“I reign over ye, saith the God of Justice..”
The first words proclaim the power and majesty of the knowledge contained within. To us, ‘justice’ is law, order, action and its results. Ancient civilisations had a greater understanding, and expanded the meaning to cover the place of man within the universe, and how he interacts and changes the cosmos by his actions. The vast implications of this concept to the ancients put emphasis on order, particularly the Egyptians who used the concept of Maat.
The importance of Maat cannot be over-emphasised in Egyptian society, and the quote above has connotations of the great Hermetic dictum, “As above, so below”. Vedic civilisation was also based on the need for cosmic order, and Jeanine Miller’s book “The Vision of Cosmic Order in the Vedas” gives an excellent account of the word rta, “…reality, law, order, norm, basic structure of the universe, universal harmony, truth…cycles, balance of nature.” “Basically, rta concerns the dynamics of manifestation, the process of world unfoldment at all levels.”
The first line of the First Key contains a panorama of possibilities, a vision of all levels of the universe, the workings of karma. If we assume that idea was that the magician identifies with the Gods or spirits mentioned within the Calls, we have a truly extraordinary picture of the Magician becoming united with the universes, knowing the source, course, and goal of all things. His responsibilities are awesome. The pronoun ‘I’ is ambiguous as it can refer magician imagining himself as the God of Justice, or he is just reading the words.
“…in power exalted above the firmaments of wrath”
The God of Justice is above the Heavens. This is an important statement, if we remember Genesis 1.1 “In the beginning, the Gods (note plural) created the Heavens and the Earth”. There is a huge Rabbinical tradition concerning the first chapter of Genesis, which we need not enter into here. ‘wrath’ emphasises the interactive nature of the Heavens, and reflects the actions of the God of Justice.
“…in whose hands the sun is as a sword and the moon as a through thrusting fire”
This suggests that the functions of the sun and moon change with the influence of the God of Justice. The sun and moon represent the masculine and feminine polarities, or ying and yang. The God unites and utilises the functions of male and female. This unity is emphasised by connecting the sun with a sword, as the sword is with the element Air, but in the Vedic tradition, it is the principle of enlightenment born out of rta, the implicate order. The suggestion is that light brings justice. The Moon is watery, yet here, it is associated with Fire! Going back to the Vedic tradition, Agni the God of Fire is the priest, the mediator between heaven and earth. Agni is the first word of Rig Veda. Agni brings insight, vivification, and is present in cooking and heat. Agni and Soma (Fire and Water) are often mentioned together. Indeed, the Hebrew for Heavens, ShMYM, is literally Fire/waters. There is actually a Biblical precedent, commented in the Bahir verse 99: “And he placed the Cherubim to the East of the Garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword revolving, to guard the way of the Tree of Life.”Gen. 3.24. The Bahir goes on to say that Fire and Water existed before the Heavens, and that the Heaven is Fire: “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” Deut. 4.24. In these situations, the implication is that Fire and Water is there to prevent the unworthy from ascending into the Heavens.
“…which measureth your garments in the midst of my vestures, and trussed you together as the palms of my hands: whose seats I garnished with the fire of gathering, and beautified your garments with admiration.”
Repetition indicates emphasis, or importance, especially in Biblical texts.
Garments, or clothes cover and reveal. In this context the reference is probably to what has been created, which is different to God. This subject is well covered in Vedic traditions where Maya, or illusion is discussed in similar terms. Maya is something that is illusory, and it has to be lived in, and it also has to be passed through to find the reality. The status of a person can often be deduced by the clothes he or she wears.
“In whose hands” and “trussed…palms of my hands.”
The Hand of God are the organs of action and also enclosing and uniting everything in creation. In Hebrew, “hand” is Yod, the tenth letter, and also the first letter of YHVH, related to fire. There may also be a connection to The Hermit.
“To whom I made a law to govern the Holy Ones and delivered you, a rod to govern the Holy Ones and delivered you a rod with the Ark of Knowledge.”
The only rule of Man is to be over God’s spirits. Esoterically, the staff is associated with Fire, and so he gives the means to ascend the Tree of Life to enter the Heavens. Note that he does not say “Ark of the Covenant”, which was contained within the Holy of Holies in the Great Temple. Inside the Ark was the two Tablets of the Ten Commandments along with the original scroll of the Torah, written by Moses. Two golden Cherubs were on top of the Ark. These are the same Cherubs in the East of the Garden of Eden who guard the way. The Ark of Knowledge is thus the centre of spiritual power needed to attain prophetic experience.
“Moreover you lifted up your voices and sware obedience and faith to him that liveth and triumpeth”
It is not enough to have these symbols of power; an oath of loyalty is necessary. Here God says that speech is enough to do this, by sending it upwards. It is worth noting that speech is vibrating air; the Air is ruler of the Aethyrs.
“Whose beginning is not, nor end can be”
God is established as being above time and therefore uncreated.
“…which shineth as a flame in the midst of your palace, and reigneth amongst you as the balance of righteousness and truth.”
“House” or “Palace” are often references to the human body. Palace is also a term for the Seven Heavens. God is not found in some far off heights, but within man. Superficially, this could simply indicate conscience, but now we have established that God is not only above, but within and around us. “balance of righteousness and truth” within is an echo of the title, and this could indicate that someone representing God has the power to dispense justice. This is obviously open to abuse: witness the terrible things done in God’s name. The knowledge given by the Angels to Dee on the use of these keys is about controlling and changing the whole world.
Now it is time to command the spirits of God by the magician who has stated that he is a servant of God; that is, he is doing God’s will. The spirits are commanded to reveal anything that the magician desires. The Magician commands the spirits to come from wherever they are to appear before him in a friendly and helpful manner.
We are now in a position to summarise the meaning of the First Call:
An unnamed God of Justice establishes that He is uncreated, eternal, that He is above the Heavens, He created all, and He unites all of creation. He is within man, and man has authority to act in the name of God. He rules all spirits, man has the ability to rise above spirits over them through the rod and Ark of Knowledge.
The First Call is only about the all-encompassing rule of God, and the relationship of Him to man.