ALCHEMY by HANS W. NINTZEL

`Lately there is a revival of interest in Alchemy. Whereas a few years ago, the very word was hardly mentioned in polite conversation, we are now seeing an occasional article or book being devoted to the subject. We even find Alchemy being taught as a subject in some Universities. Accordingly, it seems well to set down some basic ideas to explain what Alchemy is, its roots, and perhaps, what it is not. This Holy Science is of such great importance, even more so today than it was yesterday, that a great many readers may profit by some additional ideas on this seemingly recondite subject. We can start with the universal idea that alchemists are those who turn lead into gold. While there is the seed of truth in this notion, there is much more to it than that. And what can be more valuable than gold? In fact. if you asked this question, you are really in need of Alchemy.

First of all, the alchemists, modern and medieval, followed a certain credo. Their goal was to alleviate the suffering of their fellow man. Physically and spiritually. One such means was to produce medicines that could aid man’s progress in both realms. That is, a medicine or `Elixir’ could be made that produced a dichotomous effect in that physical problems could be alleviated from the usage of an alchemically produced medicine.

Moreover, this elixir could act as the agent to purge the body of those dross matters that inhibited the finer vibrations from being received. While Alchemy was definitely an attempt to demonstrate, from the physical viewpoint, experimentally and on the material plane, the validity of certain philosophical views of the Universe, its end goal was the exaltation of its subjects. That subject, in addition to others, was man himself. A one word definition of Alchemy would be `evolution.’ This in turn can be thought of as being synonomous with `transmutation,’ although this latter term has a connotation of instantaneous action. By evolution we mean the (usually) gradual change of something from a base or coarse existence into something finer, more noble. In the mineral kingdom, the age-old analogy quickly comes to mind, that is: lead becomes gold. However, this

concept is also extended to the animal kingdom and man. That is, man in his crude, selfcentred, ignoble state can be transmuted into a fine, loving, God-centred person. A more spiritual person. Everyone, I am sure, can relate to this idea and, in fact, many of us, deep down, yearn for this evolution, this transmutation. We may not think of it in terms of Alchemy, but who has never felt that call to rid themselves of the coarse outer garments and become more spiritual, closer to the Creator? This is the goal of Alchemy, this transmutation, this evolution. However, the alchemist takes these ideas a few steps further and declares that ALL things are evolving. Not only man, but all creatures in all kingdoms.

Plants and herbs are evolving, cats and dogs are evolving, rocks and metals are evolving, in fact, this entire planet is in a state of upward evolution. The earth aspires to become enlightened, like the Sun. This perhaps startling concept is fundamental to Alchemy. It says, among other things, that all base creatures are gradually becoming finer creatures. Man is evolving from his base, brute-like beginnings to a beautiful, saintly creature. Metals are evolving from their base beginnings, as lead, to a more noble existence as gold. Nor does anything have to be done to insure this transmutation or evolution. Slowly, but surely, ALL things will arrive at their zenith on the evolutionary scale. It is as if we were on a huge upwinding spiral. This spiral slowly winds its way `heavenward. ‘ If nothing was done to hasten this evolutionary action, or to impede it, one day all would arrive at the goal: full spiritual evolution.

However, by alchemical processes, this evolution in all creatures can be hastened. That is, man can volitionally speed up the cycle of evolution for himself or for other creatures, creatures unable to have any effect on their own spiritual growth.

By the same token, God has given man free will and with this, man can impede his own progress. At given times, as we look about us, we suspect that the evolutionary process has turned into a devolution. This is NOT the case, although individuals can elect to sink back into the material mire from which others struggle to escape. Another way of looking at this is to state that the purpose of Alchemy is to raise the rate of vibrations of both the practitioner (man) and his subjects. These subjects may be medicaments or mineral compositions. Just how one can use Alchemy to more rapidly approach Divinity will be touched on, but let us look briefly at the history of alchemy first.

Some ideas about the roots of Alchemy may provide a stronger foundation upon which other ideas and understanding can be built. Looking to the past, we find that Egyptian goldsmiths existed about 3000 B.C. and around 3500 B.C., Sumerian metalworkers practised their trade in Mesopotamia. In China and India, in remote times, (as well as today, of course), gold was looked upon as a magical medicine. Alchemical ideas arose in China as early as the fifth century B.C. Chinese Alchemy is closely allied with Taoism, a system containing philosophy and religion. They believed in the curative, and even life extending properties of jade, pearl and cinnabar. These ideas were picked up by subsequent practitioners of the art, moving to Greece, through Europe and finally, through other parts of the western world – ideas that are as strong today as they were then.

Alchemy was also as indicated above, in Greece. It is known that during the Alexandrian period, 4th to 7th century A.D., Alchemy flourished. As did other cultures, the Greeks added to the body of Alchemy, various ideas and practices peculiar to themselves. Just precisely where Alchemy originated is not really known. The most likely theory holds that the ancient Egyptians, who were known to be skilled in chemical knowledge, including metallurgy, glass-tinting and dyeing, were perhaps the founders of the art as we know it today. Egypt was known as K HEM, the “dark land.” Thus, Al-Khem was the Islamic term for the father of the dark earth and this phrase was westernised into Al-Chemy.

Futher, there is a body of literature referring to Hermes Trismegistos as being the father of Alchemy. Hermes, whilst essentially a Greek god, is the analog of Thoth, the Egyptian Ibis-headed god. Doberman, in his book, The Goldmakers, suggests that Alchemy commenced with the inhabitants of Atlantis. That when this continent submerged during cataclysms of the earth, there were those who escaped and tenanted the deltas of the Euphrates and Indus, on the north shore of the Arabian sea, and further inland at the head of the Persian gulf. The people, tall and black-haired, eventually mixed with the tribes of the Near East. The Hebrews referred to them as Sumerians. They knew how to work with tin, gold, silver, copper, lead, antimony, and iron. Copper and tin produced the bronze so common to the Sumerians and the Indus civilisations. Artifacts were discovered here such as leaden goblets, iron daggers and a vase made of pure antimony. The Sumerians then set out to that land now known as Egypt , bringing with them their arts. It is from the Sumerians then, that the inhabitants of Egypt learned their crafts, the arcane arts of Alchemy.

Whatever its origin, certain basic ideas are found to be common to all the cultures in which Alchemy flourished. One such idea is the principle of the four elements as being the basic foundation of all Alchemy. In China, we find five elements, but the notion is the same. The philosophy of the four elements is classically attributed to Aristotle who postulated the existence of four fundamental `qualit ies’ imbued in all bodies. These were the hot and moist, along with their opposites, the cold and dry. To these `qualities’ were assigned the symbolism of the four material elements, fire, air, water, and earth. They were seen as having their origin via conjuctions of these four properties. It might be noted that the symbol for fire is opposite to the symbol of water and water is the inversion or opposite of fire. The symbol for air is the fire symbol with a line through it. If we combine the polar opposites, with their dual aspects, we obtain a familiar symbol of the Shield of Solomon, the Hexagram. It is the symbol of the unity of the opposites.

These quali ties, as symbolised by the four elements are also associated with certain physical aspects. That is, the element of Fire reflects heat or thermal emissions. Air is associated with gases. Water with all liquids, and Earth with all solids. Bodies, then, were thought of as being constituted of the four elements in varying proportions. This gave rise to the idea that one body could be transformed into another simply by altering the proportion of one or more of these elements. Associated with this idea was the concept of a “Prima Materia,” a primordial matter or basic building stuff. This was the fundamental essence from which all other substances were made. Also, all substances or matter could be reduced to this lowest common denominator, this prima materia. It was now a mere extrapolation to consider reducing a base metal, such as lead, to its prima materia, then adding to it the proper amounts of elemental matter to change it to a different substance, i.e. gold. The idea of a prima materia is a basic concept extant in Indian literature under the name of ‘Mulaprakriti.’ In Chinese alchemy, we find this idea expressed as `T’ai Chi.’ These very basic Alchemical theories were further refined and expanded in the course of time, and they gave rise to certain ideas that are with us today. That is, the principle that all things are composed of three

