Crowley's portrait of Lam, entitled 'The Way', was first published in 1919 as a frontispiece to his Commentary on Blavatsky's The Voice of the Silence.
However, nowhere else in Crowley's work is there a mention of it until 1945, when a diary entry records Kenneth Grant's interest.
It is clear, however, that the portrait arose in connection with the Amalantrah Working of 1918-19, when Crowley lived in New York. Unfortunately, the Record of that Working which survives consists of the first six months only. Nevertheless, it is clear from a study of this surviving material that the portrait of Lam embodies the quintessence of the Working.
The portrait was republished in Grant's book The Magical Revival in 1972, and several times since - see, for instance, the Statement on Lam by the O.T.O. published in Starfire Volume I number 3 (London, 1989).
In fact, anything whatsoever can function as the Gateway to those dimensions.
The supreme glyph of Enlightenment is the lightning-flash, the swift awakening to Reality, which illuminates the landscape previously shrouded in darkness. The lightning flash can be triggered at any time, and by anything, when the conditions are propitious. The accumulation of glamour around the Cult of Lam makes it a Gateway which is pre-eminently accessible, however.
The association with The Voice of the Silence makes it clear that Lam is a glyph of that Voice - the Babe in the Egg, Harpocrates, the God of Silence.
This is Hoor-paar-kraat, the dwarf-self or Hidden God which is the Holy Guardian Angel. Here is a deep and powerful link; Hoor-paar-kraat is the copula with the unbroken, ever-coming substratum of consciousness which is Maat or the Tao, and of which we are terrestrial refractions.
It is because of the
intimate, intrinsic nature of this connection that every Initiate
needs to forge his or her own link with Lam, and thus to develop an
idiosyncratic Cult of Lam. The evocation reproduced at the outset of
this essay is an example, being part of the present author's Lam sadhana, encapsulating the awareness of Lam outlined above.
The emerging Cult of Lam is of central importance to Starfire; for now, though,
this article looks at some of the seeds in the Amalantrah Working
and related areas. Appended are two accounts of contemporary Lam
Workings which have been submitted to us [on-line is only ONE
appendix]. The first of these draws on Enochian approaches; the
second makes use of the magical technique outlined in the Statement
on Lam published in the third issue of Starfire.
These years were marked by an ever-deepening insight into and affinity with Taoism, as is made plain in the course of the Preface to his Tao Teh Ching - actually a revision of James Legge's earlier translation.
This insight saturates
Liber Aleph, The Book of Wisdom
or Folly, the manuscript of which was almost complete by the opening
of the Amalantrah Working. Liber Aleph is a central work of
Crowley's, where he makes clear the deep affinity between Taoism and Thelema; without an appreciation of this affinity, Liber Aleph
appears as little more than a scattering of aphorisms. The Amalantrah Working needs to be seen in the context of this
On one particular occasion, her apparent ramblings struck Crowley as bearing on the Abuldiz Working of some years previously, and after some astral investigation he decided that there were indeed threads of the earlier Working which were being picked up; thus opened the Amalantrah Working.
Crowley inaugurated regular
sessions, which usually took place at the weekends. He seemed
interested primarily in its use as an oracle for his affairs over
the forthcoming week. Although there were many such short-term
oracular pronouncements, there was also a wealth of more substantial
Communication was never direct, but via a medium or Seer who was sensitized by sex, drugs and alcohol in various combinations. Because of the effects of these preliminaries, the earthing of the communications was sometimes poor, their expression rambling and diffuse; the wheat needs to be separated from the chaff, therefore, when considering the Record.
The Seer was
usually Roddie Minor, although on a few occasions other women did
assume the Office. The visions often opened in a woodland Temple
which was perceived astrally by the Seer; this Temple was sometimes
peopled by apparent doubles of those participating, and included on
occasions absent colleagues.
The Egg is a commonly-occurring glyph throughout the visions of the Amalantrah Working.
It is of course a glyph of birth - the egg which contains the potential of all that is to come. There is a reference in one of the visions to Geburah 'applied to' the egg. Geburah is in this context the sword which cleaves the egg, or the lightning flash which sunders it, giving birth to the potential secreted within.
Since elements of this particular vision are the foundation for much of the subsequent analysis, an extract from the Record follows. In this extract, 'T' is Therion, and 'A' is Achitha, the motto of the Seer, Roddie Minor. 'The Wizard' is Amalantrah. 'Arcteon' is the motto which was given to Charles Stansfeld Jones by Amalantrah. The bracketed material in the Record indicates both lacunae and asides by Crowley or others.
Child is there, lion and Barzedon. Arcteon has a very prominent place; he is a tall man that always appears in the Temple.
The references to the lotus flower in association with the egg, and later the child, are significant.
They suggest the Babe in the Egg, Harpocrates, often depicted as seated upon a lotus flower. The mountain is a symbol of initiation, of communing with the gods; examples are Mount Arunachala and Mount Kailas, and the story of Moses ascending the mountain to receive the Word of God. The Hebrew letters Gimel and Lamed give GL, which means 'spring, fountain'.
