IN THE SUCESSION
OF THE AEONS
PREPARED BY FR. LVX/NOX as a session of OTO Oceania Lodge Magical
Study Group, 1996.
Drury p. 4 defines what is meant in occultism by the several different
usages of the word Aeon:
An enduring period of time. Sometimes aeons are linked to the procession
of the Zodiac - the Christian aeon being associated with the astrological
cycle of Pisces.
Some magical groups, especially those influenced by Aleister Crowley,
refer to aeons in terms of characteristic patterns of mythic and ceremonial
worship; the Aeon of Isis (worship of lunar goddesses); the Aeon of
Osiris (worship of solar gods); and the Aeon of Horus (worship of the
magical child who combines male and female forces in the androgyne).
Aeons were also an important feature of Gnostic and Mithraic cosmology.
The Greek God Aion is related to the Gnostic Abraxas, and was amalgamated
into Mithraism in the second and third centuries AD@.
The third definition above is quite a separate meaning; the Gnostic
Aeons were conceived of as worlds intermediate between the world of
divinity and matter - there were 30 of them, somewhat comparable to
the 30 Aethyrs of Dee & Kelly's Enochian system.
BOOK 4 p. 82: AA doctrine - At the end of an Aeon, an Equinox of the
Gods, at which a Magus utters a Creative Magical Word which transforms
the planet on which he lives. The word of our Aeon is Thelema. AC perceived
himself as the prophet of the New Aeon of Horus.
In EQUINOX OF THE GODS Crowley says (p. 134):
Ain this revelation is the basis of the future Aeon. Within the memory
of man we have had the Pagan period, the worship of nature, of Isis,
the Mother, of the Past; the Christian period, the worship of Man,
of Osiris, of the Present. The first period is simple, quiet, easy
and pleasant; the material ignores the spiritual; the second is of
suffering and death: the spiritual strives to ignore the material.
Christianity and all cognate religions worship death, glorify suffering,
deify corpses. The new Aeon is the worship of the spiritual made
one with the material, of Horus, of the Child, of the Future. Isis
was liberty; Osiris, bondage; but the new Liberty is that of Horus.
Osiris conquered her because she did not understand him. Horus avenges
both his Father and his Mother. The child Horus is a twin, two in
one. Horus and Harpocrates are one, and they are also one with Set
or Apophis, the destroyer of Osiris. It is by the destruction of
the principle of death that they are born. The establishment of this
new Aeon, this new fundamental principle, is the great work now to
be accomplished in the world. (Italics mine)
From Crowley, Book 4:
The Aeons represent the 3 great steps of human evolution.
AEON OF ISIS (p. 164 & p. 688)
Matriarchal age. Great Work conceived as simple straightforward affair.
Parthenogenesis (virgin birth) supposed to be true. The worship of
the Mother, continually breeding by her own virtue
I - The Virgin - yod = Virgo - contains in herself the Principle of
A= Harpocrates (the Babe in the Egg) is produced by virtue of A = Air/Spirit
O (omega) really = F (vav) the Son or Sun.
AEON OF OSIRIS (p. 164 & p. 688)
Patriarchal age. Two sexes [separate] The worship of the Son, reproducing
himself by virtue of voluntary death and resurrection.
I conceived as Father-Wand - the yod of J HVH
A - see p. 164 - much more complex formula. A as the Dragon/Mother,
as Harpocrates threatened by the crocodile, the ark and coffin, A
as the wandering Fool who winds the Princess etc.
F - Vau the Sun-Son. He is supposed to be mortal. AC calls this a "lie,
the essence of the great Sorcery".
The parthenogenesis idea persists but is now the formula for incarnating
demi-gods or divine kings; these must be slain and raised from the
dead in one way or another.
"Osirian religion is a Freudian fantasy fashioned of man's dread
of death and ignorance of nature."
AEON OF HORUS (p. 165-67 & p. 688)
Two sexes in one person throughout - so that each person is self-procreative
The worship of the Crowned and Conquering Child
Thelemic expansion of the Formula as FIAOF "recognising the Sun
as the Son (Star), as the pre-existent manifested Unit from which all
springs and to which all returns" (my italics).
F is the manifested Star
I is the powers of the yod, the Hand whereby man does his will
A is the Babe as before, but he develops to
O - see pp. 165/66 for AC's full explanation but this is Baphomet throned
and adored by Male & Female, the exalted "Devil" (Saturn,
Set, Abrasax etc: ShT is the formula of this particular Aeon
see BK 4 p. 566-67), Capricornus, "the Goat who leaps upon the
loftiest mountains", the Sun in the South ("he enters this
sign when he turns to renew the year in the North", man made god,
exalted, eager, conscious of his full stature.
F - Man is explained to himself. "In the Aeon of Horus we know
that every event is a death; subject and object slay each other in
'love under will'; each such death is life itself, the means by which
one realises oneself in a series of episodes...the formula is now Love
in all cases; and the end is the beginning, on a higher plane.
OSIRIS - ISIS
HORUS THE CHILD/ HERU-RA-HA
HOOR-PAAR-KRAAT RA-HERAKHTY=RA HOOR KHUIT
(Gk. HARPOCRATES) Extraverted form: The Crowned & Passive form
(silence/innocence) Conquering Child
(Minister of HPK)
Herakhty's name in Egyptian means "Horus-of-the-horizon" and
he was a form of the sun when rising and setting. His cult-centre was
Heliopolis. Note in the spelling Ra Hoor Khuit the Khu element - Ra
is the Sun, Hoor the warrior Mars, Khuit the man becoming God
Hoor-Paar-Kraat's name means "Horus-the-child". Identified
with the Sun god who, newborn every morning, is shown emerging from
a lotus upon the celestial waters.
HERU = 211/ RA = 201/ HA = 26 = 418 (number of the Great Work), of
Aiwass, of Abrahadabra (the Formula of the New Aeon), of Parzival,
of Pallas Athene, of TO MH ('The Not', a name of Nuit) etc.
Various Forms of the Judgement card (Atu XX)
The card is called the Spirit of Primal Fire. It symbolises Mercury
acting through Fire on the Cosmic Elements (hence its path on the Tree
of Life is that connecting Hod and Malkuth = Path 31). Practically,
this is a card indicating an eschatological age of individual awakening
and collective spiritual rebirth and also represents our creative gift
being used to open the window of the minds of others.
PICTURES OF THE OLD AEON: Atu XX in Traditional Tarot.
The Destruction of the World by Fire, which is simultaneously the
Renewal of the World and the Enlightenment of the Mind. In the Rider
deck designed by AE Waite, dead men, women and children arise from
their graves as above them a yellow-haired angel (equivalent to the
Holy Guardian Angel of each individual) blows a trumpet, to which is
attached a white banner with a red cross (symbol of the Aeon of Osiris,
particularly of its Christian phase). The middle figure, by the position
of his arms, represents Shin, which refers to Fire. Their blue hair
is taken to represent desire, the object of which is: life in Spirit.
We also have the Scorpio symbolism, which is often thought of as the
sign of the tomb but is more properly that of a triumphal way - the
mystery of birth in death.
PICTURE OF THE NEW AEON: Atu XX in Crowleyean Tarot:
The card is an adaptation of the Stele of Revealing, representing
the 'catastrophic transition' from the age of Osiris to that of Horus,
and is renamed 'The Aeon'. Note that in the Gnostic Mass, the Stele
is on the superaltar, at the position of Kether. In a general sense
in the mass we are celebrating the New Aeon of Horus.
The angel equivalent to that on the traditional packs is Aiwass, the
messenger of the new Aeon, here not pictorially represented. As on
the Stele, around the top of the card is Nuit, the star-goddess, who
is the category of unlimited possibility. Beneath her is Hadit, "the
ubiquitous point-of-view, the only philosophically tenable conception
of reality" Hadit's body is a globe of Fire; winged to show his
power of Going".
The centre of the card depicts the child Horus, born as a result of
the marriage of Nuit and Hadit - his special name is Heru-Ra-Ha.
As Crowley points out, he is double god - the large figure of the
child with its finger to its lips is Hoor-par-Kraat; the figure in
the background, throned as on the Stele, is Ra-Hoor-Khuit. Surrounding
him is the golden light that represents his solar character. BOOK
OF THOTH p. 24: AC considers that on 21 March 12904 "the world
was destroyed by fire" as depicted in the traditional Judgement
Card of the Tarot, when the fiery God Horus took the place of the
airy God Osiris in the East as Hierophant".
Crowley notes: " the name Heru is identical with Hru, who is
the great angel set over the Tarot." This gives Crowley the rationale
for reconfiguring the Tarot as a series of illustrations to the Book
of the Law. [Speculation: is HRILIU related to HRU?]
The figure at the bottom, which AC considers "suggestive of a
flower" [this is the Lotus of Harpocrates), is a Shin with three
Yods occupied by three human figures "arising to partake in the
essence of the New Aeon". ("Man reborn, o deed divine!")
