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Book of Thoth Study Group: Part 1 - Section 1

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418
Possibly and maybe. When Crowley published Magick in Theory and Practice he had every opportunity to change the conventional hexagrams to unicursal hexagrams, but he didn't. Why? Maybe he still had a few objections to the symbol. His letters to Frater Achad indicate that he was hostile towards the Uni-Hex at one time but later changed his mind.
I guess it was a later development. I used Regardie's "Ritual Magic" (IIRC) a good deal at one time, and he suggested, based on Thelema, that the UH could be used instead of the old-fashioned Hex. in the LRH and the GRH. I took to using it all the time, but I never thought much about how hard it might have been for the old-timers to come to accept it.

Isn't there an A:.A:. ritual, authored by Crowley, that explicitly prescribes the UH? I can't remember... no sources around, been a long time, etc...

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Maybe the rose at the centre represents Ra-Hoor-Khuit? In one sense Nuit = Possibilty. Hadit = Individual Point of View. Ra Hoor Khuit = the unification of both in an act of Love under Will to produce experience. That's only one interpretation of these sysmbols though.
As all are ;-) Maybe the Rose, with Five Petals, represents the Pentagram - Microcosm. Thus it symbolizes the illusory birth of one from two infinities that are actually identical (0=2). In Time, the One conceives of these two infinities as the Past and the Future; in Space, they are the infinite Outside and the infinite Inside; in philosophy and mathematics, they are Nothing and Everything, and the One - the illusion of One - arises from the fact that it cannot be either, but wants to be both. It is always actually only one point in the play between these infinities, until the moment it chooses to become another point. And the distance between the extremes of these infinities is always such, that the point is always the middle between them. This One is where they say - "hey, I'm you!".

Hence the Rose seems like an explosion in the centre - and this explosion is the sudden awareness of consciousness - "Holy shit, I'm here!", beholding the infinite expansion on either side of me. It seems like a liftetime to a one, but to an infinity suddenly seeing itself, it is just one of every thing.

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Somewhere, I can't remember now, Crowley says that every line of a Unicursal Hexagram should be of equal length. Looking at the Hex in the Book of Thoth, is it a three dimensional shape viewed from a two dimensional perspective?
Sure you're not remembering the quote about "equal breadth"? (not "length"?)

I have a thought on this anyway, in another post.

Ross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Netzach
And on gematria - there's a wonderful demonstration of gematria by a Hassidic rabbi in Chaim Potok's beautiful novel "The Chosen". Here's part of it:

"Whoever does not labor in the Torah is said to be under the divine censure. He is a nozuf, a person whom the Master of the Universe hates! A righteous man, a tzaddik, studies Torah . . . In gematriya, "nozuf" comes out one hundred forty-three and "tzaddik" comes out two hundred and four. What is the difference between "nozuf" and "tzaddik"? Sixty one. To whom does a tzaddik dedicate his life? To the Master of the Universe! La-el, to God! The word, "La-el" in gematriya is sixty one! It is a life dedicated to God that makes the difference between the nozuf and the tzaddik!"
That's a great story!

I think it illustrates the proper use of gematria, and how we should regard it.

It is properly used as an analogy, or an illustration, of a point already made. In itself, it should not be relied on to formulate a doctrine. This is simply because, a contradictory gematria could always be found to illustrate the opposite point, and then the doctrine would be down the drain.

Gematria, in Jewish usage (as I have found it) is always kind of a punch-line, a neat little affirmation that gets people laughing and makes it stick.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Netzach
Firstly regarding a link between the Golden Dawn & Madame Blavatsky. The first English Buddhist monk, Ananda Metteya, (Allan Bennett) had been a member of the Golden Dawn. He helped to found the Buddhist Lodge of the Theosophical Society and so must have known Madame Blavatsky. Whether they influenced each other in any way, of course, is another matter.
As far as I know Blavatsky died in 1891. Alan Bennett didn't become a Buddhist monk unti 1900/1901. He may have had contact with some of Blavatsky's heirs when he lead the first Buddhist mission to the west.

Alan Bennett is an interesting character but there's very little known about him. At one time he was second only to Mathers within the Golden Dawn. He was Crowley's personal guru in magick before he left for Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
Like Crowley in later life he sufferd with chronic asthma and had to take drugs, such as morphine, on an almost constant basis just to be able to breath.

