crystalsI was studying ‘Awakening Osiris’ by Normandi Ellis. This is a new translation of the ‘Egyptian Book of the Dead’ an ancient classical writing of western spirituality. In the 21st century the world seems to be moving at a very fast pace and we struggle to keep up. It is easy, in this situation, to lose sight of our spiritual origin or to forget the close connections there are between the natural world and the spiritual world. This book seeks to reinforce those connections and to remind us to seek our spirituality as much in the natural world as in the heavens.

tree of life

Kabbalah Tree of Life diagram, with thanks to Will Parfitt.
Click to see a larger version.

I was particularly drawn to the chapter entitled ‘Twenty-one Women’. The first sentence read ‘The heart of the world is crystal marked by twenty-one paths and one narrow road thin as a flint blade that the fool walks.’

As I am a crystal healer and have worked with Kabbalah for twelve years I felt a strong connection here and decided to work with this more deeply.  Could I walk the narrow path of  ‘The Fool’ as well as on the remaining twenty one paths of the tree of life and meet and learn a little more about each of the women? The first task was to decide which path felt right to be allotted to each woman.  I did this quite quickly. Then considered the real challenge. By

studying the women in conjunction with the allotted paths and the crystal attributed to each path could I learn more about the different aspect of the feminine that each woman represented and connect with different aspects of myself?

With these aims in mind I began to study the first woman. She is called ‘Vulture Mother of Terror.’  A vulture is a dark-coloured bird of prey which can appear rather sinister and frightening. My first thought was that there is no path allotted here, just Daath, the sphere of knowledge. However, knowledge without love and understanding is empty and spins down into the darkness of the bottomless abyss.   The concept of diving down into the darkness made me recognise the connection between the vulture mother of terror and the 28th path on the tree of life.  This path leads from Netzach, the sphere of feelings, into Yesod, the sphere of the ego and the subconscious.

The vulture is described as ‘too wise a bird of ill omen’. I can see that the vulture would be regarded as a bird of ill omen. It feeds on the dead so when vultures are seen feeding there has been a death. As they find pieces of meat on the bones so we can find pieces of knowledge through our journey to the subconscious.
Too wise a bird - what does that signify? I was reminded of the old autograph book rhyme:

2 YYs UR
2 YYs UB
2YYs 4 Me

The vulture is following nature’s law in that it is cleaning up and recycling. As I visualise the lady again she is spinning.  She shows me the pattern then turns the cloth over and I see this is as neat on the back as it is on the front. The two ‘yys’ represent earthly life and heavenly life.  Both evolve at the same time and need to be practiced in alignment and neatly.

So I have dived into the depths and the lady has given me a gem of knowledge. I turn to thank her and she gives me a gift - a piece of bloodstone. Bloodstone is a dark green stone with specks of red in it. There is a legend that the red specks are the blood of Christ that was spattered on the ground at the foot of the cross. It is a stone noted for helping the flow of the circulation which connects it with the work of the vulture.

Blessed is the lady.

The second woman is called the ‘Daughter of Ptah’.  I have an image of a potter at a wheel spinning and the vessel that emerges is this beautiful lady. I am reminded too of a picture of Aphrodite emerging from the sea standing on a sea shell. This is Magdalen energy. The lady is described as ‘whore of heaven mother of mortals. The lover of every man woman and beast but the mistress of none.’ I have connected this with the 14th path which lies between the sphere of Binah, representing spiritual love, and the sphere of Chockmah, representing inner purpose.
This energy was suppressed for so long when Mary Magdalen was condemned as a whore. In bringing her back into her full importance we must understand and venerate all her aspects. The crystal is the jacinth. This crystal is mentioned in the old testament of the bible as one of the stones on Aaron’s breastplate and again in Revelation as the eleventh foundation of the wall of the city. These days it is just referred to as a variety of Zircon. It is uncertain whether it was originally a purple, red or blue stone. It has a duality as the description of jacinth describes the flower now known as hyacinth as well as the gem stone.

