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 XVIIWe here present the new Egyptian Tarot of Thelema image of Aquarius, Nuit XVII. The key-scale colour and other correspondences are of the 15th path (or 28th path in Crowley’s tables, which were not corrected).

The hieroglyphs of Nuit’s name are shown at the top of the card. At the centre is Nuit with the Star Pentactys.[1] In the lower section of the image is the astrological glyph for Aquarius, Saturn and the name and letter of the 15th path, , ‘a window’. 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.

Aquarius Invocation of the 15th Path

Thou art the Daughter of the Firmament, the Dweller between the Waters. Thou art the goddess of Infinite Space, and Babalon thy daughter. Thou art eternity. Thou art the Star of Nuit. Thou art love, and the seven lamps of Venus! Thou art the window of heaven and about thee is the glittering girdle of the stars. Thou art the Holy Graal itself, and the amrita with which it is filled; thy gift is the ambrosia of the Gods. Thou art the Waters of Space and thy cup is Binah on the Tree of Life. Thou art the essence of creative force that arises in pure darkness. Thy veil is the firmament of heaven. Thine are the Marks of Space, and thine art is Occult. In the Abyss, the clouds are broken up and drop down dew. Therefore thy magical weapons are the Censer for the perfumes, as clouds carry the distillation of the water of earth, and the Aspergillum for the sprinkling of the lustral water. For this is alike unto the shedding of rain from the clouds. We invoke thee, whose number is eleven! O thou curved one, continuous circle of Heaven![2]

Pleiades constellation NASA ESAThe ‘seven lamps of Venus’ is the cluster of stars called Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus, ‘seven sisters’ or ‘doves’. The first printed Tarot deck, the Marseille, depicted Nuit as Venus in the constellation of Taurus, with the seven stars surrounding a larger one.

Aquarius, the Waters of Space, is a fixed air sign ruled by Saturn, the principle of limitation and form. The letter hé of the 15th path of Aquarius on the Tree of Life means ‘a window’, and has the value of 5. The window of ‘five’ is the image of the starry goddess Nuit, through which the seer perceives the primordial wisdom. The 15th path begins in Chokmah, associated with the ajna chakra, and terminates in Tiphereth, the radiant beauty of all the sephiroth. The path corresponds to Aquarius according to the correction given in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber 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 Sun acting through Spirit in governance of the Four Elements.

The Zodiac is called ‘Mazloth’ (MZLVTh) in the Qabalah. The word provides a key to understanding the transmission of consciousness veiled by the symbolism of the 15th path. The starry wisdom is the primordial gnosis, the secret kept by the priesthood of Set, builders of the oldest pyramids. 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.[3]

The idea of ‘flowing’ and ‘drops’ alludes to the fact that the true crown or lotus of Kether is feminine or neutral. The sahasrara chakra of the Tantras is described as a ‘moon’ or ‘moonflower’. It is unique among all other chakras in that its lotus flower is turned downwards, to pour forth the 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 union. Aleister 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.[4] The reverse is true in magick and Thelema. 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 Liber 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. When imaged, Hadit is not depicted as a straight line but as a Serpent, or winged disk 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 Liber AL, I: 2,

Every number is infinite, there is no difference.

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

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

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

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

The traditional divinatory meaning of Aquarius and the 17th Tarot Atu is “the cosmic; expansion of consciousness; creativity; hopes or ideals; poetry and music—or, illusions; new age spirituality”.[5]

Nuit and Sirius, Star of Aquarius

Nuit is esoterically associated with Sirius or Sothis, her star of manifestation. The Egyptian name for Sirius, Sopdet, is the name of the goddess that gives birth to the star of Venus, and has the literal meaning, ‘triangle’. Sopdet (spdt) is also 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 the star sometimes termed as the ‘sun behind the sun’ of our solar system. The rising presently occurs, as measured from Cairo, on the 19th July. 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, and so the occultation of Sirius, is for 70 (a’ain) days from July 3rd to August 11th.

During the time of the occultation of Sirius, Isis 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 conception requires no father, no paternal intervention. Thus, ‘there is no father in heaven’, for 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 stellar myth that was popular with the Greeks and Romans.

The ancient 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 otherwise systematically repressed.

