Our Lady BABALON

From time to time it has come to our notice that some people have very strange ideas concerning who or what our Lady Babalon is, or what she symbolises.

Blake: BABALONBabalon, as divine personification and Shakti, to whom is the power of ‘reversing time’ in the assimilation and reabsorption of all illusions of self, is integral to initiatic transmission and gnosis. Yet it is very common nowadays to find ‘devotees’ of Babalon that are only devoted to a kind of advertising agency notion of the ‘modern woman’. This involves a kind of sexualised ideal of women that is a contradiction in itself, a dissociated idea of the self that could only come about in the confusion that owes to the spiritual vacuum of the present times. It persists in the ambiguous realm of fantasy—which also happens to be the realm used for selling products. Sadly, the licentious trading on the name of Babalon typifies the total inversion of all spiritual knowledge. It denies any possibility of gnosis or initiation while pretending to sell ‘liberation’ through the cynical commercial exploitation of completely ordinary human weakness and delusion.

Our Lady Babalon has vastly ancient origins. Her name derives from a corruption of the Egyptian per-hapi-en-aunnu, ‘Nile Temple of Aunnu’. The Nile Temple, dedicated to Hathoor the goddess of the sky and the divine pillar or initiatic axis, refers to the nome centre of the place named by the Greeks as Heliopolis, the City of the Sun. Hathoor is notable for giving birth to Horus without any need for a father, which is indicative of a pure metaphysical understanding of reality beyond the cosmological level, identical to the Advaitan knowledge path or Non Dual gnosis.

The name Hathoor, Egyptian Het-hor, means literally ‘House of Horus’. Hathoor, or Babalon, is thus cognate with Nuit as personification of the supreme principle. As ‘clothed with the sun’, she is both the manifest and unmanifest principle. The relatively modern spelling of her name was derived from the Enochian Keys. By regular Qabalistic values the name ‘Babalon’ adds to 156, which is the number of the Zodiac as a unified principle (12 x 13). It is also the number of squares in each of the Enochian Watchtower Tablets. From that we can ascertain that while the absolute principle is not altered by any conditions of manifestation, Babalon, in her manifest aspect, is the ruler of the cosmological sphere. As we know that Horus in his earliest form as Set-Mentu is the Legislator or Lord of the Cosmic Cycle, we can understand how it is not really possible to separate Horus from Hathoor in the same way that Hadit is not separate from Nuit, for these are dual aspects of the supreme principle.

From the corporeal and human point of view, Our Lady Babalon is the type of the human soul, especially when named the ‘Scarlet Woman’ in the Book of the Law. As such, the soul suffers the burden of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, which resides in the human heart. Some insights may be gleaned from a name of the Garden of Eden (ODN KBVD), which also has the value of 156. According to our Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, the Scarlet Woman or soul is warned that the gates of paradise will be closed if she is herself closed to the word of the Holy Guardian Angel. The “compassion and tenderness” mentioned in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, III: 43, has negative implications for the soul. The sympathy or feeling that the soul has is very closely associated with her bodily emotions and mentality. Such ‘feeling’ thus easily becomes a mask for pride and egotism. While there is nothing wrong with love and kindness when it springs freely from the heart, the human mind has an immense capacity for deception. We must also discern a difference here between the ‘heart’ as an analogy for spiritual intelligence and the conventional meaning of the word as merely emotion, instinct or sentiment.

Scorpio, ruled by fiery Mars, the energy or ‘blood’ of life, is sometimes understood as a correspondence of Babalon as the ‘Scarlet Woman’ referred to in the Book of the Law. It is worthwhile looking at a further correspondence of the number 156, KMVTz (Kemotz). Our Flaming Sword gives this as the Ruling Angel of the 1st Decanate of Scorpio. The name suggests ‘essence of darkness’, which seems rather abstruse until we consider that darkness or blackness can symbolise the unmanifest or primordial state, which is identical with the supreme principal. In its inferior aspect, darkness is simply the darkness of ignorance, so we are at once confronted with the dual nature of symbolism. Both aspects apply to the Scarlet Woman or human soul, for she must choose, as according to the Book of the Law, I: 57:

There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well!

