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Ka The Egyptian 'ka' is usually translated as 'soul' or 'spirit'.  The ka comes into existence when an individual is born, and it was believed that the ram-headed god Khnum crafted the ka on his potter's wheel at the time of a person's birth.  It was thought that when someone died they 'met their ka', although a person's ka would live on after their body had died.  Some tombs included model houses as the ka needed a place to live.  As an example, read Dennis Wheatley's The Ka of Gifford Hillary.

Ka, in ancient Egyptian religion, along with the Ba and the akh, is a principal aspect of the soul of a human being or a god.  The exact significance of the ka remains a matter of controversy, chiefly for lack of an Egyptian definition; the translation, 'double', is incorrect.  Written by a hieroglyph of uplifted arms, it seemed originally to have designated the protecting divine spirit of a person.  The ka, having survived the death of the body, could reside in a picture or statue of a person.

Kabbalah Kabbalah, meaning 'received tradition', is an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought that originated in Judaism.  Kabbalah's definition varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of Judaism, to its later Christian, New Age, and occultist/western esoteric syncretic adaptations.

Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ain Soph/En Sof and the mortal and finite universe (God's creation).  While it is heavily used by some denominations it is not a religion in itself, but forms the foundations of mystical religious interpretation.  Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions.  It also presents methods to aid understanding of its concepts and thereby attain spiritual realisation.

Kabbalah originally developed within the realm of Jewish tradition, and Kabbalists often use classical Jewish sources to explain and demonstrate its esoteric teachings.  These teachings are held by followers in Judaism to define the inner meaning of both the Hebrew Bible and traditional Rabbinic literature and their formerly concealed transmitted dimension, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances.

Sacred Alphabet

Although used for both secular and practical purposes today, the Hebrew alphabet, as many other ancient alphabets, may be considered to be of sacred origin. This is true both in terms of the meaning of the letters, each of which has a cosmic reference, and in terms of the sound or vibration of each letter whose higher prototype represents the primary or primordial 'sounds' of Creation.

In Hebrew, each letter corresponds to a number -- click on the image to the right to enlarge it.  As a result, any word or name can become a series of numbers, which can be taken one at a time or added together.  There is significance when words include or add up to the same numbers; the meaning of the words that share numbers are thought to be deeply related or even identical.  The letters are results of spiritual sensations.  The direction of the lines and shapes in a letter have spiritual meanings.

As a result, Hebrew letters are also codes for sensations the writer receives from the Creator.  When a letter or word is written, the author is giving us his or her conscious perception of the Creator who is acting on them as they write.

Kachina Kachinas are spirits or personifications of 'things' in the real world.  These spirits are believed to visit the Hopi villages during the first half of the year -- the Hopi is a Native American tribe, the members of which live primarily on the Hopi Reservation in north-eastern Arizona in the USA.  A kachina can represent anything in the natural world or cosmos, from a revered ancestor to an element, a location, a quality, a natural phenomenon, or a concept.  The local pantheon of kachinas varies in each pueblo community; there may be kachinas for the Sun, stars, thunderstorms, wind, corn, insects, and any number of other concepts.

Kachinas are understood to have human-like relationships; they may have uncles, sisters, and grandmothers, and may marry and have children.  Although not worshipped as a deity, each is viewed as a powerful being who, if given veneration and respect, can use its particular power for human good, bringing rainfall, healing, fertility, or protection, for example.  One observer has written:

"The central theme of the kachina (religion) is the presence of life in all objects that fill the universe.  Everything has an essence or a life force, and humans must interact with these or fail to survive."

Kalachakra The Kalachakra is a term used in Vajrayana Buddhism meaning 'wheel of time' or 'time-cycles'.  It is usually used to refer to a very complex teaching and practice in Tibetan Buddhism.  Despite the teaching being very advanced and esoteric, there is a tradition of offering it to large public audiences.

The Kalachakra tradition revolves around the concept of time (kala) and cycles (Chakra): from the cycles of the planets, to the cycles of human breathing, it teaches the practice of working with the subtlest energies within one's body on the path to enlightenment.  Kalachakra refers to many different traditions: for example, it is related to Hindu Shaiva, Samkhya, Vaishnava, Vedic, Upanishadic and Puranic traditions as well as Jainism.  The Kalachakra mandala includes deities which are equally accepted by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.

