May 8, 2021
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 The General Description of the Path

quoph--This is path number Twenty-nine, joining Netzach to Malkuth. “Joining the physical consciousness with the emotional nature, it signifies the emergence of extremely powerful, and sometimes baneful, unconscious complexes. Since the intellectual clarifying force of Hod has not been touched yet, these unconscious forces are encountered without understanding, and thus confusion and apprehension may result. On this path the aspirant is beginning to deal with the “shadow” conceptualized in Jungian psychology; that is, with his own repressed counterpart.”[1] This path is difficult to describe as it undoubtedly refers to some aspect of trhe astral plane. Mening “back of the head” Qoph is associated to the “Corporeal Intelligence” in the Sepher Yetzirah and its attributed to the zodiacal sign of Pisces, the sign of fish. The fish is this symbolism refers to the spermatozoa swimming in the foundation of one’s being.

quoph The keynote of this path goes like this: “From physical being we rise to the awareness or our emotional nature.”[2] The magical motto of this path is the following word of Shakespeare: “There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood…”[3] According to Israel Regardie, “This path is a very difficult one to describe, as it undoubtedly refers to some aspect of the astral plane; and it is, also, a phallic symbol, the fish Avatara.”[4]

Moving Towards/Moving Away.  Bacteria can move towards a favourable environment and move away from a hostile environment.  Movement is a primordial response to the world.  We move towards food, friends, and safety.  We move away from danger and discomfort.  We do not view the world in a neutral light – we possess ancient instincts that steer us in a direction so that we thrive.  (Collin A. Low, The Hermetic Kabbalah, p. 325)


[1] Stephan A. Hoeller, The Foll’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 50.
[2] Stephan A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 75.
[3] Shakespeare, cited in Stephan, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p.75.
[4] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 86.

The Hebrew Letter Correspondence: Qoph

alphabet-hebreu-qofThis is the nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Its numerical value is 100. Pronunciation is Qoph, meaning “the Black of the Head.” Its Yetziratic title is “the Corporeal Intelligence”; and its attribution is Pisces, the sign of the Fishes.

 The Tarot Trump Correspondence: XVIII – The Moon

the--moonThe Moon (XVIII) is the eighteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. Two large, foreboding pillars are shown. Some see them as tombstones, others relate them to Karma. A wolf and a domesticated dog howl at the moon. A crayfish appears in the water. These are numbered 18 in the Rider-Waite deck and are all Yodh-shaped. On this basis, some associate this card with impregnation. The Moon is “shedding the moisture of fertilizing dew in great drops.”[5] “The Moon, shown in its three phases, look down upon a nocturnal landcape wherein, from the pool of unconscious emotion, the primitive living form of a crayfish slowly climbs toward distant heights. A wolf and a dog sit beside the road, howling at the moon, representing the wild and the domesticated components of our instinctual nature. The tower of human intellectual and moral defense mechanisms loom on the horizon, to be bypassed on the road to the summit of final attainment. The seed of divine lifeforce in the form of falling drops, having the shape of the letter Yod, remind us of supernal energy vitilizing the emotional and instinctual self and stirring it into activity.”[6]


[5] A.E. Waite, The Pictural Key to the Tarot, p.??
[6] Stephen, A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage, Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p.74.

The 18th Step in the Fool’s Pilgrimage

fooolWhat effect could spoil this perfect calm? Is there another challenge for the Fool? In fact, it is his bliss that makes him vulnerable to the illusions of the Moon (18). The Fool’s joy is a feeling state. His positive emotions are not yet subject to mental clarity. In his dreamy condition, the Fool is susceptible to fantasy, distortion and a false picture of the truth. The Moon stimulates the creative imagination. It opens the way for bizarre and beautiful thoughts to bubble up from the unconscious, but deep-seated fears and anxieties also arise. These experiences may cause the Fool to feel lost and bewildered.

The Zodiacal Correspondence: Pisces

414200-1016-46The zodiacal correspondence for this twenty-ninth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Pisces. This attribution goes well with the other watery attributions, The Moon, Posseidon, Neptune, the dolphin, etc. Telling us to give a look to its Tarot Trump, ATU XVIII – The Moon, Crowley tells us that “Pisces is the symbol of the Astral Plane.”[7] He precises that “its defect is glamour and illusion. It has now been brought to a mental equilibrium signifying the adaptabiility to the ether to receive and to transmit all types of vibrations.”[8] Pisces is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which started from the Pisces constellation. Its name is the Latin plural for fish. It lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east. The ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect within this constellation and in Virgo. The Vernal equinox is currently located in Pisces, due south of ω Psc, and, due to precession, slowly drifting below the western fish towards Aquarius. According to Gavin White, the Babylonians called Pisces ‘The Tails’ (MUL.KUN.MES – Zibbatu), visualizing it as two fish swimming in two converging streams of water – the image being a very basic map of Mesopotamia set between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.[9] According to J. H. Rogers the fish symbol originates from some composition of the Babylonian constellations Zibatti-meš (maybe Šinunutu4 “the great swallow” in current eastern Pisces) and KU6 (“the fish, Ea”, Piscis Austrinus). In the first Millennium BCE texts known as the Astronomical Diaries, part of the constellation was also called DU.NU.NU (Rikis-nu.mi, “the fish cord or ribbon”).[10] Rogers thinks this constellation was somehow misinterpreted and turned around so that the current northern fish is on the border of Andromeda, instead of being constituted by Piscis Austrinus.

zodiac_symbol_Pisces_BWThe astrological sign of Pisces is considered a water sign and one of the four mutable signs. Being the twelfth sign, Pisces is associated with the astrological twelfth house. Individuals born when the Sun was in this sign are considered Pisceans. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun is in Pisces roughly from February 19 to March 20, ending on the moment of vernal equinox by definition. According to one Greek myth, Pisces represents the fish into which Aphrodite and her son Eros transformed in order to escape the monster Typhon; they are tied together with a cord on their mouth to make sure they do not lose one another. Alternatively, the twin fish were placed in the heavens in honor of their heroic deed of saving Aphrodite and Eros from Typhon on the river Euphrates. Another myth of Pisces is that it represents the Sea Monster that Perseus defeated in Ethiopia to save the Princess Andromeda, and that Zeus was so pleased with his son’s feat that he placed the monster’s skeleton in the sky as a reminder of this heroic deed.


[7] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 77.
[8] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 77.
[9]Babylonian Star-lore by Gavin White, Solaria Pubs, 2008 pages 216 & 106.
[10] Rogers, J. H. (1998), Origins of the ancient constellations: I. In The Mesopotamian traditions. Journal of the British Astronomical Association, vol.108, no.1, p.9-28

 The Greek Deity Correspondence: Posseidon

Poséidon-Poseidon-Neptune_statueThe Greek deity attribution for this 29th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Poseidon.[11]Poseidon (Greek: Ποσειδῶν) was know as the god of the sea, and, as “Earth-Shaker,”[12] responsible for all the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The reason for this attribution, Israel Regardie tells us, is because his realm of government “includes the dominion wherein fish dwell.”[13] Crowley says almost the same thing, telling us that Posseidon is the choice par excellence “because of the watery nature of Piscies.”[14]The earliest attested occurrence of the name, written in Linear B, is Po-se-da-o or Po-se-da-wo-ne, which correspond to Poseidaōn and Poseidawonos in Mycenean Greek; in Homeric Greek it appears as Ποσειδάων (Poseidaōn); in Aeolic as Ποτειδάων (Poteidaōn); and in Doric as Ποτειδάν (Poteidan), Ποτειδάων (Poteidaōn), and Ποτειδᾶς (Poteidas).The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon. Linear B tablets show that Poseidon was venerated at Pylos and Thebes in pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece, but he was integrated into the Olympian gods as the brother of Zeus and Hades.[15] His consort was Amphitrite, a nymph and ancient sea-goddess, daughter of Nereus and Doris. Poseidon was the father of many heroes. He is thought to have fathered the famed Theseus. There is a Homeric hymn to Poseidon, who was the protector of many Hellenic cities, although he lost the contest for Athens to Athena. The origins of the name “Poseidon” are unclear. One theory breaks it down into an element meaning “husband” or “lord” (Greek πόσις (posis), from PIE *pótis) and another element meaning “earth” (δᾶ (da), Doric for γῆ ()), producing something like lord or spouse of Da, i.e. of the earth; this would link him with Demeter, “Earth-mother.”[16] Walter Burkert finds that “the second element da- remains hopelessly ambiguous” and finds a “husband of Earth” reading “quite impossible to prove.”[17] Another theory interprets the second element as related to the word *δᾶϜον dawon, “water”; this would make *Posei-dawōn into the master of waters.[18] There is also the possibility that the word has Pre-Greek origin.[19] Plato in his dialogue Cratylus gives two alternative etymologies: either the sea restrained Poseidon when walking as a foot-bond (ποσί-δεσμον), or he knew many things (πολλά εἰδότος or πολλά εἰδῶν).[20] Poseidon was a major civic god of several cities: in Athens, he was second only to Athena in importance, while in Corinth and many cities of Magna Graecia he was the chief god of the polis. In his benign aspect, Poseidon was seen as creating new islands and offering calm seas. When offended or ignored, he supposedly struck the ground with his trident and caused chaotic springs, earthquakes, drownings and shipwrecks. Sailors prayed to Poseidon for a safe voyage, sometimes drowning horses as a sacrifice; in this way, according to a fragmentary papyrus, Alexander the Great paused at the Syrian seashore before the climactic battle of Issus, and resorted to prayers, “invoking Poseidon the sea-god, for whom he ordered a four-horse chariot to be cast into the waves.”[21] According to Pausanias, Poseidon was one of the caretakers of the oracle at Delphi before Olympian Apollo took it over. Apollo and Poseidon worked closely in many realms: in colonization, for example, Delphic Apollo provided the authorization to go out and settle, while Poseidon watched over the colonists on their way, and provided the lustral water for the foundation-sacrifice. Xenophon’s Anabasis describes a group of Spartan soldiers in 400–399 BCE singing to Poseidon a paean—a kind of hymn normally sung for Apollo. Like Dionysus, who inflamed the maenads, Poseidon also caused certain forms of mental disturbance. A Hippocratic text of ca 400 BCE, On the Sacred Disease[22] says that he was blamed for certain types of epilepsy. In Greek art, Poseidon rides a chariot that was pulled by a hippocampus or by horses that could ride on the sea. He was associated with dolphins and three-pronged fish spears (tridents). He lived in a palace on the ocean floor, made of coral and gems. In the Iliad Poseidon favors the Greeks, and on several occasions takes an active part in the battle against the Trojan forces. However, in Book XX he rescues Aeneas after the Trojan prince is laid low by Achilles. In the Odyssey, Poseidon is notable for his hatred of Odysseus who blinded the god’s son, the cyclops Polyphemus. The enmity of Poseidon prevents Odysseus’s return home to Ithaca for many years. Odysseus is even told, notwithstanding his ultimate safe return, that to placate the wrath of Poseidon will require one more voyage on his part. In the Aeneid, Neptune is still resentful of the wandering Trojans, but is not as vindictive as Juno, and in Book I he rescues the Trojan fleet from the goddess’s attempts to wreck it, although his primary motivation for doing this is his annoyance at Juno’s having intruded into his domain. A hymn to Poseidon included among the Homeric Hymns is a brief invocation, a seven-line introduction that addresses the god as both “mover of the earth and barren sea, god of the deep who is also lord of Helicon and wide Aegae,[23] and specificies his twofold nature as an Olympian: “a tamer of horses and a saviour of ships.”


[11] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 8; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 86; Stephan E. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 50-51.
[12] Modern Greek scholars (e.g. Koutouzis, Vassilis Volcanoes and Earthquakes in Troizinia) do not metaphorically refer to Poseidon but instead to Enceladus, the chief of the ancient Giants, to denote earthquakes in Greece.
[13] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 86.
[14] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 85.
[15]Burkert, Walter (1985). Greek Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 136–39.
[16]Pierre Chantraine Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue grecque Paris 1974-1980 4th s.v.
[17]Burkert, Walter (1985). Greek Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 136–39.
[18]Martin Nilsson p.417, p.445.
[19]Beekes. Greek etymological Dictionary. Entry 1651. lemma da~, s.v Poseidw-n.
[20]Plato, Cratylus, 402d 402e.
[21]Papyrus Oxyrrhincus FGH 148, 44, col. 2; quoted by Robin Lane Fox, Alexander the Great (1973) 1986:168 and note. Alexander also invoked other sea deities: Thetis, mother of his hero Achilles, Nereus and the Nereids
[22] Hippocrates, On the Sacred Disease, Written 400 B.C.E Translated by Francis Adams
[23]The ancient palace-city that was replaced by Vergina.

