Insight into the Kavad

So… I’ve probably bored everyone to tears with all this kavad stuff.  But I’m learning a bunch of things, and I think that the learning-in-public is good for me, as an artist and a designer. So if you’re a regular reader and you’re bored (or appalled) by how much I’ve posted today, I apologize.

Except I don’t.  It’s my blog. I’ll do as I like.  On to my insight.

In a lot of the Western world’s religious, magical and craft traditions, there was a threefold structure of status within society — the Catholic priesthood had bishops, priests and deacons.  The nobility had pages, squires and knights (and like the Freemasons today, a good many higher ranks above that, membership in which is determined in part by how much money you have and how much you can afford to give away 🙂 Slight dig at my brothers, who keep insisting that only the first three degrees really matter.  But anyway…  The craftspeople and artisans had apprentices, journeymen, and masters; in a sense, this trifecta carried on into the esoteric tradition through the masons’ guild, and then the rest is poorly-understood history mixed with a generous helping of myth.

The Kavad, as I’ve noted before, has four layers, or will have four once it’s constructed the way I think it ought to be.  There’s an outer layer, which represents if you will, what anyone knows.  Once the first layer of panels are unfolded, though, there’s a story there, and that story is in a sense the property of the lowest rank of initiates, the apprentices.  That information should be explained to someone the first time the Kavad is opened in front of them, and gradually they should be able to explain the material within.  Right?

As the second layer is peeled back, though, we should be moving from the realm of the beginner to the intermediate practitioner.  So this second layer represents a new layer of information.  And the innermost part of the Kavad then represents the mastery of the material.  It contains, if you will, the keys to the entire system.

But in a very real way, I’ve put the keys to the whole system on the outside of the box… geomancy, the Zodiac, the system of colors I’ve hinted at with my twelve Sharpie markers, the archangels, the Table of Practice on top, the circle of binding of demons on the bottom, the Tree of Life, the alphabets… that’s, like 80% of the keys to the system right there.  What else needs to go into the box? What else AM I going to put in the box?

Some of it is fairly obvious, like icons of the Seven Archangels of the Planets, and perhaps the Intelligences. The thirty-six decans…. I just laid out boxes for those, although I worry that they’re too small for sufficient detail (the Decans images are complicated!). But there’s still a lot of empty real estate.  The twenty-eight mansions of the Moon?  The diagrams of the LBRP and the Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram? Still a lot of empty space.  A bunch of putti angel heads? Seems like overkill.

Maybe it will be easier as I have insights along the way, but right now I’m wondering if I’ve bit off more than I can chew.


  1. I would say, do not apologize in the least for your writing. I have thoroughly enjoyed following this project so far, and you’re inspiring me to give a go at making something similar of my own. I would ask, is it truly necessary to fill ALL of the white space? Perhaps leaving it open for future additions is a possibility?

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Frater Seraph.

      I don’t think all the white space has to be filled… but I want it to be. If you Google “Kavad”, you’ll find, (embarrassingly enough, mixed in with my own photos!) a bunch of images of Rajasthani originals, as well as images of the Kavad of the Sacred Geometer, which first inspired me. The more of the kavad that’s covered, the more effective a memory tool it is; the more thoroughly completed, the more valuable it is as a tool for imparting both wisdom to observers, and energy to the workings performed on and around it.

      That said, leaving some parts of it blank, or at least relatively open, isn’t such a bad idea.

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