Saturday, December 31, 2011

Darwin's theory and proof

I wrote this post in response to a discussion in my Philosophy of Research class, and thought I would share it with you.

The struggle with Darwin's theory is that it makes claims that are not easily falsifiable. Is there a way to test Darwin's assumptions?”

This is actually an outdated perspective promoted by the intelligent design movement. When Darwin originally propounded the theory of evolution, the mechanisms by which natural selection operated were not known, and so his opponents objected that his theory was not falsifiable. In fact, one of the principle objections to his theory is the idea that certain elements of organisms present “irreducible complexity,” that is, they cannot operate at all if you remove even one element from them (Miller, 2008).

However, advances in earth sciences, paleontology, molecular biology, and genetics have refuted this attitude in nearly every case. The fossil record, for example, is filled with examples of intermediate species at every stage of life’s history. “The earliest reptiles look remarkably amphibian-like, and the earliest mammals are actually known informally as the ‘reptile-like mammals.’ They were preceded by a group called the ‘mammal-like reptiles’ lest the point be missed. Within other groups of organisms the pattern is even more evident, especially for animals in the more recent past, for which the fossil record is more complete” (Miller, 2008, p. 47).

The evolution of the horse family is a good example, evolving over the past 55 million years from a group of relatively small animals that browsed on vegetation through 30 million years of diversifying into many species to include modern horses, donkeys, and zebras. The irony is that all of the remaining species of horse fit into a single genus, Equus, and the diversity of the past have died out as various species failed to adapt. Many attempts appear in the record, but only one ended up as adaptive. Multiply this by the many other species of mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, plants, and so forth, and the idea that a designer had any intent involved in the final forms becomes ridiculous (Miller, 2008).

We see evolution in action in the resistance various parasites and diseases evolve to the drugs we use to treat them. For example, Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria, has evolved a resistance to chloroquinine, the main drug used to treat the disease. Similarly, some humans who live in malaria-prone areas have evolved a resistance to the parasite (Miller, 2008). (Sickle-cell anemia provides a degree of protection against malaria, giving those with it an adaptive advantage when living in malaria-prone environments. It only becomes a disease when those people move to areas where malaria is no longer a problem.)

Another example of evolution observed in action involved a species of moth in England during the Industrial Revolution. The species originally had white wings with spots, but as the smoke from coal fires darkened the wood of trees where the moths lived and other surfaces they lit upon, being white was no longer adaptive. They were gradually replaced by a dark-winged variant that blended more effectively with the background. This variant remained the dominant form of the moth until efforts to clean up the environment got underway in the 1960s and 70s, at which point the moth reverted to its white-winged form, which was once more adaptive.

Molecular genetics have begun solving problems such as the origins of clotting factors in the blood, and the flagellum on a number of different kinds of bacteria, identifying precursors of the components of the systems in older species. Most proteins in cells are used for more than one purpose, so this really shouldn’t be surprising. Laboratory experiments are showing more and more how the genetic code can reshuffle itself and allow new forms to arise—the ability of antibodies to adapt to new diseases is one example of this (Miller, 2008).

The bottom line is that we have many ways of testing Darwin’s assumptions. The fossil record is only one. Molecular genetics, analysis of proteins, the study of related animals and plants, and the co-evolution of predators and prey are just some of the many examples. Evolution is no longer merely a theory that has no structure to permit testing; it is the basis of the explosion of methods in modern biology. As scientists, it is important that we not continue to promote notions that are outdated and inaccurate, but to challenge those perspectives with more recent data and evidence (Miller, 2008).

Michael Starsheen

Miller, K. R. (2008). Only a theory: Evolution and the battle for America’s soul. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mystery of the Spheres Study Guide questions and answers

Study Guide for the Mystery of the Spheres
Yule 2011 (12/21/11) 9PM PST

1.    Why is Nuit called “The Mother of the Gods?”

Isis of the Stars Bookstore Nuit is the mother of the Heliopolitan Ennead, e.g., Osiris, Horus the Elder, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Her husband is Geb, the earth god, and her grandfather is Re, the Sun god. Re forbade her to have her children during any day of the year, so Thoth gambled with Iah, the Moon god, for 5 days outside the calendar year in which the Ennead could be born.

These five days lead up to the beginning of the Egyptian calendar year, and are known as the Epagomenal Days. They bring the calendar up to 365 days from 360. The Egyptians did not adjust their calendar for leap years, but allowed the dates to float.

