Liber L., Cap. 1, vv. 10-19

10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18-19  
1-9   20-30   31-39   40-49   50-59   60-66  

10. Let my servants be few & secret: they shall rule the many & the known.

The number Ten — Malkuth — is the Kingdom.

The real “servants of Nuit” are necessarily “few and secret.” This does not refer to all Thelemites (so-called), but only to the few.

The key here is the equation of the word “servant” to “administrator.” This we know from the mysteries of the 32nd Path of Wisdom, and it is out-and-out confirmed by the present verse. The servants of the Highest are the administrators of the Law.

More deeply, we are told that this is so even if they are not terribly visible! One can “govern” overtly; and one can also govern from isolation, by (for example) the power of one’s meditations upon the group mind of humanity.

Why, though, the apparent imperative, the fiat? Is this but an affirmation of reality? Or is there a mandate present?

Crowley, after confirming all the foregoing, made an important distinction. These are Nuit’s servants, not those of Horus, the visible object of worship whose “law is for all.” The servants of Ra-Hoor-Khuit are naturally more visible. As I now realize, Liber Nu is only “for the winners of Ordeal x.” How does one serve Nu? What is this exact class? AC believed it is (perhaps) those who succeed in worshiping the Khabs. I note, however, that in this whole chapter we are asked to aid Her in her manifestation — to be Hadit, Her secret center, and the warrior lord of Thebes all rolled into one. This sounds like a very high adept to me!

It is quite clear how verse 10 refers to the Kingdom. This being so, we now close the first set of verses, those I view as relating to Aleph. (2/17/01 EV; tweaked on later dates through 11/15/2007 EV)

11. These are fools that men adore; both their Gods & their men are fools.

First off, v. 11 has a transparent relationship to the 11th Path, Aleph, The Fool. It is also adequately a Kether verse (opening the second, or Beth, decanate of verses). We shall see a similar “fools” reference in v. 31, which commences the fourth (Daleth) set of ten verses.

On the surface, the meaning of this verse is wonderfully clear. The modern political process alone is enough to support the literal truth of this verse! It is a pan of the “popular choice.” It is a companion verse to II:25, “Ye are against the people, O my chosen!” (Being the 91st verse in the whole book, II:25 is also a Kether verse. It starts the 10th, or Yod, series.)

The word “fools” appears to be used in I:11 [111 = Aleph!] in its lower sense, its derogatory sense. Or, instead of derogatory, perhaps we should say that, being bags of hot air and of the nature of wind, they are transient, breezy — everything we attribute to “air” and to “popular.” They are fads. Perhaps this verse, nonjudgmentally, merely says, “popular fads, leaders, pop figures, religions, etc. are transient.” Populus is a lunar idea, which cross-references to Air through Yesod. This, then, contrasts them to the servants of Nuit, who partake of a quality of eternity.

I just realized that, grammatically, this verse could be read in an entirely different sense than I have ever thought. I have always read it as, “These that men adore are fools,” where “fools” is the predicate nominative. But it is (theoretically) every bit as correct to read it as, “These are fools that adore men.” Poetic, awkward, but accurate grammar. This alternate interpretation presents a really nice follow-on to previous verses — several in a row. It says, take your worship of anyone (any person) to whom you displace your sense of power, and put it on the Khabs and on Nuit instead!

Crowley also believed there is a high, holy meaning regarding Aleph and The Fool; nor did he miss the verse number, 11. For example, he reiterated that many of the humans of legends or Gods of religion that have been worshipped are cognate to Aleph. (See Book of Thoth, Aleph section, for the extended development of this idea.) I tend to agree with AC that, “The statement in the text is, superficially, either a platitude or a petulance; neither sounds like the tone of Nuit.” I think it must continue from vv. 10-12 — it all seems connected — but I think we are missing something. There is also an obscurity in “These;” does it have an antecedent? Does it refer to “the many and the known”? Or to something else? (2/15/01 EV; tweaked on later dates through 11/15/2007 EV)

12. Come forth, o children, under the stars & take your fill of love.

In contrast to the prior verse, where “fools” are adored, Nuit’s “children” are here enjoined to come forth “under the stars,” before the stellar personages. Come forth, that is, before the body of Nuit. Come forth, most especially, in the realization that “Every man and every woman is a star,” that you are in the open and free. This love — what kind is it? Is it love of Nuit? The open love of witnessing the stellar reality of all others?

We are called forth from hiding, from having lived in some kind of fear. We need fear no longer. Even the stellar essence of us can emerge from the caverns of subconscious sequestering.

Love the heavens! (Love your Mother!) Love the infinite, and find infinite love.

From what are we to come forth? Surely it is the veilings and limitations of our own being, at whatever level we are capable of perceiving and understand these. It is the Horus in us — the “child” within us each — that is called forth from the bonds of circumstance and personality into the stellar, Briatic field, the field of Nuit’s love.

(Like v. 2, visibly a Chokmah verse, with stellar references. Thus also some relevancy to the 12th Path of Beth = KVKB, “children,” etc. Additionally, 12 implies the zodiac.) (2/17/01 EV)

I now understand this verse, most simply, to be a call for all to awaken to Briatic consciousness. That is the state which fulfills all the terms of this and collateral verses. But I understand that this interpretation will not readily speak to everyone. There are psychological and sociological implications (given above) which serve in the interim and may, in fact, lead to the awakening of Briatic consciousness. (11/16/03 EV)

13. I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours[.] My joy is to see your joy

This verse is poetical and beautiful beyond measure. Also, for a Western mind in 1904, it was probably mind-blowing; but, holding some mental objectivity so that the pure pleasure of this utterance doesn’t waft us away, we find that its doctrine is quite obvious.

First, it equates “above” and “within.” The “higher” and the “inner” are one. This has now become a commonplace understanding in our Work.

Second, these are specific positions of observance employed in both Eastern and Western magical training. The very highest deity ideas are sometimes witnessed before us, sometimes above us, and sometimes within us, especially within the heart. Nuit is one such idea.

Third, her ecstasy and joy are equated with ours. To worship her, to give her pleasure, we must have it ourselves! This is the tantric doctrine, among others, and one on which I have spoken numerous times, at length. It is the highest form of worship for the general populace, and one of the highest for initiates. (In his Old Comment days, this was all theory to AC.)

GEMATRIA: 13 is the number of unity and love. Those two ideas are interwoven in this verse as beautifully as could be imagined without overtly naming them.

AC discusses how Nuit seems to speak as an individual, and contrasts this to how we speak as a unit notwithstanding that we are composed of countless “selves,” each of which lives its own life cycle as an “individual.” I note, therefore, that not only is hers the voice of the Whole, but that this is a vision of the HGA who is that One Voice of that whole which transcends all the conflicting aspects of what we call ourselves.

(This verse is very appropriate to Binah — and also to Gimel, Path 13 — in many ways; but then, so are most verses in this particular chapter.) (4/3/95 EV)

14. Above, the gemmed azure is/ The naked splendour of Nuit;/ She bends in ecstasy to kiss/ The secret ardours of Hadit./ The winged globe, the starry blue,/ Are mine, O Ankh-af-na-khonsu!

This verse is a direct quote (paraphrased into poetry by AC) of the first lines of the Stélé of Revealing. (Actually AC has always said this; but, having just examined the translations of the hieroglyphs on the stélé, I cannot find it. It supposedly commences the obverse. My theory is that this particular verse is a complete poetic fabrication by AC from the descriptive sobriquets of the deities about the illustrative painting itself. When Liber Legis was dictated, this verse was represented by the phrase, “V.1. [verse 1] of Spell filled [?] the Sky.”)

However, the name “Nuit” is not mentioned even once on the stélé. This name did not originate with the dictation. AC used it in this form as early as 1901 in the last poem of his “Holy of Holies.” There are several aspects of that poem that show the inner formulation of what would appear in Liber Legis. This was about a year after Mathers raised him to 5=6. It was probably on his Mexican trip, and seemingly after his skrying of the 30th and 29th Aethyrs.

