Sunday, 7 September 2014

Vistas of the Qliphoth

The following was first published in the British underground Occult magazine Occulted Vectors in January, 1989. The discussion of the Qliphoth within is similar to other works on the subject found in the British Occult scene of the time generally (Kenneth Grant and Bill Heidrick would seem to be influences here). The author is listed as Jack Londinium, an obvious pseudonym. Londinium’s real identity is a matter of popular speculation in Magick circles to this day, but numerous members of groups such as the Illuminates of Thanteros, Ordo Templi Orientis and Typhonian O.T.O. alleged to have known Londinium. Rumour suggests that he may have been involved with some shadowy, even by Occult standards, groups, including the Order of the Nine Angles. Londinium supposedly left the country in the late 90s, disappearing into obscurity, but some suggest his is still alive and active in the more Westernised zones of East Asia. 
Supposing that we move past moralising assumptions in occult metaphysics;
Supposing that we take the dictum ‘As Above, So Below’ seriously;
Supposing that we abandon squeamishness and look at the matter seriously;
What conceptual vistas become available to us?
Any attempt at developing a systematic occultism, a scientific occultism, must make some assumptions. The nature of the discipline necessitates that we take certain leaps of faith, establish certain conceptual frameworks, so that we might filter the raw manifold of data into usable information and knowledge (to borrow and deform a notion of Kant’s). Qabalistics grants us one of the most immediately useful experiential topographies, and being a form I am certain the reader is familiar with, it is the form I shall explore and subvert here.
To refresh the reader’s memory, I include this diagram:

From Paolo Riccio, De Porta Lucis  R. Josephi Gecatilia
The Portals  to Illumination , Augsburg 1516.
But, suppose we take the Qliphoth and attempt to make a similar model. We must, though, begin by dispensing with the quasi-Christian moralising notion that the Qliphoth are the ‘evil twins’ of the Sephiroth. Edification is an activity to be avoided by the scientist, especially by the Scientific Illuminist. The Sephiroth represent one state of being in the occult planes, the Qliphoth another. They are not in competition, or rather, their competition compliments both parties. As the Sephirothic Tree is a journey towards unity, so the Qliphothic is a journey towards plurality. Both require the other in order to condense concretely.
Beauty does not have meaning if there is no ugliness, and nor does ugliness have meaning without beauty. What is unity when not in contrast with disunity? It is the contrast, the challenge, the competition that grants a thing its meaning, the realisation of its contingency, that it can be otherwise. To dismiss the ugly as ‘evil,’ the plural as the fallen opposite of the united, is to misunderstand the essence of the thing and to drag it down into the murky and irrational depths of crude moralising. It is as foolish as assigning to ‘anti-matter’ a negative moral characteristic. We might, of course, prefer one to the other, but it must always be in the realisation that one necessitates the other. Law creates criminality; justice creates injustice.
As above, so below. The microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Heaven, Earth, Hell, reflect each other, and only have meaningful existence in that reflectivity.
Thus, with open eyes, we can consider the Qliphoth in its relationship with the Sephiroth. One is not ‘better’ than the other in any intrinsic sense, but only in that one model is better suited to being applied to particular purposes than another. As such, we do not need to grant either the status of being objective truths; they are models, frames we can place experiences into so that we can contemplate them within a web of correspondences. They are tools.
Here follows a comparative list of the Sephiroth with their Qliphothic compliments:
The Daemonic Hierarchy, as
imagined in the Grand Grimoire,
  1. As Kether is the Unity of God, God most purely manifested, so its Qliphothic equivalent is Thaumiel (God-As-Two). In Kether all things are one, being the first point of Creation after God has descended from the Limitless Light (of which we can only say ‘It is’); in Thaumiel, Thing asserts its contrast to the Other Thing. Rather than bowing in obedience to essential unity, Thaumiel is the assertion of the Self as differentiated and unique. As such, it requires little explanation that Satan is the daemonic association with this Qliphoth.
  2. As Chokmah is the Power of God, the fertilising phallus that enters into Binah, the actualisation of the potential (which, of course, is as barren as the potential unactualised if it does not find that potential- both require the other), so its Qliphothic equivalent is Chaigidel (Power-of-God-Confused), in which the Creative Power of God forgets that it only has purpose in that it surrenders itself to Binah (as Binah only has purpose in that it surrenders itself to Chokmah), and loses itself in pride. It refuses to take the step of acknowledging its need for the other, and directs its energy towards itself and its own being. The principle daemonic associations with this Qliphoth are Beelzebub and Adam Belial, the worthless man who is the alternative to Adam Kadmon.
  3. As Binah is the Revealing of God’s Perfection (that is, by which God is made Apparent in Creation, the realisation that matter is God’s spirit made manifest), so its Qliphothic equivalent is Sathariel (God-in-Concealment), the masking of the Divine, the Hiding away and Concealment of the Absolute. Binah is the womb-space, the potential awaiting actualisation, but in its Qliphothic form, it is the mystery unexplored, the discovery not made, the womb left virginal. Sathariel is ashamed and turns away, while Binah is proud and honest, and welcomes the penetration which is the initial act of creation. Heidegger rightly teaches that there is no revealing without concealment, that concealment comes before revealing; God is hidden before God is discovered. The principle daemonic association with this Qliphoth is Lucifuge, who carries away the Light.
  4. As Chesed is the bountiful, loving source of sustenance for the lower Sephiroth, so its Qliphothic equivalent is Gamchicoth (Devourers), the wasteful and excessive force. Rather than providing for the lower Sephiroth, it wastes what might be used and squanders it. Process for the sake of process. The Glutton or the Factory Farmer, who cares little for what he grows and distributes. The principle daemonic association of this Qliphoth is Astaroth.
  5. PORTAE CAECIS: The Anti-Sephiroth, as depicted in
    the Diagrammatica of noted Kabbalist Gershom 
    Xenocrates, Amsterdam 1593
    As Geburah is the Strength and Will to rule and do right, so its Qliphothic equivalent is Golachab (Bodies-Aflame), those who are born to destroy, rend and ruin. Rather than the Warrior King, fierce and stern in the cause of righteousness and justice, though merciful as only a just King can be, Golachab is the horror of utopia inverted, the guillotine that frees the Republic of its enemies, the gulag that frees the People of those who would oppress them, the gas chamber that frees Reich and Volk from the corruption of inferior blood. The executioner who forgets why he kills, and remembers only that he kills. The principle daemonic association of this Qliphoth is Asmodeus.
  6. As Tiphareth is the Splendorous Joy and Beauty which emerges out of harmony, whose astrological association is the Sun (the source of the harmony of the Solar System), so its Qliphothic association is termed Thagirion (Those-Who-Bellow-Grief-and-Tears), Conflict and Stress. As Tiphareth is the source of harmony in the world below the Supernal Triad, so Thagirion is the source and sustaining centre of disunity and chaos, the Despot, the Tyrant, Christ the King become Anti-Christ the Dictator; the fear of the Mad King and Cruel Emperor. Black hole rather than sun. Its principle daemonic association is Belphegor, the Lord of Death in opposition with Christ, the Lord of Life.
  7. As Netzach is the Victory of Love, the great passionate up swelling the sweeps away all obstacles to allow for Creation to occur, so its Qliphothic association is termed Harab Serapel (Burning-Ravens-of-God), the ravens who reject even their own young. It is the Dark Side of Love: lust, pain, rejection, betrayal and, finally, hate. Its principle daemonic association is Baal, and also Tubal Cain, the man who first turned metal into weaponry.
  8. An occult artefact, origin unknown. Currently in the
    possession of Chris Richford, to whom is was entrusted
    by Londinium shortly before leaving the country.
    As Hod is the power of Language and the Word (Reason), Language here understood as the primeval act of creation (God speaks the world into existence), the power to differentiate between forms, so its Qliphothic equivalent is termed Samael (God's-Destroying-Left-Hand), the failure of the creative act. It is the barren, uncreated wasteland of undifferentiated form, the Wordless Wail of the Failure of God. Its principle daemonic association is Adrammelech, to whom, according to scripture, children were burnt as an offering.
  9. As Yesod is the source, the coming together of the beautiful, creative forms that are made manifest in Malkuth, so its Qliphothic equivalent, termed Gamaliel (God's-Polluted) is the source of obscenity and grotesques of all stripes. Yesod’s astrological association is with the Moon, which is mythically associated with madness (‘luna-cy’) and horrifying transformation (the lycanthrope). The Mad Scientist, the Crazed Architect. Lilith is the daemonic association here.
  10. Frontispiece from the Imago Typhonis

    Iuxta Apollodorum, Kitcher 1652
    As Malkuth is the manifest world, and is the womb of life (understood in the positive, creative aspect of life, of generation), so its Qliphothic equivalent, termed Nehemoth (Whisperers, as in ‘Whispering Night Spirits’) is the Mother of Disease, the Plague Womb, the Anti-Womb, The Mother of Anti-Life. The daemon Nehemah is associated with this Qliphoth.
Exploring the opposition to the Sephiroth allows for the possibility of new experience and discovery. The Tree of Life emphasises harmony. Harmony, homogeneity, stands against the mechanisms of evolution. Change requires disharmony, chaos and, ultimately, destruction. The Sephiroth is a useful tool, when applied correctly, but if it is the only tool we apply, it will result in stagnation. The system must be upset to allow for the possibility of change and development. Order brings about disorder, must bring about disorder.

No one ever said that evolution was pretty.

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