Why does Isis have Horns?

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Arcanum 2 priestess

Part 7 in the ‘Mysteries of Isis’ –
Some early writings on Isis, from my “Arcanum Two”: 

25 September 1991 – The symbol for Taurus the Bull, ruled by Venus, is a circle crowned with a crescent – a pair of horns.  Why the horns? To explore this question is fruitful.

How does it feel?   The horns have sharp points.   They are a heavy head-dress. They give majesty to the Full Moon, and define the New Moon.   They are a garment of authority and they inspire fear. The horns of the Bull are antennae of the earth’s fecundity and riches.   To encounter suddenly in my life a blindfold soothsayer or white witch, crowned with archaic and savage horns and sitting so still, is startling.

taurus glyph

The horns are there to drive away or impale unwary or merely inquisitive trespassers into her subtle magnetic field. They make a repellant aura around her: a defense system.  The priestess is in myself.   What am I guarding?   What am I protecting?   Whom do I attack?

To look inward, into the well of God within atoms, is to create a surrounding “field” of space which reinterprets my material body.   As “I” collapse inward – like into a black hole – this field extends outward in all directions from the singularity.   It is the veil of the inner sanctuary.   In all the old legends the dragon or serpent is coiled around the golden fleece.   The hero must, in stepping over or neutralising the dragon, confront the storms around his own Cape Horn, and master the creative daemons that arise from his “unconscious” seeking consciousness.   His chaos must transmute to kosmos — the Greek word for harmony.   Only then, when the tumult dawns transformed in his being, might he behold the light of the golden fleece, by the gentle light of Isis – her moonbeam.

solis luna conjunctio

The hero in all these tales is the alchemist, and the adventure is trans-formation.   Tentatively I suggest that the lady Isis in her pure state, together with Thrice Great Hermes who flows and makes speech with metals, is the catalyst of this transformative process.   But I speak now personally …. I suppose I speak from many lifetimes.   They are all only this one.  For instance:  I sit down each day here to write, and I do not know what it will be, and the content may flow or not as the case may be, but I am almost invariably astonished.

pentacle 3,7,12 the mother letters

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In the classic The Golden Ass, Lucius Apuleius gives an allegorical account of his initiation.   Transformed into a donkey he had to suffer and witness the depth of human iniquity, and be beaten and abused by his inner discordancy, before the lady Isis rising from the midnight sea offered him the key to his release into human form   … he must eat the rose carried by the Great Hierophant during the procession the following day, of her Mysteries. In the vision of Apuleius, as she rose from the dark sea to instruct his still asinine form:

Her long thick hair fell in tapering ringlets on her lovely neck and was crowned with an intricate chaplet in which was woven every kind of flower.   Just above her brow shone a round disk, like a mirror or like the bright face of the moon, which told me who she was.   Vipers rising from the lefthand and righthand partings of her hair supported this disk, with ears of corn bristling beside them.   Her many coloured robe was of finest linen; part was glistening white, part crocus-yellow, part glowing red, and along the entire hem a woven bordure of flowers and fruit clung and swayed to the breeze.

“But what caught and held my eye more than anything else was the deep black lustre of her mantle.   She wore it slung across her body from the right hip to the left shoulden where it was caught in a knot resembling the boss of a shield;   but part of it hung in innumerable folds, the tasselled fringe quivered.   It was embroidered with glittering stars on the hem and everywhere else, and in the middle beamed a full and fiery Moon.”

Apuleius The Golden Ass

Her mantle of night is that of the visible universe, the stars and the spaces between.   The snakes that support her disk, besides echoing the pair of horns, suggest the caduceus of Hermes:

caduceus

Two serpents, the positive and negative polarity, entwine a staff of authority or directed power, and are held in equilibrium.   The equilibrium forms the circle of her disk.

The ears of corn in Apuleius’s description, remind me of Ceres.   Ceres is the ripe standing wheat of the earth, and the mother of Persephone who married the dark Underworld.   “Hades”, king of the Underworld, is derived from the Greek eidein, to see.

“The centre, the depths of this sphere (of the universe) is named Hades the invisible, because the centre of a sphere cannot be seen from without.   It appears visible only by means of those special forms whose images appear graven upon it, it shows itself only in effigy;   but in reality it is always invisible in itself.”

