A few months ago, the following question came up on an e-list:
"I have heard that the LVX signs are more for "positive" energy or light, and the NOX signs are more for "negative" or dark energy. Is this accurate?"
The question of what NOX and LVX are for has been rolling around in my head ever since, and I'd like to undertake a fuller analysis here.
As I've said before elsewhere, I think that the formulation LVX=positive, NOX=negative is a bit simplistic.
Let's take a look at the LVX signs first.
In the analysis of the keyword, INRI is found to conceal the alchemical interaction of salt, sulphur, and mercury that underlies all nature.
So far, we're on pretty stable Western-mystery-tradition ground. INRI had been used as an alchemical allegory by Freemasons for years by the GD's time - it was interpreted variously as Igne Natura Renovatur Integra ('by fire is all nature renewed intact'), Igne Nitrum Roris Invenitur ('the nitre of dew is found by fire'), and probably a few other ones.
But the GD interpretation puts a unique twist on this, in that INRI is also found to conceal two other words: IAO (the god of the gnostics) and LVX (light).
So I take the IAO-INRI-LVX complex to mean that the hidden godhead (IAO) reveals himself through the alchemical process of nature (INRI) as light (LVX).
My current thinking on the NOX formula runs along these lines:
In the INRI formula, as I said before, the godhead is revealed as light. But any revelation implies distortion; any manifestation implies falsification.
So NOX, as I see it, would be a state in which all externals are stripped away from divinity, and It is beheld in its full and terrible majesty, a sight which would drive insane any mind not prepared to look upon it.
Thus while NOX is the receptacle of the highest holiness, it is perceived as the abode of crime and insanity:
"O Night, that givest suck from thy paps to sorcery, and theft, and rape, and gluttony, and murder, and tyranny, and to the nameless Horror, cover us, cover us, cover us from the Rod of Destiny; for Cosmos must come, and the balance be set up where there was no need of balance, because there was no injustice, but only truth. But when the balances are equal, scale matched with scale, then will Chaos return." (Vision and the Voice, 4th Aethyr).
Compare also the imagery of the Cup of Babalon, and also several verses from the 169 Cries of Adoration, including:
" O Thou shrill song of the eunuch, that art heard behind the curtain of shame! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!"
The imagery of the paragraph from the Vision and the Voice also brings up another point: NOX as a mother or womb, NOX as a formula of fertility.
It brings to mind Crowley's remarks on the Court Cards of the Tarot as an expression of the formula of the Tetragrammaton:
"The Hebrew system is straightforward and irreversible; it postulates Father and Mother from whose union issue Son and Daughter. There an end. It is only later philosophical speculation to derive the Father-Mother Dyad from a Unity manifest, and later still to seek the source of that Unity in Nothing. This is a concrete and limited scheme, crude, with its causeless Beginning and its sterile End.
"The Pagan system is circular, self-generated, self-nourished, self-renewed. It is a wheel on whose rim are Father-Mother-Son-Daughter; they move about the motionless axis of Zero; they unite at will; they transform one into another; there is neither Beginning nor End to the Orbit; none is higher or lower than another. The Equation "Naught=Many =Two= One= All= Naught" is implicit in every mode of the being of the System."
The NOX signs allude very strongly to this formula of the Tetragrammaton, being divided into Man, Woman, Boy, and Girl. They would also seem to fit into the pagan system, where endless combinations of the elements are possible. (Cf. the Star Sapphire: 'pater et mater unus deus etc.', 'mater et filius etc.' and so forth).
The pagan system is a wheel (ROTA). And just as LVX is the hidden word in INRI, so also is NOX the hidden word in the fourfold keyword TARO.
Furthermore, the pagan system of the Tetragrammaton has the explicit association with incest, in keeping with NOX's association with crime and blasphemy.
Thus NOX, the womb out of which godhead emerges, would recall the formula by which political states are founded upon some unspeakable crime of incest or fratricide (cf. the stories of Romulus, Oedipus, the Trojan War, Orestes, Genesis, the sister-marrying pharoahs, etc. etc.; also the commentary upon Atu VI in the Cry of the 2nd Aethyr.)
This opposition of LVX on the on hand as the exterior brilliance of deity, and NOX on the other hand as the hidden terribleness of deity, is nicely glyphed in Atu VII, the Chariot:
"The Charioteer is clothed in the amber-coloured armour appropriate to the sign...The vizor of his helmet is lowered, for no man may look upon his face and live. For the same reason, no part of his body is exposed."
The armor may be taken to represent LVX, the hidden charioteer, NOX.
The Charioteer, as the master of the sphinx, is also related to Oedipus. This of course reinforces the association of NOX with crime and incest. Furthermore, it should be noted that when Oedipus walked openly upon the earth (i.e. was unconcealed, as the godhead in NOX), he was a source of plague and war to Thebes; but when he was buried (i.e. concealed, as the godhead is by the blinding rays of his LVX), he was a source of fertility and prosperity to Athens (see Sophocles's Oedipus at Colonus).
"My childhood was picket fences, blue skies, red flowers, and cherry trees - but then I would see millions of little ants swarming on the cherry tree, which had pitch oozing out of it."
- David Lynch