The Epagomenal Days coincided with the heliacal rising of Sirius at the time of the Summer Solstice during the Old Kingdom when the calendar was constructed, but precession gradually moved the rising away from the agricultural year's beginning. So the Egyptians maintained additional calendars that governed the agricultural year and the civil year, as well as a Sothic year tied to the heliacal rising of Sirius.

Nuit, as sky goddess, is home to Sirius, and the heliacal rising (with the dawn) has Sirius standing out from the red glow preceding sunrise. That glow was considered Nuit's birthing blood when she gave birth to Re each morning at the end of the night.
December 14 at 6:12pm · Like · Description:

Maury White-Hereford Because She is.
December 15 at 11:47am · Like

 Isis of the Stars Bookstore <grin> That's as good an answer as any, Maury!
December 16 at 1:55pm · Like · Description:

2. Why is Nuit called “the Great Deep,” and “the Celestial Abyss?”
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Nuit is called "the Great Deep" from her part as one of Thoth's Ogdoad (group of 8) assistants in creating the world. In this myth, Nut is the female counterpart of Nu or Nun, the watery abyss/matrix from which Thoth raises the mound of Earth on which Re is born for the first time.

She is called "The Celestial Abyss" because she holds the souls of the sacred dead within her body, giving light through the darkness of night. This sets her watery nature apart from that of Nun, whose darkness is undifferentiated.
December 14 at 6:15pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford A couple of things, just off the top of my head. The mound of earth (that suggested the pyramid form) could also be a pregnant earth, which resonates with your suggestion about the souls of the dead in Her body, but also could be considered Her womb to give birth to the dead and staring the Karmic cycle.
December 15 at 8:25am · Like
3.  Why does Nuit say, “I am both Birth and Death” in the oracle?
Like · · Share · December 9 at 6:31pm ·
Isis of the Stars Bookstore Nuit's hieroglyphic symbol (o), a water jar, is also supposed to symbolize the womb. So that's a pretty rich and valid observation, Maury.
December 16 at 2:01pm · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore  I think that you may be right about Egyptian thought on birth and death, Maury. It certainly makes sense in light of Lady Olivia's Awakening of Osiris mystery drama, the one preceding this one. If our entry into the physical world represents "death" from the spirit world and movement into a physical sarcophagus, as in Awakening, then our "death" out of the physical world and rejoining with the spirits in the Duat would indeed represent our "birth." I have a particular fondness for the idea of living as a star in the body of Nuit.
Monday at 9:41am · Like

4.       What does she mean by saying, “I am the Mistress of the Spheres” (hint: Qabalah )?

Like · · Share · December 9 at 6:31pm ·
Isis of the Stars Bookstore Since Nuit is the watery matrix in which all things manifest, she corresponds to Da'ath in the Qabalah. Her husband, Geb, as Earth god most likely corresponds to Malkuth, and her father, Re, to Kether—as prime motivator. Or one could see the correspondence of Nuit to Kether as Sky goddess to Geb's Earth god, but I think that's a weaker analogy.
December 14 at 6:18pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford I think you are right about the analogy. Nut could not be considered the "first swerlings" but the place of the "first swerinlings." But, I think the Q. is not a required landscape to discus this. I don't think we have to look much further than the idea that the spheres are contained in Her body (sky). But, we can not confuse the container for the creator.
December 15 at 8:44am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore So, perhaps the spheres are the sky, the Moon, the Earth, and the Duat? Based on the text and the Goddesses invoked in it, that would explain the "world of the shades" comment above, as well.
December 16 at 2:00pm · Like

5.       What does she mean when she says, “When you honor me as the Earth Mother, you face my Abyss…?”
Like · · Share · December 9 at 6:31pm ·

Maury White-Hereford That makes more sense. I am still having a hard time "feeling" Nuit as the Earth Mother. Ok If Nuit is the space between the Earth and the Nun then the earth is contained in Her womb. Sallie Ann Glassman did a painting of Yemaya in which the planet was contained in her womb. We again have the correspondence of Nun = water.
December 17 at 8:05am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore And Nuit is a form of water as the waters of the womb, and its container. Her hieroglyphic symbol is a water pot that also stands for the womb. So the painting of Yemaya you describe would be appropriate.
December 17 at 12:07pm · Like

6.       In the oracle, Nuit refers to the Earth Mother and the Father, but in Egyptian mythology, Geb is the Earth *father* and Nuit is the sky mother. Who are the Earth Mother and the Father? (Hint: Qabalah)

Presumably Kether and Malkuth. The father referred to in the text is most likely a representation of the patriarchal "sky Father" gods that have ruled since the time of ancient Egypt's fall.

