Calling All Quarters: Earth

Part 1 of a 4 part discussion on the Elements of the Classical World

(above, the alchemical symbol for earth)
In alchemy, earth was believed to be primarily cold, and secondarily dry, (as per Aristotle). Beyond those classical attributes, the chemical substance salt, was associated with earth and its alchemical symbol was a downward-pointing triangle, bisected by a horizontal line. It is sometimes represented by its Hindu tattva (a yellow square)

An academic and meditative exploration of 3 Atu or Major Arcana of the Tarot: The Devil, The Hierophant, and The Hermit, as they are associated with the astrological Earth signs of Capricorn, Taurus, & Virgo, respectively.

Diverse imagery in the cards The Devil, The Hierophant, and The Hermit (as well as the qabbalistic and astrological attributes) paint one large mosaic of three phases of this symbol called “Earth”. By placing this constraint on my exploration, I seek to contemplate three distinctly different Tarot images as three interpretations of one dynamic symbol: The Element of Earth. While each card of the Tarot can be fruitfully studied individually, here I leave a card-by-card analysis to other authors. Instead, I attempt to convey here an exploration of the symbol of Earth by examining three Tarot cards as three interpretations/expressions of the symbol of Earth. My collection of thoughts is far from exhaustive, however, perhaps personal contemplation of these three cards will be a useful approach for individuals traveling roads of personal struggles, transformations, and celebrations. Each tarot card, while rich and deeply symbolic while standing alone, might prove even more useful when its interconnections with other cards are explored. My attempt at looking at these three particular cards should not deter an adventurer of the Tarot from choosing several more to examine as a group. What follows is more similar to a Works Cited, rather than an essay. My intent here is to gather ideas that might be explored in the form of discussion, or used as a resource to any individuals who want to spend solitary moments reflecting in a similar method.

The Zodiac: Mutable, Fixed, and Cardinal
Ken Ward’s Astrology Pages, available at:

The word "mutable" means "subject to change". The mutable signs are the third, sixth, ninth and twelfth (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces). The keyword for these is "adaptability".

the fixed signs are the second, fifth, eighth and eleventh (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius). They are characterised by the keyword "stability" or firm and dependable. The fixed signs are concerned with maintaining something, changing things so they are the same as before, or stabilising things. Fixed and changed appear to be contradictory. Imagine a house. Every day it gets untidy and dirty. In order to keep it in its "normal" state, it must be changed - cleaned, tidied, etc - so it remains the same. A body needs to be regularly fed and watered if it is to maintain its state of being alive. There appears to be no change because there is a lot of change directed to maintain a state, such as a clean house and a living body. Another example is a field. If the field is not maintained (lots of change, like ploughing, setting seed, weeding, etc) then the field will disappear as Nature reclaims it. What is fixed is the clean house, the living body and the field. What is changed is all the things that keep, for example a field, a field and not a wilderness.

The word "cardinal" comes from the French "cardo" meaning a hinge, that on which something turns. It is the most important part. The cardinal directions are the north, south, east and west. They are the times when the seasons change. Aries for Spring; Cancer for Summer; Libra for Autumn; and Capricorn for Winter. They therefore are times for a new beginning. In Astrology, the cardinal signs are the first, fourth, seventh and tenth (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). These signs are characterised by enterprise, or starting things. Sometimes Aries and Libra are called equinox signs, and Cancer and Capricorn are called solstice signs. Equinoxes are times of perfect balance between day and night (day and night are 12 hours long). The solstice times are the times of the longest day (Cancer) and the longest night (Capricorn). Aries and Libra are times of balance, but also times of abrupt change. Cancer and Capricorn are times of extremes.

(from Ken Ward’s Astrology Pages, available at:

from Ken Ward’s Astrology Pages, available online at:

Abundance & the Grave: Agriculture & Buried Offerings
The mutable Earth sign of astrology, Virgo, is attributed to the Major Trump card of the Tarot, The Hermit. In many visual depictions, the landscape of the card is entirely, if not mostly, absent. In the image of the hermit, the viewer is left to assume that an overwhelming darkness or fog surrounds the figure of the Hermit. The visual emphasis on the lamp can reinforce meditations on how precious that small light can be in an unclear landscape. Using sympathy, the viewer becomes that figure of the Hermit. This symbol of light, dark, landscape and lone traveler can be explored countless different ways, and give rise to many personal thoughts and dilemmas. One way to draw more attention to this symbol, and its bounty of potential insights, is to focus on the symbol of Virgo. In natal astrology, having the sun sign of Virgo signifies a propensity to certain traits, as stated in Virgo the Maiden: Personality Traits online at:
The sign has a deep connection with the produce of the earth and taken as the herald of the harvest Virgo expresses the principle of gathering in and organising the fruits of labour. From the zodiac's origin as a device to record seasonal activity, the Virgo month is symbolically attached to the activities that centre around taking stock of resources and planning for the season ahead based upon the knowledge of what is available and the expectation that there is 'no or little more to come'. Consequently, although the sign abounds in expressed creativity, its essence is to put to good use what is currently accessible rather than the expectation of increase... Virgo is a conservative energy and conservatism is a word that can be applied to every level of a Virgo's self-expression. The concern with methodical categorisation is merely a manifest aspect of this, acutely observed by traditional authors who listed objects and places of storage as one of the sign's mayor (sic) themes of signification.

How one imagines the landscape that surrounds the Hermit might be one way to use this Tarot card as both a personal meditation, as well as how to tell a story with this card when “reading Tarot cards” for a companion. Virgo’s mutable aspect might be witnessed in how the Hermit’s landscape is subject to flux in the mind and opinion of the viewer. Not only are one’s fears subject to change, but also one’s hopes and goals. In this way the theme of agriculture can be seen in the Hermit card as what is grown sometimes requires internment or burial. In Greek there is a rich and interesting word describing the earth: chthonic (from Greek χθόνιος — chthonios, “in, under, or beneath the earth”, from χθών — chthōn “earth”). Translated as meaning earthy or subterranean, chthonic pertains to deities or spirits of the Signs Element Keywords underworld, especially in relation to Greek Fire Forcefully Aries Leo Sagittarius religion. Greek khthon is one of several words for Earth "earth"; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land (as Practically Taurus Virgo Capricorn Gaia or Ge does) or the land as territory (as khora (χώρα) does). It evokes at once abundance and Air Thoughtfully Gemini Libra Aquarius the grave. Additionally the words khthonie and khthonios had a more technical meaning in Greek, Water Emotionally Cancer Scorpio Pisces referring primarily to the manner of offering

sacrifices to a deity. Many chthonic cults practiced ritual sacrifice of goods, either vegetable or animal, which were entirely given up to the deity, without a portion of the goods being used or eaten by the people. Chthonic sacrifice functioned as one mode of celebration and worship by humans, toward the divine. Thus a celebration/sacrifice is called chthonic, not the deity. Cults of some Greek Olympian deities, such as Hermes and Zeus, performed chthonic sacrifices in certain locations. Also, the deified heroes Heracles and Asclepius were worshipped at times as gods, and at other times as chthonic heroes, depending on the site and the time of origin of the myth. Chthonic refers primarily to the manner of celebrating the deity, in other words, to the symbolic perceiving and expressing the divine. Chthonic sacrifice involved an animal being placed in a bothros ("pit") or megaron ("sunken chamber"). In some Greek chthonic cults, the animal was sacrificed on a raised bomos ("altar"). Offerings usually were burned whole or buried rather than being cooked and shared among the worshippers. Some chthonic cults were not Greek, and some performed sacrifices in effigy or burnt vegetable offerings instead of animal.
"The sacrifice for gods of the dead and for heroes was called enagisma, in contradistinction to thysia, which was the portion especially of the celestial deities. It was offered on altars of a peculiar shape: they were lower than the ordinary altar bomos, and their name was ischara, 'hearth'. Through them the blood of the victims, and also libations, were to flow into the sacrificial trench. Therefore they were funnel-shaped and open at the bottom. For this kind of sacrifice did not lead up to a joyous feast in which the gods and men took part. The victim was held over the trench with its head down, not, as for the celestial gods, with its neck bent back and the head uplifted; and it was burned entirely." (Source The Heroes of the Greeks, C. Kerenyi pub. Thames & Hudson 1978).

In analytical psychology, the term chthonic was often used to describe the spirit of nature within, the unconscious earthly impulses of the Self, one's material depths, but not necessarily with negative connotations (such as the psychoanalytic concept of “the shadow”). Similar to how symbols of agriculture only become fruitful after a period of conservation and careful internment, Jungian psychoanalysis suggests containment is followed by liberation. Jung describes a woman who dreamt of water pigs, a species unknown to the patient. This is an animal who can exist in two elements, and thus a symbol of transcendence as it combines an image of the chthonic. Similarly symbols of rodents, lizards, fish, wild duck, swan, or the snake can also be seen as mediators between two elements, or communication and combination of the underworld and unconscious, with the world above. (C .G. Jung, Man & His Symbols, p. 153) “A still more important and widespread symbol of chthonic transcendence is the motif of the two entwined serpents…and we also find them in Greece as the entwined serpents on the end of the staff belonging in to the god Hermes. An early Grecian herm is a stone pillar with a bust of the god above. On one side are the entwined serpents and on the other an erect phallus. As the serpents are represented in the act of sexual union and the erect phallus is unequivocally sexual, we can draw certain conclusions about the function of the herm as a symbol of fertility. “But we are mistaken if we think this only refers to biological fertility. Hermes is Trickster in a different role as a messenger, a god of the cross-roads, and finally the leader of souls to and from the underworld. His phallus therefore penetrates from the known into the unknown world, seeking a spiritual message of deliverance and healing. “Originally in Egypt Hermes was known as the ibis-headed god Thoth, and therefore was conceived as the bird form of the transcendent principle. Again, in the Olympian period of Greek mythology, Hermes recovered attributes of the bird life to add to his chthonic nature as serpent. His staff acquired wings above the serpents, becoming the caduceus or winged staff of Mercury, and the god himself became the “flying man” with his winged hat and sandals. Here we see his full power of transcendence, whereby the lower transcendence from underworld snake-consciousness, passing through the medium of earthly reality, finally attains transcendence to superhuman or transpersonal reality in its winged flight. “…such a composite symbol is found in other representations as the winged horse or winged

dragon or other creatures that abond in the artistic expression of alchemy - C .G. Jung, Man & His Symbols, p. 155 Ancient symbols of “containment” gave men a feeling of security, and now appear in “modern man’s search for economic security and social welfare.” Jung points to the problem of conflict in our ideas between polarities of adventure vs. discipline, freedom vs. security. Uniting oppositions is Jung’s answer by achieiving initiation or equilibrium so that an individual finds that balance and meeting point of both containment and liberation. Initiation, he further explains, is not automatic, as rites rely upon successfully implementing themselves as phases that the individual passes through with understanding during the phases, and a new way of living achieved after passing through the rite. The process of a rite beginning in with submission, followed by a period of containment, then further followed by liberation can be an aid to the individual seeking mastery of the self as it presents opportunities to reconcile conflicting elements in his/her personality and strike that necessary balance. (C .G. Jung, Man & his Symbols, p. 156) What is buried under the surface may be frightening at time, or just plain mysterious while dormant and hidden, drawing attention to conflicting elements in our personality, habit, and tendencies and present us with an opportunity to work on reconciling these elements. What to change might be a ruthless process with the individual standing in as a metaphorical tyrant, or captain at the helm. Perhaps the symbol of a chthonic sacrifice can be used to describe this self-transformation. In, Book 4 (available online at: Aleister Crowley writes about the ceremonial magician’s tool of the “Pantacle” (pentacle) as being, “[man’s] body, the temple of the Holy Ghost.” Using the tools of ceremonial magick as metaphorical symbols, Crowley expresses a similar instruction as Jung, that the individual must work on oneself. The pantacle/pentacle of the ceremonial magician serves not only as a symbol of earth, but a symbol of the earthly manifestation of the divine: You! This is far from self-worship, and importantly, this is not a call to asceticism or the distancing of oneself from life’s experiences, but instead is a “call to arms” of sorts: the conscious and steadfast individual must explore and improve oneself (Id. “…we work upon the Pantacle.”). Recognizing one’s tendencies, even if such tendencies be buried or hidden, is one step of the process of improving the individual. For Crowley, this is both a divine and transformative task (Id. “…That which is merely a piece of common bread shall be the body of God!”). By listing the tools of ceremonial magick, Crowley advises using reason, symbolized by the Dagger or Sword, to improve the myriad impressions, reactions, and opinions that occur within the individual, “One might say that the
Pantacle is the bread of life, and the Sword the knife which cuts it up. One must have ideas, but one must criticize them.”

He describes the Pantacle as both “bread” but also as a storage granary of sorts, wherein all raw sense impression and rational thought enters and crowds about. The prudent person (“Magician”) sorts out, discards, and finally weaves a final work of art.
“History and geography he can pick up as he wants them; and what should interest him most in any subject is its links with some other subject, so that his Pantacle may not lack what painters call "composition." …there is no element therein which may not be occasionally helpful. And so -- beware! Select! Select! Select! This Pantacle is an infinite storehouse; things will always be there when we want them. We may see to it occasionally that they are dusted and the moth kept out, but we shall usually be too busy to do much more. Remember that in travelling from the earth to the stars, one dare not be encumbered with too much heavy luggage. Nothing that is not a necessary part of the machine should enter into its composition. Now though this Pantacle is composed only of shams, some shams somehow seem to be more false than others. The whole Universe is an illusion, but it is an illusion difficult to get rid of. It is true compared with most things. But ninety-nine out of every hundred impressions are false even in relation to the things on their own plane. Such distinctions must be graven deeply upon the surface of the Pantacle by the Holy Dagger … In order to do it, it is most necessary to understand our tendencies, and to will the development of one, the destruction of another.

Crowley’s use of the concept of a “storehouse” emphasizes allowing ourselves to perceive the world, however, it also ardently advocates a level of awareness we should exert upon our own process of perception. Here the world is not just around us, it characterized as both “an illusion” as well as a set of “luggage”. Our reactions, to the mere data (or “shams”) of the world are to be witnessed as the force that decides what shapes are fraven upon our pentacle. As we travel “from the earth to the stars” all our habits, reactions, and opinions are not necessarily

part of our final “machine” which is our final result.
In this preliminary task of collecting materials, the idea of the Ego is not of such great moment; all impressions are phases of the non-ego, and the Ego serves merely as a receptacle. In fact, to the well regulated mind, there is no question but that the impressions are real, and that the mind, if not a "tabula rasa," is only not so because of the "tendencies" or "innate ideas" which prevent some ideas from being received as readily as others. These "tendencies" must be combated: distasteful facts should be insisted upon until the Ego is perfectly indifferent to the nature of its food. …This great task of separating the self from the impressions or "vrittis" is one of the may meanings of the aphorism "solve," corresponding to the "coagula" implied in Samadhi, and this Pantacle therefore represents all that we are, the resultant of all that we had a tendency to be.