essential constituents or bases. These three, known in Indian literature as the `three Gunas,’ are called by alchemists, `Sulphur,”Salt,’ and `Mercury.’ The ancient alchemists were prone to veil their writings in obscure symbolism, mythology and various blinds. In this case, the principle of Sulphur is not common sulphur or brimstone. Salt did not indicate common table salt (sodium chloride), nor did Mercury reflect the matter found in thermometers, quicksilver. There was an analog between these, but definitely not a one-to-one relationship. This blind hindered many a budding alchemist. It is interesting to note that one of these, Mercury, was referred back to the four elements and known as the `Quintessence,’ a fifth principle, as found in Chinese Alchemy where there are five elements: water, fire, wood, metal and earth. Now, the quintessence is also the prima materia, the T’ai Chi. It is from this UNITY, this ONE, that the law of Polarity is derived. The `ONE’ is God, the Divinity, the All.

The duality of the law of Polarity is exemplified in Chinese alchemy as the `Yin’ and the `Yang.’ The female and the male, negativity and positivity, passivity or receptivity and dynamism or action. Yin and Yang were also associated with the moon and sun, respectively, while the five elements were associated with certain planets: Water with Mercury, Fire with Mars, Wood with Jupiter, Metals with Venus, and Earth with Saturn. Yin and Yang, the pair of opposites, are embodied in many religious and alchemical philosophies. They are the Isis and Osiris of Egyptian mythology, the Mercury and Sulphur of Alchemy, the concepts of hot and cold, good and evil, love and hate, etc, etc. In today’s `alchemical circle’ there is a maxim that combines all of these ideas. This maxim is stated as: “The One became two by the law of Polarity which is revealed within the three essentials that will be found within the four elements, wherein is to be found the Quintessence which is not of the four but one of the three.”

The principle of Sulphur is the principle of combustion. It is the colour of subjects, in plants it gives the odour. The Arabic alchemist, Geber, said sulphur is the “fatness.” Alchemists attributed to sulphur the principle of the soul, the consciousness. In a `tincture’ it is what tincts. It is the vitality in animals and has the role of coagulation, to concentrate the life-force. It is red, hot, masculine, active and is symbolised by the Sun. It is associated with Gold. The vital life-force or `prana’ is the Mercury. The Yin or feminine aspect, Mercury, endows gold with its lustre, even as Sulphur endows it with its colour. Mercury is the basis for gold’s malleability and fusibility. Mercury is the Spirit, the `Water of the Wise,’ the Prima Materia, Luna, the seed or sperm of all things. Where Sulphur exhibits itself as an oily substance, Mercury is a volatile liquid in its corporeal forms. In the plant world, alcohol is the vehicle for the life-force, for Mercury. Sulphur, in the plant world, is the essential oils contained therein. Finally, Salt is the body of all matter. It is the basic principle of fixity and solidification. It confers resistance to the fire. In the plant world, the salt is the ash of the burned or calcined plant, usually a grey-to-white `salty’ substance. It is the medium in which Sulphur and Mercury can combine. This `chemical marriage’ is brought about by the catalytic action of the Salt to bring Sulphur and Mercury to their earthly state. This union of the opposites, this marriage of the Sun and Moon, is the state sought after by alchemists. Such a state can be arrived at in all the kingdoms. Now, since all things already consist of these three principles, it is logical to say that one thing can be changed to another by varying the proportion of these principles.

That is, as Basil Valentine wrote: “Iron is found to have the least portion of Mercury but more of Sulphur and Sal t . . . Copper is generated of much Sulphur but its Mercury and Salt are in equality. . .Saturn (Lead) is generated of little Sulphur, little Salt and much gross, unripe Mercury while Gold hath digested and refined the Mercury to a perfect ripeness.” What Valentine is saying is that the metals are different due to the different proportions of the three essentials. In more modern parlance, consider the fact that if one brought together one proton and one electron and one neutron, an atom of `heavy hydrogen’ would be produced. Now, if we changed the proportions of these three `essentials’ by adding, for example, one additional proton and one additional electron, we would have an atom other than hydrogen. These subject matters are both gases but have very different characteristicts. So, by changing the ratio of the essentials, we have wound up with different matters. A transformation has taken place. It is conceded that making hydrogen into helium is no small task. However, in 1941 the physicists, Sherr, Bainbridge, and Anderson, succeeded in transmuting a radioactive isotope of mercury (quicksilver) into pure gold. To be sure, the cost of doing this was prohibitive, and a linear accelerator had to be employed. But the point is, it was done. A transmutation had taken place. We can put a cap on these ideas with a statement by an ancient alchemist, Eirenaeus Philalethes, who encapsulated a very fundamental idea of Alchemy with these words in his book, The Metamorphosis of Metals, “All metallic seed is the seed of gold, for gold is the intention of nature in regard to all metals. . .all metals are potentially gold.”

