AN ILLUSTRATED DICTIONARY OF THELEMA & THE OCCULT

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A
Abbey of Thelema The Abbey of Thelema refers to a small farmhouse which was used as a temple and spiritual centre founded by Aleister Crowley and Leah Hirsig in Cefalu, Sicily in 1920.  The name was ‘borrowed’ from François Rabelais' satire Gargantua and Pantagruel, where an Abbaye de Thélème is described as a sort of "anti-monastery" where the lives of the inhabitants were "spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure."  Crowley had planned to transform the small house into a global centre of magical devotion and to gain tuition fees paid by acolytes seeking training in the Magical Arts; these fees would further assist him in his efforts to promulgate Thelema and publish his manuscripts.
Abracadabra The word 'abracadabra' is generally known as 'the magic word' used by stage conjurers to ensure their 'magic trick' or illusion was performed successfully.  However, it is a word of genuine ancient origin, used by real magicians from around the third century AD.  It appears frequently in Kabbalistic and Gnostic texts, and derives from an Aramaic phrase (Avarah K'Davarah), which means 'I will create as I speak'.  Aramaic is a northwest Semitic language, closely related to Hebrew, dating from the ninth century BC.  Its 'square' script replaced the archaic Hebrew script, which by the time of Jesus had become the normal script for writing in Hebrew.  It was widely used in Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia, the Persians extending its use to India, central Asia, and Asia Minor.  Aleister Crowley believed the word Abracadabra was associated with the Gnostic God Abraxas.
Abrahadabra Aleister Crowley believed the word Abracadabra was associated with the Gnostic God Abraxas (see below).  He altered the spelling to 'Abrahadabra' to achieve a specific value gematrically (418) when that word first appeared in public in The Book of the Law (Chapter 3, paragraphs 1, 47, 75), the central sacred text of Thelema.  418 also equates to Crowley's manor, Boleskine (Book of the Law, Chapter 2, paragraph 78).  In addition, it is the number of Nuit’s love chant, “To Me”, which indicates to the Initiate where his destination lies.  Abrahadabra is the reward of Ra Hoor Khuit for those who manage to pass the ordeals of Ra Hoor Khuit, the Angel of the Last Judgement.  When the word is chanted, or when its letters are arranged in an inverted pyramid and worn around the neck as a talisman for nine days, it is reputed to possess a magical power which will ward off illness and cure fevers.
Abramelin (Abramelin the Mage) Abramelin was known as Abramelin the Mage, a wandering Eastern sage whose magick is supposedly enshrined in the fourteenth century book, The Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage, translated by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers in the late nineteenth century.  Probably the most practically used of old grimoires, it contains a detailed and precise system of Ritual Magick, its authorship being attributed to Abraham the JewOil of Abramelin (so named by Aleister Crowley who adapted his own recipe from that found in The Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage) is used in Thelemic and other rituals.
Abraxas Abraxas is a Gnostic solar deity associated with Yahweh, Mithras and the Celtic Belenus, as well as Yeshu (Jesus).  Amulets (see below) and seals bearing the figure of Abraxas were commonplace in the second century, and were used as recently as the thirteenth century in the seals of the Knights Templar.  Gematrically, the letters in Abraxas total 365 (the number of days in a solar year, and the number of Aeons, or emanations, in Gnostic cosmology), while each of the seven letters represents one of the seven planetary powers.
Abulafia, Abraham Abraham Abulafia was a thirteenth century Jewish mystic most notable for transcribing Jewish oral Kabbalah, which up until this time had been very jealously guarded, into written form.
Abyss In Ritual Magick and Kabbalah, the Abyss is the divide between individual ego-consciousness and Cosmic consciousness (enlightenment).  In Kabbalah, it is the divide between the Supernal and the lower Sephiroth, i.e. the divide between the higher and lower states of existence.  The serpent Choronzon is the 'dweller' in the abyss, the final great obstacle between the magician and true enlightenment.  The Abyss is named Da'ath, meaning Reason (a combination of Knowledge and Understanding).  Da'ath is the root of 'death' which, whether actual or initiatory, is the means of crossing the Abyss.  The relationship between knowledge and death is made explicit by Hadit in Liber AL vel Legis, Chapter 2, Verse 6, where he says: “I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.”
