Within the planetary circuit, Dalet follows Gimel and precedes Pe. In the sequence of the week it follows Tav and precedes Resh. Upon the plane of orifices that constitute the face, Dalet constitutes the field of vision along with Kaf. Within the Tree of Life, it is the highest double upon the pillar of severity, crowned with Binah and resting upon Gevurah. In all of these assemblages, it finds expression through the geomantic figures of Caput Draconis and Cauda Draconis.
Within the planetary circuit, Dalet fashions Mars. Mars negotiates the distance between Jupiter and the Earth and is the closest of the outer planets. Mars lies opposite Venus, the first of the inner planets. The great serpents of Dalet (Cauda and Caput Draconis) are a messenger of the outer planets to Earth, a route that transmits the alien distance of the gas giants into the terrestrial framework of the inner planets. Forces descend into the earthly (Cauda Draconis) and take up residence in more solid bodies and withdraw from these solid bodies to more subtle, gaseous forms (Caput Draconis).
As the closest outer planet, as the messenger of the more distant Gimel and Bet, Dalet develops a special relationship with Tav. The two figures of Dalet play alongside Tav’s Via, ascending and descending the alignments through which it puts heaven and earth into communication.
This interplay of the solid and gaseous places Dalet in relationship to the sudden transitions between the states of matter. The sublimation of solid to gas (Caput Draconis) and of a gas to a solid (Cauda Draconis) both appear under Dalet’s operations within space. The connection between these transitions and thermodynamics reflects the Martian relationship to chemistry, technology, and the harnessing of energy for rapid use. Dalet has an especial relationship to the engine (Cauda Draconis) and the rocket (Caput Draconis), as well as metabolism.
Upon the plane of orifices, Dalet takes up residence within the left eye and constitutes along with Kaf the field of vision. In the interplay between the axes of rods and cones, object identification and location, Dalet operates in the realm of the rods (Cauda Draconis) and object location (Caput Draconis). The rods are densest within our peripheral vision and we often become most keenly aware of our peripheral vision when something moves within it, suggesting the intimacy of Cauda and Caput in this regard.
Dalet’s rods are heavier and larger than Kaf’s subtle cones, sensitive to a narrower band of light at the lower end of the spectrum (blue-green). The rods are at their most acute around the green point in the spectrum (contra Kaf’s yellow) and more quickly adapt to low light situations than do the cones. Dalet suggests a close vegetal darkness contra Kaf’s open solar expanse.
In Dalet, the human eye acquires its capacity to locate an object and to track motion, allowing it to follow the arc of potential prey (Caput Draconis) as well as the approach of an oncoming predator (Cauda Draconis), to trace the soaring spear (Caput Draconis) as well the point at which its motion ceases (Cauda Draconis). Dalet oversees a rapid pattern of responsive action, flight and fight. This engagement of movement brings with it a sense of directionality and in the interplay of Kaf’s kinaesthetic field and Dalet’s directionality, the four and six directions are born from the implicit center of Kaf and Dalet.
Dalet’s movements structure much of the animal world. The cycle of animal consumption foregrounds the role of violence, but this violence is a corollary of Dalet rather than its essence. From within this animal world the human practice of the hunt emerges, as does the confusion of sex with the chase through their common relationship to the eye of Dalet.
Dalet has a relationship to consumption and waste. While Gimel fashions the mouth, Dalet’s hungry eye may exert a tyranny over it. The mouth as hungry hole operates under Caput Draconis, while the expulsion of waste either through vomiting or defecation operates under Cauda Draconis. More expansively, the way in which some insects like flies make use of animal waste and rot in their life cycle appears in Dalet’s biological expressions. This insectile cycle mirrors the pattern of sublimation and deposition, with the movement between flying insect and earthbound maggot a mirror of the chemical process.
In the sequence of days, Dalet follows Tav and under Dalet the implicit tensions of diversity give way to rivalry and competition. The subtle movements that appear in Tav’s operation collide with each other and drive each other to more intense expressions. Victory (Caput Draconis) and defeat (Cauda Draconis) make their appearance, as do forms of training and discipline (Cauda Draconis).
The relationship between law and force appears as a complement to the normative assignment that appears under the figures of Jupiter. The edict as it is announced (Caput Draconis) and as it is excecuted (Cauda Draconis) make their appearance. Caput and Cauda can both be the arrival of news and the spirit which that news inspires. Caput, tied to the heavens, carries with it an idealistic spirit, a sense that life follows principle while Cauda, joined to the earth, carries with it a practical and even cynical spirit, a sense that life gives lie to principle.
Within the tree of life we can see all of these elements intertwined. The way in which the two geomantic figures of Dalet yield Carcer plays out in the figure of the solid that is created and destroyed in the cycle of deposition and sublimation, the egg that mediates between maggot and fly, and the amorphous something identified by peripheral vision and object location.
Dalet is an equal to Gimel and in many ways a mirror and counterpoint to it. This relationship can be seen in the structure of its geomantic figures. Whereas Gimel’s figures have three double elements either crowned or seated upon a single element, Dalet’s have three single elements either crowned or seated upon a double element.
As the highest double of the pillar of severity, Dalet oversees the gate of life and death, the way by which a soul enters into life (Cauda Draconis) and through which it departs (Caput Draconis). Under this aspect, the serpent wrapped around Mithraic Saturn embodies both aspects of Dalet as they yield Bet’s Carcer. The tauroctony carries the special charge of consecrating the Mithraeum to a particular era, a particular bond between heaven and earth under the figure of Taurus. This sacrificial violence affirms the relationship between heaven and earth.
Relay and transmission find their way to the heart of Dalet. As with Gimel, Dalet emphasizes the individual, in this case both the individual as the one who receives heavenly forces (Cauda Draconis, prophet and elder) and the individual as one who ascends toward heavenly powers (Caput Draconis, angel and ancestor). Cauda is a figure of suffering, because to receive these messages is to be subject to them, to endure and find a way to absorb them. Caput preserves individuality by way of departure, preserving the shape of the departing. It summons forth mourning and melancholy.
In divination, Cauda Draconis refers us to hardship, both in the sense of hardship suffered without any understanding of why we are suffering and hardship in the sense of suffering in order to overcome. It can be a sudden downturn in affairs, the deposition of our hopes into grubby realities, and the ignominy of defeat and loss.
Caput Draconis refers us to release, potentially the sort which can sail into mania. It can be a form of departure, a new direction that manifests suddenly, startling even when expected. It is also victory and the announcement of victory.