Trismegistus, The Virgin of the World

bull bird

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Ears of corn, or wheat, are the vessels of that sprouting grain of the inner world.   They are the visible allegory which is “graven upon its surface”.  I, dreaming twice in the last few nights about taking earplugs out, am perhaps being advised to hear; to be here, listen and hear.   For this is the way the priestess receives information … silently into the oracle or shell of her ears.   The oracle, coracle, is a celtic craft on the waters. The waters dance and play with reflections from the sky in crescents of light like fallen leaves or “boats of mine a-floating … Where will all come home?”[1]

She has her eyes closed because the instruction is to be still and hear, to be not taken in by the deception, the flickering screem of sensory sight.   To hear the unruffled depth of the settling water is to be the quietness of the water itself.

I drew the ears of earth (that is Ceres) with wheat growing in them, like little masts in a walnutshell boat.

Ceres & John 1987

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Burial and Hermetic Initiation – the Grain Sprouts
To be the awareness of the ears is to extend and receive the lateral sense of consciousness; the Capitols of the two pillars.   I am what rests between them, that which is, as it is.

From that alone comes forth what is relevant to the time.  Silence must receive its own information, before delivering it. Thus is truth.  Open the ears, the arms, of my Soul.  These horns are the ears or antennae of some creature of the deep.

The horns of Isis are the sense organ through which she receives the waves.   This is her focus of divination.   Between the horns is held, or hung, the equilibrated breath of her magnetic field.

tarot priestess 2003

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In the Masons’ craft, there is a ceremony of passing, from being an entered apprentice to receiving the degree of fellowcraft.   This represents work on the soul, or ability to listen, in the Middle Chamber.   The candidate must bear in time and maturity the fruit of his own work.   So upon acceptance he is given an ear of corn.

In this gesture there is a profound mystery, which lies in the ancient body of Egypt.   Isis is the dark earth or body receiving the golden grain of Osiris in the flood of the Nile river which spreads it to all parts of the black land.[2]. . When the waters ebb the grain sprouts.   This is the Child who is also the Father.   The land of upper, middle and lower Egypt was, in ancient times the head, thorax and abdomen of the subtle body.   These are parts of the embodied fragment of God which lay beneath heaven.

Like the lower arm of the letter BEIT, this fragment – like all the “fragments of hermetica” that survived the destroyed Alexandrian library – echoes but is not quite the same as the Firmament.   But from within the fragment (the rock, the tomb of forgotten awareness) can be resurrected the light of Osiris.  I am reminded of Thomas Browne again: We are somewhat more than ourselves in Sleep, and the Slumber of the Body seems to be but the Waking of the Soul.

Alchemist in Notre Dame - after Fulcanelli

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It seems that in most cases the slumber or apparent death of the body, (death of the world-orientation) was a pre-requisite to resurrecting the consciousness – the Spirit – outside and encircling the spacetime continuum.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead was written to guide those who, plunged by subtle arts into profound physical sleep, awoke to behold the Holy One.   The weighing of the Soul and all that followed, was not the sole prerogative of those who had reached the end of their earthly span.   Some who passed through the gates or pillars of “death”, returned re-born in the light of the Sun to bear witness (and keep the secret).   This idea was explored in some of Paul Brunton’s meditations in his Search in Secret Egypt.

The Sacred Books of Hermes are a collection of fragments and discourses written down in Alexandria just before or after the time of Christ.   In them seems to be reflected the essential wisdom of Thoth. Thoth is the ancient secretary to the gods. He has the head of an Ibis bird, and carries his pad and pencil.   The hieroglyph for AKH – Light, or the scribing of a light that pre-exists Creation – is in the form of an Ibis.   The crest and plumage of this bird is dark green and shot through with glittering metallic specks of light.   The root of AKH is Spirit, to shine, to irradiate.   The curve of the Ibis’s neck is like the uraeus or cobra, worn by Pharaoh as his “third eye” or pineal body*.  And it is not altogether unlike the neck of a swan.

swan beis

beis

The letter BEIT is a “neck” or channel of the current of speech.   Yes!   Speech is Hermes.   The neck through which the silvery river flows, is the lady Isis.   Isis and Hermes together are Thoth, the month of the harvest, the art of the priesthood. Isis’ womb-brother Osiris is then Self knowledge within the art, for he is the Sun.

