Sunday, May 21, 2017


Pink Fairy Lanterns, Woodstars

     This spring, the Sycamore Creek woodlands in Watt’s Valley, in the words of one of my friends, seemed “filled with fairies.” In late April, flowers were burgeoning everywhere, Chinese purple houses, fiesta flowers, pink fairy lanterns, tarweed, wood stars, vetch, pretty face, and wind poppies weaving brilliant tapestries on the hillsides out of the elemental energies of the Earth. Every year, one or two flowers dominate: the spring of 2017, after above-normal rainfall, was the year of Ithuriel’s Spears, also known as Wally Baskets, their lavender umbels crowning the flowers below. Watt’s Valley, carved out by several creeks, is cooler than the surrounding hills where flowers quickly withered in the heat of early May:  Even in mid-May, I could feel elemental energies weaving through Watt’s Valley like a cool breeze that keeps the flowers fresh. We are fortunate in California because the Sierra Nevada Mountains still contain great, uninterrupted ecosystems imbued with the primal energies of creation.  In urban areas, one can starve for the elemental energies that permeate nature: The human soul, in the words of one adept, needs to be fed at all levels, including the etheric, astral, mental, and spiritual levels. If not fed by elemental energies, the soul starts to shrivel.

Wind Poppy, Fiesta Flowers

     I crave elemental energies because they heal my etheric body; over the years, celiac disease has severely damaged the subtle, foundational energies of my physical body. When I am in nature, the elemental energies permeate my aura, and I always feel healthier—occasionally I even feel normal for a time.  Because of my chronic illness, I am perhaps more sensitive to elemental energies in nature than most men and women of my generation. (If you don’t believe you have an aura, you might consider tying a thread to a paperclip and hanging it over one of the seven primary chakras; in a moment or two, the paperclip pendulum should begin to spin.) Elemental energies, like wind brushing the skin, alert me to the greater life around me and awaken the other subtle energies of the cosmos within me. Because of elemental energies I
Chinese Purple Houses
experience something beyond my puny personality, like at night when I am on my porch and suddenly notice the moon. When I experience elemental energies, I sense other dimensions of myself, which is perhaps the most revolutionary feeling I have ever experienced: I know that I have a soul and an eternal spirit. I know this in Watt’s Valley as I experience the grasses and flowers and trees because spiritual energies permeate nature as well. If only everyone could experience the sweetness of the forms of the elemental energies of the Earth! They would not allow the monarchs of capitalism to destroy any more ecosystems. They would fight tooth and nail to keep the ruling industries from destroying our home.
     The Latin word radix means “root.” The Latin word radicalis means “of or relating to a root.” I am a radical because I know the roots of the physical world are in the spiritual dimension. In an enlightened society, it would be shameful to harm the Earth or its subtle energies. Since, however, so many respectable people seem to feel no shame, I am occasionally rude and disrespectful to sell-outs and frauds and hypocrites in academia and industry (including the news industry) who uphold a system that benefits the financial autocrats despoiling our planet. The elemental energies of the Earth have radicalized me: I can’t stop fighting for the Earth, no matter the consequences, no matter what others might think of me. To honor the Earth I would get up in the face of the emperor of the world if he threatened to harm our home.

Ithuriel's Spears, Lupine, Red Clovers, Tarweed

     I found myself on a spiritual path because celiac disease wore down my digestive system to the point that I became terribly ill: I began meditating to heal myself and could see in my mind’s eye during a process of mental purification that subtle black parasites were attacking my etheric body. After I cleansed my aura, I felt much healthier and began to have visions of spiritual symbols. The negative energies that had accumulated during decades of illness, in other words, had been blocking the connection between my higher self and my earthly personality. Because of suffering, in other words, I was eventually able to see below the glamorous surfaces of a material society and recognize the subtle spiritual dimensions of the cosmos. So much of the spiritual work in this society is done by people who suffer from illness or cognitive dissonance or grief, but how could it be otherwise?
     Spiritual development depends on maintaining balance. One thing I did not know when I first started on my spiritual path: Spiritual energies are primal. The deeper, or if you prefer, the higher you go, the more archetypal the energies. These energies, according to Qabalists, first emanated from the great unmanifest into a state of primordial unity known as the Crown of creation (Kether). Over an evolution, the One became the Many through the emanations of the different Sephiroth, or subtle states of being, the physical eventually manifesting as the dense aspect of the spiritual in the material universe. The mystical glyph of the Tree of Life reveals that the spiritual and the physical are two poles of One creation, with one state not inherently better or worse than the other, all states being manifestations of the Source. Physical and elemental and etheric energies are not less holy than the highest heaven.

