For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.
The unlimited potential and realization of existence causes further vibration in the stillness of the ultimate samadhi. Here is the first cause, the reason of manifestation. The point cannot be the pleroma except through manifestation. The Perfect is not perfect, the All is not all unless it contains every possibility and the actualization of every possibility. The infinite universes expand from this central point, that they might all one day contract to it at the end of time, the infinite span of time which is Hadit.
None, breathed the light, faint & faery, of the stars, and two.
The word “faery” here takes on the definition of “unsubstantial, visionary, unreal”, rather than implying that Nuit is from the land of Faeries.
In the previous verse, the priest has adored Nuit as a being that has no discrete being, describing her as “none” and “continuous”. This is the ultimate state of union with Nuit, where there is no difference between her, yourself and any other thing. In this verse we start to come down from the Samadhi, a subtle, insubstantial light vibrates into speech, once more creating division. Crowley writes about this as the 0=2 formula.
Then the priest answered & said unto the Queen of Space, kissing her lovely brows, and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat: O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus; that men speak not of Thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous!
In this verse we see the powers and role of the priest, in the previous verse, we saw that of the prophet. In experiencing Nuit, the prophet is passive as he asks for a sign and waits, she comes to him. The priest needing no sign, having already experienced her, on his own volition kisses her and partakes of her light. He then proclaims the glory of her ineffable nullity. The priest was introduced in AL I:15 as the chosen priest & apostle of infinite space and the prince-priest the Beast. It is not clear from the text whether this priest is a different person than the prophet mentioned in the previous verse. Perhaps he was a prophet until Nuit gave him the sign and now he is considered a priest. We must also consider that perhaps the terms are used interchangeably.
Nuit has two aspects for us to contemplate.
As “None” Nuit is the dark potential of existence that is between the end and the beginning of manifestation.
As “Continuous” Nuit is also the sum of all configurations of all the atoms, particles, sub particles, etc throughout the entire timeline of all of the infinite manifestations of the universe. It is important to note that the use of the word “heaven” here does not denote some mystical realm apart from the physical realm, rather it is a reference to the totality of the universe, all of the heavenly bodies that we see in the sky at night, as well as the ones that we don’t see.
Searching for the use of the phrase “Queen of Space” before 1904, we find it only in the english translation of this lovely poem:
Yes! my soul loves, when freed from galling chains
Of human miseries and human pains,
To leave this prison-house of clay behind,
And wander in the blessed realms of mind!
There, spurning under me the world of tears,
My burning spirit soars to other spheres,
And my soul, straiten’d in this narrow cell,
Loves ever in eternal space to dwell.
Like to a drop in ocean’s ceaseless flood,
My mind is lost amid infinitude;
There, Queen of space, and of eternity,
She dares to measure Time—Immensity!
Give form to chaos, nature’s God believe,
And mysteries ineffable conceive.
But when I wish to breathe my bosom’s fires,
In feeble efforts every word expires;
My glowing soul could speak—my tongue confined,
Utters vain sounds—the shadow of my mind.
Two kinds of speech our God hath given us here;
One sounds all callous in the human ear:
This language cold, which knows no heavenly glow,
Sufliceth for our banishment below,
And following the laws of age and time,
Changes, and dies with every varied clime.
The other speech, eternal and refined,
Is the unchanging language of the mind!
It hath no earthly love that swells around,—
The heart alone can hear its sacred sound;
To speak that tongue the burning soul aspires,
And kindles at its ever glowing fires;
The gushing tear, or struggling sigh reveals
The language that the soul so deeply feels;
‘Tis Heaven’s own language when we speak by prayer,
And love alone can breathe its genial air!
From the French of Alphonse de Lamartine.Translated By Alexander Cowan, Published 1839
Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign? So she answered him, bending down, a lambent flame of blue, all-touching, all penetrant, her lovely hands upon the black earth, & her lithe body arched for love, and her soft feet not hurting the little flowers: Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body.
The style of the previous verses breaks here and Crowley seems to be describing something he did during the course of the reception. It is unclear whether Crowley heard the words as he did in the previous verses or whether he actually said “Who am I, and what shall be the sign?” aloud and then wrote down a description of such without hearing from the speaker. This seems to be the only time in the book where such an exchange happens, so it seems unlikely that this was the case. It also seems unlikely, given Crowley’s initial attitude towards the book that he would describe himself as “slave of the beauteous one”.
The phrase “beauteous one” here seems to refer to Nuit. In Crowley’s day was in fairly common usage and was not strongly associated with any particular deity or person. The earliest use of the phrase “beauteous one” that I could find is from Ælfric of Eynsham in 996.
