Aiwaz—Minister Zero

Originally published November 3, 2009


Aiwaz, 93, or Minister Zero—Angel, Augoeides, Author of Liber AL, and Armenian Waiter

Who or what is Aiwass, or as Crowley eventually called him, Aiwaz?

What, if any, place does he have in the Thelemic pantheon, or the Thelemic hierarchy of powers?

Is his position actual, or implied? For example, is Aiwaz actually head of the Thelemic Church, such as that exists? There is evidence that Crowley understood Aiwaz to be like a Priest-King figure, whose authority in dictating the Law of the Aeon of Horus was unquestionable, and unbearably true, meaning that one who stood against Aiwaz and his authority, which even Crowley attempted to do, would be broken—Will contra will.

And how can these things be true, if Aiwaz was merely a figment of Aleister Crowley's imagination, or less than this, a literary metaphor used to feign an authority for a piece of occult writing? The latter is certainly an occult tradition, and Crowley was well aware of it, but if that is all it is, then how can we explain Crowley's lifelong devotion to promoting his religion as if it truly were the new Law on the cosmic block?

Could it be that Crowley was such a cynical and hateful prankster, that he would toss away his lifetime, and the fortunes and lifetimes of many followers, on a hideously self-maiming practical joke? And could the joke have extended even unto taking in the perpetrator of it, so that he came to believe in his own bullshit? And could it even extend to the point that, through the telling (i.e., living) of this terrible joke, the Great Work was advanced?

The gods too must laugh after all.

Those are the kinds of questions occultists, even ones who are not Thelemites, ponder respecting the possible identity and significance of Aiwaz, Minister of Hoor-paar-Kraat, or as I shall here propose his title: Minister Zero.

Affirmational Thelematics

My considerations of the position and the title of Aiwaz ("Aiwass"-78 is actually the transliteration of the name in Liber L vel Legis) began because of the several arguments I was having relative to the questions about Thelema as a religion, and Aiwaz's position or authority in the Thelemic chain of command.

I had simply noted that Crowley, in explaining to a student (in Magick Without Tears) why debating the ethics of the Law, particularly Chapter III's focus on the virtues of being a ruthless monster, was ultimately a vain exercise, had said the following:
"You disagree with Aiwass—so do all of us. The trouble is that He can say: 'But I'm not arguing. I'm telling you.'"
I noted that therefore Aiwaz-Aiwass is telling everyone "Do what you're told!", which in my view is perfectly consistent with "Do what thou wilt", but that is a topic for another article. The point is that Aiwaz isn't here to debate whether the Law of the New Aeon is OK with you, or whether or not it is a good idea for humanity, especially as humanity presently understands itself, which is mainly in anachronistic terms. Liber AL is the Law of the New, modern Aeon. And it compels you to obey that Law.

A lot of people, who seem quite confused about Liber AL's commandments, got incensed at the notion that Aiwaz or anybody else could order them around, or that in fact Crowley's words about Aiwaz "telling you" even meant what they said. They felt that Aiwaz was at most a glorified messenger boy, and that he had no power or function beyond getting the words into Crowley's head and onto paper.

The real power, and the real point of Liber AL, so some of these people were having it, was that it affirmed their right to do, think, and act as they saw fit, which some sanctified by writing a big W on the front of Will, when it was used to label their own whims. Therefore, and unlike what Crowley said, if they didn't like something Aiwaz had communicated in Liber AL, they could just dismiss it. After all, Crowley may not have heard everything correctly. In fact, he admitted to missing a word or two, didn't he? Or, Aiwass may have been testing the moral fiber of Crowley and all of us, to see how stupidly obedient the slaves might be, even in the face of obeying morally repugnant commands, or suggestions.

You just can't be sure, can you?

Christian Thelematics

So, the safe bet, the one not likely to upset Christians, the main Old Aeon power that still forms the overwhelming majority (in the West anyway) of dark-stars in charge, is to decide that anything in Liber AL that offends your current, conventional, sensibility must be wrong, even if it is explicitly written, which a lot of Liber AL is, and even if Crowley affirms the verses are to be read and obeyed explicitly. People act like they are in—oh—a cafeteria. Take the bit you like, and leave the rest.

