IX. A Grape or Grape Plant

Red Dragon

IX GRAPE

Servitors: Helel, Moreh, Myrmo, Mara, Helmis, Liriol, Asmiel, Lomiol, Losimon, Sarasim, Iuar, Laralos, Aherom, Ramoras, Aril, Amillis

The words at the top and right-hand side of the square relate to the Hebrew עללה (olelah), ‘gleaning,’ meaning ‘to gather after harvest,’ as in ‘the gleaning of the grapes’ in Isaiah 24:13— ‘the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.’ The reversing of this word in the bottom and left-hand edges resembles the name of the spirit Helel which refers to a ‘cavity’ or ‘hollow’ but also implicates the Hebrew הלל (halel), a ‘song of praise.’ ERISOL may refer to the Greek ἐριστικός – ‘eager for strife,’ after the goddess Eris, while the words LOSOME and LASOME may derive from the Hebrew לשים (loshim) meaning ‘to put,’ ‘deposit,’ ‘lay down,’ or ‘brand,’ and points towards the presence of the spirit Losimon, which comes from the word לסימן (losimon), ‘sign,’ mark.’

The Vision

The first thing I saw was a grape in very close proximity, which I entered through the skin of to reside inside of, becoming one with the seed that lay inside of it. As a disembodied spirit, I perceived its germ to be no different than that of the embryo of any human or mammal, though I had no volition over my choice of host. Whilst inside of it I was conscious that I was imprisoned in it until it either decayed into the earth or was devoured by some creature. Before long a creature did come, and it was a phoenix, though it was in the form it takes as a mortal bird before resurrection, with red, blue and yellow feathers, a scruffy appearance and eyes that looked like something you would associate with a negative psychedelic experience. The phoenix ate the grape I lay dormant within, but soon I was passed out in its droppings and merged with the soil. I grew into shoots and then a whole vine and then an entire network of vines that spread over the earth until, eventually, I found a large tree to wind the outer tendrils of my vast body around. As I became settled into my new dwelling, I saw the same reddish-brown dragon that I had seen in the vision of A Big Lake, come down to nestle in the upper boughs of the tree. The tree could support any life, I realised as the dragon landed, for its boughs did not bend or shake an inch despite the dragon’s huge weight. On noticing me, it seemed disgruntled that I had invaded its home.

‘I don’t know if I preferred this tree before you came to it or whether I prefer it now,’ it said. ‘I may have to kill you in order to find out.’ I told him destruction would be welcome as I wasn’t enjoying such an existence, then he said it didn’t matter if he let me live or not, as I would die soon anyway, whether it be from a fire, an ash, a flood or by the hunger of some other great beast.

‘Worse still,’ he said ‘man may come and harvest you for his own gain.’ As it spoke, I became aware of the lake I had first seen this dragon flying over through the eaves of the great tree far off away in the distance. It wound its tail down around the trunk to merge with the uppermost part of my vine.

I asked the dragon its name and it replied that it was Tharson, though there was a sense that it may have been saying Tharuson, and that the name had a hermetic origin. I asked if it knew my name in this plant form, and it replied Bonab though he told me my true name was closer to Jerusay. He spoke again of how that existence as we knew it in bodily form was short and inconsequential and that life would end soon. He pointed to the sun after saying this, and I saw that it was pale and obscured by dark, rushing clouds.

‘Its light is running out,’ he said.

Following these words, I saw a man with a monk’s habit and tonsure approaching from a distance. A streak of lightning descended from the dark clouds and struck him dead and I witnessed his soul departing from his body. As this happened, the phoenix who had devoured me earlier appeared close to his body and I thought it was going to feed on the carcass. Instead, it laid a black egg on top of the body, which then sank in through his cassock and flesh and revived his corpse to life, though on rising he was dark-eyed and zombie-like as his soul had already fled.

‘We must be careful what we allow to enter us,’ the dragon said as the monk walked by.

Then, as the monk faded from view, I noticed the crocodile I had seen while experimenting with the square that makes visions appear in crystal and glass. It came close to the tree and snapped off the part of my body with where my thoughts seemed to be coming from and took my consciousness to the lake I had once sailed a small boat over. It swam out to the centre and dived down to the floor where a sealed treasure chest lay. As it opened I saw that the chest was full of gold, then the crocodile put me inside of it and closed the lid. It was glorious inside, like bathing in pure sunlight and, aside from the knowledge that large fish were swimming in the dark waters above me, I felt at peace. I knew, however, that this state was only a temporary one and that I would soon be released into the world in bodily form again.

The grape I saw was green, the type used to make the white wine the dragon spoke of in the earlier vision of the lake, while the crocodile was the same as the one who previously acted as an underworld guide. Here his role was to guide me to the parts of the underworld that the sun passes through in the twelve hours of the Duat as recounted in the Book of Gates, where it passes when it is in its northern position in its diurnal cycle. As my sense in the vision suggested, this is only a temporary phenomenon as the sun rises in the East after dawn, though the imagery of the sun in the underworld has symbolic resonance with the Elemental King Egin/Ariton—who I believed to the spirit which the dragon served in the vision of A Big Lake—who rules that direction. With the sun dying in the sky yet preserved in a pure state in the treasure chest, I believe the crocodile’s role was that of a guide or helper in this vision, which is concordant with the protective role the god Sobek played to the afflicted dead of the underworld. The act of being put away or deposited for safe keeping in such a chest may be the influence of the spirit Losimon, whose name—as revealed above— means ‘to put’ or ‘deposit.’

The phoenix has obvious connotations with the cycle of death and rebirth, though its appearance in the vision as the physical medium of that process is unusual. Its later role as the layer of a black egg into a corpse represents something I can’t quite explain, though the dragon’s warning appeared to relate to the dangers of unwanted entities entering one’s sensorium.

The closest term I could find to the name Tharson or Tharuson, was the Greek Θαρρος (tharros), meaning ‘courage,’ ‘mettle,’ ‘heart,’ ‘elation.’ However, a more significant, if less accurate rendering, is the word κάνθαρος (kantharos) which relates either to a boat or a drinking vessel, probably named as such due to its shape representing that of an inverted beetle. This would be very significant in relation to its other appearance if this is the case, especially considering that the beetle Khephra represented the sun’s passage through the Duat in the religion of the Egyptians. Of additional significance is the name of a worm which bears this name, the cantharis, which is known for the damage it causes to vines and roses. That ‘worm’ is a word commonly used to refer to a dragon and the fact that I appeared as a large vine in this vision may reveal more of uncanny accuracy I have come to experience while experimenting with these squares.

The name Bonab I was given by the Dragon was particularly unsettling to discover the meaning of, as it translates directly from the Ancient Hebrew word for ‘grape,’ בענב (bonab). This name may have been the one that the spirit with the leopard’s head may have been calling me by in the vision of the big lake when it called me ‘Bob.’

Jerusay was a little more difficult to find cognates for, with the closest match being the Hebrew word ירושה (jeruseh) meaning ‘inheritance,’ ‘legacy,’ or ‘heritage.’

Of the names that appear in this square, Aherom is a reversal of the name of Moreh, and is possibly derived from the Hebrew אחר – Akhar – ‘to remain behind,’ ‘tarry,’ ‘to come from behind,’ ‘hind part,’ ‘another,’ ‘strange.’ Another possible etymology for this name lies in it being another expression of the word רעם (ra’am) – ‘thunder,’ as seen in the names of spirits such as Ramoras and Romages.

Curiously, considering the possible meanings behind the name Tharuson cited above, the name of the spirit Helmis comes from the Ancient Greek ‘ελμις, meaning ‘worm.’

2 thoughts on “IX. A Grape or Grape Plant

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