Due to the overwhelming interest in the above piece, I'll add some further observations. While it might seem unlikely that a multiple-word combination is of any significance, it must be remembered that A.C. did explore such sums, most notably with his "To Mega Therion", "the Great Beast" in Greek (370 + 49 + 247 = 666). He was quite fond of that one even though the phrase does not appear in the Apocalypse.
He also added "The Scarlet Woman" (667), though that phrase also doesn't appear in the Apocalypse; or indeed anywhere in the NT or the OT, and it also requires a definite article to add to that sum. But that isn't to say that the phrase in Greek isn't of some significance - or that the phrase in Hebrew isn't of some significance. Whatever, is quite unbelievable to me that A.C. didn't also look at what "scarlet woman" adds to in the Hebrew - yet so far as I am aware he never let on that it adds to such a striking figure. He kept it secret, which strongly suggests that he believed that it was important.
There are a number of Hebrew phrases that also add to 666 that are actually in the OT, rather than being merely notional, and which might also be held to be significant. Notably: "holy crown" (EQDSh NZR, 409 + 257; Exodus 29:6) and "holy ark" (AVRN EQDSh, 257 + 409; 2 Chronicles 35:3) both add to 666. Note also that EQDSh, holy, is a form of the word "Qadosh" (QDSh: 100 + 4 + 300 = 404) treated in Liber DCCCXIII.
But perhaps more intriguing is a sum that A.C. kept close to his chest. In Sepher Sephiroth, he did list a Hebrew word that he translated as "The Beast": ChIVH. It adds to 25 (8 + 10 + 6 + 5). However the root word, Chiah, ChIH (23: 8 + 10 + 5), also means "life", which it is listed there as. And it is also, in Qabala, that part of the soul that corresponds to Chokmah.
And as it is translated as “life” in Genesis 1:20:
And God said,
Let the waters bring forth abundantly
the moving creature that hath life,
and fowl that may fly above the earth
in the open firmament of heaven.
The first use of a word in the OT that is translated as "beast" is in Genesis 1:24:
And God said,
Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind,
cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind:
and it was so.
The "beasts" there is spelt VChIThV (6 + 8 + 10 + 400 + 6 = 430). Also, by the way, the "cattle" there is the other word in Hebrew that is sometimes translated as "beast": BHMH. That is the root of "Behemoth", for instance. And the "living" is Chiah, again. The second use of a word in the OT that is translated as "beast" occurs in the following verse, Genesis 1:25:
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind,
and cattle after their kind,
and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind:
and God saw that it was good.
That is another form of Chiah, spelt "ChITh" (8 + 10 + 400) - which adds to 418. It is, curiously, spelt identically to the letter Cheth. Chiah and other forms of the word in the OT are variously translated, in descending order of frequency, as: "live", "life", "beast", "alive", "creature", "running", "living thing" and "raw". These translations suggest a rather different concept of the Beast as it might have been originally, as opposed to the one that has agglomerated around the Beast of the Apocalypse.
Albeit there are over a dozen forms of Chiah but ChITh is prominent amongst them in its usage and certainly in being spelt the same as Cheth. Yet, despite this, and despite the importance that A.C. attributed to both the letter and the number, so far as I am aware, he failed to point this out - at least not publicly. The letter Cheth is listed in Sepher Sephiroth in the 418 entry despite the word not being used in the OT; and 418 has a large entry, reflecting A.C.'s interest in it. Yet the word "ChITh" meaning "beast" isn't listed. It has become known amongst Thelemites. Yet it still hasn’t attracted the attention that it deserves, in my view.
Also of interest is that the "Chiao" in "Chiao Khan", the pseudonym that A.C. used while in Egypt in 1904, is, as I understand it, a form of this same word; so he was not only very familiar with it but apparently held it - and that prior to the Reception of the Law - in some esteem. Just where he got that spelling is something that I haven’t been able to confirm. I did presume that it was the Arabic form of it but I don’t believe that it is. It might have been chosen as an allusion to a form of Taoism that is characterized by pantheism and the practice of magic: Hsuan Chiao. “Hsuan” means “dark” or “mysterious” while “Chiao” means “ritual offering” or “sacrifice”.
Does this therefore mean that A.C. believed that 666 is not "the number of the beast", whatever the Apocalypse has to say about it, and despite what he maintained publicly? Such a conclusion would be rather problematic considering some of his statements but it is worth considering. Did he believe, instead, that 666 is the number of the Scarlet Woman? Perhaps he thought of the Scarlet Woman as his feminine side, as it were, and so he could claim it as a number of the Beast.
And there is some support in the texts for the 666 attribution to the Scarlet Women. For instance, in Liber 418 (2’nd Aethyr, again), there is a curious arithmetical breakdown of factors of 156 as aspects of Babalon. For instance 3 x 52 is attributed to the "mother" - not surprisingly, 3 being Binah and 52 being AIMA, "the bright mother". But 6 x 26 is attributed to the "harlot". Why? Presumably 6, Tipherath, has such an association, as well as the usual one with the spirit of man, or humanity, generally, that is often given as the meaning of 666. If so, then, presumably, so would 666 have such an association with the harlot.
Colin S. McLeod
P.S. There is a good, free tool available to work on OT gemetria, which I have used to look at these topics. It's the Hebrew Interlineal Bible, available from this page:
P.P.S. A revised version of Sepher Sephiroth has been made with “Beast” added to the 418 entry. It may be found here.
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