The Relationship Between Kundalini,
Kabbalah, and Alchemy
The following exercises are designed to assist in freeing the most potent energy known to humanity and resident in creation. They are not designed for someone with little or no esoteric experience. In general, it would be advisable to have at lest one to two years of practical, daily experience with the Middle Pillar and/or Pentagram Rituals; in addition, an equal amount of time with the Hexagram Rituals. Several working of the 32nd through 24th Paths on the Tree of Life would also be desirable, and regular practice of once a week or so of “Rising on the Planes”. Common sense, a willingness to “Make haste slowly”, and a balanced lifestyle may be the best protection against any unpleasant side effects of these, or other, esoteric practices. It is very important that you keep a diary of your practices and experiences with the exercises given.
The amount of time it will take to experience the Secret Fire is unknown, although preparation is the best guarantee of success. The amount of time given to each exercise should not exceed more than 15 or 20 minutes in the beginning, and then 30 or 45 minutes after the first half year or so. It is also strongly advised that anyone undertaking these exercises also maintain a regular, daily usage of spagyric tinctures for each of the planetary qualities of the day it is used. This additional, slow, and methodical cleansing of the subtle psychic channels will aid in relieving some of side-effects of esoteric work. The nightly application of “Dream Yoga” is also suggested, as this will attune the student to the qualities of the day while sleeping, aid in interior contacts, and may shed light on particular problems of the Work.
While this may seem like a lot of work, it is not. Tinctures are fairly easy to make, all that is required is their regular use. This takes no more time than swallowing a vitamin. Dream yoga is done as we are falling asleep anyhow, no additional time required for this either. What is does take is regularity, commitment, and perseverance. Qualities that assure, albeit confer, adepthood. Best of luck in your practices. In the Bonds of Esotericism,
Ora et labora,
In the Western esoteric practices there is an apparent knowledge gap regarding the role of esoteric practices and their effects on the subtle, and not so subtle, bodies of practitioners. In the East, all practices, whether designated as such or not, are designed to awaken the semi-dormant energy resident in all creation, and ‘living beings’ in particular. This energy is known as “Kundalini”, “The Serpent Fire”, and the “Dragon” depending on tradition. Extreme care has been taken, despite contradictions between systems, to chart the effects of exercises on this latent energy, and how it ‘flows’ through the physical, emotional, and psychic body, at what stages, and in relation to which exercises. Such a detailed analysis is lacking in modern Western estotericism.
For modern kabbalists, the most common introduction to ceremonial magic is through the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and the Middle Pillar Exercise. The purpose of this paper is twofold: to show how this, and related exercise can stimulate the Secret Fire, and to suggest exercises for its regulation by esoteric students who are engaged in a Hermetic path, such as general studies or alchemy, who may have experienced its awakening and are in need of simple and direct exercises for its regulation.
The majority of modern esoteric students are familiar with the Middle Pillar exercise, as such, it will be the fundamental basis for much of this article. In addition, the Sepher Yetzirah, and a limited number of alchemical references will be made.
The basis of kabbalah is that through increasing levels of density, humanity came into its present state of physical incarnation and psychic evolution. Through rituals, exercises, and meditations, the energy latent in creation generally, and the body of the practitioner in particular, can be “awakened”, purified, and directed. This energy can then be used for spiritual development, psychic expansion, or physical health and improvement.
Creation - “In the Beginning …”
Creation is seen to have taken place, in Western kabbalistic and alchemical terms, in the following process.
The Divine mind of God, the Absolute, or in Hebrew the Ain Soph Aur (Limitless Light), through a series of expansions and contractions establishes the boundaries of Creation. The first world is the most subtle, and closest to the original state of non-existence, and is Atzilooth. This is called the world of Fire, because of the lively, undefined, and almost uncontrollable nature of fire. Next is Briah, or the World of Archetypes and forms as our human mind can grasp them. It is symbolized as the World of Air, and is the result as a barrier world that is formed by the creation of the next World, Yetzirah, or Water. This is the highly psychic and emotionally charged world immediately behind the veil of material existence, or Assiah. Also known as the World of Earth, because of the solid, concrete nature of material life.
The purpose of this scheme, is to show that creation occurs in increasingly dense levels of energy-matter, from the most subtle, or Fire, to the most dense, or Earth. Within this context of increasing density, there also arises a series of ten planes or levels of consciousness which combines with energy-matter, known as Sepheroth, or spheres of being. They occur in a pattern of: unity, reflection, polarity, reflection, polarity, unity, reflection, polarity, unity, and finally materialization. This basic idea of unity-polarity-and re-harmonizing, is the basis of kabbalistic and alchemical practices, and is derived from the observation of Nature.
Each World is a reflection to a denser or more subtle degree than the one before or after it. Each Sepheroth is a reflection, in part, of what proceeds or follows it. However, since each reflection is only partial, or slightly distorted, each Sphere takes on its own unique characteristics. Only the so-called “Middle Four Sphereoth” have the ability to harmonize or reflect in total all of the energies of creation, on some level.
This ‘zigzag’ of Creation is called the “Lightning Flash”. The return of energy from dense matter, back through the various stages, Sepherith, and Worlds of Creation is known as the “Path of the Serpent” because of its reverse, or complimentary ‘zigzag’ nature back up this diagram called the Tree of Life.
For the alchemist, somewhere between the third and fourth level, or sphere of creation, energy takes on the characteristic that will allow for the formation of matter at some future state, or level ten. This energy is called Prima Materia, Chaos in the Bible, Spiritus Mundi (Spirit of the Earth), and others. Here, duality is made complete, and genuine polarity exists, as opposed to simple the potential, or idea, of polarity that had existed previously. Energy is divided into active and passive modes, with the active energy constituting the energies of life, and the passive one the energy of matter. In “The Golden Chain of Homer”, the active energy is called Niter and the passive energy is called Salt.
The energy of Life manifests in two forms, Fire and Air. While both are predominately active in nature, fire is the more active of the two, with Air being slightly passive because of the partial Water Element in its makeup. Potential Matter manifests its energy as Water and Earth. These Elements have nothing to do with the material bodies of the same name, and as such are capitalized and called “Elemental” to distinguish them from the earth we walk on, water we drink, air we breath, and fire we cook with. They are in fact, energetic states, each with their own unique characteristics, as well as each of the previously mentioned ten levels of consciousness within them. The Elements also have preferred ways of interacting with each other, to form the Three Principles of alchemy. There are in fact, forty different ways energy-matter-consciousness can manifest in our world.
The Three Essentials are the alchemical principles of Sulpher, Mercury, and Salt. Like the “Elements” these principle concepts are to be thought of a “Philosophical” and not literally as chemical elements or compounds. The Alchemical Sulphur, or Soul, of a things predominates in the animating principles of energy (Fire) and intelligence (Air); Alchemical Salt, or the physical body of a thing, predominates in unconscious forces, psychic, and instinctual intelligence (Water) and solid matter (Earth); Alchemical Mercury, or general life force, predominates in intelligence (Air) and instinctual forces, and psychic energy (Water), as such it is the link, or bridge, between the higher forces of Sulphur and the lower body of matter.
In the mineral realm the dominant energy is that of Earth, a little Water, and very little Air or Fire. In the vegetable realm, the dominant energy is Water and Air, but little Fire and Earth. In the animal realm, the dominant force element is Fire, then Air, but little Earth. These qualities need to be understood as they have been defined for the following information to be of any use to the practicing, or aspiring, Hermeticist. For example, using the above definitions, we can say that the plant realm has an abundance of instinctual energy (Water) and intelligence, i.e. a specific function (Air), but little direct energy (Fire), as this is received passively from the sun; and little hard, physical, matter (Earth).
In the East as in the West, the idea of principle Elements and Philosophic Principles are expressed in more or less the same manner. This original undifferentiated energy from creation is often called in Indian philosophy, and modern occult, and New Age circles, as akasha, or Spirit. However, akasha, consists of two (2) aspects, one active as we have noted, Niter, and the other passive, Salt. The energies of Niter are also referred to as the force of Kundalini, or spiritual forces. In alchemy, this is the Secret Fire. To the Salt, belongs the force of Prana, or Vital Energy.
The function of the Vital energy is to maintain physical life forms and existence. It is completely instinctual and unconscious and is heavily influenced by cosmic cycles, astrological pulses, and other natural phenomena. The function of the Secret Fire is to increase in humanity, the only place where it is present, its sense of self, or “I”. At the lowest level or functioning, this is the ego, at its highest, it is Divinity incarnate, as both are two sides of the same coin. One is ‘self’ in relation to the physical world and others; the other is ‘self’ in relationship to all of Creation and as a co-creator.
In the vast majority of humanity, this Secret Fire, or liberating energy of self-consciousness, lies dormant, asleep at the base of the spine, coiled like a serpent. Only a small amount manages to escape, reaching a sepherothic level, or so-called chakra, thus creating a loci of consciousness for each person. If it reaches the top of the skull, and beyond, a spiritual awakening can occur, allowing for a descent and re-ascent of the energy, during which the psychic centers can be awakened allowing for the manifestation of psychic powers and related phenomena.
