Guide The Sword & the Serpent: The Two-Fold Qabalistic Universe, 2nd Edition (The Magical Philosophy)

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  1. The Sword and the Serpent: The Two-Fold Qabalistic Universe - Melita Denning (käytetty)
  2. Ajankohtaista
  3. Shop with confidence
  4. SWORD AND THE SERPENT: The Two-Fold Qabalistic Universe – Avalon Store

This volume, the second volume of The Magical Philosophy Series, presents the external Qabalistic universe and t Full description. Clear thinkers tend to be materialists, and ardent believers muddle-headed, because it is difficult to quantify the transcendent. Yet it is precisely this analysis of wordless insight that is necessary in practical magic--to make the ethereal concrete on at least some level so that it can be manipulated.

Its utility will only be fully appreciated by working occultists, who will cherish it as a constant reference. It is that rarest of gems, a genuine textbook of the magical art. Visit Seller's Storefront. Thank you for your interest in our books! Our store policies adhere to the policies set forth by AbeBooks. We strive to keep our descriptions accurate and our shipping fast. We are available to answer any questions you may have prior to ordering about the product or shipping.

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If there is any problem with ordering or shipment, please contact us right away. We ensure a response within 48 hours. The young goddess rises from the sea one morning at sunrise in early spring. The sea, although peaceful in her presence, is cold and bitter; yet it holds her as tenderly as the thorny stems and leaves hold a budding rose. The roses are warm and fragrant, and, above all, they are living things: she moves to the land.

There, then, we have a basis for a dramatic poem or ritual, although so far we have put nothing into it but an imaginative following of fairly obvious associated ideas. Even though we may have no immediate use for such scenes, to assemble them in the mind is a good exercise. The identifying characters of our chief lines of association or correspondence, are based upon the principal types of those forces or energies which exist in this world. These have been recognised through many ages of mythology:— they are the characters which have been attributed to the seven planetary deities, whether Babylonian, Greek, or Roman in their turn, and, in addition to these, the characters attributed to the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

The nineteen characters thus known, form in fact a part of a considerably larger scheme, which shall in due course be explained in all its parts: the Tree of Life of the Qabalists. These forces or energies are ever-present, their modes of manifestation being intricately variable at all levels of life, from the most material to the most spiritual. Here a question may be asked, why the names of the deities and signs, associated with these forces and manifestations upon Earth, are linked also to the heavenly luminaries and to the regions of the skies.

This goes back to Babylon and Chaldaea, where observations of the heavens led to a desire to see how the orderly progressions there manifested, might be reflected in the apparently chaotic lives and ventures of mankind. Among the numbers of clay tablets which have survived from their civilisation, there are many inscribed simply with astronomical data for the times of notable events, births and so on, from which conclusions would subsequently be deduced.

The earth-currents and energies to which we have referred, undeniably have their times and seasons, their ebb and flow; and the rhythmic courses of the luminaries inevitably form a calendar upon which such observations can be superimposed. The sun most particularly is observed as passing through various regions of the heavens in the course of the year.

Another interesting tradition is, that the twelve zodiacal signs can be taken to represent twelve successive anatomical regions, comprising between them the whole human body. At all times we should be aware of our human right to free will, and should exercise it; even in those cases in which we deliberately choose the advantages of going with the tide. In some of the older books, we read of magicians awaiting for years a certain planetary aspect before performing a particular ritual.

We, more probably, will simply select a suitable hour, by a method to be explained shortly. The three lamps for Saturn would have glass of a deep neutral grey. If it is desired to carry out a ritual for a purpose attuned to the kingly, paternal, merciful and benevolent qualities associated with Jupiter, there should be four lights, preferably blue, and preferably arranged in a square since such a figure accords with the related ideas of balance, harmony, and just measure.

If it be possible to obtain a piece of crystalline Tin, or Tin Ore, to place upon the altar, this will be suitable as being the metal of Jupiter; furthermore, it will be observed that this metal tends to form into cubic crystals, thus echoing the ideas already expressed by the square of lights. A stone of Lapis Lazuli may be employed, and if it is set in metal, this, if not pure tin, should be of white alloy not silver.

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The altar-cover or other drapes should be blue: a strong masculine form of the colour, such as royal blue. From the examples given, or rather suggested, it should be clear that lists of symbols and tables of correspondences are not meant to cramp the original imagination, but rather to guide and stimulate its activity so that it can be employed with confidence; a sure measure being provided by which we can perceive at once if there is any danger of crossing on to the wrong track, of attributing to Jupiter the symbols of Mars for instance.

This is itself a valuable aspect of training, since, although it is true that these great mythological figures and archetypal principles exist in every human mind, there are few minds indeed in which a confusion between two or more of them does not exist, initially, at one level or another. We may from our own personal causes have come thus far in life without ever seeing the clear distinction, for instance, between the Sun-hero and the king of unmixed mercy and mildness, or between Earth-Mother and the Lady of all Enchantments, or even between the sphere of Mars and the sphere of Venus.

This is not to say that we should ever try to act with unmitigated severity or unmitigated mildness, or that a man should try to be a simple embodiment of the male principle, or a woman of the female: nor, on another level, does it mean we should try to make ourselves creatures of pure reason, to the exclusion of all emotion. We must however be able to distinguish all these factors clearly, and to recognise each one for what it is, before we can blend them in their proper proportions and relationships.

