My Grave


The Pauper – Theodor Kittelson

No, dear God, do not let me be deceased
under blankets and sheets
and at my bedside all that crying.
Let me be struck down one day unexpected
and fall in the forest someplace neglected,
where no one can find me while I lay dying.

As a son of the forest who knows it well,
it will not deny my humble request to dwell
at long last upon some mossy mound.
There will I give back to all its animals thus,
my great corpse without speeches or fuss,
and by the crows, the rats and flies so found.

Yes, I will host a grand meal when I am deceased
for those beaks and claws and teeth a feast,
for one and all a generous serving.
And from above a squirrel will look on askance
watching with eyes alert from his branch,
almost human eyes, so unnerving.

An ample portion for each to feed,
enough to satisfy an army in need
and at the table they pick me apart.
An eagle to strip my bones bare,
staying until no more is there,
and then with talons drawn in depart.

And into late evening and all night long
the glorious sounds of a corpse in song
as lovely as when bells are rung.
Then in tribute to me a final word,
from the owl herself it is heard,
hooted as a simple oath is sung.

When the little left of me the earth receives
and at dawn is hidden under a grave of leaves,
the end of this joyous night will be near.
My friends! I have fed you all! Goodbye!
— But all these leaves about me, why?
It must be the wind that swept them here.

– Knut Hamsun

(Translated by Moraline Free)

The Plague on the Stairs

Tarot Reading on COVID-19

General query on the Coronavirus using the seven card horseshoe spread.

After six cards were picked from a Thoth tarot deck that was spread out horizontally and face down it was noted that the only card that was face up was the Death card. Not wanting to skew the result with the decision of picking it up or ignoring it, I placed it back into the pack, reshuffled, then spread the remaining cards out again in order to pick out an unbiased final card. Despite this, I think the appearance of this card in this way was rather synchronistic considering the subject matter.


  1. 3 of Swords. Saturn in Libra. Sorrow.
  2. 7 of Disks. Saturn in Taurus. Failure
  3. Ace of Cups.
  4. 8 of Cups. Saturn in Pisces. Indolence.
  5. 5 of Wands. Saturn in Leo. Strife.
  6. 6 of Disks. Luna in Taurus. Success.
  7. The Sun.

It doesn’t take an expert to spot the negativity apparent in this reading. Of the five small cards featuring the planet Saturn, only the 10 of Wands, Oppression, failed to make an appearance.

The first card, representing either the past or the first point being raised by the cards, is represented by Saturn in the sign of Libra and the Saturnian Sephira of Binah. Human grief and the after effects of suffering are clearly portrayed. The traditional astrological nature of the card’s Zodiacal decan, being the second of Libra, is a force that represents a hatred of evil. With Libra being seen the sign of justice and balance, and with the equilibrating force of nature coming under the influence of Libra’s ruler, Venus, and with Saturn representing old age and death, there is a symbolic connection to the destructive aspect of nature acting as the agent of sorrow apparent here.  

Representing the present moment is the 7 of Disks, where Saturn is once again the guest in the domain of Venus, though her nature here is that of natural effects and the ownership of possessions. Saturn’s role can be seen as akin to the negative force of nature in the form of old age, barrenness and death in the heart of spring, or perhaps a winter that lasted too long, leading to financial and physical hardship and the loss of wealth and possessions.

The Ace of Cups in the future placement suggests a positive turn of events in what appears to be a bleak present. It symbolises nature in the form of the feminine symbols of the lotus and the water of life and is derivative from the Moon, which is traditionally represented by nature goddesses such as Artemis and Diana and so can be seen as the completion of a natural cycle in its due course. In the context of a viral pandemic, that assumably means its waning back into obscurity.

The situation of the Coronavirus itself is summarised in the form of another Saturnian card, this time that of Saturn in Pisces, representing Indolence, or the failure to take proper action at the correct moment. This suggests that doing nothing is not an option and where we currently are is the result of a failure to act in an effective way. Mixed with the element of Water Saturn becomes a force of invasive sluggishness that bogs down the progression of natural and emotive cycles apparent in the Ace of Cups. Saturn’s force is truly pervasive at the moment, perhaps due to his approaching the end of his earthy domecile of Capricorn as he prepares to enter his more transformative and humanitarian domecile of Aquarius on 22nd March. Saturn’s movement from one sign to another on the cusp of winter and spring may be producing a last capricious act as he departs his more heartless abode for his more progressive one. Being a Saturnian arrangement, there is not likely to be a speedy outcome in this resolution. I will hazard a guess and say that the crisis will not be significantly diverted until Saturn has reached 5º Aquarius, where it will have shaken off its old energies more effectively, which, due to an upcoming period of retrograde motion (signifying a setback after an initial period of slow improvement), will not happen until January 29th 2021.

The External Factor in this reading was represented by the Five of Swords, which crosses the malefic energies of Mars and Saturn with the fiery and virile force of Leo. Such a combination would produce an effective and malignant power that has the capability of causing a lot of trouble. Yet here, for the first time, the energies of the Sun, the ruler of Leo, are brought into the equation, for the King of the Planets has the ultimate influence over each of the planets, even though they occasionally and temporarily bring him woe.

Representing ‘Hopes and Fears’ comes a more positive card, the 6 of Disks. Here, the Moon is in her exaltation in Taurus, representing the restoration of the natural order, while the Solar nature of the ‘6’ suggesting glimpses of hope appearing after times of darkness and difficulty.

Confirming the solar nature hinted at in the 6 of Disks is The Sun as the card symbolising the Final Outcome. Generally representing principles of hope and triumph, the appearance of the Sun, the rays of which provably destroy aggressive viruses, suggest that the strengthening of the Sun will signify the main turning point of the current crisis, though the Saturnian elements involved will not make this an overnight thing. While it’s notable that The Sun signifies recovery from illness in divinatory readings, it’s important to remember that it can occasionally signify sudden death.

Overall, the diagnosis is poor in the short term with a slow growth towards improvement in the summer months. This pretty much verifies what most of us currently guess to be the case, so while no great mysteries are revealed by this reading, it is interesting to note the synchronistic nature reflected in both the cards and the current zodiacal transit of Saturn, which was at the mystical 29º at the time of this reading, This position, known as the anaretic degree, is one in which a planet displays a final burst of violent energy before it shifts into the next sign.

However, with Saturn going retrograde on May 22nd, there may either be another, if slower, resurgence of the virus after what appeared to be a gradual improvement, or there may be some very Aquarian difficulties and instabilities with matters such as social order. These may remain in effect until Saturn returns to direct motion (September 29th at 25º Capricorn), and will improve again once he returns to Aquarius (December 17th), with his reaching 5º Aquarius on and immediately after January 29th signifying the conclusion of the most immediate issues.

The difference between Kashmir Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta

All text cited directly from the Universal Shaiva Fellowship’s blog.

In this excerpt, Swami Lakshmanjoo explains the difference between Kashmir Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta, from the book Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme. Now also available in Spanish: (Shaivismo de Cachemira, el Supremo secreto). If you have enjoyed the book please leave a review on Amazon.

Chapter Fifteen

Kashmir Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta

Download and listen to audio…

Although the main principle of both Kashmir Śaivism and Vedānta is monism (advaita), pure monism, yet there are many important differences in their thinking. For example, Vedānta masters teach that karmayoga means yoga in action. They believe that you must practice niḥṣkāma karmayoga, which means that you are to perform all the actions of the world without asking for any reward. They say that by acting in this way you are carried toward the existence of the Real Being, the Real Nature of Self.

From our Kashmir Śaiva point of view, however, karmayoga means something else. It does not mean carrying out all of the activities of the world. Yoga in action is pure yoga and nothing else. Pure yoga is one-pointedness, and this one-pointedness must be developed in three ways.

You must develop one-pointedness in the existence of your being. This is one-pointedness in the state of parā vāk (supreme speech). You must also develop one-pointedness in the state of madhyamā vāk (medium speech). And finally, you must develop one-pointedness in the state of vaikharī vāk (inferior speech), in the state of ordinary speech.

In Śaivism, we begin with the central way, the way of madhyamā vāk. Kashmir Śaivism explains that yoga in action means that when you are seated in a bus, or when you are walking on the road, you must observe silence. Walk silently, sit in the bus silently. Do not talk to anybody. Continue your practice of contemplating Lord Śiva as you were instructed by your Master, without talking to anybody. This is how you begin. It is not possible at first to practice yoga while talking. In the beginning, you have to start with silence.

This yoga in action is tremendously powerful. For example, if you were to continue your practice of contemplation for just fifteen minutes while walking, the benefit will be the same as you would acquire if you were to continuously practice contemplation in your meditation room for two or even three years. This is because yoga in action makes your practice of contemplation more firm, solid, and substantial. This is why Kashmir Śaivism puts stress on yoga in action, and not on that yoga which is inactive.

In the practice of yoga in action in madhyamā vāk, you begin with silence. And when you rise from madhyamā, you will rise in the parā state of Śiva. This parā state will occur, however, only when you have completed your activity. For example, while practicing your contemplation, you take a ten mile walk, five miles going and five miles returning, after which you go home, where you sit in meditation. At this point, you will automatically enter the parā state of yoga in action and this will carry you rapidly to that state of Transcendental Being.

You must enter into the parā state of yoga in action automatically. You cannot make it happen.

If it does not happen, then you will have to begin again practicing contemplation in action. It is by the strength of yoga in action that you enter into the parā state of yoga. If your contemplation in action is spontaneous and break-less, then you will automatically enter into the parā state of yoga. If, on the other hand, your contemplation breaks at any time while practicing, then when you sit for meditation, contemplation on parā will not take place and you will have to begin again. This is called karmayoga.

When you are established in the yoga of action in parā vāk, then, after some time, you have to travel from parā vāk to vaikharī vāk. Practicing yoga in action in vaikharī vāk means that you are to remain established in your own being while talking, while laughing, while carrying out all of the actions of the world. This kind of yoga in action in vaikharī vāk is not possible unless yoga in action in madhyamā vāk and yoga in action in parā vāk are complete.

The sign of their being complete is that whenever you practice yoga in action in madhyamā vāk and afterwards you sit and meditate, you enter into parā vāk, you are inside, residing in your own Nature. Establishing yoga in action in vaikharī vāk is the completion of the course of yoga in action. Here, you remain established in your own Being in all the activities of the world. It is said that Lord Kṛiṣṇa was perfectly established in yoga in action in vaikharī. He was very active, doing everything while remaining established in his own nature.

The first difference, therefore, between Kashmir Śaivism and Vedānta is in their different understanding of karmayoga. This difference, as you have seen, is very great, with the Vedāntins believing that karmayoga means doing all actions without asking for their reward and our Kashmir Śaivism teaching that yoga in action means doing all actions while maintaining a break-less contemplation of God.

Another difference between Kashmir Śaivism and Vedānta concerns the existence of individual being and Universal Being. The Vedāntins explain that individual being is manifested only when Universal Being is reflected in the mirror of the individual intellect. They say that Universal Being is reflected in the intellect (buddhi) and that reflection becomes the existence of the individual being (jīva). Kashmir Śaivism, however, does not recognize this explanation, arguing that it is without any basis. As Universal Being is absolutely pure and perfect and individual being is filled with imperfections (malas) and covered by veils, it is not buddhi that will reflect Universal Being, but rather, it is Universal Being that will reflect buddhi. It is the purer and more refined reality which will take the reflection of that which is less pure and refined and not the other way around. Buddhi cannot hold Universal Being.

