bašmu/ušum, muš huššu, nirah by us4-he2-gal2

Editor’s note: This is a great article retrieved from Abrahadabra Forums. No, we’re not bringing the forums back, but this little gem written by Bill over at was too precious to keep hidden away in the Abrahadabra archives.  – Izi Ningishzidda

Hey Abrahadabra: Well, it seems I’m always presenting complicated and touchy explanations here, I suppose it may give the impression that everything about Sumer is laborious.. I would agree many things are, but I guess as I’ve remarked before, your particular focuses here may exaggerate this impression as the netherworld gods and the snake gods are elusive (and so a stressful subject to discuss.)

So I’m putting something together to delineate between the Ušumgal and the Mus hussu. The iconography and mythology of both of these creatures is more often vague and more often in some process of change than in stable and concise condition; the nomenclature associated with both, as we witness it in this or that article, is in a steady state of flux between Sumerian, Akkadian and differing modern conventions for rendering ancient text; the associations of both creatures revolve around the same deities, but for different reasons which may at points have more to do with the shifting social-political climate of Mesopotamia than with appreciable religious sentiment. For reasons such as these it can be difficult to explain concrete distinctions between the two. To begin with, I am intending to quote a large section from the enenuru Ningishzida thread, (reply #47) – in that post I had referred to a discussion given by Anthony Green who understands the snakes at Ningishzida’s back as the Bašmu snakes, possibly to be identified with today’s species cerastes cerastes. I will then update this material with some new insights from F.A.M. Wiggermann from his book “Mesopotamian Protective Spirits” (MPS) (the book I should mention, is extremely technical and focused on a very narrow range of ritual texts). Hopefully below my modified look at Bašmu should also add explanations for Ušum and Ušumgal which I hadn’t worked in before, and the dissections with Mus Hussu will stand out.

On the Identity of the Ušumgal

From Enenuru:

“In regards to the snakes at Ningishzida’s back, we can turn again to A. Greens article found in CANE vol. 3, specifically pg. 1844. Near the bottom Green states:

“Another underworld god was Ningishzida. As he was the personal deity of Gudea, ruler of Lagash, he is depicted in the art of that time- for example, on Gudea’s own cylinder seal, where the god introduces the ruler to the water-god Enki. Ningishzida is represented with horned Bašmu snakes (the horned viper Cerastes cerastes) rising from his shoulders (see fig.5 no. 4).”

When we refer to “fig.5 no.4” , which is on pg. 1848, we see that no.4 is a little drawing of a horned snake. The accompanying information tells us, that this image is attested from the Akkadian (?) period, down to the Kassite period. It’s proposed identity, its names in semitic language, are 1. bašmu and 2. ušumgallu and the proposed translation for both is “poisonous snake.”

Wiggermann adds important information on the topic of the identity and nomenclature of the Horned viper – in his more concise discussion from MPS, he explains that the Sumerians had two terms, ušum and muš-ša3-tur3 – the first a horned snake with front feet, the second a horned snake without front feet.

For these two terms, the Akkadians had only one term: bašmu. (We see that above, Green states bašmu and ušumgal are the semitic terms, proving that Assyriologists contradict each other all the time – more on the ušumgul later.) So what this means is that, yes, ušum is another word for the snakes at Ningishzida’s shoulder, footed sort or no.

The Character of the Ušum, Bašhmu

The earliest texts from which we may get a sense of this creature are the Early Dynastic incantations (2600), these are a favorite reference source of mine despite that they are currently only published in German and often are somewhat inexplicable in any case.

In these earliest examples of Mesopotamian incantation text, the principal causes of problem illnesses are the Udug demon, Enki, and snakes. Snakes are an understandably object of fear for the ancients, and the mysterious and deadly power of venom was a subject of fear and awe – the image of the fierce venom spitting serpent is one often applied often the gods (who were much feared and at the same time revered). These earliest texts indicate a period in which period where Enki was especially associated with illness bringing snakes, a fact which comes to some surprise to readers of later Mesopotamian literature – later literature stresses this deities position as a lord of benevolent incantations .. however, the ancient world offers numerous examples of deities specially associated with both the power to cause and to cure illness i.e Apollo.. the logic may have run that the one with lordship over the weapon is the same who may heal, even if that is to do so little as to refrain from unleashing it. This ambiguity of nature, neither definitively good nor evil, is characteristic of Mesopotamian religion at large, and we see many “daimons”, entities who may act as agents of illness yet at the same time be employed protectively in other contexts. In any case, G. Cunningham writes a brief note about Enki’s association with snakes in the early incantation texts, to include the Ušum:

“Text 26 refers to ‘the snake of Enki’ (muš d.en-ki) while text 27 refers to ‘the place of the black snake in the middle of the abzu’ (ki muš-gi6 SU.AB sha) as well as mentioning the black dog, a horned snake, a serpent (the ušum) and Enki himself.”

As Wiggermann notes the ušum/bašhmu “is perhaps nothing more than “Venomous Snake”; a natural enemy of man mythologized.” The snake itself is therefore harmful, but it may nevertheless represent or be associated with deities who, while having the ability to inflict suffering, are essentially worshiped as protective deities (as in the case of Enki).

The Ušumgal

Now that we have defined the ušum/bašhmu, what then is the ušumgal? As I mentioned above, the word ušumgal is a combination of ušum (= snake or noble snake) and gal (great).

Ušumgal is often translation “dragon”. Wiggermann relates that the Sumerian ušumgal is written in Akkadian either by “bašmu” or by “ušumgallu” .. “it is a derivative from “ušum” and literally means “Prime Venomous Snake”… the foremost quality of an ušumgal (and probably of an ušum) is being a determined killer,killing probably with its venom, and frightening even the gods.. it is this quality that makes ušum(gal) a suitable epithet for certain gods and kings.”

The differences between ušumgal and the more general ušum seem very indistinct – while the latter is perhaps more representative of the mundane venomous snake, the former may be better understood as a more mythologized version, a chaos monster (this distinction is hard to assert for reasons that
will become apparent below).

Chaos and Chaos Monsters

Beginning in the Ur III period, incantations began to be directed not only against daimons and snakes (as in earlier periods) but also against chaos monsters. The beings were often a composite of different animal forms, and unlike daimons (but like snakes), they only caused harm – they embody disorder as well as cause it. ” Therefore the muš-ḫuš associated with Ninazu is a chaos-monster, which in some periods is treated like a daimon, is a bringer of sickness and disorder, and is targeted in incantations. (Ninazu here is similar to Enki, sometimes referred to as “king of Snakes” in some incantations, he is capable of releasing and restraining the serpents, again showing a dual nature).

Chaos Monsters are generally, but not always, composite creatures – they get their name as they are creatures that appear on lists of defeated opponents of the gods Ninurta or Marduk. These are deities who battled chaos and enemies of the divine order during the forming of the cosmos, enemies such as the seven-headed dog (ur-sag-imin), six-headed wild ram (šeg-sag-aš) or the ušumgal. Once defeated, they generally became sub-servant to divine will, but divine will was also interpreted as instrumental in bringing about human suffering (for in Mesopotamia, nothing could be acknowledged to escape the control of the triumphing gods of order, contradictory as this often ends up being.)

For persons attempting to distinguish between the ušumgul and the ušum, it is confusing to note that both forms of the horned snake appear in the lists of defeated chaos enemies, but G. Cunningham explains this in part:

“Snakes can also be regarded as similar to chaos-monsters, given that in Mesopotamian terms they are classified with the same conceptual continuum as chaos-monsters of the serpent-type such as the ušumgal.”

Conclusions from this post: While it’s possible to call either the ušumgal or the ušum a “dragon”, and this is not necessarily incorrect, the word is more of a convenient English term which may carry with it connotations which are inapplicable. The ušum in form is simply a horned serpent which may or may not possess forelegs (varying), and it’s mythologized big brother, the ušumgal, is the same if not larger. Now that I’ve clearly recognized the equivalence of the Sumerian ušum and Akkadian bašmu, the snakes which occupy Ningishzida’s shoulders and which are thought to possibly be his pre-anthropomorphic form, this suggests a new explanation to me about how he got his later role in exorcism.. When we recognize that in earliest incantations Enki, the principal lord of magic, was capable sending and restraining snakes, and again Ninazu’s similar capacity (he is called “king of snakes” while at the same time his importance as a healing god is apparent), Ningishzida’s association with the ušum/bašmu and its subservience to him may in the same way recommend this deity to exorcists always anxious for effective defenses against the fearsome venomous snakes. This suggestion would be an alternative to the possibility that his legitimation as an exorcist stems from his late appointment as Throne bearer in the Netherworld.