At this point we have made a case that all things, consist of three essentials, Sulphur, Salt and Mercury. This Trinity is also found in religion, mythology and symbolism. We have the physical properties of solids, liquids and gases, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the three Graces, the three Furies, the three Fates, Fire, Water and Earth, Osiris, Horus and Isis, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, the Law of the Triangle, protons, neutrons and electrons, and so forth. Some of these analogies are a little less than direct, but the general idea underlying them holds true. But how can this be used in our daily lives? What good can come from this?

What are the practicalities? To fully answer these questions would require a book, but we can give at least one set of ideas on how Alchemy can enrich our lives. Moreover, we can get some inkling as to how it will affect not only our physical well-being, but exert a parallel salutary effect on our `spiritual lives.’

First, we must state that Alchemy as a discipline, has as its foundations, certain other disciplines. These are Astrology, Magic and Qabalah. One cannot be a good Alchemist without being a good Qabalist. One cannot be a good Qabalist without being adept at Magic and one cannot be adept at Magic not having a background in Astrology. We will give some ideas of how the fundamentals of Magic, Qabalah and Astrology play a vital role in Alchemical work. But before that, let us briefly consider one of the ancient writers on Alchemy, Gerhard Dorn. Dorn was a disciple of the great Paracelsus and wrote some very cogent observations on Alchemy. It has to be recognised that Dorn did not have the psychological insights we have today, nor even the extensive vocabulary to fully express his ideas. However, his fundamental beliefs can be easily understood as evidenced by his writings translated by Louise-Marie von Franz in her book: Alchemist Active Imagination, she indicates that Dorn wrote: “Through study (of alchemical literature) one acquires knowledge, through knowledge, love; which creates in oneself experience, virtue and power, through which the miraculous work is done and the work in nature is of this quality.” Von Franz explains that what Dorn means is that by simple alchemical literature, one attains “love.” This “love” is a kind of unconscious fascination, where one now begins to understand, becomes passionate, about finding the ” t ruth.”

The import of this is very dramatic even though Dorn’s material did not come across as explosive. The gist of it is that the very process of DOING something, actual laboratory work, medi tation on Alchemy or even the innocuous activity of reading alchemical literature, causes something to happen in the practitioner. Let ‘s suppose one is working with physical Alchemy such that he is “cooking” something up in the laboratory, or even in his kitchen. He is making some sort of transmutation take place in his retort or pans. Actually, Dorn is saying that TWO transmutations are taking place. One that is visible, in the retort, and one not visible, in the practitioner. Moreover, that as the work continues, this transmutation accelerates such that there is a feedback loop generated. That is, the more one does the work, of any kind, the greater will be the success. This may sound like a simple case of practice makes perfect. This is not what Dorn means. What he is saying is best shown by an example.

Consider two people. One, a chap who has been doing some kind of alchemical activity, reading or simple experiments of some sort . The other man has not done anything in Alchemy whatsoever. The first man then decides to try a different experiment. He wants to take a substance A and add it to a substance B to make substance C. He pours A into B and behold. He has C. Not all that impressive except, the second man comes along and, using the same substances, the same equipment, he fails to come up with C. Why? Because, the inner transmutation has not been going on in him as i t has in the first person. A subtle change has occurred in the first person that allows his experiment to be a success. This change is VERY subtle, possibly not even discernible to the individual. But it takes place nonetheless, and to the degree that the practitioner has conditioned or prepared himself.

