Enochian Keys to the Apocalypse

Some have speculated that John Dee’s Enochian Keys (or Calls) of the Thirty Aethyrs are a theurgic operation comparable to opening the seven seals of the Apocalypse. Commentators and critics regard the subject from a strictly scholarly and so exoteric point of view, and are not in any way qualified to explain esoteric matters. However, the line of thought is an interesting one and appears to have some justification when the Keys are studied and practiced over a lengthy period of time.

Enochian Keys to Apocalypse: Death on a Pale Horse William Blake (1800)‘Apocalypse’ is of course the title of the well-known New Testament book of St. John, his book of Revelation. The word ‘apocalypse’, from the Greek root apokalypto, means ‘to reveal’. The book’s title is frequently confused with ‘Armageddon’, a word from Revelation 16: 16 that refers to a kind of ‘last battle on earth’, a war between spiritual forces and evil (anti-spiritual) forces before the Day of Judgement. The meaning of the word is sometimes taken out of context and reduced so that it refers to any catastrophic war between contending human forces. Such a battle, when understood as taking place between the spiritual and the material, is not the same as a ‘revelation’, though it might form a part of that revelation under some circumstances. The battle between spiritual and material forces must, by definition, always be ‘won’ finally by the spiritual, since the material has no existence beyond that which is strictly limited to the world of human affairs.

The Enochian Keys seem to include elements both of revelation and of the ‘last battle’. This is no doubt tempered by the fact that Dee’s translation (and so understanding) of the Enochian Keys was placed in language very similar to that of the King James English Bible—though that was not published until after his death, thought to be around 1609. Nonetheless, even if we re-translate some of the Enochian Keys, or apply an understanding not necessarily dependent on Christian theology, the sense of urgency remains—it is impossible not to feel the call to prepare for the ‘day-of-be-with-us’.

This urgency has its reflection on more than one level. Spiritually, it is the expression of an eternal truth. On the psychic level, it expresses the need for regeneration so that spiritual revelation is even possible. On the terrestrial level one is reminded of the Great Wheel of Time in the Indian (or Hindu) tradition, where the present age is the final phase of the Kali Yuga, wherein the spirit of Antichrist or of pure materialism temporarily (or apparently) triumphs absolutely before the final end.[2] One should then bear in mind that such an end is the beginning of renewal, wherein by fire all of nature is renewed and restored to original perfection: Igne Natura Renovata Integra.

Enochian Keys: The 8th

It is not the intention here to create a commentary on all of the Enochian Keys, which would take at least a small book to accomplish. We will focus here on one of them, the 8th Key. This Key invokes the subquadrant angle of Earth of Air in the Terrestrial Watchtower of Air.[3]

The 8th Enochian Key begins,

Beautiful is the first, which is as the third heaven made of pillars of Hycacinth, in whom the Elders have become strong, which I have prepared for my own truth, so saith the Lord; whose Eternal reign shall be as bucklers to the Stooping Dragon, and like unto the harvest of a widow.

The “first” and “the third heaven” is a technical reference to the order of the Watchtower Tablets and their subquadrants—in this case, the third angle (Earth) of the first Tablet (Air). Hyacinth is traditionally associated with peace but also desire in the spiritual sense of longing for eternal truth, in which alone is peace of mind in any real and lasting sense. The violet flowers in some varieties of hyacinth do indeed form ‘pillars’ of six-petalled stars. The ‘six’ symbolises the meeting of time and eternity in the world centre or heart of all, and is figured by the hexagram of two interlaced triangles.

The Elders or Old Ones are frequently mentioned in the spells of the so-called Egyptian Book of the Dead. According to tradition these are the children of the Sons of the Gods (Beni Elohim) that spawned the original life-wave on the earth. In the Bible, the children of Gods and women are called the Nephilim, and their descendants the Anak—a word that has an identical meaning to that of Nephilim, ‘giants, tall, noble or renowned’.

Curiously, the name ‘Watchers’ has been applied to the Elders or Nephilim as mentioned in the book of Genesis.[4] The apocryphal Book of Enoch, which has a more detailed and probably older account of this very ancient mystery, was not discovered until centuries after the time of John Dee. Dee named the language of the Angels ‘Enochian’ as his intention had been to psychically recover what was at that time the ‘lost’ book of Enoch.

