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The Hermeneutics of Aleister Crowley

Discussion in 'Thelema DIR' started by Bethsheba Ashe, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Bethsheba Ashe

    Apr 15, 2019
    Any Thelemites around that fancy a chat about the hermeneutics of Aleister Crowley?

    I chuckled after reading a thread on Lashtal recently about Babalon. "Is she the Scarlet women?" they wanted to know. Of course she is! This is how you tell;

    Liber Al vel Legis 1:15:
    "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."

    Using notariqon for the first part;
    N Y Sh K Th Th Ch P A O I S I Th P P Th B = 500

    Note that Babalon spelt in Greek is ΒΑΒΑΛΩΝ = 166, which when added to the number of the verse above is 500 + 166 = 666.

    Other gems [Scarlet woman = 480, his woman called scarlet woman = 800, glory of the stars = 802 (identical to the total sum of the alephbet), the hearts of men = 555.]

    Of course... you have to know what gematria he was using. It wasn't 'Standard".
    For those that enjoy occult hermeneutics, I have a new paper out:
    - The Hermeneutics of Aleister Crowley

    It should really be subtitled "what Mr Crowley did with the Merkabah on his holidays".

    More than 20 examples of biblical gematria in Liber AL vel Legis are presented. We trace the secret hermeneutical work of Aleister Crowley and we ask; does Liber AL vel Legis fulfill its objective as the foundation of a Hermetic Qabalistic system?

    Q: Did Crowley intend the effect of the Book of the Law on religious people to be like a slap in the face to a hysteric?

    Although Crowley’s stated reasons for writing the Book of the Law are lofty rationales like; the initiation of the New Aeon, or the foundation of a new system to replace Abrahamic religions, or divine inspiration from a mysterious entity called Aiwass, to my ears these reasons sound like justifications after the fact. I think the truth of the matter is a little more prosaic, and that the original motivation for the book to be written was as an experiment in reproducing the hermeneutical scribal practises of biblical authors. The Tanakh is replete with gematria, and it is a feature of some books of the New Testament such as the Gospel of John and Revelation, but the art of writing whole books with gematria is long dead. Biblical authors or those proximate to them have left no scribal commentary to explain how it was done. Crowley delighted in working with cryptographic writing and being a highly experimental character, it must have been a matter of speculation as to whether the art of gematria could be revived or reproduced, and what effect that would have on his readership if it was?

    Many parts of the bible that lead with gematria are read by the public at large as innocent open texts, and they don’t have inkling that the meaning of these texts are chiefly derived from their numerical expressions. They naturally assume that some form of literal truth pertains to even the most strange and fantastical of biblical writings, and the more strange and inexplicable the events seem to be, the greater is the impact upon the readers curiosity and religious fervor.

    When Crowley wrote One would go mad if one took the Bible seriously; but to take it seriously one must be already mad[ii] we can appreciate his point of view from those who are in on the secret. It is obviously silly to entertain ideas such as flying chariots and fiery horses taking people off into the sky if you already know the text is a device meant to produce a certain number as a reverence to God. It therefore has to be wondered whether Crowley thought the early Thelemites that flocked to him as a prophet and revealer of mystical secrets were simply off their rockers? Did he pity them in their ignorance? Did he believe that the eventual revelation of the secrets of the Book of the Law would function like a slap in the face to a hysteric and ‘cure’ people of their insanity?

    He wroteThe sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and willfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.[iii]” Nowadays we understand the mechanisms of cognitive dissonance, but if Crowley tried to reach out to religious people and educate them about the facts of the bible, he likely would have deemed their horrified reaction, denial and sudden memory loss to be “willful ignorance” and possibility even a sign of stupidity, for he was not a man that was especially tolerant of human foibles in this respect. Yet rather than decry the human failings of men and women, he went directly after religion and placed the blame for the defects in our species with religious cultural phenomena. He was the Richard Dawkins of his day, asking “What is the curse upon religion that its tenets must always be associated with every kind of extravagance and falsehood?
  2. FooYang

    FooYang Active Member

    Aug 18, 2019
    I'm not much into gematria or kabbalah but I strongly admire stuff from him like the Book of Lies, Konx Om Pax, Bere****: an essay on ontology, the Gnostic Mass, Liber 813, The heart of the Master, a star in the west, Sword of Song, winged beetle, Liber Samekh, Liber resh etc.

    I liked how he explored so much stuff and synthesized it. He played around with polytheism and even atheism but was ultimately very much a strong Monotheist at the end of it all. He gets a bad wrap by a lot of people (and is misunderstood by satanists who try to reappropriate him) but he's on my good side mostly. The A.A. itself is very much a worthwhile system, akin to Rosicrucianism, Sufism (Islam), and Tibetan Buddhism etc.
    Kabbalah can be seen throughout much of his work though, it does form the basis of much of his worldview afterall.
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  3. Bethsheba Ashe

    Apr 15, 2019

    Yes, it was how he was able to synthesize so much. :)

    93 93/93.
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