XXX: Bears

Herne

XXX DOBIH

Servitors: Balabos, Badad, Holop.

The word at the outer edge of the Square, DOBIH, derives from the Hebrew דוב (dob), ‘bear.’ The spirit name apparent in the central cross relates is that of Balabos, which comes from the Hebrew term בעל הבית‎ (ba’al ha-beth), meaning ‘Master of the House.’

The Vision

The vision began with a focus on the word DOBIH which then became further focussed on the letter B (for ‘Bear,’ I sensed) in its centre. Then a cave appeared with a large bear wearing a crown standing on its hind legs guarding its entrance. The bear approached me, making me fear it would maul me, but it only wished to sniff out the Square that I held in my hand. It turned away from me peaceably when I allowed it to inspect what I held, then it departed into the cave. I followed it inside and was greeted by the stench of rotting meat. Around me were the cadavers of many dead animals, with the most prominent being the skull of a horse.

I descended into the cave, where a soft, chiming, echoing choir of voices could be heard in the distance below. I came to a gentle blue river with a milky white sheen to its surface in that deep place and entered the water. I became aware that this was a reflection of the Milky Way and was washed along on its flow until it came to a waterfall. Instead of plunging to the ground far below, however, I remained breathless and bodiless in silent space and glided at will to the ground below.

Awaiting me was an old man driving a rickety wooden cart. He was quite old and wore a ruined top hat, and donned a wispy beard without a moustache, had ruddy red cheeks and had squinting, watery eyes. We were in a dark, rocky landscape quite unsuitable for driving a wagon over, and above me in the sky was a full moon and the constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, with the latter clearly orbiting the Pole Star. He offered me a ride in his cart and we headed North with Polaris before us. I noticed that the horses that pulled it, one of which was brown and the other black, were very thin and gave off the cold aura of death. He chided me for accepting a ride in such a land, as it was a place I knew nothing about. I asked him what sort of place it was and once again the word DOBIH appeared in my mind’s eye. From this, I accepted that this was the astral landscape unlocked by the Square.

As we trundled on, I became aware that we were being followed by bears, but the wagon driver informed me that I was quite safe as long as I remained in his vehicle. Then we came to a ford which was set down a bank that was too steep and rocky for the wagon to descend. He let the horses off their leashes and asked if I would assist him in pushing the cart down the bank, which I did, noticing that it was strangely light. Then the driver reattached it to the horses so that they could pull it across the shallow waters of the river, but on the other side, he asked once again if I would help him pull it back up the other bank. Doing this was somewhat harder than leading it down the bank, and led to me receiving wounds to my right hand from the splinters of the wood of its pull-handle. Looking at the wound after we got the cart up the opposite bank, I saw that the splinters had caused seven wounds which formed the shape of the Hebrew letter Zayin. The driver instructed me to mix the blood with the waters of the river we had just passed, and on doing this, the sky lightened to that of dawn. In the sky, the Sun lit the sky and Mercury and Venus could both be seen rising with it. Heading towards them, we continued eastward over the rocky land.

After a short distance I noticed a large, primitive-looking, large-toothed skull on the horizon that looked like a fortress at first, but as we approached it, it seemed to reduce in size to that of a small house and it had the appearance of the skull of a crow or raven rather than the fanged, hominid shape I had first seen. When we reached the skull, the driver informed me to leave the cart and go and take refuge inside the skull. I did this and sat inside waiting for something to come. Shortly afterwards, the seven trailing bears appeared and formed a circle outside the skull. Inside, on the floor I spotted a large rock which I picked up and inspected. On it was engraved the symbol for alchemical Sulphur.

After a brief period, the eighth figure appeared outside the skull-house, coming in the form of a man with the skeletal, antlered head of a stag. The figure came to the entrance of the skull-house and drew a sword. With it, he drew the sign of Alchemical Salt in the Earth and then thrust his sword into the centre of it. On doing this, all of the Earth around the skull-house disappeared into a void of nothingness. I stepped from my refuge into the stillness, where the stag-headed figure informed me that it was this state of Nothingness that I should be aiming for in my Work, and that the visions of the Squares were all guides in same way of how to achieve this state. On hearing this, I found myself on a cold shore, over which the sun set. Facing West, I saw a rickety boat, similar in its state of disrepair as the wagon I had earlier travelled. I thought about heading out towards the boat but was told that this was not the time to do such a thing, as the boat and the sea represented the journey to the lands beyond life. I sat patiently at the shore waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. After a few more moments, an Eagle flew towards me from over the sea and told me that there was nothing else to see in this vision. Accepting that, I ended the session.

