Romance of the Magical Orders

Magical Orders: We here explore the relation between Thelema and magical Orders in the Rosicrucian tradition. We will also cover the cosmology and philosophy of Thelema. [This is an abridged form of the essay that has been substantially revised and rewritten for a Second Edition of Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.]

Thelema is a lunar and feminine mystery that vastly predates the Rosicrucian mysteries, upon which has been superimposed the grade or degree system we are familiar with.

Romance of the Magical Orders: Argenteum Astrum Richel No 1489Thelema is frequently described as a ‘magical system’ but it is no such thing in reality. Neither is it any kind of religion, though it has some affinities with Gnosticism. The true function of an initiatic Order is transmission. Such transmission has its source outside of and beyond the human sphere, or sphere of the individuality. Such an aim cannot, ipso facto, be fulfilled through any social or political agenda. As declared in AL, I: 11,

These are fools that men adore; both their Gods and their men are fools.

According to René Guénon,

… it is easy to understand that the role of the individual who confers initiation on another is veritably one of transmitter in the most exact sense of the word. Such a person does not act as an individual, but as the support of an influence not belonging to the individual order; he is only a link in the chain of which the starting-point lies outside and beyond humanity. This is why he acts not in his own name but in the name of the organisation to which he is attached and from which he holds his powers; or, more exactly still, he acts in the name of the principle that the organisation visibly represents.[1]

The (Egyptian) Book of the Law was dictated through the agency of a praeterhuman intelligence, named Aiwass in the book.[2] It is the aim of magick to prepare the person for initiatic transmission. The fact that such transmission takes place, however, does not in itself mean that effective initiation is a certainty, for there must be latency within the person that makes it possible. There are also many other factors, social and environmental, for example, that may determine if the person is so resistant to spiritual realisation that they are impervious to its influence. The ideal of the Rosicrucian legacy is that initiation only becomes valid when the person is prepared to make a sacrifice, which in ancient Egyptian terms makes a priest ma’a kheru, ‘true-speaking’ or ‘true of voice’. The ego and accumulated obstructive aggregates of the person must essentially be realised as having no true existence.

A ‘Black Brother’, in the peculiar language of the Western Mystery Tradition, is one that believes, or that wishes others to believe, that the material universe is the sole reality and that it may be understood wholly through rational process. A Black Brother may be a scientist, but may equally be a theologian, religious leader or philosopher in the modern sense of the word—the masks are endless in their variety. According to Kenneth Grant, Introduction to Part Two, Nightside of Eden,

The atavisms of the Black Brothers are the sterile stars born of the speechless or lisping Aeon, for the Word may be vibrated without distortion only via the menstruum of the female.

Thelema is a lunar and feminine mystery that vastly predates the Rosicrucian mysteries, upon which has been superimposed the grade or degree system we are familiar with. Seemingly disparate traditions, including deviations from tradition—which would include all modern organisations—are nonetheless linked as though by an invisible chain so long as they still carry the possibility of real initiation. By ‘real’ initiation, we mean here not the etymological meaning of the word, which is merely ‘to start something off’, but the technical meaning, which refers to initiatic transmission conveyed through authentic tradition—no matter how obscured that tradition has become even from the members that make up the external body of an organisation.

Rosicrucian fraternities (unless very degenerate) always differ from religious orthodoxy in two vital points. Firstly, the aim is to obtain direct knowledge as distinct from ‘salvation’ through belief, which is an exoteric or religious concern. Secondly, the feminine rôle as Initiatrix is reinstated, though it is frequently veiled in symbolism such as the rose, or the glyph of Venus. Rosicrucian source texts make it clear that what the fraternity alludes to is first and foremost active and alive on the interior, although one could be excused for thinking otherwise when studying the works of ‘authorities’ that produce tome after tome filled with the evidence of facts, dates and names of personages. The Order of the Rosy Cross is not a name for historical clubs, archaic fraternities or ‘societies’, secret or otherwise.

The titles afforded the three Orders are poetic metaphors for varying degrees of spiritual realisation. Any person that founds an Order of the Golden Dawn—that is, the first five grades—must be in contact with the three higher degrees of the Order of the Rosy Cross. And likewise, anyone that founds an Order of the Rosy Cross must be in contact with the supernal Order of the Silver Star. The Tree of Life ‘begins’ with Kether—it is not possible to start a Rosicrucian Order from a position halfway down the Tree and pretend there is nothing above!

