by J. Edward Cornelius
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. –AL I:40
“Glory unto the Scarlet Woman, Babalon the Mother of Abominations,
that rideth upon the Beast, for she hath spilt their blood in every corner of the earth
and lo! she hath mingled it in the cup of her whoredom.”
– The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr.
When Aleister Crowley published Magick in Theory and Practice in 1929 he included a chapter titled “Of Our Lady BABALON and of The Beast whereon she rideth.” He begins this chapter by stating – “The contents of this section, inasmuch as they concern OUR LADY, are too important and too sacred to be printed. They are only communicated by the Master Therion to chosen pupils in private instruction.” Since Crowley’s method of sex magick is still as elusive today as it was in his day and because he was ambiguous about the general magickal nature of women, her function is often interpreted erroneously by those outside his system. So let me discuss a woman’s role as I’ve come to understand it in my forty-five years of being a Thelemite while studying and practicing Crowley’s magick. I was not only an upper-degree in both O.T.O. and A.’.A.’. under Frater Hymenaeus Alpha (Grady Louis McMurtry 1918–1985), but I was his personal student. Aleister Crowley acknowledged in his diary on December 22nd, 1944 that he taught Grady “more solid instruction in IX than I ever gave before to any one!” What you are about to read is some of what Crowley taught to Grady, and then Grady taught to me. However, I have to be careful with what I say as not to offend the most egocentric of Queen Bees. It is no secret that a man talking about a woman’s role in any capacity is like thrusting his arm down the throat of a lion and hoping it’s not bitten off.
First and most important, to appreciate Crowley’s views on sex magick you must approach the subject from three primary standpoints which dominated his thinking: that of the Qabalah, Alchemy and the Holy Grail. You cannot, nor will you ever be able to understand Crowley’s brand of sex magick solely from studying eastern Tantra. In this light we know that Crowley saw all women as having two primary roles as both the Mother and the Daughter. They assume the role of High Priestess in the Gnostic Mass, they claim the title of the Scarlet Woman and they think themselves Babalon, but more often than not they simply act like Kundry from the Grail mythos. Then again, Crowley leaves us with no uncertainties; to him she is the Priestess of the Holy Grail. Each of these monikers reveals a subtlety behind a woman’s magickal universe; however, it is important to recognize that the quest of the Holy Grail and Sacred Lance is not a mere intellectual pursuit in appreciations of old romances. It is a spiritual path that is as significant today as it was hundreds of years ago. This means that if a woman cannot live the path then she has no right to claim any of its titles. If she does, they are simply monikers without substance.
Let us begin by reviewing the most obvious things that we know about Babalon. She is a goddess originating in the mystical system of Aleister Crowley. It is his name for the Mother residing in the third Sephiroth on the Otz Chiim, or Tree of Life, which is known as Binah (בינה), being a Hebrew word meaning Understanding. Within the confines of Crowley’s system this sphere is often termed the City of the Pyramids, but, more importantly, it is the Grail Castle. Here Babalon is Queen, the complement of the King, or the Father, Lord Chaos, who resides within the second sphere of Chokmah (חכמה), which means Wisdom. In alchemy the King and Queen are united in an eternal sexual embrace; he holds the Sacred Lance; she, the Holy Grail. They are as one, they are not separate. We only see them as two figures and two distinct objects because of our inability below the Abyss to understand that there is no division above. One of the greatest western magickal formulas depicting this theory is that of the word ON, being two letters conjoined.
ON respectively adds to 120 (Nun-50 + Ayin-70 = 120). This is the Hidden Truth carved over the doorway of the burial vault of the founder of the Rosicrucian movement, Christian Rosenkreutz. In Latin, it reads “Post CXX Annos Patebo,” which is often translated as – “After 120 Years I will open.” Crowley informs us in The Equinox Vol. I, No. 5, in “The Temple of Solomon the King,” that “120 = 1x2x3x4x5, and thus a synthesis of the power of the pentagram.” The aspect of one through five also refers to the Rose Cross with its four arms and central point of light. Crowley adds a further piece of information on this topic by noting – “Hence its importance is thus seen in the 5°=6* ritual, q.v. supra Equinox, No. III.” Here he refers to the 120 years it takes symbolically to go through the first five grades of the First Order of The Golden Dawn from Malkuth to Tiphereth, the Sun.
Crowley carefully wrote about the secrets of ON in Liber Aleph: The Book of Wisdom or Folly, which contains what he has stated to be the clearest description of “the heart of his doctrine, as well as the truth behind the magickal formula of ON…” To grasp an understanding of this formula consider the two letters O and N as a western model for the Yang and the Yin. In the Grail legends the Yang is known as King Amfortas, the Yin is called Kundry. While residing in the Grail Castle she is seen as a shabby and repulsive old Saturnian crone who serves the King not only as a Queen but more importantly as a servant and High Priestess of the Holy Grail. Like the King, the Queen cannot reside below the Abyss. It’s a misnomer to think otherwise. However, their quintessential essence can descend, but first it must establish a suitable vehicle; hence the need for children, similar to those whose roles are depicted in the Gnostic Mass (Liber XV Ecclesiae Gnosticae Catholicae Canon Missae). In the Queen’s case the female child will adopt the title as one of the whores of Babalon, but not Babalon itself. As a whore she’ll wear the moniker of a Scarlet Woman, but make absolutely no mistake about it; she and Babalon are inseparable, being one and the same, Mother and Daughter.