Kashmir Śaivism explains that when Śiva is reflected by His pure will in the mirror of his freedom (svātantrya), this is the existence of the universe and the existence of individual being.

Furthermore, in the theory of the Vedāntins, it is not clearly explained how, if the world were not existing, buddhi, in which Lord Śiva is to be reflected, could exist at all. How could the intellect (buddhi) exist before the existence of the world? Therefore, individual being is the reflection of Lord Śiva in His svātantrya śakti. This is the existence of the universe.

The third area of difference between Kashmir Śaivism and Vedānta concerns the essence, the substance, the basis of this universe. Vedānta holds that this universe is untrue, unreal. It does not really exist. It is only the creation of illusion (māyā). Concerning this point, Kashmir Śaivism argues that if Lord Śiva is real, then how could an unreal substance come out from something that is real? If Lord Śiva is real, then His creation is also real. Why should it be said that Lord Śiva is real and His creation is an illusion (māyā)? Kashmir Śaivism explains that the existence of this universe is just as real as the existence of Lord Śiva. As such, it is true, real, pure, and solid. There is nothing at all about it which is unreal.

The fourth important difference between Kashmir Śaivism and Vedānta is that Vedānta does not recognize kuṇḍalinī yoga. The Vedāntins say that kuṇḍalinī yoga is meant for those who are treading on the inferior path of yoga. From our Kashmir Śaivite point of view, however, kuṇḍalinī yoga is the most important yoga in this system. Kashmir Śaivism explains that there are three paths of kuṇḍalinī yoga: parā kuṇḍalinī yoga, cit kuṇḍalinī yoga, and prāṇa kuṇḍalinī yoga. Parā kuṇḍalinī yoga is supreme kuṇḍalinī yoga. It is functioned by Lord Śiva with the universal body, not the individual body. Cit kuṇḍalinī yoga is kuṇḍalinī in consciousness. Prāṇa kuṇḍalinī yoga is kuṇḍalinī in breath.

The fifth significant difference between Kashmir Śaivism and Vedānta concerns the question of who is fit to practice this monistic teaching. Vedānta holds that this teaching can only be practiced by “worthy people” such as brahmins with “good qualities.” In fact, Śaṁkarācārya holds that Vedānta is meant only for saṁyāsins1 and not others. From the Vedāntic point of view, women and other castes are not allowed to practice the Vedāntic system. This point of view, however, is not recognized by our Kashmir Śaivism. Kashmir Śaivism teaches that this monistic thought can be practiced by anyone, man or woman, without the restriction of caste, creed, or color. In fact, our Śaivism teaches us that this thought can be practiced more fruitfully by women than by men.2

Kashmir Śaivism, therefore, is a universal system, pure, real, and substantial in every respect, which can be practiced by all.


1 Saṁyāsins are “ascetics,” those who have renounced all earthly concerns and have devoted themselves to meditation and the study of the Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads, etc.

2. yoktā saṁvatsarātsiddhir iha puṁsāṁ bhayātmanam |
sā siddhistattvaniṣṭhānāṁ strīṇāṁ dvādaśabhirdinaiḥ ||

“The achievement of power which is experienced by the male class after one year of constant practice, sā siddhiḥ that very power is experienced by women in just twelve days.”

Quoted by Jayaratha in his commentary of Tantrāloka I.13

Source:Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme.
Also available in Spanish: (Shaivismo de Cachemira, el Supremo secreto).
Chapter Fifteen, Kashmir Śaivism and Advaita Vedānta,
revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo

All content copyright © John Hughes

The Serpent Dove

I recently discovered a post from an old blog of mine that I completely forgot I wrote. On re-reading it, I remembered that it was the seed that would gradually evolve into my forthcoming book Stellas Daemonum. The post itself came 10 days after a group Lunar Ritual that led to a sharp shift in my focus towards the huge influence that astrology had on Western Magic.

The aim of Stellas Daemonum is to reveal the line of evolution from the celestial magic apparent in the cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece, which, via the Gnostics, the Neoplatonists, the Byzantines and the Arabs, went on to influence much of what we recognise in Grimoires such as the Key of Solomon. Following those introductory chapters, the bulk of the material found in the book is dedicated to presenting a much-elaborated list of entries for ninety-three of the spirits found in texts such as the Testament of Solomon, the Lemegeton, the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, the Book of the Offices of Spirits, the Livre des Esperitz and several more. Then, by explaining the magical, linguistic, physical and cultural origins of the names and forms of each of the spirits found in this grimoiric volume in detail, running conclusions are drawn regarding the infernal, elemental, lunar, planetary and stellar principles that each of them resonate with.

An initial link to the book, which is due for release via Red Wheel/Weiser in 2020, can be found here.

In the meantime, although the tone and content of Stellas Daemonum are completely different in nature to it, here’s the old post that started the whole project rolling.

“And I Solomon, having heard this, glorified God. And though I marvelled at the apology of the demons, I did not credit it until it came true. And I did not believe their words; but when they were realized, then I understood, and at my death I wrote this Testament to the children of Israel, and gave it to them, so that they might know the powers of the demons and their shapes, and the names of their angels, by which these angels are frustrated. And I glorified the Lord God of Israel, and commanded the spirits to be bound with bonds indissoluble.”

– Testament of Solomon, 66.

My recent learning processes have led me to the conclusion that the origin of all religion, magical and spiritual phenomenon, like everything else that exists, is stellar in nature, and the ideas I’ve expressed about the Zodiac being a manifestation of ‘God,’ alludes to that stellar totality. The trillions of stars that surround us are a reflection of the vast plurality of divine forces that their existence symbolises. And just as we can call that collective of galaxies, constellations, stars, planets, moons and asteroids ‘the Cosmos,’ so may we also call it ‘God.’ If we dislike that term through reasons of conditioning, however, we can call it ‘the Divine,’ ‘the All,’ or ‘the Universe’ instead. It really doesn’t make a difference.

As per the maxim of Hermes, what goes on out there in the universe also goes on in here, inside of us, and vice-versa. This maxim is also the basis of astrology in which the movement of celestial bodies is reflected in the world around us as well as within our own psyches. The division between the ‘higher’ (or divine influence) and the ‘lower’ (that which is observably manifest), however, is ultimately an illusion, though due to our inherent ignorance, we maintain this separation until we experience Gnosis. A convenient but temporary bridge that can connect these illusory states into something resembling unity lies in what we name the sub-lunar aspects of the internal and external manifestation of the Divine which is both unseen and physically manifest at the same time.

This borderlands between the realms of the sub-lunar is named as ‘Qesheth,’ meaning ‘bow,’ in the Qaballah. This signifies the paths of Qoph, Shin and Tau that connect Malkuth to the Sephirah of Yesod, Hod and Netzach, which represent the Unconscious, the Lower Intellect and the Aesthetic senses. Elsewhere, another such bridge is called Bïfrost, the Rainbow Bridge that connects Midgard, the realm of men, with Asgard, the realm of the gods. In Persian lore a bridge with the exact same function was the Chinvat Bridge, which was guarded by two canine sentinels which not only act as the gatekeepers to the celestial realms beyond the bridge, but also to the chthonic chasms below it. Working with such liminal spaces, therefore, grants access to both the celestial and chthonic realms, as is seen in the myth of Odin hanging himself from the heights of the World Tree before descending to its lowest roots to sacrifice a portion of himself to the Waters of the Well of Wyrd. This sacrifice is reflected across the human cultural spectrum in the myth of the Descent into the Underworld, the reward of returning alive from brings the gift of divine insight.

By working with the denizens between the material and invisible realms, one realises the nature of the vertical pillar that begins in the depths of the underworld and rises like a serpent to the celestial crown of the heavens, as symbolised by the fixed star Polaris at its apex, around which the Great Dragon, flying free, sets its guard. In such paradigms, the angels that Solomon set over the demons he conjured reflect our own innate, if obfuscated, sense of unified consciousness. As stated above though, the division between the concepts of ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ expressed here is ultimately an illusion. By ‘reconnecting’ the ‘angels’ and ‘demons,’ one does nothing but realise their true, unified nature.

A Gnostic cognate in which a similar concept of wholeness is found in the name of Abrasax. This name represents a complete and undivided circle and signifies time, the cosmos and the Self in a single, unified form. By understanding the essential oneness of these allegedly ‘high’ and ‘low’ aspects of extraneous entities into a single Unity (and, by extension, the ‘celestial’ and ‘chthonic’ aspects of our own natures), one comes to realise what the core of the Great Work is all about.

Coin Toss Probabilities and the I Ching

Related image

The I Ching often provides some interesting synchronicities when used as a method of divination or contemplation. Having recorded and analysed the results of Tarot readings for some time with the notion of trying to find statistical biases in the planetary and zodiacal themes of my results, I recently started to do the same thing with the I Ching to see if anything significant became apparent.

Since April 4th of this year, a total of 40 I Ching consultations have been recorded, resulting in the creation of a total of 68 Hexagrams (this includes those created from Changing Lines). These 40 readings led to the formation of 240 (as 40 x 6 = 240) lines, of which 122 (50.83%) were Yin lines and 118 (49.17%) were Yang. The proximity of these figures show the expected probability of 50/50 being very closely approximated.

The same can be said for the actual numbers of heads and tails thrown in these castings, in which three coins are thrown and given scores to produce the necessary Trigrams and Hexagrams. The scoring system works like this:

Changing Yin: 3 Tails = 6.
Yang: 2 Tails and 1 Head = 7
Yin: 2 Heads and 1 Tail = 8
Changing Yang: 3 Heads = 9.

With a Hexagram requiring 18 separate coins to be tossed (in batches of three), 40 different initial Hexagrams required a total of 720 coins being flipped. In my results, 378 (52.5%) of these coins came in as Heads and 342 (47.5%) came in as tails. While this varies a small amount from the expected 50/50 ratio, it’s still too close to be recognised as a skewed result.

Things become a little more complicated when analysing the probabilities of producing Changing and Unchanging Yin and Yang lines, but the expected probabilities for each of these expressed as fractions is:

6. Changing Yin: 1/8th.
7. Yang: 3/8ths.
8. Yin: 3/8ths.
9. Changing Yang: 1/8th.

With 240 lines being produced over those 40 readings, the expected count for each kind of Yin and Yang line would be:

6. Changing Yin: 30.
7. Yang: 90.
8. Yin: 90.
9. Changing Yang: 30.

(i.e. 30 + 90 + 90 + 30 = 240)

What was actually produced however, was:

Changing Yin: 20.
Yang: 90.
Yin: 102.
Changing Yang: 28.

This reveals that although the balance between Yin and Yang in total is about what it should be (see the second paragraph above), an imbalance of probabilities is notable around the Yin lines, with the Changing Yin Line appearing 33% less than it should and the Unchanging Yin Line appearing 13.3% more than it should. In total, Changing Lines should appear 25% of the time (as 1/8th + 1/8th = 1/4 = 25%), but in these results, due to the particularly large skew in results relating to the Changing Yin, the Changing Lines appear exactly 5% less than expected.

Is this significant, though? Well, almost. A skew of 5% is on the very cusp of what you could call significant in statistical terms so this doesn’t clearly represent what could be called ‘interference’ from the magical mechanisms that are supposed to lie behind such divinatory methods. I believe it would take at least 1,000 readings to reach what could be called a truly significant set of statistical results, but as this would probably take several years to complete, I can’t present anything solid and ‘scientific’ being expressed thus far.

