Initiation: The Hidden Agenda of Being

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Welcome to the A∴A∴.  You are now part of an exclusive organization that is entitled to initiation into Magick (profound wisdom of live beyond the bounds of scholarly study).  You have found the secret school that will give you the initiation that you otherwise cannot have.  This means that if your teacher tells you to do something that is ethically wrong or destructive you must do it, or otherwise you will be barred from the order and lose the golden thread of initiation right?  —– Wrong!!!

You are no better than anyone if you join the A∴A∴ or any other organization.  And the longer you cling to this illusion the more disappointed you will be when you meet other individuals even Christians, yes Christians who are not in the order or know nothing of the occult and yet are physically, mentally, and spiritually superior to yourself.  Believe me there are other magi who either by birth, karma, or accident have attained to the pinnacle of their own powers.  Of course there are many who also reach attainment through a different order, a different formal system using a different mythology and different set of symbols.  There are also rare individuals, who through a combination of trials, the development of reasoning, study and honest introspection have also attained to adept-hood while being professed atheists/intellectuals. (Nietzsche and Sartre come to mind here.)

Some people who have their illusions of exclusivity to initiation and the possibility for greatness quit the order once they meet other ‘adepts’ outside of our school.  Then sooner or later they come to regret their decision; they realize that there is something beautiful in the A∴ A∴ and it’s structure and it’s magickal current, but by the time they have understand their loss it is often too late.  They had failed their test of initiation, they weren’t honest in their own introspection.

The bottom line in all this is that the one and the many are equivalent.  Truth is one, its appearances and paths are many, but in the end all successful initiation leads to the same end.  Hence Crowley wrote that the adepts of the three magickal schools white, black and yellow, all drink at the same table.

My own experience has shown me that since the day we are born that life itself is initiating us.  What is life?  It is simply being interacting with it’s own nothingness: Nuit and Hadit.  This interaction is dynamic, disruptive and unstable, hence the aphorism: ‘change is stability’.  Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the solar god of war in Thelemic mythology is this violent dynamic that is at the heart of all life, all being. To be, means that something contradictory must not be. Hence violence on all levels is inherent to life. That is why when we truly banish in the ceremony of The Star Ruby, we make the signs of NOX, the Night of Pan.  Pall is all, he is the archetype of being in itself which is everything and nothing, the cosmic egg.  Only when this all being is negated in specific ways can beings per-se manifest and show themselves.  So to be is to suffer, but this suffering is truly the echo of pure joy, the joy of being in its totality.  

But being has structure and rules and it is ever striving and evolving in this instability of beings to become self conscious and self determined.  As stars we are basically a particular interaction/combination of being and nothingness unfolding a complete concept which is semi self conscious and semi self determined.  Our goal though, is to become wholly self conscious and wholly self determined.  This entails changes in our internal and external behavior. Of course knowing what to do, and doing it, are not the same thing; that is why Magick is not to be confused with some scholarly pursuit even though formal study is an important component.  Study, practice, and trials are all necessary.  We need to suffer consequences in order to change our internal and external behavior, in order to become more awakened and wise.  We need ordeals and life for everyone is the hard school of initiation.

Everyone, including animals and objects are going through their own initiation,  because all things have a degree of perception and internal drive, (at least according to Leibniz and myself)  and all things are changing, bringing an opportunity for evolution.  This entelechy and inner drive for more power (will to power) in all things is the driving force for initiation and it is this drive for expansion that gives all self conscious beings the opportunity to actively work with these inherent forces to facilitate this natural and inevitable transformation of consciousness.

The A∴A∴ is simply one of many occult schools that uses symbols, mythology, ceremonies and occult exercises to facilitate a conscious initiation.  If we are serious aspirants in this order and we don’t take the criticisms of our teachers personally, we can succeed in a conscious process of initiation using a mythos, and schema of practices that are in alignment with the current mode of being: the zeitgeist of this point of history.  This means that we are using a mythos and symbols that are meaningful to the structures in the human psyche as it exists in the modern/postmodern world that we find ourselves in and offers ways of aligning ourselves with the world around us in ways that are constructive.  (Joseph Campbell points out that the older myths, particularly in the biblical tradition are out of date, meaningless and misalign the psyche to the current demands of life as it is Now.) Naturally since I accept Liber AL vel Legis I think Campbell has hit the proverbial nail on the head.  And the answer to this challenge is expressed in our work to create an authentic mythos and culture in Thelema that is post Judeo/Christian in nature.

So anyone can become initiated if they choose to be conscious and some I suspect attain it by accident.  If you are reading this, you probably belong to neither of the above mentioned cases as people are not usually interested in what they have always had.  Yes the claims that student’s make to being a born adept are not taken too seriously in this neck of the woods.  

So what happens when we sign the oath in the A∴A∴ then?  Well we make an agreement with our own archetypal self, our unconscious and the collective unconscious.  In short, we make a covenant with being.  We ask and agree that it be tough on us, that it educate us that it cut us no breaks and that we will face whatever comes to us with a straight back.  It also means we will be committed to our teachers and to our assigned tasks.  But if we break our oath and choose to toy with old sweetnesses, we are in effect making war with our own unconscious and the life force. Still worse, by breaking our own word the forces we have summoned to initiate us move into unconsciousness, which means we will suffer, but a much worse, often fruitless suffering, since it is a suffering without the light that would come from our conscious participation and utilization of the mythological language came that allows us to swim in the sea of consciousness.

Love is the law, love under will.

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram was first published in The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley Volume I (1905) as a footnote to his poem The Palace of the World. He ended this footnote with: “Those who regard this ritual as a mere device to invoke or banish spirits, are unworthy to possess it. Properly understood, it is the Medicine of Metals and the Stone of the Wise.” This ritual was given to Neophytes in the Order of the Golden Dawn. It was published again in Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae sub-figura VI (1909), as follows:

i. Touching the forehead, say Ateh (Unto Thee),
ii. Touching the breast, say Malkuth (The Kingdom),
iii. Touching the right shoulder, say ve-Geburah (and the Power),
iv. Touching the left shoulder, say ve-Gedulah (and the Glory).
v. Clasping the hands upon the breast, say le-Olahm, Amen (To the Ages, Amen).
vi. Turning to the East, make a pentagram (that of Earth) with the proper weapon (usually the Wand). Say (i.e. vibrate) IHVH.
vii. Turning to the South, the same, but say ADNI.
viii. Turning to the West, the same, but say AHIH.
ix. Turning to the North, the same, but say AGLA (Pronounce: Ye-ho-wau, Adonai, Eheieh, Agla).
x. Extending the arms in the form of a Cross say,
xi. Before me Raphael; xii. Behind me Gabriel;
xiii. On my right hand Michael.
xiv. On my left hand Auriel;
xv. For about me flames the Pentagram,
xvi. And in the Column stands the six-rayed Star.
xvii-xxi. Repeat (i) to (v), the Qabalistic Cross.

It is generally assumed that this ritual was created by S. L. MacGregor Mathers for the Golden Dawn. However, it would seem that the main prototype for the Qabalistic Cross comes from Eliphas Levi’s Transcendental Magic [translated by A. E. Waite]:

For example, the initiate said raising his hand to his forehead, “For thine,” then added “is,” and continuing as he brought down his hands to his breast, “the kingdom,” then to the left shoulder, “the justice,” afterwards to the right shoulder, “and the mercy” – then clasping his hands, he added, “in the generating ages.” Tibi sunt Malkuth et Geburah et Chesed per aeonas – a Sign of the Cross which is absolutely and magnificently kabalistic, which the profanations of Gnosticism have completely lost to the official and militant Church. This sign, made after this manner, should precede and terminate the Conjuration of the Four.

“The Conjuration of the Four” was an elaborate ritual of prayers designed to evoke the Elementals of Paracelsus: Sylphs (Air) in the East, Salamanders (Fire) in the South, Undines (Water) in the West, and Gnomes (Earth) in the North. Just before the above quote, the text read: “holding the Pantacle of Solomon in one hand and taking up successively the sword, rod and cup, the Conjuration of the Four should be recited with a loud voice…” Although these exact instructions might be loosely interpreted, one could easily imagine the “Pantacle of Solomon” to be the same as that Pentagram of Solomon described in The Goetia (the Lesser Key of Solomon) as such: “the figure whereof is to be made in Sol or Luna (Gold or Silver), and worn upon thy breast; having the Seal of the Spirit required upon the other side thereof. It is to preserve thee from danger, and also to command the Spirits by.” Compare this to Levi’s own instructions in Transcendental Magic:

The sign of the Pentagram should be composed of the seven metals, or at least traced in pure gold upon white marble. It may be also drawn with vermilion on an unblemished lambskin the symbol of integrity and light… The Pentagram is consecrated with the four elements; the magical figure is breathed on five times… The five breathings are accompanied by the utterance of names attributed to the five genii, who are Gabriel, Raphael, Anael, Samael and Oriphiel. Afterwards the Pentacle is placed successively at the north, south, east, west and centre of the astronomical cross, pronouncing at the same time, one after another, the consonants of the Sacred Tetragram…

Although there are some obvious differences between Levi’s instructions and those of the Golden Dawn’s Pentagram rituals, it is highly likely that those particular quotes from Transcendental Magic were a major influence. Furthermore, since Levi’s handwriting can be found in the Cipher manuscripts, as well as directions for drawing the elemental Pentagrams, there is the possibility that the Pentagram ritual of the Golden Dawn (in all its variations) might have already been in use before the Order was actually established. So, it is entirely plausible that Levi might have been alluding to this very ritual, couched in the typical blinds he was known to use in order to protect his oaths of secrecy.

(i-v) The Qabalistic Cross

It should be readily apparent that the difference between the Roman Catholic Sign of the Cross and the Qabalistic Cross is the wording. The former uses the usual Trinitarian formula (“In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”); the latter replaces this with the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer (“Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever”) liberally translated into Hebrew to correspond to the Tree of Life. On page 37 in Liber 777, we are informed that Chesed has the additional title of Gedulah, which means “Majesty.” Perhaps this alternative title of the Sephiroth was chosen by Mathers to maintain balance with Geburah, since both have the same number of syllables, just as Ateh and Malkuth have two. In his book The Middle Pillar, Israel Regardie claims: “The tradition holds that these words should be vibrated and not merely enunciated.” However, this “tradition” did not begin the original Golden Dawn; it probably began with Golden Dawn offshoot the Stella Matutina, if not Regardie himself. In fact, the Z1 document of the Golden Dawn gives a solemn warning: when using the “traditional mode of pronouncing the Divine Names by vibration, let the Adept beware that he applies it only to the Divine Names of the Gods.” THE WORDS OF THE QABALISTIC CROSS ARE NOT THE DIVINE NAMES OF THE GODS.

It is just as efficient to adhere to the typical Catholic method of hand gesturing; the beginner might even learn first by saying the words in English: “Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen!” Repeating this a few times until it feels natural enough, one could then move on to the Hebrew: “Ateh Malkuth, ve-Geburah, ve-Gedulah le-Olahm. Amen!” This is a case in which one raised as a Catholic probably has an advantage, one who already spent years treating the Sign of the Cross as a magical gesture of both protection and sanctity. Vibrating the words of the Qabalistic Cross is certainly not necessary at all, but the individual practitioner may be left to use their own discretion toward deciding whether this augmentation is worth the bother.

