Esoteric Online

This is the first of them all, it’s taking me a long time to write, as the research to it is rather a lot.  I hope you all enjoy this.  This is just how I look at the deeper meaning of many things.  Always look further than what is seen.

The Zodiac

Aries

(21 March – 19 April)

 

Polarity                           :              Positive, Male, extroverted

Quality                           :               Cardinal

Ruling Planet                   :              Mars

Element                          :               Fire

Body Part                        :               The Head and Face

Colour                            :               Red

Gemstone                       :               Diamond, bloodstone

Metal                              :               Iron

Flowers                           :               Honeysuckle, Thistle, Acanthus

Trees                              :               Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Jujube

Herbs and Spice              :                Mustard, Cayenne pepper, Capers

Food                               :               Onions, leeks, garlic

Animals                          :                Sheep and rams

Birds                              :                Snipe, Gull/Albatros, Hawk

Countries                       :                England, France, Germany

Cities                             :                Naples, Florence, Krakow, Birmingham (UK)

Basic Meaning                 :                Impulsion, the urge to act, will

 

Although the Zodiac is an unending wheel, Aries is often referred to as first in line in this herd of astrological creatures.  As a fire sign, it is one of the four cardinal signs representing action (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) and is ruled by the planet Mars. This is because the sign is associated with the vernal equinox and the seasonal start of the year when everything begins to grow again.  Aries represents the seed of life, potential and possibilities.

 

Mars

It is the Ruling planet of Aries, before the discovery of Pluto; Mars was also considered the ruler of Scorpio.  Mars was the violent Roman God of War.  The planet Mars orbits the sun in 687 days.  Astrologically, it is associated with masculinity, confidence, ego, energy, passion, drive, aggression, sexuality, strength, ambition and competition.  Its energy can be constructive or destructive so it is important to harness its forces for good.  Stamina, ambition and achievement can be its positive expressions.

 

Kabbalistic Table of Planetary Correspondence

                                                                           Spatial

Planet       Angel         Universal function               bearing          Operation of the spirit

Sun              Michael         Brings light to world                     Zenith                 Will

Moon           Gabriel          Strengthen hope, send dreams     Nadir                   Imagination

Mercury       Raphael         civilizing influences                     Centre                 Emotion and intuition

Venus          Amael           Love                                             West                     Love and fellowship

Mars            Samael          Destruction                                  South                   Action and destruction

Jupiter         Zachariel       Organisation                                East                      Judgement and command

Satern          Oriphiel         Supervision                                 North                   Patience and preserverance

 

Alchemy Table

Day                   Planet                                      Metal

Monday                  Moon (Moon day)                                 Silver

Tuesday                 Mars (Mardi in French)                          Iron

Wednesday             Mercury (Wotan’s day)                          Mercury

Thursday                Jupiter (Jupiter or Thor’s day)               Tin

Friday                     Venus (Freya’s day)                              Copper

Saturday                 Saturn                                                   Lead

Sunday                   Sun                                                        Gold

 

The Magic Square of Mars

Magic squares work by enclosing or trapping an entity or power, by surrounding it with a collection of numbers in a particular relationship.  Some magic squares are made up of symbols of planets, metals or magic words.  The numerals and numbers that make up the name of God are believed to be especially powerful.  One Magic square is made up of the Latin sentence Sator arepo Tenet opera rotas, meaning “The sower at his plough controls the work”.  In magical squares where the number on vertical and horizontal lines always adds up to the same number, the result is called a “constant”.

 

11

24

7

20

3

4

12

25

8

16

17

5

13

21

9

10

18

1

14

22

23

6

19

2

15

The Square of Mars

 

Fire

Fire is known as light, it illuminates the darkness, it is a symbol of Hope, yet it also is a destructive force.  Dragons breathe fire, their fire is very destructive, yet they use it very sparingly.   Fire is one of the four main elements in elemental magic, fire, air, water, earth.  Fire is always used on the altar, for rituals and offerings, making it a very powerful symbol.  In Alchemy Fire is the substance that is used in near all processes, to purify, boil, fuse, distil or melt.  For the Alchemist and others, the four aspects of man is, Fire – is the spirit, water – is the soul, Air – is the soul, and earth is the mind.   In Sacred Geometry, fire is also seen as a six-edged Tetrahedron, its pyramid shape appropriately flame-like.