In any case, the verse is beautiful. (It has often been emphasized — mostly by Grant — that it refers to a sexual posture. It may, or it may not. It is beautiful either way!) Nuit is declared to be the “gemméd azure” itself, the star-bespeckled sky; and to be “above” (which, we have just seen, is equated to “within” — this bejeweled azure is also “within”). Like any two poles of natural force, she and Hadit are drawn powerfully to each other; and, perhaps because his constantly changing position paradoxically defines the stable center, this mutual attraction is seen as Nuit bending down. This is a perception that can be a mystical result; it is also a worthwhile meditation on its own. This “bending down” is, to her, ecstasy.

Now, we already know that her ecstasy is in ours! So this bending of Nuit must also be (to state the obvious) ecstasy to us. It is the reciprocal hexagram relationship of the HGA’s communion. A distinctly erotic symbolism is employed.

Now, remember that the phrase we previously used for “secret center” also means “secret fires.” It is MVQD SVD = 220. I suspect that Hadit’s “secret ardours” are the same as Nuit’s “secret centre.” (Hadit is nondimensional, unextended, etc.; He cannot have “parts,” for he is the Indivisible. Therefore “his” secret ardours cannot be an aspect or appendage; they must be the whole of what He is, whether secret centre, the hidden fire, etc.)

“Kiss” implies mouth, but in a very sweet way. This probably is not Peh symbolism. It may be all poetry. How literally are we to take this imagery? Her mouth defines the western horizon, where she swallows all planets, Sun, Moon, and stars — the kokaviym — as they set. Are we to apply the “death = ecstasy” formula of the West, so that her kiss is really an ardent and affectionate swallowing of him in his annihilation? This imagery and symbolism “work” well enough, they are all adequately cognate with any full sexual union; are they what we are to use here?

Speaker and listener are confused here. The verse is addressed to Ankh-af-na-Khonsu; but was not the stélé his creation? Also, Nuit is apparently no longer speaking, because She is described in the third person. Is Aiwass again speaking on his own? This is fairly critical so that we know in the verse following whose “fold” we are talking about!

In Equinox of the Gods, AC described that verse 14 “seems to have been written in by me as a kind of appreciation of what she had just said.” This still does not make clear who “mine” refers to.

Wingèd globe and starry blue are, respectively, emblems of Hadit and Nuit. It would be stretching a bit — though not unreasonably — to see them as Nuit’s words. They are better the words of an “outsider” (speaking in the mundane sense), an observer of these phenomena; and the attributes given are also the implements of a Chief Adept, an Adeptus Exemptus, of the old Order! If these are not Aiwass’ words, I am beginning to think of them as AC’s own, in a very high state.

GEMATRIA: “Naked splendour” is interesting. “Splendour” is likely HVD — which may be read, letter by letter, as, “the Star & the Queen (or Lover).” Of the various ways of saying “naked” in Hebrew, nigleh, NGLH, means “apparent, clear, revealed” — and refers to the Written and Oral Law. It therefore also has a Neshamah quality. It enumerates to 88. NGLH HVD = 88 + 15 = 103 = ha-kokaviym, “the stars”! So the verse is literal — the gemmèd azure is the Naked Splendour: ha-kokaviym (103) = nigleh hod (103). 103 is also Bonaim, i.e. we are all counted among these stars. This is also the Rota Mundi.

I think I have got the basic feel of the verse — though some new questions are stirred up.

Crowley begins his commentary on this verse by remarking that this “poetic description of the symbolism of the stélé is suitable for such minds as approach Truth in this manner rather than by way of Science or Philosophy.” I agree that, from that point of view, it is very powerful. He confirms that this ecstasy is in us, by saying, “it boasts the consummation of the marriage of Hadit and Nuit in the priest,” by the freeing of Hadit from the veils of the Khu. He explains 0=2 with respect to this wedding, such that 0 is the consequence in Mysticism, and 2 is the result in Magick; and the results of such Magick are always dual. That is, I combine fully with the Universe as I comprehend it, and we are both necessarily changed in the process. To the extent I have effectively altered the Universe, I have altered myself as its complement. It therefore provides an entirely new “courtship,” as Lamed to Aleph.