None of these considerations discourage the fantasists, of course, who are persuaded by the Serpent of Knowledge arising in them to set up their own puppet theatre in which they play the starring rôle. It is by now quite common to hear of those who claim to have ‘crossed the Abyss’ and so obtained full and permanent spiritual realisation. It does not seem to occur to them that if they had realised in any way what they claim then they would know there is nothing to claim and no one to claim it.

Magical Orders: Argenteum Astrum

There are various exoteric factions of the Order known generically as the A∴A∴ It has become quite common for Orders with this title to assert exclusive ‘lineage’ and rights to the name. Curiously, some groups prefer to be mysterious—or even mysteriously ignorant!—as to what the abbreviated title actually stands for. Aster Argos (Greek) or ‘Silver Star’ is the poetic title of the Rosicrucian-based Order corresponding to the supernal triad. In Latin, it is Argenteum Astrum.[3]

The name is derived from the esoteric title of the Priestess II of Tarot, assigned to the 13th path of Gimel. The  path of the Priestess of the Silver Star extends from Kether the Crown of the Tree of Life to Tiphereth, the centre of the Ruach Elohim. In the Sepher Yetzirah the 13th path is called the Uniting Intelligence, or Intelligence of the Unities. Note that ‘Unities’ is plural, not singular. As it is revealed by Aiwass in Liber AL, I: 1–4 concerning the Star of Nuit,

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.

Magical Orders and the Word of the Law

Thelema (Θελημα) is the “word of the Law” as stated in AL, I: 39. It is not a law of scriptures, decrees or any exoteric doctrine or body of religious teachings. According to AL, III: 49,

I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men.

The fourfold word is Do what thou wilt. The Law of Thelema is a spiritual and natural one, not a human one. Some but not all human beings have this secret nature within them and of those, some are destined to discover it. The word Thelema means ‘will’—not the personal will with its illusory deterministic power but the will-force indicated by the Greek word used, which is rooted in Theos (Θεος), the influence of the divine or spiritual realm that is by definition of non-human origin.

Thelema and Agape (Αγαπη), ‘love’, both add to the number 93 by Greek Qabalah. The word Thelema is therefore cognate with the word Agape, which is spiritual love and intelligence, not romantic or erotic love. Consciousness exists everywhere in the universe, though it is not of the universe that we perceive. As declared by the Serpent of Knowledge, Hadit, in AL, II: 3–4:

In the sphere I [Hadit] am everywhere the centre, as she [Nuit], the circumference, is nowhere found. Yet she shall be known and I never.

Consciousness is everywhere and is not limited to the domain of the human. Wild birds and creatures are sentient, in contradiction to the prevailing scientism that forms its degenerate doctrines to preserve the artificial hell in which Adam and Eve are imprisoned until they come to know the true state of affairs.


The best sense of the word ‘cosmology’ is the literal one, from the Greek: ‘a conversation about the universe’. However, that is not the meaning of the term as it is commonly understood. Likewise, the conventional academic understanding of metaphysics is only ‘about the matter’, the physics, which paved the way for scientism. The ancients had an entirely different way of thinking that cannot be grasped by rational process, whether its resulting dogma is slanted towards scientism, religion or religious theology. As it is succinctly put in AL, II: 32,

Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite and unknown; and all their words are skew-wise.

Metaphysics literally means ‘to pass beyond the form of a thing’, and thus it really owes to pure esotericism. Ancient metaphysics, aeons before the term was coined, could be expressed only through symbols formed from a detailed observation of nature.

Originally, there was only one Tree of Life that was also a Tree of Knowledge. From the fragrant emanation of Nuit-Babalon comes forth the tree from which the gods are sprung. As a cognate study, Ishtar is the happy goddess of the three worlds of heaven, earth and the underworld. The same three worlds are depicted on the obverse of the Stele of Revealing and there is certainly a Thelemic Trinity implied in the structure of the (Egyptian) Book of the Law. There is also a trinity of sorts in the title of the book’s manuscript, ‘L’, as 30. The primal trinity is Binah, the root of all form, the cosmic Matrix or womb—and so the basis, through relationship, of all understanding.