Wiggermann also hints of a snake that may have been even earlier associated with Ningishzida and the Muš huššu: Niraḫ.

The Transtigiridian influx

I’m fairly certain that I have detailed the Muš Huššu and the Transtigiridian influx before, but I will give a version of that information here again for the sake of being through and for delineating between this creature and the ušum.

In discussing Ophidian traits in Mesopotamia, which the Muš huššu and the gods this creature is associated with posses, it is important to recognize the influence of the lands lying to the east of the Mesopotamian plateau, across the Tigris (hence the term “transtigiridian”). Elamite culture, which occupied the Iranian highlands and held sway over cities along the current Iran/Iraq border, is known to have had special religious emphasis on snake deities, and this trickled into Mesopotamia proper. Recognizing this influence allows one to better understand how seemingly disparate deities from the North Eastern Mesopotamian city of Der seem to share things in common with snake gods from the Southern Mesopotamian plains such as Ningishzida – Der was on the border to Iran and thus acted as a transfer point.. as Wiggermann comments:

“It can of course not be denied that Ninazu and Ningišzida are Sumerian gods, but the evidence suggests that their Ophidian traits were developed under the influence of transtigridian religious ideas. In fact, as has been repeatedly shown, a religious interest in snakes in these regions goes back deep into prehistory and through the ages remains quite visible in the iconography of Elam and the Iranian mountains.”

More influential than Der on the Sumerian cults was likely Ninazu’s own city which also was close to the Iranian border – Ešhnunna. While the god also had a smaller cult center in the south of Sumer called Enegi, Wiggermann relates that the Ophidian lore that is attestable from the site of Enegi “is written mostly in foreign languages and appears to have been imported”, meaning that the snake god ideology at Enegi is again part of the greater influx from Der, Ešhnunna, and ultimately from the east.

The Muš huššu

The mušhuššu was the dragon of Ninazu, city god of Enegi and Ešnunna, and of his son Ningišzida. From Old Akkadian times onwards (2400 BC), Ninazu was succeeded in Ešnunna by Tišpak, whose traits mainly derive from Ninazu, including the association with muš huššu. It is from Tišpak that the muš huššu was taken, and given to Marduk, after the defeat of Ešnunna by Hammurabi (1900 BC). Muš huššu translates to “furious snake” or “aweful snake”, the creature had in earlier times lion parts and dragon parts, but over time “the lion parts are progressively replaced by snake parts” and the creature is called a “snake-dragon” by modern scholars.

Wiggermann characterizes the Muš huššu as “perhaps an angel of death, killing with his venom” which is entirely consistent with an the behavior of snake creatures such as the ušum/bašhmu, the enemy of the exorcist in early incantation, or the ušumgal who like the Muš huššu is also a serpentine chaos monster, defeated by the warrior god (defeated opponents often enter the service of the gods.) It is worth emphasizing that nothing seems quite black or white with Mesopotamian religion, and that which was feared was also respected and so in some situations it was counted on as a protective force – the Muš huššu was used in some periods as an Apotropaic figure, on plaques or palace walls, to ward off evil doers. It’s not that it was incapable of evil doing itself – but if properly respected and revered would possibly unleash its venom on an uncontained enemy. The dragon is also mentioned in a hymn to the building of Ningirsu’s temple, a temple built in Lagash by Gudea (whose personal god was Ningishzida.) Below I have quoted part of that hymn, and I have pointed out the names of the snakes mentioned in [square brackets]:

722-729. The cedar doors installed in the house are Iškur roaring above. The locks of the E-ninnu are bisons, its door-pivots are lions, from its bolts horned vipers [ušum/bašmu] and fierce snakes [muš huššu] are hissing at wild bulls. Its jambs, against which the door leaves close, are young lions and panthers lying on their paws.

