Chapter 15
Big Top

The Dweller on the Threshold

- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Big Top | pg. 2 - Echoes of Camels and Needles | pg. 3 - The Crimson King
pg. 4 - Beelzebub | pg. 5 - Demon est Deus Inversus | pg. 6 - Prophets Chained for Burning Masks
pg. 7 - Kundalini | pg. 8 - The Dweller on the Threshold | pg. 9 - The Alchemical Wedding
pg. 10 - The Woman Clothed with the Sun | pg. 11 - Circe | pg. 12 - Ouroboros
pg. 13 - And there a Swan is Born | pg. 14 - Spiral

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The Coronation Robe | The Mason's Mark |

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As we learned in chapters ten and eleven, the first album represents the transition from Gemini to Cancer ( Moonchild ) to Leo (In the Court of the Crimson King), from "I think" to "I feel" to "I will". Indicated, in chapter twelve, as the astrological signs of In the Wake of Poseidon , were Virgo ( In the Wake of Poseidon ) and Libra ("I balance", Cadence and Cascade and Libra's Theme ). Following Libra is Scorpio, the sign of Lizard .

"In Scorpio, the serpent of matter or of illusion, with which the soul has identified itself for so long, is finally overcome."

- The Labors of Hercules

"In Libra

( In the Wake of Poseidon )

a fine point of balance is acquired between Soul and body. When this has been accomplished, the Scorpion experience

( Lizard )

is entered, and a surge of spiritual energy is imposed upon the personality. This arouses the entire lower nature, which becomes determined to take its last stand against the Soul.
"The testing and trials of Scorpio begin with the process which the Tibetan Master calls recapitulation. The instinctual tendencies and materialistic attitudes of the past rise to the surface to be overcome. The sum total of these residual, unconquered personality characteristics is called The Dweller on the Threshold."

- The Esoteric Meaning of Scorpio Rising
by Adele Barger Wilson

"Originally dervish means threshold, the ones who help people step over the threshold and enter through the doors of love."

- Mercan Dede ~ Journeys of a Dervish

"The Scorpion disciple must first face these lower tendencies and then gradually transmute them by surrendering the personal will and attuning to the Will of the Higher Self, which is encompassed by the One Divine Will. When this has been accomplished, the energies of the lower chakras have been purified and transferred to the higher chakras. The Scorpion, instead of stinging itself, has risen, like the Phoenix, out of its own ashes and becomes the eagle which soars high above the Earth."

- The Esoteric Meaning of Scorpio Rising
by Adele Barger Wilson

"The 'ordinary man' in Scorpio is denoted thus: 'And the Word said, Let Maya flourish and let deception rule'; whereas, on the reversed wheel, the disciple pronounces: 'Warrior I am and from the battle I emerge triumphant.'

The phrase of the ordinary man is interesting because it reminds us of Scorpio's susceptibility to glamour...,"

(The cause of the "sequined spell" in Cadence and Cascade , and also the subject of Lady of the Dancing Water , is susceptibility to glamour.)

"...which is essentially an expression of disconnection or separation from things as they really are. The phrase of the disciple is the 'deglamoured' view, where seeing things as they really are, the disciple has taken hold of the lower self and become a warrior for the soul and the greater spirit. The challenge of Scorpio is to see through the glamour and engage in the struggle for soul-control."

- D. K. Foundation

"The Dweller on the Threshold is illusion-glamour-maya, as realized by the physical brain and recognized as that which must be overcome. It is the bewildering thoughtform with which the disciple is confronted, when he seeks to pierce through the accumulated glamours of the ages, and find his true home in the place of light."

- Glamour: A World Problem. p.22)

"The Moon falls in Scorpio, because it is 'here regarded as functioning in its true nature and, therefore, expressing symbolically that which is dead'. The Moon here stands for the personality and the final victory in Scorpio is the defeat of the personality:
Desire is killed [in Scorpio], for it is through expressed desire of some kind that personality demonstrates life, quality, appearance."

