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western mystery tradition, great white brotherhood, charles stansfield jones, aleister crowley

The Living Tradition of Thelema

Author: Paul Joseph Rovelli


2o=9 AA

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
What Crowley began, others must continue and develop or Thelema will
become but a memory in the history of the Western Mystery Tradition.
Yes, he was a Prophet and the Ipsissimus that one could say invented
Thelema by adapting the mysteries of the Great White Brotherhood into
a coherent system of Theurgy by which the Aspirant can engage in the
work of his or her own evolutionary development. But is he to be the
only one? Marcelo Motta wrote that 'Religion is the death of Theurgy'
and he has a strong point except for the fact that a religion can be
Theurgic rather than Dogmatic.

With the prophecies of Liber AL vel Legis, we begin to approach
fulfillment with the initial discovery of the Key to the Book of the
Law by Charles Stansfield Jones. But he was not to be nor do I
believe that he ever should be considered a Prophet; only one who
came along to fulfill a prophecy. And the work of Kenneth Grant
(adding to the corpus of Knowledge) even with the Cult of Lam, is
both Theurgic and Religious in nature. But again, there's no prophecy
here; only the seeming fulfillment of a direction by Crowley to
rearrange the structure of the O.T.O.

But whether or not prophecy will come by way of Theurgy or any other
type of communication, is a matter of speculation. And in the
meantime, there's so much in the Canon that Aleister Crowley has put
before us that has yet to be digested and investigated. In my book,
Thelemic Commentaries, I

Personally, I believe that eventually, more prophets will arise and
add to the corpus of Thelemic culture. New Holy Books have yet to be
created. And yet, so many of the works of Thelema that are now
extant, lack a shared understanding by which a community can
establish itself. As Thelemic contacts are few and far between, it
becomes productive to take the insights of one and share these with
others. This will hasten the work of others so that they may more
aptly master the contemporary canon and move onto even greater work.

There are those who read the Comment to Liber AL in Class A as an
injunction against commenting on not only Liber AL, but also even all
works by the Master Therion. And the most major exponent of violating
this unholy chastity Marcello Motta, is said to have flaunted his
egocentric arrogance in producing such works. This couldn't be more
ridiculous to the author of the present volume. There is a big
difference between a Class A and a Class C commentary. Class A
implies an 'ex-Cathedra' or official pronouncement from the Secret
Chiefs; who are the sacred guardians presiding over the initiation of
the Human Race. Class C merely implies the work of scholarship.

As such, for an official explanation of any of the Holy Books of
Thelema, it is prudent for the student to refer solely to the works
of the Master Therion as the channel of wisdom emanating from those
Secret Chiefs of the Great White Brotherhood; also known as the
Fraternity of Christian Rosencreutz in another manifestation. And it
is hoped that there will yet arise other Ipsissimus' to channel yet
more Class A information for the benefit of Mankind. In the meantime,
there is so much that already exists and yet needs further
comprehensive insight. For this there is work for another type of
Thelemic expurgation. This would be the work of those scholars whom
can add to the collective experience by sharing their research with
the ever burgeoning Thelemic Community.

Besides the work of commenting on the Holy Books of Thelema, there
are many other channels of investigation. While one can quite easily
argue that Charles Stansfield Jones expurgated a Theurgically
incongruous system in his reversal of the Tree-of-Life, his work did
produce some strong inspiration for Kenneth Grant; whom would develop
an initially brilliant Theurgic career in spite of what many see as
going too far in its more recent phase.

But back-pedaling just a little, we have not really found fulfillment
of another important prophecy in the Book of the Law. There is the
question of Order, Value and Symbols for the English Alphabet. And
there's one system that has reached a certain popularity and seems
not to have met with any challenge. However, it seems that it would
be prudent to present just such a challenge for the sake of growth
and development; two essential aspects of a living system. And so
with this in mind, I'd like to present here a brief excerpt from my
book, Thelemic Qabalah:

The first problem and perhaps the only real problem in handling
religious riddles, is that once they are established as such, people
tend to want them to remain as a permanent part of the established
dogma. For example, in the supposed `Revelations' of John, it
has been echoed throughout the centuries that these mysterious symbols
are incomprehensible and only will become apparent with the
`Second Coming'.

A seemingly identical situation seems to have arisen in the
innovative realm of Thelema. First there's the `riddle'
in the second chapter of Liber AL vel Legis. And of course, the focus of this work, the uncovering of the order and value of the English alphabet along
with the discovery of attributed symbols attached to each letter.

