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Oliver St. John is the author of fifteen books covering Hermetic and Thelemic philosophy, Qabalah, operative magical Theurgy, the Tarot and astrology. He is a founding member of the Thelemic Magical Collegium, Ordo Astri, and has been a member of the Typhonian Order since 2000 e.v.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Nuit-Babalon Gnosis: Thunder Perfect Mind

The Creatrix has a primal role in the ancient mysteries—namely, the pre-religious mysteries, which are inclusive of the sacred feminine. Babalon is the daughter of Nuit, and the Scarlet Woman her soul. The fragments of Gnostic scriptures that survived the book burners more than two millennia ago are heavily tainted with what was then the growing suppression of women and all magical practices. Scriptures such as the Trimorphic Protennoia (Nag Hammadi, online) carry powerful elements of the Gnosis, but such texts were already being redacted and overwritten under the influence of fanatical all-male ascetic cults. Such cults—no less than the religions that formed out of them—can only construe the sacred in a male image, or otherwise as an abstract ‘Father’ whose ministers obediently spout nationalist and militarist propaganda. In modern times the Left-hand path—outside of the ashram—is portrayed in the language and images of a fear-phantasm created in the averse mirror of fifteen centuries of tyrannical state suppression.

Nuit-Babalon Gnosis: Whore of Babylon by William Blake
BABALON the HOLY (William Blake)

Any person that has spent time with the books of the Bible—unless they accept the convoluted thought of religious theological doctrine—will understand the need for a radiation suit when browsing, let alone embarking on a prolonged study. The ferocious condemnation of all ‘foreign’ gods and their (pagan) worshippers in the Old Testament, the horrible threats and curses against anyone (especially women) practicing magick, divination—or even dancing—roll on, foaming at the mouth, for page upon page. The emergent state monotheism of 500–600 BCE not only threw out the priestesses from the temples but also systematically took away all the rights of women, forcing them to become wholly subservient to men through laws that were to be enforced with the utmost cruelty. (The biblical book of Numbers 30, 1–16, for merely one case example, is a catalogue of hateful and incredibly damaging laws.)

The Order of the Golden Dawn, while under the leadership of Samuel Liddel MacGregor Mathers and later, Florence Farr, introduced equal rights and opportunities for women among its membership as early as the 1890s. Feminist writing since the 1970s by now forms a clearly defined—and self-defining—genre. Unfortunately this may have assisted in continuing the suppression that the writers wish to draw attention to.  The wider esoteric community has not yet woken up to the fact that we cannot take the Qabalah, and (therefore) much of ceremonial magick without making some needful adjustments. The traditional Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (as given in Aleister Crowley’s Liber O and various Golden Dawn derived material), for example, requires the magician to invoke the biblical demiurge Tetragrammaton in the East. This is the same demiurge that, according to scripture, curses all other gods, hates women and all ‘foreigners’, and demands that worshippers of any other gods but the supreme god of the patriarchs should be “utterly destroyed”. (The latter phrase occurs as an exact match no fewer than 21 times in the King James Bible, commencing with the book of Exodus, 22: 20.) Very often in the very next verse of scripture, the “Jealous God” tetchily demands the timely submission of first-born human or (later on) animal sacrifices. Is that really what we want to invoke to protect our magical circle?

Let us consider, for example, that our magical circle is usually set up for the invocation of Egyptian and Babylonian or Mesopotamian deities. These, along with all magical arts and divination, are furiously condemned in the oracles of the monotheistic ‘God’. It is foolish to imagine that the work of Qabalists in the Western Mystery Tradition, however well intentioned, can somehow patch this over by positing that Tetragrammaton is merely an elemental formula, or that the insertion of an additional letter shin puts it all to rights by asserting a Christian theological notion of ‘redemption’ based on sin, guilt and debt (it comes as no surprise to learn that redemption or salvation developed alongside early banking systems).

The rise of asceticism, anthropocentric religions and scientism, coincided historically with the rise of patriarchal governance, suppression of women, the viewing of nature as an adversary and (as a consequence) the wholesale destruction of our natural environment. The distortion of the Sumerian creation myth where Eve, instead of being blessed, is cursed for all of time for giving Adam the fruits of knowledge to eat (Genesis 2) has been continued in modern times. Crowley’s The Law is for All contains some ill-considered and completely inexcusable examples of mystic misogyny of the worst kind. (Furthermore, do we really believe that Rose Crowley was not even present in the room in Cairo 1904 at the reception of the Egyptian Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis?)

Of the Gnostic scriptures, the voice of the deity that comes closest to that of our Thelemic Shakti-Babalon, the bride of the Beast or Serpent, is quite possibly the Sethian Gnostic Thunder Perfect Mind.* While baffling to scholars who cannot work out where to place it, the enigmatic Thunder text has strong resonances with the voice of Madimi and Babalon that appeared to John Dee and Edward Kelly during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It is also comparable to the voice of Nuit in chapter one of Liber AL vel Legis, the Babalon of the Jack Parsons workings, and the Babalon or Sophia-Barbelo that has appeared to Thelemic devotees in more recent times. It is my view that The Thunder Perfect Mind was received in oracular fashion, and that some of it may have been delivered in response to questions asked by those assembled to hear it. More than one scribe may have recorded the oracle, accounting for some overlapping in the source text, as though different versions were superimposed.

To celebrate the Gnosis, I thought to present here an initiated transcription and magical restoration of the sacred text of Thunder Perfect Mind. It is in every way suitable for use as a magical invocation.

