Princess of Swords Thoth Tarot Card Tutorial – Esoteric Meanings

A detailed written and YouTube presentation of the Princess of Swords of the Thoth Tarot Court Cards as part of a complete series on this deck.  […]

Source: Princess of Swords Thoth Tarot Card Tutorial – Esoteric Meanings

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RITUAL MAGIC | A Simple and Yet Powerful Archangel Invocation

There are many ways to invoke and call forth the presence of the Archangels… One of the most powerful is invoking the Archangels in every direction.

This Archangel Invocation puts you right at the center of a powerful Archangelic energy. You can use this for protection, to raise your vibration… Anchor light where you are… Connect with your highest Divine Self or to simpy tune into the love, support, guidance and incredible angelic energy of the Archangels.

Here’s exactly how to do this.

Archangel Invocation

To begin, focus your awareness within, breathe, relax and begin to visualize golden and white light all around as you now ask to be surrounded with Divine Light love, and with the Archangels in every direction.

Then think clearly and powerfully, or say aloud:

Recite aloud:

Calling in the Archangels from every direction. East, South, West, North,

Above, Below… Within…

“I now call upon Archangel Raphael in the East.”

Raphael is the Archangel of Air, and as you call him forth, feel or see the Emerald Green light and healing presence as Archangel Raphael steps forward.

“I call upon Archangel Michael in the South”

Archangel Michael is the Archangel of Fire. Tune into the electric blue fire and protective energy of Archangel Michael.

“I call upon Archangel Gabriel in the West”

Archangel Gabriel is the Archangel of Water. Tune into the sky-blue diamond light of Gabriel as she steps forward.

“I now call upon Archangel Auriel in the North”

Archangel Auriel is the Archangel of the Earth. Tune into the golden fiery light as Uriel steps forward.

“I now call in Archangel Sandalphon below me…”

Bringing up the crystalline grid and Sophia– Christ Light into your heart center

“I now call upon Archangel Metatron above…”

Lowering down the Solar- Christ Consciousness grid into your heart center.

Now tune into this sacred geometric shape around you…

The pillars of Archangelic energy creaing an octahedron around you.

“Inside this sacred geometric space, I now ask that the vibration be lifted, and filled with the love and light of Divine Presence. And now at the center, through my open heart, I call in and forth the full presence of my highest Divine Self.”

Allow your energy lift, expand, and through your open heart, feel the presence of the Archangels above, below and all around …

And within you, feel the presence of your highest Divine Self. Feel and experience your highest divine light.

From here, allow yourself to simply be present and to bask in the loving, blissful energy. You can ask for specific guidance or healing or you can simply anchor Divine Love, light and presence where you are, through your open heart, into the present moment…

Anchoring Divine Love into the earth and rippling out far beyond you.

And so it is.

===

Give this a try and just feel, see, experience and know the presence of the archangelic energy when you connect, invoke and invite it in.

I hope that this is helpful for you.

The Hermetic Philosophy

No photo description available.

 

“The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding”–The Kybalion.

From old Egypt have come the fundamental esoteric and occult teachings which have so strongly influenced the philosophies of all races, nations and peoples, for several thousand years. Egypt, the home of the Pyramids and the Sphinx, was the birthplace of the Hidden Wisdom and Mystic Teachings. From her Secret Doctrine all nations have borrowed. India, Persia, Chaldea, Medea, China, Japan, Assyria, ancient Greece and Rome, and other ancient countries partook liberally at the feast of knowledge which the Hierophants and Masters of the Land of Isis so freely provided for those who came prepared to partake of the great store of Mystic and Occult Lore which the masterminds of that ancient land had gathered together.

In ancient Egypt dwelt the great Adepts and Masters who have never been surpassed, and who seldom have been equaled, during the centuries that have taken their processional flight since the days of the Great Hermes. In Egypt was located the Great Lodge of Lodges of the Mystics. At the doors of her Temples entered the Neophytes who afterward, as Hierophants, Adepts, and Masters, traveled to the four corners of the earth, carrying with them the precious knowledge which they were ready, anxious, and willing to pass on to those who were ready to receive the same. All students of the Occult recognize the debt that they owe to these venerable Masters of that ancient land.

But among these great Masters of Ancient Egypt there once dwelt one of whom Masters hailed as “The Master of Masters.” This man, if “man” indeed he was, dwelt in Egypt in the earliest days. He was known as Hermes Trismegistus. He was the father of the Occult Wisdom; the founder of Astrology; the discoverer of Alchemy. The details of his life story are lost to history, owing to the lapse of the years, though several of the ancient countries disputed with each other in their claims to the honor of having furnished his birthplace–and this thousands of years ago. The date of his sojourn in Egypt, in that his last incarnation on this planet, is not now known, but it has been fixed at the early days of the oldest dynasties of Egypt–long before the days of Moses. The best authorities regard him as a contemporary of Abraham, and some of the Jewish traditions go so far as to claim that Abraham acquired a portion of his mystic knowledge from Hermes himself.

As the years rolled by after his passing from this plane of life (tradition recording that he lived three hundred years in the flesh), the Egyptians deified Hermes, and made him one of their gods, under the name of Thoth. Years after, the people of Ancient Greece also made him one of their many gods–calling him “Hermes, the god of Wisdom.” The Egyptians revered his memory for many centuries-yes, tens of centuries– calling him “the Scribe of the Gods,” and bestowing upon him, distinctively, his ancient title, “Trismegistus,” which means “the thrice-great”; “the great-great”; “the greatest-great”; etc. In all the ancient lands, the name of Hermes Trismegistus was revered, the name being synonymous with the “Fount of Wisdom.”

Even to this day, we use the term “hermetic” in the sense of “secret”; “sealed so that nothing can escape”; etc., and this by reason of the fact that the followers of Hermes always observed the principle of secrecy in their teachings. They did not believe in “casting pearls before swine,” but rather held to the teaching “milk for babes”; “meat for strong men,” both of which maxims are familiar to readers of the Christian scriptures, but both of which had been used by the Egyptians for centuries before the Christian era.

And this policy of careful dissemination of the truth has always characterized the Hermetics, even unto the present day. The Hermetic Teachings are to be found in all lands, among all religions, but never identified with any particular country, nor with any particular religious sect. This because of the warning of the ancient teachers against allowing the Secret Doctrine to become crystallized into a creed. The wisdom of this caution is apparent to all students of history. The ancient occultism of India and Persia degenerated, and was largely lost, owing to the fact that the teachers became priests, and so mixed theology with the philosophy, the result being that the occultism of India and Persia has been gradually lost amidst the mass of religious superstition, cults, creeds and “gods.” So it was with Ancient Greece and Rome. So it was with the Hermetic Teachings of the Gnostics and Early Christians, which were lost at the time of Constantine, whose iron hand smothered philosophy with the blanket of theology, losing to the Christian Church that which was its very essence and spirit, and causing it to grope throughout several centuries before it found the way back to its ancient faith, the indications apparent to all careful observers in this Twentieth Century being that the Church is now struggling to get back to its ancient mystic teachings.

But there were always a few faithful souls who kept alive the Flame, tending it carefully, and not allowing its light to become extinguished. And thanks to these staunch hearts, and fearless minds, we have the truth still with us. But it is not found in books, to any great extent. It has been passed along from Master to Student; from Initiate to Hierophant; from lip to ear. When it was written down at all, its meaning was veiled in terms of alchemy and astrology so that only those possessing the key could read it aright. This was made necessary in order to avoid the persecutions of the theologians of the Middle Ages, who fought the Secret Doctrine with fire and sword; stake, gibbet and cross. Even to this day there will be found but few reliable books on the Hermetic Philosophy, although there are countless references to it in many books written on various phases of Occultism. And yet, the Hermetic Philosophy is the only Master Key which will open all the doors of the Occult Teachings!

In the early days, there was a compilation of certain Basic Hermetic Doctrines, passed on from teacher to student, which was known as “THE KYBALION,” the exact significance and meaning of the term having been lost for several centuries. This teaching, however, is known to many to whom it has descended, from mouth to ear, on and on throughout the centuries. Its precepts have never been written down, or printed, so far as we know. It was merely a collection of maxims, axioms, and precepts, which were non-understandable to outsiders, but which were readily understood by students, after the axioms, maxims, and precepts had been explained and exemplified by the Hermetic Initiates to their Neophytes. These teachings really constituted the basic principles of “The Art of Hermetic Alchemy,” which, contrary to the general belief, dealt in the mastery of Mental Forces, rather than Material Elements-the Transmutation of one kind of Mental Vibrations into others, instead of the changing of one kind of metal into another. The legends of the “Philosopher’s Stone” which would turn base metal into Gold, was an allegory relating to Hermetic Philosophy, readily understood by all students of true Hermeticism.

