Chapter III – א (Aleph)
Crowley writes in the 22nd Aethyr, “Contrast each verse of Cap. I with the corresponding verse of Cap. II… Thus in Cap. III (still verse by verse correspondence) the Quintessence of the ideas is extracted.” In Chapter I, we saw the “upright” images of the Sephiroth, and in Chapter II, we saw the “averse” images of the Sephiroth. Now, in Chapter III, we see the “Quintessence of the ideas” being extracted. This means that the basic idea behind both “upright” and “averse” is described.
0. Say thou that He God is one; God is the Everlasting One; nor hath He any Equal, or any Son, or any Companion. Nothing shall stand before His face.
This first line in Chapter III is a translation of sorts of Surah 112, “The Chapter of Unity,” which prefaces the entire Holy Book in Arabic in Chapter I. Surah 112 is short, composed only of 4 lines.
Say thou that He God is one: The first line of Surah 112 is “Qol: Hua Allahu achad,” which means “Say: He is God/Allah, who is One.”
God is the Everlasting One: The second line of Surah 112 is “Allahu Assamad,” which means “Allah the Everlasting” (or Eternal).
nor hath He any Equal, or any Son, or any Companion: The third line of Surah 112 is, “lam yalid walam yulad,” which means “he begets not nor is begotten.” This is, in many ways, explicitly warning against the idea of Christ as the Son of God. In Islam, there is a strict confession of the Unity of God (tawhid). There is nothing equal to God, God begets no Son (or any offspring) that are equal to Himself, and God has no companion in the sense of anything beside Himself. This particular line seems to be from a confession of faith called “kalima-e-shahādat” where one says “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah; One is He, no partner hath He, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.”
Nothing shall stand before His face: The fourth line of Surah 112 is, “walam yakun lahu kufwan achad,” which means “Nor is there anyone like unto Him” or “nor is there to Him any equivalent.” This line also relates to the 16th Aethyr where it is written, “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.” In a note to these lines Crowley comments, “Adaptions of the Qu’ran are to be found in this passage.”
1. Even for five hundred and eleven times nightly for one and forty days did I cry aloud unto the Lord the affirmation of His Unity.
five hundred and eleven times nightly: I believe this number is used because it is 7 * 73. 7 is the number of Love, or Union, being the number of Venus, and it is also the number of letters in the word ARARITA. 73 is the number of Chokmah, or Wisdom, and also Gimel, which means “Camel.” This is important because the Camel implies crossing a desert, which Crowley did while using Surah 112 as a kind of mantra, but it more esoterically refers to the Path of Gimel that crosses the Abyss, moving from the duality or multiplicity below the Abyss to the Unity that is above the Abyss. These are what Crowley calls “The two ways to Kether [Unity], Gimel and Chokmah.”
one and forty days: This number is curious as 41 is the number of AM, the “Barren Mother,” or as Crowley writes, “AM, the Mother, unfertilised and unenlightened.” Then again, 41 is also the number of a word for “fecundity” as well as ALY (“My God”) and a word for “Divine Majesty.” This, along with this Liber being numbered as 570, are two things that remain somewhat mysterious to me.
affirmation of His Unity: Line 1 corresponds to the 1st Sephirah, Kether, which is the One or the Unity.
2. Also did I glorify His wisdom, whereby He made the worlds.
His wisdom: Line 2 corresponds to the 2nd Sephirah, Chokmah, which literally means “wisdom.”
whereby He made the worlds: This is the idea that Chokmah is the Word or “Logos” of God. This idea comes from John 1:1-3 which says, “In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
3. Yea, I praised Him for His intelligible essence, whereby the universe became light.
His intelligible essence: Line 3 corresponds to the 3rd Sephirah, Binah, which can be translated literally as “intelligence,” although it is usually translated by Crowley as “understanding.” It is the function of Binah to make “intelligible” the Word/Force that comes from Chokmah and to give it birth into form.
whereby the universe became light: This is a reference to Genesis 1:1-3, another creation story of the Bible (like John 1:1-3), which says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Traditionally, the creation of Light is the “first day” of Creation.
4. I did thank Him for His manifold mercy; I did worship His magnificence and majesty.
thank Him: Line 4 corresponds to the 4th Sephirah, Chesed, and thankfulness is attributed to Chesed. This is seen in the ritual “The Star Ruby” where the term “eucharistos” (literally, “thanksgiving” or “gratefulness”) is used when touching the left shoulder, corresponding to Chesed.
manifold mercy: Chesed literally means “mercy.”
His magnificence and majesty: “Magnificence” is a title of Chesed (“Gedulah” in Hebrew, as used in the “Qabalistic Cross” ritual) as is “Majesty”.
5. I trembled before His might.
trembled before His might: Line 5 corresponds to the 5th Sephirah, Geburah. Trembling is a proper response to this martial Sephirah, as one of Geburah’s title’s is “Fear” (“Pachad”). Also, “Might” is a way to translate Geburah itself (although it is usually “Strength”).
