This is the third in an ongoing study of Andrew Chumbley’s (1967-2004) work. Readers are gently encouraged to read and digest both my essay on Qutub and the first article on the Azoetia before returning here. - ALM
There is a myth known to Few, a myth silent dreaming within all Creation, a myth of which I will but whisper:-
"Before the Manifest came to exist there was a Place of Darkness - the Negative Existence. Naught may truthfully be said of this Place, for it is Otherness Entire. Within this Domain are Those-who-exist~not, call'd by their descendants "The Elder Gods" - They who are without number and yet are numbered as Eight. With the conception of the Universe was the Beginning and the Fall of the One, the One that men have named falsely. At the side of the One there was the Secret One, the Angel Most High, Emissary of the Elder Gods. Yet the One knew naught of this, the Veil having fallen upon the Mystery of Otherness. In Time, the One didst create the World and sought to make one like unto Itself. Therefore was the Angel sent unto the Earth, for it alone had power to take seven handfuls of clay from the World's Heart,- this being the Substance for the Creation of the First Man. Then was Man fashioned in the likeness of the One, yet being born solely of the clay; and the One didst marvel at this and commanded the Angel to bow down before Man. Then, being wise and subtle, didst the Angel leave the side of the One, knowing that it had commanded falsehood. The Angel Most High went forth upon the Earth in the form of the Serpent to transmit unto Man the Fire of the Elder Gods, knowing that in the Fullness of Time Man would claim for Himself the substance of his own Creation and Know Himself as the One True-born of the Elder Gods."
Andrew Chumbley, Qutub, “Commentary,” p. 59
It is the literary version of Austin Spare’s sigilization technique, folding in upon themselves symbols and meanings from a dozen different traditions into what almost appears to be nothing at all.
The myth above is a perfect illustration of Chumbley’s work, and what both the Azoetia and Qutub set out to do. Once again, Chumbley compresses a vast amount of arcana into a brief passage--in this case less than three hundred words. It is the occult equivalent of a ZIP file. This is a gift the author has; Crowley had it as well. It is the literary version of Austin Spare’s sigilization technique, folding in upon themselves symbols and meanings from a dozen different traditions into what almost appears to be nothing at all. For the unitiated it is unintelligible; for the occultist it requires careful unpacking to fully appreciate.
At first it looks like a retelling of a Biblical story familiar to most of us. This is the first veil. The fact is that nowhere does the Bible tell us about the “fall of Lucifer.” The story that we all think we know is a mangled translation of Isaiah 14:12-15. "On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labour forced on you, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!" So begins the passage, describing the death of the King of Babylon and the release of the Israel people from bondage. It goes on to say;
"How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: 'Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?’”
In the centuries old game of ‘Telephone” that is Biblical translation, the Hebrew name of the planet Venus, הילל בן שחר (hêlêl ben šāḥar) was first passed into Greek as “phosphorous” (the Light-Bearer) and then into Latin as “Lucifer.” The Church incorporated this into their manufacture of “Satan,” a figure which does not exist in the Hebrew scriptures but is the invention of Christian theologians Biblical scholar Elaine Pagels, in her excellent "The Origin of Satan," writes;
In biblical sources the Hebrew term the satan describes an adversarial role. It is not the name of a particular character. Although Hebrew storytellers as early as the sixth century B.C.E. occasionally introduced a supernatural character whom they called the satan, what they meant was any one of the angels sent by God for the specific purpose of blocking or obstructing human activity.
Thus John Calvin was correct when he wrote of Isaiah 14, “The exposition of this passage, which some have given, as if it referred to Satan, has arisen from ignorance: for the context plainly shows these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians.” But by the time he wrote this it was far too late. The King of Babylon had become the Devil, and the story of Lucifer’s fall was used as a boogeyman to warn children what happens if you dare to challenge God.
The serpent in Eden is a serpent, a Trickster figure like Coyote or Raven in Native American traditions. The fact that it “speaks” is unremarkable; Balaam’s donkey speaks too and no Christians are screaming that this constitutes evidence for its infernal nature...
Chumbley seems to have swallowed the entire “Lucifer, Son of Morning” lie hook line and sinker. He also seems to have swallowed the similar error that the serpent in Eden was the Devil. Once again, there is no “Devil” in the Hebrew scriptures, and the “ancient serpent” of the Christian Gospels is a later addition to the mythos. The serpent in Eden is a serpent, a Trickster figure like Coyote or Raven in Native American traditions. The fact that it “speaks” is unremarkable; Balaam’s donkey speaks too and no Christians are screaming that this constitutes evidence for its infernal nature (see Numbers 22:30)! Like all ancient Trickster figures, the serpent is an agent of change, and what he brings is double edged. Adam and Eve get wisdom, but they lose their divine Sugar Daddy in the process.
But as we peel back this veil, it slowly becomes clear that the magician is using lies to tell a truth. It is the old question in magic again; what is the mask and what is the mirror? Chumbley tells us that the serpent is passing on the “Fire of the Elder Gods,” which recalls both Prometheus and the genuine fallen angels of Hebrew scripture, the ones we first get wind of in Genesis 6:1-4;
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Late Hebrew tradition and scriptures would flesh out the tale of these “sons of God” in full, and it was probably from these later stories of fallen angels that the early Christians began to draw Satan from. The story appears in the apocryphal “Book of Enoch,” and was widely known by the time of Christ (indeed, Jude 1:14-15 quotes from the much earlier 1 Enoch) . Essentially, the “sons of God” are called the ‘Watchers,’ angels charged with keeping an eye on man. They begin to lust after the daughters of men and take them as wives. In exchange they teach humankind the arts and sciences, including such things as metallurgy, astrology, medicine, and magic;
This is the original “fallen angel” story; it has nothing to do with pride or Lucifer placing himself above God. Instead, it directly parallels the tale of Prometheus, chained to a rock and faced with eternal punishment for stealing fire for man.
And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl, taught astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Ezêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon...
God is infuriated by this, and inflicts a punishment that the reader will instantly recognize as the inspiration for Lucifer’s later banishment to Hell;
...the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl (God's Kettle/Crucible/Cauldron), and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azâzêl: to him ascribe all sin."
This is the original “fallen angel” story; it has nothing to do with pride or Lucifer placing himself above God. Instead, it directly parallels the tale of Prometheus, chained to a rock and faced with eternal punishment for stealing fire for man. The Watchers‘ crime is to pass immortal spirit into mortal flesh, and to teach the knowledge of Heaven to human creatures. Like the Serpent, they brought knowledge. It shouldn’t surprise us then that the Gnostics might look upon the serpent and these angels in a more favorable light. And Chumbley, both in his reference to the ‘Devil’ as “the Secret One, the Angel Most High, Emissary of the Elder Gods,” and in in the line “The Angel Most High went forth upon the Earth in the form of the Serpent to transmit unto Man the Fire of the Elder Gods” is showing his Gnostic inclinations. He understands full well that the tale of Lucifer, the fallen Angel Most High, is nonsense, and that the serpent had nothing to do with the Devil. But he is using this myth to tell us about the myth behind it, and, as we will see in Part 2, uses the myth behind it to suggest an even deeper secret.
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