The Final Three Gates
New Page -- 2 February 2007
The Ninth Gate is a film by the well known director, Roman Polanski. The Final Three Gates -- this webpage -- is Laurel Whitney's continuing analysis of the movie and the book on which the movie was based. This is the sixth section of nine, in which Ms. Whitney relates the contents of the movie and book to the Qabala and The Tree of Life. The nine sections include:
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Engravings from the book, The Dumas Club, and the movie, The Ninth Gate, can be found at An Eclectic Historian.
(6/20/9) Make that Apocalyptic Productions, for the movie version (but you will have to buy the book for the novel's version). (An Eclectic Historian is not currently on the web.)
It is strongly recommended that you print out these pages (all 18) and use them in the process of reading Ms. Whitney's essay. In addition, version of the Tree of Life used by Ms. Whitney can be viewed at: http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Image:Tree_simple.gif.
A WARNING -- other than "abandon hope all ye who enter here" -- is that you might want to see the movie before reading the essay, inasmuch as the analysis pretty much gives away the plot, like who gets killed and who doesn't.
VI. THE FINAL THREE GATES
THE SEVENTH GATE
Zayin (Sword) = 7th Hebrew Letter * Roman Numeral VII * Zeta = 7th Greek Letter
A bearded, mature, crowned King and a younger man dressed as a peasant or common person (we will call him the disciple), are playing chess on a board where all the squares are black. In the background, up two steps and against the right-hand wall, a black dog and a white dog are leaping up, as if in play. The black dog is visually 'above' the white dog and their configuration suggests the yin/yang symbol. Above them is an arched window through which we see the Moon. The disciple is visually 'below' the dogs, the Moon, and the two steps. Also in the background, in the left-hand wall, is a closed door. The King is visually 'below' the door. The symbols of the Moon are also visually 'above' the figure of the King (at a higher level in the picture). In the corner where the two walls meet is one pillar. If a line were extended from the bottom of the pillar, it would cut the chessboard in two, diagonally, into two triangles.
LCF version [the two AT engravings show all-white boards]
Interestingly, the movie showed the LCF version of this engraving as having an all-white board. I have no idea whether this was an error or, if it was intentional, what might have prompted the director to make this change, but I believe that the original version from the book reflects the symbolism which the creator of the engravings intended, and that is the version I will use.
First of all, the scene shown in this engraving can be read as a description of a portion of the Tree of Life. In the foreground and at the visual low-point of the scene is the disciple, the common man who began his journey at the lowest sephira, Malkuth. On the right-hand wall are the symbols of Tarot Key #18, The Moon, with its two dogs (sometimes a dog and a wolf) symbolizing the realm of the animal instincts. The Tarot card called The Moon also depicts an invertebrate (lobster/crab) emerging from the water, representing the astrological sign of Cancer the latter which is ruled by the Moon and symbolizes the unconscious. The two dogs, one black and one white, in their yin/yang configuration, also reflect the fact that on the Tree of Life, the sephira Yesod/Moon is the balance point of the ego realm of duality. That there are two steps leading up from the man of Malkuth to the symbols of The Moon might refer to the next two sephira above Malkuth which (together with Yesod/Moon) make up the Lower Triad of the realm of the ego: Hod/Mercury/lower mind and Netzach/Venus/lower feeling.
The one pillar suggests the Central Pillar of Equilibrium, on which the next sephira 'up' from Yesod/Moon is Tiphareth/Sun, the central balance-point of the realm of the Soul, whose symbol is a King. The door which appears visually 'above' the King symbolizes the mysterious 'non-sephira' Daath/Knowledge, located directly above Tiphareth on the Central Pillar of the Tree and representing the Seventh Gate which we will describe below.