That cafeteria or fast-food approach to religion has helped to destroy the power of Old Aeon mysteries, by making them more accessible and inoffensive to christo-democratic-consumer morality. You want to be a Christian? Just wear a little cross. Or maybe a fish or something. It isn't enough to be saved—personally and privately. You have to advertise it to everybody else. In fact, Christianity pioneered the Temple-is-open-to-just-anybody approach (and "Come on down!"), which is one reason it was able to destroy the ancient Mysteries.

One thing we ought to realize is just how many people, who really are Christians, are nevertheless claiming to be Thelemites. I actually had one person, hiding under the name "Rahoor Khuit", ask me:
"Do you really believe the Master Therion hated Christians the way you seem to?"
I had simply pointed out about Christians that they seemed weak-willed regarding following the commandments of their Lord and Savior, because, for example, they didn't seem to practice loving their enemies nearly so much as killing them.

The notion that a Thelemite would find reasonable criticism of the hypocrisy of Christians to be somehow unThelemic or out of accord with what Master Therion, or Aiwaz, would have thought appropriate, is just one of many indications that the chief problem with Thelema today is how horribly Christian it is. And how people with dominantly Christian sensibilities are being welcomed and made comfy in the Thelemic fold—and why the hell is there a "fold" in Thelema anyway?!

The thing is, you can certainly proclaim Thelema to be mainly and merely a christo-democratic-consumer philosophy arguing for the freedom of all, and mainly and merely therefore a set of tools and enablers of the freedom of each and every shopper, which could and even should be modified to suit the nebulous fashions of the marketplace.

And what's wrong with that?

You can choose your own pleasing color of iPod, or which apps to have on your iPhone. Shouldn't religion, or philosophy if you prefer, mainly function to satisfy the consumer? To affirm his prejudices? To tell him his meandering sloth is True Will?

Back to the Book and its Author

The above describes what has been the larval context, a foul writhing and sighing with much Christian angst from the Law-haters, on various forums, which sent me on my search for Aiwaz. As you see above, one result of this was that on a particular afternoon a few days ago, Hadit, who happens to live only a short distance from me and visits often, told me to interpret the image of Aiwaz as he truly looked (thus his eyes are not veiled) when he appeared to Crowley in 1904. And so I did.

Crowley said that whatever Aiwaz was, his experience of the entity in 1904 was of a manifested HUMAN presence, not just a disincarnate voice:
"He seemed to be a tall, dark man in his thirties, well-knit, active and strong, with the face of a savage king, and eyes veiled lest their gaze should destroy what they saw." (Equinox of the Gods)
And Crowley concludes:
"I now incline to believe that Aiwass is not only the God or Demon or Devil once held holy in Sumer, and mine own Guardian Angel, but also a man as I am, insofar as He uses a human body to make His magickal link with Mankind, whom He loves, and that He is thus an Ipsissimus, the Head of the A.A." (Equinox of the Gods).
So, we see that Crowley confirms Aiwaz is in fact a deific or demonic force manifested as a human being, and who was even able (and interested in) holding positions of supreme authority in secret organizations such as the A.A..

As for the nature of the commands Aiwaz authored, Crowley was clear that in fact these were orders, and not guidelines or helpful hints open to a lot of sidestepping and comforting interpretations of one's duties in regard to them.

In Confessions, Crowley, referring to Rose's and his "sporadic efforts" to obey the newly-received Law, said they were attempting to follow "the injunction of Aiwass". "Injunction" of course means "authoritative warning or order".

So, not just Crowley, but Rose also, had been ordered by Aiwaz to do certain things. This contradicts the notion that the injunctive quality of the Law, or Aiwaz's authority, only applied to Crowley. Of course neither of them took the orders or the Law all that seriously at first. Crowley even for a while lost the Law altogether, so unimportant was it to him, and poor Rose was crushed completely by her failure to adhere to what she may have thought was merely a honeymoon fantasy.

There is no question that the "calling" of the Law, just as with any Aeonic injunction, is more particular and compelling to certain people than to others. And certain stars will shine brightly under the new rules, whereas others will wither and die, as they are unfortunately born out of their time, but most it must be said will live as most always do, ignorantly and to no particular but only a mass end (i.e. one shaped by the impersonal particularity of the Aeonic impulse).

Rose's Armenian Waiter?

Of course, there are many ways to interpret events, especially in light of whatever facts we can discern. Some new information, at least to me, came to light during my investigations, and this I will now share with you.

I have for some time been fascinated with the name Aiwass, again the first version of the name, which Crowley understood as being the true author of Liber L vel Legis (AKA Liber AL).