Emerald table

The precious stone assigned to Hermes is emerald.   The Bible of spiritual alchemy “As above so below” was traditionally inscribed by him on the legendary Emerald Tablet which – says Eliphas Levi – contains all of Magic in a single page.  It was found by Alexander the Great in the depths of the Great Pyramid where priests in ancient times had concealed the tomb of Hermes.   In the time of the Romans the emperor Severus buried the Mysteries in Alexander’s tomb, and Diocletian destroyed all the books on alchemy.   Christianity dawned upon a devastated battlefield of esoteric knowledge, a burnt-out wound of the world, a Way swept clear.

*In this light, consider the ideas of modern physicists: “Light – the range of electro magnetic frequencies – precedes the the manifestation of luminous bodies. Radiant energy is held to be the basis of all things within the range of human perception.” (P.Foster Case).   The symbols and colours which picture the ancient-world mysteries are tools equivalent to the equations used in our day.

These inscriptions, burials and tombs are direct reference to language, its events and its veils. The esoteric language had to be veiled from temporal powers who would exploit or destroy it: yet perennially accessible to ‘those who knew’.

I feel the Hermetic cosmology – which has been handed down as an oral tradition, like the Kabbalah – has a Vedic antiquity.   There were originally four Sacred Books of Hermes.   These were subdivided into forty-two volumes, the same number as those of the Vedas which were carried from India into Egypt by the Yadava emigration (cf. Mrs Child: The Progress of Religious Ideas, 19th century). There are innumerable stories and conjectural confluences of this kind, behind the shadows we see on the wall.

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priestess 88

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But, more importantly, the Egyptian doctrine of initiation, that the Eye of God opens in the most profound “sleep” of the organic and astral body, corresponds to advaita or “Not Two” of the elder East and of Gautama. Ramana Maharshi said the SELF of God awakens in the Fourth state of consciousness – that of deepest physical “sleep” … and is always awake. The other three states of consciousness are: the physical world, dreaming, and normal sleep.   All three conform to the conditioned self-world view, a horizontal play on surfaces.   Awareness in the Fourth state alone is unchanging and infinite.

Awareness in the Fourth state intersects the worldview everywhere at each point vertically.   The worldviews of the three other states are sections across it, and thus illusory.   Our worldview has the measure (or maya) of rings of time across a living tree.   The presence of the Tree itself, its root, its many branches, the birds in the foliage, and seasonal colours and sound of the wind, is invisible to the cut surface spectrum.   To appreciate that a whole Tree exists NOW, above and below the surface, requires a radical leap in the inner life which till then was occupied with one ring after another of historical time.

The way is : I AM THE TREE ITSELF. I AM ROOT AND SHOOT.

Om

In both Western and Eastern traditions, pentacles and yantras combine the flat, diagrammatic plane of sacred geometry, with the vital dimension of which it is a talisman.   The solar system itself, apparently a disk of planetary orbits of time around the Sun, is a section across a living organism like a whole egg, or the petals of a rose without an outline … So it is also with the structure of the atom. Electrons around the nucleus are not things, or even points, but waves ensphering it.  Sages know this intuitively, which is why they say “All is well”; for they are That.   The human worldview, like music in the grooves of a flat disk, perceives what begins and ends, and must take the sage’s view on trust until the limited perception “dies”.

Nature is full of allegory:   the section across the tree: concentric ripples of sound, or over water: the vessel which rises from the potters’ wheel: the spiral of seasons and orbits.   The clean section across a tree is itself artificial, conforming to human tools. The faculty is specialised, and yet it still obeys the ripple form.

Awareness in the Fourth State alone unchanges. The disciple of life has no access to it through the normal senses, and so in its presence, he sleeps, he “dies”, it is night to him.

fool fence

In the ancient world, the physical catalepsy, through which the divine bird flew free of the mortal frame, is a conditional form of enlightenment.   Advaita teachings call it “nirvikalpa samadhi”: the bird flies free but then returns to ignorance.   The Sun is hid again in the night, and becomes a memory.   In unconditioned illumination, no catalepsy of the body is necessary.   The sage moves easily as air with his environment.   He or she is the SUN. In all their atoms, they are and know the source, as simply as the stars.

