Stele of vital is it?



At the crossroads) Y (where the path of the mystic diverges from that of earthly pursuits, the Devil is a trickster guarding against those who confuse the image for the absolute. And that, it seems, has been at the crux of our discussion here.
Fitting it should be over an object catalogued: 666

Draping verities in names, numbers or symbols has always been a TooL, and 1 hope 1 fathom the utility of the vehicles without confusing them for the mysteries they are meant to represent. As creative fictions at play in the delight of their own becoming, the forms we clothe natural forces within have adapted as our species has adapted.
The mytho-poetic streak running through the ages is a human discourse with the divine. And some answers can never be found lest we ask the right questions.

Perhaps it is non-essential, at least with regard to one’s spiritual practice, to look for patterns connecting the traditions of ancient Egypt to modern Tarot. I gather most historians have a special looney bin for activities of precisely this nature, yet I suspect there is still a case to made for this lineage. Granted, certain archetypal motifs are “timeless” and can be found the world over, but there is more to this deck of cards than a mere collection of themes inferred by the collective unconscious.

Crowley’s Book of Thoth organizes into a calendar that would have been well suited to the activities of ancient astrologers.
As of today, there are precisely 4 years before this calendar points to zero.
The Stele of Revealing, by my reading, is more than just an artifact inspiring Crowley to the Book of the Law.
It is a clue as to how this calendar is configured.

Shall we begin?


As I learn more about this, it seems that Crowley actually did place a great deal of importance on the Stele but after the fact. The saga of the aeon of Horus actually begins in ancient Egypt (see Across the Gulf).

"So I, in this year V of the Equinox of the Gods (1908) wherein Horus took the place of Osiris, will by the light of this my magical memory seek to understand fully the formula of Horus - Ra Hoor Khuit - my god, that ruleth the world under Nuit and Hadit. Then as Ankh-f-na-khonsu left unto me the Stele 666 with the keys to that knowledge, so also may I write down in hieroglyph the formula of the Lady of the Forked Wand and of the Feather, that shall assume his throne and place when the strength of Horus is exhausted." - Across the Gulf, Ch.9

In his Old and New Commentaries, he gives the Stele a role of critical importance as the "Link with Antiquity of this Revelation." (see New Comment 1.5).

They say the truth lies somewhere in between and I believe this is certainly the case here. On one hand I think Crowley did try to translate and interpret the Stele as best he could, but he also believed he was being directed by magical currents of inspiration. I don't know if he thought these magical currents were giving him accurate information or not; he doesn't seem to have given it much thought nor did he seem to care. I don't think it's really been that much of an issue until lately as more historical data becomes available.

Always Wondering




In the Confessions Crowley describes an incident involving a home made stele that made a profound impression upon him.

In early 1920 Crowley was living in Fontainebleau, France. He felt like he had come to a bit of a dead end and didn't know what to do next. How was he supposed to promote Thelema while being practically penniless and seemingly without prospects? He appealed to the gods: "Observe, I have done my damndest and here I am at a dead centre. I am not going on muddling through: I demand a definite sign from you that I am still your chosen prophet."

On January the 12th he consulted the I Ching and asked whether he should stop all magical work until he received a sign. The sticks indicated hexagram 22 - Pi/Grace. He interpreted this to mean that he should keep going. Invoking Aiwass he asked, "What shall be the Sign?" The answer (via bibliomancy?) was a phrase from The Book of the Law: "The omnipresence of my body." This obviously refered to Nuit/Babalon, but as a sign it could mean any number of things. For the sake of clarity Crowley threw the I Ching again. Hexagram 36 Ming I / Darkening of the Light. Not what he was expecting. Crowley had serious doubts about the accuracy of this hexagram, but closed the record and awaited the sign.

