Originally published 27 May 2012. © Torey B. Scott
- Golden Dawn Zodiacal Attribute: Aries (Succedent Decan)
- Solomonic Rank: Duke (Sometimes Grand Duke)
- Planetary Ruler by Rank: Venus
- Planetary Ruler by Decan: The Sun
- Tarot Card: 3 of Wands
- Holy Days: March 30 – April 8
Traditional Appearance: An old man riding upon a crocodile and carrying a goshawk
Traditional Powers & Authorities: “Maketh them to run that stand still”; “bringeth back runaways”; “teacheth all Languages or Tongues”; “power to destroy Dignities both Spiritual and Temporal”; “causeth Earthquakes”
Agares is the first Duke to be mentioned in most versions of The Lesser Key of Solomon. The Golden Dawn assigns Him to the Succedent Decan of Aries, thus insinuating that His is a Solar presence. His Nature is, indeed, very indicative of resonating with Solar Archetypes—He is a Demon of action, motivation and growth as well as being strongly representative of the importance of seeing endeavours through to completion.
It is tempting to compare the Magickal Image of Agares with that of the Hermit as found in the Tarot. Here we have a solitary figure, an old man—upon His fist He carries a goshawk, replacing the traditional element of the lantern within in the Hermit card. As the Hermit’s lantern illuminates His path, so does Agares’ ever-watchful goshawk keep a steady eye fixed upon its surroundings. However, unlike the free-standing Hermit, Agares has decided to carry Himself upon the back of a strange ally—the crocodile.
This seemingly inconceivable idea of a crocodile as a stead speaks to us of a need to see possibilities where previously we had thought none existed. It suggests that we look beyond surface appearances and shallow convictions in order to negate our self-limiting tendency to judge a book by its cover. Historically and metaphysically, crocodiles represent unbridled brute force—however, in contrast to its primitive and often violent countenance; the crocodile is capable of being a profoundly effective nurturer, demonstrative through the imagery of the mother caring for her hatchlings.
Agares’ nurturing Nature is also demonstrated by His association with the Qabbalistic Sephirah of Binah in addition to the planetary attribution of His rank, Venus. Binah is often characterised as the Great Mother figure, or Aima Elohim. It is receptive, comforting and can sometimes be seen as the inviting white shores beyond the ending of one’s life. Binah also embodies the concept of “Understanding” and great wisdom, further supporting the significance of the old man in the Magickal Image of Agares. We are also inspired to find the significance of this “Understanding” in Agares’ mastery in “teaching Languages”. Through language, we seek to be understood—and through expressing ourselves, we are able to articulate our fears, desires and perception of the world around us. Agares thus bolsters our ability to communicate with one another and with the Universe not only through His personal tutelage in the realm of language, but through His inherent connection with the Sephirah of Understanding. Like the crocodile, Binah indicates the cycle of life and death, departure and return. When we examine Agares’ affinity with “runaways”, the connection between the lessons of Binah and the crocodile become apparent.
Both the goshawk and the crocodile represent higher vision, caution and the need for vigilance. Symbolically, the old man is illustrative of wisdom through experience, perseverance and even fragility. It is quite a worrying situation in which a fragile old man has committed himself to being reliant upon the strength of the crocodile whose powerful jaws could easily rend him limb from limb; but this insinuates profound and unspoken trust on the part of the old man—even his dependence upon the sharp eyes of the goshawk leads us to conclude that, as a pinnacle of wisdom, his experience has given him reason to believe that his life and well-being are safe in the deceptively dangerous guardianship of beasts.
Although we may be inclined to associate Agares with the Hermit, He is best represented by the 3 of Wands. Although His seal is subject to variation from source to source, we can clearly see within its basic shape a pattern of three’s. There are three circles, three unattached arms of the cross and three bands at the bottom of the shield. The number three has a great deal of occult significance—examples being the triplicity of the seasons of life (birth, adulthood, death) and the threefold Nature of linear time (past, present and future).
