The Star of Egypt

The (Egyptian) Book of the Law, AL: II: 72, rails against causal determinism and warns of the consequences of the conceptual misalignment of the life force, mistaking the phenomenal projections of ego for ‘truth’.

Causal Determinism: Nebhet (Nephthys) upholding the Star of EgyptThere is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

George Gheverghese Joseph has produced a radical revision of the globally accepted Eurocentric view of history in his book, The Crest of the Peacock.[1] Joseph is not concerned with religion or esotericism; his subject is the history of mathematics. Yet with mathematics came science, astronomy, agriculture, irrigation, architecture, spiritual philosophy, fine arts, working with metals, yoga and theurgy. The notion that all learning has its source among the classical Greeks and Romans is a myth. The source is Egypt.

The facts have been suppressed down the ages, wittingly or no, through deep-seated prejudice. A canine corpus has been produced, and is served up every day in schools and universities. It has become part of our language, the very terms that we use. The cunning fictional narrative insists on a pristine lineage, a fountain of knowledge that springs not from Africa, the ‘dark’ continent, but to the saintly hallowed halls of an ‘Indo-European’ heritage. The Indo-European myth, which includes ancient Greece as part of the European continent, has no more historical credibility than the kingdom of Shambala. Yet to this day, and in the face of growing evidence to refute it, academics will fight tooth and claw to defend what is by now the deeply embedded supremacist appropriation of knowledge.

In times of great antiquity the knowledge of Egypt travelled first to Mesopotamia, which was the purest stream as it was closest to the source. Much later, the Greeks took it out of Egypt—though Egypt was by then already in decline and much had been forgotten. We may suppose that those who had progressed further than the Outer Court kept their esoteric knowledge to themselves, having sworn oaths of strictest secrecy. Pythagoras, for example, did not write down what he knew of the esoteric. Later, the exoteric knowledge disclosed by his disciples was made subject to doubt, argument and speculation. In short, the external framework of the mysteries was rationalised, reduced and from there promulgated to the world through war and conquest. It was the birth of causal determinism, that which is now the universally adopted homocentric philosophy.

Causal Determinism: Dogs of Reason

We cannot separate the lectern from the pulpit. The building of churches and temples, for example, has always incorporated the best that science and architecture could produce. Theology and mathematics go hand in hand; the notion of a ‘first cause’, whether this is seen as God, man or pure chance, owes to causal determinism. There is no word for ‘religion’ in ancient languages; the concept did not exist. Religion was invented by aristocrats and governors to reinforce national identity and facilitate taxation of the population to meet the growing cost of the large-scale expansion of armies, armaments and warfare. After three thousand years, the reign of the dogs of Reason has reached its apotheosis.

The rejection of the plain facts about the Egyptian heritage—what could have been, and still can be, our heritage—was reinforced through sheer cultural prejudice, old-fashioned xenophobia on behalf of the ‘learned gentlemen’ of Europe. By this, we do not mean to exclude Britain and America.[2] The unacceptable truth about the fake historical timeline created by historians down the ages is that Africa was excluded because its people are darker skinned than say, the Indians. The lighter the skin tone, the whiter the words. During the Cairo transmission of 1904, when Crowley did not like the neologism, ‘unfragmentary’, he added a note to the holograph manuscript of the Book of the Law to “write this in whiter words”.[3] Crowley continued to portray Thelema in ‘white words’, applying the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer and the psychology of Freud to create his personalised, idiosyncratic view of the mysteries.

As Egypt is part of Africa, it was completely unacceptable to historians, Egyptologists and the rest, that Egypt could have had a civilisation far more intelligently organised than ours, and which had spiritual and scientific knowledge that makes our civilisation look utterly primitive by comparison. Consequently, Egyptologists and historians have always focussed on the later Dynastic period of Egyptian history, when the real knowledge was already being fast forgotten, and the rituals had descended into the nonsense of mummification of the dead, animal sacrifices and so on. This satisfied the learned gentlemen that the Egyptians could not possibly be a threat to our self-esteem, not to mention our—again, faked up—idea of ‘progress’ and ‘evolution’.

The perpetuation of ignorance and prejudice continues today, and is reinforced on a daily basis through constant repetition. For one example, the Wikipedia main page on astrology has been improved on what it was originally, when it was hacked to pieces by the zealous watchdogs of scientism and labelled as a ‘pseudoscience’. However, the editorial dogs of Reason have reclaimed some of the ground they lost previously. The prejudicial label, ‘pseudoscience’ has returned. The reasonable liars first make it clear that astrology is about ‘prediction’—which it is not—and then state that astrology’s predictive capability has been disproved, citing one example of an experiment set up by a scientist who knew nothing of astrology. The intellectual and philosophical basis of the experiment was causal determinism, which genuine astrology does not admit to. The conclusions should hardly be surprising for a false allegation has been investigated and not the subject of the enquiry. Many persons would nonetheless call such findings ‘truth’—because they want to believe it. In the world of science today, if the evidence is not liked, it is rejected. If the evidence is agreed with, if it is politically expedient or worth big dollars, then it is approved. Scientism claims possession of the ‘fact’ while demanding huge investment of belief in its dogmatic principles.

