BEING OF THE ANGELS OF THE 30 AETHYRS
THE VISION AND THE VOICE
Text and Footnotes
Introduction and Explanation of Footnotes
Copied from Sangreal Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 2580
Dallas, TX 75211
"The Vision and the Voice" of the Angels of the Thirty Aethyrs, reprinted from ®MDBR¯Equinox®MDNM¯, Volume 1, Supplement to No. 5, but here reprinted for the first time with an elaborate commentary by the MASTER THERION, is unique in that it attempts to describe in a perfectly sane and scientific manner, spiritual experiences and the investigations of the more subtle planes.
The first attempts to obtain these visions were made in 1900, in Mexico, where FRATER PERDURABO had journeyed in his efforts to obtain a perfect understanding of the mystic traditions and methods of attainment of every race and clime. The first two Aethyrs were investigated on November 14 and 17, 1900. "The Vision and the Voice" was mysterious and terrific in character. But what he saw was not altogether beyond his previous experiences; what he heard was as unintelligible to him as William Blake to a 7th Day Adventist. He was encouraged by the evident importance of these results, but found that he was absolutely unable to proceed with the 28th Aethyr. It became evident, some 9 years later, that what stopped his further exploration of the Aethyrs in 1900 was simply that his Grade or degree of development did not entitle or permit him to go further than the 29th. In fact only a Master of the Temple, 8®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 3®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯* can penetrate beyond a certain point, and further, as sections of the Comment point out, even a Master of the Temple cannot pierce through some of the veils surrounding the outer of these Aethyrs.
The Seer had not thought of continuing this work for nearly 9 years. It is not at all clear how the idea came to him, but in 1909, during a walk through the desert with Frater O.V. (Victor Neuburg) a Probationer in the A.®MDSU¯.®MDSU¯®MDNM¯. A.®MDSU¯.®MDSU¯®MDNM¯., a hand suddenly smote its lightning into his heart at Aumale, and he knew that now, that very day, he must take up "The Vision and the Voice" from the point where he had laid it down in 1900. Parallel to this, it is also possible that he had in his ruck sack one of his earliest Magical Note Books, where he had copied with infinite patience the 19 Calls or Keys obtained by Sir Edward Kelly from certain Angels and written down by Queen Elizabeth's astrologer, Dr. John Dee.
The facts that stamp these Keys or Calls are these. Over 100 squares filled with letters were obtained by these two Magicians, in a manner which no one yet has quite understood. Dee would have one or more of these tables (as a rule 49 by 49 -- some full, others lettered only on alternate squares) before him on a writing table. Kelly would sit at what they called the Holy Table, and gaze into a "Shewstone" in which he would see an Angel, who would point with a wand to letters on one of these charts in succession. Kelly would report, for example, "He points to column 6, rank 31," and so on, apparently not mentioning the letter which Dee found and wrote down from the "Table" before him. When the Angel had finished, the message was rewritten backwards. It had been dictated backwards as being too dangerous to communicate forwards -- each word being in its nature so powerful that its direct communication would have evoked forces which were not wanted at that time.
These Keys being re-written backwards, there then appeared conjurations in a language which they called "Enochian," or "Angelic." It is not a jargon; it has a grammar and a syntax of its own. It is far more sonorous, stately and impressive than even Greek or Sanskrit and the English translations, although in places difficult to understand, contain passages of a sustained sublimity that Shakespeare, Milton, and the Bible do not surpass.
®RM65¯®IP8,5¯"Can the Wings of the Wind understand your voices of Wonder? O Ye! The Second of the First! whom the burning flames have framed in the depths of my Jaws! Whom I have prepared as cups for a wedding, or as flowers in their beauty for the chamber of Righteousness! Stronger are your feet than the barren stone! and mightier are your voices than the manifold winds! For you are become a building such as is not, save in the mind of the All-Powerful."
®MDBR¯®MDNM¯(®MDBR¯®MDBR¯Second Key®MDNM¯) ®RM70¯®IP3,0¯
There are nineteen of these Keys: the first two conjuring the element called Spirit; the next sixteen invoke the Four Elements (each subdivided into four); the nineteenth, by changing two names, may be used to invoke any of the thirty "Aethyrs" or "Aires".
The genuineness of these Keys, altogether apart from any critical observation, is guaranteed by the fact that anyone with the smallest capacity for Magick finds that they ®MDBR¯work®MDNM¯. The Seer has used these Keys a great deal, always with excellent effect. It was in Mexico that the idea occurred to him to discover for himself what these Aethyrs really were, by invoking them in turn by means of the nineteenth key and then, by skrying in the Spirit Vision, judge their nature by what he saw and heard.