The Earth mother is the sky Father's counterpart, certainly by the Greek times corresponding to Gaia.
December 14 at 6:21pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford I am going to have to come back to this. I think trying to place these ideas on the Tree maybe forcing a connection. The Q. is a much later system and whereas they can dovetail because Hebrew Esoterisism is influenced by Egyptian thought I am not sure that using it as a correspondence does not short circuit/restrict exploration. In other words I am not at all sure that Nut had the Q. in mind when She transmitted this info. to Olivia. But, I will be considering this.
December 15 at 9:17am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore If you read the ritual, it is clear that the spheres she refers to are the Qabalah. Maybe in an elder form, as Olivia used the alchemical texts written by St. Germain as a basis for the ritual, and I suspect those texts were incorporated into the Qabalah.

In any case, my comments reflect my own experience with the ritual over the years.

 Maury White-Hereford I will do that, thanks.
December 17 at 8:07am · Like

6. In the oracle, Nuit refers to the Earth Mother and the Father, but in Egyptian mythology, Geb is the Earth *father* and Nuit is the sky mother. Who are the Earth Mother and the Father? (Hint: Qabalah)
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Like · · Share · December 9 at 6:33pm ·
Isis of the Stars Bookstore See question #4's answer. Presumably Kether and Malkuth. The father referred to in the text is most likely a representation of the patriarchal "sky Father" gods that have ruled since the time of ancient Egypt's fall.

The Earth mother is the sky Father's counterpart, certainly by the Greek times corresponding to Gaia.
December 14 at 6:21pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford I am going to have to come back to this. I think trying to place these ideas on the Tree maybe forcing a connection. The Q. is a much later system and whereas they can dovetail because Hebrew Esoterisism is influenced by Egyptian thought I am not sure that using it as a correspondence does not short circuit/restrict exploration. In other words I am not at all sure that Nut had the Q. in mind when She transmitted this info. to Olivia. But, I will be considering this.
December 15 at 9:17am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore If you read the ritual, it is clear that the spheres she refers to are the Qabalah. Maybe in an elder form, as Olivia used the alchemical texts written by St. Germain as a basis for the ritual, and I suspect those texts were incorporated into the Qabalah.

In any case, my comments reflect my own experience with the ritual over the years.
December 16 at 1:57pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford I will do that, thanks.
December 17 at 8:07am · Like

7.       Why is Isis associated with the sphere of the Moon? What is the sphere of the Moon? (Hint: Qabalah)
Like · · Share · December 9 at 6:34pm ·
Isis of the Stars Bookstore Whether or not the Qabalah is involved, Isis was always associated with the Moon in ancient Egypt. If you add the spheres of the Qabalah, she would correspond to the sephira Yesod, which lies just above manifestation on the earth sephira, Malkuth. Isis thus becomes the linkage between manifest physicality and the spiritual spheres that manifest above her, in other words a vehicle to her mother Nuit.
December 16 at 2:03pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford Crowley placed Isis in all the Shephira (777). I think this is accurate. The Moon is definitely Yesod. I think Isis is associated with the Moon because She expresses the Lunar qualities of mystery, feminine energy, but also Initiation.
December 17 at 8:19am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore  I'm not familiar with Crowley's associations for the Tree of Life; I have to confess I haven't read most of his stuff. I had such painful and negative experiences when I was younger trying to use the Thoth Tarot deck that it turned me off of Crowley's work almost entirely. Sorry that I'm not engaging this well.

So what or where is Sephira 777? There are only 10 sephira on the tree that I know of, although some Qabalistic systems place 4 trees in order of manifestation according to the elements: fire, air, water, and then earth. Again, I have a nodding acquaintance with the Qabalah through this mystery drama and some readings (particularly Ted Andrews), but not the kind of depth a true Qabalist would have.
Monday at 9:38am · Like

8.       Nuit says, "And Queen Persephone draws you to the world of the Shades." Who is Queen Persephone? What is the world of the Shades? How does that fit into the scheme of the spheres of the Qabalah?
Like · · Share · December 9 at 6:36pm ·

Isis of the Stars Bookstore Persephone, obviously, is the Greek goddess married to Hades, lord of the underworld. Here, she is a counterpart of Isis and Nephthys, Goddesses who attend Osiris in the Duat. They stand as the double Ma'ati behind his seat of judgment, where the souls are weighed.