Mary is more beauteous than the moon, for she shines without the waning of her brightness. She is choice as the sun with beams of holy virtues, for the Lord, Who is the Sun of Righteousness, chose her for His mother. Her course is compared to a wedding band, for she was surrounded with heavenly powers, and with companies of angels. Of this heavenly Queen it is yet said by the same Spirit of God, “I saw the beateous one as a dove mounting above the streaming rills, and an ineffable fragrance exhaled from her garments; and so as in the spring-tide, blossoms and lilies encircled her.”
The phrase “lambent flame” comes to us from Dryden’s translation [1697 EV] of Virgil’s Aeneid [19 BC]. The second book of this classic relates the story of the Greeks sneaking into Troy via the wooden horse. Aeneas, a trojan hero, mortal son of Aphrodite, wakes in the night to find his city burning and prepares to join the hopeless fight against the Greeks. After his wife, Creusa, begs him to stay in order to protect her and their family, a harmless fire appears on the top of their infant son’s head, which they interpret as an omen from Zeus to flee the city.
While thus she fills the house with clam’rous cries,
Our hearing is diverted by our eyes:
For, while I held my son, in the short space
Betwixt our kisses and our last embrace;
Strange to relate, from young Iulus’ head
A lambent flame arose, which gently spread
Around his brows, and on his temples fed.
Amaz’d, with running water we prepare
To quench the sacred fire, and slake his hair;
But old Anchises, vers’d in omens, rear’d
His hands to heav’n, and this request preferr’d:
‘If any vows, almighty Jove, can bend
Thy will; if piety can pray’rs commend,
Confirm the glad presage which thou art pleas’d to send.’
The phrase in latin is “lambere flamma”, which is translated by Dryden as “lambent flame” and by others as “tongue of flame” or “licking flame”. It is interesting to see this old idea of the lambent flame as a sign from god given when Crowley asks for a sign.
As for the import of the sign, it isn’t really fitting to speak at any length, either you’ve seen it or you haven’t. Nobody can give it to you, nor can anybody deny it, it is above authority of any kind being the union of Will and Love, it is the ecstasy of the Law.
Divide, add, multiply, and understand.
Crowley does not seem to come to a concrete answer to the meaning of this verse in his commentary. His answers of 0.12, 56, and 300 are not very satisfying and are also superseded by his later commentary claiming that he will set the answer down elsewhere.
There is an interesting connection between this verse and a verse from the Secret Instructions of the Master a text which is part of a larger work The Heart of the Master. The following is the verse associated with the path of Beth.
The True Self is the meaning of the True Will:
know Thyself through Thy Way!
Calculate well the Formula of Thy Way!
Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent,
in and for Eternity.
Here we see the four main elementary mathematical functions: create freely, multiplication; absorb joyously, addition; divide intently, division; consolidate completely, subtraction. Consolidation is done in algebra through the function of subtraction, removing parts of the formula that have been balanced out of the equation. It is interesting to consider that it is incorrect to assume that in I:25 there are only 3 signs, rather that “understand” is simply the fourth sign, subtraction, under a different name. That understanding is that process of resolving the universe down to its simplest of formulas, removing parts that we previously thought had no correlation. Though through our understanding we have balanced out the disparate and thus move closer to the heart of the equation.
I am Nuit, and my word is six and fifty.
Nuit names herself and gives the value of her word, which is yet unknown. See AL I:1 for the value of the name Nuit.
What is the word of Nuit and why is it hidden? The most obvious explanation is that the word of Nuit is נו. This word used is used in II:1 to indicate the hiding of Hadit, it is also found in II:76 and III:17. Unfortunately we don’t have a word in greek that sums to 56.
The number 56 occurs in the following passage from Plutarch in “Thrice-Greatest Hermes”:
The Pythagorics also seem to consider Typhon a daimonic power; for they say that Typhon was produced on the six-and-fiftieth even measure; and again that the [power 4] of the equilateral triangle is that of Hades and Dionysus and Ares; that of the square is that of Rhea and Aphroditē and Demeter and Hestia (that is, Hera); that of the dodecagon, that of Zeus; and that of the fifty-six angled [regular polygon], that of Typhon (as Eudoxus relates).
What do Nuit and Typhon have in common? The most obvious thing is their gargantous size, Nuit is often pictured with her hands and feet upon the ground and her torso and head in the stars. Typhon was said to be so large that his head was in the stars and his arms reached from east to west. Instead of a human head, he had a hundred dragon heads. In the new comment for this verse, Crowley relates Nuit to the great Dragon of space. See my comment on AL I:15 relating Nuit further to the Dragon.
Another place we can see 56 connected to the idea of Nuit is in the circle from Loagaeth. The first layer of the circle (seen below) contains 56 squares. This layer is the circumference of the circle, which is a concept connected with Nuit. “In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as she, the circumference, is nowhere found.” (AL II:3). “Glory unto the Rose that is Nuit the circumference of all, and
Glory unto the Cross that is the heart of the Rose!” (LIBER 418, 23rd Aethyr).
The total value of these squares is 273, which is the same as the greek word βορρα which means north. Crowley links the idea of north to the Dragon in his new comment “The Dragon in current symbolism refers to the North or Hollow of Heaven; thus to the Womb of Space, which is the container and breeder of all that exists.”
But whoso availeth in this, let him be the chief of all!
LIBER VIARVM VIÆ gives the task of the path of Tzaddi as “The Adoration under the Starry Heaven”. This task is detailed in LIBER NV which as its core is the task given in the previous verse. The tarot trump associated with this path is “The Emperor”, the chief of all who knows the secret name of Nuit.
Crowley’s New Comment is very excellent:
This chief is of course no more or less than others. The limitations of our dualistic language obscure the meaning of these loftier Words. Chieftainship is to be understood as one of the illusions; but, in respect of that plane, a fact. The facts of Nature are perfectly true in so far as their mutual relation is concerned; their invalidity refers only to their total relation with the philosophical canon of Truth.
The word “all” is not to be taken as elliptical for “all men”; it means that such an one is completely master of his universe. For when one has become indifferent to phenomena, and accepts any one of them as necessary, indeed as an essential part of the whole, he has made himself Lord of the Whole as such.
Now, therefore, I am known to ye by my name Nuit, and to him by a secret name which I will give him when at last he knoweth me. Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus. Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.
In the first sentence, Nuit promises the revelation of her secret name. Crowley says that this name was given to him in his vision of the 12th Aethyr as recorded in LIBER 418, this name is [BABALON]. This seems trivial and therefore unlikely that this is the secret name for Nuit for several reasons. First we have previously been told that the Scarlet Woman has the power of Nuit, not that she actually is Nuit, just that she has the power of the Stooping Starlight. In the context of her partner The Beast, it is pretty obvious that this references βαβυλων from the Revelation of John, not very secret.
I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Perhaps Crowley believed that the secret part of this name is the specific spelling given in his vision, the hebrew rendering of this greek name: ןעלאבאב. This spelling isn’t original to Crowley, the enochian calls use this spelling twice, once as BABALON in the first call and once as BABALOND in the 19th call which Crowley used to receive that vision. Second, since in the phrasing of this promise Nuit claims she will give it to him instead of thou or you we must consider that this name was not ever to be given to Crowley. Though perhaps we could consider that Nuit is talking to Aiwass talking about Crowley.
As for the last two sentences, not much can actually be conveyed by words, the meanings of these have changed many times for myself. One must answer “What is Hurt?” “On what planes are the differences which we are told not to make?”
For the present I consider Hurt to be the lack of the experience of the omnipresence of Nuit’s body. In samadhi, one begins to attain to the experience of no-difference and the eternal ecstasy is found, the binding of the nothing into a shape consumable by this body. As for the second question, one must resolve differences on all planes until the state of each is seen as necessary and whole rather than random and fractured. Then the planes must be resolved with one another until they are seen arising from within one another naturally.
With the God & the Adorer I am nothing: they do not see me. They are as upon the earth; I am Heaven, and there is no other God than me, and my lord Hadit.
Nuit makes clear that she and Hadit are of the Macrocosm (Heaven) and that those who are focused on the microcosm (Earth) cannot behold her. This seems to be an elaboration upon AL I:11.
Compare to AL II:23 where Hadit says I am alone: there is no God where I am. Is this really Hadit? It seems to contradict Nuit’s previous statement. Perhaps it is said by Hadit-drooping-his-head-down, Hadit in union with the earth, when he becomes the God in the first sentence of AL I:21. In this state he has lost site of Nuit, she becomes “none”. The question that remains is the identity of the Adorer.
The key of the rituals is in the secret word which I have given unto him.
Crowley claims that this word is ABRAHADABRA, there are several reasons why this doesn’t really fit the text. First he hasn’t received the word yet. If we are to believe that this is Nuit or Aiwass speaking to Crowley, it will be two more days until he is “given” the word. This verse would imply that the word has previously been given. Second the word “him” is used. In other verses Crowley is addressed directly as “you” or “thou”, so unless these is some mystery in the changes of tense and point of view, “him” refers to a third party. Third, ABRAHADABRA isn’t exactly secret as it occurs three times in chapter three. In III:39 we are told “a reproduction of this ink and paper for ever-for in it is the word secret & not only in the English” as if to imply that the word is hidden in the handwritten Liber AL.
One possible identity for this person could be John Dee, as we still don’t understand the proper use of the first of the 18 calls he and Kelly received. The G.D. made up some rules to use these calls, but there is no support for these rules within the diaries of the workings.
