Netzach (pronounced "netz-awk", with a back-of-the-throat glottal "k" sound) translates into English variously as "truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness"; "permanency, perpetuity, eternity"; "excellency, glory"; and, "completeness, entireness, perfection." Paul Case, adding these meanings together, translates it as "victorious life" in his Statement #7.
Taken as a string of hieroglyphs, the Hebrew word 'Nun-Tzaddi-Cheth combines the image of abundance (Nun="fish"), with that of self-nurturance (Tzaddi="fishhook") and that of the personalized life force (Cheth="fence"). Thus Netzach (the realm of Venus) is seen as the embodiment of the abundant, self-nurturing life force -- with the emphasis on force.
This force cannot be defined rationally. It cannot be dissected with logic, written down, and communicated with exactitude from one person to another. There is no second-hand, intellectual way of grasping this force -- though in Hod, we could understand its form through ration -- this force can only be understood by experiencing it directly for oneself.
In human terms, Netzach is the realm of personal emotions. Or rather, it is the realm wherein the universal emotional archetypes intersect with personal expression. This intersection is pre-rational. It happens at an immediate, spontaneous, illogical, experiential level. It happens so quickly, there is no time for ration to interject itself. Ration can only intercede after the fact.
For example, when we encounter something, our first reaction is at an emotional gut level. It is immediate and spontaneous and we have no conscious control over it. Our ration then takes over and modifies the primary emotional response, crafting it into a more personal form. Generally, our ration focuses not on the something we've encountered in and of itself, but upon the force of our own primary response. Another way of putting it would be to say that the primary emotional response is the force which, generally, ignites the ration to action. The action of ration being the giving of form to emotion.
Netzach is the realm of the force of Nature; Hod, the realm of Nature's form. With logic we can understand her form, but logic fails us when we turn it toward the Mystery of her essential force. The Mystery cannot be grasped intellectually, it can only be experienced at a gut level. Our Netzach Temple is that gut level.
The Mystery is attributed to the number 7. Of the eight planetary numbers (3 through 10), seven is the only one which does not divide the 360 degrees of a circle with exactness. 360 divided by 7 equals 51.42857142857 with the last six digits repeating ad infinitum. This means that a circle cannot ever be divided into seven exactly equal parts. To draw a seven sided figure requires inexactitude, one has to estimate and judge by how it looks, and eventually let go of rational exactness.
Hidden in this Mystery of 7 into 360, is the meaning of the primary manifestation of dimensional time-space: the point. The point precedes the line. It has no other dimension than its singularity. It is both infinitely small and infinitely large. If we follow the point towards its smallness, we encounter an experience similar to dividing 360 by 7 -- since it is infinitely small by virtue of the infinity external to it, and infinitely large by virtue of the infinity within it, we find that it encompasses an infinite smallness which would take an infinite amount of time and effort for us to define.
It is not till we posit a second point and draw a line between them, that we are able to give the point real definition. Essentially, definition is a contextual illusion built upon the observable relationship of individually un-definable components.
Only through relationship is definition given to the point. And such is the case with the force of Netzach: only through personalization is it clothed in manifest form.
Love, loving-kindness, mercy: this is the primary force, at least in human terms. It is the dynamism of the point which, in its singularity, both encompasses infinity and is simultaneously encompassed. Thus we associate the goddess Venus with this realm, for here she is taken as the archetype of the human understanding of love.
This force of love itself has no opposite. It is only in the transition into form provided by the intercession of ration, that negative manifestations of this force occur. And these are found only in the humanoid heart and mind. In the rest of Nature, in the realm where specifically humanoid ration does not hold sway, the love force manifests without negatively polarized form.
This is due to the nature of different kinds of ration. For example, the type of ration encompassed by a tree or a rock as it gives form to the force of Nature, does not allow said rock or tree to express that force as mean-spiritedness. Human ration however, does allow such an expression -- it alone can divert or block the flow of love with as much ease as it can let love flow unhindered. A tree's ration does not encompass this power to divert and block, so it has no power to do anything but express the flow unhindered. But either result, be it human or tree, represents the giving of unique personal form to the same essential force.
