Category Archives: Meditations

What Is Glutamate?



What is Glutamate?


Glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter in our brain and central nervous system (CNS). It is involved in virtually every major excitatory brain function. While excitatory has a very specific meaning in neuroscience, in general terms, an excitatory neurotransmitter increases the likelihood that the neuron it acts upon will have an action potential (also called a nerve impulse).1 When an action potential occurs the nerve is said to fire, with fire, in this case, being somewhat akin to the completion of an electric circuit that occurs when a light switch is turned on. The result of neurons firing is that a message can be spread throughout the neural circuit. It is estimated that well over half of all synapses in the brain release glutamate, making it the dominant neurotransmitter used for neural circuit communication.

Glutamate is also a metabolic precursor for another neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Inhibitory neurotransmitters are essentially the flip-side of the coin—they decrease the likelihood that the neuron they act upon will fire.1


In the brain, groups of neurons (nerve cells) form neural circuits to carry out specific small-scale functions (e.g., formation and retrieval of memory). These neural circuits interconnect with each other to form large-scale brain networks, which carry out more complex functions (e.g., hearing, vision, movement). In order to get the individual nerve cells to work together across these networks some type of communication between them is needed and one way it is accomplished is by chemical messenger molecules called neurotransmitters. Glutamate plays a prominent role in neural circuits involved with synaptic plasticity—the ability for strengthening or weakening of signaling between neurons over time to shape learning and memory. It’s a major player in the subset of plasticity called long-term potentiation (LTP).

“The brain doesn’t grow new neurons to store memories. It strengthens connections between existing neurons. This process is called long-term potentiation (LTP).”

Because of these and other roles, the glutamatergic system is paramount for fast signaling and information processing in neuronal networks. Glutamate signaling is critical in brain regions, including the cortex and hippocampus, which are fundamental for cognitive function. Glutamate receptors are widely expressed throughout the CNS, not only in neurons, but also in glial cells.

[Note: Glial cells (or neuroglia or simply glia) are non-neuronal brain cells that provide support and protection for neurons.]

Because it is the main molecule promoting neuronal excitation, glutamate is the principal mediator of cognition, emotions, sensory information, and motor coordination, and is linked to the activity of most other neurotransmitter systems.2 But glutamate is not a “more is better” molecule. Glutamatergic communication requires the right concentrations of glutamate be released in the right places for only small amounts of time. Less than this results in poor communication. More than this can be neurotoxic and can damage neurons and neural networks.


Glutamate signaling is an example of what’s sometimes referred to as the “Goldilocks Principle.” In the fairy tale story, Goldilocks tastes three different bowls of porridge. The first is too cold; the second is too hot, and the third is just the right temperature. This concept of a “just the right amount” has widespread application, including in cognitive science.

In cognitive science, this principle can refer to a process where the same neurotransmitter (or medication) can have both antagonist (inhibitory) and agonist (excitatory) properties. It can also apply to situations where too little or too much stimulation by the same signaling molecule is linked to sub-optimal performance, but some middle ground amount produces healthy responses.

When thinking about things that follow the Goldilocks Principle it’s important to avoid black-white or good-bad thinking. The key thing to focus on is that there’s a just right amount, often a range, where the best results are produced.

“Glutamate follows the Goldilocks Principle. Too little glutamate excitation can result in difficulty concentrating or mental exhaustion. But too much can result in excitotoxicity, which can damage nerve cells (neurons).”


Neurotransmitters have several characteristics in common. The first is that they are synthesized (i.e., made or created) in neurons. After that, they are moved into areas near the end of neurons (synaptic vesicles near the terminal end of nerve cells) where they are stored until needed. This occurs in preparation for signaling, which involves release of the neurotransmitter from the message-sending neuron into the space between neurons (synaptic cleft), so it can activate (i.e., bind to) receptors on message-receiving neurons. After this signal is sent, the space between neurons is cleaned up, so it can be made ready for the next time a message needs to be sent. This is achieved by absorbing the neurotransmitter into a cell so it can be reused (recycling), and/or by degrading (breaking down and inactivating) the neurotransmitter in the space outside cells. Let’s explore how these occur with glutamate.

