Sometimes, however, the two pans of the celestial scales were represented by the Great and Little Bear. Ritual texts of Chinese secret societies add that the scales in the City of Willows 'are magnificent and shine like stars and constellations' of which they are effectively the reflection at the foot of the Cosmic Axis. Furthermore the Sanskrit word for scales, tula, is the same as that for the 'Holy Land', located in the north, that is at the Pole.
Scales, yet again, are the balance of natural forces and of what Devoucoux terms of ‘all things made to be made one’, of which earlier symbols were rocking-stones.
Bringing matter and time and the visible and the invisible into balance, it is hardly surprising that both hermeticism and alchemy should be familiar with what was termed ‘knowledge’ or ‘mastery of the scales’, since this ‘knowledge’ was that of the correspondences between the material and the spiritual universe, between Heaven and Earth. Muslim esotericism transposed these scales (mizan) to the planes of language and writing, the ‘scales of letters’, striking the same balance between letters and language as that between what the former denoted and their essential nature. To bring the beam of such scales to the horizontal was undoubtedly to have attained to supreme wisdom.
Strict control is as strong an element of scholarship as it is in the weighing of souls or of metals.
The balance, which scales symbolize, is an indicator of a return to oneness, that is to say, to latency, since everything which is manifested is subject to dualism and to contrarieties. The balance achieved when the two pans of the scale hang level signifies the attainment of something beyond the confrontations which are part of time and space and matter. If we start from the centre of the scales and the fixity of their pointer we can see these confrontations as complementary aspects. The Kabbalah says that before the Creation, 'the Ancient of Days held the scales.’ In his commentary on this passage, Enel said ‘that before the manifestation of the act which set Creation in motion, the Latent had envisaged the duplication which was to give birth to all successive separations right down to those of the cell.’ The scales, with its two pans, stands for this duplication.