It is written in Liber AL vel Legis II:36, “There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.” Crowley comments, “The entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices are suitable for festivals. The difference between ‘rituals’ and ‘feasts’ is this: by the one a particular form of energy is generated, while there is a general discharge of one’s superfluous force in the other. Yet a feast implies periodical nourishment.” This cycle of dramatic rituals are therefore invocations. They are intended to generate energy at the entrance of the Sun into the cardinal signs of elements at the four quarters of the year, i.e. the Equinoxes and Solstices.
The entire cycle of rituals simultaneously show:
- The macrocosmic cycle of the Sun going through the seasons
- The microcosmic cycle of Man going through the generations/Incarnation (birth/youth-adulthood-old age-death).
- The process of Attainment from 0=0 to 8=3 and back again.
The energies of each ritual correspond to each of these planes at once:
Each ritual invokes a particular energy. Each ritual has a particular Word of Power associated therewith and it is intoned in between the scenes. The Word also appears once in each ritual within a particular Scene.
Each of the four rituals has 3 scenes for a total of 12 scenes for the entire cycle, one for each of the signs of the Zodiac. The middle scene of each ritual is the sign of the Equinox or Solstice – for example, the middle scene in Autumn is Libra. The first scene is therefore Virgo, the sign before Libra, and the last scene is Scorpio, the sign after Libra. In general, the first scene represents events leading up to the Equinox or Solstice, the middle scene represents the actual turning-point, and the last scene represents events leading to the next Equinox or Solstice.
The Basic Characters
- (☉/♂) Priest/King – the conscious Self. The Child who grows to become King who attains and becomes a Priest and then dies and is reborn as the Child.
- (☽/♀) Priestess/Queen – the Non-Self (the unconscious self, the “higher self,” etc.). The Mother of the Child, the Queen/Beloved of the King, the High Priestess of the Priest.
- (+ and -) 2 Children – the duality of the World. Various roles throughout the entire cycle.
- (⊕) The People (participants) – the inhabitants of the World; they identify (at least their conscious selves) with the Priest.
Also known as “The Chymical Wedding”
The Word of this ceremony is ‘ABRAHADABRA.’ It is repeatedly intoned in between scenes by the People/Congregants. The Incense of this ceremony is Sandalwood.1 The Talisman of this ceremony is the Mark of the Beast2.
SCENE I: Gemini.
The Maturation of the Child, the strengthening of the Mind, and the King’s approach to the Lower Kingdom.
The Queen sits enthroned in the East3 behind the Veil. She is wearing a white robe with no tabard, is crowned with twelve flowers, and she holds a wilted Lotus flower. + and – stand in the center of the Temple; + holds a censer with incense4 and – holds a cup of salt and water.5 The King is in the West with the Lance, wearing only a white robe with no tabard. The body of the King has been equilibrated6 and now the mind7 requires equilibration.
[INTRO MUSIC: The end of Holst’s “Mars, the Bringer of War” continuing from the end of the Vernal Equinox ceremony]
The King begins to approach the East from the West.
KING: I have balanced the Elements within myself and become worthy to seize my Father’s Sacred Lance of power. I travel into the Lower Kingdom to seek the Daughter of the King, that she may become my bride and be set upon the Throne of my Mother.
+ and – approach the King and stop him.
+ and –: Halt!
They attach a garotte to his throat.8
–: Child of Earth, un-purified, you cannot enter the path to the Lower Kingdom.9
– makes three crosses with the cup of salt and water in the shape of a downward triangle10 over the chest of the King while saying:
–: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.11
+: Child of Earth, unconsecrated, you cannot enter the path to the Lower Kingdom.
+ makes three crosses with the censer in the shape of an upright triangle12 over the chest of the King while saying:
+: I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses of the stars rain hard upon thy body.13
In the following back-and-forth, the lines are spoken fairly quickly, with the King turning his head back and forth to face + or – as they speak, giving the sense of being bounced back-and-forth between two extremes of duality.
+: Thoughts are false.14
–: All thought is dis-ease.15
+: All this is true and false.
–: And it is true and false to say that it is true and false.16
+: Now a curse upon Because and his kin! May Because be accursèd for ever!
–: If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.
+: If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.
–: Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.17
The King then looks straight ahead, the head tipped slightly upwards to expose the neck.18
+: Strain forth thine Intelligence, O man, for thus thy reason shall at last break down.
–: As the fetter is struck from a slave’s throat.19
The garotte is removed from the King’s throat.20
+: Balance against each thought its exact opposite!
–: For the Marriage of these is the Annihilation of Illusion.21
QUEEN: The Oracle of the Gods is the Child-Voice of Love in thine own Soul! hear thou it!
She pauses briefly.
