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; it is in 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 nail 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. 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’.

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.


Notes

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 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.

Visit Ordo Astri (or return to Home): Thelemic Magical Collegium

Subscribe to The 93 Current monthly Journal

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema is an entirely new concept in the field of practical magick and Thelema. Thelema sprang from an ancient Egyptian source. The source work, the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, veils the initiatory secrets of the Theban cult of Set-Typhon or Mentu.

Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Hrumachis IVMentu, or Ra-Mentu, is depicted on our Tarot for Aries, Hrumachis IV. Mentu appears on the front side of the Stele of Revealing, which was activated in the Cairo working of 1904 by Rose Edith Kelly and Aleister Crowley. The Esoteric Thelema conveyed by Aiwass, the communicant of the book, owes nothing to the rationalist humanism of Crowley and his modern day apologists.[1]

The traditional key-scale correspondences of the Tree of Life are continued in our new Tarot designs so that the deck is suitable for practical magick, meditation and divination. The primary aim of the Egyptian Tarot of Thelema is to assist in returning Thelema and the Book of the Law to its lawful custodians.

Egyptian Tarot Deck

These images may be viewed at full size by clicking on them. The first Tarot card to be created was that which symbolises the Capricorn Solstice and 26th path, traditionally titled ‘The Devil XV’. The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Atu is titled Set XV and depicts the Egyptian god, ‘First before the Gods’.

Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Set XVSet is here depicted as God of the South, wielding the was sceptre of priestly authority in his left hand and the Ankh of Life in his right hand. His colour is indigo or dark violet. His ornaments, sceptre and ankh are black, gold and grey as according to the key scale colours of the 26th path and the ancient Egyptian title that was afforded Set, ‘the black and gold one’ (Set-Nubti). His peculiar ass-head with truncated ears has caused much bafflement. Some have thought he was modelled on a creature that has long been extinct. Whether this is true or not, Set is certainly among the most ancient of gods. Like Sokar, Lord of the Necropolis, Set is older even than the Pyramids. Perhaps he is as old as the vast wilderness of the desert itself.

Most descriptions of Set focus on the later dynastic periods of Egypt, where he was demonised and known only as the slayer of Osiris. However, Set is the first and only begotten son of Nuit, the goddess of space and stars. His birth is by divine parthenogenesis—no paternal intervention is required for a star to manifest the mother, for Hadit to evoke the appearance of Nuit. To discuss Set-Typhon in terms of Osiris is therefore a diversion from understanding Set’s true nature and function. The full description of Set XV may be read here.

Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Nuit XVIIWe next created the card for the Sun entering Aquarius, traditionally called ‘The Star XVII’. The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for Aquarius is Nuit XVII. The traditional title is ‘The Star XVII’. The esoteric title is Daughter of the Firmament: Dweller between the Waters. Nuit is depicted here as she appears on the Stele of Revealing. She is shown bending over the Star Pentactys, a pyramid of 15 stars. According to the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, I: 15, to the Scarlet Woman “is all power given”. Thus, in the lower section of the image is the ma’a Lion of Truth, Nuit’s power in the underworld typified by Leo, the opposite sign of the Zodiac to Aquarius.

The hieroglyphs of Nuit’s name are shown at the top of the card. The pot determinative (nu) shows the nature of Nuit as the principle of containment in the cosmic sense, a body of stars. The hieroglyph for ‘sky’ or ‘space’ indicates the heavens above. Depicted on the lower left border of the card are the symbols of Saturn, the astrological ruler of Aquarius, and Uranus, ruler of the Kerubic signs. Saturn is the principle of limitation and form while Uranus symbolises the limitless expanse of space. To the right is Hé, ‘a window’, the letter of the path. The shape of the letter is that of a nomad’s tent, as with beth. The tent is shown from the side, with the aperture drawn open at the top for viewing. The letter Hé of Aquarius has the value of 5. The window of ‘five’ is the image of the starry goddess Nuit, through which the seer perceives the primordial wisdom. There is a complete description of Nuit XVII here.

Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Khonsu XVIIIOur Tarot card for the Sun entering Pisces is called Khonsu XVIII. The traditional title of the card is ‘The Moon XVII’. Khonsu is the Egyptian god of the Moon, the ‘Sky-Rider’, and also happens to form part of the name of the scribe and priest to whom the Stele of Revealing belongs, Ankh-af-na-khonsu. The esoteric title of the trump is Ruler of Flux and Reflux: Child of the Sons of the Mighty. The key-scale correspondences for Khonsu XVIII are of the 29th path of the Tree of Life, extending upwards from Malkuth (the Kingdom) to Netzach (Venus). Khonsu’s Egyptian hieroglyphic name is at the top of the picture. The hawk-headed god of the Moon is at the centre, going forth between two pillars. He bears the priestly was sceptre in his right hand and the Ankh of Life in his left. Khonsu was regarded as the son of Mut and  Amoun, and was closely identified with both Tahuti and Horus at Thebes (Egyptian Waset). The full description of Khonsu XVIII may be read here.

Thelema Atu IV HrumachisThe Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 28th path of Aries is Hrumachis IV. Hrumachis, the Egyptian Sphinx, has various names, including Hormaku, Horakhty and Ra Hoor Khuit. The esoteric title of the Tarot trump, traditionally called ‘The Emperor’, is Son of the Morning: Chief among the Mighty. The Egyptian hieroglyphic name of Hor-em-akhet, from which the Greek form Hrumachis is derived, is at the top of the Tarot picture. In the centre is Ra-Mentu or Ra Hoor Khuit, based on the Stele of Revealing. As Hrumachis, Horus is fully raised to the sky or heaven. The Sun and Serpent crown affirm his identity with both Ra and Typhon-Apophis. He wears the leopard spots, emblematic of the ‘space-marks’ or stars, and the gift of divine prophecy. His nemmys is night-blue, the colour of the body of Nuit, which encompasses the whole horizon. The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Hrumachis IV is described in detail here.

Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Hathoor VThe Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the Sun entering Taurus is quite naturally Hathoor V. The traditional title of the Atu is the ‘The Hierophant’ or ‘Pope’. Hathoor is the Way-shower or revealer of Adam to himself. She is crowned by the lunar horns and weilds the lotus wand or sceptre of the creation of life. The name of Hathoor, as given in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, is derived from Het-Hor, literally, ‘House of Horus’. The esoteric title of the Tarot trump is Magus of the Eternal.

In the centre of the Tarot picture is Hathoor, seated on a cubical throne, for Taurus is the Foundation of the Earth. The throne is of moon-white or silver, for the Moon is exalted in Taurus and is the fructification of earth and all her creatures. The throne is placed between two pillars of silver and gold. Lotus flowers surmount the tetrahedronal capitals. Hathoor is crowned with the solar disk and lunar cow horns. She bears the lotus wand in her right hand, symbol of the perfume of immortality, and in her left she bears the Rosy Cross of Life and Love. The complete description of Hathoor V may be read here.

Shenut Atu VI GeminiThe Egyptian Tarot of Thelema for Gemini, the Twins or Lovers, is Shenut VI. Shenut is the goddess of dual manifestation. We depict here a pair of ancient Egyptian sacred dancing girls, making the gesture, ‘As above and so below’. The esoteric title of the Tarot trump is Children of the Voice: Oracle of the Mighty Gods. The ‘voice’ is the oracle of Understanding and Wisdom. On the Tree of Life, these are Binah and Chokmah. The primary cosmic duality is personified in pairs such as Babalon and the Beast, Sophia and Logos, Eve and the Serpent.

In the centre of the Tarot picture are two Egyptian dancing girls, based on the tomb painting of Nebamun Osama. The hieroglyphic name Shenut, goddess of dual manifestation, is at the top of the Tarot picture. Related terms are shni-t, ‘spell’, ‘curse’, and shnem, ‘to unite with’. When the hieroglyphic determinative of a bird alighting is used, as shown here in the lower half of the Tarot picture, the word means ‘dancers’, or a company of dancers and musicians. The full description of Shenut VI may be read here.

Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Atet VII: Sun Boat of RaThe Egyptian Tarot of Thelema for the Sun entering Cancer at the Solstice is Atet VII. This card, traditionally named ‘The Chariot VII’, is the original type of the solar chariot, the sun boat of Ra. The motion of Ra defines the expanse of the sky, the reach of heaven. Thus the invisible Sun of Spirit is concealed or clothed in light. The barque or sun boat of Ra is also therefore the marker of time. If the sun boat should be stopped in its tracks, as is told in the legends of Isis, time would cease.

The esoteric title of the Tarot trump is Child of the Powers of the Waters: Lord of the Triumph of Light. This is best explained through the Qabalistic title of the 18th path, Intelligence of the House of Influence. Cheth, the letter of the path, means ‘a wall or enclosure’. The enclosure of cheth is the sun boat itself. It is also the magical spirit-body called the Khu (or khu-t) in ancient Egyptian sacred texts including the (Egyptian) Book of the Law. In cosmic aspect, the Khu is the company of heaven referred to in Liber AL, I: 1–4.

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.

The full description of Atet VII can be read here.

Atu Sekhet XI LeoThe 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. Sekhet, 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.

The full description of Sekhet XI can be read here.

Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Isis IXThe Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 20th path of Virgo is Isis IX. Mercury, the Stellar Light, is the ruler of the sign of Virgo and is exalted therein. The trump depicts the twin sisters Iset and Nebhet (Isis and Nephthys) giving life to the inert soul, suspended in the watery abyss called Aukert, neither truly alive nor truly dead. By dual manifestation the spiritual powers of the soul create the star or Khabs in the Khu. The twin sisters are placed in the Garden of Eden, which was at one time manifested on the earth as the gardens surrounding the Temple of Neïth in the Delta region, the House of the Lady of Sàis.