A cook would not attempt to use sugar mixed with an unknown quantity of salt, although both sugar and salt may be present in the final balance of seasonings. An artist will mix blue and yellow together to make green, but he can do nothing with plum-purple and muddy brown. The study of our correspondences, taken seriously over a period of time, should aid in the necessary purification. We may, and should, be keenly interested in the discoveries of science, but our purposes are quite other.

Cobalt has one significance to the painter and another to the physicist: nor does the analytical chemist who uses phenolphthalein as an acid indicator, concern himself with its laxative properties. It will be made more clear presently that our chief interest is not with the matter which impinges upon the ordinary senses, but with its more subtle substance, which is not in fact physical. The alchemical process follows the pattern of purification and integration of the human personality.

If fully successful the process results also in the action of the integrated psyche upon the material of the experiment; so that this also is brought to a state of perfection. The difference in usage of precious and semi-precious stones. The treasury of semi-precious stones. We have already seen how the seven principal metals are allocated to the planetary scheme, each of the metals showing a character in keeping with its planetary attributions: the dull and ponderous quality of Lead for Saturn, the soft flexibility and flesh-like colour of Copper for Venus, together with the green colour of rocks containing that metal, the brilliance and elusive fluidity of Quicksilver for Mercury, the luminous purity of Silver for the Moon, the supreme nobility of Gold for the Sun, together with its association with the supply of all that makes for life and well-being.

The attribution of Tin to Jupiter is probably in part a result of the cubic form of its crystals as mentioned in the previous chapter, but also it must be remembered that Tin was anciently considered as a metal of high worth, not as highly prized as Gold but still of great value and rarity, and virtually a precious metal because it would not rust or corrode.

The metals thus take on something of the personality of the planetary powers, and can be magically used to attract those powers, if employed with suitable intention and ceremonial. Let us take a few examples. Agate is a translucent semi-precious stone remarkable for its hardness and toughness: some stones are hard but brittle, but Agate is tough and enduring. It is found in several different colours, and is traditionally used as a symbol of victory in whatever sphere its colour suggests: in the reddish-brown colour suggesting iron or blood, for victory in war, for long life and riches, and for protection against poisonous reptiles: that is to say, against hostile influences which are notably earthy in character.

Green Agate is supposed to be a useful charm for good eyesight: it is a well-known fact that the colour green is soothing to the eyes. There is also a form of Agate known as Moss-agate or Mocha-stone, in which some kind of opaque pigment has infiltrated the stone in streaks which branch out in forms like tiny plants or trees; they are often mistaken by their finders for real prehistoric plants fossilized in some kind of amber: and naturally this form has been regarded as a good agricultural amulet, to produce good crops of all kinds.

For us, the chief interest in this is its illustration of the close resemblance between mineral and plant forms, and the way in which the human mind uses a resemblance of this kind to build up occult lines of association. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. The ancient Egyptians used it for writing sacred texts on royal sarcophagi; marvellously, something of this tradition seems to have lingered through the centuries after so much else was lost, until again the same pigment was used by the monks of medieval Europe in their manuscripts, and the artists whose patrons could pay for it used it in larger paintings.

The most notable occult application of mineral symbolism developed in connection with the alchemical system. A certain material, described as being very common and valueless, is taken through a series of chemical processes with other materials, and also through a series of physical processes said to correspond to the twelve signs of the Zodiac. This liquid, known as Water of Mercury or of Sol, is divided into fifths. The Egg is then sealed, and is gently heated for a further period, while the colour-changes taking place in the contents are carefully observed.

Finally the material becomes a deep red. Thus far the alchemists. Jung, however, was a clinical psychologist and not a magician. Valuable though his studies and observations are up to that stage, it must be said that he missed the point of the climax of the magical operation as such. We, on the other hand, must go forward and examine the conclusion. We can identify ourselves so completely with our will, that its sudden fulfilment at last seems paradoxically almost as if it came without our volition. The alchemist directed upon the objective matter the full force of the pure subjective concept of perfection which he had built up during his years at the work: and the objective matter became a beautiful thing, a living mineral with power to heal and to transform, a perfect instrument of the will of the magician.

It is upon this invisible and intangible reality that the mind of the magician acts. The sceptic who declares that it either does not exist, or is not susceptible to concentrated mind-power, simply has no notion of spiritual reality; but neither has the enthusiast who declares his belief that changes of this sort would be demonstrated by means of a Geiger counter.

One may refer all such matters to the brain: but the brain, no matter how minutely one examines its wonderful work, is still material. Somewhere along the line, in nerve or gland, one has to postulate that the non-material emotion, thought, or will, has access to the material instrument. If chemical analysis finds them to be anything different from natural gold, then the change has been either fraudulent or incomplete: if they are found to be identical with natural gold, then there can be no proof that they ever were anything other.

However, the purpose of this chapter is not with either manifest transmutation or unmanifest transubstantiation: it is with the far more elementary requirements of the magician, and these greater matters have been brought in only to show clearly some of the principles involved. An object can emanate certain influences: we may be conscious of sensory perceptions in connection with it, such as colour, sound, or odour. The influences may come from these perceptions, or from the object which gives rise to them: the perceptions may be the more important factor.

