What is “93?”
As it is written in The Book of the Law, the Law of Thelema is stated as “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” It is further said, “Love is the law, love under will.” The two primary terms in these statements are Will and Love, respectively. In the Greek language, they are Thelema (Will) and Agapé (Love).
Using the Greek technique of isopsephy, which applies a numerical value to letters, the letters of both of these words when added together equal 93:
- Thelema = Θελημα
- Θ (Theta) = 9 +
- ε (Epsilon) = 5 +
- λ (Lambda) = 30 +
- η (Eta) = 8 +
- μ (Mu) = 40 +
- α (Alpha) 1
- = 93
- Agapé = Αγαπη
- Α (Alpha) 1 +
- γ (Gamma) 3 +
- α (Alpha) 1 +
- π (Pi) 80 +
- η (Eta) 8
- = 93
The relevance of this technique is found in the art of correspondence. When two words have the same value, they are said to have a meaningful connection. In this case, it is considered significant that the two central concepts of Thelema—Will and Love—are of equal value, and therefore have a direct connection.
“93” as Salutation
It is common for Thelemites to greet each other with “93” in person as well as in the opening and closing of written correspondence.
This custom derives from Aleister Crowley’s guideline that Thelemites should greet each other with the Law. Since saying the entire Law can be cumbersome, using 93 has become a kind of shorthand.
In informal written correspondence, one often finds the number singly at the head of a letter and in the form “93 93/93” at the end.
In this case, the initial “93” stands in for “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” and “93 93/93” stands for “Love is the law, love under will.”
Some Thelemites find this usage excessively informal, even for everyday use; others point out that it is attested in Crowley’s own letters and deem it acceptable as a result.
Flexibility of the Salutation
In a letter to a student regarding the formal salutations, Crowley wrote “One need not be dogmatic about the use of these special words. One might choose a formula to represent one’s own particular True Will.” In the same letter, in answer to the question of whether he refrains from using the formal salutation in some cases to avoid awkwardness, he says,”Yes, I do.” But notice how he does not fail to align such discretion with his True Will as he continues in the letter, “I don’t think it good manners to force my idiosyncrasies down people’s throats, and I don’t want to appear any more eccentric than I need. It might detract from my personal influence, and so actually harm the Work I am trying to perform.”