If he has been making elixirs to purge his physical being of dross in order to be more receptive to higher vibrations, the changes wi ll be proportionately more pronounced.

Further, von Franz also cites the Arab alchemist, Ibn Sina, who wrote that through ECSTACY, man could acquire some of the capacity of God. That is, through such practices as meditation, alchemy, ritual, etc, one can achieve a state of mind Ibn Sina calls “ecstacy.” In this state one can, even for a brief moment, have powers analagous to those ov God. Sufis also obtained this state through physical practices such as dancing or whirling, (i.e. the `whirling dervishes’). Today, we know that this exalted state, wherein things `happen’ can be achieved through techniques such as Magic as exemplified by Qabalah.

Dom Pernety’s book, The Great Art, contains a reference to indicate that the ancient Rosicrucians blended Alchemy and Qabalah into a cohesive system. Further, their mysticism was based on truths that they were able to demonstrate in the laboratory. We can see some strong evidence then, that there IS a connection between Magic, Qabalah and Astrology It was stated that in Alchemy one can make various medicaments; that these elixirs have a salutary effect both physically and spiritually. The base matters used for such medicines can be plants or herbs or various metals. But where does one start? What herb, for example, can one use for some specific ailment? Or what metal? Our answers come from a knowledge of Qabalah-Magic, specifically knowledge of that mighty glyph known as the Tree of Life, and from the laws of Astrology. For example, Astrology tells us that those people born under the same `sign’ will exhibit the same characteristics. That is, an individual born in early April is under the sign of Aries. Others born under this sign will tend to have similar traits, such as being dynamic, head-strong, jumping from one interest to another without finishing the first, etc. Aries is a zodiacal `picture’ that has in it the planet Mars. This picture composed of stars, sends rays or influences to the earth. The sun acts as a step-down transformer and absorbs some of these rays, dispersing the rest to earth. It is these stellar influences that `imprint’ a person at the moment of birth, and what other positions were maintained by the other planets, these are the influences which make him who he (or she) is.

By careful study of these planetary configurations, one can determine why they are who they are.

What is perhaps new to the reader is the idea that not only are there Arian and Libran people, there are also Arian and Libran plants and minerals. The other kingdoms also come under the dominion of the astral influences. And this is where the key to making medicines alchemically comes in. For instance, we know that the planet Mercury `rules’ the nervous system. We can determine that Mercury also rules the herbs valerian and marjoram. Further, the planet Mercury rules over the condition known as insomnia. So then, if we had a nervous condition or had insomnia, what herb would possibly make a good medicine for these problems? Valerian or marjoram, because they are `correspondences’ in that they have the same ruler. We can take this a step further, the planet Mercury rules over Wednesday. It is a simple matter to reach the conclusion that the best day to pick valerian
would be on a. . .Wednesday. By the same token, the best time to make a medicine, or to take that medicine would also be a Wednesday. An additional refinement is that the day is  divided into several parts. Each part, both the day and the night, have periods of time when the influence of one planet is stronger than any other. That is to say, twice during Thursday, the influence of Mars is stronger than at any other time. Thus, one might find out what this time period is and not only make and take the medicine on the `correct’ day, but do it during the `correct’ times.

In the mineral kingdom, the same sort of logic prevails. If we had a problem with the head or with hemorrhaging, we could use an herb such as garlic, anise or cayenne. A tincture could be made of one of these herbs or, if the practitioner had the knowledge, he
could exalt the herb to its highest level and confect what is known in alchemy as a `plant stone.’ This is the highest level of efficacy any herb potent in medicine could have. It  requires man to bring the plant to this advanced state of evolution. On the other hand, a medicine could also be found in the mineral kingdom, in iron. Mars rules iron just as it rules the head and garlic, etc. But how can one make medicine from iron? This is where practical laboratory Alchemy comes in. It would require an astute reader of alchemical literature to arrive at the proper procedure, or more aptly, one could learn from a teacher of Alchemy.