The Roman Deity Correspondence: Neptune

KingNeptune_ANeptune (Latin: Neptūnus) was the god of water and the sea[24] in Roman mythology and religion. He is the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto, each of them presiding over one of the three realms of the universe, Heaven, Earth and the Netherworld. Depictions of Neptune in Roman mosaics, especially those of North Africa, are influenced by Hellenistic conventions.[25] Unlike the Greek Oceanus, titan of the world-ocean, Neptune was associated as well with fresh water. Georges Dumézil suggested[26] that for Latins, who were not a seafaring people, the primary identification of Neptune was with freshwater springs. Like Poseidon, Neptune was worshipped by the Romans also as a god of horses, under the name Neptunus Equester, a patron of horse-racing.[27] The etymology of Neptunus is unclear and disputed. The ancient grammarian Varro derived the name from nuptus i.e. covering (opertio), with a more or less explicit allusion to the nuptiae, marriage of Heaven and Earth.[28]The theology of Neptune may only be reconstructed to some extent as since very early times he was identified with the Greek god Poseidon, as he is present already in the lectisternium of 399 BC.[29] Such an identification may well be grounded in the strict relationship between the Latin and Greek theologies of the two deities.[30] It has been argued that Indo-European people, having no direct knowledge of the sea as they originated from inland areas, reused the theology of a deity originally either chthonic or wielding power over inland freshwaters as the god of the sea. This feature has been preserved particularly well in the case of Neptune who was definitely a god of springs, lakes and rivers before becoming also a god of the sea, as is testified by the numerous findings of inscriptions mentioning him in the proximity of such locations. Servius the grammarian also explicitly states Neptune is in charge of all the rivers, springs and waters.[31] He may find a parallel in Irish god Nechtan, master of the well from which all the rivers of the world flow out and flow back to. Poseidon on the other hand underwent the process of becoming the main god of the sea at a much earlier time, as is shown in the Iliad. In the earlier times it was the god Portunes or Fortunus who was thanked for naval victories, but Neptune supplanted him in this role by at least the first century BC when Sextus Pompeius called himself “son of Neptune.”[32] For a time he was paired with Salacia, the goddess of the salt water. Neptune was also considered the legendary progenitor god of a Latin stock, the Faliscans, who called themselves Neptunia proles. In this respect he was the equivalent of Mars, Janus, Saturn and even Jupiter among Latin tribes. Salacia would represent the virile force of Neptune.[33]The Neptunalia was the festival of Neptune on July 23, at the height of summer. The date and the construction of tree-branch shelters[34] suggest a primitive role for Neptune as god of water sources in the summer’s drought and heat.[35]The most ancient Roman calendar set the feriae of Neptunus on July 23, two days after the Lucaria of July 19 and 21 and two days before the Furrinalia of July 25. G. Wissowa had already remarked that festivals falling in a range of three days are related to each other. Dumezil elaborated that these festivals were all in some way related to the importance of the function of water during the period of summer heat (canicula), when river and spring waters are at their lowest.

Neptune had two temples in Rome. The first, built in 25 BC, stood near the Circus Flaminius, the Roman racetrack, and contained a famous sculpture of a marine group by Scopas. The second, the Basilica Neptuni, was built on the Campus Martius and dedicated by Agrippa in honour of the naval victory of Actium.[36]Neptune is one of only three Roman gods to whom it was appropriate to offer the sacrifice of bulls, the other two being Apollo and Mars.[37] The wrong offering would require a piaculum if due to inadvertency or necessity. The type of the offering implies a stricter connection between the deity and the worldly realm.[38]The overflowing of Lake Albanus happened on the date of the Neptunalia. This prodigy that foretold the fall of Veii is a historical event that Dumezil ascribed to the Roman habit of projecting legendary heritage onto their own history. Livy relates that a haruspex from Veii who had been taken prisoner inadvertently gave away the prophecy that Veii would fall if the waters of the lake should overflow in the inland direction. On the contrary the fact would go to the disadvantage of Rome if the waters were to overflow towards the sea. The prophecy was confirmed by the oracle of Delphi consulted by the Roman senate.This legend would show the scope of the powers hidden in waters and the religious importance of their control: Veientans knowing the fact had been digging channels for a long time as recent archaeological finds confirm. There is a temporal coincidence between the conjuration of the prodigy and the works of derivation recommended by Palladius and Columella at the time of the canicula, when the waters are at their lowest. Paredrae are entities who pair or accompany a god. They represent the fundamental aspects or the powers of the god with whom they are associated. In Roman religion they are often female. In later times under Hellenising influence they came to be considered as separate deities and consorts of the god.[39] However this misconception might have been widespread in earlier folk belief.[40] In the view of Dumézil,[41] Neptune’s two paredrae Salacia and Venilia represent the overpowering and the tranquil aspects of water, both natural and domesticated: Salacia would impersonate the gushing, overbearing waters and Venilia the still or quietly flowing waters.[42]Salacia and Venilia has been the object of the attention of scholars both ancient and modern. Varro connects the first to salum, sea, and the second to ventus, wind.[43] Festus writes of Salacia that she is the deity that generates the motion of the sea.[44] While Venilia would cause the waves to come to the shore Salacia would cause their retreating towards the high sea.[45]Among modern scholars Dumézil with his followers Bloch and Schilling centre their interpretation of Neptune on the more direct, concrete, limited value and functions of water. Accordingly Salacia would represent the forceful and violent aspect of gushing and overflowing water, Venilia the tranquil, gentle aspect of still or slowly flowing water. German scholar H. Petersmann has proposed a rather different interpretation of the theology of Neptune. Developing his understanding of the theonym as rooted in IE *nebh, he argues that the god would be an ancient deity of the cloudy and rainy sky in company with and in opposition to Zeus/Jupiter, god of the clear bright sky. Similar to Caelus, he would be the father of all living beings on Earth through the fertilising power of rainwater. This hieros gamos of Neptune and Earth would be reflected in literarature, e.g. in Vergil Aen. V 14 pater Neptunus. The virile potency of Neptune would be represented by Salacia (derived from salax, salio in its original sense of salacious, lustful, desiring sexual intercourse, covering). Salacia would then represent the god’s desire for intercourse with Earth, his virile generating potency manifesting itself in rainfall. While Salacia would denote the overcast sky, the other character of the god would be reflected by his other paredra Venilia, representing the clear sky dotted with clouds of good weather. The theonym Venilia would be rooted in a not attested adjective *venilis, from IE root *ven(h) meaning to love, desire, realised in Sanskrit vánati, vanóti, he loves, Old Island. vinr friend, German Wonne, Latin Venus, venia. Reminiscences of this double aspect of Neptune would be found in Catullus 31. 3: “uterque Neptunus“.[46] Poseidon was connected to the horse since the earliest times, well before any connection of him with the sea was attested, and may even have originally been conceived under equine form. Such a feature is a reflection of his own chtonic, violent, brutal nature as earth-quaker, as well as of the link of the horse with springs, i.e. underground water, and the psychopompous character inherent in this animal.[47] There is no such direct connexion in Rome. Neptune does not show any direct equine character or linkage. It was Roman god Consus who bore a connexion to horses. Perhaps under the influence of Poseidon Ίππιος Consus was reinterpreted as Neptunus equestris and for his underground altar also identified with Poseidon Ένοσίχθων. The archaic and arcane character of his cult, which required the unearthing of the altar, are signs of the great antiquity of this deity and of his chtonic character. He was certainly a deity of agrarian plenty and of fertility. Dumezil interprets its name as derived from condere hide, store as a verbal noun in -u parallel to Sancus and Janus, meaning god of stored grains.[48] Martianus Capella places Neptune and Consus together in region X of Heaven: it might be that he followed an already old interpretatio graeca of Consus or he might be reflecting an Etruscan idea of a chthonic Neptune. Etruscans were particularly fond of horse races.[49]Nethuns is the Etruscan name of the god. In the past it has been believed that the Roman theonym derived from Etruscan but more recently this view has been rejected. Nethuns was certainly an important god for the Etruscans. His name is to be found on two cases of the Piacenza Liver, namely case 7 on the outer rim and case 28 on the gall-bladder, (plus once in case 22 along with Tinia). This last location tallies with Pliny the Elder’s testimony that the gall-bladder is sacred to Neptune.[50] Theonym Nethuns recurs eight times on columns VIII, IX and XI of the Liber Linteus (flere, flerchva Nethunsl), requiring offerings of wine.[51]In Martianus Capella’s depiction of Heaven Neptune is located in region X along with the Lar Omnium Cunctalis (of everybody), Neverita and Consus. The presence of the Lar Omnium Cunctalis might be connected with the theology of Neptune as a god of fertility, human included, while Neverita is a theonym derived from an archaic form of Nereus and Nereid, before the fall of the digamma.[52]Among ancient sources Arnobius provides important information about the theology of Neptune: he writes that according to Nigidius Figulus Neptune was considered one of the Etruscan Penates, together with Apollo, the two deities being credited with bestowing on Ilium its immortal walls. In another place of his work, book VI, Nigidius wrote that, according to the Etrusca Disciplina, his were one among the four genera, types of Penates: of Iupiter, of Neptune, of the underworld and of mortal men. According to another tradition related by a Caesius,[53] also based on the same source, the Etruscan Penates would be Fortuna, Ceres, Genius Iovialis and Pales, this last one being the male Etruscan god (ministrum Iovis et vilicum, domestic and peasant of Jupiter).[54]Etruscan representations of the god are rare but significative. The oldest is perhaps the carved carnelian scarab from Vulci of the 4th century BC: Nethuns kicks a rock and creates a spring. (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Medailles). Another Etruscan gem (from the collection of Luynes, inscribed Nethunus) depicts the god making a horse spring out of the earth with a blow of his trident.[55]A bronze mirror from Tuscania dated to 350 BC also in the Vatican Museums (Museo Gregoriano Etrusco E. S. 1. 76). Nethuns is talking to Usil and Thesan. In the lower exergue is an anguiped demon who holds a dolphin in each hand (identification with Aplu-Apollo is clear also because Uśil holds a bow). Nethuns holds a double-ended trident, suggesting he might be one of the gods who can wield lightningbolts.[56] The Renaissance brought with it a revival in pagan art, and many pagan gods were depicted in the same classical models used in Greek and Roman times. However, with Neptune few such models existed, allowing the artists of the Renaissance to depict Neptune however they chose. The results included a face and actions that seemed more mortal, as well as associations with Hercules. The overall effect was to change Neptune’s image to a less deified state.[57]


[24] J. Toutain, Les Cultes Païens de l’Empire Romain, vol. I (1905:378) securely identified Italic Neptune as a god of freshwater sources as well as the sea.
[25]Alain Cadotte, “Neptune Africain”, Phoenix 56.3/4 (Autumn/Winter 2002:330-347) detected syncretic traces of a Lybian/Punic agrarian god of fresh water sources, with the epithet Frugifer, “fruit-bearer”; Cadotte enumerated (p.332) some north African Roman mosaics of the fully characteristic Triumph of Neptune, whether riding in his chariot or mounted directly on sea-beasts.
[26] Dumézil, La religion romaine archaïque (Paris, 1966:381)
[27]Compare Epona.
[28]Varro Lingua Latina V 72: Neptunus, quod mare terras obnubuit ut nubes caelum, ab nuptu, id est opertione, ut antiqui, a quo nuptiae, nuptus dictus.: “N., because the sea covered the lands as the clouds the sky, from nuptus i.e. covering, as the ancients (used to say), whence nuptiae marriage, was named nuptus“.
[29]Livy v. 13.6; Dionysius of Halicarnassus 12.9; Showerman, Grant. The Great Mother of the Gods. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 1901:223
[30] Raymond Bloch “Quelques remarques sur Poseidon, Neptunus and Nethuns” in Revue de l’Histoire des Religions 1981 p.341-352.
[31]Bloch above p.346; Servius Ad Georgicae IV 24.
[32]Fox, Robin Lane. The Classical World. Basic Books, 2006. p. 412.
[33]W. W. Fowler above p. 186 n. 3 citing Servius Ad Aen. V 724; later Doctor Fowler disowned this interpretation of Salacia.
[34]CIL, vol. 1,pt 2:323; Varro, De lingua latina vi.19.
[35] “C’est-à-dire au plus fort de l’été, au moment de la grande sécheresse, et qu’on y construisaient des huttes de feuillage en guise d’abris contre le soleil” (Cadotte 2002:342, noting Sextus Pompeius Festus, De verborum significatu [ed. Lindsay 1913] 519.1)
[36]Ball Platner, Samuel; Ashby, Thomas (1929), A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, “Basilica Neptuni”, London: Oxford University Press.
[37]Macrobius Saturnalia III 10,4.
[38]G. Dumezil “Quaestiunculae indo-italicae: 11. Iovi tauro verre ariete immolari non licet” Revue d’Etudes Latins 39 1961 p. 241-250.
[39]William Warde Fowler The Religious Experience of the Roman People London, 1912, p. 346f.
[40] Aulus Gellius Noctes Atticae XIII 24, 1-18.
[41]Dumézil here accepts and reproposes the interpretations of Wissowa and von Domaszewski.
[42] Dumezil above p.31.
[43]Varro Lingua Latina V 72.
[44]Festus p. L s.v.
[45]Varro apud Augustine De Civitate Dei VII 22.
[46]Catullus 31. 3: “Paene insularum, Sirmio, insularumque/ ocelle , quascumque in liquentibus stagnis/ marique vasto fert uterque Neptunus/…”: the quoted words belong to a passage in which the poet seems to be hinting to the double nature of Neptune as god both of the freshwaters and of the sea.
[47]Raymond Bloch above p. 43.
[48]Cf. the related deities of the Circus Semonia, Seia, Segetia, Tutilina: Tertullian De Spectaculis VIII 3.
[49] R. Bloch above ; G. Capdeville “Les dieux de Martianus Capella” in Revue de l’Histoire des Religions 213-3, 1996, p. 282 n. 112.
[50]R. Bloch above; Pliny Nat. Hist. XI 195.
[51]N. Thomas De Grummond Etruscam Myth, Sacred History and Legend Univ. of Pennsylvania Press 2006 p. 145.
[52] Ludwig Preller Römische Mythologie Berlin, 1858, II p. 1.
[53]It is difficult to ascertain his identity.
[54] Arnobius Adversus Nationes III 40, 1-2.
[55] Jacques Heurgon in R. Bloch above p. 352.
[56]N. Thomas De Grummond Etruscam Myth, Sacred History and Legend Univ. of Pennsylvania Press 2006, p. 145.
[57]Freedman, Luba (September 1995), “Neptune in classical and Renaissance visual art” (PDF), International Journal of the Classical Tradition (Springer Netherlands) 2 (2): 219–237.

