English Qabala

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English Qabala

The English Qabala is a system of correspondences used for making magical correlations that is used by some members of the thelemic magic community. Its origins can be traced to some numerological speculation on The Book of the Law (also known as Liber AL ), the revelation channeled by magician Aleister Crowley in 1904. Within the book was a command, "Thou shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet." This was interpreted as a command to find a system of assigning a numerical value to each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet in such a way that it would lead to a meaningful manipulation of the text. The normal way to assign numerical values to the English alphabet is straight numerical order, so that A=1, B=2, C=3, and so forth. This system produced no meaningful results when applied to The Book of the Law.

While Crowley attempted to find such a system, he failed and had hoped that Frater Achad (Charles Stanfeld Jones ), his magical child, would succeed. While Achad made some useful suggestions at the time he was in conversation with Crowley in 1918, he, too, was unable to find the ultimate secret, and soon dropped the problem. Then in 1976, Jim Lees, a British thele-mite, discovered what he believed to be the secret, which he shared with two colleaguesJake Stratton-Kent and Carol Smith. They published Lees' findings through Kaaba Publications.

Lees had started with Frater Achad's suggestion of using the letters "A" and "L" as a starting point and noted that "L," the second letter in the Hebrew alphabet, was the 12th letter of the English alphabet. (Kabbalah was of Hebrew origin; Qabala is a favored spelling of the term in non-Jewish magical circles). In the end he developed a system of counting every 12th letter in the English alphabet and upon reaching the end of the alphabet, continuing on at the beginning again. In this manner they found a new ordering of the alphabet as: A L W H S D O Z K V G R C N Y J U F Q B M X I T E P

He assigned each letter a numerical value such that A=1, L=2, W=3, and so forth. Playing with the new letter/numberequivalents, Lees and his associates discovered that all of a sudden, the text of The Book of the Law began to yield what thelemites would consider useful and meaningful results. Those who first worked with the numbering system found some immediate confirmation in the striking anomalies in The Book of the Law. One appeared in a page of the original manuscript of Liber AL, a copy of which is generally reporduced in printing of the typeset text. It contains a grid imposed on the text, and a line drawn diagonally across the text. Assuming the new ordering of the alphabet for the new Qabala, Lees and his associates found the new ordering appeared prominently in relation to the grid. Stratton-Kent applied the new system to verse II, 76 of Liber AL, which contains a seemingly random set of letters and numbers. He gave all of the letters numerical value, with a central "X" serving as a multiplication symbol. The end result was 17x11=187, the numerical value of the phrase "English alphabet."

At this point Frater Damon and Soror Ishtaria of the Hermetic Alchemical Order of the QBLH began to work with the basic information. Sorar Ishtaria developed a computer program, "Lexicon," to manipulate the text more quickly, and began to generate new correspondences. Information on the English Qabala circulated through The New Equinox: British Journal of Thelema, which Lees and Carol Smith assumed editor-ship of for Ray Sherwin in 1980, and other publications. Over the years, the QBLH has continued to work with the English Qabala. It has subsequently been adopted for use by other thelemic groups and has been the catalyst for the formation of completely new groups, such as the Gnostic Alchemical Church of Typhon-Christ.


Cherubim, David (Frater Aurora Aureae). "The New Qabalah and the Tree of Life." http://members.aol.com/CSahk/qabalah.html. May 20, 2000.

"The English Qabala." http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/1800/alav.htm. May 20, 2000.

QBLH, Frater D. T. "The New Aeon English Qabala: A Brief Introduction." http://www.thelema.net/TextOnly/naeq/naeq.html. May 20, 2000.

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English Qabala

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