Where did this name come from? And what if anything does it mean or can it tell us about the origin of the author?

One thing not generally known is that Aiwass was in fact a common term, an English transliteration of an apparently Turkish word, though ultimately of Armenian origin, which described a certain kind of servant in the employ of wealthy and noble Turkish families. The Aiwass had a number of different duties, one of which, interestingly was as a messenger.

We read for example the following description of Turkish women and their escorts, published 1877 in London Society:
"At that time, cloaked and 'yashmaked' groups, preceded by an 'aiwass' (messenger) carrying a paper lantern, flit about the usually silent streets and lanes of the Mussulman city".
And then we have this more specific explanation of the word in an 1886 book, Eastern Life and Scenery":
"The aïwass is the general useful servant of the whole [Turkish] house; several are employed in large families: they carry the dinners, execute commissions, and do most of the hard work. Aïwass are frequently called upon to accompany parties of the women and children who are not entitled to expect the escort of a lalla. These aïwass are mostly Armenians, free servants receiving wages...".
Thus, we see that, prior to 1904, the word Aiwass (transliterated also ayvaz) was already associated with the idea of being a messenger, or providing a specific service.

Another, even more interesting, meaning for the word is one associated again particularly with Armenians, and this is the idea of a servant who brings the food to the table from the kitchen. In other words, it means "waiter".

We read, in 1854, in Chamber's journal of popular literature of an ayvaz "or servant attending on the guests", and in 1858, a commercial dictionary explains that an ayvaz is "a scullion who attends at meals in Turkey, usually an Armenian." From The Sultan and His People published in 1857, we read that at a Turkish table "different preparations of food are successively placed by the ayvaz or scullion."

Also, a number of mid-20th-century books on Turkish theater point out that stock characters include an Armenian waiter or butler called an ayvaz.

Now, let us recall something from the origin myth of Thelema. Crowley tells us that it was Rose in fact who initially came into contact with the spirit entities that would eventually manifest as the author of Liber AL. It was Rose who said, mysteriously, and irritatingly (to Crowley), "they are waiting for you". A couple of days later, Crowley recorded in his diary that Rose had revealed to him "the waiter was Horus." He notes that the use of that word, "waiter", may have been "another sneer", presumably on his own part in doubting Rose, but it seems he could have and probably did convey this doubt to Rose, and maybe even used that sneer "waiter" to refer to her informant. Of course it is possible that Rose herself used the word "waiter".

A few days later, Crowley is not precise about the date, Rose corrected his understanding regarding the name of her informant. Yes, it was Horus who was the relevant deity, but he had sent an Earthly messenger to actually talk to Rose, and eventually Crowley. And that messenger's name was Aiwass.

Crowley, in Equinox of the Gods, indicates that name was unfamiliar to him, and that he imagined Rose might have made it up because it sounded something like "Aiwa", the Arabic for "yes". But it also sounded exactly like aiwass, the Turkish or Armenian word for a "messenger" or "waiter".

Now, you might object, what would an Armenian waiter be doing in Egypt? As it turns out, Crowley in Confessions describes an encounter he had with an aiwass, an Armenian waiter, during an earlier trip to Egypt:
"I reached Aden on the ninth. It must be a perfectly ghastly place to live in. As I was to land in Egypt, I had to be quarantined for a day at Moses' Wells, regulation being that one must be eleven days out from Bombay, in case of plague. Moses' Wells is the most hateful place I have ever been in, with the possible exception of Gibraltar. I note in my diary that the food was "beastly, and abominable, and absurdly dear". If I remember correctly, it was cooked by a Greek and served by an Armenian."
And, as Crowley tells us, in 1904 he and his wife had an entourage of servants in Egypt, and so many were they that he himself did not keep track of them and their names and duties. They had a head servant for that, whose name he can only vaguely recall, and anyway, in a Victorian household, even in Egypt, his wife would have been more likely to have had some knowledge of the servants and their responsibilities.

It may have even been the case that Crowley employed an Armenian waiter, without his being aware of it. And Rose, perhaps miffed that Crowley had made fun of her by calling her informant a "waiter", decided a few days later to call him exactly that. Of course, Crowley may have been made aware of the joke, or made up the name himself as part of a joke to convey in the myth.

What we do know is that the word aiwass, or as it was also transliterated, aiwaz or even ayvaz, was not a new or unknown word, even in English, especially in the part of the world in which Crowley encountered Aiwaz.

