Kenneth Grant has published a statement concerning The Ninth Arch for Watkins Bookshop. Fascinating…
The Ninth Arch by Kenneth Grant
The Ninth Arch is the final volume of a triple trilogy aimed at tracing from Typhonian roots in an indefinitely ancient past the original Gnosis which underlies and informs all genuine manifestations and applications of the Magical Current at any time, any where.
In the mid nineteen-fifties, ten years after a spell of instruction from Aleister Crowley, with whom I was then staying, I established a Magical Circle known as New Isis Lodge, founded for the purpose of performing ritual magic with the object of communicating with discarnate entities and – where possible – establishing viable channels of transmission. The notion sprang originally from a remark by Crowley in one of his letters to a student which he wrote at the time of my visit and which appeared in a posthumous publication entitled Magick Without Tears. I quote the relevant passage:
“My observation of the Universe convinces me that there are beings of intelligence and power of a far higher quality than anything we can conceive of as human; that they are not necessarily based on the cerebral and nervous structures that we know, and that the one and only chance for mankind to advance as a whole is for individuals to make contact with such Beings”.
Whether or not we made contact with such Beings is not known, or remains to be seen, but the manifestation of non-human Entity definitely occurred, as exemplified in the seventh volume of the Trilogies and which culminated in The Book OKBISh – The Book of the Spider, reproduced in The Ninth Arch with verse-to-verse comments.
Engaged in the reception and transcription of the material were several practised mediums – skryers or pythonesses – some of whose activities are recorded in various parts of the Trilogies. The women played parts similar to those described in my ‘nightside narrative’, Against The Light (1997), and their most significant roles involved the production of both psychic and astro-etheric phenomena. In a similar context, and during sessions with Crowley in the ‘forties – when he explained several relevant passages in his works – he alluded to the concept of the ‘Scarlet Woman’, a term which appears frequently in his unpublished and published work and which stemmed originally from the transmission which he received in Cairo in 1904 – the Book of the Law – via a woman who was then his wife. This was the Book that was to form the foundation of his life’s work, the model of a consistently received transmission from extramundane sources. Crowley spoke especially of the function of the Scarlet Woman more in terms of the Pythoness or Oracle than of the more usually accepted image of the sexually rampant virago.
However, it was not until after Crowley’s death, and when New Isis Lodge was well under way that I was able to appreciate the full import of his remarks on the subject. Amusingly, Crowley’s occasionally grotesque brand of humour had prompted him (during an Exhibition of his Paintings in New York’s Greenwich Village, c.1919) to advertise for female models physically misshapen or possessed of certain anatomical peculiarities usually considered abnormal. He was not looking for subjects to draw or to paint, but for signs which he recognised as being indicative of a possible aptitude for the specialised ‘office’ of ‘Scarlet Woman’. His reasons became plain to me years later, when Magical Operations peaked in New Isis Lodge, and when direct experience initiated me into these aspects of the
Mysteries. This, although I had, shortly after leaving ‘Netherwood’ (where Crowley resided), became acquainted with an advanced student and practitioner of Tantra from whom I absorbed the basic theories and technology of the Vama Marg, known generally and somewhat disparagingly as the ‘Left Hand Path’. Disparagingly, that is, by some Western occult circles because it emphasizes the female’s all important role in the Mystery Schools of the East, forming an essential part of Hindu and Buddhist Traditions. In the Hindu tantras, particularly, the Pythoness or ‘Oracle’ is known as the Suvasini (lit. ‘sweetly scented woman’). The Rights of the Chakra (Magic Circle) featuring her participation – a leading one – involves a complicated series of magical techniques which I have treated extensively in the Trilogies. These rights also are, in many cases, aimed at developing in their male practitioners, as well as in themselves, clairvoyance, the spirit vision, clairaudience, etc., and of initiating a peculiar process involving the total introversion and reversion of the senses on the assumption – fully demonstrated as true by their Adepts – that only specially ‘marked’ priestesses (oracles) can assist the Chakrapujari (Master of the Circle) to establish contact with dimensions beyond the range of normal human consciousness, where the Beings of supra-human Knowledge and Power to which Crowley referred, exist and have their being. It is hoped that the publication of The Ninth Arch will encourage the tapping into these dimensions and consequent reception of further transmissions such as the ‘Vision of S’lba’ (Outer Gateways, 1994) and OKBISh – always under due protection – with the throwing of yet more light on the source of our Work – the Book of the Law.
It is necessary to add some considerations concerning the mode of analysis applied, to the deeper understanding of the separate verses of the Book OKBISh. As with the ‘Vision of S’lba’, the method used is that of gematria. Why? Because gematria has the supreme advantage over other modes of exegesis because of its two-way operation, i.e., it creates, even as it interprets. By this is meant that numbers can mean to the Qabalist precisely what he wills them to mean within the framework of his Magical Universe, for although they have no absolute reality they do have a relative significance. Numbers are therefore deployed as a magical means of invoking specific energies (shaktis) dormant in – the subconsciousness of the magician. The shakti lies not in the numbers themselves but in the magician.
The latter, being well equipped with magical numbers – i.e., with numbers meaningful to him – there is no limit, quantitively, to the worlds he may construct from their energies. The magician does not aim at predicting the future, which would imply that it already exists, but at creating it according to the laws of his Magical Universe. It is thus possible literally to create by magical means (i.e., by numbers) an entirely new universe. Creative gematria depends therefore upon the use and redirection of subjective content; it involves a refinement of the ‘paranoiac-critical’ faculty by which it becomes possible to reveal hidden affinities and to discover connections between words possessing different meanings but identical vibrations (numbers). Thus, it will be seen that (as stated in Outer Gateways) there is far more to the numerical qabalah than a one-sided acceptance of an objective word/number equation. It is possible to discover links between disparate ideas and to effect mutations which breed alien entities from the matrix of magically controlled paranoia. Dali applied a similar technique to the visual arts. The skillful magician will find it fruitful to adapt the formula to his or her own requirements.
Although women rather than men may be better equipped and adapted to receiving Oracles of the nature of S’lba and of OKBISh, it is possible to release in the male the degree of receptivity required to trigger the ‘magnetic sleep’ in which such images and visualizations flourish. The artist/magician Austin O. Spare was a case in point. Together we founded the Zos Kia Cultus in which students combined his system of ‘sigilography’ and ‘sentient symbols’ with Typhonian invocations, with remarkable results. Readers of The Ninth Arch who are already working in collaboration with a Pythoness are advised to give a Typhonian direction to their invocations, these being especially potent to bring on the state or condition required. Working with the Typhonian Current is more likely than other systems to induce such visualizations, particularly in individuals already sensitive to aesthetic impressions, and to express them in linear or some other artistic form. Many examples of such expressions have been included among the illustrations in the Trilogies. It may be claimed that individuals not previously exhibiting much proficiency in the sphere of creative work have involuntarily reified imagery with surprising dexterity, whilst in a state akin almost to deep sleep, or even light trance. Whatever the result, visible or otherwise, it is usually accompanied by a state of great inner peace and, perhaps, of rapture.
London, ’03 e.v.