Aleister Crowley said:
On Friday, Jan. 30th, I went to Paris to buy pencils, Mandarin, a Palette, Napoleon Brandy, canvases and other appurtenances of the artist's dismal trade. I took occasion to call upon an old mistress of mine, Jane Chéron, concerning whom see The Equinox, vol. I, No. VI, “Three Poems”. She has never had the slightest interest in occult matters and she has never done any work in her life, even of the needlework order. I had seen her once before since my escape from America, and she said she had something to show me, but I took no particular notice and she did not insist. My object in calling on this second occasion was multiple. I wanted to see the man with whom she was living, who had not yet returned from Russia; I wanted to make love to her, and I wanted to smoke a few pipes of opium with her, she being a devotee of that great and terrible god.

Consider now: The Work whereby I am a Magus began in Cairo (1904) with the discovery of the stele of Ankh-f-n-Khonsu, in which the principal object is the body of our Lady Nuith. It is reproduced in colours in The Equinox, Vol I, No. VII. Jane Chéron has a copy of this book. On Friday afternoon, then, I was in her apartment. I had attained none of my objectives in calling on her and was about to depart. She detained me to show me this “something”. She went and took a folded cloth from a drawer. “Shut your eyes,” she said.
When I opened them, they saw a cloth four feet or more in length, on which was a magnificent copy, mostly in applique silk, of the stele. She then told me that in February 1917, she and her young man had gone to the south of France to get cured of the opium habit. In such cases insomnia is frequent. One night, however, he had gone to sleep and on waking in the morning found that she, wakeful, had drawn a copy of the stele on a great sheet of paper.

It is very remarkable that so large a sheet of paper should have been at hand; also that they should have taken that special book on such a journey; but still more that she should have chosen that picture, nay, that she, who had never done anything of the sort before, should have done it at all. More yet, that she should have spent three months in making a permanent thing of it. Most of all, that she should have shown it to me at the very moment when I was awaiting an “unmistakable” sign.

For observe, how closely the words of my entry of January 12th describe the Sign, “… the omnipresence of my body.” And there She was — in the last place in the world where one would have sought Her.
Note too, the accuracy of the Yi King symbol [36 - Ming I, Yoni above Sun] for [the upper trigram] is, of course the symbol of our Lady, and the God below Her in the stele is the [lower trigram] the sun.

Always Wondering

What a great story. I love Crowley the best when he's pissed and stamping his foot at the Universe. Reminds me of someone I know. :|

I also sew when I can't sleep. I have attempted a cross-stitch of the Empress but it was time and work intensive, Freida's work is too difficult to replicate.

I would have loved to have seen her work. Applique' is a good way to go, time and work wise, a little easier. It would take me longer than three months though. All silk. I bet it was beautiful. Sure beats a coffee cup.

But I've been sleeping good and will stick to the coloring for a start. :laugh:



What a great story. I love Crowley the best when he's pissed and stamping his foot at the Universe. Reminds me of someone I know. :|
Be careful with that foot. The response Crowley usually got was: "Stop stamping your foot and get back to work!" :laugh:

The day before Crowley consulted the I Ching, he and Leah Hirsig had both pledged to build an Abbey of Thelema. But how and with what? Crowley's money was long gone by then. Jane Chéron's embroidered stele was, for Crowley, the definite sign he had asked for and gave him the confidence to 'make it happen' despite his circumstances.

You could argue that the Abbey of Thelema project wasn't a great success. It certainly did nothing for Crowley's reputation. But it was the birth place for some of Crowley's most important and mature works. And it attracted students, some of whom would go on to play an important role in the survival of Thelema after Crowley's death. After her time at the abbey Jane Wolfe would remain devoted to Crowley and Thelema until the end of her life. She and Karl Germer worked to continue Crowley's legacy in America and befriended Phyllis Seckler.

Was an embroidered stele the "thread" linking it all together? Pun intended. :grin:

Always Wondering

Be careful with that foot. The response Crowley usually got was: "Stop stamping your foot and get back to work!" :laugh:

I will get right back to work. Oh the drudgery. :laugh: