Crowley Developed The Symbolism Of Babalon To Suit His Own Style

Crowley Developed The Symbolism Of Babalon To Suit His Own Style Image
"At all my meetings with you shall the priestess say-and her eyes shall burn with desire as she stands bare and rejoicing in my secret temple-To me! To me! calling forth the flame of the hearts of all in her love-chant.- The Book of the Law, First Chapter"

For the many years that I have studied and contemplated the Book of the Law this passage in the First Chapter has always put me in mind of the Neo-Pagan practice of witchcraft. Although I didn't publish the essay until 2009, the basic research for my essay the Rosicrucian Roots of the Witchcraft Cult had been done many years previously and I had spent almost a decade looking for the connection between Thelema and Wicca.

Beyond the obvious connection between Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner, I was looking for something deeper, a shared symbolism that genuinely bridged these two new age spiritual paths which have sprung from the same root stock and developed in almost diametrically opposed directions. While witchcraft emphasizes a connection with the earth, encourages regular group gatherings to celebrate the cycles of life and is essentially a feminine form of worship; Thelema makes no connection with the earth, aiming instead at the stars, discourages groups activities of all kinds and is centered on the individual whatever their gender. And yet the above passage indicates strongly that Aiwass was making a prophecy about the rise of a new religion for the people, one that is directed by Priestesses that is based on the love of the Goddess, and hints that this is the outer form of worship for the new aeon of Horus while the inner form of practice is the path of Thelemite magick, the formula for which is supplied in the Second Chapter.

1. This is the secret of the Holy Graal, that is the sacred vessel of our Lady the Scarlet Woman, Babalon the Mother of Abominations, the bride of Chaos, that rideth upon our Lord the Beast.

2. Thou shalt drain out thy blood that is thy life into the golden cup of her fornication.

"3. Thou shalt mingle thy life with the universal life. Thou shalt keep not back one drop.- Liber Cheth, Aleister Crowley"

The feminine principal in Thelema begins with the archetypal Goddess Nu although She has no demonstrable form or even an actual positive existence as She represents the negative principal that pre-existed before the first positive emanation issued from it. In this form She is the Ain Soph Aur of the Holy Qabalah, the Light that infuses the infinite void and yet is never illuminating until it crosses the abyss. Even before this She exists only in the quasi material form of the Queen of Heaven as the Goddess Nuit, although in this form she is still a void and represents the space between the stars that are depicted as clothing her in positive manifestations of the LVX. As such Nuit isn't really even a genuine goddess but instead she is the Mother of the Child God Horus and so a form of Horus as he was before he existed.

The first genuine division of the spiritual forces of Thelema into genders occurs below the abyss, at the upper edge of the actual existences, on the Nineteenth Path of Sepher Yetzirah, also called the Path of Teth. Here the feminine principal takes on the form of Babalon, a secret arcanum of magick that was first explored by Crowley in the Vision and the Voice. Crowley developed the symbolism of Babalon to suit his own style of magick, especially the sex magick that he was practicing in the OTO, but before he did that he had also managed to make the obvious connection between Babalon and the Scarlet Woman of the Book of the Law. The Scarlet Woman represents the most material form of feminine principal in the Book of the Law and together the four principals correspond to Tetragrammaton in a uniquely Thelemite manner. It is this Scarlet Woman that is the Priestess from the verse in the First Chapter and this progression from Archetypal to manifest femininity is the spiritual essence of what she worships in her temple by the use of her love chant.

"49. Thy tears, thy sweat, thy blood, thy semen, thy love, thy faith shall provide. Ah, I shall drain thee like the cup that is of me, Babalon. - Jack Parson, Book 49"

In a recent conversation with some other Thelemites one of them raised the question of whether the 1946 Babalon Working performed by Jack Parsons and L Ron Hubbard may have had some impact on the birth of the Wiccan movement in Britain at about the same time. Parsons was an acolyte of Crowley who is documented as having advised Gerald Gardner on points of magick and organization while he was in the early stages of establishing his first group of witches. The fact that Parsons was keenly interested in witches, contrary to the general interests of his contemporary occultists seemed to present a tantalizing link that might have been the bridge that I had been looking for.

This all had the effect of jogging my memory of performing a similar ceremony to that which was performed by Parsons and I went to the archives of my Magick Journal for the year 1997 and found that I had indeed worked a magick to Babalon but at the time I didn't understand the true significance of what I had found.

"... she shows me a vision of the progression of the lunar phases through its twenty-eight day cycle and as the moon passes the full BABALON begins to grow old until she is a withered crone who advances upon me, menacing me at first but as I hold my place, and following the rapid progression of the moon's phases, she is again a powerful young female and she once again stops her assault.- The Magick Journal of Ankhafnakhonsu, 2 September 1997, 12:30am"

I had used Babalon's symbol of the seven pointed star of even points inscribed with name as a portal to her astral plane and the passage quoted above was only a small portion of my communication with her. The vision made certain prognostications about my progress on the magickal path that later came to fruition and it was for these results that I had primarily recalled this particular operation, until the conversation mentioned above.

The feminine principal that is revered in both Thelema and by witches is the cycle of the feminine lifespan from the virginal Artemis, through the potently fertile Mother Goddesses and finally the crones that mark the approach of the dark moon and the potential for rebirth. This cycle is also replicated in the four feminine forms that are represented in the Thelemite feminine spiritual hierarchy as Nu is purely feminine and precedes the appearance of the male principal of Hadit which is the first emanation from the Ain Soph Aur. Nuit is the form of the Mother Goddess who gives birth to the Child God Horus and then the mortal form of the Scarlet Woman is the vehicle for the spiritual energy of Babalon and ensures that the spiritual force to feminine generation will inevitably fade and die as a part of its material existence while in its archetypal form it remains an infinite reservoir of new life that is as of yet uncreated.

Modern witchcraft is only beginning its development as a spiritual practice and, especially amongst the eclectic practitioners it is still forming a working discipline and consistent pantheon of spiritual archetypes. In many ways it is going through the same processes of development that modern Hermetic Magick has done since the occult revival of the last half of the Nineteenth Century and so it is around a hundred years behind the development of that discipline (although it seems to be making up ground at the present). Many modern witches are obtaining results from their magick that resemble the work of the Hermetic Magicians that have developed magick and Thelema into the disciplines that they are today so it will be of greater significance to more of them that there is a connection between Thelema and witchcraft that may help to define the most modern and popular of new age religions.

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