 

The Chinese theory of the five elementals:

Element               water           fire              wood          metal           earth

Number                     1                       2                      3                      4                   5

Taste                       Salt                    Bitter                acid                pungent          sweet

Human Character    serious               methodical      learned            friendly           holy

Sky sign                  rain                    yang                 hot                  cold                wind

Vegetable                yellow millet      bean                 wheat              oil-seed         white millet

Animal                     pig                    hen                   sheep              dog                 ox

Musical note            yu                     chu                   chih                 shang             kung

Bodily organ            kidneys             lungs                spleen              liver               heart

Colour                     black                 red                    green                white             yellow

Body element          blood                 breath               bones               nails               muscle

Emotion                  anger                 pleasure             joy                   sorrow            love

 

The Masonic system of elements:

Element         Adjunct             Quality                               Level

Fire                      Spirit                      Ardour and enthusiasm             Initiation

Water                   Soul                       Sensitivity and emotions            Religion

Air                        Mind                     Intellectual power                       Philosophy

Earth                    Body                       Materialism                                Physical life

 

“Just as a candle can’t burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”  The Buddha.

 

Fire like more of the other four-basic elements, has the power to create and the power to destroy.  Symbolically, fire is represented by the upright triangle, the most basic man made representation of which is, the pyramid, whose name comes from the Greek word for fire.  In the natural world, the most obvious form is of the Holy Mountain, the mound of earth that rose up out of the primal waters.  Fire is symbolic, of the spirit and of life itself.  We speak of the “Spark of Life” as though it were a form of fire.  Eternal flames used in temples and churches of all denominations, as well the Olympic torch, symbolize eternal life.  In the Acts of Apostles the Holy Spirit is described as coming down among Christ’s disciples in the form of tongues like flames of fire.”  The Phoenix a fire bird is born again from the ashes of its own fire.  As a purifying force, fire is the preferred method of disposal of bodies in many religions.  Flames and Smoke not only carry the spirit towards the Heavens, but cleanse the body, like that of a Phoenix, by destruction.  For the same reason, fires were used as a form of sacrifice and were a perfect way to make an offering to the Gods.  The ashes or residue from that fire, are rich in symbolic as well.  They signify man’s return to the dust from which his material body is made.   The vibhit, the ashes made from cow dung burned in the sacred fire (or homa), they are used to smear tilaka (sacred symbols of Godly allegiance) onto the forehead and bodies of Hindu ascetics to show that they have renounced the attractions of the material world in favour of the spiritual world.

 

The purifying mature of fire was used as a sort of magical charm by the Celts during the time of Beltane – the “Beltane fires” – on May 1.  On this day, the cattle were driven between 2 huge bonfires in the hope that this would protect them from disease.  Later, the Great Fire of London not only destroyed much of the city, but at the same time purged it of the horrors of the plague.  We may be baptized in water, but we also speak of a “baptism of fire.”  This implies a difficult ordeal of initiation that happens speedily and effectively, leading to enlightenment after purification.  In Sanskrit, the word for “pure” and “fire” are the same.

 

There’s a Fulani saying about fire and water that neatly encompasses their relationship one to another.  “Fire comes from Heaven, because it goes up.  Water comes from Earth, because it comes down as rain.”  Whereas water is as still and clear as a mirror, the nature of fires lies in its constant movement, never stopping for a moment until it runs out of fuel.

 

Fire is also closely linked to passion and sexual energy.  When man first discovered how to make fire, he achieved this using an up and down rubbing motion whose friction made the first spark.  The sexual symbolism of this practice is obvious.  Flames made in this way are seen as either demonic or divine, and there’s primitive belief that fire is somehow gathered inside the genitals of a sorceress.  The erect phallus is a symbol of fire.

 

The unpredictable nature of the active volcano makes it particularly alive and spirited.  Although the volcano share much of the symbolism of the mountain, the crater in the centre vomit forth its bubbling rivers of fire and molten lava, which lend it further dimension, that of the Goddess who regenerates the souls of the dead in her magical cauldron.  Pele the Polynesian/Hawaiian Fire Goddess, is still worshiped at the Kilaurea volcano in Hawaii.

 

Head and face

The Head and heart operate in tandem as the logical and the emotional aspects of the body as a sacred map.  The head is symbolic of the intellect, the mind, wisdom, reasoned thought, and of a ruling power or the “top” of something – for example, the Head of State.  Because of its spherical shape the head is also linked to the Universe.  To bow the head before someone is to submit to them, to nod the head indicates assent (at least in the West)

 

The Head and the face are the most easily identifiable parts of the body, and so were considered to be a great trophy in more war-like times.  The head, removed from the body, means instant death.  For a warrior to return with the actual head of his enemy meant that he also somehow acquired the potency of that enemy, the head was a status symbol of war and would sometimes be preserved in oil so that there would be no doubt as to both the identity of its owner and the certainty that he was dead.  In the same way, the head of an animal is considered to the most valuable trophy for a hunter, a gross display of man’s domination over the animal kingdom, and the more savage the animal the more kudos is accorded its killer.

 

However in myth, not all decapitated heads were rendered lifeless.  This is in accord with the ancient notion that the head contains the real seat of the soul, the essence of the person and of life itself.  It follows, then, that these disembodied heads carried great wisdom and therefore could act as oracles.  In the Celtic tale of Bran the Blessed, Bran is decapitated but his head continues to be able to talk lucidly, and tells his people that he needs to be buried at the White Hill in London, so long as the head remains there then Britain will be protected from invasions.  The White Hill is now called Tower Hill.  The Norse God Odin is said to have derived much of his wisdom from the oracle head of an earlier deity called Mimir.