The portrait of Lam shows clearly a mottled emanation or umbra from the top of the egg, like the dappled effect of a fountain in sunlight, or the 'fountain of dew' which showers from the Sahasrara chakra when the Fire Snake streaks up the Sushumna.
The original publication of the portrait in 1919 did not show this, presumably because it was too subtle for the reproduction techniques then prevalent; subsequent publications in The Magical Revival (1972), Outside the Circles of Time (1980), and Starfire Volume I number 3 (1989) show it clearly, however.
The Record of the last surviving session of the Working makes further reference to Gimel and Lamed, as the following extract shows:
Here Gimel and Lamed are again mentioned, this time as the two sides of Perfection which are integrated in Adam Qadmon, the Perfect Man. This reference to Perfection suggests the Tao; it also suggests Maat as the Perfect Aeon. Gimel and Lamed when enumerated in full are 83 and 74 respectively, and combine as 157, the number which Crowley assigned to his reworking of Legge's Tao Teh Ching translation.
He completed the reworking during his Magical Retirement at Oesipus Island in the summer of 1918; and he relates in the published Preface how he evoked Amalantrah to elucidate certain obscure passages. The attribution of 157 to his Tao Teh Ching, then, gives us further confirmation of the Taoist substratum of the Amalantrah Working, and reinforces the identification of Perfection with the Tao.
This interpretation is underlined by a passage in Crowley's Commentary to Liber LXV (The Book of the Heart Girt with the Serpent):
This passage underlines the mention earlier of Geburah 'applied to' the egg, the lightning flash being in this context a type of Geburah. We have, then, an identity between the Tao and the Cup of Babalon, both being Perfection; and, of course, 'The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two; nay, are none!" (AL I.45).
The reference to 'a spring shut up, a fountain sealed' is from the Song of Solomon:
This indicates a pregnant womb, rather than a celebration of virginity: to shut up or seal is to obstruct something which has formerly flowed. It is, then, an apt phrase to be used by Crowley in the context of the quote above from his Commentary to Liber LXV.
Moreover, it recalls a passage from Kenneth Grant's The Magical Revival:
Set is Hoor-paar-kraat, the 'secret seed', the Hidden God, released from the egg by the shattering force of the lightning flash of illumination.
In Olla, Crowley defines Silence as the Path of the Lightning Flash. Silence in this context is not simply the absence of noise or movement: it is the 'still, small voice' from which manifestation unfolds, the potential which gives rise to the actual, the noumena which underlies phenomenon. The Egg of Silence is typified by Lam; to embark on the Cult of Lam is therefore to evoke the Hidden God, the Holy Guardian Angel.
is Initiation, the journey inwards which is simultaneously the
journey outwards, for the microcosm and the macrocosm are not two
but one. Lam is the Gateway to Outside - those tranches of
consciousness which lie beyond the bounds of what we consider to be
Crowley's association of the portrait of Lam with The Voice of the Silence identifies it as a glyph of that Voice.
The association is underlined by the assignation of 71 to both the portrait and the Commentary, as is made clear by the inscription which accompanied the portrait as originally published:
A metathesis of LAM is ALM, also 71, a Hebrew word meaning silence, silent'. The Silence is the noumenon which underlies and infuses phenomena, the continuum of which all things soever are simultaneously facets and the whole.
The Silence is the quietness at the heart of noise, the stillness at the heart of activity, the being at the heart of going, and the emptiness at the heart of matter.
These juxtapositions may seem merely revelling in paradox; the fact is, though, that reason is a tool of limited application, and paradox is a means of pointing beyond apparent contraries. The 'Way' or 'Path' is a reference to the Tao. The 'Treader of the Path' is the Initiate, treading the path of initiation.
This brings to mind the concluding lines from "Pilgrim-Talk", in Crowley's The Book of Lies:
Hoor-paar-kraat is the unmanifest twin of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, manifestation.
The distinction between these twins is figurative only; they are aspects of each other, neither separate from the other. The term 'Dwarf' Self' is often used: 'dwarf' in the sense of yet to manifest, adolescent, prepubescent, yet to flower. This is the Hidden God, a term used throughout the Egyptian Book of the Dead to glyph the sun in the Underworld or Amenta, the potential which is at the heart of florescence.
Yoga is Union; not the union of opposites, but the unveiling of the union which has always existed, veiled by the illusion of limitation. Hoor-paar-kraat is a term often used synonymously with the Holy Guardian Angel.
As Traders of the Way, we are not something separate which merely traverses from one point to another: we are the Way.
Taking the above ideas together, we can see, therefore, in what sense Lam is the Gateway.
The portrait of Lam arose from the Amalantrah Working, and is a glyph of that Working. Lam is the Voice of the Silence, the Silence which is the extra-terrestrial continuum of consciousness of which manifestation is a facet. The Aeon of Maat is not a span of time, nor an initiation to which we might attain by virtue of intense and protracted contortions of the mind and body, but is here and now - the Ever-Coming One.
