The Magickal Language of the Book of the Law: An English Qaballa Primer by Cath Thompson

This book is a full introduction to the English Qaballa, the system of initiatory magickal alpha-numeric correspondences revealed in the vocabulary of Liber AL vel Legis. The methods of E.Qaballistic working, and the most significant numeric symbols, are described in detail, and the unequivocal solution to AL II:76 is clearly explained. The effects of initiation by E.Q. and the reasons behind the Ordeal X are also dealt with. This book presents a genuinely consistent and coherent view of magickal reality underpinned by the integrity of pure numbers, and shows the reader how easily it may be attained.

In her introduction, Cath Thompson asks:

Who am I, to offer a manual of English Qaballa? Please note the spelling, one B, two Ls, as it refers specifically to the system discovered by James Lees in November 1976 and was chosen by him because as he said “no-one else was using that spelling at the time.” I am his literary executor, and for over thirty years until Lees’ death in 2015 I was his secretary and his archivist, his assistant, his priestess, his companion, and his housekeeper.

When I inherited James Lees’ notes and diaries recording his unique pioneering journeys with the English Qaballa I enquired of the remaining members of the O∴A∴A∴ Second Order what they thought I should do with it all. The answer was rapid and unanimous. “Write the book,” they said.

That is what Cath has done, and you can follow her newly established EQ blog here. But, who was James Lees?


Jim Lees was our guide in this new landscape, scaling the mountain while we widened the path and made maps. 

Born on 22 August, 1939, Jim Lees was an accomplished mage, self taught and self initiated and fully conversant with his Holy Guardian Angel and several other significant spiritual entities, having over fifteen years experience when in 1974 he formed the O∴A∴A∴ with three friends. They consecrated a woodland glade and began practising seasonal rituals and witchcraft, learning techniques of invocation and evocation and meditation, the making of talismans, and Temple etiquette; and when they acquired an indoor Temple and three more members they extended their work to the Enochian system, the Eleusian Rites, and Golden Dawn based ritual.

But in November 1976 there were just the four original members present, with pocket calculators, doing sums with Chapter Two verse seventy-six of Liber AL vel Legis. Independently they all four came to the same number, 286. Lees noted that the number was a link between the Hebrew alphabet of 22 letters, and the English alphabet of 26, being the sum of both 22x13 and 26x11, and he reasoned that if the 13 indicated the lunar key to the Hebraic system, then 11 might be the Key to the English. He counted off every eleventh letter of the English Alphabet, leaving ‘A’ with the value 1. This gave L the value of 2, W the value 3, H the value of 4, and so on. There was some work with calculators as important words from Liber AL were added up, and lists of words of the same value began to form. Every letter became a bold and disturbing numeric symbol. Over the next day or two the electricity supply at Jim’s home fluctuated wildly, slowing the washing machine and dimming the lights. The numbers 11 and 76 recurred with the date, they noticed, also the counting through an alphabet written around a circle produced a unicursal star, which was satisfying; more significant was the discovery that the new alphabet had been encoded in the manuscript all along, in the grid on sheet 16 of the third chapter. It was pretty obvious to all that something truly amazing and important was going on.

Lees christened the new order and value of the alphabet “English Qaballa” having made sure that spelling was not in current use. Enumerated typescripts of Liber AL were photocopied and stapled together with the enumerated Lexicon, and a reproduction of the manuscript. They quickly became dog-eared and heavily annotated with numbers and symbols. We would meet frequently, talk far into the night, and next day carry on where we had left off, perhaps on our own, or meeting again. We knew our minds were being stretched and moulded but we didn’t care, it was a joyous experience. Questions were being answered properly, problems were resolved and settled, there was nothing left over.

It wasn’t one eureka moment, but whole tides of them, the energy being so new and vibrant and rising on its own vortex. It made the very air sparkle sometimes, invoking old ideas by new names and under different powers in this fascinating matrix of numbers which was emerging in our shared consciousness. It was hugely exciting, compelling, even addictive! Threading ideas together like beads of exotic light, exploring treasure that had never been seen before. Then, the numbers would pop out and catch us unawares, in the shops the cashier would sing out the digits we had been riding with earlier the same day, and inevitably this would make us laugh, and feel a mixture of awe and appreciation.

Jim Lees was our guide in this new landscape, scaling the mountain while we widened the path and made maps. He could synthesise ideas that the best of us could only analyse, and he would encourage us always to apply our conclusions elsewhere, with other symbol-systems, higher planes, “otherwise it’s no use as a formula. Nothing happens in isolation,” he would say, “as above, so below - but after a different fashion!” All the methods of English Qaballa except for “Counting Well” (Stefan Djanowicz) and the application of EQ to the Goetia (Jake Stratton-Kent) were pioneered by Jim, as was the system of astrological correspondences, the explanation of AL II:76 and the Complete Tree of Life; the Formula of Creation, the cycle of 418, and the rest: all of it was Jim’s work.