 

To sever the Head from the body was to separate the physical from the spiritual, which also bring death.  At knighting ceremonies the sword blade touching each shoulder is a reminder of this idea, and also a show of great honour.  The Hindu Goddess Kali is easily identified by her necklace of several heads, which are said to be source of her wisdom.  They also represent the letters of the alphabet and comprise the “heads” of her sacred rosary or “japamala”.

 

In the midst of battle it was the best strategy always to aim attack to the head of the army or leader you are facing, as usually when the head is “cut off” the body of the resisting army quickly crumbles under the pressure of the enemy.  This is why geishas in the Japanese culture were so affective, as many times, they were used to take out the head, in order for the enemy to defeat the clan they wanted to.

 

Red

It symbolises Vitality and life-force; fire, the Sun, the South; blood; good luck and prosperity; power and authority; masculine energy; war and anger; passion, energy, sexuality.   Red is the sign of a warrior or martyr, indicating courage, military strength and generosity.

 

It is one of the 3 primary colours, bright red pops out of whatever environment it happens to be in and grabs the attention more than any other colour.  It is also the first actual colour that is seen by babies, because of its lower vibrational frequency, than the other colours in the visible spectrum, it is associated with the base chakra and symbolizes passion, sexuality, fertility and animal urges.  Red-light districts are so called because of the dim red shades of the prostitute’s quarters.

 

Red is also the colour of blood, which means that it is associated with the life-force and vitality.  Hunters that make their first kill are smeared with the blood of their kill, which show empathy towards the spirit of the animal and also initiated the hunter into the act of becoming a man.  It is also the colour of the sun and the Southern direction.  The word “magic” in German, is directly linked to the word “red ochre”.  A recent archaeological discovery provided evidence of their reverence in which the colour was held by early man.  Lumps of red ochre, as well as tools stained with the substance were found in early graves in an Israeli cave, indicating its importance as a symbol of vitality, life and resurrection.  They also wore it around their necks in leather pouches to ward off evil spirits.

 

Pure colours used to be very difficult and expensive to produce and so red cloth was used by people in positions of power, such as monarch and the clergy.  Byzantine emperors were dressed from head to foot in red.  In Rome, red was the colour of the nobles and generals, and the Holy Roman Church still dresses in cardinals in pure, bright cardinal red/  To roll out the red carpet for someone is to honour their presence.

 

Red is the colour of protection and had been viewed as such for at least the last 2000 years Amulets made of rubies or garnets were far more valuable than any other kind, able to make the wearer invincible.  Mars is also known as the red planet due to its Iron Oxide in the soil that gives it a red appearance that is clearly visible to the naked eye.  This colour is partially responsible for its association with War and warriors.  In India and China, red is the traditional colour of weddings.  Indian brides wear saris of red or pink.  In China the happy couple will be surrounded by a sea of red, clothing, souvenirs and gifts.  Even the home of the bride and the groom are decorated with red banners and ribbons, Roman brides, too favoured red for weddings, which was called “flammeum”.  This tradition is shared by Modern Greek brides.

 

In Ancient Egypt red was synonymous with evil, because it was the colour of the God Seth, who haunted the arid desert places, the personification of destruction, Seth was called the “Red God”, and an Egyptian charm of the goes like this”

 

“O Isis, deliver me from the hands of bad, evil, red things!”

 

In Christian symbolism the Devil is sometimes depicted as a red creature.  Like Seth, he also has a liking for scorched placed.  In alchemy the Red Stone is mercuric sulphide, a component of sulphur and mercury that is also called vermilion.  The creation of Vermilion was a very important primary stage in the process of making the Philosophers Stone, which in itself disguised as the Red Lion, since this elusive substance was characterized by turning red in its final stage.

 

Diamond

The Diamond is the hardest known natural occurring mineral.  The name derives from the ancient Creek Adamas, meaning “invincible’, Untameable” and “hard”.  It gives us the word “adamant” or “adamantine”, which is also used as a term of reference to describe the brilliance of the stone.   Its hardness and ability to cut are important to Tibetan Buddhists.  These Attributes are given to the vajra, or “diamond thunderbolt”, the symbol of immutable and all-conquering spiritual enlightenment.  During the Renaissance, it represented equanimity, courage, freedom from fear, integrity and faith.  The bright light of the diamond exposes anything negative in need of transformation.  One of the stones on the breastplate of the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem was said to shine brilliantly in the presence of truth and innocence, the diamond is not only tough, but extremely beautiful and relatively rare, qualities which make it one of the most costly precious stones.  Traditionally it is the stone used in engagement rings as a symbol of betrothal, although the notion that an eager suitor should be obligated to spend a month’s salary on the ring for his future wife is nothing more than a cynical ruse, invented relatively recently by a leading diamond house to persuade people to spend their money.

