English Qabala
The English Qabala is a system of correspondences used for
making magical correlations that is used by some members of
the thelemic magic community. Its origins can be traced to
some numerological speculation on The Book of the Law (also
known as Liber AL), the revelation channeled by magician Aleister
Crowley in 1904. Within the book was a command, ‘‘Thou
shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet.’’ This
was interpreted as a command to find a system of assigning a
numerical value to each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet
in such a way that it would lead to a meaningful manipulation
of the text. The normal way to assign numerical values to the
English alphabet is straight numerical order, so that A=1,
B=2, C=3, and so forth. This system produced no meaningful
results when applied to The Book of the Law.
While Crowley attempted to find such a system, he failed
and had hoped that Frater Achad (Charles Stanfeld Jones), his
magical child, would succeed. While Achad made some useful
suggestions at the time he was in conversation with Crowley in
1918, he, too, was unable to find the ultimate secret, and soon
dropped the problem. Then in 1976, Jim Lees, a British thelemite,
discovered what he believed to be the secret, which he
shared with two colleagues—Jake Stratton-Kent and Carol
Smith. They published Lees’ findings through Kaaba Publications.

Lees had started with Frater Achad’s suggestion of using the
letters ‘‘A’’ and ‘‘L’’ as a starting point and noted that ‘‘L,’’ the
second letter in the Hebrew alphabet, was the 12th letter of the
English alphabet. (Kabbalah was of Hebrew origin; Qabala is
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. English Qabala
a favored spelling of the term in non-Jewish magical circles).
In the end he developed a system of counting every 12th letter
in the English alphabet and upon reaching the end of the alphabet,
continuing on at the beginning again. In this manner
they found a new ordering of the alphabet as A L W H S D O
He assigned each letter a numerical value such that A=1,
L=2, W=3, and so forth. Playing with the new letternumber
equivalents, Lees and his associates discovered that all of a sudden,
the text of The Book of the Law began to yield what thelemites
would consider useful and meaningful results. Those who
first worked with the numbering system found some immediate
confirmation in the striking anomalies in The Book of the Law.
One appeared in a page of the original manuscript of Liber AL,
a copy of which is generally reporduced in printing of the typeset
text. It contains a grid imposed on the text, and a line drawn
diagonally across the text. Assuming the new ordering of the
alphabet for the new Qabala, Lees and his associates found the
new ordering appeared prominently in relation to the grid.
Stratton-Kent applied the new system to verse II, 76 of Liber AL,
which contains a seemingly random set of letters and numbers.
He gave all of the letters numerical value, with a central ‘‘X’’
serving as a multiplication symbol. The end result was
17×11=187, the numerical value of the phrase ‘‘English alphabet.’’
At this point Frater Damon and Soror Ishtaria of the Hermetic
Alchemical Order of the QBLH began to work with the
basic information. Sorar Ishtaria developed a computer program,
‘‘Lexicon,’’ to manipulate the text more quickly, and
began to generate new correspondences. Information on the
English Qabala circulated through The New Equinox British
Journal of Thelema, which Lees and Carol Smith assumed editorship
of for Ray Sherwin in 1980, and other publications. Over
the years, the QBLH has continued to work with the English
Qabala. It has subsequently been adopted for use by other
thelemic groups and has been the catalyst for the formation of
completely new groups, such as the Gnostic Alchemical
Church of Typhon-Christ.
Cherubim, David (Frater Aurora Aureae). ‘‘The New Qabalah
and the Tree of Life.’’ httpmembers.aol.comCSahk
qabalah.html. May 20, 2000.
‘‘The English Qabala.’’ httpwww.geocities.com
Hollywood1800alav.htm. May 20, 2000.
QBLH, Frater D. T. ‘‘The New Aeon English Qabala A
Brief Introduction.’’ httpwww.thelema.netTextOnlynaeq
naeq.html. May 20, 2000.