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Book of Thoth Study Group: Part 1 - Section 1

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Book of Thoth Study Group: Part 1 - Section 1


Lets get this show started then.

There's one important line from the text that I want to post right at the start. Hopefully it will ward off axe grinding tradition mongers who disagree with Crowley's take on the tarot.
Quote:
Unimportant to the present purpose are tradition and authority.
Enough said!

The first part is pretty straight forward if you already have some idea of what Gematria, Notariqon, and the Yetziratic attributions are. If not it's a little bit confusing. It certainly was for me the first time I read the book all those years ago. But it's actually much simpler than it looks.

So who wants to start the ball rolling?
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Well, I started with going through and highlighting EVERYTHING I either didn't understand or didn't know how to say/spell/etc. Gematria was one of those of course. I read a piece of Gematria by A.C. and it served to confuse me more and make my head hurt, but I get the basic gist I think. So Gematria is taking the 22 hebrew letters and assigning numbers to them. Then if two words equal the same number then they are somehow 'linked' and if you study the words and their attributions you'll discover how they are linked. Do I basically have that right?

ThROA - The Gate......I'm lost on that, "...also of ThROA, The Gate, Now, by the Yetziratic attributions -- see table at end -- this word may be read The Universe -- the new-born Sun--Zero." Can someone break this down a little bit.

11 is the number of Magical Expansion, I can take that on faith, but what exactly is Magical Expansion?

Those 3 things are pretty much what I don't feel that I absolutely understand in the first 12 pages.

Ven
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Notariqon: I found: Notariqon (Notarikon) is a Kabbalistic methodology, and involves looking for deeper meanings in words or phrases by expanding them into sentences, or reducing phrases to acronyms. A well known example of Notarikon is the word amen, a compaction of the phrase "Adonai Melekh Na'amon," "Lord, faithful King." So, in this context the phrase:
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoT
One important interpretation of Tarot is that it is a Notariqon of the Hebrew Torah, the Law...
would mean???? That if the word Tarot was expanded using this code it would spell out the above phrase? Pretty impressive, if that is correct.

I have a longer list of things I don't quite understand in 1/1 than Ventrue.

I found the mini-history of start of the GD interesting. Is that the generally accepted version?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventrue
I read a piece of Gematria by A.C. and it served to confuse me more and make my head hurt, but I get the basic gist I think. So Gematria is taking the 22 hebrew letters and assigning numbers to them. Then if two words equal the same number then they are somehow 'linked' and if you study the words and their attributions you'll discover how they are linked. Do I basically have that right?
Yeah, you're just about right. Except that the hebrew letters don't have numbers assigned to them. The hebrew letters are numbers. That what makes gematria different from numerology.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventrue
ThROA - The Gate......I'm lost on that, "...also of ThROA, The Gate, Now, by the Yetziratic attributions -- see table at end -- this word may be read The Universe -- the new-born Sun--Zero." Can someone break this down a little bit.
At this point Crowley is using Notariqon on the word Tarot or TARO. In some cases Notariqon rearranges the letters in a word to create a new word, but because the letters are all the same in each new word, and hence their gematria value, there must be a link between them.

By suggesting a link between the Torah or TORA, Crowley is saying there is a link between the hebrew alphabet and the Tarot. (Anyone who disagrees with this please see post 1)
ThROA the Gate is a title of Malkuth, the lowest sephira of the qabalistic Tree of Life. Malkuth is essentially the sephira of physical existence. It's gematria, as Crowley points out, is 671. This is 61 x 11.

(61 = Ain = Nothing = 0) X (11 Magical expansion)

This is another way of writing Crowley's magical formula, 0=2. Everything emerging out of nothing by the manifestion of pairs of opposites - Male/Female etc. This whole cycle of active and passive energies emerging from nothing, and then returning to nothing is summed up in the wheel of the Tarot - ROTA.

Essentially what Crowley is trying to say with all this fancy word and number play is that the Tarot is a complete symbolic map of the forces of the universe and thus yourself, and not just a cheap fortune telling tool that can tell you whether so and so's boyfriend is going to dump them at the weekend.

I'm not sure how good an explantion that was. If you're still in the dark say so.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marion
I have a longer list of things I don't quite understand in 1/1 than Ventrue.
That's what this thread is for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marion
I found the mini-history of start of the GD interesting. Is that the generally accepted version?
Yes and no. There's always been a lot of debate over the origins of the Golden Dawn. I think the general opinion these days is that the whole story about the cipher manuscripts and the communication with Fraulein Sprengel is fake. Even so it's par for the course with mystical societies. They always drum up a fake history to give themselves legitimacy. (The fake history of Wicca is a good comparison.) Of course this was to lead to the break up of the order in the long run.

Does this mean that the Golden Dawn magical system is a load of rubbish. Not at all. The system itself works as a method of spiritual training.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventrue
Now, by the Yetziratic attributions -- see table at end -- this word may be read The Universe -- the new-born Sun--Zero." Can someone break this down a little bit.
Forgot to mention this. The Yetziratic attributions are the correspondences between the cards and the hebrew alphabet. Here Crowley is using the corresponding Tarot cards to throw light on the word ThROA.
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So, to sum up that little bit...

TORA(TORAh) = ROTA = TARO(TAROt)

While all these things aren't neccesarily the same, they are divinely inter-twined because they (obviously) must have the same Gematria. Therefore if you look at it enough, mediate, cuss about it etc, you will find that they are linked in some way to eachother. Is it a tenet of Gematria that the hebrew alphabet was designed around this? I guess that is a chicken or the egg question, but Crowley would say the egg came first right? So is gematria the chicken or the egg?

Thanks for clearing up the bit about The Gate, I haven't seen that particular title atributed or maybe I just didn't pay attention when I saw it.

Ven
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If I understand this correctly, he postulates that the entire Hebrew language is based on numerical values. I enjoyed his humorous aside about a council of learned rabbis in ancient times actualy codifying this deliberately.

I assume that the zodical attributions including the famous Star/tzaddi discussions are expanded later, as this is more or less just the introduction.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventrue
11 is the number of Magical Expansion, I can take that on faith, but what exactly is Magical Expansion
By "magical expansion" I have no doubt Crowley is referring to sexual arrousal.

The "K" in Magick was put there by Crowley to distinguish his brand of magic, "the Science of the Magi" (i.e. sex magic), from its counterfeits. K=11.

-fof
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"Among these papers, besides the attribution of the Tarot, were certain skeleton rituals, which purported to contain the secrets of initiation; the name (with an address in Germany) of a Fraülein Sprengel was mentioned as the issuing authority. Dr. Westcott wrote to her; and, with her permission, the Order of the Golden Dawn was founded in 1886." - Book of Thoth

The letters, supposedly written by "Frl. Sprengel" to Dr. Wescott authorizing the Golden Dawn's formation, have since been shown to be poorly written forgeries.

-fof
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