Since the First Edition of Babalon Unveiled was published it has come to our notice that some people have very strange ideas concerning who or what our Lady Babalon is, or what she symbolises. The following article is from the Second Edition.
Babalon, as divine personification and Shakti, who holds the power of ‘reversing time’ in the assimilation and reabsorption of all illusions of self, is integral to initiatic transmission and gnosis. Yet it is very common now to find ‘devotees’ of Babalon that are devoted to what can only be described as a kind of advertising agency notion of the ‘modern woman’. This involves a sexualised ideal of women that is a contradiction in itself, a dissociated idea of the self that could only come about in the confusion that owes to the spiritual vacuum of the present times. It persists in the ambiguous realm of fantasy—which also happens to be the realm used for selling products. Sadly, the licentious trading on the name of Babalon typifies the total inversion and parodying of all spiritual knowledge. It denies any possibility of real initiation while pretending to sell ‘liberation’ through the cynical commercial exploitation of completely ordinary human weakness and delusion.
Babalon, as she has come to be known, has vastly ancient origins. As we have mentioned earlier, her name derives from a corruption of the Egyptian per-hapi-en-aunnu, the ‘Nile Temple of Aunnu’. The Nile Temple, dedicated to Hathoor the goddess of the sky and the divine pillar or initiatic axis that links heaven with earth, refers to the nome centre of the place named by the Greeks as Heliopolis, the City of the Sun. The name Hathoor (Het-hor) means literally ‘House of Horus’. Babalon is thus cognate with Nuit as the personification of the supreme principle. According to the book of Revelation 12: 1,
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
As ‘clothed with the sun’, Babalon signifies both the manifest and the unmanifest principle. Hathoor is notable for giving birth to Horus without the need for a father, which is indicative of a metaphysical understanding of reality that reaches beyond the cosmological level—though the latter is often the upper limit of what can be imagined by those who write on ‘ancient mysteries’.
The relatively modern spelling of the name Babalon was derived from the Enochian Keys. By Qabalistic values the name adds to 156, which is the number of the Zodiac as a unified principle (12 x 13). From that we can ascertain that while the absolute principle is not altered by any conditions of manifestation, our Lady Babalon, in her manifest aspect, is the ruler of the cosmological sphere. As we know that Horus in his earliest form as Set-Mentu is the Legislator or Lord of the Cosmic Cycle, we can understand how it is not really possible to separate Horus from Hathoor, in the same way Shiva is not separate from Shakti and Hadit is not separate from Nuit, for these are dual aspects of the supreme principle. From the corporeal point of view, Babalon is the type of the human soul, named the Scarlet Woman in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law. As such, she suffers the burden of good and evil, which resides in the human heart.
We must here discern a difference between ‘heart’ as an analogy for spiritual intelligence and the conventional meaning of the word as merely emotion, instinct or sentiment. The ‘compassion and tenderness’ mentioned in the Book of the Law, which is no more than the sentimentalism that typifies our modern times, has negative implications for the soul. The sympathy or feeling that the soul has is closely associated with her bodily emotions and mentality. Such ‘feeling’ thus easily becomes a mask for pride and egotism. While there is nothing wrong with love and kindness when it springs freely from the heart, the human mind has immense capacity for deception.
Scorpio, ruled by fiery Mars, the energy or ‘blood’ of life, is a correspondence of the Scarlet Woman. The number 156 also happens to be a number of Kemoz, an angel of Scorpio. The name suggests ‘essence of darkness’, which is similar to what is said in the Sepher Yetzirah as descriptive of the fifteenth path of Aquarius and Nuit. Darkness or blackness can symbolise the primordial state, which is identical with the supreme principle. In its inferior aspect, darkness is simply ignorance, so we are at once confronted with the dual nature of symbolism. Both aspects apply to the Scarlet Woman or human soul, for she must choose; to choose wisely she must learn the art of discrimination that makes true knowledge possible. As according to the Book of the Law, I: 57,
There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well!
The dove is the symbol of Deliverance, also the avatar that ascends and descends the axis or world tree as intermediary. It is inseparable from the symbolism of the Holy Graal. The serpent itself has a dual aspect, superior and inferior. Here it is played against the bird of heaven, as the Adversary or tendency towards evil that is in man. To a certain extent then, the soul must undergo trials in the underworld or infernal realm that has its equation with ‘ordinary life’, before reaching the centre of the labyrinth—all that which guards the true heart of knowledge. Once the centre is reached—if it is reached and not denied—it becomes possible for the soul’s initiatory death and resurrection or ascent.
Notes on our Lady Babalon
1. See ‘Babalon Unveiled’, Second Edition (Revised), p. 24.
2. The number 156 is also the number of squares in each of the Enochian Watchtowers. It is also that of the ‘Splenderous Eden’ (ODN KBVD).
3. Book of the Law, III: 43.
4. KMVTz (156) is Ruling Angel of the 1st Decanate of Scorpio.
5. See Thirty-two paths of Wisdom by the present author.
Our Lady Babalon is from Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs Second Edition (Revised). The article is there titled ‘Babalon Revisited’.
© Oliver St. John 2021, 2023