The Sethian Gnosis, which is included among the books ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, asserts a trinity of spirit or fragrance, light and dark. The light and dark had no moral implications of good or evil—the Gnosis precedes religious theologies by vast ages of time. The fragrance, or spirit-intelligence, permeates the light and dark equally; it knows them; thus the cosmic womb or Matrix is formed.


1. Perspectives on Initiation [Sophia Perennis].
2. The Egyptian name ‘Aiwass’ means, ‘He who was ordained in Thebes’.
3. Kenneth Grant studied and copied the manuscripts and diaries of Crowley while posing as his ‘assistant’ at his retirement home in Hastings towards the end of his life. He found there the only unequivocal reference to the meaning of the two initial letters of the name.

‘Romance of the Magical Orders’ has been substantially revised and is to appear in the Second Edition of Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.

Romance of the Magical Orders
© Oliver St. John 2018, 2021 (revised).

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Stellar Intelligence 318

According to the entry for 318 in The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, the Enochian word ZOMAR denotes ‘Stellar Intelligence’.[1] The word is variously translated as ‘radiant knowledge’, ‘incantation’, ‘centre’ and ‘concentration’.

Enochian Stellar Intelligence 318: The priest Ankh-af-na-khonsu as drawn by Oliver St. JohnAs declared in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, III: 38,

Bid me within thine House to dwell, o wingéd snake of light, Hadit.

ZOMAR has a relation with ZOM, the 3rd Aethyr in the Enochian system. Although the Enochian Thirty Aethyrs do not correspond to the plane of the Tree of Life, they interpenetrate it at various points. ZOM has a tenuous relation with the 12th path linking Kether with Binah on the form side of the Tree of Life.[2]

There are said to be five Enochian words that formulate the pentagram of the womb of Da’ath, according to the Flaming Sword. Four of these words are familiar to every student. They are used to charge the pentagrams about the four quarters of the ritual circle. While countless practitioners intone these four words on a daily basis, how many of them know anything about the word from which the other four sprang forth? And what, the student may well ask, does the womb of Da’ath have to do with the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram? Or the Enochian system of magick? First, we must explain how the five Enochian words correspond to the womb of Da’ath.

Five sephiroth enclose the womb of Da’ath in which is suspended the Babe of the Abyss in the mudra of Typhon Inversus. ZOMAR, 318, is attributed to Tiphereth to formulate the apex of the averse pentagram, and Kether for that of the upright pentagram.[3]

HOLQ is attributed to Binah.
BIKAL is attributed to Chokmah.
IA MAL PRJI is attributed to Geburah.
BLIOR is attributed to Gedulah.

Enochian Circle Squared

Each of the four Kerubic names sent forth to square the circle of the infinite contains the letter of the Law, ‘L’, which is that of Libra or Ma’at. The four L’s form the circle-cross, a symbol of the ‘secret word’ mentioned in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law.[4]

It is (or should be) common knowledge among practitioners that when performing the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram one stands theoretically at the junction of the paths of Samekh and Pé. The four quarters of the circle are thus elementally assigned to Air, Tiphereth, Fire, Netzach, Water, Hod, and Yesod as the basis or altar placed upon Malkuth. In the traditional or historical Golden Dawn version of the ritual, the Archangels of these sephiroth were evoked: Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Auriel respectively.

The points of the pentagram are assigned to the four elements plus Spirit. This effectively evokes the lower half of the Tree of Life, though when the full elemental invocations are used, the lower sephiroth are linked to the higher. Once the Adeptus Minor has entered the Sanctum Sanctorum, the work does not stop there. It becomes necessary to depart from the equilibrium of the middle pillar and work the paths of the Hanged Man (23rd) and Ma’at (22nd). There must be a reversal of the entire attitude or mudra of the Adept. When this is accomplished, the lower half of the Tree effectively ‘folds up’ into the upper half. Before long—though there is no exact measure in terrestrial time—another Babe of the Abyss will swear the Oath and undertake the ordeal ‘x’. Thus, in our adaptation of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, the whole path is adumbrated.[5]

ZOMAR means literally, ‘Within me, the Knowledge of the Sun’—which is the Knowledge of the True Self as Atman or KIA. The Sanskrit Atman is the equivalent of KIA, the Khabs, and the House of Hadit. There are various ways to calculate the number of ZOMAR, but by common Hebrew attributions the name is equal to 318, which is the number of Aiwass, who delivered the (Egyptian) Book of the Law and, more than a century later, Esoteric Thelema, which is the “Key of it all”.[6] On a higher arc, the ‘Knowledge of the Sun’ is the knowledge of the sun behind the sun that is Sirius, the star of Egypt and birthplace of the gods.