The next level of symbolism comes from Alchemy, specifically, the 'Conjunctio', the conjoining or 'sacred marriage' of the alchemical King/Sun/Solar Consciousness/Soul and the alchemical Queen/Moon/Lunar Consciousness/ego. This is an essential stage in the production of the ultimate goal of Alchemy: the alchemical 'Gold', the Unus Mundus (Unified World), or Philosopher's Stone. This unification/integration of Sun/Moon, King/Queen, Soul/ego is also a central goal of Qabalah, represented by the symbol of Solomon's Seal, the union of upward and downward-pointing triangles.
There is a tradition that when the Tree of Life was first created, the first and highest sephira, Kether/Crown, representing Transcendent Unity, emanated the second highest sephira, Chokmah/Father/Wisdom/Force, which emanated the third highest sephira, Binah/Mother/Understanding/Form. These three transcendent sephiroth represent the Creative Force of the Supernal Triad/Godhead. The union of Chokmah/Father/Force and Binah/Mother/Form then created a fourth sephira, Malkuth, the Daughter. As symbolized in the myth of the Garden of Eden, Malkuth 'fell' from its original state of transcendent Unity with the Divine into a state of created duality, and in the course of the 'Fall', the other six lower sephiroth of the Tree came into being.
Tradition holds that in the process of the 'Fall', the Garden of Eden's Tree of Knowledge became the left-hand Pillar of Severity/Form, and the original Tree of Life became the right-hand Pillar of Mercy/Force. The Central Pillar of Equilibrium represents the equivalent of the Buddha's 'middle way', the path of balance between the extremes of the two outer pillars. This is the path of ascent which must be followed to restore the lost unity of the original Tree.
After the 'Fall', the transcendent sephiroth of the Supernal Triad were separated from the rest of the Tree by a barrier called the Abyss. In the center of the Abyss, in the place from which Malkuth fell, the diagram of the Tree shows a circle usually made of dotted lines, with no number, which represents the 'non-sephira' called Daath/Knowledge. Binah/Mother (the last Transcendent sephira above the Abyss), the non-sephira Daath, and the Abyss are all associated with the color black. Daath is also called the 'Throne of Binah'. There is a tradition that it is the destiny of Malkuth, also called the Kingdom and the Bride, to one day 'sit upon the Throne of Binah', which would bridge the Abyss and restore both the Kingdom and the Tree itself to its original state of Unity.
It is said that when the energies of the lower seven sephiroth of the Tree have all been accessed, developed and integrated in the individual human Soul/ego to a point of ultimate balance, the energy of the highest Soul-level sephira, Chesed, reverses its vitalizing force from flowing 'down' the Tree to flowing back 'up' the Tree on the 'Path of Return'. The other levels of consciousness of the lower Tree experience this at first as a feeling of desolation and abandonment, until at last they begin to sense the pull of the turning tide and, filled with longing to pass upward again into the Infinite, they follow in Chesed's wake, turning their faces towards 'Home'. This is the moment of 'Ascension.'
The ultimate union of the ego and Soul is symbolized in the conjunctio of Tiphareth/Sun and Yesod/Moon to form the six-pointed star, Solomon's Seal. Imagine that the lowest four centers, Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, and Netzach rise up as if there were a fold on the diagram of the Tree just above the Lower Triad, at the place where the Veil of Paroketh, the separation between ego and Soul, used to be. Yesod/Moon then conjoins Tiphareth/Sun in the Sacred Marriage of King/Queen-Sun/Moon, as Yesod/Moon descends 'on top of' Tiphareth/Sun (as the black dog was on top of the white dog in the Seventh Gate engravings). Malkuth, the Bride, is then positioned to sit on the Throne of Binah, resuming her original state of Unity, bridging and annihilating the Abyss, and taking the place of the 'non-sephira' previously known as Daath. Ego is wed to Soul, and the disciple of the engraving, the common person of Malkuth, having 'leaped over' Tiphareth/the King to the superior former position of Daath on the Tree, "surpasses the master".
In the traditional interpretation of the symbol of the six-pointed Seal of Solomon, the upward pointing triangle is sometimes shown in white and represents Spirit while the downward pointing triangle is shown in black and represents the manifest world of matter. In my personal opinion, symbolism like this is not set in stone but is subject to interpretation depending upon the context. In the context of the Ascension of Malkuth, the downward-pointing triangle on the Tree is the 'Ethical Triad' (Soul realm) made up of Geburah/Chesed/Tiphareth and the upward-pointing triangle is the 'Lower Triad' (ego realm) made up of Hod/Netzach/Yesod which, at the moment of the union of Tiphareth and Yesod and the ascent of Malkuth, assumes an upward-pointing orientation as we have seen. The ego energies of the Lower Triad have symbolically reversed themselves to join in union with the Soul energies of the Ethical Triad.
Before this redemptive Conjunctio is possible, before Malkuth can bridge the Abyss, symbolically wedding 'Earth' (realm of ego/Soul) to 'Heaven' (realm of Transcendent Spirit), the Soul/ego consciousness must be capable of crossing the Abyss. Once all of the lower centers have been developed and balanced, there is only one obstacle which can prevent this crossing and it is symbolized by the same Tree of Knowledge that was the original symbolic cause of the 'Fall'. The intellectual power of the ego is based on duality, and cannot make the crossing back into the realm of Unity. In order to cross the Abyss, the Soul/ego must give up its insistence on intellectually understanding, on 'knowing' its experience in terms of duality. It must lay down the intellect, which essentially represents a voluntary temporary 'death' of the ego consciousness. This is accomplished by a deceptively simple but profound gesture of assent by the Higher Will and the capacity of the ego to recognize its relative insignificance and to kneel in genuine humility and holy awe before the threshold of the Greater Mystery.
In Dante's 'Paradiso', Virgil (a master of medicine and mathematics as well as poetry), who had been Dante's guide through Hell and Purgatory, had to be left behind at the gates of Paradise not just because he was a 'Pagan', but because of the quality of consciousness which he represented. It was Beatrice, symbol of the Divine Love of the Soul who led Dante into the Transcendent Realm. In just the same way, once the last barrier of duality, the intellect, is left behind, it is the Divine Feeling nature of Chesed/Netzach which joins in ecstatic Union with its transcendent Source in a 'knowing'-by-participation in the One Ultimate Being of the Transcendent Godhead before which the Abyss, a barrier perceptible only to the duality-based consciousness of the ego, ceases to exist. What the Soul experiences as blissful union with the Love/Light of Heaven is to the intellect/ego a 'via negativa', a passage into the darkness of 'unknowing'.
The ego has been predisposed to value light and to despise darkness, to see white as symbolic of 'good' and black as symbolic of 'evil'. This dualistic perspective represents a last barrier which must be overcome because in crossing the Abyss, in terms of its essence, nothing of the created world is 'left behind'. This includes the ego's idea of 'evil/ the devil', a concept which is 'redeemed' at this point in the journey when it is perceived in its ultimate nondual symbolic form as 'Lucifer the Light-Bearer', the ever-faithful servant of God and 'honorable adversary' of man.
And here we have the last obstacle which a would-be 'black magician' like Balkan is incapable of overcoming. Willingly consenting to sacrifice his intellect, submitting even to the temporary 'death' of the fierce will and power drive of his ego, would represent the complete defeat of everything the black magician strives to attain. The ego sees only by the 'lesser light' of the intellect and the ego of the black magician, having forged no alliance with Soul, once deprived of the intellect's light, falls into darkness and is powerless.
The AT versions of the Seventh Gate engraving show a chessboard with all white squares which, in the context of the passage through the Abyss, represents the refusal/ inability of Balkan's dualistic ego-consciousness to pass into the darkness. The LCF version of the all black board represents the capacity of the Soul to value the darkness as the equal of the light. It also symbolizes the Soul's ability to continue to 'play the game' in the territory of the Abyss and the Transcendent Realm of Spirit, which the dualistic ego consciousness of lower mind experiences only as a descent into oblivion.
At this point, the 'black magician' Balkan, unable to cross the Abyss or to cross over to the Soul realm of the Central Pillar and Pillar of Mercy, is left to deal with the processes of the highest sephira which he believes is accessible by those who follow the 'left-hand path'. This is the highest sephira on the Pillar of Severity/Form, Geburah/Judgment, also called (as experienced from the perspective of the unregenerate ego), Pachad/Fear, which is the subject of THE EIGHTH GATE.
THE EIGHTH GATE
Chet (Fence) = 8th Hebrew Letter * Roman Numeral VIII * Eta = 8th Greek Letter
The original LCF engraving for this gate, as commissioned for 'The Club Dumas', (the book on which the movie 'The Ninth Gate' was based), shows a young woman in a flowing gown, kneeling with her hands clasped in prayer. A knight, with a halo encircling his head, stands behind her and to her left with his sword raised up over his right shoulder in the classic pose of the Archangel Michael, apparently about to behead her. In the background behind the knight is a Wheel of Fortune with three human figures apparently attached to the outer surface of the wheel. One figure is headed up towards the top, one is kneeling on his left knee at the top of the wheel, and one is headed back down. Also in the background, behind the kneeling woman, is a castle with a closed door.
LCF version [According to the book, in the two AT versions of the engraving, there is no halo around the knight's head.]
This engraving was modified for purposes of the film to show a young man who looks like Corso, wearing a monk's robe and kneeling with his hands clasped in prayer. Meanwhile a knight who looks like Balkan (with no halo around his head) stands behind him and to his left. He holds a studded mace (a large spiked club) raised up over his right shoulder, apparently about to hit Corso in the head. The weapon was most likely changed from a sword to a club because of the scene in the movie in which Corso is sitting at a table in the library of the Kessler Foundation looking at this engraving when he is hit on the head and knocked unconscious from behind. Because the symbolism of the sword is a more exact fit with the symbolism of the Tree of Life, I will use the original engraving from the book to describe the passage through the Eighth Gate.
The most immediately recognizable symbol, located in the background of the engraving, is the Wheel of Fortune, Tarot Key #10. Just as the symbol of the Wheel provides the visual background for the central figures of the 'executioner' and the 'victim', so an understanding of the meaning of the Wheel symbol provides the proper context in which the meaning of this particular execution is to be understood.
The Wheel of Fortune card is assigned to the path which connects the sephira Netzach/Venus/lower feeling at the bottom of the right-hand Pillar of Mercy in the realm of ego, with the sephira Chesed/Mercy/Higher Feeling at the top of this Pillar, in the realm of Soul. This path is the the right-hand Pillar equivalent of the left-hand Pillar path of the Hanged Man which was the subject of the Sixth Gate.
The traveler whose consciousness reflects the level of Netzach/lower feeling will find that his emotional response to the 'ups' and 'downs' of life is colored by his ego's assessment as to whether what is happening to him is 'just' or 'unjust'. If he believes that the experience is 'unjust', he will feel victimized by powers that are apparently beyond his control and may come to believe that there is no moral order in the world or that the world is actually 'evil'. If he believes that his experience is 'just', he may draw the conclusion that by behaving in accordance with certain rules, he can control what happens to him in the future. For example, he may expect that good behavior will result in favorable experience ('favorable' as defined by the ego, of course). Notice that the two perceptions are extreme opposites -- the belief is either that the individual has no control over what happens to him (and this is perceived as 'evil'), or that the individual has absolute control over what happens to him (and this is perceived as 'good'). From the ego's perspective, the most important thing is that it always be 'in control'. If it perceives that it is *not* 'in control', it feels that it is being 'victimized'.
