The time has come the Walrus said
To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings
Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
It is my understanding that the relationship between a letter and its kingship (the domain it governs) is like the relationship between genotype and phenotype i.e. that the letter contains the information which is then expressed into its characteristic form. I don't see a duality at work here they are both of the same ''materia'' but one is internal code and the other external expression. This materia as I see it is not ''matter'' persay but Flux, a composite of time and anti-time (consciousness) - the letters are ''anti-time'' the expression of them are ''time''. Anti-time is not different to time other than that it is reversing.
I am re-reading some of the Flying Rolls of the Golden Dawn regarding astral projection and crystallising some of my objections to their method. In Ritual Magic of the Golden Dawn there is an account of a Russian dilettante (Natalia) who used an I Ching hexagram as a gate to project through and then, after describing a snowy wilderness, transformed into a wolf and began howling, barking and attacked someone in the room. Although they originally put this down to ''the race fantasies of a hysterical Slav'' upon later analysis they discovered that the hexagram she had been using talked about the ''superior man transforming into a panther or tiger'' something Natalia could not herself have known.
In a bizarre inversion of this approach the standard (Qabalistic) Golden Dawn practice is to memorise the formal (Golden Dawn approved) symbolism of a letter or Tarot card and then project into it and see the symbols you are ''meant'' to see as opposed to something more free-form like letting the letter speak for itself. Since so much of the Golden Dawn symbol structure is obviously wrong this begs the question as to whether during this type of astral projection they are only seeing what they want to see as opposed to what is really there. Besides the accounts of the Flying Rolls there are other examples of this forced astral distortion by authors such as DMK who after evoking the letter Tav, appeared to be having a vision of Luna (in my opinion the correct symbolism) and then who, through force of will, made himself see Saturn (this example is from the section in Modern Magick on Pathworking).
Natalia's story dovetails with my own experiences of astral projection through letters as gates which are now fairly extensive. During the 5 year study of the SY it became clear in the early phases of research that there were fundamental problems with Golden Dawn/Thelemic symbolism especially the Double Letter to Planet associations. This, coupled with a message from Raziel that said ''Abandon the Tarot, Focus on the Letters'', prompted most of us to conduct more free-form research into letters projecting in to, and from them, without preconceived ideas - the ''Natalia'' approach, if you like - then compared and contrasted with a mixture of different sources (including the Tao Te Jing). We found that our results were much more in line with earlier versions of the SY as opposed to later corruptions of it such as that found in the Golden Dawn qabalistic materials. This speaks to an inherent power and presence, a kingliness, of the letter that can be papered over or diluted by a convinced enough, if deluded, will. Taking this on board we used the symbol as a gate, saw into the mysteries of the letter and re-discovered them through open-ended inquiry.
The 5 year study of individual letters and their kingships culminated in two alternative arrangements - the ''Saadia'' version of the Tree of Life, a kind of default setting which shows a logical classical arrangement of the letters according to the rule of 3, 7 and 12 (sans G.D. baggage) and the Tree of Gates which is effectively each Sefira reimagined as the 231 Gates, where each Sefira can be rotated producing different letter-pairs as the paths between them. Using the 231 Gates in astral projection (a mesh of interconnected letters on the astral membrane - the ispaklariot shown in the title image for the Hermetic Lessons) produced extraordinarily high quality astral experiences that almost always feel/felt like time travel - moving into a different time period and interacting with people there before being ''discovered'' and ''kicked off'' by (mostly) insectoid entities. This astral work, amongst other things, led to the invention of the Time Phone, an astrological globe with three rotating rings inside that can be ''calibrated'' to different times, ostensibly as a means of communicating with the past or the future. It is my opinion that the golem (GLM) is SY ''bird language'' for time traveller or ''prophet'' as the idea of time in the SY is expressed as gilgalim (GLGLM) circles* - through the Golem (and the letters of anti-time) we can slow down, stall, reverse (the effects of) and ultimately transcend time. Direct experiences that followed have convinced me that the search for the Philosopher's Stone, the Universal Medicine and Eternal Youth are so married to the notions of time and entropy that it is impossible that the geniuses of yesteryear would have missed it.
To come full circle one reading of the King sections of the SY, in response and addition to Io, is that it is directly referring to this ''cellular consciousness''esque approach to the SY, the Teli (Bola/Dragon) in the Universe are the genes in the nucleus (the king on his throne), the cycle of the year refers to the cell-cycle and therefore events in the cytoplasm (the king in his province) and finally the heart in the soul refers to how the cells interact/differentiate to form a realised body, the culmination of the genotype as the phenotype. The letters are quite literally a force of anti-time since everyone of us can trace them within us to the dawn of life itself. The 231 Gates arrangement itself sheds even more light on earlier and later verses.
O oysters, said the carpenter
You've had a pleasant run
Shall we be trotting home again?
But answer there came none,
And this was scarcely odd
Because they'd eaten every one.
Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
*CERN is a time machine.