The idea is not the temporal histories and how they might all be filed together on the disk, but what the currencies of mysticism all have in common, free from time; for it is obvious that many rivers within one River flow … from the pregnant void of Source, to the ocean which is itSelf.   Here again, the human view is specialised, seeking in attainment, peace.

The inner Light has no past or future.   Maybe it is a musical chord of kalpas, ever present.

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Bull near the Sea

July 2011

The foregoing was an exploration, turning up from the subconscious field, spontaneous references to ears, hearing and speech.   The title, Why Does Isis Have Horns? delivered to me, the Taurus symbol … in which the Moon (High Priestess) is exalted.   This means, that when the Moon is going through Taurus, the tidal fertile function is supreme, in nature and humanity.

The Moon’s actual ruling sign is Cancer – the sensitive shoreline, the rhythm of the tides, the breath and endochrine system.   When the Moon is in the Earth-sign Taurus, the tide deposits the fruits of earth on fertile ground.

Taurus’s planetary ruler is Venus – attraction, affinity, passion, the laws of gravity.   With reference to hearing and speech, Taurus is assigned to the faculty of hearing, and to the throat – which I was not aware of, at the time of writing.

So sea birds follow the plough – the upturned furrows of earth – to feast.

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Seagulls and plough - woodcut by Tunnicliffe

Seagulls and plough – woodcut by Tunnicliffe

 

FOOTNOTES
[1] A Child’s Garden of Verses, R.L.Stevenson
[2] Ancient name for Egypt: KEMET, meaning black land – Alchemy – the Raven’s Wing

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

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Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of Chandra, the Moon – card 18

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This has a “sub-plot”.  Gautam Sachdeva (the publisher) on his return from a pilgrimage to the Cathars in southern France, requested some information on Archangel Michael, which Jane provided (see below).

As Rohit calls card 18 “the bad boy of Indian mythology” it seems highly appropriate to match Chandra with the Guardian Angel!

In the western Tarot, the Moon card rules embodiment, cycles of cell renewal and repair through sleep;  and cycles also of our past lives.  It has a wave pattern, because the path of evolution proceeds in waves.   But the Moon is also associated to the personal ego.   Archangel Michael guards this domain and “the path of honesty” to the transpersonal Self.  So it is timely to insert an article about Michael, in the process.  As the correspondence following it shows, Gautam was getting some awakenings from his soul’s history.

Energetically speaking, our cross cultural enterprise is particularly rich, under the aura of Soma Chandra (nectar of the Moon).  Guides and archetypes of our journey unveil themselves, as the story goes on.

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Image

Chandra-soma, Jyotish – an early and more classic version of this deity.  He carries a lily and a mace, and the chariot wheels are Yantras or visual mantras.  The horses are the nectar from his lotus throne.

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Arcanum 18, from Jane’s Hermetic deck

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Verse by AJ/JA

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Rohit Arya’s Notes:

“The available myths are sparse and few in number.  They seem to have been written by people who did not like this particular godform very much.  It would seem the ancient observers of the skies did not like this waxing and waning, regarding it as something sneaky in a celestial, and well worth watching with a wary eye.

“The important intervention of the Moon was noticing Rahu and Ketu (North and South Nodes/ecliptic) attempting to steal Amrita, the gods’ nectar of immortality, and warning Vishnu about it.  In return, he and the Sun got the unrelenting hostility of those malevolent beings who periodically attempt to swallow them whole – but they always emerge from the eclipse, because the attackers have only immortal heads, the bodies beneath them having been cut off.

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Rahu Jyotish, the Moon’s North Node – his left hand holds Smar-hara Yantra, the remover of desire

Image 

Ketu Jyotish, the Moon’s South Node:  letting go.  The moon’s Nodes are the antipodeal points where Moon’s orbit around the earth crosses Earth’s orbit around the Sun.  When these are aligned, earth, sun, moon, as happens twice a year, there is during that fortnight, a lunar (full moon) eclipse and a solar (new moon) eclipse.