- D. K. Foundation

"The trials of Scorpio are beautifully expressed for us in the legend of Hercules, the Sun-God who overcomes the nine-headed Hydra or serpent of desire by being forced to his knees and from that position of humility lifts up the serpent into the air, and then deliverance comes.

This passage from Esoteric Astrology alludes to the fact that the serpent is one of the symbols for the sign of Scorpio. So the legend of the slaying of the Hydra indicates both the higher and lower expression of Scorpionic energy. Hercules, through humility, raises the base, destructive energy of the serpent towards heaven. This act shows the possibility of Scorpio to overcome the lower nature. Whereas, the Hydra itself, seemingly indestructible, its nine heads instantly growing back after every assault, illustrates the fatal, forceful and unenlightened aspect of Scorpio. The legend itself describes the safe awakening of the kundalini energy, the 'serpent power' stored at the base of the spine, up to the crown chakra where it can be transmuted and refined."

- D. K. Foundation

illustration from Paradise Lost by Gustave Dore "Immediately after Jesus said to his disciples that he beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven he subjoined:

'Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy.'

The power to tread on serpents and scorpions was the power to rule--not necessarily to crush--the elementary nature."

- The Lost Light
by Alvin Boyd Kuhn

"In the Gospel of Nicodemus, Beelzebub is granted dominion over Satan by Jesus himself during his period in hell between crucifixion and resurrection. Beelzebub becomes angry with Satan because of the injustice he performed in killing Christ, who was innocent of any crime:

18:12 O Satan, prince of all evil, author of death and source of all pride, you should first have inquired into the evil crimes of Jesus of Nazareth, and then you would have found that he was guilty of no fault worthy of death.
18:13 Why did you venture, without either reason or justice, to crucify him, and have brought down to our regions a person innocent and righteous, and thereby have lost all the sinners, impious and unrighteous persons in the whole world?
18:14 While the prince of hell was speaking this way to Satan, the King of Glory said to Beelzebub, the prince of hell, Satan the prince shall be in thy power unto all ages in the stead of Adam and his children, even those that are my righteous ones"

- Dr. Faustus - Beelzebub

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The Scorpion experience brings us again to Frederick II.

"A coronation robe worn by Roger II, King of Sicily (1093-1154) and later also used by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor (1194-1250) is on display at the Weltliche-Schatzkammer, Vienna. Idries Shah Sayed has explained its symbolism to me:

In the center stands a palm tree, containing the nine elements of the "magic square of fifteen," attributed to Geber (Jabir) the Sufi reverenced alike by the Latin alchemists and the Chinese Taoists. The palm tree (in Arabic: NaKHL) is chosen because the triconsonantal root NKHL also means "a fine essence descending almost impalbably," such as the divine element baraka or "blessedness." Words from the same root include sifted flour and a gentle drizzle of rain. Since the palm is a holy tree associated with birth among the Arabs, it's appearance on a coronation robe means "Source of Blessedness." Moreover the word for "palm tree" is tariqat, which is the Sufi technical term for "Being on the Path"--that is to say, Sufism. On either side of the palm a tiger is shown dragging down a camel. NMR is the Arabic root for "tiger," and JML for "camel." Thus the NMR overcomes the JML. But NMR also stands for "woolen garment" and for "unimpaired honor;" and since "Sufi" can mean "clad in wool," and since unimpaired honor is, with love, one of the two main pillars of Sufism, "Sufi" can be substituted for "tiger." Thus "The Sufi overcomes JML." JML, too means not only "camel" but also "elegance." As an indication that both the tiger and the camel are human, they wear similar stripes, but the camel has fewer, meaning that unimpaired honor is is not altogether inelegant. Thus: "Under this divine source of Sufic Blessedness, the unimpaired honor of the Wool-clad overcomes mere elegance."

- The Sufis
by Idries Shah

Or: The Sufi (Frederick II/Prince Rupert) overcomes mere elegance (glamour/the "sequin spell" of Maya).

"This unique coronation mantle of heavy red silk is richly embroidered with gold stitching and tens of thousands of pearls. It is semicircular and was locked with a clasp decorated with precious stones and enamel. The oriental motifs are borrowed from Arabic art: two symmetrically addorsed (back-to-back) lions triumph over a camel; between them like a stylized palm tree is the tree of life. The lions symbolize the ruler who defeats his foes."

