Aquarius: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Nuit XVII

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

Aquarius: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Nuit XVIINuit is depicted here as she appears on the Stele of Revealing. She is shown bending over the Star Pentactys, a pyramid of 15 stars.[1] According to the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, I: 15, to the Scarlet Woman, “is all power given”. Thus, in the lower section of the image is the ma’a Lion of Truth, Nuit’s power in the underworld typified by Leo, the opposite sign of the Zodiac to Aquarius.

The hieroglyphs of Nuit’s name are shown at the top of the card. The ‘pot’ determinative (nu) shows the nature of Nuit as the principle of containment in the cosmic sense, a body of stars. The hieroglyph for ‘sky’ or ‘space’ indicates the heavens above.

Depicted on the lower left border of the card are the symbols of Saturn, the astrological ruler of Aquarius, and Uranus, ruler of the Kerubic signs. Saturn is the principle of limitation and form while Uranus symbolises the limitless expanse of space. To the right is Hé, ‘a window’, the letter of the path. The shape of the letter is that of a nomad’s tent, as with beth. The tent is shown from the side, with the aperture drawn open at the top for viewing. The letter Hé of Aquarius has the value of 5. The window of ‘five’ is the image of the starry goddess Nuit through which the seer may inwardly perceive the primordial wisdom.

Nuit is esoterically associated with Sirius or Sothis, her star of manifestation. Sopdet, the Egyptian name for Sirius, is also the name of the goddess that gives birth to the star of Venus. It has the literal meaning, ‘triangle’. Sopdet (spdt) is equal to 393, Thelema, the word of the Law in transmission and reception. The heliacal rising of the binary star Sirius is constantly relative to the solar year, thus establishing the strong relation between terrestrial earth and Sirius, the sun-behind-the-sun of our solar system.

The rising of Sirius presently occurs on the 19th July, as measured from Cairo. In antiquity, the rising took place immediately prior to the summer solstice and heralded the onset of the Nile inundation. As viewed from England at the present time, the conjunction of Sirius with the Sun is for 70 days from July 3rd to August 11th.

During the time of the conjunction or occultation of Sirius, the legend of Isis has it that she hides herself in the swamps of the Delta (‘triangle’) region to give birth to Horus. Originally, Set-Hadit was the only begotten son of Nuit-Sopdet. The star of the Mother is manifested by her son, Set. There is in fact no ‘father in heaven’. The All-father was the invention of patriarchs and eventually, religious monotheists. The pairing of Isis with Osiris was likewise a relatively modern version of the legends of Isis that was better suited to the disposition of ancient Greek and Roman men than the original stellar myth.[2]

Sirius TriangulationSirius forms a group of stars with Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) and Procyon, called the ‘winter triangle’. This embraces much of the constellation of Monoceros, ‘Unicorn’. Four other stars, Pollux, Capella, Aldebaron and Rigel (left foot of Orion) form the ‘winter hexagon’. This establishes a geometric and mystical relationship between Sirius and Orion, which symbolises the Sah or magical body. Thus the Nephilim, sons of the Ancient Ones, are sometimes called the Children of Orion.[3] The geometry of the triangulation of Sirius with the hexagon, or hexagram by extension, automatically declares the Cube of Space, as can be seen by the diagram above. The triangle, hexagram and square spell the name Lux Occulta, ‘Occult Light’ or Aur Muphala, 364, which is a name of Kether as the ‘moonflower’. The number 364 declares the days in a lunar year, and is a number of Set, the ‘breaker of the circle (of the year)’ and the only begotten son-star of Nuit.

This configuration involves seven stars in all, thus proportionately mirroring the seven bright stars of Ursa Major, the ‘axle of the universe’, rotating while always pointing to the Pole. That is in fact the esoteric meaning of aleph, which corresponds to the 11th path and Tarot trump the The Seer 0. Aleph is not, as has long been supposed, the ox that ploughs the field but is the ox that turns the wheel or swastika of the stars. Likewise, lamed is not the scourge that drives the ox but is the Egyptian sickle ma’a that clears the way for truth (Maat), which is the Stellar Gnosis.

Nuit: Daughter of the Firmament

The 15th path begins in Chokmah, root of the will, and terminates in Tiphereth, the radiant beauty of love. It is called the Constituting Intelligence, and is the essence of creative force that arises in pure darkness. The 15th path corresponds to Aquarius according to the correction given in AL, I: 57,

All these old letters of my Book are aright; but Tzaddi is not the Star.

