Reviewing Old Notes and Looking Into Mirrors

It’s been a hell of a time, guys.  But I survived and now I’m back in the game, though it took me a bit to get rolling again.  Commissions and requests for readings are still closed for the time being, but I hope to get going again with those in July; I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, after nearly going homeless, finishing closing on a house at the knife-edge nick of time, and dealing with internet connection issues for a month, I’ve been getting myself back in order with my life.  Yeah, I’m definitely relishing in the ability to sink some time back into online gaming now that I’m not stuck on half-available mobile internet, but I’m also talking about the Work and all.  Though…honestly, after several months of stress and letting things shift under my feet, a lot is different than where I was a year, or even half a year ago.  My life seems to be picking up around me and taking me for the ride, which is awesome but a challenge to keep up with.  At least, now that I don’t have the threat of homelessness positioned at my neck anymore, my stress levels have dropped precipitously and I can focus on shit again with renewed clarity.

So, yeah.  I bought a house (rather, me and the boy and our friend did).  I have my shrines set up, some already made permanent and some still waiting permanent relocation; I have my altars set up; and I finally, thank heaven and hell, have my computers in an office with no shrines or altars or holy images in it so I can finally look at porn without giving my People a lewd show.  Now that everything’s set up again, I’ve been easing myself back into practice here and there, making offerings to the ancestors and gods, meditation and energy work, and the like.  But…these are all really tiny bits and pieces of things, maintenance-level stuff, without any real initiative.  These aren’t projects, they’re upkeep.  So I decided to get back into the groove with my mathesis work again after dropping the ball, but…

Jesus, do I feel bad for anyone who has to dig through my blog.  I wrote a lot more back in 2014 than I thought.  At least my notes are copious, and they’re helping me to remember who I was and what I was doing back then.  It’s pleasant, though, and long overdue.  Mathesis is something I’ve wanted to keep up, given its novelty and promise that it holds to afford a new way to proceed in theurgy in addition to or instead of the Hermetic Qabbalah.

alchemical_planetary_tetractys_gnosis_paths

So, where was I with this mathesis stuff?

  1. I developed a “cosmic map” using the Tetractys of Pythagoras, augmented with alchemical and astrological concepts to form a set of 10 sphairai and 24 odoi, one for each of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet, based on their stoicheic principles.
  2. I developed the Gnostic and Agnostic Schemata to act as two ways one can live life theurgically or atheurgically.
  3. I developed a method for self-initiation onto the Gnostic Schema, and did it.  (The process left a faint but permanent stain on the ceiling of the room in my old house from all the incense.)
  4. I developed a set of protocols for purification, making offerings, and simple meditations on the letters of the Greek alphabet and the Tetractys.
  5. I developed a set of daily practices, but this needs review badly to see what works and how it can be made to work better.

It’s certainly a good start, and it being my baby, it’s what I’m proud of.  But it’s just only a start, and it’s time to get back into the review of everything I wrote before and see how well it stands now, and how well it can continue to stand.

First things first.  What’s the point of using this map of the Tetractys?  What did it get me?  Well, it got me the Gnosis and Agnosis Schemata, the ways of traversing the cosmos in a way that, respectively, provides intimate knowledge of all things in a dangerous but constantly evolving way, or locks one into a cyclical existence that holds one apart and isolated from true knowledge.

Moreso than the Lightning Path of the Tree of Life, the Gnosis Schema of the Tetractys suggests that exploration and constant return is a crucial aspect to this mathesis work.  Sure, there are plenty of ways you can make a one-shot path starting at one sphaira and ending at another while passing through all the others along the way, but the Gnosis Path with its Mitsubishi-logo-esque shape is something of a different beast entirely.  We start at the central sphaira, given to Mercury, and proceed outwards in three loops: the Hot System of Mercury → Jupiter  → Mars → Sun → Mercury, the Cold System of Mercury → Moon → Saturn → Venus → Mercury, and the Cosmic System of Mercury → Fixed Stars → The One → Earth.  The Hot System leads into the Cold System, the Cold into the Cosmic, and the Cosmic into the Hot.  In this way, a full traversal of the Tetractys takes twelve steps, since we arrive in the sphaira of Mercury three times, once at the beginning of each system before we take our thirteenth and final step back into the sphaira of Mercury after the Cosmic System.  A full traversal of a single system takes five steps across four sphairai, starting and ending at the same sphaira of Mercury.

Thus does this Tetractys divide up the whole of the universe into three “realms”, one hot and light and transformative, one cold and dark and preserving, and one balanced and cumulative and whole.  Within each system, we undergo a process of analysis (literally “loosening up”) and synthesis (“putting together”), as we begin at the sphaira of Mercury, work our way out to the extreme sphaira, then work our way back inward to Mercury once more.  Each system reflects a complete alchemical process, and the three systems combined reflect the entire Great Work, the Magnum Opus.  That said, just because we complete one full loop around the Tetractys doesn’t mean we’re done with the whole thing; it’s an explicitly iterative, repetitive process, but each time around is never the same.

Consider this another way: to go from the Monad to the Decad, we simply count the numbers from 1 to 10.  Trivial, right?  So it is in Greek numerals, where we go from Α (alpha = 1) to Ι (iota = 10).  What comes next?  the next letter is Κ (kappa), which is given the value of 20.  Thus, to use the Greek alphabet as numerals, we go from 1 to 9, then from 10 to 90, then from 100 to 900.  Even using numerology, though, 100 and 10 are simply higher “registers” with a core “heart” of 1.  In other words, even if we go from 1 to 9, 10 to 90, 100 to 900, 1000 to 9000, or however many more powers of ten we want to use, we’re still going around the same cycle over and over.  That cycle is the progression from the Monad to the Decad, but since the Decad is just a higher register of the Monad, we’re starting the process anew each time we complete it.

The Gnosis Schema suggests…nay, demands that we constantly keep in motion around the Tetractys in this way.  We never stop, except to process according to analysis and synthesis (or, to use the more standard alchemical phrase, solve et coagula), which themselves take place along the path.  As the philosopher Heraclitus says, παντα ρει, “everything flows“.  Moreover, as energy in the body or waters in a river, it is good for us to flow ever onward, directly and smoothly, never breaking course or getting stopped or split.  This is why the Gnosis Schema is preferred to the Agnosis Schema; not only does the Agnosis Schema cut one off from the three extreme and one central sphairai, but the paths in this schema cycle around in multiple, chaotic, and confusing ways.  Sure, you might always be in motion, but you’d be in erratic motion, bumping into sphairai randomly without guidance, swept along by the whimsy of fate and the gods with no say in your own growth.

I may have performed the work to open the gate to cross into the sphaira of Mercury, but this is only one step along the path, and it itself is not without its dangers.  The sphaira of Mercury can act as a bridge, but it can also act as island, and the process of getting to even this sphaira can be akin to crossing an abyss of sorts.  Maybe the whole string of nonsense that’s gone on since that self-initiation has been following the path of the Gnosis Schema and the resulting BS in my life my own analysis and synthesis among the sphairai, maybe not (which is the more likely of the two).  Either way, it’s about time for me to revisit my place in the Tetractys, and to get back to that center sphaira and start taking the steps I should’ve been taking this whole time.

Also, perhaps in the process of all this, maybe it’s good to come up with names for the sphairai besides saying things like “sphaira of Mercury” or “the Tetrad” or whatnot.  It’s a little odd to refer to them specifically as astrological spheres or alchemical states of being, despite that they work for now.  Perhaps it’s time for me to revisit the meanings of each of the numbers from the Monad to the Decad, and see where that leads me.

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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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