In the first issue of Phyllis Seckler’s In The Continuum, part (ii) was changed to: “Touching the breast, say Aiwass; Touching the genitals, say Malkuth” and the rest follows as in (iii-v). Although it doesn’t appear in any of Crowley’s published writings, evidence that he may have implemented this addition can be found in the autobiography of Betty May (Tiger Woman: My Story), where she describes her stay at the Abbey of Thelema:

Clouds of incense hung about the room everywhere. When all were assembled, the Mystic rose from his seat, and taking one of the swords from the side of the brazier, held it pointing towards the altar while he intoned an invocation in a language with which I was not familiar. From hearing it every day, however, the sounds remain fixed in my memory. “Artay I was Malcooth — Vegabular, Fagedura, ee-ar-la — ah moon.” The last was a high-pitched note in contrast with the rest of the chant.

[We can surely assume that “Ateh Aiwass Malkuth—ve-Geburah, ve-Gedulah, le Olahm — Amen” was what she actually heard.]  

As the original version uses the inverted Cross of Saint Peter, it is interesting to note that this Cefalu era modification is a closer fit to the original Golden Dawn Rose Cross and the Minutum Mundum (the Tree of Life in color). In Liber 777 column XXI, Crowley changed the attribution of Malkuth on the body from the feet (in the tradition of Mathers and Westcott) to the anus and buttocks. One could easily see how the Complete Symbol of the Rose and Cross would correspond to the human body, by this new attribution, in due proportion and symmetry.

The Rose and Cross being united, they bring down into the centre of all the Divine White Brilliance of Kether, in which is shown another Rose Cross, no longer of divided light, but Ruby of the Holy Spirit; of Gold, the Glory of the Light; of Green rays because Isis shines forth—a new Creation. This higher Rose Cross is again the mystery of the Higher Genius descending into Kether, when the Lower is in Tiphereth established. [The Equinox III:3 page 225]

Although the points of Malkuth, Geburah, and Chesed are directly referred to by name, it should be noted that Ateh does not, and at the forehead does not touch on any specific Sephirah on the body. Rather, it touches on the path of Gimel, directly in the center of the Supernal triad and enclosed by the paths of Aleph, Beth and Daleth. In the footnotes to The Palace of the World, Crowley explains that the Moon on the forehead “signifies Aspiration to the Highest.” The importance of this significance is repeated several times in his writings. In Liber 333, we have “3, silver and the moon, are all correspondences of Gimel, the letter of the Aspiration, since Gimel is the Path that leads from the microcosm in Tiphareth to the Macrocosm in Kether.” And, “The card Gimel in the Tarot is the High Priestess, the Lady of Initiation; one might even say, the Holy Guardian Angel.” And again, “The ‘moon-pool of silver’ is the Path of Gimel, leading from Tiphareth to Kether; the ‘flames of violet’ are the Ajna-Chakkra…” This last quote is from chapter 65, and “65 is the number of Adonai, the Holy Guardian Angel.” It should also be noted that Ajna is generally located on the forehead, as “the Third Eye.”

The Moon (being the general feminine symbol, the symbol of the second order corresponding to the Sun as the Yoni does to the Lingam) is universal, and goes from the highest to the lowest. It is a symbol which will recur frequently in these hieroglyphs. But in the earlier Trumps the concern is with Nature above the Abyss; the High Priestess is the first card which connects the Supernal Triad with the Hexad; and her path, as shown in the diagram, makes a direct connection between the Father in his highest aspect, and the Son in his most perfect manifestation. This path is in exact balance in the middle pillar. [The Book of Thoth]

But there is no need to emulate Crowley’s Aiwass addition; my own personal preference is to bypass the breast point and go from forehead with Ateh directly down to genitals with Malkuth, which also reflects a similarity to the gestures of Liber XXV’s “Cross Qabalistic.”

The practitioner begins the ritual facing East. Even though Liber O claims to have taken “the most minute critical care” in the preparation of the book, one can easily mistake the directions of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram based on the exact wording. Some have thought it was meant that one was to begin by facing North. In the early A∴A∴, the Neophyte would have taught his or her Probationer the ritual properly, or any mistake would have been corrected soon enough. From the very beginning, I have personally interpreted “vi. Turning to the East” to mean “turn your attention specifically outward to the Eastern quarter” whereas the Qabalistic Cross was more of a centered gesture aimed inward rather than outward.

Crowley sent his Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram to Karl Germer in a letter dated December 11, 1946. Circulated among Agape Lodge members, including Jane Wolfe and Grady McMurtry, these also came to be published in Phyllis Seckler’s first issue of In The Continuum. They begin as follows:

You are supposed to be standing at the intersection of the paths of Samekh and Peh. You are facing Tiphareth (the Sun), thus on your right hand is Netzach (Venus) on your left hand Hod (Mercury), and behind you Yesod (the Moon).

In the Neophyte Ritual of the Golden Dawn, according to the Z1 document, “The place of the Hegemon is between the two pillars, whose bases are in Netzach and Hod at the intersection of the paths of Peh and Samekh in the symbolic gateway of the Occult Science.” The Hegemon is “the representative of the Gods of Truth and Justice” and “the translator of the Higher Self” who prepares the Candidate, leads the Candidate, and speaks for the Candidate during his initiation. It is at the intersection of Samekh and Peh that the Initiate gets his fourth and final consecration as a Neophyte. [See Diagram 3 of The Temple of Solomon the King.] The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram was given to the Neophyte of the Golden Dawn.

(vi-ix): The Pentagrams and the Vibration of God Names

The Pentagram of Earth may have first appeared in the Cipher Manuscripts folio 10. Publication for Probationers, “Issued by authority of the Master Therion” and distributed by Frater Progradior (Frank Bennett), included precise instructions on how to make the Banishing Pentagram of Earth. [In the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, ONLY the Pentagram of Earth is used, and it is used in all four quarters.] These instructions are as follows:

To make the Pentagram, act thus:
Bring the right hand, with forefinger extended, towards the outer side of left hip.
(a) Sweep it upwards till vertically in front of centre of head.
(b) Sweep it downwards towards outer side of right hip.
(c) Sweep across and upwards towards the outer side of left shoulder.
(d) Straight across towards outer side of right shoulder.
(e) Across and downwards towards outer side of left hip, or starting point.
Thus, that symbol of Great Power, the Five Pointed Star, is traced in the air. In doing this figure, the arm must be kept quite rigid throughout; and in turning to the Cardinal points a straight line must be drawn from Pentagram to Pentagram, by keeping the arm pointed straight outwards.

We are told that in drawing the Pentagrams, we must practice until they “appear in flame, in flame so near to physical flame that it would perhaps be visible to the eyes of a bystander, were one present.” (Liber O) Although there is no suggestion of color, another modern trend has given bias to the color blue. The beginner should be very critical of these assertions, and once again, we find that Regardie is behind this: “He must endeavor to imagine these four pentagrams as flaming figures of bluish-golden hue similar to that produced by igniting methylated spirit.” Although a golden flame streaked with blue highlights is relatively innocuous, in later years this came to be further exaggerated and to “a flaming, gas-jet blue” and “flaming in a bright bluewhite light.” Personal predilections aside, aiming for a general candle flame color will suffice.

The full instructions for the Vibration of God-names in Liber O (section III parts 3-6) should be consulted. At this point, special attention should be given to part 4:

(a) Stand with arms outstretched. [The Sign of Osiris Slain]
(b) Breathe in deeply through the nostrils, imagining the name of the God desired entering with the breath.
(c) Let that name descend slowly from the lungs to the heart, the solar plexus, the navel, the generative organs, and so to the feet.
(d) The moment that it appears to touch the feet, quickly advance the left foot about 12 inches, throw forward the body, and let the hands (drawn back to the side of the eyes) shoot out, so that you are standing in the typical position of the God Horus, and at the same time imagine the Name as rushing up and through the body, while you breathe it out through the nostrils with the air which has been till then retained in the lungs. All this must be done with all the force of which you are capable.
(e) Then withdraw the left foot, and place the right forefinger upon the lips, so that you are in the characteristic position of the God Harpocrates.

This is obviously a rewording of the instructions from the Z1 document:

Let the Adept, standing upright, his arms stretched out in the form of a Calvary Cross, vibrate a Divine Name, bringing with the formulation thereof a deep inspiration into the lungs. Let him retain the breath, mentally pronouncing the Name in his Heart, so as to combine it with the forces he desires to awake thereby; thence sending it downwards through his body past Yesod, but not resting there, but taking his physical life for a material basis, send it into his feet. There he shall again momentarily formulate the Name—then, bringing it rushing upwards into the lungs, thence shall he breathe it forth strongly, while vibrating that Divine Name. He will send his breath steadily forward into the Universe so as to awake the corresponding forces of the Name in the Outer World. Standing with arms out in the form of a Cross, when the breath has been imaginatively sent to the feet and back, bring the arms forward in “The Sign of the Enterer” while vibrating the Name out into the Universe. On completing this, make the “Sign of Silence” and remain still, contemplating the Force you have invoked.

“The Sign of the Enterer” is the same as “the typical position of the God Horus” and the “Sign of Silence” is “the characteristic position of the God Harpocrates” in Liber O.

Also, compare this paragraph with the next: “It is a sign of success, though only by the student himself is it perceived, when he hears the name of the God vehemently roared forth, as if by the concourse of ten thousand thunders; and it should appear to him as if that Great Voice proceeded from the Universe, and not from himself.” (Liber O)

From section III part 4 (d) of Liber O, many interpret “imagine the Name as rushing up and through the body, while you breathe it out through the nostrils with the air which has been till then retained in the lungs” as meaning that the Vibration of the God-name is not physically vocalized out loud. Perhaps that is exactly what Crowley meant, but other instructions were clearer and simpler: “intone the name IHVH, pronounced Ye-Ho-Wau, imagining that it rushes forward with the breath. Vibrate this name with a strong voice, imagining that the voice carries to infinity in the east.” [These instructions (dated January 15, 1947) are currently unpublished.] Vibrating silently/mentally is certainly a practical option if the magician lives with others who don’t also practice Magick, and rarely has the chance to be completely alone in the house.

Every magician is free experiment with either method (or both) to find which works best for them. But regardless of which method is chosen, it is of the utmost importance to heed the statement: “All this must be done with all the force of which you are capable.” The outward intonation and/or projection of each God-name should only take about 3 or 4 seconds.

Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram continues with:

You take one step with the right heel in the hollow of the left foot towards Tiphareth and vibrate the Divine Name as given in the ritual. You then carry round the point of the Wand towards Netzach, then take a step again (always recovering after each forward step so that you remain in the centre) and vibrating the Divine Name as before. Continue the process facing Yesod and vibrating; then Hod, and vibrating; but carry the point of the Wand round to Tiphareth so as to complete the circle.