Glutamate does not cross the blood-brain barrier and must be synthesized in neurons from building block molecules (i.e.,  precursors) that can get into the brain. In the brain, glutamine is the fundamental building block for glutamate. The most prevalent biosynthetic pathway synthesizes glutamate from glutamine using an enzyme called glutaminase.2

[Note: Enzymes are catalysts used to produce specific biochemical reactions: They usually have names that end in “ase.” Coenzymes are parts of certain enzymes. Many coenzymes are derived from vitamins.]

Glutamine is the most abundant of the twenty amino acids the body uses to build proteins. It can be produced in the body (so is categorized as non-essential). Most glutamine is made and stored in muscle. Under certain circumstances, such as severe stress, the body can require more than it can make. This has led many scientists to consider glutamine as being a conditionally essential amino acid. It is one of the few amino acids that can directly cross the blood–brain barrier, so the glutamine pool in muscle can be used to support the brain.

“The blood-brain barrier acts a bit like a doorman, choosing what goes in (like nutrients) and out (such as metabolic waste products) of the brain. It also protects the brain against the entry of potentially harmful things (like bacteria).”

Glutamate can also be produced from glucose through a metabolic pathway that begins with the conversion of glucose to pyruvate (a process called glycolysis). Pyruvate then ethers the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle (also called the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle). The TCA cycle forms multiple important intermediates. One of these intermediates is α-ketoglutarate (α-KG). α-KG can be used to produce glutamate. An enzyme called glutamate dehydrogenase, which uses vitamin B3 (NAD+) as a coenzyme, is responsible for this reaction. This same enzyme can reconvert glutamate back into α-KG. Because of this enzyme, glutamate and α-KG can be continuously converted into each other.2 This dynamic equilibrium is a key intersection between anabolic and catabolic pathways and allows the body to shift resources in whichever direction is required.

[Note: Anabolic pathways construct molecules from smaller units. Catabolic pathways break molecules down into smaller units.]

Neurotransmitters, including glutamate, convey information from one neuron (message sender) to other “target” neurons (message recipients) within neural circuits. After synthesis, glutamate is transported into synaptic vesicles by vesicular glutamate transporters. This transport (and storage) occurs in the message-sending neuron in anticipation of needing to send glutamate messages in the future. Glutamate is stored in these vesicles until a nerve impulse triggers the release of glutamate into the synaptic cleft (i.e.,the space between neurons) and starts a receptor-mediated signaling process.3

“It’s estimated that about 99.99% of all the glutamate in the brain is stored inside cells (intracellular). Intracellular glutamate is inactive. It’s only the glutamate in the extracellular space between cells that causes excitation.”

Neurons with glutamate receptor proteins (i.e., glutamate receivers) respond to glutamate in the synaptic cleft. There are two general types of glutamate receptors. One type are called ionotropic receptors: Glutamate binding to these receptors allows the entry of ions (i.e., electrically charged minerals such as sodium or calcium) into the cell. There are three classes of ionotropic glutamate receptors: (1) N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), (2) α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA), and (3) kainate receptors.

The second type of receptors are linked to molecules that will activate intracellular signaling pathways subsequent to glutamate binding. These are called G protein-coupled or metabotropic receptors. Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) modulate synaptic transmission (i.e. neuronal communication) by regulating the activity of a wide variety of ion channels, including ionotropic glutamate receptors, as well as receptors for other neurotransmitters.1,4

The next phase of neurotransmission is cleanup. Signaling is based on relative changes, not absolute amounts. In a quiet room the human ear might detect a whisper. In a loud nightclub it might not hear a shout. Neurotransmitters work on a similar principle. Short bursts of glutamate produce responses. But, for the best response to occur with the smallest amount of glutamate, the space between neurons needs to be the equivalent of a quiet room. Glutamate also follows the Goldilocks principle—too little and signaling within neural networks is subpar, but too much can be neurotoxic. For these reasons, the glutamate in the extracellular space between neurons needs to be continuously removed.

Neurotransmitter cleanup is commonly a combination of (1) transporting some of the neurotransmitter back into cells, and (2) inactivating the neurotransmitter that’s left floating in the space between cells. While the first of these processes applies to glutamate, there is no enzymatic inactivation system for glutamate in the extracellular space. This means that glutamate can interact with its receptors continuously until it diffuses away or is taken up by cellular transporters for reuse/recycling.

