The Scarlet Letter
Volume IV, Number 4 | December 1997
Magick of the Urpflanze
By Dionysos Thriambos

In the invocation pronounced by the Priest on the first step of the dais in the Ceremony of the Introit, a specific formula of magick is declared under the figure of vegetable growth:

...not unto Thee may we attain, unless Thine image be Love. Therefore by seed and root and stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke Thee.

Pollination (Assyrian)The Priest indicates that the infinite can only be invoked as Love. The plant anatomy which follows must then be a diagram of the creative will, since Love is the law, love under will.” It is described in seven stages, which-like all creation-naturally progress from a hidden condition to a manifested one. These seven stages can be referred to the seven horizontal planes indicated by the emanations of the qabalistic Tree of Life, and, in turn, to the psychological model advanced in the qabalah. (See the accompanying table below.)

The creative process begins with the SEED or Hidden Master. Work proceeds from an inscrutable source, whose name is “Mystery of Mystery.” It is buried in the dark substrate of reality (the “Night of Pan” beyond the Abyss), just as the seed is buried in the earth.

The seed sends forth a ROOT, a still-subterranean extension that begins its orientation towards the world of events, i.e. the Universe of Contraries. It engages-on the Chokmah-Binah- plane-the dual polarity which characterizes all phenomena below the Abyss.

This Urpflanze (“archetypal plant”) which symbolizes the will breaks into light by shooting forth a STEM, a distinct impulse towards change which has been determined by the seed and provided for by the root.

Of these seven segments, the one of greatest interest to the magician is BUD, which is at the mid-point of the series and attributable to Sol. In the process of the passage of the will from its hidden origin to its manifested accomplishment, the BUD is the point of balance at which magick force can be brought to bear with the greatest effect. In Liber Aleph, Crowley specifically references the "bud-will" and its importance in the Work of the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis.

A transliteration of BUD reveals the principal officers of the Mass in the guise of Tarot trumps: B = The Magician (Deacon), U = The Hierophant (Priest), and D = The Empress (Priestess). The astrological glyphs which correspond to these trumps likewise are of note, since Taurus (U) and Venus (D) combine in the figure of Mercury (B).

The bud opens into a LEAF, the visible surface which is the characteristic expression of the plant.

The leaves support the FLOWER, which brings the plant into communication with other creatures through sight and scent, and provides for pollination with other plants.

The pollination of the flower culminates in the FRUIT, the finally manifested product of the process, which conceals within itself new seeds to perpetuate the creative pattern. The journey of the fruit in returning the seeds to the dark earth is emblematic of a different formula complementary to the one under discussion.

A couple of illustrations may help to elucidate the application of the present formula. One example is the creative work of O.T.O. through M.M.M. as an initiatory institution. In this case, the SEED is Baphomet, the Secret Master, possibly considered as the esoteric instruction concealed in the depths of the rituals themselves. The ROOT is the Grand Master who authorizes the enactment of the initiations and is the custodian of their form. The STEM is the Initiator who implements the ceremony. The BUD is the Candidate who enters into the Mysteries. The LEAF is the Lodge (or Chapter, or other body) that results from the collaboration of initiates. The FLOWER is the Order as a whole, visible to the initiate and the profane. And the FRUIT is the totality of human society to which the Order offers the Law and the message of Universal Brotherhood.

Another instance is the production of literature. Here, the SEED is the secret muse of the author, the inspiration which brings him or her into the process of writing. The author as the original container of the idea issuing from the muse is the ROOT. The author's work of writing is the STEM by which literature raises itself into view. The BUD is the text itself. The text shows its LEAF in its publication. The reader savors it like the appreciation of a FLOWER. And the FRUIT is its passage into the world of discourse in literary posterity-a passage towards which the present study is directed as it passes from stem to bud.







SEED Kether Self
The Hidden Master, "source and seed of life, love, liberty and light." Baphomet Muse
ROOT Chokmah-
Life Force
(Chiah), Intuition
Emergence of the Master's design into the Universe of Contraries Grand Master Idea
STEM Chesed-
Realization of the design in a particular impulse toward change Initiator Writing
BUD Tiphareth Formulation of the impulse as intention, balanced between the Hidden and the Manifested Candidate Text
LEAF Netzach-Hod Expression of the intention Body of Initiates Publication
FLOWER Yesod Animal Soul
 Perception of the expression Order Reading
FRUIT Malkuth Body (Guph) The Manifested Result Humanity Posterity

< Back to Vol. IV, No. 4 Cover