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The man who writes books on a Thelema that no beast shall divine. Founding member of Ordo Astri, Thelemic Magical Collegium. Member of Ordo Typhonis since 2000 e.v. More articles and essays are posted at https://ordoastri.org/ and https://tantrika.co.uk/

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Aquarius and the Nightside

The Thoth Tarot trump for the 15th path of Aquarius is The Star XVII. The esoteric title of the trump is Daughter of the Firmament: Dweller between the Waters.

The Star XVII Thoth Tarot Atu
The placing of The Star XVII on the 15th path is to end the ages old confusion between the blood of material generation and the pure essence that is the substance of spiritual regeneration. The 15th path of connects Chokmah, the sphere of the Zodiac, with Tiphereth, the sphere of the Sun. The 15th path is called the Constituting Intelligence because it is the essence of creative force that arises in pure darkness; the word used for ‘essence’ is etzem, which has the same root as OTz, ‘tree’, from whence the Tree of Life. The same word etzem can mean ‘bone’, ‘body’, ‘life’, and ‘substance’.

The power of manifesting or begetting is the primal power of the Goddess, which is that of division into two; the path therefore corresponds to the Goddess of the Stars. As declared by Nuit in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, I: 59,
My incense is of resinous woods and gums; and there is no blood therein: because of my hair the trees of Eternity.
Chokmah is the chakra of the Zodiac, as separate and distinct from the fixed stars, which are the domain of Kether and the North Pole of the universe. The Zodiac is the belt or girdle of Venus, which is the planetary symbol of Nuit in her manifestation as visible nature. Incense and fragrance are ancient metaphors for pure spirit or essence—“that essence of creative force that arises in pure darkness”. The darkness itself is a metaphor, since it is more than merely an absence of light. Visible light is a veil, an appearance that clothes the nakedness of Nuit, whose essence is interior radiance. According to the book of Genesis, there were two trees in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Originally, there was one eternal Tree of Life embracing heaven, earth and the underworld.

‘Blood’ is the self-replicating power or energy that moves through all incarnated creatures, yet the oracle of Nuit in Liber AL, I: 59 asserts that her creative essence has “no blood therein”. It is therefore necessary to counterchange the Tarot trumps on the 15th and 28th paths. Aries, previously assigned to the 15th path, is the sign of the fire of blood, which is the blood of the Lamb as depicted in Christian mysticism. Aquarius, on the other hand, is the sign of the Waters of Space, typified by the Egyptian hieroglyph of two streams of water or radiation.

Nuit is the Star Goddess particularly concerned with the occult or hidden side of nature; her mysteries are those of sex and generation—not the generation of physical progeny but the generation of the magical ‘child’ that is the true ‘son’ or sun-star of Nuit.

The magical weapons are the Aspigillum for the sprinkling of the lustral water, and the Censor for the perfumes. The magical power of the 15th path is that of Astrology; the starry wisdom of the 15th path should not be confused with popular notions of astrology.

Aquarius and the Nightside

Nuit is depicted in the Tarot trump numbered 17 not as cosmic space but as visible nature, her manifestation. The esoteric title of the trump is Daughter of the Firmament: Dweller between the Waters. The ‘waters’ are symbolised by the two cups that Nuit bears, gold for the blood or energy of the universe and silver for the dew of the stars, the elixir of life. The seven-pointed star in the Crowley-Harris image is that of Venus; esoterically the number seven also relates to Set or Sirius, the Sun-behind-the-Sun.

Kenneth Grant, who devoted his life to an exploration of the Nightside of the Tree, is the primary source for a study of the ‘dark’ aspects of the path that is both detailed and imaginative. In his book Nightside of Eden, concerning the fifteenth Tunnel of Set he says that,
Seven, or Sevekh, was the primal goddess of the seven stars (Ursa Major) of the planisphere, and these stars or rays were the seven heads of the Dragon of the Deep that later appeared in the Christian myth as the Beast of the Apocalypse. The Star of the 15th kala is therefore the Star of Sothis or Shaitan, and is concealed in the feminine generative essence known as the soul or blood of Isis.[1]
Grant then goes on to note, regarding the magical power of the fifteenth path that,
The magical siddhi associated with this kala is Astrology which—on the other side of the Tree—has a very different connotation to that which it usually obtains, for it is there the genuine science of the stars, or kalas, and differs from the popular conception of astrology as does the Tarot from the vulgar playing-card game.
That which Kenneth Grant terms as “stars, or kalas” is not the visible gems of the night sky—though they have their correspondence with them. More often than not he is referring to the nodes and constellations of a matrix—perceptible to the seer as a shining gossamer web—that extrudes from the body of the consecrated Shakti. The Sri Yantra of the Eastern Tantras is a geometric symbol of this matrix. The same matrix was displayed in ancient Egyptian depictions of the Goddess, especially the polymorphic variations of Nuit and Hathoor, by networks of five-pointed or five-fingered stars. The Egyptian hieroglyph for the radiation of light or transmission of energy is identical to the astrological wave-glyph for the zodiacal sign of Aquarius.


1. Quotations from Nightside of Eden by Kenneth Grant, Part Two, Chapter 5 [Starfire Publishing].

© Oliver St. John 2013, 2019

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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Astrological Time Machine

Capricorn and Aquarius are both ruled by Saturn, Lord of Time, ruler and governor of the material universe. Capricorn and Aquarius are directly opposite Cancer and Leo. The two pairs form the outermost rim and the innermost centre of the celestial symbol of the Holy Graal. They are the winter cup and summer cup respectively. At midwinter, the light is born in the midst of darkness. At midsummer, the soul is awakened as she passes through baptism of water and of fire.

Astrological Time Machine: Chi-Ro SymbolThe ancient symbol of the Chi-Ro was appropriated by Constantine in the 4th century as a battle standard for Christian armies. The Chi-Ro was originally a pagan cipher or monogram, compounded from two Greek letters, Chi (X) and Ro (P).

The Chi-Ro cross and the sword was remarked on by Plato in his Timaeus as a celestial image for the intersection of the two great circles of the heavens: the solar ecliptic (Zodiac) and the celestial equator. This does indeed form a cross similar to that of the Greek letter chi. Plato suggested that the two great circles form the anima mundi or World Soul. The Chi-Ro signifies the six directions that make up the Cube of Space.

Hermetic Cube of Space

The Cube of Space is used by many ritual magicians even when they have never heard of it. Any cube has six sides, formed from the six directions of space. Nearly all traditions have some form of marking out the ritual circle with four cardinal points for North, South, East and West. No ritual magick is effective unless two more directions are added, Above and Below, forming a central axis of power. It is the mystic ‘squaring of the circle’ that opens the way towards Gnosis, direct perception of Reality.

The Chi-Ro may also be understood as a kind of time machine. The two belts are great circles, wheels in space that encompass the earth. The circle is the symbol of the infinite, where the end is with the beginning and the beginning with the end. The alchemists summed this up in the name AZOTH, a secret ‘substance’ or fluidic light. The name is composed of the first and last letters in three languages: A to Z in Latin, Alpha and Omega in Greek, and Aleph and Tav in Aramaic or Hebrew.

To understand the Chi-Ro as a vessel for the exploration of inner space we first have to imagine the Earth encompassed by the circle of the Zodiac. Then we must add the circle of the celestial equator with the North and South poles.

The Chi-Ro Time Machine

The two points of intersection between the celestial equator and the belt of the ecliptic form the chi (X) or cross, with the axis of the North and South Poles as the ro (P) or sword. Envision the two circles rotating in different directions: The ecliptic path leads to the future while the celestial path leads to the past. The point of intersection is the Eternal Now or point of consciousness. In fact, since the nature of time and space is a continuum and not a straight line as we tend to think of it, time is not actually moving anywhere, forward or backward, and neither are we. The illusion of time moving forwards towards ‘tomorrow’ with ‘yesterday’ receding behind is underpinned by the Earth rotating on her axis while simultaneously flying on her course around the Sun. Consciousness is eternally present; nature is infinite and circular. She does not move in a straight line from past to future.


