Pathworking on the 31st Path of Shin (ש)

DGoldenDawnlogoate: March 2nd, 2018
Time: 7:37 – 8:00 A.M.
Sun Phase: Rising
Moon Phase:  Full Moon, in 17 degrees Virgo, Simak Mansion of the Moon
Planetary Day: Day of Venus
Planetary Hour: Hour of Mercury
Activities: LIRP, Godform Assumption, Pathworking of the 31st Path of Shin (ש) , LBRP

I astral-projected into the inner Temple, which took a red form with fiery and tooth-like motifs. A large white Hebrew letter Shin (ש) was emblazoned over a door leading outwards beyond the Temple to the Archway of the Path.

I formulaCrux2.jpgted the Godform of Osiris vibrating OUSIRI (ⲟⲩⲥⲓⲣⲉ) and greeted him with love and respect. He appeared dressed entirely in white, with a green face and wearing his elongated white Crown. In one hand, he held a Crux Ansata or Ankh. In the other, the Hierophant’s Wand.

I asked him to assist me to explore the 31st Path of Shin (ש) and he replied in a deeply affirmative, but calming voice, “we shall go as One.” I assumed the Godform and felt its illuminated, fearless, comfortably ruling energy flow over me.osiris.png

Once in the assumed Godform, I performed the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram with the Hierophant’s Wand. After the final Qabalistic Cross, I walked towards the massive doors of Shin(ש) , which opened before me.

Exiting the Temple, I stood before a vast arch with a Shin (ש) on its keystone. I performed the Sign of the Enterer three times and projected through the door, flying through an expanse of Space and into the 31st Path that joins the Sphere of Malkut (מלכות) to Hod (הוד).

As I enter the PHieroWand.jpgath, my field of astral vision fadea to red and I immediately feel an intense heat. As the red fades, I find I stand on red, rocky, sandy terrain that reminds me of the physical surface of the planet Mars. In my hand is no longer the Hierophant’s Wand, a white Shin (ש)-headed Wand. I stand on the edge of a cliff. In the plummeting gorge beneath me, a river of molten lava flows, glowing golden and emanating powerful heat.

I soon realize I am not alone. Above me tower several giant humanoid figures. Theytitan.jpg have muscular forms and are naked apart from a loin cloth draped over their waists. They stand silently watching over the whole of the land of the Path of Shin (ש) with yellow eyes. They do not speak. They stand in Silence, these Grigori or Egregoroi (ἐγρήγορο), the silent Watchers of the Path.

I test the vision by vibrating the name of Shin (ש) , multiple times tracing the letter in white flame, and vibrating ELOHIM (אלוהים), the Divine Name of the Path. The vision becomes clearer and crisper. I light the flame of an offering of incense to the King of the Salamanders, Djinn, and ask him to send me a Fire Elemental to guide me through the Path of Shin (ש).

I hear a deep voice coming from a strong-looking figure seated on a throne with his face and form veiled and unseen. He says “Your offering is accepted and your wish granted.” Soon after, a fiery lizard-looking figure appears on the cliff beside me. sala.jpg

When he comes near me, however, he shifts his fiery form from a lizard into a red-robed figure with a face of pure flame. He does not speak, but communicates through gestures. He does a gesture with his hand and the message to me is simple. To continue on, I must go on alone. Not even the Godform can come with me. I must be purely exposed in my own astral form as Frater S.C.F.V. Understanding the message, I step out of the Godform of Osiris, appearing in my own form in a red robe with a red and green striped-nemyss. I thank Ousiri and salute him with the LVX Signs, which he returns. “Go in peace,” he says, before vanishing in a flash of white light.

My red-robed Elemental Guide now points a single flaming finger down into the abyss of molten lava before the cliff. The message is clear: “You must jump alone.” So much for my idea of a Guided journey through the Path of Shin (ש). My Guide has only just arrived and it is already time to bid him adieu. I thank him for his guidance and gather my courage.

