The Ceremonial Layout of the Magical Temple for the Ordo Prosapia
The Order of the Family
[from a vision of the Tarot Card the Wheel of Fortune]
“The symbolical tetrad, represented in the Mysteries of Memphis and Thebes by the four forms of the sphinx-man eagle, lion and bull-corresponded with the four elements of the old world, water being signified by the cup held by the man or aquarius; air by the circle or nimbus surrounding the head of the celestial eagle; fire by the wood which nourishes it, by the tree fructifying in the heat of earth and sun, finally, by the sceptre of royalty, which the lion typifies; earth by the sword of Mithras, who each year immolates the sacred bull, and, together with its blood, pours forth that sap which gives increase to all fruits of earth. Now, these four signs, with all their analogies, explain the one word hidden in all sanctuaries, that word which the bacchantes seemed to divine in their intoxication when they worked themselves into frenzy for IO EVOHE.”
-Transcendental Magic-the Book of Hermes-
"Rota Taro Orat Tora Ator,"
"The Wheel of Taro[t] speaks the Law of Ator [Hathor, or Love]."
SOUTH-The Banner of Hermanubis
Association with Anubis and the Archangel Michael
“Of the Abraxaster class the figures are for the most part drawn from the ancient iconography of the Egyptian religion; but they were adopted in a more spiritual sense by the newly-arisen sects, holding the doctrines of Christianity strangely amalgamated with the old teachings of the Mysteries.
Of all these borrowed types the most frequent and most important is the Jackal-headed Anubis (sometimes double-headed, the human being superadded to his own), and bearing the caduceus of Hermes to denote his office of conducting souls, not as of yore through the shades of the lower world, but along the planetary path to their final rest in the Pleroma. Thus the Gnostic Gospel, "Pistis-Sophia”, describing the Saviour after receiving his luminous vestment, inscribed with the Five words of power and with the names of all the Domination to be encountered in his Ascension, makes him come first to the Gate of the firmament, then to the God of the sphere, then to the Sphere of Fate, and lastly to the Twelve great Æons: all which Powers when they beheld their own names written upon his vesture were smitten with fear and began to sing hymns unto him.
This Anubis-Hermes appears sometimes waving a palm-branch, to proclaim his victory over the Powers of Evil; or presiding at the psychostasia "weighing of the soul," the scene commonly pictured in the Egyptian Ritual of the Dead. In the latter character he stands here for Christ, the Judge of the quick and the dead; but his successor in mediæval art is the Archangel Michael, who holds the scales.”
-The Gnostics and their Remains: Part III-
NORTH-The Banner of Osiris
“To account for these observations, the Egyptians developed the concept of an immortal god dying and passing on his throne to his son. Now, one of the features of the constellation Orion is that it contains a bright red star called Betelgeuse, found in Orion's right shoulder. By coincidence, the constellation Taurus, the next constellation to herald the dawn of the equinox, also contains a bright red star, by the name of Aldebaran. So, as Osiris died and was replaced by the stars of Taurus, the natural "heir" to the solar throne appeared. This constellation was therefore considered to be the son of Osiris, Horus. Osiris became the god of the underworld or afterlife, and Horus, his son, ruled the new world order... Many modern theologians/mythologists agree that this precessional movment of Orion is the source of the religious concept of an afterlife given to us by a god who dies. Osiris/Orion is a "prefiguring of Christ."
The Wheel of Jupiter
by Frater Osiris 2002
One of the main doctrines of the Fortune trump is to reach the center of the wheel. “The axle moveth not: attain thou that.”1 A dynamic interpretation of the nature of the three principles of the Wheel and their relationship to the axle is presented in Aleister Crowley’s Rite of Jupiter. Crowley incorporated the major symbolism of the trump into the Rite, turning the principles into officers and arranging the temple according to the basic design of the card:
The Temple represents the Wheel of Fortune of the Tarot. At its axle is the Altar on which sits C[entrum].I[n].C[entri].T[rigono]. On the rim, S[phinx] at East spoke, H[ermanubis] at North-West, T[yphon] at South-West. To the West of the Wheel is a veil.
The officers on the rim of the Wheel represent the triune energies of the Hindu Gunas and the Alchemical elements. Hermanubis is Rajas and Mercury, Typhon is Tamas and Salt, and the Sphinx is Sattvas and Sulphur. Crowley describes these triune principles as “the three forms of energy which govern the movement of phenomena”2 and “the three forms of being.”
The axle of the Wheel is represented by Centrum In Centri Trigono, Latin for “the point in the center of the triangle,” an allusion to the Eye in the Triangle. C.I.C.T. is Jupiter, the source of the triune principles hidden at the center of the Wheel.
The Rite of Jupiter begins by summoning the guests to the banquet of the Father of the Gods. After the stage is set, Typhon and Hermanubis identify each other by their respective relationships with Jupiter:
TYPHON: Hail unto thee, thou great god Hermanubis!
Art thou not the messenger of Jupiter?
HERMANUBIS: Hail unto thee, thou great god Typhon!
Art thou not the executor of his vengeance?