The last line of this first stanza, where it says that the eternal reign of the Lord shall be as “bucklers to the Stooping Dragon, and like unto the harvest of a widow”, may be understood metaphysically. The word ‘buckler’ is used in the book of Psalms, 18: 2:

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock; in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

The Hebrew word is mageni, from the root MGN, which has the value of 93 and is thus equal to Thelema. A buckler was the name given to a heraldic device born upon shields; it sometimes refers to a goatskin shield (Greek aegis) worn by Athene. In broad terms, the strength and protection is the path itself, the Way. “The Lord is my rock” may also be associated with the holy mountain, for example Hermon in the ancient land of Canaan or Phoenicia, where Ashtaroth is both the name of a place and that of a hornéd goddess.

It may have been on mount Hermon that Christ Jesus was transfigured before his disciples, according to some sources.[5] From this same holy mountain—near the summit of which still remains, built from blocks of stone, the highest shrine in the world—that the angels descended, according to the apocryphal book of Enoch. It can thus be understood why they are called ‘Watchers’. From this it may be seen that the Nephilim were the first type of avatars.[6] The transfiguration of Christ Jesus is then, at the very least, a recollection of the Elder race, to which he properly belongs according to tradition. For example, some of the Orphic texts support the same Gnostic theme: “I am a child of earth and stars, but my race is of the heavenly order”.[7]

The “harvest of a widow” is an allusion to Binah, the Mother of Faith and the Foundation of the Primordial Wisdom (Sepher Yetzirah). Here is indicated the hidden or left side of Hekate, revealed to no mortal man. It is the ‘night’ or unmanifest side, that is pure observance or watchfulness, yet without manifest projection, ‘light’ or extrusion. It is the ‘hidden light’ (AVR MPLA) of the Qabalah, an attribute afforded Kether as the ‘height’, beyond the visible stars. There is mention of Machpalah, a ‘double cave’, in Genesis (19: 30–50:13), where one chamber is the light or manifest, and the other is the dark or unmanifest side. In terms of initiation this equates to the ‘second birth’, Tiphereth, and ‘third birth’, Kether.[8] In the present context, a withdrawal of manifestation is implied, as at the end of a Great Age.

The Key continues,

How many are there which remain in the glory of the earth, which are, and shall not see death until the Fall of the Great House, and the dragon shall sink!

In the 11th of the Enochian Keys, there is reference to the ‘House of Death’, which seems to have identical meaning. This seems to place the Day of Judgement, if we use the Apocalypse frame of reference, literally in the present times. If the precessional wheel of the equinoxes is seen to commence from the house of Leo (some time before the end of the last Ice Age), which was named by the Egyptians the ‘First Time’, then we are now at the Fall of the Great House, which is Aquarius.

Come away, for the thunders have spoken; come away, for the crown of the temple, and the robe of Him that is, was, and shall be crowned, are divided.

“Him that is, was, and shall be crowned” is a reference to the Lord and Master of Time, for example Christ and Shiva—for both these bear the symbols of the key of eternity and the sceptre of time, three-fold (past, present and future).[9] The division of the “crown of the temple” is the division of the earth from all spiritual influence during the reign of Antichrist. The division of the robe seems to be a direct allusion to the Romans, who divided up the robe of Jesus to sell, before his crucifixion.[10] Thus the world, or at least the human world, is sold into slavery and condemned to hell through rejection of Christ and the denial of all spiritual possibilities. The ‘robe of Christ’ is his resurrection garment or body, which is to say, the possibility by which a soul may enter the ‘kingdom of heaven’.

Come forth, appear to the terror of the earthbound, and to our joy, and to those who in thy knowledge are prepared!

It is now revealed that those who remained “in the glory of the earth” are in fact earthbound, which is to say they will not rise again—for these, death is finality. The Angels of Truth and Justice, appearing at the end of time, will seem terrible to the wicked, but are a wonder and joy to those that have retained spiritual realisation, and so have not lost their souls as have the damned. This includes those that have faithfully followed out the path of pure knowledge, or of devotion (as according to tradition).


