Friday, January 27, 2012

In Nomine Babalon: 156 Adorations to the Scarlet Goddess

Book Review: In Nomine Babalon: 156 Adorations to the Scarlet Goddess
by one who adores the Goddess (Dark Star Press 2011)

I stumbled on this gem by accident. This edition is limited to a mere 156 copies of which I have #101. It is simple in structure with each adoration being composed of four lines of verse, the final line being the same in each. Before and after the adorations are a few interesting excerpts from the Gnostic text – The Thunder, Perfect Mind – from the Nag Hammadi Library.

The poetry is variable, quite good mostly and ranging from a bit slow to exquisite. There are some interesting poetical adaptations from Liber AL – The Book of the Law - and other sentiments from Thelemic Mysticism and the ceremonial magic and alchemy traditions. There are also many references to varying mythologies. I think that this poetry would work great being recited (partially or wholly) in a ritual format. Strangely enough with the tag line – I raise up the cup and adore Babalon! – one could even take libations while reciting. At 156 drinks it could even make for an intoxicating drinking game!

Babalon, as a goddess-form has a reference to the biblical Whore of Babylon but more so to the Sacred Marriage, or Hieros Gamos motif, appearing first in written form as the ritualized mating play of the Sumerian Inanna and her shepherd Dumuzi, later to become Ishtar and Tammuz. Ishtar would become Astarte and Athtart among the Canaanites with similar love goddesses among the Phoenicians and in other places along the Mediterranean. The birth of Aphrodite continued this tradition. In some of these traditions she is a goddess of love and of war (Ishtar) and in some a spouse to the war god. She is most often associated with planet Venus as the war god is to Mars – thus the adoration:

I invoke You, sweet lady, under Your stars
    Adoring the union of Venus and Mars
        Offering all to their fornication!
    I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

Indeed the romance of Venus and Mars (Aphrodite and Ares) can be considered a tryst in Greek tradition. But too it is a respite from the pains of war as love tames it for a while. Babalon is a goddess of passion and lust. She was revived in this wild form by Crowley and the subsequent momentum of the philosophy of Thelema. Her ‘egregore’ is fresh and modern, powerful and actively worked, a bit like the immediacy of the Voodoo loa. She represents the raw power of the liberated woman, the potency of intimacy, the breaking of obsolete and ineffective paradigms, and even the akwardness energy inherent in the uncertainty of sharing and confiding. She has been compared to the Shaktis of Hindu tantra who represent active energy and to the Goddess Kundalini who uncoils and rises toward enlightenment. Babalon may have characteristics of an all-purpose goddess, Ma Devi, or as a triple goddess – maid, crone, and mother. In Thelemic Mysticism she potentially rebirths the aspirant as - Babe in the Egg – coming forth beyond the fetters of ego. She may also be associated with the bending and breaking of rules, customs, and traditions – as Mother of Abominations. Indeed, in this day and age of androgyny and LGBT manifestations and rights she may be even be a he, a hybrid, or a hermaphrodite. Her mate is not only the shepherd and the god of war but in Thelema, “the Beast” which may take several forms - from Crowley as 666, the figurative Beast of Revelations, to man’s bestial nature to the composite Pan-form of the androgynous Baphomet. Indeed Baphomet shares egregore with Babalon as a deity-form of both esotericism and eroticism. Indeed the erotic is in the esoteric for the energy of reproduction pervades nature. She rides the beast – perhaps not as he on his back but as he bringing her forth on all fours. In terms of weakening the obsolete patriarchal, Osirian, now slave-religions – she is the liberated woman re-exalted. For better or worse she is the awesome force of the unsubjugated woman. She is also called – The Gate of the Sun – and – Understanding, indicating the Qabalistic Sephiroth Binah, the first of the Three Supernals beyond the Abyss. Into her cup is offered the ‘blood of the saints’ – the past effort and struggle of the newly slain ego - which cannot emerge beyond the Abyss. Her power and liberation are expressed thus:

  Now let the woman be girt with a sword,
She bows down to no man, submits to no lord!
Her strength is her armor, her father the sun,
       I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

She is a symbol of that which is noble and shameless, guiltless and fearless:

Live life without shame, live life without guilt
For there is no law beyond Do What Thou Wilt!
        With no fear of sin or of inquisition
       I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

Babalon represents breaking free from the chains of authority and conformity – and if you happened to have noticed – it is the roles of women and the guidance of their charges, ie. children – that are the most restricted by the old systems. Here is a section with notions from Liber AL about moving from old aeon to new aeon paradigms and activity:

The servants of slave gods are down on their kness;
          Bahlasti! Ompehda! I spit upon these!
  While they await battles from visions by John
         I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

Guiltless embrace of ecstasy is noted in the following lines with more impetus from the Book of the Law:

    Give over thy life to love and to bliss,
And know that no god will deny thee for this!
  Divided we are for the chance of union!
    I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

Babalon is also a goddess of initiation and the mysteries. Indeed the word “whore” in the Hebrew sense may have referred to the promiscuity of deities, as in polytheism. Here we can see a whore as one who interacts intimately with multiple god-forms and traditions, one who samples and integrates the many flavors of the magical and mystical – as an old friend used to say she is – Whore of Initiations. The following adoration shows her as The Star trump of the Tarot, the water-bearer and patron of the sign and Age of Aquarius:

  Thou goddess who pours out the life of the stars
   And kneels by the water with Your golden jars
From which flows the life that You have just drawn,
           I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

The joining of devotion and eroticism in these adorations in a sea of meter, rhyme, and magick is most refreshing:

Thou art the mother, the sister, the whore,
   Thou art life, Thee! Thee I adore!
Thou art most beautiful, o scarlet woman,
  I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

The goddess as the field is a recurring archetype of humans. The matrix from which life springs and returns has been depicted as feminine since early humans discovered and awed at feminine cycles and powers. In this age of the quantum vacuum, the implicate order, the Akashic Field or Akashic Echo is coming the realization that the great receptivity field of being underlies and pervades all things – and that our source and destiny is with this very field:

The wheels of the universe spinning around,
 From tiniest matter to the pure spirit crowned!
  From great galaxies to the unseen neuron!
     I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

Babalon is a living all-purpose goddess-archetype of freedom, erotic energy. and inspiration. As humans we are nearly forced by our nature to deal with and develop a relationship with our ecstatic complex, our desire for pleasure and bliss. If we are sensible and careful with this relationship we may be able to make that relationship a healthy and happy one. Perhaps she also represents this subduing yet indulging and optimizing of our ongoing quest for bliss:

Hear the charge of the Goddess, “To me! To me!”
  As she beckons to those who wish to be free;
    Calling her children from hither and yon!
       I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

Babalon has the potential to go beyond and be much more than the traditional goddess-forms of Wicca and old paganisms. She encompasses them and transcends them. Personally, I see deities and anthropomorphized forces as archetypal energies, psychological forces, symbolic mythical forms, qualities, principals, and neteru. Their reality is as we make it and devotion to them is devotion to our own potentially refined natures. As the following verse suggests she is there within the collective offering to heal us and perhaps the rift in our Dionysian ecstasy complex:

         In Her love chant She is calling to all –
The beast and the man, the great and the small.
 Listen within and you will hear her beckon!
     I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

I have put much of my own opinion of the Babalon archetype into this review but this is due to the importance of the potential I sense in this archetype for the healing of the world. Any Thelemite would most enjoy this book and hopefully there will be a bigger printing out in the future and more interest in supporting one.

No comments:

Post a Comment