For instance, it might be desirable in a certain ritual to employ a blue sapphire. In the great majority of cases, the blue glass would be the thing to choose. Tq the subject of these naturally-emanated impressions we shall return presently. If, then, the underlying substance normally gives out manifest and unmanifest qualities which correspond to its nature, then it will also be liable to give out, along with the rest, the qualities of some special mark or character impressed upon it by the mind of the magician, provided at least that such a character be in harmony with the substance itself.

As has been stated earlier. If therefore by appropriate means the mind of the magician gathers together all those qualities of confidence, fortitude and determination which make for victory and are comprehended in the character of Mars, and if he will then focus this character upon, and as it were drive it through to the underlying substance of, the tough red stone, the stone will then give out to the person for whom it is intended this concentrated quality, along with the much weaker natural attributes which it would diffuse to all who might see or touch it.

In other words, it has become a true talisman, and is no longer a mere significator.

The Sword and the Serpent: The Two-Fold Qabalistic Universe - Melita Denning (käytetty)

This is only one type among the works which the magician may wish to undertake: but it illustrates the common ground upon which most of them are built. It illustrates, furthermore, the harmony of the part with the whole: for the Great Work should never be forgotten in the multiplicity of daily actions, and any material object thus charged with a spiritual function is, itself, a symbol of the supreme obligation upon the magician, that he should unite his individual being with the Universal Mind.

Look then above, and trace in the radiance of the stars the alternating beams of light: and look below, to the dark recesses of thine own heart; find the mind within thee, and seek in its inmost regions the counsels of eternity. Does not the wind whisper this secret around thee? Do not thine own thoughts point the way to it? Thus, like the Lightning Flash in descent, this knowledge uniteth in itself all mysteries. This is the pattern of the world and the mirror of the sun: and if thou dost think deeply upon it, it is the lodestone to guide thee to thy destiny!

Their natural potency is great, but is emitted in so high and fine a radiation as to achieve little in the way of directing the earthier components of matter towards the spiritual. The function of diamond, sapphire, ruby or emerald is not to raise up the debased or to control the erratic: nor should they be considered for such purposes, but solely to set a seal upon works already achieved.

When a noble stone is charged, it should be simply in the name and praise of the appropriate Power. The great mineral domain of the magician, properly speaking, is the varied and richly traditional treasury of semi-precious stones. Notably important, too, in this realm are some which for one reason or another can scarcely be called stones at all. These are most easily charged, indeed they reflect every influence that falls upon them, and this it is which sets a limit upon the utility of these lesser materials:— it is difficult to keep them true to one purpose, so receptive are they by nature to even unintended qualities.

Nevertheless, with proper protection, this receptivity can be turned to account. Jet, for example, can either be called a soft but lustrous stone, or a hard and brilliant form of sea-coal: it is in fact fossilized wood, but being thoroughly petrified is assigned to the mineral kingdom just possibly more accurately than to the vegetable. It was burned by the Magi in a form of divination which was named from it, axinomantia. Sir Edward Kelly, in his magical association with Dr. It has been known for at least a century past, that men working deep underground, especially in remote or little-used galleries, sometimes would suddenly have the sensation of being above ground, and would find themselves surrounded by a dense forest, made up of giant fern-trees and other forms totally unknown to them: the trees, in fact, whose fossil remains they were now mining.

There are, of course, several factors which contribute to this phenomenon-the enclosed subterranean space, the lack of other influences, the fact that the miners were of predominantly Celtic stock and therefore of probably more developed clairvoyant tendencies than they were aware, the suppression of personal emotions, essential to working in such conditions—besides the transmissive quality of the coal itself: but it does indicate that transmissiveness very clearly.

Anthracite and Jet are harder and finer forms of the material: properly consecrated and used, they will transmit other impressions than those of their own past history. Being dark in colour, poor in monetary worth, and having these associations with past ages, these materials are ascribed to Saturn. Asbestos is a true mineral, but its grey fibrous structure is so soft that it is a question whether it should be called a stone.

In Egypt it was put to use in the complex process of embalming the dead, for which purpose it was mined at Amathus in Cyprus. The locality of Amathus still produces asbestos. No plant can grow upon this mineral, and the vicinity of the mine is an eerie patch of grey desert. The cold Saturnian influences of Amathus, however, seem to have become confused with and perhaps to have overcome the other tradition, which has been little understood in the West in any case: Ovid writing for the Romans whose principal physical pleasure was gluttony relates of the Venus of Amathus that she was a notable punisher of unchastity, turning the culprits to stone.

Metamorphoses X, Of the characteristic stone of Jupiter, Lapis Lazuli, something has been said already. Also frequently ascribed to Jupiter is the Amethyst, although its colour is usually lilac or violet: but dark blue Amethyst is found in some regions, and the violet shades reflect other octaves of this force. It is in any case, by its dignity and associations, a Jupiterian stone.

It is the stone used in episcopal rings, and even in that manner it suggests the benevolent ruler: besides having been used from ancient times for amulets against inebriation and even against mental intoxication, or loss of self-governance of whatever kind. Many semi-precious stones carry influences akin to the spirit of Mars, but probably one of the finest aspects of this is represented by the Garnet. It can be consecrated to the friendship which is expressed in resolute courage and loyalty, amid the adventures and struggles of life on the material plane.

