I astral projected into the Inner Temple, which appeared Earthy and natural, not at all like a Cathedral, but with plants and rock features. I assumed the astral appearance of the Hierophant in red robe, red and green nemyss and performed the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram with the Hierophant’s Wand.
I then exited the Temple through large double doors and, performing the Sign of the Enterer three times, sent myself flying down into the Sphere of Malkut. I landed before a vast green Temple. With the Divine Names of Adonai (אדוני) and Adonai Ha-Aretz (הארץ אדונ), its vast doors lumbered slowly open and I stepped into the Temple of the 10th Path of Malkut.
As I entered, the walls faded away and I found myself in a vast-domed Earthy realm. This space reminded me of a much larger version of the Biodome in Montreal, which has Earthy natural environments for different ecosystems within a domed structure. I tested the vision with the Divine Name of the Sphere and it grew sharper and clearer.
This place was brimming with life. My feet were wet with the crystal blue waters of a peaceful brook. Trees abounded and birds, deer, and other creatures were around. I made an offering to the King of the Elemental, Gob and asked him to kindly send a Gnome to guide me through the 10th Path.
I heard a low voice say “it is done.” Moments later, a male-looking spirit appeared before me. He had a great brown beard, wore a red cap on his head, and was dressed in a green coat over a brown vest and white shirt. He wore beige pants and had lively green glowing eyes.
I greeted him with love, respect, and blessings in the name of Adonai Ha-Aretz (הארץ אדונ),, which he returned.
“You wish to meet with the Mother, the Queen and Spirit of Earth?” He asked in a deep and gravelly voice.
I said yes and he instructed me to follow him into a cave. The narrow cavern entrance opened onto a winding tunnel through a grey-stoned cave with glittering blue crystals in its walls.
As we walked, I asked him about himself and about his People.
He replied: “I am of the People of the Gnomes.”
“You are Elemental Spirits of Earth?”
“Does your People often work with humans?”
“Partly because most of your People have forgotten us. And partly because many among you destroy our dwelling places.”
“Ah yes, sadly many among us are greedy and destructive, detached from Nature. But I am not like them.”
“Yes, we know what you have done for plants and animals. Tread lightly when you walk in the forest!”
“I will,” I said. “How should I proceed if I wish to work with the Spirits of a forest and the Gnomes who live there?”
“How should I begin to speak with them?”
“Make an offering at a Tree, sit before it with open or closed eyes, and invite any spirits present to introduce themselves. If they wish to do so, they will. If they do not, leave the offering there.”
“What offerings are best?”
“Food is best. Bread is good. Dipped in honey or syrup of maple is better.”
“Thank you, I will respect this. What kinds of things can Gnomes do for their friends among humans?”
“We can help with small things pertaining to our sphere, Nature, earth, gold, and contacting other spirits. Here, we are arriving.”
We stood before large stone doors carved into a vaulting cavern wall. As the Gnome spoke, the doors slid open.
“Thank you for your kind guidance, friend. May I ask your name?”
“GARGA is my name,” he said in his low and rumbly voice.
“Thank you, Garga,” I answered. “I am Frater S.C.F.V. or _________.”
“Honoured to meet you, _______” he replied. “I will wait for you here.”
I stepped into a vast stone chamber with plants growing up the walls. A narrow path led down the middle. On either side, I was surprised to see what appeared to be many knights in grey-black armour, all standing silently.
At the end of the central pathway, a spirit that appeared as a beautiful young woman with long, flowing brown hair sat on a rough black throne carved out of black glossy and volcanic stone that resembled obsidian. She wore a green and brown loose fitting gown and had bright green eyes.
Seeing her, I got down on one knee and greeted her with love, respect, and the blessings of Adonai Ha Aretz (הארץ אדונ).
“Oh so formal!” she said with a laugh. “But thank you. I am surprised to see you, Child of Earth. Few of your kind come here! Why have you come?”
I laughed and expressed my wish to be initiated into the Mysteries of the 10th Path.
“Very well,” she said in a silky and melodious feminine voice.
Speaking to the metal-clad beings on either side of me, she said:
“Golems, please leave us.”
It was then that I realized that these beings that resembled human nights were in fact animated entities shaped by the en-spirited forms of minerals from the Earth.
She placed a crown on my head woven of fresh ivy.
“Disrobe your form and lay on the white cloth on the floor.”
What she was asking me to do reminded me of the initiation ritual for binding oneself to the power of Typhon in the Papyri Graecae Magicae IV (154-285).