In this little book, of which this is the First Lesson, we invite our students to examine into the Hermetic Teachings, as set forth in THE KYBALION, and as explained by ourselves, humble students of the Teachings, who, while bearing the title of Initiates, are still students at the feet of HERMES, the Master. We herein give you many of the maxims, axioms and precepts of THE KYBALION, accompanied by explanations and illustrations which we deem likely to render the teachings more easily comprehended by the modern student, particularly as the original text is purposely veiled in obscure terms.

The original maxims, axioms, and precepts of THE KYBALION are printed herein, in italics, the proper credit being given. Our own work is printed in the regular way, in the body of the work. We trust that the many students to whom we now offer this little work will derive as much benefit from the study of its pages as have the many who have gone on before, treading the same Path to Mastery throughout the centuries that have passed since the times of HERMES TRISMEGISTUS–the Master of Masters–the Great-Great. In the words of “THE KYBALION”:

“Where fall the footsteps of the Master, the ears of those
ready for his Teaching open wide.”–The Kybalion.

“When the ears of the student are ready to hear, then cometh
the lips to fill them with Wisdom.”–The Kybalion.

So that according to the Teachings, the passage of this book to those ready for the instruction will attract the attention of such as are prepared to receive the Teaching. And, likewise, when the pupil is ready to receive the truth, then will this little book come to him, or her. Such is The Law. The Hermetic Principle of Cause and Effect, in its aspect of The Law of Attraction, will bring lips and ear together–pupil and book in company. So mote it be!

Artwork by Miles Toland.

 

“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.”

AS ABOVE SO BELOW = 936 = LET THERE BE LIGHT = DAATH INVOCATION

The great Second Hermetic Principle embodies the truth that there is a harmony, agreement, and correspondence between the several planes of Manifestation, Life and Being. This truth is a truth because all that is included in the Universe emanates from the same source, and the same laws, principles, and characteristics apply to each unit, or combination of units, of activity, as each manifests its own phenomena upon its own plane.

For the purpose of convenience of thought and study, the Hermetic Philosophy considers that the Universe may be divided into three great classes of phenomena, known as the Three Great Planes, namely:

1. The Great Physical Plane.
2. The Great Mental Plane.
3. The Great Spiritual Plane.

These divisions are more or less artificial and arbitrary, for the truth is that all of the three divisions are but ascending degrees of the great scale of Life, the lowest point of which is undifferentiated Matter, and the highest point that of Spirit. And, moreover, the different Planes shade into each other, so that no hard and fast division may be made between the higher phenomena of the Physical and the lower of the Mental; or between the higher of the Mental and the lower of the Physical.

In short, the Three Great Planes may be regarded as three great groups of degrees of Life Manifestation. While the purposes of this little book do not allow us to enter into an extended discussion of, or explanation of, the subject of these different planes, still we think it well to give a general description of the same at this point.

At the beginning we may as well consider the question so often asked by the neophyte, who desires to be informed regarding the meaning of the word “Plane”, which term has been very freely used, and very poorly explained, in many recent works upon the subject of occultism. The question is generally about as follows: “Is a Plane a place having dimensions, or is it merely a condition or state?” We answer: “No, not a place, nor ordinary dimension of space; and yet more than a state or condition. It may be considered as a state or condition, and yet the state or condition is a degree of dimension, in a scale subject to measurement.” Somewhat paradoxical, is it not? But let us examine the matter. A “dimension,” you know, is “a measure in a straight line, relating to measure,” etc. The ordinary dimensions of space are length, breadth, and height, or perhaps length, breadth, height, thickness or circumference. But there is another dimension of “created things” or “measure in a straight line,” known to occultists, and to scientists as well, although the latter have not as yet applied the term “dimension” to it–and this new dimension, which, by the way, is the much speculated -about “Fourth Dimension,” is the standard used in determining the degrees or “planes.”

This Fourth Dimension may be called “The Dimension of Vibration” It is a fact well known to modern science, as well as to the Hermetists who have embodied the truth in their “Third Hermetic Principle,” that “everything is in motion; everything vibrates; nothing is at rest.” From the highest manifestation, to the lowest, everything and all things Vibrate. Not only do they vibrate at different rates of motion, but as in different directions and in a different manner. The degrees of the rate of vibrations constitute the degrees of measurement on the Scale of Vibrations–in other words the degrees of the Fourth Dimension. And these degrees form what occultists call “Planes” The higher the degree of rate of vibration, the higher the plane, and the higher the manifestation of Life occupying that plane. So that while a plane is not “a place,” nor yet “a state or condition,” yet it possesses qualities common to both. We shall have more to say regarding the subject of the scale of Vibrations in our next lessons, in which we shall consider the Hermetic Principle of Vibration.

You will kindly remember, however, that the Three Great Planes are not actual divisions of the phenomena of the Universe, but merely arbitrary terms used by the Hermetists in order to aid in the thought and study of the various degrees and Forms of universal activity and life. The atom of matter, the unit of force, the mind of man, and the being of the arch -angel are all but degrees in one scale, and all fundamentally the same, the difference between solely a matter of degree, and rate of vibration–all are creations of THE ALL, and have their existence solely within the Infinite Mind of THE ALL.

The Hermetists sub-divide each of the Three Great Planes into Seven Minor Planes, and each of these latter are also sub-divided into seven sub-planes, all divisions being more or less arbitrary, shading into each other, and adopted merely for convenience of scientific study and thought.

The Great Physical Plane, and its Seven Minor Planes, is that division of the phenomena of the Universe which includes all that relates to physics, or material things, forces, and manifestations. It includes all forms of that which we call Matter, and all forms of that which we call Energy or Force. But you must remember that the Hermetic Philosophy does not recognize Matter as a thing in itself, or as having a separate existence even in the Mind of THE ALL. The Teachings are that Matter is but a form of Energy–.that is, Energy at a low rate of vibrations of a certain kind. And accordingly the Hermetists classify Matter under the head of Energy, and give to it three of the Seven Minor Planes of the Great Physical Plane.

These Seven Minor Physical Planes are as follows:

1. The Plane of Matter (A)
2. The Plane of Matter (B)
3. The Plane of Matter (C)
4. The Plane of Ethereal Substance
5. The Plane of Energy (A)
6. The Plane of Energy (B)
7. The Plane of Energy (C)

The Plane of Matter (A) comprises the forms of Matter in its form of solids, liquids, and gases, as generally recognized by the text-books on physics. The Plane of Matter (B) comprises certain higher and more subtle forms of Matter of the existence of which modern science is but now recognizing, the phenomena of Radiant Matter, in its phases of radium, etc., belonging to the lower sub-division of this Minor Plane. The Plane of Matter (C) comprises forms of the most subtle and tenuous Matter, the existence of which is not suspected by ordinary scientists. The Plane of Ethereal Substance comprises that which science speaks of as “The Ether”, a substance of extreme tenuity and elasticity, pervading all Universal Space, and acting as a medium for the transmission of waves of energy, such as light, heat, electricity, etc. This Ethereal Substance forms a connecting link between Matter (so-called) and Energy, and partakes of the nature of each. The Hermetic Teachings, however, instruct that this plane has seven sub-divisions (as have all of the Minor Planes), and that in fact there are seven ethers, instead of but one.

Next above the Plane of Ethereal Substance comes the Plane of Energy (A), which comprises the ordinary forms of Energy known to science, its seven sub-planes being, respectively, Heat; Light; Magnetism; Electricity, and Attraction (including Gravitation, Cohesion, Chemical Affinity, etc.) and several other forms of energy indicated by scientific experiments but not as yet named or classified. The Plane of Energy (B) comprises seven subplanes of higher forms of energy not as yet discovered by science, but which have been called “Nature’s Finer Forces” and which are called into operation in manifestations of certain forms of mental phenomena, and by which such phenomena becomes possible. The Plane of Energy (C) comprises seven sub-planes of energy so highly organized that it bears many of the characteristics of “life,” but which is not recognized by the minds of men on the ordinary plane of development, being available for the use on beings of the Spiritual Plane alone–such energy is unthinkable to ordinary man, and may be considered almost as “the divine power.” The beings employing the same are as “gods” compared even to the highest human types known to us.

The Great Mental Plane comprises those forms of “living things” known to us in ordinary life, as well as certain other forms not so well known except to the occultist. The classification of the Seven Minor Mental Planes is more or less satisfactory and arbitrary (unless accompanied by elaborate explanations which are foreign to the purpose of this particular work), but we may as well mention them. They are as follows:

1. The Plane of Mineral Mind
2. The Plane of Elemental Mind (A)
3. The Plane of Plant Mind
4. The Plane of Elemental Mind (B)
5. The Plane of Animal Mind
6. The Plane of Elemental Mind (C)
7. The Plane of Human Mind

The Plane of Mineral Mind comprises the “states or conditions” of the units or entities, or groups and combinations of the same, which animate the forms known to us as “minerals, chemicals, etc.” These entities must not be confounded with the molecules, atoms and corpuscles themselves, the latter being merely the material bodies or forms of these entities, just as a man’s body is but his material form and not “himself.” These entities may be called “souls” in one sense, and are living beings of a low degree of development, life, and mind–just a little more than the units of “living energy” which comprise the higher sub-divisions of the highest Physical Plane. The average mind does not generally attribute the possession of mind, soul, or life, to the mineral kingdom, but all occultists recognize the existence of the same, and modern science is rapidly moving forward to the point-of-view of the Hermetic, in this respect. The molecules, atoms and corpuscles have their “loves and hates”; “likes and dislikes”; “attractions and repulsions”. “affinities and non-affinities,” etc., and some of the more daring of modern scientific minds have expressed the opinion that the desire and will, emotions and feelings, of the atoms differ only in degree from those of men. We have no time or space to argue this matter here. All occultists know it to be a fact, and others are referred to some of the more recent scientific works for outside corroboration. There are the usual seven sub-divisions to this plane.

The Plane of Elemental Mind (A) comprises the state or condition, and degree of mental and vital development of a class of entities unknown to the average man, but recognized to occultists. They are invisible to the ordinary senses of man, but, nevertheless, exist and play their part of the Drama of the Universe. Their degree of intelligence is between that of the mineral and chemical entities on the one hand, and of the entities of the plant kingdom on the other. There are seven subdivisions to this plane, also.

The Plane of Plant Mind, in its seven sub-divisions, comprises the states or conditions of the entities comprising the kingdoms of the Plant World, the vital and mental phenomena of which is fairly well understood by the average intelligent person, many new and interesting scientific works regarding “Mind and Life in Plants” having been published during the last decade. Plants have life, mind and “souls,” as well as have the animals, man, and super-man.

The Plane of Elemental Mind (B), in its seven sub-divisions, comprises the states and conditions of a higher form of “elemental” or unseen entities, playing their part in the general work of the Universe, the mind and life of which form a part of the scale between the Plane of Plant Mind and the Plane of Animal Mind, the entities partaking of the nature of both.

The Plane of Animal Mind, in its seven sub-divisions, comprises the states and conditions of the entities, beings, or souls, animating the animal forms of life, familiar to us all. It is not necessary to go into details regarding this kingdom or plane of life, for the animal world is as familiar to us as is our own.

The Plane of Elemental Mind (C), in its seven sub-divisions, comprises those entities or beings, invisible as are all such elemental forms, which partake of the nature of both animal and human life in a degree and in certain combinations. The highest forms are semi-human in intelligence.

The Plane of Human Mind, in its seven sub-divisions, comprises those manifestations of life and mentality which are common to Man, in his various grades, degrees, and divisions. In this connection, we wish to point out the fact that the average man of today occupies but the fourth sub-division of the Plane of Human Mind, and only the most intelligent have crossed the borders of the Fifth Sub-Division. It has taken the race millions of years to reach this stage, and it will take many more years for the race to move on to the sixth and seventh sub-divisions, and beyond. But, remember, that there have been races before us which have passed through these degrees, and then on to higher planes. Our own race is the fifth (with stragglers from the fourth) which has set foot upon The Path. And, then there are a few advanced souls of our own race who have outstripped the masses, and who have passed on to the sixth and seventh sub-division, and some few being still further on. The man of the Sixth Sub-Division will be “The Super-Man”; he of the Seventh will be “The Over-Man.”

In our consideration of the Seven Minor Mental Planes, we have merely referred to the Three Elementary Planes in a general way. We do not wish to go into this subject in detail in this work, for it does not belong to this part of the general philosophy and teachings. But we may say this much, in order to give you a little clearer idea, of the relations of these planes to the more familiar ones–the Elementary Planes bear the same relation to the Planes of Mineral, Plant, Animal and Human Mentality and Life, that the black keys on the piano do to the white keys. The white keys are sufficient to produce music, but there are certain scales, melodies, and harmonies, in which the black keys play their part, and in which their presence is necessary. They are also necessary as “connecting links” of soul-condition; entity states, etc., between the several other planes, certain forms of development being attained therein–this last fact giving to the reader who can “read between the lines” a new light upon the processes of Evolution, and a new key to the secret door of the “leaps of life” between kingdom and kingdom. The great kingdoms of Elementals are fully recognized by all occultists, and the esoteric writings are full of mention of them. The readers of Bulwer’s “Sanoni” and similar tales will recognize the entities inhabiting these planes of life.

Passing on from the Great Mental Plane to the Great Spiritual Plane, what shall we say? How can we explain these higher states of Being, Life and Mind, to minds as yet unable to grasp and understand the higher subdivisions of the Plane of Human Mind? The task is impossible. We can speak only in the most general terms. How may Light be described to a man born blind–how sugar, to a man who has never tasted anything sweet–how harmony, to one born deaf?

All that we can say is that the Seven Minor Planes of the Great Spiritual Plane (each Minor Plane having its seven sub-divisions) comprise Beings possessing Life, Mind and Form as far above that of Man of to-day as the latter is above the earth-worm, mineral or even certain forms of Energy or Matter. The Life of these Beings so far transcends ours, that we cannot even think of the details of the same; their minds so far transcend ours, that to them we scarcely seem to “think,” and our mental processes seem almost akin to material processes; the Matter of which their forms are composed is of the highest Planes of Matter, nay, some are even said to be “clothed in Pure Energy.” What may be said of such Beings?

On the Seven Minor Planes of the Great Spiritual Plane exist Beings of whom we may speak as Angels; Archangels; Demi-Gods. On the lower Minor Planes dwell those great souls whom we call Masters and Adepts. Above them come the Great Hierarchies of the Angelic Hosts, unthinkable to man; and above those come those who may without irreverence be called “The Gods,” so high in the scale of Being are they, their being, intelligence and power being akin to those attributed by the races of men to their conceptions of Deity. These Beings are beyond even the highest flights of the human imagination, the word “Divine” being the only one applicable to them. Many of these Beings, as well as the Angelic Host, take the greatest interest in the affairs of the Universe and play an important part in its affairs. These Unseen Divinities and Angelic Helpers extend their influence freely and powerfully, in the process of Evolution, and Cosmic Progress. Their occasional intervention and assistance in human affairs have led to the many legends, beliefs, religions and traditions of the race, past and present. They have superimposed their knowledge and power upon the world, again and again, all under the Law of THE ALL, of course.

But, yet, even the highest of these advanced Beings exist merely as creations of, and in, the Mind of THE ALL, and are subject to the Cosmic Processes and Universal Laws. They are still Mortal. We may call them “gods” if we like, but still they are but the Elder Brethren of the Race,–the advanced souls who have outstripped their brethren, and who have foregone the ecstasy of Absorption by THE ALL, in order to help the race on its upward journey along The Path. But, they belong to the Universe, and are subject to its conditions–they are mortal–and their plane is below that of Absolute Spirit.

Only the most advanced Hermetists are able to grasp the Inner Teachings regarding the state of existence, and the powers manifested on the Spiritual Planes. The phenomena is so much higher than that of the Mental Planes that a confusion of ideas would surely result from an attempt to describe the same. Only those whose minds have been carefully trained along the lines of the Hermetic Philosophy for years–yes, those who have brought with them from other incarnations the knowledge acquired previously–can comprehend just what is meant by the Teaching regarding these Spiritual Planes. And much of these Inner Teachings is held by the Hermetists as being too sacred, important and even dangerous for general public dissemination. The intelligent student may recognize what we mean by this when we state that the meaning of “Spirit” as used by the Hermetists is akin to “Living Power”; “Animated Force;” “Inner Essence;” “Essence of Life,” etc., which meaning must not be confounded with that usually and commonly employed in connection with the term, i.e., “religious; ecclesiastical; spiritual; ethereal; holy,” etc., etc. To occultists the word “Spirit” is used in the sense of “The Animating Principle,” carrying with it the idea of Power, Living Energy, Mystic Force, etc. And occultists know that that which is known to them as “Spiritual Power” may be employed for evil as well as good ends (in accordance with the Principle of Polarity), a fact which has been recognized by the majority of religions in their conceptions of Satan, Beelzebub, the Devil, Lucifer, Fallen Angels, etc. And so the knowledge regarding these Planes has been kept in the Holy of Holies in all Esoteric Fraternities and Occult Orders,–in the Secret Chamber of the Temple. But this may be said here, that those who have attained high spiritual powers and have misused them, have a terrible fate in store for them, and the swing of the pendulum of Rhythm will inevitably swing them back to the furthest extreme of Material existence, from which point they must retrace their steps Spiritward, along the weary rounds of The Path, but always with the added torture of having always with them a lingering memory of the heights from which they fell owing to their evil actions. The legends of the Fallen Angels have a basis in actual facts, as all advanced occultists know. The striving for selfish power on the Spiritual Planes inevitably results in the selfish soul losing its spiritual balance and falling back as far as it had previously risen. But to even such a soul, the opportunity of a return is given–and such souls make the return journey, paying the terrible penalty according to the invariable Law.

