This Article Covers:
● Motto in the A.’.A.’.
● Exercising Choice
● Motto’s Influences
● How to choose a Motto
● A personal example
From Latin muttum “grunt”, and later from Italian “Motto” and French “Mut” both meaning "word or short sentence", the motto concerns the lemma of an individual or group - be it a small social group or one as large as a coalition of nations.
Widely used in heraldry when composing a flag or coat of arms, the motto seeks to express in a word or short sentence the objectives, traditions, or values that govern those who use it, serving as a guide and motivation for themselves, and to instigate those ideals or cause fear of these in those who hear it.
They are almost always in Latin or some exotic language. In the mystical/magickal world, it is quite common to find mottos in Hebrew, Sanskrit, Enochian, among others. This magickal name is intended to express the Great Work of the person who tokes it, Great Work to which this person dedicates himself as well as he knows it.
It is common to use different mottos in different Orders or grades since the central work of the orders and grades can differ. There are also specific magickal mottos for certain public works, such as a pseudonym with which you will sign some manifesto, for example. This is useful both for separating in one’s own mind or in someone else’s mind the objectives of each work, as well as for situations where discretion is desired.
Motto in the A.’.A.’.
In our Holy Order, the Oath of each grade is sealed with the signature of the motto of the one who takes it.
Item 2 of the Probationer’s Oath/Task includes that “shall choose with deep forethought and intense solemnity a motto.” The importance of choosing the motto is such that this instruction is given in Item 2, the same which in the other Oaths/Tasks from Neophyte to Dominus Liminis talks about tests and examinations which aspirants must pass.
Later on, taking the Neophyte Oath, it is said that “He shall choose a new motto with deep forethought and intense solemnity, as expressing the clearer consciousness of his Aspiration which the year’s Probation has given him.”
“He shall choose a new motto” is an imperative expression that seems to go beyond mere suggestion. It seems to indicate that the future Neophyte should not keep to the old motto. Even so, some Brothers after due reflection insist that the old motto is ideal for this further grade. In my view, it doesn’t make sense that a future Neophyte who performed the work satisfactorily is barred for this reason or needs to choose a new motto for mere bureaucracy. If this is the case, let him give evidence to the best of his understanding that the motto is indeed suitable, and let his Superior guide him.
In the succeeding grades, there is no instruction on changing the motto, but it is common practice that in each grade a motto is taken in harmony with the work of that particular grade, and it carries the evolution of the individual’s understanding as he progresses.
As an example, I cite Crowley’s magical mottos
• Perdurabo (I shall Endure) — 1○=10□ até 4○=7□ Golden Dawn
• Parzival (From Graal legends, the Fool) — 5○=6□ Golden Dawn
• O.S.V. (Ol Sonuf Vaoresagi, I Reign Over You) — 6○=5□ Golden Dawn
• Satan-Jeheshua, Aum-Ha — 5○=6□ A.·. A.·.
• OU MH — 7○=4□ A.·. A.·.
• V.V.V.V.V. (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici) — 8○=3□ A.·. A.·.
• To Mega Therion (The Great Beast) — 9○= 2□ A.·. A.·.
Consider among the many labels and tags you carry, which ones you chose. You are called “American”, you are called “son of John Doe”. Perhaps you are known by some physical characteristics such as “black”, “tall”, “thin”. Maybe because of your skills like “good at computers”, “speaks well in public” or personality traits like “introspective” or “emotional”. These are all labels that reflect what others see in you. You didn’t choose any of this. You — with rare exceptions — didn’t even choose the name that appears on your ID.
The choice of the Magickal Motto, even if it did not bring any other effect beyond this, would be an act of choice. A declaration of the Will. Unlike a name your parents chose out of a sense of aesthetics or in honor of someone, it was you who chose a name that is the expression of your soul after deep thought and intense solemnity.
That name, though it meant anything else, is an emblem of your freedom. A reminder that you’ve taken the reins of your own life into your own hands. That you have defined for yourself a way of navigating existence.
Being your mission statement — your lemma! — and sealing your Oath, it is to be expected that this name brings to light the influences that made you choose it — both consciously and unconsciously. We see many Brothers choosing powerful and glamorous names without considering the other side of the coin.
