The Garments of Galvah and the System ‘156’
This is the third and last in a series of articles which summarizes material presented in public lectures since 2013 and discusses a related essay published as part of the Three Hands Press Anthology, ‘A Rose Veiled in Black’. The talks in the UK and USA introduced some of the foundational concepts of the System ‘156’, a practice that has been in development since the 1980’s. Further elucidation upon the inner ‘Enochian/Angelical’ core of the system and the occult anatomy of the ‘Body of Babalon’ was presented in the THP Anthology earlier this year. The ‘156’ system represents a somewhat controversial approach to the magic of Babalon by challenging and offering alternative interpretations to many of the established structural and epistemic definitions of the current. Of overt importance within this new model is a rigorous re-theorization and expression of the female, lived body in relation to sex magical practices and the cohesive integration of the female Enochian spirits into the system. The female spirits of the Angelical/Enochian system as documented in the diaries of John Dee are of profound importance in understanding the roots of the 156 current. But to my knowledge there has been very little magical investigation of these intelligences until now. This article gives some background on the development of the practice that will be outlined in detail in the forthcoming publication. ‘The Marks of Teth’.
THE SYSTEM ‘156’
“…But this mystery passeth speech. The mind reels and the intellect is smitten before even the idea of Woman, and the dark mother of whom she is the bright shadow.” The Star of Babalon. J.Parsons
The system ‘156’ began to take shape in the latter half of the 1980’s in tandem with a practice that had a very singular trajectory, very much at odds with the still prevalent perceptions of Babalon which define the role of the Scarlet Women as magical ‘muse’ and Thelemic equivalent of the Tantric ‘kama mudra’ i.e. embodying a predominantly passive ‘lunar’ function in relation to the male, solar-phallic principle, within heterosexual polarity formulas. Grants’ Typhonian tradition ascribed a much greater agency to women, although within the ritual dynamics of its formulas, the feminine sphere of influence was still perceived to emanate from a predominantly lunar consciousness via its focus upon the Tantric system of the ‘Kalas’. However, my experiences led me to understand that the current was vastly more complex than portrayed in the standard reference material of the time and that Babalon represented a highly sophisticated magical arcana that produces very specific forms of sex magical gnosis.
The 156 current occupies much uncharted territory, it being primarily concerned with female embodied practices and the manifestation of new formulas of evolutionary sexuality. During the early years, I experienced some incredibly challenging and volatile encounters with Babalon and was often cut adrift, submerged within highly dramatic, turbulent states of entrancement and obsession. The intensity of such experiences can push one to edges of sanity, but at the time there was little in terms of guidance apart from the presence of Babalon herself. Babalon made it clear that I was on my own and that I had to learn how to handle her energies through solitary workings with her, through the medium of an erotically supercharged form of entrancement and corporeal communion. Over the years, I found that when I strayed from her mandate the consequences were dramatic and often dire.
After decades of work, I now understand why there were such strict parameters placed around the practice. The process of inner cultivation and dialogue with Babalon is not a restriction on sexual activity, rather, it is concerned with how one orientates and channels ones energies within the 156. However, as the process itself is initially concerned with creating a fully activated magical body and the radical reconstruction of one’s subtle anatomy, it’s clear that engaging in orthodox, heterosexual polarity workings can sabotage this process entirely and negate the development of the adept female formulas of the 156 current. It was therefore of primary importance that the magical body should be crystallized first to enable one to act with full agency within the current. There was little of reference to be found that supported my aspirations to a practice that was focused solely upon Babalon as a magical intelligence in her own right, and so I began I very long, solitary journey, in which I began excavating the occult anatomy of her mysteries and how one might engage with these within a progressive practice. I should be clear that I’m not against heterosexual rites, quite the contrary, but I feel that these sexual formulas need to be reformed and brought into full alignment with the 156.
The process has been long and challenging as one has to break through many layers of obfuscation, many that one is unaware of until one tries to penetrate the more subtle, magical dynamics of the current. The concept of a pre-eminent, initiatic, female magical sexuality has been successfully sabotaged on every level particularly in the West, by many complex metaphysical, philosophical and theological barriers, sexual taboo and the overt suppression of women rights of freedom and autonomy. The lack of a cohesive system has been a thorny problem that has hindered the progress of Babalon’s magic, but the difficulty in articulating a workable practice is unsurprising and is in direct proportion to the overwhelming weight of history that stands against its formulation. The word ‘system’ is a rather dispassionate, anodyne term which is completely inadequate to convey the incendiary embodiment practices of 156, but I use it for some well-considered reasons. The 156 practices are based on negotiating direct possession states which would seem to defy any kind of ‘organisation’ and as already described, the presence of Babalon when experienced in the body is utterly overwhelming and challenging on every level and cannot be sustained for any length of time without the risk of complete psychic-physical burnout. Similar warnings are given to practitioners of other techniques which work with the so called ‘firesnake’ energies such as kundalini yoga, but female practitioners face some very particular challenges in channelling the energies of Babalon.
Unique to the dynamics of 156 is development of some very specific ‘earthing’ formulas which work in tandem with a process of inner cultivation of TETH. It is a very lengthy and complex process of transformation in which one has to completely reconfigure ones energetic and physical state to enable one to become a vessel that can withstand the onslaught of the erotic-kinetic maelstrom of Babalon. However, it is possible to articulate the parameters of her magic and defining the territory is essential to any ongoing manifestation. To communicate this in any way, some form of systematisation is necessary. The magic of 156 challenges the textualism of many orthodox magical systems and defies any form of conventional hierarchy. However, by definition any form of practice must have a learning curve and clear objectives, in the 156 system this is defined by a gradual syzygy with the ‘Body of Babalon’ through a series of recognizable stages, a complex sex magical gnosis that gradually awakens the full activation of the current with the body/psyche.
All of this would suggest that Babalon is potentially an incredibly dangerous, destructive and primitive force, but simplistic interpretations of the predominantly Venusian energy that Babalon represents only serve to add unhelpful bias and misinterpretation. When one considers that a great deal of the psychic/spiritual/sexual and physical energies of half the planets population has been suppressed for millennia, then it’s not unreasonable to expect that without the safety valve of a coherent practice one may be blasted to smithereens when attempting to unleash some of the most heavily policed and suppressed magical dimensions of this displaced force. Arguably, it is the repression of the female sexual current that is the source of much violence now raging upon the planet and Babalon is the antidote to the schism that divides us, rather than representing an expression of destructive, female energy. Her force is perceived as dangerous because the magic that channels her energy has not been fully understood.
Babalon instils fear into those who are still invested in the old order, she has no place for the misogyny, ignorance and cruelty that has held the fabric of much of human society in place for thousands of years. She demands a completely new manifestation of the human creative force which elevates sex it to its highest magical potential. This is the ultimate challenge and in this she does indeed demand ‘every drop of blood’ from the devotees who are now emerging, who will bear the force of Teth without stain of ambiguity or malevolence. Babalon has to be an ‘all or nothing’ Goddess because she is the midwife of a completely new phase of human consciousness and sexuality in which there can be no compromise, we simply don’t have the time for half-hearted vacillation. It is a fervid path of complete transformation from which there is no turning back once begun. The vision of love that Babalon offers to humanity is utterly profound, all-consuming and completely alien to the current global reality, yet manifesting the 156 is absolutely vital if mankind is to survive the current free-fall into catastrophe. This must be a sustained, unceasing effort that can only come through the presence of practitioners who can handle her energy and act as powerful sources of her transformative Pneuma.
A hugely important factor in the articulation of a coherent and authentic system is a deconstruction of the relationship of the lived body to sex-magical practices and a rigorous investigation and theorization of female subtle anatomy. It is paramount to uncover many subtle forms of structural bias that have distorted the feminine current and a great many years of my practice have been devoted to this area of research. It’s been an intense process of magico-physical deconstruction and etheric engineering in which one literally ‘rewires’ oneself to receive the 156 current by creating an entirely new subtle architecture for inhabitation. The practice not only repairs some of the great damage that has been wrought unto the female body and psyche but opens new channels which are aligned with the progressive new aeon formulas of 156. Through many years of intensive work, a great deal of progress was made and Babalon revealed a knowledge system that as the opening quote suggests, ‘passeth speech’. Over many years, Babalon revealed a blazingly erotic mysterium that is progressive, autopoietic, primarily pre-textual, kinetic and corporeal in nature. The use of term ‘Pre-textual’ to describe Babalon’s knowledge system, shouldn’t be mistaken as a euphemism for any kind of unstructured intuitively fashioned whimsy, however. The practices have a highly sophisticated internal structural dynamics which have demanded decades of rigorous discipline to refine and are incredibly challenging, requiring many years of training.