Its number is 81, KSA, the full moon which is both the flowering of the lunar cycle and the point of return to the New Moon; similarly, Maat is both the flowering of the Aeonic cycle and the point of return to the Pralaya or dissolution.
second half of the mantra, 'Malat', a mirror image of the first half,
this sense of backward-turning.
mantra 'Talam-Malat', then,
concentrates and celebrates the common nature and indeed identity of
the Angel, the Aeon of Maat, the Tao, and extra-terrestrialism. This
insight was, and is, a matter of experience; once tasted, the nectar
is not only never forgotten, but is ever-present.
Similarly, the key that unlocks the Gateway is necessarily of a unique pattern, and must be discovered by the Initiate in the course of direct magical and mystical experience, The Cult of Lam focuses upon the techniques for discovering the pattern.
However, these techniques can never be
a universal template; rather, they are but a basis upon which the
Initiate rears his or her own Temple of Illumination, the inner
shrine of which is Silence.
The practical Keys which facilitate this alchemy
will be explored in future articles.
Lam and the Art of Archery
The following material has been drawn from explorations of the Enochian System, and can be of use in contacting Lam.
There seem to be several Aethyrs particularly appropriate to the contact with LAM and the energies of the Aeons of Horus and Maat. There are also some elemental spheres within the watchtowers themselves which seem appropriate to contact with LAM. The first account is of a journey to the Aethyr VTI, the Aethyr of Change.
Its numeration in terms of the Enochian letters is either 133 or 139, the former reducing as 7 x 19. This is the Aethyr where the Initiate discovers the nature of his or her 'Covenant with God'. The Covenant is LAM; it reflects the particular direction of the Initiate's arrow of Will within the continuum of Maat.
Before moving to the vision of this Aethyr, a few signposts are appropriate.
Journey to VTI: The Aethyr of Change
What follows is information which has been received as a result of expeditions to Aethyrs, both alone and in groups, over the past few months.
The Aim was to achieve deeper knowledge of the function and operation of LAM with regards to the Great Work and our respective true selves.
These are the results.
But what exactly is an egregore chain, and how does it work?
It can be defined as the group spirit (super-consciousness) of all the members of a particular Order. The F.S. (Fraternitas Saturni) use this notion very effectively; members need not be present in the workings or rituals of other Order members in order to gain access to the egregore.
It is analogous to the running of magical computer programs across a network of adepts or members, in order to access necessary gnosis and guidance from the Secret Chiefs.
This can be done using these egregore maps because they express the laws of Creation and the Fall through their symbolism.
They allow people to free themselves from the lust of result by the externalization of the Holy Guardian Angel into the egregore; thus, in the process of trying to communicate with the Secret Chiefs, the nature of the Angel is encountered in the process.
It also helps to align groups to the Great Work more effectively, diminishing group Babel that hinders us from uniting with Babelon. Babel is a negative build up of Shaitan energy that restricts the flow of Will. This is the division that must be overcome with Love.
When working alone, the triad seems to
be the most natural pattern to assume. For example, I take the form
of Aiwass through atavistic assumption, and through OLUN my anima
manifests the Child that is Lam, the fruit of my will, the Hidden
God. In pairs, OLUN + AIWASS relationships form, with Lam being the
invisible unifier or copula between them.
The frequency of the string as it resonates is the song of the true self, and is but part of the music of the spheres.
The tension of the Bow is the force of Shaitan that tries to resist the Initiate drawing it back and seeing his or her origin. Shaitan does this by creating a sevenfold veil of doubt which must be transcended.
The Bow may now be opened which itself creates a division, a window to the void through which we can find the path. This takes the strength of a Lion or a Dragon (OLUN). To open the bow is to weave a vortex, a voracious devouring of chaos and cosmos.
The Daughter of the Flaming Sword is often depicted holding the mouth of a lion, as if to control it, to stop her being consumed. But the opening of the bow is the opening of the mouth of the Dragon, whereby one is consumed with fire (spirit).
The Bow is now fully extended and becomes a Circle, with the heart of the Initiate at the centre:
Now we aim without aiming; to forget the arrow (MAL) is to remember LAM: the Target is our intention.
We lilace the arrow, symbol of our will (AIWASS) and its ultimate fulfillment, upon the string; and, dissolving ourselves in samadhi upon a sevenfold doubt, we loose the arrow in a moment of pure folly. The feathers of the arrow are plucked from the headdress of MAAT; these feathers form a cross pattern as they resolve themselves in a circle which becomes the Mark of the Beast.
One of these feathers of MAAT is used to weigh
the heart of the Initiate in the 17th Aethyr TAN, the Aethyr of the
Imagine yourself turning around to look behind in a moment of paranoia-critical, and seeing all those incarnations. The fear and disgust of past acts, pain and death must be transcended in doubt and magnified, so that the covenant becomes manifest.
Try to synthesize all these shades; though they be divided, this is the mystery of Babalon that you must overcome with Love.
Then, through a process of Magical forgetfulness, forget the arrow and give birth to LAM: a bi-sexual humanoid entity which glows with orgone light energy and is the sum of your past and the root of your future.
This image is nameless,
the Bornless One; hence it is attributed to the Fifth Aethyr, the Aethyr which is without a supreme Being; but it is also a servant of
the Arrow, Truth.