“Because there are no enzyme systems in the spaces between nerve cells to inactivate glutamate, it’s important to support nerve cells against excessive glutamate excitation. Astrocytes provide part of this support.”

Some glutamate can be taken up into neurons. This is done by excitatory amino acid transporters (i.e., glutamate transporters), but much of the released glutamate is taken up by a type of glial cell called astroglia or astrocytes. Astroglia surround synapses and play important roles in areas including nervous system repair, metabolic support of neurons, and neurotransmitter cleanup. The combination of neurons and supporting astroglia are responsible for emptying the synaptic cleft of glutamate to turn off the signal and reset the system for generation and propagation of the next glutamate signal. In this cleanup role, astroglia act to protect neurons from glutamate excitotoxicity.

Source – NeuroHacker 

John C Lilly On Consciousness and Satori

Dr John Cunningham Lilly (January 6, 1915 – September 30, 2001) was an American physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopher, writer and inventor. He was a researcher of the nature of consciousness using mainly isolation tanks, dolphin communication, and psychedelic drugs, sometimes in combination. Lilly was a physician and psychoanalyst. He made contributions in the fields of biophysics, neurophysiology, electronics, computer science, and neuroanatomy. He invented and promoted the use of an isolation tank as a means of sensory deprivation. He also attempted communication between humans and dolphins. His work helped the creation of the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Lilly’s eclectic career began as a conventional scientist doing research for universities and government. Gradually, however, he began researching unconventional topics. He published several books and had two Hollywood movies based partly on his work. He also developed theories for flotation. Lilly published 19 books, including The Center of the Cyclone, which describes his own LSD experiences, and Man and Dolphin and The Mind of the Dolphin, which describe his work with dolphins. In the 1980s Lilly directed a project that attempted to teach dolphins a computer-synthesised language. Lilly designed a future “communications laboratory” that would be a floating living room where humans and dolphins could chat as equals and develop a common language. Lilly envisioned a time when all killing of whales and dolphins would cease, “not from a law being passed, but from each human understanding innately that these are ancient, sentient earth residents, with tremendous intelligence and enormous life force. Not someone to kill, but someone to learn from.” In the 1990s Lilly moved to Maui, Hawaii, where he lived most of the remainder of his life. Lilly’s literary rights and scientific discoveries were owned by Human Software, Inc., while his philanthropic endeavors were owned by the Human Dolphin Foundation. The John C. Lilly Research Institute, Inc. continues to research topics of interest to Lilly and carry on his legacy.

Be Metaphysical: Changing Thought Patterns

Be metaphysical : Changing Thought

A meditation experience last night that furthered my steps along this path of thinking. What if words are slowing me down. Last night I began to bring attention to the pattern and sound of my heart beat. A few moments later I “realized” how little I pay attention to my heart. Possibly because of the vulnerability it takes to accept if this small heart stops its over. That feeling is a play of strength and delicateness. Following this line of thoughts I began to listen to the pulsing. A lecture played in the back ground giving my verbal train of thought something to juggle. If each thought process were a lane on a highway I found myself swerving between words, sound and image.

Through making instrumentals and becoming more musically expressive the past week it seems as if I’ve painted lines on the road splitting one lane into two. Where I would receive insight in the form of words now becomes replaced by a stream of percussion, string instruments, buzzing, birds you name it. Essentially words are sounds when you break it down. This lesson lingered on me for a few days and I was beginning to utilize the wisdom. 

While listening to the sound of my heartbeat allowing my thoughts to flow through the “percussion filter” the words trickled back in for a moment to explain the feeling I had even though the feeling was self explanatory in the instant it was felt.  The words that followed after seemed slow, late to the party. That was the feeling, knowing I don’t necessarily need words to gain an understanding. Most of what I’ve learned comes from reading or experience then explaining it through words to others or myself. In this moment I felt how words can limit the speed / pace of comprehension.

I’ll continue walking down the path of re arranging the form of language I’ve communicated to myself with my whole life.