However although the crystal, like the Magdalen, seems to have had its importance understated for a while, it has been kept alive in literary description. Jacinths are mentioned as decorating the city of Iram in R F Burton’s translation of the Arabian Nights. Alfred Tennyson used Jacinth in describing the jewelled hilt of Excalibur in Morte D’Arthur.   J R R Tolkien used it to describe the deep blue water of space in his poem ‘The Happy Mariners.’  Oscar Wilde in ‘Dorian Gray’ speaks of Edward II giving armorial vestments with jacinth to his lover Piers Gaveston.  In a poem by E.E. Cummings  there is the line ‘I will sing you the jacinth, song of the probable stars’.

Blessed is the lady.

The third woman is called ‘Noble Sycamore.’  . She is described as ‘Lady of the altar’, denoting sacrifice and as‘two eyes of the world to whom offerings of myrrh are made’.  In Myths of the Sacred Tree, by Moyra Caldecott,  Hathor, goddess of love and fertility, is described as  feeding‘the pharaoh with milk from her breasts emerging from the trunk of a sycamore fig tree’.

Hathor brought nourishment to Isis in her pain after the death of Osiris and strengthened her for action. This is the part of the feminine that brings nourishment from within whilst accepting pain as part of the whole.  I have attributed the 17th path to Noble Sycamore. It lies between Binah, the sphere of Spiritual Love, and Tiphareth, the sphere of the Centred Self. The essence of the sphere of Tiphareth is beauty. It is the sphere of the soul watching over the ego. If we look at the diagram we will see that every sphere is directly connected to Tiphareth except for Daath and except for Malkuth, which represents the exiled and separated feminine, the Magdalen - Mother Earth herself.  Tiphareth is the sphere of the ‘sun’ and the ‘son.’   Sacrifice is relevant here as are the stories of Osiris, Odin and Jesus Christ.  The crystal on the 17th path is the agate. There are many different types of agate as there are many different ways of giving support and healing during difficult experiences. Agate is a gentle, soothing, healing stone and many types of agate are helpful in earth healing.

Blessed is the lady.

The fourth woman is called ‘Ponderous Bull.’ What a name for a lady!   But Ponderous Bull is dancing. I connect this with the 22nd path which lies between the Will Centre at Geburah and the Centred Self at Tiphareth.  Ponderous bull is female and ‘he’ escapes on the back of a cow. Male and female in balance and in interchange.

My husband and I were going to a concert.  On the way we stopped at a pub for a drink. My husband was going to order a cold drink but I wanted a coffee so he said he would have a coffee too. The coffees did not come. My husband said he would have to be going to get to the concert and meet our friends on time.  He had thought there would be a problem ordering coffees that was why he had been going to have a cold drink. I said I had ordered and paid for coffees and I was going to have my coffee. I went to chase things up three times. Eventually I had to stand over the barman while he made the coffees. When we got to the concert still in time our friends had got two programmes for us one red and one white. I think you better have the red one said my husband.  (Red rag to a bull - can I hear Ponderous Bull laughing gently?)

The energy of this lady is that of humour and if I am going to escape on the back of a cow I do need to lighten up. The energy seems to be about the feminine role in keeping the balance. The female, taking on more masculine roles, allows the male to explore his feminine side. She helps to cut away the attachments we make and she shows us how to keep in alignment with spirit in an earthly body. The crystal on the 22nd path is chrysolite, otherwise known as peridot, olivine and chrysoberyl. It is a crystal to help detach oneself from outside influences. It is also said to remind us how beautiful the world is. The crystal is a green stone and as it has four different names I am reminded of the four elements of fire, water, air and earth and the importance of using the will centre to keep these in balance both in our own bodies and on our planet.

Blessed is the lady.

The fifth woman is called ‘Moment of the Flood.’ I connect this with the 15th path. This connects the sphere of Chockmah (inner purpose) with Tiphareth, the sphere of the Centred Self. The soul must keep awake and aware of its inner purpose.  The crystal is garnet and there is a legend that a large garnet carbuncle was set upon a pedestal in the centre of Noah’s ark.  Carbuncular means inflamed and legend describes a bright light that poured from the carbuncle causing the whole of the ship to be illuminated by day as well as by night. The energy of this lady is of light and guidance. I find it interesting that the woman is known as Moment of the flood and the crystal connection garnet has a legend attached to it relating to the flood.

Blessed is the lady.

The sixth woman is called ‘Companion of Death.’ I have connected this to the 13th path. This is the path that connects the Source with the Centred Self. If we think of an orchestra the source would be the composer of the music and the Centred Self would be the conductor directing the individual instruments.

