If you haven’t read it yet, please read the first part of this article on the Supernal Triangle by clicking here.
In this post I’ll be focusing on Binah, the paths connecting to it, and tying this information into my understanding of Hypnosis. To help with this, I made the image below and placed the Thoth Tarot attributions for the Thelemic Qabalah. I’ll break this post down into several headings as to make it easy to digest.
Binah (Understanding) as ‘The Vision’ and ‘Thought In Statu Nascendi’:
A good speaker is said to be “mesmerizing”. When you’re listening to someone speak, and understanding what they are saying, your internal feelings about what they’re presenting matches what is being delivered by the speaker. As ‘Thought In Statu Nascendi’ is also called ‘Feeling Thought’ (which comes to us as impressions/images), the following is a decent way to grasp this concept.
Example: “The sun shone in the blue sky above as a little chubby cat pranced down the street lined with yellow houses. The cat, who is purple, stopped at the final house on the street.”
Of course as it was read, the brain produces hallucinatory imagery as the eyes register the words and pulls the appropriate image up as to help us comprehend the statement being made. These images can change on the fly as we’re given further details, so above for example the cat turned purple. If there was further elements to the story, it would be a purple cat moving forward, when initially the reader/listener (pretending that the words were being spoken aloud) would have maybe envisioned a chubby orange tabby such as a Garfield-like cat, or another would have pictured a white cat, etc.
Another example could be with a funny story, say a man is in a room with co-workers, some of whom he knows and others who are strangers. The joke he tells involves his dog following him everywhere when he makes a meal, and that the dog the night prior to the party knocked the plate out from his hand and he couldn’t believe it happened, etc. While the people who know him, know that he has a chihuahua so the comedic vision of the tiny dog they know jumping all the way and knocking the plate would be an elaborate scene which prompts them to spit their drinks and roar with laughter. The others who didn’t know the breed of dog maybe envisioned a dog of large size and the scene plays out rather mundane and the humour is missed and they are left perplexed.
You can see what I’m saying here (get it?), but essentially, there’s an internal vision which is tied to feelings and our understanding of what we’re being told.
Binah as the Intuition:
Similarly to the above scenarios, when listening to something if we understand it, the internal vision can get ahead and we can forecast where something is going. (For example if you’ve spoken to someone who really drags out their point, you may get to the end before they’ve finished speaking as the situation in your head is predictable and you arrive at the end before the speaker gets there themselves).
In a more “magical” sense of Binah and the intuition and connecting back into the Azoth mentioned in the first part of the article known as the “astral light”, 1800’s ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi (who started the blending of Tarot and Qabalah) wrote that this “astral” vision can be used to intuit the state of others in how they approach you. In his writings he uses an example of seeing a brave person as a lion, and a sneaky person as a fox with the “astral vision”.
Moving onto the Qabalah Correspondences.
Binah to Geburah – The Path of The Chariot
In the formation of the original Kabbalah, Rabbi Akiva wrote the Maaseh Merkava–The Way of the Chariot.
In The Mystery of the Aleph; Mathematics, The Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity Amir D. Aczel tells of Rabbi Akiva’s methods, “The meditations the rabbi prescribed called for inducement of out-of-body experiences, altered mental states, and heights of ecstasy not previously known in Western culture. While the visions of heavenly places on the way to the One were vivid and intense, Rabbi Akiva exhorted his students not to succumb to hallucinations or lose their grasp on reality.” (The method is Hypnosis). Amir Aczel continued on Akiva’s methods: “The rabbi used biblical passages and chants he composed himself as vehicles for achieving meditative states of mind. One of these devices was an infinitely bright light the students visualized, symbolizing the chaluk, or robe which covered God when he appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai. In their meditations, the students strove to achieve the intensity of Moses as he witnessed the robed figure of God.” (I’ve previously tied this into the Qabalistic Cross ritual which utilizes envisioning white light, and implied that all ritual is self-hypnosis).
Of course, we’re focusing on Thelemic Qabalah in this article. Aleister Crowley wrote in the Book of Thoth that his Chariot card represents the “influence of the Supernals descending through the Veil of Water (which is blood) upon the energy of man, and so inspires it.” (In other words receiving the light from Kether into the blood, and Geburah represents the muscular system, action and Will. I’ve placed an image of Chariot card from the Thoth Tarot deck below for further reference.
