The Hebrew letter Qoph, meaning “back of the head”, corresponds to The Moon. The letter even looks like a head atop a spine. If you think back to your high school biology, you will remember that the back of the head contains the parts of the brain that control the body’s basic, automatic functions, the emotions, and reflex responses—all those things we call “the unconscious”. Resh, the letter which means head, countenance, or face—the front of the head–comes right after Qoph. The cerebrum, which is responsible for conscious thought, is located at the front of the head. Resh corresponds to The Sun, the key of spiritual unfolding through conscious effort or will. The order of these two letters
is saying in no uncertain terms that the realms of the subconscious (The Moon) must be opened and explored before true spiritual unfoldment and the mastery of any magical system, or even a successful spiritual life, (The Sun) can be attained. These two keys work together. The yin of The Moon and the yang of The Sun are both parts of an integrated, enlightened being. One doesn’t work well without the other.
There is another correspondence between The Moon and the back of the head. Dion Fortune , a member of the Golden Dawn in the first half of the 20th century, believed that to truly utilize the moon’s energy and stimulate the pineal gland, you must turn so that it shines on the back of your head.
When I was reading Dion Fortune, I was in college and my major was zoology. This idea was totally counterintuitive to what I had been taught. The pineal gland is a tiny, pine cone-shaped structure (hence the name) about the size of a grain of rice. It is photosensitive and thought to be a vestigial third eye. Melantonin, the hormone it secretes, helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle and the circadian rhythms of several biological functions. So, if it’s sensitive to light, why would I turn my back on light to stimulate it? But who was I to argue with Dion Fortune? I dutifully tried the experiment and did notice a tingle/pressure in the middle of my brain, which is where the pineal gland is located. It may have been wishful thinking, but I was still surprised.
As it turned out, there was method to her madness. Further research informed me that the pineal gland is only active, i.e. secretes melantonin, in the absence of light. So the best way to experience moonlight and activate the pineal gland is to sit with your back to the moon.
But why was Dion Fortune so interested in the pineal gland? All that medical science is willing to say about it is that it secretes melantonin, which can help with sleep disorders and jet lag, is a powerful antioxidant, and converts cholesterol to bile in the gallbladder. Hardly the stuff of moonlight and magic.
But if you are willing to ignore the scientists (those folks who up until the early 1900’s insisted that the pineal gland was a shriveled up, useless, vestigial organ) and look a bit further into the literature, you will come upon references to a drug called DMT (dimethyltryptamine). Rick Strassman M.D., the guy who literally wrote the book on DMT*, speculates that this ubiquitous chemical is made in the pineal gland, because that’s where all the chemicals needed to make it are located. Both DMT and melantonin are built from tryptophan. This is the infamous amino acid in turkey that puts you to sleep on the couch at Thanksgiving. DMT’s effects read like a mystic’s wet dream: profound time dilation, time travel, journeys to paranormal realms, and encounters with spiritual beings or other trans-dimensional entities. In other words, this is the god drug. Our government, in its wisdom, has made DMT highly illegal—right up there with heroin and meth. Go figure.
Mystics of many faiths have known for millennia that the pineal gland is responsible for our ability to navigate other dimensions and commune with the gods. Its symbol, the pinecone, appears in mythologies all over the world.
Even Christians believe in the power of the pineal gland. When Matthew lists Jesus’ teachings he includes “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:22. Notice he doesn’t say eyes, he says eye, singular. Jesus is talking about the pineal gland.
And the Catholic Church has amplified this teaching. In the Vatican, in the Court of the Pine cone, there is the world’s biggest statue of a pine cone. In fact, it’s probably as big or bigger than any other statue in the Vatican, and after spending one awestruck day wandering through that amazing place, I can assure you that there are hundreds of statues there and lots of them are really big.
But the real eye-opener comes when you look behind the pine cone and see an open sarcophagus, symbol of resurrection and eternal life. And then there’s that reflective, silver globe in front of the pineal pine cone in the picture below. Could that be the Moon?
Pisces, the astrological sign of the mystic, corresponds to The Moon. This is also the sign of feelings, intuition and empathy. Those born under the sign of Pisces often have the ability to flip-flop between the conscious and the unconscious, the physical world and other worlds. This sometimes leads to disorientation, inability to deal constructively with the everyday matters, and what we perceive as madness. Pisces feels comfortable and often happier in the other worlds and is likely to use drugs to go there. They are also incredibly sensitive and sometimes use drugs as painkillers.
Yesod, the ninth Sephirah on the Kabalistic Tree of Life, is also known as The Sphere of the moon or the astral plane. It connects Malkuth, sphere 10, the physical world, to the rest of the tree.
In short, the Moon is the gateway out of our physical world and into all the other worlds of the Multiverse. It is also the gateway into our world from all those other worlds. Magical portals, mirrors, scrying tools, and crystals are creatures of the Moon and should be used with care. Sleeping and dreaming are also functions of the Moon, Every night our sleeping minds make healing journeys into the astral. When we travel the astral plane and the worlds beyond it is important to remember that we are strangers in a strange land. Moonlight hides some things in dark shadows and highlights others. We have no way of knowing if the things we do see are what we need to see.
To be continued…
*DMT, The Spirit Molecule, by Rick Strassman, MD