I leap from the cliff. Down I plummet, down, down, and see the white-hot lava racing towards me. When I hit the lava, I feel a rush of red light flaming through my Sphere of Sensation and pass down into the depths of the magma. I feel my astral form begin to lick up with flames that begin to envelop me. Through the thickness of the lava and the tongues of the flame, I can barely see. Then I feel them. Fiery gnashing teeth (Shin (ש) is Hebrew for ‘tooth’), that begin to tear into my astral form. What are they attached to? At first, it’s hard to tell. Then it becomes clear– they are fiery serpents with large fangs. They chew at me.

At first I am afraid, but the fear dissipate when what is happening becomes clear. The fiery teeth are eating away the impurities and impediments to further progression and Higher Initiation. I soon realize that these destructive flames are flames of purgation, of purification, of the death of the old to make way for the dawning flame of the new. I surrender to the process. A massive snake of fire, far larger than all the others, races towards me. He swallows me whole. Hot suffering, fiery agony, and red light flood my consciousness followed by release. The red fades into black.

I find myself in a confined space. I reach out my hands and touch a hard surface near my face. I hear a stirring from beyond the walls of my enclosure. A loud horn-like blast sounds and vibrates the walls of my prison. At last, the wall above me begins to open and I find I was lying within a coffin. I emerge, reborn and stand within my coffin. In the sky above me is a titanic Angelic figure with flaming hair. I realize that I am in the midst of the scene from the card of Judgment, the Tarot Trump attributed to the Path of Shin (ש) .


Instead of Gabriel, however the figure in the Clouds is Israfel, the Archangel who sounds the Trumpet of Judgment in the Islamic mythological story.


Instead of a white headdress, however, the Archangel has hair of fire and eyes of flame as well. The Angel greets me and says:

To reach the Splendor of the Divine,
You must first give up the thirst for personal glory,

To rise in the Light,
The self must fall,

Self-centeredness must be burned away
To clear a path for a vaster Life,

To live as your Self, you must die
As the superficial self you take yourself to be,
To grasp what you are, you must let go of what you’re not,

To find the Light of Victory,  you must surrender and seem to lose,
But what you will lose was never of value,
And what you will gain is all you ever sought,

This the Way of the sacred fire of the Path of Shin (ש) .”

Below the Angel, a new figure emerges. It is a towering dragon with scales of black and red. It stands before me, opens its mouth and begins to breathe fire within me. I feel the fires reconfiguring my Sphere of Sensation, flooding it with cleansing flame, purifying, recalibrating, and equilibrating with the Fire of Spirit.

“Without the Badge of Shin (ש) , you cannot enter the Temple of Hod (הוד),” speaks Israfel. “Receive it now.”

A lamen on a red ribbon with a white triangle containing the black Hebrew letter of Shin (ש) descends from the sky and drapes itself around my neck. It looks like this:shin

“You have received the Gifts that can only be gained by losing the Baggage you took to be the gifts until now. Go on, renewed and Initiated in the Mysteries of the Path of Shin. Climb upon the back of the One before you and he will fly you on to where you aim to go.”

The black and red Dragon turns around and I climb upon his back. I thank the Mighty Israfel and greet him with love and respect. “Save the love and respect for the One Who Sent Me,” he says.

The Dragon races up into the sky and begins to soar towards an Orange-hued temple in the distance. On its domed surface, I see a large astrological symbol of the Planet Mercury. As we fly towards it, I look down and see countless fiery beings moving on the ground far below us. Lizard-like fiery Elementals go about their work. Some move alone, others in groups. They shift in patterns of light along the red sand of the Path. Up we fly, higher and higher. For the Temple of Hod lies higher up, upon a higher cliff from the one from whence I came.