It was in Aumale, that he prepared to commence once more the investigations of these Aethyrs, and accordingly bought a number of notebooks. After dinner, on the 23rd of November, 1909, he invoked the 28th Aethyr by means of this 19th Key. When it was compared with those of the 29th and 30th Aethyrs, lo and behold, there were exhibited the same peculiarities of subject and style. This is true also of the 27th, and so on to the 24th; yet there is a continuous advance towards coherence both in each Aethyr itself, and as regards to its neighbour. The subject shows solemnity and sublimity, as well as the tendency to fit in with those conceptions of the Cosmos, those mystic Laws of Nature, and those ideas of transcendental Truth which had already been foreshadowed in ®MDBR¯The Book of the Law®MDNM¯ (Vernal Equinox, 1904), and the more exalted of the trances which the Seer had experienced prior to this date.
The Method of obtaining "The Vision and the Voice" was as follows. The Seer had with him a great golden topaz set in a Calvary Cross of six squares, made of wood, and painted vermillion, which was engraved with the Greek Cross of five squares charged with the Rose of 49 petals. He held this, as a rule, in his hand. After choosing a spot where he was not likely to be disturbed he would take this stone and recite the Enochian Call and, after satisfying himself that the forces invoked were actually present, made the topaz play a part not unlike that of the looking glass in the case of Alice. (He had long learned not to trouble himself to travel to any particular place in his Body of Light. He realized that Space was not a thing in itself, but merely a convenient category -- one of many such -- by reference to which we can distinguish objects from each other.) He would then describe what he saw and repeat what he heard, and Frater O.V., the Scribe, would write down his words, and incidentally observe any phenomena which struck him as peculiar. (For instance, Crowley would at times pass into a deep trance so that many minutes might pass between two successive sentences, as the text to the later Aethyrs shows.)
They walked steadily through the Desert, invoking the Aethyrs, one by one, at convenient times and places, or when the Spirit moved them. As a rule, one Aethyr was obtained every day. Bou-Sƒada was reached on November 30th; on December 8th they started again through the desert for Biskra which they reached on December 16th, completing the work on the 19th. By the time Bou-Sƒada was reached, and they had arrived at the 20th Aethyr, the Seer began to understand that these visions were, so to speak, cosmopolitan. They brought all systems of Magical doctrine into harmonious relation. The symbolism of Asiatic cults; the ideas of the Qabalah, both Jewish and Greek; the Arcana of the Gnostics; the Pagan Pantheon, from Mithras to Mars; the Mysteries of Ancient Khem; the Rites of Eleusis; the Scandinavian Sagas; Celtic and Druidical ritual; Mexican and Polynesian traditions; the Mysticism of Molinos no less than that of Islam -- all these fell into their proper places without the slightest tendency to quarrel. The whole of the past Aeon, in short, appeared in detailed perspective, and each element therefore surrendered its sovereignty to Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child, the Lord of the Aeon announced in ®MDBR¯The Book of the Law®MDNM¯.
Love is the law, love under will.
The titles of the Thirty AEthyrs whose dominion extendeth in ever
widening circles without and beyond the Watch Towers of
(The first is Outermost)
1 LIL 16 LEA
2 ARN 17 TAN
3 ZOM 18 ZEN
4 PAZ 19 POP
5 LIT 20 KHR
6 MAZ 21 ASP
7 DEO 22 LIN
8 ZID 23 TOR
9 ZIP 24 NIA
10 ZAX 25 VTI
11 ICH 26 DES
12 LOE 27 ZAA
13 ZIM 28 BAG
14 UTA 29 RII
15 OXO 30 TEX
THE CALL OR KEY OF THE THIRTY AETHYRS
MADARIATZA das perifa LIL cahisa micaolazoda saanire caosago od fifisa balzodizodarasa Iaida. Nocuca gohulime: Micama adoianu MADA faoda beliorebe, soba ooaona cahisa luciftias peripesol, das aberaasasa nonucafe netaaibe caosaji od tilabe adapehaheta damepelosoda, tooata nonucafe jimicalazodoma larasada tofejilo marebe yareryo IDOIGO; od torezodulape yaodafe gohola, Caosaga, tabaoreda saanir od caharisateosa yorepoila tiobela busadire, tilabe noalanu paida oresaba, od dodaremeni zodayolana. Elazodape tilaba paremejio peripesatza, od ta qurelesata booapisa. Ianibame oucho sayomepe, od caharisateosa ajitolotorenu, mireca qo tiobela lela. Tonu paomebeda dizodalamo asa pianu, od caharisateosa aji-la-tore-torenu paracahe a sayomepe. Coredazodizoda dodapala od fifalazoda, lasa manada, od faregita bamesa omaoaso. Conisabera od auauotza tonuji oresal catabela noasami tabejesa leuitahemonuji. Vanucahi omepetilabe oresa! Bagile? Moooabe OL ocredazodizoda. El capimao itzomatzipe, od cacocasabe gosaa. Bajilenu pii tianuta a babalanuda, od faoregita teloca uo uime.
