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ABRAHADABRA:

Some Thoughts on The Word


by Mark Stavish, M.A.

Copyright 1997 Mark Stavish, M.A.

Introduction

ABRAHADABRA is the Word of the Aeon[1] of Crowley’s


Thelema. However, despite his choice of spellings, (there are
several), and some of the additional baggage that Crowley carries
into esoteric circles, his thoughts on this word are worth
consideration.

It’s Meaning

Abrahadabra is translated by G. Davidson[2] as “I bless the dead”,


is one of the three Holy Names used when blessing a sword
(Clavicus Solomonos?), Davidson also states that it is derived
from the Hebrew “ha brachah dabarah” or “Speak the blessing”. It
is used as an amulet to heal and ward off evil. When chanted, it is
reduced letter by letter.

He further suggests a relationship between it and an older Gnostic


‘diety’ Abraxas, or “the supreme unknown, and source of the 365
emanations of Persian theology. It is also found in several Hebrew
magical and mystical texts, including, The Sword of Moses, and
The Book of the Angel Raziel. In gnostic theology, it is used as a
term for god, or as a mediator between creation and the godhead.

Crowley spells it so that it adds up to 418 in gematria (19 x 22), or


22 using the “Qabala of Nine Chambers”. Several formulae are
worked out to show hidden meanings and relationships between
the letters, of which the most important appear to be its
suggestion of ‘double power’ or effecting both the Pentagram and
Hexagram; and giving the Rosicrucian axiom of “Light, Life, and
Love” in numerological expression.

“Light, Life, and Love are never lost, but may be called forth
eternally from the Cosmic Unity in which they dwell.” States a
Rosicrucian ritual.

Let us consider these three points:

1. Symbol of the Godhead and Mediator

2. Double Power

3. Triple invocation

Double Power
As symbol of ‘double power’ or the unity of the Pentagram and
Hexagram, Abrahadabra symbolizes the “mystical marriage” of
the micro and macrocosms. The Inner and Outer Worlds

It can be said, that Abrahadabra, is the Sacred Word invoking the


Union of the Higher and Lower Worlds in the student. If this is
done correctly, then we can move from being a student to the level
of an adept on the level of interior initiation.

This idea of it being a combination of the micro and macro-cosmic


forces is reminiscent of the phrase in The Lesser Ritual of the
Pentagram which says, “About me Flames the Pentagram, and in
the Middle of the Pillar Shines the Six Rayed Star!”[3] Here, in the
body and psyche of the student, the Elemental and planetary
forces are combined and equilibrated.

It is important to note though, that the meaning of the letters may


change depending on the level they are being vibrated on. This
would differ from person to person, but is worthy of mention. As
noted, the astrological associations and meanings of the Hebrew
letters can ‘shift’ depending on whether they are affecting the
world of Assiah, Yetzirah, Briah, or Atzilooth.[4]

Triple Invocation

As triple invocation of Light, Life, and Love, the Word reminds of


the three principle expressions of the Cosmos. When combined,
they give is a fourth and fifth point, that of Law and Liberty. By
understanding and seeking Life, Light, and Love in creation, we
can get a grasp on Cosmic Law, which in turn, is the source of our
personal freedom from the negative aspects of karma, or the
means of our liberation from the bondage of matter and
restriction.

Godhead and Mediator

As mediator Abrahadabra suggests that while humanity is Divinity


incarnate, ‘There is no God but Man, and Man is the Son of God.
God is Man,’ that we experience this in progressive steps or
degrees of expanding (and as such, inclusive) consciousness. We
may be Divine, but the leap from mundane earthly consciousness
to the Cosmic awareness of Kether is extremely radical, and would
shatter our vehicles of perception. Instead, we progress slowly and
with the aid of various ‘mediators’ to assist us.

Among these mediators are the tools we use, be it ritual, symbols,


alchemy, or even actual beings, such as teachers and invisible
helpers from the ‘other side’. Abrahadabra symbolizes the
harmonization of our inner and outer worlds, in the realm of
Tiphareth, and how we can open up to this powerful, but often
unseen assistance. Regular and daily use of a ritual, such as the
Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, or the Greater Ritual of the
Pentagram, stabilize our “Elemental” nature and allow the forces
of Yetzirah to more greatly penetrate our sometimes thick veils of
matter.
Through daily prayer and meditation, we slowly and progressively
make this once thick barrier more transparent, until once day, we
have a flash of awareness, an awakening that helps us realize what
is meant by, “About me flames the pentagram, and in the Middle
of the Pillar Shines the Six rayed star!”

