You are on page 1of 2

AN ETYMOLOGICAL NOTE UPON A FOOTNOTE

In Chapter IV of part 3 of Magick, Liber ABA: Book Four, Parts I-IV1


(independently known as Magick in Theory and Practice) there is a footnote regarding
the Formula of ALIM2 in regard to the XI3 of Ordo Templi Orientis. Its well known
that this degree is popularly viewed as a homosexual variation on the IX (see Note 3),
and what is particularly interesting is the following excerpt: This Work is to be
regarded as Holiness to the Lord. The Hebrews, in fact, conferred the title of Qadosh
(holy) upon its adepts.4
Crowley may have altered his views at a later date, & for the purposes of this
paper we will assume that the homosexual interpretation is the standard model, due
primarily to the footnote in question. Now the traditional Judaic attitude towards this
practice is well known, & there are many references to it in the Old Testament. For
example, we find in Leviticus XX:13: If a man lies with a man as one lies with a
woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their
blood will be on their own hands.5 There are many more such verses, so I shall spare
the redundancy.
That, it would seem, is that; yet in 1909 Arnold van Gennep published The Rites
of Passage6 (in which he coined the term). I quote directly from Chapter IX: Among
the ancient Jews the kedeshim7, men who were dedicated to the deity and who submitted
to passive pederasty, corresponded to the sacred prostitutes, kedeshot.8
This would seem to imply a tradition among the Hebrews of sacred prostitution,
yet the translators/editors provide a note to the quoted passage: The kedeshot were
priestesses of Ashtoreth, or Astarte, whose worship was introduced by Solomon; the
kedeshim were their male counterparts. The Old Testament records the subsequent
presence of both groups and the attempts to expel and abolish them.9
Here I would disagree (in part): Solomon may have allowed pagan practices
under his rule, but the greater likelihood is that these practices existed prior to the
1
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2002.
2
In Hebrew, ,meaning literally gods. The transliteration here given is that adopted by Mathers,
Westcott, Crowley, et al.
3
Although this degree is generally considered a homosexual degree, Crowleys records indicate
otherwise. I.e., he engaged in XI workings with women: See his Rex de Arte Regia diary in The
Magical Record of the Beast 666, ed. John Symonds & Kenneth Grant (Duckworth, 1972, 1993) for
1916, Workings LXV, LXVI (both Anna Gray), LXVII (Doris Gomez), LXXIX1917: XI (Anita
[prostitute])this is not exhaustive, but illustrative enough to show my purpose that the XI of O.T.O. is
more than just a homosexual variant of the IX.
4
Crowley, ibid., footnote to chapter IV.
5
New International Version.
6
The Rites of Passage, Arnold van Gennep, trans. Vizedom & Caffee (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1975).
7
In Semitic languages such as Hebrew & Arabic words are based on consonantal groups, the distinguishing
characteristics being in the vowels. According to Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by
James Strong , L.L.D., S.T.D. (Thomas Nelson Pub., 1990) the proper pronunciation (in the singular
those in the text are plural) of these words is qah-DAYSH & qday-SHAH. The consonantal similarity
confirms their relationship to Qadosh [qah-DOHSH], Holy. For those who hold the 30 of the A.A.S.R.,
consider the Title of the Degree & what it means.
8
Van Gennep, ibid., chapter IX.
9
Van Gennep, ibid., note to previous quote (i.e., Note 8).
invasion of what became Israel by the Hebrews. For example, according to 1 Kings
XI:1-10 (especially XI:5) what is said above is, indeed, partially true, yet other sources
prove their preexistence in the region. I quote one example: Baal, in fact, as an
exclusive name in the Old Testament for the gods other than Yahweh, usually had a
fertility significance, frequently in association with goddesses (e.g. Astarte (Ashtoreth)
and Asherah)Indeed, until it was ousted by Yahwism in the time of David, Baalism
was virtually the official religion of the north10
David being the father of Solomon, and (under normal circumstances) the father
precedes the son, we may assume that these practices were prevalent before either of
them were even born. Davids ousting of these practices probably had the usual effect
of simply driving them underground until a more tolerant regime came into power.
So here is the evidence, as it stands, though Im quite sure more research might
come up with many more examples, as it usually does. I stand neutral on the subject, but
the historical information combined with Crowleys remarks provides a buffet for
thought.

Kevin L. Davis, 32, R.A.M., K.T.


ShMSh IHVH 666
, Admin.Gen., O.Z.I. (Chnoubis Edicule, No.0)
fraterii@yahoo.com

APPENDIX: ...ritual prostitutes of both sexes were prevalent in Israel, and however
much their cultus was opposed or allegorized by the prophets, it continued to flourish in
the pre-exilic community. If Asa drove the Sodomites (qedeshim) out of the land it was
only a temporary measure, for Hosea (750-735 B.C.) makes it abundantly clear that their
female counterparts, the priestesses, exercised their functions with undiminished vigour
in his day.--E.O. James, ibid.

10
Myth and Ritual in the Ancient Near East: An Archaeological and Documentary Study, E.O.
James (Thames and Hudson London, 1958: U.S. edition, Frederick A. Praeger Publishers). I also suggest
Folklore in the Old Testament, Sir James G. Frazer, abridged edition (Tudor Pub., 1923), Part III,
chaps. VII & VIII.