In conclusion we would again remind you that according to the Principle of Correspondence, which embodies the truth: “As Above so Below; as Below, so Above,” all of the Seven Hermetic Principles are in full operation on all of the many planes, Physical Mental and Spiritual. The Principle of Mental Substance of course applies to all the planes, for all are held in the Mind of THE ALL. The Principle of Correspondence manifests in all, for there is a correspondence, harmony and agreement between the several planes. The Principle of Vibration manifests on all planes, in fact the very differences that go to make the “planes” arise from Vibration, as we have explained. The Principle of Polarity manifests on each plane, the extremes of the Poles being apparently opposite and contradictory. The Principle of Rhythm manifests on each Plane, the movement of the phenomena having its ebb and flow, rise and flow, incoming and outgoing. The Principle of Cause and Effect manifests on each Plane, every Effect having its Cause and every Cause having its effect. The Principle of Gender manifests on each Plane, the Creative Energy being always manifest, and operating along the lines of its Masculine and Feminine Aspects.

-The Kybalion

Esoteric Leanings … with Eliphas Levi

Plato really says otherwise that …”the root-matter of this great knowledge really is not to be found in books ; we must seek in ourselves by kind of means of deep meditation, discovering the sacred fire in its proper source in a major way, which mostly is fairly significant. in a subtle way.”

-Eliphas Levi: The History Of Magic

5=6 || The Conjuration of the Four Elements, by Eliphas Levi

The Conjuration of the Four Elements, by Eliphas Levi.

The four elementary forms separate and specify by a kind of rough outline, the created spirits whom the universal movement disengages from the central fire. Everywhere spirit works and fecundates matter by life; all matter is animated; thought and soul are everywhere. In seizing upon the thought that produces the diverse forms, we become the master of forms and make them serve for our use.

The astral light is completely filled with souls that it disengages in the incessant generation of being; souls have imperfect wills which can be dominated and used by more powerful wills. They then form great invisible chains, and can occasion or determine grand elementary commotions. Phenomena ascertained in the processes of magic and all those recently verified by M. Eudes de Merville have no other causes.

Elementary spirits are like young children. They torment those more who busy themselves with them, unless one has control of them by means of superior rationality and great severity. These are the spirits which we designate under the name of “occult elements.”

These spirits are those who often prepare disquieting or fantastic dreams. They are those who produce the movements of the divining rod, and the raps on walls and furniture. But they can never manifest any other thought than our own, and if we are not thinking, they talk to us with all the incoherence of dreams. They reproduce good and evil indifferently, because they are without free will and consequently have no responsibility. They show themselves to ecstatics and somnambulists under incomplete and fugitive forms. This occasioned the nightmares of Saint Antony, and, very probably, the visions of Swedenborg. They are neither souls in hell nor spirits guilty of mortal sin; they are simply inquisitive and inoffensive. We can employ or abuse them like animals or children. Therefore the magus who employs their help assumes a terrible responsibility, for he will have to expiate all the evil which he makes them do, and the greatness of his torments will be proportionate to the extent of the power which he will have exercised through their agency.

In order to control elementary spirits, and thus become the king of the occult elements, we must have previously undergone the four trials of the ancient initiations. As these no longer exist, it is necessary to supply their place by analogous actions, such as exposing oneself without fear in a conflagration, of crossing a gulf upon the trunk of a tree or upon a plank, or scaling a steep mountain during a storm, or getting away from a cascade, or from a dangerous whirlpool by swimming. The man who fears water will never reign over the undines; he who is afraid of fire cannot command the salamanders; as long as we are subject to dizziness we must leave the sylphs in peace, and not irritate the gnomes; for inferior spirits only obey a power that is proved to them by showing itself their master even in their own element.

When we have acquired by boldness and practice this incontestable power, we may impose upon the elements the mandate (verbally) of our will, by special consecrations of air, fire, water, and earth. This is the indispensable beginning of all magic operations.

We exercise the air by blowing from the direction of the four cardinal points while saying:

Spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas, et inspiravit in facian hominis spiraculum vitae. Sit Michael dux meus, et Sabtabiel servus meus, in luce etper lucem. Fiat verbum halitus meus; et imperabo spiritibus aeris hujus, et refraenabo equos solis voluntate cordis nei, et cogitatione mentis meae et nutu oculi dextri. Erorciso igitur te, creatura aeris, per Pentagrammaton et in nomine Tetragrammaton, in quibus sunt voluntas firma et fides recta. Amen. Sela, fiat. Qu’il en soit ainsi. 1

Next we recite the prayer of the Sylphs, after having traced in air their sign with the plume of an eagle.

Prayer of the Sylphs

Spirit of light! Spirit of wisdom! whose breath gives and takes away again the forms of all things! Thou, in whose presence the life of being is a shadow which changes, and a vapor which passes away. Thou who ascendest the clouds and movest on the wing of the winds. When thou breathes! forth, infinite spaces are peopled! When thou inhalest, all that comes from thee returns to thee! Endless movement in eternal stability, be thou eternally blest! We praise thee and bless thee in the changing empire of created light, of shadows, of reflections and of images; and we long unceasingly for thine immutable and imperishable light. Let the ray of thy intelligence and the heat of thy love penetrate even to us; then what is movable will become fixed; the shadow will become a body; the spirit of the air will become a soul; the dream will become a thought, and we shall no longer be borne away by the tempest, but shall hold the bridle of the winged steeds of the morning, and shall direct the course of the evening winds that we may fly into thy presence. O spirit of spirits! O eternal soul of souls! O imperishable breath of life! O creative inspiration. 2 O mouth which inspires and respires the existence of all beings in the flux and reflux of thy eternal Word, which is the divine ocean of movement and of truth. Amen!

We exorcise water by the imposition of hands, by the breath, and by Speech, while mingling in it the consecrated salt, with a little of the ashes which remain in the perfuming pan. The sprinkler is made with branches of vervain, of periwinkle, 3 of sage, of mint, of valerian, of ash and of basil, tied by a thread from the distaff of a virgin, with a handle from a walnut-tree which has not yet borne fruit, and upon which you will engrave with a magic dagger the characters of the seven spirits. You will bless and consecrate separately the salt, and the ashes of the perfume, in saying:—

UPON THE SALT

In isto sale sit sapientia, et ab omni corruptione servet mentes nostras et corpora nostra, per Hochmael et in virfute Rauch-Hochmael, recedant ab isto fantasmata hylae ut sit sal coelestis, sal terrae et terra salis, ut nutrietur bos trituraus et addat vpei nostrae cornua tauri volantis. Amen. 4

UPON THE ASHES

Revertatur cinis adfontem aquarum viventium, etfiat terra fructificans, etgerminet arborem vitaeper tria nomina, quae sunt Netsah, HodetJesod, in principle et in fine, per alpha et Omega qui sunt in spiritu Azoth. Amen. 5

IN MINGLING THE WATER, THE SALT, AND THE ASHES

In sale sapientiae aeternae, et in aqua regenerationis, et in cinere germinante terram novam, omnia fiant per Eloim Gabriel, Raphael et Uriel, in saecula et aeonas. Amen. 6

Exorcism of the Water

Fiat firmamentum im medio aquarum et separet aquas ab aquis, quae superius sitcut quaee superius, ad perpetranda miracula rei unius. Sol ejus pater est, luna mater et ventus hanc gestavit in utero suo, ascendit a terra ad coelum et rursus a coelo in terram descendit. Exorciso te, creatura aquae, ut sis mihi speculum Dei vivi in operibus ejus, et fons vitae, et ablutio pecatorum. Amen. 7

Prayer of the Undines

Terrible king of the sea! Thou who boldest the keys of the cataracts of heaven, and who enclosest the subterranean waters in the hollow places of the earth! King of the deluge and of rains, of springtime! Thou who openest the sources of streams and fountains! Thou who commandest the moisture (which is like the blood of the earth) to become the sap of plants! We adore and invoke thee! Speak to us, ye moving and changeable creatures! Speak to us in the great commotions of the sea, and we will tremble before thee. Speak to us also in the murmur of the limpid waters, and we will desire thy love. O immensity in which all the rivers of being lose themselves, which ever spring up anew in us! O ocean of infinite perfections! Height which beholdeth thee in the depth! Depth which breathes thee forth in the height! Bring us to the true life through intelligence and love! Lead us to immortality through sacrifice, in order that one day we may be found worthy to offer thee water, blood, and tears, for the remission of sins. Amen.

Exorcism By Fire

We exorcise fire by casting in it salt, incense, white resin, camphor, and sulphur, and by pronouncing three times the three names of the genii of fire: Michael, king of the sun and of lightning; Samael, king of volcanoes; and Anael, prince of the astral light. Next by reciting the prayer of the Salamanders.