Acolyte An Acolyte assists the ordained and licensed ministers at worship services.  Responsibilities include lighting altar candles, carrying the candles in procession, preparing the wine and water for the Mass and assisting the Sacred Ministers in Mass.  Acolytes include the Banner Bearer, Flag Bearer, Clergy Crucifer, Torch Bearer, Thurifer, Servers, Altar Boys and Altar Girls.  See The Gnostic Mass.
Adam Kadmon Some Kabbalists are of the opinion that the first form shaped, etched or produced by the ray of light which emanated from Ain-Soph was not the Sephiroth, but the body of Adam Kadmon, from which the Sephiroth then flared out.  It is in Lurianic Kabbalah where we find this theory of the Ain-Soph’s original emanation resulting in the body of Adam Kadmon.  According to some Kabbalists’ points of view he is actually the first God capable of being comprehended by man because man is made in his image.
Adept Someone who is highly experienced and extremely proficient in a particular magical art, having passed through various grades.  See also Magus.
Adytum The inner sanctum of a Temple.
Aeon Within Aleister Crowley's System of Thelema, history is broken down into a series of Aeons, each with its own dominant concept of divinity and its own 'formula' of redemption and advancement.  According to Crowley, the last three Aeons have been:
  • The Aeon of Isis, a maternal Aeon, where the female aspect of the Godhead was revered due to a mostly matriarchal society and the idea that 'Mother Earth' nourished, clothed and housed man.  It was characterised by pagan worship of the Mother and Nature.
  • The Aeon of Osiris, is considered to be dominated by the paternal principle and the formula of the Dying God.  This Aeon was characterised by that of self-sacrifice and submission to the Father God.
  • The Aeon of Horus, the current Aeon, is portrayed as a time of self-realisation as well as a growing interest in all things spiritual, and is considered to be dominated by the principle of the child.  The word of its law is Thelema, and its formula is Abrahadabra.  Individuality and finding one's True Will are the dominant aspects of this Aeon.

Aethyr / Aether An aethyr is one of a succession of worlds in the Enochian Astral planes (see The Enochian Keys), as well as the fifth element, or spirit, in Wicca and Ceremonial/Ritual Magick.  Depending upon tradition, it is also a formless and invisible substance that pervades the universe, generally known as ether.
Age of Aquarius A term popular during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly amongst the hippie movement, when the cold war between the eastern communist bloc countries and the west was at its height.  It is the theoretical 2000 year period of peace, love and enlightenment, heralded by the sun's entry into the zodiacal sign of Aquarius.  An astrological age is a period of time in astrology which is believed to parallel major changes in the development of the inhabitants of earth.  It roughly corresponds with the time taken for the vernal equinox to move through one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac.  However, according to Hipparchus, a Greek mathematician who compiled an early example of trigonometric tables, each sign of the zodiac subtends (on average) 30 degrees, so each astrological age might be thought to last about 72 × 30 = about 2150, 2156 or 2160 years, so the actual start of the 'Age of Aquarius' is uncertain.
Ahathoor See Hathor.
Ain-Soph Ain Soph translates into 'without end' (Ain = without, Sof = End).  It is a name for the God of Kabbalah, symbolising total unity beyond comprehension.  It is within Ain-Soph that all opposites exist in complete ignorance of their differences.  The Ain-Soph is NO THING, does not exist, is unable to be described or fathomed, and cannot possibly be discussed in terms of Being or Non-Being.  Many people have tried to describe the Ain-Soph by what he is not, without success.  See also The Sephiroth.
Air One of the four alchemical elements.  In Ritual Magick and Kabbalah, it is the element overseen by the Archangel known as Raphael.  Air has the qualities of coolness and dryness, and is associated with breath, life, communication, and the holy spirit.
Aiwass / Aiwaz Aiwass is the name of Aleister Crowley's Holy Guardian Angel, the entity whom Crowley claimed dictated the Book of the Law (which was to become the central sacred text of Thelema) to him on April 8th, 9th, and 10th in 1904.  Using Gematria Crowley discovered that the correct spelling of this name should be AIWAZ.
Akasha A Sanskrit word referring to the base material contained in all things.  Its literal meaning is 'space' or 'sky'.  The closest Western synonym is 'Aethyr' and it has also been related to modern Paganism's fifth element, Spirit.
Alchemist A person who practices Alchemy.
