XXXIX: Dogs

Cerberus

XXXIX KELEF

Servitors: Lagasas, Ekalak, Kelen.

The word at the outer edge of the square, KELEF, derives from the Hebrew כלב (kaleb), meaning ‘dog.’ The spelling given here, with an ‘F’ as the final character reflects the soft ‘v’ pronunciation of the Hebrew letter beth, the word KELEB would be more accurate. If this variation is accounted for, the reversal of this word in the bottom row, FELEK, may be seen as an expression of the name of the Moabite King Balak, who commissioned the Mesopotamian sorcerer Balaam to curse the migrating Hebrews. Phonically, it also resembles the name of the Lemegeton spirit Valak. The name in the Central Square is a palindromic truncation of that of the spirit Lagasas, whose name derives from the Greek Λαγός (lagos), meaning ‘hare.’ EMAGE in the second row may be a variation of the Greek μαγεία (mageia), ‘magic,’ while its reversal EGAME may come from the Hebrew אגם (agam), ‘lake.’

Other notable meanings attached to the word in the first line are found in Mathers’s interpretations of Greek and Hebrew, with the spirit name Kelen being cited coming from the Greek ‘going swiftly, as in a race’ (though it is closer to Κελεός meaning ‘to order’ or ‘urge’), while a spirit named Kele, who comes under the joint rulership of Asmoday and Astaroth, is purported to come from the Hebrew for ‘to consume,’ which may come from the word לכלות (lakaloth).

The word KALEF is also found in Chapter 5 of the LBA manuscript, appearing in the Square that causes familiars to appear in the form of an ape, though the LBW manuscript associates it with the appearance of a lion in a Square that closely resembles the one that causes visions of dogs. As the following Square in Chapter 5 of the LBW causes familiars to take canine form, it is possible that the associations made between this Square with either apes or lions are erroneous.

KELEF2

The Vision

A small black and white dog was seen wandering alone across a moor at night. Larger, more dangerous dogs were hunting it, their howls and barks loud on the wind. Then the small dog uncovered a human corpse lying in the grass and proceeded to feast upon its flesh until it was stripped bare, growing braver and stronger with every bite. When it had finished, the dogs gave up their hunt, for the distant scent of human flesh had faded. The small dog was fearless now and proceeded to eat the eyes of the corpse from out of its sockets, then consumed the brain from out of its cranium. Having eaten the brain, the dog developed a human perception of the world. With my own conscious thoughts now melding with those of the dog, I took the skull from the ground and looked into its hollow sockets and saw small flames flickering in them for a few seconds.

When the flames were extinguished, I walked into a forest grove and lay the skull upon a stone altar there. As in the vision of Vultures, there was an inscription visible on the stone that was carved into it in Runic script: this time it read PEIRIOS. After this inscription appeared three Tyr runes, which prompted me to look up into the sky in the direction that their ‘arrows’ were facing. Lying on my back, I watched the heavens turn and the most prominent constellation was that of Orion. With him were his dogs, Canis Major and Minor, and they were chasing the Hare, Lupus, around the sky. I realised this scene to be the true representation behind the repeated hunting scenes evident in these visions. They represented the celestial hunt of the underworld giant and his psychopomps, the rotation of the Earth, the seasons and the cycle of day and night.

Then I saw the chase of the hunter, the dogs and the hare continue into the underworld as the constellations dropped below the horizon and the Sun rose with the dawn. I watched the Sun in silence and understood, as its rays shone upon me, that the Squares in this chapter reveal means to uncover the gateways into the underworld. With this understanding came the instruction that I should ‘invoke the dog,’ the guardian of the gates of the underworld—Cerberus—to pass into that domain.

Notes

Checking the diary I kept before starting this project revealed that the Moon was in Cancer when the initial prompting came to explore all thirty-nine Squares of this chapter through the medium of scrying. The Moon’s appearance in this sign is my prompt to conduct regular work with the spirit Naberius, which the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum reveals to be an alias name of the daemon Cerberus, the guardian of the entrance of Hades. That the sequence of visions ended with a referral back to this work may be a verification of the influence of the spirit on the entire exercise.

The morning on which I made that decision came with memories of a dream in which I had died in a plane crash and was wandering at the peripherals of the underworld and was searching for the correct door through which full entry to that domain could be gained. Of the edges of the underworld I noted:

There was a happy feel about the place, as I was with good, but anonymous, companions who I was working with to get to the correct destination.  With them, I climbed a wooden stairway from a low level in the place between heaven and hell. As I climbed, I wondered if N was dreaming about me as I was dead and she was still alive, so decided to send her a dream message to her to pass on to family stating that I was OK and was just looking for the right door, so they should not be concerned about me as I was in the company of good friends and as long as I remained true to my own heart I would make it to the right place. Emotional music played which sounded like the opening piece of a Bach violin concerto.

Later that day, on working with Naberius, I noted:

Performed thirty minutes meditation with the seal of Naberius carved into the altar skull as the meditation object. After knocking at the castle gates and entering the chamber, there appeared a strong, flashing mauve aura all around the altar and the skull seemed to move around and become very ‘alive’ as the visual effects kicked in. I was aiming for stillness and only making note of the phenomena that occurred, which involved seeing leaves in the eyes of a skull which became a forest floor concealing a dead body. Soon after, a female voice, slightly northern, said ‘Where were Jack and Jason found?’

Visuals in the surface of the skull included two different men’s faces, a prominent cat, a horse and, briefly a fish or whale. The wall behind the altar took on a reflective quality and I could see the outline of two human shapes in it… I recalled that Jason was the captain of the Argo and was ultimately found in Colchis, the land of Medea and the golden fleece, so his name perhaps represented underworld traverses… and that Jack the Giant Slayer was found in a castle set high in the sky.

The received word PEIRIOS engraved on the tombstone may come from the Greek Πειραιεύς (Peraieus), which roughly means ‘the place over the passage’ and is a famous port.

The Square was constructed with the Moon at 3º Sagittarius and scried with the Moon at 21º Aquarius.

Hymn to Kerberos

Cerberus 1824-7 by William Blake 1757-1827

O black-wingéd carrion
Serpent-maned lord
O mist-cloaked companion
Guideth thine horde

Star-gleamed are thine muzzles
And nail-sharp thine teeth
O Three-headed bloodhound
Who dwells underneath
Where Hecate’s torches
Illumine thy sight
Till pale moon of Juno
Doth brighten the Night.

O black-wingéd carrion
Tomb-thronéd lord
Orion’s companion
Guideth thine horde

Thy tongue laps the Waters
Of Acheron’s flow
Which guardeth the secrets
Of treasures below
Where gem-crusted caverns
Reflecteth the skies
Where all of us travel
When Death’s Raven flies

O black-wingéd carrion
Bone-crownéd lord
O Charon’s companion
Guideth thine horde

Insatiate eater
Of clay-curséd meats
Brought into the sunlight
By Herakles’ feats
To roam midst the people
In iron-clad binds
Thy breath a miasma
That troubled their minds

O black-wingéd carrion
Viper-tailed lord
O Orthros’ companion
Guideth thine horde

I offer a sweet cake
Of honey to thee
In thanks for the doorways
Thou openst for me
O glorious Cerb’rus
Of Sirius Star
And Scarab-jewelled Moonlight
No mortal can mar

O black-wingéd carrion
Sepulchre lord
O Hades’ companion
Guideth thine horde

Naberius

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.’

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.’