The term solve (the first part of the alchemist’s motto of Solve et Coagula) emphasizes that elements might need to be separated, broken down, and dissolved then one sorts through the data collected in the whirlpool of life. “Vrttis” (literally “whirlpool” in Sanskri) points to the yoga teaching of controlling the fluctuations of consciousness, or “waves” of mental activities). However, this austerity does not include avoiding “distasteful” observations as we move about and receive “impressions” as “phases of the non-ego”. In this way one welcomes the world into oneself as a fearless “receptacle”. Crowley remains adamant in his appeal that we be strong, and dare to experience whatever life throws at us. He reminds us, “…do not forget that ‘everything that lives is holy.’ All phenomena are sacraments. Every fact, and even every falsehood, must enter into the Pantacle; it is the great storehouse from which the Magician draws. …There is a sort of sense in which every impression that is made upon our minds is the resultant of all the forces of the past; no incident is so trifling that it has not in some way shaped one's disposition. But there is none of this crude retribution about it.”

Virgo: the Maiden by Deborah Houlding
Deborah Houlding, “Virgo: the Maiden”, Star Lore of the Constellations, available online at:

Virgo is the only female figure in the zodiac and as such has been associated with most of the main female deities: Ishtar, Innana, Aphrodite, Ceres, Demeter, Astraea, Erigone, Isis; and in Christian symbolism, the Virgin Mary. The zodiac figure is generally depicted as a winged maiden holding a palm branch in her left hand and an ear of corn in her right. The palm branch is an ancient symbol of rejoicing, triumph and glorification. The ancient Egyptians used a branch of Palm stripped of its leaves to mark the passage of years and the hieroglyphic of the Palm thus became a symbol for words such as 'year', 'time' or 'season'. Palm branches were waved in jubilation at important seasonal ceremonies to celebrate the rule of a king or annual festivals. The ear of corn held in the right hand clearly links the constellation to the season of agricultural harvest or expectation. The roots of the symbolism of Virgo as the earth goddess holding a spike of corn can be traced to the ancient Mesopotamian period. Rupert Gleadow argues that although the Sun's passage through the sign marks the period of harvest, the Mesopotamians would have placed most significance upon the time that the full Moon illuminated its stars during the Sun's transit of Pisces. (Rupert Gleadow, Origin of the Zodiac, 1968, Published by Jonathan Cape Ltd, p.169 & 213. ) For the Mesopotamians this occurred in early spring, just as the first signs of corn appeared above the ground. Thus the Babylonian reference for the constellation was Ab Sin, 'the Furrow', depicting the virgin land about to bear its fruit. By the classical era the Sun's transit through the zodiac sign had taken precedence and Virgo became more directly perceived as a Maiden of fruition through the Harvest. Even so, much of the ancient mythology attached to the sign combines allegory concerned with harvesting the fruits of the earth, or the period of germination. Some have argued that the constellation depicts 'the woman and her seed', with the palm branch being seen as an ancient symbol for the seed. (See for example Common Roots Of Ancient Mythology: Virgo = Woman And Her Seed ) The original Virgo is believed to be the early grain goddess Nidoba who, prior to Nabu (the Babylonian god of wisdom, justice and 'the scribe'), was an important goddess of writing. As Nabu rose to prominence he absorbed the worship of Nidoba and became identified with the planet Mercury, which reinforced the scholarly associations of the constellation through that planet's rulership and exaltation in the sign. In Babylonian myth, the identification between Virgo and the grain goddess led the constellation figure to be personified as Ishtar, the consort of the corn god Tammuz. The essence of the myth is that Tammuz was overcome by the lord of death at autumn and carried to the Underworld. Ishtar, in grief, travelled to the Underworld, threatened to break down the gates and free the dead unless Tammuz was released. But she was taken prisoner and smitten with disease, and during the period of her absence all earthly fertility was denied. When the gods of Heaven heard the dreaded news and saw the devastation of the earth they sent an order that Ishtar and Tammuz must be released. Ishtar had been stripped naked in her ceremonial entrance through the gates of the underworld but it was ordered that she return with due ceremony; she was sprinkled with the creative Waters of Life and her garments and jewels were ceremoniously replaced so that she could re-emerge into the world of the living in her full strength and glory. The myth is a celebration of the ongoing cycle of the seasons and has been adapted into the tale of many subsequent female deities including Ceres - the Roman goddess of corn and harvest, often directly linked with Virgo by the Greeks - Proserpina, Persephone, Demeter and Aphrodite. Two other prominent figures associated with the constellation during the classical period are Erigone and Astraea. Astraea was the Roman goddess of Justice and the administration of law, depicted as holding the Scales of Libra in her hand. Sickened by the wars of men, she was the last of the celestial beings to leave the earth for the heavens and is often depicted with the wings that allowed her angelic ascension to the stars. Erigone was the name by which the first century astrologer Manilius referred to the constellation. As the sign of the harvest, Virgo held strong connections with the time that grapes were gathered for the production of wine and

Erigone represents an aspect of this association. She was the daughter of Icarius, who received the secret of wine making from the Wine God, Dionysius, and was murdered by peasants who believed they had been poisoned by his wine. Erigone was led to discover his body by their faithful dog and hanged herself in grief. The gods were moved to pity over the tragedy and transported the family to everlasting glory in the heavens : Icarius became Boötes. Erigone became Virgo, and the dog Maera, the constellation Canis Minor. Despite the fact that Astraea and Erigone were separate deities their identities often became confused even in the classical period, so although Manilius refers to the constellation by the name of Erigone, he describes traits that clearly originate from the myth of the goddess of justice: At her rising Erigone, who reigned with Justice over a bygone age and fled when it fell into sinful ways, bestows high eminence by bestowing supreme power; she will produce a man to direct the laws of the state and the sacred code; one who will tend with reverence the hallowed temples of the gods. (Manilius, Astronomica, 4.542-547 (Loeb p. 265))

