on the Qaballas
in Liber AL
by Tom Chaudoin|
What is the basis of Qabalah/Kabalah/Cabala?, there are several schools of thought on the subject, ranging from wild sophistry to some downright empiric results which defy logic to explain. The whole measure of of a system of gematria and a cipher be it Hebrew, Greek or Arabic or English etc. is in its functionality. From a magickal perspective, the ritual and exegesical process of a qabalah must contain an entire set of symbols by which a person can compare to a written work, and thus derive pesonal exegesis from the results. The Hebrew system has been the basis since at least Byzantium with the Greek Qabalah and the Arabic Abjad as later attributions. Later Christian evolutions of the Qabalah emerge by the Rennaisance, but they too rely upon the original Hebrew Tree of Life as their template for their ritual workings.
The problem with this for modern practitioners who wish to learn about the synchronistic properties of qabalah is that unless one has a good working knowledge of these ancient tongues, its going to be hard to understand. The importance of having a holy qabalah for the english language is it becomes much more personal and functional when worked with in one's native language. The bottom line is most folks in the west do not think in Hebrew or Greek. Just as Hebrew and Greek were the international tongues during the period in which their attendant systems were created, it seems logical that an English Qaballah should emerge as English becomes more an more of an international language. For the remainder of his life, Aleister Crowley swore that he never wrote The Book of the Law, that it was in fact dictated to him by what he called a 'praeter-human intelligence' which called itself Aiwass. This being, during a bizzare series of events which took place during his honeymoon in Cairo, Egypt on April 8, 9, and 10, 1904, dictated each chapter document to Crowley each day at the hour of noon. It is the assertion of our order, and of other Thelemites who have made exhaustive study of ALW, that this new 'english qaballah' proves Crowley's claim. Crowley's account of this incident is rather disturbing:
The three days were precisely similar, save that on the last day I became nervous lest I should fail to hear the Voice of Aiwass. They may then be described together. I went into the "temple" a minute early, so as to shut the door and sit down on the stroke of Noon.
On my table were my pen--a Swan Fountain--and supplies of Quarto typewriting paper, 8" x I0".
I never looked round in the room at any time.
The Voice of Aiwass came apparently from over my left shoulder, from the furthest corner of the room. It seemed to echo itself in my physical heart in a very strange manner, hard to describe. I have noticed a similar phenomenon when I have been waiting for a message fraught with great hope or dread. The voice was passionately poured, as if Aiwass were alert about the time- limit. I wrote 65 pages of this present essay (at about my usual rate of composition) in about 10 1/2 hours as against the 3 hours of the 65 pages of the Book of the Law. I was pushed hard to keep the pace; the MS. shows it clearly enough.
The voice was of deep timbre, musical and expressive, its tones solemn, voluptuous, tender, fierce or aught else as suited the moods of the message. Not bass --perhaps a rich tenor or baritone.
The English was free of either native or foreign accent, perfectly pure of local or caste mannerisma, thus startling and even uncanny at first hearing.
I had a strong impression that the speaker was actually in the corner where he seemed to be, in a body of "fine matter," transparent as a veil of gauze, or a cloud of incense-smoke. He seemed to be a tall, dark man in his thirties, well-knit, active and strong, with the face of a savage king, and eyes veiled lest their gaze should destroy what they saw. The dress was not Arab; it suggested Assyria or Persia, but very vaguely. I took little note of it, for to me at that time Aiwass and an "angel" such as I had often seen in visions, a being purely astral.
I am now inclined to believe that Aiwass is not only the God or Demon or Devil once held holy in Sumer, and mine own Guradian Angel, but also a man as I am, insofar as He uses a human body to make His magical link with Mankind, whom He loves, and that He is thus an Ipsissimus, the Head of the A.'.A.'. Even I can do, in a much feebler way, this Work of being a God and a Beast, &c., &c., all at the same time, with equal fullness of life. "
In addition Crowley asserted that Liber AL contained a new qaballah that, though based on the older systems, would catalyze a radical departure from the older systems, and this 'new system' was as yet completely beyond his understanding:
The proof of His praeterhuman Nature --call Him a Devil or a God or even an Elemental as you will --is partly external, depending on events and persons without the sphere of Its influence, partly internal, depending on the concealment of (a) certain Truths, some previously known, some not known, but for the most part beyond the scope of my mind at the time of writing, (b) of an harmony of letters and numbers subtle, delicate and exact, and (c) of Keys to all life's mysteries, both pertinent to occult science and otherwise, and to all the Locks of Thought; the concealment of these three galaxies of glory, I say, in a cipher simple and luminous, but yet illegible for over Fourteen years, and translated even then not by me, but by my mysterious Child according to the Foreknowledge written in the Book itself, in terms so complex that the exact fulfilment of the conditions of His birth, which occurred with incredible precision, seemed beyond all possibility, a cipher involving higher mathematics, and a knowledge of the Hebrew, Greek and Arabic Qabalahs as well as the True Lost Word of the Freemason, is yet veiled within the casual silk-stuff of ordinary English words, nay, even in the apparently accidental circumstance of the characters of the haste-harried scrawl of My pen.
