The Hermetic Qabalah might throw some further light on the associations between Pisces, the sign of the fishes, and the mysterious operations of a Hidden God. On the Hermetic Tree of Life, Pisces is the 29th path that connects the material universe (Malkuth) with the animating power of Venus (Netzach), the morning and evening star. The magical power of the path of Pisces is “The Twilight of the Place”. At this time of year, as the days begin to lengthen in the northern hemisphere, the twilight is very noticeable especially with the lengthening of shadows near sunset, when Venus – the first and brightest star of the evening sky – appears in the western sky. The magical twilight is also the special light of a room prepared for ritual, with candles and the smoke of incense providing ideal conditions for the arising of phantasmal or spectral images. The Magical Mirror is the magical weapon or instrument attributed to Pisces.
As the 12th sign and 12th house in astrology, Pisces represents the deeper realms of the subconscious mind. Psychology gives three types of consciousness: waking consciousness or self-awareness, subconscious or dreaming consciousness, and the unconscious. It has been argued that there is no such thing as an unconscious, since if it is not conscious then it cannot be thought of as any kind of consciousness. I will turn to the Hermetic Qabalah for assistance. The letter for Pisces is qoph or “Q”, which represents the back of the head and the medulla oblongata – the lowest part of the brainstem, connecting the brain with the spinal cord. This is the most primal part of the brain, and in terms of consciousness it is where the earliest evolutionary memories are stored. If one could send consciousness backwards, from the frontal lobes of rational intelligence to the narrow passage of the medulla oblongata, one might be able to see all the way down to the base of the spine. There is evidence that once upon a time, homosapiens had a tail, as do most non-human creatures on our planet. Returning to the letter Q of Pisces, a queue is also a kind of tail. The long, sombre epic of mankind’s existence on the planet, is yet another kind of tale. A tale that has been told in countless ways by many cultures along the evolutionary way.
The Thoth Tarot trump for Pisces and the 29th path of the Tree of Life is The Moon XVIII. Here we have a path that is half in shadows and that must pass between two sentinels wearing the foreboding headdress of the Egyptian Anubis, a guardian of the underworld. According to Aleister Crowley, who designed the Tarot trump: “Such light as there may be is deadlier than darkness, and the silence is wounded by howling beasts.” At the top of the picture is the Sun, pushed through the darkness and cold of night towards the dawn by the Egyptian scarab beetle, Khephra. Khephra is, like Amoun, a self-created god. Like the butterfly, the beetle undergoes a series of remarkable transformations where at one point he seems to be completely inanimate, nothing more than a shell or stone. Miraculously, from this inertia comes forth the fully fledged scarab with wings on which to ride the breezes of dawn.
As we near the end of the cold months, the Sun’s entry into Pisces is a reminder of the darkest hour before the dawn. The springtime is not far away. On the other side of the globe, in the southern hemisphere, it is a reminder that the cooler air of autumn will soon drive out the burning heat of a long summer.
Pisces and The Flaming Sword
My work continues on the new Sepher Sephiroth book publication, The Flaming Sword. Recently I included a detailed synopsis on each of the 32 paths, complete with a tour of the ‘demonic’ or qliphotic aspects of the paths. Here are some of my entries for the 29th path of the Hermetic Tree, Pisces:
Path 29, Qoph
– The 29th path is known as The Ruler of Flux and Reflux: the Child of the Sons of the Mighty
The 29th path connects Netzach, the sphere of Venus, with Malkuth, the sphere of the visible universe, and is imaged forth by the 18th Tarot key, The Moon; the title of the 29th path (Sepher Yetzirah) is the Corporeal Intelligence, so-called because it is concerned with the incarnation of all bodies according to the revolution of the zodiac; the root of the word that is translated “Corporeal” (gosham) implies a violent rainstorm or shower – the “shower of the life of earth” that comes through the seed of the Unborn Spirit, or Holy Guardian Angel, in the ritual called “The Bornless” (see Liber Zayin, Ritual Magick – The Rites and Ceremonies of Hermetic Light, Ordo Astri); the ‘seed’ is really alchemical, and refers to the fluidic or formless fire from which all forms receive their essence; to understand the “revolution of the zodiac” and the part that it plays, one needs to know that the zodiac is the image of spirit working through the Sun upon the four elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth – all bodies are composed of these elements; each creature has a unique astrosome, the symbol of which is the natal horoscope, varying according to the time and place of birth; the twelve signs of the zodiac are cosmic archetypes, and that is why a person’s nature is not revealed simply by knowing their ‘sign’ – for the sign alone symbolises a type, not an individual; the descent of this path is the incarnation or embodiment of each creature, while the ascent of it implies knowledge of the Intelligence by which, according to Wade Coleman (Sepher Sapphires), “the higher faculties which are hidden, or occult, in the masses of humanity, are brought forth into the supernatural powers of adepts”; the magical powers of the 29th path are of Bewitchments and of Casting Illusions
616 ShIMIRVN (Shimiron) Qliphoth of Pisces
“Malignant Women”; the 29th path connects Venus, the lowest sephira on the Force side of the Tree, with Malkuth, the dead-end of matter; the women of malicious intent are the phantasms of decaying (or thwarted) desire, rife with poisoning and corruption; as such, these ‘women’ are no more than blind forces, but they have a tremendous capacity to inflict harm on the unwary human; “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is an aphorism that can apply not only to the human but to the elementar that has been deprived of ‘blood’ or energy; the Intelligence of the path orders the neural and biological patterns that in turn influence the behaviour of species, whether they are supposed to be ‘sentient’ or otherwise; when the human ego identifies personally with the biological urge to procreate or self-replicate – that great force which is, in fact, an entirely impersonal machine or engine – all manner of psychological aberrations occur; the woman, seeking ‘self-fulfilment’ in the production of offspring, and finding the result is nothing of the sort, may subvert or redirect the flow of life-force into other objects of desire; typical afflictions are ‘eating disorders’, so-called – for devouring and begetting are dual principles of the Great Mother at the cosmic level; the predatory behaviour of both men and women, especially when it forms part of a group mentality, is another, less specific; alcoholism is yet another trait, since it arises from a desire to be reabsorbed back into the stream of life from whence the organism was formed; yet it is the self-assertion of the ego – maintaining the delusion that it has a separate life and existence of its own – that is the root of all ailments of the soul
Note on The Flaming Sword: This is a work in progress, it will be released in 2014.
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© Oliver St. John 2013