The Riddle of SebRa

Chapter Five



זרע, ZRO, is the Hebrew word for sperm. Its value is 277, which is certainly a fitting numeral to end the puzzle, or חידה, ChIDA, of the Book of the Law, II:76. It is important that all of the final words of the verse’s three lines end in the masculine RO. TA, LA, and ZA are then varieties of the feminine force. They correspond to the three letters E.V.E., while the final Y of EVEY corresponds to RO. Thus, three distinct rituals are presented in this Poem. EVEY is the general formula, while TARO, LARO, and ZARO are distinct rituals in themselves.

TARO is a glyph of heterosexual Magick, the grade of the Hermit in the Book of Codes. Spelled with a Teth, the initial letter refers to Lust, Atu XI. Here the feminine current is Woman, Eve, embodied in the form of the Scarlet Whore. The value of TA, 10, suggests the word חב, ChB, the hidden place or bosom. It is the sphere of Malkuth the Daughter; it is the letter Yod of the Hermit who braves the Gates of Hell, and it is also the Wheel of Fortune (“Let Mary inviolate be torn upon wheels.” – Book of the Law, III:55.) This Magick is potent to rearrange things on their own planes. TARO is 280, an enlargement of 28, Power: in Aleister’s words, it is “the dyad passing to zero by virtue of the 8, the Charioteer who bears the Cup of Babalon.” – The Qabalah Of Aleister Crowley, p.46. The word TARO is perfectly descriptive of the heterosexual content of the first line of the Poem. The amount of letters here is 24, the number of a Mercurial deity אזבוגה, AZBVGH, representing the hermaphroditic EVEY, the child of Man and Woman conjoined.

LARO is especially suited for autosexual Magick (masculine), for it represents the elements Fire and Air, the Phallus and the Sperm (300 + 1). The feminine force, symbolized by LA and the central 0 of 301, is Nuit Herself, and has no physical embodiment. This Magick is that performed, in particular, by the Man Of Earth, being particularly useful in talismanic workings and varieties of meditation, especially the invocation of the Guardian Spirit.

It is worth our attention here to point out that auto-erotic Magick is exclusively masculine. A feminine correlative is not even implied. It is also significant that the Book of Codes terms this grade Man of Earth. The grades themselves have little to do with the female sex, but this by no means indicates that Woman has no part in Magick. A woman unfolds as a flower unfolds, by grace, under the life-giving rays of the Sun.

Lastly, the code word ZARO represents workings according to the Book of Codes’ grade of the Lover. Zain is the letter of Atu VI, The Lovers (or the Brothers as in The Vision and the Voice), and represents homosexual Magick; it is the formula of the Twins. Here the passive force is supplied by the Vas Nefandum, the “unmentionable vessel,” the anus. The value of ZA, 8, is related to the Hebrew DD, “love” or “the pleasures of love.” Eight is the bisexual Mercury, the Chariot 418, and the process of Adjustment. This Magick is applicable to works of transformation:

Let then this tutor thee in thine own Art of Magick, that thou employ Women in all Practical Matters, to order them with Cunning, but Men in thy Need of Transfiguration and Transmutation. In a Trope, let the Woman direct the Chess-play of Life, but the Man alter the Rules, if he so will.
– The Book of Wisdom or Folly, chap. 172.

The grade of ZARO corresponds to the final E of EVE, the element Earth (…the Key be the Earth’s kiss), which especially refers to the anus. The word OOH at the beginning of the line relates to the letter of Capricorn, Ayin, the EYE, the he-goat Pan whom Crowley revered as the God of indiscriminate Lust.

Concerning homosexual Magick, Aleister writes: “This work is to be regarded as ‘Holiness unto the Lord.’ The Hebrews, in fact, conferred the title Qadosh (holy) upon its adepts. Its effect is to consecrate the Magicians who perform it in a very special way.” – Magick, p. 165. [Magick in Theory and Practice, chapter 4, The Formula of…Alim]

Concerning the Vas Nefandum, he writes:

O my Son, learn this concerning Magick, that the Yang moveth, and thus giveth itself up Eternally; but the Yin moveth not, seeking ever to enclose or restrict, reproducing in its own Likeness what Impression soever is made thereon, yet without Surrender; so then let the Yang turn thereto and not unto the Yin…Oh my Son, the Doors of Silver are wide open, and they tempt thee with their Beauty; but by the narrow Portal of Pure Gold shalt thou come more nobly to the Sanctuary. Behold! thou knowest not how perfect is this Magick; it is the dearest bought and holiest of our Arcana…My Son, neglect it not; for it is the Exorcism of Exorcisms, and the Enchantment of Enchantments.
– The Book of Wisdom or Folly, chap. 82.

And the principle behind the two major forms of Alchemy: “For Things Unlike do in their Marriage produce a Child which is relatively Stable, and resisteth Change; but Things Like increase mutually the Potential of their Particular Natures.” – The Book of Wisdom or Folly, Chap. 175.

As has been demonstrated, the entire Riddle of SebRa is founded upon the number Nine. The Magick of ZARO pertains to the formula ALIM, which is 81, the square of 9, thus connecting it with the Hermit, Lust, and Luna as EVE. LARO is equivalent to the word IAO, which is a formula of the dying /resurrected God without any feminine component. It too, is 81, the square of 9. Including the Fs at the ends of the verse’s lines, there are 81 letters in all. This number is therefore the Key to the numerology of the Poem.

TARO, signifying heterosexual workings, seems to be related to the formula EVEY, but the latter is actually the universal formula symbolizing all alchemical operations. Its numeration has little to do with the number Nine. We find that, instead, TARO is similar to the word ABRAVADABRA, a variation of the Word of the Aeon, ABRAHADABRA. It expresses the number 419, the letter ט, Teth, which is the first letter of TARO, whose value is 9. Still, this does not make use of the key number 81. The title of the ninth sphere itself, YSOD has the value of 80: I suggest that its true value is 81, thus altering the spelling to YASOD. This change of value confirms it as the title of the sphere of the Moon rather than relating to Mars, Pe, 80.

The formula YASOD yields some very interesting information when analyzed Qabalistically. TARO being the only Word of the three in which women are actually indicated, it is most fitting that its correlative should be a traditional title of LUNA Herself. Furthermore, we have all the constituents of the hermaphroditic Elixir:

  1. Beginning with the phallic Yod, we have the power of Fire. This transmutes itself into the alchemical Sulphur (sperm) with the appearance of the second letter, Aleph, Air.
  2. The central Samekh is the symbol of heterosexual union par excellence, being the letter of Atu XIV, Art.
  3. The last two letters form the feminine side of the balance. The Vau is Taurus, ruled by Venus and exalting the Moon; it is fixed Earth and thus a natural symbol of the feminine sexual energy. The final Daleth relates to the alchemical Salt, as the emanation of the Vau, just as the Sulphur was the emanation of the masculine Yod.

Thus this formula creates a perfectly balanced Word of Power, in every precise in its symbolism.

We therefore have three Glyphs of the Magical Process, and their traditional correlatives, as revealed by AIWASS in the Poem of the Book of the Law, II:76…

(Virgo Leo)

YASOD (81=92) = TARO
IAO (81=92) = LARO
ALIM (81=92) = ZARO

Thus we see that this verse is symmetrical in every way, the entire teachings based on the number 9. Nine is the sphere of the Moon and the sex organs; it is the Hermit (Seb) and Lust (Ra).

The Poem’s profound symbolism, the interrelationship between its formulae, are so sublimely incontestable that it is sure proof of the divinity of its Author, and its validity as the true solution to the Riddle of the Numbers and the Words.

Prince Ariel


 James Beck

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Cf. Book of the Law, II:24.
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ed. note:
see The Cry of the 2nd Aether, which is called ARN.
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ed. note:
this refers to the final Hé of יהוה, Yod-Hé-Vav-Hé, Tetragrammaton. See The Book of Thoth.
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Vide Crowley’s Commentary on the Book of the Law, II:16.
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RO = 270. 270 × 3 = 810.
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