When the soul is coming into physical incarnation there will be pain at moving away from its spiritual source and when a human being dies there is pain at leaving behind the people and things that have come to be meaningful in that lifetime. Companion of death understands this and gives guidance through these transitions She brings love light and sorrow. ‘Turn back faint of heart or lie stillborn in her forever’. The faint of heart turn back or lie still born but the brave go on. The crystal connected with the 13th path is opal. Like the lady, this stone is not for the faint of heart; it works deeply in the emotional field. It can release much turbulence which needs strength to bring into control and balance. This lady teaches us about the emotional lessons we need to learn both from this life and outstanding from past lives if we are brave enough to go there.

Blessed is the lady.

The seventh woman is called ‘Beauty’ but the image seems sad. ‘Lady of tatters a rags and cloth. ... she is widow concealer sorceress.  She sobs into the shroud of the man she loves. What she loves remains secret’. This seemed to connect with the goddess Isis and Mary the Mother of Jesus. I connected it to the 30th path relating to the sun (son). This path connects Hod, the sphere of thoughts, with Yesod, the sphere of the subconscious.  It is the lesson of having to let go of the person most precious to you and yet at another level having the knowledge that they are not lost to you at all. The crystal on the 30th path is Sunstone. In ancient Greece this stone was thought to represent the sun god bringing life and abundance. It is said to bring a warm glow to mind, body and spirit. I am aware here of a contrast between the darkness of the vulture mother of terror on the 28th path from Netzach to Yesod and the light of Beauty the Sun and Sunstone on the 30th path between Hod and Yesod. I am reminded here of the poem by Lord Byron:

‘She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes’

Blessed is the lady.

The eighth woman is called ‘flame that protects his body’.  Whose body is to be protected?   The body of Osiris?  The body of Jesus?  The body of King Arthur?  ‘She burns flesh into ash and light.’ I have connected this with the 18th path which lies between Binah, the sphere of Spiritual Love, and Geburah, the sphere of the will.  The crystal is emerald. The ancient Egyptians instructed body embalmers to place emeralds at the throat of each mummy to ensure that the limbs of the soul maintained a youthful strength during its long journey through the underworld. This could be a lesson about protection and keeping the aura strong and also about the feminine skill in soothing and calming. The Christian Bishop of Caesaria dedicated the emerald to Saint John and his ability to soothe the souls of ‘sinners.’

Blessed is the lady.

The ninth woman is called ‘eye of her own song.’ I have connected this to the 19th path as this lady opens the lion’s mouth. ‘She is the tree and its branches.’ The 19th path connects Geburah, the sphere of the Will, with Chesed, the sphere of Love, to keep a proper balance between the two.  The crystal is onyx. In ancient times onyx was believed to have a demon imprisoned within that would awaken at night sowing discord especially between lovers. It is a stone that helps you to understand your own path and sing your own song. This lady teaches that truly knowing oneself is like being in love and she brings strength and clarity. Onyx is often made into the form of a pyramid which reminds me of the pyramids at Giza, once said to have been capped by a great crystal to assist in the grounding and utilisation of cosmic force. The pyramid shape of onyx reminds me of Queen Hatshepsut. Her tomb is in the valley of Kings, not in the valley of Queens, because she was a Pharaoh in her own right. Her stepson, Tuthmosis the third, tried to scrub out all her images but he could not scrub out the truth. The truth will always emerge.

Blessed is the lady.

The tenth woman is called ‘Priestess of Heaven’. ‘Lady of thunder whose voice is a roar who rattles the teeth of men.’   ‘Her laughter is high and terrible she fears no man on earth or beneath. I have connected this to the 21st path because she is referred to as the lady of the wheel. This path connects Chesed, the sphere of love, with Netzach, the sphere of the feelings.  The crystal on this path is jade. The goddess Ishtar on her journey to the underworld at the fifth gate removed her girdle of jade, a stone said to help when giving birth. The lesson of this lady is courage and fearlessness but ensuring that all our feelings are tempered by the energy of love.

Blessed is the lady.

©Barbara Barnett, August 2010


Normandi Ellis, Awakening Osiris
Will Parfitt, Kabbalah for Life
Moyra Caldecott, Myths of the Sacred Tree
Raymond J L Walters, The Power of Gemstones 
Judy Hall, The Encyclopedia of Crystals