Crowley searched all of his life for this prophecied 'order and value of the english alphabet' apparently in vain. New Aeon English Qaballah and its attendant cipher is taught nowhere in Crowley's written works. Crowley's last reported words regarding the topic was his now legendary quote: "I am perplexed." Nonetheless in the above quote, he seems to allude to the nature of this cipher if not its substance. Also to the prophecies regarding this new system in Liber AL relating to his immediate heir in the A*A* and the OTO: George Stansfield Jones (Frater Achad and Parzival). Jones made fastidious study of the handwritten manuscript of Liber AL, particularly of the 'grid page' in chapter three, verse 47.
Charles Stansfield Jones.
The 'Grid Page' in the handwritten manuscript of Lber AL.
The text reads:|
"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."
The use of the numeral ten gave early researchers a clue to extrapolate the formula for obtaining the cipher, it must be plotted on a 10x10 grid.
Thus the letters of the alphabet are repeated into the rows thusly:|
Then plot the same grid with numbers 1-10 into the columns like so:
"Then this line drawn is a key, and Abrahdabra"; drawing any diagonal line across these squares, combined with the number letter formation implied by the grid, one obtains the order and value of the english alphabet or the eleven letter (abrahadabra is an eleven lettered word) skip-pattern of the cipher:
A=1, L=2, W=3, H=4, S=5, D=6, O=7, Z=8, K=9, V=10, G=11, R=12,C=13,
Jones apparently only was able to extract the first three letters of the key (A, L, W), or was he? If he and Crowley knew this whole cipher, it was a secret that they both took to the grave, all extant evidence suggests that they did not know of it, which at least supports Crowley's claim that he was not the author. By all historic accounts, the NAEQ cipher was not fully excised until 1974 by a group of O*A*A* initiates during the first active phase of that order. This is connected to Grant's Typhonian Current and for many years, the schism between Grant's Typhonian OTO and O*A*A* and Grady McMurtry's Caliphate OTO mired NAEQ in a world of undue criticism, but now even many Caliphate members have caught on to this system and use it in their personal work.|
Of the grid page there is little account of its origin but there is some idea that it was added to the original manuscript later, if so, why? Were these a series of synchronistic events that led to its inclusion? Was it deliberate? Accidental? A full account of the grid page was never given, but it does seem apparent that it was one of the central issues which led to schism between Crowley and Jones.
The very nature of any kind of qabalah begs the question of it being of divine origin or not, if a living human made the original kabalah then they represent a level of intelligence that surpasses everyday human understanding (the 'secret cheifs'?), nowhere in the greatest math universities in the world exist minds that can fully resolve by lab process what creates the profound symmetries that form the core experience of qabalistic work. If ALW is just another of Crowley's contrivances, then we should dismiss Liber AL, and Thelema, altogether, Crowley's assertion of Thelema as a genuine neo-gnostic doctrine pivots on the reality or un-reality of Liber AL being a genuine divine transmission. The text itself purports it to be such. What remains perplexing to modern practitioners is whether Crowley had the full key or not, or whether he was able to devise it himself or not. It is certainly true that forms of classical qaballistic analysis have not been fully explored without the advent of computers, exploration of Hebrew for instance reveals symmetry in the Torah that could not have been invented by any person no matter how intelligent or long-lived. ALW seems to be no exception. What seems to be apparent with full analysis is that the amount of compiled code, encrypted into a mere 220 lines of English text, and the multiple formulae involved which surpass mere gematria, is too immense to have been devised by human means. We hold the opinion that the ALW cipher and the body of exigesis surrounding it should be incorporated into the formal Thelemic Canon.