(The verse may fit Daleth, as an emblem of love; but it clearly fits Chesed. “Wingèd globe” is a 7=4 wand; “starry blue” is a Chesed symbol, as is “gemmèd azure.” Note that this verse — and, to a certain extent, all verses since 11 — pertain to the stélé.) (2/17/01 EV; amended 11/16/03 EV)

15. Now ye shall know that the chosen priest & apostle of infinite space is the prince-priest the Beast and in his woman, called the Scarlet Woman, is all power given. They shall gather my children into their fold: they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men.

(Geburan correspondences are interesting. Cf. v. 5 for a subtle similarity. Here we also get Scarlet Woman = Shakti = Shekinah = red pentagram, Ruby Star. Comparison to Heh, Path 15, is also fine. This verse continues the process of “defining the stélé,” i.e. the officers of the Aeon.)

This is one of the two verses that most caught my attention the very first time I ever saw Liber L., for reasons explained elsewhere.

It defines the two governing officers of the Temple at this time, i.e. of the Great Order. The Beast and the Scarlet Woman are the Chokmah and Binah archetypes (probably reflected functionally into Chesed and Geburah, respectively). These are archetypes, not individuals. Germer understood this better than almost anyone. Even AC was not the Beast; but he was the avatar, and the closest to its center of Light in his lifetime — and perhaps beyond. These are tremendous archetypal powers that people scarcely begin to appreciate. I suppose the easiest way to represent them is that the Beast is a solar-phallic representation of Chokmah, and the Scarlet Woman is a lunar-yonic representation of Binah, both phrases taken at a very high level, surely Briatic. The “chosen priest & apostle of infinite space” is the priestly consciousness of Chokmah, the sphere of starfields.

GEMATRIA: In Greek, their names are To Mega Therion = 666 and Hé Kokkiné Guné = 667.

I believe that this Book is primarily to be taken on an archetypal level of interpretation. Only on occasion are the instructions pragmatic in the physical sense; and when its prophesies take on the quality of predictions, they are merely the precipitation of archetype into the World of Action. The practical implication of this is that the inner “Beast” and “Scarlet Woman” — the Chiah and Neshamah of each of us — are the real agencies meant in most such passages through the Book. In the present verse (especially in conjunction with the last phrase of the prior verse) is a kind of ordination, it seems — of AC and Rose C — but there is also a deeper idea than this.

“Infinite space,” we are explicitly told in v. 22, is Nuit. This is the “chosen priest & apostle of Nuit.” 666 is called a “prince-priest,” a traditional designation of royalty in Egypt and elsewhere. 667 is purely Shakti, even as 666 is cognate with Shiva. (Note 667 is Hebrew for the phrase “Secret of All Spiritual Activities,” related to Teth.) The last sentence of the verse is a beautiful promise, which certain ones have enacted; but it also refers, ultimately I believe, to the direct work of these archetypes operative in humanity during this Aeon.

Crowley’s New Comment (N.C.) gives his own definition of this role for himself — a “job description.” He also says 666 and 667 are “avatars of Tao and Téh, Shiva and Shakti.” In the level I am considering them, I would rather say that they are “variations on a theme” of Shiva and Shakti, highly specialized; and that they then have incarnate avatars. I am not so ready to say that the Beast is only one person, the man AC — although this was undeniably true in his lifetime.

AC’s remarks on “fold:” I find it interesting that I have never thought of this! I have always thought of “embrace.”

GEMATRIA: AC remarked that “prince-priest” is an anagram of Princeps Iter, “Wandering Prince” — which he related to “Alastor the Wanderer.” He also cites Princeps Erit, “He shall be chief.” Princeps = 90 = Perdurabo. Altogether = 138 = AYMA ALHYM; BN ALHYM; and several very important entries in Latin that have to be seen to be believed! I will list them here for those who read this: Custos Verbi, “Guardian of the Word”; Fraternitas R.C., “Fraternity R.C.”; mater et virgo, “mother and virgin”; Perseverantia, “perseverance” (the motto of —); Rex Iudaeorum, “King of the Jews”; and Valle Iosophat, “Valley of Jehosophat,” a mystical term used in alchemy and Freemasonry.