730-737. The shining roof-beam nails hammered into the house are dragons [ušum/bašmu] gripping a victim. The shining ropes attached to the doors are holy Niraḫ [Niraḫ] parting the abzu. Its …… is pure like Keš and Aratta, its …… is a fierce lion keeping an eye on the Land; nobody going alone can pass in front of it.

Wiggermann writes that after the defeat of Ešhnunna by Marduk, and that god’s assumption of the Muš huššu, Ninazu and Tišpak became associated with other snakes and dragons (ušum/bašmu, ušumgallu). The similarity between these creatures is attested again by this exchange, while at the same time it emphasizes that they are separate entities. When a god loses one, he has the other instead.

Wiggermann does not state that Ningishzida lost association with the Muš huššu as a result of the Babylonian campaign in Ešhnunna or that he became associated with the Ušum as a result (as the case with Ninazu).. In fact, I believe Ningishzida was associated with both creature at the same time, if we look to the Gudea era where the god is symbolized by 2 Mus huššu which flank coiled snakes (the Gudea cup) , or when the god is in anthropomorphic form
presenting Gudea to another god, the horned snakes (ušum) are at his shoulders – thus both creatures relate equally to the deity at that time. What is curious, is a statement of the authors that reads: “Ningishzida, the son of Ninazu, is associated with the [Muš huššu]; his proper animal, however, is the snake (d)Niraḫ.”

The snake Niraḫ, as we see in the above hymn, is connected with the Abzu and that environ, the semi-mythical underground fresh waters of the god Enki. It is distinct, or at least somewhat distinct, from the Ušum. This information, that Niraḫ should be Ningishzida’s animal, is for me somewhat unexpected – the ušum/bašmu is solidly placed as the snake at the god’s shoulders (see last post). I suspect the association with Niraḫ may be somewhat earlier.. while I am able to detail Niraḫ to some extent currently, I’m not at this time able to explain Wiggermann’s statement or how he connects the snake with Ningishzida.

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Magister Ouroboros 777 at The Abrahadabra Institute LLC
Succeeding m1thr0s 729 (Magister Ouroboros 729) izi is current guardian of the 418 current in this world. She upholds the young Nu Aeon tradition of Mutational Alchemy, a hybrid branch of Hermetic Alchemy developed by m1thr0s 729. Her current work to date includes the art and written analysis of The Mutational Alchemy Tarot, the development of Pentagrammaton (the 32 5-line binary structures unknown in the East) and the ongoing analysis of The Hidden Diamond Sutra.

site rebuild in progress…

Please bear with us while we rebuild our site. We have a lot of exciting changes to implement in 2014. We have attracted a great deal of attention spanning the 11+ years we have been online but that was only phase 1 of this open-source abrahadabra project in which a charismatic dialogue was ignited regarding the alchemy of (praeter-human) stars. Those who have been monitoring and/or participating in that dialogue can attest to what a tremendous success it has been overall. What we have planned for phase 2  is going to knock your socks off as we advance from the theoretical to the practical side of things and expedite the ancient hierophantic task of accelerated transmutation.

So a little patience will be greatly rewarded and we intend to work diligently to make this transition as seamless as possible for our dedicated friends and fellow students at large.

perseverance furthers,

abrahadabra institute

Born in Berkeley, California in 1953 on the cusp of the water snake and dragon years, m1thr0s has been a dedicated student of the I Ching, Qabbalah, Tantra, and Esoteric (Spiritual) Alchemy since his early teens.

His art features many classical elements from mystical traditions around the world such as the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the charismatic Flower of Life, the Pythagorean Tetractys, the I Ching Hexagrams, the Lo Shu Magic Square (and subsequent Magickal Squares), the Abrahadabra Grid, the (Hidden) Diamond of the Tree of Life, among others. He defines himself as a *Talismanic Artist* whose objective is to facilitate dynamic transformation in viewers through the simple act of viewing these powerful transcendental images.

m1thr0s’s art is tracking the *star* thesis of human evolutionary potential through exhaustive analysis of The Body of Light in lieu of Abrahadabra, as revealed in Aleister Crowley’s Liber Al vel Legis (The Book of the Law) in 1904. While not strictly a devotee of Crowley, his work often vindicates the best of Crowley’s own insights and provides us with the freshest window into *star alchemy* available anywhere in the modern world.

symposium notes for january 2013 – self responsibility and apocalypse

This is a synopsis of the discussion from the January 2013 Symposium with m1thr0s, Izi  and the guests at Cryptatropa.
“Abrahadabra is all about reeling in the potential of the human form. The whole thing with the binaries and ternaries is just an outline of a super quantum computer that is present in the biological. When you start the synchronistic dialogue between the binary and ternary it blows the lid off of dimensions – it’s like the jump from 2d to 3d where it opens up another dimension, maybe more.  It activates our brains where commands can be issued and enact immediate results on the world as long as it is not unlawful. There are a few things that may be unlawful by that system, but not much. The lines are not drawn where you might think. Maggots don’t have a lot of rights in that system, but Kings do.  Democratic humanitarian crap is not recognized by the universe as being very real. The whole idea of self responsibility is not a gift, it’s an expectation and demand  from life to us and our kind . We either do something about that or we blow it out of our asses. If we choose to do that we blow our chance. I don’t know where that intelligence goes, but I think it gets recycled. You are way better off to try and fail than to never try at all.

We cannot be self sustaining beings without access to more energy. We’re never going to solve our problems through politics.  It’s going to require a combination and balance of economics and energy.  In all of that,  politics becomes the least relevant of issues. Self government implies certain things. In order for it to really work you need energy independent beings.
In the time of kings there were good and bad kings – it all has its ill dignified side. There is no political idealism that can solve the human condition.  This kind of thinking is out there. But that’s okay, I don’t think its out there any further than we are actually able to go. But we have handicaps along the way….”
izi on Behanceizi on Deviantartizi on Dribbbleizi on Emailizi on Facebookizi on Githubizi on Googleizi on Instagramizi on Linkedinizi on Myspaceizi on Pinterestizi on Stumbleuponizi on Twitter
Magister Ouroboros 777 at The Abrahadabra Institute LLC
Succeeding m1thr0s 729 (Magister Ouroboros 729) izi is current guardian of the 418 current in this world. She upholds the young Nu Aeon tradition of Mutational Alchemy, a hybrid branch of Hermetic Alchemy developed by m1thr0s 729. Her current work to date includes the art and written analysis of The Mutational Alchemy Tarot, the development of Pentagrammaton (the 32 5-line binary structures unknown in the East) and the ongoing analysis of The Hidden Diamond Sutra.

mutational alchemy essentials 001

  *Author’s Note* *All posts by m1thr0s at this site are amended articles extracted from a much bigger work-in-progress that will be defining Mutational Alchemy in all of its diverse principles and applications.  Since there is a great deal to this topic which is many months away from completion, (Late 2018) certain of its tenets deemed as standalone topics are being allowed to run ahead of the finished book. No responsible theoretician would ever imagine himself to be the only one pioneering important new insights all by himself so that where certain breakthroughs strike me as vital to the overall discussion at hand, these will occasionally find themselves posted as independent articles. This should serve several purposes at once, creating interest in the larger work on the one hand while facilitating a sense of fellowship with other pioneers at the same time.

Mutational Alchemy Essentials 001

In the Beginning…

It has finally dawned on me that a lot of people just don’t have a clue what the hell I am going on about with all this Mutational Alchemy rhetoric or why it might make any difference to anybody else. In part this is due to the fact that I started out posting things I knew would be of some interest to people I have already been in communication with for a number of years and are already themselves familiar with a good many of the essentials. But this doesn’t help anybody else and when I find that even people who have themselves been involved in one or another practices for many years haven’t a clue what I am going on about…this clearly signals a serious communication problem. So I am going to attempt to examine Mutational Alchemy from the very beginning and try to establish both what it is and why it might make any difference to others. This will actually be a little difficult for me since I am myself so steeped in many of these ideas and practices that it can be nearly impossible to remember all the steps that might have led me to the present. Nevertheless, if this is going to do anybody any good, I have to try.

Sorting Out a Few Key Terms

Anyone who has actually attempted to pour over my posts has probably already realized that I bounce around between a lot of terms you may have a very difficult time tracking down via Google. Believe it or not, there really is a powerful thread of continuity running through all of this, but in order to understand what that is, you have to first understand what it is that I do best and where the vast majority of my personal emphasis has been placed throughout my own esoteric practise. Rather than just lay out a “glossary of terms” as was suggested by one member, I am going to try to initiate this ground-up discussion and stop at intervals to clarify those terms I am introducing for the first time. To begin with, everything I discuss at any time revolves around the so-called Body of Light and its mastery. That is my whole focus in this immediate incarnation. Before and After everything else I may ally myself with, I am first and foremost a Body of Light Technician. It is the thing I have been studying since I was a teenager (I am 53 years old at this writing) and it is the backbone of every magickal/alchemical discussion I engage. Whether I am discussing Abrahadabra or the Tetractys or the TwinStar or the Lo Shu Diagram or the Tai Hsuan Ching or even Ningishzidda and perhaps 100 or more other things you have rarely heard of, it all comes back to the Body of Light and its mastery. That is where my passion lies and that is what I am always going on about in one form or another. So forget all these other terms for a moment…we will return to them in due course. For the moment I want to just discuss the Body of Light itself and try to extrapolate the core assumptions underscoring this language. Getting straight on this will determine whether or not any of the rest of this stuff is of any real use to you. If you are not onboard with the Body of Light as a matter of utmost importance, nothing else I can ever say will ever matter much anyway, since, believe it or not, that’s actually all I ever really talk about.

The Body of Light

The *Body of Light*is a generic term pertaining to the notion of an *etheric* body (and bodies) that is thought to exist in tangent to the physical body itself. Similar in concept to the rings of a rainbow, the idea is that the physical body, as we know it, is actually only the lowest rung in a lattice network of bodies descending from the Highest (subtlest) to the Lowest (coursest). Various *models* of this extended anatomical network of bodies have been asserted over time, some asserting as few as 3, others as many as 7 or more grand divisions within this overall Body of Light framework. At the time of this writing, if you run a search on Wikipedia on the Body of Light you will come upon a kind of misinformation that has done enormous damage to the correct understanding (and productive discussion) of the Body of Light as it has been asserted since the dawn of history by many different cultures in many different ways. While it is true that Thelema has its own rendition(s) of this ancient metaphysical thesis, any knowledgable Thelemite will be able to tell you that this is drawn primarily from Golden Dawn teachings, which themselves are largely drawn from traditional and hermetic qabbalah sources. There is in fact no such thing as a uniquely Thelemic Body of Light standard (though there is, in fact, a new model to be weighed, which I will come to presently). A more responsible contemporary treatise on the Body of Light in western magickal tradition can be found in Mark Stavish’s condensed essay The Body of Light in the Western Esoteric Tradition It should be noted that references to Chi Kung (see: Qigong), a traditional Body of Light discipline endemic to Chinese Alchemy, do not strictly apply to the model being presented in Mutational Alchemy. Chi Kung works with Chi energy which would typically be seated within the solar plexus region and is developed and directed at will by the experienced practitioner through a complex system of breathing and visualization excercises. There is nothing inherently wrong or invalid with this practise…it is simply not the same model of light-energy that we are dealing with in Abrahadabra/Mutational Alchemy. The closest historical parallel I have been able to find to the Mutational Alchemy system is the Merkabah , or “Chariot of Soul”, from Qabbalistic literature, of which very little has been written outlining its mastery. While certain similarities do exist between traditional Chi and Kundalini practices and the principles outlined in Mutational Alchemy, the techniques, properties and overall objectives are quite different. In Abrahadabra we are attempting to energize and gradually phase into the *StarBody* itself, as depicted in the Abrahadabra Grid, of which the Tree of Life is viewed as a physiological subdomain, or mathematical subset. We base our proof of this *StarBody* system…first upon the geometry of Abrahadabra itself and finally upon the actual results we obtain through working with elemental energy fields directly. It is thus very important to scrutinize these maps very closely, as this will be our starting point in developing the visualization disciplines necessary to realize any actual physical results. I should also point out that you are going to be operating without much of any *safety net* in the Abrahadabra/Mutational Alchemy system, simply because no *traditional* precedent is known to exist for this immediate model of reality. One’s approach has to be based upon what is internallycoherent and logically and intuitively correct, since there are no other conventional *guides* to lean upon. This is a bold new territory for pioneering spirits who can trust to their own best judgments to lead them.

Historical Overview

It is virtually impossible to determine where and when the whole concept of a Body of Light began. Ethnobotanists would typically argue that it has its origins in Shamanic traditions where the method of accessing this higher anatomical network would have involved injesting psychotropic concoctions of one sort or another and going into deep trance states where the ability to step into these higher body systems might then be directly experienced. Since there are virtually no written records to substantiate this claim, we have only the iconographic evidence of cultural art expressions to guide us here. What we do know is that very specific reference to the Body of Light anatomical structure can be dated as far back as the Vedas of ancient India, where we come to the notion of The Five Koshas. The Five Koshas, or “sheaths”, amount to rings of subtle pranic force (see also: the Vayus, or 5 Winds) surrounding the Atman, or “True Self” which resides at their core. It is vitally important for us to grasp that these “layers” as defined in the Vedas are not separate from each other…these are not separate bodies per se…but rather degrees of subtlety within the body as a whole. To this day, the Five Koshas amount to a central Yogic doctrine around which the Eight Limbs of Yoga have been developed as a means to purifying and fortifying mind & body so as to ultimately be able to access all of these “sheathes” at will. At approximately the same time as the Vedas are being compiled in India, in the far east we see the emergence of a Dynastic China which is ushered in with a comprehensive model of universal reality in the form of the I Ching. The I Ching is typically touted as an *Oracle*, used for the purpose of divining Fate for good or ill, but it is actually a great deal more than this. The I Ching is a complete Cosmogony, defining Earth, Man and Heaven in one Grand Unified logic, or physics. While it would not, on its face, appear to be an actual model of the Body of Light, we know that around this physics the entirety of Yin-Yang Medicine sprang into being along with its doctrine of Chi. We find very ancient mappings of Cosm outlining whole universal continuum and Man’s place in relation to this, so that the sum of all its parts and all of its extensions, does in fact give us a model of *man-made-perfect*, which is, at its heart, what the Body of Light is really all about. The differences between the Indian and the Chinese approaches are very interesting to observe, since what we find is that the Ayurvedic (East-Indian) model is emphasizing Microcosm where the Chinese system is actually more focused on Macrocosm. Nevertheless both systems set immediately about to integrate the physical body itself, so that while the Ayurvedic system evolves into the Chakras, identifying energy along the spine, the Chinese system evolves into the Meridians and is plotting Chi pathways throughout the body…including higher states of energy/consciousness not ordinarily accessable without the advent of disciplined concentration. Exactly where and when Western Civilization joins in with this discussion is a little hard to track with a perfect certainty. We find evidences of Trees of Life dating all the way to Mesopotamia but Body of Light doctrines have almost universally been “hidden” from the profane…these were were secret teachings imparted to the initiated only and so it is difficult to know for certain just how much resides within the ancient Greek or the Persian or Hebrew cultures for instance. What has filtered down to us more-or-less intact has largely come by way of the Qabbalistic Tree of Life and its tenets, yet we know that parallels do exist in the Druidic, the Nordic and other places across the globe. Similar to the Chinese system in many respects, the Qabbalistic Tree of Life is principally focused on Macrocosm. The Tree of Life is not really charting energy along the spine so much as it is attempting to map out the relationship of Universe to Man. Even so, in lieue of the Hermetic Alchemical axiom “As Above – So Below” – “As Within – So Without”, what we discover is that anything which does a good job of charting Macrocosm will inevitably find its reciprocal compliment in Microcosm as well, and vice-versa. While the Tree of Life is not intentionally tracking the “Gunas” for instance, nevertheless the Gunas are clearly represented in the 3 Pillars themselves. Because Man is still the measure by which Universe is being defined, what corresponds to Macrocosm has an immediate relevance to Microcosm also.

