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.
|THE IGNORANT GENIUS|
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.
|THE IGNORANT FOOL|
|THE BLOODLESS BEING|
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.
|THE CONFUSED VENUTIAN|
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.
|THE MIND MAN|
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.