Choronzon first appeared in the Enochian writings of John Dee in the 16th century, where he was synonymous with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Aleister Crowley paraphrased Dee's description of Choronzon as "the first and deadliest of all the powers of evil...rightly so, for although he is not a person, he is the metaphysical contrary of the whole Process of Magick" (1998). In the system of Thelema, Choronzon is the Dweller in the Abyss, that great spiritual wilderness which must be crossed by the adept to attain mastery. Choronzon is there as the final obstruction. If he is met with the proper preparation, then he is there to destroy the ego, which allows the adept to move beyond the Abyss. If unprepared, then the unfortunate traveller will be utterly dispersed into annihilation.
In The Vision and the Voice, Crowley describes Choronzon:
- The name of the Dweller in the Abyss is Choronzon, but he is not really an individual. The Abyss is empty of being; it is filled with all possible forms, each equally inane, each therefore evil in the only true sense of the word—that is, meaningless but malignant, in so far as it craves to become real. These forms swirl senselessly into haphazard heaps like dust devils, and each such chance aggregation asserts itself to be an individual and shrieks, "I am I!" though aware all the time that its elements have no true bond; so that the slightest disturbance dissipates the delusion just as a horseman, meeting a dust devil, brings it in showers of sand to the earth.
Crowley also speaks of him in Magick Without Tears:
- And whoso passeth into the outermost Abyss—except he be of them that understand—holdeth out his hands, and boweth his neck, unto the Chains of Choronzon. And as a devil he walketh about the earth, immortal, and he blasteth the flowers of the earth, and he corrupteth the fresh air, and he maketh poisonous the water; and the fire that is the friend of man, and the pledge of his aspiration, seeing that it mounteth ever upward as a Pyramid, and seeing that man stole it in a hollow tube from Heaven—even that fire he turneth into ruin, and madness, and fever, and destruction. And thou, that art an heap of dry dust in the city of the Pyramids, must understand these things.
In a more general sense, Choronzon represents dispersion, impotence, malace, corruption, restriction, and death. A more detailed account of Choronzon can be found in the Tenth Aethyr (called ZAX) in The Vision & the Voice.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1998). The Vision & the Voice : the Equinox, IV(2). York Beach, Me. : Samuel Weiser.
- ____ (1982). Magick Without Tears. Phoenix, AZ : Falcon Press.