There is a difference between divination and prediction. Likewise, there is a difference between prophecy and making a forecast of future events. We have something called a weather forecast. As everyone knows, sometimes the forecasters get it right; sometimes they get it very wrong. The Royal School of Science has not yet condemned the Meteorological Office for practicing witchcraft!

The same Wikipedia entry quickly tells us that astrology is Indo-European. Nothing is said about ancient Egypt, as we might expect. Dating from mainly during the Colonial conquests of India, Indian philosophy was afforded far more respect than anything that might have come out of Africa, for reasons we have already stated. The Indo-European explanation for the ancient roots of our civilisation was able to account for any anomalies, such as the etymological similarities between languages as diverse as Sanskrit, Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Nordic and English. The idealisation of the ancient Greek civilisation as something clean, clear, of pure stock, was thus supported with the Indo-European explanation. The Eurocentric cultural indoctrination is deep, many centuries old, and is a self-perpetuating myth. The real explanation for the similarities of diverse languages is that Egypt came first.

In very ancient times, India received the knowledge from Mesopotamia, close to the source. Later, the Hindus succumbed to the rational Greek influence, and it is from there that we obtain the asceticism that has tainted all religions. Ascetic renunciation, along with mathematics and science, came to India, China and Arabia via Greek classicism. The consequence is a war against nature and woman or Eve, and the assertion of the male principle and rational scientism as superior to all else. All attempts at unification—theological ‘oneness’—end in painful division.

Some of the Tantrik schools, especially the Vamacharya, retained elements of the earlier Mesopotamian version of the Egyptian mysteries.[4] Yet most of the Tantrik schools, whether Left or Right-hand path, and even the Dualists, eventually accepted the argument of the Non-Dualists and asserted the Absolute as ‘Sole Self Alone’ or ‘One God Supreme’. The Non-Dualists won the argument because it is a rational one, based on numbers. Yet numbers only obtain below the Abyss, the threshold of human reason. It is possible that some of the Vamacharya sects knew this, but they did not write anything down. They could not write it down because some of their Outer Court practices were violently disapproved and commonly thought to be completely disgusting and insane. When the Vamacharya gurus did write or teach anything, they used what is called in the Sanskrit of Hindu scholars, the ‘twilight language’.

Both Crowley and later Grant and the postmodern Left-hand path schools of thought assumed the Outer Court practices of the Vamacharya cults, the preliminaries, to be methods of ‘high initiation’. Consequently, the so-called advanced practices adopted by Crowley, for example, were only used by real Vamacharya cults to test and prepare the veriest beginners.

If we persist in thinking we can understand the ancient Egyptian legacy as filtered through the minds of Western philosophers, Egyptologists and egocentric occultists, we have no hope of understanding what Thelema is really all about. Egypt will not come to us. We must first visit Egypt in our hearts and minds. Then she will come to us. Only then can we break the shackles of causal determinism.[5] At the last we may come to know Nuit, not through the veils of abstract conception such as ‘emptiness’ or ‘one’, ‘spaciousness’ or ‘ground of all’, but as Nuit truly is.


1. The Crest of the Peacock, George Gheverghese Joseph. Of particular interest is his historical map, ‘A non-Eurocentric historical timeline of Mathematics’ (pp. 45).

2. Modern America was founded mainly by European apostates, who sailed there in ships looking for a ‘promised land’. They found what they were looking for, but there happened to be an indigenous, nomadic people already inhabiting the place. The fictional fabric of the ‘American Dream’ veiled the resultant genocide. The cover-up was achieved with remarkable success for the myth is told and retold in a countless variety of ways on a daily basis. Belief is self-perpetuating for its function is to gratify the concealed wish-desire.

3. The note is written in parantheses in the holograph MS of Liber L vel Legis or Liber XXX as it was originally titled, pp. 6. The changed words are in verse I: 26, which was originally, “And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the unfragmentary non-atomic fact of my universality.” Crowley changed the last six words to “the omnipresence of my body”, substituting the bland Roman ‘all’ (omni) for the seamless garment of the Khu or spirit-body.

4. Vamacharya means literally, ‘Left-hand path’.

5. Esoteric Thelema is explained in ‘Lapis Philosophorum’, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri]. This includes a concise guide to the influence of causal determinism, and the remedy for the ill.