This is not quite the loftiest aspect of Mars to which one might aspire: while the deep red Garnet betokens the friend of the just man, the tawny Topaz betokens the champion of justice: but the especial danger here is that the Topaz will be chosen, not by the impetuous partisan who might in truth gain something from using such an amulet, but by the zealot whose detachment from the human aspects of justice already borders upon fanaticism.

These are tendencies which, if not curbed, can bring the evils of unbalanced power into being in even the most just cause. However, each stone has its place: the Topaz as an amulet or symbol of spiritual resolve might most fittingly serve one in whom mercy, and a desire to be impartial, tend to bring all decision to naught. Both Garnet and Topaz are clear, crystalline stones, betokening that clarity of vision and of motive which are good in all things, essential when forceful and irreversible action is to be taken.

Some writers recommend Bloodstone for use as an amulet of Mars: this is undesirable. Bloodstone is a murky green in colour, spotted with marks closely resembling real bloodstains; it thereby betokens a confused and corrupt aspect of natural force, producing murder.

Agate is another representative of the more earthy manifestations of the energies of Mars, but it is by no means sinister, because its several variants have each a well-defined goal: victory, success in agriculture, success in sport. To the colours already mentioned, a most commendable one may be added. Hyakinthos, to take the name back to its original Greek or rather Cretan form, was that friend of Apollo who shared the company and the counsels of the Sun-god until one day, standing too close to his hero, he was stricken down and slain by an accidental blow from a discus which Apollo threw in sport.

He was then transformed into a graceful plant with blue flowers: the type, not of our Hyacinth but of our Larkspur. The blue Zircon is thus not out of place, to represent the friend, although the brilliant white stone better represents the deity himself. Similar attributions can be made for the Goldstone. There is however, another form of solar cult whose existence the devotees of Apollo would never suspect. This is the cult of the Sacred King, the Sun-hero sacrificed in his own person.


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Here the characteristic stone is the Topaz, which we have already encountered as representing the most spiritual aspect of Mars. There is no contradiction here: natural objects frequently have more than one symbolic potentiality, and the harmony between the spiritual aspect of the fiery planet, and the sacrificial aspect of the Sun, is obvious. It is fitting, too, that the Topaz should represent both.

Amber, however, belongs not so much to the Sun in heaven as to the reflection of the Sun on the earthly level: in Greek mythology, Amber Electrum is made by the tears of the daughters of Helios bewailing the fall of their brother Phaethon. Although it pertains to the mundane image of the Sun, Amber represents the highest celestial aspect of the next planetary force to be considered: Venus. Aphrodite-Ourania, born of the foam of the sea, is the last child of Father Ouranos: she is thus the goddess of celestial love before becoming goddess of earthly love, and the shining sea-jewel, Amber, of the colour of the Sun, is as it were a memento of her high origin.

Amber, however, is a remarkable substance. The colour usually ascribed to Venus is a brilliant green: Malachite displays it splendidly, and, being a basic carbonate of Copper, the metal of Venus, is altogether suitable. However, other green stones are also associated with Venus, and with good reason: Jade is an outstanding example.

Jade of whatever colour is an emblem of all virtues, and has been frequently used, in China especially and in lands where Chinese influence is known, as a talisman for happiness, health, prosperity, and success. From Venus we pass to Mercury, the patron especially of healing, study, and magic. Different stones typify these different aspects of the characteristic radiation. Carnelian is the great talisman-stone of Mercury as healer.

Flesh-coloured as its name signifies, and densely translucent in texture, it is used against wounds, haemorrhage, and all hostile forces. The Cairngorm, brilliantly crystalline and varying in colour from deep orange to pale yellow, is a good representative of Mercury as scholar: this pellucid stone, of Scottish origin, may be taken to typify the Northern intelligence. For Mercury as magician there is but one worthy emblem: the mysterious and variable Fire-Opal.

Lastly in our list of stones associated with the heavenly bodies, we come to those of the Moon. Here it is not a question of magic proper but of psychism, true visions and false. Crystal immediately comes to mind as the typical Moon-symbol, being when consecrated a notable aid to psychic vision; but as a talisman for keen sight both physical and mental, the Beryl is worthy of mention here, being pre-eminently the stone of the keen-eyed Egyptian Cat-goddess, Bast, whom the Greeks considered to be identical with Diana.

Fluorspar, on the other hand, transparent and colourless, has a strange property of refracting light so that images seen through it seem displaced or distorted: it represents the other aspect of Luna as deceiver. Into the House of the Ram he swiftly enters Strong and courageous, Lord of all Beginnings, Childhood, and life that takes its road with joy.

The colour is scarlet, the stone is Red Jasper. Then in the House of the Bull, with boundless vision In peace he rules, outpouring truth and beauty, Emblem of given faith, and faith received. The colour is red-orange, the stone is Red Coral. Twofold he shines in the dwelling of the Brothers, Lord of the restless mind which ever questions: — Yet, of all wisdom the messenger divine.

The colour is orange, the stone is Variegated Agate. In the House of the Crab, reflected in the waters, Veiled and sublime shines forth another likeness: — She, whom as Mother an ancient race has hailed. The colour is orange-yellow, the stone is Amber.