As the traveler crosses over into the realm of Soul and rises on the path towards Chesed/Higher Feeling, he begins to become aware that he is being subtly guided by what seems to be the intelligent essence of a Higher Moral Organizing Principle (which some label 'Guardian Angel', 'Higher Self', or 'God'). It appears to the traveler that this Force somehow arranges to draw into his life those people and experiences which will most help him to correct his shortcomings and to develop and grow into the fullness of his highest potential. As the traveler begins to notice this pattern developing in his life, his perspective gradually shifts as he realizes that the most difficult experiences may actually bring the most valuable results in terms of his growth as a person, his spiritual development, and the ultimate experience of joy which is the fruit of this growth.
At this point, the question of whether an experience is 'just' or 'unjust' loses its power to provoke an emotional response. The traveler whose feeling nature reflects the Higher Feeling perspective of Chesed comes to trust in the ultimate goodness of the Higher Moral force which he understands to be guiding the events of his life and on that basis he accepts and values as 'good' whatever experience he encounters, seeing it as an appropriate learning experience -- a gift -- simply because it has happened to him.
The response then becomes one of anticipating and being open to the new growth, as in: 'Okay, what is it that I don't understand now that this experience has come to teach me?' Emotional security, satisfaction and happiness are rooted in the relationship of absolute trust which exists with the 'Guardian Angel' Force, no matter what the outer circumstances of life might be.
The consciousness which passes beyond the Veil of Paroketh on all three paths, from Yesod/Moon/instincts (Third Gate), from Hod/Mercury/lower mind (Fourth Gate), and from Netzach/Venus/lower emotion (Fifth Gate), comes to a point of union with the central balance point of the Soul, Tiphareth. Here the lower feeling experience of emotional 'ups' and 'downs' as experienced by the figures on the outer rim of the Wheel gives way to the Higher Feeling state of serenity which comes with the view from the center of the Wheel. This is the 'still point' which T. S. Eliot famously wrote of in his poem 'Burnt Norton':
Directly opposite the sephira of Higher Feeling (Chesed/Mercy), is the sephira of Higher Moral Discernment, Geburah/Judgment, (first visited in the Sixth Gate), whose symbolic weapon is the sword. The sword, in the symbolism of the Tarot, represents the ability of the intellect to dissect, analyze, and discriminate in the realm of ideas. The sword in the context of the Higher Mind in the realm of Soul, also carries the meaning of moral discernment -- the ability to intuit what constitutes the highest good in any particular situation. Geburah is also a symbol of the Higher Will, the determination to live always in alignment with the Soul's best understanding of what represents the highest good.
Although in the realm of the ego the perception is that in order for one to 'win' others must 'lose', in the realm of the Soul, the highest good of each individual is understood to be in perfect alignment with the highest good of all others because the Higher Moral Organizing Principle is the One Source with which all Souls are aligned, even while each follows his own highly individualized life path. The principle is one which the American writer Flannery O'Connor used as the title of one of her short stories: "Everything That Rises Must Converge".
Although the ego may maintain its 'righteous' self-image by paying lip service to society's secular laws and religion-based moral codes, its internal standard of 'right' is often 'whatever I can get away with' and what is really considered 'wrong' is 'getting caught'. From the ego's perspective, what is 'good' is always defined as whatever best satisfies personal ego needs (sensual pleasures, material security, 'winning') and If it is necessary to lie, cheat, steal, trample on the rights of others or even kill others in order to achieve its goals, the unregenerate ego feels that these sorts of actions are simply what it takes to be a 'winner'. The belief is that 'sin' is the price which must be paid for material 'success', and it is only a short mental trip from that belief to the symbolism of 'selling one's soul to the devil' as a way to ensure 'success' in life.
From this debased ego perspective, 'virtue' is the equivalent of 'weakness', and those who are 'foolish' enough to insist on behaving virtuously are simply setting themselves up for inevitable defeat. This cynical viewpoint is reflected in the AT engravings in which the figure who represents non-violent morality (in the book version the demure woman and in the film version the monk), is executed/defeated by the knight whose superior power is based simply on the fact that he is willing to use violent means in order to prevail ('might makes right'). This is the ego's interpretation of the phrase describing this engraving, "Virtue lies defeated".