Sirius Triangulation 'winter heaxagon'

Sirius forms a triangle 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, or Sah (‘magical body’). Thus the Nephalim or sons of the Ancient Ones are sometimes called, ‘Children of Orion’.

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. The triangle, hexagram and square spell Lux Occulta, ‘Occult Light’ or Aur Muphala, 364, 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 Fool 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.


1. The Aquarius Star Pentactys of 15 that is shown on the Tarot trump Nuit XVII is described in our article on Capricorn and Set XV.
2. Adapted from Ritual Magick—The Rites and Ceremonies of Hermetic Light.
3. See Star and Snake of Egypt for a detailed examination of the cosmic serpent.
4. ‘Gematria’, pp. 43, 777 and other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley [Samuel Weiser 1973].
5. From Hermetic Astrology, pp. 14, Oliver St. John.

© Oliver St. John 2019

Books by Oliver St John
Subscribe to The 93 Current monthly Journal
Visit Ordo Astri (or return to home): Thelemic Magical Collegium

Star and the Rosy Cross

The Rosy Cross, emblem of sacrifice and love freely given, is the heart of the Order of the Star, whose members aspire to the Will and Love that is Thelema. The Order is for those who “follow the love of Nu in the star-light heaven” (Liber AL, II: 21).

Rosy Cross: The Rose gives honey to the bees

The Golden Dawn or Invisible Sun of Spirit is for the “servants of the Star and the Snake” (II: 21), which is the manifestation of Nuit and Hadit, and of the Great Work.

Let my servants be few and secret: they shall rule the many and the known.

Liber AL vel Legis, I: 10, conveys the esoteric doctrine of Thelema. Nuit and Hadit are absolute principles, whereas the Star and Snake manifest all possibilities as events in time and space. Thus, those who serve the Star and Snake express their will to manifest the law of Thelema, which is the law of love. Love and Will is the dual expression of Thelema, figured as Babalon and the Beast, a dynamic form of the Rosy Cross.

Rosy Cross and Heart of Aiwass

To find the Gnosis in the clear light we must first love and then understand the magical mythology of the words and spells, the hieroglyphs of the stars. From the Cross of Gold then blooms the Red Rose of love and life. The path of knowledge is by no means a path of purely intellectual attainment, for it requires the immersion of the whole self in the matter of the Great Work. The Holy Guardian Angel will not work the alchemy of transformation on the soul unless that task first be accomplished, which is itself of the nature of sacrifice, as symbolised by the Rosy Cross.

Order of the Star: Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Shemsu en Khabs

The Egyptian name of the Order of the Star initiated by Aiwass is Shemsu en Khabs, which has the value of 527.[1] The number 527 is the sum of the three ‘lights’ of the Caduceus, Aub, Aur and Aud added to spirit-fire.[2] The name is thus an expression of the Hermetic Light. The number 527 is also the sum of Wisdom (ChKMH), Truth (AMTh) and Love (AHBH). When the corresponding sephiroth Chokmah, Binah and Tiphereth are added together, the result is 11, the number of magical transmutation. As declared by Nuit, in Liber AL, I: 60,

My number is 11, as are all their numbers who are of us.

The number 527 is that of ZMH ZMH OZH RChM OZIAH, the five words that the Master of Pistis Sophia saw written in the robe given him after his transfiguration. The words can be translated, ‘Thought! Imagination! The sacrament of love and truth’. The sacrament is Thelema, for OZIAH has the value of 93, Will (Θελημα) and Love (Αγαπη).[3] RChM is a name of the Egyptian vulture, the emblem of Isis. The vulture (Neophron percnopterus) uses twigs as a tool to weave her nest. She is the zoötype of the weaver and of weaving—in this case, the weaving of the robe or magical Khu of the Master.

Egyptian Shen Ring of EternityThe vulture is the original type of the Tarot Fool, numbered Zero, placed on the 11th path of the Tree of Life. The vulture, protector of Egypt, carries the shen ring of eternal truth, a symbol of both zero as circle of All, and Libra, the attribution of Maat and the 8th Tarot trump Justice or Adjustment.

The Master explains the meaning of the five words he saw hidden in the woven garment thus:

O Mystery, which is without in the world, for whose sake the universe hath arisen, this is the total outgoing and the total ascent, which hath emanated all emanations and all that is.