When Crowley first met Bennett he was living in squalor, so Crowley invited him to live in his posh Chancery Lane flat in exchange for teaching him personally. This event was to lead to unfortunate consequences and the breaking of several friendships in the future because of the accusations of the gutter press and a subsequent court case.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Netzach
"Whoever does not labor in the Torah is said to be under the divine censure. He is a nozuf, a person whom the Master of the Universe hates! A righteous man, a tzaddik, studies Torah . . . In gematriya, "nozuf" comes out one hundred forty-three and "tzaddik" comes out two hundred and four. What is the difference between "nozuf" and "tzaddik"? Sixty one. To whom does a tzaddik dedicate his life? To the Master of the Universe! La-el, to God! The word, "La-el" in gematriya is sixty one! It is a life dedicated to God that makes the difference between the nozuf and the tzaddik!"
Interesting Netzach, but I have a question. How do you spell La-el in hebrew in a way that makes it equal 61. AL, Aleph - Lamed = 31. LA, Lamed - Aleph = 31. Total 62. That number is interesting as it contains both the positive and negative in one. 61 (Ain- nothing) + 1 the first positive.

AL (31) is the secret key to the Book of the Law discovered by Frater Achad just before he went off at the deep end. His Liber 31 is full of stuff about AL = God and LA = Not. Intersting stuff but very deep.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
I guess it was a later development. I used Regardie's "Ritual Magic" (IIRC) a good deal at one time, and he suggested, based on Thelema, that the UH could be used instead of the old-fashioned Hex. in the LRH and the GRH. I took to using it all the time, but I never thought much about how hard it might have been for the old-timers to come to accept it.
Yeah, I'm aware that Regardie adopted the use of the Unicursal as has DuQuette in his, The Magick of Thelema. But as has been pointed out in the latest version of MAGICK: Book 4, this is without precedent in Crowley's writings. Plus, as far as anyone is aware, Crowley never taught the hexagram rituals with unicursals.
On top of that the Golden Dawn usage of the Unicursal was not planetary like a normal hexagram, it was a symbol of the four elements ruled by the Sun and Moon. This fact coupled with Crowley's lack of explanation leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
Isn't there an A:.A:. ritual, authored by Crowley, that explicitly prescribes the UH? I can't remember... no sources around, been a long time, etc...
Yep. Liber V vel Reguli where it is refered to as the Invoking Hexagram of the Beast. But there's no explanation of it. But in an earlier draft of this ritual Crowley uses the symbol of the Rosy Cross at the same point. Interesting!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
Sure you're not remembering the quote about "equal breadth"? (not "length"?)
Sorry Ross. I was thinking of a letter between Crowley and Achad on the 8th May 1916 where Crowley says:
"I have an idea that every line in a unicursal figure should be equal to every other line, and also that unicursal figures should be capable of dextro-rotary description, that is, when they are closed figures."

A unicursal hexagram with equal length lines cannot be two dimensional.
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Unicursal hexagram exercise


After a bit of thinking, I think I can see why Crowley had to insist that the Unicursal Hexagram's lines must be considered "Euclidean".

Here's an exercise -

draw two triangles, one upright A-B-C and one downward D-E-F (The letters are the points of the triangles). Make B-C the bottom line of the first, and D-E the top line of the second. Label the angles, and cut the triangles (they don't have to be perfect triangles for this exercise).

Now, how do you "unite" the two triangles? That is, how do you make two distinct triangles with only one line? Mathematically, they can only be united if *at least* one part of each is identical in both. Then you can create a new shape where both triangles have preserved their identity.

If you overlap the triangles so that you have a normal hexagram, a Star of David, you can do something to unite them.

Slit the lines so that you can make a nice Star of David.

Insert the triangles.

Draw a unicursal hexagram on the Star of David.

Going from top A to bottom left B, you will notice that the next point is on the *second* triangle, point E! And the rest goes from point F on the bottom, to point D, to point C on the first triangle!