The Secret Fire ascends as a result of a temporary weakening of the Vital Energy in the physical body. This is why so many spiritual awakenings take place under great physical stress, times of illness, or near-death-experiences. When the Secret Fire will ascend through the various psychic-physical currents causing it to be enveloped in a sphere of luminous light.
The experiencing of the Secret Fire, as a result of the suppression of the physical body’s Vital Energy, can create condition which manifests in various forms:
-Some perceive the bright light as an angel, their Higher Self, or “Holy Guardian Angel”, others as a spiritual teacher.
-Astral projection may result, along with perception of the immediate surroundings.
-Uncontrolled physical movements may also result, typical of so-called ‘kundalini phenomena’: shaking, rapid breathing, swinging of the torso, uncontrolled giddiness, and sitting straight upright in the Pharonic position.
After a period of time, the energy will descend, and return to the base of the spine.
The effects of this awakening will take some time for the consciousness of the individual to adjust to, and not limited to the ‘non-physical’ realms. The physical body, although to a lesser degree, is also changed and improved in functioning, constituting a genuine “re-birth’ on several levels. However, it is up to the mind, or sense of “I”, of the individual, to cooperate with this influx of power if more permanent changes in consciousness are to be made.
As we can see, the concept of kundalini, or the Secret Fire, is linked to two polar concepts: that of the undifferentiated creative energy, and the second, as the seed of this energy locked on each cell of material creation, and focused in humanity at the base of the spine.
When this energy rises as a result of psychic experiences, and not because the physical weakness, can cause the Vital Energy of the body to be concentrated on various areas of the body, creating physical and psychic disturbances. If the energy becomes concentrated in the head, it can create the illusion of a spiritual awakening, as well as the well known “hot and cold” flashes, or currents, up and down the spine. The effects of the Secret Fire however, and not its re-distributive effects on the Vital Energy, can create the following phenomena:
• Intense pains suggestive of an illness
• Crawling sensations of ants or small bugs over the skin, as well as a ‘jumping’ sensation of the energy
• A feeling of crystal clear calmness and tranquillity, rise from center to center to the top of the head
• Ascending in the famous ‘zigzag’ or Rising Serpent pattern
• The energy can skip a center or two
• The energy can reach the top of the head in a flash of light
• The character attributes of both positive and negative are exaggerated and sexual power is increased.
If the energy rises to the top of the head, then it becomes possible to work directly on the Vital Energy within the body, and use it, as a means of enhancing the psychic experience and spiritual awakening.
In short, the psychic centers must first be awakened by the Secret Fire and purified, before the energy of the physical body, can be concentrated upon them.
Thus, our psychic exercises, and esoteric meditations are designed to prepare our minds, bodies, and consciousness for the liberation of the Secret Fire buried deep inside us. Through a progressive cleansing of the blood, nervous system, and endocrine glands, the ‘chains’ of the Vital Energy upon the Secret Fire are reduced and eliminated, allowing the ever present power and energy, a veritable pressure waiting to be released, to spring into action. Thus, the Serpent doesn’t really sleep, it is we who are asleep to its presence and potential blessing.
The Secret Fire and the Sepheroth
“So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life.” Genesis 3:24
The use of the “Tree of Life” has been both a blessing and a curse for modern esotericism. When understood, the “Tree” offers a complete and working model of Creation on both the microcosmic and macrocosmic scales. However, where many fail is on the personal level. The ability to apply the often very general information of the Tree to personal experiences of the initiate when they deal with physiological phenomena is profoundly lacking in modern esoteric circles. The reasons for this are several: First, many modern esotericists simply repeat what they have learned without experiencing whether or not it is true on a personal level; second, the language of kabbalah is multi-leveled, with the same word having several meanings, thus many who are using the words don’t know what they actually mean, or on what level it may be interpreted; thirdly, the diagram of the Tree is simply too neat and compartmentalized. Many kabbalists are unable to adapt to the fact that interior reality is much more flexible than the Tree allows when applied to the two dimensional page or illustration.
These problems are farther complicated by the idea of “One Tree” but “Four Worlds” making much meaningful, practical information nearly impossible to come by regarding the crises of spiritual awakening and so-called Kundalini phenomena as it relates to kabbalistic practices. When compared to the clear and explicit information available from Taoist and Tantrik sources, it is no wonder that so many Americans and Europeans prefer those systems to those more culturally and historically related.
To help resolve these problems in the transmission of knowledge, only information that has a relationship to experience of the author or others he has discussed this topic with will be included here. Theory will be stated as theory, and experience as experience. The meaning of common kabbalistic words will be defined, and redefined, to keep the communication clear and direct. An extensive use of confusing and somewhat irrelevant god-forms, references to mythology, and cosmology unconnected to the personal experience will be avoided.
Arousing the Sleeping Serpent
“Just as Moses lifted up the flaming serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in him.” John 3:14-15
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is often the first ritual learned by aspiring magicians. Its function is to teach the basic mechanics of solitary ritual, and to give a basic technique whereby destructive energies maybe repelled or dispersed from the sphere of influence of the operator. The symbols used in the ritual are fundamental to other rituals of a more complex nature, however, to disregard the Lesser Ritual as somehow less effective is a mistake. A ritual, no matter how simple or complex is only as effective as the skill of its operator. Repeated use of the LRP is can be more effective than incompetent or irregular use of more sophisticated rites.
In total, there are approximately six fundamental rituals used in Western occultism reflecting an influence of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: 1) the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram 2) the Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram 3) the Lesser Ritual of the Hexegram 4) the Greater Ritual of the Hexegram and 5) the Rose+Cross Ritual. The use of The Flashing Sword appears to be irregular, however it will also be considered along with its companion exercise or, The Rising Serpent.
Within these, the use of the Middle Pillar is optional, it is however, the Middle Pillar Exercise which does the most to purify the bodily energies, or Vital Energy, and make pathways for the release of the Secret Fire.
The Middle Pillar
“I will make the victor a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Revelations 3:12
Several variations of the Middle Pillar Exercise exist, however their fundamentals remain the same. Whether or not one uses the Elements as suggested by Regardie in “True Art of Healing” or the Sepherothic/planetary correspondences as he later suggests (and is most commonly used) in his book “The Middle Pillar” is irrelevant. The methods used by the Arum Solis will also be considered as an alternative exercise.
The theoretical basis of the Middle Pillar is that through imagination, breath, and concentration, the psychic energy of creation, here principally Yetzirah, can be directed allowing for a purification of the Vital Energy that holds the Secret Fire in check. As our psychic centers are cleansed of emotional, moral, and materialistic residue, they better reflect the cosmic energy that works through them. Through its pre-described pattern of circulating the energy, the Middle Pillar assists in smoothing out the edges of our aura, as well as increasing the flow of energy in general directions, so that the psychic pathways, both large and small, can be purified and strengthened through an increase of Vital Energy.
The pathways described for the Middle Pillar are circular in nature. They are for the most part large, clear, and bright, with a reflective quality too them. Regardie says that the psychic spheres should be imagined like large, clear, brilliant diamonds if no other color is known. Although, in the end, the entire sphere, or extended aura, of the practitioner should be imagined as a brilliant diamond radiating heat and light.
The beauty of the Middle Pillar is that it, like many esoteric practices, is really a layered exercise. Containing an almost infinite amount of flexibility and growth potential. As the practitioner develops in skill and manipulation of the imagery, the amount of new possibilities increases.
One of central movements of the Middle Pillar is the “Fountain of Light”. Here, the practitioner imagines a brilliant force of energy forcing its way up through the soles of their feet and out the top of their head, spraying along the edges of their aura, making it strong and clear of any roughness, and gathering again at their feet. This cyclic imagery is repeated several times. This key part of the exercise, is the central part that prepares the central pathways for the eventual release of the Secret Fire. It is also similar to Eastern practices as seen in Chinese Chi Kung, Indian Tantra, and Tibetan Vajrayana yoga.
This being said, it is also clear that some differences exist between Eastern and Western methods of releasing the Secret Fire. The methods of direct work on the psychic centers, and an upward climbing of the spinal column is more traumatic than the more general work of the Middle Pillar. It is for this reason, that the techniques of yoga, save a few, that are aimed straight away at releasing the Secret Fire, require supervision of a guru. Being that they so restrict the activities of the practitioner, and require close supervision, they are also systems that are impractical for day to day life in American and European culture.
While similarities exist, and will be examined, the major differences appear to be the following:
1) Indian yoga is aimed principally at liberation from the physical realm in as quick a method as possible. Western esoteric practices are aimed at the perfection of matter and the psyche within the material world, and not an abandonment of it.