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Rohit continues: 

“The most unpleasant myth about Chandra is when he forced himself upon Mamata(or Tara), the wife of his elder brother and guru Brihaspati (Jupiter), and made her pregnant.  The son so born from this rape was the planet Budha (Mercury).  It would seem that he used a mixture of charm and psychological dominance to keep the poor woman quiet, and only broke his silence when the child proved to be one of exceptional good fortune, which he was not going to miss out on, being the father.

“To make matters worse, he assembled an armada of allies to back his claim, mostly sages with jealous spite against Brihaspati, and all the denizens of the Dark side of hindu mythology  – Asuras, Danavas and so on.  An infuriated Siva attacked all of them, and even temporarily slew Chandra before restoring him to life, and having the crescent Moon a permanent ornament on his own forehead.  Chandra’s luck as always, saw him through, and he even got the child.

“This myth is a subconscious acknowledgement of the dark side of the moon in psychological terms – charm and beauty mixed up with deceit and willfulness, and a heedless disregard for consequences or the feelings of others.  Chandra was punished by being permanently excluded from heaven, and having to reside amongst the stars.

“However, the old texts say that ‘if a person is born under Soma or Chandra, he will have many friends, will possess elephants, horses and palanquins;  be honourable and powerful;  will live on excellent food, and rest on superb couches.’  Being in some versions born from the ocean, he is regarded as the brother of Lakshmi, goddess of fortune;  but she too is famously capricious and fickle in doling out good luck.  The Chandravanshi Rajputs claim to be a lunar race directly descended from the Moon.

“I would just suggest making the face not too pleasant, for the Moon is an ambivalent card as well as character, exceedingly charming but also capable of great misbehaviour and trouble making, as the myths are only too clear in informing us.  The misunderstandings, strife, confusions and doubts that assail us under the Moon card’s influence – it is not a totally positive card.

“..We have a paradox basically.  High honours and luck, as well as lechery and lunacy.  I had thought to avoid this by stressing the old Vedic god Soma aspect of the Moon, but even he had a problem in preferring his wife Rohini above the rest of his 33 wives, all sisters, and incurring the curse of his father-in-law – which explains the waxing and waning of the Moon.

“So it would seem that he is a deeply attractive and elegant form of god, riding the gazelle, but albeit dangerous and capable of springing a nasty surprise or two.  He is more like an old Sumerian god, capable of blessing and blighting – and both actions are driven by caprice alone.”

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Jane’s Notes:

This analysis suggests the Moon’s paradoxical character, as masque of appearances, healing light, romance, persona and – in the cultural context – the leading entity in Indian astrology.

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Correspondence:  Gautam – 11 October 2002

“Hi Jane, greetings from a really hot Bombay.  The weather is now 5 degrees over the usual.  Hopefully, things should start cooling down from November.

“Out of personal interest, I’m looking for any input on Archangel Michael.  Rohit was explaining to me how the Ace of Swords was a symbol of Michael.  Did you ever cover this subject, or do a related painting or the like?

“Yes, it’s amazing the Major Arcana are moving towards completion.  Do you suggest we do our corrections now, or wait till we proceed with the full deck?  I have printed out the cards to an actual size forma, and will mail you a set.  A long road ahead, but it’s been a great journey so far, thanks to yourself and Rohit.  It’s a miracle how the universe orchestrates things.   Have a good weekend – warm regards, Gautam.

“PS – do you have msn messenger?  This way we can chat real time, or get a webcam – even better!”

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Archangel Michael ’92  “– after a reproduction of St Michael by Memlink, on a record sleeve of organ music by Messiaen

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Correspondence:  Jane – October 2002

Dear Gautam and Rohit – Archangel Michael, in Kabbalah, is Captain of the Hosts between cosmic evil and cosmic good.  Behind and above him is the Lord’s Name, Adonai.  Under him is Sandalphon, Archangel of planet Earth.  Michael holds a central position in the Tree of Life – he is its consciousness or beauty – and is in touch with every other part of it.  In the western Tarot, he is depicted as the angel in Temperance, balancing the essences of alchemic fire and water.  He has one foot on the ground of his own world, and the other is dipped into a pool which is the ‘watery’ human psyche, or astral plane.

Michael rules the region to the south, the fire.  He carries a lance of flame.  His face like the sun, is too bright to behold.  He has a winged aura of gold and salmon pink.  He looks after musicians and all forms of music – this means the gandharvas too – and is especially benevolent to cats from tigers to tabbies, in the animal kingdom.