Notes

1. See Guénon, Reign of Quantity [Sophia Perennis].
2. Ibid.
3. There are four tablets of Enochian letters and spirit names corresponding to each of the classical elements, and each of these is divided into four subquadrants of lesser elements: Air of Air, Water of Air, Earth of Air and Fire of Air, for example. There is also a Black Cross or Spirit Tablet (in the Golden Dawn scheme) that binds them all together. There are 91 Genii or Governors that determine which of the Thirty Aethyrs or Aires is invoked when the one Key that calls them is sounded.
4. The term is thought to have originated with The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Count Jan Potocki (early 1800s). He used the word ‘egregores’ (Greek egregoros), referring to what he called “fallen angels”. The Nephilim were a race said to be born of congress between the Sons of Gods (Beni Elohim) and the daughters of earth (Genesis 6: 4). The sense of the Nephilim as ‘fallen angels’ is true in so far as they descended—compare to the Sanskrit avatara, by which a spiritual force is reified. The word ‘egregore’ was later corrupted so that it came only to mean a kind of collective psychic force.
5. Transfiguration of Christ Jesus: R.T. France, Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries) [IVP Academic, 2008].
6. See avatara, above (4). This is entirely contrary to what is said of the angels in the book of Enoch, where they are described as “iniquitous”, spawning a race of evil giants that ate men. It would be better to understand that the race of men are eaten up by their own pride. The book of Enoch is a corruption of the original legend, of which only a fragment remains. See the ‘Sons of Seth’ in Thrice Greatest Hermes, translated by GRS Mead.
7. Orphic inscription from the Petalia Gold Tablet, 300–200 BCE [British Museum].
8. The second birth and third birth is also described as a ‘first and second crossing’, in relation to the symbol of the double cave. This is compared to the Egyptian hekat and nekhakha, commonly mistaken for a ‘crook and flail’. See pp. 228–231, Babalon Unveiled—Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].
9. See Guénon, Symbols of Sacred Science, pp. 120.
10. Matthew 27: 35; Mark 15: 24; John, 19: 23.

Enochian Keys to the Apocalypse is abridged from Nu Hermetica, a work in progress.
© Oliver St. John 2021

Books by Oliver St John
Subscribe to The 93 Current monthly Journal
Temple of Babalon YouTube Channel (podcast)
Ordo Astri Home

Prophecy of Hermes

Our focus here is on four chapters of the Perfect Sermon, XXIII to XXVI, sometimes called the Prophecy of Hermes (mid 2nd century).[1] The Prophecy of Hermes discourse takes the form of a dialogue between the Master Trismegistus and his disciple, Asclepius.

Prophecy of Hermes: Great Pyramid of EgyptThe Prophecy of Hermes was written down at a critical turning point in history. It was the cusp or event horizon of the precessional Age of Pisces, just as we are now on the cusp of the precessional Age of Aquarius. By the early centuries CE, shortly before the Christian Gospel narratives were scribed, the Creatrix or sacred feminine was all but erased from the minds of the philosophers, and an All-Father or Father Monad superimposed upon the mysteries. While the popular cult of Isis still survived and proliferated far beyond the boundaries of Egypt, it would be but a short time before the Egyptian language was completely forgotten.

When the Prophecy of Hermes was written there was still what Hermes-Thoth refers to as a ‘pure philosophy’, based on Gnosis or direct revelation, and an emergent impure or pseudo philosophy, based on ordinary reason. Before long, the rational or profane philosophy would become the only acceptable ‘truth’. We have restored here the Creatrix, variously named Mut, Neïth or Hathoor, in place of the Father Monad, the ‘Self-Alone-God’.[2] In that way, we have restored the text to a simulacrum of how it might have been delivered and heard, before being overwritten by scribes. However, what we have changed is very little and for the most part only concerns the titles afforded Theos or divinity. We have taken the language out of the King James Bible English of the 1906 translation and rendered it in plain English.

The Prophecy of Hermes begins with chapter XXII. Thrice Greatest (Trismegistus) has expounded to his disciple Asclepius matters concerning the immortal nature, and of those that will perceive it, and of those who cannot. The dialogue continues in XXIII on the nature of the images of Gods that man fashions in his own likeness.

Prophecy of Hermes: XXIII

1. Tris. The knowledge of the immortal nature is conveyed only to a few. These are chosen through the devotion of their heart. Still, of the rest, the vicious folk, we ought to say no word, for fear that our sacred sermon should be spoiled by even thinking of them. Our sermon treats of the relationship and intercourse of men and women and their Gods. Learn then, Asclepius, of wherein is the true power and strength of man.