Secret Science Hidden behind Ancient Holes? Mystery of Preah Vihear Temple

Hey guys, in the last video, I showed you strange holes drilled into many of the stone blocks of this 1000-year-old temple known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia. There are many different sizes of holes cut into the rocks, and the purpose of these holes has been a mystery, until now. To decode this, we need to look at these ancient floor tiles. Each tile is a square slab of sandstone, but in the center, there is a circular hole. Surprisingly, these holes are not present in one or 2 slabs, or even some tiles, this is what we see in this entire area. Each square tile is of the same size as every other tile, and there is one hole drilled in the center of every tile. Were ancient builders mass manufacturing tiles, just like what we do today? How else can we explain this kind of replication? You can see that the entire area covered with tiles, has the exact same feature. If you walk on them looking at these tiles, it is like walking through a mass manufacturing setup. But why was the hole in the center necessary? Archeologists give a very simple explanation. Stone blocks are not easily moveable, because we cannot get a grip on them. So when ancient builders quarried stone blocks from mountains, they made holes, so that builders could insert a stick and move them easily. In fact, there are documentaries that explain how multiple holes were drilled in rectangular blocks, so they could be moved by men easily. This seems like a convincing explanation, But do all stone blocks have these holes? Let us go to another area in the same temple complex and look at the floor tiling. Look at these stone blocks on the ground, no holes on them at all, but look what they have done to the surface. Here you can see this work, this is to make sure that you don’t fall. (Rug for grip). Here, here and look.. all the way. This is all grip. This entire place is made of these rocks, where the surface was deliberately made rough. They either used sandpaper, acid treatment or something strange device to make it rough. This is incredible. Yes, today we have rugs, even archeology department uses rugs or carpets so people don’t fall, but this rug is 1000-year-old guys, and it will last for eternity, unlike the modern rugs which will disintegrate after 10 years. This is why we love ancient builders right, they built things that even time can’t destroy But if ancient builders had to put holes in the floor tiles in that area, why do these blocks don’t have holes? How were these blocks moved without the holes? I am not satisfied with the theory of mainstream archeologists; the holes must have a different purpose. When I examine the walls, the holes are very, very strange and go against these standard explanations. In documentaries, we are told that the holes are drilled through the blocks and wooden sticks are driven through them, and two people would push or pull on both sides. However, none of these holes go through the entire depth. They are very shallow, and I doubt if they are deep enough even to put a stick on them and make them move. To facilitate movement, holes must be drilled symmetrically, ie., either on the ends or at the very center. But the holes in these blocks are weird, there are a bunch of holes in one corner, while the other corner has no holes at all. Some blocks have a lot of holes, and other similar-sized blocks have very little number of holes or even no holes at all. And one more thing, these multiple holes defeat the purpose, the temple walls are supposed to be ornate and are supposed to look good. The holes actually make them look bad. So the holes definitely served some other important purpose. But we don’t know what it is. But the mystery gets deeper as I explore another temple in the complex. There are some very very strange and unexplainable features. Look, these are not small little holes, they are huge, gigantic holes, not just one or two, but a series of them and they are drilled on the floor. These holes are too large for driving any stick and moving them, these holes had a very different purpose. And why so many holes? Remember I showed you similar holes on the bedrock of Ellora Caves in India? Ellora caves also has these weird holes on the ground. Those holes were deliberately made for ventilation purposes for the secret underground city which lies underneath.

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Ruins of ‘ANCESTOR BRAHMA’ Temple – 800 Year Old Ta Prohm, Cambodia

Hey guys, today we are going into a temple called ‘Ta Prohm’ Temple in Cambodia. Archeologists think it was built in the late 12th century, so this temple is about 800 years old. What is the meaning of Ta Prohm? Ta Prohm means ‘Ancestor Brahma’ – Cambodians consider Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation, as one of their ancestors. But the original name of this temple was RajaVihara, which means the Rest-House of the King, in Sanskrit language . The temple is known for 2 important features: One, is the carving of a dinosaur, specifically a stegosaurus – it is there on one of the walls, I made a video about this sometime ago. The second feature, is that trees, giant trees have taken over this temple. I mean, the way these trees have really grown and destroyed this temple is a very strange sight. How did this happen? The Cambodians abandoned this entire city and moved out about 500 years ago. This is why you see bushes and trees growing in many of the temples in this city, but this temple has some kind of weird energy that attracts plants and birds. You do see a lot of birds and of course, gigantic trees. In fact, ancient builders had predicted that this temple, would be taken over by trees, there are carvings which show exactly what would happen to the temple in the future. There are many small shrines within this temple, let us go into one of these shrines and see what is in there. There must have been some statues originally, but today, you can see the ceiling and even the walls have collapsed. Giant stone blocks have fallen on the ground, making it impossible to determine what was originally there. If you look at the side view, it has the shape of a chariot. It is very intriguing to see how the nearby forest and the temple have slowly merged together at some point in time. The temple has become very popular among Americans, and they take a lot of pictures while standing under these huge trees overgrown on temples. This specific location was used in the movie Tomb Raider and the temple, which was unknown until then, became a huge tourist destination after the movie. Today, the Indian Government is funding a restoration project and the archaeology department of India is partnering with the Cambodian Government and restoring many of the structures in this temple. You can see the before and after pictures, they are doing some very good work. This temple has many interesting carvings, but many of them are destroyed by trees. Look at the roots, they look like giant snakes taking over the temple. Here we can see a strange figure carved on the wall. What is it? It is a Naga, a 5 headed snake, but something is wrong with this picture. Where is the rest of its body? If we look at the wall, we can see some clues. We can see a leg with massive claws at the bottom, snakes don’t have legs. And we can see giant wings spreading on both sides. Something spectacular was carved here. What is it? The carving would have looked like this, this is a carving from a nearby temple. A giant bird like deity called Garuda, firmly holding down 2 Nagas with his 2 legs on the ground. And he is holding the tails of the Nagas high above his head. There is no doubt that the Ta Prohm temple once had a giant carving of this spectacular Garuda tormenting the Nagas. And sadly, this carving was deliberately destroyed by human beings, this is not the effect of nature. But what is Garuda doing to the Nagas? In Indian Hinduism, Garuda is merely shown holding the naga with his hands or sometimes his beak. But in South East Asia, the Garuda is shown holding the Naga’s head down with his legs while holding the tail above. Cambodians tell a strange story. The Garuda hunted Nagas all the time, so the Nagas feared that their entire species might become extinct. The Nagas knew the Garuda usually caught the Nagas by holding their middle of the body. So, the Nagas came up with a clever plan. All the Nagas swallowed heavy stones, so it becomes impossible for the Garuda to lift them. However, they underestimated the sharp eyesight of Garuda, who could see their actions while flying at a very high altitude. From this moment on, Garuda began holding the Nagas’ heads down and lifting and lowering the tail of the Naga, just like how we do the battle ropes in the gym. The stones were rolled within the body of Naga and the Naga could not spit them out either, because Garuda’s legs are on his head. Thus the Nagas were killed by the “Battle Ropes” technique. This is a very interesting story, but to understand the symbolisms in this story, we may have to meditate on it.

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DMT Slow Drip or Space Voyage with No Return Ticket

Gallimore has however in recent years proposed a method for keeping people in the ‘DMT space’ for longer periods of time – so that psychonauts can spend more time studying what is going on there – using a similar technology to that used when giving anaesthetic during surgery.

In a recent talk given at the 2019 Breaking Convention (embedded below), he explained both the technology, and his reason for coming up with the idea.

The properties of DMT, these kinds of pharmacological peculiarities that DMT has, reminded me of the pharmacological characteristics that are required for drugs used in anesthesiology. If you want to put somebody to sleep for several hours, what you don’t do is just give them an injection of a long-acting drug, because the drug tends to rise and then begin to fall and it’s very difficult to control.

So what you actually do is inject them with a short-acting drug that is metabolized rather quickly, and use a programmed infusion device…to deliver a controlled rate of a continuous infusion of the drug into the bloodstream and into the brain. It sounds like a very simple idea but of course simple ideas often behind them have rather complex science and that’s the case here.

Breaking Convention

Andrew Gallimore – Towards a DMaTrix machine: DMT for communication with alien intelligence

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Gallimore used data from Rick Strassman’s DMT studies in the 1990s – which recorded blood levels of the psychedelic over time after injection – to calculate that a continuous infusion system could work by giving an initial dose of 25mg of DMT (infused over 30 seconds) to bring the individual to ‘breakthrough’, followed by continuous infusion beginning at the 2 minute mark, at a rate of 4.2 mg/min, to compensate for the drug being lost through metabolism and excretion.

“With this protocol in a living human being, you would expect to be able to hold them within the DMT space for as long as you wanted,” Gallimore proclaims.