Notes

The wound I received in the shape of the letter Zayin represents the number seven and has the meaning ‘Sword,’ both of which are relevant to this vision. Zayin is also related to Gemini in the Tarot, so this may also be a signal to pay attention to something relating to Gemini. See the visions pertaining to A Lion and A Wild Cat for specific references to Gemini, though the relevance may relate to a future rather than past vision.

Alchemical Sulphur represents the active male principle, being concordant with Fire and the Sun.

The appearance of the Sun with Mercury and Venus after I mixed my blood with the waters of the river may represent the feminine principle, with Alchemical Mercury representing the passive female element, as does the planet Venus.

Alchemical Salt represents the element of Earth that becomes purified through the interaction of Sulphur and Mercury. The striking of the Earth by the sword in the centre of the symbol for Salt represents the purification of matter in such a way, with the Sword being used to do so being reflected in the letter Zayin appearing in the wounds on my hand. Seven also relates to Venus in Qabalistic Magic, the number of stars in Ursa Minor as well as the number of stars in the Big Dipper asterism of Ursa Major.

The boat on the sea was similar to the one seen in the vision of Trees, in which the spirit in the form of an old man departed over the sea.

The names of the two ‘new’ spirits seen in this vision are Badad – בדד (badad), whose name means ‘alone’ or ‘solitary’ and Holop – חלוף (cholop), whose name means ‘transitory’ or ‘ephemeral.’

The Square was constructed with the Moon at 3º Taurus and scried with the Moon at 22º Scorpio. Venus was transiting the sign of Scorpio at the time of the scrying, where she is in her Detriment, as was the other benefic, Jupiter, Together they represent the male and female benefics resident in a Marsian, malefic sign, though the general energies of Scorpio, being the sign that Mars rules ‘at night’ are those of his passive, ‘inner’ qualities.

XVII: Bridges

Chinvat

XVII DOBERAH

Servitors: Ekalak, Liriol, Nabhi, Laralos, Badad, Helel, Nasi, Aril, Kilik, Kokolon, Balabos

The word DOBERAH at the outer edges of the square comes from the Hebrew root דִבר (dabar), meaning ‘to speak’ or ‘pronounce,’ and is related to the variations דבור – ‘speech,’ ‘word,’ ‘saying,’ ‘commandment;’ דברה – ‘cause,’ ‘reason,’ ‘manner;’ and דבורה – ‘bee,’ which also relates to the name of the Biblical prophet and judge Deborah. The name of the spirit in the central square is that of Ekalak, whose name may originate in the Hebrew חלק (khelaq), meaning ‘portion,’ ‘part,’ ‘lot,’ ‘share,’ ‘fragment.’

The Vision

It was night and I came to a stop on a rusting suspension bridge spanning a river after running some distance on an asphalt road. I climbed on the metal railings that ran along its side and seemed to have the choice to either climb to its top or jump over the edge into the river below. I paused unsure of which of the two I should do before realising that the bridge acted as a crossroads with the river below and led to another world. Looking up and down the river to my left and right I saw that many other bridges had been constructed. Above me, I saw a waning gibbous moon and realised that I should be crossing the bridge not ascending it or jumping from it. I stood upon the road again and had the impression that a car was coming down the road with its headlights on.

As soon as I got to the other side of the bridge it became day and I stood in the midst of a landscape which looked very Greek. Around me was yellow grass, like that of a savannah or otherwise arid landscape, and at the crest of a small hill in front of me appeared a baby elephant that seemed to be happy to see me. I thought about approaching it but got the sense that its mother or father would be nearby and would trample me if I came anywhere near it. Instead, I waited a moment to see what would happen next, then trudged carefully through a track in the grass while being careful to maintain my distance from the calf. As I neared the top of the slope, the Land Rover from the vision of Farm Buildings appeared and drove over the grass, as it also had in that vision, and pulled to a halt near the elephant. As it approached, the elephant changed into a woman of middle-years wearing a velvet, burgundy dress and with long brown hair with slight curls in it which was bedecked by a crown of laurel leaves. As her form changed, the driver of the Land Rover exited his vehicle. He was a man of late middle age with sharp features and was wearing clothes that were typical of a British farmer, being a green wax jacket, green trousers and hat, and he had a shotgun with its barrel popped open resting over the crook of his right arm. On seeing the woman, he placed his gun on the floor and it flew off into the distance behind him as they both disrobed and his Land Rover also vanished.

The couple then began to have sex in front of me, which made me feel rather uncomfortable, so I scanned the surrounding environment while they got on with it and saw many eyes, like pinpricks of yellow light, were watching both me and they from a great distance. When the two had finished their act of lust, I saw the co-mingled deposit of their union left on the floor where they had lain, pink in colour and in the shape of a Vesica. From it, an enormous rose grew, as quickly and as tall as the beanstalk in the tale of Jack the Giant Killer, and a great vine twisted around its stem. When it finished growing, it stood high in the sky, penetrating the clouds. I felt the same temptation to ascend then as I had at the bridge, but once again paused before doing so. As I lingered, I sensed the surrounding watchers coming closer. Then, confirming my suspicions, a vicious black wolf stepped out from the forest close to where the Land Rover had been parked. Knowing this was the time to ascend, I climbed.

