"Grave mysteries" (Part One)
"Aye! listen to the numbers & the words." - The Book of the Law
I've given a lot of space here - some say too much - to Aleister Crowley, the occult and High Weirdness. I'm going to give some more now, because maybe it will help explain why.
The cipher, the Nine, the whole damn thing
In 1904 Crowley and his first wife, Rose, traveled to Egypt for their honeymoon. While visiting the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid, Crowley recited the "preliminary invocation" of the Goetia: the occult ritual of "low magic" to bind demons to a sorcerer's will. When the two returned to their hotel room in Cairo, Rose entered a trance state and began murmuring "They are waiting for you," along with "similar urgent but unintelligible phrases" according to Robert Anton Wilson in Cosmic Triggers vol. I. Wilson continues:
Crowley did not like this at all, since it is typical of the uncontrolled, quasi-hysterical trances of spiritualist mediums (whom he despised) and lacked the elements of willed concentration and rational control that he demanded of his magick experiments. Nonetheless, despite his attempts to banish the phenomenon, it kept coming back, and finally, in one of Rose's trances, Crowley set a series of tests for the alleged communicating entity. He asked Rose, for instance, to describe the aura of the being, and she said "deep blue"; he asked the character of the being, and she said "force and fire"; he asked her to pick the being from drawings of ten Egyptian gods, and she picked Horus. She also identified Horus' planet (Mars), and so forth for a series of similar questions. Crowley then calculated the odds against her being right in all cases.... The chance of her guessing right on the whole series by chance was, mathematically, 1/21,168,000. [Crowley claimed that at this point, Rose was ignorant of both Egyptology and the occult.]
The next day Crowley took Rose to the Boulak Museum and asked her to identify the communicating intelligence from the collection of statues and art. She stopped at a stele depicting the goddess Nuit bending over a winged globe, the hawk-headed Horus and a temple priest. "This is the one," she said, pointing at Horus. The museum had catalogued the item no. 666, a detail not lost on Crowley. He decided he'd seen enough, and back at the hotel entered a light trance and over three days, beginning precisely at noon each day, "took dictation" from an entity named "Aiwass" of The Book of the Law, also known as Liber Al, the founding scripture of Thelema and the declaration of the Aeon of Horus, the "Crowned and Conquering Child."
Near the end of Crowley's manuscript appears a cipher: a page of text divided by a grid with a diagonal line running through it, and a "rosy cross" coincidentally evocative of the sign of the Zodiac Killer, who also communicated in cipher. The text addresses Crowley, telling him he would never be able to crack the code, but that one who was to follow him would.
It took a while, but the cipher was finally cracked in the mid-1970s, and The Book of the Law finally became the base text for Thelema's "English Qaballa": a system of decryption that assigns numerical values to words, following the principles of Gematria as applied to the Torah and the Midrash in the Hebrew Kabbalah.
Now, here's where it gets interesting.
Allen H Greenfield, a holder of high office in the Ordo Templi Orientis and affiliated with the Lovecraftian Green Abyss Lodge and the Esoteric Order of the Dragon, is also a veteran UFO researcher held in high regard by the never easily impressed James Moseley. As an "idle experiment," Greenfield began applying to the cipher the bizarre names from UFO contactee events and trance channelling. (Recall the UFO phenomenon exploded in 1947, the year of Crowley's death.) What Greenfield found suggested trans-human intelligences were using occult cipher to encode packets of meaning into seeming nonsense for high human initiates. (An interview with Greenfield can be read here.)
Let's take, for instance, Indrid Cold: the name of the unearthly figure haunting West Virginia in the mid-60s during the Mothman flap. "Indrid Cold" has a numerical value of 112, which resolves in the "English Qaballa" to "We are one." Greenfield notes in his Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts that Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, writing before the cipher was broken and the value of Cold's name was discovered, observed that "We are one" was a "touchstone for a thousand New Age contact cults in the 1960s and 1970s."
(Greenfield doesn't mention "the Nine," the supposed Great Egyptian Ennead reconnecting with humanity through trance mediumships, but typical of their communications are declarations such as, "We are nine principles of the Universe, yet together we are one.")
Cold appeared occasionally with a companion named "Carl Ardo," which has a cipher value of 54. This is the Qaballistic equivalent of "Set" and "snake." Their alleged homeworld of "Lanulus" has the value of 58, which resolves to "Hawk's head," suggesting Horus. And 54 and 58 again equals 112: "We are one."
"Lam," Crowley's prototypical "grey alien" he was to sketch "from life" during a later occult working, has the value of 24, or "god"; Sirius = 85 = "of our Lady"; Philip K Dick's VALIS = 41 = "her" (or "Vast Active Living Intelligence System" = 515 = "I am life and the giver of life to every star"); George Adamski's "Orthon," a long-haired "space visitor" calling for peace on Earth, resolves to 68, which equals "Jesus"; and "Men in Black" = 142 = "They pass as shadows."
Greenfield doesn't suggesting that Lam is God, or Orthon is Jesus. Rather that the cipher "uses the name or keyword for those in the know to examine and find a curious correspondence, pointing the way to whatever the essence of the encounter is."
It's late; more later.