Here is my understanding:

Michael is also, in western iconography, the arch slayer of dragons.  This means the dragon or ley-line of earth – the subtle current through the meridians of body and psyche.  He is probably the patron of acupuncturists.  Everywhere at power spots or dolmens in southern England, are old shrines to Michael and Mary.  These are outcrops of the secret dragon fire, and they now have churches built on them, or old towers.

The mythological Michael slew dragons that pestered humanity;  but there is also a deeper meaning.  He represents the capacity to look directly into one’s own Shadow, or unresolved Serpent powers, to  tap their source and release them creatively – in other words, to master the inner daemons through awareness or Self-enquiry. The Knights of the Temple when building cathedrals of the Gothic Art, used this alchemic knowledge along ancient ‘dragon’ meridians in earth, to raise up mass (stone) into Light (the winged arch).  They harnessed Baphomet, the creative aspect of the Devil (Tarot card 15) to transform densities, and to temper the ascending and descending force:  evolution/involution.  Baphomet is a code word whose latin, read backwards, becomes Templi Omnium Hominum Pacis Abbas – Priest of the Temple of Peace for all Humanity.  They looked Baphomet in the eye.  They were Initiates and knew what they were doing, but their Order became wealthy and a threat to the Church, which accused them of worshipping Satan.  The Church witch-hunted and burned them all.

The Templars were an enigmatic order.  Many historians link them to the Crusades:  their vow to guard the routes of pilgrimage was variously interpreted.  After the Templars were destroyed, the Black Death ravaged Europe.  The Cathedrals – not all of which had been completed –  were regarded as sanctuaries.  The black death couldn’t enter – it flowed around them.  From the human compost of the black death was seeded and grew the flower which became the Renaissance.

The Cathedrals in France are each a star in the Virgo constellation as reflected in the ground.  Their positions on the map suggest this.  That is the link of Michael and Maria.   Michael is the guardian of the initiate – the celestial sky –  and Maria is the purity of the receiving ground.

The whole thing is much older than Christianity.  It was alive in ancient Egypt, with Osiris/Isis.  As the elder Egyptian and Vedic civilizations corresponded, it has Indian roots also.  In the new Cathedrals, in the Middle Ages, the Mysteries were celebrated;  the bishops led the sacred dances.  There were no statues or depictions of crucifixion inside them, because they stood for the Living or Resurrected Christ.   The magnificent carvings of the guardians are on the porches and exterior walls, like the crusted stone of a geode.   The interior space and sacred proportion raised the entering soul to a higher, deeper level.  The root is the shoot, both ways – deep foundations were needed to support the mass of stone in flight.  Thus we stand tall;  thus we turn within.   Such is Michael Archangel.   Light entered through a prism of specially prepared alchemic glass windows, illumining the interior with a rainbow colour spectrum.

(Research, The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral by Louis Charpentier, published by Research Into Lost Knowledge Organization – RILKO – a fascinating book.)

Michael in the western Tarot Temperance, has a rainbow over him, to depict – like the Templars’ alchemic glass – the refracting of the One into seven tones of light.  In the Rider-Waite decks, this is a partially concealed secret; the rainbow is substituted by iris flowers; Iris was the goddess of the rainbow.   In my Hermetic deck illustration (see Mother Ganga in the Sacred India Tarot, and Anandaymayi Ma)  the rainbow materializes to irises by the Archangel’s feet, and a radiance around his crown.

In general, we see that Michael holds the balance of forces back and forth over long historical periods.  He is the guiding power behind humanity’s better nature, and is its greatest warrior.  But the faculty I associate with him is Patience.  Like a real warrior, he strikes us rightly at the right time.  He oversees excess and the aesthetic control of his fiery realm – as you can see, with his vessels of equilibrium.   This archetype in our lives, gives us long cycles to balance and hold in check.  Where this comes together with Mother Ganga in our present work, is the sense of always backing upstream to Source.   The holy river carries all destinies in her current from the sky.

(And in the present context, accompanying SITA 18, The Moon, this essay on Michael is another view on the embodiment process, which The Moon regulates.)

