by Smallus Printus
For readers who have just joined us let me first point out that the somewhat original spelling of QABALLA is not a “misprant”. It is in fact a devised spelling rather than an approximate translation of a foreign word. I have heard one supposed magus claim that the different spellings extant: Qabalah, Cabala, Kabbalah et al, all represent entirely different systems. While I am sure that this guy was one sandwich short of a picnic there is a certain attraction to this idea. The spelling “Qabalah” for example is generally indicative of a Golden Dawn influence — and their Qabalah, as everyone surely realises, is in fact the descendant of the grafting of Hebrew Kabbalah onto Hermeticism to produce the Renaissance “Christian Cabala”, wherein there is a deal more Neo-Platonism than Qabalah. Indeed the Doctrine of Correspondences which so typifies this “Qabalah” is not particularly Qabalistic at all, but Neo-Platonist, and if this element were removed from the system as generally understood there would be very little left. Yet this system is definitely the most widely known example of supposed Qabalah. Now Kabbalah, despite being possibly a less correct transliteration from the Hebrew is generally, but not exclusively, associated with the Hebrew system or some remnant of it. In fact it was not until Aryeh Kaplan published a whole rash of Hebrew Kabbalistic manuscripts in readable translation that more than a select few had any inkling what the Hebrew system was like. Yet a great many people have thought they knew what Qabalah is, and still do, when in reality this much discussed subject is still a closed book to the great majority of moderns, be they occultists or social democrats! “So then,” you might say, “I suppose you do know, eh, Mr. Smarty-pants!” To which I am perfectly entitled to reply — as did Mathers — that whether I know or not, I don’t have to tell you. But then again I’m not Mathers, so I shall instead simply explain what I mean by Qaballa. But first — in order to conform to the genre — a staggering array of inessential historical propositions to introduce the subject.
Then ‘yea verily I say unto thee, there is no cabala/qabalah/kabbalah outside of the museums, there is only Qaballa’. Now I don’t know for sure quite how it all happened, but Dee, Mathers and Crowley all communicated with some intelligences of — by their accounts — quite awe inspiring presence, power, and occult knowledge. Dee received a complex system of grids and other geometric arrangements of numbers, letters and symbols from which among other things were derived an array of occult systems for examining and operating in various spheres, including the earthly. All centred around a mysterious text called Liber Logoaeth. Mathers experience with “the Secret Chiefs” led to a similar profusion of arcane lore; revealing the outlines of a formidable initiatory system and a modern synthesis of magic, including a reappearance of Dee’s material with further elaboration and commentary. Through communication with entities bearing the same name Crowley received a Holy Book revealing a new magical formula, and became the prophet of the New Aeon; receiving further Holy Books and magical instruction. This much is well known, but the technical details of these transactions are too bizarre and removed from the norm to examine critically, rather than cynically. These three men, with their revelations, seem distinct at first sight — but are they? Is there in fact some continuity behind all this, some pattern or purpose? Look again, Dee didn’t just get a jumble of data, it was in fact a peculiar kind of book — i.e. the great bulk of the communications was centred on Logaeth and how to extract material from it. So what kind of book was it? The answer is, a kind of mathemagical structure of numbers and letters with a bizarre language concealed within it, i.e. the reverse or negative of, say, the Hebrew Bible which is a fairly straightforward text with a weird mathemagical structure of numbers and letters concealed within it! Mathers was able to interpret much of this material into terms which the layman (or rather the poet, the author and the actress) were able to utilise without having the peculiar frame of reference of the Elizabethan mathematician and scientist. In so doing he caused the Occult Revival so-called, in which Enochian, as Dee’s system is known, plays a central role; although its close relationship with these events is little understood. Then along comes Crowley, gets initiated by Mathers and gets on famously with Enochian, until that is he produces a Holy Book which is said to contain a — you guessed it — complex mathemagical system of numbers and letters. A system which Crowley never managed to discover, still less expound! So my hypothesis is as follows:
- Since the Hebrew system in Aeonic terms is no more than a relic, of interest only as an exercise in comparative religion before you go and do the real thing, i.e. MAGICK. (This is true of every system older than say 1875-1904 AD, e.g. paganism was displaced Aeonically etc. etc. about 2000 plus years ago, except in backward parts of the world where female circumcision, purdah and widow burning among other evils clung on despite the best efforts of Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed to carry their believers into the New (then) Aeon).
- Since the Golden Dawn or neo-Christian cabala is also getting decidedly dated in aeonic terms.
- Since in essence a qaballa is a trans-rational relationship with the deity/universe by means of a mathemagical or psycho-linguistic pattern implicit in the Word/Book of that deity. (This effectively eliminates the G.D. since they were not using Qabalah in this way at all, but simply as a set of correspondences, vide supra. The sole exception being technical rather than actual, i.e. the relationship of the Adept to Liber Logaeth — the core of the Enochian system, and a kind of Holy Book in its own right, which the average G.D. enthusiast has likely not heard of, still less examined).
