Revised: November 2019
ושם הנהר השלישי חדקל הוא ההלך קדמת אשור והנהר הרביעי הוא פרת׃
English: “The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”
Commentary: This is the final verse describing the Garden of Eden in the Hebrew Old Testament. In English appear the names of which we all are familiar. Due to this familiarity all efforts to locate an actual Garden of Eden have been principally focused surrounding their regions and into today’s northern Iraq, Syria and into Turkey. Due to its length verse 2:14 will be dealt with in two parts. The first part here will look into River Tigris.
Originally, however, it was not the Tigris. Sumerians were in the area from around 3100 B.C. They named the river Indiga. Abraham is reputed to have been born in the Sumerian city of Ur. The Akkadians appeared here around 2000 B.C. and they re-named it id Idikla, ‘the Idikla’. The Elamites, from beyond Persia, were in constant conflict with the Mesopotamian regions and named it their own way with Ti-ig-ra; and then the Persians around 540 B.C. called it Tigra. Still later that was modified into ο Τίγρίς,1 'the Tigris', by the Greeks, perhaps even by Alexander's coterie after having conquered Babylon. Apparently this name has stuck.
The Hebrews settled the Canaan area around 1400 B.C., after the Akkadians, so the river’s name took on the phonetically closer Akkadian name, Idikla. The scripted Hebrew, highlighted red in the above verse, is חדקל, Chîddeqel, 'Hiddekel', and is what will be in focus here. And the focus is not on the actual river itself, but its Qabalistic implications. Remember, it is the third of the ‘Rivers (Heads) of the Universal Soul’ that branched out from Ain Suph Aur, the Garden’s source, east of Eden.
Erudite philosophers have known this for centuries. One American from the mid-1800s, a Mr. G. A. Gaskell, comments on ‘Hiddekel’ in his Dictionary of Scriptures and Myths:
“The symbol ‘Hiddekel’ stands for the astral plane on which the personality develops, becoming as it were, a dawn of consciousness-light in the east-precursor of the rising of the higher Self (Sun) in the soul.”
And this from Emanuel Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia – Volume I, pg. 70:
“The ‘river Hiddekel’ is reason, or the clear-sightedness of reason.”
These two commentators were no mean esoterists. They had to have been aware that of the Four Qabalistic Worlds, Yetzirah (the world of Formation) is third, attributed to Air and the ‘astral plane’, which level of consciousness lay just behind (within) that of the physical body and the material plane. As the ‘formative world’ our ‘astral’ or Yetziratic subconscious, etheric self is the level which sets the patterns that are carried out on the physical plane through our material bodies, for better or worse. It is that level, our subconsciousness, which must be cleansed of the negative ‘dross’ before the enlightened impressions are fixed therein to carry on with the transmutation so imperative in the Great Work.
The gematria of חדקל sums to 142. Some very poignant ideas surface. The Hebrew noun, מחמדים, mukhamadim, ‘desires, delights, precious things’; and Pachadim, פחדים, ‘fears, anxieties, dreads, trepidation’ (plural of Pachad, one name of the fifth sphere, Geburah, on the Tree of Life) All these qualities hint tendencies within each of us that either beguile self-consciousness to blindly seek more of everything, or cower us from living a fuller life. Both, and more such proclivities, keep us from unification with the ‘Sun’ (Tiphareth) within, as Gaskell pointed out with his comment above. Again, at 142, is בליע, belial, ‘worthlessness, badness, wickedness, nothingness’, also the name of a phantom demon, Belial equivalent to Satan, fabricated and entrenched in the subconscious Yetziratic Mind-stuff as an inimical specter from some hell. Unconscious qualities as these must needs be banished if we are to progress with enlightened evolution.
There is another, alchemical term from the Latin Cabala Simplex that sums to 142, olivum magnum, 'the great oil' which counteracts all possible negative influences. To associate this term together with Hiddekel at this point, however, is a leap in thought and imagery that requires further development by other means.
