In Liber CMXXII and TNN IV.2 we briefly discussed the number 418, while in the Candlemas '85 Encyclical Letter we wrote of the number of the Beast, 666, as well as others, and in both the Yule '83 Encyclical and TNN IV.3 we touched upon the number 93 and its attributions in the Greek Qabalah. It should come as no surprise to you then that after six years of hard work producing a first draft of 2,003 pages typed single space, with the work on the Greek Qabalah continuing, the subject is far from exhausted. We have just barely scratched the surface even where these few numbers are concerned! However, given the limitations of space it is all we can do for the present, and with that in mind let us look towards the most infamous number of all among Thelemites - 333 - the number of Choronzon.
Choronzon has been called "the Demon of Dispersion", "the Dweller in the Abyss", as well as "that mighty devil" by John Dee and Edward Kelley. Choronzon is not a persona per se, but rather a kind of collection of cast off material, a kind of stagnant pool of backed up sewage of a psychic nature. Every Adept that attempts the Crossing of the Abyss must confront Choronzon and in most cases that confrontation ends the magical career of the Adept. Rarely does the Adeptus Exemptus defeat Choronzon to successfully make the Crossing and attain to the Grade of Magister Templi. Choronzon is crafty and cunning beyond imagining and 'he' is more slippery than an eel. One cannot get a good mental fix on 'him' as 'he' changes forms and personas so rapidly that concentration is nearly impossible. It is Choronzon's job, as it were, to test and defeat the Adept if 'he' can. The idea of motives does not even enter into it, this is simply what 'he' does, what 'his' function is. Confronting Choronzon is the most horrible Ordeal that any magician can face for in confronting this "mighty devil" one is confronting the very worst aspects of humanity, and, in fact, the darker side of one's own ego or false self. Facing one's self is difficult for most, but facing only the worst aspects of one's self without the redeeming qualities can unhinge almost anyone's mind on the spot.
However, let us not dwell upon wordy definitions of Choronzon. Let us here concentrate upon his number, 333, which is the numeration of 'his' name as spelled in Hebrew, ChVRVNZVN.
333 is obviously half of 666, the number of the Beast, and thus implies division and separateness, something that is not part of the All, something that is unwholesomely incomplete. We will not dwell upon a numerological examination here nor the Hebrew attributions to 333, but rather will we concentrate upon the attributions to this number to be found in the barely explored gematria of the Greek Qabalah.
To Mega Therion has pointed out that 333 is the numeration of akolasia, meaning "dispersion, incontinance, debauchery and wantonness", and not in the popular sense of delicious decadence. Likewise, it is the numeration of akrasia which means "self-indulgeance, lack of self-control" and equal to the Latin word impotentia. Furthermore, the number 333 is the numeration of the following words:
epikranthen: "make bitter, become bitter, be harsh or embittered."
orgilon: "quick-tempered, prone to anger, passionate." [Tit. 1.7]
e diati: "the why." ["If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought." CCXX II.30]
e kataba: "the fall." ["There is great danger in me, for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason." CCXX II.27]
e parthenoi: "the virgins." The conceit of apparent purity.
demosia: "publicly, in public", and it is through public acclaim that most public figures inadvertantly begin inflating their egos.
paidiske: "maiden, female slave, courtesan." The seductive aspect.
e aeidelos: "the unseen, the dark."
Keres: "a Greek name for evil spirits sometimes thought to be the same as the Furies or Fates and associated with death." The Crossing is a like a spiritual or magical death.
e lepis: "the shell." A reference to Choronzon's qliphothic nature.
e rizes: "the root or cause."
melambathes: "deep in darkness."
Lemnes: Lemnes or Lemnians being the women on the island of Lemnos who murdered their husbands.
Anobis: Anubis, who is said by some to be the son of Set in Egyptian mythology and whose associations with the dark underworld have some similarities to the qabalistic Abyss.
bora anthr: "a feeding on slaughtered men."
anarroia: "a flowing back, reflux, ebb."
And according to William Stirling in The Canon, 333 is the diagonal of the New Jerusalem and the limb of the cross which measures 666, for whatever that may be worth.
Choronzon is indeed a bitter fiend, composed of bitterness, and an obscene gardener of bitterness in people; quick-tempered and prone to anger; passionate without self-control. 'He' is indeed self-indulgent, always trying to increase the size of ego and yet while 'he' collects what 'he' can to do this, 'he' cannot create for Choronzon is impotent. 'He' is the why that stops action and the cause of the fall of each and everyone of those who lose Paradise. This demon par excellance is the unseen and dark fears that waits in ambush within each and everyone of us, the terrors we see in the dark when we see not, the nameless slithering fear that is, after all is said and done, nothing but a phantom of our own insecurities. Choronzon is an evil spirit in that 'he' is not genuine in any sense of the word. There is no substance to 'him'. 'He' is an empty shell merely simulating life, a life that is impossible for 'him'. This dweller of the Abyss feeds on the Adepts who fail to defeat 'him' and with his teeth and talons 'he' tears them apart and feeds on their life force. Choronzon is a flowing back, 'he' is the reverse of progress and evolution; one might liken 'him' to a sewer backing up or food that is regurgitated.
Having faced this being-without-being, one is left with a terrific impression that is felt for the rest of one's life, an impression that is most difficult to put into words. However, with the help of the Greek Qabalah one can come a little closer to identifying this "mighty devil".
Choronzon is the ego that must be annihilated if one is to evolve. But before one can defeat Choronzon one must first face 'him' and to honestly face Choronzon is more than most individuals can bear.
You may now Know. Will may be yours. But do you Dare?
It is enough now and time To Be Silent.
Above, when representing Greek words with English characters, the e has been italicized in some cases to represent the Long-E sound, Eta, to differentiate it from the Short-E, Omicron.
[TNN.IV.4, Autumnal Equinox, September 1985 E.V.]