However, at this early stage, the fact that most of the apparent skewing comes around both the Changing and Unchanging Yin lines can lead to a hypothesis being drawn about a possible synchronistic ‘interference’ (at least as far as my own results are concerned) coming from the Yin, the feminine aspect of the Tao.

The Book of Thoth and the Book of Changes

Something I’ve often struggled with when performing Tarot readings is applying fitting interpretations of the Court Cards. While capable of making approximate meanings of their importance, after facing a larger than average flush of Royal figures in a recent reading, I found myself appealing to Crowley’s Book of Thoth for aid. Not finding this especially helpful due to its emphasis on likening the Court Cards to certain personality types, I decided to do a couple of things I’d always neglected to before. Firstly, I followed the advice suggesting the consultation of the I Ching hexagrams to provide a more detailed and accurate interpretation. While familiar with both the I Ching and the Tarot for long enough, having not read the Book of Thoth for a while, these correspondences were something I had completely forgotten about. Following that, I also refreshed myself with the Court Cards’ correspondences to the Minor Arcana, which I’m much better at accurately interpreting. After taking these steps to refresh myself with basic and obvious knowledge I was able to apply a far more satisfying set of interpretations than I had before, so thought I’d share the methods of application here.

As Crowley’s interpretations of the Court Cards in the Book of Thoth are found in full on the Hermetic Library page, they have only been summarised with a brief quote in this post. Similarly truncated summaries of the corresponding hexagrams from Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching have also been included, as have a series of short tables revealing the correspondences between the Court Cards, the Zodiacal decans and the Minor Arcana.

The Knight of Wands

The moral qualities appropriate to this figure are activity, generosity, fierceness, impetuosity, pride, impulsiveness, swiftness in unpredictable actions. If wrongly energised, he is evil-minded, cruel, bigoted and brutal. He is in either case ill-fitted to carry on his action; he has no means of modifying it according to circumstances. If he fails in his first effort, he has no resource.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Scorpio20-29Venus7 of CupsDebauch
Sagittarius0-9Mercury8 of WandsSwiftness
Sagittarius10-19Moon9 of WandsStrength
Corresponding Hexagram

51. Chen. The Arousing/Thunder.

I Ching Hexagram 51

The hexagram Chên represents the eldest son, who seizes rule with energy and power. A yang line develops below two yin lines and presses upward forcibly. This movement is so violent that it arouses terror. It is symbolized by thunder, which bursts forth from the earth and by its shock causes fear and trembling.

The Judgement
Shock brings success.
Shock comes–oh, oh!
Laughing words–ha, ha!
The shock terrifies for a hundred miles,
And he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.

The shock that comes from the manifestation of God within the depths of the earth makes man afraid, but this fear of God is good, for joy and merriment can follow upon it. When a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean, he is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences. Let the thunder roll and spread terror a hundred miles around: he remains so composed and reverent in spirit that the sacrificial rite is not interrupted. This is the spirit that must animate leaders and rulers of men—a profound inner seriousness from which all terrors glance off harmlessly.

The Image
Thunder repeated: the image of Shock.
Thus in fear and trembling
The superior man sets his life in order
And examines himself.

The shock of continuing thunder brings fear and trembling. The superior man is always filled with reverence at the manifestation of God; he sets his life in order and searches his heart, lest it harbour any secret opposition to the will of God. Thus reverence is the foundation of true culture.

Keywords: Ease, Development, Moving Power, Thunder.

The Queen of Wands

The characteristics of the Queen are adaptability, persistent energy, calm authority which she knows how to use to enhance her attractiveness. She is kindly and generous, but impatient of opposition. She has immense capacity for friendship and for love, but always on her own initiative.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Pisces20-29Mars10 of CupsSatiety
Aries0-9Mars2 of WandsDominion
Aries10-19Sun3 of WandsVirtue
Corresponding Hexagram

17. Sui. Following

I Ching Hexagram 17

The trigram Tui, the Joyous, whose attribute is gladness, is above; Chên, the Arousing, which has the attribute of movement, is below. Joy in movement induces following. The Joyous is the youngest daughter, while the Arousing is the eldest son. An older man defers to a young girl and shows her consideration. By this he moves her to follow him.

The Judgement
Following has supreme success.
Perseverance furthers. No blame.

In order to obtain a following one must first know how to adapt oneself. If a man would rule he must first learn to serve, for only in this way does he secure from those below him the joyous assent that is necessary if they are to follow him. If he has to obtain a following by force or cunning, by conspiracy or by creating faction, he invariably arouses resistance, which obstructs willing adherence. But even joyous movement can lead to evil consequences, hence the added stipulation, “Perseverance furthers” – that is, consistency in doing right – together with “No blame.” Just as we should not ask others to follow us unless this condition is fulfilled, so it is only under this condition that we can in turn follow others without coming to harm. The thought of obtaining a following through adaptation to the demands of the time is a great and significant idea; this is why the appended judgment is so favourable.

The Image
Thunder in the middle of the lake:
The image of Following.
Thus the superior man at nightfall
Goes indoors for rest and recuperation.

In the autumn electricity withdraws into the earth again and rests. Here it is the thunder in the middle of the lake that serves as the image – thunder in its winter rest, not thunder in motion. The idea of following in the sense of adaptation to the demands of the time grows out of this image. Thunder in the middle of the lake indicates times of darkness and rest. Similarly, a superior man, after being tirelessly active all day, allows himself rest and recuperation at night. No situation can become favourable until one is able to adapt to it and does not wear himself out with mistaken resistance.

Keywords: Following.

The Prince of Wands

The moral qualities appropriate to this figure are swiftness and strength. But he is sometimes inclined to act on impulse; sometimes easily led by external influences; sometimes, especially in trifles, a prey to indecision. He is often violent, especially in the expression of an opinion, but he does not necessarily hold the opinion about which he is so emphatic. He states a vigorous proposition for the sake of stating it. He is in fact very slow to make up his mind thoroughly on any subject, but always sees both sides of every question. He is essentially just, but always feels that justice is not to be attained in the intellectual world. His character is intensely noble and generous. He may be an extravagant boaster, while slyly laughing both at the object of his boast and at himself for making it. He is romantic, especially in matters of history and tradition, to the point of folly, and may engineer “stunts” or play elaborate practical jokes.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Cancer20-29Moon4 of CupsLuxury
Leo0-9Saturn5 of WandsStrife
Leo10-19Jupiter6 of WandsVictory
Corresponding Hexagram

42. Yi. Increase.

I Ching Hexagram 42

The idea of increase is expressed in the fact that the strong lowest line of the upper trigram has sunk down and taken its place under the lower trigram. This conception also expresses the fundamental idea on which the Book of Changes is based. To rule truly is to serve. A sacrifice of the higher element that produces an increase of the lower is called an out-and-out increase: it indicates the spirit that alone has power to help the world.

The Judgement
Increase. It furthers one
To undertake something.
It furthers one to cross the great water.

Sacrifice on the part of those above for the increase of those below fills the people with a sense of joy and gratitude that is extremely valuable for the flowering of the commonwealth. When people are thus devoted to their leaders, undertakings are possible, and even difficult and dangerous enterprises will succeed. Therefore in such times of progress and successful development it is necessary to work and make the best use of time. This time resembles that of the marriage of heaven and earth, when the earth partakes of the creative power of heaven, forming and bringing forth living beings. The time of INCREASE does not endure, therefore it must be utilized while it lasts.

The Image
Wind and thunder: the image of Increase.
Thus the superior man:
If he sees good, he imitates it;
If he has faults, he rids himself of them.

While observing how thunder and wind increase and strengthen each other, a man can not the way to self-increase and self-improvement. When he discovers good in others, he should imitate it and thus make everything on earth his own. If he perceives something bad in himself, let him rid himself of it. In this way he becomes free of evil. This ethical change represents the most important increase of personality.

Keywords: Addition, Increase.

The Princess of Wands

The character of the Princess is extremely individual. She is brilliant and daring. She creates her own beauty by her essential vigour and energy. The force of her character imposes the impression of beauty upon the beholder. In anger or love she is sudden, violent, and implacable. She consumes all that comes into her sphere. She is ambitious and aspiring, full of enthusiasm which is often irrational. She never forgets an injury, and the only quality of patience to be found in her is the patience with which she lies in ambush to avenge.

Being ‘Earthbound’ the Princesses do not have any Zodiacal attributes.

Corresponding Hexagram

27. I. The Corners of the Mouth.

I Ching Hexagram 27

This hexagram is a picture of an open mouth; above and below are firm lines of the lips, and between them the opening. Starting with the mouth, through which we take food for nourishment, the thought leads to nourishment itself. Nourishment of oneself, specifically of the body, is represented in the three lower lines, while the three upper lines represent nourishment and care of others, in a higher, spiritual sense.

The Judgement
The Corners of the Mouth.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Pay heed to the providing of nourishment.
And to what a man seeks
To fill his own mouth with.

In bestowing care and nourishment, it is important that the right people should be taken care of and that we should attend to our own nourishment in the right way. If we wish to know what anyone is like, we have only to observe on whom he bestows his care and what sides of his own nature he cultivates and nourishes. Nature nourishes all creatures. The great man fosters and takes care of superior men, in order to take care of all men through them. Mencius says about this: If we wish to know whether anyone is superior or not, we need only observe what part of his being he regards as especially important. The body has superior and inferior, important and unimportant parts. We must not injure important parts for the sake of the unimportant, nor must we injure the superior parts for the sake of the inferior. He who cultivates the inferior parts of his nature is an inferior man. He who cultivates the superior parts of his nature is a superior man.

The Image
At the foot of the mountain, thunder:
The image of Providing Nourishment.
Thus the superior man is careful of his words
And temperate in eating and drinking.

“God comes forth in the sign of the Arousing”: when in the spring the life forces stir again, all things comes into being anew. “He brings to perfection in the sign of Keeping Still”: thus in the early spring, when the seeds fall to earth, all things are made ready. This is an image of providing nourishment through movement and tranquillity. The superior man takes it as a pattern for the nourishment and cultivation of his character. Words are a movement going form within outward. Eating and drinking are movements from without inward. Both kinds of movement can be modified by tranquillity. For tranquillity keeps the words that come out of the mouth from exceeding proper measure, and keeps the food that goes into the mouth from exceeding its proper measure. Thus character is cultivated.

Keywords: Nourishment.

The Knight of Cups

The characteristics of the person signified by this card are nevertheless mostly passive, in accordance with the Zodiacal attribution. He is graceful, dilettante, with the qualities of Venus, or a weak Jupiter. He is amiable in a passive way. He is quick to respond to attraction, and easily becomes enthusiastic under such stimulus; but he is not very enduring. He is exceedingly sensitive to external influence, but with no material depth in his character.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Aquarius20-29Moon7 of SwordsFutility
Pisces0-9Saturn8 of CupsIndolence
Pisces10-19Jupiter9 of CupsHappiness
Corresponding Hexagram

54. Kuei Mei. The Marrying Maiden.

I Ching Hexagram 54

Above we have Chên, the eldest son, and below, Tui, the youngest daughter. The man leads and the girl follows him in gladness. The picture is that of the entrance of the girl into her husband’s house. In all, there are four hexagrams depicting the relationship between husband and wife. Hsien, INFLUENCE, (31), describes the attraction that a young couple have for each other; Hêng, DURATION (32), portrays the permanent relationships of marriage; Chien, DEVELOPMENT (53), reflects the protracted, ceremonious procedures attending THE MARRYING MAIDEN, shows a young girl under the guidance of an older man who marries her.

The Judgement
The Marrying Maiden.
Undertakings bring misfortune.
Nothing that would further.

