Chapter VII – א (Aleph)
Crowley writes in the 22nd Aethyr, “Contrast each verse of Cap. I [of Liber ARARITA] with the corresponding verse of Cap. II for the first of these methods. Thus in Cap. III (still verse by verse correspondence) the Quintessence of the ideas is extracted; and in Cap. IV they are withdrawn each one into the one beyond it. In Cap. V they have disappeared into the Method itself. In Cap. VI they reappear in the Form appointed by the Will of the Adept. Lastly, in Cap. VII they are dissolved, one into the next until all finally disappear in the Fire Qadosh, the Quintessence of Reality. ” Now, in Chapter VII, we see each of these ideas “all finally disappear in the Fire Qadosh, the Quintessence of Reality.”
This entire Chapter contains many references to the Chaldean Oracles, which Crowley studied diligently (specifically, the translation by W. Wynn Westcott, one of the founders of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn). The Fire Qadosh is more than mere Elemental Fire, it is the Light of the ineffable Unity itself. We can see the Fire Qadosh as the ultimate nature of God as explained in the two “Oracles from Porphyry” that conclude the Chaldean Oracles:
“1. There is above the Celestial Lights an Incorruptible Flame always sparkling; the Spring of Life, the Formation of all Beings, the Original of all things! This Flame produceth all things, and nothing perisheth but what it consumeth. It maketh Itself known by Itself. This Fire cannot be contained in any Place, it is without Body and without Matter. It encompasseth the Heavens. And there goeth out from it little Sparks, which make all the Fires of the Sun, of the Moon, and of the Stars. Behold! what I know of God! Strive not to know more of Him, for that is beyond thy capacity, how wise soever thou art. As to the rest, know that unjust and wicked Man cannot hide himself from the Presence of God! No subtilty nor excuse can disguise anything front His piercing Eyes. All is full of God, and God is in All!
2. There is in God an Immense Profundity of Flame! Nevertheless, the Heart should not fear to approach this Adorable Fire, or to be touched by it; it will never be consumed by this sweet Fire, whose mild and Tranquil Heat maketh the Binding, the Harmony, and the Duration of the World. Nothing subsisteth but by this Fire, which is God Himself. No Person begat Him; He is without Mother; He knoweth all things, and can be taught nothing. He is Infallible in His designs, and His name is unspeakable, Behold now, what God is! As for us who are His messengers, We are but a Little Part of God.”
Line 0. Then in the might of the Lion did I formulate unto myself that holy and formless fire, קדש, which darteth and flasheth through the depths of the Universe.
in the might of the Lion: The Lion is a symbol of the Sun and therefore the Light and Fire of the ineffable Unity. Here, it is a reference to the Chaldean Oracles, aphorism 198: “A similar Fire flashingly extending through the rushings of Air, or a Fire formless whence cometh the Image of a Voice, or even a flashing Light abounding, revolving, whirling forth, crying aloud. Also there is the vision of the fire-flashing Courser of Light, or also a Child, borne aloft on the shoulders of the Celestial Steed, fiery, or clothed with gold, or naked, or shooting with the bow shafts of Light, and standing on the shoulders of the horse; then if thy meditation prolongeth itself, thou shalt unite all these Symbols into the Form of a Lion.” The “Child” is also a reference to Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child. This aphorism gives the further implication of uniting all symbols into a single symbol of the Lion, which is then – in this Holy Book – itself dissolved, as are all images.
that holy and formless fire: This refers to the Quintessence of Reality, the ineffable Unity. It is specifically a reference to the Chaldean Oracles, aphorism 199: “When thou shalt behold that holy and formless Fire shining flashingly through the depths of the Universe: Hear thou the Voice of Fire.”
