The Analysis of the Keyword
The Analysis of the Keyword occupies the same place in the schema of the L.B.R.H. as does the Qabalistic Cross in the L.B.R.P. — which is to say that it is both the first and the last thing normally done in that ritual. In point of fact, the L.B.R.H. should be preceded by the Qabalistic Cross in addition to the Analysis of the Keyword; however, this is typically a moot point, as the L.B.R.P. almost universally precedes the performance of the L.B.R.H.
The Keyword to be analyzed is I.N.R.I., an abbreviation that can be made to stand for almost as many "occult" phrases as there are "occultists" in the world. Of course, the well-known exoteric meaning is "Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm," which translates to "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" in English. One of the better-known esoteric interpretations is "Igne Natvra Renovatvr Integra" — "By Fire, Nature is Perfectly Renewed." This, naturally, refers to the process of alchemical purification (which occurs through heating, distillation, etc.) and to the spiritual fire of the Gnosis which cleanses, purifies and enlightens the soul; and is, in both cases, a reference to the Great Work.
Two further formulae lie concealed within that of I.N.R.I., the first of which can be seen readily if one transliterates the letters into their Hebrew equivalents — Yod, Nun, Resh, and Yod (as is done in the Analysis, itself). Looking at the Tree of Life, we see that the zodiacal sign of Virgo is attributed to the path of Yod, while that of Scorpio is attributed to the path of Nun and the planet Sol to the path of Resh. We thus have Virgo, Scorpio, Sol, Virgo. Of course, the Egyptian deities Iset (Isis), Apep (Apophis/Typhon) and Osir (Osiris) are also associated with Vigo, Scorpio and Sol, respectively. We therefore have now the formula IAO (Iset, Apep, Osir), which has numerous significances, some of which will be detailed here.
Firstly, IAO was considered the supreme name of God by the Gnostics (thus, this is an invocation of the Highest Divine Force). Secondly, the three letters also allude to the three alchemical principles of Salt, Sulfur and Mercury (and, thus, to the three supernal sephiroth: Binah, Chokmah and Kether). Lastly, by the association with Typhon, Apep/Apophis is also shown to stand in for the Egyptian god Set (who was also called Typhon by the Greeks). As such, we have here a recounting of the famous myth of the murder of Osir by his brother Set and his resurrection by the magical intervention of his sister/wife Iset. That this, along with the countless other dying and resurrected god myths the world over, is symbolic of the Great Work should hardly need mentioning. Thus, we have an invocation of the supreme godhead, an invocation of the three supernal sephiroth and a concise statement of the nature of the Great Work all compacted into a single three-letter word. It should also be noted that Crowley considered IAO to be the formula of Osiris and his Aeon for obvious reasons.
Additionally, it is worth noting that the I/Yod/Virgo repeats at the end of the phrase, indicating the cyclically infinite nature of this process — which implies, among other things, that the Kether of one Tree is the Malkuth of another directly above it, and so on to infinity. However, in the formula to follow, it is not Iset who is repeated, but Osir, and that silently.
The second formula comes directly out of the IAO formula. Looking at the LVX signs, we see that "L" corresponds to the sign of Iset mourning, while "V" corresponds to that of Apophis/Typhon rejoicing in his apparent victory and "X" corresponds to Osir risen; the sign of Osir slain (that of the cross) is never assigned a letter, but it is performed and named as such. If we look at the way these symbols are used ritually, we see that first the sign of Osir slain is performed in silence, then that of Iset mourning (which is verbally identified), followed by those of Apophis/Typhon, Osir slain and Osir risen (all of which are verbally identified). The process is then repeated, again naming the signs (omitting that of Osir slain) as spelling out the word LVX (Latin for "light").
In the western esoteric tradition, LVX is the term most frequently used to describe magical/mystical energy — analogous to Chi/Ki/Mana/Prana, etc. This formula also calls to mind the phrases "Khabs am Pekht" and "Konx om Pax" — both of which translate roughly to "Light in Extension." The meaning of which (at least partially) can be found in the practices of the Middle Pillar Exercise and the Rite of the Qabalistic Cross. LVX is drawn in to the sphere of sensation of the magician from Kether, is drawn down the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life and is then either circulated throughout the magician's sphere of sensation or projected out through Kether, Malkuth, Gevurah and Chesed to the rest of the universe. Of course, these last acts are virtually identical when one considers that the sphere of sensation is the "magic mirror" or individual microcosm of the macrocosmic universe. Thus, we see that Light in Extension not only is a direct strengthening/energizing of the sphere of sensation of the individual magician (as mentioned in a previous article on the Qabalistic Cross), but is a sharing or extending of that energy with the All. Thus, it is an exercise of the Great Work — both for the individual magician and the entire macrocosmic universe. LVX is much like love, the more one gives, the more there is in the universe and the more one receives in return. One therefore creates a beautiful, rather than vicious, circle. The aforementioned cyclical infinity implied in the I.N.R.I. formula takes on a new dimension at this point. It is also important to bear all of these things in mind when examining the formula of ARARITA found in the L.B.R.H., which will be the topic of a future article.
It must be mentioned that it is impossible to adequately detail all of the historical and magical significances of each of these formulae in full in a short article. Therefore, the above should in no way be viewed as the "be all and end all" of the significances and symbolism of the Key Word — rather, it should be viewed as a launching point from which to begin further investigation into a very large and complex subject.
ignis, ignis M (3rd) fire, brightness; passion, glow of passion
nascor, nasci, natus sum (3rd) (dep.) be produced spontaneously, come into existence/being; spring forth, grow; live; be born/begotten/formed/destined; rise (stars), dawn; start, originate; arise;
natura, naturae F (1st) nature; birth; character;
naturo, naturare, naturavi, naturatus (1st) produce naturally
renovo, renovare, renovavi, renovatus (1st) renew, restore; revive
integer, integra -um, integrior -or -us, integerrimus -a -um (adj.) untouched, entire, whole, complete; uninjured, sound, fresh (troops), vigorous;
integro, integrare, integravi, integratus (1st) renew; refresh; integrate (Cal)"