The Egyptian Deity Correspondence: Kephra

kephraaThe Egyptian dity correspondence for the 29th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Kephra.[58] All these symbols, Regardie tells us, “conceal, or the formula of Tetragrammaton.”[59] Crowley tell us “Hermes psychopompos, connected with the symbolism of Kephra traveling under the Earth.”[60]

The Christian Deity Correspondence: Jesus as the Piscean

jesus11The-Fisherman-PostersEven if Crowley makes no mention of this, it seems that another correspondence for the 29th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is Jesus the Pisciean.[61] Jesus of Nazareth is sometimes termed “the Piscean,” and by hearing that some people will recall early Christian amulets upon which were inscribed the Greek word Ichthus, meaning “fish,” and referring of course to the personality recognized as the Son of God by the Christian churches. The Babylonian teacher of wisdom Oannes, was also represented in phallic fish form. Each New Age, it seems, has its ‘Messiah’. Jesus or Yeshua, (which was more likely his actual name) heralded the birthing of the Piscean age; the Age of Pisces the Two Fish. It seems that it all started with the theme of the fish. The first four men Jesus called to be His disciples were originally fishermen. This is how it happened: “Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, ‘Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.’ They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed. A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.”[62]

fishjesusThey hung out with Jesus for three years, and after Jesus was crucified, they planned on going back to the fishing industry.[63] Instead, they all started the Church and adopted the fish as their main symbol. Fish symbolism is abundant in the New Testament. Jesus feeds 5000 people with bread and two fish. The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand is found in all four Gospels.[64] It is also interesting to take a look at John’s version because he actually mentions the boy: “Another one of his disciples, Andrew, who was Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.’ ‘Make the people sit down,’ Jesus told them. (There was a lot of grass there.) So all the people sat down; there were about five thousand men. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to God, and distributed it to the people who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, and they all had as much as they wanted. When they were all full, He said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces left over; let us not waste a bit.’ So they gathered them all and filled twelve baskets with the pieces left over from the five barley loaves which the people had eaten”[65]The early Church Fathers saw the Fish as a double symbol of the Savior and of the saved. Clement of Alexandria, in his hymn, calls Christ the “Fisher of men that are saved, who with his sweet life catches the pure fish out of the hostile flood in the sea of iniquity.”

Tertullian, in his essay on baptism writes: “We little fishes, as Jesus Christ is our great Fish, begin our life in the water, and can only be safe by continuing in the water … that is if we are faithful to our baptismal covenant, and preserve the grace there received.”

The glyph of Pisces is based on another symbol called The Vesica Pisces, which was embraced by Early-Christians and used frequently in Christian churches. In Latin it means “mouth of the fish” or “the vessel of the fish.” It looks like a human eye or a fish without a tail. Vesica Pisces is also known as Ichthys, Jesus Fish and Mandorla (almond in Italian).” The Vesica Pisces (piscis) or “Jesus fish,” has an unusual history. Used almost exclusively today to denote membership in the Christian religion, the symbol once held a very different meaning (even to the early Christians who adopted it). The word usually found inscribed within, IXOYE (Ichthus), is Greek, meaning fish. The emblem became significant to Christians after St. Augustine, who extracted the word from the acrostic prophecy* of the Erythraean Sibyl, and applied the kabbalistic technique of notarikon (acrostic) to the word to reveal “Jesus Christ, God’s son, savior.”

The term is also used more generally for any symmetric lens.

The Vesica Piscis is a shape that is derived from the intersection of two circles with the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each circle lies on the circumference of the other. The name literally means the “bladder of a fish” in Latin. The shape is also called mandorla (“almond” in Italian). The Pythagorean called it “measure of the fish” and it was a mystical symbol of the intersection of the world of the divine with the world of matter and the beginning of creation. To the Pythagoreans, the whole of creation was based on number, and by studying the properties of number, they believed one could achieve spiritual liberation. The Vesica Pisces was the symbol of the first manifestation, the dyad (reflection) that gaves birth to the entire manifest universe. Within the Vesica can be found the triangle, the tetrad, the square, the pentacle, and many more polygons, making the vesica a true symbolic womb. Adding a third circle creates a triquetra representing the trinity; continuing the pattern generates an image of the “flower of life” or “fisherman’s net.” The custom of early Christians to communicate by drawing a portion in the dust was carried over from the practice of the ancient Pythagoreans, who discovered the shape’s unique properties and made it an important part of their teachings. Curiously, the New Testament story of the loaves and fishes secretly reveals the geometric formula for the fish shaped device, as does the story of the miraculous catch: “Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.”[66]

In earlier times, this glyph was associated with the Goddess Venus, and represented female genitalia. Early depictions of Christ depict him as an infant within the vesica (In this context, it is usually referred to as a mandorla, meaning ‘almond shaped.’), which represented the womb of Mary, and often, the coming together of heaven and earth in the body of Jesus (part man, part god). As such, it is also a doorway or portal between worlds, and symbolizes the intersection between the heavens and the material plane.

The Vesica Pisces is the most basic and important construction in Sacred Geometry. A Vesica is formed when the circumference of two identical circles each pass through the center of the other. When a Vesica Piscis is viewed horizontally, it looks like a vagina or a womb which is why the Christ child was often pictured inside of one. When the Vesica Pisces is viewed vertically it looks like the shape of a fish. Amazingly, the above two Vesica Pisces each have a horizontal axis equal in length to the gematria value of the Greek word for “fishes” (1224) while the top and bottom circles that form the two fish have a combined circumference equal to the raised Jesus (8880)! The shape of arches in Gothic architecture is based on the vesica. The Vesica Piscis is also used as proportioning system in architecture, in particular Gothic Architecture. The system was illustrated in Cesar Cesariano’s Vitruvius (1521), which he called “the rule of the German architects.”The mathematical ratio of the width of the vesica piscis to its height is the square root of 3, or 1.7320508… (since if straight lines are drawn connecting the centers of the two circles with each other and with the two points where the circles intersect, two equilateral triangles join along an edge). The ratios 265:153 = 1.7320261… and 1351:780 = 1.7320513… are two of a series of approximations to this value, each with the property that no better approximation can be obtained with smaller whole numbers. Archimedes of Syracuse, in his On the Measurement of the Circle, uses these ratios as upper and lower bounds:[67]

In Masonic literature, the Vesica is first stressed by George Oliver who argues that the vesica is “a universal exponent of architecture or Masonry, and the original source or fountain from which its signs and symbols are derived— it constituted the great and enduring secret of our ancient brethren.”[68] In his Prestonian Lecture, Masonic historian W.W. Covey-Crump calls this statement “quite right,” and expresses that “the Vesica Piscis had even from the time of the Primitive Christians possessed a sacred symbolical significance, though the purport of that significance was variously interpreted owing to the secrecy of its transmission.”[69] A.F.A. Woodford recorded that many considered the vesica to be an early Masonic emblem, and that the renowned scholar and cleric Moses Margoliouth declared that “formerly our Grand Masters wore a silver fish.”[70] Such artifacts may have disappeared over time—however, but the vesica piscis has been used often as a symbol within Freemasonry, most notably in the shapes of the collars worn by officiants of the Masonic rituals.[71] It was also considered the proper shape for the enclosure of the seals of Masonic lodges.[72]As Albert G. Mackey wrote in his Encyclopædia of Freemasonry: “As a symbol, it was frequently employed as a church decoration by the Freemasons of the Middle Ages. The seals of all colleges, abbeys, and other religious communities, as well as of ecclesiastical persons, were invariably made of this shape. Hence, in reference to the religious character of the Institution, it has been suggested that the seals of Masonic Lodges should also have that form, instead of the circular one now used.”[73]

In Christian art, some aureolas are in the shape of a vertically oriented vesica piscis, and the seals of ecclesiastical organizations can be enclosed within a vertically oriented vesica piscis (instead of the more usual circular enclosure).The following painting of Jesus within a Vesica Pisces is copied from a medieval illuminated manuscript (c. 1220) kept today in the Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe, Germany Cod. Bruchsal 1, Bl. 1v.

If we take Pisces in his zodiacal sense, and consequently in the sense of the Aeon of Pisces, and if we examine the role that mystic literature has attributed to Jesus in it, we then obtain a quite different picture of the Jesus the Piscean character. Everybody remembers that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, he was very upset to see his people still worshiping a golden bull-calf. He saw that the people were still stuck in the traditions, the way of thinking, of the Age of Taurus the Bull, which was over. Moses was the ‘Messiah’ for the incoming Age of Aries the Ram, and upon the arrival of the new age, everyone must shed the old age. Jews today still blow the Ram’s horn, which was a symbol of the Age of Aries. When Jesus is asked by his disciples where the next ‘Passover’ will be, Jesus replied: “Behold, when ye are entered into the city, (the new consciousness) there shall a man meet you ‘bearing a pitcher of water’… follow him into the house where he entereth in.”[74] This scripture is clearly an astrological reference. The man ‘bearing a pitcher’ of water is Aquarius, the water-bearer, who is always shown as a man pouring out a pitcher of water. He represents the age after Pisces, and when the Sun (God’s Sun) leaves the Age of Pisces (Jesus/Yeshua), it will go into the House of Aquarius, as Aquarius follows Pisces in the precession of the equinoxes. Jesus is saying that after the Age of Pisces, will come the Age of Aquarius. When we look back on this time in say twenty years, who I wonder will stand out as having been the New Messiah who brought in the Aquarian Age? It will be interesting to see….We have all heard about the end times and the end of the world. Apart from the occult depictions in the Book of Revelation, the main source of this idea comes from Matthew 28:20, where, in the King James Version, Jesus says “I will be with you even to the end of the world.” However, ‘world’ is a mistranslation (among many mistranslations). The actual word being used is ‘aeon’, which means ‘age.’ “I will be with you even to the end of the age.” Which is true, as Jesus’ Solar Piscean personification will end when the Sun enters the Age of Aquarius. The entire concept of end times and the end of the world is a misinterpreted astrological allegory. And there you have it. We are at the end of an Age and the end of this book. A new Age is dawning, and my writing career has just begun! Follow the journeys of Stig, Jo, Seb, Greg, Weylin and Donna, and delve deeper into the life of the mysterious Rogan in “BEFORE CREATION II – As it is in Heaven” when it emerges from the realm of dreams into manifest reality……. “City” when mentioned in the Bible is often allegorical for a place in consciousness. The New Jerusalem is the New Consciousness, and since consciousness relates to geometry it can also be drawn built and lived in.

Astrologers view Jesus as the New Age Christ who models Christ Consciousness and embodies the purest principles of Pisces in order that humanity can learn from the Age of Pisces. His lesson was that we need to give up the illusion of being separate so that we can be “liberated from the cycle of births and deaths,” and “be reborn in the womb of God…..This is symbolized in the Resurrection (Easter), which takes place in Aries. This completes the Zodiac circle, for he who died as a mortal Man on Earth was reborn as immortal Spirit in the Heavens.”47 One can see how easily the spiritual sign of Pisces can be welded to the new spiritual Jesus, one who came at the beginning of an age representing cleansing, compassion, and martyrdom for a higher spiritual understanding and evolution. Jesus’ modeling of Christ Consciousness fits into the Piscean ideal of spiritual self-sacrifice like hand in glove. Jesus’ teachings on loving your neighbor, turning the other cheek, humility, and even his sacrifice on the cross, are seen by astrologers as a perfect match for Piscean qualities. A response to Jesus as the Piscean Avatar can be made in three areas: A response to the asserted connection between Jesus and Pisces, a response to astrology, and a response to the Piscean Jesus based on the Biblical Jesus.

The tie between Jesus and Pisces is made on superficial connections such as water and fish imagery, as well as on deeper correlations such as the Christlike traits of compassion and universal love with the Piscean ideal. Examples of fish, water, and miracles with fish abound in the Bible stories about Jesus because Jesus lived in a land and culture where the major source of protein came from the sea. Other sources of protein were rare, and so fish was the normal food near the Sea of Galilee.[75] The fish was an early symbol of Christ because the Greek word based on the initials of “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” spelled “fish.” Also, the connection to baptism and to men becoming “fishers of men” for Christ may have played a part in this.[76] In a desert land such as where Jesus lived, water naturally was important. Water for baptism was symbolic of cleansing, and for Christians, of new birth in Christ. To read a spiritual meaning beyond this or to make a connection with Pisces is reading beyond the normal, literal situations and inserting a meaning that is not there. The Bible stories also refer to donkeys, feasts, tax collectors, salt, birds, light, the Pharisees, scribes, rich men, the Law, fig trees, sheep, and parables about seeds, yet none of these things would normally fall under Pisces, Neptune or the twelfth house. Traditionally, the twelfth house of Pisces has signified the outcasts and disenfranchised. It is true that Jesus, who exemplified humility, did go to these types of people, and so another connection is asserted in this area. However, in context, Jesus modeled God’s love for these people because of who he was, the Son of God, and He was showing the religious leaders that they were not being compassionate. He was teaching love, but a love based on God’s love, not an amorphous universal love that is talked about but has no standard by which to measure it. God is the standard for love (1 John 3:1, 23; 4:10), and we love because God manifested His love for us through Christ (1 John 4:9). This type of love is not what is meant by New Age astrologers when they talk about love and compassion, for they mean an undefined love based a connection to universal energy or based on recognition of one’s self as God: “Your mind is everywhere because it is God’s mind. Everything that you need to know is in that mind. God is in your mind; you are very holy…You are the Jesus Christ in a collectivity of these times,”50 or as Walsch’s ?God’ so succinctly puts it, “The most loving person is the person who is Self-centered.”51

This kind of love is based on a focus on self as God and on techniques that trigger this awareness. This is taught very clearly in Redfield’s book where the narrator is told that love “is a background emotion that exists when one is connected to the energy available in the universe, which, of course, is the energy of God.”52 New Age philosophy quotes “God is love” (1 John 4:8) but neglects or denies who this God is. It is also a fallacy to believe that if God is love, then all love is God, leaving the meaning of love open to whatever one may feel it is. This is like saying that the ocean is blue, so all blue things are the ocean. To understand that God is love requires us to know who this God of love is: “…everyone who loves is born of God and knows God,” (I John 4:7). The God who said this is also the God who sent Christ as the Savior (John 6:29; 7:33; 8:18, 26, 42; 9:4). We know God through Christ (John 8:19; 10:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6). This God is the God who reveals himself in his word; those who reject his words do not know him. As Jesus himself said, “He who is of God hears the words of God,” (John 8:47). Moreover, we cannot love on our own, but only when we recognize this God as the source of love: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins,” (I John 4:10, 11). To unselfishly love and serve the outcasts, the disenfranchised, the misfits, and the rejected is a reflection of the kind of love God shows for us, not a love with which we can credit ourselves. Those who claim to know Christ as Savior should heed this and allow Christ to be the model and motivation for this kind of love because “Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us,” (2 Corinthians 5:14)
In modern days, we see the Jesus-fish on the backs of people’s cars. Most of the drivers probably do not know that it is actually a Pagan astrological symbol for the Sun’s Kingdom during the Age of Pisces.


