Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Enochian Alphabet: An Interpretation as Ideograms


The Enochian alphabet captures the interest of many magicians, and though it is sometimes treated simply as the way one writes words in the Enochian language, some have sought to explore its own internal properties, seeking to find in it a magical alphabet akin to the Hebrew alphabet.  (For those not steeped in Western esoterica, a magical alphabet is a set of symbols to which one attributes a variety of metaphorical layers, created for the purposes of taxonomy and for the understanding of words in terms of their letters' symbols.)

The best-known attempt with the Enochian alphabet is that of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  The G.D. approach is to attribute the sixteen figures of geomancy and the five elements (the four classical elements plus spirit) to the twenty-one letters.  This approach has the advantage that the elements are quite well-understood in Western occultism, and one can easily come to grips with the geomantic figures through their astrological associations.  This allows one to easily interpret Enochian words as magical formulas (albeit in a magical language that doesn't distinguish verbs and adverbs).  However, the results of this approach seem somewhat arbitrary.  Further, this approach reduces the Enochian alphabet to basically astrological language in the same way that many magicians would balk at if it were done with the Hebrew alphabet.

Even worse, magically speaking, such an approach flies directly in the face of good practice as understood by chaos magicians.  If you're using a magical language which purports to be the first language, you can expect a greater degree of success with it if you treat it as the first language (not because it necessarily is, but because that's how the system was designed).  Rather than interpreting the Enochian alphabet as a particular way of arranging subsequent ideas, the best of modern magical symbology that we can hope to find in Enochian are precursors to more recent systems' contents.  While someone who approaches the issue from a historical perspective may find the fulfillment of their expectations by attributing to the Enochian letters various astrological and alchemical concepts familiar to Dr. John Dee, some of the system's potential for use in magic would be lost in the process.

How, then, are we to find the meanings of the Enochian letters without looking for a later isomorphic system?  With a bit of historical leeway, we can say that the magical alphabet based on Hebrew derives significantly from the meanings of the letters in their pictographic origins.  The letters' names are words which start with those letters, and the letters' symbols are pictographs for those words.  These concepts were used as the basis for the wealth of meanings attributed to the letters - it's quite possible that the astrological symbolism given to the letters in Sepher Yetzirah came later.

However, we can't trace the Enochian letters back to pictography through existing knowledge of them.  Even more relevant, from a magical perspective, the Enochian language was used to create the world, so while the letters may resonate with certain things in the world which particularly express them, their fundamental indications would not be objects.  Instead, an approach to the letters as ideograms is in order.  If successful, such an approach would not only lay bare the words of the Enochian language as formulae, but it would open modern magicians to an entirely new magical alphabet, and perhaps a new way of looking at the structure of the world.

The Enochian alphabet, as first given in Liber Logaeth on page 57.
One easy thing to notice about the Enochian alphabet is that it consists of three sets of seven; this is highlighted in its presentation in Liber Logaeth.  Because of this, we can reasonably expect each letter to share octave-like relationships with two other letters.  We can't, however, insist that these relationships will be in linear order (B going with M going with X, etc) because there may be a hidden structure within the order of the alphabet; such a structure would likely pertain to the Sigillum Dei Aemeth given that both have a septenary structure.

The version of the alphabet used in this exposition is that given in Liber Logaeth, on the basis that the alphabet was first transcribed there, and since (to my knowledge) there is no mention in Dee's journals of the angels revising the alphabet, any alterations in the later forms can be chalked up to transcription errors or intentional changes on the part of humans.  Note that O (the second letter on the bottom row) consists of two lines that almost join but do not, and that K (the second letter on the top row) is one single connected figure, rather than two disjoined figures as it is sometimes displayed.

In what follows, I'll be drawing connotations from these glyphs among the Major Arcana of the Tarot.  This is done specifically with the Atus of Tahuti given in Aleister Crowley's masterpiece in mind.  Rather than to reduce the letters to those cards, the purpose of these connotations is to help cement in the mind the new content given here by connecting it to the known.  The attributions to the Tarot are by no means exhaustive; indeed, these attributions leave a lot of room for personal elaboration.  That said, let us begin.

This letter signifies the /b/ sound.  It resembles the astrological glyph of Aries, and the G.D. attributions treat it as Aries through the tetragram Puer.  It's also interesting to note that the first letter of the Enochian alphabet corresponds phonetically with the first letter in the book of Genesis.  The fact that Aries starts the Zodiac and 'Berashith' begins the book of Genesis reinforces the idea of beginnings already attached to this letter due to its position.  At the bottom, there is a point of bifurcation or joining (depending on which way the glyph flows).  The right branch ends in a concave shape; on the right branch, we have a straight line.  This joining of the phallus and kteis is reminiscent the Greek myth regarding the origin of human love: in an Edenic condition, human beings had two heads, both sets of genitals, four arms, four legs, and so on.  Fearing their power, Zeus (or some other Demiurgic figure) sundered each human in two.  Now humans spend their lives seeking the other half of their souls, yearning to reunite with their perfect complement.  The Hebrew word Elohim is used to refer to divinity many times in the book of Genesis - and it has feminine root with a masculine ending.
Regardless of political agendas and semantic spooks, this is also a glyph of conception as the beginning of life, where the masculine and feminine forces come together.  In the Tarot, Atu VI in its pairing of dualities, I in its hermaphroditic grace, and 0 in its unconditional arising, make good touchstones.  Note that the glyph goes both ways, both as merging and as diverging, as is appropriate for a glyph that indicates the oneness of dualities.

