Monday, January 28, 2013

Metabolism V - Physiognomical Characters Summary

Over the last several posts, some of the physical and mental traits of the physiognomical characters have been described.  The characters are associated with the 'Metabolism of Time' diagram in that they characterize various phases in the digestion of time, and by extension the Sefirot of the Tree of Life.  The knowledge that I carry regarding the characters is a lot more detailed than presented in the blog but I am aware that long posts lose audience.  I will be detailing associations with the various structures (organelles) of the biological cell as we go deeper into the work along with more qabalistic insight.

To summarise the important associations:

KETHER - The Ignorant Genius is representative of the pituitary gland, which is the master alchemist of the entire endocrinological system of the human body - the 'potions' it secretes into the bloodstream in response to the ever altering levels of hormones in the blood, go on to give orders to the other glands in the secretion of their own 'potions'.  He is also representative of 'The Altered Future' which is the wellspring of the moment, but which is fundamentally altered by the events of the previous moment.


CHOKMAH - The Ignorant Fool is representative of serotonin, associated here with the pineal gland as the hormone of consciousness (as opposed to melatonin the hormone of sleep).  These characters are wakeful, intense, and are often classically handsome or strikingly beautiful (the prevalence of serotonin causes a rise in a civilized 'groomed' beauty).  They are very good at working within societal boundaries, charming and seductive.  They are also associated with 'Reducing the Future' in the way in which a moment is 'reduced' into consciousness, i.e. that only a portion of the possibility each moment presents is experienced.

BINAH - The Bloodless Being is representative of melatonin, associated with the pineal gland and the hormone of 'sleep'.  Melatonin is a powerful anti-oxidant and these people often appear youthful and slim with good complexion.  The negative side of this hormone is a propensity towards anorexia and low self image and also some problems with fertility (think of AMA and AIMA).  They represent 'changing the future' as the sum effect of the events of the last moment which go on to change the next - think of the way in which your dreams summarise the day but the events of that summary may cause changes in your approach to the next one.


DAATH - The Treefrog is representative of the thyroid gland (a frog in the throat) and as such is associated with hormones that control metabolism and growth (they can be noticed by prominent or sunken-in eyes).  They are associated the 'perception of the moment' and are very visually/sensually orientated, losing themselves in the contemplation of their or others art, and also quite interested in travelling in order to absorb as much of the 'experience of the moment' as they can.


CHESED - The Shellfish is representative of that aspect of the immune system which recognises self and protects them - as such they are often very political with the extremes become demagogues or cult leaders.  They love to throw parties for their 'tribe' and as associated with the 'reaction to the moment' they can often be seen to be entertainers or hosts whether regaling their audience with jokes or magic tricks.


GEVURAH - The Confused Venutian is representative of that aspect of the immune system which recognises foriegn bodies and destroys them.  Opposing the Shellfish, the Confused Venutian can often find societal interaction quite difficult and stands apart from the crowd - more suspicious and less trusting.  Associated with the analysis the moment, they love breaking things down into their component parts to see how they work be they machines, people, or art.  They also love acts of destruction be their intellectual or physical.


TIFERETH - The Prisoner is representative of the pancreas and as such is associated with energy storage (insulin) and energy release (glucagon).  They store fat in adipose tissue around the waistline (as opposed to it being distributed more evenly across the body).  They can be very introspective dreamers but occassionally anarchic as their peaceful digestion is disturbed by the release of the stored energy.  Associated as they are with the 'Inner Mind' they can be very philosophical and also hestitant to action, as they are highly aware of the consequences of their decisions - burdened with this voice of a strong conscience , this inaction is typically only broken by bouts of messianism.