As Mut, or as some say, Neïth, or Hathoor, gave birth to the Gods in Heaven, so man is the maker of the gods who, in the temples, allow all to approach, and who not only have light of blessing poured on them, but who also send forth their light on all; thus the devotee does not only go forward towards the Gods but also confirms the Gods on earth.

Are you surprised, o Asclepius? I see that you—even you!—do not believe.

2. Asc. I am amazed, Thrice Greatest; but willingly I give assent to all your words. A man is very blessed that has attained to such great felicity.

Tris. This is rightly so—for such deserves our wonder, in that he is the greatest of them all!

As for the race of the Gods in Heaven, it is clear from the commingling of them all that it has been made pregnant from the fairest part of nature. The only signs by which they are discerned are, as it were, from their source, before all else.

3. On the other hand, the species of the gods that humankind constructs is fashioned out of that most ancient and divine nature, and also from out of that nature in men. That is to say, it is fashioned out of the stuff of which they have been made and are configured, not only in their minds but also in each of their members and in their whole body.

It is thus that humankind, in imaging Divinity, stays mindful of the nature and the source of its own self.

Furthermore, in the same way that Hathoor is the Tree of Life from which the Gods are sprung, that they might be in her likeness, then so has mankind produced its own gods according to the likeness of the look of its own self.

 XXIV

1. Asc. Surely you do not mean their statues, O Master?

Tris. I mean their statues, o Asclepius. Can you not see how much you—even you!—doubt my word? Statues ensouled with sense and filled with spirit! These work mighty and strange results. Statues that foresee what is to come, and perchance can prophecy. They will foretell things by dreams and in many other ways. There are statues that take the strength away from men, or that may cure their sorrow, if they should deserve it.

Do you not know then, Asclepius, that Egypt is the image of the Heaven? Or that which is even truer, the transference or descent of all that are in governance or exercise in Heaven? And yet more truly still it must be said:

This land of ours is the Shrine of all the World.

2. It is proper that the wise should give utmost care in considering and understanding all that I have said concerning these matters. As for you, Asclepius, it is not right that you should be ignorant of the same.

The time will come when it will seem as if Egypt served the Divinity with single-minded devotion and care for nothing—for all her holy cult will fall to nothingness and be in vain.

That Divinity is now about to depart speedily from Earth and return to Heaven, and Egypt shall be left alone. The Earth, which was once the seat of devoted and honourable cults shall be widowed, bereft—no longer knowing the presence of the Gods.

And barbarians shall fill this region and this land. Not only shall there be the neglect of the pious cults but—and what is still more painful—by profane laws, penalties shall be decreed against such devoted practices and worship of the Gods. These will even be totally prohibited.

3. This most holy land, the seat of our shrines and temples, shall then be choked with tombs and corpses.

O Egypt, Egypt! Only tales will remain of your cults, and these will be as unbelievable to your own sons as for the rest of humankind. Words alone will be left carved on your stones, to recount your beautiful deeds.

And Egypt will be made the home of those who are alien to her.

Yes! The Godly Company shall climb back to Heaven, and their forsaken worshippers will all die out. And Egypt, bereft of God and man, shall be abandoned.

4. And now I speak to you, O River, holiest Stream! I tell you what will be. Your banks will overflow with bloody torrents. Not only shall your sacred streams be stained with blood but also they shall all flow over with the same.

The cult of the dead shall far exceed the cult of the living. The surviving remnant shall be Egyptians in their appearance but in their deeds they shall be as the profane.

XXV

1. Why do you weep, Asclepius? There is more than this, by far more wretched. Egypt herself shall be impelled and stained with even greater evil.

For she, the Holy Land, once deservedly the most beloved of the Gods by reason of her untiring service to the Gods on Earth, she the sole abode of holiness and teacher of wisdom upon the earth, shall be the type of all that is most barbarous. And then, out of our loathing for mankind, the world will seem no more deserving of our wonder and our praise.

This entire good thing, of which none fairer was ever seen, nor is there anything, nor will there ever be, will be in peril.

2. And that will prove a burden unto men. On account of this they will despise and cease to love this Cosmos as a whole. They will cease to love the eternal work of the Divine; the glorious and entire creation, comprised of manifold variety of forms; the steadfast deliverer of the Divine Will, wholly supporting that Great Work.

