Lines 0 – 14: The coming of the Lord of Initiation
0. In the name of the Lord of Initiation, Amen.
As mentioned before, the very name “Book Tzaddi of the Hermetic Hook” esoterically shows that the content of this Book is about initiation. The fact that the book begins and ends with this same line may be taken to imply that the first instance in Line 0 is the unmanifest Lord and the final line is the Lord in complete manifestation. Line 0 is like the the pinpoint before the Big Bang and Line 44 is like the current universe; Line 0 is like the seed and Line 44 is like the fully formed tree; Line 0 is like “Atu 0: The Fool,” the Unmanifest, and Line 44 is like “Atu XXI: The Universe,” the complete Manifestation.
This text, both beginning and ending with this line, invokes the “Lord of Initiation.” In this New Aeon, the Lord of Initiation is Horus, who is called the “the Hawk-headed mystical Lord” (AL, III:34) and “Hawk-Headed Lord of Silence & of Strength” (AL, III:70). He is also known as Hoor (AL, I:49), Ra-Hoor-Khuit (AL, III:2, etc.), Heru-ra-ha (AL, III:35), and many other names, all with slightly different symbolism and meaning, although in the end “He himself is One” (Book of Lies, ch.2).
Horus being the Lord of Initiation is explicitly mentioned in The Book of the Law, “Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs. Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath taken his seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods… Hoor in his secret name and splendour is the Lord initiating” (AL, I:49). This refers to the change from the formula of the Old Aeon of Osiris, the Slain God, to the New Aeon of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child. Crowley writes, “Asar, the Man who suffers, is no longer the type of Godhead to which Man must aspire. He needs no more to die and rise again: His great Work is now to come to know Himself as the Child ever-living. sinless, perfect, the all-shining Sun” (Djeridensis Working, I:49).
It is interesting that Horus or Ra-Hoor-Khuit is usually understood under his destructive aspect insofar as He is considered “martial” and “a god of War and of Vengeance” (AL, III:3). However, Horus appears as the Benevolent Liberator or Initiator in Liber Tzaddi. He therefore maintains characteristics of Ra-Hoor-Khuit but also takes on more benevolent, even “maternal” qualities that are more often associated with Nuit. His form here is almost like that of Shakti, the divine and cosmic energy of the Universe, who is feminine yet often associated with the Kundalini serpent, the force of Liberation (or “initiation” as it is called in this text).
“Amen” enumerates to 91 (Aleph-Mem-Nun), which Crowley notes in Liber LVIII, “91 = 7 x 13, the most spiritual form of the Septenary.” The Septenary is the number of Love, being Venus on the Tree of Life, whose glyph encompasses the entire Tree. This pertains to the following line which shows Horus having “mother-of-emerald” wings, the color of Love, and “Love is the law, love under will” (AL, I:57).
1. I fly and I alight as an hawk: of mother-of-emerald are my mighty-sweeping wings.
The Lord of Initiation flies and alights “as an hawk,” which reinforces the idea that He is Horus, “the Hawk-headed mystical Lord” (AL, III:34) of this Aeon. His wings are “of mother-of-emerald,” and emerald is the color of Venus and therefore of Love, for His Law is Love – “love under will,” (AL, I:57) that is. Further, on the Stele of Revealing, Ra-Hoor-Khuit’s face is of an emerald color.
This line is actually very similar to a line from another Holy Book, Liber LXV, where it is written, “I passed into the mountain of lapis-lazuli, even as a green hawk between the pillars of turquoise that is seated upon the throne of the East” (LXV, II:1). Crowley writes that this line from Liber LXV “describes the passage of the Divine Consciousness (the Hawk) coloured by love (green) into the world” (Commentary on LXV, II:1). Therefore, Liber Tzaddi starts with an account of the Divine Consciousness, represented by the Hawk-Headed Horus whose nature is the Green of Love, entering the world in order to initiate men. This is particularly apt as the descent of “Divine Consciousness” does not require a notion of a separate entity descending upon one for redemption, but rather one’s own Divine Consciousness dawning in awareness. It also reinforces the lesson later in Liber Tzaddi that “Ye stand between the abyss of height and the abyss of depth. In either awaits you a Companion; and that Companion is Yourself.”
The language of this line of Liber Tzaddi appears influenced by “The Great Invocation” that was used by Crowley in 1904 in order to invoke Horus. In this invocation, there is a line that reads, “I fly and I alight as an hawk of cubits four: of Mother-of-emerald are my mighty-sweeping wings.” We can see the line is virtually identical to that which occurs in this Holy Book, and the reference to Horus is clear and explicit.
The term “mighty-sweeping wings” recalls the phrase “under the shadow of Thy wings” from the Old Testament which was used in its Latin form – sub umbra alarum – to conclude the famous Rosicrucian treatise Fama Fraternitatis. In the 24th Aethyr, the phrase “Sub umbra alarum tuarum Adonai quies et felicitas” occurs (meaning “Under the shadow of thy wings, Adonai, are peace and happiness”), which is reminiscent of the tone and content of these first lines of Liber Tzaddi.
2. I swoop down upon the black earth; and it gladdens into green at my coming.
The earth is “black” because it is a place of darkness, which represents ignorance. Horus comes down to Earth and makes it
“green” or fertile (the color of thriving plant-life). In the New Aeon, we do not view material existence as evil or full of sorrow, often symbolized by the darkness of the color black. We assert that the material world is a place of Joy wherein we may experience love under will, for “existence is pure joy” (AL, I:9). Crowley writes about this change of Earth from black to green in The Book of Thoth:
“The new doctrine set forth in this present Essay makes the primary colour of Earth not black, but green. The New Aeon has brought fullness of Light; in the Minutum Mundum, Earth is no longer black, or of mixed colours, but is pure bright green… The New Aeon demanded a new system of symbolism. Thus, in particular, the old conception of the Earth as a passive, immobile, even dead, even ‘evil’ element, had to go. It was imperative to restore the King-Scale colour attribution to that of the Aeon of Isis, Emerald Green, as was understood by the Egyptian Hierophants. This green is, however, not the original vegetable green of Isis, but the new green of spring following the resurrection of Osiris as Horus.”
This line is also similar to a line from Liber LXV where it is written, “Stooping down, dipping my wings, I came unto the darkly-splendid abodes. There in that formless abyss was I made a partaker of the Mysteries Averse” (II:4). This refers to the Hawk “dipping [its] wings” to descend into the darkness of earth, or “swoop down upon the black eart”” as in this line from Liber Tzaddi. The Divine Consciousness or Godhead therefore partakes in the “Mysteries Averse,” represented by the averse pentagram (i.e. the apex pointing downwards), which signifies the descent of Spirit into Matter. It is a very similar idea to the one expressed in this line of Liber Tzaddi.
3. Children of Earth! rejoice! rejoice exceedingly; for your salvation is at hand.
The “Children of Earth” are humanity, the people on the level of Malkuth, the material world that “gladdens into green” at the coming of the Divine Consciousness, just like the joy of renewed life in Spring. Similar language is used by Nuit throughout chapter 1 of The Book of the Law, “Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men! …Come forth, o children, under the stars, & take your fill of love! …They shall gather my children into their fold: they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men” (AL, I:6,12,15).
We are told to rejoice because our “salvation is at hand.” This is not the salvation of the Old Aeon, that of sin and vicarious atonement. This is the salvation from the illusion of sorrow and weariness; it is Initiation, whereby we come to see the Light where existence is not suffering but pure joy. “Salvation” simply comes from the root “to save,” which means “to make safe” or to “prevent from death.” The latter meaning is especially relevant as, later in Liber Tzaddi, we see that Horus offers “the divine dew of immortality” which is “the certain consciousness of bliss” that is available while alive in the here and now. Following the path of initiation leads to the identification of oneself with the deathless principle in oneself, symbolized by Horus himself, the eternal Sun which never rises or sets but always shines its Light in its Going.
4. The end of sorrow is come; I will ravish you away into mine unutterable joy.
We are told that “the end of sorrow is come.” This refers both to the changing of the Old Aeon into the New Aeon on a macrocosmic level and, in the microcosm, to the conquering of dukkha or sorrow through Initiation or attainment. Through initiation, one may come to the end of sorrow.
Being “ravished away” means being completely enveloped, which has a sexual connotation. This line is similar to a line from The Book of the Law, “I give unimaginable joys on earth: certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death; peace unutterable, rest, ecstasy; nor do I demand aught in sacrifice” (AL, I:58).