The coloured bands behind the Shin are representative of Libra, "the
forthshadowing of the Aeon which is to follow this one presumably in
about 2000 years"."when Hrumachis shall arise and the double-wanded
one assume my throne and place" (AL III: 34).
Shin (Atu XX) is triple, thus 31 x 3 = 93 (Thelema)
T (Atu XI) = Lion; Serpent, Sun, Courage, Sexual Love
Atu XX + Atu XI = ShT & 31
The Next Aeon
We should heed Crowley's caution that
the present Aeon is too young to give a definite representation of
this future event" (BOOK OF THOTH
While he refers in several places to the period of around 2,000 years
as an approximate time for each Aeon, e.g. EQUINOX OF THE GODS p. 76
(footnote), he also says:
It may be presumptuous to predict any details concerning the next Aeon after
this.... It may be a hundred or
ten thousand years from now; for the computation of time is not here as there.
(LAW IS FOR ALL, p. 288, 290).
Hrumachis (aka Harmakhis, Heru-em-akhet) also seems to be a name of
Horus, and occurs in the Invocation of Horus that preceded reception
of Liber AL. "By thy name Harmachis, youth of the Brilliant Morning,
I invoke thee!" (BK 4, p. 415). Its meaning is identical with
that of Ra-Hoor-Khuit - "Horus-in-the-horizon", that is,
the Dawning Sun. The Great Sphinx at Gizeh was considered to be the
image of Hrumachis. In 777 Hrumachis is closely associated with Ra
and Harpocrates and On, gods attributed to Tiphareth/the Sun (whereas
Horus is attributed to Geburah/Mars). Note the Hru prefix of this name,
which identifies this god with the great angel of the Tarot as well
as with Heru-Ra-Ha.
Regarding: the double-wanded one", in note 40, p. 235 of THE
VISION AND THE VOICE Crowley refers to Thmaist, whose Aeon will succeed
that of Horus. She is Atu VIII - Adjustment - Libra (house of Venus)@.
Again in "On the Reception of the Book of the Law" [an excerpt
from AC's CONFESSIONS, reprinted in the new edition of BOOK 4), AC
A I may now point out that the reign of the Crowned and Conquering
Child is limited in time by the Book of the Law itself. We learn, III:
34, that Horus will be in his turn succeeded by Thmaist, the Double-Wanded
One, She who shall bring the Candidate to full initiation, and though
we know little of Her particular characteristics, we know at least
that Her name is Justice (Bk 4, p. 689).
[AL III: 34 is generally taken to refer to - Maat (Egypt), Themis (Greek)=
Thmaist, Lady of the Balance. In 777, Maat = 22/Libra/Justice /Equilibrium.
The Egyptian Maat was a woman wearing a feather upon her head and
personified Truth and Justice. The feather placed in the scales of
truth at the weighing of the heart ceremony as depicted in THE BOOK
OF THE DEAD was hers. Since the Sun-God Ra was said to live upon
Truth (Maat), there was a close association between the Sun God and
the principle of Truth, Justice & correct ordering of the universe.
[See LAW IS FOR ALL p.289 and the extensive note 608 in new BK 4
for further elaboration].
Recommended for Study
Achad, Frater. "Stepping Out of the Old Aeon into the New".
Equinox III, No. 1 (An XV - 1919 e.v.)
Crowley, Aleister. THE LAW IS FOR ALL: AN EXTENDED COMMENTARY ON THE
BOOK OF THE LAW. Phoenix, AZ: New Falcon Press, 1986. See especially
the commentaries to the Third Chapter of Liber AL.
Crowley, Aleister. MAGICK: LIBER ABA: BOOK 4. New edition, Weiser,
1994. See especially
pp. 164-67 in the chapter "The Formula of IAO", pp. 686-89:"The
Historical Conception on which The Book of the Law is Based",
and "Genesis Libri AL": pp. 387-445, which reprints in toto
THE EQUINOX OF THE GODS.
Crowley, Aleister. THE BOOK OF THOTH: A SHORT ESSAY ON THE TAROT OF
THE EGYPTIANS. (EQUINOX III/5). [First published 1944]. York Beach,
ME: Weiser, 1969 (13th printing 1988). See especially pp. 115-16.
Crowley, Aleister. THE EQUINOX OF THE GODS. (EQUINOX III/3). [First
published by OTO, London]. Scottsdale, AZ: New Falcon Publications/OTO
Inc [corrected facsimile ed] 1991.
[The text is included as AGenesis Libri AL@ in the new edition of MAGICK:
LVLS, Frater. "Some Aspects of the Symbolism of the Stele of
Revealing". Sorath 1, No 1 [Shemeth Lodge OTO, UK], 1996.
Carroll, Peter J. LIBER NULL & PSYCHONAUT. York Beach, ME: Weiser,
1987. See pp. 173-177 for an explanation of the Gnostic conception
of the Aeons.
Clark, R.T. Rundle. MYTH AND SYMBOL IN ANCIENT EGYPT. NY: Thames & Hudson
1959 (pbk ed reprinted 1993).
Drury, Neville. DICTIONARY OF MYSTICISM AND THE OCCULT. San Francisco:
Shorter, Alan W. THE EGYPTIAN GODS: A HANDBOOK. London: RKP, 1937
FORMULA OF THE HIGHEST:
A Source Study from Origins to New Aeon Symbology
A Paper presented at the
1ST ANNUAL AUSTRALASIAN THELEMIC CONFERENCE
University of Technology, Sydney, 1996
By Fr. LVX/NOX (Leigh Blackmore)
Approx 7545 words (October 1996 e.v.)
A. Introduction: What is a Magical Formula?
DuQuette’s is a handy and simple definition:
AA magical formula is a statement of perceived cosmological fact or
theory. It can be as simple as an axiom:
Love thy neighbour as thyself. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
It can be a statement or a set of symbols revealing the mechanism of
a natural law:
As above, so below. All is sorrow. Love is the law, love under will.
E = MC2. YHVH. INRI. AUM.
It can even be a single word that initiates an entire age:
TAO; ANATTA; IAO; Thelema. (P. 6)
To preface briefly what this paper is about, I would suggest that
IAO as it occurs in Thelemic magic is a formula combining the “set
of symbols revealing a mechanism” (or we could say a cycle or process)
and the “single initiating word”, containing in its three letters various
aspects of the Great Work, and summing up (heiroglyphing) the essence
of the Highest - that is, the ultimate goal of the spiritual aspirant.
However, it is a formula by no means easy to define and this study,
by drawing together historical threads with examples of magical usages
of the formula, is primarily meant to be a suggestive elaboration of verifiable and possible correspondences or a deconstruction
of the formula, particularly with regard to the symbolism of IAO in
relation to Liber XV, The Gnostic Mass. Since the significance of Thelemic
symbolism is revealed only gradually in the OTO through the initiatic
process, the interpretations of an individual will more than likely
reflect only the insights of the grade to which they have attained.
Nevertheless by looking at usages of IAO and their context in various
printed texts it ought to be possible for any of us to gain some understanding.
In Book 4 Pt 3 Ch 9: “Of Silence and Secrecy and of the Barbarous Names
of Evocation”, Crowley points out that IAO is a supreme word of the
kind which enshrines the complete formula of the God invoked (as are
also Tetragrammaton and Abrahadabra)(see Bk 4, p. 189). Given this
information, we ought to be able to apprehend, even if only dimly,
the nature of the God invoked.
Most of who have been to a Mass are probably aware that IAO was originally
a deity of the Gnostics, but may be unaware of the extent to which IAO features
in other Thelemic ritual, both textual and practical. My own attraction to
researching this was through participation in the Gnostic Mass, and wondering
just what energies calling on “the name of IAO” should be evoking.
So we can start from the historical Gnostic context and come up to
the present, after which we’ll approach or examine applications of
the formula from the perspective of several different esoteric traditions
(alchemy, Enochian and so on).
I have to presume reasonable familiarity on your part with Thelemic
magic in general as I can’t hope in the time limit to delve fully into
the content of each Crowleyean liber that gets a mention. However in
support of each point I’ll quote reasonably extensively from writers
other than myself, Crowley in particular, mainly so that you know I’m
not just making this up as I go along! The handout also contains detailed
references for further reading which will be helpful to initiates and
non-initiates alike. I’ll be happy to answer questions at the end if
there are any.
B. The Gnostic Schools
The Gnostic schools were a very loose grouping of philosophical and
in some cases organised religious systems incorporating many influences
from Indian Buddhism, Persian Zoroastrianism, and Graeco-Roman philosophy.
