July 17, 2019
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 The General Description of the Path

lamed--This is the path number Twenty-two, joining Geburah to Tiphareth. This path is going “from psychological balance to the severe judgment seat of the higher conscience. Now we feel the full pain of the sacrifice offered by the soul on the altar of Tiphareth, and the weight of the law descends in a sometimes oppressive fashion. Clarity of judgment – the combination of beauty with rectitude and equity is required on this path.”[1] The Hebrew letter Lamed is associated to the Twenty-second path on the qabalistic Tree of Life. This is the path joining Geburah to Tiphareth.

Correction – Any complex system, such as cells in the human body, or the citizens of a nation sate, are governed by complex processes.  Some of these processes are corrective, and function like the captain and crew of a ship, holding the craft on a steady course in spite of sea or storm.  Corrective processes function via feedback: every part of the ship is monitored by the crew, and it’s condition reported to the officers, who may well interrupt the captain for new orders.  When Norbert Wiener was looking for a word to describe the new study of regulatory systems he chose ‘cybernetics’, from the Greek word kybernetike, which means governance, and comes originally from the word for the helmsman of a ship.  The path from Tifareth to Geburah and Chesed are paths of kingship (or in a more abstract sense, governance).  The path to Geburah is that aspect of governance concerned with correction – maintaining the status quo. An important part of the regulation of the human body is the immune system.  It can identify parts of the body that are misbehaving, either due to an error (e.g. a cancer) or infection.  Something analogous operates in society with a justice system of police, courts and prisons. (Collin A. Low, The Hermetic Kabbalah, p. 328-329)

The keynote of this path is the following: “From the way station of balanced beauty, we move to the principle of severity, and while so doing the karmic forces of purification subject us to a thorough process of judgment.”[2] The magical motto of this path is “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”[3]lamed

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[1] Stephen, A. 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. 91.
[3] GAL. 6:7. cited in Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 91.

The Hebrew Letter Correspondence: Lamed (30)

Moshik-Hebrew-Typeface-LamedIts Yetziratic title is “the Faithful Intelligence.”Its numerical value is 30. This is the twelfth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This letter Lamed means an “ox-goad” or a “whip,” and would suggest such a translation by its shape alone.

 

 

 

 

 

  The Tarot Trump Correspondence: IX – Justice

XI-JusticeThe tarot attribution is IX – Justice, depicting a woman, very somber, seated between two pillars, holding a sword in one hand, a pair of scales on the other. Its subsidiary tarot title is “the Daughter of the Lord of Truth. The Ruler of the Balances.” When Justice appears in a throw, it usually signals that some injustice needs righting, that something in the world is dangerously out of balance. This could be interior to the Querent (not giving the self its due; arrogance), or it could be the calling of the Querent (to right some external wrong). It is important, however, that the Querent be aware that most things in the exterior world that they perceive (at least as mediated by a tarot throw) are in fact an externalization of some interior process or conflict.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Zodiacal Correspondence: Libra

zodiac_libra-navyIts astrological sign Libra, “the Scales, is its most important attribution and sums up the characteristics of the path.”[4] Libra is a constellation of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for weighing scales, and its symbol is . It is fairly faint, with no first magnitude stars, and lies between Virgo to the west and Scorpius to the east. Libra is the only zodiac sign that does not symbolize a living creature. It was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (“the scales”), or alternatively as the Claws of the Scorpion. The scales were held sacred to the sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice.[5] Since these times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility. In Arabic zubānā means “scorpion’s claws”, and likely similarly in other Semitic languages: this resemblance of words may be why the Scorpion’s claws became the Scales. In Roman mythology, Libra is considered to depict the scales held by Astraea (identified as Virgo), the goddess of justice.As of 2002, the Sun appears in the constellation Libra from October 31 to November 22. In tropical astrology, the Sun is considered to be in the sign Libra from September 23 to October 22, and in sidereal astrology, from October 16 to November 15.

zodiac-horoscope-libra-1 In astrology, Libra is considered a “masculine”, positive (extrovert) sign. It is also considered an air sign and is one of four cardinal signs. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus, which also rules Taurus. Individuals born when the Sun was in this sign are considered Libra individuals. In Roman mythology, Libra is considered to depict the scales held by Astraea (identified as Virgo), the goddess of justice. Libra is also considered the goddess of balance and truth. She also corresponds with Egyptian mythology as Ma’at, the goddess of the scales or balance.

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[4] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 79.
[5]Gavin White (2008),Babylonian Star-lore, Solaria Pubs, page 175