The temurah derived from חדקל, Hiddekel, on the other hand, by transposing letters, brings up other letters summing to the number 184. A phrase seen initially in the very first verse investigated (Genesis 2:8) is מקדם, mukdam, 'in the east' which also sums to 184. Now, the temurah again of mukdam, 'in the east', after transposing these letters is 124, which harks back again to Eden, עדן, also 124. Yet another term at 124 is the Latin liquor amnii, 'flowing rivers' (literally, 'liquid downstream'). Used today liquor amnii is the modern medical term for the protecting cerebra-spinal fluid which bathes the brain. More about this further on with olivum magnum.
Up to this point in the Garden of Eden supposition gematria and temurah have been the tools used frequently to mine hidden alliances between words and phrases. Here, notariqon, the third most common tool of the Literal Qabalist, makes its introduction.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L.U.M. is notariqon for the Latin sentence, “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem Veram Medicinam.” “Visit the interior of the earth, by rectifying you will discover the hidden stone, the true medicine.” This is a Rosicrucian axiom found throughout the manuscripts of several alchemists and philosophers from the 1500s through the 1700s. What has this to do with the Garden of Eden? Next to nothing if we rely solely on the literal English translations of the Bible and related sacred writings. However, ‘discerning miners' with a slight aptitude toward these matters would discover the number 124 within the Latin letters of Vitriolum to be equal to that of Eden, עדן. Eden within us must be understood by now. Moreover, taking the Latin sentence at face value at this point, it might also be discovered that the 'hidden stone', this 'true medicine' does actually reside within us even at this moment. By rectifying our bodies and consciousness through exercises in meditation, prayer, diet, and yoga, or by any other spiritual discipline toward which one feels naturally inclined, the automatic consciousness will maturate and complete the pineal gland by coalescing the Cubic Stone of the wise, the actual Philosophers' Stone.2 This through millennia has been just one of the closely guarded secrets in sacred literature world over. And it was first given us before time, in Eden. The true Eden in time resides within our subconsciousness, the Garden is the root of our imaginative powers wherein lay the Cubic Stone of the Wise. However, in its raw stage the 'stone' is a mere Foundation Stone to be completed by a certain alchemical process initiated from the self-conscious level.
The 'true medicine' (veram medicinam in the accusative case from the Rosicrucian quotation above) is more often seen in alchemical manuscripts as vera medicina, the nominative. By the Latin Cabala Simplex vera medicina sums to 95. Several terms sum to this number, but point to one idea only: from Genesis 1:2, המים, ha-mim, 'the waters'; with המן, ha-manna, 'the Manna', from the Hebrew. And tinctur, 'tincture', and aqua benedicta, 'blessed water', are two from Latin alchemy. Each of these four terms are additional metaphors for the Ocean of Limitless Light, Ain Suph Aur.
The only other mention of ‘the Hiddekel’ in the Old Testament is in Daniel 10:4. There it is החדקל, ha-Ḥîddeqel, 'the Hiddekel'. This changes the gematria slightly to 147 with the additional letter ה at 5. Two very important Rosicrucian terms surface again in Latin Cabala Simplex: gummi sucinum, 'amber gum', and lapis sucinus, 'amber stone.' Both terms have a direct bearing toward the confection and maturation of the Philosophers' Stone. It is here that this 'hidden stone' can be elaborated upon as was mentioned way back under the analysis of Genesis 2:8 where the gematria of גן, gan, 'garden' was compared with אבן, eben, 'stone' at 53.
The pineal gland at the center of the brain3 is ¼ inch long by ⅛ inch in width. Within the gland is an infinitesimal granulated, yellowish substance modern medical science calls acervulus cerebri, 'brain sand'. If the brain, the body, and the residing consciousness are all functioning normally and in good health, this is as far as natural evolution will mature this gland. But it can be perfected even further. The naturally evolved pineal gland in the natural human is the “foundation of the stone” referred to in Isaiah 28:16, מוסד אבן, mawsod aben, 'foundation stone'. It sums to 163. I would suggest reading the entire verse. To complete the process, however, calls for a particular Art. This is the Magnum Opus referred to in Rosicrucian and alchemical writings. For to complete its maturation requires a mind set and life style far removed from the wills and wiles of herd humanity and is ultimately rewarded through the given Grace from God Almighty, solely.