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But now the Lion, monarch greeting monarch— Each proud and free, each generous and splendid, Welcomes the Sun to the citadel of Autumn. The colour is yellow-green, the stone is Peridot. Wide swings the Balance in its place appointed: Who shall give the edicts of Time and of Justice? Only the Sun, who sees and governs all. The colour is green, the stone is Malachite.

The colour is blue-green, the stone is Obsidian. The colour is blue, the stone is Blue Zircon.

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Where rules the Goat, the Sun is stern and mournful: There, long ago, the Golden Age he governed Which might return, if man would but obey. The colour is violet, the stone is Jet. Thence the Sun sees all things as Lord of Truth. The colour is purple, the stone is Amethyst. The colour is magenta, the stone is Pearl. In studying the foregoing, it will be perceived that once again the complete range of the spectrum is covered in the colour-sequence, although in closer gradation than with the planetary attributions.

For the choice of the stones, which are largely traditional, the reasons vary. In many cases, such as Garnet and Peridot, the substance is either dominated by the colour or would perhaps better be said to be in complete harmony with it. In other cases, such as Catseye and Obsidian, the affinities of the stone with the zodiacal character evidently rest upon other considerations besides colour. Yet again, as in the case of Pearl, the colour may be completely set aside for a stone which is otherwise strongly indicated.

Neither this chapter nor the ones which follow ought to be considered as exhaustive. When once the principles have been mastered, the subject-matter can, and should, multiply in the mind. Like a transplanted shrub, the putting forth of new leaves will be the one sure sign that it has indeed taken root. The planetary attributions to the days of the week, and the calculation of the Planetary Hours. Understanding myth. The rhythm of the agricultural year.

The Fire Festivals and Sun Festivals-correspondences with seasons of the year and of life, the elements and the quarters, the four beasts. The reality of time, the subjectivity of experience. Nomadic peoples needed an astronomical guide to position and direction, as well as due warning of the approach of winter or summer, wet season or dry. Agricultural peoples needed more exact particulars of the seasons. Further, all this information was required not only for guidance in mundane matters, but also to provide for the propitiation of the deities and powers concerned in each successive change of circumstances.

The calendar has therefore been closely linked with religious and magical practices, wherever we can trace its early history. Stonehenge is not only an open-air temple but also a huge complex calendar: other stone circles are found to be orientated to one or other of the heavenly bodies; whilst various temples of Egypt and Numidia were so arranged that the light of sunrise or of noonday would fall directly upon a given spot at midsummer or on some other great festival.

The religious literature of Babylon is largely concerned with myths whose purpose was to account for eclipses and other celestial movements and phenomena. But there is also a synthetic tendency, a perception of the succession of seasons and even of the succession of years and of ages, as making up a significant pattern. Let us begin with the days of the week. If we compare their names and attributions in several languages, we can see that there is a basic pattern in common.

As regards the correspondences of these names, it is only necessary to point out here that Tuisco, like his counterpart Mars, is a god not only of war but also of parliaments and assemblies; Jupiter, or Jove, is originally Deus-Pater, a Sky-Father and thunderer; Frigga is the Northern goddess of peace and love, whilst the Gothic name Seatur is an evident importation, being simply adapted from the name Saturn. One of the most interesting pieces of symbolism in our week is the persistent association of Saturn with the Sabbath. The Babylonians had tablets giving the religious festivals and suitable activities for every day of each month in turn, their Sabbaths being fixed at the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of each month.

This ancient story of creation, which was itself a carefully selected and finalised version of stories from yet earlier traditions, allots the creation of the firmament to Sunday, the separation of earth from water to Monday, the creation of plant life to Tuesday, of the heavenly bodies to Wednesday, of animal life to Thursday, and of man to Friday. He does not state that God felt tired. Other peoples of the ancient world clearly had a similar tradition, which they cast into their own characteristic and very different symbolism.

The Roman and Greek stories, as they have come down to us, are similar to each other, with only a difference in detail and in the names of the deities concerned. Briefly, they tell that Ouranos or Coelus to give both Greek and the Roman names, which in each case signify the Sky or the Sky-Father begot many children of Earth-Mother, of whom one, Chronos or Saturnus, rose in revolt against his authority.

The conflict ended with the son castrating the father and ruling in his stead, until supplanted in turn by his own son Zeus or Jupiter. This barbaric myth evidently stands in no close relationship to the Biblical account. We cannot say that the Biblical story either gave rise to it, or was derived from it. In this case also, however, we should examine the myth not for the incidents related in it but for what those incidents represent.

It tells us that there was an initial period in the history of the world, when new beings and new forms, with earthly bodies, were generated by the supernal power; and that then this period was brought to an end by the agency of Saturn, the presiding deity of the seventh day, after whose accession no further new forms came into existence in this world. This, again, agrees well with the astrological character attributed to the planet Saturn, which is continually represented as inhibiting action and inspiration, slowing down vitality to the point of stagnation, and checking creativity on every level.

Bearing in mind that the seven heavenly bodies attributed to the days of the week represent among them every influence, with the exception of the elemental forces themselves, to which this world is subject, it can be seen that no matter which of these two traditions we examine, we find it to be clearly the intention of our forebears that the whole compass of these influences should be honoured within each week.