The Greek Deity Correspondence: Themis-Nemesis

BB-Themis-MainThe Greek god is Themis, “who in the Homeric poems, is the personification of abstract law, custom, and equity, whence she is described as reigning in assemblies of men, and convening the assembly of the gods on Mount Olympus.” The notion of Justice is older than Athena, of course, even among the Greeks. Themis (Greek: Θέμις) is an ancient Greek Titaness. She is described as “of good counsel”, and is the embodiment of divine order, law, custom, and judged souls after death. Themis means “divine law” rather than human ordinance, literally “that which is put in place”, from the verb τίθημι, títhēmi, “to put”. To the ancient Greeks she was originally the organizer of the “communal affairs of humans, particularly assemblies”.[6] She is the intersection of the Sacred and Secular orders. This is an extension of her role as the goddess of divine law. A king would hear petitions and rule on matters of law and justice at the assembly. She also presided over the division of the sacrificial feast, and by extension over the Olympian feasts of the gods.[7]Themis was the mother of The Fates, who must be accommodated. She was also a prophetic goddess who presided over the most ancient oracles, including Delphi.[8] In this role, she was the divine voice (themistes) who first instructed mankind in the primal laws of justice and morality, such as the precepts of piety, the rules of hospitality, good governance, conduct of assembly, and pious offerings to the gods.Moses Finley remarked of themis, as the word was used by Homer in the 8th century, to evoke the social order of the 10th- and 9th-century Greek Dark Ages.[9] Finley adds, “There was themis—custom, tradition, folk-ways, mores, whatever we may call it, the enormous power of ‘it is (or is not) done’. The world of Odysseus had a highly developed sense of what was fitting and proper.”[10]Some classical representations of Themis did not show her blindfolded (because of her talent for prophecy, she had no need to be blinded) nor was she holding a sword (because she represented common consent, not coercion). The sword is also believed to represent the ability Themis had from cutting fact from fiction, to her there was no middle ground. Themis built the Oracle at Delphi and was herself oracular. According to another legend, Themis received the Oracle at Delphi from Gaia and later gave it to Phoebe.[11] A Roman equivalent of one aspect of Hellenic Themis, as the personification of the divine rightness of law, was Iustitia (Anglicized as Justitia). Her origins are in civic abstractions of a Roman mindset, rather than archaic mythology, so drawing comparisons is not fruitful. Portrayed as an impassive woman, holding scales and a double-edged sword (sometimes a cornucopia), and since the 16th century usually shown blindfolded, the sculpted figure outside a courthouse is typically Justitia or Lady Justice, not Themis.

nemesisssNemesis is also named as an attribution for this path, according to Israel Regardie, because “she mesured out to mortals happiness and misery.”[12] When Themis is disregarded, Nemesis brings just and wrathful retribution, thus Themis shared the Nemesion temple at Rhamnous. Themis is not wrathful: she was the first to offer Hera a cup when she returned to Olympus distraught over threats from Zeus.[13]In Greek mythology, Nemesis (Greek, Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia (“the goddess of Rhamnous”) at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon, was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods). Nemesis has been described as the daughter of Oceanus or Zeus, but according to Hesiod she was a child of Erebus and Nyx. She has also been described as the daughter of Nyx alone. Her cult may have originated at Smyrna. In some metaphysical mythology, Nemesis produced the egg from which hatched two sets of twins: Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra, and the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux. The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word νέμειν [némein], meaning “to give what is due.” Thus, Nemesis is the distributor of fortune, neither good nor bad, simply in due proportion to each according to what was deserved; then, nemesis came to suggest the resentment caused by any disturbance of this right proportion, the sense of justice which could not allow it to pass unpunished. O. Gruppe (1906) and others connect the name with “to feel just resentment”. From the 4th century onwards, Nemesis, as the just balancer of Fortune’s chance, could be associated with Tyche. In the Greek tragedies Nemesis appears chiefly as the avenger of crime and the punisher of hubris, and as such is akin to Atë and the Erinyes. She was sometimes called “Adrasteia”, probably meaning “one from whom there is no escape”; her epithet Erinys (meaning “implacable”) is specially applied to Demeter and the Phrygian mother goddess, Cybele. A festival called Nemeseia (by some identified with the Genesia) was held at Athens. Its object was to avert the nemesis of the dead, who were supposed to have the power of punishing the living, if their cult had been in any way neglected.[14] Inexorable divine retribution is a major theme in the Hellenic world view, providing the unifying theme of the tragedies of Sophocles and many other literary works. Hesiod states: “Also deadly Nyx bore Nemesis an affliction to mortals subject to death.”[15] Nemesis appears in a still more concrete form in a fragment of the epic Cypria.[16] She was also associated with the Roman Invidia (sometimes called Pax-Nemesis) who was worshipped at Rome by victorious generals, and in imperial times. She used to be the patroness of gladiators and of the venatores, who fought in the arena with wild beasts, and was one of the tutelary deities of the drilling-ground (Nemesis campestris). Invidia was sometimes, but rarely, seen on imperial coinage, mainly under Claudius and Hadrian. In the 3rd century AD there is evidence of the belief in an all-powerful Nemesis-Fortuna. She was worshipped by a society called Hadrian’s freedman. In early times the representations of Nemesis resembled Aphrodite, who herself sometimes bears the epithet Nemesis. Later, as the maiden goddess of proportion and the avenger of crime, she has as attributes a measuring rod (tally stick), a bridle, scales, a sword and a scourge, and rides in a chariot drawn by griffins.