Manilius's description of the traits of Virgo directly influences later accounts of the meanings of its stars. He clearly describes an emphasis that accords with our modern view of Virgo being the sign of purity, prudence, diplomacy, discerning mental vision, secretarial skills, analytical tendencies and a retiring disposition: The temperaments of those whose span of life she pronounces at their birth Erigone will direct to study, and she will train their minds in the learned arts. She will give not so much abundance of wealth as the impulse to investigate the causes and effects of things. On them she will confer a tongue which charms, the mastery of words, and that mental vision which can discern all things, however concealed they be by the mysterious workings of nature. From the Virgin will also come the stenographer: his letter represents a word, and by means of his symbols he can keep ahead of utterance and record in novel notation the long speech of the rapid speaker. But with the good there comes a flaw: bashfulness handicaps the early years of such persons, for the Maid, by holding back their great natural gifts, puts a bridle on their lips and restrains them by the curb of authority. And (small wonder in a Virgin) her offspring is not fruitful. (Manilius, Astronomica, 4.542-547 (Loeb p. 237-39)) Thus, through Manilius, we see the stars of Virgo defined as relevant to civil and ecclesiastical law, ingenuity, intellectual capacity, discerning judgement and discretion. Although this poorly connects with the imagery of the earthy grain goddess, such traits relate to the activities of harvest, which require the produce to be weighed and measured, calculated, categorised and labeled. Influences involving promotion through benefits associated with such matters are strongly evidenced within the meaning of particular stars, especially in the case of the main star, Spica, the 14th brightest star in the sky. Spica is a brilliant white binary star marking the Ear of corn in the maiden's left hand. Deviant titles include Spicum, Spigha, Stachys, stakhus (Greek: 'ear of corn'), Arista (Latin, 'ear of grain'), Aristae Puella (Latin: 'grain maiden') and Spica Virginis or 'Virgin's Spike'. In ancient Egypt the star was associated with the Nile goddess Isis and temples in the ruined city of Akhenaton appear to have been aligned to its rising and setting. As was generally the case in ancient astrology the principle star characterised the entire constellation, which was known to the Egyptians as the 'most dedicated wife'. An Egyptian Coptic title was Khoritos, 'Solitary', on account of Spica being such a notably brilliant star in an otherwise poorly lit area of the sky. This visible isolation has contributed to a reputation of being unfruitful or unfortunate for marriage, but otherwise Spica is considered a very fortunate star, particularly for those concerned with arts, sciences, law or religion. Ptolemy noted its influence as like that of Venus and, in a less degree, that of Mars but it is often described in a manner that suits a Mercury-Venus temperament and it is said to promote fortune in all matters related to 'Veneriall or Mercuriall men'. (Lilly, Christian Astrology, 1647, p.667. ) …Virgo is the largest of the zodiac constellations and second largest of all the constellations after Hydra. It is a difficult constellation to identify because most of its stars are faint and, being widely spread, makes a poor impact as a connected group. Only Spica and Porrima are brighter than 3rd magnitude. Spica is, however, relatively easy to find. It forms the southern tip of a triangle with Arcturus on the left and regulus on the right. First locate orange Arcturus - follow the curve of the Big Dipper's handle away from the bowl, Arcturus will be found at about twice the length of the handle. Continue the arc used to locate Arcturus and keep on that path. A mnemonic device for

remembering how to find Spica is "Arc to Arcturus, then speed on to Spica."


Orphic Hymn 10 to Phusis (Greek hymns, 3rd BCE to 2nd century CE) (translated by Taylor): available online at:

To Phusis (Nature), Fumigation from Aromatics.
Phusis, all-parent, ancient and divine, o much mechanic mother, art is thine; heavenly, abundant, venerable queen, in every part of thy dominions seen. Untamed, all taming, ever splendid light, all ruling, honoured, and supremely bright. Immortal, Protogeneia (First-Born), ever still the same, nocturnal, starry, shining, powerful dame. Thy feet’s still traces in a circling course, by thee are turned, with unremitting force. Pure ornament of all the powers divine, finite and infinite alike you shine; to all things common, and in all things known, yet incommunicable and alone. Without a father of thy wondrous frame, thyself the father whence thy essence came; mingling, all-flourishing, supremely wise, and bond connective of the earth and skies. Leader, life-bearing queen, all various named, and for commanding grace and beauty famed. Justice, supreme in might, whose general sway the waters of the restless deep obey. Ethereal, earthly, for the pious glad, sweet to the good, but bitter to the bad:

all-wise, all-bounteous, provident, divine, a rich increase of nutriment is thine; and to maturity whatever may spring, you to decay and dissolution bring. Father of all, great nurse, and mother kind, abundant, blessed, all-spermatic mind: mature, impetuous, from whose fertile seeds and plastic hand this changing scene proceeds. All-parent power, in vital impulse seen, eternal, moving, all-sagacious queen. By thee the world, whose parts in rapid flow, like swift descending streams, no respite know, on an eternal hinge, with steady course, is whirled with matchless, unremitting force. Throned on a circling car, thy mighty hand holds and directs the reins of wide command: various thy essence, honoured, and the best, of judgement too, the general end and test. Intrepid, fatal, all-subduing dame, life everlasting, fate (aisa), breathing flame. Immortal providence, the world is thine, and thou art all things, architect divine. O, blessed Goddess, hear they suppliants’ prayer, and make their future life thy constant care; give plenteous seasons and sufficient wealth, and crown our days with lasting peace and health.

Uriel - Angel associated with the North & Earth in Ceremonial Magick
‫" אוריאל‬El/God ֵ ִּ

is my light", Auriel/Oriel (God is my light)

Standard Hebrew Uriʾel, Tiberian Hebrew ʾÛrîʾēl) is one of the archangels of post-Exilic Rabbinic tradition, and also of certain Christian traditions. His name may have analogies with Uriah. Of the seven Archangels in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only two, Gabriel, and Michael, are mentioned by name in the Scriptures consistently recognised by both the post-Jamnia Jewish tradition and the books common to both the Catholic biblical canon and the smaller Protestant one. Raphael features prominently in the deuterocanonical book Tobit (initially accepted by both the Jewish and Christian canons, but removed from the Jewish canon in late antiquity and rejected by the Protestant reformers in the 17th century). The Book of Tobit is accepted as scriptural by the Catholic Church. Where a fourth archangel is added to the named three, to represent the four cardinal points, Uriel is generally the fourth.[1] Uriel is listed as the fourth angel in Christian Gnostics (under the name Phanuel), by Gregory the Great, and in the angelology of PseudoDionysius. However, the Book of Enoch clearly distinguishes the two Angels; Uriel means 'the Light of God' while Phanuel has a different meaning. ? (“the face of God” ?) Uriel is the third angel listed in the Testament of Solomon, the fourth being Sabrael. At the Council of Rome of 745, Pope St. Zachary, intending to clarify the Church's teaching on the subject of angels and curb a tendency toward angel worship, condemned obsession with angelic intervention and angelolatry, but reaffirmed the approval of the practice of the reverence of angels. This synod struck many angels' names from the list of those eligible for veneration in the Church of Rome, including Uriel. Only the reverence of the archangels mentioned in the recognized Catholic canon of scriptures, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, remained licit.

In the first half of the 11th century Bulgarian followers of the dualist heresy called Bogomilism who lived in the dukedom of Ahtum in present day Banat invoked Uriel in rituals. This is witnessed by Gerard Sagredo, Roman Catholic bishop of the area after 1028.

Book of Enoch The Book of Enoch, which presents itself as written by Enoch, mentions Uriel in many of the component books. In Chapter IX which is part of "The Book of the Watchers" (2nd century BCE) only four Angels are mentioned by name these are Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel. However the later Chapter XX lists the name and function of seven archangels these are "Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus", Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqâêl, Gabriel, and Remiel. The Book of the Watchers as a whole tells us that Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel were present before God to testify on behalf of Humankind. They wish to ask for divine intervention during the reign of the Fallen Gregori (Fallen Watchers). These fallen take human wives and produced half-angel, half-human offspring called the Nephilim. Uriel is responsible for contacting Noah about the upcoming Great Flood. Then said the Most High, the Holy and Great One spake, and sent Uriel to the son of Lamech, and said to him: "<Go to Noah> and tell him in my name 'Hide thyself!' and reveal to him the end that is approaching: that the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge is about to come upon the whole earth, and will destroy all that is on it." After judgment has been brought on the Nephilim and the fallen ones including the two main leaders Samyaza and Azazel, Uriel discusses their fates. "And Uriel said to me: 'Here shall stand the angels who have connected themselves with women, and their spirits assuming many different forms are defiling mankind and shall lead them astray into sacrificing to demons 'as gods', (here shall they stand,) till 'the day of' the great judgment in which they shall be judged till they are made an end of. And the women also of the angels who went astray shall become sirens.' And I, Enoch alone, saw the vision, the ends of all things; and no man shall see as I have seen." Uriel then acts as a guide for Enoch for the rest of the Book of Watchers. He fulfills this capacity in many of the other books that make up 1 Enoch.

