X. A Vineyard

ixion

X SOREK

Servitors: Ragaras, Laralos, Gesegas, Ekalak, Lagasas.

The word at the outer edge of the square, SOREK, comes from the Hebrew שורק (soreq), which means ‘a vine,’ and was also the name of the valley in which the biblical Delilah lived (Judges 16:4). The central cross is formed from the name of the spirit Ragaras, which may come from the Hebrew רגע (raga’a), ‘break,’ ‘disturb.’

The Vision

The first image that came was of a dark red-brown heart surrounded by darkness. My form appeared, which was just as black as the surrounding pitch, and I saw that I was carrying the heart over my shoulder as if it were a shoulder bag with a string attached. Then I realised I was in a cave and could hear the sound of dripping water and could smell the earthy dampness of the stones that encased me. On seeing an aperture in the ceiling of a cave I set my intent on reaching it and saw a rope ladder descend from it, which I climbed. At the surface I saw a lush and leafy landscape, though the earth around the vegetation was rough and rocky. In the distance was the lake I have seen in previous descended from the promontory I was stood upon, and I sensed that the tree with the dragon in it was nearby too though couldn’t see it. I looked at myself and saw that I was wearing black robes and thought for a moment that I was the monk who had been struck by lightning in the previous vision, but unlike him I was wearing a hood and the skies above me were blue with no sign of any coming storm.

Moving across the landscape, my attention was drawn to the heart I was carrying over my shoulder. I considered eating it but saw that it was aged, tough-looking and falling apart with decay. It was split all along one side which I prized apart with my fingers to pull out something that looked like an avocado stone. This too, was corrupted by time and age so I pulled that apart too, then discarded the heart onto the ground. From the stone, a beautiful butterfly with wings that sparkled with sunlight emerged, as though from a cocoon. In wonder, I followed it, knowing it was leading me somewhere I had to go. In an instant I was there. A small grotto with a waterfall shrouded in thick vines. Drawing them to one side I entered a small cave in which a woman stood. She was surrounded with red and white grapes and was pressing the white ones into wine with her feet. She gestured at a bowl full of red grapes on the floor next to her and bade me to join in with her. I pressed the grapes with my feet until all that was left of them was liquid and mulch. Then, looking at the mulch in a big, congealed pile, I couldn’t help noticing how much it looked like a heart. I picked it up and looked at it and saw that it definitely was a heart, so slung it over my shoulder to replace the old one I had discarded. The woman then spoke to me, but I couldn’t comprehend anything she said as her speech was that of birds. Then, as in the first cave, a shaft of light appeared in the roof and I ascended through it and found myself on yet another small hill with the lush and leafy landscape surrounding me.

I headed towards the edge of the lake, where the skies were growing dark. The sun, I noticed, was undergoing an eclipse. I sensed that, like in the vision of A Snow, a sacrifice had to be made to the moon, so I took the new heart I had been given, climbed to the highest part of the cliff via another rope ladder with the cry of a nightjar filling the air as I climbed, then laid the heart on the floor as an offering, and realising I no longer had a heart, took the stone I had retrieved out of the old one and slotted it into a hole in my chest. As I departed the place of sacrifice, I was aware that many dark spirits were feasting on the heart. As this occurred, I had a strong sense that there were also lots of miniature black clouds dancing all over the square that I held I my hand in the ‘real world.’ In sacrificing to the moon, I understood that I was sacrificing to the spirits under its influence, the sub-lunar spirits, and they would reward me greatly for doing so. After noticing this, I saw a bright and golden angel standing before me. It looked at me, shook its head sadly and played a sad chord on a lyre. I asked it for its name and it replied that it was called Keranda. Then I asked for it to reveal its nature to me and it responded by ripping its chest wide open to reveal its true form. It had a red body, as though scalded by boiling water and a long neck with a horse’s head sitting atop of it. In the cavity of its chest was a flaming wheel where its heart should be. Its inner edges were lined with tongues of flame that made the wheel resemble the maw of a shark from the viewpoint of its victim, or of the tongues of flame that surround the outer edge of the wheel that Shiva dances in, only inverted, appearing on the inside of the wheel. In the centre of the wheel was a Chi Rho upon which a naked, bearded man was affixed, his limbs aligned with the ‘X’ of the Chi.