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[6] Homer, Iliad 20. 5 ff; Homer, Iliad 15. 84 ff; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 4. 128 ff
[7] Homer, Iliad 15. 84 ff; Homer, Odyssey 1. 68 ff.
[8] Pindar, Pythian Ode 11. 5 ff; Aeschylus, Eumenides 1 ff; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 22; Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 67. 3; Strabo, Geography 9. 3. 11; Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 5. 5; Orphic Hymn 79 to Themis.
[9]Themis is untranslatable. A gift of the gods and a mark of civilized existence, sometimes it means right custom, proper procedure, social order, and sometimes merely the will of the gods (as revealed by an omen, for example) with little of the idea of right.Finley, The World of Odysseus, rev. ed.(New York: Viking Press) 1978: 78, note.
[10]Finley, The World of Odysseus, rev. ed.(New York: Viking Press) 1978, p. 82.
[11] Aeschylus, Eumenides 1 ff.
[12] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 79.
[13] Homer, Iliad xv. 88.
[14] Sophocles, Electra, 792; E. Rohde, Psyche, 1907, i. 236, note I.
[15] Hesiod, Theogony, 223, though perhaps an interpolated line.
[16]The Cypria is an epic of ancient Greek literature that was quite well known in the Classical period and fixed in a received text, but which subsequently was lost to view. It was one of the Epic Cycle, that is, the “Trojan” cycle, which told the entire history of the Trojan War in epic hexameter verse. The story of the Cypria comes chronologically at the beginning of the Epic Cycle, and is followed by that of the Iliad; the composition of the two was apparently in the reverse order.

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence: Maat

maatIts Egyptian god bears out the idea of Justice for she is Maat, the goddess of truth, who in the Book of the Dead appears in the judgment scene of the weighing of the heart of the deceased. Maàt was a goddess of justice in Egypt. She ties Judgment with Justice, as she helped judge the souls of the dead. Therefore, on many Tarot cards of Justice, Maat appears.Maat was the goddess of harmony, justice, and truth represented as a young woman,[17] sitting or standing, holding a was scepter, the symbol of power, in one hand and an ankh, the symbol of eternal life, in the other. Sometimes she is depicted with wings on each arm or as a woman with an ostrich feather on her head.[18] Depictions of Maat as a goddess are recorded from as early as the middle of the Old Kingdom (c. 2680 to 2190 BCE).[19]In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single “Feather of Ma’at”, symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner was condemned to remain in the Duat. The heart was considered the location of the soul by ancient Egyptians. Those people with good and pure hearts were sent on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition.The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and the lioness Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing. The earliest evidence for a dedicated temple is in the New Kingdom (c. 1569 to 1081 BCE) era, despite the great importance placed on Maat. Amenhotpe III commissioned a temple in the Karnak complex, whilst textual evidence indicates that other temples of Maat were located in Memphis and at Deir el-Medina.[20]

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[17]Robert A. Armour (2001), Gods and Myths of Ancient Egypt, American Univ in Cairo Press, p167.
[18]Budge, E. A. Wallis. (1904), The Gods of the Egyptians: Studies in Egyptian Mythology — Volume 1. New York: Dover Publications, p. 416
[19]Donald B. Redford (eds), The Oxford Guide: Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology, p. 190, Berkley, 2003
[20]The Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology:The Oxford Guide”, p.190.

 The Hindu Deity Correspondence: Yama

yamaThe Hindi deity correspondence for this 21st path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Yama, “the personification of death and Hell where men had to expiate their evil deeds.”[21] Yama (Sanskrit: यम) belongs to an early stratum of Vedic mythology.[22] In Vedic tradition Yama was considered to have been the first mortal who died and espied the way to the celestial abodes, and in virtue of precedence he became the ruler of the departed. Yama’s name can be interpreted to mean “twin”, and in some myths he is paired with a twin sister Yamī. Yama is a Lokapāla and an Aditya. In art, he is depicted with green or red skin, red clothes, and riding a water buffalo. He holds a loop of rope in his left hand with which he pulls the soul from the corpse. He is the son of Surya (Sun) and twin brother of Yami, or Yamuna, traditionally the first human pair in the Vedas. He was also worshiped as a son of Vivasvat and Saranya. He is one of the Guardians of the directions and represents the south. He reports to Lord Shiva the Destroyer, an aspect of Trimurti. Three hymns (10, 14, and 35) in the Rig Veda Book 10 are addressed to him. He has two dogs (cf. Hellhound) with four eyes and wide nostrils guarding the road to his abode. They are said to wander about among people as his messengers.[23] There is a one of a kind temple in Srivanchiyam, Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to Yama. The Vedic Yama, with certain changes of function, was the basis for the Buddhist Yama, judge of the dead, who presides over the Buddhist Hells. The Buddhist Yama became an integral part of Chinese and Japanese mythology. Although ultimately based on the god Yama of the Hindu Vedas, the Buddhist Yama has developed different myths and different functions from the Hindu deity.

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[21] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 80.
[22] He is also known as Yamarāja (यमराज) in India and Nepal, Shinje (གཤིན་རྗེ།) in Tibet, Yanluowang (閻羅王) or simply Yan (閻) in China, Yeomla Daewang (염라대왕) in South Korea and Enma Dai-Ō (閻魔大王) in Japan, is the lord of death, in Hinduism and then adopted into Buddhism and then further into Chinese mythology and Japanese mythology. The name Yanluo (simplified Chinese: 阎罗; traditional Chinese: 閻羅; pinyin: Yánluó; Wade–Giles: Yen-lo) is a shortened Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit term यम राज Yama Rājā, or “King Yama”. Enma Dai-Ō is a further transliteration, meaning “Great King Yama”, where Enma means Yama, Enma-Ō means Yama Rājā and Enma Dai-Ō would be equivalent to यम महाराजYama Mahārāja.
[23]Rigveda 10.14.10-12.

