A pdf version of this article is available here – o9a-innovation-tradition-pdf

Folio from the Arabic manuscript Kitab Suwar al-kawakib al-thabitah (c.1010 AD)  in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Marsh collection, 144)

Originality, Tradition, And The Order of Nine Angles


Criticism of the O9A

The O9A – secretive in terms of the identity of the majority its adherents – has been widely criticized both by those claiming to be occultists (of whatever type) and by those writing about modern occultism.

The criticism has ranged from claims that the O9A merely repackaged ideas by Lovecraft, Crowley, Aquino, and others; that its claims about its traditions are spurious; to denunciation of its use of the ‘modern heresy’ of National Socialism and its avowal of culling (of human sacrifice). Thus the ONA has been described as a ‘fascist satanist group’, and as being “a minor group” in comparison with the more ‘influential’ and more innovative Church of Satan and the Temple of Set, and has made-up its traditions in some attempt to mythologize itself.

However, what the criticism of the O9A reveals are allegations – personal or partisan, or based on rumours – or the result of a superficial reading of only a few ONA texts. For in the thirty years since the O9A first became publicly known, no one outside of the O9A has studiously scrutinized the theory and praxis of the O9A – the esoteric philosophy of Anton Long – and offered a written critique based on such a detailed study. Who, for instance – when writing about or criticizing the O9A – has sufficient knowledge of the esoteric philosophy of Anton Long to fully understand O9A-specific topics, let alone undertake an analysis of such O9A-specific topics and write about them in a scholarly manner in the context of Western occultism and ancient mystical traditions? Such O9A-specific topics, for example, as Esoteric Chant, The Star Game, the concept of nexions, the Dark Art of Pathei-Mathos, the Septenary System, Esoteric Languages, Denotatum, Alchemical Seasons, Acausal Knowing, the sinisterly-numinous, Esoteric Empathy, the Aeonic perspective, and Sapphic esoteric groups.

Two examples should suffice to place the criticism and the allegations into the correct perspective.

Al-Kitab Al-Alfak: A Continuing Tradition

In the matter of occult tradition consider, for instance, the still widely accepted claim of the O9A having appropriated the idea of ‘the nine angles’ from Michael Aquino’s Ceremony of Nine Angles, and in which ceremony the Aquino ‘nine angles’ are

“clearly Euclidean, be such two dimensional (as in the trapezoid) or three dimensional (as in the geometry of solids) and are, esoterically, imaginatively or metaphorically used to express various aspects of the modern qabalistic-indebted Western occult tradition, including the additions made by the ToS. These aspects include what has been termed ‘sacred numbers and geometry’, the qabala, ratios such as pi, and certain shapes regarded as having esoteric meaning, such as the pentagram.” {1}

A study of O9A texts reveals that, from the 1970s on, their ‘nine angles’ refer to the nine combinations – the “numinous symbols of cliology” (qv. the 1990s text ‘Aeonic Magick – A Basic Introduction’) of the three basic alchemical substances (Mercury, Sulphur, Salt) which are represented in the pieces of the 1970s vintage O9A Star Game. These nine angles/combinations were first outlined in the 1974 text Emanations of Urania, and which nine combinations can be used to symbolize how the the causal and the acausal are manifest to us, as for instance in our psyche (in the nexion of causal/acausal that we are) via archetypes, ‘personality types’, and the esoteric correspondences of the O9A Tree of Wyrd.

Furthermore, according to Anton Long his inspiration for this 1970s theory of cliology – of nine alchemical combinations or emanations – was an ancient Arabic manuscript, of a few folios, he read while travelling and studying in the Middle East and Asia in 1971, and to which MS some scribe had added some scholia and the title Al-Kitab Al-Alfak (which translates as The Book of The Spheres), for in ancient Muslim alchemy and cosmology there are nine cosmic spheres or ‘supernatural’ realms.

The most distant of these spheres or realms is falak al-aflak, the ‘primary of the spheres’. Below this (and thus nearer to us) is al-kawakib al-thabitah {2}, the realm of the heavenly fixed stars. Next is Zuhal, the sphere of Saturn. Then there is Mushtari, the sphere of Jupiter, followed by Marikh (Mars); Shams (the Sun); Zuhrah (Venus); Utarid (Mercury); and finally Qamar, the sphere of the Moon.