Prayer of the Salamanders

Immortal, eternal, ineffable and uncreated Father of all things I who are borne upon the incessantly rolling chariot of Worlds which are always turning; Ruler of the ethereal immensity where the throne of thy power is elevated; from whose height thy dread-inspiring eyes discover all things, and thy exquisite andsacred ears hear all; Listen to thy children whom thou hast loved from the beginning of the ages; for thy golden, great, and eternal majesty is resplendent above the world and the starry heavens. Thou art raised above them O sparkling fire! There thou dost illumine and support thyself by thine own splendor; and there comes forth from thine essence overflowing streams of light which nourish thine infinite spirit. That infinite spirit nourishes all things, and renders this inexhaustible treasure of substance always ready for the generation which fashions it and which receives in itself the forms with which thou hast impregnated it from the beginning. From this spirit those most holy kings who surround thy throne, and who compose thy court, derive their origin. O Father Universal! Only One! O Father of blessed mortals and immortals! Thou hast specially created powers who are marvelously like thine eternal thought and adorable essence. Thou hast established them superior to the angels who announce to the world thy wishes. Finally thou hast created us in the third rank in our elementary empire. There our continual employment is to praise thee and adore thy wishes. There we incessantly burn with the desire of possessing thee, O Father! O Mother! the most tender of all mothers! O admirable archetype of maternity and pure love! O Son, the flower of sons! O Form of all forms; soul, spirit, harmony and number of all things. Amen.

Exorcism of the Earth

We exorcise the earth by the sprinkling of water, by the breath and by fire, with the perfumes proper for each day, and we say the prayer of the gnomes.

Prayer to the Gnomes

Invisible King who has taken the earth as a support, and who has dug abysses in order to fill them with the omnipotence! Thou whose name makest the arches of the world tremble! Thou who makest the seven metals circulate in the veins of stone; Monarch of seven luminaries! Rewarder of subterranean workmen! bring us to the desirable air and to the kingdom of light. We watch and work without respite. We seek and hope by the twelve stones of the Holy City, for the talismans which are buried by the magnetic nail which passes through the center of the earth. Lord! Lord! Lord! Have pity upon those who suffer! Enlarge our hearts! Let us be free and raise up our heads! Exalt us! O stability and movement! O Day invested by night! O Darkness veiled in light! O Master who never retainest the wages of thy workmen! O silvery whiteness! O Golden Splendor! O Crown of Diamonds, living and melodious! Thou who bearest the sky upon thy finger, like a ring of sapphire! Thou who hidest under the earth, in the kingdom of gems, the wonderful seed of stars! All hail! Reign; and be the Eternal Dispenser of riches, of which thou hast made us the guardians. Amen.

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We most observe that the special kingdom of the Gnomes is at the North; that of the salamanders at the south; that of the sylphs at the east; and that of the Undines at the west. They influence the four temperaments of men (i. e., the Gnomes, the melancholic; the Salamanders, the sanguine; the Undines, the phlegmatic; and the Sylphs, the bilious). Their signs are as follows: the hieroglyphs of the bull for the Gnomes, and we command them with the sword; of the lion for the Salamanders, and we command them with the forked wand, or the magic trident; of the eagle for the Sylphs, and we command them with the holy pentacles; finally with Aquarius for the Undines, and we evoke them with the cup of libations. Their respective sovereigns are, Gob for the Gnomes, Djiu for the Salamanders, Paralda for the Sylphs, and Nicksa for the Undines.

When an elementary spirit comes to torment, or at least to annoy the inhabitants of this world, we must conquer it by means of air, water, fire and earth, blowing, sprinkling, burning perfumes, and tracing on the earth the star of Solomon and the sacred pentagram. These figures should be perfectly regular, and made either with coals from the consecrated fire, or with a reed dipped in diverse colors which we mix of pulverized magnet. Then, while holding in the hand the pentacle of Solomon, and taking by turns the sword, the wand, and the cup, we pronounce in these terms and in a loud voice the conjuration of the four.

Caput mortuum, impeert tibi Dominus per vivum et devotum serpentem.
Cherub, imperet tibi Dominus per Adam Jotchavah!
Aquila errans, imperet tibi Dominus per alas Tauri.
Serpens, imperet tibi Dominus tetragrammaton per angelum et leonem!
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Anael!
Fluat U dor per spiritum Eloim.
Maneat Terra per Adam lot-Chavah.
Fiat Firmamentum per lahuvehu-Zebaoth.
Fiat Judicium per ignen in virtute Michaels. 8

Angel with the dead eyes, obey or flow away with this holy water.

Winged bull labor or return to earth; if thou art not willing that I prick thee with this sword. Chained eagle, obey this sign, or withdraw before this breath. Moving serpent, crawl at my feet, or be tormented by this sacred fire and be dissipated with the perfumes I burn therein.

Let the water return to water! Let a fire burn! Let air circulate! Let earth fall upon the earth, by virtue of the pentagram which is the morning star, and in the name of the Tetragram, which is written in the center of the cross of light. Amen.

The sign of the Cross adopted by the Christians does not belong to them exclusively. It is also kabalistic, and represents the contrasts, and the quaternary equilibrium of the elements.

We see by the occult stanza of the Lord’s Prayer, which we have indicated in our Dogma, 9 that there were primitively two modes of making it, or at least two very different formulas to distinguish it. One reserved for the priests and initiated; the other granted to neophytes and the profane. Thus, for example, said, “To Thee ;” then he added, “belong,” and continued while carrying his hand to his breast, “the kingdom”; then to his left shoulder “Justice,” to the right shoulder, “and mercy.” Next he Joined the two hands adding “in the generating cycles.”

Tibi sunt Malchut et Geburah et Chesed per oeonas. 10

The sign of the Cross which is absolutely and magnificently kabalistic, which the profanations of Gnosticism have caused (he Church militant and official to completely lose. This sign, made in this way, should precede and terminate the conjuration of the Four.

In order to control and subject elementary spirits we must never yield to the defects which characterize them. Thus a light and capricious mind can never govern the sylphs. An effeminate, cold, and changeable nature will never control the undines. Anger irritates the salamanders, and covetous rudeness renders those whom it enslaves the sport of the gnomes.

But it is necessary to be as prompt and active as the sylphs; as flexible and attentive to images as the undines. As energetic and strong as the Salamanders; as laborious and patient as the gnomes; in a word, we must conquer them in their strength, without ever allowing ourselves to be enthralled by their weaknesses. When we shall be well fixed in this disposition, the entire world will be at the service of the wise operator. He will go out during the storm and the rain will not touch his head; the wind will not derange even a single fold of his garments; he will go through fire without being burned; he will walk on the water, and will behold the diamonds through the crust of the earth. These promises which may seem hyperbolical are only so in the minds of the vulgar; for though the sage does not do materially and precisely the things which these words express, he will do many greater and more wonderful. In the meantime it is not to be doubted that individuals can direct the elements by the will to a certain extent, and change or really stop their effects.

Why, for example, if it is ascertained that certain individuals in a state of ecstasy lose their weight for the moment, could we not walk or glide upon the water? Saint Medard’s convulsionaries felt neither fire nor sword, and begged as a relief the most violent blows and the most incredible tortures. Are not the strange ascensions and wonderful equilibrium of certain somnambulists a revelation of these hidden forces of nature. But we live in an age in which men have not the courage to confess the miracles they witness; and if anyone says, “I have seen or have done myself the things which I relate,” he will be told, “either you are making sport of us or you are sick.” It is better to keep silence and act.

The metals that correspond to the four elementary forms are gold and silver for air; mercury for water; iron and copper for fire; and lead for earth. Talismans are prepared from them, having relation to the forces which they represent, and to the effects proposed to be obtained.

Divination by the four elementary forms named Aeromancy, hydromancy, pyromancy, and geomancy, is made in diverse ways, which all depend upon the will and transparency or imagination of the operator.

In truth the four elements are only instruments to aid second-sight. Second-sight is the faculty of seeing in the astral light. This second-sight is as natural as the first sight, or the sensible and ordinary sight, but it can only act through the abstraction of the senses.

Somnambulists and ecstatics enjoy second-sight naturally; but this sight is more lucid as the abstraction becomes more complete.

The abstraction is produced by astral intoxication; that is, by a superabundance of light, which completely saturates the nervous system, and consequently renders it inactive.

Sanguine temperaments are more disposed to Aeromancy; bilious to pyromancy, phlegmatic to geomancy, and melancholic to hydromancy.

Aeromancy is confirmed by oneiromancy or divination by dreams; pyromancy is supplemented by magnetism; hydromancy by divination with crystals; geomancy by fortune telling with cards. These are transpositions and perfectings of methods.

But divination, in whatever manner we may operate, is dangerous, or at least useless, for it disheartens the will; 11 consequently it restricts freedom, and fatigues the nervous system.