This letter signifies the /k/ sound.  We might say that the wavy line at the right flowers forth from straight the line at the left, or that a line connects the wavy and straight lines together.  The slight bump on the left side of the left line (towards the top-middle) may in fact be an extension of this middle line.  In Alan Watts' terminology, we can think of the straight line as 'prickles' and the wavy line as 'goo' (Watts refers to 'prickles' people, who try to understand things in terms of what they're made of, and 'goo' people, who try to understand things in terms of how they fit into the whole).  So, biologically, we can see a link to the corpus callosum, which links the two hemispheres of the brain.  Turn the glyph 90 degrees anticlockwise and you have a tree, which bridges the ecological cycles underground and above-ground in a similar way.  On the other end of the earlier bifurcation, with the wavy form emanating from the straight line rather than just connecting to it, we have a symbol for pregnancy; in that case the connecting line is the umbilical cord.  More generally, we have a glyph of something not complete in itself, but which can come to completion by sprouting forth: even Πριαπος is not complete until he looses his seed.   In light of the gestation symbol, we can also see the glyph as the present giving forth into a branching future.  Turned around, it serves just as good a symbol of ancestry, of the process by which events converge to yield the present.  Both the past and the future are extensions of ourselves, and we create them using our minds in order to operate as beings not merely in time but of time.  Atu III for the womb, XII for the womb's inhabitant hanging from the umbilical cord, II for the mediation of the divine, and XI for the marriage of Βαβαλον and Χαος.

This letter signifies the /g/ sound, and in some pronunciation schemes, the /dzh/ (English j) sound.  Aside from is very strong resemblance to the letter G in the Latin alphabet, its most obvious feature is probably its spiral shape.  One is reminded of the spiraling ram's horns which, as they grow, maintain the same center of mass due to their expression of the golden proportion.  That proportion occurs everywhere in nature, from the petals of flowers to the shape of the pine cone found on the tip of every thyrsus, to the human skeleton.  It's not only mathematically beautiful, but very sound engineering for structures that grow organically.  Thus, we have the ideas of growth and beauty associated with this letter.  The spiral, infinitely extended, is also perhaps the simplest fractal - at any scale, the same mathematical relations apply.  With the principles of growth and fractality in conjunction, a wonderful modernization of the preformationism implied in י and its corresponding Atu, IX, is found - just as the Hebrew alphabet is generated from י, this letter is the fractal seed which spirals out when planted to bring all under the principles of organism.  That the central seed is buried beneath n layers of spiraling indicates that this order in nature is hidden rather than overt - that the whole visible spiral might, from another perspective, seem just the seed or a part thereof shows how pervasive this order is.  The rounding motion likens this glyph to Atu X (but as cyclic progress rather than cyclic repetition), and the fractality reminds of the as above-so below connection bridged by V: this is the order through which the Hierophant worships.  The organic balance offers VIII a new set of scales, and the order radiates outward in joy like XIX.

This letter signifies the /d/ sound.  It resembles an eclipse in the process of applying or separating.  Thus we see liminality, the suspension of the natural order to which one is accustomed so that transformation can be born.  The glyph also resembles a scarab if turned sideways.  Khepera, the Egyptian scarab god, rolls the Sun underneath the night sky to ready it for the next dawn, and the god's name is closely connected to an Egyptian word for transformation.
(From Wikipedia:)
Kheper-i kheper kheperu, kheper-kuy, m kheper n khepri kheperu m sep tepy.
“I became, and the becoming became. I became by becoming the form of Khepra, god of transformations, who came into being in the First Time. Through me all transformations were enacted.” 
 Turned around the other way, we have the image of a vast pregnant abdomen with the legs spread below it - preparing to give forth with birth.  Easily we can find a common line between the fetal experience of contractions with birth impending (Stanislav Grof's second perinatal matrix) and the apocalyptic sense of experiencing an eclipse.  As transformation, this glyph pertains to those beginnings which are also ends, and vice versa (the middle line is shared between the two semi-circles).  The glyph is also the cauldron, where heat ripens the contents and mixes them by convection.  Atu XIII is nicely encapsulated here, the abdomen of III is featured strongly, and the mixing of XIV.  The shifts implied in the current version of XX are also relevant.