The two gods decide to seek the center of the wheel, and with the Sphinx they run around the rim of the wheel until all three are exhausted. No closer to the center of the wheel, Typhon and Hermanubis agree to “seek an oracle of the Gods.” They prostrate themselves before the Sphinx, asking her to declare “the mystery whereby we may approach the centre of the wheel.” She responds:
SPHINX: Neither by sloth nor by activity may even my secret be attained. Neither by emotion nor by reason may I even be understood. How then should ye come to the centre of the wheel?
The Sphinx identifies Typhon with sloth and emotion, and Hermanubis with activity and reason, qualities associated with the Gunas they represent.
Hermanubis answers the Sphinx with a question:
HERMANUBIS: Mother of mystery, what is thy position on Olympus?
SPHINX: Upon the rim of the wheel.
Hermanubis and Typhon realize that the Sphinx is also stuck on the rim of the wheel. At this point C.I.C.T. speaks up with the requested oracle:
Feeling, and thought, and ecstasy
Are but the cerements of Me.
Thrown off like planets from the Sun
Ye are but satellites of the One.
But should your revolution stop
Ye would inevitably drop
Headlong within the central Soul,
And all the parts become the Whole.
Sloth and activity and peace,
When will ye learn that ye must cease?
Note that the Sphinx is identified with ecstasy and peace, qualities of the Guna Sattvas. The Officers on the rim are confused by the oracle:
TYPHON: How should I cease from lethargy?
HERMANUBIS: How should I quench activity?
SPHINX: How should I give up ecstasy?
C.I.C.T.: What shines upon your foreheads?
S,H,T (together): The Eye within the Triangle.
C.I.C.T.: What burns upon your breasts?
S,H,T (together): The Rosy Cross.
C.I.C.T.: Brethren of the Rosy Cross! Aspirants to the Silver Star! Not until these are ended can ye come to the centre of the wheel.
The next scene opens with Typhon, Hermanubis and the Sphinx each expressing their intentions to start the banquet in accordance with their particular attributions. Typhon says “I desire to begin the banquet,” thus expressing emotion. Hermanubis reasons that the banquet should begin, “as it is certainly necessary that this should be done.” The Sphinx makes a “mute appeal” to C.I.C.T., who responds with a knock and says:
I heed not the passion, or the reason, or the soul of man.
C.I.C.T. then declares three attributes of himself, each expressed through the music of the Sphinx. Through his positive reaction, each of the Officers on the rim identifies himself with one of these attributes of C.I.C.T.: the Sphinx with his will, Hermanubis with his mind, and Typhon with his heart. Each Officer has no reaction or a negative reaction to the music favored by the others, and so C.I.C.T. repeats the oracle given earlier in more basic terms:
Irreconcilable, my children, how shall ye partake of the Banquet of Jupiter, or come to the centre of the wheel? For this is the secret of Jupiter, that He who created you is in each of you, yet apart from all; before Him ye are equal, revolving in time and in Space; but he is unmoved and within.
After a pause, Typhon recites poetry proclaiming the flow and ebb of life as the Earth passes from Spring to Winter, effectively cooling his passion. He moves to the East, crouches before the Sphinx, and faces C.I.C.T. Hermanubis recites poetry that celebrates the awakening of the Kundalini serpent, inflaming him with passion, and then joins Typhon, crouching before the Sphinx. Thus we have all three principles combined into one, oriented upon the center of the wheel. C.I.C.T. gives a speech, and then allows the banquet of Jupiter to begin.
The three Officers move to the center to attend to C.I.C.T., and then the nature of the rite changes and departs from the realm of the Fortune trump. C.I.C.T. is veiled, and when the veil is drawn he is revealed as Jupiter. It is thus demonstrated that only when these three principles combine and cease to move that they will come to the center of the wheel and the godhead shall be known.
1 Crowley, Aleister The Book of Thoth, page 257. Originally published as part of "The Two and Twenty Secret Instructions of the Master" in The Heart of the Master. 2 Crowley, Aleister The Book of Thoth, page 90.
It should here be noted that Nephthys was not necessarily viewed as the polar opposite of Isis, but rather as a different reflection of the same reality: eternal life in transition. Thus, Nephthys was also seen in the Pyramid Texts as a supportive cosmic force occupying the night-bark on the journey of Ra, the majestic sun god, particularly when he entered Duat at the transitional time of dusk, or twilight. Isis was Ra's companion at the coming of dawn. The union between the Two Sisters cannot be overemphasized. At the same time, their distinct polarities cannot be dismissed.
She stands between Typhon and Osiris
CENTER-The Sphinx at the Axis between EAST/WEST
On the Powers of the Sphinx
Part 1: Eliphas Lévi
by Frater Osiris 2002
The Four Powers of the Sphinx--to Know, to Will, to Dare and to Keep Silent--are an important element of Thelemic symbolism and instruction. The origin of the Four Powers of the Sphinx is unclear. Practically nothing is written on the subject outside of the works of Aleister Crowley. The only other author to mention the subject with any degree of depth or seriousness is the French occultist Eliphas Lévi.
That Lévi had a profound influence on Crowley there is no doubt.