(For those that might be asking, “hasn’t this guy heard of ayahuasca?” – yes, Gallimore is well aware of the South American shamanic brew. In the talk, he points out that while ayahuasca is a type of ‘extended DMT experience’, the level of DMT over that time is not regulated and kept consistent – there is never a stable concentration of DMT in the brain. Also, the average peak DMT blood concentration after consuming ayahuasca is around 15-18 ng/ml, whereas intravenous DMT using this method is over 100 ng/ml. So ayahuasca is not a suitable substitute for what he is doing.)

DMT Space Exploration

So what is Gallimore’s motivation for creating the technology to enable a ‘persistent DMT state’? He feels the experience is so extraordinary, and suggestive of some ‘other’ space or reality, that he thinks we should study it in detail – but a normal DMT trip is far too fast and intense for that.

The brain is always constructing your model of reality – and [it] essentially learned to construct your model of the world over time.

Now when you’re thrust into the DMT space, this is why within the first five minutes…you’re very disoriented. What I would expect to happen over time, perhaps over several hours, is that it would begin to stabilise as the brain learns to construct a model of that environment. And this would then make the DMT state amenable to proper exploration, and testing.

I imagine teams of various disciplines – mathematicians, anthropologists, psychologists, cartographers, linguists, artists, neuroscientists, physicians, theologians – a variety of people to form this exploration team, the aim being to map and explore this new domain.

And in the far future, Gallimore believes technology will allow us spend really extended periods of time in the DMT realm, by being contained within a capsule that provides nutrition and waste removal for the human body while the mind explores this other, strange world.

“I really do imagine a time when you’re going to lie down in some type of pod, and you’ll enter your journey time, and you’ll set off for the universe next door,” Gallimore says.

And, he jokes with the audience, perhaps the ultimate truth will be revealed: “You could put someone into this machine for days, or weeks, or months, or years…or YOU COULD BE IN ONE NOW!”

Read the full article at DailyGrail

Goddess Glo Up NYC 6.6.20

Rza Guided Explorations EP

RZA is without a doubt a master of many talents which is nothing short of his genuine creativity. In support of fellow creatives, right on Wu Wednesday, the abbot of the Wu-Tang Clan dropped a new EP titled Guided Explorations. The five-track EP is a part of a collaborative effort with premiere herbal tea TAZO, where RZA is stationed as the listener’s calming guide to revelation.

The five tracks are strategically formulated to help aspiring creatives breakthrough any burden that may be preventing them from access to their core intuition through the act of meditation.

In a recent interview with Forbes, RZA broke down the purpose behind the creation of the meditative album which the “Triumph” producer revealed was burgeoned by his ability to inspire.

“I’m at the phase in my life where I think the best thing I could do is inspire, whether that’s inspiring some kid from my neighborhood who thinks they’ll never make it out; [or] inspiring someone who picked up a guitar and is frustrated, feeling like the dexterity of his fingers won’t ever get there to hold the chord; or some writer who thinks that they’ll never write anything good because they don’t have the time and they’ve gotta chase the dime. I’m looking to inspire and break that stagnation from other artists and other creative minds.” said RZA.

RZA’s collaboration is not just limited to an EP. Accompanying the gem will be two-day camping retreat called Camp TAZO, where adults will spend time with the Wu icon practicing key measures to help them unlock their creative potential ultimately serving pure zen. The camp is set to take place in Staten Island, his respective stomping grounds.

While RZA has philosophical grounding with the teachings of the Five Percent Nation, he also shares an understanding with Taoism, which inspired his book The Tao of the Wu.

Guided Explorations is currently available for grabs on Spotify and Apple Music

Grip of The Lions Paw


An important form found among Freemasons is the ‘Lion’s Paw’, or ‘Lion’s Grip’ formed by placing the fingers in the form of a cat’s paw. This grip and its reference to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, has significance in several respects, both legendary and allegorical as it’s message is of transition and everlasting life.

As a symbol, the lion has always been a favorite during Antiquity which lasted through the Christian era as well as during the Middle Ages. The lion has in all ages been noted as symbol of strength and sovereignty. The ‘King of the Beasts,’ whose mighty roar brought fear to the hearts of all, was known and respect by many ancient cultures. The lion’s head and mane, was used in ancient Kemet, recognizing this animal as the ruler of the animal kingdom. Having the ‘heart of a lion’ was, and is today, deemed an acknowledgment of strength and character. Medieval knights adorned their shields and coats of arms with representations of lions, lion’s heads, manes, and paws. Richard, the Lion Hearted, and his famous shield of three lions are well documented, both in history and legend, signifying his sovereignty over England.