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And re the Ace of Swords/your question:  Michael is often depicted carrying Sword and Scales.  In my understanding, the Ace of Swords refers to Destiny.  In my cultural context, and in Alfred Douglas’s interpretation, the Ace of Swords means ‘faculty of thought’.   This is a destructive card if reversed.  Power abused or mis-used, results in “restriction imposed by force or fear;  injustice;  the usurping of Divine authority by human willfulness.”

The Sword is in the deep past, for resolution.  Perhaps it is transpersonal, and means “destiny” … “Victory, the operation of irresistible force – the symbol of Divine justice and authority, the forging of strength in adversity – the faculty of thought.  This card indicates that all enterprises will succeed, despite apparently overwhelming odds.  The start of progress which cannot be halted or diverted.  Necessary change:  a breaking down in order that something better might be built.  Freedom resulting from the removal of restraints.” (Alfred Douglas)

It suggests the Executive of Divine authority, which Great Michael is.  He looks like the sun.  No power of darkness can withstand his gaze.  So your Ace of Swords may symbolize his way of action:  a single Sword held in stillness.

I did some work inspired by this in the past, and wrote a sort of book about it, still waiting to be typed – (now competed:  The Masters’ Eye 2011).   Interestingly, your email about Michael and Ace arrived just when I was writing again about Michael in my journal, as he came up in our Kabbalah group discussion.

I shall be resuming Moon, Sun etc, tomorrow.  Yes I think it a good idea to do all the detail adjustments when the Major Arcana are completed, and before we start the Minor.   SELF ENQUIRY got printed a fortnight ago – I don’t think I sent you a copy yet.  It contains Rohit’s article on Yama and David Frawley’s article on Kali, but not the illustrations!

Warm regards, Jane

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Correspondence, Gautam Sachdeva -17 October 2002

“Hi Jane – well received.  Was almost like a thesis on the same – will absorb it all at the weekend.  Thanks a ton!   Gautam.”

Correspondence: Jane – 21 October 2002

“Dear Gautam, I’ve been a bit delayed last week, so I’m starting Moon this week instead.  I shall proceed as per my earlier drawing of Chandra, and Rohit’s instructions, but I’d also like a little of Rohit’s mythology.  How long is your website closed for?  Is it possible to send me a page on Chandra? Glad you got the Michael – did it come in the attachment?  I don’t know yet if the attachment is working on this address, as they’ve messed about with it recently.”

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Image

Chandra, Jyotish drawing  (in “Astrology of the Seers” by Vamadeva Shastri/ Frawley

Correspondence: Gautam – 21 October 2002

“Hi Jane – will send u an article.  I spoke with Rohit on the same.  I don’t think there is anything on indiayogi.com on Chandra, though the site should be up by tomorrow.   Michael came through your private address.” 

“Rohit and I are brainstorming on a book about Krishna, in a very modern context – in the sense of how we can apply it to today’s man and living – he will prepare a concept note for the same – I will send it to you – I want it to be a small format book, something the size of ‘who moved my cheese’ – so it’s fast to read, easy to pick up, and good to gift.

“Want to be in on the same?  Could be a fun cross-cultural exercise, and may turn out to be really unique.  I guess you can decide once you see the concept note.  The closes I can think of is ‘Jesus CEO’, but of course we won’t follow that format.  Hope all else is well.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

 

Correspondence:  Gautam – 29 October 2002

Your article was fascinating.  I also shared it with my friend who recently traveled to Mont St Michel in France, dedicated to Michael.  The Ace of Swords is a card I regularly pull out in Tarot readings done by my mom or Rohit … and that is what prompted Rohit to mention to me that he felt there was some sort of connection.

“I also feel strongly connected with the Joan of Arc energy for some reason, and she too was guided by the Archangel.   So strange, all this … especially for one sitting in India!

“Thanks for the Self Enquiry received yesterday – Rohit is coming over today, and will show it to him.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

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SITA 18:  Chandra Soma

Jane’s Notes (2010)

Acknowledging the suggested sibling link of Chandra and Lakshmi, in both these cards – 18 and 3 – a landscaped Sri Chakra Yantra represents the fortunate and wish fulfilling jewel which they capriciously bestow.