© Oliver St. John 2013, 2016

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Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Oracle of Babalon

A theurgic operation recorded by John Dee on 23rd May 1587 consisted of a simple prayer to be “instructed in the understanding and practice of wisdom”. The result was an oracle received from the Gnostic Sophia or ancient Egyptian Babalon, whose mystery is that she is a harlot, loved by many, and yet remains a virgin.

Oracle of Babalon: Whore of Babylon, William Blake
I am the daughter of fortitude and ravished every hour, from my youth.
For behold, I am understanding, and science dwelleth in me; and the heavens oppress me.
They covet and desire me with infinite appetite; for none that are earthly have embraced me, for I am shadowed with the circle of the sun, and covered with the morning clouds.
My feet are swifter than the winds, and my hands are sweeter than the morning dew.
My garments are from the beginning, and my dwelling place is in my self.
The lion knoweth not where I walk, neither do the beasts of the field understand me.
I am deflowered, and yet a virgin; I sanctify, and am not sanctified.
Happy is he that embraceth me: for in the night season I am sweet, and in the day full of pleasure.
My company is a harmony of many symbols, and my lips sweeter than health itself.
I am a harlot for such as ravish me, and a virgin with such as know me not: For lo, I am loved by many, and I am a lover to many; and as many as come unto me as they should do, have my knowledge.
As yet, I walk in the clouds; as yet, I am carried by the winds, and cannot descend unto you for the multitude of your abominations, and the filthy loathsomeness of your dwelling places.
Purge your streets, o ye sons of men, and wash your houses clean; make yourselves holy, and put on the garments of truth.
Cast out your old strumpets, and burn their clothes; avoid the company of the profane, for they do not know me, and then will I come and dwell amongst you.
I will open my garments, and stand naked before you, that your love may be more enflamed towards me.
And behold, I will bring forth children unto you, and they shall be the sons of love and truth.
According to Dee’s diary record, his assistant Kelley described the vision of Babalon in terms evocative of the Scarlet Woman of the book of Revelation or Apocalypse, 12: 1.
All her clothing is like beaten gold; she has on her forehead a crystal cross; her neck is bare and she is naked even to the waist. She has a girdle of beaten gold loosely buckled about her, with a pendant of gold down to the ground.
Babalon added repeated warnings not ever to disclose this knowledge to the profane. The oracle is wrongly thought to have been the result of skrying the 7th Aethyr of the Enochian system. There is no evidence from Dee’s diaries that he and his assistant Edward Kelley ever skryed any of the 30 Aethyrs directly; the idea originated from comparison of the oracle with Aleister Crowley’s skrying of the 7th Aethyr, centuries later.

The spirit first seen in the skrying crystal by Dee and Kelley was Madimi, the same spirit that was contacted at the beginning of the Enochian operation, and that appears to have initiated that work. The mischievous female spirit had sometimes appeared naked, causing some consternation to the two men, as evidenced by Dee’s remarks noted. There is a popular myth that the vision on this occasion so unnerved Kelley that it caused him to permanently part company with Dee and sever all relations.[1] The yarn was elaborated and dramatised somewhat by Kenneth Grant in his book, The Magical Revival and has been oft repeated; the alleged criminal activities of Kelley that supposedly followed the rift probably owe more to Crowley’s ‘past life’ fantasies than any historical evidence. According to Dee’s record, the reading over of the oracle of Babalon, described in the diary as the “Golden Woman”, caused the two men “great comfort”.

Babalon is referred to in Dee’s Enochian Calls or Keys of the Aethyrs. Uniquely, as the ‘Daughter of Fortitude’ she speaks directly, in the first person. We may readily understand her to be identical with Isis, Nuit-Babalon or Hathoor. As Shakti, Shekinah or divine female holy presence her natural abode is Binah or Saturn, above the Abyss of the Hermetic Tree of Life. As the Graal or Graal cup holder, she is the receiver of all and refuser of none.