“Returns Old Saturn’s Reign” (Redeunt Saturnia regna)
“XIII. Death” To Mega Therion (Aleister Crowley), The Book of Thoth (available online at:
He is that elemental nature of things which is not destroyed by the ordinary changes which occur in the operations of Nature. Furthermore, he is crowned with the crown of Osiris; he represents Osiris in the waters of Amennti. Yet more, he is the original secret male creative God: see Atu XV. “Redeunt Saturnia regna.” It was only the corruption of the Tradition, the confusion with Set, and the Cult of the Dying God, misunderstood, deformed and distorted by the Black Lodge, that turned him into a senile and fiendish symbol. With the sweep of his scythe he creates bubbles in which are beginning to take shape the new forms which he creates in his dance; and these forms dance also. The phrase “Redeunt Saturnia regna” is taken from the fourth Eclogue of Virgil, which contains a passage (lines 5-8) that reads:



Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis ætas;

Now comes the final era of the Sibyl's song;

Magnus ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo.

The great order of the ages is born afresh.

iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna,

And now justice returns, honored rules return (or, literally translated as: “returns old Saturn’s reign”)

iam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto.

now a new lineage is sent down from high heaven.

The Eclogues (literally “draft”/”selection”/”reckoning”) was one of three major works by the Latin poet Virgil in 37 B.C.E. It was written during a turbulent political climate in Rome, and features the theme of a new golden age heralded by the birth of a son of the sky god ("great increase of Jove”), which may have been used as political propaganda to support the reign of Octavius Augustus Caesar and was latter used by Christian authors to suggest a dawning “new age” of Christianity. (The Eclogues were also called the Bucolics because of it’s rustic elements imitating Theocritus’ Greek Bucolica which means “on the care of cattle”.) One piece of trivia: The Fourth Eclogue also is the source of the phrase Novus ordo seclorum, Latin for "New Order of the Ages", appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, first designed in 1782 and printed on the back of the United States one-dollar bill since 1935. (available online at:

Muses of Sicily, essay we now A somewhat loftier task! Not all men love Coppice or lowly tamarisk: sing we woods, Woods worthy of a Consul let them be. Now the last age by Cumae's Sibyl sung Has come and gone, and the majestic roll Of circling centuries begins anew: Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign, With a new breed of men sent down from heaven. Only do thou, at the boy's birth in whom The iron shall cease, the golden race arise, Befriend him, chaste Lucina; 'tis thine own Apollo reigns. And in thy consulate, This glorious age, O Pollio, shall begin, And the months enter on their mighty march. Under thy guidance, whatso tracks remain

Of our old wickedness, once done away, Shall free the earth from never-ceasing fear. He shall receive the life of gods, and see Heroes with gods commingling, and himself Be seen of them, and with his father's worth Reign o'er a world at peace. For thee, O boy, First shall the earth, untilled, pour freely forth Her childish gifts, the gadding ivy-spray With foxglove and Egyptian bean-flower mixed, And laughing-eyed acanthus. Of themselves, Untended, will the she-goats then bring home Their udders swollen with milk, while flocks afield Shall of the monstrous lion have no fear. Thy very cradle shall pour forth for thee Caressing flowers. The serpent too shall die, Die shall the treacherous poison-plant, and far And wide Assyrian spices spring. But soon As thou hast skill to read of heroes' fame, And of thy father's deeds, and inly learn What virtue is, the plain by slow degrees With waving corn-crops shall to golden grow, From the wild briar shall hang the blushing grape, And stubborn oaks sweat honey-dew. Nathless Yet shall there lurk within of ancient wrong Some traces, bidding tempt the deep with ships, Gird towns with walls, with furrows cleave the earth. Therewith a second Tiphys shall there be, Her hero-freight a second Argo bear; New wars too shall arise, and once again Some great Achilles to some Troy be sent. Then, when the mellowing years have made thee man, No more shall mariner sail, nor pine-tree bark

Ply traffic on the sea, but every land Shall all things bear alike: the glebe no more Shall feel the harrow's grip, nor vine the hook; The sturdy ploughman shall loose yoke from steer, Nor wool with varying colours learn to lie; But in the meadows shall the ram himself, Now with soft flush of purple, now with tint Of yellow saffron, teach his fleece to shine. While clothed in natural scarlet graze the lambs. "Such still, such ages weave ye, as ye run," Sang to their spindles the consenting Fates By Destiny's unalterable decree. Assume thy greatness, for the time draws nigh, Dear child of gods, great progeny of Jove! See how it totters- the world's orbed might, Earth, and wide ocean, and the vault profound, All, see, enraptured of the coming time! Ah! might such length of days to me be given, And breath suffice me to rehearse thy deeds, Nor Thracian Orpheus should out-sing me then, Nor Linus, though his mother this, and that His sire should aid- Orpheus Calliope, And Linus fair Apollo. Nay, though Pan, With Arcady for judge, my claim contest, With Arcady for judge great Pan himself Should own him foiled, and from the field retire. Begin to greet thy mother with a smile, O baby-boy! ten months of weariness For thee she bore: O baby-boy, begin! For him, on whom his parents have not smiled, Gods deem not worthy of their board or bed.

Capricorn: the Goatfish by Deborah Houlding
Deborah Houlding, “Capricorn: the Goatfish”, Star Lore of the Constellations, available online at: Classical mythology linked the constellation figure of Capricorn with Pan who during the war of the Titans jumped in terror into the Nile and changed his shape into that of a goat-fish. Thus the words 'panic' and 'pandemonium' originated. Greek myth also associated the symbolism to Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans), the god of wine, agriculture, and earthly fertility; or Liber 'the free one', an older Italian god of fertility and growth in nature. All of the classical associations exploit the symbolism of the goat's horn as a drinking vessel and cornucopia - an abundance of the gifts of nature as seen in the sustenance offered by the goat's milk. Capricornus is the Latin name for the constellation which refers only to a goat's horn, a potent symbol for fertility which gave rise to a reputation for hedonistic behaviour and the more negative tendencies associated with 'acting the goat'. In many respects these attributes present an extreme quality of Zeus who was nourished in infancy by the goat Amalthea. A deeper spiritual significance,