The Thunder Perfect Mind or Babalon the Holy

I was sent forth from Mystery,
And I will come to them that reflect upon me,
For those that seek me, shall find me.
Behold me, ye who reflect upon me,
And listen to me, ye that that have ears to hear!
Ye who have waited for me, take me to yourselves,
And do not banish me from your sight.
Do not say hateful things of me, do not hear them spoken.
Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or at any time.
Be vigilant! Do not forget me.

I am the First and the Last.
I am the blessed one and the forsaken one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter.
I am the members of my mother.
I am the barren one—and yet many are her sons.
I am she whose wedding is of great nobility,
And I have not taken a husband.
I am the bride and the bridegroom,
And it is my husband who begot me.
I am the mother of my father,
And the sister of my husband,
And yet he is my offspring,
And from him I take my power.
I am the rod of his power in his youth,
And he is the staff of my old age.
I am the Silence beyond knowing,
And the Idea of continuous recollection.
I am the Voice whose tongues are legion,
And the Word whose forms are many.
I am the Oracle, whose utterance is my name.

You who deny me, confess me,
And you who confess me, deny me.
You who tell the truth about me, lie about me,
And you who have lied about me, tell the truth about me.
You who know me, do not know me,
And those who have not known me, let them know me.
For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and I am pride.
I am shameless and I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and I am peace.
Take heed of me! For I am the one who is disgraced,
And the one who is exalted greatly.

I am [ISIS] the one whose Image is great in Egypt,
And the one who has no Image among the barbarians.
I am the one who has been hated everywhere,
And who has been loved everywhere.
I am the one whom they call Life,
And that you have called Death.
I am the one whom they call Law,
And that you have called Lawlessness.
I am the one whom you have pursued,
And I am the one whom you have seized.
I am the one whom you have scattered,
Even while ye have gathered me together.
I am the one before whom you were ashamed,
And you have been shameless unto me.

I am the one whom you have despised,
And yet you reflect upon me.
I am the one you have hidden from,
And thus do you appear to me!
And wherever you hide yourselves,
I myself will appear.
And whenever you appear,
I myself will hide from you.

You that would know me
Will yet darken my understanding,
And embrace my wisdom with sorrow.
You embrace me in places that are ugly and ruined,
And steal from those which are true, even in your falsehood.
Out of shame, take me to yourselves shamelessly.
And when you find fault in my members,
Look for that fault in yourselves.
Come forward to me, you who know me
And you who know my members,
Then you will establish the great ones
Among the smallest of creatures.

Why do you curse me and pretend to honour me?
When you were wounded, I gave you mercy.
Do not separate me from those who once knew you.
And do not cast anyone out, nor turn anyone away.
I am the Mind of Thunderous Perfection.
I am the answer to my own question,
And the knowledge of those who seek after me,
And the will of those who ask of me.
I am the power of the powers in my knowledge
Of the angels, who have been sent at my word,
And of gods in their seasons by my counsel,
And of the spirits of every man who dwells with me,
And of the women who dwell within me.
I am the one who is blessed, and who is praised,
And yet who is scornfully despised.
I am peace, and war has come because of me.
And I am an alien and a citizen.
I am the substance and the one who has no substance.

There are those who cannot know me from their ignorance,
And those who know me, that are of my very substance.
Yet those who are close to me have yet been ignorant of me,
And those who are far away from me have yet known me a little.
On the day when I am close to you,
You are far away from me,
And on the day when I am far away from you,
I am closer to you than I can ever be.

I am forever within.
I am always of the qualities.
I am forever of the principalities and the spirits.
I am always that which the soul seeks.
I am control and that which is uncontrollable.
I am unity and dissolution.
I am the one that is below,
And yet they come up to me.
I am judgement and acquittal.
I, I am sinless, and the root of sin derives from me.
I am the weak lust in the appearance of things,
And the strong will to the eternal is within me.
I am the sound that may be heard by everyone,
And the voice that is beyond reason.
I am a mute who does not speak forth,
And yet great is the multitude of my words.

I prepare the bread and my Mind is within it.
I am the knowledge of my own name.
I am the one who cries out, and who hears.
I appear and yet I walk in the shadow of invisibility.
I am the attacked and the defended.
I am the one who is called Truth,
And who is known to be iniquitous.
For what is within you is what is outside of you,
And the one who fashions you on the outside
Is the one who shaped the inside of you.
And what you see outside of you, you will see inside of you.
It is visible, and it is your garment.

Hear me, o ye that have ears to hear,
And learn of my words, ye who know me!
I am the sound that is attainable by all;
I am the voice beyond reason.
I am the name of the sound,
And the sound of the name.
I am the signature of the letter,
And the seal of the division.
And I am the darkness and the light.
And I am the voice of my listeners,
And the one who listens to you.

For I am the Great Power.
And he that sends forth to me will hear my name.
And he that delivers me shall be as one who created me.
And I will speak forth his name.
Take heed then, ye that hear me,
And ye angels also, and those who have been sent,
And ye spirits who have arisen from the dead.
For I am the one who alone exists,
And I have no one who will judge me.

Many are the pleasant forms that exist in
Numerous sins, and poisons,
Even in disgraceful passions, and fleeting pleasures,
Which men embrace weakly.
When they seek, and attain clarity,
And go up to their place of peace,
Then at last shall they find me.
And they shall have life,
And they will not die again.

BABALON

Related articles:
The Oracle of Babalon: Daughter of Fortitude (article)
The Oracle of Babalon: Daughter of Fortitude (podcast)

Related books by Oliver St. John:
The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth

* The source texts of Thunder Perfect Mind are available online. The Nag Hammadi Library, online, has several different translations of most of the Gnostic texts.

Other books of note: The Sword of Wisdom, Ithell Colquhoun, is an account of MacGregor Mathers and the Golden Dawn that is uniquely trustworthy and fair.

© Oliver St. John 2017