The dove is the symbol of the Deliverance, also the avatar that ascends and descends the axis or world tree as an intermediary. It is inseparable from the symbolism of the Holy Graal. The serpent itself has a dual aspect, superior and inferior. Here it is played against the bird of heaven, as the Adversary or tendency towards evil that is in man. To a certain extent then, the soul must undergo trials in the underworld or infernal realm that has its equation with ‘ordinary life’, before reaching the centre of the labyrinth. Once the centre is reached—if it is reached and not denied—it becomes possible for the soul’s initiatory death and resurrection or ascent.


Notes on our Lady Babalon

This article further develops themes explored in our books Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs and the forthcoming Nu Hermetica.

© Oliver St. John 2021

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Sagittarius: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Neith XIV

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 25th path of Sagittarius is Neïth XIV. Jupiter, the Sapphire Star, is the ruler of Sagittarius. Neptune is also figured as governor of the mutable signs.

Sagittarius: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Neïth XIVNeïth is depicted here as a young woman clothed in deep blue, with yellow ornaments and trim. She bears a green ankh of life in her left hand and priestly was sceptre or phoenix wand in her right hand. She wears a fillet armed with a serpent. The hieroglyphic name of Neïth is shown at the top right of the Tarot picture. The first letter is net, the ‘shuttle’ determinative. Next comes the hieroglyph for the ‘sky’, identical to that of Nuit. The name is completed with the phonetic ‘t’.[1]

Behind Neïth stands a composite symbol formed from the djed pillar, the shuttle, which spells her name (net), and the Arrow of Sagittarius. The Egyptian djed pillar is the origin of the letter samekh, which defines the 25th path of Sagittarius. The djed bears comparison with the spinal column, especially when that is taken as the subtle channel for spirit-fire in the occult anatomy. It thus signifies spiritual strength and endurance. It is also a type of alchemical retort for the transformation of iron, the dross of experience, into gold, the invisible radiance of spirit.

Neïth was one of the earliest creatrix deities, the weaver of the web of the worlds and the light of the world. She was originally the personification of the waters of the primordial nun, the abyss from which all life issues forth, and which existed even before the birth of Gods such as Ra.[2] As goddess of the crossed arrows, Neïth is the guardian of the Abyss and of all crossroads or thresholds of initiation. The ‘x’ symbol is the primal signature for any place or location. It marks the formless substance or radiance from which all life is created and manifested.[3]

Sagittarius and the House of the Net

The foremost shrine of Neïth was called the ‘House of the Net’ (Net-Het) at Sàis in the Delta. It was here that a great annual festival was held in honour of Neïth and Isis. The festival resembled the rites of Candlemas or Imbolc, the crossquarter of the year between the winter solstice and spring equinox where cakes are made and eaten in honour of the Goddess. Lanterns are kept alight all night and carried in processions coinciding with the full Moon.

According to Herodotus, curious rites were performed in Sàis near a row of ancient monoliths. A small shrine was hollowed out below the ground and covered with an ornately carved stone slab. The walls of the shrine were also decorated with fantastic carving. From the account given by Herodotus it is certain that the shrine was used for night-long vigils for the purpose of initiation. No one would be allowed to enter or leave until the morning, by which time the person thus prepared would have encountered their Daemon, or perhaps even Neïth.[4]

Neïth was called the ‘House of the Net’ from earliest times. The root of the name ‘Net’ is phonetically identical to the name for any god or natural principle, neter, and is thought to refer to spinning or weaving. As Binah, Neïth is the matrix for the word or Logos. The Net has a dual meaning. On the one hand it is composed of the subtle threads of the matrix of existence. Knowledge of the space-marks, as named in Liber AL, I: 52, opens the ways to the pathways of light that lead out of and beyond the underworld.

If this be not aright; if ye confound the space-marks, saying: They are one; or saying, They are many; if the ritual be not ever unto me: then expect the direful judgments of Ra Hoor Khuit!

We are warned here concerning the misguided philosophical notion of ‘one’, for it leads to belief in an Isolate Intelligence or supreme separate self. Those who believe in this ‘one supreme’ become ensnared in an evil net or web of self-confinement. Such souls have chosen unwisely. They are unable to hear the words of Isis. Unless a word is heard, as demonstrated in the legends of Ra and Isis, the soul cannot resurrect. Self-identification leads the soul to become detained in the underworld until dispersion ensues. Whereas the soul gains substance in the dissolution of ego, she faces annihilation if the ego should finally baulk the appointed rôle of the ass that carries the ark. The sacrifice is made willingly or not at all.

