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  On the Mascot

The Beast Bay website Posted by <Xnoubis> on June 22, 2000 @ 03:46 PM
from the thyrsis!-coiled-again dept.

When I think “Beast” (which I do, far more often than most people would consider healthy), there are two visual images that come to mind. The first comes from a series of Jehovah's Witnesses tracts published in the mid '80s, wherein some inspired fundamentalist artist beautifully rendered several powerful images of a seven-headed, ten-crowned, snarling Beast of Revelation, accompanied by a brazen Scarlet Woman bearing a calculated resemblance to Jessica Hahn. The second (and foremost, really) is the Lion-Serpent depicted in the Thoth tarot deck, in the trumps “Lust” and “The Tower.” I'm not certain why, but there is something in that image which evokes some primal response deep within me.

The Lion-Headed Serpent

Of “The Tower,” Crowley writes in The Book of Thoth:

Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! [ . . . ] Bathed in the effulgence of this Eye (which now assumes even a third sense, that indicated in Atu XV) are the Dove bearing an olive branch and the Serpent: as in the above quotation. The Serpent is portrayed as the Lion-Serpent Xnoubis or Abraxas.

Of course, the Lion-Serpent appears prominently in the Gnostic Mass, where “O Lion and O Serpent that destroy the Destroyer, be mighty among us” replaces “O Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us” from the Christian mass. As the conjoining of the fiery force of Leo with the watery serpent of Scorpio (who is more fully eagle-serpent-scorpion), it is the reconciliation of opposites, as Eliphas Levi's representation of Baphomet conjoins man and animal, and the Masonic double eagle conjoins the consciousness of God and Creation.

Now, Abraxas as the Lion-Serpent I was already familiar with, from the striking color plate in Manly Palmer Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages, among other places. But Xnoubis? Shortly before the inauguration of The Beast Bay, I enquired of the learned throng over at the Thelema 93-L mailing list. Frater RIKB had this to say:

The lion headed serpent is Chnoubis or Chnouph. It's of Egypto/Grecian/Alexandrian origin, just like Abraxas. The “ch” is pronounced as in Scottish “loch” or German “buch.” then “-noobis” like “Anubis.” Equals 1332 = 2 x 666, same as “Alpha - Omega” (Alpha spelled out, Omega not, as it is in Revelations).

According to Hans Dieter Betz, editor of the Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, it's a combination of the ram-headed “creator god Khnum, the serpent kneph, and the star, Knm.” Of course, that doesn't mean he's right – it doesn't explain the “noubis” part, but that's not Egyptian anyway.

Around the same time, I discovered this passage and illustration from “A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus” by Richard Payne Knight (1786, reprinted in A History of Phallic Worship, 1992, Dorset Press, NY):

On a gem, published in the Memoirs of the Academy of Cortona, this union of the destroying and preserving attributes is represented by the united forms of the lion and serpent crowned with rays, the emblems of the cause from which both proceed. This composition forms the Chnoubis of the Egyptians.

Chnoubis gem

The figure also shows the initial letter Xi in the name, which could be legitimately transliterated as either “X” or “Ch.” A web search under “Xnoubis” turned up only Crowley-related items. But “Chnoubis” is a more fruitful keyword, turning up interesting images here and here, for example.

Ultimately, the power, the mystery, and the all around beastliness of the Xnoubis archetype made it the perfect choice for The Beast Bay's mascot. (Actually, we asked the Pets.com sock puppet first, but he already had a gig.)

<  |  >


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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.

**Re: On the Mascot**
by <Marfiza> on Thursday June 22, @03:59PM

You're not fooling me for a minute, X-dood. You just initiated this topic so you could use that AWFUL pun in your department field.

     - M

**Re: On the Mascot**
by Bishop Mendacious on Thursday June 22, @04:04PM

(Actually, we asked the Pets.com sock puppet

first, but he already had a gig.)

Beastbay.com – because Coptic monsters can't drive!

**Re: On the Mascot**
by <Marfiza> on Thursday June 22, @04:11PM

In seriousness, now, I find it interesting that the amulets depicted here all show Xnoubis with SEVEN rays emerging from his head. Seems significant… or maybe just a coincidence with the seven heads of the Apocalyptic Beast, seven being a significant number all by itself… (Actually, an argument could be made for every single digit positive integer being magically significant, since it seems that any one of them is significant to SOME culture. I wonder how this would've been different if humans were routinely born with 6 digits on each hand?)