- Since even the claim of the Jews to have originated the Kabbalah, or to have received it first from God, is historically suspect. (The majority of words of power et al in the earliest Kabbalistic or even proto-Kabbalistic texts — the Hekaloth cycle — are derived from Greek; the word “gematria” is Hellenistic Greek; the Gnostics of the Hellenistic world seem to have prefigured many features of the Kabbalah in their systems. A form of ‘Greek Gnostic/Neoplatonist qabalah’ is the likely model for at least some major elements of the ‘Hebrew’ system).
- Since all these propositions — which could all be extended to thesis length — are historically, culturally and Aeonically exact; then Qaballa can only be the “that which remains” when all the preconceptions and delusions are burnt up in the furnace of initiated scepticism.
a) Dee’s Logaeth was not a negative or reverse of a “Holy Book”, it was rather a blueprint or skeleton of one! It was the underlying structure, or a synthesis thereof, of an organism of the genus “Holy Book”. Which is to say that while it did not resemble a book as such, its mathe-magical structure bore a distinct resemblance to the hidden patterns behind such books as the Torah and Koran, or any other whose language is implicitly qabalistic, with inherent number/letter equivalences.b) Mathers work fleshed out this skeleton into an operational procedure, and then broadcast on the Enochian/Qaballistic frequency, producing the Occult Revival, or to be more specific the prologue of the New Aeon. c) Crowley received from the same agencies a Holy Book, which identifies itself as having a qaballistic structure which Crowley was unable to find, nor were Mudd or Achad much more successful. Crowley had the intuition to connect this undiscovered structure with Enochian in his commentaries. Therefore the Golden Dawn’s Enochiana is the transitional phase in a process “beginning” with Dee and culminating in Crowley. All that is required then is a means of entering into a “trans-rational relationship with the deity” via an effective key to the Book of the Law, and this is achieved via Qaballa. So now I must turn to the Qaballa itself — than which nothing is simpler….. THE ENGLISH QABALLA
The Book of the Law, as the Holy Book Crowley received is called, was a pivotal factor in his occult career. One may refer to “The Equinox of the Gods” for details, but the salient facts are these: Upon reception of AL (as it is also called) he considered himself rather than Mathers the authentic link with the Secret Chiefs behind the Golden Dawn, and the book itself supports this view with statements like “Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words & signs”, this effectively meaning (look ‘abrogate’ up in the dictionary if you don’t believe me) that the former structure of the Golden Dawn was revoked and a new system in place by divine decree. The book also says that the rites of which it approves are to be “half known and half concealed” and makes other statements relating to the ordeals et al — the viewpoint that abrogating one set of rituals makes all rituals etc. etc. whatsoever obsolete (which conclusion is only possible to a functional illiterate) is thus entirely fallacious. This concealment implicit in the programme implies the existence of a concealed key — indeed AL makes it quite clear that such a key or keys exist. One statement in particular is quite unequivocal: “Thou shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet” i.e. a qaballistic structure underlies the entire text. The curious thing is that “Thou”, it doesn’t seem to mean Crowley, certainly he never successfully accomplished this task — though various efforts were made, including a letter order (without numeration) applied to the verses of another Holy Book, Liber Trigrammaton. That AL probably meant something or someone other than the scribe by “Thou” is implicit in other statements “one to follow thee… who shall discover the key of it all’Ä¶ let him (Crowley as the Beast) not seek after this…” if the key of it all is this same order and value then ‘thou’ must mean something or someone else. But this is too much of a grey area as yet, so let us turn to the facts.For readers recently arrived in this dimension it is perhaps news that a solution to the riddle of the Order & Value was obtained some thirty odd years ago by one of the few genuine occult orders working in this country at that time. When I say genuine I mean possessed of knowledge and experience in the two main disciplines of Western Occultism — Qabalah and Astrology which were woefully neglected by the so called “Occult Revival” at that time. This aside though, what was obtained? At first, simply a system of number and letter equivalence for the English Alphabet, dissimilar from Hebrew etc. in that its series continued unbroken from 1 to 26 rather than through hundreds, tens and units. This at first glance appeared like nothing so much as yet another system of vulgar numerology — save for one thing. Whereas every qabalist since the late 1800s had misunderstood the nature of qabalah, missing the fundamental fact that it was a “means of relating to the deity through their Word or Book” this system was obtained for that purpose and applied in that fashion, and consequently a quantum leap was achieved in Western Occultism. An entire magical order, little different from the usual reasonably competent occult group anywhere in the Western world in the last 150 years, was transmuted into an entirely different animal. It was not a matter of one excellently trained occultist obtaining a book without a key, but of many occultists applying that key together in a fashion unseen and unsuspected for at least 400 years! The system of number and letter equivalence was this: