Monday, December 16, 2013

Metabolism VIII - Mother Letters, Elements and Consciousness

The mother letters are then associated with the structures of consciousness as laid out in the early phases of the Metabolism of Time in the following way*.

Alef represents the blood and the interstitial fluids which supply much needed nutrients and oxygen to the cells of your body to complete their metabolism (and respiration), and on the mental level, Alef represents the flow of time which provides the supply of ''events'' into your cell which you need to complete the metabolism of time.  The main trinity of this in the Metabolism of Time diagram are the Altered Future (the blood-time proper), ''reducing the future'' (which corresponds to the way the cell membrane filters out components of the blood that it does not need via gates and receptors) and changing the future (which corresponds to the way in which cells release back into the blood various products and their ''waste''').   In the diagrams of Felix this is represented by the third circle which bounds the other two, and corresponds to the cellular membrane.  The ''Experience of the Moment'' occurs within the cytoplasm itself, and represents the bridge between the third sphere and the second sphere.




Mem represents the cytosol and the organelles - this is the location where the main functions of the cell are performed.  Nutrients are processed by various organelles, chemical messages are interpreted and responded to, threats that have somehow passed the cell membrane are phagocytosed and destroyed (hopefully!).  On the mental level, Mem, then corresponds to your immediate environment and your sensation of your body within that environment.  The objects that surround you in your environment could be likened to stuctures, messages and nutrients, etc, within the cell, which you are operating on and processing.  Since Mem and the Organelles also relate to the planets, the environment around you is planetary (in the astrological sense) and those objects have planetary qualities if you look below the surface appearance**. The main trinity of this section are the ''Experience of the Moment'' (the events that occur in the cytoplasm - nutrients, messages, etc), Analysis of the Moment (the way those events are interpreted by the cell), and Reaction to the Moment (the choices of the cell in response to those events).  The Innner Mind which occurs at the bottom of this trinity corresponds to the nucleus (the nuclear membrane) of the cell.



Finally, Shin represents the genetic material and this is seen in its triple -headed flame in the form of DNA (two strands) + mRNA (one strand) - on the mental level this relates to your own ''memory'' but not just the memory of this particular physical incarnation but all of the incarnations of this line of the Tree of Life, down to things like coral and sponges and perhaps even to the atoms themselves.  When stimulated by the events of the ''present'' (cytoplasm), the self delves into the ''past'' (genes/chromosomes) in order to retrieve information in order to deal with those events, in the same way the DNA unwinds to present information that allow proteins to be transcribed that deal with the present moment of the cell.  This memory is ''inside'' you but *not* just inside your brain but in the very fibre of your being***.  Your cells have memory not just your brain.




Complete List of Cell Correspondences to Metabolism of Time

  • Altered Future - Blood
  • Reducing the Future - Receptors on Cell Membrane
  • Changing the Future - Products (and waste) of cell reduced back into the blood
  • Experience of the Moment - Environment of Cytoplasm
  • Analysing the Moment - Processes by which the cell manages and interprets new events in the cytoplasm
  • Reaction to the Moment - Processes through which the cell responds to change
  • Inner Mind - Nuclear membrane
  • Remembering the Past - DNA unwinding to produce mRNA for protein transcription
  • Forgetting the Past - DNA rewinding after transcription
  • The Altered Past - DNA in chromosomal form
Do not forget that these cellular correspondences also match up to the physiognomical correspondences outlaid in the first section of the Metabolism of Time and various ideas are incorporated into the design of the images.  For instance:

This is the image of the Ignorant Fool which corresponds to ''reducing the future'' and ''serotonin'' for reasons explained in that section.  This also corresponds to the receptors and transporters in the cell membrane.  The image shows the way in which the ''membrane'' selectively filters the blood for contents, excluding pollution in the form of waste or microbial threats, etc and only allowing components through which are useful.  Similarly the mind receives tremendous quantities of information from the future every moment but this information is filtered because otherwise the consciousness (cell would be overloaded).

*It may have been more appropriate to reverse the phrasing and say that the cell represents the mother letters as opposed to the mother letters represent the cell.  For me the two ends of manifestation, nous and ''matter'' are intrinsically linked.

**Do not make the mistake to think that the planetary ''objects and events'' are orbiting your sense of your physical body as the Sun.  The Sun is represented by two things, the nucleolus which represents your ''reach'' but also the mitochondria (the esoteric aspect of which will be covered in future posts).  Your actual sense of the physical body itself is rightly associated with the Moon as the genetic material itself but this contains within it the whole twelve signs of the zodiac as well.

***This is a highly important technical point and where the Saadia Tree clearly differs from the Ari Tree.  The Ari, as is traditional with the later Kabbalists associates Shin with the top-most horizontal as it states ''create the head with fire'' - but if you look closely at the text it could be refering to the sexual organ (see Kaplan commentary on this section of SY, its in Ch.3).  This is my preferred reading and also connects better with the idea of the DNA being closer to the true ''mind'' as opposed to the brain - it also connects more with the ideas of molecular developmental biology - more on this later as well.


  1. The point about Shin relating to your DNA, and how that translates to the "past" was difficult for me to grasp, but is very important and extremely helpful to understand. One particularly intense experience of Shin is as Kundalini, the awakening of which essentially rids the body of negative/harmful memories and tensions which accumulate IN the body, and are the source of (self-)destructive tendencies. It does this by animating the memories, neuroses, complexes, etc, which we have stored within what is typically called the "unconscious."

    It seems related to a misfiring of the filtering mechanism you're referring to, where we take into the depths of the cell something that should rightly be considered waste and discarded.

  2. Thank you Paul, but I really thought you were an Ari guy when it came to the placing of the horizontals? You're absolutely right on everything you said except about the filtering, and there you are right but it is not occuring at the level of Hokmah (cellular membrane) but Tifereth (nuclear membrane). If we consider the nucleus to be the depths of the cell, which it is, then it would be the equivalent of absorbing viral DNA which then reprogrammes your own DNA. However I would like to urge caution here as I believe a) some ''viruses'' serve as a form of communication, part of which is essential b) some viruses are really important in order to assist in ''transformation'' which definitely becomes more and more important as we go through the alchemy process, marriage, hermaphrodite, death and ''magical child''. Some of those complexes and neuroses, seen as such from the perspective of societal norms, turn out to be the seeds of magical transformation later in my humble opinion.

    I have to go through each Mother Letter in order as I am matching this work with the devolution of the earth altar into the 22 objects so first its Alef as Mother of the Elements/Basics, Mem next as Mother of the Planets/Doubles, and finally Shin as Mother of the Zodiac/Simples - but if you want to get ahead I am going to be looking at the relationship between the Zodiac man, Feelix, the 12 simples and their kingships and the 12 basic genetic rhythms (

  3. I agree that what we usually perceive as a negative internalization can often add "fuel to the fire" for magical transformations, though I think the impetus for that transformation is Logos, rather than the internalization itself. It's the Christ descending into Hades which brings "the righteous dead" back to life, to give them the opportunity to face judgment.