Additionally, the link of the word to Armenians specifically may have something to do with the fact that Aiwass or Ayvaz is an Armenian name, allegedly of some long standing, though it was claimed the family originally had come from Galicia, north of the Carpathians.

This is the Armenian script for Ayvaz: Այվազ

Minister Zero

Finally, a few words on Aiwaz's title, Minister Zero.

This comes from contemplation of Crowley's comments on Liber AL I, 45:
"The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two; nay, are none!"
Crowley tells us that the characteristically difficult passage, one of several in Liber AL, is used in part by Aiwaz to "identify Himself".

Why identify Himself in difficult passages, if Aiwaz's only function, which has already been announced, is a messenger boy?

In fact, what this verse tells us is the product of the combination of the two kinds of Perfect, Nuit and Hadit, is only apparently two, and effectively one, again Perfect, and in reality however NONE. The equation is Life via Annihilation, or 0=2. What this tells us is that the deepest, trans-Aeonic, message of Liber AL is that the point of the cosmos itself is NOTHING, or Zero. And the very god to whom Aiwaz is said to be Minister, Hoor-paar-Kraat, is the God of Silence, or NO sound, thus nothing. Hoor-paar-Kraat's nothingness is nevertheless a complex as well, the annihilation of a positive, male expression, because he corresponds to Aleph or One, and the negative, female expression, being the Tarotic Fool, or Zero, to which of course Aleph is corresponded. One problem with this notion is that Zero, at least in the Fool, is still a positive expression, and is not in fact negative, but it suggests or points to the Veils of the Triple Negative, which precede and gives rise to the positive expression.

Crowley says, at the moment Aiwaz reveals his message of Silence, and Nothingness, these are activated into the martial expression of the marriage of Nuit and Hadit, which is the god Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the star of Chapter III of Liber AL. While Ra-Hoor-Khuit is certainly not a silent or invisible god, his twin still follows him, like a shadow, and together they are parts of the unified form of their expression, Heru-ra-ha, the "'true Name' of the Unity". This Heru-ra-ha is "the one Perfect and not two", which is to say "two" amounting to "not" or Nothing, and so the equation is balanced, as it always must be, 0=2.

Lastly, Aiwaz is of course the Revealer, and chief Earthly representative of the the tripartite Nothing below, mirroring the tripartite Nothing above (Triple Veils), which is to say:

3 x 31 (LA, "not", also AL, "god") = 93-Aiwaz, or Minister Zero.

(jk)—30-Adjustment, avatar of Glenn F. Wright

NOTE—The above research was originally published in Novemeber, 2009. Subsequently, a few websites have copied portions of my article verbatim, even backdating the publication to give the impression it was written prior to the time I actually wrote it. Of course, no attribution is given to me on these sites. More of interest to Thelemites and occultists is the fact that since 2009, a couple of Thelemic pundits have published on this same subject, making the same arguments and using the same evidence as I did, again with no mention or attribution to me as the originator of this research. Since my article was debated on Thelemic sites in late 2009, and on one site in particular that at least one of these pundits frequented, it is unlikely he would have missed my article or the controversy it created. Of course, aggressive "borrowing" without attribution is common in the occult, but I thought I would offer this, in case someone wrongly fears I am plagiarizing other people's work.

UPDATE, June 5, 2014—In the above "Note", I did not mention any names of the "Thelemic pundits", yet one yesterday stepped forward unsolicited to offer his confession—of a sort. Paul Feazey, who runs Lashtal.com, and who published material in the last couple of years that appears to substantially "borrow" research from my 2009 article (again, without mentioning me), saw the need to publicly reply to what I have written here.

Feazey suggests, among other things, I copied "his" work, and that I am lying about the original publication date of my article:
"Date of [jk's] post? 27 May 2014. But 'Originally published November 3, 2009', according to this post."—this followed by a smiley, suggesting Feazey is calling into question my claim about the 2009 date.
Why is the date important anyway?

Because Feazey's work on this topic was not presented until 2012, and then offered online in a pdf in 2013, years after my original posting. And Feazey knows that is the case. Thus it is important to him to deny the 2009 date.

But, as Feazey may know—and certainly anyone can verify this with a little research, there are numerous independent sources, still available with a simple Google search, confirming I did in fact post this material back in 2009.