Enochian Stellar Intelligence 318: Het-Hoor (Hathoor)The determinative for Hathoor (left) depicts Horus as a falcon within the ‘house’ of Hathoor. It is a type of Khabs star within a Khu or dwelling. Het-Hor (Hathoor) means, ‘House of Horus’. She is the Khabs in the Khu after another fashion. As revealed by Aiwass in AL, I: 8–9:

The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.
Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!

Through the discriminating faculty of Horus, the soul realises herself as a Khu. The Khu is realised in turn as the Khabs, becoming a star, the House of Hadit, Atman or KIA in other terms. The Thelemic star in the company of heaven, infinite plurality, differs from Advaita (Non-Dualism). Advaita insists that Atman and Brahman are one, and that there is (therefore) one God alone. This is posited as the only True Self, the unitary intelligence or Monad, ‘Not Two’. From there, postmodern cults posited Isolate Intelligence, the KIA as sole self-seeking-pleasure! However, the Monad is the lie of non-existence, owing to a rational creed. It derives from the classical Greeks—or at least, it came to us that way. When philosophy ceased to be regarded as a preparation for theurgy and became seen as an end in itself, the Orphic Mysteries were misconstrued—for these are far more ancient than the classical period, from whence modern ‘history’ begins.[7] From this rationalised reinvention of the mysteries, comes forth the self-contradiction of Shankara, the renunciationist, who declares the ego as the cause of perpetual rebirth in Maya. The ego does not exist on its own ground. How then can it ‘reincarnate’? There is nothing to reincarnate. This is what is meant by the ‘Dogs of Reason’ in Liber AL. More specifically, it is the rationalist influence on Buddhistic and Advaitan thought. Socrates, for example, founded the canine brood of rational philosophy, where the ‘ideal man’ (or youth) usurped the rôle of women in the mysteries.

Ganymede, the cup-bearer to Zeus, was a blasphemous interposition. This could only come about when the real meaning of the mysteries was forgotten and the old Gods relegated to personifications of mere natural phenomena. It was the beginning of the Dark Age of materialism, which has by now reached its apotheosis.[8] Pythagoras may have known the ‘secret’—that numbers only obtain below the Abyss—but was sworn to keep silence, after the manner of his Egyptian mentors. The rationalist movement, who could only perceive the universe in terms of numbers—the phantasmal Figures of Night—could only conjecture on that which was never disclosed to the profane.

The Atman or KIA as star in the company of heaven is neither ‘one’ nor ‘many’. The doctrine of ‘Impermanence’ declares that anything that moves or changes is not real. Therefore, the Real itself does not move or change in any way, and is the sole ‘permanent’. In nature, such a thing is dead, nay, impossible. In Liber AL, II: 45 it is declared,

There is death for the dogs.

It is curious to note that the number of the verse, II: 45, is equal by division to the ‘Q’ or Khu: 245 ÷ 5 = 29. We can now look at AL, I: 8 in a different light.

The Khabs [5] is in the Khu [29], not the Khu in the Khabs.

The declaration of Aiwass is emphatic. Both Eastern and Western philosophy holds to a mistaken notion of a Monad, or Monadic Intelligence. This is precisely the error of positing that the Khu or self-soul is in the Khabs—where this is perceived as the unitary ‘one’. The doctrine insidiously persuades the Nihilist of ‘nothing’ as fact. It persuades many sincere seekers that the negation of the self is a path to knowing Reality. To the slaves of reason it serves as a lure to become lost in labyrinthine metaphysics, or worse, psychologisation of the mysteries.[9] In the outer world, we have the horror of isolationism, which can be seen as the apotheosis of a degeneration that, according to René Guénon has taken 6000 years to accomplish.[10] The wholesale degeneration of the intellect arises from reason-born phantasm—as does the ‘universe made of numbers’. Number obtains only below the Abyss, the threshold of human reason. The Monad, the Alone-Self-One, is the False Crown of the Abyss.