NETZACH - The Mime is representative of the adrenal cortex and the hormone cortisol which is produced there.  This hormone is released during stress and often Mimes with their propensity for this hormone will be able to handle large amounts of stress and multi-task highly effectively.  They will push that stress to the very limit though and will have some physical ailments associated with it, most likely skin problems but sometimes stomach conditions.  Extended periods of depression have been noted but these can be avoided by making sure the diet is not exacerbating inflammatory conditions (advise anti-inflammatory diet for Mimes).  Cortisol impairs the memory, very useful when you don't want to recall the exact details of pregnancy or a traumatic experience but not so useful when studying for exams.  Mimes typically display more intuitive or natural intelligence.


HOD - The Jay is representative of the adrenal medulla and the hormone adrenaline (epinephrine) that is produced there.  They can be quick to anger - as the adrenaline makes their tempers flare and the flight/fight system kick in.  They have lithe bodies and often faces that are beaky or avian (although note the 'owl' form of this character).  Adrenaline assists memory and as such their recall ability is often very high - although a consequence of this is a difficulty in letting things go and a propensity to bear a grudge and harbour vengeful ideas.  This ability to remember details helps them in their nature as scientists, and other forms of pseudo-intellectual.


YESOD - The Many Mannered Mind Man is associated with the sex glands of the individual particularly testosterone in both boys and girls.  It produces certain distinctive characteristics in men such as balding, hairy bodies and paraphilias as well as a reduced ability to control impulsive behaviour.  Women with high testosterone will also be prone to violence and aggression but can often appear very beautiful (in an 'Artemisian' way though).  All Many Mannered Mind Men show great abilities in shape-shifting and adapting to new environments.  This character is associated with the altered past - as the sex glands store the seed which contains the 'history' of the species, in the same way the memory contains the 'history' of the individual. 


These physiognomical characters are archetypes and although you will find very pure forms of them in the people around you, more often than not you are going to find that those people lie on 'paths' between them.  For instance a tall, lithe man with a fast metabolism and a propensity to anger who takes on many projects and has skin conditions as a result may be said to be under the influence of adrenaline and cortisol simultaneously - probably in this case closer to adrenaline than cortisol - on the path between remembering and forgetting.  Or take the prisoner for example whose characteristic figure of the pig on the toilet speaks to us of fat and energy storage - the paths from this position go to all of the surrounding characters (as Tifereth is the centre of the web of paths) therefore there will be fatter versions of all the characters that lead to it the closer they get to Tifereth or the Inner Mind.

These physiognomical traits give us insight into the underlying 'genetic' character and therefore an insight into the basic moods and responses of an individual when faced with different stimuli - these traits allow us as Qabalists and Alchemists to spot ailments and afflictions and suggest remedies of various different forms. 

In the next series of posts we will detail how this underlying genetic character is buffetted up and down the metabolism of time by positive and negative attention from other characters and how the individual may come to wear a 'mask' because of this.  Sometimes when this negative and positive attention runs to the extremes of spoiling or abuse the mask may become permanent and distort the underlying natural character.  Most of the time though characters will typically recieve on average a neutral amount of positive and negative attention and so remain around the natural character. 

In terms of the nurture vs nature argument we must understand that nurture is typically in line with nature - not only do parents raise their offspring to take advantage of the DNA they are given but also natural chemical messengers like pheromones from the individual will 'attract' situations and other characters suitable to that character's genetic development (no one teaches a snake to be a snake).  There are some extreme cases but mostly nature takes care of itself.  Therefore a lot can be done with this system on its own without the system of 'masks' that I will explore next but the masks do provide the next level of understanding and can deepen the potency of medicine you can achieve with the physiognomical system.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Metabolism V - Physiognomy (Pituitary)

The last character of this saga is known as the Ignorant Genius.  In the metabolism of time he is The Altered Future.  The Bloodless Being represents the last effects of the last moment, that go on to influence the future in order to release the next moment which is then 'reduced' into perception by the Ignorant Fool.

In the vision of my youth, the Ignorant Genius was revealed to dwell at the very top of the world, in the mountains, where great machines attached to his observatory pulled the clouds from the sky because they were obstructing his view of the stars*.  This desire to know, to push back the sphere of ignorance onto itself, quite literally creates time - as the twin rivers that flow from the machines to their source in the Great White Sea - and the habitats of the characters that accompany the various phases of it**, characters that we have been discussing in these sections on physiognomy.