Using the previously defined methods, this verse corresponds to Yod, the Hermit card, the keeper of secrets.
O azure-lidded woman, bend upon them!
An obvious reference to Nuit from I:14 She bends in ecstasy, reinforcing the link to the Scarlet Woman from I:16.
Azure-lidded is from a popular stanza from Keats The Eve of St. Agnes (1820). In this poem a young woman performs a rite that she has been told will give her dreams of her future husband. Mean while, Porphyro, has been informed by a servant that she is attempting to perform this rite, which he regards as a superstition. He secretly hides himself away in her room, intending on waking her up after she has gone to sleep, in the hopes that she will think it her dream and accept him as her husband. The following passage occurs as he leaves the closet and prepares to wake her:
And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender’d
With the union of Nuit, whose body contain all the sun of the universe, and the Serpent upon the brow, we get the image of the Khepresh. The Khepresh is an ancient Egyptian crown that features a Uraeus wrapped around a blue mitre painted with many small gold suns (The Starry Blue of I:14). It is also known as the war crown, as it is often depicted atop the head of a Pharaoh engaged in battle.
Burn upon their brows, o splendrous serpent!
The Ajna is the chakra, that when opened, burns upon the forehead. In some systems this is said to be the end point of the of the channels that begin in the muladhara, the path that the serpent that is kundalini follows as it rises through the body. As per the previous verse, this inner flame is from or of The Beast.
This could also be related to Wadjet often seen on the crowns of Pharaohs as a symbol of power. It is also a form of protection as Wadjet was also known as Lady of Flame, who is said to be able to send fire onto those who might attack, just as the cobra spits poison into the eyes of its enemies.
So we have our two male lords of Thelema, The Beast as the Sun and Hadit as the flaming serpent. Together the Sun and the Snake form the Uraeus Crown that is seen atop the heads of many deities, including Horus and Bast.
But ye are not so chosen.
The Beast and the Scarlet Woman are chosen by Nuit, they are the sun and the moon, they have been given the winged secret flame and the stooping starlight. The person to whom she is talking has not been chosen in this manner. It is hard to say whether this includes Crowley or not. His interpretation was that he was the Beast and any woman he happened to be with became the Scarlet Woman. This is a poor supposition to base the future of Thelema on. Who now then is the Beast? Who is the Scarlet Woman? Did they come once and now are gone for good? Shall the Beast reincarnate as a person or as several persons as Crowley speculates in Liber 73?
More useful to us is to envision the Beast and the Scarlet Woman as deities that we can interact with or even embody. This allows Thelema to be a living tradition rather than Aleister Crowley worship.
For he is ever a sun, and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame, and to her the stooping starlight.
The Beast is identified with the Sun and The Scarlet Women with the Moon, the two great spheres which are the two greatest sources of light to the earth. This is how the Beast and the Scarlet Woman are to the people of the earth. His light is the greatest, her’s is but that of the Beast reflected in varying amounts of fullness. His, blinding, but source of all life upon the earth, her’s soothing and comforting, giving light while his is eclipsed by our own bulk.
In the second sentence their relation to Hadit and Nuit is established, two other sources of light, the secret flame of Hadit is given to The Beast and the distant light of Nuit is given to The Scarlet Woman. This relates the elements of our microcosmic experience of the universe to those macrocosmic beings that are the root of all. You could see the sun as the conscious awareness of man and the inner flame as the silent watching god within, that which is aware of the conscious awareness. The moon is the angel, all that we are not, whether we are aware or not aware of it. The starlight is our vision of ourselves acting in other bodies, our other incarnations the infinite sum of which makes up the body of Nuit.
The winged secret flame could be seen as the kundalini and the stooping starlight as the shakti which awakens it.
Now ye shall know that the chosen priest & apostle of infinite space is the prince-priest the Beast; and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given. They shall gather my children into their fold: they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men.
We are introduced to two more deities, The Beast and The Scarlet Woman. Use of the definite article indicates that these are titles, rather than names, implying one of two things: 1. their names are secret and not yet revealed; 2. or as Crowley comments, these are offices to be filled by living people who take on the titles and functions of these offices.
Best guesses for the names would be Το Μεγα Θηριον (The Great Beast) and Βαβαλον (Babalon), two names in greek whose values are 666 and 156. Both of these are from The Revelation of St. John.
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.
Who is he chosen by? There are two answers to this depending on the source. In Revelation he is chosen by The Dragon, given power and ruler-ship over the world and utters blasphemies against the God(s). In Liber AL he is chosen by Nuit, given all power and leadership over her servants and leads her children away from the worship of the false gods and to shows them the glory of their own star-selfs.