Neïth and the Path of Sagittarius

‘Temperance’ is the conventional name of the 14th Tarot Atu; Daughter of the Reconcilers: Bringer-forth of Life is the esoteric title. The magical power of the 25th path is that of Transmutations.[5] The Tarot of Marseille depicts an Angel pouring liquid between blue and red vases. It is not difficult to conclude the art of alchemy is portrayed there—Sagittarius is after all the mutable fire sign of the Zodiac. Neptune or Shiva, principle of the dissolution of aeons, is the governor of the mutable signs.

The 25th path of Sagittarius connects the sphere of the Moon or natural psyche with that of the Sun, the centre of the mind’s intelligence. The silver of the Moon and gold of the Sun are here fused into the stone of the wise or philosophic egg. These terms are metaphors for the ‘substance’ of the immortal principle. Fools will always attempt to apprehend the immortal stone—similarly, a child might seek to capture sunshine in a bottle. While the child may be rewarded with a faery song, the real fool will get nothing in return for the immortal soul that he has traded away in return for worldly acquisition.

The 25th path crosses the veil called Paroketh, marking the division between the world of appearances and the formless world of spirit, which is completely invisible to the profane. As such, the 25th path is called the Intelligence of Probation or Trial. The mind’s intelligence (Ruach) has its foundation in Yesod, the natural soul or body. It is only by trial and experience that the harmony and beauty of Tiphereth can be fixed as a permanent reflection in Yesod. The proving of the Great Work is not the kind of ‘proving’ that might convince the sceptic but is the proving of the very soul. To be a foundation for beauty, the psyche must undergo the purification of study, the organisation of the thoughts. Likewise, the body must submit to the beneficent astringent of the rituals and practice.

The operation of the Great Work can only proceed if the aspirant practices detachment, indifference to phenomena, and refuses to self-identify with the actions of the personality and events that seem to be taking place around. The ‘indifference’ is not to be thought of as lack of attention. In fact, the level of observation is intensified through meditation practice. As the spinner of the worlds, Neïth also fires the Arrow of Truth that spells dissolution of ego—a process that must begin no sooner than a foot is placed on the path. For that reason the Intelligence of Probation is often likened to a Dark Night of the Soul.


Notes

1. The name ‘Neïth’ may be pronounced approximately as nyet.
2. The term ‘abyss’ is often incorrectly identified with ‘chaos’ in the sense of confusion, disorder, which is in itself a profane misunderstanding of the original meaning of ‘chaos’. The primordial nun is the depth.
3. The formless ‘light’ or radiance that clothes Neïth is the particular attribute of the Priestess of the Silver Star of Atu II. The 13th path is a continuation of the 25th, and so the same ideas are resumed on a higher arc. By comparison, the 32nd path at the base of the Tree, Great One of the Night of Time, is usually imaged in the Tarot by the Goddess as visible nature.
4. The comment by the ancient Greek traveller Herodotus proves that psychology was not the invention of Freud, for he drily dismisses the vigils conducted in honour of Neïth as mere fantasy: “Herein everyone encounters the shadows of his own affections and fantasies in the night season, which the Egyptians call Mysteries.” The commentator on such rites is thus equipped only to reveal his own initiation, or the lack of it.
5. Qabalistic notes on Sagittarius and the 25th path are adapted from The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth [Ordo Astri].

From the book, Egyptian Tarot of Thelema.
© Oliver St. John 2020

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema is an entirely new concept in the field of practical magick, divination and Thelema. The 12 Zodiac trumps can be viewed here. The Tarot is available  as of December 2020. Preview and purchase the Tarot here. More information on our ‘Books’ page may be found here.