Let’s say someone chooses “Heracles” as their motto. He will probably be aware that the name reflects physical strength, tenacity, heroism, divinity, acclaim, dominance over opponents. But it is good that he considers the less positive aspects of the name, such as the estrangement from the father/divine figure during his youth, the deadly jealousy of Hera of which he is a victim, the destruction of his human family by his own hands, the pain and the madness which such destruction caused, the twelve almost impossible labors without which he could not redeem himself, etc.
I have often seen among the Brothers under my guidance the taking of a motto in which many more elements are contained than was considered by those who assumed it. As they unfold, these aspects expose Ordeals — which you can read about here — with which the individual must deal, as well as indications of his Nature and Powers. It’s always good to revisit the subject of the motto and ask yourself what you found out about it that you didn’t already know when you took it up.
How to choose a Motto
There is no final answer to this question. What experience has shown me is that for some time you debate internally with different ideas trying to find the one that seems “right” and eventually the answer comes up with an extremely satisfying fit, and the individual knows that that is the right motto. To reach this point, it is common to apply several methods — isolated or combined — in that search. I will talk about the most common ones:
Cosmogony and Mythology
Once the individual has defined his understanding of the Great Work that he intends to accomplish under that magical motto, he will be able to search in the theories of the creation of the universe and in the mythologies for the name of some concept, idea, or character that seems to be in harmony with that idea. It is not uncommon to find someone who has chosen the name of a deity or enlightened one from Egyptian, Hindu, Greco-Roman, Norse, Indigenous mythology, etc.
Examples: Hoor, Ganesh, Artemis, Thor, Tupã, etc.
Certain individuals manage to summarize in one word or expression what they understand to be the essence of their Great Work. This expression is almost always in another language or is translated into another language, either because of the history inherent in that language, for a sense of aesthetics or simply because it “sounds more magickal”.
Examples: Perdurabo, Adjuvo, Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici, Ignis, etc.
Gematria, Numerology, and Other Correlations
Here the individual looks for a name that fits a numerical value relative to some magickal formula, or similar to another word that matches his Great Work, or tries to discover the numerical values inherent to the chosen motto and their correlations. For this reason, it is common to find the Motto-Number pattern, such as “John Doe 123”. The number also helps to distinguish between mottos of different people that are abbreviated by the same initial letter.
Some of the most common magickal formulas are Adonai, LVX, HGA (65), Nu (56), Babalon (156), Abrahadabra (418), and obviously Lashtal / Thelema / VIAOV / Agape / Mgn (93). In case the subject of magickal formulas is unknown, a good place to start is Liber ABA, Part II, Chapter II.
Examples: F. 418, H. 418, Frater 273, etc.
Exploring altered states of consciousness
Some individuals search for their motto in altered planes of consciousness such as in a dream (lucid or not), travel in the vision of the spirit, hypnotic trances, or under the influence of some psychoactive. Others receive it spontaneously when experiencing an altered state of consciousness or through synchronicities that arise in everyday life. From something clear like hearing “Your name is John Doe!”, to something more abstract like receiving a number to be studied, a symbol, an interaction with some animal, etc.
Mottos that probably fall into this category are those whose meaning is not easily abstracted, such as perhaps: Meral, Belarion, Iovehaum, etc.
A list of many examples of known Frati mottos from the past that fall into one or the other of this category can be found here.
A personal example
For the motto of my Probation, I took from Vajrayana Buddhism the figure of Acalanatha, from the Sanskrit “Immovable Lord (of wisdom)”. In Japan, he is known as Fudō Myōō and is regarded as a kind of “patron” and “guardian” of the martial arts, which for me as a martial artist and of a bellicose personality fit like a glove.
What I didn’t know about Acalanatha is that he is reputed to be the “destroyer of illusions”, and that he represents the most formidable adversary a warrior can face: the individual himself with his fantasies, illusions, expectations, fears, self-imposed limitations, etc. During the Probation, illusions were being destroyed, my weaknesses were exposed, and I had to face and conquer myself at every step of the process. I came to understand why Acalanatha’s imperturbability came from wisdom. The wisdom about oneself.