Madariiatza, torezodu!!! Oadariatza orocaha aboaperi! Tabaori periazoda aretabasa! Adarepanu coresata dobitza! Yiolacame periazodi arecoazodiore, od quasabe qotinuji! Ripire paaotzata sagacore!
Umela od peredazodare cacareji Aoiveae coremepeta! Torezodu! Zodacare od Zodameranu, asapeta sibesi butamona das surezodasa Tia balatanu. Odo cicale Qaa, od Ozodazodama pelapeli IADANAMADA!
THE CALL OR KEY OF THE THIRTY AETHYRS
O Ye Heavens which dwell in the first Aire®FN1 Or other Aire as may be willed.
¯, ye are mighty in the parts of the Earth, and execute therein the Judgment of the Highest! Unto you it is said: Behold the Face of your God, the beginning of Comfort, whose eyes ate the brightness of the Heavens, which provided you for the Government of the Earth, and her unspeakable variety, furnishing you with the power of understanding to dispose of all things according to the Foresight of Him that Sitteth on the Holy Throne®MDBR¯®FN1®MDNM¯ This name may be appropriately varied with the Aire.
¯,®MDNM¯ and rose up in the Beginning, saying: The Earth, let her be governed by her parts, and let there be Division in her, that the glory of her may be always ecstasy and imitation of orgasm. Her course, let it run with the Heavens; and as an handmaid let her serve them. One season, let it confound another, and let there be no creature upon or within her the same. All her members, let them differ in their qualities, and let there be no one Creature equal with another. The reasonable Creatures of the Earth, and Men, let them vex and weed out one another; and their dwelling-places, let them forget their Names. The work of man and his pomp, let them be defaced. His building, let it be a Cave for the Beast of the Field! Confound her understanding with darkness! For why? It repenteth me concerning the Virgin and the Man. One while let her be known, and another while a stranger: because she is the bed of an Harlot, and the dwelling-place of him that is fallen.
O ye Heavens arise! The lower heavens beneath you, let them serve you! Govern those that govern! Cast down such as fall. Bring forth with those that increase, and destroy the rotten. No place let it remain in one number. Add an diminish until the stars be numbered. Arise! Move! and appear before the Covenant of His mouth, which He hath sworn unto us in His Justice. Open the Mysteries of your Creation, and make us partakers of THE UNDEFILED KNOWLEDGE.
A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF THE CONTENTS OF THE CALLS OF THE
THIRTY AIRES OR AETHYRS
30. "Exordium of the Equinox of the Gods."
29. "The Disruption of the Aeon of Osiris."
28. "The Vision of the Dawn of the Aeon of Horus (Atu XVII)"
27. "The Vision of the Initiation of Hecate (Atu XIV)
The Redemption of the Woman of Witchcraft by Love."
26. "The Slave-Gods superseded (The Vision of Atu XX, the St‚l‚)
The Vision of the St‚l‚ of Revealing, abolishing the
Aeon of the Slave-Gods."
25. "The Path of Teth (Atu XI. The Fire-Kerub in the Initiation).
The Vision of the Fruit of the Great Work of the Beast -
666. The Lion."
24. "The Rose. (The Woman of Atu XIV. Minister of Babalon;
The Water-Kerub in the Initiation.) The First Kiss
Of the Lady of Initiation."
23. "The Kerubim of Earth and Air (Minor officers in the
Initiation to 8®MDFL¯=®MDBR¯ = 3®MDFL¯)®MDNM¯.) The Vision of the Interplay
And Identity of Earth and Air."
22. "The 49-fold Table (First appearance of the Crowned and
Conquering Child to the Exempt Adept as in the Pastos)
The Vision of the Rose, the Heart of BABALON and of
The Birth of the Universe."
21. "Kether. (TheHierophant prepares the Candidate). The
Vision of the Ineluctable Destiny."
20. "The Path of Kaph (Atu X). The Hiereus prepares the
Candidate). The Vision of the Wheel of Fortune. The
Three Energies of the Universe."
19. "The Path of Gimel (The Hegemone between the Pillars.
Preliminary: The Vision of the Unguided Universe.)"
18. "Tiphereth. (The King's Chamber. The Vision of the holy
Guardian Angel.) The Instruction concerning the
Obtaining of the Vision and the Voice of the Thirty
Aethyrs. The Preparation of the Candidate."
17. "The Path of Lamed. (The combination Gimel, Lamed, Samech.
The Vision of the Justice or Balance of the Universe."
16. "Keter. (Path of Pe.) The Overthrow of the Salve-Gods by
The Beast 666."
15. "The Vision of the rose of 49 petals, and of the Holy
12-fold Table. Examination of the Candidate for M.T."
14. "The Vision of the City of the Pyramids. The Reception
Of the Master of the Temple."
13. "The Garden of Nemo. The Work of the Magister Templi."
12. "The Path of Cheth. The Bearer of the Sangraal. The Black
11. "Yesod. The Frontier of the Abyss."
10. "The Abyss. Choronzon, his Nature."
9. "Malkuth. (The Pure Virgin.) The reward of the Magister
8. "The Holy Guardian Angel. His instruction."
7. "The Path of Daleth. The Black Brothers."
6. "The Vision of the Urn. The Magus 9®MDFL¯=®MDBR¯ = 2®MDFL¯)®MDNM¯. The Three
Schools of Magick."
5. "The Vision of the Middle Pillar. (Arrow). The Mystery
4. "The Marriage of Yod and He. (The common Tibetan Symbol.)
The Seer identifies himself with it."
3. "The Magus of the Tarot. (Atu 1). Mayan, the Maker of
Illusion. The Seer in Illusion (Lilith)."
2. "The Marriage of the Seer with BABALON. (Atu VI)."
1. "The Vision of The Crowned and Conquering Child, the Lord
Of the Aeon."
®FL¯®PT2¯®IP3,0¯The above Introduction to ®MDBR¯The Vision and the Voice®MDNM¯ was written immediately after having typed out the manuscript in the early part of the year 1929 in Paris. The notes of the Commentary no doubt dating from the Cefalu period were scattered in two separate copies of ®MDBR¯Equinox V®MDNM¯, in the form of marginal notes and footnotes and hastily scribbled comments inserted in the pages of ®MDBR¯Liber 418®MDNM¯, the Supplement to ®MDBR¯Equinox V®MDNM¯. Crowley suggested I write an introduction for it -- possibly because at that time he was wholly fed up with writing (which was quite understandable) but additionally I presume to flatter my ego. At that time, my knowledge of the Qabalah and Magick was practically nil. However, having by then familiarized myself with the typescript of his ®MDBR¯Confessions®MDNM¯ (recently published by Hill & Wang Ltd®MDNM¯., New York, 1970) it was not too difficult to extract a few paragraphs here and there to provide some prefatory material (under my old magical motto of E.N.L.) to the strange apocalyptic splendor of these initiatory visions. It met with Crowley's approval then. Not until several years ago did I learn that the entire book had been privately published in mimeographed form through the initiative of the late Karl Germer.
When engaged in editing the vast amount of data comprising ®MDBR¯The Golden Dawn®MDNM¯, (Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minn., 1970) the above Introduction as well as some of the material in the ®MDBR¯Confessions®MDNM¯ were again drawn upon for the ®MDBR¯®MDBR¯Introduction to the Enochian System®MDNM¯ (The Book of the Concourse of the Forces) in the latter portion of Volume IV. The latter was written because it dilated considerably on the Crowley material extrapolated from ®MDBR¯Equinox VII®MDNM¯. It detailed more clearly the Golden Dawn method of elaborating the squares of the Elemental Tablets by the appropriate attributions to form the pyramids.
I have confessed that I have long been vehemently opposed to anything being published separately concerning the Enochian Tablets. My attitude was based on several years experience with newcomers to the entire subject of the Great Work. Many, for some reason or another, were fascinated by and attracted to Enochiana without having first obtained a suitable preparation in the basic Qabalistic knowledge so essential to the study and understanding of this complicated system. It seemed thoroughly ridiculous and senseless. However, since the principals of the Sangreal Foundation were determined to proceed anyway in selecting and publishing these varied materials for this particular volume, my cooperation was assured -- if only to guarantee that no dispoilation occurred to this set of visionary materials.
One advisor to Sangreal had suggested the discontinuation of the whole project. He motive was that a California group sensationally engaged in the practice of Satanism had appropriated and published the Enochian rituals or Calls in a so-called Satanic Bible. Because of this, it was felt that there were now undesirable contacts associated with the rituals that could only lead to chaos and confusion.