The Kalachakra deity represents a Buddhahood and thus omniscience.  Since Kalachakra is time and everything is under the influence of time, Kalachakra knows all.  Kalacakri, his spiritual consort and complement, is aware of everything that is timeless, not time-bound or out of the realm of time.  In Yab-yum, they are temporality and a-temporality conjoined.  Similarly, the wheel is without beginning or end.

The Kalachakra deity resides in the centre of the Mandala in his palace consisting of four mandalas, one within the other: the mandalas of body, speech, and mind, and in the very centre, wisdom and great bliss.  The Kalachakra sand mandala is dedicated to both individual and world peace and physical balance.  The Dalai Lama explains:

"It is a way of planting a seed, and the seed will have karmic effect.  One doesn't need to be present at the Kalachakra ceremony in order to receive its benefits."

Kalasha / Kalasa This symbol, depicting a vase covered with leaves, represents a Hindu/Jainism ritual implement.  The Kalasha (also Kalasa) is a metal (brass, copper, silver or gold) pot with a large base and small mouth, but large enough to hold a coconut.  Sometimes the Kalasha is filled with coins, grain, gems, gold, or a combination of these items instead of water.  The coronet of 5, 7, or 11 mango leaves is placed such that the tips of the leaves touch water in the Kalasha.  The coconut is sometimes wrapped with a red cloth and red thread, although the top of the coconut is kept uncovered.

It has many symbolic meanings, for example, it is the primordial waters of creation, the soul filled with love and compassion, abundance, and hospitality.

The coconut is a symbol of the godhead -- the three eyes symbolic of the eyes of Vishnu.  The Kalash is present in all important Hindu and Jain rituals, and is the basis for the 'treasure vase' of Tibetan Buddhism.

Kalfou See Veves.

Kapala A kapala, or skullcup, is a cup made from a human skull and used as a ritual implement (bowl) in both Hindu Tantra and Buddhist Tantra.  Particularly in Tibet, they are often carved or elaborately mounted with precious metals and jewels.

In Tibetan monasteries, a kapala is used symbolically to hold bread or dough cakes (shaped to resemble human eyes, ears and tongues), torma, and wine instead of blood and flesh as offerings to wrathful deities, such as the ferocious Dharmapala ('defender of the faith').  The kapala, specially collected and prepared, elaborately anointed and consecrated before use, is made in the form of a skull, and kept in a triangular pedestal.  The heavily embossed cup is usually made of silver-gilt bronze with a lid shaped like a skull and with a handle made in the form of a thunderbolt.

Kapalas are used mainly for esoteric purposes such as rituals.  Among the rituals using kapalas are higher tantric meditation to achieve a transcendental state of thought and mind within the shortest possible time; libation to gods and deities to win their favour; by Tibetan Lamas as an offering bowl on the altar, being filled with wine or blood as a gift to the Yidam Deity or all the Deities; and the Vajrayana empowerment ceremony.

The kapala is one of several charnel ground (an above-ground site for the putrefaction of bodies) implements made from human bone.

Kartika In Tibetan Buddhism, the Kartika, or Drigug, is a small, crescent-shaped hand-held ritual flaying knife used in burial rituals, with the handle crafted as a Dorje.  A tool of the wrathful female deities known as Dakinis (sky dancers), the kartika symbolises the cutting away of all things material, symbolised by the human body.  It is commonly known as the 'knife of the dakinis'.  Like the Phurba and other Tibetan Buddhist implements, the kartika is a likely remnant of pre-Buddhist Pagan practices.

While the kartika is normally held in the right hand of a dakini in Vajrayana iconography and spiritual practice, occasionally it can be seen being held by esoteric male deities, such as certain forms of Yamantaka.  It is also found in the iconography of the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual practice of Chöd.

Kemetic Religion Kemetic Orthodoxy is a modern religious sect based on Kemeticism, a reconstruction of Egyptian polytheism.  It claims to derive a spiritual lineage from the Ancient Egyptian religion.  It was founded in 1988 CE by Tamara Siuda (born 1969), who remains its current Nisut or 'The One in Authority'.  The main temple is in Joliet, Illinois, with a variety of state shrines maintained by priests throughout the world.

Kemetic Orthodoxy does not follow a single scripture, but rather a fluid understanding of balance, justice and truth.  Worship often takes place in shrines, which exist in both public and personal forms.

Five basic tenets guide the faith of members: belief in upholding Ma'at; belief in Netjer (the supreme being); Akhu (Ancestor) veneration; participation in and respect for the community; acknowledgment of Siuda as the Nisut.  Members of the faith are known as 'Shemsu'.

Kerykeion See Caduceus.

Keys of St Peter The image to the right represents the Keys of St Peter, an emblem of the Roman Catholic Church which characterises the divine authority invested in the apostle Peter before the death of Christ.  As such, they are emblems of papal authority in the Catholic Church.

A symbol that appears frequently in Christian art and in the arms of the Popes, the crossed keys were formerly an emblem of the Roman God Janus and the Mithraic Zurvan, both gods of time and keepers of doorways, and removers of obstacles.  It is this symbolism that led to the folk legend of St Peter as the bureaucratic keeper of the 'pearly gates' of heaven.

Three keys worn together symbolise the unlocking of the doors to health, wealth and love.  In tarot, keys represent intelligence or knowledge, but can also mean something that is escaping us or hiding from us.

Khanda The Khanda is the most recognisable emblem of Sikhism, representing the four pillars of Sikh belief.  It consists of four symbolic weapons.  In the centre is the double-edged sword, or Khanda, from which the symbol derives its name.  The Khanda represents knowledge of divinity and the creative power of god.

Surrounding the Khanda is a circular quoit, called a Chakkar (or chakka), meaning 'wheel', a mediaeval weapon which symbolises the unity of god.  On either side, crossed daggers, or Kirpans, called Piri and Miri (after the personal weapons of Guru Hargobind), symbolise spiritual and temporal (earthly) power in balance.  Another important device incorporating this symbol is the Nishan Sahib, or Saffron banner, which adorns Sikh Gurudwaras (temples).

Khepri Khepri (Kepher) means 'He Who is Coming into Being'.  He appears as a man with the head of a Scarab Beetle.  Khepri was an Egyptian god of creation, the movement of the Sun, and rebirth.  In certain creation stories, Khepri is associated with the god Atum.  He is also associated with the Sun god Ra who pushed the Sun through the sky every day.

The Scarab Beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung, after which it rolls the ball into a hole in the ground.  When the young beetles are ready, they crawl out of the ball of dung and survive by eating it, after which they emerge from their hole.  The ancient Egyptians believed that the beetles appeared from nowhere, just as they believed their creator god had appeared from nowhere.  Consequently, they considered the scarab beetle to be special.

Besides dung, the scarab beetle also lays its eggs in carrion, leading the ancient Egyptians to speculate that those scarab beetles were created from dead matter.  As a result, Khepri was strongly associated with rebirth, renewal, and resurrection.

One myth suggested that Khepri pushed the Sun across the sky (rather than the Sun travelling on the back of a bovine goddess like Nut or Hathor or travelling on a boat).  Khepri was often depicted pushing the Sun ahead of him and it was thought that this movement was constant.  Every night, Khepri would push the Sun down into the Underworld, and every morning it would emerge from that world and travel across the sky again.

He was given a central role in the Book of the Dead (The Book of Coming Forth by Day).  Scarab amulets were placed over the heart of the deceased during the mummification ritual.  These 'heart scarabs' were meant to be weighed against the feather of Ma'at (truth) during the final judgement.  Scarabs were often inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead which instructed their heart, "Do not stand as a witness against me."

Kinnara The Kinnara is pictured as half human, half horse, or half man half bird according to Hindu and Buddhist mythology.  Southeast Asian mythology depicts the kinnara as half man, half horse and its counterpart, the kinnari, as half woman half bird. They are both considered ideal lovers, and are considered to be a symbol of protection, enlightenment, beauty and true love.

According to Burmese mythology, four of the Buddha’s past animal lives are kinnara.  The symbol of the Karenni people is the kinnara and the kinnari.  They are depicted as half bird half human and are symbolic of true love.

In Ancient India the kinnara were an exotic tribe that lived in the Himalayan mountains.  They were considered superhuman and they protect humans in times of trouble.  The kinnara were the troops of Ila who was cursed to transform from a man into a woman after trespassing on sacred grounds.  He/she transforms back and forth every month.

