Qabalistic Examination of Thelema, the Word of the Law
0. The Word of the Law is revealed in Liber AL, I: 39–40.
The word of the Law is Θελημα. Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The fulfilment of the Law of Thelema is declared in Liber AL, I: 57.
Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will.
1. The Greek word Thelema, ‘Will’, has the Qabalistic value of 93, equal to Agape, which is spiritual or impersonal love. The word is frequently translated in scripture as ‘charity’, in the archaic not the modern sense of the word. Will (Thelema) and Love (Agape) are synonymous and so perfectly equal, one with the other. As the will of Thelema is not wish or want, so the love of Agape is not desire for human bonding.
2. We are instructed to “look but close into the word” Thelema. The Greek word theletes means, ‘one who wills; a wizard’—a magical practitioner. The root of the word is thelu, which means, ‘female’. The word of the Law was transmitted in I: 39 of the Book in the form of an oracle from the ancient Egyptian star goddess Nuit. The True Will is not the will of rational determinism. The consciousness current is not concerned, as is the human ego, with the need to make choices or decisions, to determine this or that.
3. The first two letters ΘΕ are the root of Thea, divine creatrix, and Theos, God or deity. Thea has the meaning of ‘a view’. Such a window of vision and creative imagining is aptly symbolised in the Tarot trump the Star XVII. The first two letters then refer to the grade of the Hermit or devotee that follows Nuit through the starry heavens.
4. The second two letters ΛΗ form the root of lema, ‘will’, and also ‘strength’ or courage. “Do what thou wilt” is not ‘do whatever you want’; it is to follow the course of the True Will as a star in the body of Nuit. This is a discipline that requires special courage, strength and determination. ΛΗ is also the root of Leda.Iin the Greek myth, Zeus begat Castor and Pollux upon Leda, the polar twins of the zodiacal sign of Gemini and Tarot Atu VI, the Lovers. ΛΗ thus signifies the grade of the Lover and the practice of intellectual discernment.
5. The last two letters ΜΑ are the root of magia or magick, maia, the mother of illusion, and iama, remedy. To understand the true nature of the terrestrial plane, the Man of Earth must practice and learn the magick arts. The motivation to start a Great Work stems from a realisation that something is not right in the world. It is the plight of the fisher-king in the Graal mysteries that is ‘wounded in the thigh’. The thigh is a common euphemism for the sexual and generative organs, associated with Scorpio—the crux of the whole matter of life and death. The wounded king sends his knights—his desire and imagination—out on the quest for the holy Graal. When the king is ailing, so is the whole land; the king is a symbol of the human ego in Tiphereth while the land (mother earth) is Malkuth the Kingdom, ‘As above, so below’.
6. ΜΑ has the value of 41 and so is Qabalistically equal to latha, ‘forgetfulness’. The awakening of the Man of Earth, if it comes, is tenuous; it is very easy to fall back into the sleep of forgetfulness symbolised by the ancient Greeks as the waters of Lethe in Hades (hell or the underworld). Hades is hidden among the roots of the Tree in Malkuth. The Lover that has attained the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel has remembered, and has the task of constantly renewing this remembrance. Even the Lover can succumb once more to the sleep of forgetfulness.
7. The outer level of teaching for the grade of the Man of Earth is the Law, scripture or precepts governing conduct.
8. The second or inner level of teaching for the grade of the Lover is the ability to interpret symbol and allegory in various ways that lead to deeper knowledge, for example, the use of Qabalah.
9. The third or innermost level of teaching for the grade of Hermit is the radiance of pure knowledge that is obtained when each symbol is followed back to its source with the infinite.
10. Thelema is the Tele-Ma, which is the talisman, telesmata or stellar transmission of the Mother Mu or Maat. It is revealed and concealed in Liber AL (or L = 30) vel Legis, the Book of the Law of Maat. The Word of the Law is Thelema.
1. The three grades are comparable to the threefold structure of the 2nd century CE Basilidean sect, which influenced Valentinus, the Egyptian theologian and Gnostic.
This analysis of the Word of the Law appears in Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs.
© Oliver St. John 2016, 2018
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