A girl who is taken into the family, but not as the chief wife, must behave with special caution and reserve. She must not take it upon herself to supplant the mistress of the house, for that would mean disorder and lead to untenable relationships. The same is true of all voluntary relationships between human beings. While legally regulated relationships based on personal inclination depend in the long run entirely on tactful reserve. Affection as the essential principle of relatedness is of the greatest importance in all relationships in the world. For the union of heaven and earth is the origin of the whole of nature. Among human beings likewise, spontaneous affection is the all-inclusive principle of union.

The Image
Thunder over the lake:
The image of The Marrying Maiden.
Thus the superior man
Understands the transitory
In the light of the eternity of the end.

Thunder stirs the water of the lake, which follows it in shimmering waves. This symbolises the girl who follows the man of her choice. But every relationship between individuals bears within it the danger that wrong turns may be taken, leading to endless misunderstandings and disagreements. Therefore it is necessary constantly to remain mindful of the end. If we permit ourselves to drift along, we come together and are parted again as the day may determine. If on the other hand a man fixes his mind on an end that endures, he will succeed in avoiding the reefs that confront the closer relationships of people.

Keywords: Unfortunate Marriage.

The Queen of Cups

The characteristics associated with this card are principally dreaminess, illusion and tranquillity. She is the perfect agent and patient, able to receive and transmit everything without herself being affected thereby. If ill-dignified, all these qualities are degraded.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Gemini20-29Sun10 of SwordsRuin
Cancer0-9Venus2 of CupsLove
Cancer10-19Mercury3 of CupsAbundance
Corresponding Hexagram

58. Tui. The Joyous/Lake.

I Ching Hexagram 58

This hexagram, like sun, is one of the eight formed by doubling of a trigram. The trigram Tui denotes the youngest daughter; it is symbolized by the smiling lake, and its attribute is joyousness. Contrary to appearances, it is not the yielding quality of the top line that accounts for joy here. The attribute of the yielding or dark principle is not joy but melancholy. However, joy is indicated by the fact that there are two strong lines within, expressing themselves through the medium of gentleness. True joy, therefore, rests on firmness and strength within, manifesting itself outwardly as yielding and gentle.

The Judgement
The Joyous. Success.
Perseverance is favourable.

The joyous mood is infectious and therefore brings success. But joy must be based on steadfastness if it is not to degenerate into uncontrolled mirth. Truth and strength must dwell in the heart, while gentleness reveals itself in social intercourse. In this way one assumes the right attitude toward God and man and achieves something. Under certain conditions, intimidation without gentleness may achieve something momentarily, but not for all time. When, on the other hand, the hearts of men are won by friendliness, they are led to take all hardships upon themselves willingly, and if need be will not shun death itself, so great is the power of joy over men.

The Image
Lakes resting on one another:
The image of the Joyous.
Thus the superior man joins with his friends
For discussion and practice.

A lake evaporates upward and thus gradually dries up; but when two lakes are joined they do not dry up so readily, for one replenishes the other. It is the same in the field of knowledge. Knowledge should be a refreshing and vitalising force. It becomes so only through stimulating intercourse with congenial friends with whom one holds discussion and practices application of the truths of life. In this way learning becomes many-sided and takes on a cheerful lightness, whereas there is always something ponderous and one- sided about the learning of the self-taught.

Keywords: Pleasure, Help from Friends, Still Water.

The Prince of Cups

The moral characteristics of the person pictured in this card are subtlety, secret violence, and craft. He is intensely secret, an artist in all his ways. On the surface he appears calm and imperturbable, but this is a mask of the most intense passion. He is on the surface susceptible to external influences, but he accepts them only to transmute them to the advantage of his secret designs. He is thus completely without conscience in the ordinary sense of the word, and is therefore usually distrusted by his neighbours. They feel they do not, and can never, understand him. Thus he inspires unreasonable fear. He is in fact perfectly ruthless. He cares intensely for power, wisdom, and his own aims. He feels no responsibility to others, and although his abilities are so immense, he cannot be relied upon to work in harness.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Libra20-29Jupiter4 of SwordsTruce
Scorpio0-9Mars5 of CupsDisappointment
Scorpio10-19Sun6 of CupsPleasure
Corresponding Hexagram

61. Chung Fu. Inner Truth.

I Ching Hexagram 61

The wind blows over the lake and stirs the surface of the water. Thus visible effects of the invisible manifest themselves. The hexagram consists of firm lines above and below, while it is open in the center. This indicates a heart free of prejudices and therefore open to truth. On the other hand, each of the two trigrams has a firm line in the middle; this indicates the force of inner truth in the influences they present. The attributes of the two trigrams are: above, gentleness, forbearance toward inferiors; below, joyousness in obeying superiors. Such conditions create the basis of a mutual confidence that makes achievements possible. The character of fu (“truth”) is actually the picture of a bird’s foot over a fledgling. It suggests the idea of brooding. An egg is hollow. The light-giving power must work to quicken it from outside, but there must be a germ of life within, if life is to be awakened. Far-reaching speculations can be linked with these ideas.

The Judgement
Inner Truth. Pigs and fishes.
Good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Perseverance furthers.

Pigs and fishes are the least intelligent of all animals and therefore the most difficult to influence. The force of inner truth must grow great indeed before its influence can extend to such creatures. In dealing with persons as intractable and as difficult to influence as a pig or a fish, the whole secret of success depends on finding the right way of approach. One must first rid oneself of all prejudice and, so to speak, let the psyche of the other person act on one without restraint. Then one will establish contact with him, understand and gain power over him. When a door has thus been opened, the force of one’s personality will influence him. If in this way one finds no obstacles insurmountable, one can undertake even the most dangerous things, such as crossing the great water, and succeed. But it is important to understand upon what the force inner truth depends. This force is not identical with simple intimacy or a secret bond. Close ties may exist also among thieves; it is true that such a bond acts as a force but, since it is not invincible, it does not bring good fortune. All association on the basis of common interests holds only up to a certain point. Where the community of interest ceases, the holding together ceases also, and the closest friendship often changes into hate. Only when the bond is based on what is right, on steadfastness, will it remain so firm that it triumphs over everything.

The Image
Wind over lake: the image of Inner Truth.
Thus the superior man discusses criminal cases
In order to delay executions.

Wind stirs water by penetrating it. Thus the superior man, when obliged to judge the mistakes of men, tries to penetrate their minds with understanding, in order to gain a sympathetic appreciation of the circumstances. In ancient China, the entire administration of justice was guided by this principle. A deep understanding that knows how to pardon was considered the highest form of justice. This system was not without success, for its aim was to make so strong a moral impression that there was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness. For it sprang not from weakness but from a superior clarity.

Keywords: Inmost Sincerity.

The Princess of Cups

The character of the Princess is infinitely gracious. All sweetness, all voluptuousness, gentleness, kindness and tenderness are in her character. She lives in the world of Romance, in the perpetual dream of rapture. On a superficial examination she might be thought selfish and indolent, but this is a quite false impression; silently and effortlessly she goes about her work.

Being ‘Earthbound’ the Princesses do not have any Zodiacal attributes.

Corresponding Hexagram

41. Sun. Decrease.

I Ching Hexagram 41

This hexagram represents a decrease of the lower trigram in favour of the upper, because the third line, originally strong, has moved up to the top, and the top line, originally weak, has replaced it. What is below is decreased to the benefit of what is above. This is out-and-out decrease. If the foundations of a building are decreased in strength and the upper walls are strengthened, the whole structure loves its stability. Likewise, a decrease in the prosperity of the people in favor of the government is out-and-out decrease. And the entire theme of the hexagram is directed to showing how this shift of wealth can take place without causing the sources of wealth can take place without causing the sources of wealth in the nation and its lower classes to fail.

The Judgement
Decrease combined with sincerity
Brings about supreme good fortune
Without blame.
One may be persevering in this.
It furthers one to undertake something.
How is this to be carried out?
One may use two small bowls for the sacrifice.

Decrease does not under all circumstances mean something bad. Increase and decrease come in their own time. What matters here is to understand the time and not to try to cover up poverty with empty pretense. If a time of scanty resources brings out an inner truth, one must not feel ashamed of simplicity. For simplicity is then the very thing needed to provide inner strength for further undertakings. Indeed, there need by no concern if the outward beauty of the civilization, even the elaboration of religious forms, should have to suffer because of simplicity. One must draw on the strength of the inner attitude to compensate for what is lacking in externals; then the power of the content makes up for the simplicity of form. There is no need of presenting false appearances to God. Even with slender means, the sentiment of the heart can be expressed.

The Image
At the foot of the mountain, the lake:
The image of Decrease.
Thus the superior man controls his anger
And restrains his instincts.

The lake at the foot of the mountain evaporates. In this way it decreases to the benefit of the mountain, which is enriched by its moisture. The mountain stands as the symbol of stubborn strength that can harden into anger. The lake is the symbol of unchecked gaiety that can develop into passionate drives at the expense of the life forces. Therefore decrease is necessary; anger must be decreased by keeping still, the instincts must be curbed by restriction. By this decrease of the lower powers of the psyche, the higher aspects of the soul are enriched.

Keywords: Diminution.

The Knight of Swords

The moral qualities of a person thus indicated are activity and skill, subtlety and cleverness. He is fierce, delicate and courageous, but altogether the prey of his idea, which comes to him as an inspiration without reflection.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Taurus20-29Saturn7 of DisksFailure
Gemini0-9Jupiter8 of SwordsInterference
Gemini10-19Mars9 of SwordsCruelty
Corresponding Hexagram

32. Heng. Duration.

I Ching Hexagram 32

The strong trigram Chên is above, the weak trigram Sun below. This hexagram is the inverse of the preceding one. In the latter we have influence, here we have union as an enduring condition. The two images are thunder and wind, which are likewise constantly paired phenomena. The lower trigram indicates gentleness within; the upper, movement without. In the sphere of social relationships, the hexagram represents the institution of marriage as the enduring union of the sexes. During courtship the young man subordinates himself to the girl, but in marriage, which is represented by the coming together of the eldest son and the eldest daughter, the husband is the directing and moving force outside, while the wife, inside, is gentle and submissive.

The Judgement
Duration. Success. No blame.
Perseverance furthers.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

Duration is a state whose movement is not worn down by hindrances. It is not a state of rest, for mere standstill is regression. Duration is rather the self- contained and therefore self-renewing movement of an organized, firmly integrated whole, taking place in accordance with immutable laws and beginning anew at every ending. The end is reached by an inward movement, by inhalation, systole, contraction, and this movement turns into a new beginning, in which the movement is directed outward, in exhalation, diastole, expansion. Heavenly bodies exemplify duration. They move in their fixed orbits, and because of this their light-giving power endures. The seasons of the year follow a fixed law of change and transformation, hence can produce effects that endure. So likewise the dedicated man embodies an enduring meaning in his way of life, and thereby the world is formed. In that which gives things their duration, we can come to understand the nature of all beings in heaven and on earth.

The Image
Thunder and wind: the image of Duration.
Thus the superior man stands firm
And does not change his direction.

Thunder rolls, and the wind blows; both are examples of extreme mobility and so are seemingly the very opposite of duration, but the laws governing their appearance and subsidence, their coming and going, endure. In the same way the independence of the superior man is not based on rigidity and immobility of character. He always keeps abreast of the time and changes with it. What endures is the unswerving directive, the inner law of his being, which determines all his actions.

Keywords: Perseverance. Keeping to the Path.