Because His Nature is fiery, motivating and active, it makes sense to assume that His Decanal association with the Sun and Aries lend him both Solar qualities and those aligned with the Ram of the Zodiac. The Three’s of the Tarot may be viewed as being representative of commenced action—we may break this down into such thoughts as beginning something new, motivation or going forward. Agares’ interest in “making them to run that stand still” suggests that we are correct to attribute the action-based principles of His Solar-Aries assignment to those lessons of His which encompass breaking free from old ruts, rising to the challenge and persevering.
The 3 of Wands can also indicate a tendency to cling to shallow ideals such as appearance, power and wealth. Because Agares’ inspires us to look beyond what is visible on the surface, we find that His traditional powers include “power to destroy dignities” and “causeth earthquakes”. Both of these actions consist of the razing of structures, both symbolic and literal—of destroying what once was in order to return a state of being to its most basic foundations. Through the destructive power of Aries, the jaws of the crocodile, we are stripped bare—exposed to the light of the Sun and entrusted to the care of the nurturing Mother. Through the warming of the Sun’s rays we attain new growth and perspective, guided by the light of the Morning Star, Venus—the eyes of the goshawk.
Agares’ Lessons – Summary
Looking beyond the surface. Finding the “diamond in the rough”. Acknowledging that there is always a silver lining. Undiscovered talents and strengths. Thinking outside the box.
Wisdom through experience. Understanding our fellow human beings and relationship with the Universe. Communication and language.
Motivation. Endurance. Inspiration to climb out of ruts. Action. Beginning new ventures. Finishing what we have begun. Growth. Sports.
Balancing strength with fragility. Nurture, rest and recuperation. Getting back to our roots.
Being honest with ourselves and with others. Letting go of shallow concerns and interests. Starting over. Wearing our hearts on our sleeves. Acknowledging weaknesses in ourselves. Taking a back seat.
Life and death. Cycles and changes. Runaways. Running from problems.
Vigilance. Caution. Higher vision and psychism.
By examining the lessons which a particular Demon has to offer to us, we can find those lessons which relate to a specific problem in our lives and work with that Demon in order to correct any imbalance which may be present. However, just because a particular Demon “specialises” in certain areas, it does not mean that It is limited solely to such. For example, you may discover that when working with Agares, He may be interested in helping you with an issue in your life which may seem completely alien to His Nature or concerns.
The best way to work with a Demon is to begin by using meditation and visualisation to establish contact. Once you have attained a rapport with a Demon, you may begin by asking It questions relative to your specific problem and “tuning in” to receive Its messages. Demons communicate with us in many ways—usually through seemingly random thoughts or signs in our environments. They may also be worked with through Shamanic journey or a variety of divination methods.
Prompts for Exploration
- When you are feeling distressed or alone, what comforts you? In what ways do you, in turn, comfort others who are in need?
2. Are you guilty of vanity? In what ways? What things affect your self-esteem? What things improve it? What are you unwilling to compromise on when it comes to looking or feeling your best? Why?
3. Do you judge people based on first impressions or how they appear? Have you ever been discriminated against? How did you deal with it?
4. Can you look back on your younger years and recognise things you did or behaviours in yourself that you now consider to be foolish or unwise? What life experiences led you to change these things? How does the person you were make you feel about the person you are now?
5. Are you a procrastinator? Do you often find yourself in emotional or motivational ruts? If so, how do you break free from them and get things done? Who or what are your inspirations in life?
6. Do you feel a need to control every aspect of your life? Do you ever allow others to take the reins while you trust them to do the right thing? If not, what would happen if you did?
7. Do you take responsibility for your actions? Are you a blame-shifter or do you acknowledge your flaws and mistakes?
Meditation – The Old Man & The Crocodile
Find a quiet place in which to meditate, making sure that you will not be disturbed. Either using this article or your own drawing, focus your mind on Agares’ seal. When you can visualise it without looking at it, close your eyes and sit up straight, clearing your mind of the debris and remnants of the day’s thoughts and worries. Remain focused, in your mind’s eye, on the seal. Taking a deep breath in through your nose while counting to four, exhaling through your mouth while counting to six. Feel your body relax and your consciousness shift, floating away like a leaf in the current.