They will cease to love the multitudinous whole that is the principle of love itself, that should be reverenced, praised and loved—by them at least that have the eyes to see. For Darkness will be set before the Light, and Death will be thought preferable to Life. They will not even raise their eyes to Heaven. And then they will think that the holy, wise and strong are mad. They will think that fools and profane are wise sages. The unruly mob will be held as strong, and ignorance will prevail over all.

3. Of the soul, and all concerning her, whereby she presumes that either she has been born deathless or that she will attain to deathlessness, as according to all that I have said to you:

All this will be considered not only a matter of jest and mockery, but even as vanity.

Believe me, if you will, that the penalty of death shall even be decreed to him who shall devote himself to the Pure Knowledge.

New legislation will be enforced, a novel law; nothing that is sacred, nothing holy, nothing that is worthy of the Heaven, or Gods in Heaven, shall ever be heard, or even believed in the mind.

4. The sorrowful departure of the Gods from humankind takes place. Only noxious spirits remain, who mingled with humanity will lay their hands on them, and drive the wretched folk to every reckless evil—to wars, and robberies, deceits, and all those things that are opposed to the soul’s very nature.

Then the Earth shall no longer hold together. The sea shall no longer be sailed upon. The Heaven shall not continue with the courses of the stars, nor the star-courses in Heaven.

The voice of every God shall cease in the Great Silence that no one can break. The fruits of Earth shall rot. Earth shall no longer bring forth. The air itself shall faint away in despair of that sad listlessness.

XXVI

1. This, when it comes, shall be the world’s old age and impiety, denoting irregularity and irrationality in all things.

Asclepius, when these things all come to pass, then the Great Old Ones, to thwart the criminals, and to cancel the error of the corruption of all things, to restore all things so as to be in accordance with Divine Will, shall put an end to the evil. It will be washed away with water-flood, or burnt away with fire or forcibly expelled with war and famine.[2] The Holy Spirit will restore the Cosmos to its ancient form, so that the world shall once again be loved and worshipped. And once again, ceaseless praises and hymns of blessing will be sent forth.

2. In this rebirth of Cosmos is the renewal of all good things, and the holiest return of Nature’s self, by means of divine ordinance—of Nature, which was without beginning, and which is without an end. For the Divine Will has no beginning; it is ever the same and as it is, without end.

This then, is the Divine Will, and the whole world her Image.


Notes on Prophecy of Hermes

1. The original version of this Graeco Egyptian sacred text can be studied in Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 2, translated by G.R.S. Mead (1906).
2. Mut and her consort Amoun, along with their son Khonsu, were revered at the great Temple of Karnak in Thebes, Upper Egypt (Egyptian Waset). As with Hathoor and Neïth, Mut was in very ancient times the Creatrix whose divine son or child was born by parthenogenesis—no father was required. Also, Amoun replaced Mentu, a Typhonian form of Ra, at Thebes in the 21st century BCE. The cult of Mentu, as with that of Mut, nonetheless endured.
3. This line is from the Greek original, as quoted by Lactantius (D. I., vii, 8). See Mead’s footnote 3, pp. 224, Thrice-Greatest Hermes.

© Oliver St. John 2021
The Prophecy of Hermes is part of a work in progress. The book will be entitled, Nu Hermetica.

All books available by Oliver St. John
Visit Ordo Astri (or return to home): Thelemic Magical Collegium
Subscribe to The 93 Current monthly Journal
Temple of Babalon YouTube Channel (podcast)

Romance of the Magical Orders

Magical Orders: We here explore the relation between Thelema and magical Orders in the Rosicrucian tradition. We will also cover the cosmology and philosophy of Thelema. [This is an abridged form of the essay that has been substantially revised and rewritten for a Second Edition of Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.]

Thelema is a lunar and feminine mystery that vastly predates the Rosicrucian mysteries, upon which has been superimposed the grade or degree system we are familiar with.

Romance of the Magical Orders: Argenteum Astrum Richel No 1489Thelema is frequently described as a ‘magical system’ but it is no such thing in reality. Neither is it any kind of religion, though it has some affinities with Gnosticism. The true function of an initiatic Order is transmission. Such transmission has its source outside of and beyond the human sphere, or sphere of the individuality. Such an aim cannot, ipso facto, be fulfilled through any social or political agenda. As declared in AL, I: 11,

These are fools that men adore; both their Gods and their men are fools.