The process is, to separate the iron (ore) into its three essentials. Just as was done for the plant. To make the herbal medicine, one had to make a tincture of the herb which would extract the sulphur principle. The sulphur would ‘tinet’ or colour the extraction media or `menstruum’ as it is called. This colouring is caused by the Sulphur which the menstruum has leached out of the herb. The sulphur could more readily be obtained by a steam distillation as well. The mercury of the plant is in the alcohol. One could putrify the plant and generate alcohol or one could distill alcohol from wine (if this is legal in the reader’s area) or purchase grain alcohol; the mercury being uniform in all types of alcohol obtained from vegetable matter. Finally, the body of the herb will be burned or calcined to obtain the Salt. By the same principle, and by following the same procedure, one could separate any body, including mineral, into its three essentials.

Therefore, one could take iron ore, or some other form of iron, and make a tincture using a suitable menstruum. The tincture would be driven off (i.e. evaporated) and the sulphur would be left behind. The oil of iron, then, would in itself be a potent medicine. It would be more potent than that derived from a plant. The reason being that the minerals have `been around’ much longer than any plant and thus have abosorbed greater astral influences and  thus are more potent. They have a higher level of vibration. In any event, the soul of the iron, once it has been separated, must also be purified. All these processes involve heat. The mastery of the heat is a technique learned from a teacher, or by (often painful) trial and error. Once purified, it can be taken as is or it can be combined with the mercury of the mineral kingdom which is called `alkahest.’ The mercury of the mineral kingdom is not so easily come by; but with it one can make the fabled `Philosopher’s Stone.’ This stone can cure all illnesses and cause instant upward evolutions or transmutations. Does this sound as if it could change a base matter into a noble one? Yes, it can.

To return to just the sulphur or oil of iron, consider what you have, once you know how to make it. Not only is it a medicine for the head, but it is a medicine for all other ailments governed by Mars. To find out just what Mars, and all other planets, govern, one could check with such reference works as The Alchemist’s Handbook, or Bill’s Rulership Book, etc. Consider just one aspect: anaemia. People with poor blood or “tired blood” take products such as Geritol. This fine product is derived from iron, sure enough. However, it is made from something like iron oxide, a non-organic matter. Or, we can absorb some nonorganic material, as the built-in, inner alchemist we all have, can effect such transmutations. In this case it is a `biological transmutation.’ The tolerance here is about 3% of what the body has taken in of non-organic material. Would it not be marvelous if we could find a substance that is non-toxic, can be absorbed 100% by the body, AND has no side effects like some products do. Did you think of oil of iron? Correct. This substance CAN be totally utilised by the body and NOT have side effects that are unwanted. More germane, it overcomes the anaemic condition. The uses of minerals in Alchemy, just in the field of medication, are endless. Basil Valentine wrote an entire book on one mineral alone, its various uses in medicine. This book is called the Triumphal Chariot of Antimony. It is a `recipe’ book, explaining the various preparations of that metal known as antimony. Antimony is poisonous? Yes, but when it is prepared by alchemical processes, `spagyrically,’ it is not only rendered non-toxic, but it could be a panacea.

To give the reader a flavour of this incredible book by Valentine and to perhaps “turn them on” to Alchemy, the following is quote of a process by Valentine using antimony. This was extracted from Triumphal Chariot of Antimony published by Dorman Newman in 1678 in England, and was translated by Dr. Theo Kirkringius:

“The dose of it before coagulation is eight grains taken in wine. It makes a man very young again, delivers him from all melancholy and whatsoever in the body of man grows and increaseth, as the hairs and nails fall off and the whole man is renewed as a Phoenix (if such a feigned bird, which is only here for example’s sake named by me, can anywhere be found on this earth) is renewed by fire. And this medicine can no more be burned by the Fire, than the feathers of that unknown salamander; for it consumes all symptoms in the body, like consuming fire, to which it is deservedly likened; it drives away every evil and expels all that which Aurum-Potabile is capable to expel”.