On my ascent, I noticed that the stem between the huge thorns was covered in sticky sap which made the ascent easier as it was so tacky I knew I had no chance of falling back to earth. By the time I reached the base of the flower’s head, which was as far as I could travel, I was high above the clouds and saw the sun and the moon on either side of the petals above me, the sun to the left of it and the moon to the right. Beyond them, I could see the forms of a few scattered, distant mountains rising above the soft cloud-line. As I pondered what I should do next, a beam of rainbow light appeared in the distance, beaming its rays from some unknown point in the blue sky above to break through the clouds below projecting to an unseen location on the Earth. I understood that this to be a signal of where I should now head, and transported myself there by taking one of the huge vines that twisted around the rose’s stem and projecting its end to the base of the rainbow before sliding down it in a dizzying descent that felt realistic enough to give me a touch of vertigo.

At the base of the vine, where it met the rainbow and mingled with its rays, was a sandy beach and a great sea set in a bay of cliffs, coves and caves. Written in the wet sand was the word DOBERAH, which then extended to form the rest of the square in its entirety. Behind me, in a cave, I could hear the sound of ethereal female voices singing, which I followed to find a pool of dark sea water. I sat on a rock and let my feet dangle into the pool, but got a sense of dark, shadowy entities swimming under its surface, so removed them and rose to my feet again. As I stood there listening to the song, the light of the setting sun flooded into the cave bring the music to a stop. In the water, I could see a female spirit guarding its eyes from the light of the sun. She asked me if I could block the light of the sun with my body as he found the light intolerable. I adhered to her request and asked if she had any messages she wished to deliver to me. In response, she gave the following words:

“The seal has been broken. You stand on the edge of All, at the twilight shore of Time. Cross the Sea and be No More.”

After receiving this message, I returned to the beach and watched the sea come in with the tide to wash the words of the square away from the sand. I placed a stick into the area where the word had been in order to mark its place, and with that act the sun vanished and was replaced by the moon, which then set into the sea to leave me in total darkness. From the cave, I heard the sounds of the spirits’ echoing song beginning again. In the blind darkness that was left in my mind I saw a gravestone wrapped in ivy that I recognised from a graveyard close to where I live in the ‘real’ world. Instead of the name that usually appeared on it however was an inscription which read ‘Here Lies No More.’ After noting this, I walked away from the grave and up the hill to the path that leads to my home. This marked the end of the vision.

Notes

There was lots of polarity between dark and night, moon and sun and female and male in this vision, as well as lots of aspects of liminality, such as the twilight, the shore, bridges, a crossroad and a river. The appearance of a rainbow acting as a guiding light to show me where to head next when I had ascended the heights of the rose was akin to the Chinvat Bridge of Zoroastrianism which, like Bïfrost which separated the realms of Midgard and Asgard in Norse mythology, marked the realm between the worlds of the living and dead.

One of the most striking parts of this vision was the act of sex magick between the male and female spirits that appeared. The rose they produced symbolised that of the Rosy Cross formula, while the sun and moon that flanked each side of its head represented the culmination of male and female energies into alchemical gold. The place where I came to rest in my ascent of the rose’s thorny stem was akin to the veil of Paroketh, while the rainbow that appeared in the distance represented the paths of Qoph, Shin and Tau that emanate from the Sephirah of Netzach, Yesod and Hod which come together (pun somewhat intended) to form the word Qesheth, meaning ‘bow.’ The product of this bow is the upward flying arrow of the path of Samekh, which is associated with the sign of Sagittarius and, in the Thoth Tarot, the comingled energies of The Lovers becoming united as one in Art.

What the astrological association of this formula may point to is a connection between the position of the moon when I had constructed the square, due to it being in Sagittarius at that time. This is not the first time this has occurred, as when I constructed the square pertaining to Flowers, the moon was in Scorpio and that vision featured imagery relating to Scorpion Grass and an eagle, both of which symbolise the influence of that sign. This suggests that in future I should note where in the Zodiac the Moon is when I create these squares, just to see if this hypothesis bears any fruit.

Also of interest was the female spirit who sang in the dark, watery cave. Her message related the notion of crossing the sea in order to be No More. This relates to the great Sea of Binah with the connotations of crossing it relating to the traversing the Abyss into the realms where the personal ego is disintegrated.

