The background preceding Aleister Crowley’s putting the Bornless One in the prologue to The Goetia is interesting. From a diary entry made on February 11 when in China one learns that the Abra-Melin Operation attained a higher place in Crowley’s consciousness. “Made many resolutions of a G[reat] R[etirement]. In dream flew to me an Angel, bearing an ankh [crux ansata or cross of life] to encourage me.” Crowley’s interpretation of the dream was that it signaled an end of intellectual insanity–death of ordinary reason–which he had held since the previous November.
For his daily invocations Crowley used the Bornless Ritual presumedly taught to him by Allan Bennett in 1899. It is thought this ritual was an elaborate stylistic expansion, possibly by Bennett himself, of a surviving fragment of a Graeco-Egyptian (exorcism) ritual. Crowley noted his purpose for the ritual “to work up a current, to acquire concentration, to invoke often.”
The first paragraph describes physically where Crowley is, in China, and the state of his mind, which is functioning at a higher or spiritual level. As a result he feels the need for increasing his invocations as indicated in the next paragraph. Most indicate he just made the Bornless One Ritual more poetical for the sake of popularizing it. Few give his reason for employing it, Crowley was a crafted poet, and perhaps in its finalized poetic version was the best was for him to utilize it. Many give the full credit for producing the ritual to Crowley himself seldom giving any mention to his friend Bennett, a Buddhist and writer himself, who gave him the ritual. Crowley is frequently termed a misunderstood man, misconceptions such as these would lend to this misunderstanding.
Some criticize Crowley’s finalization of the Bornless Ritual because he changed some of the original barbarous names or words. Their criticism hinges on the fact that such changes can offend the god who name is changed plus reek havoc for future scholars seeking to trace the mysterious meanings of the original terms, especially in cases such as the Greek Gematria.
However, Crowley employed such changes to suit his purpose. During this period of higher mental enlightenment he adopted the word Augoeides, signifying one’s Hgher Genius in Golden Dawn’s teaching. The term’s classical Greek meaning is “shining” or “self-glittering one,” employed by the third century Neoplatonist Iamblichus in his De Mysteriis. Augoeides became the new name for Crowley’s Holy Guardian Angel which he invoked several times a day.
The opening lines confirm the primary status of the god (in this instance the Augoeides) being summoned.
Thee I invoke, the Bornless one.
Thee, that didst create the Earth and the Heavens:
Thee, that didst create the Night and the day.
Thee, that didst create the darkness and the Light.
Thou art Osorronophris: Whom no man hath seen at any time.
Thou art Iabos:
Thou art Iapos:
Thou hast distinguished between the just and the Unjust.
Thou didst make the female and the Male.
Thou didst produce the Seed and the Fruit.
Thou didst form Men to love one another, and to hate one another.
I am _________ Thy Prophet, unto Whom Thou didst commit Thy Mysteries, the Ceremonies of _________:
Thou didst produce the moist and the dry, and that which nourisheth all created Life.
Hear Thou Me, for I am the Angel of Apophrasz Osorronophris: this is Thy True Name, handed down to the Prophets of _________.
Hear Me: Ar: Thiao: Reibet: Atheleberseth: A: Blatha: Abeu: Eben: Phi: Chitasoe: Ib: Thiao.
Hear Me, and make all Spirits subject unto Me: so that every Spirit of the Firmament and of the Ether: upon the Earth and under the Earth: on dry Land and in the Water: of Whirling Air, and of rushing Fire: and every Spell and Scourge of God may be obedient unto Me.
I invoke Thee, the Terrible and Invisible God: Who dwellest in the Void Place of the Spirit: Arogogorobrao: Sochou: Modorio: Phalarchao: Ooo: Ape, The Bornless One: Hear Me!
Hear Me: Roubriao: Mariodam: Balbnabaoth: Assalonai: Aphniao: I: Tholeth: Abrasax: Qeoou: Ischur, Mighty and Bornless One! Hear Me!
I invoke Thee: Ma: Barraio: Ioel: Kotha: Athorebalo: Abraoth: Hear Me!
Hear me! Aoth: Aboth: Basum: Isak: Sabaoth: Iao:
This is the Lord of the Gods:
This is the Lord of the Universe:
This is He Whom the Winds fear.
This is He, Who having made Voice by His Commandment, is Lord of All Things; King, Ruler, and Helper. Hear Me!
Hear Me: Ieou: Pur: Iou: Pur: Iaot: Iaeo: Ioou: Abrasax: Sabriam: Oo: Uu: Ede: Edu: Angelos tou theou: Lai: Gaia: Apa: Diachanna: Chorun.
The apparent boundary between human and the divine finally disappears, consumed by the magical enflaming of the aspirant.
I am He! the Bornless Spirit! having sight in the Feet: Strong, and the Immortal Fire!
I am He! the Truth!
I am He! Who hate that evil should be wrought in the World!
I am He, that lightningeth and thundereth.
I am He, from whom is the Shower of the Life of Earth:
I am He, whose mouth flameth:
I am He, the Begetter and Manifester unto the Light:
I am He, the Grace of the World:
“The Heart Girt with a Serpent” is My Name!
Come Thou forth, and follow Me: and make all Spirits subject unto Me so that every Spirit of the Firmament, and of the Ether: upon the Earth and under the Earth: on dry land, or in the Water: of whirling Air or of rushing Fire: and every Spell and Scourge of God, may be obedient unto me! Iao: Sabao: Such are the Words!
While experiencing the physical hardships of the Chinese road trip Crowley obviously lacked a physical temple, as a substitute he had to erect a psychical one. His psychical temple resembled the one he had constructed at Boleskine in 1900, which he again erected through the aid of astral travel which he learned from the Golden Dawn. A.G.H.
Bornless Ritual. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bornless_Ritual>.
Sumner, Alex (2004). “The Bornless Ritual”. Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition 1 (7). Retrieved on 2007-06-07. <http://www.jwmt.org/v1n7/bornless.html>.
Suster, Gerald. The Legacy of the Beast: The Life, Work and Influence of Aleister Crowley. York Beach, ME. Samuel Weiser. 1989. pp. 165-168