In the web of the endocrine glands the Ignorant Genius is associated with the pituitary which is, if you forgive the colourful expression, 'the master alchemist' of the whole system.  It monitors the concentration of the various hormones in the blood and when they dip below their natural level, because of reabsorption, signals are sent from there to instruct the other glands to produce more of their own particular 'potions'.  The levels of hormones, once set at adulthood, are intent on keeping you yourself, for your age.

Typically these characters have rather large faces with large features (not just the eyes, but the nose and brow and pay attention to differences between them and thyroidal types, but also remember the paths...) and they are likely to be tall (because of the growth hormone produced here).  They are very interested in the identities of people and are good at leading them because of it - not necessarily in the front line, perhaps in the strategy department of a business, perhaps in the form of an electrifying writer or director.  Their sense of identity with the future leads them to be particularly interested in technology (sci-fi), progress and destiny.  Not necessarily spiritual they have clear vision of where things are going.

Qabalistically the Ignorant Genius is a personification*** of the Sefira Keter, the 'source' of the ToL, and associated with the tip of the Yod, also the World to Come, i.e. the Future.  A deeper understanding of how the future is associated with the start is in an interpretation of the first word of the Torah, Berashith.  The letter B is a prefix for 'in' (in Hebrew) the English translation leads us to read the first line as 'in the beginning' and consequently in our linear spatial-perception of such things as 'at the beginning'.  But equally that prefix of B could be seen to mean 'within', so we have this idea of being within the beginning.  The beginning is quite a grand mystical concept when seen in this light, it has the Buddhist notion of 'becoming' as an eternal state of the universe.  We can also change the notion of 'Elohim' as a male prefix and a female suffix to be something like 'Being(s)'.  Instead of 'At the beginning God created', we can read 'Within the Beginning, Being(s) Create(s)'.  This is closer to the reality of our situation and in one way or another the Ignorant Genius will carry it with them as a mantra.  Creation, human creation, is sacred to them, most particularly their own.

*Insight - this probably relates to the blood brain barrier.  Ah ha. Hmmmmm.

**The Ignorant Genius does not create the characters themselves.  The characters themselves are created by a process of the fragmentation of the 'Fool' a mythical being which once contained them all and which is now more of a husk in the form of the Ignorant Fool (i.e. serotonin) - an anthropomorphised 'shevirat ha kelim'.  The Prisoner for instance is the Fools conscience and sense of guilt, the Ignorant Genius his creative genius free of the restraint of the conscience and the sense of guilt.  One of the tasks in the remit of the Ignorant Genius is to endeavour to rectify the worlds by restoring the original mythical Fool.  In our lives this process is undertaken through a series of psychodramas where we meet the fragmented identity of ourselves in the characters we encounter and through dialogue and other action reconstruct what was lost.  Success in this endeavour, difficult though it is, is Eudaimonia.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Metabolism V - Physiognomy (Pineal)

The pineal gland features two characters - the Bloodless Being (Changing the Future) and the Ignorant Fool (Reducing the Future).  They are associated with melatonin and serotonin - two hormones related to the pineal gland that regulate cycles of sleep and wakefulness.


The Bloodless Being is representative of melatonin, her full title was 'Mr Fernando - The Bloodless Being' for reasons we will go into later, but looking at the image and the name it indicates a certain androgynous quality to this character.  Melatonin generally produces slim people with good complexion - it has an anti-oxidant quality to it that also fights cancer.  As a result of the melatonin, Bloodless Beings will look young for longer than the other characters.  This combination of slimness, good skin and youthful appearance often makes them highly envied by other characters as these are the attributes that society (or rather the media) regards as beautiful.  However high melatonin is linked to anorexia nervosa so one can expect a strange relationship of the individual to their looks here in that they will often feel that they are not good looking (even though generally they are regarded as such).  Melatonin is also linked to infertility and irregular periods - again this is the universe and the genetics of man keeping everything in balance - so these youthful ('timeless') good looking people typically have problems with their self-image and find it more difficult to reproduce.

