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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/

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Magical Beast of Apocalypse

Charles Stansfeld Jones, otherwise known as Frater Achad, showed forth brilliance and erudition in his book, The Egyptian Revival.[1] Achad said in the Preface to the book that it was written, “in the spirit of Suggestive Inquiry”. Further study reveals that he may have taken the Qabalistic symbolism a little too literally. He clearly felt he had made a Great Discovery in reversing the alphabet and relocating the Tarot trumps, and went so far as to think there might be some “Absolute Reason in the Primitive Universal Tradition”. In spite of this—a magical faux pas that caused some upset to his mentor, Aleister Crowley—Achad produced some highly original insights. This has made his work well worth serious study. In Chapter IV of The Egyptian Revival he writes:
We have seen in tracing out the Traditions that there have been two Wills at work, the Divine and the Personal, and that through the Ages these have appeared in conflict. One is the Bright Star or Pentagram of Unconquered Will, the other the Dark Star of the Reversed Pentagram. These two Stars are symbolised by the hands of Man, or the Magician, one raised to Heaven in the Sign of Solvé, the other directed downwards in the Sign of Coagula. When united they form a Ten-fold Star … which exactly symbolises this uniting of the Rising and Setting Sun, or the Twins Sut-Har. For the Two Wills are Harmonised in Tiphereth. But when we consider Malkuth, it is a question of Raising the Fallen Daughter, the Animal Soul, or matter, to the Throne of the Mother, Understanding … The Union of the two Stars as a Ten-fold Star in Malkuth is the Work before us … as promised by the Rainbow of the old order.
On the following pages Achad grapples with the problems raised by his upturning of the correspondences. However, this one idea alone provides us with an opportunity to gain an overview of the whole path of initiation, as mapped out in the Qabalistic grade system. From the tenfold union of the upright and averse pentagrams comes forth the elevenfold star. According to Crowley, the number 11 is “The general number of magick, or energy tending to change”.[2] The number 11 is also that of Nuit, according to the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis, I: 60.
My number is 11, as are all their numbers who are of us.
Daath, Knowledge, is counted as the eleventh sephira—though in reality Daath is the non-sephira, having no place. To understand the significance of the elevenfold star of Thelemic initiation we need to examine the importance of Malkuth the Kingdom in the scheme of things.
[This article is abridged from Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.]

Elevenfold Star of Union or Astrum Argenteum

The Pyramid

The magical formula of the Neophyte may apply to each of the three Orders of the Golden Dawn, Rosy Cross and Silver Star. The Golden Dawn ‘Z’ Formula expresses the Magick of Light, symbolised by the Sword (descending current) and Serpent (ascending current). The Sword and Serpent is the key symbolism of the grade of 5=6, Adeptus Minor. There is no difference between Adonai, as the ascending Serpent Power within the Initiate, and Typhon or Apophis.

The ritual chamber of Malkuth may be conceived as a womb and tomb for initiation. The four walls beyond the magick circle are the four classical elements, the faces of the Sphinx of Nature and cardinal directions. In our Neophyte ‘Z’ ritual, Phoenix, the circle is triangulated by two officers wearing the masks of Isis (Hegemon) and Horus (Hiereus), plus a third ‘invisible station’ of Thoth as the Word or Logos, the reconciler of the dual forces.[3] Once the circle is triangulated in this way, the vertical projection from the centre evokes the apex of the pyramid above. This comes about spontaneously, exactly as the hexagram appears above and below the magician in the Ritual of the Pentagram. The inner aspect of Malkuth is defined here by a tetrahedronal pyramid, whose apex is, figuratively speaking, Iacchus or the Holy Guardian Angel. The nature of Hadit is revealed in Liber AL, II: 15.
For I am perfect, being Not; and my number is nine by the fools; but with the just I am eight, and one in eight: Which is vital, for I am none indeed.
The tetrahedron is not only a symbol corresponding to the 31st path of Judgement but is also a symbol of Daath. Daath is the eleventh and the ‘one in eight’ referred to by Hadit. It is the key to magical transmutation.

Isis, or the Hegemon in the Neophyte ceremony, is the aspect of the Holy Guardian Angel that speaks kind words on behalf of the soul. Horus, or the Hiereus, is the Darkness of the Soul that must be overcome by the Candidate. Isis and Horus may be understood here as dual aspects of the Holy Guardian Angel, ‘life’ and ‘death’. The third aspect, spirit, is symbolised by the invisible station of Thoth behind the two pillars in the Hall of Double Maat. Thoth, or Tahuti, stands in the sign of the Enterer until the moment that the Candidate swears the Oath at the altar—for one must speak true words in the presence of the Gods. Thoth then draws back in the sign of Silence.

The Great Dragon

The apex of the Pyramid of Initiation—being pointed—may be likened to the horn on the head of the great dragon described in the visions of various prophets, and which forms the basis of the Golden Dawn Qabalistic instruction on the biblical fall of Adam and Eve. The instruction was traditionally spread through the knowledge given to the Practicus (Hod) and Philosophus (Netzach), and illustrated by two diagrams: Tree of Life before the Fall, and Tree of Life after the Fall. In the book of Isaiah, 27: 1, we find the first reference to the beast Leviathan, as a ‘crooked’ and ‘piercing’ serpent.
In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
In the book of Daniel, 7: 24, we also find a serpent or dragon, though seemingly of a different kind. There is an explicit reference to an eleventh horn.
As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.
Malkuth is the tenth sephira on the Tree of Life. Daath, ‘Knowledge’, is counted as the eleventh. There are eleven dukes of Edom listed in the book of Genesis, 36: 31–43. The Edomites are both a historical and a mythical culture, of great antiquity. Esoterically, they are the elder race that preexisted the race of man. Traditionally, they are Lords of Chaos and are likened to the heads of the risen red dragon after Adam fell and Malkuth was fatally linked to the world of shells (matter). The word translated as ‘kingdom’ in the book of Daniel is the Aramaic ‘Malkuth’. There are various Qabalistic arrangements. Malkuth has in itself ten sephiroth, three above and seven below—the palaces of the Qliphoth or Shells. Seven palaces (or crowns or horns) may also be formed from compounding the supernal triad into one, and Malkuth and Yesod into one. In the book of Daniel, 2: 42, we find that,
The toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
The esoteric interpretation of the dream of Daniel concerning Nebuchadnezzar is that the two feet, each with five toes, symbolise a dual projection in consciousness from the Holy Guardian Angel. The vision describes the feet as part of clay and part of iron—the weak force and the strong force, the personal will and the divine or ‘unconquered’ will of the shining Angel (αυγοηδες). Clay is the body of Adam, the ‘man of blood’, while iron is the base metal that may be transmuted into gold when the Sun is in the sign of Scorpio—the energy of Mars is required in the operation. The duality also expresses the upright and averse pentagrams which, when added to their unity (or the point in the centre), compose the elevenfold star of the Thelemic initiation path. The Mystic Number of Malkuth is ∑ (1–10) = 55, the two ‘fives’.

The Revelation of St. John

We find three references to a ten-horned beast in the book of St. John’s Revelation; in Revelation 12: 3, 13: 1 and 17: 6.
Then another sign appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven royal crowns on his heads. 
Then I saw a beast with ten horns and seven heads rising out of the sea. There were ten royal crowns on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 
And the ten horns and the beast that you saw will hate the prostitute. They will leave her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
The latter verse, 17: 6, is echoed in Liber AL, III: 43.
Let the Scarlet Woman beware! If pity and compassion and tenderness visit her heart; if she leave my work to toy with old sweetnesses; then shall my vengeance be known. I will slay me her child: I will alienate her heart: I will cast her out from men: as a shrinking and despised harlot shall she crawl through dusk wet streets, and die cold and an-hungered.
Understood as allegory, St. John’s Revelation tells of the Scarlet Woman’s initiatory trial and death, marriage to her Holy Guardian Angel (as bride of Christ or Logos) and subsequent transfiguration into the heavenly Jerusalem or body of Nuit. Malkuth is thus ‘saved’, redeemed or raised from her captivation in the material world of shells—freed from the fetters that bind her to the coils of the Qliphoth or fragmented atomic universe. The ‘prostitute’ Babalon or Scarlet Woman is the soul of the Initiate.

So far as the ‘sinful’ nature of the Scarlet Woman is concerned, it is interesting to note that in Hebrew the word ‘sin’ actually means ‘thorn’ and ‘clay’. Thorny plants such as the acacia or rose symbolise the horns of the crescent moon. The moon itself, like the clay shaped by the hands of the divine potter, is a symbol of the body and the natural soul. Liber AL, I: 16, describes the Scarlet Woman as being “a moon”; as a moon, she is containment and receptivity, as well as the division into parts of cyclical, phasic existence. She is the placenta feeding the magical embryo or Khabs. The nuptial feast that follows the hour of doom of the Scarlet Woman is a celebration of the soul’s victory over death and world illusion, of her union with the eternal.[4]


1. The Egyptian Revival was first published privately in 1923.
2. Aleister Crowley, Liber 777 and other Qabalistic writings.
3. The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation [Ordo Astri].
3. The Law of Thelema—Quantum Yoga [Ordo Astri].

© Oliver St. John 2018

This article is an abridgement of a full length essay, with annotations, that is part of the collection, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.

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