In the realm of the Soul, the moral positions of the two figures are reversed because from the perspective of the Soul and its capacity for Higher Moral discernment, there are times when the social and/or religious standards which are enforced by conventional laws and moral codes are simply wrong. Unjust laws and immoral religious codes exist until more highly evolved moral discernment exposes their evil nature and demands reform. There was a time when a 'good Christian' saw no problem with owning and exploiting the lives and labor of slaves. Secular law upheld the 'rights' of slave owners and socially sanctioned religious institutions turned a blind eye to the obvious injustice. Ego justified this situation by defining slaves as 'property' and considering them to be 'sub-human'. Parallel injustices exist today.
The Soul, recognizing all others as its equals, is unable to sanction this kind of legalized injustice or religious hypocrisy and must use its higher moral authority to oppose any conventional definition of 'virtue' which would accept such injustice. In the LCF version of the Eighth Gate engraving, the halo surrounding the head of the sword-wielding knight identifies him as a personification of the Higher Moral function of Geburah/Judgment which is not deceived or deterred by the outward pretense of 'virtue' but strikes unerringly at the underlying injustice. From this perspective, it is the Higher Moral discernment of the Soul before which the ego's self-serving, conventional definition of 'virtue' lies defeated. This is exactly the fate which awaits Balkan if he should somehow actually venture within range of Geburah's sword.
The traveler who originally began his journey at the very base of the Tree of Life in the purely material realm of Malkuth at the First Gate, has since made his way up the Tree to the very top of the created realm and now stands before the edge of the Abyss. Just below him is the final horizontal path which connects the highest two created sephiroth, Geburah/Higher Mind and Chesed/Higher Feeling. This path is assigned to Tarot Key #8, which is called in traditional decks 'Strength' and which depicts a woman crowned with the transcendent sign of Infinity, gently, fearlessly and effortlessly guiding with her hands the opening or closing of the jaws of a lion.
But it is the symbolism for this card which is used in the Thoth Tarot deck (where it appears as Key #11), which best represents the passage across the Abyss for the very good reason that its creator designed it specifically with that purpose in mind. Crowley renamed the card 'Lust' (qualifying this by explaining that it refers to "the lust of the Spirit') and apparently took its symbolism from the Apocalypse of St. John, although the meaning of the symbols as popularly understood in the context of the Apocalypse is reinterpreted in a very interesting way to reflect the traditional wisdom about this stage of the 'path of return' on the Tree.
The card depicts a naked woman holding an upraised Grail cup in her right hand, triumphantly and ecstatically riding on the back of a seven-headed beast. And it is with this image that we come to the actual crossing of the Abyss, the removal of the final 'veil' (the word 'Apocalypse' comes from the Greek Apokalypsis or 'unveiling'), and the opening of THE NINTH GATE.
THE NINTH GATE
Teth (Serpent) = 9th Hebrew Letter * Roman Numeral VIIII * Theta = 9th Greek Letter
According to the book 'The Club Dumas' (on which the movie 'The Ninth Gate' was based), all three engravings of the Ninth Gate contained in the three books were the same. At the very end of the plot line in the book, Corso discovers that at some time in the past, a forgery occurred but there is no information or speculation presented in the book as to what the original symbolism might have been.
The book version shows in the foreground a naked woman riding on the back of a seven-headed horned beast. In her left hand she holds an open book. Her right hand rests on the shoulder of the beast and there is an upward-facing crescent Moon in her lap. In the background on a hill is a castle engulfed in flames.
