Q & A: Thelema and the Self

The Brazen Serpent

I have recently been given some quality feedback regarding the “Thelemic-ness” of some of the ideas in The Brazen Serpent. Most of these questions center around the idea of “self,” (no pun intended) as I have expressed in this post:

Consider that what differentiates man from other entities and animals is the function of his Ruach; i.e. the ability to use a symbol to convey a meaning not inherent within it. This allows for a circular process of thinking that expands infinitely outwards from a seed. It is precisely this function that allows the formation of Ego. This also describes the function of his consciousness as a predator, much like a shark within the ocean of the unconscious.

Following this metaphor, magick becomes a way of inserting living targets like fish in the path of the ‘shark of consciousness.’ Note that the Shark only does what is in its…

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What is Magick?

Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.

Science refers to the faculty of intellect to examine, test, label and arrange information in a consistent and therefore reliable manner. Art refers to the faculty of emotion to experience, experiment, express and be exalted by the information in an ever-changing and therefore unpredictable manner.

However, it is only unpredictable to the consciousness, and it is the consciousness which deals in things we call Science and Art. The unconscious—that is what Sees All. Consider that what differentiates man from other entities and animals is the function of his Ruach; i.e. the ability to use a symbol to convey a meaning not inherent within it. This allows for a circular process of thinking that expands infinitely outwards from a seed. It is precisely this function that allows the formation of Ego. This also describes the function of his consciousness as a predator, much like a shark within the ocean of the unconscious.

Following this metaphor, magick becomes a way of inserting living targets like fish in the path of the “shark of consciousness.” Note that the Shark only does what is in its nature. It is absolutely not “in control” as we’d like to think. This kind of “accidental choice” of food is why everyone is the way they are today. Lust of Result creates an aggressive target, one of which no longer understands itself to be a target but instead, acts like a predator. This scares off the shark of consciousness and therefore the goal almost inevitably fails in its manifestation. This is why passivity, contentedness, and the making of oneself into a proper vessel is the key to achieving anything in magick. Similarly, a goal that one secretly wishes not to accomplish is like the fish that will evade capture no matter what.

Two additional terms may be employed from this metaphor—shoaling and robofishing. The former describes the method of casting various goals all scattered about so that the probability of hitting one target is higher for the shark of consciousness. It also covers wider ground and diverts the attention, avoiding problems like Lust of Result. The latter is a term that describes a function very similar to one of use in hypnotherapy and NLP. By setting a goal that one invariably performs already, the Shark is drawn to a specific area, which also raises the probability of “catching” a particular fish/goal.

Furthermore, there are two types of change. The first type is known by the term involution. This type of change occurs without a Will because it is operating under the Original Will of the One, otherwise known as the Tao. Force slowly and inevitably becomes Form. The light condenses into matter. Enough thoughts will collate into a “fish.” Recall that the purification of an object is to return it to its original Form, but over time and if left alone, more forms which are not in its nature will accrue on it. Examples include the seasons changing. Like attracts like. Too much of the same thing attracts its opposite. The light flows outward from Kether. And so on. This is also known as rotational change. The second type of change is known by the term evolution. This is the Path of the Serpent—the Way of Return. Whereas the first type was physical change, this type is chemical. It cannot be reversed and it does not revert to a complimentary form. It is a destruction of old form; a violent release of Force—the consumption of the “fish” from the Shark. This type of change is related to the consecration of an object – which is to imbue it with Force. By the Conscious Awareness of the processes from Science (intellect) and Art (emotion), Knowledge occurs as a heat—a friction that crystallizes parts of the self into the perfect image of the Will—exactly like a chemical reaction.

When to Use What Ritual and Why

We have all heard the sayings about these rituals—especially of the LBRP: “perform daily to strengthen the magician’s aura!” But what exactly does this mean? What does it mean for the LIRP, LBRH, or LIRH?

It’s true that the feelings of “cleanliness” vs “holiness” are difficult to explain, but although their descriptions have so far been vague, the actual experience of them is rather specific—as specific as this list of emotions I’ve typed up above.

For me, the “cleanliness” of an LBRP can be explained in the following sentiment: “This [thing affecting my senses] does not affect me. I will not allow it to.” This is how an LBRP, when performed correctly, will alleviate me of anger, fear, frustration, impatience, laziness, obstinacy, hurt feelings, over-sensitivity, petulance, and sadness. In all of these cases, the emotion is objectified as an elemental force and banished. Anger, fear, frustration, and impatience correspond to the element of fire; laziness, obstinacy, and petulance to the element of earth; hurt feelings, over-sensitivity, and sadness to the element of water. The element of air, which is found in all of these emotions, is the repetition of thoughts that allow the elemental forces to spiral into a personal problem. For example in the case of anger, an external stimulus like an outburst from another individual may have provoked you, but without the quick, airy thought of “how DARE you snap at ME!” you wouldn’t be angry—instead, you might be amused or simply indifferent.

Moving on to the LIRP, the “holiness” I feel is explained thusly: “I, too, am [a thing] that affects others; we all do.” This is very different from the sentiment of the LBRP, yet both conclude with a feeling of peace. Depression, melancholia, misery, grief, ingratitude, despair, embarrassment, guilt, and envy are a more complicated bunch of emotions to fix and if left alone, tend to cause larger issues such as bad habits, physical ailments and chronic patterns of thinking that negatively affect the individual. In all of these cases, a pure form of an element needs to be invoked in order to balance the individual. Depression, melancholia, misery, and despair arise when a person loses touch with the bigger picture—their place in the bigger picture (fire). Grief, ingratitude, and envy occur because of an inability to see the bigger picture (water). Lastly, embarrassment and guilt are the result of focusing too deeply on something they’ve done that needs to be placed in perspective (earth).

Now progressing to the actions of the ruach, or intellect, we arrive at the employment of the LBRH. As a general rule, one performs the LRP before any LRH and thus allows for dual-layer protection. I would explain the sentiment of the LBRH as this: “Whatever I think is correct right now simply does not matter. The ‘I’ is nothing.” As you can see, it is easy to take this the wrong way. This is not exhibiting a thought in itself, but rather, a silencing of thoughts to allow peace of mind. Insecurity, doubt, dread, discontentment, anxiety, angst, regret, and disappointment are all symptoms of overthinking, negatively thinking or focusing too heavily on the meaning of a thought. Again, the elements are present, but perhaps more difficult to parse: anxiety, dread and angst correspond to fire; insecurity, doubt, and discontentment to water; regret, and disappointment to earth.

Finally, I would explain the LIRH as so: “All thoughts matter equally. All ‘I’s are equal. I am a part of something bigger than myself—we all are.” Here are the emotions that some require lifetimes to correct: intolerance, stubbornness, hate, shame, and resentment. Intolerance is denying the fact of the whole—it accuses another of not being part of something bigger. Stubbornness says, “but I AM the ‘something bigger!’” Hate is the perpetual separation of oneself from union. Shame is a self-enforced wall preventing one from being with the rest. Resentment is surrender of one’s own power, place, and ability by failing to recognize one’s own crucial part in the whole.

3. Success in ‘banishing’ is known by a ‘feeling of cleanliness’ in the atmosphere; success in ‘invoking’ by a ‘feeling of holiness.’ It is unfortunate that these terms are so vague.

(Liber O, Pt. IV)

EMOTION LBRP LIRP LBRH LIRH
Anger

x

Angst

x

Anxiety

x

Despair

x

Depression

x

Disappointment

x

Discontentment

x

Doubt

x

Dread

x

Embarrassment

x

Envy

x

Fear

x

Frustration

x

Grief

x

Guilt

x

Hate

x

Impatience

x

Ingratitude

x

Insecurity

x

Intolerance

x

Laziness

x

Melancholia

x

Misery

x

Obstinacy

x

Offense (hurt feelings)

x

Over-sensitivity

x

Petulance

x

Regret

x

Resentment

x

Sadness

x

Shame

x

Stubbornness (of thought)

x

By Soror N.O. © 2017

On the Development of the Khu

A cultured man lives far from nature, far from natural conditions of existence, in artificial conditions of life, developing his personality [Khu] at the expense of his essence [Khabs]. A less cultured man, living in more normal and more natural conditions, develops his essence at the expense of his personality. A successful beginning of work on oneself requires the happy occurrence of an equal development of personality and essence . . .

A lot of the work is still centered around breaking the illusion that man can “do” which seems to be a contradiction (why learn these things if there is nothing that can be done about them?) but the truth is that man cannot will on his own until he has assimilated his whole being in another’s will (hence, obedience to the master no matter what) which will allow him to know the forces present in himself. In his own observance and practice in mastering those forces to be one with his master’s will, he is able to know, when the time comes, how to master the forces to be one with his will.

In a simple analogy: a parent tells a child to do the dishes. In doing the dishes, the child learns how to be conscious of themselves; utilize the center of thought, and control his desires (and repulsion), uniting himself in one task. When the child grows up and wishes to do the dishes, he therefore knows how to use his mind, emotions, and body to accomplish this. This is all in preparation of the Khu. The preparation of the Khabs requires help from the parent (or master) but most importantly, the attention of the child. The child must not only listen to the will of the parent but be able to deduce the conditions or context in which the will appears: the child notices the kitchen is a mess and the family has nothing to eat off of; ergo, the parent tells the child to do the dishes.

A. How the child ought not to act:

  1. be angry with the parent, conditions, other family members, etc. This is a failure in the emotional center.
  2. do the dishes improperly. This is a failure in the thinking center.
  3. do the necessary functions to prep the Khu without understanding the reason or context for it, i.e. fail to prep the Khabs. This is a failure of the consciousness center.
  4. cheat, and pretend to do the dishes. This is the worst and is a failure in every center.

B. How the child ought to act in response to these challenges:

  1. be grateful for the opportunity. Easier said than done, as the child will probably not understand until years later
  2. learn to do them right and speak up if they require assistance. Also hard, as pride solely in oneself is detrimental to the task.
  3. be vigilant in everything. Difficulty is due to tedium.
  4. pretty obvious

C. How the child can progress from A to B:

  1. acquire patience, but “seeing” results and then remembering them goes a long way.
  2. take pride in oneself as part of the accomplishment of the task instead of just taking pride in oneself.
  3. always assume there’s more to life than what there appears to be. This isn’t a “be positive” thing, but rather the igniting of something bigger than oneself. Hence, be vigilant or else you’ll miss the cool stuff.
  4. always be honest with oneself.

D.) How the Thelemite ceremonial magician accomplishes C:

  1. LIRP, invoking that memory of self and by repeated practice, acquiring patience.
  2. LBRP, banishing negative influences including that stream of nonsensical, egoistic thought that keeps thinking it is more than what it is, and also “strengthening the aura of the magician” to do what seem like unimportant, useless tasks.
  3. Liber Resh, 4x a day. In case you forgot, the purpose of this ritual is to “remind the aspirant at regular intervals of the Great Work; secondly, to bring him into conscious personal relation with the centre of our system; and thirdly, for advanced students, to make actual magical contact with the spiritual energy of the sun and thus to draw actual force from him.” It is also “particularly useful against the fear of death” and shows true dedication to the Great Work.
  4. Journal.

Notice there is no failure of the body or instinctual center. I intentionally did not use the names of the sephiroth because when consciousness (or Tiphareth) is active, Yesod (instinct) is not. #3 is specifically a failure if the child’s Yesod “is active” instead of Tiphareth. Only after repeated practice and you literally default to Tiphareth (marry the sun and the moon), will Yesod (instinct) mirror that of Tiphareth’s functions. All four; Tiphareth, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod, are of course in Malkuth, where this the will is being manifested in the world of Assiah.

Gnothi Seauton

Liber E vel Exercitiorum sub figura IX: Part VII — A Course of Reading

Upon first glance, this part appears simple and straightforward. For the most part, it is. However, I’d like to elaborate upon each point for this part in order to show the importance of narrative sensemaking as well as describe how it aids one in the journey to come.

What is Narrative Sensemaking?

Gary A. Klein (2006) presented a theory of sensemaking as a set of processes that is initiated when an individual recognizes the inadequacy of their current understanding of events (i.e. cognitive dissonance). This builds upon Cohen’s (1996) recognition-metacognition model which describes the processes that are used by individuals to build, verify, and modify stories in situational awareness to account for a foreign experience, and Piaget’s (1977) processes of assimilation and accommodation in his theory of cognitive development. Sensemaking is an active two-way process of fitting data into a mental model and fitting a frame around the data. Data evokes frames and the frames select and connect data. When there is no adequate fit, the data is either reconsidered or revised (through the Path of Pe!)

This means that in a Thelemic context, the practitioner actively participates in new experiences (e.g. by following the course of the A.’.A.’. system) to understand the symbolism for himself, which then allows for deeper experiences and so on and so forth.

Enter Liber CLVII: The Soldier(!) and the Hunchback(?)

Note: 148 = NTzCh [Netzach; victory], MAZNIM(f) [Libra; the scales], BNI ALHIM(f) [Beni Elohim; Sons of the Gods (the angelic choir of Hod)], AHIH IH IHVH ALHIM(f) [A name of God]

In a nutshell, Liber CLVII teaches us the importance of skepticism and samadhi. The “true skeptic” is a man of science, eager, alert, and without bias. He devises some means of answering his first question, and its answer is another question. We can expect our skepticism to continue spinning words and never answer any questions, but this is simply the swing of the pendulum. No combination of thoughts can be greater than the thinking brain itself. However, skepticism along the path ensures that we keep questioning in order to progress towards the attainment of personal truth without bias, which is its ultimate function.

On the other hand, samadhi is a breakthrough in levels of consciousness to a higher plane and therefore leads to the Knowledge and Conversation of the HGA by providing clarity and objectivity; it is the Point from which the pendulum of !s and ?s hang. The purpose of living (and the meaning of living a Victorious Life) is so that we may attain the K&C of the HGA, that the ! may lie in harmony with the ? and that we may find Joy in the swing of the pendulum between the two.

To apply Liber CLVII to the concept of narrative sensemaking means to vigilantly question our understandings and test our experiences while finding Joy in this process, which is, in fact, the Victorious Life.

So what does this have to do with Liber E, Part VII?

Here’s a summary of the first point: No, you’re not wasting your time reading this list of books. But the second point is much more vague:

2. That you may gain some insight into the nature of the Great Work which lies beyond these elementary trifles, however, we should mention that an intelligent person may gather more than a hint of its nature from the following books, which are to be taken as serious and learned contributions to the study of nature, though not necessarily to be implicitly relied upon.