Persephone bore to Hades a son, Iacchos, who brings light to the underworld. This could correspond to the idea of souls being reborn as stars in the womb of Nuit after death.

In the spheres of the Qabalah, I believe this would correspond to the sephira of Binah, or Understanding, after the initial impulse from Kether is filtered through Chokmah, Wisdom. It is the Wisdom of Osiris in the Judgment that understands when the person is "true of voice and justified," and the power of the Ma'ati to understand the truth that permits the soul to pass onward on its voyage. Could this then correspond to Hades and Persephone in Lady Olivia's ritual thoughts.
December 16 at 2:09pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford I don't know Michael. I am more inclined to think of Hades in Malkuth, especially if we would consider the "world of the Shades" the Duat or the entrance into and out of life. I would place Osiris in Tipereth. In this case the "weighing of the heart" would seem apt. But, like Isis, Osiris fits all spheres.
December 17 at 8:30am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore This is true, Isis and Osiris fit all spheres. But we can see them lensed through particular spheres when we use a particular mystery drama. I like your assignment of the sphere of shades as Malkuth, especially in light of your other post describing "death" as the incarnation into a body (the theme of the Awakening of Osiris." Osiris in Tiphareth works as the Heart of the tree of life, and we could consider Thoth/Djehuti as the prime mover in Kether—he's the one who organized the work of the Ogdoad to create the world, of which Nuit was a part.
December 17 at 12:05pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford Yes, I agree about the Rite focusing through a sphere. But, I associate Djhuti with Hod. There is also another idea. I am not sure if it is germain to this discussion. As an ex. , we have Hod (Thoth) and Netzach (Hathor). Two "opposing" points, Truth and Love (Beauty). Maybe the balancing energy (Path), I forgot the card, that runs between them (or any Path between the Sephira) is the "Music of the Spheres." I bring this up, because this is part of the exp. Daniel and I had when we did this Rite on the Lunar eclipse in Dec. last year. Although, at that time I did not associate it in just this way.
Sunday at 1:17am · Like

Maury White-Hereford I can see your assignment of Thoth as prime mover, but that is the sphere of concept not application, as are all the top three. As we move down the Tree we pick up form, just as we move down through the planes picking the mummy wrappings of the physical body.
Sunday at 1:23am · Like

Maury White-Hereford Again, I think this brings us to the idea of incarnating through Malkuth, the world of shades.
Sunday at 1:24am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore Exactly! Djehuti provides the primal sound/DNA for the universe to unfold as it should. The Ogdoad condition the plasma to make the singularity that explodes to become the Big Bang. They are male and female counterparts, Chokmah and Binah. The movement induced by the Great Word, spoken by Djehuti causes the bang to begin, then conditions the expanding plasma to form the physical stars and galaxies and worlds. (Scientists have actually detected compression waves/sound waves/within the primordial plasma causing some areas to be denser and some thinner. This generated stars and so forth as gravity took over from the other three strong forces.)
Sunday at 6:42pm via · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore Tiphareth is Beauty, I thought. Netzach is something else. Ma'at is Truth, not Djehuti.
Sunday at 6:43pm via · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore I checked the main meanings of each of the Sephirah: Kether (crown), Chokmah (Wisdom), Binah (Understanding), Geburah (Severity), Chesed (Mercy), Tiphareth (Beauty), Netzach (Victory), Hod (Majesty), Yesod (Foundation), Malkuth (Kingdom). Hod can also mean "Praise" or "Splendor," and Netzach can also mean "Eternity" or "Endurance."

Tiphareth also translates to "Sprituality, Balance," or "Integration."
Sunday at 6:59pm · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore Geburah can also be translated as "Judgment" or "strength," and Chesed as "Kindness" or "Love." So here you might see Osiris and Isis paired, or Horus and Hathor, who are paired counterparts. (Hathor's Egyptian name, "Het Heru," means the "House of Horus," or the sun's path through the sky over the course of a day.)

I admit that I'm working on more traditional assignments of the meanings for the Sephirah than Crowley's, but I think we may be speaking a little at cross-purposes, Maury.

And I do agree that the world of shades is Malkuth, at least relative to this ritual.

