> *** from THE CRY OF THE 3RD ÆTHYR
Many of the obscure passages in "The Vision and the Voice" relate to Crowley's own Thelemic cosmogony rather than traditional myths. Chapter III in "The Book of the Law" overtly condemns the religions of the old aeon (of Osiris) as "crapulous creeds." Crowley's reception of "Liber Legis" started him on a long road to achieve the magical grade of Master of the Temple. His visions of the 30 Aethyrs of John Dee's magical system culminated this process and clarified much that was hinted at in "Liber Legis."
Satan, Lucifer, Leviathan, and Belial are the four princes of the evil of the world mentioned in the book called, "The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage," which outlined the operation whereby one could achieve the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. After achieving this most sublime contact, the Adept was instructed to evoke these four princes and command them to the service of the HGA. In modern, psychological terms, the magician achieves complete integration of all the levels of his/her personal being, from the deepest subconscious to the most exalted superconscious states.
Overall, the passage you quoted connects all the old religious ideals suggestive of the HGA with the princes of evil in order to assert their obsolescence and insist that a new magical ideal needs to be followed in order to reach the HGA. The 3rd Aethyr may be attributed to the Path of Gimel on the Tree of Life, which involves the revelation of the HGA upon the Adept, just as Kether is revealed to Tiphareth through the Path of Gimel, pouring holy Meslah to the worlds below.
As for the passage from the 2nd Aethyr you quoted, it's possible that Crowley was referring to an apocryphal story from the Talmud, or something like that. The story of Lilith is another example of this kind of story. You can decide for yourself whether this contradicts the Bible stories or completes them. In the context of the 2nd Aethyr, Cain was used as an example of someone who had received initiation through the shedding of blood in connection with the archetypal story of the brothers. The myth of Gilgamesh and Enkidu is another example of this ideal. Cain was the evil brother but Crowley had a tendency to take the symbols of ancient myths and reverse their meaning to use them in his revolutionary Thelemic symbol systems. The way serpents are discussed in Crowley's "Holy Books of Thelema" shows them to represent holy powers providing enlightenment to all. Thus, Cain's descent from a serpent in Crowley's spiritual context further shows his holiness. Cain was thus a Magus of great power according to this interpretation.
This Aethyr can be attributed to the Path of Beth on the Tree of Life, whose Tarot card is The Magus. This was the next grade in Crowley's supernal initiatory path and so was beyond him at this stage in his magical career. Thus, he could only get general intimations of the nature of this station.
I hope this helps you understand somewhat as to what is going on in these obscure passages.
[MODERATOR removed extraneous quoted material and reformatted,
top-posted! see the MMM about this; future top-posted
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without comment! thanks for this post nonetheless!]