One site, for example, the Temple of Thelema forum, at heruraha.com, hosts a thread that developed out of my posting of my link to my original article, dated November 2, 2009 (on the forum). This thread is of interest because it contains text quoted from my original article, as well as the fact Feazey read and replied to me on that forum (in other threads), and so he had the opportunity to see the link to my article there, in 2009, and since then obviously.

Why would Feazey choose to copy my work and pretend it was his own—and then, turn right around and suggest I stole my own work from him? Good question. And one that should be directed to him.

I will note that, as things have developed the last 24 hours, Feazey is now backing away from the idea he has actually done all the research on the ideas he has been publishing.
"By the way, with reference to my original post above, I'm not claiming that my talk was based entirely on my own research and I gave prominent and grateful thanks to the work of Richard Kaczynski and Tobias Churton. Hymenaeus Beta was also extremely helpful, especially in respect of giving me access to documents that are otherwise unavailable."
Well, that's nice, but access to documents is one thing. Falsely claiming the research of others as your own is another thing.

Update, June 5, 2014, 1:31pm EDT—A few hours ago,  Feazey was confronted by someone on Lashtal who found the Temple of Thelema thread (linked above), and who told Feazey that this seemed convincing to him that jk had posted the article (that is "Minister Zero") in 2009. Feazey then further amended his position to something very confusing, and very much like a person making up his answers as his excuses crumble away:
"No, I've no doubt that jk published his blog when he said he did. Anyone undertaking a Google search would have found the Armenian links, just as I did. What I think is a little 'rich', though, is criticising others for 'stealing' his work and allegedly back-dating their posts when he has done exactly the same thing (i.e. the back-dating part) in his own post. I was not aware of his post, for example, but relied on a combination of Google, the Confessions, Kaczynski and Churton to find the same evidence."
Let us break this down for further analysis.
Feazey: "I've no doubt that jk published his blog when he said he did." 
Prior to that clear statement, where he admits I was telling the truth, Feazey was encouraging people to conjecture about how I was lying about the 2009 date.
Feazey: "Anyone undertaking a Google search would have found the Armenian links, just as I did." 
Feazey would have us believe he independently arrived at exactly the same theory as I did, using much of the same evidence and reasoning, even to the point of including the Armenian script for "Aiwass", and at the same time that he never noticed my article was being discussed on a forum he frequented, and on which he had communicated with me about articles I was publishing, on the very blog he only now admits existed in 2009. This is a little—a lot—implausible.
Feazey: "What I think is a little 'rich', though, is criticising others for 'stealing' his work." 
Yet, didn't Feazey accuse me of doing just that, when he implied I had taken my research from him? Again, the timing of things matters in this exercise. Prior to being confronted with evidence of his own error, or dishonesty, Feazey was encouraging skepticism concerning my claims about the 2009 publication date.
Feazey: "allegedly back-dating their posts when he has done exactly the same thing"
OK, let's be more explicit about this. The back-dated postings I am referring to are blog postings—here is one for example (note the blog owner has apparently just removed the stolen text—interesting, huh?—but here's the cached version, backdated to May 26, 2006)—that have stolen portions of my text and posted it in a backdated article.

Anyone examining these blogs will note they contain collections of other people's writings, mashed up to make it appear the blog owner authored the articles, when that isn't the case. I of course was not in any way doing "exactly the same thing", since, as Feazey now admits, I did actually post my content originally in 2009, just as I said, and unlike Feazey, and unlike the other blogs who are stealing my text, I authored the material in question. Feazey is desperate to smear me as a thief of my own work. But the facts do not support his story.
Feazey: "I was not aware of his post, for example, but relied on a combination of Google, the Confessions, Kaczynski and Churton to find the same evidence."
That's Feazey's unconvincing defense. But the problem is, as I have shown above, he had plenty of specific opportunity to see my article. And, the collected wisdom of "Google, Confessions, Kascynski and Churton" did not reveal the information about the Armenian origin of Aiwass. That was accomplished in my original research, completed and published in 2009. The notion that Paul Feazey did not know this until today is ludicrous.

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this. Coincidentally, the New York Review of Books has a new article on Stockhausen, commenting on his appearance on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's. Of course, Uncle Al appears there as well. That album cover gives a sort of pantheon of the New Aeon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Yes, that cover is really something. If you're not on it, you're nobody. AC stuck between an obscure guru and Mae West. That's about it.

      Delete

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