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V for Victory

V for Victory - In hoc signo vinces

by Frater Enatheleme

While Aleister Crowley wasn’t the first person to scrawl a “V” on the walls in Brussels, nor was he the first to put two fingers in the air as a sign of some idea or insult, he demonstrated that he was the first to publish a “V Sign,” and he claimed to have invented Churchill’s use of the gesture in WWII as a magical foil to the Nazis’ use of the swastika. Crowley passed this idea to friends at the BBC, and to the British Naval Intelligence Division through his connections in MI5, eventually gaining the approval of Winston Churchill.

Some may dispute this version of history related to us by Crowley, and honestly there’s not a lot of evidence to support it, but then again there’s not much evidence against it either. Regardless, as Thelemites we may certainly build on the idea, embrace the symbolism as Crowley explained it, and make use of the “V for Victory” to promote our values of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty. Indeed, the following graphic, based on the V for Victory, has been used by the Thelemites Against Injustice for some time:

V for Victory - In Hoc Signo Vinces

The symbolism of the “V for Victory” refers to the story of Isis, Apophis, and Osiris, as it is illustrated in the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, first published by Crowley in The Equinox I, no. 3, in 1910. In this ritual, the swastika is used to represent the mourning of Isis, and the “V” is used to symbolize Apophis or Typhon the destroyer. This symbolism explains Crowley’s use of the “V” as a foil to the swastika, since Apophis slays Osiris, causing Isis to mourn.

The “V” symbol also echoes the downward-pointing triangle, a symbol of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child of the New Aeon.

“In the magical hexagram … the descending red triangle is that of Horus, a sign specially revealed by him personally, at the Equinox of the Gods.” — The Book of Lies

In Liber Pyramidos, Horus first appears as Hoor-Apep, a hybrid of Horus and Apophis. Because of this symbolic connection, the “V for Victory” simultaneously invokes Apophis who destroys the swastika, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the Lord of this Aeon, wherein the Law is “Do what thou wilt.”

“Hoor hath a secret fourfold name: it is Do What Thou Wilt.” — The Book of Lies

This symbol is a useful tool in the fight to establish the liberty of the individual. For more detailed information about Aleister Crowley’s work for the Allies in WWII, check out Richard B. Spence’s Secret Agent 666, and the original version of this post at AC2012.


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