We land on the ground before its might Gates. I thank the Dragon who ferried me here and he nods his head and flies off back towards the cliff on the other side of the gorge from here.  I hold up the Admission Badge of the Path of Shin (ש) . The doors are vast indeed and surrounded on either side by stately Greek Classical Columns. The Gates open up and I take a few steps into the organized, illuminated interior. The vision fades to orange.

I find myself back in my inner Temple. I perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and close the Temple. Thus ends my Pathworking on the Path of Shin (ש) .

After the Pathworking, I cast a Rune, and the result was all-too appropriate to the fiery energy of the Path of Shin. This Rune is Thurisaz, which represents both a Giant, like the Giants fought by Thor, and Mjolnir, the Hammer of Thor, by which the Giants were defeated. The connections to my experience on the Path of Shin are very evident here. There were literally Giants on the Path as I traversed it, the Grigori or Egregoroi (ἐγρήγορο), the silent Watchers of the Path.

At the same time, the energy of this Path was very fiery and energetic, forceful, aggressive in many ways, and these qualities are captured in the meaning of Thurisaz as well. Its divinatory meanings include reactive force, directed force of destruction and defense, conflict, instinctual Will, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst, a tendency toward change, catharsis, purging, cleansing fire, aggressive, and dominant male sexuality.

One of the lessons of the Thurisaz Rune, as Dr. Vickram Aaditya points out, is

‘to learn you must suffer’, meaning not only literal suffering, but also in the biblical sense of ‘allowing’ – allowing one’s destiny to unfold as it should, and allowing one’s self to experience all that life offers us.  What may at first appear to be a negative, destructive event, may well turn out to contain an important lesson.  The Giants may seem to be evil and destructive to the Aesir, but they bring about change, and eventually clear the way for a new age. “

All of these meanings were thematically represented in this Pathworking. It seemed that the fiery Serpents that ripped me apart were destroying me, at first glance. However, it soon became clear that they were in fact consecrating, purifying, and reconstituting me. The wise Mr. Aaron Leitch, Golden Dawn Adept, Abramelin Alumnus, and Master Grimoiric magician, pointed out to me that the primordial and universal shamanic initiation experience often involves the Neophyte shaman being dragged into fiery depths by daemonic forces that rip them apart, only to reconstitute them in a more resilient and purified form capable to survive repeated descents and ascents from the Underworld.

He only told me this after I had done both the Path of Tav Pathworking, which had a descent to the underworld theme, and this Path of Shin Pathworking, which had this fiery motif of being ripped apart by these daemonic fiery Salamanderian surpents. As a result, I wasn’t directly influenced by the idea in a way that would have affected these visionary experiences and it was very interesting to see how closely my own experiences had paralleled those archetypally universal shamanic ones that Aaron had indicated.


Update I: In the aftermath of the ritual, I felt very energetic and energized.

Update II: 10 hours later, I felt my Sphere of Sensation filled with fiery sensations. My Will felt more forceful and assertive. I felt an aggressive-erotic energy within me that felt very primal and powerful. My girlfriend, who is very empathic, picked up on this same energy and it began to manifest through her. The energy felt like a snarling dog and a passionate lover fused into one. We argued intensely and then made very aggressive and passionate love.

Update III: When I worke up this morning next to my beloved, I felt like the forceful fiery energy had kindled down into a more equilibrated state of balance. The assertiveness was once again balanced with lovingkindness and gentleness. Nonetheless, the sense that these Pathworkings can indeed be entire Initiations unto themselves that can shift our psychophysiological experience was really clear, as I reflected on what happened yesterday. The Golden Dawn system is ostensibly built on a series of 6 Outer Order Initiations (Neophyte through Portal), and 1-3 Inner Order Initiations (5=6 through 7=4 Grades in most Orders). However, many more Initiations are possible through Pathworking work and Traveling in the Spirit Vision.

The fact that Pathworkings are not mere ‘astral tourism,’ as some have cynically called them, but rather, Initiations into very specific energies, here represented by the Paths, is an important arcanum worth thinking deeply about.

