The movement to the elemental lines in the witness of the body is a movement from the visible to the invisible, from the outer to the inner. There is a distinct but parallel movement in the witness of time. That isn’t immediately apparent in the ascription of the elemental letters to the months, but when you examine the way in which the day can be divided into two sets of twelve esoteric hours you can glimpse the elemental lines within the day itself.
Within the planetary circuit, Tav circles the Earth and is the mirror of the Kaf. In the sequence of the week it follows Kaf and precedes Dalet. Upon the plane of orifices that constitute the face, Tav forms the right nostril alongside Bet. Within the Tree of Life, it is the bottom of the central pillar, crowned with Yesod and resting upon Malkuth. In all of these assemblages, it finds expression through the geomantic figures of Via and Populus.
Tav, like many of its witnesses, is fluid and dynamic and I find it one of the more difficult to give verbal form.
As I have been reading about sidereal astrology, I have been trying to work out the conceptual points of contact and divergence between it, tropical astrology, and the material in the Sefer Yetzirah (SY). These last few days, reading the SY, it has begun to come into view. What I am seeing in even a summary account of India’s astrological traditions suggests that the tropical/sidereal distinction doesn’t capture the conceptual ferment in astrological antiquity I am glimpsing through the SY.
The tlazolli (‘trash’) compex that Sigal describes in The Flower and the Scorpion sits in my head with the dynamics of Populus, with its dark mysteries and potencies. Here, in brief, is Sigal’s sense of the tlazolli complex:
“Tlazolli first relates to trash. Second, it forms excrement, waste. Third, it creates life through its use in fertility (fertilizing the crops). Fourth, it takes life, allowing a gateway to death. Fifth, it is specifically gendered: the Nahuas link tlazolli to women and femininity, but also to an indeterminate, in-between notion, perhaps moving femininity beyond gender. Finally, as Burkhart points out, tlazolli signifies chaos.” (24)
That the tlazolli acquires ties to the moon through some of the goddesses associated with it is also of interest on this point.
The fertility of the trash puts us back in Philip K. Dick territory, too.
The association between tlazolli, dead mothers, and infant souls also provides one more way in which the mysteries of the lunar Populus and Saturnian Carcer entangle.
I’m putting this in a separate post because it relates to a side issue. It’s arcane in a scholarly fashion, but it does bear directly on how I am reading the Yeatsian material. I distinguish the spirits’s appeal to a lunar model from the Yeatses’ overdetermination of that appeal. If it doesn’t matter to you, you can ignore this post without any concern whatsoever.
Our moon is distinctive by virtue of being an extrusion of the Earth itself, a dead twin. It’s occult power derives in part from this doubling process, for it is not just a neighbor but an affine, an ancestral body. Remember Lucretius who suggested that substances formed from atoms because of an inherent tendency to swerve? Well, look to the moon and its influence on us as a constant introduction of subtle swerves, on the physical and occult planes. Consider the way the moon slowly churns the ocean and where life began.
A blog post really won’t cover this, but I hope to lay out a rough set of orientations, a framework for exploration that might help orient us in the great wide world of spirit work. I don’t think deconstruction and witchcraft are such odd bedfellows, though I suspect few would agree with me. Still, consider the degree to which the sort of structuralism popularized by Claude Levi-Strauss began as an exploration of cognitive foundations of a cosmology. Those cosmologies have a deep tie to myth and rite. Derrida’s deconstruction, responding to this, is also, therefore, responding to a way of approaching myth and rite.
(Oh, and yes, I am using deconstruction to refer mostly to the Derrida-inspired variety, with its decidedly philosophical rather than literary or linguistic bent. Folks like Guyatri Spivak and Rudolph Gasche, yes. Folks like Paul De Man, not so much; though there is surely some overlap. I’m a sucker for the 1960s Derrida, so essays like “Force and Signification” and Of Grammatology loom large–those who know, will see why as I get going.)