and a more Saturnian flavoured origin is revealed in the ancient depiction of this star group as a goat's forebody attached to the tail of a fish. The constellation has a widespread association with aquatic creatures in ancient times. Early Hindu astrologers depicted it as a goat's head upon the body of a hippopotamus and it was known by some Latin authors as Neptune's Offspring or The Rainbringing One. This is partly because the Sun's passage through this section of the sky coincided with the rainy season of the ancient year. The symbolic roots are also tied into the worship of Ea, one of the most important Babylonian gods who ruled over Waters, Wisdom and Magic. Ea's domain was the 'Primeval Deep', and he was known by the title 'Antelope of the Ocean'. Ea was the most stoical of the ancient gods and his mythological traits reveal him to be a constant friend to humanity. The Greeks preserved his character in their own myth of Oannes, an exceptionally wise creature, described by Berossus as half-fish and halfhuman, who was said to have emerged from the ocean on four occasions to bring culture and civilisation to mankind. Ea and Oannes are both described as articulate, patient, tolerant and serene. Their lack of emotional excitability are impressed upon the character traits associated with the star sign Capricorn. Despite its zodiacal importance, Capricorn is unremarkable as a constellation, possessing no stars brighter than 3rd magnitude. It is second only to Cancer for its lack of luminosity and, like Cancer, was regarded as a celestial portal between Heaven and Earth. Whereas Cancer was 'the Gate of Men', through which souls descended to Earth from Heaven, Capricorn was 'the Gate of the Gods', the portal of ascension through which souls of the departed ascended back to Heaven. This ties neatly with Hermetic Philosophy, which regards the sphere of the Moon, the planetary ruler of Cancer, as the final realm in which incarnating souls acquire shape and form in birth, and the sphere of Saturn, the planetary ruler of Capricorn, as the final realm in which ascending souls free themselves from earthly trappings upon death. It is assumed that this association developed whilst the Sun's ingress into Cancer marked its greatest elevation and Capricorn marked its nadir. Early philosophers looked upon water as the element from which all life emerged, hence symbolism of an aquatic or amphibious nature is prevalent in the constellations linked to these points. This Hermetic-Platonic philosophy has a direct relevance to Babylon and therefore strengthens the argument that Capricorn celebrates the mythology of one of their prominent gods. The name 'Babylon' is the Greek form of bab-ili, the Assyrian translation of the Akkadian ca-dimira, 'gate of the gods', by which name it was locally known. The Hebrew name Babel (bab 'gate' + el 'god') shows the connection more clearly. (See the word-origin webzine: ) As 'the Gate of the Gods' Capricorn was favoured for times of sacrifice, and in the zodiacs of Denderah and Esna, where it is depicted by a goat-fish, it is called Hu-penius, meaning 'the place of sacrifice'. Goats were a creature of choice for atoning sacrifice - Letviticus of the Old Testament describes a ceremony whereby one goat is offered in sacrifice, to be slaughtered on the north side of the altar, whilst a second becomes a sin offering, a scapegoat which after the ceremony is exposed to the wilderness as the bearer of man's sin. This scapegoat fell naturally into the symbolism of evil, some Biblical translations refering to it as Azazel, an outcast evil spirit residing in the wilderness. Azazel has subsequently been seen as a demonic goat god that has influenced pagan illustrations of the devil. But this is a very distorted vision of the symbolic properties of the goat. The goatfish however can be seen as a powerful dualistic emblem, uniting creatures that roam the mountains with those that swim the depths of the ocean, a symbol of the integration of spirit in matter which must one day be separated and held to account. Ptolemy noted the stars in the horns to be like Venus with a lesser influence of Mars; those in the mouth like Saturn with a lesser influence of Venus; those in the feet and belly like Mars and Mercury, and those in the tail like Saturn and Jupiter. ( Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, (1st cent. AD), trans. Robbins, published by Harvard Heinemann, I.9 (Loeb p.53) ) Manilius suggested that the stars in the first half of the sign are subject to Venus 'and that with a guilt involved', whilst 'a more virtuous old age is promised by the conjoined fish below'. In a general sense this is borne out in the meanings attributed to the stars, those in the first half of the constellation tending more towards issues of sacrifice and relationship problems, those in the latter suggesting attributes of trustworthiness, the potential for good judgement or acting in an advisory capacity to others. Manilius also saw Capricorn as the source of metal-workers' talents because Capricorn, as the sign of winter, related to the year's (and therefore the earth's) depths. He associated Capricorn with that which needs a 'renewal of flame' because its season brought back a renewal of the sun's light following the winter solstice : For whatever needs fire to function and demands a renewal of flame for its work must be counted as of your domain. To pry for hidden metals, to smelt out riches deposited in the veins of the earth, to fold sure-handed the malleable mass - these skills will come from you, as will aught which is fashioned of silver or gold. … You also give a fondness for clothes and wares which dispel the cold, since your lot falls for all time in winter's season, wherein you shorten the nights you have brought to their greatest length and give birth to a new year by enlarging the daylight hours. (Manilius, Astronomica, (c. 10 AD) trans. G.P. Goold, 1997, published by Harvard Heinemann, Loeb classical library, London. 4.243-259, (Loeb p.241-43) )

Manilus's outlook is clearly a continuation of more ancient veneration, which saw Capricorn as a sacred and powerful constellation, presenting a need to offer sacrifice and atonement because of its alignment with the solstice.

Elemental: The Four Elements
From Ancient Greek Science and Philosophy to Ancient Sites Poetry
copyright 1998 by Tracy Marks from:

According to the Empedocles, a Greek philosopher, scientist and healer who lived in Sicily in the fifth century B.C., all matter is comprised of four "roots" or elements of earth, air, fire and water. Fire and air are outwardly reaching elements, reaching up and out, whereas earth and water turn inward and downward. In his Tetrasomia, or Doctrine of the Four Elements, Empedocles described these elements not only as physical manifestations or material substances, but also as spiritual essences. He associated these elements with four Greek gods and goddesses - air with Zeus, earth with Hera, fire with Hades, and water with Nestis (believed to be Persephone): Now hear the fourfold roots of everything: Enlivening Hera, Hades, shining Zeus And Nestis, moistening mortal springs with tears. In Empedocles' philosophy, the interaction of the four elements is influenced by the relationship between the two great life energies of Love and Strife: Empedocles explained that there are two great living forces in the universe, which he called Love (Philotês) and Strife (Neikos) and assigned to Aphrodite and Ares. According to Hesiod, the Goddess Love and the God Strife, offspring of Night (Nux), were ancient deities, predating the Olympians. The original Greek golden age was the Reign of Aphrodite, when all things were united and Love permeated the length and breadth of the well-rounded cosmic sphere. But Strife, as the River Styx surrounding the Sphere, broke its Unity, and cleaved the One into Many. It divided the four elements, which ever since combine and separate under the opposing actions of Love and Strife to produce the changing world with its manifold objects and qualities. As Heraclitus said, "Through Strife all things come into being." Empedocles said that Strife also divided the one immortal soul of Love into many individual souls, each comprising both Love and Strife in some proportion; these immortal souls are reborn time and again into mortal bodies, which are animated by mortal souls compounded from the four elements. from Exercise for Unity Or: Tantra LITE by Apollonius Sophistes (1995)

Empedocles explains the nature of the universe through the interaction of two governing principles, Love and Strife, on four primary elements. Unlike his predecessors, Empedocles claims that there are four elements in the universe; air, fire, earth, and water. Particular and indestructible, these elements foreshadow later developments in atomic theory by philosophers such as Leucippus and Democritus. Earlier philosophers believed that the quality of matter depends on the quantity of a particular element..... Empedocles adds a moral dimension to his argument by associating Love with good and Strife with evil. The influence of each principle waxes and wanes in a cycle of opposition that Empedocles calls "The Vortex." At the beginning of time, Love completely dominated the universe. As a consequence, the four elements were unified into a sphere and segregated according to their type-a quarter of the sphere was water, a quarter was air, and the remaining half was divided equally by earth and fire. However, with the introduction of Strife "The Sphere" was gradually dissolved, slowly scattering the elements throughout the universe. The complete dissolution of The Sphere was achieved by the eventual predominance of Strife. However, Love began to gather strength again, causing the elements to congregate in clusters, and thereby creating life. Eventually, the elements will form a second unity, a second "Sphere," and the cycle will reset. from Empedocles of Akragas by Jesse Weidman:

Empedocles' philosophy was influenced not only by Pythagoras, but also by the ancient Greek mystery traditions, which included the Orphic mysteries and the underworld cults of Hades, Hecate, Demeter, Persephone and Dionysos. In his own thinking and

writing, and in works and practices of the alchemists, neoplatonists and gnostics that further developed his theories, the four elements are not only material and spiritual forces, but also facets of a human being. Their varying combinations result in different personality types. Since we know that Carl Jung (1), one of the founders of modern psychology, studied mystical literature and alchemy, we can easily conclude that his conceptualization of intuition, sensation, thinking and feeling as the four basic archetypes or components of personality is clearly a derivation of Empedocles' ancient theories about fire, earth, air and water. Jung focused initially on the polarities of introversion (directing one's attention inward toward thoughts, feelings and awareness) and extroversion (directing one's energy outward toward people, actions and external objects), combining each polarity with predominances in thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting, to develop eight basic personality types. In his online Bibliotheca Arcana, John Opsopaus includes several articles on The Ancient Greek Doctrine of the Elements. Here, he discusses theories related to the four elements as developed by both Empedocles and Aristotle. As further developed by Aristotle in his Metaphysics, these elements all arise from the interplay of the properties of hotness and coldness, and dryness and wetness. Fire (dry and hot) and water (wet and cold) are opposites, as are earth (dry and cold) and air (wet and hot). Each of the opposites was considered to have existed in an ideal form, apart from earth and in a mixed impure form, on earth: Aristotle explains that Moistness is the quality of fluidity or flexibility, which allows a thing to adapt to its external conditions, whereas Dryness is the quality of rigidity, which allows a thing to define its own shape and bounds. As a consequence Moist things tend to be volatile and expansive, since they can fill spaces in their surroundings, whereas Dry things are fixed and structured, since they define their own form. Opsopaus points out the various associations made to the Four Elements by Empedocles and his Greek followers, as well as their development in western mysticism, alchemy (3) and Jungian psychology: Most obviously there are the macrocosmic manifestations of the Elements, for example, the land, the sea, the sky and the sun. They are also connected with the sublunary spheres: Heaven, Earth, Abyss (the subterranean water) and Tartaros (the subterranean fire). There are also microcosmic manifestations, for example, as components of the human psyche (mental, astral, etheric and physical bodies).... The Elements also represent the stages in various processes of growth and transformation.... Finally, from the standpoint of Jung's psychology, the Elements (like the Gods) are archetypes; because they are structures in the collective unconscious, they are universal (present in all people). As archetypes, they are beyond complete analysis; they can be "circumscribed but not described"; ultimately they must be experienced to be understood. from The Ancient Greek Doctrine of the Elements byJohn Opsopaus

Earth, for example, is cool and dry, passive and rigid, a principle of structure and materialization. Psychologically, it is therefore predominant in persons who focus extensively upon physical reality, and who may tend toward qualities such as perseverance, inflexibility, realism and pragmatism. Water, however, was originally the Primordial Chaos, associated with dissolution, union and transformation, and therefore with the goddess Persephone, who rules over death and rebirth in the Underworld, and whose lessons bring both tears of grief and tears of joy. Psychologically, water is likely to be the predominant element in people who tend to be flowing, flexible, oriented toward harmony or union, and inclined toward deep feeling.

CONCLUSION The Greek theories of the four elements, originally developed by Empedocles and expanded by Aristotle, have had a significant influence upon many traditions stretching into the 20th century - spiritual schools based upon alchemy, astrology, Jungian psychology (with its correspondences to thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation), Meyers-Briggs personality theory, and even Luscher's four-color personality profile. According to many mystics and transpersonal psychologists today, individual psychological and spiritual development is indeed related to the presence of and relationship ( the love/ harmony/ union or the strife/ opposition/ separation ) between the elements within the psyche. When two opposing elements encounter each other, they may neutralize each other, or according to alchemy and Jungian thought, lead to Coniunctio Oppositorum, the Conjunction of Opposites, a form of higher unity and transcendence of polarities.

Qabalistic Alice in Wonderland and the depths of Hell.
by Metzareph » Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:58 am
This is a essay I wrote several months ago. I hope is not too long for this forum. Alice is a character created by Lewis Carroll in the 19th century for a series of books called "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass". This character was inspired for a little girl named Alice Liddell; who was the second of Dean Liddell‘s three daughters. The intention of the books, a side from the fact that they represent an antidote for a suffocating era, when stiff moral and self-righteous values were the norm, was to awaken children’s imagination. But the books go beyond that. They touch many archetypes and images that make them worth exploring. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an English Occult Order that can be traced back to 1888, used archetypes and ancient mythology to express the different stages of the human evolution on the qabalistic Tree of Life. This very important Occult Order used this system among other techniques like Alchemy and Astrology, to help the initiated member work his or her way up the Tree. Aleister Crowley was initiated into this magical order at the turn of the 19th century. He later published "777", a qabalistic dictionary of ceremonial magick, oriental mysticism, comparative religion and symbology, as well as a handbook for ceremonial invocation and for checking the validity of dreams and visions. It is very clear that a mystical and magical revolution was taking place in the England of that era, and Lewis Carroll’s books resonate very well with this revolution making a very important contribution to the modern understanding of the human psyche. Furthermore, these books have a revolutionary approach to children’s tales. There’s a Victorian phrase that describes with precision "Alice in Wonderland" and its relation to our culture: "We don’t know where to have it." How do we locate this work, hold it still? Do we have it for adults, for children, for psychoanalysts, for mathematicians, for logicians…? Alice is an intriguing character, for she represents the soul in its descent into hell. This particular archetype finds its expression in Persephone in Greek mythology. Persephone is the goddess of the underworld. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Demeter is a representation of Nature itself and her correspondence in the Golden Dawn’s magical system is to Venus and the III Atu, the Empress. She is Daleth and connects Binah and Chokmah on the Tree of Life, therefore, the "gate" or door that needs to be crossed (by surrender) to reach the Supernals. Persephone is another way of portraying the archetype of the maiden and the daughter —the final He in the Tetragramaton. In Greek mythology, she was such a beautiful young woman that everyone loved her; even Hades wanted her for himself. Alice also represents the Fool in the Tarot deck for she is innocence and the virgin soul. She is guided by curiosity, which in itself represents the soul’s unstoppable impulse to understand the ultimate meaning of the Universe, and the secret call of the Divine that operates in humanity at an unconscious level. As she will discover in her journey, knowledge and understanding have to be approached through transformation (Death). This transformation sometimes stirs up shady aspects of our being, manifesting "demons" or the “devil” that are only an aspect of our mind. Death and the Devil are the two of the forbidden paths going up the Tree of Life; the paths of Nun (Death) and the Ayin (the Devil) represent them. These two paths with the addition of the path of Samekh are the three paths that reach up to Tipheret. Interesting enough, they spell NOS (Nun, Ayin and Samekh.) The same initials as the Latin phrase: "Novus Ordo Seclorum," the New Order of the Ages. (This Adds up to 220, the same as "Scire Velle Audere Et Tacere," To know, to will, to dare and to keep silence; as well as the same enumeration of the words "NaBIRaH," Heroina, or the number of verses in the Book of the Law.) The paths of Nun and Ayin become illusions in the end. Death is change and change is stability. Our own psychological shadows and misconceptions create the Devil. After all, this Devil is the redeemer, and Death is a form of Divine Love. The Fool card is attributed to the letter Aleph. This card is the Qabalistic Zero because it represents the Negative above the Tree of Life, the source of all things, and the balance of the opposites. Other names for this card are "Le Mat" (Matto in italian), madman or fool. Madness and foolishness are important elements in "Alice in Wonderland" and in "Through the Looking-Glass". Crowley writes in the Book of Thoth: "If one assumes the Tarot is of Egyptian origin, one may suppose that Mat (this card being the key card of the whole pack) really stands for Maut, the vulture goddess, who is an earlier and more sublime modification of the idea of Nuith than Isis." They are both a form of Binah, the 3rd Sephirah. As mentioned above, Persephone and Demeter are the Daughter and the Mother, the connection of the two "H"s in the Tetragrammaton. Alice is distracted (tempted) by a white rabbit while she is daydreaming about picking daisies in a garden on a "golden afternoon". The symbology is important for two reasons. The connection with "gold" and the alchemical transformation is somewhat hidden. The second reason is that the garden is archetypal of Nature, and where the Great Work has to be

