Chapter IV

The Formula of Alhim, and that of Alim

ALHIM, (Elohim) is the exoteric word for Gods.[1] It is the masculine plural of a feminine noun, but its nature is principally feminine.[2] It is a perfect hieroglyph of the number 5. This should be studied in "A Note on Genesis" (The Equinox I, II).

The Elements are all represented, as in Tetragrammaton, but there is no development from one into the others. They are, as it were, thrown together — untamed, only sympathising by virtue of their wild and stormy but elastically resistless energy. The Central letter is He — the letter of breath — and represents Spirit. The first letter Aleph is the natural letter of Air, and the Final Mem is the natural letter of Water. Together, Aleph and Mem make Am — the mother within whose womb the Cosmos is conceived. But Yod is not the natural letter of Fire. Its juxtaposition with He sanctifies that fire to the Yod of Tetragrammaton. Similarly we find Lamed for Earth, where we should expect Tau — in order to emphasize the influence of Venus, who rules Libra.

ALHIM, therefore, represents rather the formula of Consecration than that of a complete ceremony. It is the breath of benediction, yet so potent that it can give life to clay and light to darkness.

In consecrating a weapon, Aleph is the whirling force of the thunderbolt, the lightning which flameth out of the East even into the West. This is the gift of the wielding of the thunderbolt of Zeus or Indra, the god of Air. Lamed is the Ox-goad, the driving force; and it is also the Balance, representing the truth and love of the Magician. It is the loving care which he bestows upon perfecting his instruments, and the equilibration of that fierce force which initiates the ceremony.[3]

Yod is the creative energy — the procreative power: and yet Yod is the solitude and silence of the hermitage into which the Magician has shut himself. Mem is the letter of water, and it is the Mem final, whose long flat lines suggest the Sea at Peace ם‎; not the ordinary (initial and medial) Mem whose hieroglyph is a wave מ‎.[4] And then, in the Centre of all, broods Spirit, which combines the mildness of the Lamb with the horns of the Ram, and is the letter of Bacchus or "Christ".[5]

After the magician has created his instrument, and balanced it truly, and filled it with the lightnings of his Will, then is the weapon laid away to rest; and in this Silence, a true Consecration comes.

The Formula of Alim

It is extremely interesting to contrast with the above the formula of the elemental Gods deprived of the creative spirit. One might suppose that as ALIM is the masculine plural of the masculine noun AL, its formula would be more virile than that of ALHIM, which is the masculine plural of the feminine noun ALH. A moment's investigation is sufficient to dissipate the illusion. The word masculine has no meaning except in relation to some feminine correlative.

The word ALIM may in fact be considered as neuter. By a rather absurd convention, neuter objects are treated as feminine on account of their superficial resemblance in passivity and inertness with the unfertilized female. But the female produces life by the intervention of the male, while the neuter does so only when impregnated by Spirit. Thus we find the feminine AMA, becoming AIMA[6], through the operation of the phallic Yod, while ALIM, the congress of dead elements, only fructifies by the brooding of Spirit.

This being so, how can we describe ALIM as containing a Magical Formula? Inquiry discloses the fact that this formula is of a very special kind.

The word adds up to 81, which is a number of the moon. It is thus the formula of witchcraft, which is under Hecate.[7] It is only the romantic mediaeval perversion of science that represents young women as partaking in witchcraft, which is, properly speaking, restricted to the use of such women as are no longer women in the Magical sense of the word, because thy are no longer capable of corresponding to the formula of the male, and are therefore neuter rather than feminine. It is for this reason that their method has always been referred to the moon, in that sense of the term in which she appears, not as the feminine correlative of the sun, but as the burnt-out, dead, airless satellite of earth.

No true Magical operation can be performed by the formula of ALIM. All the works of witchcraft are illusory; and their apparent effects depend on the idea that it is possible to alter things by the mere rearrangement of them. One must not rely upon the false analogy of the Xylenes to rebut this argument. It is quite true that geometrical isomers act in different manners towards the substance to which they are brought into relation. And it is of course necessary sometimes to rearrange the elements of a molecule before that molecule can form either the masculine or the feminine element in a true Magical combination with some other molecule.

It is therefore occasionally inevitable for a Magician to reorganize the structure of certain elements before proceeding to his operation proper. Although such work is technically witchcraft, it must not be regarded as undesirable on that ground, for all operations which do not transmute matter fall strictly speaking under this heading.

The real objection to this formula is not inherent in its own nature. Witchcraft consists in treating it as the exclusive preoccupation of Magick, and especially in denying to the Holy Spirit his right to indwell His Temple. The initiate of the XI° of O.T.O. will remark that there is a totally different formula of ALIM, complementary with that here discussed. 81 may be regarded as a number of Yesod rather than of Luna. The actual meaning of the word may be taken as indicating the formula. Aleph may be referred to Harpocrates, with allusion to the well-known poem of Catullus. Lamed may imply the exaltation of Saturn, and suggest the Three of Swords in a particular manner. Yod will then recall Hermes, and Mem the Hanged Man. We have thus a Tetragrammaton which contains no feminine component. The initial Force is here the Holy Spirit and its vehicle or weapon the "Sword and Balances". Justice is then done upon the Mercurial "Virgin", with the result that the Man is "Hanged" or extended, and is slain in this manner. Such an operation makes creation impossible — as in the former case; but here there is no question of re-arrangement; the creative force is employed deliberately for destruction, and is entirely absorbed in its own sphere (or cylinder, on Einstein's equations) of action. This Work is to be regarded as "Holiness to the Lord". The Hebrews, in fact, conferred the title of Qadosh (holy) upon its adepts. Its effect is to consecrate the Magicians who perform it in a very special way. We may take note also of the correspondence of Nine with Teth, XI, Leo, and the Serpent. The great merits of this formula are that it avoids contact with the inferior planes, that it is self-sufficient, that it involves no responsibilities, and that it leaves its masters not only stronger in themselves, but wholly free to fulfil their essential Natures. Its abuse is an abomination.[8]

1"Gods" are the Forces of Nature; their "Names" are the Laws of Nature. Thus They are eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent and so on; and thus their "Wills" are immutable and absolute.

2It represents Sakti,or Teh; femininity always means form, manifestation. The masculine Siva, or Tao, is always a concealed force.

3The letters Aleph and Lamed are infinitely important in this Aeon of Horus; they are indeed the Key of the Book of the Law. No more can be said in this place than that Aleph is Harpocrates, Bacchus Diphues, the Holy Ghost, the "Pure Fool" or Innocent Babe who is also the Wandering Singer who impregnates the King's Daughter with Himself as Her Child; Lamed is the King's Daughter, satisfied by Him, holding His "Sword and Balances" in her lap. These weapons are the Judge, armed with power to execute His Will, and Two Witnesses "in whom shall every Truth be established" in accordance with whose testimony he gives judgment.

4In the symbolism above outlined, Yod is the Mercurial "Virgin Word", the Spermatozoon concealing its light under a cloke; and Mem is the amniotic fluid, the flood wherein is the Life-bearing Ark. See A. Crowley "The Ship", The Equinox I, X.

5The letter He is the formula of Nuith, which makes possible the process described in the previous notes. But it is not permissible here to explain fully the exact matter or manner of this adjustment. I have preferred the exoteric attributions, which are sufficiently informative for the beginner.

6AMA is 42, the number of sterility; AIMA, 52, that of fertility, of BN, the SON.

7See A. Crowley, Orpheus, for the Invocation of this Goddess.

8The XI° O.T.O. is a rite which employs sodomy (either with a man or a woman). The whole paragraph contains veiled allusions to different aspects of this rite, which Crowley used in The Paris Working (see The Great Beast). The meaning of the word Yesod is foundation or fundament. Whereas the formula of ALIM (81) involves the use of the lunar current, that of Yesod implies, in this context, the XI°. Harpocrates is the "wandering seed", i.e. this god of silence typifies gestation. The dove in the poem of Catullus does likewise through its connection with Aleph, air or spirit, i.e. seed. Crowley uses astrological and tarotic symbols to indicate in a concealed way a sexual act, but one in which creation is baulked. The use of this formula for other than magical purposes was frowned upon by Crowley; hence his denunciation of it as "an abomination".

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