What do you think of Nuit as being the sphere of Da'ath?
Sunday at 7:02pm · Like

Maury White-Hereford thanks for the clarifications.
Monday at 10:03am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore You're welcome. I get confused easily, so I keep a *LOT* of references handy. I've been reading my way through St. Germain's Most Holy Trinosophia all afternoon today.
Monday at 1:06pm · Like

9.       What was the Initiation of Demophoon? According to the text, Le Comte de St. Germain, a mysterious alchemist of the 18th century underwent this initiation through the Goddesses Demeter and Persephone in a descent into the crater of Vesuvius, the doorway to the underworld (re: Virgil).

Demophöon was the prince at Eleusis whom Demeter tried to make immortal in the fire by burning away his mortal parts, but was stopped by his mother's fear. This is symbolic of an alchemical transformation, in which the soul is heated and "processed" by different methods to purify and refine away the mortal dross that holds us back from enlightenment.

Demeter went on to teach Demophöon the magic of the seeds and the grain, how to plant and reap a harvest, and this became the basis for the Cult of Eleusis.
Monday at 11:23pm · Like

10.     Why does the initiate wear a linen veil and carry the Golden Bough? (see Dante/Virgil) What is the Golden Bough?

Isis of the Stars Bookstore The veil represents their uninitiated blindness to the truth, and the golden bough is the price for entering the underworld that Virgil, and then Dante provide to be allowed to enter. Some believe that the actual golden bough is a sprig of mistletoe, which remains golden-green even in the depths of winter.
Monday at 11:24pm · Like

11.     The initiate finds himself in a square chamber in which shines a Crystal Star. What does this symbolize?

To quote the analysis of _The Most Holy Trinosophia_ in the Forgotten Books edition:

"After a great distance the passage ends in a square room from which lead four doors. This is the Hall of Choosing. The doors signify the courses which the soul can pursue. The black door is the path of asceticism and labor; the red door is that of faith, the blue door is that of purification, and the white door is that of adeptship and the highest Mysteries. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna describes these paths and those who follow them, and reveals that the last is the highest and most perfect.

The neophyte enters through the black door of asceticism and labor, and is about to pass through the red door of enlightened love when it closes upon him. He then turns to the door of purification and sacrifice, but this will not receive him. Then the [crystal] star, the symbol of his essential daemon or genius, darts through the white door. Fate has decreed adeptship. The neophyte follows his star.

The alchemical significance of the account reveals that at the beginning of the Great Work, the power of choice is given to the operator, that he may decide the end to which his labor shall be directed. The black door represents the making of material gold; the red door the Universal Medicine for the healing of the nations; the blue door the Elixir of LIfe, and the white door the Philosopher's Stone. From the door which is chosen we discover that aspect of the Great Work which our author contemplates."
Monday at 11:41pm · Like

12.     Who is the woman in the painting on the north wall? She is depicted naked to the waist with black drapery over her lap that has two silver bands running down it. She is holding a rod which she places against the head of a man standing in front of her. What does the rod symbolize?

According to the Analysis of _The Most Holy Trinosophia_ by Forgotten Books, the woman in the painting " Isis in her role as Initiatrix. She is Nature, and her black skirt is the corporeal world by which part of her body is concealed. The naked man is the neophyte. Unclothed he came into the world and unclothed he must be born again....The objects lying upon [the table] or held by Isis, are three of the suit symbols which appear upon the Tarot cards...The cup is the symbol of water, the spearhead of fire and the wand of air. Fire, air, and water are the symbols of the great Magical Agent. Their names in Hebrew are Chamah, Ruach, and Majim, and by the Cabbala the first letter of each of these words—Ch, R, and M—constitute Chiram, known to the Freemasons as Hiram. This is the invisible essence which is the father of the four elements, and designates itself Chiram Telat Mechasot—Chiram the Universal Agent, one in essence, three in aspect, in which is hidden the wisdom of the whole world."

"The Hebrew characters in the panel above the head of Isis are translated: 'On account of distress they shall cling to the Bestower,' which means that those (the wise) who have become wearied with worldliness shall turn to wisdom, the bestower of all good things."
Monday at 11:56pm · Like

13.     On an altar before the woman in the painting lies a cup and a lance-head. What do these objects symbolize?

Isis of the Stars Bookstore See question #12. The Cup is water, the lance-head is fire, and the wand Isis holds is Air. To the alchemists, these are the three primal elements from which corporeal manifestation descends.
Monday at 11:57pm · Like

14.     What does it mean that the initiate's heart is awakened by the rite of Demophöon, such that "Truth is combined with Love in Harmony?"