[58] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 6; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p.86; Stephan E. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p. 50-51.
[59] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p.86.
[60] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 85.
[61] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p.86.
[62]The Bible, Matthew 4: 18-22.
[63] The Bible, John 21: 1-3.
[64] The Bible, Matthew 14: 15-21, Mark 6: 30-44, Luke 9: 12-17, and John 6: 4-13.
[65]The Bible, John 6: 8-13, TEV.
[66] The Bible, John 21:11.
[67]Heath, Thomas Little (1897), The Works of Archimedes, Cambridge University, pp. lxxvii ; 50.
[68] George Oliver (1875), Discrepancies of Masonry, p. 109.
[69] W.W. Covey-Crump, The Collected Prestonian Lectures, vol. 1, pp. 146–47)
[70] Kenning (1878), Masonic Cyclopædia, p. 224.
[71]J. S. M. Ward (1924), An Interpretation of Our Masonic Symbols, pp. 34–35.
[72]Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, 1921 ed., vol. 2, p. 827.
[73]Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopædia of Freemasonry 1921 edition, vol. 2, p. 827.
[74] The Bible, Luke 22:10.
[75] Fred H. Wight, Manners & Customs of Bible Lands (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 51, 213.
[76] Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, ed. R. K. Harrison, Revised and Updated Edition, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988), 430.

The Sacred Animal Correspondence: The Dolphin

dolphin1The sacred creature correspondence for this twenty-ninth path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the dolphin.[77] The reason for this attribution, Crowley tells us, is because the fish (which may seem to be the logical attribution here) belong more with Mercury.[78] Looking for another marine creature that would be adequate for this path, the dolphin seemed to be a logical second choice. The reason that motivated this choice, according to Crowley is because “the dolphin pertains to Pisces, principally because Venus is exhalted in the sign, while its ruler, Jupiter, is also implied in that attribution of which we see the outcome in the title of the Heir-apparent to the Crown of France.”[79] The dolphin always has been the favourite creature of ancient scientists, poets, artists, humorists and of just plain people. From the point of view of the scientist as well as the historian or the mythologist, “the history of the dolphin is one of the most fascinating and instructive in the hirtoriography and the history of ideas in the western world.”[80] The creatures we call dolphins are marine mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. Dolphin‘s friendly appearance and seemingly playful attitude have made them popular in human culture. The name is originally from Greek δελφίς (delphís), “dolphin,” which was related to the Greek δελφύς (delphus), “womb.” The animal’s name can therefore be interpreted as meaning “a ‘fish’ with a womb.” The name was transmitted via the Latin delphinus (the romanization of the later Greek δελφῖνος – delphinos), which in Middle Latin became dolfinus and in Old French daulphin, which reintroduced the ph into the word. The term mereswine (that is, “sea pig”) has also historically been used.In his History of Animals, Book 6, Aristotle delves with scientific detachment into the physiological and biological aspects of these creatures, be he remarks also on their parental affections. He noted their swift movement, their attachment to boys and what appear to be their group consciousness, solidarity and altruism. In the Natural History, Pliny the Elder repeats much of Aristote adding to swiftness the allegation that dolphin can fly over the sail of a ship. If we go look for them in their natural habitat, dolphins are smaller, tooted whales, like porpoise, pilot whale and the killer whale or Orcas. Famous for their acrobatic leap and spins, and their elegant arcing motion over the suface of the sea, their friendliness is well known but there is also something else, something elusive and subtle about them that make them especially sympathetic to humans; maybe it’s their perpetual smile formed by the curve of their beaklike snout. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera actually living in the oceans today. They vary in size from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (90 lb) (Maui’s dolphin), up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (9.8 long tons; 11 short tons) (the orca or killer whale). They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, eating mostly fish and squid. The family Delphinidae is the largest in the Cetacean order, and evolved relatively recently, about ten million years ago, during the Miocene. Dolphins have a streamlined fusiform body, adapted for fast swimming. The tail fin, called the fluke, is used for propulsion, while the pectoral fins together with the entire tail section provide directional control. The dorsal fin, in those species that have one, provides stability while swimming. The head contains the melon, a round organ used for echolocation. In many species, elongated jaws form a distinct beak. Some species have up to 250 teeth. Dolphins breathe through a blowhole on top of their head. The trachea is anterior to the brain. Dolphins’ reproductive organs are located on the underside of the body. Males have two slits, one concealing the penis and one further behind for the anus. The female has one genital slit, housing the vagina and the anus. Two mammary slits are positioned on either side of the female’s genital slit.

Dolphin fresco at the 4,000 year old Palace of Knossos

The first documented culture that seems to have mythology associated with the dolphin was the Minoan, a seafaring people in the Mediterranean. They left few written records, but they did leave beautiful murals on the walls of their palaces, murals that show the importance of dolphins in their mythology.The Greeks were among the first great seafaring nations, and the wealth of their civilization was built largely on their forays across the Mediterranean. It is not surprising, then, that dolphins appear frequently in Classical mythology – they are depicted, for example, on frescoes on the bathroom wall in the Palace of Knossos in Crete, which dates to 1600 BC– but it is through the writings of the Greek poets that most of the myths about dolphins are known to us today.

The Myth of the Kidnapping of Dionysos

The symbolism of the dolphin is usually linked with that of Water and metamorphosis. This symbolism is illustrated in the Greek myth telling the story of Dionysos’ failed kidnapping. Dionysos had hired a boat to take him to Naxos, when he noticed that the crew was steering towards Asia, undoubtedly to sell him into slavery. Thereupon he transformed their oars into serpents, filled their ship with ivy and caused the music of invisible flutes to be played. Wreathed in vines the ship lost way, the sailors went mad, jumped overboard and were turned into dolphins.

Pirates transforming into dolphins. Drawing from an Etruscan Black Figure Hydria, 510-500 BC

Since this day, dolphins became symbols of the power of regeneration. This Greek myth also explains why dolphins are friend to human and try to save them from shipwreck – they are reformed pirates.[81] This myth is often cited as the reason why, for many Greeks, killing a dolphin was an appalling crime. Dolphins were once human, and they retain human characteristics such as care for their young and sociability. According to the Greek poet Opplan, in his treatise on natural history: “The hunting of dolphins is immoral and whoever willingly devises destruction for dolphins can no more draw nigh the gods as a welcome sacrificer nor touch their altars with clean hands but pollutes those who share the same roof with him.”[82]

The Companionship between Dolphin & Men

The philosopher Plutarch regarded them as the only creatures that seek friendship for purely altruistic reasons. Pliny the Elder notes that the dolphin is not only friendly to man, but also a lover of music. He tells the story of a boy during the reign of Augustus, who becam found of a dolphin (calling him Simo) which he saw on his way to school from Baiae to Puteoli. The boy fed the animal bits of bread and was carried across the sea to Puteoli and back again, the spine of the dolphin being sheathed en route. The account continues with a sentimental twist: the boy died, but the dolphin continue to come on the same spot, manifesting every sign of deep affliction, until it too died of sorrow and regret. As if to substantiate this tale of emotional capacities, Pliny add the story of a dolphin at Iasus, off Caria, which liked a child and followed it too far, was caught by the tide, deposited on sands, and there expired. Alexander the Great subsequently made the boy a high priest of Neptune at Babylon, feeling a favor of Neptune for the lad. From Athenaeus, Book 13, we learn that the name of the boy was Dionysus. To continue the record of the sympathetic dolphin in a storm and was drowned. The creature returned the dead body but, as though guilt-conscious, lay down on the dry land and expired. This is the same story is recorded by Aulus Gelius, Book 8, and Theophrastus is credited as the original source. How dolphins help fishermen is also recorded by Pliny the elder. At Nemausus (Nîmes in southern France) multitudes of mullets are available at a certain season of the year. Since nets cannot hold the numerous mullets, the fishermen shout and summon Simo. Like shepherd dogs the dolphins cut off the mullets from deep water and permit the fishermen to catch them at will in the shallows. A similar account is given by a number of other ancient writers for other localities, off the coast of Euboea in Greece, Italy and Spain. Most of the dolphin stories of Aristotle and Pliny the Elder are repeated by Plutarch, but he adds some others. Soteles and Dionysus, sent by Ptolemy Soter to Sinope to bring back Serapis, were driven off course. A dolphin appeared at the prow of the ship and led them to safe port. A certain Coeranus once set free some dolphins and, when he was later shipwrecked, was the sole survivor, because a dolphin sped beneath him and buoyed him up. When Coeranus died, a shoal of dolphins as mourners attended his cremation. According to Plutarch, Odesseus’ son Telemachus when a small boy was saved by dolphins; the ring and shield of Odysseus accordingly had a dolphin on them. And Plutarch quotes the poet Pindar as signing of the dolphin moved by the sound of flutes. One of the better known, and even more fanciful, stories of the dolphin as a sea rescuer is told by Herodotus in Book I of the Histories. The poet Arion was robbed on shipboard and forced by the crew to jump over the side but he was rescued by a dolphin and reached Corinth, his destination, before the ship; there he confronted his former shipmates and frightened confessions from them. This story is repeated by Ovid and others; Pausanias, in the Description of Greece, Book 3, mentioning this story, adds that he himself had seen at Poroselene a dolphin so full of gratitude to a boy, by whom he had been healed of wounds, that he was obedient to the call of the boy and carried him on his back over the sea. This story is Greek art often depicts men riding dolphins. The dolphin continued to feature in art and sculpture wherever the Greeks had influence, from Palestine and Mesopotamia in the east to Rome in the west, and later throughout the Roman Empire. Even in the rock city of Petra, miles from the sea and hidden in a cleft in the Jordanian desert, there is a carving of a dolphin.Pliny the Younger was of course familiar with much of the material collected by his elder namesake. In his Letters, Book 9, he tells a story which he asserts is true but very similar to fiction. The scene is Hippo in Africa, where boys compete in swimming out into the sea as far as possible. One boy, too bold, launched out for the opposite shore of the estuary. He was met by a dolphin which guided him, took him on his back, let him down, took him up again, and brought him safely to his companions. Except for an account from 1837 of the assistance given by dolphins to the aborigenes of Queensland in fishing for mullet, there has been since antiquity practically no notice of unusual charateristics of the mammal until recently. [83] But in the past few decades the dolphin bibliography has reached impressive proportions. It seems that the observations and romanticization of ancient writers are by no means neglected, with corroborative incidents to indicate that a great deal of ancient testimony, once thought fanciful, is essentially true. In his book Porpoise and Sonar, Winthrop N. Kellogg gives two accounts of dolphins as resuers of human being in dangers of drowning. One incident concerns the report[84] of a mature well-educated woman who, in danger of drowning, felt a terrific shove which landed her on the beach, face down and exhausted. There was no one near her except a dolphin; a man watching from the shore reported that what the dolphin shoved to the shore looked like a dead body. The second incident, reported personally to Kellog, concerns Yvonne Bliss, who fell overboard off the east coast of Grand Bahama Island in the West Indies. While she was swimming and pulling off excess of clothing, she noticed nearby what she feared was a shark; it was a porpoise or dolphin which by contact guided her to shallow waters. The fondeness of dolphins or at least of one dolphin, for playing with children and carrying them for rides, even though short ones, is authentically reported. At Opononi in New Zealand a porpoise, named Opo by the people of the community attracted great crowds by his friendliness to swimmers, especially childrens.

The Dolphin’s Intelligence and Human-Dolphin Communication

As noted by Bearzi and Stanford “Intelligence, consciousness and compassion were among the words used by the ancient Greeks to describe theircompanions of the sea’.”[85]Dolphins are often regarded as one of Earth’s most intelligent animals, though it is hard to say just how intelligent. Comparing species’ relative intelligence is complicated by differences in sensory apparatus, response modes, and nature of cognition. The dolphin brain is large and highly complex, and is different in structure from that of most land mammals. Most dolphins have acute eyesight, both in and out of the water, and they can hear frequencies ten times or more above the upper limit of adult human hearing. Though they have a small ear opening on each side of their head, it is believed hearing underwater is also, if not exclusively, done with the lower jaw, which conducts sound to the middle ear via a fat-filled cavity in the lower jaw bone. Hearing is also used for echolocation, which all dolphins have. Dolphin teeth are believed to function as antennae to receive incoming sound and to pinpoint the exact location of an object.[86] Beyond locating an object, echolocation also provides the animal with an idea on the object’s shape and size, though how exactly this works is not yet understood. The Indus Dolphin is effectively blind. This may be because not much light penetrates the waters of the Indus River (due to suspended sediments), making eyes futile. The dolphin’s sense of touch is also well-developed, with free nerve endings densely packed in the skin, especially around the snout, pectoral fins and genital area. However, dolphins lack an olfactory nerve and lobes, and thus are believed to have no sense of smell. They do have a sense of taste and show preferences for certain kinds of fish. Since dolphins spend most of their time below the surface, tasting the water could function like smelling, in that substances in the water can signal the presence of objects that are not in the dolphin’s mouth. Individuals communicate using a variety of clicks, whistles-like sounds and other vocalizations. Membership in pods is not rigid; interchange is common. However, dolphins can establish strong social bonds; they will stay with injured or ill individuals, even helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed. Dolphins also display culture, something long believed to be unique to humans (and possibly other primate species). Scientifics in Australia recently found that Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) are teaching their young to use tools. They cover their snouts with sponges to protect them while foraging. This knowledge is mostly transferred by mothers to daughters, unlike simian primates, where knowledge is generally passed on to both sexes. Using sponges as mouth protection is a learned behavior. Another learned behavior was discovered among river dolphins in Brazil, where some male dolphins use weeds and sticks as part of a sexual display.Dolphins are capable of making a broad range of sounds using nasal airsacs located just below the blowhole. Roughly three categories of sounds can be identified: frequency modulated whistles, burst-pulsed sounds and clicks. Dolphins communicate with whistle-like sounds produced by vibrating connective tissue, similar to the way human vocal cords function, and through burst-pulsed sounds, though the nature and extent of that ability is not known. The clicks are directional and are for echolocation, often occurring in a short series called a click train. The click rate increases when approaching an object of interest. Dolphin echolocation clicks are amongst the loudest sounds made by marine animals.

The Dolphin as Soul Guide

Maybe their accute senses as well as their natural talent for orientation and geolocalisation in deep waters has something to do with the fact that dolphins used to play a part in funeral rites of several cultures in which it was regarded as a conductor of souls. The Creteans believed that the dead withdrew to the end of the Earth, to the Isle of the Blessed, and that the dolphins carried them on their backs to their homes beyond the tomb. Plutarch has told the story of Arion’s voyage, when dolphins saved him from the sailors who threatened to murder him and then escorted him on his way carrying him on their back.[87] His account contains a wealth of symbols which present no difficulty of interpretation. Arion passes from this violent and anxious world to immortal salvation thanks to the mediation of the dolphins. It is hardly surprising that Christ the Saviour was subsequently depicted as a dolphin. On a more ethical and psychological level, the account depicts the passage from a state of nervous stress and imagined terrors to the quietude of spiritual elightenment and contemplation by meditation upon the goodness (the life-saving dive, the ease and bening appearance of the dolphins and so on). Three stages in spiritual development are described: the predominance of the emotions and the imagination; the interposition of goodness, love or devotion; elightenment in the glow of inner peace. If the dolphin is implicated in some way in the transition between this world and the next it is no surprise to see them associated with Dionysos, who himself dies and is reborn again each year in his role as the god of vegetation, and who was also worshipped at Delphi.[88]

In many sculptures from the East, the dolphin is associated with Atargatis, the mother goddess, goddess of vegetation, nourisher of life and receiver of the dead who would be born again. In later myths, particularly in Roman literature, and again in art and statuary, it is the dolphin that carries souls to the ‘Islands of the Blest’, and around the Black Sea images of dolphins have been found in the hands of the dead, presumably to ensure their safe passage to the afterlife. If the dolphin is implicated in some way in the transition between this world and the next it is no surprise to see them associated with Dionysos, who himself dies and is reborn again each year in his role as the god of vegetation, and who was also worshipped at Delphi.[89]

Roman, AD 200. British Museum, London

Taken together these references seem to point to a deeper association with the processes of life, death and rebirth, perhaps linked to the dolphin’s ability to pass between the air-breathing, living world of humans and the suffocating, terrifying world beneath the waves, which for the Greek sailors could easily be identified with the kingdom of the dead. Whatever the exact symbolism, it is clear that the dolphin is intimately involved with the fundamentals of human existence. All these qualities attributed to them by the anciens in conjunction with their speed through the water, made them master voyagers in the collective imagination and, like Posseidon, they were often depicted with trident or anchor.

Though the exact methods used to achieve this are not known, dolphins can tolerate and recover from extreme injuries, such as shark bites. The healing process is rapid and even very deep wounds do not cause dolphins to hemorrhage to death. Furthermore, even gaping wounds restore in such a way that the animal’s body contour is restored, and infection of such large wounds seems rare.

Dolphins are also emblems of divination, wisdom and prudence and their images stood beside Apollo’s Tripod at Delphi. Because they were strongly associated with Poseidon by the later Greeks, this probably explains why the sea god was so often surrounded by dolphins. In one myth about Poseidon, dolphin messengers were sent to bring him a nymph he loved, who he later married. As a reward, he set the dolphin in the sky as a constellation. And he was constantly accompanied by dolphins among other sea creatures.

Dolphins are social, living in pods of up to a dozen individuals. In places with a high abundance of food, pods can merge temporarily, forming a superpod; such groupings may exceed 1,000 dolphins.

Dolphins engage in acts of aggression towards each other. The older a male dolphin is, the more likely his body is to be covered with bite scars. Male dolphins engage in such acts of aggression apparently for the same reasons as humans: disputes between companions and competition for females. Acts of aggression can become so intense that targeted dolphins sometimes go into exile as a result of losing a fight. Dolphin copulation happens belly to belly; though many species engage in lengthy foreplay, the actual act is usually brief, but may be repeated several times within a short timespan. The gestation period varies with species; for the small Tucuxi dolphin, this period is around 11 to 12 months, while for the orca, the gestation period is around 17 months. Typically dolphins give birth to a single calf, which is, unlike most other mammals, born tail first in most cases.[90] They usually become sexually active at a young age, even before reaching sexual maturity. The age of sexual maturity varies by species and gender.

Dolphins are known to have sex for reasons other than reproduction, sometimes also engaging in homosexual behavior. Various species sometimes engage in sexual behavior including copulation with other dolphin species. Sexual encounters may be violent, with male dolphins sometimes showing aggressive behavior towards both females and other males. Occasionally, dolphins behave sexually towards other animals, including humans.

Dolphins occasionally leap above the water surface, and sometimes perform acrobatic figures (for example, the spinner dolphin). Scientists are not certain about the purpose(s) of the acrobatics. Possibilities include locating schools of fish by looking at above-water signs like feeding birds, communicating with other dolphins, dislodging parasites or simple amusement. Play is an important part of dolphin culture. Dolphins play with seaweed and play-fight with other dolphins. At times they harass other local creatures, like seabirds and turtles. Dolphins enjoy riding waves and frequently surf coastal swells and the bow waves of boats, at times “leaping” between the dual bow waves of a moving catamaran. Occasionally, they playfully interact with swimmers. Captive dolphins have been observed in aquariums engaging in complex play behavior which involves the creation and manipulation of bubble rings.[91]Generally, dolphins sleep with only one brain hemisphere in slow-wave sleep at a time, thus maintaining enough consciousness to breathe and to watch for possible predators and other threats. Earlier sleep stages can occur simultaneously in both hemispheres.[92] In captivity, dolphins seemingly enter a fully asleep state where both eyes are closed and there is no response to mild external stimuli. In this case, respiration is automatic; a tail kick reflex keeps the blowhole above the water if necessary. Anesthetized dolphins initially show a tail kick reflex. Though a similar state has been observed with wild sperm whales, it is not known if dolphins in the wild reach this state. The Indus river dolphin has a sleep method that is different from that of other dolphin species. Living in water with strong currents and potentially dangerous floating debris, it must swim continuously to avoid injury. As a result, this species sleeps in very short bursts which last between 4 and 60 seconds.[93]Except for humans, dolphins have few natural enemies. Some species or specific populations have none, making them apex predators. For most of the smaller species of dolphins, only a few of the larger sharks, such as the bull shark, dusky shark, tiger shark and great white shark, are a potential risk, especially for calves. Some of the larger dolphinic species, especially orcas (killer whales), may also prey on smaller dolphins, but this seems rare. Though we have idealized dolphins in near angelic terms, they are also aggressive and tough, can turn themselves into effective missiles, smashing the gills of sharks or teaching a human trainer in a captive dolphin show what’s what. Orcas are known as the “wolves of the sea” because of their cooperative hunting techniques, their preying on other mammals, including whales, their marine version of group “howling.” Dolphins are sometimes tricksterish, and they don’t mind playing a practical joke or two on humans swimming around them, though it is all in fun.

Palaemon riding a dolphin, Roman mosaic C5th A.D., Antakya Museum


[77] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 86; Stephan A. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot, p.50-51; Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 29.
[78] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 94.
[79] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 94.
[80] Ashley Montagu, John Lilly (1963), The Doplpin in History, Los Angeles, p. 3.
[81] Grimald, Pierre (1963), Dictionnaire de la Mythologie Grecque et Romaine, with preface by C.h. Picard, 3rd corrected edition, Paris, p. 127.
[82] Oplan…???
[83] H.C. Montgomey, (1966), “The Fabulous Dolphin,” in The Classical Journal, Vol. 61, No. 7 (April 1966), p. 313.
[84] Published in Natural History, November, 1949.
[85]Bearzi and Stanford (2008, pg. 18).
[86]Goodson, A.D.; Klinowska, M. (1990). Thomas; Kastelein. eds. A Proposed Echolocation Receptor for the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus): Modelling the Receive Directivity from Tooth and Lower Jaw Geometry NATO ASI Series A: Sensory Abilities of Cetaceans. 196. NY: Plenum. pp. 255–267.
[87] According to Plutarch’s story, Arion dived into the sea “But before his body was entirely submerged, dolphins swam beneath him, and he was borne upward, full of doubts and uncertainty and confusion at first. But when he began to feel at ease […] the many dolphins gathering around him in a friendly way […] there came into his thoughts, as he said, not so much a feeling of fear in the face of death, or a desire to live, as a proud longing to be saved that he might be shown to be a man loved by the gods and he might gain a sure opinion regarding them.” (Plutarch, Banquet of the Seven Sages 17-18)
[88] Although most Greek writers refer to Delphi simply as the temple of Apollo, Plutarch is at pains to point out that the worship of Dionysos was equally important at the site. He should know – he was one of the priests of Apollo at Delphi for many years.
[89] Although most Greek writers refer to Delphi simply as the temple of Apollo, Plutarch is at pains to point out that the worship of Dionysos was equally important at the site. He should know – he was one of the priests of Apollo at Delphi for many years.
[90]Mark Simmonds for WDCS, Whales and Dolphins of the World (2007), Chapter 1, page 32.
[91]Walker, Sally M. (November 2007). Dolphins. Lerner Publications. p. 30.
[92]Mukhametov, Lev (1984). “Sleep in marine mammals”. Experimental Brain Research 8 (suppl.): 227–238;Dallas Grasby (1994). , L.M. Mukhametov, “Excerpts from “Sleep in marine mammals””. Experimental Brain Research 8 (suppl.).
[93]G. Neil Martin, Neil R. Carlson, William Buskist (1997), Psychology, third edition, page 383.

The Color Correspondence: Buff

its color buff, and


The Jewel Correspondence: The Pearl

pearl-The jewel correspondence for this 29th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the pearl. Paraphrasing Crowley concerning the pearl, Israel Regardie tells us that “the pearl is referred to Pisces because of its cloudly brilliance as contrasted with the transparency of other precious stones,”[94] thus reminding one somewhat of the Astral Plane with its cloudly forms and semi-opaque visions as opposed to the flashes of formless light appertaining to purely spiritual planes.”[95] Crowley precises that “one must not emphasize on the connection with water; because the Pearl is not found in the type of water characteristic of Pisces.”[96] The English word pearl comes from the French perle, that originally from the Latin diminutive of perna which means leg, ham, leg-of-mutton shaped bivalve.[97]In the subaquatic world, a pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelledmollusk. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other shapes of pearls (baroque pearls) occur. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable. The most valuable pearls occur spontaneously in the wild, but they are extremely rare. These wild pearls are referred to as natural pearls. Cultured or farmed pearls from pearl oysters and freshwater mussels make up the majority of those that are currently sold. Imitation or fake pearls are also widely sold in inexpensive jewelry, but the quality of their iridescence is usually very poor, and generally speaking, artificial pearls are easily distinguished from genuine pearls. Pearls have been harvested and cultivated primarily for use in jewelry, but in the past they were also stitched onto lavish clothing. Pearls have also been crushed and used in cosmetics, medicines, and in paint formulations.Whether wild or cultured, gem quality pearls are almost always nacreous and iridescent, as is the interior of the shell that produces them. However, almost all species of shelled mollusks are capable of producing pearls (formerly referred to as “calcareous concretions” by some sources) of lesser shine or less spherical shape. Although these may also be legitimately referred to as “pearls” by gemological labs and also under U.S. Federal Trade Commission rules, and are formed in the same way, most of them have no value, except as curiosities. Almost any shelled mollusk can, by natural processes, produce some kind of “pearl” when an irritating microscopic object becomes trapped within the mollusk’s mantle folds, but the great majority of these “pearls” are not valued as gemstones. Nacreous pearls, the best-known and most commercially-significant pearls, are primarily produced by two groups of molluscan bivalves or clams. A nacreous pearl is made from layers of nacre, by the same living process as is used in the secretion of the mother of pearl which lines the shell.A “natural pearl” or “wild pearl” is one that forms without any human intervention at all, in the wild, and is very rare. Many hundreds of pearl oysters or pearl mussels have to be gathered and opened, and thus killed, in order to find even one wild pearl, and for many centuries that was the only way pearls were obtained. This was the main reason why pearls fetched such extraordinary prices in the past. A cultured pearl is formed in a pearl farm, using human intervention as well as natural processes.One family of nacreous pearl bivalves – the pearl oyster – lives in the sea, while the other – a very different group of bivalves – lives in freshwater; these are the river mussels such as the freshwater pearl mussel. Saltwater pearls can grow in several species of marine pearl oysters in the family Pteriidae. Freshwater pearls grow within certain (but by no means all) species of freshwater mussels in the order Unionida, the families Unionidae and Margaritiferidae.

The unique luster of pearls depends upon the reflection, refraction, and diffraction of light from the translucent layers. The thinner and more numerous the layers in the pearl, the finer the luster. The iridescence that pearls display is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface. The very best pearls have a metallic mirror-like luster. Quality natural pearls are very rare jewels. The actual value of a natural pearl is determined in the same way as it would be for other “precious” gems. The valuation factors include size, shape, color, quality of surface, orient and luster. For thousands of years, most seawater pearls were retrieved by divers working in the Indian Ocean, in areas like the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and in the Gulf of Mannar.[98] Starting in the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), the Chinese hunted extensively for seawater pearls in the South China Sea. In the 14th-century Arabian Sea, the traveller Ibn Battuta provided the earliest known description of pearl diving by means of attaching a cord to the diver’s waist.[99]

The Hindu tradition describes the sacred Nine Pearls which were first documented in the Garuda Purana, one of the books of the Hindu mythology. Ayurveda contains references to pearl powder as a stimulant of digestion and to treat mental ailments. According to Marco Polo, the kings of Malabar wore a necklace of 104 rubies and pearls which was given from one generation of kings to the next. The reason was that every king had to say 104 prayers every morning and every evening.[100] At least until the beginning of the 20th century it was a Hindu custom to present a completely new, undrilled pearl and pierce it during the wedding ceremony.[101] The Pearl or Mukta in Sanskrit is also associated with many Hindu deities. The most famous being the Koustubha which Lord Vishnu wears on his chest. Apart from religious connotations, stories and folklore abound of pearls occurring in snakes, the Naaga Mani, and elephants, the Gaja Mukta.

According to Rebbenu Bachya, the word Yahalom in the verse Exodus 28:18 means “pearl” and was the stone on the Hoshen representing the tribe of Zebulun. This is generally disputed among scholars, particularly since the word in question in most manuscripts is actually Yasepheh – the word from which jasper derives; scholars think that refers to green jasper (the rarest and most prized form in early times) rather than red jasper (the most common form). Yahalom is usually translated by the Septuagint as an “onyx”, but sometimes as “beryl” or as “jasper”; onyx only started being mined after the Septuagint was written, so the Septuagint’s term “onyx” probably does not mean onyx – onyx is originally an Assyrian word meaning ring, and so could refer to anything used for making rings. Yahalom is similar to a Hebrew word meaning hit hard, so some people think that it means diamond. The variation in possibilities of meaning for this sixth stone in the Hoshen is reflected in different translations of the Bible – the King James Version translates the sixth stone as diamond, the New International Version translates it as emerald, and the Vulgate translates it as jaspis – meaning jasper. There is a wide range of views among traditional sources about which tribe the stone refers to.

In a Christian New Testament parable, Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a “pearl of great price” in Matthew: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly (fine) pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”[102] The twelve gates of the New Jerusalem are reportedly each made of a single pearl in Revelation, that is, the Pearly Gates. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl: and the streets of the city were pure gold, as if transparent glass.”[103] Holy things are compared to pearls in the Book of Matthew “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” [104]Pearls are also found in numerous references showing the wickedness and pride of a people, as in the Book of Revelation.[105] “And saying, Alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!” The metaphor of a pearl appears in the longer Hymn of the Pearl, a poem respected for its high literary quality, and use of layered theological metaphor, found within one of the texts of Gnosticism.

The Qur’an often mentions that dwellers of paradise will be adorned with pearls:[106] God will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow: they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk.[107] Gardens of Eternity will they enter: therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk.[108] Round about them will serve, [devoted] to them, youths [handsome] as pearls well-guarded.


[94] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 10; Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 86; Stephan E. Hoeller, The Fool’s Pilgrimage. Kabbalistic Meditation on the Tarot, p. 50-51.
[95] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 86.
[96] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 105.
[97]Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th ed.), Oxford University Press, 2007.
[98]De Silva, K. M. (1995). Volume 2 of History of Ceylon, History of Ceylon: History of Sri Lanka. Peradeniya: Ceylon University Press. pp. 56.
[99]Salim Al-Hassani (2008). “1000 Years of Missing Industrial History”. In Emilia Calvo Labarta, Mercè Comes Maymo, Roser Puig Aguilar, Mònica Rius Pinies. A shared legacy: Islamic science East and West. Edicions Universitat Barcelona. pp. 57–82.
[100]Kunz, George F.; Stevenson, Charles (1908). The Book of the Pearl. New York: The Century Co.. p. 412.
[101]Kunz, George F.; Stevenson, Charles (1908). The Book of the Pearl. New York: The Century Co.. p. 350.
[102] The Bible, Matthew 13: 45–46.
[103] The Bible, Revelation 21:21.
[104] The Bible, Matthew 7:6.
[105] The Bible, Revelation 18:16.
[106]Qu’ran, 22:23.
[107]Qur’an, 35:33.
[108]Qu’ran, 52:24.

The Perfume Correspondence: Abergris

ambergris_1bThe perfume correspondence for this 29th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is ambergris.[109] Ambergris (Latin: Ambra grisea, Ambre gris, ambergrease or grey amber) is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color produced in the digestive system of and regurgitated or secreted by sperm whales. Freshly produced ambergris has a marine, fecal odor. However, as it ages, it acquires a sweet, earthy scent commonly likened to the fragrance of rubbing alcohol without the vaporous chemical astringency. Once it is collected, solidified and stored, ambergris has comparatively little perfume of its own, but it has a virtue of bringning out the best of any others with which it may be mixed.[110] In qabalistic terms, Crowley compares it to Kether which, in the same way “cannot be said to have any intrinsic qualities, but its influence brings out he highest faculties of those ideas which it illuminates.”[111] The principal historical use of ambergris was as a fixative in perfumery, though it has now been largely displaced by synthetics. Ambergris occurs as a biliary secretion of the intestines of the sperm whale and can be found floating upon the sea, or in the sand near the coast. It is also sometimes found in the abdomens of whales. Because the beaks of giant squids have been found embedded within lumps of ambergris, scientists have theorised that the substance is produced by the whale’s gastrointestinal tract to ease the passage of hard, sharp objects that the whale might have eaten. Ambergris is usually passed in the fecal matter. Ambergris that forms a mass too large to be passed through the intestines is expelled via the mouth, leading to the reputation of ambergris as primarily coming from whale vomit.[112] Ambergris has been mostly known for its use in creating perfume and fragrance much like musk. While perfumes can still be found with ambergris around the world, American perfumers usually avoid it because of legal ambiguities. It was banned from use in many countries in the 1970s, including the United States, because its precursor originates from the sperm whale, which is an endangered species. However, it has been legal since 2005 because of strict monitoring of distributors who ensure that only ambergris that has been naturally washed to shore is sold. Ancient Egyptians burned ambergris as incense, while in modern Egypt ambergris is used for scenting cigarettes.[113] The ancient Chinese called the substance “dragon’s spittle fragrance”. During the Black Death in Europe, people believed that carrying a ball of ambergris could help prevent them from getting the plague. This was because the fragrance covered the smell of the air which was believed to be the cause of plague. This substance has also been used historically as a flavouring for food, and some people consider it an aphrodisiac. During the Middle Ages, Europeans used ambergris as a medication for headaches, colds, epilepsy, and other ailments. In Chapter 91 of Moby Dick, Stubb, one of the mates of the Pequod (captained by Ahab), cons the captain of a French whaler (Rose-bud) into abandoning the corpse of a sperm whale found floating in the sea. His plan is to recover the corpse himself in hopes that it contains ambergris. His hope proves well-founded, and the Pequod’s crew recovers a valuable quantity of the substance. Melville devotes the following chapter to a discussion of ambergris, with special attention to the irony that “fine ladies and gentlemen should regale themselves with an essence found in the inglorious bowels of a sick whale.”[114]British occultist Aleister Crowley published his first selected works of poetry under the title Ambergris in 1911.


[109] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 13.
[110] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 113.
[111] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 113.
[112]William F. Perrin, Bernd Würsig, J. G. M. Thewissen, Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals p. 28.
[113]Brady, George Stuart; Clauser, Henry R.; Vaccari, John A. (2002). Materials Handbook: An Encyclopedia for Managers, Technical Professionals, Purchasing and Production Managers, Technicians, and Supervisors. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 64.
[114] Melvile, Moby-Dick, ?????