I followed her instructions and lay down on the form with arms crossed over my chest as in the PGM ritual, my eyes closed.
“Ah, how Airy and Fiery are your energies! You are often swept up by fiery passion and abstract thinking. You must learn to adapt. Ground yourself in the energies of Earth!” She proclaimed.
Then she crouched over me and pressed her lips to mine, as in a kiss, or a meeting of mouths in CPR to transmit air to infuse the lungs of the other person and resurrect them from the brink of death.
At once, a flood of energy came through my Sphere of Sensation. It felt calming, grounding, solid, stabilizing.
I remained in this position for a moment, after which she instructed me to rise and regarb, retaining the Ivy crown.
I did so and she began to speak:
“If you would rise to work with the realms and forces above, you must be soundly grounded in the Earth. Just as the flower roots itself deeply in the soil before it can send its pollen into the Air, so it is wise for you to do the same.
If you do not, not only can you not grow to reach the higher realms, but you will be like the seed of a dead plant, ever-swept this way and that, chaotically at the mercy of the whims of the Winds.”
I bowed to her and gave her an offering as thanks.
“Go in peace and tread lightly on the Earth.”
“I will, I said.
I returned to Garga and gave him an offering of bread dipped in honey as a thank you.
“Ah!” his usually grimly stern face lit up as he received it. “Thank you! Come, I will accompany you to the surface.”
Reaching it, I thanked him once more and blessed him in the name of Adonai Ha Aretz (הארץ אדונ). He returned the blessings.
I returned to the Astral Temple and performed the Qabalistic Cross and the Adoration of the Lord of the Universe.
By Frater S.C.F.V.
Qabalistic and non-Qabalistic Pathworking
When most contemporary occultists here the term “Pathworking,” their first thought is of an approach of astrally travelling through visionary journeys on the 32 Paths of the Qabalistic Tree of Life, that is, along the 22 Paths of the Hebrew Letters and the 10 Sephirot themselves, which represent Paths in their own right. The Qabalistic Pathworking system, particularly as practiced by the Adepti of the Golden Dawn, is a very powerful system and I have had some amazing and transformatively initiatory experiences by working it.
However, the Qabalistic system is by no means the only Pathworking or system of visionary journeying out there. In this article, I will briefly introduce some non-Qabalistic Pathworking systems. For the purposes of this discussion, I will define a Pathworking system as a collection of methods for skrying-based or astral travel-based visionary journeys through a set of associated specific realms, regions, symbols, or inner planes.
Tarot, Tattwa, and Enochian Tablet Pyramid Pathworking
Naturally, as the Golden Dawn pointed out, each of the 78 cards of the Tarot can be astrally projected into and each yields its own unique experiences to the magician.
This Tarot Pathworking system is often integrated with the Qabalistic Tree of Life Pathworking system, but it need not be. Indeed, the cards reveal distinct and unique meanings when worked alone without the astral influence of the Qabalistic symbols and energies shaping the vision. For example, the Trumps can be Pathworked in sequence from 0 to 21, a method called the astral Fool’s Journey.
Other Golden Dawn Pathworking systems include projecting through the Tattwas or each of the Pyramids of the Enochian Tablets. In this case, one enters an altered state and projects one’s consciousness ‘through’ a square/pyramid on one of the Enochian Tablets then examines the visions that follow.
For a great source on G.D.-style Pathworking approaches, see my friend Nick Farrell’s excellent Magical Pathworking: Techniques of Active Imagination. His Osiris Scroll lays out his own neo-Egyptiana version of an initiatory Pathworking system designed to lead through the reader through a series of visionary ordeals culminating in the realization of the Higher Self.
Ancient Roots of Scrying-Based Work
Certainly, the use of pools of water, crystals, and so on as scrying aids to visionary work is ancient indeed, so I do not credit the 19th century occult revival or Golden Dawn with inventing the notion of ‘pathworking’ or visionary journeying; the practice often mediated by scrying tools, seems to have ancient roots. We’ve already mentioned some of them above. To add onto the above discussion, in a well-known passage in the Old Testament, which would have been as familiar to the Grimoiric priestly-clerical magicians as the stories of Enoch, and Jacob’s ladder, the silver chalice that is placed in Benjamin’s sack when he leaves Egypt is described as being used by Joseph for divination.
