M, Mem, מ
Letter Mem, מ, 'water,' is transcribed as the English letter 'M.' Its numeration is 40. The numeration of the whole letter-name מים is 90, and spelled out in plenitude, מים יוד מים, MIM YUD MIM, equals 200. Mem is one of the 5 letters that takes a final form at the end of a word, ם, and holds numeric value 600. Qabalists assign Mem to the Hanged Man Tarot Key and on the Tree of Life to the twenty-third path connecting the fifth sphere, Geburah (Volition), to the eighth sphere, Hod (Intellect). Titled שכל קיים, Saykel Qayam, the ‘Stable Intelligence’ from the Book of Formation, it channels the fluid Universal One-Will into Intellect. A.E. Waite say of this 23rd Path: "It is the source of consistency in all the numerations." By this is meant that all words reduced to number come to some aspect or mode of The One; that One being Ain Suph Aur, the only stability in all creation.
Those within whom the One Will is yet undeveloped believe the feeling of will-force to be personal. The 'water,' suggested by letter-name Mem, is the Universal Water, אין סוף אור, AIN SUPh AUR, the First Matter, a Limitless Solution and the substance mode of the Triune One-Life. The Universal Subconscious Mind Substance may be compared to a 'cosmic soup,' holding the fabric of creation in solution and suspension. This idea is presented behind the dictum which states that the universe is mental, and it is one of the seven basic principles of hermetic philosophy Three Initiates outlined in the Kybalion:
"The Universe is Mental held in the Mind of THE ALL. While all is in THE ALL, it is equally true that THE ALL is in all. To him who truly understands this hath come great knowledge."1
Therefore Qabalists call this path on The Tree the Stable Intelligence. It is the only thing in creation that is constant, the only REAL MATTER. It is itself changeless, stable, though it may be molded to become anything. Alchemists sometimes call the Universal Substance 'wax,' in that it may receive the impression of any image. Whoever understands this fact relies upon nothing else for sustenance on any level. Such an individual knows one does nothing from the lower self. The mere imagination of a Realized Adept is all that is required to manipulate the One Substance into any physical need.
This is further illustrated by the diagram of the Cube of Space. Mem and the Hanged Man occupy the coordinate East-West. It connects Venus, the Empress and Imagination, with Jupiter, the revolving external manifestations represented by the Wheel of Fortune. Venus, another name for the First Matter by alchemists, is molded into physical materializations through the function of the medulla oblongata, the root sight center at the back of the brain. Universal Water then coagulates about the image-matrix by force of the Higher Will working freely through the transparent consciousness of an Adept. Finally it forms itself into external manifestations symbolized by the face West. Moreover, Neptune is the planet assigned to the Hanged Man. According to esoteric astrology, Neptune is the higher octave of Venus. Neptune is a super-conscious power abiding deeper within the Sea of Awareness than our subconscious influence. Since Neptune also rules Pisces, the form building consciousness, the free-flow of this power through our waking minds perfects images formed there. Therefore, to turn water into wine, or to manifest abundant loaves and fishes, or to heal diseases instantaneously by touch poses no problem for an accomplished Adept. Such an individual simply allows the super-conscious flow of power through the lower self.
The spelling of Mem in plenitude suggests a profound correlation. Hebrew letter Resh, ר, attributed to the Sun Tarot Key, also equals 200. The fullest expression of Mem, Universal Water, is the essence of Solar Fire symbolized by Resh. The most obvious physical manifestation for this is the central, solar orb of our Sun. Alchemists offer confirmation when they state their “Water is a Fire,” and call for alchemical operations to use 'burning water.' Similarly, 40, the number of Mem equals Sol. All these hint that our physical Sun, and all suns and stars in our physical universe, is a compression of a substance all sages through history agree to call Water. It is the Universal Subconscious Mind-Stuff, extracting heat out of itself through fusion. That this fiery, solar essence is the very matter comprising our intellects is indicated on the Tree of Life. Path Mem, the Stable Intelligence, terminates in the eighth sphere, HOD, the sphere of Mercury, symbolizing Intellect in Qabalistic Psychology. In the western occult color schemes, yellow has always been the color reserved for Mercury; orange, the color assigned with the Sun. But on the Tree, colored in the Briatic Queen Scale, Hod, the sphere of Mercury, is tinted orange. Tiphareth, the sphere of the Sun, is colored yellow. These opposite color attributions suggest interchangeability of an essence between these two modes of consciousness. They are essentially the same. The Fire of Mind, which is Water, is Solar Substance. They are ONE. To know that our conscious mind is the tool that manipulates the one fiery-water-substance when it thinks, reasons and imagines, is to be a conscious co-creator with God. By acting faithfully upon this true knowledge we exercise full expression of the One-Will. Such Will is irresistibly free. The King is returned to His Throne, seated in Tiphareth.
1 Three Initiates, The Kybalion. Chicago: Yogi Publication Society, 1940, pg. 95.