Now there are plenty whom would simply give up before even trying to
attack this problem. And of those who do, they have their critics
whom go out of their way to denounce their work as a flight of fancy.
The editor here confesses to having fallen into both traps at one
time during his development. "Thou shalt obtain the order & value
the English Alphabet; thou shalt find new symbols to attribute them
unto." AL II.55

`Thou' can mean the universe itself as in Nuit; in this case
verbal axioms as they creep into a culture become significant. These
symbols come to us from the collective unconscious of English
speaking peoples. Further, in the English Qabalah put forth in the
present work, `Thou' equals 55 and is the mystic number of 10
represents the totality of experience as delineated by the 10
Sephiroth contained in the Tree-of-Life.

The only Qabalah that tradition has handed to us as whole and
complete is the Hebrew Qabalah. Yes, there are other Qabalah's;
Greek and Enochian come to mind. But none other than the Hebrew
Qabalah has heretofore been so thoroughly explored and utilized. And
one of the first things that a beginning Qabalist is taught in the
Western Mystery Tradition, is the meaning of the letters of the
Hebrew alphabet. There must also be symbols that are attributed to
the letters of the English alphabet as alluded to in AL II.55. Well,
this has already manifested by virtue of the collective consciousness
of English speaking people if we but take a moment to think about it.
These symbols have evolved in our culture over time and have become
quite fixed in our consciousness. What follows is a compilation of
these symbols in the traditional order of the English letters:

A - One, Excellence, First, Beginning, Most Important, Initiation,
Scarlet Letter, Anti-oxidents (such as Beta Carotene)

B - Alternative, Drill (as in spelling `Bee'; which is the
letter `B' in its full spelling; or even fire
vitamins for the brain, to `be' or exist, a bumble bee.

C - Average, Middle of the Road, Mediocre, Lowest Common
Denominator, vitamin found in orange juice.

D - Below Average, Dunce, vitamin found in milk and in sunlight.

E - Effort, Energy (E=MC2), vitamin for skin and hair.

F - Failure (Lunar in nature as fear and failure surround as taboos;
also the menstruum as a failed or potential pregnancy), abbreviation
for the word F--- (which is already an anagram `for unlawful

G - Sigh (Gee whiz), to aspire

H - Breath

I - Self, Eye

J - Improper Move (J-Walking), Jail (J-bird), Marijuana (cigarettes
are referred to as J's).

K - Strike or Knock Out (as in KO)

L - Perpendicular, Corner—angle/perspective.

M - Wave, tidal ebb and flow; delicious (MMM) or note of recognition.

N - Answer or Sum (1+2=n)

O - Gasp (O my heavens!); Hail (O Thou…), Orgasm/Ecstasy
Whole or complete circle or cycle.

P - Excrete (discharge of energy) or Anger (as in Piss Off; in
England: Drunk; also Pea is a part of English currency); Legume

Q - Total Capacity (I.Q.)

R - Existence (`are'); Rudimentary Knowledge (3 R's)

S - Curve or double U-turn, ($) Currency; snake with corresponding
symbolism; Superman (hence the `Overman of Nietzche).

T - Intersection; Square, World of the Elements, Time Out (in
athletic competition).

U - Reverse Direction (U-turn); Not-I, Pictorial representation of
the open womb.

V - Victory; Peace (to the British it is not a Peace sign but an
insult), Penis pointing down, Vow.

W - Audience (double `Not-I')

X - Remove; Discontinue; Variable or Product (as in Algebra),
Chromozone, Axis point.

Y - Question; Choice [fork in the road], Chromozone, Axis point.

Z - Zig-zag; End; Sleep; lightening flash (which is also a symbol for

The Reader should clearly be able to link these symbols with the
collective associations that are given to their corresponding
letters. But there is herein no direct clue to any numerical value,
which seems to have been the research of all the primary English
Qabalists to date. Aleister Crowley would be the one exception to
this with his publication of Liber Trigrammaton. However, he
concludes that this does not lead to a working Qabalah.

While the symbols that we have attributed to the letters of the
English alphabet were derived from the collective consciousness of
our larger more mundane culture, the order and value do not have such
a luxuriant ease of derivation. Still there is justification for this
by virtue of the fact that our holiest of holy books, Liber AL vel
Legis was revealed to us by Aiwass in this language and through the
fabric of this consciousness. Therefore, it seems simply credible to
seek the order and value in the revelation itself. This is very much
akin to the technology employed by the Hebrews in their utilization
of the Torah.