While love itself does not have an opposite, it does, so to speak, have brothers and sisters. So in this realm of Netzach we encounter not only the primary force represented by Venus, but also all of the other archetypes of humanoid emotion. Here also are Mars, Phoebe, Jupiter, Artemis, Saturn, Astarte, Faunus, Pan, Kali, etc. Indeed, all the mythological expressions of human emotions can be found in Netzach, though generally, one meets the archetypes one is culturally most familiar with. This is another example of the 7 into 360 Mystery -- of the infinite diversity of uniqueness that is naturally manifest as force takes form.
Our Netzach Temple is unlike the Temples we've encountered thusfar. We will not transit directly to it from the Malkuth Temple; instead we will journey down a path which cuts through Nature's wild outdoors, eventually leading us to the Netzach Temple. As we journey along this path, we will encounter a series of things which will elicit responses from us. Each experience will be an exercise in looking beyond the secondary rational form, and striving to perceive the primary response in its unmodified state. When we reach the Netzach Temple itself, we will strive to experience the even deeper level of the thing itself which incites our primary, gut level response.
The form seldom matches the wholeness of the force. In other words, our rational responses seldom look like our primary emotional reactions, and even less like the things themselves to which we are responding. This can lead to misunderstanding of the thing encountered, an understanding based more upon self's response than upon the thing itself that we're trying to understand. The journey to the Netzach Temple attempts to strip away these layers of rational obfuscation and brings one, step by step, from the rationally modified response; to the deeper, emotional, gut level reaction; and on to the final destination of a non-reactionary perception of the unmodified force itself.
In the realm of Netzach, all roads lead to center, where the Temple is located. The Temple, like all of Netzach, is itself alive and evokes a strong emotional response by virtue of its lush, verdant beauty.
The Temple expresses 7 levels:
1) Ground level -- across which our path leads us, from which all life springs, and to which all life returns. As we journey along this path, we encounter a series of beings. Each one will elicit a response from us. Our task is to reach deeply into the mechanics of our faculty of perception and let the rational form lead us to a perception of the primary, gut level reaction. Then we follow the gut level till it leads us to a perception of the thing itself, the unmodified force.
2 thru 6) Five steps upward, each a level of clearer understanding. These steps echo the incidents of the journey along the path to the Netzach Temple which strip away the rational obfuscations. The number five implies willfulness -- these steps must be trod with conscious intention. The sixth (solar) level is the ground to which the unmodified life force itself descends.
7) The seventh level is where we encounter the thing itself, stripped of rational modifications. This seventh level is depicted here as a seven-sided font covered by a cupola formed by seven trees, supporting seven stained-glass heptangles, and surmounted by the sign of the planet Venus.
If we have consciously stripped away the rational modifications which obscure our understanding of the root force, we will be granted a clear vision within the font's pool of water. We can then, as Botticelli's famous painting suggests, call Venus forth from the water and experience her meaning directly.
MEDITATION #4: NETZACH
Begin as usual: pass through the Cave Entrance, along the Tunnel passage, up the ten steps, and into the Malkuth Temple where I stand awaiting your arrival.
When all the participants have arrived, I will gather us together and cast a ritual circle.
Once our circle is cast, we will spend several moments together in the center of the Malkuth Temple, holding hands in a circle and bringing our awareness of the presences of the other participants into focus. As you look around the circle, try to sense the unique presence of each participant.
At the appropriate moment, I will bring our focus to the East quarter altar -- our gateway to Netzach. Upon the altar there now sits a beautiful work in stained-glass and behind it we see the same curtain and symbol we encounter at the Cave Entrance.
I light the candles upon the altar, then together, as with a single voice, we speak the phrase: "I-H-V-H Tzabauth (pronounced "yawd-hay-vawv-hay tzaw-baw-ooth"), please guide me to Netzach."