An online acquaintance recently asked: What do the seven heads of the Beast to represent, in the context of the Goddess Babalon?
“Seven are the heads of The Beast whereon She rideth. The head of an Angel: the head of a Saint: the head of a Poet: the head of an Adulterous woman: the head of a Man of Valour: the head of a Satyr: and the head of a Lion-Serpent.” (The Book of Lies)
Whenever we encounter a symbol with a number, as we do in the case of the image of the new-aeon goddess Babalon riding on the beast of seven heads, we do well to think of where else in our hermetic qabbalistic studies the number 7 comes up. The seven ancient planets (Luna, Mercury, Venus, Sol, Mars, and Jupiter) present themselves immediately to the mind -and with them their associated spheres on the tree of life (see Liber 777 rows 3 thru 9).
The planetary attributes of these portions of the tree of life are nicely summed up in the symbol of the hexagram: the sun (tiphereth) in the middle and the other six planets (surrounding spheres) at the 6 corners. In this sense, the 7-headed beast is the holy hexagram.
This plays well with ACs placement of the formula of BABALON in the row of Binah (3/Saturn) in Liber 777. Of the seven ancient planets, only Saturn/Binah (read: Babalon / adulterous woman) is above the abyss. It is in this sense that she is “riding on the beast” -or the animal-self below -thus Babalon is the gate keeper of the abyss. For this reason, among others, Crowley attributed the formula of Babalon to Binah in Liber 777.
If we map the beasts heads onto the seven ancient planets, we can ask the question: which head corresponds to which planet/sphere? Thus, we can make some educated guesses as to which of the beasts heads as described in The Book of Lies corresponds to which if the 7 spheres, based on the attributes of those spheres (color, planet, Roman gods, etc.):
Heads of the Beast mapped onto the planets:
Angel: Mercury (as herald or messenger) Saint: Jupiter (as beneficent) Poet: Venus (as beauty, love, and art) Adulterous woman: Saturn (as Babalon) Man of Valour: Mars (as warrior) Satyr: Luna (as sexual mystery) Lion-Serpent: Sol (traditional associations)
The result is satisfying enough to get the feeling that we are on to something. But it's only valuable if we can learn something from it. Do you notice anything strange about this arrangement? If the adulterous woman (Saturn) is one of the heads, how can she also be the Scarlet Woman, Babalon -riding on the beast of seven heads? How is she simultaneously separate and atop this beast while being a part of it -one of its heads? This reveals our Lady of the Abyss as both above and below the Abyss, a true gate keeper. In her aspect below the abyss she bars entrance to those not prepared to drain every last drop of their blood into her cup, losing themselves and their individuality completely in her. Above the abyss, she is the great mother Binah, the oceanic womb, detached from all individual desire, dark and fecund under the night of Pan.
It’s important that the initiate get their qabbalistic correspondences down so firmly that something akin to the above analysis springs immediately to mind whenever the number 7 is mentioned.