The Magical Plant Correspondence: Opium & Unicellular Organisms

afghanistan-opium-The plant correspondences for this 29th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are opium and unicellular organisms.[115] To justify those attributions, Crowley tells us that “opium is given because of its power to produce apeaceful dreamy condition which is liable to end in a stagnation of the mental faculties.”[116] Opium (poppy tears, lachryma papaveris) is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine. The traditional method of obtaining the latex is to scratch (“score”) the immature seed pods (fruits) by hand; the latex leaks out and dries to a sticky yellowish residue that is later scraped off. The modern method is to harvest and process mature plants by machine. “Meconium” historically referred to related, weaker preparations made from other parts of the poppy or different species of poppies. The production of opium itself has not changed since ancient times. Through selective breeding of the Papaver somniferum plant, the content of the phenanthrene alkaloids morphine, codeine, and to a lesser extent thebaine, has been greatly increased. In modern times, much of the thebaine, which often serves as the raw material for the synthesis for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and other semi-synthetic opiates, originates from extracting Papaver orientale or Papaver bracteatum. Opium for illegal use is often converted into heroin, which is less bulky, making it easier to smuggle, and which multiplies its potency to approximately twice that of morphine. Heroin can be taken by intravenous injection, intranasally, or smoked (vaporized) and inhaled. Cultivation of opium poppies for food, anaesthesia, and ritual purposes dates back to at least the Neolithic Age (new stone age). The Sumerian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Indian, Minoan, Greek, Roman, Persian and Arab Empires all made widespread use of opium, which was the most potent form of pain relief then available, allowing ancient surgeons to perform prolonged surgical procedures. Opium is mentioned in the most important medical texts of the ancient world, including the Ebers Papyrus and the writings of Dioscorides, Galen, and Avicenna. Widespread medical use of unprocessed opium continued through the American Civil War before giving way to morphine and its successors, which could be injected at a precisely controlled dosage. Opium has been actively collected since prehistoric times, and may be the soma plant ubiquitously mentioned in the Rig Veda. Though western scholars typically date the text at 1500 BCE, Indian scholars maintain that the verses and the history contained in them have been orally transmitted thousands of years before. “Soma” is Vedic Sanskrit for moon, describing both the shape of the bulb and its nocturnal juice emission, which in ancient times would have been visible by moonlight only. A common name for males in Afghanistan is “Redey”, which in Pashto means “poppy”. This term may be derived from the Sanskrit words “rddhi” and “hrdya”, which mean “magical”, “a type of medicinal plant”, and “heart-pleasing”. The upper South Asian belt of Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, and Burma still account for the world’s largest supply of opium. At least seventeen finds of Papaver somniferum from Neolithic settlements have been reported throughout Switzerland, Germany, and Spain, including the placement of large numbers of poppy seed capsules at a burial site (the Cueva de los Murciélagos, or “Bat cave,” in Spain), which have been carbon-14 dated to 4200 BCE. Numerous finds of Papaver somniferum or Papaver setigerum from Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements have also been reported. The first known cultivation of opium poppies was in Mesopotamia, approximately 3400 BCE, by Sumerians who called the plant Hul Gil, the “joy plant.” Tablets found at Nippur, a Sumerian spiritual center south of Baghdad, described the collection of poppy juice in the morning and its use in production of opium. Cultivation continued in the Middle East by the Assyrians, who also collected poppy juice in the morning after scoring the pods with an iron scoop; they called the juice aratpa-pal, possibly the root of Papaver. Opium production continued under the Babylonians and Egyptians. Opium was used with poison hemlock to put people quickly and painlessly to death, but it was also used in medicine. The Ebers Papyrus, ca. 1500 BCE, describes a way to “stop a crying child” using grains of the poppy-plant strained to a pulp. Spongia somnifera, sponges soaked in opium, were used during surgery. The Egyptians cultivated opium thebaicum in famous poppy fields around 1300 BCE. Opium was traded from Egypt by the Phoenicians and Minoans to destinations around the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Carthage, and Europe. By 1100 BCE, opium was cultivated on Cyprus, where surgical-quality knives were used to score the poppy pods, and opium was cultivated, traded, and smoked.[117] Opium was also mentioned after the Persian conquest of Assyria and Babylonian lands in the sixth century BCE From the earliest finds, opium has appeared to have ritual significance, and anthropologists have speculated that ancient priests may have used the drug as a proof of healing power.[118] In Egypt, the use of opium was generally restricted to priests, magicians, and warriors, its invention credited to Thoth, and it was said to have been given by Isis to Ra as treatment for a headache. A figure of the Minoan “goddess of the narcotics,” wearing a crown of three opium poppies, ca. 1300 BCE, was recovered from the Sanctuary of Gazi, Crete, together with a simple smoking apparatus. The Greek gods Hypnos (Sleep), Nyx (Night), and Thanatos (Death) were depicted wreathed in poppies or holding poppies. Poppies also frequently adorned statues of Apollo, Asklepios, Pluto, Demeter, Aphrodite, Kybele and Isis, symbolizing nocturnal oblivion. As the power of the Roman Empire declined, the lands to the south, and east of the Mediterranean sea became incorporated into the Islamic Empires, which assembled the finest libraries and the most skilled physicians of the era. Some Muslims believe that hadiths such as in Sahih Bukhari prohibits every intoxicating substance, though the use of intoxicants in medicine has been widely permitted by scholars. Dioscorides’ five-volume De Materia Medica, the precursor of pharmacopoeias, remained in use (with some improvements in Arabic versions) from the 1st to 16th centuries and described opium and the wide range of uses prevalent in the ancient world. Somewhere between 400 and 1200 CE, Arab traders introduced opium to China. The Persian physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (“Rhazes”, 845–930 CE) maintained a laboratory and school in Baghdad, and was a student and critic of Galen, made use of opium in anesthesia and recommended its use for the treatment of melancholy in Fi ma-yahdara al-tabib “In the Absence of a Physician”, a home medical manual directed toward ordinary citizens for self-treatment if a doctor was not available. The renowned Andalusian ophthalmologic surgeon Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (“Abulcasis”, 936–1013 CE) relied on opium and mandrake as surgical anaesthetics and wrote a treatise, al-Tasrif, that influenced medical thought well into the sixteenth century. The Persian physician Abū ‘Alī al-Husayn ibn Sina (“Avicenna”) described opium as the most powerful of the stupefacients, by comparison with mandrake and other highly effective herbs, in The Canon of Medicine. This classic text was translated into Latin in 1175 and later into many other languages and remained authoritative into the seventeenth century.[119] Şerafeddin Sabuncuoğlu used opium in the fourteenth century Ottoman Empire to treat migraine headaches, sciatica, and other painful ailments.[120] Manuscripts of Pseudo-Apuleius’s fifth-century work from the tenth and eleventh centuries refer to the use of wild poppy Papaver agreste or Papaver rhoeas (identified as Papaver silvaticum) instead of Papaver somniferum for inducing sleep and relieving pain. The use of Paracelsus’ laudanum was introduced to Western medicine in 1527, when Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known by the name Paracelsus, returned from his wanderings in Arabia with a famous sword, within the pommel of which he kept “Stones of Immortality” compounded from opium thebaicum, citrus juice, and “quintessence of gold.” The name “Paracelsus” was a pseudonym signifying him the equal or better of Aulus Cornelius Celsus, whose text, which described the use of opium or a similar preparation, had recently been translated and reintroduced to medieval Europe. The Canon of Medicine, the standard medical textbook that Paracelsus burned in a public bonfire three weeks after being appointed professor at the University of Basel, also described the use of opium, though many Latin translations were of poor quality. Laudanum was originally the sixteenth-century term for a medicine associated with a particular physician that was widely well-regarded, but became standardized as “tincture of opium,” a solution of opium in ethanol, which Paracelsus has been credited with developing. During his lifetime, Paracelsus was viewed as an adventurer who challenged the theories and mercenary motives of contemporary medicine with dangerous chemical therapies, but his therapies marked a turning point in Western medicine. In the seventeenth century laudanum was recommended for pain, sleeplessness, and diarrhea by Thomas Sydenham, the renowned “father of English medicine” or “English Hippocrates,” to whom is attributed the quote, “Among the remedies which it has pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium.” Use of opium as a cure-all was reflected in the formulation of mithridatium described in the 1728 Chambers Cyclopedia, which included true opium in the mixture. Subsequently, laudanum became the basis of many popular patent medicines of the nineteenth century. During the 18th century, opium was found to be a good remedy for nervous disorders. Due to its sedative and tranquilizing properties, it was used to quiet the minds of those with psychosis, help with people that were considered insane, and also to help treat patients with insomnia.[121] However, despite its medicinal values in these cases, it was noted that in cases of psychosis it could cause anger or depression and due to the drugs euphoric effects, it could cause depressed patients to become more depressed after the effects wore off because they would get used to being high. The standard medical use of opium persisted well into the nineteenth century. U.S. president William Henry Harrison was treated with opium in 1841, and in the American Civil War, the Union Army used 2.8 million ounces of opium tincture and powder and about 500,000 opium pills. During this time of popularity, users called opium “God’s Own Medicine.” Opium is said to have been used for recreational purposes from the 14th century onwards in Muslim societies. Testimonies of historians, diplomats, religious scholars, intellectuals and travellers, Ottoman and European, confirm that, from the 16th to the 19th century, Anatolian opium was eaten in Constantinople as much as it was exported to Europe. In 1573, for instance, a Venetian visitor to the Ottoman Empire observed that many of the Turkish natives of Constantinople regularly drink a “certain black water made with opium” that makes them feel good, but to which they become so addicted that if they try to go without they will “quickly die.”[122] From eating it, dervishes were said to draw ecstasy, soldiers courage, and others bliss and voluptuousness. It is not only to the pleasures of coffee and tulips that the Ottomans initiated Europe. It was also Turkey which, long before China, supplied the West with opium.[123] In his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, it is still about Ottoman, not Chinese, addicts that Thomas de Quincey writes: “I question whether any Turk, of all that ever entered the paradise of opium-eaters, can have had half the pleasure I had.” [124] Extensive textual and pictorial sources also show that poppy cultivation and opium consumption were widespread in Safavid Iran[125] and Moghol India.[126] The most important reason for the increase in opiate consumption in the United States during the 19th century was the prescribing and dispensing of legal opiates by physicians and pharmacists to women with ”female problems” (mostly to relieve menstrual pain).[127] The earliest clear description of the use of opium as a recreational drug in China came from Xu Boling, who wrote in 1483 that opium was “mainly used to aid masculinity, strengthen sperm and regain vigor,” and that it “enhances the art of alchemists, sex and court ladies.” He described an expedition sent by the Chenghua Emperor in 1483 to procure opium for a price “equal to that of gold” in Hainan, Fujian, Zhejiang, Sichuan and Shaanxi where it is close to Xiyu. A century later, Li Shizhen listed standard medical uses of opium in his renowned Compendium of Materia Medica (1578), but also wrote that “lay people use it for the art of sex,” in particular the ability to “arrest seminal emission.” This association of opium with sex continued in China until the twentieth century. Opium smoking began as a privilege of the elite and remained a great luxury into the early nineteenth century, but by 1861, Wang Tao wrote that opium was used even by rich peasants, and even a small village without a rice store would have a shop where opium was sold.[128] Smoking of opium came on the heels of tobacco smoking and may have been encouraged by a brief ban on the smoking of tobacco by the Ming emperor, ending in 1644 with the Qing dynasty, which had encouraged smokers to mix in increasing amounts of opium. In 1705, Wang Shizhen wrote that “nowadays, from nobility and gentlemen down to slaves and women, all are addicted to tobacco.” Tobacco in that time was frequently mixed with other herbs (this continues with clove cigarettes to the modern day), and opium was one component in the mixture. Tobacco mixed with opium was called madak (or madat) and became popular throughout China and its seafaring trade partners (such as Taiwan, Java and the Philippines) in the seventeenth century. In 1712, Engelbert Kaempfer described addiction to madak: “No commodity throughout the Indies is retailed with greater profit by the Batavians than opium, which [its] users cannot do without, nor can they come by it except it be brought by the ships of the Batavians from Bengal and Coromandel.” Fueled in part by the 1729 ban on madak, which at first effectively exempted pure opium as a potentially medicinal product, the smoking of pure opium became more popular in the eighteenth century. In 1736, the smoking of pure opium was described by Huang Shujing, involving a pipe made from bamboo rimmed with silver, stuffed with palm slices and hair, fed by a clay bowl in which a globule of molten opium was held over the flame of an oil lamp. This elaborate procedure, requiring the maintenance of pots of opium at just the right temperature for a globule to be scooped up with a needle-like skewer for smoking, formed the basis of a craft of “paste-scooping” by which servant girls could become prostitutes as the opportunity arose. There is a longstanding literary history by and about opium users. Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822), one of the first and most famous literary accounts of opium addiction written from the point of view of an addict, details the pleasures and dangers of the drug. De Quincey writes about the great English Romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), whose “Kubla Khan” is also widely considered to be a poem of the opium experience. Coleridge began using opium in 1791 after developing jaundice and rheumatic fever and became a full addict after a severe attack of the disease in 1801, requiring 80–100 drops of laudanum daily.[129] George Crabbe is another early writer who wrote about opium. “The Lotos-Eaters”, an 1832 poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, reflects the generally favorable British attitude toward the drug. In The Count of Monte Cristo (1844) by Alexandre Dumas, père, the Count is assuaged by an edible form of opium and his experience with it is depicted vividly. Edgar Allan Poe presents opium in a more disturbing context in his 1838 short story, “Ligeia“, in which the narrator, deeply distraught for the loss of his beloved, takes solace in opium until he “had become a bounden slave in the trammels of opium,” unable to distinguish fantasy from reality after taking immoderate doses of opium. In music, Hector Berlioz’ Symphony Fantastique (1830) tells the tale of an artist who has poisoned himself with opium while in the depths of despair for a hopeless love. Each of the symphony’s five movements takes place at a different setting and with increasingly audible effects from the drug. For example, in the fourth movement, “Marche au Supplice”, the artist dreams that he is walking to his own execution. In the fifth movement, “Songe d’une Nuit du Sabbat”, he dreams that he is at a witch’s orgy, where he witnesses his beloved dancing wildly along to the demented Dies Irae. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, references to opium and opium addiction, in the contexts of crime and the foreign underclass, abound within English literature, such as in Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone (1868), where it is used to attempt to uncover the jewel thief. Opium features in the opening paragraphs of Charles Dickens’s 1870 serial, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and in Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1891 Sherlock Holmes short story, “The Man with the Twisted Lip“. Opium is also one of the main subjects in a more recently written Sherlock Holmes novel by Anthony Horowitz. In Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), the character Passepartout is lured into an opium den by the detective Fix, which causes him to become separated from Phileas Fogg, his employer. Opium likewise underwent a transformation in Chinese literature, becoming associated with indolence and vice by the early twentieth century. Perhaps the best-known literary reference to opium is Karl Marx’s metaphor in his “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right’,” wherein he refers to religion as “the opium of the people.” (This phrase is more commonly quoted as “the opiate of the masses.”) In the twentieth century, as the use of opium was eclipsed by morphine and heroin, its role in literature became more limited and often focused on issues related to its prohibition. In The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, Wang Lung, the protagonist, gets his troublesome uncle and aunt addicted to opium in order to keep them out of his hair. William S. Burroughs autobiographically describes the use of opium and its derivatives. His associate, Jack Black’s, memoir You Can’t Win, chronicles one man’s experience both as an onlooker in the opium dens of San Francisco, and later as a “hop fiend” himself. The book and subsequent movie, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, may allude to opium at one point in the story, when Dorothy and her friends are drawn into a field of poppies, in which they fall asleep. Opium is also repeatedly mentioned in the novel, The House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer. The plot revolves partly around the poppy flower and opium drug. In George R.R. Martin’s novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, a drink referred to in the books as “milk of the poppy” is often used to relieve pain.[130]

unicellularAs far as unicellular organisms are concerned, Crowley says cryptically that they are “possibly” attributed here because “they are frequently found in pools.”[131] A unicellular organism, also known as a single-celled organism is an organism that consists of only one cell, in contrast to a multicellular organism that consists of multiple cells. Historically simple single celled organisms have sometimes been referred to as monads. Prokaryotes, most protists, and some kinds of fungi are unicellular. Although some of these organisms live in colonies, they are still unicellular. These organisms live together, and each cell in the colony is the same. However, each cell must carry out all life processes in order for that cell to survive. In contrast, even the simplest multicellular organisms have specialized cells that depend on each other in order to survive. Most unicellular organisms are of microscopic size and are thus classified as microorganisms. However, some unicellular protists and bacteria are macroscopic and visible to the naked eye.[2] Examples include: Xenophyophores are the largest examples known, with Syringammina fragilissima achieving a diameter of up to 20 cm.Valonia ventricosa, of the class Chlorophyceae, can achieve a diameter of 1 to 4 cm.[132]Thiomargarita namibiensis is the largest bacteria, achieving a diameter of up to 0.75 mm.


[115] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 10.
[116] Aleister Crowley, 777 and other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 101.
[117]P. G. Kritikos and S. P. Papadaki (January 1, 1967). “The early history of the poppy and opium”. Journal of the Archaeological Society of Athens.
[118]M J Brownstein (June 15, 1993). “A brief history of opiates, opioid peptides, and opioid receptors”. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 90 (12): 5391–5393
[119]Smith RD (October 1980). “Avicenna and the Canon of Medicine: a millennial tribute”. West. J. Med. 133 (4): 367–70.
[120]Ganidagli, Suleyman M.D., Cengiz, Mustafa M.D., Aksoy, Sahin M.D., PhD, Verit, Ayhan M.D. (2004-01). “Approach to Painful Disorders by Serefeddin Sabuncuoglu in the Fifteenth Century Ottoman Period”. Anesthesiology 100 (1): 165–169.
[121]Kramer, John C. “Opium Rampant: Medical Use, Misuse And Abuse In Britain And The West In The 17Th And 18Th Centuries.” British Journal Of Addiction (To Alcohol & Other Drugs) 74.4 (1979): 377-389. Soc Index with Full Text. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.
[122]Garzoni, Costantino. 1840 [1573]. “Relazione dell’impero Ottomano del senatore Costantino Garzoni stato all’ambascieria di Costantinopoli nel 1573.” In Le relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti al Senato, serie III, volume I, ed. Eugenio Albèri. Firenze: Clio, p. 398.
[123]Michot, Yahya. L’opium et le café. Traduction d’un texte arabe anonyme et exploration de l’opiophagie ottomane (Beirut: Albouraq, 2008)
[124] Thomas DeQuincey (1821), Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, p. 188.
[125]Matthee, Rudi. The Pursuit of Pleasure. Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500–1900 (Washington: Mage Publishers, 2005), pp. 97–116; Van de Wijngaart, G., Trading in Dreams, in P. Faber & al. (eds.), Dreaming of Paradise: Islamic Art from the Collection of the Museum of Ethnology, Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Martial & Snoeck, 1993, p. 186-191.
[126]Habighorst, Ludwig V., Reichart, Peter A., Sharma, Vijay, Love for Pleasure: Betel, Tobacco, Wine and Drugs in Indian Miniatures (Koblenz: Ragaputra Edition, 2007.
[127]As a result, between 150,000 and 200,000 opiate addicts lived in the United States in the late 19th century and between two-thirds and three-quarters of these addicts were women.
[128]Yangwen Zheng (2003). “The Social Life of Opium in China, 1483–1999”. Modern Asian Studies 37 (1): 1–39.
[129]Hubble D (October 1957). “Opium Addiction and English Litterature”. Med Hist 1 (4): 323–35.
[130] R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire. Volume I, Game of Throne, p.???
[131] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 101.
[132]John Wesley Tunnell, Ernesto A. Chávez, Kim Withers (2007). Coral Reefs of the Southern Gulf of Mexico. Texas A&M University Press. p. 91.