The author of this debased volume had made enough changes in the various Calls to rule out any likelihood of confusion with those presented here in their original form. Wherever the word God is used, the author had substituted the name of Satan or one of the equivalent terms in its stead. The same holds true for several other pieces of similar stupidity.
If the reader adheres to the format presented here -- based on ®MDBR¯The Golden Dawn®MDNM¯, the ®MDBR¯Equinox®MDNM¯, and initially on Casaubon's lengthy treatise about Dee and Kelly -- he is unlikely to wallow in any chaos or confusion supposed to adhere to the recently perverted edition referred to above.
As to the admonition to drop the entire venture, we might just as well argue that since the Mass of the Roman Catholic Church has been misappropriated time and again by psychotics and psychopaths who distorted it for the performance of the black mass, both rituals should be discontinued. Or that since almost every conceivable ritual of any kind has at some time has been used or misused by its antagonists, evil contacts were associated with its performance. On the fact of it, the argument is most improbable. The Sangrael Foundation is to be commended for proceeding with its original plan.
The student who has acquired a basic knowledge of ®MDBR¯The Golden Dawn®MDNM¯ material or a good general Qabalistic background, should not experience too much difficulty with most of Crowley's commentary to ®MDBR¯The Vision and the Voice®MDNM¯. Admittedly it is recondite and profound -- but actually quite intelligible, once the key is grasped. Without this background, none of it will make much sense. Let me insist on this last point.
By and large, the comments made here by Crowley are brief and concise. They were scribbled originally in the marginal spaces of two separate copies of ®MDBR¯Equinox V®MDNM¯, as already stated. But it is in fact this very brevity which is the cause of considerable confusion amongst students who are not in possession of Crowley's encyclopedic background.
Never let it be forgotten -- Crowleyan purists notwithstanding -- that as Frater Perdurabo, he is in the long straight line of Golden Dawn adepts and traditional magical working. He was schooled and disciplined in Golden Dawn symbolism not alone by the Order itself, but by Allen Bennett and George Cecil Jones, two adepts of that Order who took a special, friendly interest in Crowley. Most of this training became so integrated into his consciousness that it was without effort for a series of Golden Dawn correspondences to arise normally and spontaneously in response to any stimulus, no matter how insignificant.
It is rare to find many students today so well trained and disciplined that they can follow Crowley's abbreviated notes to any great extent. For this reason, I have taken the liberty -- which admittedly it is -- of expanding several of these notes in terms of their original Golden Dawn meanings, and in terms of the whole corpus of Crowley writing. In this way, I hope and sincerely believe the novice will have some opportunity of developing a little bit more insight into the complex symbolic picture presented by these notes. In the near and distant future, some well-meaning A.®MDSU¯.®MDNM¯. A.®MDSU¯.®MDNM¯. student who objects to my expansion of Crowley's notes as tampering, may decide to produce a new edition limited solely to the text of this ®MDBR¯Liber 418®MDNM¯, together with the original brief and concise Crowley footnotes. There are enough copies of the mimeographed editions circulating to make this project feasible should it be desired. But my additions really are minimal.
The major area of editing will be found in the area of Hebrew words and letters. These were many, and all have been entirely deleted in favor of English equivalents. Instead of the first letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, for example, the actual English word Aleph has been used throughout -- and so for all the others. For the beginner, this should render reading the commentary so much easier without having to cope with the problem of a foreign script and a foreign language.
Much the same is true of Greek. Most of the Greed words have been omitted -- there were too many of these -- and if the English equivalents have not actually been employed, then it has been noted that there is a Greek word meaning such-and-such, with specific numerical value.
This not only makes for reduced printing costs, and therefore a lower selling price, but it should prevent the beginning student from being overwhelmed by erudition which does not conduce to deeper understanding. I cannot feel that too much opposition should arise from any source relative to this change, especially when it is asserted that the text itself has not been tampered with and remains inviolate.
I further strongly recommend that the student read my biographical study of Aleister Crowley entitled, ®MDBR¯"The Eye in the Triangle®MDNM¯" (Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minn., 1970). It describes Crowley's progress through the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, his early but impressive attainments by means of the practice of Yoga, and his final ascent to the summit of Magick, first in the walk across the lower borders of China, and later in the hike with Victor Neuburg across the Sahara desert. In my opinion it should throw much light on the ®MDBR¯meaning®MDNM¯ of these visions and amplify considerably the short Crowley notes.
The first two visions of the series are not really too meaningful. When they were first obtained, he was too much of the neophyte, and therefore relatively unskilled and untrained in this particular practice. They were largely rhetorical, on a par with most of the early inconsequential and rather chaotic visions described in "The Temple of King Solomon," ®MDBR¯Equinox®MDNM¯ II.