 

Diamond became the symbol of love and commitment, although its use in rings was originally protective talisman.  Knights and warriors like to set diamonds into their sword hilts and shields for this reason, but these diamonds did not sparkle in the way we recognise them today, they remained un-polished.  During the time of Queen Elizabeth I “scribing rings” were in fashion.  These rings with sharp pointed diamonds were used to scribe messages on windows, usually little love letters or secret messages (I don’t know how writing on a window keep that message secret, but hey that’s royalty for you).  Diamonds come in different shades of subtitle colour, like yellow, blue, pink, white, green orange and even black.  However, the rare red diamond which has a red flash within it is held by Indians to be symbolic of disaster, and signified a swift death for its wearer, because of the fire that flashes inside a well cut and polished diamond, the stone is associated with thunder and lightning.  Diamonds are believed to absorb both good and bad energy and people who use gemstones for healing purposes need to be very careful not to upset the delicate balance of the stone.  In Persia, diamonds were viewed as suspicious stones, probably for this reason.  Some notorious diamonds – no doubt the object of much envy, greed and sometimes even bloodshed (where the term blood diamonds originate from) – have curses attached to them and believed to be “unlucky” in the hands of their owners.

 

One of the most notorious cursed gems is the Hope Diamond.  The stone seems to have left a trail of ruined lives and devastation in its wake.  The bad fortune surrounding the stone started when it was stolen from the forehead of the statue of the Goddess Sita in India.  Some believe that the malice surrounding the stone is because the Goddess cursed everyone who touched it.  The original thief was reputed to have been torn apart by wild dogs.  The diamond passed through the hands of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, both of whom were beheaded.  It was eventually purchased by a wealthy banker, Philip Hop, and then inherited by his nephew Thomas, who lost his entire fortune shortly thereafter.  Next it was bought by Ambul Hamid, a Sultan of Turkey, who lost his title and was forced to sell the diamond.  It was bought by Mrs Edward Maclean, wife of an American newspaper magnate.  She lost both her fortune and her only son, who was killed in an accident.

 

The Koh-i-Noor diamond – whose name means “mountain of light” at one time, belonged to Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal for his wife, Mumtaz.  It was believed that whoever owned the diamond would rule the world.  By the time it was presented to Queen Victoria in 1850 it had a reputation of bringing ill luck to any male owner.  Queen Victoria took this superstition very seriously and decreed that ladies alone should wear the diamond, since then it has only been set into crowns of female members of the royal family.

 

Bloodstone

Bloodstone is a green Jasper dotted with bright red spots of iron oxide.  Medieval Christians carved scenes of the lives of the martyrs in bloodstone, which they called the “martyrs stone”.  According to the Christian legend, the bloodstone was first formed then drops of Christ’s blood fell and stained the Jasper stones at the foot of the cross.  In ancient times it was used as an oracle stone, providing guidance to those who could hear its message.  It is said to calm the heart and reduce irritability and aggressiveness.  Bloodstones also heighten intuition and creativity.

 

Also called the Heliotrope, from the Greek words of “Sun” and “to turn”, the blood stone can refer to many reddish stones but generally refers to green Jasper with red markings or flecks.  Ancient Egyptians believed that the stone would help with menstrual problems and called it the “blood of Isis”.  Christian statuary often features bloodstone carved into the shape of the head of Christ, artfully making the red flecks appear to be the blood pouring form the wounds made by the crown of thorns.

 

Healers and physicians called the stone lapis sanguinities and it was used primarily to alleviate any blood-related illness.  It was used to stance bleeding, to clean the blood, and to clear bloodshot eyes.  It aided circulation when dipped in cold water and placed on the body, and it could cure haemorrhoids too.  The bloodstone’s connection with the sun made it the subject of a form of scrying, whereby the stone was placed in a bowl of water, where it served as a symbolic representation of a solar eclipse, the passage of the Moon across the face of the sun showed up on the immense stone.

 

One of the more curious myths about the bloodstone is that, like its namesake the heliotrope flower, it was said to confer invisibility to anyone lucky enough to own it.  This was achieved by the bloodstone dazzling the eyes of the beholder, in which case, it is presumed, they would be able to see nothing at all.  Blood stones were often folded into sword blades when the metal was still red hot.  It was said to give the sword the power to always find its mark. And protect the wielder from any harm during battle.