The Magical Weapon Correspondence: The Magic Mirror

Magic_Mirror-The magical weapon correspondence on this 29th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the magic mirror.[133] To understand the reason for this attribution one have to know that in ceremonial magic, the so-called magical operations are usually performed in an artificial twilight because this represents “the glamour of astral plane” which the magician proposes to illumine with the divine light. The natural attribution of this idea is evidently the tarot trump ATU XVIII – The Moon. So the reason for the attribution of the magic mirror as magical weapon per excellence for this path is because “the magic mirror reflects astral forms”[134] and because this symbolism “evidently cognate with the still waters of Pisces.”[135] The first mirrors used by people were most likely pools of dark, still water, or water collected in a primitive vessel of some sort. The Latin word for mirror, speculum has given us the verb to speculate; and originally, speculation was scanning the sky and the related movement of the stars by means of a mirror. The Latin word for stars (sidus) has also given us the word ‘consideration’, which etymologically, means to scan the stars as a whole. Both abstract nouns which now describe highly intellectual activities are rooted in the study of the stars reflected in mirrors. The heavenly intelligence in a mirror is so often identified symbolically with the Sun and this is why the mirror is so often a solar symbol. It is also, however, a major lunar symbol in the sense that the Moon, mirror-like, reflects the light of the Sun. From all those reasons, it follows that mirrors as they are reflecting surfaces, constantly comes up as being the basis of a wealth of symbolism relating to themes like knowledge, magic and gnosis. What is reflexted in the mirror if not the truth, sincerity and what the heart and conscience hold? Mirrors are used in this role in Western folk stories of initiation and in the rituals of Chinese secret societies that goes very far back in history. The earliest manufactured mirrors were pieces of polished stone such as obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glass. Examples of obsidian mirrors found in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) have been dated to around 6000 BC. Polished stone mirrors from Central and South America date from around 2000 BC onwards. Mirrors of polished copper were crafted in Mesopotamia from 4000 BC, and in ancient Egypt from around 3000 BC. In China, bronze mirrors were manufactured from around 2000 BC, some of the earliest bronze and copper examples being produced by the Qijia culture. Mirrors made of other metal mixtures (alloys) such as copper and tin speculum metal may have also been produced in China and India.[136] Mirrors of speculum metal or any precious metal were hard to produce and were only owned by the wealthy.[137] Metal-coated glass mirrors are said to have been invented in Sidon (modern-day Lebanon) in the first century AD, and glass mirrors backed with gold leaf are mentioned by the Roman author Pliny in his Natural History, written in about 77 AD. The Romans also developed a technique for creating crude mirrors by coating blown glass with molten lead. In China, people began making mirrors with the use of silver-mercury amalgams as early as 500 AD.[138] Some time during the early Renaissance, European manufacturers perfected a superior method of coating glass with a tin-mercury amalgam. The exact date and location of the discovery is unknown, but in the 16th century, Venice, a city famed for its glass-making expertise, became a centre of mirror production using this new technique. The method of making mirrors out of plate glass was invented by 16th-century Venetian glassmakers on the island of Murano, who covered the back of the glass with mercury, obtaining near-perfect and undistorted reflection. For over one hundred years, Venetian mirrors installed in richly decorated frames served as luxury decorations for palaces throughout Europe, but the secret of the mercury process eventually arrived in London and Paris during the 17th century, due to industrial espionage. French workshops succeeded in large scale industrialization of the process, eventually making mirrors affordable to the masses, although mercury’s toxicity remained a problem. Glass mirrors from this period were extremely expensive luxuries.[139] The Saint-Gobain factory, founded by royal initiative in France, was an important manufacturer, and Bohemian and German glass, often rather cheaper, was also important. The invention of the silvered-glass mirror is credited to German chemist Justus von Liebig in 1835.[140] His process involved the deposition of a thin layer of metallic silver onto glass through the chemical reduction of silver nitrate. This silvering process was adapted for mass manufacturing and led to the greater availability of affordable mirrors. Nowadays, mirrors are often produced by the vacuum deposition of aluminium (or sometimes silver) directly onto the glass substrate. The most common substrate is glass, due to its transparency, ease of fabrication, rigidity, hardness, and ability to take a smooth finish. The reflective coating is typically applied to the back surface of the glass, so that the reflecting side of the coating is protected from corrosion and accidental damage. In classical antiquity, mirrors were made of solid metal (bronze, later silver) and were too expensive for widespread use by common people; they were also prone to corrosion. Due to the low reflectivity of polished metal, these mirrors also gave a darker image than modern ones, making them unsuitable for indoor use with the artificial lighting of the time (candles or lanterns). In modern times, the mirror substrate is shaped, polished and cleaned, and is then coated. Glass mirrors are most often coated with non-toxic silver or aluminium, implemented by a series of coatings. The miror has been used in many different manners to attain a variety differents purposes all along history. It has been said that Archimedes used a large array of mirrors to burn Roman ships during an attack on Syracuse. They have been used by priests, magicians, witches and shaman for scrying and other divinatory activities. Mirrors have been used by artists to create works and hone their craft: Filippo Brunelleschi discovered linear perspective with the help of the mirror. Leonardo da Vinci called the mirror the “master of painters.” He recommended, “When you wish to see whether your whole picture accords with what you have portrayed from nature take a mirror and reflect the actual object in it. Compare what is reflected with your painting and carefully consider whether both likenesses of the subject correspond, particularly in regard to the mirror.” Many self-portraits are made possible through the use of mirrors: Without a mirror, the great self-portraits by Dürer, Frida Kahlo, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh could not have been painted. M. C. Escher used special shapes of mirrors in order to achieve a much more complete view of his surroundings than by direct observation in Hand with Reflecting Sphere (also known as Self-Portrait in Spherical Mirror). Some other contemporary artists use mirrors as the material of art: A Chinese magic mirror is an art in which the face of the bronze mirror projects the same image that was cast on its back. This is due to minute curvatures on its front.[141]There are many legends and superstitions surrounding mirrors. Mirrors are said to be a reflection of the soul, and they were often used in traditional witchcraft as tools for scrying or performing other spells. It is also said that mirrors cannot lie. They can show only the truth, so it is a bad omen to see something in a mirror which should not be there. An inscription on a Chinese mirror in ht museum in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) reads: “Like the Sun, like the Moon, like water and like gold, be clean and bright and reflect what is in your heart.”[142] Although its meaning may be different, in Japanese tradition mirrors are related to the revelation of the truth as well as purity. The same line of though is behind the use of a ‘mirror of the karma’ by Yama, the Indo-Buddhist Lord of the Kingdom of the Dead, when he sits in judgment, Magic Mirrors, instruments to reveal the word of God, may be debased by use in divination, but in different forms of shamanism, rock crystal being the material and, among African Pygmies, hey may be employed to astonishing effect. The ‘truth’ revealed by the mirror may obviously be of higher order and this conjures up the magic mirror of the Ch’in, which Nichiren compares with the Buddhist ‘Mirror of the Dharma’, which shows the causes of past actions. It is almost the same thing in Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, where a portrait serves as a magical mirror that reflects the true visage of the perpetually youthful protagonist, as well as the effect on his soul of each sinful act. The mirror may be the instrument of enlightenment. In fact the mirror is the symbol of wisdomand knowledge, a dusty mirror being the symbol of the spirit darkened by ignorance. The Tibetan Buddhist ‘Wisdom of the Great Mirror’ teaches the ultimate secret, namely that the world of shapes reflected in it is only an aspect of shunyata, the void.In the popular European fairy tale, Snow White, the evil queen asks, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall… who’s the fairest of them all?” Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass is one of the best-loved uses of mirrors in literature. The text itself utilizes a narrative that mirrors that of its predecessor, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. All those allusions to reflections of the celestial Intellect or Word of Heaven have made trhe mirror seem as if it were the symbol of the divine intellect reflecting manifestation and creating it as such as his own image. Such a condition is often viewed as an outcome of the most intense spiritual experience, as St Paul[143] and many Christian and Muslim spiritual writers bear witness. The human heart is the mirror in which reflects God is, for example, how Angelus Silesius expresses it, while for Buddhists the mirror of the heart reflects the Buddha’s nature and for the Taoist Heaven and Earth. The best known solar mirror occurs in the Japanese myth of Amaterasu, in which the mirror draws the divine light out of the cavern and reflects it upon the world. In Siberian symbolism, two great heavenly mirrors reflect the universe and, in his turn, the shaman traps this reflection in his mirror. This reflection of cosmic perfection also finds expression in the Mirror of Devi and, in a secondary state, in that of the Sarasundari who are her messengers. In Vedic tradition, the mirror is the solar mirage of manifestations, symbolizing the succession of the shapes of transitory and ever-changing beings. Although the reflection of light or reality does not change its nature, it nevertheless carries with it some illusory aspects (catching the Moon in the water) or falsify with respect to the First Cause. Hindu writers speak of ‘identity in difference.’ As the light is reflected in the water but does not penetrate it, so is Shiva. Thus ‘speculations’ is indirect, ‘lunar’ knowledge. In any case the mirror presents a negative image of reality. What is above is as what is below, says the alchemical Emerald Tablet, but with an opposite meaning. Manifestation is a negative image of the First Cause, displayed in the two inverted triangles of the start shaped hexagon. The symbol of the ray of light reflected upon the surface of the waters is the cosmogonic sign of manifestation

Under “Appendix: Variant Planes & Cosmologies” of the Dungeons & Dragons Manual Of The Planes, is The Plane of Mirrors (page 204).[144] It describes the Plane of Mirrors as a space existing behind reflective surfaces, and experienced by visitors as a long corridor. The greatest danger to visitors upon entering the plane is the instant creation of a mirror-self with the opposite alignment of the original visitor. Also there is a European legend that a newborn child should not see a mirror until its first birthday as its soul is still developing. If the child sees its reflection it is said that it will die. It is a common superstition that someone who breaks a mirror will receive seven years of bad luck. The reason for this belief is that the mirror is believed to reflect part of the soul. Therefore, breaking a mirror will break part of the soul. However, the soul is said to regenerate every seven years, thus coming back unbroken. To prevent a broken mirror from reflecting a broken soul during the seven-year interim, one of many rituals must be performed. Two alternatives include grinding the broken mirror to dust (perhaps the easiest approach) or burying the mirror. It is also said that tapping the broken mirror on a gravestone seven times will allow the soul to heal. However, if the mirror is both touched to the gravestone and buried, the bad luck will remain. The only course of action for one in this position is to dig up the mirror and grind it to dust. This dust must be sprinkled around the same gravestone on which the mirror was initially tapped. There is a Buddhist belief that negative spirits will enter houses through the door if they have triangular-shaped roofs. Hanging a small circular mirror in front of the door will prevent the bad spirits from entering. In days past, it was customary in the southern United States to cover the mirrors in a house where the wake of a deceased person was being held. It was believed that the person’s soul would become trapped in a mirror if it was left uncovered. This practice is still followed in other countries (e.g., Romania), extending to everything that could reflect the deceased person’s face (such as TVs and appliances). Another explanation given is that the devil will appear in the reflection of the dead. Mirrors falling from walls or otherwise breaking or cracking mysteriously were said to be haunted. A similar custom existed in Greece, in the belief that use of mirrors is a sign of vanity that does not become mourning.[145] According to legend, a vampire has no reflection in mirrors because it is an undead creature and has already lost its soul. Another superstition claims it is bad luck to have two mirrors facing each other. A staple of childhood slumber parties is the game Bloody Mary, which involves chanting “Bloody Mary” three times in a darkened room while staring into a mirror. There are many versions of the game, but the general idea is that “Mary” will appear in the mirror and attempt to harm or kill the person who has summoned her. Thanks to a series of popular horror movies based on a supernatural killer who haunted mirrors, the phrase “Candyman” may be substituted for Mary.


[133] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 10.
[134] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 112.
[135] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 112.
[136]Joseph Needham, Gwei-djen Lu, Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 5, page 238.
[137]Albert Allis, The Scientific American Cyclopedia of Formulas, page 89.
[138]Archaeominerology By George Rapp – Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009 page 180.
[139]The Tin-Mercury Mirror: Its Manufacturing Technique and Deterioration Processes, Per Hadsund, Studies in Conservation, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1993)
[140]Liebig, Justus (1856). “Ueber Versilberung und Vergoldung von Glas”. Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie 98 (1): 132–139.
[141]Ivan Moreno (2010). “Output irradiance of tapered lightpipes”. JOSA A 27 (9): 1985.
[142] Jean Chevalier (1969), Dictionary of Symbols, p. 657.
[143] The Bible, Corinthian 3:18.
[144]Grubb, Jeff; David Noonan and Bruce R. Cordell (2001). Manual Of The Planes. Wizards of the Coast.
[145]Other Greek mourning customs include not playing music, not entertaining guests, and using no festive decorations, e.g. on Christmas, during the customary year-long mourning period.

The Drug Correspondence: Narcotics

pillsThe term narcotic (from Greek narkō, “Ι benumb”) originally referred medically to any psychoactive compound with any sleep-inducing properties. In the United States of America it has since become associated with opioids, commonly morphine and heroin and their derivatives, such as hydrocodone. The term is, today, imprecisely defined and typically has negative connotations.[146] When used in a legal context in the US, a narcotic drug is simply one that is totally prohibited, or one that is used in violation of strict governmental regulation, such as heroin or morphine.From a pharmacological standpoint it is not a useful term, as is evidenced by the historically varied usage of the word. “Alcohol is the principle that gives to ardent spirit and wine their intoxicating power; while the narcotic principle to opium and tobacco imparts similar properties. In popular language, alcohol is classed among the stimulants; and opium and tobacco among the narcotics; which are substances whose ultimate effect upon the animal system is to produce torpor and insensibility; but taken in small quantities they at first exhilarate. And since alcohol does the same, most medical writers, at the present day, class it among the narcotics.”[147]Statutory classification of a drug as a narcotic often increases the penalties for violation of drug control statutes. For example, although federal law classifies both cocaine and amphetamines as “Schedule II” drugs, the penalty for possession of cocaine is greater than the penalty for possession of amphetamines because cocaine, unlike amphetamines, is classified as a narcotic.[148]The term “narcotic” is believed to have been coined by the Greek physician Galen to refer to agents that numb or deaden, causing loss of feeling or paralysis. It is based on the Greek word ναρκωσις (narcosis), the term used by Hippocrates for the process of numbing or the numbed state. Galen listed mandrake root, altercus (eclata), seeds, and poppy juice (opium) as the chief examples. It originally referred to any substance that relieved pain, dulled the senses, or induced sleep. Now, the term is used in a number of ways. Some people define narcotics as substances that bind at opioid receptors (cellular membrane proteins activated by substances like heroin or morphine) while others refer to any illicit substance as a narcotic. From a legal perspective, narcotic refers to opium, opium derivatives, and their semi-synthetic substitutes. Though in U.S. law, due to its numbing properties, cocaine is also considered a narcotic. Sense of “any illegal drug” first recorded 1926, Amer.Eng. The adj. is first attested c.1600.


[146]Julien, Robert M. A Primer of Drug Action. 11th edition. Claire D. Advokat, Joseph E. Comaty, eds. New York: Worth Publishers: 2008. page 537; Mangione MP, Matoka M: Improving Pain Management Communication. How Patients Understand the terms “Opioid” and “Narcotic.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 2008; vol 23:9 1336-1338.
[147]Edward Hitchcock, American Temperance Society (1830). An essay on alcoholic & narcotic substances, as articles of common use …. J. S. & C. Adams and Co.
[148]Carl B. Schultz (1983). Note and Comment: Statutory Classification of Cocaine as a Narcotic: An Illogical Anachronism. 9 Am. J. L. and Med. 225.

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