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The Star of the Order

What is this Star? The (Egyptian) Book of the Law has a complete metaphysics but the Law is “Written and Concealed” (III: 75). The first and only time that Aiwass makes a direct statement in his own name is in verses I: 7–8, where he declares, “The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs”. He has named himself as the “minister of Hoor-paar-kraat”, which is broadly speaking the God of Silence or of meditation. This is be understood as the ‘pure consciousness’—of which more will be explained later. The God, often shown emerging from a lotus flower, is easily comparable with early depictions of the Buddha and also of Shiva. As a prince and priest (literally), Aiwass was entitled to wear the forelock of Harpocrates; however, in this case we are dealing with one that far exceeded the fulfilment of a mere office or official function. To approach further understanding of all this we need to know something about the Egyptian Khabs and Khu.

Khabs Star: Khabs in the KhuThe Khabs is actually a threefold symbol, as written everywhere upon stone and papyrus. It consists of a five-fingered or five-rayed star, which is sometimes called the ‘Hand of Orion’ (Sahu). It is described in the Book of the Law, I: 60, as blue and gold, five-pointed with a red circle in the middle. Stars exactly as described there adorn the walls and ceiling of Egyptian temples such as the Temple of Hathoor at Iunet (Denderah).[1] Within the radials is a small circle, and within that is the point or primordial centre. From the centre, the radiations form the circumference of the circle of all possibilities, and so these possibilities exist as latent in the centre.

This article is abridged from Nu Hermetica—Initiation and Metaphysical Reality [Ordo Astri books].

The same circle and point is used to symbolise the Sun, but equally it is used to symbolise the ‘Sun behind the Sun’, or Kether in the Qabalistic schema. The latter is the Supreme Centre, the primordial fount of all wisdom, while the former is the secondary solar centre, or Tiphereth. The Khu is the principle of radiance as applied to the transcendent individuality. As a ‘resurrection body’, the means of return to the source, it is symbolised by a phoenix, ibis, heron or other kind of bird.[2] The Khabs or ‘star’ also shows the principle of radiance, and radiance is naturally contained within the circle about the point, whose rays form the circumference.

The Star as Door to the Centre

The Khabs does not symbolise a star as such, which is called seba, but is a type of opening or doorway to the timeless ‘hollow’ at the centre of all, sometimes depicted in various traditions as a heart, vessel or graal.[3] The Khabs is nonetheless the principle of a ‘body’, ‘house’ or ‘abode’, and is called in the Book of the Law, II: 2, the ‘House of Hadit’—that is, the abode of the principial point.

I, Hadit, am the complement of Nu, my bride. I am not extended, and Khabs is the name of my House.

From the terrestrial or corporeal point of view, the ‘Khu is in the Khabs’, and corresponds to the tantrik Shakti, depicted as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine in the subtle anatomy, dreaming the world illusion until awakened through yoga and other practices. The Occult Force or Kundalini is not actually located in the body as such, for it is a reflection of the primordial and cannot be contained. It therefore only appears so owing to the fallen state or what is called in Vedanta, ‘ignorance’.[4] The doctrine revealed by Aiwass is therefore the higher or initiated teaching.

The ‘extension’ of Hadit takes place through the two-way door of the Khabs. Outside or below that, he manifests as the Serpent of Knowledge whose abode is the Tree of Death, which is also the abode of man in the fallen state. Thus the Khabs itself has a dual aspect, above and below, or within and without—and with initiation, the point of view reverses. The Khabs is in the Khu from the supra-human or post-Abysmal point of view.

Star of Khabs in Khu: Qabalistic SchemaThis can best be understood if we use the Qabalistic schema as shown to the left here. The Khabs star is here identified with Da’ath, for it acts as the means by which Hadit projects the appearance of things, Nuit’s manifestation, as measured (and eventually quantified) in the Abyss of man’s consciousness.[5] It is at the same time the means of return to the primordial state; thus Nuit instructs in the Book of the Law, I: 9,

Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!

According to traditional Qabalistic texts, Da’ath is hidden in the secret places of Binah, the primordial Mother and feminine aspect of Set-Typhon. Seen this way, the Khu cannot be in the Khabs, for the lesser cannot contain the greater or superior. The Khabs is here the emanation of the Khu, Nuit’s “company of heaven” projecting into time and space.[6]

To complete the metaphysical basis it is necessary to place the Egyptian Akh principle in Chokmah. Akh, like Khu, is ‘radiance’, but whereas the Khu tends towards form, the Akh tends towards essence, the primordial or immortal state. This is shown by the word ‘Akh’ itself, which is the reverse of Khu and is formless, as is the principle of ‘will’ or ‘ordinance’—which is a further meaning of Akh.