This letter signifies the sound /f/.  It looks a lot like a dragon or an arrow.  It breathes fire upon all and dances in the flames.  Not only is it the primal dragon Tiamat, it is the dragon-turtle Bahamut upon whose back rests the world.  It is Χαος with Βαβαλον astride, and Fafnir lunging forth from his hoard.  As an arrow, its dual crossing lends it quite strongly to the glyph of Sagittarius, The far-reaching intuitive fiery nature of that sign fits well here, though Atu XIV is far less appropriate, unless the cauldron is seen boiling over.The two lines also fit with the birth symbolism from the previous letters, being the cervix and the labia.  Rage, volcanic ecstasy, and Plutonic-Dionysian themes are thus suggested.  Being shoved through a vagina is a very instinctual process, and the will to power leads us as we grow out of successively larger, tightening wombs.  The glyph is very martial, being also a pike or a spear held in two hands.  The pike, used to unseat and impale oncoming horsemen, suggests using the momentum of one's obstacles to overcome them.  Similarly, the child in the birth canal is more being thrust forth than thrusting herself forth.  The spear, first made for hunting, suggests Artemis (and thus Sagittarius again), and of course the arrow springs forth from the tension in the bow, not by being hurled.  The dragon that disdains updrafts wastes energy flying.  The momentum of VII, the primal fury of XI, the implacable inertia of X, the explosion of XX, and the power of IV are all indicated here.

This letter signifies the sound /a/.  In this glyph, we see multiplicity emerging from bifurcation, with paths branching off and converging.  This is the only glyph in the alphabet to contain a cross consisting of straight lines, suggesting an intersection between planes or an orientation (as a compass does).  So we have a world of bending, branching paths which interacts with a more straightforward world (the lower line that goes from up-left to down-right), and the intersection of the two guides us through the branching world.  Sounds exactly like the way that the linear world of perinatal experience helps form our path through life in Grof's ideas, and this orientation process serves a similar role in personality integration as his fourth perinatal matrix.  The paths of the letter resemble the set of all creodes, the totality of nature's habits seen as developmental pathways.  This is the Aether, Yetzirah, the foundation of the material world which contains the infinite set of possibilities for it.  Since it contains all possibilities, it contains no actualities; Yetzirah is to Assiah as Ain Soph Aur is to the ten Sephiroth of the Tree of Life.  So this glyph is the world behind the world, which occultists and the dreaming explore and which m-theorists pray exists.  The G.D. attribution to ו via Amissio is justified through ו's role in the Tetragrammaton as the Son, prince of Yetzirah.  Atu 0 is conveyed by this letter by the fool's position at a precipice, as is the way XIX's sun shines over all, and matrix of possibility in X - though this letter speaks from its axle, not its periphery.

This letter indicates the sound /e/.  Of all the Enochian letters, this is probably the simplest besides the last.  It's a pair of perpendicular line segments joined at the upper right, similar to ד in Hebrew.  It also strongly resembles the previous letter, with the cross and branching formations removed  This limitation to one path indicates that this is a glyph for the material world.  The letter looks like the axes of a two-dimensional Cartesian grid, bringing with it the idea of space.  If, in fractal fashion, we treat each line as the letter itself, we arrive at two pairs of mutually perpendicular axes; i.e.: four dimensions of space-time.  Further understanding of the glyph can be gleaned by treating it as a pathway.  Energy moves in one direction initially, but emerges with none of its push in the initial direction, instead flowing in a way completely orthogonal to its original direction.  Thus, it indicates a transformative function, mediating a force on one plane to a force on a different plane.  Rather than being an extrusion of the last letter, this glyph is both a limited case of the possibilities entailed in the former, and the yoke that allows such cross-sections to be made; that is, it is both what is behind the Gates of Matter and those gates themselves.  It indicates the self-creating material universe that takes inspiration from greater transfinities, Σοφια, the decision made in light of possible outcomes, which allows "outcome" to mean anything at all.  Atu XXI as the World, XVII as a mediator of forces, XV as the Gate of Matter, III as the Door into being, and the rim of the wheel in X.

This letter, first of the second heptad, is pronounced /m/.  Anatomically, it strongly resembles a pair of lips and, simultaneously, a pair of breasts.  The orality and oceanic infant consciousness is thus connotated.  Seen from the side, it also resembles waves.  However, since the glyph also resembles a buttocks, the glyph can't be limited to the oral side of youth.  Instead, it indicates the entire Freudian oral-anal polarity, pitting the shouted voice of authority against the siren's song of comfort-seeking.  Rather than dealing with the sides of this polarity separately, here we have the coin taken as a whole.  The shape of the glyph thus reflects the raising of a child, with two parental curves and a young central point.  With the mammary/gulteal symbolism, we see how the child is nestled/sent forth by the parents.  'Passed down with mother's milk,' of course, is the ancestral memory, the familial unconscious, though to make it the role of one parent alone to pass this on is to demean both.  This letter shows no member of the family more than another, but rather indicates the family unit.  So too it indicates the atom, the fabric of the world just as the family is the fabric of society.  So too, the twin strands of DNA and the path between them that conducts light.  In no case does this letter indicate what is conducted; in all cases it indicates what conducts.  Atu IV, children included, makes a nice representation for this letter, as do the parental pairs - II and IX to birth a god, IV and XVII to birth a lover, V and III to birth an artist.

