Angels of Sacred Dance, Love and Whoredom

The four female spirits or angels of sacred dance and love are Na’amah, Lilith, Eisheth Zenunim and Agrat Bat Mahlat. In very ancient times they played the part of dancers, lovers and pythonesses or oracular priestesses. When state monotheism became the only lawful means of spiritual communion, the four magical dancers between the worlds were demonised.

Angels of Sacred Dance: Queen of the NightAccording to the Zohar, after Cain killed his brother Abel, Adam was separated from Eve for 130 years.[1] Lilith and Na’amah visited Adam and bore his demonic children, called the Plagues of Mankind. In the Zohar, the abode of the Venusian female spirits of sacred dance is in hell, and they are the four consorts of the Archdemon Samael.

Even Samael has an ambiguous nature in scriptures, for in some of the old books he has the status of Archangel, while in others he is the Prince of Hell or of the Qliphoth. The name of the Archdemon Samael has the meaning of ‘North’, or ‘Left-hand’, an indication that Samael and his four consorts were originally associated with a very ancient (viz., pre-religious) tradition.

Elements of the pre-religious spiritual disciplines have survived into relatively modern times. For example, in the Tantrik tradition of the East as Shiva and Shakti, and in Egypt as Set-Hadit and Nuit, not to mention the oracular Wadjet, Neïth, Seshet, Sekhet and countless others. ‘Sinister’ is derived from the Latin sinistrum, meaning ‘left’. Tantrik cults centred around the sacred feminine are viewed as ‘Left-hand path’, and are considered evil or antisocial, especially since some of the methods prohibit the use of sex for procreation. This is a reversal of what has been considered acceptable since biblical times. Social conventions reinforced over long ages of prohibition, religious taboo and state bribery only legitimise sexual activity, for example, as a means of begetting children.

In modern secular societies, sexual congress without the intention of producing progeny is acceptable so long as it is for recreational amusement. In that case it is fenced around with medical precautions that cancel, or otherwise render as evil and abortive, the reification of the psychosexual force. The ‘demonic’ slur is thus ironic, since sexual congress without the specialised forbidden knowledge results in evil or unbalanced astral forms or psychic aggregates. The ‘astral’ or subtle realm coincides with the plane of elemental air, Qabalistic Yetzirah or Sanskrit vayu. Elementars and other denizens of the inferior subtle regions are able to inhabit the vacuous recesses of the human mind, feeding off the vital fluids. The physical consequence of this ignorance of ancient doctrine includes the whole range of mental disorders, speech and cognitive dysfunction in human beings.

Angels of Sacred Dance: Notes

This article forms the introduction to the chapter of the same title in Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs, Revised Second Edition.

Ishtar Queen of the Night: LilithThe photograph of Ishtar (known as Lilith) is of the Burney Relief, courtesy of Trustees of the British Museum. The British Museum recently produced a reconstruction of the plaque  to show how it was probably painted, which was construed by analysing traces of pigment. The body of Ishtar is thought to have been painted in red ochre, for example.

Click on the image to view at full size.

1. The Zohar, one of the key Qabalistic source texts, was first published in Spain in the thirteenth century. Its origin is disputed; the publisher, Moses de León, claimed the Zohar to have been composed in the second century AD by the rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who hid in a cave for thirteen years to escape Roman persecution. He studied the Torah and was inspired by the Prophet Elijah to write the Zohar. Scholars in modern times have produced evidence to show that the author, or at least compositor of the work, was the publisher himself, which would date the Zohar as no earlier than 1270 AD.

© Oliver St. John 2018, 2024

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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.

Blake: BABALONBabalon, 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’.[1] 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).[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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

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