This is a Phoenix-thread from the old site.
This is a favorite of mine, and I believe it belongs in this section since it doesn't directly relate to alchemy. There is a certain movie called "The Ninth Gate," and I believe in which is hidden various occult truths and proofs. I cannot fully explain the whole dogma, but I found a great writeup and will relay it here.
The main index for this information starts here: http://www.halexandria.org/dward902.htm
These are the engravings we're concerned with: http://www.eclectichistorian.net/Engravings. I highly suggest viewing these, and recommend that you try and interpret their meaning, there are hidden riddles and secrets within the engravings. The symbolism is rich, almost like the tarot.Originally Posted by deviadahNice... the following sticks out:
The hanged man is an image that has always been attractive. An actual person dead from hanging is also a very freaky thing to see (or so I would imagine). But this one is just hanging from one leg AND upside down. Not sure of the meaning of this yet...Originally Posted by BeautifulEvilOne of the articles on the site actually endeavors to explain this enigma. His explanation is certainly interesting!
This is from the site:
THE SIXTH GATE
Vav (Nail) = 6th Hebrew Letter * Roman Numeral VI * Sigma = 18th Greek Letter
(The Greek letter shown on the engraving is the variant form of lower case sigma used only at the end of a word. In addition to resembling a snake, this variant of sigma as the 18th Greek letter also has interesting numerological properties as the number 18 can be represented as 1+8 = 9; or as 6+6+6. We will consider the possible implications of this in more detail at the Ninth Gate.)
I am enriched by death.
A man is hanging upside-down from the battlement of a castle wall by a noose-like rope wrapped around his right foot. The 'hangman's knot' is tied at the top loop of the rope that encircles the crenelation thus placing the crenelation of the castle wall in the place where the usual hanged man's head would be. This is just one example of the general pattern of 'reversal' in this engraving. The man's left leg is bent at the knee at almost a right angle and crosses behind the right knee. The arms are held behind the back, apparently restrained there. The man's face is relaxed and serene and there is no sign of the effect of gravity on his hair or clothing. To his right is a closed entry door to the castle and above it and to the left is a narrow arched window opening through which a mailed right arm is extended holding an upright, flaming sword.
LCF Version [in the two AT engravings, the man hangs by his left foot.]
Here we have the Tarot's Hanged Man, Key #12, hanging not from the usual Tau cross or tree, but from the wall of a castle on the outside. Since, in this series of engravings, the castle is symbolic of the final goal of the quest, the traveler here is shown for the first time to be entirely 'dependent' upon it, instead of separate from and traveling towards it, as he was in the past. This is a symbolic reflection of the great change which he experienced upon passing through the Veil of Paroketh, leaving the realm of the ego and entering into the realm of the Soul.
The flaming sword is another symbol related to the Tree of Life and is one name given to the path of the Tree's transcendent energy which flows on a downward course to sustain all of the lower sephiroth of the Tree. This is the path which the Transcendent Creative Energy originally took from the top of the Tree to the bottom, emanating each of the centers of the Tree as it went, in the original creative process. Because it zig-zags from pillar to pillar, it is also known as the 'path of the lightning bolt', a symbol which first appeared in the engraving of the Frontispiece showing a lightning-struck tree.
Up to now, the question of whether the traveler was maintaining an 'upward' or 'downward' orientation on the Tree has been a fairly simple matter. At each of the earlier gates, the LCF version of the engraving illustrated a choice which placed the traveler on an 'upward' path. But in the Fifth Gate, just preceding this, the LCF traveler finally left the realm of ego domination and entered the realm of the Soul, and this is a transition which involves a profound reorientation of the will. The Hanged Man is now aligned with the path of the 'flaming sword' in which the energy comes *from above* and as long as he maintains this orientation, the protective flaming sword which is spoken of in Genesis will not obstruct him on his journey up the Path of Return to the Garden.
He is no longer riding or walking up a path by his own will and energy, but has adopted a posture in which his accustomed ego-motivated activity is deliberately stilled. His feet aren't on the ground because he doesn't need to *go* anywhere in the old materialistic sense of reaching ego goals. His hands are behind his back because he doesn't have to *do* anything except learn to attune himself to his own Higher Will so that he can become a perfect instrument of the True Will of his Soul which is always in perfect alignment with the Will of God. Of course this doesn't mean that he stops all activity -- this is a symbolic representation of the inner attitude of receptivity to direction from Spirit which will, from now on, guide all of the traveler's actions.
