Saturday, March 23, 2024

Lion of Light: It is All About the Child

"Kung walked
             by the dynastic temple
       and into the cedar grove,
             and then out by the lower river,
And with him Khieu, Tchi
             and Tian the low speaking
And "we are unknown," said Kung,
"You will take up charioteering?
             Then you will become known,
. . .

And Tchi said, "I would prefer a small mountain temple,
"With order in the observances,
                with a suitable performance of the ritual,"
And Tian said, with his hand on the strings of his lute
The low sounds continuing
               after his hands left the strings,
And the sound went up like smoke, under the leaves, 
And he looked after the sound:
                     "The old swimming hole,
"And the boys flopping off the planks,
"Or sitting in the underbrush playing mandolins."
            And Kung smiled upon them all equally,
And Thseng-sie desired to know:
                     "Which had answered correctly?'
And Kung said, "They have all answered correctly'
That is to say, each in his nature."

 – Ezra Pound, Canto XIII 
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

It seems appropriate to conclude the Lion of Light reading group at the Spring Equinox amidst the Thelemic High Holy Days – Holy because they mark the anniversary of the events leading up to and including the reception of The Book of the Law. It began March 16th, 1904 when Crowley invoked IAO to show his wife Rose some sylphs. She didn't see them, but went into an altered state and kept on saying: "They're waiting for you." And so began the adventure 120 years ago that would completely change Aleister's and many people's lives. Crowley wrote his account in "The Book of the Results" which is in The Equinox of the Gods.

One of the things I enjoy about the study of Crowley and Magick is that it never ends; the learning and education never stops. I've seen recent videos where Lon Milo Duquette has been painting a vivid picture around this pivotal episode. I'm very familiar with these circumstances yet still learned new details or perhaps refreshed my memory on things forgotten. For instance, I didn't realize Rose was 5 months pregnant with their first child, Lola. Or that Lola had been conceived in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid on a previous visit to Cairo. 

Another revelation came from hearing the account of the discovery of what's now known as The Stele of Revealing.  This is the hand-painted wood funerary tablet of the priest Ankh af na Khonsu from Egypt's 26th Dynasty that Rose famously directed Crowley to in Cairo's Boulak Museum. Crowley brought her there to test the legitimacy of his wife's vision. It blew his mind upon finding the exhibit number = 666. What I didn't know until a few days ago: that stele distinguishes itself with the unique feature of showing hieroglyphs on the reverse side. That's why that particular stele got preserved and placed in a museum. Those hieroglyphs expressed a spell from a group of artifacts we now call The Papyrus of Ani or The Egyptian Book of the Dead. When a royal personage died, their body got mummified, a process which included removing all the internal organs. This spell, found on the reverse side of the Stele of Revealing, got inscribed and placed in the chest area of the mummified body. It became the magical engine that drove the heart of the deceased person.

The Stele of Revealing shows Ankh af na Khonsu giving offerings to Horus in his Ra Hoor Khuit aspect.
The goddess Nuit arches over the top of the tablet with the winged globe representing Hadit right below her.

The hieroglyphs on the reverse side of The Stele of Revealing
The translation Crowley used became part of the Adorations found in The Book of the Law 
also used in the Mass of the Phoenix ritual mentioned earlier.

"And in that heart of hearts was no more I,
No more the heart; but sobbing through the sky,
Came trembling the more awful beat, the blast
Of a million trumpets blazoning the past,
Heralding the to-be, and on their wings
Whirred incommunicable things.
And in their wake, tremendous and austere,
A form of fear,
Awe in the shape of the Most Holy One,
A globe, an eye, a hawk, a lion, a lord,
A bowl of brilliance, a winged globe, a sword –
All these in one, and one beyond all these,
Mute, ithyphallic, caryatides
Like gods about his car, came crested on
The one true God, the Sun!
Instant, the city swirling to its brim
With Life unthinkable, dissolved in Him.
Instant, explosion shook the bounding night,
Smote it but once, and left but one thing, Light." 
 – Aleister Crowley, The City of God

Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head . . . then I remembered that I don't have any hair. . .

Most appropriately for a tome encouraging active participation, Lion of Light ends with two questions to the reader. The questions pertain to an alternate cover illustration submitted by Chris Mazur that had garnered serious consideration. 

I love this cover submission; it reminded me of Horus as the Crowned and Conquering Child but there was some concern that the figure didn't resemble Crowley enough. However, if you've seen any photographs of little Alex at age 4, it appears the spitting image of the precocious tyke who would grow up to become either the Magus of the Aeon or the Wickedest Man in the World depending upon one's point of view; or both or neither or something in between.  

And then there's the extensive, but occult qabalistic imagery that appeared on every cover submission thanks to publisher and graphic designer Richard Rasa who wrote the end note: "A Search for a Cover." Note that the "t" in Robert and the "t" in Aleister bear an uncanny resemblance to the torso and arms in the illustration. An important Thelemic formula = the word ON which acquires multiple ramifications in its wake. It landed briefly a few weeks ago in the comments here. ON occurs no less than four times in this cover: Lion, Anton, Wilson, on. This suggests Tetragrammation, the four-fold aspect of God: Yod He Vau He.  In some respects, O + N represent the Yang and Yin of Qabalah. O = male energies and you can probably infer what N represents. When these are equally balanced in one body you get a hermaphroditic nature. Cue up Rebel Rebel by David Bowie. 

Here's the clincher: when you add the initials of Robert Anton Wilson + Aleister Crowley you get: RAW + AC = 216 = 6 x 6 x 6. Looking up the Gematria we find: 216 = Lion; Courage; Profound.
"I'd love to turn-urururnn ... you-ououou .... on-ononononnn"

Another big attraction to Magick for me: it works when applied; sometimes much more than expected; sometimes shockingly so.  Simply expressing an intention puts things in motion. Coming into contact with Crowley's material presents the first obstacle or barrier –  wild stories and concern about the man himself. It's been said that he exaggerated any lurid stories about himself to amplify this bad reputation. It may have gotten out of hand; at times in his life he appeared to regret all the bad publicity coming his way. Getting hung up on Crowley's personality can effectively filter out anyone not ready for the material. This got demonstrated to me with an astral experience a few months after I began studying him. My attention had been moving around the apartment while my body was lying on the bed. It came back to rejoin the body but was barred by the horrifying image of the Demon Crowley's face blocking my closed bedroom door. The only way to get back involved going through the demonic face. As soon as I plunged into it, the face dissolved and I realized it as a false mask to test me. Remarkably, this demon face didn't seem a projection of my personal unconscious; it appeared to come from what Jung calls the Collective Unconscious. I didn't have a negative bias about Crowley nor had heard any of the crazy stories. My only information about him came from Cosmic Trigger and sounded positive. 

When I began this journey of self-Initiation in the early 1980s I invariably had difficulties putting the words into concrete action. I had to get by with a little help from my friends along the way. If the intention is there, synchronicities, or as John Lilly put it, Coincidence Control, opens doors and presents opportunities. On the other hand, as Crowley notes in The Confessions, as soon as you make the intention to make these efforts, all kinds of obstacles, challenges, distractions and barriers pop up in a variety of ways attempting to thwart your efforts. Believe it or not, that appears a good sign. 

Aleister Crowley's elder brother, G.I. Gurdjieff, writes of two basic laws in the morphogenesis, manifestation and process of voluntary human evolution: the Law of Octaves and the Law of Three. The latter maintains that it requires 3 different types of energy or forces to manifest any phenomena. He labelled it as affirming, denying and reconciling forces. It aligns with the Christian trinity of the Father (affirming), the Son (denying) and the Holy Spirit (reconciling) and from the Hindu, Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer. More scientifically and practically speaking, the Law of Three can be compared to Ohm's Law of Electricity which describes the relationship between Voltage (V), Current (I), and Resistance (R). It shows that V = IR, that voltage (spirit) results from the multiplication of current and resistance. I call this practical, due to the fact that the brain and nervous system function through electricity. My guess: higher states of consciousness increases the voltage of certain parts of the brain. A psychedelic will electrically stimulate the brain; it can also be stimulated through non-chemical means. Timothy Leary originally called the Sixth Circuit the neuro-electric circuit. I connect C6 with Tiphareth and the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. This seems a long-winded way of saying that the resistance of obstacles and challenges facing the seeker becomes necessary for pushing the current of spiritual growth. 

The Ezra Pound quote that opens this post was inspired by Confucius. For all I know, it may be the words of Confucius translated by Pound. It shows that this information exists and has existed for a long time outside of Crowley; he channelled or created a particular assemblage of it known as Thelema or Magick and attempted to make self-empowerment and mutual respect more widely known. For me, studying different things: Joyce, Gurdjieff, Deleuze, The Beatles and Stones, etc. etc. helps with understanding Magick and Magick helps to understand and deeply appreciate these various other disciplines.

* * * * * * 

I was in the happiest place in the world when I first read some of Crowley's Eight Lectures on Yoga. It was humid, odd and unattractive. But Crowley was writing about how to be, how to deal, if you will, with humidity and oddness.

Welcome to the plateau of humidity and oddness. The two of us write this together. Since each of us is several, there is already quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as what was farthest away. We have assigned clever pseudonyms to prevent recognition. Why have we kept our own names? Out of habit, purely out of habit. To make ourselves unrecognizable in turn. To render imperceptible, not ourselves, but what makes us act, feel and think. Also because it's nice to talk like everybody else, to say the sun rises, when everybody knows it's only a manner of speaking. To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is of no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied. (Slightly paraphrased from Rhizome by Deleuze & Guattari.)

