The Symbolism of the Seven Sides
By G. H. Frater N.O.M.
(William Wynn Westcott)
Among those characteristics which are truly necessary in the pursuit of magical knowledge and power, there is hardly any one more essential than thoroughness. And there is no failing more common in modern life than superficiality.
There are many who, even in this grade which has been gained by serious study, after being charmed and instructed by first view of the Vault of Christian Rosencreutz, have made no attempt to study it as a new theme. There are many who have attended many ceremonial admissions and yet know nothing of the attribution of the seven sides, and nothing of the emblematic arrangement of the forty squares upon each side.
And yet even in the 1°=10° grade you are told you must analyse and comprehend that light or Knowledge, and not only take it on personal authority. Let us then be Adepti in fact, and not only on the surface; let our investigations be more than skin deep. That only which you can demonstrate is really known to you, and that only which is comprehended can fructify and become spiritual progress as distinguished from intellectual gain. Unless you can perceive with the soul as well as see with the eye your progress is but seeming, and you will continue to wander in the wilds of the unhappy.
Let your maxim be Multum non multa — Much, rather than many things. And tremble lest the Master find you wanting in those things you allow it to be supposed that you have become proficient in. Hypocrisy does not become the laity; it is a fatal flaw in the character of the occultist. You know it is not only the teacher in this Flail before whom you may be humiliated, but before your higher and divine Genius who can in no wise be deceived by outward seeming, but judgeth you by the heart, in that your spiritual heart is but the reflection of his brightness and the image of his person, even as Malkuth is the material image of Tiphareth, and Tiphareth the reflection of the crowned Wisdom of Kether, and the concealed One.
There is but a couple of pages in the 5-6 Ritual which refer to the symbolism of the seven sides of the Vault. Read them over carefully, and then let us study these things together. First, the seven sides as a group, and then the forty squares that are on each side.
The seven sides are all alike in size and shape and subdivision, and the forty squares on each side bear the same symbols. But the colouring is varied in the extreme, no two sides are alike in tint, and none of the squares are identical in colour excepting the single central upper square of each wall, that square bearing the Wheel of the Spirit. The Seven walls are under the planetary presidency, one side to each planet. The subsidiary squares represent the colouring of the combined forces of the planet; the symbol of each square is represented by the ground colour, while the symbol is in the colour contrasted or complementary to that of the ground.
Now these planetary sides are found to be in a special order, neither astronomical nor astrological. The common order of the succession of the planets is that defined by their relative distances from Earth, putting the Sun, however, in the Earth’s place in the series thus: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. Saturn is farthest from the Earth, and the Earth is between Mars and Venus. Beginning with Saturn in the case of the Walls of the Vault, the order is Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon. Here Mercury and Venus are transposed.
But there is something more than this. For Saturn, the farthest off, is neither the door nor the East, nor anywhere else that is obviously intended. For it is the corner between the South and the South-West sides. Nor is Luna, at the other end of the scale, in any notable position on the old lines.
There is, then, a new key to their order to be found and used, and such as are very intuitive see it at a glance. The planets are in the order of the Rainbow colours, and in colours because this Adeptus Minor grade is the especial exponent of colours. You Adepti are in the Path of the Chamelion —Hodos Chamelionis.
If now you take the planetary colours and affix the planets and arrange them in the order of the solar spectrum and then bend up the series into a ring and make the chain into a Heptagram, and turn the whole about until you get the two ends of the series to meet at the Eastern point, you will have this mysterium:
Violet—Jupiter. Indigo—Saturn. Blue—Moon. Green—Venus. Yellow—Mercury. Orange—Sun. Red—Mars.
Science teaches, and has rediscovered a great truth, that however valuable the seven colours of the prism maybe, there are rays invisible and so not demonstrated here by space. Beyond the red end of the spectrum begins the violet, and these have a great chemical or Yetsiratic force. These forces, ever present and unseen, are represented by the Chief Adept standing erect at the Eastern angle, the most powerful person in the group, and delegate of the Chiefs of the Second Order, and through them of the mystic Third Order. He it is who has, symbolically, at any rate, passed from death unto life, and holds the Keys of all the creeds. And he it is who may place in our hands the Keys of the locked Palace of the King if we are able to make our knocking heard. Representing the East, coming from the East, he faces the Western world, bringing intuition with him; before him lies the symbolic body of our Master C.R.C., our grand exemplar and founder — or at other times, the empty pastos, from which he has arisen, the Chief Adept.