The result of gradual, persistent effort and waxing desire with the Magnum Opus by disciplines in thought, word, and deed, the Good Grace of God Almighty raises Kundalini. In dosages governed by the Spirit within, the rising energy from the sacral plexus through and around the spinal column gently matures the amalgam within the gland. The mixture, prepared through Art, slightly alters the chemistry of liquor amnii mentioned previously to mix with other essences in the bloodstream brought on by the alchemical process. When the total mixture secretes essences into the pineal gland it begins to coalesce the brain sand into a gel which Alchemists call their 'Amber Gum', gummi sucinum. This is one stage towards completion. From here onward, sporatically through the entire process toward its advanced stage, the happy, blessed practitioner actually feels a tingling and hears a very audible ‘ringing’ within the brain. The ringing is not to be confused with tinnitus, a malady of the inner ear. The genuine aspirant knows the difference. The audible and tactile effect is the result of Kundalini vibrating the narrow tip of the pine-cone shaped gland. The stimulation effects a tickling sensation deep within the brain and forces a giddy smile on the blessed recipient. There is no mistaking this effect. Genuine Alchemists have called this ringing their 'Amber Bell', campana sucina.
The next stage to maturation continues from the Christ Consciousness within by the influx of more Kundalini to fuse the Amber Gum into a tiny crystal cube. Alchemists know this as their 'Amber Stone', lapis sucinus. It is an actual crystal cube slightly larger than a grain of table salt within the pineal gland. Kundalini is the liquid light, electro-magnetic, radiant energy all genuine alchemists, saints, philosophers and sages recognize under the term olivum magnum, 'the great oil.' Olivum is oil from the olive, verses oleum, a mineral oil. Kundalini is a living essence. It enlightens the chakra lamps and catapults the consciousness into fourth dimensional awareness, all made possible from beginning to end by the Loving Grace of The Almighty. Laus Deo!
There is but one final step. The culminating surge of Life Giving Light, olivum magnum, fuses the bdellium ‘crystal’ within the pineal gland into a pure white cubic stone. The Blessed Recipient has become one with The One, and another Christ Incarnate.
The Hiddekel, “it runs along the east side of Asshur,” verse 2:14 informs us. From verses 8 through 14 in Chapter 2, wherein the Garden and the ‘heads’ are described, only one direction is ever mentioned; East, and that twice. This must be deliberately important and relevant. Asshur, אשור, (at 507) was a small ancient kingdom, later to become the Assyrian empire. These kingdoms: Asshur, Babylonia, Egypt, Moab, Philistine, etc. were all symbolic nemeses to Spiritual Israel in the Old Testament as Rome was to the Spirit in the New Testament. In esoteric writings they all symbolized some aspect of “illusionary power, oppression, or darkness” forming the phantasmagoria of rapidly changing conditions or circumstances seen or imagined, as in a dream. Which, if truth be told, is what life is in this physical world actually.
Moreover, referring again to the Qabalists' Cube of Space symbolism, River Hiddekel, along the eastern border, would place Asshur in the symbolic direction west on the arcane Cube. The symbols assigned the West face have been outlined previously under letter Kaph כ, the 'grasping hand', Jupiter, and the Wheel of Fortune Tarot Key with the four elements winding their courses as the Four Qabalistic Worlds. The Primal Cause of all that apparent perpetual rotating illusion before our physical vision is rooted in Atziluth (Fire), twining its course through the planes via imagination in Briah (Water) sourced from a Garden, East of Eden. Whether that illusion before us is fatal or favorable depends upon our grasp of it all.
“Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.”
“Happy is he who could know the causes of things.” - Virgil
Using the temurah tool with Asshur, אשור, the summation of the transposed letters totals 485. A key phrase jumps out from Exodus 16:4, מן ה-שמים, Manna ha-Shimaim, 'Manna from Heaven'. And an alternate spelling can be found in esoteric writings for The Tigres in Greek as ο Τίγρης, with an 'e' instead of the second 'i'. This may be due to the period in which it was written. Be that as it may the letter change alters the number behind it. This version totals 691 in Greek Qabalah and equals a Hebrew phrase אש שמים, Ash Shamaim, 'fire of heaven', from 2 Kings 1:14.
This brings us to the 'Hidden Manna', from Heaven, loosely translated into English as 'bread' in many versions. Again, this is not table bread. Hebrew has a word for 'bread, food' with לחם, lachem (78), and it is used frequently in the Old Testament.
'Manna' in Exodus 16:31-32 of the Septuagint, however, is spelled μαν, man, summing to 91. Its gematria runs rampant; so much so that it would be tedium to follow through with each direction here. Explore it and 'bread' yourself and reap the rewards. In the other chapters of the Septuagint and in the Greek New Testament 'manna' is spelled μάννα, totalling 142 in the Greek Qabalah, and equates with that of Hiddekel, חדקל, and the term olivum magnum, 'the great oil.' Why the deliberate altered spellings for 'manna' in the Septuagint? Research the gematria! The joy of discovery is yours!
In Hebrew, however, 'manna' is spelled מן in the Old Testament. It is also the root of the verb 'to apportion'. Through the rest of Chapter 16 in Exodus the Israelites are instructed on how to apportion their 'manna'. Its gematria is 90. Some associations: from Alchemy, Aqua Regis, 'Water of the King', being the Divine Light influence from Tiphareth and the Christ Consciousness on the Tree of Life. Also at 90 is מים, mim, 'water', the most common description of Ain Suph Aur, the Limitless Light, by all alchemists, sages and philosophers through the ages, and the exact equivalent of Aqua Regis. Upon Enlightenment we are granted the blessed inner vision of this Universal Water. Also at 90 in Hebrew is נולה, nulah, 'to be born', inferring the genuine Baptism of the 'born again' in Christ Consciousness is the inner vision of the Living Light. Baptisms performed by the various religious sects through the world today are insipid shams and mean nothing compared to the Real. The 'chosen' to be baptized under the Christ Consciousness may be from all the ethnicity, faiths, races, and creeds under the Sun.
This does not exhaust the gematria around 90 and the other numbers presented, but serves to point some direction.
However detailed Exodus 16 seems to go with the description of 'manna' as food for the wandering Israelites, it is not physical food for the physical body. It is the “Hidden Manna” for Spiritual Israel that is alluded to in Scriptures. Please read and ponder what the Christ Incarnate had to say about the 'Hidden Manna' in John 6: 26 to 40. Thereafter, ponder in retrospect, gathering all the ideas and imagery evoked from the Cube of Space, the back of the brain, the pineal gland, the hidden stone, and now the Hidden Manna, all brought to surface from a Qabalistic investigation of River Hiddekel flowing along the eastern border of Asshur. May I also suggest reading and pondering carefully the following quotation from Revelation 2:17:
“Let he who has an ear, let him hear...to him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the Hidden Manna, and I will give him a White Stone, and a new name on the Stone which no one knows but he who receives it.”
The reverse-italics in the quotation are for emphasis. Let it be understood by the ardent aspirant that all this lengthy description surrounding the Hiddekel was necessary to demonstrate processes which actually occur in our subconscious. This is the principal arena of the Great Work, in Yetzirah, our subconscious. The predominate thoughts, beliefs and imagery we allow to grow in our unconscious life dictates the quality of life that we live currently in this physical world, Assiah. If we desire our lives united to the True Life deep within us then we must concentrate on changing our thoughts, beliefs and images. The Return to Eden is within us only if we persevere.
The Euphrates is examined in the next section.
1 Three spellings were found for 'the Tigris' in Greek. Above is from The Septuagint. The gematria varies as result.
2 This is Magnum Opus, the Great Work, in alchemical and Rosicrucian writings. Like עדן, Eden, it sums to 124.
3 This is recognized as the Interior Star 'Mercury' in western esoterica, the metal Quicksilver in alchemical literature, and as the Sahasrara Chakra of eastern disciplines.