The Neo-Terraphim Alphabet of Influences
I’ve long wanted to make an alteration to Austin Osman Spare’s drawing The Alphabet of Desire. As the A.O.D. is in common use by Chaos Magi the world over, thanks in part to the work of Peter J. Carroll’s writings upon the subject, I found it somewhat irksome as a model over the years.
The original A.O.D. includes 6 emotional states which guide most human behavior. 3 states, and their polar opposites. Death and Sex, Hate and Love, Fear and Desire. These 6 are further split into thirds, making 18 aspects of those original 6 states. Carroll took the model a step further, including laughter, describing how laughter is its own opposite. This lead to 7 influences total for the casual Chaos Magi user, which I personally found to be a bit personally distasteful for my own internal reasoning, as 7 is one shy of the number of points of the Chaos Sphere symbol.
Furthermore, Desire in the title never sat well with me, as ‘desire’ is already one of the 6 influences. It allowed for a nice septagram as an associative symbol, but that was not nearly good enough in my mind. I told myself for a long while that I’d do something about this. As it turned out, that day was today.
I had decided before that there should be 8 influences, not six. For my purposes, I selected ‘Subjectivity’ and ‘Objectivity’ to be my newly added duality. The play of these two has fascinated me for a while, as both have an interesting effect upon the mind, in opposing directions. Having come to 8, the inclusion of Carroll’s explanation of laughter, would result in a very satisfactory 9. The numerological significance was acceptable to me, either way. I even threw in a few nods to Eris in this one.
In keeping with the subject matter for my book, I redesigned the A.O.D. to match the concepts I was playing with. With acknowledgement to Spare and Carroll for their combined influence upon my research, I’ve labeled my new model the Neo-Terraphim Alphabet of Influences and in my writings I’ll be describing exactly how I’ve come to use it for charting the crashing waves of my psyche. I could hardly put my name on it without acknowledging Spare as both a magi and artist, before my having a personally cultivated methodology to accompany its newer use. As well as why the outer rim contains two sets of the traditional astrological symbols, but that shall have to be another post.