We can now see why the threefold Khabs is sometimes called the ‘hand of Orion’, the giant constellation or ‘sky-strider’, which has great importance in the ancient Egyptian schema. Every king was identified with Sahu or Orion. This was frequently depicted by an anthropomorphic figure of a God or a man with his left foot forward and one arm flung back over the shoulder, bearing what is frequently misconstrued as a ‘flail’. This, combined with what is nearly always mistaken for a ‘crook’ became one of the most important symbols of both Gods and kings.[7] The nekhakha (‘emanation’) and hekat (‘hook’) are another type of the Khu and Khabs. Nekhakha, the triune Sophia or Khabs, is the means of the creation of a new state of being; hekat is the power of ordinance or ‘activity’ in the inner or spiritual sense.

Thus, the “servants of the star and snake”, as it is put in the Book of the Law, II: 21, are those who serve only the primordial reality of Nuit and her Star, to whom the ‘snake’ must arise. Their sole purpose is that of initiation. This is accomplished, in the highest degree, through an ascending and descending realisation.[8] For the ‘descent’ to be perfect, the realisation must be to the fourth state, beyond even the ‘third birth’, and in which, to use the Sanskrit term, the dual soul of Brahma is known. This fourth state, according to Guénon, must have been known by Shankara as it is in the texts he was commenting on, but he would say nothing about it.[9]

In this respect it may be worth noting that the Advaitan turia, the ‘fourth state’ (of consciousness) is equal by Qabalah to the number 226, which is that of Tzaphon, ‘hidden’, ‘profound’ or ‘the north’. The ancient Egyptian word tura is clearly the origin of the Sanskrit term, and means ‘pure’. Terms such as bodhisattva and avatara, as according to various traditions, describe one that has effectively risen beyond even the ‘saints’—for while the saints attain a high degree of initiation it is on their own behalf, whereas the avatars have a special mission that is concerned with assisting others with the Great Work to the very end of time.

The notion of ‘compassion’ that is often used in association with the work of avatars reduces and degrades both their purpose and their function, so that some have supposed an ‘avatar’ to represent a lesser degree of the deliverance or Supreme Realisation, whereas it is in fact of the highest and most complete order. It is not a matter of sentimentality or emotionalism, which again is so often confused when the symbol of the ‘heart’ or vessel (Egyptian ab) is present, but is a matter of divine ordinance.


Notes

1. Iunet, which includes a large temple complex north of Waset (Thebes), means approximately, ‘She of the Divine Pillar’ (or ‘pillar of light’). The name relates both to Hathoor as Sky Goddess and the axis of the universe, of which the ‘hub’ or centre of the wheel governs all manifestation, cosmologically speaking. Spiritually speaking, it marks the primordial centre that is the source of all initiatic transmission.
2. Cf. Babalon Unveiled, ‘New Light on Stele 666’, pp. 41–43.
3. The word ‘Khabs’ is actually the reverse of seba, ‘star’, with the addition of the ‘kh’, similar in pronunciation to the Hebrew cheth. Note that the termination, abs, is cognate with both ‘abyss’ or ‘opening’ and the Egyptian ab, ‘heart’ or vessel. Furthermore, seba, as in the case of Khabs, is frequently depicted in hieroglyphs as a bird (‘celestial body’).
4. For example, the Non-Dual or Advaitan teachings of Shankara.
5. ‘Quantification’ occurs near the end of time, at the ending of a great age or manvantara. See Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times [Sophia Perennis].
6. Book of the Law, I: 2: “The unveiling of the company of heaven.”
7. See Babalon Unveiled, pp. 229–30.
8. See Guénon, chapter 38, Initiation and Spiritual Realisation [Sophia Perennis].
9. Perhaps for the obvious reason that Advaita is ‘non-dualism’—see pp. 178 [ibid]. However, the ‘dual soul’ of Brahma, being neither manifest nor unmanifest yet partaking of both, has nothing to do with ‘duality’ or ‘dualism’ and is not in any way ‘dualistic’.

© Oliver St. John 2021
From the book, Nu Hermetica—Initiation and Metaphysical Reality.

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