Friday, December 31, 2010

Hod, Netzach and The Journey

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. -Lao Tzu

My call of the water quarter brought me here to Hod but I was surprised to find that Hod is not the sephira associated with emotions. The fiery Netzach is associate with emotions. Hod is watery and feminine but the sephira is associated with science and intellect and breaking down processes into discrete components. After thinking about discrete components, I understood why Hod is watery. Water has three phases, solid as ice, liquid in ambient temperature and gas as steam. None of the other elements of fire, air or earth can exhibit the three phases of matter like water. No matter what type of heat is applied, cold or hot, water is still divisible into individual components. Fire has a component of water. Here is a basic stochionometric combustion equation:

CH4 + 2O2 --> CO2 + 2H2O
(note: no subscripts... bad, bad girl engineer!)

The equation is for the combustion of methane. The equation basically means that methane as fuel (earth) combined with oxygen (air) to create combustion and the resulting products of combustion are heat, carbon dioxide and water. This basic chemical equation is the reason the global warming folks have their panties in a bunch about carbon dioxide/greenhouse gases. The important concept to remember is that water at ambient temperature and pressure is a liquid and water requires energy to stay in the form of ice or steam. When considering ice and steam as an analogy for the mechanism of the human personality, the energy required to make steam is the energy provided in the sephira of Netzach. Netzach is the energy or the frequency vibration required to release the components of understanding the human experience. In order to activate understanding and intellect of Hod, one must apply the fiery sphere of Netzach. Hod needs Netzach to drive it. The two cannot exist without each other and both must be in harmony.

Hod and Netzach are the analogy of our legs, which work together on our 1,000 mile journey.

Understanding life's lessons and learning in general is best done within a context. I realized that concept many years ago and I have always used it to my advantage. Learning is slow and arduous if done strictly within the realm of rote, however, attach real life experiences to learning and one can accelerate the learning curve, significantly. What is the most natural way to do this for me? I attach sensory perceptions to the concepts, sight, smell, sound, touch and taste, the whole, "learn by doing" concept. I have also been learning to open myself to my emotions, instead of shoving them, so I can attach those experiences to my learning too. It can be gratifying, painful and wonderful, all at the same time. Incidentally, I believe that is why the ritual experience is so significant to us.

Although this combination of Hod and Netzach has REALLY worked for me, the process can be difficult. I have spent many sleepless nights, days without eating, thorough exhaustion and STRESS because of the way I learn. Lessons tend to bring things out that need to be resolved before one can go on. I am totally addicted to it in a GOOD way but I do tend to drive one of my mentors a little batty because of my eagerness. (Whining 13-year old voice ...but I want to invoke/evoke a spirit NOW!) Although I am eager to experience the "heat" intensity of the various ceremonial magick experiences, I know all too well how my own process of evolution has effected me so I defer, quite humbly but not so happily, to my mentors recommendations and guidances.

Note: My assumption presented here for Hod and Netzach are all independent of time. I still hold the following mantra:

Persistance and Determination alone are omnipotent.


Robert said...

Invoking spirit can be done at any time,in any place by anyone. Simply pray.

PhoenixAngel said...

Frater Robert: Wow, nobody ever told me that!!! I pray on a regular basis. Now, I call that solution a very simple, yet elegant solution. Totally cool!!!! As always, I am totally honored. Thank you for your input and support.

HilbertAstronaut said...

i like how you mix science (bonus points for legitimate use of the word "stochionometric" in a post about magic!) and more traditional (k/q)ab(b)alah (Hod and Netzach as "legs").

It's good to read your posts because you are actually _working_ with the Sephiroth, not just reading about them. i've been thinking about Hod, Netzach, and Yesod each as describing an ansatz to climbing the Tree of Life: Hod introduces one to the Hermetic Path (of intellect), Netzach to the Orphic Path (of emotions), and Yesod to the Mystic Path (of devotionally using and releasing images). i haven't been thinking about how these Sephiroth work together, likely because i haven't been "working with them" and gaining that experience.

PhoenixAngel said...

@HilbertAstronaut: I always feel truly honored when you comment on my posts. Its really encouraging. Sometimes, I really wonder if my Zen moments make sense to other people. Yes, I have been trying hard to understand the qabalah, outside of the definition written in books. I am so please I have others, like you, as a sounding board. It truly validates my understanding of the Work. (Bonus points to you, for noting my use of the word "stoichionometric") :)I would love to read about any other thoughts you will have on Yesod, Netzach and Hod.

HilbertAstronaut said...

i definitely fit the definition of "armchair magician" (though changing that is a big resolution for the new year!) so do take what i've said accordingly ;-) Last time i wasn't "armchair" was in exoteric religion, and i know there that working with a concept can be very different from reading about it. (Saying the Office, esp. the Psalms, is a good example.) Your work with Hod and Netzach is therefore valuable not just to you but to us readers (esp. if we are tempted to be a little too "armchair" ;-) ).

The observations on the three paths up the Tree were cribbed from William Gray's "The Ladder of Lights," mixed in with the two variants of the Mystic Path as seen by Charles Williams ("Way of Affirmation" vs. "Way of Rejection" -- see e.g., "Descent of the Dove"). Separating the ascent up the Tree into three discrete and disjoint paths is cartoonish, though, which your post helps correct. So, thanks and keep writing :-)