This glyph is pronounced /i/ or /j/ (that is, the English y) depending on its place in words.  In it, we have what the last letter transmits, passed from the top line to the bottom.  And what a transmission, the power of which brings the whole universe into harmony and resonance! The musician plays, the weaves travel, the eardrum pulses. The eardrum pulses, the receptors transduce, the brain shivers in pleasure. The adherent takes the bread, blesses it, and holds the body. The apopheniac gazes upon the symbol, finds the principle, and sees it instantiated everywhere. Without this power, the universe would be 1 or ∞; with it, it may frolic as naught and two. Without this power, the one could not adore the many, nor the many the one. It is the power of decoding, by which I translate these letters, the power of encoding by which I transmit these words. By this power calls DNA to the protein, choreographing its dance. By this power knows Helium its noble contentment, and finds Hydrogen its consummation in an equal. The fractal order indicated under /g/ would be defunct without its messenger god /i/, and no priest would prophesy the apocalypse of /d/. /e/ creates the field of play for /i/, and together they love as do Nuit and Hadit. No corner of the universe is so remote that the lineage of this letter cannot reach it. It is ubiquitous and interpenetrating , and even as linguistic consciousness and the internal monologue are created by the power of transmission, they are that power. The third I is distinguished in that it doesn't say "me." Atus IX, XIX, XVII, XX (as Heru), and II all traffic with this letter.

 This letter is pronounced /h/.  Just as the stream of water to the ocean creates valleys and caves, so does the power of the previous letter shape what it passes through.  From the inside, the liaison between the arcs is concealed behind the line their union forms, but when the power of this letter is understood, the meeting of the two forces is acknowledged.  Here, apparent opposites make their secret congress.  Thus we have the discreet sex life of the pair in /m/.  Also we have the birth of theory of mind (i.e.: the realization that other people's actions are the result of their own minds), though in others we only have their apparent inputs and outputs.  With theory of mind comes the possibility of deception, just as every shelter is a potential hiding place; with the separate ego comes the possibility of concealment, and vice versa.  Of course, the notion of personal separate existence and theory of mind don't seem to go necessarily in tandem until one notes the secret link between how thought seems from the inside and how it seems from the outside.  Secrecy, of course, is relative - only that which can potentially be known can be secret at all, rather than being simply unknowable.  So this letter pertains to what we hide from ourselves to believe that we understand the world, and to the process of creating perceptual worlds for ourselves through the use of our assumptions.  Belief is the craft of thought, that vast ocean through which we sail.  This glyph signifies the power of the subtle over the manifest.  As sex and the craft of thought, it has ties to Atu VII, also (less strongly, and only the former) to Atu XI, and to XIV.  In the hidden connection of mutually different sets, it pertains to XIII.  As the intermediary between all in the world of duality, it is XV.

This glyph, pronounced /l/, puzzled me for awhile.  In it, we have a binary path encroaching on a circle of undivided substance, or a circle devouring duality, absorbing it into monism.  In either case, this glyph indicates the transformation between duality and unity.  The best anatomical glyph for this process is the optic nerve, whereby the endless light of the world is transduced into something we can make sense of in terms of our perception-conception, which of necessity breaks things into categories.  In that case, it's wort noting that the reality is actually the blank space inside the concave part of the glyph, and the curve itself is the retina, which absorbs this incomprehensibility and communicates something the dualistic mind can make sense of.  Thus, 210 is a numerical articulation of this glyph.  Going the other direction, the formula of ARARITA is disclosed - by pairing each of the ten thousand things with its opposite, we can bring the non-dual truth back into our awareness: All Reflections Are Resolved In The Adept.  There is no bridge shown between monism and nothingness because that bridge is made of nothingness.  This glyph implies VIII in the balancing process, 0 in its indication of nothingness, IV who conquers the world and divides it into boundaries, XII for the immersion in illusion, and especially II.   This letter is a development of the relation between the parts of the previous letter.