Yours enumeratively,
     - M

  • |Re: On the Mascot\\
    by Michael Sanborn on Saturday July 01, @04:59PM

    My best guess is that the importance of seven in the Babylonian tradition, being the number of visible planets and passed down through Pythagoras to Neoplatonism and Hermeticism, would still have its hold on the imagination of the worshippers of Xnoubis. If they also related the lion-serpent to Abraxas, then they were even more likely to have an astrological point of view, since apparently the numeration of the name Abraxas (in some system, by some spelling) was 360, which was associated, however inaccurately, with the solar year.\\

**Re: On the Mascot**
by <Xnoubis> on Thursday June 22, @05:10PM

I should mention that Frater RIKB later wrote:

You might be interested to know that another 1332 from Greek Gematria is “hagiastheto,” meaning “let him be sanctified.” It's from Revelations 22:11.

Good stuff!

  • |Re: On the Mascot\\
    by <Mordecai> on Friday October 26, @04:03PM

    I didn't catch this back when, but you do realize that Revelation 22:11 is where the Book of the Law quotes from: “and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still”. Nice coincidence, eh?\\

**Re: On the Mascot**
by <Xnoubis> on Monday July 03, @11:42AM

Also from the 93-L thread, Prophet 718 wrote:

Chnbs = 444 (Star Key), the same value that PROPHET has using H. values.

**Re: On the Mascot**
by Mordecai Shapiro on Thursday August 10, @07:45PM

What's with the alternate spelling I've seen, “Chnoumis”? I like some of the versions in Budge's Amulets and Superstitions so much I've attached one to this post!

  • |Re: On the Mascot\\
    by Mordecai Shapiro on Friday August 11, @05:45PM\\|

    Note the twelve rays around his head in this version; almost certainly a calendrical reference.\\

**Re: On the Mascot**
by Uskorpius 777 on Sunday January 21, @12:08PM

Perhaps it is unwise to mention the “Y” word (Yeats) on a Thelemic website, but I was curious about the following: Yeats, his biographers report, had no small interest in the Tower. I have not located the Golden Dawn version of the Tower (I don't count Waite!) and wondered if you or any contributor to this site knew if Xnoubis, Yaldabaoth, or any other sort of lion-serpent and/or Gnostic deity figures in any way with the Golden Dawn traditional version. In closing, on a related note: have you seen The Greek Qabalah by Kieran Barry? (Weiser, 1999.) The book gives 1332 (666 X 2) as the value for Xnoubis.

Re: On the Mascot\\
by <Xnoubis> on Sunday January 21, @04:14PM
> I don't count Waite!\\
No? It's pretty close to the Golden Dawn specifications in most respects, isn't it?\\
Anyhow, I'm pretty sure that the association of the lion-serpent with the Tower was introduced with the Thoth Deck.\\
And I haven't read Kieran Barry. Would you break down Xnoubis = 1332 letter-by-letter?\\

Re: On the Mascot\\
by Uskorpius 777 on Monday January 22, @12:36PM
Thank you for the feedback; I was not certain. With regard to your request:\\
X (CH) = 600\\
N = 50\\
0 = 70\\
U (Y) = 400\\
B = 2\\
I = 10\\
S = 100\\
by what Barry calls Alexandrian isopsephy – his term for gematria.\\
Uskorpius 777\\

  • |Re: On the Mascot\\
    by <Xnoubis> on Monday January 22, @03:57PM

    Wow, thanks!\\
    I wanted to explore the value of that number, so I searched in Yahoo for a Greek Gematria dictionary, which pointed me back to The Beast Bay, when RIKB mentioned his uber-cool resource on the subject. So not only did it have Xnoubis for 1332, but also “agiastheto” (let him be sanctified), “kraugaxo” (to cry out), and “Alpha Omega” (with Alpha spelled out followed by the letter Omega). Altogether a most auspicious and apt set of meanings for the spokesmonster.\\

Re: On the Mascot\\
by Uskorpius 777 on Wednesday January 24, @09:55AM
And, O Spokesmonster, as Therion would say in Liber D, Xnoubis “spelt fully” is:\\
CHI X (CH) = 610\\
NU N = 450\\
OMIKRON O = 360\\
YPSILON Y (U) = 1260\\
BHTA B = 311\\
IOTA I = 1111\\
SIGMA S = 254\\
4356 = 3(1332)+ 360; 4356 = 66 x 66\\
Xnoubis also may be represented by X,600, meaning “World Soul” and “concentrate” to 9, an important Pythagorean number. (Source: Barry, Greek Qabalah, Appendices I and II.)\\
Uskorpius 777\\
Mad Chao Cabal\\
Eris Effulgent\\

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