Tibetan mythology mentions the shang shang which is also the kinnara.  The shang shang is a half man half bird that is a celestial musician who plays the cymbals.  The shang shang are also considered the king of the Garuda. The shang shang is a symbol of enlightenment.

Cambodians consider the kinnara and kinnari as symbols of beauty and skilled dancers who often appear in the Royal Cambodian Ballet as mischievous characters.  In Indonesia, kinnara and kinnari are often depicted together and either have the head of a bird or the body of a bird. They guard treasure and the Tree of Life.

Kirpan The Kirpan is the ceremonial dagger or sword carried by Khalsa Sikhs (those who have undergone the sacred Amrit Ceremony initiated by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh), as a reminder to fight for justice and against oppression.  Kirpans range in size from large ceremonial swords, to tiny knives worn around the neck.  It is a requirement that all Khalsa Sikhs wear the kirpan.

The Kirpan is never used as a weapon; it is a religious symbol.  Nevertheless, the requirement that baptised Sikhs wear the Kirpan has caused problems for believers in many areas, especially where the custom clashes with local ordinances against the carrying of weapons.

Knife See Dagger.

Knights Bachelor See Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor.

Knights Hospitaller The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, also known as the Order of Saint John, Order of Hospitallers, Knights Hospitaller, Knights Hospitalier or Hospitallers, is the mediaeval Roman Catholic military order that continued into the contemporary Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which remains a sovereign subject of international law.  It was headquartered variously in Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta, and is now in Rome.

The Hospitallers arose in the early 12th century CE, at the time of the great monastic reformation, as a group of individuals associated with an Amalfitan hospital in the Muristan district of Jerusalem dedicated to John the Baptist and founded around 1023 by Gerard Thom (the Blessed Gerard1 (1040 - 1120)) to provide care for sick, poor or injured pilgrims coming and going from and to the Holy Land.  Some scholars, however, consider that the Amalfitan order and hospital were different from Gerard Thom's order and its hospital.

Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the knights operated from Rhodes, over which they held sovereignty, and later from Malta, where they administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily.  The Hospitallers were the smallest group ever to colonise parts of the Americas; at one point in the mid-17th century they acquired four Caribbean islands, which they ceded to the French in the 1660s.

1 The Blessed Gerard was a lay brother in the Benedictine order who was appointed as rector of the hospice in Jerusalem in 1080, and who, in the wake of the success of the 1st Crusade in 1099, became the founder of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitaller).

Knights of Columbus Founded by Father Michael McGivney (1852 - 1890 CE) in New Haven, Connecticut, USA in 1882 and named in honour of Christopher Columbus (c. 1451 - 1506), the Knights of Columbus is the largest Catholic fraternal service organisation in the world.  It served as a mutual benefit society for working class and immigrant Catholics in the USA, then developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, including war and disaster relief, actively defending Catholicism in various nations, and promoting Catholic education.

At the last count there were 1,918,122 members.  Membership is limited to practicing Catholic men aged 18 or older, and consists of four different degrees, each exemplifying a different principle of the Order.  The current Supreme Knight is Carl A. Anderson (born 1951).

Pope John Paul II (born 1920) referred to the Order as the ‘strong right arm of the Church’ for their support of its doctrines and communities.  In 2015, the Order donated in excess of US$175 million directly to charity.  The Knight's insurance program has more than 2 million insurance contracts totalling more than US$100 billion of life insurance in force.

Knights of Malta See Knights Hospitaller.

Knights of Pythias The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organisation and secret society founded in Washington, D.C., USA, on 19 February 1864 CE.  It was the first fraternal organisation to receive a charter under an act of the United States Congress.  It was founded by Justus H. Rathbone (1839 - 1889), who had been inspired by a play by the Irish poet John Banim (1798 - 1842) about the legend of Damon and Pythias, which illustrates the ideals of loyalty, honour, and friendship that are at the centre of the order.

The order has in excess of 2,000 lodges in the US and around the world, with a total membership of more than 50,000 in 2003.  The order's headquarters are in Stoughton, Massachusetts

Knights of Seth The Knights of Seth were a 19th-century CE British-German Neo-Sethian group that attempted to resurrect mediaeval Gnostic and dualistic Christian ideas.  While achieving a certain popularity among wealthy young Englishmen in the 1850s, the Knights never gained considerable influence and were by many considered a mere gentlemen's club rather than a religious movement.  Apart from a handful of members in Edinburgh and Berlin, the group presently appears to be almost extinct.  The Knights of Seth are sometimes referred to by its Latin name Ordo Equester Sethiani.