© Oliver St. John 2019. The illustration of Nebhet (or Nephthys) and the Star of Egypt is a detail from the Esoteric Tarot of Thelema trump Isis IX.

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Leo the Lion: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Sekhet XI

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 19th path of Leo is Sekhet XI. The Sun, the Solar Light, is the ruler of the sign of the Lion.

Leo the Lion of Summer: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Sekhet XISekhet, the Egyptian lioness goddess of heat and fire, is depicted in the centre of the Tarot design. She is crowned by the solar disk from which projects the cosmic cobra serpent, the animating spirit and energy of the Occult Force or Kundalini. In her right hand she wields the ankh of eternal life and in her left the lotus sceptre. The lotus, as a symbol, combines the four classical elements. She has her roots in the fertile mud, floats upon the surface of the waters and grows upward through the air, opening her flower to the solar light or fire. Sekhet wears a red dress trimmed with white, for she is the original type of the ‘woman of blood’, the Scarlet Woman as described in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, I: 15.

Now ye shall know that the chosen priest and apostle of infinite space is the prince-priest the Beast; and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given. They shall gather my children into their fold: they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men.

In Sekhet, Eve and the Serpent or Woman and Beast are combined in one image, for to her “is all power given”. The magick of transformation, by which the poisons of the Qliphoth or demon shells are purified and dispelled, is accomplished by the soul’s immersion in the underworld where Sekhet reigns with supreme power.[1] The collar of golden-yellow rayed with amber declares the true word or oracular utterance, which is symbolised by the cobra serpent emerging from a basket on the lower right of the Tarot card. The collar is also a type of protective shield, a further attribute of Sekhet, who protects the soul against the hostile forces of the underworld. The nemmys of Sekhet is the colour of the night sky, showing her affinity with Nuit. Babalon or the Scarlet Woman is the material embodiment of Nuit; the Serpent is the embodiment of Hadit. According to Liber AL, I: 16,

For he is ever a sun, and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame, and to her the stooping starlight.

One of the many titles of Sekhet is ‘The Powerful One’, for that is the literal meaning of her name, derived from sekhem. Her name is thus spelled with the priestly sekhem sceptre hieroglyph in the lower left of the Tarot picture. As the Shakti power par excellence, there is some comparison to be made with Kali, adored by tantrik saints and yoginis.

The esoteric title of the Tarot trump, Daughter of the Flaming Sword, further indicates the close affinity between Sekhet and Ma’at. This is emphasised by the position of the 19th path of Leo on the Tree of Life, extending from the azure sphere of Jupiter to the fiery red of Mars. Jupiter is the natural sephira of Ma’at, nature’s Truth and Justice, while Mars is an apt station for Sekhet in her fiery and vengeful aspect. In many ways Sekhet and Ma’at are so close as to be interchangeable, and the 19th path of Leo combines the attributes.

The 19th path of Leo is called the Intelligence of the Secret of all Spiritual Activities or the Occult Intelligence. The path is the first that is wholly beneath the Abyss when descending, and the last before the Abyss when ascending the Tree. It is therefore the secret ruler and governor of all that is below, even as it receives the influence (mezla) from that which is above.[2]

The traditional magical power of the 19th path of Leo is the Power of Training Wild Beasts, which is the art of deriving oracles from snakes and women. Initiation in magick and yoga also requires the person to understand the Occult Force. As it is put by Hadit, the Serpent of Knowledge in Liber AL, II: 26–27:

I am the secret Serpent coiled about to spring: in my coiling there is joy. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one. If I droop down mine head, and shoot forth venom, then is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one.
There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

Those who work the path to the limits of reason may intuit the magical power of the Occult Intelligence, but there is great danger therein. Causal determinism has been with us since ancient times. It is resumed in modern times, more specifically as self-willed determinism. Unthinking acceptance of causal determinism means that Thelemic magicians become ensnared by the crapulous creed of scientism. The cults of self-love are also cast into the pit by the Daughter of the Flaming Sword, for the rational doctrine of the self as sole supreme leads to the self-confinement of Isolate Intelligence, and the “direful judgments of Ra Hoor Khuit”, as it is put in Liber AL, I: 52.[3]

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

The power of hypnotism is also associated with the snake. The snake of light, or Lion-serpent, extends from the base of the spine to the medulla oblongata where the spinal column enters the brain at the back of the head. Occultly, the serpent then forms the third eye chakra.

Leo the Lion-serpent

Djet or Techa Serpent Hieroglyph

The letter of the path is Teth, the Serpent, shown on the lower right edge of the Tarot card. The serpent is one of the earliest magical images of Leo. Figures of Sekhet and the cat goddess Bast frequently showed a serpent spine or tail. The ancient Egyptian form of the serpent, techa, or djet, looks similar in shape to the letter lamed.