A Mind-Blowingly Successful Remote Viewing

summerGoldenDawnlogoI have known C.D. for 14 years now.

We have had a very intense and intimate history, since we were each other’s first love, which has facilitated some fairly powerful spiritual experiences together.

14 years ago, she invited me to practice Remote Viewing of where she was, that is, psychic ability to tune into a person or place and see a location from far away, without the aid of technology or physical vision.

I was a few cities over from where she was at the time and was just starting to experiment with magic and astral projection, but I was happy to experiment for the fun of it.

I performed the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, then lay down, and astral projected to where she was.

I then attempted to tune into her astral form and through it, into her physical form and surroundings.

As my feeling of her grew stronger, images began to appear in the field of my receptive consciousness.

All of these years later, I still remember these simple pictures as clearly as if I had just seen them.

There was nothing all that special or particularly “magical” about the pictures at all.

I simply saw C.D. seated at her kitchen table with her family.

She was wearing a red sweater with a flame and a logo on it.

Emerging from the vision, I wrote down what I had seen and sent it to her.

I noted the time at which I did the Remote Viewing so she could compare it with where she was at that exact moment.

She was shocked when she received my message.

She had indeed been in her kitchen and wearing a red sweater with a flame and the logo, exactly as I described it.

Fast-forward 14 years to this present year.

Some things have changed, others have stayed the same.

I remain in Montreal.

C.D. has moved to California.

After a recent conversation in which we reminisced about our past spiritual experiences together, she invites me to practice Remote Viewing of her current location just as we did all those years ago.

There are a few twists this time around.

For one thing, I haven’t seen her in 14 years.

The last time I did this, I had seen her the day before and was currently dating her, and head over heels in love.

We are no longer together — we broke up 13 years ago.

The second difference is that she is much further away this time and I had been to the house she lived in at the time I did the previous Remote Viewing.

I knew what that house looked like.

This time around, the challenge was greater — I had never been to her house in California.

I had never even video-chatted, screen-timed, or seen any pictures of what it looks like.

Would these changes make a difference?

I’m curious to find out, so I accept her offer.

To do the experiment, I decide to follow the same procedure that I followed 14 years ago.

On February 8, 2018, on the Day of Jupiter, during the Hour of Jupiter, I perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

I then relax into the theta-gamma synchronized altered state that I have found to be neuropsychologically optimal for skrying, evocation, and astral work, just as I had done years ago.

Having reached this altered st ate, I astral project to where C.D. is in California.

I see her image on the astral plane.

At first, it’s dim, like a candlelight some distance away in a dark forest.

I tune into it and it grows stronger and brighter, like a violin note coming into crisp clarity and growing louder after being dimly heard from far away.

I tune into her energy and fully open the Sphere of Sensation of my consciousness to receive impressions from her and her surroundings.

They come.


The images I see don’t seem to make any sense.

I have no idea what to make of any of them, but I decide to go with them anyway.

I see a golden light.

White horses.

A staircase.

A rainbow.

Plaid fabric.

Returning at last to the ordinary state of consciousness, I write these things down and send what I saw to C.D.

Because of the time difference, it turns out that she was still sleeping in California when I did the Remote Viewing.

A few hours pass before she sees my message.

At long last, I get a reply from her.

It reads as follows:

“Heyy. I got your message. At first, I was confused by it because I wasn’t outside near any horses when you did the remote viewing–

I was asleep in my bed.

And it wasn’t raining, so there were no rainbows around.

But as I was lying on my bed, I looked around my room.

And when I saw the poster on my wall, my jaw dropped.

It’s this beautiful poster called Key to Eternity,

A poster you never saw before.

It looks like this:”

She sends me a link.

I open it up and I see the following:


At first, I don’t quite get why she’s pointing out the poster.

The details are small and hard to make out.

Then she explains:

“As I looked at the poster, I figured it out.

When you came here astrally…

This is what you saw.

Look closely.

Do you see?

There are the stairs.

To the right of them?

The white horses.”

key and horses.png

“Above that, behind the Stonehenge, is the Golden Light.”

gold light.png

“And to the left of that? The rainbow.”


As I read these words, I am utterly blown away.

So is she.

I feel totally and completely in awe, totally wonder-struck by the mysterious world we live in, where something like this could be possible…

She is so mind-blown that she doesn’t even know what to say at this point. Nor do I.

At last, it occurs to me to ask, “what about the plaid?”

She soon reveals the key to that particular mystery:





Day of Mercury Magic – Visualization Training from The Magician in the Spirit Vision

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2017
Time: 7:25 A.M.. to 8:05 P.M.
Sun Phase: Rising
Moon Phase: First Quarter 45%
Planetary Day: Day of Mercury
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Mercury
Mood: Tired
 LIRP, Traveling in the Spirit Vision through the Magician card


On the Day of Mercury, in the Hour of Mercury, I performed the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram and then projected through the Tarot Trump of the Magician, to which is also astrologically attributed the planet Mercury.

I emerged in the yellow room of a house (the Hebrew letter ב, attributed to the Path to which the Magician is attributed means “House”) to find the Magician standing at the table. He looked exactly as on the card, except that he wore the rose cross lamen of an Adept.

I created him with the grade signs, which he returned. I introduced myself and explained that I sought the Crown of his Understanding (his Path joins Binah (כתר) to Keter (חכמה))  and guidance in developing my abilities in clairvoyance and visualization.

The Magician spoke with a voice warm, yet firm, authoritative, yet calm. He invited me to follow along as he led me through a series of exercises.

He asked me to visualize in sequence a red ball, yellow ball, black ball, and blue ball. Arriving at the blue ball, he asked me to practice changing its texture at Will, first to a ball of sapphire, second to a ball of blue sequins, third to the texture of a reflective mirror.

“Through practice, the Sword of the visualizing Mind is sharply honed,”

he explained.

“Therefore, let us practice once more with the Elements, which you know well.”

First, he invited me to evoke the image of the alchemical Air Triangle in bright yellow. Within its center, I traced the Sigil of Aquarius in Purple. I observed that it was easier for me to see the yellow image than the purple, which seemed faded and diffuse. “Draw on your strengths, bolster your weaknesses through practice,” the Magician explained.

Projecting through the Air Sigil, I found myself surrounded by towering tornados, as clouds and birds circled above.

“Calm and empty your mind. Balance active Will with passive receptivity. Let the pictures come to you,”

the Magician explained, in a way that reminded me of what Soror C.R. had told me during our Dagger Consecration Ceremony, that her breakthrough in clairvoyance when she learned to trust and surrender to the images to come to her rather than exerting her Will and effort to control them as Magicians are wont to do…

Next, the Magician invited me to trace a flaming red Fire Triangle with a Green Leo sigil in its center. Projecting through it, I fell into the depths of a volcano and saw magma coursing around me; suddenly, from its depths, a blazing phoenix soared into the sky, embers cascading from its scintillating wings…

The next task was the tracing of a bright blue Water Triangle with a centered orange sigil of the Eagle within it. Projecting through it, I at first found myself trying to actively direct and control the visualization by straining to see an ocean. This exercise failed utterly and proved complete futile. At last surrendering and allowing the images to come to me rather than to go to them, I found myself plunging into a pool of cool water at the base of a towering waterfall. This evoked memories of swimming in waterfalls in the wilderness of Muskoka, and with it, cool sensations and joyful memories.

Last was the Earth Triangle, traced in shimmering black with a white Taurus at its center. Projecting through, I once again found the images vague, indistinct and incomplete. Once again, the Magician repeated his instruction, with deep understanding and patience–I am apparently as hard-headed as the Taurus sigil itself!–inviting me to

“calm and empty your mind. Balance active Will with passive receptivity. Let the pictures come to you.”

