Ra-Hoor-Khuit Network's
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 Collegium ad Spiritum Sanctum



A Personal Tribute to Aleister Crowley


Hal von Hofe

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Almost everyone today who is interested in the Western esoteric tradition will readily admit that we all owe a lot to Aleister Crowley, but -- and thereupon proceed to basically bad-mouth him for the rest of the time. I have my suspicions why this may be the case, but for here and now, instead of joining that chorus, I would like to pay a small tribute to Aleister Crowley, speaking a bit to what I like about him, and what I have learned and gained from and through him. In other words, I'm not going to repeat slanders, criticize, or apologize in this short essay; I'm just going to say nice things about the Beast. I'll start with a little something from my records.

One Sunday morning, May 28, 1977ev, I had a dream. I remember it was then because I wrote the dream down, and dated it. I have the paper it's written on beside me here. It serves as a corrective to my memory. (And is it not said the truth of a dream is in its first speaking?)
I remember a house, and danger. There was a small beast, and it scared off a cat , and maybe my dog Tai Chi too. It was something strange and sinister.
Then I was traveling, in San Francisco or Connecticut, or both. There were rumors of a man. Ceylas? Leptus? No: Aleister Crowley. I was driving in search of him.
There was an interlude with several policemen. I was with my consort and was smoking a joint. Later I remember looking around for a pipe, still holding the joint. One of the policemen is out on his feet, the other is talking about his toughness. We go on.
I am with my brother trying to find Crowley's place. (We may have been on bicycles, the movement being fluid as to vehicle.) We stop at several places, each giving us directions for a place a little further on. At one place I get some knee high slippers, with red bands on the inside of one, and blue bands the other.
A former consort is with me. We come back to the car and find it smashed in with the seat turned around. I'm looking at clothes. She is upset. I pick her up and turn her around. "There, this is my will." I put on a red shirt and she a white blouse. "I always liked wearing this." We drive on in search of Crowley.
182 Guwerde Street is the last bit of information we get. Receiving it, I bow and say, after the names have been used for Crowley: "Aiwaz" and then "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" very loudly.
We have to go back and forth along the street to find the number, since the house numbers are not quite in numerical order. I walk up to the door with a pagan friend. I knock and the door opens, or is opened. Crowley is there in a short-sleeved shirt and pants with bald head. I introduce myself and my friend and we shake hands and sit down. There is a fireplace and a few chairs. "I suppose you'd like to see a ritual," says Crowley.
We move to an open space between houses and watch as he goes through some sort of play or rite from a light grey stage, which ends with him exploding into a million tiny white figures. One of the people there (a woman) says: "A million stars!"
We go back inside and find A.C. in the kitchen in back, sitting at a table with a red-checked table cloth and wearing a bow tie. We thank him (you and I) and I say: "I am glad to hear rumors of your death have been -- ah -- grossly exaggerated." (I was thinking of Sulla.) He nodded and laughed. (He laughed much throughout the ritual.) There was a feeling of joy. We took our leave and I woke up.

There is one last event from this dream I have to relate which I didn't write down back then: I picked up one of the white figures in the dream to take with me. I have it still. It was of Aleister Crowley, and as soon as I took it I realized I was, too. -- Now, I don't remember seeing anyone else pick one up, although it is entirely possible and probable others did, but even if they did, that would still leave at least 900 thousand of the little Beasts out and about, give or take. And that may not have been the only ritual like that he did, so watch your step.

I first encountered Aleister Crowley (1875 -1947) on the physical plane some nine years before, in the form of an edition of The Book of Thoth, a volume he wrote on the Tarot. (Since it's a book, does that mean I first encountered him on the mental plane?) It included pictures of a 78-card set inspired by his designs and strikingly painted by Lady Frieda Harris. I was a precocious 16-year old in my first year of college, and deeply into Nietzsche, the greater portion of whose work I had just gone through the year previous. For some reason I had decided that I really wanted to be a magician, and had just gotten into the Tarot.
To say that Crowley's work on the Tarot put the others I had read to shame would be an understatement. The depth and breadth of his mythological knowledge alone awed me, and on top of that there was a serious philosophical engagement with the major eastern and western magical and mystical systems. (And scientific and mathematical: Einstein, Riemann and Lobachevsky all are mentioned, with others. Freud too is well understood, interestingly enough, as resistance to Freud and resistance to Crowley seem to run along parallel channels.) There was a conspicuous lack of hypocrisy and cant, and a truly marvelous sense of humor -- very few appreciate just how funny AC can be -- along with certain intriguing mysteries I could only discern in outline. It came as some relief to me when I found out it was written toward the end of Crowley's 72-year life, and carried the weight of many decades of research, experience and practice. That gave me a bit of time. It also gave me a certain immunity to many of the Crowley criticisms I encountered later on, after reading The Book of Thoth (BoT), which so obviously was not the product of some egotistic sexually degenerate satanic drug-addict bad boy rebel who had fallen prey to Choronzon the Demon of Dispersion back in 1909 in the Sahara Desert and gotten worse ever since. (Besides, I saw the camel tracks leading out of that desert.)
Now I could go on about any of a number of things, but, since this is intended to be an essay and not a book, I would like to spend the rest of our time taking a closer look at one short ritual of Aleister Crowley's called The Star Ruby, with a few forays into The Book of the Law along the way. The Star Ruby is the A.'.A.'. version of the Golden Dawn Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram as formulated by AC and will give me the opportunity to point towards a few of the many things I have learned from and like about "The Great Beast". This ritual has been a regular part of my magical practice for several decades now, in a version compounded from several Crowley himself gave out, and sanctioned by mine own angel, as it were.

The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is probably the most popular banishing ritual in use today, a hundred years after its dawn, and has served as a paradigm for most of the rest used during this period. It was most likely put together by W.W.Westcott, one of the three founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Let us first look at this ritual which Crowley, rising on the horizon of the century with the Golden Dawn, learned at the beginning of his magical career, before we turn to The Star Ruby itself.

In brief, it goes as follows:

Face East with a steel dagger in right hand. Touching forehead, say "Ateh" (Thine), touching heart "Malkuth" (the Kingdom), right shoulder "ve-Geburah" (and the Power), touching left shoulder "ve-Gedulah" (and the Glory), clasping hands before you "le-olam" (forever), dagger point up "Amen." Then the pentagram is drawn to each of the four quarters, the dagger point brought to the center each time, with vibration of the divine names YHWH, ADONAI, EHEIEH, and AGLA to East, South, West and North respectively. Facing East again, hands outstretched, say "Before me Raphael, behind me Gabriel, at my right hand Michael, at my left hand Auriel. Before me flames the Pentagram, and behind me shines the Six-rayed Star. Ateh Malkuth, ve Geburah, ve Gedulah, Le-olam, Amen." This last with the gestures repeated as before.

I here follow the version given in Regardie's Fourth edition of THE GOLDEN DAWN, p106-110. As I indicated, variations on this abound. In the O.T.A. we use the pagan tetragrammaton AMShO, with the lost daughter restored to her rightful place in the divine alphabet, instead of the judeo-christian YHVH. Regardie himself gives a variant in THE TREE OF LIFE, p166, where, in place of "behind me shines the six-rayed Star" he gives "in the column stands the six-rayed Star", which is a direct parallel to the Greek of The Star Ruby. (More on this below.)
Now let us look at The Star Ruby, condensed from MAGICK IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (MITAP), with the Greek emended (the proofing of the Greek in MITAP was carelessly done, unlike The Book of Lies (BoL), where an earlier version appears) and a literal translation added in parentheses:

Facing East, take a deep breath, bringing your right forefinger to your lower lip. Then sweep it outwards and backwards, expelling your breath as you cry: "APO PANTOS KAKODAIMONOS" (All bad spirit begone!) Touch the finger to your forehead, saying "SOI" (For you or to you), your member, "O PhALLE" (O Phallos) right shoulder, "ISChUROS" (strong), left shoulder "EUChARISTOS" (beneficent); clasp hands with locked fingers, cry "IAO".
Advance to East, imagine a pentagram, aright, in your forehead; brings hands to eyes and fling it forth in the sign of Horus, roaring "ThERION". Retire hand in sign of Hoor-paar-Kraat. Go round to North & repeat, but say NUIT; round to West, whisper BABALON; round to South, bellow HADIT. Complete the circle widdershins, retire to center and sing "IO PAN" with the signs of N.O.X. Extend your arms in a Tau and say low but clear: "PRO MOU IUNGES 'OPISO MOU TELETARChAI EPI DEXIA SUNOChES EPARISTERA DAIMONES PhLEGEI GAR PERI MOU 'O ASTHR TON PENTE KAI EN TH STHLH 'O ASTHR TON HEX ESTHKE." (Before me IUNGES, behind me TELETARChAI, on my right SUNOChES on my left DAIMONES about me flames the star of five and in the pillar stands the star of six.) Repeat the cross qabalistic as above, and end as you began.

The basic form that both rituals follow consists of the following: the drawing of a vertical line through one's body crossed by a horizontal (Eliphas Levi's qabalistic cross), the extension of hands outside the body-plane, the tracing of a horizontal circle with pentagrams generated at the four cardinal directions with divine names, an invocation/visualisation of the guardians of the four quarters and of a six-rayed star, completed by a repetition of the cross qabalistic. Crowley's Naples Arrangement (BoT pp13-16) provides a handy way of conceptualizing the significance of the geometrical movement basic to the pentagram ritual: from nothing we begin with 1, a point; 2, a second point below generates a line; 3, a line drawn across the first line generates a plane; 4, a plane projected out of that plane generates a solid; 5, a solid moving out of that solid generates time; 6, in time the circling return to 1, with recall held of the fourfold generation, generates awareness of self. From this perspective, we might say that the purpose of the pentagram ritual is to serve as a magical compass, and its intent to center one's Self in awareness. Properly understood, this is no less than the Great Work.

But let us turn now to the details, and look at some of the differences between the original Golden Dawn version of the Pentagram Ritual and the A.'.A.'. version presented by the Great Beast as The Star Ruby.
The preliminary cry of The Star Ruby, APO PANTOS KAKODAIMONOS, with the forcible expelling of breath and the dashing down and away of the hand from the lips, is intended to clear the magical space of any spirit inimical to the work at hand before beginning. It has no parallel in the GD version. A literal translation would be: "Away all (or every) bad-spirit." The Kakodaimon here is not to be seen as an objective or subjective evil, rather it is any spirit, within and without, that might interfere or distract from the work. All spirit of this sort is cast away from the sphere of working entirely. The phrase certainly should not be read (as I saw it recently in a piece on The Star Ruby of uncertain provenance) as similar to "Get Thee behind me Satan!" If you objectify an "evil" entity that way and tell it to get behind you in your magick circle, you might as well just grab your socks (or sandals) and brace yourself. Do what thou wilt, but know what you are doing.
For the qabalistic cross in the GD we have "Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever, Amen" (in Hebrew). This may be seen as an echo of the long bouts of prayer the medieval magicians used as banishing (and to properly impress their neighbors). It offers the possibility of two readings, one exoteric, one esoteric. In the former, "Thine" is addressed to an objective (social) God outside the speaker, to whom the kingdom and power and glory belong, and to whom the speaker is subordinate; in the latter, "Thine", touching the forehead, is addressed to the Higher Self, a subjective (individual) God within, to whom the kingdom and power and glory of the speaker belong, and to whom the speaker aspires. These two possible readings, God without and God within, depend upon a paradigm that distinguishes outside from inside and objective from subjective, with the first reading supporting the paradigm and the second (initiated) reading challenging it.
The qabalistic cross of The Star Ruby goes a step beyond this. The exoteric reading as above is not possible; subject and object are no longer distinguishable. The seemingly objective phallos (in place of Kingdom) touched upon here (as God?) and directly addressed (the 'E' of PhALLE is the ending for the vocative case in Greek) is already a part of the subject/speaker. Crowley footnotes O PhALLE and in the footnote tells us that the secret sense of these words is to be sought in their numeration. David Godwin (in Light in Extension, p 183-4) points out (quite correctly) that O is a female symbol and that O PhALLE adds to 1366, which is what you get when you add phallos and kteis, the nominative form of the Greek words for the male and female genitalia respectively. Thus O PhALLE would indicate male and female in the conjunction of generation.
This conjunction, of father-lingam and mother-yoni, stands at the inception (conception) of any given subject/speaker, in an act to which we all owe our existence, and of which Mr. Crowley much approves, as do I. When, however, we add the gesture to the words a further ambiguity presents itself: is "For Thee" addressed to "O PhALLE", or to the forehead touched, with O PhALLE being called upon to witness? Is the speaker strong and beneficent for the source of life, or for its head? (There's a pun confusing things here somewhere, I know: Feed your head -- maiden- or boy-head, as the case may be.) The line drawn, from head to the base of the spine, as it were, suggests another link in the symbol-chain of kteis/phallos & female/male: the Kteis is the brain, and the Phallos the spinal cord -- the golden bowl and silver cord of Ecclesiastes (Solomon), and the Grail and the Lance of the troubadours of lost Languedoc are similar metaphors. A little further down this chain, we can find the womb as the kteis, and the kteis as the phallos, which, as contradictory as it may sound at first, holds a key to the lost daughter, and a certain reward. Some of the older mythic traditions consider the Sun female, and the Moon male, a sport of Mobius twist in the metaphoric chain.
I suspect a certain mystery concerning this is contained in the image of the double-wanded one in Chapter 3 of The Book of the Law, who first appears as Hrumachis in III.34, the one to come who will replace Ra Hoor Khuit at the fall of the Great Equinox, and again at the end as Ra Hoor Khuit himself when he proclaims, III.72 "I am the Lord of the Double Wand of Power; the wand of the force of Coph Nia -- but my left hand is empty, for I have crushed an universe, and naught remains." Hrumachis, or Harmachis, is the name the Greeks gave the Egyptian "Horus who is on the Horizon". Ra Hoor Khuit is the Horus of the Horizon, or of the two Horizons, as near as I can make out. They are sometimes identified with one another. (III.71 "Hail! ye twin warriors about the pillars of the world! for your time is nigh at hand.") Harmachis is alsothe name given specifically to Ra Hoor Khut's manifestation at Gizeh as the Great Sphinx. The double wand of the force of the empty palm is (O Phalle!) phallos and kteis in one. Two doubled in one that is none. Know, dare, will, and keep silence.
On the crossing line of TSR we have, instead of the nouns "power" and "glory", the adjectives "strong" and "beneficent". Since the endings of ISChUROS and EUChARISTOS are not in the vocative case, they cannot be attributed to O Phalle, which leaves an implicit 'I': "For Thee, O Phalle, I am strong and beneficent." (Godwin rightly points out the adjectives in LiE, but then in a burst of humor, turns one into an adverb and mistranslates the passage a bit without really losing its spirit: "To you, O Phallos, Mighty Thankful.") Thus, instead of a kingdom, power and glory all belonging to one Thine (with its attendant ambiguity of interpretation) as in the GD, we have an implicit I who is strong and beneficent for the sake of and thanks to the sacred sexual conjunction of male and female (the evolutionary moment/movement) as manifest in the speaker's head.
The GD version seals its pledge to the unitary Thine by clasping hands and saying "Forever, Amen." Crowley's seals its pledge to manifest generation similarly, but crying IAO (EE-AH-OH). The formula of IAO is discussed at some length in Chapter 5 of MITAP, through a number of different permutations. Briefly put, it presents the dialectic of evolution through death and rebirth: the original nature of Isis is slain by Apophis and reborn as Osiris in an ongoing process. One could say that "Le-olam, amen" is the seal of changeless eternity; "IAO" that of eternal change. It was Dionysos' Word.
For my Star Ruby, instead of clasping hands, I extend them out in the form of a Tau, bringing them in as the "O" of IAO fades. (The signs of LUX are also possible: arms in an L with the "I", a U or V with the "A" and an X crossing the chest with the "O".)
Next, rather than the divine names of the GD version, the Star Ruby offers what might best be called cosmic principles. These are not vibrated while piercing a pentagram drawn to each of the quadrants in turn by a dagger, but rather roared, spoken, whispered and bellowed as a pentagram is flung forth from the eyes in the appropriate direction. The version in MITAP gives, along the North/South axis, NUIT and HADIT respectively, and for the East/West axis, THERION and BABALON. The earlier version found in Chapter XXV of The Book of Lies gives BABALON and PSYCHE for North/South and CHAOS and EROS for East/West.
When I first began using the Star Ruby in my magical practice I followed the later MITAP version, assuming it to be the new and improved one. Of course, I did have to go back to the Book of Lies version for the correct Greek. In the later address to the guardians of the quarters there are three obvious typesetting errors in MITAP: ChUNOChES for SUNOChES, DAIMONOS for DAIMONES, and PhEG EI for PhLEGEI. In addition, there's also a mistake in the quotation from Sophocles heading the Hymn to Pan at the very beginning of MITAP.* All those mistakes bothered me, especially in a text by someone whose classical Greek was as good as Crowley's. And The Book of Lies got the same passage right. After a while I started wondering which version was better, MITAP with NUIT/HADIT and THERION/BABALON, or The Book of Lies with BABALON/PSYCHE and CHAOS/EROS.
One thing I have always liked about Crowley is the way he generates little puzzles and questions like this in his writings. The effect is to keep the reader's mind moving towards further solutions and answers only that reader can know. (Special "Do what thou wilt"s for each and every reader.) For a dead man, AC is still surprisingly active on the mental plane. He punishes unauthorized mental resting and laziness mercilessly, making a fool of the careless reader, and rewards mental zeal and careful reading handsomely. Before I describe how I was rewarded in this particular case I would like to say a few things about the elemental attributions of the quarters.
I am generally committed to the so-called quaternary of Ezekiel, from the magical, the pagan, and the thelemic perspective, and see no reason to alter these attributions for the Star Ruby. East is Air (Dawn, Spring); South Fire (Noon, Summer); West Water (Twilight, Fall); and North Earth (Midnight, Winter). These are the attributions used in all the Golden Dawn workings, up through Enochian, and by the majority of Pagan and Wiccan groups today; they are also the attributions Crowley gives in 777 (Columns LVII and LV) and in seminal rituals such as Liber Samekh. I have run across discussions of the Star Ruby that suggest alternate elemental attributions. Part of this confusion is probably caused by its proximity in MITAP to Liber V vel Reguli, the Ritual of the Mark of the Beast, where the attributions of air and earth are exchanged, so that Nuit in the North is Air, and Therion in the East is Earth. There are a number of reasons Crowley might have switched the attributions here (Earthing the Beast, for example, or Crowley's typical mischief with educational intent), but in any case I see it as an exception and hold to the 777 attributions of the elements for my Star Ruby.
There are a number of other interesting moments in Liber V, such as the gestural identification of both Hadit and Babalon with the muladhara chakra at separate moments, and Therion with the anahata (heart). Meditation on these attributions, along with the Book of Lies and MITAP quadrant attributions, eventually resulted in a revised set of divine names for the quadrants for me, combining the BoL and MITAP versions. Embraced by Babalon, I took the Beast back into my Psyche, and now I roar Chaos to the East, whisper Nuit to the North, speak Eros to the West, and shout Hadit to the South. Space/Time and Attraction/Dispersion form a cross to square the Circle of Magick and mark the Beast at the Center.
According to AC's instructions for the movement, one advances to the East, and after flinging forth the pentagram and name and stepping back with the sign of Silence, goes round to the North for the next, from there round to West for the third, then round to South for the last. The way I first read this and still practice it, I proceed deosil 270 degrees from East to North, and so on around the circle, finishing in the East again, and retiring to the center, thus completing one circle widdershin while wrapping three about it deosil. In other words, relative to the stopping points at the quarters, I move 'counter-clockwise', from Dawn in the East to Midnight in the North to Sunset in the West to Noon in the South and back to Dawn. The three clockwise circles performed at the same time, with the advance from and retirement to the center, further suggest the kundalini serpent coiled three and a half times about the base of the spine, along with many other cabalistic and magical things, and offer a chance to quote the final lines of Coleridge's "Kubla Khan", with reference to the notochordal Beast:

Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

The next point in the Star Ruby has no counterpart in the GD pentagram Ritual. Back in the center, one sings "IO PAN", with the signs of NOX, those being Puella (Nuit), Puer (Hadit), Vir (Chaos/Therion) and Mulier (Eros/Babalon); in English, Girl , Boy, Man and Woman. The gesture for each is described in Liber V vel Reguli. They are the four basic aspects of humanity, the tetragrammaton of all tetragrammata, the four sides of the pyramid. (III.49: "I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men.") -- IO PAN can be translated 'HAIL ALL!' or 'Behold Everyone!' NOX is Night, and yes, this is Crowley's famous Night of Pan in the City of the Pyramids, and brings us to the Abyss.

What is this Abyss? A concept critical to Crowley's sublimation of the Golden Dawn into the Silver Star, or A. .A. ., certainly, but here and now I don't want to deal with it as a concept directly, but rather approach it from the side, with a little help from a short passage from Liber Legis, the Beast's privileged communication from the divine pneumata of Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit, and see if we can't catch a more direct glimpse of it. The passage is Verse 76 of The Second Chapter, the Gordian Knot of Liber Legis:

76. 4 6 3 8 A B K 2 4 A L G M O R 3 Y X 24 89 R P S T O V A L. What meaneth this, o prophet? Thou knowest not; nor shalt thou know ever. There cometh one to follow thee: he shall expound it. But remember, o chosen one, to be me; to follow the love of Nu in the star-lit heaven; to look forth upon men, to tell them this glad word.

In his commentary preceding II.76 the Beast writes: "This passage following appears to be a Qabalistic test (on the regular pattern) of any person who may claim to be the Magical Heir of The Beast. Be ye well assured all that the solution, when it is found, will be unquestionable. It will be marked by the most sublime simplicity, and carry immediate conviction." (Note the stressed placement of all in "Be ye well assured all...")
Before I expound upon the deceptive simplicity of this puzzle, I would like to remind you of the great number of magical Crowley figurines in my dream, and, with particular reference to the phrase "chosen one", point out that it occurs (among many other places in Liber Legis) in the plural in I.50, as "lofty chosen ones". In general I would be very surprised if the various so-called predictions in Liber Legis only came true once. In addition it occurs to me that "My prophet is a fool with his one, one, one; are not they the Ox, and none by the Book?" (I.48 -- The Ox, Aleph, is the Fool in the Book of Thoth.) One should thus always remember that "chosen one", as nice as it sounds, also equates hermetically with fool, which makes expounding upon Liber Legis somewhat like volunteering in the Army. But, in any case, here we go, Boys and Girls, over the top.

Let me begin by saying that the Beast, by which I mean the entity including and informed by Aleister Crowley, knew the solution quite well: not. "Thou knowest not" = it meaneth not. AC's commentary on the verse (Magical & Philosophical Commentariess on the Book of the Law, edited by Symonds and Grant, p 249) spells this out clearly, in grammatical terms: "...'Thou knowest not' is one of the cryptographic ambiguities characteristic of this Book. 'Thou knowest' -- see Chap.I verse 26, and 'not' is Nuith. The word 'ever' too, may be the objective of 'know', rather than merely an adverb." There is also AC's reply to Achad, quoted at the beginning of Liber 31. which reads, in part: " "Thou knowest not." Your key opens palace. CCXX has unfolded like a flower. All solved, even II.76 and III.47". This P.C. to Achad was signed "AL'AIN Priest....666". (Liber 31, by Frater Achad, p.3.)
What meaneth this? It meaneth not. Every number is infinite; there is no difference. Words and numbers, by themselves, have no meaning, until some beast, whether as speaker or hearer or writer or reader, gives them meaning. Meaning is given by and at the will of the beast. There is no power in words and numbers that can hold meaning in the absence of the beast. Without the beast, they mean everything and nothing.*
Let us look a bit further into this nothing. Liber Legis, I.46 & 47:

46. Nothing is a secret key of this law. Sixty-one the Jews call it;
I call it eight, eighty, four hundred & eighteen.
47. But they have the half; unite by thine art so that all disappear.

Sixty-one is the value of the Hebrew word "AIN" by gematria, aleph 1 + Iod 10 + Nun 50 = 61. Nuit, as speaker of Chapter One, calls it: 1) eight, the number of the Hebrew letter Cheth, attributed to The Chariot, trump VII of the Tarot, an image of the Grail Quest; 2) eighty, the number of the letter Pe, attributed to The House of God, trump XVI of the Tarot, picturing the fall of the House of Babel; 3) four hundred & eighteen, the number of the letter Cheth spelled in full, the Quest fulfilled, the Great Work, the invisible house of the Aeon, the secret word Abrahadabra, Aiwass, TO MH (the not, in Greek) and many other things. All this Nuit calls nothing, and goes on to say that the Hebrew AIN is the half. What is the other half of nothing? Well, if we unite all by our art we get: A 1 + L 30 + L 30 = 61, and, Abrahadabra, all is not. "All solved, even II.76 and III.47," as AC said in his letter to Achad. Permit me to quote III.47:

This book shall be translated into all tongues: but always with the original in the writing of the Beast; for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. Let him not seek to try: but one cometh after him, whence I say not, who shall discover the key of it all, Then this line drawn is a key: then this circle squared in its failure is a key also. And Abrahadabra. It shall be his child & that strangely. Let him not seek after this; for thereby alone can he fall from it.

The key of it is all, taking the text at its word, and the one to come after comes from not, from Nuit, from "Nothing is a secret key of this law."(I.46) The manuscript has a line drawn diagonally from left top down to the right, beginning between "chance" and "shape" and ending beneath the "key" of "this line drawn is a key". The "chance shape" of this line is that of a strike-out line, a delete line, a line that means not, the secret half of all, the key given here to the Book of the Law. In his commentary on III.47 (Mag & Phil Comms., p.278) Crowley reveals his understanding of this when he ends one comment with "So that he that shall divine it shall be a Magus, 9 = 2 ." and begins the following later one with: "I am now a Magus 9 = 2 , and I agree with the former comment. He need only be a Magister Templi 8 = 3 , whose word is Understanding." Reading carefully, the apparent contradiction resolves itself into the implication that the Magister Templi who divines it thereby becomes (shall be) a Magus. Crowley divined the mysteries as 'no Beast", as no-man, as Nemo, when he, not, sought to try.
But how is all (not) a key of it? Let's take it very simply, step by step, and perhaps we'll catch that promised glimpse of the Abyss yet, if we have not already. Try to imagine all there is ever, everything, using all the powers of your mind. Now, no matter how far you push your vision, and even if your mind were large enough to encompass the totality of things, an essential problem will always remain: to get whatever vision you have, you had to step back from it all, so that the closer you got to perfecting your vision, the further you were from it all, and if you could truly perfect the all in your mind, you would indeed have nothing left at all. This problem is essential to all awareness. Whatever you are aware of, whatever you know, whatever you understand, is never the thing understood, known, perceived, but rather an image of it in your head, in the head of the beast. Is the thing there at all? Are things, down to the smallest particle, illusions generated by your powers of interpretation? Do you see the Abyss here yet? Are you all there is? Is all that out there just an illusion of your mind? The illusion of numbers and words? And if you are all there is, does not that make you (I, ego) an illusion too?
Are you dizzy? Step carefully, we're treading on the edge of the Abyss now. "Harden! Hold up thyself! Lift thine head! breathe not so deep -- die!" (II.68)

"Spelling is defunct; all is not aught." (III.2) Having drawn the line of not through this all, let us turn to that which remains after this deconstruction of 'I' and 'All': the body that holds one's place in time, the third key mentioned in III.47, the circle squared in its failure. In the manuscript a crossed circle is drawn so that of the four squared radii, two, top and left, reach the circumference and two, bottom and right, fail to reach it.
And here we are back in the Night of Pan (All) in the City of the Pyramids, and the point we left off in the Star Ruby, the signs of NOX in the quartered circle: girl, boy, man, woman. These represent All (Pan) of humanity as represented in the four basic phases of the body. Any given body is only one of these four at any given moment and only two over the course of its life; it fails to square the circle, and has only the half, from birth to death. The performance of these gestures, Puella, Puer, Vir and Mulier, forces the Magician (of whatever gender) to step into the other half of the animal soul and look out through those eyes, however briefly and partially. Not until the animal soul achieves fullness will the Abyss be, so to speak, crossed, and the circle squared, and the pillar established in the void.
"Abrahadabra! the reward of Ra Hoor Khut." (III.1) This variant spelling of Ra Hoor Khuit begs for gematrial analysis. Following Crowley's cues given in THE EQUINOX OF THE GODS, (p138), Hoor and Ra in Hebrew transliteration give 217 + 201 = 418; Khu added to this, 418 + 26 = 444. All we need do is add in teth, 9, and we get 453. Looking this up in Crowley's Sepher Sephiroth, we find two entries: Behemoth, and Nephesh Chiah, "The Animal soul, in its fullness". Permit me to quote from another "Holy Book" of Thelema, "Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente vel LXV", Chapter V, verse 5. "Now is the Pillar established in the Void; now is Asi fulfilled of Asar; now is Hoor let down into the Animal Soul of Things like a fiery star that falleth upon the darkness of the earth." It is the beast in its fullness.

After the signs of NOX, if we will and dare do them, comes the call to the guardians of the quarters, with arms outstretched in the form of a tau. In the GD version, they are the archangels; in the Greek of the Star Ruby they are certain Neoplatonic divinities who take their origin from a curious text called the Chaldean Oracles: divine revelations received by one Julianus 'the Chaldean' during the time of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, 161-180ev, and put into Greek verse by said Julianus. His text has not survived, but there is a compilation of fragmentary quotations by the later Neo-Platonists called The Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster. There was an edition in English, edited and revised by W.W.Westcott, to which Crowley would have had access. In what is left we find the IUNGES, SUNOChES and TELETARChAI mentioned in connection with an Intellectual and/or Intelligible Triad. DAIMONES do not seem to come into the picture here, nor is there a place for them in the Triad. By adding DAIMONES to form a Tetrad and attributing these powers to the four quarters of the magick circle, Crowley performed a correction on these 'pagan' visions of Julianus, much as he did with the 'christian' visions of John. He restored the Element of Earth to its rightful place, out from the dark hidey-hole of suppression and repression. As soon as the 'pagans' of the Roman Empire accepted Earth and matter as evil, they became as dis-eased as the 'christians' with whom they argued, and this skewed their relations with the divine. As an example let me quote one of my favorite lines from the Chaldean Oracles: "Stoop not down unto the Darkly-Splendid World" -- using the not key from The Book of the Law, this reads: "Stoop, O Nuit, down unto the Darkly-Splendid World" and could be continued: "...a lambent flame of blue, all-touching, all-penetrant, ... lovely hands upon the black earth..." (I.26)
The IUNGES are the Spells and Charms, guardians of Air in the East. (The image is that of a small bird bound to a spinning wheel, its cries echoing out to attract the Lover.) The SUNOChES are the Maintainers, guardians of Fire in the South. The TELETARChAI are the Initiators into the Mysteries, the ones who bring final terms into correspondence with first; they are the guardians of Water in the West. The DAIMONES are the Stars of Nuit, the human spirit-guardians of Earth in the North.
After these have been addressed, the magician continues: "About me flames the pentagram, and in the pillar stands the six-rayed star." In this case, the pillar stands on two feet, and the star shines within, radiating out in the six directions of the ritual, "the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle." (II.7)
At this point Crowley says to repeat the qabalistic cross, "and end as you began." This last I take to mean: in silence. I note that some have interpreted this to mean shouting out "APO PANTOS KAKODAIMONOS!" again, which I think a mistake. -- To facilitate the transition to silence, instead of crying IAO I use the Beast's reconstruction of the word IAO along newaeonic lines (for details on which see MITAP pp 31+): UIAOU. Gesturally I accompany this with a movement of my hands in to my chest with the first U, then up and out and down to describe a large circle, bringing my hands back up to rest crossed on my chest with thumbs interlocked as the final U fades into silence. I generally vibrate the vowels in a deep slow pitch, letting the vowels flow one into the other. Somehow it reminds me of the feel of the passage from the Choral Movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, sung very slowly by the bass section of the chorus: "Diesem Kuss der ganzen Welt" -- "This kiss to all the world."

Love is the law, love under will.



*For a positive, meaningful solution to this cipher (as opposed to my meaningless one) by another Beast, along the lines of the Greek Qabalah, a move encouraged by Crowley himself, see Liber MCMIV sub figura LXXVI by Frater Keallach (G.M.Kelly). It may be found at the Castle of the Silver Star website on the Internet, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/7069/riddle.html. From a certain perspective, it seems to me that Frater Keallach and I may have attacked opposite halves of the same equation. I encourage you to see for yourself, and do look around the website. There is a wealth of valuable information and thought at the Castle on matters concerning Aleister Crowley and Thelema, much of it highly amusing in the bargain.


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This article originally appeared in The Seventh Ray "The Red Ray", Book II, published by CHS, Inc, Po Box 403, Silverado, California 92676. Ordering information may be found at http://members.aol.com/CHSOTA/productions.html

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