According to René Guénon,

… it is easy to understand that the role of the individual who confers initiation on another is veritably one of transmitter in the most exact sense of the word. Such a person does not act as an individual, but as the support of an influence not belonging to the individual order; he is only a link in the chain of which the starting-point lies outside and beyond humanity. This is why he acts not in his own name but in the name of the organisation to which he is attached and from which he holds his powers; or, more exactly still, he acts in the name of the principle that the organisation visibly represents.[1]

The (Egyptian) Book of the Law was dictated through the agency of a praeterhuman intelligence, named Aiwass in the book.[2] It is the aim of magick to prepare the person for initiatic transmission. The fact that such transmission takes place, however, does not in itself mean that effective initiation is a certainty, for there must be latency within the person that makes it possible. There are also many other factors, social and environmental, for example, that may determine if the person is so resistant to spiritual realisation that they are impervious to its influence. The ideal of the Rosicrucian legacy is that initiation only becomes valid when the person is prepared to make a sacrifice, which in ancient Egyptian terms makes a priest ma’a kheru, ‘true-speaking’ or ‘true of voice’. The ego and accumulated obstructive aggregates of the person must essentially be realised as having no true existence.

A ‘Black Brother’, in the peculiar language of the Western Mystery Tradition, is one that believes, or that wishes others to believe, that the material universe is the sole reality and that it may be understood wholly through rational process. A Black Brother may be a scientist, but may equally be a theologian, religious leader or philosopher in the modern sense of the word—the masks are endless in their variety. According to Kenneth Grant, Introduction to Part Two, Nightside of Eden,

The atavisms of the Black Brothers are the sterile stars born of the speechless or lisping Aeon, for the Word may be vibrated without distortion only via the menstruum of the female.

Thelema is a lunar and feminine mystery that vastly predates the Rosicrucian mysteries, upon which has been superimposed the grade or degree system we are familiar with. Seemingly disparate traditions, including deviations from tradition—which would include all modern organisations—are nonetheless linked as though by an invisible chain so long as they still carry the possibility of real initiation. By ‘real’ initiation, we mean here not the etymological meaning of the word, which is merely ‘to start something off’, but the technical meaning, which refers to initiatic transmission conveyed through authentic tradition—no matter how obscured that tradition has become even from the members that make up the external body of an organisation.

Rosicrucian fraternities (unless very degenerate) always differ from religious orthodoxy in two vital points. Firstly, the aim is to obtain direct knowledge as distinct from ‘salvation’ through belief, which is an exoteric or religious concern. Secondly, the feminine rôle as Initiatrix is reinstated, though it is frequently veiled in symbolism such as the rose, or the glyph of Venus. Rosicrucian source texts make it clear that what the fraternity alludes to is first and foremost active and alive on the interior, although one could be excused for thinking otherwise when studying the works of ‘authorities’ that produce tome after tome filled with the evidence of facts, dates and names of personages. The Order of the Rosy Cross is not a name for historical clubs, archaic fraternities or ‘societies’, secret or otherwise.

The titles afforded the three Orders are poetic metaphors for varying degrees of spiritual realisation. Any person that founds an Order of the Golden Dawn—that is, the first five grades—must be in contact with the three higher degrees of the Order of the Rosy Cross. And likewise, anyone that founds an Order of the Rosy Cross must be in contact with the supernal Order of the Silver Star. The Tree of Life ‘begins’ with Kether—it is not possible to start a Rosicrucian Order from a position halfway down the Tree and pretend there is nothing above!

None of these considerations discourage the fantasists, of course, who are persuaded by the Serpent of Knowledge arising in them to set up their own puppet theatre in which they play the starring rôle. It is by now quite common to hear of those who claim to have ‘crossed the Abyss’ and so obtained full and permanent spiritual realisation. It does not seem to occur to them that if they had realised in any way what they claim then they would know there is nothing to claim and no one to claim it.

Magical Orders: Argenteum Astrum

There are various exoteric factions of the Order known generically as the A∴A∴ It has become quite common for Orders with this title to assert exclusive ‘lineage’ and rights to the name. Curiously, some groups prefer to be mysterious—or even mysteriously ignorant!—as to what the abbreviated title actually stands for. Aster Argos (Greek) or ‘Silver Star’ is the poetic title of the Rosicrucian-based Order corresponding to the supernal triad. In Latin, it is Argenteum Astrum.[3]

The name is derived from the esoteric title of the Priestess II of Tarot, assigned to the 13th path of Gimel. The  path of the Priestess of the Silver Star extends from Kether the Crown of the Tree of Life to Tiphereth, the centre of the Ruach Elohim. In the Sepher Yetzirah the 13th path is called the Uniting Intelligence, or Intelligence of the Unities. Note that ‘Unities’ is plural, not singular. As it is revealed by Aiwass in Liber AL, I: 1–4 concerning the Star of Nuit,

Had! The manifestation of Nuit.
The unveiling of the company of heaven.
Every man and every woman is a star.
Every number is infinite; there is no difference.