This letter indicates /p/.  Here we have the enclosure similar to that of /h/, except that the horizontal lines are at the periphery rather than the center,; what is hidden here is not the convergence of apparent opposites, but the non-identity of an apparent unity.  It indicates an incomplete articulation of the ARARITA expressed in /l/: all observed opposites are indeed reconciled, but this creates a false unity which fails to encompass all - what lies unobserved remains in dichotomy, and because the mark is missed (by taking one's perfectly consistent picture of unity for the world itself), one makes dhyana only upon an idol.  The resemblance between this letter and the Greek Ω is thus made relevant - this letters it an end, but a false end, a dead end.  Here we have shallow holism, that womb-nostalgic perspective which mashes everything together because it doesn't comprehend the order of the universe, rather than fitting it together because ti does.  Holism, of course, is but one of this letter's masks, more generally it is the creation of a purportedly complete picture of the universe based on a small subset of possible data; the trap of this letter is the illusion of completeness that comes with self-contained consistency.  Here lies the 'big' fish who doesn't realize how small his pond is.  This is the letter of false endings, and one of the two deformations of /l/.  Among the Atus, XVI is relevant in that the tower builders took the forces of nature into account, but failed to do so with completeness; graphically it resembles Nuit in XX, who is but a veil for the bornless, and O is also called, in that he wraps himself in a threefold veil such that he knows not where he leaps.

This letter, /q/ (pronounced as a throaty k or as a kw sound depending on idiolect), indicates the second failure of /l/.  While /p/ plunges one into a world of unity propped up by the limitations of any one perspective, /q/ avoids this by a wide stretch: instead of focusing on creating unity for its image of the world, it shapes around itself a world of irreconcilable dichotomy.  Rather than a tent we have a valley, and rather than an enclosure which blends light into shadow and shadow into light, we are cast into the very center of the intercourse between  Yin and Yang (which originally indicated the sunny and shady sides of a mountain).  The world, rather than being a grey place, is a world of qlippothic extremity between light and dark.  Just as /q/ compensates for the debauchery of /p/, so does /p help balance for the decadence of /q/: though the sun shines differently on each side, it is the same fundamental ground of being that makes up the valley.  And in the fractal fashion seen elsewhere in the alphabet, the relation between /p/ and /q/ can be treated in terms of those glyphs.  To /q/ they are most pronouncedly opposite perspectives of which it is unavoidable to take one side or the other (but less obviously they are both ways of organizing perception-conception); to /p/ they are two ways of processing the fundamental unity-dichotomy of reality (to say nothing of its nothingness).  In this regard, the two must be balanced in the harmony of /l/.  Among the Atus, this letter fits nicely with XVIII, that pervasive duality, and with VI as analysis.  In its higher forms it becomes VII, where disparate forces pull in the same direction, and I plays freely in this world of illusion.

This letter is pronounced /n/.  Last of the second heptad, this letter brings the primacy of the last two letters into question.  Showing an arc crossed by an arc, this glyph shows a pair of paths that only cross once, indicating that the two arcs do not enclose an area.  In light of such distinctions, it's clear that all analysis is counterfactual to the extent that it treats the categories it creates as fundamental, and all synthesis is redundant since it's best applied to continent (enclosed) distinctions rather than open ones.  Since the arc does not provide complete division but only partial, this symbol generally applies to the incontinence of apparently real distinctions.  If near death experience accounts are to be believed, this letters is a glyph for dying, as transformation rather than ending.  The various figurative forms of death give us an escape from the traps of /v/ and /q/ into the nonduality-nonunity implied in /l/.  In this defiance of distinction, /n/ is also endless monism rather than the closed monism of /p/; similarly, /n/ contains dualism in its two lines, but they intersect.  Thus, as death/transformation, this letter puts an end to the issues of the second heptad even as it opens the ground for a new transcendent set, even as the perpendicularity of /e/ provided a space for the distinguished polarities of this heptad.  /n/ has ties to XIII for obvious reasons, but the transubstantiation of XVII has its place here too.  XVIII and XIX, together and united, fit as well.

This letter is transcribed as /x/, and presumably pronounced as 'ks' like the English x.  Here we've got a familiar symbol, the perpendicular axis that ended the first heptad, reflected across a vertical line of symmetry (though altered somewhat).  This indicates that the alphabet might be better understood as a reflection across /l/, the middle letter.  Alternately, as this glyph itself indicates, /e/ may be an orthogonal rotation of /x/, with the dot indicating the combination of a particular pair on the axes.  This combination is a refinement of /n/, the last letter: instead of having only one combined pair of points between the axes, all along them potentially combine.  We've moved beyond duality into multiplicity, but 2 remains the door to greater numbers*.  As a result of the pairing, each point on one axis corresponds to every point on the other; thus a surface is enumerated.  The change of order from line to surface casts the previous letter in a new light - it is the equator and meridian of the sphere.  So /n/ remains the symbol of transformation that transcends, but /x/ is the symbol of retroactive transformation, whereby all that has led up to this point is seen as such, rather than as the unfolding of circumstance into who knows what.  A line has no substance - only its angle changes with the shifting of perspective, but a surface can cast as many silhouettes as there are angles of view.  Atu XIV expresses the fullest extent of this integration, VI the loosest.  The mutability over time of XX is pertinent for shifts of perspective; consider also X, which shows different faces from different sides.
*(1*1<1+1, 2*2=2+2, 3*3>3+3, 4*4>4+4, et cetera.  2 is the only number whose addition to itself is equal to its square.)