The Queen of Swords

The person symbolized by this card should be intensely perceptive, a keen observer, a subtle interpreter, an intense individualist, swift and accurate at recording ideas; in action confident, in spirit gracious and just. Her movements will be graceful, and her ability in dancing and balancing exceptional.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Virgo20-29Mercury10 of DisksWealth
Libra0-9Moon2 of SwordsPeace
Libra10-19Saturn3 of SwordsSorrow
Corresponding Hexagram

28. Ta Kuo. Preponderance of the Great

I Ching Hexagram 28

This hexagram consists of four strong lines inside and two weak lines outside. When the strong are outside and the weak inside, all is well and there is nothing out of balance, nothing extraordinary in the situation. Here, however, the opposite is the case. The hexagram represents a beam that is thick and heavy in the middle but too weak at the ends. This is a condition that cannot last; it must be changed, must pass, or misfortune will result.

The Judgement
Preponderance of the Great.
The ridgepole sags to the breaking point.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

The weight of the great is excessive. The load is too heavy for the strength of the supports. The ridgepole on which the whole roof rests, sags to the breaking point, because its supporting ends are too weak for the load they bear. It is an exceptional time and situation; therefore extraordinary measures are demanded. It is necessary to find a way of transition as quickly as possible, and to take action. This promises success. For although the strong element is in excess, it is in the middle, that is, at the center of gravity, so that a revolution is not to be feared. Nothing is to be achieved by forcible measures. The problem must be solved by gently penetration to the meaning of the situation (as is suggested by the attribute of the inner trigram, Sun); then the change-over to other conditions will be successful. It demands real superiority; therefore the time when the great preponderates is a momentous time.

The Image
The lake rises above the trees:
The image of Preponderance of the Great.
Thus the superior man, when he stands alone,
Is unconcerned,
And if he has to renounce the world,
He is undaunted.

Extraordinary times when the great preponderates are like flood times when the lake rises over the treetops. But such conditions are temporary. The two trigrams indicate the attitude proper to such exceptional times: the symbol of the trigram Sun is the tree, which stands firm even though it stands alone, and the attribute of Tui is joyousness, which remains undaunted even if it must renounce the world.

Keywords: Great Carefulness. Weak Beam.

The Prince of Swords

A person thus symbolized is purely intellectual. He is full of ideas and designs which tumble over each other. He is a mass of fine ideals unrelated to practical effort. He has all the apparatus of Thought in the highest degree, intensely clever, admirably rational, but unstable of purpose, and in reality indifferent even to his own ideas, as knowing that any one of them is just as good as any other. He reduces everything to unreality by removing its substance and transmuting it to an ideal world of ratiocination which is purely formal and out of relation to any facts, even those upon which it is based.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Capricorn20-29Sun4 of DisksPower
Aquarius0-9Venus5 of SwordsDefeat
Aquarius10-19Mercury6 of SwordsScience
Corresponding Hexagram

57. Sun. The Gentle/Penetrating Wind.

I Ching Hexagram 57

Sun is one of the eight doubled trigrams. It is the eldest daughter and symbolizes wind or wood; it has for its attribute gentleness, which nonetheless penetrates like the wind or like growing wood with its roots. The dark principle, in itself rigid and immovable, is dissolved by the penetrating light principle, to which it subordinates itself in gentleness. In nature, it is the wind that disperses the gathered clouds, leaving the sky clear and serene. In human life it is penetrating clarity of judgment that thwarts all dark hidden motives. In the life of the community it is the powerful influence of a great personality that uncovers and breaks up those intrigues which shun the light of day.

The Judgement
The Gentle. Success through what is small.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
It furthers one to see the great man.

Penetration produces gradual and inconspicuous effects. It should be effected not by an act of violation but by influence that never lapses. Results of this kind are less striking to the eye than those won by surprise attack, but they are more enduring and more complete. If one would produce such effects, one must have a clearly defined goal, for only when the penetrating influence works always in the same direction can the object be attained. Small strength can achieve its purpose only by subordinating itself to an eminent man who is capable of creating order.

The Image
Winds following one upon the other:
The image of the Gently Penetrating.
Thus the superior man
Spreads his commands abroad
And carries out his undertakings.

The penetrating quality of the wind depends upon its ceaselessness. This is what makes it so powerful; time is its instrument. In the same way the ruler’s thought should penetrate the soul of the people. This too requires a lasting influence brought about by enlightenment and command. Only when the command has been assimilated by the people is action in accordance with it possible. Action without preparation of the ground only frightens and repels.

Keywords: Flexibility. Penetration. Vacillation. Wind. Wood.

The Princess of Swords

The character of the Princess is stern and revengeful. Her logic is destructive. She is firm and aggressive, with great practical wisdom and subtlety in material things. She shews great cleverness and dexterity in the management of practical affairs, especially where they are of a controversial nature. She is very adroit in the settlement of controversies.

Being ‘Earthbound’ the Princesses do not have any Zodiacal attributes.

Corresponding Hexagram

18. Ku. Work on what has been Spoiled.

I Ching Hexagram 18

The Chinese character ku represents a bowl in whose contents worms are breeding. This means decay. It is come about because the gentle indifference in the lower trigram has come together with the rigid inertia of the upper, and the result is stagnation. Since this implies guilt, the conditions embody a demand for removal of the cause. Hence the meaning of the hexagram is not simply “what has been spoiled” but “work on what has been spoiled”.

The Judgement
Work on What Has Been Spoiled
Has supreme success.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Before the starting point, three days.
After the starting point, three days.

What has been spoiled through man’s fault can be made good again through man’s work. It is not immutable fate, as in the time of STANDSTILL, that has caused the state of corruption, but rather the abuse of human freedom. Work toward improving conditions promises well, because it accords the possibilities of the time. We must not recoil from work and danger—symbolised by crossing of the great water—but must take hold energetically. Success depends, however, on proper deliberation. This is expressed by the lines, “Before the starting point, three days. After the starting point, three days.” We must first know the cause of corruption before we can do away with them; hence it is necessary to be cautious during the time before the start. Then we must see to it that the new way is safely entered upon, so that a relapse may be avoided; therefore we must pay attention to the time after the start. Decisiveness and energy must take the place of inertia and indifference that have led to decay, in order that the ending may be followed by a new beginning.

The Image
The wind blows low on the mountain:
The image of Decay.
Thus the superior man stirs up the people
And strengthens their spirit.

When the wind blow s slow on the mountain, it is thrown back and spoils the vegetation. This contains a challenge to improvement. It is the same with debasing attitudes and fashions; they corrupt human society. His methods likewise must be derived from the two trigrams, but in such a way that their effects unfold in orderly sequence. The superior must first remove stagnation by stirring up public opinion, as the wind stirs up everything, and must strengthen and tranquillise the character of the people, as the mountain gives tranquillity and nourishment to all that grows in its vicinity.

Keywords: Troublesome Services. Arrest of Decay. Hard Work.

The Knight of Disks

Those whom he symbolizes tend to be dull, heavy and preoccupied with material things. They are laborious and patient, but would have little intellectual grasp even of matters which concern them most closely. Their success in these is due to instinct, to imitation of Nature. They lack initiative; their fire is the smouldering fire of the process of growth.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Leo20-29Mars7 of WandsValour
Virgo0-9Sun8 of DisksPrudence
Virgo10-19Venus9 of DisksGain
Corresponding Hexagram

62. Hsiao Kuo. Preponderance of the Small.

I Ching Hexagram 62

While in the hexagram Ta Kuo, PREPONDERANCE OF THE GREAT (28), the strong lines preponderate and are within, inclosed between weak lines at the top and bottom, the present hexagram has weak lines preponderating, though here again they are on the outside, the strong lines being within. This indeed is the basis of the exceptional situation indicated by the hexagram. When strong lines are outside, we have the hexagram I, PROVIDING NOURISHMENT (27), or Chung Fu, INNER TRUTH, (61); neither represents and exceptional state. When strong elements within preponderate, they necessarily enforce their will. This creates struggle and exceptional conditions in general. But in the present hexagram it is the weak element that perforce must mediate with the outside world. If a man occupies a position of authority for which he is by nature really inadequate, extraordinary prudence is necessary.

The Judgement
Preponderance of the Small. Success.
Perseverance furthers.
Small things may be done; great things should not be done.
The flying bird brings the message:
It is not well to strive upward,
It is well to remain below.
Great good fortune.

Exceptional modesty and conscientiousness are sure to be rewarded with success; however, if a man is not to throw himself away, it is important that they should not become empty form and subservience but be combined always with a correct dignity in personal behavior. We must understand the demands of the time in order to find the necessary offset for its deficiencies and damages. In any event we must not count on great success, since the requisite strength is lacking. In this lies the importance of the message that one should not strive after lofty things but hold to lowly things. The structure of the hexagram gives rise to the idea that this message is brought by a bird. In Ta Kuo, PREPONDERANCE OF THE GREAT (28), the four strong, heavy lines within, supported only by two weak lines without, give the image of a sagging ridgepole. Here the supporting weak lines are both outside and preponderant; this gives the image of a soaring bird. But a bird should not try to surpass itself and fly into the sun; it should descend to the earth, where its nest is. In this way it gives the message conveyed by the hexagram.

The Image
Thunder on the mountain:
The image of Preponderance of the Small.
Thus in his conduct the superior man gives preponderance to reverence.
In bereavement he gives preponderance to grief.
In his expenditures he gives preponderance to thrift.

Thunder on the mountain is different from thunder on the plain. In the mountains, thunder seems much nearer; outside the mountains, it is less audible than the thunder of an ordinary storm. Thus the superior man derives an imperative from this image: he must always fix his eyes more closely and more directly on duty than does the ordinary man, even though this might make his behaviour seem petty to the outside world. He is exceptionally conscientious in his actions. In bereavement emotion means more to him than ceremoniousness. In all his personal expenditures he is extremely simple and unpretentious. In comparison with the man of the masses, all this makes him stand out as exceptional. But the essential significance of his attitude lies in the fact that in external matters he is on the side of the lowly.

Keywords: Non-essential. Success of Trifles. A Wounded Bird. Small Divergences.

The Queen of Disks

Persons signified by this card possess the finest of the quieter qualities. They are ambitious, but only in useful directions. They possess immense funds of affection, kindness, and greatness of heart. They are not intellectual, and not particularly intelligent; but instinct and intuition are more than adequate for their needs. These people are quiet, hard-working, practical, sensible, domesticated, often (in a reticent and unassuming fashion) lustful and even debauched. They are inclined to the abuse of alcohol and of drugs. It is as if they could only realize their essential happiness by getting outside themselves.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Sagittarius20-29Saturn10 of WandsOppression
Capricorn0-9Jupiter2 of DisksChange
Capricorn10-19Mars3 of DisksWorks
Corresponding Hexagram

31. Hsien. Influence (Wooing)

I Ching Hexagram 31

The name of the hexagram means “universal,” “general,” and in a figurative sense “to influence,” “to stimulate.” The upper trigram is Tui, the Joyous; the lower is Kên, Keeping still. By its persistent, quiet influence, the lower, rigid trigram stimulates the upper, weak trigram, which responds to this stimulation cheerfully and joyously. Kên, the lower trigram, is the youngest son; the upper, Tui, is the youngest daughter. Thus the universal mutual attraction between the sexes is represented. In courtship, the masculine principle must seize the initiative and place itself below the feminine principle. Just as the first part of book 1 begins with the hexagrams of heaven and earth, the foundations of all that exists, the second part begins with the hexagrams of courtship and marriage, the foundations of all social relationships.

