Do what thou wilt hall be the whole of the Law.
Qabalists speak of a thing being called evil “to conceal its holiness,” and the goddess Babalon fits this category. So often, she is reduced to the Scarlet Woman-as-centrefold, with thrusting breasts and a lustful glare, the eternally available Whore. She is this … and so much more.
The altered spelling from Babylon derives from Crowley’s Enochian work, and though the Scarlet Woman is referenced in The Book of the Law, Babalon as a name came into the Thelemic universe some years after that text was given.
What motivated me to post on her was reading an interview from last year with the artist David Chaim Smith, who follows a Hebraic form of Kabbalah (we use the K with the Jewish version and the Q with the Hermetic one) and usually has few kind words about Thelema. But in the interview (http://arthurmag.com/2013/10/13/ecstatic-upheaval-a-conversation-with-artist-david-chaim-smith-from-arthur-no-34), he says the following:
“The goal is the absorption of the whole of your being, and the enworldment of that being into the heart of sublime beauty. This is not a thing that can be calculated or reasoned out. It is a wild, crazy way to live. However there are those who have burned down everything else. We can’t live in society anymore, it’s too late.”
And I thought, “If that isn’t what realisation of Babalon is about, what is?” Babalon is wildness and craziness, but she is also the Thelemic archetype of Binah, Understanding. In the highest sense, she is the Whore in that she can absorb all and any impressions without succumbing or being affected in her essence. She’s been described as “a MILF goddess,” the acronym signifying “a mother I’d like to fuck,” yet to restrict her solely to a kind of ultimate sex-object is to disregard the fact that she embodies or makes available a much higher, broader level of consciousness than most of us can sustain for long.
The Beast is an archetype of the sephirah Chokmah, and Babalon, his bride, is an archetype of Binah. The one is infinitely prolific, the other unlimitedly absorbing. They are complementary opposites, and neither ‘needs’ anything from the other in the human sense of the word, however intense their endless interactions.
I quote Chaim Smith again from the same interview:
“There’s a term in Kabbalah, it’s a Hebrew term, lishma, which means ‘for its own sake.’ Meaning that something that is truly good, is a good in and of itself. There’s no reason needed. It’s based on its own inherent, innate goodness, which ultimately is the root of beauty. Spiritual aspiration is nothing other than a thirst for this purposeless, inherently beautiful, and inherently good, direction in one’s life. Ultimately, the more one acquires, builds up this resonance, the more one contacts the ultimate sacrament of the mind, which breaks down this dichotomy between the offerer, the practitioner and that which they are offering, which is their time and their effort, and ultimately the illusion that there is a recipient of the offerings that have been made…which in religion, is God. But, I am not a theist. So I don’t posit a creator god. The offering is made just simply based on its own inherent goodness for no reason whatsoever to nothing whatsoever.”
A talk I gave in Toronto recently was focused on Christian mysticism, taking as the premise that the essential content of mystical experience doesn’t vary with the ages or Aeons. What does vary is the means or formula of attainment, and in consequence the way in which the experience is understood and presented. What strikes me with Chaim Smith, and has struck me before about a number of recent Christian mystics, is how the means by which they understand and expound these experiences is becoming progressively more Thelemic.
Anyone could therefore take the quote above and use it verbatim as an exposition of fundamental Thelemic doctrine. The Aeon progresses through those who profess its tenets and seek to deepen their knowledge of them. It does so equally with those who find their way to delivery from ‘the lust of result” and embrace the seeming madness and beauty that is Babalon.
Love is the law, love under will,