The Sacred Plant Correspondence: Aloe

aloe-veraAloe, also Aloë, is a genus containing about 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The most common and well known of these is Aloe vera, or “true aloe”. The genus is native to Africa, and is common in South Africa’s Cape Province, the mountains of tropical Africa, and neighboring areas such as Madagascar, the Arabian Peninsula, and the islands of Africa. Aloe vera is used both internally and externally on humans, and is claimed to have some medicinal effects, which have been supported by scientific and medical research. The gel in the leaves can be made into a smooth type of cream that can heal burns such as sunburn. They can also be made into types of special soaps.Historical use of various Aloe species by humans is well documented. Documentation of the clinical effectiveness is available, although relatively limited.[24] Of the 500+ species of Aloe, only a few were used traditionally as a herbal medicine, aloe vera again being the most commonly used version of aloe in herbal medicine. Also included are Aloe perryi (found in northeastern Africa) and Aloe ferox (found in South Africa). The Greeks and Romans used aloe vera to treat wounds. In the Middle Ages, the yellowish liquid found inside the leaves was favored as a purgative. Unprocessed aloe that contains aloin is generally used as a laxative, whereas processed aloe vera juice does not usually contain significant aloin. Some species, particularly Aloe vera are used in alternative medicine and in the home first aids. Both the translucent inner pulp and the resinous yellow aloin from wounding the Aloe plant are used externally to relieve skin discomforts. As an herbal medicine, aloe vera juice is commonly used internally to relieve digestive discomfort. Some modern research suggests Aloe vera can significantly slow wound healing compared to normal protocols of treatment.[25] Other reviews of randomised and controlled clinical trials have provided no evidence that Aloe vera has a strong medicinal effect.[26] Today, aloe vera is used both internally and externally on humans. The gel found in the leaves is used for soothing minor burns, wounds, and various skin conditions like eczema and ringworm. The extracted aloe vera juice aloe vera plant is used internally to treat a variety of digestive conditions.

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[24]Reynolds, T (ed) Aloes: The genus Aloe. CRC Press.
[25]Schmidt JM, Greenspoon JS (1991). “Aloe vera dermal wound gel is associated with a delay in wound healing”. Obstet Gynecol 78 (1): 115–7.
[26]Richardson J, Smith JE, McIntyre M, Thomas R, Pilkington K (2005). “Aloe vera for preventing radiation-induced skin reactions: a systematic literature review”. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 17 (6): 478–84; Ernst E, Pittler MH, Stevinson C (2002). “Complementary/alternative medicine in dermatology: evidence-assessed efficacy of two diseases and two treatments”. Am J Clin Dermatol 3 (5): 341–8.

 The Animal Correspondence #1: The Spider

Red-kneed tarantula Brachypelma smithiiThe animal correspondences for this twenty-third path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are the spider and the elephant.[27] Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms.[28] Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea colonization. Approximately 40,000 spider species and 109 families have been recorded by taxonomists; however, there has been confusion within the scientific community as to how all these families should be classified.[29] Anatomically, spiders differ from other arthropods in that the usual body segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax and abdomen, and joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel. Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. Their abdomens bear appendages that have been modified into spinnerets that extrude silk from up to six types of silk glands within their abdomen. Spider webs vary widely in size, shape and the amount of sticky thread used. True spiders have been found in Carboniferous rocks from 318 to 299 million years ago, and are very similar to the most primitive surviving order, the Mesothelae. The main groups of modern spiders, Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, first appear in the Triassic period, before 200 million years ago. A minority of species are social, building communal webs that may house anywhere from a few to 50,000 individuals. Social behavior ranges from precarious toleration, as in the aggressive widow spiders, to co-operative hunting and food-sharing. Although most spiders live for at most two years, tarantulas and other mygalomorph spiders can live up to 25 years in captivity. The venom of a few species is dangerous to humans. As a result of their wide range of behaviors, spiders have become common symbols in art and mythology symbolizing various combinations of patience, cruelty and creative powers. Embodying perfectly “nature’s arsenical magic,”[30] spiders have been the focus of fears, stories and mythologies of various cultures for centuries.[31] Nature has made the spider a most uncanny being, a trapeze artists dangling from its silken thread and reeling itself up again, a spinner of virtuosity and a cunning hunter with a wide net. They have symbolized patience due to their hunting technique of setting webs and waiting for prey, as well as mischief and malice for the painful death their venom causes.[32] The abdomen of the spider has no appendages except those that have been modified to form one to four (usually three) pairs of short, movable spinnerets, which emit silk. Each spinneret has many spigots, each of which is connected to one silk gland. There are at least six types of silk gland, each producing a different type of silk.[33] Silk is mainly composed of a protein very similar to that used in insect silk. It is initially a liquid, and hardens not by exposure to air but as a result of being drawn out, which changes the internal structure of the protein.[34] It is similar in tensile strength to nylon and biological materials such as chitin, collagen and cellulose, but is much more elastic, in other words it can stretch much further before breaking or losing shape.[35] Web-spinning also caused the association of the spider with creation myths as they seem to have the ability to produce their own worlds.[36] The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped nature.[37] They placed emphasis on animals and often depicted spiders in their art.[38]In a Hopi creation story, Grandmother Spider lives in an underground kiva that mimics the trap-door spider’s dwelling and recalls the Hopi’s emergence from the “underworld.” A Navajo tale describes Spider-Woman lodging behind the hero’s ear, whispering secret advices and mediating his transit between physical and subtle dimensions, all within life’s encompassing web. The Spider Anasi of the West African tradition is an unscrupulous buffon but also a trickster that outwits larger creature such as the elephant or lion.[39] The sipder’s ever renewed, wheel-like web has been compared to the radiated sun. In Hindu myth the veilled Maya is spinning the world of illusion out of her substance and drawing it back in. Concealing and revealing, medieval spiders protectively veil the Holy Family and the prophet Muhamad from their ennemies. Ovid associated the spider with the grace and ruthlessness of Athena, primordial moon goddess, and later, Olympians embodiment of the virtues of world-creating consciousness and its craft. Arachne, from whom spiders get the name arachnid, was a maiden so fabulously gifted at spinning that she boastfully challenged Athena to a contest and her brillant tapestries were judged equal. The goddess so persecuted Arachne that she hanged herself; out of pity, Athena transformed her into a spider. Indeed, the spider embodies the Terrible Mother’s gruesome mysteries of death and dissolution, the superb tension and recoil of her web proof against the struggles of the prey. Images of her terror are reinforced by the spider’s killing or paralysing its victims with venom from hollow fangs, and the female’s habitual devouring of the typically smaller male after mating. Evoking our own propitiatory hedges against fate, the male may offer a diversionary, silken parcel of food, pluck a thread in courtship twangs that may delay her need to feed or tie her up in silk long enough to mate and flee.[40] Spider suggests fetter, noose and the “devil’ snare.” We speak of webs of conspiracy and lies. Our helpless entanglements in misunderstood circumstances are the stuff of the spider. So are fatal attractions or ambitions, and dismembering enmeshments of identity. The defenses of the self can draw the traumatised soul into webs of encapsulating schizoid fantasy and addiction. There is the lonely weaving of solitary autistic worlds and the sinister bindings of madness. Unapologetic, spider is nature, forever spinning its strings of vitality and devastation. The very matter of psyche can become a mercurial web of stuckness. Equally, the signals threads of dream and vision vibrate with meanings that can be grasped, feeding the soul and its transformations. Like in E.B. White’s book, the noble and predatory Charlotte says, “A spider has to pick up a living somehow or other, and I happen to be a trapper.”[41]