5. I will kiss you, and bring you to the bridal: I will spread a feast before you in the house of happiness.
Kissing is a symbol of Love and unity as well as being a symbol of a covenant or seal between two things. In this verse, the Divine descends into the material world, to make a new Covenant with mankind. This Covenant is both the new Law of love under will in general, and the Law being received by and initiating the individual. That being said, the line is addressed specifically to “you,” the individual reading the text, and not “humanity” as a whole, which has a more direct and intimate feel than simply addressing humanity as a whole.
To be brought “to the bridal” implies a marriage or union, specifically a sexual union. The “bridal-chamber” is the place where marriage is consummated and is a frequent image in Hermetic writings of the union of the soul with God. In many characterizations of the attainment of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, the individual soul is seen as the feminine bride that receives the masculine Godhead (see Liber LXV).
The feast in “the house of happiness” refers to the Joy that we are to take upon Earth. The feast symbolizes both pleasure and nourishment. This, along with other ideas such as the Earth being green rather than black, indicate the Thelemite’s reoriented attitude toward the world: we do not see it as something to be shunned, something to escape from, as sinful, evil, or corrupt. We embrace the world, “enjoy all things of sense and rapture” (AL, II:22) and believe that all should take their “fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom they will” (AL, I:51).
This is similar to a line from The Book of the Law where Nuit says, “This shall regenerate the world, the little world my sister, my heart & my tongue, unto whom I send this kiss” (AL, I:53). Crowley comments that this means, “It is clear that this ‘kiss’ (i.e. this Book) will regenerate Earth by establishing the Law of Liberty.” While this refers to The Book of the Law specifically, it also refers more generally to the Law, Word (Logos), or Divine Light descending from Heaven into Earth to regenerate the world, to make the individual “gladden into green” with renewed Life and “rejoice” with renewed Energy.
6. I am not come to rebuke you, or to enslave you.
This Lord of the New Aeon has not come to rebuke the people. This conception of God can be seen in the Old Testament in the form of a vengeful God that punished people for their wrongdoing; one might also see the rebuking God in the New Testament and the Quran for they both see the Lord as the Judge who will rebuke those who have sinned. There is not even disapproval – this Lord of Initiation in the Aeon of the Child comes not to rebuke, but to approve and encourage.
The Lord has not come to enslave the people, neither physically nor spiritually. The past conceptions of this Lord led to slavery, both externally in the form of tyranny and oppression but also internally in the form of superstition, shame, and fear. In the Aeon of the Child, this Lord of Initiation comes not to enslave, but to liberate and bring Light.
7. I bid you not turn from your voluptuous ways, from your idleness, from your follies.
8. But I bring you joy to your pleasure, peace to your languor, wisdom to your folly.
These lines continue from line 6. This Lord does not rebuke; He does not tell us to turn from our ways, even if they are voluptuous, idle, or foolish. In the New Aeon, nothing is inherently or a priori “wrong” or “evil.” The only thing that is “evil” is to do something contrary to one’s Will.
“Voluptuous ways” implies gratification through the senses. This was looked down upon in the Old Aeon by virtually every religion, yet – in this New Aeon – we are told, “Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.”1 Idleness implies a lack of physical exertion, and folly implies a lack of mental or cognitive understanding. Neither idleness nor folly are inherently wrong – it may, in fact, be the Will of a Star to have these qualities.
Horus – the Lord of Initiation – brings these natural qualities to their perfection. There is “joy” brought to our voluptuousness or pleasure, meaning that we will still take pleasure yet it will be enjoyed without sorrow. We may partake of sensual things while being “delivered from the lust of result,”2 so that we may be in the world but not of it, so to speak. Insofar as we are attached to things, they may bring sorrow as explained by Buddha in the First Noble Truth, yet we are not counseled to detachment. Instead, we are counseled to non-attachment, which does not mean we avoid sensual pleasures; it means we enjoy them but have no “lust of result” or attachment to the outcome.
There is “peace” brought to our “idleness” or “languor.” Our lack of physical exertion is not evil or wrong – it is not something to be rectified. Rather, it may be brought to its natural perfection in the state of “peace.” As it is said, “Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.”3 This languor is “the delight that follows the success of one’s efforts”4 where we abide in the peace of rest or repose rather than seeing ourselves as tired, weak, or unfit.