The third point is obvious, the fourth point rings similar to Liber CDLXXIV, and the fifth point needs no elucidation. However, the sixth through to the ninth are kind of interesting, so I’ll summarize below:

6. Find and attach yourself to a competent master, but don’t give up on how hard it will be to find one.

7. Whatever you do, don’t rely on that master (even though you just searched the ends of the earth for him/her). You “must rely entirely upon [yourself], and credit nothing whatever but that which lies within [your] own knowledge and experience.”

8. Your records are your only lifeline.

9. And thus, let the work be duly accomplished.

Once again, no. 7 alludes to the idea of Victory, Netzach and Liber 148. No. 6, 8, and 9 are easy to correspond with Tiphareth, Hod, and Yesod, and all four of these represent the directions of Liber Resh, which if you have been doing for a while aids in one’s understanding of Liber E in its totality. In conclusion, the purpose of Part VII is not only gain practical insights to how to perform the Great Work, but more importantly, how each individual, by use of their symbol set (frame) and experiences (data) have done so, including one’s own master.

To reiterate, the goal is to do this as honestly and accurately (through skepticism and samadhi) as one can.

If you recall in the previous post, my “lesson” from Part II of Liber E:

The harder one tries, the more out of sync the results. Also; that you don’t know what the hell is happening but the more you do it, the more variables in the operation are known (i.e. superstitions are being created, and thus, useful to you). Siddhis appear when these variables are in the right condition–

But most importantly, when one arrives at the City of the Pyramids, this narrative of superstition and variables (otherwise known as narrative sensemaking frames and data, symbol sets, etc) will be the only real thing in the end, since you can place their beginning and creator; oneself.

So Liber E is, quite literally, the Foundation of all your Work.

Veritas

Although this post is titled, “Truth,” its contents are going to deal with its opposite: the Ultimate Illusion. I hope to keep the Truth sacred and unspoken by this attempt to provide an accurate description of Falsehood below.

First, Soror N.O.’s lessons from Liber E vel Exercitiorum sub figura IX:

  • Part I: Record meticulously and don’t lie to yourself.

  • Part II: The harder one tries, the more out of sync the results. Also; that you don’t know what the hell is happening but the more you do it, the more variables in the operation are known (i.e. superstitions are being created, and thus, useful to you). Siddhis appear when these variables are in the right condition.

  • Part III: Sheer mental willpower dies in the ass of the person who fails to unite body with mind (i.e. you’re better off trying to sleep through the discomfort than to treat it like the last kilometer in a marathon). To absorb energy is to conserve that which is already present in the body.

  • Part IV: The anticipation of the count decreases your capacity for breathing, so breathe first, count second.

  • Part V: Tighten the sphere of thought gradually so that a ten random thoughts become a few and by that time, you realize that those few thoughts can be eliminated (or altered) as one.

  • Part VI: There is a difference between what you can override your body to do with the mind (and vice versa) and that which is natural to your body.

  • Part VII: (A Course of Reading)

These lessons are relevant because one learns the effect of the consciousness in processes of thought, emotion, and body; and therefore, one learns how to not interfere in them. A special thing happens with siddhis, or “supernatural/psychical feats,” like predicting the future, moving things with your mind, etc: the experience of them leads to the awareness of the One Moment through the overlapping of things like time — past, present, future all in One.

Because this ties into a few more things like free will and determinism, here is an excerpt from The Brazen Serpent, for the Path of Lamed:

By now, there should be a rather concrete understanding of how the world works according to the magician’s influence on it, and how it influences himself – even if this understanding is not explicitly bound by language in his mind. In a nutshell, it can be summed up like this: Good work leads to more work. When one ascends a plane of consciousness, there are more difficult and more subtle tasks, both in the higher planes and the lower. Theurgy is all about expanding both the heights and depths of the planes in which one travels, eventually purifying them thoroughly enough to bridge them all together. And yet, it may seem in one perspective that this leads the individual nowhere, and certainly not closer to Divinity – but in a more encompassing perspective, one sees that the path to Divinity is not in a straight one-way elevation up the Tree, but rather is embedded in the Circle of the Infinite which surrounds all of manifestation. By performing the Great Work, the Great Work performs “us.” The Work creates in the individual more relations that he is to grasp and understand, therefore making these relations automatic in his processing and in turn, make him more sensitive to his own missteps as he refines his being. The individual becomes stronger in his flexibility and adaptation yet with each task accomplished, his senses become more sensitive and therefore more prone to more work. The closer one gets to performing True Will, the more “free will”, yet less “free will” one gets.

What is “free will?” The mundane kind of conception of free will is actually of the Illusion of free will. E.g. all is determined ahead of time, and because one cannot consciously relate every factor and variable affecting his every move, there is this feeling like the “I” really is making things happen. However, by taking into account not just a linear, two-dimensional understanding of existence and learn to perceive in the higher planes, there lies a few curious observations:

1. The linear timeline of one’s physical existence in the world of Assiah from birth to death is determined, because we have only learned to see the past.

2. When one’s consciousness rises from Assiah to Yetzirah, we are able to see a little ahead of the linear timeline called life, either through divination, direct feats of psychism, the acquisition of siddhis, etc – giving one a chance to change an event that was “prescribed.” By refining the senses to pick up on these chances, and learning to follow them, one breaks through to Briah.

3. As one reaches Briatic consciousness, we not only see a little ahead of our timeline, but begin to witness the forces which create the timeline. The individual lives in conjunction with these forces, establishing the link between his consciousness and the timeline as a whole.

4. At the level of Atziluth, viewing the entire timeline of our mundane existence, one becomes the forces which inform Briah, which propels him to take action in Yetzirah, which changes the course as it appears in Assiah.

In conclusion, the linear timeline of one’s physical existence in Assiah is absolutely determined, but it is determined by the individual himself, assimilating both concepts of determinism and free will. In Atziluth, the entire timeline appears as a single moment. In Assiah, the individual places themselves at a point somewhere on the timeline, unaware of what the future holds. Spirit always firstly “moves downwards” into manifestation because manifestation is simply the grossest form of spirit. How else can we attempt K&C with the HGA, seeing as how the HGA is but our higher selves? As the spirit within learns (or, more accurately, remembers) how to rise back up, the lower planes are automatically affected, therefore leaving us with the duty of assimilation above and below.

The True Will is thus both determined by its equations, and free because those equation are simply its own name, spelt out fully. His sense of being under bondage comes from his inability to read it; his sense that evil exists to thwart him arises when he begins to learn to read, reads wrong, and is obstinate that his error is an improvement.

(Book 4)

To “see into the future” is to prove a certain degree of synchronicity, but more importantly, it shows that the Truth is Maya and that we all share it. The siddhis show us the simulation of the One as all these things and that this is what we call “reality.”

So what is “reality”?

Now, returning briefly to Liber E: personally and through the discipline of meditation, I know it takes me approximately 46 minutes for any kind of emotion (whether it is anger, excitement, anxiety, etc.) to naturally cycle out of my consciousness. The thought remains if not changed but the feeling itself wanes regardless of what I was thinking. What that means is that whatever I thought was really worth starting a fist fight with someone twice my size for, will fade by the time I’ve been pulverized and have been left lying on the floor.

This also applies to less dramatic but still damaging situations like choosing to insult someone instead of staying quiet.

The bottom line is that we must attempt to treat others as if they are to die tomorrow.

The convergence of time not only means that to be rude to someone is being rude to yourself but to fall prey to the Ultimate Illusion of reality, and the nature of that reality, being Separation.

And when we must shun someone away, we should do it solely with the intention of directing them towards a path more suitable to their Will, and not out of our own fear, hatred, jealousy, or anger.

Book Review: ADEPTUS EXEMPTUS THESIS (2015)

So this is my first book review and I’d like to get started on the book in question: ADEPTUS EXEMPTUS THESIS (first printed Spring Equinox 2015) by Amun Atum, found here [https://www.amazon.com/adeptus-exemptus-thesis-amun-atum/dp/1329020219].

It is comprised of three large sections: the first, titled “Crowley’s Magick,” is the author’s journal entries spanning his grades of Student to Adeptus Exemptus as a self-taught and solitary practitioner of the A.’.A.’. system of Thelema and magick. It contains vivid imagery and a well-established symbol set inspired by major themes proposed in Thelema and Egyptian mysticism. It ends with a neat section on personalized rituals that include the Egyptian Lesser Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram. Here is my favorite one to give you an idea of what it entails, even though it is very different from the one I regularly perform:

Egyptian Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram

Touching the forehead say “Au N’natik”

Touching the waistline say “Tauy”

Touching the right shoulder say “Wazer”

Touching the left shoulder say “Nefrau”

Clasping the hands upon the breast say “Jet r Nah-ah Amun”

With the magical weapon trace the Hexagram of Air in the East, vibrating, “Abrahadabra,” All hexagrams consist of two equilateral triangles. Begin the Air hexagram at the top of the upper triangle and trace it in a dextro-rotary direction. The bases of the triangles coincide, forming a diamond.

Trace the Hexagram of Fire in the South, vibrating “Abrahadabra.” The triangles of this hexagram both point upwards. The top of the lower triangle should coincide with the central point of the upper triangle.

Trace the Hexagram of Water in the West, vibrating “Abrahadabra.” This hexagram has the lower triangle placed above the upper, so that their apices coincide.

Trace the Hexagram of Earth in the North, vibrating “Abrahadabra.” This hexagram has the apex of the lower triangle pointing downward, and it should be capable of inscription in a circle.

Stand upright, feet together, left arm at side, right across body, holding the wand or other weapon upright in the median line. Then face East and say:

I.N.R.I. Yod, Nun, Resh, Yod.