The Hebrews started at the beginning (Berashith). By comparison, we
have the first verses to the Book of the Law. The sequential order of
the English letters as they make their first appearance in the tome
is now a parallel idea. We are left with the following sequence from
the first chapter of Liber AL:


Note that this is the only chapter of the book wherein all twenty-six
letters are utilized. The other two chapters omit only the
letter `Z'. And further, there is no embedding of this
arrangement at any other point in the book. However, because of the
missing letter in the other two chapters, this presented order can be
deemed significant. What remains is for values to be assigned to
them. With a numeration of only 1-26, many important values cannot be
obtained with just one word, no matter how long. Though no one ever
said this is a must, it does not make comparisons with other systems
(Greek and Hebrew, mainly) readily possible.

Yet again, applying the Hebraic method, this problem is solved. And
we are given the following numeration:

H=1 A=2 D=3 T=4 E=5 M=6 N=7 I=8 F=9 S=10 O=20 U=30 V=40 L=50 G=60
C=70 P=80 Y=90 R=100 W=200 B=300 K=400 J=500 Z=600 X=700 Q=800

Yet there are no `Mother Letters' or `Final' forms to
articulate the numeration. We are left with the above structure.
Still, the Hebrew goes up to 900 utilizing these principles as it is
an alphabet of only 22 letters compared to the English 26. We have
here a strong parallel system of numeration.

With numeration patterned in this manner, 1 to 10, 20 to 90, 100,
200, etc., the 26 letter English Alphabet goes up to 800. Now, the
Greek Alphabet goes up to 800 as well, yet the final 3 letters, Chi,
Psi, and Omega, are not very common. Relative to the Hebrew system,
there are some huge tabulations as such, but in general the 2 systems
are very compatible in their Gematria ranges.

One of the previously attempted "English Qabalah"'s was based on
Liber AL, III.47:

"This book shall be translated into all tongues: but always with the
original in the writing of the Beast; for in the chance shape of the
letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries
that no Beast shall divine. Let him not seek to try: but one cometh
after him, whence I say not, who shall discover the Key of it all.
Then this line drawn is a key: then this circle squared in its
failure is a key also. And Abrahadabra. It shall be his child & that
strangely. Let him not seek after this; for thereby alone can he fall
from it."

Not only did this system seem to fail as it was based on deriving a
string of letters from a zigzagged line game with A.C.'s handwritten
manuscript which has no blatant relation to the source of this
mystery expressed in AL II.55.

AL III.47, however, has been used to verify the key of the Book of
The Law by Frater Achad's discovery of the use of the number 31 and
its triune relation to the number 93; so important in the Gamatric
analysis of Liber AL. We will demonstrate that this further validates
our own system contained herein. But the use of a textual foundation
for the English Qabalah seemed the perfect theoretical start. Now all
that was needed was a theory thus based that worked in practice.
While any random schema can produce various `wow' number
correspondences, it is quite worthless as a system unless it be based
on the key principle revealed by Frater Achad derived from AL III.47.
To that end note the value of the word NOT as it equals 31.

Other correspondences also serve to validate this new technology:

TO MH = 31 (The Greek for `The Not'; symbolic for Nuit and
equal to 418 in the Greek Qabalah; 418 is also one of the numbers that Nuit
gives to nothing in AL I.47)

ABRAHADABRA = 814 (A ThRAShRQ of 418)
The essential point is in the word NOT and it's fitting
equivalencein both Achad's key and our system. This we will elaborate on
further. Symbolically, the letters N, O and T are worked out as

N = Sum, Whole, Completion

O = Ecstasy, Orgasm, Hail, Gasp

T = Cross of Light, World of Elements, Intersection, Square

Note that non-being is the mystery of the Ipsissimus which is an end
to the Great Work; its final (N) mystery and ultimate ecstasy (O) of
the ultimate light (T). Numerically and symbolically, we have
verification and validation.

As an aside, from AL II.55, please note the word "unto"
equals 61 in
the English Qabalah which is equivalent to Nun, Yod, Aleph
meaning `nothing' in Hebrew. Moreover, the three capital
letters in
this verse equate to 11. For that matter, `two and
fifty-five' (the
numbers of the verse stated grammatically) is equal to 418 which of
course, is the number of the Great Work; especially Crowley's
opus which is the transmission of Liber AL from Aiwass to the world.

[Note: In addition to this, I should have quoted the
following verse from Liber AL to support this last
paragraph. "Nothing is a secret key of this law. Sixty-one the Jews
call it; I call it eight, eighty, four hundred & eighteen."]

Moreover, "they have the half" AL I.47 (referring to the
equals 220 and is the number of lines contained in Liber AL; thus
combining the two systems into an homogenous whole. "half"
equals 62;
which is a ThRAShRQ of 26—the number of letters in the English

106 is also the Hebrew letter Nun (meaning Fish and also the Death
Atu) spelled in full (Nun Vav Nun). Adding the value of `N'
(50 in
the English Qabalah) to 106, we get 156; which is the value of
Babalon in the Hebrew Qabalah. 106 is also the value of the word Hell
by the English Qabalah. Hell is Hadit as per Motta's commentary
on AL II.63 "Hell's own worm".

[Note: This also should've been added: 156=Osiris; Pan is
Nuit; Man of Earth; Forties With this as well from my article The
Third Covenant to soon be found on 'N'
and 'O' in NOT also hint at the formula of ON (described so
eloquently in the Epistles of J. Edward Cornelius and Red Flame: Vol.
VII) as the work of light 'T']

This last editorial note brings me to the most fundamental concept
in Thelemic Theurgy. On the issue of sexuality, there is a great need
for maturity and sobriety that seems all too rare at present. Should
we ever get to this point as a community, then perhaps my comments in
my introduction to Thelemic Sutras won't seem so far a field, and I quote:

For the Thelemite, there is yet another dimension to sexuality.
Theurgy derived from sexual technique is the central 'secret' of
Thelemic Magick. All early studies are but preparations for this
Great Work. Just such an Alchemy demands a moral fortitude and
sincere aspiration that override the vanity and voyeurism that so
many have brought to the fore in this first century under the
guidance of Liber AL vel Legis. It is important that this be
understood or the student will make a great miss as prophesied in our
holiest of Holy Books.

"There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes
shall make a great miss." AL II.27

However, there is also great difficulty in understanding these runes.
The Master of the Temple gains a perfect understanding and perfect
control over the mind/body/spirit complex. Until then, Thelemic
couplings endure the added stress of the ordeals of the grades. It is
important to understand that strain as a magickal attack by forces
that can't accept the formula that change equals stability.

So there must be also a transformation of approach to relationships
that would take into account these forces. This is in contrast to the
choice of the early Roman Church against sexuality for anything other
than propagation of the species in its reaction to the degradation of
Pagan sexual practices. However, the following two paths are
relevant. Denial of the senses to bypass them and sensory over-
stimulation to bypass them both are valuable methods and both have
abuses. And in sexual Magick there are yet two separate approaches;
one that works with orgasmic energy and the other that while working
the alembic of arousal, denies the climax. The former is the Thelemic
approach while the latter also has roots in Tantric tradition.

Also anathema to Thelmic perspective is the idea of using sex to
earn money. Sexual contact is then not a spontaneous interaction
between two stars whose nature is love. Rather, it is a contractual
business venture alienated from all that is holy in the nature of
union. No Thelemic Sutra could espouse this as is found in the Kama
Sutras. For those that may be interested in an introduction to
Thelemic studies and need more rudimentary work in the Qabalah, I also recommend my book: The Whole Tarot Workbook. It's a practical instruction
manual designed to help the Student understand how the Tarot is put
together and how the meanings that are assigned to each card are
arrived at. The introduction to this book adds to the point I'm
trying to make here:

Tarot and Astrology together hold the keys to the core concepts of
the Western Mystery Tradition. And only in the Tarot do both
disciplines work directly in tandem with each other. With serious and
earnest study in the deployment of these wonderful tools, the
aspirant to the knowledge of one's own higher genius
develops an essential rudimentary understanding of the Hermetic

It is this structured cosmology, stripped of the cultural attributes
of the Hebrews, Greeks & Romans as well as other isolated cultural
overlays, that reveals the nature of self and universe alike in a
more technical than religious format. By virtue of this, the aspirant
is guided into a more graduated revelation of areas of the soul that
beg a more objective investigation without the prejudice of religious
or cultural bias. Of course, there are still certain biases that are
larger in scope and more generalized for the western world in
general. But the Hermetic Qabalah makes these tools more accessible
for all cultures and religions.

Still, it should be remembered, even after these elementary
disciplines are mastered; and with great effort required, there is so
much work still to be done before the nobility of one's own
individual spirit may be blessed with the fruits of
or `Gnosis'. But even at the beginning of one 's
aspiration to these
lofty heights, the direct experience that is required for any true
Gnosis is mandatory. The techniques provided in the publication will
lead to a greater understanding of what I've just stated. All
that is
asked of the student is an open mind and a sincere dedication to
this, the commencement of one's career in aspiring to the Great
… that work of wonder and mystery that adepts of all ages have
attempted to demonstrate to humanity.

In closing, I hope this brief essay inspires debate which leads to
new work that will augment the Canon of Thelema in an wholesome and
intelligent manner. Without sober and rational intelligence (which
also means debating without the intent to win; starting all sorts
of 'flaming' that is so popular on the web as people seem to take
everything so virulently personal), there can be no growth; hence, no
living tradition.

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