by Erica M Cornelius
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law – AL I:40
To denizens of the old Aeon, I, Woman, am wicked. For I am temptress and witch, whore and Kundry. Wielding my sensual flesh and hypnotic wiles I lure unwary men to ruin. Nor do I apologize. For in this Aeon, “the slaves shall serve” and “There is no law beyond “Do what thou wilt.” If a man cannot resist my wiles, I lay him low and he has only himself to blame. I am neither evil nor good, but a force of Nature. I am Woman.
How may I as a Woman understand the magickal formula of the Son’s Redemption of the Daughter, as valid today as in previous times? Doesn’t the word Redemption imply that the nature of Woman is fundamentally flawed and lacking? In a Christian context, the word certainly has been taken to imply that women are uniquely sinful and fallen. And, yes, a Thelemic woman should spit and stomp upon the notion that she is the root of all evil—except, of course, to the extent that that is recognized as a good thing. Everything below the Abyss is dual, and that is just the point.
To Redeem means variously to restore, to buy back through a ransom, to rescue. It is critical to understand that in the Grail legend, Parsival not only redeems Kundry, he thereby redeems himself. Both Man and Woman require redemption. Women are not unique in this. In Christian language, both men and women have been expelled from the Garden of Eden and quest to return. For both men and women exist as such below the Abyss and thus are incomplete. And both men and women are redeemed through this magickal process of Love under Will. “For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.”
When the two sexes reunite in Crowleyan sex magick, they symbolically realize the Original and Eternal Unity above the Abyss. The only reason the Woman needs redemption by the Man and not the other way around is that she symbolically represents the Earth and he, Heaven. This is not arbitrary, but required by the physical reality of our bodies. We women act as the receptive partner due to the nature of our vehicle. There is no moral value attached. Thus if we find ourselves taking it personally, that only indicates that we have important and promising work to do regarding our karmic baggage. (Remember, you can always pick a male vessel next time around if that’s important to you.)
Our female vehicle is aligned with Earth. To give you an idea, whereas orgasm typically damages the male, for us it’s nothing but good. When we get aroused, including during orgasm, we not only retain the vital Essence or Fool but have the potential to move it to a useful power center through our emotional natures. Our erogenous zones are much more broadly distributed than the male’s. We are multi-orgasmic by nature. Thus in sex magick, we channel Power through our arousal and maintain a proper environment for nurturing the Fool, representing Love in the formula.
By contrast, a man’s penis uniquely endows him with the potential to bring the Fool through from across the Abyss. Although he must learn to carefully control his physical arousal if he is to realize this potential, his proper role is to direct the magickal intent with his Mind, representing Will in the formula.
Again, we women symbolically (i.e. in reality) represent the manifested Universe, Nuit, whereas the male symbolically represents the unmanifested point of consciousness, Hadit. Cooperating in the process of Redemption, Son and Daughter of the Tetragrammaton (Vav and Heh-final) reunite Heaven and Earth as equal partners, realizing the Eternally Unified Father and Mother Above (Yod and Heh).
As Thelemic magicians, males and females are equal though distinct in our roles. As female sex magicians, we must engage our receptive role authoritatively. Each of us serves only our god, never another magician. We can and should reject Crowley’s old Aeonic idea that women exist to be used, as if we were not Stars in our own right. Be wary of even more subtle forms of manipulation and coercion in the name of spiritual development. If you fall for it, he is not in the wrong—you are. Again, “the slaves shall serve”. Never allow another to colonize you regardless of his spiritual attainments or personal assets. “The word of Sin is Restriction.” Your allegiance is to your god alone.
The first test lies in our own flesh. We cannot be redeemed—cannot contribute as equal partners in sex magick—if we are still uncomfortable in our own bodies. As women who have incarnated so early in the Aeon, many of us have as part of our destinies to transmute heavy familial karma related to negative views of women, hatred of the body, and even sexual abuse. Step one is to overcome our personal karma that keeps us either prudish or excessively promiscuous relative to our own Zodiacal archetype. This work can take many years. Don’t be discouraged, for you are bringing the Thelemic current to bear not only upon you as an individual but upon your entire ancestral line. This is difficult and important work. Each one of us is an incarnation of BABALON, and our birthright is to revel in our flesh as living goddesses.
Use your flesh as well when judging a potential Redeemer. He must be able to arouse you and keep you aroused. For a start you must genuinely find him sexually attractive. We are not medieval Catholics buying indulgences. No amount of sexual activity with high magicians, whether fake or real, will ever earn you spiritual rewards just by itself. Of course if servicing repulsive men is your kink, that’s a different story.
But even if a man arouses you one way or another, has he attained the ability to control his arousal so that the central focus for long, long periods—weeks, months, years, and decades—is upon your arousal and not his penis? Any man can claim to be a Thelemic priest. But unless his actions are tipped far, far in the direction of your arousal and away from his pleasure in penetration, he either doesn’t understand Crowleyan sex magick, is incapable of practicing it, or both. Again, whether he is wearing a lounge suit or a loin cloth, scrutinize his behavior very carefully. Of course, all sex magick is for a higher purpose than the personal satisfaction or aggrandizement of either participant. It is for the evolution of humanity. So don’t get selfish and bitchy, but do be choosy.
Of course arousal is a two-way street, and your chief job is to Invoke the Lord. A Woman by her astral nature is actually the active partner in this regard. She is the initiator on the inner planes. Yet because our fundamental external nature is Yin and Restrictive, part of our Work is to control that Foundation. We as women naturally yearn for states we call security, happiness, fulfillment, fidelity, respectability, even normality. We must constantly be on our guard. If we start attempting to coerce, manipulate, change, or control the man in an attempt to get our way we poison the environment. If we start seeking greener pastures in order to meet our personal needs, we risk a calamitous fall. Of course success is your proof. The only law is Do what thou wilt. I can’t tell you what’s right for you. My point here is that a great part of our work is seeing the bigger picture and that sex magick is not for our personal benefit. If you fail to arouse your partner, “another woman shall awake the lust & worship of the Snake.” And Ra Hoor Khut warns, “Let the Scarlet Woman beware! If pity and compassion and tenderness visit her heart; if she leave my work to toy with old sweetnesses; then shall my vengeance be known.” Since all power comes through the Scarlet Woman, she needs to be self-possessed indeed in order to avoid ruin.
Sex magick is not a toy or a lark. It is a serious spiritual path for women demanding careful discrimination in order to avoid colonization on the one hand and terrible sorrows and regrets on the other. There is no shame in admitting it is not for you. If you are so inclined, you can enjoy all the fruits of the Law of Thelema while choosing personal fulfillment on the horizontal plane. That may be your Will. However, for the woman who is wily, intelligent, mature, and utterly committed to serving her god above anyone and anything else, sex magick holds the promise of the Redemption of her lower nature.
Not only do we Women participate equally in sex magick as the Redeemed, but the insights we gain by working the BABALON formula on the Right side of the Tree of Life illuminate this Aeon for all. For the formula we work externally in our own bodies, men work inwardly. Women in this Aeon are thus poised to contribute fundamental magickal knowledge.
Love is the law, love under will. –AL I:57