The Greek name of the book, Pistis Sophia, is equal to 1,581. When this number is divided by 3, its lowest factor, the result is 527. The five words are therefore the three parts of the sum total of the wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus, which is that of ancient Egypt. The number 527 is also that of the Pleiades or ‘Doves’. The name of the stellar complex in the constellation of Taurus also means, ‘wonderful’, and ‘miraculous’. The small, sparkling cluster of seven stars was anciently associated with Venus as the evening star, which is depicted in the Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot as the 17th Atu The Star (of Nuit). Earlier Tarot decks, such as the French Tarot de Marseille, depict a very large bright star amidst seven smaller stars. This is indicative of the evening star in the constellation of Taurus—and so life, love, strength, beauty, aspiration and inspiration.

Rosy Cross and Heart of Ouarda the Seer

When 527 is divided by its factor 17, the result is 31, AL, a number and title of the Book of the Law. Ouarda the Seer, the magical name of Rose Edith Kelly, the medium for the transmission of the book, has the value of 576, or 527 added to the 49 petals of the Rosy Cross.[4] Rose Edith Kelly, whom Crowley abandoned in Cairo and subsequently wrote off as a magical ‘failure’, was nonetheless the seer that, in Crowley’s words, “put me in touch with Aiwass”.[5] Rose made the ultimate sacrifice to the Great Work, that of her whole self, out of love. Aiwass, the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat, is the revealer of the timeless wisdom of Thelema, and of the secrets of the priest-kings and princes of the cult of Set in Upper Egypt. Set or Saturn, as the ‘manifester of the seven’ and destroyer through identity, is the power behind Venus.

Rose Kelly thereby opened a door in space, the starry window of imagining, that enabled Aiwass, the Setian prince-priest, to transmit the word of the law to those that would come after the ‘beast’ Crowley. As was written in Liber AL, II: 76,

Thou knowest not; nor shalt though know ever. There cometh one to follow thee: he shall expound it.[6]

The integers of the number 527 convey, ‘Wisdom (2) borne forth by the star (5) of Venus (7)’. Venus is Lucifer, the ‘light-bringer’. As morning star, she is the dawn herald—precurser of the Golden Dawn. As evening star, she is the Occult Light, the twilight envoy of dreams and nocturnal imagining, and the naked splendour of Nuit.

There is a ready comparison to be made between the journey of ascent described in the Gnostic Pistis Sophia and the ascending of the Enochian magical system of Thirty Aethyrs. There are Thirty Aeons in the Valentinian Gnosis, and the original title of the Book of the Law was Liber L or Liber XXX.[7] The first pair of Aeons in the Valentinian Gnostic schema that must be encountered and mastered by the Initiate are ‘Love’ and ‘Will’ respectively, which are summed up as Thelema, the word of the Law.[8]

The Enochian word KROODZI adds to 527, and has the meaning of ‘beginning of things’ or ‘first image’. This refers to the Beast or Chaos as the manifester of Babalon or Cosmos, a notion central to the initiatory system of Thirty Aeons. The ‘first image’ is the power of imagining, ZMH. The word ZMH (zummah) is used in a technical sense as the kind of thought or meditation that follows a symbol back to its source with the infinite. It is the inner level of understanding the mysteries, where the outer level is symbolic or allegorical.

OZH RChM, the ‘powerful matrix’, is Binah or Babalon as cosmic creatrix, and Chokmah or the Beast as the cosmic will-force or utterance. The pair is the primal duality from which all emanations or manifestations on lower planes issue forth. When the primal duality is resolved then naught remains—the spaciousness of Nuit, in whom is the containment of all possibilities, all imagining.

Rosy Cross and the Serpent of Wisdom

The initials of Shemsu en Khabs form the word ShNCh, ‘of the eternal’, which has the value of 358 and is a metathesis of NChSh (nahesh), the Serpent of Wisdom. The number 358 is that of MShICh (messiah), the ‘anointed one’, which anciently refers to a consecrated priest or priestess of the mysteries. Babalon and the Beast, Eve (Sophia) and the Serpent are one. The symbolism of the snake goddess Asherah or Tanith was corrupted in biblical scriptures to portray the Serpent as evil and Eve, the woman, as prone to sin and therefore deserving of eternal punishment at the hand of the vengeful biblical deity (IHVH). Gnostics regard Jehovah or Yahweh as an evil demiurge, and the love of Sophia and the Holy Spirit as the means of liberation.

Jesus and Magdalene, Babalon and the Beast, the Moon and the Sun, Isis and Horus, the Rose and the Cross, are simultaneously human, cosmic and supercosmic figures that teach the art of magick to those who love wisdom. The eternal abode of Nuit is a seamless garment or Khu.[9] It is an ark of love and a beacon of light to the servants of the Star and Snake, as declared in Liber AL, II: 21.

Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Nuit! Hadit! Ra-Hoor-Khuit! The Sun, Strength and Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star and the Snake.


1. ShMSV N ChABS = 527.
2. Aub + Aur + Aud = 227. The Aub is the Astral Light, symbolised by two serpents, solar and lunar. The light of Aur is the channel for the spirit-fire, 300, that transforms Astral Light into Aud or ‘fragrance’, 11, the Starlight of Nuit. This is the key to the transmutation of the elements in the ritual called the Mass of Hormaku.
3. OZIAH is ‘truth’ (IAH) and ‘strength’ (OZ). OZH RChM can be construed, ‘powerful matrix’. RChM is the root of ‘womb’ and ‘love’ in the divine or impersonal sense (Agape).
4. Ουαρδα = 576 by Greek number values. The rose of 49 petals variously symbolises Venus (7 x 7) as the principle of love, sacrifice and resurrection to new life. The sum of the sephiroth below the Abyss is 49, thus there are ‘50 Gates of Babalon’ the Initiatrix.
5. Quotation from The Law is for all. As evidenced by the list given in the aforesaid book, Rose was the first of at least half a dozen ‘scarlet women’ that Crowley subsequently wrote off as having failed him in some way. The tall, dark man with ‘hooded eyes’ and a ‘cruel mouth’ that appeared to Crowley in Cairo was certainly not Aiwass—whose identity was never known or guessed at by Crowley.
6. The riddle of the numbers and letters in the same verse adds to 419, according to the cypher key of AL, III: 47. The number 419 is that of teth the serpent spelled in full and of Sothis or Sirius; thus, one to follow the star.
7. The number 30 is that of ‘L’, as lamed or lamda. The corresponding 22nd path on the Tree of Life is imaged forth by Maat, the Egyptian goddess of the scales. The Book of the Law is thus the Book of Maat, ‘Truth and Justice’—the expression of cosmic and natural law.
8. The Valentinian Gnosis (2nd century CE) is attributed to the learned Egyptian theologian Valentinus. According to the account of Epiphaneus, Valentinus was born in the Nile Delta and educated at Alexandria. It is probable he was there influenced by the Christian philosopher Basilides. The Basilidian sect included three grades or degrees,  Material, Intellectual and Spiritual. Its aspirants were sworn to keep silence for a period of five years. The pillars of the temple were male and female figures.
9. The holograph MS of Liber AL, I: 26, informs us thus: “Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the unfragmentary non-atomic fact of my universality.”

© Oliver St. John 2018
This essay is part of the collection, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.

Subscribe to The 93 Current monthly Journal
Visit Ordo Astri (or return to home): Thelemic Magical Collegium

Lineage of the Magi

Faith in ‘lineage’ or Apostolic Succession has cast a shadow over organised occult communities for centuries.

Lineage of the Magi: Marseille Tarot Devil XVAuthenticity, validation and legitimisation are essential to the world of law, business, government, politics, publishing and finances. Legitimisation conveys certain rights and privileges. It conveys authority. The ‘real’, the authentic, is a signature of trust, so that, for example, a person may be guided in their investments. When such validation is transferred to the realm of the esoteric, then the whole subject becomes somewhat less than transparent.

For example, the Apostolic Succession of Bishops is fundamental to the Roman Catholic doctrine. An unbroken line of patriarchs can be traced, according to the Vatican, back to the apostles of Jesus Christ. This conveys sacramental authority. According to the Epistle of Clement, the apostles appointed bishops as successors and directed the bishops to appoint successors. Since the Church has for centuries been divided into factions, many of these refuse to acknowledge the validity of the others. Legitimacy then exists within each exclusive group, while it is denied to all others. The arguments have continued for millennia, and will continue to perpetuity.