They gained prominence during the first centuries AD and continued
in some instances to survive for many centuries as organised systems
and as philosophical concepts which exerted not only great influence
on the development of classical Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but
have continued into modern times where they have been incorporated
into such religious movements as the Rosicrucians, Christian Science
and the modern
Gnostic Church. I’ll just comment here that in talking about the transmission
of the Gnostic current we should clearly distinguish between transmission
of gnosis and transmission of Gnosticism. The relevance of this will
probably become obvious later in discussion of the Mass, which to some
extent raises the question of just how >Gnostic= is the Gnostic
C. The Gnostic , Graeco-Egyptian and Hermetic IAO
In The Secret Book According to John (from the literature known as
the “apocryphal acts of the apostles”, author and composition unknown
though probably between AD c. 180 and AD 350), Iao is given as the
name of a demon with the face of a serpent and having seven heads.
This demon is the fourth of seven demons created by Ialtabaoth, the
production of Wisdom’s offspring.
Each of these seven demons possibly corresponds to a day of the week
and a planet. Blavatsky, quoting Origen’s account of the Egyptian Gnostic
attributions attributes them as: Adonai (of the Sun), Iao (as the genius
of the moon), Eloi (Jupiter), Sabao (Mars), Orai (Venus), Astaphoi
(Mercury) and finally Ialdabaoth (Saturn). (Secret Doctrine p. 538)Iao
is seen to correspond to the power of Lordship. Note here that the
lunar attribution of IAO as later it is attributed to the Sun
(Blavatsky has a whole trip about IO and the moon and its relationship
to the Theban triad Amoun, Mout and Khonsu - see Secret Doctrine pp.
465-66- this is extremely interesting and would be relevant to a study
of the Lord of Thebes and Ankh-af-na-Khnosu (which means “my life is
in the moon”) but we can’t dwell on it here.
Parallels between this sevenfold (heptarchic) conception of Iao, and
with Revelations= account of the Beast with seven heads could fruitfully
be pursued. See especially in this connection Ch. 49 of THE BOOK OF
LIES, “Waratah Blossoms”. [Kenneth Grant’s analysis in ALEISTER CROWLEY
AND THE HIDDEN GOD of the 7 heads of the Beast as the seven stations
of the Pole Star which make up the Great Year is also suggestive but
perhaps too personal a speculation on Grant’s part].
St Iranaeus of Lyon (c.130-200 A.D.) in his Against Heresies, wherein
he summarises what is known of the Gnostics’ beliefs, makes Iao the
second of the seven demons; it appears he knew a different version
of the Secret Book According to John than the one whose manuscript
has come down to us. [Another early Christian writer, St Ephiphanius
of Salamis (AD c. 315-403) in a similar work (The Panarion), in contrast
gives Iao as the ruler of the first of seven heavens.]
Iranaeus also gives a summary of Ptolemy=s version of the Gnostic
myths (Ptolemy being one of the first and most brilliant students of
Valentinus, whose Gnostic teachings spread throughout Italy and the
East from AD 150-692). In this summary, the meaning of the name Iao
is related as follows: Achamoth, who represented the thinking of Sophia
(higher wisdom), had been cast forth in a region of shadow and emptiness,
but the anointed (Christ) took pity on this female being and stretched
out along the cross, forming her as a concrete formation. ”Now, once
she had been formed and come to her senses, and then been immediately
emptied of the Word that was invisibly with her, i.e. the anointed
(Christ), she rushed to search for the light that had left her; and
she could not comprehend it, being prevented by the boundary. It was
here that the boundary, in preventing her form the impulse to forward
motion, said “Iao!” This - they say - is the origin of the name Iao.”
Iranaeus further recounts that each of the seven demonic beings or
deities (known as the holy septet) chose its own herald to glorify
it and to proclaim that it was God amongst the Jews. To Iao in this
hierarchy of prophets belong the prophets Samuel, Nathan, Jonah and
Godwin (p. 119ff) constructs a “Gnostic Ritual of Self-Development”
based on the myth-structure of the Apocryphon of John. In it, Iao is
the planetary Archon relating to the sun, and Ain this context represents
false and unworthy authority - specifically, your own ego, although
here he is externalised and objectified. He has no head as such, but
seven hissing serpents sprout from his neck, an apt analogy for the
usual fragmentation of the conscious mind.
In a diagram called “The Mount Lebanon Diagram”, (which I don’t have
a copy of to display)(display Tree of Life] which represents a Tree
of Life system formulated by the Gnostic Ophites (one of the earliest
sects of Gnosticism, known as “the Brotherhood of the Serpent”, and
active in Egypt in the second century) IAO corresponds to the position
of Chokmah (Wisdom), the second emanation on the conventional qabalistic
Tree of Life. In some Ophite placements, however, IAO is shown as a
spirit corresponding to Yesod - the sphere whose ruling planet is the
Moon. The Aurum Solis magical tradition also associates Iao with the
Moon (ref. Godwin p. 210.)
Blavatsky gives a complicated etymology too long to detail here, which
basically relates how IAO was often confounded with that of Yahweh.
“But the name IAO neither originated with, nor was it the sole property
of the Jews”. She then traces it back to an old mystic name of the
Shemites, which was communicated to Moses when he was initiated at
Hor-eb. In an old religion of the Chaldeans [Southern Babylonians]
whose remains are to be found among the neo-Platonists, the highest
divinity, enthroned above the seven heavens, representing the Spiritual
Light-Principle...and also conceived of as Demiurgus, called Iaw. who
was, like the Hebrew Yaha, mysterious and unmentionable, and whose
name was communicated to the initiated. The Phoenicians had a Supreme
God, whose name was trilateral and secret, and he was Iaw.” (Isis Unveiled
and Secret Doctrine p. 541).
If time, read directly from ISIS UNVEILED p.298 para 2 -299 last full
IAO is discussed in the Pistis Sophia, an extremely important Gnostic
scripture normally attributed to Valentinus. Pistis Sophia I, vii reads,
“So the power of the little Iao, who is in the Midst, and the soul
of the prophet Elias, they were bound into the body of John the Baptizer”.
Blavatsky comments that in other Gnostic contexts IAO, far from being
referred to as “little”, is referred to as the great Leader of the
Midst whom the Rulers of the Aeons call the Great IAO, and that this
apparent dualism is quite in keeping with all esoteric systems.
A variant version of the derivation of Iao is an Egyptian anti-Semitic
tradition whereby the god worshipped by the Jews had to be an ass,
because they spoke of him (in Greek) as “Iao” (cf. Yahu, Yahweh) and
the old Coptic word for “ass” was eio or iao. (While this indicates
a possible path of study of the relationship between IAO and JHVH,
the Tetragrammaton, Crowley emphasises the same view as Blavatsky in
MAGICK WITHOUT TEARS p.24: “Nor is Tetragrammaton IAO, even though
etymology asserts the identity”. [Re: eio one could have some fun constructing
a Crowleyean qabalistic analysis [along the lines of Crowley’s analysis
of “Humpty Dumpty” in “An Interlude” - see Bk 4 pp. 81-85 - of the
childrens’ song “Old Macdonald Had a Farm” with its chorus “ee-i-ee-i-o”].
Frater Numa has also pointed out to me that the ass is sacred to Priapus
etc. Jesus rides in on the ass, and Crowley considers the Templars
to have worshipped an ass-headed deity. There are many other correspondences
We should also note from the Red Flame commentary on Greek names used
in the Gnostic Mass: AIAO is the Hellenized version of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton.
However, it has an independent linguistic association with Dyaus, the
name of the ancient Indo-European Sky God, with the Greek Divine Names
Zeus and Chaos, and with the Latin Deus. Qabalistically, it pertains
to Tiphareth: the Divine Name of Tiphareth in Atziluth is ???? ????
???? [YHVH ELOAH VEDATH], the notariqon of which is I.A.V. ??? or I.A.V.,
which can be pronounced IAO.”(Red Flame p. 76)
Hargrave Jennings describes some Gnostic gems wherein the name ???,
[note small omicron] usually in conjunction with that of the Gnostic
divinity Abraxas, is engraved over or around some symbolic figures
(see p. 181). Kenneth Grant and other writers since Jennings, including
Crowley, are wont to refer to IAO as “the Supreme Divinity of the Gnostics”
we have seen from Blavatsky that this might well have been the case,
though Crowley takes this a given and evidence for this supremacy is
rarely adduced. (There are other Gnostic deities whose names appear
in Thelemic magick, and whose significance would be interesting to
investigate, e.g. Sabao, Abraxas, - Red Flame p. 76 gives interesting
background - etc but IAO seems generally regarded as the most important
of the Gnostic deities). [show transparency of gems]
Duquette: “IAO, the great God of the Gnostics, even announces the
magical formula of life, death, and resurrection in the letters of
its name: Isis (Nature) is ruined by Apophis (the forces of destruction
and decay), but is cyclically resurrected in Osiris” (p. 9). In this
sense the name is seen as an acronym or (loosely) as a notariqon of
one of the main symbolic truths which it represents.