Magical Orders and the Word of the Law

Thelema (Θελημα) is the “word of the Law” as stated in AL, I: 39. It is not a law of scriptures, decrees or any exoteric doctrine or body of religious teachings. According to AL, III: 49,

I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men.

The fourfold word is Do what thou wilt. The Law of Thelema is a spiritual and natural one, not a human one. Some but not all human beings have this secret nature within them and of those, some are destined to discover it. The word Thelema means ‘will’—not the personal will with its illusory deterministic power but the will-force indicated by the Greek word used, which is rooted in Theos (Θεος), the influence of the divine or spiritual realm that is by definition of non-human origin.

Thelema and Agape (Αγαπη), ‘love’, both add to the number 93 by Greek Qabalah. The word Thelema is therefore cognate with the word Agape, which is spiritual love and intelligence, not romantic or erotic love. Consciousness exists everywhere in the universe, though it is not of the universe that we perceive. As declared by the Serpent of Knowledge, Hadit, in AL, II: 3–4:

In the sphere I [Hadit] am everywhere the centre, as she [Nuit], the circumference, is nowhere found. Yet she shall be known and I never.

Consciousness is everywhere and is not limited to the domain of the human. Wild birds and creatures are sentient, in contradiction to the prevailing scientism that forms its degenerate doctrines to preserve the artificial hell in which Adam and Eve are imprisoned until they come to know the true state of affairs.

Cosmology

The best sense of the word ‘cosmology’ is the literal one, from the Greek: ‘a conversation about the universe’. However, that is not the meaning of the term as it is commonly understood. Likewise, the conventional academic understanding of metaphysics is only ‘about the matter’, the physics, which paved the way for scientism. The ancients had an entirely different way of thinking that cannot be grasped by rational process, whether its resulting dogma is slanted towards scientism, religion or religious theology. As it is succinctly put in AL, II: 32,

Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite and unknown; and all their words are skew-wise.

Metaphysics literally means ‘to pass beyond the form of a thing’, and thus it really owes to pure esotericism. Ancient metaphysics, aeons before the term was coined, could be expressed only through symbols formed from a detailed observation of nature.

Originally, there was only one Tree of Life that was also a Tree of Knowledge. From the fragrant emanation of Nuit-Babalon comes forth the tree from which the gods are sprung. As a cognate study, Ishtar is the happy goddess of the three worlds of heaven, earth and the underworld. The same three worlds are depicted on the obverse of the Stele of Revealing and there is certainly a Thelemic Trinity implied in the structure of the (Egyptian) Book of the Law. There is also a trinity of sorts in the title of the book’s manuscript, ‘L’, as 30. The primal trinity is Binah, the root of all form, the cosmic Matrix or womb—and so the basis, through relationship, of all understanding.

The Sethian Gnosis, which is included among the books ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, asserts a trinity of spirit or fragrance, light and dark. The light and dark had no moral implications of good or evil—the Gnosis precedes religious theologies by vast ages of time. The fragrance, or spirit-intelligence, permeates the light and dark equally; it knows them; thus the cosmic womb or Matrix is formed.


Notes

1. Perspectives on Initiation [Sophia Perennis].
2. The Egyptian name ‘Aiwass’ means, ‘He who was ordained in Thebes’.
3. Kenneth Grant studied and copied the manuscripts and diaries of Crowley while posing as his ‘assistant’ at his retirement home in Hastings towards the end of his life. He found there the only unequivocal reference to the meaning of the two initial letters of the name.

‘Romance of the Magical Orders’ has been substantially revised and is to appear in the Second Edition of Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.

Romance of the Magical Orders
© Oliver St. John 2018, 2021 (revised).

View all books by Oliver St. John here

Visit Ordo Astri: Thelemic Esoteric Collegium

Subscribe to The 93 Current monthly Journal