I begin to astrally repeat “Earth… Earth.. Earth…” and to listen more than to speak, tuning in, allowing consciousness to expand and deepen, to empty that it might be filled…

At last, a cavern came into view and enveloped my whole field of perception, a cavern filled with shining quartz and amethyst crystals being diligently mined by Gnomes. The scene then shifted into a snowy white forest, with a giant evergreen tree in its center.

Standing by the tree alongside me, the Magician explained:

“The power of visualization is great indeed, but it does not come from the ego. It must come from higher above and deeper below. Call the images with intention and Will and then but invite them to appear with understanding. Having done this, open yourself entirely like the water Cup and allow your astral vision to be filled.”

I thanked the Magician for his wise counsel and asked him if I might come again to see him for further instruction. He smiled and said “By all means, students of the Mysteries are ever welcome in this House! Go in peace with the blessings of Yeheshuah Yehovashah!”

I thanked him once before. Before I left, the Magician uttered his final words in this Vision:

“Humble your ego,
Open your mind,
Lead with the heart,
And your spirit will fly!”

Traveling in the Spirit Vision Through the Air Sigil and the Esoteric Meaning of the Pelican and Olive Branch


Date: Monday, September 8, 2017
Time: 1:30 PM. to 2:00 P.M.
Sun Phase: Rising
Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous
Planetary Day: Day of the Moon

Planetary Hour: Hour of the Moon into the Hour of Saturn
Mood: Calm
Planetary Hour:
 Traveling in the Spirit Vision in the Alchemical Sigil of Air

air triangle.png

Entering a relaxed and fully-present state of mind, I sat upright in meditative posture, fixating on the image of the Alchemical Sigil of Air in the flashing colours of violet and yellow, following the method described in Flying Roll XXXVI – Skrying and Traveling in the Spirit Vision by V.H. Soror V.N.R.

Closing my eyes, I vividly envisioned the astral form of the sigil until it attained depth like a doorway. Then I projected my consciousness into and through the sigil. As I entered the triangle symbol, it turned into a winding triangular tunnel, through which I plummeted.

At last, I came out of the other side in a space within what V.H.. Sorry V.N.R. calls “the World of Air.” Here, I found myself, astrally garbed in my robe, floating in a sky tinged with blue and yellow.

Looking off to my left, I saw a form approaching. It was a bird, and as I looked at it more carefully, it became clear that it was not just any bird, but a pelican. The pelican seemed to take no real notice of me at first until I greeted it with great love and respect. Hearing my greeting, it swooped down to float near me and greeted me in return. We began to speak.


Me: “Great Pelican! Where are we at present?”

Pelican: “We are in the World of Air, where the wind carries me on its wings. What do you come here for?”

M: “I come here to obtain a deeper understanding of the Element of Air and how to equilibrate its presence within me alongside the other Elements.”

P: “If this is your will, then listen to me carefully. I shall give you a branch. Press it to your forehead and you will have a direct influx of the power of the Element.”

In his beak, he handed me an Olive branch.


I pressed it to my head and felt a flood of moist, warm energy enveloping me. The pelican began to speak:

P: “Air is the element of life. It is the Spirit that breathes into the lungs and animates you as a human being with the breath of life. Without it, there can be no Fire, for Air fuels Fire, and it was Fire that kept humanity alive for aeons. The Air carries evaporated Water in the Clouds of the Sky. I fly over the depths of Water, and a bird of the Air, I draw fish from the Water. Thus, in me, Water and Air are joined; my life is sustained through the union of both. The same is true for you, creature who breathes Air and subsists on Water.

If you would balance the Air within your nature, be not lost in the Fire of your passion and Will, the Water of your unconscious mind and emotions, or the Earth of your flesh. To walk the way of Air, you must walk on the edge of the sword. On one edge, wisdom, on the other, folly. The sword of Air is discerning; it cuts through illusion and ignorance and thereby, reveals Truth. Sharpen the intellect, but do not fixate on it, for the sword of intellect cuts both ways! If you cling to it, it will cut you too; your own thoughts will stir up the Water and Fire of suffering in the Earth of your body. Just as Air can sustain life, but when taken away, can erase it, so can the intellect both preserve and destroy life. Keep it then in balance. Ride its Winds, but be not blown astray.”

I thanked the great Pelican for its insights and bowed to it. It returned the bow, then flew off on its way. I remained a few moments, connecting with the Element. Then, I turned towards the triangular tunnel through which I had come. Flying back through the tunnel, I “landed” back in my upright-seating body. Equilibrating the Air energy with the Qabalistic Cross, I sat for a moment, breathing, before I returned to ordinary consciousness.

In the day that followed, my mind seemed clearer. Thoughts proceeded with ease and clarity, and my mood seemed calmly buoyant and airy. I could feel how the calming perfume of equilibrated air calms the emotions and passions and brings energy and balance into the flow of the body’s rhythms.


Rosicrucian and Alchemical Secrets of the Pelican

At the end of the day, I returned to reflecting on the symbolism of the Pelican and the Olive Branch.

Unknown to me at the time of my visionary meeting while traveling in the spirit vision, the Pelican has rich Rosicrucian and alchemical roots.


In the Rosicrucian symbolism, Fr. William Saunders reports that

“The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend, which preceded Christianity. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in turn lost her own life.”

To the Christian mystics, the Pelican took on the symbolism of self-sacrifice, compassion, resurrection, charity, and selfless giving for the redemption, healing, and nourishment of others; it thus became a symbol of the Christ-principle.

In support of t his view, Fr. Saunders notes that ”

This tradition and others is found in the Physiologus, an early Christian work which appeared in the second century in Alexandria, Egypt. Written by an anonymous author, the Physiologus recorded legends of animals and gave each an allegorical interpretation. (…) Here too the legend of the pelican feeding her young is described: “The little pelicans strike their parents, and the parents, striking back, kill them. But on the third day the mother pelican strikes and opens her side and pours blood over her dead young. In this way they are revivified and made well. (…) This work was noted by St. Epiphanius, St. Basil and St. Peter of Alexandria. It was also popular in the Middle Ages and was a source for the symbols used in the various stone carvings and other artwork of that period.

He adds that:

Clearly the pelican became a symbol of charity. Reference to the pelican and its Christian meaning are found in Renaissance literature: Dante (1321) in the “Paridiso” of his Divine Comedy refers to Christ as “our Pelican.” John Lyly in his Euphues (1606) wrote, “Pelicane who striketh blood out of its owne bodye to do others good.” Shakespeare (1616) in Hamlet wrote, “To his good friend thus wide, Ill ope my arms / And, like the kind, life-rendering pelican / Repast them with my blood.” John Skelton (1529) in his Armorie of Birds, wrote, “Then sayd the Pellycan: When my Byrdts be slayne / With my bloude I them revyve. Scripture doth record / The same dyd our Lord / And rose from deth to lyve.””

To the Rosicrucian alchemists, the Pelican retained these valences of meaning, but took on additional ones within the alchemical operations in pursuit of the Philosopher’s Stone. Here, it was seen as analogous to the vessel in which ‘circulatio’ or circular distillation was performed, as shown in this image:


As the image also points out, in Inner Alchemy, the pelican came to encapsulate the “circumambulation of a problem from different points of view and at different stages of life.” Fittingly, this is also what is involved in the intellectual manifestations of the Air element as pointed to by the Pelican in my vision.

The Pelican circumambulates in the sky, circles, and examines the scene from different angles, and then swoops in to catch its prey. In the same way, we use the Airy power of the intellect to examine, analyze, consider, survey, and envision the aspects of a problem before swooping in to deliver the solving power of a solution. In a sense, the right exercise of Reason, a power of Air, results in the “circular distillation” of a solution or a gem of insight, knowledge, or understanding from the confusing morass of an ambiguous situation or multidimensional problem.