Now, anyone who have ever studied ancient Arabic alchemical, astrological, and cosmological, texts and who is also familiar with the O9A will understand and appreciate three things: (i) the connection between some of those Arabic texts and the O9A’s ‘nine angles’; (ii) the connection between some of those Arabic texts and the O9A’s septenary system (and thus their Tree of Wyrd); and (iii) the connection between those Arabic texts and many ancient Hellenic texts, such as those of the Greek Corpus Hermeticum, and thus the connection between the O9A’s septenary system and the anados of the Pymander tractate of the Corpus Hermeticum {3}. These ancient texts pre-date the qabalah by centuries; a qabalah that is used by all modern occultists – from The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn, to Crowley, and Aquino – with the sole exception of the O9A who have always stated that their septenary system represents ‘the genuine Western occult tradition’.

Furthermore, the O9A axiom of there being seven planetary spheres (as in the Tree of Wyrd) and two re-presentations or apprehensions of Time (causal and acausal, melded in The Abyss) which together (7 plus 2) form the nine basic emanations {4} is clearly inspired by, or based on, or is a continuation of, the ancient Arabic mystical tradition, for falak al-aflak and al-kawakib al-thabitah are clearly distant from the seven ‘astrological’ and named planets, just as in the Pymander tractate the septenary named spheres are distinct from the two realms beyond them {5}.

This thus places into perspective, and disproves, another silly claim made, for over thirty years and repeated even in academic circles, which is that the septenary system of the O9A is just “a replacement for the Kabbalah […] a non-Semitic version of the Kabbalistic Sepherot” {6} – since those making and those repeating such a claim were obviously either unfamiliar with such ancient Arabic and Hellenic sources and/or had only superficially studied the O9A corpus.

The Star Game: An Original Contribution

In respect of original contributions to occult and mystical traditions, the O9A Star Game merits consideration. As with most or all things O9A allegations are and have been made; in this instance, that The Star Game is either just some version of Enochian chess or was inspired by the 3D chess of the original Star Trek series. Thus, again and as with most or all things O9A, the contributions and tradition of the O9A are disparaged or ignored, even though O9A innovations and traditions such as Esoteric Chant, The Star Game, the concept of nexions, the Dark Art of Pathei-Mathos, the Septenary System, Esoteric Languages, Denotatum, Alchemical Seasons, Acausal Knowing, the sinisterly-numinous, Esoteric Empathy, the Rounwytha, grade rituals/ordeals such as those of Internal Adept and the Camlad Rite of The Abyss, are nowhere to be found in the works of the likes of The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn, Crowley, Aquino, LaVey, and those influenced by any or all of them.

A study of The Star Game – which necessitates constructing both simple and advanced versions, and ‘playing’ it – easily reveals just how silly or how partisan such claims made against the O9A are. For where, for instance, in Enochian or 3D chess or any other board game esoteric or otherwise, are the five fundamental principles of The Star Game: (i) of every piece being transformed into another piece when it is moved; (ii) of how certain combinations of pieces, spread across the seven main boards, might represent an individual (and thus their personality) or an Aeon, with the game thus capable of being used as a new type of sorcery; (iii) of there being nine main types of pieces formed from three basic (alchemical) elements; (v) of the complexity of both the ‘simple’ and the ‘advanced’ game, with the simple form having, per player, 27 pieces spread over 7 boards and 126 squares, and the advanced form having 45 pieces per player over 308 squares; and, possibly most important of all, (v) of The Star Game being an ‘esoteric language’ that enables acausal-thinking, an (acausal) apprehension beyond denotatum and thus beyond causal abstractions, and which new apprehension thus compliments the esoteric-empathy that it is the aim of rites such as Internal Adept and The Sinister Abyssal Nexion to cultivate and develop. Thus, “what the Tarot is to the Initiate and External Adept, the Star Game is to the Internal Adept.” {7}

For according to the O9A, as mentioned way back in a 1980s text, “The Star Game contains, in its symbolism and techniques, all the esoteric wisdom of alchemy, magick and the Occult in general as well as being a bridge to the future. It is, in essence, a new form of language.” {8}

Contributions and Traditions

Apart from the ill-informed criticism of, and the disproven allegations made against, the O9A during the past three decades, it is interesting and indicative that no one, to date, has written in detail about O9A-specific – traditional and/or innovative – topics such as Esoteric Chant, the concept of causal-acausal and nexions, the Septenary System, Esoteric Languages, Denotatum, Alchemical Seasons, Acausal Knowing, the sinisterly-numinous, and Esoteric Empathy.

Neither has anyone written in detail about ‘the sinister feminine’ – that is, the muliebral ethos {9} evident in but not limited to the pagan ancestral way of the Rounwytha {10} – and thus about the importance the O9A assign to women and to muliebral qualities such as empathy. For many early O9A texts, from the 1970s and 1980s, make mention, for example, of how important the role of women is in sorcery; indeed, of how some rituals only work if a woman performs them or plays a significant role – as in the Rite Of The Nine Angles, where “only through the female are the forces represented by the three alchemical substances and their nine combinations capable of being released” {11} – and why Sapphic sorcery, with its doubling of the female, is very powerful {12} and why the O9A has always had Sapphic nexions and always opposed the patriarchal ethos that has dominated and still dominates most of the world, manifest as this ethos is esoterically in the doctrine of ‘might is right’, in the axiom of the primacy and egoism of the individual (‘my will be done’/der Wille zur Macht), and in the modern manufactured wicca which embodies the errors of abstraction and of denotatum (as in a named ‘god’ and goddess’) and which errors the esoteric languages of the O9A – such as The Star Game and Esoteric Chant – are and were designed to correct.

For Esoteric Chant is not only a type of sorcery {13} but also a means whereby an individual can access and maintain the apprehension of the unity beyond the human-manufactured sinister-numinous dichotomy and beyond the limitations of spoken and written languages {14}.

However, this lack of interest in studying and researching the aforementioned O9A traditions and innovations is quite understandable. For were such study and research to be undertaken it would most certainly reveal not only how original, and innovative, the O9A is and has been, but also how it does indeed, as the O9A have long claimed, represent an older occult and mystical tradition which is quite distinct from that of the modern occultism of The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn, Crowley, and that used and/or promulgated by the likes of Aquino and LaVey and those influenced by them.

R. Parker
25 December 2013 ev


{1} R. Parker, The Order of Nine Angles Rite of The Nine Angles – A Comparison with the Ceremony of Nine Angles by Aquino. e-text, 2013

{2} See, for example, the Arabic manuscript Kitab Suwar al-kawakib al-thabitah (c.1010 AD) in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Marsh collection, 144), a folio of which is illustrated in the image above.

{3} See R. Parker, The Septenary Anados, and Life After Death, In The Esoteric Philosophy of The Order of Nine Angles. e-text, 2013

{4} Qv. the 121 yfayen text The Nine Angles – Beyond The Causal Continuum. There is also the description, in Naos and some older MSS, of the seven spheres being symbolically enclosed within a double-tetrahedron (qv. p.145 of The Requisite ONA text) which enclosure (or outer realm) represents the causal/acausal duality.

{5} As Myatt explains in his commentary on the Pymander text in reference to section 26 and ‘those forces beyond the ogdoadic physis’ –

“δύναμις. Those forces, those particular powers – or, more precisely, that type (or those types) of being(s) or existence – that are not only beyond the septenary system but beyond the ogdoadic physis of those mortals who have, because of their journey (ἄνοδος) through the septenary system, achieved immortality.