GEMATRIA: “Glory of the Stars.” Which word for “glory”? Although there are a lot of Hebrew words for glory (ZV, GDVLH, GAVN, KBVD, TzBY), kavod is the most common in Qabalistic Hebrew phrases. Based on this and a little examination, I see KBVD HKVKBYM as the best form. KBVD HKVKBYM = 135. In Hebrew, this number is not very interesting, except for a word meaning “congregation;” but Greek and Latin become more interesting. In Greek, 135 = doxa, “glory, splendor.” In Latin, this number relates to high functions within the Order and within the delivered process of initiation: It is Illuminatus, “illuminated;” both Caput Ordinis and Prolocutor; and Liber AL vel Legis.

(7/5/95 EV; additions 11/17/03 EV)

16. For he is ever a sun, and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame and to her the stooping starlight.

(Easily Tiphereth symbolism, in many ways.)

“Him” and “her” presumably refer to 666 & 667. (More broadly, this verse refers to the universal essence of male and female, of course.) There are documented astral confirmations of details given in this verse, however, for what is usually called “the solar body,” i.e. the mental body proper, which conforms to Greek ideals of beauty.

As already said, with reference to the prior verse, 666 is solar-phallic Wisdom, and 667 is lunar-yonic Understanding. This verse confirms it.

But the second sentence has a structural strangeness. “to him is... the flame” seems incomplete. Does it mean to him is attributed the winged flame? Or what? It seems adequately clear poetically, in a vague way, but does not hold up on critical grammatical analysis.

Broadly, it shows 666 = Sun corresponding somehow to Hadit, and 667 = Moon, corresponding somehow to Nuit.

Note also that Hadit is uniquely described as a “winged secret flame.” I previously postulated that “secret center” = “secret fire”; and this verse confirms that, too. It is another way of saying that Hadit is Yod. (4/3/95 EV; tweaked on various dates thereafter)

17. But ye are not so chosen

I have, over the years, formulated my own views on this verse; and suddenly, considering the likely correspondence of verse 17 either to Netzach or Zayin, Venus or The Lovers (Gemini, 17th Path), those views spring alive.

I have never accepted the apparent surface meaning of this verse. It is intuitively wrong. Every man and woman is a star, is expressed as a Sun or Moon, is a reflection of Nuit and of Hadit, etc.

I believe, instead, that there is a Qabalistic code here. “Ye” is YH [Yod-Heh]. The message of this verse is then the natural continuation from the prior verses! Together Yod and Heh, the Sun and Moon, are Not; therefore, they are the Chosen. Not the Sun or Moon divided, but the Lingam and Yoni united in an expression of Divine Will (YaH). This is very sacred and clear to me. It gives a clear continuation of the same theme from v. 15 through v. 19, and perhaps through v. 21. (4/3/95 EV)

18. Burn upon their brows, o splendrous serpent!
19. O azure-lidded woman, bend upon them!

A couplet. Pretty obvious in the meaning. Note, especially, that they form the Hexagram: He rises; She bends down. In my experience, the phenomena described in v. 19 are the natural consequence of v. 18 occurring, if “brows” is understood to be Ajna. An important fomulation near the beginning of Liber Pleiades (see the appendices of 776 1/2) relies on this predictable phenomenon.

In the model from the Shiva Samhita, this serpent rising to the brow is solar — flowing from a Sun that is postulated as existing at the base of the spine — and the “bending down” of the goddess is the continual “raining” of a dew that precipitates from a Moon that is understood to rest within the skull or perhaps higher.

Not “his brows,” or “bend upon him;” but “their” and “them.” The antecedents are the lovers of the previous verses, evidently in their conjunction with each other. Hadit is the center of every star, and Nuit’s wedding with Him is in her wedding with each of us and all of us. This couplet is an invocation — no, more correctly a benediction.

v. 18 = Hod, “Splendor” and the kundalini serpent. 18 = ChTA, “the antique Serpent.” v. 19 = Yesod, the Moon, etc.; and cf. v. 9. Again, notice that this entire Beth n series since v. 11 has been a description of the stélé! (Tweaked 11/18/11 EV)

Return to TOP of page.
Continue to next verse.