The Judgement
Influence. Success.
Perseverance furthers.
To take a maiden to wife brings good fortune.

The weak element is above, the strong below; hence their powers attract each other, so that they unite. This brings about success, for all success depends on the effect of mutual attraction. By keeping still within while experiencing joy without, one can prevent the joy from going to excess and hold it within proper bounds. This is the meaning of the added admonition, “Perseverance furthers,” for it is perseverance that makes the difference between seduction and courtship; in the latter the strong man takes a position inferior to that of the weak girl and shows consideration for her. This attraction between affinities is a general law of nature. Heaven and earth attract each other and thus all creatures come into being. Through such attraction the sage influences men’s hearts, and thus the world attains peace. From the attractions they exert we can learn the nature of all beings in heaven and on earth.

The Image
A lake on the mountain:
The image of Influence.
Thus the superior man encourages people to approach him
By his readiness to receive them.

A mountain with a lake on its summit is stimulated by the moisture from the lake. It has this advantage because its summit does not jut out as a peak but is sunken. The image counsels that the mind should be kept humble and free, so that it may remain receptive to good advice. People soon give up counselling a man who thinks that he knows everything better than anyone else.

Keywords: Influencing to Action. All. Jointly.

The Prince of Disks

The character denoted by this card is that of great energy brought to bear upon the most solid of practical matters. He is energetic and enduring, a capable manager, a steadfast and persevering worker. He is competent, ingenious, thoughtful, cautious, ‘trustworthy, imperturbable; he constantly seeks new uses for common things, and adapts his circumstances to his purposes in a slow, steady, well-thought out plan. He is lacking almost entirely in emotion. He is somewhat insensitive, and may appear dull, but he is not; it so appears because he makes no effort to understand ideas which are beyond his scope. He may often appear stupid, and is inclined to be resentful of more spiritual types. He is slow to anger, but, if driven, becomes implacable. It is not very practicable to distinguish between the good and evil dignities in this card; one can merely say that, in case of his being ill-dignified, both the quality and quantity of his characteristics are somewhat degraded. The reaction of others to him will depend almost entirely upon their own temperaments.

Corresponding Small Cards
Zodiac SignsDegreesDecan ofMinor ArcanaName
Aries20-29Venus4 of WandsCompletion
Taurus0-9Mercury5 of DisksWorry
Taurus10-19Moon6 of DisksSuccess
Corresponding Hexagram

53. Chien. Development (Gradual Progress)

I Ching Hexagram 53

This hexagram is made up of Sun (wood, penetration) above, i.e., without, and Kên (mountain, stillness) below, i.e., within. A tree on a mountain develops slowly according to the law of its being and consequently stands firmly rooted. This gives the idea of a development that proceeds gradually, step by step. The attributes of the trigrams also point to this: within is tranquillity, which guards against precipitate actions, and without is penetration, which makes development and progress possible.

The Judgement
Development. The maiden
Is given in marriage.
Good fortune.
Perseverance furthers.

The development of events that leads to a girl’s following a man to his home proceeds slowly. The various formalities must be disposed of before the marriage takes place. This principle of gradual development can be applied to other situations as well; it is always applicable where it is a matter of correct relationships of co-operation, as for instance in the appointment of an official. The development must be allowed to take its proper course. Hasty action would not be wise. This is also true, finally, of any effort to exert influence on others, for here too the essential factor is a correct way of development through cultivation of one’s own personality. No influence such as that exerted by agitators has a lasting effect. Within the personality too, development must follow the same course if lasting results are to be achieved. Gentleness that is adaptable, but at the same time penetrating, is the outer form that should proceed from inner calm.The very gradualness of the development makes it necessary to have perseverance, for perseverance alone prevents slow progress from dwindling to nothing.

The Image
On the mountain, a tree:
The image of Development.
Thus the superior man abides in dignity and virtue,
In order to improve the mores.

The tree on the mountain is visible from afar, and its development influences the landscape of the entire region. It does not shoot up like a swamp plant; its growth proceeds gradually. Thus also the work of influencing people can be only gradual. No sudden influence or awakening is of lasting effect. Progress must be quite gradual, and in order to obtain such progress in public opinion and in the mores of the people, it is necessary for the personality to acquire influence and weight. This comes about through careful and constant work on one’s own moral development.

Keywords: Fortunate Marriage. Gradual Advance. Goose.

The Princess of Disks

The characteristics of an individual signified by this card are too various to enumerate; one must summarize by saying that she is Womanhood in its ultimate projection. She contains all the characteristics of woman, and it would depend entirely upon the influences to which she is subjected whether one or another becomes manifest. But in every case her attributes will be pure in themselves, and not necessarily connected with any other attributes which in the normal way one regards as symbolic. In one sense, then, her general reputation will be of bewildering inconsistency. It is rather like a lottery wheel from which the extraction of any number does not predict or influence the result of any subsequent operation.

Being ‘Earthbound’ the Princesses do not have any Zodiacal attributes.

Corresponding Hexagram

52. Ken. Keeping Still.

I Ching Hexagram 52

The image of this hexagram is the mountain, the youngest son of heaven and earth. The male principle is at the top because it strives upward by nature; the female principle is below, since the direction of its movement has come to its normal end. In its application to man, the hexagram turns upon the problem of achieving a quiet heart. It is very difficult to bring quiet to the heart. While Buddhism strives for rest through an ebbing away of all movement in nirvana, the Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that always posits movement as its complement. Possibly the words of the text embody directions for the practice of yoga.

The Judgement
Keeping Still. Keeping his back still
So that he no longer feels his body.
He goes into the courtyard
And does not see his people.
No blame.

True quiet means keeping still when the time has come to keep still, and going forward when the time has come to go forward. In this way rest and movement are in agreement with the demands of the time, and thus there is light in life. The hexagram signifies the end and the beginning of all movement. The back is named because in the back are located all the nerve fibers that mediate movement. If the movement of these spinal nerves is brought to a standstill, the ego, with its restlessness, disappears as it were. When a man has thus become calm, he may turn to the outside world. He no longer sees in it the struggle and tumult of individual beings, and therefore he has that true peace of mind which is needed for understanding the great laws of the universe and for acting in harmony with them. Whoever acts from these deep levels makes no mistakes.

The Image
Mountains standing close together:
The image of Keeping Still.
Thus the superior man
Does not permit his thoughts
To go beyond his situation.

The heart thinks constantly. This cannot be changed, but the movements of the heart-that is, a man’s thoughts-should restrict themselves to the immediate situation. All thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart sore.

Keywords: Peace. A Mountain.

Further I Ching Correspondences

In addition to the sixteen Court Cards, five of the cards of the Minor Arcana (those corresponding to Decans ruled by Sol), also have their equivalent Hexagrams. (Click Hexagram links for summaries).

Minor ArcanaSignDegreesHexagramName
3 of WandsAries10-1911. T’aiPeace
10 of SwordsGemini20-2943. KuaiBreakthrough
8 of DisksVirgo0-933. TunRetreat
6 of CupsScorpio10-1920. KuanContemplation
4 of DisksCapricorn20-292. K’unThe Receptive

Mahakala Bhairava

Mahakala Bhairava

Mahakala Bhairava (‘Beyond Time’ and ‘Frightful’) is a fearsome aspect of Shiva associated with Annihilation. Known as Nagpo Chenpo (Great Black One), Vajrabhairava and Yamantaka (Destroyer of Death) in Tibetan Buddhism. The eight Ashtami Bhairavas that manifest from him represent the eight primary aspects of fear, and their correspondence with the Nakshatras represents them as portions of time and space of which Bhairava is the whole. Their consorts represent their vital expressions of Divine power, and together, they combine to form Bhairavi, Bhairava’s consort. In their totality, Bhairava and Bhairavi are of unified essence and their division into two separate entities serves only as a symbol expressing the objective Absolute and the possibility of becoming subjectively aware of it through the manifestation of Kundalini. Being destroyers and wrathful, this pairing represents the destruction of diversions such as ignorance, attachments, the ego and obstructive emotions that bar our union with the divine source. While fearsome, their associationa with negative emotions represents the knowledge of those emotions, how they can be obstacles to us and how, by destroying and overcoming their influences, we may perfect ourselves. Two of Mahakala Bhairava’s mantras to assist with this perfection, are:

“Om Shri Kaal Bhairavaya Namaha.”

“Om Sow Hreem Shaprowhm Sahase Kaala Bhairavaaye Namaha.”


Kaal Ashtami – the 8th Lunar Day (Ashtami) of the waning fortnight, with Bhairava Ashtami,—which comes in the month of Kartik—being the most auspicious, especially if it falls on a Sunday or Tuesday. During this festival, Bhairava is depicted riding his dog in a form named Dandapani, in which he wields a Danda rod, to punish wrongdoers. An all-night vigil is held on the night of and at midnight an arati is performed with conches, drums and cymbals. After a bath the next morning, rites honouring dead kinsmen are performed and Bhairava, his Dog and Bhairavi are worshipped with offerings of flowers, milk, curds and sweets. In Varanasi, an eight day pilgrimage is taken in the days before this major festival.

Experimental Praxis

As Lord of Time, Mahakala Bhairava cannot strictly be apportioned specific Zodiacal properties, yet, with each of his eight manifestations having particular Nakshatras and planets assigned to them, he can be thought of as the sum-total of the entire Zodiac, all nine of the planets and, by extension, every aspect of time and space. With this intent in mind, meditating on and appealing to the Ashta Bhairava and their Shaktis through the course of the Lunar Cycle, can be seen as a month-long devotional ritual to them.

As well as being more convenient for division, the reduction to twenty-seven Mansions from the original twenty-eight also allows a connection between the Lunar Cycle and the sacred number 108, as, with the subsequent division of the twenty-seven Nakshatras into four padas—each of which is attributed a sequential Zodiac sign—a total of 108 (27 x 4) padas are passed through in every Lunar Cycle. An elaboration on the aforementioned adoration of my own devising involves attributing each of those padas to two of the 64 Bhairavas, which presents a more complete meditation on the Lord of Time, Death and the Universe. Considering the meanings of the names of each of these manifestations explored over the last eight posts, it is clear that these names are all epithets of Shiva in his most dreadful form, making a devotion such as this a long and considered reflection on each of those 64 symbolic aspects of his terrible and purifying nature.

Where no specific mantra has been provided for the 56 sub-Bhairavas in the previous posts, one can chant “Om…. Namaha” with the appropriate name of Bhairava being inserted after ‘Om.’