It is therefore easy to understand why some considered there were, or represented their understanding/insight by, ‘nine’ (seven plus two) fundamental cosmic emanations, or by nine realms or spheres [qv. the quote from Cicero in section 17] – the seven of the hebdomad, plus the one of the ‘ogdoadic physis’ mentioned here, plus the one (also mentioned here) of what is beyond even this ‘ogdoadic physis’. However, as this text describes, there are seven realms or spheres – a seven-fold path to immortality, accessible to living mortals – and then two types of existence (not spheres) beyond these, accessible only after the mortals has journeyed along that path and then, having ‘offered up’ certain things along the way (their mortal ethos), ‘handed over their body to its death’. Ontologically, therefore, the seven might somewhat simplistically be described as partaking of what is ‘causal’ (of what is mortal) and the two types of existence beyond the seven as partaking of – as being – ‘acausal’ (of what is immortal). Thus, Pœmandres goes on to say, the former mortal – now immortal – moves on (from this first type of ‘acausal existence’) to become these forces (beyond the ogdoadic physis) to thus finally ‘unite with theos’: αὐτοὶ εἰς δυνάμεις ἑαυ τοὺς παραδιδόασι καὶ δυνάμεις γενόμενοι ἐν θεῷ γίνονται.” David Myatt, Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander. 2013. ISBN 978-1491249543

As I noted in my The Septenary Anados, if in Myatt’s translation of the Pymander text “one reads ‘the acausal’ instead of ‘theos’, then the link between the O9A and ancient hermeticism is clear.” Thus, for example, in the above quotation instead of ‘unite with theos’ there is ‘unite with the acausal’, with the hermetic anados being the journey through the seven spheres in order to achieve an immortal existence in the acausal realm, which coincidently is a stated aim of the O9A’s seven fold way, and what awaits beyond the Grade of Magus.

{6} Senholt, Jacob. Secret Identities in The Sinister Tradition, in Per Faxneld & Jesper Petersen (eds), The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity. Oxford University Press, 2012, p.253

{7} Naos. qv. p.166 of The Requisite ONA text.

In respect of the Tarot, Naos – revealing as it does the basics of sorcery, of magick, in a simple and understandable way – also simply outlines how to use Tarot cards in an esoteric way, in the process debunking a lot of the occult mythology that has accumulated around the process, with it being explained that ‘the secret’ of a reading is empathy, that the meanings of the cards given in books and by others should be ignored, that reversed cards have no significance, that the cards and their images are only used to focus one’s empathic awareness, and that the layout used gives an indication to how positive and negative energies flow and may affect, in a positive or a negative manner, the individual for whom the reading is being done.

{8} The Forbidden Alchemy. The MS was included in Naos, qv. p.186 of The Requisite ONA. Regarding esoteric languages in general, see the 2011 ONA text Esoteric Languages. A brief history of the game is contained in The Star Game – History and Theory.

{9} The term muliebral means:

“Of, concerning, or relating to the ethos, the nature [physis], the natural abilities, of women. From the Latin muliebris. Among muliebral abilities, qualities, and skills are: (1) Empathy; (2) Intuition, as a foreseeing – praesignification/intimation – and as interior self-reflexion; (3) Personal Charm; (4) Subtlety/Cunning/Shapeshifting; (5) Veiled Strength.” Glossary of ONA Terms (v. 3.07)

{10} Refer to The Rounwytha Tradition.

{11} O9A MS The Rite Of The Nine Angles, 1979. The MS was published, in the 1980s, in Stephen Sennitt’s Nox zine, and was included in the later book compilation The Infernal Texts: Nox & Liber Koth (Falcon Publications, 1997).

{12} Mentioned in the Sexual Magick section of Naos. qv p.127 of The Requisite ONA text.

{13} “There are three basic ways of performing [esoteric] chant – by a solo cantor; by several voices in unison and by two cantors (or choirs) singing ‘vox principalis’ and ‘vox organalis’ a fourth or fifth apart as in organum […] A fourth apart in parallel for dark/destructive workings, a fifth apart for constructive workings.” Naos, MS, 1989. qv pp. 107 & 109 of The Requisite ONA.

{14} This maintaining of the apprehension of the unity (the physis) beyond The Abyssal Nexion is briefly mentioned in Naos in terms of the esoteric and aural tradition known as ‘the promethean office’, qv p.108 of The Requisite ONA text.

In respect of the limitations of languages in general, see the ONA text Esoteric Languages.

Image credit:
Folio from the Arabic manuscript Kitab Suwar al-kawakib al-thabitah (c.1010 AD)
in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Marsh collection, 144)