There is “wisdom” brought to our folly. There is a common dichotomy of wisdom versus folly. This is seen in the very title of Liber Aleph which is “The Book of Wisdom and Folly.” Nevertheless, there is that which William Blake once wrote, “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.” The “fool” is both the profane who commits follies as well as The Fool – Atu 0 of the Tarot – who represents the highest stage of initiation. In this way, even our follies may be brought to serve our Will, leading us to become wise with the Wisdom of the Fool.
9. All that ye do is right, if so be that ye enjoy it.
This line tells us that, if we enjoy something it is right. This would indicate that enjoying something is a sign that it is of our nature. Some basic thought on this subject will indicate that this is not always the case as when, for example, an addiction feels pleasurable yet destroys someone’s social, educational, or occupational endeavors.
This line, first of all, seems to indicate that suffering is no longer the pathway to Perfection as in the Old Aeon of the Suffering and Dying God. We are not to deny ourselves enjoyment or mortify ourselves out of a sense of supplication and unworthiness. Rather, we are to take joy in things and make the World our “house of happiness.” The line seems to be indicating that we enjoy things that are resonant or harmonious with our particular Nature. Whether we are voluptuous, idle, or foolish is not the real issue – the question is whether or not this is a fulfillment of our inmost Nature or not. The Lord of Initiation is not here to rebuke us for enjoying these things proper to our constitution; He is here to bring them to their perfection, bringing joy, peace, and wisdom to our already existing dispositions through the right attitude.
10. I am come against sorrow, against weariness, against them that seek to enslave you.
Horus – the Lord of Initiation in this New Aeon – dispels the negative aspects of the mind, body, and environment which are sorrow, weariness, and slavery, respectively.
Horus comes against sorrow, showing that “Existence is pure joy”1; He comes against weariness, for “He is eternal energy, the Infinite Motion of Things”2; He comes against enslavement, for “Do what thou wilt” is the Law of Liberty.
11. I pour you lustral wine, that giveth you delight both at the sunset and the dawn.
Horus pours “lustral wine” for his initiates. Wine is a common symbol of spiritual intoxication. “Lustral” means purifying, for the intoxication of spiritual ecstasy cleanses us of our sorrow, weariness, anger, and discomfort. In the Holy Book Liber LXV we are told, “Intoxicate the inmost, O my lover, not the outermost!”1 Crowley writes,
“True Religion is intoxication, in a sense. We are told elsewhere to intoxicate the innermost, not the outermost; but I think that the word ‘wine’ should be taken in its widest sense as meaning that which brings out the soul. Climate, soil, and race change conditions; each man or woman must find and choose the fit intoxicant… Intoxication, that is, ecstasy, is the key to Reality… there are three Gods whose function is to bring the Soul to the Realization of its own glory: Dionysus, Aphrodite, Apollo; Wine, Woman, and Song.”2
This wine gives “delight both at the sunset and at dawn.” The implication is that there is joy and ecstasy in all things, i.e. both life and death, light and darkness. Horus is, like the Sun, the True Self that is eternal and persists unscathed through the apparent cycles of day and night, life and death, summer and winter, et cetera. He is the axle of the Wheel of Life, partaking of the joys of manifestation while remaining at the unmoved center. As it says later in this text, “There is joy in the setting-out; there is joy in the journey; there is joy in the goal.” All aspects of existence are joy if one is intoxicated upon the Wine of illumination.
12. Come with me, and I will give you all that is desirable upon the earth.
13. Because I give you that of which Earth and its joys are but as shadows.
14. They flee away, but my joy abideth even unto the end.
Horus bids us to come with him and walk on the Path of Initiation. He promises to give all that is desirable upon Earth because He gives the true Joy of enlightenment or illumination. In another Holy Book, Liber Cheth, we learn that we must give up wealth, health, and love in order to get beyond the ego-self, yet – once we come to the stage where we have transcended our mundane, earthly existence and come to know ourselves as eternal Stars – we may then enjoy these things. As it is said, “Unto thee shall be granted joy and health and wealth and wisdom when thou art no longer thou.”1
In general, a fundamental tenet of the New Aeon is that we are Solar beings, meaning that our souls or True Selves are like the Sun that is eternal. Although we perceive cycles of light and darkness upon Earth where the Sun apparently is born, dies, and is reborn, the truth is that the Sun never dies nor is never born but Goes eternally upon Its Way. As it is said in The Book of the Law, “Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.”2 This joy “abideth even unto the end.”