| up a level
from the pyramid-schemes dept.
The Enochian elemental tablets, or Watchtowers, describe a four-fold hierarchical system. At the summit of that hierarchy is the Black Cross, the central cross in the Great Table, which delineates the four quadrants composing the Watchtowers of the four elements.
The letters of the Black Cross are rearranged to form the Spirit Tablet, or Tablet of Union.
In the Golden Dawn recension of Enochian, each of the four horizontal lines of the Spirit Tablet is said to rule one of the Watchtowers. EXARP rules Air, HCOMA rules Water, NANTA rules Earth, and BITOM rules Fire. The initial letters of the four lines, or EHNB, are said to rule the whole of the Spirit Tablet, adding another recursion of four-foldedness to the system. (Similarly, I have always believed that there is an invisible square, the eye at the top of the pyramid, which forms the true apex of the structure.)
One aspect of Enochian that takes some getting used to is the sequence of the elements. Why is Air first, followed by Water, Earth, and finally Fire? For me, this indicates the positioning of the functions of the elements along the human body.
Air corresponds to the function of mind, centered in the head. Water is attributed to emotion, centered in the chest. Earth is the body, and the body's center of gravity, known in the East as the hara, or tan t'ien, is located in the lower belly. And Fire represents the vital energy of sexuality, centered in the genitals. In this sense, we carry the Tablet of Union (indeed, all the tablets) within us.
Another work of John Dee's, not quite as well known to magicians as Enochian, is the Monas Hieroglyphica or Hieroglyphic Monad, a tremendously obscure essay touching upon mysticism, alchemy, geometry, astrology, and no doubt many other things, which Dee published in 1564. It made a great impression at the time, firmly establishing Dee's reputation as the Deepest Cat of His Time. It later played a significant but mysterious role in The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencruetz.
The Monad itself is a geometric figure which, although relatively simple, is said to contain many marvels. One day, as I was staring at the EHNB column of a Tablet of Union painted in the Enochian alphabet, something clicked for me, and so I'd like to add it to my own list of Monad Marvels.
Starting from the bottom, the Enochian letter B seems to approximate the symbol of Aries, the fiery part of fire, which forms the base of the Monad (on the right in the figure above). The N is a stylized cross, the cross being the sigil of the Elemental King of Earth, and the symbol of Earth in the Sigillum DEI Aemeth. The Enochian H can be seen as a representation of the symbol of the sun, the ruler of Tiphareth, the heart of the Tree of Life.
The final step admittedly requires a stretch, but is hopefully not too far-fetched in light of the above. By rotating the Enochian letter E counter-clockwise 130 degrees, we can see that it is nearly the lunar crescent. This relates to Air in a number of ways. It is a symbol of receptivity, for the moon receives the rays of the sun as the mind receives impressions. The crescent also resembles the drinking cup, or crater, likened to the mind in the Corpus Hermetica. In many traditions, it is common to hear the analogy that when the mind is free of thought, the truth may be seen like the unbroken reflection of the moon on the still surface of the water. And lastly, the moon is attributed to Yesod, whose element is Air.
EHNB, then, can be held as a representation of the Hieroglyphic Monad, and the Monad can also be held as a chart of the elements on the body.
Building the elements from the bottom in this way also brings to mind that BNHE (EHNB backwards) could be considered as a variant on the Sephirah Binah. Recall this passage from the 28th Aethyr of The Vision and the Voice:
Whoso hath power to break open this sapphire stone, shall find therein four elephants having tusks of mother-of-perl, and upon whose backs are castles, those castles which ye call the watch-towers of the Universe.
About which Crowley comments, "The Elements are hidden in Binah." Or, from the 19th Aethyr, "Rosa Mundi est Lilium Coeli," meaning, "The Rose of the World is the Lily of Heaven," and to which the comment is, "Malkuth is Binah."
Small wonder that Crowley used Enochian for his Magister Templi attainment, that work being attributed to Binah.
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