When you begin, you should be standing with your feet a few inches apart. Just as the Godname touches your feet, your right foot pivots clockwise; the big toe goes from 12 o’clock to 3 o’clock and the heel is at 9 o’clock, where it will be in the hollow of the left foot. This is the moment that you bring your hands up to the side of the eyes, just before you advance the left foot about 12 inches. Notice the position of Crowley’s right foot in the Blind Force photo (above). [Where it says Wand, beginners should use the forefinger as stated in Frater Progradior’s instructions. Later, the Magick Dagger may be used for banishings.]

In his introduction to The Kabbalah Unveiled (also quoted in Liber LVIII), Mathers briefly discusses the four tetragrammatic names:

The name of the Deity, which we call Jehovah, is in Hebrew a name of four letters, IHVH; and the true pronunciation of it is known to very few… Therefore when a devout Jew comes upon it in reading the Scripture, he either does not attempt to pronounce it, but instead makes a short pause, or else he substitutes for it the name Adonai, ADNI, Lord. The radical meaning of the word is “to be,” and it is thus, like AHIH, Eheieh, a glyph of existence… [AGLA] is not, properly speaking, a word, but is a notariqon of the sentence, AThH GBVR LOVLM ADNI, Ateh Gebor Le-Olahm Adonai: “Thou are mighty for ever, O Lord!” A brief explanation of Agla is this: A, the one first; A, the one last; G, the Trinity in Unity; L, the completion of the great work… Therefore, as the Son reveals the Father, so does IHVH, Jehovah, reveal AHIH, Eheieh. And ADNI is the Queen “by whom alone Tetragrammaton can be grasped,” whose exaltation into Binah is found in the Christian assumption of the Virgin.

According to Liber 777 and Liber O, IHVH is the God-name of Air, ADNI is the God-name of Earth, AHIH is the God-name of Spirit (Active) and AGLA is the God-name of Spirit (Passive). The God-names of Fire (ALHIM) and Water (AL) are not used in the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram at all, just as only the Pentagram of Earth is used. However, it should be noted that in the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram, the magician begins by drawing in the East the Pentagram of Spirit (Active) and then the Pentagram of Air. In the North, after using the appropriate Pentagrams and God-names in the South and West, he draws the Pentagram of Spirit (Passive) followed by the Pentagram of Earth. It is of the utmost importance that one studies these variations, as complicated and confusing as they are.

Mathers gave another vibratory formula in Telesmatic Images and Adonai (as follows), but it would seem that Crowley, along with George Cecil Jones, felt it wasn’t all that necessary to teach it to the Probationer, preferring to exclusively use the Z1 formula in Liber O.

The ordinary mode of vibrating is as follows: Take a deep and full inspiration and concentrate your consciousness in your heart, which answers to Tiphareth. (Having first ascended to your Kether, you should endeavour to bring down the white Brilliance into your heart, prior to centering your consciousness there.) Then formulate the letters of the Name required in your heart, in white, and feel them written there. Then, emitting the breath, slowly pronounce the Letters so that the sound vibrates within you, and imagine that the breath, while quitting the body, swells you so as to fill up space. Pronounce the Name as if you were vibrating it through the whole Universe, and as if it did not stop until it reached the further limits.

(x-xvi): The Archangels and the Column

It is alleged that this part of the ritual originated as a Jewish prayer, documented by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in The Hirsch Siddur: “In the Name of God, the God of Yisrale: may Michael be at my right hand, Gabriel at my left, Uriel before me, Raphael behind me, and above my head, the presence of God.”

Joshua Trachtenberg, commenting on the above prayer, writes: “This is nothing more than a Jewish version of the ancient Babylonian incantation, ‘Shamash before me, behind me Sin, Nergal at my right, Ninib at my left’…” (Jewish Magic and Superstition) [Note that Shamash is the Sun, Sin the Moon, Nergal Mars, and Ninib Saturn.]

In Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Second Book of Occult Philosophy (1533), Michael is the Archangel of Fire in the East, Gabriel is the Archangel of Water in the North, Raphael is the Archangel of Air in the West, and Uriel is the Archangel of Earth in the South.

Here it gets tricky, and a bit confusing.

  1. The positions of the archangels in the Ritual of the Pentagram are clearly different than those of Hirsch or Agrippa, but their assigned Elements in the ritual ARE consistent with Levi’s Conjuration of the Four.
  2. Raphael is also the archangel of Tiphareth, and Gabriel is the archangel of Yesod (Liber 777 column XCIX); this would be consistent with Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram. However, in his footnotes to The Palace of the World, Crowley writes: “Michael, Lord of Hod, an Emanation of a watery nature” and “Auriel, Archangel of Netzach, to which fire is attributed.” But Michael is the Archangel of Fire and he is at the right hand, where Netzach is supposed to be. And in Liber 777, the Archangel of Netzach is Haniel (“Joy of God”) while Auriel (“Light of God”) is not attributed to any of the Sephiroth. So we have to assume that the young poet Crowley was trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
  3. With the exception of IHVH/Raphael/Air, the other God-names, Archangels and Elements do not match up with their traditional correspondences. At best, I can only guess that the Elements are all supposed to be counter-balanced with each other in one way or another, intentionally or by accident.

The Golden Dawn (Regardie’s Stella Matutina book) offers this explanation: The elements vibrate between the Cardinal points for they have not an unchangeable abode therein, though they are allotted to the Four Quarters in their invocation in the Ceremonies of the First Order. This attribution is derived from the nature of the winds. For the Easterly wind is of the Nature of Air more especially. The South Wind bringeth into action the nature of Fire. West winds bring with them moisture and rain. North winds are cold and dry like Earth. The S.W. wind is violent and explosive — the mingling of the contrary elements of Fire and Water. The N.W. and S.E. winds are more harmonious, uniting the influence of the two active and passive elements. Yet their natural position in the Zodiac is: Fire in the East, Earth in South, Air in West, and Water in the North. Therefore they vibrate: Air between West and East. Fire between East and South. Water between North and West. Earth between South and North. Spirit also vibrateth between the Height and Depth.

However, it seems more likely that the order of the Elements of the Archangels — Air/East, Fire/South, Water/West, Earth/North — follow the formula of F.I.A.T. “Only in the end shalt thou give up thy sap when the great God F.I.A.T. is enthroned on the day of Be-With-Us.” (Liber A’ash)

According to Liber LVIII: “F.I.A.T. is Flatus, Ignis, Aqua, Terra; showing the Creator as Tetragrammaton, the synthesis of the four elements; showing the Eternal Fiat as the equilibrated powers of Nature.” Flatus means air, Ignis means fire, Aqua means water, and Terra means earth. Since the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn were all originally members of Societas Rosicruciana In Anglia, it is very likely that they simply took this arrangement from that Order’s Theoricus ritual:

The four Ancients are seated at the centre of the Temple, behind their pillars, each facing his own cardinal point, thus forming the Cross of the Four Elements:

The Ancient of Earth, clothed in a black robe, faces North.
The Ancient of Water, in a blue robe, faces West.
The Ancient of Air, in a yellow robe, faces East.
The Ancient of Fire, in a red robe, faces South.

It is also interesting to note that the passwords are “Fortitude” for Air, “Ignigene” for Fire, “Aquaticus” for Water, and “Terrigena” for Earth in this ritual, where it is proclaimed that these are specifically associated with the word F I A T. The ritual also states:

This Cross is named the Cross of the Elements; it consists of a central white square and four arms of equal length around it. They are coloured Red, Blue, Yellow and Black, the Red of Fire is above, the Black of Earth is below, the Blue of Water is on the right, and the Yellow of Air is on the left; this is the position of the four Ancients in the Temple in this Grade.

In The Magus (1801), Francis Barrett’s translation of Trithemius states: “get a small plate of pure gold… On the other side of the plate let there be engraven ‘Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael;’ which are the four principal angels ruling over the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury…”

Crowley ends Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram with:

You can figure out for yourself the forms of the angels, or rather Archangels. For instance, Raphael, commencing with an “R” will have a head of solar glory and the Peh which follows shows that the rest of him is martial: the “AL” which concludes the name (in the case of most angelic beings) indicates that they wield the sword and the balance.

By “AL” he means Aleph/Air/the Sword and Lamed/Libra/the Balance (as in the Scales of Justice). Resh, the first letter of Raphael, corresponds to the Sun. Gimel, the first letter of Gabriel, corresponds to the Moon. Michael (Archangel of Fire) begins with Mem (attributed to Water), as Auriel (Earth) begins with Aleph (Air). If Peh would make the rest of Raphael martial, one could assume he has the body of a warrior. Auriel might have beefy shoulders (Vau/Taurus) and classic chiseled torso (Resh/Sol), with legs that are both feminine and sturdy (Yod/Virgo). Gabriel, having the same torso and legs as Auriel but with Mercurial arms, could give an impression of a typical swimmer’s body. If we imagine Michael as having a “Watery” face (Mem – feminine and reflective), but with an androgynous torso (Yod/Virgo) and powerful legs (Kaph/Jupiter), we could easily see how accurate he is portrayed in Guido Reni’s famous painting. We can easily imagine the attire of all four Archangels as being similar to Reni’s Michael. But whereas he has a red cloak, I also personally imagine that the cloak of Raphael is yellow, that of Gabriel blue, and Auriel’s green.

A popular modern Golden Dawn tradition has Michael with Wand, Gabriel with Cup, Raphael with Sword and Auriel with Pentacle, but this defies BOTH traditional representation AND Crowley’s suggestion. W. B. Yeats himself painted Auriel with sword and shield. [I’m not sure why Yeats gave him a red cloak, although my best guess is that it is supposed to be the redorange of Vau, the second letter of Auriel’s name.]

In the Golden Dawn Ritual of the Pentagram, the initiate then says: “Before me flames the Pentagram, and behind me shines the six-rayed Star.” When Crowley changed the words, he also introduced a slightly different magical formula, first in footnote 18 from The Palace of the World: “It flames both above and beneath the magus, who is thus in a cube of 4 pentagrams and two hexagrams, 32 points in all. And 32 is AHIHVH, the sacred word that expresses the Unity of the Highest and the Human.” Then again in Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram: “You are thus standing in a Column which is protected by your microcosmic invocation. The consequent result, being macrocosmic response, is that without any effort on your part the hexagram or sixfold star appears both above and below you.”

Oddly enough, Crowley designed the A∴A∴ Probationer’s robes with a scarlet Pentagram in front, and a Hexagram on the back similar to the Golden Dawn Banner of the East. It seemed to me that the idea originally came from the image of the three pillars of the Tree of Life from the Golden Dawn 4=7 ritual; this image is reproduced in The Equinox I:2 but the pillars are called Columns. “And in the Column stands the six-rayed Star.”

“Tiphereth (6) is the Hexagram, harmonizing, and mediating between Kether and Malkuth.” [Liber ABA, part 3]

The image in the diagram would logically appear to contradict the notion of a Hexagram above and below. Instead we get the notion that there should only be one Hexagram that “stands,” at Tiphareth, “in the Column”; but that would bring the number of points to 26. A third Hexagram added to Crowley’s 2 would make the Qabalistic total 38. However, Liber VIII might provide an explanation: “secretly the blue triangle that descendeth is Nuit, and the red triangle that ascendeth is Hadit.” That is, if this Hexagram represents Nuit and Hadit, who are generally attributed to Ain and Ain Soph, the number of this third and middle Hexagram would represent the Qabalistic Zero. 5+5+5+5+6+6+0=32, the number of AHIHVH.

In Liber LVIII, we read: “But first of all it strikes us that I, A, and O are the three Letters associated with the three Letters H in the great Name of Six Letters, AHIHIVH, which combines AHIH and IHVH, Macroprosopus and Microprosopus.”

In the drawing of AHIHVH in Hexagram form (The O of IAO given as Vau or V), note that Heh (H) ascribed to all three points of the descending triangle. “The letter Heh is the formula of Nuit” [Liber ABA part 3], just as “the blue triangle that descendeth is Nuit.” The conclusion would be that all the points of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (32) on the whole create another Hexagram that symbolizes the Qabalistic Zero, radiating from the center of the Column and flooding the whole Circle with the Limitless Light of Ain Soph Aur. And the Hexagram is the formula of unifying opposites (positive and negative, active and passive, male and female), by the 0=2 Equation.

Regardless of what conclusion can be made of it, to me the Column is formed from the inner hexagon of the Hexagrams both above and below, creating a transparent light not unlike glass walls lit from the inside. Likewise, this Column fits perfectly within that cube upon whose four other sides is the Pentagram.

Crowley refers to the Flaming Sword as the Pentagram unwound. “The Flaming Sword follows the downward course of the Sephiroth, and is compared to the Lighting Flash. Its hilt is in Kether and its point in Malkuth.” [Liber 777 column IX]

Spirit is attributed to Kether; Fire to Chokmah; Water to Binah; Air to the six Sephiroth from Chesed to Yesod, though concentrated in Tiphareth; Earth to Malkuth. Chesed and Hod are also attributed to Water, Geburah and Netzach to Fire, Tiphareth and Yesod to Air in yet another arrangement. The Five Parts of the Soul also correspond to both the Sephiroth and Elements: 1) Jechidah, the Self; 2) Chiah, the Life Force; 3) Neshamah, the Intuition; 4-9) Ruach, the Intellect; 10) Nephesh, the Animal Soul which perceives and feels. These concepts, along with the union of Macrocosm and Microcosm by way of AHIHVH, should also be taken into consideration in order to properly understand how this ritual “is the Medicine of Metals and the Stone of the Wise.”

Regular Practice

“Neglect not the Performance of the Ritual of the Pentagram, and of the Assumption of the Form of Hoor-pa-Kraat.” (Liber Aleph)

The novice of Magick who accepts the Law of Thelema should memorize the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram as soon as possible, then practice it every day for at least an entire year. According to Liber O, the Pentagrams (and circle connecting them) should “appear in flame, in flame so near to physical that it would perhaps be visible to the eyes of a bystander, were one present.” Then, the Thelemite should study and eventually learn to perform Liber XXV; many have chosen to replace the Liber O version with that of Liber XXV, or to even bypass the former altogether. Whatever one choses to do, it is essential that the other Pentagrams in Liber O are committed to memory for later use in astral work, Liber V vel Reguli, Liber Samekh, and other magical practices such as those of Liber Chanokh.

There are those among certain Thelemic circles who insist that the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram in Liber O and that of Liber XXV are completely separate rituals, used for completely different purposes. But Crowley’s very words suggest otherwise. Magick in Theory and Practice, Appendix I, Section 3 clearly defines Liber XXV as “An improved form of the lesser ritual of the Pentagram.” Below, in these two quotes from Magick in Theory and Practice, the first quote implies that the student is given an option between the two forms, and the second quote specifically states “ ‘The Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram’ (AS NOW REWRITTEN, Liber 333, Cap. XXV) IS THE BEST TO USE.”

The habitual use of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (say, thrice daily) for months and years and constant assumption of the God-form of Harpocrates (See Equinox I, II and Liber 333, cap. XXV for both of these) should make the “real circle”, i.e. the Aura of the Magus, impregnable.

It is usually sufficient to perform a general banishing, and to rely upon the aid of the guardians invoked. Let the banishing therefore be short, but in no wise slurred — for it is useful as it tends to produce the proper attitude of mind for the invocations. “The Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram” (as now rewritten, Liber 333, Cap. XXV) is the best to use.


Love is the law, love under will.

From Antonio Lau’s Magick And The Law of ΘEΛHΜΑ)

O Judoka: A Chapter in the Life of Marcelo Motta

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

  Most within the Thelemic community will be familiar Motta’s name and writings but few are aware that he is maybe best known in Brazil for his work in film – albeit short lived.  Motta tried his hand in both writing and directing films in the 70’s and 80’s and his film O Judoka remains a bit of a Brazilian cult classic.

“O Judoka”,  meaning the Judo fighter, was a comic book published by EBAL between 1969 and 1973.  The series first hero was “Mestre Judoka” (Judo-master), a character belonging to Charlton Comics and currently to DC Comics, (the owners of Batman and Superman).  However, after a short 10 issue run the original Judo-master comic book series was cancelled in the United States.  The solution for the Brazilian EBAL, who wanted to continue with the series, was to slightly alter the heroes name and create a new comic book based upon “O Judoka”.  (To view full issues of this comic book click here.)

In 1973, O Judoka was released as a movie, directed by Marcelo Motta making it the very first Brazilian superhero movie and for this reason, though it is not considered to be a good film, it has maintained a following and earned a special place in Brazilian movie history.  The comic book series has gone thru a revival and continues to be popular today, in fact there is a Facebook page dedicated to O Judoka.

The following synopsis of the movie’s plot was provided by a web page maintained by the Brazilian government wherein they catalog old movies.

Carlos is a student of architecture attending college while dating a girl by the name of Lucia. One day, while walking near Lucia’s house, an ex-boyfriend of hers and his gang beats Carlos up. Then on his way home Carlos saves, and old Japanese man named Minamoto from being hit by a car. This old man happened to be a Judo master and being grateful of Carlos aid offers to instruct him. Thus, Carlos starts to take Judo classes in Minamoto’s gym and soon becomes the superhero known as “O Judoka”.

The following excerpt is from an article published in an issue of O Judoka in which members of the cast discuss what it was like working with Motta and it sounds spot on from what I know of him and his work in A∴A∴.


Marcelo Ramos Motta is a “good guy” producer – placid, delicate and kind. Almost never loses his temper, and when he does, it does not last more than a few seconds. Nevertheless, he is demanding and rigorous during shooting. He buys dinner for his team and jokes with everybody, but in his shots – he wants realism; not “childish simulations”.  He believes that “Artists must suffer” and wants his films to transmit authentic emotions to the viewer, without exaggerations, in precise shots.

One particular scene was re-shot many times, because the “bandits” did not know how to “properly get beaten”.  After all, a good “bandit” must know how to be beaten by the “good guy”, with class.

The full article can be viewed here.

From this point forward, Motta’s movie career took a turn for the worse and never really got off the ground.  Though he managed to direct at least one more film of the pornographic variety and is credited as a writer in at least two more films.  Details of his complete Filmography can be found at IMDb.

I would like to give a special thanks to my Brazilian buddies who continue to inform me on Motta’s true history.  Over the last several years I have established relations with several of his A∴A∴ claimant groups both in America and Brazil resulting in over 300 hundred letters being shared with me from his archives and the more I learn about the man the more I am fascinated with his history.  I hope in the near future to be sharing much of this new material with the Thelemic community regarding Mr. Motta who is undoubtedly one of the most influential Thelemites to have ever lived.  His story remains greatly unknown and certain aspects of his life have been mis-represented due to the fact that historians have thus far only had small fragments of his archives to work from. – stay tuned and have patience as this will take some time to flesh out.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Being a Thelemite

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Being a THELEMITE is to be aware that we are not sooth-sayers, fortune-tellers, or miracle workers, we leave those areas to pseudo magicians.

Being a THELEMITE is, in the most difficult learning moments of our Fratres and Sorores, to be aware that these moments are necessary to the advancement in Light, Love and Liberty. And that only they can, by themselves, overcome those moments, without our interference.

Being a THELEMITE is to understand the intrigue, the evil-speaking, the slander, the lies of our backward and ignorant fellows, and not let ourselves be involved with such pestilence focus. However, we can not allow such pestilence focus to spread unpunished throughout the world.

Being a THELEMITE is to understand, feeling within our hearts, the function and purpose of the Great Work.

Being a THELEMITE is to give opportunity to all those who demonstrate a real Will to follow the Path.

Being a THELEMITE is not to judge that our Philosophy is the sole holder of the truth, turning ourselves into fanatics and forgetting that we also have flaws.

Being a THELEMITE is to know to which Spiritual Clan we belong to; thus we must continually meditate, watch our behavior, and work.

Being a THEMEMITE is to follow the Logos Aionos.

Being a THELEMITE is not to imagine ourselves as being only true THELEMITES.

Love is the law, love under will.

On the Neophyte, Women, and the Melusina

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

“I believe then, and believe now, that the probationer of A∴A∴ is nearly always offered the opportunity to betray the Order, just as the neophyte is nearly always tempted by a woman.”—Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley’s claim that an A∴A∴ Neophyte is nearly always tempted by a woman can be taken as almost Christian-like in its apparent implication that women are evil by nature. Surely its format was influenced by old-fashioned attitudes toward women that Crowley had absorbed as a child within a fervently Christian household. Still, his statement contains incredibly important principles which need to be understood by anyone who is starting out on the spiritual path. These important principles are, yes, about women in a certain way. Even more broadly, though, they are about the feminine aspect of everything manifested, including men.

The Problem

Here’s the real warning: when you first swear to engage the spiritual path seriously, that very affirmation will automatically invoke worldly distractions that will most likely knock you right off your path. These distractions won’t be monsters or demons—things you would notice. They will be everyday, ordinary things that you won’t even question. They will be things demanding your immediate attention. Soon you will convince yourself that you’re still really “doing” spirituality, when actually you are just busy saying to yourself you’ll do it “tomorrow.” The inner work somehow never finds it way to the top of your list of things-to-do. Imagine if you took that attitude toward physical exercise or toward the tasks of your day job.

This paper explores the nitty-gritty, occult causes of the inevitable shower of distracting events upon the newly-made Neophyte, male or female. It also goes into the connection of this type of happening with “a woman,” as well how to avoid being a victim of the phenomenon considered more broadly than Crowley does. To quote Grady Louis McMurtry, you’ve got to learn to recognize and get rid of “the lead weight on your ass” or you’ll never go further. It’s not too late.

What has all this got to do with women? To understand, you have to be willing to do a little digging into gender on the Tree of Life. You cannot achieve in Crowley’s system without studying Qabalah. In essence, only women embody the fundamental principle that makes things happen on Earth. A woman has a two-fold nature. On the higher level she rules Babalon. Babalon’s seat is in Binah-3 (בינה) on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This is the divine sphere of form-in-pure-potential, which Hindus would call Divine Shakti, the cosmic creative power and energy that reverberates throughout the universe in myriad ways. Binah-3 is also known as the “first Heh” of the Tetragrammaton (יהוה), a magickal formula of the universal cycle of creation and destruction. Binah sits at the top of the left-hand Pillar of Manifestation. She creates the myriad forms that descend that pillar and eventually take substance on Earth.

Now, on the lower level, a woman rules the Earthly Mother Goddess. As Earth Mother Goddess, her seat is in Malkuth-10
(מלכות)—not coincidentally, the sphere into which the Neophyte focuses. Malkuth is the divine sphere of form-in-actuality, or Shakti (Energy) manifested. Malkuth-10 is the “second Heh” of the Tetragrammaton. These higher and lower natures of women are essentially present in all natural things, including in men’s physical bodies. In other words, energy is present in all things. The difference is that although the Cosmic Energy Goddess is embodied anthropomorphically in women, She is present only potentially, as an inner image, in men. As such, if we restrict our focus to the level of Earth, then while a woman embodies Energy, a man tends to find that principle in an active form only outside his manifested self—whether in actual women, in the feminine aspects of Nature, or (ideally) in his own inner Goddess. This concept of men being energized from the outside gives the kernel of truth behind the old phrase, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” By contrast, the manifested woman needs to link herself with the corresponding masculine principle of Direction in order to channel her innate energy. Ideally, she links successfully with her inner God, establishing holism within herself, rather than relying on an external male or cause to define her.

Once you understand the two-fold nature of women in relationship to the all-pervading cosmic energy, the kernel of truth in Crowley’s claim that the Neophyte is nearly always tempted by a woman becomes apparent: like attracts like—first and second Heh. A Neophyte focuses into Malkuth, the sphere of the Earth Mother. If the Neophyte is male, his sudden intentional focus on Malkuth via his Oath will draw down—unintentionally—a corresponding form from Binah. That invoked form will descend the left-hand pillar and take shape on Malkuth. As often as not, the form appears in his Universe as an actual woman. Needless to say, that woman existed before he took his Oath. But it wasn’t until now that she existed as the carrier of this particular form invoked by him from Binah. Suddenly she appears to him. Or, if the two people already knew each other, suddenly she appears to him in a new light. And because, unbeknownst to the unaware male Neophyte, this woman embodies his spiritual desires, it is very easy for him to find in her the culmination of all his wishes. Rather than continue on his path, at that point he is drawn to unite with this alluring embodiment of his intent in the form of a woman, and off he goes. Hence, Crowley’s claim.

It’s worth remembering at this point that just as Binah is Saturn, so also is Tav (ת), The Universe, which is the Qabalistic path connecting Malkuth with Yesod-9 (יסוד). Tav / Saturn symbolizes the beginning of the spiritual path, in which an aspirant begins to explore the true nature behind appearances—i.e. begins to go within. Saturn’s metal is Lead. Lead is not evil, but it has to be dealt with skillfully or it will pull you down. Hence, Grady’s warning about “the lead weight on your ass.” I have witnessed many times male Neophytes being distracted off the path by a sudden attraction to a woman, but it has nothing to do with women being evil. In fact, if anything, such a situation is more aptly described as a man not understanding his own act of invocation and basically trapping himself in a state of forgetfulness.

Now Crowley did not address the corresponding situation for unwary female Neophytes. What happens to them? In a sense, it is the same thing by an opposite mechanism. When a woman suddenly focuses on Malkuth with magickal intent, she too draws a feminine form down from Binah. But instead of that form manifesting as something outside of her—though in fact it could—as often as not it manifests as her. In other words, the unwary female Neophyte too often becomes possessed by the Goddess figure and ends up becoming a pawn in some drama usually involving a man who is swept off his feet by her, with the result that she forgets her original intent. I realize some women aren’t going to like what I am saying, with its implication that we are prone to losing control. But anyone who embarks on the magickal path has to admit that sometimes our egos would like to take credit for actions and situations that are more equivalent to slipping on a banana peel. Rather than getting angry and digging in when we lose control in magick, it is better to laugh, get up, and dust ourselves off. Yes, we can regain control, but only if we can first admit we made a mistake. To succeed, we also have to be willing to study and work with our current vehicle’s distinctive magickal features as either male or female. That kind of observation and study of the magickal traits of our current vehicle type is part of our work as we focus into the sphere of Malkuth.

Let’s take a step backward now and look even more closely at the more fundamental basis of Crowley’s observation, regardless of its sexist odor or of its literal truth or falsehood in a given situation. It is this: the minute we affirm our will to do the spiritual work, our own unconscious reality-synthesizing faculty manifests an equal and opposite force. The power deep within us that creates the appearances in our Universe “rights the wrong” that we created by awakening our intent to ascend the Tree of Life. “What goes up, must come down.” That’s just a fact of nature, one that we as aspirants have to contend with skillfully if we are to continue on our path and not just “fall by the wayside.”

In order to place this perennial problem in a different light, I’d like to bring in a different author, Paracelsus (1493–1541), along with his commentator Gerhard Dorn (1530–1584). On the positive side, in doing so I move away from Crowley’s apparent literalism. On the negative side, I introduce a murky and difficult-to-interpret text in comparison to Crowley’s clear one. Still, the effort is worth the gains. The basic point of the Paracelsus text is pretty simple. In a nutshell, the minute we engage a spiritual intent from our seat in Malkuth, the feminine force of our own nature will generate distractions that tend to prevent us from fulfilling our original intent. Again, like attracts like—first and second Heh. To quote Shakespeare’s Macbeth, we immediately find ourselves trapped by the demoness Time, where there’s always “[t]omorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,” grinding our earthly life to a meaningless pulp, unto death, while all our spiritual aspirations meanwhile come to naught. Paracelsus’ solution to this problem of our feminine nature is to wield yet another part of our feminine nature—one which Aleister Crowley rightly characterizes elsewhere as Love.

In Book V, Chapter V of his De Vita Longa, Paracelsus says some things that amount to this. Our psychic powers, as we partake of the Universal Human Being, are four-fold, also corresponding to the four Elements on Earth. The very act of engaging these powers with the intent to pursue the Great Work unleashes what he calls the Melusina, a feminine, watery spirit. If you have ever studied Tarot, you know that Water connotes both emotion and imagery. Qabalistic students know that the Root of Water is Binah-3 (בינה), which is also Saturn and the origin of all form. Paracelsus says that unless the aspirant exercises some careful maneuvers of a special kind, the Melusina will block our entrance into the immortal life. What kind of maneuvers? He says the aspirant must “appropriate the characteristics of Venus” (“arripimus characteres Veneris”). Students of Ordo Templi Orientis mysteries should reflect that in First Degree, occurring in Binah, the candidate receives a copper disk, where copper is the metal of Venus (Francis King, The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O., p. 63). Paracelsus’ description of the problem along with his advice is perhaps clear as mud right now, but we have Dorn’s commentary to help us.

Dorn says something very concrete and helpful when he comments on the problem of the Melusina. Dorn tells us that the Melusina is a vision appearing in the mind. He says that, if permitted to do so by the invisible, eternal Human, the Melusinian spirit will generate “distracting impediments” in the life of the aspirant. In that case, the result is that the fledgling operations don’t obtain their intended effect. In other words, the Melusina generates distracting events in the outer life, with the result that the operation, undertaken with such lofty intent, is immediately rendered a dud. Before I get to Dorn’s commentary on the solution to this problem, I’ll turn to Carl Jung’s thoughts on the problem itself.

Carl Jung (1875–1961), the great psychologist, treasures Paracelsus’ text despite its murkiness because he finds in it gems of surprisingly modern psychological insights. According to Carl Jung, the Melusina corresponds to the anima, an anthropomorphized image of the unconscious that is particularly associated with bodily and intuitive functions and that arises on the borderline of consciousness. Jung explicitly points out that Dorn thinks of the Melusina “not as a projection on a real woman” (“Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon,” Paragraph 215). He further notes that the idea of the Melusina appearing as a real woman “does not seem to have occurred to Paracelsus either” (Ibid). Obviously, this is in distinct contrast to Aleister Crowley, who seems to have thought of the Melusina’s manifestation only in a literal way. My point is, it doesn’t matter whether the Melusina appears as a real woman or not. Unless skillful maneuvers are undertaken in response, the Melusina will take the aspirant down, whether through manifesting outer distractions to a masculine aspirant or through possessing a feminine aspirant so that she become a pawn of Nature and find herself swept up into drama—often on the stage of some man.

The Solution

Dorn helps clarify Paracelsus’ suggestion that the aspirant “appropriate the characteristics of Venus.” Dorn says we have to dismiss the visions of Melusina as illusionary. That is, we have to recognize them for what they are. He says we have to send her back to her native nymphaditic realm (“[a]d naturam nymphididicam rediens”). This is the way, he says, that we assume the characteristics of Venus, or in other words, “the shield and armor of Love.” What in the world does this mean? Jung further clarifies. He points out that this advised dismissal of the Melusina back to her own realm is not, as it might seem, a rejection of the feminine, but rather a restoration of the feminine to her natural part in the adept’s wholeness. Hence Love or Agape (Venus) is recommended, with True Love being a union of the consciousness with the unconscious—Earth with Heaven—which marriage can never occur so long as the Melusina seems to be separate from the male aspirant, whether in the form of a real woman or in the form of distracting outer events.

This process of reintegrating the feminine into the masculine consciousness is known in old-Aeonic terms as redemption of the second Heh. Through redemption, the feminine principle on Malkuth-10 is elevated to Netzach-7 (נצח), where, as Crowley says in Liber Aleph, “the Daughter is set upon the Throne of her Mother” (“On the Four Lesser Operations of the Microcosmic Star”). A wonderful study of that process of redemption of the feminine by the male Adept is given in Frater Achad’s The Chalice of Ecstasy, which is itself a study of Wagner’s Parsifal.

Though Jung does not say so, since he dwells exclusively on the male mysteries in his article, the sacred marriage also cannot occur for a female aspirant if she becomes too closely identified with the Melusina, or in other words if she becomes unknowingly possessed by it. Luckily, there is an equivalent female operation for redemption through which a woman (Daughter) can place herself on the throne of her Mother in Binah. It involves working the Path of the Moon, which connects Malkuth and Netzach, as well as working the right-hand pillar as a whole.

In any case, Jung notes that the Melusina is closely connected with “Morgana, the ‘sea-born,’” through whom skillful aspirants, to quote Paracelsus, “know yourselves to be one with others.” Clearly Morgana, like Babalon, is in Binah—Saturn or Lead, which co-governs the astrological sign of our present age, Aquarius. In Liber AL vel Legis we similarly read, “Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & another other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt” (I:22).

For my money, the most lucid literary portrayal of how an aspirant can skillfully send the Melusina back to her native realm by “appropriat[ing] the characteristics of Venus” occurs in the 14th-century chivalric romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, specifically in the scene in which Gawain has to repel the sexual advances of his host’s beautiful and attractive wife without ever being discourteous. Gawain and his host had previously agreed that whatever each one secures on that day’s hunt he is honor-bound to exchange with the other man. In the following scene, we see Gawain dancing mindfully with the Melusina in the form of his host’s wife, honoring her beauty and allure while still refusing to be seduced by her. (The “blow” that he must receive, mentioned in the scene, refers to a promise he had made earlier. It is not important for our purposes that we understand the subtleties of the plot.) Here is the scene, as translated by Jessie Weston:

So the lord roamed the woods, and Gawain, that good knight, lay ever a-bed, curtained about, under the costly coverlet, while the daylight gleamed on the walls. And as he lay half slumbering, he heard a little sound at the door, and he raised his head, and caught back a corner of the curtain, and waited to see what it might be. It was the lovely lady, the lord’s wife; she shut the door softly behind her, and turned towards the bed; and Gawain was shamed, laid him down softly and made as if he slept. And she came lightly to the bedside, within the curtain, and sat herself down beside him, to wait till he wakened.

The knight lay there awhile, and marvelled within himself what her coming might betoken; and he said to himself, “Twere more seemly if I asked her what hath brought her hither.” Then he made feint to waken, and turned towards her, and opened his eyes as one astonished, and crossed himself; and she looked on him laughing, with her cheeks red and white, lovely to behold, and small smiling lips.

“Good morrow, Sir Gawain,” said that fair lady; “ye are but a careless sleeper, since one can enter thus. Now are ye taken unawares, and lest ye escape me I shall bind you in your bed; of that be ye assured!” Laughing, she spake these words.

“Good morrow, fair lady,” quoth Gawain blithely. “I will do your will, as it likes me well. For I yield me readily, and pray your grace, and that is best, by my faith, since I needs must do so.” Thus he jested again, laughing. “But an ye would, fair lady, grant me this grace that ye pray your prisoner to rise. I would get me from bed, and array me better, then could I talk with ye in more comfort.”

“Nay, forsooth, fair sir,” quoth the lady, “ye shall not rise, I will rede ye better. I shall keep ye here, since ye can do no other, and talk with my knight whom I have captured. For I know well that ye are Sir Gawain, whom all the world worships, wheresoever ye may ride. Your honour and your courtesy are praised by lords and ladies, by all who live. Now ye are here and we are alone, my lord and his men are afield; the serving men in their beds, and my maidens also, and the door shut upon us. And since in this hour I have him that all men love, I shall use my time well with speech, while it lasts. Ye are welcome to my company, for it behoves me in sooth to be your servant.”

“In good faith,” quoth Gawain, “I think me that I am not him of whom ye speak, for unworthy am I of such service as ye here proffer. In sooth, I were glad if I might set myself by word or service to your pleasure; a pure joy would it be to me!”

“In good faith, Sir Gawain,” quoth the gay lady, “the praise and the prowess that pleases all ladies I lack them not, nor hold them light; yet are there ladies enough who would liever now have the knight in their hold, as I have ye here, to dally with your courteous words, to bring them comfort and to ease their cares, than much of the treasure and the gold that are theirs. And now, through the grace of Him who upholds the heavens, I have wholly in my power that which they all desire!”

Thus the lady, fair to look upon, made him great cheer, and Sir Gawain, with modest words, answered her again: “Madam,” he quoth, “may Mary requite ye, for in good faith I have found in ye a noble frankness. Much courtesy have other folk shown me, but the honour they have done me is naught to the worship of yourself, who knoweth but good.”

“By Mary,” quoth the lady, “I think otherwise; for were I worth all the women alive, and had I the wealth of the world in my hand, and might choose me a lord to my liking, then, for all that I have seen in ye, Sir Knight, of beauty and courtesy and blithe semblance, and for all that I have hearkened and hold for true, there should be no knight on earth to be chosen before ye!”

“Well I wot,” quoth Sir Gawain, “that ye have chosen a better; but I am proud that ye should so prize me, and as your servant do I hold ye my sovereign, and your knight am I, and may Christ reward ye.”

So they talked of many matters till mid-morn was past, and ever the lady made as though she loved him, and the knight turned her speech aside. For though she were the brightest of maidens, yet had he forborne to shew her love for the danger that awaited him, and the blow that must be given without delay.

Then the lady prayed her leave from him, and he granted it readily. And she gave him good-day, with laughing glance, but he must needs marvel at her words:

“Now He that speeds fair speech reward ye this disport; but that ye be Gawain my mind misdoubts me greatly.”

“Wherefore?” quoth the knight quickly, fearing lest he had lacked in some courtesy.

And the lady spake: “So true a knight as Gawain is holden, and one so perfect in courtesy, would never have tarried so long with a lady but he would of his courtesy have craved a kiss at parting.”

Then quoth Gawain, “I wot I will do even as it may please ye, and kiss at your commandment, as a true knight should who forbears to ask for fear of displeasure.”

At that she came near and bent down and kissed the knight, and each commended the other to Christ, and she went forth from the chamber softly.

Then Sir Gawain arose and called his chamberlain and chose his garments, and when he was ready he gat him forth to Mass, and then went to meat, and made merry all day till the rising of the moon, and never had a knight fairer lodging than had he with those two noble ladies, the elder and the younger.

And even the lord of the land chased the hinds through holt and heath till eventide, and then with much blowing of bugles and baying of hounds they bore the game homeward; and by the time daylight was done all the folk had returned to that fair castle. And when the lord and Sir Gawain met together, then were they both well pleased. The lord commanded them all to assemble in the great hall, and the ladies to descend with their maidens, and there, before them all, he bade the men fetch in the spoil of the day’s hunting, and he called unto Gawain, and counted the tale of the beasts, and showed them unto him, and said, “What think ye of this game, Sir Knight? Have I deserved of ye thanks for my woodcraft?”

“Yea, I wis,” quoth the other, “here is the fairest spoil I have seen this seven year in the winter season.”

“And all this do I give ye, Gawain,” quoth the host, “for by accord of covenant ye may claim it as your own.”

“That is sooth,” quoth the other, “I grant you that same; and I have fairly won this within walls, and with as good will do I yield it to ye.” With that he clasped his hands round the lord’s neck and kissed him as courteously as he might. “Take ye here my spoils, no more have I won; ye should have it freely, though it were greater than this.”

Gawain’s secret for success is that he, as a Christian, remains fervently devoted to the Virgin Mary. Mary corresponds on the Tree of Life to Binah-3 (בינה), The Great Sea, corresponding for a Thelemite to BABALON and also to the sea goddess Morgana. This male secret is known in the Ordo Templi Orientis as Chastity, and this text makes clear that it is compatible with, and even requires, sexual arousal. Though far from obvious, the brief reference to the beautiful, young wife being paired with an elder lady, as she had been when Gawain first saw her, refers to the sacred Woman as having a dual nature as Venus (Netzach-7; נצח) and Saturn (Binah-3; בינה). (If you are familiar with Wagner’s Parsifal, remember that its main female character, Kundry, also has a dual aspect as seductress and hag.)

The spoken references in the text to Mary, though made to seem casual and incidental, are not. Earlier in the tale than what I have quoted here, the reader learned that Gawain had ridden to this adventure bearing a shield with an image of the Virgin Mary on its inside surface, so that he could continually contemplate the image of the Queen of Heaven. This is wonderful advice for any A∴A∴ Neophyte—see only BABALON in the midst of all appearances. “For as thy blood is mingled in the cup of BABALON, so is thine heart the universal heart” (“Cry of the 5th Aethyr”).

Most tellingly of all, the reader will learn at the end of the tale that the Goddess Morgana is the real architect of the entire quest. Arguably, both the young noble lady and the elder are actually the Goddess Morgana in disguise. Unquestionably, though, Gawain invoked the Goddess and her tests when he volunteered for the quest at the beginning of the tale, the equivalent in the A∴A∴ of affirming that one has begun the magickal and spiritual journey by taking the Neophyte Oath. Like Gawain, a Neophyte must learn to recognize the Goddess in any disguise that She may don. A Neophyte must also learn to honor Her power without becoming either Her victim (male) or Her pawn (female). In Thelemic terms, Gawain is able to resist the seductions of the Melusina without rejecting her by keeping in mind that she is simply the outward form of his inner goddess, to whom he is ever-faithful. This text gives us an excellent allegory of how to take up “the shield and armor of Love.”

In summary, the Neophyte must remain alert at all times to the seductions and playful tricks of the Melusina, whether they be in the shape of a woman (oneself or another) or in the form of very-normal-seeming worldly distractions. The Neophyte is in constant danger of being pulled off the path, because he or she has invoked the formative power of the Goddess in Binah. The only defense against this terrible fate is to become like the central figure in the Tarot trump of The Universe, also corresponding to Saturn; he or she must take on the playful characteristics of Venus. The aspirant must learn to dance with those seductive appearances. He or she must learn to recognize in the center of all appearances the Queen of Heaven, who is after all his or her own feminine, formative nature, his or her own Goddess aspect. For women, the Goddess is her external aspect, and for men, She is his internal. Either way, regarding all appearances, the Adept loves and honors only Her, dedicating his or her whole self. Nuit adjures, “To me! To me!” (Liber AL vel Legis I:65). Through this wise recognition of the real nature of the Melusinian visions, the Neophyte becomes sure-footed on the road to marrying Heaven and Earth.

Love is the law, love under will.

Written this 29th Day of January, 2019 ev.
The Sun in Aquarius & the Moon in Sagittarius
In the Valley Of Berkeley, California
by Soror Absorbeo 410 5=6 A∴A∴


What Tattvas Are & Uses for the Aspirant

There is a theory that Solar Prana vibrates through the universe from the sun by way of the etheric current. Think of this current as an electrical wire that can carry all kinds of messages from pure power for appliances to sophisticated voice and computer signals. Faith is not something that is required; all you need to do is to begin to use the etheric current and test it in a scientific manner. With experience you can verify its existence and learn about its capacities.

The Tattwas represent a westernization of the Hindu theory of the elements. They represent a synthesis of western and eastern ideas about the mystic elements in the Western Mystery Schools. Your Tattwa cards will prove useful in showing you some of the facets of Solar Prana as it is carried through the etheric current. As well, these cards will prepare you for the more advanced visualization exercises that the student will become involved with when learning the Tarot later on.

But first, let’s examine a working theory in order to better describe exactly what Solar Prana is, and its relationship to the Tattwas. For starters, lets travel to the beginnings of what is to become our galaxy. Now imagine the existence of a formless cloud. If you are already familiar with the Qabalah, this can be equivocated with Kether on the Tree of Life. This is a cloud that contains the potential for all that will exist and is called AKASA.

As this scattered cloud begins to contract, it will begin to whirl. The ‘matter’ will start to move in a fashion as if blown by some etheric or solar wind. The spirit that is AKASA is stirring in its wholly inorganic state and pushing itself to maneuver from an unmanifested state; eventually towards a state of manifestation. This whirling is an airlike quality that is referred to as VAYU.