While I have good knowledge of the Qaballistic system of Magic I would not primarily identify myself as a Qaballist, so these are not associations I am actively looking for in working with the Squares. What it does suggest, however, is that the Squares themselves are very much a Qabalistic expression and therefore their forms very much relate to such modes of communication. This does not mean that the spirits that appear rely on such forms to exist, hey merely use the Qaballah as the ‘language’ through which they communicate, as it was in this language that the squares they swore their oaths upon were created.

Of the spirits present, Badad is of note due to the connected ways the letters ‘B’ and ‘A’ interconnect with each other in a perpendicular fashion in this square, while the two ‘D’s present in the top left and bottom right corners mirror each other and the letters B and A in a fashion that suggests a sigil of that spirit’s name could be easily formed from this square. The meaning of this name finds its origin in the Hebrew word בדד (badad), meaning ‘alone,’ ‘apart’ or ‘solitary.’

Mathers’ translation of the name Aril to ‘thorny’ appears accurate here considering the thorns that appeared on the giant rose.

Kokolon may be relevant due to its name relating to the word ‘shame,’ as I felt a degree of embarrassment while watching the two spirits in congress.

The feminine qualities in the spirits present, the first being she who first appeared as the baby elephant and the second being the underwater spirit singing in the cave, may be connected to the presence of the spirit Nasi, whose name means ‘feminine.’ This is only the sixth square this spirit has appeared in so far, but the overall tone of most of the squares has been biased far more towards feminine entities than masculine ones. This leads me to believe that the qualities of this kind of magical work is definitely one in which the feminine entities act as the dominant initiators.

Confirming this in this particular square is the name of the spirit Nabhi, which Mathers states comes from the Hebrew root נבא (naba), ‘to prophesy.’ What he failed to notice however is the fact that the feminine noun of this word נביאה (nabiah), is much closer to the mark. More precisely, this word means ‘prophetess’ or ‘sibyl,’ and is therefore pertinent to the name of the prophet Deborah that the square was constructed from as well as the presence of the female spirit in the cave who delivered a spoken prophecy. The presence of this prophetic spirit also fits well the root word דבר from which this square was constructed which, meaning ‘to speak’ or ‘pronounce,’ verifies its sibylline nature. The relevance of this root also correlates with the presence of another name found in this square, Barak, who was the ancient ruler of Israel whose victory in war the prophet Deborah was the key to. Barak’s name translates to ‘lightning,’ and is also formed of the same root as the name of the Watcher Baraqiel in the Book of Enoch.

Also present is the word שיר (shir), meaning ‘sing.’ This may relate to the singing that was heard coming from the cave, but also has a relevance to the biblical verse of Judges 5:1: ‘Then sang Deborah and Barak.’ Considering the male-female polarity present in this square, the appearance of the combined actions of this ancient pairing—in which the feminine force was the key to victory—might be seen as further confirmation of the spiritual superiority of the female powers associated with the squares.

The Mysteries of the Four Kings

After the initial banishing ritual, a simple invocation of the Four Elemental Kings, Oriens, Amaymon, Paymon and Ariton or Egin—who govern the squares of the twenty-seventh chapter of the Abramelin jointly—is performed before meditating with the Square. While this is not a requirement for working with the Squares, I do this as a means to draw the Kings’ attention to the work in hand as well as pay them ongoing tribute for other works and concerns their assistance has proved vital to.

Based upon the descriptions of them that appear in the Book of Offices, Oriens, who represents dawn and the quarter of the Zodiac beginning with Aries, is called in the East and is visualised as a beautiful, flaxen-haired woman riding upon an elephant; Amaymon, who represents the sun at noon and the quarter of the Zodiac beginning with Capricorn, is called in the South and appears as a thick-haired, bearded old man riding a rampaging lion; Paymon, who represents the setting sun and the quarter of the Zodiac beginning with Libra, is called in the West and comes as a beautiful, crowned, russet-haired woman riding a Camel; and Egin, who represents the sun at midnight and the quarter of the Zodiac that begins with Cancer, is called in the North and comes as a sharp-featured man with tusks protruding from his face who wears a jewelled crown upon his head, bears two hissing serpents around his right arm and rides a great dragon.

As the diurnal sequence shows, these spirits can be incorporated into rites such as Liber Resh vel Helios at the appropriate times of day, while their Zodiacal properties gives them rulership over the four respective elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water as well as the Zodiacal and Decanate daemons associated with their assigned seasons of Spring, Winter, Autumn and Summer. Followed in chronological sequence from the Vernal Equinox in the East to the Winter Solstice in the South, the Kings also prove themselves to be in accord with the Zodiacal IHVH formula, only with the Yod and Vau of Fire and Air being represented by female principles instead of male and the two Hehs of Water and Earth being represented by male principles instead of female. This reversal hints towards the deeper alchemical truths that lie concealed within the coded mysteries of daemonic magic.