The Jews sometimes used the lion as an emblem of the Tribe of Judah as they expected the Messiah to descend from this tribe. This reference was carried over to Christianity where the Lion of the Tribe of Judah refers to Christ, the Messiah. To the ancient craft of Masonry, this symbolism was seen further in the death and the resurrection to life of man. Legend had that a lion’s cub, or whelp, was born dead and brought to life by the roar of its sire. As such, the reference to the lion may be applied to the Messiah, who brought life and the light of immortality to the tribes of Israel, through the roar of God’s word.

Its connection in the legend of Masonry is that, as Solomon was the Chief of the Tribe of Judah, the symbolism of the Lion represents the achievement of that Tribe in producing the Christ who brought all of us the promise of light and the immortality of our soul. Just as Solomon built the beautiful Temple unto the Lord, so the candidate is raised to the living perpendicular of righteousness by the Lion’s Grip. Symbolically he has been resurrected by restoring the purity of his soul. The candidate now bears the responsibility of building his spiritual temple here on earth which will be worthy of eternal life.

This is also the theme of the 3rd degree, or Hiramic Legend which is a story of ‘rebirth’. It is about the resurrection of Hiram Abif, as well as the candidate himself. The candidate symbolically ‘dies’ to his past, the life of the profane, not knowing light, and is ‘resurrected/reborn’ into further light in Masonry. He puts his past life behind him and is now a seeker of enlightenment and moral rectitude. The name HIRAM originates with the word ‘Khairum’ or ‘Khurum’; Khur meaning “white, noble.” The Egyptian deity called by the Greeks, “Horus,” was ‘Her-Ra Khurum’, therefore, improperly called Hiram, is ‘Khur-om’, the same as ‘Her-Ra’, ‘Her-mes’, and ‘Her-acles’, the personification of Light and the Son, the Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour.

The symbolism of resurrection in masonry is clearly an important part of the journey and quest for Light. In moving from darkness to Light, the initiate recognizes his personal transformation and improvement. Applying this symbolism to the candidate means that he entered the Lodge as a natural man, lost in sin and spiritually buried. By the strong Grip of the Lion’s Paw, he is raised again to a new life, or born again to spiritual righteousness, standing, again in a living perpendicular with a purified inner self accomplished through the direct action of the Redeemer, who was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Albert Pike, in his book ‘Morals and Dogma’, gives this interpretation of our legend, saying “The Lion of the House of Judah is the strong grip, never to be broken, with which Christ of the Royal Line of that House, has clasped to Himself the whole human race and embraces them in His wide arms as closely and affectionately as Brethren embrace each other on the five points of fellowship.”

The front cover of his book is the illustration of an “X,” in the form of a crossed gavel and a measuring stick, or rule. The illustrated picture within this book shows how the grip of the Lion’s Paw was given in the Pyramid Mysteries. The priest wore over his head the mask of a lion. By this grip the spirit in man, long buried in the sepulcher of substance, is raised to life, and the candidate goes forth as a builder entitled to the wages of an initiate. The origin of this illustration can be found in a depiction copied from a ‘bas-relief’ in an ancient Kemetic temple at Denderah, which sheds light as to the ORIgin of the Lion’s grip.

In the relief, the candidate, lying on the floor, is about to be ‘raised’ by the powerful grip of the Lion’s paw. The lion is carrying in his right hand the Ankh, symbol of life and reincarnation, or regeneration. The “X” on the man’s chest tells us this is Ausar/Osiris, the Sun God who was slain but arose from the dead, being pieced back together by his beautiful Queen, Auset/Isis. The Black God is represented first as a mummy lying flat on his back. Bit by bit he is raising himself up in a series of positions, till he rises between the outstretched wings of Auset/Isis. This is the same raising of Heru who was raised up to life in This world and not into the world to come.

* Morals and Dogma – Albert Pike
* The Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Vol.1 – Albert Makey
* 777 Qabbalistic Teachings – Aleister Crowley
* Codex Magica – Texe Marrs

The Lion of Kush/Kemet/Judah :

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