 I have had some misgivings about using celebrities to illustrate what I mean by the different genetic characters (like I did with Jack Black and the pancreas) but since I do not necessarily share a circle of acquaintances with the readers it is pretty much my only option.  I have chosen Gwen Stefani, Orlando Bloom and Azealia Banks for melatonin to show that the qualities of these Bloodless Beings (and of course the other characters as well) are not bound by race or gender.  They are 'races' but they are genetic races and they exist across other social boundaries.  Also these celebrities will also typically be 'on a path' between characters like everyone else so they are not pure archetypes but they are close enough to get the point across.

The image of the Bloodless Being is replete with qabalistic symbolism.  The four hearts hanging from the fingers of the tree are indicative of the 32 paths of wisdom in each of the four worlds (for the value of heart lev is 32).  The bowler hat is reminscent of the rings of Saturn, the jacket the outer world of concealment, the braids the caduceus (and genetics), even the thumb phallus and the female in man's clothing is indicating the genderless androgynous qualities of the divine hermaphrodite who contains within itself contradicting qualities.


The Ignorant Fool is the other character associated with the pineal gland and he is representative of the hormone serotonin.  You first encountered him in the image of the Many Mannered Mind Man where he lay prostrate on the beach.  The two of them are indeed linked by the relationship between testosterone and serotonin.  High testosterone and low serotonin are behind the incidence of impulsive behaviour - these indicates that high serotonin characters are good at working within society. One story that explains this relationship (and contains some physiognomical treasure) is how silver foxes were bred for tameness - as the silver foxes were selected and bred for their tameness or domesticity (by figuring out how close they would come to a human to get food) - the serotonin levels of the fox went up and there were some corresponding physiognomical changes.  Over the generations, the foxes got 'cuter' - their eyes got bigger, their ears became floppy etc.  This explains how the wolf turned itno the dog, at the border of human camps there would be scraps of food, and their genetic predisposition to work within or against those borders allowed them to get that food (and therefore be successful).

So what we are dealing with the Ignorant Fool is a very cute human creature that is great at dealing with people inside convention.  Now what do we mean by 'cute' - it does not mean fairy-like in humans, fairy style cuteness is pretty much the domain of a character we discussed previously 'The Treefrog' - no these people are groomed, stylish and can be strikingly handsome or beautiful.  If they are men they will have some of the timelessness of the Bloodless Being but it will generally manifest in a 'stylishly aged' way like say Robert Downey Junior or George Clooney.

These people will be charming, courteous etc as they are very good at working within societal boundaries.  They will have a stockier more muscular build - again a good rule to bear in mind is 'left pillar' tends to slimness, right pillar tends to the stocky.   The serotonin also gives them a deeper experience of 'wakefulness' or consciousness and such these individuals can get 'intense', not in the sense of violence like the Many Mannered Mind Man but in explosions of 'love', or obsession, or even religiosity.

There is a huge difficulty in writing this blog that makes me understand why to some extent our esoteric tradition will always be an oral one - passed from adept to initiate.  It is through necessity that I keep these posts as short and sweet as possible and just hope that the reader will make some notes and then go and make some observations in the world, if the posts went on too long, if they were too complex, I would lose the tiny readership that is even remotely possible for a subject like this.

I do want to again urge the reader to be aware of 'the paths'  that is the connections between the 'Sefiroth' or in this case the hormones. Knowledge of the archetypes is essential for successful use of this system in the real world but typically people are not the pure archetypes, regardless of how close some get.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Metabolism V - Physiognomy (Thymus)

The Thymus gland is situated at the heart and shrinks throughout childhood as it calibrates the immune system.  To simplify, the immune system has to do two things as it establishes itself a) it has to recognise self and b) it has to recognise 'foriegn' bodies.  When the immune system cannot distinguish between foriegn and self you end up with autoimmune disorders where the body attacks itself and destroys various parts (type 1 diabetes for example where the immune system obliterates an important part of the pancreas).  The immune system is clearly associated with Gevurah and Chesed which represent that force and judgement that the system requires to destroy invaders but also the mercy and kindness necessary when it comes to dealing with cells that belong to the self (cellf).