Virgo, Aset, Mighty Mother

Scorpio, Apep, Destroyer

Sol, Asar, Slain and Risen

Aset, Apep, Asar, I-A-O

Extend the arms in the form of a cross and say: “The Sign of Asar Slain,”

Raise the right arm to point upwards, keeping the elbow square, and lower the left arm to point downwards, keeping the elbow square while turning the head over the left shoulder looking down so that the eyes follow the left forearm and say, “The Sign of the Mourning of Aset,”

Raise the arms at an angle of sixty degrees to each other above the head, which is thrown back and say, “The Sign of Apep,”

Cross the arms on the breast, bow the head and say, “The Sign of Asar Risen,”

Extend the arms again and cross them again saying, “L.V.X., LUX, the Light of the Cross.”

Touching the forehead say “Au N’natik”

Touching the waistline say “Tauy”

Touching the right shoulder say “Wazer”

Touching the left shoulder say “Nefrau”

Clasping the hands upon the breast say “Jet r Nah-ah Amun”

(Copyright 2014 Amun Atum. All rights reserved).

This section, “Crowley’s Magick,” is a good enough reason to read the book if you have considered or are working the A.’.A.’. system as a solitary practitioner. The journal entries are regular (between 1 to 5 days between entries) and they provide an account of detailed chakra work, tattwa meditations, and a helpful study of the astral plane. What I especially enjoyed was the author’s display of a highly dedicated work ethic, organization skills in planning (and sticking to) practices, and adjusting them accordingly as he progressed in the system. There is no doubt that the author did the work, and anyone who reads it will find a likeness of themselves in the common struggles, dry spells, and complaints one has (but tells no one about) when practicing daily. By using light humor and candid commentaries on the libri of Aleister Crowley that all Thelemites can empathize with, he provides both an entertaining read and a distinct idea of what it’s like to have Knowledge and Conversation with the HGA throughout the gradual progression up the Tree of Life.

The only criticisms of this section I can give are based off of my own personal way of writing in a magical journal. I would like to have read more detailed descriptions of the physical sensations or time elapsed during practices, what foods were consumed that day, what astrological conditions were relevant and such. The author does, however, note well the gematria of personally significant messages and the Thelemic notation of time in between each oath. Another possible concern is that the time elapsed during each grade is relatively short, and it is impossible (as I don’t have the right) for me to judge whether it was honest progression or not. For example, the author’s Student grade spanned an approximate 4 months, Probationer = 3 months, Neophyte = 1 month, Zelator = 3 months, Practicus = 3 months, Philosophus = 3 months, Dominus Liminis = 2 months, Adeptus Minor = 1 month, Adeptus Major = 13 months, Adeptus Exemptus = 9 months. Although there is no minimum or maximum attainment requirements for the grades after Neophyte, these beginning grades are, in my opinion, the most important. (The consensus for minimum time spent in the grade of Probation is 1 year, and for the Neophyte, 8 months).

At the end of his Practicus grade (pg 116-117), he makes a rather fascinating observation that I’d like to comment on here:

July 21 – [. . .] here are the approximate contents for a book on the Qabalah that I wish someone would write: [list of the individual sephiroth in all four worlds], Parts of the Individual: [list of the five parts of the soul], [. . .] Additional QBL Terms: Adam Kadmon, Archetypal Man; Arik Anpin, vast countenance in Kether; Malkah, the Bride, a young girl, the unredeemed soul; bride of the Microprosophus (in Malkuth); Serpent Nechushtan, Serpent of Wisdom; Zeir Anpin, lesser countenance in Tiphareth, etc. (I’m sure there’s plenty more terms and concepts)

As a studious practitioner of the system, one does run into these issues. Fortunately, most, if not all of these questions are answered in Regardie’s Complete System of the Golden Dawn, which condenses Qabalah taken from sources like The Zohar, The Sepher Yetzirah, and so on. It is easy to overlook the fact that reading authors like Dion Fortune and Gareth Knight, we are getting only a secondary source from individuals who have been, in one form or another, students of the Golden Dawn system. It is my personal (but informed) hypothesis that in order to do the A.’.A.’. system to the best of one’s ability, you do need some kind of Golden Dawn background. Whether this is independent study or following an initiatory track, it is inevitable to run into gaps in one’s learning due to overlooking Crowley’s own training in the Golden Dawn system. This is one of the main reasons why I wrote a book on Thelemic Qabalah: to synthesize the information of the past with that of the A.’.A.’. system.

Now, returning back to the review. As you can see, for his grades of Adeptus Major and Adeptus Exemptus, the author took considerably longer in his work. Unsurprising, the journal entries in the book for these grades are the most enriching to read as well. Here is another excerpt (pg 182-183):

January 17 – I have returned to ritual work in a light way. “Liber Samekh” was well done. My Angel was present. She still answers my call. I am not getting a set series of instructions from her, but she is answering my call, and she is being very encouraging.