Now, these particles, in their whirling have formed a Nebula. And as they co‑exist, they each react to the magnetic pulse of the surrounding particles. This increases, not only the intensity of the whirling; pushing it into a feverish and frenzied state, but the increase in friction between each magnetic particle creates a potent heat. This heat rises in temperature to a point of incandescent luminosity and a raging fire breaks out. This condition is known as TEJAS.

When this Nebula reaches its climax of motion, it will then begin to slow down; thereby producing a cooling off in temperature. Along with this, the Nebula will coagulate into a fluid like substance; still hot and molten, like the lava of a volcano or moreover, the lava that once covered this planet that still remains hot at the center of this planet. This watery phase is known as APAS.

The final stage is reached when it cools completely. It will then solidify and form a large mass such as our own planet earth. Here the original primordial substance is manifested and moving at its slowest rate of vibration. As well, it is in its most dense form. The particles are dense and close together; tightly wound into complex molecular structures. This is the manifestation that was originally sought; and in the Qabalah it is known as the tenth sephirah called the Kingdom. In the Tattwa system, it is referred to as PRITHIVI.

From what has been delineated above, the Tattwas could be said to be modalities of matter as it transitions from the primordial and unmanifested state into the finite and manifested state. These are the elemental conditions of being (and non being) that serve not only as points of reference for the development of material substances, but are the base substances which the Prana acts through. However, this paradigm but can be empirically applied to the immaterial, as well such as conditions of the soul or functions of the personality.

A study of these same ancient Greek elements would be advisable. The student will note that there are only four elements in the Greek system as compared to the five of the Tattwas. But in actuality, fire in the Greek system does the double duty of taking on the Spiritual qualities as AKASA does in the Tattwa system. The Tattwas being eastern and Hindu in origin do not necessarily represent a divergence from the western model, however. If the student examines the five points of the Pentagram, note that the four bottom points represent the four Greek elements and the top point represents those four elements being ruled by Spirit. Therefore, it is only a matter of perspective as to whether or not Spirit is to actually be considered an element.

Up to this point we have discussed the five Tattwas in their course of existence. To summarize more succinctly the Tattwas, they are listed as follows; showing their geometric representation:

Akasa Spirit Black Egg
Tejas Fire Red Triangle
Apas Water Silver Crescent
Vayu Air Blue Circle
Prithivi Earth Yellow Square

The five principal tattwa cards denote these symbols. The prana is evendenced by the human breath which is referred to as Swara. This prana either comes directly from the sun (IDA) or indirectly fromt he moon (PINGALA). And the neutral point of rest betwen the two is referred to as Susumna which relates directly to the human spinal column. Therefore, the IDA is in the left side of the body and the PINGALA is in the right side.

Now the Tattwas break down into sub elements which correspond to the remaining cards in the Tattwa deck. This is listed as follows:

Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi
Tejas of Akasa of Akasa of Akasa of Akasa of
Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi
Apas of Apas of Tejas of Tejas of Tejas of
Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi
Vayu of Vayu of Vayu of Apas of Apas of
Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi
Prithivi of Prithivi of Prithivi of Prithivi of Vayu of
Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi

Note that sub elements such as Apas of Vayu and Vayu of Apas are not identical. The former represents the watery qualities of air and the latter represents the airy qualities of water. In that way, the former is a silver crescent within a blue circle and the latter is a blue circle within a silver crescent. So you can see that even from a visual point of view, there is a dramatic difference.

What these Tattwas delineate is the idea that for the Hindus, reality is composed of five sets of five categories of phenomena. They are as follows:

The Preternatural Pentad:

Purusa (the transcendent self)
Prakrti (natural characteristics; animal nature)
Buddhi (intellect)
Ahamkara (ego)
Manas (mind)

These are the main five with the next four parallel pentads interacting with and interpenetrating each other. These are:

The Five Buddhindriyas: Sense capacities; hearing, seeing smelling, feeling, tasting
The Five Karmendriyas: Action capacities: speaking, grasping, walking, excreting, generating
The Five Tanmatras: Subtle elements; sound, touch, form, taste, smell
The five Mahabhutas: Gross elements; ether, air, fire, water, earth


The beginning student should endeavor to memorize the cards as efficiently as possible. The first use for your Tattwa deck can be as flash cards. The student should endeavor to open the deck to any card and be able to instantly call out the name of the card, denoting both the Hindu title and the corresponding element or sub element. After this is mastered, then the student can proceed with the next exercize. But note that a new vocabulary has been established in both word and visual image.

Next, note that there is a twenty sixth card in the deck of Tattwas and it is a blank white card. This is to be used for the following exercize: Start with one of the major elemental shapes; it is recommended that you start with the shape and color that most appeals to you initially. Sit under a comfortable lamp perhaps in a favorite chair. In one hand, hold the Tattwa card of choice, and in the other the blank, white card.

Stare at the Tattwa card. Allow the eyes to dry up and begin to play tricks on you. When you have reached this subtle state of visual exhaustion, quickly transfer your eyes to the blank white card in your other hand. You may want to actually maneuver that card to cover up the Tattwa card; thus aiding in your concentration. What are you now seeing? What you should be seeing is the astral complement of the color of the Tattwa card. The astral complements are listed, for your convenience, as follows:

Material Astral
Element Tattwa Color Complement
Spirit Akasa Black White
Fire Tejas Red Green
Water Apas Silver Black
Air Vayu Blue Orange
Earth Prithivi Yellow Purple

To further your work in this exercize, you should then practice on taking the Material Colors of the Tattwas and focusing on seeing them with your inner eye. Again, sit in a comfortable chair, or in an asana with your eyes closed. Focus on your memory of the particular Tattwa that you are working with and try to see it in front of you. You may also want to practice on making it larger or smaller.

The next step in visualization is to place the Tattwas in the body. For this, it is necessary to learn about the centers of energy in the body. These centers exist along the path of the Susumna and are called Chakkras.

Spend time visualizing these Chakkras. There is a simple exercize to assist in this effort. It will prepare you for the more Middle Pillar Exercise and will sensitize you to the presence and nature of the Chakkras.


The Swara are the ten principle nerves throughout the body. These nerves are the ten principle manifestations of the Swara within which the Vayus move. The ten Vayus are as follows:

1. Prana in the breast.
2. Apana about the excretory organs.
3. Samana in the navel.
4. Udana middle of the throat.
5. Vyana pervading the whole body.
6. Kurmana the eyes, helping them open.
7. Kirkala in the stomach, producing hunger.
8. Nag whence comes vomiting.
9. Devadatta causes yawning.
10. Dhananjaya that which does not leav the body after death.

These Vayus are the regulators of the body and are active in all ten principle nerves. Their proper functioning preserves the health of the body. The key to the ten nerves is found in working the Prana Vayu.

Solar Prana

The Solar Prana is under the influence of Swara and hence the breath. It is said that the Swara is the breath of the universe or its soul and spirit. It appears in positive, negative and centered modes corresponding to the nerves and the right, left and center (spine) of the body. The positive breath which corresponds to the nerves on the right side of the body is called Pingala. The negative breath which corresponds to the nerves on the left side of the body is called Ida. And the centered point of rest between breaths is called Susumna.

The Prana breaths are organized into units or intervals of time called Gharis. During any particular Ghari, the breath may be in Pingala, Ida, or Susumna. The way to determine this is to first be in good health. Then draw the breath with a quick inspiration. If it is felt in the right nostril, then the prana is in Pingala. Please note that your health is vital in making such a determination. Should you have a head cold, this will certainly intefere with the free flow of your breath.

The course of each Ghari is determined by the moon. On the first sunrise after the new moon, the cycle is begun. Here, the prana is in Ida or the left nostril for two hours. This alternates with the Pingala and the breath in the right nostril for the next two hours. Now, the last ten minutes of the Ida Ghari up through the first ten minutes of the Pingala Ghari is where the Susumna breath (both nostrils) occurs. This entire cycle continues for three days.

At sunrise on the fourth day, the first Ghari is in Pingala and alternates from there for three more days. Then, at the sunrise of the seventh day, it starts again, with Ida. Notice that the end of each three day period, the prana is in the same Ghari as it will be at the start of the next three day period. This all proceeds until the sunrise following the full moon. Here, the first Ghari is Pingala and continues as outlined until the sunrise after the new moon.

During each Ghari, the five tattwas are active in succeeding order; starting with Akasa for a period of twenty minutes each. The forder is as follws:


Each subtattwa comes into course for four minutes of the twenty minute cycle. Thus for Akasa it is as follows:

Akasa of Akasa
Vayu of Akasa
Tejas of Akasa
Apas of Akasa
Prithivi of Akasa
Timing the Gharis

Don’t despair that calculating which Ghari and Tattwa in course may be too complicated. Of course, you could create a chart using an ephemeris and calendar. However, a more interesting method does exist.

To determine which Tattwa is in course at the moment, place five small marbles, each painted with one of the five colors of the Tattwas, into a small pouch. Draw out the marbles blindly. This should be the same color as the Tattwa that is presently in course.

If that does not satisfy you, there is another method. Instead, close your eyes and wait to see a color in the darkness. The first color that you see should be the Tattwa in course. With practice, your sensitivity will increase. Then you can percieve the phsical effects of the Tattwa in operation. They are as follows:

Vayu A feeling of restlessness;
Tejas Warmth and energy;
Apas A cold phlegmatic sensation;
Prithivi Steadiness and solid strength;
Akasa is spirit and has no physical effects.

You can use your breath to determine your actions in any given situation. For example, for all activities demanding energy, these should be performed during the sun breath (Pingala) and the corresponding Tattwa. All activities of imagination or a receptive nature will prosper under the moon breath (Ida) and again, the appropriate Tattwa.

Mastering the Tattwas

Eventually, the serious student can forecast the future with the Tattwas. You can also learn to command nature with the visible world before your eyes. During the day, sit on an easy chair and fix your eyes on the sky with your mind withdrawn from all external things. At first, you will see the watery vapour in the atmosphere. Eventually, with practice over time, you will see different sorts of buildings in the air. This is the first success you are looking for.

After this, you will see different Tattwic colors in the sky. To test this, close your eyes and compare what you see in the sky to what you see when you close your eyes. (Refer to the Tattwa visualization exercise given above). When these both correspond, this is the second success that you are looking for.

During the night, wait till all is calm, rising about 2:00am. There is a special holiness in the stars at this hour and the sleeping world is in silent rapture. Wash your hands, feet, the crown of your head, and hte nape of your neck with cold water.

Assume your asana from your Yoga practice and meditate on the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Discover the Tattwa in course at this time. When that is discovered, vibrate the appropriate corresponding mantra. These are as follows:

Akasa HAM
Vayu VAM
Tejas PAM
Apas RAM
Prithivi LAM

When this third success is achieved, you will now have the tools to prevent and cure disease as you have achieved the proper regulation of the Swara of the body. This is an excellent command to hold over nature!