Are the Dragon and Nuit the same entity? The dragon is first introduced in Revelation 12 “Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.” Is this Nuit bringing the glory of the stars to the hearts of men?
We also find this Dragon of Heaven in the Sepher Yetzirah, where we see that the seven heads are the seven planets.
1. There are three Mothers or first elements, א ,מ ,ש, from which emanated three Fathers — spiritual air, water, and fire — from which issued the seven planets, and the twelve oblique points.
2. To prove this there are three faithful witnesses: the universe, the year, and man. There are the twelve, the balance, and the seven. Above is the Dragon, below is the גלגל (Galgal, The wheel, The machinery of the Universe), and lastly the heart of man.
3. The first elements are air, water, and fire; the fire is above, the water is below, and a breath of air establishes balance between them. The token is: the fire carries the water. The letter מ (Mem) is mute; ש (Shin) is hissing like fire; there is א (Aleph) among them, a breath of air which reconciles the two.
4. The Dragon (Tali) is in the universe like a king upon his throne; the גלגל is in the year like a king in his empire; and the heart is in the body of men like a king in warfare.
These three, the Dragon, the Wheel and the Heart could be seen to represent the three chapters and three principal deities of the book of the Law. But the details of that comparison is for another post.
As this verse deals with power and rulership, it is fitting that this is the verse that corresponds to the path of ה, the tarot trump “The Emperor”.
Going back to the manuscript, XXXI has:
V.1. of spell called the song.
This gets replaced in CCXX by:
Above, the gemmed azure is
The naked splendour of Nuit;
She bends in ecstasy to kiss
The secret ardours of Hadit.
The winged globe,the starry blue,
Are mine, O Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
Crowley interpreted “V.1. of spell called the song.” to mean that he was to take the first paragraph of a poem he wrote based on the stele of revealing and use it for this verse. This verse isn’t actually derived from the hieroglyphs on the stele, rather it is a description of the scene painted on the front. While this is considered class A as it is still inspired, it was written by Crowley and should not be considered authored by Aiwass.
We are introduced to the name “Ankh-af-na-khonsu” the person to whom the stele of revealing was created for. The modern translations of this name, which was actually quite common in the Third Intermediate and Late Periods, is often questionable, though it can be broken down and examined. Ankh means life, af could be the pronoun suffix -f which he, him, his, an means to, for. Khonsu is the lunar god of creation and healing that replaced Mentu in thebes as the adopted child of Mut, it was here in his Karnak temple he was known as “Greatest God of the Great Gods.” So the name Ankh-af-na-Khonsu could mean “He lives for Khonsu”, indicating that he was a priest or some other devotee of Khonsu.
I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy.
Nuit expounds upon what “take your fill of love” entails.
Nuit manifests as the body of stars, manifests as the multitude of beings that inhabit existence. She has no experience of existence other than what is seen through our eyes, experienced by our flesh and reasoned by our minds; all these things are the joy of being and the purpose for which she is become manifest. Her admonishment to love is thus both selfish and altruistic at the same time.
Consider the path of Gimel, linking the highest universal awareness, kether, to the highest personal awareness, tiphareth.
Come forth, o children, under the stars, & take your fill of love!
This is the first verse telling us how to worship Nuit. It has four parts:
1. “Come Forth”
Where are we to come forth from? Initially this verse does not seem to be related to the previous verse. However, if we assume that it is in response to the previous verse, the implication would be that to “come forth” is to drop the adoration of the fools that are the lesser Gods and Men, who are not as worthy of adoration as Nuit.
2. “o children”
Why does she use the word children? Perhaps it is in reference to I:5 “my unveiling before the Children of men”.
3. “under the stars”
A reference to the night sky, the embodiment of Nuit, so she is asking them to come to a place where they are able to see her. The state of those that adore the fools is that of blindness to the vision of our lady of the stars. Also in AL I:3 we learn that “every man and every woman is a star”, so this would imply that those who adore the fools are blind to the starhood of their fellow men and women.
4. “take your fill of love!”
Who is the source of this love? Nuit or the fellow children under the stars?
“fill of love” occurs once in the KJB, Proverbs 7:
 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
Which is all very lovely, unless you take into account the surrounding context, where the woman saying this is identified as a married woman attempting to get a young man into her bed. She is also called a harlot and a stranger. Keep in mind that Nuit is married to Hadit and death is the bed wherein we are reunited with the body of Nuit. The last verse in Proverbs 7 says “Her house is the way to the afterlife, going down to the chambers of death.” To which we must say Indeed! Lead On!
These are fools that men adore; both their Gods & their men are fools.