2) Chinese yoga, or Chi Kung, is more akin to Western practices, in that it is aimed at perfection of the material world, and even the spiritualizing of the body into a “Body of Light”. It however, is more akin to Indian yoga, in that it starts at level of the etheric body (nadis or acupuncture points) and proceeds from there. This “from the bottom up, and inside out” approach is different from the Middle Pillars “top down, outside in” method. Because the etheric body is directly effected early on, the effects are more dramatic, as well as potentially traumatic for the unprepared. In the Middle Pillar, the etheric body is often the last thing effected. This is because the symbolism used, as well as the need to develop skills in concentration, visualization, and meditation effect primarily the mental outlook of the practitioner for a long period of time. Only after considerable practice, of a year or more, on a daily basis, do the effects of the Middle Pillar begin to sink into the astral body, and eventually filter into the etheric and physical bodies of the practitioner. It is stated in one source, that it takes a minimum of three years for even the most advanced yoga practitioner to release the Kundalini through special exercises. A ‘release’ which we have stated, is not a release per say, but the removal of obstacles to its natural expression. This is a critical point, since it is often said that to experience kundalini will often take twenty years of practice of esoteric exercises, or even Hatha Yoga, the same amount of time it took Nicholas Flamel to confect The Philosopher’s Stone. During a recent workshop, Jean Dubuis stated that it may be possible to complete the extremely dangerous Flamel Method in three years. It may be that for the alchemist, the interior creation of the Philosopher’s Stone is nothing short of the kundalini experience, and the exterior creation of the Stone is the ability to direct this Cosmic creative energy at will.
3) Tibetan systems run somewhere between the Chinese and Indian, in that they are concerned with liberation, but also with the creation of an etherial body made from their bodily essences. This Diamond Body, or Rainbow Body, is pure light and can materialize at the will of the adept. Like the Chinese and Indian systems, the Tibetan use a rituals for the purification of the mind and emotions of the practitioners, as well as the visual images in both anthropomorphic deities and abstract geometric forms. The Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram fulfill this function when performing the Middle Pillar.
Thus, we can see, the major differences in Eastern and Western practices can be summarized in function and reference point of origin. The East seeks liberation through progressive untying of the knots of ignorance that bind humanity to incarnation. The West seeks to perfect the material world making material reality a reflection of spiritual reality. One accomplished, the adept can then proceed to dis-incarnate at will. The Western approach seeks to be more active in the world and to transform it, while the Eastern approach is to see the world as an illusion that is impermanent, and as such, is more passive. Such philosophies, like all beliefs and cultures, reflect the physical environment of their earliest origin. In tropical and sub-tropical zones the concern with time is less important that in the Northern hemisphere where a winter without food stores means death for the community. The cold, harsh realities of arctic zones produce a different theory and technique, and as such, different ideal (gods) than agricultural areas. Whether one is a hunter nomad or an established agrarian society is reflective of the physical landscape they live in, and as such effects values, needs, and spiritual philosophy and technique.
This is of critical concern whenever one is considering adopting the esoteric practices on another land or culture. Why did it arise, and under what circumstances? Are those same conditions applicable today, and in the life of the potential practitioner? In view of current conditions, are the practices being considered progressive or regressive in nature? That is, are they forward moving, or simply an idealization of a mythical past ‘golden age’?
Salt, Saturn, Sexual Ecstasy, and Spiritual Bliss
“The heart girt with a serpent is my Name!” Chaldean Oracles
Salt is a symbol of wisdom and learning. Saturn, is associated with Ouroboros, the Great Serpent biting its tail, symbolic of limitation. As such it is closely allied with the earth, but also all of material creation, and those things which border on non-being, or Eternity. In one 15th century manuscript, the serpent is made of two colors, red and green. Red is outside and green is inside. Green, the color of Nature and of Venus, is the beginning of the Work. Red, the color of the Stone, and Mars, is the end of the Work.
“Sapiens dominabitur astris.” The wise shall exercise dominion over the stars. As we correct the astrological imbalances (i.e psychic centers or chakras) within ourselves, astrological conditions outside have less of a negative effect on us. We gain dominion over the ‘stellar’ forces and can “make the sun shine in our oratory when we will it so.”
The seventeenth century pupil of Jakob Boehme, Gichtel placed the cosmic spiral, or “Wheel of Nature” within the human body. J.G. Gichtel’s Theosophica Practica, 1898. Saturn is the crown, Jupiter the brow, Mars the throat, Sun with a serpent around it, the heart, Venus liver, Mercury the spleen, and Moon the sexual organs, or in straight theosophic decent down the Tree. It is the Heart with a serpent that attracts our attention. Here he also places the Element of Fire.
Egyptian initiates were also called scarabs because they pushed along the egg of their regeneration.
Mysteria Magica, vol 3 The Magical Philosophy: The brow included in the Middle Pillar (called: Clavis Rei [1st Formula] The Rousing of the Citadels) and the color scale varies with each center. An additional use of the rising twin serpents of the Caduceus are included at the end. The brow is attributed to Saturn, and is said to balance out the Yesod center, as well as add power to the remaining centers in the Middle Pillar as the Golden Dawn and Aurem Solis present it.
Alchemically, Salt is derived from the union of Elemental Earth and Elemental Water (or Assiah and Yetzirah), the Secret Fire is ‘hidden’ in the Salt (material body) and represents the unconscious, instinctual forces that seek release. It is sometimes called “Hellfire” in that if uncontrolled, or poorly released, it can reek havoc on the body and psyche of the student, via its purifying effects. This is illustrated by the 31st Path, or Path of Fire, sometimes mistaken for “Purgatory” or “Hell” by the un- regenerated who pass through this Path after death. This Path is also under the direction of Mercury and Shin, the symbols of spiritual guidance and evolution. For those interested in Notarikon, Shin shares the same numerical value, 300, as the Hebrew phrase, “The Spirit of the Living God.”
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Matthew 3:11
The letter Shin is often used in meditation as a symbol of Divine light, life, love, or presence. It is imagined above the head, just touching the crown, then inside the head proper (as it is associated with intelligence and the energy of the nervous system in the Sepher Yetzirah), descending into the heart, and finally, expanding from there to engulf the meditator in a sea of fire. Because it consists of three flaming Yods, or tongues, it is sometimes associated with the flaming tongues of Pentecost, and a variety of Trinitarian concepts.
Several possible interpretations are available to use regarding this statement: One suggests that John the Baptist was initiating repentance as well as entrance into the watery world of Yetzirah, but that Jesus, was offering a path of initiation into the fire of the Soul, or full adepthood. A second interpretation is that John was offering initiation up the 29th Path, or the Path of Water; while Jesus was offering the harder and more rigorous Path of Fire, or the 31st Path to his disciples. Neither of these is a definitive answer, only a modern kabbalistic attempt to understand Scripture in the context of initiatic practices. The mention of the Holy Spirit is more informative however, as this phrase was adopted by the Jews during the period of the Babylonian Captivity and represents the origin of Persian and Chaldean influences on Jewish mystical beliefs.
The term Holy Spirit (Ruach Elohim) is derived from the Zend Avesta, and the phrase, Spenta Mainyu, or “Holy (Creative) Spirit”. The creative power is implied and not stated in the original, an appears to be lost in subsequent translations into modern languages via Jewish and Christian traditions. This Spenta Maiynu is a purifying and regenerating energy and intelligence with a cosmic host of six or seven intelligence’s at its command.
“It [Spenta Mainyu] is the self-realizing quality or activity of Ahura Mazda (the Good Mind); it is the self-generating energy that leads to the creation and evolution of the universe. Spenta Mainyu is dynamic and creation is an ongoing process. For Zoroaster, holiness meant also abundance, growth, and health. Spenta Mainyu represents the principle of augmentation and development in the universe.” (F. Mehr, p.29)
This power and their beings comprise the Mathrem, or Mathra, literally, ‘the sacred word of power’, which is the basis for the development of the practice of mantra in India and “Words of Power” in the Middle East and Egypt. Manthrem or Mathra is in its own right held to be the supreme mantra from which all others are derived, in the same fashion as YHVH is the origin of all Hebrew Divine Names. This is mentioned because in Persia and Babylon, the convergence of what would develop into semi-independent Eastern and Western esoteric practices is complete. In one respect, it could be said to be the original home of yoga, kabbalah, alchemy, and magic as we know them. Period art and architecture shows winged creatures familiar to Jewish and Egyptian tradition, planetary diagrams, an early version of the Tree of Life, and several variations of the intertwined serpent motif.
The Cosmic Triangle of Fire
“The successful adept must be endowed with a knowledge of the material of the Great Work; also with faith, silence, purity of heart, and prayerfulness. After passing through the gate surmounted with the hieroglyph of philosophic mercury he traverses the seven angles of the citadel, representing the chief operations of the Great Work - calcination, dissolution, purification, introduction into the sealed Vase of Hermes, transference of the Vase to the Athanor [furnace], coagulation, putrefaction, ceration, multiplication and projection. And even upon reaching the Petra Philosophalis, he finds it is held in custody by a formidable dragon.”
Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae, Heinrich Khunrath
Saturn is related to Mercury in alchemical text, and is given the same ambiguous sexuality, or androgyny, and named it ‘Mercurius senex’.