6. I delighted in the Harmony and Beauty of His Essence.
Harmony and Beauty: Line 6 corresponds to the 6th Sephirah, Tiphareth. Harmony is a quality of Tiphareth, and Tiphareth literally means “Beauty.”
7. In His Victory I pursued His enemies; yea I drave them down the steep; I thundered after them into the utmost abyss; yea, therein I partook of the glory of my Lord.
Victory: Line 7 corresponds to the 7th Sephirah, Netzach. Netzach literally means “Victory.”
8. His Splendour shone upon me; I adored His adorable splendour.
Splendour: Line 8 corresponds to the 8th Sephirah, Hod. Hod is often translated by Crowley as “Splendour.”
9. I rested myself, admiring the Stability of Him, how the shaking of His Universe, the dissolution of all things, should move Him not.
Stability: Line 9 corresponds to the 9th Sephirah, Yesod. Yesod means “Foundation” and it is often attributed to the paradox of “Stability is Change, and Change Stability.” It esoterically refers to the idea that it is called the “Foundation” but is also attributed to the Moon which waxes and wanes constantly.
the shaking of His Universe, the dissolution of all things: This refers to Samadhi, the “Chymical Marriage” of the union of opposites. It is mentioned in several ways in the Holy Book Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente sub figura LXV such as V:2, “Is not the starry heaven shaken as a leaf at the tremulous rapture of your love? Am not I the flying spark of light whirled away by the great wind of your perfection?” and V:30-31, “Also Adonai spake unto V.V.V.V.V. saying: O my little one, my tender one, my little amorous one, my gazelle, my beautiful, my boy, let us fill up the pillar of the Infinite with an infinite kiss! So that the stable was shaken and the unstable became still.” Even this dissolution of opposites does not move the Unity of God whatsoever.
10. Yea, verily, I the Lord Viceregent of His Kingdom, I, Adonai, who speak unto my servant V.V.V.V.V. did rule and govern in His place.
I the Lord Viceregent of His Kingdom, I: Line 10 corresponds to the 10th Sephirah, Malkuth. Malkuth literally means “Kingdom.” In the Creed of the Gnostic Mass it is said, “I believe in one secret and ineffable LORD; and in one Star in the Company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name CHAOS, the sole viceregent of the Sun upon the Earth…” In his commentary to Liber AL, III:22, Crowley says very clearly, “His [the Sun’s] vice-regent and representative in the animal kingdom is His cognate symbol the Phallus, representing Love and Liberty.” The idea is that the “one secret and ineffable LORD,” the Unity spoken of repeatedly in this Holy Book, is reflected into the Macrocosm/Heaven as the Sun and into the Microcosm/Earth (Malkuth, the 10th Sephirah) as the Phallus. This is also reinforced by the repetition of “I”, which is a symbol of Unity and generally a phallic symbol like a pillar.
Adonai, who speak unto my servant V.V.V.V.V.: We now actually have the “speaker” of this Holy Book identified. In some of the Holy Books, most notably this one (Liber ARARITA) and Liber LXV, there is an interplay between Adonai, God, and V.V.V.V.V., the Adept. Adonai is a common name for God and “V.V.V.V.V.” is Crowley’s motto for the grade of “Magister Templi,” which corresponds to the 3rd Sephirah, Binah. The symbolism here is that God/Adonai is Chokmah and V.V.V.V.V. is Binah, the “pure soul”; Adonai is the Yod of Tetragrammaton (YHVH) and V.V.V.V.V. is the Heh of Tetragrammaton (YHVH). The ineffable Unity (the “He”, “Him”, and “His” of this Holy Book) abides beyond Adonai (Chokmah) and V.V.V.V.V. (Binah) in Kether. Further, “The Vision of Adonai” is attributed to Malkuth, the 10th Sephirah, further reinforcing the mention of Adonai in this particular line.
11. Yet also did I formulate the word of double power in the Voice of the Master, even the word 418.
word of double power: This is essentially used as a direct quotation in the 12th Aethyr where it is written, “The Angel sayeth: And this is the word of double power in the voice of the Master, wherein the Five interpenetrateth the Six.” Crowley explicitly notes this “word of double power” is “ABRAHADABRA.” ABRAHADABRA has 11 letters, being the combination of 5 and 6, as this is Line 11.
the word 418: ABRAHADABRA enumerates to 418.
12. And all these things deceived me not, for I expanded them by my subtlety into the Twelve Rays of the Crown.
Once again, none of these things deceive the Adept, including even ABRAHADABRA. Again: the Twelve Rays of the Crown refer to adding 1 to 11 (the previous line and the 11 letters of ABRAHADABRA), the “Crown” refers to Kether, and twelve is the enumeration of the name HUA (“He”) which is a title of Kether.
13. And these twelve rays were One.
The twelve rays of the Crown of Kether are One, even as Kether is the 1st Sephirah, and 13 – just as this is Line 13 – is Achad (“Unity”).