Two Swords

Man, time flies.  Just over five weeks ago, I conjured Kammael the angel of Mars as part of my conjuration cycle.  From then began about two weeks of constant energy, discovery, fun, and activity that left a definite impression on my life.  I can’t and won’t complain; it was all for the better, if not confusing.  Still, good times were had, and the surge of energy helped me lay claim to and determine the actual limits and content of what I consider to be “my life and self”.  It’s an ongoing process, but it was definitely a trip.

Earlier this week, I conjured Kammael again.  The familiar rush of flame and energy, of sharpness and judgment, descended and infused my sphere again, but the rush is much more tame this time around.  Indeed, Kammael seemed to want just that to happen; although last time the energy of fire was external and outgoing, it’s now time for that fire to go inwards and work on what I’ve laid claim to.  It’s a much more controlled fire, and more introspective.  It might have something to do with Mars going retrograde recently on January 23 (going direct again on April 14 and leaving its shadow on June 19, just before the summer solstice).

As part of the conjuration, I routinely ask the spirits for their advice given my current condition, progress, and state of affairs.  Kammael had this to say:

Judgment of the self: too much definition, and it becomes imprisoned; too much exploration, and it becomes lost. Use both swords wisely.

The Qabbalah sephirah associated with Mars is Geburah, “Strength”, and it’s named that for a reason: even though the fifth heaven and sphere of Mars is on red-hot fire with ever-molten pits of lava, it’s all about cold, hard judgment and strategy.  This is the place where anything unbalanced from above or impure from below gets burned out of the Tree of Life.  Anything unnecessary or excessively grandiose, nice though it may be, coming from Jupiter gets tossed.  Anything too proud or self-righteous, noble though it may be, coming from the Sun gets tossed.  This is the place of the blade that cuts and divides the good from the bad, the needed from the unneeded, the helpful from the unhelpful.  It’s why the Tarot path from Tiphareth to Geburah is Justice: it determines the proper amount and course of anything between the sixth, fifth, and fourth heavens.

In a similar way, we’re given to police ourselves and figure out what it is that our “self” is.  In order to know what we are, we need to have some sort of definition (literally “a complete boundary”) to ourselves to know what belongs to our self and what doesn’t.  At the same time, we need to know what we can be and what we can do to become what we will be in order to grow and live.  The force to restrict and the force to expand, the forces of Saturn and Jupiter, flow into Mars and have to be balanced out on the scales of the armed Lady of Justice.  Too much of either is no good, and it gets burned in the pits of Mars, and then we ourselves get burnt out by too much self-restriction or self-expansion. 

  • If we define ourselves too much, and say only “I am that and only that” without considering “I could also be that and can do this too”, we get too caught up in being in a fixed state of self, we get locked down in an unnatural petrification and stagnation, and can’t handle change when it comes. 
  • If we expand ourselves too much, and say only “I can do this and this too and I can do all other things that I want” without considering “I am also at heart this and not that”, we get too caught up in being an an changing state of self, we get lost in an unnatural diffusion and explosion, and can’t find ourselves when we look for it.

Neither of these forces are bad, and both are needed in their proper amounts.  When Saturn restricts too much, Jupiter breaks free; when Jupiter expands too much, Saturn anchors down.  Mars is where these forces, both flowing from the seventh and sixth heavens, mingle and balance each other out to form a coherent and stable form.  Mars is where the self, coming from the fourth heaven of the Sun and stripped of its emotions and ideas and fantasies and reality, can see its greater cosmic dimensions, both where it terminates and what it can contain.

Mars is not a nurturing planet.  It’s dry, hot, barren, and dark (it’s considered a nocturnal though masculine planet in astrology).  It does not engender, it does not generate, it does not create.  Even though it doesn’t give birth, however, it does give passage; it is not a mother, but a guard.  Guards that permit too much are little more than the greeters at Wal-Mart, permitting both honest customers and dishonest thieves.  Guards that permit too little block the flow of commerce, communication, and life.  Guards need to have a functional sense of judgment to know what’s permitted and what’s not, and to allow things past them as appropriate.  We need to be on guard for ourselves, knowing what we are and can be and do, and what we are not and can’t be or do.  It is by these two judgments, these two swords, that we can really understand and execute our will and carry out our lives properly as we should.

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About polyphanes
I'm a software developer and Hermetic occultist living near Washington, DC, USA. I claim that I'm youthful, dashing, daring, and other things. I make things and chant stuff, and periodically write about them.

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