Indeed, the close relationship between Ma’a, the Lion of Truth, whose letter is the sickle or Egyptian sword of Ma’at, and the oracular serpent is already well established in the Tarot correspondences. The paths of Leo and Libra (19 and 22) effectively revolve around Virgo (Isis) and are interchangeable.[4] The serpent hieroglyph is both the root and phonetic of the name of Tahuti (or Thoth), god of magick, writing and words, especially the Word. The serpent is also closely identified with both Ra and his sun boat as both protector and antagonist, as explained with the previous trump in the series, Atet VII. The Lion-serpent is a very ancient image of Leo the Lion, the 5th zodiacal sign ruled by the Sun. It is the astral or magical image of Leo and the 19th path.

With this Tarot trump we have chosen to show Uranus as exalted in Leo, as glyphed on the lower left edge of the card. As the Daughter of Ra and the Eye of Ra, Sekhet sends forth flashing rays that incinerate the foe. Uranus is sometimes corresponded to Da’ath and the lightning bolts or arrows of Neïth that strike down through the Abyss, illuminating the matrix of Ma’at or Isis, as seated on a Throne (Aset) of Hollow Stone. In the works of Kenneth Grant, the throne is established by the lightning of Nodens, God of the Deep, reaching upward and beyond the transplutonic (or post-abysmal) voids.[5]

Ancient Lore of Sekhet

Sekhet or Sekhmet is a warrior goddess as well as protectress. According to ancient Egyptian lore, the desert was formed from her hot, fiery breath. She is the protector of kings and leads them into battle. Upon death, Sekhet assists their passage through the underworld to her perfumed garden of paradise, called Sekhet A’aru, the ‘blessed fields’, from which the Greeks took their ‘Eleusinian Fields’. Sekhet A’aru literally means, ‘Reed Fields’.

In a tale concerning the ending of Ra’s rule on the earth, Ra sends Hathoor in the form of Sekhet to destroy all those who conspired against him. Sekhet’s blood lust is not quelled at the end of battle and there is a danger of her destroying the entire human race. Ra then pours out beer dyed with red ochre or hematite so that it resembles blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, Sekhet becomes so drunk that she returns peacefully to Ra. Ra, the Sun, it is well to remember, is the ruler of the astrological sign of Leo the Lion. The Sun is the secret self of Sekhet, soul and daughter of Ra.

The priestesses of Sekhet performed a ritual before a different statue of the goddess on each day of the year. This has resulted in many well-preserved images of the goddess. Most of her statuettes are finely cut from solid granite, the most enduring stone—and very difficult to cut and work with.[6]

Feasts to Sekhet were celebrated at the end of battles, for the preservation of peace. During the annual festival held at the beginning of the year, the Egyptians danced and played music in celebration of the goddess. According to the few written accounts that have survived the ages, the celebrants drank great quantities of red beer and wine ritually to imitate the divine intoxication that calmed the wrath of the goddess when she almost destroyed humanity. The tale was at one time mirrored at the beginning of each year, when the Nile ran blood red with silt from up-stream. Some versions of the legend have it that Sekhet swallowed the overflow to save humankind from destruction.

There are historical records of tens of thousands attending the festival of Sekhet. The findings were made in the temple of Mut; when Thebes (Waset) rose to prominence, Mut absorbed some of the characteristics of Sekhet. Temple excavations at Luxor discovered a ‘porch of drunkenness’ built into the temple by Queen Hatshepsut, at the height of her twenty-year reign.

Such accounts have always delighted travellers and historians. However they reveal little if anything of the real mysteries of Sekhet, or of the occult powers of her path. As the ‘Old One’, Sekhet’s origins are lost in antiquity. Like Set, the only begotten son of Nuit, she is considered first of all Gods. Today, knowledge of Sekhet’s path exists in fragmentary form. Her followers, contrary to that which we would surmise from the writings of historians and Egyptologists, continue her rites in secret.


1. The importance of the feminine power in the underworld is explained in depth in Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].

2. The full commentary on the Yetziratic attributions of the paths is given in The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, in two volumes [Ordo Astri].

3. Esoteric Thelema is fully set forth in Babalon Unveiled [ibid]. In particular, ‘Lapis Philosophorum’. An abridged form of the treatise can be read online here.

4. See Babalon Unveiled [ibid], ‘Daughter of the Lords of Truth. The essay can also be read online here.

5. Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, Kenneth Grant [Starfire Publishing].

6. It is thought that more than 700 statues of Sekhet once stood in the funerary temple of Amenhotep III, on the west bank of the Nile.

© Oliver St. John 2019

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Sapphire Stone of Esoteric Thelema

The sapphire or ‘blue hour’ is a phase that occurs during the twilight of dusk or dawn. The sun’s orb is partially but significantly immersed in the underworld, below the horizon. The sky then takes on a deeper shade of blue than in daytime—as blue as a sapphire.

Sirius the Sapphire StarThe sun now sets on the Thelema of Crowley and his followers. New Age thought is swallowed by long shadows; its disciples scuttle into their pits, to dig themselves in for a long night that will never end. The bright sapphire star of Esoteric Thelema rises on the ascendant, awakening the children of earth to eternal wisdom.

We here examine and dispose of some of the most commonplace beliefs to be found within the cults of Thelema today, as well as in the wider streams of psychology, the occult, the pretended spirituality of the New Age movement and associated therapeutic and other industries. The sapphire stone has universal applications. One of these is the dispelling of the myth of causal determinism. Causal determinism is the root of the error in the age-old rationalist influence on Eastern and Western philosophy, both scientific and spiritual.[1]

The Wisdom Sapphire

Sapphire 1. ‘All is Illusion.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding of Eastern traditions.

This notion automatically tends towards nihilism, and so to death as finality. The (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, III: 2, rescues us from such peril, for “all is not aught”. That is to say, ‘all is not to be construed as nothing’. Also, in Liber AL, II: 9, “there is that which remains”. The ‘that’ which remains is not at all ‘nothing’. All appearance is the Form of the Formless. The Formless, or absence of sense-objects, is not a ‘nothing’. God, or the absolute, is both Form and Formlessness, and furthermore, is beyond these.[2]

Sapphire 2. ‘In the beginning, or at the root of all, is nothing or nothingness. The nothing concentrates to form one (Kether), which is the source of all things.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding of Qabalah.

The relation of Da’ath to the supernal triad explains how the Tree of Life is a simultaneous ‘effect’ or appearance, evoked by Will (or Hadit). There is a concise description of the true nature and function of Da’ath in Aleister Crowley’s The Equinox series.

“It is important to explain the Position of Daath or Knowledge upon the Tree. It is called the Child of Chokmah and Binah, but it hath no Place. But it is really the Apex of a Pyramid of which the three first Numbers form the Base.”[3]

Sapphire 3. ‘The Qliphoth is a key to higher or more advanced initiation.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding the works of Kenneth Grant.

Grant used the term ‘Qliphoth’ in both the particular sense, as relating to demons, as defined by their name, character or signature, and in the universal sense, as all thing that appear whatsoever (Malkuth). Grant developed the idea that all Qliphoth, ‘evil shells of matter’, are masks of emptiness or absence.

The evocation of demons or spirits is ordinary magical practice that is best done within the strict parameters of ceremonial working. The Goetic spirits, for example, were conceived through the dualistic framework of monotheistic religion. It is necessary to understand the theology of sin and redemption before undertaking such operations—unless it is the aim of the magician to become enslaved by blind forces. Such spirits do not convey knowledge of spiritual matters. The ‘Tunnels of Set’ were an invention of Grant, a work of evocation that he carried out over many years (Typhonian Trilogies). Entering these tunnels, as Grant defined them, is to enter a dream world, more or less nightmarish, that Grant conjured with the help of an obscure writing by Aleister Crowley on the Tarot trumps and their paths, Liber 231. The ‘real’ Tunnels of Set are pathways between the stars, ultimately leading beyond the stars. These were symbolised in Egyptian hieroglyphics; they adorn the interior of certain pyramids and tombs. They lead out of the underworld, not into it. The tunnels of Kenneth Grant lead into the underworld of his creation, and provide no means of escape thereby.

Sapphire 4. ‘The Qabalah is primarily useful in producing magical formulae. A magical formula may be a key to more advanced levels of initiation.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding the works of Aleister Crowley.

Example: a formula means ‘form; shape or mould’. The arithmetical 2 + 2 = 4 can be a formula if we apply it thus: 2 + 2 = 4; 4 + 4 = 8; 8 + 8 = 16 … Whenever we add a number to the value of itself, the result is always twice that first number. The first number is always half of the result of the addition. Such a reliable formula, however simple or complex, can have practical uses. It is not, however, a key to anything esoteric such as ‘initiation’ or ‘will’.

Sapphire 5. ‘My aim is to do my True Will. Your aim is to do your True Will. It is possible that I could assist you to do your True Will. It is possible I could hinder or obstruct you from doing your True Will.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding the Law of Thelema. The notion is also propagated through the reductionism of Aleister Crowley, in his writings on the subject. Crowley wrote an instruction called Liber OZ, in which he put forward the absurd notion that other people might hinder or obstruct a person’s True Will, or their ‘right’ to do their True Will.

Thelema and Agape, Will and Love, are equal and cognate terms. The True Will is not a thing that can be acquired or possessed. No one can take away your True Will. No one can obstruct or hinder it.

(i) Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. This is not the same as, ‘Do what you will shall be the whole of the Law’. ‘Do what you will’ expresses the causal determinism of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.[4] The Will is esoteric. The ‘Effect’ (or appearance) is exoteric. Thus we have it in Liber AL, II: 4:

Yet she [Nuit] shall be known and I [Hadit] never.

It is not possible to know one’s (personal) True Will, for as soon as it is known, it is no longer Will but effect or appearance. The Will is esoteric, for it is the consciousness principle itself, otherwise Hadit.

(ii) Love is the law, love under will. Would we say, “It is my aim to do my True Love”? ‘Love’ may be a verb, the verb ‘to love’, but we do not think of doing love. We can ‘make love’, but that describes an action of sensual pleasure; we know (innately) that love cannot really be made or created. Love simply is. Consciousness is. Will is. Hadit, the esoteric point, determines the exoteric (‘known’) circumference or circle. Yet the existence of Hadit owes entirely to the circle. The two principles are simultaneous.

(iii) It is foolish therefore to think in the following terms:

“I am working in a job that I really hate. Therefore I cannot be doing my True Will.” Or otherwise, “The works of Franz Schubert carried his unique signature; he was (therefore) doing his True Will.”

The True Will is not about vocation or jobs of work; it is not about the production of forms, such as with works of art, however beautiful. To imagine that it is means suffering a considerable burden—a burden that is completely unnecessary for it is the phantom product of error. The Will is esoteric. The ‘effect’ is exoteric. The job of work that one does, the works of art that one produces, the words that we speak or write, all actions that we perform whatsoever, are ‘the known’, that is, the ‘effect’, which is exoteric. Such are “not of me” or Hadit (Liber AL, I: 49).

Sapphire 6. ‘The purpose of magick is for healing and empowerment.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding of the Christian Gospel narrative and the older folk traditions (‘healing’). Misunderstanding of the nature of power (‘empowerment’).

The king and the land are one. When the king is ailing, the land is impoverished; the people suffer. The question is asked of the king, “What ails thee, o king?” This begins the quest for the Holy Graal. The king sends his knights out on the errand to find the sum bonum or stone of the wise. The question is never answered, for the will is esoteric, the ‘effect’ (or appearance of things) is exoteric. Thus the Graal is not a remedy as such; it is the stone of the wise. The stone may only be expressed through symbol and allegory. If the symbol is objectified, then ‘the king dies’.

In the lucrative field of pop psychology, feeling good about oneself is an objectified (therefore false) Graal, and is frequently even confused with ‘spirituality’. Deterministic thinking breeds legions of vampire progeny in the objectification of pursuits, achievements and goals such as ‘self-worth’, or the acquiring of material wealth and status. Most often this derives from the deterministic scale of feeling good and feeling bad, called ‘Maslow’s Pyramid’. At the summit of the pyramid is the false Graal of ‘self-actualisation’. The self-fulfilled, self-willed, intellectually self-satisfied and morally complacent individual attains the pinnacle. At the base of the pyramid is physical need, necessity. Sometimes an inverse pyramid of ‘low self-esteem’ is placed below to show negativity. Belief in this doctrine leads the person to become isolated from others and imprisoned by the very beliefs that led them to seek ‘healing’ in the first place. The doctrine also leads to another abortive child of the New Age, called ‘positive thinking’. This encourages self-suppression through hypnosis.

‘Self-empowerment’ is as impossible as self-initiation. How can the self give to the self? ‘Empowerment’ actually means to give or convey power to another. Therefore when a consultant, for example, pretends to help a person become ‘empowered’, any power is transferred to the professional.

There is only one real power in the universe. That power is the power of attention. Every creature on earth has it; every songbird on every tree and chimney has it. Human beings are unique among all creatures in that they have entirely lost the power of placing attention on their immediate environment. Frequently they do not even know what power is. Politicians, for example, are not powerful in any real sense, no matter how wealthy they may be, no matter how large the systems of government or armies they command. They are merely the puppets of blind forces. The status we have in the eyes of the worldly, our apparent accomplishment, has nothing to do with any real power.

Sapphire 7. ‘Reincarnation’.

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding of Eastern traditions. Causal determinism. Linear thinking as opposed to analogous thought.