This letter indicates /o/.  Here we have a pair of arcs (like those in /n/) converging together.  As they get closer together, their trajectories approach one another.  Where the perpendicularity of /x/, /i/, or /e/ suggest the transmutation of one Umwelt or force into another, here we have an approach to fusion suggested.  Astrologically, the resemblance of this glyph to the symbol of the moon emphasizes the idea of undifferentiated communion.  However, when we look closely at the letter as printed in Logaeth (and copied here), it becomes clear that the two arcs do not actually touch.  Thus, rather than a transitional connection between ideas or planes, we have an infinitesimal approximation of two ideas in one another.  Of course, a convergence to infinitesimal approximation implies a divergence to infinite distinction if we simply turn the other way.  In no case however, do these arcs intersect; however, they damn well seem that they should on cursory examination, and in that regard the letter seems the opposite of /q/.  So we have the idea of convergence toward fusion, and the idea that nothing actually touches - it can only come infinitely close.  These two ideas themselves come infinitely close to one another without quite touching, and here we find that fusion is not a noun but a verb; that the experience of fusion with myself is as absent as it is irrelevant and redundant.  I can fuse with an aspect of myself, but only as another aspect abstracted from the whole.  In its highest form, the glyph states the twin truth that love is never complete and love is limitless.  Compare with XV (the illusion of separation), XVII (limitless closeness in infinite space), XX/XII (the inescapable womb) and VIII.

This letter indicates /r/.  Enclosure seems foremost when this letter is contrasted with its cousin in form, /m/.  Where, in /m/, we had a balance of the two arcs, the central merger favoring neither over the other, such is not the case here, as seen both in the downward pitch of the center and the thinness of the top of the letter.  This fits nicely with the concept of enclosure: consider the tendency to perceive the figure over the ground in the West, or vice versa as some cross-cultural psychologists claim occurs in the East.  In eaither case a boundary is drawn, and the attention has difficulty straddling it.  Thus the glyph indicates the ego, which exists separately (or appears to do so) due to the habits of the attention; contrast again with the Nephesh of /m/; so also is it a glyph for the Solar System, to which we occultists generally pay more attention than to the rest of the galaxy (which is, at the end of it, still another enclosure), especially when the membrane of electromagnetic bubbles surrounding it (recently discovered by the Voyager probe) is included in the picture.  So also, on a medium scale, is the atmosphere of our planet an enclosure.  Of course, there are Yetzieraic enclosures at the collective level too, so this letter has some in common with /p/.  It is the process by which paradigms are created, rather than the state of being trapped inside them, once made.  Both are the result of selective attention, but different facets of it.  XIX is quite apt here, but the encompassing arms of III and the lines carved IV's legacy also pertain to this letter.  XXI is relevant to some facets of this symbol, as is V as the Ruach.

This letter indicates /z/.  In contrast to /n/, we seem to have a continent distinction here, continuing the permutations of duality in the second two octaves.  Also like /n/, this letter becomes a set of axes when interpreted in a sphere.  We see a polar axis and a rotational axis, where /n/ showed the directions along the surface.  This spinning explains the previous letter's enclosure as orbit, which is just as valid a metaphor for the containment of attention.  The difference is that in /r/ something other than the bound creates the binding; here the bound is self-binding.  Quantum mystics will see reference to the way quanta can interfere with themselves by creating self-contained virtual quanta.  This glyph, as an indicator of the interface between electric and magnetic fields, generally pertains to the way that internal processes can create external effects, turning spin into thrust.  It makes a nice reversal of the previous glyph in that regard.  Given that the equator and the poles do not touch, the two lines of this glyph are just as disconnected as those of /o/.  Returning to the idea of this glyph as a distinction, we see the type of distinctions that are actually capable of being continent: spin and poles.  The two directions of spin are mutually arising, as are paired poles; thus we see that distinction serves not to separate, but to orient.  Atu XVII, both in its transmutative properties and as a guide to orientation is relevant here; IV, who conquers and around whom others orient themselves and VI, as twin siblings (mutually arising), are also appropriate.