The image at the same time depicts the legend of Isis as recorded by Herodotus, when she raised Horus to life after he was poisoned by Set in the form of a scorpion. The card thus depicts the three magical powers of the 20th path, Parthenogenesis, Invisibility and Initiation. These were reflected in the Staff, Cloak and Lamp of the Hermit in the traditional Tarot designs.

The full description of Isis IX can be read here.

Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Maat VIIIThe Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 22nd path of Libra is Maat VIII. Venus, the Glittering Splendour, is the ruler of the sign of Libra and Saturn is exalted therein. Maat is here depicted as a young woman clothed in green and blue, the colours of the key scale of the 22nd path. She has little in the way of ornamentation and is crowned with the ostrich plume, which declares ‘Truth’, her name’. She bears the ankh of life and lotus sceptre. She stands between the two pillars of dual manifestation, or Form and Force. In ceremonial magick these are also called Knowledge and Wisdom. They are shown here as silver and gold, indicative of the Moon and Sun as the governance of spirit acting upon the Zodiac through the four classical elements of nature. Lotuses surmount the tetrahedronal caps of the pillars to show that all life pours forth from the power of dual manifestation.

The full description of Maat VIII can be read here.


Notes

1. Esoteric Thelema is set forth, with many applications both practical and philosophical, in the book, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].

Live updating: The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema is a work in progress. New Tarot designs and revisions will be posted to this page as they are created.

© Oliver St. John 2019

Visit Ordo Astri (or return to) Home
Subscribe to The 93 Current monthly Journal

Hermetic Qabalah Foundation

This article is about the Hermetic Qabalah Foundation course. The  course is presented in the book, Hermetic Qabalah Foundation—Complete Course. Those wishing to begin a Probationership with the O∴ A∴ may work the Foundation as a preliminary course of study and practice.

Hermetic Qabalah Foundation: Tree of LifeThe Hermetic Qabalah Foundation is the best place to begin for those who desire a thorough grounding in magick. Here is the Qabalah in theory and practice. The mode of practical work in the Hermetic Qabalah Foundation course is to travel the Tree of Life from top to bottom instead of bottom to top. The method was first developed by the Helios Group in England in the late 1950s. The Helios Group was a project that was developed in association with the Fraternity of Inner Light. The author and Qabalist Gareth Knight (Basil Wilby) had much to do with what was then called the Helios Course in practical Qabalah, in consultation with Israel Regardie. The bulk of that course, fifty lessons and fifty months of study and work, was penned by WE Butler, working on commission.

The modern Hermetic Qabalah Foundation bears little comparison with the Helios course; there is no Arthurian symbolism, no Graal castle and, with all due respect to our mentors, ‘Thelema’ is not a word used to clear the room after a party. The course takes one year to complete.

There is in reality no such thing as a beginner’s course in magick. The ancient Egyptians did not have one set of hieroglyphs for novices and another set for priest-kings; they are all the same hieroglyphs. The Hermetic Qabalah Foundation was written and structured in such a way as to teach the novice how to make their way through the labyrinth of symbolism that pervades the subject. The course also serves the purpose of enabling the student that is properly prepared a chance to forge the necessary inner-plane contacts. If a master of magick were to work their way through the same course, they would not be wasting one minute of their time, for they would work it to their own level of ability and knowledge.

Hermetic Qabalah Foundation: Holy Guardian Angel

The primary objective of the Great Work is the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. In many ways the Angel can be regarded as a divine lover, for the Knowledge and Conversation is the most complete form of consummation within human experience. Qabalistically, union between the ego and the non-ego takes place in Tiphereth, the heart and centre of the Tree of Life. This then becomes the seat of the True Will or True Self. In the normal state of affairs Tiphereth is merely the place of the lower ego, which has usurped the position of its true ruler, prince and king. The mundane chakra attributed to Tiphereth—its physical vehicle in the cosmos—is the Sun. The symbol used for this star is a circle with a point in the centre. The circle with a point in the centre is also the symbol of Kether concentrated from the Ain Soph Aur, the void from which emerges the point of consciousness. As Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth is in Kether, the Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel is attributed to Malkuth on the Tree. The Holy Guardian Angel informs the person while they are incarnated in a body of flesh—the Great Work as understood by Hermeticists is not something that is postponed until an after-life.[1]


Notes

1. From Hermetic Qabalah Foundation—Complete Course, pp. 38.
© Oliver St. John, 2018

View all Ordo Astri Imprimatur books
Subscribe to our monthly Journal, The 93 Current. The Journal is free of charge and is delivered by email.