The engraving as modified for the movie version shows the same scene except that the face of the woman has been redrawn to resemble the character of 'the girl' in the movie. There is no crescent Moon in her lap, and her right arm is raised, her index finger pointing to the castle which has been redrawn to resemble the actual castle used in filming the movie. In the movie version of the genuine LCF engraving, which Corso finally recovers from the Ceniza Brothers' shop, the castle is not on fire, but instead is blazing with light. Whoever made the decision to contrast the AT version of destruction by fire with the LCF version of blazing light in my opinion should be congratulated because this symbolism fits very well with the traditional wisdom about the ultimate experience the traveler encounters as he finally crosses the Abyss and enters into the Transcendent Realm of Unity.
In the analysis of the Seventh Gate ('The disciple surpasses the master'), we learned that the 'non-sephira' called Daath/Knowledge, located at the center of the Abyss, was the original place of Malkuth/The Daughter before her 'Fall' from a state of Unity created the lower portion of the Tree. It is a Qabalistic tradition to consider the 'Fall' described in the Old Testament story of the Garden of Eden not as the Fall of man as a separate being from his Creator, but rather as the voluntary Fall of one aspect of the Divine from Unity into the realm of apparent separation and duality in search of knowledge through experience. And as each individual Soul completes its journey through the evolving states of consciousness represented by the lower seven sephiroth of the Tree of Life, as the Soul makes the crossing back into Unity, it not only reunites its individual indwelling transcendent spark of Divinity with its Source but also brings its share of the riches of the lower Tree -- the energies of The Daughter, ripe now with the fruit of life experience -- and adds this share of treasure to the great harvest of Knowledge at Daath. [data collectors all -- saith Inanna!]
Crowley called the woman who rides the beast 'Babalon'. He received the vision of the symbol after he had conducted invocations using the Enochian system of magick, and the Enochian word BABALOND is translated as 'harlot'. Babalon is identified both with the returning Daughter of the lower Tree (who created the lower sephiroth in the process of her Fall and collects and returns their energies to Unity on her return) and also with the first Transcendent sephira at the place of return, Binah, the Mother of all Form. In both contexts, her upraised Grail Chalice (on the Tarot card) represents the receptacle of all possible varieties of earthly experience. As both Binah/the Mother and Malkuth/the Daughter, She is the 'womb' from which all of the forms of the lower Tree were born and it is She who welcomes all returning travelers back into Herself and into ultimate Union with their Source. She refuses no one, becoming One with all who cross into Unity, which is the basis of her symbolic role as 'Sacred Prostitute'
In her aspect as The Daughter, Babalon returns to the realm of Unity riding the 'Beast' whose seven heads are the energies of the seven lower sephiroth. In Crowley's description, the heads are those of an angel (Chesed), a saint (Geburah), a poet (Tiphareth), a sensuous woman (Netzach), a valiant man (Hod), a satyr (Yesod) and a Lion-Serpent (Malkuth). There have been many attempts to interpret the vision of the Apocalypse of St. John in terms of historical, current or future political events, and it may or may not be possible to do that. But what is certain is that it was written in the form of an encoded 'occult' document which symbolically describes a process of transformation whereby the 'fallen' consciousness of the human Soul may find its way back to 'the Garden'.
The Apocalypse is called A Revelation *to* John. According to Elizabeth Van Buren, author of 'Sign of the Dove', the true name of the Dove in Greek is Ionas. John of the Apocalypse is also Ionnes, the Dove, the one who has been initiated into the Mysteries and has received the Holy Spirit. This is not a message originally intended for the general public, but a vision received by an initiate. It was recorded in the symbolic language of initiation, coded to disguise its Gnostic elements and is seeded with Qabalistic references which survive even in translation, including a structure of 22 chapters, a number related to the 22 paths of the Qabalistic Tree.
The clues as to the context in which this work is to be interpreted are there for those "who have ears to hear", a phrase which is repeated many times in the text itself, and numerical codes related to the original Greek language in which it was written are one central key to its meaning. For purposes of understanding the nature of the transformation which occurs with the opening of the Ninth Gate, we will focus on the numerical codes which were used (for those familiar with their derivation) as clues to the occult meaning of the four beasts which the vision describes, including 'the Beast' whose number is 666.
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