My thoughts keep returning to “Equilibration of Himself.” I really want to fulfill this requirement. I don’t want to give it short shrift. It’s about balance.

I agree with what I wrote above, but somehow it should go deeper; it should be more fully recognized.

Sometimes Depression can give you “no preference for any one course of conduct over another.”

Yeah . . . whatever!

Maybe this is just a falsity. Maybe it’s something you can’t claim to the degree Crowley says you can; not if you live in the real world! [. . .]

Crowley wrote about the True Will and the Holy Guardian Angel being synonymous, about having identical goals. At first I disagreed, but now I see them as being a sort of reflection of each other.

Your True Will is in you, buried deep in your subconscious. It is “higher” than all your wants and desires; you really have to aspire to it.

We get deceived along the way, thinking some of our desires are our True Will, but they’re not. We have to aspire to more, we have to reach further.

It is up there, but still within us; we must accept no substitute.

While the True Will is in us, and is our highest self; the Holy Guardian Angel is like a reflection of that Will! Crowley’s final worlds on the HGA was that it is outside of us. That is why I say the two are a reflection of each other: the True Will within, the HGA without. They speak with a different voice. The True Will is logical, imperious, formless, emotionless. The HGA is the opposite: she is passionate, loving; emotional to the extreme. The HGA encourages us. The HGA has faith in us; the HGA believes in us. They are opposites, but complimentary opposites. They have one goal: our success, our attainment! [. . .]

When you lose everything; when everything you have has been stripped away, when layer after layer has been removed . . . all you have left is your Honor. So live by a Personal Code of Honor; for in the final tally, that is all you have.

The next major section of the book, titled “Crowley’s Law,” is pretty straightforward. This section consists of insightful commentaries on major Thelemic concepts as well as explanations for a lot of jargon often taken for granted (I am certainly guilty of this). Even if you are well-versed in Crowley’s work, this part of the book is still useful in comparing and contrasting one’s own interpretations. To the beginner, it is full of helpful tidbits that elucidate some of the inner mysteries of Crowley’s work and provide practical advice on doing the work itself.

The last section of the book contains the Adeptus Exemptus Thesis itself. As is known, the requirements to proceed to the passage called Babe of the Abyss is to “prepare and publish a thesis setting forth His knowledge of the Universe, and his proposals for its welfare and progress. He will thus be known as the leader of a school of thought. He will have attained all but the supreme summits of meditation, and should be already prepared to perceive that the only possible course for him is to devote himself utterly to helping his fellow creatures.” It seems that the only other publicly available (and seriously attempted, in my humble opinion) examples of this that have been set forth by other Thelemites are J. Daniel Gunther’s Initiation in the Aeon of the Child, J. Edward Cornelius’s The Magikal Essence of Aleister Crowley, and Ray Eales’s Magick Revised. This is the author’s own response to the requirements: “I see a lot of injustice. I see a lot of pig-headedness. I see a lot of selfishness that is just hurting people. Certainly there is a better way that things can be done: procedures and methodologies (so to speak) that wouldn’t destroy our world and murder the people living in it. I really see things as being dire, but I also see that we have a choice of what to do, of how to treat people. It can be a better world.”

What follows in this last section is a theory of politics and re-shaping of the world that should be read in the Light of the Great Work, regardless of one’s own personal political affiliation. As a proposed Thesis, it is to be respected. I am not qualified in political theory to provide an in-depth analysis of the Thesis itself, but I can honestly say that it is a genuine effort that rings true to the spirit of the task of Adeptus Exemptus. In conclusion, this book was a wonderfully candid study of a magical journal with many insights and commonalities I think all practitioners of the system of A.’.A.’. will find true, no matter if you work alone, in one lineage, order, or another. The author’s Thesis was unique, practical, and refreshing in the sense that it involves recognizing and attempting to rectify the mundane world for the betterment of all human beings.

In Memorial: Frater Adamas

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

On Wednesday the 15th of March, 2017 Frater Adamas 161, my long time mentor and friend passed away in New Zealand, survived by his wife, Soror Neirika, and family.

For over fourteen years Fr. Adamas played a significant role in my life as the founder and self-proclaimed Magus of the Temple of Baphomtr (spelling intentional).

Having initiated me into his syncratic guerilla A.’.A.’. System in 2003, (in a ceremony that literally made me laugh and cry) Adamas proscribed a modified version of the original A.’.A.’. system, supplemented with Maat Magick, Typhonian Magick, Vodoo (and other systems) along with his own blunt, direct techniques of attaining True Will and approaching The Abyss.

These techniques–which consisted of chemo-gnosis and sex-magick, along with shock-space techniques like self-piercing etc–were designed to strip social accretions and programming at an alarming, sometimes even traumatic rate. In my personal experience, I found them to be sound but often extraordinarily painful. They did, however, absolutely work.

Adamas’ system was not for the faint-hearted. Nonetheless, without pretension or ornamentation he drove me forward towards Ultimate Truth.