Like the Gnostics, the Knights of Seth believe that there is a true God and a false one, the latter being known as the demiurge.  According to gnostic tradition the demiurge (Classical Greek for craftsman-creator) created the world, and in so doing, he carried out an order of the true god.  The malevolent demiurge, which sometimes goes by the name of Yaldabaoth, then usurped the true god's position.

According to the Ordo Equester, Adam's third son Seth was a messiah who could get in touch with the true god and acted as his herald, thwarting the plans of the evil demiurge.  The Knights believe that seven prophets will deliver various teachings to humanity, which will then enable men to experience the true, hidden god.  This allegedly requires studying different religions and meditation, resulting in a process of recognition (gnosis, Greek for knowledge).

Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) The Knights of Seth were a 19th-century CE British-German Neo-Sethian group that attempted to resurrect mediaeval Gnostic and dualistic Christian ideas.  While achieving a certain popularity among wealthy young Englishmen in the 1850s, the Knights never gained considerable influence and were considered by many to be a mere gentlemen's club rather than a religious movement.  Apart from a handful of members in Edinburgh and Berlin, the group presently appears to be almost extinct.  The Knights of Seth are sometimes referred to by its Latin name Ordo Equester Sethiani.

As abolitionism in the United States increased after the Dred Scott Decision of 1857 (The Dred Scott Decision was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court that effectively ruled that slaves were property and had no rights), the members proposed a separate confederation of slave states, with U.S. states south of the Mason-Dixon line to secede and to align with other slave states to be formed from the "golden circle".  In either case, the goal was to increase the power of the Southern slave-holding upper class to such a degree that it could never be dislodged.

During the American Civil War, some Southern sympathisers in the Union or Northern states, such as Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, were accused of belonging to the Knights of the Golden Circle, and in some cases, such as that of Lambdin P. Milligan, they were imprisoned for their activities.

Knights of the Round Table Club See Honourable Society of Knights of the Round Table.

Knights Templar The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, better known as the Knights Templar or simply as Templars, was a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 CE by a papal bull Omne Datum Optimum of the Holy See.  The order was founded in 1119 and active from about 1129 to 1312.

The order was among the wealthiest and most powerful and soon became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power.  Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.  Non-combatant members of the order managed a large economic infrastructure, developing innovative financial techniques that in reality were an early form of banking, and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.

The Templars were closely tied to the Crusades, so once the Holy Land had been lost, support for the order faded.  Then rumours about their secret initiation ceremony began to circulate which created distrust in the order.  King Philip IV of France -- deeply in debt to the Templars -- took advantage of the situation to gain control over them.  In 1307, he had many of the order's members in France arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and burned at the stake.  The order was eventually disbanded by Pope Clement V in 1312 under pressure from King Philip.

The abrupt reduction in power of such a significant group in European society gave rise to speculation, legend, and legacy through the ages.  The appropriation of their name by later organisations has kept the name 'Templar' alive to the present day, while helping to obscure its origin.  People have speculated that Freemasonry originated from the Templars, many of whom, it is said, fled to Scotland.

Knot of Hercules The marriage-knot or knot of Hercules, a strong knot created by two intertwined ropes, originated as a healing charm in ancient Egypt, but is best known for its use in ancient Greece and Rome as a protective amulet, most notably as a wedding symbol incorporated into the protective girdles worn by brides which were ceremonially untied by the new groom.  This custom is the likely origin of the phrase 'tying the knot'.

According to Roman lore, the knot symbolised the legendary fertility of the god Hercules; it appears to relate to the legendary Girdle of Diana captured from the Amazon Queen Hippolyta.  In this, the marriage-knot was probably a representation of the virginity of the bride.  The symbolism of the knot survived well beyond its religious use, and was a very common symbol in mediaeval and Renaissance love tokens.

Knot of Inanna The Knot of Inanna is a stylised bundle of reeds, an emblem of the Babylonian goddess Inanna.  This symbol in its early form was of the name of the goddess, which was composed of two characters, the post and the ring of rushes.