IAO also occurs as one of the “Barbarous Names of Evocation” in that
Greek-derived rite which appears as the Preliminary Invocation of the
Goetia (see the Legemeton - the Lesser Key of Solomon) and its adaptation
as “The Bornless Ritual”. It is therefore also significant in the context
of Crowley’s Liber Samekh, where for instance the barbarous name Aphen-IAF
is recited along with Athou treasure of IAO and SA-BA-FT is followed
by a phrase which links “Hail IAO” with the Thelemic deities Nuit,
Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Khuit and the Great Wild Beast. However but a full exploration
of this would be a study in itself, involving detailed attention to
Crowley’s Scholion on the ritual. (See however note 601 in Book Four
for further light on qabalistic interpretations of this Formula).
IAO according to Eliphas Levi’s HISTORY OF MAGIC occurs in the Egyptian
sacred calendars: “where it is known that each month was placed under
the protection of three decani or genii of ten days, the first decanate
in the sign of Leo is represented by a human head with seven rays;
the body has a Scorpio-tail and the sign of Sagittarius is under
the chin. Beneath the head is the name of IAO, and the figure was
called Khnoubis, and Egyptian word which signifies gold and light”.
We see here obvious associations with the sphere of Tiphareth – we’ll
touch on this again later.
??? by Greek Qabalah enumerates to 811, which is equivalent to (according
to Liber MCCLXIV, the Greek Qabalah): -
????? - needle
?????? - breast
????? - Attis (Eng.) (Note: Attis was a dying and resurrected vegetation
god of Phrygia, widely worshipped throughout the Roman Empire).
???? - to fart (relates the Nephesch or animal nature to the highest
- Kether is in Malkuth; is God to be found in a dog? etc). Also compare
this with the Moon/Yesod attribution.
??? - to perceive, to know
???? - (Fiat) Let there be (Latin) (cf with Michelle’s comments on
the imperatives in the Enochian calls). MAGICK WITHOUT TEARS p. 13:
Crowley suggests, discussing his student’s Magical Motto, “Fiat, being
811, is identical with IAO, and therefore FIAT YOD might be read not
only as “let there be” (or “Let me become”), the secret source of all
creative energy, but as “the secret source of energy of Jehovah”. [Cf
with the imperatives in the Enochian calls]
Godwin (p. 236) gives the further correspondences for 811: tessera
(holy symbol in Aurum Solis); and asteres (stars).
In 777, Column CLXXXVII (Magical Formulae) IAO:INRI equates to Key
Scale 30, 200 by the Arabic Alphabet Numeration and 100 by Greek Alphabet
Numeration. Its correspondence in “Typical Diseases” is Repletion.
See also 777, where in the chart “The Vital Triads of the Tarot”, the
first is “The Three Gods IAO”=, corresponding to Atu 0 (The Holy Ghost),
Atu I (The Messenger) and Atu IX (The Secret Seed). Valuable amplification
of the components of the formula may therefore be obtained by studying
those chapters of THE BOOK OF THOTH which explicate these particular
Atus, commonly known as The Fool, The Juggler, and The Hermit.
D. IAO in the Golden Dawn System of Magick (as Heiroglyph of the Great
In the opening and closing of the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, (LRH)
we first analyse the word INRI, then invoke the names of certain Egyptian
gods (and their zodiacal/planetary attributions) by saying:
Virgo, Isis, Mighty Mother.
Scorpio, Apophis, Destroyer,
Sol, Osiris, Slain and Risen.
Isis, Apophis, Osiris, IA0.
And we perform, as prescribed in Liber O, the LVX signs that are appropriate
thereto - Osiris slain (the cross +), Isis Mourning - the Svastika
(L), Typhon (Apophis) (V) - the Trident, and Osiris Risen - the Pentagram
This symbolism is derived from that of the Ceremony of the Grade of
Adeptus Minor (5=6 ritual)
in the Golden Dawn. (The complete ceremony can be found in Regardie, Volume
7, pp. 30-61). In this ceremony IAO is invoked at various points - firstly,
in close association with explanations of the Mystic Mountain of Abiegnus (p.
34); further on in the analysis of the Key Word (pp. 36-37) and later again
where the great avenging angel HUA is invoked “in the divine name IAO” (p.
Duquette p. 117:
“Considered by the Adepts of the Aeon of Osiris to be the “new, improved”
magical formula of the day, the Latinised/Christian formula of resurrection
(INRI) is seen to conceal the great formulae of the Egyptians and
the Gnostics (IAO)”.
Crowley elucidates the connection of INRI with IAO in the Book of Thoth
“INRI, the inscription on the Cross, becomes Yod Nun Resh Yod, which
are in the heavens Virgo, the Virgin Mother; Isis, Scorpio, Apophis
the Dragon, the Destroyer; Sol, Osiris, the Slain and Risen. The initials
of these three divine beings thus make the more ancient name of Jehovah
- IAO. In this way the initiates of old expressed their understanding
of the fact that the Universe was after all perfect, even if requiring
a little manipulation; but as explained previously, this doctrine is
for the weaker brethren, for those who are suffering from the illusion
of imperfection; it enables them to make their way to the illimitable
For the symbolism of INRI see also Rowe.
The paper “Qabalistic Dogma” from Crowley’s COLLECTED WORKS I (written
prior to 1905) describes the IAO formula and its relationship to the
LVX signs as employed in the Golden Dawn which formed the basis for
the LRH in Liber O. Here Crowley takes a morphological approach to
the formula. :
“I is the Straight Line or Central Pillar of the Temple of Life; also it stands
for Unity, and for the Generative Force. A is the Pentagram, which means the
Will of Man working Redemption. O is the Circle from which everything came,
also Nothingness, and the Female, who absorbs the male. The Progress of the
Name shows then the Way from Life to nirvana by means of the Will: and is a
Hieroglyph of the Great Work... (italics mine)...their initials form the sacred
Word of the Gnostics”.
Blavatsky (Secret Doctrine p. 463) “Now Euthanasius declares that
IO means the moon, in the dialect of the Argians; and it was one of
the names of the same in Egypt.... The pillar and Circle (IO), now
constituting the first decimal number, and which with Pythagoras was
the perfect number contained in the Tetractis [Tetrad] became later
a pre-eminently phallic Number - amongst the jews, foremost of all,
with whom it is the male and female Jehovah”
This morphological explanation of I0 if applied to IAO does not define
the “A”. I was going to do a whole rave about A as the “excluded middle”.
This is the third term that many modern academics since the 1920's
and the advent of quantum uncertainty feel needs to be added to the
Aristotelian logic of either/or. For instance, mathematician John von
Neumann, who proposed in 1933 discussing the new paradoxes of quantum
mechanics in a three-valued logic of false, true and maybe; and others
such as semanticist Alfred Korzybski - yes + no + a many-probabilitied
middle; and in 1964 mathematician Lofti Zadeh invented fuzzy logic.
(See Robert Anton Wilson, COSMIC TRIGGER VOL III). All these could
be applied to the middle term of the IAO formula but let’s just make
passing mention of that. The phrase “centre and secret of the Sun”
springs to mind as well....
PART 2: IAO IN THELEMIC MAGICK
A. As invocation of the Old Aeon formula
REFER TO OTHER PAPER ON AEONS....
In Crowley’s work, IAO is sometimes mentioned simply in the context
of the Old Aeon formula. For instance, IAO is discussed in “The Master
Therion: A Biographical Note” (a paper by AC reprinted in THE HEART
OF THE MASTER) where it appears as that word uttered by Dionysus (cf
Buddha’s word ANATTA, Laotze TAO, Mohammed ALLAH):
“For the function of the Magus is to proclaim a new Law by virtue
of one Word in which resides a Formula of Wisdom” (p.19 OTO revised
Similarly in LIBER ALEPH p. 71:
“Krishna hath names and forms innumerable, and I know not His true
human Birth. For his formula is of the major Antiquity. But His Word
hath spread into many Lands, and we know it today as INRI with the
secret IAO concealed therein” (and so on).
And LIBER ALEPH p. 208 re the Pure Fool:
“yea, and more also, I have known Thee who Thou art, Bacchus Diphues, none
and two, in thy Name IAO!”.
IAO also in section 49, The Benediction of Liber Astarte: “And so
may the Love that passeth all Understanding keep your hearts and minds
through IAO Adonai Sabao” (Book 4 p. 627).
Vision and the Voice p. 74, NOTE 31: “Osiris, tricked into the belief
in death, had to overcome it by Magick, the formula IAO”.
However, clearly Crowley intended the Thelemic recontextualisation
of IAO within the Aeon of Horus to be plainly understood. “The Heart
of the Master” (a visionary paper written 1925 by AC in Tunisia) itself,
in section III: The Temple of Truth indicates “But above that extract,
the whole width of the chart, the word IAO” (p.110) and later: “So,
when the time was ripe, appeared the Brethren of the Formula of Osiris,
whose word is IAO...Now, this great formula being fulfilled, and turned
into abomination, [italics mine] this Lion came forth to proclaim the
Aeon of Horus, the crowned and conquering child, who dieth not, nor
is reborn, but goeth radiant ever upon his way...Of this Prophet the
word is Thelema” (p. 116).
