The Key to the Order & Value of the English Alphabet
Several verses of the Book of the Law indicate that there is a hidden “key” somewhere in the text. In the first chapter on page 16 there is an indication that ‘mysteries’ are hidden in the script itself and that these secret were to be revealed by “the child of thy bowels”. In the second chapter, verse 76 again refers to ‘one to follow thee’ who will expound the mystery of the book. In this verse an apparently random string of letters and numbers seems to be connected to these hidden secrets. The string of characters is certainly attributed some importance and meaning by the text itself. Finally in the third chapter, verse 47 defines the key by three distinct points of reference, and again ‘one chosen’ is prophesied to come to elucidate upon the mysteries of this key.
This same page of the third chapter that contains verse 47, is unique in that it has a grid drawn over it measuring 8 inches by 10 inches (the original page being quarto), and across this grid is a roughly drawn diagonal line near which is drawn a small circle with a cross inside of it. From its appearance one must assume that the grid was drawn over the line and the ‘circle squared’, as it is referred to in the text. The MSS refers to these two marks as ‘keys’. The third point of reference given on this page is the word ABRAHADABRA. The grid is further marked along the top of the page with the letters A through H and down the left edge with the numbers 2 to 10, with the top square left un-numbered yet implying a value of 1. From all of this I deduced at the time that ‘the key of it all’ was the ‘key to the order & value of the English Alphabet’, as was indicated in verse 55 of the second chapter.
When I saw these keys on the page it was immediately obvious to me that I was looking at a simple graph of an elementary algebraic expression. Taking the top of the page and the left edge of the page as representing a null value, or as no letter, each line can be easily assigned a literal and numerical value. The first point of reference for the key is “this line drawn” which passes through the grid in two places: D=5 and C=3. Mathematically a line can be extrapolated indefinitely from two calculable points of reference and thus, working backwards B=1, and forwards E=7. This is where the second point of reference comes into play. “The circle squared” indicates that the value of 7 is not applied to the sequence of letters as they stand, and the text describes it as “in its failure”, or E≠7. The inclusion of this exception to the rule of the letters, the exception of the vowels from the alphabet, marks the Book of the Law as a true Grammar, or Grimior.
Also, the letter A is not given a value on the grid, if any mathematical value were indicated it might be ½. In this case it would seem common sense to attribute to it a decimal integral value of zero, as in the Tarot. The second chapter, in verse 55, indicates that there is another order to the English Alphabet, and only a small amount of research reveals that its order is variable in any event, having changed many times throughout history. In fact since the Romans Latinized it about half of the vowels of the English Alphabet have been late inclusions, or are mere variations upon existing characters. In addition, the Holy Qaballah assigns integral values only to consonants in Hebrew, vowels being indicated by diacritical marks in that script, so the Paths of the Tree of Life correspond to consonant rather than vowel sounds. From all of this it seems not unreasonable to agree with the indication that E≠7.
From the line drawn and the circle squared I surmised the following equation for calculating the integral values of the English Alphabet: for (the alphabet)-(the vowels a,e,i,o,u), and B=1; the value of the next letter is +2, giving the following values:
A=0, B=1, C=3, D=5, E=0, F=7, G=9, H=11, I=0, J=13, K=15, L=17, M=19, N=21, O=0, P=23, Q=25, R=27, S=29, T=31, U=0, V=33, W=35, X=37, Y=39, Z=41.
Whilst the line drawn and the circle squared determine what are and what are not the correct values of the letters of the English Alphabet, the third point of reference on this page, ABRAHADABRA, is the proof of the correctness of the newly found values.
Aleister Crowley was aware of the word Abrahadabra and of its symbolism as the Great Work completed, and of the method that it indicated for the uniting of the microcosm with the macrocosm (see; the Confessions of Aleister Crowley pp. 212). It follows then that because Abrahadabra expresses this known quality that it is the perfect test of the key’s veracity. When the values from the key are applied to this word it must in some way express the completion of the Great Work, qaballistically and by Gematria. The total enumeration of ABRAHADABRA by the values for the letters from the key is: ABRAHADABRA=0+1+27+0+11+0+5+0+1+27+0=72. By qaballah 72 represents the circumference of the circle of the Zodiac, as well as the Schemhamporesch, or the divided name of God, a symbol of the unity and the totality of the universe.
Yet upon closer inspection the key is further confirmed by Abrahadabra, by its literal connection to the cosmology of Thelema. Even Crowley had noticed that “HAD” forms the centre of the word ABRA-HAD-ABRA (see; the Comment on the Book of the Law). Upon either side of HAD is ABRA, and symbolically everything that is not HAD is NUIT, therefore ABRA+ABRA=NUIT. The first chapter states, on page 5, that Nuit’s word has a value of “six and fifty”, and ABRA has a value of: 0+1+27+0=28, and ABRA+ABRA=28+28=56. This adds depth to the meaning of Abrahadabra whilst still expressing the union of microcosm and macrocosm even to the highest, making it a symbol of the union of Nuit and Had, or of the Great Work accomplished upon the divine level. Further; HAD=11+0+5=16, foursquare, which is another significant number to the Book of the Law, mentioned in the second chapter, verse 78, where it is defined as the quality of divinity in the Beast, and the other prophets. In this instance it implies that the knowledge of Hadit is the knowledge of the possibility of union with Nuit and so of the completion of the Great Work.
Lastly, there is a final qaballistic or Gematric puzzle in the third chapter, verse 74, and upon the application of the values of the English letters from the key it is instantly and obviously solved. In this verse Horus says; “there is a splendour in my name hidden” and as splendour and Ra Hoor Khuit both have a numerical value of 122 even the name of the Lord of the Aeon of Horus is a key to the value of the letters of the English Alphabet. There are so many more incidental cases similar to these that I can never hope to have the time to fathom them all, but in any case the important thing is that there is a consistency to these results which is somewhat unshakeable and which seems to confirm the veracity of these values for the letters as they are given by the key.
Returning to the second chapter, verse 55 indicates that along with the numerical values of the letters of the English Alphabet that there would also be new symbols to attribute them to. As the entire key is a problem of qaballah it seems certain that the next best set of symbols to attribute the letters to were the Tarot Atus and thence to the Holy Qaballah. If the consonants (after A) are assigned to the Tarot Trumps in their correct order (also indicated by the Book of the Law) the following table of correspondences can be extrapolated:
The Yetzirac Attributions of the Latin Alphabet
|Letter||Value||Yetzirac Value||Hebrew||Tarot Atu|
|A||0||Air||א -יסוד||0 The Fool/The Swords|
|B||1||Mercury||ב||I The Magus|
|C||3||Luna||ג||II The Priestess|
|D||5||Venus||ד||III The Empress|
|F||7||Aquarius||ה||XVII The Star|
|G||9||Taurus||ו||V The Hierophant|
|H||11||Gemini||ז||VI The Lovers|
|J||13||Cancer||ח||VII The Chariot|
|L||17||Virgo||י||IX The Hermit|
|P||23||Water||מ||XII The Hanged Man|
|S||29||Capricorn||ע||XV The Devil|
|T||31||Mars||פ||XVI The Tower|
|V||33||Aries||צ||IV The Emperor|
|W||35||Pisces||ק||XVIII The Moon|
|X||37||Sol||ר||XIX The Sun|
|Y||39||Fire||ש||XX The Aeon|
|Z||41||Saturn||ת||XXI The Universe|
Beyond the numerous problems of Gematria within the text of the Book of the Law there is one verse that stands out as unique, and as an obvious test of qaballah. In his Comment Crowley refers to verse 76 of the second chapter as “a Qaballistic test on the regular pattern of any person who may claim to be the Magickal Heir of the Beast”. With the symbols attributed to the letters by the key this verse can be easily interpreted by anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of qaballah and of magick.
In this portion of the text attention is called to a specific string of characters, both letters and numbers, and in the verse it is predicted that Crowley would never know their true import, but that one to follow him would expound their true meaning. Even Crowley connected this ‘one to follow’ with the ‘one chosen’, and so originally I came to examine the verse and its string of characters more closely.
4 6 3 8 ABK 2 4 ALGMOR 3 Y X 24 89 RPSTOVA L
In the MSS this string of characters seems to be spaced so as to suggest eleven distinct groups; implying some connection with Abrahadabra and so to the Great Work. These characters are also quite obviously some sort of cipher or code that is designed to be easily remembered, somewhat like a mantra or a spell. Verse 56 of the first chapter states that Crowley has half of the solution in “the clear light”, and “some though not all in the dark”. The numerical portion of this cipher would have been quite clear to Crowley as references to the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, but the correspondences of the letters to the Paths would have been hidden from him entirely without the key, leaving him in the dark for his whole life. He may have deduced a few of the correspondences, such as A= 0 The Fool, and B= I The Magus, because of their obvious parallel in Hebrew, but for the most part, it is obvious from his later diary writings, without the key he could never crack the full cipher formula. Dividing the sections of the cipher into their groups and interpolating their most basic correspondences reveal the following table of results:
Correspondences of the Secret Word Ch. II, Vs. 76
|A||4 6 3 8||Chesed, Tiphareth, Binah, Hod|
|B||ABK||Fool, Magus, Adjustment|
|R||2 4||Chokmah, Chesed|
|A||ALGMOR||Fool, Hermit, Hierophant, Fortune, O, Art|
|R||RPSTOVA||Art, Hanged Man, Devil, Tower, O, Emperor, Fool|
Words of power such as YHVH, ADONAI and ABRAHADABRA are all magickal formulae, thus ABRAHADABRA may be made to be the basis of ceremonies and rituals for the accomplishment of the Great Work. The eleven portions of the formula seem to have some consonance with the Neophyte Formula of the Golden Dawn at its most basic level of interpretation, and this being so it would seem that the cipher outlines the process of each of the eleven stages of an initiation ceremony of a similar nature. By interpolating along very traditional qaballistic lines the following correspondences are arrived at:
Correspondences from the Cipher Formula
A: 4: The Elements- separated into their quarters 6: The Hexagram- the influence of Tiphareth 3: Nuit- as LVX, the Extended Light 8: Hod- analysis of that extended light B: A: The Fool, Air, the Word- ABRAHADABRA B: The Magus- the direction of the will by that word K: Adjustment- harmonizing action with True Will R: 2: Chokmah, the Word, Breath, Wisdom 4: Chesed, Form, Law A: A: ABRAHADABRA (see above) L: The Hermit- the Holy Guardian Angel G: The Hierophant- The Oath of Obligation M: Fortune- the Wheel of Life, True Will O: Spirit/Aethyr- The Magick Circle itself R: Art- the synthesis of these forces H: 3: Binah, the Mother- Nuit A: Y: The Aeon- True Will, Perfect/Divine Will D: X: The Sun- rebirth, enlightenment A: 24: invocation of authority (the number of elders in the Revelation) B: 89: bindings or constraints- containing the Solar force R: R: Art- synthesis of spiritual and material forces P: The Hanged Man- sacrifice for the material manifestation of forces (i.e. from potential to kinetic) S: The Devil- the secret force, the material directive T: The Tower- Breakthrough, the materialization of force O: The Magick Circle itself V: The Emperor- the discipline, the obligations A: ABRAHADABRA (see above) A: L: The Hermit- the Holy Guardian Angel, enlightenment from within
All of this seemed very suggestive to me at the time (1983) and so I set about constructing a ceremony based upon the cipher, the object of which appeared to be the invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel, symbolized by the final ‘L’. Over a period of years this ceremonial form has been refined by study and practice until it can be expressed in the following adaptable and practical format:
The Ceremonial Formula of the Secret Word Ch. II vs. 76
A: 4: The Pentagram rituals of the Elements 6: The Hexagram rituals of the Planets 3: Invocation of the Trinity- NUIT: HADIT: RA-HOOR-KHUIT 8: Ritual invocation or extension of Khabs (LVX) B: A: Invocation to ABRAHADABRA (inner) B: Conjuration of ABRAHADABRA (outer) K: Announcement of the balance between inner and outer R: 2: Invocation of NOT as ABRAHADABRA 4: Conjuration of Nuit’s Palace of Four Gates A: A: Invocation of HAD of ABRAHADABRA L: Invocation to Hadit within G: the Hierophantic address M: The Oath O: Mystic Circumambulations R: Synthesis of the invoked NUIT and HADIT H: 3: The Primary Invocations A: Y: Consecration of the Candidate D: X: Rending the Veil A: 24: Conjuration/ invocation of authority- of the Word to take manifest form B: 89: Conjuration/ invocation of binding of the force of the operation into the Yetzirac world R: R: synthesis of spiritual force with material form- bindings P: Purification of the new arrangement S: the conjuration of the spirit of the operation T: breakthrough- the Sign of the Enterer O: Circumambulations V: the statement of authority over the conjured force A: Invocation to ABRAHADABRA as the Word of Power A: L: Invocation to the Holy Guardian Angel
Using this rudimentary outline I have been enabled to construct many dozens of ceremonies in consonance with the “secret word” with some degree of success. In addition, as I have grown in experience and attained to higher grades of initiation, the formula has grown and evolved with me so that my interpretation of it as a 7º=4∆ Exempt Adept was more refined than as a 0º=0∆ Neophyte whilst still remaining totally relevant to the work of both grades. As an Adept I used this formula to perform the Sacred Magick to its successful completion. To date this formula is yet to fail me in the veracity of its operations.
By the application of the values of the letters to the words in English (and presumably in other languages using the Latin Alphabet), most especially those words and phrases in the Book of the Law, an English Qaballah can now be easily constructed. The Gematria of these words and phrases from the Book of the Law that is revealed by the key is all very suggestive, at least as much as the Hebrew Gematria that is familiar from tradition. There are obviously more qaballistic puzzles in the MSS than I can possibly explore in this essay, but one very persuasive example is in the unusual name given to the “Minister of Hoor Paar Kraat”. In the three major western scripts that have a qaballah associated with them the name AIWASS=93, thus the name of the angel is itself a key of the Order & Value of the English Alphabet.
The outline of the key that is given here is very rudimentary and there is certainly much more scope for investigation of it than I have space for here, and in any event many of the puzzles remain concealed from my own ken, and are certain to remain so for this lifetime at any rate. Whilst I have gleaned a great deal of important and useful information from the key there remains much that the student will discover for himself, and all who use the key have the same opportunity to employ it as a weapon in their own Great Work, as I have in my own.