The causal chain quickly breaks apart when it serves to yoke an esoteric principle. Thus in some of the older Tarot decks, the 15th Atu depicts the polar twins, Adam and Eve, bound to the altar of the Devil of material and temporal power. The chain only holds Adam and Eve while they remain enthralled by the power of the wealthy governors of the world and their armies of obedient priests, bureaucrats and militia. Looked at another way, the Devil is simply the human ego, where identity is the primary concern.

This situation is by no means exclusive to the Roman Church. Magical Orders have followed the phantom of Apostolic Succession even to the present day. Each magical ‘brand’ makes capital of the trust invested by the faithful, while denouncing the others as charlatans. And so the lurching dance of the official apostles of verified truth surges ever onward, all about the altar of the Devil of World Illusion, spurred on by the trumpets and drums of the slaves that serve mammon.

Faith in ‘lineage’ or Apostolic Succession has cast a shadow over organised occult communities for centuries. To seek external validation or legitimisation is magical failure. As declared in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis, II: 5,

Behold! the rituals of the old time are black.

Cloud Upon the Sanctuary

The Order of A∴ A∴ or Astrum Argenteum is the term coined by Aleister Crowley for his continuation of the Rosicrucian system of degrees based on the Hermetic Tree of Life. That system was the legacy of the Golden Dawn of SL MacGregor and Moina Mathers, founded in the late 19th century. In the first number of The Equinox Journal, Crowley presented ‘One Star in Sight’. This was his rewritten version of an earlier work by German philosopher Karl von Eckartshousen, The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary. The work was originally one of Christian mysticism, expressing the inner spiritual tradition of the West in allegorical terms.

Lineage of the Magi: Vault of Christian Rosenkreutz

The use of such allegory already existed in the Rosicrucian tradition, for example, Fama Fraternitatis (1614). The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary refers to a mysterious Elect, which has existed since the beginning of time. Its vision of a future theocracy, embracing the world, contains echoes of systems of governance that have already existed historically but are swathed in the mist of legend—as for example, that of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

While the terms used are allegorical—indeed, extremely romantic—it has always been the work of esotericism to make contact with what are called ‘inner plane intelligences’. Some, such as Crowley, have even sought to prove Their existence, though all such attempts must end in failure. The stone of the wise is not a material substance and cannot be proved by the means of rational scientism, though it may be known. Karl von Eckartshousen resigned from the Bavarian Order of Illuminati when he learned of their insistence that enlightenment could only be obtained through rationalism. Crowley, on the other hand, in rewriting Eckartshousen’s work to suit his own designs, and to assume leadership of the Golden Dawn, declared ‘Scientific Illuminism’ as the true path.

The passing of the torch or beacon of light from one person to another, veiled in secrecy and silence, was not meant to refer to Apostolic Succession after the manner of Roman Catholic bishops. Such a succession or ‘lineage’ nonetheless holds considerable power for those who believe in it. Consequently there will always be those who claim it, so as to wield power and authority over others. Lineage then becomes, as with any much sought after commodity, a contentious subject. Argument sometimes leads to litigation, though more often than not the protagonists give vent to their rage through vilification and slander—much in the way that tomb robbers may argue and fight over the booty.

The question of authentication by lineage will nonetheless continue to hold a power of allurement, or ‘magical glamour’. The idea is intensely magnetic; its charge comes not from history or facts, but from romance and allegory, which has always been the language of the mysteries. The analogous mode of thought is a means of approaching truth that cannot be explained or described in rational terms without veiling that truth. The veil then becomes, as it were, a false Graal or object of the quest for knowledge and wisdom. Men and women may spend their whole lives pursuing such an object, for it is made luminous in the silver rays of hope; it is exalted in the golden halo of imagining. No sooner is it grasped than it becomes a handful of dry leaves that turns to dust, to be blown in the wind.

Lineage and the Blood of Saints

The mystery of blood and lineage, or Apostolic Succession, is best explained through an examination of the 15th and 24th paths on the Hermetic Tree of Life. These correspond to the Tarot trumps The Star XVII (Aquarius) and Death XIII (Scorpio). The placing of the Star of Nuit, Aquarius, on the 15th path is to end the ages old confusion between the blood of material generation and the pure essence that is the substance of spiritual regeneration.