In Fuller’s 963 (The Treasure House of Images) in the section “The
169 Cries of Adoration of God” “I adore Thee IAO!” forms part of the
refrain to every cry - a typical paeanic usage within Thelemic usage
where the divinity/supremacy of IAO is taken for granted.
In CONFESSION (p. 795) Crowley comments: “The old pagan worship of
the Mother-idea was superseded by the word IAO or its equivalents,
which asserted the formula of the Dying God, and made the Male, dying
to himself in the act of love, the engineer of the continued life of
the race. This revolution cut at the root of all previous custom. Matriarchy
vanished; self-sacrifice became the cardinal virtue...this idea of
accomplishing the Great Work by a voluntary death was bound up with
the belief that the sun died, and was reborn with the hours and the
seasons....My own word, Thelema, supplies a new and scientifically
sound basis for ethics. Self-sacrifice is a romantic folly; death does
not end life; it is a temporary phase of life as night and winter are
of terrestrial activity...Already, in a thousand ways, the principles
involved have replaced those of the Dying God.”
“To one who understands this chain of the Aeons from the point of view
of the Sorrowing Isis and of the triumphant Osiris, not forgetting
their link in the destroyer Apophis, there remains no secret veiled
in nature. He cries that name of God which throughout History has
been echoed by one religion to another, the infinite swelling paean
I.A.O.!” (Bk 4 p. 149)
Also, Crowley states that IAO is Qabalistically identical with that
of the BEAST and with his number 666, so that he who invokes the former
invokes the latter. (Bk 4 p. 149)
Charles Stansfeld Jones (Parzival X0) discusses the IAO formula in
the Aeonic context in his “Horus, Isis and Osiris in the Q.B.L.” (Ref.
EQUINOX 3/10, pp. 217-18) showing how Horus “appears as the avenger
Apophis to those who try to go back, or retrogress. He has to destroy
them in order that they may be renewed”.
B. Combined with the Formula of the New Aeon
I. IAO in the Reception of the Book of the Law
Equinox of the Gods p. 68 and p. 70 give in detail the IAO invocation
performed by Crowley on March 16, 1904 as a prelude to the Reception
of Liber AL.
ii. ??? in the Gnostic Mass
In the Gnostic Mass (Liber VX), the Deacon invokes the sacred Gnostic
word IAO in the Introit: “I proclaim the Law of Light, Life, Love and
Liberty in the name of IAO”. (italics mine). Note the Greek capitals
literation of the word as: ???.Note 21 to the Red Flame text of the
Mass points out:
Note – “I am the Alpha and the Omega” - since ??? in the Mass is spelt with
the Greek letters throughout. This is Crowley’s emphasis on the End and the
Beginning of the Great Work.
The Priest invokes this sacred word again during the “Ceremony of
the Opening of the Veil” where he chants in Greek “Io Io Io ???...Io
???....Agios, Agios, Agios ???. [Io Io Io ??? ...Io ???...Holy, Holy,
Holy ???]. Note that IAO occurs triply in this invocation - at the
beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the invocation - the tripartite
nature of Spirit manifested (Shin) may likely be attributed to this.
Possibly there is also a correspondence here to the priest’s triple
advance up the steps from below to above the Abyss, to the realm of
the Supernal Sephiroth.
Later again in the Mass, at the conclusion of “The Consecration of
the Elements” the priest again invokes in the sacred Gnostic word –
“hear ye all, saints of the true church of old time now essentially
present, that of ye we claim heirship, with ye we claim communion,
from ye we claim benediction in the name of ???”. As he elevates the
Host and the Cup, and the Bell strikes, he again invokes “Agios, Agios,
My main assertion or suggestion is that in the Mass the IAO formula
has both a historical function (Old Aeon formula) in bringing before
us the sacred word of the Gnostics (since in celebrating the Mass we
are, in part, celebrating our heirship to the Light of the Gnosis),
but more importantly, a specifically Thelemic connotation in which
it holds an intimate connection with the Eucharist.
Although the name doesn’t occur in the text, IAO could therefore be
possibly considered an underlying formula of such Eucharistic rituals
as “The Mass of the Phoenix”(Liber 44).
To some extent, I haven’ resolved some of the questions raised on these
matters. According to Frater Numa, “C slams the cosmology [of the
Gnostics] in the commentary to Liber AL [see LAW IS FOR ALL p. 82]
where in commenting on I: 8 “The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu
in the Khabs”
“I think that we are warned against the idea of a Pleroma, a flame
of which we are sparks, and to which we return when we ‘attain’...the
idea of incarnations ‘perfecting’ a thing originally perfect by definition
is imbecile. The only sane solution is...to suppose that the Perfect
enjoys experience of (apparent) imperfection”.
but in a type of contradiction he wrote the mass to correspond with
the Roman Rite (which did, in turn, borrow an enormous amount from
Valentinian Gnosticism). (How should we see this in relation to the
Creed?: “I believe in one Star in the company of stars, of whose fire
we are created and to which we shall return”). We might also wonder
why, if the Gnostic Mass is principally a Thelemic rite, the Thelemic
amplification of the formula FIAOF is not used rather than IAO.
iii. IAO in Other Thelemic Rituals
IAO crops up again in Liber Arcanorum (Liber CCXXXI). Verse 0 reads:
“A, the heart of IAO, dwelleth in ecstasy in the secret place of the
thunders. Between Asar and Asi he abideth in joy”.
Here again we have the middle element of the formula assuming a great
importance, especially considered alchemically as the transmutational
LIBER XVII (Liber 17 - note the number) is called LIBER IAO. According
to the Curriculum of AA, this work “gives three methods of attainments
through a willed series of thoughts. This book has not been published.
(My italics). It is the active form of Liber HHH. The article “Energised
Enthusiasm” is an adumbration of this book”.
VISION AND THE VOICE p. 192, note 9: “The Swastika has 17 squares.
17 = IAO, the triune Kether”. (Petra touched on this in her paper on
the Swastika). Once again is emphasised that IAO is a tripartite formula
which makes a unity at the loftiest point of the Tree of Life. Also,
A ? (yod) ? (aleph) ? (vav) add to 17 and, by the Golden Dawn formula,
disclose LVX, the Light of the Cross” - this is Regardie’s note 7,
p.29 of VV
LIBER HHH (Liber CCCXLI - Liber 341) according to the Curriculum of
the AA “Gives three methods of attainment through a willed series of
thoughts”. Working out what IAO means could involve determining which
of these methods is the “active form” and applying this to the fact
that Liber 17 is mysteriously ‘unpublished/non-extant’ - intentionally
so from Crowley’s point of view.
“Energised Enthusiasm: A Note on Theurgy” (written 1912)(Liber DCCCXI)
first appeared in The Equinox 1, No. 9 (1913). It gives a more direct
suggestion as to the Thelemic aspect of the formula envisioned by Crowley.
When we turn to it, we find that the first sentence is “IAO the supreme
One of the Gnostics, the true God, is the Lord of this work”. The content
of the work will not be discussed here; suffice it to say that in the
account of the rite that Crowley witnessed, the chorus of those present
is “Evoe Ho, Iacche! Epelthon, Epelthon, Evoe, IAO!”
LIBER LXVI (Liber 66) - Liber Stellae Rubeae or the Book of the Ruby
Star. According to the Curriculum of the AA is “a secret ritual, the
Heart of IAO-OAI, delivered unto VVVVV for his use in a certain matter
of Liber Legis”. Verse 34 of this ritual reads: “I who reveal the ritual
am IAO and OAI; the Right and the Averse”. To understand the averse
we first must understand the usual form of the formula.
As another practical application of the formula, Crowley’s magical
record John St John is records how he used it in mantric fashion
- that is, the cyclic repetition of IAO used in conjunction with
pranayama breathing, along with such practices as the Middle Pillar
exercise, the Augoeides invocation, etc. King/Skinner p. 150 draw
attention to this usage.
C. Significance of the formula
I have to agree with someone who suggested to me that this is “one
of the most abstruse and veiled of Crowley’s formulae”. Nevertheless
we can obtain understanding of it through study of its usage in context
within Thelemic ritual, and by application of what is originally an
old-Aeon formula to Crowley=s specifically Thelemic rituals, that is
to rituals of the Aeon of Horus. .