In Tiphareth, the geometric symbol is the interlaced triangles of water and fire, or the Star of David. When expanded to connect the planetary sepheroth of the Tree (with Saturn being attributed to Daath), the Triangle of Water connects the spheres of Mars, Jupiter, and Luna. The Triangle of Fire connects Saturn, Venus, and Mercury.
Just as Orobouros is cosmic energy (the serpent) limiting itself (Saturn), Venus is the creative cosmic force multiplying itself in life (its vegetative nature) as a prism splits the light of the sun. Mercury, like Saturn in many respects, is androgynous, and controls the fire of creation, directing it in the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone. Mercury holds the Caduceus, or winged staff with two serpents intertwined around it. The Wings represent sublimation, the serpents the basic forces of creation. There crossing over is the psychic centers, often given as seven in number, here representing the colors in the spectrum, plus white (Venus). Central to the diagram is Sol, which is the cosmic creative forces which unify, enliven, and harmonize creation, and which we can hope to contact. It is central, and directs and controls all of the other planets, psychic centers, or aspects of Cosmic energy.
By contacting the fire of the Sun, we can open the fire of the other psychic centers (via Venus), and more easily direct the restrictive and enlightening energy of Saturn, through the powers of the Mind, or Mercury.
To understand these multi-faceted aspects of the planets, particularly Venus and Mercury, it is important to have done the Pathworkings up to Tiphareth. While this is not required to perform the techniques later in this monograph, it is a help for an understanding of the theoretical part.
However, we can begin to understand the relationship of the Spheres to each other by undertaking a series of meditations based on the following idea:
Venus is the regenerating, sensual, active life force in its vegetative and unconscious manner. It responds to heat, light, and emotion. On the Path of the Decent, Venus splits the singular rays of the Sun into the many facets of the color spectrum, and as such, can lead us to a better understanding of the relationship between multiplicity and unity, the psychic centers and planets, and their unique natures. On the Path of Ascent, Venus re-unites the divergent energies, both planetary and personal (psychic centers) and harmonizes it into a singular force, although still multi-colored, until it returns to the Sun as pure light.
“This Stone rises in growing, greening things.” Wherefore when the Green is reduced to its former nature, whereby things sprout and come forth in due time, it must be decocted and putrefied in the way of our secret art.” Splendor solis, Trismosin
The Stone is made through the greening of nature (Netzach) and it returning to its source (Tipahreth) by putrefaction (Death card of the path connecting them).
Mercury gives form and meaning to the diverse energies made by the splitting actions of Venus, and re-unites them as fundamental forces, symbolized by the Caduceus. Mercury is Psychopomp, or Guide of the Soul, and directs the energies that Venus represents. Since both Venus and Mercury sit at the base of the Pillars of kabbalah, they access the material, astral, and mental realms, and can influence all three to some degree. On the Descent, Mercury creates form and structure, for the body, the mind, or the soul, and on the ascent, Mercury helps free us from the limitations of form, without forgetting its lessons.
The serpent is primordial force or energy, fire and water being the principle two of creation, with air and earth following them. Because it shed it’s skin, it is seen as a symbol of regeneration and renewal. It is also dangerous, deadly, can be found often in ‘guardian’ roles near springs or water as well as deserts. When controlled or mastered, is seen as mastering a powerful and deadly, yet regenerating force, basic to creation, or possibly from which creation came.
The Secret Fire is directly linked to the sexual, (i.e. principle and most basic creative forces) in humanity. Here, the relationship between ‘bliss’ ‘ecstasy’ and the erotic impulse can be clearly seen and experienced. The development of a host of ‘sexual yogas’ and ‘sex magic(k)’ practices bear this out to some degree. However, it is the sexual desire in humanity that acts as its basic drive and evolutionary force. It is also suggests that the ability and need for mystical experiences is biologically rooted. Only be ignoring the most basic of pleasures, sex, can we ignore the drive to ecstatic union on some level. The ‘little death’ or petite morte, is a forerunner of the ‘big death’ as we let go and experience divine oblivion.
Sexual power, linked to our innate drive for mystical experiences, is also linked to human evolution, and some kind of predetermined point or state to which we are being directed.
This is a significant point, in that almost all of modern Western societies psychological illnesses are focused around sexual repression and obsession.
If the Secret Fire flows freely, or with greater strength than before, without the proper purification of the Vital Energy of the physical body, it is possible that it will result in what appears to be extreme physical, but more likely psychological illness in the form of schizophrenia and psychosis; instead of psychic gifts, genius, and either transpersonal states, or simply altered states of consciousness.
Wilhelm Reich, the father of Orgon Therapy states that the basis for all mental-emotional disturbances are anchored in the physical body, and that these anchors can be released through breathing techniques, somewhat similar to pranayamana. Since the body is the “Salt” of alchemy, and partially composed of accessible unconscious elements through its “Watery Element” all of our emotional and physical experiences become indelibly marked, associated, or stored in our physical body. If these blocks, or energy concentrations of emotional and physical trauma (composed of Vital Energy) are not removed before the Secret Fire begins to flow more intensely, the so-called negative side effects of ‘Kundalini phenomena’ will appear.
Abuse of drugs, alcohol, and sexual extremes only worsen the condition in that they inadvertently release the Secret Fire by weakening the physical body and its link to the astral, thereby damaging the etheric substructure, and create energy blocks in the end rather than diminish them, when the mind and body attempt to make repairs.
A nervous system damaged by substance abuse makes a tricky vehicle for the clear, clean, and powerful expression of the Secret Fire. It is through our nervous system (under the domain of Yesod-Luna) that we engage both the physical world, as well as out interior world. It links the body (Malkooth) with the Mind-Intellect (Hod) as well as instinctual, creative, and sensual urges (Netzach). If it is damaged, our ability to relate fully, creatively, and productively to these psyhco-physical-spiritual parts of our self becomes endangered. If it is damaged, then our most direct and important link to our Holy Guardian Angel, and means of releasing the Secret Fire safely (via Tiphareth) is threatened in this incarnation.
“Listen, then while I make known the Grand Arcanum of this wonder-working Stone, which at the same time is not a stone, which exists in every man, and may be found in its own place at all times…. It is called a stone, not because it is like a stone, but only because by virtue of its fixed nature, it resists the action of fire as successfully as any stone….If we say that its nature is spiritual, it would be no more than the truth; if we describe it as corporeal, the expression would be equally correct; for it is subtle, penetrative, glorified, spiritual gold. It is the noblest of all created things…it is a spirit or quintessence.”
A Short Guide to the Celestial Ruby, Philethes.
Freeing the Dragon
How long it takes to un-block our psychic anatomy for a more complete and harmonious functioning of the Secret Fire is unclear. It is stated that even the most advanced yogis require a minimum of three years of special practice for this to occur. Since that kind of training takes place under specialized and supervised conditions, it can be assumed that modern Western life requires more time, as well as self-reflection and referral, since the average Western occultist, be they kabbalist, alchemist, or both, will spend the majority of their time working alone or at best in occasional small groups.
Certain schools of yoga as well as kabbalah and Sufi practices view the heart as the center of the individual universe, and the most important of all psychic centers. By opening the heart, we gain access to our Interior Master, or Holy Guardian Angel (messenger),characterized by a strong manifestation of intuition. This is the final resting place for the Serpents Tongue after its ascent over the skull, and as Boehme and Hermetic imagery have shown, the “Heart girt with a serpent” is the ideal to which mystics aspire.
As one yogi put it, we approach the “Big King” first, and allow him to direct the activities of the serpent - language not unfamiliar to Hermeticists.
Adam Kadmon: Secret Fire and YHVH
“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29
While alchemy, kabbalah, and astrology have been homogenized in modern esoteric practices to create an almost seamless synthesis, this is not true of earlier periods. Traditionally, alchemy and astrology played almost no role in Jewish kabbalah, and while it has been put forward that may Jews were alchemists, and some great alchemists possibly Jews, no manuscripts of Jewish alchemical practices seem to exist in any great number. Even the most famed Esch M’saref, or “The Refiner’s Fire”, is a compilation of material, focusing mainly on gematria, and not a ‘chemical’ work in itself.
Early kabbalists imagined creation taking place in several stages, from which was generated the anthropomorphic image of the ‘primordial man’, or Adam Kadmon. This ‘first man’ was imagined as being crated out of the four-letters of the Divine Name stacked one on top of the other. Yod was the head, Heh, the arms and shoulders, Vau, the spine and sexual organs, and the final Heh, the hips and legs. A host of attributes and qualities came to be associated with each letter, and as a whole, it formed its own school of kabbalistic meditation. By adding other letters, altering combinations, and substituting letters based on numerological equivalents, additional Divine Names, names of archangels, angels, and other spiritual beings were generated.
The oral tradition of Adam Kadmon is similar to that of the Egyptian god Osiris, in that Osiris was dismembered and reconstructed, while Adam “Fell” to pieces, and it is the work of the kabbalist to reconstruct the Original Adam. Each of us is said to be a piece of this original soul, and it is our purpose to find our place in Creation, via kabbalistic methods.