He has Mars and Geburah at his right hand, and Jupiter and Gedulah at his left hand. He faces Venus in the West, the Evening Star, which represents the entry of the Candidate who has toiled all day until the evening. At even he enters the Western door of the planet Venus, that sole planet unto whose symbol alone all the Sephiroth are conformed. At “evening time there shall be light,” the light of the mixed colours. So the newly admitted Adept comes in contact with totality of the planetary forces for the first time. A great opportunity opens before him; let him see well that he use it worthily. He enters through the green side of the vault. Green is the colour of growth; let him see that he grows.
Upon each side of the vault are forty squares, five vertical series and eight horizontal, the whole being symbolically 5′ x 8′. Now the published and printed Fama Fraternatitas says these forty feet were divided into ten squares. If you are mathematicians you would know that ten similar squares could not alone be placed in such an area and yet fill it. Ten squares alone to ff1 a rectangle could only be placed in an area of the shape 5′ x 6′. Hence in the Fama, ten squares are marked and salient” — they are the Sephiroth.
Besides the Ten Sephiroth, there are the following: There are the Four Kerubim, Three Alchemical Principles, Three Elements, Seven Planets, Twelve Zodiacal Signs, One Wheel of the Spirit — thus 40 in all. The Spirit Wheel is on every side and always in the centre, and is always depicted unchanged in black upon white.
Upon the side there are always the 4 Kerubic emblems — zodiacal, yet different, for the Eagle replaces Scorpio. (Scorpio has three forms, the Scorpion, the Eagle, and the Snake for the evil aspect.)
These Kerubim represent the letters of the name YHVH, and note that they are always arranged in the Hebrew order of the letters. Yod for the Lion, Heh for the Eagle, Vau for the Man, Heh final for the Ox, the Tauric Earth.
Note that these four Zodiacal signs are not in their own colours, but as symbols of the elements have elementary colours. As Zodiacal signs, then, they are found to be compounds of the zodiacal and planet colours; but they are here as Kerubic emblems compounded of the Elemental colour and the Planetary colour of the side.
The Three Principles are composed of the colour of the Principles, and the colour of the Planet of any particular wall. Mercury being fundamentally blue, Sulphur red, and Salt yellow.
The Three Elements have fundamentally the usual three colours, Fire red, Water blue, Air yellow. Note that Earth is missing.
The Seven planets have their colours as are often stated, and note that each of the seven is set beside its appropriate Sephirah, so that there are three Sephiroth which have no Planet: Kether, Chokmah, and Malkuth.
The 12 Zodiacal Signs are the lower portion of the sides of the vertical column. The central one has none of the twelve; they are so allotted between the four remaining columns. Further note that they are only three ranks, the 5th, 7th, and 8th; none are in the 6th rank from above.
This arrangement then shows: Four Triplicities and three Quaternaries.
1. Kerubic. Fixed. Shining Rank.
2. Cardinal. Fiery. Solar Rank.
3. Common (mutable) Airy. Subtle Rank.
Observe well the arrangement; it is complex but not confused.
From above down, or in columns these are: Earthy Signs. Airy Signs. Watery Signs. Fiery Signs.
Rank 5. The Kerubic line shows the signs in the order of Tetragrammaton read in Hebrew.
Rank 7. The Cardinal line shows the signs from the right in the order of astronomical sequence of the solar course: vernal equinox, summer solstice, autumn equinox, winter solstice.
Rank 8. The common line shows the Signs again in a different position. Here the earliest in the year is Gemini on the left of Mem, and passing left to Virgo, you then go round to extreme right to Sagittarius, pass centrewards to Pisces close to Malkuth.
The colouring of each square is dual — a ground colour, and the colour of the emblem. The ground colour is a compound of the colour of the Planet of the side tinting the colour of the Force to which the Square is allotted.
Each side has the Square of its own planet in its own unmixed colour, and with this exception all the coloured grounds are compound. The emblem colour is always complementary to the ground colour.
The ritual of the Adeptus Minor gives the definite colours of each planet and sign which are to be used in this system. There are other allotments of colour to each of these symbols and forces, but these are retained as mysteries yet to be evolved and revealed when you have become familiar with the present simple and elementary system.
August 17, 1893.