As DuQuette points out: “Obsolete formulae of the past aren=t necessarily
discarded completely, but are often amended or fine-tuned to better
harmonize with a new, expanded understanding of natural or spiritual
law”. (p. 6)
In the BOOK OF LIES are several elucidations of Crowley’s interpretation
of the IAO formula. Ch. 61 “The Fool’s Knot” has a note that reads:
“Paragraph 2 shows the Lingam and the Yoni as, in conjunction, the
foundation of ecstasy (IO!) and of the complete symbol IAO. It’s interesting
to consider, in this light, the use of IAO as the concluding formula
of the Thelemic cross performed in the Star Ruby ritual, and its connection
with the paean in the middle of the Star Ruby where the Night of Pan
is invoked through the NOX signs in conjunction with the words “Io
Pan” etc. Cf Barry’s comments on Attic language consisting of mainly
I’s and 0's. (Lines and circles). And Io as supreme god in the Maori
We may also study especially Book 4 (Magick) Part 3: Magick in Theory
and Practice Ch. 5: The Formula of IAO, of which a brief summary is
here given: [SHOW TRANSPARENCY]
I = Isis/Nature
A = Apophis the Destroyer
.& restored to life by
O = Osiris the Redeemer
Crowley notes: “There is a quite different formula in which I is the
father, O the Mother, A the child - and yet another, in which IAO are
all fathers of different kinds balanced by HHH, 3 Mothers, to complete
the Universe. In a third, the true formula of the Beast 666, I and
O are the opposites which form the field for the operation of A” [see
Liber Samekh, p. 521 of Book 4].
As Frater Numa points out, “for the relationship of Wagner’s Parsifal
to the redeeming gods see Crowley’s “the Formula of IAO” in Bk 4, especially
the table on p. 163". (Waratah, p. 23). Understanding of the Parzival
symbolism is another way of gaining insight into the IAO formula.
Ii. IAO as formula of meditation
Crowley considers IAO essentially the formula of yoga or meditation.
To paraphrase him (Bk 4 pp 160-61) the meditation process is threefold:
it always begins with quiet pleasure, is succeeded by depression,
and concludes with the arising of Osiris. The process is one whereby
“the ancient condition is not restored, but a new and superior condition
is created, a condition only rendered possible by the process of
We may compare this with his diary notes in John St John - see Wasserman
p. 23, reprinted from EQUINOX 1 No.1 of 1909:
“Certainly the first two days were Isis - natural, pleasant, easy events.
Most certainly too today has been Apophis! Think of the wild cursing
and black magic etc...we must hope for the Osiris section tomorrow
or next day. Birth, death, resurrection! IAO!”.
Again, BOOK OF THOTH p. 274: “The ‘formula of the dying god’, as this
is usually called, does actually exist, but it represents a stage in
human development which is now past as far as external theology is
concerned. It has a sort of shadowy vitality in psychology; for instance,
in taking up a new task of any importance, one begins very pleasantly,
the period of Isis; the task becomes tedious and baffling, one begins
to despair, the period of Apophis; then suddenly, the subject is mastered
and one comes to a triumphant conclusion, the period of Osiris. But
the whole of this formula depends upon ignorance of the laws of nature;
there is in fact no catastrophe”.
I. IAO as Alchemical formula
The parallel between this formula and that of Alchemy is strong, and
can advantageously be considered, where:
I = The first matter
A = The Black Dragon (corrupt or dark stage)
O = The Pure and Perfect Gold; or the glorified body resurrected from
It is very much in this synergetic context that Crowley used the formula
of IAO in his workings of 1914 recorded in his diary for that year
(see MAGICAL RECORD OF THE BEAST 666) where invocations to IAO are
linked to Mercury.
Crowley’s comments that a “ceremonial self-initiation may be constructed
with advantage on this formula...The essence of it consists in robing
yourself as a king, then stripping and slaying yourself, and rising
from that death to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian
Angel” (p. 161) may be illuminated by considering the actions of the
High Priest of the Sun in “The Ship”. Give careful consideration to
Old John as I (the first matter), to his death as A (the Black Dragon),
and his reappearance/rebirth birth as the Young John as 0 (The Gold).
This may profitably be studied in conjunction with Crowley’s discussion
in Book 4 Pt 3, Ch 22: “Of the Eucharist, and of the Art of Alchemy”.
Iii. IAO as formula of Tiphareth
Israel Regardie on the “Tree and Hierarchies” section of the Golden
Dawn tapes simply attributes IAO to Tiphareth as the Sephira’s
divine name, shorter and more suitable for practical work than
and clumsy YHVH Eloah Vedath.
Crowley also points out that IAO is a formula of Tiphareth. It is,
he says, a proper Hieroglyph of the Ritual of Self-Initiation in this
Aeon of Horus. Note that on the earlier interpretation of I as the
Middle Pillar, that this pillar stretches from Kether through Tiphareth
Iv. FIAOF as amplified Thelemic form of IAO
Crowley later modified the spelling of IAO to Qabalistically equate
it with 93 (the number of the Thelemic current) by his transliteration
of the Hebrew as FIAOF - see Book 4 p. 162 for the full detail of how
Crowley arrives at this, and pp 163-165 for his full analysis and interpretation
of IAO as it has been conceived in the various historical Aeons.
FIAOF is used as an invocatory formula, or Word of Power, of the magician
in such rituals as Liber V vel Reguli, where as Crowley states “the
Energies of the Aeon of Horus work his will in the world”. (Bk 4
V The Enochian IAO
According to Schueler p. 44, the number of this formula is 48, corresponding
to the phrase
L-AHA-LAS-A, which significantly translates as “supreme treasure zones”.
This phrase appears in each of the Great Crosses of the Watchtower
in the Enochian system.
Schueler p. 177 also interprets (via the acronym or notariqon method)
the IAO letters (also p. 174) to stand for IADNAH ATH OLORAT, which
means “the highest work is man” (which is, if speculative, fairly congruent
with traditional and Thelemic usages). His gematria, on the other hand,
leads to correspondences including 326, 314 and especially 96 related
to “improving karma, cancelling karmic debts”; “IAO is the formula
for a passive acceptance of life in the sense of karma-less action.”
Schueler pp. 300-303 gives an Enochian ritual of IAO for use in dispelling
karmic debts. He says this invokes a “typical feminine current and
then uses the masculine current of [the aethyr] MAZ for balance and
Schueler adduces no support for treating the formula in this manner.
I’m dubious of its value as in this interpretation he seems out on
his own) although we may note that 314 by Godwin’s Greek Qabalah is
IAO in Enochian letters = [show transparency] . Given that there are
four systems of Enochian gematria which assign different numerical
values to the letters, various values can be obtained from any Enochian
word. By Crowley’ gematria IAO spelled in Enochian is equivalent to
96 (60 + 6 + 30). By the Golden Dawn Geomantic method it also 96. By
the Golden Dawn Greek/Hebrew method it is 81 (10 + 1 + 70). By the
Aurum Solis method it is 85 (9 + 6 + 70).
From Laycock’ dictionary we may compare with IAO such words as “iaod”
(ya-od), and “iaodaf” (ya-o-daf) meaning “beginning” (found at 1.61
of the First Enochian Call or key - James p. 67) and also “Iad” (yad)
and “iado”, meaning “God”.
In Enochian this latter stem forms the words “Iaida” (yai-da), which
is a title of God meaning “The Highest” and “Iaidon” (yai-don) which
is a title of God meaning “The All-Powerful” (Laycock pp. 120-21) as
in the Eleventh to the Eighteenth Enochian Calls, which all end with
...”for I am the servant of the same God as you, the true worshipper of the
Highest” (Iaida) and the Call of the Thirty Aethyrs in which the heavens of
each Air being invoked is said to “execute the judgement of the Highest” (Iaida).
Compare also “iadnah” (yad-na) and “iadnamad” (yad-na-mad= which mean
knowledge, divine knowledge.
In summary, it is at least clear that IAO is a symbolically complex
and rich formula of magick. It seems to me that Crowley used it both
to invoke its traditional historical and psychological associations
of Godhead - that is, of the Highest - (especially given that he
invokes in this name in Liber Samekh where he was obtaining the Knowledge
and conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel) and also reinterpreted
the formula in the light of the Equinox of the Gods as a central
formula of Thelemic Magick, where it carries various specific codings
of aspects of the Great Work on physiological (material) and elevated
(astral and other) planes.
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Jennings, Hargrave. THE ROSICRUCIANS: THEIR RITES AND MYSTERIES. London:
Routledge & Sons,
c.1890 (4th ed, revised).
King, Francis & Stephen Skinner. TECHNIQUES OF HIGH MAGIC: A MANUAL OF
INITIATION. NY: Destiny Books, 1976.
Laycock, Donald C. THE COMPLETE ENOCHIAN DICTIONARY. York Beach, ME: Weiser,
Layton, Bentley. THE GNOSTIC SCRIPTURES. NY: Anchor/Doubleday, August 1995.
Levi, Eliphas (trans A.E. Waite). THE HISTORY OF MAGIC. London: Rider Pocket
Editions, reprint 1986)
Lurker, Manfred. DICTIONARY OF GODS AND GODDESSES, DEVILS AND DEMONS.