FINIS


NOTES

  1. The Spirit of God brooded upon the waters, and breathed into the face of man the breath of life. Let Michael be my chief and Saltabiel my servant in the light and by the Light. Be my breath by the word; and I will command the spirits of this atmosphere, and will bridle the horses of the sun by the will of my heart, the thought of my mind, and the winking of my eye. I exercise thee, creature of air by the Pentagram, and in the name of the Tetragram, in which are firm will and true faith. Amen, Selah; so be it. So mote it be.
  2. Genesis, ii, 7. “And the Lord God formed man (Adam), spore of the ground (Adoux), and breathed into his face the breath (nasama or inspiration) of lives; and he was a living soul.” Job, xxxii, 8- “There is a spirit (ruah) in man, and the inspiration (nasama) of the Almighty maketh intelligent.”
  3. An evergreen plant of the genus Vinca, having a blue or purple blossom.
  4. In this salt be wisdom, and may it preserve our minds and bodies from every corruption, through Hochmaiel (the Wisdom of God) and in virtue of Rauch-Hochmael (the Spirit of the Wisdom of God), withdrawing from it the phantasms of matter that it may be the celestial salt, the salt of the earth, and the earth of salt, that the ox may be nourished that treadeth out corn, and give to our hope the strength of the flying cherub. Amen.
  5. Let the ashes return to the fountain of living waters, let the earth become fruitful and sprout forth the Tree of Life by the three names, which are Netsa (victory), Hod (eternity), and Isiod (fountain), in the beginning and the end, by the Alpha and Omega, which are in spirit Azoth. Amen.
  6. In the salt of eternal Wisdom in the water of regeneration, and in the ashes Which generate the new earth, let all things be established by the Eloim (gods or angels), Gabriel (Power of God), Raphael (Wisdom of God), and Uriel (Light of God), for ages and ages. Amen.
  7. Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters—that which is above as that which is below, and that which is below as that which is above, to the accomplishing of the wonders of the One Thing. The sun is its father; the moon its mother, and the Wind carried it in its womb; it ascendeth from earth to the sky, and returneth again from the sky to the earth. I exorcise thee, creature of water, that thou mayest be to me the mirror of the living God in his works, the fountain of life, and the cleansing of sinners. Amen.
  8. Dregs of matter, the lord commandeth thee by the living and devoted serpent. Cherub, the Lord command thee by Adam Jol-Havah! Wandering Eagle, the Lord command thee by the wings of the Bull. Serpent, the Lord commands thee by the Tetragram, the Angel and Lion!
    Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Anael.
    The water floweth by the spirit of Eloim.
    The Earth remaineth by Adam Jot-Havah.
    The Firmament was made by Iahuvehu-Zebaoth.
    Judgment is made by fire in the strength of Michael.
  9. Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie. Two volumes. Paris: G. Balliere, 1856.
  10. Thine art, Malchut (the kingdom), and Gebura (the power), and Hesed (the mercy), forever.
  11. A Hebrew prophet says: “He that consulteth spirits will not sow.”

Saining not Smudging- Purification and Lustration in Scottish Folk Magic Practice 

Saining not smudging is a form of ritual purification and lustration in scottish folk magic practices here we discuss how to carry it out and avoid appropriation.  […]

Source: Saining not Smudging- Purification and Lustration in Scottish Folk Magic Practice | Cailleach’s Herbarium

Contemplating Hebrew Letters | Resh

20
resh

hkbr
Rivka
(Rebecca)

 

    And when the time came for [Rebecca] to give birth, behold! There were twins in her womb. The first one emerged red, entirely like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. After that his brother emerged with his hand grasping on to the heel of Esau; so he called his name Jacob. . . . The lads grew up and Esau became one who knows hunting, a man of the field; but Jacob was a wholesome man, abiding in tents. Isaac loved Esau for he ate of his venison, but Rebecca loved Jacob.

Genesis 25:24–28

The matriarch Rebecca is one of the most highly developed female characters in the Bible, and she’s also one of the most powerful. Discovered at a young age by Abraham’s servant Eliezer, she’s recognized immediately as the destined mate for Isaac. Because of her intuitive kindness, Rebecca draws water for Eliezer and his camels before even being asked—for this, Eliezer offers to bring her back to Canaan to become the wife of Isaac. She immediately accepts and leaves her home, even though she’s barely out of childhood and has never met Isaac.

The one characteristic that follows Rebecca throughout her life is her amazing sense of clarity. From the moment she sees Eliezer, she knows what to do; and when she first sees Isaac in the distance, after a long journey, she immediately senses who he is—not just another stranger encountered along the way, but her life partner.

After she and Isaac are married, Rebecca is barren for 20 years. When she finally does conceive, she has a difficult pregnancy and seeks out the reason for her troubles. She asks God directly why she’s in so much pain, and He replies that she’s carrying twins who are at war with one another even in the womb. This rivalry, she’s told, will last as long as they live, but in the end the younger twin will triumph over the older one. Rebecca will keep this information to herself for years, but ultimately it will guide her behavior as a mother and become the basis for her future actions.

As the boys grow up, Esau, the elder, becomes a brute of a man, interested in hunting, women, and food; whereas Jacob, the younger, is more domesticated, bookish, and kind. Rebecca knows that although Isaac favors Esau, Jacob is the one who is destined to be the next in line spiritually; so when her husband is ready to pass on the blessing of the firstborn, which holds enormous spiritual power, Rebecca creates an elaborate scheme that changes history. She convinces Jacob to lie to his blind father, dress up in Esau’s clothing, bring him venison as his brother would, and trick Isaac into giving him the blessing that will establish him as the dominant patriarch of his generation.

We’re told that Rebecca does this not just because she favors one son over the other, but because she knows in no uncertain terms what should happen—that is, what is fair and right according to the prophecy she’s received. Rebecca does all she can to actively change destiny, to act with confidence and ensure that Jacob is blessed. In this way, she makes sure that the prophecy she hears when she’s pregnant is fulfilled, and that the line of righteous men continues with Jacob.

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The letter Resh represents the rosh, the head. Rebecca is able to think logically and clearly and come up with solid, useful plans to do what’s best for her family. After she secures the birthright for Jacob, she is able to see that Esau is violent enough to potentially kill his brother when he finds out what has happened, and she devises a plan in which Jacob goes to live with her brother Laban (where, incidentally, he will meet his future wives, Rachel and Leah).

Although her circumstances are difficult and she has to play one son against the other and deceive her husband, Rebecca knows with complete certainty what needs to happen in order for everyone to fulfill their true destiny.

The Resh comes to those in need of clarity. Life is confusing, and often many paths compete for the taking. There is often more than one way to go, but from time to time we need to make definite, binding decisions.

Clarity need not be achieved only through prophecy—you can gain the ultimate knowledge all by yourself. But however you attain it, once something is clear in your mind, in the front of your consciousness, be careful not to waver from it.

Learn from Rebecca that you can change what seems to be set in stone. Your lot in life need not be the one given to you at birth— you need only be sure of yourself, and you can become whatever you need to be.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters | Qoph

19
kuf

rvpx Nk
Kan-Tzippor
(Bird’s Nest)

 

If a bird’s nest happens to be before you on the road, on any tree, or on the ground—young birds or eggs—and the mother is roosting on the young birds or the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. You shall surely send away the mother and take the young for yourself, so that it will be good for you and will prolong your days.

 

Deuteronomy 22:6–7

This passage is one of 18 laws concerning the protecting of animals in the Bible. Among others, the Bible instructs us not to boil a kid in its mother’s milk (which has evolved over time into the Jewish concept of kashrut, a system in which meat and milk are not to be eaten together at all), not to kill a mother and her offspring on the same day, and to help lift up an animal that may have collapsed from exhaustion on the road.

Although humans are given dominion over the animals in Genesis, we’re also given the responsibility to care for and treat them as fellow creations of God. This tension between our accountability toward animals and our power over them is the source of many difficult questions. But what’s clear from this passage is that we must first and foremost be sensitive to the nature of those that are consumed or otherwise used for our purposes.

By sending away the mother bird before taking her eggs or chicks, we accomplish several things: (1) We take into consideration the fact that animals are attached to their young and will suffer if they’re separated from them—so by sending the bird away, she won’t see her eggs taken, and the blow will be softened; (2) by not taking the bird along with her eggs as food, we help to preserve the species, ensuring that the breeding animal survives (environmentalists call this “sustainability”); (3) by exerting our responsibility toward animals before our power over them, we remind ourselves what’s more important; and (4) we set an example of compassion for our own lives.

Now if sending away the mother bird is so important that it will lead to a long life for the one who performs the deed, just think how important it is to treat other people with such sensitivity. The emotional, practical, philosophical, and personal implications of this commandment are stunning: In performing (or merely understanding) such a small act, we can help ease the pain of the world, preserve the earth, put our power into place, and deepen our capacity for compassion and kindness to others.

The Kuf is first and foremost a letter of kedusha, holiness. The verb lekadesh means “to sanctify” or “make holy,” suggesting that holiness is something to be actively achieved.

Look at how the letter itself is shaped: The character reaches down below the line as if descending into the “lower world” of earth from the “higher world” of spirituality. This teaches us that we can sanctify our lives, and infuse our existence with meaning and purpose, by seeking to elevate our daily actions and by having the consciousness of a higher purpose behind everything we do.