1. The main entry for ZOMAR is under the number 150 in the first and Second Editions (2017) of The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth. The note on the “Five Enochian words that formulate the pentagram of the womb of Da’ath” is given under HOLQ, 79, though in a somewhat encrypted fashion. One aim of the present essay is to shed further light on that entry.
2. The association between ZOM, the Enochian 3rd Aethyr, and the 12th path of the Magician I of the Tarot, is based on empirical evidence. That is to say, knowledge gained through theurgic practice. Crowley’s vision of ZOM, gained with the help of Victor Neuberg in the Bou Saâda desert, was one of madness and horror. This is understandable, for Crowley believed in the Monad or ‘Self-Alone God’. When ascending the path of Beth, the ‘house’, or ‘tent for a nomad’, the Khu is realised as an abode formed from the emanations of the Khabs star. ZOM, the 3rd Aethyr, is not particularly horrible for those who have assimilated the knowledge of Esoteric Thelema, or to put it another way, those who are not constrained by the Abyss, which is only the lower aspect of Da’ath.
3. This is, technically, the work of the Adeptus Major 6=5. See ‘Elevenfold Star of Initiation’, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.
4. Liber AL, I: 20: “The key of the rituals is in the secret word which I have given unto him.” Interestingly, ZOMAR has no ‘L’, as do the other names. The Enochian ‘L’ (called Ur) corresponds to the Moon waxing in Cancer, signifying the realisation or fulmination of the magical Khu body. Thus ZOMAR is in this respect the ‘star’ or Khabs in the Khu formed by the circle-cross.
5. The esoteric Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is given in various publications, including Hermetic Qabalah Foundation—Complete Course and The Enterer of the Threshold. An important development of the ritual, called ‘The Gates of Babalon’ is given in Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and Snake. See ‘books‘, Ordo Astri.
6. Liber AL, III: 47.
7. It is beyond the scope of an article such as this to attempt an explanation of Esoteric Thelema. The serious student must study ‘Lapis Philosophorum’, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [ibid].
8. See René Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World. There is an article on the Ordo Astri website that quotes from the last two pages of that essay. See, ‘Crisis of the Modern World Revisited’.
9. It should be remarked that intellect and reason are not at all the same thing.
10. See René Guénon [ibid].

© Oliver St. John, 2020

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Thelema Beyond Crowley and Grant

Are you interested in Thelema Beyond Crowley? Have you had some experience of the cults of ‘Crowleyanity’? Have you visited this website in the hope of finding an atlernative to egotism and madness? Then read on, before you begin your deep and prolonged enquiry.

Theleme Beyond Crowley: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Hrumachis IVThe O∴ A∴ was established in the year 1996. Our first website was launched in the year 2000. The founder members of the O∴ A∴ are based in England, UK. Our membership is international.

Initiation requires faithfully following out the practical methods of the Order and the keeping of a diary Record on a strict daily basis. It also requires that there is acceptance of receiving direction in the work from the Order Guide. We work by the correspondence method. A brief account of the history of this tradition is given on the page introducing our Probationership course: VITRIOL.

There follows a list of provisos to address frequently asked questions. This is usually enough to dissuade those with a superficial interest in the mysteries, who suffer the delusion of ‘others’. The tyros are like a crowd at a theatrical event that is more interested in other persons in the audience than what is taking place on the stage. However, both the crowd and the stage are fiction, a phantasmal theatre of ego projection.

We have no involvement with Lodges, after the manner of Freemasons. We eschew social clubs, public events and Internet discussion forums. There is no ‘virtual’ Order or membership. We do not use the term ‘self-initiation’, which is an oxymoron. Although initiation is about personal work done, Thelema is not in any way personal, and cannot be personalised. While personalities are inevitable, they tend to be obstructive to the Great Work.

Magick denotes the noun. When we use the word as an adjective, it is spelled magical. A person who does magick is a magician. In the last two cases, adding the ‘k’ is superfluous.

The Hermetic Qabalah is the basis for ritual magick. We have nothing with Kabbalah, which is a branch of Jewish mysticism. We have nothing with Cabala, which is a branch of Christian mysticism.