This letter indicates /u/ or /v/, depending on its position relative to vowels and the speaker's idiolect.  Most notable about this letter is that it consists of two similar (if reversed and magnified) arcs, indicating that that which is above is like that which is below, though after a different fashion.  It also indicates the process of bringing into balanced relation the levels of the soul - just as the Nephesh commands G'uph without controlling it, so is Nephesh brought under the yoke of the Ruach, and so on.  The theme of genuine duality is continued, but here we have consonant harmony in the highest forms, and in the lowest, piercing dissonance (the glyph could be basely interpreted as one of figurative or literal pederasty).  Outside the shells, this glyph indicates the continuity that results from the link between levels of reality.  This is the glyph for Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, of continuity between the human and the daemon.  The perpendicularity at the point of meeting is illustrative: once the (comparatively) lower arc develops to a certain point, further development is not progress but merely change, sidestepping the genuine issues ahead.  In order for further development to take place, a new approach is needed.  Unfortunately, the new approach must be cultivated before it can even reach as far as the approach which has topped out does, but for progress to occur we can't keep endlessly using the same set of glosses.  Atu V is the most apt symbol here - man as a bridge, reaching up.  XII also relates, reaching downward toward the smaller order.  XIX indicates the arcs of this glyph iterated endlessly.

This letter indicates /s/.  In components, we have a line and a cup, like in /b/, the first letter. The line is horizontal here, indicating, rather than the impetus to ascend, the walking stick with which one treads familiar territory, and the height of the line is a result of the taking-in process of the cup.  Together, the two form a point or the crest of a wave.  In /b/, the two emanate from a point, but here they converge into one.  The point is novel to the wand and to the cup: rather than an admixture we have a genuine synthesis, as feminine as the emergence in /b/ was masculine.  This synthesis comes not from the urge to express multiple facets but from the experience of having used those facets in conjunction; the overflowing of a full cup.  The outward-extending-into-continuation of the lines implies that we have one wave along a long, waving system.  Indeed, with the type of synthetic awareness indicated in this glyph, a key mode of thinking is to experience oneself as a periodic entity - no more a privileged force of nature than all other entities, who must also be periodic, but recurring as part of a vaster system than those who exclusively contemplate the finite can imagine.  Here is the fluid in XVII, poured from vessel to vessel - where the woman goes, the fluid is poured, and vice versa.  It is XIV to /b/'s VI.  II's receptivity and IX's cane, together.

The last letter, /t/.  This letter is quite simple, being just a slanting curve, but it is distinguished from the rest of the alphabet in that regard - it is the only glyph that consists of one line without any sharp angles.  With the idea of /s/ as a wave among many, this letter accounts for the endless continuum of waves.  Where the primal beginning, /b/, is a differentiation process (even in conception the blastocyst becomes distinguished from the parents' bodies), /t/, the culmination of /s/, is a unified end; it is also the little death from which /b/ springs.  Like Jormungandr, /t/ wraps around the world, but unlike that serpent, it does so by wrapping around itself, for it is the world, seen without distinction; what besides itself is there for it to wrap around?  On dreams the serpent of no-thing, and so on flow our lives.  This is the way Nuit manifests as Had, and Hadit is the hiding of Nu.  Concavity and convexity can only come conjoined.  Nothing or everything are contained in the distinction drawn by this line.  The slope and curve of the line indicate that it is never fixed, except in that it is fixed to change.  It also has a balanced slope - vertical over horizontal change equals its reciprocal, indicating a balance that emerges from self-symmetry (there being no other, /t/ can only be symmetrical with itself).  The snake in XXI, projecting images of its dream onto the rest of the card.  0 just an instant before it starts.  XIII as continuity veiled in change.  XII as the snake and the projection hanging from it.

These are my current notes regarding the individual meanings of the Enochian letters.  They are not meant to persuade anyone, only to show a path.  The next aim in my work with the alphabet it to find a parsimonious way of determining their octave relations to one another.  In the meantime, it's worth looking at a few Enochian words (picked for the fact that they stick in my mind, not because they show the system in an especially positive light):

PIADPH - indicates an enclosure transmitting over all possible paths a gut-wrenching transformation into a double-bound state of affairs (indicated by PH).  The word means "in the depths of my jaws."
AVAVAGO - indicates a branching series of possibilities reaching far down from the macrocosmic order in order to infinitesimally approach the organic.  The word means "thunders."
ZIR - indicates the spinning energy of contained circumnavigation transmitting into the creation of an enclosure.  The word means "I."
AOEUEAE - indicates a vast, sparse matrix of existent entities, ordered such as to connect their own existence and position with the possibilities of another order of entities.  The word means "stars," and the formula is obvious in light of astrology.
UPAAHI - the word has a symmetrical structure, two As in the middle, two enclosure letters outside them, and two vowels on the outside.  UPA indicates the binding of possibility by the grand fractal order and AHI the as merging into apparent oneness of the potential and the actual (i.e. the process by which the potential rebirths itself from a new vantage by actualizing part of itself), and the word as a whole indicates the combination of the grand container of UPA and the Logos of AHI.  The words means "the highest vessels," and the connection to Binah and Chokmah in the tree of life is apparent.

Thank you for your time and attention, and for exploring this alphabet with me in a novel way.  I'd be delighted to hear any ideas my fellow explorers have on the matter.