Saint-Germain and the Most Holy Three-Fold Wisdom
The idea of Secret Fire in initiatic psycho-alchemical texts such as The Most Holy Trinsophia (Three Fold Wisdom) illustrate the point of hidden fire, associated with volcanic power, and under the influence of Venus. Works such as this bear a strong resemblance to alchemical-kabbalistic texts, and either use mystical symbolism of these esoteric schools, or such symbols are used to interpret the texts meaning.
In the text, Saint-Germian reportedly recounts the details of his initiation through the twelve degrees of Cosmic Consciousness. The use of earthly fire in the form of volcanic eruptions, lava, and seas of flame symbolize the presence of an underlying matrix of living energy that pervades material and non-material creation, uniting and constantly renewing it through what can be seen as violent activity.
La Tres Sainte Trinsophie is comprised of twelve sections, each with its own illustration. The most obvious alignment that can be seen, is between the twelve sections, the zodiac, and the stages of alchemy. It can also be suggested, for our considerations, the seven major and five minor psychic centers.
The story begins with Saint-Germain on the lava beds of Vesuvius, later he passes an alter on which is a cup, with a winger serpent intertwined around it twelve times. Saint-Germain then enters into a vast realm of fire, in the midst of which is a greenish-gold serpent with ruby eyes which he must dominate with a sword, the symbol of an enlightened will. With this act, anger, hate, and pride are cast out of his consciousness, and the senses are brought under direction.
In one of the scenes depicted, Saint-Germain is in front of a triangular alter with an elaborate candlestick . It’s base if formed out of two intertwined serpents and terminates at a lotus, with the taper placed in the center. Two inscribed panels accompany the illustration. The first one reads: “To the strong is given the burden” and the second, “Kindle a fire upon the high place that the sacrifice may be borne upward to the Desired One.” The final illustration shows the heavens ablaze with light and a triangle surrounded by a square and circle. The initiate, here Saint-Germain, is accompanied by Isis Revealed, the goddess of life and Nature.
The pictures described illustrate that even at the end of the Illuminist era, classical alchemical and kabbalistic symbolism was in widespread use by esotericists. However, its direction was changed from classical, or laboratory alchemy, to ‘philosophic’ or ‘spiritual’ alchemy. Just as kabbalah had undergone a radical transformation at the hands of alchemists and Christian mystics, alchemy itself had also changed. While such manuscripts may be of dubious value for practical laboratory work, fortunately, they still are of value for interior spiritual initiation - an initiation that only the Secret Fire can bring.
The Middle Pillar
The Middle Pillar is a well known exercise to almost every student of magic. The details of the exercise are clearly outlined in Israel Regardie’s book of same name, and will not be gone into here. Instead, exposition of those point relevant to the Secret Fire will be outlined. These points are:
1. The establishment of Malkooth.
2. Circulation of the Light
3. The Fountain of Light
4. Malkooth as Kether
5. Relationship of Tiphareth to Malkooth and Kether
Secondary considerations will be paid to:
1. The Ritual of the Pentagram
2. The Ritual of the Hexagram
Malkooth or ‘Kingdom’ is a complex sphere in that it represents several broad concepts simultaneously. It is at once, our feet when the Tree of Life is projected on the human frame (and the knees and base of spine when seated or kneeling); all solid matter, earth, and all material creation. It is our bones, and the marrow they contain is a personal aspect of the Secret Fire. It is important that we have a strong sense of foundation when we talk about Earth and Malkooth, so that in meditation we can remain grounded and secure. The stronger our sense of connection to the earth and our bodies we have, the more energy we can generate and the easier it will be to direct it. It is analogous to trying to build a skyscraper on a poured slab concrete for a foundation verses a four-story subbasement. The better the foundation, the stronger the structure.
Since the Secret Fire is hidden in the Earth, it is good to spend some time, even several years, working through the details of the Pentagram rituals. Cleansing, harmonizing, projecting, and withdrawing the energy represented there into yourself and surrounding area. The North is an especially important area for concentration, in that it is Earth of Earth, and is our hidden gateway to the Secret Fire. Buried in the solid nature of matter, is a underlying vibrant energy that is continually pulsating, giving rise to form and life, and turning energy in matter and matter into energy. This underlying nature is illustrated in the Sign of Taurus, the zodiacal sigil given to the North. In it we see the Moon crowning a circle with a dot in the center, or the Sun. This combined lunar-solar sign for earthly nature points to the theory that all matter is simply condensed sun light, or hidden fire.
By associating the heaviness of Earth and the underlying heat it contains (the molten, volcanic core) with our feet, knees, and base of spine (and eventually our whole skeletal system), we can begin to experience the literal network creation is formed from. This imagery is reinforced by the statement that Malkooth and Kether are one. By imaging that an unlimited stream of energy is pulsating into and out of creation from the Ain Soph Aur at Kether, and then imaging the same for material creation as you envision it, at Malkooth. All to often the spheres are imagined as being static beings or states, when nothing is farther from the truth. They are alive, dynamic, and constantly interacting with each other and the energy-matter matrix. This interaction is most clearly seen on the Middle Pillar and the central spheres.
In Western and some Eastern esoteric practices, all exercises begin with a drawing down of energy from the Crown, or Kether. This is done because Kether, is on the edge of “non-existence” draws energy into and out of being. This energy is then regulated, until it becomes manageable by our human consciousness, said to be somewhere around Chesed, on the Cosmic scale of things.
On the personal level, Kether, or our personal Crown, regulates the flow of energy into and out of our bodies. We then direct this energy through our brain and nervous system, until it becomes manageable by our consciousness. Just as Kether is the bridge between Being and Non-Being on the Cosmic Scale, our personal Kether is the bridge between energy and matter. In our personal being, this is the pineal gland.
Malkooth is the final condensing of these Cosmic forces, and on the Cosmic Scale is all of material creation. On our personal level, it our physical bodies, and as an intermediary, the environment we live and move in with others. Since Malkooth is a World, that of Asssiah, as well as a Sphere, it has its own “Kether aspect” or ability to create matter that goes from the most dense to most subtle. These subtler forms of matter border on their own realm of “Non-Being” or that which crosses over from the purely material to the psychic. In our bodies this would be the prostate and sexual glands, perineum, and base of the spine.
The meeting place for these two polar aspects of our being and creation, is in the Heart Center, or Tiphareth. Here, all of creation is harmonized and brought into a state of dynamic tension and vitality around an intelligent center. This intelligence direct the other aspect of creation so that they work in harmony with one another for the good of all. This is our heart pumping blood to all of our organs, our pituitary gland, or “Master Gland” giving directions to all of our endocrine system, our Solar Plexus, regulating nerve energy in general; and the nucleus of each atom, cell, or the Sun in our solar system.
In its role of chief mediator of forces, Tiphareth is constantly sending vital energy to all area of creation, and transmitting energy from the Crown, or highest abstract realms, to Malkooth, or the densist levels of matter. It in many ways, is the regulator of this energy to such s degree, that it can be said that matter itself is actually made by Tiphareth. In physical terms this means that all matter is nothing but condensed light energy. In personal terms, its means that our bodies and environment are the creation of our deepest held thoughts.
To help develop a more conscious and functional relationship between these three centers of energy-matter-consciousness exchange, the following exercise is suggested:
Imagine a brilliant sphere of Light with a binding, almost point black center, just above or touching the top of your head. Inhale, drawing down a shaft of this sphere into your Heart. Exhale, sending the shaft of light through your body and legs out the soles of your feet, into the molten center of the Earth. Inhale again, visualizing the fiery energy of this Center of the Earth moving up in a golden reddish stream to your Heart. Hold it, energizing the heart in brilliant light. Exhale, seeing the light expand in heat, light, life energy, and power.
It is important at this point, that the energy not only be coordinated with the inhalation, but be ‘breathed up’ from the earth and not forced. This can be done by imagining a strong, flexible, hollow tube or canal running from the center of the earth, or feet, to the heart center. The energy can also be imagined running up the feet, as a pulse, entering the spinal column, and focusing energizing the heart area.
Imagine after a period of time, that it is in the heart of the universe, and the adept, that matter and energy meet and are created.
Just as our ‘heart felt’ feelings direct the limitless energy of Kether into manifestation, so do they direct manifestation back to Kether, or elsewhere, if we desire.
It is very important that the heart not be overheated, and that the energy once accumulated be circulated or discharged in some fashion. This can be into a talisman, a healing treatment, or into a glass of cold water which is then consumed. It can also be discharged out the solar plexus as a general circulation to the rest of the aura.
In addition, the vowel sounds associated with the Rose+Cross ritual, or A.I.O. may be intoned after competency in the basic techniques gave been acquired. First, practice intoning the sounds as a single breath, resonating from the center of your heart. After a while, begin splitting the sounds so that A resonates with the head; I with the heart; and O with the Solar plexus. After a period of time, move the O sound down to the perineum where it will have a stranger affect on the ‘Malkooth’ sphere(s).