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[27] See Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 80; Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 55.
[28]Sebastin PA & KV Peter (ed). (2009) Spiders of India. Universities Press.
[29] There is over 20 different classifications that have been proposed since 1900. (Foelix, Rainer F. (1996). Biology of Spiders. 198 Madison Ave. NY, New York, 10016: Oxford University Press. p.3).
[30]
[31]De Vos, Gail (1996). Tales, Rumors, and Gossip: Exploring Contemporary Folk Literature in Grades 7–12. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 186.
[32]Garai, Jana (1973). The Book of Symbols. New York: Simon & Schuster.
[33]Ruppert, E.E., Fox, R.S., and Barnes, R.D. (2004). Invertebrate Zoology (7 ed.). Brooks / Cole. pp. 571–584.
[34]Vollrath, F., and Knight, D.P. (2001). “Liquid crystalline spinning of spider silk”. Nature 410 (6828): 541–548.
[35]Even species that do not build webs to catch prey use silk in several ways: as wrappers for sperm and for fertilized eggs; as a “safety rope”; for nest-building; and as “parachutes” by the young of some species.
[36]De Laguna, Frederica (2002). American Anthropology: Papers from the American Anthropologist. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 455.
[37]Benson, Elizabeth. The Mochica: A Culture of Peru. New York: Praeger Press. 1972.
[38]Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru: Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
[39] Courlander, Harold (1996), A Treasury of African Folklore, NY, p.135.
[40] Richard Dawkins (1996), Climbing Mount Improbable, NY, p.38ff.
[41]First published in 1952, Charlotte’s Web is an award-winning children’s novel by acclaimed American author E. B. White, about a pig named Wilbur who is saved from being slaughtered by an intelligent spider named Charlotte. The novel tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur (such as “Some Pig”) in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.