There needs to be an intellectual understanding of the work, and of Esoteric Thelema, for the rituals of the O∴ A∴ to become meaningful. Babalon Unveiled—Thelemic Monographs is required reading and study for our Students.[1] It conveys the principles of Esoteric Thelema, compares this with previous schools of thought, and then follows through with numerous applications. It is not a practical handbook but provides the necessary intellectual and philosophical basis. The introduction to our practical methods, the training and work of a Probationer, is given in The Enterer of the Threshold.[2]

Two other books are required of Probationers. The first is The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, which is needed for the formulation of a fraternal name and number.[3] Secondly, The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation, which includes the ritual of Admission to the grade of Neophyte and a detailed, illustrated commentary on this.[4]

Interested outsiders first subscribe to our monthly Journal, The 93 Current, and become Associates. This does not require any commitment beyond receiving a monthly digest by email, but it is the first step on the way. Many seek a spiritual and magical path that is ‘made to measure’. Sooner or later they find something disagreeable in our literature or methods and we will not hear from them again. The interest was superficial, not deep and all consuming as it should be if practical work is to be taken up. The person must prove to us that they are worth our time and our commitment to their Great Work. They must demonstrate their willingness to serve the Order. We are not interested in those who are merely looking to further personal interests and ambitions. There is a short article posted on our website that explains why.

Obeah and Wanga: Service to the Great Work

Beyond Crowley: My Prophet is a Fool

We do not regard Aleister Crowley as any kind of prophet. He awarded himself that title in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, I: 26.

Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign?

These are Crowley’s words, a poeticised question put to the communicant Aiwass, who was conveying the oracle of Nuit (infinite space). The question is not answered directly, and Crowley later changed the wording of the reply as it did not satisfy him.[5] Thereafter, Aiwass mocks Crowley’s presumption.[6]

Crowley, Kenneth Grant and others have interpreted the Egyptian mysteries from the point of view of early 19th century German humanist philosophers (Schiller, for example). The Book of the Law has an ancient Egyptian basis that is at least 4000 years old and in reality is much older than that. Our aim is to return the book to its lawful custodians. To put it another way, we mean to return the book to Egypt. The Egyptian Book of the Law is a more accurate title as the book’s writing conceals the mysteries of Set-Typhon as understood by the Initiates of ancient Thebes, the place called Waset by the Egyptians. The name of Aiwass, who communicated the book via the mediumship of Rose Edith Kelly, means, ‘He who was ordained in Thebes’.[7]

There is no Old Aeon or New Aeon in reality. The mysteries of Liber AL, as it has come to be known, are extremely ancient. Truth does not change with the fashions and fetishes of the human race. Thelema is not time-bound. It is not a new product or “New Law for Humanity” as was put forward by Crowley when he adopted the guise of the salesman and propagandist.[8]

Beyond Crowley: Words and Spells

In our rituals we do not invoke the biblical demiurge Tetragrammaton. However, there is no ban on Hebrew or Aramaic, its antecedent and the basis for scriptural Qabalah. Aramaic was once the language spoken all over the Middle East; The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth is full of it.

Ishtar, invoked in the North in our Ritual of the Pentagram, is a Phoenician and Sumerian deity, though at one time she was celebrated in Egypt (as Ashtaroth, whom we invoke in the East) and renowned throughout the world. Isis is the ‘goddess of a thousand names’, and we invoke her in the West. Babalon, invoked in the South, is derived from Babylon, a corruption of the ancient Egyptian per-hapi-en-aunnu, goddess of the ‘Nile Temple of the nome centre Aunnu’.[9] Together, these are the four faces of Nuit defining the magical circle of the place. The magician is Hadit, the exorcist in the midst.[10]

Beyond Crowley: Trance of Attainment

All grades of initiation are relative to the individual and can have no meaning outside of the Order. Grades and offices are therefore a strictly private matter and are never publicly disclosed. The word ‘attainment’ owes largely to the works of Crowley. It is a vastly over-used term and tends to mislead the materially minded aspirant as to the true nature of initiation. We will here give our reasons. In Babalon Unveiled, pp. 260, ‘Thelemic Mysticism’, it is declared thus:

Materialism insists on a result as final, as product. At the end of the line is the product itself, and the consumer that purchases it through the need to self-identify (thus the ‘brand’ is all-important). Crowley, in his instructional works, spoke perhaps rather too frequently of ‘attainment’. Sages of old times were frequently more pragmatic.