Lineage of Magi: Star XVII and Death XIII Thoth TarotThe 15th path of the Star of Aquarius is the intelligence linking Chokmah (Wisdom) with Tiphereth (Beauty) on the Tree of Life.  The path is called The Constituting Intelligence, of which it is said, “The essence of creative force arises in pure darkness”.[1] The ‘pure darkness’ is the thread of the infinite Ain Soph, the formless, limitless space that is the numinous source of all. The power of manifesting or begetting by division is the power of Nuit, the Goddess of the Stars. Thus, in the Tarot trump of the path, a woman, naked as truth herself, pours forth the waters of life from two vases. In Liber AL vel Legis, I: 59, Nuit declares,

My incense is of resinous woods and gums; and there is no blood therein: because of my hair the trees of Eternity.

Incense and fragrance are ancient metaphors for pure spirit or essence—that ‘creative force that arises in pure darkness’. The ‘darkness’ is more than merely an absence of light. There were two trees in the Garden of Eden: the Tree of Life or visible light, and the Tree of Death, Night or Nuit—the invisible light or pure essence. ‘Blood’ is the self-replicating power or energy that moves through all incarnated creatures. Nuit asserts, however, that her creative essence is not of blood—for her function is not to perpetuate life forms on the physical plane. For this reason it was necessary to counterchange the Tarot trumps on the 15th and 28th paths of the Hermetic Tree as according to the cryptic instruction of Liber AL vel Legis, I: 57.

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

Lineage of the Magi: Aquarius Glyph

By the change to the order of trumps, the starry 15th path or ‘window of imagining’ corresponds to Aquarius and Nuit, our Lady of the Stars. Aries, previously assigned to the 15th path, is the sign of the fire of blood, the blood of the Lamb in Christian mysticism. Aquarius, on the other hand, is the sign of the Waters of Space typified by the Egyptian hieroglyph of two streams of water or radiation. Nuit is the Egyptian 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 that of the magical ‘child’ that is the true son or Sun-Star of Nuit.

The root of the Hebrew word for ‘resemblance’ or ‘imagination’ (DMINVI) means, ‘blood’. It is the self-replicating formula of all created beings personified by the ancient Egyptian god Besz. The Imaginative Intelligence of the 24th path of Scorpio works from the centre of the self in Tiphereth towards the desire plane of Netzach in order to bring about new modes of expression, vehicles for the self. On the way of return to Nuit, such vehicles are transcended and broken down—thus the full title of the Tarot trump associated with the 24th path is Child of the Great Transformers: Lord of the Gates of Death. The activity of this path comes about through the power of projecting mental images or thought-forms. The self-replicating formula is related to the creation of a magical ‘child’. This takes place through emergence, the process by which a network of interactions between individuals becomes an entity in itself. Such a complex, adaptive system transmits a particular current, vibration or wave pattern. Thus, spiritual regeneration, the occult formation of a magical Khu as opposed to an egregore sustained by a blood line, is well illustrated by the principle of wave patterns in physics—or the astrological glyph of Aquarius, the ancient Egyptian determinative for Nuit or ‘heaven’.

The proper function of a magical Order is to serve others in the Great Work. The role of the members of such an organisation is to assist men and women with their initiation. The service, if freely given, does not require external validation from patriarchs or peers. True initiation cannot be given, bestowed or conferred by any man or woman to any other. What can be passed on, given or validated in that way is worthless in spiritual terms. In fact, it is worse than that, for it conveys self-importance and, ultimately, betrayal for the soul—a bitter cup indeed. Investment of power in lineage is therefore a misdirection of the will and a wasting of the energy of the self.

If we can free our minds from the archaic limitations of the rituals of ‘blood’ we may find that in the path of the Imaginative Intelligence, in the emergence of the Khabs and Khu, is hidden the stone of the wise and elixir of life. The stone or jewel is not a remedy for the inevitable afflictions of the mortal life. It is far more than that. It is the opening of the way that leads to ultimate transcendence of the earth-bound limitations of time and death.


1. See the entry for number 15, The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth [Ordo Astri].

© Oliver St. John 2018
This is an extract from the essay that forms part of the collection, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.

Related Articles
Daughter of the Lords of Truth
Scorpio Lord of Death and Resurrection

Visit Ordo Astri (or return to home): Thelemic Magical Collegium
Subscribe to The 93 Current monthly Journal