When the “Little King” of Malkooth, the Pentagram, surrenders to


the “Big King” of Tiphareth (the Hexagram) the two are united
and the “Mystical Marriage” is initiated within us.

To this end, we can use the word itself as a kind of mantra, or


affirmation of this state. By vibrating it as a sacred word of power,
we can redeem it from the psuedo-magical connotations that have
befallen it, back to its original potency of Divine expression. As
mediator, the redemptive qualities, almost messianic in nature,
are more clearly understood. When we vibrate this name, we
should feel and imagine that the higher and lower worlds are
coming into union within us, and that we stand at the center of the
world, expressing the powers of Tiphareth. As though through its
sound we are bestowing a blessing across creation.

In The Golden Chain of Homer (Aurea Catena Homeri), we see


the same message being stated in almost identical symbolism. The
principle symbolism of the text, in addition to a series of ten rings
of varying forms of Venutian symbols, there is a plate of the
Oroborous. It consists of two dragons fighting, each biting the tail
of the other, one with wings and the other wingless. Between them
is a “Star of David” with planetary and Elemental symbols
assigned to various points. In addition, placed in the center are
the Three Principles of Alchemy - Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury.

“Whenever the Dragon meets an Enemy, they fight.

The Volatile must become fixt, Vapour and (water triangle) must
become (earth triangle), (fire triangle) must become corporeal, or
no Life can enter into the (earth triangle). The Superius must
become Interius, and Vice Vertia.

The Fixt becomes Volatile and, the (earth triangle) becomes


(water triangle), Vapour (air triangle) and (fire triangle), whilst
(fire triangle) returns to the Center of the Earth. Heaven, i.e. (fire
triangle), must be converted into fixt (air triangle). The Dragon
with Wings kills the Dragon without Wings, and the latter
destroys the former. Thus is manifested the Quintessence and its
Power.”[5]

The “dragon with wings” can be interpreted as our Interior


Master, or Holy Guardian Angel, and the dragon “without wings”
as our ego, or “little King”. They need each other in order to
express the power of Creation and its expression through the
Elemental and planetary forces. Yet, they are often in combat with
one another, instead of in harmony. Only when the “Superius”
(higher) becomes “Interius” (interior) and the interior becomes
the higher do we see the Elements (of either a material or psychic
nature) return to their primordial source. The Fire, or creative
power, returns to the center of the earth, or the “Secret Fire” of
Malkooth. In the end, the two dragons (instinctual parts of our
psyche - heavenly and earthly, the hexagram and pentagram) are
killed by each other, and in their combined “death” (end of
isolation) they are united in a more perfect expression of cosmic
power.

The Gnostics used the symbol of the winged serpent to represent


the redemptive and rejuvenating qualities of the Cosmos. As a
symbol of the powerful reconciliation of opposites, Khouphis, rises
above the head of the adept and spreads its wings in envelopment.
He is the winged solar serpent, the force of regeneration.[6] The
healing powers of our redeemed nephesh/yetziric, or
‘unconscious’ aspects of our psyche (and body as well) lead by our
Briactic or Solar consciousness. One reference even calls it “a
living caduceus”.[7]

Conclusion

It remains for each student to work out the intricacies of this and
other esoteric questions. Ones chosen path will influence greatly
how we approach the question and receive a solution to it
meaning and application. Ceremonialists will find a greater
expression through movement, sound, and the theater of ritual.
General esotericists will prefer meditation and prayer as the
means of unraveling the mystery. Alchemists will find that within
this ancient word there is a secret that only the laboratory can
reveal.

In the end however, while the answers may be different the effects
of unraveling the mystery of abrahadrabra will be the same in
each of us, as it will be a further increase in our understanding of
the Interior Light, and the expression of our Divinity.

[1] See: Liber 777, page 44.

[2] Dictionary of Angels

[3] One text read, “Before me flames the pentagram, and behind
me shines the six rayed star!”

[4] See PON Qabala Course, Lesson: page .

[5] From Aurea Catena Homeri, Saper Aude Metaphysical


Republishers, in conjunction with Alchemy Books, San, Francisco,
Ca. 1983. See also, PON Mineral Alchemy Course, Lesson 20.
[6] Mysteria Magica, vol. 3, The Magical Philosophy by Melita
Denning and Osborne Phillips. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul,
MN. 1986. P. 92 and 372.

[7] Ibid. This image of the “living caduceus” is dramatically


illustrated in Sacred Mirrors: The Visionary Art of Alex Grey,
Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vt. 1990. See: “Holy Fire” (Triptych)