‘Thelemic Mysticism’ can be read online here.

The word ‘attainment’ appears twice in The Enterer of the Threshold (Second Edition, 2019). The first reference is on pp. 2.

The second critical point is in the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Even while the aspirant is preparing their Oath and meditating on the shining one or augoedes, the Four Evil Princes of the World are stirring. These antagonistic forces work day and night to undo aspiring magicians and thwart their true purpose.

The use of the term is ‘traditional’, as it once appeared in the Oath of an Adeptus Minor. We no longer use the term in the wording of the Oath.

The second instance is on pp. 26.

When ascending the chakras of the Tree of Life, a descent is made simultaneously into the depths of the Tree of Knowledge or Death—the higher the branches the deeper the roots. Nonetheless, due to some quirk of human nature it helps us get on with an extremely difficult and arduous undertaking if we employ a few conventional myths along the way, such as ‘attainment’, as though we were climbing a summit—as though we were actually going somewhere. This ‘going forth’ requires tremendous accumulated energy. However, as we plunge onward through the Trees of Eternity to the borders of the abysmal outermost, there is a complete reversal of magical polarity. Whereas the motion of the sephiroth below Da’ath is centrifugal—which gives rise to ‘consciousness expansion’—the motion of Da’ath is centripetal. This powerful force sucks or draws the adept inexorably inward. That same force threatens the annihilation of the human ego.

In Babalon Unveiled, pp. 53–54, ‘Romance of the Magical Orders’, we explore this in greater depth.

One of the snares in the system of grades as presented by Crowley is that he repeats the word ‘attainment’ hundreds of times, as though there were something to attain and someone to attain it; this can have a hypnotic effect on the serious student. The emphasis on attainment places initiation under the restriction of deterministic thinking. By setting forth to show that magick is no different than material science, and can be explained in the same terms, Crowley unwittingly prepared the way for reductionism and psychologisation. Future generations, born of a Wordless Aeon, would have great difficulty discerning a difference. We are in a realm where language will always limit us unless we think differently. The different mode of thinking can be described as a backwards flowing stream, and yet it cannot be taught; magick is not what we do, or attain or can get, but what we are.

Babalon Unveiled and The Enterer of the Threshold are required reading for our students. The Enterer is a small book, but infinite care was taken over its preparation. The person is expected to make a general study of spiritual traditions. After that, it may take between six months and one year of in-depth study of our literature before we will accept a person as a Probationer. During the course of study and reading, it is well to perform some preliminary practices based on what is given in Enterer of the Threshold and to begin a diary Record.

Those who wish to take their enquiry further than the website are welcome to apply to become an Associate, which requires subscription to our monthly ‘93’ Journal. Details of how to apply are given on the website here.


1. Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].
2. The Enterer of the Threshold is the theoretical and practical handbook for aspirants [Ordo Astri]. The first two books noted here are required reading for our Students. The second two (below) are required for a Probationership.
3.  The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, in two volumes [Ordo Astri].
4. The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation includes the rite of Admission to the grade of Neophyte [Ordo Astri].
5. The original wording of Nuit’s oracle, evident in the holograph MS, was, “Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the unfragmentary non-atomic fact of my universality.” The last five words are essential to Esoteric Thelema. Crowley later changed these words, substituting the dull  theological convention, “the omnipresence of my body”.
6. In Liber AL, I: 48, Aiwass declares, “My prophet is a fool with his one, one, one; are not they the Ox, and none by the Book?” There are many other instances, too numerous to mention here.
7. See Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs, pp. 172 [Ordo Astri].
8. Crowley’s introduction to the book Magick is one of the worst examples of such hype, though it is closely rivalled by his absurd introduction to the 1938 OTO edition of The Book of the Law, in which he declares that the book “lays down a simple Code of Conduct”.
9. A colossal image of the goddess, likened to Isis-Hathoor, stood at one time outside the gates to Heliopolis (Aunnu) on the processional route. See pp. 86 and 263 [ibid].
10. This is fully explained in ‘Comment on the Pentagram Ritual’, pp. 41–43, The Enterer of the Threshold.

Our Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Atu Hrumachis IV is explained in detail here.

© Oliver St. John 2019

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