The planetary dedications of the hours of the day and night are related to the sequence of the days, but in an indirect and somewhat obscure manner: CD First, a 7-pointed star is drawn in one continuous line beginning at the top for the sake of clearness. Then, taking the points in the 4 order in which they are drawn, the planetary attributions are placed at those points in the order of the days of the week.

Next, beginning again at the top, the points with their planetary attributions are re-numbered, proceeding in order round the circumference. It must be noted that as in the first place the star was constructed by drawing a line entirely in a clockwise direction, so now the progression must be clockwise round the circumference also.

A further symbolism is sometimes brought in at this point, concerning the sequence of the focal centres of the astral body; but that is not necessary to the explanation, and is much too complicated for the present study. For occult purposes, a day comprises twelve hours from sunrise to sunset, and a night comprises twelve hours from sunset to sunrise.

If, therefore, I give the first hour at sunrise on Sunday to the Sun, the second hour to Venus and so on, and after giving the seventh hour to Mars I give the eighth to the Sun and so continue again, giving the twelfth hour of the day to Saturn and the first hour of the night at sunset to Jupiter, I will find that the twelfth hour of the night, just before sunrise, is dedicated to Mercury.

This of course means that the hour of sunrise on Monday will be dedicated to the Moon. If this table is worked out in detail, it is found that the first hour of Tuesday is dedicated to Mars, the first hour of Wednesday is dedicated to Mercury and so on. But if at any time this table is used for practical purposes as for instance if something has to be done in the hour of the Sun on Sunday, and, the hour of sunrise being inconveniently early, it is decided to use the eighth hour of the day instead it must be understood that a magical hour does not necessarily consist of sixty minutes.

In fact, it only contains exactly 60 minutes twice a year, at the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes. From midwinter to midsummer the time from dawn to sunset becomes longer and the time from sunset to dawn becomes shorter; from midsummer to midwinter, it is the other way, the night becoming longer and the day shorter. But no matter how long or how short a day or a night may be, for occult purposes that period, sunrise to sunset or sunset to sunrise, is divided into twelve equal portions which are called hours.

So to find the eighth hour of the day, for instance, it is necessary to know the times of sunrise and sunset on that particular day and to make the rest of the calculations accordingly. So much for the days and the hours. The months, as the word itself shows us, are primarily a moon-measure, four weeks taking the moon through all its phases.

Well known and very widespread are the ancient beliefs as to the phases of the moon: that enterprises begun in the time of the new moon or the increasing moon will flourish, while the waning moon is generally considered unlucky. Yet strangely enough, the richest symbolism concerning the months is connected, not with the Moon, but with the Sun in its passage through the Twelve Houses of the Zodiac. Relatively little need be said here about the signs of the Zodiac; they are to some extent familiar to everyone. If we compare the generally-accepted list of Hebrew names of the months with the zodiacal signs, much as these have been re-named and re-interpreted with their adaptation to various eras and regions, still several points of interest survive.

Each normal year consisted of twelve months, each of thirty days. The year thus contained only days, which for the purpose of astrological calculations corresponded admirably to the degrees of the circle: but as a result, it would be discovered approximately every six years that the astrological calendar fell a whole month short of the astronomical year, and also, more conspicuously, of the agricultural seasons. Another month, a second Adar, was then inserted to restore the right relationship for the time being. This explains certain discrepancies in many ancient tables of zodiacal correspondences.

Another point of interest in the Hebrew names of the months, is that the month Shebat corresponds roughly to January and to the sign of Capricorn, the sign which is governed by Saturn, of whose Hebrew name Shabbathai so much has already been said: its affinity with Shebat now becomes obvious. The reason for these Babylonian associations in the Hebrew calendar is not far to seek, for most of the Hebrew month-names are very similar to the Babylonian, the three above quoted, Sivan, Tammuz and Shebat, being in the Babylonian calendar Simannu, Duzu and Sabatu respectively.

The Talmudists have always maintained, and accurately as it would seem, that the traditional Hebrew month-names were unknown in Israel until the Babylonian captivity. Turning from the Babylonian and Hebrew traditions of the Zodiac, there is also an old Mediterranean theme worthy of notice, which pictures the sun as a hero triumphant over the particular conditions and difficulties set by each sign in turn; some classical writers have implied that this is the meaning of the myth of the Twelve Labours of Hercules.

It may indeed have been so; some of the Twelve Labours fit their zodiacal attributions very well; but others appear rather strained, and the stories may at some time have been re-cast by minstrels and entertainers who were ignorant of the symbolism. Mithraism however is a study in itself, and bears interpretations which show that not only is Mithras the sun, but also the Bull is the sun, and therefore in a certain sense Mithras is one with the Bull which he sacrifices.

SWORD AND THE SERPENT: The Two-Fold Qabalistic Universe – Avalon Store

There is underlying all this an important mystical truth; that the real object of worship is not the visible sun which seems to change with the hours and the seasons, but the unchanging spiritual power behind: while at the same time the visible sun is to be venerated, as a manifestation of the spiritual power, sacrificed—pinned as it were to time and place—in the material universe, for the benefit of the creatures thereof. This is high teaching, and we cannot be surprised if not all cults have looked so high.