Divination with the Tattwas

To use the Tattwas for divination, you must first ask a question and determine which Tattwa is in course. If the Tattwa in course is Prithivi then the question should pertain to mundane affairs. If in Apas, then the question should be an emotional issue. If in Tejas, then gain or loss should be involved in the issue. And if it is Akasa, then the issue is not really that important. There is however, another more important issue in this event. And if it is in Vayu then the querent seeks knowledge that may require a journey to a distant place.

Next, determine which nostril the breath is flowing through and which fortnight of the moon is in course. Also determine whether the number of the day is odd or even and which direction it is that you are facing.

If the breath is in Ida, the following synchronicities must be met for the success of the question:

o Bright fortnight ‑ Waning moon
o The day is even numbered
o You must be facing East or North

If the breath is in Pingala, then the opposite synchronicites must be present:

o Dark fortnight Waxing moon
o The day is odd numbered
o You must be facing West or South

Any mixture of these shows mixed results in success of the matter and of course, the complete lack of any synchronicites assures failure. From here, trust your intuition to develop your perception of the matter at hand.

The Winds of Wisdom



Earlier today a good friend delivered me Shoemaker’s new book “The Winds of Wisdom”.  I have now sat with it for approximately three hours which in this case is a fair amount of time being that the book is only about 120 pages – but as with much in life it’s about quality and not quantity.

The book itself is nicely made, bound in an azure blue buckram with gold gilded spine and cover with matching blue ribbon and limited to 500 copies.  Available for purchase directly from Nephilim Press at

The first thing I should point out is that this book is by no means a comprehensive overview of the Enochian system nor does it make any pretense to be.  In fact, those without a working knowledge of Enochian may want to dedicate some time acquainting themselves with the system before approaching this book otherwise little will make much sense.  Shoemaker recommends Lon Milo Duquette’s book “Enochian Vision Magick” for this purpose.  I myself having not read this title (sorry Lon) cannot give an opinion – but knowing Lon’s expertise (having personally scyred several aethyrs with him) and being familiar with much of Lon’s writings – I’m certain this recommendation is sound.

The book gives little information outside of Shoemaker’s personal visions of each Aethyr.  However, that is the objective of this book and his visions are symbolically consistent with what one might traditionally attribute the aethyrs.  A few footnotes are added to each vision which elaborate upon the authors unique experiences and an “interpretive note” (about a page in length) is appended to the 7thAethyr – DEO.  Also provided is a recommended scrying method that (based upon personal experience) appears to be sound, practical and I’m sure effective.

There is also a rather explicit description of a sex-magick ritual used while scrying the 8th aethyr of ZID based upon techniques discussed in Crowley’s Eroto-Comatose Lucidity – chapter “15” (of 22) from liber CDXIV “De Arte Magica” – A document related to the Mysteries of the 9th degree OTO.

Interestingly, Shoemaker employs a system in which each of the aethyrs is attributed to one of the ten Sephiroth across three separate Trees of Life – each representing one of the Qabalistic worlds.  In this case Atziluth, Briah and Yetzirah; or the Archetypal, Creative and Formative stages leading up to manifestation from the highest to the lowest (YHV).  For those of you unfamiliar with the Four Worlds, they are derived from Isaiah 43:7 and only need to be referenced in a few of the standard Qabalistic resources to understand how they work – (If you are familiar with the formula of YHVH you have good start).  In any regard, this system is not that envisioned by Crowley who actually considered a couple different models and it’s debatable as to if he truly settled on just one.  (Crowley of course received the visions first and then later tried to project them unto the Tree of life).  Being that one’s experience of the aethyrs is a highly personal and therefore subjective matter it makes sense that different interpretations as to how to map the aethyrs unto the Tree would evolve.  Furthermore, it took me years to wrap my head around Crowley’s breakdown while the one suggested here immediately “fell into place” and I think easily adaptable by students of the western mystery schools.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone who is exploring the Enochian system.  Most especially those who intend on scrying the aethyrs.  You will of course need a few other resources and some time in actual practice before truly appreciating the material offered here – yet “The Winds of Wisdom” is one of the few resources you can turn to for a personal account of the aethyrs and this alone makes it worth picking up.  I am certain it will find a home on the shelf of many scholars, students and aspirants.  On a personal level, it’s my favorite of Shoemaker’s publications thus far – though easily the most specialized.

Frater Orpheus

The Holy Books of Thelema




A new edition of the Holy Books is now available through Hell Fire Club Books a boutique book publisher out of England who produces high quality bindings and limited editions of titles of interest to the occult community.  What makes a Hell Fire Club production unique is the craftsmanship of one Eamonn Loughran.  A true master of his trade who lovingly crafts each book the old fashioned way.  That is, by hand one at a time, utilizing nothing but the traditional tools of his craft.

“The Holy Books of Thelema” are being offered as a five-volume set and is everything we have come to love and cherish about HFC productions… that is a first-rate production from end to end.   Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to view these books (being offered in three formats) first hand and they are truly impressive; living up to all the hype and some.

I may be biased towards my interest in Thelema but I do believe these represent Hell Fire’s finest and most important work to date.  These books feel like living talismans with an energy all their own – a testament to the many hours of labor lovingly poured into each volume.  Never before have the Holy Books of Thelema been produced in such a high-quality fashion and I must believe that somewhere out there Crowley is grinning from ear to ear.  Books of this quality are bound to outlive their owner and to be collectable for centuries to come…

Those whom are acquainted with the true first editions will find much to be familiar. The layout and the font are nearly identical and each page is framed in a manner similar to the first edition… However, here they are framed in red as opposed to gold. (I should also point out that the errors and typos which plagued the early editions have here been corrected – trust me I hunted for them). Showing attention to detail, (and a nice little touch) – as per the original editions each of the first three volumes concludes with an “ownership” page exclusive to that Grade/volume. All five volumes feature red and black ink throughout which looks stunning and volume 5 includes color images of what I believe to be Crowley’s personal Stele. There is also a nice but brief introduction in volume one and a few (but very good) footnotes sprinkled throughout.

For those of you who care these (per original) are a “fill” as opposed to “kill” edition.  Not asking for or wanting to stir any controversy I asked the editor why this choice was made – he avoided all politic and simply stated it was how Crowley himself published it each time and that he believed “fill” to be the general consensus for the vast majority of the Thelemic community… with this I had no choice but to agree.


Detail of the new edition


The new edition next to the original from 1909

Now for some of the details… they are being offered in three formats, each a five volume set – The first three volumes closely replicate the true first editions published by Crowley in 1909 for the A∴A∴ – However this set includes two additional volumes.  The fourth contains the majority of the “class A” documents not originally included by Crowley in the first three volumes which were designed specifically for use by Aspirants in the earliest stages of their  A∴A∴ work.  Volume five is a unique presentation of Liber AL, with the manuscript on one side and a matching typescript on the other.  Described as The Temple Edition, it was inspired by a 93 publishing edition from 1975.


The three formats: Vellum, Emerald and Sapphire

So my conclusions… all three sets are outstanding! Head, shoulders and a couple of torsos above anything attempted thus far.  When considering the amount of labor and cost involved with such an endeavor it is unlikely we will ever see such again anytime soon – this alone should appeal to the collector.

The Vellum editions in particular are of outstanding quality but best left to the most serious collectors among us and for this reason they sold out before they were even produced.  The French marbled endpapers on the Emerald set were my favorite of the three and at 220 GBP represents a solid investment, (only a few of these left so you may want to purchase sooner than later here).  The final set, issued in dark blue Sapphire, are the best bargain.  At only 156 GBP I think they are a steal and for this reason I assume the more popular of the three. 

Which ever you choose don’t fret, all three versions feature the same quality paper, printing and binding.  They in fact appear to be nearly identical in every way save for the following… Vellum editions come in a special silk lined box/slip case (see images) while the other sets come with more of a traditional, but still very nice, slip case. Each set also utilized different end pages, slightly different volume numbering on the spine, and different grades of leather for the covers.  Yet all options and material are top of the line and made in the classic Hell Fire tradition.


Handbound in English Goatskin Vellum and limited to only 11 Sets. Printed in black and red inks throughout onto high quality Rives Tradition 120gsm cream paper, handbound in English goatskin vellum produced by William Cowleys (established 1860), marbled papers by Payhembury. All five volumes are securely contained in a full leather clamshell box bound in Scottish Pentland goatskin with silk linings. (SOLD OUT)




Handbound in Emerald Kid Morocco and limited to only 31 Sets. Printed in red and black inks throughout onto Rives Tradition fine 120gsm cream paper with French marbled endpapers. All five volumes are securely contained in a green cloth slipcase.



Handbound in Dark Sapphire Kid Morocco and limited to only 156 Sets. Printed in red and black throughout onto Rives Tradition 120gsm fine cream paper with French marbled endpapers. All five volumes are securely contained in a blue cloth slipcase


Frater Orpheus

The Golden Flower



About two weeks ago, I received a copy of the book “The Golden Flower” – a wonderful gift from my dear Brother (of no direct blood relations) Ricardo Flores and so I thought I would share my impressions with some of you.

First, I should point out that Ricardo’s writings are not at all your typical run of the meal Thelemic material which is too often a simple rehash or commentary upon Crowley… instead with Flores, who calls himself Koyote, we get a blend of his own personal experiences as a teacher in the Toltec tradition with Thelema (as well as other schools of thought). Much in the same way Crowley borrowed from and blended the teachings of several traditions in his quest, Flores has abrogated his way through life, keeping only those gems that spoke to his heart while facing his own trials and tribulations. In doing so the author has discovered his own unique path and now in the true tradition of the A.’.A.’. is sharing the light of his experiences in the hope that they may help guide others forward.

Too often in Thelema do we find Aspirants who simply want to repeat Crowley’s path – never fully embracing the spirit of the Law or without the fortitude to blaze their own internal path. Soror Meral use to say that you don’t make Thelemites, you find them. Books like this are far to rare in the Thelemic corpus and it brings me great joy to see the wings of Thelema spread in ways Crowley may have never imagined and for this reason alone many may enjoy this read.

The subject matter of this book is “Dream-work” and the author does not require of his readers some level of proficiency within Shamanistic or Toltec traditions in order to approach this book. Instead “The Golden Flower” is written in a straight forward manner that most anyone with a general understanding of occult matters may gleam some light. Flores explores various avenues and techniques of Dream-Working while explaining the sacred purpose of the dialog between self and sub-conscious yet does not clutter his message with the typical over-emphasis on Jungian psychology which is all the rage these days… instead more in the tradition of Corbin or even Hillman, the author never wanders far from the heart of a true mystic. In other words this is not another example of an author pontificating ad nauseam in intellectual circles that lead no-where. (we already have plenty of those) – In contrast “The Golden Flower” is clearly the work of a man who has walked the path and understands that these astral doorways are the same utilized by the HGA.

So, to whom would I recommend this book? First and foremost, to those working with vivid dreaming or beginning to explore the astral. But, also to those searching for something other than the same old tired approach or even those looking for an example of an adept who has embraced the Law and dared to make it his own… I for one enjoyed it… Thank you Ricardo! 

Frater Orpheus

You can order this book here…