accomplished. It is an image of the Garden of Eden. As in the Persephone story, she falls into Hell (the rabbit’s hole) and falls for a long time. In Lewis Carroll’s book, there is a small reference to death when Alice grabs a jar —while she is falling— and puts it back into the shelf instead of dropping it, for she is afraid to kill somebody that may be at the bottom. Death represents transformation and initiation. The fall itself is also interesting because even though Alice falls for a long time —almost floating— she isn’t hurt. This is important because it’s implied that her nature pertains to the element of Air and the Atu the Fool. In the book is also mentioned that: "…she was considering, in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain…" Again, a correspondence to Air. In Greek mythology, Persephone was collecting flowers on the plain of Enna, the earth suddenly opened and Hades rose up from the gap and abducted her. She's practically eaten by the jaws of hell, just like Alice. Another indication of an Airy nature in the little girl is this is the fact that she talks to herself (giving herself "good advise") and recites constantly poems and songs throughout her entire journey, although these poems and songs come out rather different from the original. In the book, Alice recites an "unintentional" parody of Robert Southey’s poem "You are old, Father William." She also changes the poem "Against Idleness and Mischief" from Isaac Watt’s Divine Songs for Children (1715.) The original goes like this: How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour; And gather honey all the day, From ev’ry opening flow’r. How skillful she builds her cell, How neat she spreads the wax; And labours hard to store it well, With the sweet food she makes. Alice’s take on that poem: How doth the little crocodile Improve his shining tail, And pour the waters of the Nile On every golden scale! How cheerful he seems to grin, How neatly spreads his claws, And welcomes little fishes in, With gently smiling jaws! Alice’s understanding of the aboveground world is a "who eats whom," an understanding of the order of things inconsistent with Wonderland. Also, it is important to mention that the consumption of things is not only for nutritional purposes but has been regarded as a magical act since the beginning of times. It has a psychological effect that transforms the person. The idea of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Christ is an example of this. By doing this, the person is linked to the Archetype and becomes one with it. The idea behind the Persepone’s pomegranate holds true in this context, by eating it, she is forever linked to the Underworld. In this same line of thinking, Alice’s consumption of cookies, mushrooms and bottled liquids labeled as "eat me" or "drink me" are a symbolic communion or Eucharist with the powers of the unconscious, making her amazingly big or small. A very important character, aside from Alice, is the White Rabbit. Alice follows this fellow down the rabbit-hole. His true nature is solar, for he is a phallic symbol. In most cultures, rabbits are regarded as a symbol of fertility and procreation, and they might have been sacred to Venus (Venus is a strong feminine-solar archetype). The rabbit is the hidden Yod, therefore, the guide, the highest form of Mercury and the Logos. His representative in physical life is the spermatozoon, or the Hermit. The secret Yod is not only creative, but is the fluidic essence of Light, which is the life of the Universe. That’s the real reason why Alice can’t help following him. "Wonderland" is an image of the unconscious. Interesting enough Alice is not going downwards but inwards. Here, away from the restricting order of reason or Ruach part of the soul, life is fluidic and non-linear. Images appear and disappear (Briah) and anything is possible. This realm is Hell because the conscious mind cannot understand the mind’s unconscious processes, which are secret, and cannot find a path (a linear thinking) back to the surface. Labyrinths are a symbol of the mystical journey or the path of return. There is an interesting connection with Yesod, the 28th Path of Qoph, the 3rd Path of Gimel or the Moon and Wonderland. Yesod is where automatic consciousness occurs, and its Hebrew translation is "Foundation." It pertains to the element of Air and to the Moon. This Sephirah is receptive and mainly reflects the energy of the Sun, just like the real Moon does. Automatic consciousness operates at a level beyond the threshold of the conscious mind (represented by the Moon) and can be equated with the state in which Alice has to operate.

The 28th Path of Qoph is attributed to Pisces, and the XVIII Atu, The Moon. Here too, the connection with Alice in Wonderland is very strong for this Atu represents the last stage of winter and the state of darkness. In this context, winter can symbolize the conscious mind overwhelmed by unintelligible images, the time of internal exploration and meditation. In the Greek myth, the broken-hearted Demeter wandered the earth, looking for her daughter until Helios revealed what had happened. Demeter was so angry that she withdrew herself in loneliness, and the earth ceased to be fertile (winter). This Greek myth is a symbol of the budding and dying of Nature (Demeter=Daleth=The Empress). In the Eleusinian mysteries, this happening was celebrated in honor of Demeter and Persephone, who was known in this cult as Kore. The 28th path of Qoph is also the Gateway of Resurrection (Qoph means back of the head and is connected with the potencies of the cerebellum). The card represents midnight and the Sun at its weakest. Crowley quotes Keats in the Book of Thoth: "There is a budding morrow midnight." He adds: "For this reason (the Sun) appears at the bottom of the card, underneath the water which is tinged with graphs of abomination, the sacred Beetle, the Egyptian Khephra, bearing in his mandibles the Solar Disk. Above the surface of the water is a sinister and forbidding landscape…" Wonderland parallels such a landscape. This path represents all that is doubtful and mysterious. It is the Dark Night of the Soul. The 3rd Path of the Moon is the link between the human and the Divine. In the Vision and the Voice, the 19th Call gives us a hint to the true nature of the Moon. Thus, the Moon partakes of the highest and the lowest. Alice has an interesting encounter with the Caterpillar in her journey. This little fellow gives Alice many hints of how to find a solution to the riddle, but Alice in her ignorance, oversees them. The Caterpillar’s apparently innocent question "Who are you?" is used in a mischievous way by Carroll. The nature of the Caterpillar is to be transformed into a butterfly, therefore projecting the question of the superficial aspect of the self into a philosophical quest for self-knowledge. This recalls the Sphinx’s riddle which essentially called for the recognition of the nature of humanity regardless of the superficial changes a person endures without affecting the true nature of the Self; the essence of being human. There are many more characters and situations in the book. The Chesire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, the King etc. They are all worth examining. The tea party with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, and the crocket game at the rose garden, are variations on the same theme. The “order” and rules for normal behavior on the everyday life have been broken. Chaos reigns in Wonderland. The last attempt to regain logical thought is the Trial (Atu XI Adjustment, Libra.) But we’ll discover that the only real “Adjustment” is by incorporating all those images and Archetypes into our conscious mind. We need Wonderland to operate beyond human logic (the Ruach), to expand, to exceed, to explore our limitations through imagination. We need Wonderland to restore our true nature and make sense of our existence; for Wonderland is the unconscious side of Nature and of our soul. We have been created human to exceed human nature. We only have to take a dive down the rabbit-hole.