קדש” :קדש” is “Qadosh,” which means “Holy” in Hebrew. It is identical with “Sanctus” in Latin and “Hagios” in Greek. In all three languages, this word is repeated thrice in certain prayers or invocations. It can be seen as identical with the idea of LXV, the Light which is beyond the duality of light and dark. This is the “Fire Qadosh,” which is not simple Elemental Fire, but that which is beyond even Spirit.
which darteth: This is a reference to the Chaldean Oracles, aphorism 196: “If thou often invokest thou shalt see all things growing dark; and then when no longer is visible unto thee the High-arched Vault of Heaven, when the Stars have lost their Light and the Lamp of p. 53 the Moon is veiled, the Earth abideth not, and around thee darts the Lightning Flame and all things appear amid thunders.”
and flasheth through the depths of the universe: This is a reference to the Chaldean Oracles, aphorism 199 (mentioned above): “…that holy and formless Fire shining flashingly through the depths of the Universe…”
Line 1. At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the earth melted into a liquor clear as water.
the earth melted into a liquor clear as water: Lines 1 through 5 are reminiscent of Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente sub figura LXV, V:27-28, “Thou shalt rejoice in the pools of adorable water; thou shalt bedeck thy damsels with pearls of fecundity; thou shalt light flame like licking tongues of liquor of the Gods between the pools. Also thou shalt convert the all-sweeping air into the winds of pale water, thou shalt transmute the earth into a blue abyss of wine.” The difference is that this Holy Book deals with the resolution of the heaviest Elements into the lighter Elements until they become the ineffable Unity, whereas Liber LXV appears to be dealing more with the idea of simply transmuting forms into other forms. In this Line specifically, earth (the heaviest Element) is transmuted into water (the second-heaviest Element).
Line 2. At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the water smoked into a lucid air.
water smoked into a lucid air: Water, the second-heaviest Element, is now transmuted into its more “refined” form of Air, the third-heaviest Element.
Line 3. At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the air ignited, and became Fire.
the air ignited, and became Fire: Air, the third-heaviest Element, is transmuted into the “lighter” Element of Fire.
Line 4. At the touch of the Fire Qadosh, O Lord, the Fire dissipated into Space.
the Fire dissipated into Space: Fire, the lightest Element of the 4 Elements, dissipates into Space, which is the same as “the æther” mentioned in the previous Chapter; they are both names for Spirit, the 5th Element. This shows that “the Fire Qadosh” is more than mere Elemental Fire.
Line 5. At the touch of the Fire Qadosh, O Lord, the Space resolved itself into a Profundity of Mind.
the Space resolved itself into a Profundity of Mind: The 5th Element of “Space” or Spirit is the last of the 5 Elements. It resolves itself into Mind, the illuminated consciousness of the Adept. This is a reference to the Chaldean Oracles, aphorism 182: “But these are mysteries which I evolve in the profound Abyss of the Mind.”
Line 6. At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the Mind of the Father was broken up into the brilliance of our Lord the Sun.
the Mind of the Father was broken up into the brilliance of our Lord the Sun: The idea is that the illuminated Microcosmic Mind of the Adept is withdrawn further into the Macrocosm of the Light of the Sun. The Sun is attributed to the 6th Sephirah, Tiphareth, and this is Line 6. The line is also a reference to the Chaldean Oracles, aphorism 17, “The Mind of the Father riding on the subtle Guiders, which glitter with the tracings of inflexible and relentless Fire.” This particular quotation prefaces Crowley’s book Little Essays Towards Truth.
Line 7. At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the Brilliance of our Lord was absorbed in the Naught of our Lady of the Body of the Milk of the Stars.
absorbed in the Naught of our Lady of the Body of the Milk of the Stars: That is, the Sun is absorbed into Infinite Space, known as Nuit to us. The “Naught” refers to the Qabalistic Zero, the non-dual of which nothing may be spoken. It is the withdrawing of Manifestation into the Unmanifest Naught.