The title that Babalon affords herself resembles the traditional name of the eleventh Tarot trump, ‘Fortitude’. The trump usually depicts a woman closing (or opening) the jaws of a lion. In modern decks the same trump is usually called ‘Strength’, and is attributed to the astrological sign of Leo the Lion and 19th path of the Tree of Life, the Occult Intelligence. The esoteric title afforded the Tarot trump by the Golden Dawn is Daughter of the Flaming Sword. Crowley’s design for the trump, which he retitled Lust XI, was based on William Blake’s ‘Whore of Babylon’. Thus the woman is specifically identified with Babalon as the ‘Scarlet Woman’ of the (Egyptian) Book of the Law.

The oracle bears comparison with the Setian Gnostic text, Thunder Perfect Mind, though the Nag Hammadi texts were buried in a cave in Egypt and not discovered until 1945.[2] Interestingly, John Dee began his Enochian magical operation for the purpose of recovering lost ancient books through the means of clairvoyance.


1. The notion, which is pure supposition, appears in several biographical accounts. Likewise, Crowley never said, “I am perplexed” on his deathbed, yet the fiction is told and retold as though it were fact.
2. Compare with the Gnostic scripture, Thunder Perfect Mind.

 © Oliver St. John 2013, 2018
 This is an abridgement of the essay that appears, with full annotations and Qabalistic commentary, in the book, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.

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Sunday, 6 January 2013

2013 : The Year Ahead

The year 2013 is the second of five years in which we have a tumultuous series of seven Uranus-Pluto squares. Pluto represents plutocrats, governments and other major powers such as the economy and those who control it, especially if the control is done in secret. Uranus on the other hand symbolises liberty, freedom, social justice and the rights of the individual.

Uranus Square Pluto (Exact), 20th May, 2013

Uranus Square Pluto May 2013 Astrological Chart

The conflict of Uranus and Pluto symbolises critical tension between freedom and individual liberty on the one hand, and power and tyranny on the other. On a global scale the power of governments, banks, and the money-lenders that control the world’s resources comes to a nerve-jangling stand-off against the rights of the individual. We can all appreciate the obvious facts behind Marx’s Das Kapital. He who controls money and resources controls the people; in fact, he controls pretty much everything on the material plane. The lords of money are the lords of this earth. So long as this remains a fact then war, famine, poverty and tyranny will continue until the intervention of some manmade or natural disaster sends us all to kingdom come.

Two of the seven squares will occur during 2013. The first is on May 20 and the second is on November 1. The months before and after those dates are very tense periods with the possibility of explosive events occurring where the squares are exact. April will be dramatic, especially where the economy is concerned, one of the powers that dominates the world. Banks could fail (again!) to a catastrophic extent.

Saturn, the planet of understanding and wisdom gained through trial and experience, moved into Scorpio last year, and there he will stay for the next two and a half years. The sign of Scorpio is concerned with debt, taxation, shared resources or other people’s money, investments, inheritance and legacy. Scorpio, as the natural sign of the 8th house, is also concerned with sex, death and transformation. In the magical and alchemical sense, these last three are inseparable terms.

Debt is a four-letter word that has considerable import in the situation we find ourselves in at the beginning of this 21st century. The international money-lenders and bankers of the world depend on debt to make vast profits. Yet we are now being told that we cannot borrow—even though lending and borrowing maintains the Capitalist money system and global economy. So long as the trading and investments of the world depend on two human emotions, greed and fear, then the consequences will always involve pain and suffering. As industrial civilisations have expanded, so has the extent of the pain and suffering. Depending on technology and science for continued economic growth has made no difference to this equation.

On the spiritual level, what is debt anyway? There is a word, ‘Redemption’, redemption from sin. This does not only apply to Christianity. Buddhism, for example, has the concept of ‘Merit’; in fact all the world religions have some notion of sin and redemption from sin. ‘Redeeming’ implies a trade, barter or exchange. The concept automatically implies a ransom paid, a kind of salvation through knavery. Indeed, the whole idea of sin and redemption rests upon a complex psychopathology.


© Oliver St. John 2013  
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