The Animal Correspondence #2: The Elephant

elephan--tAnother animal correspondence for this 23rd path of the Tree of Life is the elephant. Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct.[42] Three species of elephant are recognized: the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant and the Indian or Asian elephant; although some group the two African species into one and some researchers also postulate the existence of a fourth species in West Africa. All other species and genera of Elephantidae are extinct.Most have been extinct since the last ice age, although dwarf forms of mammoths might have survived as late as 2,000 BCE.[43] The word “elephant” has its origins in the Greek ἐλέφας, meaning “ivory” or “elephant”.[44] Elephants and other Elephantidae were once classified with other thick-skinned animals in a now invalid order, Pachydermata. Elephants are the largest living land animals on Earth today.The elephant’s gestation period is 22 months, the longest of any land animal. At birth, an elephant calf typically weighs 105 kilograms (230 lb). They typically live for 50 to 70 years. The large flapping ears of an elephant are also very important for temperature regulation. The ears are also used in certain displays of aggression and during the males’ mating period. Elephants live in a structured social order. The social lives of male and female elephants are very different. The females spend their entire lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts. These groups are led by the eldest female, or matriarch. Adult males, on the other hand, live mostly solitary lives. As he gets older, he begins to spend more time at the edge of the herd, and somewhere around the age of fourteen, the mature male, or bull, sets out from his natal group for good. The males spend much more time than the females fighting for dominance with each other. Only the most dominant males will be permitted to breed with cycling females. The less dominant ones must wait their turns. It is usually the older bulls, forty to fifty years old, that do most of the breeding. The dominance battles between males can look very fierce, but typically they inflict very little injury. Most of the bouts are in the form of aggressive displays and bluffs. Ordinarily, the smaller, younger, and less confident animal will back off before any real damage can be done. However, during the breeding season, the battles can get extremely aggressive, and the occasional elephant is injured. Healthy adult elephants have no natural predators,[45] although lions may take calves or weak individuals.[46]Elephants swim well, but cannot trot, jump, or gallop. They do have two gaits: a walk and a faster gait that is similar to running.While in Western eyes the elephant is the picture of overwheight clumsiness, the Asian image is very different. In Asian, Elephant were ridden by kings and first and foremost by Indra, Lord of the Heavens. Thet therefore symbolise the power of kingship, Shiva being titled ‘the Elephant’ in the exercise of his kingly office. Since the effect of tsettled kingship are peace and prosperity, whoever invokes the power of the elephant (matangi) is given their hearts desire. It is generally believed that the presence of elephant is propituous, ensuring the fecundity, the vitality and resurgence of the physical and spiritual life of the universe. Gaja Lakshmi (Lakshmi of the Elephants), the lovely Mother Earth whose maternal benevolence causes life-susfaining juices to flow through every plant and animal, is traditionally portrayed with two tuskers, one on either side, pouring the potent libations of water over her lush figure. Ganesha, guardians of thresholds, bestows material and creative riches upon his devotees. And Airavata, a moon-white, six-tusked marvel who rose out of the primordial milky ocean, is the theriomorphic form and “divine vehicle” of Indra, The Lord of Heavens and wielder of the rainbow, who unleashes the fertile potency of rain. The Elephant is also a symbol, not of excessive weight, but of unchanging stability. Yoga attributes it to the chakra muladhara, where consequently the elephant correspond to the element Earth amd the colour ochre. It was also the companion of Boddhisattva Akshobhya, the Changeless One. Elephants are also to be found on some Tantric mandalas, set either at the gates of the Cardinal Points, or at points beside them. At Angkor they are to be seen on the eastern Mebon and especially on the Bakong. Their significance is that of the dominion of the CENTRE of kingship extending to the FOUR corners of the Earth. The presence of elephants, among others, next to Vasudeva – Vishnu as Lord of the Three Worlds – would seem to indicate his sovereignty over the terrestrial globe. Elephant symbolism is a common feature in Buddhist thinking. Queen Maya conceived Buddha as an elephant calf. It would seem to play an unexpectedly ‘angelic’ part, where one not already aware that elephant were instruments of heavenly intervention and blessing. An elephant is sometimes depicted on its own to sighify the Buddha’s conception. When set on the top of a pillar, it evokes enlightenment.   Like bull, tortoise and crocodiles, elephant are also cast in the role of animals which holds up the world and carry the universe upon their backs. Because they were believed to support the cosmos, they are the caryatids in the architecture of many ancient monuments. The elephant was also regarded as a cosmic animal because it was itself in the shape of the cosmos – four pillars holding up a sphere. Elephants are famed for their memory and intelligence, where their intelligence level is thought to be equal to that of dolphins and primates.[47] Aristotle once said the elephant was “the beast which passeth all others in wit and mind.”[48]A wide variety of behaviours associated with intelligence have been attributed to elephants, including those associated with grief, making music, art, altruism, allomothering, play, use of tools, compassion and self-awareness. Elephants are believed to rank equally in terms of intelligence with cetaceans. and nonhuman primates. The elephant’s brain is similar to that of humans in terms of structure and complexity; the elephant brain exhibits a gyral pattern more complex and with more numerous convolutes, or brain folds, than that of humans, primates or carnivores, but less complex than cetaceans. However, the cortex of the elephant brain is “thicker than that of cetaceans” and is believed to have as many cortical neurons (nerve cells) and cortical synapses as that of humans, which exceeds that of cetaceans.[49] Elephants make a number of sounds when communicating. Elephants are famous for their trumpet calls, which are made when the animal blows through its nostrils. Trumpeting is usually made during excitement. Its use varies from startlement to a cry of help to rage. Elephants also make rumbling growls when greeting each other. The growl becomes a bellow when the mouth is open and a bellow becomes a moan when prolonged. This can escalate with a roar when threatening another elephant or another animal.Elephants can communicate over long distances by producing and receiving low-frequency sound (infrasound), a sub-sonic rumbling, which can travel in the air and through the ground much farther than higher frequencies,[50] allowing communication for many kilometres, with a possible maximum range of around 10 km.[51] This sound can be felt by the sensitive skin of an elephant’s feet and trunk, which pick up the resonant vibrations much as the flat skin on the head of a drum. Despite their popularity in zoos, and portrayal as gentle giants in fiction, elephants are among the world’s most dangerous animals. Elephant can epitomize gargantuan destructiveness. The heightened aggression of a bull in mutsth or near frenzy of an elephant provoked by pain, fear or rage is a proverbial emblem of the rampancy of body or mind. They can crush and kill any other land animal, even the rhinoceros. They can experience bouts of rage, and engage in actions that have been interpreted as vindictive. The can leave a wasteland where they overbrowse because of continuous human encroachment on their habitat. Increasingly, elephans are becoming “disordered” socially, emotionally and behaviorally from the trauma of ivory poaching, hunting and government-sanctioned culling of entire herds. In Africa, groups of young teenage elephants attacked human villages after cullings done in the 1970s and 80s. In India, male elephants attack villages at night, destroying homes and killing people regularly.[52] War elephants were used by armies in the Indian subcontinent, the Warring States of China, and later by the Persian Empire. This use was adopted by Hellenistic armies after Alexander the Great experienced their worth against King Porus, notably in the Ptolemaic and Seleucid diadoch empires. The Carthaginian general Hannibal took elephants across the Alps when he was fighting the Romans, but brought too few elephants to be of much military use, although his horse cavalry was quite successful; he probably used a now-extinct third African subspecies, the North African forest elephant, smaller than its two southern cousins, and presumably easier to domesticate. A large elephant in full charge could cause tremendous damage to infantry, and cavalry horses would be afraid of them (see Battle of Hydaspes). In the Southeast Asia, the powerful Khmer Empire had come to regional dominance by the 9th century AD, drawing heavily on the use of war elephants. With the collapse of Khmer power in the 15th century, the successor region powers of Burma (now Myanmar) and Siam (now Thailand) also adopted the widespread use of war elephants. Elephants are ubiquitous in Western popular culture as emblems of the exotic because their unique appearance and size sets them apart from other animals and because, like other African animals such as the giraffe, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, they are unfamiliar to Western audiences.[53] Popular culture’s stock references to elephants rely on this exotic uniqueness. For instance, a “white elephant” is a byword for something expensive, useless and bizarre.