Reincarnation is a persistent New Age myth, for it promises a kind of immortality in the flesh. The mutant version of metempsychosis, or reincarnation, became increasingly popular in the Western world from the time of Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society and onwards. The doctrine is relatively modern, appearing in the middle of the first millennium in both Greek and Hindu philosophy, Orphism and the Vedas. Greek scholars dispute that Plato, who wrote about it, accepted the doctrine as it has come to be understood. The modern notion of reincarnation owes to the classical interpretation of a doctrine shrouded in mystery. The thrust of classical reincarnation is that it works on a merit system. If you do good, you will achieve reincarnation in a higher life form. If you do evil, you will be reborn as a dog, a toad, a worm or a demon. This concept depends on a strictly hierarchical view of nature consisting of higher life forms and lower life forms, where man is assumed to be the pinnacle of creation. The doctrine coincides with that of spirit seen as the opposer of nature—that nature is to be overcome, to be made submissive to the superior might of man. Once we embrace the idea that the soul can be pure, then we must account for impurity and sin. Once we believe a soul can be rewarded in the afterlife then we must believe the soul can be punished for iniquity. The (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis, II: 22, refutes all classical notions of purity and sin.[5]

It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.

Sapphire 8. ‘Spiritual Evolution’.

False doctrine.
Source: Scientism applied to theurgy; theological causal determinism.

The notion that we may evolve spiritually, on the personal level, is derived from linear thinking, which imagines we may ‘progress’ forwards in time. The mystic goal of the soul’s liberation is not bound or defined by temporal considerations—when that is done, the matter is objectified, the ‘king is dead’. The knowledge path requires that we follow the symbol back to its source with the infinite. The knowledge path is that of involution, not evolution. We are helped in this matter by the words of Liber AL, II: 58.

Yea! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, and not other. Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was.

Cosmic pretension concerning impersonal evolution was a failing of 20th century occultists—for thereby they succumbed to megalomania. To imagine that Thelema—as a religion—might supersede the existing world religions and put everything to rights is plainly absurd. The world religions were all propagated, without exception, in the vain hope of unifying people and cultures. Such attempts at unification have always succeeded only in creating more human misery and suffering through division and conflict. The Utopian idealism of the early twentieth century soon collapsed into Dystopia, a state of affairs now bolstered and perpetuated by the vast expansion of technological dependency.[6]

Sapphire 9. ‘You create your own reality’.

False doctrine.
Source: Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation (1818).

Aleister Crowley and his followers have accepted Schopenhauer’s rationalist argument in defining the ‘True Will’. As a consequence, we now have a commercial brand of ‘Thelema’ that is acceptable to academics, yet which has nothing to do with any spiritual path.

The basis, that the entire world is an appearance, having no essential reality in itself, is borrowed from the Eastern schools, especially Buddhism. After that, the rest bears little or no relation with any established historical tradition other than Greek rational argument, especially that of the Stoics. Here, the (human) will is perceived in terms of causal determinism. Schopenhauer’s doctrine states that everything that appears in nature does so by an act of will. The will is independent of knowledge, which is ‘secondary’ (as caused by will). Knowledge is not therefore required for will to manifest. The will is the only thing-in-itself, the “sole truly real, primary, metaphysical thing in a world in which everything else is only appearance, i.e., mere representation”. The will therefore, “gives all things, whatever they may be, the power to exist and to act”. Since this will is a blind force, there is automatically a need for ethical values such as are found in asceticism (chastity, various abstinences, for example). Previously, such a will-force was ascribed only to God or the divine absolute. Schopenhauer famously declared: “The world is my representation.” Aleister Crowley and occultists through to the present times have generally adopted the concept, both philosophically and in operative theurgy. Both Nietzsche and later Crowley rejected, however, the notion that desire begets suffering. They therefore sought to remove entirely the ethical requirement. This paved the way for the postmodern Left-hand path school of thought and magical practice, which, when taken to the logical extreme, produces the self-confining, self-limiting doctrine of Isolate Intelligence.

Sapphire 10. ‘Magick is a system of belief’.

False doctrine.
Source: popular myth, propagated through journalism, mostly online but in many modern book publications since the late 1980s; hypnotism and ‘psychological occultism’.

i) Belief is a requirement of religion, but is an obstruction to the path of Gnosis. Where belief begins, knowledge ends.

ii) The notion that one can effect magical change through ‘suspension of disbelief’, i.e., to believe something to be true that one knows to be absurd, achieves nothing but the magnification of existing delusion.

Sapphire 11. ‘Sex is the stone of the wise and key of all knowledge.’

False doctrine.
Source: Aleister Crowley and many other writers and thinkers that have fallen for the hoax. As with entheogens (below), the root of the error is determinism.

