Source: Aleister Crowley & The Hidden God by Kenneth Grant
THIS BOOK contains a critical study of Aleister Crowley’s system of sexual magick and its affmities with the ancient Tantric rites of Kali, the dark goddess of blood and dissolution represented in Crowley’s Cult as the Scarlet Woman. It is an attempt to supply a key to the work of an Adept whose vast knowledge of occultism was unsurpassed by any previous Western authority. I have emphasized the similarity between Crowley’s Cult of Thelema and Tantra because the present wave of interest in the Tantric System makes it probable that readers will be able to assess more fully the importance of Crowley’s contribution to occultism in general and to the Magical Path in particular. (p. 1)
IN 1893, at the age of eighteen, Aleister Crowley determined to put Magick on a sound scientific basis. He explains that he adopted the old English spelling-magick-“in order to distinguish the Science of the Magi from all its counterfeits”; by this spelling he also intended to indicate the peculiar nature of his teachings, which has a special affinity with the number eleven, the One beyond Ten.
“K” (the last letter of Magick) is the eleventh letter of several major alphabets; it is attributed to the god Jupiter, whose vehicle (the eagle) is symbolic of magick power in its feminine aspect; it is “the symbol of that gigantic Power whose colour is scarlet, and who has affinity with Capricorn, or Babalon”. The special import of Capricorn (the Goat) is revealed by its attribution, in the Indian Tradition, to the goddess Kali, whose vehicle is blood.
K” is also the Khn, Khou or Queue symbolized by the tail or vagina, venerated in ancient Egypt as the source of Great Magical Power. Magick spelt with a “k” therefore indicates the precise nature of the Current which Therion (Crowley) embodied and transmitted.
1 In Book Four, Part II. This has now been incorporated in Magick (Routledge, 1973)
2 For example, the Chaldean, Greek and Latin alphabets.
3 Babalon, the Scarlet Woman, the vehicle or sakti of The Beast 666. See Chap 2. (p. 5)
The Scarlet Woman
CHAPTER ELEVEN of Crowley’s Magick (original edition) is entitled “Of our Lady Babalon and of The Beast whereon She Rideth . . …. it begins: “The contents of this section, inasmuch as they concern Our Lady, are too important and too sacred to be printed. They are only communicated by The Master Therion to chosen pupils in private instruction.”
It is not claimed that the contents of the present chapter constitute the private instruction mentioned in Magick, but the following interpretation of the Formula of the Scarlet Woman is based upon a study of unpublished material which possibly formed the basis of such instruction.
The adjective scarlet has reference to the Draconian Current upon which the New Aeon is based, for it is the colour of Ares, Orus or Horus. Aries in the zodiac also represents the Green Man, the Vernal Power of the Sun. Scarlet is the colour of the flame which initiates the annual vernal current that “avenges” itself upon the drought and darkness of the winter months. In another sense, scarlet equates with the red substance of female source, the prime menstruum of magical energy, and also with the negatory, destructive aspect of lunar or “black” magic and witchcraft. It is in this sense that the Scarlet Woman equates with Kali, who is primarily the goddess of stellar and lunar periods, hence of Time.
One of the first methods of telling time was by the periodic emanations of the female cynocephalus, which the ancient Egyptian priests used for this purpose. Time is the menstruum in which all material forms arise, transform and finally dissolve.
“The best blood is of the moon, monthly,” says AL. This refers particularly to the Kali aspect of the formula. Best, that is, for works of dissolution or transmutation; best, in other words, for Magick, or Energy tending to Change.
The name Babalon, which is used to designate the office of Scarlet Woman, differs from the apocalyptic version not only in respect of its orthography3 but also for the following reasons. The biblical concept of the Scarlet Woman is already a corruption of that ancient magical tradition of which-outside Sanctuaries of Initiation-temple prostitution is the only remembered form. The tradition is best preserved in the doctrines of the Indian and Tibetan Tantras which describe ceremonies involving the use of the kalas (medicines) which imbue the exudations of specially trained priestesses. The “sweet-smelling ladies” (suvasinis) have a more than literary correlation to the “sweet-smelling perfume of sweat” spoken of in AL, I, 27. The formula of the Scarlet Woman is the formula of the Suvasini.
Babalon means “the gate of the sun”; she admits the solar force through her gate, gut, cut or cat (i.e. pudenda). As the cat she is the Moon, or the Sun reflected in the Eye of Amenta; the left eye of Space as the Sun is in the right. Thus the Vama Marg, literally the Left Path, or the Path involving the use of woman, the female being considered as the left or lunar aspect of creation in contra-distinction to the Dakshina Marg, which involves the solar current, the male, or right-hand aspect. […]1
- Grant, K. (1973, 1992). Aleister Crowley & The Hidden God, Skoob. ↩