The material manifestation or mundane chakra of Chokmah is the Zodiac. Tiphereth appears in visible nature as the sun, the life-giving spirit animating the zodiacal signs through the course of the year. The key to the Zodiac is the Moon and Sun as the governance of Spirit acting upon the Zodiac through the four classical elements of nature. The Zodiac is called Mazloth in the Qabalah. In the word is a key to the transmission of consciousness. The priesthood of Set, builders of the oldest pyramids, convey the secret of the starry wisdom or primordial gnosis. The (Egyptian) Book of the Law is itself such a transmission.

The root of the word Mazloth is mezla, a type of influx or influence from Kether or the North Pole of the universe. Mezla has the meaning of ‘flowing, to flow down in drops’. It signifies a whirling, spiralic or radiant force. As Mazloth is the name of the Zodiac, mezla refers to the stars of Draco and Thuban at the North Pole. The Dragon constellation is thus named because at one time it coincided with the Nodes of the Moon, the Dragon’s Head and Dragon’s Tail. The Dragon is a cosmic symbol of the Occult Force or Serpent Power embodying the polar electro-magnetic force of the universe.[4]

The description of mezla as ‘flowing’ and ‘drops’ alludes to the fact that the true crown or lotus of Kether is feminine. The equivalent sahasrara chakra of the Tantras is described, as we have stated before, as a ‘moonflower’. It is unique among all other chakras in that its lotus flower is turned downwards, so as to pour forth starry dew or nectar. The ‘one’ that is afforded Kether in the scheme of things is not a singular state of affairs but is the principle of love or union. Crowley’s isolationist statement in Liber 777, that the number one is “the goal not the means”, and that it is therefore “too simple to serve the purpose of the magician”, is false.[5] The ‘one’ is the means of yoga, as concentration of thought and the uniting principle. It is not an end or goal. There are no goals beyond the Abyss. Thus, Crowley was chastised by Aiwass in AL, I: 48:

My prophet is a fool with his one, one, one; are not they the Ox, and none by the Book?

The number of the verse, 48, is that of Kokab or khu-khabs, the Star of Nuit. Furthermore, the ‘one’ is not an ‘opened out circle’; it is the axis formed when a point is moved within a circle or sphere. It does not exist without the circle of Nuit, or as in any way separate from her circumference. Hadit is not depicted as a straight line but as a Serpent or winged disc going forth. As a figure, the ‘one’ has no meaning without the infinitude of all other possible numbers. As declared in the oracle of Nuit in AL, I: 2,

Every number is infinite, there is no difference.

Of the Star of Nuit, it is said in AL, I: 9,

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

Nuit is the Star Goddess 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 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.


1. The Pentactys extends the baseline four of the Pythagorean Tetractys by one, to five. It is the geometric symbol of Nuit and her company of heaven. There are 15 stars in total. The number 15 is the Grand Number of the Pentagram and the extension of the letter and path of Nuit as ∑ (1–5) = 15. There are altogether 75 (Nuit) radiations of the Khabs (5 x 15). The pyramid and star together form the hieroglyphic determinative for Sirius, the star of Set and the Isis (Aset) of Egypt.

2. The Greeks named the constellational home of Sirius as ‘Dog’, and Sirius, its brightest star, the ‘Dog Star’. If we take what the epic poets wrote at face value then we may conclude that the Greeks and Romans supposed the occultation of Sirius or ‘dog days’, coinciding with summer heat, to be an ill omen. Curiously, they also thought this caused women to become sexually aroused. We must suppose they also found that disagreeable. By this time, all knowledge of the ‘space marks’, the occult alignments of the stars, was long forgotten or had otherwise been systematically repressed.

3. The Nephilim are first mentioned in the book of Genesis, 6: 4. In Numbers, 13, their descendants are called the ‘sons of Anak’; very tall, strong men that had remarkable powers and that had created a veritable paradise on earth.  Anak (ONQ) means ‘giant’, but also refers to a necklace or collar, somewhat like the Egyptian menat, worn by gods, kings and queens. Numbers recounts how Israel sent out 12 spies to the country of the sons of Anak, as there were rumours of a paradise there, a land “veritably flowing with milk and honey”. The spies came back with grapes so big that they had to carry them on a pole. When asked if the land could be plundered, the spies said it could not, because the sons of Anak were very tall and strong. And that, “We were as grasshoppers in their eyes”. The Old Ones will return once more to inherit the earth, however, when the reign of the present mutant race of terrestrials is at an end.

4. For a detailed examination of the cosmic serpent, see ‘Star and Snake of Egypt’, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].

5. ‘Gematria’, pp. 43, 777 and other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley [Samuel Weiser 1973].

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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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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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.


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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