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[42]U. Joger and G. Garrido (2001). “Phylogenetic position of Elephas, Loxodonta and Mammuthus, based on molecular evidence”. The World of Elephants – International Congress, Rome 2001.
[43]Vartanyan, S. L.; Garutt, V. E.; Sher, A. V. (25 March 1993). “Holocene dwarf mammoths from Wrangel Island in the Siberian Arctic.”Nature 362 (6418): 337–340.
[44]Soanes, Catherine; Angus Stevenson (2006). Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press.
[45]Joubert D. 2006. Hunting behaviour of lions (Panthera leo) on elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Chobe National Park, Botswana. African Journal of Ecology 44:279–281.
[46]Loveridge, A. J.; Hunt, J. E.; Murindagomo, F.; Macdonald, D. W. (2006). “Influence of drought on predation of elephant (Loxodonta africana) calves by lions (Panthera leo) in an African wooded savannah”. Journal of Zoology 270 (3): 523–530.
[47]Hart, B.L.; L.A. Hart, M. McCoy, C.R. Sarath (November 2001). “Cognitive behaviour in Asian elephants: use and modification of branches for fly switching”. Animal Behaviour (Academic Press) 62 (5): 839–847.
[48]O’Connell, Caitlin (2007). The Elephant’s Secret Sense: The Hidden Lives of the Wild Herds of Africa. New York City: Simon & Schuster. pp. 174, 184.
[49]Roth, Gerhard; Maxim I. Stamenov, Vittorio Gallese. “Is the human brain unique?”. Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 63–76.
[50]These calls range in frequency from 15–35 Hz and can be as loud as 117 dB.
[51]Larom, D.; Garstang, M.; Payne, K.; Raspet, R.; Lindeque, M. (1997). “The influence of surface atmospheric conditions on the range and area reached by animal vocalizations”. Journal of experimental biology 200 (3): 421–431.
[52]For example, in the Indian state of Jharkhand, 300 people were killed by elephants between 2000 and 2004, and in Assam, 239 people were reported killed by elephants between 2001 and 2006.
[53]Van Riper, A. Bowdoin (2002). Science in Popular Culture: A Reference Guide. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 73.

The Perfume Correspondence: Galbanum & Myrrh

galbanummmThe perfume correspondence for this 23th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is galbanum[54] and Myrrh.[55] Galbanum is an aromatic gum resin, the product of certain umbelliferous Persian plant species, chiefly Ferula gummosa (synonym F. galbaniflua) and Ferula rubricaulis. Galbanum-yielding plants grow plentifully on the slopes of the mountain ranges of northern Iran. In the Book of Exodus 30:34, it is mentioned as being used in the making of a Ketoret which is used when referring to the consecrated incense described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. It is also referred to as the HaKetoret (the incense). It was offered on the specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Jerusalem Temples. The ketoret was an important component of the Temple service in Jerusalem. Rashi of the 12th century comments on this passage that galabanum is bitter and was included in the incense as a reminder of deliberate and unrepentant sinners. Galbanum is one of the oldest of drugs. It is occasionally used in the making of modern perfume, and is the ingredient which gives the distinctive smell to the many modern fragrances.[56]Hippocrates employed it in medicine, and Pliny[57] ascribes to it extraordinary curative powers, concluding his account of it with the assertion that “the very touch of it mixed with oil of spondylium is sufficient to kill a serpent.” The drug is occasionally given in modern medicine, in doses of from five to fifteen grains. It has the actions common to substances containing a resin and a volatile oil. Its use in medicine is, however, obsolete. Galbanum was highly treasured as a sacred substance by the ancient Egyptians. The “green” incense of Egyptian antiquity is believed to have been galbanum. Galbanum resin has a very intense green scent accompanied by a turpentine odor. The initial notes are a very bitter, acrid, and peculiar scent followed by a complex green, spicy, woody, balsamlike fragrance. When diluted the scent of galbanum has variously been described as reminiscent of pine (due to the pinene and limonene content), evergreen, green bamboo, parsley, green apples, musk, or simply intense green.[58] The oil has a pine like topnote which is less pronounced in the odor of the resinoid. The latter, in turn, has a more woody balsamic, conifer resinous character. Galbanum is frequently adulterated with pine oil.Galbanum oil is steam-distilled to yield a green, fruity-floral odor reminiscent of green apples.[59]

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[54] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 80.
[55] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p.55.
[56]Per example the fragrances “Must” by Cartier, “Vent Vert” by Balmain, “Chanel No. 19” and “Vol De Nuit” by Guerlain. The debut of Galbanum in fine modern perfumery is generally thought to be the origin of the “Green” family of scents, exemplified by the scent “Vent Vert” first launched by Balmain in 1945.
[57]Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxiv. 13.
[58]Lawrence, B.M; “Progress in Essential Oils” ‘Perfumer and Flavorist’ August/September 1978 vol 3, No 4 p 54; McAndrew, B.A; Michalkiewicz, D.M; “Analysis of Galbanum Oils”. Dev Food Sci. Amsterdam: Elsevier Scientific Publications 1988 v 18 pp 573 – 585
[59]Richard Alan Miller, Iona Miller, 1990. The Magical and Ritual Use of Perfumes, page 81.

The Color Correspondence: Blue & Emerald Green

Pantone_Emerald_Green_color_of_2013_275_274The color correspondence for this 23rd path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is blue,[60] emerald green.[61] The color blue already has been discussed in antother path so we’re only going to discuss emerald green here. An emerald color is a shade of green that is particularly light and bright, with a faint bluish cast. The name derives from the typical appearance of the gemstone emerald. The first recorded use of emerald as a color name in English was in 1598.[62]Ireland is sometimes referred to as the Emerald Isle due to its lush greenery. Seattle is sometimes referred to as the Emerald City, because its abundant rainfall creates lush vegetation. In the middle ages, The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus was believed to contain the secrets of alchemy. “Emerald City”, from the fictional story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, is a city where everything from food to people are emerald green. However, it is revealed at the end of the story that everything in the city is normal colored, but the glasses everyone wears are emerald tinted. The Emerald Buddha is a figurine of the sitting Buddha, made of green jade (rather than emerald), clothed in gold, and about 45 cm tall.

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[60] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 80.
[61] Stephen Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. A Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 54.
[62]Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 194; Color Sample of Emerald: Page 75 Plate 26 Color Sample J10.

The Magical Weapon: The Balance

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The Drug Correspondence: Tobacco

tobacccoTobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines. It is most commonly used as a recreational drug, and is a valuable cash crop for countries such as Cuba, China and the United States.In consumption it most commonly appears in the forms of smoking, chewing, snuffing, or dipping tobacco. Tobacco had long been in use as an entheogen in the Americas, but upon the arrival of Europeans in North America, it quickly became popularized as a trade item and a recreational drug. There are more than 70 species of tobacco in the plant genus Nicotiana. The word nicotiana (as well as nicotine) is in honor of Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal, who in 1559 sent it as a medicine to the court of Catherine de Medici. The Spanish word tabaco is thought to have originated in Taino, the Arawakan language of the Caribbean. In Taino, it was said to refer either to a roll of tobacco leaves (according to Bartolomé de las Casas, 1552), or to the tabago, a kind of Y-shaped pipe for sniffing tobacco smoke (according to Oviedo; with the leaves themselves being referred to as cohiba). However, similar words in Spanish and Italian were commonly used from 1410 to define medicinal herbs, originating from the Arabic طبقtabbaq, a word reportedly dating to the 9th century, as the name of various herbs. Tobacco had already long been used in the Americas when European settlers arrived and introduced the practice to Europe, where it became popular. Many Native American tribes traditionally used tobacco. It was often consumed as an entheogen; among some tribes, this was done only by experienced shamans or medicine men. Eastern North American tribes carried large amounts of tobacco in pouches as a readily accepted trade item, and often smoked it in peace pipes, either in defined sacred ceremonies, or to seal a bargain,[63] and they smoked it at such occasions in all stages of life, even in childhood. It was believed that tobacco is a gift from the Creator, and that the exhaled tobacco smoke carries one’s thoughts and prayers to heaven.[64] Many plants contain nicotine, a powerful neurotoxin to insects. However, tobaccos contain a higher concentration of nicotine than most other plants. Unlike many other Solanaceae, they do not contain tropane alkaloids, which are often poisonous to humans and other animals. Smoking in public was for a long time something reserved for men, and when done by women was sometimes associated with promiscuity.In Japan, during the Edo period, prostitutes and their clients often approached one another under the guise of offering a smoke. The same was true in 19th century Europe.Following the American Civil War the usage of tobacco, primarily in cigars, became associated with masculinity and power, and is an iconic image associated with the stereotypical capitalist. The risks associated with tobacco use include diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancers).

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[63]Heckewelder, History, Manners and Customs of the Indian Nations who Once Inhabited Pennsylvania, p. 149 ff.
[64]Tobacco: A Study of Its Consumption in the United States, Jack Jacob Gottsegen, 1940, p. 107.

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