Does not that description sound like something you would like to see happen? It could, you know. Valentine reveals in his book various techniques on how to be “successful” in alchemicaL work. He spoke from the viewpoint of one who KNEW, not one who guessed or who thought it might be this way. And Valentine wasn’t the only good writer of alchemical treatises. The writings of Paracelsus, Geber, Glauber, Vaughn, Sendivogius, and Flamel are amongst those of the older writers that are particularly noteworthy. But there are even modern day writers such as Frater Albertus, Phillip Hurley and Archibald Cockren. In Cockren’s book, Alchemy Re-discoverd and Restored he describes various alchemists and their writings. He was particularly impressed with Johannes Isaaci Hollander, who, he said, wrote so clearly and plainly, his writings have been totally discounted. Ah, none are so blind as they who will not see. Cockren also presents a diary of his own alchemical experimentation. Hurley in his book, Herbal Alchemy, integrates magical practices with laboratory work, for example, making talismans for a particular laboratory experiment.

In discussing the literature, we would be amiss in not mentioning the work of Dr. Carl Jung. While Dr. Jung did not appear to have much regard for physical Alchemy and wrote nothing thereon, he had enormous insight and grasp of the psychological aspects of Alchemy. In this respect, he has done mankind a tremendous service in his fine books on this subject. Dr. Jung and various of his associates have delved into the old texts, translated some of them, and given us insight into the thinking of the old alchemist . This data combined with personal research provides a sure grasp of Alchemy. While it is clear that Alchemy will not become as popular as home computers, it is quite possible that as more people, especially those trained in the sciences `discover’ Alchemy and contribute to the vast body of knowledge that is accumulating, we may one day have a `breakthrough. ‘

Thinking people seeking answers to cosmic questions, greater insight into themselves and cures for incurable ailments, must sooner or later come across alchemical knowledge. As they read the literature and experiment in the lab in an effort to unlock the mysteries, the LV X they shed will not only illumine the path but, hopefully, attract countless others to this Holy Science.”

“We stood upon a dark and rocky cliff that overhung the restless seas. In the sky above us was a certain glorious sun, encircled by that brilliant rainbow, which they of the Path of the Chamelion know.

“I beheld, until the heavens opened, and a form like unto the Mercury of the Greeks (1) descended, flashing like the lightning; and he hovered between the sky and the sea. In his hand was the staff (2) wherewith the eyes of mortals are closed in sleep, and wherewith he also, at will, re-awakeneth the sleeper; and terribly did the globe at its summit dart forth rays. And he bare a scroll whereon was written:

Lumen est in Deo,
Lux in homine factum,
Sive Sol,
Sive Luna,
Sive Stelloc errantes,
Omnia in Lux,
Lux in Lumine
Lumen in Centrum,
Centrum in Circulo,
Circulum ex Nihilo,
Quid scis, id ens. (3)

F.I.A.T. (4)
E.S.T. (5)
E.S.T.O(6)
E.RI.T. (7)

In fidelitate et veritate universas ab aeternitate. (8)
Nunc Hora.
Nunc Dies.
Nunc Annus,
Nunc Saeculum,
Omnia sunt Unum,
et Omnia in Omnibus.
A.E.T.E.R.N.I.T.A.S. (9)

Then Hermes cried aloud, and said:
“I am Hermes Mercurius, the Son of God, the messenger uniting Superiors and Inferiors.
I exist not without them, and their union is in me. I bathe in the Ocean. I fill the expanse of Air. I
penetrate the depths beneath.”

And the Frater who was with me, said unto me:
“Thus is the Balance of Nature maintained, for this Mercury is the beginning of all movement. This He, (10) this She, this IT, is in all things, but hath wings which thou canst not constrain. For when thou sayest ‘He is here’ he is not here, for by that time he is already away, for he is Eternal Motion and Vibration.”

Nevertheless in Mercury must thou seek all things. Therefore not without reason did our Ancient Fratres say that the Great Work was to “Fix the Volatile.” There is but one place where he can be fixed, and that is the Centre, a centre exact. “Centrum in trigono centri.” (11) The Centre in the triangle of the Centre.

If thine own soul be baseless how wilt thou find a standing point whence to fix the soul of the Universe?

“Christus de Christi,
Mercury de Mercurio,
Per viam crucis,
Per vitam Lucis
Deus te Adjutabitur!” (12)

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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.

Sean Alexander’s Review

A great review of the Brazen Serpent by Sean Alexander.

The Brazen Serpent

A Book Review of the Brazen Serpent

by Sean AlexanderBrazen-2

I am really cynical about anything to do with Qabala, especially the new era variations. So I knew that I would really have my work cut out for me when I received my copy of Helen Kirkby’s The Brazen Serpent. I know Kirkby’s work fairly well– she is one of the most innovative modern occultists out there. I also know that the world doesn’t need “more” Qabala books — it needs GOOD ones.

Is it a good one? YES!

I liked this book a lot because it takes an intuitive approach and lays out concrete theory without pretense. I found none of it to have the shortcomings of other well-regarded books. Namely, it didn’t obfuscate claims underneath a layer of self-reported gnosis or a ton of glass-bead game word-play (I can think of several “big names” in the occult as…

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The Brazen Serpent

By Soror Nihil Obstat (Helen Kirkby)

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 12.29.53 PM
In The Brazen Serpent, Helen Kirkby offers a far-reaching and thoughtful exploration of the philosophical, psychological and practical aspects of the Qabalah. Keep an eye on this promising new author!”

David Shoemaker, author of Living Thelema, The Winds of Wisdom and other writings

. . . a whirlwind tour through the Sephiroth and Paths of the Tree of Life through the lens of a Thelemic practitioner’s experience and understanding. It is clear that the author has spent a great deal of time with Aleister Crowley’s magical system of Thelema as well as with traditional Qabalah, as they are blended together seamlessly throughout the text . . . .”

Frater IAO131, author of Naturalistic Occultism: An Introduction to Scientific Illuminism, Fresh Fever From the Skies, and more

a brilliant and masterful treatise on the Thelemic Qabalah. Helen Kirkby sets the bar high and I expect her to keep raising it, because she has the ingenuity and talent to do it.”

Soror Syrinx, author of Vault of Babalon

Helen Kirkby, otherwise known as Soror N.O., is an artist, occultist and initiate of the A.’.A.’. She currently attends the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles. The Brazen Serpent is an advanced treatise on the Hermetic Qabalah from a unique Thelemic perspective aiming to fulfill the needs of serious readers who wish to deepen their understanding. This book not only goes beyond the basics of Qabalah but adds to the evolving compendium, backed by the collected works of Aleister Crowley.

The Brazen Serpent is an advanced treatise on the Hermetic Qabalah from a unique Thelemic perspective. It is NOT a beginner’s guide. The Brazen Serpent expects the reader to be familiar with the Thelemic paradigm and have working knowledge of the Tree of Life.

The Brazen Serpent aims to fulfill the needs of serious readers who have dozens of books regurgitating the same basic information.

The Brazen Serpent not only goes beyond the basics of Qabalah but adds to the evolving compendium, backed by the collected works of Aleister Crowley.

Format

The Brazen Serpent is organized into four parts:

I. Introduction –

  • Explores the theory of man’s Prime Deviation and notions of The Fall in the context of the Hermetic Qabalah
  • Presents an analysis of consciousness using Qabalistic and Thelemic terms
  • Provides an outline of the Tree of Life using the Caduceus
  • Describes how involution and evolution occurs on the Tree of Life
  • Delves into the psychology of True Will

II. The Spheres –

  • Gives a thorough analysis of the spheres, Kether to Malkuth, in all four worlds
  • Explains how and why attributes are given instead of listing a table of correspondences
  • Provides a context into the Hermetic Qabalah from sources prior to Athanasius Kircher in order to highlight the evolution into Thelemic Qabalah
  • Elucidates the system presented in the A.’.A.’. and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn from an initiated perspective

III. The Paths –

  • Gives a thorough analysis of the paths, Tav to Aleph, with specific characteristics of each for the practitioner to utilize in his work
  • Provides extensive Gematria analysis for each letter using AIQ BKR, AThBASh cypher, and more
  • Explains the function of each path in relation to its attributes and connecting spheres
  • Describes the history of tarot images associated with each path

IV. The Negative Veils & Daath –

  • Sorry, but this one’s a secret.

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.

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

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.