In point of fact, Aleister Crowley by his own admission was not a good seer. It was not until he was exposed to the mediumistic abilities of Victor Neuburg, an important disciple of the early years of his Order, that his own native ability came to full flower, as these visions of ®MDBR¯Liber 418®MDNM¯ testify. But this gift did not flourish nor persist, which is why he futilely spent so much time and effort training his various lovers to be clairvoyants
A further important aid in the study of this Commentary is to be had in any one of the late editions of Liber 777®MDBO¯®MDBR¯®MDNM¯. The first edition of ®MDBR¯Liber 777®MDNM¯ is fine as a collector's item, commanding a high premium, but the later editions -- and there are now a number of them -- are infinitely more useful because of the inclusion of several essays and explanatory sections written by Crowley. I have heard the comment that ®MDBR¯Liber 777®MDNM¯ was interesting only as an indicator of the complexities and intricacies of Crowley's mind. These newer editions corroborate that statement, it is true, but provide a great deal more beside. Anyway, the student of ®MDBR¯The Vision and the Voice®MDNM¯, as well as of the whole corpus of Crowley writing, should possess his own copy of ®MDBR¯Liber 777®MDNM¯ and use it frequently while studying the Commentary.
Furthermore it is important for the student to recognize how often Aleister Crowley used ®MDBR¯Liber D vel Sephiroth®MDNM¯, originally published in ®MDBR¯Equinox®MDNM¯ VIII. It is not specifically mentioned in the original commentary, but the student who knows elementary Qabalah and has used ®MDBR¯Sepher Sephiroth®MDNM¯ will recognize the innumerable references that have been made.
This book is comprised of a large number of Hebrew words selected from the Bible and the Zohar, which are analyzed then in terms of their gematria; that is, their value in numbers. (Each Hebrew Letter is a number at the same time.) Then all these words are grouped together under their numbers, the theory being that any words that had the same gematria had a relationship with one another. Sometimes words with apparently contradictory meanings have the same gematria. It is up to the student by meditation to reconcile these differences.
As an aside it must be asserted that the Book needs to be republished. It is not included in ®MDBR¯Gems from the Equinox®MDNM¯ which I have edited for Llewellyn Publications, mainly because of its vast size. I have been assured by one student who proposes in the near future to republish an edition of ®MDBR¯Liber 777®MDNM¯ that he will include with it ®MDBR¯Liber D vel Sephiroth®MDNM¯. A very great service would be rendered by this Qabalistic contribution, and I do hope he will keep his promise and give us this combined publishing ventures soon.
Much of both the text and commentary depend for an understanding of, or familiarity with ®MDBR¯Liber Al vel Legis®MDNM¯ or ®MDBR¯The Book of the Law®MDNM¯. Here the student is required to do some extra-curricular reading, as it were, for the whole matter cannot be dealt with here without enlarging the volume disproportionately.
I would strongly suggest that the reader consult ®MDBR¯The Equinox of the Gods®MDNM¯ which deals at great length with the whole business of ®MDBR¯The Book of the Law®MDNM¯. Secondly, he should consult the sections of ®MDBR¯Gems from the Equinox®MDNM¯, a collation edited from the several volumes of Crowley's ®MDBR¯Equinox®MDNM¯. ®MDBR¯The Book of the Law®MDNM¯, together with an early commentary, will be found there, too. Moreover, he should consult my own book, ®MDBR¯The Eye in the Triangle®MDNM¯, especially the last chapter which is concerned with personal interpretations of this Book and its origins, even though some may find it most controversial. Finally, Llewellyn Publications, within the very near future, should be issuing ®MDBR¯The Law is for All®MDNM¯, which gives the text and verse-by-verse commentary by Crowley to ®MDBR¯The Book of the Law®MDNM¯. ALl of these references should go very far towards giving the student a broad view of the basic issues constantly raised in the notes of this ®MDBR¯Liber 418®MDNM¯.
The other issue remaining is some understanding of Kali or Sakti, the Mother Goddess, or the symbol of universal energy in Hindu philosophy. If he is any kind of scholar, he will take a flying leap into Arthur Avalon's masterpiece ®MDBR¯The Serpent Power®MDNM¯, which deals exhaustively with the topic of Sakti or Kundalini. Or, with more pleasure, he can dip into ®MDBR¯Philosophies of India®MDNM¯ by Heinrich Zimmer (Meridian Press, New York, 1956) for a more cursory but intellible view. And finally, where there is to be found in this man's accidental raising of the serpent power, some scattered and brief comments of Sakti and Prana which will brightly illuminate some of the more obscure issues raised here.
