Stele Paraphrase anomaly
Equinox Vol I, vii, on the back of the picture of the stele facing page 368, verse 4 of the paraphrase ends "Aum! let it kill me". But in Equinox Vol 1, x page 29 it's given in CCXX (and every OTO version I've seen) "Aum! let it fill me!" Only one letter, but impacting on my imagery when I do Liber Resh vel Helios. Typo or something more? I notice that "kill" is pre OTO as far as the Equinox is concerned. Anyone got any explanations or theories?
My feeling as well, just as I think Frater Scire thought "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" was too strong for his target audience and changed it to "An it harm none, do what thou wilt"! 😉 But typo or deliberate, if the original really was "kill" it's funny how everyone has settled on "fill" since.
Even the modern OTO published edition of 'The Equinox Of The Gods' uses "kill" in the Paraphrase and, of course, "fill" in Liber AL itself. Pretty much as Crowley did.
I'm intrigued, tai, that your "bet" is that "the editors … softened to 'fill'." Which editor are you referring to for Equinox I:10?
Owner and Editor
My bet is on the second option..
Although some people surely would like to see another example of the incompetence of the O.T.O. I have to disappoint them and point out that in all the pre-Equinox (and pre-OTO) versions of the Book of the Law (which were mentioned here: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&p=40182&highlight=#40182 ) it always clearly says "Aum! let it fill me!". So I would bet on the typo theory...
In "The Great Invocation", a ritual intended to be published in The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley vol III, along with Liber L. (see: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&p=40182&highlight=#40182 again) contains "Aum! let it kill me!" So both versions in one (unpublished) book. The Holy Books from 1907/09 still have "fill" and no "Great Invocation". This Ritual by the way can be found - with "fill" instead - here: http://www.ashami.com/eidolons/The_Great_Invocation
Sorry for a third post in a row. Just found anoher hint that "fill" is probably meant: In his New Comment on the Book of the Law Crowley writes about the stanza in question: "Stanza 3 suggests the Rosicrucian Benediction: May thy Mind be open unto the Higher. May thy Heart be the Centre of Light! May thy body be the Temple of the Rosy Cross!" Sounds more like a filling than a killing, doesn't it?
If the OTO publications of the Equinox contain "kill", the evidence would point toward a typo and I can avoid answering your pointy question...
Thanks for these thoughts. I'm now inclined to go with the typo concept and that "fill" was what was intended. I'm particularly swayed by the argument that pre-Equinox Book(s?) of the Law(s?) have "fill" and while the reference to the Great Invocation is troubling the other two examples of "kill" are on the back of the photo of Crowley's stele, the Equinox version having a couple of typos only one of which was picked up for the Equinox of the Gods. I shall continue to be regularly filled with light! 🙂
I'm opting for the typo theory as well, as looking at the original heiroglyphs there's nothing there to suggest a further death of any kind- quite the opposite!
From HBT, Appendix A-
The ways of the Khu, Ka and Khabs are opened, lightened and run through him, and the consequence is-
The speaker is provided with light according to the Boulaq Museum analysis,
the Gardiner-Gunn analysis has the speaker 'shine[ing] forth as one that is prepared'.
The imagery matches 'fill' rather than 'kill'.
Also, Egyptian funerary rites were intended to keep the spirit/soul of the deceased operative. It's such a change in imagery that it alters the entire concept of the passages.
Plus, it's definitly 'fill' in the original manuscript of Liber Legis!
Am I the only one to appreciate the wonderful irony of “further death”? Let’s look at the evidence.
The Stele is a funerary relic of the priest Ankh-af-na-khonsu. Unless he committed suicide, which I find unlikely, the fact Crowley describes him as “self-slain” doubles the dead man’s death. Moreoever the modern analysis of the Stele mentions only twice that Ankh-af-na-khonsu is “justified” whereas Crowley’s reverse side paraphrase refers to him three times as the “dead man” - which, given the inscribed object is a funerary relic, is an absurd overstatement. The motif of doubled death runs through these paraphrases and, if it doesn't make sense to us, at least seems to hold significance in Crowley's mind.
We know from Crowley’s other writings that slaying, killing, devouring and dying are code for initiation or change in one’s consciousness. We also know the Stele is a door into the New Aeon. One identity dies and another is born. Moreoever let’s not forget the Stele itself is a funerary relic providing yet another layer of death, the outer framework, to the hidden meaning of these paraphrase. Which means the dead die even further. There is a mise-en-abyme, a death within death, not unlike a Russian nesting doll, in these details. One change leads to another. Perhaps the larger implication is that the concept of death itself must undergo change in the New Aeon.
The Light is both the Khabs, a person’s innermost star, hidden within the Khu, as well as the sunlight emanating from the throne of Ra - a doubling of light. If we accept the Light “consuming” the person, I don’t see why “Let it kill me” could not equally work - especially since the person uttering the words is already dead. The Light initiates the dead and makes a door into the four stations of Liber Resh. Consciousness becomes identified with the Sun no matter where it is located, in its rising or setting, in the sky or in the underworld.
To add to the above, the fact the Light makes a door into the four stations of the sun implies it is a process of integration no longer subject to the conditioning of cycles. One of the fates the Egyptians feared was disintegration of the various parts of the dead person (ka, ba, ma, shwt etc) in the Underworld. In the Egyptian scheme of things it was possible for the various parts of a person to wander off, get lost, while another part is distracted or doing something else. Many of the formulas dealt with preventing disintegration and with successfully joining oneself with his or her ka to continue the journey and learn to “thrive on the horizons”.
As I said, what's the difference?
To be filled, one must be empty. To be emptied, some part of the person is removed or destroyed, consumed, ie "killed".
Of course, people like to imagine they can be filled with holy Light and transformed into a Temple without actually having to let go of or destroy any part of themselves (let alone, their entire self), which would make "fill" and "kill" seem to be a contradiction.
Since this thread began by referencing the plate facing page 368 of The Equinox Vol. I No.7 - I would be curious to see how the paraphrasing pans out after "dotting the eye" as seen within the last line of the Stele's obverse side, 7th frame from left. The Equinox version was a mistake of the artist while reproducing the image for Crowley. This has been corrected as can be seen here to conform to the actual Stele itself:
Thus the paraphrasing, if following the copy rather than the original, could very well be incorrect elsewhere....
tai wrote: "Am I the only one to appreciate the wonderful irony of “further death”?"
I've never had a problem with the alternative version, but then again I never interpreted it literally either. It is fitting after all in light of the transcendence of the ego that is indicated in vss.2-4 of Liber Cheth, which occurs with the crossing of the Abyss of the mind:
"Thou shalt drain out thy blood that is thy life into the golden cup of her fornication.
"Thou shalt mingle thy life with the universal life. Thou shalt keep not back one drop.
"...and the birds of the air shall feast upon thy flesh, and thy bones shall whiten in the sun."
It is indeed a wonderful irony - but it still pretty clearly is a typo. We can be glad that it is such a meaningful one, because it might have said "let it spill/drill/still me" or whatever also. But then again, playing with the vessel image again, somehow there wouldn't have been any difference either...
From Editor's Note 248 (Book 4, p. 717):
The versification of the Stele of Revealing accompanying the color plates in The Equinox 1(7) and EG both gave this line as "Aum! let it kill me!" This line has been conformed to Liber Legis III:37, which gives "Aum! let it fill me!" Although the original vellum containing the versification is not extant, the MS of Liber Legis has the unambiguous note: "I am the Lord of Thebes" & c from vellum book [...] fill me."
The Japanese vellum book containing the original versification no longer exists and we cannot confirm whether Crowley correctly copied it as "fill" when writing down the TBOTL – although he claimed to have one of the finest memories in the world. Leaving aside questions of accuracy for now, the intensity of the poetic paraphrase of the Stele is notable, particularly the adoration of RHK:
Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee:—
I, I adore thee!
Now I find Crowley’s following construction to be curious:
The light is mine; its rays consume
Me: I have made a secret door
Why not write “The light is mine; its rays consume me / I have a made a secret door”? There is something odd about the placement of the last word at the beginning of the second line. This capitalized “Me” seems different from the previous “me” being filled/killed by the Light, but if so, it has been concealed by its placement at the beginning of the second line which, grammatically speaking, would require it to be capitalized. Its placement functions as a transition point between two thoughts: 1) “its rays consume me” and 2) “Me: I have made a secret door”, the latter indicating the speaker now possesses the light and has made a secret door into the Sun, following the principle of light finds light. Now either the subject is filled with light, possesses and is consumed by the light, to make a secret door into the Sun or the subject is killed by the light and a different consciousness speaks in the following lines as hinted by that “Me”. It does not seem so far-fetched to suggest a deliberate link between that concealed “Me” and “secret door”, both of which function as a transition from one state to another.
It is only by study of the grammar that we might decipher the changes in consciousness hinted at by the words – revolving around the question of “who” speaks now? A good example is found in Chapter 17 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead:
Yesterday belongs to me and I know tomorrow
Who is this?
Yesterday is Osiris; tomorrow is Ra.
Most people cannot even begin to grasp the changes required to affirm "Yesterday is Osiris; tomorrow is Ra", but it is only by studying these gods that one can begin to fathom "who" is speaking here.
Because consume rhymes with Tum. Thats poetry, not esoteric truths being hidden.
This capitalized “Me” seems different from the previous “me” being filled/killed by the Light, but if so, it has been concealed by its placement at the beginning of the second line which, grammatically speaking, would require it to be capitalized.
Words at the beginning of lines in poetry are capitalized...
I think we can recognize that both fill and kill are not literal, but are metaphors and one can use fill and kill as metaphors to refer to the same event, but the word 'fill' is used in Liber AL.
No, to be "filled" a vessel need only have some empty space
Well, a girl's gotta have fun. Besides, would it matter even if it was a well-considered statement? What's the difference between insights received from the writings of a wise old man and from words drawn out of a hat?