Crowley translated Lévi’s The Key of the Mysteries as his own Adeptus Minor thesis, and Crowley went as far to claim in Magick in Theory and Practice that he was the reincarnation of Lévi! Therefore, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Lévi influenced Crowley in the matter of the Four Powers of the Sphinx. By surveying the work of Eliphas Lévi, so shall we come to a better understanding of the Four Powers of the Sphinx.
Our first introduction to the Four Powers of the Sphinx comes from Lévi’s most popular work, Transcendental Magic:
“To attain the SANCTUM REGNUM, in other words, the knowledge and power of the Magi, there are four indispensable conditions--an intelligence illuminated by study, an intrepidity which nothing can check, a will which cannot be broken, and a prudence which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate. TO KNOW, TO DARE, TO WILL, TO KEEP SILENCE--such are the four words of the Magus, inscribed upon the four symbolical forms of the sphinx.”
Levi here offers the Four Powers as the words of the Magus and casually links them with the Sphinx. He goes on in the same chapter to link the Four Powers of the Sphinx with the four Elements and the four Kerubic Signs of the zodiac:
“You are called to be king of air, water, earth and fire; but to reign over these four living creatures of symbolism, it is necessary to conquer and enchain them. He who aspires to be a sage and to know the Great Enigma of Nature must be the heir and despoiler of the sphinx: his the human head, in order to possess speech; his the eagle’s wings, in order to scale the heights; his the bull’s flanks, in order to furrow the depths; his the lion’s talons, to make a way on the right and the left, before and behind.”
The Sphinx is a composite creature, having the head of a Man, the torso and front paws of a Lion, the backside of a Bull and the wings of the Eagle. It symbolizes the synthesis and synergy of the Four Powers, represented by the “fourliving creatures of symbolism” (the Kerubs) who have been “conquered and enchained” into one figure, the Sphinx. (See Table 1 for correspondences.) The aspirant is instructed to be the “heir and despoiler of the sphinx,” to both receive and to partake of the four Elements.
The nature of the Sphinx is further explained in The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum:
“You must thoroughly understand that elemental beings are souls of an imperfect type, not yet raised in the scale up to human existence, and that they can only manifest power when called into action by the adept as auxiliaries to his will, by means of that universal astral fluid in which they live. The kingdom of the Gnomes is assigned to the North, the Salamanders to the South, the Sylphs to the East, and the Undines to the West....
“Their symbols are those of Taurus the Bull for Gnomes; Leo the Lion for Salamanders; the Eagle for Sylphs; and the sign of Aquarius for Undines....
“The combination of these four types of face and being represents the Created Universe, a complete and eternal entity, Man in fact, the Microcosm; and this is the first formula of the mystical explanation of the enigma of the Sphynx.”
The implication is that Man is the Sphinx, as both are composed of the four Elements. Lévi clarifies this idea later in the text:
“Do you now understand the Enigma of the Sphynx?
...Yes, you know that the Sphynx refers to Man.
But do you know that the Sphynx is one and alone, and remains unchanged, while as to man--is not each one a Sphynx of a different synthesis?”
Man is like the Sphinx. Both are composed of the four Elements, but in Man they exists in different proportions and are unbalanced, while in the Sphinx the Elements are balanced and synergistic. The Sphinx represents the perfected Man, the Magus. The Four Powers of the Sphinx are “the four words of the Magus,” the “four indispensable conditions” which bring Man to the state of perfection and balance symbolized by the Sphinx.
Lévi instructs us how to practically apply the Four Powers of the Sphinx in his final work, The Great Secret:
“The great secret of magic, the unique and incommunicable Arcana, has for its purpose the placing of supernatural power at the service of the human will in some way.
To attain such an achievement it is necessary to KNOW what has to be done, to WILL what is required, to DARE what must be attempted and to KEEP SILENT with discernment.
Levi goes on to give us a mythical example:
“Homer’s Odysseus had to contend with the gods, the elements, the cyclops, the sirens, Circe, etc. ... that is to say with all the difficulties and dangers of life.
His palace is invaded, his wife is pestered, his goods are plundered, his death is resolved on, he loses his comrades, his ships are sunk; at last, he alone is left to fight it out against the night and the sea. And single-handed he sways the gods, he escapes from the sea, he blinds the cyclops, he cheats the sirens, he masters Circe, he re-takes his palace, he rescues his wife, he slays those plotting his death; because he willed to see Ithaca and Penelope again, because he always knew how to extricate himself from danger, because he dared what had to be done and because he always kept silent when it was not expedient to speak.”
Finally, Levi indicates where to start in our endeavor to become the Sphinx:
“When one does not know, one should will to learn. To the extent that one does not know it is foolhardy to dare, but it is always well to keep silent.”
Thus the Four Powers are employed much like steps in a process; we must know before we can will, and so on. This idea is reinforced in Transcendental Magick:
“To learn how to will is to learn how to exercise dominion. But to be able to exert will power you must first know; for will power applied to folly is madness, death, and hell.”
“In order to DARE we must KNOW; in order to WILL, we must DARE; we must WILL to possess empire and to reign we must BE SILENT.”
So ends our survey of the Four Powers of the Sphinx as defined and developed by Eliphas Levi.