One response to “The Coming Forth of Babalon”

  1. BC

    Excellent article, and I am especially welcoming of – and interested in – hearing the voices of women on the topic of the Divine Feminine, especially when it comes to this most (and often problematically) misunderstood of Goddesses.

    A few thoughts and comments on the contents:
    My understanding to date of the foundational texts of Thelemic cosmology, in this case The Vision And The Voice in particular, leads me to the conclusion that Babalon / The Sacret Women and Therion / The Beast are essentially Shakti and Shiva expressed in post-christian terms.
    The re-purposing and re-framing of characters from Apocalypse / Revelations has an Aeonic function, but there is also a further and deeper meaning to this. Babalon riding the Beast matches the view held by some Tantric traditions that it is the Shakti which controls and directs the Kundalini, the evolutionary and magical force in humanity.
    Apocalypse / Revelations can be seen, from this viewpoint, to be quite obviously describing the raising of Kundalini. The seven seals as the seven chakras, the three and a half days of stasis referring to the resting coiled Kundalini, the imagery of world-destruction is classically a common effect of the opening of the Third Eye (Eye of Shiva).
    Also note the seven gates in the Inanna myth…

    Shakti is the active and creative cosmic principal: Power as feminine, where as the passive potential is masculine. On this idea of potential, note that in Thelema, Therion / The Beast is a Solar idea, yet as humanity is now aware that our sun is just one amongst many stars, Therion also appears in another form, Stellar rather than Solar, as Chaos (in the third Aether of The Vision And Voice Chaos is described in identical terms that the Beast is). Chaos is potential.

    In terms of Qabalah, Babalon is attributed to the sphere of Binah, and Chaos to Chokmah. Binah translates as “Understanding” which relates to the Dee & Kelley vision: “For behold, I am Understanding” (this is expanded upon by the Cup-bearer in Crowley’s vision of the the 12th Aether). Further there is her description of herself as the “Daughter of Fortitude”. Fortitude = Strength = Tarot card depicting a woman controlling a beast = the letter Teth, which translates as “serpent”, again relating back to Kundalini.

    Regarding Binah, the King and Queen scale colours of this sphere are crimson and black, the main colours associated with Kali, whose terrifying form may express the fear that the ego – wishing to cling on to the trappings of its identity – may feel that the idea of giving up everything to the Goddess (in Thelemic terms, every last drop of the blood of the saint must be poured into the cup of Babalon in the crossing of the Abyss).

    So it appears to me that Babalon represents the Power of the universe, Nuit manifesting as a more tangible and less abstract form functionally (in terms of tangibility, if Nuit and Hadit can be compared to an ovum and a sperm, Babalon and Therion can be compared to [lunar ] yoni and [solar] phallus).

    Functionally, Babalon appears to me as She who is behind the face of every women I have loved and been loved by, just as the Universe is behind Her.

    Unfortunately, due to patriarchy, I believe that this Goddess, Power, and archetype, is often misunderstood, and there is an undercurrent of sexism which becomes obvious at points. Jack Parsons was an excellent scientist but a very over-rated, and tragically flawed, magician. Aside from the massive technical errors in his Babalon working (using the wrong Enochian call, for one thing), considering a real-life flesh-and-blood woman as an “elemental” is obviously sexist. Times and values change of course, but we can still point out where things were wrong.

    And unfortunate and problematic misunderstandings of Babalon still manifest even within pockets of contemporary Thelema. There is a sexualisation of the feminine that is not as liberated or liberating as some might like to think it is. It is very annoying to encounter the notion, implicit or explicit, that working the “Babalon energy” boils down to women wearing red lipstick and putting out. Absolutely fine if a woman wants to do that, of course, but there must be no pressure, and it should not be expected. When people use “Babalon” in those terms, they show a serious lack of Understanding. I want to see a situation where it is just as acceptable for women who don’t want to be sexualised or seen as sexually available as it acceptable for women to do want to be, and most of all there should be no pressure on women one way or the other. That is genuinely Thelemic.
    Thelema is, thankfully, a work in progress rather than a museum piece, and I do think things are improving, though there is still work to be done.
    Work, such as this article, by women are a vital part in this improvement, part of a positive change for the better. Looking forward to reading more!