In ancient Egypt, scrying and spirit communication seem to have been practiced with the aid of ink or water and there are myths about Hathor that present her as bearing a reflective shield in which visions could be seen, a kind of proto-scrying mirror. Aztec tlatoani read the reflections in obsidian. For the Egyptians, Babylonians and Greeks water and bodies of water were from the earliest times associated with conduits to the realm of the gods and of the dead; indeed, the Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM) have detailed instructions on communicating with spirits via bowls filled with water and an offering of oil (see PGM IV, 154-285). And, indeed, as we know, and as Dr. Stephen Skinner showed in his own work, many of the PGM practices and much of its theory were integrated into the Solomonic Grimoires.
Indeed, compare “…name of Typhon, at whom the ground, the depths of the sea, Hades, heaven, the sun, the moon, the visible chorus of stars, the whole universe all tremble…” (PGM IV. 223- 243) to “…this ineffable name Tetragrammaton Jehovah , which being heard, the elements are overthrown; the air is shaken, the sea runneth back, the fire is quenched, the earth trembles and all hosts of Celestials, Terrestrials & Infernals do tremble…” (Heptameron and Key of Solomon). And this is a passage directly taken from the same Papyrus that explains how to work with spirits through a bowl filled with water, or lecanomancy.
The earliest written evidence of lecanomancy or bowl-based scrying and divination are from the Babylonian Ritual Tablets dating to the 7th Century BCE, so these roots run way back into our magical history. To me, it is not inconceivable that these ancient scryers may have used their scrying media not just for divination, but also to generate immersive visions of the type generated in what we today call ‘pathworking’ in its various systems and manifestations.
In Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, Aaaron Leitch notes that “a form of Jewish shamanic magick known as Mahaseh Merkavah, or the “Work of the Chariot,” which he describes as a “practice of astral travel through the seven palaces of heaven (i.e., the planetary spheres), where the ultimate goal was the vision of the throne of God.”
It’s worth noting, however, that some authors contend that while the Seven Heavens may be equivalent with the Seven Planetary Spheres, other authors suggest that the Seven Palaces of the Merkavah system are distinct from the Heavens exist either in or beyond the Seventh Heaven. Regardless, however, as a visionary travel system, the Merkavah system is a Pathworking system, which greatly influenced and indeed, served as a precursor to, the historically later Qabalistic Tree of Life-based Pathworking system which followed it.
For anyone interested in the Merkavah system, my friend David Benton wrote a fantastic book on it entitled The Work of the Chariot. His book contains detailed instructions for performing merkavah mysticism, adapted from Medieval Hekhalot sources, along with the names and functions of the entities you will encounter, all in an easy to use and clearly-written format.
The Shahnameh System and Islamic Pathworking
The Shahnameh, a 10th-century epic work narrating historical and mythological past of Persia, gives a description of what was called the Cup of Jamshid (Jaam-e Jam), which was used by the ancient mythological Persian kings for observing all of the seven layers of the universe. As mentioned by Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda, it was believed that all seven heavens of the universe could be observed by looking into it (از هفت فلک در او مشاهده و معاینه کردی), a view that suggests the Merkavah tradition described above.
It was believed to have been discovered in Persepolis in ancient times. Most notably to our beloved Solomonic tradition, in the Islamic world, the name and legend of Jamshid was often linked to legends and lore about Sulayman (Solomon) himself. Indeed, it’s well worth diving into the Sufi traditions around Sulayman, which draw on the same source as the Western Grimoires, namely, the Testament of Solomon as filtered through the interpretations in the Qur’an and Hadith!
Indeed, astral or visionary journeying is built into the Orthodox framework of Islam, so it certainly long-predates the Victorians. Sufi magical traditions have ways of working with it. Indeed, according to standard Islamic theology, the Prophet Muhammad took a “Night Journey” in which he traveled from Mecca, now in Saudia Arabia, to a location in Jerusalem now identified as the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque. He was said to have ridden a white, winged Pegasus-like being called ‘Buraq’ on this very distant journey.
According to the legend, Muhammad alighted, tethered Buraq to the Temple Mount and performed prayer, where on God’s command he was tested by Gabriel. According to a hadith or oral tradition narrated by Anas ibn Malik, Muhammad said: “Jibra’il (Gabriel) brought me a vessel of wine, a vessel of water and a vessel of milk as a test, and I chose the milk. Jibra’il said: ‘You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct).'”