93 93/93

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Some notes on the 8-fold Banishing Ritual

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

This evening I'm going to look at the short form of the Eightfold Banishing Ritual (hence the shortened name in the title) from Maat Magick by Soror Nema. This banishing ritual (in both its extended and abbreviated forms) is fairly unique in that, rather than focusing the attention just to the four cardinal directions, it also incorporates the four midpoints between those directions. In addition to making it easier for the magician to deal with more godforms on a daily basis (and banishing rituals, if you're serious about practicing magick, should be done daily), this type of structure allows eightfold systems to be applied to the circle.

The eightfold system I'm interested in connecting to the ritual comes from the work of Leo Gillis, Trigrammaton Qabalah. Below are the 27 trigrams of TQ (here's my post introducing TQ, it will explain what I mean by 'antigram' and 'reversal').

Of these, there are precisely eight trigrams which have no lines occupied by Tao. These will be familiar to those who have studied the Ba gua.

In TQ, these trigrams are attributed to the planets - that is, the seven classical 'planets' (i.e.: including Sol and Luna, excluding Uranus, Neptune, and dwarf planets) plus Earth. While I'm not yet sure I fully agree with a few of Gillis' attributions, we will use those from his work rather than digress.

In this system, is attributed to Sol, to Saturn, to Mercury, to Venus, to Jupiter, to Earth, , and to Luna.

The attributions below also draw inspiration from Don Karr's work on the Kaballah of Ma'at. In his Tree of Ma'at, the planetary attributions of the sephiroth are switched somewhat. He attributes Mars to Hod, Saturn to Din, and Mercury to Da'ath. This gives us a middle pillar of Mercury, Sol, Luna, and Terra, Saturn opposite Jupiter, and Venus opposite Mars. While this does throw off the planetary order in the traditional Tree of Life, it has its own merits in the Trigrammaton system.

Notice that Saturn is opposite Jupiter , and the two are reversals of one another. Similarly Mars is opposite Venus , and they are also reversals of one another. The middle pillar, Mercury , Sol , Luna , and Terra , consists solely of trigrams which are identical to their reversals. Further, there's a line of reflection between Sol and Luna such that Sol and Luna, and Mercury and Terra, are antigrams.

Now let's look at the directional attributions in the 8-fold ritual. In the South, we have Shaitan, which etymologically we can attribute to Saturn. Next comes Hoor-Pa-Kraat, which Gerard del Campo attributes to Jupiter, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit, which he attributes to Mars. (In his system, the two correspond Din and Hesed, and Heru-Ra-Ha, of which they are aspects, corresponds to Tiphareth.) Hadit, the winged disk, seems reasonable to attribute to Sol, and Nuit to Luna. Ma'at, whose current synthesizes the earthy magick of Wicca and similar traditions with the Thelemic current, can be attributed to Earth. Babalon, the perfect virgin and utter whore, fits nicely with Venus. And finally, Aiwass, as the minister of Hoor-Pa-Kraat, fits nicely with Mercury, emissary of Jupiter. The order we have then is Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Luna, Terra, Venus, Mercury. With the exception of the Sun's position, this is a perfect listing of the planets in terms of decreasing maximum distance from the Sun. The Sun, rather than being between Mercury and Saturn, is right in the middle, in its traditional place before Mars. When it comes to the trigrams the arrangement is perfectly disordered, with every pair of reversals and antigrams reflected off a different axis.

In truth, the trigrams aren't particularly pivotal to the arrangement of the ritual itself, but they do provide a basis for including Earth to give us 8 planets. The best thing about attributing the planets to the 8 directions is probably not contained in the eightfold banishing itself - rather, it opens the door for a new system of directions to be used in planetary rituals.

Finally, I'd like to express a point about the gesture used for Shaitan in the South. The gesture for Hoor-Pa-Kraat is the sign of silence; that of Ra-Hoor-Khuit is a modified gesture very similar to the sign of Osiris Slain, but with the fingers pointing forward; that of Hadit is a finger laid upon the Ajna, the gesture of Nuit is a wave of the hand in a rainbow gesture, indicating her shape, the gesture of Ma'at is a T shape made with the arms to suggest scales, the gesture of Babalon is the sign of Mullier from the N.O.X. signs, and the gesture of Aiwass is a stretching upward and beating on the ground, which punctuates the ritual very nicely. Why then is the gesture for Shaitan a drawing of the letter S, when all the other gestures involve creating a glyph using the body rather than making one outside the body? In my own workings of the ritual, I use the sign of Apophis and Typhon from the L.V.X. signs. The name Set is spelled שט in Hebrew, and the sign of Apophis imitates the shape of Shin. If you do the 8-fold banishing ritual, I'd love to hear your input on how it feels with the V of LVX in the Shaitan position rather than the drawn 'S' symbol.

Thanks for your time and attention, and I hope these points have helped show some tools by which to bring the eightfold banishing ritual further into your own subjective synthesis.

Love is the law, love under will.