Visualise the seal beginning to fade as you imagine yourself in a forest at dusk. Allow yourself to feel the warm summer wind blowing over your bare skin, hear the crickets calling in the thick ferns and marvel at the blue green hue of the trees as their branches sway lazily in the breeze. Before you, an old forest path stretches deep into the darkening woods—further down the track, you notice someone approaching very slowly, but you are unable to clearly make out the figure.
You decide to walk towards them, cautious yet unalarmed. Suddenly you stop as you realise that it is an old man—however, there is something very strange about him. You notice that he carries a goshawk upon his fist, much in the same way as falconers carry their companions. The hawk is watching you closely, peering at you with its large keen eyes and bobbing its head warily from side to side. Even stranger is that the old man appears to be sitting upon the back of a large crocodile, its breath coming heavily as it strides slowly towards you.
The crocodile stops just in front of you, seemingly operating on a telepathic command from the old man. Looking closer, you see that the old man is thin and haggard—his face is withered and a scraggly beard adorns his chin. He smiles at you and asks for your name. Feeling much more confident, you do not hesitate to tell him. In return he reveals to you that he has been searching for you. As you come to understand, he informs you that he has a task for you to complete. He tells you that he needs for you to help a small child. You agree to do what you can, and the old man points behind you. Turning around, you see that there is a door which has appeared upon the forest path. Walking towards it, you take a deep breath and open it, stepping into the darkness within.
The door closes behind you and your eyes slowly begin to adjust. You realise that you are in the bedroom of a little girl. All around you are toys, family photos and school awards, yet you hear only the weeping of the child as she lies curled into a ball on her bed. Walking to the bedside, you kneel down and stroke her hair softly, asking her why she is crying when she is surrounded by so many beautiful things. She tells you that she is afraid of growing up and of losing her family. Overwhelmed, you sit on the bed and take her into your arms, telling her all of the reasons why she should not be afraid of growing up—you tell her how important it is to enjoy each day and to look for the good in everything. You explain to her that by growing up, she will be able to do new things and to meet new friends. Slowly, she begins to relax and you dry her tears. She looks up at you and smiles and wraps her arms around you. You close your eyes and hold her tightly, but are suddenly aware that you are no longer yourself, but have taken the place of the little girl—looking up you see that, in your place, is the old man. He smiles down at you before rising and disappearing again.
You feel completely relieved and are convinced that everything will be alright. You are suddenly no longer aware of any worries and can only think about those things in your life which you are truly grateful for. Closing your eyes, you wrap yourself in the blankets and drift to sleep, bringing yourself back to normal consciousness and feeling refreshed.
- If you are artistically inclined, create a work of art using Agares’ seal as inspiration. You may choose to create a drawing, sculpture or piece of jewellery—alternately, you may even wish to compose a piece of music which best represents Agares as you perceive Him. Outline the symbolism of your creation—explain the meaning behind any colours you may have chosen or any materials or why your work specifically embodies the Nature of Agares. Meditate on this creation at least once a week and make note of any impressions or thoughts you may have.
2. On a sheet of paper or parchment, write down all of the things in your life which you feel impede your personal growth. They may be things such as “insecurity, low self-esteem, feeling inadequate” or “boss has it in for me, no friends, drink too much”. Contemplate these things and on a second sheet of paper, write down things you believe can counteract them. For example, where you may have written “low self-esteem” as an impediment, you can counteract this with something such as “get a new haircut”. Likewise, if you included something such as “boss has it in for me” as an impediment, a counteraction for this may be something as simple as “look for a new job”.
Once you have written your list of counteractions, crumple up the piece of paper containing the impediments and abuse it—take out all of your frustrations on it and pour all of that negative repressed energy into it. Afterwards, either burn it or bury it. Keep your list of counteractions visible and use it as a checklist—strive to accomplish at least one counteraction per month.