Isis of the Stars Bookstore Given that Demeter sought to burn away the impurities of mortality and purify the child Demophöon in the nursery fireplace, Truth is probably symbolized by the Air/purification aspect, Love by the Fire, and the ultimate immortal, enlightened being by Harmony.
Monday at 11:59pm · Like
15.   The initiate must return to the physical world after the initiation in the square chamber. He/she finds him/herself inside the crystal star, in a perfectly round chamber. What does this shift signify?

Isis of the Stars Bookstore This is where the Mystery of the Spheres skips most of the steps in the alchemical process from _The Most Holy Trinosophia_. Essentially, the circular vessel in which the candidate finds himself is the interior of the athanor, or alchemical oven, in which he will be washed three times with different solutions to purify his soul. This occurs in the sign of Libra, signifying the restoration of the balance.
Yesterday at 12:06am · Like

16.     Why does the initiate's robe change color from green to red? Why does he/she remain for three days in the hall?

Isis of the Stars Bookstore  The initiate's robe was originally of white linen, when he entered at Vesuvius. After the purification of water, salt, and putrefaction in Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius:

"After leaving the house of putrefaction the Initiate observes that his robe changes color, becoming at last a beautiful green. This is a direct allusion to the alchemical formula. We are told that during the processes of digestion the alchemical substance changes color, which has given rise to its being called the peacock because of its iridescence during one of the periods of its digestion. The various colored garments worn by the several degrees of the ancient priestcrafts represented stages of spiritual unfoldment. According to the same rule, in the preparation of the Wise Man's Stone the base substance passes through a philosophical spectrum, turning from one color to another according to the end which the operator desires to achieve.

In the last stage, where the garment transforms from green to brilliant red, the Initiate has once again entered "a crystal retort resting in a sand furnace which keeps it constantly at a gentle heat. The name of the hall is 'A place where drops trickle.' The basin sustaining it is 'the desert of blazing fire,' or 'the agent which enables the drops to escape.' From the bottom of the glass retort, vapors are constantly ascending. The adept is lifted up, and after thirty-six days is borne to the upper part of the globe. The heat being reduced, he descends and discovers that the color of his garment has changed from green to brilliant red. 'The solution in the alchemical retort, if digested a certain length of time, will turn into a red elixir, which is callled the Universal Medicine. It resembles a fiery water, and is luminous in the dark.'...The adept himself is now the Universal Medicine...His crimson garment is the vestment of the Red Elixir."
Yesterday at 12:19am · Like

Isis of the Stars Bookstore This stage reflects the completion of the alchemical journey, where the initiate encounters the philosophical sun.
Yesterday at 12:20am · Like

17.     After exiting the crystal chamber, the initiate finds him/herself in a hall surrounded by collonades. In the center is a bronze pedestal with a warrior crowned with a helmet, wearing golden mesh armor under which shows a blue garment. He holds a white staff bearing cryptic characters, and extends his hand toward a beautiful woman. Who is the man on the pedestal?

Isis of the Stars Bookstore The warrior is the Initiate himself at this final state. The white wand he carries is his badge of office, the baton of the adept. The blue garment showing through his armor is his starry cloak, gained back many steps ago.
Yesterday at 12:23am · Like

18.     The woman on the pedestal is nude except for a Sun shining on her breast. She wears a crown of red roses. Who is the woman, and what does the Sun signify?
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore This is unveiled Isis as Nature who serves the wise with grace. The sun on her breast represents the enlightened heart, or Inner Sun.
Yesterday at 12:25am · Like

19.     The woman holds a rod on which three globes are suspended, connected by golden rings. What does this signify?

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Isis of the Stars Bookstore These are the three Masters of the Universal Lodge to whom the Wise Man ascends with Isis to join.
Yesterday at 12:26am · Like 

20.     The initiate touches one of the three globes the woman holds, which turns to dust, then its molecules each becomes a new Sun. He/she hears a voice exclaim, "The work is perfect!" What does this mean?
Like · · Share · Monday at 9:58am ·
Isis of the Stars Bookstore According to the analysis of the Most Holy Trinosophia, the Wise Man touches one of the globes to trigger: "The projection of the Stone is the final testing of the completeness of the Work. The adept strikes the golden sun, shattering it into fragments. In his role of the Ruby-Diamond the Initiate then touches each of the broken parts and they too become suns as glorious as the original. The sun here represents the germ of the Universal Gold or the divinity present in all natures. This is broken into fragments, in agreement with the Bacchic tradition that the solar energy was distributed throughout nature. The philosopher then touches the fragments, and each becomes perfect. The alchemist is a master of his Art, and by virtue of the Stone he releases and perfects the fragments of divinity locked within each mortal constitution."