Geometrically, you have created a two-dimensional single shape out of two distinct objects, where the line B-C of the first triangle can be considered geometrically IDENTICAL to the line D-E of the second. This transformation happens only at ONE POINT (geometrically) of the design. This is the Rose Point in the Unicursal Hexagram.

It is ONLY if the lines are considered as Euclidean - that is, perfect lines, abstract lines - that this can be done. Because, if the lines have breadth, then they will interfere with one another, and it is always possible that they are not actually meeting - it might be just because our vision is limited, or our measurement is faulty. But if they do not have breadth, and are Euclidean, geometrically and strictly mathematical, at least one point on both can be identical.

It is only because one of the sides belongs BY DEFINTION to both - hence Euclidean (because the lines between points D-E and points B-C occupy the same position; if they had any extension, occupied any space at all, they would not be Euclidean) - that the Unicursal Hexagram can represent - and even illustrate - the Great Work.

(Note that if you put the top and bottom lines together, so that they are considered mathematically-geometrically identical (Euclidean), you have created a four-sided object where the triangle lines B-C and D-E are indistinguishable. But in this case you have diminished the creation by making the triangles have an interior line in a tetragram, you have not extended the triangles so that both preserve their unique identities, although paradoxically).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418
Sorry Ross. I was thinking of a letter between Crowley and Achad on the 8th May 1916 where Crowley says:
"I have an idea that every line in a unicursal figure should be equal to every other line, and also that unicursal figures should be capable of dextro-rotary description, that is, when they are closed figures."

A unicursal hexagram with equal length lines cannot be two dimensional.
Ah! It sounds like Achad was a little ahead of Crowley on this - not surprising as Achad challenged him mathematically quite a bit - as did Mudd.

1916 is indeed very early, at least for the fine points of Thelemic doctrine.

With "dextro-rotary" I think Crowley was grasping towards the concept he would later write in the Book of Thoth - Euclidean; that's what he was looking for (he might have mentioned something about this earlier in his diaries as he worked it out). I think he means that no matter which way you turn it/change it, it is the same figure - something like the modern field of topology in mathematics.

I could be reading too much into Crowley's use of the UH - for me it has been the most important of Thelemic symbols, even though, as you well note, Crowley's comments on it are at best vague.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
Thus it symbolizes the illusory birth of one from two infinities that are actually identical (0=2). In Time, the One conceives of these two infinities as the Past and the Future; in Space, they are the infinite Outside and the infinite Inside; in philosophy and mathematics, they are Nothing and Everything, and the One - the illusion of One - arises from the fact that it cannot be either.
Oh, Ross...

Beautifully, beautifully, beautifully said. This has been staying with me all day. Many thanks.

Scion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
I think he means that no matter which way you turn it/change it, it is the same figure - something like the modern field of topology in mathematics.
No matter which way you *distort* a figure, would be a better way to describe topology. Once all the points are defined, you can distort it almost infinitely, and it will remain the "same" figure. It won't look the same, but it will have all of the mathematical properties of all the other forms of the same defined points in relation to one another.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418
Interesting Netzach, but I have a question. How do you spell La-el in hebrew in a way that makes it equal 61. AL, Aleph - Lamed = 31. LA, Lamed - Aleph = 31. Total 62. That number is interesting as it contains both the positive and negative in one. 61 (Ain- nothing) + 1 the first positive.
Thanks for pointing that out Aeon! Didn't notice it, but should've. I guess, to be generous, that the Rabbi was equating the two Alephs, maybe eliding them (l'el) or (la'l) in pronunciation.

There is also a rule I have read of in Jewish gematria - seriously - where if the result is only different by one, then you can change it. There is a name for this rule.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
Thanks for pointing that out Aeon! Didn't notice it, but should've. I guess, to be generous, that the Rabbi was equating the two Alephs, maybe eliding them (l'el) or (la'l) in pronunciation.
I only noticed it because I recently re-read Frater Achad's, Liber 31. He goes on for quite a bit about LA and AL, Not/God. So the ideas were fresh in my mind.

LA-ShT-AL - 31 + 31 + 31 = 93 Thelema. Interesting Tarot cards.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
There is also a rule I have read of in Jewish gematria - seriously - where if the result is only different by one, then you can change it. There is a name for this rule.
I think it's usually called cheating. LOL
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