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.