To appreciate the complexities of a woman’s role Crowley informs us that we must be completely acquainted with the Tetragrammaton (τετραγράμματον), and for a woman to ignore any single aspect of this formula, focusing solely on herself, makes it impossible for her to embrace the role as a Scarlet Woman. The Tetragrammaton is a Greek word meaning ‘four letters.’ In this case it refers to יהוה. This formula details the Mystical Union of the Father of Chokmah-2 (Yod-י) and Mother of Binah-3 (He-ה) above the Abyss. Here we learn that their union brings about the birth of their quintessential essence in the form of the Son (Vau-ו). From a Qabalistic point-of-view, once the Son descends below the Abyss as spheres from Chesed-4 (חסד) to Hod (הוד) he becomes known as the Ruach (Spirit), which is our conscious and unconscious mind; half known, half unknown. What complicates this theory for modern magicians, who must wade through a wealth of material, is that Theosophical and Golden Dawn schools teach us that the Son works out of six spheres from Chesed-4 (חסד) to Yesod-9 (יסוד). Later Qabalists like Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, Dion Fortune, Paul Foster Case and many others have come to believe that this is utterly wrong. Aleister Crowley points out in Little Essays Toward Truth that the “Ruach is a closely-knitted group of Five Moral and Intellectual principles, concentrated on their core, Tiphareth, the Principle of Harmony, the Human Consciousness and Will of which the four other Sephiroth are (so to speak) the feelers.” Why this is important will become obvious.
Everything that is birthed below the Abyss is instantly bathed in duality which automatically implies that besides a Son there must be his opposite or a twin sister, a Daughter (2nd He-ה) who is also birthed at the exact same moment. We now know that the Daughter resides in the spheres of Yesod-9 (יסוד) and Malkuth-10 (מלכות). One sphere is called the Nephesch, which is our animalistic Soul or libido, while the other is a mere vehicle known as our bodies. In this light the Daughter is the projected vehicle of Babalon; she is also every mortal woman. Crowley sums up Tetragrammaton quite nicely in Liber Aleph – “Firstly, the Effect of the Operation of Yod and Hé is not Vau only, but with Vau appeareth also a new Hé, as a By-Product, and She is mysterious, being at once the Flower of the Three Others, and their Poison.” In other words, due to her sexual nature, the Daughter or women in general, have a dual role as both saint and sinner which bathes their Tree in virtue and vice.
To further appreciate the importance of both Son and Daughter below the Abyss one might wish to study the chapter titled “On the Keys of Death and the Devil, Arcana of the Tarot of the RC Brotherhood” in Liber Aleph. Here Crowley states – “It shall profit thee much, o my Son, or I err, that I instruct thee in the Mystery of the Paths of Nun and of Ayin, that in our Rota are figured in the Atu called Death, and in that called The Devil.” In Hebrew Ayin is the letter ‘O,’ while Nun is the letter ‘N’. And in the very next chapter titled “Further on these Paths” he adds that one of these letters is “the Formula of the Man, as the other was of the Woman.” Again, above the Abyss the Father (י) and Mother (ה) are depicted by one single word, or ON, but once having descended below the Abyss as the Son (ו) and Daughter (2nd ה) they become divided for love’s sake into two letters: O & N. These letters connect to the Sun (Tiphereth-תפארת) from opposite pillars of the Tree of Life, both left and right. Crowley writes in Magick in Theory and Practice, Chapter III titled “The Formula of Tetragrammaton” that the 2nd He – “… is both the twin sister and the daughter of Vau.” Adding that the Son’s mission is to “redeem her by making her his bride; the result of this is to set her upon the throne of her mother.” Of this four-fold alchemical formula he further writes – “It is the second half of the formula which symbolizes the Great Work which we are pledged to accomplish.” The secret is to first learn about your heritage—your Father and Mother—and then focus on living the second half of the equation, which symbolizes what we are aspiring towards as mortals, both men and women. Here we learn, as much as the Son and Daughter have distinct roles manifesting the entirety of the Tree of Life, their marriage takes place between only two of the Sephiroth or when they assume the roles as Hod (הוד) and Netzach (נצח).
Of the Father and Mother, Crowley mentions in The Book of Thoth that these are the Greater Mysteries “of the Lance and the Cup” (Fire and Water) which reside above the Abyss. This union represents Light and Life. The Lesser Mysteries below the Abyss refer to the Son and Daughter who represent the Sword and Disk. The Sword “slays the god that his head may be offered on a Plate, or Disk” (Air and Earth). This union represents Liberty and Love and refers to mortal copulation. As it is said, every number is infinite, and there is no difference, so let the Son and the Daughter come to terms with the fact that they are divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union, and so let there be no difference between them, whereas these two must seek to become One. Basically, the mindset of the Son issuing forth Liberty (i.e. Freedom) must be positioned in Hod, while the Daughter, who expounds Love, does so in Netzach. Their Sacred Marriage will unite the letters O and N in the sphere of Tiphereth (תפארת); this being the sphere of The Great Work. In Liber XV, which is the central rite of the O.T.O. both private and public, ON is described as, “Our Lord and Father the Sun who travellest over the heavens.” To appreciate this formula of mortal copulation in regards to Crowley’s sex magick you must understand that he denotes this cryptically throughout his writings by the letters PK which he states is “the initials of our athanor and our cucurbite, their name in the language of the Greeks.” The letter P stands for Phallus (Φαλλος), which is often referred to in alchemy as the Athanor. This instrument provides a uniform and constant heat in which the Lion is tamed, and it necessitates that the Lion cannot be allowed to boil over. The Lion must be slowly heated, and after repeated boiling and simmering, which allows the vapour to rise, it will then flow into a glass tube, where it cools, condenses, and finally under “full flame,” Crowley claims, “the Lion passeth over” and runs into the second vessel or flask underneath which he refers to as the cucurbit. The letter K stands for Kteis (Κτείς) or a woman’s vagina. This is the Cucurbit or the ‘vessel’ where the blood of the Red Lion is mingled with the Gluten of the White Eagle. With the drawing below it becomes very clear of the sexual implications of these two alchemical glass vessels. The Athanor is seen to the left which refers to the sphere of Hod (הוד) with its “extended phallus” inside the Cucurbit or Netzach (נצח), which is depicted to the right. The Fire (Bunsen burner) refers to the path of Shin and the Water (faucet) refers to Mem which are the two paths on either side of Hod on the Tree of Life. These paths are heating and cooling the Lion in preparation for transferring it to mingle with the Eagle in the Cucurbit.
It is these Lesser Mysteries of PK which are symbolically portrayed in the Gnostic Mass. This ritual is designed to unconsciously draw the participants into the Greater Mysteries of the Sacred Lance and Holy Grail above the Abyss. To understand: the High Altar represents the Grail Castle. The twin pillars or Columns of white and black are known as Jachin and Boaz. The Lotus Crowns on top of these pillars respectively refer to Binah and Chokmah. Between these pillars is a hidden or Single Column, not to be seen in the Lesser Mysteries. Besides representing the first Qabalistic sphere of Kether (כתר), the Crown, one should also remember these words from Crowley’s The Ship, A Mystery Play (Liber DCCC-800), scene I titled “The Temple of The Sun,” which begins – “Behind a veil is a column …” It is upon this column that the main character named John is bound and scourged until the white robe is red with blood. The secret behind this column will be disclosed when a candidate takes Fifth Degree O.T.O. which occurs in the sphere of the Tiphereth (i.e. the Sun). Here we learn that all three pillars teach us how to fortify our journey on the path toward the Holy Grail so that we do not err, so that we will be sustained in every ordeal and so that we will be comforted. This refers to the Mysteries of the letters T.S.L., which a candidate now sees as independent letters on three columns. These letters refer to Truth (אמת), Silence (שתיקה) and Love (אהב). In the Gnostic Mass the High Priestess of the Holy Grail sits on the High Altar between these pillars which forms a triangle. The Double-Cube altar directly in front of the High Altar represents the sphere of Tiphereth. In front of this altar is the Font and being a holder of the Sacred Water; it represents Yesod. Beyond this is the Tomb, referring to our bodies on Malkuth, or the Kingdom (מלכות). In an essay titled “666, Sex and the O.T.O.,” Gerald Yorke notes that Crowley wrote how the Gnostic Mass is “a service in which he enshrined the secret of the Ninth Degree.” According to Grady McMurtry, Crowley told him that the O.T.O. lessons which are unconsciously taught in the first two points of the Mass (I & II) refer to Malkuth-10 and Yesod-9. Stage III refers to Hod-8 and is called Of the Ceremony of the Introit. The word introit is from the Latin introitus, meaning the entrance, or one who enters. Since Hod is the sphere of the Son (Vau-ו) and the Phallus, it is at this stage where the Priest exits the Tomb carrying his Lance “erect,’ which implies much; especially considering that upon completion of this section the Priest is given a crown adorned with the Uraeus Serpent or rearing Cobra which sits directly over his Ajna chakra (Chokmah). This implies that the Priest is successful in “thinking correctly,” having been taught VIIth Degree; he has tamed the Lion and fully understands the Mystery of Mystery behind the symbolic phallic Temple of Saladin (Minerval through Third). To fully grasp what has just been said one should read “De Formula Tota” in Liber Aleph. Here we learn that in the Mass the Priest’s crown is a representation of the Lion-Serpent (i.e. child) that is being properly put into place and thus what is on the Mind now has “the Right of Incarnation.”
To achieve this state the Priest must know how to formulate a Magical Link, which is an alchemical process known as Solve et Coagula. This is carefully taught in chapter XIV “Of the Consecrations: with an Account of the Nature and Nurture of the Magical Link” in Magick in Theory and Practice. Gerald Yorke has written that – “the ‘solve’ form of the alchemical formula is unavoidable. The technique of creating the particular ‘astral being’ or ‘thought-form’ that you require is reasonably simple, since it merely involves a development of concentration and willpower within the scope of the normal man. The difficulty begins with the second half of the operation – ‘coagula.’ The ‘astral being,’ ‘thought form,’ ‘bud-will’ or whatever you choose to call what you have created needs nourishment and direction. It cannot affect another person or thing if it dies or if you have not perfected the ‘magical link’ between it and the object of your will. This technique still is and should remain secret. If you cannot work it out for yourself you are not entitled to be entrusted with it.” This was exactly how the O.T.O. used to acknowledge a IX°. They could not be made; they had to prove to Crowley that they already knew the secret and then he would recognize them as a IX° and give them the final secret; a grade paper called “IX° Emblems and Mode of Use.” To appreciate what Yorke is saying about this you must know the secrets behind the letters TSL. Basically, the Son within the Phallus of Hod (III°) must be duly prepared for transcending Death into a new incarnation (Solve). His Word must utter only Truth (T) for like the mysteries of Al-Hallaj, nothing but Truth can lie under his Turban closest to his ‘head’ (i.e. ϕαλλος). Upon conquering death he is then properly nourished (Coagula) through Love (L) within the Kteis of the Daughter who resides in Netzach (IV°). Love is the Law, love under Will. The Great Work is accomplished in Silence (S), but failure to create this Magickal Link proper makes IX° all but impossible.
To elucidate this Mystery a bit further I might use, as an example, the First Degree initiation ritual of O.T.O which is the link between the Seed (Minerval) above the Abyss and Life (Second Degree) below. The ritual is divided into three sections. The first point is called The Oath, the Second Point is called Bringing-forth and the Third Point is titled Nourishment.
According to Grady McMurtry the First Point or Oath refers to the lessons a magician will learn in VII° (Chastity). In this section the candidate is hoodwinked, which implies many things, but in sex magick this informs us that the ϕαλλος should pay more attention to what lies within at the center of the circle rather than focusing on the world around itself. It is in the scented garden of our Hearts where we must raise an Idol on Temple Mount and worship it proper, while most importantly, not releasing the Lion. The Book of the Law should never be ignored at this stage for it offers us Truth (Thelema).
The Second Point or the Bringing-forth refers to lessons taught in VIII°; the candidate’s hoodwink is removed allowing the Lion to be free, hence the teachings about how to release the Lion which is known as the way of the Dagger (Air) in the Lesser Mysteries.
The Third Point or Nourishment refers to IX° or sexual Union wherein the proper nourishment of the Lion with the Eagle occurs. This is the way of the Disk (Earth) in the Lesser Mysteries and of the Host in the Gnostic Mass. This stage is bathed in Love (Agape). “Love is the law, love under will.” (AL I:57)
It is in the Third Point of the First Degree initiation where the first three secrets of the Order were communicated to the candidate. These represent the Trinity above the Abyss; The Book of the Law, the Dagger and the Disk; Kether, Chokmah and Binah. Since First Degree occurs in the sphere of Binah each candidate is given a copper Disk.
Reviewing each Point of this ritual with these ideas in mind opens up the real Mysteries to this initiation and how it creates a Magickal Link from Above the Abyss to Below, although admittedly this will be hard to understand due to the fact that certain important secrets have yet to be revealed which can only be acquired in future initiations.
No matter how much a man prepares, without proper nourishment the Lion dies. To appreciate a woman’s role as it relates to Love (Agape), consider the fact that after Stage III of the Gnostic Mass we arrive at Stage IV which refers to Netzach-7, or Venus, whose sacred metal is copper. This stage is called Of the Ceremony of the Opening of the Veil. The Son is about to “enter” the realm of the Daughter (2nd He-ה), or rather Babalon’s Temple below the Abyss. This section begins with the Priest raising his Lance which is symbolical of an erect penis having been properly prepared in the sphere of Hod (III). Toward the end of this section is where the Priestess sits bare and rejoicing upon the altar behind closed veils in a “Secret Temple” (AL I:62). In Tantric rites a veil is emblematic of a woman’s labia, and once this is realized the symbolism behind the Gnostic Mass makes perfect sense as to what enters and is being entered and why the veils are inevitably parted by the Priest’s Lance. The long glass tube of the Athanor is being inserted in the Cucurbit. At this single moment we find the portrayal of the union of the Left and Right Hand Pillars, of O and N. This union produces ON or the Sun, which brings us to the next stage of the Mass or Part V titled “Of the Office of the Collects which are Eleven in Number (The Sun).” Again, the Sun refers to Tiphereth-6 wherein an individual takes Fifth Degree and where the Great Work is first embraced, not fulfilled as so often believed.
Now that we understand some of the overall principles related to Tetragrammaton it is important to examine the dual role of Kundry as Mother (ה) and Daughter (2nd ה), as saint and sinner, which bathes a woman’s Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil with virtue and vice. Below the Abyss a women’s role as the lower Kundry is situated between Malkuth (מלכות), Yesod (יסוד) and Netzach (תפארת), but she should primarily focus on the path ruled by the Thoth card known as The Moon to understand her nature. Kundry epitomizes the two major phases of the Moon, both full and new. In Aleister Crowley’s IX° teachings he informs us that when a woman’s phase is that of Full she receives the Light of a Sun down through the path of Death (N) and glows like the Holy Grail in the last act of Wagner’s Parsival after it has finally been uncovered. Then again, in her New Moon phase of darkness she becomes overwhelming and all consuming. In this phase, a demon takes control of the woman and possesses her in lustful ways, wherein she has no Light. This informs us that while traversing the path of The Moon a woman is able to divide herself between Light and Darkness, good and evil. When wallowing in her New Moon phase on the path of The Moon she resides closer to Malkuth (Want) while in her Full Moon phase she is drawn upward toward Netzach (Will) in order to fulfill the formula of N in ON. Crowley acknowledges this basic theory; women being evil in their capacity to restrict and pervert men, while at the same time being the High Priestesses of the Holy Grail. The question is, if this is her nature, can either extreme be wrong? The mask that every woman wears at birth must have been given for a reason.
To understand, consider the fact that Minerval initiation in O.T.O. occurs in two of the seven primary Chakras which are wheel-like vortexes attached to our spine. The chakras activated are the Ajna and Muladhara chakras or Mind and Body. In both men and women these will assist in helping to discern between good and evil. Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961), the founder of modern analytical psychology, saw the interchange of these two specific chakras as being essential in his theories regarding Kundalini yoga which are examined very carefully in The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1932. In Crowley’s magickal system men naturally begin in the sphere of Chokmah, while women begin in Malkuth/Yesod, but neither is better off than the other, and Mind (Chokmah) should never be considered as intellect or intelligence. Mind is, in a Thelemic sense, the absence of mundane thought which allows us to be driven by our True Will. With this knowledge we learn that men must first learn to control their Mind in sex magick; women must focus upon their Bodies. Thelemically, Hadit quests for Nuit, Nuit quests for Hadit. The interplay of these poles in both sexes produces Ra-Hoor-Khuit, or the Sun. “Every man and every woman is a star.” (AL I:3) In regards to this Sacred Union from an O.T.O. point-of-view, Grady McMurtry taught that a IX° man uses his Mind, while all woman use their Bodies, hence the reasons why a woman, merely sleeping with IX°, can become a IX°. However, for her to deny her flesh, ignoring her sexuality, means that she “nourishes” nothing according to the IX° secrets and she is not worthy of the degree. Nourishing implies redeeming a barren Kingdom of which she, like Eve, must take part of the responsibility for corrupting in the first place. However, since women (as Kundry) have used their bodies for centuries to corrupt men and hinder them in their spiritual pursuits many religions see them as being evil creatures, but, in truth, a woman’s body is not evil per se since her flesh is part of God’s creation. Instead, exactly like men, her free choice to operate her flesh either through her Wants or her True Will is the determining factor as to whether or not she embraces herself as a spiritual vehicle or a hindrance not only to herself but to men as well. The ancients knew that of all aspects relating to mankind, none is more elusive or harder to understand than our bodies. Our bodies are the Sanctum Sanctorum or the Holy of Holies containing a Spirit of God and in The Holy Bible it is metaphorically referred to as the Tabernacle, which is a portable shrine or dwelling place of God. If we delve deep enough into the bowels of this Temple, down one corridor and then another, we inevitably approach what the Qabalists call the Abyss or what the Knights refer to as the Grail Castle. When we cross this threshold, we enter into the Inner Sanctuary of the Order known as the S.S. (Silver Star), whose initials add to 120; the same value as the word ON.
Crowley informs us that for a woman to shift her sexuality into becoming a vehicle of her True Will she (and men for that matter too) needs to exercise constantly the first of Eight Limbs of Yoga which is called Yama. According to most authorities this limb details “Universal Morality.” However, Crowley opposed using the term ‘Morality.’ He wrote – “Yama is the easiest of the eight limbs of Yoga to define, and corresponds pretty closely to our word ‘control.’ When I tell you that some have translated it ‘morality,’ you will shrink appalled and aghast at this revelation of the brainless baseness of humanity.” All in all, women must remember that morality is a misleading term. It implies someone, somewhere, has decided what is good and what is bad for you in order to control you. It is imperative for a woman to always remember that accepting any moralistic beliefs by others may well be contrary to the Laws of your own Universe as a newly Fixed Star. Consider these words of William Blake – “I must create a System or be enslav’d by another man’s.” Crowley would most likely agree, as he informs us – “The result of all this is that all of you who are worth your salt will be absolutely delighted when I tell you to scrap all the rules and discover your own.” And then he adds, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. That is Yama.” He then notes – “Your True Will is to attain the consummation of marriage with the universe, and your ethical code must constantly be adapted precisely to the conditions of your experiment. Even when you have discovered what your code is, you will have to modify it as you progress.” Crowley then quotes Omar Khayyam – “remould it nearer to the heart’s desire.” The bottom line; women must first discover their Yama, the Laws of their Universe. It is imperative for every woman to understand their sexuality intimately; remembering the axiom “Know Thyself” (γνῶθι σεαυτόν). This is not a command to simply know what transpires in the depths of her soul but also of those things regarding their flesh. She picked the zodiac sign in which she desired to incarnate, and, as is the case with every sign, it has fantasies and personal proclivities that we either fulfill behind closed doors or in the secret passageways of our mind, but, sadly, most women seldom find the ability to act them out. This is primarily because too many women feel uncomfortable in their own skin due to their childhood upbringing, religion, and society or family morals or even due to sexual conflicts with their mates whose zodiac sign might not be complimentary. Rarely are women taught to explore themselves sexually but if they are not fully in control of their sexuality then it controls them and in a moment of arousal they will falter, as do men themselves, and she will lust after the mere flesh of a man while casting aside the Holy Grail.
Yes, it is important to recognize the fact that all women begin their journey Qabalistically entrenched in Malkuth-Yesod. However, where these spheres can drag a man down, for the woman, it is here where she finds her freedom and redemption. Crowley has noted that the love of a woman can only be worthy when it is truly free and is only worth having when it is freely given, and worth keeping when freely held; such is Divine Love (Agape), whether it be from a virgin, whore, a girlfriend or a wife. As Capt. J. F. C. Fuller notes – “Happiness, Wisdom, Knowledge, and at length Perfection, can no more be gained by solely travelling along the direct and spotless road of Virtue, than man can be evolved from the primal protoplasmic jelly without countless generations of weeping and tortured life. The path of Vice we must tread before we can find the high road of Virtue, and Vice we must wed before we can open the gates of a more perfect understanding. The great Commandment is: ‘Live in the midst of Vice; but heed that Vice doth not live in thy midst.’” Women, like men, are being tempered in an alchemical furnace. They must learn that the role of Kundry, or the Daughter, is to Balance both Virtue and Vice in her Sacred Tabernacle whereupon one she controls while the other controls her and with that she either succeeds or fails. It is important to remember that there are two words used for a whore or prostitute in Hebrew; zonah and kedeshah. One simply denotes a loose woman or ordinary prostitutes, while the other is the feminine form of the word KADOSCH, which refers to a specific ‘consecrated women.’ Such women are Dame Companions of the Order of the Holy Grail also known as KADESHA, being the complement of the Illustrious Knights Templar of the Order of KADOSCH or VI O.T.O..
Let us explore the Grail legends in which the duality of Kundry emerges. First, you must know about the sorcerer Klingsor whom Crowley clearly acknowledges as residing in the sphere of Chokmah along with King Amfortas. In truth, he is merely the alter ego of Amfortas. In the beginning Klingsor was a Knight of the Holy Grail but, upon falling from grace, his Mind took up residency in the Castle of Perdition which lies at the base of the Holy Mountain in contrast to the Grail Castle which resides at the top. In other words, Klingsor began thinking solely from the point-of-view of his body as if it, above all else, was important. He twisted his thinking, he perverted his logic and inevitably he become evil and with the use of his magick he swore to destroy the Knights of the Grail, whom he felt had rejected him. He accepted the role of a Black Brother. At this point enters Kundry. In the light of day she is still seen as the shabby and repulsive old crone who serves King Amfortas in Netzach as the manifested representative below the Abyss of the guardian of the Holy Grail. It is Klingsor who summons her at night toward Malkuth and transforms her into a beautiful irresistible Daughter. Here Klingsor uses her as his instrument, as his Temptress and she obliges him with her new found talents relating to her luscious body that she now embraces. He then unleashes her upon King Amfortas who inevitably yields to her sexual advances whereupon he forgets his Oaths as a Knight (in Hod III) and employs his Lance or phallus incorrectly down the Left Hand Pillar of descending influences toward the woman who lay in wait for him. As is the case with all mortal men, a moment’s pleasure leads them into a lifetime of shame; for like Adam in the Garden of Eden, men are easily swayed from the grace with God. Mankind itself, as if driven by the ghost of Klingsor, now holds the Sacred Spear as if it was their own personal weapon. Most men refuse to sacrifice their personality or ego in order to reverse sexual temptations toward mundane Wants and thus their True Will remains fleeting. In the Castle of Perdition, which is simply another name of a man’s body, Klingsor metaphorically shifted the Mind of Amfortas away from God to embrace the throbbing desires of his Body. And while lost in an act of sex with Kundry, Amfortas realized his error which opened up a wound in his soul both externally and internally, which could never be healed. This single act led to the Grail Kingdom falling into disarray and ruin. What was once a Sacred Lance of God’s True Will had become merely a penis grasped by the hands of Klingsor to do with as he Wants. The jokes are legendary about men having to choose which head gets the blood flow and which one must temporarily shut down. Tragically, in the case of Amfortas, his Mind failed and his Body ruled. Grady McMurtry simply acknowledged such mortal failures as the “pecker-boys.”
We must never forget that Crowley mentions in his O.T.O. Grade Paper De Nuptiis Secretis, Deorum cum Hominibus that – “to every Neophyte of the Order of A.’.A.’. appeareth a demon in the form of a woman to pervert him; within Our own knowledge have not less than nine brethren been utterly cast out thereby.” And in his Confessions he writes – “I believed then, and believe now, that the probationer of A.’.A.’. is nearly always offered the opportunity to betray the Order, just as the neophyte is nearly always tempted by a woman.” Now consider this quote from Liber Aleph: “… for every Parsifal there is a Kundry. Thou mayst eat a thousand Fruits of the Garden; but there is One Tree whose Name for thee is Poison. In every great Initiation is an Ordeal, wherein appeareth a Siren or Vampire appointed to destroy the Candidate.” The bottom line, all woman are Kundries who either serve Amfortas or Klingsor but most are just as oblivious of their spiritual functions as men are of theirs. Both seem to act more like slaves, being unconsciously driven by their sexual impulses of which neither is in control. Basically, whereas the Yang or phallus extends itself and “giveth itself up Eternally” and is symbolized by a sacred point or dot, the Yin “moveth not; seeking ever to enclose or restrict” (Liber Aleph, p. 82), and, like a circle, what does the Yin seek to enclose itself around but the sacred point. Thus creating the symbol of the Sun. This metaphor contains the mysteries of men and women; of the phallus and kteis — of Will and Love.
“Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! He, my prophet, hath chosen, knowing the law of the fortress, and the great mystery of the House of God.” – Liber Al vel Legis I:57
What a woman is naturally doing in respect to the Yin’s restrictive behavior relates to lower or mortal Love, not of higher love or Agape. In its lower form love is simply part of her own nature which must be carefully examined and controlled. It many respects she is assisting Klingsor, not Amfortas. However, her greatest sin is in her own ability to cast restrictions, or a circle, around herself. She must keep in mind that according to the Tao Teh King she is the Yin, men are the Yang and in all cases below the Abyss she is naturally seeking, whether unconsciously or consciously, to enclose or restrict all things related to the Yang due to her need for lower love, and as a reminder of this behavior I am playing Meatloaf’s song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” while I’m typing. Ah, I digress, since all mundane things are respectively manifestations of the Yang including her own flesh, she must fight against any restriction being placed upon her, by herself, for like Kundry who loved her own body such love will bring her down. Remember, the libido in both sexes is the driving factor behind our True Will and genius. It needs no justification to exist. It simply is and it must not be restricted – “For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.” (AL I:44) A woman must allow her libido to be free, unbridled, as she keeps in mind that restrictions are naturally part of the Saturnian nature of the Thoth card known as The World which is situated between our bodies and our libido; Malkuth and Yesod. This path is ruled by Saturn, whose metal is lead, soft and malleable but extremely heavy, and like Kundry it can be a poisonous substance and dangerous not only to men, but for women as well. But if she fails at obtaining freedom and she loses control, relinquishing her body to her old ways as a slave of the Yin in its most mundane phase of love then she must remember these words – “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. I will slay me her child: I will alienate her heart: I will cast her out from men: as a shrinking and despised harlot shall she crawl through dusk wet streets, and die cold and an-hungered.” (AL III:43) She has mistaken Agape for the silliness of mortal love, forgetting that there is love-Dove (sacred birth of Netzach) and there is love-serpent (the mortal penis in Hod). The lower love is always rooted in self, bathed in a personal ego’s needs and Wants. Her child slain refers to ON the Sun. This is the sphere ruling the heart. But instead of it being whole, she now embraces a broken heart, a common metaphor for the intense emotional pain that she’ll suffer after losing a loved one. Broken, the letters O & N are respectively cast away from each other. The term ‘old sweetness’ refers to the natural state in which the Yin has reverted to its old restrictive behavior toward the Yang which fosters the pain of division and divides mortal men and women, often destroying relationships. At this point she will be removed from her role as a Scarlet Woman, and she’ll return to her mere mortal state, and, like Amfortas, she will have many regrets.
Still, there is another secret. Like Eve with the Serpent, Kundry assisted Klingsor, the alter ego of Amfortas, which implies that she was merely a pawn to his earthly desires. Kundry may or may not be aware of how her scandalous sexuality is leading to the downfall of Knights, but if she were to assume the role of Scarlet Women it implies a greater conscious understanding of her function, whereupon it becomes obvious that her First Duty is to see that all Knights are worthy of the path to Fourth Degree O.TO. (Netzach), and thus she is acting as a tyler, or guard to the Sacred Temple. She knows that to enter Fourth Degree one leaves behind all the rituals based upon the Saladin mythos and they enter a new Temple, her Temple, in quest for the Love of Babalon. She must test them accordingly. The term ‘guardian’ of the Holy Grail implies that she is someone who watches or protects something, and is not what she guards but the Holy Grail, represented by her kteis? Should she be casting it before swine in a moment of fleeting pleasure any more than Amfortas employed his phallus in a false manner? In her case, because she is a whore of Babalon, the answer can only be yes and no. Lower love needs no restrictions, but when embracing Agape she needs to learn to use her sexuality as a tool of a guardian. If she sees men lost in a moment of volcanic lust, she should simply use him. She knows that their inability to wield the Lance properly means that they are willing to utter the Sacred Word at any cost. They have failed at III and betrayed its Oaths. She should fear not if she brings them down like Amfortas in a fleeting moment bathed in earthly Wants, for if yonder beggar is a true King she cannot hurt him. But if he is a slave to his own flesh then trample him low and hard for he has no right to the path leading to the true Holy Grail. Crowley saw such women as demons, vampires and sirens in their most negative phase, but, in truth, they were simply doing their job, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Crowley struggled to understand this dual role of Kundry in women most of his life. Still, on the most mundane level, he knew that the title of Scarlet Woman could only be held by an actual physical representation of the universal sexual impulse that is found in every liberated woman. However, her role as a liberated woman in a Thelemic sense is frequently misunderstood and even worse, it is being defined by men—men who more often than not are driven by an unconscious sexual desire to simply get laid. Her freedom has nothing to do with becoming a whore or “the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth.” Any woman can be promiscuous or immoral and engage in sexual intercourse; Christianity has shown us that. Yet that doesn’t make them a Scarlet Woman. The role is far more complex. It is said that within every man is the divine feminine and within every woman is the divine masculine, i.e., Power. This implies that when a Knight seeks the Holy Grail what they are really looking for is within themselves in the higher branches of the Tree of Life. However, if a Knight allows their Mind to focus outwardly in lust toward the Grail’s Malkuthian counterpart found upon the flesh of a woman, then they can easily be brought down by misusing their Sacred Lance. Realizing this equation of the proverbial Son (Vau) in the Grail mythos it becomes easy to reflect upon the role of the Daughter (2nd He). Her quest lies with the Sacred Lance. Remember, Kundry once resided above the Abyss as High Priestess of the Holy Grail but was beckoned by Klingsor on Malkuth whom she assisted in stealing and corrupting the Sacred Lance for her own sexual gratification. In other words, she too can be brought down by the flesh of men, as men are brought down by the flesh of women. The lesson inevitably taught in O.T.O. is that all men who attempt to ascend the Tree of Life are governed by the ‘O’ in the formula of ON while women are governed by ‘N.’ In both cases they must leave behind the notion that their sexual organs are theirs to do with as they please, and instead they must embrace them as a sacred instrument of their True Will, and in doing so they must no longer allow casual sex to reign in their Kingdom. In fact, Gerald Yorke notes in “666, Sex and the O.T.O.” that once Crowley realized the Secret he “never again used sex idly or just for pleasure — in his own words, he never again abused it. Sex for him became and remained a sacred act, the key to power.” This is not, nor should it ever be considered a stance for no sex. From a Thelemic point-of-view all acts of sex are considered acceptable and justifiable, the more the merrier, but it is important to realize that all sexual ventures must become magickal acts. Intellectually this notion can be grasped quickly but to make it a spiritual actuality takes years. At such a point the Adept, either a man or a woman, realizes that all actions below the Abyss are bathed in duality and the slightest faltering of one’s spirituality will always tip the scales toward ‘do what thou Want’ and away from ‘do what thou Wilt.’ This lesson must not be taken lightly. For even the likes of such a spiritual man as Amfortas was brought down by his own lust and wanting of a woman’s body, as was Kundry for her own desires.
How do we sum up the role of the Daughter? It is quite simple. All women can easily become a Kundry or whore, an adulterous harlot who lust with depravity for the pleasure and debauchery of a man’s penis, but with every sexual situation she must learn to grasp his flesh as if it were the Sacred Lance, knowing that it is the means to her own Redemption or return upward into the Grail Castle. However, the Daughter (2nd He-ה) in her capacity as a Scarlet Woman must learn to settle upon a proper Lover or true Beast, one whose ϕαλλος is worthy of her Holy Grail which she guards accordingly against those lower Knights who are not worthy of the path leading to Netzach (IV). For it is here that the Love of Babalon (Le Ahebah Babalon) is first fostered and not to be taken lightly. This is why Bhakti yoga is taught to a Philosophus in A.’.A.’. residing in the sphere of Netzach. Their Oath is – “That I will Love all things.” This is not just those ideas which support their personal beliefs and strengthen their love for themselves and their ego. This is why many Knights are tested and why many fail, brought down by a woman’s Kundry-like ways, which is why Crowley reminds us that more magicians miss the mark in Netzach than any other sphere. Kundry is seeking one who is worthy to wear the moniker of Parsival, as a proper Son (ו). This is why according to Crowley a true Scarlet Woman must never deny her sexuality, grasping whatever penis she deems fit, but in doing so she must never stop thinking for a single moment about the embrace of the ϕαλλος as anything other than a living representative of that which lies within herself; thereby knowing that to deny grasping the Lance properly is to deny herself from assuming the Throne of her Mother. But God does not live in a Dog. Once Kundry (2nd ה) finds a Knight who lives the role as Parsival (ו) she steps forward to assist him in stealing the Sacred Lance away from Klingsor. This means that Parsival has learned that his phallus is no longer his and that it is the instrument of his Father (Chokmah). This is the final secret of the O.T.O.. Previously I mentioned that in Fifth Degree the Great Work is first embraced, not fulfilled as so often believed. What this initiation really implies is that the first of five mysteries are now unfolding the secrets of IX°. The candidate is slowly being taught how to steal the Lance from Klingsor and redeem a barren Kingdom (i.e. Life). As Crowley notes: V thru IX are a progressive comment on II whereupon taking the final initiation of IX one is taught the “Sign of II Corrected” and given the Sacred Word which is THELEMA. Basically, IX is assumed when the Sacred Lance is returned to Chokmah which is the sphere where this degree is taken. Was this not where the Lance originally resided and where the candidate, similar to Parsival as The Fool, took their Minerval initiation onto the path? However, long before the circle is complete the Great Work or union of Opposites must first begin with the Son and Daughter as the catalyst but it cannot truly be achieved below the Abyss or in a realm where the pain of division still dominates. The children must assume the role of their parents. On the most mundane level this action implies that a mortal woman has become a Scarlet Woman and is assisting a Beast in brandishing his phallic power correctly. This can only occur if she no longer sees his phallus as a mere fleshy part of his body. In other words, just as a true Knight will always see the vagina as a representation of his Holy Grail, the woman sees every penis as her Holy Lance. TSL. He is Truth, She is Love. “Love is the law, love under will.” (AL I:57) And once the Lance and Grail have been properly returned to their rightful heritage then, and only then, are both individuals considered to be fleshy vehicle as a proper Son (ו) and Daughter (2nd ה), Babalon and the Beast conjoined, Solve et Coagula, capable of uniting in a sexual embrace— i.e. IX°.
In ending, I must remind the reader that the Scarlet Woman is someone who is not necessarily a whore or slut on this plane but rather she is someone who has embraced her full sexual potentiality. She is an untainted, uncontaminated channel of Power. But she must never forget that a woman’s work of wickedness must solely be defined by her capability of awakening Lust in men. If at any point in her relationship she fails in her task then another woman shall emerge who can awaken “the lust & worship of the Snake” (AL III:34). That is the Law.
This article appears in the Appendix of AHAON: The Story of a Fool’s Quest for Pieces to a Puzzle Called Life by Frater Achad Osher 583 (Copyright 2013)
Love is the law, love under will. –AL I:57