Often in Qabalah the Heart is associated with Tifereth but I disagree with this attribution - not only does the immune system (situated originally in the Thymus gland) clearly connect with the sefiroth of Gevurah and Chesed but the actual function of the heart, its contraction and relaxation, its blue and red blood vessels.  Tifereth, as the glow of light, is much more suited to an energy centre such as the liver and pancreas (as was discussed in that post).

Physiognomically there are two characters which represent this system, namely the Shellfish (which identifies self and is associated with reaction to the moment) and the Confused Venutian (which identifies the foriegn and is associated with analysis of the moment). Socially the two characters behaviour matches this function, Shellfish are very keen to identify with people and form groups or teams under the same banner, they love hosting parties and are very social whereas the Confused Venutian stands apart from such groups and typically finds it more difficult to identify similarity between themselves and other people.  These functions clearly match up with the Sefira - the Shellfish as Chesed is all about love and coming together, the Confused Venutian as Gevurah is about strength and judgement.


This image is representative then of the part of the immune system that recognises the other - in one paw it clutches some kind of detector for scanning the identity of the forgien bodies and then in the other it carries a weapon for dealing with them.  Typically then these individuals will not be automatically trusting of new people but will want to find out as much as they can about them first - this may come off as social awkwardness.  They will also have a propensity towards violence and destruction - this may come in the form of weapons training with sword or gun, or in the form of a love of violent movies or video games.  They generally make good engineers/research-scientists/scholars along with soldiers as in the Metabolism of Time this character is associated with the 'analysis of the moment' - and as such not only are they good at deconstructing people and situations but also ideas and their accompanying vast bodies of data.  Like the Jay and the Bloodless Being, these characters tend towards being rather thin (relatively speaking), they are inbetween the lithe musculature of the Jay and the slim long-boned refinement of the Bloodless Being.  Since their immune system is hyper-calibrated towards the identification of foriegn bodies they can often have runny noses as they destroy invading cells more effectively then other types. 


The Shellfish (cellfish) is all about recognition of the self - they are very pleased to see you if they are your friend.  They love giving gifts, buying drinks, hosting parties and anything where identity is shared - like football teams, or church groups, or company celebrations.  Entertainment is one of their key desires, they love to entertain, whether it be storytelling, magic tricks or stand-up comedy - remember that in the Metabolism of Time this character relates to 'reactionto the moment'.  This love of partying obviously results in a decadent lifestyle and often leads to various forms of addiction because of over-indulgence.  Like the Mime and the Ignorant Fool, these characters are of the stockier type (right hand path), but again distinguishing 'genetic' character from the way the flesh hangs on the skeleton is a tricky skill and takes time to acquire.  Differing between 'meat' and 'fat' is important, and these guys whilst often bigger will tend towards the meatier side of flesh and it will desposited all over their body and not just in the belly area (which is more to do with the Prisoner and the pancreas/insulin).   As the Confused Venutian tends towards the manic, the Shellfish tends to the slothful, relaxed and lazy but this is normally in their own company, which you wouldn't see if you meet them at a party.

As with the other types your genetic makeup determines a lot of the basic advantages and disadvantages that you have in life and therefore by contributing to underlying moods has a massive effect on the character that is manifested.  Typically were one to be objective about this one would aim to identify the potential problems and take up behaviour to counter or moderate the negatives and enhance the positives but the problems are also a great source of 'story' and if one has a love of story they are to respected and explored as thoroughly as the positives.  Also bear in mind the idea of paths, you may encounter an individual who is along the path between Gevurah and Chesed - think about how somebody who combines these opposite traits manifests in the flesh - I have noticed the epic poet falls into this category.