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The Kuf card is a signal of compassion. Look beyond the surface of your actions and consider the fact that as humans, we’re not all that matters in this world. The principle of kindness to animals teaches us the great lesson of being kind to everyone, from helpless infants to victims of crime to homeless families to the elderly.

Take a moment to envision the mother bird and her eggs. Put yourself in her position and consider her animal perspective. Now use your gift of human reasoning and power to perform an act of holiness.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Tzaddi (Tzaddik)

18
tzaddik

Myhvla Mlx
Tzelem Elohim
(In the Image of God)

 

    So God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

 

Genesis 1:27

This is the first of two descriptions given in Genesis for the creation of humankind at the beginning of the world. In the second (Gen. 2:18ff), man is created first, and then God forms woman by taking a piece of the man’s “side” (the Hebrew word is tzela, traditionally translated as “rib”) and creating a whole new being. In this original description, however, man and woman are created at one time. Some say that they’re created as a single body, and later each “side” is separated from the other to produce the two individual people we know as Adam and Eve. Others say that they were created as separate bodies, but simultaneously and with completely equal status.

Whichever of the two versions of the human-creation story you choose to believe, what’s essential to understand is that humanity was created in the Image of God (be’tzelem Elohim), and that means that men and women have a purpose on this earth unlike any other creature formed in the first week of existence. Humankind was designed not just to be fruitful and multiply, as every animal is, but to dominate over nature and to explore their inherent powers. What separates us from the plants and animals is that we have within us a spark of Divinity that, if we’re lucky, we can train ourselves to see and develop.

Trying to access that part of ourselves that’s Godlike, the part that strives to make the world a better place and improve our personal traits, is the essential act of Kabala. By working toward recognizing our original holiness, our connection to the Divine source of creation, we begin to journey toward Tikkun Olam (the Healing of the World), which is the ultimate goal of our lives.

A Tzaddik is a righteous person, someone who makes it a priority to bring good things into the world, to give charity, and to give of themselves. You become a Tzaddik by first and foremost learning to connect with the fact that you were created Be’tzelem, in the Image. Once you internalize the fact that you contain within you an essential holiness, a purpose in life, you’ll begin to see that everyone else also has this spark.

You cannot mistreat people—or be racist, judgmental, or cruel to your fellow human beings—if you truly believe that each and every one of us is created in the image of holiness.

To understand that the first person was actually a single man/woman unit, and that every person in the whole of history stems from this original being, is to understand that we’re all truly created equal. Not only must we treat others with respect, we must also learn to treat ourselves with respect, striving to heal the often-ruptured world within ourselves as well as the outside world.

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The Tzaddik helps to boost self-confidence. In times of doubt, when we question our personal values and take a cold, hard look at our lives in search of a deeper purpose, it’s crucial to remember our origins: We’re all made in the Image, we’re all righteous people, or Tzaddikim.

Your body itself is holy, just as your soul is. Treat yourself with respect, as you would any holy object: Eat well, breathe, sleep, meditate, be creative, do good for the less fortunate. Only once you can relate to yourself as unique and holy will you truly see others the same way.

It is said that saving one life is like saving the entire world, and killing one person is like destroying the planet. This stems from the idea that in the beginning there was only one person who contained the most vital spark of life that will exist in every person throughout history.

Remember that we’re all linked together in this world, and we’re all crucial to its survival. Without any one of us, the world would be incomplete.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Peh

17
peh

hirp
Pharaoh

 

     And the Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he did not let the Children of Israel go . . .

 

Exodus 9:35

The story of the Jews’ Exodus from Egypt is one of the most poignant tales of freedom in all of human history. Their harsh ruler, the Pharaoh, refuses to let them leave the country despite a series of plagues that the God of the Hebrews sends upon him. After every plague descends—blood, frogs, lice, swarms of wild beasts, epidemic, boils, hail, locusts, and complete darkness—Moses turns to the Pharaoh and asks him to “let my people go.”

Nine times out of ten, the Pharaoh nearly relents, but at the last minute he “hardens his heart” and refuses. Only when the Plague of the Firstborn is carried out and the eldest son of every Egyptian household, including the Pharaoh’s, is killed at midnight, does he finally give in and tell Moses to take the people and all their belongings and leave.

Throughout history we’ve seen what evil the human heart is capable of—from the Pharaoh to Adolf Hitler to Osama bin Laden, there have been people who do things most of us cannot even fathom. Nevertheless, those people do exist, and they teach us a lesson: Sometimes we have to see the worst in life before we can start rising up again to create a better world.

We also see this, to a lesser extent, in our own lives. Sometimes we must sink to our lowest levels of behavior before we start to improve. Addicts, for example, often need a near-death experience to compel them toward rehabilitation; and people who are grieving for a personal loss must often experience a deep sense of depression before they can begin the healing process. The same thing happened to the Pharaoh—he needed to experience the harshest personal tragedy (the loss of his son) in order to recognize how many children had already died at his hand.

Peh is the word for “mouth” in Hebrew. Spelled the same way, but with a different pronunciation (“poh”), the word also means “here.” These two words and concepts are integrally linked: To speak is to be present, to be in the moment and consciously communicative. The Pharaoh needed to open his heart in order to open his mouth and give permission to let the people go—he needed to speak from the place of experience, from the present, from “here.”

There’s a famous rabbinic legend that says that when babies are in their mothers’ wombs, they’re endowed with all the knowledge in the world. When they’re born, however, an angel taps them on the upper lip, creating the indent there underneath the nose, and they instantly forget everything. The process of life, then, is one of slowly relearning and remembering things that we knew from the very start of our lives.

The Pharaoh also needed to go through a process of reconnecting with his lost humanity, finally accepting the fact that he wasn’t an immortal god, but was subject to plagues just like every other Egyptian. And when he finally did come to realize this, to rediscover some of his inner morality, he was able to harness the power of speech (a distinctly human quality) to let the Jews go.

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The Peh represents the incredible power of speech in our lives. Speaking is the catalyst for all action, and for any significant change in the world. To use our mouths, the ability that separates us from other life forms, is to be at our most powerful.

Look carefully at the shape of the Peh: Inside the black lines that form the letter, in the white space, there is a Bet. The Bet, as we’ve seen, is the first letter of the Torah, but it also represents looking at things from different angles. That the two letters are mystically intertwined teaches us a great lesson: Before we open our mouths to speak, we need to consider the bigger picture. Knowing that there’s always another layer of truth to consider will help us communicate most effectively in life.

We say that “actions speak louder than words,” but sometimes only words can lead us to profound action.

This card encourages you to soften your heart, open your mouth, and reclaim the knowledge that was given to you before you took your first breath. When you’ve accomplished those things, you can change the world.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Ayin

16
ayin

kjxy tdki
Akedat Yitzchak
(The Binding of Isaac)

 

     Then Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “Father . . .” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the offering?” And Abraham said, “God will seek out for Himself the lamb for the offering, my son.’” And the two of them went together. They arrived at the place of which God had spoken to him; Abraham built the altar there, and arranged the wood; he bound Isaac, his son, and he placed him on the altar atop the wood.

 

Genesis 22:7–9

Most of the interpretations regarding the Binding of Isaac focus on the actions of Abraham, who had been previously tested nine times by God and who’s considered the hero of the story. Because he was able to pass this final test, willingly preparing himself to sacrifice his beloved son (who was born when he was 100 years old and his wife was 90, after many years of infertility and struggle), Abraham is considered the paradigm of faith, willing to give up everything he’d lived for in order to fulfill the word of God.

Of course, this is one of the most morally problematic stories of the Bible, and generations of philosophers have struggled with whether Abraham succeeded or failed as a person regarding his willingness to kill an innocent man who was also his son. But whether or not this was an act of pure faith or a mistake, in the end Isaac wasn’t destined to die, and God stopped Abraham from actually slaughtering his son seconds before the act was accomplished. The test was to evaluate Abraham’s devotion, to prove to the world that he was a man willing to do anything and everything for his God.

But what of Isaac? He was 37 years old when this happened, hardly an ignorant child. Why isn’t this considered to be a test of Isaac’s faith rather than his father’s? After all, being willing to sacrifice your own life is surely as significant as being willing to take the life of another.

Commentators say that when Abraham, Isaac, and their two servants set out on the morning of the Binding, only Abraham knew the true nature of their outing. But as they approached the mountain, Abraham saw a cloud signaling the presence of God, and soon Isaac did, too. The other two men didn’t see the cloud, so Abraham asked them to wait below with the donkey while father and son ascended to the spot where the sacrifice was to be made—understanding that he and Isaac were on a different spiritual level than the other two.

In the dialogue above, which takes place as they walk up the mountain, Isaac comes to realize what’s truly going to happen. He knows that the presence of the cloud implies a holy intention, and he knows that if he and his father were truly going to sacrifice a lamb, they’d need the animal in hand to do so. And as Abraham implies that God will provide the lamb, his son fully understands that he is the one who’s meant to die on the altar. Even so, Isaac continues walking with his father, and he allows himself to be bound.