QUEEN: Heed not the Siren-Voice of Sense, or the Phantom-Voice of Reason: rest in Simplicity, and listen to the Silence!22
The King gives the Sign of Silence. + and – move to the sides of the King, allowing him passage into the Lower Kingdom.23 The King proceeds to the East and passes through the Veil.
[MUSIC: Gustav Holst’s “Uranus, the Magician” from op.32, “The Planets”]
SCENE II: Cancer.
The Union of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms, and the re-ascent of the Man to Kingship.
The King stands in the West, approaching the Lower Kingdom.24 The Queen sits enthroned in the East with the Veil open. She appears as the Empress25, bearing the Lotus flower and wearing a crown of 12 white flowers26; she wears only a pure white robe.27 The Lotus flower is dying as it has lacked sunlight for it to flourish. The Man approaches and the Queen questions whether he is worthy. + and – stand on either side of the Queen in the sign of Osiris Risen.
The King walks towards the East.
+: A man approaches.
–: It is the young King of the Upper Kingdom.
QUEEN: Assure yourselves that he is purified and consecrated.
– approaches the King and touches his forehead, mouth, and chest.28
–: He is pure of body and soul.29
+ approaches the King and touches his forehead, mouth, and chest.
+: He is fervent of body and soul.32
The Queen approaches the King and touches his chest with her left hand.
+ touches the King’s right arm with his right hand.
– touches the King’s left arm with her left hand.
The Queen touches the King’s head with her right hand.
The Queen, +, and – step back from the King.
QUEEN: To what end do you journey into this Lower Kingdom?
KING: To seek you, the Daughter of the King, that you may become my bride and be set upon the Throne of my Mother.
QUEEN: By what power do you approach my Lower Kingdom to take me as your bride?
The King raises his Lance.39
KING: By the power of the lifted lance!40
+ and – both give the Hailing sign of the Magician.41 The Lotus is transformed, blooming, and beautiful. The Queen holds it up, looks at it, and recognizing the Man’s authority and right as the King, gives the Hailing sign of the Magician as well.
+: It beams!
–: It burns!
QUEEN: It blooms!42
The Queen sets the Lotus on the altar in the East and clothes the King in a red robe/tabard.43 In the center of the robe is a golden cross; above the cross is written, “BLASFHMIA”44 and at the groin is a sun.45.
QUEEN: Who is like unto thee? Who is able to make war with thee?46 Blessing unto the name of the Beast, for thou hast let loose a mighty flood of fire from thy manhood, and from thy womanhood hast thou let loose a mighty flood of water.
She turns and speaks to the People.
QUEEN: Great is the Beast that cometh forth like a lion, the servant of the Star and of the Snake. He is the Eternal one; He is the Almighty one. Blessed are they upon whom he shall look with favour, for nothing shall stand before his face. Accursed are they upon whom he shall look with derision, for nothing shall stand before his face… Who shall strive with his might? Hath he not the spear of the Warrior Lord of the Sun? Who shall contend with him? Who shall lift himself up against him? For the latchet of his sandal is more than the helmet of the Most High.47 The Beast whereon I shall ride is the Lord of the City of the Pyramids!48 By your might as King of the earth, you shall cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark.49
The King gives the Mark of the Beast50 to the People. The King returns and then clothes the Queen in a green robe/tabard, being Venus the Beloved; in the center of the robe is a silver circle51; just above this is written, “MUSTHRION”52 and at the groin is a moon.53
KING: Beautiful art thou, O Babalon, and desirable, for thou hast given thyself to everything that liveth, and thy weakness hath subdued their strength. For in this union thou dost understand. Therefore art thou called Understanding, O Babalon, Lady of the Night!
He turns and speaks to the People.
KING: This is the Mystery of Babalon, the Mother of abominations, and this is the mystery of her adulteries, for she hath yielded up herself to everything that liveth, and hath become a partaker in its mystery. And because she hath made herself the servant of each, therefore is she become the mistress of all. Not as yet canst thou comprehend her glory.
The King turns back to the Queen.
KING: O Babalon, Babalon, thou mighty Mother, that ridest upon the crowned beast, let me be drunken upon the wine of thy fornications; let thy kisses wanton me even unto death!54
Congregants repeatedly intone ‘ABRAHADABRA’ in between scenes.
[MUSIC: The first part of Tchaikovsky’s Op.45 “Capriccio Italiano,” stopping before ~1:30]
SCENE III: Leo.
The Marriage of King and Queen, and the Conception of the Demi-God Redeemer.
The King and Queen are in the East in front of the Veil and below the dais. The Queen stands to the right and the King stands to the left.55
– bears a Chalice, not the one used earlier for purification, to the King and Queen, and + fills this with wine or champagne.
+: Wisdom is the Man.
–: And Understanding the Woman.56
The wine is shared between the King and Queen as is traditionally seen at marriages.57 The King then leads the Queen up the dais to the East where he stands on the right and the Queen stands on the left.58 The King and Queen face one another; the Queen holds the Lance in the King’s right hand with her right and the King holds the Chalice in the Queen’s left hand with his left (right hands over left), forming a lemniscate, a symbol of interlocked opposites and infinity.
[MUSIC: Fade in Tchaikovsky’s Op.45 “Capriccio Italiano,” starting from approximately ~1:45]
+: Hallelujah, for the Lord omnipotent reigneth!59
–: Hallelujah, for the Lady omnipresent reigneth!
+: Let us give honor to them!
–: Let us be glad and rejoice!60
+ and –: Hallelujah!
The King then moves to the center of the East, facing outwards, and sits in full-lotus (or cross-legged). He holds the Lance with the point upwards in his right hand. The Queen mounts the King while bearing the Cup61 in her right hand.
KING and QUEEN: ABRAHADABRA.62
+ and – close the Veil as the song reaches ~3:15 where there is a short break in the music.
1 In 777, Sandalwood is attributed to Venus and generally refers to Love. This ceremony deals with the union of Father and Mother, King and Queen, in the sign of Cancer whose symbol shows the union of opposites (♋). Insofar as Sandalwood is attributed to Venus, it corresponds with Atu III: The Empress in the Tarot which shows a mature female who is often shown wearing or being adorned with flowers; this is the character of the new Queen that appears in this Solstice ceremony.
2 The Mark of the Beast is, symbolically, the union of Sol and Luna, which is the basic alchemical process at work throughout the Summer Solstice ceremony.
3 This is the Daughter of Tetragrammaton, the Final Heh of YHVH. She is explicitly called “the Daughter of the King” in the third scene (Taurus) of the Vernal Equinox ceremony. She is not yet raised to be the Mother/Queen, which requires the union of the Son with the Daughter in the second scene (Cancer) of this Summer Solstice ceremony.
4 These represent the “active” elements of Fire (censer) and Air (incense), reflecting the censer used by the Positive Child in the Gnostic Mass.
5 These represent the “passive” elements of Earth (salt) and Water (water), reflecting the pitcher of water and cellar of salt used by the Negative Child in the Gnostic Mass.
6 The body refers more abstractly to the Elements in general, and the Child has passed through the equilibration of the 4 Elements in the third scene (Taurus) of the Vernal Equinox ceremony.
7 Gemini is an Air sign and is ruled by Mercury which both represent the Mind in Elemental and Planetary symbolism, respectively.
8 The garotte is a symbol of the restraint of thought and speech. Crowley writes in The Book of Lies, “The reason is situated in Daath, which corresponds the the throat in human anatomy.”
9 This line comes almost directly from the Golden Dawn Neophyte initiation ceremony.
10 This downward triangle is a symbol of the Element of Water.
11 Liber AL, I:44. In Magick in Theory & Practice, chapter 14, Crowley writes, “The words of purification are: Asperges me, Therion, hyssopo, et mundabor; lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor. Those of consecration are: Accendat in nobis Therion ignem sui amoris et flammam aeternae caritatis. These may now advantageously be replaced by (a) ‘… pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.’ (CCXX, I, 44) to banish; and (b) ‘I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses of the stars rain hard upon thy body.’ (CCXX, II, 62) to consecrate. For the Book of the Law contains the Supreme Spells.”
12 This upright triangle is a symbol of the Element of Fire.
13 Liber AL, II:62. See note 98(???) above.
14 The Book of Lies, chapter 5.
15 The Book of Lies, chapter 85.
16 This exchange comes from The Book of Lies, chapter 31, which is titled “The Garotte.”
17 This exchange is a quotation from Liber AL, II:28-32.
18 The neck is the place of Da’ath, “Knowledge,” that is the crown of the Ruach but also what prevents passageway to the Abyss.
19 This exchange comes from The Book of Lies, chapter 31, which is titled “The Garotte.”
20 Crowley writes in his commentary to chapter 31 of The Book of Lies, “As soon as the reason is vanquished, the garotte is removed; then the influence of the supernals (Kether, Chokmah, Binah), no longer inhibited by Daath, can descend upon Tiphareth, where the human will is situated, and flood it with the ineffable light.”
21 These two lines come from The Heart of the Master under the section for Libra, which here represents the balance of the King’s mind.
22 From the section for Gemini in The Heart of the Master, which is proper to this scene as being of Gemini.
23 This represents the culmination of Adolescence in the expansion and fortification of the mind/Ruach.
24 The Lower Kingdom represents the unconscious and therefore the marriage between Kingdoms symbolizes a harmony between the conscious and unconscious self.