Substantial resonating of the sounds in the perineum will open up 12 different channels that link the spine to the legs, knees, and feet, uniting these various ‘functional’ Malkooths. It also effects the prostrate gland in men.
Yesod- Link Between the Selves
Yesod sits astride the gateway to the invisible, and is the repository for all that ascends and descends into manifestation. It represents several key elements of our being, including our nervous system and brain; psychic centers; unconscious yearnings and desires; and locus of memory. Through its sometimes dark and troubling, but always powerful waters, we can come into direct contact with our Holy Guardian Angel in Tipahreth. By imagining Yesod as a gateway that reflects up as well as down, we can learn to direct our psychic energies in either direction. This way, Yesod is more than just a doorway which we knock at and hope something is thrown out to us, but instead is a portal we can move through and exist consciously. While much of this early expansion will take place in dream states, such as lucid dreaming, and spontaneous astral projection, eventually a greater degree of control will emerge, in which consciousness is projected willfully and returns with full memory of its experiences.
This state can be quicken though, by reinforcing Yesods link to Malkooth (for memory) and Tiphareth (willed consciousness). The following exercises are designed with these two goals in mind.
After performing the Middle Pillar, focus your attention on Yesod. Imagine it as a large sphere extending to the edges of your expanded aura, violet in color. Shrink it back to normal size and then imagine all of your physical energy, in malkooth, and through out your body, is moving up toward Yesod. This is your ability to move, manifest, and create in the material world. Imagine the spheres merge and become harmonious. Now, pull it up even further to Tiphareth, and bath the combined material and psychic-sexual energy of Yesod in the golden light of Tiphareth, and feel the three merge into one. After several minutes project them back to their original positions.
Imagine the light of Yesod as being simultaneously dual in nature, reflecting up toward Tiphareth and down toward Malkooth.
Move to Tiphareth and do the same, imagine its light reflecting down toward Yesod, and up toward Kether, the source of all energy.
Imagine the Elements as pure and perfect ideas, emanating from Tiphareth through a clear field of Yesod, and condensing into matter. Imagine your thoughts as pure and perfect ideas, being projected from your heart, with the combined sexual-creative energy of Yesod, into manifestation in malkooth.
Imagine the pure light and energy of Kether above your head, becoming accessible in Tiphareth, your heart, and manifesting as pure creations in Malkooth, beneath your feet. Feel the energy reverse this process, going from hard, cold, dense matter, to abstract energy forms, to pure, undifferentiated energy. In addition, the Clavis Rea Formula can be an effective illustrator of this point.
Circulation of the Light, after the establishment of the spheres should be vivid, clear, and deep in the body as well as extended out form it. This can be done is phases, with the first phases working gently on the outside, forming broad bands of light, and increasing in density and power as they begin to reach deep below the surface of the tissue, to the bones themselves. This helps to anchor the power in the body, while expanding and clearing the aura. At all times, the energy should be palpable.
The Fountain of Light should move through the spinal column slowly at first, and with greater intensity and speed as experience progresses. The burst should be lively and bright, with a clear fluid like flame coursing around the edges of the expanded aura, at a radius of three to four feet on all sides. Lose your self in the flow of energy, as it passes through your body, out your head, into your feet, up your legs, purifying and energyzing as it goes.
At the conclusion of the exercise, you may withdraw the energy into the sub-epidermal layer of your body, feeling it strengthen and energize the tissue, sinking into the bones and purifying the marrow, an essential element in long life and strong bones. This should also be done along the spinal cord, imagining that the soft tissue between the vertebrae are packed with energy and the nerve connections are strong and vital.
The Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram
The rituals of the Pentagram re use for directing the principle Elements of the material world (Assiah), matter-energy matrix closest to our consciousness, and the outer-materially directed personality of this incarnation. It is through directing and purifying to some degree these Elements, that we can begin to turn our attention inward and have the Vision of our Higher Self, or Holy Guardian Angel, that exists in Kether, communicated with in Tiphareth, and reflected to us in the subconscious of Yesod.
The ego, or self-created image of self in relation to the material world is completely dominated by these rituals, and through them, we can adjust our sense of self, so that we may direct our energies toward Self. When this is done, we not only can converse with our Holy Guardian Angle, but realize that we and it are one and the same.
The pentagram rituals can also be used in this same respect for creating material conditions that are to our advantage, as well as spiritual advancement. They can be used to create an near material environment for the sustaining of planetary forces as well. In this aspect, the several rituals are often combined.
The planetary rituals of the Hexagram represent the manipulation of inner and outer planetary forces through our own psychic centers. They can result in direct physical manifestations of body or environment, or in interior experiences of an initiatic nature. Such initiations signify an expansion of consciousness, and increased activation of the psychic centers involved, and possible generalization of the effects to other centers. For example: a solar ritual will bring increased activity to the psychic ‘heart’ center, but also to the pineal gland in the brain as it is solar in nature. A lunar ritual will bring increased memory and mental clarity, but also will stimulate the nervous system, and psychic centers generally, as well as cyclic sexual impulses. A Venus ritual will stimulate the kidneys, sexual impulses, and increase ones sense of beauty, harmony, and artistic expression. It will also add power to all of the psychic centers as a result of Venus’ ‘prism effect’ on psychic energy if directed properly, and increase the flow of love to the heart.
Thus, each planet has its specific and general effects, as well as manifestations on the mental, emotional, and material planes. As we increase in awareness, and contact more consciously the various planetary spheres within us, they will appear to take on an almost objective existence. In these semi-objective states, we can contact others of a similar vibration, or communicate with the various ‘beings’ of the invisible world. These worlds also have degrees of density, hence the use of Elemental attributes in the vertical mode of expression. The densest world is Malkooth/Assiah, with each of the planets having a ‘home’ in the Quarters, and Yetzirah is more subtle and given the attribute of Water, with its own special relationship to the Planets. Next, there is Briah, with its Airy, expansive nature, and peculiar relationship to the planets, and finally, Atziluths fiery nature, from with the previous worlds are but denser and more stable expressions. Just as our consciousness shifts in its relationship to things when it moves to the astral from the material, it shifts again when it moves from the lunar astral to the solar astral, or mental worlds; and again when the move is from the Mental to the Spiritual.
These shifts can best be explained as going from object relationships (material), to subject relationships (I-Thou), to direct relationships, and finally identity relationships. On earth we view things as objects separate from us. In the lunar astral we experience them a objects, but with a relationship to them. In the Solar astral, we experience a thing directly, that is we know it. In the Spiritual realm, we are it.
This helps to explain some of the statements made about kundalini experiences in yoga, as well as the mystical experiences of other esotericists. In kundalini, or Secret Fire experiences, the aspirant often talks of being ‘one with creation’, or having the ability to look inside the nature of things. This would indicate that the energetic impulses being released are expanding awareness to the level of Briah. When the final level is reached, Atzilooth, we become like the Bibical Enoch “who walked with God and was no more”.
This framework also helps explain why many magicians succeed or fail at magic. The identity of ‘another’ doing the work for us, is a very materialistic approach to magic. Later on, after experiencing the reality and illusions of the astral worlds, the direct, or personal relationship is built, in which the magician sees the powers being directed as aspects of his or her self, and not exterior to their being. This form of expression is more akin to the level of the adapt, but also the mystic, and practitioner of yoga who visualized the chakras as inside their body and not exterior worlds, as in Western Pathworking. At some point however, all of these various viewpoints merge, and systems become blended in the experiences and evolving psyche of the disciple. The difference is more as a point of origin, not as a final destination.
Note of Caution!! It is very important that all of the following exercises are preceded by a period of prayer and devotion to the Cosmic and that their fruits be offered as gifts to the Creator. They must also be started by invoking the energy from above in some fashion, be it the Qabalistic Cross, the Middle Pillar, the Clavis Rei, or simply as a beam of light coming from above, entering at the Crown, and terminating at the base of the spine or feet depending on your posture. This is critical of any negative side effects are to be avoided or minimized, as only energy radiating from Kether can be contacted with out creating an imbalance in our system. Here, we seek to use this energy to repair imbalances, not forget it, and inadvertently create new ones. Also, at the end of each meditation, return the energy to the Cosmic either imaginatively, or by offering the fruits of your spiritual labor to God.
Triangle of Fire
The Triangle of Fire represents a specific aspect of Tiphareth and should be considered in relationship to the Middle Pillar, although it can be performed independent of it, or as we will see, as an adjunct exercise to intensify the effects of both exercises.
After establishing your working space, focus your attention on your heart. Imagine the great intertwined Star or Shield of David, in gold, associated with this sphere. Feel the upper triangle radiating a pulsing heat, and the lower one, a running coolness. Imagine them turn into a combined fiery triangle of Fire, and glistening triangle of Water. In the center is a brilliant dot, Yod, or Shin, as you decide.
The lower triangle of Water is our relationship of consciousness to the psychic and material worlds. The Upper triangle of Fire, is our relationship to the spheres of adepthood, spiritual illumination, and interior revelation.
Imagine yourself as the center point, between these two living triangles. Turn your attention to the Fire Triangle. Let the Water Triangle fade from consciousness. Feel yourself in the center of a small pyramid of Fire. It you were to stand up, you could touch the apex. Seated or kneeling, you sense the great fire all around you. Surrounding the base of the pyramid is a giant serpent with its tail in its mouth. Close your eyes and feel with each breath, and heart beat, the fire pulse in unison and grow more intense. The fire radiates both outward from the pyramid, as well as inward to its center, where you are. Loose yourself in the pulsing, living, flame. Intone the Divine Name IAO, resonating it outward from the center of your heart to the edges of the universe. Feel the fire grow bright with each vibration and the serpent stir.
At some point you may feel, or imagine the serpent rising, and reaching a point of extension. Go with it, and view through its eyes. Return when you are done, by imagining the serpent coil back, placing its tail back in its mouth, the fire regulating, and the triangle merging with the triangle of water, both turning gold, and exiting to consciousness.
Saturn and the Secret Fire
This is special series of exercises relating to Saturn and its relationship to other planets, and the as manifestor of Creation. This exercise is directly related to the previous one, or The Triangle of Fire. When placed on the Tree of Life, the Hexagram connects the spheres of Yetzirah and Briah, giving a gateway to Atzilooth, with Saturn where Daath is placed.
The Triangle of Fire is composed of Saturn at the apex, and Mercury and Venus at the base corners, with the Sun in the center. By meditating on the qualities of these planets, and their relationship to each other via this diagram, we can see that Saturn is the secret sphere, that offers us access to the energy-matter-consciousness continuum. Imagine yourself in the center of the Triangle of Fire again, pacing the Astrological signs, or godforms of Saturn, above, or above and before your, Mercury at your right, and Venus at your left. See them as living and vital, with a thin strand of fire, light, and love, connecting them.
Remember, Saturn is often given as the sign for matter, and Venus inverted as the sign for Antimony, or the Earth. Continue this meditation for several weeks, or once a week, for several months. Fifteen to twenty minutes is all that is needed.
The following method of meditation is based upon the fundamental associations known to every student of kabbalah. It can be performed by experienced or novice students alike, although novices should spend more time on the fundamentals to insure success later on, without having to go back an repeat the basics.
This series of exercises relates to the stages and Elements of Creation and the nature of the Primordial or archetypal expressions of consciousness. Those who have experience working with Hebrew and/or the Elements as outlined in basic magical practices will be able to move more quickly through this exercise. Those who have little or no experience in magic will find it a suitable and powerful introduction to these concepts on a very personal level.
The Hebrew doctrine of Creation sets forth the idea that the Primordial Man, or Adam was composed of the four lettered name of God stacked in vertical form to appear as sort of stick figure being. In addition, all of creation could be found to have it origin in this sacred name, and it pronunciation was closely guarded, so much so, that it is now lost. The discovery of its proper intonation is said to bring power over everything, so much so, that there are schools of kabbalah that only work with the various manipulations of this Name as their form of meditation.
For us, the Tetragrammaton will be used as a visual and mnemonic guide for our meditations and exercises designed to release the Secret Fire in Creation.
The standard Elemental applications will be applied: Yod (Head, endocrine system) is associated with Fire; Heh (shoulders/chest, and cardiopulmonary system) with Air; Vau (Spine/Nervous system, including sense organs) with Water; and the Final Heh with the dot (the hips, legs and feet, and skeletal system) with Earth.
The dot in the final Heh symbolizes the secret, hidden point of light, life, and love in all of creation, and hidden in matter. It is this secret force that when liberated brings us to the heights of divine bliss and consciousness in the original Fire of Yod.
As with all exercises, begin by drawing energy, in some fashion, down from Kether to the Earth. This can be through the Kabbalistic Cross, the Middle Pillar, or the Psychic Pump as previously described. Once a calm center is established, and a sacred space to contain the energy, either through the Pentagram Ritual, or imagining a vast and empty dome sphere around you (about six to nine feet in diameter), you may proceed.
Imagine the Primordial Man in front of you, vast and towering. Merge with the image, growing in size as you do. See the flaming Yod as your head, and imagine that it, or a ray from it, projects itself downward through the Airy world. Forming the first Heh, and continues into the Watery world, gaining density and weight, forming the Vau, and finally, into the world of solid matter, forming it, along with the Final Heh. There, the flame grows small, flickering brightly, but only as a small spark, compared to its vast and brilliant place of origin, and to the dark, cold, solid world of matter in which if now appears trapped.
Identify with the solid earth. Feel your feet rooted to it. Imagine that they, your legs, knees, and hips, are all heavy, solid, and firm, immovable and dense. Feel and imagine the great strength and stability that this offers you and appreciate it, as it is the foundation of your being. Continue with this imagery, and sense a point of dense, brilliant, heat and light in the center of this dark, solid matter. See it grow brighter and stronger, as though it were the center of the Earth itself. Continue with this heat and light, and let a strand of it move up from the center of the earth, through the layers of solid matter and rock to your feet, forming a sphere of great heat and light.
After several days, pull the energy up to your knees. After several more days, pull it up to your hips. After about a month of practice, pull it up and focus it at the base of your spine.
Extend the solid earth imagery to include your skeletal structure as well. Breath the fire up from the center of the earth, feel it focus around your spine, and move up to the top of your head. Imagine that your head is an empty sphere, waiting to receive the energy from below. Feel the energy course throughout your body, focusing on the bones. Breath it into them, cleansing them of any weakness or disease. See the marrow inside grow, and fill them with its bright red power. Extend it across the skull, jaw, and teeth. As before, when you are done with the meditation, absorb as much energy as you can, and send the rest to the center of the earth, closing off the contact.
After a month or two of this exercise, move on to the Vau. See the energy move through your feet, to the spine, and move up and through its narrow center column to the brain. Imagine that as it enters the spinal column, with each breath, the fluid contained therein, course up and across your brain, nurturing the tissue, and descending back down. Imagine your senses becoming stronger and more acute. Visualize the vast fiery energy coming form the center of the earth as increasing your psychic sensitivity and psychic centers. This can be imagined simply as the nervous system becoming bright and healthy.
Then, move on to the next, or First Heh. Here sense the energy as having moved up your feet, into the spine, and when it reaches the upper body and back of the head, it also fills the lungs with greater power and expansion. Feel yourself lifted up and expanded, as though your vision was made clearer, and sense of purpose, and destiny more definite. Imagine the lungs being charged with bright, warm healing energy, vitalizing the breath and blood.
After a few days, imagine the vital power moving from the middle of the shoulders, down the arms, and to the hands.
During this period experiment with projecting, circulating, and receiving energy through your hands. In general, the right hand should project positive, expansive, electrical energy; and the left should project magnetic, passive, and receptive energy. By holding the hands together, in the classic prayer position, in front of the chest with the back of your thumbs just touching the sternum, the heart center can be energized. In addition, the energy circulated creates a psychic ‘belt’ or ‘dome’ around the upper portions of the head and shoulders. Practice pulling energy down from the sun, moon, planets, and Cosmic through the left hand and into the earth or a talisman with the right.
Use the classic Sign of the Philosophus, or hands raised above the head with thumb and forefingers touching to form a triangle, to pull energy down into both palms and out through your feet. Try storing it in your solar plexus (you may want to use the Sign of Practicus for this) and projecting it as previously described.
Then, move to the Yod. Here after the energy has moved up to the brain, see the head grow bright and luminous. Feel it absorb the fire from below and rejoicing its return. Sense the center of your head growing powerful, warm, and bright. Focus on this single point of brightness, and then send it back down to the earth, while reaching out to the universe with it. Feel yourself lost in s fiery world of primordial power, wisdom, and love. Feel as though you are of vast stature, towering immensely through out the solar system. Feel as though the planets themselves are your psychic centers, and the sun is your heart, the Earth your footstool and the original point of creation your crown. When you are done, shrink yourself back, and shut down the meditation.
This energy once experienced has tremendous healing potential. By freeing our negative and destructive thoughts into the center of the earth for purification and renewal, we open ourselves to a more energy and expanded consciousness through the removal of psychological blocks. Through drawing up the fiery healing energy of the earth, and packing it slowly, smoothly, and methodically deep into our cells, form the bones and its marrow upward and outward, we can increase our psychic sensitivity to telluric currents, weather patterns, and magnetic conditions. In addition, we add strength, energy, and vitality to our physical bodies.
The Flashing Sword and the Rising Serpent
Yesod, Hod, and Netzach in the Secret Fire
This section examines the relationship between the sepheroth of the Tree of Life to the Secret Fire, and the impact of two spheres in particular that govern the nervous system, early psychic awakening, and sexual power.
The rising of psychic power from Malkooth, effects not only the feet and perineum, but also triggers a response in the adrenals atop the kidneys. This is often accompanied by a surge of energy, as these glands are the seat of out ‘fight or flight’ response. They are also secondary sexual organs, and as the energy drops down, to enter into the base of the spine (also a Malkooth center) before rising up the spinal cord and erergyzing the entire body, it stimulates those nerves and psychic clusters associated with Yesod and Netzach. It is from this stimulation that images, fantasies, sexual potency and aggressiveness, and psychic awareness, sometimes bordering on pszophrenia and psychosis, are experienced. Intense heat and a sense of purging may also be experienced as a result.
When the energy reaches the area of Hod, or Mercury, usually prior to Netzach, but not always, it is said to be following the Path of the Serpent. This Path is illustrated by a Serpent climbing the Tree of Life, reversing the direction of the descent of the Lightning Flash. Here, the Secret Fire awakens the mind to magical possibilities and structures, but without power. It may energize the brain and speedup patterns of thought, insight, and association, but often this may be vented through excessive talking and verbalization, or routing it through the throat center.
If the energy is not spent, but directed in its upward Path of Return, or ascent, then the very real problem of having to direct the will and consciousness in a singular fashion toward creating a pathway for the energy to flow is encountered. These pathways are the mental and astral constructs, or symbols, used in magical, religious, and esoteric rites.
The principle pathway, or map used to direct the Secret Fire is the caduceus of Mercury. Here, the twin serpents intertwine themselves around the central pillar, and themselves form two side or supporting pillars, leading to a winged apex, or crown, shaped like a pine cone, or the pineal gland.
When it reaches this point, then Crown, it bestows illumination, Cosmic Consciousness, and can be directed further towards greater spiritual activity, or toward material or psychic manifestation. This energy, or light, is like the rays of the sun (Tiphareth) being split into the many rays of the spectrum (Netzach) by the use of optical filters (Hod).
In Hod we not only create, but also clean any existing mental filter, so that the energy rising back towards its source may be properly identified and experienced for what it is, prior to its being harmonized into a single ray of light by Netzach. Even after harmonization however, the energy may not have to be returned to the Tiphareth. If left to its own devises, it probably will, as that is its natural inclination. The sudden influx of power and energy may create a strengthening of the recently vivified astral worlds, of which Netzach is the symbolic apex.
The Death card which rules the Path between Netzach and Tiphareth signifies the task of the initiate at this stage of the journey, and of the sacrifice that lies ahead. Only by loosing their individuality, or through ‘death’, can the separate forces under the direction of Netzach combine to lead the initiate toward adepthood. The reverse of this is also true in one sense, in that by leaving the collective behind, the individual is born, the true individual of Tiphareth. This suggests, that genuine initiation can only take place when we are no longer dependent upon the collective power of an egregore for our sense of protection, purpose, and illumination. The watery astral womb of Yetzirah must be left, for either the dry air of Malkooth’s material life, or Tiphareth’s spiritual renewal.
Along with the intertwined serpents of the caduceus, we find implied in the symbolism the chakras, or psychic centers, upon which the Secret Fire acts in its journey. These centers express modes of consciousness, loci of physical and psychic power, and are related in various ways to the nervous and endocrine systems as we have seen.
In Western esotericism, several methods of expressing these psychic centers exist. There is the use of the planetary names, or mundane chakras as they are called, for the sepheroth. Here, the planets follow the descent of mezla, or Divine Energy, down the Tree of Life and are placed at corresponding locations on the human body. Kether, Hockman, and Binah are in the head; Chesed, Geburah, and Tiphareth are in the upper chest and shoulders; Netzach, Hod, and Yesod in the hips and sexual organs; with Malkooth located at the feet. This works well as a mnemonic devise and for the exercise known as the Flashing Sword and Rising Serpent, but is not very useful when it comes to attributing planetary powers to specific organs, as in alchemy.
Another set of attributes is to simply take the Middle Pillar and apply either its Elemental correspondences as given by Regardie The True Art of Healing, or the more well known planetary correspondences as he gives in his book The Middle Pillar. Along the same lines, it is not uncommon to apply the ascending set of Hindu tattwas, or Elemental signs in an ascending manner at each of the cross-bars and spheres on the central column of the Tree of Life.
While none of the above sets of designating centers of psychic force is perfect, each works in its own particular area, and as such, it might be better to simply accept the symbols given for each exercise without trying to create ‘a grand synthesis’ that will sound good, but be cumbersome or useless for practical purposes.
Looking at the ascent of energy from a more Western viewpoint, it is possible to view the psychic centers not as singular and specific organs, but in many instances as clusters of organs working in concert. Students of Eastern esoteric practices will recognize that the New Age system of seven chakras neatly arranged with an ascending chromatic scale is not easily found in yoga or tantra.
Instead, what is found, is just as much contradiction and confusion as in modern synthetic Western esoteric systems. Whether one uses a system of five, six, or seven psychic centers depends on which system is being practiced. The addition or subtraction of a particular center matters only in relations to the details of that particular practice and its aims. Thus, when viewing the psychic cneters as objective realities, we enter into a realm fraught with danger. Instead, we need to look at the centers in terms of function and relationship to each other. If in an exercise we notice that a centers activities are not limited to the feet, chest, sexual organs, or head, then we have entered into a deeper understanding of that locus of energy. If we find that other organs are being stimulated as well, then we will find that we have begun moving from a strictly symbolic and mental relationship to the psychic centers to a personal and experiential one. This transition to personal experience is what development is all about, and not simply neat and comfortable packages of occult lore and information as is given in endless tables of correspondences.
In one recent Golden Dawn publication a set of correspondences was given for four of the major psychic centers using kerubic attributions. The root center was attributed to the Calf of Revelations; the sexual center to the Angel; the Solar Plexus to the Lion; and the Eagle to the heart. No Correspondences were given for the remaining centers. Using this as a basis for discussion and experimentation, I would instead suggest the following listing as a more effective alternative:
1st Bull or Saturn or Moon with Fire in the Heart
2nd Eagle or Jupiter or Mercury Water in the liver
3rd Lion or Mars or Venus Earth in the lungs
4th Angel or Venus or Sun Air in the bladder
5th Spirit or Mercury or Mars
6th Luna or Moon or Jupiter
7thSol or Sun orSaturn
This suggests that the order of the planets in the spheres isvery relative to ones state of consciousness, and that the correspondences atthe time of our descent into material consciousness may be different from theorder during our re-ascent into Eternity.
If we consider what the alchemists say about Saturn, that it isthe beginning and end of the Work, then this re-arrangement of the centers maybe true.
In an article entitled, “FromThe Restored NewTestament”, the basic idea of fourcenters of the genitals, navel, heart, and head is used along with titles takenfromThe Book of Revelationsof St. John.
Genitals 1stand 2ndcenters The FalseSeer
Navel 3rdcenter The Red Dragon
Heart 4thcenter The Beast
Head 5th, 6th, and 7thcenters The Cross, The Lamb, The Spiritually Wise, and Illumination TheConqueror
In an accompanying chart, the order of the planets is givenfrom Saturn at the base, to Luna at the Crown, in straight kabbalistic fashion,with a slightly different color scale than usual: Yellow and sliver-white(Saturn), pale blue (Jupiter), red (Mars), green (Sun), dark blue/indigo(Venus), orange-yellow (Mercury), violet, silvery opalescent (Moon). Each centeris also associated with a zodiacal sign, a seal on the great scroll, and one ofthe Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The remaining five signs of the zodiac areattributed to the Elements and Spirit.
The problem presented by theBook of Revelations, isthat if it represents a pattern ofprogressive interior initiationlinked to the ultimate experience of the Secret Fire, it is written in a highlysymbolic format. Many of the keys to these symbols may be very local and periodspecific in origin, requiring extensive research into 1stcentury eraGnostic, Christian, Merkavah, and Greco-Roman initiatic practices.
This is not to imply that this is an impossible nut to crack,only that it is one wherein we must weigh the reward against the effort. Toassist those who answer this in the affirmative, the above keys have been given.For this manuscript however, it raises more questions than horns on “The Beasts”head, to which the answers are not immediately forthcoming. The answers may bein some of the older and less accessible schools of Christian kabbalah found inEastern Orthodoxy, more so than in those Christian kabbalists of Rome, as theyare more focuses on the Gospel of John, and have not completely rooted out theirmystical wing, or use of symbols for Illumination.
After preparing your oratory, or place of working, imagine thatyour spine is the central pillar of the Caduceus. Establish it well, with around bottom, wings at level of the throat, solar disk, and a pine cone orbrilliant knob at the top. Visualize it in white or reddish-gold, with the leftserpent in blue or black; and the right serpent in red. Their tails should meetor cross-over at the base of your spine and continue to overlap five more timeswith their heads facing toward each other, tongues extended, at the level of thethroat accompanied by an extended pair of wings. The image should be mounted bya solar disk at the level of the head, surmounted by a pine cone.
After a period of several weeks with the above imagery,additional symbols can be added. In the center of each circle formed should beimagined in progressive order, the kerubic animals listed above. At the level ofthe throat should be akasha, or Spirit; and the Lunar qualities should dominatethe back of the head, with Solar dominating the front. Both universal aspectsare imagined as unified at the top, and entering andex.