Underscoring Assumptions

The careful reader may have already observed that in some respects we can assert that what has come to be called The Body of Light might also be called “The Mind”. And indeed, if we follow Carl Jung’s lead in this respect, then just about anything that attempts to define archetypal relationships of any kind has something to do with this discussion. For the Hermetic Alchemist, Mind & Matter are really all about the same thing…all made from the same “stuff”…just vibrating at different frequencies. Why do we assign “bodies” to archetypes at all? Why is it so important to us that Gods have certain forms and certain powers and so on? The mind classifies things according to “kind” and we are always the measuring rod against which our knowledge is measured. Even if we break parts of this habit, we will almost certainly never be rid of it completely. Form speaks to Function and to understand a things’ Form is to understand its Value. One of the core assumptions surrounding Body of Light literature is the idea that human beings are fundamentally a house divided. It is universally asserted that what has occured is that consciousness has descended from a primal Unity into a condition of Duality and is now confronted with the difficulty of regaining this lost equilibrium. Exactly why this may have occurred is subject to different points of view, some contending that this has to do with a powerful pull towards individuality, others that it is simply the way consciousness acquires new experience, still others that “intelligences”, like stars, are formed in a womb-like condition but must pass through this whole process to become fully matured and so on. I do not speculate on the reasons so much myself but I am reasonably convinced of the Unity/Duality scenario in general. Work that we do on the Body of Light is intended to restore this Unity. When you hear talk of a Supreme Attainment, or the Great Liberation, or the Great Work in Completion etc, we are always talking about the idea of having established…or re-established…this original Unity, with the possible exception that having carved it out in adversity, it should not be so easily lost again. Nearly all mystical and/or magickal doctrines teach that Mind is the key to Matter, so we need to weigh that in as one of the core assumptions around which Body of Light work is defined. If we did not think that deliberately focusing our Minds in certain ways could amount to significant changes in terms of Matter itself, there would be little point left to any kind of meditation practice at all. It is important to periodically revisit this core assumption to reassess everything it implies. The primary tools of all visualization work are Light and Sound, and why is this? Because Light and Sound are the two most powerful tools the Mind has at its immediate disposal. Beyond this, we actually do know that all gradations…all conditions of matter…are Light/Sound waves vibrating at varying rates and frequencies. What is sometimes difficult to wrap our brains around is that the faculty of Thought itself may ultimately be all that is required to shape or reshape any condition of Matter. Concurrent to this theme of Thought being the key to Matter is the notion of Right Thinking itself. This is a very important core assumption I want to drive home from the start, because, again, it is an area that has suffered a great deal of damage over time. From the time of the Vedas it has always been maintained that Right Thinking combined with Right Action points the way to Right Destiny itself. But what is “Right Thinking” when the matter turns to things highly esoteric? Too many times we are spoon-fed explanations and instructions as to how we should proceed that make no natural sense to us, yet we are often told that this is not important…that we can only come to understand these things by doing them without question. While there may be some justification for this in limited doses, the real problem with perpetrating this kind of instruction is that you are not ultimately producing free-thinking individuals who have sorted out their most sensitive personal practices for themselves. In the end you wind up with people who know how to go through the motions but have no real idea what they might mean, since they were never encouraged to ask what they might mean to begin with. You cannot achieve Right Thinking if you do not allow for a full measure of Skepticism and Doubt from the outset. Here in the context of Abrahadabra/Mutational Alchemy, “Right Thinking” means exactly what it should mean…it means asking and answering all the hard questions until you have very clear and compelling reasons to take “Right Action”… This could go on but for the time being my objective is to lay down a few essentials pertaining to the Body of Light itself, the history of it, and its most central core assumptions. For the most part I think I have fairly well done that. I will return in the next segment and begin looking at why Abrahadabra might be anything particularly special… m1thr0s

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Magister Ouroboros 777 at The Abrahadabra Institute LLC
Succeeding m1thr0s 729 (Magister Ouroboros 729) izi is current guardian of the 418 current in this world. She upholds the young Nu Aeon tradition of Mutational Alchemy, a hybrid branch of Hermetic Alchemy developed by m1thr0s 729. Her current work to date includes the art and written analysis of The Mutational Alchemy Tarot, the development of Pentagrammaton (the 32 5-line binary structures unknown in the East) and the ongoing analysis of The Hidden Diamond Sutra.