25 Atu III: The Empress. The Queen is the Empress, the Beloved, bearing the Lotus of femininity.
26 These 12 white flowers are the Earthly reflection of the High Priestess’ crown of 12 stars that is seen in the Winter Solstice ceremony, showing the identity of Queen and Priestess.
27 This reflects the fact that she is, at this point, the “Virgin, pure, without spot” from the Gnostic Mass who will be uplifted by the Priest to become the Queen/Mother. It also is a reference to Revelation 19:8, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of saints.”
28 The forehead represents thought, the mouth represents speech, and the chest represents deed or action.
29 This line is adapted from the Gnostic Mass.
30 Matthew 5:8.
31 Titus 1:15.
32 This line is adapted from the Gnostic Mass.
33 Adapted from Psalm 119:2-3.
34 James 5:16.
35 Pronounced “ka-tha-rahs.” Kαθαροσ or “katharos” is Greek for “purity,” which pertains to the 6th Sephirah of Tiphareth, or Sol, in the Heart. As Crowley writes in the 15th Aethyr, “This Adept guards Tiphareth and tests the heart (which pertains thereto) for its purity. (kαθαροσ = pure).”
36 Fortis is Latin for “strength” or “strong,” which pertains to the 5th Sephirah of Geburah or Mars. As Crowley writes in the 15th Aethyr, “Fortis means strong,”
37 Pronounced “tahn.” TAN is Enochian for “justice” or “mercy,” which pertains to the 4th Sephirah of Chesed, or Jupiter. The 17th Aethyr is named “TAN” and within the Aethyr it is said, “TAN is that which transformeth judgment into justice. BAL is the sword, and TAN the balances… this word TAN meaneth mercy.” Crowley comments thereupon, “TAN is given in above as meaning the Balances. Thus… the truth of Justice is Mercy.”
38 Pronounced “sah-mahj.” Samajh means “understanding” in Sanskrit, which pertains to the 3rd Sephirah of Binah. All the previous words ([urity, strength, mercy, and understanding) all come from The Vision and the Voice, 15th Aethyr.
39 This is an invocation of the King’s solar power and an assertion of his having obtained the sexual-procreative powers of maturity.
40 From the Gnostic Mass.
41 The sign of Life (II°) that is given in the Gnostic Mass.
42 This exchange comes from The Vision and the Voice, 5th Aethyr. It refers to the Rose-Cross.
43 This goes over the white robe, virtually identical to the Priestess clothing the Priest in the radiance or ambience of the flame of the Sun at the beginning of the Gnostic Mass. This signifies his ascent to Kingship and being Lord on Earth.
44 A reference to Revelation 13:1.
45 A symbol of the masculine-generative power.
46 Adapted from Revelation 13:4 where it refers to the Beast.
47 Adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 16th Aethyr.
48 The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr.
49 A reference to Revelation 13:16.
50 This Mark of the Beast is also the Mark of Cain, i.e. the mark of initiation. The people receiving this mark refers to 6=5 in Geburah, the martial expansion of power to the kingdoms of the earth, the leading and enlightening of others. It also refers to the attainment of the Grade of Lover whereof it is said in the 13th Aethyr, “The lover giveth his life unto the work among men.” The Mark of the Beast can either be rubber stamp bearing the Mark of the Beast (either Sol-Luna with 2 Testes, or the Cross-in-the-Circle) pressed onto the hands of the People or it can also be a coin bearing the same symbol.
51 The silver circle of the Queen complements the golden cross of the King, together they form the Rose-Cross.
52 A reference to Revelation 17:5.
53 A symbol of the feminine-generative power.
54 The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr. Note that the original text has “Babylon” because the correct spelling as “Babalon” was not revealed until the 10th Aethyr. The term is switched to “Babalon” in this ritual, for To Mega Therion discovered the true spelling of Her name for us.
55 That is, the Queen stands in the place of Chesed and the King stands in the place of Geburah on the Tree of Life. The path between them is that of Leo to which is attributed the Tarot trump Atu XI: Lust that depicts Babalon astride the Beast.
56 The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr.
57 This refers to 5=6 in Tiphareth.
58 That is, the Queen stands in the place of Binah and the King stands in the place of Chokmah on the Tree of Life. Their switching positions shows the change from being Prince/Princess to King/Queen. The path between them is that of Venus, i.e. Supernal Love.
59 Revelation 19:6.
60 Adapted from Revelation 19:7.
61 This is Shiva-Shakti in Hindu imagery and Babalon astride the Beast as seen in Atu XI: Lust in the Thoth Tarot, which is ruled by Leo.
62 ABRAHADABRA refers to the interlocking unityof opposites, specifically the 5 of the Microcosm with the 6 of the Macrocosm. As it is written in The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr, “this is the word of double power in the voice of the Master, wherein the Five interpenetrateth the Six.”