The Sri Chakra Yantra interweaves 5 descending female triangles (Shakti) with 4 ascending male triangles (Siva).  Their nuptial union sustains a centrifugal ripple-mandala pattern of 42 triangles, like the rings across a tree’s stem.  This map of the cosmos – a spider’s web of time – is invisibly projected from the central point or bindhu, and is what we handle and perceive.   The immortality of the exhaustless treasure is in the Now, around which all mythologies spin their histories.

In SITA card 3, Lakshmi the Empress gives birth to the creation.

In SITA card 18, Chandra seems to both invite and guard access to the creation.

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SITA 3:  Lakshmi, the Empress

24 October 2002 – A Landscape, with Michael’s Signs, under Chandra

“…On the bridge over the little river, I washed the heavy clay from my sandals.  Small horses were in the field, loose, one of them shining silver white, like a unicorn.  The river is crystal clear and quiet over bright brown stones and silt.  Upstream was sky’s brightness reflected.  Nearer it becomes an azure blue – Beriah, the World of Creation.  Then there is the world of Forms to our eyes.  For a long time, we watched sunlight’s quivering fish scales on the ruffles of the wind, and their movement into and across each other – seeing the universal lace unchanging into vesica pisces, ever renewed and carrying little black holes or stars to be.  Where currents met, the dimension changed, the depth of lights in crossing leapt into the eye like a hologram, and blurred its sureness.   Then as Assiyah, the material World, we retrieved our feet and earth, grass and stone:  the bridge.  We flanked a bramble hedge and came upon the shy, ancient sunburst of St John the Baptist in Little Missenden:  a Saxon church.

“How sweet this air inside is, said Peter Brennan as we pushed open the door into the dark coffered silence of its ancient arches.  It is a cave.  On the walls they have found and cleaned medieval fresco fragments of St Christopher and the Child, the ordeals of St Catherine, and a celtic crucifixion.  We spent a long time in there.  I found a Challen baby-grand piano, unlocked and in perfect condition:  the first phrases of Beethoven’s Pathetique slow movement – the only thing I know by heart.  In the church it is so silent, in the embrace of its thick old walls you cannot hear the road.  It is very, very quiet and still.  We discovered in the altar alcove, wooden sculptures of the four Archangels, quite recently done.  One of them was hidden by a banner.  When I looked behind, there was Archangel Michael – but he carried in his right hand the Sword and in his left hand the Scales!  He holds the Sword upright, but in a curious way, by the blade.

“There were stain-glass windows painted in the 1930s by persons who know.  They had the Four Worlds, the unchanging procession of saints, the Word that all in heaven and earth must change, the carnage on earth that this entails – the window commemorated Dunkirk – Isaiah’s lions with lambs in the earthly paradise, and the Holy Jerusalem far above, depicted as cathedral towers and gothic spires.  In them a bell is drawn, the eternal bell whose note the Angel in Beriah sings in earth’s atoms.  The bell in the squat heavy tower struck throatily the hour of four, with a great thudding of the rope and pulley.   Peter read that one of these bells rang at Chaucer’s wedding – or his birth?   Think of it – a thousand years of that vibration it has stood, and stands.

“The pub was closed, but we admired the ducks on the river who mobbed us quackingly, hoping for scraps of steak and chips, and we found a little shop.  Peter bought two bacon pies, crisp and golden, to eat on our feet, and I bought two crunchies.  The great desire of these pies and crunchies is to become Kabbalists.  The great desire of Kabbalists is to let the Holy One eat us.  The Companions of the Light come on our walk and get cross like children if we go in the wrong direction.  So we climbed with great enjoyment for the pies and crunchies, a drove-road up over the fields, tunneled with alder, and through it the sinking sun flickered and splashed with pleasure in our pies, our eyes and crunchies.  Underfoot sparkled the olive, russet, indigo and earth confetti of fallen leaves aglow:  the cool smell of the ground and its small sharp stones.”

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Arcanum Eighteen – an early interior journey looking up the Sefiroth of the Tree of Life.  In the Moon’s crescent are the enigmatic faces of our guides.   The path takes us through the gate of the body (two towers, the ends of a fence) into the landscape of our dreams at night.  Beyond yet from within it, rises the sun, our Self.

The pool here, is as the same as the one which the woman in the Star, card 17, gazes into.  We see with her the evolution of Life in all its forms.

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Rohit

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga

Jane

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.