Ithuriel's Spears, Fiesta Flowers

     Primal spiritual energies below the three highest Sephiroth manifest in humans as instincts. If you stir the instincts through desire or even through spiritual practices, you may discover that you are manifesting their unbalanced aspects, what Qabalists call the “vices” of the subtle energies, until you can bring them into balance through the higher will of the central, harmonizing Sephira known as Beauty (Tiphareth), the Christ center. This is one reason that Christianity focuses almost exclusively on the Sephira of Tiphareth: If the higher self is not awakened within an individual, the vices of the energies of the other Sephiroth are more likely to take over the personality. Without the equilibrating force of harmonizing love, the spiritual seeker can slide into sorcery, focusing on self-aggrandizement, power, sexual satisfaction and other base instincts. Instincts, of course, help humans to survive in the physical world and are as holy as any other part of creation, but in society, I have experienced only too often how instincts can become unbalanced and degenerate into pernicious forms of narcissism.
     An individual often first becomes interested in spirituality through psychic experiences, which people in this materialistic society often find startling. (I certainly did.) In terms of the Qabalah, he or she raises consciousness above the material plane to the Sephira known as Yesod, The Foundation, the subtle state of being containing the etheric, background energies of creation. Within the human aura, these etheric energies manifest as the chakras. When I first began meditating and eliminating negative energies through mental purification, I began having visions relating to the chakras. In the magic mirror of Yesod, subtle spiritual forces are reflected in the human mind as spiritual symbols or personifications of unbalanced entities or energies, such as demons or monsters, or of balanced entities or energies, such as angels or gods.

Chinese Purple Houses, Ithuriel's Spears, Tarweed

     Yesod is a plane where subtle forces from the astral plane manifest as symbolic forms. One great difficulty in spiritual development is distinguishing the forms of the subtle energies from other planes from personal subconscious content. The subconscious mind in meditation as well as in sleep uses symbolic dream language to communicate messages. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether or not those messages are personal, from the individual personality, or transpersonal, from a higher plane, which is why the glyph of the Tree of Life is so important. One can compare one’s visions with the symbols on the Tree. After I had completed a process of mental purification, I kept having visions of golden symbols: a crown; a plate and chalice on a brilliant, white tablecloth; and a golden, equal-armed cross in a blue sky, with indistinct angels at each end. I finally figured out that my higher self was communicating symbols about the essential magnificence, abundance, and harmony of the human soul, a spiritual message that I desperately needed at that time in my life.

Chinese Purple Houses

     I should emphasize that before I began having visions, I had absolutely no idea that the Tree of Life or the esoteric orders that rely on it as a spiritual tool even existed, nor did I have a clue about how great an impact spiritual symbols can have on a person’s life. Over time, the significance of the golden, equal-armed cross with its angels at each end, a particularly persistent vision, has unfolded. I soon discovered that key rituals for banishing and invoking are based on the equal-armed cross, the indistinct angels at each end representing the Archangels who are rulers of the elemental energies: Raphael (Air of the Wise); Gabriel (Water of the Wise); Michael (Fire of the Wise); and Auriel (Earth of the Wise). Once I figured this out, I, of course, have regularly performed these rituals, and I have slowly recognized their usefulness: The banishing ritual effectively keeps unbalanced energies and entities away from me, and the invoking ritual imbues my aura with elemental energies that have helped to heal my severely damaged etheric body. I am not perfect, by any means, but spiritual symbols are not meant to help angels. They have helped me with basic survival through the healing of my body and soul, which has been of far greater importance to me up to now than traveling to some other spiritual plane. I doubt that I would have survived without them.
     Yesod is the sphere of the Holy Ghost, which is the feminine aspect of the trinity that complements the Bride in Malkuth, The Kingdom (the physical plane). In Yesod, human beings see the transpersonal symbols that reveal the abstract spiritual principles emanating from the higher planes, principles which can then be manifested in the physical plane. On the Tree of Life, the black, equal-armed cross represents The Kingdom. On the path of Gimel, which leads from the sphere of the Sun, the Christ-center, to the Crown of Creation, Kether, the equal-armed cross is white, suggesting unity and purity. I have always envisioned a golden, equal-armed cross, which is not revealed anywhere on the Tree of Life or the Tarot. Gold, which does not tarnish, suggests the incorruptibility of the spirit and is associated with the Sun and the Christ-center, Tiphareth. In terms of the Tree of Life, Yesod (The Foundation) shows us Tiphareth (Beauty) and Tiphareth shows us Kether (The Crown of Creation): The Holy Ghost shows us The Son, and The Son shows us The Father.

Ithuriel's Spears, Woodstars

     When I first began having visions of spiritual symbols, one night, just as I was falling asleep, I was shaken so hard that I thought all the cells in my body were going to fly apart. The shaking suddenly stopped. Then, just as I was about to fall asleep again, something nudged me hard in the ribs, four times. My door was locked. No one else was in the room with me. I thought at first that a demon was attacking me. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to distinguish between a devil and an angel. “Every angel is terrible,” states the great German poet, Rilke. In retrospect, I think it had to be an angel because spiritual symbols continue to shake me up and keep me spiritually awake in my darkest hours.
     I believe that what humanity needs now, in its darkest hours, more than a brilliant spiritual light that only blinds us, is the influence of Yesod and the Holy Ghost. We must heal ourselves spiritually, both body and soul, in order to manifest harmony in the family, the community, the nation, and the world. The body can never be healthy if the psyche is damaged, and the psyche can never be whole if the body is sick. Based on personal experience, I think the vast majority of us are ill to some degree, given all the pollution in the environment and the toxic mental atmosphere of modern society. Therefore, I believe that the Ritual of the Foundation is the first in the series that you should perform, and one that is most beneficial in times of trial and doubt.

Path 13, The Moon


     Before beginning, review the basics of the Ritual Pentagram Spread. The four number cards associated with Yesod, the ninth Sephira on the Tree of Life, are the Nines.

Nine of Pentacles: Lord of Material Gain
Decan: Venus in 11 - 20 degrees of Virgo
Tree of Life Association: Moon in Yesod

Nine of Swords: Lord of Despair and Cruelty
Decan: Mars in 11 - 20 degrees of Gemini
Tree of Life Association: Moon in Yesod

Nine of Cups: Lord of Material Happiness
Decan: Jupiter in 11 - 20 degrees of Pisces
Tree of Life Association: Moon in Yesod

Nine of Wands: Lord of Great Strength
Decan: Moon in 11 - 20 degrees of Sagittarius
Tree of Life Association: Moon in Yesod

     The passive spiritual invoking pentagram should be employed because Yesod is a Sephira of the Moon and Water.
     In the Egyptian pantheon, the Gods associated with these cards are as follows:

The Nine of Pentacles

Venus: Hathor (The Empress)
Virgo: Atum (The Hermit)

The Nine of Swords

Mars: Horus (The Emperor)
Gemini: Isis and Osiris, the Merti (The Lovers)

The Nine of Cups

Jupiter: Amoun (Wheel of Fortune)
Pisces: Anubis, Khonsu (Pisces)

The Nine of Wands

The Moon: Nephthys, Khonsu (The Moon)
Sagittarius: Neith (Temperance)

     Always remember to perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram after each ritual (and at least once a day, if possible).


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