fell ceaselessly. As the angel talked with Eve, he caught a snowflake in his hand, breathed on it, and then fell to earth as the first snowdrop. The flower bloomed and Hope was born. Since then, it symbolises purity and hope in tha language of flowers. In Germany there is a different snowdrop legend. When God made all things on the Earth, He asked the snow to go to the flowers and get a little color from them. One by one the flowers refused. Then, very sad, she asked a snowdrop to give it a little of its colour and the snowdrop accepted. As a reward, the snow lets it bloom first whenever spring shows.One of the old Moldovan legend says that once in a fight with the winter witch, that didn’t want to give up its place, the beautiful lady Spring cut her finger and few drops of her blood fell on the snow, which melted. Soon on this place grew a snowdrop and in such a way the spring won the winter. According to superstitions it is unlucky to bring snowdrops indoors and the sight of a single snowdrop blooming in the garden foretells of impending disaster. It is regarded as an omen of death despite its beauty.


[84] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.
[85] Stern F C, Snowdrops and Snowflakes – A study of the Genera Galanthus and Leucojum, The Royal Horticultural Society, 1956
[86]Davis, Aaron (1999). The Genus Galanthus. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 95–96.
[87]Bishop, Matt; Aaron Davis, John Grimshaw (January 2002). SNOWDROPS A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus. Griffin Press. pp. 17.
[88]Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, John Grimshaw, SNOWDROPS A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus, Griffin Press, January 2002, p.40.
[89]Plaitakis A, Duvoisin RC, Homer’s moly identified as Galanthus nivalis L.: physiologic antidote to stramonium poisoning. Clin Neuropharmacol. 1983 Mar; 6(1):1-5.

The Color Correspondence: Gray

666666Grey or gray is an achromatic or neutral color. What we usually call complementary colors are defined to mix to grey, either additively or subtractively, and many color models place complements opposite each other in a color wheel. Images which consist wholly of neutral colors are called monochrome, black-and-white or greyscale. History shows that the first recorded use of grey as a color name in the English language was in AD 700.[90] In color theory, it is said that most grey pigments have a cool or warm cast to them, as the human eye can detect even a minute amount of saturation. Yellow, orange, and red create a “warm grey”. Green, blue, and violet create a “cool grey.” When there is no cast at all, it is referred to as “neutral grey”, “achromatic grey” or simply “grey”. Gray is controlled and inconspicuous and is considered a color of compromise, perhaps because it sits between the extremes of black and white.Gray is timeless, practical, and solid. Gray is considered as the only true neutral color. Its energy imparts void, emptiness, lack of movement, emotion, warmth and identifying characteristics. Gray can have a cooling effect when placed next to other more vibrant colors. It has a stabilizing effect, making vibrant colors stand out while muting their vibration. Because of this, gray can be restful. It has a detached and isolated feeling. Gray is at peace with itself. Like the wise crone or sage, it remains quietly in the background observing, detached, and has no need to compete or prove anything. Like a standing stone, its strength is quiet, timeless, and classic. It is a sophisticated color without much of the negative attributes of black.Although well like and often worn, people rarely name gray as a favorite color possibly because Gray also is associated with loss or depression. Gray is commonly known as the color of sorrow. People who favor gray can be the lone wolf type or narrow-minded. It should be noted, however, that Gray with more silver in it can be a very active color. Native Americans associate gray with friendship. Gray is the symbol for security, maturity and dependability. It connotes responsibility and conservative practicality.


[90]Grey is the British, Canadian, Australian, Irish, New Zealand and South Africa spelling whereas either gray or grey is acceptable American spelling, though gray was also in common usage in the UK until the second half of the 20th century.See Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 196

The Drug Correspondence: Anaphrodisiacs

anaphrodisfx2The sacred drug correspondence for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is a class of substances called “anaphrodisiacs.”[91] It is, once again, in the context of an ideal of “purity” and “virginity” that we obtain this drug attribution. As a matter of facts, since anybody who consume those substances can’t have a proper sexual relationship and/or don’t even feel the need to get one, then we might say that their use encourages carnal purity and even virginity. By definition, an anaphrodisiac or antiaphrodisiac is something that quells or blunts the libido. It is the exact opposite of an aphrodisiac, which is something that enhances sexual appetite. The word anaphrodisiac comes from the Greek prefix αν-, denoting negation, and the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. There are two broad sources of pharmaceutical anaphrodisiac products available for those wishing to decrease sex drive: herbal and synthetic. Some common anaphrodisiacs are alcohol and tobacco, but this is typically an unintended consequence and not the main reason for use. While alcohol is used socially because it initially reduces mental inhibitions, studies have shown that over time alcohol physically decreases arousal and makes achieving climax more difficult. For this reason alcohol is considered an anaphrodisiac. Opioids, the class of pain-reducing substances which include morphine, heroin, and hydrocodone, are anaphrodisiacs. Less natural options are prescription synthetic compounds such as estrogens and anti-androgen drugs. These drugs, most frequently prescribed by professionals for male habitual sex offenders, have several side effects including fatigue, headaches, mood disturbances, loss of body hair, and breast development.[92] All along history, herbal anaphrodisiacs have been employed by various religious sects and orders throughout history. An over-active libido is very often treated herbally by addressing poor adrenal function. Most commonly known as Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus) or by its fruit named Chaste Berry, the vitex has been used to normalize hormones in both men and women; it works mainly through the pituitary gland, especially its progesterone function. For hundreds of years Monks have used the ground seeds to keep them from ‘temptation.’ Another well known plant, Camphor, has an ancient reputation as an anaphrodisiac, and its use in this respect was known to the Arabs (as may be seen by a reference to it in the Perfumed Garden). The Hops has oestrogenic principles, and accounts for its traditional anaphrodisiac effect in men. The same is true for the Hogweed. Dioscorides recognized its medicinal powers: these were anti-inflammatory (eyes) and analgesic (headache), emollient and soothing, antifebrifuge (in juice) and anthelmintic. He also says that “it reduces the desire to fornicate”. In the latter sense, other authors also mention its anaphrodisiac powers (1837 Codex of the Spanish Pharmacopoeia), including this plant among the “four cold seeds”, together with chicory, endive and lettuce. The anaphrodisiac effect is due to the presence of norepinephrineCulpepper states that Willow is an anaphrodisiac, a view latter confirmed by the Eclectics, who describe Willow as an important therapeutic agent in “libidinous suggestions and lascivious dreams terminating in pollutions.” and in “.extreme forms of sexual perversion, satyriasis, erotomania, and nymphomania” (Felter and Lloyd 1893). For this purpose the Eclectics preferred a decoction of the catkins of Salix nigra. To this extent Willow was considered a helpful treatment in spermatorrhoea and in atonic states of the reproductive system, especially where those parts had suffered from recent ‘overuse.’Wild lettuce was considered by the ancients as a valuable remedy for use in insomnia, restlessness and excitability (especially in children) and other manifestations of an over active nervous system. As an anti-spasmodic it can be used as part of a holistic treatment of whooping cough and dry irritated coughs in general. It will ease muscular pains related to rheumatism. It has been used as an anaphrodisiac, a property that was stood out by Plini. Very related with this property is the supposed anaphrodisiac values of this vegetable that grant this plant the property of appeasing the sexual appetite.


[91] For the attribution of this drug to path #20, see Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 54.
[92]Because of the health risks of prescription medication, these products are undesirable for a large segment of the population. These products are considered too risky for the general public and are typically not recommended for casual use.

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