"The Supreme Judge of all works decrees that the adept has completed regeneration and that the Work is perfect....The veil of the mystae is lifted. The adept is now an epoptes—one who sees clearly."
Yesterday at 12:32am · Like

21.     As part of the ritual chant to draw individuals into the meditation, Lady Olivia references several stars: Polaris, Aldebaran, Capella, Betelgeuse, Spica, Regulus, Vega, Altair, Castor, Pollux, Deneb, and Sirius. What is the significance of these particular stars to the ancients and to the rite?
Like · · Share · Monday at 9:59am ·

Isis of the Stars Bookstore They are all stars visible in the northern hemisphere which are quite bright, but they don't all fall in the Zodiac, or even overhead at the same time of year. I'm going to have to dig a bit on this one.
Yesterday at 12:33am · Like

 Isis of the Stars Bookstore Some of the stars have lots of background and others don't, but I'll take them one at a time.

Polaris, alpha Ursae Minoris, is the current nothern Pole star. It is a yellow supergiant Cepheid variable double star, mag. 2.1 at (3h RA, +88deg Dec.) It has been the pole star for a long time, although it is not exactly on the pole in the sky. The Greeks called it "Phoenice" or "the lovely northern light," and it was known as "Stella Maris" in the Middle Ages and associated with the Virgin Mary. Because of its association with the north pole in the sky, it has been used for navigation at least since the times of the Greeks.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Aldebaran, alpha Taurae, is a red giant star or magnitude 0.9, that appears to be part of the Hyades cluster in Taurus, but is actually separate. It is located at (4.6hRA, 17degDec.). The name means "Follower of Pleiades," although later the English called it the "Bull's Eye," and in Hebrew Astrology it is "God's Eye." The Egyptians (Coptic) associated it with a God, Sarit.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Capella, alpha Aurigae, is a bright yellow binary star of magnitude 0.08, at (5.3hRA, +47deg Dec.) It was an important star to the ancients, known as the "Star of Marduk" to the Babylonians and "Brahma Ridaya," or "the Heart of Brahma" to the Hindus. To the ancient Akkadians, Capella was "Dilgan Isku," or the "Messenger of Light."

In ancient Egypt, it was considered the star of Ptah, and temples to Ptah at Memphis (5200BC) and Karnak (1700BC) are oriented to its setting. On the Zodiac of Denderah, Capella is marked by a mummified cat, which is held by a man crowned with plumes. The temple of Diana Propyla at Eleusis was also oriented to Capella.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Betelgeuse is a red-orange supergiant variable star of magnitude 0.4-1.3, at (5.9hRA, +9degDec.). Its name comes from the Arabic for "the armpit" or the shoulder of the giant, "al Mankib." To the HIndus, it is "Ardra" (Moist), the Gem of Rudra the storm god; with the Hyades and Aldebaran, it signals a rainy season.

Orion is associated with Osiris in Egyptian mythology.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Spica is a blue-white eclipsing binary of magnitude 1.0 at (13.4hRA, -11degDec.). Its name means "Ear of Wheat," and the constellation Virgo is associated with Demeter and with Isis as the Virgin who bears the ear of wheat, thus harvest time.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Regulus, alpha Leonis, is a Blue white multiple star of mag. 1.4, at (10.2hRA, 12degDec.) It was known as the "Ruler of Heaven" by the ancients, "Sharru" the King by the Babylonians and "Dilgan" the "messenger of Light." In India, Regulus was known as "Magha" or "Mighty," and in Persia, "Magh" or "Great."