As he stood there with his burning heart exposed, the ‘angel’ spoke, telling me that the wheel represented desire and that it was the ‘ordinary man’ who was impaled upon it. By sacrificing my new heart and replacing it with the remains of the stone from the old one, I had undone its work. It told me that this sacrifice had been a mistake as although the spirits who received it would indeed be glad and grateful and repay me efficaciously, it was angered by my action. The butterfly inside my old heart, he said, was a manifestation of his light but having set it free and sacrificed the new heart it had led me too, I would now have to rebuild it anew. With that explanation, the angel was gone and I felt like the entire world was spinning on a great axis in the same way that the angels fiery heart had.

I looked over to the landscape I had ascended out of and realised it was all part of the underworld. The lake, the tree, the caves, the waterfalls. Everything of the past few visions had been the same chthonic place. Then I saw the land, all set between two high plateaus, becoming healed, with the mighty cleft being filled in with earth with sweet grass growing over it until the landscape became the same one that I had seen in the vision of A Beautiful Lawn and A Rose Garden. As I contemplated the world above again, the words ‘and Death shall have no dominion,’ formed in my mind. Then the image of a constellation shaped like a lobster appeared in the sky close to where I saw the eclipse. The moon was there alone now, for it was night and the constellations were bright, though it had not reached it yet. Then a fiery lion appeared briefly, and finally, beneath the Earth, I sensed the image of the dragon, now asleep, with the tip of its tail resting in its mouth.

The ‘angel,’ Keranda may have derived its name from Hebrew חרד (kharad), ‘anxious,’ ‘fearful,’ ‘to treble or quake,’ ‘to drive in terror,’ ‘afraid,’ ‘in awe,’ which also features in the square under the name KERAD or KERADA. Alternatively, considering the context, it may be related to the Greek καρδία (kardia), ‘heart.’ The name of the poem it seemed to quote, And Death Shall have no Dominion, is one I am minimally familiar with, having heard it being recited once, but I had never actually read it. It’s possible that an unconscious memory of it was grasped upon at the imagery of the man fixed to a wheel due to the poem’s lines ‘twisting on racks when sinews give way, strapped to a wheel.’ This is also the case with the legend of Ixion, which I was familiar with, though his being the father of Centaurus who shares a degree of similarity in his nature to the spirit Barbatos is of note as I have renewed an old relationship with this spirit recently. Just as Orpheus played a lyre to sooth Ixion’s suffering for a while, so too did the angel strum a lyre, establishing some further archetypal link to the legends of Ixion and Centaurus. The lightning that struck a monk dead in the vision of A Grape or Grape Plant may represent the fate of Ixion, whom Zeus eventually struck down with a thunderbolt. The name of Ixion (Ἰξίων) is of unknown origin but possibly comes from ἱκέτης (iketos), ‘suppliant,’ possibly due to his being the first murderer who would have then had to beg Zeus for mercy. Zeus granted him entry to Olympus by purifying him, but later sentenced him to an eternity on a flaming wheel due to his desire to seduce Hera. He is equated to the first murderer Qayin here, whose name is reflected in the Lemegeton in the form of the spirit Raum, who is called Kayne and has the form of a Raven, a bird with whom Qayin shares some folkloric qualities. Centaurus, the progeny of the mating of Ixion and the cloud, spawned the race of Centaurs after mating with the mules of Mount Pelion, where he exiled himself away from civilisation.

The lobster may have represented the sign of Scorpio, which it has sometimes been depicted as, with its claws, or those of the Scorpion, actually being the sign of Libra. With the vision of A Big Lake seeming to inform me of the importance of the north solstice to some kind of ritual offering I should perform, I checked the position of the moon out at the time of the solstice and found that it would be a waxing first-quarter, close to half, in the sign of Libra. While the phase doesn’t fit with that which I saw in this or the vision of the Lake, the fact that it is in Libra at this time—the sign which precedes Scorpio—may have been a confirmation that some rite should take place at this time. The eclipse suggests this rite should have both solar and lunar significance.

The only spirit name that appears in the square that has not already been covered elsewhere is Ekalak, whose name may derive from the Hebrew חלק (khelaq), meaning ‘portion,’ ‘part,’ ‘lot,’ ‘share,’ ‘fragment.’

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