To whom does “these” refer to? Disconnected from the other verses, it would simply mean anyone that men adore are fools. This seems to be an incorrect reading as to adore someone would imply that they are a fool and as I cannot see a reading of this verse with positive connotations for the word fool, adoring would be redefined as a form of ridicule.
Looking to the previous verse for context, “these” refers to “the many & the known” who are ruled by the “servants” who are “few & secret”. This verse also adds context to the previous verse when we ask “who are the fools, these many & known?” The second part of the verse answers “their Gods & their men”. It is also important to note that this is also in the context of “men” or within our microcosm. In the macrocosm, the definition of “the many & the known” could be different. This is also the first verse that is relative to the microcosm. If the previous ten verses are related to the emanations of the spheres, this verse then could be assigned to the first path, aleph, the bridge between kether and chokmah, the tarot trump designated to which is The Fool.
So, we have established that “the Many & the Known” of men who are “their Gods and their men” are fools. Why are they fools and what does being a fool mean? As “the Many & the Known” are ruled over by the few & secret that are servants of the god who is speaking they are third in the grand pecking order. As the few that rule these are secret they are unknown to the “the Many & the Known” who thus believe that they are the first in this order and therefore they are fools. This is the concept of the demiurge and of the black brothers, who being ignorant or scornful of the selfless all, set form and ego upon the throne and are easily manipulated by those who know the secrets.
If I had to summarize the first ten verses of the first chapter I would have to say that the prevailing theme is emanation, going forth, becoming. From the two eternal deities all the way down to the many and the known. Always in a commanding voice, describing unvealing, revealing and becoming.
We can look at this process as similar to the emanations of the sephiroth on the tree of life:
1. Had! The manifestation of Nuit.
Kether, the smooth point of “Had!”, notice the difference between tenses in the words manifestation and unveiling. The first is the totality, the second is active and on going.
2. The unveiling of the company of heaven.
Chokmah, describing the act of pouring forth, of creating.
3. Every man and every woman is a star.
Binah, that which is being brought forth. Those that will observe and create understanding within manifestation.
4. Every number is infinite; there is no difference.
Chesed, below the abyss, number comes into being. “There is no difference” establishing the pillar of mercy.
5. Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!
Geburah, the warrior is evoked, that the pillar of severity balance out the previous verse.
6. Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!
Tiphareth, the center of the tree, the place of the heart and of balance. The sphere of sol, of Apollo and thus song and therefore the tongue.
7. Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat.
8. The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.
9. Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!
I don’t have very good explanations for these. I can see a hint, but nothing worth putting down.
10. Let my servants be few & secret: they shall rule the many & the known.
Malkuth, the description of the Kingdom.
Let my servants be few & secret: they shall rule the many & the known.
Servants of whom? Who is speaking here? It may seem obvious but there is much room for confusion. The first four verses have an undetermined speaker, if it is Nuit, then she is talking about her self in the third person in the first verse. The next three (5-7) seem to be from the perspective of Nuit, though she seems to need some other deity to talk for her. In verse 6 she says that Hadit is her tongue, is Hadit the speaker? In verse 7 that she introduces Aiwass as the revealer, is he the word? Regardless the talker, however, the message is from Nuit and so it is about her servants.
What is the nature of these servants, in what capacity do they serve and by what rites have they been inducted into her service? This we do not now yet in our reading. We can however examine this relationship of the few and secret ruling over the many and the known, and find things that have this relationship to one another.
At the highest level this is reference to the laws of nature, which are few (perhaps even singular with many aspects) and as of yet secret. We can model gravity, electromagnetism and other various forces, but we still only really have theory as to why those forces work according to the models. Throughout the centuries we have invented names for the unaccountable factors in our equations. On the large side of the spectrum we had 100-200 years ago “Aethyr”, now we have “Dark Matter”, on the smaller side we have postulated particles that we are only beginning to develop instruments to observe. The many and the known are all of these lesser theorems and laws that we have uncovered to try to make sense of the universe. The many and the known are also the bits of matter and energy themselves, ruled and directed by the laws of nature whether man is there to observe or no.
On a lesser, more microcosmic level, the few and secret are the secret chiefs, which have been giving light to man throughout the aeons. The very image of their images has spawned all manner of Gods and Cults, let alone what their true communication and understanding of has created.
Personally, I do not buy into the idea that this implies some sort of ruling class of people. The few and secret here do not desire to be few and secret, they desire very much to be known and bring others into union with them. This is a very difficult task and few are able to come to the realizations that would allow them to be a true servant of Nuit, thus they are hidden, occulted or secret from most. Their power is, however, undeniable and whether the many know it or not, it rules their way of going.
Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!