Later, to the English, it was known as "Cor Leonis," or the "Lion's Heart."
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Vega, alpha Lyrae, is brilliant blue white star of mag 0.03 at (18.6hRA, 39deg Dec.) Known as the "Harp Star," it marked the beginning of Autumn for the Romans with its morning setting. For the Chinese, it was Chih Neu, the little weaver maid who loves Altair, the shepherd boy across the Milky Way.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Vega was the pole star in 12,000 BC, and was known as the Star of Ma'at to the Ancient Egyptians.
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 Isis of the Stars Bookstore Altair, alpha Aquilae, is a white star of magnitude 0.77 at (19.8hRA, 8.5deg Dec.), and is one of the Sun's closest neighbors. The name means "Flying Eagle," and it was Homer's "Star of Autumn." In Hindu mythology, it is the middle of the three steps of Vishnu that define the cosmos. To the Euphrateans, it was "Erigu," the "Powerful Bird."
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Castor, alpha Geminorum, is a white multiple star of magnitude 1.6 at (7.6hRA, 33deg. Dec.). It is actually six stars, separated into two groups of yellow-white stars with one circling red dwarf star. Castor was known as the "Eques" or "Horseman" of the Gemini Twins. Later, the Greeks associated the star with Apollo, and called it "Phoebus" in its morning rising. To the Hindus, it was "Aditi," the mother of the Adityas, and with Pollux, "Punarvarsu," or the "Two Good Again."
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Pollux, beta Geminorum, is an orange giant star with magnitude 1.1 at (7.7hRA, +28 deg. Dec.). It is actually brighter than Castor, but Flamsteed who codified the formal designations (alpha, beta, etc.) screwed up.

Ovid called Pollux "Pugil," as the boxer of the twins. Pollux was the immortal twin, while Castor was the mortal twin, born to Leto and Zeus.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Deneb, alpha Cygni, is a bright blue-white star of magnitude 1.3 located at (27hRA, 45deg Dec.). The name means "Tail," as it is the tail of the Swan.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Sirius, alpha Canis Majoris, is a blue-white star of magnitude -1.6 located at (6.8h RA, -16 deg. Dec.). It is one of the closest stars to our sun and the brightest star in the sky. It was considered the Star of Isis in ancient Egypt, and the only star to have its own hieroglyphic symbol, a prone dog, which was somewhat associated with Anubis. The Egyptians worshiped Sirius from at least 3285 BC, when its heliacal rising coincided with the rising of the Nile flood. It was called "Sothis" by the Greeks, meaning "Scorching" or "sparkling." Hatshepsut's great temple at Deir al Bahri is oriented to the rising of Sirius. The star can be called Isis Hathor, her majesty of Denderah, and she can be depicted as a cow with a disk between her horns rising above the western hills.
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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Sirius was known as the "Dog Star" in Roman and medieval times because its heliacal rising in mid-July to early August (due to precession) coincided with the hottest days of the year. In India, the star was "Sukra," an early rain god preceding Indra.

The culmination of Sirius at midnight may have been the signal to start the Eleusinian Mysteries at the temple of Demeter at Eleusis.
3 hours ago · Like

As I woke up this morning, I had a vision of an alchemical star linking all twelve of the stars listed in Lady Olivia's chant for the Mystery of the Spheres. Fortunately, I still remember how to draw interlaced stars, and this picture is the result. I believe it will help us focus the chant, and creation of the image is part of receiving the mystery for me.

22.     The Mystery of the Spheres draws on an alchemical text written by the Count St. Germain in the 18th Century called The Most Holy Trinosophia. The initiatory journey the candidate undergoes follows this text closely, although parts are deleted to keep the drama short. Have you read the Trinosophia? Who is the Trinosophia? How does that connect to the drama?

If you are interested in reading a full copy of Le Comte de Saint-Germain's alchemical text The Most Holy Trinosophia, you can obtain a copy from Forgotten Books, While it is not absolutely necessary to understand the Mystery of the Spheres, it is an important alchemical text, written in a fairly clear style, and fosters spiritual growth through its study.

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Isis of the Stars Bookstore Re-reading through the Trinosophia this afternoon was intense, as it describes the initiate's journey through a complete alchemical transformation of the 12 stages, corresponding to the 12 signs of the zodiac and the 12 alchemical processes. The Mystery of the Spheres really only has Section 2 and parts of Sections 11-12, slightly re-written. The alchemical symbolism is mostly lost in the new version, but still there in the three suns turning to dust and then to new suns. "The work is perfect!"
Monday at 11:20pm · Like

One final note: If you are interested in coupling the Alchemical Star information with the Zodiac and its associated alchemical processes, as are used in the Most Holy Trinosophia, they are as follows:
·       Aries—Calcination
·       Taurus—Congealing
·       Gemini—Multiplication
·       Cancer—Digestion
·       Leo—Projection
·       Virgo—Distillation
·       Libra—Subimation
·       Scorpio—Separation
·       Sagittarius—Incineration/Putrefaction
·       Capricorn—Fermentation
·       Aquarius—Fixation
·       Pisces—Dissolution