In the second part of the journey, the Mi’raj (an Arabic word that literally means “ladder”)–an intentional allusion to the Jacob’s Ladder tradition–Jibra’il took him to the heavens, where he toured the Seven Heavens, and spoke with the earlier prophets such as Abraham (ʾIbrāhīm), Moses (Musa), John the Baptist (Yaḥyā ibn Zakarīyā), and Jesus (Isa). Muhammad was then taken to Sidrat al-Muntaha – a holy tree in the seventh heaven that Gabriel was not allowed to pass.
Ibn ‘Abbas’ Primitive Version narrates all that Muhammad encounters throughout his journey through heaven. This includes seeing other angels, and seas of light, darkness, and fire. With Gabriel as his companion, Muhammad meets four key angels as he travels through the heavens. These angels are the Rooster angel (whose call influences all earthly roosters), Half-Fire Half-Snow angel (who provides an example of God’s power to bring fire and ice in harmony), the Angel of Death (who describes the process of death and the sorting of souls), and the Guardian of Hellfire (who shows Muhammad what hell looks like).
These four angels are met in the beginning of Ibn ‘Abbas’ narrative. They are mentioned in other accounts of Muhammad’s ascension, but they are not talked about with as much detail as Ibn ‘Abbas provides. As the narrative continues, Ibn Abbas focuses mostly on the angels that Muhammad meets rather than the prophets. There are rows of angels that Muhammad encounters throughout heaven, and he even meets certain deeply devoted angels called cherubim. The idea of traveling through subtle planes while ascending spiritually and communing with entities there is the essence of what we now call ‘pathworking,’ and here we find the Prophet Muhammad doing it 621 CE
This tradition speaks to the point of visionary journeying far predating the Victorian and methodologies of the Golden Dawn’s tradition of occultism–certainly the shamanic traditions in many Indigenous traditions of visionary journeying date all the way back into prehistory. It also shows how the Merkavah material seems to have influenced the development of early Islamic mysticism and mythology along parallel lines to the influences of the same material on the Grimoires around one thousand years later.
Tibetan and Ancient Egyptian Pathworking Systems
The Tibetan Bardo Thodol or Book of the Dead and Egyptian Book of Coming Forth by Day both lay out something akin to pathworking systems, but these texts and their attendant systems were mainly intended for guiding the soul after its passing from this mortal coil. Thus, they may be seen in a sense, post-embodiment or post-death Pathworking systems. Both systems are generally understood as presenting maps of the geography of the underworld, deities encountered there, trials undertaken, although there are advanced esoteric ways of doing this work while still alive. Indeed, Delog: Journey to Realms Beyond Death records the “vivid personal account of a journey through the “bardos” and “pure realms” was recorded by 16-year-old Dawa Drolma of Eastern Tibet, a renowned female lama” who became a “delog”-one who crosses the threshold of death and returns to tell about it.”
Moreover, some authors, such as Jeremy Naydler in Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: the Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt, argue that The Book of Going Forth By Day was used by Egyptian priest-magicians to train them in what some call “practical eschatology,” that is, the afterlife experience while still alive. Indeed, Chapters 125, 17 and 151 can be worked in an initiatory framework. David Nez has suggested to me that the Orphic golden tablets may have been used in similar fashion by Hellenistic Initiates. I have little experience with these systems, however, and so I must defer to my more-knowledgeable peers.
In this connection, in his in his fantastic Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, my esteemed friend Aaron Leitch writes that “the Chaldean or Babylonian priests of later times made this after-death journey while still alive-creating a kind of controlled near-death experience.” This Chaldean system represented their own version of this kind of post-death-stage Pathworking system.
Although this is not a traditional method of Norse spirituality, I have also found that the Runic systems can be Pathworked, whether one is using the 24 Runes of the Elder Futhark, the 29 or 33 Runes of the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, or the 16 Runes of the Younger Futhark. In this system, one simply applies the G.D. “Travel in the Spirit Vision” method and projects through the Rune symbol in an altered / trance state (e.g. theta-gamma synchronized state) and then notes the visions that ensue. For more on the Golden Dawn’s method, see Flying Roll XXXVI – Of Skrying & Traveling in the Spirit Vision and Flying Roll XXV – On Clairvoyance & Travelling in the Spirit.
John Dee’s Enochian Aethyric Pathworking System
John Dee’s Enochian system lays out a Pathworking system through the 30 Aethyrs, which are conceived as forming a map of the entire subtle universe in the form of concentric rings that expand outward from the innermost to the outermost Aethyr. These Aethyrs are entered using Enochian Calls, which function as Keys for entering the Aethyrs in visionary journeys. Dee’s Enochian map of the universe consisted of the Great Table of Four Watchtowers and the Tablet of Union surrounded by 30 concentric circles, the Aethyrs. These 30 Aethyrs are numbered from 30, namely TEX, the lowest and consequently the closest to the Watchtowers to 1 LIL, the highest, representing the Supreme Attainment.
In Aethyric Pathworking, Magicians working the Enochian system record their impressions and visions within each of the successive Enochian Aethyrs from TEX to LIL. Each of the 30 Aethyrs is populated by “Governors” — 3 for each Aethyr, except TEX which has four, for a total of 91 Governors. Each of the governors has a Sigil which can be traced onto the Great Tablet of Earth. In practical work with the Aethyrs, the Nineteenth Key of the 30 Aethyrs is the only call necessary for working with the Aethyrs.
It is only necessary to vary appropriately the name of the Aethyr itself near the beginning of the call. Once the Call is recited, the names of the Governors are vibrated one at a time and a record of the visions is kept. In this system, one can gaze into the Crystal Ball / Skrying Crystal after doing the Call and see what images form there or do a full-blown astral projection into the Aethyr after entering it with the appropriate Key. Aaron Leitch’s The Essential Enochian Grimoire: An Introduction to Angel Magick from Dr. John Dee to the Golden Dawn is a great help for working with this system.
Astrally Working the Stations of the Cross as a Pathworking System
Among Christian mystics, particularly Catholic mystics, there was a kind of experiential, initiatory tradition of working through the Stations of the Cross in a systematic, progressive initiatory framework that is reminiscent, in some of its more visionary workings, of a Pathworking tradition.
That particular visionary legacy lies in the background of many of the Renaissance Grimoires; indeed, some of the Catholic clerical grimoiric writers may have learned the working of the 12 stations during their standard clerical training. It began to be widespread in Europe in the 15th-16th centuries and was well-established as a common practice by the 17th century. Indeed, the Stations of the Cross system of ‘contemplative pilgrimage working’ was well-established by the time Johann Weyer’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum in his De praestigiis daemonum (1577) was written. The system was even more in vogue by the time of the Lesser Key of Solomon’s composition in the mid-17th century.
To quote one author on the subject, the “Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as Way of Sorrows or Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion and accompanying prayers. The stations grew out of imitations of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The object of the stations is to help the Christians faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Passion of Christ. It has become one of the most popular devotions and the stations can be found in many Western Christian churches, including Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic ones.
Commonly, a series of 14 or 15 images will be arranged in numbered order along a path and the faithful travel from image to image, in order, stopping at each station to say the selected prayers and reflections. This will be done individually or in a procession most commonly during Lent, especially on Good Friday, in a spirit of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus endured during his passion.”
I have read Medieval and Renaissance accounts of Christian mystics from the 15th and 16th centuries, contemporaneous with some of our late-Medieval, early-Modern grimoires, in which they describe meditating on each image at each Station while reciting the associated prayers until they enter a kind of trance-state where they describe feeling like they are seeing the picture come to life or feel like they are transported within it and are experiencing the scene as if they were there with Christ in that moment. Worked astrally and systematically, this exoteric system could be adapted into an esoteric Pathworking system in the magical sense.
The Armadel of Magic
The the Armadel of Magic (not to be confused with the Arbatel or Almadel) could also be regarded as presenting a kind of evocational pathworking system. It has unfortunately taken a lot of criticism from some Grimoiric scholars, but in essence it is highly shamanic system, which works with the perennially shamanic Terrestrial/Infernal/Celestial world division. As Aaron points out in Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, “the focus of the work seems to be upon visionary quests or spiritual encounters facilitated by the magickal characters, as well as gaining some magickal powers such as healing, alchemy, agriculture, etc.” The emphasis on shamanic visionary quests seems very reminiscent of other Pathworking systems although the framework is here one of a simple evocational system centered around Spirit sigils.
Within the Zoroastrian tradition, there is a shamanic tradition around visionary ascensions recorded in the Book of Arda Viraf. In this system, the Magician performs some preparation rituals such as a ritual bath, suffumigations, prayers, and so on, and then drinks wine and comes a psychoactive brew. Thereafter, he or she travels through a system of hells and heavens. Of the method of the Magician’s travels, the text says:
21. And then Viraf joined his hands on his breast before the Mazdayasnians, and said to them (22) thus: ‘It is the custom that I should pray to the departed souls, and eat food, and make a will; afterward, you will give me the wine and narcotic.’ (23) The Dasturs directed thus: ‘Act accordingly.’
24. And afterward, those Dasturs of the religion selected, in the dwelling of the spirit, a place which was thirty footsteps from the good. (25) And Viraf washed his head and body, and put on new clothes; (26) he fumigated himself with sweet scent and spread a carpet, new and clean, on a prepared couch. (27) He sat down on the clean carpet of the couch, (28) and consecrated the Dron, and remembered the departed souls, and ate food. (29) And then those Dasturs of the religion filled three golden cups with wine and narcotic of Vishtasp; (30) and they gave one cup over to Viraf with the word ‘well-thought,’ and the second cup with the word ‘well-said,’ and the third cup with the word ‘well-done’; (31) and he swallowed the wine and narcotic, and said grace whilst conscious, and slept upon the carpet.
The “narcotic” is labeled here as Vishtasp; this was a hemp or marijuana extract or, according to some sources, a variant of hashish. In this text, some of the Pathworking locations are described as “the Star Track,” “the Moon track,” “the Sun track,” in addition to various other locations in the “Heavens” and “Hells,” in which the Magician undergoes visionary experiences and discourses with spirits and deities. Chris Bennett describes this system and other similar shamanic systems extensively in his Cannabis and the Soma Solution.
The Arda Viraf has been argued as an influence on the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey and on the much later Purgatorio, Inferno, and Paradiso of Dante Alighieri, in which Dante the Pilgrim undertakes his own journeys through purgary, hell realms, and heavenly realms respectively.
It’s worth noting that in this text, as in many others, a “magic carpet” is used to facilitate astral travel in the spirit vision. My friend A. Wretch wrote a very fascinating compilation of texts that use carpets as aids to Pathworking and visionary travel entitled Magic Carpets, Sensory Deprivation, and Entheogenic Ceremonial Magick, which I would highly recommend.
In our discussion of the Arda Viraf, he pointed out that “the Book of Arda Viraf is extremely important! While there seems to be some question as to its original dating, it could well be the origin of magick carpets. It also seems like Merkabah precursor. Keep in mind that in the book of Kings it describes Solomon’s chariot, which is also called a bed, but this is in reality a palanquin.
This likely comes from the Zoroastrian influences in Judaism as with Arda Viraf, which puts the magick carpet over the “couch” which is a term that is also sometimes used for a palanquin. You mentioned the cup of Jamshid, but the Shahnameh also explains palanquin Merkabah like experiences among the kings like Kay Kavus and Nimrod… you will find a reference to a great article in the start of my Magick carpets anthology.”
While the Qabalistic Pathworking system is remarkably rich and can be very powerful and transformative, it is not the only Pathworking system. My hope is that in this article, you have found some interesting pathways–no pun intended–for further research and experimentation. See you down the astral Rabbit hole…
- Have you had any notable experiences with any of these systems that you’d like to share in the comments?
- Are there any other key non-Qabalistic pathworking systems that this article has left out? What can you tell us about them?
I project into my astral Temple and don the form of blue robes and a blue and orange-striped nemyss. The temple appears blue and green with a large letter Qoph (ק) on a banner and engravings of Fish, alluding to Pisces (♓), the Sign attributed to the Path, and the Moon, the Tarot Major Arcanum linked to the Path, built into the architecture of the high-vaulted Temple. I complete the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram and exit the Temple through its vast doors.
I stand before a tall Archway bearing the letter of Qoph (ק). As I stand here, I’m reminds that “Qoph” alludes both to the “back of the head,” which evokes the idea of the cerebellum. Appropriate enough, this Latin word as written in English, contains EL (אל), within it, the Divine Name of the Path of Qoph (ק). The cerebelleum at the “back of the head” controls our most basic primal instincts and motor functioning. The cerebellum is located behind the top part of the brain stem, where the spinal cord meets the brain, and is made of two hemispheres.
The cerebellum receives information from the sensory systems, the spinal cord, and other parts of the brain and then regulates motor movements. This ancient part of the human brain coordinates voluntary movements such as posture, balance, coordination, and speech, resulting in smooth and balanced muscular activity. It is also important for learning motor behaviors. Although it is a relatively small portion of the brain, about ten percent of the total weight, it contains roughly half of the brain’s neurons, specialized cells that transmit information via electrical signals. In Hebrew, Qoph suggest a “monkey or ape” (קוף), which invites reflections on our oldest primatological evolutionary origins. Since the cerebellum is such an ancient part of the primate brain, the two meanings of Qoph, “monkey” and “back of the head” are connected together.
I project through the Archway after performing the Sign of the Enterer three times. I see the 29th Path of Qoph (ק) come into focus below me, reaching up from Malkut (מלכות) to Netzach (נצח). I seem to come at it through a vast black space from far above, as if it are a target into which I am aiming to land after parachuting out of an airplane.
I plummet down into the Path and land in a vast ocean of blue-green water. A faint purple fills the background of the scene, and I’m reminds that this is the King Scale colour of the Path. But it also connects to the Sphere of Yesod, which is attributed to the Moon, the Tarot card attributed to the Path of Qoph (ק) .
The blue waters in which I float remind me of the energies of Chesed (חסד) and of the clothing of the High Priestess, attributed to the Path of Gimel (ג) way higher up on the Tree, to which the Moon is also attributed. The green hue of the water further reminds me of the colour of Netzach (נצח), whose Venusian (♀) Temple looms off in the distance, the endpoint of the Path of Qoph (ק).
I test the vision by vibrating the Divine Name of the Path, EL (אל) and Qoph (ק) multiple times and it becomes clearer. Lightning flashes and thunder boomes in the distance. Rain falls into the water in which I float. I kindly petition the King of the Undines in the Name of EL (אל) for a Guide to lead me through the Path of Qoph (ק) offering blessings as thanks.
A moment later, and to my great surprise, a large brown galleon with white sails comes sailing rapidly towards me out of the mists of fog. Engraved in its wood panelling are ornate carvings of fish swimming in a school. A rope ladder is cast down and I climbed it onto the deck to see there is only one being aboard the ship.
The large galleon is helmed, funny enough, a tall pirate Captain-like figure in a red waistcoat with flowing grey hair, a sizable beard, and wild and glowing blue eyes. In one hand, he holds the ship’s large wooden-speaksd steering wheel. In the other, he holds a blue wand with a head formed from the Sigil of Pisces (♓).
I greet him with respect and blessings in the Name of EL (אל), which he returns. I ask him for his name in the Name of EL (אל) and the letters Qoph (ק)-Gimel(ג) -Aleph(א)-Lamed(ל) (Qophgal) form in the air as he pronounces “Qophgal.”
“Come, we sail now on the Path to the Temple of Netzach (נצח),” he tells me.
As we begin to sail, I see a green Temple glimmering in the distance, the Temple of Netzach (נצח). It has a domed roof, undulous curves and a large Sigil of Venus (♀) jutting out from the top of its dome.
“Look, the Spirits of Water swim with us,” says Qophgal through the rain.
On either side of our ship, dolphins, schools of fish and mermaid-like Undines swim in droves, periodically leaping out of the water only to splash back in. There must be as many as 100… the numerical value of Qoph (ק). I wonder what lessons the members of this School carries with them.
As I stand beside Qophgal at the helm of the vast ship, I am struck by the Captain’s notable warmth of heart and coolness of head. When he speaks, his tone is kind, comforting, and warm, like hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day.
Here we are on an incredibly tumultuous sea with vast swooping waves, torrential rain, booming thunder, and flashing lightning bolts and he appears calm and warmly amused.
“Emotions may swirl and storms may come forth,” Qophgal says, “but with a calm mind, we can flow with the currents.”
This seems to be a key lesson of the Path of Qoph (ק).
I soon see what appears to be a large spire-like tower emerging from the mist. As we come closer, I realize that it is a thin stone tower in the shape of two fish interwined and bound together with rope, clearly Piscean (♓) symbolism. The rope itself forms a winding path around the giant tower up which one can climb, as in the rough sketch below.
“You must climb alone, I’m afraid,” the Captain laughs.
“You’ll meet another atop the tower. They’ll help you out. Come back when you’re done. I’ll meet you here.”
I smile and thank him then begin to climb the winding path around the spire. It is slippery from the rain, which continues to beat against the tower from all sides. I wonder if lightning might strike me as I make my ascent, but thankfully, it does not.
At last, I reach the summit of the spire and see a beautiful Undine standing there. She is ethereally lovely in a light blue Grecian robe with blonde hair and glowing blue eyes, like those of Qophgal. We greet each other with blessings in the Name of EL (אל).
In spirit, auric feel, and blue robed appearance, she reminds me of the High Priestess card, attributed to the Moon-path of Gimel (ג) between Tipharet (תראפת) and Keter (כתר). This seems to suggest a lunar connection to her through the Planetary attribution of the High Priestess to the Moon. The Moon, of course, is also the Tarot attribution of the Path of Qoph (ק). Like Qophgal, she holds a Pisces-headed wand (♓).
I ask if this spirit would kindly tell me her name in the Name of EL (אל) and she states that it is “Qophgiel (Qoph (ק).-Gimel (ג) -Yod (י)-Aleph (א) -Lamed (ל). I then ask if she would Initiate me into the Mysteries of the Path of Qoph (ק). She tells me that the Way of the Path is about riding the waves of emotion so as not to drown in them.
“Would you receive the energy of the Path of Qoph (ק)?” She asks. I nod humbly.
Qophgiel then performs the Sign of the Enterer and projects Piscean (♓), Watery energy into me through her Pisces (♓) Wand.
I receive it with the Sign of Harpocrates and immediately feel a flush of vulnerable emotion arising. “Unpurified, you cannot continue along the Path of Qoph (ק),” she says.
She raises a blue cup, which bears a Lotus at the bottom like the Ancient Egyptian blue lotus cups that inspired the Golden Dawn’s Water Cup, and pours it over me three times, saying “I purify you with Water.”
The water feels cleansing, rejuvenating and refreshing. Somehow, through the falling rain and despite the ocean water in which I had just voted, I can distinctly feel this water, as if it is exorcised and charged like the water in the Key of Solomon.
I equilibrate this influx of energy throughout my Sphere of Sensation with the Qabalistic Cross.
“If you would enter the Temple of Netzach (נצח) along the Path of Qoph (ק), carry with you this symbol.”
Around my neck, she places a circular blue disc-like lamen. It hangs from a band of gold. The lamen depicts a Water Triangle with the letter Qoph (ק) in its center.
This lamen seems to be the mirror image of the red lamen with the letter Shin (ש) within the Fire Triangle that I has received on the Path of Shin (ש), on the symmetrical other side of the Tree, linking Malkut (מלכות) to Hod (הוד) in the Pillar of Severity along the fiery Path of Shin (ש).
“Thus purified and thus empowered, you are prepared to continue,” she says.
“Go in peace with the blessings of EL (אל) and attend to the Waters within and without.”
I thank her and offer her blessings in the Name of EL (אל).
As I walk down the winding path towards Qophgal’s ship, I feel the rain continue to fall upon my blue robe and blue and orange striped nemyss.
I return to the ship and the Captain pulls up the anchor. We continue to sail towards the Temple of Netzach (נצח), which draws ever closer.
“If you would be victorious in this life, stay your course despite the storms,” Qophgal tells me. “If you learn nothing else on this Path, remember this.”
Mermaid-like Undines and fish continue to swim alongside our ship. At last, we arrive at the green shore of the Temple of Netzach (נצח). I thank the kind Captain for his passage and salute him, which he returns.
As I stand before the great green doors of the Temple of Netzach (נצח), I hold up the symbol of Qoph (ק) that Qophgiel had given me and they slowly rumble open. A flood of green light issues forth from within. I slowly walk into the Temple and the scene fades to green and then to black.
I find myself back before the Altar in my astral Temple. I perform the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and close the Temple.
Once back in ordinary waking consciousness in my body, I cast a Rune as I often do after Pathworkings. Surprisingly, the Rune I draw is once again Gebo, the Gift Rune I drew after my Pathworking on the Path of Tav.
I’m again reminded of this Rune’s link to gifts, windfalls, forgiveness, and compassion. It is a Rune well-suited to the Pillar of Mercy-side of the Tree of Life on which the Path of Qoph (ק) is located. I feel grateful for the gifts I have been given by the entities I met on the Path in this working and offer thanks and blessings in return for them.
Update I: After this Pathworking, I feel very emotionally vulnerable, raw, and tender. The watery currents of this Path have stirred up some previously dormant feelings within me. I carry these feelings throughout the day as the mind begins to process them.
Update II: The day after this Pathworking, a steady stream of insights into my feelings flow into the consciousness. I gain some deeper understanding of why I have felt as I have in my past relationships and how of those old emotional patterns carry into my present relationship. The themes are fear, sadness, grieving, worry, and the tension between feeling limited and wanting freedom and openness. I spend the day working on these feelings, recognizing them as gifts of the Path of Qoph (ק). These watery energies begin to subside as I accept, acknowledge, and receive their insights. By the end of the day, I once again feel balanced and equilibrated and a sense of serenity returns where the Watery currents of sadness and painful emotions had flowed through.