A quality Deleuze and Crowley share in common = re-contextualizing standard philosophical principles and beliefs to suit their own purposes. Some people wish to know how an advocacy of Horus gets reconciled with an advocacy for Peace being that Horus commonly gets thought of as a God of War. To start, Crowley emphasizes the dual aspect of Horus – Ra Hoor Khuit (the male, war-like aspect) and Hoor pa Kraat (the female, silent aspect). Things change when becoming more balanced. Crowley also introduced the concept: "the Red Triangle reversed" which describes Horus as a triangle on the Tree of Life with its base formed by the path Teth (= Horus) connecting Geburah (Severity) with Chesed (Mercy) and the paths of Yod and Lamed going down from there to form the apex of the triangle in Tiphareth. Crowley said he saw Horus as an aspect of Tiphareth that included Geburah and Chesed. He said that the Red Triangle reversed came from Rose, that it was new to him. The triangle in Goetic magic ritual is where the spirit or demon manifests. Red = anger or war. Reversing the red triangle reverses the manifestation of war-like spirits. To repeat: Horus = an aspect of Tiphareth that balanced Severity with Mercy.

Crowley heard about Thelema from Rose. John Lennon heard about it from Yoko. Love is the law, love under will helped inspire the song All You Need is Love which Lennon wrote for the first satellite transmission around the world. Later, Lennon wrote:

Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
                                                                   – Imagine

I believe John Lennon's activism help contribute to the eventual ending of the Viet Nam war.  The change eventually occurred in conformity with his Will. It was Lennon's request to have Crowley appear on the cover of the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Pepper = Fire. Somewhere RAW quotes Barbara Marx Hubbard: 

"The future exists first in IMAGINATION, then in WILL, then in REALITY."

Love is the law, love under will.

An editor's note: The lion's share of this post was offered by Oz, you can even make a game out of finding my own, very short contribution. I have been especially lucky that, through the magic of Wilson and Crowley, I have been able to work with people such as Oz Frtiz, Tom Jackson, Eric Wagner, Bobby Campbell, Richard Rasa and Mike Gathers. I'm even more lucky that I'm able to call many of them my friends. I hope you all listen closely to Oz, who is a true magician; ever bit a brilliant, compassionate and far-out as a magician should be. I'm also terribly lucky to have had such great readers as Spookah and LVX15 along with us during this time. Thank you to everyone that's kept up with the reading group. As is my usually modus operandi, I began this reading group during the school year and various tasks have split my attention to the point where I feel bad about my own lack of commenting. I'm going to at least add some thoughts on the past few posts, if anyone is still curious. Otherwise, we will be back soon with some musing on the forthcoming tome from the Marvellous Moore's and a summer reading group. Love is the law, love under will.- A.C. 


  1. Nice post. Thanks for the group. I would add RAW plus AC as 200+1+6+1+20=228. - Eric Wagner

    1. Thank-you, Eric, for reading and commenting. I arrived at RAW + AC = 216 by attributing C to Cheth, not Kaph. I know this is considered incorrect by traditional Hebrew kabbalah, but I regard this attribution of a hard C sound to Cheth a Thelemic expansion; I'm not alone in doing this.

      I learned Qabalah through studying and applying "777 ... " I've never studied traditional Kabbalah. In the list of English equivalents to Hebrew letters The only mention of "C" is the attribution of Ch for Cheth. Some of the Hebrew letters have alternate English equivalents, but the letter C doesn't appear as an alternate to K for Kaph. Not knowing that a hard C sound traditionally corresponds with Kaph, I attributed anything with a C to Cheth. I did find out the 'correct" way after a few years, but it didn't work nearly as well for me. I continue to mostly correspond C with Cheth.

      From the pov of cryptography, it makes sense to expand the possible terms in a code such that the letters C and K don't have the same value. The Book of the Law says: "Thou shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet; thou shalt find new symbols to attribute them unto." II:55

      For me, the coincidence or synchronicity of RAW + AC = 216 =Lion affirms the invocation of Lion of Light as well as the usefulness of the Cheth correspondence.

  2. Thanks to both of you for this interesting final post. Always a pleasure to read you, and looking forward to a next reading group.
    Amor, hilaritas & pasta volans

  3. Thank-you, Spookah for your participation. Also, for providing the necessity for this group to happen as I believe it was your suggestion, or maybe a question, that launched this voyage.

    I'd also like to thank Apuleius for hosting these discussions and for the kind and generous words at the conclusion of this post. I'm also grateful to everyone who took the time to read these reports.

  4. Seventeen days until Walpurgisnacht.


Lion of Light: It is All About the Child

"Kung walked              by the dynastic temple        and into the cedar grove,              and then out by the lower river, And wit...