Line 8. Then only was the Fire Qadosh extinguished, when the Enterer was driven back from the threshold,
the Enterer: The Enterer is Ra-Hoor-Khuit the “active” form of Horus. More accurately, it is Horus conceived as 2, whereas Harpocrates (or Hoor-paar-kraat) is Horus conceived as 0. “Heru-ra-ha” is a specific, dual form of Horus as both None and Two, Silence and Speech, Hoor-paar-kraat and Ra-Hoor-Khuit; Heru-ra-ha, aptly enough, enumerates to 418 (HRV-RA-HA).
driven back from the threshold: This language is reminiscent of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. “The Sign of the Enterer” was a ritual sign taught in the Neophyte grade of the Golden Dawn and it was attributed specifically to Horus. To be “driven back from the threshold” here seems to refer to a more abstract idea of being removed from the threshold of Manifestation itself, as if the entire Tree of Life folded itself back up into a single point that was dissolved in to the Nothingness of Nuit.
Line 9. And the Lord of Silence was established upon the Lotus flower.
the Lord of Silence was The Lord of Silence is Harpocrates or “Hoor-paar-kraat,” the Unmanifest complement of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. In this symbolism, Silence and Speech refer to 0/None and 2/Two. None is the ineffable, non-dual Unity whereas Two is the Unity figured in dualities, just as Speech requires the duality of vibration.
established upon the Lotus flower: Hoor-paar-kraat is often depicted sitting upon a Lotus flower. The Lotus flower is itself a symbol of Zero/Naught. In 777 Crowley writes, “The Lotus and Rose are attributed to 0 because they have traditionally been taken as glyphs of the circle.”
Line 10. Then was accomplished all that which was to be accomplished.
The Great Work of One becoming All (Creation, Coagula) and All becoming None (Attainment, Solve) are achieved.
Line 11. And All and One and Naught were slain in the slaying of the Warrior 418,
All and One and Naught: These are 3 ways of conceiving of the same Ineffable Reality. Chapter 2 of The Book of Lies gives 4 ways of conceiving the same Ineffable Reality: “Naught-One-Many-All.” Crowley comments that these are “the four possible modes of conceiving the universe; Horus unites these.” The idea is that 418 represents That which contains and transcends all of these modes of conceiving the universe, but even this idea is “slain” or discarded.
the Warrior 418: This Unity containing “All and One and Naught” is identified with Horus, especially because it is “the Warrior” and Horus is “a god of War and of Vengeance” (Liber AL, III:2). 418 is – of course – ABRAHADABRA, the Word of the Great Work accomplished. As in the previous chapters, even though 418 represents an exalted idea of united opposites, even it must be “slain.” Nothing at all – no word, idea, or image – can possibly represent the ineffable Unity (including the phrase “ineffable Unity”).
Line 12. In the slaying of the subtlety that expanded all these things into the Twelve Rays of the Crown,
the slaying of the subtlety: Even the very method of expanding by subtlety is slain, the method transcending the method itself.
Line 13. That returned unto One, and beyond One, even unto the vision of the Fool in his folly that chanted the word Ararita, and beyond the Word and the Fool; yea, beyond the Word and the Fool.
That returned unto One: The Twelve Rays of the Crown returned unto the One, just as they have in the previous Chapters. This Line continues to transcend itself, step by step, until there is Nothing.
and beyond One: “One” is itself simply a conception. It can even be seen as a positive deviation from Zero or “Naught.”
the vision of the Fool in his folly that chanted the word Ararita: The “Fool” is a reference to Atu 0: The Fool, the Tarot Trump numbered Zero and therefore related to the idea of the Qabalistic Zero or Naught. The idea is that there was a return to One, but then even the One was transcended to come to the Fool of Zero. The “word Ararita” is the method of uniting opposites and transcending them that culminates in this line; it is also more esoterically a reference to Atu I: The Magus who is the Logos or the “Word” itself, as Atu 0: The Fool is Zero, but it is also attributed to Aleph whose enumeration is 1 (and this final Chapter is attributed to the letter Aleph).
and beyond the Word and the Fool: This refers to going beyond the Word (Atu I: The Magus) and the Fool (Atu 0: The Fool). The entire Holy Book ends with this “wrapping up” back into a finer and finer form or idea until absolutely all ideas are transcended, represented by going beyond even Zero.