The English Qaballa

by Jake Stratton-Kent
from The Equinox: BJoT VII, NO 1.

See also:
The Spelling of E.Q.
The Trees of Eternity
Mansions and Stars

Readers of The New Equinox: British Journal of Magick (Volume 5 numbers 1 to 5 and Volume 6 Number 1) will remember the exegesis of AL through the English Qaballa. Due to the pause in publication (and the certainty that there are more Thelemites than issues of those magazines, no matter how widespread the distribution), it has been decided that a resumé of the E.Q. should precede any further revelations by means of it.

Firstly, the English Qaballa is a qabalah and not a system of numerology. A qabalah is specifically related to three factors: one a language; two, a “holy” text or texts; three, mathematical laws at work in these two.

A fuller description of “a qabalah” will be published in a future issue of this journal. Suffice it to say for now that the language in question is English and the texts the Class A or Holy Books of Thelema, particularly the Book of the Law.

The appearance of the English Qaballa is specifically predicted in Liber AL, and certain conditions, clues and even frameworks are delineated, none of which had been satisfactorily dealt with until the discovery of E.Q.. It was above all necessary that such a key should make sense of the cipher of Chapter II verse 76 — two enigmatic lines of numbers and words:

4 6 3 8 A B K 2 4 ALGMOR 3 Y X 24 89 RPSTOVAL. What meaneth this, o prophet? Thou knowest not; nor shalt thou know ever. There cometh one to follow thee: he shall expound it.

When I first had my attention drawn to the existence of a purported English Qaballa, my first reaction as a qabalist was to use it on this meaningless string of digits and characters. I converted all the letters into their numerical equivalents in the E.Q., and added them to the numbers in the series.




The numbers 129 and 222 have interesting qualities for a qabalist. However, I was not studying a manuscript copy but a printed text, which did not separate the series into two lines; consequently I simply added up the total of both lines at that time and obtained the number 351. This number is the sum of the numbers 1 to 26, and naturally the sum of the letters attributed to the letters in English Qaballa.

Since that time I have frequently studied this cipher in the manuscript version of Liber AL, and have obtained a mental picture of it, consisting of two lines as it appears in the original. There are seventeen numbers and letters in the first line and eleven in the second (both significant numbers) so I made the calculation 17 x 11 = 187, the numerical value of the phrase ENGLISH ALPHABET.

Which brings me to Chapter II verse 55, another key verse of Liber AL in which that phrase occurs:

Thou shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet; thou shalt find new symbols to attribute them unto.

This is a strange verse, containing ambiguity and apparent faults in grammar. What is meant by “them”? English Alphabet is a single whole; the text does not say the letters of the English Alphabet (or does it?). So “them” must refer to “order & value”.

This is interesting as a qaballistic ‘in-joke’, because the phrase “ORDER & VALUE” = 117 = LETTERS; so in fact the sentence can be read Thou shalt obtain the letters of the English Alphabet; thou shalt find new symbols to attribute them unto.

Jokes like that can unhinge a man after a while. This is not funny, because in the 93 Current there ain’t no Sanity Clause; there is however a prodigal son or bad fairy clause, and the front contender for this role is undoubtedly Austin Osman Spare, the prodigal son of the 93 Current.

AOS, as we shall refer to him, discovered independantly of Crowley that the English language is possessed of all the necessary qualities of a hieratic language, a language used by priests and magicians for their holy books and rituals etc., because it possesses qabalistic and magical virtue. AOS used the English Alphabet in various ways. He found “new symbols” which constituted his Alphabet of Anon; he combined the original characters (A.B.C. a.b.c. etc.) into sigils; and among other things he reversed and jumbled syllables and words to obtain spoken spells. All these things practical qabalists and magicians have done with earlier hieratic languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic and Greek.

AOS, as a result, was one of the first to prove the Book of the Law literally correct in its claims concerning the magical virtue of the English Alphabet. He did not deal with its qabalistic virtues except in terms of the practical qabalah. But then he WAS a prodigal son! Those were in any case the earliest days of our not-so-new-now Aeon. Now we have become a tradition rather than a revolution, and that is a good thing; occultists function better as preservers and developers.

In fact, the 93 Current is so well preserved that in some areas development seems almost heretical; but nevertheless, the E.Q. is a development, acid resistant, water-tight and possessed of enough potency to stop the most determined qabalist in his tracks, exclaiming, EUREKA! — someone’s found it!’

It is impossible in the space available to develop even a fraction of the E.Q. interpretation of the Book of the Law. What we can do is present the techniques and publish a fully enumerated Book of the Law, with the numerical values of words and phrases between the lines. All known qabalistic methods can be applied to the Class A texts with E.Q., particularly Gematria, but also Notariqon, Temurah, and so called “Mystic Numbers” (being the sum of the integers from 1 to a significant number, inclusive, usually in the two digit range; for instance 351 is the mystic number of the English Alphabet/26). Theosophical Addition (the practice of adding the digits of a number together, as 21= 2+1=3, thus interrelating the symbolism of these two numbers, and reducing composite numbers to simple and fundamental numbers), planetary and numerical symbolism can also be used to interpret numbers and words; i.e. 76 can be interpreted as (7) – Venus (6) – Sun, thus indicating a relationship between Sun and Venus; or 165 can be read as (1) the Unity (65) of the Goddess (GODDESS = 65 by E.Q.).

The Pillars: Where a number has a 1 on either side of it, as in 111, 121, 131 etc., this number indicates a power acting in balanced manifestation (e.g. 141 = ELEMENTS, CONTINUOUS).

An additional technique is technically known as counting well, a reference to Liber AL: “Count well its name and it shall be to you as 718”. In this technique, every letter of one word is added to every letter of another word, eg:


(Note that the percentage symbol is used to represent counted well in standard EQ notation).

Once one is possessed of these techniques (and it must be admitted that a computer is a very handy, though by no means indispensible item), the purely theoretical side of the English Qaballa is your oyster. Even so, it must be emphasised that there is enough material available, after even a superficial examination of Liber AL through the Qaballa, to reveal outlines of a practical magical system beyond any known before.

This system interrelates certain dominant trends of Thelemic occultism. It does so on a very sophisticated level, which requires commitment, experience and resourcefulness of its exponents. Ideally, these exponents should work together, contributing their various skills; and some of them at least must possess Qaballistic skills and Astrological skills developed to a fine degree.

ARIES = 66
PLUTO = 76 TAURUS = 76
NEPTUNE = 145 GEMINI = 117
URANUS = 66 CANCER = 78 FIRE = 78
SATURN = 73 LEO = 34
JUPITER = 143 VIRGO = 63
MARS = 39 LIBRA = 58
SUN = 36 AIR = 36
WATER = 65
SPIRIT = 113

The above table should go some way to emphasise the importance of astrological skills; whilst it should be noted that not all of the above words occur in Class A texts, they are English words by adoption and are fundamental to the nature of the texts.

This table is worth thorough examination and committing to memory. Note that the sum of the planetary values is 813, which those with knowledge of the Hebrew Kabbalah will recognise as the value of the word ARARITA; the word of the Holy Hexagram which is used to invoke the planetary forces.

If we subtract 36, the value of “Sun” or Self at the Centre, we have a number describing the system he experiences: 813 – 36 = 777.

777 — Traditionally the number of the Flaming Sword or creative Lightning Flash of the Qabalists which, when overlain on the Tree of Life, touches every Sephirah in turn and certain Paths, with a total of 777.

777 — the Goddess in Triple Form ISIS – BABALON – NUIT.

777 — the ultimate extension of the perfect number (7) itself a symbol of wholeness and completion.