“As the emanations of Teth unfold, a gamut of incendiary, orgasmic tremulations and vibrations are activated in the body of the priestess. The magical frenzy of the Babalon current is distinguished by a turbulent current of sexual kinesis. This complex kinetic spectrum creates signifiers within the practice that distinguish it from other forms of ‘kundalini’ phenomena; and is the source of what becomes a complex sexual technology brought under the magical will of the priestess….thus one learns how to wrestle a vibrational, magical language out of Dionysian frenzy, without being consumed”. Amodali speaking at the October Gallery. 2013.
For many years it felt completely counter-intuitive to write about the developing system as its inner core cannot be communicated verbally. Thus, from 1990 I created projects that would communicate aspects of the system using ritual performance. I felt this was the most accurate medium for articulating the current, apart from the more direct focus of personal magical workings. The Mother Destruction project was launched in 1990 with the release of the ‘Seething’ Album. The title relates to the erotic-kinetic, energy at the core of the 156 system. I designed a sigil for the project which appeared on the cover of the album which illustrates the septenary, kinetic spectrum which animates the magic of Babalon and the body of the priestess. The first album featured magical practices that used Runic correspondences in alignment with the ophidian, bio-erotic emanations of 156 and fused the two currents together with experiments using seidr and 156 trance techiques. These elements were expanded into rituals within the performance space.
As the system matured I began collating the material, but following a series of extremely challenging experiences that radically changed my life circumstances and my perspective upon the work itself, I decided from 2010 to focus primarily upon writing. It felt timely to present the body of work, or the body ‘156’, albeit in a more conventional, textual form to make a contribution to ongoing discussions and development of the current within the wider community. The first public lecture took place in London 2013 in which I discussed some of the key aspects of my work and system, outlining a personal perspective of the current, through which Babalon is understood as possessing a specific occult anatomy and magical phenomenology in relation to the female body. As stated earlier, this is a vast, largely unexplored subject area that has thus far evaded in-depth investigation and so to introduce the territory I began with an evaluation and personal interpretation of what Grant called the ‘Veiling Particles’ i.e. factors that have obscured the female body and practices within the Babalon current and then described how my practice has evolved.
The simplified schema that was used to illustrate the occult anatomy of Babalon’ is shown above. The seven serpents of Babalon embossed with the ‘Marks of Teth’, representing the sexual-kinetic spectrum of her corpora can be seen as emanating from the body of the priestess which is cocooned by the etheric ‘garments’ inhabited by an egregore of Venusian deities. Thus clarifying Babalon as representing a complex, magical knowledge system rather than a simple archetype. I described this configuration of the magical body as ‘Autopoietic’ or ‘self-created’, a simple term but one that has fundamental implications for the new magical formulas of the aeon which demand a radical reformulation of feminine agency and the lived body in relationship to magical practice of 156 and the cultivation of solo practices for women. Also explored was the great contributions feminist philosophy has made to formulating concepts of female agency and phenomenological spaces citing the work of Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva’s interpretation of Plato’s concept of the ‘Chora’ space.
THE GARMENTS OF GALVAH
‘True wisdom is alwayes painted with a womans garment’.
The spirit Galvah in conversation with Dee and kelley
During the lectures, the relevance of the Enochian Universe and its formulas to the female occult anatomy of Babalon was introduced. Specifically, citing a quote from ‘The Vision and The Voice’ which describes Crowley’s exploration in the 7th aethyr ‘DEO’ and his vision of the universal peacock. The seventh Enochian aethyr of DEO with its Venusian correspondences is of great importance within the 156 system. Crowley famously encountered the ‘woman clothed in the sun’ in its sphere and Parsons invocation of DEO within his ‘Babalon workings’ produced Liber 49 – The Book of Babalon. Crowley describes how during his attempt to enter DEO, a voice proclaimed that ‘the key unto this gate is the balance of the seven and four’. As will be explained in ‘The Marks of Teth, and again shown in the photo above, this formula is most certainly a key to the ‘subtle architeture of Babalon’. The blazing, incandescent form of Galvah whom Kelley was unable to glance at directly during his Angelical Scrying sessions with Dee would seem congruent with the radiant entity that Crowley encounters in DEO, who ‘transmitteth the word to understanding’. During her conversations with Dee and Kelley, Galvah speaks of the completion of knowledge and a universal wisdom that will emerge during the end times, she also firmly links wisdom with the female body. Thus again linking the themes of apocalypse, wisdom, redemption and manifestation with a female figure that is introduced as ‘the woman clothed in the sun’ in the Book of Revelation and revealed in depth within the Venusian dimensions of the Enochian universe. As will be expanded in the M.O.T., the ‘garments’ of wisdom described by Galvah are by no means metaphorical and constitute an integral part of the subtle anatomy of the 156 knowledge system.