 

Gemstones and the Planets

SUN                     -             Amber, Diamond, Topaz

MOON                 -             Moonstone, pearl

EARTH                 -            Amber, Jade, Ammonite

MERCURY             -            Agate, Opal, Citrine

VENUS                 -            Malachite, Rose quartz, Emerald

MARS                   -            Hematite, Ruby, Spinel

JUPITER                -            Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise

SATERN               -             Jet, Onyx, Coral

URANUS               -           Opal, Amethyst

NEPTUNE             -            Aquamarine, Coral, Pearl

PLUTO                 -            Diamond, Jade, Zircon

 

Gemstones and the Zodiac

ARIES                  -              Diamond, Bloodstone

TAURUS              -              Emerald, Lapis Lazuli

Gemini                -              Agate, Citrine

CANCER              -               Moonstone, Pearl

LEO                     -               Peridot, Amber

VIRGO                 -               Aquamarine, Carnelian

LIBRA                  -               Jacinth Amethyst

SCORPIO             -               Opal, Sapphire

SAGITTARIUS      -               Turquoise, Topaz

CAPRICORN        -               Onxy, Garnet

AQUARIUS          -               Garnet, Aquamarine

PICES                  -               Amethyst, Bloodstone

 

Gemstones and the months of the year

JANUARY             -               Garnet

FEBRUARY            -               Amethyst

MARCH                -               Heliotrope, Jasper

APRIL                   -               Diamond, Emerald

MAY                     -               Agate, Emerald

JUNE                     -               Emerald, Pearl, Agate

JULY                     -               Onyx

AUGUST               -              Carnelian

SEPTEMBER           -              Peridot

OCTOBER              -             Aquamarine, Beryl

NOVEMBER            -              Topaz

DECEMBER            -              Ruby

 

Gemstones and the chakras

7 – CROWN CHAKRA OR SAHASRARA                      -              Amethyst, Diamond

6 – THIRD EYE CHAKRA OR AJNA                             -              Lapis Lazuli, Amethyst

5 – THROAT CHAKRA OR VISHUDDA                       -              Aquamarine, Blue Topaz

4 – HEART CHAKRA OR ANAHATA                           -              Emerald, rose quartz

3 – NAVAL CHAKRA OR MANIPURA                          -              Amber, Citrine

2 – SACRAL CHAKRA OR SVADHISTHANA                -              Jade, Ruby

1 – ROOT CHAKRA OR MULADHARA                        -              Hematite, Garnet

 

Gemstones and the elements

Air       -       Agate, Citrine, Lapis Lazuli, Opal, Rose quartz, Saphire, Turquoise

Fire      -       Amber, Citrine, Fire Opal, Garnet, Heliotrope, Ruby, Spinel, Topaz

Water   -       Amethyst, Aquamarine, Coral, Lapis Lazuli, Moonstone, Pearl, Tourmaline, Turquoise

Earth     -      Amber, Ammonite, Emerald, Jet, Magnetite, Maleshite, Jade, Onyx

Ether     -      Amethist, Diamond, Opal, Pearl, Rock, Crystal, Sapphire, Tormaline, Zircon

 

Iron

It may be one of the cheapest and most abundant of all metals, but iron has great relevance in both symbolism and the practical application of magic.  Iron is one of the primary constituents of Blood and the metal and the liquid smell similar, therefor iron has been perceived to be the blood or life force of the earth itself, but it is not only the Earth which has a high iron content, since early iron that was used by man originated largely from meteors. 

 

Iron is represented by the letters Fe, and is represented by the planet Mars, not only because of its colour, but because of the strength and hardness, and the fire needed to alter its shape.  The most abundant element on earth, it makes up about 5% of the earth’s crust and 35 % of its core.  It symbolizes brute-like strength, as well as durability, hardness and flexibility.  For the Greek poet Hesiod, writing C700BCE, iron stood for materialism, force and the primitive and unconscious mind.  According to Plato (c. 428 – 348 BCE), iron came from the underworld and needed to be contained and kept separate from everyday life.  The Druids avoided the use of iron implements in their sacred rituals and ceremonies.  In the culture iron is considered a dark, base metal, in comparison to the bright metals of copper and bronze that are thought to be noble.  The Dogon people of Mali, iron represents the Lord of Darkness, the evil demiurge Yurugu, the jackal god who rules divination, barrenness, drought and death.  However, the all-powerful Lord of Heaven, the Demiurge Nommo, created the blacksmith who could make Yuruhu’s iron his servant, by fashioning it into farm tools and hunting weapons.  In Mali, the blacksmith is often also the village fortune teller.  The gift of the blacksmithing – working with iron – was said to have been given by the Gods themselves.

 

In Tibet this “sky iron” is used for making the singing bowls, the vibrational frequency of which is believed to attract good spirits and heal both body and soul.  It had a reputation of being a repellent to witches and ghosts and other malevolent entities.  Numerous folktales have the supernatural creatures being rendered powerless by being struck by iron.  When Iron appears in the form of the horseshoe, its power is increased, because the horseshoe is a symbol of the protective Goddess, the Crescent moon, the chalice or the yoni.