Sometimes, and especially in more northern lands, it is the Sun-Hero himself who is represented as an annual victim. Typical examples are the Nordic Baldur, doomed to the icy regions of the Underworld in the winter months, and the Celtic Lugh, whose myth is crystallised in the festival of Lughnasadh, celebrated on the First of August as one of the great quarterly Fire-Festivals. In some places at midsummer, but more properly elsewhere at Lughnasadh, it was the custom to make a great bonfire on some high hilltop and to heat in it a wheel, which would normally be a heavy oaken waggon-wheel.

When this was glowing red within its metal tyre, it was bowled down the hillside, eagerly watched by the community who drew from its course auguries for the coming season. The true significance of the fiery wheel was to symbolise the descent of the sun from its midsummer height. Knowing as we do how swiftly after August and the hectic plenitude of harvest-time, the sun is shrouded in the cold mists and the swift darkness of winter, it is not surprising that this marriage proved tragic and that Lugh was soon betrayed to his death by his beautiful bride.

Equally, however, we are not surprised to learn that death could not hold him and that in due course he rose again. The Fasti, of which only a half survives, was conceived as a complete historical, religious and astronomical calendar of the Roman year, in poetic form. This mixture of subject-matter may seem curious, but, for the sake of comparison with one of the lineal descendents of the Fasti, it may be noted that in the pages of the Roman Martyrology the Epacts of the Moon are, or have until recently been, tabulated.

There too, evidently, a general desire reveals itself of maintaining something of the astronomical calendar in a work whose main purpose is for reference and instruction regarding religious observances. To the student who wishes to add the Fasti to his library, the bilingual Loeb edition is particularly to be commended, this being translated and edited by J. Frazer himself. Afterwards two months, January and February were added, making a total of days, approximately a lunar year. Hartmann thought that in the old days the time from midwinter to spring, during which the labours of the husbandmen were for the most part suspended, and nature herself appeared to be dormant if not dead, was looked upon as a period of rest, and was therefore excluded from the calendar.

Frazer goes on to adduce many reasons in support of this view. Mention of the Festival of Lughnasadh some paragraphs back leads to the consideration of other divisions of the year: those groups of months which we call the seasons. The old Celtic seasons were, properly speaking, three in number, but the year was divided four ways by the great Fire-Festivals, Imbolc, Bealteinne, Lughnasadh and Samhuinn.

Although the Fire-Festivals were, and to a certain extent still are, magical occasions of considerable power in themselves, they lack the power of the Sun-Festivals, not only as representing a lesser thing, but also because they lack correspondences of the type in which the solar festivals abound. Vernal Equinox The Vernal Equinox, for example, corresponds to birth, dawn, the element of Air, and the cardinal point of the East; the Summer Solstice to youth, noonday, the element of Fire, and the cardinal point of the South; the Autumnal Equinox to middle age, sunset, the element of Water, and the cardinal point of the West; the Winter Solstice to old age and death, the element of Earth and the cardinal point of the North.

V for the significance of the zodiacal scheme. This is important in magical learning. The subconscious is the dragon guarding many treasures to which it will give us access, if we have the patience to teach it a sign-language it can understand, and then to address it in that language: but our dealings with it must be characterised by unbroken habit and absolute certainty.

Decisions are then made, with a view to establishing contact with a mental sphere which should be powerful, lofty, and widely-connected, but not so nearly universal as to be featureless. In the Old Testament we find the concept of a week of years, a period of seven years, which in England has survived until quite recently in the farming custom of letting each field in tum lie fallow, that is unused, for one year in seven to permit the soil to recuperate.

In the various forms of Gnostic religion, again, the concept has occurred of a still longer period of time, of unspecified length, an Aeon: each Aeon being characterised by the advent of a new supernal regent, referred to also as an Aeon. According to Valentinus, these supernal regents would be paired, male and female.

Christianity has tended to formulate itself in terms of a thousand years. It is a historical fact that as the year A. In the East, longer periods of time are envisaged. Hindu tradition, for instance, divides the history of this world into great ages, or Yugas. Yet, what is Time? We may be tempted to try to define it by the mere physical instruments by which we measure it.

If we say, Time is that which is measured by the movement of the heavenly bodies, by the progression of the seasons, by the movement of clock-wheels, by the shortening of a candle, by the drip of water or the flow of sand, by the ageing of the body, by birth and death and the course of history, then we are making Time the servant of those things of which he is manifestly the master. Those things cannot be said to bend Time to their reality; they merely manifest the reality which Time possesses.

Time is greater than they, and could exist without them. Dreams and visions have their own time, as has often been discovered: they who step outside the bounds of physical limitation can taste the experiences even of a lifetime in a short span, or alternatively may absent themselves within their visionary life for a little while, to find upon returning that their hours have been measured by other people in years.

To some extent everyone can experience the mystery of subjective time, for the hours last but briefly in joy and when we are absorbed in what we do, while in sorrow, pain or tedium they go shod with lead. That, however, is a daily observation which only touches the fringe of the matter. We have to consider the question of prediction. Those who have experimented with telepathy or with E. A similar tendency is to be found in some Biblical prophecies, whose authors clearly had no notion how many years or centuries would be needed for their fulfillment.

There are several factors here which need very careful and logically-planned control: first of all, it is certainly possible in some circumstances for even an untrained human mind to act upon its surroundings, so as to bring about exactly that which it most desires or most fears. Secondly, there is a converse tendency: it is observable that many people, once they are convinced to the depths of their mind that a certain happening is destined to come about, will seek it and will work to produce it, will even consciously desire it, even though in itself it may not be either pleasureable or good.

Thirdly however, outside and beyond the scope of these influences, there is discernable the fact that circumstances which as yet have no material manifestation, astrally may be already in existence. Sometimes this is so evident, as to make the accepted sequence of time almost meaningless: when past, present, and future events are seen to interlock to produce a given effect, as inextricably as the pieces of a jigsaw-puzzle all present simultaneously in the picture.

In the light of such an experience, we may ask again, What is Time? The role of human fears and desires, of a human sense of destiny, in the moulding of future events, may give us a clue. That which the human mind can effect on a lesser scale, the Divine Mind in which we live and move can effect far more powerfully. Seen from that viewpoint, Time is the essential link between the Changeless and the Changeable. It is the necessary tool of the Divine Will, the medium of creation, for in it lies the potential of all becoming, of all change.

The validity of subjective experience. Symbolism implies pattern and relationship. The symbolism of number and figure. The use of the Hebrew alphabet in formulating the appearance of a spirit being: Harmony of image and sound vibration. Indeed, such theories in their succession through the centuries have alternately withdrawn and restored such support as they might seem able to provide, with a curious compensating balance which in itself amply demonstrates that the perpetually unchanging philosophy of true magick overrides them all.

Aristotle divided the laws of motion: the circular pertained to the celestial spheres, the rectilinear to earth. The sun and the other luminaries did not rise or set: the earth could no longer be pictured as central to whatever rays might impinge upon it. It took Einstein with his championship of relativity, to restore the validity of subjective experience, which Protagoras and Epicurus had enunciated: but he too took almost as much as he gave, by limiting scientific possibility in matters where the mind of man intuits no limit.

Experience it is which impresses an image upon the subconscious mind, not any theory or fact which is real only to the intellect. Two important circumstances, however, must be brought in to qualify this statement. One is, that a scientific discovery or hypothesis may for some reason appeal to the emotions, and so evoke unexpected affinities and reactions in the deeper mind-levels: the other circumstance is, that a truth not ordinarily perceptible to the majority of human minds may be known to some few, from contact made with these facts in the course of philosophic speculation or of magical vision.

Insofar as these things have been experienced in these modes, they have become valid subject-matter for the symbol-making faculty of the minds concerned: and these being minds of remarkable calibre, the result will probably be very different from the usual symbol-making of the popular level. Such is, for example, the atheistic atomism of Lucretius, or those abstract perceptions which, earlier in the history of Western thought, the Pythagoreans had expressed in mathematical form.

Nearer than these lie the orbits of the seven luminaries, conceived on a geocentric plan: the sphere of Luna therefore being the lowest, as nearest to earth. Then to what does the eighth note, the octave of Luna, correspond? All symbolism implies some manner of pattern, of relationship between one point and another, without which none of the more material and seemingly more obvious levels of interpretation would work at all. Some introspection is called for here. Take a fragment of symbolism which seems to your mind quite obvious; perhaps the horse as a symbol of power, or the ring as a symbol of eternity, and try to track down within your own mind the reasons for it; the choices made by the inner mind are governed, not by the weight of evidence, but by some one motive which seems to it at the operative moment to be entirely relevant and convincing.

Try to identify this point of conviction, with regard to whatever symbol you may choose. You will find that however material the symbol or the thing symbolised, or both, the connecting link between them will become progressively clearer as a quite abstract idea. It is therefore, not always necessary to bring the symbolism itself through to a completely material level. Take, for instance, an ancient concept which is explained and emphasised several times over in the books of Robert Graves:— the preliminary lameness of the sacred king who was destined at last to lose his life as a sacrifice, so that earthly existence might become regenerated and uplifted by divine power.

According to the historians, this lameness was in several different lands and eras an actual physical condition, deliberately caused to the king as a symbol of his dedication, and hence indirectly as a symbol of the regeneration of those who were to be benefited: but it has come down to us, represented in quite a variety of ways. The child turns his head to look at these angels, and as he does so, one of his little shoes falls off. No Christian tradition exists to explain this incident, although it is quite a conspicuous feature of the picture; but in fact it identifies the child as the sacred king, destined for sacrifice, and his glance at the instruments of his future death only confirms this.

That is a material image. One degree more abstract is the symbol by which the same idea is conveyed in the Eastern churches, that is, the slanting foot-rest of the Russian Cross: but if we look at the means by which the basic square and the central elevation of the pyramids was achieved in Egypt, we find the same signification conveyed in a completely mathematical and remarkably abstract way. If you remember learning at school about the three types of triangle, Equilateral, Isosceles and Skalene, you may perhaps still wonder why the Skalene triangle was particularly designated at all.

The name means Limping, and implies a triangle with three unequal sides: a completely unspecialised triangle, one would say. In fact however, a particular type of skalene triangle was held in high esteem as having a virtually mystical significance: a sacred king among triangles.