IV. A Beautiful Garden

IV SELAC

Servitors: Liriol, Mara, Sarasim, Aril, Amillis

The name forming the central cross of the square, LIRIL, relates to the name of the servitor Liriol and the Greek word λειριο, meaning ‘lily.’ The word around the outside of the square, SELAC, has its origins in the Hebrew שלח (shelakh), meaning ‘shoot,’ ‘branch,’ ‘sprout,’ ‘slough’ and ‘to send away.’

The Vision

I stood in the grounds of a park, with a great manor house visible in the distance. A large lawn lay before me which was surrounded by trees, but few flowers. Then I spotted a river off to one side of the lawn and approached it. In the middle of the river was a small island, upon which a beautiful garden grew. I decided to wade across the narrow river to visit the island, tearing a branch from a nearby tree to use as a staff to help me get across. As soon as I entered the waters, they grew turbulent, forcing me to swim over to the island even though they had seemed narrow and mild when I first encountered them.

On arriving on the garden island, I was only able to explore it for only a brief moments before I suddenly found myself far away from it, with no river or garden in sight and nothing but loose stones beneath my feet. Realising I had been transported far beyond the opposite bank of the river, I made my way back towards it on foot with the impression that I was heading south. When I came to the river again, the waters again seemed very narrow and shallow, but as soon as I entered them I realised they were horrendously deep and after only a few steps found I had to swim to the island. On arriving there this time, I found only a small, plain grove present there, then planted my staff into the ground in order to not be expelled from the island again. Two forks appeared at its end as I stabbed it into the soil, wedging it into the earth as I prepared for a struggle to remain on the island.

I sensed a shift in the world as the staff entered the earth and sent deep roots into the ground below and transformed into a great tree with a wide, thick canopy. I sought refuge under its boughs as I perceived that there were many malignant entities forming a circle around me. Night came in an instance as I sheltered beneath the eaves, with a gibbous moon peeking through the branches above. I cast a protective circle to keep the malign presences away and noticed how the waters of the river either side of the island grew turbulent again. It then dawned on me that I needed to keep myself in a still, silent state in order to make my environment serene. On doing this, the river grew gentle and the island began to bloom with flowers. All seemed calm now, with no other presences there but my own.

Then I noticed a woman appear, great in beauty and wearing a red robe. She peeled the robe from her body and revealed that she was not human at all, but a great snake. She slithered towards me and wrapped her body around my wrists, binding them tight. She spoke to me, though none of the words she spoke were familiar, being in a tongue so unusual that I was not able to even approximate their sounds, which were guttural and spoken with a harsh and loud voice. She seemed more human again as she spoke but had the presence of a vampire or of the spurned Lilith seeking to torment Adam in the days before Eve came to Eden. The garden we were in was no paradise however, but a silent, lonely place standing as a precarious bastion against the world’s perils. I focussed my mind on becoming more still and calm again and the garden flourished with florae as the balance resumed. Then I dropped into a deeper state of meditation, finding new passivity in the silence in which I heard a voice saying ‘the sacrifice has been commenced. Proceed and you will not know death.’ On those words, which did not seem obviously related to the vision, I meditated in silence for a few minutes before completing the session.

It was obvious throughout that the island garden, with its tree and snake, had taken on some of the qualities of Eden. There was no perfect state to fall from though, with its various fluxes and turmoils being connected to my own ability to still my mind and be receptive. When these peaceful states came, the garden appeared as a beautiful, serene place, but before long the peace was shattered by the coming of the serpent. Yet with its departure, I was left with the knowledge that the garden represented the illusory and impermanent nature of the sensory world, which is but a small, shifting island in the violent torrents of Being. This understanding, rather than any kind of ‘temptation,’ was the gift she gave. Although her words could not be made out, she brought a wisdom that was raw, direct Gnosis, rather than that of the intellectual faculties, which cannot adequately perceive the nature of reality of which the serpent spoke.

Throughout the vision, I could hear a female neighbour humming a strange, sombre tune, which fitted the slightly sorrowful feel of the vision rather well and didn’t distract me in the ways that noise disturbances often do. The end of her song coincided with the end of the session rather well too, accompanying the ‘active,’ visual parts but ending not long after the more meditative, ‘passive’ parts began.

After writing up the account of what I saw, I set about working out the names of the servitors present in the square, which it is always best to do after the event to prevent knowledge of the names’ meanings influencing the contents of the vision. This also allows one to determine how much objective, or at least synchronistic, reality there may be in the visions shown. Such was certainly the case in this vision, with the name of the spirit Sarasim coming from the Hebrew שרשים, which is the plural of שרש (sharash) meaning ‘a deep root,’ ‘origin,’ ‘source,’ or ‘basis.’ This was relevant due to the ‘deep roots’ the staff I held bore into the earth, with the branch that I crafted it from being directly related to the meaning of the word SELAC described above.

The name Mara also has some significance with its meaning coming from the Hebrew מערה (ma’arah) – ‘cave,’ ‘cavern,’ ‘grotto,’ ‘den’ and מער (ma’ar), meaning ‘naked,’ ‘nudity,’ ‘bare place,’ which represents the ‘grotto’ or ‘den’ of the tree I sought refuge under, the bareness of the island as I arrived there and the disrobing of the serpent woman to reveal her true form. Interestingly, Mara is also that of the death goddess who tried to tempt the Buddha with visions of beautiful women, who also represents the illusory state of the world, and therefore forms a connection to the symbolism revealed by the island that appeared in the vision. With there being no basis whatsoever for any linguisitic connection between the Sanskrit Mara and the Hebrew ma’arah, the symbolic similarity present in this particular vision cannot be entirely discounted. Also symbolically relevant was the fact that this vision’s ‘enlightenment’ took place beneath the eaves of a tree, which reflects not only the location where mankind tasted enlightenment in Genesis, but also that of Gautama’s achievement beneath the eaves of the Boddhi tree.

Liriol’s translation to ‘lily’ that I purported above did not seem very significant here, but the appearance of a spirit akin to Lilith may have been evident due to the phonological similarities between these words, with the repetition of the letters L and I in the Square indicating the Hebrew ליל, denoting the ‘night’ from which Lilith takes her name, which roughly means ‘night monster.’ That her appearance came after day turned to night beneath the canopy of the tree appears to confirm this connection.

Of the other spirits that appear in this Square, the name of Aril may be connected to the Hebrew ערל (a’aril), ‘uncircumcised,’ which reflect the spirits being seen as ‘pagan’ and therefore inimical to God in the Jewish context of the Abramelin. Amillis, meanwhile, resembles עָמֵל (a’amil), ‘worker,’ ‘labourer,’ ‘exertion,’ ‘toil,’ and is possibly named as such due to the servant spirits’ functional aspects as the ‘slaves’ of the Four Kings.

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