 

Anything which grows in the earth must therefore by default contain some of this spirit, especially corn, since it was such an important crop.  To appease the spirit, people would take a bite at a piece of iron, thereby rendering the spirit harmless.  For Australian Aborigines, iron is also considered a magical, sacred material, and is used in rites and ceremonies along with blood, the two are interchangeable. 

 

Thistle

The Scottish thistle, a thorny beautiful flowering plant, is an ancient Celtic symbol of pain and suffering, as well as of noble character and birth.  King James V of Scotland *1512 – 1542) instituted the order of the Thistle, one of the most ancient British orders, in 1540.  The motto of the order was Nemo me impune lacessit (‘No one provokes me with impunity)  In 1262, when the Danes tried to attack Scotland at night, one of the barefoot soldiers yelled in pain as he stepped on a prickly thistle, thus alerting the Scots to the Danish invasion.  The spikiness of the thistle gives it a warlike symbolism and this also makes it an emblem of protection.  The power of the thistle breaks curses and malevolent spells.  It has long had a reputation of being able to banish melancholy, perhaps because of its sweet scent, perhaps because of the wine with which the thistle flowers were blended to make the required medicine.  Despite all these positive associations, in the bible the thistle are a symbol of man’s fall from grace.  When Adam and Eve are cast out from the Garden of Eden, they enter a wilderness wherein grow “thorns and thistle”.  However many thistle hold a delicious hidden secret that Adam and Eve might have discovered: the spiny flowers can be cut open to reveal a tasty and nutritious nut.

 

Acanthus is a thistle like shrub with long flower spikes, generally preferring warm and dry climates.  The large leaf of the acanthus (often up to 12 inches long and just as wide) has been stylized and adapted as a symbol, often appearing as a carving at the tops of architectural columns (the Corinthian style).  The Acanthus is a very resilient plant, and is a symbol of immortality.  Where it is seen on gravestones, this is its secret meaning.

 

Blackthorn

It is a small, gnarly tree, often grown in hedgerows where its vicious thorns make it a good stock-proof barrier.  These thorns carry a dual symbolism since they can both attack and defend.  The small, bitter fruits, sloes, are inedible but commonly used to flavour gin.  One of the folk names of the blackthorn is the “wishing thorn” The branches were once used as divining rods, although negotiating the thorns must have been a tricky business.  As “wishing rods” the branches were made into wands for ritual use.

 

The Blackthorn and the hawthorn often appear together and are considered “sisters” the blackthorn providing the “dark” counterpart to the “light” of the other tree.  Its blossoms appear very early, often in early April, before the leaves are on the tree, making it a symbol of fertility.  Despite this, it has a dark reputation, because the spines often poison anyone they touch.  This meant that they can be dangerous weapons in the wrong hands, used negatively by malicious entities, such as witches.  Blackthorn spines were supposed to be used by these malicious women to pierce manikins used in a nasty form of sympathetic magic.  In common with other thorn trees, it has been conjectured that the blackthorn tree was used to make Christ’s crown of thorns.

 

Hawthorn

The hawthorn, or May tree, is a particularly sacred and holy tree wherever it is found.  In the Celtic Ogham tree alphabet, it represents the letter H, or Huath.  As well as having magical properties, the hawthorn is an incredible useful tree.  When it is cut back to make hedgerows, its thorns become sharp, providing an excellent barrier for sheep and other livestock.  The berries provide food for birds and can be made into syrups, reserves, and wines.  The leaves are nutritious, giving it the nickname of the “bread and cheese” tree.

 

It is particularly tolerant of other plants growing close to it and so its presence encourages biodiversity.  It is a symbol of protection, not only because of its thorns.  There’s an ancient belief that the tree will protect from fire, too.  Every year a hawthorn “globe” would be woven and brought into the house as insurance against fire damage of any kind.  The following year the globe would be replaced, the old one being burned and scattered on the fields to ensure a healthy harvest.

 

The white flowers of the hawthorn, which blossom in the late spring (hence name May blossom) have five petals, with the matching sepals looking exactly like a star.  Consequently, as with all members of the rose family to which it belongs, the flower is a natural example of the pentagram.  The hawthorn is symbolic of fertility and sensuality, underlined by the heady, strong almost narcotic scent of its flowers that bloom during the time of Beltane, when the sap rises in both plant and animal life, a natural time for fertility and sexual congress.

 

Although the hawthorn is symbolic of frivolity and mirth, there’s a legend which provides contrasting imagery for tree.  Joseph of Arimethea, resting on Wearyal Hill in Glastonbury, leant on his staff and in doing so pushed it into the ground.  The staff sprouted into a thorn tree, and a Christian chapel was built at the site.  Traditionally, this magical and holy tree, the “Glastonbury Thorn” blossoms at Christmas time and a sprig is sent to the Queen every year.  The current tree is a very distant relative of its legendary parent.

 

Jujube

A tropical tree native to the Sudan, the Jujube grow all over Israel and the middle east, and is one of the most significant sacred trees in this area.  It is also known as the “Christ’s thorn Jujube” because it’s one of the trees that may have provided the crown of thorns worn by Christ.  The tree also holds profound meaning for Muslims since Mohammed had a vision when he was resting close to one.  Often standing in remote places in the desert, the jujube is symbolic of the point beyond which no person may proceed, and even the Angel Gabriel left Mohammed to continue his journey past the Jujube on his own.  As a tree that survives well in arid conditions, the lone Jujube could indeed appear to be standing at the edge of another, unknown world.  Consequently, the tree has a practical use as a border marker.

 

A muslin story holds that the tree grows in paradise, with each of its leaves bearing the name of as many people who exist on the planet.  This heavenly tree is shaken once a year at sunset, after Ramadan, the leaves that fall signifies those who will die in the coming year.  In Israel, it’s said that when the Jujube is 40 years old, the saints come to sit under it, so anyone cutting down a tree or chopping away branches is destined to be killed by these same saints.  The tree is further sanctified as being chosen by the saints, it’s considered good luck for more ordinary human beings to sit beneath it.  Traditionally lamps are lit in the branches of the tree to signify the brightness brought by the Prophet Mohammed.  Baby boys are given Jujube twigs to hold, so that they may absorb the symbolic sanctity and strength of the tree.

 

Mustard

The Buddha instructed a woman who came to him distraught at the death of her child to bring him a white mustard seed from every home that had not experienced a death.  Although mustard seed was common in every household, she returned empty-handed.  In this way the Buddha showed her that she was not alone in experiencing death and that it is an inescapable part of life.  The mustard seed therefore symbolises right view, the first element of the eightfold path.

 

Onion

The Onion is considered to be powerful, both as a symbol and as a useful plant, that there are a cult in Egypt dedicated to its worship and cultivation.  The Onion represents eternity, because of its circle-within-a circle structure.  In the Dharmic religions such as Hundu and Budism, the fact that the layers of the onion can be peeled away, and that it has no central core, makes it similar to the ego.  Eventually there is no barrier to the spirit world and all is One.  The first line of the Onion song by Marvin Gaye reflects this sentiment: “The world is just a great big onion…”

 

Roman soldiers carried onions, believing that they had the power to ward off diseases.  They were a symbol of protection in another way.  An onion held in the hand, for example, was meant to ward of snakes.  Apparently witches do not like onions.  Keeping onions in the house deter malicious spirits; the onion could be word as a protective charm by those who were unconcerned about their appearance.

 

Onions roughly chopped and let in a bucket of water to draw makes a great pest repellent.  Spraying the leaves of other plants, to ward of slugs, many beetles and worms.  Sprinkling the left over onion, used for making the tea around the base of the plants also help with the repellent of worm’s, slugs and snails.

 

There is also a joke that is told: “all men are like onions, you peel them layer by layer and what is left is to cry about…”

 

Garlic

Garlic was placed by Ancient Greeks on piles of stones at crossroads, as a food offering to the Goddess of the crossroads, Hecate.  A Christian legend relates that when Satan stepped out from the Garden of Eden after the fall of man, garlic sprang up from the spot where he placed his left foot, and an onion from where he placed his right.  In many cultures throughout time, garlic was praised for its medicinal uses – especially in warding off infections and in strengthening immunity.  It is also thought to be a vampire-repellent.

 

If you cut a whole garlic house in half and look at it, you see that the structure is held together by a core, with many little cloves of garlic attached to it.  This is a powerful representation of unity, of how out system also function in this way.  We are all growing from the chore (source) each our own individual, yet we all are a unity conscious system that functions as one.

 

The Ram

In Mythology Aries is associated with Theseus and the Minotaur. To the Greeks, Aries was a ram called Krios, Indians called it Mesha, the ram, or Aja, the goat.  For the Persians, it was a lamb called Varak.  To the Babylonians, however, it was Zappu, meaning hair, or Hunga, the worker.  The Golden Fleece that Jason and the Argonauts stole, was said to hold incredible power.  The head was that of a ram, with the spiral like horns.  Also when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, Izak, God showed him a Ram to replace the sacrifice of his son.  His loyalty to God was rewarded by God sparing his sons life as reward.

 

The Sheep

The Female sheep was associated with Celtic Goddess Brigit or Brighid and her spring festival Imbolic, meaning ewe’s milk.  Christ carrying a lamb or a sheep on his shoulders symbolizes the soul of the deceased being borne by him into Heaven.  Sheep represent the flock or congregation of Christ, who is known as the Good Shepard.  Christ is also portrayed as the Sacrificial Lamb of God or Agnus Dei.  In the Abrahamic faiths, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and King David were all shepherds.  In Chinese folklore, because of the way a lamb dances around its mother, it is a symbol of respect and love for parents.  Sheep are key symbols in Fables and Nursery rhymes such as “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep”.  In Europa, a black sheep is considered a sign of good luck.  In the English language, calling someone a sheep suggested that they are timid and easily led.

 

Agnes Dei / Lamb of God are one of the names given to Jesus in the New Testament and used in the Christian tradition to refer to the role of Jesus as a sacrificial lamb atoning for the sins of the world.  The idea of the Lamb of God may have its origins in ancient sacrifices that were constructed during Pass over at the Jewish Temple, in which a pure unblemished lamb was sacrificed, its blood poured out and offered as atonement for sins.  In the same way Christians believe that they can be freed from sin by the blood of Jesus, as the unblemished Lamb of God.

 

A litany beginning with the words “Lamb of God” is used in the Roman Catholic Mass: Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi miserere nobis… (‘O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, has mercy upon us…)  The Lamb of God is a symbol of purity, innocence and renewal.  It is depicted with a halo and a banner with a red cross on a white background, symbolizing resurrection.

 

Gull /Albatross

For sailors these huge sea birds is said to be reincarnated souls of the dead sailors that has come to give the ship safe passage.  It was also seen as a warning of rough weather ahead.  Killing or harming one of these birds was very bad luck.  Coleridge’s poem “The Ancient Mariner” reinforced this superstition so successfully that even landlubbers know about it.  In the Pacific islands, these birds are commonly believed to be a messenger from the Gods, able to sleep on the wing.  These birds are revered because of their close connection to the Divine, and on Easter Island one of the statues has the beak of an Albatross.

 

Hawk

The Hawk is known as the messenger from the Gods.  The Hawk is said to be one of the Great Solar Birds that are able to stare directly at the sun without having to squint their eyes to lessen the glare.  To be able to look directly into the sun and not have to look away is symbolic of being able to look directly at an issue and to see what needs to be acknowledged and addresses, for the self and others.

 

To witness a Hawk in flight, to hear its cry, or to find one of its feathers suggests you are about to receive a sign or a gift from spirit.  Hawk’s cry may indicate a bountiful harvest or an impending time of abundance, while the finding of a feather sometimes portends the birth of a child or a spiritual gift about to awaken.

 

Hawks are the messengers and always precede some large event either in spiritual or physical life.  It is a guide that will lead you to the next phase of your path.  In the native American culture and in Africa the hawk is seen as a very powerful omen.

 

The Glyph

The symbol of Aries represents the head and horns of a ram and originates from a cluster of stars that make up the head of the Aries constellation.  This is the kind of short hand symbol that belongs to each of the signs, used by astrologers, for example, when compiling astrological charts.  These squiggles can be interpreted in a number of different ways.  The glyph of Aries distinctly resembles the horns of the ram; horns themselves stand alone as a synonym for lust and sexuality.  However, they can also represent an upward-shooting fountain of energy or even a flame.  Because Aries rules over the face and the head, sometimes the glyph is superimposed over the face of a human figure to show Aries influence.  Again, because it governs the head and the mind, the horns are interpreted as reaching towards the spiritual world, other quality ascribed to Aries.  It is interesting to see how the glyph, a simple sign, can start to qualify many different aspects of the sign itself.

 

Qualities

Those born under Aries take the initiative in business and in life and perform courageous acts. As we’ve seen, the stellar circle of animals as it exists today was slightly different and the sign that used to occupy the place now taken by Aries was Taurus, and there is a residue of the “bull in a china shop” notion about this position.  The spring equinox is a time when new growth is prodigious, everything fighting to burst out of the ground after the barren winter months.  The unharnessed energy and vitality of the ram or the bull is appropriate.

Ruled by the planet Mars which also rules the God of War, Aries qualities include energy and vitality, determination, stubbornness, impulsiveness.  Aries can also be quick-tempered and aggressively ambitious.  The fire element of Aries is the fire of creation, burning erratically in all directions, and an explosion of flame that can be creative or destructive, depending on how it is applied.  The brute force and impulsion of the Ram epitomizes this sign of the Zodiac.  It has a childlike bluntness, and an honest straightforward approach of life.

 

Sources

Animal Dreaming Oracle Cards by Scott Alexander King

The Signs and Symbols Bible by Madonna Gauding

The Elemental Encyclopaedia of Secret signs and Symbols by Adele Nozedar

Myself

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Tags: Astrology, symbolism

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Shaman
Comment by Anu IAH (Ma-Yi-Sa ) on November 29, 2012 at 11:48pm

I am glad it can help ^_^ I adore symbolism.

Comment by Being on November 29, 2012 at 12:07pm

I need more time to read this and save it and reread again but you should be thanked for this great effort and the organization and the gift of information put together for all who are intelligent enough to recognize the quality of this material and what you have done for  all who seek this knowledge.

Thank You

An-Hu-Nu (Ma-Yi-Sa )

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