The Temple itself, being designed along A.’.A.’. lines, consisted of a short lineage taking its cues and instruction directly from The Secret Chiefs. There was no claim of official sanction. Moreso, Frater Adamas shunned the idea of official lines.

Initiation to the ToB was by invitation only and diligence was taken to ensure an understanding of the difference between Crowley the Prophet and Crowley the Man. While the Holy Books were in line with the Universal, Self-Evident and Consistent forces of nature, ‘Crowley the man’ often had other, personal agendas. Idolatry was not a tenant of the ToB.

Before he died, Frater Adamas sent me an email asking me to take his mandate to assume his position as chief officer of the Temple. I kindly refused.

In the long run, I have learned that for me at least, the traumas induced by Adamas’ path were beyond my capacity to sustain–I would not inflict them on anyone else. After a long period of reflection, I have arisen from the ash of that incarnation of Self and I have chosen a slower, safer, proven route that is allowing me to finish integrating many of the lessons Adamas taught me.

Despite his human flaws, Adamas was an exceptional individual and what he accomplished was astounding and utterly profound (Especially in context). I have no regrets for the work (and it was indeed work) that we performed. His efforts went above and beyond the realm of duty. He was indeed a King, a true psychonaut, explorer and pioneer. He will always have a place in my heart.

Now it seems that Fr. Adamas has achieved his Great Work and his Greater Feast is done. Never was there a braver, bolder magickian who ‘desired death much’, to walk the firmament of Nu.

Frater Adamas 161, may you find your place among the Stars.

Love is the Law. Love under Will.

Frater NOX

Source: In Memorial: Frater Adamas

Ancestral Veneration 

I have decided that there must be reconciliation for the current concept of the individual regarding the death of the many parts of himself in this life. I believe in reincarnation in regards to parts of the soul which need it, and that this happens on a microcosmic scale while we are living. After all, the Invokation of the “Bornless” (Head-less) One before the evokation of the Goetia is a bringing forth of the archetype of the “be-headed” King and Queen in the Chymical Wedding, of the myth of Osiris, etc. This is an archetype of the Higher Self, the HGA which commands the “dead” parts of us (shells of the personal unconscious, spirits of the Goetia) to rise and be guided under Will. There appears a literal connection to these ideas and that of the old depictions of Atu XX; the dead rising from their tombs and are given eternal life.

I’ve looked forward so much that I seem to have forgotten how I got here. There is an undeniable aspect of energy in ancestral workings (harnessed primarily for thaumaturgical purposes) but albeit powerful and has been dominant throughout the centuries.

To the theurgist, although all parts of the self end up in Sheol, they are either resurrected for the purposes of the Great Work, or abide as Qliphotic aspects of self which must continue to be rectified–both for our sake, and “theirs.” It is interesting that by understanding the microcosm in this manner, we understand that these aspects of our self contain in themselves a type of base consciousness; a persistence to exist and stubborness to attempt to avoid change or the death of itself.

This is essentially what our individual manifestations are to the macrocosm.

The aspects of self which are “righteous” i.e. in alignment with the True Will of the Individual, having been resurrected, can be interpreted to be living in Heaven/the Supernals/in Harmony with the All.

When we venerate our ancestors, we are acknowledging the continuation of the cycle and drawing forth all the energy of the transformations they’ve made throughout time, feeling the energy of the All propelling us forth into the Light. Therefore any progress made in the present is never ours, nor our ancestors, but the permutation of the One. 

Giving Thanks

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

 

I have been grateful for many different things throughout the course of my life, but there is nothing more humbling and ecstatic than change and the expansion of one’s own conscious limitations. Even when this entails a brand new perspective on consciousness and change itself. I am grateful for the ability to feel the LVX when I can, and I am grateful (although usually in retrospect) for the realization of how limited my own abilities are. I am grateful for having the chance to be grateful for things I would have resented in the past, and I am grateful for every second of life where I am aware of this potential to continue evolving in me.

 

All the power that ever was or will be is here now. The only thing we can do is keep learning and changing and not judge ourselves or others based off of what we think the truth is at any given time. This includes the truth that none can know the truth – whether or not one can, the “I” will likely never know, as the “I” is defined by its limitations in language to express the truth.

 

In the few months I’ve put up this blog and re-read some of my older posts, I have felt at times embarrassed, and other times surprised at my own writing. I have felt the “I” turn red in its cheeks, hide away, and attempt to manifest this energy by deleting posts and spiral down with shame, shutting down the entire blog.

 

And perhaps one day I will give in, but not today as I realize (or perhaps, re-remember) that growth is nothing to be ashamed of. I am grateful for the patience of others, and of God in dealing directly with my soul through the expansion of what little Understandings I have.

 

May we all be thankful for the good and the bad – let no difference be made! And may we rejoice in our efforts, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, but at all times transforming and knowing a little bit more about ourselves through each effort in our lives.

 

Love is the law, love under Will.
Soror N.O.