(See the post ‘Ashtama Bhairava and the Nakshatras‘ for the Planetary Lords of the Nakshatras and other relevant correspondences)

Nakshatra Pada Bhairavas Sidereal º Pada Lord
Ashwini Aries Bheeshana
0º Aries Mars
Taurus Sarvajna
3º 20′ Aries Venus
Gemini Maharaudra
6º 40′ Aries Mercury
Cancer Mukhara
10º Aries Moon
Bharani Leo Kapala
13º 20′ Aries Sun
Virgo Hasticarmam-baradhara
16º 40′ Aries Mercury
Libra Brahmaraksasa
20º Aries Venus
Scorpio Sarvadevesa
23º 20′ Aries Mars
Krittika Sagittarius Ruru
26º 40′ Aries Jupiter
Capricorn Jatadhara
0º Taurus Saturn
Aquarius Virupaksa
3º 20′ Taurus Saturn
Pisces Vajrahasta
6º 40′ Taurus Jupiter
Rohini Aries Krodha
10º Taurus Mars
Taurus Abharupa
13º 20′ Taurus Venus
Gemini Kutila
16º 40′ Taurus Mercury
Cancer Rudra
20º Taurus Moon
Mrighirsha Leo Chanda
23º 20′ Taurus Sun
Virgo Bhumikampa
26º 40′ Taurus Mercury
Libra Visnu
0º Gemini Venus
Scorpio Mundapala
3º 20′ Gemini Mars
Ardra Sagittarius Bheeshana
6º 40′ Gemini Jupiter
Capricorn Sarvajna
10º Gemini Saturn
Aquarius Maharaudra
13º 20′ Gemini Saturn
Pisces Mukhara
16º 40′ Gemini Jupiter
Punarvasu Aries Asitanga
20º Gemini Mars
Taurus Martanda
23º 20′ Gemini Venus
Gemini Svacchanda
26º 40′ Gemini Mercury
Cancer Khecara
0º Cancer Moon
Pushya Leo Unmattha
3º 20′ Cancer Sun
Virgo Sankara
6º 40′ Cancer Mercury
Libra Trinetra
10º Cancer Venus
Scorpio Varada
13º 20′ Cancer Mars
Ashlesha Sagittarius Samhara
16º 40′ Cancer Jupiter
Capricorn Kalagni
20º Cancer Saturn
Aquarius Ghoranda
23º 20′ Cancer Saturn
Pisces Yogisa
26º 40′ Cancer Jupiter
Magha Aries Bheeshana
0º Leo Mars
Taurus Sarvajna
3º 20′ Leo Venus
Gemini Maharaudra
6º 40′ Leo Mercury
Cancer Mukhara
10º Leo Moon
Purvaphalguni Leo Kapala
13º 20′ Sun
Virgo Hasticarmam-baradhara
16º 40′ Leo Mercury
Libra Brahmaraksasa
20º Leo Venus
Scorpio Sarvadevesa
23º 20 Leo Mars
Uttaraphalguni Sagittarius Ruru
26º 40′ Leo Jupiter
Capricorn Jatadhara
0º Virgo Saturn
Aquarius Virupaksa
3º 20′ Virgo Saturn
Pisces Vajrahasta
6º 40′ Virgo Jupiter
Hasta Aries Krodha
10º Virgo Mars
Taurus Abharupa
13º 20′ Virgo Venus
Gemini Kutila
16º 40′ Virgo Mercury
Cancer Rudra
20º Virgo Moon
Chitra Leo Chanda
23º 20′ Virgo Sun
Virgo Bhumikampa
26º 40′ Virgo Mercury
Libra Visnu
0º Libra Venus
Scorpio Mundapala
3º 20′ Libra Mars
Swati Sagittarius Bheeshana
6º 40′ Libra Jupiter
Capricorn Sarvajna
10º Libra Saturn
Aquarius Maharaudra
13º 20′ Libra Saturn
Pisces Mukhara
16º 40′ Libra Jupiter
Vishakha Aries Asitanga
20º Libra Mars
Taurus Martanda
23º 20′ Libra Venus
Gemini Svacchanda
26º 40′ Libra Mercury
Cancer Khecara
0º Scorpio Moon
Anuradha Leo Unmattha
3º 20′ Scorpio Sun
Virgo Sankara
6º 40′ Scorpio Mercury
Libra Trinetra
10º Scorpio Venus
Scorpio Varada
13º 20′ Scorpio Mars
Jyeshtha Sagittarius Samhara
16º 40′ Scorpio Jupiter
Capricorn Kalagni
20º Scorpio Saturn
Aquarius Ghoranda
23º 20′ Scorpio Saturn
Pisces Yogisa
26º 40′ Scorpio Jupiter
Mula Aries Bheeshana
0º Sagittarius Mars
Taurus Sarvajna
3º 20′ Sagittarius Venus
Gemini Maharaudra
6º 40′ Sagittarius Mercury
Cancer Mukhara
10º Sagittarius Moon
Purvashadha Leo Kapala
13º 20′ Sagittarius Sun
Virgo Hasticarmam-baradhara
16º 40′ Sagittarius Mercury
Libra Brahmaraksasa
20º Sagittarius Venus
Scorpio Sarvadevesa
23º 20′ Sagittarius Mars
Uttarashadha Sagittarius Ruru
26º 40′ Sagittarius Jupiter
Capricorn Jatadhara
0º Capricorn Saturn
Aquarius Virupaksa
3º 20′ Capricorn Saturn
Pisces Vajrahasta
6º 40′ Capricorn Jupiter
Shravana Aries Krodha
10º Capricorn Mars
Taurus Abharupa
13º 20′ Capricorn Venus
Gemini Kutila
16º 40′ Capricorn Mercury
Cancer Rudra
20º Capricorn Moon
Dhanishtha Leo Chanda
23º 20′ Capricorn Sun
Virgo Bhumikampa
26º 40′ Capricorn Mercury
Libra Visnu
0º Aquarius Venus
Scorpio Mundapala
3º 20′ Aquarius Mars
Sathabhisha Sagittarius Bheeshana
6º 40′ Aquarius Jupiter
Capricorn Sarvajna
10º Aquarius Saturn
Aquarius Maharaudra
13º 20′ Aquarius Saturn
Pisces Mukhara
16º 40′ Aquarius Jupiter
Aries Asitanga
20º Aquarius Mars
Taurus Martanda
23º 20′ Aquarius Venus
Gemini Svacchanda
26º 40′ Aquarius Mercury
Cancer Khecara
0º Pisces Moon
Leo Unmattha
3º 20′ Pisces Sun
Virgo Sankara
6º 40 Pisces Mercury
Libra Trinetra
10º Pisces Venus
Scorpio Varada
13º 20′ Pisces Mars
Revati Sagittarius Samhara
16º 40′ Pisces Jupiter
Capricorn Kalagni
20º Pisces Saturn
Aquarius Ghoranda
23º 20′ Pisces Saturn
Pisces Yogisa
26º 40′ Pisces Jupiter

As noted above, the number 108 is of special importance in Vedic and Tantric traditions. The Shivaganas, the attendants of Shiva who reside in chthonic or liminal locations such as cemeteries and charnel grounds, were 108 in number.  It is also the number of beads on a Rudhraksha and the number of names attributed to many gods, including Bhairava, Additionally, when rounded up, the Sun and Moon are (on average) 108 times the distance from the Earth as their own diameters, with the diameter of the Sun also being approximately 108 times that of the Earth.

The mantras of the 108 names of Bhairava are:

  1. Om Bhairavaaya namaha
  2. Om Bhuutanaathaaya namaha
  3. Om Bhritaatmane namaha
  4. Om Bhuutabhaavanaaya namaha
  5. Om Kshetragyaaya namaha
  6. Om Kshetrapaalaaya namaha
  7. Om Kshetradaaya namaha
  8. Om Kshatriyaaya namaha
  9. Om Viraaje namaha
  10. Om Shmashaanavaasine namaha
  11. Om Maamsaashine namaha
  12. Om Kharvaroshine namaha
  13. Om Smarantakaaya namaha
  14. Om Raktapaaya namaha
  15. Om Paanayaaya namaha
  16. Om Siddhaaya namaha
  17. Om Siddhidaaya namaha
  18. Om Siddhisevitaaya namaha
  19. Om Kankaalaaya namaha
  20. Om Kalaashamanaaya namaha
  21. Om Kalaakaashtaaya namaha
  22. Om Tanaye namaha
  23. Om Kavaye namaha
  24. Om Trinetraaya namaha
  25. Om Bahunetraaya namaha
  26. Om Pigala-lochanaaya namaha
  27. Om Shuulapaanaye namaha
  28. Om Khadgapaanaye namaha
  29. Om Kapaaline namaha
  30. Om Dhuumralochanaaya namaha
  31. Om Abhirave namaha
  32. Om Bhauraviinaathaaya namaha
  33. Om Bhuutapaaya namaha
  34. Om Yoginiipataye namaha
  35. Om Dhanadaaya namaha
  36. Om Dhanahaarine namaha
  37. Om Dhanavate namaha
  38. Om Priitivardhanaaya namaha
  39. Om Naagahaaraaya namaha
  40. Om Naagapaashaaya namaha
  41. Om Vyomakeshaaya namaha
  42. Om Kapaalabhrite namaha
  43. Om Kaalaaya namaha
  44. Om Kapaalamaaline namaha
  45. Om Kamaniiyaaya namaha
  46. Om Kalaanidhaye namaha
  47. Om Trilochanaaya namaha
  48. Om Jvalannetraaya namaha
  49. Om Trishikhine namaha
  50. Om Trilokashaaya namaha
  51. Om Trinetrataapaaya namaha
  52. Om Dibhaaya namaha
  53. Om Shaantaaya namaha
  54. Om Shaantajanapriyaaya namaha
  55. Om Batukaaya namaha
  56. Om Batuveshaaya namaha
  57. Om Khatvaangadhaarakaaya namaha
  58. Om Yanaadhyakshaaya namaha
  59. Om Pashupataye namaha
  60. Om Bhikshukaaya namaha
  61. Om Parichaarakaaya namaha
  62. Om Dhuurtaaya namaha
  63. Om Digambaraaya namaha
  64. Om SHuuraaya namaha
  65. Om Harine namaha
  66. Om Paandulochanaaya namaha
  67. Om Prashaantaaya namaha
  68. Om Shaantidaaya namaha
  69. Om Siddhaaya namaha
  70. Om Shankarapriyabaandhavaaya namaha
  71. Om Ashtamuurtaye namaha
  72. Om Nidhiishaaya namaha
  73. Om Gyaanachakshushe namaha
  74. Om Tapomadaaya namaha
  75. Om Ashtaadhaaraaya namaha
  76. Om Shadaadhaaraaya namaha
  77. Om Sarpayuktaaya namaha
  78. Om Shikhisakhaaya namaha
  79. Om Bhuudharaaya namaha
  80. Om Bhuudharaadhiishaaya namaha
  81. Om Bhuupataye namaha
  82. Om Bhuudharaatmagyaaya namaha
  83. Om Kankaaladhaarine namaha
  84. Om Mundine namaha
  85. Om Naagayagyopavitavate namaha
  86. Om Jribhbhanaaya namaha
  87. Om Mohanaaya namaha
  88. Om Stambhine namaha
  89. Om Maranaaya namaha
  90. Om Kshobhanaaya namaha
  91. Om Shuddhaniilaamjanaprakhyaaya namaha
  92. Om Dvityaghne namaha
  93. Om Mundabhuushitaaya namaha
  94. Om Balibhuuje namaha
  95. Om Balibhunanaathaaya namaha
  96. Om Baalaaya namaha
  97. Om Baalaparaakramaaya namaha
  98. Om Sarvaapattaaranaaya namaha
  99. Om Durgaaya namaha
  100. Om Dushta Bhuutanishevitaaya namaha
  101. Om Kaamine namaha
  102. Om Kalaanidhaye namaha
  103. Om Kaantaaya namaha
  104. Om Kaaminiivashakridvashine namaha
  105. Om Sarvasiddhipadaaya namaha
  106. Om Vaidyaaya namaha
  107. Om Prabhave namaha
  108. Om Vishnave Namaha

Hymn to Kalabhairava

I Worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
Whose sacred lotus feet are worshipped by the King of Devas,
The compassionate One,
Whose sacrificial thread is made of serpents,
On whose forehead shines the moon.
The naked one,
Whom Nārada and multitudes of other Yogis adore.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

Our great Saviour in our voyage across the ocean of the world.
The blue-throated, three-eyed grantor of all desires,
The lotus-eyed, who is the death of death,
The imperishable One,
Holding the rosary of human bone and the trident.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
The primeval cause,
Holding in His hands trident, axe, noose, and staff 8
–Him of the black body,
The first of all Deva, imperishable, incorruptible,
Lord formidable and powerful,
Who loves to dance wonderfully.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
Of great and beautiful body,
The giver of both enjoyment and liberation,
Who loves and smiles upon all His devotees,
Whose body is the whole world,
Whose waist is adorned with little tinkling bells;
Beautiful are they, and made of gold.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
The protector of the bridge of dharma,
Destroyer of the path of adharma,
Liberator form the bonds of karma,
The all-pervading giver of welfare to all,
Whose golden body is adorned with serpent coils.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī
Whose feet are beautiful with the lustre of the gems thereon–
The stainless, eternal Iṣṭadevatā,
One without a second,
Destroyer of pride, and liberator from the gaping jaw of the God of Death.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
Whose loud laughter broke the shell of many an egg of the lotus-born;
Strong ruler, at whose glance the net of sin is broken; Giver of the eight powers,
Whose shoulders serpents garland.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
The Saviour of all, giver of great fame,
The all-pervading One,
Who purifies of both sin and virtue the people of Kāśī;
The ancient Lord of the world,
Wise in the wisdom of all moralities.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

The 64 Bhairavas

Perusing the names of the Ashta Bhairavas and their emanations in the list below, it’s clear that each name represents either a physical feature of, an adornment of, an action performed by or a general attribute of Shiva. Some of them also coincide with the descriptions found in the Sahasranamas, or ‘Thousand Names of Shiva.’