Again I cannot add anything to Crowley’s New Comment on this verse:
We are not to worship the Khu, to fall in love with our Magical Image. To do this — we have all done it — is to forget our Truth. If we adore Form, it becomes opaque to Being, and may soon prove false to itself. The Khu in each of us includes the Cosmos as he knows it. To me, even another Khabs is only part of my Khu. Our own Khabs is our one sole Truth.
To worship the Khu would to become a black brother, holding the back your life from mingling with the infinite. Obsessing upon our own finite existence whose ultimate purpose and sole reason for being is to connect with that infinite being, this sort of behavior denies our true nature.
The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.
I am not sure what this verse means. It hinges on sketchy translation of Egyptian words. I can take some guesses though.
Khu, sometimes “Akh” or “Akhu” one of the seven souls processed by each human. It is the sense of self, I am that I am. It is not the personality, nor the life force that animates the body.
Khabs, meaning star. I have also seen it translated as though it was “ha” meaning body and also “khaibut” another of the seven souls, the shadow.
Using those translations it seems to be telling us that the conception of the universe which we know through bodily sensations are manufactured by the self. Khu is our secret center and the Khabs is our star body and the universe that we have gathered about this self that we might experience the joys of manifestation.
The second part of the sentence is a warning against imagining that the sense of self is merely a by product of brain matter and neurons firing. This leads to the conception that upon death there is only nullity, which is contrary to the idea of reabsorption into Nuit, this is is explored later in this chapter.
Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat.
Hoor-paar-kraat is `Αρποκρατες (Harpocrates), the infant god of Silence, Child of Isis and Serapis. He will eventually grow up to be Horus, but in this form he pure potential. I can not improve upon Crowley’s description in the New Comment where he state “He represents the Higher Self, the Holy Guardian Angel. […] He contains everything in Himself, but is unmanifested.”
Αρποκρατες = 683 = βρεφος, a unborn or newly born infant
Aiwass is the Minister of this babe. A minister in this sense being one who speaks with the authority of another on his behalf. As Harpocrates main power is silence, in order to communicate verbally he needs somebody to talk for him. This mirrors the relationship of Tahuti with the ape that follows him.
There are two ways of rendering Aiwass in greek:
1. αιϝασσ = 418
This is Crowley’s rendering from his “New Comment” where he links it to the hebrew rendering of ABRAHADABRA. Normally this sort of mixing of hebrew and greek derived numbers is sketchy ground, but the significance is too great to ignore. 418 is also λοαγαεη from John Dee’s workings, which means “Speech from God”. Aiwass is that delivering the divine word of Hoor-paar-kraat, or alternatively he IS the divine word. Interestingly enough 418 is also νηπιος (Child, Babe) relating back to Hoor-paar-kraat.
2. αιωασσ = 1212
In 1212, we find a repetition of 12, the number of the fixed stars, the zodiac, the sphere of which is Chokmah, again relating back to the divine word sprung forth from Kether, the unmanifest silent point, which could be seen as Harpocrates.
In the previous verse Nuit has asked Mentu to help her unveil herself. In this verse Aiwass is the one who has revealed something on behalf of Harpocrates. It is not entirely clear what this similarity is implying, other than some comparison of Nuit to Hoor-paar-kraat and Mentu to Aiwass, the former pair being in a still veiled state, the latter two in the the revealed state. “Behold!” being the transition between the two, the exclamation point drawing a connection to “Had!”, that which unveils (see I:1).
Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!
Nuit expounds upon the previous verse.
Had is the event through which she becomes manifest, Hadit is the vehicle of this event. To help Nuit in her unveiling the Lord of Thebes must take on the form of Hadit and provide Nuit with three functions that she lacks:
1. Secret Centre
As Nuit is all circumference, the all and nothing, she lacks a centre, lacks focus. Hadit provides this, he becomes the conception of limit. Yet just as the Ying and Yang conceal a third unnamed principle between them, so Hadit is secret and not visible.
As Nuit contains within her all space and time, she has no tenancy toward positive or negative, life or death, these things which have now been defined by virtue of the secret centre. Hadit is this spark, this heart that moves and organizes, the heart which creates tendency toward one or the other. The very laws of nature, gravity, electromagnetism, the strong and weak forces are the larger manifestations of the heart, upon lower levels we see the invisible force of evolution powered by the concept of life.
The tongue is that which helps manipulates breath into speech. It gives form to thought and allows the beings of mind within Nuit to communicate and be known to one another. It allows them to rise above animal nature and form community, new works and to pass on knowledge from generation to generation. Rising ever upwards in their command of elements within Nuit, reaching for the glory of the stars.
Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!
One of the warrior god Mentu’s titles is “Lord of Thebes”. He was the adopted son of Amon-Ra and Mut (Maat), together they were the three principle deities worshiped at Thebes. Mentu, representing the harshest rays of the sun, was eventually replaced with the lunar god Khonsu as the people of Thebes became more domesticated.
Here Nuit is asking Mentu or one who has identified with Mentu, to help in her unveiling before the children of men. Perhaps “The unveiling of the Company of heaven” needed only the application of Had, but to continue the chain of unveiling all the way down to the children of men she needs to invoke the help of a new god, a god less cosmic/universal than Had and more specific to men.
Why Thebes? Herodotus relates:
Two black doves flew away from Egyptian Thebes, and while one directed its flight to Libya, the other came to them. She alighted on an oak, and sitting there began to speak with a human voice, and told them that on the spot where she was, there should henceforth be an oracle of Jove. They understood the announcement to be from heaven, so they set to work at once and erected the shrine. The dove which flew to Libya bade the Libyans to establish there the oracle of Ammon.
In a similar fashion, Nuit’s words are an announcement from heaven, asking that her words be spread to he children of men.
“The Children of Men” is first used in the bible in Gen 11:5
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
Here the lord has punished the people for coming together and reaching for heaven.
Nuit’s goal, as is stated later, is to bring together the children of men and bring the glory of the stars into their hearts.
Every number is infinite; there is no difference.
Here is another example of the speaker talking from above the abyss sort of logic. In elementary and euclidean mathematics the definition of number is inseparable from the concept of finiteness. Without space and time however, number loses all meaning, there is only one and it is all and nothing all at once. Trying to comprehend this verse will put us in this transcendental mode of thinking, which is necessary to comprehend many other verses in this chapter. It also shows us that this chapter is concerned with reconciling the finite with the infinite. Such apparently finite things as the soul, mind and body of man and the laws of nature, before one can mount to the smooth point these must all be reconciled.
Another contemplation is to imagine a numbering system that only uses prime numbers, non-prime numbers can only be indicated through products of primes. In this system each prime number is a wave, echoing out to infinity, which is the product of all of the primes.
Every man and every woman is a star.
This elaborates upon the nature of the company of heaven from the previous verse. It has many aspects of interpretation.
Every Man and every woman is a heavenly body, not merely something created from earth, we are that which provides light and life to the lesser beings of manifestation (those not possessing the divine spark).
Every man and every woman is part of the manifestation of Nuit. One might be blind to his own nature, but even that blindness is a necessary part of the infinite rose of creation. It is through the three grades laid out in Θελημα that we may shed this blindness for the realization of our own natural divine nature.
There is a connection between this and the 8 pointed BORNOGO star of Dee’s Liber Loagaeth. Bornogo is 365 connecting the earth to the sun, the total value of this star is 1310, the number of anthropos, suggesting man is also a bridge between the earth and the sun.
The unveiling of the company of heaven.
Without looking into any allusions, “company of heaven” would seem to imply the totality of matter and energy in the universe. All of the stars, planets, and lesser forms and beings that inhabit these and the space in between. All of the interactions, the conflict, the harmony between the swarms of particles. These have been hidden within the non-manifest point of AIN and through the laws of nature the host of infinite universes are unfolding into being.
We find “the company of heaven” in The Church of England’s “The book of common prayer” in their “Administration of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion”. In the section where the preface’s are listed we find the following text repeated in each seasonal preface. Here the phrase take a more not-of-the-flesh connotation, emphasizing the disconnect between earthly and heavenly beings.
Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name, evermore praising thee, and saying, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory: Glory be to thee, O Lord most High, Amen.”
In that passage, the “Angels and Archangels” and “the company of heaven” are separate from the voices of the congregation, the congregation merely adding their voices to this song of praise. In the book of the law, we do not create this distinction, rather we understand that we are part of the company of heaven. See I:3.
Had! The manifestation of Nuit.
The first verse of the Book.
The big bang. The singular point unmanifest universe and its expansion as the body of stars.
The two principal polar deities are introduced. Compare to II:1.
We have no definition as to their qualities yet.
There are two ways to read this and these two are one:
1. “Had!” the exclamation, “The manifestation of Nuit.” the explanation and definition thereof.
2. “Had!” the point event, “The manifestation of Nuit.” the resultant events.
First is above the abyss, a description from where there is no space/time.
Second is as seen below the abyss, from one subject to space time.
NUIT = Νυιτ = 760 = αφανης, “that is not manifest”
12. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
760 = μυριαδες “double myriad, ten thousand, an indefinite number”
One of Nut’s titles is “She Who Holds a Thousand Souls”.
So we see that the nature of Nuit is both non-manifest and Infinite. It is only through Had! that she may become manifest and discrete.
18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19. For the earnest expectation of creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Here the word that is translated “manifestation” is “ἀποκάλυψις” which means “an uncovering” or “revelation”. It is used in 1 Corinthians 1:7 “the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ”.