… let Asar be with Isa, who also are one. But they are not of me. Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the sufferer …

When outcome or result is generated by manipulation of physiological function (‘sexual magick’), the verse quoted above from Liber AL, I: 49, becomes a critical factor in the tendency produced in the (reflective) human psyche, and in any physical manifestation. Isa and Asar, or woman and man, the polar twins in time and space, must be perfectly united. As it is said, they “also are one”. Until this union takes place, they are “not of me”, that is to say, their existence is strictly limited in time. Knowing this, the soul (Isa) suffers; even while the will-seed (Asar) is poured forth in adoration of the objectified symbol, that will remains isolated. It is an error to interpret the Thelemic law of love under will as mere manipulation, an application of a mechanical science. The consequence of Eros (the desire principle) is Thanatos or death as finality. Secreted in the subtle body of woman are the kalas, in universal terms, the ‘moment’ that must be seized. As declared in Liber AL, I: 52:

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

Such judgments are indeed “direful”, for even at an advanced stage of magical development there is still the very real possibility of the soul’s annihilation. The soul knows this, but the will of the ego-self has the power to contract itself, to concentrate all desire upon the objectified result, which means death for the soul, as declared in Liber AL, I: 51.

Will he not sink? Amn. Ho! warrior, if thy servant sink?

Sapphire 12. Entheogens (psychotropic plants, etc.) produce altered states that are spiritual and initiatory.

False doctrine.
Source: causal determinism; rationalism or scientism; misunderstanding of folk-loric traditions (‘shamanism’); much literature in the last century, beginning with some of the works of Aleister Crowley, who saw no difference between yogic samadhi (‘union with God’) and altered states of consciousness that might be obtained by ‘anyone’ through resort to hashish, mescaline, etc.[7]

The material rationalist seeks a physical (or intellectual) cause for everything. Thus, a ‘vision of God’, for example might be thought to be ‘caused’ by a chemical change in the body. Such a change must therefore be caused in turn by something else. Taking any drug, be it synthetic or from a natural plant source, will effect changes in the body’s chemistry, as does the consumption of food, drink, anything whatsoever. Physical substances affect physical things, such as chemistry, hormones. The experiences that may be gained through the use of psychotropic plants are extremely persuasive; very powerful visions may occur, though the nature and quality of these will differ greatly according to each individual. The spiritually minded person will encounter what they may truly believe to be tremendous spiritual insights. The materialist may experience no more than a play of light and colour, finding it insignificant, an exotic form of entertainment. A person with a fragile, disordered psyche might experience terrifying, disturbing hallucinations, and so forth. There is nothing truly spiritual in any of this. The power of such visions is that of persuading the person that there is. The altered state, even the change in perception of reality that may be produced through the use of psychotropic plants, is no more than the observation of an effect in the body.

Sapphire Stone: Conclusion

Such erroneous ideas are “The word of Sin” that is “Restriction” (Liber AL, I: 41). They are restricting, limiting and imprisoning would-be Thelemites around the world today, and millions more that have accepted the New Age anti-philosophy, whether wittingly or not.

The Law of Thelema lives! It is to liberate our souls, not enslave them.


Does Esoteric Thelema repudiate the usually stated aims of magick, to wit, initiation or Gnosis? Do we reject the notion that the True Will can be known?

Certainly not, in either case. Direct knowledge of reality, the true state of affairs, remains the aim and fully realisable goal of magical initiation and the spiritual path of Esoteric Thelema. The 93 Current of love under will cannot be explained in ordinary terms, for it is by nature esoteric; any explanation objectifies, evokes, calls to appearance, defines and limits in time. Its existence is entirely independent of us, yet truly is our selves. It is the Lapis Philosophorum, the stone of the wise, and the elixir of life. It flows like a clear mountain spring, a fountain of light and life, yet is neither light nor darkness. It is neither sun nor shadow reflection; fragrance is its emanation. It is the eternal, indestructible crystalline jewel of undying love and wisdom.


1. Scholarly evidence has been produced to show how even the timeline of European learning has been distorted. Ancient Egypt is the source of mathematics, and from there comes forth architecture, astronomy, metal working, agriculture and spiritual philosophy. The knowledge was filtered through to the rest of teh world via Mesopotamia and ancient Greece. The European stream is almost entirely dependent on the Greek rationalism.  See, ‘A non-Eurocentric historical timeline of Mathematics’ as proposed by George Gheverghese Joseph in his book, The Crest of the Peacock.
2. We paraphrase here the wisdom of Swami Ramakrishna (Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna).
3. The Equinox Vol. 1 No. 5, pp. 89, ‘The Temple of Solomon the King’. It is not known whether the author was Crowley or Fuller. Fuller began the writing but departed from the Order before it was finished.
4. The World as Will and Representation (1818).
5. From ‘Thelemic Doctrine of the Afterlife’, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri]. The first chapter of the book, ‘Lapis Philosophorum’, applies the sapphire stone to conduct a critical reappraisal of Western philosophy.
6. See the essay, ‘Magical Evolution of Consciousness’, Babalon Unveiled [ibid]. The essay may also be read online here.
7. Crowley notably put this idea across in his published diary record, John St. John.

© Oliver St. John 2019

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