When it came time to take the Neophyte Oath, I had a vague notion that all the work of the First Order — from Neophyte to Dominus Liminis — served the purpose of leading the aspirant to Adeptship, so I decided to express my personal Great Work through six letters, for six is the number of Tiphereth, which in addition to representing the inner Sun, is where the grade of Adeptus Minor fits in the map of the Tree of Life.
As what I knew of my True Will was at best just the tip of the iceberg, I set my aim to be “Formulating and Understanding My Will Quickly and Efficiently”, in Portuguese, my native language, “Formular e Compreender Minha Vontade Rápida e Eficientemente”. FCMVRE.
There was an intuition that nothing could be left out, and therefore I should take firm steps at each stage, going back to catch up on what was left behind, focused on quality and not indiscriminate progress, and not allow myself to skip stages. For this, the same formula could be kept just by adding more meanings to the first two letters: “Formular Completamente (…)”, Portuguese for “Formulate Completely (…)”.
Certainly, as my Will unfolded before me, I should carry it out, even as little as I knew about it. Again, I could keep the same formula, adding the meanings “Fazer Cumprir (…)”, Portuguese for “Make it Fulfilled (…)”.
To make this name pronounceable, I added vowels that transformed the original formula into the expression “Fac Movere”, which in Vulgar Latin means “do move”, “do the movement”. It fits like a glove since practice interests me more than theory, and experience gives me more pleasure than philosophizing. In this way, my motto would also reflect my inclination to action and Karma Yoga.
I applied gematria to figure out the numbering and “Facmovere” added up to 419 (so close!) so I strategically removed the “e” which was not part of the original formula. The final result of the motto was Facmovre = 418, reaffirming my commitment to the Great Work, and reaffirming the aim in Tiphereth.
Now the Motto contained: Formulate and Understand, Formulate Completely and Make Fulfilled My Will Quickly and Efficiently, in Latin it meant action and contained the numbering of the formula 418, ABRAHADABRA, the word of the Aeon, the Great Work completed. A motto suited to all the work of the First Order whose aim is Adeptship. Finally, the abbreviated motto is “F”, the sixth letter of the alphabet, another confirmation of the relationship with Tiphereth.
This motto by its structure has become my sword and my shield, my battle cry, my compass, and each day it has revealed itself to me in new permutations of meaning that never fail to amaze me.
Timely to the point, some people ask me what my seal — my signature — that accompanies my illustrations means:
No, it is not a sigil, at least not in the sense that it contains any “programming” or activates a servitor. It is a stylized “F” to express some ideas concerning my Motto and my initiatic work.
From left to right, first we have the “F” and then the 418, both already explained. Then the symbol of infinity aludes to Nuit, Our Lady of Infinite Space, Priestess of the Silver Star. Soon after a Salem Cross, a glyph for which one of the meanings of its 8 points and 3 intersections is the number 11 which is the Pythagorean reduction of 56 (Nuit), and in whose form we can perceive the Tree of Life among other things. Next, the symbol of Sulfur, which in alchemy is an active principle, acts on the corrosion of metals and on combustion, alluding to the formula of V.I.T.R.I.O.L. Finally, the Phallus, the Wand, symbol of the creative force of Love directed by the Will.
Your motto can be just a fancy name with a nice sounding, or it can be the magic word by virtue of which you will draw the blueprint of your Temple. May the mere mention of it be able to set the spirits of opposition in order, ready to work with discipline and regularity in the Great Work. That by this word all falsehood may be destroyed and your universe illuminated with the emanations of the Law.
Questions and Answers
Question from Marco Damaceno:
Q. Dear Frater F. For example, if I or any other Brother identify with the principles inherent in other people’s mottos, such as Frati and Sorore of the past… are there any impediments to using them? 93!
A. I don’t see any impediment, and that actually happens a lot. The important thing is that this identification is true, personal, intimate. Never motivated by some sort of personality cult of said Frater or Soror.
Send your question or comment
If you have questions about A.’.A.’. or suggestions of subjects you would like to read about, send them through the form below. If you don’t express clearly how you want to be called, your question or comment will be posted anonymously. The question and answer will be posted here (if it is about the Magickal Motto) or in future articles, according to the subject so they can be useful for others in the future.