Alchemy The science, both physical and spiritual, of transforming base materials into superior forms, i.e. gold.  Transmutation of base metals into gold was based on the belief that naturally occurring gold, silver and other precious substances were originally formed within the earth from lesser substances, and could be reconstituted through alchemical operations.  The operations of alchemy were based on the Hermetic principle that everything on earth had a heavenly counterpart, and that through the 'principle of vibration', heavenly things could affect their earthly counterparts, and vice-versa.  Consequently, each mineral, plant, and metal corresponded with a heavenly body, and thus contained the properties of its associated heavenly body.  As a result, alchemical formulae for medicines were created, and the concept of spiritual development through alchemical work was developed.  The Great Work became not simply transmuting base metals into precious ones, but the perfection of the divine in man himself.
Aleph The first letter of the Sacred Alphabet.  It literally means ox, has the phonetic value of A, and has a numerical value of 1.  It is further attributed to the element of Air and the Tarot Trump The Fool.
Alexandrian Wicca A tradition of the Neo-pagan religion Wicca, named after Alex Sanders who, along with his wife Maxine, established the tradition in the 1960s, having previously been an initiate of a Gardnerian coven.  Generally, Alexandrian Wicca focuses strongly upon training which includes areas more generally associated with Ceremonial Magick, such as Kabbalah and Enochian Magick.
All-seeing Eye A symbol used in occultism.  The All-seeing Eye or Eye of Providence is a symbol depicting an eye surrounded by rays of light or a glory, usually enclosed in a triangle, and commonly interpreted as representing the eye of God keeping an eternal watch on his creation, mankind.  It is used in divination, in magick to cast spells and curses, and is also a symbol of the Illuminati (a conspiratorial organisation).  It is now also used as a Masonic symbol for the all-seeing eye of God, basically a mystical distortion of the all-knowing, all-seeing Biblical God, and is believed to be the eye of Lucifer.  Anyone who claims control of it reputedly has control of world finances (a good analogy is the currency used in the United States - check it out for yourself).
Alostrael See Babalon.
Altar Common to most religions, an altar is a table or other raised surface on which offerings are made to deities.  Quarters, or Watchtowers are sometimes called Altars, e.g. the Earth Altar is the Altar in the 'Earth Quarter of a Circle'.
Amulet From the Latin 'amuletum', meaning an object that protects a person from trouble, an amulet is generally an object worn around the neck which has been charged with the magician's personal energies through ritual or meditation, and is often used to ward off a particular evil force.  See also Talisman.
Animism The term animism derives from the Latin word anima meaning 'life' or 'soul'.
Angelic Script Another name for Enochian Script used in Enochian Magick.
Angelic Script Another name for Enochian Script used in Enochian Magick.
Ankh An ancient Egyptian symbol of fertility, life and immortality, the Ankh is a visual representation of a sandal strap.  The lower cross represents the masculine aspect of divinity, while the top loop represents the feminine.  The Ankh is considered to have significance in Ritual Magick and Wiccan/Neo-pagan traditions.
Ankh-af-na-Khonsu A priest of the Egyptian god Mentu who lived in Thebes during the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth dynasty (circa 725 BC).  He is best known as the creator of the Stèle of Revealing, a funerary tablet he designed for himself to commemorate his death.
Ape, Ape of Thoth See Babalon.
Apparition The paranormal appearance of someone who is distant or has passed away.  This is a visual phenomenon that normally happens spontaneously.  The appearance of the apparition seems to be motivated by particular anxiety on the part of the entity.
Apport The name given to any object such as a coin, a piece of jewellery, etc., which materialises from out of nowhere (normally in a darkened room) to land on a table or a sitter's lap, in the presence of a medium.  The practice was commonplace during the late 19th century when Spiritualism was at its height, although the vast majority of mediums producing these phenomena were exposed as fraudulent.
Aquarius Aquarius, the Water Carrier, is an air sign and the eleventh sign of the Zodiac.  Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus.
Archangel The highest supreme angel.  The word derives from two Greek words arch (meaning first) and angelos (meaning messenger).
Archetype The original pattern or model of which all things of the 'same type' are representations or copies.  Universal symbols, which are defined as standard prototypes, are used more often in pathworking.  Archetypal symbols are subconscious images that form our dreams, the power of our deities, and which enable all forms of divination to be possible.
Archon Literally 'Ruler'.  It refers to the creators and governing forces in the material world, e.g. the Demiurge (a craftsman - the grand original intelligence who acted to produce the real world) and his angels.
Ardains The Ardains of Wicca are the 161 laws of witchcraft revealed by Gerald Gardner in the early days of Wicca.  They have largely fallen out of use except in traditional Gardnerian circles.
Aries Aries, the Ram, is a fire sign and the first sign of the Zodiac.  Aries is ruled by the planet Mars.
Asar and Isa Mentioned in Chapter 1, paragraph 49 of the Book of the Law, Asar is the adorant Osiris, and Isa the Muslim form of Jesus, the sufferer and prophet.
Aspirant A seeker of spiritual knowledge, particularly for reunion with the Divine through Ritual.
Assiah Kabbalists believe the manifestation of our material world was caused by the immanent activity of God on four different planes, or in four worlds, simultaneously.  The Fourth World is known as Assiah, the World of Action or Making.  The quality of each of the preceding worlds diminishes as the original emanation which began their formation becomes grosser, until eventually the resulting impurities gather to form Assiah.  It is here where mankind and the animal kingdom reside with the evil Klippoth, alongside the exiled Shekhinah waiting to be reunited with her Creator.
Astral Plane An invisible place, also known as the astral world, which appears to parallel the physical world, within which one can travel in astral form.  See also Astral Travel and Out of Body Experience (OBE).
Astral Projection See Out of Body Experience (OBE).
Astral Travel Astral travel, whether induced or not, is the ability to move about outside one's physical body on the Astral Plane (see above).  This form of travel is also known as astral projection or an Out of Body Experience (OBE).
Astral World See Astral Plane above.
Astrology A form of divination, astrology is the practice of revealing the future by interpreting the arrangement or alignment of stars and planets in relation to astrological theory and the zodiac.  Also used for determining human characteristics at birth by the position of the stars and planets at the time of birth.
Athame In Ritual Magick and Wiccan traditions, a consecrated ceremonial knife symbolising the element of air or fire, depending upon the symbolism of the tradition.
Atziluth Kabbalists believe the manifestation of our material world was caused by the immanent activity of God on four different planes, or in four worlds, simultaneously. The First World, Atziluth, is the World of Emanation in which God manifests himself in the form of the archetypes Kether, Chokmah and Binah.  The union of God with his Shekhinah (his feminine counterpart) also takes place in this world, and the fruits of this union are the three worlds which follow.
Augoeides Augoeides is a Greek word meaning shining image.  The term has had various definitions within Western occult tradition over the years.  The Greek Neoplatonic writers of the late Roman period first used it to refer to the Body of Light or the transformed spiritual body worn by the initiate who had overcome the materialism of the physical world.  In 1906, during a period in China when Aleister Crowley was performing his meditations to explore the causal roots of his karma (even though he acknowledged that 'cause' itself was an illusory concept), the term "Augoeides" came into Crowley's thoughts as the name of the central god-form of his Abramelin Operation.  Augoeides signifies one's Higher Genius in the Golden Dawn teachings, hence, Augoeides became Crowley's new name for his Holy Guardian Angel.  In current occult literature, augoeides is used as a synonym referring to the Holy Guardian Angel.
Aura An invisible energy field surrounding the human body, animals and plants.  That part of the aura which surrounds the head is often depicted by artists as a halo to denote saints and enlightened beings.  Everyone supposedly has an aura filled with many colours of different intensity which reflect the thoughts and emotions active in the nervous system, and which change according to a person's state of mind.  The colours and intensity of a person's aura are said to show that person's true nature and intentions, as we cannot 'fake' the colour or characteristics of our auras.
Aura-Soma Aura-Soma is a method of divination using colour.  It was devised in 1983 by Vicky Wall (1918-1991), a blind British chiropodist, pharmacist and herbalist who claimed she could see auras around people, animals and plants.
Automatic Writing Writing performed by someone (often a medium) while in a trance or altered state of consciousness.  It is claimed to be the product of communication with a spiritual being, although psychical researchers believe it comes from the writer's own subconscious.  The writing process is much faster than ordinary handwriting, with the script being larger and usually more expansive.  Automatic writing can be produced as 'mirror script' and 'backwards' or 'reverse' writing (where the writer starts at the bottom right-hand side of a page and finishes at the top left).  The writer is normally totally unaware of what he or she has written.
Autumnal Equinox See Equinox.
Ayin The sixteenth letter of the Sacred Alphabet.  It literally means eye, has the phonetic value of Aa, and has a numerical value of 70.  It is further attributed to the Zodiacal sign of Capricorn and the Tarot Trump The Devil..

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