The Charioteer has a crab upon his head which represents the sign of Cancer, which represents Eternity. (We see this for example with Freemason imagery on the Royal Arch as the zodiac sign for Cancer is at the center of the arch). He’s in amber-coloured armour appropriate to the sign, as amber is known of course for preserving things such as insects and fossils wholly and for “eternity”. There are 10 stars of Assiah upon his armour (Assiah being עולם עשיה in Hebrew, literally “the World of Action”) which Crowley writes they are the inheritance of the celestial dew of the mother; I assume the 10 stars are the 10 Sephirot and the Mother is Binah.
The Book of Thoth writes of the Charioteer: “He is throned in the chariot rather than conducting it, because the whole system of progression is perfectly balanced. His only function is to bear the Holy Grail.” (Perfectly balanced implying the duality of the tree beneath the supernal is brought to equilibrium so that the light from Kether can enter and one can receive rightful impressions into the “blood”. He’s sitting crossed legged in meditation and holding a cup tipped up which contains the Holy Grail; the blood). Crowley goes on further to describe the card: “The central and most important feature of the card is its centre––the Holy Grail. It is of pure amethyst, of the colour of Jupiter, but its shape suggests the full moon and the Great Sea of Binah. In the centre is radiant blood; the spiritual life is inferred; light in the darkness.” (Jupiter being Chesed, and this reference to the full moon means Yesod in full power – Yesod being the “Foundation” sephirot above Malkuth (the Kingdom/Physical World), and is designated the moon. Binah represents the waters of cosmic space, and also matter, and all of the attributes we’ve thus far discussed of it, so the Azoth is sent through Binah down the tree into Yesod.
“Yesod is the foundation upon which God has built the world. It also serves as a transmitter between the sephirot above, and the reality below. The light of the upper sephirot gather in Yesod and are channelled to Malkuth below. In this manner, Yesod is associated with the sexual organs. The masculine Yesod collects the vital forces of the sephirot above, and transmits these creative and vital energies into the feminine Malkuth below. Yesod channels, Malkuth receives. In turn, it is through Malkuth that the earth is able to interact with the divinity.” – Miller, Moshe in an article from Kabbalah Online.
Looking at a bit more of the cards description from Crowley: “The canopy of the Chariot is the night-sky-blue of Binah. The pillars are the four pillars of the Universe, the regimen of Tetragrammaton. The scarlet wheels represent the original energy of Geburah which causes the revolving motion.”
The Tetragrammaton of course is the Four Elements (Fire, Water, Air, Earth), and the energy of Geburah which causes the revolving motion, this is referring to proper understanding of the “impulse to action” and truthful action not done from deluded mind. “This chariot is drawn by four sphinxes composed of the four Kerubs, the Bull, the Lion, the Eagle and the Man. In each sphinx these elements are counter-changed; thus the whole represents the sixteen sub-elements.”
Binah to Tipharet – The Path of The Lovers / The Brothers
Going back to Hypnosis and “Understanding”, it’s quite poetically beautiful (no pun intended with Tipharet being ‘Beauty’) that the path connecting Understanding to the heart is “the lovers / the brothers”.
I once heard from a woman that the most powerful thing she had learned through life was that when one finds themselves in a dispute with their partner/friend, to say to them “speak to me as if I’m someone you love”.
I’ll let that speak for itself. Though, Tiphareth is the Sun and each of us has such a Star, as the Book of the Law states “every man and every woman is a star”, and that “love is the law”. It’s also likely no surprise that Crowley when he attained a thorough understanding of the trance state of Tiphareth that he took up the name V.V.V.V.V, which is also the motto of the “Seer as Magister Templi” (the Master of the Temple; the temple is the body). V.V.V.V.V is a latin phrase which is Vi Veri Universum Vivus Vici which means “By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe”, or “By the power of truth I, a mortal, have conquered all creation.”
Seer as Magister Templi – “With thy right Eye create all for thyself, and with the left accept all that be created otherwise” – Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth. (The Left eye is Binah; absorption, and the Right eye is Chokmah; creation).
In the first part of this post I mentioned the Scarlet Woman (called “the whore of Babalon”), and said that I believe it is the blood and the receptive or “magnetic” principle, and I provided a quote saying that the love of Thelema is a state one functions from. This is further emphasized in Crowley’s writing where in a piece on the Left-Hand Path Crowley wrote of the “black brothers”, which is to say those who cut themselves off from the Supernal Triangle (from “Godhead”) and crown themselves falsely in “Knowledge” (Da’ath). This closes one off from change (which is love). Thelema about maintaining a skeptical attitude, Crowley wrote on being immersed in the present moment of ones experience: “Every accretion must modify me. I want it to do so. I want to assimilate it absolutely. I want to make it a permanent feature of my Temple. I am not afraid of losing myself to it, if only because it also is modified by myself in the act of union. I am not afraid of its being the “wrong” thing, because every experience is a “play of Nuit,” and the worst that can happen is a temporary loss of balance, which is instantly adjusted, as soon as it is noticed, by recalling and putting into action the formula of contradiction.” The “whore” imagery and giving oneself up to all experiences and allowing in everything is vital to being present in awareness.
For convenience sake I’ll provide a bit more information to elucidate the above passage; the heart (Tiphareth) connects into Chokmah (Wisdom) by the Star Path which prominently shows Nuit, the lady of the stars. In describing the card Crowley wrote: “From the golden cup she pours this ethereal water, which is also milk and oil and blood, upon her own head, indicating the eternal renewal of the categories, the inexhaustible possibilities of existence. The left hand, lowered, holds a silver cup, from which also she pours the immortal liquor of her life. (This liquor is the Amrita of the Indian philosophers, the Nepenthe and Ambrosia of the Greeks, the Alkahest and Universal Medicine of the Alchemists, the Blood of the Grail; or, rather, the nectar which is the mother of that blood[…]”
Crowley writes that the first chapter of the Book of the Law (the chapter devoted to Nuit) gives the definitive formula for the attainment of truth.
Binah to Chokmah – The Path of the Empress
The Empress represents the Alchemical Salt (or Being) and the Empress card has the attribute of Daleth (which means door) as the card is the “Gate of Heaven”, and also has the attribute of Venus (Love).
From Crowley’s description of the Empress card: “Salt is the inactive principle of Nature; Salt is matter which must be energized by Sulphur to maintain the whirling equilibrium of the Universe. The arms and torso of the figure consequently suggest the shape of the alchemical symbol of Salt. She represents a woman with the imperial crown and vestments, seated upon a throne, whose uprights suggest blue twisted flames symbolic of her birth from water, the feminine, fluid element. In her right hand she bears the lotus of Isis; the lotus represents the feminine, or passive power. Its roots are in the earth beneath the water, or in the water itself, but it opens its petals to the Sun, whose image is the belly of the chalice. It is, therefore, a living form of the Holy Grail, sanctified by the blood of the Sun.”
In my image at the top of the article I made the Abyss division between the Supernal Triangle and the rest of the tree have a blue-to-red gradient to represent the blue waters of cosmic space at the top and then the red to represent the descent into the water of the blood. As I wrote in the first part of this article as well, Binah is the cosmic womb (which is also known as the “mother of abominations”; I believe this jokingly referring to when there’s a lack of Understanding), whereas The Empress path as it is connected to Chokmah, it is the “life-giving Mother”. This imagery is enhanced by the pelican on the card. This pelican is predominantly used in Christian imagery though it predates Christianity; the legend is that the pelican sacrifices herself to prevent her young from starving by striking her own breast and feeding her children her blood, there are other stories where the pelican restores life to her dead young by giving them her blood. This of course merely emphasizes self-sacrifice (which is why the symbol is often used to represent Jesus Christ).
From Adoro Te Devote by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274):
“O memorial of our Lord’s death!
Living bread that gives life to man,
Grant my soul to live on you,
And always to savor your sweetness.
Lord Jesus, Good Pelican,
wash my filthiness and clean me with your blood,
One drop of which can free
the entire world of all its sins.
Jesus, whom now I see hidden,
I ask you to fulfill what I so desire:
That the sight of your face being unveiled
I may have the happiness of seeing your glory. Amen.”
Binah to Chokmah – The Path of the Magus
The Magus represents the Alchemical Mercury in the Supernal Triangle (The Lower Mercury is represented by Hod in the lowest triangle of the Tree of Life where it and Netzach are brought into balance by the moon sphere, Yesod). Mercury represents the Spirit and the Intellect.
The magician has knowledge of all of his elemental weapons and is seen with the golden egg. Mercury is an Air card.
In the image to the left at the bottom right corner is an Ape of Thoth (the Ape being in duality, whereas the Ibis-headed version of Thoth is known for standing on one leg (qabalistically you can say upon the Merciful pillar, where he resides in Chokmah). The Ape of Thoth comes from his original emblem which was the dog-headed ape (or a baboon) due to their chattering before sunrise and sunset which the early Egyptians assumed was them conversing with, or somehow being connected to the sun. Sir Wallis Budge, the Late Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum, wrote in his book Egyptian Religion that the apes were “said to be the transformed openers of the portals of heaven”. He also wrote that the dog-headed ape represented in statues and on papyri was famous for its cunning and that “it was the words which it supplied to Thoth, who in turn transmitted them to Osiris, that enabled Osiris to be “true of voice”, or triumphant over his enemies. It is probably in this capacity, i.e., as the friend of the dead, that the dog-headed ape appears seated upon the top of the standard of the Balance in which the heart of the deceased is being weighed against the feather symbolic of Maat; for the commonest titles of the god are “lord of divine books,” “lord of divine words,” i.e., the formulae which makes the deceased to be obeyed by friend and foe alike in the next world.”
In Egyptian Religion Budge also wrote: “when Thoth came to be represented by the ibis bird, his attributes were multiplied and he became the god of letters, science, mathematics, etc.; at the creation he seems to have played a part not unlike that of ‘Wisdom‘.” (Wisdom of course is Chokmah, and the Ibis-Headed Thoth is symbolic for Magic and the Thoth Tarot).
Crowley also wrote of the Magus: “Beneath his feet is the Kingdom (Malkuth), and upon his head the Crown (Kether). He is spirit and matter; he is peace and power; in him is Chaos and Night and Pan; and upon BABALON his concubine, that had made him drunk upon the blood of the saints that she hath gathered in her golden cup, hath he begotten the virgin that now he doth deflower. And that which is written: Malkuth shall be uplifted and set upon the throne of Binah. And this is the stone of the philosophers that is set as a seal upon the Tomb of Tetragrammaton, and the elixir of life that is distilled from the blood of the saints, and the red powder that is the grinding-up of the bones of Chronozon.” He continues, “Terrible and wonderful is the Mystery thereof, O thou Titan that has climbed into the bed of Juno! Surely thou art bound unto, and broken upon, the wheel; yet hast thou uncovered the nakedness of the Holy One, and the Queen of Heaven is in travail of child, and his name shall be called Vir, and Vis, and Virus, and Virtus, and Viridis, in one name that is all these, and above all these.”
[Chronozon is the antithesis of Magick, and of course Vir and Vis and Virus and Virtus and Viridis in one name is V.V.V.V.V. The tomb of Tetragrammaton is sealing away the four elements; similarly how in Buddhism the four elements (Rupa) are sealed away and the Arupajhanas become the focus of the practitioner which are the cultivation of the Wisdoms which enable the body of enlightenment].
I plan on breaking down the Grade text Liber B vel Magi in a post line-for-line, so I will refrain from getting into too much detail here, especially as this post is getting quite daunting in length. However, the Liber B vel Magi breaks down the Magus and its interplay with the Qabalistic tree of life, and it indicates that ones self should be selflessness. Which I bring up given that I’ve been stressing Binah = Saturn = Ego-Death, and of course I place this to tie it into the Empress section where self-sacrifice is the theme of the Life-Giving Mother.
The speech is silence, as again Mercury is the spirit; the Hebrew word for Spirit is Ruach (which is also the term designated to the 6 sephirots in the center of the tree as shown on the left, and the Hebrew word Ruach also means “breath”.
In Liber B vel Magi Crowley wrote: “How then shall He end His speech with Silence? For He is Speech.” The connotations to spirit and breath make it quite evident that it’s referring to the living principle of being and also indicating that ones actions (even non-actions such as sitting) are speech.
I’ll end this post with a Zen koan from the Gateless Gate known as the Mumonkan:
“If you meet a man on the path who has accomplished the Way, do not greet him with words or silence. Tell me, how will you greet him?”
The koans have commentary, and Mumon’s Comment is: “If you can answer this question fittingly, you are certain to be congratulated. But if you cannot, you should look for it attentively, wherever you are.”
Lastly there is the Verse:
“Meeting on the path a man who has accomplished the Way,
Do not greet him with words or silence.
I will punch you in the face;
If you want to realize, realize on the spot.”
…Do you have an Understanding?