Hru and Hua: A Secret Egregore of the A.A. and H.O.G.D.?
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
Grab your favorite hot beverage, sit back, and let me regale you with a tale of two star-crossed spirits that come with the tantalizing hint of a shared secret.
If you have spent any time delving into Thelemic Magick and/or its roots in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, you have probably come across the two Characters Hru and Hua. I first encountered Hru in the instructions for use of the tarot in Liber T, and the name Hua first presented itself to me while I was researching the initiation ceremonies of the old Golden Dawn. But the two names (or at least names with the same spellings) are to be found in many other locations.
As I began to unpack the interesting history of these two names, I discovered that they both appear together in earlier work, and what's more, they keep on bumping into one another, again and again over time. This led me to a strange hypothesis about why they pop up together over and over in the work of various magicians spanning at least 4 centuries. What follows is their mysterious evolution and a striking hypothesis about their underlying purpose.
HUA first appears as a Hebrew god-name in Kether. The spellings HRU and HUA both appear in the extensive notes of Dr. John Dee's Enochian workings, where neither plays a prominent role in that system's complex hierarchies of spirits. Hru was described as a minor angel, and Hua is called a cacodemon (Laycock's Complete Enochian Dictionary). A more Dee/Kelley purist derivation has them both as cacodemons (Aaron Leitch). "Hua is a demon of sickness from the north, and Hru is a demon of greed from the west. The demons of sickness are found in the upper-left sub-quadrants of the Great Table, and the demons of greed are found in the upper-right sub-quadrants (The Essential Enochian Grimoire p. 184 and 188). Both names have exactly three letters, begin with the letter H and include a U. Their appearance together in Dee's system of angelic magic will not be their last.
The old Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD) is the second magical system in which both names play a role. Mathers himself (quoting Agrippa and the Zohar 204-206) points out that HUA is a Hebrew god-name meaning He, making this the most likely source of its inclusion in HOGD practice. It is possible that it is purely coincidence that the same names appear in both the HOGD and Dee/Kelly systems and that they point to entirely different beings, and we should emphasize the two names certainly play a much larger role in the HOGD.
Per the HOGD instructions, HRU presides over the secret wisdom and is to be invoked to assist in tarot divination and to consecrate the vault of adepts (and crypt of C.R.C.) prior to the order's 5=6 Adeptus Minor ritual. The HOGD casts the other being, HUA, as the avenging angel, who punishes those who break their order oaths. It seems likely from Mather's words that the avenging angel HUA was derived from Hebrew kabbalah. However, nowhere in the HOGD materials do we find any explanation for why Hru should be associated with Tarot and the Adeptus Minor ceremony. It is of course possible that either or both names were arbitrarily conceived order guardians. Though it seems difficult to completely eliminate the possibility that Mathers or Wescott have derived the angel name Hru from the Enochian using the less-purist, GD methods. Further, unconscious influence can never be precluded.
Interestingly, the name Hua is also connected to the tarot in Bennet & Crowley's Sepher Sipheroth under the entry for number 78 (the number of tarot cards). Sepher Sipheroth also describes Hua as a god name in Kether, likely derived from the abovementioned Zohar excerpt. Now we have more clues: both Hru and Hua are connected to tarot, and have been used (intentionally or not - connected or not) as names for everything from lowly cacodemons to a god-name in the highest sphere -a strange plot twist. Along these lines, Crowley writes in his poem "The Devil's Conversion" on p. 49 of KONX OM PAX, “Hua is God (it tore the sea); There is none other God than He.” Here, in a poem about the devil, the same spelling as a lowly cacodemon is again raised to the status of a god (as it was in Sepher Sipheroth). What can a minor demon have to do with the highest god and vice versa? Surely, the two usages of Hua must be completely unrelated. Setting aside the obvious objections for a moment, how could a single name be both an Enochian cacodemon, an avenging angel, and a god name in Kether and preside over the tarot all at once? Where can we apply for support for such an idea? In response we note first the admonition to place all ideas next to their opposite and prefer neither. In this case the opposites are the demonic/angelic and god/devil dualities. We are told that the goal of the great work is uniting opposites, as Crowleys advises in Liber Aleph p. 14, "destroy every Thought by mating it with its Opposite." We can apply this method of thinking to all opposites: above and below, microcosm and macrocosm, heaven and hell. Are gods and devils, angels and demons all the same stuff -Jungian archetypes from our collective unconscious, perhaps? Liber Tzaddi v. 40 seems to bolster this idea when it declares, "My adepts stand upright; their head above the heavens, their feet below the hells." And Liber AL I:22, warns, "Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt." Fine then, perhaps god is the devil, and Hua is god -it's certainly come a long way from Enochian cacodemon.