London: Routledge Kegan Paul, 1987 (translated from the original German language
[Numa, Frater, ed.]. THE WARATAH: OFFICIAL HOURNAL OF THE ORDO TEMPLI
ORIENTIS IN AUSTRALIA, 1, No. 1. Sydney: Waratah Press, (January 1996)
Regardie, Israel. CEREMONIAL MAGIC. UK: Aquarian Press, 1980.
---THE COMPLETE GOLDEN DAWN SYSTEM OF MAGIC. Phoenix, AZ.: Falcon Press, 1984
(2nd pr 1985)[ten volumes in one].
---Regardie, Israel. THE GOLDEN DAWN TAPES SERIES II. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press,
Rowe, Benjamin. AA Modified Hexagram Ritual for Enochian Workings@, copyright
[Available on the Internet].
Schueler, Gerald J. AN ADVANCED GUIDE TO ENOCHIAN MAGICK. St Paul, MN: Llewellyn
Scriven, David & Lynn; with J. Edward and Marlene Cornelius. RED FLAME
No. 2: MYSTERY
OF MYSTERY: A PRIMER OF THELEMIC ECCLESIASTICAL GNOSTICISM.
Berkeley/NY: O.T.O., 3rd pr, March 1996. Symonds, John & Kenneth Grant
(eds). THE MAGICAL RECORD OF THE BEAST 666. London: Duckworth (3rd imp, 1983).
Wasserman, James (ed). ALEISTER CROWLEY AND THE PRACTICE OF THE MAGICAL
DIARY. Phoenix, AZ: New Falcon, 1993.
Wilson, Robert Anton. COSMIC TRIGGER VOLUME III: MY LIFE AFTER DEATH. Phoenix,
AZ: New Falcon, 1995.IAO – In Heart of the Master, p. 39 IAO comes under “the
Voice of the Pelican” – “all that liveth is blood of the Heart of the Master;
all stars are at feast on that Pasture, abiding in Light.” At top of
triangle – Horus/The Perfected Man (freedom form polarity; in Jung’s
terms, a ‘conjunctio oppositorum’, a higher union). At bottom left,
Isis (Physical man) forms a polarity with Osiris (Spiritual Man). Also
the points of the triangle represent the Supernals, and don’t forget
the Eye in the Triangle.
IAO is The Word of Dionysus – see Heart of the Master p. 9
AN ELEMENTARY ANALYSIS OF
THE LANGUAGE OF THE SAPPHO-CALYPSO ANGEL
LIBER XXX AERUM VEL SECULI SUB FIGURA CDXVIII
THE VISION AND THE VOICE -2ND AETHER
By Fr. LVX/NOX
July 1996 e.v.
PART I. THE BATHYLLIC TEXTS IN PARALLEL
A. First Song from the 2nd Aether
OMARI (I am) the harlot
TESSALA (that) shaketh
TESSALA (this) shaking
PHORNEPAX. The Peace of Satiate Lust.
AMRI There jetteth
POLIAX (From my) skull
AMARNA (And) music
PILIU. (From my) vulva.
AMRI There jetteth
PILIU (From my) vulva
MARI (For my) whoredom
NARYA (is a) sweet scent
BARBITON (like a ) seven-stringed instrument
MADARA played (unto)
ANAPHAX God the Invisible
SARPEDON the all-ruler
ANDALA that goeth along (giving)
HRILIU the shrill scream of orgasm. [also >The Voice of the Dove=attributed
b. BRIEF PASSAGE IN BATHYLLIC
AN NOW (IT)
NU (INTO THE) HEAVEN
DIRAESEU SEDUCINGLY [note the Sappho connection]
ADIKA THE MENTRILA [definition?]
PARETANU THE BEGOTTEN ONE
POLIAX OF THE HOLY HEAD
POLIAX OR SKULL
RAH (OF THE) SOFT TISSUES
FIFAL. (ITS) SHUTTLE
LERTHEXENAX. LIGHT FOLLOWS THE EXPLOSION.
MAMA THE SOFT
HUM CLEAVING (TO)
MAHA. PUMP OUT EVERY DROP OF WATER FROM THE WELL.
[appears to be a technical term not easily translated to English]
Note: this passage evidently refers to a high mystical process but
full explication would have to be undertaken in reference to the
entire experience of the 2nd Aethyr, which is beyond the scope of
this current study.
c. 2ND SONG OF THE 2ND AETHYR
Part I Crowley's translation
PA THE MOON
TELAI CEASETH (HER MOTION)
MELAI (WAS) SWEET
A,A,A. IN THE AIR, IN THE AIR, IN THE AIR
TULU SHALL ATTAIN
TULU SHALL ATTAIN
PA (BY) THE MOON
SA (&) BY MYSELF
GA (&) BY THE ANGEL OF THE LORD.
PA THE MOON
MELAI (WAXETH) SWEET
U,U,U (IN THE HOUR) OF INITIATION (etc)
SE THE KISS
GU (OF) ISIS
MELAI (IS) HONEYED
PE MY OWN
TELAI IS ENDED
FU (FOR) WILL
CHI THE LION-CHILD
BALAE SWIMMETH (IN THE HEAVEN)
PA THE MOON
UT! UT! UT! (IT IS) THOU! (IT IS) THOU! (IT IS) THOU!
FU THE WILL
LATRAI STEALETH AWAY (LIKE A THIEF)
FU STRONG WILL
MALAI (THAT) STAGGERED
KUT! (BEFORE) RA-HOOR-KHUIT!
AL TO THE GOD
OAI OAI [note: reversal of formula of IAO implies roughly the general
As opposed to the general magical process - Crowley's note]
TI! TI! TI! IN THE END & THE BEGINNING! (Etc)
LA MAY NONE
WI THE SWORD
NI THE BALANCES
BI THE CROWN
Note: The 2nd Song as above is incorporated wholesale into LIBER
LXVI (STELLAE RUBAE) where it is designated as "the infernal
adorations of OAI". In that context OAI appears to represent
the Averse (as opposed to the Right), rather than the Mystical
vs the Magical.
PART 2. COMMENTARY
Calypso was a figure (in the astral plane?) in Homer's
Odyssey, in the episode involving the Sirens. Crowley's comment in
THE VOICE indicates he takes Sappho and Calypso to represent all
such seductive and deadly things, and since this is part of the
nature of BABALON (the magician's marriage with whom is the subject
of ARN, the 2nd Aethyr), the Angel of this Aethyr takes a similarly
seductive form. Crowley remarks of the song that "once one
has heard it he is lost".
Bathyllic and Enochian
Bathyllic is an angelic language that occurs only in the 2nd Aethyr
of the 30 Aethyrs traversed by Crowley. The existing passages
in the language appear to consist of two songs plus one other brief
passage of speech.
Crowley in his note says the language he recorded is "commonly
referred to" as Bathyllic but I cannot locate a reference to
this language either in his BK 4, CONFESSIONS, or a general occult
dictionary. The Shorter Oxford provides no clue to the word stem "bathy".(?)
No record exists of any Bathyllic (non-English) alphabet - Crowley
transcribed his vision directly from the language he heard into English
letters. His exploration of the Aethyrs however was based on (and
expanded on) those of Dee and Kelly, and some connection between
the language spoken by the 2nd Aethyr Angel and Enochian seems likely.
In particular the -ax suffix of some words recalls Enochian. Further
research is required to elucidate any similarities or overlaps which
No indication of Bathyllic pronunciation is given in Crowley's text
and this may be also a matter for experimentation and possibly comparison
with Enochian and/or the Barbarous Names of Evocation.
The suffix - ax seems to denote nouns, e.g. Anaphax, marax, phornepax,
poliax - but not all nouns are so denoted, e.g. piliu, omari.
Note that Whoredom is Mari and Harlot is Omari. The >O= prefix
may possibly denote a specific relating to general concept of the
word without the prefix.
Generally connectives (a, the, of, in, etc), though some correlates
to these words exist, appear to be used infrequently in Bathyllic.
This constitutes a similarity with Enochian (though the same could
be said of many languages including Coptic etc)
An ending in >a= appears to denote some verbs, e.v Andala, Madara,
Tessala, but some nouns end with >a= as well - Amara, Narya, Radara.
The high preponderance of short 2- and 3-letter words in the second
song is curious and may indicate a more >poetic= or >condensed=
form of Bathyllic than that found in the 1st Song. However, this
Crowley provides complete translations of each Bathyllic passage,
in English, but not word-for-word. This was attempted by the present
writer in order to create the Bathyllic dictionary.
In the analysis of the First Song we were helped considerably by
the fact that some words appear twice in this short passage. From
the repetition of Tessala, the phrase Amri Radara, and Piliu it was
easy to deduce that these represented Shaking, (there) Jetteth Immortality,
and Vulva respectively. The similarity of Mari and Omari and their
cognate meanings further solved the equation. Phornepax suggested
itself as a portmanteau construction - the suffix "pax" is
also peace in Latin, and "Phorne" suggests the Latin fornix,
fornicatio - to fornicate, which carries the idea of Satiate Lust.
Hriliu was already known to mean "the shrill scream of orgasm" from
its context in the Gnostic Mass. With these words identified, it
was a comparatively simple matter to fill in the gaps.
Analysis of the passage and the Second Song proceeded along similar
lines. Herewith we present the first known comprehensive compilation
of Bathyllic words with their English equivalents, which may form
the basis for further experiments with Bathyllic vocabulary in relation
to 2nd-Aethyr explorations.
In the second song there are some inconsistencies. It seems strange
that there are three different words for attain -LATAI, LU and TULU
- and this may be due either to defective analysis of the text, or
to partial ignorance of Bathyllic grammatical construction.
PART 3. BATHYLLIC-ENGLISH DICTIONARY
A IN THE AIR
ADALA GOETH [note: probably refers to "going" as
the Active power]
AL (TO THE) GOD [obvious correlations to CCXX]
ANAPHAX GOD THE INVISIBLE
BALAE SWIMMETH (IN THE HEAVEN)
BARBITON SEVEN-STRINGED INSTRUMENT; [possibly denotes the
BI CROWN [as in Kether]
FU (STRONG) WILL; WILL (as subjunctive)
GA THE ANGEL OF THE LORD
HRILIU THE SHRILL SCREAM OF ORGASM
LA (MAY) NONE [obvious correlation to NOT of CCXX]
LATRAE STEALETH AWAY (LIKE A THIEF)
LERTHEXENAX LIGHT FOLLOWS THE EXPLOSION
MAHA PUMP OUT EVERY DROP OF WATER FROM THE WELL
MELAI SWEET, HONEYED
NARYA SWEET SCENT
NI BALANCES [ie Scales, as in Libra]
PA THE MOON
PARETANU THE BEGOTTEN ONE
PE MY OWN
PHORNEPAX THE PEACE OF SATIATE LUST.
POLIAX SKULL, HOLY HEAD
RAH SOFT TISSUES (see also MAMA and RA-LA)
> SE KISS
SARPEDON (GOD) THE ALL-RULER
TELAI CEASETH (HER MOTION), ENDED
TESSALA SHAKETH, SHAKING
TI IN THE END & THE BEGINNING
TU THAT, WHO, HAS
U (IN THE HOUR OF) INITIATION
UT! (IT IS) THOU!
WA ALSO, AND
A RITUAL TO
INVOKE THE HIGHER SELF
On the altar, the Balance, a scales with Earth (Disc/Pentacle) & Water
in one measure, and Air (Rose petals) & Fire (Incense)
in the other. Black and white candles, respectively Left
and Right, with between them a red candle for the Middle
Concentrating on the flame of the red candle, invoke as
Master & Mistress of my being!
Mystic centre of my True Self!
Outflowing of all potential!
Satisfaction of the senses!
Dweller in the Uttermost!
Transcender of duality!
I adore thee & I invoke thee!
Thou whose breath is as a triple tongue of fire!
Thou whose hands have wrought marvels upon the earth!
Thou whose eyes sparkle with lustre of Love & Light!
O thou stooper from the skies!
O thou aspirant from the ashes!
O thou reconciler of the Heavens & the Hells!
I adore thee & I invoke thee!
Unity beyond all duality!
Tongue of flame that lickest up all impurity!
Flood of waters that representeth Intelligence!
Rush of air that inspireth all intelligence!
Compound of matter that clothes the visible!
Appear thou visible unto me!
O thou Maker & Destroyer of Worlds!
O thou whose feet treadeth the stars & descendeth to
O thou whose hands mould all as they will!
O thou whose head is whiter than white!
By the thirty-two paths I invoke thee!
By the eleven Sephira I invoke thee!
By the Serpent & the Sword I invoke thee!
By the descent into manifestation
by the ascent into ecstasy of dissolution I invoke thee!
O thou who uniteth the I and the O!
O thou Magical Child who art the Androgyne!
O thou who confusest not the Planes!
O thou who transcendeth the Abyss!
In the names of Nuit and of Hadit I invoke thee!
In the name of Ra-Hoor-Khuit I invoke thee!
By Isis, by Apophis & by Osiris I invoke thee!
By Horus the Hawkheaded Lord I invoke thee!
Order in Chaos and Chaos in Order!
Lie that is Truth and Truth that is Lie!
Sorrow that is Joy and Joy that is Sorrow!
Tragedy that is Comedy and Comedy that is Tragedy!
O thou who aspirest not, for that thou hast already attained!
O thou who continually aspirest for that the universal
energy is ever flowing!
O thou who risest and settest!
O thou who yieldeth and yet yieldeth not!
Hear thou me where I stand!
Hear thou me where I cry out!
Hear thou me in waking and in dream!
Hear thou me both here and now!
O Bornless one, may I be Bornless by thy grace!
O mighty & powerful, may I be mighty & powerful
by thy favour!
O pinnacled & All-visioning- One, grant me penetration
O small and inactive One, may thy Tao grant me the way
O thou secret & hidden who ever revealest!
O thou proclaimer of Life and Liberty!
O thou very God of very God!
O thou whose heart speakest truth!
I adore thee and I invoke thee!
By the Sun & the Moon I invoke thee!
By the seven planetary forces I invoke thee!
By the Alpha and the Omega I invoke thee!
By the twelve sidereal signs I invoke thee!
Hear me now and be thou present!
Attend me now and attend me always!
Be thou all the colours in my tapestry!
Be thou all the blood in my veins!
Be thou all the cells in my body!
Be thou all the energy in my Body of Light!
By the seven chakras I invoke thee!
By the fourfold and the fivefold and the sixfold I invoke
In the name of all holy intelligences!
By the secret name whose identity is concealed within!
Thee, thee, thee I invoke!
Come forth & take your seat in the sanctuary of my
Granter of wisdom, bestower of peace!
Giver of visions, seer of the essence!
Come thou forth & fill me with your beneficence!
From the abodes of the angels!
From the habitations of the demons!
Come thou forth & inspire me, guiding me in all my
Thou art the One and thou art the All!
By thy power I am One and All!
NOTES ON THE MAGICAL SYMBOLISM
OF THE HARE & THE RABBIT
Latin word for rabbit is ‘cunniculus’ (which also means
‘underground passage’ or ‘mine’). Latin word for hare is
In the Western Zodiac the rabbit is not represented, but
it is in the Chinese. There seems to be no traditional
Qabalistic attribution for this animal and it is not mentioned
in Crowley’s 777.
There seems to be no mention of the rabbit or hare in
Aboriginal mythology (hardly surprising as it is not an
animal native to Australia).
Check TH White’s BOOK OF BEASTS for medieval symbolism.
Many cultures around the world, including Tibet, China,
Africa, Ceylon and some Native Americans, said that a hare
lived on the Moon along with the ruling Moon deity. The
hare is therefore especially associated with lunar goddesses.
There is a hare companion to the moon goddess in the ancient
Re: an Egyptian connection see The PERT EM HRU (or THE
BOOK OF THE DEAD) specifically Vignette Seven of Chapter
CXLVII, in that part of the Book of the Dead known as “The
Book of the Gates”.
According to Budge, the lords of the Tuat, or other world,
were grouped together in that region in sections called
“Arits” (Mansions or Halls), which were seven in number.
The door, or gate, or entrance of each was guarded by a
Watcher, and a Herald, and a Porter. The first of these
reported the coming of a soul, the second repeated its
name to Osiris (lord of the Underworld or Tuat), and the
third admitted it if ordered to do so.
In Vignette Seven of The Book of the Gates, the first
god has the head of a hare, the second the head of a lion,
and the third the head of a man. The first and second each
hold a knife, and the third a whisk.
The hare-headed one, whose name is “Sekhem-metenusem”,
is the Porter or Doorkeeper to the Seventh Arit. His name
means “one who prevails over knives”. There may also be
a connection to the city of Sekhem (the Greek Letopolis)
, one of the most important religious centres in Ancient
Egypt where Osiris was worshipped. Sekhem in Egyptian also
means ‘Inner mastery’.
The seventh vignette is depicted in Plate XI of the Book
of the Dead. (See James Wasserman’s edition of Raymond
Faulkner’s translation: THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD/The
Papyrus of Ani) San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1994.
Additionally, Schwaller de Lubicz suggests that the ears
of the hare have the same symbolism as the ears of the
donkey, in the old Hermetic sense.
Also, the hare was the emblem of the fifteenth nome (district)
of Upper Egypt. (A picture of this hare emblem is in THE
TEMPLE OF MAN p. 284).
Also, the Egyptian word “un” or “wn” meaning “to be, to
exist” was written with a hare hieroglyph. (See examples
in Budge, HEIROGLYPHIC VOCABULARY TO THE BOOK OF THE DEAD,