Some of the inner arcana and technical constituents of Babalons magical body and an introduction to the 156 system was presented earlier this year as part of ‘The Rose Veiled in Black’ an anthology by Three Hands Press. The Anthology features a collection of Essays on Babalon by a roster of highly respected practitioners and academics both male and female who provide a highly nuanced and informative discourse upon the nature of Babalon, ambitious ritual workings, in depth analysis of key documentation such as ‘The Vision and the Voice’ and thought provoking biographical material and commentary concerning important figures within the Current. My contribution introduces a personal approach to Babalons magic that recognises the female Enochian spirits as important aspects of the system 156. The Enochian universe of Dee and Kelley is reaffirmed within the system as key to the radical reformulation of the female occult anatomy in relation to Babalon and an entirely unique set of practices that involves direct workings with a female ‘Venusian’ egregore’ that includes primordial, Isisian/ Ophidian currents and female Enochian intelligences, particularly Galvah. The practices recreate in embodied form, the highly arcane and resonant formulas that are found the in the Enochian universe and the 156 current itself.
”Thou shalt recognise by the sign. Babalon is born. It is new birth, all things are changed-the signs, the symbols, the everything.” (‘3rd ritual.The Babalon Working)
In the quote from the Parsons/Hubbard working’ above, Babalon announces the radical reform that will accompany her ascendancy. The ‘new birth’ will come from the huge shift in consciousness created by an authentic reification of female erotic force which will result in a global transformation of human sexuality.The THP essay introduces the autopoietic formulas which are derived from the name and substance of Babalon herself, shown in the magic square below. The table represents a magical practice which transforms the body of the priestess and results in the production of the ‘Elixir 49’. This is a substance that embodies a new aeon formulation of the feminine Pneuma beyond the ‘Kala’ system as espoused by Grant and the Typhonian traditions by aligning the female subtle body with the Enochian universe.
“The syzygy of flesh and pnuema, generated by the priestess through invocation of Babalon and the female Enochian spirits, creates the matrix from which the complex phenomenological field of Babalon’s magic is generated.” Amodali- from ‘Introductory Theoria on Progressive Formulas of the Babalon Priestesshood ‘- A ROSE VEILED IN BLACK’ Anthology.
It is through Galvah/I AM, Madimi and the daughter of fortitude within the Enochian universe that we may reach the source of the universal sexual wisdom of the primal goddess, manifest in the formulas of Babalon. In practice it has been found that one can uncover via the angelic female intelligences, a knowledge system that is wholly erotic in nature which permeates the Enochian universe which forms an energetic substrate within the angelical system. This non-textual wisdom is obviously incredibly subtle and difficult to describe. From the words of the daughter of fortitude and Galvah we understand this wisdom to be embodied in the garments i.e. flesh of woman. The ‘Garments of Galvah’ shown surrounding the body of the priestess in fig. 3. represent a vast mysterium within the occult anatomy of 156. The logical conclusion of this movement is the actual manifestation of the 156 current and this would mean as Parsons predicted, that Babalon will finally manifest in flesh.
‘Introductory Theoria on Progressive Formulas of the Babalon Priestesshood . Amodali.
A Rose Veiled in Black – Anthology. Three Hands Press.
The Marks of Teth. Amodali. Three Hands Press. Forthcoming.
The Five Books of Mystery. John Dee. Joseph Peterson.
A True and Faithful Relation. Dr. John Dee/M.Causobon.
The Vision and the Voice. Aleister. Crowley.
The Babalon Working. Liber 49. – Jack Parsons.
‘The Seething’ Album and extensive back catalogue of Mother Destruction.