It is related to the Tyet knot of Isis.  As a symbol of divine authority, it is the ancestor of the Crosier, a staff carried by Catholic bishops.

Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power.  She was originally worshipped in Sumer and later by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar.  She was known as the 'Queen of Heaven' and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult centre.  She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star.

Kokopelli Kokopelli is an ancient character -- a hunchbacked, dancing flute player whose oldest manifestation is found on prehistoric American rock carvings.  The origins of the figure remain a mystery, and he figures in many Native American stories, where his age and role vary.  He is generally believed to have been a fertility symbol, often depicted as a phallic character, carrying a pouch of seeds, or wearing antlers.  Kokopelli symbols often appear in the context of rain, pregnancy, prosperity, and marriage.

Kokopelli is a Hopi word meaning (roughly) wooden-backed -- most of the familiar depictions of Kokopelli are copied from Hopi art, which in turn is derived from ancient Anasazi glyphs.  The figure is usually displayed hunchbacked, with an erect phallus and a flute.  Older versions are antlered, while later iterations have flying hair.

Kolam Kolam is a form of drawing, made by using rice flour, chalk, chalk powder or rock powder, often using naturally or synthetically coloured powders, in Sri Lanka.  It originated in Tamil Nadu and has since spread to the other Indian states of Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala, and some parts of Goa and Maharashtra, as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and a few other Asian countries.

A Kolam is a geometrical line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots; it is considered a skill to be able to complete one without pause.  In South India and Sri Lanka, it is widely practised by female Hindu family members in front of their houses.  Kolams are regionally known by different names in India, Raangolee in Maharashtra, Aripan in Mithila, Hase and Rangoli in Kannada in Karnataka. More complex Kolams are drawn and colours are often added during holiday occasions and special events.  See also Veves.

Krypteia Certain young Spartan men who had completed their training at the agoge with such success that they were marked out as potential future leaders would be given the opportunity to test their skills and prove themselves worthy of the Spartan polity through participation in the Krypteia.

The Krypteia was an ancient rite of passage for promising young Spartan men who had completed their formal education.  Naked and armed with only a knife, these 18-year-olds were instructed to survive by any means necessary as they patrolled the countryside in search of revolts and misdeeds.  Those who survived (many perished) were welcomed with open arms into the Spartan Secret Service.  According to tradition, members of the Krypteia were permitted to kill serfs known as 'Helots' without fear of blood guilt.

Every autumn, according to Plutarch (Life of Lycurgus, 28, 3–7), the Spartan ephors (these were leaders of ancient Sparta who shared power with the two Spartan kings.  They were a council of five elected annually who swore 'on behalf of the city', while the kings swore for themselves) would declare war on the Helot population so that any Spartan citizen could kill a Helot without fear of punishment.  At night, the chosen kryptes (members of the Krypteia) were sent out into the Laconian countryside armed with knives with the instructions to kill any Helot they encountered and to take any food they needed.  They were specifically told to kill the strongest and best of the Helots.  This practice was instigated to prevent the threat of a rebellion by the Helots and to keep their population in check.

Ksitigarbha See Jizo.

Kulullu This figure was known to the Assyrians as Kulullû, meaning “fish man”.  The kullulu was a guardian igure, a dweller of the sacred Absu, the watery underground domain of the God Ea.  Figures of the fish-man ere often concealed in the construction of buildings to serve as protective charms.

From about the fourth century CE, the figure was associated (probably erroneously) with the god Dagan (meaning “grain”), most commonly known by his Hebrew name, Dagon.  Dagan was a vegetation god, the father of the god Baal, the mythological creator of the plow.  He is mentioned several times in the Hebrew scriptures, where he is associated with the Philistines.  It is to Dagon’s temple that the Ark of the Covenant is taken after being captured from the Hebrews; the next morning, they discovered the statue of the god lying on the floor, sans head and hands.

Kundalini 'Kundalini' is an ancient Sanskrit word that literally means 'coiled snake'.  In early Eastern religion (long before Buddhism and Hinduism) it was believed that each individual possessed a divine energy at the base of their spine.  This energy was thought to be the sacred energy of creation.

This energy is something we are born with, but we must make an effort to 'uncoil the snake', thereby putting us in direct contact with the divine.  Kundalini Yoga is the practice of awakening our Higher Self and turning potential energy into kinetic energy.

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