Two of the most profound documents we have dealing with the gnosis of Babalon are The Thunder: Perfect Mind in the Nag Hammadi library and The Daughter of Fortitude, from one of the final skrying sessions of John Dee and Edward Kelly. What is particularly fascinating about these two documents are the similarities between them, especially considering that The Thunder: Perfect Mind had been lost for more than 1300 years and was virtually unknown at the time that Dee and Kelly skryed the Aethyrs in the late 16th century.
It is not known exactly when The Thunder: Perfect Mind was written but it probably dates to about the 2nd or 3rd centuries c.e. It is a highly unusual text, in the context of the other codices discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. Unlike other better known Gnostic texts, this book is written as a revelation, spoken in the first person by a female figure who is never specifically identified. It consists of a combination of paradoxical self-proclamations mixed with warnings to those who do not heed or love this character. The book does not contain anything that is distinctively Christian or Jewish, and it makes no reference to any sort of Gnostic myth, though it is often supposed by religious scholars that the speaker is some aspect of Sophia (Wisdom).
One of the aspects of Sophia that arises in several of the Nag Hammadi codices is that known as Barbelo (also called Barbela, or Barbelon). This aeon, which usually appears as a feminine principle (though not always), is mentioned in several of the Gnostic texts. The Apocryphon of John in particular goes into detail regarding Barbelo in the following passage:
“[The first power], the glory of Barbelo, the perfect glory in the aeons, the glory of the revelation, she glorified the virginal Spirit and it was she who praised him (the Monad) because thanks to him she had come forth. This is the first thought, his image; she became the womb of everything, for it is she who is prior to them all…”
In the codex entitled Melchizedek, the following prayer is offered to her:
“Holy are [you], Holy are [you, Holy are you, Mother of the] aeons, Barbelo, for ever and ever, [Amen].”
While she who speaks in The Thunder: Perfect Mind shall forever remain a mystery, it is easy to make a connection between her and the power known as Barbelo. The Perfect Mind text opens with the phrase:
“I was sent forth from [the] power…” and continues, “For I am the first and the last…”
Now let us fast-forward 1300 years. The magician John Dee and his skrying partner Edward Kelly had been working together for 5 years. Together they had received, by calling upon angelic entities, three magickal systems, including that which we now know as Enochian magick. Things had recently gotten rather stressful between Dee and Kelly following a wife swapping episode ordered by their angelic familiar, Madimi.
On May 23, 1587, they received what many consider to be the most important message yet. Kelly saw an angel on a white horse appear. After a few moments, the horseman rides away into a field. Then his vision continues, the following from the journal of John Dee:
Here is now come Madimi.
She is gone into the field, that way which he rode.
Here is another, like a woman all in green.
Here cometh another woman: All her attire is like beaten gold; she hath on her forehead a Cross chrystal, her neck and breast are bare unto under her dugs: She hath a girdle of beaten gold slackly buckled unto her with a pendant of gold down to the ground.
Enter Babalon. At this point she recites to Kelly and Dee what is now called the Daughter of Fortitude speech. It is a powerful speech and one well worth taking the time to read, study and meditate upon.
The Daughter of Fortitude, while being much shorter in length than the older text, has many points in common with The Thunder: Perfect Mind. In the speech received by Dee and Kelly we read:
I am deflowered & yet a virgin.
I sanctifie & am not sanctified…
I am a harlot for such as ravish me:
and a virgin for such as know me not:
Here we see some of the paradoxical nature that is so evident throughout much of the Perfect Mind text:
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin…
In Daughter of Fortitude, we hear Babalon call into question those who would point their fingers and accuse Her followers of sin:
who is he, that shall say, they have synned,
and unto whom shall they make accownt?
In The Thunder, we find a somewhat similar passage:
If you are condemned by this one, who will acquit you?
Or if you are acquitted by him, who will be able to detain you?
Babalon tells Dee and Kelly in Daughter that cleanliness is important for Her, and that they will profit from the riches of others (a prophecy that very much came true, especially with Kelly – at least for a time):
And I am sent unto you to play the harlot with you:
And am to enrich you with the spoyles of other men:
prepare for me, for I comme shortly.
Provyde your Chambers for me
that they may be swete & clenly:
for I will make a dwelling place amongst you:
Once again, we find a passage in Perfect Mind that seems to reflect the same sentiment:
And take me to yourselves from places that are ugly and in ruin, and rob from those which are good even though in ugliness.
Out of shame, take me to yourselves shamelessly;
and out of shamelessness and shame, upbraid my members in yourselves.
In Daughter of Fortitude, the Goddess says the following:
for behold, I am understanding, & science dwelleth in me
It is key that She mentions that She is understanding, as this is the name of the sephira Binah, where Babalon is said to dwell above the Abyss. While no such claim is made in Nag Hammadi text, it is important to note that the Tree of Life glyph did not exist when this text was written. Babalon does, however, say that science dwells in Her and in The Thunder: Perfect Mind we find an analogous statement:
I am the knowledge of my inquiry,
and the finding of those who seek after me
There are, of course, many differences between the texts as well. The Daughter of Fortitude speech contains nowhere near the number of paradoxic statements as does the Perfect Mind codex, which itself seems to be a response to the ongoing debate amongst early Christians as to the role of women in the community and the growing misogyny demonstrated by the Orthodox elite. Many of the passages in this text seem to be aimed squarely at those who are persecuting women in general and priestesses and female apostles in particular.
I am the one who has been hated everywhere
and who has been loved everywhere.
I am the one they call Life
and you have called Death.
I am the one whom they call Law
and you have called Lawlessness.
By contrast, the tone taken in Daughter of Fortitude is quite different. While the older text laments the changing time and changing attitudes of early Christianity, the latter is the voice of a Goddess preparing to return at some point in the imminent future.
As yet, I walk in the clowdes,
As yet, I am carryed with the wyndes:
And can not descend unto you
for the multitude of your abbominations,
& the filthy lothesomnes of your dwelling places.
With the advent of the New Aeon, first with the reception in 1904 of The Book of the Law, followed five and a half years later with Liber CDXVIII, The Vision and the Voice, the returning Goddess has made Herself known in no uncertain terms and it is clear that Her time is NOW. The Goddess is alive and magick is afoot. Or, as the final line in the Daughter of Fortitude speech says:
I comme unto you again.