- The Coronation Mantle

And let us not forget, the lion is also the symbol of Leo, the sign of the song, The Court of the Crimson King .

"In her paper on the lions depicted on the "coronation" mantle of Roger II (and Frederick II) Fatima Mahdi drew a parallel with al-Sufi's Book of Fixed Stars, supporting the argument that they evoke the constellation Leo and have a talismanic role."

- Byzantine Studies Conference

And this brings us again to the hand gesture on the inner sleeve of album one.

"Mudras are hand gestures which impart the expression of thought and emotion. Mudras were prevalent from the time of the vedas and are still used by the priests while chanting manthras. Each mudra has got a different meaning. Depending upon the context the meaning changes.


Pathaka Mudra is formed by streching all the fingers of the hand except the ring finger which is bent inwards the palm. Its origin is traced from mythology which symbolises victory as shown by Brahma.
Single : Day, tongue, fore head, etc...
Double : Sun, King, Lion etc."

- The Art of Kathakali

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But there is still more to be discovered about the coronation robe: its connection to the number eight and to the Crimson King.

"In the center (of the robe design) stands a palm tree, containing the nine elements of the "magic square of fifteen..."

"The mason's mark occurs in medieval buildings. This is a mark which looks like a figure four. If the professional Masons of the middle ages were connected with dervish orders in the West, as the Eastern building workers certainly were, we have a concealed message here.
The Sufi diagram known as the magic Square is drawn thus:

4 9 2
3 5 7
8 1 6

This square adds up to the number fifteen, whichever way the lines of figures (one to nine) are added up. It is used in Cabalism as a code frame by means of which to convey a message. This is done by drawing lines to link up the numbers which it is intended to emphasize. The Mason's mark which we are considering looks something like this:

If the figure is superimposed upon the frame, we can read off which numbers have been involved in the message. The outline crosses all the squares of the figure except the one occupied by the number eight!

Eight symbolizes the number of perfect expression, the octagon, representing, among other things, the cube. The figure here also covers eight of a total of nine squares. The meaning here is "The eight (balance) is the way to the nine." Nine stands in arabic for the letter Ta , whose hidden meaning is "secret knowledge."
The outline is given additional significance when it is realized that the figure which looks like a four with a bar (sometimes a curve) attached is also a rough representation of the Arabic word hoo --the dervish liturgical word, chanted in order to produce ecstatic states. (p. 213)
The world was created through a word from Thoth--eight characteristics (four symbolized as gods, four as goddesses) were made from a sound which he uttered. The eightfold character of Sufi teaching is symbolized by the octagonal diagram for the word hoo, the Sufi sound." (p. 222)

- The Sufis
by Idries Shah

"In her book on Shambhala, (Shambhala, the Fascinating Truth Behind the Myth of Shambhala, 1996, p. 58) Victoria LePage remarks that 'The octagon, with a ninth point in the center, is also central to the mystical symbology of Sufism. It is the seal or design which Ernest Scott says 'reaches for the innermost secrets of man'. Meaning wholeness, power and perfection, this primary geometrical symbol is one which Sufis associate with Shambhala ..."

- The Enneagram as 'Triple Mandala'
by John Fudjack and Patricia Dinkelaker

"In Castel del Monte there does seem to be a relationship between the tilt in the Earth's axis and the phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes, where by the values of the courtyard design represent the centrality of the Earth or of the emperor's power."

- Castel del Monte: A Virtual Tour

And there is more to the symbolism of the palm tree depicted at the heart of the coronation robe.

"The Arabic word QLB is not confined in meaning to the form QaLB (heart). In the Sufi sense, QLB is considered to have several meanings. Among them:

QaLaB = to become red. Applied to dates, the product of the palm. An allegory of a Sufi process, later associated with the alchemical idea of the "red elixir."

- The Sufis
by Idries Shah

Big Top ~ Kundalini return to
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Big Top ~ The Alchemical Wedding

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
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