General physical attributes include: ‘Black-Limbed,’ ‘Large-Eyed,’ ‘Red-Eyed,’ ‘Deformed or Unusual number of Eyes’ (Shiva has three), ‘Having Excessive Limbs’ and ‘Large-bodied.’ ‘An Ascetic with Matted Hair,’ ‘ugly or deformed’ and ‘crooked’ refer to Shiva in his form as Bhikshatana – ‘the Supreme Mendicant’ – in which he carried a human skull (Kapala) as a begging bowl  and was followed by demonic attendants (bhuta) and love-sick women. ‘Blue-throated’ references his drinking of the poison Halahala, which rose up from the primordial waters, and threatened to suffocate the gods and devas with its noxious fume. Shiva absorbed the poison into his body, but his throat was left blue as a result.

Of his adornments, the ‘Moon Ornament’ describes the Crescent Moon upon Shiva’s brow which, being but an ornament, symbolises him as the Lord of Time. The ‘Skin of an Elephant,’ refers to Shiva in his form Gajasurasamhara, in which he slew the Elephant-demon Gajasura then danced vigourously in his skin.


The Conch Shell is carried by several of the Bhairavas and is an important ritual musical instrument in Hinduism. In myth it was created by Shiva after he destroyed the asuras with his trident, with the ashes of their burnt bodies blowing into the sea and solidifying into conch shells on their passing. ‘The Tusk of a Hog’ refers to the necklace Shiva made from the tusks of the ferocious boar that emanated from Vishnu’s right nostril (that associated with the Solar, masculine, Pingala Nadi) and almost destroyed the Three Worlds. This symbolises Shiva’s ability to balance the Nadis.

Many of the other aspects named are descriptives of Shiva’s terrible form, Bhairava, such as ‘Fierce,’ ‘Wrathful,’ ‘Mad,’ ‘Dreadful’ and ‘Terrible,’ while others describe the spiritual states Shiva leads towards, such as ‘Annihilation’ and ‘Stilling the mind.’ His divine nature is revealed in names such as ‘Lord of Union’ (through Yoga), ‘Moving in the Ether’ (describes the invisible realm of thought) and ‘fulfller of desires. Other characteristics are apparent in names such as ‘Dog/deer’ (Bhairava rides a dog, but Ruru Bhairava is depicted holding a deer), ‘Mountain Dweller (he lives at the peak of the impenetrable Mount Kailash in the Himalayas), ‘Vampire/Ghoul’ (he is the leader of various demonic spirits) and ‘the Sun’ (he is occasionally depicted as a solar deity).

Bhairava Meaning of Name
Asitanga Black-limbed
Visalaksa Large-Eyed
Martanda The Sun
Modakapriya Lover of Pleasure
Vighnasantusta Satisfactory Remover of Obstacles
Svacchanda One’s own Will
Khecara Moving in the Ether
Sacaracara Comprehending Everything
Ruru A Dog or Deer
Krodadamstra The Tusk of a Hog
Jatadhara An Ascetic with Matted Hair
Visvarupa Exists in All Forms
Virupaksa Deformed or unusual number of Eyes
Nanarupadhara In the form of Gnosis
Vajrahastra Impenetrable Hand
Mahakaya Large-bodied
Chanda Fierce
Pralayantaka Cataclysm, Deluge
Bhumikampa Earthquake
Nilakantha Blue-throated
Visnu All-Prevailing Lord
Kulapalaka Clan Guardian
Mundapala Tribe Protector
Kamapala Fulfiller of Desires
Krodha Wrathful
Pingaleksana Red-eyed
Abharupa Ugly, deformed
Dharapala Guardian of the Earth
Kutila Crooked
Mantranayaka Lord of Mantras
Rudra Dreadful
Pitamaha Grandfather
Unmattha Mad, intoxicated
Vatukanayaka Lord of Celibates
Sankara Fearful
Bhutavetala Ghoul, Vampire
Trinetra Having Three Eyes
Tripurantaka Destroyer of the Three Demon Cities
Varada Propitious
Parvatavasa Mountain Dweller
Kapala Skull
Sasibhusana Moon Ornament
Hasticarmambaradhara Wearing an Elephant Skin
Yogisa Lord of Union
Brahmaraksasa Ghost of a Brahman
Sarvajna Omniscient
Sarvadevesa God of All Devas
Sarvabhutahdrishitha He who sees All Spirits
Bheeshana Dreadful, Horrible
Bhayahara Terrible
Sarvajna Omniscient
Kalagni The Fire that Destroys Time
Maharaudra Very Dreadful
Daksina The Sacred Fire, An Offering
Mukhara A Conch Shell
Asthira Fickle
Samhara Annihilation
Atiriktanga Having Excessive Limbs
Kalagni The Fire that Destroys Time
Priyankara Attracting Love or Regard
Ghoranada Bellowing
Visalaksa Large-Eyed
Yogisa Lord of Union
Daksasamsthita Stilling the Mind

Samhara Bhairava


I meditate on Bhairava the Destroyer, Who is with Chandika Shakthi,
Who has ten hands, three eyes and a snake as a sacred thread,
Who has protruding teeth,
A fearful look and grants eight types of wealth,
Who is nude, a youth and rides on a dog,
Who holds trident, drum, conch, mace and wheel in his hands,
Who holds sword, vessel, Gadwangam, rope and goad.
And who has fearful looks, wears a skull garland and is greatly exuberant.

Samhara Bhairava is Bhairava the Destroyer. He dissolves all negative past karmas, grants wealth and is associated with the Northeast. He is the colour of lightning, rides a dog and is associated with Mercury and the Nakshatras Ashlesa, Jyeshtha and Revati, which begin at 16º 40 Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces in the Sidereal Zodiac. His mantra should be repeated 9, 21, 108 or 1008 times, and is as follows:

“Om Namo Bhagavate Samhara Bhairavaye Bhuta Preta Pisaca Brahma Raksasan Uccataya Samharaya Samharaya Sarva Bhaya Chedanam Kuru Kuru Svaha.”

The eight manifestations of this aspect of Bhairava, with translations of their names, are:

Saṃhāra – Annihilation
Atiriktāṅga – Having Excessive Limbs
Kālāgni – The Fire that Destroys Time
Priyaṅkara – Attracting Love or Regard
Ghoranāda – Bellowing
Viśālākṣa – Large-Eyed
Yogīśa – Lord of Union
Dakṣasaṃsthita – Stilling the Mind

His consort is the Matrika Chandika, a powerful, terrifying goddess who is a form of Durga and represents the manifestation of all divine power. She hates evildoers and becomes wrathful on seeing them. She comes in the form of a woman seated on a lotus with a vermilion and coral complexion and eighteen arms bearing a string of beads, a battle axe, a mace, an arrow, a thunderbolt, a lotus, a bow, a water-pot, a cudgel, a lance, a sword, a shield, a conch, a bell, a wine-cup, a trident, a noose and a discus. She assists with the overcoming of Anger, and her mantra is:

“Om Aim Hreem Kleem Chamundaye Viche.”

This resolves all problems, relaxes the mind, promotes harmonious relationships, eliminates fear and protects from enemies.


Bheeshana Bhairava


I salute the fearful Bhairava,
Who is a great God of blood-red colour,
Who has three eyes, blesses, is peaceful, young and nude,
Who holds a sword, trident, skull and pestle in his hand,
Who has with him Chamunda Shakthi who rides on a corpse.

Bheeshana Bhairava is the Fearful Bhairava. He is red in colour, obliterates all evil spirits and negativity, is associated with the North and carries a kunda flower, a bludgeon studded with iron and a javelin. He rides a Lion and is associated with Ketu and the Nakshatras Ashvini, Magha and Mula, which begin at 0º Aries, Leo and Sagittarius in the Sidereal Zodiac, and also Rahu and the Nakshatras Ardra, Swati and Shatbhisha, which begin at 6º 40 Gemini, Libra and Aquarius of the Sidereal Zodiac. His mantra should be repeated 9, 21, 108 or 1008 times, and is as follows:

“Om Hreem Bheeshana Bhairavaya Sarva Saaba Nirvanaya Mam Vasham Kuru Kuru Svaaha.”

The eight manifestations of this aspect of Bhairava, with translations of their names, are:

Bheeshana – Horrible
Bhayahara – Terrible
Sarvajña – Omniscient
Kālāgni – Fire that destroys Time
Mahāraudra – Very Dreadful
Dakṣiṇa – Sacred Fire, An Offering
Mukhara – Noisy, A Conch Shell
Asthira – Fickle.

His consort is the Matrika Chamunda, who is also known as Rakta Kali. She represents the destruction of the ego’s tendency towards doing harm and acting in a depraved manner and appears as a terrifying old woman. She is invoked to destroy evil and is associated with cremation grounds and fig trees and can be offered meat, alcohol and animal or human sacrifices. She is described as wearing a garland of severed heads or skulls. She is described as having four, eight, ten or twelve arms, holding a drum, trident, sword, snake, skull-mace, thunderbolt, a severed head and a skull-cup filled with blood. She stands on the corpse of a man or seated on a defeated demon or corpse. She is adorned by ornaments of bones, skulls, and serpents and also wears a Yajnopavita of skulls and a headdress formed of piled, matted hair tied with snakes or skull ornaments. Sometimes, a crescent moon is seen on her head. Her eye sockets are described as burning the world with flames. She is accompanied by evil spirits. She is also shown to be surrounded by skeletons or ghosts and beasts like jackals, who are shown eating the flesh of the corpse which the goddess sits or stands on. The jackals and her fearsome companions are sometimes depicted as drinking blood from the skull-cup or blood dripping from the severed head, implying that she drinks the blood of the defeated enemies. At times, she is depicted seated on an owl and her banner depicts an eagle. Her  mantra is:

“Om Aim Hreem Kleem Chamundaye Viche.”

This resolves all problems, relaxes the mind, promotes harmonious relationships, eliminates fear and protects from enemies.