We see therefore that the names spelled Hua and Hru not only both appear in two major magical systems (Enochian & HOGD) and share a common connection to Tarot, but they are also both related to Tiphereth and the Great Work: Hru as the name invoked to open the HOGD vault associated with the 5=6 or Adeptus Minor grade, and Hua as Crowley's devil-god in Konx Om Pax, uniting microcosm and macrocosm. So, where does that leave us? Both names appear in the Enochian and HOGD systems, both are connected to Tarot, and both symbolize in some way the solar Great Work of uniting opposites. Dare we consider the possibility that Hru and Hua may be in fact be different facets of the same being? An unconscious archetype popping up in diverse places? Let us suppose for a moment that this could be the case to see where it take us.
Hru has a further connection to Tiphereth and the HGA. In the Thelemic pantheon, we find a litany of god names associated with Horus, the lord of the aeon: Heru, Hrumachis, Ra-Hoor-Khuit, and so on. Here, the connection between Hru and Heru is purely linguistic and based on the sounds of the names. Hru would be pronounced quite similarly to both Heru and the first syllable of Hrumachis. Hua is not necessarily immune from this dynamic either, for it may well be that Hua would sound lot like Hoor when pronounced with an English accent (an inside joke in English lodges?). And, if we have any remaining doubt about the connection of Hru to Horus, Crowley himself writes under The Aeon card on p. 125 of his Book of Thoth,
"It should, by the way, be noted that the name Heru* is identical with Hru, who is the great Angel set over the Tarot. This new Tarot may therefore be regarded as a series of illustrations of The Book of the Law, the doctrine of that Book is everywhere implicit."
How then, you may be asking, are Hru/Heru/Hua/Horus connected to the HGA? In the Thelemic pantheon, Horus, as Heru, Het-Heru, and Ra-Hoor-khuit (RHK), are symbols for the HGA, and we are told in the Crowley's comment to Liber AL that Hrumachis is the dawning sun (more Tiphereth/Sol correspondences). Therefore, it seems that our postulated composite Hru/Hua is connected to the HGA through the god-form Heru/RKH.
With the name HRU tied to both the tarot and Hru/RHK/HGA, might this suggest that the tarot could be a means of conversing with the HGA?
The connection between Hru and Horus brings us all the way back to the old HOGD. We recall how the HOGD Neophyte ritual makes extensive use of the Horus god-form. Further, the signs of the neophyte are the sign of Hoor-paar-kraat (the sign of silence -and the word of the grade) and the sign of projection (Horus/RHK). Why the fixation on Horus in Mather's HOGD as well as Crowley's Book of the Law, OTO, and AA? This led me to a startling hypothesis. Could it be that Mathers intended the connections all along and Crowley ran with it? Is it just Horus (not turtles) all the way down? If so, what was the purpose of inserting this Hru/Hua/Horus/HGA/Tarot/Devil/God/Angel/Demon complex into the HOGD and later the AA? What is it all for? This is certainly purely speculative, but what a speculation! Could it be that the inclusion in the old HOGD of Hru (the angel set over tarot and the vault of adepts) and the avenging angel Hua (think: Horus! Avenger!), was nothing less than the intentional insertion of a coded Horus Egregore by Mathers into the HOGD system? If so, do we all energize that egregore every time we begin a tarot divination by saying the words from the HOGD instructions & Crowley's Liber T, "I invoke Thee, IAO, that thou wilt send HRU, the great Angel that is set over the operations of this secret Wisdom, to lay his hand invisibly on these consecrated cards of art, that thereby we may obtain true knowledge of hidden things." Had this egregore consciously or consciously or unconsciously influenced Crowley, resulting in the prominence of Horus in his New Aeon? The resonance of HRU with the formula HRILIU should not escape our notice either. Or, is this simply too fantastic a proposition to be seriously entertained? In the end, we must admit the evidence is sparse and bound together mostly by speculation and conjecture, but it also offers the prospect of a delicious conspiracy at the heart two orders and three magical systems that are central to modern occulture.
In this essay we have retraced the history of the names Hua and Hru across three important western magical systems (Enochian, HOGD, and AA). We have explored the possibility that Hru, Hua, RHK, and the HGA may be one in the same being: both god and devil, and a hidden egregore -possibly pulled from Dee's work and/or Hebrew Kabbalah, and inserted into the HOGD to rule over the 5=6 grade, guide tarot divination, and enforce oaths, then subsequently adopted by Crowley in his Liber T, Konx Om Pax, and then finally taking its throne as the crowned and conquering lord of the aeon: Horus. It is difficult to say to what extent (if at all) this colorful historical speculation holds true, but the references and hints outlined above reveal a fascinating network of correspondences and implications that range from the trivial to the highly significant with regard to the overall development of Thelemic Magick in particular and that of the Western Mystery Tradition as a whole. Whoever Hua and Hru may actually be, what is certain is that they aren't going away anytime soon.
*Many thanks to Soror Bethsheba Ashe, Aaron Leitch, and many others for their assistance with locating source materials and analysis.
Love is the law, Love under Will.