The Olive Branch

The olive branch is also a symbol that is rich in meaning. In Greek Mythology, Athena planted an olive branch in Athens as a gift of sustenance and food to the Athenians. Olive wreaths were also worn by brides and awarded to victorious Olympians, in the Games. Thus, the symbol was connected to Athena and also to the notion of victory. In the Tree of Life, this links it in part to the Sephirah of Netzach on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, which means not only “eternity,” but also “victory.” To the Greeks, the Olympians were “victorious forever,” ever-hallowed for their victories, and crowned with the olive wreath as a celebration of their victory.

The Roman poet Virgil (70-19 BC) associated “the plump olive” with the goddess Pax (the Roman Eirene) and he used the olive branch as a symbol of peace in his Aeneid:

“High on the stern Aeneas his stand,
And held a branch of olive in his hand,
While thus he spoke: “The Phrygians’ arms you see,
Expelled from Troy, provoked in Italy
By Latian foes, with war unjustly made;
At first affianced, and at last betrayed.
This message bear: The Trojans and their chief
Bring holy peace, and beg the king’s relief.”

For the Romans, there was an intimate relationship between war and peace, and Mars/Ares, the god of war, had another aspect, Mars Pacifer, Mars the bringer of Peace, who, according to Ragnar Hedlund in “Coinage and authority in the Roman Empire c. C.E. 260- 295,” is shown on coins of the later Roman Empire bearing an olive branch. If Mars as bringing of War symbolizes the aggressive force of the Sephirah of Geburah on the Tree of Life, Mars Pacifer symbolizes the reverse of the same archetype, balancing it in the bringing of peace.

In addition, Appian describes the use of the olive-branch as a gesture of peace by the enemies of the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus in the Numantine War and by Hasdrubal the Boeotarch of Carthage. Although peace was associated with the olive branch during the time of the Greeks, the symbolism became even stronger under the Pax Romana when envoys used the olive branch as symbols of peace, the origin of our English expression “extend an olive branch” meaning to make a peace offering.

In the Christian tradition, Tertullian (c.160 – c.220) compared Noah’s dove in the Hebrew Bible, who “announced to the world the assuagement of divine wrath, when she had been sent out of the ark and returned with the olive branch” with the Holy Spirit in baptism “bringing us the peace of God, sent out from the heavens.” In his 4th century Latin translation of the story of Noah, St Jerome rendered “leaf of olive” (Hebrew alay zayit) in Genesis 8:11 as “branch of olive” (Latin ramum olivae).

In the 5th century, by which time a dove with an olive branch had become established as a Christian symbol of peace, St Augustine wrote in On Christian Doctrine that, “perpetual peace is indicated by the olive branch (oleae ramusculo) which the dove brought with it when it returned to the ark.” These Christian meanings were preserved in some of the Rosicrucian alchemical and spiritual emblems that were created in the 17th century.

All of these symbols are fascinating and interesting since just this morning, prior to doing the Traveling in the Spirit Vision session, I had been working on what I call my “Lesser Rose Cross Lamen,” a smaller, simpler alternative to the traditional Rose Cross Lamen of the R.R. et A.C., which I call the “Greater Rose Cross Lamen,” shown here:


I may reveal my “Lesser Rose Cross Lamen” in a future post. For now, let it suffice to say that given my recent work within the Rosicrucian current, it is interesting that these symbols with Rosicrucian import previously unknown to me, the Pelican and the Olive Branch, were both revealed in my visionary work for the day.

May we learn to extend olive branches in our interactions with one another to bring healing in the wings of peace, that we may crown ourselves with the olive wreath of victory, and soar with the Pelican through the Winds of reason which seeks solutions rather than dwelling on problems, the Sword (Zayin) of Air that cuts through confusion and shines Light where Clouds once swirled and all was draped in Darkness…

Frater S.C.F.V.