The fact that the traveler is hanging by his right foot indicates that we are in the territory of the left-hand Pillar of Severity, whose base is the sephira Hod/Mercury (right leg). Not coincidentally, the path which connects Hod with the next sephira 'up' the Pillar of Severity, Geburah/Mars, is (in the system I have been using) assigned to the Tarot card The Hanged Man. Geburah/Judgment, whose symbol is the sword, represents purposeful Will, the faculty of spiritual/moral discernment and the fiery destruction of anything which is not in alignment with the Higher Will. Geburah's destructive function parallels that of the alchemical 'solve' in the process of 'solve et coagula', in which the ego's old way of perceiving and understanding has to be dissolved before the new, more highly evolved perspective of the Soul can take its place.
The related myth of Odin, who hung from the world tree for nine days in search of transcendent knowledge, reflects the fact that the transition from ego-dominance to Soul-dominance is a process which occurs over a period of time during which the ego's impulses to action are restrained until a working attunement to the impulses coming from Soul is achieved. T. S. Eliot describes the experience of this transition beautifully in these verses from East Coker:
"I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing;
there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light
and the stillness the dancing."
In terms of the structure of the Tree of Life, we are now approaching the highest horizontal polarity which normal, embodied human consciousness is able to reach: Geburah/Judgment on the left-hand Pillar of Severity and Chesed/Mercy on the right-hand Pillar of Mercy. On the upward path of return, the sephira of Chesed is the last stop before the great Abyss which separates the seven sephiroth of the lower created world from the Supernal Triad, the top three transcendent sephiroth of the Creative Godhead.
The nature of Chesed has been described as the boundless outpouring of the divine desire to give. In the balance which must be achieved between Chesed and Geburah, this 'boundless outpouring' must be shaped and measured to serve the highest moral purposes of the Soul which recognizes the equal necessity and compassionate nature of intelligent restraint and generosity, each to its proper degree and in its rightful place.
Since the movie is structured to follow the progress of Corso as Balkan's agent and witness to his misadventures, it is naturally a priority to keep Balkan in the game as long as possible, right up to the final gate, and since he reflects the typical mindset of the would-be 'black magician', the romanticized idea of the 'left-hand path' of the Pillar of Severity would naturally appeal to him. He would think of it as the route which would give him the closest access to his own distorted conception of the final goal of the quest: harnessing the Higher Will to serve the deluded purposes of the lower mind/ego.
When we last left Balkan, he was still ruthlessly pursuing his ego goals and counting out his gold pieces at Netzach/Venus, unable to make the Fifth Gate transition to the realm of the Soul. So in terms of the Sixth Gate engraving, Balkan would not have achieved the inverted perspective of the Hanged Man and would instead be (symbolically) standing upright on his left foot with his bent right leg crossing it (as in the AT version). In this posture he resembles the Tarot's Emperor figure, a symbol of earthly, material, ego-based power who, in the Thoth deck, sits on a throne with his right leg crossed over his left.
The route on the Tree which Balkan has actually taken so far bypasses the realm of the Soul on the Pillar of Mercy and the Central Pillar above Yesod. It begins at the bottom sephira, Malkuth, and progresses through the astral realm of Yesod, touches the lower feeling realm of Netzach (the 'left foot'), then crosses over to the 'right leg', the sphere of the lower intellect of Hod and makes an attempt to proceed up the Pillar of Severity towards Geburah/Judgment. Since this 'left-hand path' by-passes the transition from ego to Soul, Balkan never goes through the process of union with the Soul which is symbolically represented by the Hanged Man and it is his unregenerate ego alone which attempts to rise to Geburah.
Balkan's goal as a 'black magician' is to use the energies of the Tree which are available to him to satisfy the materialistic desires of his ego. Whether he was somehow able to rise to the level of Geburah or only experienced the illusion of doing so as visions of his own desire were reflected back at him by the watery surface of the Veil of Paroketh, the end result is the same. Balkan clearly believed that he would be 'enriched by death' in the sense that the death of his competitors would ensure that the prize he was seeking would be his alone. But the violence which he directed out towards others inevitably returned to its source to wreak its destruction on him.
The genuine Hanged Man experiences the 'death' of the autonomy of his old, illusory ego identity and the ego's value system and way of seeing the world, and in compensation for this loss of the illusory personal self, he discovers the Soul, the true, eternal Self which is the heir to the entire Kingdom. This is 'The New Jerusalem' of the restored and unified Tree. The symbolic form which this reunification takes is the subject of THE SEVENTH GATE.Originally Posted by deviadahYes I see now... I clicked on the engravings link first since symbols is what interests me the most - from an alchemical perspective that is.Originally Posted by BeautifulEvilOne of the articles on the site actually endeavors to explain this enigma. His explanation is certainly interesting!
There is an aspect of Above and Below with hanging upside down. That's for sure!
Hanged Man = re-birth
On a side note the music from that film is amazing (images in this clip from another flick though):