After these dips into basic texts, it will be realized that Crowley does not appear too dissimilar, for example, to Shri Ramakrishnaa Paramahamsa whose devotion to Mother Kali is one of the most outstanding features of the spiritual life of both men. Ramaskrishna became celibate on behalf of Kali; Crowley prolifigate in his sexual life on behalf of BABALON. But Kali and BABALON are one and the same -- the name and the method of devotion ®MDBR¯only®MDNM¯ are different. Throughout all the footnotes to this book are definitions and descriptions of BABALON which are identical with those of Sakti and Kali, and all the other Mother Goddesses of whom men have conceived and worshipped devoutly throughout history.
This doctrine permeates the entire book. Since these Visions are initiatory and resulted in his re-crossing the Abyss under the aegis of BABALON, the student must ever keep in mind that we are dealing with multiform interpretations of the Qabalistic concept of Binah the Great Mother, with all the rich symbolism pertaining thereto. If he does, he will not be lost in the plethora of symbols and concepts.
I must also seize upon this opportunity to suggest that additional reading material on the Qabalah is an absolute necessity. While Crowley was superb in his application of basic principles to exegesis, as this commentary demonstrates, somehow he could not write a clear text on the subject, at least for the beginner. The first chapter of ®MDBR¯Magick in Theory and Practice®MDNM¯ is a good case in point. For the novice it is obscure beyond belief.
Therefore to fill in the gap I suggest that the following books could be studied, either singly or as a group. Dion Fortune's ®MDBR¯Mystical Qabalah®MDNM¯ is a fine textbook, based essentially on Golden Dawn material, though spending far too much space on expounding the supra-rational Three Veils of the Absolute. Gareth Knight's ®MDBR¯Practical Course in Qabalistic Symbolism®MDNM¯ (rather more up-to-date) is in the Dion Fortune tradition, but more overtly Christian in its orientation. And finally there is William Gray's ®MDBR¯Ladder of Lights®MDNM¯ which, by and large, is a sheer masterpiece. These three books will fill in some of the lacunae found in Crowley's magical and literary output. Familiarity with the principles in these books will go far to make much of the commentary more intelligible. None of them however deal with the topic of Gematria (Qabalistic numerology) and ®MDBR¯Equinox V®MDNM¯, though out of print and hard to come by, has still the best material on this topic that I have seen anywhere.
The reader ®MDBR¯must®MDNM¯ remember that I am not commenting on the text of this ®MDBR¯Liber 418®MDNM¯. That would be presumptuous; I am not competent to do that. All I am attempting here is to take such comments as Crowley has already written and elaborate them somewhat with the view in mind of eliminating the obscurity and unintelligibility that may assail the beginner.
Relative to presumption I must assert, here and now, that I do not take any pupils, belong to no occult orders, and have formed no classes, study groups, or magical organizations of my own. My ambitions do not run in that direction. I am not in competition with any group or Order, whether it be the A.®MDSU¯.®MDNM¯ A.®MDSU¯.®MDNM¯, O.T.O., Golden Dawn, or any others that I know by name or have not yet heard of. Nor can I promise to undertake any extensive correspondence with anyone regarding the contents of this book or any other. The contents of this or any other of my writings, must stand or fall on their own merit -- or lack of it -- and correspondence will not remedy their defects or enlarge their virtues.
Sometime in the future, an attempt should be made to provide a psychological commentary to the Book. It should be obvious that there are many levels of interpretation to a work of this type. Perhaps a Jungian or Freudian psychologist could perform a signal service by providing just that. ®MDBR¯Kundalini®MDNM¯ by Gopi Krishna, already mentioned, has a fine psychological commentary attached to it by James Hillman, a Jungian psychologist. This chapter-by-chapter commentary to Gopi Krishna's experience gives added value and insight to the book. Something of this kind is required for ®MDBR¯Liber 418®MDNM¯. Crowley's comments are nowhere near exhaustive enough to reveal some of the deeper symbolism involved in these visions. I can only assume that by the time he got to writing the commentary in Cefalu, during the 1920's, he was pretty well fed up with writing -- especially as most of the new material he had written in that period remained unpublished. Writers do become weary of writing.
I must conclude this introduction by stating that there is one solitary exception to my generalization that on the whole the commentary is fairly intelligible. That is in connection with Crowley's astrological attributions to the Enochian letters comprising the names of the so-called Thirty Aethyrs.
Ordinarily, as will be seen from studying ®MDBR¯The Golden Dawn®MDNM¯ or Crowley's own admirable ®MDBR¯Liber 777®MDNM¯, which follows the former fairly closely, the twenty two letters of the Hebrew Alphabet are attributed according to the schema delineated in the ®MDBR¯Sepher Yetzirah®MDNM¯, the Book of Formation. In that book, the twelve signs of the Zodiac are attributed to the twelve so-called single letters -- those that have only one pronunciation or sound-value. The seven sacred planets of antiquity were attributed to the seven double letters -- those that have a double sound-value -- as in the case of ®MDBO¯Beth®MDNM¯, for example, which can be pronounced B or V, depending on the location of the ®MDBR¯dogesh®MDNM¯. (See my earliest book ®MDBR¯The Garden of Pomegranates®MDNM¯, Llewellyn Publications, 1970, for an elaboration of this point.) Then the remaining three mother letters -- Aleph, Mem, and Shin -- are attributed to the major elements of Air, Water, and Fire.
It will be evident upon the most superficial examination of the text that this is not the schema used by Crowley regarding the letters of the Names of the Aethyrs. It will not be too difficult to ascertain the attributions themselves. If the student will tabulate, as I have, the three Zodiacal attributions to each of the Names of the Thirty Aethyrs, he will have discovered the systems itself. (A few errors may have been inadvertently made due to repeated copying.) But what still puzzles me is the underlying rationale for such a system of attributions, which I give as follows:
ENOCHIAN ZODIAC & ELEMENTS HEBREW
A Taurus Vau
B Aries Heh
C or K Fire Vau
D Spirit Daleth
E Virgo Yod
F Cauda Draconis
H Air Aleph
I Sagittarius Samech
L Cancer Cheth
M Aquarius Tzaddi
N Scorpio Nun
O Libra Lamed
P or T Leo Teth
R Pisces Zayin
T Caput Draconis Gimel
U or V Capricorn Ayin
X Earth Tau
It follows no schema that I am familiar with, nor have I been able to discover the underlying motif of these attributions. If any reader of this book does come to discover this motif, I would be happy to learn of his discovery. Should there ever be a second edition to this work, that knowledge could be incorporated into the text with full acknowledgement given to the discoverer.
During the past few days, I have checked this manuscript twice for Sangrael Foundation, and proof-read once the galley proofs of the text (without Crowley's commentary) for inclusion in ®MDBR¯The Gems from the Equinox®MDNM¯ for Llewellyn Publications. This chore has given me the opportunity I have not had for several years, of reading very carefully this extraordinary magical document.
I can only say in all simplicity that the old perception once more returns that despite some rhetoric, the language on the whole is sonorous, sublime and majestic. Crowley's statement (3rd Aethyr, Note 1) that it should be read audibly and slowly, rather than silently or subvocally, is strongly to be recommended. Only in this manner, can one come to any appreciation of the fundamental beauty of some of the passages that he has written. I am sure some of them will find an immortal place for him among the great writers of the English language. Many of them will never die.
®FL¯®IP0,0¯Studio City, Calif.
*When figures are referred to (such as, 8®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 3®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ or 5®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 6®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯) they are referring to the 11 grades of degrees within the Great White Brotherhood. These are broken down as follows:
®FC¯The Order of the Silver Star
Ipissimus .......................................... 10®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 1®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
Magus .............................................. 9®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 2®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
Magister Templi .................................... 8®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 3®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
®FC¯The Order of the Rose Cross
(Babe of the Abyss - the link)
Adeptus Exemptus ................................... 7®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 4®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
Adeptus Major ...................................... 6®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 5®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
Adeptus Minor ...................................... 5®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 6®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
®FC¯The Order of the Golden Dawn
(Dominus Liminis - the link)
Philosophus ........................................ 4®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 7®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
Practicus .......................................... 3®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 8®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
Zelator ............................................ 2®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 9®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
Neophyte ........................................... 1®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ =10®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
Probationer ........................................ 0®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯ = 0®MDSU¯o®MDNM¯
®FC¯PRELIMINARY EDITORIAL NOTE
®IP3,0¯®PT2¯®FL¯The first two visions obtained in 1900 in Mexico are obviously superficial and comparatively empty compared with the profundity and ineffable quality of some of those obtained nine years later in the Sahara Desert. The Seer here is obviously unskilled and untrained, relatively speaking, and had not overcome the effects of his early upbringing and conditioning. Later, his vast experience and attainment enabled him to bring more to the Aethyrs and consequently they reflect more depth and meaning. His notes to these first two are also relatively devoid of profundity -- all other efforts notwithstanding. IR.