Four Powers of the Sphinx
Part of the Magick in Theory & Practice series.
The Four Powers of the Sphinx are Knowledge, Will, Courage, and Silence, and are attributed to the four classical elements, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth (respectively).
Crowley also added a fifth "Power" in Magick Without Tears:
- But now that a fifth Element, spirit, is generally recognized in the Qabalah, I have deemed it proper to add a Fifth Power corresponding: to Go, Ire. Then, as Spirit is the Origin, the Essence, and the Sum of the other four, so is to Go in relation to those powers. And to Go is the very meaning of the name God, as elsewhere shewn in these letters; hence the Egyptian Gods were signalized as such by their bearing the Ankh, which is a Sandal-strap, and in its form the Crux Ansata, the Rosy Cross, the means whereby we demonstrate the Godhead of our Nature. See then how sweetly each idea slides into the next! How right this is, that the Quintessence should be dynamic and not static! For if there were some form of Being separate from Going, it would necessarily be subject to decay; and, in any case, a thing impossible to apprehend, since apprehension is itself an Act, not an idea immobile which would be bound to change in the very moment of grasping it.
Of the Sphinx, Crowley writes in Liber Aleph (De Natura):
- Firstly, this Sphinx is a Symbol of the Coition of Our Lady BABALON with me THE BEAST in its Wholeness. For as I am of the Lion and the Dragon, so is She of the Man and the Bull, in our Natures, but the Converse thereof in our Offices, as thou mayst understand by the Study of the Book of the Vision and he Voice. It is thus a Glyph of the Satisfaction and Perfection of the Will and of the Work, the completion of the True Man as the Reconcilor of the Highest with the Lowest, so for our Convenience conventionally to distinguish them. This hen is the Adept, who doth Will with solid Energy as the Bull, doth dare with fierce Courage as the Lion, doth know with swift Intelligence as the Man, and doth keep Silence with soaring Subtilty as the Eagle or Dragon. Moreover, this Sphinx is an Eidolon of the Law, for the Bull is Life, the Lion is Light, the Man is Liberty, the Serpent Love. Now then his Sphinx, being perfect in true Balance, yet taketh the Aspect of the Feminine Principle that so She may be partner of the Pyramid, that is the Phallus, pure Image of Our Father the Sun, the Unity Creative. The Signification of this Mystery is that the Adept must be Whole, Himself, containing all Things in true Proportion, before he maketh himself Bride of the One Universal Transcendental, in its most Secret Virtue.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1982). Magick Without Tears. Phoenix, AZ : Falcon Press
- Crowley, Aleister. (1991). Liber Aleph vel CXI : the Book of Wisdom or Folly. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.