As a 37-year-old man, he would have been easily able to run away or overpower his ederly father, yet Isaac complies with this situation completely, willingly helping his father fulfill their destiny. Just as Isaac possessed the ability to see the holy cloud of God, he was also able to see into the future, and he knew that his legacy would not end that day on the mountain.

Isaac was able to comply because he had as much faith (though of a different sort) as his father. This is why the Binding wasn’t as much of a “test” for Isaac as it was for his father. Abraham believed that he was going to have to kill his son, and the test was to see if he’d go ahead with it, despite his love for Isaac. But Isaac knew in the deepest parts of himself that this was only a test—he wasn’t destined to become a martyr.

The Hebrew word Ayin means “eye.” And the letter represents not just sight, but spiritual insight, the ability to “see” beyond the black-and-white details of the moment to the larger picture.

Later in his life, Isaac goes blind. Some say that the process began here, when the tears of his father and of the angels above fell into his own eyes—just before God stopped Abraham’s hand from bringing the knife to his son’s throat. Whatever the source of Isaac’s blindness, it’s significant that the forefather who’s connected most to sight literally cannot see by the later years of his life. In other words, Isaac teaches us that the most important things to recognize in life are the things we can only see inside.

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The Ayin card comes to you in times of trial and questioning. We’re all tested in various ways each and every day, and we must find ways to pass those tests and trust our insight.

In order to become a kabalist, you must learn to develop and trust your sixth sense and to see the light even in the darkness. This is the light that Isaac notices when he lies bound on an altar, and it’s the same light he perceives when his eyes no longer function.

Trust what you see, both inside and out. Others may not be able to witness the cloud of glory or to understand the complexities of our daily trials, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Nun

14
nun

jn
Noach
(Noah)

 

     These are the generations of Noah—Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations; Noah walked with God.

 

Genesis 6:9

Ten generations existed between Adam and Eve and Noah—yet by the time his story begins to be told in the Bible, society hasn’t advanced very far. The world has quickly evolved into a sorry state of affairs, as people are known for stealing, cheating, and being violent and sexually immoral. But Noah was righteous, so when God decided that the entire world needed to be destroyed through an enormous flood and then re-created all over again, He saved only Noah and his family.

Much has been said about the qualification “in his generations.” Some say that it means Noah was the only truly good person in all ten generations of existence. Others say that it’s less positive: Noah may have been good compared to all of his neighbors, but put him in a different time and place, and he wouldn’t have been described in the same way. One interpretation makes the comparison of a silver coin amid a pot of copper coins: Compared to the copper coins, the silver shines, but put the silver next to a gold coin, and there’s no mistaking which one is more valuable.

Noah differs from other great figures in biblical history in that he doesn’t question or argue with God. When God comes to him and says that He intends to destroy the whole evil world but will save him and his family through the ark, Noah doesn’t ask why, nor does he try to change God’s mind or stop the destruction from happening. Instead, he takes down the exact measurements and instructions on how to build the ark and how many animals to take with him, and he prepares himself to do as he’s told.

In contrast, years later, Abraham will be told that the city of Sodom will be destroyed because of the immorality that existed there, and he’ll bargain with God, trying to at least save the few good people who lived among the bad. Noah’s silence here is just as controversial as his description of being righteous “in his generations.” On the one hand, he’s obedient and full of faith in the will of God; on the other, he doesn’t exert the human will and ability to negotiate, interpret, and speak for oneself with which he was endowed at birth, and this is a disappointment.

It’s always difficult to know when to be strong and silent and when to get up and fight for your case, especially when situations call for one and not the other. Whether or not Noah approached his circumstances “correctly” is not the issue—the important thing to know is that he “walked with God,” he lived his life with a sense of purpose, knowing that there was a higher force guiding his life. This was what separated him from the rest of his society, making him worthy of the ark and of being the father of the new generations, the new beginning for the world.

Once the flood abated and the world began to function again, God made a covenant with Noah. He sent a rainbow in the sky and promised to never destroy the world at such a total capacity ever again. In turn, he established what we now know as the Noahide Laws, the seven guidelines for moral behavior that came long before the Ten Commandments.

These laws (do not murder, do not commit idolatry, do not steal, do not commit incest, do not cut meat from a living animal, do not be blasphemous, and do not bear false witness in court) apply to all of humanity, regardless of age, race, or religion. The fact that our basic laws of moral behavior are named after Noah tells us something very important: Being righteous, even if there will be others in future generations who will far exceed our righteousness, is worthy of creating a whole new world.

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The Nun card comes to teach us the Spiritual Theory of Relativity: Everything is relative. We see things one way, based on our life experiences, but others with their different experiences see the opposite point of view. Right and wrong are subjective categories that change all the time.

Although we cannot stand for injustice, and we must all strive to maintain the most basic principles of morality and fairness, we cannot entirely judge others according to our own standards.

Noah wasn’t perfect, we’re not perfect, and the world we live in isn’t perfect. This card asks that you accept yourself and then look for ways to improve your behavior. Accept the world, but don’t sit by and wait for it to fall apart when you can be active and help make it a better place.

A blind man can’t be expected to paint landscapes of a world he’s never seen, so know that you can only judge yourself according to your own abilities and circumstances.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Mem

13
mem

Myrm
Miriam

 

     When the Pharaoh’s cavalry came with his chariots and horsemen into the sea and God turned back the waters of the sea upon them, the Children of Israel walked on the dry land amid the sea. Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took her drum in her hand, and all the women went forth with drums and with dances. Miriam spoke up to them, “Sing to God, for He is exalted above the arrogant, having hurled horse with its rider into the sea.”

 

Exodus 15:19–21

Miriam is one of the first female leaders in history, and specifically one of the first leaders of women. The scene described above takes place as the Jews are running out of Egypt to escape slavery, with Moses as their leader. When they come to the banks of the water and see the Pharaoh’s army gaining on them in the distance, Moses performs the miracle of splitting the sea, and they’re able to run on dry land. But when the last of the Jews has reached safety, the seas close back up, drowning the Pharaoh and all of his men and horses. When the people see this miraculous sight and realize that they’ve been saved yet again, they break out in song, and Miriam leads the women in their own unique celebration.

Miriam is called the “brother of Aaron” here to emphasize that even before their youngest brother, Moses, the epitome of prophecy, was born, Miriam herself had prophetic ability. In fact, some commentators say that it was Miriam who was responsible for Moses’ birth in the first place. We know that she was the one to watch over his wicker basket on the banks of the Nile when the Pharaoh’s daughter found him there, thus ensuring his safety—but did you know that without her there would have been no baby at all?

Miriam was six years old when her parents separated. The Pharaoh had decreed that all male babies born into Hebrew families would be thrown into the river to drown, whereas female babies could live. This was to ensure that the Pharaoh would remain a stronger dictator with less opposition.

Jochebed and Amram (along with many other couples) separated rather than take the risk of creating a child who would be condemned to a cruel death. Yet Miriam convinced her parents to remarry, arguing that the Pharaoh may have decreed against the boys, but by giving in to fear, Jochebed and Amram were in fact preventing even girls from being born. Furthermore, she’d seen into the future, and she knew before he was even conceived that Moses would be the savior of their people.

So it’s because of his big sister that Moses was born, that he didn’t drown in the river, and that he was adopted into the house of the Pharaoh, where he gained the leadership skills he’d need to become the leader of the Exodus.

Because of her unique gift of intuition from such an early age, Miriam was well loved among her people. And because she advocated that females take control of the situation, encouraging young wives to defy the Pharaoh’s decree and continue to build their families, she’s associated with the women’s movement in its earliest stages. Feminists today place a Cup for Miriam alongside Elijah’s at the Passover Seder table, symbolizing the many different kinds of salvation that exist for many different kinds of people.

The letter Mem is often associated with water (mayyim), and it’s no coincidence that as they traveled in the desert, the Jewish people were accompanied by a miraculous wandering well of water given to them in the merit of Miriam’s actions. When she died, the well dried up, signifying her crucial contribution to the sustenance of a desperate people.

Miriam represents the life force that drives us all. In the same way that we need water to live, we need to be able to rejoice in the miracles of life, singing and dancing when good things happen to us; but we also need to persevere in the difficult times, pressing on with life in the most dire of circumstances. These are the lessons that we, women and men alike, can learn from Miriam the Prophetess.

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The Mem card represents leadership. As a small child, Miriam recognized her own definition of justice and stood up for her family’s rights, thus making the best of a bad situation and ultimately helping to resolve it. We all have an element of leadership within us, even as small children. The key is to recognize our potential and claim it.

Whether it’s leading people in song during a difficult time or providing the equivalent of much-needed water in the desert, there’s always a way to take charge and help improve the lives of others. Use this card to meditate on the ways in which you could better realize your leadership potential in any aspect of your life.